Friday, April 27, 2012


Alien Abductee Photos

If you thought the whole alien abductee phenomenon had gone away, take a look at this photo gallery of abductees who were at the recent US, International UFO Congress.

Alien Photos

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Fake UFO as good as the real thing?

Recently I bought a copy of Leslie Kean's UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record. There is a review of it by Peter Rogerson on the main Magonia blog.

I have to agree with Peter's comments about this book. Indeed, I found it astonishing that a purportedly serious book, by an experienced investigative journalist, should present a number of UFO cases, including well-known ones, by various contributors unaccompanied by any critical analyses of them. Many of the incidents described have either been satisfactorily explained and, for others, serious doubts have been expressed about the witnesses, even if we ignore those offered by armchair sceptics.

Kean devotes Chapter 1 of her book to introducing Major General Wilfried De Brouwer's account of the Belgian UFO wave in Chapter 2, in which much is made of the Petit-Rechain photograph of the famous flying triangle. As this photo is now known to have been faked (see, for example, Bad UFOs or Reality Uncovered), it is amusing to read some of Brouwer's comments, especially the following:

Professor Marion's more recent analysis in 2002 used more sophisticated technology. He confirmed the previous findings, while explaining a new discovery: Numeric treatment of the photograph revealed a halo of something lighter surrounding the craft. Special optical processing shows that within the halo, the light particles form a certain pattern around the craft like snowflakes in turbulence. This is very similar to the pattern of iron filings which is caused by "the lines of force" in a magnetic field. This could indicate that the craft is moving by using a magnetoplasmodynamic propulsion system as suggested by Professor Auguste Meessen in one of his studies.

Many hidden elements were revealed only through the analysis of this photograph, showing that the picture was not faked. The experts noted especially that the unique characteristics of the lights are very specific and said such an effect would not occur if the picture was a hoax.

Any comment would probably be superfluous.

Monday, January 30, 2012


A 17th-century UFO report?

In the proceedings of an international conference on extraterrestrial intelligence (Carl Sagan (ed.), Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973), one of the participants, G.M. Idlis, discussed the possibility of past visits to Earth by extraterrestrials. He dismissed most stories of such visits but said that "we have found a certain number of cases that do merit certain study . . . " He gave the following one as an example:

This is a case from a document published in 1842—that is 130 years ago when there was no discussion about CETI [communication with extraterrestrial intelligence]. That, of course, makes it all the more reliable. This is a report of a monastery clerk in Northern Russia addressed to a high dignitary of the Russian Church who reports that on August 15, 1663, there was a visitation of the earth between 10 and 12 hours from the clear skies. A sphere appeared, about 40 meters in diameter; from the lower part two rays extended earthward and smoke poured from the sides of the vehicle. The body disappeared and reappeared again, again disappeared and reappeared, changing in brightness in the course of these peregrinations. The phenomenon occurred over a lake and lasted for an hour and a half. At the place where the sphere touched the water, a brown film appeared, resembling rust. The phenomenon was observed by two groups of people. Some watched it from the church; others from a boat which happened to be in the middle of the lake.

There are of course problems when considering such old cases. For example, some of these stories were probably never meant to be interpreted literally and their real meanings can no longer be interpreted, as we do not know enough about the contexts in which they were written. This one, though, does give the impression of describing an actual event, although it is possible that the clerk who wrote the report was not a witness but was basing it on a distorted account of the incident.

Perhaps some readers might like to search for comparable reports in web sites listing UFOs interacting with water, such as UFO Casebook, and UFO Evidence, and Water UFO.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


SETI and space probes

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) seems to be largely concerned these days with attempting to detect radio signals from distant star systems. See, for example, the web site of the SETI Institute, which says of possible civilisations elsewhere in the galaxy, that

. . such a civilization could be detected across interstellar distances, and may actually offer the best opportunity for discovering extraterrestrial life in the near future.

However, it has long been realised that this would be very unlikely to yield results. In a book by I.S. Shklovskii and Carl Sagan (Intelligent Life in the Universe, Dell Publishing Co., New York, 1968) chapter 31 is devoted to consideration of the possibility of interstellar contact by alien space probes, based on the ideas developed by Ronald Bracewell. The authors were not optimistic about receiving messages from other planets. They commented:

The detection of artificial signals, even in the simplest situations, is a difficult and intricate task at our present level of advance, provided that we are listening to a vastly more advanced civilization. But it would become incommensurately more difficult if, over many centuries or millennia, we must direct beams of electromagnetic radiation with great precision at tens of thousands of stars, while patiently waiting, perhaps in vain, for a reply.

Those who consider interstellar space probes to be impractical should take note of the Voyager space probes, launched in 1977. Their progress can be followed on NASA's Voyager - The Interstellar Mission web site.

Apparently, Bracewell believed that an alien probe arriving in the solar system would listen for artificial radio signals. If it detected any it would record them and play them back to their source. Then it would attempt to establish two-way radio contact.

However, anyone who has enjoyed the interstellar adventures of the characters in the Star Trek series will know that this would be a violation of the Prime Directive, which forbids outside interference in the development of planetary civilisations. Surely any open intervention in human affairs, even if entirely benign, would effect profound changes in the development of our society.

