Paul Stonehill & Philip Mantle

All articles are Copyright by Paul Stonehill.
All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission.


A report published in China Daily (a newspaper) on Friday, December 13, 2002, attracted my attention. I, too, have researched unsolved mysteries of a very remarkable Chinese ruler who lived his dangerous life over two thousand years ago. This research has begun over thirty years ago, when I, a Soviet teenager at the time, read about an ancient Chinese mirror used to diagnose illnesses (like many of my peers, I was interested in what we call in Russian “zagadki istorii or enigmas of history”). And what a fascinating enigma the life of Emperor Shihuangdi turned out to be! But let us start with the article in the Chinese newspaper, and go step by step.

The article was titled Survey to solve tomb mystery. According to its author, the
Chinese scientists will use remote sensing and geophysical techniques to survey the mysterious Mausoleum of the First Qin (pronounced Chin) Emperor. I will add some of my commentaries to a rather brief report in the Chinese newspaper.

The grand mausoleum is located 36 kilometers east of Xi'an (capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province). It was the eternal resting place for Ying Zheng, the emperor (Shighuangdi) of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), who unified China for the first time in its turbulent history. The Mausoleum was a creation mixed with both blood and tears of many people…

Its construction started in the year 247 BCE. Chinese historical records stated that it took 700,000 people 36 years to build the luxurious underground tomb, where mercury was used to imitate rivers and lakes. The Mausoleum occupies about
56.25 square kilometers. Exotic treasures from all over the land and women (concubines) were buried with the deceased emperor. The Mausoleum was an elaborate construction, with jewels on the ceiling representing the constellations. Mercury was used to create imitations of the Yellow River and the Yangtze, lakes and the seas, assembled in such a way that they seemed to flow. Those who built the underground tomb were executed or walled inside the Mausoleum, lest they spread stories about its gold, gems, and secrets.

The actual structure and position of the mausoleum are still a mystery despite the fact that several surveys having been conducted since the 1970s. Presently, Chinese scientists and archaeologists are carrying out a large-scale investigation of the tomb to get a general picture of it (according to Guan Haiyan, director of the Shaanxi Remote Sensing Center). He is also the project's senior engineer, and he revealed that the scientists would use aerial remote sensing and geophysical techniques to identify the position, depth and basic structure of the underground palace, as well as the 60-square-kilometre area surrounding the tomb. Reading the article I got the impression that the Chinese government is very much interested in finding out about the secrets the mausoleum may hold. The survey, listed as a key project of the National High Technology Research and Development Program of the People’s Republic of China, is by far the most comprehensive research ever on the mausoleum. The project was scheduled to be completed by September of 2003. We may discover a few more interesting details about the Mausoleum, if the Chinese scientists will share their discoveries with the world. In December 1987, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization listed the mausoleum as a World Heritage Site, together with the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Were there truly rivers and lakes of mercury underground? What other secrets are buried in the Shaanxi Province?

Meanwhile, the discoveries already made at the site have aroused great interest throughout the world. Back in 1974 near Xi’an, a group of Chinese farmers from the Yen Tsai commune in Lintong County were digging a well and found, in the process, several terracotta figures buried deep underground. Future investigations uncovered burial pits of terracotta warriors and horses. The three vaults containing thousands of terracotta figures (known as bing ma yong) have been found 1.5 kilometers east of the mausoleum, and two sets of large bronze chariots and horses were excavated west of the mausoleum. 7000 life sized terracotta warriors, very detailed and painted like the soldiers of the Qin Empire, seem to guard many secrets of their dead Emperor.

They represented chariot warriors, clay archers, infantry, and cavalrymen. The terra-cotta worriers were armed with real weapons. Each warrior was exquisitely and very accurately a built, and possessed unique features.

At the time of Emperor Shihuangdi's death, his Qin Empire stopped practicing burial of living human beings for some time. The terracotta soldiers would be replacement for the old funeral burial. But the Emperor’s son Huhai, according to ancient records, had ordered that all Shihuangdi's concubines who never bore children be buried inside of Shihuangdi's tomb. To prevent the builders of the tombs from revealing the inside of the tomb, Huhai also sealed off the tomb, with the builders inside. The tomb was said to have traps, crossbows and automatic arrows, to eliminate potential grave robbers. The tomb was decorated with precious stones and gems. Also, there were eternal lamps, lit by oil refined from mermaid fish from the East China Sea. A Chinese book from the fifth century BCE mentioned that moonlight pearls suspended in the tumulus (an ancient grave mound) light day and night.

In 1979, the Museum of Qin Shihuangdi was established in China. Visitors to the country have the opportunity to see the terracotta warriors of the Emperor’s long ago buried army.

The discovery of the buried legion has created a stir all over the world, but according to the article in China Daily, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As opposed to the Egyptian pyramids, which were constructed above ground level, the mausoleum is a huge underground complex designed to mirror the street plan of the Qin Dynasty's capital. It is the first and the largest imperial mausoleum in China.

There are tens of thousands of statues and treasures undoubtedly still remain to be unearthed from the site. Chinese archaeologists believe that the statues will be extremely valuable to study the Qin Dynasty's society. What would the discovery of the crystal diagnosis device do to our medicine? What if the archaeologists find the legendary eternal lamps of the Emperor’s tomb?

Qin Emperor Shihuangdi was probably the most influential of the 300 emperors who ruled royal dynasties throughout Chinese history. He established China's first feudal empire. The founder of the first unified empire in the history of China was born in Handan, an ancient town in northern China. The future Emperor was said to possess high nose bridge, long eyes and “leopard” voice. His life was unusual, and his name is well known to the Chinese people, for he played an important part of their history. And yet, we still know little about the great and controversial ruler of ancient China. I have collected information about him for a number of years, mainly because of the amazing mirror he supposedly possessed. Many sources were used, including The Records of the Grand Historian, Sima Qian of the Han court. He had a great habit of collecting historical records during his travels on imperial service, and had excellent access to the imperial library.

Ying Zheng (Emperor Shihuangdi) was crowned at the age of 13. Twenty-five years later he unified China, though a series of wars. Who was he? According to ancient legends, Ying Zheng was born after being inside of his mother's womb for 12 months.

His childhood was less than happy, and very unstable. The seven states of China were warring between each other, and the bloodshed of China’s people inundated its cities and villages. Yi Ren, the boys’ father, was a hostage in the State (Principality) of Zhao. But the court gossip had it that his real father was Lü Buwei, Qin's future Prime Minister.

He was a wealthy merchant doing business in Zhao, but foremost, a keen political observer, who recognized Yi Ren’s potential. Lü Buwei invested into Yi Ren (Zhuangxiangwang), and also gave him a favorite concubine, as a present. In 259 BC, King Zhaoxiangwang died and King Xiaowenwang ascended to the throne of Qin (the name China most likely originated in Qin Dynasty). Lü Buwei was responsible for making Zhuangxiangwang an adopted son of the Qin king. Not long after that becoming the King, Yi Ren -Zhuangxiangwang had dispatched his warrior-Prime Minister Lü Buwei against the Zhou Kingdom to crush a conspiracy by local nobles to restrict Qin's expansion. Zhou Kingdom was no more. Then a series of wars ensued against Haan Principality, Wei Principality and Zhao Principality. But later the Qin forces suffered a defeat at the hands of the united Yan-Zhao-Haan-Chu-Wei armies.

