UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, July 06, 2015

What if there were only one….

… real flying saucer/UFO event?

Of all the UFO/flying saucer reports over the years – over the millennia even – isn’t there one unique episode that rings true and also contains evidence that isn’t compromised in some way?

I think we can exclude the Kenneth Arnold account (see Kevin Randle’s blog for a current take on that iconic sighting), the Roswell tale, the Trent/McMinnville photos, The Hill’s “abduction,” Socorro, the Walton “take away,” the Phoenix lights, and any number of other commonly offered sightings, many mentioned here and at other blogs or web-sites.

But isn’t there one subliminal or ignored sighting/event that presents a real episode that tells us UFOs are actual phenomena or, at least one actual phenomenon.

And what would that one sighting be?

Any suggestions?


Friday, July 03, 2015

What are those "dark spots" on Pluto (the dwarf planet, not the dog)


The 1979 Robert Taylor UFO event

As some of you know, the Robert Taylor UFO episode of 1979 is a favorite of mine, for psychological reasons and as an impeccable UFO tale.

Jenny Randles provided the following excerpt of the event in her paper about UFOs and how to investigate them:

UFO STUDY: A Handbook for Enthusiasts
SECOND EDITION (2009: version 2.161).
by Jenny Randles, Updated by Robert Moore

A High Strangeness Case – Livingston, Scotland, 9th November 1979.

"… I will cite the investigation into a now well-known high strangeness case involving an apparent close observation of a “UFO” and associated physical traces. This event took place on Friday, 9 November 1979 at 10 a.m. in a wooded area just outside Livingston, West Lothian, in Scotland.

The case received media publicity on the Sunday and UFOIN arranged for investigators Martin Keatman and Andy Collins to go to the site as soon as possible (which was the Tuesday).

They spent three days in the area following up all the leads available, and a remarkable story emerged (3).

The witness, Robert Taylor (then sixty-one-year-old) at this time worked for the forestry department of the local development corporation. One of his tasks was to patrol an area of woodland not far from the M8 Glasgow to Edinburgh motorway.

He had just finished his coffee break and driven his van to the edge of the particular spot he was to check for stray animals. He continued on foot, with his dog (a Red Setter called “Lara”) running loose nearby sniffing happily at the various local smells.

Bob turned into a clearing and suddenly, unbelievably, he was standing just feet away from a dome-shaped (or possibly spherical) object that was just sitting quietly on the ground. It was about twenty feet wide and a dull grey metallic colour, with a rim near to the base from which sprang several vertical antennae or propellers. There was neither sound nor sign of life.

Mesmerized, he stood there for perhaps a minute, just gazing at this fantastic sight. Then, incredibly, portions began to fade in and out and he could momentarily see the background through the object. Before he knew where he was two grey spheroids behaving like robots, had come out of the object and rolled or bounced towards him. They were about a foot in diameter and had several spikes sticking out so that they looked not unlike landmines from a past war. As these spikes embedded in the wet earth a sucking sound was heard

In seconds the two objects had surrounded him. Three things then happened at once. He felt a tugging on his legs; he half smelt, half tasted, a somewhat foul gaseous emission; and he collapsed unconscious face forward onto the ground. As he did so he thought he heard a swishing sound. He came round in what seems to have been only a few minutes, as no substantial time loss occurred. His dog was by his side, excited and nervous, but the dome and spheroids had gone. Taylor believed that the dog frightened them off. He tried to stand but his legs were like jelly. He also had a severe thirst and a pounding headache.

These are all typical post-anaesthetic symptoms, as Rosalind Warrington points out. He finally dragged himself towards the van, without noticing as he left the ground where the object had been.

At the van he tried to radio his base for help, but hard as he struggled he could not speak. He then tried to drive home but was so to have a bath, as he was covered in mud from his fall. As he did so he noticed that his trousers were ripped at either hip. His employer was contacted and simply advised that Bob had been attacked.

