The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Three related UFO sightings: 1946, 1952, 1964 – then what?

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

Jerry Clark (again), along with Lucius Farish, had a piece in the Fall 1974 issue of Saga’s UFO Report: The Ghost Rockets of 1946 [Page 24 ff.]

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Within the article was a story by a notable Swedish industrialist, Gosta Carlsson.

Mr. Carlsson said that on an evening in May 1946, while out walking,  he “saw a light among the trees [which he thought, at first, was a fire started by someone]. “The light was coming from an open space in the forest a short distance away.”

When [he] reached the place, [he] saw “that in farthest end of the open ground there was a disc-shaped object with a cupola. The cupola seemed to be a cabin with oval windows. Above it there was a mast, almost like the periscope of a submarine. Beneath the disc there was a big oblong fin which stretched from the center to the edge of the underside. There were also two metal landing legs. A small ladder reached to the ground from a door beside the fin.

“The object was approximately 53 feet in diameter and 13 feet from top to bottom at the middle…
There were a lot of holes around the edge of the disc, like those of a turbine, and jet beams darted from the holes, which burned the grass when the object departed. [A] light came from the mast, [which] was about 17 feet in height…three antennae were suspended from its top. Lower down something like a lampshade was hanging. It was shining with a strange purple light which covered not only the whole object but also the ground a couple of feet beyond it. The light was flowing and pulsating from the ‘lampshade’ like water from a fountain. Where the light hit the ground I could see a sparkling effect.

“On the ground, beyond the area of the light, a man in white, closely fitting overalls was standing. He seemed to be some sort of guard. He raised his hand toward me: it was a gesture that could not be misunderstood, so I stopped…He was approximately as tall as I am…but he was thinner…

"There were others like him, but the strange thing was that nobody said a word…there were three men working at the window, and two more standing alongside. There were three women as well, and one more came out of the object later. On the far side there was another guard. In all I saw 11 persons.

“They all wore short black boots and gloves, a black belt around the waist, and a transparent helmet…They were all brown-colored, as if sunburned.

“….the guard had a black box on his chest…It looked like an old black camera. He turned it toward me and I thought he was going to take a picture of me, but nothing happened…

“It seemed as if the ‘cheese-dish cover’ of light stood like a wall between us…One of the women came out of the cabin with an object in her hand. She went to the edge of the wall of light and threw the object beyond the area of light….I heard her laugh.

(Carlsson later retrieved the object and in 1971 it was examined. It was composed of silicon and its shape had been changed by the witness….into a staff.)

Carlsson left the scene but returned later to see if he object was still there. He noticed a smell like “ozone following an electrical discharge.”

He had been gone about a half hour and returned “by a different route so that he could view the object from another angle, but before he had time to make a new approach, he suddenly observed a bright red light ascending into the air. The light was streaming out of the “turbine holes” of the craft, which had risen with a whining sound above the treetops. After reaching about 1,400 to 1,600 feet it slowed down…and “wobbled.” Then the red light grew rapidly brighter and turned purple just before the object flew away at a tremendous rate of speed.” [Page 27]

Six years later, as Antony Terry reported in The Mystery of Other Worlds Revealed [1952, Fawcett Publications, Greenwich, Connecticut] and Jose Caravaca outlined in a recent post at his blog with us, 48 year-old ex-Mayor Oskar Linke, with is daughter, saw a weird contraption – “like a 50-ft warming pan without a handle, and with a 10-ft conning tower” [that] took off with a crew of two from a forest clearing in the Soviet zone [of Germany]. [Page 142, TMOWR]

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Linke and his daughter were traveling home on his motorcycle which, when a tire blew, Leaving the motorcyle by a tree, they approached what they thought was a young deer about 150 yards away.

What they really saw  were two human-like figures, clothed in a kind of shimmering metallic substance; the figures bending down as if studying something on the ground.

