Monday, June 26, 2017

"Disclosure" Mania Flares Up Again

As most of us know, that strange subculture called "UFOlogy" has its own peculiar madness concerning a belief called "Disclosure": the belief that governments (especially the U.S. government) have long secretly known about extraterrestrials - perhaps have even been communicating or cooperating with aliens - but have kept it top secret. And that supposed "secrecy" is about to end. This is the equivalent in the UFO religion (for that's what it is to many people) of the "Second Coming" of Jesus in the Christian religion: a joyous event eagerly anticipated for over two thousand years, but hasn't happened yet.

The latest instance of Disclosure Mania purports to come from the hacker group Anonymous, best known for its attacks on Scientology. It is a mishmash of irrelevant quotes from NASA having nothing to do with discovery of ETs, hoax UFO photos, and general stupidity of the highest order. Watch it, and weep.


This was reported by Newsweek the Russian news site RT.com, and the British tabloid paper The Sun. But was this video really issued by the famous hacker collective Anonymous? Patrick Donohugh writing in Squawker says it's "fake":
 there’s just one small problem: NASA wasn’t hacked, and Anonymous Global isn’t Anonymous.

That’s right. This breaking news flash, urgently recycled and regurgitated throughout many respected realms of cyberspace, is based entirely on a bogus claim from an opportunistic Youtuber that has shamelessly commercialized the likeness of Anonymous – the true heroes of hacktivism.

But what’s even worse is that no one even seemed to notice.

In fact, everything that Anonymous Global “reveals” is actually based on public information. That is to say, the extent of this supposed ‘NASA hack’ is limited to openly accessible, non-classified data that anyone can find simply by browsing the web.

Exactly.

Simultaneously, there is a frenzy surrounding the forthcoming MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas July 21-23. A lot of this surrounds 94-year-old William Tompkins, who has been telling his rambling stories about Reptoids, Nordics, Nazi saucers, and similar nonsense to pretty much anyone who will listen.  A speaker at the July Symposium, Tompkins is set to "reveal 60 years of secrets on the Secret Space Program." Talking with some of the MUFON folks, it appears that all kinds of  rumors are swirling around concerning what kinds of UFO revelations (supposedly) will happen in conjunction with the 2017 Symposium. Supposedly there will be some huge, worldwide Disclosure event, backed by big money. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.


Meanwhile, rocker Tom DeLonge continues to post meaningless stuff on Facebook, stringing people along who are breathlessly waiting to hear the UFO Disclosure announcement that he promised in "sixtyish" days on February 15. It has now been more than onehundredtwentyish days since that promise, twice sixtyish days, with nothing tangible in sight.

Grant Cameron, who has long been peddling stories about "presidents and UFOs," has a new book available on Amazon.com titled Managing Magic: The Government's UFO Disclosure Plan. It promises we can
-Get a revelation of the 14 magicians in charge of this secrecy.
- Find out who the 5 Messiahs are, the ones chosen to carry out the disclosure message. 
- Learn the 64 reasons that led United States presidents to keep the UFO information secret. 
- Discover what WikiLeaks has revealed about UFOs. 
- Learn of the latest disclosure effort by rocker Tom DeLonge. 
-Become aware of a US president that was abducted. 
- Understand the story of "Trump the Aliens." 
- Gain insight on Trump's UFO briefing. 
- Learn about the eight possible disclosure efforts being run at the present time including the disclosure of a portal.
Real estate investor Robert Bigelow is the head of Bigelow Aerospace, a company developing inflatable space modules for NASA to launch into space. For more than twenty years, Bigelow has contributed significant sums of money for investigation of UFO and "paranormal" claims, and thus is well-known as  a UFO proponent. Some people found tremendous significance when, as Bigelow was recently interviewed by CBS' 60 Minutes about his laudable aerospace ventures, he repeated his long-held UFO beliefs:
Lara Logan (CBS): Do you believe in aliens?

Robert Bigelow: I'm absolutely convinced. That's all there is to it.

Lara Logan: Do you also believe that UFOs have come to Earth?

Robert Bigelow: There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence. And I spent millions and millions and millions -- I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject. 

Lara Logan: Is it risky for you to say in public that you believe in UFOs and aliens?

Robert Bigelow: I don't give a damn. I don't care.

Lara Logan: You don't worry that some people will say, "Did you hear that guy, he sounds like he's crazy"?

Robert Bigelow: I don't care.

Lara Logan: Why not?

Robert Bigelow: It's not gonna make a difference. It's not gonna change reality of what I know.

Lara Logan: Do you imagine that in our space travels we will encounter other forms of intelligent life?

Robert Bigelow: You don't have to go anywhere.

Lara Logan: You can find it here? Where exactly?

Robert Bigelow: It's just like right under people's noses. Oh my gosh. Wow.
Many UFO proponents found great significance in this. Coast to Coast radio said, "The tantalizing exchange and the serious nature with which it was presented was remarkable for a primetime program on national television, especially the venerable 60 Minutes." But Bigelow was simply re-stating his well-known personal beliefs about UFOs, said nothing new, and presented no evidence of any kind.

