Saturday, June 30, 2012

"Chasing UFOs" and "Dirty Secrets" - The National Geographic Channel

(See the previous two postings for more on Chasing UFOs.)

The second episode of Chasing UFOs on the National Geographic Channel, "Dirty Secrets," was one of the most paranoid and absurd pieces of supposedly non-fiction TV that I have ever seen. Apparently the military has constructed an underground base just outside Fresno, CA (not recently, but about 60 years ago), and uses it to conduct secret research on alien technology, and perhaps the aliens themselves. And you thought that all secret UFO activity was in New Mexico or Nevada! The rich agricultural areas surrounding Fresno are probably home to more cows than people, and the generally flat terrain of the San Joaquin Valley is poorly-suited for hiding secret government stuff. But that hasn't stopped the area from becoming a local UFO Hotspot.

One woman identified only as "Sarah" and photographed only in shadows, says she has been followed and harassed since she began investigating local UFO activity. Justin and Eva Moncrief claim to have seen a UFO crash near their house, and saw a  caravan of trucks go to the crash site. Justin says he has been "followed," too. We are repeatedly shown a white van apparently slinking away when observed, it supposedly is the harassing vehicle. Later they photograph it so clearly that the license plate has to be blocked out while it is on screen. It would be trivially easy for any law enforcement agency to identify this vehicle and its owner, should any of those who claimed to be harassed actually file a complaint. I suspect that if that were done, we would find the van to be rented to Chasing UFOs' production crew, and its driver to be one of its employees, since he seems to always appear on cue. Ryder later says that she looked up the license plate, "but couldn't find anything conclusive here." What is that supposed to mean? Here is a clear example of how the UFO Chasers don't want to investigate and reach a conclusion. Instead, they leave the evidence they gather on the table, and walk away.




the FLIR mobile training unit
How to investigate the alleged UFO crash? It's time to stumble around in the dark some more, this time assisted by a FLIR mobile infrared unit. (According to the company website, this is a mobile "training unit" only.) The FLIR was used to look for warm spots in the area that might supposedly represent UFO debris. Or else outcroppings of bedrock. On go the prosthetic neck braces with lights and cameras, and off they go again, Blair Witch style, with metal detector and Geiger counter. Apparently they think it's easier to find UFO crash debris in the dark than in daylight. However, they soon spot a vehicle farther up the hill. Convinced they are being followed, Ryder decides they should "call it a night." "It wasn't worth taking any chances." There was no attempt to investigate the vehicle, or look for crash debris later, in daylight. This whole crash site investigation was staged for drama, not to seriously gather any information.

pre-flood control photo,  downtown Fresno in 1925.
Next was a visit to UFOlogist Jeffrey Gonzales, who is the State Section Director for MUFON, a fact they don't mention. He, too, says he is being followed, and has surrounded his house with a multitude of security cameras. He might attract less attention if he didn't park his truck, covered with UFO emblems and murals, right in his driveway. Gonzales is convinced that there is an underground military base north of Fresno that studies alien technology, possibly just beyond the levees of the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District. "This levee sits up over the houses" - as indeed it must if it is to provide flood protection - "so it's a beautiful spot to hide something." The white van puts in another appearance.

So they decide it's Blair Witch time once again; they start out in daylight, but soon Ben and Ryder are rappelling down a canyon, in the dark with their "prosthetic" protrusions, to set up a camera on top the ridge on the other side. We never learn if the camera recorded anything. They later rendezvous on a bridge over the canyon, which I assume could have been crossed earlier to eliminate the need for rock climbing in the dark.

map of hydroelectric tunnels near Fresno
Meanwhile James and Jeff, also stumbling in the dark in their prosthetics, appear to be trespassing by climbing over a tall fence, which has a sign that cannot be read, because it has been blanked out. It probably says something like "No Trespassing, Property of Fresno Flood Control District." There they enter an impressively large tunnel, but sealed off and leading nowhere. "We found evidence of an underground facility!" It was later acknowledged that the tunnel was constructed as part of a hydroelectric project. "But they could also be used to access underground bases," according to Ryder.

Next is a visit with Manuel Amparano, who claimed to have a Close Encounter with a UFO on May 13, 1978 when he was a police officer. Tim Printy points out that there is a discussion of the Amparano sighting in  his SUNlite Webzine (Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 9). It occurred within two minutes of a known rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, a launch visible for hundreds of miles. I'm practically certain that's what Amparano saw; he said the object was "rising." He claims to have been "sunburned" by it, but of course it's perfectly possible he was sunburned in the normal manner the previous day, and attributed it to the "UFO." The UFO Chasers borrow for investigation the flashlight and jacket Amparano had on that night. They tested them, and found nothing unusual. James Fox proclaims Amparano's testimony to be "bulletproof." Nobody's testimony rises to that level.

