Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Teaching scientific concepts using UFO reports and other aspects of the UFO phenomenon

Teaching scientific concepts using UFO reports and other aspects of the UFO phenomenon

Students have a strong interest in UFOs and “space stuff” because of the prevalence and prominence of those concepts in pop culture. Because of this, UFOs may be the ultimate teaching resources since students already have an inherent interest in pop culture.
            Whether or not UFOs are “real,” they figure prominently in our society, selling us products on television commercials, are featured in major movies and books and have encroached on everyday life through common expressions and dinner party conversations. If UFOs are not a physical phenomenon, they are definitely a psychological and/or sociological phenomenon. In either case, they are of scientific interest. What’s more, they should be of great interest to educators because talking about UFOs can be an excellent way to teach students basic principles in many fields, including the physical and social sciences.

Scientific Disciplines Teachable Through a Study of UFOs

For the purposes of this presentation, let’s not even get into the debate over whether UFOs are or are not alien spacecraft, but talk in terms of possibilities and the implications of extraterrestrial life.


This isn’t necessarily as obvious a connection as you might think, since UFOs are not necessarily from outer space. But if they are, where could they be from? This question leads us into many facets of astronomy. What kind of star is our Sun? Is it bigger than average? Smaller? Hotter? Where is the Sun in relation to other stars in the sky? Then there are some specific exercises that can lead to an understanding about distances in the universe. For example, one star system said by some people to be the origin of aliens visiting Earth is Zeta Reticuli. (Some students may have heard of this already!) Where, exactly, is it? Can we see it from your city? How far away is it? A good way to get across the scale of astronomical distances is to make a scale model of the Solar System and then extend it to a model of the nearest stars. If you use a pea as a model of our Sun, how far away will the next nearest pea be? Across the room? Down the hallway? Across the street?

Planetary formation

This topic leads naturally from a discussion of stars and their differences. How do planets form? How did the Earth get its oceans? Are planets common or rare in other parts of our Galaxy? How likely is it that other star systems will be suitable for life?


Many people have seen shooting stars. But what are they? How big are they? I sometimes get a grain of sand and place it in a vial to show and pass around as an example of the true size of a typical meteor. What are bolides?

Observational Astronomy

This topic can spin out into a discussion about constellations and mythology. There is so much richness for learning opportunities here, you really can’t go wrong. But a real shocker for most students will be that they don’t need a telescope to do basic astronomy. How many planets can you see with the naked eye? Why do stars twinkle, but not planets? What are comets? Galaxies? Nebulae?

Physics and Engineering

Okay, you want to get there from here (or vice versa). How? Would aliens use rockets or a Space Shuttle? An overview of rocketry is perfect here. What were the first rockets? How do rockets work? What are Newton’s Laws of Motion? How did we get people to the Moon? Is a trip to Mars feasible? Why does the Space Shuttle not burn up? Then, you can get into the history of space exploration. What was the first satellite? Can we see satellites in orbit? What does the far side of the Moon look like? What were the Voyager and Galileo space probes? Where are they now? One exercise I sometimes use (depending on the age and maturity of the group) is handing out a copy of the plaque attached to the Voyager spacecraft, intended for use and analysis by aliens. The International Space Station is a topic all on its own. How is it being constructed? Is there really a “railroad in the sky?” How does it get its power? What will it look like when it is finished? What about interstellar travel? How could we travel between stars? What are light sails? Bussard ramjets? How long would a trip take? What is the Theory of Relativity?

Atmospheric Physics

Many kinds of weather phenomena can look pretty weird. Noctilucent clouds glow brightly long after sunset, and lenticular clouds look like giant flying saucers. Sundogs are neat, and most people don’t know they are simply a kind of rainbow. One mysterious (and thankfully rare) phenomenon is ball lightning, which can seem to move with a mind of its own. A stepping-off point here would be weather observation and forecasting, which many students will find interesting, especially if they test the accuracy of weather forecasts.


Many science teachers are aware of an exercise called “Invent an Alien,” adopted by many schools for teaching exobiology. The idea is to make students think about the necessary characteristics of an alien living on a planet in our Solar System. We can get students to ask some serious questions about the physiology of aliens speculated to live on other planets. How could an alien breathe on Mars or Jupiter? How would it move around? What would it eat? What would it look like? Communicate? Reproduce?


Sightings of UFOs bring up the subject of perception. This would be a good way to introduce optical illusions and show that things are not always what they seem. Autokinesis can be demonstrated to show that stationary objects can seem to move in the sky. It’s very difficult to judge distance and velocity of an object in the sky, especially without a reference point. But exactly how difficult? Another branch of psychology is clinical psychology, which includes hypnosis. Does it work just like on TV and in the movies? What about belief systems? Does believing in something sometimes make you think it is real? What is a psychosomatic illness?


What are the conditions which allow life on Earth? Are we damaging our ecosystem? Are we in danger of becoming extinct? This question is important to any discussion about aliens because it sheds light on the precariousness of life on a planet. How quickly can species become extinct? What is adaptation? Why do animals look different in different parts of the world? If there was life on another planet, what would it look like? (This brings us back to Invent an Alien.)


Is there water on Mars? If not, what are its ice caps made of? Why does Mars look red? Could we breathe the air on Venus? What is our air made of? Why are Jupiter’s bands different colours? These are all questions relating to the chemistry of planetary atmospheres, and can give students an idea of what we need to survive on this planet.


These are more of the “fun” questions to ask. We can get into all sorts of speculative ideas by trying to imagine what aliens would be like. The best way to do this is to compare our own behaviour with that of how we might imagine aliens to behave and interact. What would a truly alien civilization be like? What would its government be like? How would it educate its young? If an alien landed on Earth and said to you, “Take me to your leader!” ... to whom (and where) would you take it? How would you explain to an alien the concept of war? Money? Love?

These are just some of the subjects which could be taught using UFOs and aliens as a starting point for learning. All of these areas use straightforward scientific principles as a way to understand a popular topic. There is no “pseudoscience” here - just good science. This is a positive and enjoyable way to help your students grasp scientific concepts and apply them to the UFO phenomenon in all its varied aspects.

But wait! There’s more!

We’ve just covered the scientific disciplines teachable with UFOs as a topic. But what about other disciplines?

