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 UFO "flap" over Britain

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Mauro

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PostSubject: UFO "flap" over Britain   Fri 27 Jun 2008, 2:10 am

If you follow the news you may be aware that Britain is in the midst of what '60s researchers called a "flap", ie a wave of sightings, genuine or presumed, of UFOs.
We've had sightings in Shropshire, South Wales and Worcestershire.
Of course we are flooded with "rational" explanations, for example the celebrated wedding lanterns, while a handful of serious researchers are calling for more serious research.
UFOs were declared dead and buried by mainstream press and skeptics alike but I am glad they are making a comeback. They serve as a sobering reminder that mankind has a LONG way to go to knowledge and that, as Newton himself said, we should always question our theories, no matter how sound as they appear to be.
As I've already related in previous posts anything flying in the sky is a UFO until it is identified. Of course a few sightings are frauds, hallucinations or known objects (yesterday I was "buzzed" by a brand new C130J military transport plane: you won't believe how much quieter it is when compared to older models) but there's always that small percentage (if 25-30% can be called small) of unsolvable cases.
And that's what we are here for.
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mysteryshopper



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Fri 27 Jun 2008, 5:20 am

A case is only unsolved because there is insufficient information available to determine a cause. It does not imply any particular cause, such as extra-terrestrial craft, for instance.
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Sat 28 Jun 2008, 12:35 pm

While I tend to agree with you (you probably know by now that I am no big fan of the extraterrestrial hypothesis) we tend to overlook the fact that we may lack the knowledge to explain some cases or the means to investigate others.
Take the Hessdalen Lights for example: if they had appeared in the '50s instead that in the '90s we would have had the theoretical basis to explain them but we would have absolutely no mean to investigate them. Spectrometers back then were heavy, fragile, incredibly expensive and impossible to use outside controlled lab settings.
Or take meteors for example. We know exactly what they are, how they behave and can even predict a "shower" with precision. Yet until recently when people (including me...) talked about hearing booms and hissing sounds associated with meteors they were said to be either hallucinating or mistaken. Yet the most recent studies seem to support the fact that there are odd sounds associated with meteors, though the dynamics are still unknown. But we'll get there with time and effort. Wink
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wombat

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Sat 28 Jun 2008, 3:03 pm

Humph. I notice that none of this has made the BBC World News.

What are the answers/ explanations being bandied about?
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Sat 28 Jun 2008, 3:31 pm

wombat wrote:
Humph. I notice that none of this has made the BBC World News.

What are the answers/ explanations being bandied about?

The South Wales case has been explained with the aforementioned wedding lanterns.
The Shropshire case, which has been filmed using a mobile phone, is being investigated by military authotities since a soldier made an official report to his commanding officer. We'll have to wait and see.
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mysteryshopper



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Sun 29 Jun 2008, 11:22 am

Mauro wrote:
While I tend to agree with you (you probably know by now that I am no big fan of the extraterrestrial hypothesis) we tend to overlook the fact that we may lack the knowledge to explain some cases or the means to investigate others.

I agree and you could extend that to cover all anomalous phenomena ie, the 'unexplained' proportion may only be unexplained because we don't have sufficient information or because the technology or science hasn't yet been developed to probe or understand them. It is, therefore, a big jump from 'unexplained' to alien craft. It is, I suspect, the media that encourages everyone who hasn't studied these subjects in detail to make that unjustified leap of imagination.
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wombat

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Sun 29 Jun 2008, 1:55 pm

This is all quite intrigueing - please keep us posted as appropriate. I did a search on the BBC new site and found nothing...
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Mon 30 Jun 2008, 12:16 am

I guess that going on National television and explaining a UFO sightings in terms of highly-advanced yet sound physics (see some theories about small, local and temporary "distortions" of the space-time fabric) is considered more suicidal than saying that the Daleks are here.
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matt.h



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Mon 30 Jun 2008, 5:53 am

I think the subject of UFO's is in reality too complicated for the mainstream media to fully digest and regurgitate to the masses. Much easier to find "experts" who will either completely debunk or claim the Martians have landed! The same goes for paranormal research in general, in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Tue 01 Jul 2008, 6:49 am

Mauro wrote:
I guess that going on National television and explaining a UFO sightings in terms of highly-advanced yet sound physics (see some theories about small, local and temporary "distortions" of the space-time fabric) is considered more suicidal than saying that the Daleks are here.

lol!

I generally listen to the BBC International, which gives the important world news, but often seems to sneak in odd little bits about the UK at the end of the hour - "strange lights have been sighted and many in Britain believe them to be UFOs" that sort of thing. Then again, perhaps UFOs don't quite fit the image they producers want to project.
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mysteryshopper



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Tue 01 Jul 2008, 8:07 am

Mauro wrote:
I guess that going on National television and explaining a UFO sightings in terms of highly-advanced yet sound physics (see some theories about small, local and temporary "distortions" of the space-time fabric) is considered more suicidal than saying that the Daleks are here.