In May of 246 BCE the Qin King Yi Ren -Zhuangxiangwang died, and Ying Zheng (better known as Emperor Shihuangdi) became the ruler of Qin, but in reality, Lü Buwei and his former concubine, now empress dowager, controlled the country. After Ying Zhen became the King of Qin, Lü Buwei served him as prime minister, and together with other worthy nobles, was responsible for all political and military matters of Qin court for the next 13 years.

The young king wanted to create a powerful and united kingdom, and sought capable people to assist him.

Zhong Fu or Uncle-Father was the name that Ying Zhen used to refer to Lü Buwei (a proxy, or second father was the proper meaning). By then Lü Buwei supplied the Queen mother with a new lover, and she bore him two sons, who were the King’s half-brothers. Ying Zhen ordered them to be killed after he learned of their existence. Their father, mandarin Changxin-hou rebelled in 238 BCE against the king and was defeated. His two sons (the king’s half brothers) were killed when their bodies were thrown on the ground in bags. The empress dowager was banished to a fortress away from her son.

Lü Buwei lost his power, prestige, and position. In 235 BCE, Lü Buwei died after drinking poison.

The Emperor did forgive his mother later, and brought her back from the exile.

The actual process of unification of the huge country through military campaigns and conquest was started in 473 BCE. The Qin state was isolated in the west of China by a section of the Yellow river and a mountain range, and thus protected from invasion of other Chinese armies. At the same time, its military forces gained experience protecting the borders against foreign invaders. During the tumultuous Warring States period, the northern and western Chinese states of Qin, Zhao, and Yen had all to defend their borders by building fortified walls to prevent a Xiongnu (nomads) invasion. This fortified defense line became known as the Great Wall centuries later when the iron hand of the future Emperor connected the fragmented walls through the hard labor of thousands of prisoners.

Ying Zheng (who became Emperor Shihuangdi after the unification) basically continued the process, and did so very skillfully, using military force, brutality and very cunning diplomacy. Qin became the strongest of the seven states, and after the other six were finally defeated, China became a unified empire, a feudal monarchy under a strong central bureaucratic government. All military and administrative powers of China were concentrated in the hands of the Emperor who ruled his country through twelve ministries directly responsible to him.

He had a good advisor in the person of a keen observer and psychologist named Li Si (Li Szu), who came from a humble background. The Emperor had gathered other capable people around him: a strategist named Liao; and an irrigation expert named Zhengguo. He carried on his military conquest with determination and cruelty, year after year full of bloody battles. For instance, in a number of battles against Pingyang of Zhao (234 BCE), the Emperor’s forces killed over one hundred thousand of Zhao soldiers. The conquest was accompanied by intrigues, treachery, and natural disasters (earthquakes).

In 240 BCE a strange comet was seen in the sky.

Finally, by 221 BCE, Emperor Shihuangdi, during the 26th year of his reign, completed the unification of China. He established the so-called Jun-Xian System, that is, the prefecture system. He listened to Li-Si, his prime minister, and established thirty-six so-called prefectures or commandaries (administrative areas, something like our states) broken down further into counties, townships, rings and lis in China.

The same prime minister advised Ying Zheng to assume the title of Emperor, and the King did so (he used the ancient word for Emperor, huangdi). He was now more than a mere king, he was an August Emperor of a nation unified by sword and blood. He was the First Emperor, and his realm and dynasty, according to Ying Zhen’s plans, were to last thousands of years…

The Emperor believed in and promoted balance and order throughout his empire.

His monetary policy included abolition of the currencies of the defeated states, and establishment of the Qin coins as the main currency of the land. Then the Emperor introduced the official script of Qin throughout China, and thus unified the written Chinese language. He also standardized weights and measures in China.

Besides his great and bloody military conquest to unify China, he was known for other momentous projects: paving the straight highways (zhi dao) across the country, building and linking the Great Wall (the wall took 10 years to build at the rate of around mile of wall a day for the total of 3000 miles), digging of numerous canals to link up the water system; pavement of a road to Inner Mongolia; creation of a great southern highway (and building of the exclusively imperial roads). He conducted military campaigns against the Huns, and populated the newly created administrative units with convicts and slaves from other areas of China. But the Emperor also moved and resettled a number of wealthy Chinese to develop the city of Xianyang. As one of his reforms Shihuangdi abolished aristocracy. The new Emperor believed in meritocracy; personal abilities made someone to be a leader, not hereditary titles.

In his campaigns throughout China and northern Vietnam, the Emperor relocated hundreds of thousands of people from various areas to the south of China.

The Emperor believed in arms control: his subordinates collected and confiscated weapons from all over China, and melted them into huge statues. There were 12 of those bronze statues; curiously, they were made to resemble strange giant humanoid creatures sighted in 221 BCE in Lingtiao. He also personally inspected his realm on many occasions; he climbed mountains and organized expeditions to foreign lands to look for medical cures.

Apparently Shihuangdi, who believed that he possessed deifying powers, was also interested in alchemy. He was looking for a way to have a long and healthy life, or better yet, to achieve immortality. That is why he sent expeditions on sea voyages to find the secret of immortality abroad.

Yet Shihuangdi also knew that death may be coming, and ordered the construction of his tomb early during his reign.

Li-Si was a powerful proponent of Legalism, a school of philosophy on how to run a state efficiently and ruthlessly, placing the welfare of the state above individuals and morals. And it was the completely opposite to Confucianism, the very foundation of Chinese society. In 213 BCE the Emperor outlawed the Confucian schools of thought, and ordered the burning of their books. Hundreds of Confucians were burned alive as well. Others, throughout China, were stoned to death. Ancient manuscripts, various historical records, and works of Asian classics were forever destroyed. Shihuangdi exercised the thought control by burning almost all classic works…but excluded books on medicine, divination and agriculture. Those who questioned his policies generally faced capital punishment (along with their relatives). A lesser punishment in store for them would be years of hard labor: connecting smaller, existing sections of the Great Wall of China and building huge stretches of roads to connect the empire. Philosophical debates were outlawed. Heretical scholars mixed with criminals and peasants in this Gulag of ancient China…Tyranny and oppression were the hallmarks of the short-lived dynasty.

Little wonder that China’s first peasant uprising took place in 209 BCE, after the emperor died.

Thus, Shihuangdi was a great Chinese emperor, an ambitious nation-builder, a cruel conqueror, a brutal and fearsome tyrant, and a seeker of knowledge.

The death of the Emperor had an odd history of its own. Shihuangdi was just fifty years old when died from a sudden illness in 210 BCE, during a state inspection visit to one of the eastern prefectures. His trusted Prime Minister Li Si and a court official decided to hide the fact of the death from everyone, until the will of the Emperor could be changed. They covered his decaying body with salt to disguise the fact of Shihunangdi’s death, while helping his 18th son Huhai ascend to the throne through bloodshed and intrigues. After becoming the ruler of his late father’s empire, Huhai made sure his half-brothers and half-sisters were killed, so as no challenge to his rule would arise anywhere in the land.

The dynasty did not last. It was all over for the Qin Empire in 206 BCE, when its last Emperor Zi Ying was killed in the bloody conflict and struggle for power. The old wise prime minister was cruelly murdered, too, betrayed by his former co-conspirator Zhao Gao. Massacres, chaos, mayhem, rule of criminal gangs and rebels, betrayals and bloodshed ensued. The royal palaces were looted and burned. Soldiers were sent to dig up the Emperor Shihuangdi’s tomb from the Lishan Mountains. We do not know what they removed from the tomb, and how they damaged it. In 202 BCE, after a four-year war between the rebel armies, the Han dynasty was established, and relative peace returned to the weary country.

