Leer en español

2018/JUNE/30 (EN)

English language editing: Martin Shough
FOTOCAT DATABASE STATUS
The latest count of the FOTOCAT spreadsheet records 12,310 cases. Current emphasis is placed on feeding data to the catalog structure.
NEW PUBLICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
The author’s research activity is normally quite intense. Frantic of late. Several articles have been finished or are ready to be completed. Today I am announcing the release of one article that it is part of a trilogy based on UFO incidents‒reported in Spain‒dated in or around the year 1966. Although the work has been written in Spanish, the general flavor of the methodology and results will be easily acknowledged by foreign colleagues. One will be presented here, another has been submitted for publication to a professional journal, and the third one is still in the oven.
This section will also include the link to an old article just uploaded to the internet for general knowledge, as well as the latest comments on the publication of my book with Wim van Utrecht on UFO photography in Belgium.
Space Test UFOs
This essay has been jointly produced with physicist and investigator Julio Plaza del Olmo. I hope this one will please both fans of space study and ufologists. The article (in Spanish) is entitled “La experiencia espacial del 22 de abril de 1966” (The Space Experiment of April 22, 1966). It deals with a space test‒the release of barium clouds in the atmosphere‒achieved through a rocket launched from the French base of Hammaguir, Algeria. The optical output of this scientific experiment transcended frontiers and was visually and photographically detected from many places in Spain and other European countries. The authors have analyzed a sample of reported observations, showing revealing findings. The proper reference link follows:
Abstract
Rocket sounding of the atmosphere was a usual activity during last half of 20th century. One such test was done on April 22nd, 1966. A Rubis rocket launched from the French base of Hammaguir released two loads of metallic chemicals, producing ionizing clouds in the atmosphere that were seen from several points across Europe. This work gathers most of those sightings and compares reported variables like elevation, distance, direction, and apparent size against the calculated trajectory of the rocket and clouds. The fallibility of human observation is reviewed. A coincidental but unrelated UFO sighting in New Mexico (USA) is also presented and explained.
April 22, 1966. Rocket trajectory. © Ted Molczan.
Vintage Review of UFO Occupant Cases
I have devoted part of my UFO research life to exploring the subject of UFO landings, as reported in Spain and neighboring Portugal. In fact, I wrote three books on this segment of the case mix, as well as many articles and papers. By 1973 I had compiled a very modest catalog of 130 events1, and without thinking twice I rushed to l look at the cases reporting flying saucer crew members, just 19 stories. I wanted to examine “the morphology and behavior of animate beings in conjunction with UFOs, and the outstanding features of the objects themselves”. Therefore, I penned a simple tabulation of some critical aspects of the incidents, and an article with the title “Biometric Data in 19 UFO Occupant cases” was published in London’s reputable Flying Saucer Review, Volume 19, No. 3, May-June 1973, pages 22-26. I have just uploaded it to the Academia.edu portal, especially for students who were not in the pipeline back then:
As expected, no conclusion could be advanced with such a limited sample, except that (a) no salient typology emerged, (b) the behavior of the occupants was characterized as preposterous, and (c) UFOs had a circular symmetry of revolution (i.e., all saucers are round). 
(1) Just for comparison, today this catalog has increased up to 1,000 reports!
Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988)
My coauthor Wim van Utrecht and I are very satisfied to verify the good reception of our joint book, which nowadays has already reached 1,552 visits and downloads. It has two formats. The free, online book is here:
The printed book is available through UPIAR publishers:
Expert opinion continues to praise our book. Latest comments come from:
Kevin Randle: I believe that important information is included in the book, and that the writer is someone who has an interest in the truth,
UFOCON (RRR Group): This is, as all Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos materials are, germane and edifying,
In German, Hans-Werner Peinifer, Journal Für UFO_Forschung (JUFOF), No. 235, 2018, pages 29-32, highlighting several cases, describing our modus operandi and comparing our conclusions with parallel findings of the reviewer’s own research,
UFO RESEARCH AND UFO REPORTS
The Pentagon UFO Study
My impression is that the so-called Pentagon UFO Study under the cryptic name of Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, was something more akin to a classic UFO organization of the sixties (a group formed by believers in extraterrestrials) than any other thing. That some of those who ran it ended up in the profit-oriented company “To the Stars” makes things even clearer. The censored, partial and redacted materials disclosed to date (3 UFO videos) are being subjected to lot of criticism. The latest is a note blogged by Robert Sheaffer on March 14, 2018: https://badufos.blogspot.com.es/2018/03/to-stars-releases-another-video-and.html
Sound, technical comment on the actual audio-visual clips can be consulted in Mick West’s blog, and we place them here by the order of approved public release. Please note that not even exact information on date and location has been disclosed, preventing or delaying independent investigation.
“Gimbal”, early 2015, USS Roosevelt carrier group, off Florida:
“FLIR1” or “Tic Tac”, November 14, 2004, USS Nimitz carrier group F/A-18, 40 NM off San Diego, California: https://www.metabunk.org/2004-uss-nimitz-tic-tac-ufo-flir-footage.t9190/
A few investigations are being carried out by several professionals. These are starting to shed light on the possible nature of the objects recorded by the infrared sensors of the US Navy aviators involved in the video captures.
Every day, new articles provide clarifying clues about the obscure type of program it was and its continuation in the form of a “for profit” firm, for example:
Roger Glassel’s “The AATIP, Targeting Pod Videos and the DOPSR Process,” http://www.blueblurrylines.com/2018/04/the-aatip-targeting-pod-videos-and.html
Robert Sheaffer’s “To The Stars, or To The Dogs? The Case of the Missing Hot Dogs,” http://badufos.blogspot.com.es/2018/03/to-stars-or-to-dogs-case-of-missing-hot.html
A Bright Track in Ireland, 1957
After so many books and newsletters checked, tracing UFO photographs not recorded in the FOTOCAT roster for the 1950s and 1960s starts to be rare. There just came into my hands the Dublin’s Irish Independent journal of December 4, 1957 with the following image and caption: This picture, taken in Sligo town at 5.15 p.m. on Saturday evening last, shows a mysterious light in the sky which aroused considerable local interest and speculation. The object appeared as a pin-point of light, travelling in a North-East to South-West direction and was visible for almost three-quarters of an hour. The picture is a time exposure of four minutes, and was taken by James Eccles, of Sligo.
November 30, 1957, Sligo, Connacht (Ireland). © James Eccles.
Brief but accurate information that allows us to check if an astronomical identification applies. Yes, it does. As we can see in the following sky chart, a most bright Venus (-4.42 magnitude) was placed in the SSW (200º) close to the horizon (9º). The track and the inclination are coincident with a long photographic exposure of the planet.
If you think that detecting Venus as a prosaic explanation for UFO observations is something new, you are wrong. It has been a natural culprit for UFO events since UFO phenomena started to be reported (in fact, long before such visions were given a name). Recently, I was scanning old Spanish newspapers and found a curious note in El Pueblo Gallego of April 15, 1948. Yes, 1948, seventy years ago. A vernacular journal in the Galician region. On April 12th, the Strasbourg Observatory released a communiqué to report that it had been studying recent UFO observations reported by peasants and others in Eastern France and resolved these were caused by the apparition of Venus, then showing at maximum brightness. 
