Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish my readers and friends (both?) a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For most, Santa will be bringing goodies for the kids, an us "adults" too...were all children at heart.  At least my wife thinks that I act as a child most of the time!

For the UFO/ET crowd, just think of Santa as dropping off relief supplies to Roswell...

Note:  Image from www.davidreneke.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Update on What's Been Happening

Well once again I've been missing in action on the blog for a couple of months.  I do apologies to those who generally visit the site on a somewhat regular basis, but life events tend to take precedence over the debate of the existence of UFOs/ETs.  Yet, I've still had my ear to the door on the subject matter in different areas.

One of the main reasons for my absence was the wedding of my daughter which took place last Saturday (Dec 14).  Handling the logistics when called upon, or more appropriately staying out of the way, took up some free time.  The wedding was a success and I was pleased with how the event (ceremony and reception/dinner) came off.  I didn't screw up the bride/father dance (Rascal Flat's My Wish) too badly.  A simple two step turned into a poorly orchestrated waltz like that on Dancing with the Stars (Len would have ate my ass up alive!).

To my good friend Psyche 101 at Unexplained Mysteries, I've quite a few cases of beer left over and would love to unload one or two...I've yet to figure how to get it to you down in Australia.

UFOs and things

I've had to set aside the Minot case for the time being, but once the holidays are finished I'll get back at it.  I've already accomplished a good bit, but I think that the delay for a few months will actually work out better as it will allow me to go back over some key areas.  I actually charted some of the stellar objects in October so as to give me a personal visual of what the key players may have seen or not, at least, from a possible stellar component.  But I plan to pick it back up after the holidays.

I did participate in a few rounds of comments on the Roswell fiasco concerning the supposed alien photos that Anthony Bragalia had come across.  I'm still confused whether Tony actually saw the photos or not, but it certainly opened up a fire storm effecting Kevin Randle's on-going re-investigation of the Roswell saga.  I think Randle took a big hit to his reputation, but the final outcome remains to be seen.

Other than Paul Kimball's information about Robert Salas' undergoing hypnosis (originally from Billy Cox?), there is no further info concerning the Malmstrom cases.  I posted a blog article awhile back concerning Salas' hypnotic therapy a few months ago.

So that is it for now.  I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and a prosperous up and coming New Year.    

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An Introspective Approach to Understanding Memory Recall

This is a follow on to my last post concerning the issues with witness recall.  I've a big interest in the thoughts of the great 19th century American psychologist William James.  James believed that the best way to understand human consciousness and thought was through the use of personal introspection, or the awareness of self.

It's with this approach that I wanted to provide a personal story concerning my own recall of my last Minuteman alert back in February of 1985...28 years ago.  I use my self as an example of the issues of recall.

In February of 1985, I pulled my last nuclear alert at Malmstrom AFB.  This was to be alert 295. Our scheduling office had asked if I wanted to extend my tour for at least two more weeks to obtain the magical 300.  I politely declined as by this time I had fulfilled my obligation for the 4 year controlled tour and was ready to do something else with my AF career which was to be a follow-on assignment to Grand Forks AFB, the 321 Strategic Missile Wing, as a staff officer. For the past 4 years I was assigned to the 490 Strategic Missile Squadron and for most of a year and a half assigned to Kilo Flight, the squadron's command post and the wing's alternate wing command post.

I believe that my last alert was at Kilo based on the recall of a specific incident that occurred the next following morning while awaiting my relief.  For this last alert, my deputy was a young officer, whose name escapes me at this time, but also a member of the 490th.  I can mentally picture him, but his name evades me.  This was the first time that I had pulled an alert with this individual.

The alert progressed without anything unusual.  One of my LFs had a cycling Outer Zone security alarm that had a Camper Alert Team on site.  I do not recall the exact affected LF.  I do not recall anything of significance on the rest of the LFs.  As far as I can remember, there were no maintenance teams in the flight area.  This had all the makings of a normal quiet alert (except for that damn cycling OZ).

Back then it was customary for the deputy to take the first sleep shift with the commander usually awakening the deputy around 2 or 3 am.  Barring any issues that cropped up, the commander would sleep until 7 or 8 am.  I decided to do the opposite.  I took the first sleep shift and asked that I be awaken around 2 am.  This was in deference to my deputy and I personally wanted to enjoy the quiet solitude of of the humming of the capsule equipment and the monitoring lights.  This also afforded me the opportunity to chat with the some of the other crews on HVC.  All was quiet, except for that damned cycling OZ.

Some time during the early morning hours, I received an alarm and a printout from the Command Message Process Group (CMPG).  To my shock and horror there was a 2 Minute ALCS Hold Off Alarm.  How in the hell did that happen?  Where was the obligatory 10 minute warning?  Before I could answer that question, I had to get all of the squadron crews up on HVC coordinating a round robin or "all call" hold off command input.  This effectively reset the timer back to 60 minutes.

Let me explain the significance of the ALCS hold off timer.  This effectively blocked any UHF frequency commands issued from the Airborne Launch Command Systems aircraft and any other potential clandestine source of UHF signals from affecting ALL of the squadron's missiles.  If the timer had counted down to "zero" then all of the squadron's LFs would have dropped in "radio mode" meaning total UHF frequency access.  I can't describe adequately what the ramifications and aftermath would have been like.

What had happened?  After ensuring that the timers had been properly reset, I went back to the CMPG tapes and saw that I had indeed received a 10 minute warning...back to back of that damn cycling OZ!  The OZ alarm had effectively masked the 10 minute warning.  But that was why the system was designed, a back up notification should the crew get distracted with other things.  The system performed as it was supposed to.  BTW, it's the squadron command post's responsibility to coordinate the reset of the timer.

At approximately 8 am, I received a call from the squadron's duty officer informing me that the SAC IG had landed back at the base...I'd almost wager that the OZ cycled at this time.  I notified the rest of the squadron LCCs of this good news.  I can't remember the reactions verbatim but obscenities probably ruled the conversation.  Soon after, I received a PAS message from the wing command post which when decoded formally implemented a wing-wide Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI).  By this time my deputy was fully awake.

