Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Hit the road, Jack! Part 2
The Jackhead “UFO Crash” story is much more interesting than first believed.
Oh, it’s still a hoax, but it may now be easier to pinpoint who the hoaxer is. As well, new details have emerged as to what happened on the night of February 18, 2015, near Jackhead First Nations, and why there were military vehicles there.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have spoken a few times with officials on Jackhead First Nation, who not only denied there was anything to the rumours about evacuations, crashes and military crackdown, they even laughed at the silliness of the story. Yesterday, I reached out to another logical source for information: the military itself.
I had access to the news release about the military exercise called Arctic Bison 2015, so the details of what had been planned were well known. It was easy to see that a military operation over and on the lake could generate some UFO stories, so that seemed to explain the actual UFO sightings (or alleged UFO sightings, since no reports have been filed by any witnesses; all we have are second-hand stories that some lights and/or a craft was seen).
But what happened that night turned out to be exactly the Search and Rescue mission the military was training for!
The PR guy from the Air Force replied to me in a very open and straightforward manner, giving many details and providing links to photos of what transpired. (Of course, conspiracy buffs will insist that this transparency is exactly what the government would do as part of a disinformation scheme, but that’s for others to debate elsewhere.)
Derek, the military PR guy, wrote:
“I really appreciate you looking into this a little further and looking for confirmed facts – as you can imagine, we’ve heard some pretty wild things this past week.”
[Conspiracy buffs note: “The military thanking a UFO researcher. Yeah, as if that would ever happen.”]
Immediately, Derek answered a question that some UFO buffs were asking, namely, “What aircraft was seen?” He replied:
“The aircraft involved in the exercise was a Twin Otter from 440 Squadron - great plane for this terrain, you can see it on the ice on our Flickr. I had a chance to fly in it and land on the lake with the skis - very cool experience…”
And here’s the plane:
Yes, that’s right, we have a photo of the plane. Because the military has a Flickr account. Why?
“I was out with a camera team from Shaw on Thursday, which was the last day the Twin Otter was participating (flew back to Yellowknife on Friday I believe). This is some of the irony - we have nothing to hide, in fact we're trying to tell as many Manitobans/Canadians as possible what we're up to! Thus the Flickr site, news release, media visit...my job in general!”
He recognized the irony; the military thought it was being as transparent as possible, and still, hoaxers decided this was an opportunity to enflame conspiracy buffs about a non-existent cover-up! (Shaw, BTW, is a TV network in Canada.)
Here's another photo from the military operation:
And yes, not only do they have a Flickr account, they’re also on Facebook and they even invited a TV news camera crew to be embedded during the training exercises. Not your usual cover-up and lockdown technique.
Oh, and James Bezan (left), the local member of the Canadian Parliament and also Secretary to the Minister of Defence was also present when Arctic Bison 2015 was begun and briefed on the entire exercise:
So this was all planned long in advance of anything ever being reported from Jackhead. The news release went out on the 17th, the day before, but the environmental assessment had been conducted long before. (I can imagine trying to get someone from the Defence department out to inspect the troops takes some planning.)
However, what happened at Jackhead? Well, it turns out that, as I had reasoned, the military operations had nothing to do with the community onshore―until there was a snag.
I mentioned this was extreme weather conditions, right? In fact, so extreme, the military’s own snowmobiles broke down! (Good thing they were doing the exercise for practice!)
“Some of the confusion stemmed from the original route not passing through/by Jackhead. We had not made contact with the community leaders there in advance. Once snowmobiles stopped working due to extreme cold, we needed road access to get them off the lake―this happened to be Jackhead. As soon as we knew we would have trucks passing through Jackhead, I advised my boss to make contact with the local leaders to let them know.”
So, as their news release explains, they normally liaise with local communities they will be approaching, but since they had not planned to go to Jackhead, they didn’t do that. Until they were in serious trouble.
Hence, the military trucks on the Jackhead road and entering the community. But they did ask when it happened, apparently, since it was an emergency.
