Thursday, November 28, 2013

THE UFO BEAUTY CONTEST, part five {and last, I think}.

One last time .....

The above is how you see this case represented on the internet [if it shows up anywhere at all].

The case: Waterdown, Ontario [often called Hamilton], March 18, 1975. A young man {19} was an amateur nature photographer, who was particularly interested in photographing raptors, in flight or otherwise. He'd been totally unsuccessful this day, and was beginning to go home.

He saw an unusual object flying strange flight paths, and decided to try to pick it up in the camera. His first shot hit the target, the second missed, and he got two more hits before it was out of range. In some ways this is weirdly like the Cluj situation. He went home and called the Hamilton newspaper. They asked him to bring his camera in and the film was developed there. People at MacMasters University, a local Astronomers organization, and finally an APRO field investigator were all impressed, and the photos deemed untampered. In Bondarchuk's UFO Canada {a pretty good "unknown" UFO book, by the way}, the photo series is referred to as "one of the most respected pieces of UFO evidence". This is a bit over-the-top in my view, as few people have even heard of it.

I hadn't heard of it either until I was sent two boxes of chaotic photographs by John Timmerman. He had neglected the job of trying to organize them for so long that he couldn't remember anything about the contents and was happy to stick me with the task of attempting identification. I was a failure on the majority and still refer to them as "John's Junk" affectionately. Some I could identify, and some were actually, blessedly, labeled. One of these labeled was an envelop with the Waterdown pictures.

These pictures {I found no negatives} were allegedly sent to Hynek to analyze. Except for him finding someone to play around with the exposure and magnification, I find no evidence that he did much, nor that he published it .... could be wrong here, and anything could be back at CUFOS.

These photos turn out to be sharper and somewhat different from the typical picture of this case as seen on the internet. In fact, what they show is either absurd or high strangeness.

This thing looks to me like an opaque "ball" {most of one anyway} sitting on the surface of a transparent thin disk. I'd not object to the hypothesis that it is a whole ball which protrudes slightly under the disk. Now what the heck is THAT?

Is it a "simple hoax"? Despite other aspects of the report? Could a small constructed object of these proportions sail well enough to get any distance in the air when thrown? Weird hoax construction regardless, if so.

If no hoax, then alternative hypotheses go rapidly towards zero. And, if no hoax, odd thoughts pass through ones mind as to whether there's any reason for the disk parts of crafts at all.

As to the theme of our last four posts: credibility is worse than with Cluj, though film development right out of the camera is a winner. Still, we have just one witness. Strangeness would be higher than Cluj, as the flightpath of the object was phenomenally loop-de-loop. The transparent disk is a bit strange as well.

I'll leave you to your meditations.....

or whatever you're doing today ......

..... and I'll end with my infamous Ohgi uh Bokum, and a hearty Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THE UFO BEAUTY CONTEST, part four: Do We Have a Cluj?

So.... several iterations of ogling UFO photos accompanied by hand-wringing and soul-searching. Have I learned anything at all? {You fine folks will have to answer that for yourselves, assuming you've put yourself through the pain of reading the last three posts}. I truly don't know. I'm going to pick a photo which I have paid almost no attention to {despite others trying to get me to do so}, and see if this leads anywhere. 

The case: Cluj, NW Romania, {yep, that's in Transylvania}, August 18, 1968 just early afternoon. 

Four adults of middle age were having a picnic. Two are publicly named, two others begged off being named but names were known to the investigators. One of the women noticed the object first, and called to her boyfriend. He gaped at it momentarily, but had the presence to grapple with his backpack and successfully haul out his camera and fire away for shot number one {above}. As excited as he was it is lucky that he got a fairly sharp image, but it was quite off-center. 

