Monday, September 27, 2010


United Nations Appoints "Space Ambassador" ... or not

News broke today that the United Nations will be appointing a Malaysian astrophysicist as Earth's "ambassador" to alien worlds.

Mazlan Othman is head of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

The appointment is being made because of "the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other starts, which is thought to make the discovery of extraterrestrial life more probable than ever before."

Othman is quoted as saying:

“The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day human kind will received signals from extraterrestrials.

“When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.”


Well, this isn't surprising at all, of course, since I noted the United Nations' Outer Space Treaty in a recent blog post:

It's interesting that the discovery of more and more planets outside our Solar System is finally making the scientific community think seriously about preparing for what seems to be the inevitable contact with extraterrestrials.

But, when the discovery of a habitable world is announced...

... then what?


It's all a hoax.

A story released today essentially retracted everything!

Of course!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010


UFO Reports by the Numbers: 2009 vs.2010

Now that my next book is finally published:,
I had some time to go through the foot-high stack of UFO reports that has been towering over me as it typed at the desk in my study.

While I won't have a chance to do a rigorous analysis such as previously done in the annual Canadian UFO Surveys (,
I have been able to do a quick numerical count just to see how things have been doing so far in comparison with last year.

During the first eight months of 2009, there were 449 UFO reports filed across Canada (i.e. January to June 2009). In comparison, there have been 576 UFO reports filed during the same period in 2010. That's about a 28 per cent increase from last year.

Before we get too excited, I should note that most of this increase came during the second trimester of the year (May to August). In fact, numbers of UFO reports in 2010 were actually lower than 2009 until an unprecedented surge in UFO reports in July, when 183 cases were reported in just that one month compared with only 80 in 2009. Why that was so is not known at this time.

There were slightly more than 800 cases filed in 2009, a significant drop from the all-time record in 2008 when more than 1000 reports were filed. However, if 2010 remains on track, we will be somewhere around 900 cases by the end of the year, enough for the second-highest number of UFO reports in a single year.

Will we make it? Stay tuned.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010


Radar and Visual UFO Sightings Over Winnipeg in 1967

As I sort through the many documents in my collection regarding UFOs, I sometimes find things that have been overlooked or filed in a "Study Later" folder. I recently discovered some interesting correspondence on some radar UFOs, buried remarkably well in a file containing information on the note "Falcon Lake" or Michalak incident of 1967.

Rather than recap the Michalak case here, I'll simply refer to some online sources. One good one, based on my investigations, is here. Another is here.

The real significance of the case is that it was investigated by many military and government personnel. The USAF-sponsored Condon Report even listed it among its "Unxeplained" cases. We also have access to many pages of official documents detailing investigations and attempts to explain the incident.

Debunkers usually adopt the simple view that the case must have been a hoax. This, despite the fact that there was physical evidence (including radioactive materials) and also that the witness himself did not believe the object which landed and injured him was an alien spaceship. Until his death, he maintained that it must have been some kind of military test vehicle. Claims that he made the story up to publish a book and make money are refuted by the observation that he made no money at all by the publication of a ghost-written pamphlet about his experience and in fact he was irritated by the constant questioning of his character and the harassment of his family.

Among the original official investigators of the case in 1967, one of the most skeptical was Sgt. Paul Bissky, then Squadron Leader for Canadian Training Command within the air force arm of the Canadian military.

As I noted in an earlier publication:

Squadron Leader Paul Bissky of the Royal Canadian Air Force was the investigating officer on the case. His reports to Canadian Forces Headquarters are remarkable in their detail and candid comments about his investigations. But complicating his reports is the fact that Bissky was a devout skeptic, and told researchers he "didn't believe in that stuff [UFOs]." How much his personal opinions may have influenced his reports is not known.

That Bissky thought Michalak was a liar is an understatement. At one point during his investigation, he bluntly asked Michalak if he had been drinking on the day of the experience. He believed that Michalak was hallucinating because of some alcoholic stupor. Bissky appeared sure that alcohol was somehow involved with the case, and he cleverly manipulated Michalak into proving he was not a teetotaller. In his first report, Bissky noted:

"Although the authenticity of Mr. Michalak's report had not been questioned up to the second search, he had appeared genuinely sincere and his story was convincing to those who heard it for the first time, some doubts arose during the last search. . . . Mr. Michalak had staunchly denied having consumed alcoholic beverages at any time while at Falcon Lake. Yet a reliable witness at Falcon Lake advised that he personally had served Mr. Michalak 4 or 5 bottles of beer the night prior to the trip into the bush."

This is an odd note, since the "reliable witness" was obviously a bartender, and Bissky did not state how his source's own reliability had been established. Bissky seemed to want to prove there was at least one inconsistency or lie in Michalak's testimony, and the issue of alcohol consumption seemed to be a choice target. (In retrospect, even if Michalak admitted drinking several beers, there would still remain the problem of the other physical and physiological evidence; Michalak's drinking probably had no bearing on the case itself.)

