Leer en español

2017/DECEMBER/26 (EN)

English language editing: Martin Shough
FOTOCAT DATABASE STATUS
Currently, the database counts 12,239 cases. The raw catalog ends December 31, 2005 with 11,983 entries. It is followed by 256 additional, special cases which split as follows:
Argentina (standard), year 2006: 145
Spain (standard), 2006-2008: 73
Ball lightning, 2006 to-date: 33
Spain (military/CE), 2006 to-date: 4
Exception: 1
NEW PUBLICATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
NEW BOOK!
BELGIUM IN UFO PHOTOGRAPHS. Volume 1 (1950-1988)
After a number of years of dedicated and careful work of data collection and case analysis, this book jointly authored by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos (FOTOCAT Project, Spain) and Wim van Utrecht (Caelestia, Belgium) has been released, November 2017. It is a research book that makes no concessions to the literature. It is a scientifically-driven inquiry on all known UFO reports in Belgium in the period from 1950 to 1988 incorporating pictures, footage or video. The reader will certainly find lots of minutely-described UFO sightings and detailed analyses of UFO images. But also numerous examples of how normal folks can be deceived by common phenomena, revealing the dubious background against which some photographs received worldwide endorsement and became famous.
The book is a documented history of four decades’ worth of UFO incidents that we have investigated, weighing the evidence for real anomalies that might be occurring in our atmosphere. Though only a small country in Central Europe, Belgium’s rich UFO heritage serves as a representative sample of UFO phenomenology worldwide, as any UFO student will quickly realize. The analyses to be found in this volume will perfectly fit to cases from other regions of the planet.
The book has over 400 pages, 366 illustrations (pictures, diagrams, maps, sky charts, etc.) and, in addition to case stories, investigation and image forensics, it contains a statistical review of the cases that were studied. This is FOTOCAT Report #7 and, like the rest of the series, it is available free online at the following link:
Especially for book collectors, printed book lovers and libraries, a softbound, large format edition in full color has been published by UPIAR (Turin, Italy). It can be purchased through the publisher’s website at:
James Oberg, one of the world's leading popularizers and interpreters of space exploration, has contributed the book’s foreword. Oberg had a 22-year career as a space engineer in Houston, where he specialized in NASA space shuttle operations for orbital rendezvous. These are some excerpts from his foreword:
Vicente-Juan Ballester-Olmos and Wim van Utrecht have been practicing a methodology of research that—were it far more widespread—could help determine the better theories from the more extreme ones . . . Ballester-Olmos and Van Utrecht, like me, believe that ‘IFOs’ have lessons to teach ‘ufologists’ that are crucial to making sense of cases that remain in the ‘true UFO’ data bases . . . The newfound power of combining GOOD records keeping with Internet tools and search engines can be seen in specific cases discussed by the authors . . . In case after case, the authors apply wide knowledge of geometry, optics, meteorology, human perception, and human cultural context, to illustrate that plausible explanations often are found . . . The approach shown by Ballester-Olmos and Van Utrecht should serve as an example and as an inspiration to other ‘citizen scientists’ who have played a crucial role in providing the resources that will allow theorists with more data and wider insight to someday make more sense about what lies behind this mysterious phenomenon.
 
 We expect you will find many items of interest in our book, one that you can read with just one click. Of course, those who prefer reading a printed book may acquire the UPIAR published version.
You are kindly requested to extend this information to other colleagues, organizations, scientific institutions, or libraries. In addition, any mention on your blog, website or magazine will be greatly appreciated, as well as any book review you might want to submit to any scientific or specialized UFO journal.
Incidentally, as someone asked, a couple of words about the book cover illustration, an ink drawing by the German illustrator and painter Heinrich Kley (1863-1945). Readers will realize that he was making fun of those who (early in the 20th century) hoped that photography would deliver the long-awaited proof of the existence of ghosts, lake monsters and airships. But, as the one with the dragon illustrates, mythological entities cannot be photographed, obviously.
We are very pleased to report that, hardly one month after release, the feedback has been extremely positive: over 800 views in Academia.edu, the book most welcomed among our peers and favorably reviewed. In a forthcoming edition of this blog I will include more details about reception.
UFOS and Military: More Disinformation
I have extracted from my prior blog an article and this is now uploaded in the Academia portal. It is in Spanish and it glosses the latest attempt to poison the information related to the possible intervention of the Spanish Air Force addressing UFO sightings. I wrote this in order to short circuit a quite recent published fantasy. For those interested:
UFO RESEARCH AND UFO REPORTS
Pentagon UFO Study, 2007-2012
There has been a lot of fuss since mid-December concerning a UFO study having been performed‒and then abandoned‒at the Pentagon between 2007 and 2012. Plenty of media references are flooding the information channel these days, and it will take some time to dig into this in order to clarify the motivations, the names behind and the UFO reports collected while the program progressed. Now, I just want to repost an interesting insight by Jason Colativo:
http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/a-tangled-web-why-are-key-players-in-the-pentagon-ufo-agency-story-all-linked
The Wanaque Reservoir Flap of 1966
This is an event, or a group of events, that always fascinated me. For years, a thick file labeled “Wanaque” was in a pile of paperwork pending to be organized, processed and studied. Now the time has come and for two months I have reviewed all the case documentation, corresponded with previous investigators and done my homework with the aim of presenting a chronology and synthesis of the various incidents which have something in common: UFO photographs were claimed to have been taken. The article that follows is the latest draft of this piece of work. I will be happy to hear from contributing comments, or to learn any additional information from my colleagues in this field.
THE WANAQUE RESERVOIR 1966 UFO PICTURES
By Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
FOTOCAT Project 1
In January and then again in October 1966, a UFO flap2 broke out over the Wanaque Reservoir, New Jersey. There is abundant (yet poorly organized) information from newspaper and UFO journals available online.3 Over the years, there have been contradictory and misleading reviews of data about the pictures taken during this period. My main purpose with the present article is to clarify, to the best of my knowledge, when, where and by whom purported UFO photographs were taken in this location and in these timeframes. Any published images will accompany this text. My second intent is to request from my peers any additional information that may improve this report.
The January 1966 wave of sightings did generate some pictures of the alleged phenomena observed. The October uproar, on the contrary, did not.
On the night of 11 January 1966, hundreds of residents of Wanaque, New Jersey reported observing a strange, large white light which maneuvered over the local Reservoir,” wrote The APRO Bulletin reporting about the phenomenon.4 In fact, there were many eyewitnesses, including Mayor Wolfe, Councilmen Hagstrom, Barton and Shutte, Civil Defense Director Spencer, and a number of patrolmen. In addition to many local residents, of course. The phenomenon was also seen from Oakland, Ringwood, Paterson, Totowa, Wayne, Butler and other nearby towns. Reportedly “gliding oddly” and changing color from white to red and back to white, as a very brilliant light “like a star except that it didn´t flicker.” There are many press and UFO magazine articles on this sighting but the information is so confused and the case so inappropriately investigated that it is difficult to assemble a clear, detailed, accurate and sequential picture for analysis.
Probably the clearest chronology of the course of the January 1966 events is in an article published in the October 1966 issue of FATE magazine.5 Incidentally, I am wondering if this release could have triggered the October UFO revival in Wanaque Of course, this would depend upon when the magazine arrived in the mail).
January 11, 1966 – Roberts
According to FATE, a magazine devoted to paranormal phenomena since 1948, it all began at 6:20 p.m. when an initial report of “something in the sky” came into Ringwood “and a flurry of reports followed between 6:30 and 9:00 p.m.” [All times EST-Eastern Standard Time]. UFO reports arose from many cities in the northeast of the Garden State. Photographer and UFO buff August C. Roberts, living in nearby Wayne, NJ took a five-minute time exposure of the “light” at 11:30 p.m. on the first day of sightings. The photograph’s caption informs that it “clearly shows object brighter and larger than stars.” The magazine reports that Roberts “captured the UFO as it vanished straight up from a position above Raymond Dam…the object…leaving a trail of light,” yet this description does not fit what the actual image shows, a simple dot of light in the upper left-hand section of the image.
A much better reproduction of this photograph was printed in a booklet coauthored by UFO writer Brad Steiger and August Roberts.6 Here, the surprisingly brief information provided about the picture merely says that the glowing object in the snapshot “simply appeared, hovered a few minutes, then shot off once more into space.” As veteran ufologists are aware, the reliability of Roberts is in question because of a number of suspicious pictures he produced or with which he was involved.
Picture taken by August C. Roberts, January 11, 1966, Wanaque, NJ. © Brad Steiger & August C. Roberts.6
Yet a truly remarkable revelation about this picture is provided by journalist Lloyd Mallan, who included the above photo in the series of three articles he wrote for a known magazine. “Only when photographer…was printing the shot did he notice bright white light above hills.”7 Thus, according to this source, the point of light in the picture was never observed visually.
In a later recollection of the Wanaque incidents, Roberts confirmed it. He wrote about this particular shot: “when I was taking pictures of the area, I took some pictures of the sky, and my pictures have ‘star trails’…but in one of the pictures, there is a definite ‘glow’ way up in the sky. Something lit up and went out. I don´t know what it was in there with the star trails.”8
The white spot labelled “UFO” could just be a developing flaw or a stain on the negative or print. Three reasons support this hypothesis. Firstly, nothing strange was optically seen during the photography. Secondly, the shot presents many other similar white dots all over the frame, typical of faulty processing and/or handling of the film. Thirdly, another time-exposure photograph taken by Roberts eleven days later also shows this type of spot and this one passed unnoticed by the photographer (see the relevant entry below).
January 12, 1966 – Theodora
20-year-old reservoir policeman Charles Theodora first spotted an object from the Reservoir Station a few minutes after seven o´clock on January 11, 1966, “the size of a street light...it raced about six miles up and down the dam at supersonic speed. At one point, it flashed a ray of light on the ice. When Patrolman Al Campana and I rushed to investigate, we found a hole in the ice about 40 to 50 feet in diameter.”5
The January 1966 spate of sky visions comprised a lot of misstatements and false information. If it was due to the observer or the reporter’s imagination, I do not know, but the “hole in the ice” canard was one of the most conspicuous. Both the chief of the reservoir police force (John Casazza) and newsman Howard L. Ball vigorously denied it to Lloyd Mallan, special correspondent sent by Science & Mechanics to the area: “we checked that whole area where the thing was supposed to be…there was no such thing as a hole burned in the ice,” and “That’s poppycock! That’s balderdash!” they said, respectively.9
After hours of observation, at 2 a.m. (or 2:40) Theodora snapped a photograph of the object “in which it appears as a light blur against the background of the dark sky.”5 He watched the object until 4:30 a.m. with other officers: “Danced from side to side, blinked on and off, or at times ascended at such a fast rate that he couldn´t track it, for 2½ hours, after it headed into the north and disappeared into the rim of the dam.”4 Theodora had a third sighting, at 8:00 on the evening of January 12.
Officer Charles Theodora.10
In 2011, retired officer Theodora confirmed to ufologist Anthony Bragalia11 that he took a photograph, the image looking “as a very large bright white ‘unnatural’ object floating above a hill in the distance.” On a report that Michael Swords blogged in 2013, he pointed out that Theodora was in the company of two other policer officers, David Sisco and Jack Wardlaw and that “the print showed only a small fuzzy light.”12
If the camera used was a Polaroid, loaned from the police department station, and it depicted merely a blob of light, it is difficult to believe the claim by A. Roberts that he wanted $200.00 for it. “The Police Captain was trying to get him some money for publication.”8 Roberts acts purely as a gossip-scatter, rumor-feeder individual.
Wanaque Police Chief John Casazza met Officer Theodora and Sergeant Ben Thompson with a uniformed Air Force officer and ordered him to hand the photograph to the USAF officer, because it was “Government property”.12 However, after an “exhaustive research,” reporter Mallan “could find no evidence whatever that any department of the U.S. Government has sent a UFO investigator to Wanaque.”9
In January 1967, writer John A. Keel released a press column quoting a statement by Col. George P. Freeman, Pentagon spokesperson for Project Bluebook, concerning police officers and other witnesses in Wanaque that were allegedly collected together by a man wearing an Air Force uniform. Freeman declared, “We checked in the local AFB and discovered that no one connected with the Air Force had visited Wanaque on the date in question. Whoever it was, he wasn´t for the Air Force.”13
True. There is not any Wanaque file for January 1966 in the files of the Project Blue Book. Merely a report raised by a newspaper editor from Wayne of a sighting at 6:20 p.m. on January 11, 1966, identified as aircraft. Actually, he was Howard Ball, suburban editor of the Paterson Evening News. The case documentation contains a “second-hand report” assumed to refer to two sightings at Wanaque. One “was observed from 1930 to 2030 on 11 Jan 66, reappeared at 0220 on 12 Jan 66, and continued for the rest of the night.”14 The sighting was not officially reported to the Air Force, and only a preliminary investigation was made, concluding that the sightings had astronomical origin. Because of the time and source (calls from Mayor and Sheriff from Wanaque), we can guess that the second sighting was Theodora’s sighting. Blue Book explained it as Jupiter.
If the sightings were not reported officially to the Air Force, was the uniformed officer acting on a personal basis? The Blue Book case index contains no other case file for New Jersey for that period.15 No photograph is mentioned either.
Without a photograph to examine, no evaluation is possible. However, it is unavoidable to think of an astronomical explanation for a sighting that long, on a night when, for example, the planet Jupiter was prominently visible, very bright in the sky with a magnitude of -2.54 descending from 2 a.m. in the west (35º altitude) to 4:30 a.m. in the WNW (9.5º altitude) on January 12, 1966. Jupiter set at 5:30 a.m. This seems to be a reasonable working hypothesis for the picture event.
 
The sky over Wanaque, January 12, 1966, Jupiter position at 2:10 (top) and 4:30 a.m. (bottom). “O” (“Oeste”) stands for West. (Stellarium software). Courtesy of J.C. Victorio Uranga.
