Monday, January 13, 2014

Discovery Canada's "Close Encounters": The Worst UFO 'Documentary' Series Yet?

On Friday, January 10, 2014, the Discovery Canada channel ran the first episide of a new Series, Close Encounters. The series is expected to run in the U.S. in a few months. It tells us,
  • One Million UFOs are reported each year. [Dubious - MUFON receives less than 10,000].
  • 5% are unexplained
  • These are the "Close Encounters"!
Well, not really. "Close Encounters" are supposedly those cases where the UFO comes within a few hundred yards of the observer. The problem is, people are quite unable to accurately judge how far away a light in the sky is. The UFO literature is filled with reported "close encounters" with objects whose distance from the observer turns out to be measured in hundreds of miles, if not in millions.

The re-entry of the rocket booster Cosmos 2335, as depicted by Discovery Canada.

As you can deduce from the above promotional image, the series contains a large amount of re-enactment of supposedly unexplained UFO cases. We saw similar scenes in 2012 in the National Geographic's Chasing UFOs, which ultimately floundered because of the unintentional comedy of its "investigators" stumbling around in the dark with cameras and microphones seemingly hovering over every orifice, and ultimately finding nothing of significance. UFOs are not things that can be chased in real-time. But existing UFO claims can be endlessly re-enacted, and the reenactment can be sexed up to where even the original witnesses would not recognize it. Witnesses do not merely stand and look at a light in the sky. They fall to the ground and writhe while the light in the sky meancingly shines beams at them. As relief from the heavy drama, Close Encounters gives us talking heads who repeat every pro-UFO claim about the case, completely ignoring difficulties, inconsistencies, and - especially - rational explanations.

And what was the first UFO case of the first episode? Believe it or not, they chose the now-embarrassing 1996 "Yukon UFO" whose definitive explanation by Ted Molczan, Harro Zimmer, and James Oberg was published in this Blog nearly two years ago, on April 30, 2012. If you Google "Yukon UFO," that is the first page to come up. This Discovery Canada episode was filmed in March of 2013, so they can't say that they didn't know about the explanation. Before that explanation was published, space journalist and author James Oberg sent a courtesy note to Stanton Friedman, the "Flying Saucer Physicist." Oberg outlined the solution, and asked Friedman whether he wanted to reconsider his earlier strong endorsement of the case. Friedman's reply was clear and succinct: NO WAY JOSE.

Witness PEL2 drew the Yukon UFO passing below the Big Dipper
I won't repeat the details of the case here - you can read it in the linked Blog entry - but the supposed "close encounter UFO" reported by the observers matches up exactly with the flaming re-entry of  the rocket booster that placed the Cosmos 2335 satellite into orbit earlier that day. There is no possible doubt that this identification is correct. Ted Molczan is widely considered to be the top civilian authority on satellite observations and orbits. He is a major contributor to the satellite observing group SEESAT, containing the most serious and exacting satellite observers in the world. Harro Zimmer, another satellite expert, re-computed and refined Molczan's orbital calculations, and reached exactly the same conclusion. One of the observers drew the "UFO" passing under the Big Dipper, from left to right. Molczan's software drew the path of the decaying rocket booster, as seen from that location. It was exactly the same! Case Closed.
Molczan's software-generated plot of the decay of the rocket booster for Cosmos 2335
Discovery's "talking heads" for that case were Martin Jasek of UFO-BC, the original investigator of the case, and Chris Rutkowski, a Canadian UFO researcher who has had (at least until now) a decent reputation for objectivity. Rutkowski was participating in a Facebook discussion of the case a few days before the episode aired. I entered the thread to ask, "Chris Rutkowski, I'm just wondering if you were totally unaware that the Yukon UFO case was solidly debunked almost two years ago?", and gave a link to my Blog entry. Rutkowski replied, 
Robert: Of course. I am aware it was debunked, but not too solidly. I reviewed the analysis that it could have been a rocket re-entry, and I discussed it with the original investigator, Martin Jasek, who is also interviewed in the episode. We knew that some of the characteristics of the re-entry could have been be observable that night. One sticking point was the set of observations by the two cousins who observed the object simultaneously from two different angles, with one at an acute angle and the other directly underneath. Given the altitude of the re-entry and the small separation of the two witnesses' simultaneous observations, the two are not compatible. In fact, this is what I focussed on when I was interviewed for the episode. I recall that on camera I explained that there had been the suggested explanation as a rocket re-entry, but the cousins' testimonies were at odds with it. Whether that is reflected in the aired episode, I suppose we'll see... [it wasn't]
I replied,
...we know for certain that the Russian rocket booster body was right where the witnesses said they saw their UFO. The drawing of the UFO passing under the Big Dipper, left to right, matches exactly the calculated path of the flaming booster. If a UFO was also present, then two bright objects should have been reported, not one. Knowing how unreliable eyewitness testimony often is, it makes much more sense to attribute discrepancies to witness fallibility, guided by preconceived ideas about what UFOs are like, than to assume that a "real UFO" miraculously appeared at the same time and place as the flaming rocket body.
James Oberg jumped in with,
Chris, I'm going to elaborate on Robert's point: to suggest as you did that 'some' of the witness reports could be attributed to the simo reentry apparition is to require the 'UFO doppelganger effect' -- a TRUE UFO chose the reentry event opportunity to fly along the same path at a much lower altitude and speed, while also perfectly blocking its witnesses from ALSO observing the ongoing satellite reentry. Gribble expressed this hypothesis in the MUFON Journal about a 1987 reentry which seems to have sparked a vivid CEIII event that he wanted to believe. To call this merely a ''stretch" is to reinvent Spandex. When you seriously study the range of witness misperceptions from other documented reentries -- as Molczan and I have done, see www.spaceobs.org -- you find there is NO witness perception to the Yukon event that does not have precedents in reports from earlier reentries. Of course that does not PROVE that Yukon wasn't different from every earlier reentry witness testimony, but it diminishes the likelihood substantially.
 In an email discussion, Oberg notes,
We should also point out that Rutkowski's and Jasek's approach to testing the reliability of the eyewitness testimony starts with Step #1: "Assume the testimony is reliable." I can't make this kind of stuff up. As Ted has already pointed out in detail, for example, the 'triangulation' approach to proving the object was nearby relies on implicitly assuming the object was nearby and 'overhead' as described by a witness, despite numerous instances from the case studies I've prepared in which people [who see the apparition high in the sky and think it's nearby] reasonably extend to it the vague description "overhead". How many times does that have to be shown to be 'the rule' rather than 'the exception' for bright fireball swarms even at lower elevation angles below 30 degrees?
Oberg has prepared the following resources to illustrate other cases in which observers made these same kind of mistakes in describing satellite reentries:
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/990901-US_Pacific_coast.pdf
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/850111-Bahamas_spaceship.pdf
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/760211-baltic_bolide.pdf
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/940914-africa-pdf1.pdf
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/680305-Eastern-US.pdf
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/760919-morocco.pdf
http://www.jamesoberg.com/10-30-1963_kiev.pdf
http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/Oberg/63040B_re-entry.png
The absurdity is compounded by the fact that Molczan is Canadian, and lives right in Toronto, where the episode was filmed. He remarked, "they could have had my input for the cost of cab fare." But of course Discovery Canada had no interest in that. Not a hint of questioning or doubt appears in the episode. Sensation and ratings are the only goal, and troubling facts are things to be ignored. This is Tabloid TV at its worst. The once-factual Discovery Channel has now joined the purveyors of entertainment masquerading as documentaries.


