Friday, August 13, 2010

The Levelland UFO Sightings

At the most recent MUFON Symposium, I talked several people about creating multiple chains of evidence for our UFO cases. I based this on the study done in France in 1803 that proved rocks could fall from the sky... rocks we now call meteorites. The French Academy of Sciences had rejected the idea until a French researcher, Jean-Baptiste Biot, put together a study, with multiple chains of evidence, that proved in at least one instance, rocks had fallen from the sky. (As we say in ufology, it only takes one).

Which leads to another point. I had been discussing UFOs with a skeptic (Hey! I talk to them... most are reasonable people) and I mentioned, as one series of good sightings, the Levelland events of November 2, 1957. There were many reports of the close approach of the UFO interacting with the environment, meaning that it stalled car engines, dimmed headlights, and filled radios with static.

My skeptical friend said something like, "Oh yeah. The Condon Committee investigated that but even with the most powerful magnets available could not duplicate the alleged effects."

To him that meant the case had no merit because the electromagnetic effects (EM) claimed by the witnesses could not be replicated in the laboratory. But as I thought about this, I realized it could be taken another way. If the witness statements were accurate, then the UFO was displaying a technological capability that was beyond our science and could therefore be seen as proof that some UFOs were superior technological craft and were of alien manufacture.

In other words, we had a second chain of evidence, the first being the eyewitness testimony. See, in the French case, the eyewitnesses, who described the rocks falling from the sky and the resulting sound effects and smoke trail were counted as reliable. No one then thought to reject the eyewitnesses simply because they had only seen the rocks in the sky. Their testimony was collected, regardless of social station. None was rejected because he was merely an uneducated farmer, or because she was only a farm wife, or they were only children or because they might have talked to one another about the fall. All testimonies were carefully recorded so that a complete record could be made.

In Levelland, and contrary to what the Project Blue Book files allege, there were witnesses in at least thirteen separate locations who reported the EM effects without the time necessary for the news media or the local grapevines to pass that nugget. Although you could argue that one or two of the witnesses who surfaced the next day might have heard or read something about the sighting prior to making a statement, the majority of them told their tales without knowing there were other witnesses in other areas who had seen, heard, and experienced the same things they had.

Now, today, it is impossible for us to make any sort of meaningful measurements to corroborate, or disprove, this bit of observation. That so many made it, in such a restricted time frame, it seems reasonable to conclude that most, if not all, such reports were made without contamination. These EM effects are not reported in most of the UFO sightings, so we have something here that might provide a clue about the nature of some of the UFO reports.

The third chain of evidence is one reported by Don Burleson, based on his reinvestigation some forty years after the fact. Burleson said that he had talked to the daughter of the sheriff, Weir Clem, and Clem had been called out to a ranch north of Levelland where there were markings on the ground. In other words, a "footprint" of the UFO.

Had this bit of evidence surfaced in 1957, meaningful measurements might have been made. Coupled with the work of Ted Philips, who has cataloged some 4000 landing trace cases, we might have had the UFO sighting that would have moved UFOs from myth to accepted fact, just as the French study moved thunderbolts (rocks from the sky) into the realm of science.

But here is the problem... The French were interested in the truth, and in 1957, the Air Force was interested in explaining all UFO sightings in the mundane. It mattered not what the facts were. If they could generate an answer that stopped the interest in the case, they were happy. They had fulfilled their mission.

Yes, the Project Blue Book files prove this. On a Joint Messageform prepared by Captain G. T. Gregory and dated November 3, 1957, in PART III, paragraph a., it says, "Contrary to Keyhoe’s and Washington Press reports only three, not nine persons witnessed the incident."

Later, in his book, The World of Flying Saucers (and found in the Levelland papers and reports in the Project Blue Book files), Donald Menzel would write, "Three persons, not ‘dozens,’ had seen the phenomenon near the ground. Some ten or fifteen others (including the sheriff) had not observed it at close quarters but had merely seen brilliant flashes of light in the sky."