The multiple sightings in this NJ area developed in four basic periods, mainly over two days in the most intense moments, in the dusk and pre-dawn hours:
January 11, 1966: from 6:20 p.m. to 8:58 p.m.
January 12, 1966: from 2:10 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
January 12, 1966: from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
January 13, 1966: around 4:10 a.m.
It is not my intention to analyze the events testing for mundane explanations, as the published database is a confusing mess, but for what it’s worth, I cannot avoid noticing that these time clusters matched the outstanding appearance of Jupiter. In those time intervals, the bright planet was located at various angular heights ascending in the evening from 37º to 67º and descending in the early hours from 35º to 10º, while wandering from east (rising) to west (setting).
As it has been noted, "Sirius should not be ruled out either. The brightest star in the heavens is far more prone to atmospheric effects than Jupiter and Venus, and is often described as moving with incredible speeds up and down and from left to right and vice versa. Throughout the various sightings, the star was visible on the ESE horizon in the evening and setting in the WSW in the early morning hours."30
NICAP investigators went to the scene, assisted by Dr. John Pagano. Their final report, drafted by the end of January, asserts ‒“the case appears to be about 25 per cent UFO; 75 percent excited people seeing planets.”16 We have to ponder to which category the Theodora sighting belongs.
January 11-12, 1966 – Cisco (no photography)
Patrolman Joseph Cisco of Wanaque “had made similar photos at the time, though less clear than those by his colleague.” This claim, surely made by August Roberts appears both in an article published by Probe17 and in the story printed in the front page of a Paterson, NJ newspaper in October 1966.18 The colleague alluded to is the police officer who allegedly took the “beam photo” to which I will refer later. The story repeatedly cites the flying saucers that plagued the Wanaque Reservoir in “February” 1966. As the numerous observations of the January 11-12 night are not mentioned at all, I am confident that this is an error. Therefore, the supposed pictures by Cisco had to be taken in January 1966, probably the same night his buddy Theodora took his.
In fact, Joe Cisco reported observing the UFO at about 6:45 p.m. on January 11. It looked light a star or a planet “but the movement and intensity of the light made him question his own observation.”5 From their house, Mrs. Cisco also spotted the object “at the same time his husband did…until its disappearance at 4:15 a.m.” on the following day. Nine and a half hours hanging in the sky! It behaves like an astronomical body, planet Jupiter being a good candidate, one that would finally set in the western horizon one hour later after having crossed the heavens from east to west in that period.
Consultant Wim van Utrecht feels, however, that Venus is a better candidate for Joe Cisco’s sighting: “In the evening of January 11, Venus with magnitude -3.99 was very close to the horizon in the WSW. With Jupiter setting in the WNW in the early morning, my guess is that Jupiter was responsible for the final part of the sighting. It is important to realize that stars and planets at elevations of 37° to 67° almost never generate UFO reports. That's way too high in the sky for them to be interpreted as "strange", even if they are brighter than stars that are seen close to the horizon.”30
30 years later, ex-cop Cisco, then a dispatcher for the Wanaque Reservoir police, does not acknowledge having snapped any UFO picture. He perfectly recalls that on the night of January 11, 1966 he was patrolling the zone when a call asked him to “check out a light” at the local sandpit. The police desk had been flooded with calls about bright lights. In a retrospective interview, 19 Cisco says he just spotted a blue-white bright light, silently hovering. Cisco and some city officials watched the light for half an hour before it zoomed away toward Wayne. Nevertheless, Cisco looks at his memories from a skeptic mindset: “There was no light beam [emitted by the object],” he believes people were seeing a reflection from a barn light across the main dam.
In the absence of any recognition of pictures taken by him, we can discard this police officer as a possible source for UFO photos at Wanaque.
Officer Joe Cisco.9
January 13, 1966 – Goodavage
This time, the purported photo evidence of a UFO is described in an article by Joseph Goodavage, “American journalist, writer and astrologer,”20 intended to review the UFO sightings around the Wanaque Reservoir in January 1966. Just the first sentence of his account states: “I shook a little with excitement, but kept the lens of the camera fixed on that disc-shaped phenomenon flashing red in the cold night sky of northern New Jersey.”10 Later on in the article, Goodavage explains that while he was taking snapshots: “My fingers were numb and the shutter clunked dully in the cold as I sighted on the aerial object…I followed this apparently aimless movement, trying to get a decent picture.”
We can deduce it was 10 p.m. of January 13, 1966 when he was standing in the open air by the Reservoir, while patrolman Joe Cisco, who drove him to the site, was awaiting in the cop car. “For about 20 minutes the object was pasted motionless against the sky. Then it fluttered-wobbled slowly off toward the west,”10 Goodavage affirmed. His narration about the sighting, his subjective, deep impression (”the object…to me looked totally alien”), and the associated physical reactions he claimed to feel after a sudden vanishing of the object, continued through the first part of this article.
Joseph Goodavage.20
The witness took picture after picture during the observation. “Got any pictures?” officer Cisco asked when Goodavage returned to the warmth of the car. “I don´t know,” the journalist replied. Can we suppose they did not turn out? The only alleged UFO picture illustrating the piece (see following entry) has a caption that starts saying that the author “saw but failed to film the ‘thing’.”
As in the Theodora unseen photographs, the event is difficult to assess. Size of “about a quarter of the Moon,” motionless at first then slowing and moving to the west until it turned off as you switch off a light. Over 20 minutes in view. Celestial charts show a bright Jupiter very high in the sky (72º) over the southern horizon (azimuth 185º), moving westbound. Sirius was also present with magnitude -1.45 and much lower (30º altitude) in the SSE. The observer described periods of immobility as well as dramatic movements and changes in brightness. Fast movements over short angles and changes in brightness are typical of bright stars, not planets, which would make Sirius better candidate for this one. Autokinesis may also have been in play, but in the absence of a robust inquiry (we are not being told where the witness was exactly and what direction he was looking at), no definitive judgement can be advanced.
January 13+, 1966 – unnamed cameraman
This is the story of a blunder, or a bloomer. Now, the purported UFO picture appears in the frontispiece of the cited article by Goodavage with only the shortest possible data: “Author…was given this photo by cameraman who had better luck.” Period. Okay, the journalist did not take the photo; he just used it to illustrate his article. Nevertheless, he is to blame for that. Why?
In the following issue of the UFO tabloid, a reader letter was published revealing that the picture in question “is a very familiar sight to most amateur astronomers…this is an underexposed photograph of Messier 31 (NGC 224) a spiral galaxy showing the inner portions of the arms and the central nucleus. The galaxy is better known as ‘The Great Andromeda Nebula’.”21
UFO over Wanaque? 10
There is a recent indication that the camera operator “was with the Paterson Evening News,”22 but no other details have been ascertained.
What it is certain is that the image does not display a UFO at all. Tim Printy, skeptic researcher and astrophotographer, wrote ‒“Yes, somebody tried to pass off a photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy (perhaps taken from a textbook) as a UFO photograph!”23 Printy used an image he took himself to compare with the UFO photo in the Goodavage article: “If you look closely, you will see all the stars in my photograph match up with the stars in the UFO image,” he advised.
Real Andromeda galaxy versus UFO picture. © Tim Printy.23
January 19, 1966 ‒ Phoenix
The Wayne Eagle of Sunday January 23, 1966 published on the cover of this day’s edition a poor looking photograph, under a full-page garish title: UFO Sightings Continue Unexplained. Wayne is located just 4.6 miles (7.4 km) southwest of the reservoir. The only information available is the following commentary under the picture: “Although it may appear to be a speck in the sky, this photograph shows what thousands of area people are talking about these days. Matzner Suburban Newspaper Photographer George Phoenix, Jr. made this photograph from the rear of his home off Rouse 23 in Butler Wednesday night as the bright object dashed back and forth across the sky. Whether it is the object seen by others over the Wanaque Reservoir lately is undetermined.”
Very undetermined, yes. No time, no direction, no duration, no angular height. In the reproduction I have, the speck is not even visible. Just an opportunist picture of the staff photographer who did not even bother to drive to the reservoir, got out to his backyard and that`s it. If an astronomical object or a Martian saucer, who knows?
The Wayne UFO. © George Phoenix, Jr.
January 22, 1966 – Roberts
In his joint publication with Steiger, August Roberts includes another photograph of his taken at the Wanaque dam. It contains the bare minimum possible of information, just the picture’s caption, with the following account: “the light in the lower left-hand corner…moving about under the ice of the Wanaque, New Jersey reservoir.”6 The reader is led to believe that the UFO image is a short, vertical streak of light found in the said position. The picture is undated and untimed. The supposed witnesses that were with him are unnamed. An underwater UFO? Looks like an over-imaginative story. It is in a bulletin edited by ufologist Hayden Hewes that we see this photograph also reproduced. The article on the Wanaque incident indicates that it was taken exactly at 11:30 p.m. on January 22, 1966.”24
In a joint book self-published twenty years later, Roberts described his supposed experience in the following terms: “I went up there in February 1966 (sic) with another fellow [naturally, unnamed]. That was when we saw this thing under the ice, coming towards us, I have a picture of it, and all it shows is a streak. We had the camera on a tripod…it was a frightening kind of a thing, because it is not a reflection. What we saw under that ice was between 6 and 10 feet long. It was quite a ways off from us when we first saw it, and it came ‘shimmering’ up under the ice towards us [up to] 100 or 200 feet away, it stopped and …then it was gone after I got the photo.”8
Wanaque, NJ January 22, 1966. © August C. Roberts.6
This upright white track may be a stain or a small scratch on the film. The print shows several other white dots and smaller streaks all over.25
What about the tale? Well, it is certain is that the reliability and credibility of August Roberts has always been in question. For example, in his own review of the Wanaque incidents, Michael Swords‒far from being a “debunker”‒characterized Roberts as a “UFO mischief-maker…with no regard for truth.”12
Incidentally, a light spot on the far left upper extreme of the image‒identical to the alleged UFO displayed on his January 11 picture‒, is not considered anomalous this time: is it a simple developing flaw‒as it is probably in the first case as well?
The reason why this picture was made after the “flap” was exhausted? A UFO bulletin reported that Roberts, who lived in Wayne, near Wanaque, “spent many cold winter nights perched on the dam waiting for the object to return.”26
January 1966 (est.) ‒ Roberts?
In addition to the flurry of UFO reports close to the Wanaque Reservoir, New Jersey on January 1966, which generated several pictures or phony news about photos, the most infamous UFO shots associated with this reservoir are the “beam photographs”. They show the white silhouette of a disc-shaped object with a cupola over a dark background, dropping a searchlight-like beam from the bottom. These pictures have been generally linked to the January 1966 sightings.
These are a certainly convoluted set of photographs. In addition to the fact that they lack any valid information for due analysis, including the actual photographer’s identity, their origin is contradictory. Again, August C. Roberts, photographer and known producer of fakes and distributor of false UFO pictures, plays a key role in their dissemination. The chronology of these photos follows.
The night of October 10, 1966 started another series of UFO sightings over the Wanaque reservoir.3,27 The Morning Call of Paterson, New Jersey, published the following photograph on its October 13, 1966 front-page edition18. The caption reads:
The Wanaque Saucer?
This exclusive photo shows one of the Unidentified Flying objects that dozens of witnesses saw hovering above Wanaque Reservoir last February [sic] and again Monday. The familiar saucer shape stands out against the dark mountain, while the shore line shows in the middle of the picture, visible through the twin beams of light that stabbed the darkness, melting the thick, mid-winter ice, according to police reports, according to police reports. Picture was made by a patrolman, who says he surrendered negatives to Air Force investigators. Picture was given to The Morning Call by August Roberts of Wayne.
Seemingly, the initial date is February 1966, but we know that the prior “wave” of sightings in the area occurred in January. In a column on page 8, it says that a Wanaque police officer made a batch of pictures “with a simple, inexpensive camera.” According to the newspaper’s source,” negatives” were “taken by the Blue Book investigators” (it refers to the meeting between a supposed USAF officer with patrolmen Casazza, Thompson and Theodora, see the entry of January 12, 1966 above).
It adds that “Patrolman Joseph Sisco [there was a David Sisco and a Joe Cisco] said he made similar photos at the time, though less clear than those made by his colleague, who asked to remain anonymous.” We know Cisco did not snap any photos and that patrol officers used instant cameras with no negatives. Brief, poor and incorrect information.
The next time this shot appears in print was in a large-format, 64-page magazine coauthored by Steiger & Roberts.6 Once more, information is deficient and the statement that that the photograph “was taken in Pennsylvania, in 1961” just about sums up the mess. August Roberts himself insists: “It has been erroneously associated with the UFO flap above the Wanaque Reservoir.” Wanaque 1966 or Pennsylvania 1961?
Pennsylvania, 1961.6
When the editors of a typical flying saucer bulletin of the sixties reviewed the Wanaque UFO outbreak of October 1966, they started remembering the past “February” plague. Undoubtedly influenced by Roberts, they gave the wrong date to the photo. “The negative of the photo at right [not published], is in the hands of Blue Book investigators…”17 These are the same words found in the Morning Call quote. Roberts must have written a text and distributed it to all who wanted to hear.
Half a year later, a Dell’s magazine devoted to flying saucers published a sensational article. “The photos on these two pages were said to have been taken during the March 1966 (sic) sightings. The original negatives are said to have been confiscated by the government and the photographer refuses to give his name. The heavy ray descending from the UFO is one claimed to have burned a 10 foot hole in the two inches of ice that covered the reservoir.”28 The ice hole myth survives. Also, the confiscation theme (this one, on the most generous interpretation, belongs to another event.) While all pictures seem to represent the same scene, the caption of the third signals that some claim it was taken in Pennsylvania and others in Wanaque.
