Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Skeptical Look at the 2017 UFO Congress - Part 3

David Marler
David Marler: The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of L.A. This incident, he says, introduced the term "flying saucer" in 1942, five years before Kenneth Arnold. This was just two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and 36 hours after a Japanese submarine surfaced and fired on an oil terminal near Santa Barbara (doing minimal dmamge). Further Japanese attacks were expected along the west coast, and "hysteria was
definitely a component." But, Marler said, we cannot necessarily dismiss the entire incident because of this.

Marler's collection of  newspaper headlines.
On the night of Feb. 24-25, 1942, an unidentified radar target came in from the northwest. Authorities quickly ordered a blackout, and started shelling. No planes were sent up. The familiar version of the photograph showing converging spotlights was heavily retouched. Marler has found what appears to be the original negative of that photo. It is much less densely exposed than the retouched photo, but does not clearly show any object.

Marler's working hypothesis: a single unidentified aerial object flew over the Los Angeles region. I might agree, if that object were a balloon. Marler ruled out a balloon, on the grounds that it would have been destroyed by shrapnel from all the shells fired at it. But that assumes that the object was actually in the crosshairs where the shells were fired.

Stanton Friedman
No UFO conference would be complete without Stanton Friedman, today speaking on Astronomy Versus UFOlogy.  Astronomers, he complained, ignore "large scale scientific studies," like Blue Book Special Report 14 (his favorite). He presented some well-known scientific blunders, such as statements that 'space travel is impossible.' Friedman claimed that interstellar travel using nuclear fusion propulsion is perfectly plausible. He maintained that scientific critics of the viability of interstellar travel, such as the late Nobel prize winning physicist Edward Purcell, "didn't know anything about space travel," although Purcell's objections are based in fundamental physics. Friedman also threw his usual punches at SETI - the "silly effort to investigate."

He showed Marjorie Fish's interpretation of Betty Hill's UFO star map without any disclaimer, even though its pretense of significance has now been completely refuted. He recommended the UFO research of Kathleen Marden and Linda Moulton Howe (!!!!).
Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop: The Co-Creation Hypothesis - A Fresh Approach to UFO Research. Bishop discussed the role of our minds in constructing what we see. "What causes UFO reports?" Our memories are reconstructions, not faithful images. Our mind fills in what we expect to see.

I'm not clear about what is supposed to be "fresh" here. He seems to be advocating a position similar to what British Forteans call the Psycho-Social Hypothesis. Throw in a touch of John Keel, Gray Barker, and Jacques Vallee, and Bishop seems to be walking a well-trod path.

John Alexander
Col. John B. Alexander (ret.) spoke on "UFO Encounters:  More Complex than We Imagine." He was very big on the Chris Bledsoe case, an alleged abductee who films orbs all the time, and now apparently has not only been miraculously cured of Crohn's disease by ETs, but has also "healed" others. Alexander was especially impressed by the fact that, talking with Bledsoe outdoors one evening, the "abductee" said he felt the ETs are here now. They looked up, and within about 30 seconds, a bright object was seen to flash across the sky. Later I suggested to Alexander that this impressive demonstration could have been arranged in advance, if Bledsoe had looked on-line to get the time that a brilliant flare from an Iridium satellite would be visible from that location. He didn't buy that.

Alexander repeated his theme that "disclosure has already happened," citing vague statements from various world leaders about ETs. Government employees can talk about UFOs, and nothing happens to them. In his view, the government knows that ETs are real, but it knows nothing can be done about them, and it has more urgent problems to worry about, anyway. So government ignores them.

The Roswell incident, he said, was caused by a Project Mogul spy balloon. There is no evidence of ET technology being used anywhere in any nation's space program.

Panel, Government and UFOs:  The usual suspects repeated the usual things.

Charles Halt repeated his claim that after the Rendlesham forest incident, Air Force agents came in and drugged the witnesses, changing their memories.

