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CHRONICLING THE HISTORY of the UFO phenomenon, if it is to be done well, is no task for the lazy. There are dozens of reference books to pour through, scores of scholarly websites to cross-check, and thousands of pages of news reports and government files to consult for contemporaneous sources. Only then does the task of providing analysis while simultaneously constructing a narrative begin.

So far this series has consisted of fourteen such narratives, covering the period from 1942 to 1948, each upwards of 5,000 words and each reflective of dozens of hours of research. But even then, tiny facets are ignored along the way; nuggets that -- though they may have no particular importance in and of themselves -- to the avocational historian (such as myself) are fascinating in the aggregate for the more detailed image that emerges, and the insights they spur.

So before moving on chronologically, entries over the next weeks will include those little nuggets that fell by the wayside. This entry focuses on news reports....


THIS DIARY is being moved to its new permanent home at Saturday Night Uforia and will appear May 12, 2012.



Originally posted to two roads on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 07:23 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for Saturday Night tales... (12+ / 0-)


    ...backed by research.

    On a more personal note, this particular kind of entry feels especially rewarding -- helping to keep people's stories and opinions alive 60 years on so that the complete record is not lost through neglect.

    The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

    by two roads on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 07:22:47 PM PST

    •  too late for tips, unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      two roads

      I leave, instead, links to some photographs.

      140 years of UFO sightings - Part I
      140 years of UFO sightings - Part II
      140 years of UFO sightings - Part III

      Some of my favourites are represented, along with a few i don't remember seeing. I'm not sure they al merit scrutiny but it's a great collection. Though, there are a couple of Billy "Pleiadian" Meier's.

      I've always especially liked this one. Imagine coming across that in the attic!

      "They're telling us something we don't understand"
      General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

      by subtropolis on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 09:33:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        subtropolis


        I have to rush off to take my 85 year-old widowed mother to a scheduled doctor's appointment, so I couldn't spend much time there now, but will go back.

        The Sicily 1954 picture is definitely a fake (cover up the alleged discs and you'll note the men aren't really looking in that direction plus the casual postures don't match the alleged event).

        Sometime tonight I'll post another reply with a picture I'm pretty sure you haven't seen before. Plus this Saturday's SNU will have one that was new to me.

        On a personal note, you are among a handful of regulars who keep me going at this, and your continual encouragement means the world to me.

        The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

        by two roads on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 08:41:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  new pic—goody! (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, there are some lame ones in the batch. That Sicily pic has never sat well with me. Also, the Billy Meier pics. I've no idea how he faked those but i don't buy his (quite fanciful, even for this subject) story.

          "They're telling us something we don't understand"
          General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

          by subtropolis on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:23:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here's that pic... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        subtropolis




        Found it on one of the 'nazis invented ufos' websites. Allegedly given to Hynek by someone who said it was taken at end of WWII in Czechoslovakia.

        The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

        by two roads on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 07:12:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  intriguing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          two roads

          Nice photo. I don't think i've ever seen it.

          It'd be really great to be able to put online hi-res scans of so many of these photographs that are sitting in hundreds of people's files around the world. I'm thinking, mainly, about those authors/researchers (yourself, possibly) who hold the original negatives or prints of some of the most notable photographs. Most of the images we see online are of very poor quality. I'd love to see a web directory of modern reproductions of these archived photos. The researchers/members of the site would supply new, "print-quality" scans and basically open-source them. Being that they would be published by the source—the bearer of the original—the  images could be presented along with up-to-date information about the events depicted in, as well as the provenance of, the photo. ie. the straight dope.

          This just popped into my head. I know there are other archives online but none which, to my knowledge, has really high resolution images. What do you think?

          "They're telling us something we don't understand"
          General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

          by subtropolis on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 09:47:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A couple of thoughts on this. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            subtropolis


            Great idea, but sadly I highly doubt that there are many (if any) holders of the original negatives of the famous photos, outside of the possibility of local newspaper archives or archives of national magazines.

            One of the big problems here: in the early decades the government would often 'borrow' the negatives of good pictures for analysis and then not return them.

            And the problems with photos overall, outside of the early decades, is photoshop. Too easy to fake nowdays.

            The real hope now lies in video, IMO. And your idea for such a site would be great for that.

            Unfortunately there is a problem with this as well: zooming in on a light, particularly at night. The resolution of home video/dvd recorders when zooming on a light in the sky tends to diffuse, rather than sharpen an image -- especially when combined with the jiggling/bouncing of a hand-held cam.

            Professional video cameras are much better at this, I believe. I have other thoughts on this, but right now I am so tired that I don't have the energy.

            Maybe later?

