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2023/DECEMBER/15 (EN)

English language editing: Martin Shough.


The present-day FOTOCAT warehouse is both physical and digital. There is a 26-column data matrix on a computer catalog in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. It synthesizes the material information contained in documents, reports, investigations, press clippings, articles, case analyses, photography, etc. collected for every single case, kept in chronologically ordered individual folders, within hundreds of portfolios stored in large cabinets in a dedicated room. To date, the database gathers 13,115 entries, mostly for a period ending December 31, 2005.

Partial view of the FOTOCAT warehouse.


The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony

Praise for this book (May 2023) continues, to be added to quotes already listed in this blog’s prior update:

Recommended edition,” as per The International Journal of Ecopsychology, Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2023.

A valuable resource,” Ray Ward, The Skeptical Intelligencer, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2023, pp 9-10, https://www.aske-skeptics.org.uk/resources/Intelligencer/Vol 26 3.pdf

What an amazing resource!,” Charlie Wiser.

Readers will delight in the fascinating case histories presented in The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony … sixty experts examine these questions in depth and insightfully. These cases teach us a lot about how people come to believe that they have experienced bizarre events that may not have even happened.” Post on the homepage of GWUP (Society for the Scientific Study of Parasciences, Germany), October 1, 2023, https://tinyurl.com/2s4y96k7

British veteran UFO scholar John Rimmer of Magonia fame has signed a book review published in the December 2023 issue of the celebrated journal Fortean Times (#438, 50th anniversary issue): “Virtually every single essay in this collection is interesting, and they provide valuable insight into the way UFO phenomena are perceived, processed and recorded.”

Phenomena Magazine, #175, November 2023, page 28, says: “It’s all here and some of the conclusions will undoubtedly be unwelcome, but need to be said. This book … is an almost essential reference tool for anyone who takes UFOs and the attendant phenomena seriously. Highly recommended.”

Several professional journals have demanded the book for review and we look forward to having them published in due time.

Thanks to Dr. Gary Posner, in order to push knowledge about Reliability, references to the book have been added to the following 13 Wikipedia entries (English edition):  Cash–Landrum incident, Pascagoula Abduction, Raël, Phoenix Lights, Ufology, Gulf Breeze UFO incident, Barney and Betty Hill incident, Alien abduction, Ball lightning, Psychosocial UFO hypothesis, Kecksburg UFO incident, Hypnagogia, and Hypnosis. See: tinyurl.com/UFO-Witness-book-Wiki (the mention in Richard Noll's entry had already been added).

Readership news up today from the online access. Hardly seven months after the book’s release, it has had 5,200 views and 1,350 downloads. Plus the hard book sales from publisher UPIAR. Our objective is being fulfilled.

The book is available for free from Academia.edu at this link:


And a 711-page softbound, A-4 print copy can be purchased in two editions (black & white, and full color) from UPIAR: http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?artID=201

Adapted for the publication of The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony by French researcher Raoul Robé–with a pinch of humour–from Pat Oliphan’s celebrated 1967 cartoon: a couple of aliens from a saucer seize copies of the book, while in the UPIAR office someone with a FOTOCAT notebook yells to them, “It’s too late, sirs, the book has been downloaded over 1,300 times!

Mi correspondencia con Antonio Ribera

Pending a forthcoming print version of this book (title translates as “My correspondence with Antonio Ribera”), this is a 750-page book released free of charge July 2023 through Academia.edu at:


A volume in Spanish, it collects my letter exchanges with prominent writer and ufologist Antonio Ribera from 1966 to his death in 2001, with photographs illustrating our meetings with UFO mandarins Aimé Michel and Jacques Vallée, travels or symposia we shared, and more. This tome has received 900 views and was downloaded 300 times to this day. It is a small piece of national UFO history. See this blogsite for September 2023 for a long list of plaudits from all sides of the UFO movement in Spain:


Latest Press Interview

Spanish journalist Luis Alfonso Gámez did interview me, and it was massively distributed by the Vocento publishing group on October 2, 2023:


Interview to V.J. Ballester Olmos, El Correo, October 15, 2023. Photograph by Manuel Molines.



V.J. Ballester Olmos


Last year, NASA commissioned a panel of 16 scientists as an Independent Study Team on UAPs, to which they dedicated nine months. (1) Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) is really a biased term promoted by influenced ideological interests of certain U.S. senators and congressmen, of what in the fifties of the last century were called UFOs. In 1947 they were the famous flying saucers, which in 1946 were called ghost rockets, in World War II they were “foo-fighters”, mysterious airplanes were named in the 1930s, mystery airships were between 1908 and 1918, phantom balloons from 1899 to 1902, phantom airships during the North American wave of 1896-1897, mysterious visitors in 1883, or the great French balloon fear of 1789, for example. A sequence of aerial phenomena that has frightened the world's population for more than 200 years, on every occasion interpreted in accordance with the aeronautical culture of the moment and, always, with a substratum of panic or uncertainty.

Yesterday, September 14, 2023, NASA released the report resulting from said study. Its initial objective was to provide “potential methods for studying unidentified anomalous phenomena.” But to be 100 percent truthful, their Statement of Tasks included, among others: “What types of scientific data currently collected and archived by NASA or other civilian government and held by non-profits and companies entities should be synthesized and analyzed to potentially shed light on the nature and origins of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena?”, “What other types of scientific data should be collected by NASA to enhance the potential for developing an understanding of the nature and origins of UAP?”, “What basic physical constraints can be placed on the nature and origins of UAP?”, “What civilian airspace data related to UAPs have been collected by government agencies and are available for analysis to (a) inform efforts to better understand the nature and origins of UAPs, and (b) determine the risk of UAPs to the National Air Space (NAS)?” Let's check if this report meets the goals they set for themselves.

The final report, of 33 pages (2), may be partially disappointing only if we expected presentation and analysis of cases. That is, some documented evidence of examples of anomalous UFOs/UAPs. Because there isn't. It clearly states that “this is not a review of previous UAP incidents.” Its Executive Summary notes: “The study of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) presents a unique scientific opportunity that demands a rigorous, evidence-based approach. Addressing this challenge will require new and robust data acquisition methods, advanced analysis techniques, a systematic reporting framework and reducing reporting stigma. NASA – with its extensive expertise in these domains and global reputation for scientific openness – is in an excellent position to contribute to UAP studies within the broader whole-of-government framework led by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).”

In simple words: there are anomalous phenomena that cannot be explained (supposedly they would then show and demonstrate examples of them), their study has great scientific potential (I hope they will explain why), it demands a rigorous study and always based on evidence (I could not agree more), they quote again the never-existing but fashionable “stigma” of reporting UFO cases (when there are millions of reports around the world coming from all walks of life), and it positions NASA as a competitor of AARO (the UAP office of the U.S. Department of Defense) (3) for researching UAPs (I guess, as long as it is accompanied by additional and generous government funds). If A. Dumas said «Cherchez la femme!», now I'm afraid that the motivation is «Cherchez the money!»

The report describes the state of UFO information (let's use the classical terminology) and notes that the analysis of case data is hampered by poor sensory calibration and by the lack of multiple measurements, sensor metadata, and baseline data. The “evidence” that UFO promoters, enthusiasts and gullible people claim to exist is very poor. The best events (the rarest ones) are explainable, a process that has been well documented over the past 76 years.

For the panelists, all of them rookies to UFO research, which, like everything, would require a prior knowledge of the subject, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms are essential tools to identify apparently strange events such as UAPs. However, the report rightfully indicates that these powerful techniques will only work on well-characterized data gathered with respect to strong standards, which is exactly what ufology has been unable to provide to date.

They state: Finally, the threat to U.S. airspace safety posed by UAP is self-evident. And they must remain content with this. Where has the risk to aviation been–not just in the United States, but around the world–all these years? Birds, lightning, drones, balloons, even out-of-control missiles, do represent objective risks, but UFOs? One would expect a list of extraordinary cases to support such a claim. Yet no, you will not find them in this report. But NASA next proposes deepening–surely with federal funding–the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which NASA administers for the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA).

From the very Foreword itself, the reader is partially surprised. On one hand, it says that “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) are one of our planet’s greatest mysteries. Observations of objects in our skies that cannot be identified as balloons, aircraft, or natural known phenomena have been spotted worldwide.” That is true, but a precision is required, that many “unidentified” for the gullible sector of ufology are subject to resolution for skeptical researchers and analysts. That is, probably there are no unexplainable phenomena after all. However, the report adds a very substantial statement:high-quality observations are limited.” And it continues with an important paragraph:

Despite numerous accounts and visuals, the absence of consistent, detailed, and curated observations means we do not presently have the body of data needed to make definitive, scientific conclusions about UAP.

An outstanding, unprecedented decision derived directly from this study is that, for greater coordination with the UAP Office of the Department of Defense (AARO: All Domain Anomaly Resolution Office), which has a strong military and intelligence character, NASA will appoint a Director of UAP Research, who will centralize communications and mutual leverage of information and resources with the government UAP initiative.

The crux of the matter in evaluating the significance of this problem lies in its nature. For example, quoting from the NASA report: “Recently, many credible witnesses, often military aviators, have reported seeing objects they did not recognize over U.S. airspace. Most of these events have since been explained, but a small handful cannot be immediately identified as known human-made or natural phenomena.” The key here is “recently,” which indicates that incoming data is now generated by social media. In the last few years there has been an explosion of videos and testimonies, many of them initially leaked to the media by those responsible‒believers in extraterrestrial UFOs‒from the U.S. Navy UAP Task Force (2018-2021), which preceded the AARO. These cases, which have been strongly questioned by skeptical, scientific analysts, do not represent the “true” UFO phenomenon, if one ever exists. These were sightings by pilots, out of the hundreds collected, that essentially differ from the type of occurrences that has led to the popular consciousness of extraterrestrial UFOs: close encounters, landings, presence of humanoids, and abductions. NASA has no idea about those. And what it also ignores is the psychological and sociological perspective of the “phenomenon” and the mediocre reliability of human testimony, an aspect that 60 academic authors have just studied in an international volume of more than 700 pages. (4)

The report rightly insists:

It is increasingly clear that the majority of UAP observations can be attributed to known phenomena or occurrences … this includes eyewitness reports, which on their own can be interesting and compelling, but are not reproducible and usually lack the information needed to make any definitive conclusions about a UAP’s provenance.

NASA's self-assigned role is to provide “a rigorous, evidence-based, data-driven scientific framework.” And to do so, it presents resolutions consistent with the eight cardinal points of its founding purposes. I will highlight some of them.

Regarding scientific data collected by NASA that would be relevant to UAP research, it only ambiguously cites the existence of “a variety of existing and planned Earth- and space-observing assets, together with an extensive archive of historic and current data sets, which should be used to address the challenges of detecting and/or understanding UAP.” The document alludes to its fleet of space satellites which, unfortunately, lack the resolution to detect “relatively small” objects such as UAPs. Indeed, it appears that the robot portrait of a UAP is a round, white, translucent object between 1 and 4 meters in diameter. (5) Doesn't this remind you of the profile of a balloon? It also mentions other promising technological capabilities for scrutinizing UAPs, such as the NEXRAD Doppler radar network, geostationary satellites, large-scale sky surveys based on telescopes, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), etc. NASA again defines the data available on UAP to date as “observations initially acquired for other purposes, which often lack adequate metadata and are not optimized for systematic scientific analysis.”

Regarding data stored by the private sector or the industry, the report does not say anything about it either, except to propose the implementation of sophisticated sensors and observation systems from the ground or the space that could be used to capture elusive phenomena such as UAPs. Here, the space agency again lays out criteria and postulates itself for the job when it states that “robust data calibration is vital, and here NASA again can play an important advisory role.” The panel’s study already advances that this will be expensive: “Although a substantial investment, the standardization of collected information via well-crafted calibration will make it possible to carry out a rigorous scientific investigation into UAP. NASA’s experience in this area will be essential,” it adds.

When referring to other types of information to be collected about UAPs, NASA is cautious (I suspect that it is thinking of the now famous three videos of the U.S. Navy) and it indicates that “data signatures are vast … [yet] it is imperative to set clear evidence thresholds to avoid errors, especially with automated methods.” For the umpteenth time, the poverty of available information is evident when the panel highlights that “at present, gathering data on UAP is hampered by sensor calibration challenges and a lack of sensor metadata.” That necessary calibration is described as critical to eliminate what frequently takes place in recent UFO/UAP reports collected by the U.S. Department of Defense: false positives, which are due to errors in the image-capture sensors.

The section on analytical techniques to be used in the assessment of the nature and origin of UAPs emphasizes the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning but it insists‒as it could not be otherwise‒that applying good tools to bad data is inefficient. In the language of the present century, it invokes to the «garbage in, garbage out» of early computer experts when it writes: “However, the effectiveness of AI and ML in studying UAP depends critically upon the quality of the data … At present, UAP analysis is more limited by the quality of data than by the availability of techniques.”

The report proposes three approaches to the analysis of alleged anomalies. The first would be to build a model of the typical UAP and eliminate what does not fit with such characteristics. But the authors are well aware of its difficulty: we do not possess‒not even close, I rush to add‒any “consistent description of the physical characteristics of UAP.” But there is more, I am willing to stress: such consistency will never be found, because there is not a single UAP phenomenon but rather a gross aggregate of false observations, a set of absolute entropy. That model doesn't work. The second formulation is more classic: consists of modelling the background properties and look for anything that deviates from that model. This is the approach that UFO researchers have followed for decades, until it was verified that the supposed anomalies lacked patterns and that each supposedly unusual phenomenon reflected personal tendencies of the observer (especially in the most extreme and closer cases).

A third avenue for scientific study would be to correlate NASA's extensive databases with locations and times of UAP events (actually, we have been successfully doing that for years in order to explain UFO cases), but the report adds, not unintentionally, that “NASA's expertise in AI and ML will allow it to make a prominent contribution.” The space agency rightly advises and, at the same time, sells itself well: “Proper curation and integration of data are also critical for enabling scientific analysis … NASA, with its expertise in data calibration, management, and advanced analysis is well-positioned to take a central role in these efforts within the whole-of-government framework to assess UAP.” The only thing missing here was to request directly: increase our budget!

Regarding the determination of the basic physical limitations that can be imposed on the nature and origins of UAPs, another of the panel's mandates, the text reflects on what is known about conventional flying objects in terms as far as range of speeds and accelerations, for example, to be matched with those of the UAP, but here it is recognized that the biggest problem is knowing exactly the distance between the observer and the UAP, a variable of enormous uncertainty in UFO reports. The NASA document is crystal clear:

Observations of UAP to date are inconsistent and do not adhere to similar characteristics.

Regarding the availability of UAP-related aerospace data collected by government agencies, NASA is posited as a key player. After noting the existence of the data accumulated by the Federal Aviation Agency, it notes that they are not optimized for this UAP search function, the report concludes that “the collection of data is sparse, unsystematic, and lacks any curation or vetting protocols” and it offers advice based on NASA’s experience in methodology, data analysis and organization. Thus, this sentence:

Although such eyewitness reports are often interesting and compelling, they are insufficient on their own for making definitive conclusions about UAP.

To counteract this deficiency, the panel states that a promising solution involves exploiting the structure of the Aviation Safety Reporting System, managed by NASA for the FAA and which since the mid-1970s has received nearly two millions of reports on all types of air operations. NASA understands that it is in an optimal position to apply this “confidential, voluntary, non-punitive reporting system” for UAP data collection. Additionally, the space agency affirms that its experience in the development of tools for air traffic management can also be focused on the acquisition of UAP data and provide critical assistance in the identification and evaluation of new safety systems.

Finally, the chapter of conclusions and recommendations summarizes all the above, among which the following stand out:

We recommend that NASA plays a prominent role in the whole-of-government effort to understand UAP by leveraging its extensive expertise to contribute to a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that is rooted in the scientific method. At present, the detection of UAP is often serendipitous, captured by sensors that were not designed or calibrated for this purpose, and which lack comprehensive metadata. Coupled with incomplete data archiving and curation, this means that the origin of numerous UAP remain uncertain.

In conclusion, NASA claims to be a uniquely essential agency to contribute to a solid and systematic approach to studying UAPs, about which it says nothing regarding their nature, except to point out the low quality of the data existing today. In my opinion, NASA has found a new niche for future funding from the U.S. Government and does not want to miss the opportunity.

What NASA does not suspect‒it lacks historical knowledge‒is that the most relevant information is the verbal accounts from supposed eyewitnesses from the ground (requiring more psychologists than astronomers for their evaluation), and that when all the systems and sensors they recommend are finally applied, for example to sightings by aviators, they will find conventional aerospace, astronomical and even biological solutions.

It is true that the report generally offers what it promised: a roadmap for contemporary research into the phenomenon, a series of indications as to what to do and how from now on. The document may be exciting for newcomers to the study of this topic. But it is still frustrating that, after seven decades of acute phenomenology, we still have to start from scratch. Ultimately, in my opinion, NASA is moving away from its fundamental objective, the study of space (most UFOs are observed in the lower atmosphere, if not near the ground), but I realize that it is a financial opportunity that the agency cannot waste.

In summary:

Existing UFO (UAP) data is not scientific in nature

NASA has decided to advise and investigate UAPs (I assume with extra funds)

Not the slightest hint of comment on the popular UFO/alien association

Acknowledgment: To Steve Roberts for editing.


