Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Documentary on Mary Rodwell

Hi

For Australian readers, a documentary on the work of ACERN's Mary Rodwell appears on SBS TV tonight at 8.30pm.

Click here to go to the ACERN website

"Life with the aliens" Part 3

Hi readers

This post is a continuation of two previous ones (See here and here)

The third part of Jenny Randles' article titled "Life with the aliens" appears in the English Fortean Times magazine issue 267, dated November 2010 page 31.

Some quotes

"Over the last couple of issues I have looked at some cases reported to me that involve alien contact. Hopefully, this has shown how these strange affairs seem to tiptoe across the divide between many areas of the supernatural. They have elements of out-of-body and near-death experiences and mediumship, while witnesses describe a life history of paranormal events."

Jenny then describes the story of "Juliet." At age three she saw her first UFO, three large, orange/white lights just outside her bedroom window. "She rapidly underwent a 'learning curve' in which she started to become an avid reader and soaked up knowledge to the extent that her family were stunned by her abilities well beyond her age."

Jenny then observes "Most people can only remember events in their lives from about the age of three, yet large numbers of alien contact witnesses claim to have earlier memories, some even back to the time of their birth."

Jenny outlines three possibilities:

1. A consequence of the 'learning curve'
2. Something "...unusual in the way these individuals process memories that makes them able to perceive strange phenomena and experience accelerated psychological development
3. Research into fantasy-prone personalities "They, too, have unusual recall of early life..."

Communication

Jenny then moves on to communication between aliens and witnesses. "Witnesses often refer to how the aliens communicate, reporting that "They use my thinking voice' or 'They are talking inside my head.'"

"Are these hints that the essence of an alien contact is some dynamic process going on within the conscious of the witnesses?"

"I once told a frightened young girl facing regular alien contact to put a camera in her bedroom, as "Aliens don't like to be photographed." This proved an effective deterrent, and it was some time before they returned admitting "We did not come because of the camera." It seems likely that, rather than the aliens being scared of cameras, I guided the ongoing contact experience by implanting an idea via the subconscious of the witness."

In summary

Jenny then brings the above comments together in the case of 'Alan.' Alan had recall of an early childhood experience and many others in later life. However, "...he had found some notes that he wrote immediately after one of the early encounters; the contents were quite different from the version in his memory, having vivid, childlike alien images that had morphed over the years to incorporate things he'd read in UFO books."

Comment

These are some penetrating observations from an English researcher with 40 years of research data to draw on.

I wonder how many witnesses have written material from way back, documented at the time and ever compare this with their current memories of events?

Monday, November 29, 2010

False awakenings

Hi

Another topic which appears to have relevance to UFO abductions is the subject of "false awakenings."

Definition:

False awakenings are episodes in which a person believes they wake up from sleep, in their normal surroundings, e.g. their bedroom. They might then get out of bed, visit the bathroom, have breakfast or carry out other everyday activities. However, they then really wake up. The preceding recollections had in fact occurred while they were still asleep. Hence the name "false awakening."

Celia Green:

False awakenings can occur after both lucid dreams (dreams where you realise that you are dreaming) and non-lucid dreams. False awakenings seem to occur more among individuals who frequently have lucid dreams. (Click here for more on Lucid dreams.)

Celia Green (Green. 1968. Lucid Dreaming. London. Hamish Hamilton) described a type-2 false awakening. These are instances in which a person appears to wake up normally and finds themselves in bed. The surroundings may at first seem normal, but then the environment becomes unusual or uncanny, and a "funny" atmosphere sets in. Alternatively, the person may awake immediately to a "stressed" or "stormy" feeling. In either case, the individual can experience fear and panic, or hallucinatory or apparitional effects are noticed. This may be accompanied by an apparent paralysis or out-of-body experience. (Click here for more on Green.)

To an outsider, a person undergoing any one of these experiences would appear to be asleep, lying with eyes closed.

Peter McKellar:

These false awakenings can seem very real. Peter McKellar, a psychologist, wrote a book titled "Experience and behaviour" (Penguin. London. 1968) and cites the following example. (Click here for more on McKellar.)

A young couple had a routine of the wife getting breakfast for her husband, then seeing him off to work, before preparing for work herself. One morning, the woman recalled waking up, getting out of bed, washing, dressing, making breakfast and finally being in the process of kissing goodbye to her husband. Then she really woke up to find she was still in bed. Her husband was leaning over her kissing goodbye to her.

Her husband told her that he had woken up that morning, to find her still asleep in the bed so he left her there sleeping. He made himself breakfast and was kissing her goodbye when she woke up.

