Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for August, 2008

Clouds of Wonder

Beautiful video taken on Rioverde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, on August 13, 2008, shared by “mikemacr”. It’s so wonderful and perhaps puzzling that it may look like a hoax, but I’m willing to bet it’s very real. And completely natural.

I received a photo of the same phenomenon, taken in Brazil by Regina Sylvia some years ago:

Click for more images.

Those are pileus clouds, and they also show some iridescence. Completely amazing. Searching on Youtube, I found this other fantatisc record of the phenomenon, this time in Singapore:

Another video here. There’s so much in nature we have to experience and know. I’ve never seen a pileus cloud personally, the most rare related phenomenon I’ve seen was a circular halo.

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Gauche Encounters Imagery

Martin Kottmeyer’s most referenced work is available in full on Talking Pictures: Gauche Encounters, Bad films and the UFO Mythos.

With his gracious permission, we also reproduce here the images and illustrations that go with it.

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The Alien-Crop Circle connection


Ha-ha. Via Beefactory Retouching Workshop.

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The lamest photos ever received


Besides this blog in broken English, this author is also responsible for the largest website in Portuguese dealing with UFOs, ghosts et al. There we have a section with UFO and ghost photos analysis, which also invites visitors to send their images for evaluation. With nearly a million pageviews a month, we do receive several images.

Most of them are honest mistakes and misinterpretations, some of them are intriguing (which I will share here in Forgetomori soon), but some are not only hoaxes, but seemingly stupid hoaxes. For your amusement, I will share a bunch of them right now.

First, we have the photo above, purportedly of UFOs in the sky. The sender didn’t even care to remove the area around the light blue piece of card that he scanned. That is, if you didn’t realize, that’s just a piece of paper with some holes. Someone actually sent that to me claiming it was a UFO photo. More after the jump.

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Panic! Heat-rays ahead! Oh, and Martians too!


It’s one of the foundations of the whole Alien Mythos. Why does our own government is part of the Great Cosmic Conspiracy to hide the alien presence in our planet? Donald Keyhoe already had one tentative answer in the 1950s: to avoid public panic and the collapse of civil order. People are simply not prepared to know the truth, they would go insane. And as ufologists would tell in the decades afterward, there was even one clear proof of that.

The War of the Worlds. The 1938 Mercury Theater version, that is, by one then unknown Orson Welles, and the subsequent mass panic.

As head of Project Bluebook, captain Edward Ruppelt wrote in 1956, pondering why the USAF had suddenly started to approach the UFO subject in such a negative way:

“Was it an effort to cover up the fact that UFO’s were proven to be interplanetary and that this should be withheld from the public at all cost to prevent a mass panic? The UFO files are full of references to the near mass panic of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles presented his now famous "The War of the Worlds" broadcast.”

There’s only one problem with that. Or better yet, two problems. First, the dramatization of the War of the Worlds by Welles is the dramatization of a War. Of the Worlds. This is such an obvious thing, the first contact between the Martians and humans happens with a heat-ray that vaporizes people. There are also terrible tripods and a poisonous gas that simply eradicate people like pests. It’s absolutely no wonder people panicked, but nowhere clear that the fact Martians were involved had anything to with it.

Then, we have the very small detail that the panic was not that widespread. Reports of millions of people running wild are greatly exaggerated. Many thousands may have been scared, and a handful may have acted like mad in response to the dramatization, but even the broadcast of a War of the Worlds with people being mass murdered didn’t provoke an instant collapse of the civilization around New Jersey. That is surprising in itself.

As it turns out, Ruppelt mentioned this question again in his book:

“Another question the [Blue Book] panel had was about Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds broadcast of October 1938, which caused thousands of people to panic. Had we studied this to see if there were any similarities between it and the current UFO reporting?

We had.

Our psychologist looked into the matter and gave us an opinion—to make a complete study and get a positive answer would require an effort that would dwarf the entire UFO project. But he did have a few comments. There were many documented cases in which a series of innocent circumstances triggered by the broadcast had caused people to completely lose all sense of good judgment—to panic. There were some similar reports in our UFO files.

But we had many reports in which people reported UFO’s and obviously hadn’t panicked.”

Which is, they looked at it, but they didn’t know the answer. Did the government, that is, the US government look into this matter seriously in the years afterward? We don’t know.

We can only ponder about it. Personally, I think the most obvious thing is that the public reaction has a lot to do as to what exactly the aliens are up to. It would also depend on how the authorities disclose the information.

The track record, though, if you exclude the Welles’ War of the Worlds, suggests people will not go instantly mad at all. Ufologists often forget some recent examples.

In 1996, NASA effectively announced the discovery of life on Mars. Later, it turned out the evidence was not that rock solid (Ha ha!). In 2004, the Mexican Air Force effectively suggested they filmed alien spacecraft in their air space, while also giving the exclusive footage to an ufologist claiming he was the only authority on the subject they knew. Later, it turned out they had filmed oil wells.

In none of these cases, despite broad media reporting, society didn’t collapse. Sure, they were not exactly the full disclosure ufologists hope for, but they are certainly examples of authorities stating we are not alone.

And, by the way, the majority of people already believe in alien spaceships visiting Earth.

As one war journalist said of the war in Yugoslavia, with people going to school amid flying bullets, it’s amazing how people get quickly used to things. I do seriously suspect that when the final contact happens, there will be some changes, but people will soon accept our alien friends. Or even overlords.

There will only be some slight panic if they come with heat-rays.

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