Sometimes I do pay attention
CAUTION – COARSE LANGUAGE AND CHALLENGING ONTOLOGY!!!
Since the early 90s, I have been seriously interested in UFOs. That should be apparent to anyone who has read some of the posts on this site. The ringtone on my phone is the theme of X-files (click on my ugly mug above).
It goes back much further. When I was a kid, in the early 60s, I read Amazing Stories and Analog Magazine, watched sci-fi flicks and desperately hoped they would land on the White House Lawn. I longed to meet Michael Rennie and say ‘Klaatu barada nicto‘!
I saw something weird in about 1964 (more on that later) and there is a famous family story about me sitting on the downstairs loo at SDM one evening when I was about 12 or so and seeing a brilliant light in the sky outside the window. I ran out shouting ‘they’re here’ and dragged the family onto the front lawn where we watched a parachute flare drift with the wind over the firing range on the army base a quarter mile north of SDM.
By the time I had finished University I had accepted that all that UFO shit was just bullshit (I learned that dowsing doesn’t work as well). Like everyone else, I laughed at the UFO reports in the mainstream press.
In 1992 when the internet was just going mainstream, I signed on through ‘Compuserve’, a service that no longer exists. Since once in a while I had fuck all to do at work (a harbinger of things to come) I spent a bit of time surfing the nascent web and a lot more at home in the evenings.
Imagine my delight when I ran across a story about how we (I mean humanity) did not evolve here but were the product of a genetic engineering project carried out hundreds of thousands of years ago by extraterrestrials.
‘What a load of codswallop,’ I thought, but then the author sank the hook. His treatise concluded ‘if you think there is no credible evidence of the reality of UFOs and the extraterrestrial presence you are clearly ignorant of the subject and you need to read the following books…’ and he provided a reading list.
‘Well’, I thought, ‘it’s all BS but I consider myself to be a scientist and I profess to keep an open mind, so lets look at the alleged evidence…’ and so I spent a couple of hundred US dollars ordering books from overseas and about 6 months reading them.
Well!!! What the fuck did I know? In response to the people who said (and still say) ‘there is no credible evidence,’ it turns out there is a veritable plethora of evidence, boxcar loads 0f it, shit loads of it, gigantic steaming piles of elephant shit loads of it, in fact.
Photographs, film (dating back to the 40s, 50s and before), radar images, video, reputable eyewitness accounts from cops, pilots, military. Multiple witness sightings, landing traces, anomalous magnetic and radiation readings, interference with electrical systems, strange effects on plant growth and animal behaviour (I won’t get onto cattle mutilations just now), anomalous metal samples, records released by Britain, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, France, Mexico, Russia, Chile and other countries, testimony by astronauts, high ranking military, provenanced records of interference with nuclear weapons in the US, UK and USSR, interference with commercial aircraft and fighter jets, injuries caused to witnesses by heat and radiation. It went on and on. Of course there was (and still is) lots of bullshit and dross mixed in as well. Sorting that out is part of the fun of it.
Within 6 months I was obsessed with the subject. I bored my friends (even more than usual). I wrote letters to newspapers and corresponded on-line with others of the same bent (some whackos, some not – there was one guy who claimed he slept in a Faraday Cage so ‘they’ couldn’t abduct him any more). I started out derisive but after the Faraday Cage guy disappeared (on the net at least), I delved deeper. I started to scare people (not the first time).
I became the first Hong Kong Country Representative for MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network). I organised the first HK UFO Symposium in 1996. I arranged sponsorship for Colonel Wendelle Stevens to come to HK and talk to several audiences. I was interviewed in the HK press (that did not go well at work as the reporter could not resist the chance to write that I “…worked for a ‘shadowy Government Department’ – well, the EPD”. My boss was not amused – a common occurrence throughout my career).
And then life caught up and I sort of lost interest, or at least gradually backed off a bit. Okay, I still followed the journals and took calls from people who wanted to report something in Hong Kong but by 2005 I had moved to Canada and other than watching the skies was no longer much involved at first hand.
