Physically, FOTOCAT is an Excel spreadsheet 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.
- Case Number
At the time of writing, the FOTOCAT databank includes 6,908 reports, a modest yet non-stop increase of 158 cases since last quarter. I remind that the catalogue ends at December 31, 2005.
- FOTOCAT Report #2 Available
The second technical report produced with FOTOCAT data has been completed and it is available to readers in two language versions, English and Spanish. Please click on the Documents Section of this Blog: Argentina, The Year 1965 in Photos.
This painstaking essay is the most exhaustive compilation ever prepared on photographic events reported in Argentina during the wave year of 1965. Case abstracts, result of novel research conducted on the reports, abundant photography, and an analysis of the period under study are the key components of this paper.
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.
Thanks are due to Guatemala’s Gerardo E. Mendoza Palacios, for details concerning UFO photographs in his country.
In the process of establishing the complex scenario of photographs and films taken in New Zealand in the period covering December 1978 to January 1979, Dr. Bruce Maccabee has helped us with advice and by forwarding A History of the New Zealand Sightings of December 31, 1978, an unpublished paper he wrote in 2005.
Gems of the past
This section will revisit certain UFO photographs from past decades with a new interpretation.
- 1952 UFO Photographic Document FoundIt is not common to discover old UFO photographs -such as one of the fifties- which are unknown to specialists. But this has just happened when French skeptical-oriented UFO student Raoul Robé (member of remarkable groups like CNEGU and SCEAU) submitted to FOTOCAT Project the above photograph, extracted from the magazine Point de Vue. Images du Monde, dated August 21, 1952, page 31. It shows a couple of UFOs over a quite touristic location in Madrid in 1952. In summary, the brief caption that goes along with the picture says that French illustrator Jean Boullet took this photograph himself “3 weeks before”. When he was taking a photo of the monument to Cervantes and the figures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, some passer-by asked him if he had seen the flying saucers. He replied “no”, but the film showed them.
The scenographical opportunity of the snapshot seems to exceed the chance to me –specially considering the author’ s art profession- and I feel some form of fakery was involved to show Don Quixote fighting the flying saucers! In 1953, painter Boullet authored the book: D'Icare aux Soucoupes Volantes (From Icarus to the Flying Saucers), a book on the history of air traffic and the aeronautics over hand-made illustrations, with a set of flying saucers drawings at the end.
- Buenos Aires, 9/17/1985: The Best Pictures of the UFOThe recommended web site of the Argentinean investigador Luís Eduardo Pacheco, has just made available finally the complete set of the excellent images produced by the photographic technician Guillermo E. Sierra from the astronomnical observatory of the La Plata Nacional University (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The object was sighted in the morning of September 17, 1985. See:
http://stratocat.com.ar/artics/1709/17906.htmThere is an unpublished document that I found in the collection of UFO photographs that was generously donated to FOTOCAT Project by Roberto Enrique Banchs that has to do with this event. The Argentina Air Force scrambled an aircraft for recognition of the UFO that had violated its air space. A number of pictures were taken from the military airplane and one of them is hereby attached, as our own original contribution to the documentation of this explained sighting.
- On the Sun Eclipse Film of June 30, 1954The alleged UFO film obtained by Johnny Björnulf aboard an airplace on June 30, 1954 to watch and film over Norway the total eclipse of the sun on that day had been said to reflect no more than reflections on the plane’ s window. The well-known Swedish investigator Clas Svahn has included a well-documented note on this case in his personal blog on October 6, 2006, showing the keys to the conventional explanation:
Amongst other things, we now realize that the actual film’ s author was a Mr Raun Conradi, an associate to Mr Björnulf.
This section will display a sample of UFO sighting directly reported to FOTOCAT.
- Follow-up to “Poland's Most Recent Image Sighting”
In the last Blog’s Update I included a set of UFO photographs taken in Poland on January 8, 2006 that were addressed to me.
As the set of pictures refer to an event beyond our catalogue's timeframe, I do not intend to pursue the matter any further, except by providing a recent report prepared by Wojciech Bobilewicz on the sighting, for the benefit of readers (click here for Report), and a few valuable comments I drew from Nick Balaskas, Department of Physics and Astronomy, York University, Toronto, Canada. I leave the reader to form its own judgment upon the story.
