Friday, December 30, 2011

Scientific UFOlogy

Dear readers

Time to get out those books from my "waiting to be read pile" as Adelaide heads for maximums of 37, 39 and 36 degrees C over the next few days.

In this post I want to further explore the subject area of two previous posts, namely the one dealing with pseudoscience (click here) and a systematic science of UFOs (click here.) The former took a look at the question of "What is pseudoscience?" and the latter, just what a scientific look at UFOs would need to achieve. These posts led me to thinking just what is "scientific UFOlogy?"

Bullard:

For one view I turned to Eddie Bullard's 2010 book "The Myth and Mystery of UFOs." University Press of Kansas. Lawrence, KS. ISBN 978-0-7006-1729-6. Among a list of categories of people who study UFOs, which includes "activists" and "skeptics" are "scientific ufologists." Bullard writes:

"For this group UFOs are a phenomenon accessible to rational inquiry. These people pursue in-depth case investigations, critical examination of evidence, comparison of collected data, and rigorous research projects to determine if any UFO reports describe an unknown phenomenon. Scientific ufology aims to prove or disprove an evidential basis for the UFO phenomenon rather than to find meanings in it. Exemplified by Hynek and McDonald, professed by the leading UFO organisations, this scientific approach represents ufology in the purest sense of a scientific or scholarly discipline." (p.15.)

Popular ufology:

Contrasting with 'scientific ufology', Bullard speaks of 'popular ufology', which "...identified a normative expression of "what ufologists believe" based on an ideas that have attracted widespread attention and enthusiasm." (p.20.) Bullard notes that "Scientific and popular ufology often stand in opposition, the one dedicated to an objective understanding of the phenomenon, the other concerned with subjective understanding of what UFOs mean." (p.20.)

Comments:

Long term readers of this blog will know of my interest in all aspects of intelligence agencies and in particular, their involvement in the UFO phenomenon. The intelligence process of collection, collation, interpretation and dissemination of data, has always struck me as a useful way to tackle the UFO phenomenon. You collect data, collate it to draw out patterns; you provide an interpretation as to the usefulness of the data; then you disseminate your findings for peer review.

Bullard, in my opinion, has accurately described what I would regard as 'scientific ufology' when he states case studies; analysis of data; and research projects are the elements involved. His end result of determining if any UFO reports "...describe an unknown phenomenon" to me, however, doesn't go far enough. If you find that some reports describe an unknown phenomenon, then I see no reason why you shouldn't then go on to test various hypotheses, such as the extraterrestrial hypothesis, against the data.

Australian pilot reports flying saucer in South Korea - 1952

Hi all

Jan Aldrich of Project 1947 (click here) recently asked if I had come across a report from Korea in 1952, involving an Australian pilot named Smith. I had not.

I searched the TROVE digitised newspapers held by the National Library of Australia, using keywords such as "Smith," "Korea," "1952" but drew a blank.

Jan mentioned that he would try the digitised Project Blue Book Archive website (click here.) 

As it turned out I was already researching this website myself, looking for references to Australian reports. Entering  keywords,  I located a document which described the sighting which Jan had come across.

MAXW-PBB10-1134:

The document ( click here) was referenced MAXW-PBB10-1134 and is page 12 of a 16 page "Air Intelligence Information Report." There is a hand written date of 6 June and the document refers to 7 Jun 1952.

"First ever flying saucer ever reported over South Korea was watched for four minutes today by Sargeant Ken Smith of Chapman Street, New Mile End, Adelaide.

"It was fifty or sixty feet with a depth of about 1/10 its diameter...I judged its size from its apparent height about ten thousand feet, behind and above a Sabre Jet flying over the airstrip. It was whirling and tumbling, and twinkling as the sun struck its smooth silvery surface. At the same time it was travelling laterally at about 350 knots. Suddenly it stopped in its course, stopped tumbling and flashed straight up in a few seconds to about thirty thousand feet. It hovered for a moment then shot away on a new course at right angles to the old one. It stopped again and then went at tremendous speed across the sun and I lost it."

