James M. McCampbell
Director of Research, 1975-93
Mutual UFO Network, Inc.
|Chapter 1 Certified UFOs
Reliability of Reports
Air Force Experience
Residue in Colorado
Springboard to Discovery
Chapter 2 The Vehicles Discs
Chapter 3 Composition & Luminosity Metallic Surface
Other Lighting Details
Chapter 4 Sounds Violent noises
Rush of air
Chapter 5 Electrical Interference Internal Combustion Engines
Chapter 6 Physiological Effects Primary Symptoms
Loss of Conciousness
Chapter 7 Flight & Propulsion Hovering
Descent & Ascent
Acceleration & Relativity
Speed & Shock Waves
Wobble & Spin
Evidences of Power
Limits of Theory
Chapter 8 Pilots & Passengers Diminutives
Boots & Gloves
Chapter 9 Activities On Earth Collecting Samples
Summary on Landings
Attitudes Toward Humanity
Chapter 10 Some Concluding Remarks Appraising an Hypothesis
A Program Plan
For as God was the help of our reason to illuminate us, so should we likewise turn it every way, that we may be more capable of understanding His mysteries; provided only that the mind be enlarged, according to its capacity, to the grandeur of the mysteries, and not the mysteries contracted to the nar- rowness of the mind.
The fundamental fact confronting us is the existence of a large number of UFO sighting reports. Some of these reports may be fraudulent, but most investigators have concluded that the major ity are quite valid; that is, the witnesses themselves believed that they saw something real, external, artificial, and unusual. The primary aim of this book is to seek a satisfactory interpretation, or understanding, of these experiences.
On logical grounds it may be said that all possible explanations can be subdivided into two major categories, namely, A) physically real, manufactured objects that the witness could not relate to anything in his background, and B) something entirely different, such as obscure natural phenomena, hoaxes, or psychic projections. The possibility remains, of course, that the stimulus for a report of the first type was unique to a particular witness and could prove to be quite mundane to more knowledgeable and experienced people. The heart of the whole question, there fore, is whether or not there exists a subset of experiences in Category A that are unique and puzzling to mankind as a whole, including experts in every field. The majority of witnesses think so! This conviction is shared by most of the people who have diligently studied this subject. Contrary views are more popular among those who (a) feel that examination of the data would be undignified, (b) tend to reject any new concept out of hand, and (c) suspend judgment until irrefutable evidence is presented to them. Unfortunately, little progress in this perplexing field can be achieved while the mind is preoccupied with the issue of UFO existence. The reason for this dilemma is that while mentally coursing through the arguments pro and con, one's attention is deflected from discovery of more meaningful detail. The mind is then blocked from further enlightenment. Rational progress can be achieved only by setting such unwarranted skepticism aside, if only temporarily.
For the present purpose, the reader is requested to suspend his doubts and follow the argument that is developed in this book. Simply consider, for the moment, that UFOs are mechanical constructions that appear and behave in general accord with the accounts of the witnesses. Adopting this point of view cannot be harmful and may prove to be beneficial. As a working hypothesis, it will at least free the mind long enough to explore the available data. That alone is considered to be worthwhile. But its ultimate value can be assessed only upon completion of this book. At that time, we will recall that the reality of UFOs was merely assumed, as in a game, and not proven. One can then ask if this stratagem led to a more thorough, comprehensive understanding of the topic. Did it unravel some of the previous mysteries and reveal their true meaning in terms of scientific facts? Did it suggest some experiments in which new ideas may be tested? Affirmative answers to these questions will establish the value of the hypothesis. On the other hand, if the hypothesis fails to bear fruit, it must be uprooted like a barren tree and thrown out of the orchard. The importance of accepting the reports at face value can hardly be overemphasized. The reader should retain this new perspective throughout the book, otherwise he may become uneasy when some detail of a sighting is brought forth and discussed uncritically. Nowhere does the author attempt to prove the validity of sighting information, or even to evaluate it. The raw data are merely accepted without bias for the purpose of exploration. It is not necessary to believe the data in order to study it. Its truth or falsity will be considered only in the final appraisal.