The woman had experienced a false awakening, where her recollections of being awake and doing a number of things, occurred while she was still asleep. These recollections were "as real as real." Yet it was all created within her own mind.

Relevance to abductions?:

Imagine someone waking up during the night. A grey figure in in their bedroom. The being communicates with them via telepathy. The alien disappears through the wall. The witness then wakes up to find themselves in bed. They feel that the alien episode was real, but it actually was a false awakening with the imagery of the figure derived from their mind's recollections of a film, a book or any other manner of data infeed from previous real life.

Falling sleep:

One of the odd things about accounts of UFO abductions which has always puzzled me, is the way that an event happens and then the abductee/experiencer says that at the end of the experience they simply either find themselves in their bed, or simply fall asleep. It is something that is mentioned time and time again in the UFO literature.

You would think that after such an extraordinary event, an alien abduction, that the last thing a person would do, is fall asleep. Yet this is what is repeatedly described.

Examples of this may be found in John Mack's book "Abduction" page 158 where abductee Catherine, at the end of the experience says "So I went back and got into bed and went to sleep."

Abductee Paul (Mack p221) "He had been coming out of a dreaming sleep when he heard a loud buzzing...went back to sleep..."

Other Mack abductees speak of finding themselves in bed at the end of their abduction.

Abductee Scott (Mack pp99-100( "After this Scott remembered being "dropped in bed" in his room feeling very frightened and also angry, but had no recollection of how he was returned."

Abductee Jerry (Mack p126) "The next thing I was back in bed, waking up."

Abductee Eve (Mack p241) "...dreams of beings in her room that are still there when she wakes up..."

Abductee dave (Mack p274) "At this point Dave said that he 'blacked out' or lost consciousness or something...The next thing I knew I was lying in bed on my side."

My comments:

My thoughts are that what if the "abduction" event occurred in the state of a "false awakening?" Then believing that you fell asleep at the end of the event, would be quite normal, given that you were never awake at the time.

I think that false awakenings have real relevance to some UFO abductions. Perhaps this is another entry point to an abduction experience as has previously been suggested for sleep paralysis; migraine auras and prodromes; hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery; fantasy-proneness, and courtesy of Jenny Randles, vasovagal syncope.

Sleep paralysis and false awakening:

What is the difference between sleep paralysis and false awakening? Both experiences occur on the boundary between sleep and awake.

With sleep paralysis, you wake up from rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep where you are dreaming, and can't move, apart from your eyes. Hypnopompic imagery may occur at this point.

With a false awakening, you remain asleep but believe you are awake, and can recall undertaking everyday items such as getting out of bed etc which seems "as real as real." Finally, you really wake up, know you are in consensus reality but can vividly recall your experiences you have just had. When fully awake the false awakening memories remain with you and still feel "as real as real."

An early article on this topic:

I first came across the topic of false awakenings way back in 1978 and wrote an article about its possible relevance to other UFO cases - click here to read it.

Over to you readers for comments.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Are UFOs back in fashion in Australia?

Dear readers

After a few days of heat we had two cold fronts go through, which produced much needed rain for my garden. Today it is 21 degrees Celsius, perfect for a walk along the Torrens linear park trails.

Today's topic is "Are UFOs back in fashion in Australia?"

It seems to me that there is currently a renewed interest in the topic of UFOs, here in Australia, both in the media and by people in general.

Interest has in the past been cyclic. In 1947 the phenomenon burst into the public arena in the USA. Here in Australia a few press items appeared, but nothing like in the USA. In 1954 there was huge press interest in this country, after a wave of sightings, mainly in Victoria. Many contactee books appeared in the early 1950's. A large number of general UFO books were published in the 1960's and 1970's.

In the USA. following the Condon report's negative conclusions, a fresh wave of sightings with abduction cases in 1973 again raised interest in UFOs. Here in Australia, the abduction phenomenon became a discussion topic for daytime television in the 1980's and 1990's then it faded. Media and public interest was then at a lower level between the end of the 1990's until recently.

In the last six months, here in Australia, I have noted that more than usual UFO stories have been appearing on morning breakfast TV shows and in magazines aimed at Women. Paid TV's Foxtel carried the fascinating "Westall 1966" documentary, and repeated it several times. Soon we are to see a documentary about Western Australian researcher Mary Rodwell, on SBS television.

What has created the increased attention of late?

1. I note a rise in the release of UFO documents/files by Governments of various countries, particularly the United Kingdom and the huge Internet based interest in them.