Thirty or so minutes after the first phone call, I receive a second call from the squadron's duty officer informing me that the IG had selected me to be evaluated in the simulator for an IG check ride...and I would be crewed with a deputy from another squadron, the 12th SMS.  SAC wanted to evaluate a non-integrated crew and I was chosen at random...great (I did throw out obscenities at the duty officer).  The IG evaluation check would happen the next day.

After stewing about the "unfairness" of my predicament I called back to the squadron's duty officer spewing the same obscenities...I was venting my frustrations.  I found out first hand that my squadron commander's voice was very similar to that of the duty officer's when on the phone!  That did not go very well...threats of charges of insubordination  conduct unbecoming of an officer, ect.  After quickly and convincingly apologizing and explaining my new found discovery that he sounded remarkably like the duty officer on the phone, my squadron commander understood, but reminded me of my obligations to perform to the utmost during the next day ORI check ride.  In other words, perform well or...

In the end, I completed my check ride, even though crewed with a foreign deputy from the 12th. Eventually, I would head out to Grand Forks for the next 3 years.

Now here is the issues with long term memory recall:

1.  I don't remember the exact date of my last alert.
2.  I don't remember who I was crewed with, but I'd probably recognize his name if I had a crew roster.
3.  Was I really at Kilo?  For awhile, I had my doubts, but the ALC hold of timer issue confirms that I was at the squadron command post, plus my coordinating the initial prep for the ORI with the rest of the squadron's flights.
4.  I do not recall what LF had the cycling OZ, but remember that I had a camper team on site.
5.  No recall who was topside:  FSCs, ART/SRT, facility manager, or cook.
6.  I do not recall who was crewed at the other squadron LCCs.
7.  No recall of the 12th deputy who took the IG check ride with me.

These are the areas that I have a good degree of mental clarity:

1.  The ALC hold off timer event and coordinating with the rest of the squadron to ensure proper reset.
2.  The cycling OZ.
3.  The calls notifying that the SAC IG had landed and that I had been selected for a next day check ride.
4.  I had passed the check ride but cannot recall my passing category:  HQ or Q.
5.  I remember the names of my squadron commander, operations officer, and the duty officer names.
6.  Montana is damnably cold in February. 

Just a personal example with the issues of memory recall.  The story itself is true, but some of the details are sketchy...even for me.  Ah, those were the days.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Usefulness (or not) of UFO Witness Interviews

The 24 October 1968 Minot case has a dearth of information that one can sift through.  If we access the Blue Book case files on Fold 3.com, we have 90-plus pages of documentation. This documentation gives us quite a bit of information that attempts to describe what occurred on the night/morning in question.  It's as close to real time that we can get, or that we may ever get. Of course this could change should new revelations appear in the form of new documentation that were not part of the original release.

Yet despite the above hope for future document releases, we are faced with the fact that at this late point in time, 45 years, such discoveries will probably not be forth coming.  So the extant copies of the BB investigation documents are all that is provided for the researcher's attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Some months ago, I had tossed some ideas around with two friends concerning an approach to the Minot case.  It was the consensus from the two that I should only focus on the BB documents alone, that is, let the AF-117s speak for themselves, but there are usually other bits of information, separate from the official line, that tend to tell a story within a story.

The Pros and Cons of Witness Interviews

To the main point of this post concerning interviews conducted 30 to 40 years after the fact.   Are they relevant?  Not surprisingly, the answer is yes and no, but for various reasons.  The Fold 3 site only provides the official investigation documentation, but Tom Tulien's site, minotb52ufo.com, has quite a few interviews that he and Jim Klotz had conducted over the past years with the principle players involved back in October 1968.  These have proven to be of interest in one fashion or another.

A sampling of the case interviews show predictable memory patterns.  
Specific details of thecase tend to be cloudy and vague with the conversations centering on generalities.  This is not to be construed as a negative take on my part, for it merely demonstrates the issues with long term memory recall.  Long term memory recall is often spotty for specific or precise details which the investigator anxiously seeks, yet the sought after detailed information remains allusive.

Despite the predictability of long term memory recall, there are some gems that I found interesting and germane to the case.  Lloyd Isley provides information about why he and Robert O'Connor where enroute to N-07...to work on the site's cooling system.  This information was not mentioned in any of the BB documentation.  What is also learned is that O'Connor was the team chief.  This may have some bearing on the AF-117s that both produced back on 28 October 1968.

James Bond's interview (he being the November Flight FSC) makes it clear that the November Flight launch crew notified him of Isley and O'Connor's sightings, which means that the maintenance team initially by-passed contacting Bond via VHF radio...I found this odd from a protocol standpoint, but it does put the reporting timelines into prospective and provides some credence that O'Connor's listing of his seeing the object at 0230 (per his AF-117) may be somewhat accurate.  

Bond further states that the object did not fly around or near the Launch Control Center's hardened HF antenna as was reported in the Wing Security Controller log (he never stated this in his AF-117).  This confirmed my suspicions that portions of WSC log are suspect in it's narrative accuracy and has to be taken with a grain of salt. 

Bond gives the impression that the SAT was already dispatched to the flight area to investigate the sighted object at his direction, but the AF-117s for the security team does not support this.  I suspect that the reason for the SAT being sent to N-07 was at the direction of the launch crew. The crew had the ultimate authority to dispatch the SAT by declaring  a security situation.  It is possible that the crew called a low grade security situation thinking that the team may have been under duress.

Bond's interview, in total, shows normal recall issues that we would expect over the passage of time.  Despite some short comings, Bond does provide information that clarifies some of my questions. Overall, this was a credible interview with decent information.