Neither the Air Force statement nor Menzel’s words reflect the reality of the situation. There were people at thirteen, widely separated locations who were close enough to the craft to report EM effects. And, there were more than fifteen people who saw the object at a distance but none of them described the UFO as a flash of light in the sky.

The other evidence of this is that the Air Force explained the sighting as "ball lightning." In 1957, you could get any number of scientists to argue that there was no such thing as ball lightning. In other words, the Air Force was attempting to explain one phenomenon with another that had yet to be proved. And they forgot to mention that ball lightning was short–lived and rarely larger than eight inches in diameter.

The real point here, however, is that this case, the Levelland sightings, had they been treated with any sort of scientific curiosity at the time, would have yielded a report with multiple chains of evidence. We would have been able to develop some very interesting evidence, if the government in the form of the Air Force and the scientific community in the guise of Donald Menzel hadn’t been more interested in proving themselves right than they were in gathering the information. In other words, we would have had those multiple chains of evidence that would independently lead us toward the extraterrestrial. Instead, we have another controversial case that has been compromised by those who know that there can be no aliens visiting Earth.

15 comments:

starman said...

Great post Kevin. Obviously, there's a big difference between meteorites and UFOs. People are willing to accept the former, because they hardly affect society. As Dolan told you, the same won't true of ETs. Considering the possible "gloom and doom," no wonder the government doesn't want to deal with it, hence isn't objective.

cda said...

There is a difference between UFOs and meteorites. There were and are plenty of actual meteorites to lay our hands on. There were in 1803 at L'Aigle and of course numerous others before and since, some small, some very large. Alas, there are no UFOs to touch and feel, none at all. That is the big difference.

Please don't bring in 40-year old interviews with the daughter of a witness as useful evidence (even if the witness was a sherriff). The 'footprint' he allegedly saw would not have made much, if any, difference had it been discovered in 1957. Look at Socorro with all its 'footprints', discovered at the time of the event. They did not provide the ET proof you desire, did they Kevin? The debate still continues....

KRandle said...

CDA -

Is it possible that you have lost the ability to comprehend what you read?

I did not suggest that the recollections of the sheriff's daughter are in any way useful in today's world. Besides, the Burleson interview was conducted in this century, not the last.

The point was that without the interference of those who "know" that there have been no alien visitors, all the evidence at Levelland might have been gathered in a proper sceintific manner rather than by a single NCO spending most of a day talking to less than a third of the witnesses.

You don't know what might have emerged had this been done properly. Maybe you would have liked the answer...

And while there are lots of meteorites for us to examine, but only a limited number of pieces of a UFO (yes, Ubatuba might also be of importance had the chain of custody of the fragments not been broken so early and had the fragments not been treated in such a cavalier manner), there are many landing trace cases that provide the physical evidence that you refuse to acknowledge... and yes, I know that this is indirect evidence, but it exists none-the-less.

And, I wasn't referring to individual footprints... but to the overall landing traces of the craft itself.

The real point of all this was that an opportunity to do real science had presented itself but we were to busy arguing about it to actually make the sort of investigation that was required. I often wonder why the skeptics work so hard to bury evidence they don't like. What frightens them so?

(As an example, we had Phil Klass not talking about evidence, but attacking people, calling their employers, and attempting to stop real research by making up stuff to stop cooperation. Kal Korff is another example of this... how many people has he threatened with legal action, among other things)

So, CDA, read the posting again, carefully, and see what the real message was.

cda said...

I think I know what your real message was. And yes I did realise you were not referring to actual footprints but landing traces. And yes I did point out that Socorro had landing traces (several) but we are no nearer to ETs as a result thereof. What reason have you to think an opportunity was missed at Levelland? You can't do 'real science' without having the hardware. True, Ubatuba gave an opportunity but, despite what APRO told us, it turned out to be useless as ET evidence. End of story. This is the most probable result had the ground markings at Levelland been seen & recorded at the time. The first, big, problem would have been establishing a link between the sightings, the engine stallings and the ground markings.

I happen to agree that Levelland had an inadequate AF investigation. But then, why didn't NICAP or APRO locate this so-called 'footprint'?

