Sunday, May 28, 2017

Flying Saucer Musings


What gives? Both these guys seem to need more information.

There have not been a lot of new entries here lately, but it's not all due to inactivity on my part. Although I've used the blog format for convenience, the intent has been to present some content of substance. There's a place where I do share some trivia and topical thoughts on a more regular basis,
Blue Blurry Lines on Facebook (and far less often on Twitter.)


There are a number of unfinished projects in the works, including the Cash-Landrum UFO case, a look at the relationship between Science Fiction and Flying Saucers, an examination on real-world secret projects versus to the legend of the "Cosmic Watergate" UFO cover-up, and several UFO history pieces. The problem I have is that it's more fun for me to gather the research than it is to do the work of getting it written. Besides, in UFO matters, there's usually no clear place to stop, no convenient "ending."

 Reframing the Debate

"What's Wrong with this Picture?" is one piece I managed to actually complete, an essay to published in Robbie Graham's UFOs: Reframing the Debate. His Silver Screen Saucers is a fascinating look at the feedback loop between flying saucers and commercial entertainment.
UFOs: Reframing the Debate
This new book is described as "a collection of original essays exploring alternative perspectives on UFOs and how we might more usefully study the phenomenon in the 21st Century." My chapter, "What's Wrong With This Picture?" deals with UFO investigation methods, using the fiasco of the Roswell Slides as a case study, and it focuses on the inside story of the Roswell Slides Research Group, how the team worked, and almost didn't.
UFOs: Reframing the Debate is available from the publisher  White Crow Books and online retailer, Amazon .


Cinema: Flying Saucer Musings

Claude Falkstrom (purportedly)
Norio Hayakawa recommends this new YouTube clip:
"Another great work by UFO Culture Satirist, Claude Falkstrom. I nominate this for an Academy Award for editing...LOL!!"
The Curse of Roswell

Claude Falkstrom's got a few other his clips collected in the playlist, Flying Saucer Musings, skewering ufology, Disclosure, skeptics, believers, hoaxers, MUFON, Project Blue Book and UFOtainers.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ray Bradbury's Orbs from Mars

Ray Bradbury on UFOs- sort of.



Ray A. Palmer started Imagination in 1950, and it was a in the same pulpy vein as Fantastic Adventures and Other Worlds (which eventually transformer to Flying Saucers) featuring space opera tales of fantasy and Bug-Eyed Monsters. After only three issues, Palmer passed the torch to William L. Hamling, who incidentally was one of the few science fiction authors who promoted the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.

According to Michael Ashley in Transformations: The Story of the Science-fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970,
"Hamling was less provocative and daring than Palmer. He knew a good story when he saw one, but avoided the extremes of Palmer. The result was fewer abominations, but also less excitement, and under Hamling Imagination became more bland than it had started out under Palmer."
Even so, occasionally a story of anomalous quality slipped in, transcended Imagination's pulpy origins. 


Ray Bradbury grew up loving Buck Rogers and monsters like King Kong, but his fantasy and science fiction stories were more more about the human heart. The April 1951 Imagination featured "In This Sign..." a story by Bradbury about Episcopalian missionaries led by Father Peregrine who'd traveled to Mars trying to save the souls of the natives by converting them to Christianity. The hitch being, the Martians they found were sentient beings who looked like spheres of blue light. It's an outstanding story, and proved to be a classic, touching on many important themes about religion and just what it means to be human. A scan of the the original magazine can be viewed at https://archive.org/stream/Imagination_v02n02_1951-04_cape1736#page/n0/mode/2up.



The piece was later retitled "The Fire Balloons," featured in the anthology The Illustrated Man and frequently reprinted in science fiction anthologies in different languages around the world. In 1980 it was adapted as part of the NBC television miniseries The Martian Chronicles, in the episode "The Settlers."

July 4, 1925




In his introduction to the 1974 edition of Dandelion Wine, Bradbury described the inspiration for the story:
"...one of the last memories I have of my grandfather is the last hour of a Fourth of July night forty-eight years ago when Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands... and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as life itself."

It was a memory that lasted a lifetime. Bradbury mentioed it in 1990 in an interview with John Ezard
"At the end my grandfather would take me out to the end of the lawn at midnight. We'd light a little cup of shavings and put it underneath a Japanese fire balloon. We'd stand there waiting for the balloon to fill with warm air. Then we'd let it drift up into the night. I would stand there with my grandfather and cry because it was so beautiful. It was all over and it was going away. My grandfather died the next year and in a way he was a fire balloon going away."
Shortly before his death, Bradbury again described the childhood events that inspired the story in "Take Me Home," a biographical piece in the June 2012 special science fiction issue of The New Yorker that serves as his own epitaph. "...the paper balloon held between us for a final moment, filled with warm exhalations, ready to go."