A fundamental precept of science is the freedom enjoyed by the theorist in devising hypotheses. While hypotheses must accommodate confirmed facts, they need not be reasonable. In fact, major advances in science have been built upon hypotheses that seem to be wildly unreasonable. Even after earning a permanent position in scientific thought, they may yet appear to be quite arbitrary and at odds with reason. In searching for new truth, one simply can not forecast the form it will take. Therefore, justifying an hypothesis is not at all necessary. As a Concession to the reader, ample evidence is presented in Chapter 1 to illustrate why our hypothesis was selected. This data can be a helpful transition for the novice, but it may be skipped by the sophisticated reader who is familiar with it or who recognizes that it is logically extraneous.
The search for truth about UFOs is severely handicapped. First of all, a sighting experience cannot be reproduced in the laboratory. Neither can a UFO be captured for detailed examination. The time and location of future sightings cannot be predicted. Spontaneous sightings are so brief and widely scattered that experts and scientific instruments can not easily be brought to the scene in time to observe the action. Is further understanding, therefore, out of the question? Probably not. But this pursuit of knowledge involves a curious irony. Although the sighting re ports have been derided as "anecdotal records," they are the only source of information on the subject. This reservoir must obviously be tapped if further insights are to be developed. This collection of reports undoubtedly contains some examples from Category B. Some reports that appeared to be well documented have later been exposed as pranks. Such material has occasion ally been accepted uncritically, with adverse effects. -But most worldwide and issuing from diverse cultures. The common discard it. Excessive zeal in this screening process has probably deprived the investigators and the public of some valuable information. To avoid this problem and the corollary one of assessing each report, a different approach has been taken here. Reliance is placed, not so much upon the details of an individual report, as upon the correlations of many independent reports scattered world wide and issuing from diverse cultures. The common elements threading their way through a large number of reports take on the greatest meaning. Several scattered but similar reports afford the opportunity of picking up some detail from one, more from another, and so on, until a composite picture of a typical event can be drawn. The present analysis relies heavily upon these concepts, even at the risk of unwittingly including a few hoaxes, hallucinations, internal eye flashes or whatever. The total number of reports is so large that such contamination of the source material is unlikely to distort the general findings.
The full magnitude of the UFO phenomenon is not commonly realized. A casual observer may have noted a dozen or so newspaper accounts in about as many years. He may have accidentally seen a few magazine articles sandwiched between sensational treatments of hunting polar bears and searching for treasure in the steaming Amazon. He may know of a few books on the subject, but not read them. Newspaper comments on the Condon Report (also unread) have assured him that there was nothing of special interest in the subject. It may be somewhat shocking for him to learn that the average number of reported sightings since 1947 is greater than 200 per year. Over 1,000 sightings were reported in 1967. As these figures apply only to the United States and UFOs are a global problem, the number of sighting reports is substantial. The total is not known, but there is every indication that it is on the order of 500,000 or larger.
While an individual author can do no more than scratch the surface of this voluminous collection, the results of analysis need not be proportionately compromised. After all, the portrait of a tiger can be painted from an adequate number of descriptions, although no testimony is received from the hundreds of people that have been eaten by them. To avoid bias in selecting source materials, the investigation should depend upon catalogs of sightings that have been laboriously compiled by others. As discussed in Chapter 10, the present work is considered to be only a preliminary investigation that should eventually be repeated and extended on a much more comprehensive scale. It will suffice here to demonstrate a productive method of research by unveiling some new vistas of UFOs even if, at this stage, they are seen "through a glass, darkly."
The nature of the material itself and the anticipated retracing of the steps dictate the need for extensive citing of references. Other considerations also reinforce this choice. Information throughout the book falls into several categories that should be distinguished. Yet the continual use of qualifying language for this purpose would be very burdensome and tedious. Within the framework of the hypothesis that has been adopted, we will allow ourselves to say merely that such and such happened, whereas it is actually known only that it was reported. Under the circumstances, however, the reader is entitled to know where the information came from so that he can investigate a particular incident further. Much of the information herein comes with impeccable credentials from technical and scientific sources, which can be most helpful in verifying or expanding upon points that are made. Distinctions are sometimes needed between deductions in which the author has every confidence and extrapolations or hunches that have far less secure foundations. Occasional notes can help to keep these chickens and ducks in separate coops. References and comments have been numbered serially and assembled at the end of the book so that a quick referral can usually resolve any fleeting question.
