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Into The Unknown 2009 Conference Review

The one day conference “Into The Unknown” took place at Garston Manor, Watford, on Sunday 31st May 2009. Due to the impressive speaker line up, I decided to drive down from Birmingham for the conference along with my girlfriend and another friend. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the drive, it was one of the brightest days of the year and the roads were nice and clear. We arrived at Garston Manor at 9am.

The chosen venue was absolutely fantastic. The conference took place in an open function room inside the manor with large windows looking out to the grounds outside. This room was just the right size for the number of people who turned up, so never felt overcrowded and everyone got a seat. In another side room there were a few UFO book and magazine dealers, and a third room was a makeshift café with drinks, cake and biscuits up for grabs. As we had arrived with half an hour to spare we went outside to relax on the grass in the morning sunlight. We immediately bumped into the first speaker of the day, Kevin Goodman. He recognised me straight away, as last year he gave a talk for the Birmingham UFO Group.

Kevin’s talk kicked off at 9.30pm. He is a fantastic speaker and is always a joy to listen to. His lecture was essentially the same as what we had heard the previous year, but it was great to hear again. Kevin discussed his and his friends experiences at Warminster from earlier in his life. As you will probably already know, Warminster is one of the UK’s most famous UFO hotspots, especially from the 1970s-80s. After getting interested in the subject of UFOs, Kevin and his friends decided to visit the town on numerous occasions for sky watches on Cradle Hill. After discussing some of the mysterious goings on at Warminster, he described several very impressive UFO sightings that he had personally seen. He also explained how him and his friends became unwilling contactees. Using a method of channelling, his friend Colin would enter a trance like state, during which they seemed to make contact with an extraterrestrial entity. They did this on numerous occasions, but Kevin remains very level headed about this aspect of their experiences. He remains open to the possibility that it was genuine, but also wonders whether it was something else entirely such as ESP between his group of friends. This apparent contact was the subject of most of the questions asked at the end of the lecture.

In the short break, we met up with two other Birmingham UFO Group members Zoe and Ian, who had unfortunately missed most of the first lecture. It was then time for renowned ex-Ministry Of Defence researcher Nick Pope to begin his talk. I have seen Nick several times before and he is always a very interesting speaker due to his background. Nick ran the UFO desk for the MOD for a number of years. He started off as a sceptic but after looking into the reports coming in from the public realised that there was a large amount of evidence that some UFOs were physical craft of an unknown origin. His lecture this time was about the recent release of various UFO reports to the National Archives through the Freedom Of Information Act. Nick believes that at least in the UK, there is no cover up, and that now these reports are being released for public viewing neither the government or the MOD are with-holding any further information on UFOs. He went over some of the most impressive cases that have now been released, including a sighting by a pilot of a hovering craft the size of an aircraft carrier which was also confirmed on radar. Nick’s overall message that he was trying to get across was that the MOD are not the bad guys and that they are just as mystified by UFOs as the general public. A viewpoint which he openly admitted may not be shared by some of the audience!

After Nick’s lecture there was then an hour’s break for lunch. There was a pre-booked meal at the manor, but instead we opted to drive out to a nearby pub. Several other people from the conference also turned up for a quick drink.

It was soon time to return to the manor for the afternoons speakers, beginning with well known speaker Malcolm Topping from Scottish Paranormal Investigations (SPI). Malcolm is a really enthusiastic speaker, you can easily see that he loves his work as an investigator. Over the years he has looked into many things including UFOs, ghosts and the Loch Ness Monster. He has been doing this now for 30 years, which is what his lecture focused on. It was a truly great talk and extremely varied, touching on many different cases he had looked into. The lecture featured many different photos, including his early days with some truly shocking hairstyles on display! He did not go into any one thing in great depth as the lecture was essentially an overview of his investigative career, but this made it very lively and entertaining to listen to. It was certainly one of my favourite lectures of the day.

The next speaker was originally Mike Omram but he unfortunately he had to cancel. Instead we got treated to a fantastic talk by repeat abductee Steve Jones. Steve has had contact experiences since an early age, and up until last year he has been too scared to discuss them openly. However he has realised that in recent years there has been a shift in how UFOs and aliens are perceived by the public, and he now feels he can share his experiences without fear of ridicule. He came across as a very confident speaker and was very believable. We were all enthralled as he recounted his story to us. He explained how as a child he saw an unknown lady appear in his room on numerous occasions who he would speak with. This lead on to numerous abductions by Grey beings during which he was subjected to various examinations. At first he was terrified by what was taking place, but has since come to terms with what is happening to him, and now feels he is more a participant than a victim. He also mentioned that he has a number of implants inside him but unlike some other abductees does not wish them to be removed as they are in there for a positive reason. Steve believes that the beings he has been in contact with are from a different dimension rather than from a different planet, and that they are modifying our DNA in preparation for a “shift” which will occur in the near future and affect the whole human race. Unfortunately he did not have time to elaborate on this further, but I for one will certainly be looking into it in more depth. It was fascinating listening to Steve and he should be applauded for his bravery in being so open about his experiences.

The final speaker of the day was crop formation researcher Alan Foster. Again this was a lecture I had heard before at one of the UFO Data conferences, but this did not make it any less interesting. Given the subject matter, Alan’s lecture was a very visual one, featuring many photographs of impressive crop formations from recent years, some of which were incredibly complicated in design. He began by discussing the various aspects of the formations which he believes is evidence that some of them are created by an unknown force rather than man-made. He covered the unusual energies that are sometimes detected within the formations, and the apparent military interest in them. He explained how numerous witnesses have seen unmarked military helicopters in the vicinity of crop formations, and have even been “buzzed” by them until they have left the area. While it is clear that some of the formations are hoaxed, there does seem to be a number of aspects linking them with UFOs.

The conference ended with a speakers Q&A session. Unfortunately we had to head for home so missed this, but I am sure it was highly interesting and rounded off the day nicely. My only regret is that it was only one day long, I could have easily listened to a second day of speakers! Considering it was the organisers first conference, the whole day went superbly and was highly enjoyable throughout. If it goes ahead, I’ll certainly be back next year.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2009



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