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2012/12/27 (EN)

English language editing: Martin Shough
Administrator: Kentaro Mori


FOTOCAT - STATUS REPORT  
Physically, FOTOCAT is an Excel spreadsheet of UFO and IFO cases in which a photographic image has been obtained on film, video or digital media. It contains 27 data columns to register the date, time, location, province and country, explanation (if one exists), photographer’s name, special photographic features, references, etc. When completed, the full catalogue will be posted on the internet, for free access to the worldwide UFO community. It is supported by a material archive with images in several formats and a large archive of documentation, organized in individual folders.

• Case Number
The current number of entries to the FOTOCAT database is 11,087.

PUBLICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR  
Papers, articles and research reports by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, just published or reedited.

2 Papers Translated into French
Finally, Volume V (2011) of La Gazette Forteénne (The Fortean Journal) has been published, June 2012. With 447 pages, the last edition of this huge, glossy French magazine devoted to themes popularized by the books of Charles Fort includes two works of mine. One, nicely translated by Claude Maugé, is entitled “La publication de documents officiels sur les OVNIS dans le monde: un état sur la question” (pages 167 to 183). The second paper is “Argentine, l’année 1965 en Photos” (pages 211 to 238).

I invite followers of the wide array of topics covered rigouresement by this revue on anomalistics not to miss it. Ably edited by the experienced researcher Jean-Luc Rivera, it can be purchased through Les Ëditions de L’Oeil du Sphinx, at ods@oeildusphinx.com and http://www.oeildusphinx.com/forteenne_V5.html
In the area of ufology, this issue also contains a few items of special interest to us, like the articles by Giuseppe Stilo, Chris Aubeck and others, and an interview with Jerome Clark. Quite an issue!


Cover of Volume V of La Gazette Forteénne.
An Important Book on UFO History
It is a personal privilege to announce the release of a new book: UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry, a book that explores the history of the interaction of the US government (and others) with the UFO phenomenon. The international team of authors includes professor Michael Swords and Robert Powell (editors), with contributing authors Barry Greenwood, Richard Thieme, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, Jan Aldrich, Clas Svahn, Bill Chalker, and Steve Purcel. The book has required four plus years to research, is nearly 600 pages long and has almost 1,000 references as well as many illustrations and facsimiles.
Publisher’s press release:
Governments around the world have had to deal with the UFO phenomenon for a good part of a century. How and why they did so is the subject of “UFOs and Government”, a history that for the first time tells the story from the perspective of the governments themselves. It’s a perspective that reveals a great deal about what we citizens have seen, and puzzled over, from the “outside” for so many years. 
The story, which is unmasked by the governments’ own documents, explains much that is new or at least not commonly known, about the seriousness with which the military and intelligence communities approached the UFO problem internally. Those approaches were not taken lightly. In fact, they were considered matters of national security. At the same time, the story reveals how a subject with such apparent depth of experience and interest became treated as if it were a triviality. And it explains why one government, the United States government, deemed it wise, and perhaps even necessary, to treat it so.
Though the book focuses primarily on the U.S. government’s response to the UFO phenomenon, also included is the treatment of the subject by the governments of Sweden, Australia, France, Spain, and other countries.
As a contributing author I am most satisfied by the final result as it gives a coherent, wide and near-exhaustive view of Government policy-making and handling of the UFO question over the years, not only in the United States but on a global scale.

In a message to “UFO Updates” forum list, Jerome Clark has expressed his experienced opinion, as writer and critic, about this book as follows:
I hesitate not a moment to pronounce this among the most significant UFO books ever written. I'd place it in the top 10, at least of works written in English. It's a monument to sober, meticulous scholarship in a field where such is all too rare. It supersedes any number of books that promote speculation and conspiracy theory -or, at the other end, blanket denial- in place of the documentable evidence, which makes for a fascinating story in itself.
UFOs and Government has been published by Patrick Huyghe’s Anomalist Books (San Antonio, Texas). This volume can be ordered from the publisher’s book page:
http://www.anomalistbooks.com/book.cfm?id=64

The book can also be ordered from online booksellers like Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/7vn2r9u or Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/cr4rp6s  or Google: http://tinyurl.com/dytt3w6

My own participation in this book is chapter 18, entitled: “UFO Secrecy and Disclosure in Spain”, pages 423-438 (text) and pages 513-529 (documents and illustrations.)

