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This article is written to excerpt, summarize, and illustrate one aspect of a theme that is encountered piecemeal in my recent book: The UFO Experience: Science and speculation (6)

Alien Spacecraft:
Real, Physical or Virtual?

By Robert L. Mason

Posted: 13:00 September 8, 2008

Speculations on how an alien remote sensing probe might work and why such a probe, based on a charged particle beam, might be mistaken for an actual physical spacecraft.

The clearest and most succinct summary of reported UFO characteristics I have yet to find was written by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek in a foreword to the book The UFO Controversy in America (4).

"The reported ability to execute trajectories, often but not always silently, that no known man-made craft could generate or follow; the ability to hover, and then to accelerate to high speeds in the order of seconds (and generally without a sonic boom); on occasion to change shape, and to produce durable physical effects on both animate and inanimate matter. To be, on occasion, unmistakably detected on radar, yet to be peculiarly localized and preferential in their manifestation (that is, their appearance at times and places when and where they would be least likely to be detected, and their avoidance of level flight which would of necessity open them to observation by people along the way). The pattern in the 'close encounter' cases is almost universal: a rapid descent to a landing or near landing, a stay of the order of only minutes, and the ascent, at usually a high angle, and disappearance either through distance or by some other means (it is often reported that at a height of a few hundred feet the bright luminosity vanishes). The choice of locale is statistically significant. The close encounter cases simply do not occur on the White House lawn or between halves at the Rose Bowl game, but in desolate spots, generally some distance from habitation and where detection would be least expected. In a small percent of the close encounter cases, robot-like or human-like "creatures" are reported."

Dr. Hynek should not need an introduction to anybody who has made even the slightest foray into the field of UFO literature. His own book, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry (3) is considered a classic in this field and many people, myself included, think it is probably the most important book ever written on this subject. The book includes an appendix listing some eighty cases that were carefully selected by Hynek for maximum credibility. Reading these cases it is easy to conclude that the phenomena in question does not move in a way that is dependent on aerodynamics or on any kind of standard propulsion system. Can we create a set of familiar circumstances that would serve an an analog to what has been so consistently reported and ably summarized by Dr. Hynek?

Thought Experiment

If, in a darkened room, a stream of motor oil was poured through the plane of a laser level (used in construction for casting a level line), what one would see is a red dot with a disc shape to it. The dot could be moved laterally by moving the stream and vertically along the stream by raising and lowering the plane of the laser level. It seems to me that this may be analogous to something that actually happens and may explain, if only through the various geometric relationships involved, some of the characteristics summarized by Dr. Hynek above. What kind of a device can we imagine that would produce similar movement characteristics, but on the scale of those actually observed?


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