51 comments:

  1. Chris Rutowski has always struck me as objective as well. His explanation for rejecting this much more robust explanation is not particularly well thought out.

    Lance

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  2. Robert,

    I provided Jim Oberg with my take on the Malmstrom Oscar Flight segment (segment after the Yukon portion) and have posted my review on my blog site.

    In a quick summary, the program's depiction of the Oscar Flight "incident" is fatally flawed in numerous ways. The production and use of props to support the story line totally disappointing...yet, I wasn't surprised.

    Leslie Keene and Kevin Randle provided background commentary. One wonders if both were used to provide a sense of legitimacy to the story, or merely there as a form of an emergency crash cart....someone needed to put the cardiac paddles on this dead/dying corpse of a story.

    I'll not rehash my comprehensive thoughts here since one third of my blog has been devoted to Salas/Oscar Flight.

    I echo your statement concerning the Discovery Channels slithering into tabloid-like documentary. Can we not say that the National Inquire is now on par with the likes of Discovery, Learning Channel and the History Channel.

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    Replies
    1. Tim, You forgot to say that the Blog entry you are talking about is at http://timhebert.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-discovery-channel-ufo-programs.html

      I plan to write another posting about that case. I'll cite your Blog. I also received some material from James Carlson about it.

      Delete
  3. Jim:
    Thanks for your comments.
    The satobs links wouldn't work for me.
    How often will significant re-entry events such as this Yukon one occur over North America? Can you list a half-dozen or so, with dates, from the past 25 years?

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  4. Chris, that's a reasonable question about six months overdue. If you 'google' the terms Molczan, satellite re entries, and observed, you'll be directed to a draft list of worldwide events at http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/misc/Visually_Observed_Natural_Re-entries_DRAFT_1.pdf, and you can select any continent and any time interval, yourself. Finding more recent drafts is an exercise left to the student. Now please return the favor with information about how much the Canadian government subsidized Jasek's research, please.

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  5. Rutkowski is still peddling his pet 1967 Falcon Lake flying-saucer "close encounter" hoax while ignoring valid criticism and referring to himself as a "true skeptic." Michalak's fairy tale was obviously nothing more than tabloid trash, a crude hoax, nearly fifty years ago.

    Those are three hallmarks of Believers, and hardly "objective" behavior.

    http://tinyurl.com/mzqsd8y

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    1. Zoam, I've read some of Mr. Rutkowski's books and follow his blog, and I can say you need to be more discriminating in your comments. Mr Sheaffer and Mr Oberg have constrained their criticism to specific disagreements without launching into a broad condemnation. They are informed and show good judgement (as well as good character).

      Perhaps one day you too will be able to exercise good judgement and resist the urge -- for the first time -- to be a mere partisan zealot.

