Leer en español

2016/OCTOBER/07 (EN)

English language editing: Martin Shough
11,995 is the latest count of entries in the FOTOCAT matrix. The adding cases process has slowed lately because my attention needs to be centered on progressing three other projects, two of them on photography, however the archive is rapidly approaching the milestone 12,000-case mark.
Seeking Volunteers for Research Project
Science advances as knowledge is purified when fragmentary, proxy or bogus hypotheses are proved unsatisfactory or false, and those are replaced by new or refined facts that produce better, more comprehensive theories. Primitive ideas and mistaken facts are then forgotten and left to the books of history. Vague or plainly wrong propositions are rejected in favor of new schemes that explain better the world that surrounds us. Tested physical facts, new frames, rigorous formulation and prediction capacity strongly support new models of the universe, life on Earth or society, that is, our physical, biological or social world. It is a progressive escalation process in terms of acquisition of knowledge.
Unfortunately, this does not happen in ufology. Instead of building an increasingly accurate and solid corpus of evidence, i.e., a true pyramid of awareness, it has amassed a disorganized, chaotic pile of both excellence and junk, an ensemble where everybody’s opinion has the same value. A field with no boundaries or criteria, where ambiguous phenomena, unconfirmed interpretation, wild speculation, and investigative malpractice coexist in a weird mix with a small number of legitimate accounts of unusual experiences, critically-scrutinized cases and scientific research.
In this state of affairs, it was expected that the need for an orderly synthesis of information would ultimately be reached. So I wrote a paper to set out the basis for this need1 and, in order to test things out, I compiled a comprehensive bibliography on the subject of UFO flaps and waves.2 Afterwards, I released a sequel essay to concretize this idea in the form of a collective project designed to isolate and summarize the essence of any findings produced in the study of UFO waves. Entitled “The UFO Waves Review Project,” the interested reader can find it here:
This is an international research program where YOU can participate. The above paper informs the steps to take to be a part of it. The participants will review the literature on the phenomenon of UFO waves and will input the bottom line conclusions and their own assessment. They will become coauthors of a future paper that will consolidate the resulting information.
I am renewing here an invitation to my blog’s readers to share in this scholarly endeavor.
1. V.J. Ballester Olmos, “The Future of Ufology,”
2. V.J. Ballester Olmos, “UFO Waves: An International Bibliography,”
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
This is a 1976 CUFOS publication that has just been put online, thanks to the kindness of Isaac Koi, AFU and Mary Castner. My combined thanks to them all. This 77-page booklet is a compilation of close encounter cases reported in the Iberian Peninsula, covering the period 1914-January 1975. Jacques Vallée wrote the foreword. Seeing this work with a perspective of 40 years, allows me to find the investigative flaws incurred when one does not take account of how commonly the witness deceives or is deceived. As a matter of fact, over time, several of these classic events have been put down to prosaic causes. Nevertheless, others remain enigmatic. This is the link to access within the Center for UFO Studies website:
Footnote: Eleven years later, after long and intense research, I published a book with J.A. Fernández Peris that expanded the catalogue to 230 UFO and 355 IFO cases, reported up to 1985. The book “Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS” contained both a detailed summary of the observations and an informative statistical analysis (see the section below: “Books by the Author”.)
UFOs and Government
Anomalist publishers advise that this book has been released in e-book format and can be purchased from several sources, including Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks or Barnes and Noble:
Authored by Michael Swords and Robert Powell, this volume contains contributions by C. Svahn, V.J. Ballester Olmos, W. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, and S. Purcell.
UFO Declassification: The Spanish Model
In 1999 I published a paper with the above title in a periodical of limited circulation (and, unfortunately, brief lifetime as well), The European Journal of UFO and Abduction Studies. It has just been uploaded in the Academia.edu portal in order to be available to a wider audience:
The abstract reads as follows:
Kecksburg, December 1965 Follow-up
In the last update of this blog, I included a paper written by Ted Molczan on the alleged UFO crash at Kecksburg, December 9, 1965. It was a critique of an article published by John Ventre and Owen Eichler. I then received a rebuttal text from Mr. Ventre. It follows after this paragraph. In order to close this discussion here, it is followed by a final response from Molczan. The two positions are clearly established now and, for this blogger, the correct one seems quite obvious. Just for the sake of being exhaustive, I will suggest two recent additional references that will help to clarify this debate, an ongoing discussion at “Above Top Secret,” which covers the most important issue, e.g. the sub-orbital vs. orbital capability of the Thor IRBM (thanks to ATS thread coordinator, Isaac Koi) and an article published in the last issue of Tim Printy’s e-magazine SUNlite.
Kecksburg Critique Rebuttal
John Ventre, December 2015
Ted Molczan, a Canadian amateur satellite observer, disputes orbital launch capabilities but reference, Project 437, clearly states thrusters were used in the December 7th launch. This was an orbital launch which accounts for the range and ascent. Molczan also ignores the fact that a December 9 launch from Vandenberg came down 2 days later on December 11.
“The Program 437 mission was approved for development by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on November 20, 1962 and was based at the Johnson Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Program 437 used Thor missiles and added booster engines to achieve orbital flights. Eighteen more sub-orbital and orbital Thor launches took place from Johnston Island during the 1964–1975 periods in support of Program 437.”
While batteries were used in many satellites, early RTGs may well have been used and were first used in 1961. Again, the Ventre/Eichler paper never claimed in absolute that an RTG was aboard the Kecksburg UFO; circumstances such as men in anti-c suits with Geiger counters carrying a large box strongly suggests there was a concern for a radiation release. In addition, the designation of APX-1 (auxiliary package) for the payload could mean many things including RTG.
Molczan states that the Kecksburg object burning green would have been true of an ablative heat shield which it not true. Ablative heat shields are physically exclusive of heat sink type heat shields and were made of phenolic materials. An example is the MK3. The MK1 and MK2 are different. The MK1 used steel but did not conduct heat very well. The MK 2 used copper alloyed with tin and other metals to improve hardness. The picture of the silvery coated MK2 is only a replica, not to size, and does not accurately illustrate the true base angle of the Kecksburg reentry vehicle as stated by Molczan. It is only a prop. It is clearly a replica of a MK1 reentry vehicle. It is also important to realize that revisions in construction and on-board equipment were ongoing.
It would be folly to compare the MK1 to the MK2 as the two reentry vehicle designs were different. The MK1 design was dropped in favor of the MK2 copper heat shield. In addition, the after body of the MK2 was stainless steel, cladded with copper and platinum coated. Upon reentry, the heat of reentry would have melted off the platinum to reveal the copper cladding which was alloyed with tin to reveal a bronze color as witnesses stated they had seen.
Concerning the copper heat shield:
A common experiment would be to use an oxy-acetylene torch to heat a copper fitting alloyed with tin, such as purchased from a hardware store. It is immediately evident that a bright green color appears. This is crude but no more so than taking a magnet to a replica of the MK1 reentry vehicle prop which was completely irrelevant to our paper. No one has ever claimed that there was not damage to the Kecksburg UFO; contrary, 2 of the first witnesses (reference Brian Vike website), brothers raccoon hunting were first on the scene and remarked that the UFO had a "crinkled" after body.
Molczan’s reference to the capsule being seen entering the ocean refers to the recoverable data capsule system or camera system which had a parachute. The GE Mark 2 RV is not referred to as the “capsule”. Those are laymen’s terms.

In conclusion, Molczan cherry picks the article and ignores the facts presented.
   1. It was a polar directed orbital launch and radar proves the Kecksburg object came over Canada into Pa.
   2. It glowed green because of the copper alloy heat sink.
  3. Four NASA men with radiation suites carried a box into the woods to retrieve something.
  4. These RV’s were maneuverable to precise locations.
  5. All aspects of the event match this RV’s characteristics.
A Final Reply
Ted Molczan (Toronto, Canada), October 2, 2016
I have read Mr. Ventre’s “Kecksburg Critique Rebuttal”, in response to my article, “No, the Kecksburg UFO was not a GE Mark 2 Re-entry Vehicle” (http://fotocat.blogspot.com.es/2015_12_18_archive.html). Since he failed to substantiate the new claims he has made (he provided few, if any, references or web links), it does not merit serious consideration, let alone a detailed response. However, I am pleased to share the following new information from my research subsequent to the December 2015 FOTOCAT Blog Update.
Although Ventre and Eichler failed to prove their hypothesis that a GE Mark 2 Re-entry Vehicle crash-landed near Kecksburg, their paper introduced me to Program 437AP, for which I am grateful. I had long been interested in satellite-based imagery reconnaissance of satellites, but had not known that a sub-orbital system had been developed and launched. I took some time over the Christmas holiday to research its technological aspects, which led me to produce a brief report, Program 437AP: A Sub-orbital Corona-Derived Satellite Inspector, which I published on January 6: http://www.satobs.org/Program437AP/Program437AP.html
My report is intended for readers interested in the history of spaceflight generally, and spy satellites specifically, so it does not mention Kecksburg. However, major portions are relevant to the claims of Ventre and Eichler. For example, Section 3 reveals the design of the satellite inspector vehicle to have been nothing like the G.E. Mark II re-entry vehicle, though it may have incorporated minor portions of one. Section 4 thoroughly reconstructs the sub-orbital trajectory and events of the first Program 437AP launch, revealing that it impacted in the Pacific Ocean, near 7.5 S, 157.7 W, 20 minutes after launch, contrary to the impossible claim by Ventre and Eichler that it achieved orbit and crash-landed near Kecksburg two days later.
A couple of weeks after I published the above report, I received an e-mail from Owen Eichler, who had discovered my report and sought further information. I reached him at the phone number he provided, and we had a nice chat, which proved to be the beginning of a brief, but intensive period of communication from January 21 to February 29, 2016, consisting of several lengthy discussions by telephone, and the exchange of more than 140 e-mails. These were cordial, friendly discussions, regarding various aspects of his Kecksburg hypothesis.
For example, Eichler believed that the G.E. Mark II re-entry vehicle could alter its trajectory using what he described in his and Ventre’s paper as an "internal moveable weighted control system," which he told me was depicted in the following drawing as the semi-circular tubular device labelled “Trajectory Control System.”
I discovered that the device was one of three nitrogen gas reservoirs (tanks) that supplied the cold-gas thrusters used for attitude control of G.E.’s MK 2 re-entry vehicle. In other words, it had nothing to do with any trajectory control. The evidence appears in a 1961 G.E. report, which was part of its proposal for the Apollo spacecraft, available in the following 348 MB file:
Please see Section High Pressure, Stored Gas Torque Generators on page I-416, and the photograph on page I-418. Below is a magnified portion of the photograph, showing one of the devices, which was labelled as a reservoir. Note also the word pneumatic, near the centre, partially obscured by a strap.
