Wednesday, January 21, 2015
About those Blue Book UFO files...
Ryan Mullahy posted the following in the Facebook group UFO UpDates:
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PROJECT BLUE BOOK FILES:
So the UFO researchers in this group are really going to sit silently while "UFO researchers" and "journalists" re-write UFO history for the sake of promoting a website? The Truth About The Project Blue Book Files:
- The Blue Book files have been available to the public since 1976 or earlier in physical archives.
- 50,000 Project Blue Book documents have been available on line at Archivist Rebecca Wise's Project Blue Book Archive since January 2005.
- fold.3 has had 129,658 Project Blue Book files online since 2008.
- I guess to Alejandro Rojas 6 years is "a few years."
Alejandro Rojas also inaccurately claims in his article that users have to pay a fee to download Project Blue Book Files from fold.3. This is untrue. A user only has to create a free account on fold.3 in order to download Project Blue Books documents. (Alejandro has since added a note to his article correcting himself about downloading from fold.3.) At least Kevin Randle had the guts to speak up.
Both Project Blue Book Archive and fold.3 have been amazing resources to me as a researcher for years, as they should be to any serious researcher, and I don't think Project Blue Book Archive or fold.3 deserve to be misrepresented and to have their contribution swept under the rug in a wave of misinformation like this.
It's great that there is another online source for the Project Blue Book documents, and I have no issue with the Black Vault, but this announcement shouldn't come at a cost of misleading and untrue news stories and a quasi re-writing of UFO history for the sake of a titillating news headline and the promotion of a website.
For the record, I have been answering many questions from media and UFO fans about this. Tempests and teapots come to mind.
Many people are pointing out: "But at least it gets everyone talking about UFOs, and in major media!"
Of course, that's the same argument about why Tweeting "disclosure" to politicians is a valid reason to do so.
Thursday, January 01, 2015
The myth of radioactive UFOs? Part 4: Condon et al.
The dubious nature of radioactivity claims regarding UFOs is nothing new. The information presented in this series of blog posts shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
Over the years, there have been some red flags published regarding alleged UFO-related activity.
One of the most relevant was in the infamous Condon Report, which most ufologists agree was a public relations exercise more than a scientific study of UFOs. Yet within it are actually some excellent resources and discussions about the analysis of UFO data and evidence. the ultimate conclusion of Condon may have been flawed, but the contents of the report itself are very significant.
For example, in Chapter 3, on physical evidence, outspoken debunker Roy Craig noted:
The independent evidence most frequently claimed is presence of unusual radioactivity at the site. In cases where such claims were checked by our field teams, (32, 42) the claim was found to be untrue. In one case (22), radioactive material was found to be present by Canadian investigators and in other cases, (e. g. Fisherville, Va., 12-21-64) which could no longer be checked, testimony by persons other than the UFO observer supported a claim that the site was found to be radioactive. In such cases, however, if radioactive material actually were present, the possibility that it was placed there by humans cannot be ignored. If humans are known to have visited the site before official confirmation of presence of radioactive material has been made, and the material found is either a naturally occurring radioactive mineral or a commercially available luminous paint, the presence of this material serves to weaken any claim of strange origin of the markings.
The cases referred to by Craig were Case 32 (Snippy the horse mutilation) and Case 42 (Herb Schirmer CE3), where no radiation was ever detected. The other was Case 22, the Falcon Lake case, which Craig personally investigated and decided was a hoax.
Curiously, Craig also rejected the Fisherville case (http://www.ufocasebook.com/stauntonvirginia1964.html) even though it would have been supportive of radioactivity associated with a landed UFO. From the NICAP book UFOs: A New Look, published in 1969, the case involved an odd structed object that landed and left behind radiation that could be detected easily.
...a few days later, a local radio program announced the formation of a UFO investigations group at Eastern Mennonite College, under the direction of Dr. Ernest G. Gehman, a professor of German at the college. At his wife's urging, [the witness] got in touch with Gehman by way of the radio station to report his observation.
On December 31, Dr. Gehman traveled alone to the landing site and made a geiger counter test of the area. An extremely high reading was obtained, and was verified by the arrival of two DuPont research engineers who, having heard about the landing, had driven to the site the same day Dr. Gehman made his investigation.
In fact, Dr. Gehman had been able to locate the landing spot (later verified by the witness) by the readings on his Geiger counter.
But Craig thought the radioactivity had likely been planted by someone, probably the witness.
Craig pointed out the major problem in studying landing traces:
The existence of an imprint of odd shape or a circular area of crushed vegetation often can be established. Its mere existence does not prove, however, that the marking was made by a strange being or vehicle. Demonstration of a connection between such markings and strange objects has thus far not been accomplished. Attempts to establish such connection must still depend upon personal testimony. Generally, personal testimony includes the reported sighting of an UFO in the area of the discovered imprints or nest. Quite frequently, however, UFO origin of the markings is assumed, even though no UFO was seen in the area near the time the markings must have been made.
The last sentence is obviously true of modern-day physical trace cases, such as crop circles.
But then he sums up the problem of scientific study of UFO-related physical traces quite nicely:
Generally there are no physical tests which can be applied to a claimed saucer landing site to prove the origin of the imprints.
Yes, there it is. There is no way to prove scientifically that a UFO left behind a physical trace. So the value of field investigation is what, exactly?
And so it goes.
The myth of radioactive UFOs? Part 3: The origin of the myth
In the first two parts of this discussion, I showed how none of the classic UFO cases said to have associated radioactivity have been established as such without dispute. Further, there are many cases in which observed effects of UFOs are assumed to have been caused by radiation, without any detection of this mechanism. Most UFO stories involving radiation are simply anecdotal, without any evidence or factual details to back up the claims.
In the few cases where there were actual radiation measurements taken, the results are apparently in some doubt due to equipment failure or operator error.
If this is all true, then why do many UFO buffs assume that UFOs are radioactive? It's common for UFO groups' field investigators to be versed in the use of Geiger counters, but why, if radioactivity is a non-issue?
It may have all started with Ruppelt.
In his classic seminal work The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, published in 1956, Edward Ruppelt has a chapter titled The Radiation Story. http://www.nicap.org/rufo/rufo-15.htm
In it, he described how (as he called it) a "rumor" changed the direction of military saucer research in the USAF. He wrote:
In the fall of 1949, at some unspecified place in the United States, a group of scientists had set up equipment to measure background radiation, the small amount of harmless radiation that is always present in our atmosphere. This natural radiation varies to a certain degree, but will never increase by any appreciable amount unless there is a good reason.