2. More UFO photographs, videos and case studies are appearing on the Internet, e.g. You Tube; discussion groups and UFO related websites.

3. There have recently been more seriously researched books appearing, such as "UFOs:Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on the record" by investigative journalist Leslie Kean.

Australian readers, do you think there has been an increased interest in the UFO subject, in say the last six months?

Does renewed interest indicate that more real UFOs are around?

I think I can say that there certainly seems more UFO reports around, than for sometime. However, many UFO reports, photographs and videos, lack critical investigation. A look at reports on websites of Australian UFO groups, seems to me to fail to show any increase in the numbers of well researched, well investigated and documented "unknowns." To me, an increase in interest in UFOs doesn't necessarily equate to an increase in actual UFOs.

Classic Australian UFO cases

The other day, after completing my posts about Operation Crowflight and stratospheric balloons, I began to think about further "cold case" research.

I decided to make a list of Australian UFO cases where I might review the available material. I divided the list into two. Cases I had read about but which occurred before my UFO interest started i.e. up to and including 1967; and from 1968 onwards where I had personal knowledge of the events.

First list

1. 31 August 1954 Goulburn, New South Wales

An Australian Navy pilot sighted two objects near his aircraft, with ground based radar confirmation.

2. 26 & 27 June 1959 Boianai, Papua

Multiwitness sighting of UFO and its crew.

3. 4 October 1960 Cressy, Tasmania

An Anglican priest and his wife reported sighting a cigar shaped object, plus multiple smaller "saucers."

4. 15 February 1963 Moe, Victoria

A close range observation of an unusual object, by a farmer.

5. 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge, Queensland

Three men sighted a "machine" near the ground.

6. 19 January 1966 Euramo, Queensland

A "saucer" was seen rising from a swamp, and a flattened area of reeds on a lagoon was found.

7. 6 April 1966 Westall, Victoria

Dozens of students and a teacher, saw an object pass over their school. An associated ground trace was reported.

Second list

1. 22 August 1968 Zanthus, Western Australia

The crew of an aircraft reported sighting a formation of objects.

2. 8 August 1971 Kadina, South Australia

A man reported his car engine and lights were affected by a nearby oval shaped object.

3. July 1972 and subsequently Frankston, Victoria

A woman reported encounters with an object, which affected the car; and follow-up events.

4. 30 November 1972 Murray Bridge, South Australia

A motor mechanic's vehicle was affected by a nearby diamond shaped object.

5. 4 February 1973 Kimba, South Australia

Four people in three separate vehicles saw an orange rectangle in a clearing, with an entity present.

6. 30 September 1980 Rosedale, Victoria

After a very close encounter with a dome shaped object, an unusual trace was discovered.

7. 25 July 1988 Jamestown, South Australia

A depression in the ground was found by police after a farmer reported a close encounter.

I will now have to consider which of the above to start my reviews with.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Abduction:Human Encounters With Aliens"

Hi

Long time readers of this blog will be aware of Pauline's observations on potential psychological explanations for some UFO abductions. Readers who have looked at my recent postings on abductions will know that this is also an area of interest to me. I must emphasise that neither of us are suggesting that all abductions can be explained in this way. However, if we eliminate some cases, but there remain cases which cannot be accounted for in these ways, then we learn something about the remaining cases.

In this post I want to present some data after examining some detailed abductee/experiencer case histories as presented by John Mack in his book "Abduction:Human Encounters with Aliens." Published in 1994 by Simon and Schuster. London. ISBN 0 671 85194 2. In reviewing these 13 case histories I was looking for indicators which might relate to migraines, and/or sleep paralysis.

Migraine:

Pauline's post of 28 August (click here) 2010 mentioned that Richard Grossinger's book "Migraine Auras:When the Visual World Fails" speaks of migraine prodrome. "Migraines are often augured by incipient sensations, an undefined prodrome that may occur days, hours or just minutes beforehand." These prodromes may include "...strong tingling or a sensation of vibrating wires (paresthesias) in the feet, hands, face and/or tongue area." (p69.(

Taking a look at possible migraine related occurrences in Mack's case histories I note:

Experiencer Scott (Chapter five) - Abduction experiences since age 3

"Beginning when he was eight, Scott was taken repeatedly to physicians, especially neurologists, for the evaluation and treatment of frequent throbbing headaches that had begun when he was six...the headaches were diagnosed as "atypical migraine."" (p94.)