(1) V.J. Ballester Olmos and Chris Aubeck, “The Needle in the Haystack: Reflections on the NASA UAP Meeting, May 2023,”


(2) https://science.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/uap-independent-study-team-final-report.pdf

(3) https://www.aaro.mil/

(4) V.J. Ballester Olmos and R.W. Heiden (Eds.), The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony, UPIAR (Turin), 2023,



(5) V.J. Ballester Olmos, “The 2023 U.S. Senate UAP Hearing,” https://www.academia.edu/101720680/The_2023_U_S_Senate_UAP_Hearing

Breaking news: NASA appoints a director for UAP Research: https://www.nasa.gov/news-release/update-nasa-shares-uap-independent-study-report-names-director/

Related to the NASA study, position and plans for future research, the Spanish physicist Julio Plaza del Olmo has written a very insightful essay that analyzes the epistemological side of the problem. In summary, the author says:

NASA intends to study UAPs, using calibrated sensors. But how is that done? What does NASA have to look for to detect UAPs? What ARE the properties of UAPs that allow to detect them? How can one identify a "real UAP" and not confuse it with a star, the moon, a plane, or a balloon? The problem of the scientific study of UAPs begins with the very definition of the problem. After nearly 80 years of UFOs (now UAPs), there is no valid scientific definition of what the "phenomenon" is about. And it is impossible to conduct a proper scientific study without one.

I advise all UFO researchers to reads it in full. It is titled “The problem of the definition of UAP,” and can be accessed here:



V.J. Ballester Olmos


On October 17, 2023, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), jointly with the Secretary of Defense (U.S. Department of Defense), released the “Fiscal Year 2023 Consolidated Annual Report on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena” (1) through the website of the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).

This article aims to review the released Report. Highlighted quotes from the Report, to be commented upon, will appear indented, in italics.

The public, unclassified version consists of 16 pages and is divided into six chapters:

I. Executive Summary

The FY 2023 Annual Report covers UAP reports received from 31 August 2022 to 30 April 2023, a total of 291. The total number of UAP reports accumulated by AARO from 2019 to 2023 equals 801. The Report recognizes “a strong but shifting collection bias,” due to the preponderance of incoming incidents from “restricted military airspace.”

During the reporting period, AARO received no reports indicating UAP sightings have been associated with any adverse health effects.

The above quote derives directly from one of the 17 specific elements dictated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (Public Law 117-263, enacted 23 December 2022), which the AARO Annual Report is mandated to address, and certainly proceeds indirectly from the impact left to credulous lawmakers by the myth of flying saucers and UFOs of the past century, when literature and movies encouraged reports of “close encounters,” including landings and creatures in whose imagined environments the supposed witnesses suffered biological effects from their proximity.

Many reports from military witnesses do present potential safety of flight concerns.

Potential” concern is far different from actual danger. Impression of danger is a quite subjective notion. A pilot can estimate an object to be at a dangerous range, while objective measurements can determine it to have been many more miles away. Without automated, recorded data corroborating that UAPs pose a real menace to aviation, this aspect of the problem seems far from established fact.

There are some cases where reported UAP have potentially exhibited one or more concerning performance characteristics such as high-speed travel or unusual maneuverability.

How much is “some”? 50%? 1%? 0.1%? Defining the significance of such cases requires quantification, and the exhibition of abnormal flight features must be objectively demonstrated. We need detailed accounts of such cases for independent probing.

That these above-stated safety concerns are far from definitive is understood when the Report indicates that “AARO … continues to work closely with its DoD and Intelligence Community mission partners to identify and attribute any objects found in these cases.” The Report goes on to say:

The continued volume and unidentified nature of most UAP is a direct consequence of gaps in domain awareness.

This means that the AARO analysts are starting to comprehend the volatile nature of UFO phenomena, recognizing that radar, optical and infrared sensors generate artifacts and show effects, like parallax, IR flare, etc., that denaturalize the original substance of the sightings. Research on UFO observation has proved that the human factor (2,3) is an important component in the sighting process.

AARO is foreseeing the future when the Report advances that

Based on the ability to resolve cases to date, with an increase in the quality of data secured, the unidentified and purportedly anomalous nature of most UAP will likely resolve to ordinary phenomena. (Emphasis added.)

Not a surprise for those who have been researching UFOs for over 50 years and have travelled the trail AARO is now roaming.

II. Scope and Assumptions

This Report has been jointly prepared by AARO and ODNI’s National Intelligence Manager for Military Integration (NIM-MIL) and puffs out its chest by listing up to 32 different offices, agencies, centers, administrations, laboratories, councils and services with which it has been coordinated, including NASA, NSA, DIA, NGA, FBI, NOAA, FAA, and, of course, the Army, Navy, USAF and the Space Force. It is odd, however, that neither NORAD nor CIA is explicitly included.

AARO, while acknowledging that “a wide range of factors can influence the observation and detection of UAP,” assumes that the observer’s recollection and reporting of events is accurate and that sensors operate correctly. These are debatable principles, but for the sake of establishing initial assumptions, these are acceptable. Having said that,

AARO and NIM-MIL recognize that many reports are probably the result of sensor artifacts, equipment error, misidentification, or misperception.

That is the conclusion skeptic-prone UFO researchers have been holding for years. Determining the magnitude of these “many” and, above all, analyzing in detail those reports that have thus far eluded an explanation, require full availability of the data.

III. UAP Reporting is Increasing Across the U.S. Government, and the Implementation of Improved

Analytic Processes is Revealing Trends

For the benefit of interested scholars, we present the historical tally of reports received by AARO:

In the “Overall Trend Analysis” section in this long-titled chapter of the Report, one would expect what it foreshadows, but we find neither Overall, nor Trend nor Analysis. It merely provides the bare number of events collected in the preceding eight months: 290 cases were sightings from aircraft or air platforms and one from the maritime domain. “No transmedium or space domain UAP reports were submitted to AARO.” Frankly, in the absence of any complex statistical study, the period for figures should have extended throughout one complete year, 1 September 2022 to 30 August 2023 (close to a fiscal year). Doing so would have reflected, even more dramatically, the marked growth in reporting: during the 18-month range covered by the 2022 Report, on average 20 cases per month were collected, whereas in the eight-month range for the 2023 Report, the number was 36 per month, almost double! Obviously, this increase in pilot sightings is due to the heightened awareness issue in military and civil aviation today. As I see it, the motivation for this added attention is artificially planted and may generate false consequences.

The almost total preponderance of reported sightings being airborne is not only the result of a “shifting collection bias.” It is a distinct class of phenomena being reported, which is not representative of the 75-year history of the UFO phenomena, during which the number of observations from aircraft, though important, has been relatively minimal in proportion (~0.01%). Thus, this skewed sampling does not address the core of what UFOs are, as far as their nature and origin, assuming a phenomenological continuum.

The “Geographic and Safety Trends Coming into Focus” section contains charts, graphs and figures exclusively for the reports submitted from 31 August 2022 to 30 April 30, 2023, which is a very narrow window. Incredibly, in 53% of the cases, UAP morphology was “Not reported”! (See pie chart below.) The next-largest group is 25% for “Orb, Round, Sphere”; however, the numbers in the 1996-2023 plot on the AARO website (7) indicate that this category amounts to 47%. And back to the FY 2023 Report, leaving aside the 5% for “Ambiguous Sensor Contact,” the remaining 17% of objects detected or observed are represented by as many as six different shapes!

Another significant feature of these pilot UAP that differs from historically typical UFOs has to do with light, or should we say with the absence of it; in the 291 AARO cases, 79% had no lights. As per the Report’s “UAP altitudes” bar graph, approximately 40% were spotted at about 7,500 meters (20,000-25,000 ft). And the geographical distribution is atypical: in addition to local military testing and training areas in the Pacific (California off-shore) and the Atlantic (Florida off-shore), the other two noted high-intensity regions are the Middle East and Korea, which undoubtedly is only because they are intelligence targets of the United States.

In the section “Increased FAA Reporting Shifting Geographic Collection Bias and Morphology Trend,” we learn that of the more than 100 incidents coming from the Federal Aviation Administration, “the vast majority concern sightings of unidentified lights without specific shape.” This basically means that the observation of lights discloses no shapes and the observation of shapes discloses no lights. But the major disclosure of this section reads,

None of these reports suggest the UAP were exhibiting anomalous characteristics, maneuvered to an unsafe proximity to civil aircraft, or posed a threat to flight safety to the observing aircraft.

Yet, recall how in chapter I of this Report we find this:

Many reports from military witnesses do present potential safety of flight concerns.

Why the difference in risk versus no risk between military and civil aviators? Is this a slip in the Report’s writing, or a difference in perception? If the latter, as military pilots are not as used to flying in company, might they tend to exaggerate the risk when spotting other craft unexpectedly?

Having said that, it would be tragic—or comical—if, based on UFO stories, the United States Government were to introduce elements of fear for international aviation. Fortunately, this has not happened. And I expect it never will.

Another myth-related aspect of UFO narratives is the effects that UFOs allegedly exert on the human body. As transmedium and space objects, AARO has been pushed to study possible events of this type. Yet another section title of this Report reveals “No Health/Physiological Impacts from UAP Incidents Reported.”

The section titled “Data and Intelligence Sources Received Through Various Intelligence Channels” is summarized as this: “AARO’s analysts scour multiple classified and unclassified databases to identify any existing data on each UAP case … the amount and variety of technical data produced will increase, facilitating more and better analytic fidelity.” Seems they are doing a good job.

IV. AARO Program Updates

An important preliminary conclusion from the “Analytic Division” section is put forward:

AARO’s analytic efforts are confirming that only a very small percentage of UAP reports display interesting signatures, such as high-speed travel and unknown morphologies.

We expect to someday read a veritable technical report documenting examples of such “interesting signature” events, that is, what ufology calls “high strangeness” cases, for independent evaluation.

The majority of unidentified objects reported to AARO demonstrate ordinary characteristics of readily explainable sources, while a large number of cases in AARO’s holdings remain technically unresolved because of a lack of data.

This finding mirrors our own, long-time investigation. No-data reports are no-value reports. We do not contest that AARO is approaching the rarest events with objectivity and rigor. From my perspective, it is naive to believe that “modeling and simulation [will] validate analyses and the underlying theories” and that “peer reviewing those results” will help with reaching valid conclusions. But this naivety is a step they will have to cross in the course of this research. At some future point in time, AARO will realize that there is not a coherent set of anomalies.

Under the section titled “Operations and Collections Division,” the Report mentions the development of reporting standards, acquisition or mission-specific sensors, and guided integration of UAP data. And the input under “Science and Technology Division” discusses the establishment of a plan to identify systems “to detect, track, and characterize UAP,” like a campaign aimed to calibrate sensors for measuring balloons, drones, and natural phenomena. In my view, this byproduct could be a practical contribution to real science.

The last section of this chapter, titled “Strategic Communications Division,” just notes accomplishments in this field: the open Congressional hearing of “21 March 2023” (a dating mistake herethe Senate Armed Services Subcommittee open hearing, chaired by Senator Gillibrand, at which AARO’s director Dr. Kirkpatrick testified, took place on 19 April 2023) (8,9), AARO’s public-facing website (7), and “classified collaborating mechanisms to encourage cooperation on UAP investigation and research among government agencies.” They have to sell what they have done. Bravo.

V. Way Forward

The space and maritime domains need to be fully integrated into AARO’s processes,” they say. In my opinion, those domains will only constitute sources of additional garbage. But seen from a positive perspective, if AARO does eventually integrate all possible domains, its final conclusion will hopefully address all possible origins for UAP as well. And we will celebrate that.

It is here where the Report points out that “collaboration with Space Force, U.S. Space Command, NRO, and NASA is well underway.” Good—they are integrating NORAD, a source of many space and high-altitude unidentifieds over the years, whose data will thus become available for scrutiny.

VI. Appendices

We had previously criticized the acute lack of case investigation reports. In “Appendix A: Case Closure Report,” we read, “Attached is a pilot example of the result of AARO’s full-phase analytic process.” The case resolution and accompanying unclassified analyses will be published on AARO’s website. At the time of this writing, October 25, 2023, this still has not been released. The published case essentials describe it as a 2021 event occurring in the western United States, consisting of “equidistant lights that flew at a relatively constant pace” and which presented a potential incursion into restricted military airspace. Captured by infrared sensors, the case was resolved as the lights of a commercial airplane up to 300 nautical miles away from the sensor, transiting a known flight corridor between major airports in the region. The mistake made by pilots here was to grossly underestimate the actual distance to the object. (See the following illustration).

The AARO Report closes with “Appendix B: Glossary of Terms.” Reading it out of context, one enters into the realm of science fiction with terms like “Spaceborne UAP” (anomalous detections over 100 km height), “Seaborne UAP” (anomalous detections below sea level) and “Transmedium UAP” (anomalous detections that transit more than one domain). All classifications are attached to preconceptions. AARO’s case division is situational (space, atmosphere, sea, or interchangeable) while the standard classification in ufology is observational (nocturnal lights, daylight discs, radar-visual, close encounters of the first, second and third kind) (10).

My closing assessment: Is this the kind of report we had expected from AARO? No. In that regard, it is somewhat disappointing—a report simple in content that looks like a brief, administrative, bureaucratic paper, with a minimum of information and no case investigation, instances of anomalous cases, technical information, or statistical analysis.

Having collected 801 UAP reports from the best possible sources, AARO still has not produced any solid, worthwhile examples of aerial anomalies.

On the other hand, we are contemplating how basic findings emerge, findings which—at least so far—are in line with what we have anticipated in previous essays (9,11).


To Julio Plaza del Olmo, Manuel Borraz, and Douglas Dean Johnson for comments. To Gary Posner, for assistance with editing.


(1) https://www.aaro.mil/Portals/136/PDFs/FY23_Consolidated_Annual_Report_on_UAP-Oct_2023.pdf?ver=BmBEf_4EBtMRu9JZ6-ySuQ%3d%3d

(2) William K. Hartman, “Process of Perception, Conception, and Reporting,” in Daniel S. Gillmor (ed.), Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects. E.P. Dutton (New York), 1969, pp. 567-590.

(3) V.J. Ballester-Olmos and Richard W. Heiden (eds.), The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony. UPIAR (Turin), 2023.



(4) https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/Prelimary-Assessment-UAP-20210625.pdf

(5) https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/Unclassified-2022-Annual-Report-UAP.pdf

(6) V.J. Ballester Olmos and Julio Plaza del Olmo, “The 2022 Annual Report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, A Review,”


(7) https://www.aaro.mil/

(8) https://youtu.be/gFmbMG6nKU4

(9) V.J. Ballester Olmos, “The 2023 U.S. Senate UAP Hearing,”


(10) J. Allen Hynek, The UFO Experience. A Scientific Inquiry. Henry Regnery Co. (Chicago), 1972.

(11) V.J. Ballester Olmos and Chris Aubeck, “The Needle in the Haystack: Reflections on the NASA UAP Meeting, May 2023,” https://www.academia.edu/103389571/The_Needle_in_the_Haystack_Reflections_on_the_NASA_UAP_Meeting_May_2023

The AARO UAP Footage

Last May I wrote the article “The 2023 U.S. Senate UAP Hearing,” reviewing the intervention of Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick (director of AARO) before the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, on April 19, 2023. There, with the apt analytical collaboration of engineer Manuel Borraz and physicist Julio Plaza del Olmo, footage taken by a drone’s camera in July 2022 in an undisclosed location in the Middle East, classified as “unidentified,” was studied and we reached the conclusion that the images were compatible with the flight of a balloon of a size between 12.5 cm to 37.5 cm:


Now, Nathan Patin, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Logan Williams, a data scientist for Bellingcat, have published their report “Isn’t That A Balloon? Deflating a DoD UFO Video,” with a fine analysis of this video that they geolocated to an area northeast of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. According to their size calculations, “the object has a maximum diameter of approximately 0.43 metres [43 cm] or smaller.” And they add as a conclusion:

A balloon is consistent with what we see in the video. They can be spherical, they can appear metallic (particularly those made of foil), and they can float in the air. … Further supporting the balloon hypothesis is the video’s coinciding with Eid al-Adha, one of the two major holidays in Islam. The video is time-stamped July 12, 2022, the last day of the three-day holiday that year. Eid in Syria, as in other parts of the Muslim world, is celebrated with gifts, including balloons. Photos and videos from past Eid al-Adha celebrations in Damascus and Deir ez-Zor show balloons were present.

Without the huge resources of the United States Department of Defense, independent researchers have convincingly identified the nature of the object as a simple balloon. However, the “Cases – Official UAP Videos” section of the AARO website shows this video as follows: “This clip was taken by an MQ-9 in the Middle East, and while AARO assesses the object in the clip is not exhibiting anomalous behavior, the object remains unidentified.” If they plan to typify as “unidentified” every object unless—this case, for example—the exact name of the street vendor of the little balloon is known (or his shoe size, for that matter), I am afraid the number of unidentifieds will be artificially very high. As far as this event is concerned: if data match with a balloon in dynamics, shape and dimension, it is enough evidence to call it identified. Period. Otherwise, one is inflating the percentage of “unknowns” in the final statistics, which sounds a very bad practice, because for the public and the media “unidentified” is equal to “anomaly”, which is far from the truth!.

