Monday, May 24, 2010

Flying Saucer Review Volume 8 #s 4&5: Still in the Desert.

Very little overt nonsense in FSR in these numbers. Trevor James wrote that UFOs needed to be studied by a "new" type of scientist like "Dr. Meade Layne" of the Borderline Sciences Research Association [which achieved most of it's "results" by channeling trance control spirit entities from the "Etherian Realms", i.e. existences less "dense" than us]. On one thing James begged to differ with Layne, however. Layne thought these entities were generally speaking advanced consciousnesses bringing goodness and light. James thought they were the Anti-Christ. That's "science" for you. Another article featured a guy named Galli. He was described as a "simple normal man". And one must admit that he had some simple normal thoughts. He met with the UFOnauts and they treated him well. Especially the beautiful, friendly women who, naturally, were from Venus. Yep. Normal. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Slightly closer to Earth were two case reports from X-15 US spyplane pilots. Both Joe Walker [left] and Robert White were reported to have seen unidentifieds during their test pilot careers. My foggy memory is that as time has gone on, White's incident has been stronger than Walker's--but look them up yourself to check me on this. FSR quoted the London Daily Telegraph as White saying: "I have no idea what it could be. It was greyish in color and about 30 to 40 feet away." TIME magazine quoted a voice transmission of White's saying: "There are things out there. There absolutely is!". Naturally this couldn't have pleased the USAF but even these encounters disappeared into the black hole of forgetfulness at a rapid pace. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------There were a few other worthy incidents. Charles Maney of NICAP saw his own saucer . This was a brilliant blue object which stopped in the air and reversed course. Rarely does a UFO expert get a sighting of their own after being in the field a long time, but Maney was lucky. Another case that I'll mention occurred in Antarctica at Hallet Station. I do so not because of what FSR knew, but because, in a different set of documents [Blue Book], there's a point worth mentioning. Blue Book got this report through military channels, and "solved" it by going to a map that they had in Dayton and deciding that the angle of observation that the observers [scientists by the way] had given had to be completely inaccurate. Blue Book decided that since there were no nearby hills, the witnesses had to be looking almost horizontally, and the UFO was an astronomical error. This is so "disappointing" that I feel that there is almost nothing that you can believe simply because it is written down even in the "private" documents of the project. This is because you can see [google it] that hills rise up directly beside the research station. What happened here? Extreme laziness? Extreme incompetence? Cosmic conspiracy? Well, I don't believe that last one, but the other two are damning enough. One is max-ed out on disappointment when one realizes that this was the so-called "good guy" Robert Friend's watch. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On a last phenomenological point: Bernard Finch stated that according to his reading of incidents, the UFOs are "water thieves". He felt that too many of the cases were associated with sitting right over or on top of the water to be a coincidence. This became a theme in UFOlogy with reports of actual "hoses" et al siphoning water to craft. In my files are a couple of cases of this which might even be credible. The 1959 Skiatook, OK case could be good, and the 1980 Rosedale, Australia case is hard to get around even though the actual water-taking wasn't seen. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Life on Mars was a feature of 8#5. A person named Christopher Ellerby wrote a fairly conservative piece on the nature of Mars' atmosphere and likely history and ended with an upbeat note on the chances of life having evolved there. Unfortunately, one then sees him straining to imagine how to save the idea that intelligent life might be there, and he proposes that since Mars is little, maybe it is big [low gravity argument] or, better yet, really fast evolving. Well...not too convincing.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Another short piece announces the entry into the field of one of our smarter folks, Frank Salisbury, NASA biologist and faculty member at Colorado State and then the University of Utah. Frank was quoted on his to-be long-held view [after everyone else had given up on it] that the mystery of the darkening and lightening "seasons" on the Martian surface were from microscopic plants. This, he felt, was a proper scientific hypothesis [he is correct on that] and where he made his scientific stand. But Frank also would not give up on the idea that the UFOs might also come from Mars. This was a speculation based more on hope than science and never could be filled in with real facts.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Lastly Jacques Vallee did a statistical analysis of the timing of UFO waves with the approaches of Mars, and found a correlation with four consecutive waves but not others. He correctly stated his findings as showing that UFO waves [generally] did NOT correlate with Mars' position, but that his statistics supported the idea that for a period of time, 1950-1956, they did. Well, OK as to the math. My view is that four points does not make any sort of conclusion, especially when other points don't agree; and I am skeptical as to how sharp the fits of of curve peaks with the Mars positions are. Each to their own on this.