Saturday, July 21, 2012

Can We Learn Anything From UFO Photos, part seven?

The USAF was at one time just about desperate enough to employ a scheme like that pictured above. To my knowledge, their idea to place diffraction-grating-equipped cameras in interceptor aircraft never paid off with a single shot. With UFOs "Simple Logic" often fails.

Barra da Tijuca, Brazil, 1952... yep, that one. Why bother ye wise persons may ask?; and I often ask myself the same question. But I'm allegedly going down through my UFO film case files and this is certainly one of the more famous. AND it's one which I haven't looked at closely at all, always swallowing the general cant that this is a hoax. I've finally looked at it. It is far from obvious to me what its status should be. Well, let's tell the story and you can decide.

Two guys, relatively well-known media guys in Brazil, were after a story when something showed up unexpectedly in the sky. Since they were on the hunt of news, one of them had a loaded camera. One guy yelled at the other to shoot the film, rousing him out of his stunned inaction, and the photographer took five pictures. By the way, this is a good spot to dismiss one piece of negativist garbage which is on the net about this. It has been said that wasn't it convenient that Keffel had only five negatives in his camera? ..."that should tell you he was planning a hoax right there". This remark is another of those pure lies that people put out. Keffel had a full roll in his camera and all the film was shot except for the last five frames when the thing showed up. Keffel shot all the frames he could. [there is actually a description of what was on the previous frames on the web]. This doesn't mean that these pictures are good UFO pictures by a long margin, but it says "go carefully, honest seeker of the truth. There are nasty people out there."

Ed Keffel and Joao Martins took their story and the yet undeveloped film to the news magazine O Cruzeiro and the editors published it. Since Martins and Keffel worked for the magazine, the film was not considered theirs, and they got nothing but their normal wages out of it. Before the story broke, the magazine, or perhaps the first newspaper, alerted the Brazilian Air Force and naturally the Brazilian government was interested. They were having several strong encounters involving their own military at the time, and were not indisposed towards giving alleged pictures an open hearing.

This is an interesting picture. It shows Joao Martins at the left, a Brazilian Air Force officer at the right, and in the middle, the USAF Air Attache, Colonel Hughes. The American military was being called in on this almost immediately, and the picture above is from the very next day following the sighting and the rapid return home by Keffel and Martins. [Brazil at the time was trying VERY hard to be "best friends" with the US military, as there was an arms race of sorts going on in South America, particularly as regards Argentina, and Brazil was looking forward to being given high-performance US aircraft]. [On a note of near irrelevancy: I've blotted out the bold initials of some UFO organization who insists on degrading all these photos even though they have no copyright... thus the funny-looking "photo splotch" you see Hughes looking at].

It is also interesting to see Martins there. If he's hoaxing, he's hoaxing both his government AND the United States, right in their faces. A Brassy move. Keffel and Martins are said to have taken their negatives to their Air Force and, perhaps at this very meeting, Hughes himself accompanied them to the darkroom to oversee the development. Both Hughes and the Brazilian Air Force said that the photos looked good at first analysis at least.

These are the five photos on the film strip. I think that I have them in the correct order, but...? The thing flew quite an arc while Keffel was trying to get off his shots, and he had to turn his body significantly to follow its path. The object also flew in, then backed out, during the flight. The last three photos have greater clarity than the first two, and much hullaballoo has been made of shadows. Because this thing flew a significant arc, the Sun angle will change picture-to-picture, something not paid attention to very well by some analysts. Such analysis would properly be done only by going to the site with the witnesses and getting precise directions. Picture four is by far the most famous, both for clarity of the UFO, and for being THE main battleground about these photos.

Let's dispense with another really trivial thing now. Humans are nearly hopeless in their instinctive biases. One of these I've come across consistently in regards to UFO pictures. People will instantaneously take a position of sympathy or disregard just on the first impression that the photo makes on them. UFO photos have the worst task of overcoming such bias that I've witnessed. If the photo is too clear, it is a fake. If the photo is too dim or fuzzy, "it could be anything". There is almost, to my hearing, no middle ground wherein a photo can make a good first impression.

And there is another thing: "That just doesn't look right to me". This means: that's not what a UFO should look like. In the case of Barra da Tijuca and others, I have had persons doubt their validity for reasons like "that's too flat". Concerning Barra da Tijuca, I'll just present the flat aspect of the Stealth bomber above. Even though it's triangular and Tijuca is round, edge-on they present very nearly exactly the same aspect. Unless something is REALLY ridiculous, we need to dump the prejudices.

Because it was judged that these could be "good" UFO photos, the Brazilian Air Force got a team of photographers/analysts to try to see if they could be faked. One of these photographers was regularly employed by the Brazilian government: Almira Barauna. Hip readers will recognize him as the photographer of the later Isle de Trindade encounter. The team tried to simulate the photos by throwing models into the air. Because the pictures taken by Keffel show so much "air" between the object and the ground vegetation, and because the apparent diameter of the object is significantly different from frame to frame [matching the witnesses statements of approach and flyaway], you could calculate how big/small a model would have to be to account for the five shots, and therefore minimum distances that you'd have to throw the thing. It became obvious pretty quickly that this could not be done with human arm strength, leaving the only viable "hoax" hypothesis a photo montage. Because this is the only viable hoax hypothesis, you will see debunkers state this flatly as the explanation, although no proof of that exists at all. It's another one of those: it can't be real, so it must be ...X.