“Worming [his] way to within 30 feet of them [and] Peering over a small ridge. [he] noticed a large object….about 40 to 50 feet across….It looked like [a] huge oval warming pan.

“There were two rows of holes along the sides, about a foot and a half apart.

“Out of the metallic object rose a black cylindrical ‘conning tower,’ about ten feet high.”

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When his daughter called out to him, the figures “rushed back to the object, clambered rapidly up the side of the ‘conning tower’ and disappeared inside.”

One of the figures “appeared to be carrying a lamp on his chest. The lamp flashed on and off regularly.”

“The outer edge of the ‘warming pan,’ in which the holes were sunk, now glowed.

“The color at first seemed green, then changed to red. At the same time I heard a slight hum. As the glow and sound increased, the ‘conning tower’ [retracted] into the center of the ‘warming pan,’ and the whole object then rose slowly.

From the swirling effect of the glowing ‘exhaust’ I got the impression that the whole object was spinning like a top.

“It seemed to be resting on the cylindrical piece which had sunk through the center of the object and was now protruding from the bottom and standing on the ground.

“The ‘warming pan,’ with its glowing outside ring of flame was now some feet off the earth.”

The object emitted a whistling sound as it rose in a “horizontal position” swerving toward a nearby village, where others saw it, thinking it was a comet. [Page 143]

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Herr Linke thought the object was an advanced craft from Russia.

In April 1964, Socorro, New Mexico Police Officer Lonnie Zamora saw an egg-shaped object in an arroyo, which had descended with a loud roar, and a conical shaped bluish-orange flame.

Outside the craft, he espied two pieces of white coverall clothed images, about four feet in size, which ufologists have assumed to be figures dressed in coveralls.

When the craft rose into the air, it emitted a loud noise and a blue flame.

Ronald Story, in his Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters [New American Library, 2001] on Page 557, tells that two witnesses to the Socorro sighting – Larry Kratzner and Pail Kies – saw the Socorro craft earlier than Officer Zamora, describing  a round saucer or egg-shaped object ascending vertically (from black smoke); the object had a row of four windows with a “red Z” on its side. “…the object leveled off and disappeared in the cloud of black smoke it was producing.”

The similarities between these sightings (among others in the time-frame) include the observation of “beings in white coveralls,” the colors of the (apparent) propulsion discharges during lift-off, and the physical description of the craft itself in the Carlsson and Linke sightings. not to mention the chest apparatus in those two accounts.

But what happened to such distinct sightings? They haven’t been replicated in our time, nor have they been explained by UFO researchers, except to indicate that the Socorro sighting was an ET visitation or hoax.

Pursuing these three events, now, is futile of course, and not amenable to a forensic denouement.

Such sightings provide marmoreal rigidity as far as UFO research goes, but still fascinate those of us with an interest in ufological footnotes…

Because the reality of UFOs lies in the lost details of such accounts.

RR

A Confab of UFO Geezers

Michael Swords gathered a few UFO "notables" to his Kalamazoo place -- note the disarray -- for a beer session about UFOs.

Professor Swords provided this link at UFO UpDates:

http://thebiggeststudy.blogspot.ca/2012/10/bells-books-and-candles.html

While Swords is an erudite writer of UFO material,, I'm always suspicious of one's scholarly acumen when they end quoted sentences thus ...."flying saucer". instead of correctly as...."flying saucer."

It's a minor thing but attention to detail(s) is important in everything, even the study of UFOs.

Anyway, take a gander at the photos of the men in attendance to see how they's aged (especially Jerry Clark) and you'll know why I use the epithet "geezers" for these guys.

The gathering seems, from Swords account of it, to have been less that fruitful.

But as Gilles Fernandez puts it -- that's ufology.

RR

Friday, October 19, 2012

Betty Hill’s descent into subdued madness: mania mitis (hypomania)?


Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

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Jerome Clark interviewed Betty Hill for the January 1978 edition of UFO Report [Page 40 ff.]