And as for the stories of photos and “evacuation”… Derek noted:
“As for restricting access, telling people to stay away, or not to take photos―I would be surprised if anything remotely like this happened. I did hear some of the troops were nervous when they came across people taking photos, but only because they thought they were being scouted to potentially have their gear stolen.”
(Incidentally, that actually has occurred in other situations!)
So, whether or not you believe the military explanation, it does fill in many details and answer many of the questions people have about the Jackhead incident. Witnesses may have seen the plane take off and land, and that would explain the observations of lights either ascending or descending. (Again, however, no one has actually made a report to this effect.)
As for the stories of UFOs over the lake and Jackhead on February 22, the last day of the military exercise, I had thought that this could have been from the wrap-up of the operations at Gimli, perhaps flying past Jackhead.
“Feb 22nd was somewhat the last day in the sense that everything was wrapped up and everyone on the road back to their hometowns. The Arctic Response Company Group is made up of Reservist soldiers from across Sask, Man, NW Ont. Everyone was back to Winnipeg by last night (except maybe some last minute cleanup of the headquarters in Gimli), so any activity on the lake last night would not have been us. I am aware of search and rescue training done by the SAR squadrons in the Lake Winnipeg area (I believe you mention this on your site), but not sure about last night.”
So it wasn’t them, if anything was seen at all.
Why am I doubting the reports of UFO activity? Because the reports of UFOs seen may be themselves hoaxes.
Derek pointed out:
“Finally, one of the photos of the lake is blatantly photoshopped. I googled 'frozen lake winnipeg' to show someone what pressure ridges look like, and lo and behold there's one of the photos but without the foreign object on it.”
He provided the link:
And sure enough, if you compare the photo of broken ice on the lake with the accompanying “crashed UFO” that has been circulating, with the photo taken by a nature photographer three years ago, they match.
So, whomever uploaded the “UFO crash” photo deliberately extended the hoax by photoshopping a "stepped pyramid" spacecraft into the original photo. Go ahead, take some time to play with the images and line them up. I'll wait.
And here's the "artists' conception" of the crashed spacecraft.
Okay, since some of the verbiage regarding witnesses seeing UFOs and being evacuated and told not to say anything, etc., was in accompaniment of the hoax UFO crash photo, I wonder if any of it is true.
In summary: there was no UFO crash. There were military exercises. No one on Jackhead was carted off or anything for taking photos of a crash that didn't occur. It's all a series of fabrications.
The Internet is broken.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Hit the road, Jack...
No, there was no "UFO Crash" at Jackhead
It all started as a silly late-night gag, and has mushroomed into a major ufological mystery.
Or so conspiracy buffs would have you believe.
On Wednesday night, February 18, 2015, at about 9:00 pm, a friend of mine named Maeengan Linklater sent me a PM on Facebook:
Hey, I'm hearing stories on a ufo in Jackhead First Nation with military trucks heading up there. Hear anything?
Maeengan is a great guy and a fine researcher. He’s also knowledgable about all things Aboriginal and Indigenous, with connections to many First Nations communities. So if he’s heard a story from one of them, there’s something to it. He then added quickly:
However, I think this morning, the Canadian army was going to be doing arctic exercises on Lake Winnipeg.
Ah, so that was it. We usually hear in advance if the Canadian Armed Forces are doing Search&Rescue training, but not all the time. And the west shore of Lake Winnipeg is exactly where these exercises are held. In fact, we get UFO reports a few times a year when the planes drop flares (a la Phoenix Lights) over the lake, giving a spectacular display.
I immediately suspected this is what that night’s stories were about. Usually, however, transports aren’t involved, because they’re air exercises. And Jackhead is a bit north of where the training missions are usually held, near Gimli.
Then Maeengan added:
And, people being asked to evacuate as well.
This wasn’t a regular Search&Rescue exercise. And why would anyone need to be evacuated?
I checked the Canadian Forces website and found the following:
Exercise ARCTIC BISON 2015, held February 13-22 along the length of Lake Winnipeg, focuses on challenging training for the Arctic Response Company Group in austere winter conditions.
