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Above: Vertically-aimed searchlights form Albert Speer's 'Cathedral of Light' at a 1937 Nazi rally at Nuremberg.


THE STORY OF MODERN WAR cannot be found solely in ideological struggles and ethnic divides, or in the witch's brew of ignorance, fear and anger, or even in the baser human instincts of aggression and dominance. For the story of modern war has also been the story of the progression of the technology developed in the never-ending pursuit for military advantage.

In World War II, radar was one such technology, and it allowed an outnumbered (and near collapse) English fighter force to overcome wave after wave of fierce German attacks in the Battle of Britain, the first modern battle campaign fought almost entirely by air forces.

But part of that too was another technology: a 60-inch parabolic mirror which could focus a brilliant beam of light miles upwards...

...allowing any intruder aloft in the night sky to be seen from the ground.


THIS DIARY is being moved to its new permanent home at Saturday Night Uforia and will publish on December 31, 2011.



Originally posted to two roads on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 06:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for Saturday Night Tales... (20+ / 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 Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 06:45:40 PM PDT

  •  SPECIAL NOTE: (18+ / 0-)


    It's time for a break.

    Though I love doing this series there are other parts of my life I simply must attend to for the next couple of weeks, at least.

    What this means is that I will either be posting items which require an absolute minimum of time to prepare, or perhaps even reposting earlier entries.

    In line with this, john de herrera has asked on a couple of occasions for me to say a little about how I go about putting these entries together. And this week has been a pretty typical example of what's involved:

    It started Monday morning with the realization that I was not in the right headspace to tackle part 6 of the The Year of Many Explanations. So rather than try to force myself into producing an inferior product, I turned instead to my several lists of the events of 1949 (this being the general time period the series has progressed to so far).

    For reasons unknown to any but the gods, I settled almost instantly on the Norwood searchlight incidents. I knew very few details about them, having just a vague outline of events in my memory.

    The first step was then to read all the available information, either in my books (nada) or online (generally one story repeated endlessly at different sites). Then having gleaned as much as was going to be had from these sources, I began my online searches.

    The online searches are a combination of general (thru google) and project blue book files (thru footnote). In this instance, the searches consisted of dozens upon dozens of variations on search strings, including variations on Norwood, searchlight, Donald Berger, William Winkler, Harris Stewart, D.A. Wells, Paul Herget and on and on. As a result -- many, many hours later -- I was able to turn up about 30 pages of original source files.

    The searches also included going through newspaper archives to see if I can find any contemporary news reports. This too takes many hours.

    Along the way, I saved copies of each file as a backup in order to avert future problems which invariably arise when I fail to do such backup (404 messages, unable to connect to server, etc).

    Next came the transcription. I spent many years doing word processing, so typing holds no fear for me -- but it is still an hours-long process. I transcribed the files in chronological order, so that they began to tell me their own story. Of course, being online copies of photocopies or microfiche, many of the files are difficult to read, and sometimes require a fair amount of lowering brightness or upping contrast to fully decipher. In this particular case there was the added difficulty of source documents being hand written rather than typed, or -- my least favorite -- blurry screen caps made from a YouTube video.

    Having finished transcribing the story becomes clearer, but questions remain. So new searches begin: how does a searchlight work, what was the history of Sts. Peter and Paul, what's a 'jitney dance', what was Roseanna McCoy, what was the moon phase on August 19, 1949 and when did it rise, what's the temperature of the thermosphere, what's an isogonic line and were there any records for Cincinnati, etc.etc. etc.

    By now it is Thursday, and most of the prior three days have been devoted as described. Knowing I have to leave for out of town to visit my son at break of day on Friday, I finally being to write. And write. And write some more. About 2:30 I realize I haven't eaten yet and am felling faint. I put together a quick tuna sandwich and relax with a game of computer chess, then go back to writing. Finally I am done, and it has been dark outisde for a couple hours. I pop my sleeping pills, shut down the computer and go to bed.

    Friday is my off day. It takes five hours to get to my son's location, and we then visit until 7:30, after which I check into the motel and have a little dinner. Saturday, before and after visiting my son, I edit, spell check and run the final result through the html checker. It's six-thrity now (literally) and I'll be posting in the next half-hour or so.

