Physically, FOTOCAT is an Excel file of UFO and IFO cases where an image has been obtained on photo, film or video. It contains various data columns to register the date, time, location, province and country, explanation (if one exists), photographer's name, special photographic features, references, etc. When completed, the full catalogue will be posted in internet, for an indiscriminate access to the worldwide UFO community.
Figure of 6,750 is the present number of entries in the catalog, an increase of 232 units since last April. We hope to arrive to the 7,000 mark by the next Blog's update.
This section reports contributions received from new collaborators (or from regular ones which most recent contribution is considered outstanding). In addition to the new names cited here, many others are regularly contributing to the enlargement of FOTOCAT.
- Canadian Files in DVD
We thank Nick Balaskas (Department of Physics and Astronomy, York University, Toronto, Canada) for his remarkable donation of three DVDs containing the files of Arthur R. Bray, donated in 1994 to the University of Ottawa, including the Project Magnet archives of Wilbert B. Smith who Bray had acquired from Smith' s widow and sons. Lots of correspondence between each one of the two researchers with many well known ufologists in the last decades and a large amount of other interesting items give shape to an impressive collection. A real documentary treasure, including many press clippings on UFO cases where pictures were obtained, in the process of being copied and cataloged.
- Progress on FOTOCAT Chile
An overwhelming advance has been achieved with the compilation of UFO reports for Chile thanks to the assistance of Marcos González, of the Canopus group.
Our gratitude also goes to Carlos Alberto Iurchuck (La Plata, Argentina), Jean-Pierre Troadec (OVNI-Investigation, Lyon, France), Anders Liljegren (Arkivet för UFO-forskning, Norrkoping, Sweden), Roderick B. Dyke (Archives for UFO Research, Washington, USA), and author Antonio Fontela Talín (Gijón, Spain), for specific pieces of information concerning photographic cases of all times.
- Booklet Received. A Critique
Few monographs entirely devoted to UFO photos exist, and we have kindly received one from Venda Jones, a Mississippi woman of 56 years old who claims she has the faculty to see UFOs since she was thirteen. Starting August 2005 she also began to take pictures of the "ships". In February 2006 she has published a booklet to convince others: They Hover Above Us (Author House, 1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, Indiana 47403, http://www.authorhouse.com ) With only 59 A-4 pages, it contains 132 color photographs, taken between August and September of 2005 in several locations of the neighboring states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas, roughly corresponding to 32 different sightings.Venda believes she is escorted by UFOs. "I don't have to look for them; they always seem to know where I am at. Everywhere I go I can see them. The sky is full of them" (personal communication, June 4, 2006.) For the book author there are both good and evil aliens, the US government and NASA has lied and deceived about UFOs, Roswell and Area 51. "I have seen these beings -she wrote to me- and the ones I have seen are very evil. There were the short ones peeping in my windows. Then the 8 ft. Tall ones came and tried to abduct me. Then they sent the ones with high authority. These are the 10-11 ft. Tall ones with wings on their shoulders. They are huge and smell awful, like rotten eggs. But the Lord God sent his angels and ran them off." Frankly, I have already a clear idea of the species of beliefs and mentality of this lady.
Katy, Texas, august 2005 (photo by Venda Jones).
From either the collector or the analyst's viewpoint, this little book is a disappointment, no useful data are provided on the events, not even complete dates, not hours, no data over a few words that you can use to catalog or study them. It is a disorganized, chaotic collection of largely enlarged quasi-stellar points of light in the night sky, moved by a camera handled by a person with a physical disability, bad knees and a jerking body.
Sorry, Venda, this is not my cup of tea.
Gems of the past
This section will revisit certain UFO photographs from past decades with a new interpretation.
- UFO Footage or Science-Fiction Movie?
Ufologist Hayden C. Hewes published an amazing article in the July 1972 issue of Saga -"the magazine for men"- which regularly covers the UFO scene, where it was narrated that an anonymous witness had filmed a sphere-shaped object crashing into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Inglewood, in the coast of California, while in the beach at 06,30 hours a.m. of January 12, 1972. At least, this is how the reported story goes, one that was supported by a strip of pictures of the falling object.