While the Brazilian photographic team worked fruitlessly to explain the photos, Colonel Hughes ultimately wrote a mainly negative report back to Washington. The case became simply a hoax. Why did he say what he did on his report, when he admitted that the negatives looked good to both the Brazilian authorities and to himself?

These are Hughes' reasons as taken from his report to the Pentagon:

1). "The fact that the object was first seen looking almost directly into the Sun seems unlikely". What a weak statement! This is further disregarded as the first shot is clearly NOT looking anywhere near the direct line of sight of the Sun.
2). "That there were no other observers and the photographer evidently did not look for others seems peculiar". First of all: who says that there were no other observers? Secondly, Martins and Keffel specifically say that they made some attempts to find other observers in the very article which is appended to Hughes' report AND TRANSLATED!. Good grief!
3). "That no satisfactory supported reason for the photographer to be at this particular place further causes doubt". The same article describes exactly what they were doing at that spot on assignment from the magazine. You really wonder what's going on with some of these people.
4). NOW THE BIG DEAL. "And finally, $25,000 is being asked for the world-wide rights, which indicates that profit is more desired than verifying the identity of the object".

This last statement needs some commentary. Let's dispense with one thing immediately. Keffel and Martins were working on assignment for O Cruzeiro. Under that relationship, the photos were not theirs, but the magazine's. Martins said in later years that he never sought anything from the photos, and in fact continuously agreed to give free talks about the subject. So if Keffel and Martins could not "sell" the photos, what was biting Hughes?? Hughes wanted to get the negatives or at least "first" copies to ship back to the Pentagon for analysis. O Cruzeiro's appetite for selling this new windfall blocked that. When you read his quote above, you can see that this is exactly what he's talking about. Also, there is his phrasing: "verifying the identity of the object". It is difficult to read that as saying anything but that HE DOESN'T KNOW what the object is --- which would be perfectly in concert with the situation at the time of his Air Intelligence Report.

Hughes is upset at O Cruzeiro and searches for any reason to label the photos hoaxes. What he comes up with are three almost embarrassing bonehead comments and an unsubstantiated allusion to profit-making. If that latter played in the story, it would have meant that O Cruzeiro higher-ups were in on an organizational hoax which only included Keffel and Martins as the low-level operatives. I guess one can imagine that but it's a bit of a stretch with no evidence.

So, the photos stood there as disregarded hoaxes at least in the US view when APRO led by its Brazilian UFO-Knight, Olavo Fontes, went to bat for them. In my judgement, at this moment the photos should have been looked upon as very intriguing potential UFO evidence. Along then came the elite saucer debunker Donald Menzel. Menzel decided that the pictures looked phony. He felt that the sun-angle in some was off [that's no good due to the turning arc of the photographer though] but most importantly the Sun shadow in picture four did not match the shading on the tree below. Voila! said he, the thing is a photomontage!. Well, I've got to give him credit. He at least had come up with a reasonable theory of fakery based upon some actual element of the case. Other people jumped on board this hypothesis for the exact reason. This continued right on up to the Colorado Project and today.

Fontes and APRO were having none of it. Fontes pointed out that the offending tree had broken branches and it was these which gave the out-of-place shadows... some skeptics have actually credited this observation with explaining some but not all of the "bad" shadows. Jim Lorenzen simply said: that tree and the surrounding vegetation create a complex Sun/Shade situation from which you cannot derive simplistic deductions. Well, that's sort of correct too. Other skeptics have given thumbs down to the pattern of shadows on the "craft" as it flies, saying that these admit of no feasible Sun position. The Brazilian photo analyst, however, presented one which he felt worked just fine.

Well, what have we got here? I'm trying to be honest about this. I don't see that any of Colonel Hughes' bullet-points to the Pentagon have anything going for them at all. Menzel's point did, but there is at least a reasonable counter. Same thing with modeling the Sun angle. If we'd just have had an independent witness.

Maybe we did.

When Olavo Fontes passed away relatively young, Brazil needed a replacement. The great early triumvirate of Simoes, Perriera, and Faria were not coming out of retirement, so it was left to someone new. That someone became the Grand Lady of Brazilian UFOlogy, Irene Granchi. She ultimately assumed much of Fontes' role and his causes. Those causes included the two spectacular photo cases of Barra da Tijuca and Isle de Trindade. Granchi used to blister when she would hear commentators making light of either case. She was in the US attending an APRO convention [1971], when she heard a speaker waving off the case. Angry, she returned to Brazil, re-interviewed Keffel, Martins and the Brazilian analyst. This firmed her opinion that the case was good. She then gave a talk in Lima in 1973, which led to a letter-to-the-editor correcting a bungled coverage of the talk. Two weeks later, she received a completely unexpected surprise: a letter from a Barra da Tijuca witness.

