(excerpts from a diary) Judge it for yourself from my diary excerpts-obviously simplified and adapted for this book. Pictures and drawings will help you to evaluate my story… A hot summer day. Far-away expanses drown in a bluish-lilac haze; the sky’s gigantic cupola with fluffy clouds stretches above the fields and coppices. I am flying about 300 meters above ground, with a distant lake-a light, elongated spot in the haze-as my reference point.
Blue, intricate tree contours slowly recede; between them, there are fields. Those, bluish-green ones are fields of oats; the whitish rectangles with a strange, rhythmic twinkling are those of buckwheat. Straight ahead of me is a field of alfalfa-its green color is familiar, it resembles the oil paint “cobalt medium-green”. Green oceans of wheat on the right are of a denser shade and resemble the “chrome oxide” paint. An enormous, multi-colored palette floats further and further backwards.
Footpaths meander between fields and coppices. They join gravel roads which it turn stretch further out, toward the highway, still invisible from here for the haze, but I know that if I flew on the right side of the lake, I would see it-a smooth, gray strip without a beginning or an end, on which cars-small boxes-are slowly crawling.Isometric, flat shadows of cumulus clouds are picturesquely spread around the sunny forest-steppe. They are deep-blue where they cover coppices, and are various shades of light blue over fields.
Now I am in the shadow of one such cloud: I accelerate-it’s quite easy for me to do that-and leave the shadow.I lean forward slightly and feel a warm, taut wind coming far down below, from the sun-warmed ground and plants. It comes not from the side, as on the ground, but strangely from the surface up. I physically feel a thick, dense current with a strong odor of blooming buckwheat. Of course this jet can easily lift up even a large bird-an eagle, a stork, or a crane-if it freezes its spread wings. But I have no wings and am suspended in the air not by the upward jet.
In my flight I am supported by a flat, rectangular little platform, slightly bigger than the seat of a chair, with a pole and two handles to which I hold on and with whose help I navigate the device. Is this science fiction? I wouldn’t say so…
In a word, the interrupted manuscript of this book was abandoned for two years because generous, ancient Nature, again through my insect friends had given me another Something-and it did so, as usual, elegantly and inconspicuously, yet swiftly and convincingly. And for two years the Discovery did not let me go, even though it seemed to me I was mastering it at a break-neck speed.(Note: Grebennikov would have been approximately 62-63 years of age in 1990-1992)
But it always happens this way: when your work is new and interesting, time flies twice as fast. A light spot of a steppe lake is already much closer. Beyond it, the highway is visible with already distinctly discernable boxes of cars. The highway is about 8km away from the railway that runs parallel to it, and if I look closer, I can see the poles of the power line and the light-colored embankment of the railway. It is time to turn some 20 degrees to the left.
I am not seen from the ground, and not just because of the distance: even in a very low flight I cast almost no shadow. Yet, as I found out later, people sometimes see something where I am in the sky-either a light sphere, a disk, or something like a slanted cloud with sharp edges that moves, according to them, not exactly the way a cloud would.
One person observed a “flat, non-transparent square, about one hectare in size”-could it have been the optically enlarged little platform of my device?Most people see nothing at all, and I am for the moment pleased with it-I can’t be too careful! Besides, I still haven’t determined what my visibility or invisibility depends on.
Therefore I confess that I consciously avoid people in my flight and for that purpose bypass cities and towns, and even cross roads and footpaths at high speed, after making sure there is no one on them.In these excursions-no doubt, fictional for the reader, but for me already almost casual-I trust only my insect friends depicted on these pages.The first practical use of my discovery was-and still is-entomological: to examine my secret places, to take a picture of them from above, to find new, still unexamined Insect Lands in need of protection and rescue.
Alas, Nature established its own, strict limitations on my work: just as on a passenger plane, I could see but couldn’t photograph.My camera shutter wouldn’t close, and both rolls of films I had taken with me-one in the camera, the other in my pocket-got light-struck. I didn’t succeed in sketching the landscape either; as both my hands were almost always busy, I could only free one hand for a couple of seconds. Thus I could only draw from memory. I managed to do that only immediately after landing-though I am an artist, my visual memory is not that great.
