Philip Mantle is one of the UK’s most well known and experienced UFO researchers. On 24th April, BUFOG investigator Dave Hodrien interviewed Phil on his research work and beliefs.
How did you first get interested in the subject of UFOs?
I was always interested in the paranormal as far back as I can remember. I used to do talks at school about ghosts and visit the local spiritualist church. In the late 1970’s I read a book, the title of which I cannot remember and was intrigued. A friend and I were in Warminster and we’d heard that UFOs had been seen there on Cradle Hill, so we went and took a look for ourselves and we saw some strange lights. I wrote a few letters to various places asking a few questions thinking I’d get all the answers I needed, but here I am 30 years later still looking for a lot of those answers.
Have you ever seen a UFO / had a contact experience, and if so what are the details of this, and did it increase your interest in the subject?
The only thing that I have seen that I could not identify were two large bright lights over a suburb of Leeds on July 23rd l984 just before 10.00 pm. I was driving home from work when I saw them. Fortunately a lot of others across the north of England that night saw the same thing. Despite a lengthy and intensive investigation we were never able to come up with a satisfactory explanation for these lights.
When and how did you decide to start looking into the subject?
Just after I saw the lights in Warminster I saw a small advertisement in the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper. It announced a meeting in Leeds about UFOs. I went along out of curiosity. The meeting was organised by Graham & Mark Birdsall who had recently formed the Yorkshire UFO Society. I was hooked. WE had monthly meetings and I just took everything in and soaked it up like a sponge. Slowly but surely I became more interested and more involved.
How did you initially become recognised as a UFO researcher/investigator?
I just wanted to find out what the hell was going on. I wasn’t interested in letting other people tell me what they thought. The only way to get the answers I was looking for was to try and investigate the subject myself. I was fortunate as the Yorkshire Dales in the late 70’s and through the 1980’s had a lot of UFO sightings so it was easy to get involved.
When did you become affiliated with UFO Magazine, and how did this come about?
Before it was UFO magazine it was Quest Magazine and before it was Quest Magazine it was the YUFOS JOURNAL. In the early days the YUFOS Journal and Quest Magazine were hand printed at Mark Birdsall’s flat on the 7th floor of a tower block. Graham Birdsall was the editor. So I was involved right from its initial inception as the YUFOS JOURNAL which eventually evolved into UFO MAGAZINE.
How many years have you been researching UFOs for?
Too many (laughs). No really, it’s now been 30 years. Boy that makes me sound really old.
Do you know roughly how many incidents you have looked into?
Not got a clue. There have been a lot I can assure you. I simply could not hazard a guess. Sorry.
What is the most impressive case/sighting you have personally looked into?
In the early 1980’s me and Mark Birdsall investigated the landing of a UFO at Normanton in West Yorkshire. It was in broad daylight and involved one adult and several children. They saw a UFO land in nearby field and went to look at it. Out side of it were 3 tall humanoid beings. They walked to the back of this object, which was silver and shaped like a ‘Mexican hat’ and it took off without making a noise. There is a lot more to this case but it really made an impression on me.
How often do you get recognised by the general public while out and about?
I can think of only 3 occasions when this has happened over the 30 years. It is a very uncomfortable experience for me. I’d have no problem being rich but would never want to be famous and recognized in public.
How does it feel to be one of the most recognised faces of ufology in the UK?
I’d never thought of that at all. I take it as a compliment and count my blessings that I’ve been lucky to be involved in so many different things.
Have you ever had any warnings or threats from any individuals about the information you are releasing?
What is your favourite aspect of your research work?
When I’ve received a thank you from a witness for taking the time to listen to them without passing judgment.
What has been your best experience working as a UFO researcher?
Perhaps visiting Roswell in 2007. I was recognized here by someone in a café but the whole week there was just great. I was able to visit many of the sites that I had previously only read about and Roswell is a great place in its own right and the desert scenery is quite spectacular.
What has been your worst experience?
Resigning from BUFORA. It’s a long story so I won’t go into it but I still support BUFORA and my resignation and that of others could and should have been avoided. Its history now but it still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Have you lectured at the world UFO congress or been to it?
If you mean the one in Laughlin, Nevada then yes, just the once. It was a great experience as I was able to meet up with quite a few old friends including Budd Hopkins, John Mack and Roberto Pinotti to name but a few.
Looking at the subject as a whole, what do you believe represents the most compelling evidence for the reality of UFOs?
A very hard question to answer if not impossible. There is some physical evidence that is hard to ignore and I include in that photos and film plus radar. The testimony of certain witnesses is also very compelling, like the landing case in Normanton that I mentioned earlier.
What do you believe are currently the most impressive/important UFO cases?
Again, almost impossible to answer. Top of the list would have to be Project Hessdalen in Norway. If you’ve not heard of this then ‘shame on you’. The landing in Normanton that I personally was involved in. The Rendlesham Forest events still intrigue despite the best efforts of the skeptics to debunk it. These would be my top three.