AARO BREAKING NEWS. On December 1, 2023, AARO updated its website by adding the new item “Case Resolution Reports” within the web’s CASES section. It contains three study reports: “Atmospheric wake”, videos captured on 2022 and 2023 in the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea showing what seem to be the atmospheric trail left by a UAP. It was simply an aircraft, the “wake” being a sensor artifact. “Southeast Asia Triangles”, footage of six triangles that becomes fishing nets on the ocean surface. And “Western United States”, a video recorded in 2021 in a U.S. military airspace that can be explained as an aircraft 300 NM away from the sensor which shot the images. See: https://www.aaro.mil/

Assembled News on the U.S. UAP Government Scene

AARO director’s Sean Kirkpatrick held an open, off-camera press briefing on October 31, 2023. Presented by Sue Gough, from Defense Press Operations, the official transcript is found here: https://tinyurl.com/4j8v2ph6

On behalf of The War Zone, Howard Altman posed some questions. In this article he vouches his personal views about the roundtable:


UAP: The Search for Clarity,” was a conference held at The Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security (Arlington, Virginia) on November 15, 2023, where Dr. Kirkpatrick also participated. Good to listen:


Hayden Center’s recap may be found here, as written by Joseph Kiliany:


Some clarifications from Kirkpatrick’s intervention are worth mentioning:

It does not mean that the phenomena are not understandable. It just means that initially, they don’t know what it looks like, what it is, or what it’s doing … Most of these things turn out to be very prosaic things that we can identify … (out of the ~800 cases reported to AARO) only 2 to 4 percent necessitate an in-depth investigation … If you’re asking me, is there something that is really, truly anomalous that we don’t know what it is yet and I don’t know what to do with it yet, (the answer is) no … I can tell you for certain we have absolutely no evidence that anything matches the extraterrestrial hypothesis. We have no evidence of any of that.

Regarding whistleblowers, Dr. Kirkpatrick said that all of the information learned in these investigations is compiled into a two-part report, with the first volume scheduled for release in December 2023.

Unexpectedly, Dr. Kirkpatrick plans to leave the UFO office and retires from service in December 2023. Everything points to intolerable pressure and criticism from certain media and social networks supporting the wild idea that the U.S. government knows about aliens and secretly practices reverse engineering on these cosmic spacecraft. Although Kirkpatrick has affirmed to Politico that he has accomplished everything he said he was going to do, I am afraid he cannot be fully sincere about his real motives because of loyalty to his organization. The naming of Kirkpatrick’s successor will indicate the ideological direction AARO will take in the coming months and years. You can read the official Department of Defense communique and a couple of other commentaries here:

DoD: https://tinyurl.com/mr4a299j

Politico: https://www.politico.com/news/2023/11/07/pentagon-ufo-boss-00125883

The Daily Mail: https://tinyurl.com/3a5nbbjz

In the tide of nonsense we see day after day in the U.S. regarding UAP, from press to Congress, occasionally the fresh air of common sense and reason emerge. Please don’t miss investigative reporter Art Levine’s articles in The Washington Spectator, “Spaceship of Fools,” July 20, 2023, and “UFO Tales and Witness Credibility Falling Apart After Congressional Hearings,” September 8, 2023,



As a complementing source, I’d suggest listening to this chat between Dr. Luis Cayetano and that prize-winning journalist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BcV_JRVVqw

Billy Cox dissects the content of Inside the U.S. Government Covert UFO Program: Initial Revelations, AAWSAP’s chief James Lacatski’s second collaboration with co-authors Colm Kelleher, a biochemist, and journalist George Knapp. In “A glimmer of light from the black world,” the subtitle “But is ex-AAWSAP director James Lacatski telling the truth?,” already signals the tone of the reviewer. https://lifeinjonestown.substack.com/p/a-glimmer-of-light-from-the-black

Author and researcher Jason Colavito shows bright writing again when breaking down personalities who are having a disproportionally high influence in Congress UAP-related activities, in posts like “David Grusch Says Ufology Returned Him ‘Full Circle" to His Lapsed Faith’,” and “Chris Mellon's Incoherent UFO Analysis Reveals a Millennialist Salvation Fantasy,” posts you can find in the two following links:



For God’s sake, in whose hands is the future of UFO/UAP investigation in the USA?

Shall the circle be broken? For some critics, the U.S. Department of Defense continues to be secretive as far as UAP is concerned. The Black Vault wrote last October: “This battle for transparency highlights a broader narrative of governmental secrecy. Each denial and every newly introduced exemption underscores the substantial hurdles faced in shedding light on the unknown, particularly concerning phenomena that captivate public interest and imagination.” https://www.theblackvault.com/documentarchive/dod-amplifies-ufo-secrecy-yet-again-additional-exemptions-reinforce-law-enforcement-claim/

It reminds me of the posture of Philip Klass regarding the secrecy applied to certain UFO cases, it is not the UFOs themselves that deserve secrecy but the information sources, the transmission modes, the intelligence process incurred, the technology involved, etc. Klass wrote something about some highly redacted declassified NSA documents in The Skeptical Inquirer (Fall 1989) and in the Skeptics UFO Newsletter (January 1997):



Don’t get me wrong: I am for full disclosure as well. I hope in the end there will be a good compromise between openness and the Nation’s integrity.

Poster child” David Grusch keeps on telling his story to everybody that wants to hear, but not everybody believes him. Read the Daily Caller’s editorial of November 24, 2023 by Kay Smithe: “Not Even Joe Rogan Can Make This UFO ‘Whistleblower’ Sound Convincing,” https://dailycaller.com/2023/11/24/joe-rogan-experience-ufo-whistleblower-david-grusch-not-convincing/

Bad Science by Avi Loeb

Harvard University has produced geniuses and also some misguided scientists (for example, gullible psychiatrist John Mack, of abduction fame). Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who seems to be capitalizing current efforts to find life in the universe (and UFOs in the Earth environment as well) has written articles and books with ostensible findings on alien megaships in the deep space and extraterrestrial debris under the ocean’s waves. Recently, the following article revealed a perfectly mundane origin for the extravagant claims by Loeb: “Anthropogenic Coal Ash as a Contaminant in a Micro-meteoritic Underwater Search,” by Patricio A. Gallardo, Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society, Volume 7, Number 10, October 2023, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2515-5172/ad03f9

Also read this vulgarization of the scientific paper: Ethan Siegel, “Harvard astronomer’s “alien spherules” are industrial pollutants,” Big Think, November 14, 2023, https://bigthink.com/starts-with-a-bang/harvard-astronomer-alien-spherules/

Border Patrol Goes Rogue

In the latest update, this blog provided some reference information on a series of alleged UAP videos disseminated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection: https://fotocat.blogspot.com/2023_09_15_archive.html (scroll down to “’Rubber Duck’ FLIR Footage”).

After a detailed investigation, reporter Billy Cox has contributed many additional details and shows internal emails that “reflect dissention over UFO policy” at the very least. Quite illuminating material to read that makes evident that things are not what they appear at the very start. https://lifeinjonestown.substack.com/p/border-patrol-goes-rogue

The Rand Corporation UFO Report

Completed in May 2023 and released after it underwent security review with the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review, the Rand Corporation has just published a 53-page report entitled “Not the X Files. Mapping Public Reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Across America.” It is authored by Marek N. Posard, Ashley Gromis and Mary Lee. In the Conclusion section, it reads:

The most consistent—and statistically significant—finding from our models was for reports of UAP sightings in areas within 30 km of MOAs [Military Operations Areas]. According to the FAA, “MOAs are established to contain nonhazardous, military flight activities,” including air combat maneuvers, air intercepts, and low-altitude tactics. Given this association, we suspect that some of the self-reports of UAP sightings to NUFORC are authorized aircraft flying within MOAs. However, it was beyond the scope of this research to confirm the context of these UAP self-reports beyond their documented locations in the NUFORC database. [It also recommends:] Greater transparency in how sightings are collected, investigated, and used may also help mitigate the conspiracy theories that have long surrounded aerial phenomena.

The monograph analyzed a database of 101,151 UFO reports from 1998 to 2022. The data were collected by the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), a private UFO call center originally established 1974 and directed by Peter Davenport since 1994. The report also indicates that their analyses “should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any individual report or the overall quality of data that NUFORC has made publicly available.” It can be accessed here: 


Invited Article

Wim van Utrecht (Turnhout, Belgium, 1959) has distinguished himself in the arena of scientifically oriented UFO research in Europe. He is the curator of the Caelestia website (https://www.caelestia.be/index.html) which focuses mainly on natural phenomena and man-made objects prone to cause UFO reports. In 2007, together with Frederick Delaere, he set up the Belgisch UFO-meldpunt, a reporting center that monitors UFO reports in Belgium. He has authored numerous investigative reports and four books, including Belgium in UFO Photographs – Vol. 1 (UPIAR, 2018, with V.J. Ballester-Olmos) and Redemption of the Damned – Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Anomalist Books, 2019 and 2021, with Martin Shough). Van Utrecht lives in Antwerp. Besides UFOs, his interests include art, photography, and eccentric meteorological phenomena. (wim.van.utrecht@skynet.be)

Some notes on an unexplained UFO sighting from Corsica, France

Wim van Utrecht

The author is indebted to his long-time correspondent and fellow-skeptic Marc Hallet for calling his attention to this 9-year-old UFO report case from Zonza, Corsica. Details of the sighting and the investigation can be found at https://www.cnes-geipan.fr/fr/cas/2014-08-08968

In summary, it concerns a single-witness report that mentions the slow overflight of a dark circular mass with lights in its center, preceded and followed by rows of groups of smaller objects. The incident reportedly took place in the early hours of August 28, 2014 at a camping site in Sainte-Lucie de Porto-Vecchio. A police report (procès-verbal) was drawn up in the evening of the same day by the office of the Gendarmerie Nationale at Sainte-Lucie de Porto Vecchio. The report was forwarded to GEIPAN on September 2nd. The witness was interviewed on September 5th, and a standard eyewitness questionnaire was filled out on October 3rd. After having investigated all the available data, GEIPAN concluded as follows:

Even if certain aspects of the eyewitness testimony suggest otherwise, at the end of the investigation, it turns out that this sighting does not fit well with the most frequent misinterpretations (aircraft, satellites, clouds, light shows). The case was found to have a certain degree of strangeness, but the displacements observed do not reflect an intentional character.

From the GEIPAN report, it would seem that all the possible explanations were covered, but that’s not the case. Prominently absent is the possibility of a balloon. In fact, a silent, slow moving circular object is pretty much what a manned gas balloon looks like when seen from below at night (see image on the right, borrowed from https://ballon-zeberli.ch, showing a nocturnal gas balloon flight). The observed lights in the center of the circular shape may have been anticollision lights attached to the basket, but also flashlights or headlamps belonging to people in the basket. A spherical gas balloon is favored over a hot air balloon because it is to be expected that, during the approximately 10-minute-long observation, a flame would have illuminated the balloon’s envelope at least once, revealing its typical inverted pear shape. The time of day, given as approximately 5 a.m., is another element in favor of a gas balloon.

A major flaw in the GEIPAN report is where the French investigators write that the direction in which the phenomenon travelled (“from Conca to Sardaigna,” i.e. from north to south) is incompatible with the calm wind blowing from the northeast (“Léger vent de Nord Est incompatible avec le déplacement observe”). There are four objections that can be raised to that statement.

Firstly, there is the fact that the direction of the wind at higher altitudes need not be—and almost never is—identical to the wind direction near the ground. Weather stations typically measure wind data at a spot 10 meters above the ground. This also goes for the station at Porto Vecchio. (1) Unfortunately, no upper-air soundings are available for South Corsica.

Secondly, it is nearly impossible for any observer to give a precise estimate of the flight trajectory of an object that is seen high up in the sky (estimated elevation of the phenomenon is given as 55°). It becomes even trickier to do so if the view is obstructed by trees. The GEIPAN report mentions in that regard that “the witness was forced to raise his head to see the phenomenon between some trees” (original text: “le témoin a été obligé de lever la tête pour apercevoir le phénomène entre des arbres”). Despite what the witness wrote in the questionnaire, namely that there were “no obstructions” and that he “could see it from the start to its disappearance,” a figure included in the report seems to confirm that the object was at one time moving “between some trees.” (2)

Even when low in the sky, it is impossible to estimate the exact flight path of an object that moves in a straight line and is visible in only a segment of the sky. Knowing the precise azimuths for the beginning and the end of sighting will help, but it will still be insufficient to reconstruct the exact flight path. As illustrated in the diagram below, an object seen in an eastern direction, as was the case here, may have travelled in many different ways. As such, the estimated north-to-south path does not contradict an object carried by a northeast wind.

Thirdly, the weather data obtained by GEIPAN is for 04:00 a.m., i.e. one hour before the sighting occurred. In fact, freemeteo.nl tells us that, at 05:00 a.m., the wind was blowing from the NNE at Porto Vecchio, not NE.

And fourth, the same online weather site informs that at 5 a.m. on August 28, 2014, the wind direction and speed varied significantly for the different weather stations in Corsica. We plotted the wind direction and speed for each station on a map, which resulted in the figure on the left.

Considering the western wind at Sari-Solenzara and the north-northeastern wind in Porto-Vecchio, a wind blowing from the north is exactly what one would expect since the village of Zonza is located in between these two locations. 

In short, there is every possibility that the phenomenon DID travel with the wind.

But a balloon flight over Corsica at 5 o’clock in the morning, is that realistic? Well, it certainly is not unthinkable: gas balloons travel hundreds to even thousands of kilometers, meaning that they fly during the day as well as during the night.

Interestingly, from July 13 to August 27, 2014, the yearly International Hot Air Balloon Grand Prix was held at Todi (see https://www.balloonevents.info/ballooning/107-italy/2014). Todi is in the heart of Italy. Next to hot air balloons, a gas balloon may have taken off from Todi in the evening of the festival’s final day. If that were the case, an eastern wind would have taken it towards Corsica. According to freemeteo.nl, on August 27th at 9:50 p.m. (latest available data for that day), the wind was blowing from the east at 7 km/h at Perugia (some 35 km north of Todi). Before 9:50 p.m., it came from the west and southwest. So, if a balloon was launched at Todi around 10 p.m. on the evening preceding the day of the sighting, it would have drifted towards Corsica and taken a southern direction when encountering the northern winds that prevailed over the southeast coast of the island.

Equally interesting to note, is that the 58th edition of the Gordon Bennett gas balloon race was held on August 30, i.e. only two days after the day of the sighting. On the evening of the 30th, 17 hydrogen-filled balloons lifted off from the hippodrome in Vichy, France. A couple of them crossed Corsica and Sardinia. See https://www.zoomdici.fr/actualite/et-vous-vous-avez-vu-un-ballon and https://alerte-radiosondes.blogspot.com/2014/08/, where this tracking map can be found:

The map shows five balloons crossing Corsica with four of them landing in Italy on August 31, and one Polish balloon passing just south of Sainte-Lucie de Porto Vecchio. Six other balloons travelled past Sardinia towards Sicily.

But not the right day nor the right time, and we are prompted to ask ourselves if the date reported by the witness may not have been in error? Alas, it cannot have been as the witness reported the incident to the gendarmerie on the evening that followed his early morning sighting, i.e. on August 28th. Worse still, the five balloons that participated in the Gordon Bennett race and crossed over central and South Corsica arrived there just after midday, not one hour before dawn. Still, the above information illustrates that the idea of a gas balloon is by no means far-fetched.

But what about the rows of dark shapes positioned in front and at the back of the circular object? It should first be pointed out that not everything is clear about these smaller objects. The image bottom left shows a drawing made by a police officer during the witness’s visit to the gendarmerie on August 28th. The sketch on the right was made by the witness himself during the GEIPAN in situ inquiry of September 5th.

It is clear from these drawings that the witness experienced difficulties in describing the exact positions of these groups and rows of dark objects. In the same vein, the GEIPAN report states: “the witness is not affirmative on the triangular shape”, “he cannot say of how many objects each group consisted,” and “is not sure anymore if there were two groups or only one”. As to the shape of these smaller objects, the witness stated in the CNES-GEIPAN questionnaire: “I drew triangles, but I’m not certain of the shape”. So, more realistically, what the witness saw would have looked something like this:

Could it be that the small, dark objects were birds flying in V formations? It is not uncommon for balloon pilots to go in pursuit of a flight of geese, or to have geese follow a balloon, especially in the early morning hours. See https://www.flywithbirds.com/product/balloon-flight-with-birds/

and https://www.shomler.com/other/balloons/geese.htm, which websites have these images:

But we would need a larger group of birds, more like in this image borrowed from https://www.shutterstock.com/nl/search/geese-flying-formation:

So, did the witness see a tall balloon accompanied by birds? The idea is hard to prove and bound to remain just a theory, but it’s definitely a possibility that should have deserved consideration by the GEIPAN team.


(1) See https://weatherspark.com/y/62103/Average-Weather-in-Porto-Vecchio-France-Year-Round

(2) Also note that, while the witness thought it likely that the object was actually ball-shaped, it is depicted here as a flat disc seen in perspective.

