Leer en español

2015/JUNE/30 (EN)

English language editing: Martin Shough
FOTOCAT DATABASE STATUS
The catalogue maintains 11,870 cases as of early June 2015. 
The program’s documentation archives are housed in several wood cabinets, where 217 folders contain, in turn, plastic files gathering the information on individual cases. In order to visualize the logistic aspect of FOTOCAT, the following photograph shows a partial view of the archives.
NEW PUBLICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
The Future of Ufology
As announced in the March 2015 special blog edition, this paper I have penned is available at this link: 
In addition to receiving good feedback in terms of correspondence from colleagues, it has been re-issued in several magazines, from both ends of the spectrum, as well as linked to online publications, blogs and Facebook sources. A sample follows: 
UFO Today, #5, May 2015, pages 70-74.
SUNlite, May-June 2015, page 2.                           
(Thanks to Alejandro Agostinelli, Philip Mantle, Tim Printy, Milton Hourcade, Tim Mendham, and Frank Warren, to name just a few.)
A 5 km de la Base Aérea de Morón (in Spanish)
“5 Km from Morón Air Base” is a short paper that reviews some alleged UFO photographs taken circa June 1995 near Morón de la Frontera Air Base, Seville (Spain). The author’s assessment points to a small-sized balloon. You can read it at the following link: 
Desclasificación OVNI: El último expediente (in Spanish)
“UFO Declassification: The Ultimate File”. The Spanish Ministry of Defense opened its UFO files in the period 1992-1999, known as the declassification process. Eighty-four records were released, covering nearly 2,000 pages of 122 sightings that occurred between 1962 and 1995. The author played a key role in this process. Firstly, by urging the Air Staff to make the documents available to the public and then cooperating with the Air Operative Command (MOA). In that role –a gratis et amore function‒ I ensured that that all information held by the Air Force was disclosed and that many missing reports were found and released. 
In 1994, I learned of the existence of a classified dossier of more than 400 pages of various official correspondence, studies by INTA (Spanish space research center) and a voluminous analysis report by the US Battelle Institute. On December 6, 1965, a space reentry took place on the SW of Spain, releasing fragments of a Russian rocket that aroused enormous interest from the United States. Eager to strengthen ties with its ally, General Franco, head of the Spanish State, allowed some of these technology remains to be analyzed by the US government.
As of today, these reports have not been declassified. It was not properly a UFO report and therefore these materials were not contained within the official UFO files. This is the story of the visual sighting that started it all, the exhaustive scientific tests performed on the metallic spheres and other objects found in Badajoz and Seville and the efforts that the author has made since 2009 to achieve its complete declassification, which seems now to be closer than ever. 
The paper is saved in the following link:
Desclasificación OVNI en España: El Mando Operativo Aéreo busca casos perdidos (in Spanish)
Another major paper in the author’s series Official Reports Online (Number IV) has just been released. It relates to the UFO declassification process in Spain during 1992-1999 and is entitled: “The Air Operative Command Searches Missing Reports”. It is a 22-page, detailed report that shows the various actions initiated by the Spanish Air Staff to find lost UFO reports within the whole structure of the Air Force. It neutralizes the sensationalist fallacy that the Spanish Air Force was not transparent or empowered during its UFO disclosure program. Profusely documented, it contains an appendix with 76 additional pages of official UFO-related exhibits, administrative records and sighting information. Interested readers can access this report through: 
UFO RESEARCH AND UFO REPORTS
Peruvian Pilot Shot at UFO Story
People have experiences, see things and report them. Our obligation as UFO researchers is to probe and investigate the tales they tell to see whether or not they represent phenomenological anomalies. If we merely believed them, as in an act of faith, we would do a disservice to and defraud those that think of us as experts in this study. However, I see time and again that UFO reports rise to the top echelon of ufology not because the sightings have proved to be unidentifiable but just because the observer is a pilot, a scientist, a priest, a politician, a military or a law enforcement agent, to name a few of those rhetorically named “elite witnesses.” Named so quite improperly, as decades of case inquiry have demonstrated that no such thing exists, as everybody can make observational mistakes and be unable to identify certain sky phenomena or research contraptions, unknown to them for being too infrequent or new. 
I leave the reader to judge for oneself if calling extraordinary something that is quite ordinary is just a severe error (pure incompetence) or a deceit on our fellow citizens by the claimant. One example of this is the air encounter that a pilot of the Peruvian Air Force flying from La Joya AFB went through on April 11, 1980. Here we can see a presentation (actually a misrepresentation) of this event by the direct beholder, Comandante (ret) Oscar Santa María:
There are other internet sources on this occurrence here as well:
Nevertheless, the Spanish physicist Julio Plaza has analyzed the event and concluded it was just a stratospheric balloon. Plaza has informed of his findings through his own blog (in Spanish): 
We will not blame the flier, he simply did not know about recent developments on state-of-the-art balloons doing cosmic ray studies, intelligence or meteorology work. He made a bad observation, period. In addition, his Government was inefficient to locate the real cause of the sighting, the mundane object that confused the pilot. However, what about those who build crazy theories, sell books or create propaganda out of smoke? Are these the foundations on which the ufology of the 21st century is based? Is this the present-day zeitgeist in our field? Another brick in the wall of the intellectual bankruptcy of our subject.
Back to the aircraft encounter with a space oddity, I wish to go a step forward and find more precise information. Can the balloon be identified, its route known, its origin and mission disclosed? We are currently investigating this issue and will report if and when successful. (Thanks to Julio Plaza and Juan Carlos Victorio)
More Roswell Scam
The Roswell legend refuses to die. The Roswell UFO crash saga is a combination of US Air Force’s attempts to safeguard a secret project, and the emergence of many false stories. Recently, this tale surfaced again. It exploded on 2015 with the revelation of two slides of an alleged ufonaut, along with a circus-like atmosphere, and overseen by discredited Mexican propagandist Jaime Maussan as master of ceremonies. Some of the proponents conveniently associated the image to Roswell, but without any solid proof.
Another attempt to exploit the myth: the 2015 Roswell slides. Image: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFs_U6B5y9c
One feature of the photo proved to be its downfall. A placard is visible in the glass case where the "alien" lies. While most public views of the picture have been of too poor a resolution to say what was on the placard, higher resolution did exist in the hands of the proponents. When finally the placard image was run through a computer enhancement process, it revealed that this was the body of an ancient Indian boy instead of an extraterrestrial being. Independently, experienced Mexican UFO agnostic Luis Ruiz Noguez and British lawyer and UFO student pen-named Isaac Koi reported that the image really shows the mummified body of a 2-year-old child exhibited for decades in the Million Dollar Museum, at White’s City, New Mexico. See:
Detail where the placard is perfectly legible. Courtesy of Philip Mantle
The original child’s mummy as discovered by R. Palmer in 1896. Courtesy of Luis Ruiz Noguez.  
Shirley, Illinois, April 3, 1967
On Tuesday April 4, 1967, The Pantagraph, a newspaper published in Bloomington (Illinois), reported, “UFO Photographed in Area”. The story informed that three members of the Lyle Kidwell family of Shirley observed a strange light in the sky “Monday night” from their farm home, a mile southwest of Shirley. Sixteen-year-old Kerry Kidwell grabbed a Polaroid camera and snapped three pictures of an unidentified flying object that hovered in the sky for more than an hour. “Mr. Kidwell said the lemon-shaped object switched from a reddish-orange color to white and then back to the original color. At the very top, Mr. Kidwell, his son and 18-year-old daughter, Becky, saw lights that glowed in a cycle from red to amber to green.” After they called the police, two deputies of rural Hudson arrived, saw the light and departed without saying anything. They first saw the bright light about 8:15 p.m. After watching the motionless object for a while, the boy headed for their house, where he drew Miss Kidwell’s attention to the object. Kerry ran inside for his camera and shot three pictures through an open dining room window. The pictures were enlarged and turned over to McLean County sheriff. Mr. Kidwell said the object remained motionless up to 9:45 p.m., “then it started moving westward, but not fast,” he added.  The following image is a large close-up of the light.
The same newspaper reproduced this information on its February 19, 1978 edition, including the three photographs and a brand-new interview with grown-up Kerry Kidwell, who talked about the aftereffects of the sighting: ridicule from other kids, silence from the police, and a UFO form received from the Air Force. Unfortunately, we lack exact data on azimuth or elevation; we merely have a motionless light lasting for 90 minutes over the western horizon. It is no surprise when we look at the celestial charts for April 3, 1967 in the Illinois sky to find a bright Venus (magnitude -3.9) appearing at 21º of altitude at 8:15 p.m. and 10º one hour later, slowly descending to the west as it set. The enclosed sky charts show the planet position during the observation. (Thanks to Kay Massingill and Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga)
A Calculation Tool for UFO Analysis
Case analysis usually requires access to various formulae and calculations to establish certain measurements related to UFO observations. Sometimes, often in the study of UFO photographs, we need to calculate the minimum altitude of an object over the Earth ‒if observed during the night‒ to be able to reflect sunlight. It is necessary, for instance, to check if a certain recorded image or a sighted object is produced by the passage of a satellite or a manmade spacecraft, a stratospheric balloon, etc. 