What are your views on the alien abduction phenomenon?
I think it is something best left to medical professionals to deal with. I have interviewed a number of abductees and I have no doubt they have had a highly unusual experience but whether or not it has any connection to ufology is a different thing. The abduction experience may well be another form of altered state of consciousness yet not understood by science. This does not detract from the experience at all. I left this field of research some years ago as I was way out of my depth and I felt it should be handled by professional people and not UFO researchers.
Do you believe that at least some of the alien implants removed from contactees are real? If so, do you have any theories about what they are for?
They are real in the fact that they are physical objects. If you are asking me if I believe that these are implants put there by beings from another world then I would have to say no I do not. It is an interesting area to study but despite claims by some researchers whom I know and like very much and have met, the implants do not seem to represent any kind of technology. Added to that I do not feel that the abduction experience has anything to do with ET’s therefore any alleged implants cannot be either.
What are your views on the usage of hypnotic regression in regards to recovering hidden memories?
Leave it to the professionals and keep well away. You are messing with people’s minds and you should not get involved. This was something that BUFORA stood up for and something I entirely agree with.
Have you ever witnessed a regression first hand?
Several and I was not impressed.
What are your views on animal mutilations?
They have nothing to do with the UFO subject at all. Period.
Have you ever seen an animal mutilation first hand/investigated a mutilation case?
No. And if I was presented with one I’d tell them politely to bugger off and seek professional help from someone with expertise in the field of animal deaths.
What are your views regarding crop formations?
They are all fakes.
Have you been to the gate of Area 51? Do you believe that UFOs/extraterrestrials are kept there and that craft are being back engineered?
I’ve not been anywhere near Area 51 but I do not believe it houses UFOs or aliens and never has. It is a top secret testing facility and that just about says it all for me.
What are your thoughts on the star child skull?
Fascinating stuff and Lloyd Pye is to be complemented on his investigation and his patience. However, I would bet that it still turns out to be a deformed human. No offence Lloyd, I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.
Do you believe that NASA are fully aware of the reality of UFOs and cover this up from the general public?
No. NASA is too bog with too many civilians involved to keep the lid on such a secret.
Do you believe that people involved with the SETI project know full well that extaterrestrials are already visiting earth?
No. SETI is a waste of time and money and most of those involved cannot see further than the end of their dish and wouldn’t know anything about UFOs if you asked them.
I know that you played a key part in lifting the lid on the Roswell alien autopsy video. Do you believe that any of it is genuine? If so, which parts do you believe are real?
It is ALL a complete fake made for money and nothing else. It took me 14 years to prove this but I did. Spyros Melaris is the man who led the team that faked the whole thing.
Where do you believe the apparent various species seen actually come from? (Do you believe they are from different star systems, a parallel dimensions, time travellers from our future, bio-engineered on earth or something else entirely?)
The ETH is just one theory to try and explain the UFO subject and one that is not yet proven. I am not convinced that we are dealing with ET’s from anywhere. Instead I feel that the U in UFO still stands for unidentified and although I would not rule out the ETH it might not make my top 3 list of theories if I were to be honest. Top 10 yes, but not top 3.
In regards to the Greys, do you believe they are artificially created to do work for another “alien” species or a biological species in their own right?
See previous question.
After looking into the subject for such a long time, I assume you must have views on what the “alien” agenda is on earth. Can you share these views with us?
See previous question.
Do you feel that UK interest in the subject is waning? What do you think are the reasons for this decline?
No I don’t I just think it has changed. People still report their sightings, UFO groups still exist, and UFO publications are still in print. Today will live in a virtual world and more is done online than anything else.
What, do you believe, are the main reasons for the ongoing UFO cover up?
There is no cover-up as far as I’m concerned. That is if you mean the cover-up of proof that we are being visited by ET’s. Remember, it is the nature of governments to keep secrets but it doesn’t always mean that what is kept secret is of any interest to anyone.
Do you believe that this cover up is global or only present in certain countries?
There is no cover-up.
Do you believe that worldwide disclosure of the UFO reality is necessarily a good thing?
If we ever have 100% proof of an ET visitation you would have politicians running to associated with it and not cover it up. It would be THE most momentous occasion in human history and most world leaders want to cement their own place in history by being associated with it.
Do you believe that disclosure will occur at any time in the near future?
If we ever have a bona fide ET visitation Obama would be on TV now I can assure you.
If you came face-to-face with an alien being, what would be the first thing you would ask?
A good question. I’d probably ask something really dumb but I’d like to ask a really selfish question. I’d ask if they had a cure for heart disease as I had a near fatal heart attack ten years ago and it’s plagued me ever since. Selfish and probably dumb I know but you did ask.
I trust I’ve not upset anyone with my answers. I have a few articles published on my web site at: www.philipmantle.com if you are interested. All I would say is that don’t listen to me find out the answers for yourself. Join a group like BUFOG and get involved.
Copyright Dave Hodrien 2009