Wednesday, December 31, 2014

 

The myth of radioactive UFOs? Part 2: Classic cases


Okay, so a UFO case that has very well-documented radiation effects may not be as mysterious as first thought. What about some of the other classic cases with radiation effects?

CH argued:

Chris Rutkowski, there are many more cases. Residual radiation is definitely a contender but the exhaust that blew out of the Falcon Lake vehicle left behind interesting additional clues. I'm not labeling the fuel/power source as Nuclear, merely pointing out evidence that there are properties that seem to be similar.

To which I replied:

Name the "many more cases." That's why I'm challenging this basic assumption in ufology. Rendelsham? Greatly disputed. Cash-Landrum? Nothing ever detected. And....?

And she said:

I was thinking of a Mexican farmer case, Brazil Cortez Island incident... Mexican man ended up dying, another Mexican suffered for many years...Cortez Island is a strong case!

I realized that the case in question was actually the series of events in and around Colares, Brazil. The most detailed description of the events there is at: http://www.ufocasebook.com/colares1977.html

But again, although the UFO effects were thought to be “radiation,” there is no record of any measurement of radioactivity in the area.

Similarly, CC posted:

I've got plenty of questions myself! The 1957 Levelland case and 1958 Loch Raven Dam case are both supposed to have had big glowing ovoid UFOs that left the witnesses "sunburned." Unfortunately, we have no medical records or photos, just the stories...

And I said:

Exactly. CH may be thinking of Bob Pratt's investigations of injuries from UFOs in South America, but that's not what I was asking about. I'm looking for cases where radioactivity was actually detected and measured, not assumed because of physiological injuries.

Another poster, AS, suggested another classic case:

What of the radioactive "spots" left on the car in the Hill case?

To which I replied:

Those were never established as radioactive. In fact, the spots were initially thought to be magnetic anomalies because a compass needle deflected near them, but this was never properly documented, and even then the needle only did when Betty was holding the compass, not Barney.

SML noted:

An interesting exercise Chris. Sadly, so little instrumented research seems to occur in most cases. Certainly the vast mass of cases are mostly of an anecdotal nature… Of course I immediately think of the ground / vegetation effects in the Delphos case but again, I don't know for sure that there was actually any radiation detected by instrumentation.

The mention of Delphos again raised the issue of an assumed radioactive component, even though the ring found there itself may be adequately explained as bioluminescence, not radioactivity.

Poster RH, a longtime UFO investigator, noted:

[Radiation] was found and measured in a case I investigated in the early 70s. I believe many others like Socorro had this.

I have no idea what case he investigated, but Socorro is another classic that was rumoured to have radioactivity, but did not. James McDonald’s interview with Mary Mayes, the biologist who studied plant samples from Socorro, stated that there was “no evidence of radiation.”

JV posted simply: “Rendlesham Forest”


The summary from which states:

According to the manufacturers of the instrument that was used to take radiation readings in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980, the measurements were “of little or no significance”. From the evidence of the real-time tape recording made during the investigation, it is shown that the readings are simply background levels and do not support the claim that anything unusual happened in Rendlesham Forest. Onsite checks made within a few years of the incident revealed no unusual radiation at the site.

Next, a poster suggested the case of D.S. “Sonny” DesVergers, known as the Florida Scoutmaster Case of August 19, 1952. (http://www.nicap.org/scoutmas.htm) But although the site was checked for radioactivity, none was found. And besides, it’s almost universally agreed that it was a hoax.

GC then asked me about some local Manitoba cases that were said to have involved radioactivity:

Chris Rutkowski: Are you saying the CKY film landing site readings at the Roth farm were wrong?

And I said:

Not necessarily wrong, but perhaps inaccurate. I know that the readings taken by Ernst Speelman at that and the Halbstadt site were often questioned because they seemed to vary across the sites and were greatly dependent on the counter being in direct sunlight, and battery usage, and other factors. On at least one occasion, I saw the counter give a high reading one minute and then drop to nothing the next. It had been suggested to me that the counter itself might have been "wonky."

In fact, I dug out my original report on the Carman, Manitoba, case, from May 13, 1975. It was a remarkable multi-witness, multi-site realtime investigation when a film of a bright flying object low over the fields was recorded as well as eyewitness observations. Here’s the relevant discussion about radiation:

The witness led investigators to the area where he believed the object had been at that point. After checking their bearings, the investigators took background readings with a radiation survey meter. The levels were negligible; basically background levels only. They then proceeded towards the suggested “landing site” and took readings every 100 yards. The average reading in the field was 20 mR.  After continuing on, they claimed to have found “a series of hot spots about 85 yards apart, each with a radius of approximately 25 feet.” Center readings were said to be 38-40 mR, falling off to about 25 mR at the edges. Soil samples were not taken. However, these readings are highly suspect. The team also found that passing a hand “between the suspected area and the instrument lowered the reading somewhat,” even though the meter was supposedly set to measure gamma rays, which are very penetrating. The same device had been shown to malfunction on other occasions.

The Halbstadt case of July 2, 1975, involved a similar “landing site,” although there had not been any associated UFO observed. Radiation readings were taken with the same meter, and it had found some varying levels there, too. (It’s interesting that a published account of the case quoted investigators as saying that not only were high radioactivity levels detected, but that there was some hazard to the public in the area because of the radioactivity.)

But I would argue that these cases all fall under the “disputed” category.

A few posters then got to the heart of the matter by stating:

[SJ] I think the idea that flying saucers were radioactive is simply a product of the times just like the saucers themselves. The times being the 1950s. Atomic energy was mysterious and brand new so speculating that saucers were man-made atomic powered craft or even ET atomic powered craft seems like the most obvious avenue.

And

[CC] Exactly, and the Chiles-Whitted sighting was what prompted the speculation of an ET atomic powered craft. It couldn't be our technology, so it must be from out there... unless the witnesses were fooled by a bolide.

And then Cash-Landrum was brought up. The assumption among most UFO buffs and believers is that Betty Cash and Vicki Landrum were burned by radiation.

Poster CC quickly countered the claim of radiation poisoning with the facts of the case, available at the detailed website devoted to the case: http://blueblurrylines.com

One relevant detail from the site:

Department chief Russ Meyer spent a whole day… scouring a 10-mile stretch of open highway between Huffman and New Caney. “Our major purpose was to verify the presence of radioactive trace effects, but we found no evidence of that. The only conclusion we could draw was that there was no residual radioactive material in the area at the time.”

And finally, AC stated:

We have found radiation at several spots near Point Pleasant, WV, where UFOs and Mothman were seen. They are still hot today.

But no details on these have been presented.

So, having gone through the classic UFO cases that have been thought to involve radioactivity, and found them lacking solid evidence, where does that leave us?


Next in Part 3: The origin of the UFO radioactivity myth.

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Comments:
UFOs & radiation. Associated so long together, they look funny without each other. It took Martin and Lewis a while to get over such a thing,too.
 
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