Orbs

Ray Bradbury called them fire balloons, and they date back to ancient China and go by many names, such as sky candles, Japanese or Chinese lanterns, hot air balloons, sky lanterns and others. The invention eventually spread through Europe and then to the United States, where it was most often used as part of Independence Day fireworks. The Boy's Holiday Book by Reverend T. E. Fuller from 1865 provided instructions for constructing a fire balloon in the section on fireworks, in a day when you literally had to make your own fun. Bradbury's grandfather was passing on the tradition of flying them in 1925. Later generations of kids took shortcuts, making their sky lanterns out of dry cleaning bags powered by hot air generated from birthday candles. Some of these have been sent up with the intent of hoaxing a UFO.

Ray Bradbury regarded the sight of these balloons flight as a magical thing, and he was able to imagine them as otherworldly spherical glowing intelligent living things. He's not the only one.  




Friday, March 31, 2017

UFO Contact: April 1, 1967 from Loco, TX

Watts being interviewed in 1968 by UFO investigators.
Carroll Wayne Watts said he had a close encounter with a UFO the night of March 31, 1967, but it was not reported until the following day, on April 1. Watts lived in the tiny town of Loco, in the Texas Panhandle, just south of Wellington, about 100 miles east of Amarillo. His story was carried in United Press International news service, UPI, and published March 2, as reprinted below.


Loco, Texas, near the Oklahoma border. 

Saucer Speaks 

A Wellington  farmer said today that he spoke to a flying saucer last night. The man, Carroll Watts, said he was returning home from his father`s residence about a mile north of his home at about 10:30 Friday night when he saw a light from about where an abandoned house stands. 

He turned off the dirt road and headed toward the light. He said he drove to within about 20 feet of an object which “appeared to be about 100 feet long and eight or ten feet high.” 

"I walked around the side of it, and about 20 feet down the side l Found a port or door. l knocked on it three or four times and it opened mechanically,” he said. 

”A VOICE began speaking to me- it was an unemotional voice neither masculine nor feminine. lt asked me if I would be willing to submit lo a rigorous physical examination. 

“I asked them why I would want to take a physical and they told me that if I passed it, l would be able to make a flight with them. They said any man who passed the physical could make a flight, but no women or children would be taken. 

“They pointed out a machine against the opposite wall from where I was standing Outside the door. They said all I had to do was stand before the machine to take a physical.”

"About two or three feel forward from the machine was a map. lt was about a yard square and began about a foot from the floor. lt appeared to be a large-scale land map-but I couldn’t tell what it was a map of. “

“Then they informed me that they had a machine that, when the ship  within 300 yards of a building, could tell how many people were in the building and their ages.

"They (the voice) then asked me again to take the physical--and when l declined, they told me that several people had taken the test and had made the flights. 

“They, whoever they were, said they were stationed all over the world and could come and go as they pleased-no one could stop them. 

“l told them l didn’t want to take that physical and I got back in my car and turned the lights on the ship. 

 “As I pulled in front of it, it rose  slightly and turned to the south. There was a light, about 20 inches across, on the of the nose. As the ship was sitting, it gave off a clear fluorescent light, but when the ship began to move, the light took on a reddish cast. 

“As I drove off, the object lifted from the ground and took a heading to the south. It made no noise whatsoever. l guess the whole thing lasted about ten to 15 minutes.”

Project Blue Book file card "Psychological"

As he spoke to UPI by telephone, Watts had two Air Force investigators at his home. The investigators were sent to Wellington from Altus Air Force Base. Okla. 

One man in Wellington said Watts was considered to be “above reproach.” 

The incident is the third reported in the Wellington area in the last month. 
On March 21, Watts reported sighting such a craft flying at about 50 miles an hour over a road for about eight miles. 

On March 23 an Air Force man reported that he was chased along a road by a similar craft for some time.

- - -

This was only the beginning of Watts' story. He had a series of encounters over the following months with events and players that resemble the Barney and Betty Hill story, hypnotic regression by a Budd Hopkins type, Polaroid UFO photography like Ed Walters, and close encounters of the postal and telephonic kind with astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who said:
Hynek is baffled.



"If this is a hoax, it is a very, very clever one. In fact, it would be such a clever hoax that it would be almost as interesting as what this farmer claims has happened to him."


