Monday, February 11, 2019
Charlie Redstar and Friends
A lot of people have been asking me about the Charlie Redstar UFO flap of the 1970s in Manitoba. Was it really as spectacular as it's claimed?
Well, yes and no. It started in 1975 just as I was starting to investigate UFO reports. I spent many, many hours in the Manitoba countryside and talking with witnesses of the many nocturnal lights that were seen.
That's mostly what they were - simply lights in the sky. (There were a few notable exceptions, but they were few and far between.) And most cases had simple explanations.
Some explanations were particularly interesting. For example, I learned from some farmers near the US border that sure enough, there were lights moving along the border and into Canada many evenings, but they were generally know to be ATF aircraft from North Dakota looking for drug smugglers. Most farmers knew that marijuana was grown on the Canadian side under railroad trestles and other secluded spots and then shipped to the USA after harvesting.
Beyond these reports, however, dozens of witnesses came forward during the Carman flap. Sightings during the summers of 1975 and 1976 were so common that there were actual traffic jams on farm roads (more like dirt tracks) in the countryside, cause by cityfolk wanting to catch a glimpse of what all the fuss was about. I described this circus atmosphere in several pieces over the years.
No less a ufology figurehead than Jacques Vallee himself introduced a film of Charlie Redstar in an episode of a TV show many years ago. A clip is still on Youtube here. It's been analyzed several times and the consensus is that some of what is on the film was caused by a camera malfunction. The moving light itself, however does seem to have been observed by the witnesses.
In fact, here is what I wrote about the Carman flap in 1993, in my book Unnatural History:
Charlie Redstar and Friends
Although the first few years of the 1970s had respectable numbers of UFO reports, they in no way matched the dozens recorded for the 1967 1969 flap. But five sightings were reported in February 1975, prophetic in their style and description. Early in the month, a farmer was walking to his barn north of Lundar, when a light that "looked like a ball" swooped down over his head. While gazing up at the object, he felt as if "hot plastic" had been poured on his face. He said it was "suffocating," and that he "couldn't think straight" while it was over him. The light was red and about 14 to 18 inches in diameter.
This may have been the first sighting of what came to be known as "Charlie Redstar," the strange red light frequently seen bobbing over the hillsides in the area near Carman, 70 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.
Although the majority of sightings in the Carman wave were observations of distant lights in the night sky, a considerable number of cases involved the observation of classic "flying saucers." Several people reported seeing disc shaped objects at close range, near enough to see "portholes" on the sides or underside of the strange craft. There were reports of "Ferris wheels" in the sky, with a multitude or coloured lights moving in slow, ponderous action, very like the vehicles depicted in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, the sightings at Carman predated the movie's special effects.
When considering UFOs, some sightings obviously carry more weight than others. If more than one person sees a UFO, this is perhaps more reliable than a single witness incident. Also, if a photograph is taken, this sometimes is considered to support the observation of the witnesses. And, if there are physical traces left in the area, the case is similarly regarded in higher profile.
The case which is generally taken to be the beginning of the Carman wave of "Charlie" sightings occurred on March 27, 1975, southeast of Graysville. A young girl was awakened by a loud "shrill, pulsating siren" at about 2:00 a.m., accompanied by the feeling "like an earthquake." She briefly saw a red ball of light pass her window on its way south, and thought it had set the house on fire because of the intense light flooding in the window. The object was thought to have flown over the house from the north, and was last seen on the southern horizon, "looking like the Sun was coming up."
On April 10, 1975, as Bob and Elaine Diemert were walking from their farmhouse to their private airfield. Suddenly, they were startled to see:
... a big red light coming at us, like a big landing light. You couldn't miss it. It was right at eye level, and it was just loafing along. It was close enough already that you could see the dome on the top, but it was all red - pulsing red.
The saucer shaped object flew towards them from the west, then eventually veered north and travelled "about 300 feet above the tree tops," going an estimated 30 miles an hour. The entire sighting lasted no more than five to seven minutes.
The Diemerts observed objects a few more times that month, but the real affront on their airport took place later, beginning on the 7th of May, when sightings began a nightly streak that lasted, literally, for months. During the summer, a large number of people would gather at the Diemerts' field, watching for the nightly appearance of Charlie Redstar as he (or it) skimmed low over the trees on the horizon, then soared overhead in a grand finale.