From left to right, the five pictures of the UFO and beam scene.28
The Pennsylvania connection
Now, a twist of facts. B.C. is a multi-experienced UFO-sighter, investigated by Berthold Schwarz, a psychiatrist and ufologist of Montclair, New Jersey. In an article in the foremost UFO journal at the time (1972), Dr. Schwarz reported on four UFO episodes recounted by B.C.29 In one of these, this man attributed four of the five above photos to a sighting he had experienced with several others‒including an unknown amateur photographer from a local town‒during one unspecified midnight in 1958 near Archbald, Pennsylvania. All, except the fifth one. B.C. got prints one year and a half after the close encounter. Prints were submitted (presumably by Schwarz) to August Roberts, who recognized the photos “as being previously published.” As Roberts expressed doubts about date and State in his own booklet with Steiger6 and especially in the Dell publication,28 it obviously means that by 1967 he was already aware of the Pennsylvania set of photos.
Dr. Schwarz continues his report with an astonishing assertion: “Only part of the fifth picture is published [see above pack of five, lower, left-hand margin]. The complete fifth picture, hitherto unpublished, is from the files of August C. Roberts.”29 This is the full photo #5:
Contrary to what we knew up to now, all pictures were taken in Pennsylvania in 1958, except the fifth. Apparently, photo #5 shows landscape details fitting with the Wanaque Reservoir environment, “unlike the other four pictures.” Why Roberts decided to eliminate the round white object from the picture is not known. Dr. Schwarz writes that, according to Roberts, the original photographer presented the “five” photos to the publication, and he tracked the mystery photographer down but “he was unable to prove conclusively that this man had taken any or all the pictures.”
In his article, Dr. Schwarz is confusing, ambiguous and very speculative with regard to the photos (and extremely gullible with respect to UFO stories narrated by the witnesses he interviewed.) In addition to the Archbald, PA incident, whose photos both B.C. and co-witness “Rob” received from the unknown photographer, there seems to be other pictures taken by none other than an unnamed New Jersey contactee! (Everybody is anonymous in this story). In a footnote, Dr. Schwarz tells about another series of similar photos. “Rob was visibly shocked at the time I interviewed him and he examined the silent contactee X’s photographs of an alleged UFO with a changing and cut off beam of light. Although Rob had never before seen X’s pictures, they resembled what he had seen in actuality when he was with B.C., near Archbald, Pennsylvania, in 1958 and his own set of photographs.”
In summary, the unknown photographer of the 1958 Archbald event took photos of a UFO emitting a ray of light from the bottom; B.C. and “Rob” had sets of four of these pictures. These appear to be identical to both (1) those taken by a “silent contactee” in northern New Jersey‒undated, and (2) to four of the five photos printed in October 1967.
The article by Schwarz revealed an important clue: in 1958, the source called “B.C.” was involved with outspoken, public, naïve contactee Howard Menger of High Bridge, New Jersey. He was one of this gang of guys in the United States who in the fifties claimed to have contact with extraterrestrials, fly in their spacecraft, visit their worlds, etc. It was a period of lots of flying saucer scams in the country. Recently, it was discovered that one of the various faked probative films devised by Menger in late 1950s contained image elements similar to the ones under scrutiny.30
This is a frame from one of the films by Menger; allegedly made in the Blue Mountains, Pennsylvania, 1958.31 The vague dog-mouth appearance of the UFO and a vertical light track reminds one very much the light-emitting UFO of the Wanaque 1966 series.
Menger was described‒in a comment written in his obit‒as “one of the most charming and colorful of the golden era UFO contactees,”32 Maybe. In addition to being a smoke-selling charlatan and trickster, without the slightest doubt, who fabricated stories as well as pictures and films.
Howard Menger and reincarnated Venusian wife.33
Therefore, the connection Pennsylvania 1958-Wanaque 1966 does exist, after all. Photographs similar to the Wanaque series might have existed years before 1966. Probably a degree more sophisticated that the simple film aired by Menger. What else is important not to miss in this puzzle? That old August C. Roberts was, during the late 1950s, an associate and a close friend to Menger! In his 1967 booklet (page 27),6 Roberts shows how UFO fakes can easily be executed with darkroom techniques and describes his procedure: first, painting a plastic model of a saucer with luminous paint, then, superimposing the glowing saucer against the selected background. This is the result:
This method is the one that could have been used to achieve the PA/NJ pictures. By the way, Menger was a sign painter.
August C. Roberts’s report
Twenty years after the Wanaque events, a gullible book of UFO photographs revamped the NJ pictures. Based on a report by the same August Roberts,8 it is written in a novel-like, vague style probably quoted directly from a recorded interview by Wendelle Stevens and contains memory lapses (for example, everything seems to start in “late” January 1966). Roberts relates that someone was rumored to have taken a picture of the UFO. During his investigation, he managed to obtain the photograph we know as #5 (complete, this is, with the round object at the right side). Finally, he “tracked down the people involved in it.” When he thought to have found the person‒”one of the Police”‒, he visited and interrogated him to get a confession that he was the author. “No, I wasn´t,” the alleged photographer responded repeatedly. However, the man (never identified by name) told Roberts to come back in a couple of days. In the next visit, this person “showed me other pictures than the ones [one?] that I had. I think it was four or five more. I do have copies of those photos now, and I had gotten them through a different source at later time.” Roberts states that the man in question did not identify the actual photographer because he did not know him. He was clear “he wanted nothing more with me from that point forward.”8
If we are to believe this story, it was before Dell’s UFO magazine published the five photos in October 1967.28 Also, whoever this person was, he just happened to have prints taken by a third party. Apparently, copies of this series (or similar series) of photographs were circulating at the time.
The book published the five photographs. They were dated as taken “late January 1966”.
Present-day resurgence
The Wanaque photos did not generate any fresh input in the following 25 years, until a June 2011 blog entry by US ufologist Anthony Bragalia.34 Concerning the five photos published, it confirms that “some of the photographs found their way [anonymously] to the late…August C. Roberts.” It reveals that the magazine Flying Saucers. UFO Reports28 received the pictures “claiming to be of the craft and beam seen there. The submitter wished no compensation and acknowledgement and did not seek any compensation.”
In a further entry, Bragalia reports that officer Theodora “believes it's possible that his former colleague Sgt. Ben Thompson took photographs of the Wanaque UFO.”35 At the end of the day, nevertheless, this is an unsubstantiated suspicion, notwithstanding that special guest August Roberts “later stated that he received them [the Wanaque beam pictures] from an anonymous, unnamed Ringwood, NJ police officer.” The same Roberts who submitted the series of Wanaque photos that appeared in Dell’s October 1967 publication, Bragalia wrote. At this point in time, the blogger held the hypothesis that Sgt. Thompson took the shots and sent them to Roberts.
Incidentally, I have asked 82-year-old Brad Steiger, associated with Roberts in the editing of a magazine in 1967, to look back in time, and he recalls well a “quiet, polite, and unassuming” Augie Roberts, who would “submit the [Wanaque] photos to all UFO publications extant in the late 1960s… [although] I do not remember that he claimed to have taken them.”36
It opened the Pandora box again. In 2013, emeritus professor Michael Swords made a detailed literature review of the Wanaque sightings in his own blog.11,37,38 Rich Reynolds from the RRR Group released a debate with Bragalia on those takes, with opinions pro and con.39 Nothing definitive transpired, however. “I have already looked into the 1961 PA claim-not true. Steiger [actually Roberts] is completely wrong. I traced the story in its entirety,” Bragalia wrote in a February 21, 2013 comment there.
Especially interesting was a contribution by Lance Moody: “Bob Zanotti was a young man very interested in UFO's during the time. He had the Coffee Klatsch show WFMU and often interviewed UFO personalities. Bob and Augie went up to the Wanaque reservoir a few days after the UFO reports and interviewed all of the principals. The fresh testimony on that show sounds different from the way the story was later told…A photo is mentioned. But it was taken by two reporters The reporters who got the photo were from the Patterson Call….NOT a policeman as Tony has concocted. I asked Bob's his thoughts on the photo. He replied [my emphasis]: To your question: That photo is either an outright fraud, or perhaps, to be kinder, only a depiction of what had been reported, made perhaps by a local newspaper. That was common in those days. I agree that it cannot be a real photograph. If Augie were alive, I suspect he might know about it."40
Chief John Casazza at desk. © Science & Mechanics.7
Analysis
Well, sort of. In the absence of originals, sighting and camera data little can be accomplished. However, some valid opinions have been aired. To begin with, a comment to the original 2011 Bragalia blog’s entry by a reader initialized E.H. (missed in the 2017 reprint). He reviewed the photograph published by Steiger & Roberts6 and wrote: “The left side of the craft is indistinct and does not match the right side, yet there is little evidence of motion blur, indicating a short exposure or a static subject (more likely the latter given it is supposed to be a night shot and it has a properly-exposed background. On the whole, it looks like a fake produced by dodging a print (using an opaque or partially transparent object to reduce exposure in a defined area of photographic paper). There is a faint line coming from the 4 o’clock position on the craft which may be the support wire used to hold the cutout used to do the dodging.”
Tim Printy, who has gained an authority in the analysis of both old and new UFO sighting reports, bets for a “photo montage,”41 based on the cartoon appearance of the image. Consulted, image analyst Andrés Duarte feels it is “a model.”42 Both experts agree that there is nothing to prove (or disprove, I rush to add) those views.
Dr. Swords was very clear when commenting upon the pictures. “My opinion only: the infamous light beam photos are probably an Augie Roberts hoax. He claims that he got these things from someone else but would not name nor describe anything about them…Roberts was one of the least dependable "idiots" in UFO history, ruining everything he touched and not caring.”37
Anyway, the integrity of the beam photographs is below zero, as “the original story for the ‘beam’ story was a misquoted engineer, Fred Stein, who clearly debunked the misquote,”38 according to Swords. Regarding the hole-in-the ice story, it has also been proven bogus by Chief Casazza. In fact, NICAP’s bulletin published that Stein saw the UFO’s glow reflecting from ice in the water. He added: “Garbling of this report evidently caused a widely published account that a beam from the UFO had cut a large hole in the ice.”43
Yet it is always fun and encouraging to see how both skeptics and believers coincide in a common judgement.
The photographer?
The latest chapter in this unfinished record until now dates from October 2017. A significant discovery by Anthony Bragalia. He affirms he has finally identified the person who took the five famous photographs! It was someone by the name of Claude Coutant, 46 at the time and a “factory worker for a rubber mill in Butler, NJ.” Coutant died in 1985. Bragalia contributes two prints of photo number five. He states that the pictures were taken “on a cold winter night in late December 1966.”44
Original prints of the photo #5 of the Wanaque “beam” series.
On the back is handwritten “Winter 1966”. Courtesy of Anthony Bragalia.44
Under this scenario, the chain of custody of those prints would be the following:
C. Coutant (supposed photographer) → a woman (unnamed) formerly engaged to Coutant → NJ woman from the Wanaque area, formerly affiliated professionally with the Star Ledger newspaper (prefers to remain anonymous) → A. Bragalia.
Bragalia assigns to the testimony of Wanaque Reservoir Police Chief John Casazza, 61, the major support for the real existence of a sighting, which in his opinion would mirror the “beam” pictures. This is an extract of Casazza’s tape-recorded deposition to reporter Lloyd Mallan: “It was a bright white light…it was funnel-shaped…it spread out as if it were focused through a telescope. It was narrow at one end in the sky and spread out into a very wide beam as it approached our upper gate house at the dam.”7 (Casazza was standing, in the company of other police officers, on the top of Raymond Dam, the head works of the Wanaque Reservoir.) Bragalia adds: “John Casazza, December 1966, describing the UFO that he viewed while it was photographed by a nearby resident.”44 Checking this with Bragalia himself, he confirms that it was taken at Wanaque and offers as authority for this assertion…Casazza’s son, 51 years after the event.45
Some clarifications seem indispensable. Firstly, the above sighting occurred after 9:00 p.m. on January 11, 1966, as Mallan clearly reports, not December. Secondly, Casazza also declared that this light had been seen several times at the reservoir that evening but no one had paid too much attention to it (my emphasis). Thirdly, the same light had been there about 20 minutes before, Casazza was viewing it for some minutes and it lasted about half an hour more: one hour with “no motion…it seemed to stay stationary over one spot in the reservoir.”7
Long-duration sightings of this type are normally compatible with the observation of an astronomical object. We do not know the viewing direction: if it was southeast, there were two potential culprits. A white, motionless light could be Jupiter, at its maximum radiance (-2.54) located at an altitude of 67º. Sirius was also conspicuous, being visible lower (24º), less brilliant (-1.45 magnitude) with characteristic multi-colored flashes.