The program reaches the utter heights of absurdity when, because one couple got a blurry photo of a "UFO" near the airport, the UFO Chasers decide that their next episode of stumbling in the dark should take place in the vicinity of the Fresno Airport. (One anonymous commenter identified this location as 3770 North Pierce Avenue, Fresno, CA; put that address into Street View of Google Maps, and you'll see that's probably correct.)  Ryder walks right up to the airport perimeter fence wearing her ungainly prosthetics, and at one point actually begins to climb the fence!  Here is the clearest proof that we are seeing staged incidents, and not actual investigations. Can you imagine the call from an airport security guard to headquarters? "Boss, there's a woman wearing these strange protrusions with cameras and lights, and she's trying to climb the perimeter fence!" In the real world, she would have immediately been arrested for trespassing, then interrogated for days to uncover any links to terrorist organizations. But in the TV Fantasy world of UFO Chasers, the guard shines a flashlight in her direction, a military helicopter takes off and circles her position, then she rejoins the others who hide under a tree, and the authorities lose all interest in finding out who was trying to penetrate their perimeter.

I don't know whether I'll be reviewing future episodes of Chasing UFOs. We have seen enough in these first two episodes to know exactly what kind of show this is. There is a lot of "data gathering" (more precisely, getting observers to tell their stories), but no serious effort to follow up, investigate, and come to a definite conclusion. It's all Wow, Gee Whiz, What an Amazing Story!. But don't actually look for answers - that isn't fun! Plus, the "investigations" we are shown are obviously staged for dramatic purposes, and are not actual efforts to gather information and solve mysteries. The National Geographic Channel may think it has plausible deniability for the contents of this show, since it was produced by Ping Pong Productions for NGC. But it's being sold under the National Geographic's brand, and it's dragging that once-proud brand through the mud.

71 comments:

  1. Very good (and fair) review. I could not understand why darkness always seems to be the only time they can get any field work done when searching for evidence. Do they all sleep till noon?

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  2. The Manuel Amparano story is pretty funny. I addressed it in SUNlite 2-4 (page 9). At the same time, Mr. Amparano was having his sighting, which was to his south, there was a rocket launch from Vandenberg. Is this a coincidence or the probable source of his sighting????
    As far as the sunburn is concerned, I have no answer but people can receive a sunburn from....the sun. Who is to say, he did not get a sunburn that afternoon (the day before or after) working in his yard or falling asleep outside sunbathing? I see no solid evidence that has been presented that he had no sunburn when he went into his shift before the event but then had a sunburn after before he left his shift.

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    1. I watched the episode, and he stated that it was "hovering" not "rising". I also noted that he seen the object at 0332 and the launch didn't occur until 0334. I googled Vandenburg and Kerman Ca. I noticed, and I'm sure you did as well, that Vandenburg is 187 miles south southwest of Kerman. At this distance It would have taken even longer for the officer to notice the object. So by stating that he saw a rocket launch, you must be claiming that he is not only a time traveler, but also has vision that nobody else on the planet has. I have also read his story and find that you are doing exactly what this show did, and that is to discredit people that may have had genuine experiences and attempt to make them look like fools. I was in the military myself, as was Mr. Amparano (if you read his story carefully), and I can assure you that no person with "military" experience would mistake a rocket launch "from the future" almost 200 miles from his location, as an object that was behind a tree line in front of him. Also in his story it states that other officers, saw him prior to his shift and seen no sunburn. He has medical records, witnesses, oh yeah and a farmworker who was 8 miles to the southwest of the officers location, also observed the object to his northeast. Hmmm I guess Vandenburg made a special exception and decided to launch from an entirely different location.

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  3. Wish they wouldn't put shows like this on tv. It's sure doesn't do much for the believers except make them look crazier than the public thinks they are already. Just another show like Repo Men on FAKtv (TRUtv).

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  4. I initially was quite intrigued, captivated really, by this show; but after 20mins or so, began to observe many of the points you made in your review. Clearly, NatGeo has stooped to the level of bringing us "sensationalism", rather than true exploration.
    Disappointed both with the show, but even more so with NatGeo.

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  5. Google 3770 N. Pierce Ave, Fresno, CA. That's the building they filmed. It was a police helicopter for crying out loud. They're lucky they weren't arrested. I'm sure the night shift was wondering what they were doing.

