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Brazilian Air Force X-Files? What they didn’t tell you

 

This last Tuesday (10), the Brazilian Air Force Command published a regulation about “the recording and treatment of subjects related to ‘unidentified flying objects’” [full text at the end].

Ufologists have been hailing the regulation as “a major step to openly recognize the UFO Phenomena as serious and worthy of immediate actions in Brazil”, “a turning point in history to say the least”, as discussed on UfoUpdates.

In fact, the regulation points to the exact opposite direction. A press release by the Air Force makes it clear:

“the Air Force Command doesn’t have a specialized structure to conduct scientific investigations regarding these aerial phenomena. It restricts itself to recording these events and forwarding them to the National Archives”.

According to the release, the aim is to make these documents available to society, as in effect, the Brazilian Air Force (BAF) takes no responsibility on the subject beyond that.

The regulation isn’t really anything new”, says researcher Jeferson Martinho, responsible for Vigília, covering UFO information for more than a decade. “Even the press release is nothing new. In 2000, when former representative Joao Caldas tried to approve a project to end UFO secrecy, he received from the BAF the same reply”.

 

Open X-Files

Besides forwarding current and future UFO reports to the National Archives, the BAF has in fact already been releasing all past files to the same destination, in line with policies in the US, UK and other countries. As a matter of fact, the BAF just completed sending all UFO files it had until the end of the 1990s to open access at the National Archives, as Ademar Gevaerd confirms.

While in France and the UK the authorities went as far as making the files openly available for download through the Internet, in Brazil the files are just sent to the National Archives, as in the US, and private UFO groups are making them available electronically for easy access.

So, while the Americans have the “Project Blue Book Archive”, the Brazilian groups CIPEX and CBPDV, from the local UFO magazine, have files available for download in sites like “Fenomenum”. There anyone may download several folders and thousands of pages of documents.

This is an ongoing process developing for years, finally reaching a conclusion. Not much has changed. “As the secrecy policy hasn’t changed, COMDABRA may classify a document and there’s nothing in the regulation that would undo that”, evaluates Martinho. “I believe the transit of documents to the National Archive will keep following the same rules of limits and deadlines established by law”.

 

Air Force Minister falls for “Uranus” joke

So what is in those released files? Well, what one finds is actually extremely revealing, but not about aliens. It’s revealing about humans. In particular, those working as military men in Brazil.

The recent regulation revokes two previous ones about UFOs, and one of them just shocked this author. It’s note #C-002/MIN/ADM, April 13, 1978, signed by none other by then Air Force Minister Joelmir Campos de Araripe Macedo.

There, Minister Macedo recommends to the Higher Command the creation of a “secret UFO record, where phenomena would be archived chronologically … at the same time, an Evaluation Comission would give each record a grade of credibility”.

Later records, which make reference to this note, suggest that the recommendation was put into effect. The damning thing is, to give support to this recommendation, the Minister wrote that:

“Though speculations about UFOs date as long before as the existence of the humankind, acquiring traces of pure fantasy, the truth is that in the last years of the Second World War, in 1944, the Luftwaffe High-Command created a specific control to investigate several reports made by war pilots about UFO sightings. Said control was denominated ‘Sonder Buro Nr. 13’, and the codename was ‘Operation Uranus’.

I was shocked to read the terms “SonderBuro 13” and “Operation Uranus”, as I had read Kevin McClure’s work on the Nazi UFO Mythos. Quoting Andy Roberts:

“We have at least one outright hoax in foo-fighter lore. For years rumours had been flying round that the Germans had been fully aware of the foo-fighter phenomenon and that they had a special study group formed to look into the problem under the name of “Project Uranus”, backed by a shadowy group by the name of Sonderburo 13. This was first detailed in La Livres Noir De Soucoupes Volantes (The Black Book of Flying Saucers – 1970) by French ufologist Henry Durrant. … When I checked this out with Durrant he informed me that the whole “Project Uranus” affair was a hoax which he had inserted in his book precisely to see who would copy it without checking. The hoax apparently had been revealed in France some years before but hadn’t percolated its way through to English speaking ufologists.”

The hoax was revealed in English in Roberts book along with David Clarke, “Phantoms of the Sky” (1990). Clarke kindly confirmed the hoax and shared the letter Durrant addressed to Roberts:

“Here in France, when I informed [the] ufologists, by means of an ufological bulletin, that ‘Sonderbüro Nr 13’ was a trap, it was suddenly a real furor, and I was accused [of hiding] the truth and [of releasing] false information. … For me, it was very funny [and] very instructive, because I had there the [opportunity] to see where were the serious ufologists… and the others!”.

