Volume 6 The SWAMP GAS JOURNAL ISSN 0707-7106 Number 2 ********************* June 1992 This issue of SGJ will be devoted to a review of recent articles and books that I feel are of some significance to ufology and related subjects. It is probably impossible to comment on all the published material, as there are so many ufozines and new books that are available. The Arcturus catalogs alone contain many more items than most researchers or avid readers can ever hope to keep pace with (let alone afford them!). And, with materials branching out or crossing over into other fields, the volume of information is truly astronomical. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- SCIENCE NEWS is a weekly international newmagazine which is highly regarded in the science community. It covers virtually all subjects, and contributors write authoritatively on everything from global warming to Alzheimer's disease. Its cover story for February 1, 1992, was about a unique interpretation of British crop circle formations by noted archeaoastronomer Gerald Hawkins. Basically, Hawkins believes that whatever intelligence is behind the crop circle mystery, it is sophisticated enough to create and solve complex problems in geometry. Hawkins claims that several Euclidean theorems are demonstrated in the British designs, and that this is more than simple hoaxing. He asks in a letter of response in the March 7th issue: "Are the crop-pattern makers hitting these geometries by blind luck, or are they communicating at some level of mathematical knowledge?" He went on: "It is unlikely that hoaxers could draw these by doodling in the dark". The problem is, however, that many people do not agree that the patterns are complex enough to warrant an "unlikely" label. This is further complicated by the recognition that crop circles (or certain types of UGMs) have been found in fields dating back long before the 1980's, and around the world in addition to the concentrated British wave around Wiltshire. Admittedly, some of the formations in England are very bizarre, such as the one on Alton Prior, with "keys", "ladders", inscribed rings and other shapes. There is no question that even hoaxers would have had to plan these with some effort. But do these formations necessarily imply an intelligence beyond human intervention? We can recall books written about the pyramid of Cheops, in which authors attempted to show complex knowledge about the universe through the height, shape and position of the stones. Skeptics showed that these works were in error through further research into the accuracy and measurement of the dimensions, but the attributions linger on. We can therefore cast some doubt on Hawkins' interpretation of the geometric accuracies of the British formations, despite his reputation. It would be nice to think that the aliens (or whoever) are communicating with us through geometric forms, but because so many of the formations in England are suspected hoaxes, the data to support such a theory is badly contaminated, and the theory is on very shaky ground. Speaking of shaky ground, the latest issue of GEO-MONITOR (published by Vince Migliore) [May 1992] has an interesting discussion about the possibility that the April earthquakes in California were predicted by some amateur seismic researchers. One person monitoring 10.2 kHz said he had heard "thumping sounds" a few days before a quake hit California. Others monitoring various frequencies also thought a quake was coming. Some earthquake "sensitives" who get migraines or heart pain also seemed to predict the quakes. Interestingly, the counting of lost pet ads in newspapers is now losing favour among some researchers, because the statistical tests used to verify any changes are too rigourous to discriminate between small random variations and any real effects. GEO-MONITOR has previously reviewed UFO reports as earthquake precursors, and some interesting correlations have been reported. But out of the hundreds of seismic events listed every month, there are few with associated luminous phenomena. This is clearly at odds with the Tectonic Strain Theory of UFOs advocated by Michael Persinger, John Derr and others. Persinger is still publishing reams of material about TST effects on UFOs and other paranormal phenomena. One of the most recent is: "Geophysical Variables and Behavior: LXVII. Quieter Annual Geomagnetic Activity and Larger Effect Size for Experimental Psi (ESP) Studies Over Six Decades", in PERCEPTUAL & MOTOR SKILLS, 1991, 73, 1219-1223. Yes, that's right, the 67th installment of the TST exposition, as of 1991. In this article, Persinger and co-author R. Berger claim that they found strong correlations between decreases in geomagnetic activity and positive experimental ESP effects. The ESP experiments were those reported by the Rhine group in 1940, compiled during the 1800's and early 1900's. Persinger and Berger found that by introducing a LAG of one year (thus allowing for a delay between the experiments and the publication of the results), the strong correlation was produced. They therefore concluded that geophysical effects influence psychic ability. It is interesting to note that they made no mention of the possibility that the experiments or reports were in error. They conclude: "The relationship between [geophysical effects] and this form of psi phenomenon has been present for at least 100 years." Support for this contention? Well, according to the list of references, many previously published articles - by Michael Persinger. For those of you on the