Well, that explained it. Open and shut case. But it still didn’t make sense that anyone would be evacuated.
Maeengan told me that the evacuation comment came from a tweet from the First Nations community. I logged on to my Twitter account and searched for “Jackhead.” Sure enough, up came several tweets, including a daytime screen shot of several military transports on a road that looked like it could be in that area.
The first tweet that I found was:
Luke Jacob Thiessen @ljthiessen Feb 18Seeing photos of military trucks headed into Jackhead, MB, supposedly responding to "crashed UFO." That got weird fast. #JackheadUFO
The early photos were screen shots of a military convoy, although there was nothing to indicate exactly where this was observed.
And then there was:
Grant Hamilton @Gramiq Feb 18 Brandon, ManitobaWhaaa? Supposed UFO crash in Jackhead, MB, north of Winnipeg. #XFilesReboot MT #JackheadUFOCrash
I could tell that the story was starting to explode. Somebody did a search on it and found that I had included a sighting in Jackhead in my 1993 Canadian UFO Survey:
Jason Phillips @Feuerbach11 Feb 18@mc79hockey Not the first UFO in Jackhead, apparently: http://thecid.com/ufo/uf15/uf1/151629.htm
But then a reporter whom I know quickly posted:
Melissa Martin @DoubleEmMartin Feb 18Ok we can cancel our tinfoil orders, Jackhead is alien free
And a military tweeter explained:
@DerekGagnon1@DoubleEmMartin @thrubeniuk Exercise Arctic Bison began on the weekend, our largest local winter exercise of the year. Annual event.
Well that was that. Except… the tweets kept coming…
Miss Kelly @clairissak Feb 18So apparently the aliens have landed in Jackhead, MB #JackheadUFO
@JackHeadAlienMB Feb 18Landed here in Jackhead? It's fucking cold here. Just asked my agent to add Manitoba to my do not invade list.
Yes, there was even a JackHeadAlienMB twitter name. And there were many more, including the disturbing:
Nolan Monkman @MonkmanNolan Feb 18 Wat with the military invading jackhead first nation?
CarChen @CarChen Feb 18@CNN UFO crashed in Jackhead, MB Canadian Military are on their way over now!
Even when someone from Jackhead tweeted:
Isaiah @ColeCameron99 Feb 18@itsPHILLY204 I can assure you, it has nothing to do with a UFO 😐 I'm from Jackhead and its only a training exercise.
It was ignored completely.
Even when an Aboriginal radio station posted a story about the excitement, giving many details, it didn’t stem the tide:
NCI FM @NCI_FM Feb 19Jackhead Reserve: alien free since at least 1993 http://wp.me/p3ZVXA-1phhttp://www.ncifm.com/jackhead-reserve-alien-free-since-at-least-1993/
But then the UFO media took interest, and away it went:
UFO RESEARCH @UFO_RESEARCH Feb 19UFO Sighting in Jackhead, Manitoba on February 16th 2015 - according to locals was a crash with large mil... http://bit.ly/1z2Xp6w #UFO
The incident was even reported as an actual case to MUFON! http://www.ufostalker.com/ufostalker/UFO+Sighting+in+Jackhead+Manitoba+Canada+on+February+16th+2015/63432?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ufostalker+%28UFO+Stalker%29
Even though there was no actual witness or witness report, the MUFON case file noted:
“according to locals was a crash with large military presence and cordoned off to civilians.”
Other tweets said that the road to the reserve and town had been blocked by military vehicles. My question at this point was, “Which locals?” The only identified and named individuals from Jackhead who posted on Twitter were those who said the whole thing was simply a military exercise and that there was no “UFO crash.”
But the UFO media went nuts:
The badly-named UFOSFacts:
UFOSFACTS @UfosFacts Feb 19UFO Sighting in Jackhead, Manitoba on February 16th 2015 - according to locals was a crash with large… http://dlvr.it/8dcYdS #UFOS #OVNIS
The worst offender was the mostly-hoax UFO Youtube channel ThirdPhaseOfMoon, which ran an audio interview of a “guy who knew a guy in Jackhead” with an image from an unrelated UFO case, which many viewers thought was what was seen at Jackhead:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) quickly posted a story that included an interview with military officials:
CBC Manitoba @CBCManitoba Feb 19ICYMI: Bright light near Jackhead last night wasn't a #UFO, says military http://www.cbc.ca/1.2963994 #cbcmb #manitoba
And a few others, including me, tried to set things straight.