According to the rumor, two of the scientists at the unnamed place were watching the equipment one day when, for no apparent reason, a sudden increase of radiation was indicated. The radiation remained high for a few seconds, then dropped back to normal. The increase over normal was not sufficient to be dangerous, but it definitely was unusual. All indications pointed to equipment malfunction as the most probable explanation. A quick check revealed no obvious trouble with the gear, and the two scientists were about to start a more detailed check when a third member of the radiation crew came rushing into the lab.
Before they could tell the newcomer about the unexplained radiation they had just picked up, he blurted out a story of his own. He had driven to a nearby town, and on his return trip, as he approached the research lab, something in the sky suddenly caught his eye. High in the cloudless blue he saw three silvery objects moving in a V formation. They appeared to be spherical in shape, but he wasn't sure. The first fact that had hit him was that the objects were traveling too fast to be conventional aircraft. He jammed on the brakes, stopped his car, and shut off the engine. No sound. All he could hear was the quiet whir of a generator in the research lab. In a few seconds the objects had disappeared from sight.
After the first two scientists had briefed their excited colleague on the unusual radiation they had detected, the three men asked each other the $64 question: Was there any connection between the two incidents? Had the UFO's caused the excessive radiation?
And that was how it started. The time of the radiation anomaly and the passing of the saucers were closely correlated. Ruppelt notes that it would have all ended there, except that he tracked down the witnesses and the scientists and learned more details. The result was that considerable time and money and personnel were commissioned to investigate the saucer/radiation correlation, even to the point of setting up observation posts. And in July of 1951, there was a simultaneous radar/visual observation of some saucers that was also coincidental with a bump in radioactivity.
And yet, even with the instrumented data collected by the military operation, the project was shelved because:
No one could explain the sudden bursts of radiation, but there was no proof that they were associated with UFO's.
And that was it.
Support for Ruppelt's story can be found in the Blue Book archives. In the Maxwell AFB Blue Book files, MAXW-PBB1-738, there is a reference to an event at Mt. Palomar in October 1949, where a saucer was seen and radiation detected.
The incident was investigated thoroughly by the Navy and the conclusion was that it had just been a coincidence combined with equipment failure.
There are many more references to "radiation" and "radioactivity" in the Blue Book files, many pages of which detail Ruppelt's investigation of the reports.
And one page in particular may shed the most light, MAXW-PBB7-930:
It's important to remember that the original event occurred in 1949, only a few years after Hiroshima. And nuclear research was well underway at Los Alamos and other nearby military installations. The possibility that UFOs were nuclear powered military aircraft flown by other countries was considered very great.
In fact, in 1946, the USAF created the Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) project, which was replaced by the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) program in 1951 but closed down in 1961. A nuclear powered aircraft was never successfully tested during the project run.
(It's interesting to note that this project was one of the first assignments for ufologist Stanton Friedman as he began his career as a nuclear physicist.)
So it would appear that the use of Geiger counters by military UFO investigators was more for the detection of Russian nuclear aircraft rather than anything extraterrestrial. And so, the continued use of Geiger counters by ufologists today may be irrelevant to the subject.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The myth of radioactive UFOs? Part 2: Classic cases
Okay, so a UFO case that has very well-documented radiation effects may not be as mysterious as first thought. What about some of the other classic cases with radiation effects?
Chris Rutkowski, there are many more cases. Residual radiation is definitely a contender but the exhaust that blew out of the Falcon Lake vehicle left behind interesting additional clues. I'm not labeling the fuel/power source as Nuclear, merely pointing out evidence that there are properties that seem to be similar.
To which I replied:
Name the "many more cases." That's why I'm challenging this basic assumption in ufology. Rendelsham? Greatly disputed. Cash-Landrum? Nothing ever detected. And....?
And she said:
I was thinking of a Mexican farmer case, Brazil Cortez Island incident... Mexican man ended up dying, another Mexican suffered for many years...Cortez Island is a strong case!
I realized that the case in question was actually the series of events in and around Colares, Brazil. The most detailed description of the events there is at: http://www.ufocasebook.com/colares1977.html
But again, although the UFO effects were thought to be “radiation,” there is no record of any measurement of radioactivity in the area.
Similarly, CC posted:
I've got plenty of questions myself! The 1957 Levelland case and 1958 Loch Raven Dam case are both supposed to have had big glowing ovoid UFOs that left the witnesses "sunburned." Unfortunately, we have no medical records or photos, just the stories...
And I said:
Exactly. CH may be thinking of Bob Pratt's investigations of injuries from UFOs in South America, but that's not what I was asking about. I'm looking for cases where radioactivity was actually detected and measured, not assumed because of physiological injuries.
Another poster, AS, suggested another classic case:
What of the radioactive "spots" left on the car in the Hill case?
To which I replied:
Those were never established as radioactive. In fact, the spots were initially thought to be magnetic anomalies because a compass needle deflected near them, but this was never properly documented, and even then the needle only did when Betty was holding the compass, not Barney.
An interesting exercise Chris. Sadly, so little instrumented research seems to occur in most cases. Certainly the vast mass of cases are mostly of an anecdotal nature… Of course I immediately think of the ground / vegetation effects in the Delphos case but again, I don't know for sure that there was actually any radiation detected by instrumentation.
The mention of Delphos again raised the issue of an assumed radioactive component, even though the ring found there itself may be adequately explained as bioluminescence, not radioactivity.
Poster RH, a longtime UFO investigator, noted:
[Radiation] was found and measured in a case I investigated in the early 70s. I believe many others like Socorro had this.
I have no idea what case he investigated, but Socorro is another classic that was rumoured to have radioactivity, but did not. James McDonald’s interview with Mary Mayes, the biologist who studied plant samples from Socorro, stated that there was “no evidence of radiation.”
JV posted simply: “Rendlesham Forest”
To which PK replied: http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham4.htm
The summary from which states:
According to the manufacturers of the instrument that was used to take radiation readings in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980, the measurements were “of little or no significance”. From the evidence of the real-time tape recording made during the investigation, it is shown that the readings are simply background levels and do not support the claim that anything unusual happened in Rendlesham Forest. Onsite checks made within a few years of the incident revealed no unusual radiation at the site.
Next, a poster suggested the case of D.S. “Sonny” DesVergers, known as the Florida Scoutmaster Case of August 19, 1952. (http://www.nicap.org/scoutmas.htm) But although the site was checked for radioactivity, none was found. And besides, it’s almost universally agreed that it was a hoax.