INTERNET or BITNET, the sci.skeptics newsgroup recently carried a discussion about the TST and the crop circle plasma vortices. The Arizona Skeptics, represented by James Lippard, recently published an article about John Derr's claims that UFOs are miniature earthquake lights. Lippard obtained further info about the TST mess, and published some fairly damning comments in another issue. Robert Sheaffer, "Skepticus Maximus", as he calls himself, was also interested in the TST debate. He stated that he had a run-in with Persinger some time ago, with predictable results. After several more exchanges, yours truly was invited to contribute to an article for the SKEPTICAL INQUIRER on the subject of the TST. As some readers will know, Phil Klass had asked me to compile a definitive article about the TST for SI, but I had not yet had the opportunity to do so. Sheaffer therefore compiled information about the TST into a "News and Views" article for SI, which will be published soon. On the topic of the Skeptical Inquirer, a fascinating article critical of CSICOP has been published in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, Volume 86, January 1992. Titled: "CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview", author George Hansen really socks it to CSICOP, cleverly uncovering some skeletons in their closets and inadequacies in their approach to paranormal phenomena. The lengthy article (available as an offprint from Arcturus Book Service) discusses the formation of CSICOP, its makeup, belief systems and also profiles some of its prominent members. Hansen's conclusions? From the abstract: "Initially, CSICOP was primarily a scholarly body, but soon after its beginning it adopted a more popular approach that fostered a more broadly-based social movement ... a disproportionate number of magicians are involved, ... dominated by men, and many members hold religious views that are antagonistic to the paranormal. Despite the name of the organization, actual research is a very low priority of the Committee. In fact, CSICOP instituted a policy against doing research itself. CSICOP's highest priority has been to influence the media ..." Basically, Hansen concludes that CSICOP is just as biased AGAINST the reality of paranormal phenomena as "believers" are biased IN FAVOUR of such phenomena. He noted how moderates such as Truzzi and Rawlins (who conducted a study on astrology with POSITIVE results) were ejected or otherwise parted ways with CSICOP. The CSICOP executive was found by Hansen to be composed mostly of non-scientists with firm convictions against the reality of paranormal phenomena (to the extreme position of publicly proclaiming belief in such phenomena "dangerous"). Hansen's most curious finding was that although CSICOP members often point out that moneymaking ventures (such as book publishing) by paranormal proponents are an obvious indication of incincerity, the CSICOP executive itself appears to have a vested interest in publishing companies disseminating anti-paranormal material. Obviously, though, the amount of material published by pro-paranormal factions far outweighs the contrary, so the analogy may not be the best. Perhaps the most unsettling of Hansen's findings is the lack of research conducted by CSICOP, despite its published Mandate. This is probably most true now, with the legal battles and infighting proceeding because of the Randi/Geller debates. (This is most telling through the insistence of CSICOP "affiliates" that they in no way represent the parent group, and vice versa!) Hansen presents a decidely unkind look at CSICOP, but rather than employing the flames used in INTERNET arguments, he uses quotes from CSICOP members' own published comments to show their weaknesses. (Dare I suggest that some of these quotes might be out of context?) Paranormal researchers and CSICOP members alike are encouraged to seek out a copy of Hansen's article, as constructive criticism can only strengthen one's perception of a polarized debate. On a similar note, the editorial by Jerry Clark in the March/April 1992 issue of IUR also raises some disconcerting problems about CSICOP. Jerry points out that in its "Manual for Local, Regional and National Groups", 17 pages are devoted to "Handling the Media", whereas only 3 are given to "Scientific Investigations". Jerry's editorial is much less polite than Hansen's review, but this might be expected. However, even Jerry cautions that "not everyone ought to be tarred with the same broad brush". He goes on: "I have friends in CSICOP, individuals I respect and whose views and insight I listen to respectfully even when I disagree with them; I might add that we often agree, too. [My] remarks here are directed to CSICOP's leaders, who with some exceptions have distinguished themselves chiefly by their arrogance, bombast, and extremism." It is interesting that such an editorial is carried in IUR, because one criticism by both Clark and Hansen is that CSICOP tends not to recognise reasonable paranormal research outside its own dominion. A case in point is the attempt by IUR to present opposing views on the Gulf Breeze affair; two recent issues carried definitely PRO articles about the Gulf Breeze UFOs (including one by Bruce Maccabee) and also decidedly NEGATIVE articles about GB. This is a good example of how rational discussion should be conducted and evolve in the UFO/paranormal/Fortean community. The same issue of IUR with Jerry's editorial also contains an article I co-authored with John Timmerman of CUFOS. John and I visited Langenburg, Saskatchewan, with Jeff Harland (of UFOROM) last year, and we had an opportunity to interview Edwin Fuhr. Fuhr was the witness to a remarkable CE2 in 1974, in which he came upon five bowl-shaped, spinning objects as he was swathing rape. When the objects departed, they left behind circular swirled patches in the grass, remarkably similar to the crop circles that have been found in England during the past decade. We argue that crop circles are an ongoing, worldwide phenomenon, and did not begin in the 1980's in England. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the case could be attributed to a plasma vortex. This case is one of many which involve an observation of an apparently solid, disc-shaped object which leaves behind a depression in the vegetation. These types of cases are clearly at odds with the two or three dozen cases of eyewitness observations of rotating wind vortices creating circles in English countrysides. The latter are used by vortex theorists to support their views, whereas the former are used by some ETH theorists to bolster belief in aliens as circle creators. Our study of the Langenburg case shows how an investigation of a major CE2 can lead to differing interpretations and raises many questions about witnesses' testimony and physical evidence. This is no more evident than in the CROP CIRCLE BULLETIN of CPR Australia, a new branch of Colin Andrews' group. Its first issue, published in February 1992, reviews Andrews' visit down under and the subsequent fallout. Only days after Andrews' much-publicised visit in December, 1991, crop circles were found amid a wave of UFO reports. Issue #2 (May, 1992) breathlessly recounts Andrews' visit to Tasmania in April, with packed houses of believers listening to his exposition of how contact is occurring through the circles. Circle formations, of course, represent "ideas, qualities and functions", rather than actual text, and the Hungerford (England) pictogram is thus translated into the name: Ra, meaning "Sun". As the BULLETIN's editor says herself: "Language and words are a low-density form of communication and can be used very successfully to mislead and control." This is most revealing in that the rest of the issue goes on at great length to expound upon how crop circles are indications or messages from a higher intelligence urging humanity to "WAKE UP and then be 'tuned in'". The BULLETIN also contained some interesting discussion about the crop circles which were found in New Zealand recently. On February 1, 1992, the first one was found in Canterbury. It was 20 metres in diameter, with a concentric track about 10cm in width. Another was found within a few days. However, two young men named Hanrahan and Harrison broke the story through the local newspaper that they had made the formations with a T-shaped board (Bower and Chorley's nephews?). What is most curious is that the Australian CCCS is not accepting the hoaxers' claim. The circles were destroyed before any member could investigate. Skeptics would invoke Occam's Razor and contend that the hoaxers were, in fact, the culprits. In this case, I would tend to agree; Bower and Chorley were suspect in England because of a number of circumstances, including the vast numbers of circles found, and the history of circles in the area. In New Zealand, only two circles were found after the publicity following Andrews' visit to Oceania, and hoaxers came forward immediately. It is LIKELY that they were indeed responsible. (However, any TRUE skeptic reading this would doubt my conclusion, and point out flaws in my reasoning!) Incidentally, in addition to the sporadic reports of new circle formations in England in 1992 (why isn't anyone disseminating information from Britain this year?), North America has had a few cases this year as well. The first report came from Rosemary Ellen Guiley, of the American branch of Andrews' group, who told me that a formation identical with one last year was found at the exact same site near Jonesboro, Georgia, in April. However, inquiries with MUFON personnel in that state have not been able to confirm the discovery. In addition, Rosemary (and another NAICCR correspondent) said that UFO activity in New Hampshire had associated UGMs. Again, I have been unable to confirm this. I HAVE been able to confirm a new "space cookie" type of UGM, investigated by Gord Kijek of the Alberta UFO Study Group. It was found on May 6th in a grassy field not far from Edmonton. The UGM is a very strange-looking formation and is EXACTLY six metres in diameter. It varies in depth from 5 to 31 cm, and stands out clearly in the photographs which Gord has provided to NAICCR. Although my first thought was that it was a sinkhole, the terrain is supposedly not conducive to such features, and besides, it would be unlikely that it would be perfectly circular if that was the case. Grass is growing both in and out of the circle, and the shear is quite evident. Hoaxers? Maybe, though I'm not sure how this could have been produced without heavy machinery leaving tracks. Oh, yes. The UGM is in a field owned by an RCMP officer. The JOURNAL OF METEOROLOGY, vol.17, #165 (January, 1992), carried an article written Dennis Stacy of MUFON but obviously endorsed by Terence Meaden. The article was titled "Soviet Ice Circle Reported", and was submitted as yet more evidence that many classic UFO cases could be "luminous, electrically-charged spinning vortices and the subsequent formation of physical ground traces". On January 7, 1990, a strange object was observed by an ice