Spanish telecommunications engineer Manuel Borraz has developed a matrix that generates the requested numerical information for such circumstances. The tool just needs the user to input the following data in the green cells of the attached Excel spreadsheet that can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/english
(1) Object’s position: azimuth and elevation from the observation point, in degrees.
(2) Sun’s position: azimuth and elevation, in degrees.
Geographical coordinates of the sighting’ site are not required. 
The solar elevation entered must be negative because, as in the working example included in the table, calculations are meaningful after the Sun has set for the observer. This simple but accurate and effective calculator provides the height and the real distance to the observer. I expect it will be found useful by all.
Planetary Conjunctions, not UFOs
My Norwegian pal Ole-Jonny Brænne has just found a photographic case we missed in our joint review of local UFO pictures, Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue, a work you can find in two formats here:
It was a two-hour long sighting around 4:30 p.m. on February 17, 1975, of two lights in the SSW sky in the northern part of Norway, from Senja to Honningsvåg. They soon discovered that the two “bright stars” were a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter (the closeness of different planets in the arch of heavens). Besides the shot taken, the attached celestial chart confirms the situation and approach of the two planets for that date and place. 
Not by chance, the same day and timeframe FOTOCAT contains a record for multiple observations all over Spain of two brilliant dots in the night sky. Many newspapers reported the visions and some published pictures as well. Venus and Jupiter were in a conjunction from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., as the astronomy observatories duly informed to the press.  Enrique, staff photographer of a Málaga (south of Spain) daily newspaper took the following picture. 
Our catalogue reveals additional information for similar phenomena in the surrounding entries. Another image, this time taken in Japan on the following day, same time and long duration as well, can now be solved as this gathering of planets, a practical example of comparative ufology. 
By one of those happy fortuities of life, the same day I was processing this information I was spending the weekend in my country house, a cottage located not far from Valencia City but free enough of light pollution. That night I looked at the sky and saw –can you guess?‒ both Venus and Jupiter near each other (magnitudes -4.4 and -1.9, respectively). I had none of my cameras at hand to make a portrait of this coincidence, but I am appending a time exposure picture by the Spanish newspaper ABC (Madrid) of the June 2015 planet encounter, with Venus, much brighter, below.  (Thanks to O.J. Brænne and J.C. Victorio Uranga)
How to Monitor UFO Waves
This is a 2005 paper written by Italian researcher Giorgio Abraini (Italian Center for UFO Studies, CISU). The manuscript has been unpublished until now, when I offered Signori Abraini to upload it and produce a link through which all interested students can access to the work. Its abstract reads: “Studies of UFO waves have usually focused on the search for a periodical pattern or some other feature giving insights about the nature of UFO phenomena and the forecasting of UFO waves. Here we prefer a more modest approach, aiming at real-time UFO wave monitoring: we describe a statistical instrument specifically designed to signal the presence of a significantly high number of UFO reports. To do that, we need to seasonally adjust the UFO data and to find out which statistical distribution they follow. Knowing the distribution of seasonally adjusted UFO data, we can decide whether a number of UFO reports is significantly high from a statistical standpoint, thus signaling the likelihood of a wave occurring.” The paper is available here: https://www.academia.edu/12948994/How_to_Monitor_UFO_Waves
UFO Flaps
A classic paper by Martin Kottmeyer, originally published 1995 but updated and revised recently, is now online in the following link:
Mr. Kottmeyer has studied the concept of waves and flaps and this is what he writes in his introduction: “Flaps-Periods of time when reports of ufo amass at well above average rates are variously termed 'flaps' or 'waves.' Both terms possess connotative prejudgments. Waves suggest a natural semi-rhythmic phenomenon or the arrival of masses of people, as in the waves of an invasion or waves of immigration. Capt. Edward Ruppelt of Project Blue Book defined flaps as "a condition or situation, or state of being of a group characterized by an advanced degree of confusion that has not yet reached panic proportions" and is thus diagnosing a psychology problem, a crazy time. (Ruppelt, 1956) The presence of two terms to denote these times of accelerated ufo reporting behavior reflect the absence of consensus in ufology's attempts to understand what is behind the simple arithmetical truth that UFO numbers change rather than remain constant over time. It is not immediately obvious why the UFO phenomenon should not be a more or less constant occurrence over time whether one regards them as real or illusory. If they were alien transports connected with a survey of the planet or a study of mankind, the natural expectation would be that their presence should be methodical and unceasing. If they were accidents of circumstance or cognitive error, one would expect their occurrences to be fairly stable across time in a manner similar to the way traffic accidents remain numerically stable from year to year without showing periods of several-fold increases.”
Space Re-Entry Stimulus as CE-3 Generator
This is an extremely interesting and suggestive paper by Gilles Fernandez. It explores the limits of misinterpretation of things that you can see in the night sky, by reviewing the example of a December 12, 1987 case.  For me, at least, the clue of the mystery of UFOs lies in a mechanism of this type.  In fact, it fits well to the thoughts I spelled out in my recent paper “The Future of Ufology”, where I insisted on the psychological phenomenon that occurs (more commonly than we think) when a witness, taken by surprise during nighttime, transforms a conventional, yet infrequent sighting into another class of imaginative story. Expectation, fantasy, beliefs, etc. play a role to mutate a normal phenomenon into another anomalous. In the case studied by the French psychologist Fernandez, a far-off reentry converts into nothing less than a “close encounter of the third kind.”
http://skepticversustheflyingsaucers.blogspot.fr/2015/01/space-re-entry-stimulus-as-ce-3.html
Study of Unidentified Flying Objects in the USSR
Dr. Yulii Platov and Colonel B. Sokolov published this work in the Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Vol. 70, No. 6, 2000, p. 507). Dr. Platov is a leading research scientist at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radiowave Propagation (IZMIRAN) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). From 1977 to 1995, he was the Vice Chairman of the RAS expert group investigating “paranormal phenomena” (including UFOs). The Platov-Sokolov paper is now online for reading and download in the following link: 
Dr. Yulii Platov (left) with V.J. Ballester Olmos, Sheffield University, England, July 1995.
The “Law of the Times” Explained
Last June 15, the Journal of Scientific Exploration has released its volume #20, number 2, with the article: “Modelling the Law of Times”, a formal, definitive research article by Julio Plaza del Olmo (see pages 195-233 of the journal.) Plaza, who works as a senior research scientist in the Spanish Ministry of Defense, has dissected this apparent UFO pattern after a wide literature review. Part of the abstract reads: this paper develops a mathematical model to reproduce the Law of Times. It is based on astronomical factors such as the altitude of the Sun and the Visual Limiting Magnitude that relates to the probability of a phenomenon being visible; and a second factor related to the social habits of the population, accounting for their availability to witness the phenomenon. These two factors alone can accurately reproduce the main peak at 21–22 h of the Law of Times.
Highly recommended by this blogger.
Mr. Plaza has posted an entry in his own blog site, as follows (in Spanish):
Miscellaneous
(1) Some thoughts I would like to share, for the sake of transparency. After decades of UFO investigation, both field work, personal research and bibliography study, I think that probably there is not anything to UFOs beyond error, delusion and deceit. However, the existence of significant events that have not been properly explained maintains the level of strangeness of the phenomenon and makes it a subject worthy of scientific inquiry. In any case, even if it finally becomes a pure myth, without physical foundations of its own, I would not treat it with derision, contempt or even condescension. Moreover, I would never call those who think differently believers or credulous, as much as it would be unfair if I was called a debunker by the same token. People investigate UFOs and in the course of their surveys and inquiries, they reach one conclusion or another. Both merit respect, provided they use scientific tools and methods in the process. The role of charlatans is a different ball game, naturally.  
(2) In the February 2015 update of the French IPACO web site, we can find an excellent example of scientific analysis of a series of photographs depicting a strange image on them. This is certainly 21st century ufology: 
(3) Space researcher Paul P. Maley maintains an excellent site on recovered space debris at: http://www.eclipsetours.com/paul-maley/space-debris-2/
(4) Well-known US contactee Daniel W. Fry’s most acclaimed film proof of flying saucers was footage he allegedly took in Merlin, Oregon in May 1964. The following link shows the fake film and some enlarged screen captures from it: 
(Thanks to Luis R. González) 
(5) Recently it has been published some detailed information on the fall from the sky of an object at 2 a.m. on December 21, 1978 near the Argentine town of General Campos, in the province of Entre Ríos:
I think it will be useful to researchers to know that it has been identified as the re-entry of the object numbered as 1978-118B / 11159, the third stage of the Proton rocket that launched the soviet satellite Gorizont 11 into space. (Thanks to Ted Molczan)
(6) The first ever abduction tale ‒the Barney & Betty Hill story‒ is seen as rooted in the African American lore, an excellent and very well written essay by Dutch researcher Theo Paijmans that offers a fresh and new perspective: 
 (7) Clarke on the “Will Smith Effect”. The following short interview to Dr. David Clarke is worth of reading:
(Thanks to Martin Kottmeyer)
 (8) The Barry Greenwood UFO Archive. Ufology has generated incommensurable volumes of materials in all forms, from print to digital. Myriads of sites exist delivering UFO information, mostly misinformation and pseudo information. If a blog like this one has any reason to exist, is to provide bona fide, quality information on research and documentation regarding the problem of UFOs. It is a pleasure to report today that the archives of Barry Greenwood are online, for all to consult freely. Barry is a key figure in UFO research in the United States and has mainly centered in the historical and military aspects of ufology. Without more delay, let me provide the access url to his archives: 
I am quoting from Greenwood’s introduction to his site:  
What we wish to do here is provide some basics on unidentified flying objects and related aerial peculiarities, coupled with bringing into the open obscure, hard-to-find bits of UFO history from the backwaters of this much-maligned topic. This comes from nearly fifty years of our close involvement monitoring the various forms odd aerial phenomena have taken, from aerolites, to airships, to mystery aeroplanes, to ghost rockets, to flying saucers and to the modern views of UFOs.
