English language editing: Martin Shough
Administrator: Kentaro Mori
FOTOCAT - STATUS REPORT
Physically, FOTOCAT is an Excel spreadsheet of UFO and IFO cases in which a photographic image has been obtained on film, video or digital media. It contains 27 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 on the internet, for free access to the worldwide UFO community.
• Case Number
The number of photographic happenings archived by FOTOCAT is 10,685 as of end of August 2011.This total breaks down as follows:
|2006 Argentina, Spain (general)||169|
|2007-2008 Spain (general), Ball lightning||54|
|2009-2010 Spain (military), Ball lightning||12|
PUBLICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
Papers, articles and research reports by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, just published or reedited.
• Military UFO sightings of 1975
I am pleased to present a paper (in Spanish) entitled “Escuadrón de Vigilancia Aérea Nº 5: Los informes perdidos de 1975” (Air Surveillance Squadron #5: The Missing Reports of 1975) at the following link: http://www.ikaros.org.es/g047.htm
It gathers UFO documentation generated in EVA-5 radar station, code-named Kansas, located in the Aitana range, near Alcoy (Alicante, Spain). In the year 2000, but only known recently, the Spanish Ministry of Defense released a publication that included 3 unknown UFO sightings witnessed by military personnel, which occurred in 1975. The pertinent pages of the publication are included, with a prologue written to explain the context in which these documents were originally requested by the Air Command from EVA-5 (but never provided) to be used in the 1992-1999 declassification of the Spanish Air Force UFO files.
This introduction places the reader behind the scenes of the declassification process and shows the efforts made by the Air Force to rescue lost reports, which I was privileged to observe firsthand. I hope this new historical contribution, free and uncensored, is of interest to scholars in these issues.
I want to thank Matías Morey of the Ikaros Foundation (previously Anomaly Foundation) for his outstanding editing work.
• Latest on Official UFO Releases
My paper “State-of-the-Art in UFO Disclosure Worldwide” was first published by June 2009, and it was updated in December 2009. Many Government actions have taken place since then, especially some very active declassification processes. Brazilian colleague Ademar Gevaerd encouraged me to review it to include the latest developments (of which I was keeping close track) and a new version of the paper, updated September 15, 2011, can be downloaded now from: http://tinyurl.com/3b3qh5q
The section of the paper which has been most modified is the template showing disclosure actions by country. It has been revised for data improvement and refinement, as well as to collect major release developments that occurred in the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, and Brazil. Also, changes have been made for USA (Other agencies than the USAF), Australia, Argentina, Canada, Sweden, Chile, Peru, and Denmark. Finally, countries like Indonesia and Japan have been added to the list.
I hope the reader will find this compilation useful and educative.
• Interview for Italy
The Notiziario SOLARIS, a digital UFO magazine directed by Pasquale Russo, from the major Italian organization CISU, has just released its June 2011 issue. It contains an interview with me that you can read in Italian in pages 7 to 14 here:
This section gives acknowledgments and thanks for cooperation and assistance received from new collaborators.
• Books Received
Thanks much to Chris Aubeck, coauthor with Dr. Jacques Vallee of the book Wonders in the Sky, for sending a copy of this interesting volume. Instead of a classical book review, I have decided to go a step beyond and have the 20 case stories in the book concerning Spain studied, with the assistance of two top UFO analysts, Manuel Borraz and J.C. Victorio Uranga. This review process takes time, and I expect to have it ready for the following blog’s update.
• Invited Book Review: Luis R. González Looks at Eddy Bullard’s Last Book
After the courtesy of Thomas E. Bullard of sending me a copy of his book The Mystery and Myth of UFOs (University of Kansas, 2010, www.kansaspress.ku.edu), I started to read it and take notes to give shape to a critique when I learned that Luis González, the most prolific review writer in Spain for UFO books in English, had finished his own commentary on this edition, so I asked him to let me publish it in my blog. Thanks to his kindness, most of his review is released here.
Thomas Eddie Bullard (born 1949) is an American folklorist best known among us for his research into UFOs and the abduction phenomenon. His articles have been published in the Journal of American Folklore and the Journal of UFO Studies, among other journals. As this is his first book professionally published, it merits a somewhat detailed review.