I was still interested though, and always ready to speak about the topic and in 2010 I completed the training and wrote the exam to become a qualified MUFON field investigator for UFO sightings.
All very low key for the last few years. Until I had my own sighting on August 11, 2015. Hence this post.
It’s quite clear (if you look up and care to do a bit of reading on the subject) that there are strange things flying around in our skies that we don’t understand. In 2014, MUFON recorded about 8700 sightings world wide, most of which have prosaic explanations when looked at by knowledgeable investigators, but of which about 5 % remain unexplained, even with good data.
I am not saying every real UFO (by which I mean exactly that – an Unidentified apparently material Object which is Flying, – a TRUFO – Ahem, we pros prefer the term UAP or Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon or even better AAP or Anomalous Aerial Phenomenon), is an Alien Space Craft or ASC (in some cases, the evidence is too weird even to be explained by visits from an extraterrestrial civilization), but there is no question that there is a core of solidly researched and documented sightings best explained (as a high level semi-official panel of scientists and military concluded in France in 1999 in the Cometa Report) by the ‘ETH’ or extraterrestrial hypothesis. I’d quote Sherlock Holmes here if it wouldn’t be so trite,
As Stanton Friedman, a well known and very objective researcher (he’s a Nuclear Physicist who worked on nuclear powered rockets in the 50s) has concluded: “Some UFOs are probably Alien Space Craft“.
Has there been a US Government cover-up? Well… maybe… probably. Certainly, there were efforts in the 50s and 60s to ‘debunk’ the subject, due to National Security fears as evidenced by the conclusions of the CIA’s 1953 Robertson Panel and whatever it was that came down at Roswell in 1947 was certainly hushed up by the Military.
An even more egregious conclusion was reached in the 1969 University of Colorado Study on UFOs – the Condon Report, which blatantly whitewashed the subject and resulted in all Official Investigation of UFOs in the US being shut down.
Both of these studies did not agree with earlier conclusions and recommendations reached by high ranking military officers, as for example, set out by (then) Air Force Lieutenant General Nathan Twining (later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) in the infamous 1947 Twining Memorandum sent to to Air Force Commanding General George Schulgen.
“a. The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious.
b. There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft.
c. There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors.
d. The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and motion which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically or remotely.”
This was followed up by an Army Air Force wide memo to high rankers to be on the lookout for flying discs. Interestingly, the Twining Memorandum went to Shulgen about 10 weeks after Roswell and Historian Richard Dolan has shown that Twining flew out to New Mexico the same day that Mac Brazell took Intelligence Officers Jesse Marcel and Sheridan Cavett out to his ranch to look at the debris field, cancelling a planned trip to Boeing.
So what’s the truth (a slippery word)?
In the immortal words of Tommy Lee Jones in ‘Men in Black‘: “Beatrice, the flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.”
This is, by the way, a sly Hollywood allusion to a famous case in 1966 in which Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a prominent Professor of Astronomy from Northwestern University and at the time a consultant for the US Air Force’s Project Blue Book on UFOs, attributed a complex series of mass sightings in Michigan by a number of police, pilots, and many other witnesses to ‘swamp gas’. Hynek was stung by the ridicule of these findings in the National press. He subsequently (as so many who have examined the evidence have done, including Ahem, yours truly) became a ‘convert’ and one of the most effective and influential scientific investigators of the phenomenon. That line also references the explanations put forward by the Air Force for the radar and visual sightings that took place over two weekends running over Washington in 1952 as ‘weather inversions’.
Well, harrumph, enough pontificating (at least for now).
In the summer of 64, or thereabouts, before I got kicked out of the boy scouts (another story), I was on a camping trip with a bunch of my 13 year old mates. We’d been telling ghost stories around a dying campfire out in the woods north of Kingston Ontario somewhere.