A thorough investigation of UFOs cannot be arbitrarily confined to a few technical fields in which a particular author may be trained. It becomes necessary to follow the tracks of the elusive quarry wherever they may lead. As shall be seen later, they lead into many areas of technical specialty. It can hardly be expected that an author could be uniformly competent in all of them or that his treatment of these subjects would be free of error. It can only be hoped that the general findings are valid, that the various invasions into professional provinces are not offensive to the practitioners, and that their aid will be forthcoming to correct any deficiencies.
tive opinion or any opinion at all
for that matter about the reality.
of UFOs..........until after he has.....
- Stanton T. Friedman.
away. It did not. A quarter of a century passed and the situation did not change much. True, the Air Force finally tired of its mission and abandoned the chase. But the UFOs are still with us. The possibility that the witnesses may have been telling the truth is strongly suspected when a general uniformity of the reports is noticed. For example, one may be impressed that the same type of object was reported by, say, a French physician in 1954 and a Brazilian peasant in 1968. It is especially significant in such cases when a particularly bizarre detail is mentioned by both witnesses. One might suspect collusion, but this is usually extremely unlikely or completely impossible. As in this example, the Brazilian peasant may have been deprived of all communication beyond his own village and never heard of UFOs. It would have to be considered remarkable if his report echoed the content of another one from a distant land. Is there any way in which the trustworthiness of such reports can be established?
Reliability of Reports
The theoretical question of reliability became quite important during the years when intercontinental ballistic missiles were being developed. These weapons, implanted in underground silos in the western states, must remain on stand-by for long periods but they must always be operable. They are extremely complex mechanisms; consequently, many things can go wrong with them. The strategic posture of the United States is defined by the existence of these missiles plus the assurance that they would work if called upon. Every aspect of these weapons, from their control systems to their maintenance schedules, had to be planned to meet the stringent demands of reliability. This obligation fostered a new and powerful tool that is known as Reliability Theory. (1) This theory establishes the relationship between the performance of a complex system and its subsystems and components. If the reliability of the individual components is known, the theory may be employed to compute the reliability of the complete system. Conversely, if the required reliability of the.
.overall system is specified, the theory can be used to establish the requisite reliability of all the constituents. In the latter case, each element that goes into the system must be tested extensively to prove that it meets the prescribed standards. The mathematical statement of reliability is a single number from 0 to 1.0, similar to the scale of probability. Absolute reliability, represented by 1.0, is theoretically unattainable. This theory has been successfully applied to UFO reports. As with any complex system, the problem was first broken down into its finest elements. Such factors as the number of witnesses, their training in aerial observation, and the circumstances of the sighting were isolated. Details of the original documentation were accounted for with emphasis upon interviews of the witnesses and the professional qualifications of the interviewers. Finally, the quality of secondary reports that had been prepared from the original documents was assessed. Reliability Theory was then used to derive an equation expressing the reliability of a report. One hundred sixty (160) sightings from Japan, France, Venezuela, and the U.S.A. were selected and analysed. (2)
In 1961, a large, spherical object was observed by a famous television commentator and hundreds of other people. It hovered over the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, at two different altitudes before moving away rapidly to the south. It was apparently metallic with a steady green light on top and flashing red lights on the bottom. Just above its equator was a row of windows. The Reliability Index for this sighting turned out to be in excess of 0.999! In other words, one can be well assured that this incident took place according to the reports, although absolute certainty is ruled out. Even the structural details of UFOs, such as the windows in this instance, must be taken seriously when they are included in highly reliable reports.
Other interesting sightings whose Reliability Indices were also found to be greater than 0.999 are summarized below:
a. Bright light on shadowy object. Confirmed by radar. Scrambled jet fighter had radar lock-on. UFO broke into
.three pieces that all flew away. b. Rigid submarine-shaped cloud with metallic disc spiraling around it. Disc flew over a four mile area then returned to the "submarine."
c. Bright, cigar-shaped object with windows. Hovered then left rapidly. Emitted strong strands or fibers that evaporated upon touch and stained hands.
d. Ovoid, aluminum-colored object. Landed on a hill. Grass flattened in rough circle 60 ft in diameter. Moved as a white cloud with fuzzy edges.
e. Two convex, disc-shaped objects near a large balloon. Speed changes and extremely fast departure. Size estimated between 200 and 300 ft.
f. Night lights in rigid pattern. Approached, hovered, then flew away. Inferred size about 150 ft. No structure discernible but impression of metallic surface. Car could not catch it upon departure.
g. Bright glowing object proceeding over hills in undulatory path.