As regards the upside-down funnel shape, the effect of cold winter conditions on the eyes may produce optical distortions of this type, as Belgian professor M. Minnaert explained in a master work.46
On the other hand, we cannot forget the illusion phenomena which cause observers to distort and miscalculate their sightings,47-51 or bona fide UFO eyewitnesses to exaggerate or inflate recollections of their observations.52,53
I have asked a panel of researchers and image experts that I respect to pronounce about the validity of the “unique colorization analysis” presented in the latest Bragalia entry. Their assessments follow:
1. My opinion on the ‘unique colorization process’ and the ‘analysis’ that supposedly reveals ‘three-dimensional figures or forms floating within the light shaft’: Fantastic garbage. The process is really only heightening contrast, quantized in a grey-scale. Just turning the result into pretty colors does not generate any new information. There’s no reason to think the density pattern produced is any more than a map of some gross brightness variations in the source (whatever it is) broken up by random ‘noise’ in the emulsion chemistry and processing. The noise probably masks any useful information. I do not think it tells you anything.54
2. Nothing is said about what software was used to color the gray tones of the photo, I find it strange that this technique, or another, is used to find supposed hidden things in the "ray" of light. Besides, the light is overexposed and lacks any details (I think nothing hidden can be extracted from there), it is an analog picture (film) that has been digitized and, in the process, it will have lost quality and artifacts have emerged. The so-called three-dimensional figures in the retouched image are rather pareidolia.55
3. I feel this ‘analysis’ simply highlights noise in high contrast. As I understand it, the process is just changing a monotonous gray scale for luminous intensity (the more luminosity, the whiter; the less luminosity, the blacker), for a color scale. This usually helps to see details that are not evident in a gray scale. However, that does not imply any relation with ‘three-dimensional shapes’. A photograph is a 2D representation, it losses 3D information. The ‘colorization process’ only represents in color areas of more or less luminous intensity, to better differentiate more or less bright sections in the photograph, but it does not say anything about its three-dimensionality.56
4. Ignoring the methods, file formats used by Christian Toussay, ignoring his knowledge of imagery, ignoring the story of the digital version of the image and the process used to obtain it, I can only say that the chessboard pattern could be due to jpg compression artifacts, revealed by the false color palette used. The palette still allows highlighting the lighter areas in the "beam". In particular, that the lightest area is near the tip of the cone. Which is not inconsistent with the idea of a beam. The lumps in the tip of the "beam" may very well be only a consequence of the overall, structured background noise of the image that can be seen throughout the upper half of the image. This noise is still revealed by the chosen color palette.57
5. That processing technique enhances the contrast of the irregularities of the photo, but it's just about trivial irregularities, like the granulation, inhomogeneities of the emulsion, light gradations, etc.58
6. Regarding the 'unique colorization analysis', it is pseudoscientific nonsense. Similar image ‘analyses' were performed on other fake UFO photos to prove that there were pilots and instruments inside the photographed ‘ships’. Suggesting ‘three-dimensional forms' (presumably hinting here at some sort of alien presence) in the light beam is just an exercise in imagination.30
At the same time, some of the consulted experts provided insights about the photograph itself:
1. Based on the photo all I would want to say is that some areas of a print emulsion have been exposed to some source of light in some fashion, possibly involving a lens. Assuming it is a true optical image of something, it could be almost anything. I do not see any reliable data on camera and film type, date, time, conditions, pointing direction, location, aperture, exposure, etc., or any other collateral information of even the vaguest kind that could help to interpret the photo.54
2. What appears in the image can be anything. There is no spatial reference with which to compare and the blog provides no data of the shot as focal, exposure time, sensitivity, aperture, whether or not the photo is cropped, etc.55
3. With regard to the quasi-horizontal lines crossing the lower part of the beam: these are not created by light reflecting off breaking waves near the shoreline. Segments of the lines continue as darker lines inside the beam, which is impossible if this were a reflection on water behind the beam. The lines are wrinkles that are due to a glossy photograph having been folded. Oddly, they miraculously end where the picture's white frame starts (note that there are other sharper defined wrinkles at the bottom right of the brighter version of Bragalia's two prints which do run past the white frame). This proves that the prints that Bragalia obtained are actually photos from other prints, not originals. In fact, the edge of the photo that was re-photographed is visible in Bragalia’s darker print, as can be seen in the image below right.30
Consultant Wim van Utrecht has found more evidence of this. The edge of the photo that was re-photographed appears in Bragalia's darker print, as we can see in the images below:
Final comments
The photographs (one series or two) pivot around two queer personalities. One is a hidden source of multiple, dramatic UFO adventures that everyone would qualify as lunatic fringe, except psychiatrist Dr. B.E. Schwarz. The other is a discredited character in UFO photography, A.C. Roberts. The only available, supposedly first-generation print of the series satisfies none of the conditions for scientific analysis: no negatives, no camera data, no exact timing, no first-hand deposition, etc. With no elements to study the pictures, the quality of the originators of the material must weigh heavily in the balance. Precedents in photography (footage) are found in a film by a popular contactee from New Jersey, closely related to the two above personages.
Personal conclusion
The photograph is a fake. The series is a fake. The method of analysis employed is simple, useless and ineffective for the purpose, if not entirely erroneous. The pair of prints from the alleged author Claude Coutant are reproductions of prior-generation prints, not originals as implied. The probable author of the present series of photographs was August C. Roberts. He could do it and was in the central place at the right time. The date of December 1966 cannot be valid as the first print was released mid October 1966. My best guess is that Roberts made the series of pictures during or after the January flap, and presented it on the occasion of the October recrudescence.
Prior series of pictures resembling these may exist, probably related to Howard Menger and probably fabricated by August Roberts as well.
~October 10, 1966 – Debris, Press Photo
Wanaque received a second major avalanche of UFO sightings starting October 10, 1966, one that received ample media coverage.3,27 On this occasion, however, no photographs were achieved. Even though multitudes met around the reservoir expecting to see a UFO. As the press reported: “Entire families, bored with the usual television fare, turned out with thermoses of hot coffee, cameras, and high-powered binoculars hoping to see a UFO.”59 It should have been a glorious spectacle to watch!
Suburban Trends is a New Jersey newspaper providing coverage for local areas such as Bloomingdale, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, Wanaque, and others. In 2007, a publication’s staff writer published an interview with Wanaque longtime resident Frank Cavallaro who disclosed an up-to-now unknown aspect of the “Jan. 11 and 12, 1966” UFO flap around the Wanaque Reservoir.60 According to this information, in 1971 Cavallaro was working for a molding company in the borough. One day, UFOs popped up in the conversion with his coworkers. Two of them “would just roll on the floor laughing hysterically.” When approached, “the two…admitted responsibility for the whole UFO hoax and provided him with a detailed explanation of how they pulled it off.” Apparently, the two men, youngsters in 1966, “filled clear plastic dry-cleaning bags with propane from a nearby tank off a forklift and then sealed off the tops. After setting each aflame, a fiery ting would appear and the bags would lift high into the air, similar to a hot air balloon.”60 Without a doubt, this is important knowledge: young people were creating false UFO sightings with their own Chinese Lanterns! How many sightings they provoked, and whose, we do not know.
I question myself if they did it really in January 1966. Because there was a posterior flap in Wanaque in October 1966. Is a feasible hypothesis considering that those prankers performed their flying hoaxes during the October outbreak? I base my assumption on a jocular letter published in FATE in spring 1967 where the writer reported that high school boy practical jokers hoaxed a whole nation by faking sightings over Wanaque Reservoir. “Take a plastic bag‒the kind dry cleaners use to wrap clothes‒, a wire hanger, a strip of electrical wire, a wad of cotton, a can of lighter fluid, a roll of tape, and a six-inch piece of string.”61 With those elements miniature hot balloons “may account for the numerous sightings of UFO’s over Wanaque Reservoir.”
In the very same issue, the mystery and occult magazine publishes an apparently confirming photograph with the following caption: “Police Sgt. Edward Earles discovers that UFOs reported in November, 1966, in Roselle Park, New Jersey, were dry cleaners plastic bags fashioned into balloons.”62 It is the third time in a row where hand-made balloons are associated with the New Jersey 1966 UFO observations. To what extent these boyhood pranks relate to the January or October flaps we do not know, but there must be certainly something to it!
November 1966 find at Roselle Park, NJ. © FATE.
                                                                  Notes
(1) FOTOCAT is a worldwide database of over 12,000 UFO and IFO sightings that contain photographic images, having occurred up to December 31, 2005: http://fotocat.blogspot.com/
(2) A sudden increase in the rate of UFO sighting reports in a given area during a short period (days or weeks).
(3) The NICAP website has collected and uploaded information compiled by Michael Swords, Barry Greenwood, and Robert Swiatek:
(4) The APRO Bulletin, May-June 1966, p 3.
(5) Edward J. Babcock & Timothy Green Beckley, “UFO Plagues N.J. Reservoir,” FATE, October 1966, pp 34-44.
(6) Brad Steiger & August C. Roberts, “The Many Weird Nights at Wanaque,” The Flying Saucer Menace, Award (New York), 1967, pp 22-26.
(7) Lloyd Allan, “What Happened at Wanaque, N.J.?” Science & Mechanics, July 1967, pp 52-57 & 66-69.
(8) Wendelle Stevens & August C. Roberts, UFO Photographs Around the World (Vol. 1), UFO Photo Archives (Tucson), 1986, pp 203-211.
(9) Lloyd Allan, “What Happened at Wanaque, N.J.?” Science & Mechanics, June 1967, pp 42-47 & 70-72.
(10) Joseph Goodavage, “Seeing is Prickles, Pressure and Belief,” Flying Saucers. UFO Report, No. 2, spring 1967, pp 6-11.
(13) John A. Keel, “Mystery Men Flash Government Credentials,” Saucer Scoop, March 1967, p 12, https://tinyurl.com/y74b8rsz
(14) https://www.fold3.com/image/8722320 to image 8722360.
(16) The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, N.J.), January 25, 1966.
(17) Armand Laprade & Joseph Ferriere (editors), “When the Flying Saucers Returned to Wanaque,” Probe, spring 1967, pp 27-29.
(18) Thomas Sullivan & Jerry Pulwer, The Morning Call (Paterson, New Jersey), October 13, 1966, cover and p 8.
(19) Justo Bautista, Record (Hackensack, New Jersey), December 9, 1996.
(21) Mike Moss, Flying Saucers. UFO Reports, No. 4, winter 1967.
(22) Rich Reynolds, http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2011/09/1966-wanaque-ufo-sightings-revisited.html Comment dated September 21, 2011.
(23) Tim Printy, SUNlite, November-December 2011, p 3,
(24) Hayden Hewes, Interplanetary Intelligence Report, March 1966, p 14.
(25) Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga, e-mail dated December 3, 2017.
(26) Saucer News, June 1966, p 27.
(27) The Record (Hackensack, NJ), October 11, 12, 13 and 17, 1966. Paterson Evening News, October 11, 13 and 14, 1966. Newark Evening News, October 11 and 12, 1966. Herald News (Passaic, NJ), October 11, 14, 16 and 17, 1966. The Jersey Journal, October 13, 1966. Sunday Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), October 16, 1966. Evening Times (Trenton, NJ), October 19, 1966. World Journal Tribune, October 24, 1966. (A sample).
(28) Carmena Freedman (editor), “How It Was At Wanaque,” Flying Saucers. UFO Reports, October 1967, pp 58-59.
(29) Berthold E. Schwarz, “Beauty of the Night,” Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 18, No. 4, July-August 1972, pp 5-9 & 17, http://tinyurl.com/3ndsmtv
(30) Wim van Utrecht, e-mails dated December 16 and 18, 2017.
(31) Michael Hesemann & Natalia Zahradnikova, 2000,
(33) Howard Menger, From Outer Space to You, Saucerian Books (Clarksburg, West Virginia), 1959,
(36) Brad Steiger, e-mail dated December 11, 2017.
(41) Tim Printy, SUNlite, November-December 2017, p 3,
(42) Andrés Duarte, e-mail dated October 26, 2017.
(43) UFO Investigator, January-February 1966, p 3.
(45) Anthony Bragalia, e-mail dated November 12, 2017.
(46) Marcel Minnaert, The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air, Dover (New York), 1954, pp 95-96.
(47) Helen Ross & Cornelis Plug, The mystery of the moon illusion. Exploring size perception, Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2002,
(48) Don McCready, “On size, distance and visual angle perception,” Perception & Psychophysics, Vol. 37, No. 4, July 1985, pp 323-334, https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/BF03211355
(49) Denis K. Burnham, “Apparent relative size in the judgement of apparent distance,” Perception, Vol. 12, No. 6, 1983, pp 683-700.
(50) W.H. Ittelsonn & F.P. Kilpatrick, “Experiments in Perception,” Scientific American, August 1951, pp 50-55.
(51) Roger N. Shepard & Sherryl A. Judd, “Perceptual Illusion of Rotation of Three-Dimensional Objects,” Science, Vol. 191, No. 4230, March 5, 1976, pp 952-954.
(52) Manuel Jimenez, Les phénomènes aerospatiaux non-identifies et la psychologie de la perception, Technical Note #10, GEPAN (Toulouse), 1981,
(53) Jean-Michel Abrassart, “L’influence de la culture sur les observations d'OVNI,” http://www.cnes-geipan.fr/fileadmin/documents/30_ABRASSART_full.pdf
(54) Martin Shough, e-mail dated December 13, 2017.
(55) Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga, e-mail dated December 13, 2017.
(56) Julio Plaza del Olmo, e-mail dated December 14, 2017.
(57) Laurent Chabin, e-mail dated December 16, 2017.
(58) Andrés Duarte, e-mail dated December 16, 2017.
(59) Jerry Pulwer & Jerome Morgan, “Saucer Buffs Crowd Wanaque, Claim Sighting,” The Morning Call (Ringwood, New Jersey), October 14, 1966.
(60) Tim Fox, “Man says UFO incidents around reservoir in mid 1960s were a hoax,” Suburban Trends (Butler, New Jersey), April 11, 2007, p A6.
(61) G.B. Pshaw, “Clever Hoaxes?” FATE, April 1967.
(62) “I see by the papers” section, FATE, April 1967, p 15.
                                                    Acknowledgements
Thanks are due for information or assistance to: Anthony Bragalia, Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga, Kay Massingill, Barry Greenwood, Doug Skinner, Brad Steiger, Martin Shough, Julio Plaza del Olmo, Jean-Michel Abrassart, Gilles Fernandez, Laurent Chabin, Wim van Utrecht, and Clas Svahn.
Invited Article
Last August, the celebrated US UFO historian Barry Greenwood spent two weeks in Chicago researching the archives of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies. The outcome was a massive scan of materials, periodicals, case reports, photographic and audio records that will serve as a duplicate set for serious researchers to consult in the event the original files are unavailable. I have asked Barry to let us know about this field work in some detail in an article written for this blog.
