Saturday, June 18, 2005

Bessent Phoenix video deemed hoax...ya think?

Bessent previously foisted bird videos as UFOs...

TV station KTVK in Phoenix, working with Village Labs, and even the venerable Santiago Yturria of Brazil, have pretty thoroughly debunked the Bessent video clip.

While I was fairly certain that the clip was created using analog trickery, the clip now appears to be a video manipulation...overlaying the anomalous footage over a mundane night scene.

Funny thing...if Bessent HAD used an analog method, or in other words, an "in-camera" technique, his clips might still fool some.

If you want to hoax a UFO video or image, remember the old acronym KISS...Keep it Simple Stupid!!

"Profit" Yahweh (Slightly off-topic)

Man summons messiah or gasbag?

What he said -
Prophet Yahweh claims to be able to summon UFOs at will. He claimed that he would summon them for a 45-day period near Las Vegas, and that at least one would remain visible over Las Vegas for an extended period of time.

What we know -
We know that many of his supposed UFO video clips are of released balloons...due to the rotation of the balloons in some of the less-obfuscatory clips. We know that his Las Vegas UFO meetup was cancelled. We know he collected money(He says he'll pay it all back).

What should happen -
He should return to the comfy confines of the damp, rock underside from whence he came.
People should see video clips of balloons as video clips of balloons.
People should question the validity of ANYONE who claims that they can summon UFOs at will.
People should accept such claims if and only if the summoned UFO descends to terra firma, pops open, and reveals a spaceman of suitably non-human aspect, bearing a cure for cancer, war, and the Bush administration in one hand, and a self-sustaining, self-replicating, 100% efficient power source in the other. Even then, look for extension cords or other attached strings.

Unsolved History special on Discovery Channel

Unsolved History solves Roswell, Mantell, and Arnold cases?

The Discovery Channel presented an episode delving into the Roswell, Mantell, and Arnold UFO cases. A skeptical bent and some flawed experiments marred the proceedings, but some pretty thorough data on the cases provided a decent primer on the cases for those unfamiliar with them.

I was disappointed with the experimental results on the Roswell and Mantell cases, and was about to dismiss the Arnold segment when they experienced (during a recreation of the Arnold flight) a phenomenon that might explain Arnold's sighting. Their pilot (flying an identical plane at the same time of year on the same flight path and sun angle vis a vis the time of day) encountered a very bright oval light source off the nose of the plane. The onboard cameraman recorded it. It was a reflection of the bright sun (left of the nose of the plane) off something in the cockpit onto the inside of the windscreen. It was persistent but slowly moving...similar to the movement described by Arnold.

That these researchers would find...serendipitously...what I'm trying to illustrate made me feel somewhat validated. Proof? Not even close, but very compelling from my perspective. And I feel a little less convinced of the Arnold story as ET craft. But on the whole I have to say I was disappointed by the Unsolved History program.

Arturo Robles Gil

Arturo Robles Gil and the great UFO fleet invasion

Several interesting video clips have been made public by Arturo Robles Gil. His clips appear to show large numbers of strange lights floating through the sky. The explanations offered to debunk these clips include balloons (as in a mass balloon release or launch), or bird flocks too far away to be resolved as such by the camera.

The balloon explanation is hard to accept because balloons in a mass release move in random patterns...a fractal pattern...based on winds, weight, drag, etc. The objects in Robles Gil's clips move in very apparent unison, with an occasional flock member making arbitrary movements. Some have characterized the movements as if "in a liquid". The uniformity of motion in the clips makes balloons a far-fetched culprit.