Language Arts

I’ve been contacted by ESL instructors who were using UFO books as texts for reading. Again, the students were interested in the topic, so the instructional materials worked well. Paranormal subjects and magic really have a way of catching the imaginations of young readers. (Just look at the popularity of Harry Potter, Goosebumps and Animorphs, to name a few!) Stories about aliens can be found in most popular fiction series, and juvenile science fiction is an ever-growing market in the book publishing industry. Using a scenario such as “I was abducted by an alien” can be a lot of fun for a creative writing assignment, and students will enjoy letting their imaginations run wild.

Applied Arts

Twice now I have been asked by electronics dabblers to evaluate “UFO Detectors” on their operating principles. It’s a fairly simple project, basically something which detects magnetic fields. (This assumes, of course, that alien spaceships generate such fields.) So, with that in mind, why not get your students to design such a device, and have them explain the theory behind it? Oh, and if they actually detect anything, let me know.

Fine Art

I once had the cooperation of the teacher of a grade school class in a fascinating comparative experiment. Two of the students in the class had reported seeing a UFO several days earlier, and their parents were convinced they had a real experience. When I visited the school to talk with the students, their homeroom teacher asked me to talk to his class about UFOs in general, but I had a better idea. I gave all the kids an assignment to draw or colour a picture of what they thought an alien spaceship looked like. What they handed in at the end of the hour was pretty interesting. They all drew elaborate aliens with their spaceships, many of which were modeled after spacecraft on TV shows like Star Trek and movies such as Star Wars. Except for two drawings, by the two students who had said they had actually seen something. They both drew dull, boring pictures of a grey, disc-shaped object hanging in the sky. It didn’t have any windows or flashing lights or any aliens peeking out. It didn’t seem like they used their imaginations at all.


Have your students make a video of a newscast about a UFO sightings or an abduction. See if they can interview someone in their community who has had an experience.

Finally, here’s an older article about putting UFOs in the classroom that has some interesting (although perhaps a bit outdated) ideas:

          Rocker, Donald E.  It worked for me. Grade Teacher, Dec. 1968, pp. 24, 26.

So, you now have some ideas on how to motivate your students. If their heads are going to be in the clouds anyway, at least they can get some good learning done!

                        “Second star to the right and straight on till morning...”

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The Problem of UFO Artefacts, Parts 1-3

This is a lengthy post about UFO artefacts. 
Because of its length, I have split the post into three parts.

The links to all of them in order:


Monday, September 17, 2018


The problem of UFO artefacts, Part 3

Condon and Craig

The May 23, 1967, issue of the Christian Science Monitor included an article by noted UFO proponent Dr. J. Allen Hynek, titled, “A White Paper on UFOs.” In the article, Hynek described how the Condon Committee was dealing with the problem of not having any physical evidence of UFOs to which they could apply scientific rigour. He noted: “The only UFO ‘hardware’ so far consists of patent hoaxes. If there were only some ‘hardware’ to study, how simple matters would be! Hundreds of laboratory tests could be run and the exact physical nature of the UFO could be established.” (Topside, Number 24-25, Spring & Summer, 1967, pp. 10-11)

(Yes, that was written more than 50 years ago. It’s fascinating that in 2018, ufology has finally caught up to Hynek’s ruminations.)

Well, that made the Ottawa club members sit up straight. They actually had a chunk of UFO hardware, so the Condon Committee should take a look at it! On June 21, 1967, Halford-Watkins wrote to Dr. Edward Condon at the University of Colorado, describing the chunk of metal and sending along a copy of the 1966 Topside article about it. 

Halford-Watkins noted:

If the Colorado group of scientists decide to accept this offer, we shall await in due course and with a great deal of interest, a report on their findings. We sincerely hope that it will be a factual and truthful one, with nothing concealed – but how can we ever be sure of this?
Topside, Number 24-25, Spring & Summer, 1967, pp. 10-11

Alas, Condon didn’t reply, so on September 11, 1967, Halford-Watkins again wrote him, this time with registered mail. Immediately, Condon’s secretary responded, explaining that the Ottawa club’s offer had been punted to Roy Craig, a physicist at the University of Colorado and the project’s chief field investigator, but a committed debunker.

Craig answered Halford-Watkins on September 29, 1967, giving them the bad news:

Your letter to Dr. Condon written on June 21, 1967, recently came to my attention. The piece of metallic material you mentioned, since it cannot be related directly to an unidentified flying object, would not seem of sufficient value to our study to warrant further analysis by us.
Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, p. 4

Craig recognized the lack of good provenance of the metal chunk, and therefore didn’t see much sense in wasting his time with it. Besides, it is known that during mid-1967, Craig was greatly involved in an investigation of the noted Falcon Lake UFO case in Manitoba, and had spent some time hiking through the forest in search of that site.

Of course, this smacked of conspiracy, according to Halford-Watkins:

This cursory brush-off was not entirely unexpected, as by this time we had gained the distinct impression from colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere, that the Colorado project was not an all-out effort to solve the UFO mystery and was likely to be over-shadowed by USAF policy.
Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, p. 4

That wasn’t the last word on Condon, however. In June 1968, Halford-Watkins received a, “Express air mail” letter from Roy Craig, noting that he was going to be in Ottawa the following day, and “would like to take the opportunity of examining the chunk of hardware on site, and at the same time to take photographs and samples of the metal.”

She noted:

…we welcomed the opportunity to play our part in assisting the Colorado investigation and duly arranged for [Craig] to be driven out to the site where he took photos of the metal and we chipped off samples for him and supplied him with copies of the last 2 analysis reports.
Topside, #29, 1968, pp. 11-12.

During his visit, Craig was apparently courteous and polite despite his considerable scepticism, although Halford-Watlins noted:

While not committing himself that the material we supplied on the metal and WBS would be used in his report, he said he would give the matter some serious consideration. We entertained our guest and an interesting discussion on UFOs followed, but as much of this was on a strictly “not for publication” basis, we can only honour our word to [Craig], who stated it was hoped that the Colorado UFO Report might be ready for publication in September. As for our small contribution and the Colorado Report itself, we can only hope for the best and that it will be factual and objective reporting.
Topside, #29, 1968, pp. 11-12.

While this sounded promising, Craig’s version of his visit was somewhat different:

Mosquitoes by the hundreds were chewing us up as we looked at "the mysterious chunk of hardware" which then rested in the yard of the home of an officer of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The officer was a member of the Ottawa New Sciences Club. The club secretary and her husband had graciously driven me from my hotel in Ottawa to the Colonel's home to see the mysterious metal and talk with club members.