Two released book reviews are of special interest, as viewed from different angles:

Peter Rogerson:
http://pelicanist.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/ufos-and-government.html
Keith Basterfield:
http://ufos-scientificresearch.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/new-book-alert-ufos-and-government.html

The cover of UFOs and Government.
An Interview on FOTOCAT
Milton W. Hourcade is –no doubt– the most prominent ufologist in Uruguay, with over two decades of working experience in the United States as a Science & Technology journalist with the Voice of America. Back in his home country since 2010, he currently manages the bilingual Unusual Aerial Phenomena Study Group/Grupo de Estudio sobre Fenómenos Aéreos Inusuales (UAPSG-GEFAI), for which blog I have been interviewed on the FOTOCAT project. The interview can be read both in English and Spanish in these two links:
http://www.uapsg.com/2012/07/fotocat-work-of-great-spaniard-scholar_24.html
http://www.uapsg.com/2012/07/fotocat-el-trabajo-de-un-gran-estudioso.html

It has also appeared in “Marcianitos Verdes” (Little Green Martians), the web site of Mexican researcher Luis Ruiz Nóguez, in the following link:
http://marcianitosverdes.haaan.com/2012/07/hablemos-de-fotocat/

2012 BUFORA Conference 
With the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), an international congress was held on September 22 and 23, 2012 at the Holiday Inn, 1 Kings Cross Road, London (England). Speakers were the following researchers, writers and ufologists:
Saturday sessions: Lionel Beer, Heather Dixon, John Spencer, Jenny Randles (video link), Lionel Fanthorpe, and Clas Svahn.
Sunday sessions: Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, John Hanson, Richard Conway, Geoff Falla, Tony Eccles, Dave Newton, and Ross Hemsworth.

BUFORA 2012 Conference Poster.
Master of ceremonies was BUFORA’s press and media officer John Wickham, and Matt Lyons, chairman of BUFORA, closed the conference.

Other colleagues have just published accurate memoires of the conference, speakers and speeches, so I will not duplicate it here. Suffice is to direct you to one link that presents a short, good overview by Ole-Jonny Brænne: http://tinyurl.com/bufora-conference-2012

But a brief commentary of mine will be in order. I was pleased to accept the kind invitation by Mr. Lyons to give a talk about my present research project, FOTOCAT (I had already delivered lectures to BUFORA conferences in 1979 at London and in 1995 at Sheffield), and to say hello to old friends and colleagues like Tony Eccles, John Spencer, Richard Conway, John Hanson and others (specially pleasant was to meet again Lionel Beer, BUFORA’s honorary chairman, and quite a name in UK ufology), I was also keen to meet several members of EuroUFO, a major forum of UFO specialists from Europe.

Over two days I had the opportunity to meet Isaac Koi (England), Ole (pronounced “Ule”) Jonny Brænne (Norway), Italian Giorgio Abraini (CISU), now based in London, Clas Svahn, head of AFU (Sweden), another of the speakers, with a superb presentation, and Luis R. González (Spain).

As expected, no one solved the mystery of UFOs, but the organizers did a decent job and strove to present a balanced mix of viewpoints, accentuating a serious treatment of the subject, worthy of recognition considering that the audience such reunions usually attract is mostly skewed to the believer side of the spectrum. Only the last speech was a shame, with a televangelist-type mixing UFOs, ghosts, conspiracies, urban legends, etc. in a plot to excite people. A concession to freak ufology, I guess. All In all, it was a nice experience and I wish BUFORA another 50 years of good UFO work.

Let me now show a sample gallery of a few portraits to illustrate the meetings and some of the faces.


Jenny Randles through Skype link.

John Spencer on speech.

Tony Eccles on speech.

V.J. Ballester Olmos on speech (Photo by O.J. Braenne).

Matt Lyons, BUFORA chairman, closing the conference.

Left to right: Luis González, Ole Jonny Braenne and V.J. Ballester Olmos.

Left to right: V.J. Ballester Olmos, Ole Jonny Braenne and Clas Svahn.

Lionel Beer (right) and V.J. Ballester Olmos.

Clas Svahn (right) and V.J. Ballester Olmos (Photo by O.J. Braenne).

Clockwise: V.J. Ballester Olmos, C. Svahn, C.A. Mattsson (AFU, Sweden), J.E. Bergfjord (NETI, Norway), L. R. González, and G. Abraini (Photo by O.J. Braenne).
INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE
This section gives acknowledgments and thanks for cooperation and assistance received from new collaborators.

Ukraine 
Thanks to the cooperation of Igor Kalytyuk, coordinator of EIBC (International Scientific Research Center) of Ukraine, FOTOCAT has substantially improved its contents for this ex-URSS country. Moreover, with Igor’s assistance, our database of reports from the extinct Soviet Union has been improved by segregating the cases by the corresponding ex-socialist republics, now independent countries like Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, etc. (previously they all were included within Russia). Igor is also becoming a major source for information regarding other topics, to be disclosed at a later date.

Господин Kalityuk has been kind enough to interview me for his web site; it has just been released in Russian, here:
http://ufology-news.com/intervyu/intervyu-s-visente-xuanom-ballesterom-olmosom.html
This is also published in English in the following pdf:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/18672430/Ufology_News/Kalytyuk_I._Interview_with_Vicente-Juan_Ballester_Olmos_2012_ENG.pdf 

