WHY UFOs ARE NOT IDENTIFIED
Many UFOs are not identified because of fallacies put forth by ET proponents. Here are some rules to help you sort out the
hokum from the facts:
- Nobody can visually determine the size, distance, speed, or altitude of an object without at least one of the
- The object comes within 20 feet of the witness, where binocular vision works.
- The witness moves several feet and establishes parallax while the object stands
- The witness knows the identity of the object. But claiming it is a spaceship is NOT
knowing the identity of the object.
- The object casts a shadow at a known distance (and the position of the sun or other
light source is noted).
- The object gives off light that casts shadows (I wish I had shadow data on the
- The witness knows one of the other values (listed above) accurately by other means.
- The object passes in front of and behind other known objects.
UFOlogists raise the objection, "Air Force people can visually estimate the altitude, speed, and distance of an
airplane." The difference is that these people know that it is an airplane. Likewise,
you can easily estimate the distance of a streetlight, because you know it is a streetlight, and because you can see where
the post sticks into the ground. Since you do not know what the UFO is, you can't know its size. Without knowledge of the
size, you can't estimate the distance, altitude, or speed. Thus, you must mistrust all of the following values given by
witnesses (unless one of the above cases is true):
- Size, including length, diameter, height, and area.
- Distance from the observer.
- Description of what the object flew or hovered over, except to find the direction the object was seen in.
- Radial motion (toward or away from observer).
- Nobody can tell whether a point source light is brightening or dimming, or moving radially with respect
to the observer.
Since they both give exactly the same visual stimulus, no observer can tell them apart.
- Fire balloons are very difficult to identify at night without previous experience
There are several reasons for this:
- Unless one is familiar with UFOs, or lived before World War II, one would not have much exposure to the existence of
fire balloons due to modern fire laws.
- Most people born after 1945 have never knowingly seen a fire balloon.
- Due to reflections from the plastic bag, the shape can be quite indistinct.
- Anyone who assumes that a fire balloon is a vehicle will grossly overestimate the size, distance, speed, and
- Slight gradients in wind speed can cause the balloon to rotate.
- Changes in wind velocity cause the balloon to tilt and wobble.
- Because only the bottom end of the balloon is visible, the object appears to make maneuvers that require power. The
center of mass is actually quite higher than the lighted portion, giving rise to these effects:
- Pendulum motion
- Oscillating coin motion
- Undulatory flight
- Fire balloons can leave burn marks and set fires.
- Dark adaptation can make colors seem more saturated than they really are.
- When the crashed remains of one are found, they are assumed to be trash, not a flying object.
- Sometimes a fire balloon is discounted because it follows a circular or repeating path. In the presence of trees or
buildings, circular and oscillatory winds are sometimes observed, by-products of linear winds and the tall objects that
- Many people don't understand wind direction.
All weather services always report wind direction as the direction the wind blows from.
Laymen tend to assume the opposite. Many UFOs remain unidentified because everything matches a balloon or other windborne
item, except that the wind direction was inadvertently reversed by the "investigator." The investigator then
denies that the object could be a balloon because it would have been heading into the wind. Other wind errors include:
- Assuming that the wind direction at the site is the same as the wind direction at an airport miles away.
- Assuming that a wind reading taken hours earlier or later is the same as the wind reading would have been at the
time of the sighting.
- Forgetting to include any effects that terrain or tall objects can have on the wind.
- Assuming that the wind blows in the same direction at all altitudes.
- Assuming that the wind blows at the same speed at all altitudes.
- Some people don't want the truth about a sighting to be found.
- People making money from the mystery that would end if the case were solved.
- Witnesses trying to win the National Enquirer prizes.
- Tabloid newspapers, which derive their revenues from mysteries.
- UFOlogists who desperately want the ET hypothesis to be true.
- Hoaxers and pranksters, who might be in trouble with the law if they are found out.
- People who gain publicity from a sighting.
- The locality, which gains tourist business from those heading to see the site.
- Government or the military covering up a secret that was observed as the UFO.
- Anyone writing a book about the sighting.
- Much information obtained from "official sources" is misleading:
- Wind direction can be confused by officials who should know better.
- Inquiring at an airport does not produce a list of all aircraft in the air, because:
- Military airports do not know about commercial and private flights.
- Commercial airports do not have information on most military and private flights.
- Private airports would not have data on military and commercial flights.
- Private airports have no data on private flights not using that airport.
- Private flights under Visual Flight Rules may not be on file anywhere except the pilot's own log.
- Officials are reluctant to admit that they don't know what is going on.
- Official information might be misleading to protect government secrets.
- UFOlogists cloud the issue with irrelevant "facts" that mislead:
- UFOlogists assume that air traffic controllers have the primary purpose of identifying each object in their
airspace. They then question anything that the controller does that does not fit this pigeonhole. In fact, the
controller's main aim is to keep those objects from crashing into each other.
- Likewise, they assume that any air traffic controller would not report an unidentified object for fear of
being fired. But an unidentified target could be an unlisted flight, a manned balloon, a military secret, or a severe
weather phenomenon. Such items must be reported, to keep planes away from them. But the
controllers do not have time to gather the data needed for an official UFO report. They have dozens of planes to keep
- UFOlogists assume that RADAR provides the equivalent of a TV view of what is flying in the sky. They forget about
multiple echoes of the same object, reflections from ground objects, anomalous propagation, ducting, birds, insects,
and weather targets. RADAR screens show "unidentified" targets all of the time. On the other hand, RADAR will
not show a fire balloon (unless trailing aluminum foil streamers), some kites, and many kinds of balloons.
- UFOlogists wonder why the big telescopes don't photograph or try to identify UFOs. Big telescopes can't focus
anywhere near the Earth. Any airplane (or UFO) in the field just spoils the picture with an out-of-focus light blob.
- UFOlogists ask witnesses questions designed to find out if the UFO was a space ship, so they miss a lot of data
relevant to the actual identity of the object.
- Once a witness "decides" that the UFO is a space ship, he makes assumptions about it that color the actual
sighting data. UFOlogists take data that results from these assumptions as fact, rather than looking for other
explanations that fit the real distal events that were observed.
- UFOlogists assume that witnesses know what they are talking about when they give data concerning the size, distance,
speed, or altitude of the object. Most of this "data" are the result of previous assumptions on the identity
of the object.
- UFOlogists adhere to the mistaken idea that a UFO is an alien space ship until proven otherwise.
- Night advertizing planes look like rotating disks with lighted rims when seen edge on.
- Many UFOs remain unidentified simply because nobody has put enough effort into finding the correct
- When a UFO is identified, many UFOlogists continue to list it as unidentified.
They either do not know about the identification, or they don't believe it. Many cases continue to be listed as
"unidentified" in books published years after the identification was made. Many UFOlogists put up vigorous
arguments against the identification of their "favorite sightings," preferring to keep the case
unidentified to further their "cause" for alien spaceships.
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