Research Visit to CUFOS
By Barry Greenwood
Stoneham, Massachusetts
uhrhistory@verizon.net
September 17, 2017
From August 8 through August 22, 2017, I paid a visit to the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies as it is currently constituted. When the Center left its public headquarters in November 2009, it had consisted of a three-room suite in a small office building. The contents of the rooms had to be divided between the private homes of the Director, Dr. Mark Rodeghier and the CUFOS webmaster, Mary Castner. Mark held the book collection, and selected case work related to Roswell, UFO abduction studies, Dr. Hynek and government UFO documents while Mary stored the enormous case files and periodical collections. The purpose of the visit was two-fold: 1) To catalog the periodical collection, of which little was known about the specific contents by having been stored in large boxes unseen for many years, and 2) To continue an attempt to duplicate the case files which were stored in 58 file drawers within four and five-drawer metal file cabinets.
A typical CUFOS case file drawer. There are 58 of these plus many boxed records. © Barry Greenwood.
Most of the CUFOS case files in drawers. Non-English periodicals stacked in boxes on top. © Barry Greenwood.
Now to preface why I felt this was necessary beyond just being curious of what was there, some description of an overarching problem is needed.
Generally the infrastructure of the UFO topic is in great danger. Lack of funding, facilities, manpower and time has forced much of UFO history to be kept in the hands of overseers and collectors who do what they can to preserve the information but have increasingly found the job to be a daunting task. While in the early years of UFO interest the volume of reports and organizational activities were manageable, the march of time has added considerably to the pile of paperwork, and now electronic storage, to the point that the old piles are now mountains. The researchers of the past are now getting older, grayer and sometimes physically unable to manage the work that they approached so enthusiastically before. This is coupled with a slackening of interest in UFOs, reflected in the disinterest of much of the media that use to report UFO data widely. Newsstand publications have practically disappeared. Much UFO commentary has shifted to the Internet where in a positive sense interesting, serious work is much more commonly available than before through club newsletters of the past. Negatively though the Internet has a tendency to create a false equivalency between serious attempts at UFO investigation and wild-eyed speculation and outright prevarication presented in a professional-looking fashion, far beyond the meager efforts of many of the cheap publications of the past. This applies to the presentations of cable television channels as well, seeking ratings by selling UFO information in the most bizarre, exaggerated and unconvincing manner. All in all, not a good picture.
Older researchers know the horror stories of files and collections disappearing through one means or another due to four administrative problems mentioned earlier. Files have literally gone into the trash, forever lost. Other records have been handed over to unscrupulous characters who wish to capitalize on the information or who disappear entirely with it all as some form of personal treasure chest that none may see. I know personally of several spouses who in their outrage that their other halves spent so much time researching UFOs decided to "wipe the record" of that spouse's interest and involvement by destroying everything that was left.
UFO researchers are very familiar with the story of APRO, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, last based in Tucson, Arizona. The organization was begun in 1952 in Wisconsin by husband and wife James and Coral Lorenzen. From then to 1980, the Lorenzens built a large organization said to consist of 18 four-drawer file cabinets among other bulk records collected. The Lorenzens grew older and eventually passed away, leaving their organization's substance to other parties less concerned about access to researchers. The files were said to have been sold to a couple, at which point the APRO records became unavailable from the late 1980s to this day. The Lorenzens had the foresight to microfilm their files but only one of the films covering their beginnings to 1956 is available, with the survival of the others unknown.
With the advent of electronic scanning, many of the old worries are gone. Photocopiers with their irregular quality and bulk are no longer needed. Large amounts of records are saved in virtually no space at all. Once scanned, and especially duplicated beyond single copies, files will endure even beyond the originals which could be lost or accidentally destroyed. With multiple accessible collection sites for scans, survivability is insured. No more APROs or permanent destruction.
Shelved periodicals sorted for access. © Barry Greenwood.
Barry in the process of searching records. © Barry Greenwood.
So back to CUFOS. Working essentially 16-hour days, more than half the time was needed to pull down ultra-heavy periodical boxes from storage, go through issue by issue and enter into an Excel file. UFO periodicals can be an odd lot with missing and askew dating/volume conventions, or non-conventions as it often turns out. While not completely finished in the limited time available, over 800 titles were listed, allowing researchers to know in much greater details what CUFOS has. The rest of the time was for scanning important files. This means not just scanning but prepping files as well. Rusted clips and staples must go for less-damaging modern pressure clips. Labels, photos and news clips are literally falling of the papers they were mounted and must be reattached properly. CUFOS incorporates not only their own records, begun in 1973, but also inherited records of CSI of New York (Civilian Saucer Intelligence) and NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena) for earlier years. Eventually CUFOS will be moved to another location. While open access by concerned researchers to historical records is an aspiration, it is often not reality. Holdings are managed at the whim of the holders. One hopes those holders are idealistic in allowing use at non-punishing cost to the inquirers. Remote access for users would save the original files from being worn out through multiple usage by patrons and save time, manpower and travel expenses. With CUFOS, duplication of the case record is vital to its survival. While researchers have used the Center to copy information over the years and selected information is available on the CUFOS web site, there is no centralized access for a "deep" archive of important work not typically in the open. Those new to the subject simply don't know where to go, who to know or how to access very well outside of the small staffs of existing groups. While that could be clarified over time, the priority task at hand is to do the deep scanning work as soon as possible before accidents, or deliberate mishandling, take over. I created over 450 .pdf files which have already been seeded in several trusted locations for safety storage. I could only concentrate mainly on 1966-1968, such was the enormity of the paper bulk for all years. It would take many single-person visits, or, even better, multiple-person visits with good equipment to do high-speed scanning work at the limited number of locations holding large-scale records of current or defunct groups and specialized collectors. This is to where the investment of existing research funds should go without delay.
Creating a periodical database with CSI/NICAP/CUFOS behind. © Barry Greenwood.
Military UFO Files in Spain: Improvements in the Defense Virtual Library
Last year, the collection of UFO files from the Spanish Air Force was digitalized and uploaded to a microsite in the Defense Virtual Library for online access to all citizens. With this purpose I wrote an article to gloss this initiative. There, I highlighted a few minor oversights and shortcomings in the process:
This article has had the desired effect and since then, the virtual library has corrected the few found defects (basically, missing pages and three missing entire files). The updated listing of available files is in the following link:
Another of the files will be added next January. It is not a sightings file but an 18-page dossier compiling the various listings of UFO records created by the Spanish Air Force over the years to account for the UFO cases it had investigated from 1962 to 1995. Titled “Listado de Expedientes” (Listing of files), it was the last file declassified, dated April 21, 1999. For me, it is of the utmost importance because it materially proves that absolutely all the reports officially known have been made public. By the time being, I have uploaded this dossier in the Academia portal, as follows:
https://www.academia.edu/35175086/LISTADO_DE_EXPEDIENTES
As a curious note, the present copy lacks the characteristic "DECLASSIFIED" stamps on every sheet. It is because I received it directly from the Air Combat Command (MACOM) before it was formally declassified.
Blue Book Unknowns According to Sparks
The following “Comprehensive Catalog of 1,700 Project Blue Book UFO Unknowns” is the latest version (December 2016) of a work in progress developed by US engineer and long-time UFO researcher Brad Sparks. I do not always agree with Brad in case studies and we sometimes differ in UFO-philosophizing but calling a spade a spade, the job Brad does is stringent and serious and meticulous. And this is a rare flower in the ufological garden. It merits respect and I am glad to report here the link to access his database, for inspection and consideration of UFO students: http://www.nicap.org/bb/BB_Unknowns.pdf
New UFO Dissertation
By João Francisco Schramm, “A Força Aérea Brasileira e a investigação acerca de objetos aéreos não identificados (1969- 1986): segredos, tecnologias e guerras não convencionais” (Brazilian Air Force and UFO Research, 1969-1986: Secrets, Technologies and Non-Conventional Wars), for the degree of M.A. in History, Institute of Human Sciences, Department of History, Brasilia University, 2016, 166 pages. The abstract reads as follows:
The objective of this research is to discuss the involvement of the Brazilian Air Force in the study and research of the phenomena related to unidentified aerial objects (Oanis) in the XX century. In 1969, the IV Air Zone created the Research System of Unidentified Aerial Objects (SIOANI), with the mission to carry out scientific research on the subject. Even with the closure of SIOANI in 1972, the Air Force in 1977, investigated the phenomenon during Operation Prato, in the northern state of Pará, upon request of the local authorities, who alleged a hostile attitude of the Oanis towards the native population. In 1986, the Brazilian Air Force undertook an interception mission in response to the invasion of national airspace by Oanis, an event that became to the public in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, by decision of the Air Force minister at the time. Given these events, the objective of this research is to analyze the different positions of the Brazilian Air Force regarding the phenomenon of Oanis in the 20th century, through its official documents, and in relation to the main evidence collected by the institution of these phenomena under the context of an air war and of the use of unconventional technologies.
The monograph can be downloaded from this link:
Where Have All UFO Landings Gone?
In the Spanish section of this blog, I am dedicating an article to show how an old (1976) alleged close encounter in Spain has just been resolved as a case of lunar misperception. This visual misapprehension is much more common than one would expect. Events like these confirm the existence of a perceptual mechanism (an “illusion” or something a degree beyond that) by which surprised observers under peculiar conditions (in this instance, a Moon low in the horizon seen briefly through a cloudy cover) can generate a spurious sighting by being unable to identify an ordinary object.
This text was preceded by a commentary on the magnitude of UFO landing reporting in Spain and Portugal. I have accumulated nothing less than 1,076 such reports in a continuing research lasting 50 years! By calculating the average number of reported cases annually, we find the following trend:
1950-1985: 21.9 reports per year
1986-1999: 13.5 reports per year
2000-2012: 4.5 reports per year
The tendency is clear and it signifies that the influence of yellow press (pulp magazines, books, including radio and television programs) on the population has decreased considerably. And it seems it is not going to stop here.
UFO Observing and Psychopathology
Belgian psychologist Jean-Michel Abrassart has authored the paper entitled “UFO phenomenon and psychopathology: A case study”. Its abstract reads:
The Psychosocial Model explains the UFO phenomenon with the following mechanisms: simple mistakes, elaborate mistakes, hallucinations, false memories and hoaxes. This article will specifically focus on the topic of hallucinations in relation to UFO sightings. If illusions are perceptive distortions of an objective stimulus, hallucinations are by definition perceptions without any stimulus. Those cases are probably rare, but they do exist. Research in psychology has shown that the prevalence of psychopathologies is not bigger amongst UFO witness than the general population. Nevertheless, we also know today that people can have hallucinations, including visual hallucinations, without suffering from a psychopathology. We’ll present a case study after a brief review of the literature.
This reading has been of special significance to me as my UFO-interview experience has proved that apparently normal people can develop unreal UFO visions, that is, the sort of visual hallucinations Dr. Abrassart explains in this essay. Probably this is applicable to certain unique-observer, high-strangeness reports for which our impression is that the witness faithfully believes what he has seen, i.e., when it is not an invention or a fabulation but, at the same time, the episode narrated has never really happened. This is the link:
Bright Fireball over the Mediterranean Sea
See computer graphics and information in the following link:
This bright fireball was recorded on the night of Dec. 6, 2017 at 5:22 local time (4:22 universal time) over the Mediterranean Sea, between the coasts of Mallorca and Valencia. The event was produced by a meteoroid that hit the atmosphere at about 140.000 km/h. It began at an altitude of around 100 km over the sea. It ended at height of about 52 km. This meteor event has been recorded in the framework of the SMART project (University of Huelva) from the astronomical observatories of La Hita (Toledo) and Calar Alto (Almería).
Miscellaneous
(1) British author Peter Brookesmith has reviewed my recent paper with Dr. Thomas E. Bullard, “The Nature of UFO Evidence: Two Views” in Fortean Times, #358, October 2017, page 30. He generously writes: “In this, as in all his work, V-J is nothing if not thorough. He covers, and dismantles, all the bases of ETH-enamoured ufology…His take on ufological history and the grip of the ETH upon it is illuminating.” The above mentioned paper by Ballester-Olmos & Bullard is reprinted in Outer Limits Magazine (October 2017, pages 24-34), a UFO journal edited by Chris Evers in the UK. Another British UFO publication, Phenomena Magazine (Brian Allan, editor) has released the first part of the paper in the December 2017 issue, pages 5-13 (unfortunately, they used Bullard’s portrait instead of mine!)
(2) The subject of finding good sources of UFO research literature is of primordial importance, especially for many newcomers from the university milieu who want to access to valid data and insightful readings on UFO phenomena. One such source is the Italian publisher UPIAR, with printed books and works in several languages:
(3) SUNlite is a critical, online UFO newsletter published regularly by Tim Printy, a remarkable successor of late Philip Klass’ SUN (Skeptical UFO Newsletter). It is a voice of reason in the Americana ufology. Every issue teaches something even to veteran students. Here it is the web site where every issue of the journal can be retrieved: http://www.astronomyufo.com/UFO/SUNlite.htm
(4) On October 7, 2017 there was a massive space sighting from Argentina and Uruguay. Here, a report (in Spanish) by Commodore Rubén Lianza:
(5) Issue five of the Italian publication Cielo Insolito (Unsual Skies) is out. It cleverly explores the history of UFO-related events:
(6) An astronomical treatise published 1646 by Francesco Fontana (ca. 1585-1656): Novae coelestium, terrestriumq[ue] rerum observationes et fortasse hactenus non vulgatae. It is in Latin, and translates as “New observations of celestial and terrestrial things, and possibly not disseminated to date”),
(7) Gabriel McKee’s “A Contactee Canon: Gray Barker’s Saucerian Books,”
(8) Many ufologists are also interested in other planet’s mysteries and legends, e.g. the Yeti. Biological science has taken a look to the best physical evidence collected and a conclusion has been reached. Read it here (in Spanish):
(9) Goodbye to a friend. Last December 12th, Belgian ufologist and author Franck Boitte died at the age of 77 after eleven days at hospital in Challans, France. Boitte was an active member of SOBEPS and one of the founders of Inforespace. In the last years I had an intense exchange with him, mainly in relation with my research on a catalog of Belgian UFO photographs developed jointly with Wim van Utrecht. In 2015, Boitte sent me the enclosed portrait that I am using today in his memory.