Intense Cooperation with Russia 
Last June 26th I had the distinct pleasure of meeting again Dr. Sergey Chernouss, senior scientist at the Polar Geophysical Institute of Russia and a long-term student of UFOs as member of Setka (Net), Galaktika (Galaxy) and Horizont (Horizon) past projects of the Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Defense. We discussed photographs of our Russian FOTOCAT, with emphasis on the sightings of Petrozavodsk (1977, 1981) as well as other UFO observations created by rocket launches. We also covered UFO disclosure in Russia, the big Platov UFO katalog, and more, in a most pleasant 5-hour encounter in Barcelona city. During our conversation, two items popped up that I consider being of general interest, one is the forthcoming publication of his latest paper, “Optical Phenomena due to Rocket Exhaust Products”, presented to the 38th European Meeting on Atmospheric Studies by Optical Methods (Siuntio, Finland, 2011), co-authored with Yu. Platov, V. Alpatov & M. Uspensky, Geophysics (in print), and the beautiful video “Aurora over Kola Peninsula” produced by Dr. Chernouss, it has amazing motion images and can be purchased by writing to: Chernouss@gia.ru



1. Dr.Sergey Chernouss (on the left) and V.J. Ballester Olmos during a working meeting in a café.

2. Chernouss and Ballester Olmos pose in the open air in a street of Barcelona, June 2012.
Books Donated 
For the European researchers, the two volumes of Vague d’OVNI sur la Belgique (UFO Wave over Belgium) published by the SOBEPS in 1991 and 1994 represent exceptional documents to comprehend the magnitude of UFO reporting in that country. Patrick Ferryn has been kind enough to replace my own two copies spoiled by use and abuse with two brand new volumes. Monsieur Ferryn is, in addition to being a noted UFO student, a talented film and documentary director and producer based in Bruxelles, and I cannot resist the temptation to advise lovers of folk and country music to review his productions by writing to: caboose.productions@skynet.be

Books Received for Review 
*Thanks to Christian Lambright for a copy of his 2011-published, 341-page book entitled X Descending. This is largely based on two films of alleged UFO footage taken by Paul Bennewitz (~December 19, 1979, Albuquerque, New Mexico) and by Ray Stanford (October 5, 1985, Corpus Christi, Texas), narrated in the light of a series of technological and intelligence implications. One Richard Doty, disinformation character, also finds his way into the book, which every reader must judge on its content. The book can be purchased here:
http://www.xdeskpublishing.com/books/

*The publisher of Flying Saucers over the White House (Cosimo Books, New York, 2010) sent us a review copy of this soft cover book by Colin Bennett. Allegedly an “inside story of Captain Edward J. Ruppelt and his official U.S. Air Force Investigation of UFOs”, I was amazed to discover that such an important character is dispatched in 166 pages, and that the original title of the book when it was first released in England five years before was “American Demonology, Flying Saucers over the White House”. So I decided to request advice from a master in Blue Book and the US official UFO inquiry, Dr. Michael Swords, who wrote this concise statement on this booklet:

The content and hypothesis of the book is so astonishingly off target, as far as anything that the Air Force or Ed Ruppelt were doing in the UFO project, that it is a useless read on the subject, and will actually detract from what a person already knows. The author tries to connect the UFO project's dilemma to some huge philosophical/psychological crisis that the whole American culture will undergo and, although such a book might conceivably be written, he has chosen a topic to illustrate this which is 100% wrong. And he only has a very superficial understanding of anything about Ruppelt or UFO research on top of it. Amen.

Others
I wish to mention how much appreciated is the invaluable collaboration being provided by the Mexican researcher Leopoldo Enríquez Zambrano in the area of statistical data analysis from our database, which is quite helpful in various projects of ours.

GALLERY OF PHENOMENA  
This section will display a sample of UFO photographs or footage whose study is revealing or educative at least.

• Originals (#2): Mr. Templeton’s Invisible Humanoid
(This Section “Originals” started last update and it attempts to show analytical results on noted UFO cases where first-generation photographs of the events are available in the FOTOCAT files. Studies are performed by Andrés Duarte.)

A very well-known photographic case, involving the possible presence of an alien being was the picture snapped not far from Carlisle (Cumbria, England) around 13:00 hours on May 24, 1964 by James P. Templeton, a fireman who had taken his younger daughter Elizabeth to a place called Burgh Marsh, where he took 3 photographs of her posing on the grass. Nothing out the ordinary happened during the photographic session but after development a weird whitish image appeared in photo #2. The humanoid figure –apparently invisible to the human eye– was not evident in the other photographs taken that morning.


1. Portrait of 5-year-old Elizabeth Templeton, Burgh Marsh, May 24, 1964. © James P. Templeton.

2. A close-up of the picture, showing detail of the image behind the child.

3. Elizabeth and her older sister, same morning and place. © James P. Templeton, courtesy of Dave Armitage.
There are many valuable references in the UFO literature to this occurrence, since the first report published in the British FSR (1). Among the various curious facets of this story, Mr. Templeton received, it seems, a visit by a pair of civilians impersonating Air Ministry personnel (2,3). Theories abound, from a model planted by the photographer (4), an artifact of the camera lens or the processing (5), or a composite made using some superimposition technique (6), but Templeton himself wrote a letter to a newspaper as late as 2002 (he died in 2011) still claiming that the picture was not a fake (7). In 2005, four independent readers sent letters to the editor of a Fortean magazine explaining that the figure in the background was just a person facing away from the camera (8). However, the very first who held this supposition was precisely the chemist who processed the film, when he noticed that “a man in the background wearing a spacesuit spoiled the best one” (9).