Many years ago, while a teenager in the Soviet Union, I read a wonderful novel Tais of Athens, written by a superb Soviet scientist, explorer, writer and freethinker Ivan Efremov. He was an enigmatic person who had a life full of adventures, scientific discoveries, and clearly possessed knowledge of secrets of antiquity of India, China, Crete and other places. Where, for instance, did he find such intriguing information about the ancient Chinese mirror that basically was an x-ray machine used to diagnose disease (his novel Tais of Athens)? Years later and after my own extensive research I found more about the mirror, but Efremov knew about it back in the 1960s (or even earlier…).

Several sources refer to the “magic mirror” in ancient China that could illuminate the insides, organs and bones of the human body. This amazing device was obviously used to diagnose illnesses. This ancient X-ray machine illuminated the bones and organs of a patient’s body, giving a reversed image of it. And this “magic mirror” or an X-ray machine of antiquity belonged to Shihuangdi.

The Emperor looked for immortality, and sent out expeditions of young children and teenagers, under the command of Xu Fudong, to seek the fountain of youth.
Reportedly, Xu Fudong actually landed in Japan in 219 BCE, and stayed there; when his crew grew up, they populated the island nation.

Ginseng is the vitamin-rich herb increases the body's resistance to infections and is an effective treatment for cancer and people exposed to toxic substances; it is an ancient herb that is believed to prevent cancer, heal infections and cure impotence. Ancient Chinese legends tell the story of Shihuangdi’s failed quest for ginseng in the Far East taiga. According to the story, the Emperor in 200 BCE dispatched 6,000 of his best soldiers to harvest the herb and the entire expedition mysteriously disappeared.

Charles Gould published his book Mythical Monsters in London, England, in 1886 (W. H. Allen & Co.). He discussed mythical creatures, and attempted to demonstrate that there some legendary animals indeed existed. The author’s main emphasis was on the Orient, and dragons, sea serpents and the Chinese phoenix that populated ancient folklore of China.

An ancient Chinese book of mysterious origins (the Yih King) mentioned by Gould (as quotations from a comprehensive Chinese encyclopedia the Yuen Klei Lei Han, completed in 1710 CE) contained information about dragons and other very curious matters, whose meaning was not clear to most Chinese (or just those who possibly did not possess the necessary training). This book escaped the mass burning of Chinese historical books and records ordered by Emperor Shihuangdi in 213 BCE. According to the French researcher Monsieur de la Couperie (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society), the Yih King is the oldest of the Chinese classics and a mysterious book that requires prolonged attention to make it reveal its secrets.

Those Chinese who had studied in Europe in the XIX century and who knew the Yih King, had claimed that information about electricity, steam power, astronomical laws, spheroid nature of Earth and many other sciences and matters were contained in the ancient book. There were secrets that the Chinese scholars hoped to unveil after applying to the study of their classics a thorough knowledge of modern sciences. Charles Gould, however, refused to accept the idea that there could be a possible connection “between their rude notions and our sciences”. “It is not a mysterious book of fates and prognostics, wrote Gould, but a valuable collection of documents of old antiquity…Perhaps Emperor Shihuangdi, who made sure the mysterious book was not to be burned with other collections of documents of old antiquity during as his atrocious policies demanded, knew how to read the book and unveil the secrets contained on its pages. Perhaps his magic mirror and the eternal illumination of the tomb were some of the secrets he unveiled.

What was the importance of the Book of Changes to Shihuangdi?
The Yih King (I Ching), or Book of Changes, may be one the oldest sacred texts in the world. It is one of our greatest treasures of wisdom on Earth. It is a most obscure, complex, and mysterious work of mental and moral philosophy and divination.

The book was written around 2850 BCE. It is the most widely read of the five Chinese Classics. The book has been of great interest to many people. One of them was dispatched to the Orient by a great French king.

Jean-Baptiste Regis was a Jesuit who was sent to China in 1698 at the age of thirty-five on a mission to study science and religion. He spent close to forty years in the Orient, and was instrumental in preparing the general map of China. Chinese Emperor K'ang-hi (1662-1722) was quite friendly to the Jesuits, and a number of important Chinese books and sources were open to them. Regis was one of a number of French Jesuits in the country; King Louis XIV sent a group of them there and they were engaged in astronomical observations and Chinese geographical, cartographical, and topographical research. They had received special training by scientists at the Paris Observatory, and used state-of-the art instruments. The Jesuits made a number of scientific expeditions throughout China, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia and Manchuria; measured the Great Wall, and made excellent maps. Those who knew China well regarded their map of China to be a masterpiece. No matter how enticing, I will not describe the exploits of the French King’s missionaries in China. What is important here is that Jean-Baptiste Regis appreciated ancient Chinese books, and translated the Yih King. Julius Mol, in Stuttgart, edited the translation in 1864. The first volume contained Prologomena, a valuable and fascinating introduction to the classics of China.
Jean-Baptiste Regis died in Beijing in 1738. He played the most active role in making the map of China, a land that was still a mystery to Europeans in the XVII century. We really do not know what he learned in the Yih King, and how much it helped him in his endeavors on behalf of his order and the French King.

I suspect the knowledge gained by Jean-Baptiste Regis is not lost, but is guarded.

In pre-dynastic times, the mythical Five Emperors (Wu Ti) ruled China. The Five Emperors ruled in succession during the "golden age of antiquity" (prior to 2357 BCE) and have usually been considered sages and cultural heroes, if not semi-divine beings, by the Chinese. Hence we find that these Five Emperors; Fu Hsi (One who subdues Animals), Shen Nung (the Divine Farmer), Huang-Ti (the Yellow Emperor), Shao Hao, and Chuan Hsu, have each been credited with many inventions as far as 5,000 years ago. In August of 2001, FATE Magazine published my article about the Yellow Emperor, a legendary giver of knowledge.

The author of the Yih King is the legendary Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi (2953-2838 BCE).
This legendary t Emperor Fu Hsi (Fuxi) divined the truth of the Eight Trigrams. From the simplicity of yang and yin, light and dark (or, mathematically, 1 and 0), Emperor Fu Hsi conceived of eight possibilities.

The mathematician and philosopher (as well as emperor) Fu Hsi is actually the first documented practitioner of binary combinatorial analysis. Attributed to Fu Hsi are combinations of throws, organized into trigrams. There are eight trigrams to which Fu Hsi assigned human and natural attributes.

Fu Hsi paired the eight trigrams according to their opposites. Heaven is paired with earth, fire with water, mountain with lake, and wind with thunder. The Emperor observed how these pairs act upon each other. He arranged the trigrams in this early heavenly sequence with the opposites across from each other.

The eight trigrams: water, earth, thunder, wind, heaven, lake, mountain, and fire represent the primal energies of the universe. Each trigram is composed of three lines. The broken stroke symbol that indicates the “passive” force; this is called ”Yin”. The continuous stroke symbol that indicates the “active” force; it is called “Yang”. Grouping pairs of trigrams into hexagrams can make a total of sixty-four combinations.

Chinese King Wen produced the current groupings, based on patterns of trigram attributes, during his years spent as a political prisoner around 1150 BCE. King Wen attached judgments, i.e. rules, pronouncements, and hints, to each hexagram.

Confucius wrote additional text consisting of imagery that involves the trigram attributes that interact within each hexagram.
In Yih King (I Ching), lines, half lines, circle, and points represent abstract ideas. In Chinese literature, one of the sixty-four figures formed of six parallel lines (continuous or broken), forming the basis of the Yih King. The hexagrams were seen as the symbolic representations of various situations and circumstances one may encounter. To underscore the importance of the book, one need to understand that one cast of the I Ching can generate several different hexagrams, which adds depth to the interpretation. This four-valued logic has been compared to the biochemistry of DNA amino acids.