Planet Venus is the most frequent candidate for UFO mistakes in the night. All UFO researchers have encountered cases where this astronomical body was the responsible. I have written much about it. For example, see an illustrated article (in Spanish) on a local sighting that was solved this way: “Venus, ¡otra vez tu” (Venus, you again?) in http://www.webcitation.org/6mx5o4kaa You can watch the video clip (scroll down) in the blog entry “Two UFO Video Analyses Online”, at
One of the most controversial official files declassified in Spain covers a UFO sighting from a two-seater Mirage III aircraft of the Spanish Air Force, flying over the Mediterranean Sea in 1973. It was also explained as due to the appearance of Venus and was the object of a detailed work carried out between Manuel Borraz, Joan Plana and myself. I think the report we wrote will be found instructive and its conclusion unarguable. Entitled "Mirage III Heading to Valencia", it can be read here (text in Spanish):
The Ponta de Farol Picture
I have stressed more than once that I am fascinated by the “art” in UFO photography. Fakes, camera artifacts, natural phenomena, and many other stimuli taken as UFOs provide rich chromatic structures and show capricious shapes. The following original copy was amongst the photographic materials that SOBEPS lent to the FOTOCAT Project thanks to Patrick Ferryn. There is not much mystery to it. The bottom line is, just a film flaw, a defect in the emulsion of the film. This picture was taken at 9,30am of January 25, 1971 by 18-year-old Gunar Gruenzner in the place known as “Ponta do Farol” at the Armaçao beach, Santa Catarina State (Brazil). The boy claimed to have seen a sort of “intense shine” in the brief seconds he was looking through the viewfinder to take another snapshot. Thinking it was a reflection, he dismissed it until he saw a weird shape in the developed picture.
January 25, 1971, Ponta de Farol, Armaçao beach, Santa Catarina (Brazil). © Gunar Gruenzner.
The first time it was published (in color, a rarity) was in the Brazilian GPECE bulletin of July 1971. Technical appraisers stated it was a film defect, probably it was overdue. How quickly it was solved is another rarity. Then, the French Lumières Dans La Nuit (October 1972 issue, cover and page 13) commented this solution was “practically impossible” (sic), considering the young photographer said he saw a bright light. Next, Gordon Creighton of the British Flying Saucer Review got a the negative from Walter Buhler and wrote an article in the journal, followed by the evaluation of FSR’s photo expert Percy Hennell, who dictated “it was entirely accidental: if you hold the negative with the emulsion side towards you at an angle of about 45º to a reading lamp, and examine it with a glass magnifying ten times, you will see that there is a flaw in the emulsion…I think it is more likely to be a fault in the manufacture”. The photo has appeared in some books and UFO magazines. Wim van Utrecht also tackled this picture in the Caelestia web site, with the same result (http://www.caelestia.be/praia.html). Last year, I asked photographic analyst Andrés Duarte to make a blind assessment about the image: “It is a defect in the emulsion, not a developing defect,” he clearly concluded. 
Evidently, this all has been an excuse to publish the original color print. And, also, to draw attention from readers who have similar “UFO” photos in their files.
I’d like to complement this instance of a spurious image due to a film damage with a particularly beautiful but spoiled scene. During the 1965 World Fair, celebrated in Queens, New York, a visitor by the name of Lorentzen took a photograph of the recreation of a medieval Belgian village on the site. He did not spot anything strange when the picture was snapped. However, after processing, an eerie stain was prominent in the print. This case is contained in the files of the USAF Blue Book project and the original color print was rescued from oblivion by chance in 2013 (see following section). Another example of an emulsion flaw that readers should be familiar with when probing old photographic materials.
May 30, 1965, New York. © Mr. Lorentzen. Blue Book files. Credit: Rob Mercer.
From the Blue Book Files
This is one of those obscure Blue Book reports, rarely reproduced in the UFO press, if at all, probably because in the Project 10073 records, the BB case summary cards1, defined it as “missile activity”. Also, because of the poor image available. But when Rob Mercer acquired lost archives from the last Blue Book officer in charge2, a better picture was found. Thanks to Mr. Mercer, I am presenting this photograph, along with a brief recap of the incident.
At around 1555-1600Z of January 22, 1967, airborne observers in the Mid-Eastern Pacific area reported a halo that grew to several times larger than the diameter of the full moon, for 2 to 5 minutes. From the Johnston Island (North Pacific Ocean), a photograph was taken with a Baker-Nunn camera. Witnesses there reported the disc as slightly elongated with a perfect circular corona of even density. The object traveled toward the northwest in an arc passing north of the observers.
The BB card recorded: “The description is consistent with that of a missile launch. A missile was launched from Vandenberg AFB at 1544Z and impacted near Kwajalein Island at about 1612Z.” (The Kwajalein atoll is in the Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean, 2100 nautical miles from Hawaii.)
Just for the sake of corroboration and accuracy, in 2017 I consulted Dr. Jonathan McDowell of Harvard, who confirmed that an Atlas missile 35D was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (Santa Barbara county, California) at the time.
(1) See a card’s typical data scheme reconstructed here:
The 1947 UFO Wave Viewed in 1949
How was the arresting flying saucer scare of June-July 1947 in the United States perceived less than two years later? Like something that came to stay, or as a sort of mania that went out soon after it came in?
Probably a reply to this question is found in a clipping I found in the Los Angeles Times of February 21, 1949 (credit to Kay Massingill, the online newspaper morgue’s best explorer). The motif was the discovery in an old desert shack of a weird-designed object which finally was found to be a high-speed tow target, hauled aloft behind a Vultee training plane.
This is how the editor introduced the story of the find:
Remember the flying disks?
Remember the confused stories and the furore?
Well, another one‒a real one‒has turned up!
The object, hidden in the desert a few miles from Muroc test base (later renamed as Edwards AFB, Los Angeles, California), is made of metal, six feet in diameter with short horizontal surfaces tipped by odd looking tubes. Two feet thick at the hub, it apparently rotated in a vertical plane as it flew. The wreckage had its knife-edged circumference badly smashed at one point.
More can be said about the piece and its use, but it is not my remit. I just intended to share how the editor of a major US newspaper described and recalled the spate of flying saucer narratives of 1947, hardly some 19 months later. One can guess why from 1949 onwards the belief in flying saucers skyrocketed without a new surge of visions (until 1952). Well, certainly, literature and movies came into action. That is, factors other than actual eerie occurrences, confirming evidence favoring the sociocultural fabric of the phenomenon. 
High-speed tow target debris, California desert, 1949. © Los Angeles Times.
Spirals, Spheres and other XXI Century Space Wonders
These days, our astronautics produce spectacular daytime or nighttime sky shows.  Jim Oberg‒no need to introduce him‒writes to provide several links to “final draft” papers on orbital venting, fuel dump or stage burn or deorbit events that have produced amazing visual sightings in different parts of the world in the period 2010-2018. Oberg is to be commended for the detailed documentation he contributes, something that very much helps us as ufologists not to label as “UFOs” things that have an earthly origin.