fisherman near the town of Marefa. He saw a "saucer", a top-shaped object with a spire, 75 metres in diameter and 5-6 metres thick. From the account: "The object appeared to be resting on, or hovering just slightly above, the surface of a small frozen bay. Its spire and base were described as greyish-blue in color, the middle or main body as orange or rose-colored: 'something like the color of the clouds in the sky at sunset'. The base was pulsating 'as if some balls (of light?) were rolling around there'." After 10 minutes, the object rose about 30 metres, hovered, then moved away to the east and was lost to view. Where it had hovered were several circular rings, the largest of which was 20.7 metres in diameter and one metre wide. It had the appearance of a "giant milling machine cutter". At the time of its discovery, the ice was said to be too thin to support a human, making the hoax explanation very difficult. Whereas most ufologists would interpret the case as a classic CE2 caused by a alien craft, Stacy (and apparently Meaden) propose that the case is consistent with "many phenomenological correspondences with some purported plasma-vortex effects", and "the colors themselves are those that might be easily associated with a luminous atmospheric phenomenon, including, presumably, the plasma-vortex". This interpretation of an apparently solid object as a plasma vortex has become the norm for cerealogists wishing to find support for the vortex theory of circle creation. This attitude has naturally upset the 'nuts-and-bolts' UFO proponents, who find the plasma explanation as unpalatable as Klass' ball lightning explanations of the 1960's. Basically, the debate is this: which is easier to believe - that we are being visited by extraterrestrials, or that a mysterious and incomprehensible atmospheric phenomenon previous unknown to science is being witnessed by thousands of people each year (and makes elaborate ground formations almost exclusively in southern England)? Bill Chalker sent along info (through Paranet) about the central coast of New South Wales (again in Australia) having a major flap of UFOs in April and May of this year. Besides the Toukley reports on April 28th, there seem to have been a several other cases reported and a great deal of media coverage. But a local resident announced to the media that he was responsible for many of the reports. It seems he was trailing a "luminescent kit apparatus" on a 500-metre-long line while riding his bike in the area. Ufologists in the region are reportedly debating whether or not this explanation is viable. Someone posted a huge wad of articles and letters concerning the Gulf Breeze affair, in the alt.aliens INTERNET newsgroup (I think it was Don Allen). It contained (among other things): eyewitness acounts by newspaper reporters, articles by Donald Ware and Duane Cook, letters and articles by Bob Oechsler, photographic studies by Bruce Maccabee, a letter by Bruce basically telling GB's mayor he doesn't know what he's talking about, a summary by John Hicks, comments from Ed Walters in his own defense, and Rex and Carol Salisberry's reasons why they disagree with MUFON's support of the case. The information complements the IUR articles mentioned earlier, and show how complicated the GB affair has become. Some people are now firmly convinced that flares and balloons caused the most recent UFOs there, and that Ed faked all his photos with a little help from his friends. Others (notably MUFON reps) argue that Ed's photos are impossible to fake and that flares or balloons cannot explain the reports from the nightly skywatches. A recent addendum to the case is that a physician from Louisiana who has been investigating the GB reports with some associates has succeeded in communicating with the recent UFOs, getting responses from flashing car lights and telepathically giving instructions to the UFOs. I think it's about time that an expedition of objective investigators was made to the Pensacola sites. Even if Bob Sheaffer and Phil Klass were along, it might throw a towel on the nightly UFO contacts so that a better assessment of the reports could be made. This all sounds suspiciously like the Niagara-on-the-Lake skywatches (which I understand are still going on), which found hundreds of UFOs each night flying over Lake Ontario. Investigators with CUFORN and the former Project SUM had plotted UFO flight paths and had determined through triangulation that the UFOs were flying in and out of an underwater base near Toronto. Whatever happened to Project SUM, anyway? Back to crop circles. Mike Chorost kindly sent me a copy of a RESEARCH REPORT (#3) by W.C. Levengood, who has analysed crop circle samples to show they are significantly different from unaffected sites. "Unusual Growth Responses in Crop Circle Seedlings" discusses how seeds from crop circles grew at different rates than control seeds. In addition, under a magnifying glass, seeds from circle sites were "grossly malformed" compared with control seeds. Levengood claims that "circle seedlings at the six-day point were at a significantly higher growth (p < 0.05)". The data was presented in the form of a graph which showed the circle seedlings at 9cm versus the 7cm control seedlings. Levengood suggests that the average seedling heights were therefore significantly different, though we cannot see this easily from the graph, and details of the growing conditions are not given. He also gives data on the "Vancouver" circles (actually from the Alberta sites) and the Medina, NY, case, with similar