Things now began to move faster. His employer contacted the police and a doctor also came around. The doctor examined him and suggested a precautionary X-ray at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He spent most of the afternoon there, but left when he was called for `tests' and realized that the doctor had suspected he was hallucinating due to a head injury (which he did not have).

Meanwhile, the police had visited the site and sketched all the clearly visible traces that they found. They had also fenced off the area in an attempt to keep out sightseers - although this was not very effective. In addition they took away Bob's trousers for forensic analysis. They were clearly treating the matter with great seriousness. Indeed seven police officers (including a CID man) were on the site within minutes of the call.

Little else happened between Friday evening and the following Tuesday. The witness went away on a prearranged trip and so avoided the media publicity which he himself did not attract.

Steuart Campbell - at the time a BUFORA investigator - visited the site over the weekend and commenced his detailed investigation of this case, subsequently published in 1982; followed in 1986 by his theory that the Livingston event was instigated by a mirage of Venus and two other astronomical bodies.

Unfortunately, heavy snow had fallen on the Monday and the traces were covered by a six-inch layer. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it preserved them perfectly - whereas three or four days of inconsiderate local sightseers would have totally obliterated them. After getting the complete detailed story from the witness and all the other parties involved, the investigators set about the traces.

With the help of a now fully recovered Bob and some of his colleagues from the forestry department they meticulously moved the snow piece by piece and uncovered the still prominent traces. They first assured themselves that they were the real thing and not the effects of the snow. They had been able to photocopy all the drawings made within hours of the landing from the police notebooks and had also asked all those who had seen them on the Friday to draw them from memory before the snow was removed. All of these drawings matched, more or less perfectly, the markings that now lay before them.

Of course their first step was to photograph them from various angles, allowing for the interplay of light. As with a UFO photograph there is rarely more than one chance before the marks vanish forever and so it must be done correctly. An SLR type camera must be borrowed if all you have is an instamatic or a compact, since this would not allow good results if the lighting conditions were poor. It is also an interesting idea, especially if traces are very recent, to take some infra-red shots (and/or readings) at night. This records the difference in temperature and may show up any major anomalies at the landing site.

On recovery after his Close Encounter Robert Taylor found … strange step-like tracks in the thick grass at the point where the UFO allegedly landed.

Martin and Andy next commenced accurate measurements and plotting onto maps.

Things such as the depth of the impressions could not be overlooked. In this case there were three separate locations to consider, which somewhat complicated the task. Firstly, where the object had apparently been, there was a circular area with some strange step-ladder tracks inside. These seemed to bear no relationship to the description of the object seen. Secondly, where Bob Taylor had fallen, there were what looked like `drag marks' as if he had been pulled forward with his feet moving along the earth and gouging it out. These were in two parallel bursts which, if that is what they were, indicate that he was pulled along about one third of the way towards the object. Finally, between these two, were about twenty or thirty holes which were certainly in accordance with the spikes from the spheroids indenting the ground on their way to (and presumably from) the witness.

Unfortunately the earth was still damp with melting snow and attempts to make plaster casts failed. Indeed, one mould was left overnight and, as if to emphasize yet another problem ufologists face, when the investigators returned the next day some joker had placed a tin can right in the middle of the still unmet plaster.

Luckily, however, it did prove possible to dig up and preserve intact one of the holes.

Aside from all this various soil samples from the site and nearby controls were taken. These were sent to Leeds University where UFOIN then had assistance in sample analysis work.

The investigators' job did not stop here. Living with the witness they were able to observe his post-reactions. Whilst the strong physiological effects disappeared within hours, there remained a scratch mark on one hip (precisely where the tear in the trousers had been), which was still visible on photographs taken a few days later. He was also somewhat off his food, as incidentally was the dog (the animal's only notable reaction). This persisted for about six days after the encounter.

The final piece of this particular puzzle was the trousers. With the kind assistance of the Edinburgh police the two ufologists were allowed into the forensic laboratories to see the trousers and talk with the man who had conducted the tests.