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  6. On a FaceBook page called Justice for the 81st
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/118776534810576/
    a poster called Indrid Cold says, apparently in all seriousness: “James [Fox] admitted to me that in order to get the show on TV he did have to sell out somewhat, and is using this as a probable stepping stone to a much more serious UFO show sometime in the near future - so he knows about the buffoonery, but it is, sadly, a price that must be paid.”
    Am I the only one who finds the idea of James Fox “selling out” in order to do a “more serious” show to be risible?
    BTW, the Justice for the 81st page is for those who think that James Penniston touched a landed craft in Rendlesham Forest, so they are not exactly hardline skeptics.

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  7. Tim, it sounds very much like a launch from Vandenberg could be what Amparano saw. He said it was rising. I've seen a few of those launches, and they can be spectacular. However, "his testimony is bulletproof," according to James Fox.

    Ian, what's funny is how this program is uniting UFO skeptics and proponents like never before. We all think it's awful! Robert Hastings, Robert Salas, and Charles Halt have all had bad things to say about it!

    Anon, 3770 N. Pierce Ave, Fresno, CA: Yep, that looks like where they were. I suspect that the filming of this segment was arranged in advance to avoid exactly the problem that you mention.

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  8. Robert,
    His testimony is "bulletproof" only because he has an 'unexplained' sunburn. As I said, there is no evidence presented that his sunburn was created by the UFO event. Take away the sunburn and his testimony as nothing unusual but a nocturnal light (and probably the Atlas launch I described which was only launched two minutes before his sighting!).

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    1. Your article says that the launch was at 3:34am and his sighting was at 3:32am. Now you are saying that his sighting was 2 minutes after the launch. What is the real story?

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  9. There is something going on in Fresno and we were promised by this show that we weren't going to be made fools of but they did it anyways. They edited the crap out of everything to meet their own agenda of what they already wanted the show to be about. They didn't even show all of the footage and when told we had much more unexplained footage from local skywatchers they didn't care. In my interview I even said I thought the triangle I saw was a TR3B experimental aircraft but they edited that out too. I'm upset they truely didn't investigate anything on what is going on over fresno and manuels story was from the 70s and I don't even know why that was put in when there is so many ore recent sightins...shame on james fox for selling out and same on nat geo for lying to al of us incoent skywatchers that they made seem like paranoid idiots when they don't know jack crap about the truth of what's happening..and yes its true we are being watched and noone knows the half of it oir the whole story...
    from chasing ufos dirty secrets

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    1. Sorry for the spelling errors my phone doesn't type well plus I'm upset

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  10. Old Rockin' DaveJuly 1, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Isn't it funny how these shows all have spectacular claims and yet never actually follow up? If I had a whole TV crew from a large cable channel that belongs to a huge multinational news company (well, sort of news company, it's the Murdochs, after all) and I thought a mysterious white van was following me, I'd walk right up to it with one of my camera crew and knock on the window. If it drove away I would follow it. What's to be afraid of? An entire production crew is suddenly going to be spirited away and no one will notice and demand an answer? But nooo! Let's never actually investigate something!

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    1. Well this friday's show might be my last, to watch. The last show with them "being Chased" by a police helicopter that was just patroling the airport, they're lucky they didn't get arrested for trespassing. Another wasted 60 minutes of TV time

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  11. One good thing about Nat geo's chasing $$$, is that when i googled "chasing ufos nat geo hoax" Robert's well written and very funny review was top of the list. Never would have this otherwise.
    :-)

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  12. love the subject, definitely a believer, but this show is a huge disappointment. I thought J.Fox was a serious guy.. what happened?

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  13. Should any readers/commenters be interested in the science that we did do but that didn't make the episode, see my NatGeo blog post on the "Science Behind" Chasing UFOs here:

    http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/30/the-science-of-chasing-ufos-dirty-secrets/

    I can personally vouch that James took the project very seriously. The ratio of footage shot-to-used was greater than 120-to-1. Much happens after an episode is filmed.

    Cheers,
    Ben McGee

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  14. James did take this seriously but if I were him I would have the editers fired! They left out so much and made this program a joke...the people that were witnesses are livid at nat geo....they should apologize to everyone they duped!

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  15. Guys, and Gals; Everyone knows the real secret UFO study base is in Tenneesee, The "Arnold Development Center" or whatever they call it these days...(BTW: That's General Hap Arnold, not the former Guvnah of the PRK!) There are a lot of sighting around this area, but most are explainable...I am sure the Nat Geo crew of wanna-be Blair Witch Hunters would be welcomed at the this Base!!! (NOT!)

    Dale in AL

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  16. The show is government paid for disinformation. The show is truly a sad joke. You won't find the truth in anything watching TV.

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  17. National Geographic if you recall ran a series "Is It Real". One episode was on UFO's. Instead of the quality and objectivity we grew to expect from Nat. Geo. we got a whitewash were they are explained as illusions, hallicinations and fantasy. National Geographic has IMHO been recruited by agencies unknown to discredit any UFO evidence and convinence the masses that anyone who says they saw, filmed or other wise has evidence of UFO's is crazy.