LITERATURE
Invited Paper by M. Gershstein: UFO Research in the Former Soviet Union and Today
Hardly known in the West, in the last few years, Russian journalist and top-ranked ufologist Mikhail B. Gershtein has achieved a cyclopean task, by retrieving and getting released hundreds of official UFO documents from the persons who actually took part in the official scientific UFO investigations during the Soviet era. In the company of other colleagues, starting in 2009 he has collected over 2000 UFO reports (amounting to more than 5000 pages) that span from 1904 to 1999. These come mainly from the remains of lost archives of the “Commission on Anomalous Phenomena of the Committee on Environmental Protection Problems of the All-Union Council of Scientific Technical Societies”, but also from the Academy of Sciences, Central Geophysical Observatory, Ministry of Defense, Department of the Navy, and Ministry of Civil Aviation. Amongst all those important documents, there are reports from the three scientific UFO projects in the former Soviet Union: “Setka-AN”, “Galaktika-AN” and “Horizont-AN”. 
Thanks to the cooperation of Ukrainian ufologist Igor Kalytyuk, I regularly receive details of this major information disclosure, for a next update of my own paper on UFO declassification and release in the world. I have invited Mikhail Gershtein (the author of eight books and many articles) to write a report on the status of official UFO research in his country, and the following text has been kindly prepared in response: “Short History of Soviet and Post-USSR UFO Research”. I am very glad to have the opportunity to release it for all students to know. Gershtein, currently living in St. Petersburg (Russia), is an expert in system-analysis of SRCAA “Zond”. (Thanks to Richard W. Heiden for editing the text).
Mikhail Gershtein, born Leningrad, 1972. Courtesy of I. Kalytiuk.
 SHORT HISTORY OF SOVIET AND POST-USSR UFO RESEARCH
Gershtein M.B.
Abstract: This article briefly describes the history of official UFO research in the Soviet Union and later in the independent Ukraine, from the 1940s until now.
The modern UFO era started in the year 1947, when Kenneth Arnold saw nine very strange objects over the Cascade Mountains. Soon the so-called UFO wave began in the United States – a sharp increase in "flying saucer" sightings, stirred up by sensational articles in the media. The Soviet press almost immediately stated that it was a dirty trick of "American warmongers," who wanted to fire up a new war. One such news item follows in its entirety: "The American press, which, with small exceptions, is in the hands of capitalists, gives enormous aid to the warmongers. Each day, newspapers print fictional stories about the Soviet Union by the orders of their owners. Here is just one example. This summer, newspapers raised a terrible noise about so-called 'flying saucers.' Each day, newspapers report on their cover pages, under enormous headlines, that people in different places of America supposedly see flying objects in the sky. They have an oval shape and approximately the size of an aircraft. Newspapers explain to their readers that these are obviously rockets launched from the Soviet Union toward America across the North Pole. American doctors unanimously stated that all "flying saucers" are only the fruit of people's imagination, agitated by talk about war, or simply someone's idle fabrications. Actually, if these "saucers" existed in reality, they must fall somewhere. However, no “saucer” has been found. Nevertheless, newspapers have continued to make noise about this matter for several months. Special forces with high-speed aircraft were created with the aim of pursuing "flying saucers." It's clear that they shot down nothing" [1]. 
Fig.1. Letayuschie tarelochki. - Leninskiye Iskry, Leningrad, Oct. 22, 1947
Such a point of view was repeated by one of the top Communist Party leaders, M. G. Pervukhin. In his speech at a meeting celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Revolution, in November 1952, he raised merry excitement when he said that the Americans fancied "flying saucers" and "green fire balls" in the sky. Of course, he stated that all sightings were caused by a "loss of mental peace" because of "military psychosis" [2].
Fig.2. Literaturnaya Gazeta, Moscow, November 7, 1952.
When Soviet citizens with some courage reported UFO sightings to scientific organizations or to the media, they received only answers in the debunking style. For example, the Moscow Planetarium had a standard reply letter for all "strange" cases: "Dear Comrade! The phenomenon you observed was, in all probability, due to an experiment that was conducted to measure the density of the atmosphere at high altitudes with the aid of a sodium cloud." The position of the Soviet officials was unequivocal: our people do not see any mysterious objects in the sky, but even when they sometimes do, specialists can always convincingly solve such events. Information about UFO in the 1950s was mostly confined to official agencies. Some cases were leaked decades later, when talk about UFOs finally became possible. After Stalin's death, some enthusiasts, notably Yury Fomin, senior instructor at the Food Institute, Moscow, who was also lecturer of the Society for Propagation of Political and Scientific Knowledge (later the Knowledge Society), began to collect information on UFOs and give lectures on this topic. His activity evoked great public interest, but official bodies decide to stop it. On January 8, 1961, "Pravda" ("Truth," the main newspaper of the Communist Party) published an article by academician L. A. Artsimovich, entitled "The Flying Saucer Myth." He stated that "so-called flying saucers" do not exist: "All talk on this issue... stems from the same source, namely unscrupulous and antiscientific information contained in lectures made in Moscow by some irresponsible persons. These reports tell fantastic tales borrowed mainly from the American press, dating from a time when flying tableware was the main sensation in the United States... The saucers and other material objects, which are said to appear in the sky, exist only as reflections on water or as rainbows exist, as the play of light in the atmosphere. All the rest is either self-deception or falsification" [3].
The "irresponsible" Y. A. Fomin was expelled from the Knowledge Society, his lectures were forbidden. Of course, Artsimovich knew about Menzel's mirage theory and even mentioned Donald Menzel in his article.  The next year, a Russian translation of his book "Flying Saucers" was published. It was the first book about UFOs in Russian [4]. There was not a direct prohibition of mentioning UFOs in the Russian media, but editors still preferred to repeat the same old story about "American psychosis" and malicious "warmongers." The situation began to change in 1966, when a young Vladimir Rubtsov published the first article that treated the UFO problem as worthy of serious investigation. His article appeared in the Ukrainian-language magazine "Znannia ta Pratsia" ("Knowledge and Work"), 1966, # 9. This article contained an appeal for readers to report their observations [5]. Some letters arrived, and they were published in the magazine. It was the first set of Soviet UFO reports published in the USSR. People saw "silent fiery balls" without a trail, cylinder-shaped objects "three times larger than an airplane," something "shaped like a flattened ball," "a moving ring, shaped like an automobile tire," and so on. One reader even mentioned a case from 1914, when "several brilliant cigar-shaped objects" passed through the sky at great speed from north to south [6].
In April 1967, there appeared the first pro-UFO article written by the now famous Dr. Felix Zigel for the popular magazine "Smena" [7]. During the next months, it was followed by other articles about this topic in various journals and newspapers. On May 17, 1967, the first meeting of the Initiative Group for UFO Studies took place in the Central House of Aviation and Cosmonautics. Forty-five attendees, mostly science and military persons, selected Major-General P. A. Stolyarov as Group Leader. The basic purpose of this Group was to lay the groundwork for creating a scientific UFO organization. 
Fig.3. Zigel F. UFOs - What Is It? - Smena, Moscow, 1967, No. 7.
 In October 1967, the first public Soviet organization designed to collect and analyze UFO reports was formed in Moscow: the UFO Department of the All-Union Space-Exploration Committee of the USSR Voluntary Society of Support to the Army, Aviation & Navy (DOSAAF). It consisted of more than two hundred scientists, engineers, military, journalists, etc. Its elected head was Major-General P. A. Stolyarov; his Deputy for Science was Dr. Felix Zigel. The first session of the new Department took place in October 18. Stolyarov and Zigel spoke on Central TV about the new organization and invited UFO witnesses to send in their reports. Such reports arrived and were used by Zigel to prepare the first volume of his typewritten collection, "UFO Observations in the USSR" (1968). In the meantime, forces were at work behind the scenes, and in November, the Central Committee of DOSAAF disbanded the UFO Department. Some time later, the Branch of General & Applied Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences passed a resolution against UFO research in the Soviet Union.
