Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'Aliens' Category

The Varginha Incident: Case Closed?

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Last month, excerpts of the conclusions of the official military investigations on the “Varginha Case” were published by IstoE magazine. As would be expected, they caused quite a furor among enthusiasts because there Lt Col Lúcio Finholdt Pereira raised as “the most probable hypothesis” that a local with disabilities, known as “Luizinho” – or Little Luis:

“being probably dirty, due to the heavy rain, seen crouching against a wall, was mistaken by three terrified girls as a ‘creature from space’”.

In short, as can be seen in the comparison above, part of the military inquest, Little Luis was allegedly mistaken for an alien. Being that some local ufologists claim the Varginha Case is the best UFO evidence ever, the idea that it could be explained so simply is bound to be met with derision.

The bombshell brings to mind the official explanations for the Roswell case, including the claim that it was a Case Closed. It must be taken with a grain of salt. Here’s to our ordinary look at this new development, which from the start, is not actually new.

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Aliens, aliens everywhere

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Until the mid 20th century, serious speculation about advanced life forms in our solar system was common place. Nowadays, the illustration above would make a scientist laugh. Click for more wonderful illustrations, one alien for each planet.

What happened? Space exploration happened, we actually sent probes to all these planets, finding nothing of the sort, just desolation. But just as these speculative aliens were being killed by science, Ufology appeared and soon enough, much more naive versions of aliens – exactly like humans at first – would emerge and evolve to the Grey alien archetype.

Not that this archetype was something new, on the contrary, fantasy was dealing with them long before they were described as real aliens.

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Martin Kottmeyer wrote an amazing series on the subject in Magonia: Varicose Brains.

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Laser Stars? Laser Planets!

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I always assumed lasers were one of the things we technological apes were first to create in the Universe, much like a watch. If there’s a watch, there must be a watchmaker, as one chap famously argued. He was quite right, though the analogy doesn’t quite apply to other seemingly complex things which are subject to that evolution thing.

But lasers can be as delicate and complex as a watch. If there is a laser, there should be a “lasermaker”, I thought, so much so that they were first built only 50 years ago, decades after the idea was first proposed by none other than Albert Einstein and many years after their predecessors, the Masers, were demonstrated. And there can’t be self-reproducing lasers, right?

Well, as far as we know, that’s also right, and there are also no animals capable of emitting lasers, the baby above being a work of fiction which I suspect involves Photoshop (I can tell by the pixels).

But today I discovered at long last that there are natural lasers. This is quite a thing, as even if you already knew about that, I’ll say it also involves Martians! HG Wells! And Alien Abductions!

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First things first, as the acronym properly tells, the LASER, or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, works by stimulated emission, which can be used as an amplification effect by exciting a medium to obtain a population inversion. In the first Ruby laser, seen above, that worked by exciting a ruby crystal with small impurities through a coiled flash tube at just the right energy. It does resemble a watch, doesn’t it? It’s quite a gadget. That’s how I pictured the classical laser.

Shortly thereafter, gas lasers, where an electric discharge stimulates a gas, instead of a flashing light a crystal, were created. These are the ones of interest if you are talking about natural lasers, because it would be quite impractical to think of giant crystals with flashing lights pumps occurring in nature. A column of excited gas on the other hand could perhaps happen somewhere, sometime.

For instance, one tantalizing idea involves creating laser beams by dropping a large asteroid into a star. It would vaporize, producing a streak of slightly cooler material interacting with the hot, excited plasma of the star. An excited column of gas amid a star. According to theory, “amplified spontaneous emission, or laser action occurs”, with a beam emitted “as a narrow precisely aligned with the meteor streak”. And this is just one proposed way for a natural Laser Star.

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If that sounds interesting, it’s still somewhat debated. What is not speculation, and has actually been astronomical fact for more than 30 years, is that there are laser planets. Or better yet, that Mars and Venus atmospheres are emitting laser beams. Towards Earth!

In 1976 they were first observed coming from Mars by students of Charles Townes, himself a Nobel laureate for his works with Masers and lasers. They were not powerful like anything coming from a Death Star, but they were an emission 100 million times brighter than expected.

mars That would be eventually explained because the emission had been amplificated. It was a laser, a natural laser, where the population inversion in excited gas occurred in carbon dioxide at the upper levels of the atmosphere of Mars. The pump exciting that is the solar radiation itself, and the effect is thus strongest near the solar point. The red circle centered on Chryse Planitia represents the region over which the laser emissions were detected.

Chryse Planitia, by the way, is where the Viking 1 probe landed in that very same year of 1976. Were the Martians defending themselves? This may be a silly joke, but here comes HG Wells.

As many have remarked, “death rays” were a staple of science fiction long before the advent of lasers, even before Albert Einstein proposed the basic concept. In “The War of the Worlds” (1898), Wells gave the Martians a terrible heat ray.

“in some way they are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, … Heat, and invisible, instead of visible, light. Whatever is combustible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts glass, and when it falls upon water, incontinently that explodes into steam.”

How appropriate it is, then, than natural lasers were detected coming from Mars, and here’s the amazing detail: as they come from carbon dioxide gas lasers, they are lasers in the near infrared. They are invisible, and are the closest things to a heat ray. Wells was right.

Venus’ atmosphere also emits natural laser, also by the same mechanism, also in the infrared, and in fact there are proposals to help detect extrasolar planets exactly by looking for natural lasers.

So, there you have it, I was completely flabbergasted by nature, all the while assuming the laser was a human marvel when Mars and Venus atmospheres had been beaming not-so-terrible laser heat rays towards me my entire lifetime. HG Wells didn’t know about that, but his science fiction was so good it got that part somewhat right.