Who has these theories? Do you have a link, please? Or, if you share these theories, perhaps you could explain then here yourself. Thanks.
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 2:51 am

mysteryshopper wrote:
Mauro wrote:
I guess that going on National television and explaining a UFO sightings in terms of highly-advanced yet sound physics (see some theories about small, local and temporary "distortions" of the space-time fabric) is considered more suicidal than saying that the Daleks are here.

Who has these theories? Do you have a link, please? Or, if you share these theories, perhaps you could explain then here yourself. Thanks.

I took it from the works of Joseph Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee and Claude Poher, the only UFOlogists I still fully respect after all these years.
Vallee's books are being reprinted by Anomalist Books, so they are becoming much easier to procure. Hynek's books are mostly out of print but easy to procure on the second-hand market. Poher was the founder and long-time director of GEPAN, the French Government's official UFO agency, though I must confess that after his last "universons" exploit I think that he's sadly going the same way as Ivan Sanderson (ie he's losing his marbles).
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mysteryshopper



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 3:51 am

Of course, much of their wok relied on a fairly literal interpretation of witness statements. With advances in neuroscience we now know that witnesses are more suggestible and their experiences and memories more 'flexible' than used to be the case. Seeing may still be believing but it is not necessarily an accurate account of the objective world.

I have sat in ghost vigils, for instance, being told there are ghostly voices whispering when I knew for a fact it was noisy plumbing. I have sat in the dark watching small lights apparently moving (even though they were stationary) while knowing full well it was only autokinesis.

I am not saying we should reject the theories of ufologists rather that it is time for a thorough re-examination of witness testimony, in the light of new discoveries in neuroscience. Before we speculate about space-time distortions, we need to know if a witness really saw what they think they saw.
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 5:46 am

It's curious to note that all three these persons obtained a PhD in Astrophysics, hence they were most likely to be influenced by advanced physics. All three were involved at one point or another in a space program: Hynek developed tracking models for satellites as part of Professor Whipple's equipe, Vallee worked on the supercomputers used in the Apollo program and Poher worked at the CNES (the French equivalent of NASA) in Tolouse in their sounding rockets program. They may be weird (as physicists tend to be in real life, I assure you) but they do not speak at random.
Poher and his GEPAN equipe developed a set method for the French Gendarmerie to collect samples and interrogate witnesses in UFO cases. Gendarmes are instructed never to mock anyone reporting a UFO, to use the set interrogation method and forward the results to GEPAN: see thisofficial communication. Similar material has been distributed to Aero-Club and astronomical societies.
If your French is up to the task feast your eyes on this, a true treasure for the serious investigator!
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mysteryshopper



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 6:06 am

There are bigger problems than interview techniques. Almost all UFO cases all are 'one offs' and many involve single witnesses. As such, you may be relying entirely on the recall of one person for almost all the information about many incidents.

In experiments involving staged incidents, few witnesses produce an accurate account of what they've seen, often inventing some details while missing many others. And that's with incidents witnessed just minutes before. If there are multiple witnesses, accuracy increases somewhat by comparing individual witness statements. However, that is no help with single witness sightings.

Most UFO reports are caused by natural events. The few unexplained ones may only be so because there is insufficient information. I, for one, would not see that as a satisfactory basis on which to speculate about the true nature of UFOs.
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matt.h



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 6:24 am

Surely in staged incidents there's a great deal of expectation and awareness of the pressure to remember details that does not exist in non-staged incidents. How have the staged incidents you refer to accounted for this?
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mysteryshopper



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 7:19 am

The staged incidents were not announced in advance. In one example, people were expecting a lecture when suddenly an 'argument' broke out involving the lecturer. It had the appearance of a genuine dispute. The audience would, therefore, have assumed it was a real, if unwelcome, unexpected incident. As such, I think they are a fair reflection of coming across an unexpected incident in real life. Only once the lecture began did they realise they were expected to recall the incident.
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 7:48 am

The "staged" explanation is very intriguing. It's the most likely explanation for the Rendlesham case (I plan to write something on the matter as soon as I can gather the time to crosscheck references): a staged accident to observe the psychological reactions of the persons involved. Similar accidents were reported from the USSR (the Voronezh "flap" in 1989) and Spain (the "UMMO affair" in 1966). While it's hard to find confirmation in the official documentation all the evidences point in that direction.
You talked about psychology, and you may be right. In some cases it appears as the UFO (or whatever you like to call it) is able to alter the witness(es) perception of reality, and that may be the final key to unlock the chest.
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matt.h