Experiencer Jerry (Chapter six) - Abductions before age 7

"Jerry...realized she was "paralysed kind of up to the waist"...Jerry described the paralysis as being like a painful vibration. Then "a tremendous vibration" extended into her hand...The powerful vibrations seemed to shake Jerry's whole body." (p122.)

Experiencer Eva (Chapter eleven) - Abductions since early childhood

"Following this session, Eva again experienced an intense headache and was extremely thirsty for a day or two." (p255.)

Experiencer Dave (Chapter twelve) -Abductions from age 3

"He also remembers having the same feelings, "a vibration of some kind, a tingling," that he had in association with later abductions." (p268.)

"The vibration, "then went from below my naval and out through my chest, and then it was real tingly..." (p273.)

Experiencer Peter (Chapter thirteen) - Various abductions

"I remember my whole body vibrated and shook maybe for a second, two seconds, three seconds." (p295.)

"Once more he felt the vibrations in his body..." (p322.)

Sleep paralysis:

The name given to the experience of waking from sleep to find that you are unable to move is "sleep paralysis." It is a relatively common phenomenon which happens to many people at least once in their lifetime. Some people regularly experience it. It is when you awake from the "dreaming" or "rapid eye movement" phase of sleep, where your muscle tone is low - hence you feel you are paralysed and cannot move. However, almost inevitably you can move your eyes. Hypnopompic imagery (click here for more details) can accompany sleep paralysis. These hallucinations can generate images of figures, unusual noises and can appear "as real as real."

Are there any indicators of episodes of sleep paralysis in Mack's experiencer case histories? Yes there are.

Jerry

"She woke up terrified...she could not move." (p118.)

"In the years following, Jerry had a number of 'nightmares' in which she would awake paralyzed, hear 'buzzing and ringing and whirring' noises in her head and see humanoid beings in her room." (p119.)

Catherine

"She recalled a dream from age nine in which she was paralyzed and terrified as 'some kind of creature' with long fingers...grabbed her." (p143.)

Paul

"No longer at home in his cellar, Paul now was lying on his back in his bed at night and experienced 'things'...he could not move at all." (p232.)

Eva

"...she recalled waking in the night and seeing 'three midgets'...she felt helpless and could not move." (p243.)

"I was frozen again...totally frozen..." (p244.)

Peter

"It is not clear to Peter whether he fell asleep or not...Now he was paralyzed..." (p302.)

Other comments:

Two general comments which Mack makes are of interest to me:

(1) "One of the more difficult phenomena that Catherine and many other abduction experiencers have to deal with is a virtually constant flow of sensory experience, especially light flashes...intrusions of patterned color images..." (p168.)

Could these be migraine related?

(2) "During his childhood Arthur tended, like many abductees, to get significant throat and sinus infections." (p371.) I don't think I have ever come across anyone who has made this observation before.

Final comment:

I know that I am taking selective quotes from case studies, but I am looking to draw attention to the fact that there may be relationships to migraines and sleep paralysis, which were not looked into at the time.

I would urge anyone investigating a new account to take a detailed medical history as part of the data gathering.

For an article on sleep paralysis which I wrote several years ago, click here then scroll down.

For one of the best websites for information on sleep paralysis click here

I welcome comments from readers.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Mirage Men"

Hi readers

A burst of hot weather is about to descend upon Adelaide. 32 degrees C today and hotter over the next few days. Then, typical for Adelaide, a cold front will come through from the south-west and the temperatures will drop for a few more days.

In a previous post, (click here) I mentioned a new book by Mark Pilkington, titled "Mirage Men: A Journey in Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs."

I have been waiting to read an interview with Mark to learn more about his views on the UFO phenomenon. I just came across one interview at http://binnallofamerica.com/rr102210.html

I'll quote a few pieces which interest me.

"I'm not sceptical about UFOs themselves...what I am very sceptical of is the popular notion of ET visitation as presented in the UFO lore that has emerged since the late 1940's. This has developed out of a multi-directional feedback loop between UFO experiencers, UFO book authors, mainstream popular culture and those in the military and intelligence worlds who would exploit and shape these beliefs and ideas..."

"I'm just putting forward my take on a very complex story. I wrote Mirage men to be an outward-looking book that would interest people outside of the UFO community. I also wanted to present a reasonable and responsive critique of the mainstream ETH to those who are already well versed with the UFO lore."

Comment:

This view that the ETH is not the most likely explanation for the UFO phenomenon, is of course, unwelcome by many in the UFO research community.