Very timely, Oberg advises: While mainly of interest in developing methodology to recognize and interpret spacecraft functions causing specific apparitions, the detailed reports also have profound value in showing a double-blind test series of observation of bizarre sky spectacles, to calibrate witness limitations in accuracy. Both genuine accident investigations, and 'UFO studies', might benefit from studying the results. I am listing the six papers he has just released:
Zuma unknown Jan 8, 2018   
Norway deorbit Feb 19, 2018 
FH [falcon heavy] escape Feb 06, 2018 
Persian Gulf deorbit Feb 19, 2017
Indian Ocean fuel dump sphere Sep 29, 2013
Australia fuel vent spiral June 4, 2010
UFOs and the Moon
Belgian psychologist Dr. Jean-Michel Abrassart et al have presented June 2018 at the Perspectives on Contemporary Legend congress (36th meeting of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research) a paper titled "Mistaking the Moon for an Alien Spacecraft: The Saros Operation". The full text has been submitted for publication to a scientific journal and now it is under peer-review. In the meantime, the abstract is already available:
The Coyne Helicopter UFO Sighting Compromised
This is an extremely professional paper from someone quite versed and qualified in aeronautics and physics:
I have always hated work from anonymous sources, and I expect this source will sooner or later disclose his identity. I am sensible, however, of the fear a mainstream scientist may feel to put his reputation at stake for being publicly involved with UFOs.
Kevin Randle has done a service to the UFO community by quoting this research and, on top of that, because his own comments have elicited further input from the author of the original report, “Parabunk”:
Robert Powell, former MUFON director of research, said in a UFO forum that the evidence that there was a refueling flight that day (the core of the resolution thesis) was needed to support it.
From Close to Very Far Encounter
Funny how dumb we have been in handling alleged close encounter reports. The veil of belief inhibits your critical thinking. It is an incontrovertible fact. No one is to teach it to us, we know from own experience. In a first phase of UFO research you approach the subject candidly with lots of ignorance. You have read in books by an older generation that flying saucers exist, and you do not dispute this assertion. Moreover, eyewitnesses always tell the truth, why should they lie? This naïve sentiment typically lasts several years. Or, worse, all your life. Commonly, the more you learn and investigate, the more you realize that observers usually misinterpret what they see. After processing UFO claims over a wide range of years, you find that you missed obvious explanations because you were not enough in the non-believer mode. Well, to cut a long story short, one of the classic “landing” cases in Spain (Ordenes, Coruña, November 1, 1954) has been revisited by the acute UFO detective J.C. Victorio Uranga to draw a probable solution: a natural fireball. Viewed with new, more skeptic eyes, the explanation is perfectly satisfactory. Victorio has written an entry (in Spanish) in his excellent blog:
Debris in Space
Everything in space that looks strange to the layman, and especially to a ufologist of the believer kind, rapidly becomes a UFO. It takes the advice of a professional to discern the nature of things that surround our astronauts.
Last year, certain news outlets attached this announcement to a video clip: “Is this UFO in NASA footage evidence of an alien craft?” Pure sensationalism. But one that needs to be deflated. Jim Oberg, a major space expert and communicator, emailed to me: “Shapes like this have been caught on several shuttle launches by the cameras watching the External Tank as it separates, they are attributed to ice molds on the interface junctions that form from humidity frozen by the super-cold metal piping.”
Oberg posted some photographs of the piping at the following link:
Phrase of the Year
“I think we are on the precipice of potentially understanding a new paradigm,” Luis Elizondo dixit in an interview by Chase Kloetzke, Kerry McClure, and Roger Marsh in The MUFON UFO Journal of May 2018 (page 15).  I simply hope to see this sentence in the context of what has happened in ten more years. I am sure someone will have fallen from the precipice. Who? You bet. In the meantime, hordes of people will have been deceived by false expectations.     
The 1909 Airship
Recently, the National UFO Center let the cat out of the bag by reporting that New Zealand’s Otago Daily Times of July 26, 1909 carried the testimony of an “airship” seen in the down under skies. I like to work on first-hand stuff, so I decided to see it by myself. Thanks to Kay Massingill, I collected a copy of the press cutting (attached). Otago is a township located southwest of New Zealand and its local journal published the telephone and telegraph report received from a Mr. Gibson of Kelso. Today, Kelso is an abandoned small settlement. In the 1960s, population was only 300. Some sixty years before I guess there were enough people to require a school, because Mr. Gibson stated that at noon on Friday July 23, 1909, “the school children beheld in the air a strange machine, which they described as shaped like a boat, with what seem like the figure of man seated in it.” Please feel free to add herewith your favorite emoticon. A pilot seated in the exterior of a spacecraft!
Over one hundred years have passed. Nowadays we know for sure that there were neither such airships, nor such navigators or aviators. It is a direct influence of visions and books by Jules Verne. But there were accounts. Alleged eyewitnesses. Even pictures. A certain airship enthusiasm started in the United States, and copycat “sightings” poured from other English-speaking countries. Historians, sociologists and anthropologists will tell us how invented stories about elusive aeroforms became endemic to the early century XX. This unreal phenomenon was the prelude to the flying saucer surge in 1947. I have the conviction that history does not do quantum jumps, it is a continuing tale, one story is based on past stories and so soon. Nothing is new under the sun. We need more historians and social scientists to follow the queue from A to Z. 
Miscellaneous
(1) Cielo Insolito (Weird Sky) issue number 6 (March 2018) is out with articles on UFO history in English and Italian: http://www.ufo.it/cieloinsolito/cieloinsolito6.pdf
(2) Tony Bragalia seeks official information from the DIA regarding the Pentagon UFO study findings.  Apparently, he’ll wait long for a reply. Read the following link:
(3) Luis R. González writes an answer to Robbie Graham’s “Don’t Forget UFOlogy: The Influence of UFO Lore in Pop Culture,” in the May-June issue of SUNlite, pages 4-7, http://www.astronomyufo.com/UFO/SUNlite10_3.pdf
(4) Miguel Ángel Sánchez-Tena et al, “Optical Illusions and Spatial Disorientation in Aviation Pilots,” Journal of Medical Systems (2018) 42:79,
(5) Quite revealing is Kentaro Mori’s blog entry of 2008 on “extraordinary explanations,” http://forgetomori.com/2008/ufos/extraordinary-explanations/
(6) “Alien Sightings and OVNI Culture in Argentina,” a paper by David M.K. Sheinin, professor of History at Trent University (Canada), 
(7) In Spanish: “Alienígenas superstar,” (Superstar Aliens), by Luis R. González & Alejandro Agostinelli, http://factorelblog.com/2018/04/14/alienigenas-superstar/
(8) UFOs and Popular Culture: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth, a 439-page book by James R. Lewis published 2000 by ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, California), https://tinyurl.com/ybwbaumf
PETER ROGERSON DIED
It was very sad to learn, from John Rimmer’s announcement, that Peter Rogerson died on March 6th. He was a most appreciated UFO colleague and a very inspiring mind. He was an eye-opener, no doubt, for those who are in this field to investigate, not to follow a blind faith. There was no one like him‒with his very personal prose‒to produce fascinating reviews of both rare and standard books. He was such a prolific writer of profound and captivating book critiques, that I started the custom of adding a Xerox copy of his reviews to the UFO books in my shelves.  He was a very insightful brain, a true researcher far from public visibility, centered on pure, intellectual activity. Probably from the early beginning, Peter was aware that UFOs were not a nut and bolts issue, but a matter attached to the sign of the times. A non-material artificial construction. It’s all in the sociology, in the expectation and needs and influences of the masses, it’s an invention of the population impacted by the publicity and the cinema and the TV and the literature. He considered such theories when the whole world was thinking of flying saucers and UFOs. When one reads his monumental work in retrospect, his words acquire an immense, anticipatory value. In this field, he was a visionary, with every reason.
