Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are "They" Friendly?: Hawking says Watch Out!

You've probably read the hoopla about the Discovery Channel program wherein Stephen Hawking warns us that sending out powerful signals about where we are might not be a smart idea. Afterall, Hawking says, why would we want to attract aggressive and highly-advanced technologists from deep space? The idea is not a foolish thought. Carl Jung warned us about even a benign superior civilization putting the brakes on our enthusiasms and our imaginations, and reminded us that Earth cultures have been [even unintentionally] stunted by contact that they were not ready for. The Brookings Institution did a famous study for the government in the 1960s [I think...might have even been the late 1950s] which had the same conclusions. In a NASA sponsored debate on the subject in the 1970s, although Carl Sagan and Philip Morrison expressed blue-sky optimism, two other panelists had the exact opposite view of "alien contact". Over in Great Britain, astronomers like Zdenek Kopal were saying things like "they could exterminate us", and "If the phone rings, hang up!". ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Back in 1960, a naive young radioastronomer named Frank Drake was in charge of certain programs at the national radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia. [that's the old Green Bank telescope at the left, and the guy with it is radioastronomy legend, Grote Reber]. My memory is that there was a senior astronomer in charge of the whole show there, but he relented and let Drake and a few others decide not only to "listen in" for signals from a few stars but to actually send a signal out. [once again:apologies for the lack of my files]. Now this is where the rumors come in: when certain military people heard that an unauthorized broadcast [which was much more powerful and more concentrated in direction than ambient radio signals that we always make] had been beamed at two nearby stars, the Pentagon went through the roof. Allegedly, many naive astronomers got a talking to, which included protocols not only forbidding such transmissions without military "advisement" regarding security issues, but protocols for reporting and responding to incoming signals. I don't know whether all that happened or not, but it is information that I read and heard a long time ago in the 1970s. One reason that adds to my suspicion that this is true is that when Drake was cleared to send another signal many years later, he set the mighty Arecibo telescope to a globular cluster populated with many stars [yes] but only with stars of low metallicity [i.e. having no chances of having planets around them.] This latter fact is always conveniently not mentioned when persons like Sagan or Shostak regale their gap-mouthed audiences with this great reaching out to Space. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the 1980s when I was in my heyday of filling my head with frontier information about the sciences, I was privileged to attend many symposia at American Association for the Advancement of Science meetings. There I was able to hear nearly every conceivable expert in every field speak, and ask questions if I wanted. It was a learning paradise. One symposium was particularly disturbing and relevant to this topic. It was about deep space exploration and possible consequences of contact. One of the experts [and expert they were] was a technologist who, among other things consulted for the government. The panel had discussed deep space travel technologies. He took a different angle. Accepting the possibility of very high velocity ships [ships which could approach significant percentages of the speed of light], he noted that at that stage of development any highly advanced society would suddenly become uncomfortable with us. This is because we not only would have produced a "relativistic rocket", but that device would gain tremendous mass due to the relativity effects of the Special Theory. At that time we would have acquired a "Planet Cracker", a weapon of such mass that it could blast away anyone's home world. He referred to it as the "Gun Which Makes Everybody Equal". He even went so far as to muse that Aliens could be monitoring us right now to assess whether they can afford to allow us to make that last technological step, or to snuff the dangerous vermin out before they break out into space as destroyers. So you see, not everyone has the same sorts of thoughts in their minds.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Guys like Drake [above] and Sagan and the SETIans consistently want to believe that all the folks out there are good guys, and that we could never threaten them in any serious enough way to bring retribution upon us. And we'd all like to believe that. But we should also admit two other things at least: 1). we have no idea what we're talking about; and 2). such behavior on the parts of Drake, Sagan et al shows that they [and we?] are emotion-driven risk-takers. Sure, everyone in such discussions is emotion-driven. But emotion-driven and risk-taking is different from emotion-driven and not. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All of us interested in Space, ET, and UFOlogy want there to be extraterrestrials, and all of us would like them to be friendly [and tolerant]. None of us know that. In fact, the only chance that we have of trying to know that is to study UFO incidents. One might assume that the security-minded modern Pentagon types are not studying that data too hard, and the modern SETIans sarcastically reject it as well. So the major players in the issue remain stone-dead ignorant of the only source of information which might cast a little light on this. ..... except for Drake himself. Frank Drake never stopped being a closet UFOlogist. Maybe that's why he thinks that they might be friendly enough not to bring in the Extraterrestrial Terminix Man.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