His interest in UFOs began in childhood, when as he settled down one November morning in 1957 to read the latest news about Sputnik, an article caught his eye about an unidentified egg-shaped object that passed over a highway in Levelland (Texas) and caused car engines to stall. Bullard read books and magazines by the likes of Ray Palmer, Major Donald E. Keyhoe, and many NICAP publications, joining NICAP and APRO himself in the 1960s. He studied at the University of North Carolina, and earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 1982. His doctoral thesis was titled "Mysteries in the Eye of the Beholder: UFOs and Their Correlates as a Folkloric Theme Past and Present".
During his thesis investigations he studied a great number of newspapers and centered on the 1896-97 “airship wave”, publishing one of the first scholarly efforts on this subject: The Airship File. In the 1980s, the Fund for UFO Research asked him to make a study of abductions so Bullard began a large-scale comparative analysis of about 300 alleged cases of alien abduction, some of them dating to the mid-1950s. It was perhaps the first time an academic had examined the phenomena, and it remains a landmark effort. His findings: an intriguing coherence and a fairly consistent sequence and description of events.
My critique of these findings has been published elsewhere (1) but I consider that its role in the acceptance of the alien abduction phenomena as fact has been pivotal. Nowadays, the author seems to have somehow reconsidered them and admits that:
p. 279: The abduction account chronology becomes, in this view, not the course of a real experience but the formal sequence of ascending action, dramatic climax, and resolution that characterizes a standard form of storytelling.
Even if he still considers that:
p. 280: An appeal to cultural learning explains many UFO-related ideas but not all striking parallels of UFOs with religion, mythology and folklore….
As a more scientifically sophisticated source for this principle of indirect influence, Bullard points out that the notions of innate content or processes common to all mankind (like Jung’s archetypes) have fallen out of favor, and suggest the action of selective behavior guided by cognitive universals as a venue worth exploring. Fascinated by the alien abduction phenomena, in the 1990s Bullard updated his findings and tried to tackle several of the objections made by skeptics such as the use of hypnosis or alleged investigator bias, and his present opus shows him to be a matured ufologist worth debating with.
Bullard now admits (even defends) that thinking about UFOs can be understood as myth creation and devotes the main part of the book to develop this thesis, but also from the beginning he tries not to pass judgment on the reality of the phenomenon. This ambivalence (could it be described as cognitive dissonance?) is evident through all the text. Let me mention some examples:
p. 120 – If so many witnesses could be wrong about airships, a shadow of doubt necessarily falls over all other UFOs. So many saucers after 1947 in contrast with so few before are embarrassing as well; so is the responsiveness of descriptions to the prevailing ideas of the time. These facts argue not for a coherent phenomenon that bridges the ages, but for a creation of the social imagination.
p. 197 – Whether these possibilities have not yet appealed to fantasy or the UFO experience offers them no opportunity to take root, their omission demonstrates that UFO narratives are not comprehensive copies of cultural models but maintain some degree of independence.
p. 200 – The likeness of UFO representations to cultural sources proves nothing for or against a UFO phenomenon, only that whether the theme is large or small, cultural models provide meanings for an experience and ways to communicate it to others.
p. 249 – One trend apparent in ufologists’ characterization of aliens is gravitation towards exemplary types like saviors, exploiters, or conspirators (…) Such fluidity of image suggests that UFO occupants as we understand them owe more to interpreters’ predispositions than to hard fact about aliens.
p. 270 – Equally hard to credit is sixty years of stagnation in UFO technology. The technology of the one civilization we know –our own- changes rapidly. Yet supposedly far-advanced UFO aliens have made few improvements or model changes in their craft since 1947.
p. 285 – PSH (Psycho Social Hypothesis) critics mistake these similarities for a verdict when they are only diagnostic tools. Whether all UFO reports describe a myth or some fraction distort a real phenomenon depends not on arguments and possibilities but on whatever evidence there might be for a genuine unconventional phenomenon.
p. 304 – In broader perspective, people also report seeing angels and ghosts as legitimate experiences (…) Processes of human error can just as well carry over from one type of experience to another. Either ufologists accept one anomalous encounter and reject another by arbitrary choice, or they must admit that blind faith in eyewitness testimony is unjustified even when the eyewitness is sincere and honest to a fault.