      This is my genuine wish for you.

      Delete
    2. || you need to be more discriminating in your comments.|| No, I don't think so.

      Terry; I gave three solid reasons to doubt Rukowski's objectivity, he displays the attitude and behavior typical of self-styled ufoolergists, Believers in the "UFO" myth and other antiscientific contrarians: His belief in the "UFO" myth precedes consideration of any case, accepting the details of "UFO" reports at face value and often referring to the "phenomenon;" He's still repeating old cases that were thoroughly debunked decades ago to anyone not possessed by the myth; He ignores rock-solid explanations, maintaining a logically fallacious "undecided" position solely in order to continue belief in the myth, and which he erroneously and laughably refers to as "skepticism" in ufoolergists' newspeak. What a Joke!

      And what has this ridiculously disingenuous act achieved? Absolutely Nothing!

      There is no unknown aerial "phenomenon" haunting Earth's atmosphere and nearspace. There are no Real "UFOs" of any kind and there never were. That's why there is no real debate between Scientific skeptics and Believers, the non-issue was decided long ago. There are only real-world astronomy, astrophysics and aerospace. The fundamentally absurd (not-identified is an identity) and so darkly paranoid and necessarily conspiratorial "UFO" delusion is worthless and utterly inconsequential. ufoolery is history, let's make the delusion history as well.

      That is my genuine hope in being an unrelenting critic of antiscientific nonsense.

      And, Terry, do you see that Rutkowski is asking for "proof" of Michalak's hoax? That illustrates his ufoolergist fundamental misunderstanding of logic and how the scientific method works. (What a Shocker!) The proof of Michalek's hoax is the fact that all of his laughably crummy evidence fails to show any extraordinary event occurred. It's all nothing that Michalek couldn't manufacture--and did! So his purported "evidence" becomes real evidence of a crude flying-saucer hoax.

      This psychosocial skeptic is amused by the fact that Michalek's description of his two "flying saucers" matches EXACTLY those regularly seen in the very popular "Invaders" TV show airing at the time! And the fact that forest rangers on duty in several towers at the time of Michalek's purported event saw absolutely nothing! Criticism of the credulous regurgitation of this crude hoax is completely justified.

      Delete
    3. How can this guy make the bald face claim that there are NO real ufo cases ? I was a member of NICAP. My Civil Air Patrol and 500 people saw a silver double football field sized ufo over the Sierra Mountains during a search and rescue mission only to have the AF tell us it was Venus at a time when Venus was not visible. Thousands of credible witnesses have reported landings, near misses and the like including Henry Ford III while he was in his executive jets, astronauts, commercial pilots and the like. To try to claim that its all a scientific explanation and all is explained away is fatuous. Even the AF's Project Bluebook, which did all it could to explain away cases admitted there were cases that their investigators could not be explained as did J.A. Hynek. Yes, there are hoaxes but people are seeing things all over the world that are not hoaxes nor misidentified celestial objects nor aircraft, unless they're OUR black project ufos. There are also a huge number of orange objects and triangular ufos being seen right now all over the US. I even had a woman who worked for A T & T tell me she saw a triangular black ufo over her car in 1996. Even Art Bell & his late wife saw one in Nevada as even more were being seen all over Southern Nevada simultaneously with the Phoenix Lights. The days of debunking by Klass and Menzel are long over. Get a clue.

      theguyfrompittsburgh on the web

      Delete
  6. Jim:
    I read the article based on Molczan's view of the Yukon case when it was published.

    I wanted to ask you, personally, since you have more expertise in satellite observations than I, and as I mentioned, the satobs links didn't work for me then, and not now, as I wait for the link you had just given. I had thought you might want to be a resource for helping to explain some of the UFO reports.

    As for the Canadian government funding Jasek's research, you'd have to ask him. To my knowledge, he did all his investigation with his own money, printed the Yukon report with his own money and traveled with his own money. I doubt the Canadian government subsidized any of his research.

    As for Chomsky's derision of my studying the Michalak case in depth, besides Roy Craig's view it was a hoax, what convinces you that it is? I would challenge that it was not a "crude" hoax, if a hoax at all. There is no evidence that Michalak hoaxed the story. It's possible that someone later embellished the case by muddying the waters, but there is no hard evidence that Michalak did it himself.

    And yes, I still maintain that in this case at least, I am objective. I am skeptical of the claim it was a crude hoax, but also skeptical that it was an alien spaceship.

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  7. http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/misc/Visually_Observed_Natural_Re-entries_DRAFT_7.pdf

    This is Ted's most recent effort. I can't understand why you have problems connecting to it Chris. Are you having technical problems?

    You can go to the Seasat archive as well where he posts the link.

    http://satobs.org/seesat/Jan-2014/0035.html

    Maybe you can try contacting Ted via e-mail. BTW, I counted fourteen re-entries over north america since 2000.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh...Chris can you tell me when the witnesses were interviewed for Jasek's piece? As best I can tell, he did not start talking to them for a month or more. Perhaps I am reading his web site incorrectly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The link just connected for me. Thx.
      That's a very interesting list of visually-observed re-entries.