Chris Rutkowski @ufologyresearch No, there was no #UFO #crash in #Jackhead #Manitoba last night, and no one was evacuated by the military. #hoax Sorry, no #Disclosure
Neal Shepperson @NealShepperson Feb 19@ufologyresearch @anomalistnews You would say that though wouldn't you... :D
The next day, after I had thought things had slowed down, I awoke to find the story was going viral. I knew someone had to investigate this story, and it obviously had to be me, since no one else seemed to want to do so. Mainstream media took a look and found quickly it was the military exercise, but I wanted to know who started the rumours, and what was actually seen that led to the report of a UFO?
I easily found a number for the Band Office, and spoke with a council member there. She laughed. She said that if everyone had been evacuated, she wouldn’t have answered the phone. I asked her about the rumours and she said that there was nothing to them at all.
I dutifully reported back on Twitter about what I had learned.
Chris Rutkowski @ufologyresearch · Feb 19 No, there was no #UFO #crash in #Jackhead #Manitoba last night, and no one was evacuated by the military. #hoax Sorry, no #Disclosure
But there was no way that facts were going to get in the way of a good story. Rumours continued to circulate on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and UFO Media about the amazing UFO crash at Jackhead, which was variously described as a town, a reserve and a military base.
Posters insisted that they knew people who had been evacuated, who had been turned away at a military checkpoint, and who had definitely seen UFOs. Many said they knew people from Jackhead First Nation who had witnessed the crash and ensuing cover-up personally.
Of course, no one was talking about it firsthand. Obviously, the conspirators explained, they had been hushed up. Taken away, never to be heard from again.
I tried being the voice of reason again, the following day, as the story continued its viral ascent.
Chris Rutkowski @ufologyresearch · Feb 20Good grief! That #ufo crash story at #jackhead is still going! We looked into it and there's nothing to it, people! https://ca.news.yahoo.com/ufo-near-jackhead-actually-plane-224138620.html
The news coverage, in which the military explained about the exercise, did nothing to stop the rumour mill. In fact, the comments on the news stories show that almost no one believed the explanation.
Things got worse that night when ThirdPhaseOfMoon had a phone-in podcast during which “eyewitnesses” from Manitoba called in to rave about the UFO crash.
Blogger Seashoremary, who posts about conspiracies such as vaccines, NWO and bible prophesy, documented the discussion.
Throughout the hour the incoming Canadian callers would get disconnected. Interference was felt by the radio host and his frustration over the situation.
The host was able, during the live broadcast, share information that he had received emails from eye witnesses with texted cryptic information:
“Your government needs you. Keep quiet” pointing a finger at them.“They told us we have one hour to evacuate.”“That’s all I’m allowed to say.”“Don’t send to anyone.” (implied text message)The eye witnesses have been intimidated and are now afraid to speak out. People are unhappy with the shut down and the military presence in their area.
In other words, nothing to substantiate any of the claims.
There were also some very fanciful Facebook posts by a Brent Mancheese:
UFO crash reported on the Jackhead reserve in Manitoba, Canada. Apparently the Canadian Military have vehicles lined up on north shore. They are threatening anybody who tries to take pics…lots of eye witnesses. Thur is round object being hauled across the lake being pulled by snow mobiles and bombardier … Something was seen going down by 8 fishermen they reported it…why would they not let the media know if it was a plane crash.
There’s also a question about photographs. The first ones that were posted and reposted widely were the daytime shots of personnel carriers. Then, someone posted a nighttime shot of vehicles on the ice.
And then a daytime shot with annotations has been circulated, and posted on Disclose.tv:
The host mentioned he has received photographs that he feels are legitimate but unable to download them onto a video pending consent from the senders who are now not able to communicate outside their territory.