What are the reasons why Bullard doesn’t take the last step and become a PSH defender? The popular ETH (Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis) receives a good pounding throughout the text, including one of the best explanations about the mythical stance represented by the Roswell case. Some examples and poignant insights:
p. 125 – Since the early 1950s the ETH has held much the same position in ufology as evolution theory in biology. It is the indispensable connecting thread that makes sense of everything.
p. 163 – The ETH cosmology is unimaginative and staid. It accommodates rather than innovates.
pp. 220 to 225 – Without a compelling reason such as the panic argument had lent the 1950s suspicions, in the 70s the secrecy lacked a motive equal to its imagined magnitude. The 1980s began with the unification of scattered beliefs and a spectacular rewriting of UFO history under the influence of a new rationale, a conspiracist’s messiah that ushered in two feverish decades of creative paranoia…. Roswell handed the faithful a secret as big as they had always wanted…. Ufology stays wedded to its conspiracies, with claims milder only by degree.
p. 230 – Extraterrestrials succeed today like distance and the supernatural in bygone times, as a blank page of possibilities, a premise to excuse any amount of strangeness, any defiance of natural law or logical contradiction…
p. 245 & 246 – Though the alien classroom is gentle in one case (Space Brothers) and rough in the other (Abductions), both images oppose the secular view of an impersonal universe with what is, ultimately, a religious outlook… The broader message behind these accounts of ET intervention fulfills the hope that Earth is not isolated, accidental or inconsequential in the vastness of space.
p. 262 – Popular ufologists typically welcome claims that confirm a chosen belief and reject or ignore even the strongest negative evidence… Tendentious selection of data allows the construction of a desired image of reality, just not a very likely one…. The ETH applies one and the same solution to every problem, so for all questions, from the statues of Easter Island to gaps in human memory, aliens, aliens, and more aliens are the answer.
p. 282 – The day-to-day business of the (ET) UFO myth is essentially a maintenance chore. Proponents build and preserve the communal understanding, spread it to the uninformed, defend it against attacks from nonbelievers, and enforce orthodoxy within the ranks…. A consequence is that UFO thinking has little need for experience, only the illusion of it…. With the necessary answers already in place, questioning becomes selective, not a matter of asking whether alleged events are real but how they fit into the accepted framework.
Bullard’s way out is to defend the existence of a real phenomenon (the experiences) without admitting the logical inferences derived from its mere existence, especially the unavoidable question of its apparent intelligence. Speaking about consistency in UFO reports, he considers (taking into account the example of urban legends) that the imaginations of those who report UFOs from all over the world should not be so restricted, should not display inhibitions lacking a factual anchor (p. 299 - abduction reports repeat one another to the point of monotony….) On the other hand, neither should people describing their experiences sometimes see more than expectations prepare them to see, unless some other ingredient enters in the mix.
Bullard avoids a central problem (pointed out many years ago by Allan Hendry): the class of UFOs and the class of IFOs are really statistically indistinguishable, so it seems that there certainly are some unavoidable restrictions over human imagination. Besides, it could be argued that each UFO/IFO case always includes a peculiar item marking its individuality (the scarf worn by one of the Hill’s abductors, the “Star Wars” figures seen in the Spanish landing case at Turís, etc.), so maybe not fulfilling expectations is a way to reintroduce human imagination into the play. Another point to consider is the role of conscious or unconscious censorship by the witnesses themselves, but also by the investigators.
Bullard claims there are strong UFO cases that pass the following tests:
1. The alleged event fulfills basic authenticity requirements.
2. Quality testimonial and instrumental evidence supports it.
3. The strange quality of the alleged event lies not in the vagueness of inadequate description but in the unusual character of well-specified incidents.
4. A coherent account emerges from reports of independent witnesses.
5. The alleged event bears some similarities to other accounts.
6. The alleged event differs in some respects from expectations.
7. The report of an alleged event has undergone strenuous critical examination but survives alternative explanations.
But none of the examples he mentions fulfills all the criteria. We are still waiting.
In his Introduction, Bullard differentiates between “skeptics/debunkers” and “critics”, but cannot avoid mixing them up again in his critical comments about the PSH. I would like to mention a couple of examples:
p. 257 – Little of the appeal to abnormal psychology survives head-on collision with the facts. Actual studies counter armchair theories with findings that UFO observers and abductees are free of psychopathology or temporal lobe disturbance, neither are they marginal, maladjusted, or inclined to reject mainstream culture (…) How important hypnosis is to the recovery of abduction memories became doubtful when considering an experiment with eleven abductees that uncovered new episodes in only two subjects, while two others remembered nothing new under hypnosis and seven simply elaborated on episodes consciously remembered (2).
