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The alternative conquest of the Moon

Man officially set foot on the Moon for the first time in July 1969. Or if you believe we never went to the moon: it is promoted that we officially set foot on the Moon for the first time in July 1969. But there have been stories that extraterrestrial beings had already been to the Moon, or had a basis there… and even that we ourselves went to the Moon long before Neil Armstrong.

Philip Coppens


Our earth’s satellite, which once every moon turns around our Earth, has driven Mankind for centuries to lunacy. Seeing “the man in the moon” is but one in a long series of stories that echoes our fascination with the white disc that lights up our nightly skies.
The introduction of modern equipment that allowed Mankind to look towards the Moon with telescopes, meant that one Englishmen, Sir John Herschel, directed his scope to the moon at the start of the 19th century. Through his lens, he claimed to see strange objects on the surface of the moon. During an eclipse, he stated that he had observed lights, lights that seemed to move. As early as 1788, the astronomer Schroeter had observed small “swollen parts” on the Moon. He argued that these were the result of industrial activity of the “Selenites”, the inhabitants of the moon. Other astronomers from the era reported light structures, which looked remarkable similar to those observed on cities on Earth. In 1869, the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain started a three year long investigation, after numerous sightings of anomalous lights in the Mare Crisium part of the Moon.
Though one century before Apollo 11’s mission to the Moon, it was nevertheless not the first time that Mare Crisium had been the focus of attention. It would not be the last time either. On July 29, 1953, John J. O’Neill, editor in chief of the scientific columns of the New York Herald Tribune, dedicated his free time by observing our satellite through his telescope. He observed what he felt was a bridge that spanned the crater in the Mare Crisium. He estimated that the bridge measured approx. 15 miles long. O’Neill spoke about his discovery in a rather careful tone, suggesting that this was a “natural bridge” which “somehow” had formed itself, this in the course of just one night. He reported his find to the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, but his report was mocked and attacked. One month later, the legendary British astronomer Dr. H.P.Wilkins confirmed the findings of O’Neill. Patrick Moore, another of the leading figures of English astronomy, confirmed the observation.

In the 1970s, NASA wanted to investigate what they had labelled “Lunar Transient Phenomena” (LTP): suddenly visible objects on the surface of the moon. The project was not a success as the project members did not adhere to the project scope. Nevertheless, NASA offered an explanation to these phenomena; it involved gases that escaped from lava, which occurred at sunrise, resulting in ultraviolet light, as well as other particles that create the luminous effect. And if this was not the correct or only explanation, then it could also be due to volcanic activity.
LTP or ULOs, Unidentified Light Objects, were nevertheless not a new phenomenon – astronomers knew about it. But what was it? Was NASA correct in its explanations that it involved purely natural phenomena? Or was it indeed evidence of the presence of an intelligence?
The British UFO researcher Timothy Good reports the story of “a certain professor”, whose name is not given, working for the British military intelligence agency, speaking to Neil Armstrong. The conversation occurred during a NASA conference, when the professor prodded Armstrong for details as to what exactly happened during the Apollo 11 mission. “It was incredible”, reported Armstrong. “Naturally, we always knew that the possibility existed… but it is so; we were warned. Ever since, the possibility of a space station or building a city on the Moon, has disappeared.” The professor asked what Armstrong meant when he stated they had been “warned”. “I cannot give details, except to say that their ships are superior to ours, both in science and technology… boy, they were big… and menacing… no, there is just no way we can build a space station.” The professor prodded that NASA had nevertheless sent further missions to the Moon, following Armstrong’s visit. “Of course, NASA could not do otherwise, they could not risk that a panic would break out on Earth.” Later, Armstrong would deny that this conversation ever occurred.

Photograph taken by Howard Menger of one of his "spaceship", in which he claimed to visit the Moon

Almost twenty years before Armstrong’s trip, America had been confronted with George Adamski, the archetypal UFO contactee, who claimed to have met alien beings… and have even been given rides in their spaceship. Adamski claimed that amongst the excursion on offer were many trips to the Moon. He stated that he seen plants and even animals roaming the surface of the Moon. In August 1954, Adamski had observed large hangars, harbouring gigantic spacecrafts. Howard Menger, another contactee, stated that he had gone to the Moon in August 1956, where he had seen many buildings. It seems that July-August, even before Armstrong’s visit to the Moon, was already the Moon’s top season for earthly tourism. During a second visit to the Moon, Menger was allowed to take photographs, which he published in his book From Outer Space to You. Menger also reported that he had seen visitors from Russia, Japan and Germany, all visiting the Moon.