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 9:02 am

There's also the issue of archetypal elements to sightings. This doesn't mean it's not "all in the mind", but suggests there may be something beyond faulty memory and pure imagination at work in some cases. Why, for example, do many UFO abduction stories seem to correlate with earlier fairy tales?
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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Wed 02 Jul 2008, 10:22 am

Another point about one off, single witness UFO sightings is, WHY is there only one witness? If a UFO is big and obvious and flying low over a populated area, it ought to generate many reports. When you get just one, with no other evidence apart from a witness statement, it would be unwise to let it carry too much weight in proposing theories beyond current science. Misperception or hallucination would be difficult to dismiss in such cases.
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Thu 03 Jul 2008, 10:05 am

Well, the problem is that UFOs seem to prefer scarcely populated areas. I like to think that there's some kind of twisted humour on their part.
There have been a few sightings over highly populated areas and all of these have a good number of witnesses, though most of them have no time or do not care about what they saw. The only sighting I had happened in a village in the Alps and there were quite a few witnesses apart from myself.
Personally I have always favored the physical explanation (be it a cloud, an airplane or an unknown physical phenomenon) over the hallucination: in the second case we can enter a Matrix-like scenario when everything, and I mean everything, can be questioned. We could end up like that old paradox according to which our reality is just a dream in the mind of God and God is just a dream in the mind of an higher intelligence and so on.
I agree with you that some cases have a psychological basis (for example a part of the better-left-alone area of "alien abductions") but how about the cases where physical traces are involved? How about the photographs? How about the "simple witnesses" who do not claim fantastic experiences but simply seeing "something in the sky" once in their lifetime? Something physical, be it known or unknown, must be involved.
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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Thu 03 Jul 2008, 11:48 am

I'm not really talking about psychology here, more neuroscience. It has recently been discovered that our brains routinely 'substitute' objects we don't see well with things from our memory. See http://www.assap.org/newsite/articles/Misperception.html for more info. The substitution takes place BEFORE we are consciously aware of it, so we see it as completely real. The problem is particular acute in peripheral and night vision (see
http://www.assap.org/newsite/articles/Corner%20eye%20phenomena.html).

It doesn't mean that we all go round seeing imaginery things all the time. However, it does mean that sometimes, when we see things poorly, particularly if we are not familiar with them, our brains can alter bits of our visual field, without our being consciously aware of it. Such misperceptions combine a real physical object (balloon, plane, cloud, satellite, whatever) with an element of hallucination (in that people don't see things as they really are). Such misperception would certainly cover many 'simple witness' light in the sky cases. So it is not a question of hallucination versus physical stimulus - misperception combines both. Nor is it anything to do with psychology, as such. We all misperceive from time to time.

I have examined many UFO photos and not seen any that weren't reasonably easy to explain by natural causes. I've never examined any physical traces though I've not heard any convincing reports about them.

I think all anomaly researchers need to look into neuroscience urgently. Recent developments are completely changing our whole view of perception and how it drastically affects witness reports.
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matt.h



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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Fri 04 Jul 2008, 6:06 am

One problem with UFO/alien reports and pictures is that we're dealing with a patchwork of different possible causes and motives under the same umbrella.

Is there any persuasive evidence to show that sightings of UFO's in the sky can be linked to abduction reports? To my mind, it's largely our own cultural expectations that make the link between phenomena like this. A century or more ago, if you were abducted by a green man, shown their secret abode and plonked back with no time having elapsed you would assume you'd been taken by the fairies. If you consequently saw strange bright lights in the sky you wouldn't assume it was the fairies coming back for you. Nowadays we'd report it all as an alien abduction.

The same may be said for ghosts and the like - our historicised view of hauntings is a fairly recent development.
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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Fri 04 Jul 2008, 6:29 am

I like the 'big picture' approach that you're suggesting.

For instance, if we really are being visited by extra-terrestrials, a useful test could be devised to prove it. They should tell us one unknown scientific fact that we could verify.

There is still the remote possibility that the 'fact' may have come from the mind of the witness relaying the message, who just happens to be a brilliant, insightful scientist. On the whole, though, it's unlikely.

Most of the 'messages' supposedly from extra-terrestrials tell us stuff we already know, like we're messing up the planet. If they could tell us where to find a new moon of Neptune, that would be more useful.
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PostSubject: Re: UFO "flap" over Britain   Fri 04 Jul 2008, 3:56 pm

There's certainly a marked cultural influence on reports throughout the gamut of paranormal phenomena. To my mind, the big question is why humans have had "otherworldly" experiences - regardless of era - that have intriguingly consistent aspects. For example, there are apparent links between fairies and aliens in both the "green" aspect and behaviour. This isn't really new thinking but it's a very important thing to consider, both in terms of our internal machinations and possible external factors.
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