Eichler also provided me with details of his claimed sighting of the Kecksburg fireball, based on his recollection after 50 years, including his precise location, a description of the object’s visual appearance, path across the sky, and the estimated duration of sighting. I analyzed this thoroughly and found it inconsistent with any kind of a re-entry vehicle. Briefly, the major problem was the claimed nearly horizontal trajectory at a very low altitude (a few hundred metres, based on the claimed trajectory), contrary to the nearly vertical descent of the final 20 km or so of a ballistic re-entry. Also, ballistic re-entry vehicles cease to be incandescent below about 30 km altitude, contrary to Eichler’s low-altitude object, which he described as in flames and trailing flame.
As our discussions drew to a close, Eichler’s hypothesis remained unchanged that “some version of an MK2 or some other blunt bodied nose cone, whether manufactured by AMF, AVCO or GE was the object that landed in Kecksburg.” However, he no longer claimed that it was launched from Johnston Island, and was unable to attribute it to any known launch.
I enjoyed the exchange of information and ideas with Eichler. The additional research this inspired rewarded me with improved knowledge of the heat-sink heat shielded re-entry vehicles developed by G.E. for the Thor IRBM and Atlas ICBM, and by Avco for the Titan 1 ICBM. I continue to regard Kecksburg as a UFO myth, resulting from misunderstanding and misinformation regarding the brilliant meteoric fireball of December 9, 1965, found by scientists to have disintegrated over Southern Ontario, 30 km southeast of Detroit.
The Most Famous Series of French UFO Photos Proved Hoax
The professional team formed by Antoine Cousyn, François Louange and Geoff Quick (IPACO Co.) has analyzed the four pictures taken by geologist André Frégnale in the Chauvet Lake, department of Puy-de-Dôme (France) at 6:10 p.m. on July 18, 1952. Their findings give rise to an impressive report of 133 pages that is available here: http://www.ipaco.fr/ReportLacChauvet.pdf
The authors state their aim at the start, as follows: It is specifically focused on the use of a modern interactive tool for a quick pragmatic assessment of this type of dossier. The geometric study first performed attempted to prove or refute the witness’ claims that the object was remote (over 30 m from the camera) and that it moved along a straight line. Analysis disclosed that the actual UFO’s diameter was ~14 cm, the trajectory followed an arc of a vertical parabola, and the maximum height above the ground was ~5.4 m. The report states: Consequently, this geometric study’s conclusions reject the witness’ explanations of a large remote object, looking instead for an explanation of clay pigeons or similar. Regarding results obtained from a radiometric study, it finally determined that the UFO…in pictures 3 and 4 could not display the same object, or at least the same throw (transverse velocity vs minimum time between two shots). In conclusion, the report affirms that the set of four pictures must be classified as a fake.
The authors are to be congratulated by a painstaking investigation that scientifically explains a major classic case. This is how the practice of ufology acquires respectability. It is a shame, however, that lack of common sense and the rabid will to believe by partisans of the extraterrestrial hypothesis force the employment of sophisticated manpower, techniques and equipment to reveal what is simply an object thrown several times into the air and photographed.
NATO Properly Debunks False Claims
That the literature on UFO crashes is thoroughly infected by distortions of fact and plain lies has been an axiom for decades, despite the blindness‒and more, irresponsibility‒of some authors. All the created noise and intoxication around the UFO theme serves to maintain the faith in some quarters, while at the same time discredits ufology as a dignified route for doing credible, reliable research. Rebutting all such claims would require vast amounts of time that wouldn’t be devoted to the study of genuine questions and events. Just remember how a decade worth of good UFO research was lost by the handling of the Majestic 12 deception and sham a few years ago. Sometimes, however, the same agencies claimed to be the source of improbable information analyze those claims by themselves to finally settle the issues.
One such extravagant claim was aired by Robert Dean, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major (a high rank, as you all know), stating that NATO released in 1964 a very limited number of copies of a report entitled "Assessment: An Evaluation of a Possible Military Threat to Armed Forces in Europe." This report supposedly contained information and photographs on UFO crashes and alien bodies. It became generally known through a booklet edited in 1991 by Leonard Stringfield, an ufologist that spent his last years pursuing an obsession with documenting stories of UFO crashes and retrievals. He published it in “The Inner Sanctum,” the report #6 in his series of publications “UFO Crash/Retrievals.”
Recently I was checking this publication and when I found the Dean tale, I rushed to ask my fellow UFO colleagues in “EuroUFO,” a distinguished forum of over 100 European researchers, if there was any article or essay clarifying this subject. Hardly five hours later, amidst an exchange of emails about this matter, Spanish physicist Julio Plaza del Olmo provided the key answer…directly from NATO's own web site. A note written by Dr. Gregory Pedlo, historian of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), under the title “The Alleged SHAPE ‘Assessment’ of UFOs in 1964: What the Official Records Show” set the record straight. It could be louder but not clearer, so please read the informative text here:
Solving Mysteries from your Laptop
Working on FOTOCAT has a double objective. Short-term, the checking of UFO magazines and books and other sources to capture photographic cases to add to the sightings database. Long-term, the development of thematic studies on a national basis, by wave periods, etc. Every day I find new reports to feed the catalog and, when it is possible, I try to see if there is any mundane solution to the enigma missed by the informant. Reviewing a March 1981 issue of Journal UFO, a Canadian publication edited by David Haisell, I ran into the description of a sighting on December 3, 1979 from a location near Sydney, province of Nova Scotia (reportedly at 46º 10’ latitude). A John Pushie, former RCMP officer, informed that around 10:30 p.m. of December 1st, a nephew living close by called his wife to say he was seeing in the sky “an object glowing various colors” in a southern direction. Two days later, at 10:20 p.m., the nephew called again. This time Mr. Pushie was at home and setup his Minolta camera with a 150 zoom lens on a tripod. He was using Fuji ASA 100 film. He took seven shots and four of them came out well. There was a light in the night sky “in a fixed [stationary] northwesterly position for approximately 8 minutes.” It then “started to move on an angle down toward the horizon and eventually it disappeared below the horizon.” It is shown below the last picture (#4), taken with a 3½ minute time exposure. You can see how the light was descending a skew angle to the line of horizon.
December 3, 1979, Sydney (Canada). © John Pushie.
The article in question mentioned that the pictures were ultimately submitted to the National Research Council of Canada, based in Ottawa. Astronomers consulted concluded it was the star Vega.  The magazine editor discussed the assessment and wrote that Vega “had not set until midnight, but that it was in the same general location as the object…which was 8º45’ NNW when it reached the horizon.”
We did a little checking as well. Not only the general description of light and motion suggests an astronomical body, but any sky map shows that Vega was the brightest luminary in the NW sky; in fact, at the time of the observation (10:20 p.m.) and in the reported position (322º, NW-NNW), this star was very close to the horizon (angular altitude of +06º45’) moving towards setting, precisely as the photo depicts.
Isn’t it incredible that an astronomical body located 25.3 light-years from the Earth is taken as a UFO? No, it happens quite frequently, I am afraid, based on international experience. Yet a more serious fault is that credulity makes people unable to see the real deal of certain UFO events.  
December 3, 1979, 22:20 hours, sky view from Sydney (Canada) with the star Vega low in the horizon.
In the process of registering the proper data in the catalog line for the above case, I realized that there was another UFO picture taken the same night, but far away from Canada. The location was this time the city of Oviedo, in the province of Asturias, north of Spain. Residents of the Alto de Buena Vista neighborhood called the local newspaper La Nueva España to report the sighting of “a strange, revolving object that gave off flashes of different colors, especially bluish.” Meteorological Observatory personnel declared that nothing out of the ordinary had been sighted at that time. Vélez, a staff photographer for the journal, took the following picture of a distant light in the sky that left a short trail during the time exposure. In the bottom of the photo, the visible city lights indicate that the UFO was not high in the sky.
December 3, 1979, Oviedo, Asturias (Spain). © Vélez, La Nueva España.
Unfortunately, neither time nor direction are known. But what we do know is that such flashes resemble the typical blinks of Sirius star. In the first days of December this astronomical body usually appears on the SSE horizon during the night (would the apparition of this star explain the first sighting in the Canadian case?) Coming back to the Spanish picture, when it was taken, at 23:30 hours, a bright Sirius was shining in the SE (ten degrees over the horizon and 124º of azimuth). The quarter where the UFO was seen and photographed is located in the upper part of the city (Heights of Good Views would be the name of the place in English). The following sketch shows both the altitude and the azimuth of Sirius. The city lights appear on the left of the star, just as the photograph shows. The astronomical explanation seems more than plausible for this event, as it was for the Canadian shots.
December 3, 1979, Oviedo, 23:30 hours. Sky map from Stellarium software showing a prominent Sirius star.
Yes, routine computer technology allows today solving UFO cases without travelling further than your laptop. Knowing basic, space-time elements for a sighting and having access to astronomical or satellite software, enables you to find the origin of what was seen or photographed, often confirming your intuition as to the likely solution. And this is what has happened with another picture I received a few weeks ago from my valuable collaborator Kay Massingill. She sent me a clipping from the September 2, 1973 issue of The Salina Journal, Kansas. It displayed a photograph taken from Pelham, Georgia, on the night of August 30 to 31, 1973. On two successive nights, mystery objects that “hover overhead, change color and revolve as they move” were reported in Central Georgia. The picture, said to have been taken with an exposure time of one hour at f/32, looks quite suspicious, in spite that (or perhaps because) the caption said that “the bright streak is the UFO, fainter streaks are stars.” Three parallel luminous tracks appear clearly in the photograph, the upper two were reported to be simply stars.
The FOTOCAT files contained the surprise of a better image, and more information on the source. As published by NICAP’s UFO Investigator, October 1973, 19-year-old college student William Burson, who worked part-time for his father’s newspaper, The Camilla Enterprise, and a friend stationed themselves on a country roadside after seeing what they thought could be a UFO. They took several time-exposures, allegedly looking southwards, before dawn.
August 31, 1973, Pelham, Georgia. © Bill Burson. Courtesy of Diario Las Américas (Miami), September 2, 1973.
Well, a UFO following a parallel course to an astronomical object, in fact two stars this time, is probably another astronomical object. By drawing upon the Stellarium package once more, it plainly shows that at 4 a.m. of August 31, 1973, planet Jupiter (bottom, the brighter object, magnitude -2.56, 7º altitude, azimuth of 240º) and stars ρ Capricorn (in the center) and Dabih (β Capricorn, on the top) keep the same pattern that the mystery picture shows. All three were descending to their natural setting, being visible low in angular altitude on the WSW horizon. Obviously, they were the three luminous tracks left on the film that night.
August 31, 1973, 04:00 hours, sky map from Pelham, Georgia, showing Jupiter and two close stars.
(Thanks to Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga for stellar data and analysis)
A Joke Dedicated to Hynek?