Echo 2, a US experimental satellite had been in the press. It was a 40 m diameter inflatable mylar balloon launched into orbit and (I think) one of the first man made orbital objects readily visible from the ground. It was intended to be used as a radar target, but the public was fascinated and newspapers printed schedules of where and when you could see it on a clear night.
So there we were, a bunch of kids lying on the ground in a clearing in the woods somewhere, staring up at the clear cold night sky, no moon, stars everywhere and someone shouts “there it is!!!”
Satellites are unmistakable. They move generally from west to east (unless they are in Polar orbit as Echo 2 was) and are bright pinpoints of light, like a moving star, traveling at about 4 degrees per minute if in Low Earth Orbit (ie 8 times the moon’s diameter every minute). Best seen in the early dark as they are only lit by reflected light from the sun and after about 2300 hours or so (depending on your latitude and time of year) they will not be visible as they move out of sunlight into earth’s shadow at your meridian of longitude, wherever that may be.
This was probably about 2200 hours or so (it was a long time ago), but it was clearly a satellite, steady relatively slow movement southwest to northeast, high altitude, no noise, no flashing aircraft anti collision lights, no strobe. Yep, we congratulated ourselves, got it. That must be Echo 2.
And then it did a right angle turn, well, hard left actually, headed North-northwest for the pole. Just suddenly changed trajectory. Satellites don’t do that. Neither do aircraft. Even at age 13, 50 years ago we knew that. It kind of freaked us all out, so after some excited discussion, followed by a bit of quiet reflection and discussion of what we as egghead thirteen year old kids knew about orbital mechanics (and UFOs), we all shut up and rolled into our sleeping bags and went to sleep.
Fast forward about half a century to the summer of 2015.
That’s the front porch at SDM, a lovely spot (when the weather is cooperative) to sit and sip a tasty beverage of an evening. On 11 August this year I was sitting on my front porch enjoying the evening and chatting with my tenant ‘T’ over a cocktail (that’s her sitting on the porch). I was looking around at the property and the sky to the South (I always keep my eyes on the skies) when I spotted something crossing from right to left just above the bushy tree above the left corner of the garage. This photo was taken the following day to show the setting and there was no cloud cover at the time of the sighting.
T and I had been discussing UFOs over previous days and evenings, sitting on the porch and nattering about all kinds of stuff. She is a blindingly intelligent young woman, occupying SDM while she does a Masters Degree in Philosophy and decides where she’s going with the rest of her life.She hadn’t known much about UFOs other than the usual media crap and I had been giving her ‘UFOs 101’. She was interested as she was in most of the other topics we discussed.
I don’t really remember how it started that evening but I think she had said to me ‘How do you know when you are going to see a UFO’.
‘You don’t’ I said, ‘they can turn up anywhere at any time’.
I then spotted the object and jokingly said to her ‘hey, that might be a UFO’. I had glanced up into the sky and spotted something moving more or less right to left just above the tree line at the left corner of the garage.
What I saw, I thought at first, was a conventional aircraft. It had a very high aspect ratio bright white crescent shaped wing and I thought I could see sort of fuzzy grey reflections off two ‘engines’ above the wing. I thought, quite casually ’cause the alarms hadn’t gone off just yet, that I was looking at some sort of high wing seaplane with the engines mounted above the wing.
T instantly leaped up and snapped a full zoom photo of it with her iPhone (model 5S – camera resolution 8 meg) and immediately emailed it to me.
‘Do you really think so?’ she asked and I said ‘I doubt it, perhaps it could possibly be a high winged twin engine flying boat of some kind’ (ie engines mounted above the wing).
Okay, I was a bit slower than usual (on the evening’s second tasty beverage at the time). But when I thought about it over the minute or so after it had disappeared behind the trees on the left, a couple of things struck me.
First off, no engine noise. T heard no noise either. Light aircraft go past all the time and we always hear them, even when they are a lot further away than this was.