These examples are especially important because they are quite typical UFO reports. It would be difficult to dismiss these events or to interpret them in any way other than at face value.
One word of caution: A report is not proven to be fraudulent even though it may warrant a low Reliability Index. A single witness who is neither technically trained nor professionally involved in aerial observations would rank low on the reliability scale. Yet a sharp-eyed farmer from Pennsylvania would be perfectly capable of reporting a sighting with sincerity and accuracy. Consequently, all reports should be studied without prejudice, unless of course, a hoax or misinterpretation has been proven in a particular instance. Only on this basis can the maximum amount of information be brought to bear upon the perplexing problem of UFOs.
The general impression left by this activity was that all UFOs had been explained in terms of familiar things. But hardly anything could be further from the truth. According to Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, former head of Project Blue Book, a panel of distinguished scientists was convened in 1953 to consider, among other possibilities, if UFOs were interplanetary space craft. (5) By that time, an analysis of 1,593 sightings had been prepared for their examination. Considerable effort had been expended in attempts to determine what familiar entity might have stimulated each report. Many reports were definitely established as having been confused observations of airplanes, balloons, astronomical bodies, etc. Yet there remained 26.94%, or 429 cases, that were "Unknowns." If the stimulus for an observation could have reasonably been an airplane, the case was tagged as "Probable" airplane. If it were remotely possible that the witness could have been viewing an airplane, the case was tagged "Possible" airplane. Other interesting pigeon holes for parking hoary sightings were labeled "Psychological" and "Insufficient Data." The appellation "Unknown" did not mean that the object of the report had merely not been identified. Rather, it represented a definite conclusion that the object was unknown. While the above 429 cases were admitted to be unidentified, the actual number
Published data for subsequent years indicate that Blue Book handled several hundred reports each year, running from a low of 378 in 1959 to a high of 982 in 1957. (6)Their performance seemed to improve as the percentages of "Unknowns" fell from around 8-to-l0% in the early period down to about 2% in 1965. There were obviously so many arbitrary aspects to this numbers game that little meaningful information can be extracted from the tabulated results. It is clear, however, that the Air Force had its hands full of UFOs and officially said so.
Residue in Colorado
In the fall of 1966, an independent study of UFOs was undertaken by a staff of scientists at the University of Colorado under the direction of Dr. Edward U. Condon. This distinguished physicist had previously served the U.S. as head of the National Bureau of Standards and had been elected by his peers to the presidency of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Initial funding of about $260,000 for the project was eventually extended to over half a
In analyzing a famous sighting that occurred in McMinnville, Oregon, and the photographs taken by the witnesses, all the factors that were considered appeared "to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disc-shaped, tens of meters in diameter, and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two witnesses." (8) That sounds very similar to an ordinary UFO.
In another instance, a white, rapidly moving object was observed visually and confirmed simultaneously by air traffic control radars at two Air Force bases. A scrambled jet fighter, vectored to the object, reported a radar lock-on. The UFO circled behind the jet and stuck with it through evasive maneuvers. The Condon report devoted eight pages to evaluating this incident and concluded that ". . . the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears to be fairly high" (9) How interesting!
On still another occasion, one of three lights maneuvering over a school flew silently toward three women and an 11-year-old girl and stopped overhead at an altitude between 20 and 30 ft. It was described as a solid disc about the size of a car. That an unusual
Actually, no more than 25%of the cases studied by the Condon team were successfully identified. Here is another official pronouncement that indicates the existence of unknowns in stark contrast to the general impression that there are no such things. It should be observed that this study did not undertake a systematic examination of the many thousands of cases on record at Project Blue Book, nor the approximately 700 cases that had been at that time officially designated as "Unknowns."