1962 was one of the most quiet years in the whole world as far as UFO reports are concerned. But pranksters never rest. The Daily Northwestern is a newspaper edited in Evanston, Illinois, the home of the Northwestern University’s Dearborn Observatory, then directed, as all UFO students know well, by Dr. J. Allen Hynek. On its edition of January 18, 1962, the journal published the following picture with the expressive caption that read: A FLYING SAUCER-FUL of little green men arrived on the Dearborn Observatory lawn following Sunday’s heavy snowstorm. The saucer, bearing a sign reading “Earth or bust,” has not been moved from the lawn. NU astronomers said that little green men refused their hospitality and said they preferred to remain in the snow. [I wonder if it was Hynek’s humoristic statement] The saucer is made of a snow-like material. Some university officials think it’s all a hoax. (Thanks to Kay Massingill)
January 14, 1962, Evanston, IL. © Dick Cheverton.
The Spheres that Fell from the Space, Spain 1965
Recently I revived the issue of the reentry of the remains of a Russian rocket on Spanish territory, specifically on the regions of Extremadura and Andalusia on December 6, 1965. My memoir (in Spanish) can be read through this link:
Journalist Luis Alfonso Gámez took the baton, finding and interviewing some of the engineers who analyzed the fallen spheres 50 years ago for the Ministry of Defense. The Bilbao’s daily El Correo made the grade with the following great press report (in Spanish): http://magonia.com/2016/04/28/el-roswell-de-franco/
The spheres and other space debris found at INTA facilities, Madrid. © Luis A. Gámez.
Yet another Rocket
Pilots and passengers of the flight Madrid-Havana of last March 5th had before their eyes a wonderful display. An object rose into space, leaving behind a long luminous trail of blue color that started from a distant point at ground level in the horizon. Following the object, a large ellipsoidal gas plume was observed…and filmed, as published in the digital journal Última Hora:
I made an inquired to Professor Jonathan McDowell, from the Center of Astrophysics at Harvard University, who informed me of a launch from Cape Canaveral of a Falcon 9 rocket to place into orbit a communications satellite at 23.35 hours UTC hours on March 4th. Time conversion would made March 5th, as originally reported.
(1) Another viral UFO video. In this case, fortunately, he author soon informed about its real nature, otherwise many brains would have been squeezed to study the images to see if anything was real. (Thanks to Gilles Fernandez).
(2) In his overview of the following report, Jim Oberg writes: “Soyuz TMA-19M launch of December 15, 2015, created possibly the most diverse collection of visual imaging observations of large-booster exoatmospheric plume effects ever recorded.” He is not exaggerating at all; see his paper here (thanks to Ted Molczan and Roberto Labanti): http://satobs.org/seesat_ref/misc/Soyuz_launch_4.pdf
(3) Ted Molczan’s paper, “Re-Entry Sightings and Debris Recovery of 2008-010B Spain – 2015 November 03 UTC” has been published in the Journal of Space Safety Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 2, December 2015, pages 83-90. See:
(4) “Atmospheric Manmade Glowings Observed during Launch and Flight of a Solid-Propellant Rocket,” is a paper co-written by several Russian scientists of the stature of S.A. Chernouss, Y.V. Platov, M.V. Uspensky, V.V. Alpatov and A.S. Kirillov. This was a lecture presented to the 22nd ESA Symposium on European Rocket & Balloon Programmes and related research, held in Tromsø (Norway), June 7-12, 2015. The full text is available here (thanks to Luis Pacheco): https://www.researchgate.net
(5) June 2016 interview with James Oberg:
 (6) Internet-delivered UFO pranks are increasingly numerous. One such regular source of disinformation is “Disclose.Tv,” whose official motto reads “Truth revealed,” while it delivers ironically quite the opposite. Its edition of March 18, 2016 included the story of an aerial cube manifesting in the atmosphere as from another dimension. UFO researcher J.C. Victorio Uranga has devoted a short entry to this fabricated information. See the following link (in Spanish, with a couple of truly revealing links in English):
(7) The fake Tulsa, Oklahoma, August 2, 1965 UFO photograph has been the target for a second-generation hoax, as it has been planted on three French paintings “Le Poète Rouge,” "La joueuse de Tarentelle," and "Les soucoupes Volantes" by painter Clovis Trouille, pretending to amaze those who found it. This surrealist artist, fond of flying saucers, is known to add details to his paintings years after they are finished. Gilles Fernandez has reported in his blog about this curious anecdote of introducing this UFO motif into surreal pictures:
Footnote: For additional information, please check these two references on the Tulsa photograph:
V.J. Ballester Olmos, http://fotocat.blogspot.com.es/2006_04_19_archive.html (scroll down to “Photo example”)
(8) UFO investigation in course by the Argentine Air Force (in Spanish):
(9) Italian astrophysicist Massimo Teodorani’s 2013 paper “Project for a network of automatic stations for UFO monitoring,” written with the collaboration of Dr. Mark Rodeghier, Dr. Ron Master and Phillipe Ailleris, is now online:
(10) Multi-witnessed close encounter in Africa. In 1994, many children from the Ariel School at Ruwa (Zimbabwe) claimed to see a flying saucer and alien passengers. Gilles Fernandez revisits the story from a fresh perspective:
(11) A recent issue of Tim Printy’s e-journal is specially rich in analyses of purported UFO images: the 2013 Aguadilla, Puerto Rico infrared UFO video captured by the Department of Homeland Security (analyzed by Bob Bixler), the July 3, 2005 Palo Alto, California, photographs of a white dot near an airplane, and the already classic Skylab 3 astronauts’ photographs acquired on September 20, 1973 (reviewed by James Oberg). See: http://www.astronomyufo.com/UFO/SUNlite8_4.pdf
(12) There are many scholarly works written on the abduction fad. One which has not received much attention in the UFO quarters (probably because it destroys the very concept) appeared in the journal Communication Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 3, August 2006, pages 383-406: “Mythmaking in Alien Abduction Narratives,” authored by Stephanie Kelley-Romano. (Thanks to Luis R. González)
(13) The related effect of the post-World War Two social milieu on the manifestation of the UFO phenomenon in Britain has been examined in the University of Bristol. Last year, an undergraduate dissertation was authored by Isabelle Kerr, with the title of “Flying Saucers and UFOs: An investigation into the impact of the Cold War on British Society, 1950-1964.”  The work can be read in the following pdf. (Thanks to Barry Greenwood)
(14) Do you remember when there was actual scientifically-oriented UFO research? It was before crazy topics inundated and spoiled the UFO field. It was when Hynek’s CUFOS was pushing serious UFO studies committed to science standards. With a few notable exceptions, it is practically gone. But at least some of this good work is now available at your fingertip thanks to our colleagues of the JAH Center for UFO Studies. Two such major publications are online now and I strongly advise you not to miss them:
“Proceedings of the 1976 CUFOS Conference,” Nancy Dornbos (editor), CUFOS, 1976,
“The Spectrum of UFO Research,” Mimi Hynek (editor), CUFOS, 1988,
 (15) Oberg writes an educational piece on misperceiving missiles:
(16) UK UFO researcher Isaac Koi discloses in his blog that a recent viral UFO entity “interview” video is a fabrication (see attached picture of bogus humanoid):
(17) Position statement by one of the oldest UFO organizations in Europe, the Scandinavian UFO Information. SUFOI has been actively dealing with the UFO problem in Denmark since 1957, having collected and examined about 15,000 reports of UFO experiences. After almost 60 years of investigation, SUFOI has reached several major conclusions. The following report is worth of reading:  
(18) To discover many imaging examples of different aerial forms wrongly taken as UFOs, see this visual web by S. Shpakovsky:
(19) The most international and, at the same time, important UFO encounter in the history of ufology in Spain took place the night of November 11, 1979, when two lights were observed from an airplane over the Mediterranean Sea. The main investigator, J.A. Fernández Peris, wrote a brief summary in English, revealing the main keys of the sighting. It is now online herewith:
(20) The blog by J.C. Victorio Uranga informs that “The observation of a luminous phenomenon in Galicia, at about quarter past eight a.m. of January 18, 1994, which allegedly crashed in the Outes Mountain Range, is a mystery that still fascinates many ufologists and journalists.” You can read the rest of an absorbing text (in Spanish) here: http://misteriosdelaire.blogspot.com.es/2016/05/sobre-el-ovni-estrellado-en-cando.html
(21) On the anniversary of the infamous, grandiose June 22, 1976 sighting in the Canary Islands, writer Ricardo Campo, Ph.D. in Philosophy, reminisces over the incident (in Spanish): http://naukas.com/2016/06/22/dos-gigantes-rojos-cabalgando-un-misil/
(22) There are good works that never had the audience they deserved, this why I am bringing here up an splendid and extraordinarily well documented article by my colleague Joan Plana Crivillén, "Phantom UFOs: Those who never existed," published some years ago (in Spanish) in the extinct journal Cuadernos de Ufología. The paper is now available in this link: http://www.ikaros.org.es/plana.pdf
Footnote: This work fits perfectly into the line of rationalization and demystification of alleged UFO sightings of military origin. In the same context is my own, recent paper with R. Campo (in Spanish), "UFOs and Military: A Factory of Legends,” that can be found here: 
Return to MAGONIA: Investigating UFOs in History (Book Review)
This is a very well-researched treatise on ancient sky wonders‒what would be called UFOs today‒by two prominent and respected UK investigators of the UFO enigma, Chris Aubeck and Martin Shough. The 365-page book, published in 2015, has a foreword by Jacques Vallée, who was the one who first introduced the word “Magonia” into the UFO realm.
The authors have presented a number of aerial prodigies that occurred in the last 300 or 400 years in order to assess if UFOs occur across history. “We are driven,” the authors state, “by curiosity and a desire to shed light in some dark corners of human experience” (p. 2). This book belongs in the tradition of compiling strange occurrences in antiquity commenced by pioneer Charles Fort, which Jacques Vallée shaped into a continuum of weird stories told by the populace in his mind-boggling Passport to Magonia, historical and current anomalies of the sort that physicist William Corliss tried to present in an academic format in his series of Sourcebook Project publications, and that Vallée and Aubeck developed in their joint volume Wonders in the Sky. However, this book goes beyond that, with an added value: the authors have meticulously investigated the nature of the reported phenomena. Indeed, Aubeck and Shough use current-day technology and tools to look into the features of a selection of events that are both abnormal and well documented.
It has been known for many years that “celestial prodigies” have been witnessed and attested by innumerable observers since the beginning of time. In my view, this was boosted by ignorance about nature and sky phenomena. It is quite predictable that when these stories are studied through the lens of present-day science the events that amazed our great-great-great-grandfathers are discovered to be astronomical bodies (planets, stars, meteors, comets, etc.), meteorological phenomena such as tornados or waterspouts, atmospheric phenomena (various forms of lightning, mirages, light reflections, and so on). But, is there a prosaic solution to each and every apparently-abnormal event reported?  We can already advance an answer: no. Neither for ancient weird-looking experiences, nor for strange occurrences reported nowadays.  Yet failure in solving a case can perfectly be due to altered data in flawed observation, reporting or interpretation. It does not necessarily imply an extraordinary phenomenon.