The Yih King’s significance in Chinese traditional culture, science, philosophy, and medicine is unsurpassed. It became the vessel of all archetypical possibility, but its primary function is that of divination.

The Book of Changes is the classic textbook of the art of divination. In addition to the Yih King, divining blocks, drawing lots, temple oracles, and astrology are common forms of divination throughout the Orient.

Confucius (K'ung-tzu, 551-479 BCE.), or most likely one of his disciples, wrote appendices to the Yih King, and this passage, written around 500 B.C., describes his philosophy on numbers:

“The numbers belonging to heaven are five, and those belonging to earth are five. The numbers of these two series correspond to each other, and each one has another that may be considered its mate. The heavenly numbers amount to 25, and the earthly to 30. The numbers of heaven and earth together amount to 55. It is by these that the changes and transformations are effected and the spirit-like agencies kept in movement."

There are several translations of the Yih King into English. One of the oldest is
The Yih-king: A new translation from the original Chinese, by Le Chevalier Charles Joseph de Harlez. The author, de Harlez, was Professor in the University of Louvain, Belgium. His book was translated into English from the French by J. P. Val d'Eremao, and published in the Oriental University Institute, 1896.

What wonderful discoveries are in store for Chinese archeologists when they survey the mysterious Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in?

Paul Stonehill
Author of
The Soviet UFO Files (1998)
Co-author of
UFO-USSR (2005)
NOTE: This article may be reproduced as long as it is not changed in any way. Full credit must be given to the author. In case you use the article, please let me know by mailing me at: rurcla@hotmail.com


Mysterious Sky: Soviet UFO Phenomenon

Philip Mantle and Paul Stonehill

PublishAmerica 2006
ISBN: 1-4241-0594-8

Review: Lee Earle, UFO Research Queensland (www.uforq.asn.au)

At over 400 pages, Mysterious Sky is an enormous exploration of UFO and
related phenomenon from one of Europe's most mysterious countries. For those
of us in Australia, and probably the rest of the world, Russia is almost a
complete unknown. As a direct result of history and politics, Russia's
cultures, its history, even its physical environs, come to us in filtered
snippets, layered in a dense blanket of unimaginable cold and harsh
extremities. Not surprisingly, Russia's UFO encounters are even more
mysterious, and Mysterious Sky presents an engrossing history that more than
adequately fills this gap.

Presented in chronological format, Mysterious Sky delves back as far as it
may be possible to go when researching the history of UFO sightings in
Russia, back to the eleventh century when signs were seen in the sky over
battlefields. Interestingly, these signs were analogous to signs seen over
other parts of the globe at that time - comets that descended so close to
the ground that soldiers were able to fire weapons at them, serpents, and
shining balls of light that in other cultures inspired entire religions. The
fact that such accounts exist and were available to the authors today
demonstrates the collective Russian willingness to record historical events,
no matter how seemingly impossible they appear, and to accord these events
some legitimacy. The cultural ability of Russians to accept the existence of
the paranormal is a constituting factor in their approach to this topic, and
it has resulted in quite a different set of circumstances in their
encounters and interactions with UFOs when compared to the western world,
all of which are explored very thoroughly in Mysterious Sky.

Of course no exploration of Russian Ufology would be complete without an
investigation of the Tunguska event, and this is where Mysterious Sky really
begins its journey. For those not familiar with the this event, in 1908 an
explosion occurred over Tunguska that completely destroyed more than 2000
square kilometres of forest. Speculation over the cause exists even today,
not helped by the fact that researchers of the time didn't seriously
investigate the event until many years later, hampered by the extreme
remoteness of the area and the limited science available at the time.
However it might surprise readers to learn that the Tunguska event was
preceded by a high number of meteorite strikes in the region, unusual
atmospheric events and over 1500 recorded earthquakes in the month prior.
Whether any of these were a prelude to or related to the actual event is
unknown, but on the day two vastly different objects were seen flying over
the region, and the aftermath of the explosion resonated on a global scale.
The night skies over northern Europe glowed brightly enough to read by for
days after the explosion and the Earth's magnetic field was disturbed up to
900 kilometres away. Another peculiar feature of Tunguska was that
afterwards numerous reports of unusual 'humans' and strange animals began
appearing in the area, and it was also rumoured to be the home of the
'Devil's Cemetery,' a zone where vegetation does not grow and which cannot
be approached by any living creature without it being 'burned from the

Given the sheer size, diversity of landscape and extreme remoteness of the
Russian territories, it is not unexpected to find areas of high strangeness
within it, zones of magnetic anomalies and visual disturbances, areas of
time distortion and places where prehistoric creatures are seen. One such
place is the mysterious 'M-Zone', an area of UFO sightings and anomalous
lights, strange 'bubbles' that appear out of nowhere, inexplicable feelings
and images projected inside witnesses' heads. There is also the 'Stavropol
Window', which has recorded UFO sightings since the mid-1800s, and from this
area comes an account of a large arrow-shaped craft that landed in a village
and from which three dark-skinned and naked men emerged. As the men could
breath only with difficulty it was assumed they were unwell, and three days
after their arrival the strangers died and were buried by villagers, who
promptly dismantled the craft and used the metal to make household

While Russia has long had a scientific interest in UFOs and the paranormal,
the reign of Stalin saw such research forbidden for the duration, a ban that
extended even to archaeological and genetic research. But despite his
official policies, Stalin was keenly interested in the Roswell crash of
1947, assigning researchers to investigate the case and, curiously, allowing
them to subscribe to the Australian Flying Saucer Review. Stalin was also
obsessed with rocket science and an urge to claim the Moon for his country.
Perhaps just to annoy Stalin, Russia's space programs were consistently
dogged by UFO sightings, a situation which continues to this day. In 1977
the 'Petrozavodsk Phenomenon' was notable for the number of different kinds
of aerial craft that were observed with the launch of Kosmos-955 - spheres
and jellyfish-like craft (which are again being observed in other parts of
the world) and a strange luminescent 'rain' that could melt glass.

Many incidents occurred in conjunction with the launch of the Sputnik series
of spacecraft during the 1950s, and sightings of UFOs have been observed to
accompany almost every launch of a Russian space vehicle since. Russia's
orbiting space stations have similarly been shadowed by strange craft and
curious incidents. In 1981 cosmonauts aboard Salyut-6 filmed a UFO outside
their orbital platform, and the film was later shown to a number of
high-ranking Soviet officials. It purportedly showed ETs exiting their craft
without any breathing apparatus. In 1984 the crew of Salyut-7 observed a
large orange gas cloud, and as the space station entered the cloud the crew
had a distinct impression that the cloud had also entered the station.
Rushing to the portholes the cosmonauts observed giant beings inside the
cloud - beings that appeared to them to be angels, with wings and halos.

