Friday, May 28, 2010

The Michelin UFOnauts: Extraterrestrials or Tired Ghosts?

I suppose that the pun is unforgivable but some things have an unopposable force to them. I just couldn't face FSR for a few days and rummaged through my latest mailing from home to myself, and there was my Michelin Man file, so what-the-heck? This small pile of cases is just big enough to be intriguing [rather than tossed to the side as idiosyncratic random imagery]. But, fair warning, I have never been able to get any handle on its interpretation. Why would someone report a UFOnaut looking like the Michelin Man made out of white tires? And worse, why would several people do so? The Michelin Man himself had already had a long and somewhat affectionate history in France dating back to the late 1800s. The statue above is of that early era. Known as "Bibendum" ["drinker" of nails, glass, and other tire-rending road debris], he was a friendly folk character in French culture for decades. Then, once UFOs came along, he began to shuffle right out of them and into a different folklore. A weird feature [to me] of the whacky world of UFOlogy, I can only collect my little pile of cases and leave it to you folks to explain it to me. So, here goes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The earliest date claimed [in my set] for a Bibendum showing is 1950. This report is of a young girl and her father in Vaux-en-Dieulet, France, which was not made public until 1980. The object was a transparent disk within which was a small being looking like Bibendum. It had a round helmet with tubes and air[?] tanks attached. The girl felt paralyzed.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date two is 1954 from Mauberge or Auberge, France. A husband and wife were driving when they encountered a "fat shell" sitting in the road. Getting out of it was a 4-foot tall Bibendum. The couple just raced by. I have not been able to determine when this case was actually reported.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date three is 1955 from Dinan, France. Here a single witness on foot outside his home was paralyzed by two Bibenda exiting a large domed disk near his courtyard. They wore boxes on their chests and walked awkwardly. This case seems to have been reported in 1970. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date four is 1960 from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. The Bibenda here are the ones represented by the drawing that accompanies this section. Here a motorcyclist saw two beings near the road ahead, one very tall [between 6 and 7 feet] and one nearer normal size. They were colored red and walked as if injured. No craft was seen. This case was reported in 1980. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date five is 1962 or 1963. It was not reported until 2009. Here in Newbury, Berkshire, UK a single witness saw a very tall Bibendum walking up the slope of a nearby road. No craft was seen. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date six is 1967. Here a couple was driving to Pierre Buffiere, France, when they saw a 3 foot tall Bibendum standing by the roadside. It waved at them and floated away. No craft was seen. I have not been able to find when this was reported. -------------------------------------------------------------------------Date seven is 1968. I would not be surprised if this is not the actual first reported Bibendum case [reported the same year]. The drawing accompanying this section is from the witness. On La Plaine des Cafres, Isle de Reunion, The witness saw a disk or egg-shaped craft with pedestal like formations on bottom and top, parked in his field. Within the large transparent bay window were two Bibenda about 3 1/2 feet tall. This case was reported to the gendarmerie immediately [which gives it a lot more standing in my eyes]. The site was not inspected until several days later, and showed an increase in radioactivity signature at that time [but mild]. In search of theories about this group of cases one should consider the possibility that this IS the original case, and some of the others are imitative contaminants. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date eight is 1972, Buenos Aires, Argentina. This case was also reported within a short period of time to the witness' credit. The event was preceded by a failure in his transistor radio. A brightly lit object hung humming overhead. It was a domed disk. In the dome were two windows wherein showed the occupants. Two Bibenda of undeterminable size were at the controls. They had helmets and tubes going into a box on their backs. The description was quite elaborate and gives me pause as it was sent by the case investigator directly to Hynek to send on to the National Inquirer's board of UFO cases to see if it could win a best case award. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date nine is 1974, Saint Nizier en Moucherville, France. Once again, I have no way of knowing when the case actually was reported. This case is a teaser as the only brief description that I have says that three independent motorists were involved. The tease says that they saw a small Bibendum standing beside the road, who went up to one motorist and knocked on her window and ran into the bushes. No craft was seen.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date ten is 1975 and back to Reunion Island. This case was also reported right after it happened. And it was reported to the gendarmerie. Here a 20 year old male was jogging home when he encountered a round disk-like craft with a top dome. It appeared metallic. Just earlier, but some distance away, he had begun to hear "beeps" in his ears, which grew increasingly loud just before seeing the object. He felt forced to stop and a great heat enveloped him. He felt as if he were paralyzed. Then he saw the craft and from it, descending on a short set of steps, was a 3 foot tall Bibendum. It was followed by a second and a third. They had antennas on their heads and walked awkwardly. Through a porthole in the device was seen a fourth being in a helmet. The man was thrown to the ground with a flash of light and the beings hurriedly re-entered their vehicle and departed. He lay on the ground for a while and then struggled to his parents home where the story was told. His parents and the police verified the state that he was in even a couple of days later. Again the case is single witness but a bit better than usual. The alternative hypothesis would be a mental breakdown with imagery fueled by knowing of the Reunion case years previously.