The one and only full-time lobbyist for Extraterrestrials and Disclosure, Stephen Bassett of the Paradigm Research Group, went to Russia in May to talk about Disclosure. He is now suggesting that Russian president Vladimir Putin may be the first world leader to disclose extraterrestrials, beating the U.S. government in the new space race, the one for UFO Disclosure. Bassett was the organizer of the farcical "Citizens Hearing" on UFOs at the National Press Club in Washington, DC in 2013. Intended to raise public awareness of, and interest in, UFOs, it didn't accomplish much. In fact, according to the website Parapolitical, "Google Trends actually recorded a decrease in online interest in the term “UFO” during the carnival."

Previous Episodes of "Disclosure" Mania 

    “Before the year is out, the Government perhaps the President—is expected to make what are described as 'unsettling disclosures' about UFOs” - U.S. News & World Report, April 18, 1977.

    “Aliens... will begin trans­mitting their secrets to us no later than August, 1977” - Jeane Dixon, 1976.

    “We predict that by 1975 the government will release definite proof that extraterrestrials are watching us.” - Ralph and Judy Blum, in Beyond Earth: Man's Contact with UFOs (1974).

    “The time is getting near when the U.S. Air Force will have to end its longstanding tactic of concealment.” - Syndicated columnist Roscoe Drum­mond, 1974.

    “FLYING SAUCERS—THE REAL STORY: U.S. BUILT FIRST ONE IN 1942. Jet-propelled disks can outfly other planes ... By choosing which [jet] noz­zles to turn on or off and the angle of tilt, the pilot could make the saucer rise or descend vertically, hover, or fly straight ahead, or make sharp turns… a big advance in the science of flying... No official announcements are being made yet, but about the only big secret left is "who makes them." Evidence points to Navy experiments... ” - News “scoop” in U.S. News & World Report, April 7, 1950.
Believe it if you can.

 
I promise, we really will have Disclosure this time!


Monday, June 19, 2017

In Search Of "Progress" in UFOlogy - At the End of the Road?


Every so often, a cry goes out from some well-known UFOlogist about the lack of "progress" in UFOlogy. The cry is often echoed by others, typically with great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Solutions are proposed, but ultimately nothing changes.

Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
As those of you who follow the UFO Blogs and postings already know, the most recent cry of this kind comes from the Spanish UFOlogist Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos. Olmos has been researching UFOs for fifty years now, and since the year 2000 has been concentrating his efforts on FOTOCAT, a world-wide catalog of UFO photo events. Many researchers have assisted with this collection, myself included.  Olmos is well-respected among UFO Realists (those who attempt to adhere to facts (more or less) in investigating UFOs, as opposed to the Unrealists who are always ready to believe exciting UFO stories with little or no proof). In Jacques Vallee's autobiographical Forbidden Science (Volume 2), he mentions in an entry for 1970 that he has been corresponding regularly with Olmos concerning reported Spanish landing cases. In fact, Vallee mentions Olmos several times in that volume. You won't find anyone with better UFO street cred than that.

In his Blog posting of June 9, Olmos wrote,

Case after case, when duly documented and analyzed, is demolished or downgraded. Every day that goes by, we hear of another classic UFO case long considered uncanny and insoluble, now probed and found to have an ordinary, conventional cause.... Advanced imaging systems aboard military aircraft are available today in such numbers that one could expect that UFO images would be recorded frequently, if UFOs appeared in the atmosphere with the regularity some reports suggest. The bare truth is that the evidence of anything exceptional or singular recorded with such powerful means is extremely poor or non-existent...
Ufology not only fails to advance, it is a vicious circle. Today we see UFO news publicized on the internet with the same old images of lens flares or aircraft contrails that seemed strange in the 1950s. Because there are no academic or authoritative criteria universally accepted, and no hard evidence that exists as a certainty, past mistakes recur over and over. Ufology is immersed in a loop that never ends
His posting is long and very thoughtful, and painfully honest. I recommend that you read it very carefully, in its entirely. Olmos concludes:

Let me be perfectly clear: the UFO phenomenon holds transcendent significance only insofar as it results from extraterrestrial life visiting the Earth. It is this possibility that made the ETT popular and compelling from the start. But I fear that 70 years of air incidents, close encounters, radar returns, photos and videos and other seemingly astonishing experiences do not sum up to proof that such visits have taken place. 
This conclusion, coming from a man who has been at the forefront of UFO research for fifty years, is devastating. He follows it up with a piece by his colleague Thomas E. "Eddie" Bullard, professor emeritus of folklore at the University of Indiana. Frankly, this piece surprised me at least a little. I have met Bullard several times at different UFO conferences (I have corresponded with Olmos, but never met him), and came away with the impression of Bullard as a True Believer in the UFO Abduction Phenomenon, as taught by Hopkins-Jacobs-Mack: we have done the studies, we have the evidence, alien abductions are established fact. He participated in the Encounters at Indian Head conference ("Betty Hill's Last Hurrah") in 2000, where he suggested that the Hills' close encounter and abduction narrative were probably based on real events. 
Eddie Bullard (left) and the late Hilary Evans chat with the late Betty Hill in 2000. On the right is "junior," Betty's supposed UFO abductor, as sculpted by Marjorie Fish.

It was Bullard who established the eight "elements" of UFO abductions, a general guideline that would supposedly help sort out 'authentic' alien abduction experiences from delusions.
 
