PREFACE: My column this month is one that I have contemplated writing for well over two decades, but have hesitated to do, given what I considered to be insufficient “hard” data to support my thesis. My working hypothesis, which was first engendered by the Associated Press photograph accompanying this article, is that UFOs, and their presumed occupants, may interact with cetaceans in the marine environment, in the same way that they are thought by some ufologists to interact with humans, farm animals, and animals in the wild. Moreover, I posit that the U. S. Government may be aware of this proposed alien/cetacean interaction, and that it is prepared to carry out expensive operations to investigate this possible phenomenon.
I do not present my article as proof of anything, principally because of the paucity of evidence available. Rather, I present it to alert the UFO community to the possible interaction of aliens and cetaceans. My hope is that the article will open a new field of investigation, and that it will cause researchers to be on the alert for additional data, which supports such an hypothesis.
On April 29, 1992, the two major newspapers in Seattle, the Post-Intelligencer (morning paper) and The Seattle Times (evening paper), published a photograph distributed by the Associated Press of a short-finned pilot whale being dropped out of a U. S. Air Force UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopter. The helicopter was reported to be located approximately 150 miles off the eastern shore of Florida at the time of the release. Both published photos, which appear to be in fact identical, were accompanied by short captions, but curiously, neither newspaper published an in-depth article about the event, or about the circumstances that led up to the seemingly quite peculiar operation, which involved the U. S. military.
The caption accompanying the photo published by the Post-Intelligencer (“PI”) states that in March 1991, beach-walkers near Key West, Florida, happened upon a pod of short-finned pilot whales, which apparently had stranded themselves on a nearby beach. Details of that event are not available to the author, but what often happens in such cases is that bystanders who discover the stranded cetaceans contact authorities, and quickly make attempts to save the animals by returning them to the surf. However, such rescue attempts are rarely successful, and one of the curious aspects of such efforts is that when the cetaceans are returned to the water, the animals often immediately swim straight back to the beach, almost as if they are frightened of returning to the ocean. The reason for this seemingly peculiar behavior remains a mystery to scientists. Under such circumstances, the animals almost invariably die from stress or other natural causes, or they frequently are euthanized on the beach.
In addition, according to the two published captions, there were at least two elements to the Key West beaching, which in retrospect, seem quite unusual. The first was that the tails (called “caudal peduncles”) of the creatures were severely bent laterally (a condition known as “scoliosis”), for which no cause was offered in the captions. It is interesting to contemplate what caused the strange “bending” disfigurement, which the author has never seen reported elsewhere in other cases of “beaching.” In a cursory search of the Internet, the author could find no other cases of cetaceans “beaching” themselves, which involved disfigurement of their caudal peduncles! Moreover, no reference could be found, which addressed the application of physical therapy to treat such a condition in cetaceans. Why someone was willing to make sufficient funds available in this case to provide 13 months of physical therapy to the animals, rather than euthanizing them on the beach, remains an unknown!
The second unusual aspect of the beaching event is that the U. S. military, and probably the U. S. Air Force, provided enough air support, in the form of heavy-lift helicopters, to transport approximately 1-2 dozen whales, each weighing probably 1,000-2,000 pounds, from the beach where they were discovered near Key West, to a large marine aquarium facility in Miami, “Seaquarium.” If the captions are accurate, the whales were then provided lodging and physical therapy at that facility for over a year, before being flown approximately 150 miles back out to sea and returned to the marine environment!
Given the magnitude and expense of the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of the whales, it leads this author to suspect that the operation must have been planned long before it actually occurred, and that it almost certainly must have involved funding by the U. S. Government. The remainder of my article is an analysis of this peculiar operation, in the form of questions, that the facts surrounding the unusual rescue seem to invite.
Question #1—Who secured the assistance of the U. S. Air Force, seemingly on the day of the beaching, to airlift up to two dozen, 2,000-pound whales from the site of the beaching near Key West to the Seaquarium facilities in Miami, a distance of approximately 130 miles? How was the Air Force able to muster the equipment and manpower, possibly on very short notice, to move the whales from where they were first found, to Miami, a total combined flight distance of perhaps 12,000 statute miles? Also, assuming that it costs approximately $5,000 per flight-hour to fly a UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopter, and that up to two dozen round-trip flights were made between Key West and Miami, the expense for transporting those whales to Miami must have been not less than a quarter million dollars! How, and by whom, was such a substantial budget made available, and who gave the authority for such a significant flight operation, apparently with fore-notice of not more than only a few hours?
Question #2--How were the facilities at Seaquarium able to be secured, for an indeterminate period of time, for occupancy by 1-2 dozen large whales, an arrangement presumably also made on the same day of the rescue? This fact also suggests that some entity must have assembled a substantial budget for this operation, an operation that had been anticipated by both the U. S. Government, and by Seaquarium personnel, long before any rescue event was to occur! Between the transportation of the whales, together with their lodging and care at Seaquarium, the 13-month operation must have cost on the order of millions of dollars, and it had to have been pre-planned long before the discovery of the beaching in March 1991. If we presume that the U. S. taxpayer paid for the operation, I believe it is logical to assume that someone in the government must have been very interested in the possibility of rescuing, and securing, “beached” whales, long before they swam up on the shore near Key West!
Question #3: What mysterious force caused the scoliosis of the whales’ caudal peduncles, and why was physical therapy provided, over the course of approximately 13 months, in order apparently to straighten their tails? Usually, when beached cetaceans are found, and if they are stressed or injured, the creatures are simply euthanized on the beach, as mentioned above. How was the decision made in this case, and by whom, to rescue the animals, airlift all of them approximately 130 miles to Miami, and provide them with lodging, food, and rehabilitation over the course of 13 months? What was the objective of this mission, and who would have made the decision to carry it out? Because of the existence of the U. S. Marine Mammals Act, which restricts citizens from interacting with marine mammals, or their bodies, the rescue operation could only have been sponsored by a federal government agency.
Question #4: Following 13 months of rehabilitation, why were the whales then flown 150 miles out to sea to release them back to their natural environment? Why weren’t they simply released from the Seaquarium facility, allowing the creatures to make their own way back to sea? Such an air operation, like the original rescue flight from Key West, must have been an extraordinarily expensive, and potentially perilous, one. This suggests the operation must have been viewed by someone as a priority, and by someone with substantial funds available to rescue, transport, feed, and rehabilitate up to two dozen large whales, over more than a year’s duration!
CONCLUSION: In the opinion of the author, the whale rescue/rehabilitation operation described above still deserves an in-depth investigation, given its very unusual nature. Principal questions to be answered are the following:
What caused the whales’ caudal peduncles to be bent and disfigured, and why did someone apparently decide to devote a substantial amount of money to rehabilitating the creatures? Could the cause of the disfigurement be analogous, for example, to the strange bending of wheat stems, seen in the case of crop formations?
Who made the substantial funds available for the rescue/rehabilitation operation?
What does the U. S. Government know about the beaching of cetaceans, and why are government officials possibly concealing that information from the public?
If anyone reading this article has answers to any of these questions, the author would welcome correspondence on the matter. What causes whales and porpoises to “beach” themselves is still a mystery to scientists, although there are several prominent theories on the subject. None of them seems adequate, and the author proposes, based on the evidence and analysis provided in this article, that the possibility of alien/cetacean interaction in the marine environment should be included in that list, and that this possibility deserves active investigation.
Peter Davenport can be reached at email@example.com.