June 26, 2006:
Thank you for sharing one of these other series of "UFO photos" taken in Poland with me. Poland is a major source of many clear but very dubious photos of UFOs. Is the photographer a repeat UFO witness/observer?
One's first impressions are always important and should not be too quickly dismissed because of conflicting testimony by the witness or some other minor details that would seem to rule it out. My first impression is that this UFO is two stainless steel salad bowls with flat bottoms joined together at their flanged rims - and not very neetly at that. Notice the darker less highly polished flat bottom of one of these metal salad bowls.
Notice that this UFO must be very small and closeby since it is as sharp and well focused as the tree branches in the foreground and not at all like the faint, very fuzzy and less distant trees in the background at the far end of this farm field. Also, the reflected sunlight off the UFO and the tree branches are from the same general direction (from above left) and different from the Sun illuminated concrete power/telephone pole (from left). This further suggests to me that the UFO and the tree branches must have been photographed more from below than the pole which is more directly in front of the witness and thus a further reason to suspect that this UFO is very small and nearby.
Finally, the mirror-like reflections off the UFO seem to be of a house or other large structure (like the large tree in the foreground) just behind the photographer. If this UFO was large and thus much further away over the snow covered Polish farm, these reflections of the house and/or tree would be much smaller and we would see more reflections of the snow covered plowed fields instead.
My guess, without having seen the other UFO photos in this series, is that this UFO is made of two common flat bottom metal salad bowls crudely joined at their flanged rims. Conclusion: this photo taken with an Olympus digital camera on January 8, 2006 just after noon local time was an attempt on a hoax and not some unknown captured by an honest bystander.
July 5, 2006:
The original time "stamps" for these five photos are:
When one encounters something unexpected such as a car engine stopping and not being able to figure out why and then realizing you are in a dangerous area (their car was stopped at a "black spot" where many fatal accidents had happened), a few moments can seem like forever. When the witness says that the UFO moved around the car "for almost 8 minutes" and not something more reasonable like "between 5 to 10 minutes", raises further suspicions for me, especially since the time between the first four photos is indeed almost 8 minutes!
Another thing that gives me greater suspicion that this is a hoax is that the alleged original times stamps of the five photos does not match the expected sequence of motion of the high altitude aircraft and its jet contrail. For example, photo 8.jpg should come after photo 11.jpg since the contrail in photo 8.jpg is smaller and further to the right of the trees in the distance. Something very funny going on here...
Also, there are very many inconsistencies in the interview that convinces me that what is presented as "one of the best UFO photographs in the world" is indeed a hoax. Let me mention just one. How else could someone confuse a bowl thrown at their car by some "punk" with a two meter (!) diameter UFO. This witness, a car mechanic, just may have welded two small metal salad bowls together at their protruding rims when he says that "it reminds two bowls welded together at the edges". From the close-up of the rim of the UFO, the witness either did a very crude job in welding the two bowls together or they are crudely held together with less reflective tape.
Check out what looks very much like a copy-cat UFO (this one made with two unmatched salad bowls) taken in Poznan, Poland a few months later. Poznan is a city west of Warsaw while the remote and isolated "black spot" where the five (or more?) UFO photos were taken is to the east of Warsaw. I can understand why there would be no other verified witnesses at the alleged UFO close encounter in rural Poland but how could a UFO with an angular size much larger than the Moon escape the attention or be captured on camera by other residents of Jezyce, a settlement within Poznan's highly populated urban area. I would not be surprised at all if "Maciej" and/or "Zbyszek", both of retirement age, drove their navy-blue Polonez car to Poznan to visit their friend Mrs. Paulina?
Interest in UFOs and ET life in the very religious country of Poland is large and growing. Maybe so is the need to provide proof to those that already believe. In my opinion this alleged UFO encounter which has no additional/independent verifiable witnesses is not worth our valuable time and effort to investigate further.
Having presented the local researcher's report, some pro (prior Blog's Update) and some con remarks, we leave the case as it stands, for follow-up and analytical consideration of others.
Some basic statistics derived from FOTOCAT.
- Spain by Province
After the USA (1,987 entries) and Argentina (745 entries), Spain is the third contributor to events in the FOTOCAT spreadsheet, with 622 entries.
