GORDON COOPER & UFOs: AN ASTRONAUT SPEAKS OUT
by Timothy Green Beckley "One of the few individuals whose prominence is beyond question has, however, over the past few months, dared to open his mouth and challenge the status quo.
Gordon Cooper was one of America's original astronauts. He helped pioneer this country's space exploration efforts when, aboard a tiny space capsule known as Mercury [Faith] 7, Cooper orbited the Earth for 34 hours, proving that man could live outside our atmosphere for prolonged periods. His patriotism, bravery and respectability go without saying...
Cooper has recently made several public pronouncements concerning his strong belief in UFOs. While a guest on the Merv Griffin Show, Cooper shocked the viewing audiences by speaking for over five minutes on a topic that was only within the past few years often considered too bizarre for polite conversation.
But there were some things that Cooper wouldn't even discuss on the air in front of the curious multitudes. Luckily Lee Spiegel is a personal friend of Gordon Cooper. They have conferred on several occasions, and while in the company of the man who is bound and determined to crack the 'Cosmic Watergate' which he is convinced exists within the higher echelon of government, the former space traveler is more than happy to talk about his UFO experiences - and they are many.
In the early 1950s, Cooper was assigned to a jet fighter group in Germany. While stationed there, he remembers very vividly the week an entire formation of circular objects passed over the Air Base on almost a daily routine.
'We never could get close enough to pin them down, but they were round in shape and very metallic looking,' Cooper points out. UFOs were to continue to haunt him when the Air Force Colonel was transferred several years later to Edwards Air Force Base Flight Test Center in the California desert.
What happened one afternoon while he was on duty at this military base is evidence enough that the government definitely does keep a lot of secrets when it comes to UFOs!
The incident took place in the late 1950s, either 1957 or 1958 - as Cooper can best recall; and to this day, the photographic evidence of an actual UFO touching down upon the Earth is being kept under wraps.
During this period, Cooper was a Project Manager at Edwards Air Force Base, just three or four years before entering America's space program. After lunch this particular day, Cooper had assigned a team of photographers to an area of the vast dry lake beds near Edwards.
In a taped interview with UFOlogist Lee Spiegel, the former Astronaut disclosed that while the crew was out there, they spotted a strange-looking craft above the lake bed, and they began taking films of it.
Cooper says the object was very definitely 'hovering above the ground. And then it slowly came down and sat on the lake bed for a few minutes.' All during this time the motion picture cameras were filming away.
'There were varied estimates by the cameramen on what the actual size of the object was,' Cooper confesses, 'but they all agreed that it was at least the size of a vehicle that would carry normal-sized people in it.'
Col. Cooper was not fortunate enough to be outside at the time of this incredible encounter, but he did see the films as soon as they were rushed through the development process.
'It was a typical circular-shaped UFO,' he recollects. 'Not too many people saw it, because it took off at quite a sharp angle and just climbed straight on out of sight!'
Cooper admits he didn't take any kind of poll to determine who had seen the craft, 'because there were always strange things flying around in the air over Edwards.' This is a statement Lee Spiegel was able to verify through his own research efforts, having obtained closely guarded tapes of conversations between military pilots circling the base and their commanding officers in the flight tower, tracking the presence of unknown objects.
'People just didn't ask a lot of questions about things they saw and couldn't understand,' notes Cooper, who adds that it was a lot simpler to look the other way, shrug one's shoulders, and chalk up what had been seen to 'just another experimental aircraft that must have been developed at another area of the air base.'
But what about the photographic proof - the motion picture footage - that was taken? 'I think it was definitely a UFO,' Cooper states, as he makes no bones about it. 'However, where it (the object) came from and who was in it is hard to determine, because it didn't stay around long enough to discuss the matter - there wasn't even time to send out a welcoming committee!'
After he reviewed the film at least a dozen times, the footage was quickly forwarded to Washington. Cooper no doubt expected to get a reply in a few weeks' time as to what his men had seen and photographed, but there was no word, and the movie *vanished* - never to surface again....
On coast-to-coast television, Cooper recently made a blockbuster statement that had the telephone lines tied up the next day, as viewers telephoned the stations which carried the syndicated Merv Griffin Show, anxious to find out if their ears had been playing tricks on them the night before.
Toward the end of the talk-show host's interview with the former Astronaut, Merv broke into a secretive tone of voice right on the air, and aimed a hundred-thousand-dollar question at his guest: 'There is a story going around, Gordon, that a spaceship did land in middle America and there were occupants, and members of our government were able to keep one of the occupants alive for a period of time. They've seen the metal of the aircraft and they know what the people look like - is that a credible story?'
For all intents and purposes Cooper should have laughed for assuredly such a speculative story belongs in the category of science fiction or space fantasy. But Gordon Cooper kept a straight face when he replied: 'I think it's fairly credible. I would like to see the time when all qualified people could really work together to properly investigate these stories and either refute or prove them.'
The bombshell had been dropped. Cooper went on to say that from the various reports of UFO contacts and abductions he had been privy to, he was convinced that the occupants of this crashed UFO were 'probably not that different from what we are,' - that they are almost totally humanoid (i.e., have two arms, two legs, a torso and readily identifiable facial features) in appearance.
Taken aback by what Cooper had said over the national airwaves, Lee Spiegel telephoned Cooper's office the following morning and managed to get past his private secretary, though others in the media were getting the cold shoulder.
'Cooper admitted to me that he could have revealed more on the air, but he decided not to play his entire hand because he felt certain that some 'official eyebrows were going to get raised'.'"
"MJ-12 and the Riddle of Hangar 18" by Timothy Green Beckley; 1981; Inner Light Publications P.O. Box 753, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903; p.12 - 14.
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