Rendlesham also had its 'footprints', and look where they have got us.

Physical traces are not the same as hardware.

As for me losing the ability of comprehending what I read, yes this IS a possibility, but I still hope it is only a very small possibility. (Depending on what I read, of course).

purrlgurrl said...

I agree with your point on chain of evidence, something woefully lacking in Ufology research.

Today's Ufologists seem to think that endlessly studying FOIA documents posted online, like studying the Torah, will someday reveal the truth. Anyone who devotes all his or her time to this avenue of approach (especially for events that happened two or more generations ago) is doing historical research and is, by definition, a Historian. Period.

What Ufology needs is people seriously trained in scientific methodology and/or chain of evidence who are in the field in the wake of an event --- taking statements, measurements, collecting any alleged physical evidence, etc. (Of course, that means leaving the house or the coffee shop or whereever most UFO "researchers" are blogging from.)

Building chains of evidence has to start NOW, with currently transpiring events.

And please, dont' even talk to me about MUFON. An old friend is a MUFON researcher and, though I love him dearly and would walk through fire for him and his wife, sorry to say he's a technological and mechanical klutz who's failed every business he's started because he never completely understands what he's doing or adapts to new technology. I have no doubt his field research is questionable, at best.

KRandle said...

CDA -

Socorro was single witness, unless you count the motorists in the gas station and the two guys from Dubuque, Iowa who said they saw the craft. And you had all kinds of people tramping all over the landing site before any real research was done.

Levelland had multiple witnesses in, at least, 13 different locations. They reported the EM effects from the UFO at close approach and the end of the effects as the UFO left the area.

Who knows what might have been learned had a proper investigation been done in the hours following the sighting? All I'm sying is that here was an opportunity to do some real investigation and it wasn't done... not by the Air Force which was required to do it and not by the civilian organizations who had neither the money nor the manpower. This was the Air Force's job and they simply didn't do it.

And who knows what a properly executed investigation of a landing trace case might turn up? Yes, a real piece would end the discussion but a properly investigated landing trace with multiple chains of evidence might accomplish the same thing. Not in your world but maybe in nearly all others.

I know what the result of the ground markings at Levelland would have been had they been reported. The same as all the other evidence gathered... it would have been belittled, as the Air Force documents prove...

But what if a real investigation had taken place? We might have ended up in the same place... but we might have learned something.

purrlgurrl -

I'm a little concerned about your rejection of MUFON simply because you find one of the members to have failed at business and who you describe as a klutz. Is it fair to label all that way? There are some very good, technically oriented people working with MUFON. I wouldn't reject everything out of hand.

Erich Kuersten said...

I just saw that movie THE FOURTH KIND last night and it reminds me of this post - and all the crazy bluffing of Stephen Hakwing of late. The human mind has been wired to be suspicious and hostile to any indication that our current belief system is wrong and that someone's playing us for chumps. The line of the skeptic about how "if we can't produce it in the lab, it can't exist" is sooo typical of science's cagey rationalizations on this topic. The 4th kind had all sorts of hostility projected onto poor Milla by mean sheriffs and skeptic analysts. But hey, no different than burning a witch, or an astronomer who suggests the world aint flat.

I think we're safely at the point now thanks to cable's proliferation of alien docs. that we're easing forward to a time when discolosure will have ALREADY happened, and never actually happen. It's the ruling elite's gambit to wring as much compliance out of us as they can before the big soul harvest! Not to sound like a nut, but once you let one thing into 'consensual reality' it's like a butterfly-tsunami in one single wing flutter, so smart aliens dont want a single wing to flutter, only to ALMOST flutter and MAYBE HAVE fluttered until it's already fluttered, allegedly. They are masters of time and space so naturally they can control us as they wish... who wants to wake up from the dream of human dominance?

David Rudiak said...