In my flight I did not feel the same way we do when we fly in our sleep.It was with flying in my sleep that I started this book a while ago. And flying is not so much pleasure as it is work, sometimes very hard and dangerous. One has to stand, not hover, the hands are always busy, and a few centimeters away there is a border separating “this” space from “that”, on the outside.The border is invisible but very treacherous. My contraption is still rather clumsy and resembles perhaps… hospital scales. But this is only the beginning!By the way, besides the camera, I sometimes had trouble with my watch and possibly, with the calendar too: descending on a familiar glade, I would occasionally find it slightly “out of season”, with a two-week deviation, and I had nothing to check it against.
Thus it is possible to fly not just in space but also-or so it seems-in time as well. I cannot make the latter claim with a 100% guarantee, except perhaps that in flight, particularly at its beginning, a watch runs too slow and then too fast, but at the end of the excursion starts running accurately again.This is why I stay away from people during my journeys: if time is involved alongside gravitation, I might perhaps accidentally disrupt cause-and-effect relations and someone might get hurt.This is where my fears were coming from: insects captured “there” disappear from test tubes, boxes, and other receptacles.They disappear mostly without a trace. Once a test tube in my pocket was crushed to tiny bits, another time there was an oval hole in the glass, with brown, as though “chitin” edges-you can see it in the picture.Many times I felt a kind of burning or an electric shock inside my pocket-perhaps at the moment of my prisoner’s “disappearance”.
Only once did I find a captured insect in the test tube, but it wasn’t the adult ichneumon with white rings on its feelers, but its… chrysalis, i. e. its earlier stage. It was alive-it moved its belly when touched. Much to my dismay, it died a week later.
It is best to fly on clear summer days. Flying is much more difficult when it rains, and almost impossible in winter-not because of the cold. I could have adapted my device accordingly, but since I am an entomologist, I simply do not need winter flights.
How and why did I come to this discovery? In the summer of 1988, as I was examining under a microscope the chitin shells of insects, their pinnate (feathery) feelers, and the thinnest structure of butterflies’ wings, I got interested in an amazingly rhythmical microstructure of one large insect detail.
It was an extremely well-ordered composition, as though pressed on a complex machine according to special blueprints and calculations. As I saw it, the intricate sponginess was clearly not necessary either for the durability of the detail, or for its decoration. I had never observed anything like this unusual micro-ornament either in nature, in technology, or in art.Because its structure is three-dimensional, so far I have been unable to capture it in a drawing, or a photograph. Why does an insect need it? Besides, other than in flight, this structure at the bottom of the wing case is always hidden from the eye-no one would ever see it properly. Was it perhaps the wave beacon with “my” multiple cavernous structures effect? That truly lucky summer there were very many insects of this species, and I would capture them at night: neither before, nor after was I able to observe these insects.
I put the small, concave chitin plate on the microscope shelf in order again to examine under strong magnification its strangely star-shaped cells. I again admired this masterpiece of nature, and almost purposelessly placed it on top of another, identical plate that had the same unusual cells on one of its sides.
But no!-the detail broke loose from my tweezers; for a few seconds it hung suspended above the other plate on the microscope shelf, turned a few degrees clockwise, slid to the right, turned counterclockwise, swung, and only then abruptly fell on the desk.
You can imagine what I felt at that moment… When I came to my senses, I tied a few panels with a wire-it wasn’t an easy thing to do, and I only succeeded when I positioned them vertically. What I got was a multi-layered chitin block. I put it on the desk.Even a relatively large object-such as a paper tack-could not fall on it-something pushed it up and aside. When I attached the tack on top of the “block”, I witnessed such incredible, impossible things (for example, the tack for a few moments was lost from sight) that I realized it was no beacon, but something else entirely.
And again I got so excited that all the objects around me became foggy and shaky. It was with a huge effort that I managed to pull myself together in a couple of hours and continue working.So, this is how it started. Of course, much still remains to be understood, verified, and tested. I will certainly tell my readers about the finer details of my machine, about its propulsion principles, about distances, heights, speeds, equipment, and all the rest-but in my next book.
…I conducted my first, very unsuccessful and highly dangerous flight on the night of March 17, 1990. I didn’t have the patience to wait till the warm season and neglected to go to a deserted area. I already knew that night was the most dangerous time for this kind of work.I had bad luck from the very beginning: the panel blocks of the right part of the bearing platform periodically got stuck. I should have fixed the problem immediately, but neglected to do so. I took off right in the middle of the Agricultural Academy campus, erroneously assuming that at 1 AM everyone was asleep, and nobody would see me.The lift-off went well, but in a few seconds, when the lit windows of buildings sank beneath me, I felt dizzy. I should have landed right then but remained airborne, which was wrong because a powerful force snatched away my control over the movement and weight, and it pulled me in the direction of the city.