This quarter we will focus on the case distribution by province in our own homeland. In Spain there are 51 provinces, and only 2 have no records whatsoever (Segovia and the African possessions of Ceuta & Melilla). For the rest, the figures vary in magnitude in function of population, existing media, availability of ufologists, and other factors to determine. For 11 reports, the location is unknown or imprecise to be tallied. The geographical distribution follows:
The more Spanish local groups and ufologists are committed with the goals of the FOTOCAT Project; we expect that the more these numbers will grow in the near future, until a fair, exhaustive picture of the “UFO phenomena in photos” is reached for Spain. I do reiterate an invitation to participate to everybody in this field of research.
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.
- Workshop on Hessdalen and Follow-Up
Organized by the Italian Committee for Project Hessdalen (ICPH), on June 17, 2006 it was held in the Visitor Centre of Medicina Radiotelescopes in Bologna (Italy) an International Project Hessdalen Workshop. Nine formal reports and several short communications were delivered from a team of Norwegian, French and Italian researchers. Reader can have full details, please see: http://www.itacomm.net/PH/NewsLetter_complex.pdf
Latest news: On September 16, 2006, Jader Monari and Franco Fiocchi (INAF/IRA, Medicina Radiotelescopes, Bologna) visited Hessdalen, where they were joined by Erling Strand and Bjørn Gitle Hauge (Østfold University College, Halden, Norway), their group and students. Main mission objective was established during the International Project Hessdalen Workshop: to setup the Automatic Measurements Station for new data gathering instruments and to update the software of the existing intrumentations. Mission took seven days.
We thank Renzo Cabassi (ICPH) for the informations. Renzo can be contacted in
email@example.com and the web site of the ICPH is http://www.itacomm.net/PH
- Willy Smith Has DiedOn July 11, 2006, Dr. Willy Smith died in Miami after a short illness. We were great friends since his first travel to Spain in 1967 and I know for sure that (among others) both Miguel Guasp and I exerced a major influence on him. He was mainly known by the development of UNICAT, a catalog of near one thousand high-strangenss UFO reports made with the cooperation of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, to whom he was linked with a strong friendship until his death. A great polemist, intransigent in character, he had rows with many researchers when it came to disagree with them. Unfortunately, after more than a quarter of century of a nice relationship, it was also broken by his unwillingness to modify opinion. But at this point I do prefer to recall his kind visits to my house, his meetings with my colleagues, when in 1993 I stayed a few days in his Florida home, or just having lunch seafood’s Paella with my family in the Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia. Rest in peace, Willy!
From left to right: Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, Miguel Guasp and Willy Smith, photographed in the former's home.
- A Myriad of UFOs Overfly Madrid
Last July 23rd, Vicente Fuentes Rodríguez, a Madrid University student of third course of industrial technical engineering, and a self-styled “amateur UFO investigator”, submitted an electronic mail message to the Spanish Anomaly Foundation on behalf of a person (N.G.) who claimed to have recorded on video the passing of 1,000 or 2,000 bright objects over the Madrid sky at 19,15 hours on June 10, 2006. Our informant described the scene –one that he saw it himself from the district of El Pilar- as “a fleet of UFOs emitting light, a formation of geometric figures with intelligent motion, groups of UFOs that merge”, etc. All in all, he qualified the video images as “perfect” and he requested our help to divulgue it.
The following two videoclips show different time sequences of the film, including the view of the quiet Madrid streets during the “invasion”:
I rashed to consult my Madrid-based colleagues and immediately Heriberto Janosch wisely correlated this spreading of UFOs over the Spain’ s capital with the launching of thousands of white balloons at the end of a civil demonstration organized by the Association of Terrorism Victims on that same evening in the center of the city, one that finished at 7 pm. See:
This impressive photograph published by the Capital newspaper El Mundo reflects the instant when the myriad of balloons was released:
© Diario El Mundo, Madrid
Most probably, these same groups of balloons were also what J.M. pictured the same evening from the Las Rozas, a village 20 km West of Madrid, confusing the observer, who counted some 40 or 50 round, white objects, very high, moving from SE to NW (that day winds direction was ESE to WNW).Detail of one of the objects appearing in the photographs taken in Las Rozas, June 10, 2006.
Coming back to our initial correspondent, the student who mailed the video recording to us, wrote in September that: “after some months of study...I have to agree with you in the logics of the sighting...the cloud of balloons coincides in place, wind direction and time with the filming, according to the checks I have made in the Institute of Meteorology”. Happy to hear that.
