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2008/12/15 (EN)

Physically, FOTOCAT is an Excel spreadsheet of UFO and IFO cases where an image has been obtained on photo, film or video. It contains 26 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 last count of the number of reports on record shows the figure of 9,285 entries.

• Registering the Close Encounter Photos
The FOTOCAT database is designed to allow retrieval of specific types of observations for deep study in future research projects: images from spacecraft, airborne reports, objects visually unseen, by nation monographs, kinds of explanations, etc. This philosophy has made it advisable to include a new column –CE, for close encounter- to collect photographs of objects or phenomena that appear in a “landing” mode as well as cases of alleged occupants and humanoids or instances of manufactured “flying saucers”. It complements the information already given in the Description column.

• Towards a France FOTOCAT. A Nation-Wide Initiative
Created as a joint initiative between the FOTOCAT Project and the French magazine UFOmania (1), we are encouraging the community of French UFO researchers and UFO organizations towards the common goal of assisting in the development of a catalogue of photographic UFO cases in France.

Out of almost 9,300 reports amassed by FOTOCAT worldwide, the French portion intially amounted to only 330 cases. Compared to other countries where an intensive compilation effort has been made (for example, Spain, which has over 700 entries), France seems under-represented. This plainly suggests that our catalogue in progress is still missing a large number of the incidents of this type that have been reported in France in recent history.

Sainte Geneviève, Beauvais, May 8, 1967. CNES Balloon photographed through a telescope by M. Milon.

Autrans, Isère, July 28, 1974. Thanks to experienced researcher Franck Boitte, we have known this unpublished picture taken by young Pascal G. “It does look like a meteor”, in the words of Dr. Jacques Vallée.

In order to correct this situation, and with the aim of involving as many students and UFO groups as possible in a collective data-gathering task, the journal UFOmania has volunteered to become a focal point to help achieve this goal, as well as to be a periodic publication source to show the advancement of this project. To this purpose, the following article (in French) has being published in the September 2008 issue of UFOmania. It has also been posted at this link:

Every quarter we will publish in the magazine a progress report giving information about contributors and how the catalogue is expanding (the first installment shows a tally of 400 cases). After four such status reports (and subsequent magazine issues), a summary paper will be released, including the full catalogue for France, fully accessible to any reader.

In our opinion, this is an opportunity for every ufologist in France to contribute to a major international program based on national foundations, and a way to rescue photographic UFO events and have them catalogued in a worldwide database. It is important that France’s representation in the catalogue remains as accurate as possible so that it reflects the actual volume of UFO cases in this country. Considering the outstanding ufological history and the eloquent UFO know-how that exists in France, I firmly believe that with the help of French researchers, leaders and members of current UFO associations, as well as any reader of the magazine, we can ensure a first-class, thorough effort and make this program a genuine success.

I am grateful to Monsieur Didier Gomez, the editor of UFOmania, for his cooperation in making this idea come true.

(1) UFOmania is a quarterly publication started in 1994 to release information on unidentified aerospatial phenomena and other anomalies. The magazine web site is http://www.ufomania.fr The web site of the partner association Planète OVNI is http://www.studiovni.com

• English Language Editor
Recognizing that this is the only UFO blog published in two of the major languages in the world, English and Spanish, and considering that this author’s mother tongue is not English, my respect for a growing audience makes me demand external help for editing the English section of my blog. The British UFO researcher Martin Shough has volunteered to undertake this task on a regular basis, starting with the current update. A photolithographer by training, Martin is a very well-versed UFO student and the author of several publications. He has specific interest in the philosophy of the scientific method, photography, statistical analysis and radar UFO events, areas where he is most knowledgeable. I want to express publicly my gratitude to Martin.


Ballester-Brænne book cover picture.

In September 2008, UPIAR publishing house based in Torino (Italy) released in book form the report NORWAY IN UFO PHOTOGRAPHS: THE FIRST CATALOGUE, by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos and Ole Jonny Brænne. It is FOTOCAT Report #4 and the publication includes a CD-ROM with the database and all the original photographs in color. The book can be purchased from the UPIAR site: http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=174&st=1

This section reports contributions received from new collaborators (or from regular ones whose most recent contribution is considered outstanding). In addition to the new names cited here, many others are regularly contributing to the enlargement of FOTOCAT.

One of the few books fully devoted to UFO photographs, UFOs. Besucher aus dem Weltall (Könemann, Cologne, 2001), has been given as a present to FOTOCAT Project by its author, the German writer Michael Hesemann. With 380 pages covered with pictures of all kinds, 40 new entries have been added to our catalogue.