Drawn by this unexpected, uncontrollable power, I crossed the second circle of nine-story buildings in the city’s residential area (they are laid out in two huge circles with five-story buildings, including ours, inside them), then I crossed a snow-covered, narrow field, and the Academy City highway… The dark immensity of Novosibirsk was closing in upon me, and it was closing in fast. I was already near a bunch of tall factory chimneys many of which fumed thick smoke-night shift was on. I had to do something quickly.
I got on top of the situation only with a great effort. Finally I managed to conduct an emergency adjustment of the panel blocks. My horizontal movement slowed down, but then I again felt sick.Only at fourth try did I succeed in stopping the horizontal movement, at which point my platform was hanging over Zatulinka, the city’s industrial district. The sinister chimneys silently continued to fume right underneath me.I rested for a few minutes-if one could call hanging over a lighted factory fence rest-and after I made sure the “evil power” has passed, I glided back-yet not in the direction of our Agricultural Academy campus but to the right from it, toward the airport. I did this to foul the trail, in case someone had seen me.
Only about halfway to the airport, over some dark, night fields where there was clearly no one around, I abruptly turned home… Next day I naturally couldn’t get out of bed.News on TV and in newspapers was more than alarming. Headlines, such as “UFO over Zatulinka” and “Aliens again?” meant that my flight had been detected. But how! Some perceived the “phenomenon” as glowing spheres or disks-many actually saw not one sphere but two! Others claimed they had seen a “real saucer” with windows and rays.
I am not discounting the possibility that some Zatulino residents saw not my near-emergency evolutions, but something else entirely that had nothing to do with those. Besides, March of 1990 was particularly rich in UFO sightings in Siberia, near Nalchik, and especially in Belgium where, according to Pravda, on March 31 the engineer Marcel Alferlane took a two-minute film of the flight of a huge triangular craft which, according to Belgian scientists, were none other than “material objects with a capacity no civilization can currently create.”
Is it really so? As for me, I would suggest that the gravitational filter platforms (or as I call them, panel blocks) of these machines were in fact small, triangular, and made here on Earth-but with more sophistication than my half-wooden contraption.I too wanted to make the platform triangular-it is much safer and more efficient that way-but I chose a rectangular design because it is easier to fold, and when folded, it resembles a suitcase, a painter’s case, or a briefcase that can be thus disguised so as not to arouse suspicion. I, naturally, disguised it as a painter’s case.
I had nothing to do with the sightings in Nalchik or Belgium. Besides, as it may appear, I am very impractical in the use of my discovery-I only fly to my entomological preserves. These are far more important to me than any technological finds.At the moment, I have eleven such preserves: eight in Omsk region, one in Voronezh region, and one near Novosibirsk. There used to be six of them in Novosibirsk region, all of them created, or rather salvaged by me and my family, but they don’t like them here. Neither the Agricultural Academy (still more obsessed with “chemistry” than with anything else), nor the Environmental Protection Committee were willing to help me salvage these little preserves from evil, ignorant people.
Thus I am continuing my journey westward under the magnificent, fluffy clouds at noon. The blue shadows of the clouds, the intricately shaped coppices, and the multicolored rectangles of fields float backwards below me.
The speed of my flight is quite high, but there is no wind in my ears-the platform’s force field has “carved out” from space an upward-diverging, invisible column that cuts the platform off the earth’s gravitational pull. But it left me and the air inside the column intact. I think that all this, as it were, parts space in flight, and then closes it behind me.
This must be the reason for the invisibility, or the distorted visibility, of the device and its “rider”-as was the case with my flight over Novosibirsk’s Zatulinka suburb.
But the protection from gravity is regulated, even though it is incomplete: if you move your head forward, you already feel the turbulence of the wind that clearly smells either of sweet clover, of buckwheat, or of the colored weeds of Siberian meadows.