GC then asked me about some local Manitoba cases that were said to have involved radioactivity:
Chris Rutkowski: Are you saying the CKY film landing site readings at the Roth farm were wrong?
And I said:
Not necessarily wrong, but perhaps inaccurate. I know that the readings taken by Ernst Speelman at that and the Halbstadt site were often questioned because they seemed to vary across the sites and were greatly dependent on the counter being in direct sunlight, and battery usage, and other factors. On at least one occasion, I saw the counter give a high reading one minute and then drop to nothing the next. It had been suggested to me that the counter itself might have been "wonky."
In fact, I dug out my original report on the Carman, Manitoba, case, from May 13, 1975. It was a remarkable multi-witness, multi-site realtime investigation when a film of a bright flying object low over the fields was recorded as well as eyewitness observations. Here’s the relevant discussion about radiation:
The witness led investigators to the area where he believed the object had been at that point. After checking their bearings, the investigators took background readings with a radiation survey meter. The levels were negligible; basically background levels only. They then proceeded towards the suggested “landing site” and took readings every 100 yards. The average reading in the field was 20 mR. After continuing on, they claimed to have found “a series of hot spots about 85 yards apart, each with a radius of approximately 25 feet.” Center readings were said to be 38-40 mR, falling off to about 25 mR at the edges. Soil samples were not taken. However, these readings are highly suspect. The team also found that passing a hand “between the suspected area and the instrument lowered the reading somewhat,” even though the meter was supposedly set to measure gamma rays, which are very penetrating. The same device had been shown to malfunction on other occasions.
The Halbstadt case of July 2, 1975, involved a similar “landing site,” although there had not been any associated UFO observed. Radiation readings were taken with the same meter, and it had found some varying levels there, too. (It’s interesting that a published account of the case quoted investigators as saying that not only were high radioactivity levels detected, but that there was some hazard to the public in the area because of the radioactivity.)
But I would argue that these cases all fall under the “disputed” category.
A few posters then got to the heart of the matter by stating:
[SJ] I think the idea that flying saucers were radioactive is simply a product of the times just like the saucers themselves. The times being the 1950s. Atomic energy was mysterious and brand new so speculating that saucers were man-made atomic powered craft or even ET atomic powered craft seems like the most obvious avenue.
[CC] Exactly, and the Chiles-Whitted sighting was what prompted the speculation of an ET atomic powered craft. It couldn't be our technology, so it must be from out there... unless the witnesses were fooled by a bolide.
And then Cash-Landrum was brought up. The assumption among most UFO buffs and believers is that Betty Cash and Vicki Landrum were burned by radiation.
Poster CC quickly countered the claim of radiation poisoning with the facts of the case, available at the detailed website devoted to the case: http://blueblurrylines.com
One relevant detail from the site:
Department chief Russ Meyer spent a whole day… scouring a 10-mile stretch of open highway between Huffman and New Caney. “Our major purpose was to verify the presence of radioactive trace effects, but we found no evidence of that. The only conclusion we could draw was that there was no residual radioactive material in the area at the time.”
And finally, AC stated:
We have found radiation at several spots near Point Pleasant, WV, where UFOs and Mothman were seen. They are still hot today.
But no details on these have been presented.
So, having gone through the classic UFO cases that have been thought to involve radioactivity, and found them lacking solid evidence, where does that leave us?
Next in Part 3: The origin of the UFO radioactivity myth.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
The myth of radioactive UFOs? The case of Falcon Lake
It all started innocently enough.
I had been reading some of UFO groups on Facebook and in the MUFON group, there was much kudos for MUFON members who had attended a "boot camp" at which they refined their investigative skills. Among the things they were tested on was a simulated UFO landing site, at which they used a Geiger counter.
Which made me pause to wonder.
This was because this year, Geoff Dittman and Ashley Kircher and I finished our 25-year study and analyses of Canadian UFO reports. Since 1989, we had looked at about 15,000 reports of UFOs in Canada, from nocturnal lights to Close Encounters.
And none involved radiation. Well, more correctly, none involved physical traces that might have been radioactive. If there were any sites where radiation might have been present, I could have had the samples tested easily enough - and not just with a Geiger counter, but with more sophisticated equipment, even beyond a GeLi ionizing radiation detector. But no such sites were apparent in the entire list, over 25 years.
The absence of radioactivity at UFO "landing sites" is not a recent observation. It's been known for many years that the number of "trace cases" has been plummeting and hovering near zero, even worldwide. So the lack of radioactivity at any current UFO-associated site shouldn't be surprising.
But why? Isn't radioactivity a staple of ufology?
(Of course, this is apart from any discussion about why UFOs would be leaking radioactivity to begin with, or why nuclear propulsion would be the aliens' choice of travel.)
So, on November 26, 2014, I posed the following to the readers of the UFO Updates group on Facebook:
My thesis: "The assumption of radioactive traces found at UFO landing sites is largely a myth. With the exception of a small handful of disputed cases, radioactivity associated with UFOs has never been conclusively established."
It started one of the longest and most heated discussions in that group.
MD first replied:
Whatever energy emanates from the low-hovering UFOs/Saucers does radiate away from the object(s), affecting soil and plants as you and I know it. As far as what type of energy that is...? No one has a clear idea...all we find are the side-effects that result from such energy sources....like numbing of the fingers...desiccation of the plant life....etc.
To which I answered:
Yes, but as for actually detecting this radiation, that's another matter...
This isn't true. If you need proof, come to Sedona and bring your geiger counter. I will point out where witnesses saw UFOs land and you can do your own research.
That's an interesting offer. I wonder why Sedona ufologists haven't done exactly that.
But then CH pointed out that I've previously written about radioactivity in a well-known Canadian UFO case.
Taken right from your book, "Unnatural History True Manitoba Mysteries"(pg 19-26), the Stefan Michalak Falcon Lake incident.
To which I replied:
Yes, an exception that is being disputed. And I always wondered why they brought Geiger counters with them.
You see, I have actually handled the radioactive silver bars found at the Falcon Lake site. I had a container of radioactive soil from the site for many years in a cinderblock "safe" in my garage. I had been loaned the materials for testing by the Michalak family (and had given them back when they requested). [NB: The materials have now been lost.]
As I noted in my published study of the case:
As a result of prompting by civilian UFO investigators, Michalak went to a radiologist on May 23, 1967. No evidence of radiation trauma was found. On May 30, 1967, Michalak was taken by a UFO investigator to the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment, where he was given a whole-body count. Again, nothing above normal background readings was found.
