Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for September, 2007

The Aztec UFO Crash – That wasn’t


The Aztec UFO hoax has been mentioned recently in the discussion about Sparks and Greenwood paper on MJ12, and for those wanting to know more about it, Professors John L. Cotton and Randall J. Scalise have a very nice page about it:

Flying Saucers and Frank Scully. It includes a summary of the book that started it all, and full scans of the articles that thoroughly debunked the hoax.

Seen above, material alleged to be from a crashed flying saucer that turned out to be common aluminum, along with the mysterious superscientist “Dr Gee”, aka Leo GeBauer, proprietor of a radio and television parts store in Phoenix.

Incidentally, a drawing by Chan Johnson, which illustrated “UFO Crash at Aztec”, by William Steinman, published in 1987, very probably inspired special effects artist John Humphreys to create the alien in the infamous Alien Autopsy.


Note the profile. The body is not similar, except for the legs, and Humphreys was probably inspired by progeria (warning: Graphic images!) at that.

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Fake UFOs: Best Evidence

Very funny… the serious and not so funny thing to consider is that this video is not much different from footage claimed (and believed by some) to be real, taken by the infamous Billy Meier:

Note the pendulum motion. This was actually studied by Bruce Maccabee, who noted the “spaceship” above was perhaps one foot in size. That’s coherent with Meier’s other “spaceship”, the Wedding Cake craft, which was a garbage can lid.

Now, back to the funny thing:

And then, one more serious comment. Note how both funny “UFOs” show some distortions, some vertical lines along very bright areas. That’s because those regions are so bright they saturate the electronic sensor and “bleed“. That can result in either white lines, vertical or horizontal, or in black spots (for instance, when you photograph the Sun directly). It all depends on the sensor and electronics of your digital camera. Cheaper ones usually do worse, though all electronic ones are affected in some way or another.

This artifact has already fooled some believers. In 2003, a group called “EuroSETI” made a presentation on the National Space Centre, in Leicester, UK, and showed images captured by the SOHO satellite with what looked like flying saucers in profile. Why the hell would flying saucers always appear in profile? Such questions did not bother them much, as the images were already explained by NASA as the artifacts we discussed above.

There’s also the case where someone photographed the Sun, which showed up as a black spot, and sent it to the Brazilian UFO mag, which published it as a “Static point in the sky“.

Ufologists should know better.

[Hat tip to MarcianitosVerdes]

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UFO photos: Viborg "Jellyfish"

Location: Viborg, Jutland, Denmark
Date: November 17, 1974

Viborg UFO

It all happened on a Sunday morning, when Mr. Laursen went on a walk with his dog. He liked taking photos of birds near the lake, and took his color 35mm camera with him. Then, he suddenly saw an enormous object in the air, got his camera and managed to take a shot. The captured image, in Kodacolor film, would be one of the most curious physical evidence of UFOs.
In 1979 the case was publicized on UFO-Kontakt magazine, where an analysis declared the object a “typical” alien spaceship encircled by a cloud. Many other publications around the world would go further claim that the flying saucer was camouflaging itself as a cloud, probably because there were “key NATO bases” in the area.

Cloud ringsComments: In 1993, artist Ned Kahn, who has among his interactive creations a three meter high mini-tornado in the World Financial Center in New York, created “Cloud Rings”, which you can see at right. A strange fog cloud is expelled from the central hole of a drum. A quick look at it may cause an instant dejá vù.

Kahn’s cloud ring is a stable toroidal vortex. They are better known as “smoke rings” created by smokers throughout history.

Both in its discoidal, seemingly solid upper form, as in its more loose lower appearance, Kahn’s vortex is an exact reproduction of the UFO photographed on that cold morning in 1974. The only difference is the scale, which suggests that the danish UFO was created by a very big sort of “drum”.

Ole Henningsen, of SUFOI (Scandinavian UFO Information), actually investigated this case, interviewing the main witness, and locating the exact place and direction in which the photo was taken. And he discovered that the photo almost captured the Houlkærvænget heating center, which is directly below the UFO-cloud photographed. The sight of these curious smoke clouds were not very uncommon when the boilers were being cleaned.

The Viborg UFO photo is therefore explained, and has little to do with NATO installations or alien spaceships camouflaging themselves as clouds.

This UFO didn’t turn into vapor. It already was.

See: Os OVNIs de Vórtice (in Portuguese) for more details.

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The Myth of Man the Killer


One of the most dangerous errors of our time is the belief that human beings are uniquely violent animals, barely restrained from committing atrocities on each other by the constraints of ethics, religion, and the state.

It may seem odd to some to dispute this, given the apparently ceaseless flow of atrocity reports from Bosnia, Somalia, Lebanon and Los Angeles that we suffer every day. But, in fact, a very little study of animal ethology (and some application of ethological methods to human behavior) suffices to show the unbiased mind that human beings are not especially violent animals.”

Continue reading: The Myth of Man the Killer
Also: Military leaders know a secret: The vast majority of people are overwhelmingly reluctant to take a human life.

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Lights in the Xingu sky

Shared by Carlos Airton, excerpt from the documentary about the Xingu natives of Brazil, “Medicine, Magic and Sorcery” (1984).

Here, two natives speak about the luminous phenomena in the sky they witnessed. They speak Portuguese, and I’m lazy about translating it, I hope you can understand something from their gestures. What they do report is coherent with ignis fatuus, or swamp gas. :)

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