Considering the few studies made, their small and heterogeneous samples, the virtual absence of strict protocols, and the lack of replications, I would say that neither conclusion is proved. Besides, abnormal psychology proposals never pretended to be the only explanation, each worked (or could work) for a small subset of incidents/experiences. But I agree with the author that the general proposition that abductees have their experiences because they suffer from a deviant psychological profile seems to have been refuted.
Even if the author fails to take the final step (towards the PSH) -or maybe for this reason-, I strongly recommend this book for a serious analysis of the mythical component of the UFO phenomenon.
(1) Luis R. González, "El aprendiz de Procusto", La Nave de los Locos, 13, January 2002, pp. 19-33.
(2) John A.D. Duncan, “Psychological Correlates of the UFO Abduction Experience: The Role of Beliefs and Indirect Suggestions on Abduction Accounts Obtained during Hypnosis”, Ph.D. diss., Concordia University, Montreal, 1998, pp 119, 144, 149-150.
The complete book review by Luis Gonzalez can be found here:
*Dutch UFO researcher Theo Paijmans is providing FOTOCAT Project with newspaper accounts of UFO photographic cases from both Netherlands and elsewhere of the 1950s and 1960s, where good tips are found.
*Richard Heiden has been one of our most loyal and regular helpers, as well as a most appreciated friend, since many years ago. A never-ending source of good information and a translator of some of my papers, Heiden recently renewed his backing to the continuing progress of FOTOCAT by submitting lots of Xerox copies from classic oldies but goodies like the Canadian Saucers, Space & Science UFO journal. Thank you so much, Rich.
*Greek cases in FOTOCAT amounted just to 8 until Hellenic researcher Thanassis Vembos agreed to cooperate to update the records for Greece. Consequently, the catalogue entries have been revised, improved and enlarged up to 15 cases. Not a large number but it gives a measure of the proportional increase that might be expected when local researchers volunteer work to the project.
UFO accounts containing pictures only started in Greece in the 1970s (2 entries), followed by another 2 in the 1980s. The decade of 1990s generated 4 events and the period 2000 to 2005 produced 7 more reports of this kind. This is a tendency also observed in other countries: the popularization of photographic cameras and domestic camcorders, coupled with a generalization of the UFO concept due to the media. Only 5 occurrences are known to be explained (lenticular cloud, fake, aircraft, lens flare, and reflection). This is a measurement of the little analysis performed on the cases to date.
*Recently we were contacted for cooperation purposes by Philippe Ailleris. Based in the Netherlands, Ailleris launched 2 years ago a project, the Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena Observations Reporting Scheme, which aims to approach the UAP from a professional, rational and scientific perspective. Its objectives are to provide amateur and professional astronomers with a formal mechanism for reporting any unexplained phenomena they observe when studying the sky, and contribute towards a better understanding of transient atmospheric phenomena by explaining the most common causes of UAP misidentifications for the general public. We at FOTOCAT Project reckon this is a valid idea, and recommend interested people to learn more from http://www.uapreporting.org
Philippe is the author of “UFOs and Exogenous Intelligence Encounters”, a position paper published 2011 by the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) that can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/3jem9db
*Pablo Petrowitsch is a legendary figure in scientific-oriented UFO research in Chile. An engineer by education and profession, now he is 81, still works part-time and continues following his passion, the study of UFOs. In the sixties, I was in regular touch with Pablo’s organization UFO Chile, but during a few decades we lost our relationship, one that we have resumed in the last months. Señor Petrowitsch has a computer-based catalogue of UFO reports in Chile, from which the photographic cases have been extracted to check with FOTOCAT. As a result, CHILE FOTOCAT has increased in a number of new entries. Further collaboration with our project is in progress at the time of writing.
GALLERY OF PHENOMENA
This section will display a sample of UFO photographs or footage whose study is revealing or educative at least.
• Pursuit on the Highway
In October 2008, a radio program by Marisol Roldán spread the news that a Pep Jamandreu and his wife Anna (with their 3-year-old daughter) while returning from Vinaroz (Castellón) to Manresa (Barcelona) "last July 24th" (later I learned it was in 2004), around 9 pm and at the height of the town of Santa Margarida i els Monjos, saw "a light that was beginning to move in horizontal direction (sic) at low speed." Alerted by the phenomenon, which he defined as a "spy satellite", Pep recorded the phenomenon with his video camera. The brief recording, that you can watch below thanks to the kindness of the author, José Fernández Jamandreu, only shows a tiny light.
