Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Long Is A UFO ?

Most UFOlogists, if they wanted to, would probably say something like "the most common description of a UFO is a disk about 20 to 30 feet in diameter." Given all the obvious caveats, that would be a reasonable answer, and then you could go on to talk about how there really isn't much of a pattern in it. In fact there isn't much of a pattern in anything regarding UFOs. To my reading of the field, it seems like there has been a "deliberate" avoidance of any strong pattern over these 60 years, and that has served to make the denial of the phenomenon, on a consensus culture basis, easy. Since I believe that this is deliberate [that is, a "policy" of culture impacting covertness within an agenda of witness-impacting overtness], I am not sanguine about the odds on us discovering these hard-wired patterns that many UFOlogists have sought as the "holy grail". But, one wonders if there are not much subtler patterns, or at least "fingerprints" of the agenda operators which can be found. This post is about a rare case of such a find, I believe. The "long" in the title will refer not to the expected definition, but to the length of the UFO experience---yeh, I know, unnecessarily "cute".----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The finding was by one of our rare UFOlogy geniuses, Dr. Claude Poher , French physicist. Poher believed, as did David Saunders and Jacques Vallee, that a broad statistical survey of UFO cases, trying all manner of variables by intuition and by trial-and-error, might uncover something that the one-step-at-a-time mind would not. He plotted 858 cases [508 judged UFOs and 350 judged IFOs] as to how long the reported experience took place. The graph's at the right. To me it's astounding. To Allen Hynek it was astounding. The "UFOs" and the "IFOs" are so distinct that it seems a powerful piece of data that they are not the same phenomenon. It doesn't "prove" what UFOs are, but it does seem to say that UFOs are mysteries--we have no mundane reason to suspect that they are "ordinary" misidentified things. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hynek and others "in the know" on this were interested if the result could be repeated with other data. The first attempt at this at the Center failed. I believe that it is obvious why it failed, and the analyst responsible shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say that the selection of data for the stats was biassed by an evaluatory "style". [others are free to disagree, but it's my blog...but, in seriousness, folks, the cases that went into the statistics were so, in my mind, debunker-like classified, that many, many UFOs were contaminating the IFO pile--thus destroying the distinction Poher found]. A more objective [again my evaluation] was performed later by Fred Merritt, a long-time Hynek associate. Using an early form of UFOCAT [developed largely by Saunders and Vallee], Merritt broke down the cases by his definition of "strangeness". Categories were numbered 1 through 9. All these were allegedly "unknowns" so, in the following analysis by me, there is no IFO component to compare them with. But, in my opinion, two things make that nearly a non-problem. One, we have an IFO selection from Poher and since we know what IFOs are and that Poher's sample covered lots of that spectrum, that graph probably stands as a true reflection of what IFOs are about. Two, Merritt's categories included two which are probably largely IFOs anyway---#1:stationary or slow-moving lights at distance; and#2: rapidly moving lights with no directional change at distance. Field researchers will recognize the likelihood of stars and planets et al in 1, and meteors and planes in 2, etc. When he plotted his graphs of UFO categories vs. time of observation, types #1 and #2 were the only ones that looked like Poher's IFOs graph [#2 being the left side of the graph, and #1 the right side. On the graph "CUFOS 1" above, note that when we get to something really like a UFO [#3= lights making definite turns], we get the Poher time zone phenomenon re-emerge.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Merritt went forward with his graphs of higher strangeness cases. The graph on the right ["CUFOS 2"] shows the times of observation of the categories #4: multiples discontinuities of motion---#5: close encounters of the first kind, plus certain types of CE2s---#6: landings. I now have deja-vu bogglement a la Poher's original finding. All three of these UFO case types act as each other on this criterion, and none act like the IFOs act. On top of this, The Poher time zone for UFO "operations" is very close to the same. [the time frame is about one-to-fifteen minutes---Poher used a graph with an X-axis that "stretched faster" as you went forward and so did Merritt, but they did not use the exact same units---I've done what I could here to give you a good rendition---"close enough for government work as my Dad would say"]. I have not plotted Merritt's #s 7,8,9. All three of these also have the Poher zone phenomenon. But all three also have a "peculiar" feature. #7 [CE3s] has a high wing of cases where the witness says they witnessed something for only a brief period of time---this is rife for "IFO-ism" of course. #8 ["communication"] has a wing where the reporter says that a long time was spent "communicating". I have my prejudices on that, I'm afraid---were the mini-Adamskis of the world screened out? #9 [abductions] also has this long time experience wing---decide on that as you must. These cases also had less numbers [30-to-90] than say the types in the CUFOS2 graph [>400-to-1700]. If "contactees" and abductees are real in mass quantities, then they should show a curve breaking longer experience time. If they are not real, then they, at least some of them, are IFOs. However you look at it Poher and Merritt seem to have found and checked a robust statistical pattern that shows that UFOs and IFOs are different. But if my intuition about the agenda-setters being careful about NOT giving us any patterns, how could this be? I think that this aspect of what they do was just so subtly embedded in their methods of display that they didn't even focus on it. It is like a football team with "tendencies". They don't even realize that they have them until someone else examines and exploits them. So, maybe these topside jerks aren't all-knowing-all-powerful-all-perfect afterall. Maybe, if we're as smart as Claude Poher, we might find out some things despite them. Fortunately, they won't bother reading this blog, so this is our secret.


  1. Hi Dr Swords

    I really enjoyed this post, do you know if Poher published an article/ paper on his findings (did CUFOS publish anything?).

    Further, am I right in believing that the Battelle Memorial Institute, undertook a chi square analysis of UFO/ IFO reports and found significant differences between the two?


    Lee Dines

  2. I am apparently in a losing battle with the electronic world [or maybe it's the UFOnauts--or gremlins--yep that's it] but "IT" just flushed my reply into the place where lost socks go. Well, stiff upper lip and try again. It's almost not worth my woefully inadequate answer though. On Poher, CUFOS has a file with this stuff in it but it doesn't look like it's ready for any publication. CUFOS also has an "unofficial" monograph from Poher personally to Hynek entitled "Statistical Study Bearing on 1000 Witnessed Reports of UFOs". This lacks the necessary text to make it readable as a potential book but might not be far off a publishable UFO monograph. Maybe he did that in French. As to Battelle, to my shame I have never spent much time with the study. In this gigantic field we all make our choices as to what to make a real in-depth analysis of, and this wasn't it for me. I just took it on faith that all my colleagues were happy with some of the stuff in there, even though they didn't go into it in much detail. I wish I had time to make a little probe for you, but this book project really sucks up the time along with the blog. Mea culpa.

  3. Dr Swords,

    I "googled" Poher and UFO and found an article published by Poher and Vallee, which deals with the issue above (UFO/ IFO):


    Can you give any further details on the book?(I have hoped that you would publish a book for a number of years!!)



  4. It's a big deal; military and government response to the phenomenon--WW2 to past Blue Book--almost solely from Gov-documents, therefore hopefully solidly based. We have a 12+ person writing team and although I have essentially finished my 15 chapters worth of drafts, there is much editing and other writing left to be done. The thing is way to big to describe so I guess that you, like myself, will have to wait a few more months--this thing's been in the works about two years.

  5. Thank you for sharing the data.

    For a long time I've had the idea, really more of a hunch, that it was the nature of the UFO phenomena (whatever that is) to be essentially unknowable. As in leaving no decent trail of evidence but a lot of random "stuff". Which leaves me wondering, OK, what next? Your approach answers that and inspires a certain cautious optimism. Wow! Keep it up Doc!



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