    Over the course of the next couple hours after posting I'll check back to read and acknowledge any comments, because I believe that is the polite thing to do. Then I'll shut down for the night, check again in the morning, and go to spend time with my son again before driving 5 hours home.

    Which is where I normally pick up on this again on Monday morning, repeating with variations the process above, but -- as noted above -- will not be doing so for the next couple of weeks because there are other areas on which I need to focus.

    And as such, I'm relieved to finally cross off john de herrera's question from my to-do list. :)

    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 Apr 11, 2009 at 06:49:13 PM PDT

    •  I just subscribed, (8+ / 0-)

      thanks for all your time and energy!

      I encourage everyone to watch The Disclosure Project, because it's time to stop ignoring independent, corroborating evidence.

      •  Your link doesn't work (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sberel, subtropolis, two roads, elijah311

        I get error message "The URL is not valid and cannot be loaded."
        I don't think I've seen that one before.

        Should I start getting paranoid?

        Freedom without responsibility is license and not liberty. Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by Bionic on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:20:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe this is the... (6+ / 0-)


          site  elijah311 meant to link to.

          p.s. As to whether you should start getting paranoid, I always think it best to get an early start and beat the crowd.

          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 Apr 11, 2009 at 08:34:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  interestingly there has been some controversy.... (5+ / 0-)

            ...about Greer & Disclosure.  At the diary I linked to in another comment here, someone posted some stuff that indicates that Greer might be more of a problem than a solution.  Yet on the other hand, the original Disclosure press conf could have done quite a bit of good.  

            So I think it's possible there's room to do the whole Disclosure thing over again, press conference included, but without any of the controversies associated with Greer.  

            And guess what?  You could be just the person to do it.  I'm serious.  

            •  Great idea for two roads! (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bionic, G2geek, subtropolis, two roads

              Sorry about the busted link. Looks like I forgot to paste. I actually meant to link directly to the google video.

              I just ignored all that stuff whatshisname was saying about Greer. It sounded like the typical effort to discredit the person who's telling the truth. The commenter said Dr. Greer was a plagiarist because the Disclosure Project website sells DVDs of the witness testimony.

              I seriously doubt the doctor is getting rich from putting together that film and press conference. Hell, everyone's gotta eat, and this is a guy that quit his job and devoted his life to this stuff. I'd be wiling bet it's just another smear campaign.

              I got an email the other day from David Plouffe asking for another 25 bucks, too.

              •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                two roads, elijah311

                I listened to the 2 DVDs on Google today.

                It does truly make you wonder.

                Do you remember when Richardson demanded that the government come clean on what it knew about Roswell and other UFO stuff?

                Freedom without responsibility is license and not liberty. Ralph Waldo Emerson

                by Bionic on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:45:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  if a major city in a neighboring state... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  two roads, elijah311

                  ...had just had a UFO incident seen by thousands, you'd have good reason to say "enough is enough!" and want to get all the facts on the table.  

                  I think American culture has gotten to the place where people don't feel threatened by these things any more.  But the fact that there are persistent puzzles flying around and government keeps its collective mouth zipped up about them, is highly frustrating.  

                  I can't think of another instance where government is totally mum about something so completely harmless.  I can understand that attitude during the Cold War.  But today, it's as if they were making a big secret out of the discovery of a new species of hummingbird or woodpecker.  

                  And it just occurred to me that if Obama wanted to permanently break the religious right, all he would have to do is order all the UFO docs declassified, and then mention in an offhand way "yeah we've known for about 50 years that some of them are extraterrestrial artifacts."  

                  The reason this would break the righties is because their entire ideology is based on twisting Christianity in a manner that would not stand up to the fact of proof of the existence of intelligent civilizations elsewhere in the galaxy.  Suddenly the entire concept of God promoted by the righties, which is basically a tribal God writ large, would become obsolete.  And as soon as that happened, the entire center of gravity of rightie ideology would collapse like a house of cards.  