In a recent message received from Martí Flò, president of CEI Barcelona, he explained that the inquirer who went to investigate the matter on site had found with certainty that there were "signal lights of some parabolic dishes in a station of Telefónica (Spanish Telecom) along the highway, in the exact spot where the UFO was seen." On the other hand, researcher Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga had already warned us of the prominent presence of the planet Jupiter in the sky the evening of this day. Truly the star-like appearance of the video-recorded phenomenon much more resembles an astronomical body than anything else.
But the news featured in the mentioned radio program went on to say that the most spectacular event would come later. But this is what the witness himself wrote to us in October 2008:
Yet the intense one came after a long time driving almost in silence, when Anna said: Pep, look, look! What is this? How hefty! Just running parallel to the moving car, about 8 or 10 m away, a huge contraption of 6 or 7 m in diameter, was like watching us and following us in parallel to the car to our speed, flying low ... in the center you could see as a sphere of which some metal bars emerged to join in a large metal circle, in turn with several white lights flashing intermittently, placed both in the metallic bars and in the circle ... it was like a big sun, sometimes it seemed spider-like ... the total elapsed time would say it was around 30 minutes.
Let us consider the logic of the facts. After an explainable UFO sighting, we are told a fantastic episode. It is nonsensical to video-record a light in the sky seen momentarily and not do it when you have a real flying saucer moving parallel to your vehicle for half an hour. It was midsummer in Spain, on a major motorway with traffic queuing: where are the other potential witnesses? We have given the witness the option to confirm our assumption that it was an excess of imagination – he has responded in indignation: “my wife and I know very well what we saw”. He knows he has the burden of the proof, but he cannot prove anything. Moreover, he admits to have exaggerated very much the duration due to the effect of the excitement (yet it was reported 4 years later). “But I understand that they only reveal [themselves] to those who can see them”, he retorts in a recent email. Let it go.
• Fruitful Armchair Ufology
Who said that armchair ufology is fruitless? Having a PC and due access to internet can achieve good results, and the following is a clear example. A few weeks ago, Ray Stanford consulted me about any FOTOCAT information related to some pictures taken at Fargo, North Dakota. On page 257 of Aimé Michel’s book Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery, there is a paper by Lex Mebane on the 1957 wave, and a note on three alleged “mother ship with satellites” photos obtained on November 9, 1957.
As usual, I provided the references I had. It was found out that the earliest news about the event was published in The Sunday Fargo Forum of the following day, November 10, 1957. The pictures were snapped by a staff photographer named Alf T. Olsen. I had no actual images of the story and I suggested that Stanford get the original press account. He did it.
A few days letter I received an email from Stanford. It read in part:
The fabled “cigar” photos of Fargo, North Dakota, can now be laid permanently to rest. Greg Gilstrap of the Fargo Public Library found the article and sent me the pdf document attached. It turns out it was all a joke by the photographer, using an actual cigar, etc. On the second page we see the cigar’s band and the confession of what was done.
See the original clipping at: http://tinyurl.com/3gwt48v
• The UFO Triangle Hoax
A person by the name of Patrick Maréchal surfaced last July to confess he had faked the famous triangle-shaped, 3-lighted UFO photograph of Petit-Rechain (Liège, Belgium) on April 4 1990. Probably the most notorious image of the UFO wave over Belgium in the early nineties, its celebrity reached all continents. In spite of the fact that only one slide had allegedly been taken and that the supposed witness and photographer were anonymous, it concentrated the weight of the physical reality of the UFO phenomenon for many people and students alike.
The problem is not –again– that ufologists’ legs have been pulled. Many ufologists are so prone to believe that they can be deceived very easily. The problem here is that scientific analyses seemed to prove that the document was extraordinary. Ever since the beginning, there was a choir of voices claiming it was a hoax. Others defended its materiality and its exceptionality. Some of them supported this by using knowledge from science and technology.
It is fruitless to harass those who were on the side of the gullible. If only this new example would serve to demonstrate how fallible and weak the UFO evidence is, then we could learn a lesson.
La nave de los locos (Chilean UFO journal) published in its number 32 of July 2005 some strange aerial photographs. Taken by Orlando Esparza from an Avianca flight bound for Aruba Island (Caribbean) on April 6, 2005, between 10:48 and 10:52 hours, nothing weird was spotted at the time he used his digital camera to take pictures through the plane window.