"I'm fascinated by the 1980 Cash-Landrum incident for example. If even half of that incident was accurately reported by the witnesses then there are either some remarkably advanced toys in the human arsenal, or we really have been borrowing, or stealing them from someone else." (Click here for more information on this case.)

"Some of my friends have had some really spectacular and bizarre UFO sightings, but personally I just don't see the need to invoke the extraterrestrial hypothesis. As military analysts have pointed out since the late 1940's, the patterns of behaviour ascribed to UFOs make no sense as part of a surveillance or invasion plan."

"My own belief, and it's only a belief, is that some highly advanced experimental aircraft have been flown over the years perhaps much further back than we realise."

Comment:

An interesting observation. See a number of my previous posts about aerospace companies and UFOs.

Mark has his own website at http://miragemen.wordpress.com

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cold UFO cases - stratospheric balloons Part 4

This post continues my examination of Australian UFO reports in the RAAF UFO files, which may be explainable in terms of stratospheric balloons.

30 Jul 1965 70miles West of Cook, South Australia 0835hrs 10mins duration

A gang of railway workers saw a UFO for ten minutes, to the South of the railway line. It appeared to be "hovering" and was silver in colour, reflecting the Sun's rays. It disappeared with a flash. There was no sound associated with the visual observation.

8 May 1966 Whittlesea, Victoria 1015hrs 10 minutes duration

A flying instructor saw an object at 30 degrees azimuth, 20 nautical miles at an estimated height of 8,000 feet. It was silver in colour. Through binoculars it seemed "...some sort of metallic substance..." In shape it was "Elliptical with dark core." There was no sound. It was initially stationary but descended to approximately 4,500 feet before being lost behind cloud.

17 May 1967 Thomastown, Victoria 1200hrs 60 minutes duration

A man reported using binoculars to watch a star-like flashing object high in the sky to the North West. It was in clear sky, had a round shape, and was noiseless. It seemed to be very high up in the sky. It was moving slowly to the South East, travelling in a straight line.

9 Sep 1967 Alice Springs, Northern Territory 1415hrs 5-10 minutes duration

Five nursing sisters, on a clear day, saw an object high up in the sky, slightly North West of overhead. Light glinted on the object. They questioned whether it was a balloon. It was silver in colour, had a round shape and was soundless. It seemed to be "hovering" then moved North North West. It was lost to view "...up into the stratosphere."

9 Feb 1969 Wulkuraka, near Ipswich, Queensland 1530hrs 180 minutes duration

A witness reported seeing a circular, shiny, white object. Initially it was observed due North moving South for 45 minutes, then moving West at very slow speed at high altitude. Total duration of the observation was three hours.

29 Aug 1969 Amberley, Queensland 1335hrs

There were numerous reports of a "balloon-like" object to the South. A Canberra aircraft located a balloon over Milmerran at 6,000 feet. Later it was revealed by the Balloon Launching Project at Mildura that they had launched a balloon on 25 August which failed to self-destruct and which then floated over South East Queensland.

10 May 1988 Bandendone, Queensland 1325hrs 20 minutes duration

A witness was travelling by car, when they saw an object in the sky, reflecting "metal-like" in the sunlight. There was no sound. It appeared to be "hovering" before rising steadily as it travelled East. An Exite x-ray telescope was launched by balloon from Alice Springs on this day.

My comment:

There certainly would appear to be UFO reports in the RAAF UFO files which fit being observations of stratospheric balloons. Interestingly, I cannot recall reading anything about this possibility in the files of Australian UFO research groups.

I would imagine that a diligent search of the reports archives of Australian groups would reveal further observations whose origin lie with stratospheric balloons. Unlike Operation Crowflight aircraft producing some UFO reports in the period 1960-1966; stratospheric balloon launches continue in Australia today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New book alert - Vallee

Dear readers

Well, it is the end of the working week! Adelaide's maximum temperature today was a delicious 24 degrees Centigrade; beautiful and sunny, with the deep blue skies we get in Australia.

I tried to get a look at this year's Leonid meteor shower which peaked in the last few days. The first day, I was up at 4am but it was totally cloudy. The second day I left it until 5am but by then it was already too light and only the brighter stars were visible in the skies. Oh, well, there is always next year.

On to the post. Regular readers will know that I am a follower of all things Jacques Vallee. Well there is a new book out co-authored by Vallee and Chris Aubeck. Its title is "Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times." ISBN 9781 5854 2829 5. Published by Penguin. 2010. 528pages.

It includes a catalogue of 500 observations starting in ancient Egypt, which the authors argue show that the UFO phenomenon had always been with us, and did not simply start in 1947 in the USA. This is in line with Vallee's long time argument that the UFO phenomenon has a very long history and that it should be studied in that context.