This brings up William Smith, the Oscar Flight FSC, who provided information that was both good and suspect.  Smith's recall, from a long term memory construct, was appropriate as he detailed his career in the Air Force.  He provided excellent rote recall regarding the procedures for entering the LCF and a LF as far as the authentication process and the access to the A-circuit.  As to be expected, details were sometimes spotty concerning 24 Oct 1968.  Again, I view this as a normal consequence based on the passages of time.

Smith brings up that the FSC's office had a flight security status panel that monitored each LF's security.  I immediately took notice as I know from personal experience that such a system was never in place topside, but was monitored solely in the launch control center.  Yet, despite my belief that no such monitoring system existed, I had contacted an acquaintance of mine who was a Minuteman I crew member assigned to Minot from 1969 to 1973 and queried about Smith's claim.  My contact had happened to still have his Minuteman I dash-1 Technical Order (TO-1). The TO-1 confirmed my suspicion,  the FSC's office only had a circuit panel box, fire alarm panel, telephone/VHF radio...no flight security monitoring panel.  

Does this mean that Smith made things up?  Not necessarily, for it's possible that Smith may have mistaken a "panel" for a map of the flight area which the FSC would have marked, with grease pencil, showing who was on a given LF(s) at a given time ie, maintenance/security teams allowing the FSC to keep track on what was occurring in his flight area.  This map usually was hanging on the wall adjacent to the FSC's desk.

Smith further demonstrated recall issues concerning the status of O-6 and O-7.  Per the WSC log, O-6 had a Camper Alert Team on site.  O-7 had the issue of the site intrusion.  Smith appears to say that a Combat Targeting Team may have been on O-6 who may have also observed an object in the nights's sky.  None of the documents that I've read confirms, or even hints, that a Combat Targeting Team was on site.  I can't help but to believe that this would have been highlighted in the investigation documents and message traffic up channeled to SAC and 15th Air Force. The same can be said of his claim that low level radiation readings were measured by an officer investigating O-7's break in.

These are but a few of the examples I use to show that witness accounts some decades after the fact provide both credible and equally questionable information. Yet despite the passage of time, they all consistently hold to the fact that they saw something in the night's sky 45 years ago. There are other interviews that I've not commented on, but will do so with a future post. 

Addendum:  Tom Tulien, in the comment section, corrected me concerning Smith's statement that an officer went out to O-7 with a geiger counter.  It is indeed mentioned in one of the BBs Memo for Record that LtCol Werlich had planned to go out to the site with a geiger counter to take readings. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autokinesis and UFOs

The autokinetic effect has been well-known for at least two centuries, that being documented during this period of time.  I suspect the effect has generated interest, if not completely baffling observers for a couple of thousands of years.  This visual perception effect has been linked to quiet a few UFO reports.  The autokinetic effect has been used as a way of explaining visual mis-identifications of lighted objects in the night sky. 

From Wikipedia:  The autokinetic effect (also referred to as autokinesis) is a phenomenon of visual perception in which a stationary, small point of light in an otherwise dark or featureless environment appears to move...Alexander von Humbolt observed the phenomenon in 1799 while looking at stars with the naked eye, but thought it was a real movement of the stars. Thus he named them "Sternschwanken" i.e. "Swinging Stars". It was not until 1857 that G. Schweitzer (Schweitzer, 1857), an early German psychologist, discovered that is was a subjective phenomenon. The US Navy started studying this in 1945 in order to explain vertigo experiences related by pilots...

To simplify things, let's take the UFO component out of the story for the time being and look closely at the phenomena from a physiological stand point.

Gregory and Zangwell, 1963:  "The effects of unbalanced fatigue of the ocular and neck musculature on the auto- kinetic effect are described. It is shown that after deviation of the eyes to an extreme position, fixation of a small light source with the eye in the central position gives rise to an immediate and pronounced autokinetic effect. This apparent movement is typically in the same meridian as that of the ocular deviation and is often, at all events at first, in the opposite direction. Similar, though less clear-cut, results are obtained after induction of unbalanced fatigue in the neck musculature. It is argued that the autokinetic effect observed under these conditions warrants treatment as a primary illusion of movement and does not involve a “framework” or standard of reference. In an appendix, a speculative model of the ocular control system and some preliminary observations are presented. It is concluded that the autokinetic effect is principally due to spontaneous minor fluctuations in the neural system which monitors the outward signals controlling eye movement."

Since the 1940s, research has shown that the physiological origins and effects have been linked to the vestibular system of the inner ear.  The three semi-circular canals play an important part in our sense of balance and spatial orientation.  So we can deduce that the autokinetic effect is a physiological visual illusion generated by our semi-circular canals.

Upon doing an online meta search I found research papers describing autokinesis going to the early 1900s.  Most of the studies occurred during the 1940s and 1950s.  Surprisingly, not much has been published in the latter half of the last century.

But I did come across this interesting paper.  A study conducted by Eva Riedel, et al, published in 2005, "Imaging the visual autokinetic illusion with fMRI"

"During fixation of a stationary, dim light-emitting diode (LED) in complete darkness, a subtle, apparent motion is perceived which is called autokinesis. This autokinetic illusion increases with increasing fixation time. Eleven healthy subjects were examined by fMRI while fixating an LED in darkness for 35 s. BOLD signal changes of the first and the second half of the fixation period were compared. While the stimulus was the same for both periods, perception differed in that autokinesis was more pronounced in the second half. This second half of the period was associated with bilateral activations in the motion-sensitive middle occipito-temporal area known as MT/V5. Our finding suggests that area MT/V5 is involved in the mediation of autokinesis."

OK, the fact that the middle occipito-temoporal area is neurally suggested for autokinesis is interesting to me, but I suspect that most others could care less.  But, the true gem of this study lies with the suggestion that prolong fixation (staring) at a lighted object increases the autokinetic illusion.

Last week, I conducted a self-experiment while out scanning the night's sky with my telescope.  I used to stars (Deneb and Altair) as my target subjects.  Both stars are prominent in the southern sky based on my location in Southern California.