So Michalak had not been blasted by a radioactive beam or gas or whatever aliens use against us pesky humans.
Brian Cannon, a founder of CAPRO, reported to that group's membership that the healing of Michalak's burns was "a characteristic trait of radiation burns" (Cannon 1968).
... Dr. Horace Dudley, a radiologist and APRO advisor at the University of Southern Mississippi, observed that Michalak's ...
"... nausea and vomiting followed by diarrhea and loss of weight is a classical picture of severe whole body [exposure to] radiation with x- or gamma rays. I would guess that Mr. Michalak received on the order of 100-200 roentgens. It is very fortunate that this dose of radiation only lasted a very short time or he would certainly have received a lethal dose."
So there was certainly some disagreement over whether there was any associated radioactivity in the case.
In my chapter on radioactivity and the Falcon Lake case, I noted:
On June 30, 1967, Michalak traveled to Falcon Lake with Gerald Hart... They found a ring of debris, thought to have been made when the object lifted off. In addition, they found bits of Michalak's shirt and his tape measure which he had left behind. When they returned to Winnipeg, they informed the RCAF of their findings.
On July 2, RCMP, RCAF and CAPRO investigators accompanied Michalak to the site, gathering samples and taking photographs. The RCMP analyses of the samples showed significantly high radiation readings. On their recommendation, consideration was given to cordoning off the area due to a possible health hazard.
This was noted in an Incident Report from an inspector with the RCMP Crime Laboratory in Ottawa, the result of tests on some samples sent by the RCMP to the Department of National Health and Welfare. They found:
"... a radiation value of .3 microcuries in the soil sample ... the radiation is from a radium source and is a possible serious health hazard." [RCMP 1967]
Samples taken from the site by Michalak and Hart were eventually tested by the Radiation Protection Division of the Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare. They examined samples of "soil, burned shirt and steel tape for possible radioactive contamination." The initial gamma analysis showed significant levels of "Ra 226 or its equivalent."
...As part of their investigation, the team traveled to East Braintree, Manitoba, near the Whiteshell, where hazardous waste from the Manitoba Cancer Institute was buried. The reason for this was the suggestion that someone had "seeded" the landing site with commercially produced radium. If it had not come from a radium watch dial, they reasoned that it must have come from a nuclear waste disposal site. Again, the seriousness with which the case was regarded is evident. Tampering with a nuclear waste disposal site is a very grave matter. No indication of tampering was found, however.
The team also visited Michalak's place of employment to see if it used radium in any of its products. They then visited Michalak at his home to check for radiation in the samples he had in his basement. "A survey of the basement showed no evidence of any loose contamination. Radiation fields were detectable coming from the plastic bags containing soil and the remnants of Michalak's burned shirt...
Stewart Hunt, of the Safety Assessment Branch, along with investigators convinced Michalak to visit the site again with them, and they found:
"One small area was found to be contaminated. This was located across the crown of the rock. There was a smear of contamination about 0.5 ' 8.0 inches on one side of the crack. There was also some lichen and ground vegetation contaminated just beyond the smear. The whole contaminated area was no larger than 100 square inches. All water run off areas were checked for possible contamination, but nothing was found."
After examining the site, he felt there was "no serious health hazard involved." The fact that only a small area was radioactive conflicted with the fact that Michalak's steel tape measure was radioactive, yet it was found "40 paces" from the site. The explanation offered for this was that everything taken from the site had been left together in a pile in Michalak's basement, so that unaffected items could have become contaminated after the fact.
In an undated Department of National Defence Minute Sheet, an official in the office of the Chief of Defence Staff in Ottawa noted:
"There is some doubt that the soil samples did in fact contain "226" or pure radium. This question of doubt is a scientific evaluation beyond this investigation. The quantity of "226," namely 0.5, is equal to approximately 1/3 of that associated with an average wrist watch. However, the quantity, although pertinent, does not explain how this "smear" got on the rock at the alleged landing site. This is what is bothering the scientific people." [Canadian Department of National Defence 1967?]
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the "radium seeding" scenario was Hunt's visit to the provincial Environmental Sanitation Laboratory in Winnipeg:
"Samples from [the] UFO site and those taken from Michalak's residence were checked under a UV light... . The samples taken from the UFO site gave an indication that they were contaminated with Radium luminous paint. The samples from Michalak's house did not respond to the UV light."
This was puzzling. If Michalak or Hart had seeded the radium, then they would surely have had some luminous paint in their own radioactive samples. Yet this was present only in the later samples.
Further confusing details were found when Hunt visited the home of Barry Thompson, the APRO investigator. Hunt checked some soil and vegetation samples Thompson had in his possession. Thompson had been given the samples by Michalak when he accompanied him during a separate visit to the site on July 17, 1967. One sample:
"... proved to be radioactive. Levels up to 1mR/hr were detected ... The sample was sealed in a plastic bag. A contamination check was made of the area where the samples were, using the UV light. The area was extremely cluttered with photographic equipment and a great deal of junk. Several areas responded to the UV light, but these did not prove to be areas of contamination, probably photographic emulsion splashes. Thompson appears to be a very sloppy worker."
This raises the possibility that "emulsion splashes" were also the cause of the luminosity found in the RCAF samples from the landing site. Hunt learned that Thompson had given some samples to George Dyck, a technician at the Nuclear Medicine Department of the Winnipeg General Hospital. On his own time, Dyck had tested the samples using his department's standard laboratory equipment. One sample was said to have shown a "1.4 MeV peak" and two other weaker peaks.
So there's no question there had been some radioactive materials at the "UFO landing site." But there seems to be a good possibility that it was commercial radium!
But that's not the radioactive material that had everyone puzzled. It was what was found later.
On May 19, 1968, Michalak again visited the site with a friend. In his report to the Condon Committee, Roy Craig said Michalak found:
"... massive pieces of radioactive material in a fissure of the rock within the "landing circle." This ... consisted of two W-shaped bars of metal, each about 4.5 in. long, and several smaller pieces of irregular shape. These items were said to have been found about 2 in. below a layer of lichen in the rock fissure... . the two fragments each consisted of a central massive metal portion which was not radioactive. One of these was 93% and the other 96% silver. Both contained copper and cadmium, and had a composition similar to that found in commercially available sterling silver or sheet silver. The metal was coated with a tightly-adhering layer of quartz sand, similar to that used as a foundry sand. This also was not radioactive. The radioactivity was contained in a loosely-adhering layer of fine-grained minerals containing uranium. This layer could be removed readily by washing and brushing. The minerals were uranophane and thorium-free pitchblende, characteristically found in vein deposits." [Condon 1969: 323]
In his own teletype to headquarters, RCAF Sgt. Bissky said that when he examined the metal pieces at Michalak's home:
"All shown objects were subjected to civilian Geiger counter and majority of readings at same level as that of the dial face of a service wrist watch in same counter."
