Thursday, May 25, 2023

Coast-to-Coast AM: FLIR and William Rhodes

I came across something the other day that suggests a partial solution to some of the questions being asked about UFOs. Officials have wondered how it can be that there is an object seen on radar, or by FLIR but not be seen by pilots sent to intercept them. The answer might be that it is the human ability to see only certain light waves.

We can see what is known as the visible light spectrum. That is bordered by the ultraviolet on one end and the infrared on the other. While we can’t see in the infrared, we have instruments that can. If a craft is concealed in an infrared cloud, it might be invisible to an interceptor pilot or witnesses on the ground, but could be seen by radar and by FLIR. Maybe this is a hint about a technology that could mask our aircraft in some fashion.

I confess that I’m not sure how this would work, or if it could work. I just noticed that a craft emitting an infrared light would not be visible to the human eye. Using infrared to mask a craft of any kind might not work, especially in daylight, but it could explain the sudden disappearance of a craft if the light it emitted changed from the visible spectrum into the infrared. It would seem to disappear while staying right there. I’m sure that some optical scientists might have something to say about this.

Of course, there are still sightings in which the witnesses can see the UFO. Such was a case from May 18 of this year. The witness, in El Reno, Oklahoma, was sitting on the deck in the rear of his house, when he noticed a shiny spot in the sky. He was curious about it and watched as it seemed to grow. After a minute, he could see a circular shape. It then turned sharply and accelerated, disappearing in a matter of seconds.

He said that he saw a definite shape that looked nothing like a conventional aircraft. By the time he realized what he was seeing, the UFO had disappeared. He thought about his cell phone too late to take any pictures.

For this month’s retro sighting, I’m looking at the William Rhodes photographs taken on July 7, 1947, in Phoenix, Arizona. He was walking from his house to his lab in the backyard when he heard what he described as a whooshing sound. He looked up and thought he was seeing one of the new jets, but quickly realized that it was something different. He ran to his lab for his camera and took two pictures.

The better of the Rhodes photographs

The other Rhodes photograph.

Although it doesn’t show in the photographs, the illustration that Rhodes drew shows a disk-shaped object. There were no propellers and no turbulent air behind the craft. He said that the UFO was circling but he took only one other picture. He only had two frames left on the film.

Rohodes illustration of what he saw and photographed.

The Air Force smear machine attempted to prove that this was a hoax. There was an issue with Rhodes’ claim of a doctorate, though his Navy service at the beginning of World War II was the source of the claim. They didn’t like that he was self-employed and said that he lived off his wife’s income. The truth was that he had several patents and that was sought by universities for his problem-solving ability. I talked to a man who knew Rhodes who told me that Rhodes was a clever fellow and a genius. You can read more about this aspect of the case here:

The Air Force labeled the case as a hoax, though Ken Arnold said that he had been told by two Army intelligence officers that the Rhodes photographs resembled the craft that he, Arnold, had seen. I dealt with the case in depth in The Best of Project Blue Book.

As an addendum, to the story, this was a comment appended to one of the posts I had written about Rhodes:

William Albert Rhodes was my uncle. He passed away in 2007 at 90 years of age. His last wife (of six) Nancy lives still in their house on 13th place in Phoenix, she celebrated her 87 birthday last January. A long time resident of Arizona he lived in Phoenix when it was a small village of 35,000 people. In those days you were judged by what you knew and what you did rather than what a piece of paper said you knew. It was literally the Wild West at the time. Bill was friends with many leading people of the time including two men who were to become governors of Arizona. Intellectually Bill was brilliant and had many interests not limited to what I've read here. He was very active in the early radio music scene in Arizona. He played piano throughout his life at a very high level. He held many patents including the water welder, of which I have one in my garage. He worked extensively in the solar field and his home still has a hybrid solar panel for heating water and a "helioscope", which uses reflected light via mirrors to illuminate the inside of a building, among other innovations. He organized a "solar showcase" in Arizona in 1955, which while covered by the local media was a relative flop due, I believe, to entrenched corporate interests such as Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project. He was a "90 day wonder" and never said otherwise. No one who knew him even a little bit would think he didn't deserve to be called Dr. He invented Rhodes Gas and although it's now called Browns Gas it was his development and invention. He had some success in business but made many bad decisions and had no lasting business interests. He was used and abused business wise throughout his life. I know little about the UFO pictures having been born in 1947. He always kidded me and told me I was half alien. His personal life aside (obviously having had six wives) he wasn't the most stable of family men, but in the end he was one of a kind, complex, intelligent, flawed as most of us are.

I found it interesting and confirmed much of the other things that I had learned about Rhodes and his photographs. 


William G. Pullin said...

The Army Air Force/Air Force certainly tried to smear Mr. Rhodes character. That speaks volumes about their effort to pushback against quality sighting reports, and any unexplained photos. Thanks Kevin.

Bob Koford said...

Thanks for this update on Mr. Rhodes. I have always been fascinated with the Rhodes case. I remember watching a short story done by a local Arizona TV News show on one of the anniversaries of the case. I thought I remember them saying that Rhodes was actually a principal investigator of the supposed crash of a disc, re: the paradise dam case? Do you have any more info on that, by any chance, in any of the links you provided? Also, it was the Rhodes's efforts to get his photos back, in 1952, that exposed me to how little Ruppelt really knew about the the whole flying disc situation...and no, Ruppelt did not coin the term UFO. Colonel McCoy used it officially long before Ruppelt. Thank you, again, for your continued work.

KRandle said...

Bob -

In everything I have seen, and in the people I have talked to, there is no indication that Rhodes was involved in the investigation of a crashed UFO. The only connection that I know of is that he took those pictures just days after the Arnold sighting.

If you type Rhodes into the search engine, you'll find all the postings about the Rhodes photographs. I have also covered it in depth in one of my books.

Ruppelt's claim to fame was to use UFO instead of flying saucer. He pushed for the use of that term in the official communications. I have found unidentified flying object in several documents that preceded Ruppelt.