Probably the most effective work in the UFO field has been conducted by unofficial, civilian organizations. Most notable among these are the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena of Washington, D.C., founded by Major Donald Keyhoe, and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization of Tucson, Arizona, founded by Coral and Jim Lorenzen. The number of cases of unexplained observations is enormous, and many of them have been well researched. It is estimated that the files of these organizations amount to 15,000 and 10,000 cases, respectively, with very limited overlap or duplication. Although publications issued by these organizations were reviewed during the Colorado study, these reservoirs of information on UFOs were not consulted.
One of the most prominent and respected individuals of long term association with UFOs is Dr. J. Allen Hynek. Dr. Hynek is a noted astronomer at Northwestern University and is in charge of
Springboard to Discovery
Some UFO reports have been found to be extremely reliable by methods that are technically sound and employed extensively in other fields. The Air Force, in effect, has been telling the public for many years that UFOs have been flying around in great numbers. This point was confirmed by an expensive, independent study conducted by scientists at the University of Colorado. Civilian groups have been collecting and investigating UFO reports by the tens of thousands and have written highly reputable books about them. A leading astronomer who has been professionally associated with the subject for 25 years found that his original attitude of scoffing at UFOs was gradually replaced by the conclusion, established by scientific means, that UFOs are real. It would seem that these factors lend a reasonable basis for adopting the reality of UFOs as a tentative perspective. If they are some strange kind of craft, a considerable amount of detail about them might be discovered by careful attention to what the witnesses have said.
and Technology, Vol II, p. 471, 1971.
2. Olsen, Thomas M., Editor, The Reference For Outstanding UFO Sighting Reports, UFO
information Retrieval Center, Inc., Riderwook, Maryland, November, 1966.
3. For example, a comprehensive history may be found in the following book although the author
apparently concluded that the golden era of UFOs had come to an end about 1970.
Flammonde, Paris, The Age of Flying Saucers, Notes on a Projected History of Unidentified
Flying Objects, Hawthorn, 1971.
4. In 1969, the American Association for the Advancement of Science resolved that the Blue
Book files should be preserved and forwarded a recommendation to that effect to the
Secretary of the Air Force.
5. Ruppelt, Edward J., The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Ace, p. 275 ff, 1956. It is
also enlightening to examine the formerly classified reports issued by Blue Book in United
States Air Force, Projects Grudge and Blue Book Reports 1-12,, assembled and republished
by National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, 1968.
6. The annual breakdown of Blue Book evaluations from 1953 through 1965 were tabulated in
Condon, Edward U., Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, p.521, Dutton, 1969.
7. Condon, Edward U., Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects. p.1, Dutton, 1969.
8. Condon, Edward U., Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects. p. 407, Dutton, 1969.
9. Condon, Edward U. ,Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, p. 265, Dutton, 1969.
10. Condon, Edward U., Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, p. 270, Dutton, 1969.
11. Hynek, J. Allen, The UFO Experience-A Scientific Inquiry, p. 179, Regnery, 1972.
12. Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Hynek, J. Allen, Statement to the Committee on
Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, p.4, U.S.
Government Printing Office. July 29, 1968.
13. Hynek, J. Allen, "Flying Saucers-Are They Real?" The Saturday Evening Post, December 17, 1966.
14. Hynek. J. Allen, "UFO's Merit Scientific Study," Letter to Science. 21, October, 1966.
15. Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Hynek, J. Allen, Statement to the Committee on
Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representa tives, Ninetieth Congress, p.14, U.S.
Government Printing Office, July 29, 1968.
16. Hynek, J. Allen, "The Earth, The Solar System, and the Cosmos;" Unidentified Flying
Objects, Session II: UFO Reports, Audiotape Program, 136th Meeting, American
Association for the Advancement of Science, December, 1969. Transcript published in
UFOs, A Scientific Debate, Sagan, C. and Page, T., Editors, Cornell University Press, 1972.
