Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Case of the Missing Fetus, Starring Travis Walton

 In another startling development in the unraveling of the Travis Walton story,  Travis was the guest on August 7 on the Theory of Everything podcast, hosted by Curt Jaimungal, a mathematical physicist. His podcast is affiliated with that of Brian Keating, who is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at University of California, San Diego. While I understand and applaud a scientist's curiosity to explore the unknown, I cannot imagine why scientists like them would take someone like Travis Walton seriously. A hint to scientists dealing with claims of the 'paranormal': do a little historical investigation to learn why Nullius In Verba, "Take Nobody's Word for it," became the motto of the Royal Society of London, the world's first scientific society in the 17th Century. Words themselves count for nothing, in the absence of evidence or experiment. This is how the Royal Society was able to extricate itself from  the morass of Alchemy, Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, etc. that were so prevalent in their time.

Travis said pretty much the same things he always says, but some really interesting new stuff came up. At about 5:40 into the podcast,  Curt Jaimungal asked him,

Q: Do you have PTSD from it?

I think so. Yes, I was surprised at the degree to which I do. You know, having this other sighting, that we sort of alluded to earlier, coming back from a MUFON meeting in Burbank, California. Heading up the 5, this giant black triangle came, stopped right over the top of the car, turned, and headed off to the west. An incredible ability to decelerate and accelerate, it was still something that I wouldn't ever have brought up in an interview or anything like that. [Except that he just did]. Except that I was able to find out that it was seen by about fifteen other people, or at least reported by that many people by the next morning. So certainly over a highly populated area like that, there were many many more people who saw it, but just didn't know where to report it.

Now, this is very interesting. Unfortunately, Travis gives us no hint how he found out about all those other supposed witnesses, or how we can check their stories out. I would be very interested to learn that. 

I previously wrote a Blog posting titled, "Travis Walton Saw a Giant Black Triangle UFO, but Apparently forgot to mention it." Travis was briefly interviewed in a Fox News piece about UFOs on May 22, 2019. Asked whether he had had seen anything since the aliens grabbed him for five days in 1975, Travis replied,

It was February 19, 2014. A giant black triangle came over, stopped right over the top of us. Rotated 90 degrees, and shot off toward the ocean. It was quite amazing because I didn't believe anything that big could actually fly.
Actually, Travis apparently did mention this sighting a few times, but he kept it pretty low-key. One Blogger writes,
Ken Peterson is one of the other witnesses to Walton’s encounter in 1975. He has hinted at further encounters and transformative experiences following the 1975 incident too. Not to mention that Walton himself has had an additional sighting that he discusses from time to time involving a black triangle that stopped mid-flight and changed trajectory. Ironically, that event occurred as he was leaving a MUFON meeting in Burbank, CA a couple of years prior to 2015.

This sounds like the same sighting we just heard about. Doing a little research, I found out that there was indeed a meeting of the local Los Angeles chapter of MUFON in Burbank, California on Sunday evening, Feb. 23, 2014, at 7 PM. Travis' account was off by four days, but let's postulate that this is within the margin of error. This appears to be the meeting that Travis was referring to. The speaker was Stephen Bassett, whose mantra seems to be, "Disclosure is coming any day now!" Bassett's most recent email missive assures us that we are witnessing "the last weeks and months of the Truth Embargo unfold." So it won't be long now!

I cannot confirm whether or not Travis actually attended this meeting. It certainly seems odd that he would come all the way to California to attend a local MUFON chapter meeting, not to be confused with MUFON's large annual Symposium. It is especially odd that Travis would come when he was not the featured speaker, and that he would bring his pregnant girlfriend with him, not to mention his son. Even more odd is the idea that all three of them would drive all the way back to Snowflake, Arizona that same night. Google Maps tags that journey as approximately 8 hours, 40 minutes. Assuming that they left Burbank when the meeting ended around 10 PM, were they really planning to drive straight through to Snowflake, arriving about 7:40 AM, Arizona Time? If so, it would be an automobile marathon reminiscent of Mr. and Mrs. Hills' Wild Ride.

The interview continued with Curt saying to Travis,   

7:00 Q: I recall that you have had an experience with a UFO somewhere on highway I-5, and it had to do with a pregnant girlfriend at the time? Do you mind recounting that?

Yes, it's the same sighting. And yes, she was with me, and so was my son.

Q: And what happened?