PERSONAL LOG
Meeting
Last month I met with two of my local collaborators, industrial engineer Juan P. González and Josep Carles Laínez, a philologist and theologist, to review one of the most outstanding close encounter cases of 1974, a precursor to the wave of that year. A fresh, cool look at the event will be carried out by Josep who will examine all documentation from scratch. The complete file contains manuscript letters from the witness, filled questionnaires, press information, inquiry reports, the official Air Force investigation, the assessments of several ufologists, as well as everything that has been published in this regard. I expect that some interesting insight can be gained from revisiting this important episode of Spanish ufology.
Standing from left to right: González, Ballester-Olmos and Laínez.
Family Issues
Just a couple of family photographs: one shows me and my first grandchild, Lucas, aged now 21 months, last summer in my vacation residence. In the other, my wife, my daughter Laura, myself and my son Daniel, in the Valencia University graduation day after finishing his degree in Finance & Accounting. A happy grandfather and a proud father.
 
Thanks
To the following colleagues who have sourced material or analysis to the current edition of this blog: Alejandro Agostinelli, Francis Ridge, Luis Ruiz Noguez, Maurizio Verga, Josep Carles Laínez, Matías Morey, and Patrick Ferryn.
BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
OVNIS: el fenómeno aterrizaje (UFOs: The Landing Phenomenon)
Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (with Miguel Guasp) (UFOs and Science)
Investigación OVNI (UFO Investigation)
Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (with J.A. Fernández Peris) (Encyclopedia of UFO Close Encounters in Spain)
Expedientes insólitos (The Unusual Files)
These are available in the usual second-hand market, for example:
Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (with O.J. Braenne)
http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=174&st=1
UFOs and the Government (with M. Swords & R. Powell and C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich, and S. Purcell)
http://www.anomalistbooks.com/book.cfm?id=64
https://www.amazon.com/UFOs-Government-Historical-Michael-Swords-ebook/dp/B01JJ9JF7Q/
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (with M. Borraz, H. Janosch & J.C. Victorio) http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=182&st=1
Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988) (with Wim van Utrecht)
http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=191&st=1
HOW YOU CAN COLLABORATE WITH FOTOCAT PROJECT
There are several options you can follow:
1. Volunteer work, onsite or remotely
2. Deliver sighting reports, photographs, archives, bibliography, etc.
3. Donations to help defray research expenses
You can reach us directly by writing to the following postal address:
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
        Apartado de Correos 12140
        46080 Valencia
        Spain
Alternatively, through e-mail: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es

2017/DICIEMBRE/26 (ES)
BASE DE DATOS FOTOCAT
Nuestra base de datos reúne 12.239 casos. El catálogo propiamente dicho termina el 31 de diciembre de 2005 con 11.983 entradas. Le siguen otros 256 casos especiales que se distribuyen así:
Argentina (estándar), año 2006: 145
España (estándar), 2006-2008: 73
Rayo en bola, 2006-2017: 33
España (militar/EC), 2006-2017: 4
Excepción: 1
NUEVAS PUBLICACIONES DEL AUTOR
¡NUEVO LIBRO!
BELGIUM IN UFO PHOTOGRAPHS. Volume 1 (1950-1988)
Tras varios años de ímprobo trabajo de recogida y análisis de información, sale a la luz este libro firmado por V.J. Ballester Olmos y Wim van Utrecht (noviembre de 2017). Belgium in UFO Photographs – Volume 1 (Bélgica en fotografías OVNI‒ Volumen 1) es una obra de investigación sin concesiones a la literatura. Se trata de un trabajo que sigue estrictos criterios científicos aplicados a los casos OVNI de Bélgica del periodo 1950 a 1988 que incorporan fotografía, película o video. El lector hallará muchas observaciones OVNI descritas minuciosamente y detallados análisis de presuntas imágenes OVNI. Pero también numerosos ejemplos de cómo gente normal se confunde ante fenómenos ordinarios, pero inesperados, revelando el dudoso entorno que rodeó a varias fotografías que recibieron un aplauso unánime internacional y se hicieron famosas.
El libro es la documentada historia de cuatro décadas de incidentes OVNI que los autores hemos estudiado escrupulosamente, sopesando la evidencia de que pudieran tratarse de verdaderas anomalías que se manifestaran en nuestra atmósfera. Aunque Bélgica es un pequeño país centroeuropeo, su rico patrimonio ufológico emerge como una muestra representativa de la fenomenología OVNI que se produce a nivel global, como cualquier estudioso podrá comprobar. Los análisis que aparecen en este volumen son perfectamente aplicables a los casos de cualquier otra parte del mundo.
Este volumen tiene más de 400 páginas, 366 ilustraciones (fotografías, diagramas, mapas, cartas estelares, etc.) y, además de los informes de avistamientos, estudios de casos e investigación forense de las imágenes, incluye un capítulo de revisión estadística de los datos. Este es el informe FOTOCAT número 7 y, como el resto de la serie, se publica a través de internet para acceso libre y gratuito de los estudiosos en el siguiente enlace:
Y especialmente para coleccionistas, amantes de los libros en papel y bibliotecas, la editorial UPIAR (Turín) ha publicado una edición en tapa blanda y a todo color, que se puede adquirir a través de este enlace:
James Oberg, uno de los más conocidos divulgadores científicos de la exploración espacial, ha escrito el prólogo de la obra. Oberg tiene en su haber una carrera de 22 años como ingeniero espacial en Houston, donde se especializó en operaciones del transbordador espacial para encuentros orbitales. He aquí unos fragmentos de su prólogo:
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos y Wim van Utrecht han venido practicando una metodología de investigación que, si estuviera mucho más extendida, podría ayudar a aislar las mejores teorías de las más extremas… Ballester Olmos y Van Utrecht creen, como yo, que los "OVIS" contienen lecciones para enseñar a los "ufólogos" que son cruciales para dar sentido a los casos que permanecen en las bases de datos de "OVNIS auténticos"… La recién descubierta facultad de combinar BUENOS sistemas de mantenimiento de archivos con las herramientas de Internet y los motores de búsqueda se hace explícita en casos específicos discutidos por los autores…En caso tras caso, los autores aplican amplios conocimientos de geometría, óptica, meteorología, percepción humana y contexto cultural humano, para ilustrar que a menudo se encuentran explicaciones plausibles…El enfoque mostrado por Ballester Olmos y Van Utrecht debería servir de ejemplo y de inspiración a otros investigadores que siguen el método científico y que han desempeñado un papel crucial en la provisión de los recursos que permitirán a los teóricos con más datos y una visión más amplia averiguar algún día lo que hay detrás de este misterioso fenómeno.
Amigo lector, espero que encuentre nuestro trabajo verdaderamente interesante, al que puede acceder con un solo “click”. Y para quienes prefieran no consultar un libro en la pantalla de su ordenador sino en papel, tienen a su disposición la edición de UPIAR.
Le solicito cordialmente que haga correr este anuncio a otros colegas, organizaciones, instituciones científicas y a bibliotecas. Además, apreciaré que mencione este libro en su blog, página web o revista, así como que redacte alguna reseña para cualquier publicación científica, técnica, cultural o ufológica.
Por cierto, quiero añadir un par de palabras acerca de la ilustración de la portada del libro, un dibujo a tinta del ilustrador y pintor alemán Heinrich Kley (1863-1945). Los lectores habrán caído en la cuenta que el artista se estaba burlando de aquellos que a comienzos del siglo XX todavía confiaban en que la fotografía produciría la prueba largamente esperada de la existencia de espíritus, monstruos marinos y aeronaves misteriosas. Sin embargo, como muestra la ilustración del dragón, los entes mitológicos no se pueden fotografiar, obviamente.
Me complace mucho informar que en el escaso mes transcurrido desde su salida, la recepción ha sido magnífica y favorable. Más de 800 visitas en Academia.edu, por ejemplo. Ya han aparecido algunas reseñas literarias y comentarios en revistas y en internet. En el próximo blog me haré eco de algunas de éstas.
OVNIS y militares, más desinformación
He extraído de mi último blog este breve artículo porque considero que debe aparecer como referencia independiente y tener su enlace formal propio, ya que es necesario que se airee lo máximo posible los casos de información falsa, en lo que se refiere a los muchos rumores interesados y ejemplos de intoxicación que circulan en España sobre la intervención del Ejército del Aire en presunta casuística ovni. Se trata de “OVNIS y militares, más desinformación”, que se encuentra aquí:
INVESTIGACIÓN Y CASUÍSTICA
Programa ovni en el Pentágono, 2007-2012
Desde mediados de diciembre hay un verdadero follón mediático con relación a un recién revelado programa de investigación sobre ovnis en el Pentágono llevado a cabo‒y luego abandonado‒entre 2007 y 2012. Los canales de información vienen inundados de noticias y declaraciones desde entonces. Como es natural, llevará tiempo aclarar las motivaciones de ese estudio, los nombres que hay detrás y los informes de avistamientos acumulados mientras duró ese programa. De momento, solo quisiera dejar caer esta preclara visión del tema escrita por el autor neoyorquino Jason Colativo (traducción de Luis Ruiz Noguez):
http://marcianitosverdes.haaan.com/2017/12/por-qu-los-jugadores-clave-en-la-historia-de-la-agencia-ovni-del-pentgono-estn-todos-vinculados/
La micro-oleada de 1966 en el pantano de Wanaque (New Jersey)
Se trata este de un suceso, o de un grupo de casos, que siempre me ha fascinado. Principalmente por el dramatismo de la fotografía principal que lo acompaña: sobre fondo oscuro, un objeto luminoso emite un haz de luz hacia la superficie del embalse. Bueno, eso es al menos con lo que quien fabricó la foto nos quería impresionar. Durante muchos años he tenido un grueso expediente rotulado así, “Wanaque”, a la espera de hincarle el diente, dicho en otras palabras, organizar la documentación y analizarla. Ahora le ha tocado su turno. Durante dos meses he revisado a fondo todo el material relativo al caso, he sostenido correspondencia con otros colegas que lo han investigado y he hecho mis deberes. El resultado es un detallado artículo que presenta una cronología y síntesis de los varios incidentes acaecidos en la zona en aquel enero de 1966, siempre y cuando se hubieran tomado fotografías, que es al fin y al cabo el objetivo del proyecto FOTOCAT. En la edición en inglés de este blog incluyo el último borrador del trabajo, con la finalidad de escuchar comentarios constructivos y recabar cualquier información complementaria que pueda existir.
OVNI o trucaje en el pantano de Wanaque, 1966. Cortesía de Anthony Bragalia.
Artículo invitado
El pasado mes de agosto, el historiador ufológico estadounidense Barry Greenwood giró una visita de investigación de dos semanas a los archivos del J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, en Chicago. El resultado fue un escaneado masivo de material, revistas, informes de casos, fotografías y registros de audio que se ha distribuido entre varios investigadores para su preservación y consulta. He pedido a Barry que escriba un artículo para mi blog sobre este trabajo documental de campo.
Visita de investigación al CUFOS
Por Barry Greenwood
Stoneham, Massachusetts
uhrhistory@verizon.net
17 de septiembre de 2017
(Traducido por Luis R. González)
Entre el 8 y el 22 de agosto de 2017, tuve ocasión de visitar la ubicación actual del J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). Cuando el Centro abandonó su antiguo cuartel general de cara al público en noviembre de 2009, aquel se componía de tres despachos en un local dentro de un pequeño edificio destinado a oficinas. El contenido de las mismas tuvo que repartirse entre la casa del Director, Dr. Mark Rodeghier y la de la encargada de la página electrónica del CUFOS, Mary Castner. Mark conservó la colección de libros y varios expedientes sobre casos seleccionados como Roswell, trabajos de abducciones alienígenas, y diversos documentos personales del Dr. Hynek y de fuentes gubernamentales. Por su parte, Mary custodia todos los abundantes archivos de casuística y colecciones de material periódico.
El propósito de mi visita era doble: 1) Catalogar la colección de publicaciones periódicas, cuyo contenido específico era poco conocido ya que llevaban almacenados en grandes cajas desde hacía décadas, y 2) Proseguir con el intento de duplicar los archivos de casuística, almacenados en 58 cajas y carpetas protegidas dentro de cuatro o cinco grandes archivadores metálicos.
Archivador del CUFOS para casuística. Existen 58 de ellos, más enorme material guardado en cajas. © Barry Greenwood.
La mayoría de los casos investigados por el CUFOS se encuentran en archivadores. Encima se almacenan las cajas con todos los boletines no anglosajones. © Barry Greenwood.
Para mostrar por qué considero necesaria toda esta labor, más allá de la propia curiosidad de conocer los contenidos, se hace necesario comentar un problema acuciante. Hablando en general, la infraestructura de todo el tema OVNI se encuentra en grave peligro. La falta de financiación, ubicaciones apropiadas, personas y tiempo han llevado a que buena parte de la historia ufológica haya acabado en mano de simples almacenistas y coleccionistas que hacen todo lo que pueden para preservar la información pero que, cada vez más, se enfrentan a una tarea desalentadora. Mientras en los primeros años de interés por los OVNIS el volumen de los informes y las actividades organizativas eran manejables, el paso del tiempo ha añadido un material considerable al montón de papeleo (sin olvidar el volumen de información derivado de la producción digital), y los antiguos montones son hoy en día verdaderas montañas. Al mismo tiempo, los investigadores del pasado han envejecido y son a menudo incapaces de hacer frente a la tarea que emprendían con entusiasmo en el pasado. A ello debemos sumar la pérdida de interés popular en el fenómeno OVNI, reflejada en el escaso interés de los medios de comunicación social que antes eran fuente de tantos datos valiosos. Las revistas especializadas han dejado de llegar a los quioscos y la mayoría del debate sobre los OVNIS se ha trasladado a Internet. Desde un punto de vista positivo, ello ha permitido conocer, divulgar y organizar mucho trabajo serio e interesante con mayor facilidad que a través de los antiguos grupos y boletines. Pero el lado negativo es que Internet tiene tendencia a crear una equivalencia falsa entre esos intentos serios de investigación ufológica y las más desaforadas especulaciones, cuando no mentiras descaradas, presentadas con un aspecto mucho más profesional que cualquiera de los limitados esfuerzos de la mayoría de las publicaciones baratas del pasado. Esto es también de aplicación a los canales de televisión por cable que, a la búsqueda de su propia rentabilidad, tratan la información ufológica de la forma más exagerada, espectacular y poco convincente. En su conjunto, una escena penosa.