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  18. I agree! How can you pass this off as a real investigative show. Very disapointed at the show and NAT GEO

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  19. This show is intentional misinformation and misdirection in order to very creatively mock UFO belief and serious study. I will never watch Nat Geo again. Sorry that Jim sold out, I thought he was beyond that.

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  20. Truley disappointed by the episode.

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  21. Definately disappointed with natgeo. Tonights show was poor in taste by having Ben scare james with a fake alien, not funny at all in fact it kinda pissed me off. I thought natgeo was a little more serious than that. It doesnt ,make any sense why the investigations are at night, what are they trying to be like ghost adventures. The show should be cancelled. Ancient Aliens rocks!

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    1. I totally agree with you. They staged it so you really thought it really happened, the way they cut to a commercial break, and now I know that all of this is cut and pasted for entertainment only. I think we as fans, or actually, we as consumers, need to let NatGeo know that this isn't the kind of program we want. They follow a format, based on all their audience demographics, and then put on shows that they feel will garner the most viewers. And the most viewers, means more ad revenue for them. It's all about the "Almighty Dollar". But, this time they are wrong, that format may work for reality TV, but not for a show like this. In the long run, NatGeo has damaged their brand, and will lose viewers.

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  22. This show really is pretty pathetic, and at the risk of sounding like a "paranoid government is out to get me" type of person, I do understand why some people may believe that this show is being used to somewhat mock and discredit UFOs and the sightings that are real. What I find more sad is that there are people out there who will actually believe that this show is real. Are people really that naive/stupid? I hope not. SOOO many things that just don't add up to plain logic in their episodes to a thinking person believer or not. The airport episode regarding security mentioned by other posters is clearly ridiculous to think that ANYONE would be able to do that and just walk off like they did. Sorry if my words are jumbled, just watched the show and had to get online asap in hopes to find i wasnt going crazy thinking of how much bull this show is comprised of.

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  23. While watching, I could only think with my brain stem since the show had made me stupider and say, "fucking stupid". I'm so sick of and will never watch these over dramatic, never go anywhere, in search of shows again. (Paranormal, monsters etc.)

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    1. Old Rockin' DaveJuly 9, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      Watching an episode of "Monster Quest" (I think it was, anyway), one of the fearless monster hunters declared, "We're the best at *almost* finding monsters." Talk about giving the game away!

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  24. NGC you must be kidding. Insulting our intelligence with this Ghostbusters-like joke. If you are not going to present the UFO topic honestly, please do not present anything at all.

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  25. I'm at least looking forward to the editing on the July 20 episode as I was one of the pilot's. Should be fun.

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  26. Forgive my ignorance, but who are "Ping Pong Productions"? What else do they produce (besides table tennis shows)?

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  27. I am curious if anyone else feels like I do? While watching the show, I kept getting the feeling that they were trying to make UFO believers look like fools, and wacko's, and totally downplay the possibility that maybe they are real. Maybe if we really did do the science, we could come up with solid proof that something is visiting earth. I have seen hundreds of the videos, and photos from around the world, and it just appears that something is definitely happening. This isn't just in the United States, it's every country in the World. If not visitors from other worlds, then someone has some major league technology that should be shared with all of mankind. I expect that all of you are sick of the rising gas prices and some alternative fuel source would be very welcome for obvious reasons. So, please, to whoever is out there looking at developing programs like this, please provide something real, something that will aid us in finding out the "Truth"! Mainstream science will not pull their head's out of their arse's because they don't want their government funding cut off. But if more proof, solid proof is obtained, they will be forced to investigate these "Happenings". I just want to know the truth, that shouldn't be that much to ask.

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    1. That's exactly what they were trying to do. If they wanted to keep this legit, they would have talked more in depth to the people that had eye witnessed these events. Instead they edited out the full testimonies of these people and injected the show with their own madness. What better way to discredit people that have seen things than to pair them up in a show with idiots that insult peoples intelligence.

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  28. 1978 Kerman UFO sighting, public information as follows. 1. A witness Carl Smith a U.S. weather meteorologist and former U.S. Navy WW2 fighter pilot with thirty-eight years combined service was on duty the night of May 13,1978. Carl said that he was outside checking the southwestern sky during the time I Officer M. Amparano had my close encounter with a UFO, and he said I observed no unusual activity in the sky during my sighting. Carl was unable to observe the UFO as it was almost on the ground. Carl also did not see the Vandenberg rocket launch as it could not be viewed from Fresno County. 2. Robert J. Gribble Director of Phenomena Research reported that an Astronomer from Fresno had observed at the same time of my sighting a UFO descending toward the ground in the general area of my sighting. This information was released to the media by The Kerman Chief Of Police.