On February 29, 1968, "Pravda" stated that "flying saucers" simply do not exist: "All objects flying over the territory of our country are identified either by scientists or by the people responsible for the security of our Motherland" [8]. After that date, pro-UFO articles were forbidden by Glavlit (Soviet censorship). Some people from the disbanded UFO Department wrote so-called "open letters" for "Pravda" and for the Academy of Science, in which was emphasized the importance of UFO study for the defense of the USSR and the possible harm to science itself. An official answer was signed by academician A. Shchukin: "A question about the nature of so-called flying objects was examined with the aid of many competent organizations, associated with the USSR AS Presidium, Administration of Hydrometeorological Service, Ministry of Defense etc. As a result of this examination, it was established that the nature of the flying objects, observed under different circumstances, can always be established by competent experts. At this time organizations that carried out the study of the atmosphere and space, have an order to record and study cases of unknown flying objects, for the purpose of identifying them. General supervision for this task is accomplished by USSR AS, so there is no need to create any special organization for the study of UFOs" [9].
It was a very low-profile "study": Branch of General & Applied Physics of the USSR AS appointed several researchers, headed by the scientific secretary of the division, V. A. Leshkovtsev (one of the authors of an anti-UFO article in "Pravda," February 29, 1968), to work with the letters and military reports on this topic. Their task consisted of recording the received letters and reports, consulting with specialists in their respective scientific areas, analyzing the data, and replying to the authors - something like what "Blue Book" did in the USA. Pro-UFO enthusiasts, including Rubtsov and Zigel, were forced to continue their UFO studies almost underground, without access to the media or public lectures. In the late 1960s, there were no more than 25-30 people actively engaged in UFO studies throughout the entire Soviet Union. In general, they knew each other quite well, exchanging letters and meeting personally from time to time.
In 1975, Dr. Zigel finally succeeded in opening a state-financed project for UFO studies at the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). Top officials of the Institute approved a preliminary report for the project and applied to the Civil Aviation Ministry, the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on Hydrometeorology, the Institute for Space Research, and other organizations for cooperation. It was intended to set up a Scientific and Technological Council for the UFO problem. However, this project was also disbanded when the shortened text of Zigel's UFO lecture at the military plant "Kulon" leaked in the Samizdat. As a result, Zigel was expelled from the Knowledge Society and criticized in the Soviet newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" [10].
Only after the so-called Petrozavodsk phenomenon (September 20, 1977 UFO sighting over the capital of the Karelian Autonomous Republic, later explained as the launch of the "Cosmos-955" satellite from the Plesetsk launching site) was the UFO phenomenon considered as worthy of serious investigation. Top Soviet officials, including the same academician A. Shchukin, began a wide program for the study of so-called "anomalous phenomena" (words like "UFO" or "flying saucers" were almost prohibited even among its participants). The program had a two parts - civilian and military. 
"Setka-AN" ("AS Network") was a civilian study of "physical nature and development mechanisms of anomalous atmospheric and space phenomena." Its head organization was the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere & Radio Wave Propagation of the USSR AS (IZMIRAN). "Setka-MO" ("MoD Network") was a military study of "anomalous atmospheric and space phenomena, and of their effects on the performance of military hardware and the status of personnel." Its head organization was an NII 22 (Institute of Anti-Aircraft Defense), located in Mytishchi, near Moscow. Both parts of this program were connected via a Military-Industrial Commission. All of its activity was secret for three reasons - to ensure "abatement of public response," closeness to the defense-related themes, and possibilities that in case of successful completion of the tasks some discoveries could be used for military purposes. Later the program changed its name twice: first to "Galaxy," then to "Horizon."
Fig.4. Certificate for the "Setka-AN" scientific group that gathered information about sightings of anomalous phenomena in the lower atmosphere 
The "Goskomgidromet" (State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on Hydrometeorology) took an active part in this program since 1979, when all Soviet meteorological stations and personnel engaged in field studies received instructions and long questionnaires about so-called "anomalous phenomena" (AP) sightings. In Ukraine, these instructions are still active, but completed questionnaires are now sent to Kiev instead of Moscow. 
In 1980, government censorship rules about UFOs were changed. Now all articles, books, etc. must have additional approval from the "Setka-AN" authorities. To publish any pro-UFO article was still impossible: such articles did not have not any chance of going through double censorship – “Setka-AN” and Glavlit together.
By the early 1980s, the number of UFO enthusiasts was increasing sharply. In Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Kharkov, and elsewhere, various scientific and technical societies and journals organized public clubs for the investigation of AP. When the first Ukrainian meeting on AP was held in Kiev in 1981, there were 12 doctors in the sciences and 40 doctoral candidates in the sciences participating. The resolution of the Kiev meeting stated, "in the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, on the ground, and also in near-space a large group of complicated phenomena is constantly observed, by means of physical instruments and visually, which defy being simply explained as well-known natural phenomena or as being due to the human technological activities. This group of phenomena referred to as anomalous phenomena in the environment is to be studied profoundly in the interests of science and practical activities of human society" [11]. The Ukrainian Academy of Science (especially academician G. S. Pisarenko, who became Chairman of the local Commission for AP Studies), give great support to local UFO investigation.
In February 1984, all scientifically-oriented UFO enthusiasts united to form the Commission on Anomalous Phenomena of the Committee on the Problems of Environmental Protection of the All-Union Council of Scientific Technical Societies. Of course, they had permission from the "Galaxy-AS," including the main person behind this study - V. V. Migulin, director of IZMIRAN. They intended to use enthusiasts for the "primary job" in Ufology - collecting raw reports from the people and studying them on-site. The Chairman of this Commission was the corresponding member of the USSR AS, V. S. Troitsky from Gorky, head of the Gorky Commission for AP Studies. His deputies were N. Zheltukhin, the same G. S. Pisarenko, and Major-General P. R. Popovich, former astronaut. A. Mordvin-Shchodro of Leningrad became a scientific secretary of the Commission. News about the Commission appeared in the biggest Soviet newspapers: "Sovetskaya Rossiya," "Izvestiya," "Socialisticheskaya Industriya," and "Trud." All of these newspapers give an address for UFO witnesses to write: 101000, Moscow, P.O. Box 764.
Fig.5. Letter about forwarding reports on anomalous phenomena to the Ukrainian Civil Aviation Authority
On January 30, 1985, "Trud" published a big article about a recent UFO case studied by the Commission on AP. This article created a big stir among the Soviet people, because it was written from the pro-UFO position and depicted a very striking incident with the Tu-134 plane. Its author, V. Vostrukhin, tricked the censors and replaced the approved article with this one. Of course, Vostrukhin was fired, but his article "Exactly at 4.10..." became a big sensation even abroad. After this event, the Commission on AP received 12,000 letters from witnesses. Some of them (especially letters that were sent to the Leningrad branch of the Commission for investigation), were recently digitized by the author of this article. Analysis showed that approximately 60% of these letters report misidentifications (bright stars, rocket launches, etc.) and 8% lack any value (general reasoning, theories). The remainer all have a definite interest, although some of them contain too little information.
On February 7 and 8, 1986, the First All-Union seminar "Technical Methods of AP Research" took place in Gorky. This meeting was described only in the local press, and from the anti-UFO position. In January 1987, the amateur Yaroslavl UFO Research group (it was not part of Commission on AP) started to publish its periodical, the first monthly UFO bulletin in the Soviet Union. This "samizdat" bulletin has a very small circulation - about 50 copies. Since 1988, strict censorship became weakened. The first Soviet documentary about UFOs and life in the Universe appeared on movie screens, entitled "In Search of Aliens." It was made by the "Kievnauchfilm" studio. Among the scriptwriters was A. I. Mordvin-Shchodro, scientific secretary of the Commission on AP.
At the end of 1988, the Leningrad branch of the Commission created a separate amateur association for UFO studies, named "Fakt." Its main aim was a "wider attraction of people toward the UFO problem." "Fakt" was disbanded in 1990; part of its archives were saved and recently digitized. In 1989 all censorship restrictions about UFOs were lifted. Many articles immediately appeared in the Soviet press, about this recently-forbidden topic. Since 1990 new magazines and newspapers have appeared devoted entirely to UFOs and paranormal phenomena. Some of them exist today. The most famous of them, the newspaper "Anomaliya" ("Anomaly") from Leningrad (St. Petersburg), recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, but its circulation has dropped from 150,000 copies to 1,000.
The main Soviet UFO research program "Horizon" was closed in 1991, after the collapse of the USSR. Some participants in this program continued to work with UFO reports at a low level, especially the so-called "Group for AP Research" inside the IZMIRAN. In 1996, this too was disbanded for the financial reasons. All the "Horizon-AS" archives are now kept in the damp IZMIRAN basement, and might be lost because of very poor storage conditions. The NII 22 also continued to study military UFO reports for some time at a low level. The head of this study, A. Plaksin (now Colonel) often appeared on TV, or gave interviews for the various media. For example, in May 2002 Plaksin stated that he has never obtained direct proof that there are alien civilizations active on our planet. There were no UFO crashes in the USSR, and rumors about secret hangars are only hoaxes. But 20% of UFO sightings are of a physical origin that is still unknown to us. Our laws of physics cannot explain such objects, said Plaksin [12]. 
Part of the military archives ("Horizon-MoD") were stolen by Colonel B. A. Sokolov, of the Military-Industrial Commission. The most interesting documents, about 400 cases, were later sold to ufologists Brian Gresh and George Knapp in 1993. These documents are still unavailable to UFO researchers, and we know about their content only via articles written by these persons and by Antonio Huneeus, who has a full copy of the material [13]. The Commission on AP was also disbanded in 1990. Most of its archive was lost after an accident in storage; the lesser part is now in private hands. Some participants of the former Commission later took part in the pseudoscientific UFO organization "Soyuzufocenter" ("All-Union UFO Center"), created by the infamous V. Azhazha. This organization ceased in 1995 because of the hard economic situation.