"Smith, an experienced pilot who flew his 100th mission later in the day, called Sargeant Ken Towner of Bankston, veteran of nearly 200 missions. Together they saw the saucer reappear, whirling and twinkling before, it finally vanished."

Missing in action:

With the above information, I revisited the digitised newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia. I eventually located an article in the Adelaide Advertiser of Friday 11 July 1952 on page 1 (click here). Sadly, it reported:

"Flt Sgt Kenneth Dudley Smith, 25 of Chapman Street, New Mile End, who has been reported missing, believed killed in air operations over Korea, had completed 125 missions from February until late in June." The article includes a photograph of Flt Sgt Smith.










Monday, December 19, 2011

"Alien invasion"

Dear readers

At the weekend, Adelaide experienced a very unusual Summer severe thunderstorm, with torrential rain.

Today's post:

The other day, a most unusual book turned up at my local library. Titled "Alien Invasion: How to Defend Earth" it is written by Travis S Taylor ( click here) and Bob Boan (click here)  and  published by Baen Books of Riverdale, NY. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4391-3442-9. (See Amazon click here.)

It is a serious look at the likelihood of an alien attack on Earth; their possible motivation in doing so, and the likely end results. The discussion is laced with calculations and deeply thought out debate.

Section 5.1, titled "How we Handled ET in the Past" was of interest to me. "The reactions of the Earth's governments to reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) or "flying saucers," may give us an indication of how those governments would respond to the reconnaissance phase of an invasion from space..." (p.141.)

The authors pose three questions:

"1.Was it reasonable to think that the report had 'defence significance' (to use a favourite term of the British Ministry of Defence)?

2. If so, did the military and government authorities in possession of the report recognize this significance?

3. If they did, did they take appropriate action?" (p.142.)

The authors conclude:

"...we gave examples from Projects Sign, Grudge, Blue Book, and others as to how not to handle such things. The known public information about the UFO investigation programs conducted by the US government in the past were not motivated by a best response to the potential ET threat rather than some sort of public appeasement agenda. Whatever the agenda of those programs, they were not handled in a way that seems best for a real alien threat." (pp.153-154.)

Comment:

If you have never given serious thought to the possibility of alien invasion, then this book is guaranteed to get you thinking.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Early interaction between the RAAF and the USAF

Hi all

One of the things which has always intrigued me is the interaction between the RAAF and USAF, regarding the early flying saucer phenomenon. I wondered what early connections there were between the two? The earliest one is able to go back in official Australian government UFO files is to 1951,

In the USA, in the early 1950's, the USAF was running Project Blue Book under Captain Edward J Ruppelt. "In January 1953 a CIA-sponsored group of scientists known as the Robertson panel concluded that flying saucers probably did no represent any form of foreign technology and posed no threat to national security."  (Bullard, T E. 2010. The Myth and Mystery of UFOs. University Press of Kansas. Lawrence KS. p.57.) Ruppelt left Blue Book in 1953. See also click here.

With the above in mind:

You would think that the USAF in 1953, would therefore not be interested at all in collecting reports from foreign countries such as Australia. However, in the National Archives of Australia (NAA) on file series A703 control symbol 554/1/30 Part 1, digital version pages 299-300, I found a two page memo from Lt. Col. George A Uhrich, Assistant Air Attache of the US embassy, to the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI-Australia) dated 20 July 1953. (As an aside, the NAA holds a file at file series A1838 control symbol 1500/1/1/36 "Diplomatic Representatives - USA Uhrich, G. A. Assistant Air Attache 1951-1954.")