Ufology, I mean, the residual part of ufology which is still rigorous and rational, has missed a big intellect. I wish to vindicate his opus and I encourage academics and college scholars to study the works by Peter Rogerson to find the voix de la raison in a crazy world.  He was the author of many admirable, erudite and mind-blogging articles. John Rimmer has compiled a selection of articles by Rogerson to browse:
On a more conventional side of ufological work, Rogerson compiled INTCAT (international catalog of UFO landing reports). It covered 1880-1980, over 5,000 cases, a database that was never finally analytically exploited. See this site for an Introduction and the catalog listed by year: http://intcat.blogspot.com.es/
The first time I knew of Rogerson was when I received a letter dated December 27,1972 he sent to me with the purpose of enclosing a copy of his Merseyside UFO Bulletin, “in which an international catalogue of Type I reports is being commenced”. For newcomers, let me explain that Type I reports were UFO “landing” cases, in the terminology established by Jacques Vallée. By then I was personally quite centered in developing a catalog of landings in Spain and Portugal, so our aims coincided. My own work on landing or “close encounter” reports (Hynek’s terminology) produced lots of publications in the years to come, and I am listing below a sample of those.1-7 And my snail-mail correspondence with Rogerson was quite intense during some ten years. After a long hiatus, we renewed our contact, this time through email, in the new century. His last communication arrived a few months ago.
Young Peter Rogerson. Credit: John Rimmer. 
Recently, when I started to write this short memoir, I played with the idea of scanning my correspondence with Rogerson and upload it to the public internet for all to read, but I finally have dismissed this because it is too premature, as there appear the names of several still living ufologists and researchers. 
However, as a sort of humble homage to the person and his ideas, I’d like to select and quote some of the thoughts I find in our letter exchange:
I was interested in your article in Data-Net Report on “Occupants”4: the apparent aimless character of the activity is well established. Other reports have the occupants engaged in the same activities as human astronauts, in fact they tend to demonstrate the layman’s idea of how a superior civilisation would behave. What strikes us is the humanistic nature of the phenomenon, which so contradicts the ETH.8
Keel was influenced by the ideas of Bowen and Creighton. I don´t think that Keel is paranoid (though he has a severe inferiority complex, which makes him try to act the scholar-which he is not), but Creighton certainly is. After my last letter in FSR, Creighton wrote, suggesting that changes in library classification were part of a plot by “elementals” to suppress the FSR. Apparently, everybody excepts Creighton is a puppet of the elementals. Bowen admits that C. is eccentric, but has to be given a bit of leeway, in order to ensure that he continues his translation work. I suppose that when you are one of the world’s greatest linguistics you are allowed to be looney. It is an old English custom.9
There’s not many British UFO buffs who’d agree with your approval of Alan Sharp, they really hate his guts. In general, MUFOB is disliked by British Ufologists, especially BUFORA because we have, in the past, printed some home truths about the irrational behavior of the UFO buffs, in particular the Warminster cult. A typical comment is “If you don´t believe in flying saucers, why do you publish a bulletin just to denigrate sincere seekers after the truth with your cynical attacks”. One group of UFO buffs actually managed to believe that my review of Hynek’s and Napier’s books was a “cynical attack” on something or other. To the UFO buffs, the whole thing is a religion “this sacred subject”, and they fiercely reject any attempt to rationally study the phenomenon.10
The sociological articles are not peripheral, as the sociological/psychological factor is probably the one which gives the report their special flavour. A physical stimulus behind the reports might be much less strange than people think, perhaps just something outside the witnesses’ own experience, but not perhaps new to physics. Many of the cases can be regarded in a whole psychological light. You will remember that Vallée argued in Magonia that it was only the landing traces which prevented a fully psychological explanation. So perhaps we ought to see whether such traces could survive a completely skeptical examination.11
About my theoretical position on UFOs, the thesis I suggested was that there was no separate UFO phenomenon at the level of individual cases, that is to say one could not select any single case and say that that case was caused by some new phenomenon not described by physics. However, there was a “UFO phenomenon” within groups of cases. In other words, that mass of UFO reports possessed a quality which made it something more than the sum of individual cases.12
As, the folklore, Magonians are both personifications of natural forces and projections of aspects of human personality. To get the true “feel” of folklore, you should read Lady Gregory’s “Visions and Belief in the West of Ireland”, to recognize the origin of mythology in the agony and despair of the peasants. Mythology is a means of adapting to the environment and rendering its incomprehensible forces “meaningful”. Today, perhaps, mythology is similarly helping us to adapt to the new manmade environment.13
I think it is a mistake to assume that “qualified” people are less likely that the general population to be subject to a variety of psychological and sociological pressures. The behavior of some of the ex-astronauts has been eccentric to say the least, and the history of parapsychology shows how the most qualified and hitherto rational people can be fooled under extreme circumstances. My own view is that the psycho-sociological pressures affect all levels of the community. I also suspect that percipients may be responding to the psychological needs of the community as a whole, rather than to their own personal needs.14 
I would be interested in your comments on the current value of INTCAT which will have been going for 10 years next year. I am beginning to have very serious doubts as to its value, and the whole concept behind it, which no longer reflects my thinking on the subject. It seems that the last few years have seriously undermined the idea of the UFO experience being generated by some special external phenomenon (a view shared by and large by Hendry, Randles and Basterfield from their own studies), and as “classic” case after classic case goes down, I cannot help but feel that INTCAT may be seriously misleading. I think if I were starting today, I would limit it to CEIII’s, and also include all the “negative cases”, and present the abstracts more unambiguously as just stories.15
From my personal point of view, I would argue that the dichotomy is really an artifact of a false perception of the UFO problem as the “signal in the noise” ‒rather, than either a “structured noise” or “signals within noises”. My own working hypothesis would be that “the signal is imposed by human consciousness” on a wide variety of noises, a small proportion of which may be new empirical observations. That’s the ultimate ufological heresy, I suppose.16
Senior Peter Rogerson. Credit: Clas Svahn/AFU.