Well, um, in her estimation there was missing time. You know, it seemed to take a lot longer to get home than it should have. You know, accounting for time differences and the whole thing. But, again, I've always tried to avoid reporting things I can't corroborate, everything has to be documented.

Q: Was there missing time on your part, or only she reported that to you?

Well, I agree with her. You know, with her estimations and comments about it. By itself, it doesn't constitute proof, and it's just something we find very interesting.

Q: And your son? Also had an experience in missing time? Or time dilation?

He doesn't disagree. He's just, you know, how would you know? On a long drive like that, all the way from Burbank to Snowflake, Arizona, how do you know for sure?

Q: Was there something about, your girlfriend at the time was pregnant, and then after the sighting she became not pregnant, and it was because of alien interference?

Boy, that is something that I don't really bring out that much. Because, you know, she works in a government facility, you know, has a security clearance. I really don't have her permission to talk about that, or name her, or whatever. But, yeah, she had a mark across her stomach. I went into the gynecologist's office with her. I observed on the ultrasound, that there was a placenta, a cord, and the fetus had just disappeared.

Q: Why do you think that is?

I don't know. One speculation is obviously that the baby was taken by, you know, some alien technology. Another alternative is, medically speaking, some kind of a thing where they claim that a baby can be re-absorbed. But if that were really true, you would think that would affect the cord and the placenta, too. Wouldn't it?

Q: I know that you have intuitions or feelings that these beings were being helpful toward you, given that, do you think...


Q: I'm just wondering, how is the removal of a fetus positive, unless the baby would have been born cancerous or have some other issue?

Obviously, the theory is, we conjecture, that the baby is alive somewhere, that it was taken for a more nurturing environment. With really super-super high tech I guess the woman's body is not absolutely necessary. That's the theory.

Q: How far along was she in the pregnancy?

In days, I don't know. I don't have that on the tip of my tongue.

Q: Was that within a month, or was within six months? Plus or minus a month?

It was a very large amount of development. Loose clothing, she probably could have disguised the fact that she was pregnant.
So, we are left with that astonishing account, and no further details.

Much later in the interview, Travis says,

1:31:00 I'm familiar with tools and some medical instruments. I was actually, eventually, certified, as an EMT. I took the state test on midwiffery. It was offered by the state of Arizona to bring all of the lay midwives, many of whom had been practicing under doctors for years, into an official licensing situation. So, the offer was, come in, take this test, and, it was just a spur-of-the-moment thing. I didn't plan it, I only heard about it a couple of days before the test. Went in, and I got the second-highest score out of the whole group. But, maybe it's a genetic thing, I don't know. My father was a doctor. Actually, an obstetrician.

Charlie Wiser has a Twitter thread about this. She writes, "Travis Walton is a midwife now!". 

What is the relevance of that? How did Travis' midwife skills contribute to his obtaining, and preserving, the placenta and umbilical cord of the missing fetus? That is a question for the next Podcast host to ask Travis, assuming he or she won't be grossed out by the answer.

Toward the end of the interview, some listener submitted a statement by Kelly Waldrip, who was a close friend of Travis when they were both in Middle School. It had been posted as a comment on Michael Shermer's website.  Travis did not deny that he and Kelly had been close friends in school, and also did not deny that the two of them sometimes talked about pulling off a UFO hoax. But Travis added,

1:49:00  [Kelly] has got some amazing tales, himself. He was my best friend, and it was actually his idea to put up a hot air balloon or something. But he became an FBI agent, and the only contact I've had with him was years ago, when he was describing how he was basically ducking and dodging around the planet to avoid being assassinated in connection with his previous work, his previous job. I don't know, maybe it's true. Sounds kind of wild, though. But he's definitely exaggerating anything that was said between us.

So, yes, we talked about hoaxing a UFO sighting, but it was his fault, not mine.

Meanwhile, Mike Rogers, the guy who was driving the truck when Travis supposedly ran out and was "abducted," posted on his Facebook page on August 13,

EVENTS in the last few months have changed everything between Travis and I. Suffice it to say . . . I no longer believe anything Travis says. Steve Pierce and Ken Peterson are with me on that. John Goulette is a 'maybe', and his other 2 witnesses are gone. Travis Walton is quickly loosing his support.