The Leningrad branch of the Commission on AP began to act independently without orders from Moscow. Their UFO research activity continued as part of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg (all of its members have Society membership cards). Nominally it still exists, but in reality the Commission is inactive because of the Society’s new officers. The same fate struck the UFO Study Commission of the Russian Geographical Society, established in 1981.
Some other branches of the Commission on AP and amateur UFO groups also continued their work after the collapse of the USSR. The most notable among them was a Ukrainian group. They even tried to join into one organization, the Ukrainian UFO Association, and established their own newspaper, "Ukrainian Ufologist," but it was disbanded in 1993 because of internal conflicts. Members of this Association, including astronomers A. Pugach and A. Arkhipov, created a new group, the Ukrainian Commission for AP Study Problems (Chairman - A. Beletzky).
 But all attempts to unite UFO researchers in the Ukraine were unsuccessful until 2004. On October 21, 2004, the Scientific Research Center for Analyses of Anomalies "Zond," the direct successor of the local Commissions on AP, was created. On July 12, 2014, it was amalgamated with the ISRC “EIBC” (another active AP group, established in 2009 by Igor Kalytyuk), and became the biggest research center in the country. SRCAA "Zond" has some connections with Ukrainian official organizations, including the Hydrometeorology Center - successor to the Soviet "Horizon-AS" program.
Fig.6. Since 1978 all meteorological stations of the Ukraine State Hydrometeorological Service are part of the program on observations of anomalous phenomena
Now SRCAA "Zond" undertakes an attempt to save and digitize not only local UFO archives, but all of the ex-USSR UFO heritage [14]. All saved paper archive documents were gathered and located in the state Archive, which has restricted access. If possible, all digitized documents will be uploaded on the Web for open access [15]. The fate of UFO studies in the ex-USSR countries is now in safe hands.
References
1. Letayuschie tarelochki. - Leninskiye Iskry, Leningrad, 1947.10.22 
2. Pravda & Literaturnaya Gazeta, Moscow, 1952.11.07
3. Artsimovich L. The Flying Saucer Myth. - Pravda, 1961.01.08
4. Menzel D. Flying Saucers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953. (Russian translation: Menzel D. О "letayushchikh tarelkakh." Moscow: Izdatelstvo Inostrannoy Literatuiy, 1962)
5. Rubtsov V. Guests from space or atmospheric phenomena? - Znannua ta Pratsa, Kiev, 1966, No. 9
6. Space objects over the Ukraine. - Znannya ta Pratsa, Kiev, 1967, No. 1
7. Zigel F. UFOs - What Is It? - Smena, Moscow, 1967, No. 7
8. Mustel E., Martynov D., Leshkovtsev V. "Flying Saucers" Again? - Pravda, 1968.02.29
9. Zigel F. UFO Observations in the USSR. Vol. 1. A Manuscript. Moscow, 1968
10. Parnov E. The Technology of a Myth. - Komsomolskaya Pravda, 1976.11.28
11. Troitsky V. UFOs: Myth or Reality? - Nauka i Religiya, 1982, No. 10
12. Plaksin A. UFOs helped to create US superweapon. - Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2002.05.31 
13. Huneeus A. Incident at Usovo. - The Anomalist, 1998/99, No.7 
14. SRCAA “Zond” official Website http://zond.kiev.ua
15. Kalytyuk I., Chvartkovsky A. Project "Enlightenment" Website: http://ufology-news.com
PERSONAL LOG
A proud father: with my younger daughter, on the day of her wedding, May 23, 2015. 
BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
OVNIS: el fenómeno aterrizaje (UFOs: The Landing Phenomenon)
Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (with Miguel Guasp) (UFOs and Science)
Investigación OVNI (UFO Investigation)
Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (with J.A. Fernández Peris) (Encyclopedia of UFO Close Encounters in Spain) 
Expedientes insólitos (Weird Files)
These are available in the second-hand market, in the following search engines: 
Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (with O.J. Braenne)
UFOs and the Government (with M. Swords & R. Powell and C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich & St. Purcell)
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (with M. Borraz, H. Janosch & J.C. Victorio) http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?artID=182
HOW YOU CAN COLLABORATE WITH FOTOCAT PROJECT
There are several options you can follow:
· Volunteer work, onsite or remotely
· Deliver sighting reports, photographs, archives, bibliography, etc.
· Donations to help defray research expenses
You can reach us directly by writing to the following postal address:
          Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
          Apartado de Correos 12140
          46080 Valencia
          Spain
Alternatively, through e-mail: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es


2015/JUNIO/30 (ES)
BASE DE DATOS FOTOCAT 
A finales de junio de 2015, el número de casos contenidos en la base de datos FOTOCAT es de 11.870. 
Los archivos de documentación de este proyecto se guardan en armarios con 217 archivadores que, a su vez, contienen carpetas de plástico con toda la información en papel y en fotografía de cada caso individual. Para que el lector visualice ese aspecto logístico de FOTOCAT, en la siguiente foto aparecen algunas vistas parciales de los archivos. 
NUEVAS PUBLICACIONES DEL AUTOR
El futuro de la ufología
En la actualización especial de este blog el pasado mes de marzo anuncié mi ensayo, titulado “El futuro de la ufología”. Ahora puede también leerse (en inglés) en un enlace independiente, creado exprofeso para este trabajo: 
https://www.academia.edu/11170842/The_Future_of_Ufology  
En español, se encuentra en la siguiente entrada del blog:
Además de recibir una buena respuesta “de crítica y público” en el argot taurino, este artículo se ha reeditado en varias revistas especializadas, de ambos lados del espectro ideológico, así como en publicaciones online. Una muestra de ello son las siguientes cuatro referencias:
UFO Today, #5, mayo de 2015, páginas 70-74.
SUNlite, mayo-junio de 2015, página 2.                           
(Gracias a Alejandro Agostinelli, Philip Mantle, Tim Printy, Milton Hourcade, Tim Mendham y Frank Warren, entre otros).
A 5 km de la Base Aérea de Morón
Este es un breve trabajo que expone y comenta unas supuestas fotos ovni que se tomaron alrededor de 1995 cerca de la base de Morón de la Frontera, en Sevilla. En mi opinión, se trataría de un globo de pequeño tamaño. El artículo se puede leer desde aquí:
Desclasificación OVNI: El último expediente
Este artículo habla de la existencia de un dossier del Ejército del Aire de 400 páginas sobre la caída sobre Badajoz y Sevilla de restos de chatarra espacial en diciembre de 1965. A pesar de que este informe obra en mi poder desde 1994, he solicitado repetidamente se desclasifique y confío sea pronto una realidad. 
Me complace especialmente comunicar que acabo de subir a la red una nueva monografía (la número IV) de la serie Documentos Oficiales Online, que explica interioridades poco conocidas del proceso de desclasificación español (1992-1999). Concretamente, muestra las iniciativas puestas en marcha por el Mando Operativo Aéreo en su búsqueda de información ovni a lo largo y ancho de la estructura de Ejército del Aire, con la finalidad de su desclasificación y puesta a disposición del público. Por primera vez, se expone completamente toda la documentación relativa a dichas búsquedas, cartas y télex remitidos, respuestas recibidas, información encontrada, etc. A este ensayo de 22 páginas se añade un apéndice documental de 76 páginas de documentación oficial. Espero te interese: 
Tutorial para la lectura y descarga de trabajos online en el portal academia.edu
Al pinchar en un enlace aparece una primera pantalla. Para descargar (download) el trabajo hay que darse de alta en ese portal, un proceso breve y sencillo, que recomiendo por la gran cantidad de trabajos de interés allí existentes. Pero si solo deseas leerlo en línea, únicamente tienes que pulsar el botón en forma de aspa (X) situado arriba a la izquierda, como se aprecia en la segunda pantalla. (Agradezco a Jordi Ardanuy por enseñar gráficamente estos dos pasos).
 
INVESTIGACIÓN Y CASUÍSTICA
Documento histórico sobre el “Caso Manises”
Una de esas casualidades que normalmente da la vida llevó recientemente al ufólogo madrileño José Juan Montejo, durante el desempeño de su trabajo profesional como funcionario de la Administración de Justicia, a toparse con los documentos de un reciente juicio civil donde el exministro de Transportes español Salvador Sánchez-Terán había asistido en calidad de testigo. Llevado por su innata curiosidad, Montejo “googleó” ese nombre y encontró una respuesta parlamentaria que tenía que ver con los ovnis. Fue en 1979 y el entonces ministro Sánchez-Terán respondía en el Senado a un senador canario que le había preguntado sobre el aterrizaje forzoso del avión de la compañía TAE en el aeropuerto de Manises (Valencia) la noche del 11 de noviembre de 1979.  En el siguiente enlace aparece el Diario de Sesiones del Senado correspondiente a la Comisión de Obras Públicas y Urbanismo, Transportes y Comunicaciones celebrada el 15 de noviembre de 1979:
En la página 39, columna derecha, casi al final, el senador de la UCD Federico Padrón, hace esta breve pregunta al ministro: “También desearía aclaración sobre el aterrizaje forzoso del avión interceptado (sic).” El ministro Sánchez-Terán, que había llegado a Valencia al día siguiente de los hechos en una visita oficial sin relación con el incidente, hizo gala de una amplia respuesta (ver páginas 42 y 43). Destacamos algunas de sus afirmaciones:
…se vieron unas luces, las vio el piloto o el copiloto; no las vio el pasaje. En las cintas del control del tráfico aéreo está registrada la preocupación del piloto al ver esas luces rojas…lo que pasa es que el piloto decidió picar el avión, lo cual es un poco espectacular. Yendo de 25.000 pies bajó a 15.000 y se preocupó por el tema; dijo “no sigo” y decidió aterrizar. No hay ninguna comprobación de que hubiera algún objeto físico hasta el presente. 
