The Big Study

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Is There Anything Non-physical About Man?" : J.B.Rhine.

{ This is little bit more an "intellectual" blogpost than most, and I am temporarily blogged out on the UFO subject, so off I go into other regions of the Mystery Land of Out Proctor..... }

This entry is about J B Rhine, who most readers rightly know as the founder of Parapsychology as an academic field. {It is occasioned by my non-profound need to get rid of excess materials prior to the "October" transition to the new house [rising as we speak]. One action, which will elicit horror from some readers, is the elimination of certain copies of FATE magazine which were unproductively eating linear shelf space. Before people go bananas, these were excess copies in the SITU archives [which has a complete set up till its demise], and I also have a complete set personally --- so triplicates were not needed. I came across the FATE article by Rhine [July 1963] and got a bit inspired.}


Stage One: c. 1917-1918. J.B. Rhine is a conservative young man, studying for the ministry at a college in northern Ohio. He, therefore, had the sense of spirituality lain into the foundations of his being, and, because he was never one to go at things half-way, he was going for the Gold Ring of learning to be a minister of spiritual matters for his good and that of others.

BUT, something happened to burst this happy state.

Rhine had a class in Psychology which contained a serious look at the writings/ideas of the great philosopher/ psychologist William James. James among many other things had focussed upon the conundrum placed before many current intellectuals concerning the Freedom of the Will. James, no opponent of spiritual concepts, admitted that the concept of "freedom" of the Will was posing a serious difficulty for scientists, and that some were saying that the claim was a "quite unsupported and even mistaken notion."

Rhine took this as a hammerblow to the foundation of his spiritual view of the world. Always the bright fellow, he realized that unless there was freedom of the Will, there was no means whereby "science", or any form of exploration, could see evidence of anything associated with human nature which went beyond mere materialist reductionism, to say nothing of voiding any profound meaning which might be attached to the existence of any individual human's life. {some person's might wish to claim that some case might be made for "meaning" at the Darwinist or Survival/Thrival of Species level --- a claim quite disputable as to its profundity itself, but in a materialistic non-free Darwinist world, little can be said to attempt to maintain that individual species' "units" [i.e. persons] have importance.}

Rhine was so disturbed by this that he gave up the ministry.

Stage 2: c. 1922-1923. Rhine tries to make the best of it. He shifts his exploratory mind to Biology, hoping to learn as much as possible about what makes up living things [he is studying Plant Physiology, and picking up general information about "Life", doubtless edging him along paths to try to understand the brain better as he went]. He is now a graduate student at the University of Chicago, where he meets his to-be-wife, Louisa.

Once again his "complacent" intellectual world went "boom."

Rhine had, probably while not even noticing it, begun to be mentally programmed by the "Commandments of The Tribe" [in this case academic Biology] to not only reject the sorts of things that Religion stood for, but things such as those which interested A Conan Doyle as well. In short he was becoming one of the vast tribal sheepdom of academic reductionists from which come debunkers and CSICOPians. {Since the middle of the 1800s they have always been with us.}  But into town came A Conan Doyle and Rhine Mental Sea changed again.

I don't know where Doyle spoke but it could easily have been on campus [I am almost sure that this is where I had the privilege in the 70s of listening to Rhine, ironically, give a lecture on the Duke Parapsychology Lab statistical work.] Wherever it was, Rhine attended Doyle's talk. His feelings during the talk were ridicule, outrage, and scorn. What Doyle said could not be true --- a priori --- it violated everything in the Tribal Reductionist Creed. But something stuck in his craw.

Doyle had spoken of the researches/ explorations of William Crookes [to our left] and Oliver Lodge. Both were elite, capital E elite, physicists, and both "Sir-ed" by the British Crown. They were heavyweights of Science, but they claimed "outrageous" "ridiculous" observations.

Lodge was particularly interested in testing and collecting information about telepathy, but Crookes' claims were FAR more mind-boggling. Crookes had gotten deeply intrigued by the claims of "apport" trance mediums, and their assertions that material objects could be transported from place to place and that even "physical" or at least apparently physical things could be materialized at the trance site. This would, of course, not only violate all of the reductionist "laws of Nature" as currently understood, but, because they seemed to require a "ghostly" agent, pointed to something spiritual ignored by the scientific cant.