The object dove towards the ground, made a sharp turn and almost hovered. Less excited now, he composed himself and got a well-centered shot {number two}. Then the thing rapidly shot away, giving him time only to take two departing more distant shots {Photo three is one of these; the other photo has been seen by several investigators, but is never printed as the two witnesses wishing anonymity appear in it. It, like our photo numbered three, is more distant a rendering and doesn't add much to the viewing sequence.}

The above graph tells the flight's tale. Imagine the missing fourth photo somewhere along the upward path. The photographer knew the lead UFO investigator through a business connection. He, an employee at something called the Institute of Building Design in Cluj, had met Florin Gheorghita during a work project, where he learned of Gheorghita's interests in UFOs. He, Emil Barnea, waited a few days until Gheorghita returned from a trip, and then took the negatives and the story to him. 

Gheorghita conducted many interviews and did the fieldwork. The photos were analyzed by several different parties. The witnesses passed character references easily, being solid "average" citizens with no previous interests [at all apparently] in UFOs. The photos likewise passed their scrutiny by a professional photographer in town, in his own lab, plus a famous specialist from Bucharest, who was visiting. Still another laboratory was enlisted, and then lighting effects experts from the local university's Institute of Fine Arts. These latter determined that, though difficult to notice casually, the object DID radiate some amount of its own light, and this seemed to increase with its movement. Later, labs in other countries looked at the photos as well, and pronounced them sound as to tampering, shading, and the like.

Because the case seemed to have such a careful field investigation, it was not only published widely but with unusually upbeat commentary. The only negative element at the time was "self-inflicted" by the lead investigators [both Gheorghita and later Ion Hobana], who insisted on trying to compare it to the controversial Rex Heflin photos, just because they felt they looked alike. This is the sort of stupid red herring that often clouds one's responses to a case, and we humans seem weirdly susceptible to such noise in our brainboxes. {Translation: what goes on with one case need have nothing to do with another}.

As I said above: I never paid attention to the case. I have my hang-ups about UFO photos and what you can get out of them, and my own self-inflicted stupidities about whether I like the way they look or not. This, I must remind myself, is MY problem, not the case's.

As fate would have it, I was at CUFOS some years ago when someone there told me that he thought this photo series was the strongest piece of evidence of the reality of non-terrestrial flying technology in the whole pile of UFO literature. ...... I MIGHT be lying about this [unintentionally] as it was many years ago, but the Bells of Memory are ringing loud on this one. I was politely skeptical [I'd just met the guy for the first time], but he saw through that and was "cool" for the rest of the afternoon. My memory says that he told me that Hynek was VERY impressed by this one as well.

OK. Let's give me "credit" for creeping Alzheimers [my 73rd birthday just passed] and admit that my memory has a short in it, but just for fun: how could Hynek be so impressed?

A). There was a group of witnesses, all credible and all UFO-disinterested;
B). There were multiple photos taken;
C). There were multiple field investigators;
D). There were multiple photographic experts and labs.

When Allen would assess "Credibility", he'd have to give these photos very high marks.

When Allen assessed "Strangeness", well.... the strangeness is there, just not as strange as alien entities or sudden right-angle turns [this thing's direction shift was not "instantaneous" in the report]. Strangeness of a subtler nature [a technical device with no observable method of propulsion capable of awkward stops, dramatic directional change, near-hovering, and rapid upward acceleration] should really be strange enough.

But still I'm whining about it. Why didn't it look like that pretty domed disk in that Vancouver photo? You know the one. The one with no witnesses to it at all, no movement descriptions, no... anything.

But it sure is pretty.

Peace friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Let's walk this path again.

Photo #1b: Manchester, GA, 1973. NICAP liked this one greatly.

Photo #2b: St. Lorenzen, Austria, 1971. GSW liked these photos by Nagura.

Photo #3b: Roswell, NM, 1949. Mysterious thing from Hynek's files.

Photo #4b: Varnamo, Sweden, 1974. Clas Svahn was impressed by this witness.

Photo #5b: Faribault, MN, 1967. Sent to Hynek at Northwestern.

Photo #6b: Blue Springfield, MO, 1974. {new to me}.