Es evidente que estos comentarios debieron estar basados en lo que le informaron al ministro en el propio aeropuerto cuando llegó la mañana del 12 de noviembre. Como es natural, ante este nuevo documento, he acudido al investigador principal de este avistamiento y autor de El Expediente Manises, una extraordinaria obra de análisis del mismo (1), el estudioso valenciano Juan Antonio Fernández Peris, quien ha puntualizado lo siguiente en un correo electrónico: “La relevancia de este documento es doble. Por una parte es la respuesta ‘en caliente’ (a los pocos días de los hechos), realizada en sede parlamentaria por una personalidad que estuvo en el aeropuerto de Manises al día siguiente de ocurrir los hechos. Se aprecian declaraciones sinceras que relatan lo que se conocía a nivel oficial en aquellos momentos (15 de noviembre). De otra, además del tono distendido de la respuesta –no en balde contestaba a un senador de su mismo partido político– señalaba al piloto (Lerdo de Tejada) como pieza clave, casi en solitario, de la observación. Su interés es precisamente ese, focalizar y poner en contexto lo ocurrido (…se vieron unas luces…lo que pasa es que el piloto decidió picar el avión, lo cual es un poco espectacular)”. (Gracias a J.J. Montejo y a J.A. Fernández Peris).
(1) Publicado por la Fundación Anomalía (Santander), 2000. Ver:
El piloto peruano que disparó a un ovni 
La gente tiene experiencias, ve cosas y las denuncia. Nuestra obligación como investigadores (para distanciarnos de tanto “himbestigador” que pulula por ahí) es sondear y explorar seriamente dichas narraciones para confirmar si representan anomalías fenomenológicas o son simples errores de observación. Porque si sólo las creyéramos, haciendo un acto de fe, mal haríamos, defraudando a aquellos que piensan en nosotros como expertos en el estudio de los ovnis. Sin embargo, veo una vez tras otra que ciertos informes ovni ascienden a los más altos escalones de la ufología mediática o literaria no porque se haya demostrado que los avistamientos son irresolubles, sino porque el observador resulta ser un piloto, un cura, un político, un militar o un miembro de las fuerzas de seguridad. O sea, aquellos a los que tan retórica como falsamente se los ha querido apodar como testigos de élite. Muy impropiamente así llamados, porque décadas de encuestas han demostrado que no existe tal cosa, ya que cualquiera puede ser sujeto de errores de observación y mostrarse incapaz de resolver un fenómeno celeste dado o un avanzado artilugio volante, cuando resulta desconocido para ellos por infrecuente o novedoso.
Dejo al lector que juzgue por sí mismo si invocar como extraordinario algo que es bastante normal es sólo un gran error (pura incompetencia) o una forma de engañar al público por parte del testigo. Un ejemplo de esta situación le encontramos en el encuentro aéreo que tuvo un piloto de las fuerzas aéreas de Perú el 11 de abril de 1980, después de despegar de la base aérea de La Joya. Aquí tenemos una exposición (una mala exposición, a mi modesto entender) de este suceso, por boca del observador, el comandante retirado Oscar Santa María:
Hay más fuentes de internet con información del caso: 
Pero el físico español Julio Plaza, que ha estudiado el incidente, piensa más bien que pudo haber sido un globo estratosférico. Al respecto, sugiero la lectura de lo que Plaza ha escrito en su propio blog:  
No echaremos las culpas al aviador, quien sencillamente no estaba al tanto de recientes avances en la tecnología de los balones de investigación sobre rayos cósmicos, meteorología o funciones de inteligencia. Tuvo una observación deficiente, punto. Pero, encima, su gobierno fue ineficaz al no encontrar la verdadera causa que motivó el incidente, esto es, el objeto trivial o convencional que confundió al piloto militar. Y, por encima de ello, ¿qué decir de aquellos que construyen teorías alocadas, venden libros y crean propaganda de la nada? ¿Son esos los pilares en los que la ufología del siglo 21 va a asentarse? ¿Es este el actual zeitgeist en nuestro campo de trabajo? Otro ladrillo en el muro de la bancarrota intelectual de este tema. 
Volviendo al encuentro del avión con este objeto espacial, desearía pudiera darse un paso más y conseguir una información más fina y precisa, que identifique exactamente el tipo de globo, la ruta seguida, su origen y la misión que desarrollaba. Seguimos investigando y espero que logremos redondear la identificación de este objeto, que en los medios se nos presenta como el paradigma del vehículo extraterrestre. (Gracias a Julio Plaza y a Juan Carlos Victorio).
Otra estafa sobre Roswell
La leyenda de Roswell rehúsa morir. La saga del estrellamiento de un ovni en Roswell es una combinación de los intentos de la Fuerza Aérea de los Estados Unidos por salvaguardar un proyecto secreto y la aparición de muchas historias falsas. Hace poco el temita ha resurgido. Este mismo año el asunto explotó con la revelación, en una decadente atmósfera circense, de dos diapositivas que mostraban un presunto humanoide, con el propagandista mejicano Jaime Maussan actuando de maestro de ceremonias. Algunos de sus proponentes asociaron convenientemente las fotos al imaginario UFO crash de Roswell, pero sin ninguna prueba que lo avale. 
Última explotación del mito Roswell: las diapositivas de 2015. Imagen: wwwyoutube.com/watch?v=rFs_U6B5y9c
Un detalle de la misma fotografía, sin embargo, demostraba ya su falsedad. Hay una placa visible en la urna de cristal que protege al “humanoide”. Se ha cuidado mucho de enseñar sólo fotos de baja resolución para que no se pudiera leer el rótulo en cuestión. Pero los proponentes ocultaron las imágenes claras que tenían. Cuando por fin investigadores incrédulos aplicaron un programa informático para mejorar las fotos, se puedo leer lo que decía dicha placa. Y revelaba que era el antiguo cuerpo de un niño nativo americano. Algo muy alejado de una entidad extraterrestre. El experimentado ufólogo agnóstico mejicano Luis Ruiz Noguez y el abogado británico Isaac Koi (pseudónimo), han informado independientemente que la imagen realmente mostraba el cuerpo momificado de un niño indio de dos años de edad que se ha estado exhibiendo desde hace décadas en el museo Million Dollar de White’s City, en el estado de New Mexico. Ver esto dos enlaces:
Detalle perfectamente legible de la placa. Cortesía de Philip Mantle.
La momia del niño tal como fue descubierta por R. Palmer en 1896. Cortesía de Luis Ruiz Noguez.  
Shirley, Illinois, 3 de abril de 1967
El martes 4 de abril de 1967, The Pantagraph, un diario publicado en Bloomington (Illinois), informaba de “Un ovni fotografiado en la zona”. El caso es que tres miembros de la familia de Lyle Kidwell, del pueblo de Shirley, habían observado una extraña luz en el cielo la noche del lunes desde su granja situada a una milla al suroeste de dicha localidad. El joven Kerry Kidwell, con tan solo dieciséis años, cogió su Polaroid y sacó tres fotos de un objeto volante no identificado que estuvo suspendido en el cielo durante más de una hora. “El señor Kidwell ‒escribió el periódico‒ contó que el objeto tenía la forma de un limón y cambiaba de color rojizo-anaranjado a blanco, para luego volver al color original. En su parte superior, el señor Kidwell, su hijo y su hija de 18 años, Becky, vieron luces que brillaban en un ciclo que iba del rojo al ámbar y al verde”. Más tarde, llamaron a la policía y se personaron dos agentes de la rural de Hudson, que miraron la luz y se marcharon sin decir nada. La luz se vio inicialmente alrededor de las 20:15 y tras observar al objeto estático durante un rato, el chico se dirigió a la casa, donde avisó a su hermana. Kerry buscó su cámara y tomo tres fotos instantáneas a través de una ventana abierta del comedor. Las fotos se ampliaron y fueron entregadas al sheriff del condado de McLean. El señor Mr. Kidwell manifestó que el objeto permaneció inmóvil hasta las 21:45 horas, “cuando comenzó a moverse hacia el oeste, pero lentamente”, añadió. La siguiente fotografía es una gran ampliación de la luz. 