            The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

            by two roads on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 06:10:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  perhaps a good topic for a later diary (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              two roads

              … the problems with documenting these phenomena. Video is great and the huge increase in the number of cameras walking around may be a boon to this investigation. But, so few people bother to walk around with decent camcorders anymore. We're deluged with fuzzy, shakey blobs. In a way, the profusion of cameras in the last few years echoes the internet's influence on the overwhelming UFO chaff that we're faced with now. Everyone can put their haphazard portrait of Venus on YouTube.

              But i'm not pessimistic. Crappy imagery we may get but we might also get more of what the photo evidence sorely lacks: multiple vantage point views.

              "They're telling us something we don't understand"
              General Charles de Gaulle, Mai '68

              by subtropolis on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 10:58:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I was born in 1947 (3+ / 0-)

    Does that make me an alien? I've always felt alienated.

    Let the pastors, rabbis and mullahs mutter their mumbo-jumbo in private and leave the rest of us alone.

    by detler on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 07:42:20 PM PST

  •  Caught one of your diaries "live"! (4+ / 0-)

    Yippee!

        •  in case you haven't seen these diaries before... (5+ / 0-)

          I've always been skeptical of "flying saucers", so when I first saw this series I thought, ohboy, more woowoo to debunk.

          However, TwoRoads' diaries have taken a pretty no-nonsense approach to it, including a lot of original material from the mainstream press, military reports, and other respectable sources.  And there has been a decided lack of woo, much less woowoo.  

          So IMHO, it stays, and it belongs, in the same way as Hekebolos' diaries about spiders (that series was a couple of years ago), or others' diaries about cat behavior, or other diaries about astronomical observations, and so on.  

          What interests me about TwoRoads' series is: interesting puzzles to solve, speculation about how people observe & react to things they see, some interesting bits & pieces about how the military responded to potential threats during the Cold War, and so on.  

          As of last week's installment, more speculation along the lines of "what if?" and how that would influence our approach to the space program.  For example: send out large numbers of quasi-autonomous robotic craft to interesting solar systems, to observe planets and send back reports.  Yes, hundreds of years until data started coming back from the target locations, but consider how that would influence human culture.  People would be more inclined to think in long time spans: their great-grandchildrens' great-grandchildren and beyond.  The cost of this kind of exploration would be affordable, and its return in knowledge would be inestimable.  

          And that in turn translates to a policy objective for NASA:  gear up for this program, develop the technology to enable these things to work and to send back data, and then build them & send them off.  We could get a decent start within an 8-year timeframe, such that Obama's successor (2016 election) would see the beginning of some of these launches.  This already involves the need for policy beyond Obama's presidency.  

          So, in the end, this kind of speculation is valuable for those reasons, and as I said, for those reasons, I think it belongs here.  

  •  The guy from WV trying to take down (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    two roads, Texas Revolutionary

    the "saucer" with his shotgun was my favorite.

    Reports of fire coming out of one and smoke coming out of another raises doubts to me as to the design of the "saucers".

    •  I guess they didn't find any wreckage (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      two roads, Texas Revolutionary

      in the Mexican Mountains either, if they even bothered to look.

      •  Yeah, it's funny how some of these stories... (4+ / 0-)


        ...'disappear' without any published follow-up.

        The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

        by two roads on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 08:20:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  even recently. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citizenx, two roads

          There was a signting over the San Francisco Bay some time in the last 10 years.  Some time after darrk, apparently hundreds or possibly thousands of people saw a cluster of lights with odd characeristics but no particular shape (e.g. just bright spots of light), that moved in a manner suggestive of something other than conventional civilian or military aircraft (in other words, it wasn't the Blue Angels doing practice routines at night before Fleet Week).  This was all over the news for a couple of days.  

          I remember at the time (i live in the Bay Area), thinking it would have been interesting to see them first-hand just to have a wild guess at what they might have been.  The major area newspapers were full of headlines, and then the whole thing just went away as the normal news cycle resumed.  

          I think what goes on with even the best reports (high-cred witness or mass witness situation) is:  After the civilian airlines and the military and NASA each say "it wasn't ours!", and data on e.g. meteorites are negative, the press just decides it's a good mystery (thus a couple days' coverage) but there won't be an answer forthcoming, to they move along.  

          •  After the story dies... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bionic, G2geek, citizenx


            After the civilian airlines and the military and NASA each say "it wasn't ours!", and data on e.g. meteorites are negative, the press just decides it's a good mystery (thus a couple days' coverage) but there won't be an answer forthcoming, to they move along.

            And that's the point where in the past civilian organizations would send trained investigators. They used to be quite active, with world-wide membership.

            Now those organizations are mostly either defunct or moribund, and most 'reports' are posted as first-hand accounts scatter-shot across the internet, and the story ends there.

            And the only thing that gets public attention is when it involves a commercial pilot, or some such, willing to talk publicly and with a spectacular tale.