Photo #7b: Corsica, 1971.

Photo #8b: Colfax, WI, 1978.

Photo #9b: Cincinnati, OH, 1974.

Photo #10b: Belotic, Yugoslavia, 1973. One of those prejudice-inspiring {"looks too much like a hat"} cases.

Photo #11b: Kenora, Ontario, Canada, 1969.

Photo #12b: Yungay, Peru, 1967.

Photo #13b: Wall Tap, NJ, 1966. Blue Book case.

Photo #14b: Bareau Bay, NSW, Australia, 1972. Ozzie Air Force case.

Photo #15b: California, maybe. 1950. Uhhh, What!? John Timmerman had this passed onto him rather surrepticiously and, as it looks like the legendary concept of the AVRO disk rocket plane, I thought you'd like to see it.

Photos, photos. What a conundrum.

As I plough through these files,  I'm coming to the "wrong" conclusion vis-a-vis received wisdom. Instead of facilely writing off UFO photos [and even UFOs themselves BECAUSE OF LACK OF GOOD PHOTOS], I'm beginning to think that this is not so damning at all.

To begin, what would we need to expect a good [whatever THAT is] UFO photo? A list:
1]. A Close Encounter. Narrows the field quite a bit;
2]. A Close Encounter in Daylight --- we've discussed this here. CE's are almost all at night. See the old post about The Law of the Times;
3]. A CE which hangs around and stands relatively still. Not many of those;
4]. A handy camera with at least one shot already loaded in it;
5]. A person who can use that camera well; helpful to the rest of us if that person is not alone and is a reputable character;
6]. A person not so stunned or mesmerized by the CE that he/she actually and immediately thinks of grabbing that handy loaded camera and shooting a non-shaky picture.

Meditating on that for awhile, I become more amazed that there are any potentially "good" photos at all. If I add my belief that Close Encounters are displays under the controls/plans of the ones doing the displaying, then my hopes become slim indeed.

So as I look through my set of photo files, and as I try to strip away my inappropriate prejudices about shape and clarity, I wonder if it is not a viable hypothesis that we may in fact have quite a few, a respectable number, of UFO photos --- even though they, as all other UFO evidence, cannot "prove" whatever one would like about a detailed UFO nature.

So as we walk off into the setting Sun... Wait!!.... is that a Setting Sun UFO parked there in the central European countryside??

.... or are the gnomes opening an entrance to Faerieworld?....

.... or is it the Treasurecave of the Dragon? ..... or....  well, forget it.

Maybe there will be more to say on this topic. I'll have to muddle about to see.

Peace and a Happy Thanksgiving. {Even to you Across-the-Ponders}.

Monday, November 18, 2013


.......... another dozen.

Just knee-jerk responses for the moment; a little talk later.

Photo #1a: Picacho Peak, NM, 1967.

Photo #2a: SW of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 1967. {ignore the "Sun" at the top of the photo: I had to photo this from a glossy sheet and that's just light pollution}

Photo #3a: Location unlisted, probably White Sands area [This is a Blue Book photo stolen by Allen Hynek with the only label being that it is a Nunn-Baker {mobile telescope} tracking photo. This would likely place it in the 1950s and taken while observing a night launch or during the Moon Watch program.] ... for what it's worth, I believe that the "UFO" is the pill-shaped light form rather than the large burst which seems possibly to emerge from it.

Photo #4a: St. George, MN, 1965.

Photo{s} #5a: Insert: Lake Urmia, NW Iran, 1978; and Shiraz, Iran, a few years later {John Timmerman was boggled by the shapes and that these came to him from Iran from two very different sources. This oddity overcame his immediate perceptual biases, though few others of his CUFOS friends.}

Photo #6a: Honolulu, Hawaii, 1974.