One of the problems of handling very old information on alleged bizarre phenomena seen in the biosphere is that, on occasion, this became contaminated by religious or political agendas that compromise its authenticity. Additionally, we usually have short descriptions of the facts and a lack of on-site, immediate inquiry, so it is not surprising that most of these events fall‒by today’s standards‒in the “insufficient information” category, i.e. not usable for delivering confident conclusions. We must live with this. You cannot prove a theory with poor information.
But these are not the cases that interest me. Nor the authors, I think, who have devoted a large part of their book to exposing and examining spectacular-looking, unusual phenomena in ancient history. They suggest that even some of the reported stories may have been pure inventions. We are not in a position today to know the reasons why. Many centuries have elapsed. Even for real sightings, eyewitnesses lacked the vocabulary to label, portray, much less to explain the “portents” they saw.
I would like to concentrate in detail on one of the major “UFO-like” marvels narrated in the book. It is said to have happened in the town of Stralsund (presently Germany, then Sweden because of the tracts after the 30 Years’ War) on April 8, 1665. It is very well documented in chapter two, as it seems to be one of the paradigm-type examples of UFOs in the antiquity. “A remarkable case and‒true or not‒ought to be considered among the first alleged “flying saucer” sightings in history” (p. 38).
April 8, 1665, Stralsund, original engraving.
The only verified contemporary account is a leaflet published in Leipzig in 1665 (author unknown). The story was subsequently collected by others who published it in 1671 (Johannes Schefferus) and 1680 (Erasmus Francisci). I will attempt to focus my comments only on the original, key piece from 1665, the others being nth-hand sources. Yet, initially, it is already difficult to discern in the book whether the event’s description belongs to one source or another. I am afraid several details proceed from the 1680 Francisci book, edited 15 years after the “facts.”
According to the story, a group of fishermen anchored near Barhoft, close to the Baltic city of Stralsund, saw at 2 p.m. in the middle of the sky a flock of birds in the middle of the sky that took the form of a ship coming from the north. Then a fleet of ships appeared from the south and started to battle each other intensely, amidst lots of fire and smoke. On one of the vessels the figure of a man in brown clothes was prominent. At about 6 p.m., the northern fleet gone, a flat dark shape like a plate and colored like the darkening moon appeared. It stayed stationary hovering over the town’s church until evening. The group of observers fell sick the following day, their bodies shaking.
April 8, 1665, Stralsundt. Close-up of the dark object hovering the city.
The authors review a number of possibilities for a real but misunderstood event, like a flock of starlings and a lenticular cloud, and dismiss other phenomena such as a mirage or astronomical objects. But the long-lasting round object and the cannonball fight between ships still remain a mystery…if it actually happened at all.
Others (Rudolf Henke) have suggested this to be an illusion, and the UFO another confusion with Venus, prominently bright on those days. Can we apply detailed astronomical software to such secondary accounts to dismiss it based on exact times and directions? I have my doubts, as the reports are not that precise. It is like doing math at the accuracy level of the third decimal and, on the other hand, final figures are consolidated and rounded in the millions.
If there is something real in the story, what about the engraving? As in ufology, we have the common problem that any illustrator depicting a hearsay account typically adds distortion to the scene (drawings from UFO believers are biased and exaggerated). In fact, the dimensions of events as portrayed are paramount.
I have a number of comments:
   · No-one knows if the tale is a first-hand account, who the author is, when exactly it was printed or why.
   · The magnificent spectacle, including the frightening naval battle, lasted about five hours and it should have attracted many hundreds of witnesses that do not seem to exist, or at least remain undocumented.
   · The sailors’ names are not known (anonymous report).
   · Pinpointing the dark object as placed over a precise church from a distance of 13 km (Barthoft-Stralsund) seems over-accurate data.
   · Who printed the story (a costly process in those days) and why? Did it have symbolic value having to do with the annexing of the city to another empire?
   · In the unstable historical context of Europe back then, should we consider to whom a tale like this could be of benefit? Is it a vehicle for a certain interpretation biased towards convenient political or religious agendas?
   · Was it an invention by a group of intoxicated sailors (who obviously imagined fighting ships)?
   · Was it simply a non-event, a false account by a wanna-be-writer? Or purely a literary creation with unknown motivation?
The authors state that the “story received serious and critical attention. Medical and military men interviewed the witnesses” (p. 23) but that seems to come from writings published 15 years later!
I am afraid it is just a short-term, short-haul literary construct that outgrew its origin when 15 years later a book of a kind that today we’d call a bestseller collected this story, adding a new engraving of its own. This is a conjecture, as answers to many open questions cannot be found. But if we must follow the simplest hypothesis, I would support everything else before admitting that an alien spacecraft hovered over a Pomerania church for hours only to have been seen by six persons (not a notion espoused by the writers, I hasten to add).
The book continues describing some “fiery exhalations” in North Wales, the apparition of a blue flame coming from the sea in January 1964 that during three weeks burnt hay and grass over one mile.  When reported in Philosophical Transactions it was named ignis fatuus (light produced by combustion of gases emitted by rotting organic matter). The temporal pattern of events is difficult to trace as one of the sources speaks of grass infected “over 3 years.” Anyway, February 1875 saw similar lights recurrent in the area: “eight in number, extending over…a distance of 8 miles; all seemed to keep their own ground…moving in horizontal, perpendicular and zig-zag directions…were of a light blue colour…” (p. 43). The authors report that they “have not identified a mechanism for such bursts of light” (p. 66), although they propose a reasonable option for this: burning methane from subterranean deposits.  In the 1694 case, the culprit could have been the decomposition of a local locust infestation. But working with such old references is very arduous; for instance, you never know how inflated these tales have been. The lights now give shape to a local folklore. Today, sample analysis would achieve objective results about the real causes. But a retrospective study seems condemned to speculate. It is good to read that any relationship of these marvelous accounts of probable natural phenomena with present-day stories about fault lines and earthquake-related “earth lights”, or with what imaginative ufologists call “portals and windows” have, in the words of the writers, “less to do with physics and more to do with sociology.” (p. 51).
Chapter 4 deals with a ball of blue fire hitting a ship that occurred on November 4, 1749, published in Philosophical Transactions in 1752. Problems with accurate dating and location cast doubts about its authenticity. Or could it have been ball lightning? Other marine cases of exploding fireballs have been associated with sulphurous odors. The authors suggest‒very reasonably in my opinion‒it could result from a submarine volcano. Chapter 5 reviews archaic information about “meteors…of flattish form” (1759) which generally are to be connected with misperceived bolide fireballs. Here, Aubeck and Shough make an interesting historical note: although the term “flying saucer” is acknowledged to have started with the sighting of Kenneth Arnold in 1947 when he described the movement of nine objects as if they were skipping over the water (the objects were not disc or saucer-shaped), a disc-shaped “flying target” was patented back in 1882. Clay pigeon-shooting was a well-established sport in the USA before WWII with terms such as “flying disc” or even “flying saucer” used in print as far back as 1896 (see figure 5.08). Popularity of the phrase spread nation-wide after the Arnold sighting.
Very instructive to the scholar who proposes to study ancient “UFO” accounts is how the authors elegantly describe and solve the 1765 Boston incident of a rampaging cloud (chapter 6). Ancient narratives cannot be studied in isolation (neither can current UFO reports, incidentally). They require to be surveyed in the historical, religious, social and political context of the age. With a wider inspection of press reports, it has been discovered that the initial narrative describing a destructive, big, black cloud is but a “metaphor for the [occurrence of the] tumultuous crowd…and the resulting destruction was acts of vandalism” (p. 109).
And so up to 21 chapters, the authors review lots of provocative, stunning stories over the centuries, some solved, others not. Unlike typical UFO books, Chris and Martin‒I am proud to consider them my friends‒have made a serious and meticulous study and have disclosed new information and data to support their views, to complement published accounts. This is in itself an outstanding reason to elevate the work to a highly important level in the literature.
The book ends with three conclusions (p. 351): “UFO phenomena…have remained remarkably similar over time”; “very old testimonies can be analyzed carefully and usefully using modern resources”; and “the UFO phenomenon deserves serious attention without the stigma attached to it.” My following digressions will point out my own views in this regard.
In this reading we do realize the continuum of people’s reports of signs in the heavens, sky portents and other wonders of great diversity across the times. Prodigies of antiquity are today’s flying saucers. This reviewer is convinced that this type of misunderstood events is interpreted and named according to every epoch’s fears and expectations, in their socio-historical framework. Divinity-related in ancient times and technological in nature in modern times. Since time immemorial, certain Nature visions or disasters were embedded into religious notions. As Providence was inscrutable, such events were accepted without question as God’s acts, punishments, announcements of future events that contemporaneous religious or government leaders interpreted to support their views, beliefs and plans.
This book confirms the existence of many tales of mysterious and strange wonders reported or created in recent centuries. Several are difficult to explain. Most are earthbound, matter-of-fact phenomena not understood in the period. Others may be fables and narratives with an allegoric and symbolic power that escapes the 21st century investigator. The study of “UFOs” in history needs bolstering with historical scholarship to contextualize the original accounts, otherwise we run the risk of not understanding their true meaning. As well as the handling of Latin and other European languages in their older forms.
So the basic problem with ancient accounts is simply that we do not know if they really happened or not.
This book has unearthed a good number of incidents or tales that‒sometimes‒have something in common with modern UFO sightings or stories. This is certainly a sensible contribution to our field of investigation. Several of these ancient cases‒in parallel to current UFO reports‒cannot be solved. So we have to face the fact that:
1) An unknown phenomenon described as flying objects and lights has been appearing non-stop for centuries to surprise citizens, or
2) Both now and then, observers misinterpret normal stimuli and their reports modify or alter the actual occurrence; on occasion, an added quota of imagination, humor or fantasy produces false stories and tall tales.
Because neither then nor now (in spite of millions of person-hours spent in research) have we discovered indisputable evidence of anything of alien origin, I favor the second option.
If the book’s objective is to substantiate the existence of UFOs throughout history, the authors may have succeeded. Where this discovery takes us is something else. We live in a natural environment able to create lots of amazing effects that impress even clever observers, the only extraterrestrial visitors being fiery meteorites.  Centuries of unusual observations? Myriads of different causes. To explain today’s UFOs we must look in the mirror of history. Only with this wide perspective can we judge current reports. Because what we cannot comprehend creates chameleonic mysteries that adapt to the conditions of each moment. Unless someone is able to present to the scientific world incontrovertible evidence that UFOs are alien (if it has not happened in the last 70 years, I am afraid it is improbable now), we should start thinking that we are amidst a developing myth.