            Off the top of my head, for instance, I can only remember two stories in the last ten years that managed to break through into the news: the hovering UFO at the Chicago airport reported by the air controllers and such, and the 'mile-wide' UFO off the coast of England reported by two separate commercial pilots.

            (I leave off the Stephensville thing because that's been mostly a creature of the Larry King show.)

            Meanwhile any serious government investigation of incidents remains so obscure that there is no known government/military investigation of such incidents. Maybe it exists, maybe it doesn't. Either way, publicly all the powers that be have to say is 'not ours' and 'not interested'.

            And if any private UFO investigator does pursue a story and publish it, it's greeted by a high degree of skepticism even before a single word has been read because, after all, it's written by one of those 'UFO nuts'.

            The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

            by two roads on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 06:54:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  oh, i think the government has probably (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              two roads

              come to conclusions about this.

              It seems from the last of your diaries, that the military ended up concluding after their first lengthy study, that some of these were of offworld origin but were not a threat.  After that, civilian leaders probably figured that saying as much would panic the public, so they clammed up about the whole thing and left it there.  And after a decade or so of pooh-poohing it, that became the accepted wisdom and there the matter rests until something occurs to change it.

              As for civilian organizations, yeah there needs to be a serious central organization to pursue these cases objectively.  Declassifying all of the government stuff would also be useful.  And at this point in history, if government made a public statement to the effect that "we figured out decades ago that some of them are ETs, but they are not a threat to us," that would be like admitting the obvious and it would not cause a panic.  

              From my speculation in the last round, I suspect it would instead lead to serious strengthening of support for the space program.  If some of these UFOs (the small ones in particular make the case for this) are robotic research devices similar to our own robotic missions, then clearly there is a basis to suggest that we too should take steps in a similar direction: a major unmanned space program to develop low-cost robotic devices we could send off to interesting solar systems, to observe and send back information.  

              This would also have the result of getting the entire culture thinking forward in very long time-spans: the hundreds or thousands of years needed for those missions to reach their targets and send back data.  

    •  Mine was... (5+ / 0-)


      ...the July 24th "Pilot Reports Winged 'Vs' Over Idaho", because of its visceral quality of the pilot being shaken by what he'd seen and scared of being exposed to ridicule by giving his name. And what added to his account for me is the story 5 days later from a United Airlines pilot and copilot reporting another object in almost the exact same area.

      My second favorite was the story of the pigeons scared back to their roosts.

      But I enjoyed the shooting story as well. Hell, I liked all of them or I wouldn't have put 'em up.

      The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

      by two roads on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 08:19:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  different objects, different explanations (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizenx, two roads

      A few of those seemed to me like meteorites.  A few seemed more like the conventional disc in the sky.  

      One of the lessons of this series from my perspective, is that objects in the sky are probably "normally distributed" such that they probably occur with about equal frequency across a much wider area than reported, but the reports tend more to come in from places where people frequently look at the sky.  

      And another lesson I think comes from this series is, many different types of objects or phenomena can produce these reports: meteorites, Venus seen through certain types of atmospherics, various kinds of aircraft, and so on; and for those within the "truly decent mystery" category there are probably a number of underlying causes as well.  

  •  Newspapers sure don't report like they used to :D (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CalNM, ebor, citizenx, two roads

    I guess the press just figured people were losing interest. You can only publish so many papers with the headline "YET ANOTHER FLYING SAUCER...AGAIN".

    The guy who tried to shoot one down with a shotgun was pretty funny.

    Yes. We. Did. (-10.00,-8.87)

    by Texas Revolutionary on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 11:26:11 PM PST

    •  It always fascinates me... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ebor, citizenx, Texas Revolutionary


      ...that whenever they quote a local citizen (and not just on UFO stories), they often include their place of employment and street address where they live.

      Different times, indeed.

      The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

      by two roads on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 05:55:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding the British UFO files (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, two roads

    I thought I'd point out that the UK government recently declassified and made public a number of its unsolved UFO sightings.  You can easily download the pdfs of cases from the official government site, or for those like me who are lazy (I mean... too busy with important work), just watch an informative video with some of the highlights.

  •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)


    I have to rush off to take my 85 year-old widowed mother to a scheduled doctor's appointment, so I couldn't spend much time there now, but will go back.

    The Sicily 1954 picture is definitely a fake (cover up the alleged discs and you'll note the men aren't really looking in that direction plus the casual postures don't match the alleged event).

    Sometime tonight I'll post another reply with a picture I'm pretty sure you haven't seen before. Plus this Saturday's SNU will have one that was new to me.

    On a personal note, you are among a handful of regulars who keep me going at this, and your continual encouragement means the world to me.

    The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

    by two roads on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 08:38:10 AM PST

    •  Ooops. This was supposed to be a reply. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

      by two roads on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 08:39:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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