Cold UFO cases - stratospheric balloons Part 3

Hi

This post continues my look at the possibility that some Australian UFO reports were due to stratospheric balloon launches.

In viewing digitised images of UFO reports made to the RAAF in 1961, I came across two reports which came from the same area of North Queensland only two days apart.

The first was made on 5 June 1961 at a place called Millaa Millaa, on the Atherton Tablelands, some 70kms South of Cairns. Senior Constable W Anderson was one of a number of people in the area who reported seeing an object in the day time sky. He stated that the object appeared as a dull star to the naked eye, but that through binoculars it was "... a cone shape with half of its surface coloured red..."

He first saw it at 12.55pm. In the cloudless sky he first saw it as a silver sphere which turned slowly to show a cone shape. It finally moved to the West and was lost to sight in the haze on the western horizon at 2.50pm.

My comment:

From the data on the RAAF file, the object described by Senior Constable Anderson and others, could have been a balloon. It travelled some 45 degrees across the sky in 2 hours; was spherical to cone shaped (a cone being a perfect description for a large high altitude balloon); and appeared to be high up in the atmosphere. The RAAF sent up an aircraft which orbited the area between 4.20 and 4.35pm but found nothing to account for the sightings.

The second sighting came from the Cairns area on 7 June 1961. Many people sighted an object in the sky which was described as "...an oval shaped body glowing bright red, with three shining white triangular fins..." There was some talk of it possibly being a daytime observation of the planet Venus (it is possible to see Venus in broad daylight.) However, this was dismissed when a local photographer photographed both the planet Venus and and a separate object in the one shot.

My comment:

Again, this second set of sightings could have been the same balloon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cold UFO cases - Stratospheric balloons Part 2

In the introduction to part one I posed the question "Could some Australian UFO cases be caused by stratospheric balloons?"

In looking at the RAAF's UFO files, as listed by the Disclosure Australia Project, I located 20 potential cases where such balloons may have been involved. I then used the digitised UFO files from the National Archives of Australia to view the actual RAAF UFO report forms for these cases. My final conclusion is that I think that 11 of these cases may relate to balloons. In this and following posts I will provide details of these cases.

1. 15 November 1960

Ironically, an Operation Crowflight aircraft crew reported a UFO sighting! (See previous posts about Operation Crowflight.)

RAAF file 580/1/1 Part 2 pp44-45 in the National Archives tells the story. It involved the crew of a JB-57 aircraft operating out of RAAF East Sale. The pilot's report reads:

"On Tuesday morning, 15 November 1960, approximately 1040LCL, while flying on a mission track , 15 miles north of Launceston, my navigator, Captain Douglas G Ludlam, USAF called out an aircraft approaching to our left, and slightly low. Our altitude at the time was 40,000 feet, TAS of 350 knots and heading of 340 degrees. I spotted the object and immediately commented to Captain Ludlam that it wasn't an aircraft but looked more like a balloon.

"We judged its altitude to be approximately 35,000 feet, heading 140 degrees, and its speed extremely high. From previous experience I would say the closing rate to be in excess of 800 knots.

"We observed this object for 5-7 seconds before it disappeared under the left wing. Since it was unusual in appearance I immediately banked to the left for another look, but neither of us could locate it.

"The color of the object was rather translucent, somewhat like that of a "poached egg." There was no sharp edges but rather fuzzy and undefined. The size was approximately 70 feet in diameter, and it did not appear to have any depth."

The report was made by Douglas G Ludlam, Captain USAF and Joseph W Ivins, Jnr, Captain USAF.

My comment:

All but one of the pieces of data suggests to me that the object was a partly deflated balloon. It was translucent. It had no sharp edges. Was fuzzy and undefined. The size would be consistent. In addition, Captain Ludlam stated that the object "...looked more like a balloon..." Balloons of this size were being flown out of Mildura, Victoria in 1960 by the US Atomic Energy Commission. Against the balloon hypothesis is the estimated closing speed of 800 knots. If this piece of data is incorrect (perhaps an overestimate due to the large size of the ballloon), then the balloon hypothesis fits the observation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

UFO conference in the Northern Territory in 2011

Hi readers

A warm 30 degrees C in Adelaide today, ahead of a cooler change coming through late tomorrow.