UFOs & The Enigma of the United States Navy

We know a great deal about the USAF's involvement in UFOs. We know a fair amount about the CIA's and the FBI's. There is not much indication that the Army had a lot to do with them, but there are many hints that the Navy had interests. But it is the Navy which stands as the one service or agency which we know had interest and yet remains almost completely silent [i.e. uncooperative to FOIAs] as to their history. That gap in our knowledge won't be filled by this post, but a small bit of information is available, so here goes.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The fellows pictured here are General Walter B. Smith [left] and Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter [right]. It is a picture to symbolize the handing off of the leadership of the CIA from the Admiral to the General. Hillenkoetter had been chief during an interesting time, vis-a-vis UFOs. There was Roswell, of course, but there was also SIGN and the Estimate of the Situation. That Estimate, as we have seen earlier in this blog, created a situation wherein all USAF UFO reports were sent in duplicate to the Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence, where a file was kept. Also, as we have seen earlier, the Office of Naval Research [in the person of Urner Liddel] used the files for an idiosyncratic study of UFOs and Balloon sightings and if one ONR person was reading the files doubtless others were. How active the Navy's Intel operations were about keeping tabs on the subject, we don't know; and perhaps never will unless they make some effort to be more cooperative about searching their records and releasing them. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The other thing that we absolutely know about the Navy, though, is that many highly placed officers were interested in the phenomenon. Roscoe Hillenkoetter himself joined NICAP and was willing to speak very publicly [and to congress] about the goodness of what NICAP was doing and that UFOs seemed to be a real but non-terrestrial mystery. He was far from alone.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Admiral Delmar Fahrney, the former chief of guided missiles research for the Navy, became NICAP's chairman of the board, following the abortive few months of the T.Townsend Brown era. Fahrney was very outspoken about the same two things which would be the NICAP mantra over the years: The UFOs were extraterrestrial, and the policy of secrecy was a big mistake. Office of Naval Research chief Admiral Calvin Bolster apparently believed the same, although Keyhoe and Fahrney were never able to get him to come out publicly with a statement. Several other Navy officers were NICAP members and Keyhoe occasionally got "leaks" from Navy people who obviously disliked USAF policy. A great deal of conversation had to be going on within that service [whether formally or not] which was sympathetic to research on the phenomenon and impatient with their rival service. One of these "conversations" which resulted in a massive "leak" was reported by Keyhoe in his 1960 book, as written about in the blog the other day.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In FLYING SAUCERS: Top Secret, Keyhoe described a meeting with two Naval officers which had been arranged "by an old classmate [from the Naval Academy] of mine". I'll speculate a little and guess that this was Bolster as Keyhoe mentions Fahrney in the text in a way that seems to eliminate him. Whoever it was he was a big wheel. --------------------------------------------------------------------------The meeting was in 1958, just after Dick Hall arrived at NICAP, and Keyhoe discussed the content of it with Dick. Using aliases, he described a meeting with a Captain [a Navy-style "Captain"] and a Commander in their office and quite "private". The officers danced about to begin with asking Keyhoe all manner of probing questions--as it turned out they were trying to get him to betray confidential sources of information to see if he could be trusted not to breach such confidentialities. Keyhoe passed the test, though not until wondering for a moment if these guys were setting him up for something. [because of his good friend who had arranged this, he didn't think that it could possibly be such a set-up and was patient].-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ultimately the officers were convinced and began telling him of "hidden" cases from naval personnel. Keyhoe was told that they had been keeping a "log" of these things. They were keeping it [on naval sightings only] "with the Admiral's consent". So who was the "Admiral"? Normally that would mean THE Admiral, Chief of Naval Operations, Arleigh A. Burke. Could that even be possible? Could the Chief of Staff of the Navy be interested in someone keeping track of UFOs? As we can read shortly, this is far from impossible, as something very similar had happened just before. But WHY were they keeping track? "Just so we'll know how many important Navy sightings go into the 'sink' ". They sarcastically said that this was their nick-name for Project Blue Book. Everything goes in, and nothing [as to information] comes out. The officers were irritated by the policy which kept information on sightings even from the relevant service, and actual lies occasionally told back to them. The officers then pulled several NICAP bulletins out of a drawer and told Keyhoe that they agreed with the stance that he was taking on all this. Keyhoe was not shown the full log at that time but was told of cases. That log probably still exists somewhere in Navy records and they will not do what is necessary to find and release it to us. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And we know absolutely that another one existed and that it was ordered at the highest levels. This was the study ordered by Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball, and soon-to-be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Admiral Arthur Radford, that was precipitated by the close passage of their planes by a UFO in mid-Pacific, and the subsequent blunt uncooperative treatment of the Secretary's aides when they later inquired about the incident from the Air Force. Kimball ordered, through Radford, that a separate Navy file be maintained, particularly of Navy cases, since the Air Force could not be trusted to act in a responsible and civil manner as to openly sharing information as to what was going on [This fiasco happened just before Ruppelt got on the scene and began to recreate the Project in a more orderly and sensible mode. Naval distrust caused him some early problems of information transfer which he had to try to repair, and one spectacular Balloon-Research-Team case was garbled enough that his report on it was a full year off in date---something that didn't get corrected for a few months]. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Kimball/Radford study was headed by a commander, Frank Lowell Thomas, out of the Office of Naval Intelligence [I think that this is correct, but it could have been ONR instead---these two offices work pretty closely together]. Commander Thomas' study/file went on for an unknown amount of time; it could have been a year, it could have been several. Radford didn't retire from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs until 1957---pretty close to when Keyhoe's informants were keeping their file "with the approval of the Admiral". We don't know if there was any relationship whatever between these two files, or even if they in some ongoing form were the same thing. Whatever the exact situation, one can never say with any honesty that the Navy had no interest in UFOs. And, those early files contained some of the best cases of the era, and would be historically important. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did Keyhoe's "leakers" tell him? Somewhere there's probably an old unexamined NICAP file which would tell us this, but I haven't seen it. In the book, Keyhoe, the honorable man, makes things tough to suss as well. He gives a very abbreviated example of a Naval Transport plane encountering a red-orange glowing UFO coming directly at it, which the pilot dived beneath it to escape the collision. [with no more than is here, one cannot honestly rate this as more than a fireball encounter which fooled the pilot into believing that it was closer than it was]. Later in the book Keyhoe has a chapter entitled "The Hidden Reports". But, although several of these are Navy, each is described in a way that it cannot be one of these "log" cases that the leakers gave to him. This is frustrating to say the least, as I would really like to know the kinds of things these guys were saving in their files. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The only thing discussed that Keyhoe is willing to talk about [since it breaks no confidences] is the Piri Reis map. This is, to me, quite bizarre. You can hopefully read about it in the two NICAP UFO Investigator articles which accompany this section. The newsletter articles don't mention the role of the leakers in presenting this information to Keyhoe, but Naval references are still scattered about even here. The real point is that these guys who were charged with keeping a UFO log for the Navy thought that it was a strong possibility that someone thousands of years ago had been mapping the planet using aerial technology. And Keyhoe was apparently buying it: both in the book, and as indicated by his willingness to put the subject in the newsletter twice. Just so as not to be misunderstood, I believe that the Piri Reis map is a genuine artifact of the time frame of Christopher Columbus and an interesting mystery in many ways. I do not think that it is at all obvious that it must be drawn by using aerial technology--and in fact know that really wonderful maps can be [admittedly laboriously] put together by the grunt work of just-us-humans sailing and walking about making measurements and stringing them together [see the accuracy of the near-Greece Mediterranean area from Ptolemaic times, if you doubt this]. The fact that the Piri Reis map seems to be but a portion of a much larger thing, very possibly using an origin point around Alexandria Egypt, is also interesting, but hardly indicative of "ancient astronauts" or Atlantaens. The great debatable mystery as to whether the map shows Antarctica is the big thing, but even that doesn't lead you to ET. Still, we have Naval intelligence people concerned with UFOs [and Don Keyhoe] who are going there. This is more than intriguing to me, but I can't get much more clear about the Navy and Keyhoe in my mind without more to go on. How "sold" were people like this on a centuries-old surveillance, and in some sense, "presence" on Earth by extraterrestrials?-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ed Ruppelt once said "Why don't the #%@&!!! things swim so we could give them to the Navy?" Maybe the Navy would have been happy to "have" them. There sure seem to have been people there who took them a lot more seriously.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don Keyhoe in 1960