17. Hynek, J. Allen, The UFO Experience, A Scientific Inquiry, Regency, 1972. ----------------------------------------------
........ the scientific world at large is in for a shock when it becomes aware of the astonishingnature of the UFO phenomenon and its bewildering
- James E. McDonald
The belief that people are poor observers is widely held; they are easily mistaken about what they have seen, or they fail to notice details correctly. Experiments by psychologists, on the contrary, have shown that the inherent ability of people to absorb visual information is very great. Subjects in one experiment were shown 600 different pictures in rapid succession. Shortly thereafter they were able to identify new ones that had been added to the collection, with an average accuracy over 98%. Their score fell to only 92% when the test was delayed for one week. Not only is the power of visual recognition evidently quite strong for most people, their retention is also good, at least for short periods. In discussing UFO sightings before a Congressional Committee, a noted psychologist explained that, even in unexpected and stressful situations, ". . . the average witness often retains an accurate, almost photographic record of the event." (1) A person's recollection of an event can be recovered in considerable detail on the basis of recognition. The victim of a criminal attack, for example, may recognize his assailant in a line-up although he may be unable to describe him accurately. Similarly, the use of graded sketches of eyes, noses, and mouths permits a witness,
Nine large discs flying near Mt. Rainier, Washington, set off the modern hubbub about UFOs. They were sighted by businessman Kenneth Arnold from his own plane in June 1947. He estimated that they were 100 ft in diameter and traveling at least 1,200 miles per hour.(2) These objects resembled pie plates, but news paper accounts of "flying saucers" introduced a new expression into English. The term eventually became obsolete, however, as people began reporting objects with shapes very unlike saucers: the more generic term "unidentified flying objects" became more suitable.
Even a cursory examination of a file of sighting reports will impress the researcher that most of the objects appeared to be discs. Seldom will the descriptions be entirely clear, and some will admit alternative interpretations. An object described merely as "round" may have been a disc, but it may also have been a sphere, or a cylinder viewed from one end. An object may have appeared "oval shaped," while in reality it was only a disc that was tipped slightly off the line of vision. It is not always easy to establish the exact shape of the reported objects, nor even to select several categories of shapes that are mutually exclusive and free from ambiguity. At any rate, the disc-shaped UFO with a diameter about 10 times its thickness is almost universally accepted as standard. This point was raised in an Air Force report (3) as early as 1949, and it has been verified by several statistical studies. Because various and non-compatible categories were
The most important contribution of this last investigation is an organized disclosure of different types of UFOs within the general category of discs. One must be cautious here, for while the primary common feature is axial symmetry in the vertical direction, some of the shapes could easily be labeled something other than "disc." The researcher obtained 150 photographs of UFOs from which were culled those showing mere blobs of light devoid of any details. He then made sketches of the remaining 63 objects at the same scale, and suppressing all backgrounds, assembled the images in a single diagram. Rather than displaying a general uniformity or a clustering of a few types as would be expected, these sketches show a wide diversity of appearances.
One object had been photographed at different angles by the same witness. In a few other instances, the same type of UFO had apparently been photographed by different people at different places and times. Of special interest in this regard is a photograph taken at McMinnville, Oregon, in June 1950 that stumped the Condon staff. An almost identical object was photographed by a French military pilot near Rouen, France, in March 1954. Another pair of photographs also seem to depict the same type of object that is easily distinguishable from the McMinnville-Rouen pair. One of these pictures was taken near Rio de Janeiro in May,
Also included in the 63 diagrams were 7 instances in which hoaxes were suspected or had been proved. Setting these cases aside, along with the duplications above, still leaves a total of about 500 different UFO models in this general category. Variations of shape in this category that appear to be most common are:
a) Discs having one or both sides that are convex, thus resembling either a discus or
a lens, and
b) Discs with a dome on the top sometimes giving the appearance of a hat or a World
War I helmet.
A famous sighting that was carried by Project Blue Book as an "unknown" took place early one morning in the spring of 1966. While driving near Temple, Oklahoma, a man had to stop his car because a large object was blocking the highway. Its shape reminded him of the fuselage of a Douglas C-124 Globemaster. He could detect no appendages, such as wings, engines, or tail, although there was a transparent blister on the top. Its surface was very smooth. As the witness approached, the object rose into the air and departed at high speed. (7) During the summer of 1973, a similar object was observed from a distance of a city block as it hovered and maneuvered over Macon, Georgia. Five people described it as a "long tube" like a cigar, being larger than a light plane but smaller than a Boeing 727. (8) According to the previous statistical studies, these elongated UFOs apparently account for about 10% of all sightings. They have been aptly compared to airplane bodies as more explicit descriptions have indicated that they are rather blunt on one end but somewhat tapered on the other.
