UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A UFO Encounter Explained? (No, not Socorro)


Robert Taylor on the morning of November 9, 1979 had a bizarre experience, that we’ve re-covered here (and elsewhere) a few times now.

Googling Robert Taylor’s 1979 UFO event will bring up our blog accounts and others.

But here’s the gist of the story from Wikipedia:

On November 9, 1979, approximately between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Taylor, who was at the time working for the Livingston Development Corporation, parked his pickup truck at the side of a road just off the M8 motorway with the intention of examining the progress of some saplings in the forest. Being unable to access the forest by truck, Taylor and his dog made their way into the forest on foot along one of the forest paths that lead up the side of Dechmont Law.

Upon entering a clearing approximately 500 metres away from his truck, Taylor saw what he described as a large, circular object, spheroid in shape and approximately twenty feet (six metres) in diameter hovering above the forest floor. The object had a narrow rim running along its circumference with stems topped with propellers and the surface of the object seemed to be constructed from a dark metallic material which appeared transparent in places. Taylor later described the surface of the object having rough texture similar to that of sandpaper and suggested that by having transparent areas on its surface, the object was attempting to camouflage itself with its surroundings.

Taylor began to approach the object and upon doing so two smaller spheres three feet in diameter, which looked to be made from the same material, appeared to drop from underneath the larger sphere and began to roll towards him. Taylor described the smaller spheres as having appendages, making them similar to sea mines in appearance. As the small objects moved towards him, Taylor described them as making a "plopping" noise as the appendages made contact with the ground. The small spheres maneuvered around Taylor and by using their appendages, attached themselves to each side of his trousers, just underneath the pockets. Taylor said at this point, he heard a hissing noise coming from the small objects and he began to choke due to a strong acrid smell which he believes was being secreted by them. He described this smell as "burning automobile brake linings" which was also described as an "acrid smell" which caused him to cough. By now, Taylor was aware he was being dragged by the smaller spheres along the ground towards the larger object. He eventually fell forwards onto his face and lost consciousness.

Taylor later regained consciousness and upon doing so discovered the object had disappeared. Taylor then discovered he had trouble attempting to speak and could not get to his feet. He then crawled 100 metres along the ground and managed to stagger the rest of the distance back to where he had parked his truck. On reaching the truck he attempted to call for help on the truck's two way radio, but struggled due to his loss of voice. Taylor then attempted to get back home in the truck, but accidentally ditched it in soft earth while trying to drive in his condition. Due to his vehicle being stuck, Taylor walked the rest of the way back home. Other sources state the truck did not start and Taylor had to walk home from its parked location.

On August 13th, 2012 the Edinburgh Evening News presented this explanation for the Taylor experience:

The mystery of what happened to Robert Taylor on the morning of November 9, 1979, is one of the longest standing in the history of ufology.

Now a Livingston resident has claimed he has the definitive explanation of what really happened during the incident – known by UFO hunters as the Dechmont Woods Encounter.

The case has seen theories ranging from a fit-inducing mirage of Venus to magic mushrooms put forward to explain the story of strange craft and robotic beings which “attacked” and knocked unconscious the 61-year-old Livingston Development Corporation worker on Dechmont Law in West Lothian.

Local detectives even joined the investigation after Mr Taylor’s legs were found to be grazed and his trousers torn.

In a new book, however, John Alison, 54, a self-employed businessman, argues that Mr Taylor’s alien assault encounter was actually the result of a mini-stroke or “Transient Ischaemic Attack.”

Here’s what Wikipedia has on such mini-strokes (Transient Ischaemic Attacks):

A transient ischemic attack (spelled ischaemic in British English) -- (abbreviated as TIA, often referred to as mini stroke) is a transient episode of neurologic dysfunction caused by ischemia (loss of blood flow) – either focal brain, spinal cord or retinal – without acute infarction (tissue death). TIAs share the same underlying etiology (cause) as strokes: a disruption of cerebral blood flow (CBF). TIAs and strokes cause the same symptoms, such as contralateral paralysis (opposite side of body from affected brain hemisphere) or sudden weakness or numbness. A TIA may cause sudden dimming or loss of vision:Amaurosis_fugax ; aphasia, slurred speech and mental confusion. But unlike a stroke, the symptoms of a TIA can resolve within a few minutes or 24 hours. Brain injury may still occur in a TIA lasting only a few minutes. Having a TIA is a risk factor for eventually having a stroke or a silent stroke. A silent stroke or silent cerebral infarct (SCI) differs from a TIA in that there are no immediately observable symptoms. A SCI may still cause long lasting neurological dysfunction affecting such areas as mood, personality and cognition. A SCI often occurs before or after a TIA or major stroke.

