"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - Is one example of a modern film that helps perpetuate belief and interest in "UFOs."
Kenneth Arnold - Was a pilot who saw an unidentified flying object over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State in 1947. Hines credits Arnold with (1) being the source of the term "flying saucer" and (2) sparking public interest in the phenomenon.
Project Blue Book - Was established by the U.S. Air Force in 1952 to investigate the increasing numbers of UFO reports.
NICAP - The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (a private agency) was formed by a retired Marine Corps Major, Donald Keyhoe.
The Condon Committee - When the Air Force decided to get out of the "UFO business," in the mid 1960s, it contracted with an independent research group to take over the work of Project Blue Book. The group was named for its head, Edward Condon, a professor of physics at the University of Colorado. In 1969, the committee issued a report stating that UFOs were NOT extraterrestrial in origin.
Believe in UFOs? - According to a 1978 Gallup poll, about 50% of Americans believe UFOs are "something real"?
Seen a UFO? - According to a 1973 Gallup poll, about 10% of Americans claim to have seen a UFO?
The "Constructive" Nature of Human Perception - Our eyes are not like cameras. What we see (or think we see) is based as much on knowledge, expectations, and experience, as it is on the actual stimuli falling on the retina.
Perceptual Constancy - Refers to the fact that our perception remains constant (e.g., that a tree is about 20' tall) regardless of changes in the image falling on the retina (e.g., the further away a tree is, the smaller the retinal image). Some important "constancies" are size, shape, color, and brightness.
Illusory Contours and Closure - Figure 9 provides a good example of how we "fill in the blanks" and Figure 10 provides a compelling example of how we can be led to see something that doesn't even exist.
The Canals of Mars - To point out the importance of the "constructive nature" of human perception, Hines cites this phenomenon first reported by Schiaparelli in the 1800s and popularized by Percival Lowell in the early 1900s. He believed they were the work of an advanced civilization. There are, in fact, no canals.
The Autokinetic Effect - If one stares at a small point of light in a completely darkened room, the light will appear to jump about. This is due to small involuntary eye movements that are constantly occurring.
Apparent Motion - If the flash of a light is followed by the flash of a second light, we will perceive the event as one moving light. The timing of the flashes and the distance between the lights must be correct.
Elizabeth Loftus and the "Power of Suggestion" - Loftus has demonstrated that by changing just one word (smashed vs. hit) in a questions, changed subject estimates of how fast two cars were going when they had an accident.
Close Encounters of the "First" Kind (CE1) - Refers to an encounter with a UFO in which the UFO is seen but no physical evidence of the object is left behind. These were more popular in the "early days" of UFO sightings.
Role of Venus in UFO Sightings - According to Hines, Venus is the brightest of all the planets and is responsible for more UFO reports than any other single object.
The "Two Policemen" and the Ohio/Pennsylvania UFO Chase - In April of 1966, they chased what they thought was a UFO for 65 miles (it turned out to be Venus). Objects so far away appear to stay still if we are still but seem to follow us or stay ahead of us if we are moving.
Advertising Aircraft - (blimps with lights) are designed to be viewed from directly below at night. If viewed from any other angle, one will see a group of floating lights, a very likely candidate for a UFO sighting.
Hines Chapter 8 UFOs II: Photographs, Physical Evidence, and Abductions Close Encounters of the "Second" Kind (CE2) - Involve a sighting where there is also some sort of "evidence" left behind (photos, film, wreckage, damaged vegetation, etc.)
Lens Flare, Film Defects, Development By-Products - According to Hines, many UFO photos show only a blob of light that appears after the film has been developed. In such cases, the most probable explanation is that lens flare, defective film, or bad development is the cause
Attributes of a "Valuable" UFO photo - According to Hines, for a UFO photo to be of value, it needs to show (1) at least some "structure" and (2) enough background to permit judgment of relative size
Almiro Barauna and Double Exposures - One famous UFO photo was allegedly taken aboard a Brazilian Naval ship by Almiro Barauna in 1958. Hines suggests that, though he was supervised during processing of the fim, he could have faked the photo by making a double exposure (in the camera or "enlarger").
Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) - A private (non-government) organization that investigates UFO claims.