Things have been cramped lately and it has been hard to move forward on the FSRs and the blog. Sort of out of desperation, I picked up a few texts and thumbed through. One was Keyhoe's TOP SECRET published in 1960. Since that's where we were in FSR I thought it a good coincidence. On top of that, the previous owner, [probably a NICAP person], had attempted a case index for the book and left it inside the back cover. Thinking that maybe someone out there could use the index, and thinking that maybe I could "spout off" a bit on the book without having to read the whole thing, .....well, here's the blog entry. {The four "illustrations" below are the previous owner's index.}
This isn't going to be a well-read and well thought out book review. It's an excuse to comment about Keyhoe et al more or less out of memory of the time and historical context. For those of you who are extraordinarily hip, you can survey the case list and immediately determine something about Keyhoe from what he was willing to put into the book. To begin: the list is "pretty" good, but not perfect. The vast majority of the book's cases are on it, and there aren't many errors. So it is a good gauge of Keyhoe's thought. I count a little over 130 cases listed, but there are a small number of duplicates. Lets call it about 130. Of these 80++% are "safe" cases: mainly "objects", "lights", Radar/Visuals [Keyhoe really likes those], and a very small number of CE1s. 10% [13] cases are traditional CE2 cases [not surprising since we're past Levelland et al, and Keyhoe liked all that.] Beyond that: essentially nothing: UFOlogy stopped at about 1000 yards. There were two CE3s mentioned: the Reinhold Schmidt hoax, mentioned very deprecatorily, and the Squyres case of Pittsburgh, Kansas---brief but not panned---perhaps the beginnings of a crack in Keyhoe's anti-CE3 armor? There was only one class of case types which we today would call risky: Keyhoe was all in on collisions and "near-hits-in-the-air" and extended that idea to explosions and fragments of possible UFOs. Keyhoe was, in this, the ultimate "nuts-and-bolts" guy. UFOs were metallic flying machines, period---nothing more.
We might chide Keyhoe for lack of imagination, a sort-of alter-ego to FSR at the moment, but he was constricted by two rather understandable elements: his own history as a military guy and a gee-whiz technologist [who naturally was sucked in to thinking in "understandable" mechanical terms], and the pragmatic need to be "error-free" if he was ever to get the support of congress. Keyhoe was no scientist--he didn't understand much about the real "frontiers" of physics et al--and he was certainly no metaphysicist. Where was he going to get any imagination? Keyhoe lived with the concrete and by gum, concrete were what the UFOs were going to be. Nothing's more concrete than something running into you, and so UFOs running into our planes, and near-hitting them was the extreme end of Keyhoe's model of reality.
But I was nevertheless surprised by him in this book. Keyhoe was beginning to stretch himself in ways that I hadn't realized he was capable of. I believe that the stretch was because he too was getting impatient to solve the big picture. Keyhoe, even Keyhoe, needed a big theory and therefore a big answer. Where he was going was far out in space and far back in time. As to Space, he reflected back on the essay that he had been shown by Al Chop which had been written by a Pentagon Intel Colonel named Odell. The essay painted a scenario of a dying world and the need for an advanced civilization to move en masse to another "colony" world--even if that world was already occupied. This intrigued Keyhoe because it was one way to explain the huge amount of UFO activity in our skies---they were surveying the situation and their prospects. They were here in numbers also because of our nuclear activities and the rest of the aggressiveness they then discovered. Any near-hits and collisions might be accidents or they might be deliberate--even tests. As to time, and here was the bigger surprise, Keyhoe gave apparent credence to the recently publicized Piri Reis map. What he was wowed about was the information that he received that the map had to be based on data many centuries old [dating at least back to when Alexandria was a major center of knowledge] and had to have come from an aerial survey [he says that in the book--much to the dropping of my jaw]. The survey of Earth as a possible colony world could have been going on for millennia. I trust that he didn't include this idea in his letters to congressmen.
Keyhoe has himself and Frank Edwards sitting together wowing each other with these ideas at the end of the book and vowing to do all they can to prepare the public for the big admission by government that was [as usual] just around the corner. Well---wrong again. In true dime novel fashion he has himself driving down the street towards the US Capitol and reflecting on his fellow humans. "None of them, I thought, would be concerned with more than their own familiar world. Yet each one, all the millions on Earth, stood on the threshold of something strange and tremendous. Inevitable as the rising sun, it would change the lives of all, for good or bad, irrevocably. How it would happen, when it would come, there was still no way of knowing. But one thing was certain, beyond all doubt. The world would never be the same." Well, Don, generically, I guess I can agree with most of that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

FSR 1960: Humans At Work.