I leave Isilkul with its huge grain elevator on my right and gradually begin to descend over the highway, making sure that I am invisible to drivers, passengers, and people working in the field.My platform and I cast no shadow (although the shadow occasionally appears): I see three kids on the edge of a forest, go down, drop my speed, and fly right near them. They show no reaction, which means that everything is fine-neither I, nor my shadow are visible. Or heard: the propulsion principle of my device is such that the platform makes no sound whatsoever, because there is practically no air friction.My journey was long-at least forty minutes from Novosibirsk. My hands are tired as I can’t take them off the controls, so are my legs and body-I have to stand up straight, tied to the vertical pole with a belt. And even though I can travel faster, I am still afraid to do so-my hand-made machine is still too small and fragile.
I again go up and ahead, and soon I see the familiar landmarks-a road intersection, a passenger terminal on the right side of the highway. Another five kilometers, and finally I see orange columns of the Preserve fence. The Preserve is this year-come to think of it-twenty years old! How many times I saved this child of mine from trouble and bureaucrats, from chemicals-loaded aircraft, from fires, and many other evil deeds. And the Land of Insects is alive and well!
Descending and braking, which is done by cross-shifting filter blinds under the platform board, I already see the thicket of carrot weed, make out the light heads of their flowers resembling azure balls-they are of course covered with insects, and an incredible joy comes over me, taking away my fatigue, for it was I who saved this piece of Earth, even if a small one, less than seven hectares.Already for twenty years no one has driven here, no one has cut the grass, tended cattle, and the soil has risen in places to fourteen centimeters high.
Not only several locally extinct species of insects have returned, but also such weeds as feather grass of rare varieties, purple Scorzonera whose large flowers in the morning smell of chocolate, and many other plants. I feel the thick smell of cuckoo flower-only this Middle Glade smells like that, it is right behind the fence of the preserve, and fills me with yet again with the joyful anticipation of another encounter with the World of Insects.Here they are, I can see them very well even from ten meters above the ground on the wide umbrellas and azure balls of angelica and carrot plants: dark orange butterflies sit on them in groups; heavy hornets bow the white and yellow inflorescences of lady’s bedstraws; ginger and blue dragonflies with trembling wide wings and a fine network of veins hover next to my head.
I slow down even more, and see a sudden flash below: my shadow, hitherto invisible, has finally appeared and now slowly glides along weeds and bushes.But I am already safe-there is not a soul around, and the highway three hundred meters north of the preserve is now empty.
I can land. The stems of the tallest weeds rustle against the bottom of my “podium”-the platform with the panel blocks.
But before putting it down on a little bump, I, in a fit of joy, again spread the blinds with my control handle, and vertically go up. The landscape below quickly shrinks, shrivels as it were: the shrubs of the preserve, its edges and fences, all the surrounding coppices and fields. The horizon begins to curve on all sides in a huge groove, opening up the railroad that runs two kilometers on the left, then a village on the right-it twinkles with its light slate roofs.
Further on the right is Roslavka, the central estate of Lesnoy State Farm-it already looks like a small city. Left from the railroad are cow farms of Lesnoy’s Komsomolsk branch; they are surrounded by a yellow ring of straw and dry, foot-worn manure. In the far west, where the smooth curve of the railroad disappears (this is actually confusing: the railway is straight as an arrow), there are small houses and the neat white cube of the Yunino railroad terminal, six km away. Beyond Yunino, there are limitless expanses of Kazakhstan drowning in the hot, bluish haze.
And finally here it is, below me-Isilkulia, the land of my youth; it’s very different from how it appears on maps and plans with their inscriptions and signs. It is vast, limitless, alive, interspersed with dark, intricate islands of coppices, cloudy shadows, light, clear spots of lakes.The huge disk of the Earth with all this for some reason appears more and more concave-I still haven’t discovered the reason for this already familiar illusion. I go up higher, the rare, white cloud masses sink lower, and the sky is darker than below-it is dark blue. The fields visible between the clouds are already covered with a thickening blue haze, and it is more and more difficult to make them out. Too bad I can’t take my four-year-old grandson Andrei with me; the platform could easily lift us both. Yet one can’t be too careful…
… Goodness, what am I doing? I cast a shadow back on the Glade, didn’t I? This means I can be seen by thousands, as on that memorable night in March. It is day now, and I may again appear as a disk, square, or worse, my own person… There is also a cargo plane, still soundless, coming straight at me, quickly growing in size; I already see the cold shimmer of its body and the pulsation of its unnaturally red blinker.Down, quick! I brake abruptly, make a turn; the sun is at my back; my shadow should be across from me, on the gigantic, convex wall of a white cloud. But there is none, only a multicolored glory, an iridescent, bright ring familiar to all pilots has brushed the cloud ahead of me.