Isaac Koi’s New AI Tool

The British lawyer and UFO scholar Isaac Koi (a pen name, to protect his work as an attorney-at-law) has developed his third UFO chatbot. It has been called "Dave, a name elected as a gesture of respect to journalist and UFO researcher Associate Professor David Clarke: https://isaackoidata.blogspot.com/2023/11/new-ufo-chatbot-dave-better-i-think.html

Back in December 2018, he created and shared the first UFO chatbot, one by the name of "Robert," after (now passed away) Robert Moore. "Robert" attempted to respond to raw reports of basic UFO sightings by asking some questions and suggesting possible solutions for them. "Robert" utilized logic set out in flowcharts published in the updated version of the book UFO Study. "Robert" used the IBM Watson Assistant framework of Artificial Intelligence which, in particular, allowed natural language to be used to chat with this chatbot. I very favorably reviewed that on my March 2018 blogsite.

More recently, on 1 April 2023, Koi shared a new toy with the UFO community: "Jenny". This was the first chatbot focused on UFOs that used ChatGPT to answer questions and summarize information to assist with UFO research and investigations. This time, its name was a tribute to British ufologist Jenny Randles. Koi’s third UFO chatbot "Dave" uses ChatGPT version 4, most recently released by OpenAI, and is also intended to give critical evaluations and potential explanations of UFO sightings. "Dave" has been instructed to reflect, in particular, the work of Jenny Randles, J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallée, Richard Haines, and Mick West.

Koi says: “Unfortunately, I think OpenAI currently only makes such GPT creations available to those that pay for "ChatGPT Plus" membership. Of course, I'd prefer to make this new evolution of a UFO chatbot available without charge.”

Here's a direct link to “Dave”: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-LUQvGeeIm-dave-ufo-analyst

In reply to serious comments by Spanish researcher Manuel Borraz, on "imaginative" and unreliable results from the Open AI GPT-3.5 model, where incredibly detailed but absurd responses are provided, on April 1, 2023 (no pun intended), Koi remarked: “"Jenny" does indeed have the problem that afflicts chatbots based on ChatGPT3.5 (and, it seems, ChatGPT4 and other chatbots) of "hallucinating" details that are completely imaginary and confidently stating detailed facts that are completely wrong … which obviously reinforcing OpenAI's own warnings about not relying on the answers given by ChatGPT chatbots. In short, I think that ChatGPT3.5 (and ChatGPT4) chatbots are useful in providing broad, general summaries. Rewriting and developing those summaries can save a considerable amount of time compared to starting with a blank sheet of paper. However, when you ask more detailed questions then you start getting answers that are just factually wrong.”  

This tool is very useful, provided you are an expert in the subject about which you are requesting information.

Looking for a Chinese UFO Photograph

The Belgian UFO organization SOBEPS compiled a catalogue for UFO photographs with hundreds of entries. One of the lines was for a sighting dated October 28,1967 in China, where someone by the name of Chou Key-Hai photographed a UFO in the “morning” (dawn, early morning?) Thanks to the flow of information disseminated by Jim Oberg we can find that one of the Russian FOBS flight test program launches took place at 13:15 GMT hour on that day (http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/misc/soviet_1967_wave.pdf, pages 84-87). The Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) was a warhead delivery system developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. FOBS rockets were upgraded ICBMs that had enough extra power to place their warhead into low Earth orbit, when the warhead would then fire its own engine to swerve down into the atmosphere uprange of the target. The resulting visual effect is a crescent shaped form where the forward-facing rocket engine plume hits the thin upper atmosphere, exciting gas molecules to glow along that impact boundary.

Typical FOBS re-entry appearance. Credit: Jim Oberg.

It happened about an hour and a half following the launch (14:45 GMT), after one circuit of Earth. The missile was launched from a military launch pad at the Baykonur Space Center in Kazakhstan (also called “Tyuratam”), the same 200-kilometer-wide installation from which Sputnik and all subsequent cosmonaut missions, as well as lunar and interplanetary probes, took off from, in a timing for post-sunset in the re-entry region. Re-entry visual effects started about 22:45 hours Beijing/Shanghai local time. If the UFO picture allegedly taken that day in China showed the type of image predicted above (a luminous crescent moon), and the timing matched, it is reasonable to attribute it to the Russian space test. The spectacular visual effect of a 'crescent' was seen across regions of Russia around the lower Volga River, at the end of the vehicle's first pass around the planet, well short of Chinese territory. But farther downrange and a few minutes later, another component of the original launch rocket may well have been passing within sight of observers in northeastern China, perhaps firing its own rocket motor to also drop out of orbit and distract defensive systems from the actual warhead.

Until now, we have been unable to find any Chinese ufologist versed on 1967 UFO sightings who might be familiar with this episode, and who could contribute the image the picture depicts in order to check if this alternative solution is viable or not. Assistance from Chinese ufologists is sought.

Last From Klass

In this field of ours, Philip J. Klass (1919-2005) needs no introduction. Some people liked to call him the top arch debunker. For me, he necessarily just balanced much of the rampant irrationalism in ufology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_J._Klass

A couple of years before he died, Klass donated his collection of UFO photographs to the FOTOCAT project of yours truly. Today, just as a curiosity, I am bringing here something I recently found misplaced among his assorted set of slides, during an archive’s curating session. One of the slides he shipped to me had no date or location marked on its frame. I scanned it and emailed him asking what it was. A true UFO? Where? Who took it? For my surprise, on February 9, 2003 he replied to say: “Now have viewed slide. Believe it shows a “UFO” which is internal/overhead train light. Pix was taken by me during trip to/from Davos, Switzerland.” I wonder if this image would be now in the annals of UFO evidence if taken by another person. It is merely an anecdote, but many people like to be aware of such personal stuff.

European UFO Sightings of November 18, 2023

Italian UFO researcher Paolo Toselli, informed about massive UFO sightings on the evening of Saturday, November 18th of a strange bright cloud that appeared in the sky, having been observed from several European nations, at least France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The explanation came immediately: it was the (announced) test of the launch of the M51.3 ballistic missile from the French range of Biscarosse, on the Atlantic Ocean.

Below are links to some published news:




APRO Archives Recovered

In the nineteen sixties in the United States, NICAP and APRO were two major competing UFO organizations. Over the years, both societies gathered together immense archives of UFO reports. Lack of them would mean an irreparable loss in the cultural heritage of ufology. Fortunately, NICAP files were happily saved by The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies: https://cufos.org/

After the death of the two APRO founders and directors, Jim and Coral Lorenzen, the large APRO files somehow fell into the hands of Tina Choate and Brian Myers, two individuals living in Sedona, Arizona. It is not an exaggeration to say that the APRO files were held captive for many years, completely inaccessible to any other U.S. UFO researcher. When everybody thought that that gold mine of UFO history was lost forever, fate intervened. By 2021, Tina passed away at the age of 76. As Mary Castner has reported in the “Project 1947” internet forum list, it seems that Brian “no longer wanted to haul the files around and started looking for a home for them.” Finally, Brian decided to donate the archives to the National UFO Historical Records Center (NUFOHRC), based in New Mexico (https://nufohrc.org/). On November 28, 2023, NUFOHRC’s director Dave Marler released a formal press announcement to inform that “The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) was one of the oldest and largest civilian UFO research organizations in the world. The research files of this organization have been transferred to the National UFO Historical Records Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.” That has been a wonderful achievement and I congratulate to all those who have contributed to make it happen.

See also this illustrated article on NUFOHRC:


(1) “The National University of Mexico responds to Jaime Maussan about the Nazca mummies presented in the Mexican Congress” (in Spanish), https://es.wired.com/articulos/tras-las-momias-de-nazca-la-comunidad-cientifica-se-pronuncia-en-la-unam-sobre-la-vida-extraterrestre

(2) Keith Kloor, “How Wealthy UFO Fans Helped Fuel Fringe Beliefs,” Scientific American, August 25, 2023, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealthy-ufo-fans-helped-fuel-fringe-beliefs/

(3) The latest about “Trinity”, by investigation journalist Douglas Dean Johnson:


And Jacques Vallée’s reply: https://tinyurl.com/4tzxd5m3

(4) Greg Eghigian and Christian Peters, “It’s Time to Hear from Social Scientists about UFOs.” Whether or not UFOs exist, we need to pay attention to how they are influencing our politics and culture. In Scientific American, October 2, 2023,


(5) Tim Binnall,Man Claims UFO Sighting Featured on New Canadian Coin Was an Accidental Hoax,” https://www.coasttocoastam.com/article/man-claims-ufo-sighting-featured-on-new-canadian-coin-was-an-accidental-hoax/

A follow-up of this can be found in these two other articles: Darron Kloster, “Duncan UFO sighting depicted on new coin was a 'party trick',” in

https://www.timescolonist.com/local-news/duncan-ufo-sighting-depicted-in-new-coin-was-a-party-trick-7806515 and “'I don't think they'll arrest me now': Island barber helped make 'UFO' that became legendary in Duncan,” https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/highlights/i-dont-think-theyll-arrest-me-now-island-barber-helped-make-ufo-that-became-legendary-in-duncan-7821040

(6) UFOs and Intelligence: A Timeline. The encyclopedic compendium by bibliographer and author George M. Eberhart has been updated, October 10, 2023, with no fewer than 959 pages of chronological entries of UFO events, related developments, and consulting sources. Go to:



Flying Saucerers

Thanks to Isaac Koi, the excellent book Flying Saucerers by David Clarke and Andy Roberts is freely available online. Described as a social history of ufology, the introduction to this book includes the following explanation of the viewpoint of the authors:

... the subject of UFOlogy is not actually about UFOs. There are no UFOs to study, only reports of UFOs and the component parts of a sighting when it becomes resolved, for example an aeroplane or kite is misperceived as something extraordinary. This is a fascinating subject in itself but is the study of perception, not UFOs. If it is anything, UFOlogy is about the people who see, investigate, and write about UFOs. UFOlogy is created by the interplay of these three groups, and we scrutinise this complex relationship in Flying Saucerers. Of course, this labyrinthine interaction begs the question: ’Have UFOlogists created the entire UFO phenomenon themselves?’

You can download the book from this link: https://tinyurl.com/3cjtwtee

Saucers: Tracing the Origins of Disc-Shaped UFOs

This is the title of the latest book by prolific writer and researcher Chris Aubeck, a 421-page, highly illustrated, and fully referenced paperback that “takes the reader on a deep dive into Arnold's own first-hand accounts and, for the first time, presents evidence that we might have been chasing the wrong flying objects all along,” the Amazon’s sidenotes say. In his own announcement, the author reports:

After 70+ years of disc-shaped UFO lore, there has never been a better time to re-examine the roots of this enduring image. In my new book, I critically analyze Kenneth Arnold's historic 1947 sighting and his subsequent encounters to reveal how the saucer became so entrenched in modern ufology. By studying Arnold's original interviews and reports, I show how and why his account transformed from crescent-shaped objects to the archetypal disc-shaped craft over time. I also examine how Arnold's word choices, as well as those of the journalists who first interviewed him, led to confusion about the objects' true shape. Additionally, I compile a unique catalog of all his later sightings.

Key insights include: cataloging accounts of disc-shaped objects throughout history, tracing the evolution of Arnold's story from crescents to saucers, and demystifying the origins of the term "flying saucer" itself. Aubeck candidly asks: “did you know the phrase was already common decades before Arnold, and was used in military training during World War II?” Aubeck states that “while my conclusions may ruffle feathers, this book takes a fresh look at an iconic image.” This is a most welcome book and, for what it’s worth, I do recommend it. The book can be purchased from: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CJXBM1CZ

Invited Book Review

Ignacio Cabria (Santander, Spain,1955) is a graduate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Barcelona. He holds an M.A. in Social Anthropology and another M.A. in International Cooperation, both at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He worked in Spanish embassies and in international cooperation for development in Mozambique, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines. He is author of three books on UFOs and ufology: Entre Ufólogos, Creyentes y Contactados: Una Historia Social de los Ovnis en España (1993), Ovnis y Ciencias Humanas (2002), and Historia Cultural de los Ovnis en España 1950-1990 (2022). His M.A. thesis in social anthropology dealt with a Spanish contactee group: Valores, Símbolos y representaciones en una Experiencia de Contacto Extraterrestre: el Grupo Aztlán. He has contributed one of the 57 papers to the large volume The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony (UPIAR, 2023).


Author: Maurizio Verga - Reviewer: Ignacio Cabria


Italian researcher Maurizio Verga has specialised in the history of beliefs about extraterrestrials and the protohistory of UFOs. On the first topic he published in 2020 an expanded version of his book Terra chiama Marte, which deals with the attempts to communicate with the Martians that took place in the first decades of the 20th century. In the same year 2020 Verga decided to publish in English, for an international audience, a book on the beginnings of UFOs in 1947, entitled Flying Saucers in the Sky. In it he sought the first interpretations of the phenomenon as visitors from Mars.

In 2023 he launched, also in English, a work he has been working on for many years, devoted to the rumours and theories about the supposed terrestrial origin of flying discs, and more specifically as an invention of Nazi Germany during World War II. Its title is Flying Saucers From Nazi Land: The Real Story of the Nazi UFOs and covers the period between 1947 and 1954. The author announces here a forthcoming second volume. For this work, he has primarily scoured the international press of the time in order to develop a social history of the beginnings of the theories that the Nazis had built secret weapons such as large circular craft. In addition to his in-depth personal research, Verga has benefited from the collaboration of colleagues from other countries in the contribution of press reports, in which I have had the pleasure of collaborating with clippings from the Spanish press.

From his study, Maurizio Verga has concluded that the authors who have written about the alleged Nazi flying saucers have relied on unreliable press reports, have quoted each other to make their sources more credible and have given rise to a persuasive legend resistant to critical analysis. He points out that, with the exception of three books published in 2022, all other authors who have referred to Nazi secret weapons inventions have taken rumours and unverified, error-ridden news stories at face value. The true fact is, according to Verga, that there are no historical records of any Nazi circular craft inventions before the flying saucers made their appearance in June 1947.

The book begins by looking for the causes of the legend in the scientific and war culture of the 1940s. Since the beginning of World War II, the Western public had been absorbing the idea that the Nazis had developed advanced weapons technology. Observations by Allied pilots of an aerial phenomenon they called foo-fighters, and reports of "flying bombs" that in 1946 took to the skies over Europe, were attributed to secret Nazi weapons. From the end of World War II, books, news, and rumours about the discovery in German archives of documents relating to fantastic secret weapons projects were published in the press in the Allied countries. The German public was an avid reader of anything to do with marvellous weapons made in Germany. As the book says, "they were a good subject for thinking that, although they had lost the war, they were the most advanced country in the world and had the best science and technology. Stories and rumours could appear and spread unchecked because no denial could come from official archives confiscated by the Allies and still in their hands for many years" (p. 120).

Added to this was the rumour that Hitler had not died in his bunker in Berlin, but had escaped alive in a submarine, taking his plans with him, and had settled in Patagonia or Antarctica. Surveys reveal that after the war about half the population of Western countries believed that Hitler had survived the takeover of Germany and was hiding somewhere remote, and curiously Spain was mentioned as one of his possible destinations. Press sensationalism was a driving force behind the gestation of the secret weapons legend.

When flying saucers appeared in the United States in June 1947, the first assumptions were that they were highly advanced American or Soviet vehicles. Although from the beginning there was speculation about a Martian origin of the flying saucers, the hypothesis of a terrestrial origin seemed much more reasonable. Already in those early days, in July 1947, some technicians claimed to have been involved in the design of disc-shaped craft during the last world war. But it was from March 1950, with a wave of flying saucer sightings in different countries, that those who claimed to have witnessed the invention in the 1940s, or to have been its inventors, came into the limelight. The respected Italian engineer Giuseppe Belluzzo appeared in the newspapers claiming to have seen plans for a secret disc-shaped weapon in 1942. It was this news, according to Verga, that sparked the legend of Nazi flying saucers, for within days several individuals were appearing in the European press claiming to be the inventors of such devices. This was nothing new. In previous waves of aerial craft, such as those of 1896 or 1909, some alleged designers of such craft had been unveiled. For Verga, the idea that the Nazi flying saucers were the creation of a single inventor was naïve and romantic (a "technological fairy tale", he calls it), conveying the old and outdated idea that a scientific breakthrough could be the work of a lone genius inventor.

Spurred by the news about Belluzzo, a statement was published in Germany by an engineer named Rudolf Schriever, who claimed to have designed a vertical take-off flying disc in 1942. According to him, the plans had been stolen by Soviet troops during the occupation of Germany. Verga considers Schriever to be one of the key players, if not the main one, in the evolution of the legend. His flying disc scheme has since been replicated and adapted to new theories and has gained prominence with the renewal of the Nazi UFO "myth" since the 1980s. The possibility that the flying saucers might be the product of the Nazis' advanced technology successor to the V-2 bombs was the most appealing of the terrestrial origin hypotheses. After all, the exodus of German scientists to the United States and the Soviet Union to work on new aviation and astronautical technologies made such a suspicion perfectly possible. According to some, the flying saucers seemed to exemplify the power of the Third Reich.

A common description of flying saucers in the 1950s was that of a rotating disc, and the rotation was assumed to be linked to the source of their energy. And since the jet propulsion engine was a state-of-the-art creation, the first proposals for flying discs were based on the jet engine (antigravity was still reduced to science fiction and would take time to become the mainstream proposition). At the time, numerous newspapers and magazines showed artistic illustrations of the possible structure and operation of these hypothetical spacecraft.