She passed the substance of the letter [and the witnesses' names, to be treated anonymously] on to Coral Lorenzen who published it in the APRO Bulletin of July/August 1973. The witnesses, a doctor and his wife-to-be, saw an object hovering and then moving rapidly in the same area as Keffel and Martins' experience. It was stunning enough to be quite memorable at the time. Within that week they read of the case and noting the location realized that the photos had correlated "to the date and the hour" to what they'd witnessed. Moreover, the object was heading towards the very hill showing in some of the photos when they saw it disappear. Coral said that the doctor's reputation is "good" implying that perhaps Ms Granchi had checked that... but we don't know.

What to say? If that late-coming corroboration of the case is solid, then the photos are solid. If not, they are still at least in the graybasket. I haven't seen any grounds on which to go to the dumpster in this case [though, actually, I'd been biased against it, and thought that I would reject this one when I started this].

Stay loose, my friends.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Can we learn anything from UFO Photos?, part six.

There are tasks which even Kid Click and Linda Lens find their skills inadequate to solve. Filming UFOs so as to answer the great mystery is certainly one of them. But although we're not solving the whole of this thing, in my opinion we are answering/substantiating quite a few particulars. Almost with clear certainty, I, at least, am finding that certain film shots [regardless of quality] are significantly supporting the narratives of many incidents. Most significant of these are the military and scientific experiences. The fact that a couple handfuls of such filmings took place and entered the intelligence community records tells me that our best observers were in fact seeing just what they said they were seeing. By a relatively easy expansion of this finding, I have great confidence that a great many non-military and non-intel-community observers were seeing exactly what they were reporting also. The mere fact that any filming of these things can happen, means to me that there is no a priori reason to doubt that many filmings can.

And, these descriptions and crude images which go with them seem to say to us: "Flying Mechanisms"..."Disks"... "something physical up there". And: "we can't do this". People are afraid to really take the step of commitment to the view that by far the strongest hypothesis associated with the UFO mystery is that it is a physical reality, it is technology, and we humans can't do it. It can still be a hypothesis. But it is a very strongly supported hypothesis. The film, crude as the images are, adds weight to this.

Well, here's a tough one. The data on this thing seems all messed up. I'm going to try to give you my best guess as to what went on here, but mainly this is only a rather interesting picture which may represent a blown opportunity.

This picture seems to have reached the American public via James Moseley. That fact is almost enough to make you quit bothering right there. Moseley, however, nice a guy he may or may not be, has spent a life fouling the waters of UFOlogy with hoaxes, misrepresentations, rumors, misplaced "humor" ... it has been an almost wholly unhelpful "career" to the field. Well, maybe this is an exception.

In Moseley's magazine of April 1955 this photo was placed on the front cover with the information that it was taken in 1952 in the Madre de Dios section of Peru, which I believe, is near the Bolivian border. The photographer is listed as a customs inspector named Domingo Troncoso. Others allegedly saw the object as it flew past. Basically no other information was given, including how Moseley would have gotten the photo. My own memory of some of the framing information dims, but I seem to remember that Moseley used to spend quite a bit of time in Peru, perhaps collecting artifacts. Maybe he came across the thing on a trip.

I would basically dump the case into a fairly deep graybasket at this point if that were all.

Well... let's begin, reluctantly with what Moseley says. He published the picture in his SAUCERS magazine in April 1955. He stated that the photograph was taken on July 19th, 1952. And this is wrong. Who knows WHY he is publishing the wrong date, but it is in keeping with his style of "contribution" to the field. NICAP, in 1957, hears of a similar sounding rocket-like UFO spewing a dense smoke trail behind it. They remember the Peru case and as Moseley is local, ask him for a comment about it. This comment is published in NICAPs UFO Investigator in fall 1957. In that report, Moseley said that he had met a Senor Pedro Bardi in Lima [no date], and that Bardi had told him that he was involved with this case and that it happened in 1952. At least this much of Bardi's comments is wrong: IF Bardi is talking about the same case. Bardi speaks of a thing going by the window at high speed, and no photo. The thing made a buzzing sound; no mention of a smoke trail. Bardi's object was described as round; NOT missile or cigar-shaped. Moseley then gives the illusion that he obtained "the" photograph taken by Domingo Troncoso, as if this was the same thing. uhhhh... doubt projector on full.

NICAP bought everything that Moseley said [he was in the early stages of his miscreant behavior and they weren't cued in to the need to scrutinize everything he said minutely], and so published the "report" in the UFO Investigator with positive comment, and it later got into Dick Hall's UFO Evidence  with the wrong date and the unsubstantiated connections. AND we stuck with the error still today.

Is there any way to tease out a clearer story?? Probably. I think that I can get us a little closer anyway.

What gives us a minor chance of figuring this thing out is that when the event(s) happened, the Peruvian government got involved. They "read the papers" of the time about several alleged events which included photographs and the Peruvian Air Force did a small amount of investigation. The investigation seems to have amounted to going to the newspapers which were publishing these things and asking them for an explanation. The Minister of Education of Peru was called in to help, and he apparently determined that the photo was taken by a "teacher" [rather than a "customs official"] while on a picnic with his family. The Peruvian Air Force then informed the US Air Attache of the event(s) and the photograph. The attache then sent an Air Intelligence Information Report to the Pentagon, as would be policy. It went to a Colonel Hearn, who is known to be in the USAF Intelligence command structure at the time. This AIIR plus a spanish-language newspaper clipping is what ultimately made it to Project Grudge and into the microfilm.