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It seems almost unbelievable, but a Brazilian Air Force Minister fell for an Uranus joke, going as far as using it to recommend to the Higher Command the creation of a UFO investigation record. He didn’t check his source, a popular UFO book by Durrant, “and the fisherman has hooked his biggest fish”, as Clarke pointed.

Could there be a Great Cosmic Conspiracy when a Minister during military dictatorship sends a secret recommendation to the Higher-Command based on a joke? And yet, there’s more. Or less.

 

Severe lack of resources

During the year of 1977, UFO reports in the Amazon sparked panic among the locals, leading to the creation of the so-called “Operation Saucer” by the BAF. The Operation’s aim was to investigate the nature of the events, but contrary to what one would imagine for such an investigation dealing with cosmic secrets, the operatives dealt with many basic problems.

The written documentation of the Operation has already been officially released, and one of the most relevant excerpts comes from the conclusion of a report from September 1977:

“Our film and photographic records do not portrait our certainty [that the objects and lights are "driven by an intelligence"], because we lacked much technical and material resources and personnel. On other times, we lost the chance, photographing useless material. We believe that with better resources we could get to the reasonably acceptable.”

Why such a severe lack of resources? According to the Air Force Command, the operation was in fact the result of personal interest on the subject by some of its officers. That claim is supported by statements of the commander of the Operation, Uyrange Hollanda. He reminded that “it was very fortunate that at the COMAR I, at that time, in that region, there was an Air Force officer, a brigadier, who believed in flying saucers. Had it been another officer, another brigadier, maybe the Operation wouldn’t have happened.”

At the same interview Hollanda also complained that of four film rolls used to record UFOs, three were bought with his own pocket money but were nevertheless sent to the Air Force Minister. Later we revealed that many of the photos from this Operation were developed at one of the officer’s house, by his son, who hoaxed some of them as he was then just a teenager. Just as he told, mostly all known photos are useless because they lack any point of reference, being just cropped blobs of light.

According to the Social Communication Center of the Brazilian Air Force,

regarding the Operation Saucer, the Air Force has only the records based on the data given by one of the members of that activity. A report with many testimonies was produced, apparently with no scientific base”.

Indeed, the available reports are just a compilation of reports. There’s no scientific analysis of the cases. The Operation was cancelled soon afterwards.

 

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Personal interest

Not only has the BAF released mostly all of its UFO files. Most of them were already known, due to previous leaks. And the unimaginable, almost as incredible as the Uranus joke, also happened. One ufologist had UFO files that the military themselves didn’t have.

The IV COMAR in Sao Paulo started a UFO investigation project called SIOANI in 1969, but it was later cancelled when a new brigadier “not very sympathetic with the subject” assumed the command. Like the comment by Hollanda of Operation Saucer, SIOANI was also related to personal interest by the local command.

But not only was SIOANI closed, its files would be lost due to lack of interest, and to avoid that an officer took them to his home. Secret UFO files held not in a Top Secret Archive, but an officer’s house. Later, ufologist Edison Boaventura managed to contact this officer, who donated them to him, and recently, Boaventura finally donated them to the National Archives.

The story of SIOANI was published here in 2008: “SIOANI”: How the Brazilian Air Force Investigated UFOs Officially

From Operation Uranus to UFO investigation projects relying in UFO believers at the command, to UFO files held at ufologists’ hands – and not the military – the story is very different from what one would expect of a Great Cosmic Conspiracy.

 

“The phenomena are solid and reflect a certain intelligence”

Of all the thousands of released pages so far the only document of greater interest involving aliens is an Event Report dated June 2, 1986. It’s interesting to note this report refers to the Minister recommendation involving Uranus, an indication that the UFO record and investigation measures were put into effect.

Authored by Air Brigadier Jose Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque. then temporary commander of COMDABRA, this report deals with a famous UFO event days before, involving several anomalous radar plots and scrambling of jet fighters, popularly known as the “Official UFO Night”, as the authorities later went on television admitting they scrambled after UFOs.

After a description of the events, the report’s conclusion is surprising:

“As a conclusion of the observed facts, in almost all events, this Command evaluation is that the phenomena are solid and reflect a certain intelligence, by its ability to follow and keep distance from observers, as well as flying in formation, not necessarily manned”.

Is this the smoking gun evidence the military recognize flying saucers?

This document, publicized with great fanfare by ufologists at the time it was released, does not represent the official nor the final position of the Air Force”, answers researcher Rogerio Chola, Brazilian Representative of NARCAP. “It’s simply an Event Report, in which the ‘conclusion’ was that of Brigadier Jose Pessoa. It’s not even a conclusion, it’s an opinion”.

Chola calls attention to the introduction of the report, which makes it clear that:

“Due to restrictions in time and specialized knowledge regarding facts of this nature, this Command decided to limit itself, within the operational sphere, to a simple narration of the facts, in a way not to give margin to speculations involving the Air Force Ministry.”

In a letter in 1991 to ufologist Rafael Cury, the BAF officially states that the actual conclusions, with

“all the technical treatment available … pointed to magnetic anomalies which became ‘plots’ (points in the control radar screens). In the case in question, all the military air defense apparatus was mobilized without a visual contact that justified the presence of such ‘plots’.”

The case is actually very interesting, and Chola himself considers it one of the most intriguing UFO cases in Brazil. But Albuquerque’s report mentioning “solid” and “intelligent” phenomena is far from being the BAF final evaluation of the events, being written only around a week afterwards, clearly stating in its introduction its own restrictions.

If one will believe what the BAF publicly replied five years later regarding “magnetic anomalies”, is subject to another discussion. But in short, no smoking gun here, far from it.

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The Public Deceived

If there’s something that could be called a conspiracy, perhaps its the omission of important information and context by media outlets when dealing with the subject. The public may reach the exact opposite conclusion regarding what is actually happening. The Brazilian Air Force is not involving itself in the UFO subject, it’s not leading credibility to the subject. It’s the exact opposite.

While the BAF states very clearly it won’t investigate UFO reports and mostly all previous documents have already been released, with no extraterrestrial bombshell, what they actually reveal is that indeed there’s evidence to support the official position that there’s no “ specialized structure to conduct scientific investigations regarding these aerial phenomena”, and past projects dealt with lack of resources, depending mainly on personal interest by local commanders.

When the commanders changed, not only did these UFO projects end, even their files were not properly preserved. In a recent message, Gevaerd himself writes that the Operation Saucer film records may have been lost, and in fact, that he doesn’t know where they are.

There’s this false idea that if something is military, then it’s immune to error. I don’t think that’s right”, says Chola. “The Barra da Tijuca case, for example, where many Ufologists claim the Air Force investigated the case, in fact they didn’t. Who investigated it were some military officers who had an interest in the subject, leaded by cornel Joao Adil de Oliveira. And even being qualified officers, they managed to reach erroneous conclusions regarding this case”.

The officers actually endorsed the crude hoax, where even the shadows are not right.

Military officers are as prone to error as the rest of the population, and they may just as well believe in aliens and flying saucers. This is not limited to Brazil: to those laughing about an Air Force Minister and the Uranus hoax, not very different examples of gullibility can be found in France, where David Rossoni, Éric Maillot and Éric Déguillaume analyzed 30 years of official studies with very critical conclusions.

Even in the US, the first UFO investigation efforts such as Project SIGN were very similar to some of the Brazilian efforts, with its first conclusions favoring the idea of an extraterrestrial origin for UFOs. Similar examples can be found in some British cases. There are believers in the military, all over the world, but so far they seem as distant as the rest of us to any actual evidence of their beliefs.

As a Brazilian, I must remark that the recent BAF regulation revoked the Uranus recommendation, along with another note which also had a gullible tone, and now Brazil may be as good – or as bad – as other countries in the relationship between UFOs and authorities.

Not much has changed, not much has been revealed, apart from a few new interesting stories.

– – –

[With thanks to David Clarke, Andy Roberts, Rogério Chola and Jeferson Martinho. Image at the top: sxc.hu/spekulator]

PORTARIA No – 551/GC3, DE 9 DE AGOSTO DE 2010
Dispõe sobre o registro e o trâmite de assuntos relacionados a "objetos voadores não identificados" no âmbito do Comando da Aeronáutica.
O COMANDANTE DA AERONÁUTICA, de conformidade com o previsto no inciso XIV do art. 23 da Estrutura Regimental do Comando da Aeronáutica, aprovada pelo Decreto nº 6.834, de 30 de abril de 2009,e considerando o que constado Processo nº 67000.001974/2010-61, resolve:
Art.1º As atividades do Comando da Aeronáutica (COMAER) relativas ao assunto "objetos voadores não identificados" (OVNI) restringem-se ao registro de ocorrências e ao seu trâmite para o Arquivo Nacional.
Art. 2º O Comando de Defesa Aeroespacial Brasileiro (COMDABRA), como órgão central do Sistema de Defesa Aeroespacial Brasileiro (SISDABRA), é a organização do COMAER responsável por receber e catalogar os registros referentesa OVNI relatados, em formulário próprio, por usuários dos serviços de controle de tráfego aéreo e encaminhá-los regularmente ao CENDOC.
Art. 3º O Centro de Documentação e Histórico da Aeronáutica (CENDOC) é a organização do COMAER responsável por copiar,encadernar, arquivar cópias dos registros encaminhados pelo COMDABRA e enviar, periodicamente, os originais ao Arquivo Nacional.
Art.º Esta Portaria entra em vigor na data de sua publicação.
Art. 6º Revoga-se a Nota No C-002/MIN/ADM, de 13 de abril de 1978 e o Aviso No S-001/MIN, de 28 de fevereiro de 1989.
Ten.-Brig. do Ar JUNITI SAITO

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UFO over Hangzhou, China: a long exposé

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“An unidentified flying object (UFO) disrupted air traffic over Zhejiang’s provincial capital Hangzhou late on Wednesday [July 7], the municipal government said on Thursday. Xiaoshan Airport was closed after the UFO was detected at around 9 pm, and some flights were rerouted …

A source with knowledge of the matter, however, told China Daily on Thursday that authorities had learned what the UFO was after an investigation. But it was not the proper time to publicly disclose the information because there was a military connection, he said, adding that an official explanation is expected to be given on Friday.” [source: People’s Daily, July 9, 2010]

And yet, no official explanation has come after more than a week. Though the Internet is still buzzing with speculation about why the Chinese government wouldn’t clarify the case, perhaps the most immediate question should be why should we trust that anonymous source. Did the source really had “knowledge of the matter”? Or was it simply an unreliable source, which may not even exist?

Because, you see, in the case of the UFO that stopped the Xiaoshian airport, no source seems to be reliable.

 

Identifying the initial photograph

The image that first circulated with the news, seen at the beginning, is described as “a photo taken by a resident in Hangzhou shows an unidentified flying object hovering over Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, late Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Photo/Metro Express”.

It’s supposedly the UFO in question.

However, as many have quickly pointed out, the photo is simply a long exposure of a common airplane. You can notice the long exposure by the double image more clearly seen in the house at left, but motion blurs are seen everywhere in the image.

Especially in the "UFO”, which is simply a luminous object with blinking lights flying in the sky. Which is just a common jet airplane. The landing lights generate the more intense white streak, while strobing lights on top generate the points which some have misinterpreted as the windows of a spaceship.

The effect is well-known to UFO buffs. The photo below, captured by a long-exposure webcam in Washington, is almost identical, and though it provoked discussion when it first appeared in 2005, other images quickly showed it’s simply an airplane:

washd

Similarly, the photo allegedly captured by a resident in Hangzhou is also simply an airplane. Case closed? Have we identified the UFO? The story is a bit more complicated, because the sources are so unreliable that even when they promote a misidentification, the mistakes may go even further.

 

Identifying the other photos

As more news reports came up about the case, new photos showed up along. Even ABC apparently swallowed all them up, presenting them along with the case.

All of these other photos, with the exception of a single one, are also simply long-exposure photos of aircrafts, but in this case, helicopters. Not only that, they have nothing to do with China and were published on the web long ago.

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The two photos above, largely circulated with the recent Chinese case, were originally published on the ATS forum by greeneyedleo in April 2010. The amazing thing is that he clearly labelled them as “pictures of helicopter as an example (all I had in my MATS folder)”.

Another image published with the Hangzhou case is actually from Russia, published in 2008:

china_ufo_2010_airport

The actual source of these images was tracked by user “elevenaugust” from the UFOcasebook forum (reply #19). He identifies some other images, none of them from China, having nothing to do with the airport closing.

We can identify these other images as helicopters rather than airplanes because of their characteristic floodlight. The illustrations below, created by Zoucas, member of the Brazilian Center of Ufology (CUB), where Caetano Júlio Neto also helped clarify the case, may help to understand the effect of lights in a moving helicopter captured in a long-exposure of several seconds.

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longaexposicao2

It’s now quite clear what must have happened. To illustrate the news of the Xiaoshan airport UFO incident, several newspapers simply scoured the web for any UFO images that looked like the original Hangzhou photo – which was, in itself, simply a long-exposure photo of an airplane. They found several long-exposure photos of helicopters. And again, with nothing to do with the actual case.

 

Kyrgyzstan

One image that went along with the Chinese case does not involve long-exposure nor an airplane or helicopter.

china_ufo

It does, however, has a simple and clear explanation. It’s the sighting of a Russian Soyuz-U launching a Progress M-06M vehicle to the ISS on June 30, 2010. A week before the Chinese case. Images from the launch can be seen at the NASAspaceflight forum. The spectacular images were captured quite a distance from Baikonur, on Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. And they were also captured on video:

The launch was seen in large areas of Central Asia, including Kazakhstan. Another video from a local news report can be seen on KTK.

If on the first photos the nice effect is due to long-exposure, a camera effect, here the effect could be seen by naked eye, caused by albedo, by rocket propellant reflecting the sunlight at great altitude, in particular contrast at twilight, just after the night comes down at ground.

It’s the same light show and effect displayed by the Norwegian and Australian spirals, caused by Russian and American rockets, respectively, and a similar show in Tomsk, Russia, caused by another Russian Soyuz.

 

So what about the UFO?

With all the images published along with the case explained and identified, the thing is that none of them has any actual relationship with the UFO case discussed, and are therefore completely of no use to identify it. So what caused the closing for around an hour of the Xiaoshan Airport?

“No prosaic explanation can be formulated at present because the basic facts remain garbled”, writes James Oberg at ATS. But he does offer a possible explanation.

According to Oberg, as also quoted by Tim Printy on the latest SUNlite, from the best one can extract from the many conflicting reports, apparently “an airliner coming in for landing around 8:40PM saw an UFO”. From the orientation of the Hagzhou airport runway, one can assume the plane was heading to the airport from the southeast.

“If so, this meant the UFO hovering over the airport was to the northwest/west.  A prime candidate was in the western sky that evening, Venus.”

Could a confusion with Venus fool pilots and air controllers, closing an airport for an hour? “There are some historical analogs that may provide suggested avenues of genuine research”, says Oberg. “Here’s one that immediately comes to mind:” the case of Barnaul Airport in Russia back in 2001.

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“As it turned out, the runway that the taxiing aircraft stopped on was pointed directly at the horizon where brilliant Venus was setting. The crew reported "a bright UFO", but never mentioned two bright objects, or a "UFO next to Venus". When Venus set, the crew reported that the UFO had flown away.”

The Russian case is evidence that crewmen and traffic controllers may close an airport due to Venus, as unbelievable as this may sound. We are prone to error, much more than we would like to assume.

Pending further, and much better information, it’s possible that the Hangzhou Airport case may have simply involved a confusion with Venus. Or not. In any event, the media only furthered the confusion by quoting anonymous sources on “military connections” and circulating illustrative images of airplanes, helicopters and even rocket launches seen in Kyrgyzstan.

– – –

[The basic information for this post came from Tim Printy‘s short note on the latest SUNlite]

UPDATE 07/21/2010: Bruce Maccabee takes a look at the photos and confirms that “the images are consistent with being the result of taking nighttime, ‘long’ exposure photographs of a helicopter with a searchlight”. As for what actually caused the airport shutdown, Maccabee is, like Oberg and everyone else, at a loss from the lack of reliable information. “It may have been a ‘military vehicle’ as suggested by recent stories or something else. … We may never know”.

Meanwhile, Michael Naisbitt kindly warned me that one of the photos published associated with the case not only was indeed a time-lapse photo of a helicopter, but it also came from Wikipedia:

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As the description informs us, it’s a photo of “helicopters watching for possible rioting or protests following the 2007 presidential election in Lille, France; the helicopter is equipped with a powerful light, which is seen as a line because of the long exposure time of this photo.”

The image was taken on 6 May 2007, by “ChtiTux”.

As if the total mess of sources wasn’t already amazing in itself, now there’s a purported video of the UFO allegedly captured from inside the airplane:

As the folks at ATS have already noted, first, this video also has nothing to do with the Chinese case, as it was already being posted promoted as an UFO captured in 2009. And second, this video may be simply another signalling light on the wingtip:

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In the photo above, of an ERJ190 winglet light (also with long exposure), one can get the idea, though it also shows that a winglet light would probably show parts of the winglet. The light source could be another kind of signalling light in the wing. Some have suggested it could be the Moon, but it seems much too bright in my opinion.

What can be said with more certainty is that the lights around the main source (on which the cameraman zooms in) are secondary reflections from the double glazed aircraft window. At 0:59s, when the camera zooms out and moves, you can see the change in geometry of these secondary lights in relation to the main source, characteristic of reflections.

And, again, what we do know for sure is that this video has nothing to do with the Chinese case as it was already on Youtube at least since last year.

Finally, for this update at least, Linda Moulton Howe published an alleged new image which would actually be of the Hangzhou UFO case:

ChinaHangzhouUFO070710Airport1

But if you read all down to here, you will probably agree this just looks like another long exposure image – which can be seen from the noise and the details in the very dark houses — of yet another common airplane – with bright landing lights and red signalling lights. And you may also doubt that the photo is even from China, taken on July 7, in Hangzhou. Even if it’s confirmed as being taken when and where the anonymous source claims, this is hardly of much use and interest, unless the case actually involves confusion with an aircraft with the right signalling.

The spontaneous generation of images and videos allegedly of the Hangzhou case reminds of the O’Hare Airport UFO, which also prompted the appearance of fake images. Both cases became newsworthy because they involved somewhat credible facts involving airports. And UFOs. On the other hand, there’s absolutely no image, no video, nothing to illustrate the news reports. Apparently, this situation just isn’t bearable. Thus…

Generatio spontanea.

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Secret UN meeting about aliens? Exopolitics exposed

un-wide

Our cosmic ambassador being spanked… and enjoying it? First things first. A couple of years ago, the news of “a secret meeting that allegedly occurred at the New York office of the United Nations discussing UFOs/extraterrestrial life” made the rounds, publicized by Michael Salla of the Exopolitics movement.

This story has now been exposed, and quite entertainingly, from an exemplary piece of critical investigation to the wonders – and dangers – of the digital age on privacy. Don’t miss the whole investigation on Reality Uncovered, by Stephen Broadbent. Here’s a summary:

It all started with Clay Pickering claiming he had attended a classified Navy meeting. He posted two photos of the event he himself had taken. Most importantly, “our source was there”, Pickering wrote.

This source is “Source A”, the allegedly “active-duty officer in the United States Navy with a long and illustrious career, spanning nearly 40 years at sea” who, “liaises with Extra Terrestrial races on behalf of the UN”. You read that right, Source A is our cosmic ambassador. Or so the story by the Exopolitics crowd goes.

Michael Salla himself replied to Pickering’s message saying Source A was important. Little did they know these little pieces of information would finally expose who Source A was, and just how bad is Exopolitics’ fact-checking.

John JeddyHi” quickly pointed out that this classified event was conducted at the New York Athletic Club with the New York Council of the Navy League. Any non-member who paid $60 could attend. “At least that price included open bar with wine, beer and soft drinks!”, John joked.

Pickering self-aggrandizing story had been exposed almost instantly. But remember, Pickering claimed our cosmic ambassador was also there. And this was a public event of the Navy League, which posted 100 photos of it on their website.

John and now Andy Murray scoured these photos in search of suspects, in “a simple, yet brilliant piece of investigative skill”, as Broadbent nicely put it. They ended up with three suspects. How to find which was “Source A”?

It would not be that hard since Source A has met with several Ufologists. One of them finally pinpointed Source A in this photo. But they still didn’t have a name.

By the lapel pin in that photo, however, they found he was from the New York Naval Order Commandery. Some further investigation and… this piece of writing by Broadbent is just great:

“In an ideal world, a world where scriptwriters make the rules perhaps, he would find another photo of the person identified as being Source A and he would be sporting a name tag. Of course, such things only happen in the movies and poorly written novels, don’t they?

No, no they don’t.”

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Yes, our cosmic ambassador was there last year, wearing a name tag, available on Flickr. Our cosmic ambassador has been found. And he’s Richard Theilmann.

As I repeat: read the whole detailed story on Reality Uncovered, as they go from the identification to finally fact-check Source A’s story with the so many details Theilmann has gladly put on the Internet about his own life, under his own name. That even includes an embarrassing photo of him in a “male slave” outfit being spanked, taken from his myspace account.

This investigation has been publicized a few days ago, and already we have some reactions. First, there’s no doubt they did a wonderful job, and Source A is indeed Richard Theilmann. Pickering and Salla have not refuted and Salla has already implicitly confirmed the identification.

Then, all the holes in Source A story. He is clearly not our cosmic ambassador. Salla grasps for straws and claims that Bruce Maccabee, who by the way, confirmed the identification, had also told that he met Theilmann in his reserved Navy lab, which would mean he was an active-duty officer with security credentials.

Broadbent of RealityUncovered promises to tackle these and other elements in the next installment of the series. I can’t wait to read it.

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Delicious Miss Flying Saucer

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There’s so much amazing about this “Miss Flying Saucer” artwork by Bill Randall, but let’s stick with what makes us psychosocial pelicanists cheer. You see, the sexy space cadet is on top of an actual saucer. Not an alien spaceship, but a plain simple, pink saucer dinnerware. It’s either a giant saucer, or Miss Flying Saucer is a tiny fairy-like being. Either way, that makes psychosocial pelicanists happy.

Why, would one ask. Is it a fetish of sorts? Not exactly. This has in fact a lot to say about the origin of ufology and in particular, the term “flying saucer”.

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In “Saucer ExpansionMartin Kottmeyer remarks how, surprisingly, most reports from the 1947 wave of flying saucers in Canada and the USA had them of a very small size, of 3 feet or less. In the graphic above, Kottmeyer illustrates how the reported size for flying saucers, which would soon be called UFOs, increased gradually, and nowadays it’s actually rare to read description of very tiny objects.

Why, would one ask. Is it an alien fashion of sorts? Probably not. Kottmeyer quotes Ed Stewart suggestion that “Saucer descriptions in the news stories made reference to table top cups and saucers which could have implanted a small size in the readers mind when they read the initial stories.”

That is, people were seeing actual flying dinnerware in the sky. Only with later sci-fi movies which depicted large (Day Earth Stood Still) and then gigantic (Close Encounters) alien spaceships would people come to report larger UFOs.

There’s corroborating evidence for this psychosocial pelicanist interpretation. In Brazil, the term “flying saucer” was translated as “disco voador”, or “flying disk”, no one here speaks in terms of dinnerware when referring to aliens. On the other hand, “flying disk” would immediately remind people of the late 1940s and early 1950s of vinyl records.

And that’s exactly what they reported. Historian Rodolpho Gauthier also collected some news clippings of the first UFO waves in Brazil, and though no detailed statistical analysis was conducted, from Gauthier’s work one can find several references to small flying disks and even funny cartoons comparing flying disks with small vinyl records thrown in the air.

Well, back to Miss Flying Saucer. Unfortunately I couldn’t find when exactly did Bill Randall created that amazing illustration, the closest was this commentary from The Pinup Blog (NSFW) that “I could only guess that these pinups were painted between 1946 and the 1960’s”.

Here’s one prediction from the Psychosocial Hypothesis: given that Randall referenced an actual saucer, I would guess it was made shortly after Arnold’s sighting in 1947 and before 1952, when the term UFO would enter the mainstream.

Whatever flies in the sky, whether there are aliens visiting us or not, everything that we see, we see through our cultural lenses. Those can be quite funny just a few decades later. A few decades from now, people may laugh about our reports of giant spaceships.

Do not miss: “Saucer Expansion” by Martin Kottmeyer. [via x-ray delta one on flickr]

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Unknown Flying Object in Florida…

hawthornefloridacropped

From Ufocasebook:

Unknown Flying Object Captured in Hawthorne, Florida, Photograph

Hawthorne, Florida – 04-25-10 – Sunday morning we awoke at 8 AM, and made ourselves some coffee and walked down to the creek, which was only a few yards away from our cabin, the witness stated. I started taking pictures of our surroundings and some mirrored reflections of some cypress trees in the water. After we arrived back home in Jacksonville, we were anxious to view the over 400 photos we took during our vacation. When I took this photo I was drawn to the reflection in the water and did not notice anything unusual until I uploaded it to my computer.

This photograph is the only one that shows something abnormal.”

Check the link for the full image. Now, you will notice that it’s not only the UFO that looks strange. Then you may realize the report mentions that the photo in fact depicts mirrored reflections in the water.

Then you may want to flip the image. Then you may immediately recognize what this UFO is.

The answer, after the jump.

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