Spain played a significant role in this evolution of the Nazi saucer legend. Maurizio collects the news and reports from the Spanish press in those days of March and April 1950 about the beginnings of the phenomenon in Spain. As I pointed out in my Historia cultural de los ovnis en España 1950-1990 (1), in those reports the Martian hypothesis alternated with the Nazi hypothesis and other stranger speculations to explain the phenomenon. Verga mentions the now famous photo taken in Mallorca by the photographer Enrique Hausmann in April 1950, which some of us explained at the time as a fraud made with a fireworks grinder, stressing that the image became an international reference on the shape of flying saucers. Through these accounts we see how purely speculative chronicles, such as the one published in the Madrid daily Pueblo on 14-4-50 about the possibility that the saucers were being manufactured by Nazis hiding in the Black Forest (Germany), gave way to more elaborate stories, taken as true in other foreign newspapers, in a chain of disinformation.

In 1954 the international press carried claims by the German Andreas Epp that he had given the Nazis a model of a saucer-shaped craft in 1941 and invented another that was tested in Prague. In 1958 Epp sought funding for a project for the construction of a saucer-shaped apparatus which he called Omega-Diskus, receiving wide press coverage (also in Spain). Verga considers the whole trajectory of this character to be a collection of lies and misinformation.

In an appendix, Maurizio deals with a collateral issue to the flying saucers, that of the alleged manufacture by the Nazis, at the end of the war, of an atomic bomb. Some authors even located a plant for the production of nuclear weapons and other devices in various parts of Spain. This news would later support the idea of Nazi flying saucers and would have inspired the well-known report by Canadian journalist Lionel Shapiro in November 1947 on the alleged construction of saucers in Franco's Spain.

Each theme is outlined in the book with a recapitulation of its most important points, its main actors, and the correlations between them, and even more interesting is the author's commentary on the less convincing elements of each theory, in a healthy exercise of scepticism.

In short, this is a thorough work of historical documentation, far removed from the fantastic speculations that have so far clouded the subject of terrestrial flying discs. This book will be an indispensable source for a complete history of the theories, speculations, and legends about the origin of flying saucers.


(1) Ignacio Cabria, https://www.reedicionesanomalas.com/product/historia-cultural-de-los-ovnis-en-espana-1950-1990

What you Miss from the Spanish Edition (The two versions of this blog are not identical. I suggest you practice your Spanish by reading some articles not translated into English, so that you do not miss an iota of the present issue’s content)

Un aterrizaje literario inédito de 1957” (An unknown literary landing from 1957)


Thanks to the following colleagues who have sourced material or analysis to the current edition of this blog: Igor Kalytyuk (Ukraine), José Luis Ramírez (Spain),Luis Ruiz Noguez (Marcianitos Verdes, Mexico), Alejandro Agostinelli (Argentina), Ulrich Magin (Germany), Luis E. Pacheco (Stratocat, Argentina), Wim van Utrecht (Caelestia, Belgium), Julio Plaza del Olmo (Spain), Roger Glassel (Sweden), Juan A. Fernández Peris (Spain), Luis R. González (Spain), Milton W. Hourcade (UAPSG, Uruguay), Mikhail Gershtein (Russia), Paolo Toselli (CISU, Italy), Emili Santamaría (Spain), Jaime Servera Spain), Tim Printy (USA), Mary Castner (USA), Isaac Koi (England), Maurizio Verga (CISU, Italy), Ignacio Cabria (Spain), and Jan Aldrich (USA).


A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal, 1976


OVNIS: El fenómeno aterrizaje (UFOs: The Landing Phenomenon), 1978, 1979

Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (with Miguel Guasp) (UFOs and Science),1981, 1989

Investigación OVNI (UFO Investigation), 1984

Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (with J.A. Fernández Peris) (Encyclopedia of Close Encounters with UFOs), 1987


Expedientes insólitos (Unusual Files), 1995

The above books are also available in the second-hand market, for example:

IBERLIBRO: https://tinyurl.com/3x9272a7

UNILIBER: https://tinyurl.com/3vb29uss

AMAZON: https://tinyurl.com/4f3pnhd9

TODO COLECCIÓN: https://tinyurl.com/4r555h6y

Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (with O.J. Braenne), 2008


UFOs and Government (with M. Swords & R. Powell and C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich, and S. Purcell), 2012


Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (with M. Borraz, H. Janosch & J.C. Victorio), (UFO Sightings in Antarctica in 1965), 2013


Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988) (with Wim van Utrecht), 2017


The Marfa Lights. Examining the Photographic Evidence (2003-2007) (with M. Borraz), 2020


The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony (editor) (with R.W. Heiden), 2023


Mi correspondencia con Antonio Ribera (My correspondence with Antonio Ribera), 2023



There are several options you can follow:

  • Volunteer work, onsite or remote

  • Deliver sighting reports, photographs, archives, bibliography, etc.

  • Donations to help defray research expenses

You can reach Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos directly by e-mailing to: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es

2023/DICIEMBRE/15 (ES)

Editor de la sección en castellano: Juan Pablo González.


El repositorio FOTOCAT es tanto físico como digital. Se compone primeramente de una base de datos de 26 campos en forma de hoja de cálculo de Excel. Ésta sintetiza la información material contenida en documentos, informes, investigaciones, recortes de prensa, artículos, análisis de casos, fotografías, etc. recopilados para cada caso, guardados en carpetas individuales ordenadas cronológicamente, dentro de cientos de archivos almacenados en grandes armarios en una habitación dedicada a este propósito. A la fecha, la base de datos reúne 13.115 entradas, la mayoría correspondientes al período que finaliza el 31 de diciembre de 2005.

Vista parcial de los archivos FOTOCAT.


The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony (La fiabilidad del testimonio del testigo OVNI)

Varias publicaciones profesionales de psicología están pendientes de publicar reseñas del libro. A medida que se conozcan, las citaré. A continuación cito nuevos comentarios elogiosos de este libro, publicado el pasado mes de mayo, a añadir a todos aquellos que ya reseñé en la anterior edición de este blog.

Una edición recomendada”, The International Journal of Ecopsychology, Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2023.

Un valioso recurso”, Ray Ward, The Skeptical Intelligencer, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2023, pp 9-10, https://www.aske-skeptics.org.uk/resources/Intelligencer/Vol 26 3.pdf

¡Que expediente tan sobresaliente!”, Charlie Wiser.

Los lectores se deleitarán con las fascinantes historias presentadas en The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony … donde sesenta expertos examinan estas cuestiones en profundidad y perspicazmente. Esos casos nos enseñan mucho acerca de cómo la gente llega a creer que ha experimentado sucesos bizarros que incluso pueden no hacer ocurrido”. Página web de la GWUP (Sociedad para el estudio científico de las paraciencias, Alemania), 1 de octubre de 2023, https://tinyurl.com/2s4y96k7

El veterano erudito y estudioso británico John Rimmer (fundador de Magonia) ha firmado una recensión en el número de diciembre de 2023 de la famosa revista Fortean Times (correspondiente a su 50 aniversario): “Virtualmente cada uno de los ensayos en esta colección es interesante y juntos proporcionan información valiosa sobre la forma en que los fenómenos ovni se perciben, procesan y registran”.

Phenomena Magazine, #175, noviembre de 2023, página 28, señala: “Todo está aquí y algunas de las conclusiones indudablemente no serán bien recibidas, pero necesitaban ser dichas. Este libro es una herramienta prácticamente esencial de referencia para cualquiera que tome con seriedad los ovnis y fenómenos relacionados. Es altamente recomendado”.

Gracias al Dr. Gary Posner, se han añadido menciones al libro en las siguientes 13 entradas de la enciclopedia Wikipedia (en inglés): Cash–Landrum incident, Pascagoula abduction, Raël, Phoenix Lights, Ufology, Gulf Breeze UFO incident, Barney and Betty Hill incident, Alien abduction, Ball lightning, Psychosocial UFO hypothesis, Kecksburg UFO incident, Hypnagogia e Hypnosis. Ver: tinyurl.com/UFO-Witness-book-Wiki

Estos son los datos más recientes de audiencia online hasta hoy. Apenas han transcurrido siete meses desde la salida del libro y ha tenido ya 5,200 visitas y 1,350 descargas, más las ventas en papel de la editorial. De momento, nuestros objetivos se van cumpliendo. Recordamos que este volumen puede encontrarse sin cargo alguno en el siguiente enlace:


Asimismo, un tomo impreso en tapa blanda de 711 páginas en tamaño A-4 puede adquirirse en dos ediciones (blanco & negro y color) a través de la editorial UPIAR: http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?artID=201

Basado en el famoso dibujo cómico creado por Pat Oliphan en 1967, el ufólogo francés Raoul Robé ha hecho una adaptación a la salida del libro The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony, con una pincelada de humor: dos alienígenas secuestran un montón de copias del libro llevándolas a su platillo, mientras en la oficina de UPIAR, alguien con una libreta de FOTOCAT les grita “¡Es muy tarde señores, el libro ya se ha descargado más de 1,300 veces!”

Mi correspondencia con Antonio Ribera

A la espera de una versión impresa, este libro de 750 páginas se ha publicado de forma gratuita en julio de 2023 a través de Academia.edu en este enlace:


El volumen recoge mis intercambios epistolares con el destacado escritor y ufólogo Antonio Ribera desde 1966 hasta su muerte en 2001, con fotografías que ilustran nuestros encuentros con los “mandarines” Aimé Michel y Jacques Vallée, viajes o simposios que compartimos, entre otras. Este tomo ha recibido 900 visitas online y se ha descargado 300 veces hasta hoy. Refleja una porción de la historia ovni nacional. El pasado mes de septiembre, nuestro blog ya publicó una larga lista de aplausos recibidos de todos los ámbitos del movimiento ovni en España:


Nueva entrevista

Entrevista de Luis Alfonso Gámez a su seguro servidor publicada durante el mes de octubre pasado para la cadena de medios del grupo editorial Vocento:


Aquí la redacción preparada por Alejandro Agostinelli en Argentina:


Entrevista a V.J. Ballester Olmos, El Correo, 15 de octubre de 2023. Fotografía de Manuel Molines.



Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos


El pasado año, la NASA comisionó un panel de 16 científicos como Equipo de Estudio Independiente sobre los UAP, al que ha dedicado nueve meses (1). Los Fenómenos Anómalos No Identificados (FANI en español, UAP en inglés) son una denominación sesgada promovida por manipulados intereses ideológicos de ciertos senadores y congresistas norteamericanos, de lo que en los años cincuenta del siglo pasado eran ovnis. En 1947 eran los famosos platillos volantes, que en 1946 eran llamados cohetes fantasma, en la Segunda Guerra Mundial fueron “foo-fighters”, aviones misteriosos se denominaban en los años treinta, dirigibles fantasma fueron entre 1908 y 1918, globos fantasma de 1899 a 1902, dirigibles desconocidos durante la oleada norteamericana de 1896-1897, visitantes misteriosos en 1883, o el gran miedo francés de 1789, por ejemplo. Una secuencia de fenómenos aéreos que ha asustado a la población mundial desde hace más de 200 años, en cada momento interpretados de acuerdo con la cultura aeronáutica del momento y, siempre, con un sustrato de pánico o incertidumbre.

Ayer, 14 de septiembre de 2023, la NASA difundió el informe resultante de dicho estudio. El objetivo inicial del mismo fue de aportar “métodos potenciales de estudio de los fenómenos anómalos no identificados”. Pero, para ser cien por cien veraces, su Declaración de Tareas incluía, entre otras: “¿Qué tipos de datos científicos actualmente archivados por la NASA u otras entidades gubernamentales civiles deberían sintetizarse y analizarse para arrojar luz sobre la naturaleza y los orígenes de los fenómenos anómalos no identificados”, “¿Qué otros tipos de datos científicos debería recopilar la NASA para mejorar el potencial de desarrollar una comprensión de la naturaleza y los orígenes de la UAP?”, “Qué limitaciones físicas básicas se pueden imponer a la naturaleza y los orígenes de los UAP?”, “¿Qué datos del espacio aéreo civil relacionados con los UAP han sido recopilados por agencias gubernamentales para (a) comprender mejor la naturaleza y los orígenes de los UAP, y (b) determinar el riesgo de los UAP para el espacio aéreo nacional?” Comprobemos si este informe cumple con las metas que ellos mismos se establecieron.

El informe final, de 33 páginas (2), puede ser parcialmente decepcionante sólo si esperábamos presentación y análisis de casuística. Esto es, alguna prueba documental de ejemplos de ovnis/UAP anómalos. Porque no la hay. Su Resumen Ejecutivo señala: “ El estudio de los fenómenos anómalos no identificados (UAP) presenta una oportunidad científica única que exige un enfoque riguroso y basado en evidencia. Abordar este desafío requerirá métodos nuevos y sólidos de adquisición de datos, técnicas de análisis avanzadas, un marco de presentación de informes sistemático y reducir el estigma de la presentación de informes. La NASA, con su amplia experiencia en estos dominios y su reputación global de apertura científica, se encuentra en una excelente posición para contribuir a los estudios de UAP dentro del marco más amplio de todo el gobierno liderado por la Oficina de Resolución de Anomalías en Todos los Dominios (AARO).”

Interpretación en román paladino: existen fenómenos anómalos que no se pueden explicar (supongo que seguidamente mostrarán y demostrarán cuáles son), su estudio tiene gran potencial científico (espero que expliquen por qué), demanda un estudio riguroso y siempre basado en evidencias (no podría estar más de acuerdo), vuelve a citar el nunca existente pero de moda “estigma” de informar casos ovni (cuando hay millones de informes en todo el mundo procedentes de todos los estamentos posibles), y se postula como competidor de la AARO (la oficina UAP del Departamento de Defensa de los EE. UU.) (3) en sede para la investigación del fenómeno UAP (supongo que siempre que venga acompañada de nuevos y generosos fondos gubernamentales). Si A. Dumas dijo aquello de «Cherchez la femme!», ahora me temo que la motivación es «Cherchez the money

El informe describe el estado de la información ovni (usemos la terminología clásica) y señala que el análisis de los datos de los casos se ve obstaculizado por una mala calibración de los sensores, la falta de mediciones múltiples y la falta de datos de base. Yo añadiría, entre otros. La “evidencia” que los promotores, entusiastas y crédulos de los ovnis sostienen que existe es muy pobre. Los mejores sucesos (los más raros) son explicables, un proceso que se ha documentado cierto en los últimos 76 años.

Para los panelistas, todos ellos bisoños en investigación ovni, que, como todo, requiere un conocimiento previo de la materia, la inteligencia artificial y los algoritmos de aprendizaje automático son herramientas esenciales para identificar sucesos aparentemente extraños como los UAP. Sin embargo, estas poderosas técnicas sólo funcionarán con datos bien caracterizados recopilados siguiendo estándares estrictos, que es exactamente lo que la ufología ha sido incapaz de aportar hasta el presente.

Afirman: Finalmente, la amenaza a la seguridad del espacio aéreo estadounidense que representan los UAP es evidente. Y se quedan tan tranquilos. ¿Dónde ha estado el riesgo a la aviación -no sólo en Estados Unidos, sino en todo el mundo- durante todos estos años? Aves, rayos, drones, globos, incluso misiles fuera de control, sí representan riesgos objetivos, pero, ¿los ovnis? Uno esperaría un listado de casos extraordinarios de ese tipo para respaldar tal afirmación. No, no los encontrará en este informe. Pero la NASA a continuación propone profundizar -seguro que con fondos federales- el Sistema de Notificación de Seguridad Aérea que la agencia aeroespacial administra para la Agencia Federal de Aviación (FAA).

Desde el mismo Prólogo, uno queda parcialmente sorprendido. De un lado, dice que “los fenómenos anómalos no identificados (UAP) son uno de los mayores misterios de nuestro planeta. Se han observado en todo el mundo observaciones de objetos en nuestros cielos que no pueden identificarse como globos, aviones o fenómenos naturales conocidos”. Eso es cierto, pero requiere una precisión, que muchos “no identificados” para el sector crédulo de la ufología son sujetos a resolución para investigadores y analistas escépticos. O sea, que probablemente no hallan fenómenos inexplicables en realidad. Sin embargo, el informe añade una afirmación muy contundente: “las observaciones de alta calidad son limitadas”. Y continua con un párrafo sustancial:

A pesar de los numerosos relatos y elementos visuales, la ausencia de observaciones consistentes, detalladas y bien analizadas significa que actualmente no tenemos el conjunto de datos necesarios para sacar conclusiones científicas definitivas sobre los UAP.

Una importante decisión derivada directamente de este estudio es que, para la mayor coordinación con la Oficina UAP del Departamento de Defensa (AARO: Oficina de Resolución de Anomalías en Todos los Dominios), que tiene un marcado carácter militar y de inteligencia, la NASA nombrará un director de Investigación UAP, que centralice comunicaciones y mutuo apalancamiento de información y recursos.

El quid de la cuestión de evaluar la trascendencia de este problema radica en su naturaleza. Por ejemplo, para la NASA: “Recientemente, muchos testigos creíbles, a menudo aviadores militares, han informado haber visto objetos que no reconocieron sobre el espacio aéreo estadounidense. La mayoría de estos eventos han sido explicados desde entonces, pero unos pocos no pueden identificarse inmediatamente como fenómenos naturales o provocados por el hombre.” La clave aquí es “recientemente”. Yo diría mediáticamente. En los últimos años ha habido una inflación de videos y testimonios, muchos de ellos inicialmente filtrados a los medios de comunicación por los responsables -creyentes en ovnis extraterrestres- del grupo de trabajo UAP de Defensa, que precedió al AARO. Esos casos, que han sido fuertemente cuestionados por analistas científicos de corte escéptico, no representan el ”verdadero” fenómeno ovni. Son avistamientos de pilotos, de los cientos que existen, que difieren de la esencia de lo que ha llevado a la conciencia popular de los ovnis extraterrestres: encuentros cercanos, aterrizajes, presencia de humanoides y abducciones. De eso, la NASA no tiene la menor idea. Y lo que también ignora es la perspectiva psicológica y sociológica del “fenómeno” y la mediocre fiabilidad del testimonio humano, aspecto que 60 autores académicos han estudiado en un reciente volumen internacional de más de 700 páginas (4).