results. He concludes that "plant growth from crop circle seeds indicates the presence of complex energy mechanisms within the formations". Although Levengood's report is very interesting, others will be less convinced of the significance of the results. What would be needed to convince the skeptics, I think, would be two or three independent labs conducting the identical growing experiments and then comparing the results. From a paranormal point of view, perhaps it could be argued that Levengood might have subconsciously "willed" the circle seedlings to grow differently. Jenny Randles has sent along copies of the NORTHERN UFO NEWS, the most recent few of which have contained defenses of her views on the Rendlesham UFO case. NUFON also defends the vortex theory quite heartedly, though it also offers pointed commentary on the circle scene, including the crop circle radioactivity fiasco. NUFON also includes summaries of recent British UFO cases (remember THOSE things?) in each issue, contributed by members of BUFORA, MUFORA, SPI and essentially all other imaginable acronyms. The CROP WATCHER, a British circlezine edited by Paul Fuller, is also a good read. Being a statistician, Paul's article describing the details of the radioactivity found/not-found at circle sites was particularly insightful to those of us still trying to figure out what a Chi-square is. Issue #10 (March/April) of CW contained a summary of Andrew Hewitt's Survey of the 1990 British crop circles. FINALLY! Hewitt used the CERES database (supplied by Terence Meaden) to catalogue about 670 separate circles. The full CERES database is now said to have over 2200 circle events listed, but for simplicity, only the 1990 data was selected. Curiously, Hewitt used variables radically different from those used by NAICCR in its reports. Probably because of the source of the data, variables were selected that were particularly relevant to the plasma vortex theory. Hewitt considered the variables: Geographic Distribution; Altitude Above Sea Level; Aspect; Gradient; Geology; Distance From Hills; Generalised Gradient and Pattern Type. In addition, each circle had a map location, a date found, the name of the discoverer and a brief description of the formation. Hewitt's results were interpreted to show that the vortex theory is consistent with the data. For example, the variables of Aspect and Gradient concerned the positioning of circles on hills in southern England. Most of the circles were on the northeast side of hills, and "thus wind vortices forming on lee slopes in Southern England would tend to create crop circles on the North-Eastern side of hills". This observation was supported by statistical tests. Other variables such as the Altitude did not seem to have much meaning as data, and merely reflected the geographical distribution in Britain. But in North America, winds are much more variable, and such analyses would have less meaning. Furthermore, North America has much fewer UGM cases to use as data. Many circles in Manitoba were on perfectly flat terrain, without any noticeable gradient, and rather than negate the vortex theory, it has been reported that Meaden has come up with several reasons why circles could form on flat terrain as well. (This begs the question of whether or not Hewitt's Gradient/Aspect data were meaningful.) NAICCR also tabulated UGM data such as circle diameter, ring width, eccentricity and crop type. The disparity of variables between the North American and British analyses shows how the two cerealogies differ just as the ufologies. Hewitt's study is a fascinating and much-needed contribution to cerealogy, and is hopefully only the first of many quantitative research efforts from the British groups. NAICCR will attempt to include some of Hewitt's variables in its future Reports, and it is hoped that British cerealogists will include more dimensional analyses in their future studies. Only through an increased effort to exchange and standardize cerealogy data can progress be made. (Just like what is needed in ufology!) Good work, Andy! More circles: A review of cerealogy research was published in UFO, an Italian ufozine affiliated with Centro Intaliano Studi Ufologici, in its Spring 1992 issue. We were surprised to find that the NAICCR 1990 Report was summarized and translated into Italian as an example of worldwide cerealogy research. Grazie! Vance Tiede, of another American cerealogy group, sent me a printout of circle data he compiled. There are about 80 cases in his North American Circle Log, and each one has a pageful of data. Vance has chosen (along with Rosemary Guiley, I would assume) to use even more variables such as Latitude, Longitude, Local Newspaper Address, Legislature Representatives, Local Agricultural Agent, State Senate Agricultural Committee Chairman, and allowances for audio anomalies, dowsing effects, photos, and the names of local military bases and power stations. One of Vance's ideas is to lobby politicians for support in investigations of crop circles, hence the listing of ag reps and house reps. The co-ordinates are useful to those supporting, for example, Richard Hoagland's energy grid theory. The most recent NATIONAL SIGHTING YEARBOOK (1990), by Paul Ferrughelli in New Jersey, is another excellent statistical study, using data on 954 American UFO reports during the period 1986-1990. Among Paul's findings: in 1990, numbers of reports peaked in January, April and October (UFOROM found that Canadian reports peaked in January, April and August); the hourly distribution peaked