Just a short post about a UFO conference to be held in the Northern Territory in 2011. Click here for details

Cold UFO cases - stratospheric balloons? Part 1

Introduction:


I mentioned in my post dated 28 October 2010, that I came across an astronomy article describing stratospheric balloon research in Australia. The article, in part, stated that "...nearly 800 balloon flights have taken place in Australia since 1960 with over 100 being conducted from Alice Springs."


The article also revealed that as early as 1960, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission was in Australia using stratospheric balloons (in a parallel mission to the USAF Operation Crowflight) to sample the air at high altitudes for evidence from nuclear test fallout.


Crowflight:


In fact, the National Archives of Australia website digitised files on Operation Crowflight, mention that in 1960 the U.S. and Australian Governments were discussing the use of a balloon program to check on radioactive fallout.


Balloon website:


I located an excellent website at http://stratocat.com.ar/bases/balloons-australia.htm which indicated that there had been three main locations from which stratospheric balloons have been launched in Australia, namely Mildura in Victoria; Charleville in Queensland and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

Mildura (Latitude 34deg 11min South, Longitude 142 deg 10min East)

Mildura was selected by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1960 as a balloon launching station as part of the global HIBAL program. This was a program aimed at collecting dust samples from between 40,000 and 135,000 feet with 20 minutes to four hours of levelled flight. 600 flights were made between 1960 and 1966. HIBAL was then extended to 1969.

Between 1967 and 1980 150 other flights were launched for astronomical purposes. Apart from Mildura, other launch sites were Longreach, Queensland; Broken Hill, New South Wales, and Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Charleville

Only two balloon launches were made to study supernova 1987-A on 29 Oct and 25 Nov 1988.

Alice Springs

The balloon launch program was established in 1975 and about 150 balloon launches have been undertaken since then. The stratocat website provides a partial list of dates for some of these balloon launches.

UFO/balloon characteristics:

What characteristics would I expect a stratospheric balloon observation to have?

1. Daylight observation.
2. Sunlight reflecting off an object.
3. Travelling in a constant direction, subject to wind direction at various altitudes.
4. Moving very slowly across the sky -hence maybe a long duration observation.
5. Object might appear as more than a point source due to the size of the balloon.
6. Seemingly very high up in the sky.
7. Location - anywhere in Australia.
8. Seen by single person or a group.
9. Silver/white in colour.
10. No sound.

UFO reports:

I started off by looking at the Disclosure Australia project archive at http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org and their listing of RAAF UFO reports.

My initial examination comparing UFO reports with my list of expected characteristics of balloon observations gave me a list of over 20 potential balloon sightings. I then went to the National Archives of Australia website to examine the actual report form on their digital files.

More in my next post.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Many pathways to an abduction?

Hi

I was intrigued by Pauline's post "Life with the aliens part two," describing Jenny Randles' observations on 'vasovagal syncope.'

Like Pauline, I am starting to wonder if there aren't a number of pathways to alien abduction experiences. Perhaps sleep paralysis; hypnagogic imagery; migraine prodromes and auras; fantasy proneness ; vasovagal syncope, and other yet unknown factors, might all be entry points to such an experience. Perhaps, then cultural expectation, personal belief systems and interaction with UFO researchers turns the original observation into a UFO abduction/contact?

In my opinion, future study of individuals who report alien contacts could perhaps follow the sort of methodology which I outlined in my post dated 5 Oct 2010, and obtain a detailed medical history; using the above list of items as a starting point.

This is the sort of research which could assist eliminate the more mundane potential explanations for alien abductions/contacts, leaving us with a better perspective on those cases which survive this screening process.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Life with the aliens" Part two

Hi readers

In a post on the 17 Oct 2010 (Click here for the full post) I mentioned part one of an article by UK Ufologist Jenny Randles, which appeared in the English "Fortean Times" (FT) magazine. Well, part two is in FT 266, October 2010 p.29.

Jenny continues her abductee/contactee case studies with "Barbara." After sighting a light in the sky, Barbara "...started to have out-of-body experiences during which she believed she had regular sojourns with aliens." Later, an alien appeared in her bedroom, and Barbara went off with it. She developed a "...fear of going to sleep..."

A second case study featured "Pat" from Western Australia, who one morning, while awake in the bathroom saw "...two figures wandering around the house communicating telepathically with her..." At the end of the experience she found herself back in bed.

"Clues and causes"

Jenny discusses these sort of experiences, suggesting a variety of ways to look at them. "...as physical causes, psychological triggers, metaphysical solutions and, of course, via cosmic or alien interpretations."

The rest of the article examines "...how medical conditions might have a part to play."