References:
(1) V.J. Ballester Olmos and Jacques Vallée, “Type-1 Phenomena in Spain and Portugal. A Study of 100 Iberian Landings,” in UFOs in Two Worlds, Charles Bowen (ed.), Flying Saucer Review, Special Issue No. 4, August 1971, pp. 40-64, https://tinyurl.com/ybhgaada
(2) Jacques Vallée and V.J. Ballester Olmos, “Sociology of the Iberian Landings,” Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 18:4, July-August 1972, pp. 10-12,  https://tinyurl.com/y8yvxa8d
(3) V.J. Ballester Olmos, “Record and Analysis of the Spanish Negative Landings,” Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 18:4, July-August 1972, pp. 31-32 and iii-iv. And Vol. 20:2, 1974, p. iii,
https://www.academia.edu/36406288/Record_and_Analysis_of_the_Spanish_Negative_Landings
(4) V.J. Ballester Olmos, “Biometric Data in 19 UFO Occupant Cases,” Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 19:3, May-June 1973, pp. 19-23 (also published in the US journal Data-Net Report),
(5) V.J. Ballester Olmos, A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal, Center for UFO Studies (Evanston, Illinois), 1976,
(6) V.J. Ballester Olmos, OVNIS: El fenómeno aterrizaje, Plaza y Janés, S.A. (Barcelona), 1978,
(7) V.J. Ballester Olmos and J.A. Fernández Peris, Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS, Plaza y Janés, S.A. (Barcelona), 1987,
(8) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, June 19, 1972.
(9) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, July 3, 1972.
(10) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, July 24, 1972.
(11) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, November 25, 1973.
(12) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, February 5, 1974.
(13) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, August 15, 1974.
(14) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, September 9, 1974.
(15) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, February 11, 1980.
(16) Peter Rogerson to Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, August 14, 1981.
Acknowledgements
I owe thanks to Kay Massingill, Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga, Jim Oberg, Giuseppe Stilo, Maurizio Verga, Tim Printy, Luis Ruiz Nóguez, and Jean-Michel Abrassart for their assistance or input.
BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR           
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
OVNIS: el fenómeno aterrizaje (UFOs: The Landing Phenomenon)
Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (with Miguel Guasp) (UFOs and Science)
Investigación OVNI (UFO Investigation)
Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (with J.A. Fernández Peris) (Encyclopedia of UFO Close Encounters in Spain)
Expedientes insólitos (Unusual Files)
These are available in the usual second-hand market, for example:
Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (with O.J. Braenne)
UFOs and the Government (with M. Swords & R. Powell and C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich, and S. Purcell)
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (with M. Borraz, H. Janosch & J.C. Victorio)
Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988) (with Wim van Utrecht)
HOW YOU CAN COLLABORATE WITH FOTOCAT PROJECT
There are several options you can follow:
· Volunteer work, onsite or remote
· Deliver sighting reports, photographs, archives, bibliography, etc.
· Donations to help defray research expenses
You can reach us directly by writing to the following postal address:
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Apartado de Correos 12140
46080 Valencia
Spain
Alternatively, through e-mail: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es

2018/JUNIO/30 (ES)
BASE DE DATOS FOTOCAT
A fecha de hoy, nuestro catálogo alcanza ya 12.310 casos. Actualmente el énfasis va dirigido a alimentar con nuevos datos la estructura de la base de datos, más que en la adición de nuevos avistamientos.
NUEVAS PUBLICACIONES DEL AUTOR
El autor siempre ha desplegado una actividad de investigación bastante intensa. Últimamente es frenética. Varios artículos se han terminado o están por finalizar. Hoy quiero anunciar la publicación de un artículo que forma parte de una trilogía basada en incidentes ovni ocurridos en torno a 1966 en nuestro país. Uno lo presento a continuación. Otro lo he remitido para publicación a una revista técnica. Y un tercero está todavía en el horno.
Además, voy a añadir el enlace a un antiguo trabajo que acabo de subir a internet. Y, por último, quiero reseñar los nuevos comentarios que ha suscitado mi libro con Wim van Utrecht sobre fotografías ovni en Bélgica.
La experiencia espacial del 22 de abril de 1966
Este ensayo lo firmo al alimón con el físico e investigador español Julio Plaza del Olmo. Espero gustará tanto a ufólogos como a aficionados al estudio del espacio. El trabajo tiene que ver con las observaciones “ovni” originadas por una prueba espacial y la creación de nubes artificiales en la atmósfera. Testimonios y fotografías aparecieron en varios puntos de Europa. Nuestro estudio de tales avistamientos es bastante revelador. Este es el enlace formal del trabajo:
Resumen
El lanzamiento de cohetes para el estudio de la atmósfera ha sido una actividad rutinaria durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Una de esas pruebas se produjo el 22 de abril de 1966. Un cohete Rubis lanzado desde la base francesa de Hammaguir (Argelia) con dos cargas de sustancias químicas, produjo nubes de ionización en la atmósfera que fueron vistas desde varios puntos de Europa. En este trabajo, hemos reunido varios testimonios y comparado la información de variables como la elevación, distancia, dirección y tamaño aparente, con respecto a la trayectoria del cohete y las nubes. Con ello, revisamos la falibilidad de la observación humana. También mostramos y explicamos un avistamiento ovni en Nuevo México (EE. UU.) coincidente en fecha, pero sin relación con los sucesos analizados.
22 de abril de 1966. Trayectoria seguida por el cohete. © Ted Molczan.
Estudio preliminar de casos de ocupantes
He dedicado gran parte de mi vida como investigador a explorar el tema de los llamados aterrizajes ovni en España y Portugal. De hecho, he escrito tres libros sobre el particular, además de muchos artículos y ensayos. En 1973, cuando solo había recogido un modesto compendio de 130 casos1, sin pensarlo dos veces decidí revisar el contenido de las “tripulaciones” de los platillos volantes, apenas un grupito de 19 sucesos. Pretendía ni más ni menos ‒¡osadía de juventud!‒ pasar revista a la “morfología y conducta de los seres animados observados en conjunto con los ovnis, así como las características más sobresalientes de los objetos mismos”. Así que, dicho y hecho, establecí una simple tabulación de los medibles principales de dichos incidentes. Los resultados se publicaron en un artículo titulado “Biometric Data in 19 UFO Occupant cases” en la reputada revista especializada londinense Flying Saucer Review (Vol. 19:3, mayo-junio de 1973), que acabo de subir al portal Academia.edu por si interesa a alguien (parece que sí, porque en unas semanas ha recibido más de 430 visitas). Este es el enlace: https://www.academia.edu/36486629/Biometric_Data_in_19_UFO_Occupant_Cases
También se publicó en francés en las dos mejores revistas del ramo de entonces (Phénòmenes Spatiaux y LDLN) y en un libro de Henry Durrant. La única versión en castellano es la traducción de ese capítulo: “Datos biométricos extraídos de diecinueve casos de pasajeros de OVNIS”, en Humanoides extraterrestres, Henry Durrant, Javier Vergara Editor (Buenos Aires), 1978, páginas 175-185.
Como cabría esperar, no se pueden avanzar grandes conclusiones, dada la muestra tan limitada, excepto que (a) no hay ninguna tipología repetida, (b) el comportamiento de los ocupantes es absurdo, y (c) los ovnis tienen simetría de revolución circular (o sea, todos los platillos son redondos). 
(1) Para comparación, en la actualidad este catálogo ha alcanzado 1.000 informes.