at 9:00 PM and had a trough around 10:00 AM (in exact accordance with UFOROM's studies); and a slight indication of Keel's "Wednesday phenomenon". The 1990 YEARBOOK is well laid out, and includes several additional analyses such as monthly multi-year analyses, shape breakdowns, an analysis specifically of "deltoid" objects, historical comparisons of 1947 versus recent data, and another look at the apparent influence of media coverage upon UFO reporting. As for this last effect, some of us might remember Strentz' classic PhD thesis on this subject many years ago, which found a very strong correlation. Ferrughelli found that "television program coverage on UFOs does NOT (his emphasis) cause a direct increase in UFO sightings" and that there was "no relationship between the 2 sets of data". The data for these analyses came from MUFON, and it is good to see that MUFON UFO reports ARE sometimes available for use in studies by researchers. Ferrughelli used Hynek's classification of UFO data in his analyses, as has UFOROM in its own previous reports. However, in Jacques Vallee's recent books, he has offered a new classification system, and I think his new taxonomy is a very viable one. Vallee proposes a 4x5 array of UFO report types, based upon Hynek's classifications, but expanding them to provide a more detailed listing of anomalies, including "FA (Fly-by)", "MA (Maneuver)" and CE1 to CE5. In addition, he suggests a SVP "Credibility" rating, which is a three-digit code involving Source reliability, site Visit and Possible explanations. (I call it the "S'Il Vous Plait" rating.) Vallee's coding system is a constructive reappraisal of the problem of UFO report classification. It may not be perfect (for example, there is no way to specify a nocturnal light versus a daylight disc, as far as I can tell), but it does allow for fine-tuning of the data. The Vallee classifications are detailed in his book CONFRONTATIONS, but also in his UFO CHRONICLES OF THE SOVIET UNION, Ballantine Books, NY, 1992, pp. 196-200. Possibly the most significant new UFO book this season has been Volume Two of Jerome Clark's UFO ENCYCLOPEDIA (1992) [Official title: EMERGENCE OF A PHENOMENON: UFOs FROM THE BEGINNING THROUGH 1959]. Despite is high price ($85 Amer?), it should be read by both armchair UFO buffs as well as experienced researchers. Jerry has done a phenomenal job in compiling information about UFOs and related events covering the period up to 1959. There are entries on noted personalities, major cases, disputed photographs and the contactee movement. Drawing from a variety of sources, Jerry has produced a very readable, informative work that stands alone or in complement to the first volume. Because of its weight, it's more difficult than most books to read in the bathtub, but it is worthwhile going through the entire tome. Readers are guaranteed to learn details of cases about which they were unaware. Although the book has a definitely "pro" standpoint, Jerry is wise to include reactions and explanations of major UFO cases by debunkers such as Philip Klass and Donald Menzel. In Clark's telling of the tales, he points out major boners and silly comments by debunkers AS WELL AS overboard proponents, although the former group won't be thrilled by the portrayals. Mind you, selective quotations out of context have been used by both sides ... My only real complaint is the unneven distribution of material. Biographies of figures like Aime Michel and Isabel Davis are given only a few paragraphs, but some contactees' bios are many pages in length. Some sections, such as those on UFO reports before 1959, seem interminable, even though the case information is interesting in itself. The inclusion of a long, long entry on Australian UFOs (one of the few outside contributions, by Bill Chalker) is valuable because many European and American ufologists are likely unaware of much of the activity in Oz. But there would be a case to be made for similar sections about India, Africa, Russia, etc., in addition to the Australian info. Otherwise, the UFO ENCYCLOPEDIA is an excellent reference work, and should be added to any library of Fortean material. Readers new to the field should peruse the book to get a "proper schooling" in the subject before making any outlandish claims (and to get correct background information for their own writings). Clark has included extensive references with each entry, as well as a condensed index. Volume Three is anxiously awaited, and Jerry tells me there is a possibility of a mass-market compendium in the future. Good work, Jer! ************************************************************************ Other Titbits: As this issue of SGJ goes to press, there are a few bizarre developments in the works. The NBC TV program UNSOLVED MYSTERIES is FINALLY going to produce a segment about the noted Falcon Lake CE2. NBC has been corresponding with me and others involved in the case for about three years, and has at last set a production schedule. I will be flown to the shoot to be interviewed in June, along with the Michalak family and Ed Barker. This would be the equivalent of Bill Moore and Kevin Randle, or Stanton Friedman and Jenny Randles, working together in harmony on a UFO project. However, since I believe that the airing of a segment on the Michalak case might jog someone's memory and help in uncovering details (or even SOLVE!) the case, I have no qualms about working with others with whom I do not agree. For those of you who do not know about the case, in 1967, Stefan Michalak had a CE2 experience