      I had been origiannly hoping that someone like Jim who knows more of the ins and outs of satellite tracking would have a list like that which I asked handy.

      As a way of cross-referencing UFO data to the list, I note the re-entry of March 13, 2008, is well-represented with a handful of UFO reports from that date; witnesses generally described a fireball with a long tail, as one would expect.

      As I understand Jasek's investigation, he didn't learn of the incident until long after it occurred. I thought he noted that somewhere. And most witnesses were not located until he actually went up there; they had not gone to media or had been talking about it. It was quite interesting that they were independent and so separated.

      I can see where it would be useful some to cast doubt on the witnesses' testimony and perhaps suggest Jasek asked leading questions of people in the area until he found people to support the premise that a large UFO was seen. That's not how I understand what happened. I thought he did a good job of trying to locate witnesses of something that was physically observed (which it was, since there was a re-entry that night). So even months after the event, their testimony was sufficient to support that explanation.

      Delete
    2. Actually Jasek states many of the witnesses knew each other and talked between themselves about what they saw. So they really were not independent of each other.

      Delete
  9. The odd thing is that the spectacular apparitions seem associated with particularly large rocket stages -- perhaps their components particularly lend themselves to engendering long-lasting fireball swarms. And of course you need dark night and clear skies. It's no wonder that witnesses are astonished by a phenomenon they've never seen or even heard of before. Without these case studies, and the diligent records-keeping of devoted amateurs, I personally would never have believed that the phenomenon could give rise to such a suite of consistent misperceptions. But that's what the data leads to.

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    Replies
    1. Quite so. One of the better investigations of a re-entry identified as a UFO was made, by Doug Cooper of BUFORA, on the Tsyklon re-entry of 30/31 March 1993, viewed by many in the UK, Ireland, and parts of Europe. I had the pleasure of seeing these—both the re-entry (two large flaming chunks of débris) and the investigation report. There weren't any accounts of spaceships with lighted windows, as in the notorious Zond IV case, but many witnesses reported what they saw as a "giant triangle", sometimes flying in the opposite direction from the truth, as it were. Just to show how off one can be, I myself had the direction of flight at 90 degrees to actuality (and I really should have known better), and thought the lights were about 2000 ft up, based on the notion that they were flames from afterburners—strangely silent ones, I realized later. My companion witness saw the lights as joined by some kind of airframe, and of a different colour from me. So it goes.

      Despite his findings, Doug Cooper told me that whatever many people—i.e. those whose accounts were at odds with the generality—saw, "it was not of this earth". That is what ufological priming will do for you. This seems to me the problem with Chris R's interpretation. I wouldn't question his honesty in this, tho' I harbour unseemly doubts about the way a certain Mr N Pope talks up the Tsyklon event. Zoam can go off the deep end all he likes, but isn't this the kind of thing we should have got used to by now?

      Delete
    2. dm, plz contact me directly to follow up on 1993, and pope's treatment of it. jamesEoberg@comcast.net

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im from Down Under, you forgot "OZ Encouters" where 2 female abductees, interviewed at different times & didnt know each other, had physical evidence by photographs of scars, one whose ankles had been bound by something, & described & sketched the same craft.
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      Delete
  11. How old was Stefan Michalak in 1967?

    Is there any substance to his claim that he was a denizen of Nazi concentration camps, as noted in Chris Rutkowski's article?

    —Peter B

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  12. no matter how much negitivity that is put out there by "skeptics"-"non-believers"-(what makes a skeptic is the lack of their OWN experience)-ufos have been around for thousands of yrs-& they ain't going away any time soon....period

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, please define what you mean by a UFO.

      Next, please provide five (5) examples of sightings of UFOs, as defined by you, that have been reported between (let's say) 3500BCE and 1500CE.

      Finally, please explain briefly why these sightings should be regarded as UFOs according to your definition thereof.

      And for an extra 10 marks, provide evidence for this statement:
      "what makes a skeptic is the lack of their OWN experience".

      Thankyou.

      —Peter B


      Delete
    2. Skeptic: noun

      1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.

      2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.

      3. a person who doubts the truth of a religion, especially Christianity, or of important elements of it.

      By definition, skeptic is a term which can be used to describe supporters or critics of the UFO narrative. Also, by definition, 'believer' is a term which can be used to describe both supporters or critics of the UFO narrative.

      Categorization as a 'believer' isn't exclusively reserved for UFO beleivers. It is an intellectual party filled with Zealots of all religious behaviour. Scientists and pseudoscientists alike. All that is required for membership is a framework of psychological propensity, temperament or addiction to ignorant declarations towards ambiguous features of our experience so as to define them as 'fact' or 'fiction' definitively.

      It is misfortune for so called 'skeptics' that the UFO phenomenon does not lend itself to such scientific critique, so that it can be scientifically and definitely decided as either fact or fiction. The UFO narrative is driven largely by circumstantial and anecdotal evidence, sometimes damning, sometimes ludicrous but nonetheless ambiguous.

