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.

Similar impressive sounding but totally spurious explanations of hoaxed UFO photographs can be found on the Magonia Archive in David Simpson'e account of experimental hoaxing at Warminster in 1970:

Dr Pierre Guérin, Director of Research at the Astrophysical Institute of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, presented a Tentative Interpretation of the Warminster Photographs in the November-December 1970 edition of FSR:

"In my opinion there is no question of the object photographed being in any possible way the result of faking…

"…that the object photographed was emitting ultraviolet light which the eye does not see. Around the object, however, a ruby red halo, probably of monochromatic colour and doubtless due to some phenomenon of air ionisation, was visible only to the eye and in actual fact has made no impression on the film…

"If this interpretation is correct, the consequences which we can draw from it are important. As will be known, in a recent issue of FSR John Keel disputed the presence of any solid material object inside the variable luminous phenomena which he calls soft sightings , claiming thereby that the solid phase of the UFO phenomenon is only one of the aspects – and no doubt the least frequent aspect – of the phenomenon in question. The Warminster sightings do indeed appear to furnish us with an example of a soft sighting linked with the presence, at its centre, of a solid object not visible to the eye, but emitting ultraviolet light.

"That UFOs can appear, or disappear, on the spot, when leaving or entering our visual four-dimensional space-time is probably true. But it would be rash to assert that they do not always possess a material, solid body right from the very moment that they have penetrated into this space-time. Despite the claims of John Keel, the soft sighting could in fact very well be merely secondary effects of the presence of solid objects, whether or not visible to the eye, in the gaseous medium of our atmosphere. This hypothesis had already been formulated long ago, and the Warminster sightings seem to confirm it."

Similar pronouncements were made by several other UFO 'experts'
The book's title is intended as eye-catching. If generals, pilots and government officials go on record then there MUST be something to the UFO business. At least that is the impression the title gives.

But such people have been 'going on record' in various ways since before 1950, haven't they?
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