More on Watts' incredible saga to come.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

UFO Books 101: Required Reading by Paul Dean

Paul Dean is a UFO document researcher from Melbourne, Australia, who uses an evidence-based approach and focuses on "air safety policy, military communications, radar tracking and space object identification to understand the wider UFO matter at a government/military level." There's a wealth of credible information available, but sadly, many people are satisfied with the shallow, sensational, and inaccurate UFO infotainment from television shows and random websites. Below is a guest article from Paul, prompted by my request for the best and most credible literature for newcomers to the UFO topic. Many of his book selections are available to read free online, and when found, links are included. My personal advice however, is whenever possible, get real books, and go to a bookstore to find them. 

UFO Books 101: Required Reading by Paul Dean




I have put a list of books together that are what one would call ''required reading." It amazes me how few people have actually read the great, scholarly, foundational works of Ufology. No one will agree in full on a ''best'' books list... But a ''required'' or ''essential'' reading list is a different matter. UFO enthusiasts beware: Don't think that Klass and Menzel, and Condon, don't make the cut. Also, some books make the list not because of voluminous or heavily technical density, but because they are filled with an extraordinary look at the politics of the times. Keyhoe's work is the best example of this.



Whatever ones leanings, there is no way that ''researchers'' can bestow such a title on themselves without having absorbed at least some of these great tomes. There is simply no alternative. Most of these books must be on shelves.
Also, this is not in any order as such. Don't see this is a top-to-bottom list. It ain't.


Here it is folks:
"The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry” (1972) by J. Allen Hynek;
The Hynek UFO Report” (1977) by J. Allen Hynek;
Anatomy of a Phenomenon” (1965) by Jacques Vallee;
“Challenge to Science” (1966) by Jacques Vallee;
"Passport to Magonia” (1969) by Jacques Vallee;
The Invisible College” (1975) by Jacques Vallee;
“UFO’s: A Scientific Debate” (1973) by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page;
The Challenge of Unidentified Flying Objects” (1961) by Charles A. Maney and Richard Hall;
The UFO Evidence: Volume I” (1964) by Richard H. Hall;
“The UFO Evidence: Volume II” (1964) by Richard H. Hall;
The UFO Controversy in America” (1975) by David Jacobs
“Flying Saucers“ (1953) by Donald Menzel
Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects" (1969) by Dr. Edward U. Condon and the University of Colorado;
"The UFO Cover-Up" aka “Clear Intent” (1984) by Barry Greenwood and Lawrence Fawcett;
The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects” (1956) by Edward J. Ruppelt;
Flying Saucers From Outer Space” (1953) by Donald E Keyhoe;
“UFO Study” (1981) by Jenny Randles;
“UFOs Explained” (1976) by Philip J. Klass;
“UFO Handbook” (1980) by Allan Hendry;
“The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence” (1999) by Peter Sturrock
“UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry” (2012) by Michael Swords, Robert Powell, Barry Greenwood, Jan Aldrich, Clas Svahn, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, Bill Chalker, Steve Purcell and Richard Thieme.


Paul Dean has recently been focused on unearthing military UFO documents, with a special emphasis on NORAD. 
See his series of reports at Paul's blog, 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

UFOs, Kenneth Arnold and the American Bible



Kenneth Arnold was the original credible witness, a straight-shooting, down-to-earth ex-Boy Scout. Jacques Vallee wrote, "I now think of referring to the (flying saucer) problem as 'the Arnold Phenomenon' after that celebrated witness, businessman Kenneth Arnold." (11 April 1963 entry, Forbidden Science Volume I.)  However, in the years since, Arnold's role as the herald of the UFO age has been diminished by the overemphasis and promotion of the Roswell crash franchise. His role is important, and there's a lot more to his story.



Shortly after his encounter, Arnold had the first of many other sightings on his flight to Maury Island, a trip that began his informal role as the first civilian UFO investigator. He became interested in Charles Fort's books of phenomena and joined the Fortean Society. Over the years, he came to believe that the objects he'd seen were living creatures, possibly related to what Ezekiel had described in the Book of Revelation. There's a lot more to Kenneth Arnold's story than just his first sighting, but UFO history has largely ignored the story.


Ray Palmer and an Amazing Book

UFO historians have sought to diminish or deny the role of another pioneer, Raymond A. Palmer, who was promoting the reality of extraterrestrials space ships visiting the Earth as early as 1945. Palmer was a science fiction author, but interested in the reality of space travel, Fortean phenomena, Theosophy and all sorts of paranormal topics, so in 1948 he created a non-fiction magazine to discuss them, Fate magazine. Palmer wrote to Kenneth Arnold and persuaded him to tell his story, which became the cover feature for the first issue of Fate. As a result, the two men became life-long friends and worked together, the best-known example being their collaboration on the 1952 book, The Coming of the Saucers.