What it tells us is not a lot. It does fix the date as July 19, 1951 or earlier. It also gives the very strong impression that three different stories of events each with a photo were coming out of the Puerto Maldonado area at the same time. Attache McHenry Hamilton either did not understand this, or the Peruvian officer talking to him didn't. I'm guessing Hamilton is the source of confusion here. The newspaper article tells of one case of a luminous disk trailing thick vapor, allegedly seen five minutes later further along its path. Then the newspaper also claims that a similar craft was seen by 300 people. Finally the paper claims to have received the famous photograph "of the same object", though no photo had yet entered the narratives of the other reports. The attache is then told that there are three separate photographs taken by three separate individuals. The Peruvian Air Force then says that these three photographs were done as hoaxes to sell papers [not theirs, of course].

This stuff makes very little sense to me. The picture however is really quite good. Very impressive missile and smoke trail [some folks even claim to be able to see the reflection of the trail in the water].

One wonders.... did a perfectly honest citizen and his family watch an impressive "missile" rush [horizontally] by, and take one good picture?? Did others in the area embellish that, and perhaps other incidents, with their own fake stories and photos? Is therefore this one photo "good"? We need a man on the spot. There might have even been one. At that time a young Richard Greenwell was living in Peru, getting very interested in UFOs as well as Cryptozoology, and was about to become Coral Lorenzen's first South American APRO reporter. Much later, back in the states, Richard wrote up his Peruvian experiences [among other things] in a spanish-language book which resides on the shelves of the Sanderson SITU archives. I can't read spanish. And nothing on this may be in there anyway. But....

One thing that we can be sure of: Moseley's report is erroneous and for all we know could be completely wrong. Nothing new there.

My back is absolutely killing me today folks... I'm going to leave this entry here with just this paltry piece of history.

God bless and Peace....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Can We Learn Anything From UFO Photos ?, part five.

Still wallowing about in "ancient times" on this topic, but those times are probably when we learned the most from the film evidence. And, as usual, my own files emphasize that relatively unclouded period.

Red Bud, IL: April 23, 1950.

Some people seem to like this case a lot. For all I know this is a good case, but by my criteria it is not. The reasons for that are simple: this photo was not reported to anybody who could be called an objective outsider for nine years. When it was reported, the story was given to about the worst source one could pick: Ray Palmer. First a letter, then a story with photo, appeared in Palmer's Flying Saucers Magazine in 1959. Palmer of course did no follow-up and apparently no one else did either. So all we have is a nice tale and one photo shot from a person whom we don't know even by interview. Pretty weak sauce. If there IS an interview by a responsible party somewhere, and what might count as a marginal field investigation therefore, I could increase confidence somewhat in this. But I know of nothing.

The story as told is simple. An amateur wildlife photographer [named] is strolling through the hills, camera thankfully at the ready, when he is "shocked" to see a domed disk object almost directly overhead. This would make this a rare close encounter photo, if it had been taken immediately. It hovered without motion for a time, during which the awe of the thing blanked out the photographer's awareness that he had a camera right in his hand. When the thing began to move, he snapped out of it enough to get one picture. Upon shooting this one frame, the UFO [which had been moving very deliberately] then shot away with lightning speed. Later developing the picture and deciding that he was sane afterall, the photographer showed it to a few friends separately, and got rousing mockery. This then is why he did not report it to anyone else.

If this case was a real one, it could have been very solid through investigation. This is because the writer claims to have heard that there were at least three nearby witnesses to the same thing. And he even named them. Again, should there be a more-or-less "hidden" case report of these matters I will happily upgrade the photo. As of now it is only an interesting story, which sold Ray Palmer some magazines [he put it on his cover].

McMinnville. Some say that this is the siege gun of UFO photos. I am not THAT wild in my praise, but the pictures seem to have survived an intense series of debunker batterings over time --- and I doubt that it will ever cease.

There have been arguments about nearly everything in this case, which attests to the threat that the debunkers see in it. There are arguments about the date, the time of day, who saw what from where, you name it. To me the facts of interest are more simple: Evelyn Trent saw a metallic disk in the sky and called to Paul to bring his camera and look. The usual delay in shooting to "gasp" about what was up there occurred, and then one picture of the thing essentially standing still, and a second just as the thing began to move away, were taken. Rather quickly then, the object accelerated and rose rapidly upwards.

Trent was interested in this but not markedly so. He finally told his barber who put one or the other of the prints in the shop window. Then the newspaper went wild, and the family bankers at least as wild [my brother had to chase Paul down to get that photograph from him, one said]. Paul Trent was extremely unconcerned about the photos and allowed the friends to do whatever they wanted with them. It was the banker who insisted on making contact with LIFE magazine, who then took the photos back east. [from which the negatives never returned, I believe]. If one was trying to turn the case into a hoax, you could not use profiteering as a motive. In fact, the character and behavior of Paul and Evelyn Trent reveal no type of hoaxing motive at all. Jim McDonald contacted Mr. and Mrs. Trent and their old banker on separate occasions in the early part of 1969. Everything about those interviews was consistent with a pair of everyday folks with everyday concerns, taking a pair of decidedly non-everyday photos, but not exploiting them. The banker told McDonald:

"I've known the family for forty years... You don't need to worry one bit about that picture... Not a bit of a question about it... He's not that kind of fellow at all... You can believe anything that he told you... He took the picture and never even showed it to anyone for a long time. He wasn't going to do anything about it at all. Ralph had to chase him down to get that photo... I haven't a doubt in the world . I'd gamble my life on it".