El informe insiste, con razón:

Cada vez está más claro que la mayoría de las observaciones de UAP pueden atribuirse a fenómenos o sucesos conocidosse carece de la información necesaria para sacar conclusiones definitivas sobre la naturaleza de un UAP.

El papel que la NASA se ha autoasignado es proveer “un marco científico riguroso, basado en evidencia y datos”. Y para ello presenta las resoluciones consistentes con los ocho puntos cardinales de sus propósitos fundacionales. Resaltaré algunos de ellos.

Acerca de los datos científicos recogidos por la NASA que serían pertinentes para la investigación de los UAP, sólo se cita ambiguamente la existencia de “una variedad de activos de observación de la Tierra y el espacio, junto con un extenso archivo de conjuntos de datos históricos y actuales, que deberían usarse para abordar los desafíos de detectar y/o comprender los UAP”. A continuación alude a su flota de satélites espaciales que, desafortunadamente, carecen de la resolución para detector objetos “relativamente pequeños como son los UAP”. En efecto, parece que el retrato robot de un UAP es un objeto redondo, blanco, translúcido y de entre 1 y 4 metros de diámetro (5). ¿No le recuerda al perfil de un globo? También menciona otras prometedoras capacidades tecnológicas para escudriñar UAPs, como la red de radares Doppler NEXRAD, satélites geoestacionarios, estudios a gran escala de cielo basados en telescopios, radar de apertura sintética (SAR), etc. La NASA nuevamente define los datos disponibles sobre UAP hasta la fecha como “observaciones inicialmente adquiridas para otros fines, que carecen de la información adecuada y no están optimizados para un análisis científico sistemático”.

En cuanto a datos almacenados por el sector privado o la industria, el informe tampoco dice nada acerca ello, excepto proponer la implementación de sofisticados sensores y sistemas de observación desde tierra o el espacio que pudieran servir para la captación de elusivos fenómenos como serían los UAP. Aquí, la agencia espacial nuevamente expone criterios y se postula cuando afirma que “una calibración sólida de los datos es vital, y aquí la NASA nuevamente puede desempeñar un importante papel de asesoramiento”. Y ya puntualiza que será caro: “Aunque se trata de una inversión sustancial, la estandarización de la información recopilada mediante una calibración bien diseñada permitirá llevar a cabo una investigación científica rigurosa sobre los UAP. La experiencia de la NASA en este ámbito será fundamental”, añade.

Cuando se alude a otros tipos de información a recoger sobre los UAP, la NASA anda con pies de plomo (yo me barrunto que está pensando en los ya famosos tres videos de la Marina de los EE. UU.) e indica que “las signaturas de datos son amplias (pero) es imperativo establecer umbrales de evidencia claros para evitar errores, especialmente con métodos automatizados”. Por enésima vez, se evidencia la pobreza de la información cuando el panel pone de manifiesto que “en la actualidad, la recopilación de datos sobre los UAP se ve obstaculizada por los desafíos de calibración y la falta de metadatos de los sensores”. Esa necesaria calibración se califica de crítica para eliminar lo que actualmente se está dando con frecuencia en los informes ovni/UAP recopilados por Defensa: los falsos positivos debidos a errores de los sensores que captan imágenes.

El apartado sobre técnicas científicas de análisis a emplear en la valoración sobre naturaleza y origen de los UAP hace hincapié en la potencialidad de la inteligencia artificial (IA) y el aprendizaje automático (AA) pero insiste -como no podía ser de otra forma- en que aplicar buenas herramientas a datos malos es ineficiente. En lenguaje de este siglo, apela al «garbage in, garbage out» de los primeros informáticos cuando escribe: “Sin embargo, su efectividad depende críticamente de la calidad de los datos … en la actualidad el análisis de los UAP está más limitado por la calidad de los datos que por la disponibilidad de técnicas”.

El informe plantea tres enfoques para el análisis de anomalías. El primero sería construir un modelo del UAP típico y eliminar aquello que no cuadre con tales características, pero los autores son conscientes de su dificultad: no se dispone -ni de lejos, añado- de una “descripción consistente de las características físicas de los UAP”. Pero hay más, agrego: nunca se encontrará tal consistencia, porque no hay un fenómeno UAP único sino que es un agregado de falsas observaciones, un conjunto de entropía absoluta. Ese modelo no sirve. La segunda formulación es más clásica: modelar las propiedades de fondo y buscar cualquier cosa que se desvíe de ese modelo. Este es el enfoque que los investigadores de ovnis hemos seguido durante décadas, hasta comprobar que las supuestas anomalías carecían de patrones y que cada fenómeno pretendidamente inusual reflejaba tendencias personales del observador (sobre todo en la casuística más extrema y cercana).

Un tercer camino para el estudio científico sería correlacionar las extensas bases de datos de la NASA con localizaciones y horas de sucesos UAP (bueno, eso es lo que hemos estado haciendo para explicar casos de ovnis toda la vida), pero el informe añade, no sin intención, que “la pericia de la NASA en IA y AA le permitirá hacer una contribución destacada”. La NASA acertadamente aconseja y, al tiempo, se vende bien: “La contrastación e integración adecuadas de los datos también son fundamentales para permitir el análisis científico. La agencia espacial, con su experiencia en calibración de datos, gestión y análisis avanzado, está bien posicionada para tener un papel central en estos esfuerzos para investigar los UAP dentro del marco gubernamental”. Sólo le ha faltado solicitar directamente: ¡incrementen mi presupuesto!

Sobre la determinación de las limitaciones físicas básicas que se pueden imponer acerca de la naturaleza y los orígenes de los UAP, otro de los mandatos del panel, el texto reflexiona sobre lo que se sabe sobre los objetos volantes convencionales en cuanto a rango de velocidades y aceleraciones, por ejemplo, a contrastar con las de los UAP, pero aquí se reconoce que el mayor problema es conocer exactamente la distancia entre observador y UAP, una variable de enorme incertidumbre en los informes ovni. El documento de la NASA es taxativo:

         Las observaciones de UAP hasta la fecha son inconsistentes y no se adhieren a                                  características similares.

En cuanto a la disponibilidad de datos aeroespaciales relacionados con UAP reunidos por agencias gubernamentales, NASA se postula como actor fundamental. Tras señalar la existencia de los datos acumulados por la Agencia Federal de Aviación (FAA), nota que no están optimizados para esta función de búsqueda de UAP, colige que “la recopilación de datos es escasa, poco sistemática y carece de protocolos de contrastación o investigación” y ofrece su capacidad de consejo en base a su experiencia en metodología, análisis de datos y organización. Así, sentencia:

Aunque estos informes de testigos oculares suelen ser interesantes y convincentes, son insuficientes por sí solos para sacar conclusiones definitivas sobre los UAP.

Para contrarrestar esta deficiencia, el panel sentencia que una prometedora solución pasa por la explotación de la estructura del Sistema de Notificación de Seguridad Aérea (ASRS), que la NASA administra para la FAA y que desde mediados de los años setenta ha recibido cerca de dos millones de informes sobre todo tipo de operaciones aéreas. NASA dice estar en una posición óptima para aplicar ese sistema “confidencial, voluntario y no punitivo” para la recolección de datos UAP. Complementariamente, la agencia espacial afirma que su experiencia en el desarrollo de herramientas para la gestión del tráfico aéreo puede también focalizarse en la adquisición de datos UAP y proveer una asistencia crítica en la identificación y evaluación de nuevos sistemas de seguridad.

Finalmente el capítulo de conclusiones y recomendaciones viene a resumir lo anterior , entre las que destacan las siguientes:

Recomendamos que la NASA desempeñe un papel destacado en el esfuerzo de todo el gobierno para comprender los UAP, aprovechando su amplia experiencia para contribuir a un enfoque integral, basado en evidencia y arraigado en el método científico. En la actualidad, la detección de UAP suele ser fortuita, capturada por sensores que no fueron diseñados ni calibrados para este propósito y que carecen de metadatos completos. Sumado a un archivo y una conservación de datos incompletos, esto significa que el origen de numerosos UAP sigue siendo incierto.

En conclusión, la NASA sostiene ser una agencia imprescindible única para contribuir a un enfoque sólido y sistemático para estudiar los UAP, de los que nada dice en cuanto a su naturaleza, a excepción de señalar la baja calidad de los datos existentes a día de hoy. En mi opinión, la NASA ha encontrado un nuevo nicho para próximas financiaciones por parte del Gobierno estadounidense y no quiere perderse la ocasión.

Lo que la NASA no sospecha -le falta conocimiento histórico- es que la información más relevante son relatos verbales de supuestos testigos oculares desde el suelo (y que requieren más psicólogos que astrónomos para su evaluación) y que cuando todos los sistemas y sensores que recomiendan se apliquen, por ejemplo para los avistamientos de aviadores, encontrarán soluciones convencionales aeroespaciales, astronómicas e incluso biológicas. Al tiempo.

Es verdad que el informe ofrece lo que prometió: una hoja de ruta para la investigación contemporánea del fenómeno, una serie de indicaciones sobre qué hacer y cómo de ahora en adelante. El documento puede ser ilusionante a los recién llegados al estudio de este tema. Pero no deja de ser frustrante que -después de siete décadas de fenomenología aguda- haya que partir de cero. Finalmente, en mi opinión, la NASA se aleja de lo que es su objetivo fundamental, el estudio del espacio (la mayoría de los ovnis son observados en la baja atmósfera, si no cerca del suelo), pero comprendo que es una oportunidad financiera que no pueden desaprovechar.

En resumen:

Los datos ovni (UAP) existentes no tienen carácter científico

La NASA ha decidido asesorar e investigar los UAP (supongo que con fondos extra)

Ni el menor atisbo de comentario a la asociación popular ovnis/extraterrestres


(1) V.J. Ballester Olmos y Chris Aubeck, “The Needle in the Haystack: Reflections on the NASA UAP Meeting, May 2023,”


(2) https://science.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/uap-independent-study-team-final-report.pdf

(3) https://www.aaro.mil/

(4) V.J. Ballester Olmos y R.W. Heiden (editores), The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony, UPIAR (Turin), 2023,



(5) V.J. Ballester Olmos, “The 2023 U.S. Senate UAP Hearing,” https://www.academia.edu/101720680/The_2023_U_S_Senate_UAP_Hearing

Últimas noticias: la NASA nombra un director permanente de investigación FANI (UAP): https://www.nasa.gov/news-release/update-nasa-shares-uap-independent-study-report-names-director/

En relación con el estudio de la NASA, su posición y los planes de futuras investigaciones, el físico español Julio Plaza del Olmo ha escrito un ensayo muy revelador que analiza el lado epistemológico del problema. En resumen, el autor plantea lo siguiente:

La NASA se ha propuesto  estudiar los UAPs usando sensores calibrados. Pero, ¿cómo se hace eso? ¿Qué tiene que buscar concretamente la NASA para detectar UAPs? ¿Cuáles serían las características propias de los UAPs que permitan detectarlos? ¿Cómo se puede  identificar un "UAP de verdad" sin confundirlo con una estrella, la luna, un avión, o un globo? El problema del estudio científico de los UAPs comienza con la misma definición del objeto de estudio. Después de casi 80 años de ovnis (llamados ahora "fenómenos" anómalos no identificados), todavía no existe una definición científicamente válida de cuál es "el fenómeno" que hay que estudiar. Y sin ella  es imposible llevar a cabo un estudio científico correcto.

Recomiendo a todos su lectura completa. Se titula “La NASA reinventa la rueda”: https://gluonconleche.blogspot.com/2023/09/la-nasa-reinventa-la-rueda.html


Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos


El informe UAP del AARO para el año fiscal 2023”. Este trabajo se encuentra en la sección en inglés de este blog y en el enlace arriba indicado.

Las imágenes UAP del AARO

En mayo pasado escribí el artículo “The 2023 U.S. Senate UAP Hearing” (La audiencia UAP de 2023 en el Senado de los Estados Unidos), en el que pasé revista a la intervención del Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick (director de AARO) ante el Subcomité de Amenazas y Capacidades Emergentes del Comité de Servicios Armados del Senado de EE. UU., el 19 de abril de 2023. Allí, contando con la capacidad de análisis de Manuel Borraz y Julio Plaza del Olmo, se estudió una filmación tomada por la cámara de un dron en julio de 2022 en un lugar no revelado del Medio Oriente, imágenes calificadas como “no identificadas” pero sobre las que llegamos a la conclusión que eran compatibles con el vuelo de un globo de un tamaño entre 12,5 y 37,5 cm de diámetro:


Ahora, Nathan Patin, profesor adjunto de la Universidad de Georgetown y Logan Williams, científico de datos de Bellingcat, han publicado este informe: “¿No es eso un globo? Desinflando un video ovni del Departamento de Defensa”, con un fino análisis de este video que geolocalizaron en un área al noreste de la ciudad siria de Deir ez-Zor. Según sus cálculos dimensionales, “el objeto tiene un diámetro máximo de aproximadamente 0,43 metros [43 cm] o menos”. Y añaden como conclusión:

Un globo concuerda con lo que vemos en el vídeo. Pueden ser esféricos, pueden parecer metálicos (particularmente los hechos de papel de aluminio) y pueden flotar en el aire. … Un apoyo adicional a la hipótesis del globo es el hecho de que el vídeo coincide con Eid al-Adha, una de las dos festividades más importantes del Islam. El vídeo tiene la fecha del 12 de julio de 2022, el último día festivo de los tres días de ese año. El Eid en Siria, como en otras partes del mundo musulmán, se celebra con regalos, incluidos globos. Hemos encontrado fotos y vídeos de celebraciones pasadas de Eid al-Adha en Damasco y en Deir ez-Zor que muestran globos.

Sin los enormes recursos del Departamento de Defensa de los Estados Unidos, varios investigadores han identificado independientemente y de manera convincente la naturaleza del objeto como un simple globo. Sin embargo, la sección "Casos - Videos oficiales de UAP" del sitio web del AARO todavía muestra este video de la siguiente manera: "Este clip fue tomado por un MQ-9 en el Medio Oriente, y mientras el AARO evalúa el objeto en el clip como que no muestra un comportamiento anómalo, el objeto sigue sin identificarse”. Así que, si pretenden tipificar como “no identificado” todo objeto a menos que –en este caso, por ejemplo– se sepa el nombre exacto del vendedor ambulante del globo pequeño (o su talla de zapato, para el caso), me temo que el número de “no identificados” será artificialmente muy alto. Y en lo tocante a este suceso concretamente, si los datos coinciden con un globo en dinámica, forma y dimensión, es evidencia suficiente para considerarlo identificado. Punto. De lo contrario, parece que se quiera aumentar el índice de “incógnitas” en las estadísticas finales, lo que es una muy mala práctica, porque para el público y los medios, “no identificado” equivale a “anomalía”, ¡lo cual está muy lejos de la verdad!.

NOTICIAS DE ÚLTIMA HORA DEL AARO. El 1 de diciembre de 2023, AARO actualizó su sitio web agregando el nuevo elemento “Informes de resolución de casos” dentro de la sección CASOS de la web. Contiene tres informes de estudio: “Estela atmosférica”, vídeos captados en 2022 y 2023 en Oriente Medio y el mar Mediterráneo que muestran lo que parece ser el rastro atmosférico dejado por un UAP. Era simplemente un avión, siendo la "estela" un artefacto producido por el propio sensor. “Triángulos del Sudeste Asiático”, imágenes de seis triángulos que se convierten en redes de pesca en la superficie del océano. Y “Western United States”, un vídeo grabado en 2021 en un espacio aéreo militar estadounidense que se puede explicar como un avión a 300 millas del sensor que consiguió las imágenes. Ver: https://www.aaro.mil/

Noticias recientes en el panorama UAP del Gobierno de los EE. UU

Sean Kirkpatrick, director del AARO, celebró una conferencia de prensa abierta pero sin cámaras el 31 de octubre de 2023. Presentada por Sue Gough, de Operaciones de Prensa de Defensa, la transcripción oficial se encuentra aquí: https://tinyurl.com/4j8v2ph6

En nombre de The War Zone, Howard Altman planteó algunas preguntas. En este artículo da fe de su opinión personal sobre la mesa redonda:


De otro lado, “UAP: búsqueda de claridad”, fue una conferencia celebrada en el Centro Hayden de Inteligencia, Política y Seguridad Internacional (Arlington, Virginia) el 15 de noviembre de 2023, donde también participó el Dr. Kirkpatrick. Fue muy interesante: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlihF-GL2Ck

Quisiera resaltar algunas de las clarificaciones de la intervención de Kirkpatrick:

Esto no significa que los fenómenos no sean comprensibles. Simplemente significa que inicialmente no sabemos qué aspecto tienen, qué son o qué están haciendo... La mayoría de estas cosas resultan ser cosas muy prosaicas que podemos identificar... (de los ~800 casos reportados a la AARO) sólo entre el 2 y el 4 por ciento requieren una investigación en profundidad... Si me preguntas, ¿hay algo realmente anómalo y que aún no sabemos qué es y todavía no sabemos qué hacer con él?, (la respuesta es) no... Puedo decirles con certeza que no tenemos absolutamente ninguna evidencia de que algo coincida con la hipótesis extraterrestre. No tenemos pruebas de nada de eso.