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date eleven is 1976, Liria, Spain. In this incident a couple was driving between Liria and Olocau when they approached a something-or-other standing by the roadside. It was of average height and seemed more of a silhouette than a normal entity. Its "suit" was dark, not white, but otherwise having the rolled layers of a Bibendum. It had two lights mounted on either side of the top of its head. No face could be ascertained. It did not walk about, but bobbled a bit, floating in the air. As they drove by, the couple's car's lighting system dimmed. They reported seeing a bright oval light source a few hundred yards earlier off the road, which some would count as connecting the case to a seen UFO.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date twelve is also 1976 and from Western Kansas. This thing is very different in a lot of ways. It is a US case, and it happens to have a huge case file. It was published in CUFOS' IUR [volume 1, #2, November 1976], and must have made Allen Hynek both very intrigued and very nervous. In the incident a young couple was driving in a rural area when they saw a group of three flying disks, then a group of four, and then one which came much lower. Betty and Barney Hill-like, they then found themselves driving 90 miles further down the road with no intervening memories. Hypnosis was used with each of the couple separately, and it was claimed that testimonies matched even in detail. Three Bibenda [about 5 1/2 foot tall] were seen on the craft during an abduction-type experience. [The illustration for this section is the witness drawing]. Later they found "needle-marks" on their bodies along with scratches and a rash. The couple think that they became "telepathically-sensitive" after this experience. Well, we're either "All-The-Way-Fool" or "out Proctor" on this one, and each of us will decide. We are extremely dependent on the quality of the case researcher on this and I have no insight on that. The researcher, Richard Sigismonde, apparently wowed Hynek with this as Hynek began speaking of the case immediately in talks he was giving at the time. Knowing Hynek's predilection for undervaluing the ETH to the advantage of the paranormal, one suspects that he thought that our Bibenda were of the "parallel psychic reality" kind. So, for Allen, perhaps the "Tired Ghosts" they were..----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date thirteen might not be a legitimate Bibendum. It is 1977, Tucson, Arizona, and a favorite case of mine. I never thought of it as a Michelin Man until I saw someone referring to it so. [Drawing at the left]. Here we have a very good pair of witnesses and a very high strangeness miniature floating capsule craft containing a smallish chubby being in an overinflated suit and helmet. Folks can find whether they are "splitters" or "lumpers" as to whether they think that this belongs in the Bibendum pile. Love the case; don't believe it's Bibendum. The picture of the middle-aged woman walking beneath the object trying to reach up and touch it, is charmingly vivid in my mind.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date fourteen is 1979, Schoonaarde, Belgium. Again, I have no information on when it was reported, though now that we're beyond the "image-maker" cases that isn't of great importance anymore. Here two youngish boys [10 and 13], saw a domed disk land in a field, and from it came two Bibenda. They puttered about the grounds, re-entered and took off.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To the left is a crude table about the case pile. I find it difficult to see a dominant pattern. The large majority of incidents are from French-speaking areas, natural [?] for a French iconic figure. Almost all the entities are "small" in the 3 to 4 1/2 foot range. In three of the four cases where the Bibenda were said to be average to tall, no craft was seen. Only Goodland [Western Kansas] is "off" as to that. Almost all Bibenda prefer a disk saucer usually with a dome. The case which I guess to be foundational [Plaine des Cafres] adds spectacular pedestals to its structure but is still a disk. One must wonder, I believe, if no Bibendum case really existed until Plaine des Cafres was widely published [in Luminieres Dans La Nuit, and then FSR]. The bottom line on this for me is indistinct but must include the feeling that the description of a UFO entity wearing rolls of white puffy layers as clothing is weird indeed, and if any of the non-French cases are "imagery-unpolluted" by them, that would make a strong argument for some kind of objective reality to those cases. But the cases pile is too much of a mess for me to be able to make any judgement on "imagery independence", and so I'll remain in my ignorance as to whether this is a solid UFO-related phenomenon or not.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bibendum was a happy sort of chap, maybe a good candidate for a mischievous elf. He was also, by name, a heavy drinker. But I don't believe that you can get too intoxicated drinking glass shards or rusty nails---wait a minute---"rusty nails?" John Keel, are you still out there?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flying Saucer Review Volume 8, #6: Slim Pickings in the Desert.

A slow news "month" at FSR. Despite this, Waveney Girvan said in his editorial that he was expecting a climax to the UFO phenomenon to occur at any time. This was because of a "recent increase in sightings". His eyes were looking in different directions than my own to spot this. Since UFO reports [of any quality] were down and stayed down for another year, his comment can only be the product of the "experience of the moment" of a small flap of cases in Sheffield and wishful thinking. Like all such predictions of the great climax and the great revelations to date, this intuition was a flat tire on the highway of life. It's hard to blame anyone for wanting the answers to be arriving soon [or even in their lifetime!], but the constant public publication of these yearnings, as if they had some substance, still amazes me a bit. There were in fact few incidents even worth mentioning. To-be Long-term UFOlogist Susanne Stebbing saw, in the company of three other people, an elongated silver-colored "airship" which "nosed upwards" and rose at great speed out of sight after nearly hovering as if watching a military flight below. She naturally was far too sharp to allow the British Air Ministry to put her off with the poppycock that the group had only seen the {much lower} military craft. Secondly, there was the claim that a United Airlines crew had taken a picture of a UFO while flying over the western US somewhere. I don't know what case they were referring to, but it would be worth looking for. Thirdly, there was one of the fairly big pile of cases that one can find where the UFO acts as is if it is stalking someone---often in an automobile but on foot or bike as well. This was a Leicestershire encounter where a darkish domed disk flew at telephone pole height directly over a car driven by a single woman at night. The thing was larger than the car and she was afraid that it might come right down "and sit on the bonnet". A pretty good case if there had been a confirmation of some kind. Fourthly, Buxton gave us an example of a case type that I irrationally like: one of those smallish roaming box-shaped UFOs which act, to me, as if they are probes rather than occupied craft. This one was noiseless and contained a few "windows" and was surrounded by a glow. I'm not sure I'd want to "go to court" with any of the others.