This black knight is not at all related to the bat-costumed dark knight that we know all too well. In fact, many people think it’s an alien satellite that has been kept secret by NASA and the government for more than a decade since it was first discovered. Over the decades, there have been many sightings of the strange object, but no one knows why it’s up there floating in space. All reports from US, Russia, And Europe in general say that the satellite is of “unknown origin”. So what is this curious object anyway? When was it discovered? What does it do? What is its purpose? Let’s start from the very beginning.
Although there are varied opinions, it is generally believed that Nikola Tesla was the one who “discovered” the black knight when he set up a magnifying transmitter at his Colorado Springs facility in 1899 to investigate wireless distribution of electricity. What he didn’t expect were strange signals that were repeated periodically with number and order. They were timed pulses coming as ...1, ...2, ...3, that led him to believe that the signal was coming from an extraterrestrial source. Tesla originally thought that the signals were being sent from Mars, but he later restated that the signal was actually coming from another part of space. It’s not surprising that Tesla associated the signal with alien intervention, because a lot of people believe that Tesla has had contact with aliens. It is believed that he received information from aliens in a number of different cases. For example, once he was trying to find an equation/principle for the AC machine and suddenly, out of nowhere, he got the answer via telepathy or from an unknown source. Apparently he also invented many things for the government that were kept from the public, but that’s another story on it’s own.
Not long afterward Tesla’s discovery, Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor and electrical engineer, was also intercepted by a strange unknown artificial signal. He found that some of his morse code messages were being returned to him, which fascinated and frightened him at the same time.
Following his discovery in 1927, another man named Jorgen Hals, a civil engineer in Oslo, was using a radio receiver to listen to shortwave transmissions and noticed something very peculiar was happening. His signals were being reflected back to him. He didn’t know what it was, but the echoes were being reflected back to him at strange intervals ranging from 3-15 seconds. These irregularly reflected intervals were later known to be LDES, or Long Delayed Echoes.
After the occurrence of all of these events that might have been related to alien interaction (especially the LDES), the press was majorly stirred up. From 1928 to 1930, a experiments were performed that tested the legitimacy of the reflected signals, and it turned out that they were very real indeed. The only problem was that no one had an explanation for the signals’ reflections. As a result, even more experiments were run in France and the UK in the 1930's, but at the end of the day scientists could do nothing but be confused and speechless. Even today, we don’t have an agreed upon explanation for the occurrence and location of these LDES.
Of course, after the experiments were run, the black knight became an even hotter topic for many news outlets, and the first story of the alien shuttle appeared on May 14th, 1954 when St. Louis Dispatch and The SF Examiner wrote about it, explaining that the U.S had found a strange satellite in space and that it could possibly be a surveillance satellite launched by the Russians.
Then, on August 23, 1954, another story was released about the Black Knight, this time by the tech mag Aviation Week and Space Technology. They basically told the world that the Pentagon found two satellites orbiting the earth, both of which were natural. The pentagon was furious when they heard about the release of the story because want the satellites to be known by the public. As a result, they lied to the public and told them that the satellites were asteroids (as if anyone would actually believe them). By then the public already knew that something was up, and that either the Russians had managed to put something into orbit or there was something more...supernatural at work.
A few years later, in March of 1960, another satellite was found orbiting earth. This satellite was a spectacular discovery because it wasn’t like the previously discovered satellites at all. It was a large black object weighing about 15 tons that was in POLAR orbit around earth, which means that it passes over polar regions and has a plane that contains the polar axis. This is amazing because first of all, the US and soviets didn’t even KNOW how to put an object in polar orbit. Second of all, neither country was capable of putting an object that weighs so much into space either. Third of all, the satellite was twice as fast as any known satellite at the time. As a result, the strange polar-orbiting satellites acquired a name: the Black Knight. No one knows for sure the origins of the name, but it’s believed that the name is based on a rocket the British had developed, which was also called Black Knight. After the amazing discovery, astronomers across the country conducted research on the satellite and realized that it had one of the strangest patterns of appearance and disappearance, because it would disappear for long periods of time before reappearing again YEARS later.
Robert L. Johnson, director of the Adler Planetarium, said that "‘THE OBJECT ‘DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THE DECENCY TO MAINTAIN A REGULAR SCHEDULE,LIKE ANY OTHER HEAVENLY OR MAN MADE OBJECT...‘WE DON’T KNOW WHEN TO WATCH FOR IT.’" What was it trying to do?
Stanford space scientist Ronald Bracewell had an explanation for the phenomenon and believed that the satellite was a way for a distant alien civilization to communicate with earth. He said that the aliens might have sent out a probe, or ‘Bracewell probe’ as it’s we now call it, into the universe to look for other planets that seemed promising and contained intelligent lifeforms. He said that the satellite would remain dormant until humans found a way to send signals to it, in which it would send signals back.
Duncan Lunan, a Scottish science writer was so intrigued by Bracewell’s theory that he decided to test it out for himself. He reexamined the data from the LDE experiments of 1928 and was absolutely and completely baffled. He mapped out the delays from the echos he recorded in 1928, and found that they formed the pattern of the Boötes constellation, a constellation the in the northern sky. Not only that, Lunan was also able to decode the message that was being conveyed from the LDE Data at a stable point between the orbits of Earth and Moon called L5. the message read:
If this doesn’t send chills down your spine, I don’t know what does.
What’s even more amazing is that, along with the decoded message, Lunan also realized something else. Although he made his discovery in 1972, he realized that the star system he saw from the LDE data was not like the star system he saw in the skies at all. He concluded that if the black knight really was an alien probe, it must have taken ages to reach earth. He was right. By looking back in time, Lunan realized that the map he created matched how Epsilon Bootis looked like the Epsilon Bootis that was in the skies 13,000 years ago. This means that the satellite, possibly sent from a distant alien civilization, could have been orbiting the planet since pre-history.
By then, Lunan was pretty much convinced that an alien civilization living near the Bootes constellation was trying to contact earth. It’s possible that the the same signal was also intercepted by Tesla and Macroni as well, but we will never know for sure. Sadly, since there wasn’t solid proof regarding the existence of such a supernatural satellite, people started believing the Pentagon’s excuse that the Black Knight was just some “space debris”.
Thankfully, visual evidence of the satellite was found in 1998 when the crew of the space shuttle Endeavor was able to take high-resolution pictures of the strange black object while they were in space. The old stories of Tesla, LDES, and Lunan’s constellation map once again resurfaced in the minds of people across the country. Until today, we are still not sure what the Black Knight is, what it does, or where it comes from, but we DO know for a fact that it’s no regular satellite.