Without aid of telescope, but naked eye observation only, I fixed my gaze on Deneb.  After only a short time, the autokinetic effect became evident as the star appeared to move from right to left. The same effect was observed using Altair as my stellar prop.  I can confirm Riedel's findings that prolong fixation on both Altair and Deneb did increase the effect.

I also confirmed that willfully attempting to mitigate the effect was impossible on my part.  This confirms that it autokinesis is purely a involuntary physiological effect that the subject (me, in this case) has no control over.

How does this effect come into play with UFO sightings?  I conducted a new meta search using "autokinesis" and "UFOs" as my keywords and found a large search return describing the two as linked in UFO encounters.  

Some of you know where I'm going with all of this as I've been researching the 1968 Minot UFO case.  Project Blue Book had used autokinesis as a factor in the ground sightings and focused on the star Sirius.  Obviously, there are other factors associated with the case but I wanted to look at the the autokinetic effect in more detail.  More at a later date...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tim Printy, SUNlite, Roswellian Crashology

Tim Printy, just recently, put out another edition of SUNlite...a good read as expected.  Tim touches on the Roswell crash issues, that is, saucer crash debris vs. that of a Project Mogul balloon.  Tim definitely goes into detail to support his thesis.

Before I get to the main thrust of Tim's Roswell piece,  I noticed his opening section of SUNlite, "Relaxing under the stars."

"August is always a fun month for me as an amateur astronomer. Nothing is more fun than putting away my telescope to stare at the sky and enjoy the annual Perseid meteor shower. As I watched the spectacle, I began to wonder about all the meteor observing hours I have logged over the years. They must number in the thousands by now. Despite all this time watching the sky, without any distractions, I have yet to see anything I could not identify. Over the period of the maximum, hundreds of amateur astronomers all over the world were watching the sky without any optical aid other than their eyes. Despite all these experts watching the night sky, I did not see any qualified amateur astronomers actually reporting that they saw a “true” UFO. Some saw unidentified satellites but that is not what UFOlogists would consider a “true” UFO. From what I have read, they consider a “true” UFO to be an actual craft of unknown design/origin."

I thought this to be most appropriate and corresponds well with my last blog post.  No, I guess I did not see a "true" UFO in the Ufology vernacular, but I did see an unidentified object that has all the markings of a prosaic origin.  Sooo much crap in orbit to choose from...

While I'm not into Roswell, I do follow the debates that have issued forth on Kevin Randle's site, as well as Rich Reynolds' site.  For me, getting involved with Roswell is like venturing into a dark forest at night...you simply disappear and you never seem to find your way back out.

Flying Saucer or Mogul balloon?  Sort of a Shakespearean question.  Despite all of the hoopla with the attempts to prove the UFO angle, no hard tangible evidence appears to have been forthcoming. Yet, as Tim has pointed out, there is a tangible piece of evidence that points the other way...Mogul.

The important points that have been raised by the skeptics is that there are multiple reasons to suspect that this “cluster of balloons” may have made it to the Foster ranch site. All one has to do is examine how the recovered “disc” was described and recorded in 1947: 
1. Mack Brazel (confirmed by his daughter Bessie in 1993) described finding large quantities of rubber and remains of, what appears to be, radar reflectors. 
2. Jesse Marcel is quoted in 1947 news papers as finding debris that matches what we see in the photographs. 
3. The photographs show balloon materials that had been left out in the sun for a long period of time (see SUNlite 4-4 and 4-5) as well as the types of radar reflectors known to be used by the NYU team.
 4. The news wires, which are the very first news reports regarding the story, mentioned that the disc was made of tin foil and was only a few feet across. 
5. The FBI teletype stated that the “disc” was supported by a very large balloon of twenty feet (this estimate may have been based on the amount of rubber found and not finding a single piece of rubber this size). 
 While the crashed space ship proponents consider all of these items part of the grand conspiracy to hide the truth, an equally compelling argument is that these were descriptions and photographs of the actual debris that was recovered. This argument does not have to assume a vast conspiracy for which there is no evidence. There is also no evidence, other than stories told decades later, that it is not the debris that was recovered.

The UFO proponents have bashed the Mogul theory to death with the lack of issued NOTAMs and supposedly accurate weather data that precludes a Mogul flight over the Roswell area (Foster Ranch).  Tim succinctly reinforces the notion that regardless of one's side of the issue there is still an "800 pound gorilla" in the room...Mogul. 

The ball remains in the dream team’s court to provide more conclusive evidence to falsify the project MOGUL scenario or support the crashed spaceship solution. Until that occurs, the best working hypothesis for the debris recovered at the Foster ranch remains to be project MOGUL.

An absolutely great article from Tim Printy.  I highly recommend that you take a look.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I Saw a UFO...In the True Sense

Did I see a UFO?  In the truest sense, what I initially observed fit the criteria.  This past Wednesday night, I was out in my backyard doing a little star gazing.  My wife was busying packing for a next day trip to China which is part of her Executive MBA program with the University of California at Irvine.  Not wanting to get in the way of this carefully orchestrated packing ritual, I retreated outside...a ploy that has served me well for the past 31 years of marriage.

I had taken to the backyard with a pair of binoculars and my three dachshunds, I opted not to haul out the telescope for this night.  The night sky was clear and I was casually looking at the fading summertime constellations.  I was mostly interested in viewing Ursa Major, particularly the double star, Mizar, and it's optical double, Alcor.  Both stellar objects appear as one star to the naked eye, but are easily distinguished as doubles with binoculars.  Arcturus was low in the western part of the sky, but readily noticeable.

So it was that I began to casually scan the southern direction of the sky.  I had been observing for no more than thirty minutes when a brief flash of light entered into my binocular's field of view.  I could make out a fast moving object traveling approximately from the north in a southerly direction.  Then I completely lost track of the object.

The following is information based on recall (this is now Friday morning two days later):

Date and Time:  28 August 2013 approximately 2030.

Duration of siting:  Approximately 5 seconds.

Conditions:  Night was clear with no cloud cover.  No moon was visible.  Temperature was approximately in the low 80s F.  Slight wind breeze.

