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 transmits 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 Münchhausen 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! FROM THE NOTEBOOK OF A NATURALIST Artificial honeycomb. Take a dozen and a half papier-machet supermarket egg cases (30-egg variety), tie them up or glue them together (one on top of another) in such a way as to join the "teeth" to one another, not to the hollow spots. You will have large cells, similar to multi-cellular combs of a certain "paper" wasp, except many times larger. Fix the whole set (it can be enclosed in a case) over the head of a person sitting in a chair, with the bottom "comb" is 10-20 cm above the head. Leave the person there for 10-15 min. The "unnatural", unusual transformation of the spatial shape formed by the set can be picked up even by the palm of a hand. Experiment with couching seeds, or breeding microorganisms and insects under a "macrocomb" and compare the results with those of identical experiments conducted at least 2 m away from the comb. Repeat each pair of experiments several times. "Iron comb". in a similar way, test the impact of common kitchen shredders piled up one on top of another, with their wire-edges down, small-hole shredders at the bottom, large-hole ones at the top.