A number of institutions performed analyses on the metal pieces. Biospace Associates apparently had some samples tested through Colorado State University. They noted that:
"This particular alloy is made of silver, with no metallic impurities detectable by the x-ray fluorescence analysis."
In a note from the UFO Research Institute, located in Pittsburgh, Dr. J. Roesner reported that:
"The gamma spectra were complex; 15 distinct energies ranging from 0.11 MeV to 2.57 MeV could be resolved. The three major contributors to the total gamma radioactivity had energies of 0.61 MeV, 1.10 MeV and 1.53 MeV and decayed with half-lives of ~14 days, 8 days and 21 days, respectively... . A semiquantitative chemical analysis ... showed that 95 percent of the specimen is silver. The amount of copper in the specimen was determined to be 0.5 percent... . The energies and half-lives of the gamma rays emitted by the specimen do not agree with the expected decay of silver activation products formed in an (n, g) reaction on natural silver."
In his report to the Condon Committee, Craig quoted the conclusion of R. J. Traill, head of the mineralogy branch of the National Research Council of Canada, who reviewed the WNRE findings:
"I would interpret the specimen as pieces of thin sheet silver that have been twisted, crumpled, partly melted and dropped into or otherwise placed in contact with nearly pure quartz sand while still hot. They have subsequently been covered with loosely adhering radioactive material which consists of crushed pitchblende ore, much altered to uranophane and containing associated hematite."
The matter becomes more curious when one considers the results of reanalyses by the Ufology Research of Manitoba (UFOROM) during 1977 to 1983. Soil samples allegedly from the Falcon Lake site were provided by a former CAPRO representative and tested for UFOROM at the University of Manitoba. The samples showed natural uranium activity but no radium signatures. This suggested that earlier indications of the presence of radium were in error.
In an internal Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment memorandum, lab analyst J.D. Chen reported on the analyses of "chared [sic] fabric," native silver, mineral fragments, twig fragments and jack pine needles. He wrote that:
"The gamma spectra showed an abnormally large 190 KeV photopeak which was thought to be due to enrichment of U 235. However, chemical extraction for uranium of the 100 mesh sample and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis indicated the samples containing uranium were of natural U 235 content. Experiments are being continued to identify the cause of the large 190 KeV photopeak."
A further analysis of a soil sample was done in 1994 by UFOROM associate Greg Kennedy of Montreal. Gamma-ray spectroscopy found four radionuclides: U235, Pb214, Bi214 and Cs137. The cesium was probably due to fallout from nuclear weapons tests. Again, no enriched uranium was found, and no metal particles.
The soil was simply naturally high in uranium, a typical finding in the Whiteshell region. The original soil samples retrieved from the site contained only natural radioactivity. However, radium 226 was detected by some investigators. It is not clear whether or not this was an error.
So, as I stated in my original thesis statement:
With the exception of a small handful of disputed cases, radioactivity associated with UFOs has never been conclusively established.
The Falcon Lake UFO case, although it is a prime example of one in which radioactive materials were examined and tested, is still much in dispute.
So, if there's some doubt as to whether there really was any abnormal levels of radiation in this case, for which radioactive materials have been easily available and tested repeatedly, including by major nuclear research establishments, what about other UFO cases that have been said to have some kind of radioactivity?
Monday, November 17, 2014
What are your chances of seeing a UFO?
Over in some Facebook groups about UFOs, critical ufologist Curt Collins was recently wondering about an oft-cited statistic that your chances of seeing a UFO are one in three million.
Curt asked, "Is that a reasonable estimate?"
The problem is also not just about math. What does it mean, "To see a UFO?"
Fortunately, we do have some numbers now that we can use to calculate such odds. Namely, the Canadian UFO Survey.
I pointed out that: "We know that one in ten Canadians say they've seen a UFO. With a population of 35 million, that is indeed close to one in 3 million."
But my co-author and number-cruncher extraordinaire. Geoff Dittman, spent some time do more rigorous calculations, and came up with the following:
The key is indeed in fact looking at the time frame involved. The "statistic" quoted above is the odds in a particular day. Looking at our 25 year database, and calculating the odds of having a high quality UFO sighting over that 25 year period is as follows:
During the 25 year period, we had 14,620 cases. Those cases included known witnesses of 25,108 people, although we had 752 cases where the number of witnesses was unknown. If we conservatively assume one witness per each of those cases, that gives us 25,876 witnesses.
The population of Canada in the final completed year of our survey (2013) was 35,160,000. Of course the population of Canada hasn't been static during that time. In 1989, the first year of the study, the population was 27,282,000. If one simply takes the average, that gives us 31,221,000.
Doing simple cross multiplication, that gives us 31,221,000/25876=1,207. This is odds of 1 in 1,207 over 25 years of having a UFO sighting, using the basic definition of UFO.
During that 25 year period, we had 1,846 cases that were "unknown." They had 3,710 known witnesses, plus another 44 cases where the number of witnesses was uncertain, giving us 3,754 minimum. If one then further limits the numbers to the cases with a higher reliability rating (7 or higher out of 10 in our database), that gives us 1,247 witnesses.
Using the population number above of an average population of 31,221,000, it gives us odds of 1 in 25,037 of having a high quality UFO sighting over the 25 year period.
The odds of having any UFO sighting or a high quality UFO sighting on a particular day? Looking at 2013 data only:
We had a minimum of 1,966 witnesses in 2013. With a population of 35,160,000 in 2013, that is odds of 1 in 17,884 over the year. Then multiplying by 365, that would give a daily odds of 1 in 6,527,000. So actually worse than what was originally stated. But keep in mind this is the odds of course of a UFO sighting on a single day, rather than one's lifetime.
If we look at high quality sightings only, we only had 13 witnesses of high quality sightings (2013 was a little worse than normal). That was odds of only 1 in 2,704,615 over 2013. The daily odds would then be 1 in 987,184,615. Again, that is odds of a high quality sighting on an individual day, based on 2013 data which was worse than normal.
This is still substantially worse though than what the polls tell us, which imply odds of having a basic UFO sighting (not a high quality sighting) of no worse than about 1 in 10 over a lifetime.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
The state of ufology, such as it is
Okay, I'll stick my neck out. This is all getting much sillier than previous years.