Russia has also had its downed UFOs, notably an object that crashed in
Dalnegorsk in 1986. No alien bodies were retrieved from this crash - indeed,
the craft itself, a large silver sphere, disintegrated into small pieces,
some of which resembled lead balls and 'tiny nets.' A curious feature of
this crash occurred eight days after the event, when two more spheres
arrived and circled the crash site. Then, twenty days after that, no less
than 32 objects of differing shapes were observed by hundreds of witnesses
over the area. Five of these objects lit up the crash site for a brief
period before moving off. Like the circumstances of the Roswell crash, a
variety of official explanations for the event have trickled out over the
years, including the notion that it was a military probe, a Chinese
satellite and a NATO reconnaissance balloon, despite the fact that the
object hovered and attempted to ascend several times before it fell to

Also in 1986, UFOs were seen over the failing Reactor 4 at Chernobyl - in
fact for a brief period UFOs were actually blamed for the failure by Soviet
authorities. However the reactor was already in the process of meltdown when
the object was sighted by technicians, who told that the UFO shone two rays
onto the reactor and shortly afterwards the radiation output decreased
measurably, though not enough to avoid disaster. UFOs were seen over
Chernobyl again in 1989 when another leak occurred in Reactor 4, and in 1990
an object was photographed hovering above residences near the plant. While
authorities might have liked to blame the initial disaster on UFOs (and
isn't that a strange official line to take?), speculation rests more
squarely on the UFOs assisting in the containment process. Other UFOs seen
over nuclear powerplants include over the secret installation at Dubna,
which also conducted space testing, over a nuclear power plant in the Volga,
over the Semipalantisk nuclear testing range and the Novyaya Zemlya Island
test zone, where they were observed after almost every nuclear test.

A truly fascinating chapter of Mysterious Sky focuses on anomalous creatures
and objects seen beneath Russia's seas and other large bodies of water, with
the earliest recorded incident coming from 1908 when an oval submerged
object paced beneath a steamship, immersing it in an unearthly green
luminescence. A report from later times recounts how Soviet military divers,
during training in a deep lake in western Siberia, encountered underwater
'swimmers' - humanoid creatures three metres tall garbed in tight fitting
silver suits with helmets, but minus any breathing equipment. It was decided
to attempt to capture one of the creatures, but the seven divers sent to
undertake this task were propelled back to the surface of the lake,
consequently suffering from pressure changes resulting from the rapid
ascent. Three of the divers died as a result, the remaining four becoming
invalids. Similar creatures along with underwater UFOs have been reported in
deep water lakes all over Russia. Soviet nuclear submarines have encountered
moving objects beneath the sea, some emitting unusual noises for which they
have been named 'croakers.' These objects show interest in the submarines,
circling them and changing the tone and pitch of their sounds as if 'talking'.

While the authors must have gone to considerable lengths to source
information from military sources prior to the 1990s, it was Gorbachev's era
of glasnost that saw much information released, much of it from high-ranking
officers who were themselves witnesses or privy to secret information.
According to one officer, staff at a space communications centre were
actually successful in 'contacting' UFOs. When a spherical object appeared
over the base (an apparently regular occurrence), ground staff would make
physical signals - if the staff moved their arms to one side of their body,
the objects would respond by compressing themselves in the same direction.
An interesting feature to be gleaned from the wealth of information in
Mysterious Sky is that there has been a constant component of physical
interaction between the Russian military and UFOs for years, with aggressive
tendencies (or self-defence tendencies interpreted as aggression) displayed
by both sides. UFOs were seen so regularly over Russian military
installations that it prompted an order at one point from Soviet High
Command instructing the military to stop shooting at UFOs - to in effect
leave them alone to do what they want to do. Incidents continued, however -
the 1960s saw twelve Soviet pilots die on the borders of Iran and
Afghanistan and reports indicated a UFO 'attack', and it was also during the
1960s that the 'LOTOS' group was formed to investigate any paranormal
activities occurring in the military. This same group was involved in
weapons development using gravitational and electromagnetic fields.

A project during the 1980s was designed to catalogue the enormous numbers of
craft observed over the territories and to compile a visual 'registration
chart' of types, locations and witnesses, and eventually a chart of 50
different UFO types was assembled. The military had become concerned that
UFOs were in fact alien civilisations that may have an impact upon their
technology and personnel, and guidelines were instituted to deal with UFOs
reported by military personnel. The reports that came in were so numerous
that special 'anomalous phenomena commissions' were formed to deal with
them. One thing Mysterious Sky highlights is the enormous number of military
and UFO encounters, both positive and negative, that have occurred
throughout Russia's history and must surely have a correlation in the
western world.

Mysterious Sky brings us a valuable overview of Soviet UFO research from the
1940s to the present, a situation remarkably similar to that of western
Ufology since it contains the same mix of researchers, true believers,
dissenters, neutral observers and active disinformationists. However the
Russian approach differs from the west in one major respect - the military
and government agencies have, at various times, been publicly and vocally
involved in UFO research despite, at other times, expressly forbidding it.
Similarly, the Russian media tends to report anomalous events far less
incredulously and in a much less negative fashion than the media of the
west. It seems that at the core of every Russian citizen is an open mind, or
at least a mind not closed to the prospect of the paranormal. Interestingly,
the USSR Academy of Sciences came to the same conclusions as J. Allen Hynek
and Project Bluebook - which is to say it denounced 90-95% of UFOs as
explainable via natural effects (meteorites, birds, insects etc) and manmade
phenomenon (weather balloons, aircraft, missile launches etc). However it
still had its 5-10% of events that were literally unexplainable, just as its
western counterparts did.

Ufology is still an ongoing and active concern in Russia. In 1999 the
Department of Justice approved the formation of 'The Academy of
Informational and Applied Ufology' - a non-commercial, voluntary
organisation, but a legal entity none-the-less. Its tasks are to 'assist the
raising of the level of scientific and informational levels of fundamental
and applied ufological research; and training of experts in Ufology
according to international standards.' (I'd like to know who defined the
'international standards' to which they are adhering!) And in the year 2000
a Museum of Parapsychology and Ufology opened in Moscow.

The events described in this review are the merest sprinkling of the reports
contained in Mysterious Sky, a rich collection of accounts and events that
are unique to northern Europe and the mysterious land of Russia. While the
authors delve into historical records dating from the last thousand years,
it is the accounts from the 1940s to the present day that are explored in
greatest depth and revealed to the English-speaking world for what could be
the first time. And it reveals to us that the Russian UFO phenomenon follows
the same patterns - UFOs are sighted over bodies of water, over nuclear and
energy powerplants, over fault and energy grid lines, and in association
with space and weapons testing. The Russians also have their share of
contactees and experiencers, those for whom contact with ET is a spiritual
experience, and fanatics with outlandish claims of ET experience.

Rich and full of a multitude of amazing and previously unknown accounts,
Mysterious Sky is engrossing and thought-provoking. It documents in one
extensive volume an unsuspected wealth of UFO encounters from across the
Russian territories and over more than a century of time - accounts made all
the more interesting because they at times corroborate experiences in the
west, and at other times differ so widely and wildly from our own
experiences as to be alien to us. The Russian approach to UFOs and Ufology
is also highlighted - sociologically and culturally the entire phenomenon is
skewed in a different direction. While the Russian approach has revealed
unique aspects of the UFO phenomenon, it has also deepened the paradox of
the UFO reality and given us many more mysteries to contemplate.

Available from:


There have been a number of UFO sightings and crop circles reported in the Russian city of Yeisk during the last century. After the fall of the Soviet Union, an active UFO-research group, headed by Yuri Stroganov (now a journalist) was established in Yeisk.

Recently I received an interesting confirmation about UFO sightings from Yeisk, and a very coherent explanation as to the nature of the objects.
A prominent Russian UFO researcher, author, and journalist Mikhail Gershtein sent it to me, and I want to share it.