As I looked at the "mysterious metal," my hosts offered to get whatever samples I wished to take from it. The chunk did look to me for all the world like ordinary foundry waste. They brought a sledge hammer, with which we knocked off a small protruding piece which I placed in my briefcase for reasons that were not entirely clear, for it seemed the material had already been analyzed adequately.

From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

From Craig’s version of the meeting, he was simply just humouring the group. His scepticism was reinforced by the club’s spokesman, “the Colonel,” who was running the group following the death of Wilbert Smith. He explained to Craig:

“We were told, through a medium,” he said, “that this was part of a space ship twenty miles long and three miles in diameter which was destroyed (by meteorite collision or other catastrophe) and was derelict in space. The people ‘topside’ wanted to clear the derelict from space because man was getting interested in flying around there, and they didn't want it to cause mishaps. They sent segments to Earth, Mars, and other planets to get rid of them. These pieces on Earth so originated.”
From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

Craig must have been dying on the inside, for he wrote:

Their faith in revelations received through a spiritual medium during seance obviously was stronger than their faith in man's knowledge of nature as obtained through the methods of his science.

Was it merely because that belief had been held by the late Wilbert Smith, whom they regarded with such high esteem?
From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

Craig then noted what I have termed “ufology and the science paradox”:

What puzzled me was the repeated demand for scientific analysis and use of arguments of scientific vein to refute undesired scientific results.
From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

This has amazed me as well. On the one hand, UFO groups and organizations proclaim their approach to the UFO phenomenon is highly scientific, and spend time and effort to ensure specific protocols are followed regarding collection and analyses of physical traces associated with UFO cases. On the other hand, they also accept unsubstantiated claims of contact with aliens, subjective testimony by witnesses with low credibility, and encourage speculation about “interdimensional portals” and “phase-shifting” of alien spacecraft to explain UFO witnesses’ observations. The willingness to embrace the possibility of advanced alien technology that seems to violate physical laws in order to account for UFOs that vanish suddenly, enter and leave bodies of water, and are visible only to select individuals, contrasts sharply with the desire to appear and sound scientific.

Craig noted:

The Colonel expressed to me his feeling that, while his chunk of metal does have all the characteristics of waste from a foundry when viewed in the realm of three-dimensional physical existence, “when viewed in a wider framework, the interface of this dimension with other dimensions, which parallel the physical, it well may be part of a space ship.”

The “mysterious chunk of metal” was a fetish. Why, then, the insistent demand for repeated physical and chemical examination of something whose ultimate significance was considered to reside in psychic or spiritual realms?

From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

Craig did mention the Ottawa artefact in the Condon Report, although it was written before his visit to Ottawa, because he noted: “The Club does not claim that the piece of metal is, if fact, part of a spaceship; however, its members do not reject this possibility.” He noted that CARDE “considered the material the normal product of a foundry, consisting of slag with semi-molten scrap embedded in it.” He added:

“Since no connection could be seen between the existence of this metal or slag and the UFO question, no further analysis of the material was undertaken by the project. This writer examined the metallic mass at Ottawa and agreed with the CARDE conclusion that it was ordinary foundry waste.”
From: Craig, Roy. In: Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, Conducted by the University of Colorado Under contract No. 44620-67-C-0035 with the United States Air Force. Dr. Edward U. Condon, Scientific Director, 1968. Chapter 3: Direct Physical Evidence. Parts of UFOs, or UFO Equipment, pp. 133-135

Testing the Ottawa artefact again

The Ottawa UFO club was undaunted, however.

During the 3-month Colorado silence period, some interesting developments were taking place in Canada.
Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, pp. 7-9

What was happening was that Ronald Anstee, who led the Montreal UFO Society, had been given some pieces from the large UFO artefact and had displayed them at a lecture. After his talk, he had been approached by someone who knew a “professional metallurgist” and could get the samples tested independently. This person’s report read:

1. The corrosion on the part was slight and only superficial.
2. The specific gravity was very high.
3. The hardness was Rockwell B 94.
4. Chemical Analysis
Carbon 0.16% Manganese 11.3 SI 0.12
FE Ferrous 88.403 Sulphur 0.017 NI 110

The chemical analysis does not correspond to any commercial manganese steels as they contain either more carbon and silicon or some nickel and molybdenum. The alloy work hardened very heavily during the process of cutting which is inherent to such an alloy. The slipped lines were more pronounced once nital reagent was used. Since deep electro-polishing was used in this instance, it indicates that the material went through heavy impact that caused the different planes to slip.

The fact that this composition does not correspond to any known commercial manganese steel, is in itself very interesting, but it does not exclude the possibility of unpublished new materials being used by either the U.S. S.R. or U.S.A. in their space probes.

Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, pp. 7-9

This conclusion led Halford-Watkins to interpret this thusly:

Now, if this metal underwent such heavy impact as to cause extensive slippage, surely it is a reasonably logical conclusion that this hardware must have been part of a spacecraft that came to grief - it is hardly conceivable that a foundry product would be subjected to such extreme impact.

The report states that the metal does not correspond to any known commercial manganese steels and suggests the possibility of an element they know nothing about. This again surely suggests an extraterrestrial metal.

Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, pp. 7-9

And the extraterrestrial hypothesis was reintroduced as viable. And to advance the conspiracy theory, she noted:

It is possible, of course, as suggested in the report, that it might have been part of a Russian or American space capsule, but if this were the case, why didn’t the Canadian Government agency hang on to it? Could it be that, in fact, it was completely unidentifiable and that rather than admit they had proof-positive of a UFO, they preferred to ignore it?
Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, pp. 7-9

Ronald Anstee was determined to help the Ottawa club, for he then submitted additional samples for testing by “a group of scientists at McGill University in Montreal.” Who knows what was found exactly, because Anstee reported that the scientists were “very disturbed at their findings.”

The leader of this group of scientists, Professor John Jonas (the only one identified by name at this point), encouraged Anstee to get the Ottawa club in contact with a few government metallurgists to test the samples.

