Majestic Craft with Powerful Beaming Spotlights
We begin this exploration on very solid ground, with a Major General’s firsthand chronicle of one of the most vivid and well- documented UFO cases ever. What you are about to read will demonstrate the dramatic, and very mysterious, physicality of UFOs— in this case, ones that were unusually bold. Although parts may sound like science fiction, they are not. The fact is that silent gliding or hovering objects, usually triangular, were seen by thousands of people and investigated by university scientists and government officials, yet they could never be explained. They left imprints on film, and although virtually impossible to detect on radar, they triggered the launching of Air Force F- 16s in anxious pursuit. The sightings occurred in a more than two- year “wave” over Belgium, beginning in late 1989.
To launch this book’s exploration into the UFO phenomenon, Belgian Major General Wilfried De Brouwer, now retired, has provided an exclusive account that includes some personal responses he has never expressed before. As chief of the Operations Division in the Air Staff, then Colonel De Brouwer played a prominent role, along with officials from other branches of government, in mobilizing various departments to try to identify the strange intruders that kept showing up unannounced over cities and countryside. “Hundreds of people saw a majestic triangular craft with a span of approximately a hundred and twenty feet and powerful beaming spotlights, moving very slowly without making any significant noise but, in several cases, accelerating to very high speeds,” De Brouwer stated publicly a few years ago, describing only the first night of the wave. Numerous police officers were among the initial group of witnesses, reporting from different locations as the multiple flying craft hovered and glided and lit up fields along their routes— the same officers who had joked dismissively when first receiving radio calls about the sightings. And the strange objects kept returning, for some unfathomable reason, to display themselves over the otherwise quiet territory of Belgium.
Colonel De Brouwer was tasked to handle the UFO wave by his country’s defense minister, Guy Coëme. After spending twenty years as a fighter pilot in the Belgian Air Force, De Brouwer had been appointed to the Strategic Planning Branch in NATO in 1983, while a colonel. He then became Wing Commander of the Belgian Air Force Transport Wing and, in 1989, chief of the Operations Division in the Air Staff. Promoted to Major General in 1991, he became Deputy Chief of Staff of the Belgian Air Force, in charge of operations, planning, and human resources. Beginning in 1995, after his retirement from the Air Force, he worked for more than ten years as a consultant for the United Nations to improve the UN Logistics rapid- response capabilities during emergencies. A man of great integrity and responsibility, De Brouwer was determined to do everything he could to find out what was invading Belgian airspace and repeatedly committing infractions of basic aviation rules.
I first came to know General De Brouwer personally when arranging his trip to Washington, D.C., in November 2007 to speak at an international press conference I organized with filmmaker James Fox. We brought together a panel of former high- ranking government, aviation, and military officials from seven countries to speak to the press about UFO incidents and investigations, which was filmed for a new documentary. We also wanted to give these courageous speakers the opportunity to meet their counterparts from other countries and talk privately over a period of days. Many of the contributors to this book met then for the first time.
General De Brouwer is extremely concerned about factual accuracy, conservative in his estimations, and meticulous in his attention to detail. He is a man who does not jump to conclusions, nor is he prone to exaggeration or embellishment. His concern for safeguarding the accurate record of events in Belgium has not let up, despite the passage of time. “Recently, when on the Internet, I discovered an accumulation of misinformation about the Belgian UFO wave,” he wrote me in an e- mail while we worked on editing his extensive text. “This incited me to react; I cannot accept that so- called researchers come forward with assumptions that are based on incorrect information. Testimonies of hundreds of people are neglected and attempts are made to convince outsiders that the observations were nothing more than misperceptions of ordinary craft. Also, the official statements of the Minister of Defense and the Air Force have been neglected or misinterpreted by these ‘researchers.’ ”
In one of our more recent conversations, I asked the general to refl act back on his experience during the Belgian UFO wave twenty years ago—which he says was unique but also frustrating, since they were unable to identify the trespassing craft. What impressed him most was the utmost sincerity of the witnesses he spoke to, many of whom were “highly qualified intellectuals genuinely overwhelmed by what they had seen and convinced that they were not dealing with conventional technology.” Unfortunately, they were often afraid to come forward because of the stigma attached to UFOs. “One person I had known for many years worked within NATO at the time,” De Brouwer said. “He was so astonished that he didn’t dare to mention it to anyone, not even to his wife. He only conveyed his experience to me on condition that I wouldn’t reveal his name.”
Excerpted from UFOs by Leslie Kean. Copyright © 2011 by Leslie Kean. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.