Crookes' most astounding claims, perhaps, came from his sitting in [sometimes even under the sitting seance table] for mediumistic sessions, of which he was particularly impressed by the phenomena presented by Florence Cook. Frankly, I'm similarly boggled, and wish I'd made a deep study of the Florence Cook/ "Katie King" mediumship so I could speak about where the flaws might lie, but I can't so I won't. Crookes required Florence Cook to come alone to his own home and "sit" for just himself and his close personally-chosen friends. The sitting environment was also of his own choosing. There [he reported] was manifested an apparently substantial physical form of the "person"/Wraith? "Katie King." She materialized to Crookes complete satisfaction as a true observable fact. If true, of course, Rhine's new scientific world was again in need of housekeeping.

These pictures were allegedly taken of Katie King at a William Crookes seance/sitting.

Interlude: 1923-1927. Rhine can't get the Doyle talk out of his head and raids the library for writings by Crookes, Lodge, Alfred Russell Wallace. He also discovers the writings of American psychologist William McDougall, sympathetic to the study of these paranormal claims.

Rhine wanted more, of course, than sitting in a prof-like easy chair reading claims. He begin attempting to sit in on medium sessions himself. Hardly convinced of any veridicality in them, he entered into this phase with hostility.

In 1926 or 1927 Rhine attended a seance/sitting by the famous medium Mina Crandon, who is known in the paranormal literature as "Marjery." Hardly impressed, Rhine ripped Marjery apart in an article in the press. The previous year, A Conan Doyle and his colleagues had presented Marjery with an honorarium [a cup] in recognition of her courage in braving bigots in her study to aid the pursuit of the truth. Doyle was not happy with JB.

Doyle, with his recognition, was able to publish a scathing rebuttal in the New York Times. Characterizing the Rhines as stone-cold assassins, he accused them of "colossal impertinence" to believe that as a result of a single sitting they could describe Marjery and her husband as senseless fraudsters, and their audiences as "incompetent dupes." Doyle lauded Marjery and her husband's efforts to continually adapt the conditions of the sittings to deal with the stream of objections which skeptics tossed at them.

Whoever is right about Marjery, this press cannot have comforted the Rhines. It is possible that their experiences with these grosser spontaneous paranormal claims drove them to avoid such person-specific situations in their later work, and concentrate on testing controls wherein the producing agent played as small a part as possible.

Stage 3: c. 1928-1932.

The Rhines took their leave of Chicago and went hunting for William McDougall [here looking a bit like a gray-headed "Professor Snape" without the Hogwarts cape.] McDougall had formed a psychology department at Duke. The Rhines were there to spend a half-year/semester's sabbatical --- a sabbatical which grew into a lifetime's work.

McDougall was a prominent rejector of reductionist mechanistic behaviorism. He defined himself as NOT being a Dualist, but because he viewed the Mind and the Brain as separate entities with a non-physical means of interacting [involving some vision of a "life" principle inherent in matter] it was difficult to clearly see his view as not allowing some type of dual make-up of humanity. More importantly for Rhine, he was already convinced that the phenomenon of telepathy not only existed but had strong scientific evidence.

The Rhines began their association with McDougall as students during this semester sabbatical, and stayed on as instructors in his psychology department thereafter. Five years later, they had decided that parapsychology was clearly a field which could be studied in the laboratory.

Stage 4: 1933-1938.

These were the years that the Duke parapsychology laboratory began to function intensely, and with greater and greater methodological precision. They were also [partly] years when Rhine and the others were blessed with the best volunteer test subject anyone could hope for: Eileen Garrett. {I have written about Eileen Garrett elsewhere on this blog, and will risk the statement that through all the reading that I've done about her, I believe that she is one of the rare people who really had "The Gift".}

Rhine, along with J Gaither Pratt, were the privileged lead researchers with Mrs. Garrett. She was reported by Rhine to be completely cooperative about all laboratory requirements, and in fact had no demands at all which would in any way complicate the testing. It was Rhine's tests with Garrett which convinced him finally that ESP existed and was testable in the lab. These tests were both of Telepathy and Clairvoyance, although Rhine already realized that it was extremely difficult to totally distinguish the two.