It was curious to note that this case was hardly mentioned in the UFO literature, as the sequence of pictures printed by Saga looked impressive. I therefore commented upon this case in the Sign History Group e-mail list, and soon two major experts provided responses. In a personal message, noted scholar of the UFO history Barry Greenwood wrote: "This footage was actually from the movie "This Island Earth" (1956). Someone must have taken screen shots of the movie and applied a false claim to it. I know because after having seen the article, I saw the film and was struck by the end where the alien ship crashed. It was identical to the stills from Saga". Also, Australian researcher and book writer Bill Chalker confirmed this to me. I downloaded the movie through e-Mule and I found out that the last seconds of the film precisely show how a large flying saucer, converted into a fireball, crashes into the ocean. The Saga series of frames belongs to 1:25:22 to 23 in movie watching time, barely one second of vision, and so easy to be neglected. But the eyes of our colleagues and friends are extremely competent. Also, some retouching has had place in the images as well.
Thanks to the expertise of Heriberto Janosch for converting the CD film images into individual frames and into a video clip that we present here for comparison.
By clicking in the mini screen below, you can watch a brief video clip showing the last few seconds of the movie, with the flying saucer crashing into the Earth' s ocean. The case is closed.
- Avrocar and a 1968 Photograph
In the FOTOCAT archives there is a photograph allegedly taken at 13,15 hours of July 23, 1968 in the Bariloche airport (Buenos Aires, Argentina) of what seems to be a UFO grounded on one of the landing strips of this international airport. The first known reference to a UFO sighting which was observed by the crew of three different airplanes, including one of the Argentina' s Air Force, Control Tower personnel and tourists awaiting their flights, was the Buenos Aires daily La Nación dated July 25, 1968, according to the information given by Carlos Alberto Iurchuk in his web site http://dragoninvisible.com.ar/bari768.htm
In the first issue of the new Magazine 2001, a UFO periodical edited in Buenos Aires, in October 4, 1968, Alejandro Vignati devoted a full article to this affair, interviewing to several eyewitnesses (traffic controller, radiotelegraph technician, airline receptionist, and others). The article mentioned the rumor that an anonymous tourist had taken a photograph. In the first chapter of the book Historia de los platos voladores en la Argentina (A History of Flying Saucers in Argentina), published by Plus Ultra in 1976, Héctor P. Anganuzzi, I guess that copying from here and there, refers to "the existence of a picture by a tourist living in Rosario... but it is true that this was never printed".
Then, it appears in the internet, in the web site of Argentinean researcher Luís Eduardo Pacheco, in a link that was discontinued, a detailed report which includes the photograph of a landed UFO in the airport facilities. Funny, the event is dated in 1974 instead of 1968, and it is indicated that the Argentina' s Air Force released on September 15 (1968) a communiqué recognizing that "the over flight of an unidentified aircraft over the Bariloche airport (was due to) a RB-57 Camberra aircraft belonging to the United States Air Force, doing scientific job operating from the El Plumerillo base..."
I do not pretend to support or refute the publicized official explanation. My only purpose here is to certify that the photograph associated with this occurrence is a hoax and it is entirely unrelated to any UFO sighting in this airport.
In fact, J. P. González, a member of the Anomaly Foundation, has found out that this photograph, after some lab manipulation, corresponds without any doubt to another identical picture of the…Avrocar, the Canadian flying vehicle shaped like a saucer unluckily tested and program-cancelled in 1961. (See: Hill Zuk, Avrocar: Canada' s Flying Saucer, The Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ontario, 2001). Later on, analyst Manuel Borraz worked out an image composition showing the absolute resemblance between the faked UFO and the Avrocar prototype.
Let me finally provide some additional illustration on the experimental flight of the Avrocar. I am attaching a short video clip extracted from the TV documentary "UFOs: The Secret Evidence", © Oxford Film and Television Ltd. 2005. The assistance of Heriberto Janosch is acknowledged.