Under Waveney Girvan's leadership, the pages of FSR were reasonably sane. Given the still-mysterious status of nearly everything associated with UFOs, and Girvan's own unflagging support of George Adamski, this was rather remarkable and a testament to Girvan's honesty [and good quality intellect] as an explorer. Still, we inevitably had some "human elements" to deal with which were not always pointed in the best direction.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The fellow pictured above is Trevor James Constable [going at that time by just "Trevor James"]. Ignoring a huge percentage of the phenomenon as reported, James decided that UFOs were Space Animals. The picture at the left is one of many really bad pieces of film that he used in support of this hypothesis. Many were printed in FSR. [I have reproduced perhaps the "best" of his photos here]. The idea has a certain "romance" about it, and could be entertained [mildly] for cases like the "Attack Glob from Magonia" described in an earlier post, but hardly addresses the core of the UFO mystery without a great dose of further imagination-without-evidence. But for me, and I hope all serious students of actual UFOs, James' speculations are more a science-fiction sideline to the research than something with much substance. ------------------------------------------------------------------------But we can give him one bit of comfort from the journal in 1960. [A doubtlessly quite young] Colin Wilson reported to FSR that a "few months ago" [therefore late 1959] a Scottish forestry worker named Moreland was walking in the foothills of Ben Nevis near Fort William, when, low on the slopes, he "came upon patches of an unusual jelly-like substance". The patches, of which there were apparently many, lay about on both ground and rock to a thickness of four inches. They appeared to be greyish-white, but had a "rather beautiful blue tinge". When Moreland kicked at it, bits would break away, and it acted "quite like table jelly". Once the Sun hit it, it dissolved away rapidly. Moreland subsequently asked fellow workers about the stuff, and one old man told him "It comes down i' the night frae the sky". Well, maybe. Whatever, it is at a minimum interesting, though without anything to link it to UFOs. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Trevor James went on to [basically] abandon his flirtation with Space Animals, and to take up Reichian Cloud-Busting, weather modification, and "free-energy harvesting" from the sky. All of that sounds like a great trajectory of a life consistently pursuing nonsense [and perhaps even scams-for-cash; the last of these things was a business]. Plus, I really think that his Space Animals wouldn't have liked any of his later schemes for meddling with their environment.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There was something of historical [human] importance which happened this year which FSR reported: the "recantation" of Edward Ruppelt. In the great scheme of things, this is of little importance, but in the petty scheme of things, it has engendered a lot of print and an equal amount of "Sturm und Drang" which has created a lot of error in some peoples' minds. I shouldn't waste your time with this, but, as it fogs up our understanding of history, I am driven to comment. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I have for many years been privileged to be the amateur archivist for the Edward Ruppelt papers. Having read them all, and much more in other file sources, I am going to claim, immodestly, to be about as much of an "expert" on Ruppelt as you can get. [that doesn't mean that I really know everything which went on, of course, just that my guess is as good as any]. So, what went on with Sir Edward? --------------------------------------------------------------------------Ed Ruppelt was a fighter pilot ace and an engineering graduate of Iowa State University. After the war he wanted to stay in for a while and shortly move on to a job in the aeronautical industry. And this is what he did. He was a smart guy, a personable guy, and a guy with high standards of personal work and loyalty to the USAF. He got assigned to intelligence at Wright-Patterson, analyzing intel on Soviet jets. He was fascinated with the UFO desk's job, and when Jerry Cummings left for Cal Tech, Ruppelt stepped in. Though not Cummings' fault [that belongs to the guys of the Grudge era], the desk and files were a complete mess. Ed went about trying to make things orderly and workable, and, within the limits of the support that he had, he did a good job. In fact, he did so well, and so personably, that he was respected by his superiors and trusted with giving briefings, even on his own, to anyone right up to the chief of intelligence. The bottom line here is: although just a lieutenant, Ruppelt managed to do a good honest job at Blue Book. That did not mean that he understood everything that had gone on with the USAF UFO project [he tried to talk with old-timers to find out what he could] nor everything that had ever been reported in files [some of which he couldn't even find as they had been discarded]. But all indications are that he did the best he could, and that was pretty good until the wave of the summer of 1952 swamped him. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A key thing happened very early in Ed's career at Wright-Pat. He heard a critical tape recording by then chief-of-intelligence Charles Cabell, in which an irate Cabell screamed at his colonels about how betrayed he felt that they had trashed the project and regarded the subject itself as trash. The key phrase for the soon-to-be Blue Book chief Ruppelt was: "I want an open mind!! In fact I order an open mind!!" Absurd as that concept may be, in a long-distance way, Cabell was talking to the right guy. Ed Ruppelt was the master of the open mind. That is why when he talked to a skeptic, he challenged the skepticism. When he talked to a believer, he challenged their evidence. And that is why you can read Ed's book till you drop, and never can be sure whether he "believed" in UFOs or not. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This is why all the smoke has been created around him. Did he "believe" or didn't he? My answer is: it's not important. But others insist that it is and use their speculations on the point as launchpads for conspiratorial theories and/or character assassinations. What can we say with honesty? When people actually read Ruppelt's book, they became more certain that the UFOs were real flying technology anomalies. The reasons are both concrete and subtle. The concrete ones are the statistics of unknowns [which are staggering] and the fact that Ed clearly believed that many of the most puzzling things that he wrote about were real observations. The reason that we know the latter is that Ed was willing to take his cases of high strangeness to the CIA panel in front of both them and his boss [General Garland] and defend them as things to be considered by the scientists. These include things such as the "microwaved" soil of the Desverges case and the shoot-a-saucer incident of the Holloman report. I have independent confirmation that Ed used the Desverges case when he gave orientation talks to new intel officers about the kinds of things that they might see on the job. The subtler things are the "atmosphere" about how he talks in the book and in his file notes. When he is arguing with a UFO enthusiast, he writes humbly, and often humorously, with the joke being on him. when he writes about a debunker, he will be very deprecatory and even angry. Ed Ruppelt was sympathetic to the UFO mystery even in his "body language" in print. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And so, the honest man wrote an honest book--true to his character as the ultimate open-mind, and true to his sympathy for the mystery. And then....the book revision. When the second edition came out, it had three new chapters. One chapter was just like the previous seventeen, open-minded and sympathetic. One chapter was a sarcastic look at the contactees, and who could blame him? The last chapter was a thoroughly unsympathetic laying waste of the subject. [The "Recantation"]. What had happened? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Conspiracy theorists want to believe that Ruppelt now finally showed his true colors, and had been an intelligence community stalking horse for manipulating everyone from the CIA to ourselves all along. Ed Ruppelt, the Iowa farmboy and lowly lieutenant, was really the original Man-in-Black with the blackest of hearts. [That theory is the equivalent of the amount of pig manure spilt on Iowa farms in a full year in my opinion]. Other people just don't like Ruppelt [for reasons which escape me] and are happy to use his betrayal to sling mud [or worse] all over him. But I believe that what happened to Ed was exceedingly understandable and perfectly in tune with his character. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------He had begun his post-USAF career very admirably as far as we UFOlogists are concerned, happily giving more and more positive commentary about UFOs to the press, joyfully giving talks and TV appearances [like "What's My Line?"] and corresponding with people like Don Keyhoe [to say nothing of helping get the UFO movie into the theatres]. I believe that if Ruppelt had lived, and if Keyhoe hadn't been so successful at getting the USAF into hot water in congress, Ed would have ultimately joined NICAP. As it was, the main thing that was stopping him was worry about what his air technology employer might say. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ruppelt wrote his recantation at a precisely understandable time. He had been called to Washington by the Air Force to sit in closed meetings with congressmen and explain to them that the USAF was doing its job and that these hassles that Keyhoe was putting them through were a waste of both the congressmen's time and the USAF. Ed probably didn't think that it was a waste of the Air Force's time, but he stated explicitly to Keyhoe that it should not be on the agenda of congressmen when so many things of greater national importance existed. And he felt that it was wrong that Keyhoe and others were using his book as a weapon in this fight. When you add to that Ed's long feelings of loyalty to his service, what would you think you'd see next out of him? He did the most effective thing that he could--he changed the tone of his book. That's intellectually dishonest, yes; but it's understandable, and it's probably the only intellectually dishonest thing that he did in his short life in UFOlogy. Ed died young. What a shame. At the end of the twentieth century he might still have been with us and clear-headed --- and my what an oral history interview that would have been. Ed is a hero of UFOlogy in my heart. To those who viciously detract from him I have many words, none appropriate for the blog. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A few other things on the "human" side were in FSR [though surprisingly bare this year]. Leon Davidson unloaded his theory that this was all a CIA plot, using clever air technology which was our own, as well as "useful dupes" such as Adamski and the other contactees, for whatever their ultimate nefarious purposes were. ---------------------------------------------------The other major features were the march of articles by W.R.Drake presenting every possible reason why intelligent life forms, looking perhaps like us, and like "gods" or the contactee personages, could exist on each of the planets of the solar system. As esoteric as his writings were, they, in the end, have a batting average of zero. One wonders what it is like to be a theorist who is wrong 100% of the time--one cannot own a mental rearview mirror, I suppose. My own tastes go in these matters to old science fiction, and particularly, as to intelligent life on Mercury, to Ray Cummings' novels of the winged princess, Tama, who lives in the twilight zone between the hot and cold sides, and is completely charming---smart and tom-boy spunky too. Now if the universe was mine to order, I'd have Tama and her kind happily on a more hospitable Mercury, and Drake and I would have something to agree upon. Alas, neither one of us will get our wishes.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flying Saucer Review Volume 6: The Phenomenon.

1960 was generally a dud year for UFOs around the world and it was one of those years when, if it were not for activists like Keyhoe/NICAP, the subject might have drifted so far beneath the media's interest to have been seriously deflated. FSR reported 80 cases. 43 were "objects", and 11 were "lights". Adding four CE1s to that and you have 58 "safe" Keyhoe/NICAP like cases or 72 1/2%. There were seven picture cases. [none particularly astounding as reported, except for one--to be mentioned later]. There were four CE3s, including the Old Saybrook case reported on earlier in this blog. There were four CE2s: an alleged crash in Canada, an engine-stopper, the to-be-famous Ubatuba magnesium fall, and the mind-boggling Fort Itaipu, Brazil assault. There were three "traces" [without, however, UFOs seen]. There was a mysterious explosion, a Transient Lunar Phenomenon [crater Aristarchus], a lump of "star-jelly" found, and a "displacement" of an auto many miles away [where else but South America?] For me, two of these incidents are powerful and, in their ways, "debate-enders", as to whether we are having encounters with true aerial anomalies. These two are the well-known Red Bluff [CA] Giant Football, and the lesser known Grumman "unknown satellite" filming.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Red Bluff Football showed up on the evening of August13/14, 1960. Two California Highway Patrol officers saw what they thought was an airplane in trouble. The thing then abruptly stopped dead still on its descent. It shot back up 600 feet and hovered. It was glowing and looked like a 150 foot long football. It occasionally put on shows of non-inertial motions with very erratic changes of direction and speed. It seemed to be metallic under the glow and had big light beams at each end. It seemed to be playing cat-and-mouse with the police as when they approached, it moved away, but when they stopped it approached. At greater distances, many other policemen and citizens witnessed the thing. There was a confirmed-then-denied mention of radar tracking. The patrolmen had fairly constant static on their radios. Finally the beast moved high in the sky and joined another of its kind. Beams seemed to flash between them and they sailed to the horizon. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Debunkers within the USAF and without have been driven-to-stupidity trying to explain this one away. For a change, Allen Hynek in his debunking stage does not seem to have been involved with such travesties of reason, as he was intensely involved with satellite tracking and wasn't on task much at Blue Book. But that didn't stop BB from offering foolish astronomical "explanations". They decided that the patrolmen had seen two stars [red ones] under amazing atmospheric conditions [flying around at a few hundred feet looking like a 150 foot long football with beams at both ends]. Yep. That's it, alright. NICAP got Walt Webb to look at this brilliance, and on top of the mere fact of its absurdity, Walt found that the stars charged with the offense were not even above the horizon. Blue Book heard of Webb's analysis and quickly changed their explanation to Mars [ah, yes, Red] which was split apart for the two ends apparently, and the white-blue star Capella [for the middle?] The fact that Capella wasn't in that area of the sky did not deter them from their duty to explain. Later Donald Menzel showed his equally brain-dead approach to UFOs by returning to a variation of the first USAF story, with the same "inadequate" relationship to any of the facts of the case. Red Bluff stands un-dented by the debunkers, and a monument to their shame when one reads the crap that they were willing to print about it. By the way, a little-featured part of the case was the high-strangeness element of the big beams seeming to have "ends" on them, in violation of normal light behavior.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Below, I've appended Jim McDonald's views on the case from his talk to Congressman Roush's committee many years later. Of course the majority of the information above was not known to FSR at the time.

