Flying Saucers, UFOs, and Unidentifiable Aerial Phenomena
A New Yorker piece [Hello, Hal, by John Seabrook, 6/23/08. Page 38 ff.] about computers and the lack of verbal communication with them, had this to day about speech recognition [Page 41]:
“speech-recognition research is heavily dependent on the size of the data sample. Or “corpus” – the sheer volume of speech you work with. The larger your corpus, the more data you can feed to the learning algorithms and the better the guesses [you] can make.”
This applies to UFO research as well.
Skipping the early UFO accounts from before the Christian era, down into the Airships of the 1890s, one can take a look at what the UFO phenomenon has presented from 1947 forward to today .
The first flying saucer reports, starting with Kenneth Arnold’s encounter, indicated that UFOs were tangible, “nuts-and-bolts” craft.
This was the general perception of UFOs, flying saucers, well into the 1970s, when, as we’ve noted before, UFOs became amorphous lights in the sky pretty much.
Today, UFOs have even lost the quasi-tangibility of lights, appearing as diffuse blobs or anomalous images in the daylight and night-time hours.
The “metallic-like” saucers of the 50s and 60s are nowhere to be seen, or rarely so.
The Tremonton, Utah images filmed by Delbert Newhouse, in 1952, prefigured the raft of later sightings that only consisted of “energized lights” flitting around in the skies.
(The seemingly substantive, triangular UFOs spotted in Belgium and Illinois or Phoenix are military prototypes in our estimation.)
What has happened is that the UFO phenomenon or, rather, phenomena, has gone from concretized craft to will-o-the-wisp things, with nothing but multiple colors or light intensities to distinguish them from normal aircraft.
This means that data – a corpus – need to be accumulated for serious ufologists to research, in ways that mimic what quantum or theoretical physicists do.
(Physicists use mathematical models and arcane methodologies to determine what reality or the Universe is made up of. Ufologists need to do the same for the phenomena that intrigues them.)
The change in the configuration of flying saucers may have much to do with what they are, intrinsically.
There is no doubt that flying saucers were once touchable, real artifacts of some kind. Too many persons witnessed them as real objects, of a metallic kind – the stuff that Stanton Friedman makes much of.
But then UFOs (flying saucers) transmogrified into something not so tangible. Why?
Abductees (experiencers) provide tales of intangible beings and craft in their accounts.
(While we think abduction reports may stem from something other than a bona fide kidnappings, as the Hills and others stated, one much allow for the possibility of the realness of those accounts, some of them at least.)
Those abduction stories supplement the change in flying saucers from hard objects to immaterial objects.
The UFO corpus for today – the date being accumulated – is that UFOs are more light than anything else.
And this is one path that might prove interesting, if ufologists can get in gear and do something other than redundantly ruminate over past UFO episodes.