Charlie dazzled his admirers practically every night. On May 9, 1975, at about 12:15 a.m., Constable Ian Nicholson of the Carman RCMP saw "an object in the west, three or four miles away, and at about 1000 feet [altitude]." Nicholson's account of Charlie Redstar is perhaps the most accurate of all the reports, since he was a decidedly unbiased observer, with the least subjective interpretation. He went on to describe his experience:
... I drove a mile north...then another mile west, where I stopped the car. Off to the northwest there was an oval shaped red light. There was an X-shaped. white halo around it, not connected to it. The light was somewhat the colour of a traffic safety light - a stop light.
... I sat there for two or three minutes just looking at the object, which appeared stationary at the time. Then I decided to get a closer look at it. I drove west...and I can say I was moving pretty fast. As I was going west, the object seemed to be flying in a northeasterly direction.
... I continued for approximately 12 miles, keeping the object in sight, trying to get somewhat abreast of it so that if the opportunity presented itself, I could have driven north toward it.
... About 16 miles west of Carman, I stopped the car. I'd seen there was no way I was going to catch up to it. So I just stopped the car and watched the object go out of sight over the tree line on the horizon.
There was one case during the Carman flap that involved multiple witnesses, observations simultaneously from different directions, television news footage and physical traces in the form of "radioactive" soil. Because there were so many people involved, and the events took place over a large area over a few hours, the reconstruction of the incident was quite difficult, and further complicated by conflicting accounts and statements by the witnesses. Regardless of which version is the most accurate, there is no doubt that something very strange happened on the night of May 13 14, 1975, a few miles northwest of Carman.
Because "Charlie Redstar" was being reported so often, Bob Diemert contacted CKY TV in the hope that filming the UFO would prove what was being reported. He told CKY TV that if they sent a TV news crew to Carman, they would film Charlie for sure.
Bill Kendricks, John Berry and two others went to Carman on behalf of CKY, on May 11, 1975, and saw nothing of interest. They went out again on May 12, and saw only a LATER (Light At The End of the Road), a "boring" kind of UFO which is self- explanatory. John Berry got in his car and tried to approach the light, but as is typical of this kind of UFO, it moved away and disappeared ("blinked out"). The cameraman who was out with them then went back to Winnipeg and immediately filed for overtime pay, annoyed that he had been on a wild goose chase. The next morning, when the news director received the request for overtime, he was upset at the extravagance that resulted in no worthwhile footage. He then forbade all cameramen from going to film any UFOs, unless they went on their own time.
On May 13, Bill Kendricks and Allen Kerr (a film lab technician) took a TV camera to Carman and met with others to wait for Charlie to appear. About 11:30 pm they saw a light on the western horizon. The object rose above the trees, drifted slowly south, then briefly flashed a brilliant light and shot "straight up at incredible speed." This swift departure went so fast that only two of the many gathered saw it.
All the witnesses were two miles directly north of Carman. They then split up into three groups to try to get a closer look at Charlie. Group 1 (Howard Bennett (a newspaper editor), Kerry McIntyre and Red Storey) headed northwest to end up a few miles east and just north of the road that Charlie was on. They believed they had "scared it into flight" by their tactical manoeuvre, and thought they had come extremely close to the object. Bennett stated:
... I could see this big glow behind some trees less than half a mile away off to the right and ahead of us ... It was smoky red, a hazy glow, and to me the thing was higher than the trees, maybe 50 feet tall. It was about 20 feet thick and was sitting at an angle of about 45 degrees. The edges were fuzzy and not sharply defined. It was much like seeing a drive in movie screen from the side.
Several days later, Bennett led investigators to the area where he believed the object had rested. They took readings with a radiation survey meter, but the energy was at the normal negligible background level. At the "landing site," they discovered "a series of hot spots about 85 yards apart, each with a radius of approximately 25 feet." The readings from these areas were not that much greater than the normal background level, and could have been due to equipment malfunction. Radiation anomalies have sometimes been claimed by investigators of UFO landing sites, though this is disputed by skeptics.