It seems that the trousers were police-issue and therefore unusually thick. It would have required a considerable force, from something like a pair of pincers, to cause the upwards gash on either side. The tears were consistent with what one would expect if the unconscious man had been dragged head first towards the UFO. As a final teaser it was discovered that on the front of the trousers was a patch of white powder. Analysis proved this to be maize starch - although Bob Taylor had no idea where this could possibly have come from.

Sadly, Robert Taylor died in March 2007 – maintaining the validity of this experience throughout the remainder of his life (6). Steuart Campbell’s explanation aside, the “Livingston incident” is still generally considered unexplained, and represents one of the UK’s most significant and best investigated “Close Encounter” events.

Close Encounter At Livingstone, Peterborough, U.K, BUFORA Ltd.
5. Livingston, a New Hypothesis”, Campbell, S. (1986), Journal of Transient Aerial Phenomena Vol 4, No 3 September
1986: pp 80-87.
6. Obituary, The Scotsman newspaper, 28th March, 2007."

NB: I suggest that readers/visitors here obtain the full paper. It's instructional for UFO researchers or wannabes.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

The misplaced egos of some ufologists

A few people are bitching at Kevin Randle’s blog about my “arbitrary” deletion of my postings and threads (or comments) attached to them.

Let me say that I don’t think my postings and the ensuing comments are sacrosanct or in a category of permanent installment, much of the material being insipid shit.

The complainants, eBikesRC and Tony Stark (online troublemaker and not a substantial commentator of anything worthwhile, ever), need to understand that we who write blogs, edit them to exclude mistakes, slurs, personal attacks, and effluvia.

My own posts are often not worthy or Gospel-like retention. When that is the case, my posts are deleted and the attendant facile comments with them.

That a few people think their commentary is important enough to be maintained should reflect on their egoistic ruminations (at Randle’s blog or Paul Kimball’s).

Their input is often swill. Eradicating their crap is rightful and sensible.

They don’t really offer commentary here, so they should shut their mouths about what I do here.

They don’t matter in my scheme of things and if they refrain from commenting here, I am happy as a clam.

That Mr. Randle is more lenient about who can post or comment at his blog is okay with me.

I prefer to run a tighter ship.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Nick Redfern doesn't think Ufology is dying (while I think it's awfully ill)


Monday, June 29, 2015

Singularity and UFOs

The concept of singularity – the idea that machines with artificial intelligence will replace mankind – could occur sometime in the near future (as early as 15 years from now) according to some physicists and deep-thinkers:

There is subtle evidence (or perception) that some machines and technological incursions have already permeated human society: the immersion of humans into the web of “social media” via smartphones, tablets, PCs, et cetera.

Social media, if one is paying attention, indicates that the machines, with their intuitive correctives of grammar and spelling (and even ideas) have supplanted thinking by a large portion of human society.

But that aside – it’s too obvious to pursue here – what does “singularity” have to do with UFOs?

Some ufologists and UFO enthusiasts have always maintained that UFOs (and flying saucers) have been manned by robots.

My view, along with others, has been that Earth is too far off the Universe (or galactic) beaten path to warrant any interest for advanced space explorers, living or robotic.

However, futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted singularity “intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe” as you will read in the top link above.

If that is plausible, then a race of intelligent robots could, hypothetically, traverse the Universe, stumbling upon Earth in such wayward travels, discovering primitive life forms (humans and other species) that might cause them to explore and study such life forms.

The problem, for me, is that there are too many UFO sightings (or reports of UFOs) to substantiate the hypothesis; that is, a few advanced robotic civilizations are logically tolerable but a slew of them, all fixated on this meager Earth is a bit much to accept.

Yet, the idea of a singularity existent civilization elsewhere, in the Universe, is intriguing surely, especially if we humans will become extinct by the machines we are creating and allowing to control our lives, even now.


The Universe and our Existence is a hologram?


Sunday, June 28, 2015

NASA cuts transmission of UFOs near Space Station?


Saturday, June 27, 2015

A McMinnville/Trent-like creation, ex eventu

On the back cover of this magazine (from 1967) is a concoction that replicates what some think happened in 1950 at the Trent farm in McMinnville, Oregon.