Testing occurred while Mrs. Garrett was in normal consciousness, and while she was in her trance state, and the acting agent allegedly her "trance control" Uvani at the time. Rhine wasn't sure what to make of Uvani, but since "he" scored very much like Eileen herself, Rhine tended to regard Uvani as some state of consciousness [I'm not sure of the term he would have used back then] of Mrs Garrett herself, but one "honestly" projected by her --- i.e. she wasn't shamming it, and in fact she didn't know what to make of that part of the phenomenon herself.

Stage 5: 1939 onwards.

These years saw the Rhine group become more famous among the general public and more infamous among academics. Whereas intense amounts of efforts were made to eliminate a never-ending stream of objections by debunkers, the testing became tighter but more statistical-analysis driven in time. Thus it, and parapsychology altogether, began to lose touch with the spectacular "personal" elements which actually fascinated people, and required a reader to be a sophisticated statistician to understand any significance in the results, if they any longer cared.

Rhine and his group of course understood and cared a great deal. His "colleagues" in the psych department [above right] understood something different. He was a threat to them. They feared what he was doing to their reputations among the Tribe. The majority of the five colleagues pictured about [Rhine himself is in near "psychological isolation" on the left] undertook a stealth action to get him fired and/or his lab disbanded. Oh Great Is The Desire In The Academic Mind For Truth!!

Rhine's Reflections on Human Nature:

The Rhines survived it, ultimately moving the lab to a semi-formal relationship with the University, and continuing their studies. In the FATE article of 1963, what did Rhine think that he had learned?

He felt that the work of the lab had delved deeply into "thought<=>brain" interactions, but that unless pretty substantial breakthroughs occurred in areas of neurological science, pursuit of the physical side of these mechanisms would remain obscure. Nevertheless, it felt that he had firmly shown that mind-to-mind content transfer was a reality. This seemed to lead nowhere but the idea that some sort of transfer occurred "non-physically" as we currently understand Physics.

He went on to state that further assurance that the ESP process is not bounded by current understanding of material laws, was seen in that the ESP effect was not hindered by spatial distances --- i.e. there was no fall-off of ESP scoring due to distance, as is true of all the famous "one over R-squared laws" in the textbooks.

"The outstanding characteristic of ESP phenomena is their failure to conform to the type of lawfulness expected of physical processes. There appear to be no physical media of stimulation that can account for them. The conditions seem to defy the space-time properties on which the science of physics is based. In other words, here in the counterhypothesis itself is the kind of evidence that mankind has been seeking in the investigation of spirit communications --- evidence of another order of causality but one that is none-the-less real for all its defiance of physical explanation." 

J B Rhine had begun this long odyssey because his ministerial psychology class had challenged his basic visions of duality and freewill to the point of casting him into anger and a bit of despair. [as it should all of us if we decide to follow that dead-end reductionist path, and as it has several elite scientists once they became "thoughtful" about their reductionist world late in life.] But Rhine, by a wavy path uncharted towards any such goal, ended up finding the missing piece of the Universe and humanity in the "forbidden" laboratory.

"If there is a spiritual function in man, and if it does in some way transcend the physical system of his body and the environment, it could very well give him certain free leverage by means of its transcendence of space-time. Moreover, this other side of man has its own natural, lawful system, and therefore it can be studied, understood, influenced, and educated. So the idea of a validated morality is possible and even makes sense. The government of men is, as our heritage testifies, verifiably more than the engineering of material robots; life and personality are more than elaborate mechanics." 

Rhine was on the right path to a 21st century expanded image of human nature. His intuition about the possibility that the transcendence of these ESP effects might give us "a certain free leverage" is astoundingly intuitive. He was feeling for the connection between the mind and the physical world through "intention" operating at the level of Quantum. That we might intend that something at that level [say electrons in our brains] might "do" one choice of things rather than another.

What a joy for him it would have been to see Robert Jahn and the Princeton PEAR lab group prove exactly that in the 1980s and 1990s. Rhine ploughed a difficult path out of reductionism and towards a "spiritual" willful means of transferring content. Bob Jahn showed that any of us can demonstrate that free-willfulness in the lab.

And Academe officially hates and ignores them for it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This One Is Particularly Odd: Coincidence?

This "entry" into the list of "coincidences" could be one of the most significant. {I thought that I had reported on this not terribly long ago, but I can't find it, so here we go.}

11:16pm, Delaware, OH, August 15, 1977. Professor Jerry Ehman of Franklin University, Columbus, OH was taking the night shift at the Ohio State University Radiotelescope {"The Big Ear"}. Something odd happened.