while prospecting in eastern Manitoba. One of two saucer-shaped craft landed near him, and he was burned by its exhaust; radioactive soil and unusual silver fragments were later found at the site. Apparently the special effects for the TV show will be quite spectacular, involving "stunt men" and "pyrotechnics". I would assume that it will be broadcast this fall. Roy Bauer will be featured on an upcoming CBC NEWSMAGAZINE segment in June. Roy was followed by a film crew as he travelled to Kenosee, Saskatchewan, where some people were experiencing poltergeist activity. A renovated dance hall and bar was being subjected to spooky hauntings, including loud noises, malfunctioning equipment and one instance of a wind which rushed out of a sealed room when a door was opened. Roy is one of Canada's only "specter ejecters"; his business card reads: "Specter Paranormal Investigations" and "Specialist in Ghosts, Hauntings and Poltergeists". Roy's thorough report describes the happenings in some detail, such as the following: "Little things began happening ... Things would disappear and then reappear days or weeks later, such as a box of cash register tapes and juice containers ... One employee witnessed hearing the cooler door in the kitchen close when no one was around. What became almost routine were the switching on and off of the cabaret lights. As part of the regular closing procedure, either [names deleted] would make sure all of the lights were off before they went to sleep. On many occasions, when they went back downstairs, the lights would be on again. On one occasion, the dishwasher in the cabaret switched itself on for a few seconds, then off again. Footsteps were heard at various times [when no one aws around] ... Once when [name deleted] reached for a light switch in the dark, he felt something touch his arm ... "[the owners] were awakened by loud banging that seemed to come from the cabaret below ... 'loud as a car crash' ... it caused some dishes to break ... there was no sign of entry. No sooner were they back in bed than the banging started up again. Police were called in on several occasions, but there were never any signs of indtruders. " ... the straw that broke the camels back was during one of the nights when they heard a loud, deep male moaning which lasted about 10 seconds ..." There were rumours that a church nearby the hall was haunted by the ghost of a priest who had hanged himself. A local urban legend was that the church glowed at night, cars would not start near it, and driving by the church "at the wrong time" might get you killed. Roy and the CBC crew put most of these tales to rest (the church was painted a bright white, and because of its isolation and placement, you could in fact see it far into dusk). But as for the other effects ... A special hello goes out to Jim Moseley of SAUCER SMEAR, who has been replaced by an entity named OSIEAU because of death threats from some of his non-subscribers. Jim was always a bit of an odd bird, anyway. It is not true that the editor of SGJ will be replaced by a similar entity named PAMPLEMOUSSE. ************************************************************************ Letters and Correspondence: I simply cannot thank all my correspondents enough for their letters, newsclippings and zines. What's more, I can't even name you all! But, poring through my "IN" basket, here are some of you: Clive Nadin - thanks for the NRC cases! We're sorry to see you, Clare and Holly head back home to Britain, but we wish you health, luck and happiness! Don't forget to write! Don't let those vortices get you! John Hicks - thanks for moderating the FIDONET UFO echo. Gord Kijek - North America's best investigator! Christian Page - Merci bien, mon ami! Chris Davis - for all his help in setting up my computer stuff! And the following (in no order whatsoever!): Philip Imbrogno, Robert Sheaffer, Robert Girard, Vince Migliore, Jerry Clark, Mark Rodeghier, John Timmerman, Sheldon Wernikoff, Michael Corbin, Mike Chorost, Jenny Randles (keep your chin up, it makes a better target!), Paul Fuller, Vance Tiede, Steve Bernheisel, John Cole, Ralph Noyes, Triana Chapman, Bonnie Wheeler, Lorne Goldfader, Mike Strainic, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Paul ("Xerox") Cuttle, Gene Duplantier, Hilary Evans, John Robert Colombo, James Lippard, Gordon Phinn, Jeff Harland, Gary Lanham, Harsha Godavari, Stanton Friedman, Walt Andrus, Jim Moseley, Roy Bauer and Grant Cameron. If I've left somebody out, I'm SORRY! ************************************************************************ The SWAMP GAS JOURNAL is a ufozine published irregularly by: Ufology Research of Manitoba Box 1918 Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada R3C 3R2 and is copyright (c) 1992 by Chris A. Rutkowski This issue is also available on an experimental basis on INTERNET by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org The SWAMP GAS JOURNAL is free with limited distribution, but is available primarily through zine exchanges, regularly contributing Fortean info, or by providing two (2) International Postal Reply Coupons in lieu of a subscription (to cover postage). ************************************************************************* The following gives SGJ readers an inkling of the type of material which appears in the INTERNET newsgroup alt.alien.visitors: From alt.alien.visitors Mon Jun 8 10:53:05 1992 From: email@example.com (Tim Seifert) Newsgroups: alt.alien.visitors Subject: Mysterious crop circles Organization: Memorial University of