Throughout the spring of 1973, hundreds of sightings were reported in southern Missouri. Notices of this activity were
Near the end of the war in Vietnam a spherical object with a luminous, orange glow was sighted at high altitude over Hanoi where it remained nearly stationary for about an hour and a half. Thinking that some kind of air raid was imminent, the North Vietnamese fired three anti-aircraft missiles at it. They were completely ineffective, however, as none could reach the extreme altitude of the spherical UFO. (11)
These two examples will illustrate the dozens of reports of this relatively common type. They seem to be most often perfectly spherical but some variations occur, as follows:
a) Flattened spheres or spheroids, and
b) Spheres with a flange around the equator like the rings of Saturn.
Witnesses have used a wide assortment of words and comparisons in describing UFOs. While some of them may be synonyms for the major types discussed above, it appears that many are not. Because some of the more odd-ball expressions have been used several times in widely scattered sightings, the descriptions are more likely to be valid than mere bumbling attempts at communication. Typical, but rarely occurring, examples are:
football, water tank, dumbbell, plates rim-to-rim, oval, mushroom, egg, toy top, diamond, parachute, cone, cushion,
hamburger sandwich, lampshade.
Assuming that a few of these allusions are moderately accurate leads to a proliferation of UFO models that begins to stretch the imagination. But that discomfort is an inadequate basis for discounting the record. A native boy, suddenly transported from the familiar bush of his homeland to a freeway in Los Angeles, would be amazed at the diversity of vehicles passing by. He might quickly realize that part of the reason was related to their different purposes. He could see that the size of the load was important, pickup trucks and huge trailer rigs being used to haul different amounts of freight. Similarly for the number of passengers carried by sports cars versus buses. Much less obvious to him would be the very important influence of competition among the manufacturers and personal preference of the buyers concerning economy, image, and convenience. This little allegory cannot explain the multiplicity of UFO types. It should serve, however, to prevent a setback in an investigation proven to be uncomfortably complex. It is known, at least, that highly specialized vehicles may display weird configurations. Consider the Lunar Excursion Module. It is designed exclusively to lower two men gently onto the surface of the moon and lift them back into lunar orbit for a rendezvous with a companion vehicle. Major determinants of its design are the need to fly in a vacuum and a gravitational field that is only one-sixth that on earth. By its ungainly aspect it mimics a giant insect much better than a proper spacecraft.
Another old bugbear has plagued the study of UFOs: theoretically, the size of an unknown object flying through the sky at a
One would expect the conventional methods of statistics to be most helpful in analyzing the size data. By separating cases involving only discs, for example, one should discover estimated sizes clustering about the actual dimensions of several different models. But that has not been the author's experience. The data simply display no such tendency. Contamination of the sample is suspected to be the cause of this difficulty, namely, unwitting inclusion of various types of UFOs within a particular classification. In addition, people are known to be rather poor at estimating dimensions.
The diameters of discs, nevertheless, have been estimated to cover the enormous range from about 2 ft to 300 ft. Familiar objects with corresponding dimensions would be a large serving tray and a football field. But let there be no mistake here, several different models of UFOs are involved and this disparity has nothing to do with human error. Other shapes have also been estimated at various sizes:
|Shape||Dimension (feet)||Range Of Size (feet)|
|Cylinder||length||12 to 210|
|Egg||length||9 to 75|
|Sphere||diameter||6 to 21|
Perhaps this situation would come into sharper focus with a large-scale analysis of the data using a computer. For the present, one can only depend upon the most reliable estimates made at close range and a general acquaintance with the literature. References are regrettably omitted here because of the prodigious scale of the data-retrieval problem. The primary UFO types appear to be:
Spheres and discs between 1- and 3-ft diameter that are almost certainly sensing devices, either preprogrammed or remotely controlled. They have been seen to emerge from standard craft, fly around for extended periods, then return for pick up. The kind of measurements that they take can only be guessed.