- New Data on the June 2, 2004 Fireball
At zero hours and four minutes of June 2, 2004, a large magnitude luminous phenomenon developed over the skies of the Iberian Peninsula. There are reliable observers from places as distant as the regions of Galicia (NW), Castilla (Center) and Andalucía (South) in Spain, as well as plenty of eyewitnesses from several locations in Portugal. There exists a picture that was taken in Portugal. A brief report by me can be read in the Anomaly Foundation's web site: http://www.ikaros.org.es/g017.htm
The Spanish Fireball and Bolide Research Network has estimated the magnitude of the phenomenon’s light output between values -4 and -10, something which is amazingly brilliant, and describes it as “an object similar to a bolide but extraordinarily slow and long-term, 2 or 3 minutes”.This suggests to be an “artificial fireball” like the ones produced by a reentry or the flight of a missile. See their link here: http://www.spmn.uji.es/ESP/SPMNarti.html
Yet recently I was contacted by an amateur astronomer and student of computing engineering Jesús Merchán Rubira, he who has provided a report and a picture of said phenomenon he was lucky enough to photograph when he was at the topo f a building in Alcorcón (Madrid), attempting to takes snapshots of comet NEAT. By its lively descriptive value, please read the own words of the eyewitness, taken from his affidavit:
I then consulted several international experts and I received formal confirmation that the cause of it had been the test launching of a M45 sea-to-ground, ballistic missile fired at 0 hours of June 2, 2004 from a French submarine, located in the waters of Brittany, launched to a target near the French Guyana, in the Atlantic Ocean. The features of the sighting plainly correspond with the visual effects produced by the firing of the last stage of the missile out of the atmosphere.“I was watching to the NW when that object started to become illuminated. Initially it seemed to be an airplane, it moved horizontally with a North→West bearing, at some 23º of elevation over the horizon. The object -visible at plain sight and long- started to produce a plume of smoke or gas, shaped like a very opened comet’ s tail that was growing until it covered a sky area of 10º x 10º. Both the obejct and the cloud were yellowish. It was then when I clearly saw as the object commenced to turn over itself and to describe a totally erratic trajectory, raising over the horizon and following its course towards the West. After this event, and very impressed because I thought it was an accident, I quickly prepared by tripod and the photographic equipment. The moment of maximum magnitude was precisely this, when the object was out of control and stumbling in the atmosphere. When the material was ready, the set of had lost bright and the object had disintegrated in several fragments that were decaying very slowly (it took 3 or 4 minutes to reach the horizon) with less bright than the initial object; this is the the moment I took the only photograph I could achieve.”
© Jesús Merchán Rubira, Agrupación Astronómica Deneb, June 2, 2004.
The official communiqué by the Ministry of Defense of France had been released on June 3 and it informed that it was a joint training exercise by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) and the French Navy. This firing is part of the test campaign and preparation for the commissioning of the Le Vigilant nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. Throughout the flight, DGA monitored and analyzed the missile’s performance, and tested several technological innovations which are part of the development program of the M51 missile, which will progressively replace the M45 beginning in 2010. The missile was monitored throughout its flight by DGA’s Centre d’Essais des Landes (CEL) firing range and by the test and telemetry slip Monge.
I thank the information provided by Jean-Jacques Serra, a scientist from the French DGA, Ministry of Defense, by Dr. Jonathan McDowell, head of the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Harvard University), by Dr. Ed Cannon (University of Texas), and by José Mª Navarro, Madrid.
- New Book by Ricardo Campo
Ricardo Campo (M.A. in Philosophy and journalist) is one of these well-informed skeptics who do not laugh at the UFO phenomenon. However, he is a mercyless critic of those who abuse of the good faith or the ignorance of the public. From that viewpoint, I think that even any ETH believer will agree that his new brand book (in Spanish) is a public service. I personally recommend it as a compulsory reading:
Los ovnis, ¡vaya timo!
Editorial Laetoli, S.L.
Avenida de Bayona, 40, 5º
31011 Pamplona, Spain
- NASA Crew Earth Observations Photography
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/clickmap/ is the link to NASA’s Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. It hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photographs of the Earth from 1961 through the present.
It reads: “This is the place to search the complete collection of astronaut photos of Earth.” You can browse the collections to see some of the best images and you also can delve deeper trying the available clickable map see all the photos within a 2.5 x 2.5 degree block. For those familiar with this database, technical searches allow to do complex searches of multiple fields.
Definitevely a very useful tool.
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