El mismo periódico reprodujo esta información en su edición del 19 de febrero de 1978, publicando las tres fotos y añadiendo una entrevista al ya adulto Kerry Kidwell, que narró los efectos secundarios de la observación, a saber, ridículo por parte de otros chicos, silencio total de la policía y un cuestionario para casos ovni recibido de la Fuerza Aérea. Desafortunadamente, no disponemos de datos exactos de azimut o elevación del objeto, apenas sabemos que una luz estacionaria estuvo suspendida del cielo durante al menos 90 minutos en el horizonte occidental. Al consultar la carta celeste de ese día y lugar, no nos ha sorprendido, sin embargo, encontrar un brillante planeta Venus (con magnitud -3.9) apareciendo a 21º de altura a las 20:15 p.m. y a 10º una hora más tarde, a medida que avanzada hacia el ocaso descendiendo lentamente hacia el oeste. Las cartas celestes que siguen muestran la posición del planeta durante la observación de la familia del granjero. (Gracias a Kay Massingill y a Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga).
Calculadora para análisis ovni
El análisis de casos ovni frecuentemente requiere que busquemos formulas y maneras de calcular ciertas medidas objetivas relacionadas con avistamientos ovni. A veces, concretamente en el estudio de fotografías, necesitamos calcular la altitud mínima a la que debe hallarse un objeto sobre la Tierra –durante una observación nocturna– para poder reflejar la luz solar. Esto se hace necesario, por ejemplo, para concluir si una imagen dada la produce el paso de un satélite u otra astronave convencional, un globo estratosférico, etc.  El ingeniero de telecomunicaciones español Manuel Borraz ha desarrollado una matriz que genera la información numérica requerida. Esta herramienta solo precisa que el usuario escriba los siguientes datos de entrada en las celdas verdes que aparecen en la tabla de Excel adjunta y a la que se accede desde:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/español
(1) Posición del objeto: azimut y elevación desde el punto de observación, en grados.
(2) Posición del Sol: azimut y elevación, en grados.
No es necesario introducir las coordenadas geográficas del punto de observación.
La elevación solar a introducir debe ser negativa, tal como se aprecia en el ejemplo usado en la tabla, ya que los cálculos sólo tienen sentido para el caso en que el Sol está ya oculto para el observador. Esta efectiva calculadora ofrece, además de la altitud mínima, la distancia mínima observador-objeto.
Conjunciones planetarias, no ovnis
Mi apreciado colega noruego Ole-Jonny Brænne me ha enviado un caso fotográfico que no conocíamos cuando escribimos nuestra monografía Norway in UFO Photographs. Informe, por cierto, que puede consultarse en dos formatos en los siguientes enlaces:
Fue un avistamiento de dos horas de duración alrededor de las 16:30 horas del 17 de febrero de 1975, dos luces en el cielo SSW vistas desde toda la parte norte de Noruega, desde Senja a Honningsvåg. Pronto se descubrió que las dos “estrellas brillantes” fueron la conjunción de Venus y Júpiter (acercamiento en la bóveda celeste de los astros). Además de la foto que se publicó, adjunto la carta celeste que confirma la situación y cercanía de los dos planetas para ese día y lugar. 
 
No es por azar que FOTOCAT contenga, para la misma fecha y hora, registros de varias observaciones en toda España de dos brillantes puntos de luz en el cielo nocturno. Muchos periódicos dieron cuenta de la información y algunos hasta incluyeron fotos también. Efectivamente, Venus y Júpiter estaban en conjunción entre las 19:00 y las 20:30 horas, como anunciaron los observatorios astronómicos a la prensa. Enrique, fotógrafo de un diario de Málaga, hizo la instantánea que expongo a continuación.  
Nuestro catálogo revela informes adicionales de fenómenos semejantes en las siguientes líneas de la base de datos. Otra imagen, tomada esta vez en Japón el mismo día, a la misma hora y también de una gran duración, podemos solventarla ahora en un ejercicio práctico de ufología comparada como la reunión planetaria citada anteriormente.  
Por una de esas felices coincidencias de la vida, cuando estaba procesando toda la información anterior, me encontraba pasando el fin de semana en un chalet situado no lejos de la ciudad de Valencia, pero suficientemente libre de polución luminosa. Esa noche del actual mes de junio, miré al cielo y vi ‒ya se lo imaginan‒ a Venus y Júpiter, uno junto al otro (con magnitudes de -4.4 y -1.9, respectivamente). No tenía a mano ninguna de mis cámaras para fotografiar el efecto astronómico, pero he querido añadir una foto con exposición que ha publicado el diario ABC del encuentro entre los dos planetas en junio de 2015. Venus, el más brillante, aparece abajo. (Gracias a O.J. Brænne y a J.C. Victorio Uranga).
Cómo controlar las oleadas ovni
Este es un ensayo escrito en 2005 por el investigador del CISU italiano, Giorgio Abraini. El manuscrito ha estado inédito hasta el presente, cuando ofrecí al autor colgarlo en internet y disponer de un enlace a través del que otros estudiosos interesados en la materia pudieran leerlo. Leemos de su resumen: “Los estudios de las oleadas de ovnis se han centrado por lo general en la búsqueda de un patrón periódico o alguna otra característica que de ideas sobre la naturaleza del fenómeno ovni y la predicción de oleadas. Aquí preferimos un enfoque más modesto, con el objetivo de monitoreo en tiempo real de la oleada ovni: se describe un instrumento estadístico diseñado específicamente para señalar la presencia de un número de informes ovni significativamente elevado. Para hacer eso, tenemos que ajustar estacionalmente los datos ovni y averiguar qué distribución estadística siguen. Conociendo la distribución de los datos desestacionados, podemos decidir si una serie de informes ovni es significativamente alta desde un punto de vista estadístico, señalando así la probabilidad de una oleada esté ocurriendo”. El trabajo está disponible en:
“UFO Flaps”
Martin Kottmeyer publicó este trabajo primeramente en 1995. Ahora lo ha actualizado y puede leerse en línea en este enlace:
https://www.academia.edu/12960819/UFO_Flaps
Kottmeyer ha estudiado el concepto de las oleadas y los “flaps” y esto es lo que escribe en su introducción: “Oleadas y Flaps son períodos de tiempo en que los informes ovni se acumulan muy por encima de las tasas medias. Ambos términos poseen prejuicios connotativos. Oleada sugiere un fenómeno semi-rítmico natural o la llegada de masas de personas, como en las oleadas de una invasión o de inmigración. El capitán Edward Ruppelt del Proyecto Libro Azul define “flaps” como "una condición o situación, o el estado de un grupo que se caracteriza por un grado avanzado de confusión que aún no ha alcanzado proporciones de pánico" y diagnostica por lo tanto un problema psicológico, de un tiempo alocado. La presencia de dos términos para referirse a estos tiempos de comportamiento acelerado de denuncia de ovnis refleja la ausencia de consenso en los intentos de la ufología para entender lo que está detrás de la simple verdad aritmética de que los números de ovnis cambian más que permanecen constantes en el tiempo. No es inmediatamente obvio por qué el fenómeno ovni no debería ser un suceso más o menos constante en el tiempo, tanto si se le considera como real o ilusorio. Si fueran vehículos extraterrestres relacionados con un estudio del planeta o de la humanidad, la expectativa natural sería que su presencia debe ser metódica e incesante. Si fueran accidentes o circunstancias de error cognitivo, uno esperaría que sus apariciones sean bastante estables a través del tiempo, de una manera similar a la forma en que los accidentes de tráfico siguen siendo numéricamente estables de año en año sin mostrar períodos de aumentos varias veces en magnitud”.
Una reentrada espacial genera un CE-3
He aquí un interesante y estimulante artículo de Gilles Fernandez que explora los límites de las interpretaciones erróneas de las cosas que se ven en el cielo nocturno. Como ejemplo, usa un avistamiento ocurrido el 12 de diciembre de 1987. Para mí al menos, la clave del misterio de los ovnis yace justamente en un mecanismo de ese tipo. De hecho, se ajusta perfectamente a los pensamientos que explicité en mi reciente ensayo “El futuro de la ufología”, donde insistía en el hecho psicológico que se da cuando (más frecuentemente de lo que se cree), un observador, pillado por sorpresa durante la noche, transforma un fenómeno convencional pero infrecuente (o no) en otra clase de historia, agregando una gran dosis de imaginación. Expectativas, fantasía, creencias, etc. juegan un papel fundamental en la mutación de un fenómeno normal a otro anómalo. En el evento estudiado por el psicólogo francés Fernandez, una remota reentrada espacial se convierte nada menos que un “encuentro cercano del tercer tipo”. 
http://skepticversustheflyingsaucers.blogspot.fr/2015/01/space-re-entry-stimulus-as-ce-3.html
Estudio de los ovnis en la URSS
El doctor Yulii Platov y el coronel Boris Sokolov publicaron este trabajo en el Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Vol. 70, Nº 6, 2000, p. 507). Platov es científico principal de investigación en el instituto de magnetismo terrestre, ionosfera y propagación de radioondas (IZMIRAN) de la Academia Rusa de Ciencias (ARC). Entre 1977 y 1995, fue vice presidente del grupo experto de la ARC en investigación de lo que denominaban “fenómenos paranormales”, entre los que se incluía los ovnis. El ensayo del que son autores Platov y Sokolov se encuentra ya en la nube, donde puede leerse y descargarse a través del enlace: 
El Dr. Yulii Platov (a la izquierda) con V.J. Ballester Olmos, Universidad de Sheffield, Inglaterra, julio de 1995.