Halford-Watkins wrote:

The necessary contact was made with these 2 gentlemen and full details, including the latest analysis report, were passed on to them. The 2 scientists expressed interest in the hardware and on Oct. 14/67, arrangements were made for them to examine the mass of metal on site and take samples of it for investigation. Both appeared extremely intrigued by the mysterious circumstances surrounding the finding of the metal and subsequent tests on it.
Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, pp. 7-9

The Ottawa club was encouraged by this, because:

Later, word reached us by telephone that they were prepared to carry out extensive tests and analyses of the samples of metal. It was explained that a thorough analysis was normally rather a long and costly procedure and they were of the opinion that such a comprehensive analysis had not yet been carried out on the metal. However, they were, at the time, working on some new experimental equipment by means of which it was hoped to conduct such an analysis with a great saving in time and money. Special parts for this equipment were on order from overseas and it was added that delivery of these parts and subsequent testing of the completed apparatus might take anywhere up to 6 months to complete. However, when it was ready, the necessary investigation would be carried out and a report of the findings sent to us.
Topside, Number 27, Winter 1968, pp. 7-9

Again, a different take on this is given by Craig:

Eight years after the CARDE analysis, the group was still seeking additional analyses, and the club secretary suggested I might get additional information from Dr. Eric Smith, Chief, Metal Physics Section of Canada Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources. Dr. Smith had samples of the metal and was awaiting completion of installation of new equipment from Japan, with which he would conduct thorough tests and analyses.
From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

This was the government metallurgist Halford-Watkins heard about via telephone. But it doesn’t sound like he was impressed with the samples, because Craig wrote:

When I later contacted Dr. Smith, he said he indeed planned to analyze the material, but he wouldn't be at all surprised if it came from the Sorel Iron Foundries, Sorel, Quebec, more than fifty miles upstream from the site where the material was found. He said production of high-manganese steel is one of the specialties of this foundry, and it is standard practice to dig a hole in sand and dump surplus or non-specification molten material into it. A plug often is inserted so the accumulated mass can be grasped for moving by a crane. Such waste is not utilized or recovered because of its uncertain composition. Dr. Smith said, further, that large chunks of such waste are known to have been buried around a foundry of the Sorel type. His description of the material matched the chunk of metal in the Colonel's yard precisely.
From: Craig, Roy. UFOs: An Insider's View of the Official Quest for Evidence. University of North Texas Press, 1995, pp. 121-132.

Later, Halford-Watkins wrote about how Dr. Eric Smith visited the Club and examined the large artefact.

...in September 1967, Dr. Smith examined the mass on site, took samples and promised a full report on his findings. After two-and-a-half years of continued delaying tactics we are still awaiting his report!
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

The Topside group was persistent. They sought additional testing by anyone who might help them establish the extraterrestrial nature of the 3,000-pound artefact.

The National Research Council

In 1969, Dr. Peter Millman, who led UFO investigations at the National Research Council of Canada, “expressed interest in the metal and offered to arrange a scientific investigation into it. Samples of the metal were passed to him by Lieutenant Commander Arthur Bray, to whom Dr. Millman promised a report on his findings.”

Millman was officially Head of the Upper Atmosphere Research Section, Radio & Electrical Engineering Division, of the NRC. At a meeting of the Ottawa club, held in the home of Arthur and Dorothy Bray, Millman, an outspoken UFO debunker, had given a talk about the scientific view of UFOs. It was during this meeting that the members had asked, and he had agreed to try and get the metal analysed.

But Millman’s response was even more noncommittal than that of Roy Craig. He effectively played cat-and-mouse with Halford-Watkins for many months.

In late 1969, Brian Cannon, a representative of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, had received a letter from Millman about several UFO matters (including the Falcon Lake case, which Millman had dismissed out of hand), in which he stated:

…there was “nothing unusual” about the metal, that it was manganese steel, and apparently ladle residue from the Sorel Foundry in Quebec, which inserts a pipe into the hole where waste molten metal is poured, and after solidification, the pipe is used to lift the mass of metal.
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

This disturbed Halford-Watkins, who was upset that Millman was telling others about his findings on the metal but had not told the Ottawa group. She sent an angry letter off to Millman, demanding to know what was going on.

Further complicating the matter was the intervention of another UFO fan who wanted to test the metal scientifically. This was Arthur H. Matthews of Lac Beauport, Quebec, who said he could test the metal using a “Tesla Bridge” and determine if the object had ever been in outer space. Matthews was a contactee who channelled messages from Nikola Tesla and had constructed a Tesla Scope for communicating with aliens. He claimed that in 1941, aliens from Venus had landed their spacecraft, called the X-12, near his farm and had began a series of meetings with him during which they imparted esoteric knowledge.

On September 28, 1969, members of the Ottawa club, along with Ronald Anstee, watched as Matthews tested the UFO artefact at their meeting place. But even they were appalled by what transpired.

The test appeared to consist of stringing wires and a small flat box-like object across the metal, which were linked up to a tape recorder on which Mr. Matthews made two 6-minute recordings. Despite questions, Mr. Matthews declined to explain how the Tesla device worked. All that he admitted was that it had been used to detect flaws in metal railway lines.
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

Needless to say, Matthews’ test:

…left some grave doubts in the minds of some of our technical workers who witnessed it, particularly as no scientific proof was forthcoming to support it, and most of them were unable to accept that it was possible to prove that the metal mass had never been in space with a device used primarily for detecting flaws in metal railway lines! It was also noted that the volume indicator on the tape recorder link to the Tesla Bridge showed no signs of life.
Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

But true to his word, Matthews sent Halford-Watkins a report on his test of the metal, in only three days! But, alas, it was not what they wanted to hear:

It required many hours of careful study to complete the Tesla Bridge, but only 12 minutes to test the block by means of Tesla's instructions. This test was recorded by transfer onto a magnetic tape and my study of this on return to Quebec proves without any doubt that it is a man-made form of iron and is without any doubt composed of Earth found ores. This piece of metal was never in space. Further tests to prove my statement can be done if the complete block is applied to a reverberatory furnace.
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

Further confounding the matter, Matthews noted in his report that he had been asked to test the metal “by a person whose name he was not permitted to divulge.”

Halford-Watkins sent a letter to Matthews, demanding some clarification and wanting to know who “Mr. X” was. He replied: “I have referred your request re my findings on the metal to the federal authority who requested the test, as these findings are confidential.”

So, as Halford-Watkins noted to the Topside readership:

Here was news indeed. So the mysterious Mr. X was a federal authority! As Dr. Millman has the responsibility for government UFO research, and by Mr. Matthews’ own admittance, he made two telephone calls to the National Research Council on arrival in Ottawa prior to the test, we could only assume that Dr. Millman must be the federal authority concerned.
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

And voila! Millman was definitely part of the conspiracy to suppress the truth about the artefact. Halford-Watkins even sent a letter to Millman on December 9, 1969, explicitly accusing him of being Matthews’ “Mr. X.”