This telescope, for its time, was a fine instrument. More than three football fields in size [this is their quoted remark], it was easily capable of detecting weak radio signals from space, and the possibility that one could be from "alien intelligences" was, of course, the most "romantic" of its creators' dreams. That evening that hope just might have come true.

The famous WOW signal received and noted by Dr. Ehman that evening is pictured above. It has been described as a "72-second long blast" equivalent to a "noise" {signal} 30 times larger than the background levels. This was completely out of the norm. MANY checks of the telescope were done over the following days, finding nothing wrong. MANY hypotheses were floated to attempt to debunk or normalize the signal, but none worked. MANY revisitings of that area of space {where the Big Ear was surveying at that 72-second moment} were done, but no hint of another signal ever materialized. Someone [rather stupidly] said that if this signal was sent by other-worldly intelligences, then surely they'd repeat it, only to be reminded that we've sent unique signals which we never repeated ourselves.

The data stands as a great mystery. So what's the coincidence?

In Mt. Vernon, IN a talented "amateur" [so talented that it's ridiculous to lay that label on him, but he had no "affiliation" and his devices were "home-grown", so amateur it will be] had built a complex of machines that he hoped might give him not only raw data but early notice of UFO events. That's Fran Ridge above sitting with his equipment way back in 1977.

Fran called his system "MADAR" { Multiple Anomaly Detection and Automatic Recording"}. It detected [as far as I understand it] both radiation anomalies and magnetic field anomalies, then it must have looked for instances where such correlated.

August 15, 1977, Mt. Vernon, IN. I don't believe that Fran was sitting in front of his recorders at the time --- the whole point of automatic recording is so you don't have to --- but something happened that evening. MADAR had recorded several disturbances that summer, but this one was odd. It lasted 209 seconds and was easily distinguished from the background noise. But WHEN exactly did it occur?

The time on the recording says 10:15pm, one hour off. But at the time Mt Vernon was an hour behind Delaware OH, so "it's a coincidence." With MADAR lasting 209 seconds starting approximately one minute before WOW, these signals significantly overlapped --- in fact WOW might have been temporally "nested" within MADAR.

So, what does it mean? Delaware, OH, {at the teardrop} and Mt Vernon, IN {at the orange ring} are about 300 miles apart. The MADAR system was too simple to allow a determination of directionality but it was roughly north-ish. The WOW signal came out of the direction of Sagittarius which I believe [let's not "go to court" on this one] is SSW in Delaware OH's viewing angle in August. The two detection devices might have been looking in a compatible direction for the "coincidence".

What might that mean? It COULD mean that WOW and MADAR had detected a high flying technological device in the skies somewhere over Indiana and Ohio that evening. It then could mean that this device produced radio, magnetic, and radiation "signals". Does that tell us anything about UFOs when they are cruising about perhaps not on some sort of agenda? Should we scour the UFO report literature to see if anyone reported a "light-in-the-sky" over central Indiana that evening? I'd say that that was a very good idea.

Things like Fran's MADAR research aren't going to give us final answers to the UFO mystery, but it sure would help if there were [and had been] a lot more stations like his operating. And this is why Fran Ridge will go down as one of UFOlogy's unsung heroes when folks look back 100 tears from now.

Thanks old timer. We old folks need some appreciation now and then.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Coincidence? To have all these coincidences is just coincidental.

Off we go to the state which brags that it doesn't believe in anything unless you can "show" it. OK, Missouri, you asked for it.

It was 6:40am on the road between Elmer and Atlanta, MO March 4th, 1969. City Marshall, William Overstreet was driving towards Atlanta on his early morning job, a rural mail carrier. Ahead of him, a "large red object" was traveling to his right in the fields. It was moving northerly and would cross his path. Overstreet, because the thing was low [circa 50 off the ground], could estimate its size at about 100 feet in diameter.

As Overstreet continued along, the object had intersected his path at the highway and was hanging overhead.

The thing emitted an intensely bright white lightbeam towards the roadbed. This beam was also extremely hot, and he felt the same way as if he were out on a summer's noon time in full blast of the Sun. As the beam manifested, the object changed colors. Its center became blue, and the red migrated to a ring around this core. A further yellow aura also manifested. The yellow aura gave the impression of rotating clockwise around the circular interior. Although Overstreet felt that all this light was being produced by some object "inside", it was much too bright to see what that could be. No sound accompanied the thing.