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Definitely out-of-court was the book advertised with an insert into the magazine. With it we find out what previous editor Brinsley LePoer Trench had been up to. Men Among Mankind ravels out Trench's "insights" into what UFOs are really all about: Somehow they turn out to be the hidden technology of the remaining Atlantis People who survived the whatever-it-was cataclysm [often viewed as the falling apart of the 5th planet creating the asteroid belt and a lot of solar system havoc elsewhere]. How Trench thinks that he has any actual evidence for the idea mystifies me, as it appears to be entirely based upon his impressive imagination. The title gives the game away as to what is going on, as the Atlantaeans have been walking among us for all these centuries, and are the sources of all of our good ideas. This is a comforting thought, and our entry into the nuclear age [one of our bad ideas], is cause for us needing some special help at the moment. The utterly unsupported concept lives on to this day, as all comforting and/or exciting ones do, but if I had to go for something like this [and, sadly, I don't] I'd choose Shangri-La, Shambala, and the Regent of Agharti, which was there first and is a lot more fun to read about. Trench seems to have lost his sense by this time and it's good that he retired from editorship of FSR.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Current editor Girvan maintained his [had to be emotional] attachment to the ideas of Adamski by giving serious magazine space to a guy from South Africa [in both this issue and the previous one] who said that he had translated hieroglyphics seen by Adamski and discovered that they were the plans for an anti-gravity spaceflight engine. He'd already tinkered it together and, if you need proof, there it is on the left. The fact that this was technological nonsense does not deter the Badly-Wanting-It mind. The fact that each of these things has been shown to be a hoax does not expunge the starry-eyed claims from continuing on our beloved internet. Such things are bits in a nonsense pile which begins to impress people just because there's so much of it. Mountain William once said: no matter how many rotten ramps you cook up, they're still ramps. I'd LOVE there to be a breakthrough which allowed us to shield gravity [canceling out the gravitational matrix is probably not in the cards in terms of fundamental physics, but some sort of "blocker" could be], but these gravity machines and perpetual motion machines etc don't work. Particularly the ones which look like a bracelet and whose inventors won't let you test them. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gordon Creighton rose up in this number with one of his poorer efforts, but one which reveals a lot about him. Creighton had, as we've heard, seen his own UFO and had been collecting UFO reports from military and embassy people for a long time. He "knows" UFOs are real. He is also aware that they have been flying hither and yon all over the US and the USAF has had to make many statements about them. As a WW2 embassy person himself, he naturally thinks in political and strategic terms, and the only logical thing is: they've been flying hither and yon all over the Soviet Union as well. So, Soviet cases MUST be there, but how to get them? This puts him in a highly vulnerable mind state even as an intelligent man. This probably explains how he could write up a bunch of "soviet" cases that he acquired from a European magazine citing "anonymous sources", as if they were somehow respectable UFO data. But, when a person's mind "sells the ranch" all manner of surprising things slip in and out of it. Here are the cases that Creighton thought were legitimate to include in FSR on the basis of no documentary support whatever:
1). a "woman doctor" from a "laboratory" photographed two occupants and their craft near Irkutsk; [no photograph included]; 2). a mail plane and four passengers disappeared over central Russia. Two days later it was found intact in Siberia. No sign of the passengers was ever found, but a circular burn mark was nearby. The fuel tanks contained plenty of fuel; 3). a woman parachutist made a jump but was caught in mid-air by a UFO. She was treated well by the occupants who flew her to space and gave her a message for the Kremlin. She floated to Earth by parachute three days later [Creighton italicizes this] in a distant city; 4). a giant cigar descended over Voronezh and caused tremendous panic. It became transparent and disappeared completely prior to the arrival of jets. They left and the thing reappeared, shot flame out its rear and rose into the sky; 5). near Rybinsk, military operations on rockets were interrupted by one large and several small disks coming in and parking over the installations. The soviets opened fire. All ammo exploded before getting to the targets. small disks disabled the complex electrically, withdrew to the larger, and left. The apparatus subsequently worked; 6). a tank production factory was visited by a great number of cigars and saucers for weeks. Then, a ball of fire descended on the factory creating a loud explosion and a myriad of small globes. A great crater was all that was left of a part of the factory--the part which was making the Top Secret device for an Atomic Cannon [cue dramatic incidental scene music stage right]. "The greatest mystery was that no one was injured"; yep, that proves it. Creighton must have felt a bit uneasy in pushing this anonymous [dare I say?] crap on us, and defended himself by saying "that there is not one single element in all these accounts that we [royal "we"] cannot match precisely from reports of what has happened elsewhere in the world". Really? I'd like to see your files big fellow.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Creighton's Soviet UFOs were probably felt by Trench to be right in line with the UFOs from Atlantis. I guess I have to agree with that. As Douglas Adams said in the Hitch-hikers Guide To The Galaxy--there's only one REALLY intelligent species on Earth. [yeah, I know, the picture shows sharks, not dolphins, but I'm on a short budget]. May the Force be with us at least as much as the Farce seems always to be.

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.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

UFOs In The Desert: 1960-1962.