To this reviewer, if today’s UFOs were alien spacecraft visiting the Earth (for which there is not an iota of physical evidence), it seems preposterous that this unvarying surveillance would be perpetuated for centuries or millennia, in other words, that yesterday’s UFO-like occurrences and tales would have the same‒and unique‒character or origin. It surpasses any science-fiction scenario and goes against any logic. However, if today’s UFOs were nothing more than a medley and assortment of many kinds of mundane explanations (natural, astronomical, technological, psychological or simply lies), then the apparition of similar misperceptions and falsehoods throughout the history of humankind is to be expected. I reckon that the events and narrations found in this book are precisely the type of exhibit that proves this prediction.
It seems quite obvious to me that, by extending the timeline of UFOs into past centuries, the probability that UFOs have an alien origin declines abruptly. In studying contemporary UFO reports, we find serious perceptual problems, inaccuracy of eyewitness testimony and documentation flaws. It is what, in my opinion, prevents certain sightings from being explained. This is much more aggravated in assessing events that predate our era. Expanding the time frame of modern “UFO” occurrences to events manifested in the past just artificially and unrealistically distorts what probably is only a novel state of affairs starting in the second part of the 20th century, anchored to war fears, promoted in an untamed fashion by media, literature, and the film industry until it reached its current rootedness.
To finish, I concur with the authors that UFO research should continue…but only by leaving the amateurish environment we are in, otherwise it will continue to suffer the brutal mishandling of opportunists that leads to the stigma of which the two writers complain.
In sum, the authors must be congratulated on this fine publication, a remarkable collection of old-time accounts coupled with high quality analysis. This volume‒that no UFO researcher should miss‒is published and marketed by Anomalist Books, http://anomalistbooks.com/book.cfm?id=85
(Thanks to the authors for illustrations and discussion)
Bad UFOs. Critical Thinking about UFOs (Book Review)
Those who dream, wish, believe or think that UFO phenomena are alien in origin usually call to investigators such as Robert Sheaffer ‘debunkers’. But how can you debunk an expectation, an idea without sound proof, or a hypothesis? Only time will prove who are the real debunkers. Let us leave this reflection aside and focus on the purpose of this note, to review the last work by Sheaffer, published by the author in 2016. “Bad UFOs” can be found here: http://goo.gl/Y5kTsG
A continuation to his 1998-book “UFO Sightings,” Sheaffer wants both skeptical and non-skeptical ufologists to be aware of his own work in this field, and this 281-page volume collects ten essays or chapters that cover a broad spectrum of what we call ufology as seen with the current perspective of an insider. In the first chapter, the author highlights how in 2009 a director of MUFON (the largest UFO organization in the US) resigned when he discovered that “the (UFO) phenomenon is based in deception of the human kind…humans deceiving humans.” Not an anecdote but a very important fact because James Carrion was supposed to be well informed about what is going on in the world of ufology. One more piece of the puzzle of who is really debunking what. Sheaffer also reviews recent efforts to find incontrovertible scientific proof for the existence of UFOs, proof that has eluded searchers for seventy years, and counting.
The chapter on UFO sightings describes a number of events that received special attention by media, UFO students or both, with the bottom line conclusion that these selected best, controversial cases do not convey anything significant to prove that any new, unexplainable phenomenon has occurred. That also applies to the section on UFO imagery, where one dozen examples of photos and videos of all times are revisited. Therefore, if seeing is not believing, neither is a picture worth 1000 words!
It is impossible not to devote some pages to the topic of UFO crashes, a damned topic in US UFO history. To cut a long story short, according to the author, everything related to alien spacecraft retrievals is in its very origin nothing more than stories spread by charlatans (1948 Aztec, 1947 Roswell slides), discredited sources (1947 Roswell crash), unreliable witness testimony (1965 Kecksburg), unfounded stories (1953 Kingman, 1974 Carbondale), or pure insanity (1992 Long Island).
That UFOs have been molesting human beings in several ways has been known since the first major abduction case was promoted in 1966 by a book writer. Not a very correct, fair, innocent way of treating another being (human or otherwise) at all, abductions represent an awkward, bizarre type of behavior that can never be representative of an intelligent society (extraterrestrial or otherwise). For this reason alone, abduction claims should be rejected as false. In this book, Sheaffer dedicates the longest chapter to this issue and devotes half of its length to the episode that actually started the myth, the Barney & Betty Hill alleged experience. In the well-documented opinion of the author, the Hills claim was not a physical activity but a delusionary one and, as far as the general UFO abduction scenario is concerned, he vouches that “the only tenable hypothesis is the null hypothesis‒that nothing is going on!”
Another eerie US obsession is the belief in conspiracies and ufology cannot escape its apparently fascinating power. The scope of this special mindset (typically observed in political issues) is increasingly wide and Sheaffer touches upon some of them. For example: Richard Hoagland’s mania that NASA covers up astronaut UFO sightings, those claims that reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial technology is presently conducted by the US Government, the Rendlesham UK landing story, here named Rendle-sham by virtue of the gross inconsistencies of the alleged events, the “Pentacle” memorandum (a proposal for a grand UFO project never implemented), and even more absurd tales reaching lunatic levels.
Closely related to the fanatic conspiracy views is the widespread conviction‒within the UFO community‒of an organized cover up by the United States Administration lasting decades. Now and then, predictions that the US Government will disclose its UFO secrets are advertised by various self-proclaimed spokespersons…to finally fail miserably. On the contrary, repeated official announcements affirm that the United States Government does not possess any evidence that ties UFO information to alien life.  Steven Greer’s Disclosure Project, a movement grounded on cover-up allegations, proudly parades witnesses in the military and in intelligence; however, the book writer asserts, “not one…could produce a single shred of evidence beyond their own unsupported words.” Greer’s latest claims have become more and more patently preposterous. “Exopolitics” (sic) is also discussed, and Sheaffer qualifies it as “another popular exercise in contemporary UFO fantasy.” How ufology has evolved in the last 25 years makes me miss the 1960s and 1970s when the strangest of all were the reports of close encounters and humanoids, not the nonsensical lucubration of today! Such good old times.
Sheaffer’s book makes interesting reading and updates you on the UFO panorama today, mainly in the States. It is many years now since I started to think that a probable reason for the attraction of UFOs to sober minds is the amount of unrecognized bad science built around the phenomenon, in the form of wrong evaluations incapable of discovering the mundane signature of so-called strongest cases, and the numerous flawed and biased analyses of UFO images. This book does not prove that UFOs do not exist. While there exist UFO reports still uninvestigated or bonafide unexplained events there will continue to be a demand for disciplined UFO research. But this text points towards a direction where finally the UFO enigma might perfectly land.
UFO Historical Revue
This iconic UFO journal edited by Barry Greenwood dealing “primarily with the early years of the UFO phenomena, as well as other kinds of aerial oddities” saw an experimental issue in February 1992 but it initiated its life as a more or less regular journal in June 1998 (#1) until September 2006 (#12). Not generally known, however, the journal had a rebirth on September 2009 (#13) up to this day. The journal is online, both past issues and current ones, and all you have to do is to click on the link   http://www.greenwoodufoarchive.com/ go to Publications and then to U.F.O. Historical Revue in order to read the 16 issues released up to now. I suggest you spend some time reading all the material that Barry has unearthed for our benefit.
For instance, in UHR #15 of June 2015, we find a most significant document regarding the 1946 wave of “ghost rockets” over Sweden. It is a Top Secret CIA memorandum addressed to the President of the United States dated August 22, 1946 claiming that the Swedish radar system had calculated that the origin of these sightings were missiles launched by the Russians from the still operational German Peenemunde base.
Cielo Insolito (Weird Sky)
This is a new magazine, in pdf format, edited by two prominent Italian UFO researchers, Giuseppe Stilo and Maurizio Verga. This is how they describe their creation and their own work by themselves: This new magazine is about the history of UFOs and ufology in Italy and the rest of the world, with a time limit that won’t go beyond the 1970s. Contributions from other researchers are most welcome. G. Stilo and M. Verga are currently involved in some challenging topics. Stilo has been writing an encyclopedic series of books (in Italian language) covering the sightings and the main UFO-related characters appeared in Italy between 1946 and 1954 (including a quick but extensive coverage of the international scene too). He is also researching the sightings and the interest of astronomers and amateur astronomers in UFOs. Verga has created the largest repository of press clippings about the 1947 UFO wave and he is writing a book about the presence of the ET (Martian) motif that year, as a possible result of a 70-year long development of the popular idea of the planet Mars was inhabited by an advanced civilization.
The e-magazine is in Italian with English abstracts and two issues have been released to date: http://www.wikiufo.org/cieloinsolito1.pdf
The Greys Have Been Framed
This is a paperback book by US writer Jack Brewer. The author describes it as follows: The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in the UFO Community explores the ways deception, sensationalism and questionable ethics characterize the UFO genre and distort public perception of the UFO phenomenon. With interviews and insights from James Carrion, Leah Haley, Dr. Tyler Kokjohn, Simone Mendez, Carol Rainey, Emma Woods and others, the manipulation of ufology as perpetrated by suspect individuals and the intelligence community is documented. The circumstances, existing from the very outset of the modern day UFO phenomenon, prove relevant whatever opinion one may hold on the mystery of UFOs and their alleged occupants. (Thanks to Peter Brookesmith). It is sold by Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/zon5g96
A Critical Appraisal of George Adamski – The Man Who Spoke to the Space Brothers
Marc Hallet’s enlarged and revised book on the most famous American contactee, George Adamski, has been published in July 2016 and is free online: http://tinyurl.com/zddmwuj
My 1965-2015 personal bibliography, 51 years of writings by yours truly is found in this link (thanks to Matías Morey): http://www.ikaros.org.es/bibliog1.pdf
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, and S. Purcell)
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (with M. Borraz, H. Janosch & J.C. Victorio) http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?artID=182
Several of my books as single author, main author, or contributing author are also on sale by Amazon.com. This is the relevant link: http://tinyurl.com/z8oooqn
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
Alternatively, through e-mail: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es

2016/OCTUBRE/7 (ES)
11.995 es el último cómputo del número de entradas consignadas en la matriz del catálogo FOTOCAT. El proceso de adición de casos se ha ralentizado debido a que debo prestar atención a tres proyectos de gran calado en marcha, dos de los cuales están dedicados a imágenes ovni. La cifra redonda de los 12.000 casos está ya a la vuelta de la esquina.
Voluntarios para un trabajo de investigación
La ciencia avanza según el conocimiento se purifica a medida que hipótesis fragmentarias, aproximadas o falsas se demuestran insatisfactorias y son reemplazadas por hechos nuevos o más refinados que producen teorías de rango superior y que abarcan más datos y fenómenos. Las ideas primitivas y los hechos equivocados quedan entonces relegados a los libros de historia. Proposiciones vagas o simplemente equivocadas se rechazan en favor de nuevos esquemas que explican más y mejor el mundo que nos rodea.
Hechos físicos comprobados, nuevos marcos de referencia, una formulación rigurosa y capacidad de predicción apoyan firmemente nuevos modelos del universo, de la vida en la Tierra o de la sociedad, esto es, de nuestro mundo físico, biológico o social. Es un proceso de escalada progresiva en términos de adquisición de conocimientos.
