UFO Conjectures

Friday, February 10, 2017

UFOs and The Britannica

Copyright 2017, InterAmerica, Inc.

Some of you know (remember) that if you owned a set of Bitannica encylopediae, you had access to the company's "research service" from which you could request papers on any topic covered in the Britannica volumes:
I asked for a few papers on flying saucers and here is an excerpt from one 14 page paper I received:

As you can read, the excerpt deals with early sightings at or around the Muroc (Edwards) Air Base and was taken seriously by ATIC.

This goes to the heart of Robert Hasting's "research" into UFOs and their alleged reconnoitering at nuclear sites and air bases.

My point in this brief posting is that flying saucers and UFOs were once taken seriously by the government and the public, even Encyclopedia Britannica.

UFOs didn't have the patina of foolishness it now holds in the public and private milieux.

And those of you who want to find material that shows why some of us thought (and still think) that UFOs are worthy of study (or interest), go back to the early days and read what you find.

It will reveal a phenomenon that had cachet, not like the UFO sightings and reports of today, which are all bombast without substance.


UFO Detritus

I found this sheet of paper in my UFO scrap pile:
Two things that intrigue me are noted in red.

What was Kevin Randle's take on the abduction mentioned, that he addressed apparently.

And Richard Hall's MUFON piece that also suggested an abduction. (Mr. Hall was not enamored of UFO abduction tales in the latter part of his life I think, so what changed his mind?)

And where did I get this sheet from?


A Psychological Evaluation of Unidentified Aerial Phenoma

Copyright 2017, InterAmerica, Inc.

Dr. Roger N. Shepard presented a paper in 1968 at a UFO symposium by NCAS, the National Capital Area Skeptical organization. Here's the abstract for that paper:

Even if our interest is in the study of UFO's as some sort of extraordinary physical phenomenon (whether of natural or, possibly, of intelligent, extraterrestrial origin), our study cannot ignore the inescapable fact that nearly all of our evidence comes -- not from physical measuring instruments -- but from human observers. So far, however, we have consistently sold the human observer short Indeed, in neglecting to make use of psychologically oriented techniques that would more fully enable observers to bring to bear their really rather remarkable powers of perception and recognition, we may have been forfeiting the opportunity of obtaining evidence from independent observers that would be sufficiently convergent and well-defined to clarify the true nature of the phenomena.

Here's Wikipedia's citation for Dr. Shepard:


And here is the link to the paper:


Now some of you might be turned off by the nature of the organization for which the paper was intended, but it's an objective examination and outline for approaching the UFO phenomenon, centering on witness reportage or observation and attendant reconstructions: drawings, photographs, and other stimuli, with a psychological perspective.


A Valentine for Valentich

Copyright 2017 InterAmerica, Inc.

The October 1978 disappearance of 20 year-old Australian Fredrick Valentich, flying in an airplane over Bass Strait just off shore near Melbourne, Australia, is said to be a result of a UFO abduction or an attack by a UFO that destroyed Valentich and his airplane.

Wikipedia tells the tale:

Skeptic Robert Sheaffer offers a probable solution to the incident:

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry goes after Valentich and the purported episode. Click HERE to read.

The National ENQUIRER provided two sensationalist articles, as was its “reportorial methodology”; one offering an eyewitness, Colin Morgan, who said he saw an object at the time young Valentich was reporting his UFO encounter:

And another ENQUIRER story showed an acquired (from Ground Saucer Watch) UFO photo taken by plumber Roy Manifold at the time of the Valentich incident. (Manifold’s photo showed a black cloud surrounding a metallic structure about 20 feet in diameter:
An April 2014 Herald Sun brought the case up to date. Click HERE to read it.

I find the Valentich tale interesting for a few reasons: one, that skeptics are quick to slander/libel the young pilot (because he can’t respond apparently); two, because it remains an open mystery. (Bill Chalker can tell us more); three, it has the hallmarks of the scene in Spielberg’s film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind where the pilots lost in the Bermuda Triangle debark from the alien UFO, along with other missing folks, a sop to the UFO abduction meme.

Valentich reportedly radioed the Melbourne air tower that he was being followed by a strange aircraft, and at one point traffic controllers were said to have heard “a loud, crunching ‘metallic noise’” lasting 17 seconds before dead silence from Valentich’s radio.

 A fascinating UFO story, as I see it…