In 1960, a group of Soviet army cadets observed anomalous phenomena in the sky. They decided to write a letter about it to the KRASNAYA ZVEZDA newspaper.
The letter contained the following:

September 10, 1960

“Dear Editors:
We are residents of Yeisk. We are asking you to explain an unusual phenomenon. In August of 1960, by chance, twice we have observed flight of a celestial object. On September 9, at 20:15 (Moscow time), the flight again took place, from west to east. The heavenly body was of an average size. The speed of its flight was less than that of a satellite.
The flight lasted 8 to 12 minutes.

Here is what was unusual about it:
1) It flew sideways from the observers ;
2) Its luminescence was flickering;
3) Its movement was curvilinear

What could it have been? Would we be able to observe it again?

On behalf of a group of army cadets,

Kozlov Valery, Barilin Igor

Our address is:
City of Yeisk, VVOL, Stalin Street, K-1-V

On September 16, 1960, the editors of the KRASNAYA ZVEZDA sent the letter they received from Yeisk to the Moscow Planetarium. They requested that the Planetarium scientists reply to the letter.

Some time later (the date is not indicated), the Moscow Planetarium sent a reply to the cadets.

“Dear comrades Kozlov and Barilin!
The phenomenon you had observed was one of the experiments to study the upper layers of the atmosphere. Such research was described in PRIRODA magazine, Issue 5, 1959; pp. 74-76.


Lecturer Tsigankova.

Another letter from the Planetarium to KRASNAYA ZVEZDA stated the following:

“Dear Editors!
As to your inquiry, we are informing you that the comrades who sent you the letters had observed research projects, planned through the program of the International Geophysics Year. The purpose of the projects was the study of our planet Earth as a whole; scientists from over 66 countries had participated, including Soviet scientists.


While the explanation proffered by Soviet scientists was probably correct, other anomalous phenomena sighted over the city and in its fields were cannot be easily explained.

Today the city contains the Yeisk Air Force Academy and VM Komarov Higher Military Aviation School, and 959th Training Regiment. The Aviation School had trained such prominent personalities as the Cuban astronaut Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez, and the Commander of Ukrainian Air Force Viktor Strelnikov . Yeisk is located in the Southern Russia, not far from the battlefields of Chechnya. Krasnodar Krai, of which Yeisk is a part, is a region of great economic significance for Russia. The krai (region) contains transportation infrastructure vital to Russian and Caspian Basin energy exports. It is also an important agricultural area and lies in Russia's fertile Black Earth zone. Like most Russia, Krasnodar suffers from an insufficient energy supply, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of capital.


It all began in the summer of 1991. On August 16, Maxim Churbakov, a cadet of the Yeisk Military Aviation School, took off on his third solo flight. The engine of his airplane functioned for just fourteen minutes and then it stalled. Churbakov reported to the flight control: "Forty-second, engine shutdown, altitude 1400, r.p.m. down to 20 percent."

On the ground they were unable to find a solution to the problem at once, and the cadet had to take a decision himself. Fifty-seconds after the engine shutdown he reported: "I am preparing to eject and am turning away from the town."
The second minute had begun. At the moment of ejection, the plane was over a body of water. Soon a fishing boat picked up Maxim. Meanwhile, on the shore his plane was in flames.

In this case no UFO was involved. In the newspaper of the military district there soon appeared a snapshot of Maxim with his flying instructor, and the correspondent quoted the words of the area commander Air Force Major General V. Mihailov: "You know, when I first heard about this accident in the air training regiment, I was upset. It's a pity to lose an expensive machine. But when I established all the circumstances of the incident, when I had spoken to the cadet, and listened to the tape of the radio traffic, I was even glad. I felt much better about it. What fine people we have!"

After this rejoicing over the cadet's self-possession and presence of mind, the general gave instructions that a copy of that tape be used as a training aid...so that other future pilots should learn from it how to behave in emergencies.

The correspondent concluded his article on the optimistic note: "...after the necessary medical examination Maxim will return to his flight training. And, I am certain, he will become a fine pilot."

The newspaper appeared on August 27, but Maxim was a short-lived hero...for only one day. To be more exact, until August 28, when at 5:31 p.m., during another training flight, at an altitude of 4000 meters, he saw an orange sphere. The object was similarly above the clouds, somewhat on his starboard side, and Maxim immediately reported it to the flight control. Meanwhile, the sphere had begun approaching him, increasing to two meters in diameter.
It burned his eyes, and the pilot shut them and lowered his head. ("At first I felt curious, but then I felt dread" Maxim later recalled those moments.)

"I had the feeling that someone was watching me, and there was an unpleasant sensation on the back of my head in the right side. I began lifting my head, but was unable to look--for some reason I experienced a feeling of fear. The "generator" indicator on the emergency panel went on. I began reporting a generator failure, but just then the "fire" warning system went on. I saw a trail of smoke in the wake of the plane. The burning sensation in my eyes increased, and smoke appeared in the cockpit. I began extinguishing the fire, and reported everything to the flight control.
I was ordered to eject. I declined to do so, because I saw a large populated center in front. The "fire" warning light continued to blink. I went into a glide toward the fields. My eyes hurt badly, and because of tears in them I could not see well. Much of the radio traffic was incomprehensible. Someone was intervening in the radio exchange, and sometimes there was nothing but a screeching sound in the earphones. The plane was difficult to control, and its speed fluctuated plus-minus 100 kilometers. At an altitude of 1000 meters I ejected and came down in a field of maize."

On the ground the cadet was viewed with unconcealed suspicion. To wreck two planes in a row was no laughing matter. A week later the area commander came to the hospital where the recent hero was being examined. To start with, the commander debunked his recent act of heroism, saying that the engine of his plane had been shut down by the cadet himself and had not stalled. The general admitted that he had been hasty in commending the future pilot. Actually, general Mihailov said some more things.

"He said they had found an aluminum wire, which I had supposedly wound around the autopilot switch. And while doing so, I had let go of the control stick. The commander said that all this had been proved and there was no point in my denying it. If I did not confess, the documents would be sent to the prosecutor's office."

Such "cordial" discussions were conducted with him more than once. In the end, criminal proceedings were instituted against him. It was soon after that his mother, in tears, and her visibly upset son arrived at the Russian UFO Center (SOYUZUFOTSENTR at the time), begging its researchers to find an explanation of the mysterious sphere. Maxim was accused of deliberately destroying expensive machinery. He was to be made a scapegoat. The military authorities informed the mother that Maxim, a young man, can spend the next ten years in prison, and still be only 29 at the end of his sentence. Zinaida Ivanovna, Maxim's mother, did not want her son to spend even a day in the prison. Maxim was already expelled from the Yeisk Military Aviation School (visscheye voyennoye aviatzionnoye uchilische, a prestigious institution), and sent to serve in the army.

Several Russian ufologists initiated an investigation of their own. They recalled a similar case in the Soviet Union in 1981. In October of that year the Air Force pilot V. Korotkov was flying his MIG, when suddenly a glowing sphere, approximately five meters in diameter, appeared in front of it. For a few minutes it accompanied the fighter. As a result, the radio communication system ceased operating, fuel combustion was disturbed, and the engine shut down. Then, the sphere shifted toward the tail unit. There was an explosion that damaged the fin, and after that the sphere vanished from view. The engine began functioning again, and the airplane made a safe landing.
Experts investigating this incident arrived at the conclusion that the entire blame rested with glowing plasma. It ionized the air, and a powerful electric charge built up on the plane's skin, exploding and fusing part of the fin. It too could have caused the engine shutdown.