Bird flocks often move in large seemingly unorganized groups at high altitudes, as during mass migrations. What distinguishes them is the uniformity of motion, with the occasional flock member falling out of formation for one reason or another. While this is compelling vis a vis the Robles Gil clips, there are other traits of bird flocks that are not represented in all of Robles Gil's clips. When video-taping bird flicks, the distance from the camera to the flock plays a role in how visible the flovk will be. But more important is the part played by sunlight. From even a great distance, sunlight reflected off a white or gray bird can cause a flaring that is quite visible. At the extreme limits of a digital camera sensors ability to resolve an image, flocks of such birds might very easily appear as they do in Robles Gil's clips. In order to ensure this, however, many factors must be in perfect alignment to produce a suitably "strange" effect. While bird flocks might explain the clips, I believe there is a simpler solution, and one which might explain a great number of contemporary, and even some very old UFO cases.

My hypothesis is that Arturo Robles Gil, who is known to be a professional photographer by trade, uses a few tools and tricks to create his clips, and is very aware that his clips do not represent true UFOs; that he uses discrete light sources, reflected through clear glass, against the sky, to record his clips; that the camera sees the light reflection against the sky and the images merge to form a whole; that once the parts are aligned properly, the scene can be zoomed in or out, focused or de-focused; that the "objects" move across the sky in perfect unison by turning the glass pane on its vertical axis.

In order to test this hypothesis, I have assembled the following equipment...readily available from any photographic supply house, or presumably in possession of (or readily available to) any professional photographer:

Camera - Minolta Dimage 7xi 5.2 Megapixel digital with video capability

Tripod - Generic tripod from ebay, with braced legs, weight hook at bottom, and pan/tilt head and quick-release adapter

Pane of glass - acquired from a typical photo frame with glass layer

Flash bracket - commonly used, adjustable-length, slotted metal bracket that attaches between the camera and the tripod head, and which has a similar attaching means at the far end. Note: typically the flash bracket is extended to the left of the camera, to accomodate a flash distant enough from the lens to prevent "red-eye" efffects. In this application, the bracket is swung straight out in front of the camera, and a thumbscrew is inserted through the slot in the far end of the bracket and threaded into a thin frame holding the glass pane. The attachment point is at the bottom center of the frame, so that the pane can be turned smoothly left or right in relation to the camera lens.

Light source for "fleet" - a string of spherical white christmas lights...approximately 24 bulbs, with a dark green cord running to an extension cord connected to electrical power. Battery-powered lights are also available when power is not readily available.

Once the parts are assembled, the camera can be moved via the pan/tilt head of the tripod, and the glass pane will remain at a fixed distance and relative position to the camera lens, until the glass pane is swiveled left or right.

The string of lights is laid out on the lawn behind me, and I aim the camera up into a brightly lit sky, and turn until the lights behind me are reflected in the glass pane. Looking through the viewfinder (a direct view from the lens...not an optical viewfinder) I move the camera until the reflections are clearly visible in the camera view, and slowly move the glass pane relative to the camera, causing the reflections to move slowly across the field of view. The camera is capable of recording 60 seconds of video at a pass, whcih seems sufficient to test the hypothesis.

Prior to performing this experiment, a few preliminary tests were done to determine the viability of the hypothesis before exerting the effort to assemble the above parts. Holding the glass in one hand, and my camera in the other, I was able to record the reflected lights and was fairly impressed with the results. It was these "proof of concept" clips that made me confident both in the hypothesis, and my ability to adequately reproduce the Robles Gil clips.

I will provide these preliminary clips in the next couple of days for download, but keep in mind these points...

The glass used was a smoked glass table top from an end table. (As I said, I didn't want to spend any money if I wasn't sure of my testability)

I intentionally moved the glass pane out of frame to show that there was in fact a glass pane there. Without showing the obvious difference between the view through the smoky glass and the view without it, I was leery that someone might use the clips to SUPPORT Robles Gil. Can't have that. But remember that the key is the lights, and their appearance in the clips. This was the only goal of these clips, and in that respect you will see why my confidence in the hypothesis was elevated.

After this experiment is over, and the results of all testing published in this space, I will move on to another contemporary clip that I believe was produced in much the same way...the Bessent clip from Phoenix.

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