1. Capture. The abductee is forcibly taken from terrestrial surroundings to an apparent alien space craft. 
2. Examination. Invasive medical or scientific procedures are performed on the abductee.
3. Conference. The abductors speak to the abductee.
4. Tour. The abductees are given a tour of their captors' vessel.
5. Loss of Time. Abductees rapidly forget the majority of their experience.
6. Return. The abductees are returned to earth. Occasionally in a different location from where they were allegedly taken or with new injuries or disheveled clothing.
7. Theophany. The abductee has a profound mystical experience, accompanied by a feeling of oneness with God or the universe.
8. Aftermath. The abductee must cope with the psychological, physical, and social effects of the experience.

These "elements" were taken seriously for a time, but received a serious blow when Martin Kottmeyer showed that only one account in Bullard's "abduction" catalog has a greater number of  correctly-ordered "elements" than the fictional alien abduction by the Tiger Men of Mars in a 1930 Buck Rogers comic strip. Kottmeyer attributes this to the "elements" being what is requisite for good storytelling.

I was surprised to see Bullard "backtracking." In his piece accompanying Olmos' posting, Bullard writes that Olmos' words

serve as an obituary for a failed quest.  I do not want to hear that we have tilted at windmills for decades, but sadly, I have to agree with most of what he says.

As might be expected, this double whammy from Olmos and Bullard has gotten a lot of attention from serious students of UFOs. Chris Rutkowski, who for decades has been collecting and evaluating UFO reports in Canada much as Olmos has been in Spain, wrote in the Facebook group UFO Updates, "He's right." Researcher Curt Collins, blogger at Blue Blurry Lines, wrote "Wow, that's a brutally honest assessment."

My Two Cents

UFOlogy cannot become a science, because it has no real data that it can study. Of course there are accounts from "reliable witnesses," but it has become increasingly evident in recent years that "reliable witnesses" often aren't. So there is nothing truly solid on which to base any theories about a supposed UFO phenomenon, separate and distinct from other known phenomena. Given the inherent fallibility of human eyewitness testimony, the real question should be: how often should we expect to find seemingly credible and extraordinary UFO accounts, even in the absence of any extraordinary stimulus? UFOlogists assume that the answer is "zero," which is obviously wrong.

This was the argument I made to Dr. J. Allen Hynek when I was his student at Northwestern. He didn't agree. Hynek was finishing up his first UFO book. It became The UFO Experience, a book famous for creating the three different kinds of "close encounters." Hynek had been sending the manuscript around to his UFOlogical colleagues, like Jacques Vallee and Fred Beckmann. Once while we were discussing matters UFOlogical, Hynek offered to let me read one chapter, Chapter 8 ("Close Encounters of the First Kind"). I wrote a three-page letter in response to that chapter, one leading the the inclusion of a note in his book  in Chapter 4, to answer my uncredited comments:
Many critics maintain that all UFO reports are garbage. Since a large portion of the original, unfiltered reports are clearly the result of misperception, critics say that investigation in depth would reveal that the entire body of UFO phenomena can be so characterized. Such arguments assume that all UFO reports belong to the same statistical population and that the deviants, the truly interesting UFO reports, are merely extremes in that population. One might with equal justice say while plotting the variation in sizes of oranges that watermelons are merely the tail end of the distribution curve of the sizes of oranges. (Footnote, The UFO Experience, p. 27)
One might indeed say that when one does not know whether watermelons are a distinct category from the oranges, and thus cannot exclude the possibility that they are measurement errors of oranges.

One can often find seeming patterns in random noise, but such correlations always disappear with time (like a gambler's "lucky streak"). UFO old-timers might remember the "pattern" that David Saunders thought he recognized, suggesting in 1971 that waves of UFO sightings repeat about every 61 months, and seem to move eastward by about 30 degrees of longitude. That "pattern" has fizzled out quite completely.

What Olmos is saying is that the traditional approach to serious UFO research - what might be called the Hynekian paradigm - investigating reports from credible individuals, investigating alleged physical effects, photos, and videos - has reached a complete dead end. And nobody (thus far) has mounted a vigorous defense to try to prove him wrong.

But this grudging admission will have no effect whatsoever on what is sometimes called "Retail UFOlogy," the large number of Unrealist consumers of UFO materials and those who pander to them for fun and profit. Most of those people probably have no idea who Olmos or Bullard are. Instead they eagerly devour high-octane UFO and alien stories from the likes of Steven Greer, David Wilcock, George Noory, etc., and find them highly interesting.

Philip J. Klass
In our discussion of the lack of "progress" in UFOlogy, it is appropriate to close with a look at Phil Klass' UFO Curse. In a moment of great benificence, the late super-skeptic Philip J. Klass bequeathed
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF PHILIP J. KLASS
To ufologists who publicly criticize me, ... or who even think unkind thoughts about me in private, I do hereby leave and bequeath:

THE UFO CURSE:
No matter how long you live, you will never know any more about UFOs than you know today. You will never know any more about what UFOs really are, or where they come from. You will never know any more about what the U.S. Government really knows about UFOs than you know today. As you lie on your own death-bed you will be as mystified about UFOs as you are today. And you will remember this curse.

Another way of looking at Olmos and others'  admissions of UFOlogical defeat is that they have run into, and recognized, the fundamental limits to our UFO knowledge set by Klass' UFO Curse.