The possible relevance of temporal lobe epilepsy; and migraine attack, to alien contact is discussed. "...many alien contactees describe having unexpected migraine attacks before, during and after an encounter,"

Of personal relevance to Jenny, is vasovagal syncope, "...a sudden stimulation of the vagus nerve." She mentions that she herself was diagnosed with it two years ago. "I have been collating experiences from fellow ...sufferers and am seeing fascinating links with migraine and epilepsy as well as a startling number of symptoms reported during alien contact cases, from apparent time lapses and images of tubes and tunnels."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More on aerospace companies and UFOs

Hi readers

Adelaide is continuing its Spring seasonal weather, warm one minute, cold and raining the next. The weather even had the audacity to rain at this year's Australia's greatest horse race - the Melbourne Cup - and no, I didn't pick the winner, so need to stay in my current job a a little longer.

Aerospace companies and UFOs

In earlier posts I looked at information I'd come across regarding aerospace companies and UFO research. I am going to continue my wanderings through this area, in this post.

In the 1966-1970 era, Dr Robert M Wood, working for the McDonnell-Douglas aviation company, ran a project which looked at the UFO phenomenon and the possibility that "gravity control" was involved. (See Wood's article in the MUFON Journal, October 2008.)

The diaries of Jacques Vallee suggest that there was continuing UFO research by Mc-Donnell Douglas in the period 1974-1978 ("Forbidden Science " Volume 2. 2008. Documentica Research, LLC. pp277 & 439.)

What of earlier times?

I have been re-reading the book "The hunt for zero point" by Nick Cook, published by Arrow in 2002. ISBN 009 941 4988.

Cook, employed by the English journal "Jane's Defence Weekly" became intrigued with the concept of gravity propulsion - anti-gravity. He came across the fact that in the mid -1950s a number of aircraft companies were conducting gravity research.

One of the most prominent figures involved in the research was "George S Trimble, head of Advanced Programs and Vice-President in charge of the G-Project at Martin Aircraft." (pp3-4.)

Cook found that "The Glenn L Martin Company became the Martin Company in 1957. In 1961, it merged...becoming Martin-Marietta..." (p11.) In 1994 it changed to Lockheed-Martin.

Cross back to Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science" Volume 1. 1992. North Atlantic books. Berkeley, Ca, page 135, and a diary entry dated 17 May 1965.

"A curious incident recently took place during a conversation with a Martin Marietta engineer who says he is compiling a reference book on UFOs..." The engineer circulated a black binder with material in it, and when someone turned a page "The engineer leapt out of his chair like a tiger and tore the binder away, tersely spitting out "...the other papers have nothing to do with that! We were left fairly shocked at the violence of his reaction. Of course we began to wonder what else might be in that binder. There are rumours that major aerospace companies are conducting their own secret studies of UFOs."

There is also a reference to an earlier date. In Vallee's diary Volume 2 page 335.
"I got an interesting call from a vice-president with Environmental Systems in Van Nuys. As early as 1955 he belonged to a UFO group at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica...They were asked by Douglas management to assess cases from Blue Book."

What of George S Trimble?

When Cook wrote his book in 2002 he found Trimble was still alive. However, Cook's efforts to interview Trimble were defeated. Cook's contact at the company told him "He doesn't want to speak to me and he doesn't want to speak to you, not now, not ever. I don't mind telling you he sounded scared and I don't like to hear old men scared." (p17.)

Back to Cook

As he was an aviation journalist, Cook went on a journey to look into the possibility that anti-gravity research went underground in 1957. His search took him through the work of Thomas Townsend Brown; German world war 2 research; the AVRO aircraft; NASA's breakthrough propulsion physics program; and Dr Evgeny Podkletnor's claims about discovering an anti-gravity effect.

As to aerospace company employees, his interviews included with Jack Gordon, head of Lockheed's "Skunk works." "Whatever was going on here, however many secret programs the Skunk Works had on its books, none of them had anything to do with anti gravity." In addition he spoke to Boyd Bushman, senior scientist at Lockheed-Martin, who gave Cook a files of papers which contained, among other things, a grainy photograph of a UFO flying low over a straight stretch of road with a hand written caption, Santa Ana, California, 1966.

Comment

It would seem logical to me that aerospace companies would spend a small percentage of their budget on "way out" ideas. It is therefore not surprising that UFO study programs have existed within aerospace companies, over the years.

Today, I am aware of only BAE Systems' Project Greenglow which monitors any developments in the field of anti-gravity research.

Readers, are you aware of any other aerospace companies, who today, are conducting research into the UFO phenomenon?

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