In 1945 Ray Palmer became fascinated with something that's been called the American Bible, "... an amazing book called 'Oahspe' which purports to be a history of the past 79,000 years, both of the earth and of heaven... which ties into a cohesive whole all the legends and folktales of the world, and all the archeological discoveries of the past, and depicts a logical and convincing, and for the most part provable relationship between all the races of mankind for LONGER than science says civilized men existed on the earth, or even cave-men!" (Amazing Stories December 1945)




"Oahspe, A New Bible in the Words of Jehovih and His Angel Embassadors" was published in 1882, by John Ballou Newbrough supposedly written by automatic writing, channeling the word of Ormazd, "the Creator." In The UFO Phenomenon: Fact, Fantasy and Disinformation,  John Michael Greer describes it's significance to UFOs and the extraterrestrial hypothesis. 
"Like many channeled works, Oahspe defies easy characterization. Written in the style of the King James Bible, it combines Christian imagery with ideas borrowed from many other religions... What sets it apart most strikingly from the religious visions of a previous century, thoughis the way it locates its theology in outer space. Its angels and gods live on countless planets... and travel from world to world in Etherean vessels that range from little scout craft to vast mother ships the size of a planet." 

Ray Palmer's Mystic Magazine, May, 1954

 These vessels are referred to as fire, sun and "star-ships." An example from Oahspe: "Then Osire left this high place and with his host, aboard the etherean ship of fire, sat out toward the earth, at break-neck speed; for such was the disposition of this most determined god."

Ray Palmer promoted the text in the pages of his magazines over the years, and went on to publish three versions of it between 1960 and 1972, writing that, "Oahspe is truly a gateway to understanding."


Arnold's Souvenir Card

In 1950 Kenneth Arnold published The Flying Saucer as I Saw It, an the illustrated pamphlet to be sold as a souvenir at his lectures on the topic. He used the same saucer image for a calling card. His daughter, Kim Arnold wrote: “Kenneth Arnold used to give out philosophy cards to the many people he would meet. They were the size of a common business card. The front of the card had the image of the second to the last of the nine flying saucers he saw on June 24, 1947. The back of the card expressed this quote:”



     Many people have inquired as to my philosophy – due to my involvement in the phenomenon known as "Flying Saucers.” The following I accept is worth thinking about. 
     A great man is the unbelieving man; he is without spiritual sight or spiritual hearing; his glory is in understanding his own understanding. It is he who subdues the forest, tames the beasts of the field to service. He goes alone in the dark, unafraid. He follows no man’s course, but, searches for himself; the priests cannot make him believe, nor the angels of heaven; none can subdue his judgment. He says: why permit others even priests, to you think for you? Stand on your own feet – be a man. Through his arm are tyrants and evil kings overthrown. Through him are doctrines and religions sifted to the bottom and the falsehood and evil in them cast aside. Who but the Creator could have created so great a man as the unbeliever? 
KENNETH ARNOLD

It's an unusual piece of writing, not what you'd expect out of a man like Arnold. It turns out the language is taken from scripture. It's taken from Ray Palmer's beloved Oahspe.


Oahspe, a New Bible in the Words of Jehovih and His Angel Embassadors, Page 361

26. Nevertheless, the Creator created a great man amongst these; and such is the unbelieving man. He hath neither gold nor silver, nor house nor land; and he is without spiritual sight or spiritual hearing; but his glory is in understanding his own understanding.
27. He it is that subdueth the forest, and tameth the beasts of the field to man's service. He goeth alone in the dark, fearing naught. He followeth not the course of any man, but searcheth for himself; the priest cannot make him believe, nor can the angels of heaven; none can subdue his judgment. He beholdeth the glory of the earth and of manhood. He calleth to the multitude, saying: Why permit ye others, even priests, to think for you? Arise, O thou, and be a man! Arise, O thou, and be a woman!
28. He inspireth of the earth and for the earth; through his arms are tyrants and evil kings overthrown. Through him are doctrines and religions sifted to the bottom, and the falsehood and evil in them cast aside. Yea, who but Ormazd could have created so great a man as the unbeliever?

We can't know exactly how Arnold came to use the Oahspe text on his calling card, but there can be little doubt that his friend, Ray Palmer, was influential in its genesis.




Update: Kenneth Arnold's story was on the front cover of the 1st issue of FATE Magazine, but I had forgotten what was on the back cover: