James T Abbott

Official Website


The Outsider’s Guide to UFOs ... 

... is for anyone for whom “the UFO thing” is enduringly fascinating but bafflingly complex. It cuts out all the smoke and mirrors and focuses on the core questions – what are they, how long have they been around, are UFOs genuinely exotic, are they all hoaxes, or are they merely figments of the imagination?  It clarifies the background, simplifies the main questions, and presents the best evidence (and counter-evidence). More importantly, it also recommends straightforward action to settle the UFO question once and for all.

If, like the author, you are a paid-up member of the perplexed centre-ground in the UFO debate, this book is for you.


To give you a taste of what’s in Volume 1 I’ve listed the contents below together with a brief explanation of what each chapter discusses.

After that there’s a short extract which will also provide a glimpse of what the book is setting out to do.


Contents of Volume 1 – Mystery and Science



Discusses …

1 – Early UFO Sightings

Six of the best from 1783 to 1945

2 – It Gets Hotter

Eight of the hottest incidents

3 – US Government Investigations

The five major reviews undertaken in the US since 1950

4 – British Government Investigations

Two British official reviews – from 1950 to 1999

5 – French Investigations

Investigations in France 1977 to date 

6 – Is Seeing Believing?

Six of the best visual examples

7 – There are no such things as UFOs

What the sceptics say – and 20 explanations for UFOs

8 – Strange Characteristics

13 really strange things that characterize UFOs

9 – Strangers in the Night

4 amazing theories about what UFOs may be

10 – UFOs Everywhere

The cool statistics about the phenomenon

11 – UFOs and the Police

Three of the best incidents involving the police

12 – UFOs and Airbases

Four fascinating cases from 1956 to 2006

13 – UFOs and Civil Airliners

Four mysterious pilot sightings from 1981 to 2007

14 – UFOs and Military Aircraft

Three intriguing military aircraft encounters

15 – UFOs and Landings

Three cases that make you think

16 – Mass Sightings 1950-1989

Two early mass sightings thirty years apart

17 – Mass Sightings 1989-2017

Four more modern mass sightings through to 2017

18 – Elusive Answers

Cover-ups, conspiracies and the disclosure movement

19 – The Way Forward

Science and shifting the paradign


Full glossary of terms and acronyms


Two detailed bibliographies – plenty of further reading!

About the Author

Brief background


Detailed index





There is a certain amount of reasonably credible evidence for UFOs having been seen well before the beginning of the nineteenth century, but what one might call the “modern era” of sightings began in the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. The sceptics believe that these sightings were suspiciously coincident with the beginnings of the literary genre of science fiction from such authors as Jules Verne and H G Wells. World War Two saw a tremendous increase in sightings of strange objects following, or interacting with, bomber formations and military aircraft generally. More on that later.


However, the whole circus with which we have become familiar really kicked off in the years immediately following the war. As you will see later, the key initial events – that is, the most highly publicised ones – occurred in the USA in the year 1947, when the term “flying saucer” was aired for the very first time. The sceptics regard that year as a prime example of mass psychosis, a war-weary nation adjusting to peace after a very nasty conflict. The sceptics argue that the US population did this by inventing strange and wonderful objects. But the British, French, Dutch, Belgian, Italian and German populations (not to mention the Japanese among many others) had experienced considerably more death and devastation on their own soil, so why was the UFO-craze of ’47 not duplicated to the same extent in any of those nations?


The term “flying saucer” has since had a long and chequered history. Very quickly,  the subject of flying saucers, in itself pretty strange, was expanded to include visitations from other planets (George Adamski was among the first to claim to have met aliens and then over the years, to include alien autopsies, abductions, so-called “missing time” incidents,  electro-magnetic interference with vehicles and power supplies, the existence of multiple extra-terrestrial races with different agendas, infiltration of certain governments by aliens, and even the complete but secret mastery of the planet by races from other worlds.


The arguments in this book certainly do not mean that any of the “out-there” theories are wrong. Anyone with an open mind has to accept that we humans do not know everything;  in fact we do not know very much at all, so all of those ideas could be possible. But, in the over-heated intellectual arena that is the UFO phenomenon – one that has been built up over at least a seventy year period – ideas become myths and myths become “reality”, arguments become circular without anyone noticing, and rationality becomes another word for “cover-up”.


The reader should also resist the temptation to believe that all ufologists are simply ordinary people who’ve found a new hobby to replace pigeon-racing or collecting Star Wars models. The image of people who study UFOs as being cranks or nutters is, unfortunately, one which is commonly held. But, like most generalisations, it is only true in parts. There most definitely are hordes of UFO-nutters, but there is also a core of very intelligent, very experienced and cool-headed ufologists, throughout the world, who work very hard to explore the subject in a balanced manner. As we will see, that core includes scientists,  generals, colonels, government officials, astronauts, at least one ex-State Governor, an ex-Canadian defence minister, and possibly even members of the British Royal family.


There will be points in this book when elements of the weirder side of the debate will have to be introduced, but the prime object is to try to keep the argument focused on the fundamental – the most absolutely vital prerequisite for all the other flimflam – are any UFOs inexplicable in conventional terms, or are they ALL perfectly susceptible to scientific explanation within our currently understood scientific paradigm?


The true sceptic is, someone who is agnostic on the subject; neither a believer nor a non-believer. You will find, however, that there are also pseudo-sceptics and pseudo-ufologists: those who pretend to be neutral but actually start from a position of either rabid disbelief or hysterical conviction. They can be spotted, quite easily, by their use of absolutes and their ill-justified leaps of logic. When describing sightings, the immovably-convinced ufologist tends to slip in words like “craft” and “intelligent movement” where they really should be talking about “objects” and “unpredictable or unnatural movement”. The pseudo-sceptic often uses words like “impossible” and similar absolutes when describing features of sightings, they may arrive at conclusions of mass-hysteria or delusion without any genuine proof of such statements.


As this book was being finalised, NASA announced that no fewer than seven Earth-sized planets had been identified and measured as they rapidly rotated around a star which, hitherto, had been at the bottom of the list of possible “life bearing” star systems. Humanity is constantly being surprised by totally unexpected and unpredicted discoveries. Therefore, as we begin this journey looking into the question of UFOs, the question you, as an outsider, need to ask is, what exactly is impossible in this universe?



... cuts out all the smoke and mirrors to focus on the core questions – what are they, how long have they been around, are UFOs genuinely exotic, are they all hoaxes, or are they merely figments of the imagination?