      So Im amused when I see true cynicism and belief based behaviour masquerading as objective skepticism and objective science. In reality, the real world, a true skeptic doesn't religiously preach notions of fact or fiction when there is no real and tangible way to do so. These so called 'skeptics' are, by definition, believers. Intellectually they're no different from the people who truly believe that we are being engaged by ET's

      That isn't a crime, merely a natural human behaviour. Though, it is in my view a great moral crime when, a cynical believer of the 'lone world hypothesis' arrogantly casts themselves as an objective, scientific skeptic.

      If im wrong, prove it!

      Delete
  13. I just about fell off my chair when I read "UFO doppelganger effect." Obviously, if a UFOlogist has to resort to that, he's lost the argument. I didn't see this particular show; I do try to watch the "Ancient Alien" series when possible. Rather amusingly, in an episode shown (or re-shown) recently, Giorgio was pontificating that Atlantis was a mobile space base for aliens which was not destroyed, but in fact lifted off and left to return to their home world! Now I'm willing to entertain a hypothesis that there was, before the big Flood at the end of the last Ice Age, a group of very large-brained homo sapiens who lived at Atlantis and created a highly technological civilization. Remnants of their civilization, such as tools and techniques, might explain how the megalithic sites thousands of years later were constructed. But that's as far as I go; no aliens were involved. I agree with Robert that the Discovery Channel, TLC, H and H2, and even the Science Channel have become quite tabloid-like. When I watch such shows I try to use critical thinking to explain the phenomena rationally.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "re-entry of the rocket booster Cosmos 2335, as depicted by Discovery Canada." That was hilarious

    Recently, it would seem the flying saucer scene/subject/subculture has suffered some heavy losses, to the degree one might have a good argument that "ufology" is dead. Witness the demise of Yukon, Rendlesham and Cash Landrum ("best evidence cases"). Two of the more active discussion arenas
    on the web, ufo iconoclasts and ufo updates are both offline. "Active" being relative of course, especially given the drop in activity on updates near the end.
    ...
    Google lost the second half of this post, but given that I am.suffering through typing this on a tablet, I hope you'll not hold it against me if I complete my thoughts and comments later, Robert. I greatly enjoy your blog.
    Cheers
    Tim

    ReplyDelete
  15. It had slipped my mind how widespread this ‘UFO Doppelganger’ gimmick had become among ufologists who wanted to find any rationale to avoid connecting a known prosaic stimulus to a consequent witness perception, especially in situations where the perceptions had the quality of “high strangeness” that is still a common criterion for UFO authenticity. In particular, a number of respected UFO experts from Bob Gribble [MUFON], Nick Pope [British MoD], Gordon Creighton of the British ‘FSR’ magazine, and author Tim Good, and numerous lesser players, when faced with the undeniable association of missile and space events with witness reports of UFOs, have explained the connection by proposing that ‘real UFOs’ rush to the locations of the human spaceflight activities in order to ‘observe’ them, or perhaps to ‘exploit them as distracting camouflage’.
    The artificial complexity of this ‘UFO Doppelganger’ conjecture is patently obvious. The maneuver is assumed to have the magical property of the UFO making the actual space/missile event invisible. This is the suggested explanation of why witnesses never see BOTH the missile-space event AND the ‘true UFO’ which is shadowing it.
    In terms of rickety theories this gambit bears an eerie similarity to the complicated cycles, epicycles, and tetracycles of medieval astronomy as observers fancified their geocentric theories of planetary motion to account for discrepancies uncovered by better and better position measurements. The ad hoc patches to the stumbling predictive powers of the old theories of motion eventually collapsed under their own weight, especially when compared to the simplicity of Kepler’s “Laws” of how planets actually move – along elliptical paths around the Sun with verifiable variations of speed depending on orbital eccentricity. Kepler could not explain WHY such motion was the best explanation [two centuries later Newton showed it was a direct mathematical consequence of motion in an inverse square gravity field], but he accurately specified how the motion had to ACT. And the old paradigm collapsed.
    Perhaps a similar seismic process is gathering force in modern ufology. Confronted with decades of scattered and poorly coordinated case studies, recently crowned by Molczan’s tychonian catalog of observed reentries, the connection between documented missile/space events as direct cause-and-effect is getting harder and harder to explain away with ingenious epicyclic artifices. Doppelganger UFOs are the modern equivalent of the desperate ‘fudge factor’ tetracycles of the last loyalists to Ptolomaic geocentrism half a millennium ago..
    At some point, the hyper-convoluted explanatory process collapses, and the wider implications of the direct and unmediated cause-and-effect of missile/space event perceptions , comes into focus. The old paradigm loses favor [some loyalists will remain true to death – we can guess who they will be] and the scientific study of, and understanding of, UFO reports makes a great leap into clarity.
    Or not. After all, we’re not talking about a real ‘science’ this time.

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    1. JimO, you're overlooking the essential element of the 'best cases' in favour of a selective approach, where you choose only what you know you can ridicule, discredit or explain.

      No serious UFO enquirer gives two thoughts to Doppelganger UFO experiences, simply because experiences of that nature often do not provide a platform for critical analysis, and can often be attributed to basic human misperceptions, as you say.