Secondly, I hadn’t noticed any fuselage or tail structures. Just the wing and the two fuzzy grey ‘engine pods’.
And finally, just before it disappeared it started to descend and that was decidedly weird as most aircraft pass the house in straight and level flight.
I booted my ‘Flight Radar 24’ Software on the phone and confirmed that there were three commercial airliners within about 20 miles of Kingston, but all at 36,000 feet or so and passing out of sight overhead (sadly, I did not take a screenshot)
I shrugged it off, poured another cocktail and put it out of my mind until I looked at the photo when I checked my email the following day.
Here’s the photo as received. Time stamped 1946 Hrs Eastern Daylight Savings Time date 11 August 2015.
‘Whooah,‘ I thought. ‘That’s not what I saw‘. There was no sign of the prominent crescent shaped wing I had seen. I zoomed in. No wing. No tail. No fuselage.
I immediately drew a quick sketch of my recollections.
Then I pulled out my MUFON investigators handbook and went to work.
The second blow up below is approximately 8 times magnification.
The second is starting to pixelate so no point enlarging it further.
Both blow-ups apparently show a structured object of some kind with two bright white features and hints of some darker structure above and below the bright white features.
In neither of these blow-ups is there any sign of the the bright white crescent shaped ‘wing’ which was the visually most prominent part of the object when I first spotted it. And lest some died-in-the-wool denier argue that I was looking at the landing lights of an aircraft headed straight towards us – the object was tracking obliquely past us at about a 60 degree angle – we were watching it move past from about it’s 10 o’clock position. More on that below.
Here’s an elaboration of the report I filed with MUFON 2 days later.
Object spotted at approximately 19:45:30. At first glance I thought it was a conventional aircraft as it was flying straight and level at typical aircraft speed. What appeared to be a white very high aspect ratio arched and curved wing was visible at the bottom, with two light greyish coloured fuzzy patches above which I took to be reflections off of twin high wing engines. No engine noise heard. I could not see a fuselage nor tail structure but did not think much of it immediately as it is common to see light planes and helicopters in the area.
Object was moving approx South Southwest to East Northeast at maybe 1000 to 1500 foot altitude at perhaps 115 knots (typical small aircraft speed), approx 500 – 1000 m due South of my house. Visibility good, sky clear and a rain squall had moved east of the area about 1 hour before.
Clear sky light breeze from the North. Weather records from Kingston Airport (YGK) show 7 km/hr from 320 deg at 2000 hrs that day.
Before it disappeared to the East behind some trees, its path started to descend slightly in a smooth curve, which struck me as odd since aircraft in the area normally maintain level flight.
My curiosity increased when I looked at the photo the following day. There was no sign of the white wing, nor any tail or fuselage.
I therefore decided to investigate further.
I contacted (unofficially) aviation sources at YGK who were also curious and kindly gave me verbal flight movement records of local flight movements in the area.
There were five flight movements recorded in the time frame:
18:05 hrs Cessna Citation 750
19:56 hours Beech 1900
20:21 hours Cessna 172
20:36 hours Cessna 172
20:40 hours Beech 1900
My source was not able to specify what the flight movements were – I understand they could be takeoffs, landings or transits of the local control zone. Checking airline schedules, the two movements of the Beech 1900 were clearly the arrival of the scheduled Toronto – Kingston Georgian Air flight and its subsequent departure back to Toronto. The two Cessna 172 movements were likely a short training flight from the one of the local flying clubs or a privately owned plane. The Citation could be a landing, takeoff or (unlikely) a low level transit through the Air Control Zone. It is outside the time frame as are the C 172’s.
I considered whether the sighting could have been the inbound YYZ – YGK Air Georgian flight and find that extremely unlikely. I have taken that flight many times myself and it normally does a straight in approach to either runway 07 or a single turn approach onto final onto runway 01-19 (depending on the wind direction).
