The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence [NOOK Book]


Most reports of UFOs are cases of error or merely hoaxes. However a certain percentage defy all rational explanation. This study examines a number of cases that have been well documented and corroborated, yet remain unexplained.
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The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence

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Most reports of UFOs are cases of error or merely hoaxes. However a certain percentage defy all rational explanation. This study examines a number of cases that have been well documented and corroborated, yet remain unexplained.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446930529
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 510,790
  • File size: 7 MB

Read an Excerpt

" These were some of the thoughts that came to mind in December 1996, when Mr. Laurance Rockefeller asked about my thoughts on what might be done to learn what lies behind UFO reports. I had come to recognize the complexity of the issue, and I had also learned something about what works and what does not work in scientific research.

For the last thirty years, I have been involved in theoretical research into solar physics, wrestling with a number of puzzles such as why the Sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, has a temperature of a million degrees, and what happens during a solar explosion called a flare. I have learned that it is helpful to break down each of these complex issues into a number of simpler phenomena that raise more specific questions. It is always tempting to develop a theory to answer such a question and then immediately check that theory against the data. Sometimes that procedure works, but more often it does not. If I try four or five ideas and none of them work, I finally realize that I must change my attitude and adopt a different strategy. At that stage, my best option is to recognize that (a) I do not understand the phenomenon; (b) I need to study the data much more carefully; and (c) the best question to ask is, What is the Sun trying to tell me? I believe that the UFO problem needs a similar approach. Scientists need to ask, first, What are the facts? and second, What are those facts trying to tell us?

However, this is not so easy. Concerning the UFO problem, Richard Feynman did not see any solid, clear-cut facts in 1963, and most scientists do not see any such facts today, beyond the obvious one that reports continue. Social scientists and detectives are used to dealing with anecdotal reports; physical scientists are not. If a witness is taken to a scientific research institution and asked to describe his or her observations, it is highly unlikely that this will lead to any significant relevant research. On the other hand, if the witness can produce some physical evidence, such as a photograph, a tape recording, or a piece of metal, there is a great deal that the staff of a well-equipped laboratory could do. If careful field investigation of ten separate UFO events, each with strong witness testimony, were to produce ten items of physical evidence, if each item were analyzed in several different laboratories, and if the resulting reports showed that the items were (a) very similar, and (b) very unusual, then we would have not only evidence, but a pattern among the evidence. We would have established a fact.

If it does indeed turn out that there is relevant physical evidence, if this evidence is carefully collected and analyzed, and if this analysis leads to the identification of several facts concerning the UFO phenomenon, then will be the time for scientists to step back and ask, What are these facts trying to tell us? If those facts are strong enough to lead to a firm conclusion, then will be the time to confront the more bizarre questions. If, for instance, it turns out that all physical evidence is consistent with a mundane interpretation of the causes of UFO reports, there will be little reason to continue to speculate about the role of extraterrestrial beings. If, on the other hand, the analysis of physical evidence turns up very strong evidence that objects related with UFO reports were manufactured outside the solar system, then one must obviously consider very seriously that the phenomenon involves not only extraterrestrial vehicles but probably also extraterrestrial beings.

For these reasons, it was my opinion that the very first step in the direction of scientific research into the UFO problem would be a determination of whether or not there even exists physical evidence related to UFO reports. This specific question could be addressed by means of a panel review, as we discuss further in Chapter 5, "Introduction to Pocantico." The review and the resulting report are contained in this book, together with some selected case studies.

Experienced UFO investigators find that the majority of reports that come to their attention can be attributed to natural occurrences, familiar objects seen under unusual circumstances, et cetera. A very small percentage of reports will be recognized as due to hoaxes perpetrated on or by the witnesses. Of the remaining reports, many will be uninteresting because they contain little information, or conflicting information, and little or no supporting evidence. A very small fraction of the cases have good documentation (but usually not as good as one might like) and some form of physical evidence (but never as much as one might like). A few of these interesting and challenging cases (drawn from those presented in summary form to the review panel) may be found in Part Five of this book. However, before getting into this review, it may be helpful to go back to the very beginning of the UFO story.

© 1999 by Peter A. Sturrock"

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Preface xi
Part 1. History 1
Chapter 1. Introduction 3
Chapter 2. UFO History: 1947 to 1967 8
Chapter 3. The Colorado Project and the Condon Report 18
Chapter 4. Aftermath of the Colorado Project 45
Part 2. Presentations at Pocantico 57
Chapter 5. Introduction to Pocantico 59
Chapter 6. Photographic Evidence 66
Chapter 7. Luminosity Estimates 70
Chapter 8. Radar Evidence 74
Chapter 9. The Hessdalen Project 78
Chapter 10. Vehicle Interference 81
Chapter 11. Aircraft Equipment Malfunction 85
Chapter 12. Apparent Gravitational and/or Inertial Effects 89
Chapter 13. Ground Traces 93
Chapter 14. Injuries to Vegetation 97
Chapter 15. Physiological Effects on Witnesses 101
Chapter 16. Analysis of Debris 105
Part 3. Panel's Response 109
Chapter 17. The Review Panel Process 111
Chapter 18. Panel's Conclusions and Recommendations 120
Chapter 19. Panel Recommendations Concerning Implementation 123
Part 4. Post-Pocantico Reflections 129
Chapter 20. The GEPAN/SEPRA Project 131
Chapter 21. Procedures for Analysis of Photographic Evidence 136
Chapter 22. Atmospheric Phenomena 139
Introduction 139
Electromagnetic Wave Ducting 140
Sprites 143
Chapter 23. SETI and UFO Investigations 145
Introduction 145
SETI and UFO Investigations Compared 146
Further Thoughts on SETI and UFO Investigations 149
Chapter 24. The Next Fifty Years 152
Part 5. Case Material 171
Chapter 25. Two Photographic Cases 173
Analysis of a UFO Photograph 173
Photo Analysis of an Aerial Disk over Costa Rica 197
Photo Analysis of an Aerial Disk over Costa Rica: New Evidence 212
Chapter 26. Luminosity 216
Estimates of Optical Power Output for Six Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objects 216
Chapter 27. Physical Traces 234
Physical Analyses in Ten Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objects with Material Samples 234
Chapter 28. The Trans-en-Provence Case 257
Introduction 257
Report on the Analysis of Anomalous Physical Traces 259
Return to Trans-en-Provence 288
Chapter 29. The Mansfield, Ohio, Case 298
A Helicopter-UFO Encounter over Ohio 298
References in the Text 373
A Brief Guide to UFO Literature 381
Acknowledgments 385
List of Acronyms 387
Index 389
About the Author 403
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2014

    The UFO Enigma is a hardcore UFO study/investigation. It reads l

    The UFO Enigma is a hardcore UFO study/investigation. It reads like a college text. Take a look at the contents. Wasn't written, or compiled, to entertain. It was written to educate. If you want to curl up by the fire by all means get something else. Interested in learning? Has my highest recommendation. It is one of the top 5, certainly top 10 UFO studies I've read. Ranks up there with Richard Dolan's UFOs and the National Security State, Richard Hasting's UFOs and Nukes, Paul R. Hill's Unconventional Flying Objects, and some of Stanton Friedman's work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012


    This is one of the few books I found that I felt comfortable reading. Solid, makes no assumptions, and good sense.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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