It was the son of the photographer, a UFO enthusiast, he who wrote to the magazine wondering if this was an example of “foo-fighters”. We have consulted Andres Duarte, photo analysis expert, who has solved the problem masterfully. Duarte reported:
"These are drops of water on the airplane window. If it were cavities in the glass the image seen through them would not be reversed, but it is, so these may not be bubbles or holes, it must be something slightly convex and transparent to produce the inverted image seen through each of them. The trail shown above the larger drop is water from the drop vaporizing by the warm air inside the plane and it condenses on the cold surface of the window. The drops are not deformed by gravity because they are very small. Its size and distance from the camera was estimated from the circle of confusion of the image of the larger drop in the photo. That size was found to be 2.7 mm, a thin drop of that size on a glass can hold on it suffering little deformation. "
Calculations made on the image and acquired data follows:
EXIF and camera data
Sensor size = d = 5.27 mm
FNumber = N = 5.60
FocalLength = f = 5.00 mm
ExifImageWidth = W = 2304 pixels
Measurements of the drop image
coc = c = 12 pixels
Angular size = t = 40 pixels
c = 12 pix*d/W = 12 pix*5.27 mm/2304 pix = 0.027 mm
Distance to camera = S = f^2 /(N * c) = 5.00^2 /(5.60*0.027) = 160 mm
Visual field = FOV = 2*atan (d/2f) = 56°
Angular size = t = 40 pix*FOV/W = 40 pix*56°/2304 pix = 0.97°
Resulting linear size = T = 2S*tan(t/2) = 2.7 mm
I thank Andrés Duarte for his analysis. No doubt we will resort to his expertise shortly.
This section will provide basic statistics produced from the FOTOCAT database.
• Reports by Time of the Day: 1947 to 1999
One of the typical features to study in UFO catalogues is the time distribution of sightings. FOTOCAT still has a large number of reports pending to be reviewed to extract information and “punch” data into the proper columns. This shortfall –that will be corrected in due time- applies to the hour. Exact time data is only known for 4,447 events. If there are other 1,600 cases where this information is not available in the case file (and probably never will be), there are still around 4,000 reports needing data transference to catalogue columns. In spite of these constraints, we are plotting cases by time of the day.
In successive blog updates we will compare two sets of cases, entries for the period 1947 to 1999 (2,884 reports) and entries for 2000-2005 (1,373 reports), to look for similarities or differences. In turn, we will collate “positive” cases (unexplained) with “false positives” (explained) as far as this datum is concerned. For the first period to study, this is what we have:
The allocation of all cases by 24 hours of the day appears in the following graph:
The correlation coefficient between the two series is very high, as much as 0.9299 (it means that both sets of data behave similarly from a statistical viewpoint), which is not what you would expect between data of –apparently- diverse nature, i.e. if unexplained phenomena had an origin distinct from explained accounts.
There is, however, an anomaly. The 21-hour peak in positive cases (9.3% of total) is not followed by the false+ cases with the same intensity (only 6.0%) and the curve very visibly breaks in this point. If this has any meaning or is just an artifact of a limited sample is not known now. When the number of instances managed has doubled, once more data have fed into the current spreadsheet, we will observe if this effect re-emerges or not.
In our following update, the period 2000 to 2005 will be inspected.
(Thanks to Dr. Laura Ballester Miquel.)
REFERENCES & NEWS
This section is devoted to delivering information on research, articles of note, books, symposia and other news from selected sources which are considered worthy of the attention of serious-minded UFO investigators.
• CEIII Cases Turned Mundane
Sometimes we find Spanish UFO cases in international references or in catalogues as anomalous events, when local students have discovered these are explained. It is not my purpose to list all such cases. I just wish to note here for general knowledge four examples of classic alleged UFO landings with occupants that finally became instances of mundane occurrences.
On January 28, 1976, near the town of Benacazón (Sevilla), José Fernández Carrasco reported to have seen a booth-like object and two humanoids. According to his testimony, there was missing time involved and the witness was hurt and had to go to a hospital. Investigation by a journalist team under the leadership of José Manuel García Bautista had access to medical and judicial records, interviewed the doctor who originally examined the witness and talked to his closest family to find out that the UFO tale pretended to uncover the sad truth: he had been severely beaten by family members of his young gypsy girlfriend who was pregnant. They threatened him with death if he’d tell the truth.