According to the radio host, one photo shows that it’s not an airplane but has “definite structure” about half-size of a football field 40′ – 50′. Another photo shows people running to the scene, including military personnel on snowmobiles.
There's even an "artist's conception of the object on the lake:
One post on Disclose.tv showed exactly how far the conspiracy buffs are taking this:
Freetruth • There is also short footage of disk in sky. They have shut down the reservation, no in, no out, have cut off phone internet lines, went door to door, asking if people saw anything, to help investigate, then those who said they did have been detained. Early on stuff got out calls, emails made. If this is nothing then we demand let ALL these people be free safe & accounted for because whether military created or other worldly, the point is this is abuse of citizens, harrass ment, threats, & unlawful detainment. Further gagging freedom of speech or ability to call out for help. Gov mil say simple mil excessive crash, fine & well then release pics images, be done with it. Release ALL you have detained. Leaving them in full possession of their property, phones, computers, cameras etc.. All data. These people did get out to friends asking for help, can't understand why they are being threatened detained etc... Some taken for further questioning.
Many posters on social media really had no idea of what the facts of the case were at all. But the implications of their comments are making things uncomfortable. ThirdPhaseOfMoon’s second podcast stirred things up by stating that the residents on the reserve were mad that the military was covering up such an event on their land.
One poster on February 22nd, three days after the story began going viral, asked:
Kris H @HargoFett
Did a Canadian Roswell just happen?http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/manitoba/ufo-near-jackhead-it-s-actually-a-plane-says-military-1.2963994 …Why would military conduct exercise on Indian reservation?
The Truth That Won’t Be Believed by Conspiracy Buffs and UFO Fans
First of all, Jackhead is a name given to the Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg, about 300 kilometres due north of the city of Winnipeg. It’s not a military base. In fact, there’s no base anywhere near it.
Jackhead is quite remote, with only a single gravel road leading in from Peguis First Nation and the town of Dallas (really!), about 60 kilometres south, and nothing in between. There are about 225 people who live on Jackhead First Nation, and some fish for a living. There are few other communities anywhere near there. During the winter, weather conditions make it very challenging to travel around or about the lake.
Second, related to the first point about the isolation of the site, the Canadian Forces chose Lake Winnipeg as the perfect place for winter training exercises.
On their website for Arctic Bison 2015:
Exercise ARCTIC BISON 2015 (Ex AB 15) will be conducted by 38 Canadian Brigade Group (38 CBG) from 13-22 February 2015 along the length of Lake Winnipeg. Ex AB 15 will see approximately 110 members of the Canadian Army travel by snowmobile from Gimli to Grand Rapids, with approximately 40 members remaining in Gimli in the Land Component Command (LCC) headquarters or in supporting roles. The exercise will focus on the achievement of the Arctic Response Company Group (ARCG) Full Operating Capability criteria, specifically focussing on the ability of the ARCG to force project and sustain itself 300 km from its support base.
In other words, about 70 soldiers were traveling by snowmobile from Gimli far to the south of Jackhead to Grand Rapids far to the north, and because of the nature of the geography, they passed close to the western shore near Jackhead as they travelled.
And what about the aircraft seen?
Ex AB 15 will provide realistic and challenging scenarios in harsh environments to the ARCG to ensure readiness for events that may arise. The exercise scenario will include response to a major air disaster, support to Ground Search and Rescue, and public relations activities in some communities along the shore of Lake Winnipeg.
So they staged a fake airplane crash to practice search and rescue techniques under extreme winter conditions. And the object "dragged along the lake?" The military exercise included constructing an emergency landing strip on the ice, which would have required digging a smooth patch on the ice, and removing the show to a certain depth. That was what is on the surface of the lake in the photograph.
(But yes, they obviously failed in their “public relations activities.” Because even though the Band Council and administrators knew about the military exercise that could pass near the community, the residents themselves were not told enough about what was going to be seen.)