Brief Description of the Observation:   At approximately 8:30 pm, I was casually observing the night sky with a pair of binoculars.  I was observing generally in a southerly direction approximately 50 degrees above the horizon I caught a glimpse of a flash of light and the brief outlines of an object moving at a high rate of speed. After about 5 seconds (or less) I lost track of the object.  It appeared to be moving from generally a north to south direction.  Immediately afterwards, I observed three objects in the northern portion of the sky moving in formation with flashing red and green lights.  All three objects made a noise similar to that of a helicopter or propeller driven aircraft.  These three objects were moving in an apparent west to east direction and were visible and audible for approximately 1 to 2 minutes.

If we look at my description of the brief events, my observations are vague and open to interpretation.  I'm positive of the date of occurrence, but "iffy" on the exact time as it could have easily been more closer to 2100, yet I'm not quiet sure.  I may be in the general ball park, but what is that ball park?  The same can be held as true for the immediate timing of the follow-on three objects observed in the northern sky.

What of the conditions?  It's true that the sky was clear with no hint of clouds, and the moon was nowhere to be seen, but what of the temperature?  It was simply an estimation on my part.  Rather than being in the 80sF, it could have easily been in the mid 70sF.  Is the temperature relevant in this case?  Probably not.

If we look at my description of observation, I'm somewhat vague in that area.  I use the terms "approximately", "generally", and "apparent" in my narrative.  Though I'm quite certain of what I saw for a brief few seconds, I'm not quiet sure of the other details that I mention above.

Did I see the object for 5 seconds?  Even that is debatable as I could have only been visibly exposed for 2 to 3 seconds, by now judging from looking at my wrist watch sweep hand.  Simply, 5 seconds of visual exposure to the object is now totally in doubt.  The observation of the three flying objects in the northern sky is probably more of an accurate time of exposure since these objects were moving at slower speed based on my point of observation.

What had I observed?  Since the object gave the appearance of emitting a brief flash of light and remained at a constant rate of speed I can probably rule out military or commercial aircraft.  It's entirely possible that I observed a satellite in a low orbit, but equally probable was that I had observed a meteor.  The other three objects were definitely military aircraft, either helicopters or Osprey's flying in formation at a much slower rate of speed as my "UFO" plus the audible noise of Mil-spec engines differentiates from commercial craft.  The flashing red and green strobe lights are further tells.

My classification of the object in the southern sky did fit the definition of a UFO...I was unable to initially identify the object.  Subsequent logical explanations were thought of and my above logical candidates were chosen as the likely culprit.  The other three objects north of my location were immediately identified as military aircraft flying in formation probably originating from Marimar Marine Corps Air Station (20 southwest of my location) heading east towards either China Lake or Yuma, AZ.  Again the sound of the Mil-spec engines and flashing strobe lights were a give-away.  But, what type of aircraft remains undetermined as I could not make out the aircraft features.

This was a good personal experiment (not originally the intention) showing the lack of detail that we normally see in UFO reports from casual observers.  Most important, it showed that I'm not immune to observational discrepancies. I've now made it a point to bring out a note book during my night sky viewing times so that I might be able to provide more accurate detail should I come across "odd" observations.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Another Quick View Point About the Oscar Hypnosis Story

It appeared that my last post caused a quiet uproar and ruffled some feathers.  James Carlson misunderstood my position concerning Paul Kimball's revelation that Robert Salas underwent hypnosis to reclaim memories of the Oscar event.  Again, Salas told this to Paul Kimball and Paul had merely had it as an aside of his re-look at the cases presented in the top ten UFO cases listed in a film which he produced.

It's important to add that Paul did not provide the list for the film as he was only the producer. Paul made this clear in other on-line venues.  The importance of the last blog posting was Paul's take on the Malmstrom cases and it should be of no surprise that I would find that of interest regardless of Paul's opinion, but I found it gratifying that he seemed to hold the same opinion as I, as well as others.

Paul had left a good comment on the last post, but chose to delete it while I was in the midst of typing out a reply.  I don't know the reason why, but that's his prerogative to do so and I'll leave it at that.

Back to the Salas hypnosis angle.  Since the psychological angle of UFOs is the main driving force that spurs my interest, the hypnotic angle is of importance for due consideration.  It is potential evidence or another potential piece of a puzzle.  To discard this puzzle piece without critical examination is intellectual dishonesty in my view.  Notice that I use the term "potential" for I've no direct knowledge nor have I seen Kimball's film segment which Salas so states.  I believe, from Paul's deleted comment, that this segment was edited out due to time constraints, but Paul has that edited section...as I seem to recall.

Why is the hypnosis angle of importance?  It simply goes to show his state of mind at a given point in time.  It may also be part of the foundation of confabulatory thinking in which he constructed the UFO scenario and his seeking of validation for his belief.  This may explained why he drew others into the mix both real and imaginary.

Should Salas get a free pass from me based on "recovered memories" via hypnosis?  No, I'm afraid I can't logically and intellectually do that.  The recovery process of regressed memories through hypnosis is highly controversial in its own right, and in some cases, its highly dubious. 

Under what conditions was the hypnotic therapy administered to Salas?  Who did the therapy and when was this accomplished?  These are questions which I've no answer, but are relevant to ask.

I am curious as to which one of the numerous versions that Salas has put forth were the results of hypnosis.  There are quite a few to be considered.  How does his final version which he sealed as official fact via an affidavit compare to the hypnotic induced version?  Lot's of questions regarding that angle.

Regardless of the issue of hypnosis, Salas had researched his case for quite some time even teaming up with researcher Jim Klotz.  He, like I and others, would have discovered that no official/unofficial documents existed to support his claim.  The only documents that Klotz had secured via FOIA was the Echo Flight shutdown...with no mentioning of an Oscar incident. Further, other missile crew members could not support Salas' claims...missiles off alert and UFO reports.  One does not need hypnosis to figure that out.  