I sigh with relief-this means nobody saw either me, or my “double” in the guise of a triangle, square, or a “banal” saucer… A thought occurs to me (I must say that despite the desperate technical and physical inconvenience, imagination works much better and faster in a “falling” flight): what if I am not the only one out of five billion people to have made my discovery; what if flying devices based on the same principle-both home-made and professional-have long been constructed and tested?
But all screening platforms have the same quality: sometimes they become visible to other people; pilots too are “transformed”-they are seen as “humanoids” in silver costumes, either short and green, or flat as if made of cardboard (Voronezh, 1989), etc. Thus it may very well be that these are not alien UFO crewmen, but “temporarily deformed”-of course to outside observers-earthly pilots and builders of little platforms, such as mine, who have made their inventions reliable.
My advice to those who in their study of insects comes across the same phenomenon and begin making and testing a “gravitoplane” (by the way, I am convinced that one can’t make the discovery without insects) is this: to fly only on fine summer days, to avoid working in thunderstorms or rain, not to get too far or too high, not take a thing with you from the landing area, to make all assembly units maximally strong, and to avoid testing the device in the vicinity of any power lines, towns (let alone cities), transport, or people.The best site for testing is a distant forest glade, as far away from human habitation as possible; otherwise a phenomenon known as poltergeist could occur in the radius of a few dozen meters-“unexplained” movements of household objects, switching off, or on, of household electric appliances, and even fires.
I myself have no explanation for all this, but it seems that these phenomena are the consequence of temporal disruptions, a complicated and treacherous thing. Not a single, even tiniest fragment or particle should be dropped either during the flight, or in the landing area.Let us remember the Dalnegorsk phenomenon of January 29, 1986-apparently a tragic one for the inventors, when the entire device was blown apart and scattered on a vast area, and only small shreds of filter cells were found, impossible to analyze chemically (as it should be!).Remember, I wrote that insects taken “there” and moved “here” in a test tube disappeared, and a hole was formed in the tube, if it remained intact.
It turns out these holes resembled those in window glass; the latter sometimes appear in residential and office buildings, occasionally in “bursts” in the windows of several rooms and floors. A hole is 3-5 mm on the outside, widening in a cone to he inside, with exit diameter of 6-15 mm. Some holes are melted or colored in brown on edges-just as it happened in the case of my insect in a test tube.
It seems that this type of poltergeist is caused not, as I used to believe, by short-lived microplasmoids of a tiny ball lightening type, but by particles and specks carelessly dropped while testing a device similar to mine. The photographs of window holes on these pages are documentary and made by me at the scientific center of the Agricultural Academy near Novosibirsk. I can show them to anyone who wants to see them. These holes appeared during 1975-1990, but none of them, except perhaps the very last one, are related to my flights.
I am certain that part of UFO descriptions are actually those of platforms, panel blocks and other large parts of devices deliberately or accidentally taken out of the active field by their designers and makers. These fragments are capable of causing much trouble to others, or at best, to generate a series of improbable tales and stories in papers and magazines, often accompanied by “scientific” commentary…
Why am I not disclosing the particulars of my discovery at this time? Firstly, because one needs time and energy for proving the truth. I have neither. I know how daunting this task is from my own bitter experience of trying to get recognition for my previous discoveries, including such an obvious one as the Cavernous Structures Effect of whose reality you, my readers, I am sure, are by now convinced.This was the result of my protracted, painstaking efforts to get the CSE scientifically recognized:
“Any further correspondence with you on the subject of your patent application is counterproductive.”
I know personally some of the High Priests of Science, and I am certain that were I ever to get an audience with one such person (which is now practically impossible), were I ever to;
open my painter’s case,
attach the pole,
turn the handle,
and soar to the ceiling,
he wouldn’t be a bit impressed-or worse still, would order the trickster out of the office. I look forward to times when young people will replace these “priests”.