      Why is it that Mr Sheaffer prefers to offer bloggers a choice between UFO sagas where the questions have been answered? We're provided a strick selection of UFO chronicles where either, perfectly attributable causes have already been applied, or where the circumstances are so vague, unrelated and unlikely that the trail of blogger debate to follow is enivitably a cavalcade of UFO cynics, casting a remix of aggressive ridicule and ignorance.

      People of true skepticism do not entertain problems with obvious answers I.e. "ufologists who wanted to find any rationale to avoid connecting a known prosaic stimulus to a consequent witness perception".

      True skeptics ask why two military officers in Rendlesham Forrest would give an affidavit that they stood within metres of a metallic craft for an extended period "getting close enough to touch it" Why did they do that? If one is to believe Mr Sheaffer, the common feature of the night horizon in a lighthouse hundreds of metres distant, is to suffice as rational.
      I know cynics like to pretend as though a lighthouse was the rational element to the confusion at Rendlesham, but once again, that selective explanation cannot and does not in anyway account for the most curious and thoroughly documented aspects of the case. Though, that fact doesn't seem to wary the cynics in asserting that a fixted and well known lighthouse was the cause of hysteria at a nuclear weapons base over multiple nights. Why? Because asking any other questions may result in unfavorable answers. And we all know that UFO cynics must never, ever, consider the probable liklihood of an Unidentified Flying object, terrestrial or otherwise being part of a 'rational' and 'scientific' explanation

      It is a deliberate psychological technique for one to reconstitute problems which already have answers, so one can avoid having to deal with a different outcome. The reason UFO cynics never see any truth within the evidence is simply because they choose to look in places they know they cannot find it...

      Delete
    2. There's nothing 'curious' about people lying.

      You might also want to refrain from promoting Rendlesham until you've learned the basic details of the case, such as the lighthouse at Orford Ness not being known to many of the American base personnel, or the 'most curious aspects' all appearing well after the fact, when the case started gathering publicity.

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    3. Additionally, the statements they made in January of 1981 are in contradiction to what they state today. In January 1981, they admitted to chasing the lighthouse. Today they state that no such thing could happen. There was no mention of up close encounters in 1981 and the rest of the personnel, who were not there but in the area, provide testimony that contradicts the present story of an up close encounter and significant time observing the object and taking notes. As B R-V states, you need to look at all the information regarding this case and not just the stories you read on a few web sites that tend to omit these details.

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    4. what about the missing pages from the nearby H.M Prison log stating the strange lights?
      Lord Norton Hill (ex Nato commander) asking why there was not a serious investigation. Dillusional gaurds at a nuclear base? or
      Unidentified craft over base airspace? Both need serious investigation.
      USAF policy is to sign secrecy papers,follow orders & deny the presence of UFOs. People coming out as whistleblowers ,with a lot more to lose than their credibility, are ridiculed. However, as this site & skeptics use frequently, other personnel state otherwise, should be viewed just as skeptically because they are just following orders, & its protocol to lie & deny.
      Again, how do people of such "dillusional" tendencies ever get to be placed with supervision of Nuclear weapons?

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    5. Look to be honest, I just wanted to see a 'skeptic' say that their distrust of witness testament is simply due to the fact that they don't believe that the witness is telling the truth. It seems like a non problem, but you wouldn't beleive the trouble I've had trying to get people to admit they simply dont believe witnesses. It seems there's a refusal of the idea that belief systems of any kind can interfere with, what are regarded as, strictly 'scientific' investigations into UFO reports. Zoamchomsky literally refused to admit that he didn't believe witnesses, as he knew it reduced the narrative of his motives from objectively scientific to subjectively prejudicial.

      In response to the above, again you're ignoring the basic rationale of reasonable probability. On the Rendlesham incident 'Skeptics' choose to believe that a lighthouse, who's position is fixed and historic, who's behaviours are distinct to the revolving light of any lighthouse in history, who's position was, is and always on the horizon, is a probable and indeed 'rational' candidate as an explanation for a non - mysterious answer to the Rendlesham reports. It makes no sense at all, for anyone, to think a common lighthouse could create the type of military response from decorated officers guarding nuclear weapons. Clearly, whatever it was, there had to have been something anomalous in the sky, as that is a fundamental feature of what was described in the original reports. Though, as ive said all along. 'Skeptics' are operating under the same psychology framework as every other human on the planet, one of subjective prejudice. They see greater probability in the 'lighthouse hypothesis', because their personal experiential, prejudicial, subjective view of the world tells them that the probability of a real UFO being the cause is even more unlikely and unfathomable than the 'reasonable' hypothesis that all reports on that night could be a manifestation of human error in judgment or blatant fabrication (which it may be, in part)

      They BELIEVE that UFO's are impossible, or at least extraordinarily improbable. And so the perpetuated routine of selective reasoning and introverted calculation always results in an absolutely cynical view toward anything and everything related to UFO's. Irrespective of how reasonable, accurate, credible and serious a report.
      The worst part is when they begin to refuse all notions of mystery all together, which may in someway infer relation to the UFO conjecture, so as to wholly and strategically defend their intellectual construction of what is real and what is not.

      That's the truth. Its basic as shlt. Such sad and religious behaviour.