Eric Carlson and Walter Figel had on countless times stated that no such incident at Oscar took place.  Salas' crew commander, Fred Meiwald stated in a personal letter to Salas (1996) that he had different memories that were contrary to Salas' claims.

This should have been a wake-up call, but instead Salas has pressed on furthering the cementing of a disjointed confabulation and selling it as reality.  Yet, its reality that should have steered him in the opposite and only logical  direction.  Why he has chosen to do so only he knows.  So while the hypnosis revelation is interesting, it does not change the outcome nor does it redefine the conclusions.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Was Malmstrom's Oscar Flight the Results of a Hypnotic Trance?

This past weekend, I was browsing through the UFO Iconoclast(s) site.  Rich Reynolds had a blog article linking to Paul Kimball's website, "The Other Side of Truth."  The topic was Kimball's top ten UFO cases that he had compiled some time ago and his reappraisal of those ten cases.

I knew that Kimball had listed Malmstrom's incidents in his top ten so I was naturally curious about his rationale, or thoughts about the case.  In short, I was surprised by his current views regarding the Oscar Flight story and Robert Salas in general.

7. Malmstrom AFB, 1967 - This case has generated more publicity than any of the others within ufology, if not the general public (Rendlesham is much better known there), largely because of the feud between "UFOs at Missile Bases" proponent Robert Hastings and James Carlson, the son of one of the officers allegedly involved in it all. I think they deserve each other, because they are both bonkers in my book. Focusing on the case instead of the feud, I don't buy it. I like Bob Salas (the primary witness) as a person, and think he is an honest man, but I also think that while he's made a genuine effort to remember things as they happened, he's got it wrong. When I interviewed him in 2006, he told me that he underwent hypnosis to recover his memories of the incident, which always rings alarm bells with me. There are no other witnesses or documents which corroborate his story - and there should be. Where are any of the soldiers who were topside who reportedly saw the UFO? I admire Bob for his advocacy of a nuclear free world, but I can't buy Malmstrom as anything other than a missile failure due to prosaic reasons, and some tall tales that he has absorbed as a truthful narrative."

First, I have to admit, Kimball's interview with Robert Salas was totally unknown to me...this was the first that I knew of it.

Second, I had never seen nor read anything concerning Salas having to undergo hypnosis to recover memories of the incident.  I readily admit that I was stunned to learn this.  And yes, Paul Kimball was right about his instincts with "alarm bells ringing."

My good friend, James Carlson had a few choice words concerning Kimball's article on the forums of Realityuncovered which can be seen here and here.  James does not buy the hypnosis angle, but I must somewhat disagree with my good friend.  

The issue of the use of hypnosis does explain a lot since the Oscar case has always been a mystery, a disjointed tale with so many convoluted components.  And quite honestly Robert Salas has always been a perplexing figure filled with contradictions and finally (shrewdly?) tying all of those contradictions into one self proclaimed "legal" affidavit.  The truth hammered on an anvil of confabulations has always been my thought. 

I offered, last night, a point of reflection for James:


I was unable to reply fully earlier as I had to head off to work. I think that the more rational way to look at Kimball's statement is that he is giving the impression that there is nothing to any of the Malmstrom claims. He is just many of a growing list that sees the shine off the bloom of Hastings' and Salas' claims. Did Kimball come to that conclusion all on his own? I seriously doubt that. And, is it important at all how he reached his conclusions? That's not important. The fact is that Malmstrom has been a dead issue for quite some time.

I personally have no proof that Salas is intentionally lying or being fraudulent in his current and past claims...I have no evidence of such. Yet, per Kimball's assertion that Salas is fair and honorable, I have no proof or evidence that such is the case either. What I do know is that Salas has made numerous claims that are completely contradictory of each other and that it is possible from a psychological angle that he has confabulated to the point of a type of fix delusional state. 

Kimball's claims that Salas (supposedly, for I have no proof of that) under went hypnosis raises questions about the Oscar affair regardless of what version he has presented. If we take Kimball's statements at face value, he supposedly talked to Salas, and say that this is true, then the mystery is much clearer and explains the following:

1. Why he was initially confused at his alert location.
2. Why no one that was present on the LCF came forward to support his claims
3. Why Fred Meiwald wrote the 1996 letter stating that he remembered things differently
4. Add in anything you want to at this point.

I'm reminded of a fairly recent blog post on Kevin Randle's blog where he basically paints Salas as a broken or lone figure. At least that's my impression.

If Kimball is wrong on all accounts, then the above 4 points still apply. 

Therefore, this tortuous argument is irrelevant and merely becomes circular in nature with no end or conclusion to anyone's satisfaction. I firmly believe that we are at the end of this saga and yours and mine hold true based on the weight of the evidence. 

Kind regards,

Tim H.

A final word on James Carlson.  James has more knowledge on the Malmstrom AFB case than anyone that I know...that includes me.  When I first started looking into the case, I came across James' work and his research methodology.  Quiet frankly, I thought it was the work of someone who had been a missile maintenance technician.  I simply set out to verify his findings and found that his argument against the pro-UFO component of the Malmstrom saga was decidedly sound....James' argument had merit.

Initially this alternative, and the only logical, view point was intentionally embargoed on various UFO websites.  There would be no outlet for due consideration as certain individuals claiming to be in search of truth showed themselves to merely be narcissistic hypocrites.  Malmstrom had become a "sacred cow" for some and the truth about the incident had to be suppressed. 

That suppression of the truth is over as I, James Carlson, Tim Printy, and others have ripped a hole in this fantasy...this myth.  The Malmstrom UFO incident of 1967 is now part of folklore and nothing more.  Sure, others will cling to it, for they have a belief or the need to believe.  Some may have a financial angle with the sole purpose to exploit the gullible, but one cannot milk a dead or dying cow. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Great Moments in Ufology History

The Chinese Lantern is supposedly credited to the military strategist  Zhuge Liang (181–234 AD).  Liang was also referred to as Kongming and hence, in China, the lanterns are known as Kongming lanterns.

Liang's efforts may have well been the beginning's of the modern day UFO source.  Ufology owes a debt of gratitude for this archaic, yet festive "fiery" balloon.

The invention of the automobile hubcap was a vast developmental milestone in Ufology.  The mundane hubcap has advanced the general public's ability to photograph this aerial enigma thus adding to the growing scientific database of UFO design and performance specifications.  

Demonstrated above is the UFO's capability to operate in precision formation.  This photo further baffles ufologist as the proposed anti-gravity propulsion systems allows the UFOs to fly seemingly attached to one another.  This could account for the UFO to appear as one object in the sky then abruptly separating into multiple objects.  It is possible that military investigators have reversed engineered this capability and adapted this technology to the precision aerial demonstrations by such units as the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels.

Here is a demonstration of a multiple landing of UFOs.  Should a higher advance extraterrestrial race attempt to invade the earth, this may be the strategic formation used in such an aerial assault.  Again, noticed the precision of the formation which would allow ET forces to off load troops and supplies.  This is very similar to the Greek phalanx used in ancient military tactics.  This has led some ufologist to suggest that UFOs have indeed visited the earth during the time of Antiquity. 

Here is an example of strange markings that have been seen on UFOs.  What could it mean?Such galactic symbols continue to frustrate ufologist who specialize in extraterrestrial linguistic studies.  Those dedicated scientific-minded individuals continue to labor to this very day attempting to discover the universal Rosetta Stone that may one day unlock this mystery.

There you have it.  Those of us that follow the on-going saga of the UFO phenomena need to be reminded of the past achievements and developmental studies that have advance our knowledge of UFOs.  There should be no doubt that the Chinese Lantern and the hubcap deserve to be recognized and celebrated due to the contributions both have had in the advancement of UFO studies.  

Note all images provided from wikipedia and google image search. TH

Note: Yes, I'm working on the Minot case and hope to have the first installment soon.  TH

Monday, July 22, 2013

Minot's 1968 UFO Sighting: Methodology Approach

Hopefully this is not construed as overkill for previewing the Minot AFB case of 1968, but I thought this important to post as an overall approach to studying the case.  I'm basically setting the table with an overview of a proposed methodology.

I've chosen to break up the case in sections or parts which is very similar to my approach to the Malmstrom Oscar Flight write up on this blog.  I believe that most readers will stay with my presentations if I provide several meaningful posts that describes a given situation in a moderately length article rather than a long drawn out single post which boarders on the perception of a manifesto or novella.  Simply, I'm trying to avoid reader fatigue.

The reader needs to keep in mind that this is a simple blog and not the place to park a research paper, nor am I intending to write a research paper.  For example, I've not attempted to contact and interview the key players in the Minot sighting because that has already been done by Tom Tulien and others.  Those interviews are conveniently available on numerous websites and the appropriate links and excerpts will be cited.  

The Minot 1968 case can be broken up into several parts.

1.  The missile maintenance team in route to  N-07.
2.  The missile security teams (FSCs and site security teams). 
3.  The diverted B-52 component (crew visuals, radar returns, UHF radio issues)
4.  The O-07 intrusion.
5.  Minot's UFO officer's (LtCol Werlich) investigation.
6.  Blue Book's responses and final conclusion.

Each of the above areas may have subsets.  These subsets may include data from Minot's base operations, wing security control, input from other launch control facilities and relevant information from the Memo for Records.

Most know that my view of the Malmstrom (Echo and Oscar) interviews conducted by Hastings and Salas was/is highly critical based on the nature of the cases and the major participants and the lack of others who remained in the shadows.   The main participants (Figel, Meiwald and Salas) had no credible visual observations and we're left with the reminiscences of phone calls and poor recall of said phone calls some 45 years later.  One has official documentation of the event, but the other exists purely in the mind of another individual leaving us to debate it's actual occurrence. 

The Minot story is a different animal as there are written accounts based on the AF-117s plus interviews that were conducted years later of the actual eye witnesses.  The AF-117s reveal what each participant experienced or perceived to have happened during the early morning hours of 24 October 1968.  The witnesses saw something and there is no doubt in that regard, but what did they actually see?  The interview statements given some 30-35 years later contain what is to be expected, that is difficult recall in certain areas, yet interesting information in other areas.  

So I'll present the case in a multi-part format.  How many parts is yet to be determined.  I'll have to see how the case progresses.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Preview of the Minot UFO Event: Oct 24, 1968

I've quietly been looking at the Minot AFB UFO(s) sightings occurring back on 24 October 1968.  Honestly, its been an on/off effort as other personal events and work schedule have intervened and side tracked this project.  That's not to mean that nothing has been done on my part, but simply it's been a much slower process than I originally anticipated based on my daily schedule performing the roles of husband, father, and Psychiatric Registered Nurse.  Throw in my daughter's pending marriage into the mix...the reader should be able to get my point.

With the above excuses/justifications said, the reader should review the case as presented in various reports.  Thomas Tulien has produced an impressive body of work for the Sign Oral History Project.  Tulien's in depth work can be accessed here.

UFO Casebook Files has a rudimentary description of the B-52 radio transmissions, but falls short of providing any meaningful context to the incident.  Further, missing is the missile maintenance personnel's written accounts per their AF-117s.  Yet, somewhere in the Casebook Files, I thought that more had been written about this case. 

The 90-plus pages of the official Blue Book investigation can be accessed at Fold3.  The numerous completed AF-117s provided by the eye witnesses are available.  Also included are the official message traffic generated by SAC, ADC, and FTD (Wright-Patterson AFB, OH).  Of equal, if not compelling value, are the Memo for Records generated from the numerous  phone calls between Minot, SAC HQ, and FTD.

I suggest that to save yourself the time and aggravation just go to Tulien's site as he has incorporated all of the Blue Book documents (and more) in a more friendlier format for easier reading.  I've verified that Tulien has all of the documents and pertinent maps as listed on Fold3.com. 