The second reason for my “non-disclosure” is more objective. I found these antigravitational structures only in one species of Siberian insects. I am not even naming the class to which this insect belongs-it seems to be on the verge of extinction, and the population surge I registered back then was possibly local and final.Thus, if I were to name the genus and the species, what is the guarantee that dishonest people, half-way competent in biology, would not rush out to ravines, meadows, and forests to catch perhaps the very last samples of this Miracle of Nature?What are the guarantees that they would not plough up hundreds of glades, cut down dozens of forests to get to this potentially lucrative prey? Therefore, let all I have related in this chapter and in the addendum remain science fiction; may Nature herself never reveal this secret to them-it would take a lot of effort, and they would never be able to get it by force as there are still several million insect species living on the planet.Spend at least an hour on the morphological study of each of them, then calculate the odds of encountering the Unusual, and I will sincerely wish you diligence and a very long life, for even if you took no days off, working eight hours a day, you would need a thousand years of life.
I hope I will be understood and forgiven by those of my readers who wanted immediate information about my discovery not for selfish ends, but simply out of curiosity. Indeed, what would you do in my place if you were to act in the best interests of Living Nature?Besides, I can see that similar inventions have been made by other people who are also in no rush to take their discoveries to bureaucrats’ offices, preferring to fly across night skies in the guise of strange disks, triangles, or squares with chatoyant (iridescent) glimmer.
Falling down, or rather sinking down, I orient myself, look to see if there is anyone around. I brake abruptly about forty meters from the ground, and land safely where I always do-on a tiny glade in the Big Forest of the preserve. You won’t find it on a map, and if you get there, you won’t be able to find it either.Don’t judge me for the fact that the branches of several aspens there are cut or sliced “by lightening”: The strictly vertical take-off and landing are very difficult, and the initial trajectory is for the most part slanted, particularly at take-off, when the platform is for some reason carried off away from the sun, and sometimes the other way around.
I loosen the screws on the control pole, then shorten it like an antenna of a portable radio, and remove it from the platform which I fold in half. Now it looks like a painter’s case, a box for paints, if only a bit thicker. I put the case, some food, and a few tools for repairing the fence in my backpack and make my way for the Middle Glade between aspens and short dog-rose bushes. Even before I leave the forest, I see a good omen-a family of fire-red toadstools that have lined up on the forest bedding in a wide curve, or, as it used to be called in folklore, a “witch’s ring”.
Why “witch’s”? And in general, why does one have to break, knock off, trample this beautiful mushroom of Siberian forests? I often asked mushroom-pickers why they do it. The answer was, “because it’s inedible!” But turf, clay, twigs, tree stumps, and stones are inedible too.If there were rocks lying in the forest instead of mushrooms, no one would be knocking them off. It seems that inedible mushrooms are knocked off because they are alive; they are knocked off only in order to kill them! What is this then?Do people really have this in their blood-to knock off a mushroom, to crush a bug, to shoot a bird, a hare, or a bison?
And is this not where boorishness, sadism, pogroms, and wars originate? One really wants not to believe it, but I put myself in the shoes of an alien: I come to Earth to visit humans and see them knock off mushrooms, crush insects, shoot birds and each other.What would I do? I would immediately turn my spacecraft around and go back. I wouldn’t return for at least 500 earth years… What would you do, my reader, if you were an alien?
It’s a good thing at least that this little family of toadstools is hidden from evil eyes and cruel feet. Every summer it gives me joy to see its special life, its cinnabar-red, moist caps with large, whitish scales. But here is the Glade. I step on it, as usual, with my heart sinking with a constant longing for this dear, faraway nature of Isilkul, with a fear that some “master” might decide to plough it up, and with a joy that it is still unploughed, uncut, and untrampled…
And it really means nothing that in my backpack I have a folded, i. e. neutralized platform with gravitational, micro-cellular filter blocks, and between them, a folded pole with field regulators and a belt with which I fasten myself to the pole.
What difference does it make that I got about fifty years ahead of contemporary science with my discovery? People are still going to master this and many other mysteries of Matter, Space, Gravitation, and Time.
But no supercivilization on any planet of any Supergalaxy is going to re-create this very Glade with its complex, fragile, trembling Life, with its lady’s bedstraws, meadow sweets, and feather-grass…Where else, in what corner of the Universe are you going to find a match for this lilac-blue bellflower in whose semi-transparent entrails two flower flies are doing their love dance? On what other planet would a nearly tame blue butterfly land on your outstretched hand to have a taste of something salty-sausage, cheese, or a pickle? Or else, just to walk up and down your palm, opening and closing its gray wings on whose backside there is a fine ornament of round eye-shaped spots?