In the last few years, several researchers have graphically demonstrated the now accepted conclusion to this photograph, i.e., that it just shows a normal person, moving behind the child that escaped the attention of the cameraman, who was preoccupied with taking the picture. Motion and wrong focus produced the blurred, spurious image (10-13).

Let me mention in passing a couple of hardly known anecdotes, related to this case. Jim Templeton took another UFO photograph later that summer (of a streak of light in the sky), one that looks like a lens flare (14). By 1965 Templeton was selling copies of the spaceman picture at the price of 2 Pounds Sterling; in fact, the Canadian UFO fanzine which advertised this reported that “Mr. Templeton says the Russians believe that he came from Venus” (15).

REFERENCES
(1) Gordon W. Creighton, “The mysterious Templeton photograph”, Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 10, No. 6, November-December 1964, pp 11-12.
(2) David Clarke & Andy Roberts, Out of the Shadows, Piatkus, 2002, pp 192-195.
(3) Jenny Randles, Investigating the Truth behind the Men in Black Phenomenon, Piatkus, 1997.
(4) Luis Ruiz Nóguez, 100 fotos de extraterrestres, pp 76-77, quoting from NOUS magazine. Also: http://marcianitosverdes.haaan.com/2012/04/la-fotografa-del-hombre-del-espacio-de-solway/
(5) Jenny Randles, Fortean Times, May 2005, p 29.
(6) Andy Roberts & David Clarke, “Farewell to the Solway Spaceman?” Fortean Times, April 2012, pp 28-29.
(7) http://www.cumberlandspaceman.co.uk/spaceman-home/jim-templeton/
(8) Nick Keeble, Rian Hughes, Paul Cornell, and Dave Trevor, Fortean Times, May 2005, p 73.
(9) Jenny Randles, “The Riddle of the Templeton Photograph”, International UFO Reporter, July-August 1995, pp 12-15.
(10) Anthony Bragalia, http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2010/10/ufos-that-never-were-classic-photos-now.html
(11) Bob Koford, http://bobkoford.blogspot.com/2010/10/space-guy.html
(12) Dave Armitage, http://www.cumberlandspaceman.co.uk/spaceman-home/investigations-spaceman-photo/
(13) Gordon Hudson, in The UFO Iconoclast, http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2010/10/anthony-bragalia-finds-spaceman_22.html
(14) Jenny Randles, “Aliens Invasion or Clever Hoax?” Daily Mail, May 11, 2012.
(15) Ad in Saucers, Space & Science, 39, summer 1965, p 17.

Now we are presenting a scientific study of this photograph, especially prepared by photographic analyst Andrés Duarte for this blog. Firstly, it seems pertinent to provide the known technical data of the photograph: camera Pentacon F, lens Zeiss Jena 58 mm Biotar, film Kodacolor X at 100th of a second at f16.

1. PERSPECTIVE ANALYSIS

Perspective CGI © Andrés Duarte, 2012.
“Perspective.jpg” shows a computer-generated-image model of an adult man, with his back to the camera, superimposed on the photograph. In some forums and blogs it has been said that the rule of the 8 heads (i.e., the height of an adult is eight times the height of the head) should be used in order to adjust the image of a man into this photo, but this is not directly applicable to this case because the head is higher in front than behind because of the jaw, so that if we would follow this rule, the feet would be higher than they should. What has been done here is to vary the size and pose of the model to fit the individual in the photograph in the best possible way.

In this figure, the blue line is the horizon, the green line represents the ground on which the man stands, and the red line, whose location is not known a priori, is beneath the man and is on the ground level where the child sits.

Distances a, b and c are the distances between the projected lines in the image, directly measured in pixels. The respective actual dimensions (h, H and x) at the distance where the man is standing, are in brackets. H is the height of the person, x is the unevenness of the ground, and h is the height of the camera above the ground, where the child is sitting, that is also the height at which the child’s forehead is, as it is just across the horizon. The reason for plotting the horizon and the red line is that if the child is transferred horizontally to the place where the unknown person is, her forehead would continue on the horizon level and she would be sitting right on the red line, so that the value of h can be estimated and used to establish leverage ratios.

According to the reported age, the child probably had a height of 110 cm, and while sitting her forehead should be about 60 cm above the ground, then this is the estimated value of h. For the stature of the unknown man, let us suppose H = 175 cm. The projected height in this image reduction is b = 280 pixels.

The ratio between actual and projected dimensions is preserved, save minor distortions, so that: a / b = h / H

From here, we clear the value of: a = b*h / H = 96 pixels, wherewith it is possible to locate the red line and directly measure the value of c in the image, resulting: c = 25 pixels.