Overstreet grabbed his two-way radio to call this in; his signal seemed not to be able to get out. As his truck got very near the beam, the engine died and the radio went inoperative. The truck then coasted for a while. The object moved slightly ahead and the radio turned back on, he popped the clutch and the engine re-started. He moved to within 6 feet of the beam, and both engine and radio quit again. Again the object moved forward while the truck coasted, and the engine and radio turned on again.

This time Overstreet dropped back. The object went on ahead, beam still on, for less than a mile. It smoothly bobbed along according to the contour of the road, always sticking to its original altitude. It flipped off its beam, turned back to all red, "flashed" once as it passed over a powerline, and was lost to sight. The weather, by the way, was clear --- no sign of storms anywhere. [for you ball-lightning fans.]

A NICAP consultant wondered if the UFO itself was producing "highly ionized air" in its vicinity, most obviously causing the powerline flash as it passed over. It is difficult to buy this for the vehicle effects however, as Overstreet, an apparently very good observer, would certainly have noticed static electricity zapping him on his car's interior.

A few days later, about thirty miles "up the road".... 

It's Monday morning, 10:30am, March 10th, 1969 and Mrs. Nanci _______ {she asked on the form not to quote her name, so even if it's almost 50 years ago, I'll comply} was driving to Lancaster, MO with her dog resting in the rear seat. 

The dog roused from his sleep --- a large arousal since he was a St. Bernard. It became alarmed and barked furiously as it jumped into the passenger seat, his hair standing up on his neck. Then, as if he had been whipped, he tried to crawl down beneath the seat, whimpering.

The apparent cause of this extraordinary behavior was a bright beam of light coming down into the road ahead. This beam was so bright [like the Sun] that it was hard to see anything else in its direction. Mrs. X followed the beam skyward to see a disk-shaped [almost like a pyramid] object, gray colored with a small dome atop, from which this beam emerged. Sometimes it seemed like there were particles of something suspended in this beam.

Where the beam intersected the road, it nearly overlapped the road --- i.e. she could tell it was about 24' wide, and the disk somewhat larger [50' or more?; she thought larger]. Her car began to drive into the beam at about 50-60mph, but quickly was slowed to 8-10mph. Though she, out of natural curiosity, squinted strongly to try to determine what this thing was, she could not determine anything but general shape ... and her eyes bothered her for three more days due to the effort. By the way, the Sun was positioned at 90degrees to her right the entire time of the incident.

As the car's velocity was slowing, she tried to push the accelerator, but the car refused to respond to that. Still, even at this slowed speed, her car gradually made headway through the area of the beam and ultimately exited it. At that moment it regained its lost speed and she drove quickly home, not viewing the thing again.

Hmmm.... six days apart in the same general area of the country. Two objects showing eye-stunningly bright white beams onto the roads, one estimated at 100' in diameter, the other in the same apparent range. The one at dawn showing as a sphere of light; the one in daylight showing as a disk. One stopping the vehicle if it got too close, the other slowing it.

Different, yes. Different enough to be "just a coincidence"?

....but the point really is: both these cases had witnesses judged to be highly credible. Whether "just a coincidence" or not, they stand as full-blown mysteries --- particularly since the favorite skeptical "explanation" for such vehicle interferences is some odd sort of never-seen ball lightning, and both cases occurred on clear days.

I'll probably do one more of these [to me] fascinating things, and then give us all a break.

Peace and joyful days.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coincidence? Yep, that's the explanation.

Well, the above may be even beyond Out Proctor, but the following isn't.

Mr. Leo Chaput was a pulp mill worker and also owned a farm on Allumette Island near the town of Chapeau, Quebec. A full-time job AND a farm was plenty for anyone and all that he and his wife wanted that evening was to get some sleep. Nope. UFOs had different plans.

At 2am the family dog began a terrific racket. The barking made the Chaputs wake up and go to the window to observe the cause. Outside in their field was an intense light-broadcasting object. It was hard to see due to the blindingly bright white light which it shown on the ground from what they estimated to be no more than 15 feet from the surface. The impression of the object, as best as could be seen given the light's brilliance, was of a disk with a flat bottom from which the light emerged. Chapeau went outside then and noted that the light was casting shadows everywhere, including his own. He heard a soft "purring" sound similar to that of a quiet outdoor motor. When he averted his eyes briefly, to get some relief from the light, the UFO was gone. He heard the soft purring as if receding in the distance.