The second Debate-Ender occurred because many people were interested in the new satellites which had been launched, and lots of folks were watching the skies. Many reports came in from civilians who said that they saw unscheduled "companions" to the ECHO satellite and some even photographed them. Project Moonwatch HQ'd out of Harvard's Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory collected these civilian reports as well as many similar ones from their Moonwatch teams. In the midst of this swath of what can only be called UFO cases came a report with film evidence of such an object from a very professional organization indeed: the Grumman Aircraft tracking station at Bethpage Long Island [NY]. I wish that I could show you the film still, but I can't find it on the internet, and my copy is back home in files. It doesn't show much [just a dashed line-of-flight signal on the Grumman film] but it is nice to see the thing itself with ones own eyes. Grumman sent this film to the USAF from where it ultimately got to others [including Hynek, where I saw it in his files]. Grumman was very serious about trying to continue surveillance for the thing to attempt to plot an orbit. Of course it did not cooperate and we still don't know what it was. This film and the couple dozen other interesting civilian and Moonwatch cases of that time create a pile with an anchor which is essentially not explainable by conventional rationalizations. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There were other cases which could be productively mentioned. One was the December 22, 1959 incident at Oakdale [CA]. Here a 28-year old male was walking near midnight when a bowl-shaped object came out of the clouds in his direction. It was bright orange. It hovered 20 feet above the road and stood there for two minutes. This shook him up and he was relieved when it took back off. Continuing on his walk, the thing appeared again about an hour later though not so near. What makes this a good case is that he gave the story to reporters who put it in the paper. In response, two adult women [making three independent observers in different locations] wrote in [separately] to say that they had seen the same object at the appropriate time frame. This is a solid and forgotten incident of one of those big ["extended right across the road"] orange domes that if the man had been driving might have stopped his car.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I suppose that I should mention the Fort Itaipu encounter [illustrated on the left], although I really don't know what to make of it. This story came to FSR through APRO from Brazilian researcher Olavo Fontes. I have a small discomfort zone about Fontes. The three great Rio UFO researchers [Simoes, Perriera, Faria] knew Fontes well and liked him. I believe that they felt that he was an honest man. But they thought that he was a bit "enthusiastic" about his research. Just due to that, I take Fontes' cases with more discretion than some others. Ft.Itaipu is one such instance. ----------------------------------------------------------It dates to November 4, 1957. Two sentries are on duty late at night when the heavens manifest a brilliant orange "star" which grows in size as it speeds towards them. The object stops directly overhead, and is a great disk humming lowly. The hum increases and the sentries are hit with a terrific heat blast which seems to affect their clothes more than the direct skin [still the skin beneath the clothes warms terribly, ultimately producing severe burns.] The sentries are screaming in pain and the rest of the garrison wakes up. They remain totally confused as nothing works--no lights, no communications, no power at all. This goes on for about three minutes, and the first men outside see an orange object high in the sky moving away. All the alarm clocks have begun to ring at the same time [2:03am]. The sentries are located and given what aid they could, and soon sent to hospital, where they were held incommunicado. US military officers came to the Fort and participated in interviews. Fontes heard about the case from a military friend on the condition of anonymity [this is quite possible, as there were Brazilian officers high up who would talk to the Rio guys often]. Fontes said that he could not use his medical doctor status to get entry to the hospital, but did find out that the burns were severe and over about 10% of the bodies. Later he said that he got confirmation of the affair from three other personnel. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------This incident could have happened. If so, it would be a very rare incident of severe damage to a witness. Almost all cases of such seem to me to have been "accidents" rather than deliberate attacks [i.e. "side-effects" of the UFO energies]. So, I look at all these sorts of claims carefully, as if they break a strong pattern, then I have reason to be careful. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My last case is just for fun. Here we are in Jerry Clark and Eddie Bullard country as the tale is of a good olde fashioned airship, but in Wales of 1909. The witness here is Mr. C. Lethbridge of Cardiff, a dockworker, who in summertime carted about a Punch-&-Judy show through the mountain villages. He was walking his cart home over the Caerphilly Mountain at 11pm, "when turning the bend at the summit, I was surprised to see a long tube-shaped affair lying on the grass with two men busily engaged with something nearby. They attracted my attention because of their peculiar get-up. They appeared to have big, heavy fur coats, and fur caps fitted tightly over their heads. I was rather frightened, but continued to go on until I was within 20 yards of them. The noise of my little spring cart seemed to attract them, and when they saw me they jumped up and jabbered furiously in a strange lingo [Lethbridge thought it may have been Welsh, which he did not know]....The long thing on the ground rose up slowly--I was standing still quite amazed--and when it was hanging a few feet off the ground the men jumped into a kind of little carriage suspended from it and gradually the whole affair and the men rose into the air in a zig-zag fashion. When they had cleared the telegraph wires that pass over the mountain, two lights, like electric lamps, shone out, and the thing went higher into the air and sailed away across Cardiff." Supposedly people found torn newsprint at the site, papier mache, and a "red label" in French. Shortly a wave of airship reports broke out around Cardiff and elsewhere in Wales and across to Dublin. Well, old but great fun. I don't believe that Jerry thinks too highly of the airships any more and I'm pretty sure that Eddie does even less. But I'm holding out a little hope for a few. And THIS one occurred in Caerphilly in Glamorgan. Who cares? Well, the royalty of Fairyland might. Their legendary home site was the Valley of Glamorgan, just right about there. Hah! Take that all you doubters!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lights and Ghosts, Again.

This post is the product of a friend of mine's interest in two cases involving poltergeist houses and light phenomena, which he ran across while blundering about the internet. He sent them to me and they have their interesting elements, so I thought that you should get the benefit--for whatever it's worth. I've added a third case which serendipitously I fell into at the same time.

Case one: Clayton, NC; late June/early July 1962. A widow is living in a house with her two children, daughter age 19, and son age 22. Near the end of June, they begin to have light phenomena flashing in the house in the evening. This amounted to very rapid sequences of light, like a rapid strobe-light. [the rate of this was too quick to count, but it was several flashes per second]. The light seemed to be sequential in color to some degree, showing yellow, pink, and white light.