                  Instead, religion would shift toward something more universal, and there would also be a huge increase in interest in the sciences, particularly anything remotely related to space exploration.  There would be a huge clamor for more funding for NASA, and more math & science education in the schools.  Just as occurred after Sputnik.  

                  All Obama would have to do, would be to get the stuff declassified and released, and then wait about a month and make one offhand comment.  The best time to do this would be just as the economic crisis starts to ease, so there's room for it in the news.  

                  •  Interesting comments, thanks! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    two roads

                    Do you remember last year when the Vatican said it's okay to believe in UFO's?

                    I also just came across this interesting video when searching for a link to the Vatican story. The pastor gets into some interesting spiritual ideas.

                    Did you ever see this seminar/documentary on 2012? The amount of knowledge and research this guy commands is amazing. There is a really compelling portion about the Vatican near the beginning. Maybe it's tin foil hat stuff, but I think the church has known about and kept some things secret for a very, very long time.

                    This seminar vid hit number 1 on google video last December. The world is slowly changing, and I believe information like this is being spread faster than it can be contained. Truth is winning.

                    And I hope Obama will help. The FOIA statements from right after inauguration were possibly a first step. I imagine there are people writing FOIA requests for ET information.

                  •  they'd twist things another way (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    two roads

                    Don't forget that their entire modus operandi is to twist logic around to suit their purpose. I've no doubt at all that they'd use such a revelation (heh) to their own ends.

                    I think American culture has gotten to the place where people don't feel threatened by these things any more.

                    I think the tremendous dumbing down of this subject has a great deal to do with it. Whether due to hoaxers, gullible idiots, or targeted disinformation, the UFO subject has become deeply ho-hum for many.

                    That, and the incredible indifference to science among the general public, of course.

                    I can't think of another instance where government is totally mum about something so completely harmless.

                    I wouldn't go so far as to declare it harmless. If we really are dealing with visitors, there's no way for us to make a certain judgment about their intentions. Personally, i figure we're probably going to be ok. However, IF certain elements within the govt. have specific knowledge of "visitors" i could understand why they'd want to keep mum about it. Knowledge is power, after all, and there are all those other nations out there. That's not to say i agree with it, but i can certainly understand the decision to not announce something to the UN.

                    I do doubt that any measly President would be privy to this knowledge, should it exist, though. This would be very closely-held information. At least until the visitors decide to do something a little more formal vis à vis the human race.

                    Sorry, it looks like i'm too late to pass on any mojo. Until next time …

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

                    by subtropolis on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 08:20:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I demand you disclose the URL! (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bionic, sberel, G2geek, two roads, elijah311

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

          by subtropolis on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:40:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  you're wonderful (9+ / 0-)

      I mean that quite sincerely. I know there are several of us regulars who are mightily impressed with the preparation that goes into these chapters. (yes, chapters—we'll get a book out of you yet)

      I haven't even dug into this week's offerings, so i'll just say thanks, once again, for this excellent series.

      bonus stuff:

      I came across this great short video this week. It's "sourced from images collected by the twin satellite, solar mission, STEREO." I love it! Go to full screen and don the headphones.

      The title is a bit of an eyeroller, but i loves me some art made from data. It reminds me of Titan Descent, which i believe i've linked to before.

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

      by subtropolis on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:21:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The black rain stuff was great. (6+ / 0-)


        The visuals were very flashbacky to a combination of Kubrick and certain substances I imbibed in the seventies. I'm going to have to go back after I return home -- I'm presently on my laptop which is not built for sound.

        I couldn't get the Titan Descent to run, probably owing to my Vista OS. I'll try that again after I get back to my far more cooperative Windows XP OS.

        p.s. You're pretty damn great yourself, in my book.

        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 Apr 11, 2009 at 07:34:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  here's the embedded Titan Descent: (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bionic, sberel, G2geek, KenBee, two roads

          I love the audio for this one because it's based directly upon the data. Be sure to check out the NASA page for an explanation.

          And, yeah—Black Rain is a trip!

          I've just finished reading the diary. Wow! That's all very interesting about SA Stewart's report. And Stringfield's comments.