Is the above a copycat attempt?


Kevin Randle on AF Bluebook shut-down

This is Kevin Randle pictured in Argosy UFO magazine, January 1977 [Volume 2, Number 1]:
His article on Page 38 ff. was Air Force Closes Its Bluebook.

The documents pictured were shown to substantiate his accounts of several interesting and unexplained UFO events/sightings that were meaty but seemingly ignored by the Air Force except to note the accounts in the BB files, often following up months later, losing valuable evidence or data.

One sighting by a NASA employee (named "Kincaid" to protect his identity) in January 1969, classified as "unidentified" by BB, recounts a UFO that is described in a way that suggests dirigible or blimp to me with the witness having an hysterical reaction to it.

However, Mr. Randle's point is that the Air Force never really pursued the matter seriously, as they didn't with several other "sightings" noted [a 1967 sighting by Ray Rosi who shined his car lights on a UFO and seemed to get a response  and a man, named Lanning, who in 1967 spotted a UFO after his car stalled and he got out to check the reason.]

There are other reports, listed as "Unidentified" that Randle insists the UFO neglected to investigate thoroughly, hiding details of the sightings (often with corroborating witnesses) in the BB files, with that throwaway: "unidentified."

Blue Book was a sham (or even a scam), as we all surmise nowadays.

This 1977 Randle article made that inference. It's almost too late to sort the UFO wheat from the BB chaff but it's still possible to contact some of those who had, what seem to be, legitimate sightings of unknown or strange things in the sky to see if there is enough residue to make the case that UFOs of a serious kind were all over the place, but the United States Air Force didn't really investigate to find out what they were.

Or did they?


Friday, June 26, 2015

Ufology entering its Dark Ages?

Several UFO enthusiasts (besides me) are speculating that ufology is kaput, down and out.

That isn’t exactly the case but the impression that ufology is dead or dying is palpable.

The “Roswell slides” debacle has created a nadir in UFO interest, for UFO aficionados.

(The public is currently enamored of other things; UFOs never being a serious interest of the hoi polloi.)

I’m noticing a superficial examination of classic UFO cases or sightings. (Kevin Randle’s blog and Frank Warren’s hodgepodge site example that.)

The old exercises of examining UFO events piece by piece – by Bruce Maccabee or Robert Sheaffer – no longer occur, pretty much, by the present UFO curiosity gang.

Facile examinations of UFO sightings, past and present, are rife as one can see by an internet search.

Research of UFOs has always been a sop, employed by persons pretending to be “researchers.”

David Rudiak has delved into UFO accounts (especially Roswell) as rabidly as anyone and has approximated a research methodology, but even he takes a cavalier turn because he starts with the premise that UFOs have an extraterrestrial origination.

That’s not objective or scientific by a long shot, but it’s better than most ruminations cluttering the internet and the venue known as the UFO community.

Ufology is a joke, as French skeptic Gilles Fernandez often intimates.

And when Frank Warren, who has put his life-style fully into UFO hoarding, but now writes that ufology is dead (or dying), the UFO interested should take note.

The “Roswell slides” brouhaha has put a nail in the UFO coffin, one that seems likely to kill ufology for a while..

Yet when Chris Aubeck and Martin Shough see something worthwhile in a old odd aerial event (April 8, 1665, Barhöfft, Sweden/Germany), there is hope that a few of the UFO curious, like Michael Swords, will continue to rake the coals of ufology for embers that might re-ignite the intriguing UFO topic


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dr Tim Brigham notes The UFO Trail site which is providing commentary on MUFON and the "Roswell slides" debacle


Dr. Tim's off-the-cuff but erudite blog can be accessed here:


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Theories of life (and UFOs?)