Biblioteca Virtual de Defensa y ovnis
En 2016 se incluyó la versión digital de los expedientes ovni desclasificados en la página web del Ministerio de Defensa, concretamente en la Biblioteca Virtual de Defensa (BVD). En 2017 se realizaron algunas correcciones y mejoras y se añadieron un par de expedientes que se habían quedado descolgados. Finalmente, en 2018 la BVD acaba de incorporar un artículo mío que expone dicho proceso, “Los expedientes OVNI desclasificados – Online” y que se encuentra en este enlace:
Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988)
Mi libro con Wim van Utrecht dedicado en su primer volumen al análisis de las fotografías de ovnis conocidas en Bélgica entre 1950 y 1988 se publicó el año pasado, con una buena acogida por parte de la crítica especializada, como hemos visto en anteriores blogs. Estamos muy satisfechos con la recepción de los investigadores, ya que en estos meses la edición online ha tenido 1,558 visitas y descargas. Esta es la versión en internet:
Y esta es la edición impresa, para amantes del libro en papel, bibliotecarios y otros:  http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=191&st=1
No quiero obviar los últimos comentarios publicados, todos ellos favorables:
Escribe el conocido autor Kevin Randle: Creo que este libro incluye información importante y que los autores están interesados en la búsqueda de la verdad, http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com.es/2018/03/belgium-in-ufo-photographs-volume-1.html
UFOCON (el grupo RRR) ha escrito:  Este es, como todos los materiales producidos por Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, pertinente y edificante,
El estudioso alemán Hans-Werner Peinifer ha publicado una magnífica reseña en el Journal Für UFO_Forschung (Revista de investigación ovni), número 235, 2018, páginas 29-32, escogiendo alguno de los casos de nuestra obra, describiendo nuestro modus operandi y mostrando la semejanza de nuestras conclusiones con las que se deducen de sus propias investigaciones, 
INVESTIGACIÓN Y CASUÍSTICA
Traza brillante en Irlanda en 1957
Tras una docena de años revisando un incalculable volumen de libros y revistas para crear la base de datos FOTOCAT, llega un momento que encontrar fotos desconocidas de las décadas de los 50 y 60 del siglo pasado casi resulta difícil. Y me alegra capturar viejos especímenes, como ese ejemplar del diario Irish Independent del 4 de diciembre de 1957 con esta imagen y pie de foto: Esta fotografía, hecha en la ciudad de Sligo a las 5:15 de la tarde del sábado pasado, muestra una misteriosa luz en el cielo que levantó considerable interés y especulación. El objeto parecía un punto de luz moviéndose del noreste en dirección al suroeste y fue visible durante tres cuartos de hora. La foto, con una exposición de cuatro minutos, la hizo James Eccles, de Sligo.
30 de noviembre de 1957, Sligo, Connacht (Irlanda). © James Eccles.
La información es breve pero exacta, al punto que permite resolver el misterio, definido como un cuerpo astronómico (lo habitual de los avistamientos nocturnos de larga duración). La siguiente carta celeste muestra un brillante Venus con  magnitud de -4.42 ubicado al sursuroeste (200º) y cerca del horizonte (9º). La traza e inclinación coinciden con la larga exposición fotográfica del planeta.
Si usted cree que tomar a este astro como canon para resolver luces en el cielo es fruto de la malvada elaboración de los escépticos, y algo reciente, sepa que está muy equivocado. Venus ha sido responsable natural de miríadas de observaciones ovni desde que empezó a hablarse de platillos volantes o de ovnis. De hecho, incluso antes de que se le asignara un nombre a la aparición de tales desconocidas luminarias celestes. No hace mucho, estaba revisando viejos diarios de coruñeses cuando me topé con una nota publicada en El Pueblo Gallego del 15 de abril de 1948. Sí, 1948, hace la friolera de setenta años. Según la noticia, el 12 de abril de ese año el observatorio astronómico francés de Estrasburgo hizo público un comunicado para dar cuenta del resultado de sus estudios con relación a diversas observaciones de platillos volantes hechas por campesinos y otros habitantes de Francia oriental. El informe resolvió que tales observaciones las había causado la aparición de Venus, que en aquel momento presentaba un brillo muy acusado. 
Lo cierto es que Venus es el candidato más frecuente para producir equívocos en la observación nocturna. Todos los investigadores se han topado con casos en los que este astro era responsable del desacierto por parte del testigo. Yo he escrito bastante sobre el particular. Por ejemplo, el artículo “Venus, ¡otra vez tu”, que se halla en este enlace: http://www.webcitation.org/6mx5o4kaa Si el lector siente curiosidad por ver la grabación, la tiene en la sección titulada “Dos estudios de videos ovni” de una anterior entrada del blog: 
Otro precedente lo encontramos en uno de los más controvertidos expedientes oficiales desclasificados, dedicado a un avistamiento ovni desde un avión militar biplaza que volaba sobre el Mediterráneo en 1973. También quedó resuelto por la aparición de Venus y fue objeto de un detallado trabajo realizado entre Manuel Borraz, Joan Plana y yo mismo. Creo que el informe que escribimos es suficientemente didáctico y de una actualidad insoslayable. Titulado “Mirage III rumbo a Valencia”, se puede leer aquí:
La foto de Ponta de Farol
He dicho más de una vez lo mucho que me fascina el “arte” de la fotografía ovni. Creativos fraudes, imágenes virtuales, fenómenos naturales, y muchos otros documentos gráficos que se toman por ovnis, proveen una rica mina de curiosas estructuras cromáticas y de formas caprichosas. Encontré la siguiente foto original entre el material gráfico que la sociedad SOBEPS regaló al proyecto FOTOCAT, gracias al concurso de Patrick Ferryn. No hay gran misterio en la imagen, pero es intrigante. Se trata de un defecto de la película -un defecto en la emulsión- lo que creó un retrato misterioso. La foto la tomó Gunar Gruenzner, un joven de 18 años, a las 9,30 de la mañana del 25 de enero de 1975 en el lugar conocido como “Ponta do Farol” (Punta del faro) en la playa de Armaçao, en el estado de Santa Catarina (Brasil). El chico afirmó haber visto una especie de “brillo intenso” en los pocos segundos que miró por el visor de la cámara al ir a sacar otra instantánea. Creyendo que era un reflejo, se olvidó del tema hasta que vio esta extraña figura cuando retiró las fotos del laboratorio de revelado. 
25 de enero de 1971, Ponta de Farol, playa de Armaçao, Santa Catarina (Brasil). © Gunar Gruenzner.
La primera vez que se publicó la foto (en color, toda una rareza) fue en el boletín del grupo brasileño GPECE, en julio de 1971. Los peritos que la examinaron señalaron que era un defecto de la película, probablemente estaba caducada. Lo rápido que se aclaró fue otra rareza. Seguidamente, la revista francesa Lumières Dans La Nuit, en su número de octubre de 1972, comentó que esta solución era “prácticamente imposible” (sic), habida cuenta de que el joven fotógrafo dijo haber visto una luz brillante. Le siguió Gordon Creighton, de la británica Flying Saucer Review, quien recibió el negativo del ufólogo Walter Buhler. Escribió un artículo para la revista, reforzado con la evaluación del experto fotográfico de la FSR Percy Hennell, quien dictaminó que “fue algo enteramente accidental: si tomas el negativo con la superficie de la emulsión hacia ti con un ángulo de 45º delante de una lámpara y lo examinas con una lupa de diez aumentos verás que hay un defecto en la emulsión. Probablemente es un fallo de fabricación”. La foto ha salido en algunos libros y revistas. Wim van Utrecht se ha ocupado de la imagen en la web Caelestia, llegando a idéntica conclusión (http://www.caelestia.be/praia.html). El pasado año, planteé al analista fotográfico Andrés Duarte un veredicto ciego de la fotografía y no hubo duda tampoco: “Es un defecto en la emulsión, no un problema debido al revelado”, afirmó. 
