The year 1996 will be remembered as one of the greatest ever for space exploration, new discoveries about possible life in the universe, and UFO activity. During this year, at least ten distant stars were shown to have planets; evidence of life on Mars was announced by NASA and two new missions to Mars were successfully launched; the Galileo spacecraft sent back amazing new information about Jupiter and its moons; two major comets crossed our skies; and while all that was happening, planet earth was besieged by UFOs, with intense concentrations in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the Middle East, and the UK, and news-making events in Korea, Thailand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, among many other places.
CNI News (and its predecessor ISCNI*Flash) reported it all. Here's a brief look at this remarkable year through the headlines we ran, month by month. And remember, you can access the complete text of all these stories using our exclusive Search CNI News.
ROCKEFELLER TO SEND UFO BRIEFING TO MANY WORLD LEADERS
This was our first mention of the UFO report sponsored by billionaire Laurance Rockefeller, titled "Unidentified Flying Objects Briefing Document -- The Best Available Evidence," which was privately circulated to nearly 1,000 world leaders starting in April of 1996.
PUERTO RICO "GORILLA" GRABS MAN
Was It El Chupacabras, the "Goat Sucker"? Throughout the first half of 1996, Chupacabras reports proliferated. By mid-year, however, they went silent. Is the Sucker hibernating?
SCIENTISTS RECONSIDER LIFE ON MARS
There were many early hints of big Mars news to come.
UFO SIGHTINGS TRANSFIX RESIDENTS OF SAN LUIS VALLEY
Cigar-shaped UFOs, huge "Motherships," gruesome cattle mutilations and a host of other strange happenings were reported in the region of Colorado that has come to be called "The Mysterious Valley."
GLOWING UFOs SEEN OVER SOUTH KOREA
This was just the first of several major UFO events in Korea that made it onto the global newswires.
UPDATE: HALE-BOPP COMET
This Earth Mysteries News Report by Linda Moulton Howe was our first mention of Hale-Bopp in 1996, but by mid-November the Comet had spawned one of the biggest controversies of the year.
INTERNATIONAL UFO SIGHTINGS UPDATE
UFO reports from Africa, Canada, Mexico and Australia hinted that 1996 would see unusually high UFO activity around the globe.
CYDONIA DESERVES HIGH PRIORITY IN NASA'S NEXT MARS MISSION
Professor Stanley V. McDaniel's call for NASA to prioritize the reimaging of the "Face" and "Monuments" on Mars during upcoming missions, loudly echoed by many other researchers and citizens, seemed to be falling on deaf ears -- but later in the year, NASA came around.
MOONWALKER ED MITCHELL CONVINCED SOME UFOS ARE REAL
Edgar Mitchell became the latest and most influential of the astronauts to speak his mind on UFOs. If NASA sent men into space knowing they might meet extraterrestials, but did not brief the astronauts about it, Mitchell said, that would constitute "criminal negligence."
ASTRONAUT GORDON COOPER SAYS ALIENS ARE HERE
Cooper spoke out in a lengthy, exclusive interview with CNI News.
LIFE ON MARS: MORE LIKELY THAN NOT, SCIENTISTS SAY
Another glimpse of things to come. It later became evident that NASA had known of the evidence for life on Mars since at least 1995, and probably much longer. They dropped many hints before dropping the bomb.
ORANGE FIREBALLS REPEATEDLY SIGHTED OVER AUSTRALIA
Australia's UFO activity increased throughout the year.
RADIO SEARCH FOR ALIEN LIFE DRAWS A BLANK
The SETI Project has never yielded the results its supporters hoped for, though some scientists say they're still hopeful. Meanwhile, other avenues of research are starting to pay off.
NEW COMET COULD BRIGHTEN SKY IN MARCH
Comet Hyakutake seemed to come out of nowhere.
THE SANTILLI FILM: THE PLOT THICKENS (AGAIN)
The seemingly interminable debate over the (non)authenticity of the "Alien Autopsy" film ground on, with no resolution in sight.
CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS NOVA'S "KIDNAPPED BY UFOs?"
Nova's televised treatment of the abduction controversy was seen by many viewers as highly biased and disrespectful.
NEW RASH OF BIZARRE MUTILATIONS REPORTED IN ALABAMA
Surgical livestock mutilations remain unexplained and keep happening around the world.