In his later report, Bissky noted several "discrepancies" in Michalak's story, including this following detailed passage which gives us some insight into Bissky's RCAF investigation:

". . . it was proven that Mr. Michalak does consume alcoholic beverages, in fact to some considerable extent. After coming out from the alleged site, Mr. Michalak was purposely taken to the same bar where he had consumed the five beers the night prior to his initial encounter on the 20 May 67. Although he declined the offer of beer (it could not be determined whether this was done because he did not like beer or not), he did accept the offer of several rye "Presbyterians" (rye and half water/ginger ale mix), in fact he even went so far as to purchase a round of drinks for the group. He appeared to hold his alcohol reasonably well, although it was noticed that he did loosen up after the third drink and become quite gay, telling numerous stories. When questioned about the vast discrepancy in direction the object departed, he just shrugged his shoulders and laughed it off. When last seen, he was in a jovial mood, remaining at the bar, presumably to await the arrival of his two assistants from Winnipeg. Hence it is very possible that Mr. Michalak may have had a private party on his own the night of 19 May, which in turn could have caused hallucinations the following day."

In other words, Bissky resorted to trying a tried and true method for extracting information from informants: get them drunk. Bissky tried to get Michalak drunk in order to break his story. Rather than admit defeat when it didn't work, Bissky simply suggested that Michalak had been having hallucinations because of a presumed (but unproven) party the night before. Of course, this explanation wouldn't explain the physical or physiological evidence, but why let that slow down an investigation?

Anyway, what is most interesting is that while the vehemently skeptical Bissky was working on the case, he was also himself a UFO witness. Documents I located within the Condon Committee files on the Michalak case include some correspondence between Bissky and Roy Craig of the University of Colorado UFO project, dated 12 July, 1967.

In this letter, Bissky helpfully provides Craig with details on not only a visiual sighting of UFOs over Winnipeg by military personnel but also several radar observations of UFOs. What's more, it seems as though the visual observations may be of the objects detected on radar.

Unfortunately, the letter is not accompanied by a supporting document that is mentioned, which must contain further details. What we can gather is that Bissky is writing Craig as a follow-up to a telephone conversation during which he reported a UFO seen on July 6, 1967.

Bissky noted:

As mentioned in our telecon, there was a similar sighting on the night of 6th July as well, and which I had the opportunity of observing myself, after having been alerted by [Group Captain] Fitzgerald. This sighting was also made by Squadron Leader Gary McCowan plus a group of approximately 5 visitors.

Okay, nothing much. Just a UFO seen by eight people including at least three military personnel, one of whom was a devoted skeptic.

Bissky then noted:

Unfortunately, my observation was only of the first object. The brighter and the first to cross the Winnipeg area was observed to be travelling at a high speed, apparently paused for approximately 15-20 seconds directly above Winnipeg, then headed off in an ESE direction, thus altering from the original west to east line of flight. The second object, which was not quite as bright, appeared to be travelling along the same flight line west to east but at approximately twice the speed of the first, overtaking the first just over Winnipeg and continuing on.

So, as we can piece together, Fitzgerald called to Bissky and they and several others watched two UFOs pass over Winnipeg. The second could very likely have been a satellite. The other one. which changed direction, was not.

But then the following note:

On the afternoon of 7 July, I was advised of several radar returns picked up by the Winnipeg DOT [Department of Transport] and the Kenora radars that were unidentifiable.

Unidentified radar returns. Ho-hum. Bissky then quotes a report from Winnipeg radar "Which was made on an aircraft that departed Winnipeg at 1950 local time, (or approximately 060400Z)."

This is odd, because the local and Greenwich times don't match at all for that location. We therefore don't know the time of the UFO sighting by the eight witnesses, nor the time of the radar observation, although in context the two incidents may have been concurrent.

At any rate, the radar operator in Winnipeg reported:

I was operating at the Winnipeg east enroute radar position monitoring flight Air Canada 916, DC-9, Winn. to Montreal, climbing to 29,000 when I observed a radar return 11 o'clock his position at a distance of 70 miles from Winnipeg on an approximate bearing of 093 degrees. The target was observed from 2 miles between sweeps until the last observed sweep vicinity of Vivian [Manitoba, near the American border] showed a distance of ten miles. The target was lost as mentioned in the vicinity of Vivian in the ground clutter breaking through on our radar. The return was observed by three other controllers and two technicians, the latter felt the return was not a "running rabbit" type of interference.

Bissky then added:

The interpretation of the milages [sp.] and sweeps is an acceleration from approximately 720 knots to 3600 knots in one minute 10 seconds. There were no visual reports on this radar report.

So, despite Bissky's note that the radar observations were not confirmed visually, he and several others may have seen something the same night.