When the matter was raised of "missing files" concerning Rendlesham, or Roswell, John Alexander noted that many U.S. government agencies are required to report bi-annually on the linear feet of files they have destroyed. Given the mandate of purging old files, he says it is no surprise that many old government files cannot be found.
The night vision skywatch (from 2013 Congress).
Night Vision Skywatch: Once again, Ben Hansen, formerly the host of Fact or Fake: Paranormal Files on the SyFy channel, presented an outdoor public viewing using night vision cameras, projecting on giant screens. The weather was not very cooperative, there were a lot of clouds. The wind was so strong (a rainstorm was coming) one of the screens blew over several times. But we managed to see a few satellites go by, and a bird or bat or two. Ben did pretty well keeping the presentation on solid ground, emphasising that you will be seeing lots of satellites, birds, bats, airplanes, even moths, so don't assume it's aliens when you see something moving. But he left open the door to the possibility that you might see something truly extraordinary, which is why people would buy these expensive devices costing $2,000 and up. My advice: save your money, and buy a really good pair of binoculars, say 10x50. Night vision devices trade resolution for sensitivity. In binoculars you will be able to see everything these devices can see, and with much better resolution.


  1. If CIA (or military) agents came in shortly after the Rendlesham incident and drugged the witnesses, thus changing their memories, does this mean that everything Charles Halt wrote in his official memo of Jan. 13 is based on changed memories and therefore false?

  2. I find it amazing that Halt would allow his men to be treated that way without a peep or complaint to the higher command. As a retired senior enlisted, you don't let your people to be mistreated. That is one of your top priorities (Number one is the mission). In this story, Halt and his NCOs simply allowed these men to be mistreated without filing a single complaint. That tells me they were awful leaders or these supposed drugging of witnesses never actually happened. Like the magic notebook of Penniston, which produces binary codes, details of the night (that were wrong), and drawings of the object that disagree with his sketches made in 1980, it is more myth than fact.

  3. Interesting that the original Battle of LA photo is acknowledged to show nothing. Without that there's nothing remotely intergalactic about the incident.

    Doesn't matter if it was a balloon, Zeppelin, paranoia, swamp gas, or Japanese aircraft taking a long sightseeing trip. Without a flying disc this is just an embarrassing night for the armed forces.

    1. Indeed, Signifying Nothing, without the re-touched pictures and later witnesses reacting out of the myth-driven scenario, all that is left is a huge pile of unsubstantiated wank!


  4. I thought Friedman had fallen silent about the Fish interpretation after his pathetic non-response in the MUFON journal to Brett Holman's analysis using the Hipparchos data.

    As I've been saying for awhile, Friedman is not a reliable source of information about the Hill case. He imputes bias and faulty method to scientists, yet Stan he is a dogmatist through and through.

  5. For those that question the Battle of L.A. photo and case, please review the material presented before passing judgement. As I clearly demonstrated in my lecture (that most if not all of you have not seen) there is something in the convergence of lights. This is based on analysis of the original "untouched" negative of which I have a high resolution scan. This, coupled with the radar data in this case, makes for a mystery that cannot summarily be dismissed by those that haven't done their homework. Please review all the data before developing opinions. Thank you.

    1. The unretouched image on the LA Times site (image 1/6) looks like a convergence of search lights dotted with shell bursts, nothing more.

      Have you uploaded your hi-res scan, showing something different, for all to see, David?

  6. I do not have permission to post the photo online due to possible copyright restrictions. However, if you would like to contact me via my website (easily found online) and request a copy via email, I can share it. Please note, I may need to scale the image down a bit due to its large file size. Please also see my 2017 Open Minds lecture DVD for the photo analysis and review of other materials in this case. Thank you for your interest and polite responses. I welcome your input, once the materials have been reviewed. Please note, I work full time and do not check my UFO related emails daily. There may be a slight delay in my replies. Thank you again.

  7. excuse me — the Bledsoe Alexander ‘sighting’ could still be verified even at this late date, no ? yet I’m afraid even the mention of this event from the Colonel is a Major let down for me.


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