The July 9th, 2015 edition of The New York Review of Books provides reviews of two books that show brilliant scientific speculation and resolute methodologies that increase our knowledge of microbial infused evolution (one with a very indirect connection to UFOs):

Life’s Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable by Paul G. Falkowski [Princeton University Press, 205 pp., $24.95]

A New History of Life: Radical New Discoveries About the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink [Bloomsbury, 391 pp., $30.00]
The article/review by Tim Flannery, How You Consist of Trillions of Tiny Machines, presents the view (by Falkowski) that “we … consist of trillions of electrochemical machines that somehow coordinate their intricate activities in ways that allow our bodies and minds to function with the required reliability and precision. As we contemplate the evolution and maintenance of this complexity, wonder to grows to near incredulity.” [Page 30]

“ … our cells are comprised of a series of highly sophisticated “little engines” or nanomachines that carry out life’s vital functions, [ibid]

“The most primitive living entities are known as archaea … [and they] seem to have exploited almost every energy source available on the early Earth. [ibid]

“Microbes control the Earth … They created it in its present form, and maintain it in its current state by creating a global electron marketplace that we call the biosphere. Falkowski argues that we can conceive of our world as a great, unitary electrical device, driven by the myriad tiny electric motors and the other electrochemical nanomachinery of cells. Viewing the world this way reveals hitherto unappreciated dangers in some modern science.[Page 31]

“Some molecular biologists are doing research on ways of inserting genes into microorganisms in order to create new kinds of life that have never previously existed. [ibid]
Falkowski writes “rather than tinker with organisms that we can’t reverse engineer, a much better use of our intellectual abilities and technological capabilities would be to better understand how the core nanomachines evolved and how these machines spread across the planet to become the engines of life.” [ibid]

Flannery writes “Just how far we are from obtaining a understanding of the evolution of the nanomachines is conveyed in [the] Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink [book]. Both authors are iconoclasts, and their book is at times breathtakingly unorthodox.” [ibid]

“Joe Kirschvink argues that Earth’s rocks are the wrong place to look for the nanomachines’ origins. He is a leading proponent of the seemingly radical theory that the nanomachines, and perhaps, life itself, originated on the ice caps and glaciers of ancient Mars.” [Page 32]

The process that brought about life here on Earth, stems from “meteorites originating from Mars [that reached] Earth without being sterilized.”

“But if the nanomachines did originate on Mars, where might they have crossed the ‘Darwinian threshold’ and become truly living things?” [ibid]

The Nobel laureate Christian de Duve, Flannery writes, believed “life would have emerged from nonlife very quickly, perhaps in minutes. Safe behind its lipid cell walls, the RNA could enter the ocean, finding the rich trove of nutrients that exist …From then on, Darwinian evolution would have ensured the survival of those that operated most efficiently in a hot environment.” [ibid]

And while “This story is, of course, almost entirely unsupported by evidence. It is a scenario – a vision of how things might have been – rather than a fleshed out scientific theory. It is nonetheless useful because it provides a target for future researchers.” [ibid]

Fascinating speculation, but where do UFOs come in?
The U.S. incarcerated psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich theorized that an energy force he called “orgone” imbued human beings and flying saucers with a kind of life force.

He thought that the atmosphere contained “Deadly Orgone Radiation (DOR)” and he created a “weapon” he called a “cloudbuster” to dissipate the radiation.
Obsessed with UFOs, or "energy alphas," (as he called them)...

He and his son would spend their nights searching for UFOs through telescopes and binoculars, and when they believed they had found one would roll out the cloudbuster to suck the energy out of it. Reich claimed he had shot several of them down. Armed with two cloudbusters, they fought what Reich called a "full-scale interplanetary battle" in Arizona, where he had rented a house as a base station while his cloudbuster cleaned up the desert. He wrote in Contact with Space in 1956 of the "very remote possibility" that his own father had been from outer space. [Wikipedia]

(To read more about Reich see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich)

It seems that Reich, in his odd, insane-like way, had understood, at some level, the idea about microbial nanomachines that Falkowski has developed in his thesis.

The problem is that Reich’s orgone is a metaphorical construct whereas Falkowski’s nanomachines are based in substantive scientific speculation based mostly on what we know from studies of the formative evolutionary processes, enunciated by Darwin and concretized, in part, by scientists of various disciplines.

