CHOICE : Make friends with an alien

threee to see in seven days
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The Independent Culture
Whatever you may have heard, space is not the final frontier. Stanton T Friedman, the American UFO researcher, for example, prefers cosier concepts. "I try to get people to think of a local galactic neighbourhood," says Friedman from his home in Canada. "The evidence is overwhelming that Earth is being visited by intelligently-controlled extra-terrestrial spacecraft. There are 46 stars similar to our sun within 54 light years of Earth. That isn't too far for aliens to travel."

Friedman, who gives a series of lectures in Britain starting tomorrow, believes he will convince the most dogmatic sceptic of the existence of flying saucers. Other scientists, he says (he himself has a nuclear physics degree) refuse to take UFO research seriously, not only because they are ignorant of the data, but because they are frightened of being laughed at - something he calls the "laughter curtain".

Recently, interest in Friedman's work has been revived by the infamous Roswell Incident film, which surfaced early this year, purportedly showing an autopsy of aliens (above) recovered from a flying saucer which crashed in New Mexico in 1947. Friedman, however, one of the first researchers to look at the case in detail, is sceptical: "I've watched the film over and over again. I can't prove that it's a hoax but I couldn't find anything that led me to believe it had anything to do with Roswell."

Ultimately, though, whether or not you're prepared to be convinced, Friedman promises an entertaining experience: "I know what I'm talking about. I've done 37 years of study. I've been out there and I've heard all the questions." Britain, Earth, next week: all non-human life will be there.

MAXTON WALKER

'Flying saucers ARE real!': Bath University 21 Oct, East Anglia University 22 Oct, Edinburgh University 23 Oct, Birmingham Odeon 24 Oct, Oxford University Union 25 Oct, London Brixton Academy 26 Oct, Canterbury University 30 Oct, Brighton Dome 31 Oct; check with venues for times and prices

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