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UFOs in the daily Press:

This article appeared on the Sunday Times of India, New Delhi edition, front page, on August 18, 2002.

Please note that it would not at all be the first time that events with really trivial causes generate huge emotion, wild speculations and even riots against the so-called non-helping authorities in India. A few years ago, after more than 30 children were captured and killed, 80 wounded, by a creature described sometimes as "a biped monster with huge arms," "a monster emitting rays with his red eyes," finally, the first but not the most publicized theory proved correct: a wolf had become a man-eater. Practically none of the many eyewitness had been able to give the correct description of a wolf, although wolves were nothing out of the ordinary in that area where this animal, who does not normally attack men, is a protected specie.

This time again, although I have no idea what is really going on, I note that any possible exotic theory is publicized: insects, UFOs, ETs, Pakistani genetically engineered insects and the good old plasma theory. Wait and see.

The Muhnchowna mystery in India, August 2002:

LUCKNOW: With five visuals of what is feared as the muhnochwa "trapped" on video tapes - three of which were recorded by the team of intelligence sleuths in the state - the scare does not seem to be unfounded. The sleuths who had worked on muhnochwa do not rule out the possibility of the presence of an extra-terrestrial body (ETB) with electro-magnetic (EM) effect in at least three per cent of the cases. While the Indian agencies were yet to admit the presence of ETB, foreign research agencies, intelligence reports said, have already been to the affected areas, met the victims and collected necessary data.

Sources said that after going through the video tape provided by the wife of a lawyer in Mirzapur and another frame recorded by a resident in Sitapur, which had a flash of light speeding through one end of the lens to another within a second, an intelligence team reached Sitapur on August 7 and set up a an indigenously-designed observatory.

A base of a mixer grinder was fitted with lights of the colours that the victims had narrated before the team varying from orange, yellow, green to the most common red and blue combination. The apparatus was put at a height in total darkness. The idea behind the exercise was that the extra-terrestrial body may take note of something resembling it and might come near it. And it did. At 1:05 am a flash of light neared the apparatus. "It was like the photocopier top plate with that sharp light while taking impressions," revealed a member of the team while drawing a parallel.

The team, comprising forensic experts, serologists, medico-legal experts, electronic engineers and physicists equipped with night vision devices, zero light video cameras and telescopes apart from other gadgetry, was witness to the "light" which was seen thrice. It descended close to the handmade muhnochwa and then disappeared. The video clipping has a flash of light running across the screen but nothing more.

The team of experts also conducted a study by filling up a questionnaire on the basis of the experience of the victims from Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Sitapur, Hardoi, Bara Banki, Rae Bareli, Lucknow and Sitapur. Out of a sample study of 100 injured victims, 10 were found to be victims of an insect bite or scratch. Another 10 suffered the injuries indirectly (like bruises while running after a scare in the night). The remaining had one or more of the following four common factors: Experiencing electric shock, seeing sharp light, feeling hard oval object.

Out of 80 people, 65 were found to have suffered physical injuries and there were three who tried to overpower the ETB. "All the three had suffered hundreds of scars, as if caused by a blade, on the palm and it was inexplicable by any team member," said an expert who examined the injuries adding that this was what raised possibilities of an ETB being out there. But there is still a long way to go before these experts could come up with anything conclusive on the muhnochwa scare.

However, Dr NK Mehrotra, professor, department of physics at Lucknow University, said that such possibilities were remote. Similar views were aired by his colleague Professor Chaman Mehrotra. "It may be out of atmospheric changes that such things might have occured and then someone might have added a dimension of mischief to it by putting up a man-made thing in the air," he said. Managar ISTRAC, a unit of ISRO, CD Sharma too expressed his doubts over possibilities of an ETB. "I do not know what type of a study has been conducted and what were the findings but with what I have gathered from the media reports, the ETB theory remains unconvincing," he said talking to Times News Network.

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This page was last updated on August 24, 2002.