DUTCH ABDUCTION REPORTS MATCH U.S. PATTERN
A Dutch hypnotherapist sent us this report, explaining that her clients describe abduction events exactly like those reported in America.
SURGEON TELLS FIRST RESULTS OF IMPLANT ANALYSIS
Derrel Sims and Dr. Roger Leir launched a new phase of abduction research by removing objects thought to be "implants" from several human beings.
ANOTHER PLANET FOUND AROUND DISTANT STAR
As they refined their search technique, astronomers found more and more evidence of planets beyond our solar system. And with each announcement, they also expressed high hopes for evidence of intelligent life.
UFOs ACTIVE OVER SCOTLAND
The whole United Kingdom emerged as one of the UFO hotspots of the world this year.
MAN WHO HAD IMPLANT REMOVED TELLS HIS OWN STORY
Seven months after the operation, an abductee told CNI News how the removal of his "implant" had changed his life.
FLYING SAUCER SCARE AT BALMORAL, HOME OF QUEEN
Another Scottish UFO incident -- this time, jets responded to reports of UFOs over the Queen's castle.
MORE UFOs REPORTED IN CANADA'S NORTHWEST TERRITORY
For several months, Canada's Northwest Territory reported a spate of luminous UFOs.
OLDEST MARTIAN METEORITE FOUND
Yet another hint of things to come...
MAN BRINGS PIECE OF "ROSWELL WRECKAGE" TO MUSEUM
The International UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico, began running lab tests on an unusual metal fragment. The anonymous source claimed it was from the famous 1947 saucer. Months later, a more prosaic explanation was found.
UFO BRIEFING DOCUMENT SHOWS "BEST AVAILABLE EVIDENCE"
CNI News acquired a copy of the Rockefeller-financed "UFO Briefing Document," and reported on its impressive contents.
ASTRONOMERS SAY THEY'LL FIND ETs WITHIN 25 YEARS
Throughout the year, mainstream space scientists became more and more enthusiastic in their assertions that the universe abounds with life -- and they'll find it soon.
UFO "UN-COVERUP" TO BEGIN IN BRITAIN?
This was our first mention of the activities of Nick Pope, who ran the official "UFO Desk" for the British Ministry of Defense and became a staunch advocate for the reality of UFOs as technological objects not originating on earth.
NEW BOOK SHOWS THAT UFOs DON'T BREAK LAWS OF PHYSICS
This review by physicist Hal Puthoff of the book "Unconventional Flying Objects" by Paul Hill was one of several new arguments for the idea that UFO behavior is not magic or make-believe, but explainable technology.
LARGE TRIANGULAR "UFOs" MAY BE NEW MILITARY AIRCRAFT
Large black triangular aircraft were reported in many parts of the world this years, notably in the UK. Controversy continues over whether they could be human-built. Many researchers, including the MoD's Nick Pope, say "No way."
STRANGE LIGHTS, MYSTERY OBJECTS OVER CASPER, WYOMING
The American West, especially the Rocky Mountain region, saw a great deal of UFO activity throughout the year.
STARSHIP VATICAN: THEOLOGIANS PONDER A NEW FRONTIER
As attitudes change toward acceptance of possible life beyond the earth, theologians face new challenges.
FORMER ASTRONAUTS COOPER, MITCHELL KEEP SPEAKING OUT
The push is on from a growing number of respected people, including astronauts, to break the official silence on UFOs.
CHUPACABRAS REPORTS SPREAD ON U.S. MAINLAND
The monster's cult popularity reached fever pitch as its geographic range increased. "It's hot... like Brad Pitt!" said one publicist.
JAPAN'S SPACE & UFO MUSEUM: SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME
The celebrated museum in Hakui, Japan, raised hopes for an official breakthrough on UFOs. But those hopes were dashed later in the year.
PROGRESS OF A MYSTERY -- GOAT SUCKER HAUNTS MEXICO
The Chupacabras took Mexico by storm.
ALIENS PHOTOGRAPHED IN UTAH, CAPTURED IN BRAZIL?
This story was our first mention of a case that occurred in the Brazilian city of Varginha in January. Before long, this case became one of the biggest of the year.
GERMAN PROFESSOR CLAIMS TO IDENTIFY SANTILLI ALIEN
"Expert opinions" on the autopsy film kept coming in. This one said the "alien" was a human woman suffering from the rare disorder Progeria.