The next morning, Chaput and two of his children went into the field. What they found, approximately 600 feet from the house, were three circles of scorched/singed plants. [by the way, folks, the reporting on this case seems to have been roundly bolixed by the informant who wrote to Duplantier at Saucers, Space, & Science and even Hynek seems not to have gotten it quite right. Thankfully NICAP got direct intelligence from Canadian researcher Henry McKay, a pretty respected guy, so I'm going with their specifics.]

So... three circular burnt areas. Each of the circles was of approximately 27' in diameter. Within one circle were two small damaged trees. These were sent to the Ontario Dept. of Lands and Forests, but their report said that they could find nothing unusual about the damaged plants. I'm now going to shift to Ted Phillips as he apparently later contacted McKay and another respected Canadian UFOlogist, Brian Cannon, for more detail.

Phillips reports that the three circles were 32', 28', and 28 1/2' in diameters. The two smaller circles had [additional?] outer [annular] rings of approximately 2 1/2' --- this would make all three footprints about the same size if there was a one foot separator between the scorch mark and the annular rings, but we need a field report with drawings. Inside ring #1 were three round depression marks set in a 15'-on-a-side triangle. Inside circle #2 was the same array, but closer to 14' apart. Inside circle #3 was a 2' pile of rocks aligned 18' long. Cannon and McKay reported a small 4-5' circle with no scorching and no additional features.

All of this makes things that much weirder but I've found that this slight screwing around with patterns is so universal as to appear deliberate. This took place on May 11, 1969.

June first, 1969: The McLaren family was going about their normal business at their farm near Meath Hill near Petawawa, Quebec. The farm is a rolling property and the hilly section to the northside of Highway 17 is clearly visible from the house. When the McLaren children went out towards the road on July 2nd to catch their schoolbus, they saw a circle on the hillside which was not there the previous evening. This marking had occurred the previous night between 1am and that morning. This ring, as reported to Phillips by McKay, was an annular barren-of-plantlife circle, "embossed" into the ground. The outer diameter of the ring was 33'. The annular ring width was between 2' & 3'. Three years later that barren area was still without plant growth.

All of this is, of course, extremely peculiar. The Chaput experience seems directly caused by a "UFO" even if only one such "thing" was observed and four traces were ultimately found. No UFO was seen at Meath, but coincidence? Doesn't seem legit. Again, we are treated to four ring traces of about the same diameter, each of which is different, while two are only minorly different while two others quite changed. .... teasing. Everything about such behavior shouts "teasing" to me. But it is there that I find myself roaming Out Proctor.

Well, what the heck? With enough wandering maybe we'll get on the right track.

Peace, my friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coincidence Again, and Again, and....

Off into the Out Proctor Ozone we go again. We seek new life, new civilizations, new stuff to boggle our already boggled minds. Maybe we'll be able to answer the age old question: would you rather be a mathematician or eat pie? The answer to that probably says volumes about human history.

But, on to serious matters....

It's December 10th, 1982. Weir, Lancashire, England. A husband and wife with their four-year-old son were traveling near the small village of Weir near Deerplay Moor. They saw an odd fast flashing light and stopped their car to see. It, however quickly disappeared. But now the wife saw a bright white light  directly in front of them in the distance but approaching,

As it grew nearer, the light resolved into two lights with a red rectangle between them. It's motion was peculiar. It would zig-zag but more than that it seemed to do so "in steps"--- sudden changes in direction, side-to-side and even backwards sometimes. Despite these motion peculiarities, the thing was ultimately to pass directly over their heads. It was always slow, and dead quiet. As it approached, the couple felt that they were seeing more of the object, from the "frontal" lights and red strip, to part of the arc of lights extending backwards, and finally to the whole object of two red strips connected by semi-circular bands of white lights [these were either lights packed very close together or an actual band of light]. 

While directly overhead, two white lights raced rapidly to the horizon in the direction that their slower moving visitor was heading. The lighted array seemed all one object, which they presumed to be shaped like "a rugby ball". Strangely also, the streaking small lights scared the wife and child while the big closer one did not. The family re-entered their car and left for home. The whole encounter took 8-10 minutes, and the object must have been fairly large as it seemed well below the cloud cover. 