Mike claims that  "Travis Walton owes me a great deal of money by signed and notarized CONTRACT," i.e. his share of the proceeds from the promotion of the story. According to Celebs Money, Travis Walton's net worth is between $100,000- 1,000,000, although it's impossible to say if that is accurate. So Mike's claim sounds good, but so far he apparently hasn't even consulted a lawyer to see if he has a valid case.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Some Thoughts on the new Galileo Project


By now, most readers have heard about The Galileo Project for the Systematic Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial Technological Artifacts,   headed up by Professor Avi Loeb, Harvard Astronomy Department Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian. "Daring to Look Through New Telescopes" is how they describe their focus. Dr. Loeb, who has excellent credentials as an astrophysicist, brings a lot of credibility to a subject that has frankly lacked credibility in most of its endeavors.

What will the Galileo Project do? On its "Activities" page, the Project lists three "major areas of research". Let's look at each one.

1. "Obtain High-resolution, Multi-detector UAP Images, Discover their Nature."

A picture is worth a thousand words. For example, a megapixel image of the surface of a human-scale UAP object at a distance of a mile will allow to distinguish the label: “Made in Country X” from the potential alternative “Made by ETC Y” on a nearby exoplanet in our galaxy. This goal will be accomplished by searching for UAP with a network of mid-sized, high-resolution telescopes and detector arrays with suitable cameras and computer systems, distributed in select locations. The data will be open to the public and the scientific analysis will be transparent.
As if you can just set up telescopes and get good, clear photographs of UFOs (or UAPs). Excuse me, Dr. Loeb, but you have no idea how many other people already have automated cameras pointing at the sky. Most are for astronomy, but some are for UFOlogy. And so far, none of them have turned up any objects that are both clearly seen, and yet unidentified.

Catalina Sky Survey -

The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) is a NASA funded project supported by the Near Earth Object Observation Program (NEOO) under the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). We are based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona.  Our mission at CSS is fully dedicated to discover and track near-Earth objects (NEOs) in an effort to meet the congressional mandate to catalogue at least 90 percent of the estimated population of NEOs larger than 140 meters, some of which classify as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) which pose an impact threat to Earth. Longstanding success of the project is attributable to our comprehensive sky coverage, continued development and application of innovative software and our NEO detection pipeline, and the inclusion of near real-time human attention to the NEO discovery and follow-up process.
Designed to hunt for asteroids in the earth's vicinity, it has been very successful. But it hasn't yet turned up anything of alien manufacture.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey -  Starting in 2000 and continuing today, it has obtained many, many thousands of images of stars and galaxies, covering a large portion of the entire sky. All of these images are publicly available. Where are the UFOs?

Starlight Xpress Oculus All-Sky Camera
w/ 180 Degree Lens. $1,100.

Miscellaneous All-sky Cameras: Many private observatories operate all-sky cameras that show what is happening in the sky, via the internet. In fact, a major astronomy dealer sells an all-sky camera, in case you think you will find something worth recording. Yet with all these cameras in operation, UFOs still somehow manage to avoid them.
Meteor tracking cameras:  Scattered across the entire globe are networks of cameras to record meteors, which are very successful. Successful at recording meteors, but for some reason not "UAPs".
Special effects guru Douglas Trumbull and Marc D'Antonio of MUFON  announced plans to set up the UFOTOG project.  UFOTOG I was built, and UFOTOG II, was planned. It is a multiple sensor device that would look for anomalous objects not only visually, but with magnetometers, gravity meters, spectroscopy, gamma ray and other detectors. Large numbers of them will be manufactured to get the costs down, and they will be placed on top of poles in areas where UFOs are being reported. Apparently, it didn't happen.

Then there is UFODAP - the UFO Data Acquisition Project. "The technical focus of UFODAP is to apply current methods of science and technology to recognize, track and record anomalous objects while simultaneously collecting data from multiple sensors. It is our goal to expand a growing network of these sensor systems to other hot spots around North America and then the world." 

Sky Hub UAP Tracker

The Sky Hub UAP Tracker,  an "open source citizen science project.. we have a growing community with 1500+ members."

Join the Science Based Pursuit of UAPs. A world wide search for UAPs using a global network of machine learning, smart cameras and sensor arrays, open-source software for the largest observational science project in history.

Nor are all such proposed UFO camera programs are relatively recent, like these are. An article in LOOK Magazine, "Hunt For The Flying Saucer" (July 1, 1952) described the  special cameras that would soon be looking for UFOs:

Under ATIC direction, a physicist at the University of California at Los Angeles [unnamed] is developing and testing a special camera to photograph flying saucers.  Key to the new apparatus is a defraction grid consisting of a piece of glass etched with infinitely fine lines.  Placed over the camera lens, this grid breaks down the image into slivers from which scientists can determine its composition.  If the saucers prove to be bodies which glow, the grid will record the material they are made of.  If their light comes from a fuel supply or a reflection, the grid will identify the light.