…It hasn’t been too long since we, humans, started flying-first air balloons, then airplanes, and now powerful rockets that we send to other heavenly bodies. What next? Next we are going to fly to other stars at a speed close to that of light; but even the closest galaxy would still be out of reach.Yet Humankind-if it earns the name of Intelligent-will solve many riddles of the Universe and will then overcome that hurdle too. Then any worlds of the Universe will become accessible, close-even if they are trillions of light years away. It’ll happen, for it is all a matter of Reason, Science, and technology. But of nothing else. Only this Glade may disappear if I-and there is no one else to rely on-am not going to preserve it for my close and distant descendants.
So what is more valuable to Humanity at this time-the insect preserve or the home-made device capable of developing the zenithal pull of at least 100 kg and the horizontal speed of 30-40 km/min? I am asking you, my reader. But think hard before you give a serious, responsible answer.
Look at these pictures. This is my rather simple device in assembly. A flexible cable inside a steering column trasmits movement from the left handle to the gravitational blinds.By joining or parting these “wing cases”, I lift off or land. Once I lost the left handle in a free-falling descent and would have been in a better world if the platform hadn’t dug out a rather deep well in the tillage-first a vertical one, then a horizontal, facing away from the sun.Thus I not only survived, but also felt almost no impact-just darkness. I extracted myself and my fairly badly damaged device from this well-but not without efforts as the “well” had no slag heaps!
I had to use all my ingenuity to disguise it. If seen from the road, it would have caused much speculation, and may even have led some over-zealous investigators to the culprit. Similar wells-also with a side-tunnel and without slag heaps-were suddenly formed on October 24, 1989 in the fields of Khvorostyansk District of Samara Region. Komsomol’skaya pravda described it in detail on December 6 of the same year. It seems I am not alone. And quite likely am “inventing a bicycle”. Well, actually the top part of my device looks very much like one: the right handle is used for horizontal, onward march achieved, also via a cable, by the incline of both groups of “wing case” blinds. I never fly faster than 25 km/min, preferring to go ten times slower.
…I don’t know whether I have persuaded you, my reader, that similar devices will soon be available to practically everyone, while Living Nature which humans cannot survive without won’t be available to anyone if we don’t save it.
But I don’t want to seem entirely greedy and will give researchers another Patent of Nature, one also related to Movement and Gravitation. Physicists say that an unsupported mover is impossible. In other words, a device completely isolated from the environment won’t fly or drive-a car won’t go without outer wheels, a plane won’t fly with a covered propeller or engine, neither will a rocket with stopped nozzles. Baron Mьnchhausen who managed to pull himself up by the hair from a mire is the only exception.
It happened near Novosibirsk in 1981 when we were studying the entomo-fauna of alfalfa-its pollinators and pests. Walking along the field, I was “mowing” alfalfa with an insect net and was then moving its contents-insects, leaves and flowers-into a glass jar. Such is the cruel method of studying the insect make-up of fields, no better one has been invented. Alas, such was the work with which I earned my living at the Institute of Agricultural Chemistry. I was about to throw a piece of ethered cotton wool into the jar and then cap it, when a light little cocoon jumped up at me.
It was oval-shaped, rather dense and non-transparent. One of the “prisoners” of the jar must have pushed it-cocoons can’t jump on their own! But the cocoon proved me wrong: it jumped up one more time, hit the glass wall, and fell down. I took it out and put it in a separate test tube. At home I looked at it through a binocular microscope-nothing special, a cocoon like any other, about 3 mm long, 1.5 mm wide. Its walls felt strong to the touch-as they should.
The cocoon energetically jumped when lit-or warmed?-by the sun; it was quiet in the dark. Its could jump 30mm longwise and, what was even more remarkable, up to 50mm high. As far as I could tell, it flew smoothly, almost without tumbling. No doubt, the larva of the insect was responsible for the movement. But it was impossible to see how it was happening.
Jumping ahead, I can tell you that the cocoon finally produced a male insect of the ichneumon family, the Batiplectes anurus species. It is beneficial for agriculture because its larvae parasitize the weevil, a pest of alfalfa.