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As a last topic: Girvan wrote an editorial musing about the name "UFO", and whether it gave the wrong impression and was unhelpful. I believe that such a discussion which has been repeated in the field many times is fairly useless, but in this case Girvan embedded in the essay the germs of a clarifying idea.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------What Girvan began stumbling toward in his essay was the problem of the large variety of hypotheses that had begun to cluster around the "UFO" concept. These hypotheses were of several types, as far as the "agencies" behind the reported phenomena were concerned. As I read Girvan's words, the problem of separation of theories seemed to resolve itself into two dichotomies: 1). was the report due to current human beings here on good old Earth? or was it not due to "us"?; and 2). was what was reported the product of technology that was part of the physical universe, and therefore the product of physical laws? or was what was reported not the product of "normal" physical laws? I've made a "pundit square" pictorializing these options to the left. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------When the phenomenon started to be heavily noticed after WW2, there was little doubt in anyone's mind that if it was real it was technology produced in accordance with the laws of the physical universe. It was either technology made by us, or it was technology not made by us. The Air Force said "flying Discs" and that was a completely understandable and appropriate label. The press ran with "flying saucers" and that was, really, the same thing, whether it was a linguistic blunder via the Kenneth Arnold interview or not---Flying Discs and Flying Saucers are the same thing, even visually, one just sounds sillier. By the time Ruppelt came along, the discs had multiplied into cigars, spheres, triangles et al [none of which seemed like they should easily fly], so the disc became an "object"--another perfectly logically acceptable name. [UFO]. Those were THE hypotheses--the left side of the square. Just because people could think of lots of other things does not mean we can criticize the USAF or Keyhoe/NICAP for having their own hypothesis. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------People want to criticize the term "UFO" out of an idealist desire to produce a non-restrictive term. That is a useless exercise. All hypotheses by nature restrict the guess at what the phenomenon to be studied might be. The term as originated by the USAF was part of their hypothesis--some form of currently unknown technology. If it would prove not to be true, so be it--that's science, and that's our "estimate of the situation". If it turned out to be something real but something else, well, make up another term for it in line with the new hypothesis--but don't expect to encompass everything under one vague and powerless word. In my opinion there is no useful word that will throw a tent over both objective and subjective, both material and paranormal, guesses as to what all may be happening in "!@#$%^&*(" reports. If one insists on being mindlessly Baconian in the march to discovery, then you turn off your synthetic intelligence and use no invented words at all--the truths are supposed to just bubble-up without any bias. No one thinks this model of science makes any sense and it certainly shares no common ground with the real world. "UFO" was a perfectly good word. Still is. It may not remain a part of the ultimate answer about what these reports are about, but the job of the scientist/explorer is not to be afraid of having ideas, just be afraid of falling in love with them. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UFO is fine by me. If someone wants UnidentifiedAerialObject or [worse] UnidentifiedAerialPhenomena, then I believe that they are getting perilously close to giving their investigations no boundaries at all [at which time unidentified tossed fruit, witches on broomsticks, and "was that a bird or a bat?" become part of ones pile of mountainous miscellany. If UFOs turned out to be witches, then one would hope we'd be open enough to see it, and write a book with a different title.] But, what the heck--if it turns you on go for it--it's just that we won't ever be able to talk to one another clearly again.


  1. Thank you, Professor, for continuing your efforts to post all these things even though it is far from convenient for you to do so at the moment. Your blog posts are like bowls of rich, real gumbo in a sea of fast food. Over sixty years of literature, reports, research and analysis make for a vast collection of data, but most of us gawkers on the sidewalk don't get to see much of the good stuff. The usual load of rehashes and uninformed opinion doesn't get any less tiresom as time goes by, either. Thank you for providing an antidote.

  2. I much appreciate the encouragement my friend. I'm going to try to keep this up. I'm really going to try to add novelty to the old stuff rather than the shallow or much repeated normal things, just because I hope that people will get something from this old head's years of reading the best things and listening to the best folks. I have been privileged to have been a colleague to so many of these people [some of whom are barely known] and most astonishingly to me, to have access to so many rare sources of archival knowledge. I do feel the loss of being able to do much non-UFO stuff like was so prominent in the early half of the blog, as that means a lot to me,too. But the resources for that are far away, and so we must make do with a nice pile of shipped UFO materials and a sometimes flawed yet full memory. Thanks for the note.

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