Three principal types eventually belong to this group;
a) An egg-shaped machine about 6- to 8-ft long that flies with the long axis vertical, comparable in size to a compact sedan.
b) An elongated cylinder without external appendages that flies in the direction of its axis, comparable in size to the body of a jet fighter.
c) A spherical object about 15 ft in diameter.
This group, accounting for about half the sightings is dominated by the basic disc with numerous variations. Most common size is about 25- to 35-ft diameter.
Several different types. Most frequently reported is a disc about 100 ft diameter. An
even larger one, several stories tall inside, probably has a diameter between 250- and
300-ft. A large cigar-shaped craft should also be included here. CARRIER:
Seen only at very high altitude is a gigantic, cigar-shaped machine that is probably twice
as large as an aircraft carrier and, perhaps, as much as 1 mile in length. Smaller craft have
been seen to be discharged from them in large numbers.
Usually, the exterior surface of UFOs is reported to be extremely smooth. Many witnesses have commented upon this aspect, expressing surprise that they were unable to detect any line of adjoining plates on the surface or any rivets. In a few instances, a door has been seen to open in the side where the witness could not detect an outline before it started to move. Also, upon closing, the line demarking the door opening could no longer be discerned, although the witness was only a few feet away. (12) This characteristic of the surface may be related to electrical conduction in the skin as explored in a later chapter.
The exterior surface is not normally broken by any kind of structural feature although openings have been observed in great numbers. In a study of 50 such cases, openings were shown to be usually round or rectangular but sometimes of irregular shape. Their arrangement occurred in different patterns on different types of UFOs. (13) These windows seem to be most common on the fuselage-shaped vehicles,. usually being dispersed in a single row of 4 or 5 along the side. The number, shape, and location of windows seems to vary considerably on other types. A thorough study of this detail should help to delineate specific UFO models, but again, this task would be too cumbersome without a computer.
The literature is full of accounts of other structural elements such as landing gear, stairways, balustrades, and antennas. More than once, people have looked in the windows of landed vehicles to discover chairs, benches, tables, lights, and control consoles. Others have gone inside. This very important area should receive much more attention than it has in the past.
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena," Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Hearings
before the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives,
Ninetieth Congress, Second Edition, p.226, U.S. Government Printing office, July 29, 1968.
2. Keyhoe, Donald E., Flying Saucers From Outer Space, p.31, Holt, 1953.
3. Project Grudge Report No. l02-AC-49/15-lOO, U.S. Air Force, 1949, quoted in Hall,
Richard H., Editor, The UFO Evidence, p.143, National Investigations Committee on Aerial
4. Hall, Richard H., Editor, The UFO Evidence, p.143, National Investigations Committee on
Aerial Phenomena, 1964.
5. Data extracted from case summaries in Vallee, Jacques, Passport to Magonia, p.273 ff,
Regnery, 1969. Considering synonyms as indicated by the "equal" marks, the selected
categories and the number of instances assigned to them were:
* Disc round 31
Egg = oval 7
Cylinder = cigar = elongated = fuselage 13
Hemisphere = dome = helmet 5
* Plate = saucer 5
* Lip-to-lip dishes 4
* These categories were all considered to be discs.6. Shepard, Roger N., "Some Psychological Techniques For The Scientific Investigation of
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena," Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, Hearings before
the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth
Congress, Second Edition, p.232, U.S. Government Printing Office, July 29, 1968.
7. Complete Directory of UFOs, An illustrated History of Unexplained Sightings From Project
Blue Book, The Official Guide to UFOs, p.47, Science and Mechanics Publishing Company,
8. Personal communication.
9. Missouri UFO Still on the Scene, UFO Investigator, p. 2, National Investigations Committee
on Aerial Phenomena, May, 1973.
10. Hewes, Hayden C., Earthprobe, published by International UFO Bureau, P.O. Box 1281,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73101, 1973.
11. San Francisco Chronicle, September 30, 1972.
12. Vallee, Jacques, Passport To Magonia, p.24, Regnery, 1969.
13. Hall, Richard E., Editor, The UFO Evidence, p.145., National Investigations Committee on
Aerial Phenomena, 1964.
14. Vallee, Jacques, Passport to Magonia, Appendix Cases 644, 812, and 902, Regnery, 1969.