Por desgracia, esto no sucede en la ufología. En lugar de construir un corpus cada vez más preciso y sólido de pruebas, es decir, una verdadera pirámide de información, se ha acumulado una pila desordenada y caótica tanto de excelencia como de basura, un conjunto donde la opinión de cualquiera vale lo mismo. Un campo sin límites ni criterios, donde los fenómenos ambiguos, las interpretaciones injustificadas, la especulación salvaje y las malas prácticas de investigación coexisten en una mezcla extraña con ejemplos contados de informes legítimos sobre experiencias inusuales, casos examinados críticamente e investigación científica.
En este estado de cosas, se podría esperar que se generara en última instancia la necesidad de una síntesis ordenada de la información. Con ese fin escribí un artículo para sentar las bases de dicha necesidad.1 Con la finalidad de testar la idea, recopilé una exhaustiva bibliografía sobre el tema de las “oleadas ovni”.2 Posteriormente di a conocer un ensayo para materializar esta idea en forma de un proyecto colectivo destinado a aislar y sintetizar la esencia de las conclusiones producidas en el curso del estudio de las oleadas ovni. Titulado "Proyecto de revisión de la información sobre oleadas ovni”, el lector interesado lo encontrará en este enlace de mi blog:
Se trata de un programa de investigación internacional en el que usted puede participar. En el anterior documento se informa de los pasos a seguir para formar parte del mismo. Los participantes revisarán la literatura sobre el fenómeno de las “oleadas ovni” y pondrán por escrito las conclusiones finales, así como su propia evaluación personal. Los participantes serán coautores de un artículo futuro que consolidará la información resultante.
Con esta nota aprovecho para renovar mi invitación a los lectores de este blog a contribuir en este empeño académico.  
1. V.J. Ballester Olmos, “El futuro de la ufología”,
2. V.J. Ballester Olmos, “UFO Waves: An International Bibliography”,
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
Este “catálogo de 200 sucesos del Tipo-I en España y Portugal” lo publicó en 1976 el CUFOS y acaba de subirse a internet, gracias a la gentileza de Isaac Koi, AFU (Suecia) y Mary Castner (CUFOS). Como autor, doy mis más expresivas gracias a todos ellos. Esta monografía de 77 páginas es el primer inventario de casos de “aterrizaje ovni” en la península Ibérica entre 1914 y 1975. Jacques Vallée escribió el prólogo de la obra. Visto el trabajo con la perspectiva de cuarenta años, se aprecian sus déficits, básicamente no haber contemplado en su justa medida que los testigos se engañan y nos engañan muchas veces. De hecho, con el paso del tiempo, se comprueba que varios de estos casos, algunos ya clásicos, se han resuelto por mor de causas prosaicas. Sin embargo, hay informes que mantienen su enigma. Seguidamente señalo el enlace para acceder a la web del Center for UFO Studies donde se aloja el trabajo:
Nota: Once años después de esta publicación, y de un intenso y largo trabajo de investigación, publiqué un libro con J.A. Fernández Peris que ampliaba el catálogo sustancialmente: 230 casos inexplicados y 355 casos explicados, ocurridos en la Península Ibérica hasta el año 1985. En “Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS” se detallaban todos los casos inexplicados y se ofrecía un amplio análisis estadístico de las casi 600 observaciones recogidas. (Ver abajo, sección “Libros del autor”).
UFOs and Government
El libro “OVNIS y Gobierno”, de Michael Swords y Robert Powell, que cuenta con colaboraciones de C. Svahn, V.J. Ballester Olmos, W. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme y S. Purcell, se ha editado en formato de libro electrónico (e-Book). La editorial Anomalist informa que se puede adquirir en varias distribudoras, entre ellas Amazon Kindle:
La serie de fotos ovni más famosa de Francia fue un fraude
El equipo de profesionales formado por Antoine Cousyn, François Louange y Geoff Quick (de la empresa IPACO) ha analizado las conocidas fotos sacadas por el geólogo André Frégnale en el Lago Chauvet (departamento de Puy-de-Dôme) a las 06,30 del 18 de julio de 1952. Su trabajo es un impresionante informe de 133 páginas que puede leerse aquí mismo: http://www.ipaco.fr/ReportLacChauvet.pdf
Un primer estudio geométrico pretendía probar o refutar las declaraciones del testigo de que el objeto estaba lejos (a más de 30 metros de la cámara) y que éste se movió en línea recta. Sin embargo, el análisis puso de manifiesto que el diámetro real del “ovni” era de unos 14 cm, que la trayectoria de éste seguía el arco de una parábola vertical y que, finalmente, la altura máxima del suelo alcanzada por el objeto fue de unos 5,4 metros. El informe señala: En consecuencia, las conclusiones del estudio geométrico rechazan las afirmaciones del testigo de un objeto distante, identificándolo más bien como un disco de tiro al plato o similar. Además, la investigación determinó que las fotos 3 y 4 de la serie no mostraban el mismo objeto que en las dos primeras, o que al menos se hicieron varias intentonas de lanzamiento al aire de los objetos para fotografiarlos. En conclusión, finaliza el informe, la serie de cuatro fotografías debe clasificarse como un trucaje. Y que se ejecutó usando el truco más elemental y viejo del mundo, me apresuro a añadir.
Debemos felicitar a los autores por un trabajo tan exquisito técnicamente, una investigación concienzuda que arroja respetabilidad a esta forma de hacer ufología. Es una lástima, una verdadera vergüenza, que la falta de sentido común y el deseo de creer en los extraterrestres por parte de muchos autodenominados estudiosos haya forzado al empleo de un instrumental sofisticado, de técnicas innovadoras y de muchas horas de trabajo para revelar, eso sí, sin la menor duda, que se trató sencillamente de un objeto lanzado al aire y fotografiado.
La OTAN desenmascara falsos bulos
Que la literatura sobre “estrellamientos” de ovnis está infectada de arriba a abajo de hechos tergiversados y de mentiras evidentes ha sido un axioma durante décadas, a pesar de la ceguera y la irresponsabilidad de algunos autores. Todo el ruido y la intoxicación creados en torno al tema ovni sirve para mantener la fe en algunos sectores, mientras, al mismo tiempo, la ufología se desacredita como una vía digna de hacer investigación fiable y creíble. Rebatir todas las afirmaciones descabelladas requeriría una ingente cantidad de tiempo y dedicación que dejaría de aplicarse al estudio de materias y sucesos más genuinos. Solo hay que recordar cómo se dilapidó toda una década de buen trabajo ufológico potencial dedicándose a refutar y explicar la mentirosa trama del “Majestic 12” en los Estados Unidos. A veces, sin embargo,  las mismas agencias a las que se acusa de haber generado una información controvertida se toman la molestia de resolver el tema por ellas mismas y así darle el puntillazo definitivo.
Una de dichas declaraciones extravagantes procede de un tal Robert Dean, sargento retirado del ejército norteamericano (un alto rango de la milicia, como todos ustedes saben).  Éste sujeto difundió la noticia de que la OTAN publicó en 1964 de forma restringida un informe titulado "Assessment: An Evaluation of a Possible Military Threat to Armed Forces in Europe" (Evaluación de una posible amenaza militar a las fuerzas armadas en Europa). Este informe supuestamente contenía información e imágenes de ovnis estrellados y de cuerpos alienígenas.
Cuando hace poco quise profundizar en este cuento recibí una pronta notificación del físico madrileño Julio Plaza del Olmos, quien me facilitó la respuesta clave y que procedía directamente de la propia página de la OTAN. En efecto, una nota firmada por el doctor Gregory Pedlo, historiador del cuartel general supremo de las fuerzas aliadas de Europa (SHAPE), con el título traducido de “La supuesta evaluación del SHAPE sobre los ovnis de 1964: Lo que muestran los archivos oficiales”, deja las cosas más que transparentes. Se podrá decir más alto, pero no más claro. Invito al lector curioso a leer el texto oficial original en este enlace: 
Resolviendo casos desde el portátil
La labor que realizo en FOTOCAT tiene un objetivo doble. A corto plazo, la revisión de revistas y libros especializados para recoger información de casos fotográficos que añadir a la base de datos. A medio y largo plazo, el desarrollo de monografías temáticas por países, por periodos de oleada, etc. Cada día encuentro nuevas noticias de viejos informes que alimentan el catálogo. Cuando es posible, trato de que se estudien para ver si tienen una explicación satisfactoria que se le escapara al informador original. Mientras revisaba el ejemplar de marzo de 1981 de Journal UFO, una publicación canadiense que editaba David Haisell, me topé con la descripción de un avistamiento ocurrido el 3 de diciembre de 1979 desde un pueblo cercano a Sydney, en la provincia de Nueva Escocia. Un tal John Pushie, antiguo oficial de la policía montada, narró que alrededor de las 22,30 del primero de diciembre llamó a su esposa un sobrino que vivía cerca de ellos, para decir que estaba viendo en el cielo “un objeto resplandeciente, de varios colores” situado hacia el sur. Dos días después, a las 22,20 volvió a llamar. Esta vez el señor Pushie estaba en casa y, presto, montó sobre un trípode su cámara Minolta, con un objetivo de 150. Usó película Fuji de 100 ASA y sacó siete instantáneas, de las que cuatro salieron bien. Vio una luz en el cielo nocturno, “fija [estacionaria] en posición noroeste, durante unos ocho minutos”, la cual “comenzó a moverse en ángulo hacia abajo, hacia el horizonte, hasta que finalmente desapareció bajo de él”. Esto es lo que podemos ver en la última foto, la número 4, tomada con una exposición de 3,5 minutos. Se observa como un punto de luz aparece descendiendo con un ángulo de inclinación hasta la misma línea del horizonte.
3 de diciembre de 1979, Sydney (Canadá). © John Pushie.
El artículo en cuestión relataba que las fotos se remitieron al National Research Council (centro nacional de investigaciones de Canadá), con sede en Ottawa. Los astrónomos consultados dirimieron que aquello había sido la estrella Vega.  Pero el director de la revista disentía y escribió que la estrella “no se puso hasta medianoche, si bien se encontraba en el mismo emplazamiento general que el objeto…a 8º45’ NNW cuando alcanzó el horizonte”.
Por nuestra parte hicimos también algunas comprobaciones. No solamente la descripción de la luz y su movimiento sugieren un astro sino que cualquier mapa estelar muestra que Vega era la luminaria celeste más brillante del cielo noroccidental. De hecho, a la hora de la observación (las 22,20) y en la posición indicada por el testigo (322º, NW-NNW), esta estrella se hallaba muy cerca del horizonte (altura angular de +06º45’) desplazándose hacia su ocaso, justamente como enseña la fotografía.