The Rex Heflin Photos - A famous series of four UFO photos was taken by Rex Heflin in 1965 in California. Members of Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) consider these a hoax because (1) in one photo, the UFO is out of focus while all other distant objects in the photo are in focus, and (2) close photo analysis revealed the image of a very fine string holding up the UFO.
The "Trent" Photos - Though some consider the Trent photos some of the best CE2 evidence, there are many problems with the case:
1. The Trents are "repeaters."
2. The patterns of light and shadow do not fit with the time of day when the photos were supposedly taken.
3. The film and photos were carelessly handled and processing was delayed.
4. Most Importantly - As the camera's distance from the telephone wires (which were above the UFO) changed with different shots, the image size of the UFO and the telephone wires changed by the same amount (which should not be the case).
The "New Zealand" Films - Good UFO films are rarer than photographs. One of several films taken near New Zealand in the late 1970s showed "bright blobs of light jumping about." These lights were later determined to be bright lights used by local fishing boats to lure squid to the surface where they are caught in nets.
Astronaut Sightings - Hynek and Vallee (1975) examined a list of UFO sightings compiled by UFO researcher Jim Fawcett. Fawcett apparently took parts of recorded conversations out of context and make it sound like a UFO was being reported by Jim Lovell and Edwin Aldren during the Gemini 12 mission. They were actually just talking about waste material they had previously jettisoned from the ship.
APRO and magnesium pieces in Brazil - A piece of metal was recovered from a claimed sighting in Brazil in 1957. It was examined by the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) who deemed it a piece of magnesium too pure to be of earthly origin. It was later examined by the Condon Committee who found nothing out of the ordinary about it.
Angel Hair - For some reason, this soft, wispy material made up of fine strands came to be considered a leftover or by-product of UFO landings. It is actually a particularly large type of spider web.
Stalled Cars - Were often attributed to the strong electromagnetic fields given off by UFOs. In the 1950s, cars were much less reliable than today and it was quite easy to stall one if the driver became excited.
The Tunguska Event - Has a special place in UFO lore a century after it happened. In 1908 in Siberia, an explosion occurred just above the ground that knocked trees down for miles around. Erich von Daniken (we'll hear more about him) is sure it was the nuclear explosion of a spacecraft. While in some ways atypical, scientists are pretty sure it was a meteorite hit.
Close Encounters of the "Third" Kind (CE3) - Involve actual alien contact, as in abduction cases.
Betty and Barney Hill - The most famous alien abduction case is that of Betty and Barney Hill who claimed to have been abducted near Exeter New Hampshire in the early 1960s. Betty began having dreams of abduction and examination soon after. Years later, both Hills were hypnotized by a psychiatrist they were seeing for marital problems. They then told independent but mutually confirming stories of abduction.
Betty's "Bright Light in the Sky" - Betty reported that a bright light in the sky was following them. Schaeffer (1981) is convinced that the UFO Betty saw was the planet Jupiter.
Hypnosis and the Hill Case - Hines makes two important points: (1) Usually before hypnosis is tried there have been several questionings. It is the repeated questioning and going over the facts (not hypnosis) that is responsible for the improved recall under hypnosis, and (2) what hypnosis does do is make the subject more confident that the information he/she is recalling is true and accurate.
Betty's Star Map - UFO believers think this is the most convincing piece of evidence for the Hill's story. However, with 100 billion star systems in our galaxy alone, it is not only possible but probable that many systems will bear a similarity to the "map" she drew.
Dr. Leo Sprinkle - A psychologist at the Univ. of Wyoming, discovered a large number of abductees (after hypnotizing them) during the 1980s.
Changing Focus (to "CE3") in the Late 1980s - With the publication of Whitley Streiber's "Communion" and Bud Hopkins' "Intruders," UFO interest shifted to abductions, examinations, and the like.
Bud Hopkins and Cross-Breeding - The New York artist and proponent of alien abduction stories is sure that aliens have been busy impregnating earth women in an attempt to cross breed with us.
The Role of Hypnagogia in Abduction Experiences - Hines suggests that abduction "events" often take place while people are falling asleep (as with ghost experiences). The vivid hallucination and bodily "paralysis" that frequently accompany these states is very consistent with reports by abductees (see Hines' example involving his daughter).