Newfoundland What is the recent status of the investigations into crop circles? What are the latest explanations? Vortex? Space ships? EM ? [a simple question, from an obviously uninformed reader] From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kent Sandvik) Newsgroups: alt.alien.visitors Subject: Re: Mysterious crop circles Date: 8 Jun 92 04:15:28 GMT In article <1992Jun5.email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Seifert) writes: > > What is the recent status of the investigations into crop circles? What > are the latest explanations? Vortex? Space ships? EM ? Heck, no. Just people having fun with those who believe in mysterious crop circles. By the way, I'm heading home to Finland this summer, and the farmers have pretty nice crop fields in my home town. So don't be surprised if pictures of mysterious crop fields in Finland should pop up by end-July. -- Cheers, Kent [ ... unfortunately answered by a smart-aleck] From: email@example.com (Drew Davidson) Newsgroups: alt.alien.visitors Subject: Hard Copy shows NASA UFO video Date: 6 Jun 92 18:26:06 GMT Organization: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Lines: 34 The syndicated TV infotainment show Hard Copy showed a NASA videotape beamed live from the Space Shuttle Discovery depicting a UFO flying above the earth. The video appears to be black and white; the UFO is just a speck of light. However, the light suddenly makes a right-angle turn and speeds off into space at what appears to be high speed (it actually seems to fly on a trajectory away from the camera, but seems to go at high speed because it becomes quite dim and disappears as it is moving a short distance on the screen). A second or two after the UFO appears to speed off, an object shoots up at right angles to the earth, somewhat near the position of the UFO a second or two earlier. Don Ecker of UFO magazine theorizes that the UFO was making an evasive maneuver to avoid being shot at. NASA claims the object is a piece of ice made from waste water dumped by the shuttle on a previous orbit. They have no comment about the apparent shot coming from earth, or the apparent right-angle turn of the UFO. Whatever it is, it's very intriguing. It's very hard for me to believe it was a piece of ice. I would like to know much more, like what part of earth the UFO and shot were over, and if there were any UFO encounters in that area on that date. I would also like to know what the astronauts on board the shuttle thought of the incident when it happened, and I would like to hear all radio transmissions made by them before and after the incident. Any comments on the video? [I did not see this, but Gord Mathews and Roy Bauer did, and they said it was a VERY fascinating film. I would imagine that we'll be hearing much more about this in the coming months! However, I would tend to be sympathetic with the following cautious reply:] From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rhys Weatherley) Newsgroups: alt.alien.visitors Subject: Re: Hard Copy shows NASA UFO video Date: 7 Jun 92 00:45:38 GMT Lines: 25 In <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org (Drew Davidson) writes: >NASA claims the object is a piece of ice made from waste water dumped by >the shuttle on a previous orbit. They have no comment about the >apparent shot coming from earth, or the apparent right-angle turn of the >UFO. It could be an ET-UFO, but it could also be totally Earthly in origin. Considering that in modern warfare if the enemy can take out your spy sats and other space-based military hardware, you are at a distinct disadvantage, what this incident suggests to me is a test of some advanced military hardware to see if it could avoid being "taken out". It would also explain why the shuttle cameras were focused on this particular hunk of "uninteresting ice" at the time. :-) Just my opinion - it could be something else entirely - I haven't actually seen the video in question. Cheers, Rhys. -- Rhys Weatherley, University of Queensland, Australia. email@example.com "I'm a FAQ nut - what's your problem?" *************************************************************************** Finally, a few last words about crop circles and UFO miscellany. Gordon Phinn called to pass on info from John Paddington that about 20 formations have been found in Britain in 1992, so far (as of June 8). Among the oddest is a triangle with inscribed circles (probably in reply to Hawkins' fifth theorem challenge). What is most significant about this information is that the circles have still not gone away, despite a plethora of hoaxers, contests and admissions. Is this evidence of the vortex theory at work? Ralph Noyes has kindly passed on the CCCS's first step towards compiling their own catalogue of circles. It covers only the Wiltshire area, and each entry lists the discovery date, geographical location, ordnance survey reference numbers and a sketch of the formation. Between 9 June and 22 August 1991, there are 38 formations listed. Most are multiple circles connected by corridors, and many are the "Ra" "mouth" feature described earlier. And - a plug for the 1991 Canadian UFO Report Survey, which is nearly complete. This year, I had to wait much longer than usual to receive reports from all the usual contributors, but the annual review of Canadian UFO activity is finally in the works. Roughly, I can say there were about the same number of UFOs reported as in previous years, with similar distributions of types, locations and categories. Thanks to all who contributed! Cosmic salutations.