This sort of a character testimony means more to me than almost anything, because it almost zero's out the hoax hypothesis. Armchair reputation-smearers like Menzel or Klass might like to smear Trent [both at least indirectly did], but they were forced to do so since if one accepts the pictures as honest, all their simple no-mysteries views of the world are screwed. All they'd have left would be some military project which happened to be hovering over Oregon looking like a [currently] unflyable metallic disk.

These are the distant and close-up views of the one shot of the disk. The obvious thing to claim would be that this is a model hanging from one of the wires going from the house to the garage. A lot of people have looked for the suspending wire. Bill Hartmann of the Colorado Project, Ground Saucer Watch with its image enhancers, and The Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Nothing. Current debunker Robert Sheaffer of CSICOP is still whining --- this is the only description which seems accurate --- that even though no one can find them that they are nevertheless there. A "modern" theory of the things as something small just thrown into the air finds no support at all as far as I can read from a variety of UFO analysts or the earlier analytical work. I'm not going to go into detail on this latest thing as I rather like the fellow who proposed the idea, even though I disagree completely.

These are the regular and blow-up versions of the second photo. Neither Paul nor Evelyn remembered seeing the tower on the top. Paul said: I was so busy trying to get the pictures taken, that I wasn't looking at it too well. Bill Hartmann said this in the final Colorado report: "This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated, geometric, psychological, and physical appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disk-shaped, tens of meters in diameter, and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two witnesses." Hartmann goes on with a sentence doing his science-professor best to be objective by saying that of course he cannot absolutely rule out anything.... but you know that he thinks that this was a true UFO disk in the sky.

Hmmmm..... what can you learn by looking at UFO photos? Maybe more than a lot of us want to know.

A few years later, the picture at the top of this collage appeared under mysterious circumstances, claiming to have been taken in Rouen, France. Naturally it was compared [with great enthusiasm] to the McMinnville photo on the lower right. Because it had no proper story to go with it, I've paid it no mind. Recently people have decided that it is a hoax derived by "heavily altering" the McMinnville photo. Well, I'm sorry, but putting forward a hypothesis like that is laughable. We could take almost any picture and by "heavy altering" turn it into Mickey Mouse. Maybe it was just a bad choice of words, but it certainly puts one off about the hypothesis. Against my better judgement, I decided to look a little closer at the two images. I cannot come anywhere close to matching the shadow patterns on these two things. Shadings are backwards to one another not only left/right and top/bottom in places, but flipping the thing gets the tower leaning the wrong way plus plus plus.... If this is a "heavily altered" fake, it's not only heavily altered but done so rather insanely. But what do I know? I don't care about the Rouen thing anyway without a report and investigation.

Lubbock. Oh boy, here we go again....

Lubbock is a very contentious situation for most UFO history researchers but not for me. For me the "Lights" were a "good" mystery, unsolved right through today. I base this outrageous positive assessment on merely one thing: I read all the documents. And weirdly, I don't believe that many have.

Lubbock, TX: late August through early September 1951. Citizens begin reporting groups of greenish-white, glowing objects flying overhead. As the phenomenon seemed to repeat itself, many people got out of doors to see if they too could spot the aerial mystery.

Among those who did were the famous group of Texas Tech science and engineering professors. These guys were completely fired up about the mystery, and for a long time considered it "true" [that is, NOT birds nor planes, nor balloons et al]. After they and most of Lubbock had gotten thoroughly excited by this, a 19-year-old, having difficulty sleeping one evening, saw an array of lights pass overhead. He had heard that when that happens, more may yet come. So outside he went, with camera, to look for them. And two more flights did fly over. Carl Hart shot four pictures as you see above. The pictures are unlike bird flight formations in that they are far too geometric. Another Texas Tech professor [of zoology] dismissed the birds hypothesis for the majority of the reports publicly. Hart's pictures particularly could not be dealt with by the birds concept. Debunkers were left with what they usually are left with: Hart hoaxed the film. To debunk the entire Lubbock Lights case, they then combined birds with hoax to get the job done.

Analysis of the case therefore is split into two paths: attacking Carl Hart and his photos, and dismissing all the citizen reports as misperceptions of common things. These two are almost independent of one another: one could have a mystery lights flyover caught on camera by Carl Hart while the rest of the reports were errors, or you could have mystery group flyovers while Carl Hart's photos were hoaxed. The first scenario would be very Out Proctor or at least creepy when you think of it, but the second could be plausible --- a hoaxster inspired by previous events.

People have "gone at it" on the photos since they arrived. I haven't made a whole research project on this, but what I've read indicates to me that neither the USAF nor Ground Saucer Watch nor some other commentators can find anything really wrong with the pictures --- other than statements like they don't know how he got off four shots. I've read nothing in his narrative which indicates to me that he was impossibly time stressed, but I wasn't there and don't know his camera's limitations. Kevin Randle re-interviewed Hart a small number of years ago, and he still sticks precisely with his story as he told it then.