Hmmmm.... strange days indeed.

March 22, 1983. The local [Armagh, Ireland Observatory] Astronomer skeptic was doing his preferred hobby of smearing UFOs in the papers. He was smirking about a recent case which happened at nearby Lurgan/Craigavon. 

Several witnesses had reported odd lights in the sky. Two of those witnesses decided to drive home puzzling over what they'd seen [ten red lights "swarming like bees"]. But it wasn't a completely peaceful drive. As they proceeded down this country lane, their car was "buzzed" itself and followed by an odd object. This thing didn't stop stalking them until they reached a larger road. 

What was it like? A large object [twice the size of a helicopter], with two red rectangular lights connected by semicircles of closely packed white lights. Uh oh.... 

Asked what was the object's whole shape, the guys said: it was shaped like a "rugby ball." 

No one unfortunately knew both cases so as to be able to ask the smirking anti-scientist from the observatory what he thought about that. 

I find these two more interesting than most "coincidences" because these UFO descriptions are just about unique in the literature, and they are not "simple", such that some random mental invention would be likely to come up with this sort of thing twice. 

So what have we got here? True duplicate UFO craft? Some really odd witness information deciding to use the Weir case in a hoax? Trickster working overtime for a good laugh [this was Ireland and Britain, afterall]? 

Anyway... I like the two of them. At a minimum great fun. And, probably a better than average data point that weird stuff of some sort is really going on Out Proctor. 

Peace, friends. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Coincidence in Barbados

Yep, this one really is about Barbados. ... admit it, you always wanted to know something about Barbados.

It's October of 1980 and Allen Hynek is sitting at his desk at the Center for UFO Studies in Evanston trying to figure out the Universe. His peaceful reveries are broken by the arrival of the mail. One envelope bears a nice-looking stamp from Barbados --- doubtless some Center employee will swipe that for their stamp collection he thinks.

The letter is from a fellow astronomer, Philip A. Stahl, who resides in the division of Barbados called St. Michael [in the south central of the island.] His small observatory makes him a focus point for what is called The Barbados Astronomical Society. He has a major puzzlement that he wants Allen to solve.

Stahl had received a report that he thought remarkable enough to publish in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. On December 7th, 1978, a pair of adult witnesses had observed, on a well-overcast evening [no stars or Moon visible], a "large green luminous object." The thing was a very bright "ordinary" green [i.e. not lime green like the famous US Southwest Green Fireballs of 1949.] It appeared from behind one cloud bank, brightly illuminating all the clouds around it, Its size and hard-defined circularity made it just as if the Moon had turned green and was moving horizontally through the clouds. It disappeared behind another cloud bank, not to be seen again.

Well, how foolish, eh? The lady and her adult son were obviously seriously mistaken. The object surely WAS the Moon, and something about the atmosphere must have made it look green.

Nope. This lady was a founding member of the Barbados Astronomical Society, and she knew EXACTLY where the Moon would have been if you could have seen it that night. Whatever she saw, she and her Engineer son were sure that it was no Moon nor anything else they could think of.

Stahl was equally puzzled. His observatory was out observing that night and saw no Green Fireball. If there had been one, they too should have seen it. No reports anywhere in the island reached him. This was a locally limited phenomenon. Unless it was some kind of UFO, the only remaining hypothesis was a form of kugelblitz [ball lightning]. Kugelblitz usually isn't reported as brilliantly green, and especially isn't usually claimed to be that big [this would have had to be quite large to be going in and out of cloud banks looking like the apparent size of the Moon at the horizon.]

Stahl, in his paper, shook his head and punted. He said that kugelblitz was the favored hypothesis [he couldn't say "UFO" now could he?] and the distance must have been seriously misjudged --- though how excellent astronomical observers get going in and out of cloud banks wrong is "awkward".

So, the Universe punished him.

In late September 1980, he received another report.

On the 27th of September, 1980, a Queens College school teacher was picnicking on the veranda of her home. The sky was dark and overcast. That overcast blotted out the Moon and stars. [there were a few stars visible in the line of sight.] As she was staring in the direction of an old windmill on the southern end of the property, a spherical object "like a bright green headlight" descended from great height and disappeared beneath the trees standing to the windmill's left.