Todos los investigadores veteranos hemos conocido historias terroríficas sobre archivos y colecciones perdidas para siempre por causa de alguno de los cuatro problemas administrativos que he mencionado antes. Muchos archivos han acabado literalmente en la basura, perdidos para siempre. Otros han pasado de mano en mano, muchas veces cayendo en las de personas sin escrúpulos que sólo buscan capitalizar su información o, aún peor, los apartan por completo de la circulación para formar parte de algún tesoro personal que nadie más volverá a ver. He conocido personalmente a varias esposas de ufólogos que, molestas por todo el tiempo que sus maridos habían dedicado a los OVNIS, decidían “hacer borrón y cuenta nueva”, destruyendo todo lo que éstos habían acumulado durante su vida de esfuerzos.
Los ufólogos conocen el triste caso del APRO, el Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, que estuvo en Tucson, Arizona. La organización fue creada en 1952 en Wisconsin por los esposos James and Coral Lorenzen. Hasta 1980, los Lorenzen llegaron a montar una gran organización y acumular mucha información, estimada por algunos en 18 archivadores metálicos de cuatro alturas y otro considerable material. Cuando los Lorenzen fallecieron, dejaron el contenido material del grupo a otras personas menos preocupadas por mantener y permitir el acceso a los investigadores. Finalmente, se dice que fueron vendidos a una pareja, momento en que desaparecieron de la circulación, hasta hoy. Aunque los Lorenzen tuvieron la precaución de microfilmar sus archivos, sólo se conoce una de las cintas del período hasta 1956, sin que se sepa si las demás han sobrevivido.
Boletines clasificados por tipo en estanterías. © Barry Greenwood.
Barry revisando el contenido del material. © Barry Greenwood
Con la aparición del escaneo digital, muchas de estas antiguas preocupaciones se han desvanecido. Ya no hacen falta esos montones de fotocopias de calidad irregular. Es posible conservar grandes volúmenes de información prácticamente sin ocupar espacio. Una vez escaneados, y sobre todo duplicados en copias de seguridad múltiples, el contenido de los archivos podrá sobrevivir y ser consultado incluso si los originales se perdiesen o fuesen destruidos accidentalmente. La supervivencia está garantizada si logramos escanear el material y conservarlo en lugares de acceso múltiple para cualquier interesado. No habrá más APROS ni destrucciones permanentes.
Volvamos por tanto al CUFOS. Fueron jornadas agotadoras de 16 horas de trabajo; más de la mitad del tiempo la empleé en sacar las super-pesadas cajas de material del lugar de almacenaje, revisar cada ejemplar de revista o boletín y catalogar su contenido en un archivo Excel. Los boletines ufológicos tienen la complicación añadida de que pocas veces se ajustan a las convenciones profesionales mínimas de numeración y fechado; a veces, simplemente son inexistentes. Aunque no se pudo completar la tarea en el limitado tiempo disponible, pude catalogar más de 800 títulos, lo que permitirá a los investigadores saber con mucho mejor grado de detalle lo que el CUFOS contiene. El resto del tiempo lo dediqué al escaneo de archivos prioritarios. Aparte del propio procedimiento electrónico, ello conllevaba la necesidad de preparar el material. Los clips y grapas oxidados debían cambiarse por modernos cierres a presión. Las etiquetas, fotos y recortes de prensa que se despegaban literalmente de los papeles debían ser vueltos a montar y pegar de la forma más correcta. Aparte de sus propios archivos, el CUFOS acumula los archivos del CSI (Civilian Saucer Intelligence) de Nueva York y del NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena). Eventualmente, el CUFOS tendrá que trasladarse a una nueva ubicación. El ideal de un acceso abierto de los archivos originales por parte de los investigadores, es una aspiración que difícilmente se hará realidad. El trato dispensado al material depende de las pretensiones de sus propietarios. Uno confía en que esos propietarios permitan idealmente su consulta a un coste no prohibitivo para los interesados. El acceso remoto de los usuarios permitirá preservar los archivos originales del desgaste derivado de tales consultas y ahorrar tiempo, personal y gastos de viaje.
En el caso del CUFOS, resulta vital completar la duplicación de la casuística recopilada, para garantizar su supervivencia. Mientras que muchos investigadores han usado las facilidades del Centro a lo largo de los años para acceder a datos de su interés, y bastante información seleccionada está disponible en la página electrónica del CUFOS, no existe ningún acceso centralizado para el archivo “profundo” de trabajos de gran valor que no están disponibles. Los nuevos investigadores ni siquiera saben dónde ir, a quién dirigirse o cómo acceder al limitado elenco de personal de los grupos ufológicos que todavía sobreviven. Aunque éste es un tema que debe aclararse, la tarea prioritaria en estos momentos es realizar el escaneo de todo ese archivo profundo tan pronto como sea posible, antes de que los accidentes y los malos usos de algunos provoquen la desaparición del material. Por mi parte, he creado más de 450 documentos (en formato PDF) que he diseminado por distintas localizaciones a fin de lograr un rescate seguro. Sólo pude concentrarme en los años 1966-1968, dada la enormidad de papeleo existente en los largos años de vida del Centro. Se necesitarán muchas visitas individuales o, mejor aún de grupos organizados con buenos equipos, para alcanzar una elevada velocidad de escaneo en las escasas ubicaciones donde se conservan los mayores volúmenes de información sobre grupos ufológicos actuales o ya desaparecidos y coleccionistas especializados. Esta es la tarea concreta en la que deberían invertirse, sin demora, todos los fondos disponibles.
Creando una base de datos de publicaciones con el material del CSI/NICAP/CUFOS a su espalda. © Barry Greenwood
Mejoras en los expedientes OVNI de la Biblioteca Virtual de Defensa
Cuando el pasado año se expusieron en la web del Ministerio de Defensa español (Biblioteca Virtual de Defensa) los expedientes OVNI desclasificados, que habían sido digitalizados para acceso inmediato del público, escribí un artículo en donde glosaba esta iniciativa. En mi texto reseñé algunas carencias que había identificado. Este artículo ha tenido el efecto que pretendía y, gracias a la profesionalidad de la Unidad de Coordinación Bibliotecaria del Ministerio de Defensa, se ha subsanado la totalidad las carencias apuntadas, fundamentalmente hojas que faltaban (por estar al dorso de algunos documentos) y otras que ni siquiera constaban (por error de fotocopiado) en los expedientes que se enviaron al Jefe del Estado Mayor del Aire y que yo conservaba por haber recibido copia de muchos de los expedientes originales directamente del Mando Aéreo de Combate.
De especial interés es la adición del único expediente de casuística que faltaba y que ahora es el número 81 en la secuencia de la BVD. También se ha incorporado el expediente de Normativa histórica, que tiene gran relevancia para conocer la actuación del Ejército del Aire español sobre el tema de los ovnis a lo largo de las décadas (expediente número 83).
Para culminar íntegramente la trasposición de expedientes en papel a digital, se va a incluir también el “expediente de listados”, un archivo de 18 páginas desclasificado en abril de 1999 y que reúne los varios listados de informes ovni conocidos por el Ejército del Aire y archivados en sus dependencias. A mi juicio, es una información esclarecedora porque sirve para comprobar que TODO lo que había en los archivos oficiales sobre ovnis está ya puesto a disposición del público. Mientras que no está agregado al resto, dicho expediente se ha alojado en el portal Academia:
Este será el expediente número 84 y se subirá a la web a mediados de enero de 2018. Como un apunte curioso, decir que esta copia carece de los característicos sellos “DESCLASIFICADO” porque es la que yo recibí directamente del MACOM antes de su desclasificación formal.
El artículo al que hago referencia preveo se asiente pronto en la misma web del Ministerio de Defensa. Entretanto, se encuentra alojado aquí:
Un listado del contenido completo del archivo digital o micrositio “Expedientes OVNI” lo tenemos en el siguiente enlace, que recoge también una entrevista que me hizo la Revista Española de Defensa:
En la misma web de Defensa se puede consultar un interesante ensayo de Rocío de los Reyes Ramírez, Directora Técnica del Archivo Intermedio Militar Sur, titulado “El acceso a la información contenida en los archivos militares del Archivo Intermedio Militar Sur” (2013), en el cual encontramos esta frase que viniendo de una profesional de la documentación militar adquiere trascendencia:
La primera “desclasificación” real de documentos militares realizada en nuestro país fue la promovida por el Estado Mayor del Aire (sustanciada por la Sección de Inteligencia del Mando Operativo Aéreo, MOA) entre los años 1992 y 1997.
¿Dónde fueron los aterrizajes de ovnis?
Cuando en 1987 publiqué mi libro Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (Plaza & Janés) con Juan A. Fernández Peris, trabajé con dos catálogos de casos de “aterrizaje” ocurridos en España y Portugal (excepto Canarias), conocidos hasta 1985: LANIB (los casos no explicados, por extrañeza propia o, mayoritariamente, por falta de una adecuada investigación), con 230 informes, y NELIB (los sucesos explicados), con 355 informes. De entonces acá, además de transcurrir una treintena de años, se han dado estas magnitudes: dos de los casos explicados han pasado al censo de los sucesos sin explicación y 20 de los casos inexplicados se han resuelto de forma convencional, de manera que los catálogos quedan ahora así, LANIB (212) y NELIB (373).
Pero, lo más importante es que el inventario de casos del Tipo I (clasificación de J. Vallée), encuentros cercanos (clasificación de J.A. Hynek) o, sencillamente, “aterrizajes”, ha crecido sensiblemente, conformando un tercer catálogo de informes ibéricos denominado NEWCAT, para el que el desempeño del geógrafo castellano y veterano estudioso del fenómeno ovni José Antonio Cezón, ha sido fundamental. NEWCAT recoge los sucesos ocurridos en la península ibérica desde 1985 (191), aquellos otros anteriores a ese año y que he conocido desde la finalización del citado estudio (206), así como la integración de los casos ocurridos en las Islas Canarias (94). NEWCAT reúne en la actualidad 491 casos, que, sumados a los ya analizados en el libro de referencia, hacen un total de 1.076 historias de “aterrizajes ovni” en España y Portugal.
Espero algún día tener la oportunidad de volver sobre este apasionante tema, pero si no lo hiciera, el material está a disposición de antropólogos, sociólogos o historiadores que quieran profundizar en estos episodios por los que ciudadanos aparentemente normales informan haber tenido cerca de ellos un objeto volante desconocido que ha llegado a tomar tierra o estar a muy corta altura del suelo.
Quisiera, sin embargo, hacer un comentario estadístico elemental uniendo los datos de los tres catálogos para constatar cómo ha variado la dinámica de información de relatos de aterrizajes de ovnis. Tomemos los casos a partir de 1950 hasta 1985 y desde 1986 hasta 2012 (fecha del último caso registrado) y veamos cuál ha sido el nivel anual de denuncias:
                                  LANIB NELIB NEWCAT TOTAL ANUAL
1950-1985 (36 años)    226     340        223       789      21.9
1986-1999 (14 años)      -          -          189        189      13.5
2000-2012 (13 años)      -          -            59          59        4.5
Observamos que el ratio que expresa el número de casos supuestamente ocurridos por año va descendiendo paulatinamente. De cerca de 22 en las primeras cuatro décadas de la historia de esta casuística en la península a cerca de la mitad en la década de los noventa y de nuevo a una tercera parte durante este siglo. La gente ya no cuenta haber sido testigo de este tipo de incidente o de aventura en la actualidad como en el pasado. Y la tendencia va a la baja de forma clarísima. Tal parece que la cordura se va imponiendo a medida que los medios sensacionalistas –con su miserable adoctrinamiento– van perdiendo fuelle entre la población. Los vendedores de misterios abandonan su influencia pseudocultural y van quedando en un nicho de puro entretenimiento sin mayor relevancia que los horóscopos, que todos leen y nadie toma en serio.
Resolución de un aterrizaje de los setenta
Se acaba de resolver uno de los muchos casos de aterrizaje que seguían en la categoría de inexplicados. Ocurrió en Gerena-Olivares (Sevilla) el 15 de febrero de 1976, una zona de Andalucía especialmente rica en avistamientos de lo más pasmoso. La primera noticia del percance la tuvimos al poco por el infatigable ufólogo, en las antípodas de mi pensamiento y sin embargo amigo durante cincuenta años, Ignacio Darnaude Rojas-Marcos. La información apenas eran seis párrafos y señalaba a Joaquín Mateos Nogales como investigador principal del caso. En 1984 me comuniqué con Mateos (ufólogo local muy popular en la región) con ánimo de conseguir abundamiento de datos; el ufólogo andaluz me dijo que los dos testigos habían dejado la población de Olivares, pero me hizo llegar su informe, firmado al alimón con Manuel Filpo (una página, más un croquis de situación, que pone de manifiesto algunas diferencias aparentemente más fiables que la nota de Darnaude, que parecía ser una mezcla de versiones). El suceso quedó, pues, congelado. Tal cual, lo incluí en mi libro Enciclopedia de los EC con OVNIS, en el apartado de casos “inexplicados” (en ufología, algo queda por explicar siempre en ausencia de una investigación suficiente e imparcial).
15 de febrero de 1976, Olivares-Gerena (Sevilla). Cortesía de J. Mateos y M. Filpo.