Reich was being intuitive; Falkowski is being “scientific.”

Both books, noted above, should be accessed by those who think they are UFO researchers.

They will be disabused of that sobriquet by reading the books referred to here.


The ripple of societal and ufological psychosis

That vast elements of human society are askew is obvious.

(The Roof killings in South Carolina, the ISIS onslaughts, the ongoing daredevil feats that go awry, and overall behavior by humans, noted in news accounts, are a few examples of human activity that is off-kilter.)

Members of the UFO community have always been askew, but in a harmless way generally.

One can see examples of a psychotic-like underbelly at blogs, such as Kevin Randle’s, and by viewing the content gathered by Frank Warren’s UFO Chronicles web-site or commentary at Isaac Koi’s “Above Top Secret.”

Listening to UFO podcasts, such as The Paracast or Greg Bishop’s Radio Misterioso, elicit queasy examples of something wrong, not from the amateurish hosts, but from the music chosen to open such shows: eerie, bombastic “melodies” that usurp the shows intent, at the very outset of broadcasts.

The Anomalist, once a hallmark of notations for paranormal sites, using volunteer hunters to find offball fringe sites, blogs, and news items, is corrupted by the bias of the volunteers, who eschew material and venues that don’t favor their queer predilections.

Are such deviances really psychotic? No, they are footnotes to the unique psychotic nature of human beings that has been chronicled by historians and artists (writers, and painters mostly) since time immemorial.

An academic friend of mine sees poetry and artist products as inherent to humanity since time immemorial.

But painting on cave walls, handprints and abstract configurations, when survival was paramount, seems more than quirky to me.

With the vicissitudes of living at a constant breaking point, taking time out to create a handprint on a wall appears to be irrational, as I see it.

And, taking a look at the UFO postings and the comments that follow (Randle’s blog is a prime example) shows that persons who are UFO enthusiasts seem inclined to skirt the methodologies or thinking that might encapsulate rational scrutiny of reported UFO sightings or events, replacing perceptive inferences with contested asides about minutiae in UFO accounts, old and new.

The time and effort utilized or wasted by UFO followers strikes me as neurotic more than psychotic, but neuroses are a gateway to psychosis if not stemmed by psychotherapy, as Oliver Sacks outlines in his recent memoir.
There are two new books about evolution and microbial influences of evolution which I will address here shortly because those books show how scientific examination and thought pursue truths and facts needed to understand what lies at the heart of a mystery.

The commentary at Mr. Randle’s blog or the conversations heard at The Paracast belie any sense of rationality or intellectualism.

It’s all sound and fury signifying nothing, much as is the case with this blog. (I’m as guilty as anyone, for casting pearls before swine, hoping to get responses of a cognitive kind.)

Let’s not continue to fool ourselves: ufology is the catch-all for bizarre, psychotic-like commentary, and always has been.

That’s not going to change, unless and until persons like Mr. Randle, Isaac Koi and the Anomalist gang queue up the rational few left in UFO-land and deep-six the nutty people.

But don’t hold your breath…


Sunday, June 21, 2015

A book about internet trolls and my blog about UFO trolls

The book pictured here (written by Whitney Phillips) is advertised in The New Your Review of Books [July 9th 2015, Page 7].

The blurb by Curtis Frye [Technology and Society Book Reviews] writes:

" ... a terrific introduction to the world of trolling, exploring how trolls put on figurative masks (or literal masks) in the case of online anonymity) and generate lulz [sic] from those they encounter ...

I'm dismayed by the violence done to my beloved art of rhetorical controversy."

In light of the "ufological terrorism" rampant at some blogs -- not mine, as I delete rabid comments (except my own) -- many of you should get the book and ballyhoo it.

Also ,I've made a list of those who try to post "terrorist-like" commentary here and do post such commentary at Paul Kimball's blog and sometimes get a few moments at Kevin Randle's blog before he catches their vile drivel and deletes their attempted utterances.