The focus of my work will center around the final Blue Book conclusions.  That is, does the final conclusions make logical sense.  My initial read of BBs 13 Nov 1968 conclusions leaves me with the sense that it's somewhat wanting for the most part.  When I read the entire report, I couldn't help but see the lack of follow-up by both FTD and Minot's UFO Officer, LtCol Werlich.

The reader also needs to understand that I was not a pilot or navigator.  My knowledge of radar operations is relatively poor.  I did have the opportunity to sit in the pilot's seat of a B-52D at March AFB back in the late 1970s, but that does not qualify for any meaningful knowledge base of practical experience other than to provide knowledge of the cramp confines of the flight deck.  I do have experience in using UHF radio equipment since the missile launch control centers were equipped with numerous radio systems, including UHF.

Below is the key points of BB's conclusion:

1.  Ground visuals appear to be the star Sirius and the over flying B-52.   The missile maintenance teams AF-117s show that this may indeed be possible as stellar objects tend to be misidentified and the characteristics of the phenomena observed was that of the B-52.  Yet the question remains, did they misinterpret stars and the aircraft for a UFO(s)?

2.  The B-52 radar contact and temporary loss of UHF transmission could be attributed to plasma/ball lightning.  This one bothers me due to the rarity of such a phenomena.  I get the impression (right/wrong) that this contributory theory was just thrown into the mix.

3.  The B-52 visual observation was the star Vega, ground light, or plasma.  This is an odd set of conclusions, but I believe that I have a good candidate for what was actually seen from the cockpit of the B-52.  The clues are embedded in the case files and appeared to have been glossed over during the investigation.  Plus there is a psychological component that was innocently introduced.

4.  The break in of Oscar-07 was not related to the event.  I tentatively agree with this conclusion.

So, there you have it!  A brief preview of the case and hint of methodology.  Hopefully, I'll be able to present my final product in the coming weeks barring any distractions.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Covert Wikipedia UFO Wars Continue to Rage

Last week, Robert Sheaffer posted on his blog concerning the need to provide proper context to wikipedia articles.  He highlighted the efforts of Susan Gerbic related to the late skeptic Phillip Klass' wiki article, "Guerilla Skepticism-Now We Have Klass' Wikipedia Back."

I had provided two comments on Sheaffer's blog referencing the efforts of James Carlson and his on-going efforts to provide alternative thoughts/points of view to the Wikipedia articles concerning the two Malmstrom AFB alleged UFO incidents back in 1967.  In one of my comments, I had mentioned the wiki editing process as that of a "sausage making factory."  

To see how this editing process occurs, one only has to click on the "Talk" portion of any given wiki article.  The Malmstrom UFO section shows how the internal debates rage and underscores how any given Wikipedia entry, regardless of subject, changes over time.  It further proves a valid point that Wikipedia articles should be held in suspect dependent of the references cited.  I'm aware that wiki attempts to provide a neutral point of view, but that concept appears to be a difficult to implement.

Earlier to today, I had nine hits on my blog from Wikipedia's "Talk" section concerning "UFO Hoaxes" which Carlson has, for now, been able to list Hastings and Salas as either hoaxers or pranksters.  I'm assuming that some of the editors were looking at references for citation that James had provided to back up his assertions.  

A few weeks ago both Echo and Oscar Flights were listed in the wiki article as hoaxes or complete fabrications...that appears to have disappeared from the article.  At least that's how I remembered the initial article.  Perhaps Carlson will be able to shed some light on my memory of the editing events.

What's the best way to deal with the issues with Wikipedia?  The best approach, one that I had proposed in a past blog post when I became aware of the Wikipedia articles on the Malmstrom UFO incidents, is to have two sections to any given UFO wiki entry.  That is one can present evidence (with citations) supporting the UFO hypothesis and a separate section could present a dissenting view point (with citations) with an alternative hypothesis.  This way both sides can be heard/read in a fair and consistent way.  Let the reader decide which side presents the credible point of view.

I do not believe that there should be any form of censorship regardless of who is presenting their respective points of view.  Hastings and Salas, and others, should be freely able to have their viewpoints aired out in Wikipedia's format as well as that of James Carlson...or me, for that matter.  Its up to the reader to decide who makes the better case.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Comparison: The NSA Debacle vs. UFO Disclosure

On my previous Arneson post, James Carlson and I were trading comments.  James made a keen point concerning the current government scandals sweeping the U.S.  I thought it was noteworthy because he drives home a point.

James Carlson:  "On a slightly related side note, have you seen the news RE: Edward Snowden? I don't want to get into a long discussion about what folks may or may not believe about the legal impressions that have been made thus far today, but I did want to make one small, pointed observation. Given the current freak-out we're noting at the NSA, the CIA, and all points in-between in regard to secrets maintained to protect government access to email accounts and telephone records, does anybody really believe that there would be no reaction whatsoever to some ex-USAF whistle-blower telling the world all about the concern that UFOs and the denizens of other planets have about our nuclear interests if there was any truth at all to those claims? Or that there would continue to be no interest exhibited by the government through four Presidential administrations? I am amazed at the credulity exhibited by apparently intelligent American comic-book fans everywhere..."

BTW, I personally know of no one affiliated with the military that either was reprimanded, or lost their retirement pension because they had come out endorsing the sighting of a UFO encounter.  Case in point, none of the principle individuals involved with the Malmstrom alleged incidents suffered career-wise.  All either had successful military careers or excelled outside of the military.

James wrote is comment yesterday, as of today, Snowden has apparently disappeared from the scene...for now.   Supposedly, the US government is in the process of conducting an international dragnet for this poor bastard (as well as, the Chinese and Russians).  Yet we are free (for now) to write about UFO encounters around "secret" military sites or nuclear bases with impunity.  I guess that some "disclosures" are more important than others.

Or to put it in a more Orwellian tone:  all disclosures are equal, some are more equal than others.

Gotta go...I think the NSA is calling me on my cell phone...