Monday, May 22, 2017

William Tompkins Reveals Reptilians, Nordics, Nazi Saucers, and Much More

On May 21, 2017, William Tompkins spoke to San Diego MUFON, promising to disclose even more dramatic UFO secrets that are not in his book. Actually this was the third time Tompkins has spoken to that group in the past year or two. I didn't write about the previous times because I felt Tompkins was too marginal a figure, and his book Selected by Extraterrestrials too insignificant to even bother discussing. But Tompkins will be a speaker at MUFON's International Symposium in Las Vegas in July. He is strongly endorsed by Dr. Michael Salla of Exopolitics.org (Salla is also a speaker at the upcoming MUFON Symposium), and Tompkins'  highly loopy book is doing quite well on Amazon, its Kindle edition coming in at number 7 in UFOs. So I suppose we must acknowledge Tompkins as a significant figure in today's UFOology.

William Tompkins speaks to San Diego MUFON
A former US Navy Intelligence operative and aerospace engineer, William Tompkins, has revealed that U.S. Navy spies embedded within Nazi Germany’s advanced technology projects during the World War II had learned that the Nazi war effort was being assisted by extraterrestrial visitors. The spies had reported to a covert Naval Intelligence operation, located at Naval Air Station San Diego, that Adolf Hitler had signed a secret agreement with representatives of a Reptilian extraterrestrial race.

In an ExoNews TV interview, Tompkins reveals how “Reptilian consultants” were helping the Nazi SS develop advanced aerospace technologies:
They had, if you want to call them, “consultants”, who are Reptilian consultants assisting on all of these different things that it takes to design and build these spacecraft carriers, and propulsion systems. So this is an extremely well developed program and documented like crazy. Getting copies of the documents was hard for them, hard for our spies. This was an open program in the upper level of the SS.

The spies learned that the goal of the Reptilian plan was not only to assist the Nazis to win the war and achieve planetary conquest, but to build fleets of antigravity spacecraft carriers that could be used for interplanetary conquest in other star systems:
Holy cats the thing went way beyond that [world conquest]. Again, what we just said about this was the tip of the iceberg of what they were doing. Already Reptilians were doing it to other stars’ planets all over this area of the Galaxy.
According to Tompkins, eight giant earth-built spaceships of Solar Warden patrol our solar system, and beyond: a "secret space program."

















Tompkins arrived almost a full hour late for his scheduled talk, forcing MUFON hosts to improvise a discussion about him. We learned that the secretaries who worked for him in Top Secret UFO projects were in fact Nordic aliens, and very beautiful. When Tompkins finally arrived, he was amazingly spry for a man of 94, standing for an hour and speaking without amplification (albeit softly). Tompkins began with the so-called "Battle of Los Angeles" in February, 1942, which he claims to have witnessed in Long Beach. But unlike other observers who saw only one object, or a few, Tompkins claimed that there were 3,000 UFOs filling the skies. The Navy's Pacific fleet was anchored in Long Beach, as was its hastily-displaced Atlantic fleet. The Navy ships used up all of their ammunition trying to bring down these UFOs. Two were shot down, but he didn't know what happened with them. Other amazing "facts" shared by Tompkins were:

  • Every single war in human history, he explained, has been instigated by Reptilians, who have mind-controlled humans for 6,000 years. (The Reptilians are Bad Guys, while the Nordic aliens are Good Guys.)
  • Hollywood has been mind-controlling people for decades, using subliminal messages.
  • Some of the manuals delivered to those working on secret UFO programs were written in Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • He is a Remote Viewer. There are 28 different ways to Remote View. He has gone outside the galaxy using RV.
  • The Reptilians gave Nazi Germany a small fleet of UFOs, ready to fly, to help the Nazis conquer the world. However, the Nazis tried to attach weapons to them, and thus could not get them to fly correctly. 
  • The Germans found Noah's Ark, took photos of it inside and out. In fact, there have been 15 global floods like Noah's flood.
A few MUFON members challenged some of Tompkins' more obviously bogus statements, for example, "subliminal messages" have been extensively researched and found not to work. In each case, he would be unperturbed and just launch off into some other made-up nonsense, ignoring the question. On the whole, most of the audience seemed to take Tompkins' ramblings seriously.

No doubt many of these same claims will be repeated by Tompkins at this year's MUFON Symposium, whose theme is "The Case for a Secret Space Program." The title of his talk is, “What I learned in the Navy and How it’s still Secret Today.”  Tompkins is also participating in a "Private Speaker Panel" along with Michael Salla, Corey Goode, Richard Dolan, and Andrew Basiago. It requires a separate admission fee of  $39. The title of Michael Salla's talk is “The US Navy’s Secret Space Program and Nordic Extraterrestrial Alliance." Andrew Basiago is the guy who claims he was secretly teleported to Mars, along with the young Barack Obama. The title of Basiago's talk is “Destination MARS: The hidden history of the CIA’s Mars Jump Room Program.”

MUFON claims to be dedicated to "the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity." But in light of the above, how can they possibly call their organization "scientific"? MUFON's executive Director Jan Harzan was recently interviewed by Kenvin Randle. Harzan spoke about balancing the needs of the organization vs. fidelity to sources and scientific accuracy. In other words,  MUFON needs to be kooky enough to keep the "unrealists" interested, while being credible enough to keep the "realists" from jumping ship. A very difficult balance!