John Mack - A Harvard psychiatrist runs abductee support groups. Hines suggests that the exposure to abductee "lore," social pressure, and social rewards present in this setting help to solidify the memories of abductees. This provides a much more "Parsimonious" explanation of abduction stories than actual alien contact.
Whitley Streiber's "Communion" - Chronicles his own alien encounter experience. Streiber is apparently responsible for the idea that aliens are fascinated by and obsessed with exploring our bodily orifices (openings) and in particular "anal probes." He also had a scary encounter with Mr. Peanut?
The End of the World, the "Hollow Earth," and Others - Recognizing the theoretical problems of space travel (distance, time, fuel), some UFO proponents have developed alternative hypotheses.
"Samisdat" - An organization that believes UFOs are really secret Nazi aircraft which carried off Hitler and the other Nazi elite who have been hiding out in Antarctica.
The Heaven's Gate Cult - In the 1970s, the "two" AKA "Bo and Peep" convinced people to give up their possessions and follow them into the wilderness. They reappeared in the 90s as Heaven's Gate. In 1997 Bo and 38 followers killed themselves so they could join with a superior race of Aliens.
Hines' "Favorite" Hollow Earth Theory - Is Ray Palmer's idea that an advanced civilization exists within the earth and flies its UFO in and out of an opening at the North Pole.
The Cattle Mutilation Mystery (of the 1970s) - Has become an integral part of UFO lore. In the Western U.S., people noted dead cattle that (1) had what appeared to be sharp surgical incisions, and (2) were mutilated in specific areas (face, anus, genitals). Nothing new other than a "Mass Delusion." Scavengers prefer the easy to eat (and tastier?) soft tissues AND as decomposition gasses expand the carcass, the cuts are tears stretch and appear sharper.
The Great UFO Cover-Up - Hines considers the idea of a massive government UFO cover up absurd, since it has repeatedly been demonstrated that our government "can't keep even a small secret"
Men In Black (MIBs) - The MIB movies are pretty accurate depictions of the MIB lore. These frightening Blues Brothers looking men would show up after a UFO report and remove all evidence of the event. Their visits provide a "nifty" explanation for why there is no strong evidence of UFO encounters available.
Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio (NOT Roswell or Area 51) - According to conspiracy theorists, is the location of the remains of a crashed UFO which has been kept a secret since the late 1940s.
Roswell New Mexico - Has become synonymous with UFOs and the topic makes up the majority of the Town's income. The facts are:
1. In 1947 Mack Brazel, a farmer found odd looking wreckage in a field.
2. The materials were turned over to military personnel from the base at nearby Alamagordo New Mexico and eventually to General Roger Ramey. The military was secretive about the materials.
3. The story remained faded into history until Charles Berlitz (yes, of Bermuda Triangle fame) published "The Roswell Incident" in 1980. From that time, the mystique of Roswell has grown steadily.
4. The wreckage was, in fact, from a top secret experimental high altitude military balloon device to be used for spying on our cold war enemies. The project's code name was "PROJECT MOGUL."
The MJ-12 (Majestic) Documents - In 1987, UFO Proponents Stanton Friedman and William Moore claimed to have discovered three documents written by officials "in high places" proving a government cover up. There is, however, a problem with each:
1. A 1947 memo from President Harry Truman. Problem - the typeface was from a typewriter model not introduced until 1963.
2. A 1952 briefing paper for President Dwight Eisenhower. Problem - the date on the paper was in a format never used by the military.
3. A memo from presidential assistant Robert Cutler to General Nathan Twining describing the recovery of a spacecraft AND bodies at Roswell.
Problem - Cutler was out of the country on the date that the memo was supposedly written on.
"Area 51" - Often confused with Roswell and Wright Patterson. Area 51 refers to a military installation (Nellis Air Force Base) out in the Nevada desert north of Las Vegas. It is very top secret indeed not because of UFO wreckage or alien bodies. The latest in high tech aircraft are being developed and tested there.
Alien Autopsy - "The Roswell Incident" suggested that the military were hiding alien bodies. In 1985, the notorious "Alien Autopsy Film" showed up. Nobody knows its source. Hines cites numerous tip offs that it is a crudely done hoax (e.g., carelessly performed, often out of focus, details hidden etc.). However, the "most obvious problem" is that the internal organs are lifted out of the body as if they were just laying there. In reality, there would be a great deal of cutting and tugging to get the organs out.