PANSPERMIA THEORY SUPPORTED BY NEW REPORT
Scientists continued warming to the idea that life on earth could have been "seeded" from space.
MORE IMPLANTS REMOVED FROM POSSIBLE ABDUCTEES
Researchers Leir and Sims continued their "implant removals." In this round, however, one metal object removed from a man's jaw was likely to be of human origin.
ALIENS CAPTURED IN BRAZIL? FIRST DETAILED ACCOUNT
The Varginha case of possible captured aliens suddenly became big news worldwide, as it had been in Brazil since late January.
NAVAJO DEITIES REPORTEDLY SEEN; THOUSANDS VISIT SITE
Witnesses said two "gods" showed up at the home of a poor Indian woman, bringing warnings of danger ahead. Many took the report seriously.
BRITISH MoD's UFO EXPERT NICK POPE INTERVIEWED ON BBC
The former "UFO Desk" officer told a television audience that UFOs "must be a matter of defense significance."
RESEARCHERS CARPENTER, FRIEDMAN, MACK GO TO BRAZIL,
FIND GOOD EVIDENCE FOR CLAIM OF "CAPTURED ALIENS"
John Carpenter likened the Varginha case to Roswell. Psychiatrist John Mack said he would stake his license on the truthfulness of witness testimony.
UFOs SIGHTED IN MANY PARTS OF AUSTRALIA
The Australian flap continued, with some witnesses reporting saucer-shaped craft, others reporting luminous balls in the sky.
NEW-FOUND SOLAR SYSTEM HAS FEATURES LIKE EARTH'S
The latest discovery of distant planets was hailed by scientists as possible confirmation that planets are indeed common in the galaxy.
NBC'S NEW "DARK SKIES" EXPLORES GOV'T-UFO SECRECY
Popular culture spawned an unprecendented number of "alien" films and television shows this year, nearly all of them depicting a bleak vision of impending invasion.
BRAZIL'S "CAPTURED ALIENS" CASE CONTINUES TO EXPAND
Early reports said two unusual creatures were captured and later died in military custody. Later reports claimed more bodies, and possible UFO wreckage. The witness list grew.
UFO RESEARCHER ACCUSED OF PLOT AGAINST POLITICIANS
Outspoken Long Island UFO researcher John Ford and several others were accused of a bizarre plot to poison local officials with radium.
UFOs BUZZ AUSTRALIA'S THREE LARGEST CITIES
Reports of UFO activity in Australia continued.
SPIELBERG PLANS ANOTHER "ET"-TYPE FILM
One of the few hopes for a "positive" ET film could be this one from Spielberg, but it's at least a year away.
CONTROVERSY RAGES OVER ROSWELL'S "SECOND SITE"
In the wake of a major UFO conference in Roswell, New Mexico commemorating the famous events of July, 1947, researchers pondered conflicting testimony pointing to two very different locations for the alleged "second crash site."
CUBA DECLASSIFIES REPORTS ON 1995 UFO FLAP
In a highly unusual move, the Castro government released information confirming that major UFO events did occur over Cuba last year.
POLICE REPORT UFO OVER LITHUANIA
The formerly Soviet Baltic state was the scene of major UFO events.
SCIENTISTS SAY LIFE IS POSSIBLE ON JUPITER'S EUROPA
The Galileo Spacecraft sent back startling evidence of possible water on Europa, sparking a hot debate on weather Jupiter's moon could support life.
PENTHOUSE MAGAZINE FALLS FOR FAKE "ALIEN"
In one of the year's weirdest journalistic goofs, "Penthouse" publisher Bob Guccione loudly proclaimed a set of "alien" photos to be authentic -- but they were obviously not.
NASA PREPARES FOR NEW MARS MISSIONS
Days before their historic August 7 announcement, NASA dropped yet more hints of new explorations for life on Mars.
UFOs ACTIVE IN MANY PARTS OF ISRAEL
In the second half of the year, the Middle East became a UFO hotspot.
MARS BECOMES SOLAR SYSTEM'S TOP DESTINATION
The August 7 NASA announcement of possible evidence of Mars life galvanized the science world. Suddenly "life out there" seemed like an idea whose time had come.