Then we can calculate x within this other ratio: c / b = x / H

And we get: x = c * H / b = 16 cm

Furthermore, the distance D from the person to the camera is given by:
D = H / [2 * tan (beta / 2)] = 860 cm
[FOV = 2 * atan (d / 2f) = 34.5 ° (FOV is the visual field; d = 36 mm is the frame size; f = 58 mm is the focal length)]
[beta = FOV * b / w = 11.6 ° (beta angle is the angular height of the person; w is the height of the full picture, which is 833 pixels in this image reduction)]

The distance from the child to the camera is calculated similarly, the result being 160 cm, then the unknown person would be 860-160 = 700 cm behind the child. Therefore, the ramp or shoulder would be about 16 cm in 7 m. Consequently, the image is consistent with a person of normal height standing on a ground with a negligible ramp level.

2. DEFOCUSING ANALYSIS



Selections. © Andrés Duarte, 2012.

Fourier spectra. © Andrés Duarte, 2012.
The graph "Spectra.jpg" shows orientationally averaged Fourier spectra in log-log scale of the 4 framed selections in the photograph "Selections.jpg", identified with the letters A, B, C and X. The gray line corresponds to the measured spectra, in which the slope and the minor fluctuations are determined by the shapes present in the photo, and the curvature is given by the defocusing. The plateau and peaks to the right of the graph are not very relevant in the spectra modeling and are due to embossed pattern of the photographic print. The red dotted line corresponds to an idealized model of a defocused image with white noise that has been adjusted to each spectrum. In parentheses it appears the value of "c" included in the model, which is the diameter of the circle of confusion (not to be mistaken with the permissible circle of confusion), which is a measure of the defocusing present in each selection of the photograph.

In the model used sometimes it is possible to confuse the defocusing effect with the diffraction effect, but the value of c in the image of the child (0.075 mm) is quite a bit higher than the expected value for the diffraction (0.02 mm) in a photo taken with relative aperture N = 16, which means that the picture is not well focused on the child. The obtained results are consistent with a picture focused at a distance S = 100 cm, and the value of c for the image of an object at a distance D is given by the known photographic formula:
c = [(D-S) / D] * f² / [N * (S-f)]

According to this expression and the values ??given above (f = 58 mm, N = 16, S = 100 cm) and the D estimates made in the perspective analysis, the value of c for the image of the child (D = 160 cm), is 0.084 mm, for the image of the unknown person behind the child (D = 860 cm) is 0.20 mm, and for any distant object (D >> S) it approaches the asymptotic value of 0.22 mm. Except for minor errors, these three values ??are close to the corresponding results of the spectral analysis, which means that these findings are consistent with a picture focused at 1 meter and with the distances estimated in the perspective analysis, so that the differences in focus in the image are consistent with the presence of a person of normal height standing behind the child.

3. RESTORATION



Restoration process. © Andrés Duarte, 2012.
To the left of "Restoration.jpg" is the original image, in the center the embossed pattern of the print has been partially removed, and then to the right a restoration has been achieved by deconvolution. The deconvolution allows having a sharp image from a blurry photograph, but in this case the restoration achieved is not very satisfactory because it is not possible to completely eliminate the embossing pattern from this copy, which affects very significantly the chances of getting a good deconvolution.

CONCLUSION: The results of the perspective analysis and the defocusing analysis are mutually consistent and consistent with the presence of an adult person of normal height placed some 7 m behind the child. 

• Military F-16 Radar Lock-on Footage
There is an ample literature on the UFO sightings in Belgium during the night of March 30-31, 1990, at the height of the so-called Belgian UFO wave. While the events unrolled, two F-16 jets were scrambled over the Perwez-Ramillies area to investigate. There was a radar lock-on (unknown echoes detected) from the aircraft, yet the pilots did not see anything strange visually.


March 31, 1990. Still image extracted from the F16 aircraft video filmed over Belgium.
It is now suitable to remind our readers of the following sources, probably the most extensive about this series of much-debated events:
*Auguste Meessen, “Observations, analyses et recherches”, in Vague d’OVNI sur la Belgique, Volume 2, SOBEPS (Bruxelles), 1991, pages 387-430.
*Auguste Meessen, “Analyses approfondie des mystérieux enregistrements radar des F-16”, Inforespace, 97, December 1998, pages 9-48.
*Tim Printy, “March 30-31, 1990. The Belgium F-16 UFO Chase”, http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite4_3.pdf pages 5-9.
*Roger Paquay, “The evening of 30 March 1990: Observation by the F16s”, ibid, pages 10-14.

Thanks to the generosity of Franck Boitte, I have received the original tape recorded by the military aircraft containing the footage acquired by the onboard radar. The NTSC recording -stored in a large U-MATIC videocassette- has been converted into plain MP4 video format, and I am happy to display here the 2.14 minute footage for all to watch and retain, once it has been uploaded to YouTube for quicker, general downloading and access: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3geA2Jp-n0

Apparently, the cause for the radar echoes was either some abnormal atmospheric conditions or an artifact from the own radar equipment, i.e., the creation of false radar targets or returns with unusual rates of speed.
(I wish to thank Manuel Borraz for key assistance.)  
 