The FSRs being looked at lately are from the 1960-1962 era. This was referred to by UFOlogical old-timers as "The Desert". The reason was simply that the case incidence was way down and the high-quality cases were few. Most historians feel that if heroes like Keyhoe/NICAP and Lorenzen/APRO hadn't kept energetically at the grindstone, the field might have dropped off media radar, and not have been able to be brought back to any public concern. When cases such as Gill/Boianai and Browning/Cressy came to light, the community would grasp onto them like grim death and use them anytime they could. Because both cases were "far away" in New Guinea and Tasmania, they weren't the powerful cudgels they might have been. Still, the Halls, Bloechers, yes even the Girvans soldiered on and the cause survived. People have wanted to speculate on why the UFOs [relatively speaking] "went away". All that I am willing to say is that they for the most part did. The spectacular exception [in my mind] was the pile of cases that came in their unspectacular ways to Moonwatchers and persons like the slowly-awakening Allen Hynek. Another odd "side-effect" of this lull was that scientists were willing to speak very openly of large numbers of extraterrestrial civilizations probably being "out there", and the SETI movement was founded. Both of these things should have created impressive scientific context for the ETH [and they DO to any open mind] but, in the day, they were still carefully disconnected from UFOs by both the academic community and the media. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Many UFO-interested parties gave up on the subject through the "Desert". Discouraged, they said: we'll never know what if anything this was all about, but the party's over. It's easy to understand why, and cut them some slack. ------------------------------------------------------------------I decided to look at my own files to see if they enlightened me any. I don't have them with me of course, but I did bring the case lists of the files here to West Virginia, so I have at least a whiff of understanding of what they contain. My 1960 files contain only 54 incidents [obviously UFO sites which specialize in lists have far more, but I'm just looking at the relative numbers of my idiosyncratically-constructed set]. For me, for a given year, this is pretty low. Even at that, it is inflated by the work done by my friend Frank Reid when he plumbed the CUFOS files for 1960 on an intuition that something might be there which we missed because it was the Desert. I'd guess the number has been artificially inflated by ten or more. 1961 had 36 cases; 1962, 32. When many other years [in my files] have a couple of hundred, you can see that pickings were slim. Even though I tend to emphasize high strangeness "interesting" cases, only one of three are in the CE2, CE3, or HS categories [HS is my way of designating the sort of high strangeness involved with things like "sawed-off" lightbeams and other such weird case elements]. So those years weren't particularly "strange" either. Low case counts and low strangeness makes for dull news days. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One very good side-effect from the lull was that the media finally decided that the foolishness of the Giant Rock UFO convention was pretty dull, and the field didn't have to endure quite the crushing embarrassment of full page stories featuring trips to Venus and Flying Saucer hats. This thing destroyed credibility in UFO research on a yearly/summerly cycle for several excruciating years. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Other than heroes, what did sustain us through the desert? Well, the UFOnauts gave us just enough to keep things going. My favorite cases for 1960 were Red Bluff, CA [of course]; Cressy, Tasmania; the Grumman satellite photo [with the attendant Moonwatch sightings]; Walkerton, Ontario's CE2; and Stigler, OK's CE2. [look them up]. For 1961 it's White Mountains, NH [Betty and Barney]; Salt Lake City, UT [Waldo Harris]; Wetaskiwin, Alberta's CE3; Meekatharra, Western Australia's angelhair; and Seville, Spain's CE1. For 1962, it's Springfield, PA's CE1 [Gasslein case]; Lake Movil, MN's CE3; Granby, CT's and East Peru, ME's CE1s, and Paul Hill's Hampton, Va sighting [mainly due to him rather than the case elements.] There were several other good "lights" and "objects", and the Moonwatch/Grumman type things count as good photos. But still, scattered across the year and the globe, it was a tough time.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why, as we got into the mid-1960s, did the UFOs begin to flurry again? Maybe they got as bored as we were.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

FSR Volume 8 #3: May-June 1962.

FSR volume 8 #3 was almost "conventional UFOlogy" compared to its previous manifestations. It's possible that the feedback from readers' letters [mixed but with an obvious lean towards the more sensible] was convincing Girvan that a science-and-concrete-based UFOlogy was the way that you had to ultimately go to get anyone to respect you. {of course, this might change any minute, as I am deliberately not looking ahead to the next numbers to allow some freshness of "in the moment" to affect my feelings about each new issue}. #3 emphasized cases, scientific ideas, material testing, book reviews of non-contactee type writings. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Few mentions of "contacts" were made and the only one receiving a featured presentation was the "Pancake" case of Joe Simonton. This is because FSR regular Bernard Finch had queried Simonton by mail about his alleged meeting with three extraterrestrials in Eagle River, Wisconsin. Simonton, who always comes across as one of the open-eyed "just-plain-Joes" of all UFO history, wrote Finch a letter which then FSR printed. It's to the left. As you can read, Joe is claiming forthrightly that his experience was real and that he thinks he has good reasons to believe that these critters were ETs. He is obviously a bit miffed that the USAF took three of his four pancakes, and has been tardy about their analysis. He thinks that the pancakes were not made of Earth ingredients, although later test results disagreed with that. He is happy to "tell all" but is waiting for the Air Force to tell him it's OK to talk about the testing. [Hynek and Robert Friend seemed to think that Joe was an alright guy, too, by the way----where that leaves us when faced with an almost comic story, I don't know. Leprechauns, anyone?]-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Professor Charles Maney of NICAP affiliation was featured again in the magazine, this time talking about the alleged "pure Tin" of the Campinas, Brazil, UFO case of December 1954. The Campinas business is still puzzling. The metal claimed by the witness to be seen falling from a classic disk-shaped object over her roof was stated by a Brazilian chemist to be "pure Tin" [all Tin or Tin oxidized] but when sent to CSI-NY and then on to Maney was found to be far from it. Maney's reading of the analysis showed it to be a metal mixture very like common solder. The trouble with this is that, according to the current article [@#%^*#! I wish I had my file on this one] all these "solder" readings were tested on material gathered later than the one originally reported upon and left in the custody of the Brazilian Air Force. Some of these later fragments still exist at the Center for UFO Studies, but the ones which really count may be buried in military files. The reason that I have some trust in the case [pure Tin or not] is that the details of it were researched by the Big Three [good] Brazilian researchers, Faria, Simoes and Perriera. Since these guys really cared about checking cases, I feel that the witness claims of a metal leaking disk overtop her home may well be a real incident. Too bad, as usual, that we lack the best data and report potentially associated with the case [i.e. the metal testing "re-done" by a second US lab on the original fragments].