Photo #7a: Alberton, South Australia, 1967. { the lower picture is a blow-up of the central area.}

Photo #8a: Ipameri River, Brazil, 1966. {I've cropped the "context" out here --- sorry --- the object hovers over forest beyond closer water.}


Photo #9a: Some location in Norway --- as often happens, Allen Hynek is not tidy enough in his labeling --- 1957.

Photo #10a: Lake Baskatong, Quebec, Canada, 1978.

Photo #11a: King Mountain, NC, 1968.

Photo #12a: nr. Holloman AFB, NM, 1957.

soooooooo........ knee-jerks, doubtless abound.

I'm still not ready to launch into specifics on these things {though I'll be happy to respond in comments}. Instead I'm going to do a little introspection.

Somewhen, "somebody" has gotten into my head and told me what a UFO should look like. I'm not saying that this is automatically helpful or harmful, it's just reality. Some of these photos match that imprinted visual better --- well let's phrase it "smoother" --- than others. I'm not good enough at self-analysis to explain all this subtlety which has gone on, but part of it resulted in this: when I say "UFO" I have a definition personally-formed and not necessarily like the person's that I happen to be talking to.

That definition is not so vague as to be {for me} utterly unhelpful and useless, nor is it so precise as to restrict growth through analysis and synthesis. "U" is unidentified. That's a no-brainer for me. "FO" however says to me: "object in this sense means material --- not gas, liquid, nor plasma", and "flying in this sense means technology". When I'm reviewing a potential UFO case, whatever possible evidence is presented is subjected to judgment of whether that evidence seems to be coherent with observation of some solidly material flying technology [whether WE can do it comes later], or is readily congruent with such a technology.

I'm not looking to see if there's just something odd in the air; the witches on their broomsticks, or the would-be dragons, pterodactyls, and moth men can have their airspace --- I'll put them in a different file folder. I'm looking for technology --- technology tough to identify. Others are free to look for whatever they want.

So, when a picture shows up, my mind says: does it look like it might be flying technology that I can't identify? .... and then the other prejudices come in? Is it LIKE the great pile of other cases that I trust? Does it have radial symmetry or at least SOME clean symmetry? How's it moving? Can I buy its behavior in the air? All that happens at once without words. The mind settles down to take some calmer time with the case... but the explosion of prejudice has happened.

I'll put up some more of this later.

Peace and calm and wise minds, friends.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Perhaps a silly blogpost..........

I've been trying to clean up the Film category in my UFO case files. Each new photo brought up its own demons. I've always wondered whether those demons were in the photos or in me.

To begin with anyway, I'm just going to post some of these photos without commentary. If you'd like, pop them up one after the other and just note to yourself the first thought that comes to your mind as your eyeballs comprehend the image.

Maybe we can find out something about UFOs or maybe we can find something out about ourselves.

Photo #1: Timberlake, ME 1958.

Photo #2: Balwyn, Australia, 1966.

Photo #3: ?Bloomfield, NJ, 1967 [NICAP file]. 

Photo #4: Madro de Dios-Flusses, Peru, 1952.

Photo #5: Tulsa, OK, 1965.

Photo #6: Hallam, Australia, 1967.

Photo #7: Kauai Sands Hotel, Hawaii, 1975.

Photo #8: Simplon Pass, Switzerland, 1975.

Photo #9: Passaic, NJ, 1952.

Photo #10: Coyococ, Mexico, 1973.

Photo #11: Deutsch Landsberg, Austria, 1971.

Photo #12: Darmstadt, Germany, 1953.

So... a "dirty dozen." What first thoughts, i.e. "prejudices", came immediately to mind? Were some of these "just obviously not UFOs?" Why? Why did your mind react that way? Were some not UFOs because they were too "good", or some because they were too "bad"? Were any "just right?" Why? Is it even possible for a photo to be "just right?" What would it take? 

I have all these prejudices myself. I wonder, really wonder, if any UFO photograph could ever make it past the barriers our minds alone put up against it? 

I'll throw out another Dirty Dozen soon.

Peace, friends.


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