In summary, the memo, which is labelled "confidential" and referenced as AA-120-53 and addressed to Wing Commander R.A. G. Ellen, is a request for Australian flying saucer sightings to be forwarded to the USA. Dated 20 July 1953, it discloses that there was a previous correspondence from DAFI (not located by me) dated 6 July 1953. It shows that Uhrich visited the Wing Commander in person on 18 May at DAFI and that "...my headquarters is very interested in receiving reports of all unusual sightings not only in this area, but all over the world." There then follows a very lengthy list of the data points which they would like. The memo closes "Any help you can give me in making this information available to my headquarters will be sincerely appreciated and will be treated in strict accordance with the security classification you attach to it."

Did DAFI forward any reports?

File 554/1/30 Part 1 is silent on this question. However, other sources reveal that at least three reports turned up in the USA.

(1) 22/23 Nov 1953 Woomera ,Sth Aust. RAAF papers located in US Project Blue Book files ref 8/110/2/WRA - courtesy of Jan Aldrich of Project 1947.

(2) 15 Jan 1954 Mallala, Sth Aust. USAF Project Blue Book card - courtesy of Jan Aldrich of Project 1947.

(3) 17 Jan 1954 St Morris, Adelaide, Sth Aust. USAF Project Blue Book card - courtesy of Jan Aldrich of Project 1947.

So, it does appear that DAFI did forward some 1953 and 1954 Australia UFO reports to the US which ended up in Project Blue Book files.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Officialdom and the Katoomba lights of 1957

Hi all

Official government files do not tell the whole story of the involvement of government agencies in the UFO phenomenon. I was reminded of this yet again, when Jan Aldrich of Project 1947 recently sent me a batch of newspaper clippings from Australian newspapers dated 1953-1957.

A series of articles from 1957 caught my eye. They told a story of hundreds of people seeing unusual lights in the sky, and the involvement of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) , the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO.)

The story:

One of the  headlines of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper of 17 Jul 1957 read "Sky mystery at Katoomba." The story, from Tuesday evening 16 July followed. " A lighted object in the sky, resembling a flying saucer, was reported to Katoomba police..." A Mr Hickey reported a hovering object which sent three "...four bright blue rays into the sky," at 8.30pm. He had been inside, heard a noise like an aeroplane, went outside and saw a bright object approaching Katoomba from Falconbridge (10 miles ESE of Katoomba.) Mr Hickey said it hovered  for six minutes, and "...then loud sounds echoed from it..." The sound resembled that of an aeroplane. The light faded after 15 minutes but was still visible in the sky. Police who were called, also sighted the object.

The Sun newspaper of 17 Jul 1957 quoted one Jack Kunst, "...a prominent member of the Unidentified Flying Objects Investigating Committee..." as saying that the sighting "...strengthened evidence of a flying saucer base in the Blue Mountains."

Next day, the Sydney Morning Herald dated 18 Jul 1957 reported that "Mysterious lighted objects were seen in the sky again last night over Katoomba...and Ashfield, a western suburb of Sydney."

At 9.10pm a Katoomba police constable reported seeing "...alighted object in the sky." In addition, "scores of people drove to Echo Point lookout at Katoomba to watch the object...It was visible for about an hour." Among the witnesses was the secretary of the Katoomba branch of the Unidentified Flying Objects Research Committee." Mr Body said he had heard a noise, went outside and saw the object hovering overhead." It had a vapour trail like a jet. It seemed to be flashing red, green and white lights...it was difficult to estimate its size, but it seemed to be oval in shape...It was very bright - about 400-500 times the brilliance of an ordinary star."

Third night:

Reports were made on a third night, Thursday 18 Jul 1957, according to the Sydney morning Herald of 19 Jul 1957, from Katoomba and Sydney's Western suburbs. In Katoomba, at 4.45pm three boys reported seeing an oval shaped  object from Echo Point, "...hovering and drifting above the floor of the Jamieson Valley..."

Later, at 7.45pm, 25 miles West of Katoomba came a  report of a "...brilliant flashing red, green and white light to the south west." It disappeared about 8.20pm. Thirty people at Echo Point "saw the same object."