Following the thread of the information, we now know that Pacheco had taken the episode photograph from Terror en la Luna, a book by Spaniard Juan José Benítez (Planeta, 1982, pages 255-258), he who -in turn- had copied text and illustration from a naughty source, an article by Argentinean journalist Marcelo Eduardo Pichel printed in the Mexican magazine Contactos Extraterrestres. At the end, we are able to find the first source for the fraud photo.
This section will display one instance of UFO sighting directly reported to FOTOCAT, where the images that were achieved have no explanation at this stage.
- Poland's Most Recent Image Sighting
Thanks to the kindness of Robert Bernatowitcz, who is the leader of the Nautilus Foundation (Poland), a fascinating series of photographs has been received by the FOTOCAT Project. These five photos (many more were obtained) were filmed near the Polish town of Zdany, on the route to Miedzyrzed Podlaski and Terespol, on Sunday January 8, 2006, when T. Maciej (65) was driving home a friend, named Zbyszek (60). They were returning from a wedding party at 12, 30 hours. Suddenly their car stopped without any reason (the driver being a mechanic by trade), as well as another minibus with a Russian plate that came just behind. The two automobiles were halted for some 20 minutes in which interval, for some 8 minutes, they could see the movements of a nearby object at the time that a great wind was blowing.
Although entrance to our catalog stops in December 31, 2005, I am presenting the sequence of 5 available pictures here for your inspection and comment because they look pretty amazing. By inserting them here I am trying to stimulate discussion. Any opinions will be included in the September 2006 update of this Blog.
In a 1980 article by Gert Herb and J. Allen Hynek, just reprinted in the International UFO Reporter, Volume 30, Number 3, published May 2006, pages 14-16 and 24 (a journal of the Center for UFO Studies, 2457 West Peterson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60659, USA) , they wrote: "The whole field of ufology has yet to produce one good photograph of a strange object at close range". This set of pictures seems to challenge this statement, so I decided to consult Jeff Sainio, known expert in photographic analysis so that I could add value to the mere tale. There are no coherent conclusions yet, mainly because we have requested to my informant to obtain data for a number of questions and I am still waiting for a reply. However, Sainio has indicated a number of preliminary insights, quoted as "speculations":
- The UFO brightness is consistent with the top being illuminated by the sky, while the bottom is illuminated by the snow, which in turn illuminated by the yellow sun and blue sky (for a white result).
- There is no evidence of a supporting string.
- This case is clearly a fake or an unknown.
- The UFO is reflected in the car hood in one of the photos. The UFO is split in half but the tree-line is too. The curvature of hoods is usually uneven, but the UFO is in approximately the expected position.
- The ground appears to be reflected on the bottom of the object.
- There are indications to estimate the UFO diameter in 1 foot wide (witness claims 2 meter in diameter, or 6 feet), and it is from 32 to 55 feet away.
The photographer seems to be reluctant to cooperate with the public. He seems to be an engineer and he might have skills in digital manipulation. Or the object could be a balloon. Or a spacecraft for dwarfed ETs or a drone for data acquisition, who knows. We promise to update you when new information is available and a final analysis is done.
Some basic statistics derived from FOTOCAT.
- Image Mode
FOTOCAT records all events initially defined as UFOs in every photographic type, the picture category with the photograph still (standard negative), slide and digital picture, the category of film, cine or movie, and the category of video.
The table below summarizes the catalog content divided by these 3 categories, according to its known classification of UFO or IFO.
We see that 75% of all cases on file are photographs, films only represent 4% of total, and videos are 21%. Presently, pictures (digital and analogical) continue to be taken, in spite of the popularity of the domestic camcorder recordings, but cine cameras are already inexistent since the end of the eighties.
The percentage of explained cases hardly differ whether we consider photos or films (between 37% and 41%), but this percent decreases a lot when we handle video reports (24%) , probable because this mode being much more recent in time, video recordings have not subjected to massive analysis unlike more classical filmed evidence.