Evidentemente, todo ha sido una excusa para mostrarles la instantánea en color que conservo. Y, naturalmente, para llamar la atención a los lectores que puedan tener tomas semejantes en sus archivos y advertirles que no son ovnis. 
Llegado a este punto, me gustaría complementar este ejemplo de imagen espuria con otra escena echada a perder. Durante la feria mundial 1964-1965 celebrada en Queens, Nueva York, un visitante apellidado Lorentzen fotografió la recreación de un pueblecito medieval belga allí levantado. Al sacar la foto no advirtió nada fuera de lo común. Pero cuando ésta llegó del laboratorio, una mancha fantasmal atravesaba gran parte de su superficie. Este caso aparece entre los archivos del Proyecto Libro Azul de la fuerza aérea estadounidense. En 2013, la foto se rescató de una destrucción inminente por puro azar (ver la sección siguiente). Tenemos aquí otro efecto producido un fallo en la emulsión de la película con los que los investigadores deberían familiarizarse al analizar materiales fotográficos antiguos.
30 de mayo de 1965, Nueva York. © Mr. Lorentzen. Archivos del Proyecto Blue Book. Cortesía de Rob Mercer.
De los archivos del “Libro Azul”
Este es un informe escasamente conocido, seleccionado del alrededor de 15.000 avistamientos recopilados en el programa ovni de la USAF. Apenas citado en la literatura ufológica, probablemente porque las fichas1 del “Project 10073” (el registro interno de datos fundamentales usado en el proyecto “Libro Azul”) ya reseñaron que se trató de “actividad de misiles”. Y también por la pobre imagen disponible hasta ahora. Pero cuando el ufólogo de Miami Rob Mercer compró los archivos pertenecientes al último oficial2 a cargo del Blue Book, se halló una fotografía de mejor calidad. Gracias a la gentileza del señor Mercer, me complace mostrar seguidamente dicha foto y recapitular sucintamente este incidente.
Alrededor de las 15:55-16:00 (hora Z) del 22 de enero de 1967, observadores en vuelo en la zona de Pacífico oriental informaron la aparición de un halo que fue creciendo hasta adquirir un tamaño varias veces mayor que el diámetro de la luna llena, lo que transcurrió entre dos y cinco minutos. Desde la isla Johnston (al norte del Océano Pacífico), se logró una fotografía del fenómeno con una cámara astronómica Baker-Nunn. Allí, los testigos vieron un disco ligeramente elongado con una corona circular de densidad uniforme. El objeto se dirigía hacia el noroeste en un arco que discurría al norte de los observadores. 
La ficha-resumen del “Libro Azul” anota lo siguiente: “La descripción es consistente con el lanzamiento de un misil. Desde la base aérea de Vandenberg se disparó un misil a las 15:44Z, que impactó cerca de la isla Kwajalein alrededor de las 16:12Z.” (El atolón de Kwajalein se halla en las islas Marshall, en el Océano Pacífico, situadas a unas 2.100 millas náuticas de Hawaii). 
Con el fin de tener una corroboración de primera mano y por aquello de la exactitud, en 2017 consulté al Dr. Jonathan McDowell, de Harvard, quien me confirmó que se había lanzado entonces un misil del tipo Atlas 35D desde la base que la fuerza aérea norteamericana tiene en Vandenberg, en el condado de Santa Barbara, en California. 
(1) Reconstrucción del contenido de datos de una ficha característica 10073:
Espirales, esferas y otros fenómenos luminosos espaciales
La actividad astronáutica suele dibujar sobre el tapiz diurno o nocturno del cielo espectáculos de una belleza y misterio inusitados. Jim Oberg -quien no necesita presentación alguna- ha escrito muy recientemente varios trabajos donde analiza la génesis de espectaculares fenómenos radiantes provocados por escape o emisión de combustible en el espacio, separación de etapas de cohetes, fenómenos de cambio de órbita, etc., que son los responsables de impresionantes y coloristas fenómenos luminosos que se han dado en diversas partes del mundo entre 2010 y 2018. Hay que felicitar a Oberg por el exquisito nivel de documentación, científica y gráfica, que aporta en sus trabajos, porque ayuda a los ufólogos a no etiquetar como ovni aquello que se produce en el exterior de la Tierra, pero cuyo origen es del todo terrestre.
Muy acertadamente, Oberg aconseja: Si bien es de interés principal desarrollar una metodología para reconocer e interpretar las funciones de las naves espaciales que causan apariciones específicas, los informes detallados también tienen un gran valor al mostrar una serie de pruebas doble ciego de observación de bizarros espectáculos celestes, para calibrar las limitaciones en la precisión de los testigos oculares. Tanto las investigaciones genuinas de accidentes como los "estudios ovni" podrían beneficiarse del estudio de estos resultados.
Seguidamente procedo a relacionar sus seis últimos trabajos:
Zuma, 8 de enero de 2018,   
Desorbitaje, Noruega, 19 de febrero de 2018 
Escape del “falcon heavy” del 6 de febrero de 2018 
Desorbitaje, Golfo Pérsico, 19 de febrero de 2017
Emisión de exceso de combustible sobre el Océano Índico, 29 de septiembre de 2013, gran esfera
Espiral debida al escape de combustible sobre Australia, 4 de junio de 2010
De encuentro cercano a encuentro muy lejano
Es chocante lo limitados que hemos sido en la práctica ufológica. Concretamente lo errados que fuimos al manejar algunos de los casos de aterrizaje ovni que teníamos entre manos en los primeros años de nuestra actividad como investigadores. El velo de la creencia inhibe el pensamiento crítico. Es un hecho incontrovertible. Nadie nos lo tiene que enseñar, ya que lo sabemos por experiencia propia. En una primera fase, uno aborda el estudio ovni con tanta inocencia como ignorancia. Hemos leído en los libros escritos por nuestros mayores que los platillos volantes existen. ¿Quién es uno para disputar tal deducción? Además, los testigos oculares siempre dicen la verdad, ¿por qué iban a mentir? Este sentimiento naif normalmente dura varios años. O, peor, toda la vida. Habitualmente, cuando más aprendes e investigas, más caes en la cuenta de que los observadores normalmente confunden lo que ven. Después de estudiar relatos de avistamientos ovni durante décadas, uno comprueba que has omitido explicaciones obvias porque todavía no habías alcanzado el preceptivo “modo escéptico”. Bueno, para no alargar esta introducción, quería decir que un caso “clásico” de aterrizaje ocurrido cerca de la población de Órdenes, en la Coruña, el 1 de noviembre de 1954, ha sido reexaminado por ese detective ufológico que es Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga para llegar a su más que probable solución: un bólido. Para mí es el desenlace natural y acertado. Victorio Uranga ha escrito al respecto en su blog:
Basura espacial
Todo en el espacio exterior que le parece extraño al lego, y especialmente al ufólogo del tipo crédulo, se convierte rápidamente en un ovni. Se precisa de la peritación y consejo de un profesional, de un técnico competente, para discernir la verdadera naturaleza de las cosas que rodean a nuestros astronautas.