Location of Sighting in Relation to Local Airport
Since the area of the sighting is 14 km East of the airport, even if they had been using runway 25 they would not have got that far East of the airport. As the wind was recorded at 320 degrees they almost certainly used runway 01, turning straight in onto final from the YYZ – YGK course of about 090. I followed up over the next few days to try to obtain official records of the flight plans from the private company (Nav-Can) that maintains them for Government. The chap I spoke to was very co-operative and interested but after a week had still not received the completed flight plans from the pilots of the inbound flight. I couldn’t get anyone at Air Georgian as they apparently don’t answer their phones. Neither of the two flying clubs I contacted had any records of one of their C -172’s being the movements reported to me by the airport source, so the Cessna movements were likely a private flight.
In any event, I am discounting the 19:56 hour Beech 1900 movement because this is what a Beech 1900 looks like:
Even had it somehow strayed 10 miles past it’s destination for no reason, it in no way resembles what we saw and what ‘T’ photographed.
And again, as far as it being conventional aircraft landing lights coming straight at us, please look at the indicated flight path on the map of the incident above. It went past at the approximate relative attitude of the photo of the Beech 1900 – we were in the object’s ten o’clock position relative to it’s line of flight. No tail, no fuselage, no noise and the perceived ‘wing’ did not show up in the photo. And no, it was not a quad – copter drone, it was a large object well out beyond the tree line. My first offhand estimate of the perceived wingspan when I thought it was a conventional aircraft was 50 to 60 feet.
Although it was clearly not the Beech 1900 from the photos alone, I decided to play with some numbers:
The Beech 1900 approach speed is about 140 knots – or about 260 kph. Recall that the sighting was 14 km East of the airport. For the Beech to land at 19:56 and be seen by T and me at 19:46 (a full ten minutes previously) it would have had to fly past us and go another 5 km down river, then turn and head straight back past us to the North (all with no engine noise) to land on runway 25 (with a 70 degree crosswind). I don’t think so.
I’ll definitely be looking for the pilot logs, to confirm what I already know – it wasn’t the Beech. I have another possible avenue of follow-up. I am going to see if I can get Dr. Bruce Maccabee to take a look at the photo. He’s an expert on the physics of optics, former consultant for the US Navy and along with Stanton Friedman an extremely credible and objective scientific investigator of UFOs. I have corresponded with him in the past although the usually ignores me, pipsqueak in the field that I am, but maybe I can get him interested in this?
Dr. Maccabee, if he is interested (and if he can stand to read the convoluted dithering on this blog), may be able to use the 8 meg photo and the known size of the trees in it to give a reliable estimate of the size and distance relationship of the object. For what it’s worth I measured the angle of elevation of my memory of the object’s flight path plus the position on the photos the following day (using an antique inclinometer I have at SDM) at 29 degrees.
I also, just for fun, recently redrew the sketch I made (from a 6 week old memory). Note also that although my original notes mentioned a 30 – 40 second duration I later revised that to maybe 15 seconds.
It’s interesting to me that although the details haven’t changed, the attitude of the object I drew six weeks ago has changed from my original memory. Is this an indication of the fallacy of human memory? I don’t fucking know.
So what was it?
Well, FFS!!! have you not been paying attention???
It was apparently a fucking structured Object!!!
It was apparently fucking Flying!!!!
And I can’t for the life of me figure out what it was. So it is fucking Unidentified!!
That makes it, a fucking UFO!!!!!!!!!
Whew… (wipes brow)… deep breath. Calm… calm…
I’ve gone on too long for a blog post and need to close this for the time being, but I am going to put some links and other evidence up. I will repeat the challenge made to me by that early internet poster back in 1992…
‘if you think there is no credible evidence of the reality of UFOs and the extraterrestrial presence you are clearly ignorant of the subject and you need to read the following books…’ Or at least surf to the following bits of the web.
You be the judge.
A couple of good documentaries:
Documentary (released 2011 so and therefore about 7 or 8 years out of date as it took four years to put together). Probably the best and most balanced and factual UFO documentary I have ever seen.