En lo que atañe a los “whistleblowers” (denunciantes), el Dr. Kirkpatrick dijo que toda la información obtenida en estas investigaciones se ha recopilado en un informe de dos partes, y el primer volumen está programado para publicarse en diciembre de 2023.

Inesperadamente, se ha conocido que el Dr. Kirkpatrick planea dejar la oficina de ovnis y se retira del servicio en diciembre de 2023. Todo apunta, en mi opinión, a la presión y críticas intolerables recibidas por parte de ciertos medios y redes sociales que apoyan la descabellada idea de que el gobierno de Estados Unidos sabe de la existencia de extraterrestres y practica secretamente ingeniería inversa sobre naves venidas del cosmos. Aunque Kirkpatrick ha afirmado a Politico que ha logrado todo lo que dijo que iba a hacer, me temo que no puede ser completamente sincero acerca de los verdaderos motivos por lealtad a su organización. El nombramiento del sucesor de Kirkpatrick indicará la dirección ideológica que tomará AARO en los próximos meses y años. El comunicado oficial del Departamento de Defensa y un par de comentarios más se pueden leer aquí:

DoD: https://tinyurl.com/mr4a299j

Politico: https://www.politico.com/news/2023/11/07/pentagon-ufo-boss-00125883

The Daily Mail: https://tinyurl.com/3a5nbbjz

En esta marea de sinsentidos que vemos día tras día en los EE. UU. con respecto a los UAP, desde la prensa hasta el mismísimo Congreso, emerge ocasionalmente el aire fresco del sentido común y la razón. No se pierda, amigo lector, los artículos del periodista de investigación Art Levine en The Washington Spectator, “Spaceship of Fools”, del 20 de julio de 2023, y “UFO Tales and Witness Credibility Falling Apart After Congressional Hearings”, del 8 de septiembre de 2023:https://washingtonspectator.org/spaceship-of-fools/   


Y como una fuente complementaria de racionalidad, sugiero atender esta conversación entre el especialista y crítico Dr. Luis Cayetano con el anteriormente citado reportero: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BcV_JRVVqw

También Billy Cox analiza el contenido del libro Inside the U.S. Government Covert UFO Program: Initial Revelations (Dentro del programa ovni encubierto del gobierno de EE. UU.: Revelaciones iniciales), la segunda colaboración del jefe del AAWSAP de la DIA, James Lacatski, con los coautores Colm Kelleher y George Knapp. En una reseña titulada “A glimmer of light from the black world” (Un centelleo de luz procedente del mundo oscuro), ya el subtítulo adelanta el tono descreido del articulista: “¿Pero dice la verdad James Lacatski, exdirector del AAWSAP?”:


Por su parte, el autor e investigador Jason Colavito vuelve a mostrar una escritura brillante al analizar personalidades que tienen una influencia desproporcionadamente alta en lo relacionado con los UAP y el Congreso. Así lo apreciamos en estos recientes artículos en su blog: “David Grusch dice que la ufología le devolvió la fe perdida” y “El incoherente análisis sobre ovnis de Chris Mellon revela una fantasía de salvación milenarista”. Ambos “posts” se encuentran en estos enlaces:



A la vista de estas lecturas, yo no puedo dejar de preguntarme: Por Dios, ¿en qué manos está el futuro de la investigación ovni en los Estados Unidos de América?

Para algunos críticos, el Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos sigue siendo reservado en lo que respecta a los UAP. La web The Black Vault escribió en octubre pasado: “Esta batalla por la transparencia pone de manifiesto una narrativa más amplia de secreto gubernamental. Cada denegación y cada nueva exención subraya los importantes obstáculos que se enfrentan para arrojar luz sobre lo desconocido, en particular en lo que respecta a fenómenos que cautivan el interés y la imaginación del público”:


No sé, no sé. Esto me recuerda la postura de Philip Klass respecto al secreto aplicado a ciertos casos de ovnis; no son los ovnis en sí los que merecen secreto sino las fuentes de información, los modos de transmisión, el proceso de inteligencia seguido, la tecnología involucrada, etc. Klass escribió algo sobre algunos documentos desclasificados de la NSA y que aparecieron extremadamente censurados, en The Skeptical Inquirer (otoño de 1989) y en Skeptics UFO Newsletter (enero de 1997):



No me malinterprete, amigo lector: yo también estoy a favor de una revelación absoluta. Espero que al final haya un buen compromiso entre la apertura y la integridad de la nación.

El “niño de moda”, como ha sido llamado David Grusch, sigue contando su historia a todo el que quiera oírla, pero no todo el mundo le cree. Léase el editorial del Daily Caller del 24 de noviembre de 2023, firmado por Kay Smithe: "Ni siquiera Joe Rogan puede hacer que este 'denunciante' OVNI suene convincente":


La mala Ciencia de Avi Loeb

La Universidad de Harvard ha producido genios y también algunos científicos confundidos (por ejemplo, el crédulo psiquiatra John Mack, famoso por su obsesión con las abducciones). El astrónomo de Harvard Avi Loeb, que parece estar capitalizando los esfuerzos actuales para encontrar vida en el universo (y también en ovnis cercanos a la Tierra) ha escrito artículos y libros con hallazgos ostensibles sobre mega naves extraterrestres en el espacio profundo y desechos extraterrestres bajo las olas del océano. Recientemente, el siguiente artículo ha revelado el origen perfectamente mundano a contrastar con las extravagantes afirmaciones de Loeb: “Anthropogenic Coal Ash as a Contaminant in a Micro-meteoritic Underwater Search”, por Patricio A. Gallardo, Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society, Volumen 7, Número 10, octubre de 2023: 


Alternativamente, pueden leer la magnífica vulgarización del anterior trabajo científico escrita por Ethan Siegel, “Harvard astronomer’s ‘alien spherules’ are industrial pollutants” en Big Think, 14 de noviembre de 2023: https://bigthink.com/starts-with-a-bang/harvard-astronomer-alien-spherules/

El informe ovni de la Rand Corporation

Completado en mayo de 2023 y publicado después de una revisión de seguridad por parte de la Oficina de Prepublicación del Departamento de Defensa, la Rand Corporation acaba de publicar un informe de 53 páginas titulado “No son los expedientes X. Mapeo de informes públicos sobre fenómenos aéreos no identificados en América”. Sus autores son Marek N. Posard, Ashley Gromis y Mary Lee. En la sección de conclusiones leemos:

El hallazgo más consistente (y estadísticamente significativo) de nuestros modelos fue el de informes de avistamientos de UAP en áreas dentro de un radio de 30 km de las MOA [Military Operations Areas]. Según la FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], “los MOA se establecen para contener actividades de vuelo militares no peligrosas”, incluidas maniobras de combate aéreo, intercepciones aéreas y tácticas de baja altitud. Dada esta asociación, sospechamos que algunos de los informes de avistamientos de UAP a NUFORC son aviones autorizados que vuelan dentro de MOAs. Sin embargo, estaba más allá del alcance de esta investigación confirmar el contexto de estos informes de UAP más allá de sus ubicaciones documentadas en la base de datos del NUFORC. Asimismo recomienda: Una mayor transparencia en la forma en que se recopilan, investigan y utilizan los avistamientos también puede ayudar a mitigar las teorías de conspiración que durante mucho tiempo han rodeado a los fenómenos aéreos.

La monografía analizó una base de datos de 101.151 informes de ovnis desde 1998 hasta 2022. Los datos fueron recopilados por el Centro Nacional de Informes OVNI (NUFORC), un centro privado de llamadas sobre ovnis establecido originalmente en 1974 y dirigido por Peter Davenport desde 1994. El informe también indica que sus análisis “no deben interpretarse como un respaldo a ningún informe individual o a la calidad general de los datos que NUFORC ha puesto a disposición del público”. Se puede acceder aquí:


Artículo invitado

Some notes on an unexplained UFO sighting from Corsica, France

Wim van Utrecht

Se encuentra en la edición en inglés del presente blog.

Wim Van Utrecht, Caelestia, Bélgica.

Un aterrizaje literario inédito de 1957

Cuando uno cree que ya tiene toda la información sobre este singular tema de los ovnis, aparece algo que has pasado por alto y que, gracias a los esfuerzos de recopiladores de noticias tan eficientes como Juan Antonio Fernández Peris, podemos recuperar para el acervo documental de lo que hemos dado en llamar fenómenos ovni (sí, fenómenos, en plural). Fernández Peris (Valencia, 1959) es uno de los investigadores españoles que más encuesta de campo ha hecho. Miembro destacado de la Agrupación Valenciana de Investigaciones Ufológicas (AVIU) (1976-1986), coautor de la Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con ovnis (1) y autor de la memorable obra El Expediente Manises (2), en la actualidad está estudiando todos y cada uno de los más de 500 casos recogidos en toda la Comunidad Valenciana y que conforman el CATVAL (Catálogo de Observaciones OVNI en la Comunidad Valenciana). La futura monografía que albergue esos análisis será histórica, tanto para la ufología valenciana como para la nacional.

Juan Antonio Fernández Peris (a la derecha de la foto) y Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, en el estudio del segundo.

Uno de los casos recuperados por Fernández Peris en un proyecto de búsqueda planificada en internet de historias de ovnis en Valencia, Castellón y Alicante, ocurrió el 27 de diciembre del año 1957 en Elda, comarca de El Vinalopó Medio (Valencia). Lo dio a conocer el semanario Valle de Elda, número 70, del 28 de diciembre de 1957. Este decano de la prensa, que sigue publicándose en nuestros días, llevó nada menos que en su portada de aquel día un sensacional titular: “¡¡Un gran platillo volante toma tierra en las afueras de Elda!!”. La entradilla ya aventuraba un suceso extraordinario: “Dos testigos presenciales nos hablan del formidable artefacto y de sus extraños tripulantes extraterrestres”. Decía el texto de inicio que el día 27 circulaban rumores de que a las siete de la tarde un “monstruoso artefacto” cruzaba los cielos eldenses a gran velocidad, desapareciendo en dirección a la cuesta llamada del “Reventón”, siendo visto por multitud de ciudadanos que aseguraban que la forma del aparato era la de “una seta gigantesca, aunque no podían asegurar si el pie de esta era materia sólida o estaba formada por un escape de gases del bólido”.

Los reporteros destacados regresaron a la redacción algo defraudados. El objeto, de un color que oscilaba del gris al verde, había pasado despidiendo un silbido prolongado seguido de un gran silencio; ¿habría sido todo fruto de una sugestión colectiva? Dudaban incluso de publicar la noticia, cuando esa noche dos señores se presentaron en el domicilio social del periódico, manifestando haber visto “aterrizar al “platillo volante” de marras”. Se trataba de D. José Sanchiz Beltrán y D. Fernando Navarro Vera, ambos naturales de Elda. El primero, mecánico y el segundo zapatero. Sin hacerse de rogar, narraron el suceso que les tocó en suerte presenciar personalmente. El amplio reportaje recoge minuciosamente su testimonio. Aquí solo reseñaré una parte de este, al pie de la letra.

Regresábamos de Alicante, cuando, al iniciar la bajada del “Reventón”, vimos con sorpresa cómo un punto luminoso que flotaba sobre Elda se iba agrandando por momentos dirigiéndose hacia nosotros con alarmante velocidad. Perdimos el control de la moto en la que viajábamos y sólo un brusco frenazo nos libró de un accidente. Sin dar crédito a nuestros ojos, a los pocos segundos pudimos comprobar que la fantástica bola de fuego pasaba por encima de nuestras cabezas a pocos centenares de metros de altura y se perdía en dirección a la “Peña Badá”. Cuando nos recobramos, ambos acordamos dejar la moto en la cuneta y acercarnos en aquella dirección, ya que nos daba la impresión de que aquel disco de fuego había tomado tierra no muy lejos de donde nos encontrábamos. Efectivamente, al poco rato de caminar escondiéndonos por entre las peñas por lo que pudiera aguardarnos, vimos posado, muy cerca de la indicada peña, un enorme cuerpo de color gris oscuro con las características trazas de un platillo volante, tal como lo conocemos por lo que nos han pintado en los periódicos. Había cesado todo ruido y el silencio era aterrador. La gran masa semiesférica parecía privada de toda vida e irradiaba un gran calor aun a !a distancia a la que nos encontrábamos, como si el metal que la compusiera estuviese al rojo vivo. Con precaución nos fuimos acercando, atreviéndonos a lanzarle una piedra que quedó desintegrada en el acto. Conteniendo la respiración vimos abrirse a los pocos minutos una escotilla en su parte más elevada, de la que salió una procesión de minúsculos hombrecillos de constitución análoga a la nuestra, aunque de un color amarillo y de talla no superior a los sesenta centímetros. Con una rapidez y precisión francamente maravillosa se dividieron en tres grupos, uno de los cuales se dedicó a hacer acopio de piedras, que iban metiendo en unos sacos que llevaban consigo; el segundo grupo se dedicó a cortar uno de los corpulentos árboles que crecían por las cercanías y finalmente, el tercero, tras extrañas pesquisas, volvió a la nave del espacio. Inmediatamente que hubieron regresado los ultraterrenos seres al platillo, éste se elevó verticalmente otra vez por los aires, perdiéndose de nuestra vista a los pocos segundos. Nos acercamos al lugar en el que había estado posado y pudimos comprobar la existencia de un extenso cráter de pequeña profundidad en el que la tierra estaba como cristalizada. Es inútil deciros la enorme sensación que hemos experimentado al presenciar esta extraña visita. Como todo el mundo, habíamos oído hablar de los platillos volantes, pero jamás habíamos dado crédito a semejantes noticias considerándolas paparruchas…

En la redacción, esta revelación causó el efecto de una bomba e inmediatamente decidieron preparar un buen reportaje y personarse en el lugar del aterrizaje para verlo con sus propios ojos. De hecho organizaron una pequeña expedición, provistos de linternas y acompañados del conocido fotógrafo eldense Manuel Catalán. Según escriben, hallaron las señales del aterrizaje del “artefacto”: “La tierra aparecía cristalizada y convulsionada como si hubiera sido sometida a una aterradora temperatura. A pocos metros, un tronco de árbol del que sólo quedaban unos veinte centímetros, aparecía cómo si el resto hubiera sido arrancado de un formidable mordisco”. Después de prometer nueva información próximamente, se cerraba el reportaje de aquel 28 de diciembre. Fecha que, como cualquier lector hispanohablante sabe, corresponde al día de los Santos Inocentes, día proclive a las bromas e informaciones falsas, las conocidas “inocentadas”.

Porque de eso de trató, como revela el siguiente número del semanario el 4 de enero de 1958. Bajo el título “El platillo volante de la pasada semana” se reconoce la noticia inventada, como comprendieron la inmensa mayoría de los lectores, pero “aunque cueste creerlo -continúa la información de Valle de Elda- y como prueba de que todavía en este siglo materialista y escéptico quedan almas ingenuas y crédulas, tenemos noticias de que fueron bastantes lo que cogieron la moto y marcharon al Reventón a ver con sus propios ojos lo que quedara del extraño suceso”. Lo cierto y verdad es que el relato estuvo bien elaborado y lo situamos en el plano de lo anecdótico y como muestra de que, ya en 1957, los “platillos volantes” (luego los ovnis y ahora los FANI) formaban parte de la cultura social en nuestro país.


(1) V.J. Ballester Olmos y J.A. Fernández Peris, Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS, Plaza y Janés, S.A. (Barcelona), 1987,


(2) Juan A. Fernández Peris, El Expediente Manises, Fundación Anomalía (Santander), 2000.