By early 1970, with no reply from Millman, Halford-Watkins declared victory.

To date, two months later, no reply has been received to this letter, which was not entirely unexpected. Did Dr. Millman find our questions too sticky to answer, or was he adopting the safer course of the old adage that says “silence is golden?” We are not blaming him personally for this somewhat cavalier attitude towards a public request for information - in fact, we have some sympathy for the embarrassing position he now finds himself in. Even as a senior civil servant, he still has to take his orders from a higher authority and as long as governmental silence policy exists on such matters, this situation will continue, although we believe the day will finally dawn when governments will recognize their moral responsibilities and give the public the true facts.
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

About the same time, however, Arthur Bray received a letter from Millman, noting that the samples tested by Dr. Ian Smith, Head of the Metal Physics Section, Federal Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in Ottawa, showed “no evidence of extraterrestrial origin.” On learning of this, Halford-Watkins wrote:

Dr. Millman stated that competent scientists experienced no difficulty in recognizing the non-terrestrial nature of certain space material. He also deplored the mystery which had been built up around the chunk. These two latter statements we regard as the biggest enigma of all. If it is such an easy matter for scientists to determine the Extra-Terrestrial nature or otherwise of material tested, why has it taken the government over 9 years to produce a simple statement of the facts of the case, thereby itself creating much of the mystery that has surrounded the metal?
Topside, #33, Winter/Spring 1970, pp. 13-17

She added later:

…we admit to being somewhat puzzled at the delay if, as alleged, the results of the study show no evidence of extraterrestrial origin - or could it be that proof of this would not stand up to close scientific scrutiny? And thus, as all along the line, it has been governmental silence which has created much of the mystery that still surrounds the 3,000-pound chunk of unidentified hardware.
Topside, #34, 1970, pp. 22-23.

Here, she may have had a point. Millman was dodging the issue and adding to the confusion through his reluctance to reply directly to her. She published excerpts from correspondence between Bray and Millman that show his dance of vagueness.

In his letter dated January 1970, Dr. Millman states: “I should remind you that in the case of material from space such as moon rocks, meteorites, reentry debris from spacecraft, there has been no difficulty experienced by competent scientists in recognizing its non-terrestrial nature and identifying it as different to terrestrial material.” … And yet, in a letter dated September 9th, 1969, Dr. Millman had this to say: “I think I should mention here, however, that even with a complete examination and analysis of such a specimen, it is not a foregone conclusion that we can give an absolutely definite yes or no concerning its terrestrial or extraterrestrial origin.” Topside, #34, 1970, pp. 22-23.

Halford-Watkins was justifiably confused by the apparent contradiction.

In view of these two apparently conflicting statements, we can only ask two questions: 1) how come they are suddenly so certain that the metal is not of extraterrestrial origin? And 2) will the real Dr. Millman please stand up?
Topside, #34, 1970, pp. 22-23.

Elements and isotopes

Yet another set of tests were done by an American UFO group, the Unidentified Flying Objects Researchers Alliance (UFORA) of Alliance, Ohio. Its director, Paul J.L. Rozich, provided a lengthy report on his testing, the first time they had received something of such depth.

Rozich detailed his various investigations, including non-destructive testing with an x-ray vacuum quantometer. He reported:

Major Constituents                                     Minor Constituents
Iron (Fe)                                                        Cobalt (Co)
Nickel (Ni)                                                    Silicon (Si)
Manganese (Mn)                                           Magnesium (Mg)
Chromium (Cr)                                             Sulfur (S)
                                                                      Potassium (K)

No traces were found of Aluminum (Al), Sodium (Na), Phosphorus (P) or Chlorine (Cl).

Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

Halford-Watkins was encouraged by this result. She noted:

But perhaps the most significant finding of the report is, in fact, a non-finding, i. e, according to the major test conducted on the metal by the X-ray vacuum quantometer, no traces were found of aluminum, calcium, and copper which normally one would expect to find in a terrestrial alloy of magnesium!
Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

How she knew this, I am not sure.

But she was astute in her realization that the analysis of an alleged UFO artefact requires detailed and advanced studies.

Taking an open-minded view of the general metal analysis situation, we are the first to realize that numerous difficulties lie in the way of establishing definitely whether or not a metal sample is of extraterrestrial origin. The obvious reason for this and as pointed out in an earlier issue, is that there is every possibility that other planets have the same elements as those of planet Earth.
Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

She cited the work of Dr. Allen R. Utke, whose article in the December 1970 issue of the ufozine Skylook included his observation that:

Most scientists are convinced that the same 92 natural elements found here on Earth are found everywhere in the universe with no new natural elements yet-to-be-discovered. We would only begin to suspect extraterrestrial origin if the sample, upon extensive analysis, was found to be one of the following: 1. An uncommon element, absolutely pure or of unusually high purity. 2. A mixture of elements or an alloy with a highly unusual or previously unknown composition and or set of  properties. 3. A compound or mixture of compounds with a highly unusual or previously unknown composition or set of properties. 4. A material with a highly unusual or previously unknown atomic or molecular structure.
Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

She added:

Dr. Utke concedes that the only evidence which would probably convince scientists of an extraterrestrial origin is a sample whose isotopic distribution differed significantly from that of the same elements on Earth.
Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

And even if such evidence was found, Halford-Watkins doubted that it would prove alien visitation.

The crucial question is, however, even if 100% foolproof evidence were established, would the scientific establishment be prepared to admit it, or would they produce their usual flow of phony alibis to wriggle out of acknowledging the existence of extraterrestrial material?

However, despite the odds against us, we in private UFO research should press on regardless and with sincere prayer that in the final analysis, the truth will prevail!

Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

This was the last publication of anything related to the Ottawa club’s UFO artefact. The group ceased publication of Topside in 1971, and they appear to have disbanded shortly after.

What happened to the 3,000-pound chunk of metal is not known. John Magor noted in one of his books that it might be languishing in the back yard of one of the club’s homes in Ottawa, forgotten and overgrown with grass and weeds.

The story of the testing, retesting and debate over the origin of the chunk is testament to how UFO zealots cling to their beliefs against scientific reason, but also how scientists fail to make their case to those attracted to the subject and undermine their own position.