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tom DeLonge's "Sixtyish" Days to UFO Disclosure Become "Ninetyish"


Rocker Tom DeLonge, formerly of the band Blink 182, has been grabbing a lot of attention of late with his claims to be on the verge of releasing dramatic new 'UFO disclosures' that he has supposedly finagled out of highly-placed government and military officials.

Because of the buzz this has created among true-believing conspiracy UFOlogists, this year The International UFO Congress awarded DeLonge its "UFO researcher of the year" award. He was not present at the UFO Congress, but submitted a video of his acceptance of the award. Since DeLonge hasn't yet actually published any research, this year's award was something of a "Hail Mary pass," given in hopes that he will follow through with his exciting claims, and release something important. Of course, experienced UFOlogists know that the history of UFOlogy is littered with the busted claims of those who claim to possess, or to know about, dramatic UFO proof that will be released soon - but it never is.

In the video below, which was shown at the UFO Congress on the evening of February 15, 2017, DeLonge is described as "seeking to expose a vast UFO coverup within the government." He is said to have based his recent fiction book Sekret Machines, Book I (there is more to follow!) on "information fed to him by government insiders" concerning reverse-engineering of alien technology. He claims to have been authorized to say that he used "sources withing the aerospace industry and the Department of Defense and NASA."
Video of DeLonge's award presentation, and his acceptance of it.

DeLonge's credibility got a big boost last year when Wikileaks released a collection of emails from John Podesta, a Washington insider who was then the director of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. Podesta is well-known to be a UFO believer, and all that the emails prove is that Podesta and DeLonge share common UFO beliefs. The most significant matter in the emails concerns a meeting set up on Google Hangout by John Podesta between DeLonge and Rob Weiss, executive VP of the Lockheed Skunk works, Major general William N. McCasland, commander of USAF laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Major General (retired) Michael Cary, special assistant to the Commander, Air Force Space Command, at Patterson Air Force Base. We don't know what was said during this virtual meeting. We also don't know if these important people participated because of their interest in UFOs, or if they did it as a favor to Podesta. After all, everybody "knew" it was inevitable that Hillary Clinton would be elected president, and Podesta would be an extremely important man in Washington. DeLonge later said that McCasland claimed to possess a recovered alien body, but McCasland has not confirmed this himself.

In his acceptance video DeLonge explained to the UFO Congress,
I've spent twenty years up all night reading about Roswell, Dulce, Serpo, Churchill, the crashes here, Nazis building craft there, in Antarctica, and what's on Mars, and what's on the back of the moon and structures and anomalies and this, I mean I've done it all! I read all the same authors as you guys, hundreds of books...
 I'm into some serious shit. I'm making really good progress. I can't tell you what I'm about to announce... There's going to be an announcement in like the next sixty-ish days...
The UFO claims he cites are highly questionable ones, and suggest that DeLonge does not understand the meaning of "critical thinking." He seems to believe every wild UFO claim he hears.

Sixty days from February 15 would make April 16 DeLong's approximate target date for his grand announcement. May 16 marked 90 days, and counting. DeLong closed with the warning that his Grand Announcement might not seem like much to the uninitiated.
I need you all to look really really closely at the announcement, and I need you to be a part of it. Because what the announcement is about is so much more than it will look like on the surface, and I need you guys to come along for the ride... I want you as an educated group of people to read between the lines, and look at the history of what I've been doing over the last couple years."

So the real question is, how credible is DeLonge's account of these developments? While the above carefully-prepared video was obviously crafted to make DeLonge look as believable as possible, other videos show DeLonge rambling on rather incoherently about UFO conspiracies and the Monuments on Mars. It is difficult to believe that any serious government official would rely on this guy to release dramatic, world-shaking secrets, especially since DeLonge has openly talked about being on drugs.

Does this guy sound like somebody the government would trust with highly-classified information?

On April 2, DeLonge posted to Facebook, "Pay attention to the announcement that is still coming, but sit tight- it will take a few more weeks."

On April 23, he posted "Big things coming soon. We are running a few weeks behind schedule, but I believe it will be worth it. Been working on this for over a year and it wasn't easy, so please bear with me..."

Tom DeLonge's little store in Encinitas, CA, a trendy beach town just north of San Diego.
In between a few postings like these, DeLong has been posting a steady stream of minutiae, like where he went or what he ate. And also a stream of advertising to benefit his business To The Stars. On May 2, DeLonge posted this transparent merchandising pitch to Facebook, "Since it is our anniversary month, we are doing a special #iwenttothestars contest! This month's winner will win this signed guitar. To enter, all you have to do is post a pic of your TTS merch or media and tag us and #iwenttothestars."

To The Stars! is filled with "unique" merchandise - all his own stuff
 Some people suspect that DeLonge's real motive behind these extraordinary claims is to lure people into his planned publishing and entertainment empire of books and motion pictures. There is good evidence to suggest that the Gonzo Marketing explanation is correct. Mother Jones interviewed DeLonge in its issue of March 21, 2017.

DeLonge describes To the Stars as an "independent multi-media entertainment company"  ......

MJ: The Sekret Machines franchise comprises three novels, three nonfiction books, a TV show, and a movie, right?

TD: Yeah. It will go on for a very long time—most likely it won't be restricted to only three novels or three nonfiction books. It will be multiple nonfiction books, multiple historical fiction novels, multiple major feature films, and multiple documentaries. That's the goal. It will take us many years to do all that, but it's something or multiple things happening every year in regards to that architecture. Think of it like the way they do Star Wars or Marvel films. It's an entertain-and-educate model.
In other words, DeLonge's plan is to set up a UFO-related publishing and entertainment empire, alone the lines of George Lucas' Star Wars. As I have not read his book I cannot say whether it is likely to succeed on its own merits. However, it seems extremely dubious that large numbers of people would pay much attention to all these products were they not enticed by DeLonge's promise of Imminent UFO Disclosure!!!!


Where else can you buy T-shirts, books, and hats?





Friday, April 7, 2017

Satellites Flash and Flare


Here is my photo of a brilliant "Iridium flare," a reflection of sunlight from the Iridium 58 satellite, seen from very close to the center line of the reflection. Maximum brightness was magnitude -8, far brighter than Venus ever gets. This is about as bright as any satellite ever gets. In this photo it looks like a meteor, but it moves much more slowly.The satellite, seen here moving southward through Leo, was recorded during the full 24 second exposure. A meteor would cover that angle in less than a second. The bright star just right of top center is Regulus. Denebola is near the bottom left corner. These Iridium satellites are, I'm sure, the source of many dramatic-sounding UFO reports.


Iridium 58 flares to magnitude -8, seen from Lakeside, CA, April 4, 2017.
Of course, not all satellites flare up like this. Most satellites keep a relatively even brightness as they cross the sky. Some old, out-of-service satellites are tumbling, and appear bright-dim-bright at regular intervals. But only the iridium satellites produce such dramatic, relatively brief flares:
Each Iridium has three mirror-like antennas about the size of a door. Unlike the surfaces of other satellites, which are concave or not very reflective, Iridium antennas are flat, silver-coated Teflon panels. When sunlight hits at a certain angle, an Iridium casts a brilliant reflection up to 30 times brighter than Venus, reaching a patch on Earth of about 20 square miles.
http://articles.latimes.com/1998/nov/15/news/mn-42909
When I saw that the center of this small patch of maximum brilliance would be passing only 2 km away, I got my camera ready. And, we are now informed that the days of Iridium flares will soon be coming to an end. The old generation of iridium satellites will be retired, and the new generation will not produce these brilliant flares.
The best place to find out about what satellites are visible when is at http://www.heavens-above.com/ . Here you will find routines that tell you when and where to observe satellites, eclipses, planets, comets - pretty much anything interesting in the sky (except UFOs. It doesn't yet have a routine for that). Just go to Heavens Above and create a free account. Tell it the location of where you observe. I have several different observing locations, and I can select any one when I want to obtain data. Among the most interesting features you will find:
  • Iridium Flares. For the next seven days.Click on each one to get a sky map showing its location.
  • Daily Predictions of brighter satellites. You can choose whether to see only the brighter ones, or the much longer list of faint ones. Click on each one to get a sky map showing its path across the sky.
  • Planets positions at any given time.
  • Bright Comets and Asteroids currently visible, with sky maps to locate each one. 
  • And much more!
If you see something in the sky that you can't identify, and you don't even check Heavens-Above.com to compare its position with known objects at that time, then you're not really serious about trying to identify it.  One fellow spoke at a UFO meeting I was attending about bright objects he was observing crossing the sky. I said that the next time he sees something he needs to record the exact time of his observation, and the object's path across the sky, then compare that with the satellite data at Heavens-Above.com. He replied that he didn't want to do this, this would somehow spoil the atmosphere of the sighting. I suspect that many people feel like that - why spoil an exciting air of mystery with cold, unfeeling facts?

Sky map of an Iridium satellite flare from Heavens-Above.com
If an object you sight does not appear on this list, that does not mean it's an alien spacecraft. The orbital elements of classified military satellites are, well, classified, and hence those satellites won't appear on this list. The reason is that we don't want hostile actors to know the exact time at which we will be surveying them. There is also a considerable uncertainty in the brightness of satellites. Since there are thousands of objects in orbit, one typically requests to see listings only of the brighter ones. Suppose you generate a list of satellite passes predicted to be magnitude 3 or brighter (smaller numbers are brighter). Suppose one satellite predicted to be magnitude 3 actually shows up at magnitude 5, because of sun angle or some other factor, and hence much more difficult to see in a light-polluted sky. You'll chalk it up as a no-show, but it was there - just faint.

If you want to read some observations by some of the world's top satellite observers see  the SeeSat mailing list , the world's leading forum for expert discussion of satellite observations and satellite orbits. Some of these investigations involved observations of classified military satellites, about which little is known to the public.

Ted Molczan is one of the best-known and most-respected civilian authorities on observing and identifying satellites in earth orbit. He is a leading contributor to See-Sat L. Molczan showed that the "classic" Yukon UFO of 1996, proclaimed one of the "Top Ten" UFO cases of all time, was in fact the reentry of the Russian rocket booster that placed the Cosmos 2335 satellite into orbit earlier that day.

Molczan has compiled what is intended to be a complete list of all satellite and space debris re-entries that have been observed and recorded, and he keeps the list updated. The list is in chronological order. If you are investigating a UFO sighting, this list will enable you to check it against all known observations of space junk falling back to earth.








Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The "Battle of Los Angeles" - A First-Hand Account


There was a lot said at the recent International UFO Congress near Phoenix, Arizona, about the supposed "Battle of Los Angeles" on the night of February 24-25, 1942, when many rounds of anti-aircraft shells were fired at - what
The heavily-retouched photo of the incident that was published in the Los Angeles Times. The white dots are fragments from exploding shells.

David Marler at the 2014 UFO Congress
David Marler, a diligent researcher, has accumulated an impressive collection of photos, newspaper stories, and other materials concerning the incident. I reviewed his talk at the Congress in a recent posting  (also see the comments section). His conclusion is that something unusual was up there, but he doesn't know what.

But for a different take on the matter, let us examine a first-hand account of the "battle" written by Col. John G. Murphy, who not only witnessed the shelling, but participated in an official investigation of the incident. Serious researchers realize that, the closer in time is an account to the event it describes, the more likely it is to be accurate.

Col. Murphy wrote, "We interrogated approximately 60 witnesses - civilians, Army, Navy and Air commissioned and enlisted personnel... Roughly about half the witnesses were sure they saw planes in the sky." Given that no planes were ever sent up - not ours nor any Japanese - here we see another example that cautions us against taking "eyewitness accounts" at face value.

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Antiaircraft Journal

published by the United States Coast Artillery Association

Vol. LXXXXII No. 3. May/June, 1949 page 4



L.A. "Attacked"

by Col. John G. Murphy, CAC

There were no enemy air attacks on the West Coast. There were two submarine attacks by gunfire-one on Ft. Stevens, Oregon, and one on some oil docks north of Los Angeles. However there were many alerts, many blackouts. many alarms, and the antiaircraft troops were always in a pertinent condition of readiness. Prior to the battle of Midway there was a distinct tenseness all along the West Coast. We believed the Jap would attack Midway, but we also knew he could change his plans and attack any of the important cities of the West Coast. AA troops during this period were ready for any action. They were always ready for action, albeit sometimes overready or maybe even gullible-as was shown by the famous "Battle of Los Angeles." On Feb 26, 1942, the author was on a Staff visit to the 37th Brigade. Sometime after midnight I was awakened by the sound of gunfire. A quick glance through the window was not productive of any enlightening information. A quick trip to the roof of the hotel brought reward for the upward toil. It was a beautiful moonlight night, but the moon's magnificence was dwarfed by the brilliant glare of nineties and three-inchers spewing fire to the heavens, the glare and noise of the bursting shells, the delicate sky tracery of red and green forty-millimeters and fifty-calibers arching lazily through the skies, and the brilliant incandescence of the searchlights probing the heavens, hither and yon-up and down.



A beautiful picture - a grand show! But at what were they firing? Imagination could have easily disclosed many shapes in the sky in the midst of that weird symphony of noise and color. But cold detachment disclosed no planes of any type in the sky-friendly or enemy. And suddenly all was quiet and only the light of the moon relieved the grim picture of a city in total blackout. I lingered on the roof, ruminated on what it was all about and was idly wondering if I could find my way to brigade headquarters through the blackout when all hell broke loose again. A cacophony of sound and a glaring brilliance again pervaded all! But soon it was over and quiet and darkness again descended on the awakened city. On my way to brigade headquarters next morning, screaming headlines in the morning papers told of the many Jap planes brought down in flames. At brigade headquarters there was much gloom. No one knew exactly what had happened. Maj. Gen. Jacob Fickel and Col. (later Maj. Gen.) Samuel Kepner flew down from San Francisco and with the writer constituted a board to investigate the firing. We interrogated approximately 60 witnesses-civilians, Army, Navy and Air commissioned and enlisted personnel.



Roughly about half the witnesses were sure they saw planes in the sky. One flier vividly described 10 planes in V formation. The other half saw nothing. The elevation operator of an antiaircraft director looking through his scope saw many planes. His azimuth operator looking through a parallel scope on the same instrument did not see any planes. Among the facts developed was that the firing had been ordered by the young Air Force controller on duty at the Fighter Command operations room. Someone reported a balloon in the skv. He of course visualized a German or Japanese zeppelin. Someone tried to explain it was not that kind of balloon, but he was adamant and ordered firing to start (which he had no authority to do). Once the firing started, imagination created all kinds of targets in the sky and everyone joined in. Well after all these years, the true story can be told. One of the AA Regiments (we still had Regiments) sent up a meteorological balloon about 1:00 AM. That was the balloon that started all the shooting! When quiet had settled down on the "embattled" City of the Angels, a different regiment, alert and energetic as always. decided some "met" data was needed. Felt it had not done so well in the "battle" and thought a few weather corrections might help. So they sent up a balloon, and hell broke loose again. (Note: Both balloons, as I remember, floated away majestically and safely.) But the inhabitants of Los Angeles felt very happy. They had visual and auricular assurance that they were well protected. And the AA gunners were happy! They had fired more rounds than they would have been authorized to fire in 10 peacetime years' target practices.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Ken's Moon" Comes Crashing Down

"Dr." Ken Johnston is a very colorful character. He represents himself as a former "civilian astronaut," "astronaut trainer," and "NASA Scientist," although he was none of those things. He tells all kinds of wild tales about 'alien structures on the moon' supposedly found in NASA photos that are airbrushed out of the photos that NASA releases, keeping the aliens hidden from public view (although Ken supposedly has the unretouched photos showing the alien bases).