(1)La UNAM le responde a Jaime Maussan sobre las momias de Nazca presentadas en el Congreso mexicano,” https://es.wired.com/articulos/tras-las-momias-de-nazca-la-comunidad-cientifica-se-pronuncia-en-la-unam-sobre-la-vida-extraterrestre

(2) Keith Kloor, “How Wealthy UFO Fans Helped Fuel Fringe Beliefs”, Scientific American, 25 de Agosto de 2023, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealthy-ufo-fans-helped-fuel-fringe-beliefs/

(3) Lo último sobre “Trinity”, por el periodista de investigación Douglas Dean Johnson:


Y la respuesta de Jacques Vallée: https://tinyurl.com/4tzxd5m3

(4) Greg Eghigian y Christian Peters, “It’s Time to Hear from Social Scientists about UFOs.” Tanto si existen los ovnis o no -dicen- necesitamos prestar atención al modo como estas creencias influencian nuestra política y nuestra cultura. Publicado en Scientific American del mes de octubre de 2023,


(5) Tim Binnall,Man Claims UFO Sighting Featured on New Canadian Coin Was an Accidental Hoax”, https://www.coasttocoastam.com/article/man-claims-ufo-sighting-featured-on-new-canadian-coin-was-an-accidental-hoax/

Y otros dos reportajes complementarios sobre este Famoso avistamiento que ha resultado ser provocado por un bromista: Darron Kloster, “Duncan UFO sighting depicted on new coin was a 'party trick'”,

https://www.timescolonist.com/local-news/duncan-ufo-sighting-depicted-in-new-coin-was-a-party-trick-7806515 y “'I don't think they'll arrest me now': Island barber helped make 'UFO' that became legendary in Duncan”, https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/highlights/i-dont-think-theyll-arrest-me-now-island-barber-helped-make-ufo-that-became-legendary-in-duncan-7821040

(6) “UFOs and Intelligence: A Timeline”. Se trata de una cronología enciclopédica que su autor, el bibliógrafo y autor George M. Eberhart, me pidió subiera a Academia. El pasado octubre ha sido actualizada, con un total de 959 páginas de sucesos ovni ordenados por fecha y abundantes referencias. Decididamente, una muy buena fuente de consulta:



Platillos: En busca del origen de los ovnis discoidales

Este es el título del último libro del prolífico escritor e investigador Chris Aubeck, un libro de bolsillo de 421 páginas, muy ilustrado y con todas las referencias que “lleva al lector a una inmersión profunda en los relatos de primera mano del propio Arnold y, por primera vez, presenta evidencia de que podríamos haber estado persiguiendo los objetos volantes equivocados todo el tiempo”, dicen las notas al margen de la edición de Amazon. En su propio anuncio, el autor informa:

Aunque casi han desaparecido de los medios de comunicación, los platillos volantes siguen siendo el símbolo más icónico de los ovnis. Este libro presenta una investigación en la que se rastrea indicios de fenómenos aéreos con forma discoidal desde la antigüedad hasta los momentos previos a la era platillista. Se repasa el famoso avistamiento de Kenneth Arnold en 1947, a quien se le atribuye haber acuñado la expresión «platillo volante». Sin embargo, aquí se revela por primera vez que este término ya formaba parte de la cultura popular décadas antes. ¿Los pilotos de la Segunda Guerra Mundial avistaron Foo Fighters discoidales? ¿Tenían forma de bumerán los primeros ovnis de la era moderna? ¿Influyó la ciencia ficción en las descripciones actuales de ovnis? A pesar de que los platillos han sido reemplazados por nuevas formas y diseños, este libro ofrece un recorrido histórico que ayuda a entender el origen y evolución de este símbolo tan enigmático de la ufología

Capítulos clave incluyen la catalogación de relatos de objetos en forma de disco a lo largo de la historia, el rastreo de la evolución de la historia de Arnold desde la forma de medialuna hasta la de los conocidos platillos y la desmitificación de los orígenes del término "platillo volador". Aubeck se pregunta con franqueza: "¿sabías que la frase ya era común décadas antes de Arnold y se usó en el entrenamiento militar durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial?" Aubeck afirma que “si bien mis conclusiones pueden irritar a más de uno, este libro ofrece una nueva mirada a una imagen icónica”. Este es un libro muy bienvenido y yo personalmente lo recomiendo. Se puede adquirir en:


Reseña invitada

Ignacio Cabria (Santander, 1955) es licenciado en Antropología Cultural por la Universidad de Barcelona, con Diploma de Estudios Avanzados en Antropología Social y máster en Cooperación Internacional, ambos por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Trabajó en las embajadas de España en cooperación internacional para el desarrollo en Mozambique, Argentina, República Dominicana y Filipinas. Es autor de tres libros sobre ovnis y ufología: Entre Ufólogos, Creyentes y Contactados: Una Historia Social de los Ovnis en España (1993), Ovnis y Ciencias Humanas (2002) e Historia Cultural de los Ovnis en España 1950-1990 ( 2022). Su trabajo de investigación para la obtención del DEA en Antropología Social versó sobre un grupo de contactados españoles: “Valores, símbolos y representaciones en una experiencia de contacto extraterrestre: el Grupo Aztlán”. Ha contribuido con uno de los 57 artículos del gran tomo The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony (UPIAR, 2023). Cabria ha sido muy amable con nosotros al escribirnos una reseña de este último libro de Maurizio Verga.

Reseña de Flying Saucers from Nazi Land, de Maurizio Verga

Ignacio Cabria

El investigador italiano Maurizio Verga se ha especializado en la historia de las creencias sobre los extraterrestres y en la protohistoria de los ovnis. Sobre el primer tema publicó en 2020 una versión ampliada de su libro Terra chiama Marte, que trata de los intentos de comunicación con los marcianos que se llevaron a cabo en las primeras décadas del siglo XX. El mismo año 2020 Verga se decidió a publicar en inglés, para un público internacional, un libro sobre los inicios de los ovnis en 1947, que se tituló Flying Saucers in the Sky. En él buscaba las primeras interpretaciones del fenómeno como visitantes de Marte.

En 2023 ha lanzado, también en inglés, una obra en la que ha venido trabajando durante muchos años, dedicada a los rumores y teorías sobre el supuesto origen terrestre de los discos voladores, y más concretamente como un invento de la Alemania nazi durante la II Guerra Mundial. Su título es Flying Saucers From Nazi Land: The Real Story of the Nazi UFOs, y cubre el periodo entre 1947 y 1954. El autor anuncia aquí un próximo segundo volumen. Para este trabajo ha escudriñado sobre todo en la prensa internacional de la época a fin de elaborar una historia social de los inicios de las teorías que afirmaban que los nazis habían construido armas secretas como grandes naves circulares. Además de su profunda investigación personal, Verga ha contado con la colaboración de colegas de otros países en la aportación de noticias de prensa, en lo cual he tenido el gusto de colaborar con recortes de la prensa española.

De su estudio, Maurizio Verga ha llegado a la conclusión de que los autores que han escrito sobre los supuestos platillos volantes nazis se han basado en noticias de prensa poco fiables, se han citado unos a otros para hacer más creíbles sus fuentes y han dado lugar a una leyenda persuasiva y resistente al análisis crítico. Destaca que, con la excepción de tres libros publicados en 2022, el resto de los autores que se han referido a los inventos de armas secretas nazis han dado por ciertos rumores y noticias sin verificar y plagadas de errores. El hecho cierto es, según Verga, que no existen registros históricos sobre ningún invento nazi de nave circular antes de que los platillos volantes hicieran su aparición en junio de 1947.

El libro comienza buscando las causas de la leyenda en la cultura científica y bélica de los años cuarenta. Desde los comienzos de la II Guerra Mundial el público occidental fue asimilando la idea de que los nazis habían desarrollado una tecnología armamentística avanzada. Las observaciones por pilotos aliados de un fenómeno aéreo que llamaron foo-fighters, y las noticias sobre “bombas volantes” que en 1946 surcaron los cielos de Europa, se atribuyeron a armas secretas nazis. Desde el final de la II Guerra Mundial, en la prensa de los países aliados se publicaron libros, noticias y rumores sobre el descubrimiento en los archivos alemanes de documentos relativos a proyectos de fantásticas armas secretas. El público alemán era ávido lector de todo lo que tuviera que ver con armas maravillosas hechas en Alemania. Como se dice en el libro, “eran un buen tema para pensar que, aunque se había perdido la guerra, eran el país más avanzado del mundo y tenían la mejor ciencia y tecnología. Historias y rumores podían aparecer y propagarse sin control porque ningún desmentido podía venir de unos archivos oficiales confiscados por los aliados y aún en sus manos por muchos años” (p. 120).

Se sumaba a ello el rumor de que Hitler no había muerto en su búnker en Berlín, sino que había escapado con vida en un submarino llevándose consigo aquellos proyectos y se había instalado en la Patagonia o en la Antártida. Se recogen aquí las encuestas que revelan que después de la guerra aproximadamente la mitad de la población de los países de Occidente creía que Hitler había sobrevivido a la toma de Alemania y se encontraba escondido en algún paraje remoto, y curiosamente España era señalada como uno de sus posibles destinos. El sensacionalismo de la prensa fue un motor de la gestación de la leyenda de las armas secretas.

Cuando los flying saucers aparecieron en Estados Unidos en junio de 1947, las primeras suposiciones fueron que se trataba de vehículos muy avanzados de los norteamericanos o los soviéticos. Aunque desde el principio hubo especulaciones sobre un origen marciano de los platillos volantes, la hipótesis de un origen terrestre parecía mucho más razonable. Ya en aquellos primeros días, en julio de 1947, algunos técnicos afirmaban haber participado en el diseño de naves en forma de disco durante la pasada guerra mundial. Pero fue a partir de marzo de 1950, con una oleada de observaciones de platillos volantes en distintos países, cuando cobraron más protagonismo los que afirmaban haber sido testigos de este invento en los años cuarenta o haber sido sus inventores. El respetado ingeniero italiano Giuseppe Belluzzo salió en los periódicos asegurando haber visto en 1942 los planos de un arma secreta con forma de disco. Fue esta noticia, según Verga, la que desató la leyenda de los platillos volantes nazis, pues a los pocos días aparecieron en la prensa europea varios individuos afirmando ser los inventores de esos aparatos. No era nada nuevo. En previas oleadas de naves aéreas, como las de 1896 o 1909, se dieron a conocer unos supuestos diseñadores de aquellas naves. Para Verga, la idea de que los platillos volantes nazis fueron la creación de un inventor único era ingenua y romántica (un “cuento de hadas tecnológico”, lo denomina), pues transmitía la idea antigua y obsoleta de que un gran avance científico podía ser obra de un solitario inventor genial.

Espoleado por la noticia sobre Belluzzo, se publicó en Alemania la declaración de un ingeniero llamado Rudolf Schriever, que decía haber diseñado en 1942 un disco volante de despegue vertical. Según él, los planos habían sido robados por las tropas soviéticas en la ocupación de Alemania. Verga considera a Schriever uno de los actores clave, si no el principal, en la evolución de la leyenda. Su esquema del disco volante ha sido después replicado y adaptado a nuevas teorías, y ha ganado importancia con la renovación del “mito” del OVNI nazi a partir de los años ochenta. La posibilidad de que los platillos volantes pudieran ser el producto de la avanzada tecnología de los nazis sucesora de las bombas V-2 resultó la más atrayente de entre las hipótesis del origen terrestre. Después de todo, el éxodo de científicos alemanes a Estados Unidos y a la Unión Soviética para trabajar en nuevas tecnologías de aviación y astronáutica hacían perfectamente posible esa sospecha. Según algunos, los platillos volantes parecían ejemplificar el poder del Tercer Reich.

Una descripción habitual de los platillos volantes de los años cincuenta era la de un disco rotatorio, y la rotación se suponía vinculada con el origen de su energía. Y dado que el motor de propulsión a chorro era una creación de la última tecnología, las primeras propuestas de discos volantes se basaron en el motor a reacción (la antigravedad estaba aún reducida a la ciencia ficción y tardaría en hacerse la propuesta dominante). En la época numerosos periódicos y revistas mostraron ilustraciones artísticas sobre la posible estructura y funcionamiento de aquellas hipotéticas naves.

España ocupa un papel no desdeñable en esta evolución de la leyenda de los platillos nazis. Maurizio recoge las noticias y reportajes de la prensa española de aquellos días de marzo y abril de 1950 de los inicios del fenómeno en España. Como señalé en mi Historia cultural de los ovnis en España 1950-1990 (1), en aquellos reportajes se alternaba la hipótesis marciana con la del origen nazi y otras más extrañas, para explicar el fenómeno. Verga hace mención a la ya famosa foto realizada por el fotógrafo mallorquín Enrique Hausmann en abril de 1950, que en su día algunos explicamos como un fraude elaborado con un molinillo de fuegos artificiales, destacando que la imagen se convirtió por entonces en un referente internacional sobre la forma de los platillos volantes. A través de estos relatos vemos cómo crónicas puramente especulativas, como la que publicó el diario madrileño Pueblo el 14-4-50 sobre la posibilidad de que los platillos se estuvieran fabricando por nazis ocultos en la Selva Negra (Alemania), dieron lugar a historias más elaboradas y dadas por ciertas en otros periódicos extranjeros, en una cadena de desinformación.

En 1954 la prensa internacional difundió las afirmaciones del alemán Andreas Epp de haber entregado a los nazis en 1941 un modelo de nave en forma de plato y haber inventado otra que fue experimentada en Praga. En 1958 Epp buscó financiación para un proyecto de un aparato en forma de plato que llamó Omega-Diskus, recibiendo amplia cobertura de prensa (también en España). Verga considera toda la trayectoria de este personaje un conjunto de mentiras y desinformación.

En un anexo, Maurizio trata un tema colateral a los platos voladores, como es el de la supuesta fabricación por los nazis, al final de la guerra, de una bomba atómica. Algunos autores incluso situaron en diferentes puntos de España una planta de producción de armas nucleares y otros artilugios. Estas noticias servirían luego para apoyar la idea de los platillos volantes nazis, y habrían inspirado el conocido reportaje del periodista canadiense Lionel Shapiro, de noviembre de 1947, sobre la supuesta construcción de platillos en la España de Franco.

Cada tema es esquematizado en el libro con una recapitulación de sus puntos más importantes, sus actores principales y las correlaciones entre ellos, y aún más interesante es el comentario que hace el autor sobre los elementos menos convincentes de cada teoría, en un sano ejercicio de escepticismo.

En resumen, estamos ante un profundo trabajo de documentación histórica, alejado de las especulaciones fantásticas que han embarrado el tema de los discos voladores terrestres hasta ahora. Este libro constituirá una fuente imprescindible a la hora de elaborar una historia completa de las teorías, especulaciones y leyendas sobre el origen de los platillos volantes.


(1) Ignacio Cabria, https://www.reedicionesanomalas.com/product/historia-cultural-de-los-ovnis-en-espana-1950-1990

Dirección para adquirir el libro: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CJ4H3J71/

Más contenidos en la sección en inglés (Las dos versiones de este blog no son idénticas, por lo que te sugiero que practiques inglés con estos artículos que solo aparecen en ese idioma en la sección superior de este blog)

Border Patrol Goes Rogue” (sobre un video registrado por la Patrulla de fronteras)

Isaac Koi’s New AI Tool” (La nueva herramienta de Inteligencia Artificial de I. Koi)

Looking for a Chinese UFO Photograph” (Buscando una foto ovni en China)

Last from Klass” (Lo último de Klass)

European UFO Sightings of November 18, 2023” (los últimos avistamientos ovni en Europa)

APRO Archives Recovered” (finalmente se han recuperado los archivos del APRO)

Flying Saucerers” (bibliografía, libro de Clarke y Roberts, ahora disponible en línea)


(1) Moisés Garrido y Claudia Moctezuma han colgado en su canal de YouTube una entrevista mía en Torrente TV (Valencia) en 1987. Hablé, entre otras cosas, de mis inicios en la ufología, de la importancia del estudio serio y científico del fenómeno ovni y del análisis que realicé con Juan A. Fernández Peris de cientos de encuentros cercanos con ovnis en España. Para quien tenga curiosidad:


(2) Como siempre, las inevitables pinceladas personales, el reciente quinto cumpleaños de mi nieto Matías, rodeado de su hermano Lucas, de su primo Fernando y de sus tres primitas. Y en la misma fiesta, una foto de grupo, con mi esposa, hijos y parte de la gran familia.


Mi gratitud a los siguientes colegas que han aportado información a la presente edición del blog: Igor Kalytyuk (Ucrania), José Luis Ramírez (España), Luis Ruiz Noguez (Marcianitos verdes, Méjico), Alejandro Agostinelli (Argentina), Ulrich Magin (Alemania), Luis E. Pacheco (Stratocat, Argentina), Wim van Utrecht (Caelestia, Bélgica), Julio Plaza del Olmo (España), Roger Glassel (Suecia), Juan A. Fernández Peris (España), Luis R. González (España), Milton W. Hourcade (GEAFI, Uruguay), Mikhail Gershtein (Rusia), Paolo Toselli (CISU, Italia), Emili Santamaría (España), Jaime Servera (España), Tim Printy (Estados Unidos), Mary Castner (EE. UU.), Isaac Koi (Inglaterra), Maurizio Verga (Italia), Ignacio Cabria (España) y Jan Aldrich (EE. UU.)


A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal, CUFOS, 1976


OVNIS: El fenómeno aterrizaje, Plaza & Janés, 1978, 1979

Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (con Miguel Guasp), Plaza & Janés, 1981,1989

Investigación OVNI, Plaza & Janés, 1984

Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (con J.A. Fernández Peris), Plaza & Janés, 1987


Expedientes insólitos, Temas de Hoy, 1995

De estas obras agotadas se encuentran ejemplares en el mercado de segunda mano, por ejemplo:

IBERLIBRO: https://tinyurl.com/3x9272a7

UNILIBER: https://tinyurl.com/3vb29uss

AMAZON: https://tinyurl.com/4m9f7ac3

TODOCOLECCIÓN: https://tinyurl.com/4r555h6y

Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (con O.J. Braenne), 2008


UFOs and Government (con M. Swords & R. Powell y C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich y S. Purcell), 2012


Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (con M. Borraz, H. Janosch y J.C. Victorio), 2013


Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988) (con Wim van Utrecht), 2017


The Marfa Lights. Examining the Photographic Evidence (2003-2007) (con M. Borraz), 2020


The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony (editor) (con R.W. Heiden), 2023


Mi correspondencia con Antonio Ribera, 2023



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  • Trabajo voluntario, presencial o a distancia

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Puede dirigirse directamente a Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos al siguiente correo electrónico: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es