Happy 70th UFO Anniversary!

How life, the universe and everything got here. God? Nature? Both? Chew it over here. This is also the place for discussing any theories or views which run counter to mainstream science.
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lpetrich
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Happy 70th UFO Anniversary!

Post by lpetrich » Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:23 am

(Wikipedia)Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting: Seventy years ago, on June 24, 1947, a certain Kenneth Arnold was flying his private airplane near Mount Rainier in Washington State when he saw near that mountain nine Unidentified Flying Objects traveling in a line, objects that he described as shiny and saucer-like.

Some journalists called those objects "flying saucers" and the term stuck. Large numbers of other people saw them, and half a year later, Captain Thomas Mantell died chasing one of them. Believers came to the conclusion that they were extraterrestrial spacecraft, while skeptics had a variety of other theories for the sightings: planets and stars, balloons, aircraft, meteors, ... and outright fakery.

The US Air Force started investigating flying saucers on the ground that some of them might be secret Russian airplanes and spy balloons. They first did so in secret, and word leaked out that some USAF investigators thought that the saucers were extraterrestrial spacecraft. This led some people to believe that the USAF was covering up what it knows about these odd entities, and coverup theories have been a staple of UFOlogy ever since.

Around 1952, the USAF introduced the term "unidentified flying object" or "UFO" for these entities, and flying-saucer believers gradually shifted to using "UFO".

I myself have seen one, a bright fuzzy whitish object above some clouds from an airplane. It stayed in place as the plane moved, and on one occasion, it dimmed and got brighter after that. I discovered later that I'd likely seen a subsun, a reflection of the Sun sometimes seen above ice-crystal clouds.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:59 am

Odd aerial objects have been seen for millennia, and my favorite one of these is the Fata Morgana, floating castles that some people saw in the distance every now and then. Their name is the Italian version of Morgan le Fay or Morgan the Fairy, a sorceress who ended up appearing in Arthurian lore. It's nowadays considered a kind of mirage.

The Fata Morgana was typical in being considered supernatural, and the first big case of technological ones were the mysterious airships of the United states around 1896-97. Most of them were seen from a distance, and were likely stars and planets and the like, but some people claimed to have seen some up close. Their operators were usually Earthling inventors, but some of them were Martians.

There was one last big supernatural one, the Miracle of Fatima, where the Sun seemed to skip across the sky. That seems to me a side effect of staring at it.

Then in World War II, several pilots saw "foo fighters", which were usually small glowing balls. They were usually considered airplanes from the other side, but from their descriptions, they seem like stars and planets. Late in WWII, some US bomber crews saw some bright "searchlight airplanes" coming from the east. These turned out to be the planet Venus.

In 1946, Scandinavians and nearby Europeans saw lots of "ghost rockets". One of them was photographed, and it looks much like a meteor.

But only after 1947 did UFOlogy become a well-defined branch of paranormal investigation.

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Another UFOlogy predecessor was the investigations of journalist Charles Fort. In the first decades of the 20th cy., he collected numerous newspaper articles about odd occurrences, and he came up with theories to explain patterns that he found in those occurrences. He never bothered to try to make his theories coherent, and his researchers may have been a form of entertainment for him.

He liked to snicker at mainstream scientists as pompous know-it-alls, and he titled one of his books "The Book of the Damned", because he was working with data that was "damned" by mainstream scientists. Among these data were sightings of odd aerial objects -- UFO's.

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Another predecessor was The Great Shaver Mystery. Raymond Palmer was the editor of science-fiction magazine Amazing Stories when in 1943, an odd manuscript came to his attention. Richard Shaver, its author, claimed in it that he knew about underground caverns inhabited by nasty "deros" (detrimental robots) that liked to cause all sorts of trouble for us surface people. RP decided to run it -- as nonfiction -- publishing it in March 1945 as "I remember Lemuria". He published more from RS, including RS claiming to have visited some of those dero caverns. The more mature and responsible science-fiction fans howled, and RP's superiors eventually shut down that series. It later turned up that RS was in a mental hospital the whole time, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

RP then went on to publish a paranormal-themed magazine, Fate, and that magazine ran lots of stuff on flying saucers, keeping the notion going between waves of sightings.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:01 am

UFO believers sometimes bring up the case of mainstream scientists being unable to accept the existence of extraterrestrial rocks back in the eighteenth century. Those scientists had several other theories, like upper-atmosphere condensations, ordinary rocks struck by lightning, rocks blown by strong winds, and rocks ejected by volcanoes.

Around 1800, Ernst Chladni got interested in them, and from falls with several witnesses, he estimated their arrival speeds. Far too fast for Earthly objects, he discovered, so they must be extraterrestrial. He also noted their rather odd compositions. Then in the spring of 1803, there was a fall near L'Aigle, France, and the French Academy of Sciences dispatched Jean-Baptiste Biot to check it out. He found numerous witnesses and numerous odd rocks that had clearly come from the sky. He concluded that a meteorite broke up and produced numerous fragments. He wrote his report in a very nice style, and it was widely reprinted.

Though Biot himself believed that meteorites are ejected from volcanoes on the Moon, that hypothesis was eventually discredited. There are no active volcanoes known to exist on the Moon, and most of that body's volcanic activity was some 3 to 4 billion years ago. Many meteorites have spectra similar to the spectra of many asteroids, so they likely come from the asteroid belt. That is supported by known orbits of them -- most of those orbits extend into the asteroid belt. A few meteorites have been identified with individual celestial bodies: Vesta, Mars, and the Moon.

So those UFO believers seem to expect that, as extraterrestrial rocks were vindicated, extraterrestrial spacecraft will also be.

But where is the L'Aigle of UFOlogy?

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:30 pm

I have had three distinctly unexplainable (by me) such experiences; once in Oregon, once in Pennsylvania and one truly extraordinary experience in Arizona (where I saw multiple objects acting in ways that certainly seemed to be way beyond what our at least commercial technology would indicate), but ultimately they were simply "unidentified." That does not necessarily make them extraterrestrial, of course, but man were they thrilling to witness.

Here is an excellent article from National Geographic that you may be interested in: Five Good Reasons To Believe In UFOs. Introduction:
As most credible UFOlogists readily admit, proving that extraterrestrial spacecraft have visited our planet is a maddeningly difficult chore.

“The hassle over the word 'proof' boils down to one question: What constitutes proof?” Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed the U.S Air Force’s secret investigation of UFOs in the early 1950s, once wrote. “Does a UFO have to land at the River Entrance to the Pentagon, near the Joint Chiefs of Staff offices? Or is it proof when a ground radar station detects a UFO, sends a jet to intercept it, the jet pilot sees it, and locks on with his radar, only to have the UFO streak away at a phenomenal speed? Is it proof when a jet pilot fires at a UFO and sticks to his story even under the threat of court-martial? Does this constitute proof?”

More recently, Investigative journalist Leslie Keen, author of the 2011 book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record,” has noted that in roughly 90 to 95 percent of UFO sightings, observers turn out actually to have seen weather balloons, ball lightning, flares, aircraft, and other mundane phenomena. But another five to 10 percent of sightings are not so easily explainable, but that’s not the same as demonstrating that they are extraterrestrial in origin. Nevertheless, she argues, the hypothesis that UFOs are visitors from other worlds “is a rational one, and must be taken into account, given the data that we have.”
And of course there are the claims of former astronauts, Mitchell in particular.
Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi on Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stupidity is not intellen

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