Conisborough (UK)
In this blog’s last update I included a study by John R. English of the well-known UFO picture taken by a young lad on March 28, 1966 in the town of Conisborough (England). The conclusion was that it was a fake and the main reason is that a sort of Moiré interference effect was found in the negative, and only in this negative out of the 4 in the film strip. In May 2012 our colleague Martin Shough provided certain reasons why the pattern of rainbow-colored fringes or rings found by English was not a Moiré effect, and pointed out, also, that this effect could not have existed on the B&W original. He argued that it was probably an effect called “Newton’s rings” (caused by interfering reflections of light in an air gap between two transparent surfaces in near-contact where the gap is close to the wavelength) which could only occur during some type of colour recopying, and therefore does not have any bearing on the status of the original photo. Consequently I sought further advice from our consultant Andrés Duarte. His comments follow:


Conisborough (UK), March 28, 1966 photo. © Stephen Pratt, by courtesy of John Hanson.
A pattern like the one that can be seen in the scanned negative can be formed by several causes.
1. Moiré pattern: a Moiré pattern similar to that of the image may appear during the negative scanning if there is a distorted and irregular geometric pattern on it, but this is unlikely because the copies do not show such a pattern (there are several scanned copies of the Conisborough photo available in the internet), and because it is very rare that a scanning may produce a Moiré pattern with more than two colors.

2. Optical interference pattern (Newton rings) printed in the picture: if an interference phenomenon occurs when the picture was taken, it could have been recorded, but it is not possible that an interference pattern like the one in the photograph in question is printed in the emulsion because there is no such pattern in the copies and because the pattern is colored even though the photo is black and white.

3. Optical interference within the negative: it is possible that an internal interference effect occurs, one that can be located depending on the defects and irregularities in the negative. This is not inconsistent with the absence of the pattern in the copies, as the copying process does not provide the conditions to easily notice a phenomenon like this.

4. Optical interference between the negative and the scanner: this is the most likely cause; in this case, the Newton's rings are centered at the points of the negative with greater adherence to the scanner.

These possible causes can be tested by re-scanning the negative, by analyzing high-resolution copies, and by examining the negative in different lighting conditions (with light transmitted and reflected at different angles in order to reveal possible internal interferences.)
Considering the feasibility of each possible cause for the formation of the observed pattern, there seems not to be good reasons to think that this has any relationship to the presence of the alleged UFOs in the photo.

Most probably the image is a model trick because there is a difference of focusing between the “UFO” objects and the background, which means that these are small objects close to the camera, either hanging models or figures glued to a glass.

South African Cases, 1954 Vintage 
A new case for the wave year of 1954 has arrived to my knowledge, as published in Nexus, 2, August 1954. A brief news item released April 20, 1954 reported that a South African schoolboy claimed to have seen and photographed a dark elliptical object with an "undercarriage" like an inverted cone, while he was climbing a mountain near Muizenburg, in Cape Province. He said it swooped down from the clouds with a noise like hydraulic brakes or a powerful jet. He was carrying a camera and quickly snapped the object.

I am looking for any additional information on this poorly-documented event. In fact, I am also seeking information for two other photographic cases in South Africa in 1954, as follows:

(#1) 1954, South Africa. Mr. Ken Rathyen furnished a series of pictures showing a domed-disc-shaped UFO over the building of a city. The photographer was not identified.

(#2) April 11, 1954, Tokai, South Africa, 14:00 hours. A UFO was reportedly photographed by a witness identified only as Villiers.

I will appreciate if any reader can obtain some additional information regarding these incidents by consulting the actual local press of the epoch.
Still More Stills from 1954 
FOTOCAT Report #1 was devoted to a review of all known UFO photographic records generated during the wave year of 1954: http://www.box.net/shared/y1mufymo8w Since the publication of this work, several other items have been found. I use this blog’s updates to give them exposure. This time, I am presenting two more finds.

The French newspaper L’Est Républicain of February 13, 1954 published a reportage about a UFO sighted by Jean Hofmockel, 26, living in Homécourt (104, Cités de la Gare), ambiguously dated as “last week” (February 1 to 7). According to the witness, he was walking near the slag heap of Sainte-Marie-aux-Chênes at 13:15 hours when he saw a disc-shaped object of 25 meters diameter arriving near the ground in a falling-leaf motion. Before it climbed rapidly until disappearance, Hofmockel was able to take 3 snapshots. Only one was printed. You can judge by yourself: it looks like a dish thrown in the air, doesn’t it?  However, to be fair, this event shows features of interest as well: it occurred before the start of the UFO wave in France, it described a peculiar dynamics reported occasionally as well (a first-timer?), and it was hardly known by French specialists. I wonder if some local colleague can trace the guy (if not dead, he is aged 84 nowadays) or his family to examine the case in depth, and the photographic material in particular.
(Thanks to Franck Boitte, Gilles Munsch, and Raoul Robé.)