In fact, Ken now claims, after hypnotic regression, that ETs "trained him" to make disclosures of ET presence not only on the Moon, but also on Mars: "ASTRONAUT WHISTLEBLOWER KEN JOHNSTON REVEALS HOW ETS TRAINED HIM TO DISCLOSE UNTOUCHED NASA PHOTOS OF OPERATING MOONBASES AND ANCIENT RUINS ON MARS LONG BEFORE ARMSTRONG ARRIVED."

Ken is photoshopped into astronaut Michael Collins' space suit for a little Cosplay
In early February, 2017,  Ken went to India to speak at several science organizations. Here he seems to have represented himself as an actual astronaut. On February 12, the Indian newspaper The Hindu carried the story, "NASA astronaut visits BM Birla Science Centre."


 "A test astronaut, who is also chief trainer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America, Ken Johnston was bowled over by the enthusiasm that hundreds of students showed during a visit to the B.M. Birla Science Centre here on Saturday."
Perhaps Ken was thinking that being thousands of miles distant from the U.S. would result in "what happens in India, stays in India." Not a good assumption in this Age of the Internet!  
 
At the UFO Congress, 2017
Ken returned from India to the U.S. to speak at the International UFO Congress near Phoenix, Arizona (which I attended) on February 19. His talk was "Exclusive NASA Photos of Alien Bases on the Moon," with his colleague Bret Sheppard. (Sheppard's major contribution is  to have found a giant UFO in photos of the surface of Mars,  in addition to those pesky alien bases on the moon.)

As has been my recent custom, I reviewed the talks at the Congress, including his. I also contacted space writer and skeptic James Oberg, who I knew had been tracking and refuting Ken's wild claims. The resulting review was highly damaging to Ken's credibility:
  •  Ken has a "Doctor of Metaphysics" diploma from a diploma mill, not an actual school. It does not have a campus, or instructors, or offer courses. Just diplomas. He was never an "astronaut trainer," or "scientist," let alone any kind of astronaut.
  •  Ken claims that he projected for a group of NASA scientists a 16mm film from Apollo 14, showing a pentagonal cluster of alien domes in the crater Tsiolkovsky. The scientists made knowing comments about the bases. Within 24 hours, NASA had altered the film, removing the alien bases.
  • Johnston says that "professional debunker" James Oberg was wrong in claiming that Apollo 14 never filmed the Tsiolkovsky crater, and claims to have documents to prove it. Oberg replies that Apollo 14 never filmed Tsiolkovsky with its 16mm movie camera, which is what Johnston claims to have seen, although the Apollo 14 astronauts did photograph Tsiolkovsky late in the mission using a hand-held still camera.
Within a few days of that being published, emails were circulating among some of the more 'serious' UFOlogists associated with the UFO Congress concerning Ken's credentials and background. For some reason, the job of defending Ken's background fell not to Ken himself, but to his colleague Bret Sheppard. (Perhaps it was because Ken was on his way to India.) Sheppard's defense of Ken's bogus "PhD" was so absurd that it made matters worse. I am genuinely impressed that Alejandro Rojas of Open Minds Productions (organizer of the International UFO Congress) and others were concerned with Ken's misrepresentations. If a speaker comes to the UFO Congress and spins absurd tales about government UFO conspiracies, that's basically OK. Everyone expects that. But if a speaker comes and represents himself as something he is not, then this reflects badly on the UFO Congress, and they are right to be concerned.
  
 At the end of Ken's talk at the Congress, he said, "tomorrow I leave for India." However, this time the result of his trip would be very different from the fawning enthusiasm he received the last time.

Ken is Kicked out of India

 
February 7, 2017: On his first trip to India, the pretend astronaut lectures at Hindustan University

As explained on the Blog The Emoluments of Mars,
It seems that James Oberg was annoyed enough by Ken's imposturing in India that he informed NASA, who in turn informed the State Department that someone was posing as an astronaut and "chief trainer at NASA." Quicker than you can say "Glass domes on the Moon," Ken became persona non grata and was quite firmly asked to go home last Saturday. 
As reported in The Telegraph of Calcutta, March 7, 2017:
Guwahati/New Delhi, March 6: An Assam government science agency has found itself embroiled in a row kicked up by a former NASA associate who was invited to attend a conference here but was sent back the day he arrived.

Ralph Kennedy Johnston Sr, who says he was formerly associated with the US space agency's Apollo lunar missions, has complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Assam Science Technology and Environmental Council (Astec) "deported" him without giving him a chance to defend himself.

Johnston, in a letter to the Prime Minister's Office, has said he had attended educational meetings in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore and had been listed as a "distinguished speaker" at a conference in Guwahati on February 28, National Science Day.

But when he reached Guwahati on February 25, Johnston wrote, he was allegedly sent back to New Delhi the same day by Astec organisers. "I was sent to New Delhi without even being given a chance to defend myself. I had to purchase my own ticket back to the US for over $1,200, even though I had been brought to India (Assam) and had been promised airfare home," Johnston alleged.
It looks like the Space Chickens have finally come home to roost.

No wonder Ken's hosts in India were upset - they are stuck with this embarrassment.