Assistance comes from many quarters and from individuals of diverse orientation, for example: Antonio González Piñeiro, the author of the best bibliography of UFO books in Spanish; Dominique Weinstein, Paris-based compiler of major catalogues on UFO sightings by pilots; Angel Carretero Olmedo, author of the investigation Humanoides en Conil (http://www.ikaros.org.es/e004.htm); Jose Americo C. Medeiros, a retired aviation pilot and ufologist from Brazil; Catalunya’s contactee and friend Luis José Grifol; Mexican ufologists Fernando Téllez and airline captain Daniel Monraz Macías; and last but not least my old friend Peter Rogerson, a legendary figure of the Britisth rationalist ufology.

A special contribution comes from the French ufologist Stéphane Bernard, compiler of a database of some 5,000 UFO photographs, which is now being checked with the FOTOCAT resources. In the process, we feel many new cases will be entered into our inventory.

• Conversation with a Colleague

Carles Berché (long-haired, bearded, taller man) and V.J. Ballester Olmos.

Dr. Carles Berché, a catalonian psychiatrist, semi-retired ufologist and multi-faceted student was kind enough to pay me a visit last November 5th on the occasion of a Congress of Psychiatry held in Valencia. Carles and I enjoyed a long conversation on many topics, notably on altered states of consciousness, dissociative states, hallucination and other mental pathologies, with reference to the question of when these can be applicable to certain radical UFO experiences (abductions, contactees) and when they cannot. Carles, also an amateur meteorology photographic observer and a photography expert, has offered his skills to help in the FOTOCAT Project work.
This section will revisit certain UFO photographs from past decades with a new interpretation.

• UFOs Causing Missile Misfires, or How Information Degrades

The following is a YouTube clip of a Latinamerican TV program covering a recent Larry King (CNN) interview to three US researchers:
(Unfortunately, this video clip has been eliminated from release from its user.)

There, in Spanish, the voice-over explains that a video appearing on the screen actually displays how a UFO comes near a launched missile and shoots it down.

According to FOTOCAT, such instances have been claimed to occur, and their true nature has been very heatedly debated; however, in my opinion, there is not any available film to support this type of report. Therefore, I proceeded to consult Robert Hastings, one of the three persons interviewed by King in the CNN original program, the others being Robert Salas and Robert Jamison. Hastings is no skeptic at all, in fact he has just published the book UFOs and Nukes, developing the theory that UFOs have shown interest in manifesting in nuclear weapons sites (AuthorHouse, Bloomington, Indiana, June 2008.)

In his reply, Hastings was soon to the point:
I know what UFO/missile film you are referring to: later in the show, the producers kept rerunning a clip from the documentary “Out of the Blue”, which has a computer-created reenactment of the Big Sur case, with the "UFO" circling the "warhead". But it is a recreation, not the real thing.
So, it is not an actual film showing a UFO and a missile, contrary to what the Latinamerican TV program states, but a simulation of the September 15, 1964 event at Big Sur, California, footage of which is said to exist. There is much discussion ongoing, with Robert Hastings proposing the UFO presence, and Kingston A. George explaining the event as decoys fired during a rocket launching.

This short note is mainly addressed to the viewers of the above YouTube link, in order to clarify the issue.

This section will display a sample of UFO sightings directly reported to the FOTOCAT Project.

• Beam of Light Over Villamarchante
Villamarchante beam of light.
A few months ago, some acquaintances told me about a UFO sighting they had had, four of them, during a local trip in my native province of Valencia (Spain). My interest was aroused when I knew that one photograph had been taken. In the last months I have acquired all the basic details of the observation and, as a result of my inquiry into the case; a report (in Spanish) has been prepared and published at this link: http://www.webcitation.org/6mx5uRV0e

For the benefit of the non-Spanish speaking readers, I am presenting now a very brief summary of the story. On the evening of April 19, 2008 two couples were travelling in a car near Villamarchante (Valencia) when they saw, some 45º high in the sky, an elongated beam of brilliant silver light which was growing in size from 20º up to some 40º in angular size. During the two to three minutes that the sighting lasted, its color was changing to fuchsia. Then, a ball of fuchsia light with a winding tail (like a “spermatozoid”) separated from the main trail, departed towards a “nearby” cloud and was seen no more. By then, the cloud acquired the same fuchsia-colored tone and the long trail disappeared - or they paid no more attention to it, being attracted by the curious cloud color. Exactly at 20:52 hours (before the ball of light appeared) a photograph was made by Alejandra Bitar, one of the witnesses. Most of the overcast sky began to change to fuchsia as well. They carried on towards their intended destiny, which was a friends’ house. They arrived a few minutes later and went inside.