The following article explains what really happened (it is in Spanish):
On February 13, 1981, in the municipality of Fuentecén (Burgos), Luis Domínguez Díez, reported having seen a large set of lights close to the ground and a box-like sort of “robot” which echoed the sound of a dog barking. Burns and holes in the soil were found. An in-depth, on-site inquiry performed by Juan Marcos Gascón revealed that it was a fraud invented by the father of the supposed observer, the owner of a public bar, in order to attract clientele to the business. The alleged witness burned gasoline over the ground and produced three holes manually.
There is a detailed report (in Spanish language) here:
On June 22, 1976, the physician Francisco Padrón León was riding a taxi at Gáldar, in the Atlantic Ocean island of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) when he saw what he described as a large sphere coming out from the sea and ascending to grow in diameter up to the size of a 10 to 20-story building, a sight that lasted 20 minutes. In the interior of the sphere the witness said he saw giant figures and some devices.
A paper by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos and Ricardo Campo presented evidence that it was a globe of ionized air in the atmosphere produced by the firing of a covert US Navy, submarine-launched Poseidon missile, as part of a number of weapon tests developed in the Atlantic range in the late 1970s. The doctor suffered a pareidolia effect (motivated by his eccentric beliefs) while seeing the missile flight.
The following two references document this and other UFO-missile sightings in the area: http://www.ikaros.org.es/misiles.htm (in Spanish), and “Navy Missiles Tests and the Canary Islands UFOs”, International UFO Reporter, Volume 29, Number 4, July 2005, pages 3-9 and 26 (in English.)
This is the last example. On March 19, 1997, two members of the Local Police of L’Escala (Gerona) saw a large luminous globe of orange color hovering near the ground, 50 meters away. The Moon-like, lighted sphere was stationary and silent. Inside, a tall being was sighted. It was observed during a few minutes. A case study by engineer Manuel Borraz showed how the Moon was at that precise azimuth at that time (4.05 am) near the horizon, its setting being at 4.15 am. An example of Moon illusion plus a pareidolia effect combined solved the apparently eerie sighting.
A report (in Spanish) of this occurrence is available at the following link
*Provided by a source in the Ministry of Defense of France, a good resource, notably for European UFO researchers, is the list of French launches of ballistic strategic missiles 1965-1993, ground-to-ground (SSBS) and sea-to-ground (MSBS) at: http://fuseurop.univ-perp.fr/1sbs_f.htm
It allows us to occasionally correlate UFO events to actual missile launches, especially for Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. One may find more than one surprises comparing such data.
(Merci to J.J.S.)
*In our last update we included a paper by Paolo Toselli on a large collection of Ph.D. dissertations all over the world. Our Portuguese friend and colleague Dr. Joaquim Fernandes writes to indicate that his own thesis was not in the inventory, an omission I rush to correct now: It is entitled "O Imaginário Extraterrestre na Cultura Portuguesa. Do Fim da Modernidade até meados do século XIX” (The Extraterrestrial Imaginary in the Portuguese Culture. The End of the Modernity by Mid-Nineteenth Century), and it was made at the Porto University in 2005.
*A quite interesting paper on the recurrent phenomena of Marfa lights is one authored by Karl D. Stephan, James Bunnell, John Klier and Laurence Komala-Noord under the title “Quantitative intensity and location measurements of an intense long-duration luminous object near Marfa, Texas”, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 73, 2011, pp. 1953-1958, which is hereby in pdf format: http://tinyurl.com/3fu2dl7
It covers the analysis of a 3 hour-long bright light appearing at ground level at Mitchell Flat, between Marfa and Alpine, Texas, on June 3, 2005, registered by two different automatic stations set up and operated by James Bunnell in the area where the so-called Marfa lights develop.
In particular, I am grateful to Mr. Bunnell for having provided a data spreadsheet with 6 Marfa lights photographic events for the FOTOCAT records, related to the images appearing in his excellent web site http://www.nightorbs.net/
*Sagar Ghimire’s Texas State University thesis on Marfa lights was presented on August 2010: “Spectroscopic Measurements of Natural and Artificial Light Sources”, this work was prepared in the Department of Engineering Technology and can be fully downloaded from here: http://ecommons.txstate.edu/engttad/2/
A related paper on this same subject is K.D. Stephan, S. Ghimire, W.A. Stapleton and J. Bunnell, “Spectroscopy applied to observations of terrestrial light sources of uncertain origin”, released in the American Journal of Physics 77(8), 2009, pp 697-703, available at http://uweb.txstate.edu/~ks22/pdfs/MLPaper_AJP.pdf
(Thanks to Roberto Labanti.)