First of all, the whole debate about Bushman's "deathbed confession" is absurd. The photos of the "alien" are clearly unfocused shots of a plastic doll, whether made my K-Mart or not. And the photo of the alien "ghost" is beyond preposterous.
This reminds me to the entire Adamski series of photos and claims, which no one today takes seriously. The parallels are obvious. If Bushman didn't simply make things up, the mere existence of this debate being entertained among serious UFO researchers is likely evidence of disinformation, or trolling by debunkers to divide ufology.
This reminds me to the entire Adamski series of photos and claims, which no one today takes seriously. The parallels are obvious. If Bushman didn't simply make things up, the mere existence of this debate being entertained among serious UFO researchers is likely evidence of disinformation, or trolling by debunkers to divide ufology.
Secondly, I have to comment about the shift in focus from abductee cases to contactee claims. Contactees flourished in the 1950s and 1960s when ufology was less than enlightened. The myriad of contactees claiming contact with ethereal aliens and entities back then was amusing at best, with everyone and his dog (literally) setting up shop at Giant Rock to hawk their pamphlets about aliens' warnings about our environment, nuclear missiles, warmongering and dietary fads.
That was in the 1950s, and it's all back with a vengeance. Telepathic contact with alien entities? Been done better by George King. "Walk-ins" by aliens to impart advanced knowledge? Howard Menger, and he even married one. Experiencers camping out in the desert to "vector" spaceships? Ruth Norman did it first, and with better outfits. And in all cases, not a shred of good evidence to support any of it.
It's all fun, but to see how many people comment in Facebook groups about how they "believe" Bushman's story nevertheless, or how they "know" aliens are here because they've been contacted every night by invisible entities, or are convinced aliens are guiding humans to achieve higher consciousness because we need to enter a Galactic federation, or that "disclosure" is happening at a slow, grassroots level instead of a public level because the government doesn't want us to panic, or that investigating UFO reports is unnecessary because everyone knows aliens are here already....
It's enough to make a seasoned ufologist sell pasta sauce.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Re-entries of rocket boosters... and UFOs
Recently, a list of rocket booster and satellite re-entries was generated by a very diligent space fan, Ted Molczan. He had previously identified the "Giant Yukon UFO" as the re-entry of some space junk that had occurred about the same time as the observations of that infamous UFO. I and others have expressed our reservations that all of the 30+ observations were a re-entering spacecraft, but many skeptics are completely convinced.
But Molczan took it upon himself to go one better. He generated a list of re-entries that would have been visible to the naked eye, under the assumption that these re-entries would explain many UFO reports. It's a fascinating list, and an excellent body of work that must have taken him quite a while. I recommend that UFO buffs take a good look at it:
Since we recently completed the 25-year study of UFO reports in Canada, I realized this would make an interesting comparison with known observational data. Specifically, do the re-entries listed by Molczan during the last 25 years correspond to UFOs reported in Canada during that time?
And the answer is: yes.
Yes, there were 14 calculated re-entries on the list that would have been visible in Canada. There were 53 UFO reports that matched these re-entries. However, nearly all of these cases were already considered to have explanations or probable explanations by the UFO investigators themselves. And most were considered to have been bolides or re-entries, anyway.
But Molczan's work shows that UFO investigators are on the right track when it comes to trying to identify UFOs reported to them.
How many more UFO sightings can be matched to known spacecraft re-entries?
Here's my analyses of the list of re-entries:
A Comparison of UFO Sighting Reports Between 1989 and 2013
with the list of
Visually Observed Natural Re-Entries of Earth Satellites
compiled by Ted Molczan (2014)
One of the common explanations for reported UFOs is that of misidentified satellite or rocket booster re-entries. UFO investigators often check UFO sighting reports against lists of satellite observations as a matter of course. Skeptics have suggested that many “unexplained” UFO reports are unrecognized spacecraft re-entries, including some of the more well-known and heralded unexplained UFO cases.
Recently, a list of visually observed re-entries was generated by an expert on such things in the course of an explanation for one particular reported unexplained UFO case: the giant “mothership” seen by dozens of witnesses in the Yukon Territory on December 11, 1996. The case has been the subject of intense investigation and considerable debate, but UFO proponents insisting the observed object was mysterious, but skeptics are adamant it was simply a re-entry of a rocket booster.
The list is quite interesting because it allows a comparison of known re-entry data with UFO data from the 25-year period of study of the Canadian UFO Survey. Out of 14 re-entries on the list noted as being observable in Canada during the past 25 years, four did not generate any UFO reports at all. There were 53 UFO reports that matched times of re-entries, all but three of which were either explained, had insufficient info or were thought to have possible explanations (and noted by the UFO reporting organizations as bolides or re-entries).
In other words, ufologists were able either to identify the re-entries as what they were or did not consider them UFOs in 50 out of 53 reports. This can be interpreted to show that UFO investigators are generally able to differentiate misidentified UFOs in at least 94 per cent of cases known to be spacecraft re-entries. Ardent skeptics may not be the only ones capable of explaining UFO sightings.
The one other case that is of some debate is Case 4, where a “Giant UFO” was described by dozens of witnesses located post hoc by a UFO investigator after some months had passed. The case was therefore not included in the Canadian UFO Survey for that year. Forensic historical UFO research has shown that these sightings may be related to the re-entry event that night, although witnesses of the UFOs that night described objects with structure and discrete form, lasting a significant length of time. In fact, two witnesses described large circular objects passing directly overhead, and two witnesses separated by only a few miles described radically different angular views of the apparently same object, something impossible if the observed object was actually a spacecraft re-entry almost 150 miles up in the atmosphere. (Unless, of course, the witnesses were lying or badly mistaken.)
Also, one only has to look at the descriptions of other misidentified re-entries in the list to see that witnesses in most cases used terms such as “fireball,” and “ball of light trailing sparks,” “tail on fire,” “comet-like,” “airplane on fire” and so forth. The Yukon case involved multiple independent witnesses who described large objects with a shape and form, not just strings of lights that could be a fragmenting re-entry.
Also, debunkers note that UFO investigators investigate UFO cases in a linear progression of steps, with “Step One: Assume the testimony is reliable.” They note that eyewitness testimony is in fact usually unreliable, so that judging the worthiness of a UFO report on witness testimony is inappropriate. However, as we have seen in this brief study, witness testimony was considerably reliable in explaining known fireball cases reported as UFOs, investigated and classified by UFO investigators themselves.
In summary, the excellent work by Molczan in compiling a list of spacecraft re-entries that might explain some UFO cases is admirable. However, UFO investigators without the list were generally able to assess the validity of UFO reports shown later to match the re-entries. The one standout case was that of the Yukon case of 1996, which is still debated among ufologists and debunkers.
It is recommended that all ufologists familiarize or reacquaint themselves with the appearance of terrestrial spacecraft re-entries, and ensure the possibility of such an event is considered when evaluating UFO reports.
1989 Nov 16 03:07UT
1985-050A 15833 Russia Cosmos 1662
Visible from southern Manitoba
1989 11 15 1900 Chibougamau PQ NL fireball NRC I N89/75: 15 diff. reports of lights moving in sky, "fireworks"
1989 11 15 1900 Val D'Or PQ NL fireball NRC I N89/75: light moving, like "fireworks"
1989 11 15 2105 Winnipeg MB ND fireball UFOROM P ball of light trailing "welding sparks", seen ove wide area
1989 11 15 2100 Oakville MB ND fireball NRC P N89/76: long "tail on fire" moving slowly
There were four reports filed that seem to coincide with the date of this event. Only two were from Manitoba, and both were described as fireballs or bolides with long tails, fragmenting as they flew. One was reported to the National Research Council, while the other was reported to Ufology Research directly. Curiously, the other two possible matches were from Quebec, two hours earlier than the re-entry, but were also described in terms of a fragmenting fireball. In fact, the NRC report notes that it received 15 reports of observations – many more than Manitoba. Given this coincidence, it is possible the re-entry calculations were in error with regards the extent of observable locations. Two of the reports were classified as “Insufficient Information,” likely because the NRC file was incomplete, and two were classified as “Probable Explanation.”
1990 Aug 24 02:41UT
1990-075B 20766 Russia Cosmos 2096
Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota
1990 8 23 2140 Portage la Prairie MB nl 300 multi 2 ps 5 8 UFOROM u pilots saw lights on parallel course; no a/c in area
One UFO report was found matching the re-entry perfectly. It was classified as Unknown because the witness was a reliable observer. However, the witness only reported “lights,” so no structured object was described.
1996 Apr 14 07:05UT
1996-021C 23844 Russia Astra
Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan NUFORC, SeeSat-L
1996 4 14 0300 Nouvelle PQ NL yellow cigar SOS OVNI U object w/4 large lights; 'big as a trailer'
1996 4 14 0311 Port-Melnier PQ NL SOS OVNI I pilot reported object flying E-W; Transport Canada log
1996 4 14 0312 Caplan PQ NL yellow ps SOS OVNI P "airplane in flames"
1996 4 14 0315 Caplan PQ C1 round SOS OVNI I obj. stopped over road; then took off; within 100 feet
These four reports appear congruent with the re-entry event. Two had insufficient information, and one was listed as “Probable Explanation” because of the description “airplane in flames” which is a common description of a fireball. The report listed as “Unknown” is curious because it has descriptors unlike a re-entry. The sighting at 0315 hours local was noted as a “Close Encounter,” yet in time and location matches the re-entry.
1996 Aug 20 00:47UT
1996-010D 23797 Russia Raduga 33r2
New Brunswick: St. John - glowing near perigee, day prior to fall from orbit.
No sightings reported during this time period.
Although the Molczan list suggested this re-entry would be observable over the Maritime provinces, no UFO sightings were reported.
1996 Dec 12 04:27UT
1996-069B 24671 Russia Cosmos 2335
Alaska: Anchorage, pilots all over the state; Yukon: Fox Lake, Carmacks, Pelly Crossing, Mayo
No sightings reported during this time period*
Similar to Case 2, although the Molczak list notes widespread observations. No one reported seeing any UFOs at the time, even though there was at least one news report about the event. However, this case is the noted “Giant UFO in the Yukon” for which there have been found numerous witnesses long after the fact; this sighting was therefore not included in the 1996 Canadian UFO Survey.
1997 Nov 15 05:09UT
1997-070C 25047 Russia Kupon
British Columbia, Oregon and Washington
1997 11 14 2109 Deep Cove BC NL fireball UFOBC E tracks of glowing green/white objs. moving W-E; Russian booster re-entry
There was only one report of a UFO, at it exactly matches this re-entry. It was easily identified as such and classified as “Explained.”
1998 Jan 06 13:43UT
1997-048C 24927 China Iridium
Arctic Canada: Nunavut: 74.43 N, 94.4 W; Coral Harbour; Grise Fiord
No UFO reports received during this time period.
2001 Aug 12 03:42UT
2001-030B 26868 Russia Molniya 3K-11
Quebec: Drumondville; Nova Scotia: Halifax
2001 08 11 2300 NS NL ps 3 5 Internet P
3 bright lights in triangle, changing positions; bolide?
2001 08 11 2200 NS NL ps 3 9 MUFON P
4 independent reports of triangles and pairs of lights; rocket?
2001 08 11 Ottawa ON NL ps 3 5 Internet I
overhead blinker craft' w/peculiar lights, no sound, video taken
2001 08 11 2230 Chicoutimi PQ NL 60 orange fireball 3 4 SOSOVNI E fireball w/long white tail [Russian rocket booster reentry]
2001 08 11 2230 La Baie PQ NL 60 orange fireball 3 4 SOSOVNI E fireball w/long white tail [Russian rocket booster reentry]
2001 08 12 0045 Halifax NS NL fireball 3 7 NUFORC E bright obj. w/3 "jets of flame" moving N-S; Russian rocket?
2001 08 12 0035 Halifax NS NL white fireball 3 5 NUFORC P obj. w/tail "like a Navy flare"
2001 08 12 0015 Edmonton AB NL irregular 3 5 AUFOSG P 3 dim parallel streaks like shooting stars, seen briefly
This is an interesting event, since there are eight possible matches with this re-entry. Seven reports came from eastern Canada and the Maritimes, but only four are good matches with the re-entry, and two are possible matches. The report from Edmonton is unlikely to have been related. Several witnesses accurately described fireballs with long tails. All of these UFO reports were classified as “Explained” or “Probably Explained.”
2001 Sep 06 10:50UT
1975-076B 8128 Russia Cosmos 756
Along the U.S. northeast coast. SeeSat-L, NUFORC
No UFO reports received.