In the last issue of Topside, Halford-Watkins concluded her review of the UFO artefact with a statement that could be as accepted by UFO believers today, as in 1971:

From knowledge of the personal experiences of the late Wilbert B. Smith, of one thing we are sure - those government scientists engaged on UFO research, who work so mysteriously behind the silence curtain, have been well aware of the existence of extraterrestrial material for a long time now!
Topside, #35, Winter 1971, pp. 29-33.

Somewhere in Ottawa, Canada, is a 3,000-pound mass of metal that is one of the first UFO artefacts to have been scientifically tested. The story of claims and counter claims regarding its composition remains unresolved according to some ufologists. But this story is so similar to that of present-day debates about UFO artefacts, it should be held up as a lesson for those involved in the field today.

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The problem of UFO artefacts, Part 2

“Art’s Parts”

Another such item, the bismuth sample, has been called “Art’s Parts” because it was sent anonymously to radio host Art Bell in the 1990s.

This UFO artefact has a cloudy provenance, too, but it’s nevertheless a very fascinating tale. UFO proponent Linda Moulton Howe described its acquisition in a number of lectures and presentations:

The strange layered metal came in a box through the United States Postal Service with a typed letter, and we're going back 21 years to mid April 1996, when I was doing real X-Files news reporting for a weekly broadcast called Dreamland that was hosted by Art Bell. We received the first of four typed letters each postmarked from South Carolina and signed only “A Friend.” Later, the writer called me and explained that he was active Army, on route to the Middle East and wanted me to know in case he did not come back alive. His first letter was dated April 10th 1996, and included several pieces of square-cut gray metal, not the bismuth magnesium, but allegedly other metal… odd shapes cut from the same crashed UFO.

There are startling statements that sound like science fiction, but as I read the entire first letter, no one has ever heard this from me before. Keep in mind the Army man is allegedly quoting from his now a deceased grandfather’s diary, a grandfather who said he was in a security team that surrounded a wedge-shaped craft. Quote: “Granddad spent a total of 26 weeks in the team that examined and debriefed the lone survival of the Roswell crash.” Now this crash is not Roswell this crash. It is on White Sands. The grandfather left the box with the various metal pieces in it, along with his diary of an extraordinary time in his life, and in fact an extraordinary time in the history of this world.

Now here is the first letter from the Army guy with his grandfather’s diary content: “Dear Mr. Bell, I followed your broadcast of it last year or so and have been considering whether or not to share with you and your listeners some information related to the Roswell UFO crash. My grandfather was a member of the retrieval team sent to the crash site just after the incident was reported. He died in 1974, but not before he had sat down with some of us and talked about the incident. I am currently serving in the military and hold a security clearance and do not wish to go public and risk losing my career and commission. Nonetheless, I would like to briefly tell you what my own grandfather told me about Roswell. In fact I enclose for your safekeeping samples that were in the possession of my grandfather until he died and which I have had since. His own estate was settled, as I understand it, they came from the UFO debris and were among a large batch subsequently sent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. From New Mexico my grandfather was able to appropriate them.”

Furthermore, this person’s grandfather claimed:

…they had been ringing this craft, shaped like a wedge of pie, for several hours and the military that were the backup and surrounding the area had left, but they left the security team around this craft that had been glowing with light for three hours from the bottom, and when the light went out… he reached over to the craft and pulled the six pieces off with his hand. They were brittle and he wanted to have some kind of a souvenir from whatever this was.

This is certainly the same material that has been described in TTSA materials and posts, and commented upon by Dr. Hal Puthoff among others.

UFO proponent Linda Moulton Howe advocated the scientific analysis of the artefact, but an expert in thin film technology who tested it stated explicitly:

At the most basic of levels, we would freely state that the artifact portion provided by LMH does NOT seem to be composed of elements or compounds which are unknown. Nor is it composed of alloys that appear to be of a purity or combination beyond the scope of current material science. The artifact bears a strong resemblance to irregular layered residue often found in large physical vapor deposition (PVD) coaters.

And debunker Jason Colavito noted:

A final piece of evidence suggests that the Bigelow’s men are overstating their claims. In 1996, Linda Moulton Howe commissioned technologist Nicholas A. Reiter, himself an anti-gravity researcher and a fringe believer in UFOs and paranormal things, to investigate the “Roswell sample”—i.e. the same piece that Puthoff is now promoting. Reiter determined that it was earthly and, while unusual, was not impossible. In 2001, he updated his findings with this information: “The combination of bismuth and magnesium had eluded us for four years. But then one day, we found a reference to an obscure industrial process used in the refinement of lead. The process, called the Betterton-Krohl Process, uses molten magnesium floated over the surface of liquid lead. The magnesium sucks up, or pulls bismuth impurities out of the lead! Often, the magnesium is used over and over again…” Presumably, this is the same process that was patented in 1938, producing a thin crust of layered magnesium and bismuth, which is removed from the lead. When the magnesium is reused, new layers would form. (The Fortean Times endorsed this solution in 2016.) Remember that Vallée’s sample was specifically identified as slag—i.e., industrial debris. Howe refused to publicize Reiter’s results, preferring to string along the “alien” mystery. Of course, we would need a known sample made by the industrial process to test the “alien” versions against, but the distribution of the slag in industrialized nations (Vallée claims examples from France, Argentina, and America, for example) point in favor of this solution.

The new information here is that To the Stars seems to be collecting more of the same industrial waste that Linda Moulton Howe has been cycling through the UFO circuit for 22 years.

But recently, Dr. Harold E. Puthoff, co-founder and Vice President of Science and Technology with TTSA, described this artefact thusly:

This is an open source sample. It was sent anonymously to talk show host Art Bell. The fellow claimed to be in the military. He said that this sample was picked up in a crash retrieval, and so he sent it by email. So what does that mean? Chain of custody non-existent.  Provenance questionable.  Could be a hoax. Could be some slag off of some foundry floor or whatever. However, it was an unusual sample, so we decided to take a look at it.

It was a multilayered bismuth and magnesium sample. Bismuth layers less than a human hair. Magnesium samples about ten-times the size of a human hair. Supposedly picked up in the crash retrieval of an Advanced Aerospace Vehicle. It looks like it’s been in a crash. The white lines are the bismuth; the darker areas are the magnesium separations. So the question was what about this material, so naturally we looked in all the national labs, we talked to metallurgists, we combed the entire structure of published papers. Nowhere could we find any evidence that anybody ever made one of these.

Secondly, some attempts were made to try to reproduce this material, but they couldn’t get the bismuth and magnesium layers to bond.

