Interview with Micah Hanks
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1. What lead and inspired you to create your new book entitled “The Ghost Rockets: Mystery Missiles and Phantom Projectiles in our Skies?”
I have a number of friends who work in various academic and government jobs who are fascinated with the unexplained, though most often from a more “critical” perspective like myself. Due to their role in government or the scientific community, they most often have to maintain a low profile (which is a whole different conversation we could have). Anyhow, one of these friends with a background in engineering and aerospace began looking into reports of rocket or missile-like UFOs following a report of a “rocket” seen near an airport in Glasgow last year, which turned out to be a toy balloon. What he found picqued my interest, and we began looking more deeply into the possibility that there are rocket (or rocket like) technologies buzzing around in our skies, which are presently unaccounted for.
2. Could you go into what exactly mystery missiles and phantom projectiles are in your perspective?
It’s difficult to say, especially since the raw data is primarily the circumstantial witness reporting (although some of it is very good, like the reports I learned of that exist in NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System database, which is publicly available online). However, in modern usage, I think the closest fit for what we’re observing in such cases are some kind of drone technology, although at times they do appear to behave more like weaponized ballistic technology. Usually, a missile or rocket has a very specific purpose, and their appearances are generally expected to be accounted for by government agencies behind their launches. This doesn’t always seem to be the case, however, so far as what witnesses have described over the years, and this book gets into some of those cases.
3. So when did these events start to happen exactly as far as seeing these phantom projectiles? Is the point of origins right after World War 2?
The story about these “mystery missiles” goes back to 1946 in Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia, where immediately after WWII there were hundreds of reports of objects resembling rockets seen flying over the countryside during the summer months. The Swedish government formed a study group to determine their origin, and failed to muster any scientific data to account for them, and thus publicly issued a dismissal on the grounds that post-WWII paranoia may have been the contributing factor. But at least a few researchers on that panel, which some historians point out as the technically being first government UFO study group, have noted in years since that there did appear to be a technology of some sort that was operating in the skies over Sweden, which resembled more advanced cruise missile technologies of today. However, no such technology was known to have existed on par with what was seen in 1946, hence the use of the term “Ghost Rockets,” which I applied throughout the book in relation to similar reports that have continued around the world right up to the present day.
4. Are people seeing mystery missiles up to this day in the modern era and could you share a case with us?
Objects that are similar to the classic 1946 Ghost Rockets are still reported, and there have even been recent cases that emerged since the publication of my book! One that has made headlines was a case where a British pilot observed what he described as a bullet shaped object, similar to a “flying rugby ball,” flying dangerously close to his aircraft last summer. The altitude and behavior of the object he observed was inconsistent with most prosaic explanations, and while we could attempt to say he had simply been mistaken, toward the end of my book I recount a number of very similar cases to what occurred last summer over Europe. There have even been cases where aircraft at extremely high altitudes have managed to strike objects while in flight, resulting in dents on the nose-cone of the aircraft! Granted, implosion due to pressure changes at such altitudes, as well as rare instances where high-flying birds may have been unfortunate enough to have a collision with the radome of the plane, could account for at least some of these impacts.
5. Could you go into some of the Long Island cases with us from New York?
I bring up the Long Island cases because of their proximity, both in location, and time frame, to the tragic TWA Flight 800 incident. There were a number of instances where witnesses including experienced commercial pilots leaving JFK International Airport reported seeing rockets or flares over Long Island Sound in the weeks before, and even after, the Flight 800 crash. Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center managed to retrieve a transcript of a dialogue between the crews aboard a Lufthansa and a British Airways flight as they spoke with operators at Boston ATC, as they observed a green “missile” flying above and adjacent to them while departing from JFK. The object obviously remained in the sky longer than a meteor, following what appeared to be a horizontal trajectory for a period of several minutes, and was observed from both aircraft as they travelled. This incident took place remarkably close to a number of others, some involving red or pink “flares” rising up from the ocean and moving dangerously near commercial aircraft.
Now I’ll make an interesting observation here. In my book, I don’t directly suggest that TWA Flight 800 was taken down by a missile… I merely report what most other documentaries on this subject have not done, and that is that there were similar reports of flare-like objects seen over Long Island in the weeks and months before and after Flight 800 went down. Since the conventional explanation here is that the crash resulted from a spark in the center-wing fuel tank, I presume most modern skeptics would discount these cases, and further say that I’m doing “more harm than good” by presenting information that appears to steer the mind of the reader toward an alternative conclusion about the fate of TWA Flight 800. Some might even call that “pseuoscience.” However, I maintain that these cases described in the relevant chapter of my book are well documented, and as isolated incidents unto themselves, should be considered for the dangers they may have represented. And yes, the did occur in the same general vicinity of the TWA Flight 800 crash. Knowing this, which is more irresponsible: presenting well-documented data that may hold implications with regard to a terrible tragedy that occurred, or staunchly overlooking it out of concern that those implications, close to being contrary to the “official narrative,” will do more harm than good by promoting what some would call a conspiracy theory? I outline the official narrative in the book, but also present the facts regarding those other incidents that I simply don’t think many others have taken the time to examine. The data is right there for anyone to read, and I in no way think that presenting it is harmful, or in support of “conspiracy theories.” It’s simply a presentation of what I find to be factual data, to the best of my ability to discern.