2002 Feb 01 05:27UT
1997-051D 24947 USA Iridium 27
Yukon: Whitehorse, Lake Laberge SeeSat-L, UFO*BC, Whitehorse Star
2002 1 31 1610 Whitehorse YK dd irregular UFOBC I metallic obj. low on horizon moving S
2002 1 31 2110 Whitehorse YK nl fireball UFOBC P
many witnesses observed a "meteor" with a long tail
2002 1 31 2120 Whitehorse YK nl blue ps UFOROM I
obj. w/6 or 7 smaller lights following, moving NW
2002 1 31 0300 Burns Lake BC nl HBCCUFO I witness awakened by light shining in window
The two reports around 2100 hours on January 31 could match this re-entry. One was suspected to be a re-entry, while the other did not have sufficient information for evaluation at the time.
2002 Nov 28 14:13UT
2002-053B 27558 Russia Astra
BC SeeSat-L, NUFORC
2002 11 28 620 Pender Island BC NL white irregular NUFORC E satellite making "messy re-entry"; trail of objs going N-S in E
One report received during this period, explained by investigators as an early morning satellite re-entry.
2004 May 06 06:17UT
1996-010A 23794 Russia Raduga 33
Ontario: Toronto; Ohio: Massillon; Pennsylvania: Erie SeeSat-L
2004 5 5 2351 Fort McMurray AB NL fireball MIAC E very bright fireball
2004 5 5 2205 Vancouver BC NL ps NUFORC P flashing lights in W, low on horizon, descending
2004 5 6 2320 Gravenhurst ON ND triangle NUFORC P arrow-shaped obj. flying high in sky, W-N
None of these reports received that night seem congruent with the re-entry listed. However, MIAC recorded a bright fireball a few hours earlier; perhaps this was a fragment? None of these UFO reports were classified as Unknowns.
2004 Jun 27 02:54UT
1992-088E 22273 Russia 1992-088E
Ontario SeeSat-L, NUFORC, MUFON
2004 6 26 2050 Brampton ON nl orange 1 fireball 3 6 HBCCUFO p 3 consecutive objs. with trails, very fast
2004 6 26 1100 Toronto ON dd 120 1 ps 3 5 NUFORC p 2 starlike objs. moving back and forth "inconspicuously"
2004 6 26 2000 Toronto ON nl 120 1 ps 3 5 NUFORC p 2 starlike objs. in W., moving around, increased, decreased, went E
2004 6 26 2300 Toronto ON nl orange 1 fireball 3 6 HBCCUFO p fragmenting fireball seen by experienced observer
2004 6 26 2245 Hamilton ON nl 15 white 1 fireball 3 6 HBCCUFO p 3 objs. moving together, leaving trail, going NE
2004 6 26 2245 Markham ON nl 1 fireball 3 6 HBCCUFO p comet-like obj. going W-E, long tail
2004 6 26 2230 Guelph ON nl 30 1 fireball 3 7 MIAC e re-entry of Cosmos 2224, fragmenting, long tail
2004 6 26 2300 Windsor ON nl 30 white 2 fireball 3 6 NUFORC p 5 objs. traveling together, going E, bright tail
2004 6 26 2250 Goderich ON nl 120 orange 2 fireball 3 5 Internet p 3 comet-like lights trailing debris heading E
2004 6 26 2145 Port Elgin ON nl 25 red 10 fireball 3 5 Internet p 3 comet-like objs. w/tails going SE to E
2004 6 26 2300 Toronto ON nl 60 orange 6 fireball 3 5 Internet p slow-moving obj. like it was burning up
2004 6 26 2252 Toronto ON nl 30 orange 1 fireball 3 5 Internet p 3 cometlike objs. w/tails flying horizontally over downtown Toronto
2004 6 26 2252 Toronto ON nl 30 orange 5 fireball 3 5 Internet p 4 bright objs. going from W to NE, tails like comets
2004 6 26 2300 Bradford ON nl 120 orange 3 fireball 3 6 Internet p 3 comet-like objs. "streaming" in sky going SE
2004 6 26 2252 Toronto ON nl 2 gold 1 fireball 3 4 HBCCUFO p golden ball of light going quickly W-E
2004 6 26 2200 Acton ON nl 60 1 fireball 3 5 NUFORC p 3 bright objs. heading W-E
2004 6 26 2250 Toronto ON nl 60 white 1 fireball 3 5 NUFORC p 3 comet-like objs. with long tails flying horizontally
2004 6 26 2300 Toronto ON nl orange 4 fireball 3 6 HBCCUFO p 3 comet-like objs. "streaming" across sky to SE
2004 6 26 2255 Harwood ON nl 20 1 fireball 3 6 MIAC e slow, fragmenting bolide, re-entry of Cosmos 2224
2004 6 26 2300 Toronto ON nl 15 orange fireball 3 7 MIAC e fireball 20 deg. above horiz., going SW-SE, sparks, trail
2004 6 26 2253 Janetville ON nl 20 1 fireball 3 6 MIAC e slow-moving fireball, fragmenting, trail, re-entry of Cosmos 2224
2004 6 26 2240 Windsor ON nl 30 red 3 ps 4 6 HBCCUFO u 3 small lights going W, seen 5 mins. after bright fireball
This was obviously a well-witnessed re-entry event. There were 22 reports from that area on that date, with 19 apparently related. The DD report at 1100 is clearly unrelated, for example. It is interesting to see that the time of observation varied considerably, from 2145 to 2300 CT. Most reported times do generally agree with the actual time of re-entry. Also, in all but one case, the report was recognized as a fireball and/or re-entry and given a classification of “Explained.” The single exception was the report from Windsor in which witnesses reported seeing a fireball, but then also saw 3 small objects after the original event, leading to an “Unexplained” evaluation of the report.
2008 Mar 13 07:27UT
1992-050D 22071 Russia Molniya 1-84
British Columbia: Prince George "Fireball over central B.C. was Russian space junk", Canwest News Service, Mar 13, 2008
2008 3 13 0023 Prince George BC ND fireball HBCCUFO E trail of fire leaving sparks
2008 3 13 0025 Green Lake BC ND fireball HBCCUFO P fireball w/long tail, going W-E
2008 3 13 0028 Armstrong BC ND fireball NUFORC I oval light moved through sky, glowed thru trees
2008 3 13 0030 Kamloops BC ND fireball HBCCUFO E bright streak going W-E; rocket re-entry
2008 3 13 2350 Kelowna BC ND oval MUFON I obj. moved slowly across sky, tail grew, shrank
These five British Columbia UFO reports match the re-entry and were easily identified or suspected to be fireballs or re-entries.