He then gave details on three additional UFOs detected by Kenora radar on July 6th, the same night as the visual observations:

070324Z July
Observed target NE bound by the Kenora VOR on the 263 radial at 45 miles. Proceeded on the 263 radial to 40 miles turned SW bound to fifty miles.

One followed Air Canada flight 405, turned NE bound to the Kenora VOR and disappeared off the scope.

One followed AC flight 927 NW bound to the Kenora VOR, turned NE and again disappeared off the scope.

Bissky concluded:

In each of these disappearances, the objects faded from the scope as opposed to running out of range which would indicate they either climbed out of the operating range (approximately 40 to 43 thousand feet) or descended to below radar pick-up. No speeds were given.

So, the space of about half an hour, three UFOs were seen on radar.

What's curious is that Bissky made no effort to further investigate these cases, but simply gave details to the Condon Committee, which as far as can be discerned, did nothing with them. What's more this is the same Bissky who was so convinced there are no such things as UFOs and Michalak couldn't have been telling the truth about his encounter that he tried to get the poor civilian drunk.

Two visual observations by military personnel and four radar observations, all on the same date and possibly about the same time.

But they were never fully investigated.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


A few more UFO reports

I was contacted by a reporter yesterday regarding a photo of a UFO that was taken September 5, 2010, at Steep Rock Lake, Manitoba. Some nature photographers were doing some time exposure shots of the lake and landscape when a slow-moving fiery object photobombed the scene.

It's a nice shot, even with the UFO trail that extended through half the photo. The exposure was 273 seconds long and was started at 9:26 pm, facing west. The object was calculated to be visible for a considerable length of time, but less than a minute.

The photo can be seen with the accompanying article here.

The "bright orange object came into view from the east and appeared to descend as it moved westward, underneath the cloud cover. It then appeared to level off and then disappear behind the cloud."

The object appeared to "flicker" like "fire" with a "wobbly" path, and "the 'flame' burned and flickered constantly as it moved." It also made no noise.

Since the object was seen for a long time, a fireball or bolide could be ruled out. It was also under the cloud cover. This effectively ruled out a jet contrail illuminated by the setting sun, as one person suggested on the newspaper website. Nice try, though.

I suggested it could have been a Chinese lantern, as they're starting to be more popular with vacationers this year. Its appearance is also consistent with what was observed, although it would have been nice to get some wind direction data.

Sure enough, a few people commented that they had released such lanterns in the area this summer. I think there's enough evidence that this UFO photo case can be closed.

I received a second case, this one through Transport Canada. It's also old: it happened on the night of April 30, 2010, at 11:30 pm, in Montreal, Quebec, but reported today, September 7, 2010.

The report notes that a white object like a "moon" was seen low in the sky, estimated only 200 feet over trees. This object "followed" the witness three times that night over a half-hour period.

A check of star charts shows the Moon was in fact rising about that time low in the south east and might have indeed been the culprit.

Two for two.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Project Grudge Conclusions: Military Personnel Make Lousy Observers

Just doing a bit of poking around in the Project Blue Book archives online, and I came across the table of cases examined by Project Grudge. Serious researchers have seen this before, of course, but it's interesting to note the breakdown and comments again just to put things into perspective. Debunkers like to note that official studies of UFOs found there was no value in UFO reports, but the USAF project contains wording that suggests otherwise.

To whit:

According to these findings, 78, or almost one-third, of the 237 incidents yet remain without an appropriate hypothesis for explanation. It is likely, of course, that with additional evidence that a number of those included in class 3a would be easily explained (some of them, probably, astronomically). There are, however, at least 48 incidents in which the evidence, if correct as given, does not fit any simple explanation, and a number of these were reported by presumably well-qualified observers.

(Project Grudge Report, Page 114 in the Maxwell Blue Book Files)

Categories 3a and 3b were labeled "Non-astronomical, with no explanation evident," and 3a was further noted as: "Lack of evidence precludes explanation," while 3b was: "Evidence offered suggests no explanation."

Category 3b, therefore, included cases for which there was significant information for positing an explanation, and not "Insufficient Information" as debunkers have sometimes claimed. But as the author of the report hinted, the only possible way to explain the cases was to suggest that the cases were not "correct as given." But then why include them in this second category at all, when category 2 was "Non-astronomical, but suggestive of other explanations" and these could have been put there? In other words, the reports had enough information content that if the UFO was a plane or balloon or star, it would have been listed as a possibility and not put in category 3b. Yet 3b made up 20 per cent of the total batch of UFO cases.

If debunkers are correct, then, at least 20 per cent of the (largely military) UFO witnesses were mistaken in their observations. But what does that say about the general reliability of military observers? One in five cannot be trusted to be good observers? It's long been conceded that pilots, both military and commercial, can make misidentifications of ordinary phenomena when reporting UFOs, but one in five? One would have to question every observation by military personnel, whether regarding a UFO or conventional military targets.

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