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I promised this also involved alien abductions, and it does, even though it’s a tenuous connection. One of the episodes of the classic sci-fi series Outer Limits is “The Bellero Shield”, aired in 1964 shortly after the invention of laser.

The story involves a scientist who sends a powerful beam to space. An alien comes down the beam, using it as means of travelling, and among the many things he says, telepathically, he tells how “In all the universes, in all the unities beyond the universes, all who have eyes have eyes that speak."

This quote would be important because in an hypnosis session a few days later, Barney Hill, of the famous Hill alien abduction case, would say that the aliens who abducted him had “eyes that spoke”. Add that to the fact that the drawings he made of the alien are quite similar to the TV show alien, as you can see above (the sketches (L), the sci-fi alien (R)), and you get one amazing bit of psychosocial hypothesis applied to ufology by Martin Kottmeyer in “The Eyes that Spoke”.

One last thing, and this was just the last surprise I had. By reading the Laser Stars website, I recognized one name. Dr Donald H. Menzel was one of the pioneers to suggest laser action in atmospheres. If you know your ufology, Menzel was the also the pioneer UFO skeptibunker.

Mind. Blown. [with many thanks to Igor Zolnerkevic]

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The Metepec Creature: author confess hoax

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A “Veterinary Assistant” featured in the whole Metepec Creature brouhaha, “Ángel Palacios Núñez”, is, according to Alejandro Franz, in fact Urso Moreno Ruíz, nephew of Mario Moreno, and a taxidermist.

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More importantly, Urso Ruíz apparently confessed in an Internet forum he indeed hoaxed the creature, which is indeed just a squirrel-monkey:

It’s just the corpse of a skinned squirrel-monkey. I took its ears out and involved it with all the hair and fluids of all animals I could find, then I dried it. All samples they take of it will come out as being of different animals.”

Of course, we already knew it was a skinned squirrel-monkey:

He goes on:

“Mr Mario quickly sold it to Maussán for 300.000 pesos [U$23,000], as you can see after four years they still can’t realize it’s a hoax.”

And tries to defend himself:

“I must say I didn’t claim it was real. That was Maussán who claimed it was real. He believed it. All the show was a hoax that got out of control, but after four years I’m happy to see one of my creations going around the world and through many scientists and tests and they still haven’t figured out what it is. I may have fooled science! LOL”

Nauseating, isn’t it?

Franz warns that, contrary to what Urso Ruíz claims, he did claim in video that the creature was “a strange animal”. Lies. Franz further accuses Maussán, Mario Moreno and Marco Salazar of creating this whole fraud from the beginning. It’s indeed interesting they should go with DNA testing right away, which is not their usual practice with such “finds” at all. It’s as if they knew the results would be inconclusive.

Of course, from the beginning people noticed it looked exactly like a skinned monkey. People also know very well Maussán is part of Ufology’s Hall of Shame.

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So people had every reason not to believe the story. Reason, apparently, is something the History Channel’s MonsterQuest team lacks.

But then, reason is something that may be relative. Money and ratings can make everything relative, one would guess. How much money did all those involved, knowingly or not, make from this hoax?

This really makes me sick. It should make you too. And the skinned, dried monkey is not the culprit. [via Alcione]

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Almiro Barauna’s many hoaxes

“One of the most highly celebrated and controversial series of photos in the Blue Book files are those taken by an official photographer aboard the Brazilian Navy survey ship, Almirante Saldanha, off Trindade Island, some 600 miles east of Rio De Janeiro”.
[J. Allen Hynek, The Hynek UFO Report]

Hynek criticizes the mocking remarks by the reporting officer regarding Martians and the harsh criticism of the Brazilian government and military. I don’t know much about Martians and tend to agree the sarcasm was undue on an official report, but as an ongoing many years research on the Trindade Island case has shown to me, the Blue Book report is right on the target and fully justified in all of its other conclusions.

Regarding the photographer, for instance, the report mentions that:

“This gentleman has a long history of photographic trick shots and is well known for such items as false pictures of treasure on the ocean floor. Another time he prepared a purposely humorous article, published in a magazine, entitled "A Flying Saucer Hunted Me at Home," using trick photography.”

Amazingly, these hoaxes by the photographer have been downplayed by supporters of the case. For more than half a century, most people didn’t even see these hoaxes. In 2008, thanks to historian Rodolpho Gauthier, we finally publicized Barauna’s joke with flying saucers, and now, through the pages of Tim Printy’s SUNlite, and again thanks to the work of Gauthier, we reveal the details and images of his treasure chest hoax.

The article is embedded above and can also be downloaded.

Once presented with Barauna’s trickery of flying saucer photos, believers claim the joke was in fact a serious, responsible public service promoting critical thinking in which the photographer took part. Very well. It could be so. His treasure chest hoax, however, was part of a deliberate play to deceive, and we have Baraúna first lying, denying the hoax, and decades later, finally confessing “it was indeed a trick”.

That the man who captured one of the few authentic photos of real UFOs was a lying hoaxer of treasure chest tales and proud creator of flying saucer images cannot be downplayed. It’s a serious problem for the case that automatically leads to considerations of how he could have hoaxed the Trindade Island case.

Believers would then mention that the Trindade Island case is not supported solely by the photos or the photographer’s character and that he could not have hoaxed all of the other corroborating evidence.

About that, our still ongoing research may give a different perspective. It will be published soon, but meanwhile I recommend the readers to our already published analysis, and I repeat the statement that all of our research has led us to conclude that the Blue Book report is right on the target and fully justified in all of its conclusions.

Except for Martians, of course.

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