En resumen, a las ocho y diez de la tarde, dos vecinos de Olivares de 26 y 27 años, albañiles de profesión, circulaban en moto por la carretera que une la población con Gerena, cuando, a unos 1000m de una antigua torre-vigía conocida como “Torre Mocha”, ven “aproximadamente a un metro del suelo, totalmente parado, en posición horizontal y durante unos breves minutos” un objeto en forma de cigarro puro de unos 30 de largo, con unas 20 ventanillas que despedían “fulgores rojizos intensos”. Llegaron a situarse a unos “100m” de distancia y, entonces, dieron vuelta atrás, creyendo apreciar por el retrovisor como una luz blanca les seguía. La persecución se alargó por 5km, llegando en estado de gran excitación a una gasolinera a la entrada del pueblo, extremo comprobado por Mateos y Filpo, tras hablar con el empleado.
El estudioso Juan Carlos Victorio ha revisado recientemente este caso y no le ha costado mucho encontrarle explicación. A unos y otros se nos pasó por alto, probablemente por razones bien distintas. El hecho es que los testigos circulan en una carretera orientada Norte-Sur y ven a su derecha (dirección Este) un cuerpo luminoso a poca altura del suelo. A esa hora exacta y en esa precisa dirección se hallaba la Luna, situada a 10 grados escasos sobre el horizonte. ¿Cómo pudieron confundirse? Bueno, consultada la información meteorológica en ese momento, comprobamos que había nubosidad y las nubes bien pudieron distorsionar a nuestro satélite hasta darle la apariencia observada por los testigos. Hay muchos ejemplos de confusiones semejantes en todo el mundo. Recordemos, además, que no vieron la Luna –que estaba justamente en la dirección del avistamiento- y el ovni, sino solo el ovni. La presunta proximidad del objeto, naturalmente, se explica por errores de percepción o un fenómeno de ilusión. Muestro seguidamente la ubicación de los testigos, “Torre Mocha” y la situación de la luna, de acuerdo con Google Earth. Asimismo, la carta celeste Stellarium con la posición lunar a esa hora. QED.
Los “no identificados” del Blue Book
El ingeniero y experimentado investigador estadounidense Brad Sparks ha actualizado su trabajo “Comprehensive Catalog of 1,700 Project Blue Book UFO Unknowns”. Muchas veces estoy en desacuerdo con Brad en interpretación de avistamientos y también diferimos en nuestras filosofías acerca del tema ovnis, pero siendo honesto es indudable que su trabajo es de calidad y meticuloso. Y esto es una flor rara en el jardín de la Ufología mundial. Merece respeto y es un placer citar el acceso a su mentada base de datos:
Nueva tesis sobre OVNIS
Por João Francisco Schramm, "A Força Aérea Brasileira e a investigação acerca de objetos aéreos não identificados (1969- 1986): segredos, tecnologias e guerras não convencionais", realizada para el grado de maestría (licenciatura) en Historia en el Instituto de Ciencias Humanas, departamento de Historia, Universidade de Brasilia, 2016, 166 páginas. Este es el resumen oficial:
Esta pesquisa tem como tema discutir o envolvimento da Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) no estudo e investigação de fenômenos relacionados aos objetos aéreos não identificados (Oanis) no séc. XX. Em 1969 foi criado pela IV Zona Aérea o Sistema de Investigação de Objetos Aéreos Não Identificados (Sioani), que tinha como missão empreender pesquisas científicas sobre o tema. Mesmo com o encerramento do Sioani em 1972, a FAB, em 1977, investigou o fenômeno durante a Operação Prato, no norte do Pará, em solicitação das autoridades locais, já que era alegada uma atitude hostil de Oanis junto a população nativa. Já em 1986, a FAB empreendeu uma missão de interceptação em resposta a invasão do espaço aéreo nacional por Oanis, evento que veio a público, em cerimônia no Palácio do Planalto, na decisão do ministro da Aeronáutica na época. Tendo em vista esses eventos, o objetivo dessa pesquisa é analisar as diferentes posturas da FAB sobre ao fenômeno dos Oanis no séc. XX, por meio dos seus documentos oficiais, ao relacionar as principais evidencias coletadas por essa instituição sobre esses fenômenos sob um contexto de guerra aérea e de utilização de tecnologias não convencionais.
La monografía se puede descargar desde el siguiente enlace:
Entre Ufólogos, Creyentes y Contactados
En 1993, Cuadernos de Ufología editó el primer libro del antropólogo cántabro Ignacio Cabria, cuyo subtítulo expresa mucho mejor su contenido: Una historia social de los OVNIS en España. Cabria ‒lo hace en todas sus obras‒, realiza una descripción minuciosa y un análisis sociológico impecable, que hace que sus libros sean materiales imprescindibles para cualquiera que desee indagar en el asunto de los ovnis. Pues bien, de aquella edición agotada se han recuperado 100 ejemplares que habían quedado almacenados y olvidados y que la editorial Reediciones Anómalas acaba de sacar a la luz. Por si el cupo se termina, aconsejo a quienes no la atesoren ya en su biblioteca personal que la soliciten enseguida. Y desde ya pido a la reeditora que la reedite. El libro se compra desde este portal:
Psicopatologías y observación ovni
El psicólogo belga Jean-Michel Abrassart es el autor de un trabajo titulado “UFO phenomenon and psychopathology: A case study” (El fenómeno ovni y la psicopatología: Estudio de un caso). Esta es la traducción de su resumen:
El Modelo Psicosocial explica el fenómeno ovni con los siguientes mecanismos: errores simples, errores elaborados, alucinaciones, recuerdos falsos y engaños. Este artículo se centrará específicamente en el tema de las alucinaciones en relación con los avistamientos de ovnis. Si las ilusiones son distorsiones perceptivas de un estímulo objetivo, las alucinaciones son, por definición, percepciones sin ningún estímulo. Esos casos son probablemente raros, pero existen. La investigación en psicología ha demostrado que la prevalencia de psicopatologías no es mayor entre los testigos ovni que la población general. Sin embargo, también sabemos hoy que las personas pueden tener alucinaciones, incluidas las alucinaciones visuales, sin sufrir una psicopatología. Presentaremos el estudio de un caso tras una breve revisión de la literatura.
Esta lectura me ha resultado especialmente significativa porque en mi experiencia como encuestador ha quedado patente que personas aparentemente normales pueden generar visiones ovnis del todo irreales, esto es, la clase de alucinación visual de la que habla el Dr. Abrassart. Probablemente este modelo hay que aplicarlo a ciertas observaciones de alta extrañeza, en las que hay únicamente un testigo, para las que nuestra impresión es que el testigo cree a pies juntillas lo que vio, o sea, no se trata de una fabulación premeditada, pero al mismo tiempo el episodio narrado nunca ha sucedido. Este es el enlace al citado ensayo:
Brillante meteoro sobre el Mediterráneo
Información y gráficos por ordenador en el siguiente enlace analizando el más reciente bólido observado en España: https://youtu.be/CDpbhFHEFL8
Esta brillante bola de fuego sobrevoló el mar Mediterráneo en la madrugada del 6 de diciembre de 2017, a las 5:22 hora local (4:22 tiempo universal). Se produjo como consecuencia de la entrada en la atmósfera terrestre de una roca a una velocidad de unos 140 mil km/h. El evento, cuya trayectoria se situó entre las costas de las Islas Baleares y la Comunidad Valenciana, se inició a una altitud de unos 100 sobre el nivel del mar, finalizando a una altura de alrededor de 52 km. Las imágenes de esta bola de fuego han sido registradas en el marco del proyecto SMART (Universidad de Huelva) desde los observatorios astronómicos de La Hita (Toledo) y Calar Alto (Almería).
Miscelánea
(1) Tratado astronómico de 1646 de Francesco Fontana, ca. 1585-1656: Novae coelestium, terrestriumq[ue] rerum observationes et fortasse hactenus non vulgatae (“Nuevas observaciones de las cosas celestes y terrestres, y posiblemente no difundidas hasta la fecha”),
(2) Luis Alfonso Gámez escribe sobre el origen del movimiento escéptico español:
(3) Masivo avistamiento espacial desde Argentina y Uruguay el 7 de octubre de 2017, informe del comodoro Rubén Lianza, director del CEFAE:
(4) Biblioteca UPIAR, una fuente extraordinaria de libros y monografías, en varios idiomas, sobre fenomenología ovni y su estudio:
(5) SUNlite es un boletín en línea editado regularmente por Tim Printy, notable sucesor del que publicaba el fallecido Philip Klass (Skeptical UFO Newsletter, SUN). Es la expresión de la voz de la razón entre tanta irracionalidad en la ufología americana. En el siguiente enlace están todos los números publicados:
(6) Ha aparecido el número 5 de la revista digital italiana Cielo Insolito, como siempre explorando aspectos históricos de sucesos relacionados con el fenómeno ovni: http://www.wikiufo.org/cieloinsolito5.pdf
(7) A muchos ufólogos también les interesan otros misterios y leyendas de nuestro planeta, como por ejemplo la del Yeti. La ciencia biológica ha examinado la mejor evidencia física recogida sobre dicho ser fantástico. Y ha llegado a una conclusión que se puede leer en este artículo:
BIBLIOGRAFÍA
Los extraterrestres han muerto
Rodrigo Bravo Garrido es piloto y ufólogo chileno que presenta en su nuevo libro un planteamiento maduro y no sesgado del llamado misterio de los ovnis, fruto de años de estudio. El autor señala:
A setenta años del nacimiento de la llamada “Era Moderna de los Ovnis”, consta en nuestra sociedad una subcultura muy potente y de gran influencia en todos los medios de comunicación, como también en las redes sociales, que promueve y ampara la creencia de que los fenómenos anómalos observados y denunciados proceden de un origen inteligente y de fuera de nuestro planeta. Esto por una base de credos, actividades comerciales o simples pasatiempos que han elevado este auténtico mito a horizontes sorprendentes, generando la unificación del concepto “ovni” con “extraterrestre” como una composición prácticamente indisoluble. Este libro analiza las razones de cómo numerosos investigadores, ufólogos, contactados, abducidos y escépticos han contribuido a la riqueza literaria, verbal o virtual de este tema, ya que estarán detallados en una línea de tiempo las principales efemérides con las que se ha forjado la ufología.
El libro (se trata del Tomo I) está disponible en Amazon:
3 Minutes in June-Reseña
En la última edición del blog publiqué la reseña de este reciente libro del Dr. Bruce Maccabee, pero la escribí en inglés y sólo apareció en la sección correspondiente de mi cuaderno de bitácora. El investigador mejicano Luis Ruiz Noguez la ha traducido al castellano y publicado en su conocido blog “marcianitos verdes”. Seguidamente doy el enlace para los lectores de habla hispana:
AGENDA PERSONAL
Reunión
A finales de noviembre me reuní con dos de mis colaboradores de Valencia, el ingeniero industrial Juan P. González y Josep Carles Laínez, filólogo y teólogo, con la finalidad de reexaminar uno de los más sobresalientes encuentros cercanos de 1974, precursor de la oleada de aquel año. Josep evaluará desde una perspectiva fresca e imparcial ‒partiendo desde cero‒ el más completo dossier del caso, que reúne la primera información de prensa, cartas y formularios manuscritos del testigo, investigación del caso, los informes emitidos por varios autores, el archivo del ejército del aire, entrevistas recientes al testigo, etc. Espero que este nuevo estudio arroje una aguda visión de lo que realmente pudo ocurrir en ese episodio trascendental de la ufología española.
De pie, de izquierda a derecha: González, Ballester Olmos y Laínez.
En familia
Me dispensarán ustedes si me permito presentarles a mi nieto mayor Lucas (de 21 meses), a través de esta improvisada foto familiar sacada este verano en nuestro chalet de La Eliana.
El pasado mes de septiembre tuvo lugar en el Palau de la Música de Valencia el brillante acto académico de graduación de la promoción 2017 de Finanzas y Contabilidad (FIC) de la Facultad de Economía de la Universidad de Valencia. Con natural satisfacción, dejo constancia gráfica del fin de carrera de nuestro hijo Daniel Ballester Miquel, en la foto con sus padres y su hermana (y profesora) Laura.
Agradecimientos
Mi gratitud a los siguientes colegas que han aportado información o análisis a la presente edición del blog: Alejandro Agostinelli, Luis Ruiz Noguez, Maurizio Verga, Josep Carles Laínez, Luis R. González, Matías Morey y Jaime Servera.
LIBROS DEL AUTOR
A Catalogue of 200 Type-I UFO Events in Spain and Portugal
OVNIS: el fenómeno aterrizaje
Los OVNIS y la Ciencia (con Miguel Guasp)
Investigación OVNI
Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (con J.A. Fernández Peris)
Expedientes insólitos
Hay ejemplares en el mercado de segunda mano, por ejemplo:
Norway in UFO Photographs: The First Catalogue (con O.J. Braenne)
http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=174&st=1
UFOs and the Government (con M. Swords & R. Powell y C. Svahn, B. Chalker, B. Greenwood, R. Thieme, J. Aldrich y S. Purcell)
http://www.anomalistbooks.com/book.cfm?id=64
https://www.amazon.com/UFOs-Government-Historical-Michael-Swords-ebook/dp/B01JJ9JF7Q/
Avistamientos OVNI en la Antártida en 1965 (con M. Borraz, H. Janosch y J.C. Victorio)
http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=182&st=1
Belgium in UFO Photographs. Volume 1 (1950-1988) (con Wim van Utrecht)
http://www.upiar.com/index.cfm?language=en&artID=191&st=1
COMO PUEDE COLABORAR CON EL PROYECTO FOTOCAT
Hay varias opciones de colaboración a su disposición, a saber:
1. Trabajo voluntario, presencial o a distancia
2. Entrega de información sobre casos, fotografías, archivos o bibliografía.
3. Donaciones para ayudar a sufragar gastos de investigación
Puede dirigirse directamente a nosotros por correo postal:
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Apartado de Correos 12140
46080 Valencia
España
O bien por correo electrónico: ballesterolmos@yahoo.es