Does a mini-stroke really provide a resolution to the bizarre account that Mr. Taylor related?

It’s a good guess, and may be correct, as an explanation, but it doesn’t really account for Mr. Taylor’s ripped, soiled pants – ostensibly from the small spheres grabbing him and dragging him along the ground.

And Mr. Alison’s reports this (in the newspaper piece):

“About two hundred yards away from where the encounter was claimed to have occurred, there’s a dome-shaped fresh water reservoir tower built in the late 1950s that still serves as a fresh water reservoir to this day.

“This construction matches the description of the UFO given by Robert Taylor. It features a large grey dome with a flange sitting on top of a cylindrical base coloured green to match the surroundings. I believe this is what Taylor saw but that it was misinterpreted because of the stroke.”

Does Mr. Taylor’s description allow for a water tower as described?

No. But could a mental reconfiguration brought on by a mini-stroke allow for a misinterpretation of the water reservoir as described by Mr. Alison?

Perhaps. What a person experiences during transient ischemic attacks can allow for such a wildly misinterpretation as that which Mr. Alison sees in the Taylor account.

But, again, some of the finer details (the ripped trousers) don’t resonate with the mini-stroke explanation but, other than that, what Mr. Alison intuits about the account makes neurological sense, and could be an explanation of this truly unique UFO event: no one has ever reported anything similar to what Mr. Taylor says he witnessed.

So, is this one UFO case that is “solved”? I think it may be…



  • I doubt this explanation. The reason being is the markings in the soil contained at this site. Some have forwarded an explanation of pipes or other construction materials "hid" at the site by employees, but it seems that some of the documentation and interviews with company men doubt that in earnest. The geometric, non random imprints don't jibe with the construction materials proposed as being hid there. Very specific in pattern. The other issue is that the primary witness's personal physician seriously doubts the stroke explanation based on the man's personal medical history and it's sound and thorough nature. It's a possible explanation, but many of the facts don't add up, and indeed require a good deal of faith to accept and fit into place. Great post.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Thursday, August 16, 2012  

  • I was thinking of TIAs last year and posted the idea on Mike Swords' blog. Prior to that I'd been reading medical and psychological literature and hadn't seen clinical examples of structured, coherent hallucinations relating to TIAs.

    That doesn't rule it out although we'd have to resort to the explanations put forward that the 'tracks' were old impressions from timber storage. Likewise, the holes in the trousers would be already in existence and overlooked by Taylor and his wife.

    As you know, Socorro is on the table again and remains an anomalous incident. For me, Taylor's incident also remains anomalous.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Thursday, August 16, 2012  

  • J and K...

    I'd like to keep Taylor's incident on the table but it does reek of a TIA event, except for a few material details (no pun about the trousers implied).

    The problem for me is that no other encounters of a like kind appear in the literature, as far as I know.

    Socorro, on the other hand, does have relatives (as noted here recently).

    Alison's conjecture for the Taylor event is interesting, and possible.

    Socorro as a hoax? No as much...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 16, 2012  

  • 'A few material details' includes a lack of supporting evidence for coherent hallucinations reported by people who have experienced TIAs.

    If you decide to put aside the Taylor case on the basis of it being anomalous in ufology, you should also put aside the TIA explanation for being anomalous in the accessible medical literature.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Thursday, August 16, 2012  

  • Kandinsky:

    The Taylor event is truly unique.

    But it's not anomalous and if you want materials showing that TIAs provide similar experiences -- hallucinatory and otherwise -- I'll provide it.

    Read our post(s) about the Taylor experience earlier here and at the RRRGroup blog.