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  29. I really enjoy your blog.

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  30. The 1978 rocket launch could be seen from Fresno. It is a common occurrence for rocket launches from Vandenberg to be seen from Fresno and as far east as Tuscon! Exactly when did Mr. Smith make this statement of being outside making observations of the sky and not seeing the rocket launch? Is this on record somewhere or is it suddenly being "recalled" over thirty years later?

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    1. Not to beat a dead horse but I was just doing some searching on the idea that the rocket could not be seen from Fresno that morning. The distance is only 150 miles and the orbital inclination for that launch was something like 63-64 degrees.Compare this to the launch in October 2011 which had an inclination of 97 degrees. This 97 degree inclination would make the rocket go away from the observers in Fresno and difficult to see. Yet it was seen.
      http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=8409038
      The Atlas launch in 1978 would have been more southeasterly due to its inclination (see SUNlte for my estimated trajectory) and easier to see. It is interesting to note that the December 10, 1978 rocket launch of a Navstar satellite (using the same inclination as the May 1978 launch) generated numerous UFO reports in California. The reason for this was because it was around 8PM at night, when there were a lot more people outside.
      The bottom line is the claim made by those supporting the Amparano sighting, that the rocket could not be seen has not been shown to be true and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he should have seen it.

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    2. I have read articles by you and also the ones on Amparano. His seem to remain consistant and yours seem to keep changing. The way you keep going after this topic seems to be a personal issue between the two of you. I would also like responses to the replies I left on your comments. If anyone wants a better description go to http://www.examiner.com/article/ufo-evidence-just-the-facts-please. 150 miles? http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=kerman+ca+to+vandenberg+ca&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=696&wrapid=tlif134238810611310&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl <- that says 187 miles. Also if you look at the earth view of the map, it shows a MOUNTAIN RANGE in between KERMAN CA and VANDENBURG. The article I read said that he obseved an object approx 100 ft. In front of him and about 100 - 150 feet off the ground. That must be a very small mountain range. I seen on your bio, that you take pride in having been in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. I wonder what your specialty was, because distance, direction, and accuracy are not your strong points. Either that or you are purposely twisting facts.

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    3. LOL! How can you use a google road map travel measurement to measure STRAIGHT LINE DISTANCES? Use google earth with their measuring tool. It is about 150 miles STRAIGHT LINE DISTANCE to Vandenberg from Kerman. Please get you facts correct.
      As for the mountain range, you miss the point that the mountain range is about 50 miles away from Kerman. It is not a significant factor when one considers that a rocket would be dozens of miles in the sky, well above the angular elevation created by a mountain 50 miles away.
      I would think somebody who wanted to argue these points would get their FACTS right. Like the emails I received from Amparano two years ago (who could not tell the difference between GMT and PDT), facts are important. You are ignoring these facts.

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    5. So glad you mentioned STRAIGHT LINES and FACTS. So let me get this straight. According to you, a moutain range "50 miles" away is not a significant factor. However, a rocket launch over at "150" miles away is? I used the google reference to make sure that you are not incompetent, but instead a person that twists "FACTS". Thank you for displaying such integrity. So sir I did get "me" facts straight. I also spent 8 years in the U.S. Army infantry, so yes I do understand "STRAIGHT-LINE DISTANCE". I also learned something about field of vision. I would like to explain this to you, but I feel that it would be a waste of time as you are diluted in your own beliefs and not willing to observe facts nor acknoledge them. If my "FACTS" are incorrect maybe you should make your articles and statements more accurate because that is where I have been getting my info on your part.

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    6. For example, earlier in this blog you blatantly changed times to suit your own agenda. You contradicted yourself. Once again, a fine display of integrity on your part. If I was you I would not be advising people on judgement.

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    7. Well, you failed the first test on straight line distances. Now you are failing the simple elevation angle computation using some basic trig. A mountain range that is a mile high (the actual height is less than this from my measurement)and 50 miles distance only obscurs the sky a little over 1 degree (I compute 1.15). This ignores the curvature of the earth so it would be lower. However, a rocket that is between 30 and 70 miles high at a distance of 150 miles would be at an elevation angle of 11-25 degrees. However, the rocket would have gone down range. If we use a distance of 200 miles, then the rocket's elevation angle would be 8.5-19.3 degrees. Therefore, the rocket would have been above the angle subtended by the mountains.

      So far, you have yet to impress me that your effort to show that I am twisting facts. So far, I have shown that I got the facts right every time and you have been shown to not understand the concepts of perception, angular size/elevations, or measuring straight line distances.

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    8. Exactly when did I change times? This is not my blog. Are we talking about a change of a few minutes or what? Be specific in your arguments.