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    6. If what I have posted above is incorrect, I would like anyone of you 'Skeptics' to repeat the statement - 'It might have been a UFO, there's no real way to tell conclusively either way. But, an anomalous flying object could have been the cause. I am open to the incalculable possibility that a real UFO could have been the true cause of the reports. Maybe... '

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    7. Didn't you read the reports written by these witnesses in 1981? They did mistake the lighthouse for something else because it was so far away and misleading. The same thing can be said for Charles Halt's little group. Listen to the tape, which is the real evidence. They had no idea the lighthouse was there.
      Your belief that these military personnel were highly trained ignores what these men really were. They were security personnel with absolutely little training beyond maintaining security on base. They were NOT familiar with the lighthouse (the 1981 witness statements make that perfectly clear). As a retired E-8, who served on submarines, I can tell you that military personnel (esp when we are talking about the lower paygrades) are not the "all-knowing" experts you seem to think they are. Even the officers, who are college graduates, are sometimes limited (I recall officers mistaking the rising planet Venus for a ship on the horizon).
      BTW, Penniston and Burroughs have lied. Either they lied in 1981 or they are lying now. Considering they have a personal interest in propping up this case, I suspect they are lying today and the 1981 statements are closer to the truth. This was confirmed by my private communications with the officer who was monitoring the event on the first night - Fred Buran.
      To suggest that the lighthouse is not the likely explanation for this case is ignoring the actual evidence from 1980-1 (statements and tape). In my informed opinion, they do not point towards an alien spaceship (BTW, a UFO is simply unidentified - I assume you using the term UFO to mean alien spaceship - you should be more clear). There is just no good evidence from that time period that an alien spaceship was involved. You might as well say that it was a time machine, big foot, fairies, or the loch ness monster.

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    8. Anyone who wants to read what I actually wrote can read "Breaking Bad UFOs"

      http://badufos.blogspot.com/2013/10/breaking-bad-ufos.html

      The best witnesses, Burroughs and Cabansag, positively identified the flashing light seen from the forest as the Orford Ness lighthouse. Ian Ridpath positively identified the interval of the light's flashing on Halt's tape as that of Orford Ness lighthouse. Base personnel, including the Base Commander in communication with Halt during the second night's wild goose chase though the forest and fields toward the lighthouse, said they saw nothing like what Halt reported seeing and that the whole affair was just a lot of juvenile silliness. Halt's tape and memo, the plaster casts of rabbit scrapes, his misrepresentations of woodcutter's marks on pines, fallen branches from a recent storm, normal background radiation readings, and even the mundane barking of Muntjacs are all evidence that Halt deliberately made much more of the event than actually occurred. More than a simple misidentification, the RendleSham is Halt's Hoax.

      McFarlane's logical fallacy-laden appeals don't affect this utterly debunked bit of "UFO" nonsense in the least. Convoluted arguments appealing to ignorance to manufacture the barest possibility of doubt about the light identification--merely cranky wordplay--are worthless. Pretending that his raw-inspired fundamentally misconceived pseudo-philosophical "model know-nothingism" is a valid view of reality and his use of brutish "gorilla ontology" is effective, when it only identifies him as a new-age nutter, is worthless. McFarlane can't seem to grasp the fact that skeptical others aren't required to prove his insular, fallacious, upside-down and sideways, and frankly disingenuous and irrelevant fantasy-world blatherings are wrong--as if this were some debate between equals, the rational versus the (ignore the rules of logic and evidence and claim anything could be true) irrational--is also fundamentally misconceived and ignorant of how the real world and the scientific method actually work, and (like all "UFO" reports) is inconsequential and totally worthless.

      Ignoring the real-world facts of the matter and appealing to ignorance, appealing to half-baked sophistry, and rhetorical challenges will never make fantasies real.

      Mark; There aren't any real "UFOs" of any kind and there never were. "The Null hypothesis for UFO reports, of which I am one of a handful of champions, states that no extraordinary stimuli are required to produce the entire array of public UFO perceptions in all their rich variety, wonderment, and terror." It was true in 1985 when those words were written, true in 1896, 1947, 1980 and it's still true in 2014. Your only task is to falsify the Null hypothesis. Anything less is worthless.

      There's a very good reason that will never happen: We created the idea "UFO." And the false belief that there is some reality to that mere idea is the "UFO" delusion.

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    9. Mark McFarlane writes: “True skeptics ask why two military officers in Rendlesham Forrest [sic] would give an affidavit that they stood within metres of a metallic craft for an extended period ‘getting close enough to touch it’. Why did they do that?”
      But they didn’t. If Mark McF knows better, perhaps he can quote these supposed affidavits for us, preferably with links to scans of the original documents.
      Perhaps he can also explain why the initial sighting of something appearing to descend over Rendlesham Forest coincided with a bright fireball over southern England. Is it that UFO Doppelganger effect at work again? Same as with the flashing UFO that happened to lie in the same direction as the lighthouse and flash at the same rate? And the “starlike objects” that just happened to hover and twinkle like real stars?
      Those UFOs just know how to disguise themselves like normal objects, don’t they?

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    10. Actually, I've just realized that the Rendlesham case is a triple Doppelganger!