----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FSR reviewed the first Coral Lorenzen book in this issue. Awkwardly named The Great Flying Saucer Hoax, Coral meant to indicate that the military had perpetrated a great "saucers don't exist" hoax on the rest of us, even though one tends to read the title as tending the other way. Coral Lorenzen was more to FSR's liking than NICAP or Keyhoe. She didn't feel constrained by a need to look reasonable to conservatives and congress. This allowed her to engage in the higher strangeness aspects of UFOlogy, especially the CE3s. Her rather amazing Latin American connections empowered her APRO Bulletin and her books with strangeness extraordinaire. Much of this was in the book and Girvan liked it. Coral's theme [in 1961/2] was that the UFOs were dangerous, and were probably surveying the planet for their own nefarious purposes. Possibly even some colony area was in the works. All of this sounded right to Girvan, strangely forgetting his Adamskian "bringers of love and light messages". Easier to reach agreement upon was the idea that the military had indeed manipulated thinking on the subject and had occasionally silenced witnesses. Coral repeated an older story of a meteorologist who had visited Wright-Patterson in 1948, and had been shown diminutive "suits" taken from small bodies of beings that had died in a UFO crash. She was quoted, as a climax sign-off by Girvan: "The Earth is being observed by intelligent beings from outer space, but information reaching the general public promotes the opposite impression. A hoax has been perpetrated. We, the people, are the victims of that hoax. And we, the people, in our eagerness to worship the orthodox and embrace mediocrity, have also served to perpetuate that hoax." Well, lady, there is a lot of truth in that. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There were articles which mentioned meteorites as a possible confusion in UFO cases, exobiological possibilities [mostly of a sensible presentation], and the idea that some few meteorites might contain fossilized life forms [of bacterial size]. The latter article [very short] was in aid of the idea of Panspermia [that life had been scattered about the Universe in fragments of "comets" et al, originating from one or more common sites of fully developed life forms.] This thought was mainly pushed to overcome the intuited problem of life formation being so hard to accomplish that it would be better to believe that it had only to happen once [or at least a small number of times]. As time has passed, the idea has been used to defend the exact opposite, namely that elementary life is so easy to form that the rudiments of it form in space itself. However you want to go, the finding of life forms, or life chemical precursors, in meteorites would enhance arguments that life in the universe is common and even based on the same general chemistry. FSR was intuiting that this sort of science, though not directly "UFOlogy", had potentially greatly to do with making the ultimate defense of the reasonableness of the field. Of course some scientists were not so moved---to even consider space travel possible.
Meanwhile, buried on page 27, a little paragraph said: "Another close approach to a car was reported on September 19-20, 1961, in New Hampshire when a Mr. and Mrs. Barney Hill, while driving around midnight, saw a bright object in the sky. Using his binoculars, he saw a band of light, convex as if on the edge of a flattened disc. The object seemed to be rotating." Hmmmm. Wonder if anything ever came of that?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FSR 1962: Volume 8 #2, March/April.

Flying Saucer Review returned to a much solider attitude about the phenomenon in the second number of the year. Almost absent were the uber-speculations and fantasy/fabrications of the contactee movement, and, in its place, much more about actual cases. What speculation that there was revolved around things like Michel's Orthoteny ideas, life in deep space, and whether WW2 foo fighters and UFOs were the same thing. To me it was a welcome change.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Orthoteny article was by the young Jacques Vallee, still in his native land and working with Aime Michel. Jacques had taken a pile of cases of North African incidents and plotted them as you see on the left. He was attempting to see if one could get straight-line phenomena from the data. Each reader will decide whether they are impressed with the graph or not. Although I have the greatest respect for Jacques, on this one I am not sold. Just like my responses to every Orthoteny plotting that I've seen so far, this one does not move me. For me it's still just eyeballing and connecting dots without a compelling reason to believe that there is meaning in this exercise. And, worse in this case, none of the multiple dot lines is time-restricted in any way [i.e. dots are for cases of different months and even years]. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Something of the same general category was reported in a separate article which has a bit more intrigue. Michel's book had one plot of four [five?] cases in a close-to-straight-line which had the virtue of occurring on the same day [see the lower map]. The contributor stated that this multi-point line was definitive in proof of Michel's idea. Well, it IS interesting but hardly definitive of anything. I'd be more impressed that these lines showed UFO aerial-mapping of our planet, if it could be shown that the cases had an orderly time-sequence to them, and the same appearing craft. and the same behavior. On top of that, it would be nice to graph every case of that same day, and see if eyeballed multi-point lines could be "intuited" all over the place. I know it's asking a lot, but such things would need to be demonstrated to me to eliminate the obvious alternative hypothesis that the lines are only the products of our own ability to create order out of messy piles, whether that order is objectively real or not. Still, I'm intrigued by the Italy-to-England line and won't simply toss it out.