The investigators at the SOYUZUFOTSENTR also have reviewed many facts on record of car engines stopping when a UFO appeared in the vicinity. Ufologists know, too, that the effects of UFOs extends not just to human beings, who experience a burning sensation in their eyes, temporary blindness, and shed tears. They also affect machinery, electrical equipment being particularly vulnerable. As for what happened to Churbakov, the area where the incident occurred-the boundary between Rostov region and Krasnodar Krai-is well-known as one where there have been frequent UFO sightings. In fact, one of the most active Russian ufologists resides in Yeisk, and has recently completed a book about Russian military studies of UFOs. His name is Yuri Stroganov, and his research work is widely known and respected throughout the world. Yuri sent an interesting piece of information to the Russian Ufology Research Center (the information was later confirmed by Alexei Burenin, a top Russian chemical engineer).

In 1992, a UFO landing was reported from the Two Sisters hill near the town of Belaya Kalitva in the Rostov region. At the site, a circle 9 meters in diameter was discovered, and there was a black deposit in the soil.
An analysis of rock samples from the Two Sisters hill performed at a laboratory in the city of Rostov revealed that the samples were of a brittle porous mass, yellowish brown on fracture and with traces of thermal effects (fused and enriched with manganese and iron) on the surface.

The surface changes in the samples were 2-3 mm deep, and the manganese content in these layers was hundreds of times higher than in samples of the rock proper.
The first report about Maxim Churbakov's misfortune arrived in my center in 1992. Boyevaya Vakhta (Battle Watch, a Russian military newspaper) carried an article titled "An orange sphere against fighter airplane." The author, Y. Leonidov, was clearly moved by the young pilot's story. He asked the military investigators to pay attention to the information about UFOs that has come down from such "heights" as the Air Force Colonel General I. Maltsev. The distinguished Russian general had revealed in 1991 that the UFOs encountered by Soviet fliers had possessed great maneuverability, as if lacking any inertia. The aircraft on our planet, added Maltsev, did not possess such capabilities.

In 1992 Ye. Leonidov was not very hopeful that Maxim would be set free.
Two years later everything changed. The investigators of the Russian UFO Center had completed their work. Ye. Leonidov published excerpts of the investigation in the UFO Center's newspaper "UFO."
"Having examined the documents and circumstances relating to the event, the commission considers that during the flight there was a typical encounter with a UFO. The data of the UFO center confirm the diversity of the effects of unidentified objects on people and machinery. The most frequent of these are effects of electric equipment (as a rule, it switches off). In the case of human beings, it is the organs of vision that are affected first."

This case was examined not only at the UFO Center. The findings of the ufologists were borne out, for example by S. Kuzionov and Yu. Raitorovsky, two investigators of anomalous phenomena. The experts tested the cadet by subjecting him to retrospective hypnosis. Rima Leibow, the director of the New York Center for Treatment and Study of Anomalous Injuries, worked with them.
Here is an excerpt from the affidavit issued by Rima Leibow (as reported by Ye. Leonidov):
"Maxim Churbakov was guided by common sense and acted in line with the circumstances that arose. This is a normal reaction to such an event. His account is absolutely truthful, and the accuracy of his description in his report of what happened cannot be questioned."
In conclusion, here is another document.
"An analysis of the evidence submitted justifies the conclusion that the stimulation of engine shutdowns and a fire during M. Churbakov's flights on August 16 and 28, 1991, took place not because of his will or desire; therefore his actions implied no breaches of flight regulations, and the criminal case against Churbakov shall be dismissed owing to the absence of any crime in his acts."

The story of the encounter between Maxim Churbakov and a UFO had a happy end, after all. The former pilot escaped a very dangerous fate of a prisoner in the overcrowded and chaotic jails and prisons of modern Russia. Also, because he was expelled from the uchilische, Maxim did not become a military pilot, and escaped the bloody, protracted war in Chechnya. The encounter with a UFO turned out to be very auspicious for Maxim, after all.

Paul Stonehill
Author of
And co-author of UFO-USSR (2005)

NOTE: This article may be reproduced as long as it is not changed in any way. Full credit must be given to the author. In case you use the article, please let me know by mailing me at: rurcla@hotmail.com

UFO Over Riga

ByPaul Stonehill

Few rumors about this incident had circulated in the USSR. I was aware of some, but until 1996 did not have the complete story.
In August of 1961, a test flight of the most modern Soviet fighter-interceptor jet was to take place. The top brass wanted to film everything, so as to demonstrate the might of Soviet Air Force. A film crew, headed by Victor Dudinsh, was commissioned for that purpose. They set up their equipment in the vicinity of the airplane, next to the take-off and landing strip. Over one hundred military officers had been waiting to see the air show. But nothing happened. The jet was fine the day before, but now the pilot could not start the engine. At the same time a sinister sound pierced through the air, and a strange object appeared in the sky.
It appeared from nowhere, and everyone was able to see it at once. They started running in every direction. Fear gripped everyone, and panic ensued. Dudinsh, a real professional, fought this fear to film the occurrence. He aimed the camera at the object in the sky, pushed the start button, and ran to the shelter. The object did not descend, but rather moved in a strange fashion. It would disappear, and reappear, but slightly further from its original position. This went on for a few minutes, and then something else took place. An entity inside the UFO moved around intensively. The object was illuminated by sun; blue sky in the background, i.e., the visibility was fine. Its shape was that of a triangle, its color violet. A few minutes later and the UFO suddenly dimmed. It remained in the sky, but became somewhat invisible. As its brightness disappeared, so did the fear.
The military crawled out from various holes and shelters, and discussed the event. Not one doubted the ET nature of the object. Dudinsh ran back to his camera, and saw that it was working, but the film was already spent. He wanted to take it back to the studio, but the airfield commander confiscated it. The KGB arrived some time later, and took the film away. Dudinsh, however, convinced the airfield commander to take witness statements from the hundreds of eyewitnesses. Most signed it with trepidation. The pilot was the first to sign; he also mentioned that it was probably the UFO that caused the strange behavior of on-board equipment, and the dead engine of his jet. Dudinsh and his colleagues did find out some time later that the UFO was filmed. Those who witnessed the object had been warned to forget everything and keep silent. Somehow the information about this UFO leaked to the West, and letters of inquiry followed. So did offers to buy the film. To diffuse the situation, the Soviet media published a report that the object sighted that night was a meteorological probe. For many long years no further information came from the KGB archives. I tried to get more details, but all my contacts could find out nothing.
S. Boyev pursued this case, too. He published his account in the NLO magazine (Issue# 13, 1996). The perestroika was in the air, and Boyev was able to get permission to see the film. He was preparing materials for his documentary about UFOs over the USSR. The KGB, damaged by glastnost and changes sweeping the USSR, relented and released everything. Famous Soviet proponent of UFO phenomenon, a scientist from the Academy of Sciences, V.S. Troitsky, assisted Boyev. Still, even then the authorities did not recommend them to disseminate the information. The first public showing of the film took place in somewhat strange circumstances. The giant hall of the Institute of High Temperatures was filled by hundreds of UFO debunkers. Exactly at midnight the light was turned off, and the crowd breathlessly watched a UFO over the airfield. The film lasted thirty seconds. The next three minutes the audience sat silently, and then discussions literally exploded, and lasted until the morning. Everyone had a UFO story of his own, and everyone there was tired and disgusted by the silence about UFO phenomenon under the Soviet regime. Experts were questioned, and they confirmed: the UFO has nothing to do with weather balloons, probes, or space junk. The object was classified as a cosmic voyager, a phenomenon of extraterrestrial origin, unknown to science. The psychosis-horrible fear- experienced by eyewitnesses was probably caused by powerful and directed infrasonic radiation. Other measurements based on the film and interviews indicated that the object hovered at an altitude of 20 kilometers, and its "base" was more that 200 meters.
The 1961 Riga UFO left a trace in the history of Soviet UFO phenomena, a trace that the KGB could not hide.
To those of you interested in the current UFO research, remember the names of present-day Russian and Ukrainian ufologists who doggedly pursue the study of the phenomenon, in spite of the great difficulties experienced by their countries. I have nothing but respect for people like Aleksandr Rempel, Yuri Smirnov, Nikolay Subbotin, Gherman Kolchin, Mikhail Gershtein, Vadim Chernobrov, Dr. Rubtsov, and others like them. I hope that I and Philip Mantle will be able to tell you about them and their research in our new book (there is more to the Riga 1961 incident, too). And if any of you are truly interested in Russian/CIS ufology, let the information I have provided here be your first step on a road of discovery.