This business was often enough and disconcerting, that the family talked about it and it ultimately got into the media. As soon as that happened, they began to get nasty anonymous phone calls. Due to all this, the police were called in [under the suspicion of some sort of harassment] and so was well-known poltergeist expert, William Roll [on the left]. Several people claimed to have seen the flashes, and Roll became convinced [very possibly wrongly, as he had a preconceived theory of what all poltergeist cases were] that the lights were associated with the daughter. [subconsciously via psychokinesis].

The one genuinely intriguing thing that his questioning concluded was that the light though very "bright", did not seem to affect the eyes in the way such a bright light should---we have seen this "non-blinding" bright light before in UFO cases. Throughout his first investigations, Roll thinks that he himself never gets to see the lights because he is somehow a "hex" throwing cold water on the phenomenon. And the lights DO go away for a while.

Then a couple of days later, the family gets another nasty phonecall, which says that they will start back up. They do. Even the police now witness the light flashes [reminiscent of the Toledo case]. Wiring is disconnected [after the whole house is inspected] in the daughter's room, and the lights persist. Now we are all the way to July 10th, and neighbors are awakened by the flashing. They call the cops and emerge with their guns. The affected family vacates the house as well. Police on the scene see a pinkish light emerge from a window [and supposedly disappear]. Nights later a policeman inside the house witnesses light flashes while the daughter is in sight but with both hands occupied. Roll decides to camp out on his back in the flower garden, and he at last sees light flashes. The family has finally had it, and moves away. The phenomenon stops, and does not follow them to their new home either. Roll floats the idea that the daughter caused all this by PK, and the mother dismisses him with "electricity in your body don't make phonecalls!"

Although a tad oversimplified, I'm rather on the side of mom on this one, as in some instances the daughter was a bit away [others were closer] and the affair smacks of Catherine Crowe style spirit hauntings more than teenage angst to me. But.....

The second case sent by my friend was from Culver City, CA in 1974. A 30-something mother with two boys [ages 16 and 10] met a couple of California ghostbusters at an occult book shop and told them that her house was haunted. Naturally they were interested and made a series of interviews/investigations.

The haunting phenomena were limited to moving objects and odors to begin with [one of the ghostbusters saw a flying frying pan himself] , but two others elements emerged. The woman said that she was being often "raped" by the spirits [whether she used the classic term "incubi" or not isn't stated]. She would show the investigators her bruises where she had been held by lesser demons while the larger one assaulted her. Well, who can say anything about that?

Then the light phenomena began, often with the investigators present. Supposedly the accompanying photo represents one such case. [It's a bit dramatically posed for my tastes]. Allegedly the walls were covered to block out any source, but the lights showed up anyway. First they would look like a spot on the covered wall. "It" was asked to blink and it did. It was asked to move away from the wall and it hovered in the air. Showing that it had good taste in music, when the son played Black Sabbath [which he said he knew it disliked] it grew angry and large. On a next night a BOL showed up and tried to assume the figure of a man [the incubus?] This show was not able to be photo'd for some reason. At the end of the week the whole thing was dying; the family moved out and the lights never re-manifested. This thing has less of an air of reliability to me but this is what is claimed.

The last case comes from an eighteenth century book by Augustin Calmet entitled The Phantom World. This writing has become somewhat popular lately because it mentions vampires, and resonates with the recent craze. [I cannot relate to that as the topic is one of no interest to me at all]. But Calmet writes of many things. One of these involves a poltergeist light.

This story comes from a French Count and Countess who were traveling in the south of France and stayed at plush lodgings in Marseilles when they did. [The case dates from sometime in the 1700's but the exact date is not stated]. At the time there was a famous and much respected "natural philosopher" named Pierre Gassendi, who was regarded as both intelligent and pious. The Count sent the incidents to him for comment. [Gassendi is on the left].

What was reported was that the royals were awakened by "luminous spectres" entering their room. When the summoned servants brought in candles, the lights would disappear. [exactly as described by Catherine Crowe]. Once again all windows etc were covered to no avail. These lights hovered in the air and were sometimes "angular", sometimes spheres, sometimes ovals. You could read letters by the light, and the light itself seemed to have some symbols [undetermined] on/in it. If you attempted to grab one, it just disappeared. Most curiously perhaps, the presence of the lights gave the observers a sense of peace and pleasure.

Gassendi, an honest science-minded man, said that he could not say what it was. Being a pious man, he wondered if it could be a message from GOD since the royals were good people and the lights gave pleasure. Augustin Calmet, who was a Benedictine and a scholar, begged to differ. GOD would not send such a fancy "message" and leave it undecipherable--"GOD does not jest", he said. He went on to wonder if some "natural" phenomenon could be at work, or whether the royals had some strange hallucination.

Later the Count was in Marseilles on his own and assigned to the same room. Here again came a BOL, this time seen by him penetrating the chamber "through the wainscot". Later still, the Countess tried to claim that she had rigged the whole affair by having a maidservant hide under the bed--this despite the inadequacy of explaining all the different light positions [including on the bed surface itself] and the Count's separate experience. Well, such noise in the case effectively ruins confidence anyway, since we have no good "in-field" investigation to refer to.

Despite the believe-it-or-not qualities of these incidents, they contain interesting elements of strangeness that we have seen elsewhere--so perhaps were worth re-telling anyway. At least we know that Hollywood believes that poltergeists are associated with light phenomena as the screen-capture above attests [what more proof do you need?]
And "undeniably" of greatest significance: the lunar crater Gassendi is the site of more transient anomalous light phenomena [15 cases since 1900] than almost any place on the Moon. And, no, I don't think that there's any possibility of a connection whatever, so don't start a new internet growth industry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

FSR1959: the human side.