    You'll see that we give it credence as a UFO event, but more and more we're finding such experiences to be neurological in nature.

    Alison's conjecture is intriguing, not conclusive but acceptable as a reasonable conjecture.

    Mini-strokes don't create hallucinatory scenarios, but do leave mental remnants that are recalled when one tries to explain what they felt (or observed) during the mini-stroke.

    The topic is grist for discussion and perhaps we can indulge ourselves in such a discussion.

    What's your take on Taylor's event?

    Was he grabbed by spherical entities (or robots)? Did he come across a one-of-a-kind UFO? From?

    Let me know. I'm curious.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, August 16, 2012  

  • I have had experience with witnessing the effects of more than one TA. Mental confusion and disorientation is not to be generically identified as hallucinations. Even a TA would have to be verified fairly quickly through the analysis of blood gases, or it soon becomes untraceable. Very often peopled do not know they had one, particularly the elderly, and pass it off as a moment of fleeting confusion. If no test, no cigar.

    As far as a "acute coronary event", I had one several years ago and seeing a UFO was not on my list of concerns. It's like having a ten wheel semi on your chest.

    One thing that was interesting is the acrid smell reported, which is also described as sulfurous, which I covered many instances of this in my own blog. Interestingly this is also associated with ball lightning as well as the "demonic".
    If the man was exposed to a high EMF field, or ball lightning, or something with similar characteristics it may have had a serious enough neurological effect to knock him for a loop.
    Again, not much followup on blood gases, a physical exam, if he was grounded by footwear, his location by trees ( a negative charged leader?)..,etc..etc.. except vague assertions and theories.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, August 16, 2012  

  • My take is it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the details we have are what we have.

    Amongst other cases, French humanoid encounters and the Hills case don’t make a lot of sense either. Picking lavender? Offering books?! Fixing machines? Zamora’s fleeing folk? All seem absurd.

    Like with Taylor they overwhelmingly seem to have occurred in rural areas with some ~50% being witnessed/perceived by one person. Evidence, if investigated, is commonly minimal and amounts to physical traces on the ground. It’s never enough to satisfy cautious thinkers and is summarily dismissed along prosaic lines by self-described skeptics.

    In Taylor’s case, it’s much the same. He said the objects left tracks and pointed them out. Others considered him mistaken and said they were the results of forestry workers. Mr Alison takes the approach that Taylor had a TIA and misperceived a water tower. In his opening pages, he provides an illustration ‘based on the original press report description.’ He needn’t have provided his own illustration as there’s one already out there that Taylor directed and broadly endorsed. Fortunately for Mr Alison, his illustration looks very much like the water tower and the endorsed sketch does not. Also, Mr Alison’s ‘belief’ that Taylor crossed the M8 to the water tower isn’t plausible as it dismisses the contemporary investigations of police, determined sceptics and witness testimony.

    I agree with both you and Bruce, close encounters could be neurological and that TIAs can be experienced in different ways. I also accept your offer of providing examples where TIAs have resulted in coherent, narrative hallucinations (for wont of a better term, Bruce).

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • The hallmark of this incident is the reported acrid smell, which does fall in line with many cases. The analysis of ground trace evidence combined with the reported scent has received little attention in terms of their relationship, except for analysis from France some time ago.
    Another hallmark is the unreliable nature of witness testimony that seems to always be the focus of followup, as far as character, etc rather than the environmental factors as measurable parameters.
    Even a person with a sterling position can be mistaken, especially if these events are staged, which I suspect they are, to create a connection that would be otherwise impossible to attain.
    Of course that is my own "reality" tunnel.
    Another common characteristic is skin effects. While I am not saying ball lightning is in play, it may be a very similar localized
    locus, as in my own research there is only one case I know of that this rare phenomenon was tagged as a contact and the source of second degree burns. Second degree burns as opposed to third or worse seem to be another common denominator by proximate factors. In other words distance from the object, the radiant energy level of the object, and the burn degree could be compared to derive an approximation of the localized energy involved. Again, the witness testimony is a focus rather than measurable parameters.
    This phenomenon requires several combinatorial factors to occur, and until these are compared to determine correlations, all this is a moot albeit bizarre encounter with ghosts of a third kind.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • My take is that on one level this phenomenon must be looked at from the point of view of the environment rather than the victim, as it were.
    1. Humidity level as % By record to determine atmospheric conductivity.
    2. Composition of ground for crystalline or mineral deposits that cause natural gravity and or electromagnetic anomalies. These have already been mapped.
    3 The degree of atmospheric static charge which is now measurable by various radars.
    4. The time these events occurred.
    5. The level of ambient naturally occurring radiation.
    6. The location in relation to other power sources, or natural grounding sources of strike leaders.

