The Ozark Mountain UFO Conference, now in its 34th year, is “one of the longest running and best attended UFO conferences in the world,” organizer Forest Crawford claims. “It has always featured top researchers and scientists from all over the world and attracts an average of 500 people to the Inn of the Ozarks in beautiful Eureka Springs.”
Hosted by Ozark Mountain Publishing, the conference — back April 8-10 after two years of pandemic pause — features merchants, a Saturday evening movie screening and speakers as well known as Nick Pope. A journalist and sci-fi author, Pope is an expert on Great Britain’s “X Files” and has a unique perspective from his years working inside government. He answered these questions for What’s Up!
Q. Were UFOs anything you were aware of growing up? Were you a sci-fi fan?
A. Before I was assigned to the British government’s “UFO Desk” I had no awareness of the UFO phenomenon — to the point that I hadn’t even heard of Roswell. I liked science fiction — reading classics like “The War of the Worlds” and watching TV shows like “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who” — but regarded it as entertainment and not something fact-based. I don’t know whether my love of sci-fi made me open-minded about UFOs, but I hope that I would have been open-minded anyway.
Q. When you worked for the British government, was your job really to disprove UFO possibilities? And at what point during that job did you think maybe they couldn’t all be disproved?
A. The day-to-day business was to investigate the sightings, to assess the national security implications for the United Kingdom, identifying any potential threats and anything else of more general defense or scientific interest. Part of the job involved drafting material for our public affairs office, so they could respond to questions from the media. In doing this, and in dealing with public correspondence, we downplayed the true extent of our interest and involvement in the subject. It wasn’t quite like joining the ranks of the “Men in Black,” but I guess it made me complicit in a cover-up of sorts. That said, most things at the MoD involved classified information, so secrecy was hardwired into me!
Q. The BIG question: What do you think UFOs are? There are factions now who say they’re from another timeline or from inside the earth or conjured up by our collective imagination. What do YOU think?
A. I think we’ll discover that there’s no single explanation to the UFO mystery. Most UFOs are misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena, and some are likely to be secret prototype aircraft, missiles or drones. But when it comes to the more exotic theories like extraterrestrials, time travelers or something from other dimensions, none of these concepts are mutually exclusive. But maybe it’s something so bizarre and abstract that it’s beyond our comprehension — something that we have neither the words to describe, nor the conceptual awareness to define.
Q. When you’re invited to speak somewhere like the Ozark Mountain UFO Conference, are there goals you want to accomplish? And if so, what are they?
A. I want to share knowledge and opinions with the audience, so people come away informed, intrigued, thinking and talking about what they’ve heard. There have been some amazing revelations recently about military encounters with UFOs, and what the government’s doing in response, and I want to share the details, along with an insider’s perspective that people always enjoy, when I explain how those of us who’ve looked at this topic from within government view things. In-person events were largely put on hold during the pandemic, and I sense there’s a real desire to come to conferences like this, to hear and meet the speakers and the other attendees.
Q. What do you want readers who say all this is poppycock to think about after reading this?
A. I never get offended by people who remain skeptical, and it would be a boring world if we all thought the same about UFOs. People are free to believe — or not believe — as they choose. But if I have a message for people at the skeptical end of the spectrum, it’s a request that they read the multiple UFO-related provisions that went into the new defense bill, and read the preliminary assessment of UFOs drawn up last year by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They’ll see that the DOD, the military, the intelligence community and Congress are all taking UFOs seriously now — along with elements of the scientific community. There’s no smoke without fire: These sorts of people are paying attention to the subject for very good reasons. This topic has come out of the fringe and into the mainstream in the last four years, and I’ll be covering this in my presentation at the Ozark Mountain UFO Conference — and speculating on what might happen next!
Take The Quiz
Do you believe? nwaonline.com/43ufopoll/
Ozark Mountain UFO Conference
WHEN — April 8-10
WHERE — Inn of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs
COST — $20-$30 for individual speakers; $35-$80 for day passes; $150 full conference; $50 streaming
INFO — ozarkufoconference.com