Crop Circles - Began to appear overnight in farm fields in southern England in the 1980s. Theories included whirlwinds, energy voritces (whatever those are), and of course "alien contact." Over time, the designs got more complex and spread to other countries. In 1991, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley claimed that they had made the English circles using "Stalk Stompers" (wooden boards with rope attached, used to stomp down crops). To avoid leaving footprints, they walked along the "tram lines" created by the tires of tractors. Interest gradually faded.
The Role of the Media - The media has been generally irresponsible in its handling of UFO reports and claims. After the CIA released documents showing that there was no evidence of a cover up, Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) irresponsibly issued a press release saying just the opposite. What really bothers Hines is that the New York Times picked up and published GSW's incorrect story.
Erich Von Daniken - Suggests that ancient aliens were responsible for building or guiding construction of a number of important historical sites. These include:
1. the Great Pyramid.
2. the statues on Easter Island.
3. the Nazca Lines.
Piri Re'is Map - Erich von Daniken suggests that the 1513 Piri Re'is map of the Mediterranean area is too perfect to have been created by humans of the time. Hines concludes that the map is very good, but only in comparison with other maps of its day
Pyramid Power - Hines suggests that Von Daniken's writings are the source of the modern day belief that the shape of the pyramid has magical life preserving properties. Believers refer to this as pyramid power. The power preserves mummies, enhances ESP, makes plants grow, etc.
Restoring Razor Blades to Sharpness - Is one of the most popular claims for pyramid power. A 1973 experiment found no evidence of this.
Mastabas - Von Daniken and others insist that the ancient Egyptians could not have built the pyramids without help. Skeptics suggest that rather than having anything to do with ancient aliens, pyramid construction can be traced back to small stepped brick tombs called "Mastabas."
Mummification - Erich von Daniken suggests that ancient aliens taught the ancient Egyptians about mummification. Further, the purpose of the technique was so that the dead could be brought back to life when the aliens returned. As with pyramid building, mummification developed gradually over time.
King Tutankhamen's Curse - Erich von Daniken suggests that the curse of King Tut's tomb was a protective device placed there by ancient aliens. Randi (1978) explains that two factors likely accounted for the mysterious deaths:
1. Many of the people involved in opening the tomb were quite elderly and
2. The members of the 1922 expedition were working in an area where modern sanitary facilities and health measures were lacking.
Von Daniken in Peru:
"Chariots of the Gods" - Was Erich von Daniken's most well known and best selling book.
The Nazca Desert - In Peru contains many ancient line drawings. They are huge and can only be made sense of when seen from the air. Thus, Von Daniken claims, they must have been built by or for alien visitors. Von Daniken thinks some of the lines comprise a spaceport and landing field for ancient alien spacecraft. Scientists believe the lines are part of a calendar or astronomical observatory.
The Case of the Dogon - Robert Temple, in his 1976 book "The Sirius Mystery," describes how a tribe living in Mali (the Dogon) had a visit from "amphibious" aliens from the Sirius star system 1,000 years ago. His argument is that the Dogon have long known about a second "twin star" (Sirius B) in that system. Hines says the mystery can be explained by two pieces of evidence.
1. The knowledge the Dogon have regarding Sirius B appears to have come from contact with Westerners around the 1920s and.
2. The concept of "Twinness" is so central to their culture that something as important as Sirius would just be assumed to be part of a twin pair.
The Bermuda Triangle:
Charles Berlitz's 1974 Book "The Bermuda Triangle Mystery" - started the whole phenomenon and made Berlitz a fortune. Hines cites a small sampling of cases and their logical explanations.
The "Marine Sulphur Queen" - One Bermuda Triangle mystery involving the disappearance of a large ship carrying 15,000 tons of molten sulfur in reportedly fair weather. Hines cites three possible explanations:
1. Steam or sulphur fumes may have caused an explosion.
2. When the ship was refitted for this purpose, bulkheads were removed and may have weakened the hull.
3. The weather was not fair as Berlitz claims, there were strong winds and 35 foot waves.
The Mystery of the Ellen Austin - Kusche (1981), cited in Hines, provides a good example of how a Bermuda Triangle story that never even happened to begin with, grew and became more complex with each successive published retelling. It involves a deserted derelict ship being found by the crew of the Ellen Austin. Intense investigation revealed nothing about anything.