Group 2 consisted of Bob and Elaine Diemert and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Kendricks. They travelled south one mile and then went west to approach from the opposite side to Group 1. The object seemed to them to be "rising and falling like a blood red Moon through the trees." The group tried to close in on the object, but it suddenly "popped into the air, hovered...and then took off straight for the CBC tower [east]."
Group 3 included Allen Kerr, the cameraman, who caught the object on film as it "jumped into the sky." His group was at the CBC tower, and he panned his camera with the object as it approached and flew overhead. Kerr claims he panned in a vertical angle from about 45 to 90 degrees, held the camera steady for a few seconds, then followed it again to about 135 degrees. The result was three and a half seconds of film showing the ground light observed earlier, then the few seconds of the stationary view when the camera was held at 90 degrees. The first sequence shows the object on the ground and increasing slightly in size, then "jumping" up to the top of the frame after a flash of light illuminates the horizon. This "flash frame" was considered by one cameraman to be a defect for this particular type of camera. This idea was rejected by most of the individuals involved with the sighting, although they themselves had not seen any such flash of light at the time. The second sequence shows a red, pulsing light following a wave like motion in its flight across the frames. There also seems to be a series of "echoes" following the object on the film.
The film was examined by many people, including myself, as well as Dr. J. Allen Hynek of the Center for UFO Studies. Hynek was put on the spot when he visited Winnipeg by CKY when he was asked on camera what he thought of the film sequence. He replied, quite diplomatically, that it was "the best film of a nocturnal light I've ever seen." Even now, there still is little else to say about the film; it is a short sequence showing a small red light moving in the sky.
But what was seen? Three groups of witnesses saw the same thing from different locations at the same time; a strange light moved from the horizon then zoomed overhead. An aircraft? But Bob Diemert knew what airplanes look like at night, and it definitely wasn't one of those in his opinion, and in the opinion of the several others present.
In any case, why only a red light? An aircraft should have displayed other colours if it had been seen under similar conditions, and it would have made some noise, which "Charlie" did not. Maybe it is premature to suggest than an alien spacecraft flew over the groups that night, but something very odd was seen and photographed.
The sightings of Charlie Redstar went on all that summer, and soon UFO watching became a favourite pastime for Carman area residents. Carloads of curious people came each night to see their own UFO zipping through the night sky. The media were having a heyday, both in print and on the airwaves. Ads in local newspapers urged the reader to "Shop where Charlie Redstar shops!" Carman residents even received a visit from a National Enquirer reporter, getting the tabloid's "scoop" on the situation.
A circus like atmosphere evolved; cars lined the dirt roads along favourite hot spots, and traffic jams occurred when Charlie flew by and drivers scrambled to be first in the chase. During these chases, speeds of 80 or 90 miles per hour were not uncommon, and it was perhaps only luck that no serious accidents happened. UFO watching parties took place throughout the region, lasting in many cases through the night and into the dawn. It is no wonder, then, that literally hundreds of sightings of Charlie Redstar and his friends were made during that summer.
There were a number of remarkable reported UFO sightings that came out of this flap, and a discussion of the Carman wave would be incomplete if it did not include at least some of them, to give the reader a better picture of the magnitude and scope of the incredible phenomenon.
For example, the Stephenfield case of May 16, 1975, shows another element of the Carman flap. Three young men had been at a large beach party on the north shore of the Boyne River Lake, and admitted to "having a few." The three had wandered away from the party, and had ended up on the south side of the lake near a dock, when one of them pointed out a bright, moon sized red light which was stationary about 500 to 1000 feet above the dam at the eastern end of the lake. They watched it for ten minutes as it remained motionless. Then, suddenly, it shone a steady beam of opaque white light onto the lake, at a point directly between two buoys, and about 100 feet from the shore of the lake. This beam of light played upon the surface of the lake while a white, glowing object appeared under the water, just below the surface. Then, they claim, this UUO (Unidentified Underwater Object) began to move toward them in the direction of the dock. As it moved, ripples appeared on the surface of the water above it, as if it were vibrating. These could be seen easily, since the glow from the object was bright enough to light the bottom of the lake (about 15 feet). When the UUO had approached to within 20 feet of the dock, one of the three nervous observers picked up a large rock and threw it at the object. He apparently hit it, for it seemed to break up into four sections that then returned one by one ("like a conveyor belt") to the point of entry into the water. The light beam went out, the glow in the water disappeared, and the object over the dam broke into two separate halves that took off in different directions after performing various manoeuvres. This had taken place at about 2:00 a.m., and the three claim they were the only witnesses to this event. As bizarre as the story is, it is unlikely that all three imagined the same sighting at the same time, even if they were not especially sober. They were very hesitant to come forward with their story, and they had nothing to gain by its publicity. Their story was never published until now, and they still stick to their tale.