Among the first to be tested will be Dr. Menzel’s theory that saucers are, in reality, lights bounced upward from the earth’s surface.  As Dr. Menzel independently suggested, the first defraction-grid cameras will be located in the southwestern U.S., which has had a concentration of saucer sightings.  Two hundred cameras will be built and distributed to atomic-plant guards, airbase tower operators and radar men.  Pictures will be sped to scientists who will then be able to give the world its  first incontrovertible word on flying saucers.

So, almost seventy years ago there was a serious government proposal to build special cameras to study UFOs. But so far as I am aware. no such cameras were ever deployed, probably because it was realized that there was no way to force UFOs to come and have their picture taken. 

What I would like to ask Dr. Loeb is: given the already large number of automated cameras pointing skyward, with more planned to follow, what makes you think you can get good, clear images of "UAPs" when nobody else has recorded much of anything interesting? What will you do differently? Where will you position your cameras? 

And why will notoriously shy UAPs reveal themselves to your cameras, but not to the many others?

 2. Search for and In-Depth Research on ‘Oumuamua-like Interstellar Objects 

The Galileo Project research group also will utilize existing and future astronomical surveys, such as the future Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST)[1] at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory (VRO), to discover and monitor the properties of interstellar visitors to the Solar system.
We will conceptualize and design, potentially in collaboration with interested space agencies or space ventures, a launch-ready space mission to image unusual interstellar objects such as ‘Oumuamua by intercepting their trajectories on their approach to the Sun or by using ground-based survey telescopes to discover interstellar meteors.
Actually, this sounds quite worthwhile, although I suspect it greatly overlaps with current and planned research activity. When new interstellar interlopers are discovered, there is no doubt that they will be studied by the best available earth-based telescopes, with or without Project Galileo. Even if the objects are not artificial, which they almost certainly are not, they are nonetheless worthy of careful study. (My previous posting explains why it's extremely unlikely that 'Oumuamua is artificial.) And having a "a launch-ready space mission to image unusual interstellar objects" is an excellent idea, although it will require the cooperation of NASA or some other space agency. After all, we have already sent missions out to intercept known asteroids and comets, and it would not be any different to rendezvous with interstellar ones (although interstellar objects will be traveling faster than objects orbiting the sun).  So we'd better be ready to launch whenever they show up.

I was a bit surprised to see "using ground-based survey telescopes to discover interstellar meteors," because there is as yet no evidence that interstellar meteors actually exist. I see no reason they could not exist, but they would be rare, and given the large number of meteoroids in our solar system, finding the interstellar one would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. But astronomers using sky survey photos of meteors taken from multiple locations (see above) already derive orbital parameters showing where the meteoroid had been before it encountered the earth. If that orbit happens to be a parabola and not an ellipse, then that meteor came in from interstellar space. Looking for such rare hypothetical meteors in a slew of ordinary ones will keep a lot of researchers busy for a very long time.  

 3.  Search for Potential ETC Satellites:

Discovering potential 1 meter-scale or smaller satellites that may be exploring Earth, e.g., in polar orbits a few hundred km above Earth, may become feasible with VRO in 2023 and later, but if radar, optical and infrared technologies have been mastered by an ETC, then very sophisticated large telescopes on Earth might be required. We will design advanced algorithmic and AI/DL object recognition and fast filtering methods that the Galileo Project intends to deploy, initially on non-orbiting telescopes. 

This sounds good. But "The United States Space Surveillance Network detects, tracks, catalogs and identifies artificial objects orbiting Earth, e.g. active/inactive satellites, spent rocket bodies, or fragmentation debris. The system is the responsibility of United States Space Command and operated by the United States Space Force."

How small an object in earth orbit can the Space Surveillance Network track? "The SSN typically tracks space objects which are 10 centimeters in diameter (baseball size) or larger."

So, the proposed Galileo tracking network will be looking for possible unseen alien surveillance satellites that are up to ten times larger than those usually detected by  the Space Surveillance Network (and thus having a hundred times greater radar cross section). This is reassuring: so if the SSN, which typically detects orbiting objects down to baseball size, happens to keep missing all those orbiting alien satellites of beach ball size, fear not! Galileo will find them!!