"The "Disappearance of Flight 19" - Is the title of the 1980 book by Kuche devoted exclusively to what is surely the most famous Bermuda Triangle mystery of all. It involves the 1945 disappearance of five U.S. Army Air Corps Avenger aircraft. was the commander of Flight 19 and the only really experienced pilot involved. The training mission took off from Ft. Lauderdale at 2:00 P.M.
What Happened - The most likely explanation for the loss of the five Avengers in the Bermuda Triangle is that only one pilot (Leutenant Charles C. Taylor) was experienced (the others were trainees). As it got dark, the weather worsened, and gas levels dropped he likely panicked and made a series of wrong decisions. Primary Causes:
1. Failure of Taylor's compass.
2. Weak radio communications with the air base.
3. Being out over open ocean with no landmarks.
Factors that make the event more mysterious:
1. No trace of the planes was ever found. Spooky yes, but that's a lot of water.
2. One of the search planes, a "Mariner" (PBY) was lost in the search. However, reports of an explosion suggest that this plane exploded due to a gas leak shortly after takeoff.
The Bimini Road or (Wall) - This large block like structure was discovered in the 1960s (as Cayce predicted) in shallow water off Bimini. Berlitz claims it is a road or perhaps a wall that fell over, either was it is part of Atlantis. Randi, and others, explain that it is "Beach Rock" which tends to crack in straight lines, giving this natural structure its man made appearance.
The Bimini Columns - These rock-like columns are also in shallow water not too far from the road. Berlitz insists they are part of an Atlantian building. The accepted explanation is that cement stored in barrels went down, probably with a ship. The cement hardened and the wood eventually rotted away.
Berlitz and the Navy's "Philadelphia Experiment- Berlitz wrote (in 1979) about an another amazing event. He describes an experiment conducted by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s in which a battleship was made invisible and transported from one naval yard to another. The best anyone can figure is that two sailors were discussing a new "paint" that made the ship "invisible to radar." The story grew from there.
Immanuel Velikovsky - In a series 1950s of books (most notably "Worlds in Collision," he explains how about 3,500 years ago the earth passed through the tail of a comet. He believes this event provides an explanation for nearly all of the miraculous events described in the Bible. Also, eggs and larvae of an extraterrestrial species of insect were in the comet's tail and fell to earth. That's where "flies" came from.
Hines Chapter 13
Facilitated Communication - Involves a "facillitator" who helps guide an autistic child's hands in pointing to spell out words. At first it was hailed as a miracle. Experiments later showed that the facillitators were simply spelling out the words for the children (though most were unaware they were doing it, as with a Ouija Board). Proponents object to experimental testing on two grounds:
1. FC should not be held up to the same scientific standards of other therapies because it was a special "post-modern" idea and.
2. The confrontational nature of such testing would disrupt and disturb the subject resulting in poor FC performance.
The Bombardier Beetle - Gish, a creationist points to the very complex chemistry involved in this animal's explosive defenses and suggests that it could not have come about through an evolutionary process. Weber (1980) points out Gish's incorrect reasoning.
"The Panda's Thumb" - According to Hines is not very well engineered at all. A creator would have designed it better.
The Human Spine - Gives us so many problems because it was not originally designed for upright movement. It is still "evolving."
The Second Law of Thermodynamics - According to Hines, creationists argue that evolution cannot exist because it violates the second law of thermodynamics (entropy). This states that a closed system degenerates and shows increasing randomness (not evolution) over time. Hines' response to this is that it is basically a "semantic" trick because the earth is NOT a "closed system" (with no energy input).
Cryptozoology - Involves searching for and investigating unique creatures such as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or the Himalayan Yeti.
The "Loch Ness Monster" - Is the world's best known monster. An amazing amount of time and effort has gone into the search for it.