La “Ley Horaria”, un artificio resuelto
El pasado 15 de junio, el Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE) ha editado su volumen Nº 20, número 2, en el que encontramos el artículo “Modelling the Law of Times” (Modelando la Ley Horaria), un formal y definitivo estudio de nuestro compatriota Julio Plaza del Olmo (ver páginas 195-233 de la revista). Plaza, que trabaja como científico investigador en el ministerio de defensa español, ha diseccionado éste presunto patrón tras una intensiva revisión de la literatura mundial al respecto. Escribe el autor en el sumario: este trabajo desarrolla un modelo matemático que reproduce la Ley Horaria. Se basa en factores astronómicos como la altura del sol y la magnitud del límite visual relacionado con la probabilidad de que un fenómeno sea visible; y un segundo factor  relacionado con los hábitos sociales de la población, representando su disponibilidad para presenciar el fenómeno. Estos dos factores por si solos pueden reproducir el pico principal de las 21–22 horas de la Ley Horaria. Trabajo altamente recomendado:
Como el trabajo se ha publicado en inglés, Julio Plaza ha escrito una entrada en su propio blog, en castellano, como sigue:
Miscelánea
(1) Hay alguna reflexión que quisiera compartir con mis lectores, por mor de la transparencia. Después de décadas de estudio, encuesta sobre el terreno, trabajo personal de investigación, trabajo bibliográfico, etc., he llegado a pensar que probablemente no hay nada en los ovnis más allá de error, ilusión y engaño. Sin embargo, la existencia de algunos sucesos aparentemente importantes que no se han aclarado suficientemente, mantiene el nivel de extrañeza del fenómeno y lo hace una materia digna de investigación científica. En cualquier caso, incluso si termina siendo un mito puro, sin ningún fundamento físico, nunca lo trataría con burla o desprecio, ni siquiera con condescendencia. Diré más, jamás llamaré creyentes o crédulos a aquellos que piensen diferente a mí, de la misma forma que juzgo injusto que se llame desacreditador al escéptico, por la misma razón.  La gente investiga informes de ovnis y en el curso de sus encuestas e indagaciones alcanza una conclusión u otra. Ambos merecen respecto, siempre que usen herramientas, métodos y una filosofía científica en su proceso de pesquisa. Naturalmente, el rol de los charlatanes es completamente diferente. A estos personajes, ni tregua.   
(2) En la actualización de febrero de 2015 de la web francesa del IPACO, encontramos un ejemplo excelente de análisis científico de una serie de fotografías que representan una imagen extraña. Ciertamente es Ufología del siglo 21: 
http://ipaco.fr/EN_IFO_A_plane_150209.pdf
(3) El investigador del espacio Paul P. Maley mantiene un sobresaliente sitio dedicado a desechos espaciales recobrados en el mundo: 
(4) El famoso contactado de los cincuenta Daniel W. Fry solía mostrar como prueba definitiva de la existencia de los platillos volantes una filmación que supuestamente tomó en la localidad de Merlin, Oregon, en mayo de 1964. En el siguiente enlace veremos la falsa filmación y varias ampliaciones de capturas de pantalla:
https://danielfry.com/controversies/films-of-real-ufos/
(Gracias a Luis R. González) 
(5) Recientemente hemos leído informaciones sobre la caída desde el espacio de un objeto a las 2 de la madrugada del 21 de diciembre de 1978 cerca de la ciudad argentina de General Campos, en la provincia de Entre Ríos:
Entiendo que los estudiosos desearán saber que el suceso se ha identificado como la reentrada del objeto numerado como 1978-118B / 11159, la tercera etapa del cohete Protón que puso en órbita al satélite soviético Gorizont 11. (Gracias a Ted Molczan)
(6) La primera historia de abducción conocida, la del matrimonio inter-racional de Barney y Betty Hill, se ha interpretado bajo la tradición folclórica afro-americana en un ensayo, profundo y muy bien escrito, del estudioso holandés Theo Paijmans que ofrece una nueva perspectiva: 
 (7) El profesor David Clarke ha escrito sobre lo que se ha llamado el “efecto Will Smith”. Vale la pena leer la siguiente breve entrevista al doctor Clarke:
(Gracias a Martin Kottmeyer)
 (8) La ufología ha creado un inconmensurable legado de material en todas sus formas, de papel a digital. Hay miríadas de fuentes en internet que ofrecen información, en su mayor parte desinformación o puramente basura. Si un blog como éste tiene alguna razón de ser es facilitar información rigurosa, referencias de calidad e investigación con garantías. Por ello, es una satisfacción agregar una verdadera mina de documentación online, los archivos de Barry Greenwood. Barry es una figura destacada en el panorama de la ufología seria y responsable en los Estados Unidos, centrado principalmente en los aspectos históricos y militares de la ufología. Sin más dilación, quiero dar el enlace de acceso a sus archivos:  
Extraído lo siguiente de la presentación de este sitio: Lo que deseamos hacer aquí es dar información básica sobre objetos volantes no identificados y peculiaridades aéreas relacionadas, al tiempo que brindar oscuros y poco conocidos retales de la historia ovni, de los remansos de ese tema tan denostado. Todo ello procede de casi cincuenta años de nuestra estrecha participación estudiando las diversas formas que han tomado los extraños fenómenos aéreos, desde aerolitos, a dirigibles, a aviones misteriosos, a cohetes fantasma, a platillos volantes y a las modernas visiones de ovnis. 
BIBLIOGRAFÍA
Artículo invitado: La investigación OVNI en la antigua Unión Soviética y hoy, por M.Gershtein
Poco conocido en occidente, en los últimos años el periodista ruso y destacado ufólogo por méritos propios, Mikhail B. Gershtein he realizado la ciclópea tarea de salvar, reunir y conseguir que se liberaran cientos de documentos ovni por parte de organizaciones, entidades y personas que tomaron parte en las investigaciones oficiales sobre los ovnis durante la era soviética. Desde el año 2009 y en compañía de otros colega, ha recuperado más de 2000 informes ovni, que exceden las 5000 páginas, de un periodo que va de 1904 (si, has leído bien) a 1999. Su procedencia es muy variada y vienen mayoritariamente de los restos de los archivos perdidos de la “Comisión sobre fenómenos aéreos del Comité de sobre problemas de protección medioambientales del Consejo de sociedades científico-técnicas de la Unión”, pero también de la Academia de Ciencias, del Observatorio geofísico central, del Ministerio de Defensa, del Departamento de la Armada y del Ministerio de Aviación Civil. Entre todos estos importantes documentos se cuentan informes de los tres proyectos científicos sobre ovnis de la antigua Unión Soviética: “Setka-AN”, “Galaktika-AN” y “Horizont-AN”. 
Gracias a la cooperación del ufólogo ucraniano Igor Kalytyuk, recibo regularmente detalles de esta sustancial recuperación de información, para a su vez poner al día una próxima actualización de mi propio trabajo sobre desclasificación y liberación de archivos ovni en el mundo. Dada su impresionante labor, he decidido invitar a Mikhail Gershtein (autor de ocho libros y gran número de artículos) a escribir un informe sobre el estado de la investigación ovni en su país y me ha mandado un texto titulado: “Short History of Soviet and Post-USSR UFO Research” (Breve historia de la investigación ovni soviética y post-soviética). Este trabajo se puede leer en inglés en la sección en este idioma de este blog. Gershtein, que vive actualmente en San Petersburgo (Rusia) es experto en análisis de sistemas de la organización SRCAA “Zond”. 
Mikhail Gershtein, nacido en Leningrado en 1972. Cortesía de I. Kalytiuk.
 SHORT HISTORY OF SOVIET AND POST-USSR UFO RESEARCH
(Véase la sección en inglés de este blog)
 AGENDA PERSONAL
(1) Un padre orgulloso: con mi hija pequeña, en el día de su boda el pasado 23 de mayo.
(2) Una reciente entrevista del periodista Javier Cavanilles (ValenciaPlaza.com):
LIBROS DEL AUTOR
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
OVNIS: el fenómeno aterrizaje 
Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (con Miguel Guasp)
Investigación OVNI 
Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (con J.A. Fernández Peris) 
Expedientes insólitos 
Hay ejemplares en el mercado de segunda mano y recomiendo consultar en los buscadores Iberlibro y Uniliber:
Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (con O.J. Braenne)
UFOs and the Government (con M. Swords & R. Powell y C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich y St. Purcell)
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (con M. Borraz, H. Janosch y J.C. Victorio) http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?artID=182
COMO PUEDE COLABORAR CON EL PROYECTO FOTOCAT
Hay varias opciones a su disposición, a saber:
·Trabajo voluntario, presencial o a distancia
·Entrega de información sobre casos, fotografías, archivos, bibliografía, etc. 
·Donaciones para ayudar a sufragar los gastos corrientes y de investigación
Puede dirigirse directamente a nosotros por correo postal: 
        Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
        Apartado de Correos 12140
        46080 Valencia
        España
O bien por correo electrónico: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es