    Instead we have a catalog of garbage. Sigh. Intriguing but useless.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • It's great to have this type of multiple input discussion. I honestly think Kandinsky and I are on the exact same page with respect to the acceptance factor of this proposed explanation. It doesn't add up as presented when all the facts are combined. However, what Bruce is proposing here is actually a stunning hit between the eyes of my own UFO encounter study/interest.

    Deep down inside I have always instinctively attributed the oz like encounter scenarios to originate within that same inherent human capacity most of us have when we dream unconsciously. This being whether non human intelligence is involved or not. It seems like what most witnesses experience according to their reports is an extension of their own consciousness in the form of awake dreaming. When I surface level examine this hypothetical pretense, what seems most probable is a specific consciousness attribute of ourselves that is somehow entrained to induce (or vice versa) a random encounter experience. I have always called this sentient evolution because of my own inclination to decidedly make us, the human being, the responsible agent due to it being our own awareness that encapsulates the experience. Up until this point I have adopted the pet notion that we are being "guided" by an external (possibly non human) agent, as a part of an ongoing controlled process. Vallee, Redfern, and many others see this external agent and it's directed process as the work of a trickster bent on deception to whatever ends. In my own case, I believe it's our own infancy within this externally guided evolutionary process that creates and perpetuates a relevant temporal illusion.

    Bruce's environmentally based FEA (Finite Element Analysis) proposes a new and interesting impetus for this experience. Either being a component of, akin to, or wholly responsible for, the bizarre sentient encounter experience itself. The question remains a deep and complex one, mostly drenched in an endless motivational curiosity of one sort or another. A mixture of Bio Alchemical Inducement, Quantum Signified Reality Entrainment, and Non Temporal Human Consciousness leaves much to ponder.

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • Jeff:

    Your views, like Bruce's, are always enticing.

    However, they present encumbrances of significant kinds; e.g., the requirements need to produce the experience(s) cited are so varied and obtuse that they represent a whole new psychological and neurological (or even physical) construct.

    Jose Caravaca's Distortion Theory presents the idea that some force (or entity), inner or outer, causes such experiences as that of Taylor and the many other examples that Senor Caravaca has outlined for us.

    Bruce insinuates, from Persinger, that electromagnetic forces may bring on the experience.

    This may be so.

    But Kandinsky and a few others who visit here seem to lean toward the idea the alien intrusion theme: extraterrestrial visitors.

    What needs to be done, as I see it, is to collate such experiences for the common factor or factors and see where such factors show up elsewhere, outside such experiences.

    Alison does that, somewhat, with his mini-stroke explanation for Taylor's "encounter."

    You fellows hypothesize from the event (or events) presented but don't take the time or make the effort to compare such events to other bizarre happennings, noted inside and outside the UFO literature.

    It's conjecturing without footnotes or citations.

    I find the ruminations interesting (or else they wouldn't appear here) but they are not academic or intellectual in the way that I was taught to approach hypotheses.

    Cite examples, fellows, that support your views.

    Don't just present your opinions or "hypotheses" without substantiating materials.

    I know we all think we're geniuses here, but we aren't.

    If we were, we'd be spending our time on things more important and relevant to our existence.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • Good heavens..With due respect, is what you are asking for, a mini doctoral exposition..complete with footnotes is impossible in a comment form. It would take pages and pages. Comments by their nature are not scientific papers, they are simply comments on your posts. There are other things to do..like feed the horses.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • Bruce...

    I just wanted some citations, a few sources -- not web links -- that corroborate thought processes offered here, in comments.

    Like, for your views: Persinger, book or article title, page or paragraph.