Where regularly we will include any published literary piece on curious phenomenology.
No entry this quarter
This is a brief item report for the serious and critical-minded UFO researcher. Some selected information sources which I judge of interest for gaining knowledge from a scientifically-oriented perspective.
- Humanoid Made of Latex
Everybody is aware of the alleged autopsy film practiced on a small, asexual and bellied alien being, which was projected in many TV shows all over the world in 1995. It was a 91-minute silent movie that was well marketed by London-based video distributor Ray Santilli, one that become material for avid comsuption for sensation-seeking magazines, whose directors accepted blindly the reality of the disection scenes to an extraterrestrial or -in the best of cases- were timidly critical with the black and white, grainy, mute film that was purportedly showing the improvised operation made in 1947 to one of the humanoids allegedly found near the UFO crashed in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico.
Because Roswell has been in the last decades, beside other non-events like the Majestic 12 group, one of the themes that has wasted more ink in the underworld of ufology, with the espenditure of huge amounts of time to researchers, both gullible as skeptics alike. In fact, one of the reasons of the evident lack of advancement in the UFO subject is, precisely, the deplorable loss of time, energy and resources in fancy debates like this.
London´s Sunday Times of April 16, 2006 released an important revelation. John Humphreys, an sculptor well experienced in special effects for movies, has confessed that he "made the models for the alien dissected in the original fake footage". The humanoid was made of latex and his interior was filled with animal entrails bought in the meat market of Smithfield. He participated, along with Santilli and three others, in the shooting of the autopsy scenes that nowadays acquire its true significance. At the time, provocateur Santilli claims he had to "re-create" the film because the original that he purchased from an American cameraman was badly damaged when it was exposed to the air after 48 years in a can...
- More About Mexican Balloons
At 21,57 hours of October 28, 2004, several members of a family in Mérida, State of Yucatán (México) observed and videotaped from his house, during 3 minutes, the enigmatic apparition of a UFO. This footage can be viewed between minutes 48:45 to 52:28 in the lecture by Jaime Maussán delivered in Nevada, March 2006. Inexplicably -see later- he indicated that it was "a very important video, related to the Roswell case" (sic):
There we listen how the father, described as a "pilot in the Air Force", defines the sighting as "incredible". What it is incredible, in reality, is that this citizen is not aware that in the town where he lives, year after year, justified by the festivities on Saint Judas Tadeo, hot air balloons are launched in the night that gain height thanks to the flames produced by the combustion of the petroleum-impregnated oakum. Around the balloon some wires hold a crown of lights that make a nice sight.
Local investigators Raúl Alemán, Gustavo Alemán and Emilio Cetz, from a UFO organization called Visión-Ovni, did a inquiry to verify the nature of the object appearing in the video take. Findings, by the way, which were personally checked and confirmed by Mr. Maussán in the anniversary of the video, on October 28, 2005. I thank Carlos Martínez by the information supplied.
- Yet Animal-Shaped Balloons
Milano (Italy), October 17, 2005, time is 17,08 hours. The couple known as Antonio and Simona was lucky to videotape the unexpected celestial trotting…of a flying horse. Was it a new design for an interstellar spacecraft? In spite of what the usual mystery salesman maintains (he never admits even obvious explanations), it is simply a new type of helium balloon built with this peculiar animal shape. For those who are curious to learn about certain flying objects capable to provoke misidentifications, I advise to look at the following link:
- Flocks of Balloons in Mexico City
Researchers should be aware how common is the launching of multitude of balloons in Mexico, with the occasion of local festivities, to commemorate the end of classes, to celebrate political events, etc. Why? Because many videos are circulating in that country in the last years where you can see dozens or hundreds of spherical objects. For example, see this link of a release of 200 silvery balloons in Mexico City on November 25, 2005, in order to promote the film "The War of Worlds": http://www.tucineportal.com/dvd_guerramundos.htm
I am sure this display will be familiar to ufologists, amazed by other videos showing the flying of flocks of reflecting, round UFOs over the skies of Mexico.