Early February 1954, Sainte-Marie-aux-Chênes, France. © Jean Hofmockel.
On May 15, 1954 some American newspapers published the news that a sexton had died investigating mysterious lights in Jersey City (New Jersey). Indeed, it seems that since the previous Good Friday strange lights -red, amber, green, blue and other colors- had been spotted in the belfry of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in that city. The sexton, Matthew Guarino, 64 years old, had informed her grandson that he was going to see what was happening in the belfry. Having had no word from Guarino for over 14 hours, they were looking for him, finding him dead, hunched over a seat in the organ loft, two levels below. According to the police, it was a sudden heart attack. This information, and what follows, comes from an article written by the photographer and ufologist August C. Roberts for the Nexus newsletter (Vol. 6, Tome 1, December 1954, pp. 11-12.) The evening of May 15, Roberts, accompanied by Ted Bloecher and Marty Meyerson drove to the city, took pictures of the lights and made ??some acceptable inquiries -given his bad reputation as the author of UFO trick pictures- that led him to admit that those lights were due to ordinary reflections on the roof of the church steeple of traffic lights installed one block away. It was found that these reflections followed the same rhythm, color and intensity as traffic lights.
(Thanks to Tom Benson.)


May 15, 1954, Jersey City. Curious but ordinary reflections on a belfry. © August C. Roberts.
Rocket Launches and UFO Observations 
Lots of literature exists to show the relationship between rocket and missile launches and UFO sightings. During my recent meeting with Sergey Chernouss I was given wonderful pictures of the spatial spectacle of the luminous, multi-colored trail left by the launch from Plesetsk of the Soyuz 2-1A Fregat rocket that boosted the Meridian 2 satellite on May 22, 2011, as taken from Vologda city (Russia) by Alexander Smirnov, from the Petrozavodsk State University. Three stupendous photographs illustrate what frequently is mistaken for a UFO, and I am happy to share them with readers of this blog.


Atmospheric effects of rocket launch. © A. Smirnov.
The Brighton Police Helicopter UFO Chase 
I am digitalizing some video footage I have collected over the years, some direct recordings received from colleagues, others taken from TV programs, with the purpose of sharing the images with my audience. I am looking for the educational effect on my fellow researchers, who can find similar events in their countries and be able to produce comparative ufology.

On the evening of August 11, 2000, a helicopter from the Brighton police (Sussex, England) recorded the flight of a lighted object over the city. Police officers John Tickner and Sean Mitchell saw and obtained more than 3 minutes of video footage (in both visible light and infrared) of the flying object. Finally, it turned to be just a fire balloon, but it was amazing at the first. 


Identified flying object over Brighton (UK) on August 11, 2000. Visible mode recording and IR recording. © South East Today.
A segment of the film is here for everybody to watch:

CATALOG TALLY  
This section will provide basic statistics produced from the FOTOCAT database.

The FOTOCAT Database: A Tool for the Present and the Future
The interested reader will find here my PowerPoint presentation to the 2012 BUFORA conference. The main section of the lecture was a preliminary examination of Great Britain’s FOTOCAT content. Please click on this link (be patient, downloading takes its time): http://tinyurl.com/fotocat-tool-presentation

REFERENCES & NEWS  
This section is devoted to delivering information on research, articles of note, books, symposia and other news from selected sources which are considered worthy of the attention of serious-minded UFO investigators.

• Latest from French GEIPAN 
Dutch researcher Philippe Ailleris, from UAP Reporting, has released a very interesting document, a lecture recently given by Xavier Passot, current head of French GEIPAN. Adding value to this is an interview with Mr. Passot by Ailleris himself. Please go to: http://tinyurl.com/geipan-lecture

• Optical Effects of Rocket and Missile Launches 
As mentioned above, the scientific literature on visual effects produced in the atmosphere by the launch of rockets and missiles, frequently taken to be manifestations of UFO phenomena, is already abundant. Russian researchers have made a lot of progress in this field, mostly because many of the space experiences concerned belong to this country. Because of the relevance of this matter to ufology, I am providing a few references to recent studies in this field:

A.G. Molchanov and Yulii V. Platov, “Strong Explosion Model of Gas Dynamics of a Rocket Plume in the Upper Atmosphere”, a report presented to the 2011 International Autumn Seminar on Propellants, Explosives and Pyrotechnics at Najing (China), September 2011. Thanks to the permission of Dr. Platov, you can watch the PowerPoint slide presentation here: http://tinyurl.com/fcrmodel

A more formal publication (also by the two authors) is: “Gas Dynamics of a Rocket Plume in the Upper Atmosphere”, Journal of Russian Laser Research, Volume 31, Number 5, 2010, pages 410-414.
Two other papers related to the optical phenomena associated with the launch of the Russian Bulava ballistic missile on December 9, 2009 have been coauthored by Dr. Platov and Dr. Sergey Chernouss. A pdf and a PowerPoint presentation can be read here:
http://tinyurl.com/bulavapdf
http://tinyurl.com/bulavaenglish

• Nazi Saucers 
Since the 1990s there is a growing body of information concerning flying saucers built by German Nazi scientists during the Second World War. FOTOCAT has several photographic examples of such advanced aircraft allegedly designed and flown by 3rd Reich aeronautical experts. But there is also a growing body of research showing this all to be a myth and a pure fantasy, photographs included. Two recent references have been just added to the rational, scholar literature in this field that I rush to recommend.

