Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hollywood's Plan 701 From Outer Space

Hollywood and UFOlogy have a long history together and at times, it seems like one feeds the other. Here's the story of how a movie producer and a famous actor were enjoying the view in California wine country when an unidentified flying object interrupted their conversation, and how the event led to a UFOlogy Hollywood connection.

Tony Cataldo and Martin Landau

The witnesses were Tony Cataldo and Martin Landau, both entertainment professionals, and business partners in the company Miracle Entertainment. 

Martin Landau in some of his famous roles
Landau is a distinguished actor who is probably best known for his role as Rollin Hand in the classic espionage show Mission Impossible, but science fiction fans may remember him for his work in Space: 1999 as Commander John Koenig, and other projects over the years ranging from the Twilight Zone to the X-FilesLandau portrayed Bela Lugosi of “Dracula” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” fame in the 1994 movie “Ed Wood,” for which he was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Cataldo has a distinguished career producing movies as well as success in other endeavors: see and his bio at MUFONTheir sighting details are fascinating. In 2001, while at Cataldo’s 30 acre vineyard estate in Napa, California, he and Landau were sitting on the porch enjoying conversation and a glass of wine when a massive UFO appeared. The visitation was jarring and made even stranger when this translucent object flew away, leaving a rainbow trail.

Cataldo reported a UFO in Napa

Unfortunately we don't have testimony on this sighting from Landau, but Cataldo has gone on record in this short film, where he describes the circumstances of the event and also discusses joining the board of directors at the Mutual UFO Network:

404: Sadly, a formal report of this sighting does not seem to have been filed, and details of this case are not available in MUFON's online Case Management System.

Falling Upwards: 701

Cataldo’s sighting has led him to become very active in representing UFOs in the media, and he is currently working on his next film, “701 The Movie.”

701The Movie
Tobias McGriff of Blue Orb Cinema provided a description of 701 on Facebook:
“Great news that we can finally talk about. '701' will be the first ever full feature film that is based on actual government UFO cases with a Hollywood budget for the re-creations and played to a national/international audience. Think 'real Close Encounters'. We are proud that Blue Orb Cinema's own Tobias McGriff has come aboard as one of the Producers on this groundbreaking project! It will feature the talent of Tracy Torme (Star Trek: Next Gen, Sliders, Contact much more), award winning UFO filmmaker James Fox , Former Cannon Films CEO and high profile Producer Tony Cataldo as well as Ines Romero. This film is going to feature some of the most credible witnesses ever featured on the UFO subject. Get ready to have your mind blown!”

Unlike MonsterQuest 

Flatwoods 411 in 701
 UFO Magazine's blog had an insightful article explaining how the producers are working closely with UFOologists, in which Frank Feschino explained that 701 will finally allow a quality presentation of the Flatwoods Monster case. 
Unlike the MonsterQuest producers, the 701 people in California are keeping in constant touch with me and working with me every step of the way!”

More On Media Projects

Cataldo is playing a vital role in keeping the Mutual UFO Network a presence in the media as well. He was recognized by the director, Jan Harzan, at the 2014 MUFON Symposium, who gave thanks “to Tony Cataldo, our newest board member for his help negotiating the contract for Season 2 of Hangar 1.”
Hangar 1, companion show to Ancient Aliens on H2
Season one of Hangar 1 performed well, but there were some problems with the content. MUFON insider Susan Swiatek has explained that season two will be greatly improved, based on genuine UFO cases and actual MUFON investigations.

UFOlogy's Plan?

Bela Lugosi's unfinished business

There are some who keep saying that UFOlogy is dead. Is it possible that, like Dracula in the movies, it can’t really be killed? By the time of “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” Bela Lugosi’s greatest days were behind him, and he was just a tired shell of his former self. He died during the making of the film, but Ed Wood found another actor to wear Dracula’s cape in order to finish the work. 

...but Lugosi's business is not left unfinished.
UFOlogy can strive to follow this example and pass the cape from one generation to the next. Maybe Hollywood can help in this effort. The show must go on.

Bob Ryan wants you to get involved
Is that something you might be interested in? If so, do your part. Support UFO research.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Good Are 25 Years of UFO Reports?

"UFOs Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports" was issued in July from Ufology Research. The media has given the report some good coverage, but mostly short bits not allowing for detail. At the end of August, Chris Rutkowski was invited to appear on the Paracast (a UFO and paranormal talk show), and their format allowed for an in-depth discussion. His intro:

Explore 25 years of UFO sightings in Canada with long-time investigator Chris Rutkowski. He and his colleagues have accumulated a huge archive containing some 15,000 UFO cases in Canada. The new survey covers the years 1989 through 2013. When you check the report at his Ufology Research site, you'll notice that the number of sightings increased in 2012 before settling down to a somewhat lower, but still historically high, level in 2013. Says his bio: "Chris Rutkowski, BSc, MEd, is a Canadian science writer and educator, with a background in astronomy but with a passion for teaching science concepts to children and adults. Since the mid-1970s, he also has been studying reports of UFOs and writing about his investigations and research."

Chris Rutkowski, as seen on TV

The interview turned out to be a far-ranging one, touching on many major issues in the examinations of UFOs, from their study to media coverage. Several cases were discussed, both famous and obscure, including one of great personal interest to me, the Cash-Landrum incident.

The Paracast August 31, 2014 — Chris Rutkowski

Required Reading

Chris was asked to be on the show to primarily to discuss the study, "UFOs Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports." The report itself is very interesting and it makes excellent points about the value of data collection and analysis. I recommend highly reading it no matter what your views are on the subject. The study strives to accurately record what is reported, and does not seek to characterize the unexplained cases beyond saying they are unknown.

"If UFOs are not 'real,' then why are tens of thousands of Canadians (and others worldwide) seeing unusual objects in the sky?"

Ufology Research: 25 Years of Canadian UFO Reports (introductory article)

UFOsOver Canada: The "25th Anniversary Written Report" (in pdf format) 

Applying the Data

Utilizing the database in the 25 year study, Chris Rutkowski, made
A Comparison of UFO Sighting Reports Between 1989 and 2013 with the list of Visually Observed Natural Re-Entries of Earth Satellites compiled by Ted Molczan

This re-entry comparison study is interesting for several reasons. It immediately demonstrates the practical application of having a disciplined body of data. Having Ted Molczan's list allows for a comparison of the success rates of ufologists (or at least this group of Canadian ufologists) in identifying reported objects. 

Another, interesting point is that the orbital object re-entries allow a good sample of reports generated by known stimulus, allowing for an examination of how well witness are reporting the objects they see. Skeptics tend to distrust eye witness reliability, but this collection shows that the objects and actions were reasonably well described, if not understood, by the  witnesses. 

Re-entries of man-made objects provides an excellent opportunity for science and ufology to work on a common area of interest and share information. UFO proponents and skeptics alike should be able to agree on the value in that kind of dialogue.