Other sightings showed other characteristics of the UFOs, including some classic "flying saucer" shapes. There was a remarkable sighting in Winnipeg at the end of March that deserves some mention. While driving west on the Perimeter Highway one evening, a lone witness noticed a "glowing, solid white light" several miles away and slowly moving in the southwest. He watched it for some time, and eventually concluded that it looked different from other aircraft that were in the sky. As he watched, the object suddenly "made a sharp turn to the right and started heading towards Charleswood." But as it approached the highway (across its path), the light "went out." The witness stopped his car at the side of the road and from his car, he watched the object move silently across the road into a field. It manoeuvred for a while, then shot "straight up" and "disappeared in a few seconds." The object was football shaped, about 40 feet wide and 15 feet thick at the center. It was only 100 yards from the witness, 30 feet off the ground and "doing around 50 m.p.h.." No one else claimed to have seen this object, though it took place on the edge of a populated area! But in all fairness, the area in question is occupied only by farmland, so that the only other witnesses might have been other travellers (in fact, the person who made this report did say that several cars passed while he was stopped on the road, but they took no notice).
On June 4, 1975, a lone witness was nine miles north of St. Claude in a pasture at 2:30 p.m. He looked up to see "a huge craft...20 25 feet from my truck...at treetop level." He described it as "two domes" with a middle section of "clear material that resembled glass." The top was silver and the bottom was milky white "like the belly of a fish." Frightened, the witness tried to drive his truck away from the scene, but his truck wouldn't start. He watched the object fly slowly into the east and disappear behind the trees. This case has many of the characteristics of another incident, which took place a month later, on the evening of July 1st. Three people were about one mile west of the town of Roland, when they saw a "thing" which was "bobbing up and down." As this erratic object went by, it passed over a grain elevator, illuminating it so that "you could actually see the nails in the elevator." One witness said the object was:
... about 85 feet in diameter and perfectly round so round it was unbelievable. It was saucer shaped...and the top and bottom travelled in different directions. The bottom one spun...to the right, and the top one spun to the left.
... There was a center section that didn't move, about six to eight feet in width, and there was oval shaped windows in it. I'd say that there was about 16 windows in the whole circumference, eight looking on the side we were on.
The object appeared to land in a field nearby, but although the witnesses drove their four-wheel drive truck across the field in pursuit, the object took off before they reached it.
Perhaps they would have found something like what was reported near Halbstadt, about 95 kilometres south of Winnipeg. On July 2, a farmer living there discovered an unusual barren patch in his field of sugar beets. This oval "landing site" measured 30 by 39 feet, and was 200 yards from a dirt road. Vegetation within the oval looked dehydrated; it was completely dry and crumbled to bits when crushed in the hand. The sugar beets outside this oval were in good health, except for an area immediately west where the condition of the plants ranged from withered adjacent to the oval, to normal about 50 feet from the centre. Inside there were "tripod" marks which were bowl shaped, 18 inches across and three inches deep with a small rectangle in the centre. Investigators took measurements of the area, but could offer no explanation for the marks. [NB: no UFO had ever been seen; only the marks had been discovered and assumed to have been cause by an aerial craft.]
Even in the winter, there were UFO sightings. On January 20, 1976, several local residents were driving from St. Claude to Haywood at about 9:45 p.m., when they saw a large light "spring up." The orange ball of light appeared to be in the middle of an inaccessible field of snowdrifts. Many other witnesses, including a busload of passengers on their way to Winnipeg, saw the strange light.
Around the beginning of March 1976, Charlie returned to the skies over Carman. UFO watchers braved cold weather to catch a glimpse of the aerial acrobat again. One of the most dramatic encounters with "Little Charlie" (as the LATER version was called by the UFO hunters) occurred on April 3, when Grant Cameron and a friend went to a favourite UFO spotting location near the town of Sperling. Around 8:00 p.m., after moving to a location near a bridge, off to the right they saw an orange ball of light "at the same level as the bridge crossing ... the glow on the object was five feet across but how big the object itself was we could only guess. This is because the surrounding glow was extremely bright." They got out of their car and walked within about 100 feet of the strange glowing light at the side of the bridge. Suddenly, Cameron looked back towards their car, and saw that another orange object "was sitting right on top of the car." They both turned and ran back towards the car, but suddenly remembered the object on the bridge. However, they saw that it had disappeared. Then, again turning back to the direction of their car, they saw the second object "going down the road a ways, where he turned off his lights." When they finally did reach the car, they looked back to see the first object back at its original position near the bridge. Cameron admitted they were "quite shaken by the whole affair." He speculated later that the second object acted as a ruse to draw them away from reaching the first. There was no question in their minds that the lights were guided by some "intelligence."
Treating Charlie as a physical entity was common to many watchers' descriptions. To this day, many local residents insist that Charlie was a real "living" thing that chose the years 1975 and 1976 to fly over their rooftops. This perception was reflected in many ways; there were songs and poems made up about the aerial antics of the lights, and one religious family published a tract attesting that they had a marvellous vision of the Endtime while watching the skies in the Carman area.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
UFO videos and other news
I'm trying to work on the 2018 Canadian UFO Survey, but I keep getting distracted. Those danged UFOs keep being reported, and 2019 is starting off at a frenzied rate.
On January 9, 2019, a couple north of La Ronge, Saskatchewan, watched an object with a fiery tail progress slowly eastward at about 8:45 am. They were convinced it was not an aircraft, but from their description it likely was a high-altitude jet with a contrail illuminated by the rising sun.
I did an interview with a Prince Albert media outlet about this.
Their coverage is here.
Then on Saturday, January 12, 2019, I was contacted by CBC about a video taken the previous day at about 3:00 pm by some ice fishers on Lake Winnipeg, just offshore from Jackhead, Manitoba. (Yes, the same place where the infamous UFO crash hoax originated several years ago.)
By the time I looked at the video, it was already all over social media. The witnesses posted it and sent it to several news outlets.
I never did speak with the actual witness who shot the video. It was typically unstable and it was hard to see in the 20-second clip that this second fiery object with a tail was stationary or moving. The story I was told was that the object was observed for at least 15 minutes as it moved slowly through the sky.
This was a crucial detail, albeit wrong. If it was moving slowly, that would rule out meteors, fireballs, rocket re-entries and satellites, but not a slow-moving jet reflection the setting sun, with a contrail. But the object seemed far too bright to be an aircraft shining in the sun, which was clearly visible in the video and was also creating the familiar "blue orb" effect caused by lens reflection.
To check which aircraft had passed over, I tried asking some aircraft observers but couldn't get a good response. I then showed the video to some ufologists (including debunkers) for their opinions.
The next day, I heard the contrail had simply hung in the sky for the entire observation. That changed everything. Looking at the bright object at the end of the contrail, it showed a colourful rainbow-like effect that is common in sundogs. But there was no complementary sundog on the opposite side of the sun in the video, so I was puzzled until I realized the contrail itself, made of ice crystals, was being used to create a singular sundog.
Media coverage of the UFO video was significant: both CBC TV and radio covered it throughout several programs and news on Monday, January 14, 2019:
Newspaper coverage was on both Sunday and Tuesday:
Needless to say, many people posted on Facebook about he incident and video, and I would say that about half of them thought it was aliens.
Many people wrote that they saw "the same thing" in their own towns, usually hundreds of kilometres away, and most often weeks earlier.
What's more interesting is that several people felt comfortable enough to report their own UFO sightings, from 2019 but also many years in the past.
Social media is ideal for finding additional witnesses to UFO sightings, but details and supporting evidence is greatly lacking in follow-up posts.
In other news: the trailer has dropped for Spaceman, a documentary film about the disappearance of Granger Taylor, who was obsessed with aliens and UFOs. The film is due out on February 9, 2019.
I was filmed for this on Vancouver Island last year, and I am hopeful it's going to be an interesting addition to the many sensational UFO movies that came out during 2018.
Trailer here: https://vimeo.com/311264465/eb29fdf099
And last but not least, our book When They Appeared, about the remarkable UFO encounter by Stefan Michalak in 1967, is now published by White Crow Books, and is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook editions. Until now, it was very difficult for anyone not in Manitoba to get a copy as it was only available in small print run through a small publisher.
Furthermore, for this new international edition, co-author Stan Michalak and I wrote additional material, so this is a somewhat revised and extended version as well.
The Amazon listing is here.
There's more news, but it will have to wait for now. Stay tuned.
Sunday, January 06, 2019
Canadian UFOs in Blue Book Files
With the airing of the new Project Blue Book TV series, Canadians should be reassured that their own country is well-represented in the original USAF Project Blue Book case files.
Project Blue Book included UFO reports investigated between 1951 and 1970. (It closed down in early 1970.)
The actual number of UFO reports in BB files has generally been thought to be about 12,000, but examination of the BB microfilm records by ardent ufologists pegs the number somewhat higher, as much as 15,000 cases.
Similarly, the number of cases BB personnel listed as "Unknown" is also a matter of debate. The number of BB Unknowns has often been cited as 701, a number which has practically become a meme within ufology. Researchers who have gone through the case files have noted missing cases, misnumbered files, and even cases that were explained but with unlikely explanations. Similarly, others have gone through the files and found explanations for some cases originally labeled Unknown. Despite all this, the number of BB Unknowns is thought to be somewhere between 500 and 1,500. In fact, ufologist Brad Sparks produced a detailed list with even more: 1,738 Unknowns.
That's still pretty interesting, actually. If we use the upper values of total cases and Unknowns, that means about 10% were Unknowns. Using the lower values, we get about 4% Unknowns. This agrees well with the Canadian UFO Survey, which usually finds the number of current Unknowns to be under 10%, and most often half of that or less.
Of the 1,738 cases in Sparks' Unknowns, 44 are from Canada, or about 2.5% of cases considered Unknown by BB personnel.
What are these Canadian cases?
As an example, on April 12, 1952, at 9:30 pm at CFB North Bay, Ontario, Warrant Officer E. H. Rossell and Flight Sergeant Reg McRae both saw a bright amber coloured disc moving through the sky. The saucer-shaped object came from the southwest and moved across the base airfield, stopped, then reversed its direction of travel. It climbed at high speed and disappeared from sight.
In the Blue Book files index, the case is #1108.
The investigating officer was impressed with the report. He noted:
Curiously, a similar observation at North Bay is in the National Archives. but not listed in the Blue Book index.
A year earlier, something strange was tracked by radar operators at Goose Bay, Labrador. On September 13, 1951, at 9:00 and 9:15 p.m., T/Sgt Warner B. Maupin, Cpl. John W. Green, operators of GCA radar, tracked two objects on a collision course, then one evaded to the right upon the request by radio of one of the radar operators. No aircraft were known to be in the area except a C-54 enroute to landing at Goose AB which arrived during the second radar tracking (the 3rd object at 10:15 pm). First target was a strong and steady radar return at 4,000 ft and 140 mph covering 7 miles in 3 mins. About 3 mins later, a 2nd target was observed with weak intermittent return above 5,000 ft level of GCA radar, A 3rd target similar and with similar speed appeared after first 2 disappeared. No visuals despite efforts by radar crew, tower crew and C-54 crew. http://www.nicap.org/bb/BB_Unknowns.pdf
In the Blue Book report on the case, the investigator noted:
"...malfunction of equipment is not considered as an exact cause..."
Dozens of other Canadian cases, mostly in Labrador and Newfoundland, are part of the Blue Book files.
A case underlining the fact that the Cold War was in full swing occurred not long after, and not far away. It's extremely interesting and suggests something of concern was happening in Canada's Far North. From Sparks' list, verbatim:
Sept. 17, 1951. Hudson Strait (at 61°30' N, 68°50' W) to Baffin Island, Canada. 10:20-11:55 p.m. (EST). USAF B36 radar operator Major Paul E. Gerhart and navigator Major Charles J. Cheever on a flight from Goose Bay, Labrador, to Resolute, North West Territories, heading NW at 208 knots (239 mph) over Hudson Strait, picked up radar interference which came from an unidentified aircraft at relative bearing 130° (E) at 28 n.mi. (32 miles) heading away. Anti-jamming device on the APQ-24 radar was turned on at 11:20 p.m. but did not affect the jamming on the radar scope. At 11:35 jamming covered 120° of the right side of the radar scope and then an unidentified aircraft was seen visually on the right side of the B-36, which was then at 18,000 ft at 65°40' N, 71°40' W (over SW Baffin Island). Object had "unconventional running lights" all white instead of red-green, with twin white flashing tail lights, traveling about 30 knots faster than the B-36, crossed the front from right to left heading 334° true towards the NNW, and was in view about 20 mins [to a distance of about 12 miles]. While the object was still visible, at 11:50 p.m. the B-36 autopilot and APQ-24 radar set went out, the latter returning after a few mins about when the object disappeared. ECM operators S/Sgt. Donald E. Jenkins and S/Sgt. Doty T. Larimore on 2 B-36 flights from Goose to Resolute while still over Labrador the next day detected carrier wave signals at several frequencies and some radar-like pulses at other frequencies, all below 1,000 MHz.
And then there was Head Start II.
Most people are unaware that in the late 1950s, the United States was testing an airborne defence system whereby fully armed nuclear bombs were flown aboard B-52s across North America. Called Head Start, it was in three phases, and during at least one of the missions, something strange happened that could have been deadly.
And it occurred over Swift Current, Saskatchewan, on March 25, 1959.
At 7:36 p.m. (MST), a B-52 with the call sign “Outcome 15,” from 92nd Bomb Wing, Fairchild AFB, Washington, was on SAC Emergency War Order exercise, Operation HEAD START II, for continuous airborne alert carrying fully-armed thermonuclear bombs, and had initially flown into Canada. At about 52°N, 118°W (near Swift Current, Sask.) while headed 180° Mag (SSW True) at 32,000 ft traveling 375 knots (432 mph), tail gunner Tech Sgt Joe Cobb sighted an object leaving a strange, non-persistent and intermittent contrail at his 2 o’clock position (to the W) and headed N. At 7:41 p.m., Cobb detected a target trailing the B-52 at 8,000 yds (about 5 miles) range on his MB-9 airborne radar. Electronic Warfare Officer 1st Lt. Robert J. Millard detected on the APS-54 Radar Warning Receiver an X-band radar emission at 9135 MHz from an unidentified object tailing the B-52, then also detected the same signal on his APR-9 ELINT Radar Receiver for 20 mins; sweep rate 1 per second, radio frequency oscillating around 9135 MHz. Shortly after, the B-52 radar officer Capt. Feirran detected a UFO on MB-9 airborne radar showing it trailing behind at a range of about 11,000 to 15,000 yds (about 6-8 miles). B-52 pilot Capt John W. Jackson radioed 1/Lt Ronald S. Murray, Senior Director on duty, ADC GCI radar site (47°31’N, 111°10’W) 801st AC&W Sq, Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Mont., that a UFO had entered its Air Defense Identification Zone by following B-52 into U.S. territory and ADC then scrambled a F-89J fighter interceptor, call sign "Board Pipe 27," pilot 1st/Lt. Austin E. Bond, with Radar Observer 1st/Lt. Charles C. Abernathy, 29th FIS Sq, Malmstrom AFB, Mont. The UFO had red and green bright flashing lights about 30-40 ft apart with a steady white light in between and somewhat to the rear, thus suggesting a delta or swept-wing aircraft about the size of a B-57 bomber (~100 ft), described as “relatively high performance,” speed in excess of Mach 0.8 (530 mph), altitude above 53,000 ft, with a “considerable acceleration capability.” The UFO was lost by the F-89J at 8:42 p.m. when it climbed beyond reach of the pursuing F-89J at 49°50’N [50°20’N ?], 113°00’W. B-52 EWO Lt. Millard regained a UFO radar signal at 8:36 p.m. for 5 mins but at 9130 MHz; noted pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of 2,500 Hz [indicative of radar set to range of 37 mi].
Nothing special. Just a UFO seen visually and on several radars during a military exercise where live nuclear bombs were in the air over Saskatchewan.
I would estimate that about two thousand cases in Project Blue Book files were from Canada. Towards the end of BB, even the noted Falcon Lake UFO encounter of 1967 was investigated as part of the USAF-sponsored Condon Committee study of UFOs and was definitely part of the Blue Book documentation of worldwide reports.
On a personal note, in the new TV series, the dashing/daring UFO investigator for Project Blue Book was Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who was one of my mentors. I met him first in 1976 at a science conference in Winnipeg. (I had hair then.)
And in 1979, Allen and Mimi and their kids came to Canada for the solar eclipse. Including their son Paul Hynek, seen in this photo from 1979 with his parents and sister, having dinner with us at Hecla Island.
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
"NASA scientist says UFOs are real" - or not
So, many UFO groups are excitedly posting links to news stories that seem to say NASA thinks UFOs are real.
The posts include links to media reports such as:
Have 'super intelligent' aliens ALREADY visited Earth?NASA scientist warns that 'extremely tiny' visitors could have been too smallfor us to spot
All the articles refer to one scientist working at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, Silvano P. Colombano, who published a speculative research paper at a SETI conference in March 2018.
The paper, titled New Assumptions to Guide SETI Research, was presented at the Decoding Alien Intelligence workshop that considered a multidisciplinary approach to "looking for life as we do not know it." Colombano is a computer scientist whose research mostly has to do with the design of robots that could be used in space and planetary exploration. But his paper suggested ways in which assumptions in mainstream SETI research should be challenged.
Like SETI advocates' insistence that: "interstellar travel is impossible," "radio waves are the standard for interstellar contact between civilizations," "carbon-based life is the most likely form of life in the universe," and "we have not been visited by aliens."
I won't go into the details of the other three, but it's the last one that UFO proponents have picked up on. Colombano was clearly engaging in a thought experiment, but he raised some interesting points. He specifically mentioned UFOs several times in his paper, but in a very cautious manner.
It seems to me that SETI has ignored (at least officially) the potential relevance of UFO phenomena for three reasons: 1) The assumption of extremely low likelihood of interstellar travel, 2) The very high likelihood of hoaxes, mistaken perceptions or even psychotic events in UFO phenomena, and 3) The general avoidance of the subject by the scientific community.
Colombano instead recognizes the overwhelming amount of nonsense in popular ufology, and observes:
In the very large amount of “noise” in UFO reporting there may be “signals” however small, that indicate some phenomena that cannot be explained or denied.
So, he's not saying that the reality of UFOs can't be denied, but that somewhere in the mass of UFO data there may be some evidence of a real phenomenon. Whether we can recognize it as such is another question.
But he emphasizes this in one recommendation:
Consider the UFO phenomenon worthy of study in the context of a system with very low signal to noise ratio...
In other words, let's call a spade a spade. Most UFO reports are not UFOs at all, but IFOs, and that should be the starting point for UFO research. Jumping to conclusions about UFO sightings and claims should not be the avenue to be pursued (such as the "Baffin Island UFO" that recently received more attention than deserved).
Colombano recommends looking seriously at UFO data—after all, he's a computer expert.
One of the recommendations made is to study UFO reports as a low signal to noise ratio phenomenon. Big Data Analysis could approach several existing data bases such as 130,000 pages of declassified U.S. Air Force documents, National UFO Reporting Center Database and several other international data bases.
At least he knows about Peter Davenport's work.
(And yes, I will unabashedly note the Canadian UFO Survey, too.)
Somewhere in UFO data, he believes, could be some information that could point to possible extraterrestrial contact. And of a form we might not expect.
He's not talking about "mother ships," mile-wide triangular crafts, or dime-sized bits of saucers found in a desert. And not about mummified alien hybrid babies, or a briefcase full of Moscovium, which decays in a tenth of a second into other elements.
He's talking about things we have yet to imagine, but we need to look at possibilities very seriously.
Labels: UFO data NASA SETI media