Thus I speculate that the two main possibilities regarding space probes in our solar system are:

  1. There are no space probes in the solar system.
  2. There are alien space probes in the solar system, but they merely gather information for those who sent them and avoid contact.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


More about Kecksburg

In my posting of 16 October I dealt briefly with the Kecksburg case and mentioned that Tim Printy had one of the best summaries of it on his web site. He has recently issued Vol. 3 No. 6 of his pdf format magazine SUNlite, which is available HERE.

He, with Robert Young, gives as much documentation and informed comment as any ufologist could possibly want. In his introduction he writes:

The Kecksburg case stands as one of those UFO cases that never should have been one. If it weren't for the exaggerated claims of of a few dubious individuals and the efforts of several UFO promoters, the case would have remained in the dust bin of "old solved mysteries". However, when it comes to making something out of nothing, UFOlogists are experts.

While reading the materials and eyewitness testimonies, I found it most interesting that all sorts of people claim to have been present but there is little evidence to confirm they were there. Some of these witnesses came from tens of miles away and had no idea where to go to find the crash site. They then managed to get past all the local crowds and sneak into areas that were supposedly well guarded. Others were able to see underneath the tarp covering the "object" and, despite the flatbed driving rapidly by, were able to see distinctive writing. I wish my eyesight was this good in the dark. A lot of these stories just don't sound realistic to me but, to a UFO crashologist, they are golden nuggets to be presented as factual.

If the facts about Kecksburg presented in great detail on Tim Printy's web site don't convince you that the object was a fireball and the UFO crash story was nothing but misperception and fantasy, then nothing will.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


UFOs and nukes

Few ufologists will be unaware of the continuing controversy about the alleged interference by UFOs with nuclear missiles. Robert Hastings is the most notable proponent of this belief and anyone unfamiliar with his views on the subject can read about them on his UFOs and Nukes web site. One of Hastings's favourites is the Big Sur incident of 1964, when a nuclear missile with a dummy warhead was test fired and was allegedly shot down by a UFO.

However, those who are impressed by the details published by Hastings, and others, about the amazing UFO interference with this missile test have possibly not read the detailed rebuttal of this story by Kingston George, who ought to know rather more than most people about this matter, having been the project engineer. His version is available HERE on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry web site.

The point I wish to make here is that you must choose between believing either that the saucers are constantly interfering with the nuclear deterrent capability of the USA, and other nations, or that it is all a lot of nonsense. If you believe the assertions of Hastings and friends then you must realise that you also must believe that nuclear weapons systems are quite useless, as the activities of the UFOs make them totally unpredictable. Will the space people allow them to be launched or not if a nuclear conflict seems inevitable?

Monday, November 14, 2011


Unreal UFOs

It is often claimed that some UFO sightings provide important evidence of unusual aerial objects because there are multiple witnesses. One interesting example is the Rogue River, Oregon, sighting of 24 May 1949, where five witnesses reported seeing a circular object, silver in colour, which was in view for up to three minutes. Investigators could not correlate this sighting with the presence in the area of any known aircraft, and there is no generally acceptable explanation of the incident. A detailed assessment is available on Bruce Maccabee's web site.

Although there were five witnesses, they were all together in a boat and they all knew one another. There were no independent witnesses. Thus they obviously compared their impressions before talking to investigators. For example, in this case they apparently agreed that the object was at a height of 5,000 feet. I think it is generally agreed that witnesses can influence one another so that the version given to investigators tends to be that of the person with the most forceful personality in the group. However, there is another possibility, which is that in some such cases the witnesses might have been "seeing" something which did not exist. I must make it clear that I am not suggesting that this happened in the Rogue River case, or any particular case, but I am sure many of you can think of a number of cases where this might usefully be considered.

Many years ago the psychiatrist,C.G. Jung raised this matter in his book Flying Saucers: A modern myth of things seen in the skies. I quote from the English translation by R.F.C. Hull (London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959).

Apart from collective visions, there are on record cases where one or more persons see something that physically is not there. For instance, I was once at a spirtualistic séance where four of the five people present saw an object like a moon floating above the abdomen of the medium. They showed me, the fifth person present, exactly where it was, and it was absolutely incomprehensible to them that I could see nothing of the sort. I know of three more cases where certain objects were seen in the clearest detail (in two of them by two persons, and in the third by one person) and could afterwards be proved to be non-existent. Two of these cases happened under my direct observation. Even people who are entirely compos mentis and in full possession of their senses can sometimes see things that do not exist. I do not know what the explanation is of such happenings. It is very possible that they are less rare than I am inclined to suppose. For as a rule we do not verify things we have "seen with our own eyes", and so we never get to know that actually they did not exist. I mention these somewhat remote possibilities because, in such an unusual matter as the Ufos, one has to take every aspect into account.

How does one decide which UFO sightings are of real objects and which ones are of unreal objects? Perhaps if there were other potential witnesses nearby at the time who saw nothing unusual that would indicate a UFO that had no objective existence, but if there was independent confirmation then the sighting would have to be taken more seriously. How many interesting UFO reports pass this test? Any serious suggestions welcome.

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