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Mrs. Hill’s responses to Mr. Clark took place almost seventeen years after her encounter (or alleged abduction) in 1961.

She was lucid and engaging, but at one point she related her ongoing rendezvous with UFOs at what she called her “landing area”:

“On several occasions, while I was parked at my 'landing area,' UFO would hover over the roof of my car. It would be so close I could have thrown a rock up and hit the bottom of it."

“The ‘new’ UFOs aren’t friendly as the ‘old’ ones were…now they sometimes shoot beams, and darts at cars in menacing fashion…

I was out there one night with a military officer and his wife. When he saw the UFO, he got out of the car and started walking toward it. Suddenly, a large swirling mass shot out from the object…it looked like a red ball rolling over and over and heading directly toward him.

I jumped out and tried to film this with my movie camera. But then – I know this sounds incredible – a green light hit my camera and burned out the switch and the circuitry so that my camera wouldn’t work. When the officer saw this red ball coming at him, he turned and ran back to the car. The red ball stopped, rolled back to the craft, and disappeared.” [Page 43]

Clark doesn’t pursue this intriguing story, but goes on with this:

“Have you had any contact with UFO beings since your abduction?”

Mrs. Hill says, “No, not even a fleeting glimpse of the aliens….”

Clark, as usual, misses the import of the exchange.

Skeptic Robert Sheaffer wrote a letter to the magazine which appeared in the May 1978 issue.

He felt offended by Mr. Clark noting his (Sheaffer’s) analysis of the Hill story, citing time discrepancies, Clark not acknowledging that Mrs. Hill didn’t get back to Mr. Sheaffer with explanations or correctives.

Neither Clark or Sheaffer noticed -- or they ignored – Mrs. Hill’s bizarre account(s) of UFOs at her “landing area,”

This has always been the problem with “ufologists” – they ignore the trees for the forest, as it were.

Mr. Clark’s interview was centered, pretty much, on Mrs. Hill’s reaction to the 1975 NBC movie “The UFO Incident” with James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.

I liked Mrs. Hill, and I don’t think she consciously hoaxed her “abduction.”

She, like Socorro’s Lonnie Zamora, was a plain, normal person. Was is the operative word here.

It seems that the account she gave Mr. Clark, which he errantly ignored, indicated Mrs. Hill’s mental state had become infused with imaginings of a bizarre, and totally UFO-related kind.

But there is the possibility that what Mrs. Hill reported was what she actually experienced: the original abduction and the episode at her “landing area.”

However, one has to lean toward a mental malfunction, primarily because no one else (outside Barney Hill) witnessed the 1961 abduction and the military man in the “landing area” incident never came forward. Mrs. Hill never provided, as far as I know, his name so that he could verify what she said happened to him.

Also, in the Clark interview, Mrs. Hill said she empathized with Parker and Hickson of the Pascagoula abduction, knowing things that confirmed, for her, the reality of that event.

She wouldn’t disclose what those confirmatory things were, and Mr. Clark didn’t press the issue or follow up.

Mrs. Hills antedated interest in science fiction items, and her exploitation by ufologists after her 1961 story was made public increased her mania.

The evidence for mania is palpable. The evidence for an extraterrestrial abduction and that later UFO encounter at her ‘landing area” is nil.

Can we dismiss the Hill abduction story? Yes, but with a caveat: things, as she supposedly experienced them, are not outside the realm of possibility.

As Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his book, Profiles of the Future, “When a scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

RR

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A must-read Book for UFO mavens and especially the few who visit Kevin Randle’s blog


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Here’s the blurb from the cover of Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s book, “Inevitable Illusions; How Mistakes of Reason Rule Our Minds” [John Wiley & Sons, Inc., NY, 1994]:

Everyone knows that optical illusions trick us because of the way we see. Now scientists have discovered hat cognitive illusions, a set of biases deeply embedded in the human mind, distort the way we think.

In Inevitable Illusions cognitive researcher Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini…opens the doors onto the newly charted realm of the cognitive unconscious to reveal the full range of illusions, showing how they inhibit our ability to reason, no matter what our educational background or IQ.