Well, let's shrug our shoulders for the moment and say "maybe". What about all the other sightings??

A big controversy sprang up right among Lubbockers themselves as to whether this was anomalous or just some sorts of birds like plovers or ducks or even bugs. Some people surely saw groups of birds at night and saw wings and heard bird sounds. Fine. That would be exactly as expected for excited persons looking for something. Other people were taking a more analytical approach. The professors were collecting data as they could, and some observers were being more calm in their reports [for example insisting that they specifically focussed on whether any sounds were going on or if there were signs of wings extended from the glowing disk shape].

The professors ended up with a behavior which made me laugh because it is so typical of my tribe. They couldn't figure this out. But as professors they really wanted an answer. Also, this thing was grinding on, and they were getting unwanted publicity. They wanted out. Solution?: create a bail-out "explanation" and write Ed Ruppelt at Wright-Patterson that they'd solved the case. Which they did. They asked Ruppelt NOT to publish their solution because they were embarrassed at being fooled by this. He honored that. Their "solution" [based upon nothing determinable from the record] was either "Ducks" or "Moths" as far as I can see. Since formation-flying moths are about as preposterous an idea as a drunk comedian could invent, let's drop that and say "Ducks".

But as the football analyst says: Not so fast, my friend!!

Another Texas Tech prof, a mathematician, was also among those interested. He also was on the watch and had talked this over with his father-in-law who lived a little ways away. One evening he spotted three overflights. He notified his father-in-law who went out and saw and made rough measurements. With the measurements that Professor R.S. Underwood and his father-in-law made, a triangulation was possible. The resultant trigonometry said: slightly over 2000 feet high and 700 mph AT THE LOW END of the error bar.

Almost as the ridiculous "conclusion" of a Theatre of the Absurd play, Underwood's report to Ruppelt on this went to Wright-Patterson during a very busy time and was piled in with a box full of general correspondence AND NEVER READ! We only know about it because many years later it was going to be thrown out post Blue Book's closing, and a visiting UFOlogist asked if it was alright if he take the box for historical interest. Man, you could hardly make this stuff up.

700mph ducks "ain't gonna cut it". And I see no indication in the actual military record that the USAF thought so either. The reason is that just at that time, two unimpeachable witnesses saw a "flying wing" pass over their heads near Albuquerque NM. The sketch at the left is the drawing from one of the witnesses.

New Mexico military intelligence was VERY interested in this. They got Carl Hart's photos and showed them to their Sandia witnesses. Both said, yes, that's very much like what we saw. Hmmmm... this is a Blue Book "Unknown" case. THIS was something that the USAF thought REALLY happened. And "just coincidentally" Lubbock people were seeing birds flying in similar rigid geometry and Carl Hart was photographing them? And Professor Underwood was measuring the thing at 700mph? [of course WE are smarter than all of them, since only we are reading all the pieces.]

Of course we had made a flying wing ourselves, or John Northrop had --- several in fact. According to aviation history, the flying wing program was in its last gasping death throes and perhaps none was flight worthy anymore. Again, according to aviation history, the last flights of a flying wing were around a limited area of California/Arizona/Nevada and nowhere near New Mexico nor Texas. Still, the USAF asked anyway: you guys flying the wing out here? Answer: none of the wings are in the air.

To say that this endpoint of our little Lubbock adventure leaves me more boggled than the beginning is putting it mildly. I have in my hands two pieces of information that I can't shake: RSUnderwood has done a clever job of calculating us into the flying machine levels of height and speed, and two very solid witnesses from Sandia have seen a flying wing overhead. Surrounding that are all the other things which people spend all their time talking about --- things not at the core of my view of the case, but which take great strength from "my" core. Lubbock SEEMS to have happened, and the Albuquerque thing seems to have happened, and they seem to be very like one another. Yet, our own technology was just being sent to the bunkers. What in the heck went on?? Did we cover up the fact that our flying wings were doing a lot more flying beyond what the history books say? And were they already so highly engineered as to be basically soundless? OR....

Did "somebody" play a colossal joke on us with a technology imitator flyover of a design that we just gave up on???

Now, THAT'S Out Proctor!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Can We Learn Anything From UFO Photos?, part four.

I've got a Gordian Knot of sorts on my hands for some photos in the 1949-1950 era, and not enough time to study and unravel it. So... to get off ground zero here, I'm going to post a particularly sloppy entry just to get on with things. Yep, not great scholarship, I know. But lately I've just been happy to make it back to bed in the evening, so this is "all I got" right now.

OK, what is this mess all about? Well, I don't know. All three of these things are somehow associated with photos supposedly taken at or nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the late 1940s (47-49). The two on top are supposedly from 1947 and the bottom one from 1949. The topmost photo looks suspiciously to me like an error in the developing process where a heavy drop of developing fluid made a bright ball of light which "streaked across the sky" as it ran on the film. But what do I know? The middle one could be anything. It also looks like a type of developing liquid error, but the whole thing is so dark, maybe not. Either way, one can't tell much particularly with essentially no report.