Kevin wrote:
My skeptical friend said something like, "Oh yeah. The Condon Committee investigated that but even with the most powerful magnets available could not duplicate the alleged effects."
To him that meant the case had no merit because the electromagnetic effects (EM) claimed by the witnesses could not be replicated in the laboratory. But as I thought about this, I realized it could be taken another way. If the witness statements were accurate, then the UFO was displaying a technological capability that was beyond our science and could therefore be seen as proof that some UFOs were superior technological craft and were of alien manufacture.


Here's one problem with the Condon experiment: They used a constant magnetic field instead of a time-varying electromagnetic field.

According to an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board white paper in 1998 about 21st Century AF weaponry, high power microwaves could be used to stall vehicles, thus disabling them and making for easier bombing. They advised installation of such EM stalling weapons on aircraft.

So somebody in military R&D was probably paying attention to what happened in Levelland and similar engine stalling or disruption reported in other UFO cases.

The earliest such one I know about was reported by Ufologist Leonard Sringfield, who said while enroute to Japan at war's end, they encountered UFOs, which caused the plane's engines to sputter and die. He thought they were going to have to ditch in the ocean and he was probably going to die, but they managed to restart the engines.

In the 1978 Frederick Valentich UFO disappearance case, Valentich reported his plane's engine was running rough and "coughing".

It should also be noted that there were other car engine stallings immediately after Levelland, such as was reported by James Stokes in N.M. 2 days later. Stokes also reported a wave of heat hit him, and the Lorenzens said he appeared to have something like a heat rash when they saw him. This would be completely consistent with some sort of directed energy microwave beam being used to stall the cars.

steve sawyer said...

Kevin is correct that the Levelland sightings and close encounters involving vehicle interference are really quite fascinating, and also, sadly, an opportunity lost for real science and objective investigation to be brought to bear on both the anecdotal witness testimony and related physical evidence (such as the possible determination of effects on car ignition systems, coils, headlights, etc., in addition to the ground trace artifacts), but even though these particular sightings caused a bit of a sensation in the press in late 1957 (which also was a "wave year" in the Southwest area, among others, like 1947 and 1952), due to a distinct lack of honesty and integrity due to a suppressive Air Force agenda after the Robertson Panel recommendations were taken up by the USAF, CIA, and Project Blue Book, virtually nothing was done to effectively unearth or properly analyze the wealth of data this particular case presented, and in fact the single military PBB rep sent to checkout the case was both "incompetent" and obeying orders to "explain away" the extraordinarily unusual, "behaviorally-reactive" phenomena on purely prosaic grounds, which was both deliberate and just plain wrong, factually and ethically.

And they knew it, with the possible exception of Hynek, although he did little about it, probably due to his stated position that to rock the boat at PBB too much would've led to his dismissal and loss of access to case data and insight into PBB practices and policies during these "dark years" of PBB. So, mission accomplished. The old troika of dismissal, denial, and deception ruled again.

For further analytical articles about Levelland, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levelland_UFO_Case

http://www.cufos.org/rullan.pdf

http://bit.ly/diY2at (prior article on Levelland by Antonio F. Rullan, later article by Rullan noted above at CUFOS link)

http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case228.htm

http://www.ufologie.net/htm/levelland57.htm

Levelland was one of the most amazing, geographically-dispersed, multiple-witness close encounter cases on record, and as Kevin says, it also represents a great failure on the part of the USAF/PBB, the press, and others, to empirically investigate the facts and related evidence.

This incident was either one of the most rare and bizarre natural phenomena of all time (since it was never replicated again in such a dramatic or wide-spread manner), or it represented potential evidence of some kind of advanced non-human intelligence, probe, or consciousness behaving in ways that seemingly showed some kind of "clear intent" and apparent reactivity to human presence and approach.

Whether extraterrestrial or other, I don't think one can reach a factual conclusion either way, but this series of incidents on the night of Nov. 2 and morning of Nov. 3, 1957 truly stands out as of great significance, and much more so if anyone had spent the time and effort contemporaneously to do a decent, rigorous investigation.

Dr. James McDonald tried to do one belatedly, but by then it was insufficient, for various reasons, to be given much credibility. Another tremendous lost opportunity, I'm afraid.

steve sawyer said...

Part 1 of 2: [damned blogger 4096 character limitation for comments!]