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    9. Oh, I see, I made an error and stated that his sighting was two minutes after the launch instead of two minutes before the launch. Considering that we don't know if his watch/clock was synched with an atomic clock (which is what is used in rocket launches) or a precise measurement, I consider this a minor issue.

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    10. Old habits are hard to break. Ok, I had to rule out incompetence. Which, I did by having you give me a straight line distance. Something I guess you overlooked...anyways, I gave you the benefit of the doubt and checked on earths curvature. The mountain might seem somewhat lower at a distance of 50 miles. However, an object at 150+ miles would almost be non visible until it reached a significant altitude. You are saying that this officer, and numerous witnesses mistaked a rocket that is over 150 miles away and gaining altitude as something that was hovering and reported to the local fire department as a field fire?? I also seen that you claim his burns were caused by him "sunbathing" earlier that day. 1. It was 87 degrees that day in Fresno, Ca. Where the officer lived. 2. I don't know many people that sunbathe in V-neck T-shirts. 3. Reports show that not one, but 2, doctors claimed the burns to be from an "unknown" source. I think people that go to medical school know what a sunburn looks like. Oh yeah and there were other officers and witnesses he named that seen he was not sunburned when he reported for duty that night. Not that I care either way, but like I said before, it seems that you have a personal issue with this officer. The show that he was seen on featured other stories and 2 complete BS segments, yet his is the only one you are going after. the only test failed here is the test of integrity on your part.

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    11. Rockets get to a "significant altitude" pretty quick. From what I have read, about the time of Booster engine cutoff - BECO (around T+2 min), the altitude of the rocket is about 50-70 miles high. However, the Sustainer engine lasts longer (up to about T+5 min) and goes to a much higher altitude. In either case (before or after BECO), the elevation angle is far greater than the mountains 50 miles away and well above the optical horizon. This is demonstrated to be true when I provided a link to a rocket launch being seen from Fresno. BTW, Atlas rocket launches have been seen from as far north as Sacremento (see BB record September 22, 1964) and west as Nevada (see same record). I am not sure why you think Fresno would be immune to seeing these rocket launches as well.
      As far as the sunburn goes, you can make all the claims you desire but there is no evidence that supports the story he got the sunburn from the UFO. It is just a bunch of stories told some time later. BTW, I have seen people perform yardwork in V-neck t-shirts before. It does not take much to get a sunburn being out in the yard for a few hours with minimal clothing. Are you stating that the t-shirt provided the necessary shielding to the rest of his body?
      I asked you to present the evidence you claim you have to support these claims. You seem reluctant to present high resolution copies of these reports and accounts.

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    12. Pardon my French but you are what people call a "tool". Unlike you my friend I have seen first hand by speaking with this officer his medical reports, witness testimony, reports from the chief of police at the time, and not to mention my own eyes on his visible injuries that he still has today. My friend if you care to ever get out of your mothers basement and want to do what we grunts call "fieldwork" I can give you his email. I was very much a skeptic until I met with this man. He will show skeptics and believers alike what he has. Until you do take time to get eyes on, please don't sit there and take shots at people. BTW he worked "GRAVEYARD SHIFT" I don't think he would use precious sleep time to do yardwork. That is what people with "JOBS" do on their days off. So put up or shut up please. You are not a strong rep for skeptics.

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    13. And I do agree with you. Rockets do gain significant altitude very quick. Which is even more interesting that you would say that numerous witnesses would say "hovering" or "grass fire". I have also watched rocket launches. They have something that resembles a tail. Not an oval, stationary, object. BTW mr. tim nobody cares who you are printy, a UFO means UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT, why do you insist it means alien spacecraft? If somebody launched you in the air and you stayed there long enough you would also be called a UFO instead of a UFS that stands for UNIDENTIFIED FAILURE SKEPTIC.

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  31. May 23, 1978, Fresno Guide staff writer Mark Hyman reported on the Kerman ufo encounter. According to the police report, the officer observed "what was first believed by him to be a fire in a field southwest of California avenue and Del norte avenue." When the officer reached the field he discovered that the glow was not caused by a fire. The key words are in a field not up in the night sky. So how do you place an Atlas rocket in a field boarding a city without waking up the citizens. I did not know that the airforce had a rocket that could hover low to the ground, very intriguing.

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  32. May 24, 1978, Kerman newspaper editor, Mark Kilen reported in his headlines, strange light in Kerman field in reference to the Kerman ufo encounter. The police report from the chief of police places the ufo in a field and not in the night sky. The ufo ascended only after it was illuminated by the patrol vehicle headlights. How did a vandenberg rocket get launched from a field adjacent to Kerman?