Thirdly, when we talked to people in the materials field who should know, they said we don’t know why anybody would want to make anything like this. It’s not obvious that it has any function.

The fact that the piece of layered material doesn’t have any overt connection to alien technology and is of uncertain provenance has not deterred hardcore believers. The suggestion that humans wouldn’t or couldn’t possibly have used bismuth in such a way implied it might have been created by aliens.

But anyway, it’s amazing we’ve gone through this and this is the kind of structure we go through a lot. You get a material sample with unusual characteristics to be evaluated, the method of manufacture is difficult to assess or reproduce, the purpose of the function is not readily apparent – as with our sample here, and then as our own technical knowledge moves forward we finally see a possible purpose or function comes to light.

It seems as though supporters of the TTSA approach are saying that even if alleged UFO artefacts are not demonstrably from alien spacecraft, they are nevertheless evidence that advanced research in composite materials does lead to knowledge about possible developments in space travel. And, if you can’t absolutely prove that a particular artefact was made on Earth, then the possibility still exists it was made elsewhere.

This is also the case with the artefacts found and promoted by Frank Kimbler, Assistant Professor of the Earth Science at the New Mexico Military Institute. He spent time combing the area near the suggested Roswell UFO crash site and discovered several very small pieces of metal that are described as being “of possible extraterrestrial origin.”

Kimler’s pieces were tested by a laboratory and he announced that the results indicated the magnesium isotope ratios in the sample were different than those of terrestrial samples, proving extraterrestrial origin.

But a review of the results by another lab disagreed, noting that the anomalous result was not as significant as stated, since error bars of the analysis were not taken into account.

The data is presented and plotted as isotopic ratios. Although AH-1 is shown as a point, it is really an area on the chart extending from 0.120 to 0.135 on the horizontal axis and from 0.125 to 0.140 on the vertical axis. (These ranges are calculated from the observed data.) It is clear that this range does in fact intersect the line and is suggestive that the AH-1 sample is not extraterrestrial.

As I reviewed the confusing back-and-forth arguments about “metamaterials” and UFOs, something jogged my memory. Colavito’s comment about “industrial waste” and a “22 year” period of time made me think about another alleged alien artefact that also caused quite a stir within ufology, but quite some time ago, again demonstrating that many aspects of current ufology are duplicating work that has been done and debated previously.

I’d read this all before: the debates over authenticity, the competing analyses, the reluctance to release results, the involvement of less-than-objective individuals, and a UFO fragment that was tested and thought to be anomalous.

And it’s missing from Vallee’s list.

It started (we think) in 1960, in Quebec, Canada.

The 3,000-lb. UFO artefact

According to the most-cited story regarding the case, on June 12, 1960, between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. EDT, a sonic boom rocked the area around Quebec City, Canada. At about the same time, a fiery object was said to fall out of the sky and split into two pieces as it fell, one somewhat larger than the other. The object was estimated to have been moving at an altitude of one to two thousand feet. Both pieces were thought to have fallen into the St. Lawrence River near Les Écureuils, about 20 miles upriver from Quebec City.

This account was said to come from a French language newspaper in Quebec, although I have been unable to find any reference to this in any of Le Devoir, La Presse, or Le Soleil, the major newspapers at the time.

Furthermore, a local UFO group investigated the report, but

…were unable to find anyone in the Les Ecureuils area who had actually heard or seen the metal fall - strange, in such a small town. So the manner in which the metal arrived at the scene still remains a mystery.
Topside, Number 20, Spring 1966, pp. 4-6

Nevertheless, the UFO and the objects that fell to Earth were believed associated, and the story of the “Mysterious Chunk of Space Hardware” began in earnest.

The UFO group in question was the Ottawa New Sciences Club, which was founded by Wilbert B. Smith, the legendary and controversial figure in Canadian ufology.

In its ufozine, Topside, the Ottawa group described the provenance of the found objects:

A local resident, who supplements his income by beachcombing, covered the area pretty thoroughly the first day or two of June. Then came three days of rain during which he did not work the area. When the weather cleared, he found the two pieces of metal on the shale bed… The smaller piece was close to the shore and visible at low tide; the larger one was further out into the river and was often completely submerged.
Topside, Number 20, Spring 1966, pp. 4-6

This “beachcomber” tried to move the larger piece but couldn’t, so he:

…loaded the small 800-lb. piece and sold it for one cent a pound to a scrap metal dealer on Quebec City where it was erroneously classified as non-ferrous metal. The large magnetic crane used for handling the scrap would not lift the metal due to its low magnetic permeability, so it was pushed into a pile of non-ferrous scrap and eventually shipped to Japan.
Topside, Number 20, Spring 1966, pp. 4-6

That’s right; a possible alien artefact ended up in a scrap heap somewhere in Japan, if it ever made it there at all.

But now the good news: the other piece was taken to a major government facility where it was analysed. According to Topside: “…rumour of the find reached the Canadian Arsenals Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) in the area, who, thinking it might have been part of a space capsule, picked it up for investigation.”

[NB: the name of the government division was consistently cited erroneously in all Topside issues. CARDE was actually the Canadian Armaments Research and Development Establishment, now part of the Valcartier Research Centre of Defence Research and Development Canada.]

And what did CARDE find? This is what the Ottawa New Sciences Club told its members:

The Findings: After analysis, CARDE reached the following conclusions: “The x-ray diffraction analysis indicated that the unidentified object consisted of a metallic face-centred cubic compound, with a unit-cell dimension agreeing with those of: 1) austenitic steel, and 2) meteoric iron. The semi-quantitative spectrographic analysis showed, however, that there was insufficient nickel present for the metal to be of meteoric origin. The amount of manganese detected in the spectrographic analysis suggests that the metallic material is best described as high-manganese austenitic steel. This is consistent with the very weak ferro-magnetic nature of the metal. The iron oxide and the hydrated iron oxides on the surface are normal results of the exposure of steel to the atmosphere. The amounts of quartz and calcite detected by x-ray diffraction are very small, and are common extraneous materials. The low nickel and high manganese content are not consistent with a meteoric origin, whereas they are consistent with common high-tensile steels. The object is therefore considered to be of terrestrial origin.”