Japan and Germany were the old enemies of a war that had barely ended a decade before Menger’s lunar tourism. The possibility of a basis on the Moon at the time was not just the bailiwick of extraterrestrial beings; for some, it was the legacy of the Nazi regime, who had always been fascinated, if not obsessed with the conquest of space. There are stories that the Nazis had a lunar basis since 1942. To reach the Moon, the Nazis had built an “exo-atmospheric rocket”, measuring 15 by 50 metres, with an engine powerful enough to allow this form on interplanetary exploration possible. The basis itself was said to measure 60 by 45 metres, splashed out over ten floors. NASA was said to know about the basis, but had elected to keep it a secret. Apparently, its inhabitants did not require space suits to walk on the surface of the Moon: normal clothing was sufficient.
According to the story, the Germans had preoccupied themselves with the creation of tunnels in the surface of the Moon. They would have used a free energy device to travel between the Earth and the Moon, used to transport personnel, material and even robots. The launches occurred from the South polar colony on Neu Schwabenland. To round off the tale, it was said that when the Americans and Soviets made their first joint voyage to the Moon in their own flying saucers, the visitors spent their first night on the Moon in the Nazi sublunar base.

"The Castle", one of the structures identified in lunar photographs, identified by Richard Hoagland

These tales are far away from the much more mundane conquest of the Moon. Nevertheless, some mystery surrounding the Moon has always intrigued scientists. The front page of the November 2 1966 edition of The Washington Post read: “Six Mysterious Statuesque Shadows Photographed on the Moon by Orbiter”. The Lunar Orbiter 2 had photographed a lunar area of approximately 30 by 50 kilometres. The photo apparently showed six or seven towers, appearing in a specific geometric pattern, rising from the Mare Tranquilis. Their pointed shadow indicated that they were either conical or pyramid-shaped. One of the towers measured an impressive 213 metres. NASA countered that the photographs did not show anything of any interest… whatsoever. Perhaps in an effort to merely embarrass the Americans, the Russian magazine Argosy offered the opinion of the Russian space scientist Alexander Abromov. He stated that the Russian Luna 9 had, on landing on the Moon on February 4 1966, taken some bizarre photographs: structures that stood in the landscape in a certain pattern. “The location of these lunar objects is comparable to the location of the pyramids at Gizeh. The tops of the towers show the same pattern as the tops of the pyramids.”
One decade afterwards, in 1976, George Leonard published Somebody Else is on our Moon. Leonard stated he done extensive research in NASA’s archives and had found several photographs, including some of the first, unmanned mission to the Moon. Leonard’s effort was followed by Fred Steckling, who wrote We Discovered alien Bases on the Moon in 1981. It was an analysis of 125 photographs, on which Steckling pointed out “evidence” of buildings and other constructions on the surface of the Moon. Major parts of this publication, privately published, were later reused by David Hatcher Childress in his Extraterrestrial Archaeology.
Indeed, many of the photographs that were used did seem to indicate anomalies that apparently did not belong on the surface of our Moon. In the late 1980s, Leonard’s research was handed over to James Sylvan, who reanalysed Leonard’s material. Sylvan then handed his material over to Richard Hoagland, who had been writing about the strange objects that were visible in photographs of the planet Mars. Hoagland and co. used “fractal imaging” to analyse the photographs and identified the various anomalous structures as “the shard”, “the tower” and “the cube”.
Specific attention was given to the Ukert crater, a crater which is the closest part of the Moon to Earth. Hoagland’s contact with geologist Dr. Bruce Cornet resulted in the observation that the crater apparently contained a triangle. Cornet confirmed that this could not be a natural event, but was proof of an artificial origin. Cornet also stated that the structure labelled “the Shard”, visible on a photograph of the Lunar Orbiter III in 1967, was the best available evidence that there were enigmatic – artificial – structures on the surface of our Moon. The Shard was apparently more than 1.5 kilometres high. He stated that if it was natural, it would be the miracle of the universe, defying all known patterns of erosion. But the Shard was apparently topped by “the Tower”, which rose no less than five miles above the surface of the Earth. Such massive construction projects were possible because of the lower gravitational pull that existed on the surface of the Moon. Hoagland and team stated that the Tower had been seen by Armstrong and team… and had even been filmed by them. All these structures were apparently made from glass. Though fragile on Earth, in the void environment of the Moon, glass would achieve the same rigidity as steel is known to have on Earth.

The Shard, believed by some to be the best evidence of artificial structures on the Moon

What are we to make of these stories? The photographs of most if not all of these claims are grainy at best, and impossible to view at worst. In the case of the claims of Sir John Herschel, it seems that the entire event of his “discoveries” on the Moon was nothing more than a hoax, run by a newspaper. The New York Sun ran the article about Herschel in late August 1835. The article immediately invited scepticism. On August 29, 1835 the New York Commercial Advertiser argued it was a hoax. Authorship of the hoax was attributed to Richard Adams Locke, a Cambridge-educated reporter working for the Sun. Locke never admitted to being the author of the hoax, and the Sun equally never conceded it was a hoax. On September 16, 1835, the Sun did publish a column in which it discussed the possibility that the story was a hoax, but it never confessed to anything. Quite the contrary. “Certain correspondents have been urging us to come out and confess the whole to be a hoax; but this we can by no means do, until we have the testimony of the English or Scotch papers to corroborate such a declaration.” And as with all of these stories, it will only take a culture of openness and trust – and only then return visits to the Moon – before we can compare the two versions of history: the official version, and the alternative version.

This article originally appeared in Frontier Magazine 1.3 (1995) and was slightly adapted.