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    1. Simple misperception issue. He thought it was in the field and then rose up to tree top level. If you have these articles and reports at good resolution, feel free to present them. Otherwise, I will treat them as your distance measurement, where you used the paths along a zig-zag road as a straight-line distance measurement.

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    2. Gee, I thought he first saw it at "tree-top level". Are you stating that Amparano lied in his later interviews? However, perception is a funny thing. As the rocket first came up, it could appear to come out of a distant field. It is a simple misperception of what he believed he saw.

      If you have a copy of the original police report that is a better resolution than on the article you cited, I would love to see it

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    3. Gee, I thought you were interested in facts. He thought it was a tree on fire. When he drove to the sight he found that it was something else. This man never lied, he just has never had a complete evaluation of his story by a non-biased source. Not to fear, there will soon be a new web-site and show for people that will tell their story with research done inbetween.

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  33. Apparently you are relating the Kerman ufo encounter in the same class as the Apollo eleven moon mission. Sceptic"s say that apollo eleven never landed or made it to the moon. There are events that can't be disproven by people who weren't there. There is an old Vietnam War saying, if you weren't there ,shut up. Always visit and investigate the incident site before you Monday morning quarterback the incident. In this country thank god ,the courts always side with a witnessed statement and not speculation. You cannot take a past event and attempt to fuse it with a future event as you have done, it doesn't fly.

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    1. Your analogy is poor. Moon landing hoax proponents are not skeptics. Skeptics demand evidence for a claim. The claim that we went to the moon has plenty of good evidence to support it. Those who say the moon landing was faked have not provided evidence for their claims. That claim has failed the skeptical examination.
      There is also a saying about exotic claims. That being for those making the claims to provide the supporting evidence. I have presented all sorts of evidence that demonstrates the rocket launch could be seen from Kerman to back up my claim that this is probably what he saw. You have not presented anything but the statements by the witness, which sound like the same flawed perceptions that many UFO witnesses had made in previous cases involving rocket launches (See SUNlite 3-1 pages 29-30).
      What we have in this case is a claim by an individual that he saw a bright red object hovering in the southern sky that disappeared towards the southeast after a few minutes. About the same time as his sighting (only a few minutes difference), a rocket launch should have been visible to him in the same area of the sky. He did not see it. So, the possibility is great that what he saw was the rocket launch. This is simple logic and good investigative procedure.
      As for the court siding with the witnessed statement, you are wrong on this as well. Eyewitness testimony is always suspect, which is why lawyers are allowed to cross-examine them in trials. There are dozens of documents and experiments that have shown that even the best and most honest witnesses can be mistaken about what they saw. The court sides with the accused against witness statements that can not be proven.
      UFO sightings are full of witness mistakes and misperceptions. This is a documented fact, which is why a great number of UFO reports are misperceptions of mundane events. It is the excited witness, who is influenced by his perception of what they see, that turns these events into exotic stories. As Thomas Huxley once wrote, "Trust a witness in all matters in which neither his self-interest, his passions, his prejudices, nor the love of the marvellous is strongly concerned. When they are involved, require corroborative evidence in exact proportion to the contravention of probability by the thing testified."

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    2. Not that there are too many people reading this blog, but Mr. Sheaffer sites another skeptic in this blog by the name of Tim Printy. I understand that this show had 2 very much so BS segments. If you noticed these 2 BS segments were 4/5 of the show while 1/5 of the show was people with evidence. However Printy attacks a 3 minute segment. By the way neither one of these guys has come to Fresno for field work. If you want to discredit, please at least do some field work for the sake of the actual hard working skeptic.

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    3. Have you interviewed the officer personally printy?????

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    5. RE Rocket launches: I really wonder if you have ever seen a rocket launch or understand how they work. A rocket follows a trajectory that arcs over. In the case of the Navstar satellite, it would have been on a southerly course with an azimuth of about 160 degrees from Vandenberg. An observer in Kerman, would see the rocket rise towards the SSW. As the rocket began its arc towards the SSE, it would appear to "hover" for a short period. This is because the rocket would still be increasing in altitude but its movement away from the observer would make it appear to stop ascending and then begin descending. The observer would lose sight of the rocket probably when SECO (Sustainer engine cutoff) or BECO (Booster engine cutoff) occurred.

      RE witness inteview: I have been contacted by somebody who claims to have been the witness. They argued that the time of the rocket launch was at 1034 PM. I had to explain the concept of GMT/ZULU to them (even though he stated he was a military veteran). They also had the same difficulty grasping the concept of a rocket launch and what is involved. After exchanging a few emails discussing the issues, they stopped. I see no point in going over the same ground and I see little gained by spending my money to go cross country to interview a person that will tell me the same story I already know. If you will pay my way (and my wife's) and personal expenses so I can talk to the witness in person, I will gladly accept your kind offer.