The bottom thing is even more mysterious. I've seen this shape in only one other place on the internet, there in black and white and unlabeled. It was placed with photos of the late 1940s. So where'd "my" rendition come from?? Allen Hynek apparently. This thing was on a slide in the Allen Hynek collection as passed on to me by John Timmerman. All that the slide says [but thank God for this as most of these slides were unlabeled] is: "Oak Ridge, TN in 1940s over the government atomic facility by staffers".

I would be a big fan of this photo if I had an accompanying case file. If this was legit, and of the 1949-50 era, it would be perfect for the rash of sightings that swarmed around Oak Ridge, causing the Atomic Energy Commission no end of anxiety. A lot of on-the-ground and even in-the-air action was taken by the Oak Ridge commandant in response to these things. But the slide is all I have.

In the Blue Book microfilm there is a report of photos taken in 1947 which didn't get official attention until all the heavier flapping went on in 1949. This report speaks of a highly regarded engineer, assigned to Oak Ridge from Wright-Patterson AMC, who took pictures of 1). a vapor trail; and 2). a ball-of-fire. Neither of those descriptions seems to fit the picture above. Of interest is that the photographer was told to round up all the prints that he had made and distributed to friends and hand everything over to the USAF.

Apologies for the darkness but that's how the photo is. In fact you may be looking at the best version of it around, as this is another case of Dr. Hynek "borrowing" an original. This photo was taken by a Master Sergeant stationed at Roswell in 1949, who filmed this "perfectly round" transparent globe sitting in the sky. Sergeant Callen was considered an excellent non-com and highly trustworthy. The USAF did NOT see this photo as involving any balloon, and considered the case unidentified.

This was the period also just before the Green Fireballs flap, which addled everyone at nearby Los Alamos and Sandia bases. As we moved into late December and early January [of 1950] the local military chiefs [led by Colonel Doyle Rees and Dr. Lincoln LaPaz] were actively seeking photographic evidence for that mystery. They got it several times, AND IN EVERY CASE THE PHOTO EVIDENCE IS "UNAVAILABLE" OR LOST. There are several cases even of triangulations, wherein the object was photo'd, and the altitude, distances, and speeds were calculable. These things happened several times at White Sands Proving Grounds as well as from desert patrols. It's a colossal joke that anyone doubts that real distance and speed data was never obtained. But I have none of those particular photos to show --- nor do any of the rest of we mere peons.

Bruce Maccabee has written an excellent retelling of these 1950 era sightings, photos, and triangulations in the New Mexico area in a paper entitled NCP-13: White Sands Films, Mirarchi, and Project Twinkle. The NCP refers to the "Nuclear Connection Project" on Fran Ridge's NICAP site.

These are a set of pictures from the USAF microfilms as well. The set was taken by a corporal from Holloman AFB at Datil NM on February 24/25 1950. These pictures were passed onto Dr Lincoln LaPaz for his analysis. LaPaz could see that they were not part of the Green Fireballs mystery [visually anyway], but, although they seemed to be possibly astronomical objects, his close analysis of the films indicated a]. too small for the Moon and too large for Venus, therefore not astronomical. Background information indicated that the object was basically in focus, and therefore not a fuzzy star. The object was essentially a round white light, very bright, which engaged in some motion, but undescribed [at least as I know]. The pictures are considered "unexplained". What do they tell us? At least that observers were seeing real objects/lights in a concentrated area of New Mexico in that period. And, therefore that "something" was going on.

From sublime to ridiculous??? John Timmerman was hosting the CUFOS UFO picture exhibit in San Bernardino CA in 1991, when some people gave him this photograph. Who knows what the story was, as it did not appear in the typed transcripts that I used for GRASS-ROOTS UFOS. On the back of the photo were remarks like "#3 of 5", Approximate altitude: 5200 ft; Estimated speed: 2960mph; Type: infrared; Ionized gas: He, Ag, Mg, vapor [Helium; Silver; Magnesium]; Cloud Formation: ozone; "Only two operators on duty"; "July 3, 1950".

Great for TV drama, I suppose. Meaningless to us. Imaginations Away!!!

That's it for this one folks --- have to go visit Mom. Watch the skies. Someone may be watching you....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed

Since this happened, I'm going to get it's "notice of birth" out of the way, so you can see the fact of the matter, and then quit braggin' and get back to work. I scanned some of the following example pages rather quickly so they're not as "pretty" as they might be, but they are here to give you the gist of the Thing. SO: some pages of UFOs and Government.

Author's handprint from scanner [above] included as added bonus.

Mack doesn't look smudged in text --- that's me giving the scanner a bad data-per-inch order.

Clas would be mad at me for poor flattening of his page. He writes better than I do.

Part of Robert's hero effort on the index.

Buy a copy. Patrick deserves to make a little money off this.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Breaking" News?

Folks, a diversion from the UFO photos.

A regular reader of the blog sent me an old story, which we decided to post in order to let you chew on the mystery and maybe cast some light on it. The story involves our reader/reporter whom we'll call Ms R. The experiencer in this tale we'll call Ms X. And the third party friend in the story we'll call Ms 3. All of this is because: who needs any extra grief in their lives if they aren't volunteering for it, correct?