At 9.50pm "...a strong red flashing light..." travelled across the sky at high speed."

RAAF:

The Sun, dated 19 Jul 1957 reported that a "RAAF Meteor Jet will stand by tonight ready to investigate the mystery lights  over the Blue Mountains..." Interestingly, the plane would be launched at the request of Col. N Strachan, OIC of the Blue mountains Civil Defence, not the RAAF. The paper also reported that the CSIRO would be requested to attend and view the object.

The Sydney Morning Herald dated 20 Jul 1957 carried more information.

Official viewpoints:

On Friday evening 19 Jul 1957 reports of mysterious lights flowed in not only from Katoomba but across and around Sydney. Also enter the CSIRO, who sent "An officer of the radio-physics division... Dr C S Gunn" who watched the skies from Narrowneck Lookout, Katoomba from 8-10pm on Thursday 18 July and 6.30-9.30pm on Friday 19 July. He reported seeing nothing unusual, only stars setting, while changing colour due to the atmosphere.

The RAAF also sent an observer, Flt Lt N J Hurley who "...identified Katoomba's flying saucer as a star...probably Canopus" according to the 20 Jul 1957 Daily telegraph newspaper.

Official files:

With the involvement of RAAF and the CSIRO one would imagine that the Katoomba sightings would make it into official files, however, apparently not so.

I first checked the RAAF's main reports file, series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 part 1. However, there is no mention of these July 1957 reports.

The CSIRO had a UFO files which covered the period. File series C273/227 control symbol 1957-619 part 1. Again, no mention of Dr Gunn';s involvement, nor indeed anything about the July sightings.

I also checked the file covering the period, held by the Department of Civil Aviation, who are quoted in various newspapers as giving advice on aircraft movements. File series A9778 control symbol M1/F/31, has nothing on these reports.

My comments:

It was interesting to me to see the involvement of local police, the Civil Defence, the RAAF, the CSIRO and DCA, plus the comments by UFOIC the local UFO group.

The descriptions of the main Katoomba objects do seem to favour an astronomical explanation. However, there are no data concerning angular size, elevation, or compass directions to many of the reported sightings. This unfortunately, is all too common of newspaper reports, so the definitive explanation remains elusive.

All in all, an interesting insight into official reaction to sightings in 1957 Australia.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cold case - Canberra - 1965 - new information found

Hi all

In a previous post (click here to read) I suggested that the 15 July 1965 Canberra UFO sighting might have been explainable as a daylight observation of the planet Venus. A RAAF document I located on file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 Part 4 folio 83, dated 16 July 1965, also suggested Venus as the cause.

Recently, while reviewing one of the RAAF's old policy files, series A703 control symbol 554/1/30 Part 2 pages 71,72 and 74, dated 1970, I found three more relevant papers on this case, which I hadn't noticed before.

Three documents:

The first document (page 74 of the digitised file) is a letter dated 6 Jun 1970 from students at Lincoln College, North Adelaide who wrote to the RAAF inquiring about the 15 July 1965 event.

Page 71 (folio 50A) is a Minute dated 3 Jul 1970, addressed to PR2, and signed by C R Hickey, Squadron Leader, DAFI AI-1. "All reports relating to this sighting have been checked, and there is no evidence to substantiate the two questions in the letter. The object was reported as a "white spherical object." Attached is a  statement issued by the then Minister for Air, Mr Howson on the sighting. Perhaps it could be included in your reply to Mr Evans and company."

Page 72 (folio50A) is a Ministerial Press release dated Friday 30th July 1965 (reference RAAF PR/S/3907/65.) It is headed "Statement by the Honourable Peter Howson, MP, Minister for Air. RAAF report on sighting of flying object."

"The RAAF today released the following information on the reported sighting of a flying object in the Canberra area on 15th July last.

" The sighting was made by a number of people, including Department of Civil Aviation officials, who were on duty at RAAF base, Fairbairn.

"The RAAF said that while the sighting could not positively be identified, its investigation believed there were several possible explanations.