That list can be found at one of our popular blogs, and I've sent the internet address to some of you for whom I have an e-mail address.

The curious among you can find, via Google, if you're cagey enough, the site where your name (maybe) and vituperative remarks appear.

Now don't expect to find Lance Moody there or Zoam Chomsky or Gilles Fernandez, or the moderate CDA, or even the vibrant David Rudiak.

They are not trolls, as I see it, but engaging and snarky skeptics or avowed UFO believers like Rudiak.

But you will find a load of commentary about who in the UFO community is disgustingly biased and mean-spirited while pretending to be gentlemen and ladies with moral, ethical standards.

Also, a few blogs and sites that pretend to be objective, and honest purveyors of truth or ufological encouragement are also noted, and why they fall short of being valued by some of us.

The rancid online UFO-oriented activity should come to halt, but in light of that not happening anytime soon, we (me and some notable UFO enthusiasts) are calling the "trolls" out.

It's time to"fight fire with fire."


Saturday, June 20, 2015

A (real) pyramid found on Mars?


Friday, June 19, 2015

Hallucination and/or Hysteria in Ufology: The Airship sightings of the late 1800s

Jerry Clark’s book Unexplained! [Visible Ink Press, Detroit, 1993] is full of precise stories about UFOs and other things that are mysteries in the human realm.

The first entry in the book takes on the Airship phenomenon predominately occurring in the late 1800s. [Page 1 ff.]

Mr. Clark offers correctives to many of the stories still considered ufologically germane.

His historical references are amended by reality and fact, as is his wont when writing about UFOs or other paranormal activities and “things.”

This brings me to what happens when a UFO event takes place: either it is real (which some of you would deny), or hallucinatory, or a product of hysteria, sometimes mass hysteria.

The “mass hysteria” epithet applies to those 1890 airship sightings and reports.
Mr. Clark offers that many of the sightings were hoaxes or tales told for various self-aggrandizing reasons.

But what caused persons who were not hoaxers to see airships?

Were they hallucinations? No, not necessarily.

Hallucinations are “An apparent perception of an external object when no such object is present.” [Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Hinsie/Campbell M.D.s]
Hallucinations stem from a mental or psychological or neurological failure.

Hysteria comes about for many reasons [as cited op. cit.] while “mass hysteria” is a condition whereby groups of people assume the dictates of hysteria on a large scale, a mass scale, while not necessarily located in situ.
While an hallucination comes from within, hysterical manifestations come from without, often producing an hallucination-like perception.

This is what happened in the airship sightings: many persons, often not in locale, seem to think they saw what appeared to be airships out of time, technologically.

They didn’t see such ships, but they saw something.

Hysteria needs an external trigger, whereas hallucinations are triggered by neurological (or brain) malfunctions.

Persons purportedly seeing airships in the 1890 era had to see something, not an airship, as such, perhaps but something.
French UFO skeptic Gilles Fernandez has offered a number of causal factors, one being a misperception of the planet Venus, but such a perception by rational persons is a stretch.

Persons reporting airship sightings were induced to see odd things flying in the skies, before such things were extant, by newspaper reports and tales from others that were grist for the social media of the time, gossip.

But they did have to see something; they were not prone to hallucinations, not all of them or many of them.

Something appeared in the skies over various areas of the United States and other countries as Mr. Clark offers.

Whatever those somethings were, they were not airships, as such, perhaps, but things that evoked a response that they were.

Now, what were they?

They seemed to have tangibility and caused sensory responses of various kinds.

One can discount the mix-up of atmospherics or astronomical misperceptions, if one reads the accounts that Mr. Clark (and others elsewhere) have proffered.

The 1890s airship sightings provoked hysterical sightings, I’ll give you that.

But that hysteria was caused by triggers after the initial triggers: newspaper stories and/or communal gossip.

 What were the (secondary) triggers? Actual airships or a phenomenon that looked like airships?

The mystery remains, to this day, unanswered mostly.