One is an article in French by a well-versed student of this matter, the Dutch researcher Theo Paijmans, who has written “De la science-fiction allemande aux “groups rêveurs” du 3E Reich: Les précurseurs littéraires du mythe des soucoupes volantes nazies” (La Gazette Fortéene, Volume V (2011), pages 383-387.)
Another is an essay in Italian by the foremost investigator Maurizio Verga: “UFO Nazisti”, http://www.it.wikiufo.org/index.php?title=UFO_Nazisti

• Important Resources 
While researching UFO reports, accurate data on meteorite falls as well as rocket and satellite reentries is often sought. Therefore, I believe the two following databases are important resources to access, having an awesome volume of valuable information to consult:
*Meteoritic Bulletin Database: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/index.php
*Space Track. NASA – National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) Master Catalog: http://www.space-track.org/perl/login.pl

• Find my Books in Amazon 
I guess some readers may be interested to know that some of my books as single author, main author, or contributing author are on sale by Amazon.com. This is the relevant link: http://tinyurl.com/7glwc9x

• Article on Lens Flares 
Ufology is an anomaly in the field of knowledge. Other disciplines progress as information and findings accumulate, but in the case of our own petty subject we never learn. The same mistakes made in the 1950s repeat today. It is a never-ending-story. As an example, the many unseen “objects” appearing in photographs where the Sun is in the field of the image. The Mexican researcher Leopoldo Zambrano has an article (in Spanish) about lens flares that is worth reading:
http://meditacionesdeunfumador.blogspot.com/2011/02/los-duendes-solares.html

On the contrary, a faulty entry in a Costa Rican blog, where a quite obvious example of lens flares is (mis)taken for an invisible UFO (in Spanish):
http://raulariasovnis.blogspot.com/2011/01/el-caso-del-ovni-en-el-yeso-chile.html

• Roswell Mythology 
Myths expand, rarely shrink. Roswell is not an exception. Lately we have heard the so-called testimony of an ex-CIA spy that claimed he saw the ultimate secrets of this saga. In this regard, Kevin Randle has a wise entry in his blog: http://kevinrandle.blogspot.no/2012/07/roswell-and-chase-brandon.html
(Thanks to Ole Jonny Brænne for the lead.)

It may be not politically correct to quote or recommend a purely debunking article in UFO circles. But I do not look for applause. My reward consists of facilitating the sharing of true, mind-opening information among researchers –be they believers or skeptical– and being credited for this. Therefore I am suggesting the reading of this article; in my opinion, it is fundamental to understand the process by which certain stories develop to become actual myths:
http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_roswellian_syndrome_how_some_ufo_myths_develop/
(Thanks to Dr. Ricardo Campo Pérez.)

• Latest on Ball Lightning 
A most recent paper on ball lightning research has been received thanks to the kindness of its author, Dr. Karl D. Stephan, professor at the Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University. "Implications of the visual appearance of ball lightning for luminosity mechanisms," appeared in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume. 89 (2012), pages 121-130, and can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/fotocat-implications

Research on theories to explain the formation of ball lightning continues to be active (the scientific bibliography on this elusive phenomenon is already immense). Another proof is this new paper: “Birth of ball lightning”, by J.J. Lowke et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 (2012), published by the American Geophysical Union. It can be purchased from: http://www.agu.org/login/
(Thanks to Joel Carpenter.)

• 1950 April Fool’s Humanoid 
An iconic photograph of an early UFO entity captured by two FBI-looking guys is revisited by Kentaro Mori. I heartily advise not to miss it. Go to:
http://forgetomori.com/2012/ufos/the-fbikgbss-alien-photo-found/


Allegedly taken on March 21, 1950 in Monument Valley (California) by D. Ussel, the event and pictures were an elaborated journalistic joke. © Neue Illustrierte (Cologne, Germany).
• Maritime UFOs 
Just very recently I found an informative paper by Antonio F. Rullán, entitled “Blue Book UFO Reports at Sea by Ships”: http://www.nicap.org/1USO/bbpdf.pdf

As this 55-page report was released ten years ago (December 2002), I wrote Mr. Rullán to find out his present-day thinking about this work. He stated: It has been a while since I wrote that monograph, but my recollection is that the majority of cases post 1957 were misrepresentation of satellites by crew-members at sea.
(Thanks to Tony Rullán and Francis Ridge.)

• Hessdalen Lights under Critique 
Some anomalous-looking pictures taken in the Norwegian area of Hessdalen have been reviewed and found to be potentially explainable. I suggest reading these two recent entries in the blog of the Spanish UFO analyst Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga:
http://misteriosdelaire.blogspot.com.es/2012/09/las-luces-de-hessdalen.html
http://misteriosdelaire.blogspot.com.es/2012/10/el-fenomeno-hessdalen.html

• Other Articles in this Blog 
You can find a couple of other articles in the Spanish section of this blog specifically related to UFO reports in Spain. Please scroll down to:
“Y el OVNI surgió del mar…” (And the UFO Rose from the Sea…), and
“Platillos volantes en España en 1947” (Flying Saucers in Spain in 1947).
  
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