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    11. 'Fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you...'

      Speaking of subjective prejudice (which is redundant), why do the lights in the sky have to be flying saucers? Why not dragons or testing of an advanced propulsion system by the Yeti or the Lemurians seeing what trouble they can cause with practical jokes?

      I was reading about Rendlesham in one of my favorite books. In it, James Moseley was said to be losing the faith. He was told to check out Rendlesham to get back his belief. It actually had the reverse effect, and he ended up thinking the whole movement was full of it.

      Funny how religious it sounds, now that I think of it. What else do we call something with no real evidence of its existence?

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  16. Jim O:

    Don't overdo the "respected UFO experts" idea, please. There is no such person as a UFO expert, respected or disrespected. Until UFOlogy becomes a 'respected' science (not likely in the near future), I suggest we drop the term. Why do we not hear of a 'respected astrologer', even though astrology is thousands of years old, or even a 'respected bigfootologist'?

    Personally I would regard Gordon Creighton as a 'disrespected ufologist'., but that is a personal opinion.



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    1. Sorry Jim O, I am in Aus so cant comment about this blog. However, I am still interested in the Kecksberg UFO incident which you stated was a downed Kosmos 96 satellite. But Johnson from NASA said there was no way it could have been. Someone gave me the link to this affair which was apparently sorted but it wouldnt link up for me.
      Very curious, because of its association with clean-up & retrieval methods of downed sats, especially 60s one because they may contain Nuclear components.
      P.S. Still waiting for an explanation as to why psyops space programs have patches displaying Alien face,Snakes & Dragons, & Illuminati symbols on them?

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  17. Deano, if you read SUNlite, you would know all about these things. Peter Merlin wrote a wonderful article about the patches in SUNlite 4-4. He called it "Little green men in blue". The bottom line is that military personnel all have a wonderful sense of humor and love to make fun of all the conspiracy theorists regarding their contact with ET. I recall a t-shirt on my ballistic missle submarine where the weapons department (who was responsible for the nuclear warheads and missles) had emblazened the emblem of a guy carrying a bunch of missiles and called themselves "Laffayette Urban Renewel". On the back was a mushroom cloud stating "we make molehills out of mountains". I am sure civilians would be very upset by such a joke but for the crew of a ballistic missile submarine, it was a way of making fun of a very serious job. I see these patches as the same way. Until you stood in their shoes (or associated with these personnel), you can't understand the humor.
    As for Kecksburg, I discuss this whole story in SUNlite 3-6.

    SUNlite 4-4 http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite4_4.pdf
    SUNlite 3-6 http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite3_6.pdf

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    1. Tim, reminds me when I was on crew when we wore baseball caps with the inscription: "We deliver" overlayed over a mushroom cloud.

      Our codes division (launch codes and such) had a huge map of Russia (then USSR) with a movablemagnate mushroom cloud. On the top margins of the map: "We'll Get It There".

      The list goes on....

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  18. Someone just e-mailed me a link to a great exposition as to how the Egyptian pyramids were built. It's based on the flotation theory, which I've long believed, but I've never seen this much detail. No aliens! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1y8N0ePuF8#t=145

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  20. Discovery canadas close encountersIf that was Canada the officer would have wrote the speeding ticket and sent ushttp://topusachannels.blogspot.com/2013/03/investigation-discovery-live-stream online.html go right up the road to the next little town and go back to work as a cop again.

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  21. There is no worse UFO documentary series than "Ancient Aliens". It is filled with far-fetched speculation without any substantiation and has much more debunked material.

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  22. Finding out who is behind all the valid unexplained sightings will never happen as long as people keep making claims that the "UFOs" are aliens from another galaxy or solar system. Yes I'm aware of the "argument" that claims these "aliens" understand physics and quantum mechanics better than us stupid humans. You write: "Witnesses do not merely stand and look at a light in the sky. They fall to the ground and writhe while the light in the sky meancingly shines beams at them." Yes the spelling error is yours not mine. You expect people to take you seriously when you don't even proofread your own propaganda. This is the part where you attack me for being a spelling nazi or something along those lines. The fact of the matter is there is no real evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial vehicles. When you hear hoof beats you think horses not zebra. In all likelihood the "real" unexplained sightings are experimental military vehicles from any number of technologically advanced countries on this planet. Surely you've heard the logical "argument" that asks why a super advanced alien species with godly knowledge of physics and quantum mechanics manages interstellar or wormhole travel only to crash land on a planet inhabited by savage hairless apes? Or maybe they came just to fly above shining a light down on a small group of witnesses who never actually possess doctorates in a suitable science providing humanity with a truly rock solid witness.

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  24. I find this series EXTREMELY ENJOYABLE! Self appointed critics slamming everything just to get attention is deeply pathetic

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    1. You response is understandable. People love stories -- but they hate facts.

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    2. Sorry I do not enjoy "sensationalism" or altering facts!
      However I must say every now and again maybe every two weeks
      or every month the History chanel does deliver a wickedly good FACT based program.
      It may be that to deliver a good FACT based program a lot of drivel
      has to be sold to the likes of "shivercanada" or "Mark MacFarlane"!

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