Another pretty good documentary – more recent – released early last year I think. This covers some of the same cases as above and is somewhat wider in scope and gets a little further out, particularly in the speculative bits at the end. I am not convinced by some of this – but fairly minor things, for example the reference to ‘Hadronic Mechanics‘ to explain FTL travel (I’m a fan of the Alcubierre Warp Drive myself). But still mostly correct in my view. It strays from physical evidence based assertions in the discussion of abductions. However, it covers the Hessdalen lights, an important case and the only bit of evidence my ‘skeptical’ Physics Prof. Brother ever admitted might be an unexplained.
Some of my favorite cases:
The Heflin Photos:
A series of polaroids shot by Highway Inspector Rex Heflin in California in 1965 and subjected to exhaustive analysis (and some ‘Men in Black’ type skulduggery) over the years.
Trinidade Island: Photos taken by a professional photographer aboard a Brazilian research ship in the South Atlantic in 1958. The object was seen by over 50 of the ship’s crew including the Captain and the photos sent to the UN by the President of Brazil. There have been recent claims it was hoaxed but this seems unlikely when all the facts of the case are examined.
The Meier Case: Hundreds of visually stunning photos shot by a one armed Swiss farmer years before CGI became common, who claims contact with humans from the Pleiades (they’re the ones who bred us from the apes 150,000 years ago. Or maybe it was the Nefilim mentioned in Genesis from the wandering planet Niburu, as recorded in the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh).
In any event, the case has been very controversial with lots of claims of hoaxing and years of investigation by many people.
It is difficult to credit how a one armed man on his own could hoax 8 mm colour film as the one produced by the movie camera shown in the still photo taken above. Or movies and stills shot at the same time of clusters of objects as upper right.
Whatever the answer (it is still being argued on both sides) the case was the source of one of the most iconic UFO photos of all time. as above.
I also include it to make a more general point (and yes, I am getting to the end here).
Anyone who gets interested in this field of study will find contradiction, controversy, claims of hoaxes and cover-ups and conspiracies and just an enormous general mish-mash of thoughts. It is hard to put two Ufologists together without them disagreeing about one or other of their pet theories. Like most humans in fact, not dissimilar to the arguments going on over the Rugby World Cup (but a lot less easily resolved) .
And there are certainly lots of hoaxes, muddying the waters and annoying serious investigators (like, Ahem yours truly), more all the time as software and editing tools get better. But just because there are some hoaxes does not mean that it is all hoaxed. You can’t hoax radiation burns, accelerated plant growth and multiple radar returns. It is a logical fallacy to say ‘this case was a hoax so they all are’.
You need to examine the evidence on a case-by-case basis.
And you need a sense of humour for the shit people will sling at you, plus a day job.
Some of it goes way off from simple tales of visitors from somewhere else or interference in our past evolution.
There is some really weird shit out there folks, and you will start to notice it if you look. For all who are still fixed in their view of a nice, deterministic Universe, I heartily recommend a perusal of some of the documented, studied, measured, photographed and videoed shenanigans that have taken place at the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah.
And finally, I leave you with five of the best cases I am aware of (I could produce a list of hundreds, but I am sure your patience is wearing thin as are my fingers):
It’s hard to find a short summary article of this astonishing and complex case. This clip is not bad but does not mention the physical evidence in the case including anomalous radiation and magnetic measurements and greatly accelerated plant growth in the years subsequent to the incident.
Often called ‘The British Roswell’
A hint to Washington
Filmed by three separate independent groups of people (there was a fourth group who turned out to be copy-cat hoaxers. but these phone videos are mind blowing. Watch how the flash (in all three) lights up all the rooftops of the entire city of Jerusalem.
And you know, I have just about had enough myself for the time being.
One last case, fairly recent (2014), leaked Forward Looking Infrared Radar footage apparently taken by a US Customs and Border Patrol Aircraft in Puerto Rico, where they see a LOT of UFOS.