Seashoremary’s transcription of the ThirdPhaseOfMoon’s podcast included the few details what can be thought of as UFO sightings from that night:
“I talked to one eye-witness seen something falling 1:30am Wednesday morning with bluish-green lights, he’s wondering what it was he saw, another honest fisherman said they were told to leave the lake Wednesday and not allowed to take pictures.”
It’s easy to understand these eyewitness descriptions knowing what we know about the operation. The lights in the sky (if that’s where they were seen) were aircraft. As for fishermen told to leave the lake, it would have been dangerous to have civilians near a military operation and were told to leave. As for photos? Well, it was a military operation.
All this is speculation based on the facts of the event. We have not actually heard from first-hand witnesses from the community.
What about the rumours of people being taken from their homes and cut off from the outside world? What we do know is that Internet access out there can be spotty and dependent on phone lines. I was able to reach people in the band office by phone, and it’s obvious that someone out there is on Twitter and Facebook, so Internet access has not been cut off. Nor have posts been removed.
Another thing that should be pointed out is that the military exercise started on February 13th, several days before the “UFO crash.” If a saucer did crash on the night of the 18th, it’s odd that the military would know about it before it happened, and also were in the exact location where it would occur.
There are plenty of second-hand sources of information about evacuation and saucers on the frozen lake, but apart from the fishermen, no one has admitted seeing or experiencing any of the strange events.
This is what’s on MysteriousUniverse.org:
UFO crash reported on the Jackhead reserve in Manitoba, Canada. Apparently the Canadian Military have vehicles lined up on north shore. They are threatening anybody who tries to take pics…lots of eye witnesses. Thur is round object being hauled across the lake being pulled by snow mobiles and bombardier … Something was seen going down by 8 fishermen they reported it…why would they not let the media know if it was a plane crash.
Apparently a disc shaped craft was seen crashing through the ice on the lake, at least one person got photographic evidence but has since been detained by the Canadian military.
Let’s look at this summary of the conspiracy line by line.
UFO crash reported on the Jackhead reserve in Manitoba, Canada.
FALSE. A simulated plane crash was on the lake itself, significantly offshore.
Apparently the Canadian Military have vehicles lined up on north shore.
FALSE. There would be supporting military vehicles near the exercises, but this is the west shore.
They are threatening anybody who tries to take pics.
PARTLY TRUE. The military likely was discouraging civilians to take photos.
Lots of eye witnesses
POSSIBLY TRUE. If this refers to the UFO seen, then yes. The rumour says “eight fishermen,” though none have come forward officially. But what else were people witnesses to?
There is [a] round object being hauled across the lake being pulled by snow mobiles and bombardier.
PROBABLY TRUE. The military exercise involves a 300-kilometre trip across the frozen lake in -40F conditions. I sure hope they have plenty of supplies.
Something was seen going down by 8 fishermen.
Why would they not let the media know if it was a plane crash?
ANSWER: Because there was no real plane crash.
Apparently a disc shaped craft was seen crashing through the ice on the lake.
UNSUBSTANTIATED. There is no report of such an event, and no evidence to this effect. (I hope this did not refer to a military accident involving personnel, but we would have heard of this by now through conventional media if they had.)
At least one person got photographic evidence but has since been detained by the Canadian military.
UNSUBSTANTIATED. Who? Wouldn’t anyone from the community know who this was and object, perhaps going right to media? This would have been something to tweet out for sure, that “John White was arrested by the military.”
So, despite the lack of evidence of the wild claims, the story of the “UFO Crash in Jackhead” continues to go viral. Why did the story get made up, anyway? I suspect because of the general distrust of the military and the poor communication by the Canadian Forces public relations office about is operation, the activity was viewed as suspicious by some people in the remote community.
And the UFO conspiracy community did the rest.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
About those Blue Book UFO files... UPDATED
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.
And.... on February 6, 2015, John Greenewald posted:
It's a shame that this is the type of corporation Ancestry.com is. Their recent show of this is quite apparent in their statement about me personally -- especially since I peacefully complied with their demands -- and their attack and label on my is nothing short of saddening and pathetic.
In short, it's a mess.
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.