Ah! Another fireball no doubt. But there's a bit of a problem. She estimated the apparent size as equivalent to a 9 to 10" diameter ball held at arm's length --- try it, it's huge. It's particularly huge when you add in that the trees it disappeared behind were 100-150 meters away. At a minimum the thing would have to be wider than two+ ordinary houses. ... one heck of a fireball or a ball lightning.

So, Hynek, what's the answer?

Allen did what he always did when the going got tough....

He went to lunch.

Clearly there is one leading hypothesis...

The Moon is angry and is throwing pieces at us.

I have good Out Proctor evidence: I've seen Green Cheese --- obviously the explanation.

Peace, friends.

p.s. Marjorie Johnson's Faerie book is starting out to be very interesting reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Coincidence ... again.

Once more into the Once Again.

"On the night of 25 August, 1951, at my home at 2158 hours I observed for about thirty seconds an unfamiliar aircraft traveling from 10 degrees west of north in the direction of 10 degrees east of south. The rate of speed of the aircraft might have been 350 miles per hour.

"The aircraft was low enough for the neon and car lights of East Central Avenue {this is Albuquerque, NM} to be reflected from it. The altitude of the aircraft was difficult to judge.

"The type of aircraft was that of one with wings swept back 15 degrees approximately. No fuselage was visible. The wings did not appear to taper at the outer ends. At the rear edge of each of the wings at least six and possibly eight, soft, white lights were visible. These lights were round, not trailing as in jet aircraft exhausts seen at night. These lights were grouped in twos with a larger distance between the pairs than between each one in a pair. No red or green lights were visible. As the object moved further south the lights were not visible.

"The underneath surface of the wings of the aircraft appeared to have stripes running from the leading edge to the rear edge of the wings between each pair of lights. These stripes reflected the light whereas the areas between the lights did not reflect light well.

"The most outstanding feature of this observation was the fact that there was no audible sound from motors or jets. In fact the aircraft made no noise that I could hear."

Thus the formal letter to the Air Force command. Her husband wrote a letter which agreed with his wife on essentially all details.

Hmmmm...... Flying Wing or Boomerang-shaped UFO.... fall 1951....

"Can you say Lubbock??"

Despite keeping absolutely quiet about this "coincidence" {The first recorded observation of the Lubbock Lights happened four days later, and the famous pictures [above, the USAFs own copies lifted by J Allen Hynek, by the way] were taken by Carl Hart eight days later --- sightings of these lights went on all through September at least}, the USAF was VERY intrigued by the case.

The Air Force's photo of the photographer Carl Hart. He was thoroughly grilled and his pictures doubted [mainly due to believing that he couldn't have snapped them that fast and gotten a couple fairly jiggle-free.] Carl Hart maintained into his old age that he photographed exactly what appears in the pictures.

The Albuquerque witnesses of their Flying Wing basically agreed with him. When the Air Force called them back in to look at Hart's photos a week or two later [remember that the Lubbock witnesses nor Hart knew anything about the Albuquerque incident, and the Albuquerque witnesses knew nothing about Hart or his photos], they said that yes, that is very much like what they had seen, only theirs in slightly more lighted/reflected conditions.

While Texas Tech faculty deliberated over the mystery for weeks [finally going full-coward and deciding upon a howlingly stupid "natural" conclusion], the Air Force was, again in secret, being far more serious. The immediate thing which seemed as though it MIGHT explain these cases was the possibility that the Northrup Flying Wing was cruising about.

Very sensible hypothesis [if one disregards the lack of sound associated with these reports], but try as we have, there is no evidence whatever that a flying wing was any longer intact and taking some swan-song like voyages in the fall of 1951.

I'm having a hard time NOT believing this one. The "coincidence" of the earlier Albuquerque encounter is pretty powerful for me. The USAF still listed it as "unidentified" till the end of Blue Book.

As to the foolish TTech faculty: I've reported this before, but a TTech math professor, not involved with the guys in the famous picture, managed to get a crude triangulation on one overflight [he and his father-in-law from different positions] and [even with a generous error bar] was able to show that the things were high and very fast --- WAY out of the league of birds and moths who somehow could fly at supernormal speeds in tight geometric formation.

So... I'm "In" on this one.

Till next time.