" Firstly, the sighting could have been cause by the non-persistent condensation trail of a high-flying jet aircraft.

" Alternatively, the sighting could have been caused by the planet Venus which is clearly visible during the day under some conditions and whose position approximated the direction of the sighting at the time.

" A third possible explanation offered was that the sighting could have been caused by a high altitude radar reflector meteorological balloon used in wind forecasting and prediction.

" These balloons which are hydrogen filled, are sent to a high altitude and are clearly visible from long distances due to the reflecting sunlight.

" Furthermore due to the varying moisture content in the air close to the ground, they often appear very furry, or have 'halo-like' appearance giving a very distorted effect. They may also change colour. These balloons are in use by the meteorological authorities in the general area and a number are periodically released from Wagga NSW. On occasions under the influence of strong winds, they have been known to travel considerable distances.

"The visibility at the time of the reported sighting was extremely clear, no cloud, and the fact that the phenomenon suddenly disappeared, could be explained by the fact that these meteorological balloons normally burst at varying altitudes.

" The RAAF said that as announced previously the service received a considerable number of reports of unidentified objects from all sections of the community and all these reports are investigated.

" On many occasions they have turned out to be weather balloons, high-flying aircraft, satellites, stars and meteors to mention a few, and over the last few years, only three or four percent of sightings could not be satisfactorily explained."

My comments:

Given that on the 16 Jul 1965 the RAAF was positive the cause was Venus, and that by the 30 Jul 1965 it had backed off this explanation to offer two others, seems to me to imply that some pressure was brought to bear for the RAAF to conduct a deeper investigation than the 16 Jul documents suggests had previously occurred.

I have not been able to locate other documents (other than the ones cited above and in my previous post) on this event. There are certainly no statements by DCA and RAAF staff that I have come across.


Have any readers uncovered any other material on this event?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Britain's X-files

Dear readers

A refreshing cool change swept through Adelaide overnight, after a few days of warmer weather.

The subject of today's post, comes from issue 280, November 2011 of the English Fortean Times magazine.

In an article about the latest release of UK Ministry of Defence UFO files, containing 8600 pages, David Clarke takes a look at some of the contents which interested him.

DI55:

In a document dated July 1995, and written by a desk officer of the Ministry's scientific intelligence area, Clarke writes:

"In what I believe to be the most important revelation so far, an intelligence officer reveals that '...lack of funding and higher priorities' had prevented any detailed study of the thousands of reports they had received since the end of world war II." This was just one year before the Ministry conducted Project Condign (click here for details.)

RAAF Lakenheath:

"...it is worth noting  that the new files contain details of a more recent incident involving RAAF Lakenheath that occurred in January 2007. In this case an unusual object was detected by the pilot of a USAF F-15 on his airborne radar during a routine exercise...When the captain of the F-15 took a closer look he found the "UFO" was actually the size of a soccer ball and was drifting in the wind at between 17-18,000 feet..." For a look at details known prior to the release of these new files click here.

Balloons:

"Balloons were also responsible for a type of UFO sighting that spread like a virus across the British isles from the summer of 2006. These are the ubiquitous orange lights in the sky that drift slowly across the night sky in formation that resembles fleets of flying saucers... Chinese lanterns..."

Comments:

The continuing release of thousands of papers from the UK's UFO files, reveals more about the background interest of intelligence agencies, in the UFO phenomenon. The official line is that intelligence areas of the British Ministry of Defence; the Australian Department of Defence and the New Zealand state in summary that some UFOs are not explainable in conventional terms; that they are scientifically interesting but are of no defence threat. See a previous post on just this topic (click here.)

For more material by David Clarke on these files, click here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cold case - Minderoo Station - 25 Oct 1910

Hi all

One of the long term research projects I am undertaking, is looking for pre-1947 Australian accounts which are suggestive of the UFO phenomenon. I have reported on a number of these pre-1947 cases in previous posts on this blog, e.g. click here.