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There was a particularly interesting and pretty much forgotten case which got its own small article. This was "The Ivinghoe Flying Saucer" of February 1962, Aston Clinton, UK. The witness' drawings of the incident are at the left. The one witness was driving home at 3:30AM, when he spotted an low-hanging UFO [30 foot above ground or less] hovering above the road. It was oval shaped with squared dark marks around the disk edge. Its diameter was 40 feet. As he closed to twenty feet away, his car engine lost revs and no amount of "flooring it" made any difference. His lights, however, did not fade. Changing gears made no difference. The object paced his laboring car for 200 yards, when a white haze appeared to envelope it ["like a halo around the Moon"]. He knew that this thing was solid because his headlights reflected from it. The craft then veered sharply right whisking frost from trees as it passed nearby, and vanished with terrific acceleration. The witness went to the police, who assessed him as sober and sensible, and apparently convinced of the truth of his claim. UFO researchers met with him and walked the sighting area. No radiation was found, but several iron-containing objects were found to be "highly magnetic", which the team found interesting but not "conclusive" as there was no way to connect the remanent magnetism to the event. It's too bad that this was a single-witness case but it has the "feel" of a good one, nevertheless. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Otherwise, the phenomenology reported emphasized [what seemed to me to be] a raft of meteoric fireballs and one icefall, which probably had nothing whatever to do with UFOs, even though they were great fun to watch. It is constantly apparent to my reading of many, many UFO reports, that fireballs [usually the spectacular burning up of carbonaceous and/or stony pieces of meteors] were the source of a large number of "UFOs" which were so awesome in their way that no amount of talking would ever argue the witnesses out of their belief that they'd seen an ET spacecraft. I once had such a privilege and if I hadn't been educated in both astronomy and UFOlogy would be sure that it had to be a craft of some kind. A real WOW wonder, folks, believe me. The icefall trips off a bit of a historical memory too, as this was the time that Jim McDonald was sneaking in the UFOlogical backdoor by asking NICAP if they had a bunch of icefalls in their files---not hinting of his larger "forbidden" interests.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gordon Creighton returned again in this issue [now becoming a regular contributor, it seems] but not on Russian matters but with an article on WW2 "Foo Fighters". It was pretty good, though not as good as someone like Jan Aldrich or Keith Chester could write today. Creighton explained that he had been collecting old sightings for awhile, ever since he saw his own UFO back in 1941 [!!] while serving at the British embassy to Chiang Kai-Shek in Chungking, China. [what an interesting life that guy must have lived]. This interest led him to collect stories and newsclippings of foo-fighter type incidents through the war and after, and here in this article he was reviewing them. His tales are typical foos: either orangish or metallic balls playing chase with allied fighters and pacing alongside. Most times they just simply flew away or disappeared. Occasionally one would seem to explode. Creighton knew that the foos were in both the European and the Pacific theatres of war and that the public explanations for them [secret weapons of the enemy of either psychological or real damage intent, or natural phenomena such as St. Elmo's Fire] made no sense for the majority of cases. The fact that, later, both German and Japanese scientists wanted to know what they were too, speaks volumes against the "weapons" theories. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------All of that fits well with what the USAF was doing at the time in 1962. A couple of mentions were made of Air Force press releases stating that the UFOs were the products of errors and that "unknowns" were dropping [percentagewise] like a rock. This was the time when Robert Friend was heading Blue Book, but still under NICAP pressure in Congress to lie their way out of any public hearings suggestions. Friend's predecessor, George Gregory, had been whizzing phony "solutions" by the dozens just before Friend came on board, and nothing really had changed [despite Friend being a more likable man]. Because NICAP was firing its Big Gun, Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, at Congress, there was reason to be worried. Unable to cast aspersions on the ex-CIA chief, the USAF resorted to bald-faced lying about what the UFO case files really said. To that, all of us in the UFO community can say:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flying Saucer Review Volume 8 #1 [January/February 1962].

Back in West Virginia, and maybe a new "plan" for doing the blog. As time in big chunks seems impossible, I'm going to try to take small bites of FSR [one number at a time] and see if that keeps things rolling forward. So, tonight, number one of the six part FSR for 1962. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A feature of this moment in UFO history is that FSR was wild about the Father Gill Boianai New Guinea sighting. [as illustrated to the left]. This they had good reason to be, of course, but the use they put it to was an attempt to support George Adamski with it. Their logic in this was that Gill and the locals had seen UFOnauts of definite similarity to ourselves and that objections to Adamski seeing the same sort of beings were now obsolete. Well, OK, in a way, but the similar forms of Adamski's blonde ETs was hardly the main reason why most people rejected him. Still, Waveney Girvan and Derek Dempster were warriors in Adamski's cause, and they utilized the Gill case in three different arguments in this issue. Girvan, in fact was able to get an interview with the London Daily News in which he preached the UFO gospel, using Father Gill's sighting as his siege gun. Dempster somehow managed to combine all this with Shklovskii's "artificial Phobos/Deimos" theory and the Tunguska event, hinting that the Russians may have an advantage over us in understanding these UFOs. Well, at least it was good to see that UFOlogists of whatever stripe recognized the Boianai case as the great one that it was. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The main FSR news on the Adamski front was the "archaeological discovery' in Brazil of Adamski-ish symbols [i.e. markings similar to those which he claimed to be on the soles of the spaceman's shoes left as marks in the desert]. This business seems to have been a complete boondoggle but unknown by Girvan at the time. The "scholar" in the story was one "Professor [makes me cringe] Marcel Homet" of Sao Paulo Brazil, honorary president of the Museum of American Man, and promulgator of the idea that at least one ancient South American civilization had flying machines. Regardless, because he allegedly discovered ancient script of an Adamski-ian type, Girvan accepted him as a renown archaeological scholar. Homet allegedly told someone [Girvan?] that he did not know about saucers and didn't believe in them. [As Adamski's later biographer, Marc Hallet, found, Homet had read Adamski's book before he published his own--thus becoming a liar of significance]. Girvan did not know this and wished Homet well on his adventures and the translation of this "Venusian" script. Hallet tried to explain how any of this could have happened and felt that Homet was trying to drum up interest in his book and included the Adamski angle [remember that Brazil was nuts over contactees--ex. Kraspedon and Guimaeres], to increase sales. On the internet today, Adamski die-hards still point to the Homet symbols as proof of Adamski's correctness, and try to make it even more mysterious by claiming Homet's first publication of these things as around 1965 [whereas he actually floated it out there in about 1958 or 59]. Yep. It's a great field of study sometimes.