1996 CROP FORMATIONS BIGGEST, MOST COMPLEX EVER SEEN
Though their cause remained controversial, this year's crop formations in England were indisputably astonishing.
MAN WHO HAD IMPLANT REMOVED CAUTIONS OTHERS NOT TO
In the wake of his own "implant removal," an articulate abductee warned that such removals may have unknown dangers and side-effects.
BRITS TO JOIN AMERICANS IN RADIO HUNT FOR E.T.
As the world exulted in new evidence of "life out there," even the beleaguered SETI Project seemed to benefit.
JAPAN'S "UFO MUSEUM" PROBABLY NOT ABOUT UFOS AT ALL!
Hopes for the Hakui, Japan "UFO museum" were dashed as opening ceremonies were scaled back and exhibits failed to materialize.
BELGIANS SUSPECT 1989-90 UFO WAVE WAS SECRET PLANE
Controversy continued over the nature and origin of "Black Triangle" UFOs
POLICE VIDEOTAPE UFO OVER PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
A police helicopter chased a luminous aerial object all over the South African capital, while officers on the ground managed to shoot some fuzzy video.
BRITISH BROKER TO INSURE AGAINST ALIEN IMPREGNATION
Yes, now you can buy insurance against unwanted hybrid kids -- and the payoff is big, if you can provide proof!
TWIN CROP CIRCLES FOUND IN SASKATCHEWAN
England, of course, wasn't the only place where crop circles turned up this year.
SCIENTIST CLAIMS ANTI-GRAVITY, THEN BACKS DOWN
In Finland, a scientific team prepared to publish evidence of anti-gravity in a respected British journal of physics -- but the article was pulled at the last moment. Rumors circulated that the experiments did indeed work, but someone wanted the information kept confidential.
HOVERING UFO FILMED BY SOLDIER IN BRASILIA
Brazil's capital city saw intense UFO activity, captured on video by military police and witnessed by dozens of people.
NASA CONVENES WORKSHOP ON "THE LIVING UNIVERSE"
The Space Agency continued its high profile campaign to-invent itself as the official organization that looks for life in space.
NUMEROUS UFOs REPORTED OVER MIDDLE EAST
Israel and Jordan both reported major UFO incidents. In Israel, an elderly man made news headlines when he said he was abducted while trying to collect his mail.
ROSWELL MUSEUM SAYS METAL FRAGMENT NOT FROM UFO
After a lengthy investigation, UFO Museum officials announced that the alleged "UFO fragment" delivered to them in March was actually an odd piece of jewelry.
VIDEO OF CROP CIRCLE FORMING IS PROBABLY HOAXED
Controversy surrounded the so-called "Oliver's Castle Video" allegedly showing the formation of a crop circle.
UFOs AGAIN REPORTED OVER AUSTRALIA
The flap Down Under continued.
MYSTERY FIREBALL DECLARED METEOR, BUT STILL MYSTERY
A huge fireball was seen all over the Western United States on October 3. Scientists declared it a meteor, but UFO researchers disagreed.
MYSTERY LIGHTS RUFFLE BRITISH RAF, COAST GUARD, MoD
A major UFO incident occurred in the Wash, a bay on England's east coast.
THE ORDEAL OF JOHN FORD
The Long Island UFO researcher accused of bizarre "radium plot" may have been busted for making waves, supporters said.
ALABAMA UFO PHOTOS BAFFLE MEDIA AND UFO EXPERTS
An odd shaped UFO was photographed in daylight over an Alabama farmer's field, but experts argued over the photos' authenticity.
LEIR, SIMS, THIRD WITNESS SAY L.A. "METEOR" WAS UFO
Controversy over the October 3 "meteor" event continued, with some witnesses claiming to have seen military forces doing a "clean-up" in the area where the object may have fallen.
DENTAL TECHNICIAN SAYS "MANDIBLE" MAY BE ALIEN
Years after the fact, a dental technician described for CNI News a bizarre series of events in which he may have handled evidence of an alien being.
MYSTERIOUS FIREBALLS HARASS THAI VILLAGERS
Local Thai officials went to the scene of strange luminous "apparitions" and declared the events were not a hoax.
NASA DOES ABOUT-FACE ON IMAGING CYDONIA
In the wake of momentous new evidence of possible life on Mars, NASA announced that their upcoming photographic mission to the Red Planet would attempt to re-image the controversial Cydonia landforms.