El año pasado, ciertos mentideros sensacionalistas libraron un video clip con esta leyenda: “¿Es este video de la NASA evidencia de una nave alienígena?” Se trata de efectismo en estado puro. El comunicador y experto en temas espaciales Jim Oberg lo ha desinflado en este mensaje que ha llegado a mi correo electrónico: “Formas como esta se han registrado en torno a lanzamientos del transbordador espacial por las cámaras que graban la separación del tanque externo. Se atribuyen a un mantillo de hielo en las juntas de interfaz que se forma por la humedad congelada en ese tanque criogénico de combustible”. Ver: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1192227/pg1
El dirigible de 1909
Hace poco, el estadounidense National UFO Center difundió una noticia que hacía referencia a la edición del 26 de julio de 1909 del diario de Nueva Zelanda, Otago Daily Times. Según el artículo, el periódico recogía un testimonio del avistamiento del famoso dirigible fantasma de principios de siglo. Esta vez, nada menos que visto en Oceanía. Yo manejo con información de primera mano, así que decidí comprobarlo por mí mismo. Gracias a mi estupenda colaboradora Kay Massingill me hice con el recorte original (adjunto).
El municipio de Otago se encuentra al suroeste de Nueva Zelanda. El periódico local publicó un informe recibido vía teléfono y telégrafo de un tal señor Gibson, de Kelso. Hoy en día, Kelso es un asentamiento abandonado. En la década de 1960, la población apenas tenía 300 almas. Supongo que sesenta años atrás habría suficiente gente como para albergar una escuela infantil, porque el señor Gibson declaró que al mediodía del viernes 23 de julio de 1909, “los niños de la escuela contemplaron en el aire una extraña máquina volante que describieron con forma de barco y lo que parecía la figura de un hombre sentado en él”.  Añada el lector aquí su emoticono favorito. ¡Un piloto sentado en el exterior de una nave espacial!
Han transcurrido más de cien años. Hoy en día sabemos con seguridad que nunca existieron tales dirigibles pilotados por enigmáticos navegadores y aviadores, construidos por inventores tan geniales como secretos. Eran efectos de la influencia de las visiones procedentes de los libros de Julio Verne. Pero había informes de observaciones. Presuntos testigos oculares. Incluso fotografías. El entusiasmo por los airships surgió en los Estados Unidos a finales del siglo XIX y avistamientos clónicos se desarrollaron en otros países anglosajones. Será tarea de historiadores, sociólogos y antropólogos dilucidar cómo unos relatos inventados sobre esquivas aeroformas se hicieron endémicos a principios del siglo XX. Este fenómeno irreal fue el preludio de la oleada de 1947. Tengo la convicción que la historia no se mueve en saltos cuánticos, es más bien un relato continuo y unos hechos se basan en otros anteriores y así sucesivamente. Nada es nuevo bajo el sol. Resulta evidente que hacen falta más historiadores y científicos sociales que reconstruyan el hilo conductor de la A a la Z en esta parafernalia de dirigibles, cohetes y aviones fantasma, platillos volantes, etc. 
Miscelánea
(1) Cielo Insolito, número 6, marzo de 2018. Contiene interesantes artículos dedicados a la historia del fenómeno ovni, en inglés e italiano:
(2) Tony Bragalia busca información gubernamental de la DIA sobre los resultados de los trabajos del llamado estudio ovni del Pentágono.  Tal parece que tendrá que esperar lo suyo. Véase este enlace:
(3) Luis R. González ha publicado una respuesta al artículo de Robbie Graham “No olvide la ufología: Influencia de la leyenda ovni en la cultura pop”, en el número de mayo-junio de SUNlite, páginas 4 a 7,
(4) Miguel Ángel Sánchez-Tena et al, “Optical Illusions and Spatial Disorientation in Aviation Pilots”, en el Journal of Medical Systems (2018) 42:79,
(5) Fue muy revelador, y por ello lo traigo a colación ahora, el informe que Kentaro Mori dedicó a las “explicaciones extraordinarias” en su blog en 2008,
(6) “Alien Sightings and OVNI Culture in Argentina”, un gran trabajo de David M.K. Sheinin, profesor of Historia en la universidad canadiense de Trent, 
(7) “Alienígenas superstar”, ensayo de Luis R. González y Alejandro Agostinelli, http://factorelblog.com/2018/04/14/alienigenas-superstar/
(8) UFOs and Popular Culture: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth, este libro de 439 páginas examina el fenómeno ovni en el contexto de la cultura y mitos populares contemporáneos. El autor es James R. Lewis y la editorial es ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, California), 2000, https://tinyurl.com/ybwbaumf
(9) Desenmascarando a Nick Pope:
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1207849/pg1
(10) Hay que ser zoquete. Victorio Uranga corrige a García:
(11) Jean-Michel Abrassart et al, "Mistaking the Moon for an Alien Spacecraft: The Saros Operation" (Operación Saros: Cuando la Luna se interpreta como una nave espacial),
(12) Nuevo enfoque para la cuasi-colisión de un “ovni” con un helicóptero del ejército el 18 de octubre de 1973 cerca de Mansfield, Ohio, tripulado por cuatro militares y pilotado por el capitán Lawrence J. Coyne:
(13) Véase la sección en inglés de este blog para estas secciones adicionales: “La oleada de 1947 vista dos años después”, “El estudio ovni del Pentágono”, y “La frase del año”.
HA FALLECIDO PETER ROGERSON
Con enorme tristeza he conocido el fallecimiento de un ilustre estudioso, un intelectual de primera fila en el campo de la ufología, el inglés Peter Rogerson. En la edición en inglés de este blog he publicado una pequeña glosa, que incluye fragmentos de su extensa correspondencia conmigo. 
Peter Rogerson. Cortesía de Clas Svahn/AFU.
Agradecimientos
Mi gratitud a los siguientes colegas que han aportado información a la presente edición del blog: Kay Massingill, Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga, Jim Oberg, Giuseppe Stilo, Maurizio Verga, Tim Printy, Luis Ruiz Nóguez y Jean-Michel Abrassart.
LIBROS DEL AUTOR
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
OVNIS: el fenómeno aterrizaje
Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (con Miguel Guasp)
Investigación OVNI
Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (con J.A. Fernández Peris)
Expedientes insólitos
Hay ejemplares en el mercado de segunda mano, por ejemplo:
Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (con O.J. Braenne)
UFOs and the Government (con M. Swords & R. Powell y C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich y S. Purcell)
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (con M. Borraz, H. Janosch y J.C. Victorio)
Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988) (con Wim van Utrecht)
COMO PUEDE COLABORAR CON EL PROYECTO FOTOCAT
Hay varias opciones de colaboración a su disposición, a saber:
Trabajo voluntario, presencial o a distancia
Entrega de información sobre casos, fotografías, archivos, bibliografía, etc.
Donaciones para ayudar a sufragar gastos de investigación
Puede dirigirse directamente a nosotros por correo postal:
· Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
· Apartado de Correos 12140
· 46080 Valencia
España
O bien por correo electrónico: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es