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Voronezh UFO incident

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Voronezh UFO incident

The Voronezh UFO incident was an alleged UFO sighting reported in Voronezh, Soviet Union, on September 27, 1989. The incident was allegedly witnessed by a group of children, with other members of the local community, including civil servants, claiming to have seen the craft only.[1] The area has been popular with UFO-hunting tourists.[2]

Allegations

The story reported by the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) claimed that a group of children had spotted a small ball in the park whilst playing, which quickly morphed into a disc, which landed near them. Witnesses then reported a "three-eyed alien" and a robot exiting the craft. The alien stared at a horrified onlooker, freezing them in their tracks, before departing and returning five minutes later to abduct a 16-year-old boy, using what was described as a 50 cm-long "pistol tube".[3]

Though the children were the only ones claiming to have witnessed the aliens, Lieut. Sergei A. Matveyev of the Voronezh district police station claimed to have seen the craft.[4] The Interior Ministry said they would dispatch troops to the area should the craft reappear.[4]

Reports

On 17 September 1989 TASS reported that a correspondent had spoken to "10 or 12 youths" who claimed to have seen a flying saucer. The original article quoted Dr. Silanov, of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, as confirming the location of the landing using biolocation.[5] Silanov denied that he had ever made such a remark, or carried out such an experiment.[3] The report was the most publicized of a series of UFO claims made by official government media, and were promoted as part of the government's new "openness".[6][7] It was noted that, unlike in America, the reported beings were completely apolitical and did not even speak during their 'visit'.[8] In the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, hundreds of UFO reports began appearing, with a reporter from Komsomolskaya Pravda even claiming to have an exclusive interview with alien beings from Red Star.[9]

To this end, the Soviet Scientific Commission ordered an official inquiry into the alleged incident. Though the area was found to have an above-average presence of the radioactive isotope cesium, the vice-rector of the University of Voronezh quickly dispensed with the idea that this was significant.[10]

In the immediate aftermath of the supposed event, only Sovietskaya Kultura and TASS attempted to pass the story off as non-fiction, with the official Communist newspaper defending its decision, saying: "[I]ts coverage was motivated by 'the golden rule of journalism: the reader must know everything."[3] The newspaper was repeatedly asked whether the report was in jest and were repeatedly assured it was not.[4][11]

The description of the incident was very similar to stories that appeared in the American magazine Saga, but TASS reporters stated that the witnesses "probably haven't read it."[11] Outside of print media, the U.S. show A Current Affair also sent a crew to report on the alleged event.[12]

In a work published by Socialist Industry slightly after the alleged incident, a self-proclaimed UFO specialist asserted the marks left by the supposed landing were simply scorch marks from a burnt hay-bale.[6]

References

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