¿No parece increíble que un cuerpo astronómico que se encuentra a la friolera de 23,5 años-luz de la Tierra pueda tomarse por un objeto volante no identificado? Pues no. Ocurre frecuentemente, me temo, y así lo atestigua la experiencia internacional. El fallo mayor, a mi juicio, es que la credulidad hace a la gente incapaz de discernir entre lo real y lo falso en los sucesos ovni.  
3 de diciembre de 1979, 22,20 horas, vista del cielo desde Sydney (Canadá) con la estrella Vega muy baja en el horizonte, según el programa Stellarium.
Mientras que registraba el anterior caso en el catálogo, caí en la cuenta que esa noche hubo otro caso fotográfico, aunque esta vez muy lejos de Canadá. El lugar, la ciudad de Oviedo (Asturias, España). Residentes del barrio “Alto de Buena Vista” llamaron al diario local La Nueva España para denunciar la presencia de “un extraño objeto que giraba, al tiempo que despedía destellos de diferentes colores, especialmente azulados”. Personal del observatorio meteorológico declararon no haber visto nada fuera de lo normal a aquella hora. Vélez, fotógrafo de plantilla del diario, hizo una foto del cielo de una luz lejana que dejó una corta estela durante el tiempo que duró la exposición. En la parte inferior de la fotografía son visibles las luces de la ciudad, lo que indica que el “ovni” no estaba muy alto en la bóveda celeste.  
3 de diciembre de 1979, Oviedo. © Vélez, La Nueva España.
Por desgracia, ni conocemos la hora ni la dirección geográfica. Pero lo que sí sabemos es que tal tipo de destellos recuerdan a los típicos parpadeos de la estrella Sirio. En los primeros días del mes de diciembre, este astro normalmente aparece en el horizonte SSE durante la noche (¿podría explicar la aparición de esta estrella la primera observación en el anterior caso canadiense?). Volviendo al caso español, cuando la foto se tomó eran las 23,30 y un brillante Sirio resplandecía en el cielo sureste, a diez grados de altitud y en azimut de 124º. El barrio desde el que se vio primero la luz extraña, luego fotografiada, se ubica en la parte superior de la ciudad. El siguiente esquema muestra la altura y la dirección de Sirio. Las luces de Oviedo aparecen a la izquierda de la estrella, justamente como vemos en la fotografía que analizamos. La explicación astronómica resulta más que plausible para este suceso, como lo fue para las fotos canadienses.
3 de diciembre de 1979, Oviedo, 23,30 horas. El mapa celeste producido por el programa Stellarium permite observar destacada en el cielo a la estrella Sirio.
En efecto, la tecnología de los ordenadores, que ya es cosa de rutina, nos permite hoy en día solucionar avistamientos ovni sin viajar más allá de nuestro portátil. Conociendo datos básicos espacio-temporales para un fenómeno dado y accediendo a programas astronómicos o de satélites específicos (o bases de datos de lanzamiento de cohetes o misiles, etc.), estás capacitado para averiguar el origen de ciertas observaciones o fotos misteriosas, que permite confirmar muchas veces tu intuición de lo que iba a ser una probable solución.  Y eso mismo es lo que ha pasado con otra imagen que recibí hace pocas semanas de mi valiosa colaboradora de Mississippi Kay Massingill. Me envió un recorte de prensa de la edición de The Salina Journal (Kansas) correspondiente al 2 de septiembre de 1973 que exponía una fotografía hecha en Pelham, Georgia, en la noche del 30 al 31 de agosto de 1973. En dos noches sucesivas, objetos misteriosos que “flotaban en el espacio, cambiaban de color y giraban mientras se movían” fueron informados desde varias localidades del centro del estado de Georgia. La foto, supuestamente tomada con una exposición de una hora con objetivo f/32, parece bastante sospechosa, a pesar o quizás porque el pie de foto dice que “la raya brillante es el ovni, las rayas más débiles son estrellas”. Tres trazos luminosos paralelos se ven claramente en la fotografía, siendo los dos superiores simplemente estrellas.
Los archivos FOTOCAT me reservaban una sorpresa, una imagen de mayor calidad y más información sobre las circunstancias del suceso. Tal como publicó en su día el boletín del NICAP The UFO Investigator de octubre de 1973, un estudiante de 19 años llamado William Burson, que trabajaba a tiempo parcial en el periódico de su padre, The Camilla Enterprise, se habían apostado junto con un amigo al borde de un camino, después de ver lo que creyeron que podría ser un ovni. Armados con una cámara, tomaron varias fotos con exposición, supuestamente mirando hacia el sur, antes del amanecer.
31 de agosto de 1973, Pelham, Georgia. © Bill Burson. Cortesía de Diario Las Américas (Miami), 2 de septiembre de 1973.
Bien, un ovni siguiendo un curso paralelo al de un cuerpo astronómico, dos estrellas en esta ocasión, es probablemente otro astro. Usando nuevamente del paquete informático Stellarium, comprobamos fehacientemente que a las 4 de la madrugada del 31 de agosto de 1973, el planeta Júpiter (abajo, el objeto más brillante, magnitud -2.56, a 7º de altitud, con un azimut de 240º) y las estrellas ρ Capricornio (en el centro) y Dabih (β Capricornio, arriba) mantienen una estructura idéntica a la mostrada en la fotografía-problema de la que hablamos. Los tres astros descendían hacia su ocaso natural, siendo visibles a baja altura angular en el horizonte WSW. Obviamente, estos fueron los responsables de las tres trazas luminosas que aparecen en la foto conseguida aquella noche en Georgia.
31 de agosto de 1973 a las 04 horas, mapa celeste desde Pelham (Georgia), con Júpiter y dos estrellas relativamente cercanas.
(Mi agradecimiento a Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga por datos y análisis astronómicos)
Las esferas que cayeron del espacio, España 1965
Recientemente reavivé el asunto de la reentrada de los restos de un cohete ruso sobre territorio español ‒concretamente sobre las regiones de Extremadura y Andalucía‒ el 6 de diciembre de 1965. Mi informe se puede leer aquí:
El periodista e investigador Luis Alfonso Gámez ha cogido el testigo y ha dado una afortunada nueva vuelta de rosca al tema, consiguiendo entrevistar a algunos de los ingenieros que 50 años atrás analizaron las esferas y los otros objetos encontrados, así como encontrar y fotografiar lo que queda de dichos restos. El domingo 24 de abril pasado, el diario de Bilbao El Correo se apuntó un buen tanto periodístico con la publicación de tres planillas sobre el particular. Ahora, el reportaje está online aquí:  http://magonia.com/2016/04/28/el-roswell-de-franco/
Las esferas, y otros restos espaciales, hallados en las instalaciones del INTA (Madrid). © Luis A. Gámez.
Curiosidades ummoilógicas
En el museo del vidrio de Alcorcón se encuentra esta fotografía de los castillos de los marqueses de Valderas, erigidos en esa población madrileña. Es una foto aérea tomada en 1944 por el servicio cartográfico del ejército del aire. En la parte inferior izquierda aparece una zona circular de unos 15 metros de diámetro, con un fondo oscuro. A alguien conocedor de las famosas fotos de un ovni que se sacaron en 1967 en la misma zona (por cierto, trucajes demostrados y confesados por el autor, José Luis Jordán Peña), no se le ocurrió nada mejor que rotular la foto con el pie “Vista aérea de los castillos, año 1944 donde se puede apreciar el lugar donde aterrizó el OVNI”. Peregrina afirmación, entre otras razones, porque la foto se hizo 20 años antes de la falsificación fotográfica del ovni.
La supuesta huella redonda no es otra cosa que una balsa de agua, bastante corriente en la zona. De hecho, en esta otra fotografía del pueblo de Alcorcón, sacada en 1930, a poca distancia de los citados castillos de los marqueses, hemos encontrado otra balsa semejante, cuya ubicación he señalizando adecuadamente. He creído que sería simpático añadir aquí esta curiosidad que bordea marginalmente el tema UMMO, asunto que tanta inútil tinta ha hecho correr en este país y en el extranjero. (Gracias a D. Libreros y a J.A. Cezón)
Otro cohete más
Pilotos y pasaje del vuelo Madrid-La Habana del 5 de marzo pasado tuvieron ante sus ojos un maravilloso espectáculo, de un punto lejano en el horizonte a nivel del suelo partía un objeto que se elevaba hacia el espacio dejando tras de sí una larga estela luminosa de color azul. Del objeto propulsor emanaba una gran nube gaseosa de forma elipsoidal que fue observada y filmada, tal como publicó el diario digital Última Hora con el siguiente expresivo video clip:
Pregunté al profesor Jonathan McDowell, del centro de astrofísica de la Universidad de Harvard y reconocida autoridad mundial en temas espaciales, quien me informó su sospecha de que lo observado fue el lanzamiento desde Cabo Cañaveral de un cohete Falcon 9 que colocó en órbita un satélite de comunicaciones. El lanzamiento tuvo lugar a las 23,35 horas UTC del 4 marzo, ya el día 5 en la previsible hora española del pasaje del avión.    
El UFO crash de Kecksburg de diciembre de 1965
En la anterior edición de este blog incluí un trabajo de Ted Molczan sobre el presunto ovni que algunos aseguran que se estrelló en Kecksburg (Pennsylvania) el 9 de diciembre de 1965. Se trataba de una crítica a un artículo difundido por John Ventre y Owen Eichler. Con posterioridad, recibí una contestación del primero de estos autores. En la versión en inglés de este blog, dicha respuesta aparece a continuación de este párrafo, seguida de un texto final de Ted Molczan con el fin de cerrar esta polémica, al menos desde estas páginas. Las dos posiciones quedan meridianamente claras y, para este blogger al menos, la correcta es más que obvia. Con el propósito de ser lo más exhaustivo posible, añado dos referencias más a este debate: http://www.astronomyufo.com/UFO/SUNlite8_1.pdf
(1) El blog del investigador vasco Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga es siempre motivo de atención y aprendizaje, en esta ocasión traigo a colación algunos artículos particularmente apasionantes, a saber:
     Nuevamente la revisión de diarios locales de hace décadas aporta informaciones desconocidas relativas a noticias sobre platillos volantes. 1950 fue el año de la primera “oleada” de casos ovni en España. Victorio Uranga ha buscado en diarios del país vasco y ha encontrado dos referencias de supuestos “aterrizajes” en Guipúzcoa y Álava el 26 de marzo y a primeros de abril de 1950. En esta ocasión se trató de sencillas bromas periodísticas, pero quien sabe si amarillentas páginas de periódicos de provincias nos tienen aún reservadas añejas historias de ovnis que se nos han pasado por alto a todos.
     “La observación de un fenómeno luminoso en Galicia, hacia las ocho y cuarto de la mañana del día 18 de enero de 1994, que supuestamente se estrelló en la sierra de Outes, sigue fascinando todavía a muchos ufólogos y periodistas del misterio...”  Sigue a continuación:
     Nota sobre el lamentable estado de la ufología española, que se aprecia en la revisión que el estudioso vasco hace de un reciente blog cuajado de información falsa. ¡Que paupérrimo nivel se ha alcanzado!