The "Coelacanth" (seal i kant) - Hines cites the discovery of this five foot long fish thought to be extinct for 200 million years in 1938. He argues that if the relatively small coelacanth could be found in the vast Indian Ocean, we should have found the Loch Ness monster by now.
Dowsing and the Magic Pendulum:
Dowsing (Water Witching) - According to Hines, the witcher is directed to underground water (or oil or gold) by small involuntary muscle twitches he or she is unaware of caused by muscle tension from holding on to a Y shaped branch or a more modern set of dowsing rods.
Geological Clues - According to Hines, if a water witcher does locate water, it is because he is using the same sort of geologic clues that trained geologists use (either consciously or unconsciously).
The Dowser's Pendulum - Some dowsers don't use any type of stick or rod, preferring a pendulum which is just a heavy object suspended by a string. The driving force is the same as with the rod.
Firewalking and Tony Robbins - The person who popularized fire walking in the United States is motivational speaker Tony Robbins. According to Hines, this ability has little to do with mind over matter and more to do with:
1. The "Leidenfrost" Effect" - moisture on the feet from perspiration or wet grass creates a thin layer of steam that helps protect the skin.
2. Thermal Conductivity - While the coals may be very hot, they are not very good conductors of heat.
3. Walking Quickly - Too slow and you will get burned.
Graphology - Is the science (or art) of identifying personality and other characteristics from handwriting.
1. About 3,000 U. S. firms use it in employee selection (its primary use).
2. Drory (1986) found positive job-handwriting correlations BUT the handwriting samples being "autobiographical" was a big methodological flaw.
3. Two things that can be reliable distinguished are Gender and whether one is American or European.
4. Data from Honel, 1977 suggested that criminals could be distinguished from others BUT this may be more a function of socio-economic-status (SES).
Graphology and Suicide Notes (Frederick,1968) - One finding that did impress Hines and that he thinks warrants further study. Graphologists could distinguish genuine suicide notes from copies written by normal writers from typed transcripts. With this one exception, Hines is unimpressed with graphology.
Kirlian Photography - Introduced in 1937, involves a person placing his/her hand or fingers on a sheet of unexposed film. A colorful "aura" appears on the film around the image of the hand or fingers when developed. The image is supposedly sensitive to emotions. For the image to form:
1. The object must be moist and.
2. The object must be hooked up to an electric circuit.
Polygraphy (lie detection) - Relies on measuring physiological processes (heart rate, respiration, and most importantly skin conductance or GSR) while the person answers questions. The most common use is in employment settings for job selection. Hines is skeptical and so am I.
1. Not everyone gets nervous when they lie.
2. Not everyone is calm when telling the truth.
3. According to Hines, they have been shown to be inaccurate.
The 1986 "60 Minutes" Test of Polygraphy - Several polygraph operators were given "clues" about the "suspects" they were to test. The result was that all of the operators were influenced by the information and made incorrect decisions about the guilt of the "suspects."
Lykken's "Guilty Knowledge Test" - David Lykken (1981) has developed an alternative to the polygraph, the Guilty Knowledge Test. Physiological measures would be taken as the suspect is presented with information only the guilty party would know about (e.g., pictures of a body in its real position and in a different position). An innocent should respond the same to each but the guilty should respond differentially. Hines is enthusiastic but this method has not been widely adopted.
"Voice Stress Analysis" - Is similar to the polygraph and enjoyed popularity during the 1970s. Certain vocal "frequencies" were thought to be correlates of lying. Lykken's (1981) review suggests that the technique is useless.
The Shroud of Turin - Probably the most famous of all (and representative of) religious relics. It first surfaced during the middle ages. Hines cites the follwoing:
1. Shortly after it first appeared in the 1300s, authorities were skeptical of it.
2. It is not mentioned in the Bible.
3. Some scientists claim the bloodstains are paint pigments common at the time.
4. NIckell (1978, 1999) - has been able to duplicate the "negative photograph" type image by rubbing pigment on a cloth draped over a "bas relief" image.
5. The shroud appeared at a time when religious relics were "big gusiness."
After reviewing the evidence, Hines concludes - that the Shroud of Turin is a fake relic created during the middle 1300s.
In recent times some have speculated that the Shroud of Turin may have been created by (and is a sort of self portrait of) Leonardo Da Vinci.