The problem(s) with “ufological thought” -- an oxymoron surely – is blatantly on display in many internet places where UFOs are the topic: UFO UpDates is one such place.

But a capsule site for erroneous thinking is Kevin Randle’s blog, A Different Perspective.

Mr. Randle isn’t the problem; he opens his blog to all comers (mostly) giving free reign to an admittedly few UFO hobbyists: ET advocates, exemplified by David Rudiak (who is a member of Mr. Randle’s Roswellian Dream Team), skeptics, represented by Lance Moody, Christopher Allen, and Gilles Fernandez, along with assorted nobodies.

Mr. Randle’s visitors continue to get immersed in the minutiae of the 1947 Roswell incident, hacking away at the tale, ad infinitum, ad eternum, and ad nauseum.

A scrutiny of the back-and forths, beclouded by Mr. Rudiak’s extensive displays of Roswell detritus, shows that the thinking behind the commentary is flawed, in ways that Piattelli-Palmarini examples in his book (pictured above).

The over-riding premise of “cognitive illusions” is footnoted by quasi-magical thought, the psychology of typicality, and heuristic “mental tunnels” which create bias. [Page 19 ff.]

Chapter Six of the book, The Fallacy of Near Certainty, provides references to capital and systematic mistakes with its naive forms of extrapolation. [Page 111 ff.]

The patina of Mr. Rudiak’s droning presentations highlight what Piattelli-Palmarini is driving at:

In the world of probability one cannot, even where the reliability is very close to 100 percent (or absolute certainty) – such as 95 percent – extrapolate. [ibid]

The specifics of “overconfidence” outlined, beginning on Page 116, derive from a 1977 paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology [Fischoff, Slovic, Lichtenstein] where persons “certain of their subjects” thought they were 100 percent correct, and rated their probability of being wrong as one in a thousand, in ten thousand, or even in a million. [Page 117].

Mr. Rudiak presents his views with that kind of overconfidence.

That Mr. Rudiak knows his subject matter, Roswell, better than most, is obvious.

That skeptics (Moody, CDA, Fernandez) goad him into lavishing his knowledge on Randle’s readers creates an argumentative scenario which diminishes the basics of the Roswell incident and UFOs in general.

Roswell, no matter how one perceives it, tells us nothing about UFOs as they exist today. Or what their import is from past observations.

The details that Mr. Rudiak generously provides and Mr. Randle encourages are not debunked by the skeptical group. They engage, also, in many of the cognitive flaws that Piattelli-Palmarini outlines, such as not knowing or using Bayes’ Law when attempting to refute Mr. Rudiak or employ a “tunnel of pessimism” [Page 139 ff.]

Piattelli-Palmarini gives several examples that, for me, show how the skeptics ruin their argumentation: Externally modulable and Subjectively incorrigible (where telling [Mr. Rudiak] that he is…inclined to commit certain errors does not immediately lead him to cease doing so. [Page 140]

UFO aficionados are inclined to be belligerent and illogical.

That’s the endemic nature of the UFO topic.

UFO UpDates provides the caustic examples of belligerency and illogic.

Mr. Randle’s blog isn’t as compassing, but it gives an outline of how far and how low the UFO phenomenon has driven academic civility.

Perhaps some of Mr. Randle’s habitués will seek out the book mentioned here and mend their ways.

(I doubt any will do that. They are victims of their own cognitive illusions.)

RR 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hildegard of Bingen: UFO Spotter or Neurological Hysteric?