Our conclusion is that what was photographed was nothing but an airplane’s condensation trail. Comparative ufology shows ample evidence that aircraft contrails produce such colorful shapes during sunsets, even certain atmospheric conditions may allow the sight of the lone plane’s fuselage even with a thin secondary trail. There is also photographic evidence to support this.

Finally, considering an airplane flying at the cruise altitude (h) of 36,000 feet (11,000 m), an angular height of 45º (α), the distance from the witnesses to the airplane (d) would be some 16,000 m (sen α = h/d). If the trail’s maximum angular size was 40º (α), then the trail’s longitude (L) was some 12 km (L = 2 X d X tag α/2). Taking a cruise speed of 800 km/h, during 2.5 minutes an airplane would have produced a trail of some 30 km long, within the order of magnitude of the found results. This would tend to confirm that the phenomenon photographed could be a contrail.

For those interested, a more detailed report lies at the above-mentioned link. Here, I am posting four video clips showing five recordings taken (four in Chile, one in Norway) which display both typical and atypical high-altitude aircraft contrails, for comparison. This graphically complements the series of static pictures included in the above report.

Asker (Norway), November 19, 2002. © Knut Vindfallet

Viña del Mar (Chile), February 21, 2004. © MEGA TV

Quintero (Chile), February 26, 2002. © MEGA TV

Maipú and Farellones (Chile), July 25, 2000. © Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN)

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.

• New Book on UFO Abductions (in Spanish)

Humoristic Book Cover.

Book reviews are not the purpose of this blog but it is appropriate to mention on occasion some books we consider outstanding. This is the case, in my opinion, with the 2008 essay Las abducciones ¡vaya timo! (Abductions, A Trick!) by Spanish researcher Luís R. González. The book is published by Editorial Laetoli, S.L., Monasterio de Yarte, 1, 8º, 31011 Pamplona, Spain, at http://www.laetoli.net. Among Spanish ufologists Luís is, probably, the most well-informed in the area of what is called the phenomenon of UFO abductions and has given this subject the keenest appraisal. He has read all that has been printed, especially the literature in English, and he has exchanged correspondence with many international experts.

After a working meeting, book author Luís R. González (left) and Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos relax in the latter’s summer cottage.
His considerable knowledge has produced a volume pleasant to read and quite educational, so that I’d recommend it as a reading reference for high-school teachers in our country. As simple as that. Luís González is a smart student of this subject. And he is also a friend of mine. On top of this, a portrait of him taken in the garden of my country residence was used for the back cover of the book. Who could ask for more!

• Two UFO Video Analyses Online
In December 2000 I published a short piece on a video capture made in Oviedo City (Spain) at 02:00 hours of October 6, 2000. The image was a celestial body appearing in the East, some 70º height, 4-5 times brighter than planet Venus. With the aid of binoculars, it was resolved into an elliptical, changing shape, as if it was rotating very slowly. There were four dots, two placed on each side. It looked stationary but it moved at the same sidereal rate as the stars in the firmament.

A study revealed that it was the image of planet Jupiter and four of the Galilean satellites. The article (in Spanish) has been posted in a pdf format at the following link: http://www.webcitation.org/6mx5ENbzI

I thought you would find it pedagogic to watch the video by yourself, and it follows here:

UFO turned into Jupiter and 4 satellites. © Rubén Megido.

Regarding the second one, it was early morning of October 10, 1999 when a number of citizens from Valencia (Spain), my home town, called the local TV to announce they were seeing a long-standing UFO, hanging in the eastern sky. The display lasted four hours. A brilliant spot of light about which the witnesses were concerned. To cut a long story short, the planet Venus was at that position in the heavens with a -5 magnitude and it was the culprit, as it has been so many times in the past...and as it will continue to be in the future.

I published a brief note on this event, and now I have posted it online (the article is in Spanish) at http://www.webcitation.org/6mx5o4kaa

Now I have added herewith the original TV video for general information:

UFO over Valencia? Just old planet Venus! © Canal 9.

Your volunteer collaboration to the FOTOCAT Project is requested. Please write to: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es

We will supply you with state, regional, provincial or national catalogues for you to check and enlarge with your own data.

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
46080 Valencia