- Stereo Reconstruction of Heflin Pictures
One of the most significant series of UFO photographs in history are the ones taken by Rex Heflin at midday of August 3, 1965 in Santa Ana, California. Tons of ink has been spent in writing on them, including these valuable references:
- William K. Hartmann, "Analysis of UFO Photographic Evidence", in Daniel S. Gillmor (editor), Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York), 1969, pages 84-85 and 437-455.
- Ann Druffel, Robert M. Wood and Eric Kelson, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 14, Number 4, Winter 2000, pages 583-622. http://tinyurl.com/rq5vt
- Ann Druffel, Firestorm: Dr James E. McDonald's Fight for UFO Science (Wild Flower Press), 2003, pages 271, 287-309 and 322-324.
- Ann Druffel, The MUFON UFO Journal, January 2006, cover and pages 3-7; and February 2006, pages 3-9.
As recently as May 22, 2006, this important event has been revisited by Tim Shell, who writing in UFO Updates submitted a stereo picture made with 2 adjacent photos of the four in the set obtained by late Mr. Heflin. The results can be seen here (red-blue 3-D glasses are necessary to correctly view the stereo effect):
If you do not have the special 3-D glasses, here you have cross-eye stereo pair that you can "free view" and see in 3-D without the need of the red and blue glasses.
The problem here is that, as Tim explains: "...when it was seen in stereo it would appear to be small and up close, rather than big and distant". This finding has arisen again a -still unfinished- high-quality, highly laudable controversy in the UFO Updates list. I expect that it is for the sake of good ufological practices.
Ann Druffel, the veteran ufologist from California, wrote to me to confirm that she is in possession of the originals: "Rex Heflin entrusted them to me shortly after he received them under unexplained circumstances in the 1990s", she said. (Apparently, three of the photographs had been stolen to the photographer, to reappear 28 years later as mysteriously as they had disappeared in the beginning).
This is a case open and full of merit for renewed scientific evaluation.
- Farewell to a top researcher and a colleague
On June 5, 2006, Karl T. Pflock passed away in his home of Placitas, New Mexico. For months, Karl was ill with the rare, fatal ALS sickness.
Though I was well aware of Karl Flock' s writings in ufology, our venues did not cross until 1995, when I wrote him for the first time, to happily read these initial lines of his first letter to me on September 13, 1995: "Of course I'm familiar with your significant and most interesting contributions to UFO research". This mutual familiarity and respect took us to a nice exchange of correspondence, first, and emails, then, until few months before his ultimate death, which include sound judgments and reviews about persons and situations that incidentally tied us together in this interval.
I do not plan to write a classical obituary here, just an excuse to re-read our letters, recall a couple of things and mention some of his recommended bibliography. Firstly, the fact that we was a CIA professional employee for 6 years made him victim of insinuations about a possible non-clean approach to UFOs, undercover activities and the like, which he tried to dispel with good sense of humor, with articles like "I was a ufologist for the CIA" (UFO magazine, November/December 1993, pages 25-30, or by requesting the Central Intelligence Agency' s Office of Personnel to certify in writing that his employment with the CIA started September 11, 1966 and ended March 31, 1972! (enclosure).
Pflock was an strategic analyst, a very intelligent person and a careful researcher and writer. He wrote extensively on Roswell and his last report is a master piece: Roswell. Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe (Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York), 2001. He surely must have had a lot of fun while collaborating with James W. Moseley to coauthor a book entitled Shockingly Close to the Truth! (Prometheus Books), 2002, sort of a book of memories of Jim and also an amusing text for students of popular culture.
Karl: we will miss your insights and detailed analytical examinations of things ufological.
Your volunteer collaboration to the FOTOCAT Project is requested. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will supply you with state, regional, provincial or national catalogs for you to check and enlarge.
If you are willing to donate photographic materials, files or literature to be preserved, feel free to use the following postal address:
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Apartado de Correos 12140