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Hildegard of Bingen [1098-1179], A Catholic Saint and medieval genius had visions, starting when she was three years old and “by the age of five she began to understand that she was experiencing visions…

Throughout her life, she continued to have many visions…she received Papal approval to document her visions as revelations from the Holy Spirit” [Wikipedia]

Her visions were similar to UFO spotters of our era with details that mimic stories told by alleged alien abductees:

“…when I was 42 years and 7 months old, that the heavens were opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed through my entire brain.” [Fordham University]

From her earliest years she was favored with visions. She says of herself:

Up to my fifteenth year I saw much, and related some of the things seen to others, who would inquire with astonishment, whence such things might come. I also wondered and during my sickness I asked one of my nurses whether she also saw similar things. When she answered no, a great fear befell me.

Frequently, in my conversation, I would relate future things, which I saw as if present, but, noting the amazement of my listeners, I became more reticent.

Hildegard painted too - records of her visions, showing herself as a tiny seated figure with an open slate or book, gazing upwards at huge symbolic mandalas of cosmic processes, full of angels and demons and winds and stars…

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The paintings have simple patterned borders, naive figures, and schematic arrangements. They are reminiscent, in a different style, of the paintings of William Blake and Samuel Palmer.

(Carl Jung, in his book, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, indicates that flying saucers/UFOs may be and have been mandala projections by observers.)

Her visions were quite detailed, and she also claimed to hear words, spoken in Latin. She saw them in her soul, not with her bodily eyes, which remained open.

She often saw a brilliant light - more brilliant than a cloud over the sun. Inside this light she sometimes saw an even brighter light which she called "the living light." This made her lose all sadness and anxiety.

Her visions also seem to have been accompanied with pain and fainting fits:

"From the very day of her birth," she writes of herself, "this woman has lived with painful illnesses as if caught in a net, so that she is constantly tormented by pain in her veins, marrow and flesh. This vision has penetrated the veins of the woman is such a way that she has often collapsed out of exhaustion and has suffered fits of prostration that were at times slight and at other times most
serious." (Book of Divine Works: Epilogue)

Charles Singer and Oliver Sacks have interpreted these physical symptoms as migraine attacks. One of her visions was of falling stars turning black as they plunge into the ocean. Hildegard interpreted this as the rebel angels falling from heaven. Singer reads it as showers of phosphenes across the visual field, followed by a negative blind spot. Her concentric mandalas and her light with the light are seen as another visual symptom of migraine. [World Pantheism]

“…her major works are three books on theology: Scivias ("Know the paths!"), Liber Vitae Meritorum (on ethics), and De Operatione Dei. They deal (or at least the first and third do) with the material of her visions. The visions, as she describes them, are often enigmatic but deeply moving, and many who have studied them believe that they have learned something from the visions that is not easily put into words. On the other hand, we have the recent best-seller, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, by Oliver Sacks, Professor of Clinical Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and author of Migraine and various other books.

Professor Sacks is concerned with the relation of the brain to the mind, and ways in which the phsical state of the nervous system can affect our ways of perceiving reality. He views the pictures in Hildegard's books of what she saw in her visions, and says, ‘The style of the pictures is a clear indication that the seer suffered regularly from migraine attacks. Migraine sufferers tend to see things in this manner.’ And indeed, it is true that Hildegard suffered throughout her life from painful attacks of what may have been migraine. [Anglican.org]

On 17 September 1179, when Hildegard died, her sisters claimed they saw two streams of light appear in the skies and cross over the room where she was dying. [Wikipedia]

The questions raised are these:

Did Hildegard see UFOs or was visually processed by UFOs, much in the way that Joan of Arc experienced about three hundred years later, and in the way that some UFO abductees have reported their experience in modern times?

Or were Hildegard’s “visions” caused by a neurological disorder as Oliver Sacks surmises?

Are UFO sightings imagery created by neurotic persons as Jung intuits?

Are mystics, like Hildegard of Bingen, privy to UFO visions, that the rest of us are not? And why would this be so?

Are recent UFO spotters mystics of a common kind? Or just mentally imbalanced individuals?

Or are UFOs intrusions of a unique kind, with tangibility sometimes and evanescence other times?

Who really knows?

N.B. Much of the material above was culled from the internet as indicated by the attributions in brackets.

RR