Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Interesting UFO cases revisited: 4. Yukon, 11 December 1996
Another multi-witness Canadian incident has lately attracted my attention. This occurred on 11 December 1996 on the Klondyke Highway in the Yukon Territory, north of Whitehorse, between Fox Lake and Pelly Crossing, over a distance of 134 miles (216 km). It is described on the website of the UFO Yukon Research Society.
There were at least 22 witnesses and 19 of them were interviewed by the investigator, Martin Jasek, between February and September 1999. The UFO was described as a huge object with lights. Jasek estimated its size by triangulation by comparing witness statements and obtained figures ranging from 0.55 miles (0.88 km) to 1.3 miles (2.0 km).
Note the delay of over two years between the incident and the interviews with the witnesses, causing possible distortions of their memories of it. However, if any UFO sceptics have offered any plausible explanations I have not been able to find them.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I recently wrote a review, for the main Magonia blog, of the book UFOs and Aliens: Is there anybody out there?. This book consists of 13 essays, two of which are by Stanton Friedman, and I mentioned both of them in my review.
Friedman took exception to my comments and has devoted about half of his regular column to them in the current issue (No. 520, August 2011) of MUFON UFO Journal. He begins by objecting that he never wrote that evidence of alien spacecraft can be kept secret indefinitely, but this is a mere quibble, as he obviously thinks that the US government has no intention of releasing the proof of UFO reality, which he he believes it possesses, at any time soon. He is usually keen to emphasise that they are very efficient at keeping secret information from leaking out.
The main problem about UFO secrecy, of course, is that it is nearly always assumed that the rest of the world will follow America's alleged policy on the subject and is not only willing but capable of doing so. In my review I suggested what might happen if a UFO crashed in some nation whose rulers decided to display the wreckage as a tourist attraction, so that UFO reality would be displayed to the world at a stroke. Friedman's answer to this is, "No nation would be so foolish". Brilliant! Why didn't I think of this myself? But, hang on a minute; in what way would it be foolish? And even if it were, some nations are ruled by people who are not merely foolish, but manifestly insane. However, I reckon that this could be a new addition to Friedman's collection of his famous "rules for debunkers", for it is followed by the all-too-familiar "Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is made up". What it really means is that you should not raise any questions for which it is not possible to devise what seem, to UFO believers, to be plausible answers.
He also objects to my mention of non-sceptical ufologists who have "allegedly" dismissed Frank Feschino's "outstanding" book, Shoot Them Down, by describing it as "science fiction" and by noting the lack of references or any evidence to support his fantastic claims about a great battle between US Air Force planes and flying saucers in 1952. To find such dismissive comments, by UFO believers, all you need to do is go to the UFO UpDates archive and search for "Feschino". Many similar comments can be found on other websites and blogs.
Friedman also criticises me for failing to publish the details to back up my critical remarks, but this is obviously not possible in a short review. I also did not review all 13 essays in the book, as this would have made it too long to hold the attention of most readers. But, of course, Friedman already knows this and thus knows that I am not following his first rule for debunkers: "What the public doesn't know, we certainly won't tell them".
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Real ale aliens
For those of you who admired my recently published photo of a captive Grey in Reading I now present pictures of some even more exotic aliens which appeared a few years ago at the Great British Beer Festival, in London (organised by the Campaign for Real Ale).
As you can see, they don't appear to have caused much panic or consternation, as most of those present will have been familiar with similar strange beings propping up the bars, and obstructing their views of the pump clips displaying details of the available beers, in their local pubs. I managed to take these few snaps before they disappeared, dematerialised or shape-shifted.
Perhaps if you always keep your camera handy you, too, can obtain proof of the reality of ETs.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Interesting UFO cases revisited: 3. JAL 1628
This is the incident where a Japanese cargo plane encountered what was said to be a UFO (or UFOs) over Alaska on 17 November 1986.
In this posting I am not attempting to argue that any particular explanation for the incident should be accepted, I merely wish to draw attention to a few features of the case that indicate that it might perhaps not be so mysterious as some ufologists would like it to be. Also, please note that I am not attempting to discuss all the details of the case.
Let us look at a translation of the statement made by Captain Terauchi, the pilot of the aircraft and the main witness. The first officer and the flight engineer did not see all the detail reported by Captain Terauchi, as they didn't have such a good view from where they were seated.
After making a change of course, Terauchi "saw lights that looked like aircraft lights, 30 degrees left front, 2000 feet (600 meters) below us, moving in the same direction and the same speed as we were".
This suggests that the lights were at a great distance from the aircraft, but that Terauchi thought they were much nearer. He noted that "the two lights began to move in a manner different from ordinary aircraft, maneuvers like two bear cubs playing with each other". This suggests to me that he might have been watching an auroral display which he failed to recognise.
This possibility is discussed in a thread on the Physics Forums web site, where one of the contributors mentions that a satellite recorded a solar flare hitting the Earth's atmosphere over Alaska at the same time that the lights were seen. (There is more discussion of the incident on another thread on this web site.)
In his statement, Terauchi repeatedly refers to the lights as "spaceships", and says they had "numbers of exhaust pipes". His descriptions also seem somewhat incoherent, and his interest in the UFO controversy is obvious.
An important detail which partly accounts for his confusion is revealed when he notes some lights apparently on the ground and remarks: "The flight above Alaska is generally in the daytime, and it is confusing to identify the kind of lights."
The main point I am trying to make about this case is that I suspect that those who rate it as one of the best UFO reports, should perhaps study the details of the sightings and the investigations more carefully and more critically. As the other two men in the aircraft obviously did not get a very good view of the lights, and there is no independent confirmation of the presence of anything that could reasonably be described as a spaceship (or spaceships) in the area at the time, it is essentially a single-witness UFO report.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Interesting UFO cases revisited: 2. Roswell - the confiscated evidence
In my review of Carey and Schmitt's book, Witness to Roswell, I noted that the authors repeat the assertion of others that the "UFO" wreckage could not have been a Mogul balloon rig because the material was so strong that it resisted all efforts to break, burn or melt it. I also noted that it was rather strange that it apparently shattered into small pieces when it hit the ground. So far as I am aware, no one has yet made any serious attempt to resolve this apparent contradiction.
I also noted that the authors asserted that many people travelled up to 75 miles to the crash site to collect pieces of the wreckage, which some of them then passed on to others. Carey and Schmitt went on to assert that the military (apparently possessing supernatural powers) succeeded in retrieving every scrap of the material.
All this may seem implausible enough to most of you who have the taste and discrimination to read this blog, but there is or should be some other evidence the military should have confiscated. The authors are emphatic about the recovery of the "unbreakable" metal, but what about the photographs?
Photographs? Yes. No one is going to convince me that if all those people thought it was worth the trouble and expense of driving up to 75 miles to the crash site along dirt roads that most, or many, of them would not bring their cameras with them to take advantage of a unique opportunity to photograph their families and friends posing amid the alien wreckage. In those days most people possessed cheap box cameras, and would certainly load them with film if they anticipated seeing anything worth photographing. At least, that was how it was in England at that time and I can't believe that the people of New Mexico were any less keen on taking pictures.
So where are these photos? Or are the stories about people collecting wreckage just lies, fantasies or false memories?