As always, 1959 ushered in some big things in UFOlogy and FSR. Sociologically, the biggest thing at FSR was that Trench spent only two-thirds of the year as editor and then retired. He was replaced by Waveney Girvan [above]. [I find "Waveney" an improbable name, but after "Brinsley LePoer Trench" I'm up for anything]. Girvan was, with Trench and Derek Dempster, one of the five, or so, founding members of the magazine. His ascent to editorship was not an inconsequential move. Although Girvan was a [fairly unwavering...no really, that unintended pun is too much...unshakeable] supporter of George Adamski's contact claims [he was the publisher of Adamski and Leslie's book], his editorship immediately began to downplay such claims as far as pages in the magazine were concerned. Instantly gone were articles by "believe it or not" claimants like Howard Menger, George Hunt Williamson, Dana Howard, Orfeo Angelucci, Dino Kraspedon, and, most joyously, T. Lobsang Rampa. Unusual new concepts were welcome, but even these had a more "contemplative" air about them. Whatever Girvan believed himself, he was making FSR a more respectable source of information and ideas. It was not perfection, but it was better. So, FSR in 1959 was two-thirds "old" Trench-like FSR, and one third "new" Girvanesque FSR. -------- Perhaps it was Girvan's sense of publishing style, but the magazine's layout looked a bit better as well. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Certain clearly "good" and useful things were reported. Donald Keyhoe and NICAP had become enough of a nuisance to the Air Force with their Congressional Hearings campaign, that the NICAP/USAF war was well joined, and the Air Force had to move swiftly to blunt momentum for open hearings. Some "behind closed doors" discussions were happening and fragments of news of that was leaking like a sieve, and FSR reported some of it. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The "Captain Killian" airlines crew case was still generating an ongoing stink in the media, and a lot of people were talking about it and saucers in general. Much of this talk was happening at surprising places like the von Braun rocket-testing center at Huntsville, Alabama. During this time, one of the high-powered chief technologists at the center, Colonel Lee James [seen in the picture to the left as the second man from the right, at the Apollo 11 launch console] was giving a talk in the Detroit area when the UFO subject came up. James probably stunned his listeners with: "I know they are not from here, and they are not coming from Russia. We in this civilisation are not that advanced yet". ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Admiral Dufek had just returned from his deployment as executive officer of Operation Deep-Freeze in Antarctica and on landing in New Zealand was happy to admit that several of his personnel had reported UFOs during his tenure.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Charles Maney had been meditating about Aime Michel's concept of UFOs exploring the globe using some form of geometrical reconnaissance patterns and found the idea meritorious and exciting. {I, by the way, view Michel's work on this concept as very intelligent, but in the end untrue. Wish it was true, but my reading of the probability arguments involved lead me to the different conclusion. And this does not surprise me; as we have seen, the UFOnauts have been very careful to leave behind few hard "hints", as far as patterns of any kind}.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Russian speculators, including a man who became somewhat famous in SETI circles, Iosif S. Shklovsky, put out the opinion that the mini-moons of Mars were artificially-constructed satellites by some ancient and possibly even current race of extraterrestrial technologists. [this boggler was done due to their opinion that the orbits of the moons were impossible to achieve naturally]. [That's Phobos, looking a little like Star Wars' Death Star, on the left]. Shklovsky was no small-timer, but an expert on solar physics as well as star formation. Such an idea naturally enraged conservative members of the astro-establishment, but not the young Carl Sagan, who later would co-author a book with Shklovsky on the odds of extraterrestrial intelligence, which contained the Phobos/Deimos claims, as well as some strikingly risky comments on ET-visitation by Sagan himself. {Sagan spent many years "repairing" his reputation within the Tribe for this youthful "enthusiasm"}.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This year was also the year that FSR put the idea that the Tunguska Event [the mysterious shockwave felt at meteorological stations around the world in 1908] was produced by an extraterrestrial spacecraft exploding over Siberia. This was not the actual introduction of the idea entirely, but it was its prominent early presentation to the english-reading world. FSR quoted from a book by Alexander Kazantzev [A Guest from the Universe] which contained some factual information and some nonsense. The nonsense has, of course, lasted almost as long as the facts. Part of the nonsense was the claim that many local people died of nuclear radiation poisoning, and that a Russian scientist had calculated that the ship apparently came from Venus. This hypothesis, that the cause of the explosion was the detonation of a nuclear power plant of an alien vessel, remains with us today, even in the minds of well-known UFOlogists, despite, in my opinion, there being nothing but a now-minimal amount of mystery to keep it alive. But, Hey, if it makes you happy, there's not too much harm in it other than mental pollution. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Because in the minds of FSR it was the contact cases that would [soon?] blow open the UFO mystery, there was a significant amount of discussion of that. One somewhat precocious article sought to clarify what we were dealing with by contrasting two classes of entities, which were labeled [not to be taken literally] the "Angels" and the "Demons". The Angels were those scandinavian-looking good guys, preaching peace and universal love. The George Adamski crowd. The Demons were the other guys who ranged from ignoring us altogether to downright attacking we innocent bystanders. The Scurrilous Skittles come to mind. The author pointed out that while the evidence for the bad guys tended to get stronger and the witnesses tended to have fewer flaws over time, the evidence for the angels tended to become increasingly odorific. He wasn't claiming that this was conclusive yet, but the trend seemed pretty strong.-----------------------------------------------------------------------On the other hand, our British lady with the crystallizing television screen visitors had a visit wherein she was told how her pregnancy was going to come out, and upon delivery, lo and behold, the visitors were accurate [or so she felt]. She referred to her child as her "space baby". ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Editor Trench was completely immune to these directions [that much of his readership and his content were moving away from the contactee nuts], and he graced the pages of FSR with a book review of Dino Kraspedon's book, My Contact with Flying Saucers. Kraspedon [he of the picture and ghastly complexion above] was a world-class liar and most people already knew it [even in Brazil--the good Brazilian researchers, Faria, Simoes, and Perreira had been spreading the facts widely and something should have penetrated FSR]. Trench for some reason thought that the "saucer captain" talking to Kraspedon [even an alias, by the way] predicted the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts, and so could not be fallacious. It turned out that his statement that another Sun would soon enter the solar system was less successful. Nevertheless, Trench ended the review with the words: "You just cannot afford to be without this book." Boy, I sure blew it there!------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well, I have to applaud Trench for one moment of his wide open spaces mind as far as contributors though. He accepted an article by the most beautiful UFO writer that I've ever seen, and [I know that I cannot be forgiven for this but] I found it almost irrelevent what she wrote--I liked it anyway. Jacqueline Murray was an aspiring London theatre actress and singer [and if you would have told me that she was Gene Tierney's younger sister, I would have enthusiastically agreed.] The title of the article was "Flying Saucers and Atlantis". In it appeared esoteric and metaphysical allusions alongside an almost ancient astronaut like model hypothesis, and hints that all this is known because we get it from trance mediumship, and now buttressed by some of the messages of certain contactees. At age nineteen I would have looked at her, shrugged, and said "who cares?" It turns out that she was the leader of a group of actors actresses and singers who all held similar feelings calling themselves The Atlanteans [what else?] On "International Flying Saucer Contact Day", she led her band into Ashdown Forest and there established telepathic contact with a spacecraft. {the content of the contact was not revealed by FSR, but......do I really care? Yes, sure, ...a little.}
I'm pretty sure that at age nineteen I would have happily followed Jacqueline Murray on a walk in Ashdown Forest, hoping that a craft would land and out would step Gene Tierney. Adamski could then have my vote. Angels indeed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Flying Saucer Review Volume 5: The Phenomenon.