    Then those who are not lazy can find the citation for themselves, and elaborate on it if they want to.

    (Feeding the horses makes more sense to me than ruminating about the cause of UFO encounters or sightings.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • You are right. I am talking about four horses and then the boarders, a broken tractor..the brush cutting I still have to do..not to mention three dogs, two cats and four birds and then there's that dang partridge in the Pear Tree. This pursuit of the anomalous has largely taken a back seat to the rewards of the prosaic...small things..as I grow older..like the smell of fresh cut grass or my mutts. I keep a hand in, but like others..as you said, there are more rewarding things personal or otherwise to do than chase ghosts.
    Are you moved yet?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • "I know we all think we're geniuses here, but we aren't."

    Good job you weren't sitting at the dinner table that night when Charles Darwin said "C'm'on lads be honest d'y'think I should publish?"

    "If we were, we'd be spending our time on things more important and relevant to our existence."

    You say that now but all it takes is one flying saucer touching down on the White House lawn and you'll be the first to say "Thank Christ I didn't waste my time on all that other sh*t supposedly more important and relevant to our existence!"

    By Blogger alanborky, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • Alan,

    If you're familiar with biographies of Darwin, you'd know that it was his daily life that meant more to him than his work on evolution.

    And the cliche about a flying saucer landing on the white house lawn needs to be retired.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • Bruce...

    It is the little joys of life that resonate for us....guys like you and me.

    The stuff we play with here is dessert, not the main course.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 17, 2012  

  • Rich,
    If you look back through my previous posts within the fairly recent past, you will find several such self penned pertinent posts containing the type of sideline substantiation you're prescribing. When I post to the UFO/I it's typically in spontaneous response to the initial post's subject matter. From there, if I am inspired to follow up, my posts are inspired by the input of various thread building members. My views expressed here are neither unique, nor are they ingenious in the least. At least not IMO. What they are however is individually genuine.

    For instance, I agree with you that the UFO consideration must not be one grounded in an unhealthy obsession. Control's destiny is to force understanding. It's as futile as attempting to pen a successful argument against the true and fleeting contents of a fortune cookie. One is certain to be frustrated and indeed short changed in the process. The key is to improvise and build on consensus. Hopefully to inspire more of the same.

    Behind The Curtain:
    IMO, all discovery oriented intellectual pursuits must perpetuate a balance of both the right and left halves of the brain. We are a machine no matter how you want to slice it and a predominance of one hemisphere or another is a foregone deficiency that will result in absolute dysfunction. Good healthy thinking is formulaic. This is the methodical precursor to that which forwards an equal return/output cycle of relevant informational intake and the subsequent efficiency of informational uptake. This means one must give large question marks considerable time, both to take form where time doesn't exist, as well as to be born into the confines of our temporal intellectual consciousness.

    In short, many precious things are happening at once as we individually respond within these threads. None of us would disagree that what we question here is utterly amazing. Whether or not there is an external agent involved, grasp onto the pertinent relativity of process with respect to that which we are amazed by. How is it possible that we, in and of ourselves, can be any less amazing that what we initially question? Still, for all the tempered logic I can muster, am I not bound to question as much as I am free to express?

    This post could be misconstrued as: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Links, but that's not the gist at all. What I am actually attempting to respectfully convey is the undeniable value of the gift that is relevant individual spontaneity.

    What was it that Charles Darwin said? "In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed."

    Think fast! ;-)

    By Blogger Jeff Davis, at Saturday, August 18, 2012  

  • Thanks, Jeff...

    I like original thinking, and hypothetical ruminations.

    But, for me, such thinking and cogitation has to be rooted in substantive reading and study.

    As I've noted, we're not geniuses here, so any ideas presented should be fortified by works of people who are.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, August 18, 2012  

  • it is so typical of (other people-"outsiders"),to rationalize "other peoples" experience.,as they cannot believe what they hear.only the "experiencers" know what they have seen.when i have been asked about other peoples stories,i always say,"i don't know,as i was not there.it is not for me to judge..."so,speculate all you want,until you have experienced your own sighting or abduction & etc,you will NEVER believe....

    By Blogger catherine, at Sunday, August 19, 2012  

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