Monday, May 16, 2011


Weather balloons

The first picture, which I took about half a century ago (in 1960 or 1961), shows what a weather balloon rig looked like in the good old days. I thought it might be of some interest to UFO crash enthusiasts.

This balloon is about to be launched from the Ocean Weather Ship Weather Watcher in the North Atlantic. The 500 gram latex balloon is held in place by a canvas cone until it is ready to be launched. Attached to the balloon is the radar reflector, made of aluminium tubing holding netting coated with metallic paint. These reflectors were opened out like umbrellas when they were to be used, and they were rather more substantial than the flimsy American ones. This is because the balloons could carry heavier loads, as they were filled with hydrogen - none of your wimpish helium here!

The man in the middle is adjusting the unwinder, which puts a suitable distance between the radio sonde canister and the balloon to prevent heat reflected or radiated from the balloon affecting the temperature readings. The canister contained a radio transmitter powered by a battery which took readings from instruments measuring pressure, temperature and relative humidity. The readings were transmitted in turn by using a revolving contact, powered by a windmill on the canister. One of the cups of the windmill can be seen on the right of the canister.

In those days it took four men to do a radiosonde ascent, after two of them had launched the balloon - the "beat" man who recorded the signals from the transmitter on graph paper, using an oscilloscope with a valve-maintained tuning fork (I hope that's quite clear?); the "comp" man, who applied corrections and turned the figures into readings of pressure, temperature and humidity; and the "winds" man, who used a plotting table to record readings of range and bearing of the balloon given by the radar operator to work out wind speeds and directions.

These days, though, the process has been largely automated. The winds are recorded using satellite navigation, and the balloons are much smaller and filled with helium, so that no special "health and safety" precautions are needed. It has become a one-man operation. Dark and lonely work . . .

The second picture, for those who are interested, is a picture taken by Bob Reid (on the right in the first picture) of Weather Watcher, which, if I remember rightly, was in James Watt Dock, Greenock.

The final picture, taken in 1960 aboard Weather Watcher, is a Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Man. As is obvious, I am "all at sea" -- as usual.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The Alien Deception Has Been Kindled

After being briefly published as a paperback messed around by or ignored by publishers The Alien Deception is now available for a mere £4.21 as an ebook on Kindle. It covers the history of the alien abduction phenomenon using the Betty and Barney Hill case as a stepping stone and the Magonian frame of reference as the guiding light. To US readers this means Lit. Crit. armchair ufology, to the rest of us it attempts to provide a finely tuned sociopsychological perspective on this 50-year-old enigma.
Since the 1960s thousands of people throughout the world have reported being abducted by aliens. They report being taken in broad daylight or at night. Some say they were simply looked at by seemingly alien beings, while others say they were horribly examined.

At times, after such encounters, the abductee has little conscious recollection of these events, and usually through nightmares, flashbacks and hypnosis they eventually learn more. Some abductees even believe they have been used as part of a breeding project to create hybrid alien/humans. Almost all are truly bewildered by their experiences.

Ultimately, alien abductions make us consider fundamental questions about our place in the universe and our future evolution as a species. Are abductions real events that have momentous consequences for the whole of humanity or are they the product of rumour, psychosis, hoaxes, media hype and sensationalism? Is there a grand Alien Deception manipulating our minds and our governments or are we deceiving ourselves?

Nigel Watson's groundbreaking exploration of alien abductions takes a comprehensive look at the reports by the earliest abductees (such as Betty and Barney Hill), right up to the latest encounters. Watson considers the possible historical, paranormal, extraterrestrial, psychological and media influences that might help explain the origin of these reports.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 450 KB
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English

Saturday, May 07, 2011


SUNlite - a voice of sanity in ufology

Tim Printy's UFO magazine SUNlite, is named in honour of the late, lamented, kindly old Uncle Phil and his Skeptics UFO Newsletter. The latest issue is Volume 3, Number 3, May-June 2011. The magazine is in pdf format, so you can easily print a copy (if you can afford the ink).

There is an interesting article by Martin Kottmeyer, whose name will be familiar to readers of Magonia and Magonia Supplement, concerning the notion that the US government uses Hollywood to educate the public gradually about the reality of aliens, which believers in it call "The Acclimation Program". He discusses a recent book by Len Kasten (Secret History of Extraterrestrials, 2010) and concludes:

"You think Hollywood cares about educating people about ufos? Get serious.

"And who should we fairly blame for ufology not being taken seriously? Studying the rest of Kasten's book will give you a good starting point for that problem."

Another interesting article, by Tim Printy, is devoted to examining the claims of Robert Hastings, who is notorious for his stories about US missile bases being constantly interfered with and put out of action by UFOs. Of course, there is no independent confirmation of his assertions and Printy concludes: "If he is going to present unverifiable evidence he is preaching to the choir. Of course, it is the "choir" that lines his pockets and begs for him to speak at their UFO conferences."

There's lots of other good stuff in SUNlite. Highly recommended.

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