The background of the event is this: This was in 1981 in a middle-sized university town, and the three ladies were liberal arts co-eds and friends. Ms X and Ms 3 lived in a rented house; others not relevant to our story also lived there, but were not involved. Our own Ms R lived in another location. Ms R, Ms X, and Ms 3 were best friends.

One fine day, Ms X was alone in the house. A woman described as an adult, and somewhat peculiar, came to the door and asked to use the phone. Unfortunately, we have no more description of this individual's clothing or appearance otherwise. Ms X let the woman in and showed her the phone. All that we know following this, regarding her, is that she stood in the room with the mouthpiece close, and repeated "hello... hello... hello... " incessantly in a monotone, until it became quite creepily disturbing. Ms X was extremely relieved to see her finally quit and go.

Alone again now in the house, Ms X heard a terrific explosion upstairs. She ran outside and found neighbors looking up at one of the windows in the house. It had blown outward with great violence and glass shards were all over the street. Upon inspection, there was no glass whatever on the inside of the room upstairs, and no evidence of any "bomb" having gone off. This severely shook up Ms X even more than the strange woman, and, contemplating things like "evil spirit forces" carried into the house by a disturbed person, she stayed rattled the rest of that day, until first she told Ms 3, who tried to calm her down, and secondly, Ms R saw her at a normal meeting spot, where she was told the story.

So there our mystery stands. There are, of course, ways to break a window and leave the glass scattered about on the outside. Throwing a brick through it from the inside is the most "concrete", but since no one was inside and no such offending object was found, this "best guess" seems out as our solution.

How else can we break a window?? Certain forms of windows are breaking at a surprising frequency it seems for, apparently "simple", physical-science reasons, albeit poorly understood ones. All over the place we have reports not from the anomalies sectors, but from the maintenance and repairs sector, of windows suddenly shattering. The main offenders are microwave oven doors [even while not being used], shower doors, and car windows, particularly backhatches. These windows seem to be shattering due [paradoxically] to a manufacturing process which is supposed to make them safer. It's a heat-treatment technique called "tempering". There is a lot of discussion of this on the internet.

This disturbing phenomenon probably has nothing to do with our mystery. Ordinary glass house-windows of the 1980 ilk had no such fancy tempering manufacture. Additionally, tempered window breakage usually reduces the glass to much smaller pieces than the typical glass breakage shards. And we still have to get a distinctively outwards force.

So what else have we got to work with? If you had either a big atmospheric pressure build-up inside, you could blow the [flawed] window out. Conversely, if you set up a vacuum just outside the window, you could pull it out. The micro-localized vacuum outside the window is probably more bizarre than "ghosts" so let's disregard that. Heat rises in the upper stories of houses. It builds up near the upper story's ceiling. If the room was well sealed, could it blow out a window?? Maybe. It doesn't ring true for this case however. The event seems to have taken place during the school year and in a non-heat belt state. Also, the idea that a room would have such a tight seal in an old student ghetto house stretches credulity. Lastly, and most significantly: this was a LOUD explosion.

Another way of "exploding" glass is by vibrating it at a harmonic frequency until the whole semi-crystalline structure shatters. Could such a vibration have caused this? Who knows. but it doesn't seem to fit well either. The vibration would have had to have been unhearable by Ms X or others, yet be powerful. It would have had to have had some "help" to be unidirectional from inside out in its force effect. And nothing is known about anything which could have pulled this off. [and no other glass had a problem with what must have been very oddly focussed.]

So, maybe we still have a problem. If we do, did the mystery woman have anything to do with it? Again, who knows? She could have been a mere coincidence. Experiencers of weird things often combine everything even slightly out of the norm into their scrambling to find meaning in these things. We are REALLY at a loss on the "odd woman" part of this tale, due to lack of any description. It would have been "handy" if she was dressed "out-of-style". Then all manner of "reality slippage" sorts of ideas might be on the table.

With what little we have, the odd woman could be included in what has become a much expanded concept of the old "Men-in-Black" idea. The new version embraces all sorts of strangely behaving persons who show up for the weird interlude, make very little sense, then fade out of the story like an episode in a bad dream. Was she this sort of entity?

The thought of exploding windows brings the thought "poltergeist" to mind. Agreed, but poltergeist cases don't really do this. They might throw rocks at houses and windows, they might throw and burst inside crockery, sometimes hitting a window. But blowing out windows from the inside?.... others will know better than I. A "nice" violent crockery-shattering poltergeist case was the Baltimore, OH case of 1960. This was one of those ongoing things with many alleged events, centered in this case on the father of the family. It was attributed by the famous researcher, Nandor Fodor [whom we have talked about before on the blog], as being connected with the teenage son in the family. I have my skepticisms about the "unconscious psychokinesis in stressed teenagers" theory of poltergeists, but it is a thought prominently going about. Ms R assures me that her friend Ms X was nothing but a happy [generally] college girl at the time, however. And there is nothing repetitive about this.

So what have we? Rare odd physical event of some kind? Repressed subconscious PK? Dark "energy" or restless spirit brought to the house by a strange woman? Reality or time slippage?

Calling all experts!! Jerry Clark, where are you??


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