One of the pre-1947 Australian events which is frequently cited in the UFO literature is said to have occurred on 25 October 1909 at Minderoo Station, near Onslow, Western Australia (Chalker, Bill. "The Oz Files." 1996. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point. NSW. p.32; or http://www.rense.com/ufo5/histoz.htm citing the source as Robin Northover.

1909 may be the incorrect year:

While looking through digitised newspapers in the National Library of Australia, I came across about a dozen papers (e.g. Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) 7 December 1910 p.7; Sunday Times, Perth, 4 December 1910 p.1; The Western Australian, Perth, 5 December 1910 p.5.) which carried stories about this sighting. It therefore appears that the actual date of the event was 25 October 1910, not 1909 as previously believed.

I quote from the Barrier Miner (Broken Hill). The witness is given as a Mrs A J Roe, of Minderoo Station, 22 miles out of Onslow, Western Australia (1386 kms north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia) who gave the following statement.

"'At 5.30pm on October 25, when at the Minderoo homestead, my attention was directed by a native to a big object in the air several miles away. The object was travelling from us in an easterly direction. It looked compact like a dirigible balloon, but appeared to be square, more like an aeroplane. The sun shone on it, and flashes came from it as though reflected from something revolving, or off metal work. The color of the object was dark brown or black. It was too far away to distinguish its exact nature and size, or whether any persons were in it. There was no mirage at the time and not on any account could such an object be taken for a bird.' Mrs Roe stated that she is positive it was an airship of some kind...A couple of white men, station hands, and a civilised native, also saw the aerial object from the shearing shed, which is a mile from the homestead."

My comments:

1. Is the sighting reliable? The West Australian newspaper dated 5 December 1910 p.5 states that Mrs Roe was interviewed (on November 12) by the Sub-Collector of Customs from Onslow, a Mr Timperly. He forwarded the report (on Novermber 16) to the Minister for customs, a Mr Tudor, who is said to be forwarding the report to the Minister of Defence. Mr Timperly believed the sighting to have been authentic.

2. Mr Timperly, according to the West Australian, thought the object was "an airship." Possibly a WA inventor or a foreign vessel. However, the West Australian reported that "No information has reached that department of any Australian invention being sufficiently complete to accomplish such a flight as is described."

3. A check with two sky charts reveals that the Sun was up, elevation 12 deg and azimuth (Nth =0) 261 deg (slightly south of West). The Moon had set. There was nothing unusual in the eastern sky.

4. Regarding weather details. I obtained this from the West Australian dated 26 and 27th October 1910. For Onslow - maximum temperature 95 deg F; minimum temperature 70 deg F; barometer 29.7 ins; wind from the WNW, moderate. If the wind was from the WNW then any windborne object would have been travelling to the ESE. Note that the Minderoo object was indeed "travelling from us in an easterly direction."

5. Can we say exactly what the object was based on the above data? I believe not.

Over to readers for comments.




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unidentified submarine objects

Dear readers

Another item from the November issue (issue 280) of the Fortean Times magazine, pages 18 and 19. This may, or may not, relate to the UFO phenomenon, depending on your point of view.

The article starts off by noting that "There were more than 4,000 reported detections of foreign submarines in Swedish waters in 1982-1992..." The article goes on to note that "There was a great USO (unidentified submarine objects) 'flap' in 1983 and Swedish ships regularly dropped depth charges into Baltic waters..."

"Some regard the USOs as extraterrestrial; perhaps travellers from a watery planet were exploring the seabed for intelligent life..."

Mostly though it was human submarines, from the former USSR though "A number of the intrusions into Swedish waters in the 1980s were allegedly carried out by the US and the UK, partly to train submarine crews, partly to keep Swedish defence forces on their toes, and partly as a psychological operation."

Comments:

Sightings continue right up to 2011, e.g. (click here.)