The flying cocoon was finally to land in a cool place-for example, a crack in the ground. It must have found myself in my net during its strange journey, i. e. at the moment of its jump. It all resembled poltergeist-unexplained “jumps” of household objects, many times described in papers. I would put it on glass and look at it from below: could it be that the larva draws in its bottom and then abruptly releases it? Nothing of the kind-there were no dents at any point, and the cocoon jumped no matter how I rolled it. It was also remarkable that from horizontal, slippery glass it jumped sideways.
I measured its trajectories: they were up to 35 cm long and up to 50 mm high, that is, the cocoon lifted itself up to a height 30 times its own width! Shall I leave this capsule without support? But how? With a piece of loose cotton wool! I loosen a piece of cotton wool by pulling it a little, place the cocoon on this “cloud”, put it out in the sun and impatiently wait. If the cocoon’s inhabitant jumps by hitting the lower wall, making the cocoon to bounce off its support, this time it won’t work because the impact will be absorbed by the thin, paddy fibrils of the cotton wool. Theoretically, the cocoon shouldn’t even move. But no: it takes off from its motionless pad-up and aside, as it did before.
I measure the broad jump: 42 mm, i. e. as before. The insect must have been hitting not the bottom, but the top part of the cocoon-at any rate, it must have been doing something that caused the capsule to move.Frankly speaking, it is as I write these notes that I feel agitation; back then, in 1981, I found nothing supernatural in the jumps of my prisoner. This was because I knew that, according to physics, there are and there can be no unsupported movers. Otherwise I would have bred a couple of hundred of those insects-thankfully, they were quite common-and would have studied the phenomenon thoroughly.
Now let us fantasize a little: what if the batiplectes wanted to leave the Earth? An adult, winged insect would have no luck-our atmosphere is quite rarefied at the top, wings are no match for it. A larva in a cocoon is an entirely different matter. It could, in theory, after lifting its capsule 5 cm in a jump, take it up even further while in the air, then again and again…
And if the cocoon were airtight-I mean the air reserve for the pilot’s breathing-then the device would be able to leave the atmosphere and would have no obstacles to a limitless build-up of speed. Such is the alluring, incredible value of unsupported movers, declared, alas, a product of empty fantasy. But even if you are no physicist, you still have a hard time imagining what a tiny larva does in there if its vessel soars 5 cm high. It simply can’t be-and yet it jumps!
Physicists say that this is “beyond science” as it “contradicts the laws of nature.” The only problem is that the Batiplectes anurus doesn’t know it. The physicists’ ban must also have been unknown to the leading, experienced biologists who honestly wrote the following on page 26 of the academic Register of Insects of European USSR (vol. III, pt. 3): “the cocoon jumps up as a result of abrupt movements of the larva inside the cocoon.” In a word, it is a working-and tested-example of a safe, unsupported mover. I am giving it to you, my reader: invent, design, build, and Godspeed! But hurry!Massive chemical warfare has been waged against the alfalfa pest snout-beetle (phitonomus). Humanity may actually win it.
But the price may be too great: with the destruction of the Phitonomus varnabilis beetle, our planet’s fauna may also lose the ichneumon Batiplectes anurus as it parasitizes only this kind of weevil and cannot survive without it.Meanwhile, any proposals on using biological weapons against the pest-such as our very ichneumon and other insect predators are completely rejected by the bosses of Russian agriculture and agricultural science. I have been fighting them on this for years, but so far with little success.
However, one could understand those in charge too-how can one stop expensive chemical factories? And why do agrarian scientists care about some unsupported mover that doesn’t allow alfalfa to be treated with poison? Hurry up, biologists, engineers, physicists! For if Chemistry wins, this Mystery-and with, a host of other Mysteries related to it-will leave people for ever. Without insects, people won’t invent it themselves.
Please trust me, an entomologist with 60-year experience.
At the end of my first book, A Million Riddles, published in Novosibirsk in 1968, there is a drawing that I am reproducing again: a man is flying over Novosibirsk’s Academic City. He is flying a device based on a huge pair of insect wings.At the time I dreamed of inventing such a machine. Strangely, the dream came true precisely because of my friendship with insects-yet not by blindly copying the most noticeable parts-for example wings that only make me smile now-but through careful study of living Nature.
Nothing would have been possible without my six-legged friends. No one would be able to do without them either. Thus safeguard their world, the ancient, wonderful world of Insect, for it is an infinite, unique treasure of Nature’s mysteries! I beg you all, take care of it!