CROP CIRCLE "ARTIST" DECLARES JULIA SETS HUMAN MADE
In perhaps the most hotly contested article ever carried in CNI News, a would-be "circle artist" claimed that England's two fabulous "Julia Set" crop formations were man-made.
UFO EXPERT INVESTIGATES SCOTTISH AERIAL BLAST
MoD UFO expert Nick Pope joined the investigation into a mysterious explosion off the coast of Scotland that sent the British government on a costly but fruitless air/sea search.
REMOTE VIEWER SAYS CLINTON TO ANNOUNCE ALIENS SOON
Remote viewing was in the news repeatedly this year, prompted in large part by the activity of Professor Courtney Brown and his Farsight Institute. Brown said official revelations would occur during President Clinton's second term.
BRITISH FIND NEW EVIDENCE OF POSSIBLE MARTIAN LIFE
Investigating yet another Martian meteorite, British scientists said they may have "a smoking gun" for life on Mars.
STRIEBER, BROWN SAY HUGE "SHIP" SEEN NEAR HALE-BOPP
Comet Hale-Bopp became the center of a huge controversy in the wake of photos and remote viewing of an alleged "companion," said by some to be a planet-sized spacecraft.
FARSIGHT REP THINKS MYSTERY ASTRONOMER WILL TALK
Claims of a "companion" to Hale-Bopp hinged on the identity of a mystery astronomer, said to be associated with a top university, who would soon announce his proof. But so far, the astronomer has not come forth.
UFOs SEEN BY NUMEROUS AIRLINE PILOTS IN RECENT WEEKS
Pilots flying near the site of the TWA 800 tragedy reported unusual luminous objects in the sky, prompting the FAA to briefly close an air corridor serving New York's JFK airport.
TV FOOTAGE OF UFO STIRS SENSATION IN SOUTH KOREA
Korea was once again the scene of major UFO events. Video was shown around the world.
IS EUROPA A BETTER PLACE FOR LIFE THAN MARS?
Jupiter's enigmatic moon continues to attract attention as a possible "water world" able to support life.
BRIT MoD EXPERT TELLS WHY HE VIEWS SOME UFOs AS E.T.
In an exclusive CNI News interview, Nick Pope declared that mystery craft often penetrate UFO defenses and do pose a possible threat to national security.
UK PRESS TOLD NOT TO REPORT BLACK TRIANGLE UFOs
As reports of mysterious "black triangle" craft keep coming in, the British press has reportedly been oficially warned to leave the story alone.
JET FIGHTER SEEN TRACKING UFOs OVER MISSOURI
The "Show Me State" was only the latest of many U.S. states to report UFO activity this year.
VICE PRESIDENT BRIEFED ON SEARCH FOR LIFE IN UNIVERSE
Preparing for a major "space summit" next February, Vice President Gore met with a diverse group of experts to discuss issues relating to the discovery of life in space.
EXTRA! ASTRONOMER CARL SAGAN DEAD AT 62
It seemed almost cosmic in its timing, an event that marked not only the passing of a famous and controversial man, but the symbolic passing of a worldview he epitomized. Astronomer Carl Sagan, who died on December 20, was revered by millions as a gifted teacher and popularizer of space science. He was also reviled by UFO enthusiasts for his vigorous debunking not only of UFO evidence, but of all things paranormal. In his early years he openly investigated evidence of UFOs and alien visitation, but later rejected such possibilities entirely. Nonetheless, he championed the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence throughout his career, and in his last days he expressed guarded optimism regarding evidence of possible life on Mars, and even suggested that the famous landforms at Cydonia were worthy of study. Though a declared atheist, Sagan was a fervent humanist who promoted U.S.-Soviet cooperation in space as a key to world peace. He had seemingly infinite faith in science, and bitterly criticized what he considered irrational interest in spiritual and paranormal forces. We at CNI News can imagine Carl Sagan learning many new things, now that he's graduated to the next grade. Fare you well, Carl.
AND THAT's Our Year in Headlines. Can 1997 top it? We'll let you know, throughout the year. It does seem to us that the days of denial concerning "life from elsewhere" are about over -- and that probably means very big changes ahead. But change can be GOOD!
From CNI News... Happy Holidays and a Great New Year to you all.
Original file name: CNI - Year In Headlines
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