*Optical effects in the atmosphere are a subject of keen interest to any student of UFOs. Therefore I am suggesting the reading of the following article, where a new natural phenomenon called Crown Flash is aptly described and imaged:
(Thanks to Kentaro Mori.)
*Talking about atmospheric optics, there is a curious video footage of parhelia recorded November 7, 2008 in Peru. Marco Barraza reports that this day was an unusual day in Lima, Peru. The sky turned dark suddenly and the temperature dropped considerably, something infrequent for this epoch of the year. A heavy rain also fell and thunder was heard over the city. This video was captured by a student at the Catholic University with his camera phone.
Always wishing to better document this type of phenomena, I sent the video clip to a foremost world authority in atmospheric physics, Dr. Robert Greenler. He kindly answered: “I would guess that the video is of sun dogs. It shows a sun dog on either side of the sun with the typical red inner edge and the vertical elongation that is a common characteristic of this effect.” (Personal communication to V.J. Ballester Olmos, November 22, 2008.)
Yes, these images show a bright sun dog (a.k.a. mock sun or parhelion). For those who do not know, the black body in the center of the sun is produced by the light saturation of the CCD image sensor of the digital camera. Photographs for an identical specimen of parhelia –made by Wim Van Utrecht- can be seen here:
See how parhelia are produced in Les Cowley’s extraordinary web site on atmospheric optics: http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/dogfm.htm
The Peruvian sun dog presented above is the same type of phenomenon we reported in a previous entry of this blog, as the “Phenomenon of Reinosa” at:
*Latin American ufology of the best intellectual quality is to be found in La Nave de los locos (The Ship of the Fools), edited by Chilean journalist Diego Zúñiga, it is €10.30 or US $14.00. With 37 issues to date, it qualifies a good reporting, covering both the Hispanic and international UFO scene.
* Cockpit chronicles of weird encounters by pilots, an interesting account of surreal airborne experiences can be found in this illustrated article by Kent Wien:
(Thanks to Tim Printy.)
* FOTOCAT Report #6, “An Approach to UFO Pictures in France” included a number of photographs, some well known, others not, of the mystifying effects of a snapshot taken from a moving car when a country scene is traversed by a material body during such a short lapse that it is not even recognized. Generally, these are road posts that appear very blurred in the final print with an appearance similar to a disc-shaped object that seems to be taking off from ground. See the paper at:
In the online UFO report “Filer’s Files” (George A. Filer) corresponding to August 12, 2009, another picture of this kind was published, as made in Ontario (Canada). No date or details have been provided by the source, nevertheless I am including it here as an additional example of this peculiar class of image.
Blur motion effect in Ontario. Not so exceptional.
*An unrecoverable loss. A friend that I will miss is Hilary Evans, who passed away July 27, 2011, a first magnitude scholar, an intellectual of the world of anomalistics, an open mind, and a true British. His books are a mine of information and ideas, his correspondence a treasure, and the memories I hold of the time we spent together when we met in the USA, Spain and while I was invited to his English house are unforgettable. This is not an obituary, just a way of saying goodbye to an old friend and colleague.
Readers will find here one of the many tributes to him, by Clas Svahn: http://www.ufo.se/blogg/14245
FOTOCAT is a very ambitious project: it attempts to bring together all photographic UFO cases generated in the world. Most published in the specialized literature, others in raw periodicals and on the internet. The number of sources to consult is incalculable in the form of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, web sites, blogs, and other internet media. UFO students and organizations hold files that need to be reviewed for completeness. Therefore, we are offering you the chance to help our project. Please find below a number of alternatives, and let us know which one is best suited to you.
- Donate photographic materials, case files or literature to be included in the FOTOCAT database and have it preserved for posterity. You can use the following postal address: Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos Apartado de Correos 12140 46080 Valencia Spain
- Collate and check your own (personal or organization) files of UFO photographic cases with FOTOCAT, to expand the catalogue. To this end, we will supply with state, region, province or nation-oriented listings to active researchers.
- Extract information about photographic cases from listed books
- Extract information about photographic cases from listed UFO journals
- Extract information about photographic cases from listed blogs, web sites
- Search and correspond with listed sources holding collections of UFO photographs
- Investigate missing data (date, location) for certain available UFO pictures or recordings
- Perform expert analysis of UFO photographs or footage
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to establish the proper protocol for your collaboration.