The religious-like mystery of UFOs

A new book, noted in The New York Review of Books [June 25th 2015, back page], is Faith Versus Fact by Jerry A. Coyne [Penguin Publishing Group, 336 pp. $28.95].

The blurb by Harvard’s Steven Pinker says this:

“Coyne expertly exposes the incoherence of the increasingly popular belief that you can have it both ways: that God (or something God-ish, God-like, or God-old) sort of exists; that miracles kind-of happen; and that the truthiness of dogma is somewhat-a-little-bit-more-or-less-who’s-to-say-it-isn’t like the truths of science and reason.”

This put-down of belief, faith, or religion intrigues, and the book should be a good read.
But is science and/or “reason” all that it’s cracked up to be?

The queerness of quantum artifacts, gravity, dark matter, and dark energy are all as bizarre as religion or the UFO phenomenon.

There is reason to believe that things reported to have been seen in the skies or on the ground, dubbed flying saucers or disks or UFOs are just as real as the multiverses of science or the quarks of quantum mechanics.

Science’s attributes of (so-called) reality are as ephemeral as UFOs or the miracles of Jesus/Christ.
The witnesses to science “facts” are theorizing when it comes to pronouncements as grotesque as The Big Bang, and weirder than any pronouncement about UFOs (or religion).
 I accept, despite the rationalizations of Zoam Chomsky or Robert Sheaffer or other “skeptical” persons who haunt the UFO field, that UFOs have a rational basis as solid as Schrödinger’s cat or the burst of the Universe from a infinitesimal point in space, ex nihilo.
That God came to Earth as Jesus of Nazareth is acceptable to me, even though I think God and Jesus, too, have died, not metaphorically, but actually, and neither represent the ineffable God that created the Universe and us within it.

Thus, when it comes to UFOs, they remain, for me, features of actuality, hallucinatory perhaps, but an aspect of human reality, either way.

Placing science in a loftier plane than UFOs or religion is hubris of a deranged kind.

Science has its moments, but so do UFOs and religion.

It’s a matter of record, the UFO phenomenon I mean.

Sure, just as some of the Jesus story or Allah tale or the Einsteinian hypotheses make little sense, UFOs also, often, make little sense.

But that’s the attractive feature of UFOs, the mystery that attracts some of us, even the skeptical among us.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ceres mysteries abound, but nothing that shows alien connection (as I see it)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UFO skeptic Robert Sheaffer once believed in fairies?

Going through my UFO magazine collection, I came across an article in the issue pictured here [October 1977] by Robert Sheaffer, Cottingley Photos: Winged Ufonauts? [Page 40 ff.].

Could this be the arch-UFO skeptic, Robert Sheaffer?

Mr. Sheaffer, in the piece, opens with “Some of the most remarkable photographs of all time were taken near a small village in the English countryside [Cottingley Glen, in Yorkshire, England] beginning in the summer of 1917.”

These are the photographs:
Mr. Sheaffer supports the photos in many ways throughout his piece:

“If the only evidence we had for the authenticity of the Cottingley photographs was the testimony of the girls themselves, one might be justified in presuming the photos to be hoax … But the Cottingley photographs have been exhaustively investigated, and pronounced to be authentic, by one of the most learned and respected men of his day, none other than the celebrated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” [Page 41]

“The girls who took the photographs were incapable of concocting a sophisticated hoax.” [Page 41]

“We also know that ‘temporal provincialism’ (a form of arrogance that has always proved annoying to posterity) often causes people to interpret strange phenomena in a way that fits in with the popular ideas of their time. For example, the mysterious ‘airships’ that were sighted in 1896-97 were described as Jules Verne-type contraptions because that was the idea then popular of unknown flying objects. Of course, we now know that they must have been UFOs …” [Page 42]

OMG! This can’t really be the Robert Sheaffer we all know, can it?

As for the Cottingley fairy photos, you can read about them at Wikipedia:

The Wikipedia article says this:

In the early 1980s Elsie and Frances [the young “photographers”] admitted that the photographs were faked.