Another report states in part: “The metal object proved to be a mass of high strength metal which had fallen, or had been dropped, while in a plastic state, and had splattered like a ball of mud. It was 6ft. in diameter and 2ft. thick at the centre. At the centre of the body there was an outline of a tube about 10 inches in diameter which protruded from the mass about 6 inches. A small electronic potting can was embedded near one of the outer edges. By scratching away the potting plastic, it was possible to identify an electronic component which appeared to be a transistor. There was also the imprint of another electric can which appeared to have been removed by curiosity seekers. It is not considered that the object fell in the location it was found, because there was no crater or splattered material in the vicinity. The tidal flats at this point are solid rock. An analysis by CARDE revealed that the metal is an alloy with high manganese content. CARDE personnel who are familiar with foundry operations consider it to be a normal product of a foundry consisting of slag with semi-molten scrap embedded. Their investigation did not reveal any electronic components.”
Topside, Number 20, Spring 1966, pp. 4-6

Well, that seemed to be rather straightforward. Furthermore, it was pointed out that about 100 miles upstream was the Sorel Iron Foundry, which produced material similar to the artefact. End of story.


A Smith and a foundry

Completely analogous to the Bob White artefact debate, the Ottawa New Sciences Club rejected the CARDE findings.

Despite the findings of CARDE, an element of doubt exists as to whether these are completely accurate. Although they considered the object to be of terrestrial origin, laboratory experiments on the metal carried out by the late Wilbert B. Smith and co-workers resulted in a number of unusual reactions not consistent with the normal behaviour of terrestrial metal. This was most evident when a small piece of the metal was heated with an acetylene torch which caused it to blossom into a miniature white cloud with extremely bright sparks in it - a sort of A-bomb in miniature. WBS concluded that the magnesium went exothermic, reduced the ferrite in the spinnel crystal structure, formed the cloud and left the iron free to burn with 02 in the air. He warned that anyone attempting to heat a larger chunk of the metal might very well fry himself! He also considered that the intense heating should have burned the object worse than it did and he therefore reached the conclusion that it could not have been a blast furnace product. Further experiments revealed that some parts of the metal could not stand too much heat thus limiting the possibilities as to why such a manufactured item came to grief. In testing the metal with the acetylene torch, it was noted that the resulting sphere, with its intensely brilliant shower of sparks, burned until nothing remained- no residue or slag, as is common with Earth metals. CARDE suggested that the metal may have been slag from a foundry, brought to the area via an ice floe. The facts of the case, however, do not bear this out. The nearest mills are many miles from Les Ecureuils, and it was the month of June! The material is not a common foundry product, and even if it had been, one wonders why the foundry would waste 3,000 pounds of metal!
Topside, Number 20, Spring 1966, pp. 4-6

Wilbert B. Smith was not a metallurgist, but an electrical engineer with a Master’s degree, working for the Department of Transport, and later the Department of Communications in the Canadian government. He was responsible for broadcast standards and equipment design and testing for radio in Canada, and helped set the frequencies used by radio and TV stations across the nation.

Smith is most remembered as having been at a broadcasting conference in Washington and made “discreet enquiries” at the Canadian Embassy where he was told: “Flying saucers exist” and “The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States Government, rating higher even than the H-bomb.”

Later, Smith claimed he was in direct contact with aliens, sometimes telepathically, sometimes visually. His information on aliens included such facts as:

“There is much evidence that people who build and fly flying saucers are people very much like us. They have been seen on many occasions and there are many claims of personal contact having been established with them. Communications with these people tell us that they are our distant relatives; that we are descendants of their colonists on this planet, and that they still regard us as brothers even though we don’t often act like it. There is much evidence that the technology of these people is quite a bit ahead of ours, and that through study of the behavior of the saucers and from the alleged communications we have been able to piece together some of this technology, and it is amazing to say the least. We are informed that these people are really civilized, in that they regard all men as brothers; that they do not have wars, and live under conditions of personal freedom of which we cannot conceive.”

He also wrote articles about advanced quasi-scientific concepts such as the “interdependence between Reality and Awareness,” and how: “The application of the Quadrature Concept to the Third Parameter yields a further parameter which we might describe as Density or gradient, and is really an expression of how Reality is distributed in Space.” (http://www.rexresearch.com/smith/newsci~1.htm)

He also speculated there were 12 dimensions on Earth, and that his research into gravity and higher consciousness was assisted by “extraterrestrial helpers.”

That kind of thing.

Anyway, Smith and his contactee UFO group were convinced that the CARDE results were wrong. I went in search of the original CARDE report, and contacted DRDC directly. They replied that no such report on the analysis of a large quantity of metal found in the St. Lawrence River existed in their records. This could be because it simply was not an official research study, but one taken on as a public courtesy.

In an interview with Smith in November 1961, he had decided that the mysterious chunk of metal was part of an alien spacecraft:

Our Canadian Research Group recovered one mass of very strange metal... it was found within a few days of July 1, 1960. There is about three thousand pounds of it.  We have done a tremendous amount of detective work on this metal. We have found out the things that aren't so. We have something that was not brought to this Earth by plane nor by boat nor by any helicopter. We are speculating that what we have is a portion of a very large device which came into this solar system... we don't know when… but it had been in space a long time before it came to earth; we can tell that by the micrometeorites embedded in the surface. But we don't know whether it was a few years ago - or a few hundred years ago.

Wilbert B. Smith died in December 1962, at the age of 52.

Carol Halford-Watkins, the assistant editor of Topside, but effectively the president of the Ottawa New Sciences Club, kept the group going in Smith’s memory after he passed away. The ufozine continued publishing throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s, often devoting entire issues to things like channelled messages from Nikola Tesla.

One discovery about the massive artefact that certainly contributed to the Ottawa group’s persistence regarding its non-terrestrial nature were a number of “inclusions” on its surface.

A further mystery, indicating the possibility of exposure of the metal in outer space, is that the outer surface, under powerful magnification, shows minute inclusions which may well be micro-meteorites picked up during a long sojourn in space. The Club has in its possession a series of photographs of the outer surface of the metal, taken with the aid of micro­photography, in which these inclusions can be observed quite clearly. The density of these particles is about 30 per square centimeter. Dr. Peter Millman of the Canada National Research Council estimated that micrometeorites of this size would occur through a sq. cm. section at about 10-6 second, so it would take about a year to accumulate such a density.
Topside, Number 20, Spring 1966, pp. 4-6

The calculation was that because there are about 31 million seconds in a year, the accretion rate per centimeter works out to the stated value. However, there is no indication in any of the tests performed on the artefact that any of these alleged micrometeorites were tested and found to be such things.

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