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

          by subtropolis on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:06:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  re Vista... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bionic, sberel, two roads

          ...a piece of programming software I use runs in Vista 32 bit, but not 64 bit.  I'm thinking it's possible there are other instances of that kind, things that run in 32 but not 64, or vice-versa.  If so, that could be something to look into.   But in any case, XP is stable & solid by now, so if you have an XP machine you're in good shape.  

          •  XP is very close to End of Life, though (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bionic, G2geek, two roads

            … meaning that MS will stop supporting it with updates. However, i did read quite recently that they're considering extending that. It seems they don't have much choice, given the tremendous flop that Vista turned out to be.

            I also saw somewhere that MS has stated that new computers with Win7 preloaded may be downgraded to XP or Vista. I smiled at that, think that an upgrade to Ubuntu or Fedora linux would seem more appropriate.

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

            by subtropolis on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 09:54:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Enjoy your break two roads (7+ / 0-)

      I am never disappointed in your diaries.

      Thank you for all you do.

    •  wow. this is a fulltime job. (5+ / 0-)

      Dude, I really appreciate the efforts you're putting into this.  You could turn this into an online book with a PayPal link for voluntary contributions.    I think you've managed to succeed at bringing the subject down to Earth, as it were, and back into the range of reasonable discussions among reasonable people.  

      There was another diary this morning, by someone who saw an object and just wanted to write about it here.  His object was one of those triangles with lights at the corners, which I think are probably USAF tests:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      So it appears that this is no longer taboo around here, and it's also pretty clear that your diaries have been setting the tone.  

    •  very nice work (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, subtropolis, two roads, elijah311

      a real labor of love, and much appreciated.

      Please refresh and recharge yourself during your break.  

      be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become. WEB DuBois

      by sberel on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 07:37:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the series tr. (9+ / 0-)

    You've obviously put a helluva lot of work into it.  Fascinating stuff.  Kudos.

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 07:09:08 PM PDT

  •  I always read (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, subtropolis, two roads

    Even if I can't get to them right away.
    The more I read the more I realize I have less and less understanding of what they are.

    Sometimes I think it's like the Starship enterprise caught in a time warp or something and nothing to do with us really.  Other times? Who knows.

    Take the time that you need to do what you need to do but I truly hope you'll pick these up again.  I for one really enjoy them.

    Freedom without responsibility is license and not liberty. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Bionic on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:13:06 PM PDT

  •  Fascinating! (7+ / 0-)

    Great work, TR. Incredible detail in the reports, and great richness in the source material.

    I'm left scratching my head over this one. It makes no sense in any way. A massive object hovering over Cincinnati? Why? And where does it go during the day? And why? And if it knew someone was shining a big spotlight one it, why would it just sit there?

    Most UFO reports will have objects doing something that has the appearance of busyness, this appears to have done nothing but hang out and release, what, shuttle craft? Were there any reports of other UFO type objects in the area that appeared to be unrelated to this that might have been said shuttle craft?

    The most perplexing of all your in-depth event reports, I feel.

    Terrific stuff TR. We appreciate all the incredible work you do.

    Now, where I get me one of them spotlights?

    "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of war"--The Cure, "Club America"

    by Wheever on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 08:41:32 PM PDT

    •  speculation both mild & wild. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, sberel, subtropolis, two roads

      Mild speculation:

      An icy meteor that somehow got into geosynchronous orbit.  In that case the other objects that split off from it were ice chunks that fell and at first maintained the same relative position (seeming to fall vertically), and then dispersed.  If the meteor contained phosphorescent materials, the searchlight could have had the same effect on them as a room light has on the material on an analog clock dial, causing it to glow for a while after the light source was removed.

      Also it's not unreasonable to suggest that if the object absorbed any heat from the light directed to it, the break-off of some small pieces might have been caused by the light.  Even a fraction of a degree of heating might be sufficient, as we have seen with our climate impact on the Antarctic ice packs.  