6. What is one of your favorite cases involving phantom projectiles?
There is a case that took place in the Bahamas back in the 1980s, over an area called The Tongue of the Ocean (I have some satellite images in the book that show the region). In the 1980s, a pair of AUTEC employees on a night shift aboard a seabound vessel observed a pair of colored “rockets” glide overhead, traveling parallel to the ocean, as if on course to some destination. The observers found this to be extremely odd, as these “rockets” didn’t behave like weapons or ballistic missiles, but more like rocket-driven “drones” of some kind.
7. I have to wonder if some of these ghost rockets are people seeing future or past events from their now moments. Like a glimpse into the matrix so to speak where time suspends and they catch a glimmer of a rocket caught in a time flux. Any more insights into the phenomenon you can share?
In a strictly speculative sense, I’ve wondered about the temporal component in relation to UFO reports, which I discussed in my book The UFO Singularity. Again, many amidst my skeptical brethren out there disliked that book, because they felt it was too speculative (although I did source a wealth of scientific literature in doing so, for which a few others in academic circles, particularly mathematicians and microbiologists, issued a lot of praise). I state that this approach is speculative, but I don’t find speculating, at times, about observable phenomenon to always be “harmful.” It can be though, and in defense of the hard-line skeptics, I think that most of them are primarily concerned about the harmful things that pseudoscientific claims can often present. With the consideration of some phenomenon that may possess a temporal component, we’re merely considering what I’m sure an untold number of physicists have done as well… and without a valid time machine (or even a valid working model for how one would work), we’re all just speculating. But speculation, when carried out in a reasonable fashion, is sometimes a useful tool for getting our gears turning… and then it’s up to us to get back to looking for hard data that backs up those ideas, which then can be presented later, if proven, as scientific fact. So yes, I’ve wondered about what we might call “future technologies,” and I’ve written about those… with The Ghost Rockets, I’ve gotten back to documenting and critically analyzing data, which is quite a departure from my last book… and my readers have noticed, let me assure you! But most of the feedback has been good, all things considered. A few were upset that the book didn’t just go on ad-nauseum about the Scandinavian cases from 1946, but I state in the book that I’m applying the “Ghost Rocket” term across the board to similar reports that have occurred in decades leading up to the present day, and that plenty of exhaustive literature about the 1946 rocket wave already exists. I’m not a huge fan of just going out there and re-writing what other authors have already written, you know, and I feel there is a lot of “new” information this book presents for people interested in obscure reports of unexplained aerial phenomenon.
8. Have any other researchers gotten into this topic? Because from what I’ve seen you are the only one I’ve seen personally to tackle it.
As I had mentioned, a wealth of material exists that documents the old rocket reports from the 1940s. Jerome Clark wrote a lot about this, as well as Clas Svahn and Anders Liljegren, a pair of fine Swedish researchers on the subject. Svahn and Liljegren also documented at least a few of ongoing rocket reports that occurred throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s; with the passage of time, new information about some of those has surfaced, as well as renewed scientific interest in solving them. As a result, I think I managed to flesh out a few of those incidents and bring a lot of new information to those, based on scientific investigations which, in a few cases, may detract from the “missile” theories related to those incidents. But as a researcher, one must attempt to be as thorough as possible, and of course, the aforementioned gentlemen did that at the time they had written about those cases. One of the important things about any area of study like this is to review the old literature and see what new concepts or emerging evidence might lend to it. Here, we’re fortunate to have science that we can often apply to several decades-old mysteries, which helps us to move closer to understanding them better, and in The Ghost Rockets, I think we are able to take a closer look at some of the unexplained missile reports from the past with a new, modern perspective.
9. What would you like to share from the book with us that our readers might find fascinating?
Simply put, these rocket reports represent a curious element within the context of UFO studies. There is that common misconception that UFO means “alien spaceship,” which I think is a ludicrous misunderstanding. UFO means, and has always meant “unidentified flying object.” There is some compelling data out there, but I don’t think any of it conclusively proves that we are dealing with extraterrestrial technologies. Therefore, to say that UFOs represent ET space vessels is a gross stretch in judgement; the possibility exists, but possibility alone does not constitute proof, and I maintain resolutely that we have yet to discover hard proof that alien visitors from other planets have arrived here on Earth. There are, however, a wealth of reports of flying objects of unknown origin, which seem to represent a highly sophisticated technology being employed; my first guess is that these would have to originate from here on Earth, but the problem, as we consistently see in the better reports of unexplained aerial phenomenon, is that these technologies, whatever they may be, appear at times to be so advanced that they border on the exotic or otherworldly. Still, appearance alone cannot be taken as “proof” of the otherworldly, no matter how badly any of us want that to be the case. The possibility remains, but it is merely one in a long list of complex possible solutions to what we call the “UFO” mystery.
10. What are you up to next book wise and any projects or news you’d like to share with us before we depart? Thanks.
I have about four or five ideas I’m working with as far as books, and I’ve been talking with my publishers, as well as looking at self-publishing alternatives, which both fascinate me from a technological and marketing standpoint, and also seem to represent the next wave of success in writing and publishing for driven entrepreneurs. So we’ll see what the future holds… and of course, if I’m lucky, I’ll continue to find intriguing data that I can write about as honestly as possible. If we can present good facts, we might one day be able to present a truly strong argument regarding these UFO things after all.
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