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peculiarly, to me, someone actually proffered the idea that the Pleiades star cluster was a prime origin of gods from the stars from ancient times. This fellow, the fairly erudite Kenneth Bayman, walked the readers through a thousand years of myth and history about the role of the Pleiades in cultures worldwide. Even Job gives biblical presence to them at one point. He speculates as to why their prominence and then comes up with the astronomically ignorant idea that they are the hub of the galaxy [about as crazy a thought as one would wish for] and have something to do with the control of gravity. Holey moley. I mention this only because other famous figures have tried to make the Pleiades the center of visiting alien cultures [ Shirley Maclaine and Billy Meier]. They could have [with a little astronomical knowledge] have chosen better. The Pleiades are one of the most recently formed star systems in the Milky Way. You can see this yourself in the accompanying picture. They have not even had time yet to sweep out the excess stellar dust from the collapse of the formative starclouds. What this means is that they haven't had any time to evolve advanced life and technical civilizations. The only way that anyone could be there is if they recently flew over from somewhere far older. Even then it would be improper to refer to oneselves as "from the Pleiades". Just one more of many reasons not to waste ones time with Billy Meier. Shirley Maclaine is a LOT more interesting person than Meier [and astonishingly "magnetic"/ I saw her briefly at a convention once and she was hypnotic] but the Pleiades part of her UFO revelations still makes no sense...alas.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
An anonymous writer from New Zealand unloaded the to-be-popular theory that there were several different UFOnauts visiting us and that they not only looked different [he noted everything from hairy dwarves to the Flatwoods Monster] but drove a great variety of spaceship designs as well. This intellectually awkward ["now you're telling me that we've got not one but forty-three groups of aliens visiting Earth???"] but "sufficient to explain the lack of hard patterns" concept has stuck in the minds of some mainstream UFOlogists to this day. Its infinite "elasticity" makes it a tough sell. Nevertheless, this current blog-writer [as long-term readers have noted] believes that a case can be made for more than one civilization type being here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There were [disappointingly] very few good cases in this issue. One of the very few is written up in the [later] words of Dick Hall [see above] as it is much superior to that which appeared in FSR.
The diagram at the left is a cleaned-up copy of the original drawing by Waldo Harris which he made to illustrate his aerial encounter. This Salt Lake City incident was the only thing in the issue which would make certain compilations like The UFO Evidence.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A second, probably good, case was from Australia, and involved an RAAF policeman who saw a disk while on duty at Radar Hill, Laverton Airbase in September 1961. The corporal saw the amber, glowing disk come in and hover, rotating all the time. It then left slowly straight up and disappeared. Shortly it came back, this time spinning more rapidly and hovering in the same position. Then it rose slowly straight upwards again until it was out of sight. Fortunately for the case, the disk was seen by a second airman. This isn't a fabulous case but as long as the two witnesses are genuine, then it's worth keeping in your files.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------All-in-all the FSR put forward about ten major "intellectual" claims [i.e. categorically different ones] which have, given the perspective of the years, turned out to be 80% wrong---yep, dead wrong. 10% was a "neutral" score [that there might be more than one race of aliens involved], and the last 10% was half correct [that the Gill case was powerful] and half was false [so was Adamski]. That's a pretty poor batting average, and should tell us something about how non-convinced people view UFOlogy out of our own mouths.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Of course, something else happened during the period of coverage of this journal, but no one knew about that at all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mixed Menangerie {just to keep an oar in the water}.

I've been back home for a rare week: two doctor's appointments, an ecovillage meeting, a Cursillo meeting, an all-day UFO "fest" with my four buddies, some serious shopping for Mom's "entertainment" later in WVA, some semi-serious lawn care after a month away, etc. That translated to no free time, and not even a glance towards the blog. Finally, on my last day here with the resource library, I get a brief chance to turn a few pages. Too late for anything profound, but at least I can shuffle through the stack of unsorted documents which someday will be filed, and tell a couple of tales. Maybe it will interest you a little. If something which makes sense happens to come out of this unfocussed spontaneity, well, that's a surprising bonus. So, let's muse a little on the mysteries of the disorderly stacks.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's [to the left] an interesting [to me] slip of paper from the Project Blue Book files in late 1952. This is months after the twin hullabaloos of saucers all over the skies of Washington DC in July. The guys at Washington National control tower and the other related radar professionals were still seething about the USAF "explanations" of their radar observations of those two evenings, and had said as plainly as possible that they knew exactly what they were looking at [Hard Targets] and they were not "weather phenomena" of any sort. One can imagine elite professionals like Harry Barnes responding to Air Force allusions that he didn't know how to interpret a radar signal. Well, here they are again in late November of the year and they've got more anomalies at Washington National. Barnes, or whoever spoke with the Air Force on this one, made it perfectly clear: "1. No temperature inversions present. Adiabatic charts coming from Maj. Fournet. 2. Source states blips very similar to Wash. radar sighting from Control Center on 19 Jul and 26 Jul 52." So there!!! Back at you, USAF!!! Over the next couple of years there was a study of some of these sorts of sightings in the DC area, where the military scientist concluded that they could not possibly have been due to inversions and related ducting or illusory signals. Menzelian radar debunking took a big, but unpaid-attention-to, hit that day. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's a strange thing [hope you can read at least some of it on the left]. [the blocky letters on the page are mine, as well as the script at the bottom; the script at the top is Hynek's]. This is a 1952 military case over Arizona. The pilots began observing "puffs of black smoke" appearing in the vicinity of their plane, with no other objects in view. They assumed that the puffs must be from someone launching some sort of ordnance from the ground. This had to be serious ordnance as they were flying at 10,000 feet. Various bursts and various changes of course to attempt to investigate took place over twenty minutes. The smoke puffs were uniform in size [20 feet diameter] and color [yellow] and created rough disturbed air. To explain this as a "normal" sort of phenomenon, one needs to imagine some one or some organization on the ground capable of firing high altitude smokebombs at military planes and doing so using up a lot of arsenal [to no obvious end] and time/effort. All this without warning the air force pilots that such a thing was going to happen. This dud bombardment continued over a 25 mile range. Well, I guess that's possible but it doesn't seem very convincing to me. But if not that: what??-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The thing on the left is just a mystery from Allen Hynek's personal files. Stuffed inside his Moonwatch file folders was this [apparent] "photo case". It consists of three strips of paper: two are parts of a film strip [duplicates] of ten frames each, and one is a blow-up of one area of that. On the back of the blow-up are a few scribbled notes, unfortunately not sufficiently enlightening. These notes are similar enough that they could be in Hynek's own hand. They indicate that the film was of an event of September 8, 1953. They refer to a camera on a telescope, which could mean a Phototheodolite. if so, that could also mean the White Sands area or places like Edwards AFB. He says that the object was not noticed visually at the time. The fact that the bottom comments are jocular in nature also leads me to believe that this could be Hynek writing [and particularly in his 1950s mode]. What's interesting to me is that he placed this thing in his Moonwatch files of the 1960s. By that time he was convinced that anomalous observations of similar things through Moonwatch cameras, and occasionally photographed as well, were real and quite unexplained. One can see Hynek in the 1960s at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Headquarters of Moonwatch, scratching his beard and saying, "stuff like this has been reported to me for a long time. " ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some of that same "stuff" was the pile of Moonwatch reports from the official Moonwatchers but also coming out in the papers. One of those was the Grumman report that we recently saw in this blog, but others were just everyday Joe and Jolenes who had their cameras at the ready. One of those several news reports, with the photo, is at the left. These are unusual in UFO photo history in that they are of a different sort than the majority of things which turn out [with far too great a frequency] to be hoaxes. These are almost all genuine to my reading. They are distant lights, yes, but they have the attraction of having been seen by many independent people, and having remained unexplained. Hynek thought this material, as he gathered it [somewhat surreptitiously] alongside the Moonwatch work, was priceless, and very close to incontrovertible evidence of a UFO phenomenon. Well, I'm with you on that old man. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Something that popped up in the pile which had a coincidental nature to it, so I thought I'd pass it along, was this page from the old and valuable Australian Flying Saucer Review. As it has to do with the Reverend Browning Cressy event that we've just seen featured in the 1961 volume of FSR. it seemed worthy to show. I'm doing that because you can see illustrated a recreation of Lionel Browning as he saw the "mothership and babies" that evening. Hopefully you can also read these early remarks on the case. On the second page of the AFSR article [not reproduced here] Browning mentions that the disks "came towards the ship [i.e. the mothership] like flat stones skipping along water". Shades of Kenneth Arnold, eh? A comment on the second page also emphasized that Browning and his wife were not the only witnesses. A Mrs. Doris Bransden of Cressy said: "It was a fantastic sight--like a lot of little ships flocking around a bigger one." Apparently, there were several other witnesses as well. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There were quite a few more really interesting bits of data of our subject [i.e. wilder and woolier encounters] but I'm being pretty conservative today it seems, so here's something else in that vein. {funny, isn't it, that I can be "conservative" by "only" giving powerful evidence that the UFO phenomenon is real?}. The document at the left is another Project Blue Book report from Hynek's personal files. It tells of a July 1952 military incident wherein three observers, in the company of five civilians, saw a round rotating object move in and hover directly overhead of the group. [this sort of behavior always clinches the non-accidental "agenda" of whatever these things are doing, in my mind]. The thing covered a large apparent swath of sky ["eight inches", apparently meaning arm's length]. It was metal-colored and glowed lightly. No noise was mentioned, and we can assume that despite hovering overhead the large thing was silent. It "turned on its side and formed a long circular tube". Maybe this just means seeing it edge-on, maybe it means something weirder than that. Then it flipped back to "round", and "immediately disappeared". Hynek writes "INTERESTING" on the page. Well, uhh, yeh. He then asks Mark Chesney [showing that these scribblings were in the seventies at the early CUFOS] to write the case up and show him the "abstract". ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Instant disappearance---I noticed about a dozen cases of this type as I paged through the pile. It's a form of high strangeness that not a lot is made of in our business. That's probably because it's hard to distinguish between something which instantly disappears "in place", and something that whisks away so rapidly that the eye cannot take pictures fast enough to see it do so. My intuition is that both things happen: i.e. some encounters end with a very rapid moving away [you get reports where the observer notes great speed of departure at the near limit of what they can follow, so why not assume that some leave a little faster still?], and some just "wink out" right where they are. That second type is harder to defend, but this case smacks of that sort of thing. A crowd of people staring right at the thing, and big, and it's just no longer there. If we had cases like the Cheshire Cat of Alice-in-Wonderland, that would be solved: part disappearing while the rest remained in place would be pretty good evidence of such tomfoolery. But despite often hearing comments to the contrary, it is my experience that few to none UFO cases [which are credible] have Cheshire Cat exits involved with them [sometimes there's a leftover glow but not part of the device]. So, who knows about "instant disappearance?" Maybe so, maybe not. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But we can all take heart that with a species as brilliant as we are, the solution to all this is just around the corner. Yep. I believe that. Yep. No doubt. Anytime now.


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