Ref. David's comment, which slipped in ahead of mine, and Kevin's skeptical friend's less than objective or imaginative statement:

There were UFO-related EMR disruptions and stalling out incidents both before (France, 1954) and after Levelland. A lot of them afterward. Also:

Randle:

To him that meant the case had no merit because the electromagnetic effects (EM) claimed by the witnesses could not be replicated in the laboratory. But as I thought about this, I realized it could be taken another way. If the witness statements were accurate, then the UFO was displaying a technological capability that was beyond our science and could therefore be seen as proof that some UFOs were superior technological craft and were of alien manufacture. [Bold emphasis added /sgs]

Rudiak:

"Here's one problem with the Condon experiment: They used a constant magnetic field instead of a time-varying electromagnetic field.

"According to an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board white paper in 1998 about 21st Century AF weaponry, high power microwaves could be used to stall vehicles, thus disabling them and making for easier bombing. They advised installation of such EM stalling weapons on aircraft.

"So somebody in military R&D was probably paying attention to what happened in Levelland and similar engine stalling or disruption reported in other UFO cases."

I frankly doubt whether there was a specific military realization and attempts to replicate the EMR effects of UFOs were the likely basis for later R&D into EM weaponry or vehicle stalling/disabling technology, but I suppose it's remotely possible someone may have been inspired to consider the ramifications of same.

But it was long known beforehand that in some, again relatively rare, cases, lightning strikes, ball lightning, and other unusual natural phenomena making contact with or transiting very nearby could create the same or similar vehicle interference or stalling effects.

steve sawyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve sawyer said...

Part 2 of 2:

What this does go to show, however, getting back to Kevin's skeptical friend, and perhaps David's speculations about possibly UFO-inspired 21st century military tech, is that either way, whether extremely concentrated forms of energy within and radiated by either plasma or lightning-related natural phenomena, or derived from the pulsed EMR or microwave, etc., kinds of energy from UFO encounters, i.e., whether natural or artificial/UFO, the mere proximity to such vastly powerful sources of electromagnetic energy, in the kilo or megawatt range or above, of varying kinds (and I also agree some kind of rapidly-pulsed or high-frequency oscillation of such types of radiation is likely involved in both phenomena), in addition to being extremely concentrated with very strong field or non-optical emission strength levels, can and have affected electrical systems in both ground and air vehicles (and also probably sea vessels at times which at least in part use similar electrical systems for both propulsion and other systems on board), and which could also be a by-product or inadvertent (non-deliberate and/or non-technological or artificial) cause of vehicle interference, and perhaps not intentional or directed efforts to cause vehicles to stall or be stopped--this could just be a proximal side-effect, or not an extraterrestrial directed technology itself, per se. Kevin's friend was apparently limiting his consideration of the issue to what human technology could achieve, not extreme forms of natural phenomena or possibly extreme forms of non-human tech or innate function or capability. Nothing here is a given or can be definitively determined in this regard. We just don't know.

A better indicator of intelligence or intent is the motion, and reactive behavior in UFO encounters to human presence, observation, or attempted approach, either on the ground or in the air (or on and under the seas).

Evasive maneuvers, elusive reactive movements when pursued or tracked, and motions which indicate some form of awareness or detection of human presence, whether in any kind of vehicular transport or not, including approach, hovering, and/or rapid departure under some circumstances are all somewhat more indicative of sensor or other detection and reaction, and possible intent or deliberative actions. IMHO. Eh! Who knows? 8^}

See: http://bit.ly/clQNsP for a JSE/SSE article from over 10 years ago by Dr. Jacques F. Vallee, "Estimates of Optical Power Output in Six Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objects with Defined Luminosity Characteristics" for one interesting and illustrative article related to this discussion

Dave Poole said...

Fascinating. I've read UFOs and The National Security State several years ago...while the writing is a little tedious I think it's the best academic treatment yet of
the phenomena as it relates to the American security apparatus.

You've got a new reader.

terry the censor said...

> Not to sound like a nut

Too late.

chip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.