FSR reported fewer cases in 1959 than in the previous years. Some of that was the phenomenon; some of that was sociology. Part of the sociology was a huge strike in Britain which almost caused there to be no FSR Vol5,#4 at all. [it came out but as a rump issue printed on the crudest of mimeographs]. There were 87 cases. 43 of these were "objects" and 15 were "lights". There was one radar case. Thus 59 cases were those "safe" Keyhoe-an style UFO incidents, or 70%. There were ten picture cases which had not been reported by FSR before. Again, most of these were suspicious if not patently bogus. There were seven Close Encounters of the First Kind, which was, for FSR so far, a large number. Maybe the genuine phenomenon was creeping a bit closer. There were four CE3s, including the greatest UFO case of all time [yep, just my opinion]. There were three CE2s [two traces and one vehicle stopper]. The last four cases were a mixed bag of a lightbeam from the sky, signals on a radio, a transient lunar light, and telepathic communications. Most of this stuff was, as always, very inadequately reported in brief thumbnail fashion. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So what's this "greatest case in UFO history" all about? It is the Boianai, New Guinea case or what is sometimes called the "Father Gill" case. Any case making such a claim must, obviously, excel at two criteria: witness credibility and strangeness. Regarding credibility, it helps if there are multiple witnesses. Here there were thirty-eight. These were a "real" thirty-eight as well, since they were actually interviewed; many of them several times by different persons. [Gill himself; Norman Cruttwell; and J.Allen Hynek to name the three that I know]. It's also a help if the witnesses were unpolluted by UFO knowledge: here in the actual jungle area of New Guinea, the majority of them were probably the least UFO polluted people in the world. Even Gill himself had the most rudimentary of fore-knowledge. Father William Gill was an Anglican missionary, and culturally the only "anglo" involved with the sightings [there were two prominent ones]. The other people were Gill's mission helpers [some of them well-educated] and the people who lived nearby, all well-known by Gill. Adding to the credibility quotient: the incidents occurred within a flap of sightings in New Guinea, chronicled by Cruttwell, but unknown to the villagers, and only vaguely heard of by Gill. And, none of this information was nor is "secret" or held tightly by some self-oriented or case-jealous researcher, but is open to any person who wants to dig into it by making an effort [example: I had the privilege of listening to the audio tapes of J.Allen Hynek interviewing some of the locals himself]. [p.s. it is sometimes hilarious]. The Boianai case has credibility through the roof.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------What about strangeness? The incidents involve a relatively close viewing of an object which looks nothing but technological [domed or platformed disk with "landing pods" and a shaft of blue light, occasionally pointing upwards]. It is silently hovering, and doing so for large amounts of time. "Guys" come out onto the surface and mill about doing actions that are extremely "human" in their movements and form. Every alternative mundane hypothesis is destroyed when the entities exchange responsive waving with the people on the beach area below. [i.e. the only vaguely possible alternative hypothesis was some amazingly good mirage of a distant boat with sailors working on deck---responsive waving to the shore-dwellers puts that in the trashcan]. And then there is an almost unnoticed and uncommented-upon feature: The entire scene in the sky was bordered by an energy-field of some kind. This field acted as if it was separating the craft and occupants from the space around them. It wasn't just an aura. It shaped itself so as to maintain a separation between not only deck and sky, but humanoid and sky as they moved about. Was it a shield? Was it something even more strange, like the effect that the technology was having on our space, as their own materials were [partially?] inserted into it? A CE3 is plenty high on the strangeness list by itself. A silently long-hovering object multiplies that. A force-field which moves with the motion of those entities puts this out-of-sight. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Some people might better like a case like Betty and Barney Hill and I can see why they would argue that way. But for me this one is "The Stone", and the attempts of the debunkers to defeat it have been some of the most ... well, stupid ... and often outrageous ... utterances I've experienced. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FSR published another of the Trindade pictures [same one reversed--why do the idiots do that? deliberately trying to cause confusion in a great case?] [I apologize folks but that sort of unhelpful noise inserted into the system really bugs me.] We can use Trindade's UFO as the illustration for some of the other cases mentioned this year. ---------------------------------------------A single witness case which I like [and I am willing to be called foolish here] is the July 1959 Blenheim, New Zealand CE3 of "Mrs. Moreland" [that's all the name FSR had, and I as usual don't have my files]. She went out to milk the cows when a greenish glow in the sky approached, becoming a UFO with green lights in the bottom of a domed disk. It hovered near her at about fifteen feet high. A light switched on in what was a glass-like upper domed area. "There were two men in it, dressed in fairly close-fitting suits of shiny material. The only thing that I can think of to describe it is aluminium foil. Opaque helmets arose from their shoulders. I could not see their faces. One of the men stood up and put two hands in front of him as if leaning over to look downwards. He then sat down, and after a minute or two, the jets started off again, and, tilting slightly at first, the thing shot up vertically at great speed and disappeared into the clouds. When it did this it made a soft but high-pitched sound." Would that all witnesses were as literate and straight-forward as she.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Another incident of such strangeness that you feel awkward even considering it, was the Domsten, Sweden case of 1958. Here two guys [age 30 and 25] were driving home after a dance when they were confronted with a small saucer [16 feet in diameter and only three feet high]. They got out to inspect, but they found themselves battling with four lead-grey creatures taller than the disk [i.e. about four feet] and shaped like "scones" with no apparent arms or legs. Somehow the appendage-less pastries were not 'armless [OUCH-I couldn't resist it] and tried to drag our heroes to the craft. One mighty punch at the assailants just sunk in elbow-deep and seemed to do little harm. One guy resisted by clinging to a pole, which the scones could not pull him from. They then went for the other guy, and the pole-clinger dashed to the car. Once inside he blasted away on the horn. This discomfited the scurrilous skittles and they retreated to their ship and rose away. Ultimately the embarrassed twosome told their story, and all we can report is that the Swedish investigators say that they are sane. I can't help but think of the Monty Python bit where extraterrestrial confectionaries invade with the intent of winning Wimbleton. Hmmm... maybe it was all as John Cleese said.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Just a few quick mentions of other cases with some potential: a). a 1959 case from Grassy Plains, British Columbia had two witnesses experience a CE1 involving a gray, egg-shaped object, which seemed to just disappear on the spot; the case was reported to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which most Canadians do not take lightly; b). a "light" was spotted from the air by pilots and others over Honolulu, Hawaii in 1959. There were five witnesses. The light made a right angle turn and seemed to disappear instantly; c). In 1959, around Oklahoma City, OK a multitude of witnesses watched as an object appearing red and white moved across the sky, then reversed direction in a 180-degree turn. Air Force jets were scrambled for a futile chase; d). In 1958, in Portglenone, Ireland a single witness watched an object seeming to land and take off in his fields. Upon inspection of the area, a tree was sawed off about eight feet from the base. The tree trunk was two foot in diameter; e). In 1959 in Walkerton, Ontario, four policemen saw/reported a predominantly white object [these were two different sets of officers from two view points] which continuously changed colors from red to green to blue to mauve and back to white. The thing seemed to be hovering at about 3500 feet. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The doubtlessly phoney Adamski-like photo on the left was presented in FSR as genuine [Trench, the editor, had become an Adamski fan], and it will serve to illustrate the last case reported upon here. This incident was an event in 1956, just now being reported. This was from Dublin, Ireland and was seen by a husband and wife late in the evening. They witnessed a brilliant light moving down out of the sky towards their house. Initially it seemed to be a large ball, like a glowing globe. But then "inside" the light seemed to be a metallic ship. It was a saucer upside-down, with a dome on the top and it seemed to be spinning. IT HAD THREE BALL SORT OF THINGS UNDERNEATH. [Good lord preserve me. I just hate it when this happens.] For those of you who are hip to this you will recognize the three big-ball "landing pods" as the characteristic feature of the disgraced George Adamski hoaxed photos. BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB. Come on, Universe! Make things a little easier!. This case from Dublin, little as I can read, is presented as a perfectly good close encounter by witnesses who seem to be making no extreme claims and seem to be telling a calm credible story---but with a "bad" element in it. And this is not the only time I've been confronted with an object description with the three BigBall pods. What's the answer? I am NOT going to revise my opinion of Adamski--I have a load of material which convicts him. But what else? Are our two Irish folks liars? Did Adamski hear about "good" BallPod cases and make a model to photograph? Did the aliens think that this was great fun and run out some imitators? Did our "little people tricksters" do it? Well, alright, whoever you are--good job, you got me on this one.......you know, "they" ARE "out there" just waiting to mess about.....just as I was in the process of making the last corrections to this, something took me off the internet. Thank you, whatevers, for not dumping the whole post. I AM trying to get you some publicity afterall.


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