El fenómeno de diseminar bromas a través de internet cobra mayor entidad cada día que pasa. Una fuente regular de desinformación en ufología es la denominada “Disclose.Tv,” cuya divisa oficial es “La verdad revelada”, cuando irónicamente comunica justamente lo contrario. Su edición del pasado 18 de marzo contenía información acerca de un cubo aéreo que se manifestaba en la atmósfera como si procediera de otra dimensión. Victorio Uranga dedicó una breve entrada en su blog a esa historieta inventada:
(2) Otro de los imprescindibles pensadores en lo que compete a la metafísica del fenómeno social de los ovnis es el filósofo canario Ricardo Campo. Dos recientes escritos de su factura son de especial importancia:
(3) En la “Web de Anilandro” hemos leído una sugerente reflexión sobre el comportamiento de las personas ante algo que momentáneamente carece de explicación. (Gracias a Manuel Borraz)
 (4) Bajo el título “La gran película ufológica”, el estudioso mejicano Leopoldo Zambrano Enríquez ha publicado en su blog un buen artículo de investigación en el que muestra diferentes secuencias fotográficas que han tratado de pasarse como ejemplos de verdaderas imágenes de platillos volantes, cuando realmente no son sino fotogramas extraídos de películas cinematográficas o series de televisión. No es la primera vez que se descubre este tipo de engaño –ni será la última‒ pero sin duda resulta esclarecedor. En verdad, una lectura interesante:
(5) Recientemente la página web de la CIA ha hecho mención a varias informaciones sobre casuística ovni que llevan décadas desclasificadas. Algún medio de comunicación, mal informado o sencillamente sensacionalista, se ha hecho eco de esa información como si se tratara de documentación inédita y desconocida hasta ahora. Nada más lejos de la realidad. El siguiente enlace al blog del veterano investigador y periodista Luis Alfonso Gámez clarifica las cosas:
(6) Alejandro Agostinelli escribe sobre el mito de la isla “Friendship”:
(7) Hay buenos trabajos que nunca tuvieron la audiencia que merecían, por eso traigo aquí a colación un excelente artículo de Joan Plana Crivillén, “OVNIS fantasmas: Los que nunca existieron”, publicado en la revista especializada Cuadernos de Ufología y que puede leerse en línea en el siguiente enlace: http://www.ikaros.org.es/plana.pdf
Este trabajo se enmarca perfectamente en la línea de racionalización y desmitificación de supuestas observaciones ovni de carácter militar y, en ese contexto, quisiera recordar mi reciente ensayo con Ricardo Campo, “OVNIS y militares, una fábrica de leyendas”,  que se puede encontrar aquí:  
(8) Recientes referencias de calidad sobre investigaciones que vinculan de forma crítica temas aeroespaciales con el fenómeno ovni:
Ted Molczan,
S.A. Chernous et al, https://www.researchgate.net
 (9) La conocida falsificación fotográfica de la imagen ovni de Tulsa (Oklahoma) del 2 de agosto de 1965 ha sido el blanco de un fraude de segunda generación. Me explico.  La colorista imagen de este platillo volante se ha estampado en los cuadros franceses “Le Poète Rouge”, "La joueuse de Tarentelle" y "Les soucoupes Volantes", del pintor Clovis Trouille, con la pretensión de sorprender a aquellos que la encontraran allí. Se trata de un artista surrealista aficionado a las historias de platillos volantes, conocido por añadir a sus propias obras nuevos detalles años después de finalizarlas. El investigador Gilles Fernandez ha escrito en su blog un ensayo sobre esta curiosa historia que durante un tiempo ha mareado a los estudiosos galos:
Nota: A los interesados en información complementaria sobre la famosa fotografía de Tulsa, les remito a las siguientes dos referencias:
V.J. Ballester Olmos, http://fotocat.blogspot.com.es/2006_04_19_archive.html#es (baje hasta “Ejemplo de fotografía”)
(10) La fuerza aérea de Argentina sigue sus investigaciones sobre casos ovni:
(11) El estudio que en 2013 realizó el astrofísico italiano Massimo Teodorani en colaboración con Mark Rodeghier, Ron Master y Phillipe Ailleris, “Project for a network of automatic stations for UFO monitoring” está ya disponible online:
(12) Masivo encuentro cercano en África. En 1994, muchos niños de la escuela Ariel de Ruwa (Zimbabue) afirmaron haber visto un platillo volante y a sus pasajeros extraterrestres. Gilles Fernandez se ha dado una vuelta por la historia desde una nueva perspectiva:
(13) En el último número de la revista electrónica de Tim Printy abundan los análisis sobre pretendidas imágenes ovni, por ejemplo el video infrarrojo logrado en 2013 en Aguadilla (Puerto Rico) por el  ministerio de seguridad nacional de los EE.UU. (Department of Homeland Security), analizado magistralmente por Bob Bixler; las fotografías hechas el 3 de julio de 2005 en Palo Alto (California) que muestran un punto blanco cercano a un avión; y las ya clásicas fotos sacadas por los astronautas del Skylab 3 el 20 de septiembre de 1973, evaluadas por James Oberg. Ver: 
(14) Hay ya muchos eruditos trabajos basados en los relatos de abducciones. Uno de ellos, no muy conocido, se publicó en la revista Communication Quarterly, Vol. 54, Nº3, agosto de 2006, páginas 383-406: “Mythmaking in Alien Abduction Narratives”, por Stephanie Kelley-Romano. La autora vivisecciona el mero concepto de abducción y lo reduce a un mito post-moderno. (Gracias a Luis R. González). Ver: 
(15) En la Universidad de Bristol se ha estudiado el efecto que supuso el entorno social que siguió a la segunda Guerra mundial en la manifestación del fenómeno ovni en Gran Bretaña. El pasado año se presentó una tesis de licenciatura de Isabelle Kerr, titulada  “Flying Saucers and UFOs: An investigation into the impact of the Cold War on British Society, 1950-1964” (Los platillos volantes y los ovnis. Una investigación del impacto de la guerra fría en la sociedad británica entre 1950 y 1964). El trabajo puede leerse en el siguiente enlace (Gracias a Barry Greenwood):
(16) ¿Recuerda el lector cuando había una verdadera ufología científica? Era antes de que temas disparatados, absurdos y demenciales inundaras y echaran a perder el ámbito del estudio serio de los ovnis. Era cuando el Center for UFO Studies fundado por el doctor J. Allen Hynek promoviera con fuerza el estudio de este fenómeno a partir de estándares científicos. Con notables excepciones, este antiguo panorama ha muerto. Pero, al menos, el buen trabajo hecho entonces está ahora a disposición de los investigadores gracias a los colegas del CUFOS. Dos de esas importantes publicaciones pueden encontrarse en forma de pdf en la web del Centro. Recomiendo que nadie se las salte:
“Proceedings of the 1976 CUFOS Conference”, Nancy Dornbos (editor), 1976,
“The Spectrum of UFO Research”, Mimi Hynek (editor), 1988,
(17) El estudioso inglés Isaac Koi ha puesto en evidencia en su blog la existencia de un reciente video viral dedicado a una imaginaria entrevista con un alien (ver seguidamente una foto pretendidamente alarmante del humanoide de pacotilla):
(18) Importante declaración de la más antigua organización ovni de Europa, la Scandinavian UFO Information. SUFOI se ha ocupado activamente del estudio del problema ovni desde 1957, habiendo recogido y examinado cerca de 15.000 informes de supuestas experiencias ovni. Tras casi sesenta años de investigaciones, SUFOI ha llegado a algunas conclusiones fundamentales, difundidas en este informe de lectura imprescindible:  
(19) Muy útil para descubrir cientos de imágenes de diferentes formas aéreas que se suelen tomar equivocadamente como posibles ovnis, véase esta web visual de S. Shpakovsky:
Return to MAGONIA: Investigating UFOs in History
Una amplia reseña del libro de Chris Aubeck y Martin Shough se expone en la edición en inglés de este blog.
Bad UFOs. Critical Thinking about UFOs
Una recensión del último trabajo editorial de Robert Sheaffer se aloja en la edición en inglés de este blog.
UFO Historical Revue
Este boletín editado por Barry Greenwood es un verdadero icono de la literatura ufológica. Ocupado primordialmente de “los primeros años del fenómeno ovni, así como de otras singularidades aéreas”, apareció en una primera época de forma regular en junio de 1998 (#1) hasta septiembre de 2006 (#12). La publicación renació en septiembre de 2009 (#13) y sigue en la actualidad. Los 16 números publicados de la revue publicados hasta hoy están accesibles en línea: http://www.greenwoodufoarchive.com/ → “Publications” → “U.F.O. Historical Revue”. Greenwood ha desenterrado muchísima y valiosa información histórica que no hay que perderse. Por ejemplo, en la edición Nº 15 de junio de 2015 hallamos un documento muy significativo concerniente a la oleada de “cohetes fantasma” sobre Suecia en 1946. Es un memorándum Top Secret de la CIA dirigido nada menos que al presidente de los Estados Unidos. Fechado el 22 de agosto de 1946 comunica que el sistema de radar sueco había calculado que el origen de dichas observaciones eran misiles lanzados por los rusos desde la todavía operacional base alemana de Peenemunde, desde donde habían despegado las mortíferas V1 y V2.  
Cielo Insolito
Una nueva revista en formato pdf ha visto la luz, editada por dos destacados estudiosos italianos, Giuseppe Stilo y Maurizio Verga. Es una publicación sobre la historia de los ovnis y de la Ufología en Italia, hasta los años setenta del siglo pasado. Muy interesante:
Un par de libros recomendados
“The Greys Have Been Framed”, del escritor estadounidense Jack Brewer. El subtítulo lo dice todo, “explotación en la comunidad ufológica” y, según explica el autor, se exploran “las formas en que el engaño, el sensacionalismo y una ética cuestionable caracterizan el movimiento ovni y distorsionan la percepción del fenómeno ovni que llega al público”. (Gracias a  Peter Brookesmith)
Se vende en Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/zon5g96
“A Critical Appraisal of George Adamski – The Man Who Spoke to the Space Brothers”, de Marc Hallet. Es una edición corregida y aumentada de julio de este año de una obra dedicada al más famoso de los contactados americanos, George Adamski. De acceso gratuito en: http://tinyurl.com/zddmwuj
Mi bibliografía personal, entre 1965 y 2015, cincuenta y un años de escritos de su seguro servidor están en línea en el siguiente enlace (Gracias a Matías Morey): http://www.ikaros.org.es/bibliog1.pdf
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 en los buscadores Iberlibro y Uniliber, en estos enlaces directos:
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 S. 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
Algunos de mis libros están a la venta en Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/z8oooqn
Hay varias opciones de colaboración 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
O bien por correo electrónico: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es