      RE Mother's basement: I haven't lived with my parents for 35 years. I left home when I was 18. I don't need to hide in a basement. BTW, my parents live in Florida. We never had a basement.

      RE Future research: I assume you are the one that will do the research for this new web site? I hope you do a better job of researching the subject than what you have demonstrated here. To investigate possibile solutions to a UFO case, one needs to understand the concepts of perception and witness fallibility. One also needs to understand some basics about measuring distances correctly, azimuth, elevation, etc. Finally, do the research beyond simply accepting the phrase "I know what I saw". Until I mentioned in SUNlite, NOBODY considered the possibility this was a rocket launch that I am aware of. They blindly accepted that the witness was 100% accurate and the event must be paranormal.

      You have gone to great lengths to dismiss the Rocket explanation (rocket was too far away, mountains in the way, UFO hovered, etc.etc.) in order to perpetuate a mystery rather than look at possible solutions. However, your arguments are far from compelling, and in some cases, just plain wrong. IMO, the most likely answer to this mystery (unless you want to suggest the witness made it all up) is the rocket launch that occurred about the same time and the same location in the sky as the sighting. You have yet to falsify that hypothesis. Let me know when you can.

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    6. As you have gone to great lengths to prove it was a rocket launch. I have my expert infantry badge...if you were really military you would know what that means. And by the response you have given, the answer is "NO" you have done no field work, only scanned the internet for solutions. When you can answer all my questions the way Amparano has, then you can talk. Otherwise you are just a sad man with nothing better to do then atack people with credible stories by ignoring facts and trying to ridicule them. You will never excel past amateur status using that method.

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    7. BTW your opinion doesn't mean jack. You need to be well known for your "opinion" to count. You are not well known. <- FACT Also I offered to link you up with the officer in person, and you didn't acknowledge...why? A good skeptic explores all possibilities, yet you are stuck on 1. Until you meet the officer in person and read his numerous documents, please just stay a quiet, unimpressive amateur.

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    8. I respect your awards in the military but I am not sure what that has to do with it. I have all sorts of awards for my military service and I was qualified in submarines. That has nothing to do with this either.
      I am not stuck on one possibility. I am just stating this is the most likely solution. I am proposing it in an effort to see it can be "falsified" (in other words postively shown it could not be this with real facts such as it was the wrong time or he also reported seeing the rocket launch just after his sighting). I could easily state the officer made the whole thing up but I find that solution unlikely. I am simply stating he was mistaken about what he saw, which is a common problem in UFO sightings.
      On a side note, I want to publicly apologize to Bob about where this went. This really isn't the forum to conduct this kind of back and forth. Might I suggest to Anonymous that he post in the Reality Uncovered or JREF Forums, where I am a member if he wants to continue.

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    9. No, Anonymous, Tim Printy does not have to be "well known" for his opinion to count. Opinions have to be judged on their own merit, irrespective of the fame of those offering them. (By the way, according to your own logic, your opinion counts less than Tim Printy's, because you are even less wll known than he is.)

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  34. This is exactly the same format as "Finding Bigfoot", right down to the stupid stares while exclaiming "I found something"! The only difference -- and I can't believe I'm even saying this -- is the "Finding Bigfoot" now seems like valid science!!

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  35. You are a funny guy tim. If you behave yourself I might give you a plug on my website. All I ask is you get off your ass and dooooo something.

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  36. This is why I don't like anonymous postings.

    Mr(?) Anonymous (you guys could at least label yourselves Anon1, Anon2, etc.), I don't like the way these comments are going. I don't mind if you disagree about the analysis of UFO sightings, but this thread is degrading into a personal attack, and I will delete further comments of this type.

    But why should we care about the opinions of an anonymous person? You don't give your name, who knows if what you say is valid or not? You say you have a website, but nobody knows what it is, or if it even exists. Hint, Mr.(?) Anonymous: if you used your real name and gave your website's name, maybe some people here might even look at it!

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  38. This show, I am afraid, reflects exactly what's wrong with some television shows today. All sensationalism and no substance or true research. Can anyone tell me why the crew whispers during the night shoots? So that the EBE can't hear them? This is laughable. The episode with Travis Walton was an insult to Travis and to true field researchers. Shame on you Nat Geo.

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  39. National Geographic has completely sold out... the founder of the original organization are spinning like dervishes in their graves... just a shame.

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Keep your comments relevant, and keep them civil! That means no personal attacks will be allowed, by anyone, on anyone. Commenters are welcome to disagree with me, or with other comments, but state your arguments using logic, and with a civil tone. Comments in violation of these rules will be deleted, and offenders banned.

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