For an indepth look at USOs in Norwegian and Swedish waters click here.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meteotsunamis and UFOs

Dear readers

Greetings from Adelaide, South Australia, where our summer is starting off slowly. Only 30 degrees C today, lovely blue skies and cool nights. Great for star gazing. Venus and Jupiter are very prominent in our night skies at the moment, and the summer constellation of Orion is rising in the early evenings to the north-east.

The subject of today's post is meteotsunamis (click here) and their possible relationship to UFOs. I must say that I hadn't heard of meteotsunamis before I read the article by English ufologist Jenny Randles in issue number 280, November 2011, of the Fortean Times magazine (pages 30-31.)

These are unusual waves which appear to be generated by "...pressure changes in the ocean surface from a passing weather front" (p.30.) The waves so generated can be up to 6m high.

Jenny notes that "...close observers in southern Cornwall felt sudden pressure changes and their hair stand on end as the waves arrived." (click here.) She then re-examines a number of unusual incidents in the light of this new knowledge. There was the SS Mohican (click here) which in July 1904 off the eastern coast of the USA encountered a strange grey mist, static electricity, and an unusual calmness and silence.

Cases:

Jenny poses a question " ... whether similar effects might occur inland as well as out to sea, with recognisably similar consequences -mistakenly assumed to be UFOs." Jenny cites the following cases in support of her hypothesis:

1. Nov 1953 Lake Gjersjoen, Norway (click here)
Car surrounded by green mist. Man's body tingles. Watch magnetised. All rust on car removed.

2. 24 Feb 1975 Sizewell, Suffolk (click here)
Green/yellow mass floated on to sand. Man's skin tingled. Air ionised. Locals report static on TV.

3. 26 Sep 1973 Minehead, Somerset
Woman sees misty shape. her skin prickled. Hair stood on end. Floating mass. buzzing/humming sound.

4. 1966 Kent.
Misty shape floated towards witness over a river. Abnormally quiet. Numbness. heavy feeling.

Jenny writes: "With so many cases where witnesses have tried to describe unusual physical sensations experienced while seeing what is tacitly assumed to be a UFO, I tend to suspect that an atmospheric event of some kind might unify these disparate stories."

"We may face a wider phenomenon in which frontal systems under certain conditions can not hist trigger unusual surge waves in the ocean (or rivers or lakes) but UFO encounters that are interpreted in the guise of our modern space mythology."

Comments:

As always, Jenny is on the look out for novel interpretations of the data. I love her thinking patterns and the fact that she has a great knowledge of English UFO reports and merges them into big, broad hypotheses.

Have any readers come across hypotheses suggesting weather frontal systems may generate some UFO reports?



Monday, December 5, 2011

When did the UK government become interested in flying saucers?

Hi all

In a previous post (28 November) I mentioned that it appeared that the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) Director of Air Force Intelligence's files on flying saucers, began in 1950, three years after the modern birth of the subject.

I wondered when official interest in the subject, commenced in the United Kingdom? To answer this question I turned to David Clarke's excellent work "The UFO files." 2009. The National Archives. Kew, Surrey. ISBN 978-1-905615-506. Clarke worked with the National Archives and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the UK government's UFO files. On page 40 of this book I found:

"Flying Saucers were regarded as largely an American phenomenon until 1950, when British newspapers began to take an interest in the growing mystery." Clarke goes on to mention books on flying saucers by Keyhoe. "His books and those of others who followed led a number of senior figures in the British military establishment to treat the subject seriously for the first time." (Clarke p.41.)

Among those interested was Sir Henry Tizard who became Chief Scientific Advisor to the ministry of Defence. "It was as a direct result of his influence that the British government was persuaded to set up a small working party to investigate the mystery, reporting to the directorate of Scientific Intelligence/Joint Technical Intelligence Committee (DSI/JTIC) part of the Ministry of defence." (p.41.) in August 1950.

So, it would appear that both the UK and Australian government's "official" interest in flying saucers, started in 1950.