      Wild speculation:

      As per my hypothesis about some of these being interstellar robotic science missions:   The large one was an orbiting carrier, and the small ones were objects of the more usual type that people might later see as "conventional" UFOs, interesting maneuvers included.  The carrier would stay in orbit.  The small objects would come down & do atmospheric survey, and then eventually return to the carrier.  Eventually the carrier would move on to repeat the exercise elsewhere, perhaps around Earth, or around the next planet in its path of travel (Venus or Mars depending on direction).  

      In that case, the fact that Cincinnatti at an isogonic zero is relevant as follows:  if I understand the concept correctly, when you are standing at an isogonic zero location, the direction indicated as the magnetic north on a compass coincides with the direction to the geographic north pole.  (When standing somewhere else, the direction to magnetic north you see on a compass will be some distance from the direction to the geographic north pole; this because they are different points on the surface of the Earth.)

      Now let's say I want to program a robotic survey mission in a manner that's simple and fairly robust.  I want to park a "carrier" vehicle somewhere above the planet.  And when that vehicle releases a bunch of "landers" that will go into the planet's atmosphere and collect data, I want those landers to be able to use a simple program to find their way back to the carrier when they've completed their tasks.

      Seems to me that an orbital location that coincides with an isogonic zero would be a sensible place to park the carrier.  Assume that the landers can find magnetic north, and can also use the rotation of the planet or some other unambiguous observable, to calculate direction to geographic north.  With that, they would have a simple way to find their way back to a location from which they could in turn find the carrier again.  Also, that location would serve as a usable point of reference for measurements of distance to the points where they were collecting data.    

      The only problem with this is, magnetic north on Earth tends to wander.  So if, some decades or centuries later, the people who were running this mission decided to send their carrier back for another look, they would find themselves starting from a slightly different location: the location of the new isogonic zero at that point in time.  To correct for this, they would have to be able to measure the movement of magnetic north relative to geographic north, to calculate the distance of the new isogonic zero from the previous one.  

      Yet it seems to me that this is just a matter of clever engineering rather than an additional pure science breakthrough.  In other words, one more example of something that "they" can do, that we can figure out how to do.  And that might be useful in our own efforts at scoping out planets, starting with the outer planets in our own star system.  

    •  It perplexes the hell out of me as well. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bionic, subtropolis, elijah311


      I went into this one suspecting it to have been overblown and highly questionable. Instead as I researched and particularly reading Berger's log I found myself increasingly drawn in to the mystery.

      The credibility of the story also went up in my mind with the notations about Drs. Herget (astronomer) and Wells (physicist) from the U. of C. being there at all, let alone at the same time as the two OSI agents. The presence of the four men was typical of the type of procedure found in other files on other incidents, and is highly indicative that something other than rumor was stirring genuine interest on the part of the Air Force.

      I also became fascinated with William Winkler's personal quest to keep the issue alive. I found his claim that the elevation of the object at one point was at 68 miles to be discrediting on its face, and yet the majority of his claims seemed parallel to T/Sgt. Berger's log.

      And I give Winkler some slack thinking of what it would be like to be an ordinary guy who believes he's experienced something extraordinary that will subject him to ridicule. Part of this also comes from a note in an internal file in 1950 saying 'it appears that he is a very sincere individual convinced that he has observed flying objects which he thinks represent a threat'.

      So though I went into it thinking there would be less to it than meets the eye, I came away -- as you say -- perplexed.

      But as future entries will reveal, there were a lot of perplexing things going on in the forties and fifties.

      p.s. There were other incidents being reported in Ohio at the time, but there is no demonstratable nexus, and it is one of my pet peeves when some put together incidents which can't be documented as being related.

      p.p.s. Thanks for the kind words. They are much appreciated.

      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 Apr 12, 2009 at 08:31:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  These diaries are amazing! (5+ / 0-)

    I admit I haven't read every one. But those I have read have been great. This will be a book someday.
    OTOH real life, and especially parenting, are way more important than a blog post. Take your time. If I need a UFO hit I'll read a diary I missed.
    Thanks Two Roads and enjoy your time with your kid.

  •  shoot-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis, two roads

    sorry i missed this the night of. i posted a diary tonight, and just read this. awesome stuff as usual.

    like everyone else, i hope get some serious recharge over the next couple of weeks two roads!

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