NOTE: This article may be reproduced as long as it is not changed in any way. Full credit must be given to the author. In case you use the article, please let me know by mailing me at: rurcla@hotmail.com


by Paul Stonehill



It was said that the Golden Woman was made from pure gold. No one had the right to see her. No one had the right to enter her cave, full of treasures. The exception was made for hereditary Guardians, who wore red clothing and collected presents brought to the taiga idol by local tribes.



Siberia is a part of the Asian territory of the Russian Federation between the Ural Mountains in the West and the mountains of the Russian Far East; and between the Arctic Ocean in the North and the steppes of Kazakhstan and Mongolia in the South. It is divided into Western Siberia (occupying predominantly Western lowlands and Altai mountains) and Eastern Siberia (comprising elevation occupying mostly the Mid Siberian plateau).

Western Siberia occupies the territory between the Ural Mountains in the East, and the Yenisey River in the West.

Konda is a river in Western Siberia, a tributary of the mighty Ob. The Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug, is located in the central part of the Ob-Irtysh basin, by far the largest in Eurasia. Marshy forests surround Konda’s shores. Vast swamps, numerous rivers and lakes, richly forested, are the hallmarks of this territory. Winters are very cold, and snow covers the land for many months. Summers are humid, infamous for their floods and myriads of mosquitoes. Those who have lived in the area would keep fires in their huts year round to save themselves from swarms of ever-present insects.

This is the Ugra land, a place of some heretofore-unsolved ancient mysteries.

The land has populated by various tribes since ancient times, as far back as the Mesolithic age.

They left behind many tombs, settlements, artifacts and unsolved mysteries. One of them is the legend of the Golden Woman (Zolotaya Baba in Russian; baba is an archaic term for a woman; used today mostly as a slang word, demeaning to women; it also means grandma).

Let us look at the people who had worshipped the Golden Woman, and whose mythology may help us unlock her secrets.


Read More ( the entire article) >>




A new book announcement by Philip Mantle (UK) and Paul Stonehill (US)

It is an in-depth history of UFO (and USO) sightings in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and post-communist Russia. We describe military, scientific, and intelligence (both Soviet and American) reports of UFO sightings, as well as offer a detailed analysis of the most famous Russian UFO cases. We describe fascinating incidents in Ukraine, Russian Far East, the Tien-Shen Mountains, along the Sino-Chinese and Iranian borders, and the Soviet Arctic territories. The ever forbidden strategic Kola Peninsula, the faraway baffling Chukotka and its strange lakes, Karelia, the Urals, Kazakhstan, Yakutia.we have UFO reports from the formerly inaccessible Soviet territories and top secret sites. Our sources are top Russian and Ukrainian ufologists, military officers, scientists (including astronomers), GULAG prisoners, Soviet pilots, submarine commanders, and historians, among others. From the ancient Russian "signs in the sky" to unsolved mystery of the Tunguska Phenomenon through the sightings of modern Russian cosmonauts, we have covered all chapters of the fascinating history of UFO phenomenon in the former USSR. But we have also dedicated a large chapter to intriguing reports of Unidentified Submergible Objects (USO) observed by Russian seamen throughout the world. Petrozavodsk to Dalnegorsk, Ladoga, Orenburg,Voronezh, Tallin, Vashka, Sasovo, Stavropol and many more; from the secret Soviet spaceports to secret research centers to the secret Ministry of Defense UFO research programs. We show dramatic developments and heretofore unknown twists of Russia's UFO research. Reports of Soviet pilots firing on UFOs, sightings of strange objects over Chernobyl, sinister visits of Unidentified Flying Objects to nuclear testing sites and submarine bases; reports from American spies and former Nazi scientists, concentration camps prisoners, and Soviet field commanders; SDI program and Soviet tracking stations; mysterious "swimmers"," cauldrons", "Nyurgun Bootur", "whispers" and "croakers"; Tibet expeditions of Soviet intelligence; UFO accounts from the files of Czarist secret police; Stalin and the paranormal research; deadly secrets of the Central Asian deserts, Pamir Mountains; explosions in the taiga and search for the Devil's Cemetery; peculiar demise of Soviet Phobos spacecraft; enigmatic "clouds"; Mountain of the Dead, the Valley of Death; and UFO visits to the Chechnya battlefields... those episodes, photographs, and much more is presented in our book UFO-USSR.

The book cover


For further information, please contact Paul Stonehill

About the Authors

Paul Stonehill

Paul Stonehill is an author (his book, The Soviet UFO Files, was published in 1998, in English, Czech, and Dutch), television consultant, lecturer, and researcher of Russian, East European, and Central Asian and Far Eastern paranormal phenomena. His articles have been translated and published in many languages, from Ukrainian to Hungarian to Japanese. He is fluent in Russian, and know Ukrainian. He has excellent sources in the former Soviet Union, and gathers long-lost or forbidden paranormal materials and files (the Armed Forces, secret police, underground publications, etc.).

He has consulted and appeared in various American (History Channel, TLC, Discovery, Sightings, TNT, etc.) as well as European and Japanese television programs. I have done numerous radio interviews, mainly in the United States.

Here are some subjects of his research, and his published articles:

  • Soviet and Russian military research of paranormal phenomena NKVD/KGB and paranormal phenomena
  • Underwater unidentified phenomena (USO)
  • Secrets of Soviet space program
  • Mysteries of ancient history (Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Mongol Empire, Siberia, China)
  • Time Travel experiments in Russia
  • Soviet mind control programs, ESP, and famous psychics
  • UFO phenomenon in Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Baltics, and China
  • Soviet "chimera" experiments
  • Russian cryptozoology
  • Lost treasures of Eurasia
  • Ghost trains of Eurasia
  • Anomalous zones in Eurasia

Contact Information:

E-mail address is: rurcla@hotmail.com

Paul Stonehill
POB 260574
Encino, CA 91426-0574

Philip Mantle

Philip Mantle is an international author, lecturer and broadcaster on the subject of  UFOs. Previous books include 'WITHOUT CONSENT' (with Carl Nagaitis) and 'BEYOND ROSWELL' (with Michael Hesemann). He has lectured in the UK, Europe & North America, and has taken part or consulted on TV shows throughout the UK, Europe, North America, Japan & China.

Contact Information:

E-mail: philip@mantle8353.fsworld.co.uk
Telephone: 0113 2522411.

49 East Leigh Drive,
Nr Wakefield,
West Yorkshire,
WF3 1PF.

All material on this page is Copyright by Paul Stonehill
All Rights Reserved. 
Reprinted with permission

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