With the War on Terror and various other news issues taking up all of the limelight as of late, one of my old passions, UFO's Real and Imagined, has been at a low heartbeat. This blog is meant to be a small crash cart in an otherwise quiet area of investigation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Portage County Backgrounder 

I thought that before I go into a technological dissertation on why the case below is so interesting to me, I might condense it for folks to read. It’s really an intriguing case.

The Portage County UFO Chase

April 17, 1966

1. The synopsis I have condensed for discussion: http://ufologie.net/htm/portage66.htm
2. Richard Hall’s report for NICAP: http://ufologie.net/htm/portage66hall.htm#doc
3. Mr. Weitzel's investigation details in a letter to Prof. William Powers, here: http://ufologie.net/htm/portage66weitzel.htm#doc

Shortly before dawn during a check of an abandoned vehicle, Portage County, Ohio Sheriff Deputy Dale Spaur and Wilbur "Barney" Neff (a sheriff’s auxiliary) saw a steadily brightening object rise from about ground level and crest the trees behind them. The object was about fifty feet in diameter, with a bright, well-defined light beam shining down from the bottom. Its initial appearance was rounded on top, with a cone-shaped light underneath, like a “partly melted ice cream cone”. According to the duo:

"When Barney Neff saw the object he just stood there with his mouth open for a
minute as bright as it was, and he looked down. And I started looking down and I
looked at my hands and my clothes weren't burning or anything, when it stopped
right over on top of us. The only thing, the only sound in the whole area was a
hum... like a transformer being loaded or an overloaded transformer when it
changes..." 1

The UFO tilted forward to produce forward acceleration, with the light acting similar to “a flashlight which, when aimed down, throws a beam to the rear when tilted forward.” 3 The hum and brightness seemed to increase as it accelerated, as well.

Feeling some need for protection, they bolted for their patrol car. By this time, the whole area was very brightly lit, with the UFO being about 250 feet distant. After consulting their sergeant by radio, they were ordered to follow the object. They did so, at speeds upwards of 100 mph, heading generally east on State Route 224. As they paced the object, it maintained an altitude between 300 and 500 feet. Interestingly, at two locations (Canfield and Deerfield, OH) the object appeared to slow down to “wait” for Spaur and Neff to catch up.

From Richard Hall’s NICAP report:

“As the sky became brighter with predawn light, Spaur and Neff saw the UFO in
silhouette, with a vertical projection at its rear. The object began to take on
a metallic appearance as the chase continued. Spaur kept up a running
conversation with other police cars that were trying to catch up with them. Once
when they made a wrong turn at an intersection, the object stopped, then turned
and came back to their position.” 2

Officer H. Wayne Huston of East Palestine, Ohio joined in the chase, having been monitoring the associated radio traffic. He sat waiting for the group to cross his location, and then swung in behind to join the pursuit. Soon, they crossed over the state lines into Pennsylvania, where they were joined by Frank Panzenella, a Conway, PA police officer. According to Panzenella:

"The object was the shape of half a football, was very bright and about 25 to 35
feet in diameter.... The object continued to go upward until it got as small as
a ballpoint pen. Relative to the moon, the object was quite distant and to the
left of the moon. We all four watched the object shoot straight up and
disappear." 3

At about this time, as dawn began to break, the apparent brightness of the UFO diminished, though it still retained a self-luminescence. The top portion at the rear of the object, with some protruding structure, was not self-luminous. The UFO soon stopped, and the four officers exited their cars to watch. A radio call went up for a jet scramble, and at about that time the object left the area at high speed and essentially straight up.

A few other no-so-local observers from the Salem police department also watched as the UFO made its exit, with three jets (presumably those scrambled) in pursuit. These jets all produced contrails in flight, whereas the UFO did not. This part of story was estimated to take place at between 10000 and 20000 feet. In related information, a news report said that a jet trainer had flown close to the object, and reported a hum.

I’ll get back to the importance of all of all this tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Classics Revisited - Portage County UFO 

I don't have time to do a full entry here, but suffice it to say, the Portage County UFO case is one of the more intriguing accounts I've heard in my short time as a Ufologist. It involves multiple law-enforcement witnesses, extensive documentation by NICAP, and investigation forced upon Major Hector Quintanilla of Project Blue Book.

Hynek went into enough specifics (and some intrigue) to completely draw me in with his account in The UFO Experience, that I have to follow up on the story. In particular, the very detailed description of the reported object follows right along with the expectations outlined with Hill's work.

I'm starting here:


I'll be back with more when I've read more myself.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Old Classics and New 

You ask most folks, and UFO’s mean to them “flying saucers”. Never mind the fact that the original appellation was meant to convey the motion of the crescent-shaped objects sighted by Kenneth Arnold in the summer of 1947. Arnold likened them to “saucers skipping on water”, and of course, they were in a formation flight. However, in the media’s ever-intensifying quest to simplify events, the two sighting characteristics were illogically linked as “flying saucers”. So stuck the name, and the coining of the old ufological classic.

Soon the image popularized by movies, books, and talk shows stuck as well. To be fair, a great number of sighted objects have been reported as saucer-like in shape. Given my discussion of Paul Hill’s work in the technical explanation of UFO physics, there is good reason to expect that the symmetrical disc shape is a common one. Of course, there are many symmetries to consider, so I take the position that disc configurations are not the only way to go. A new classic is certainly possible.

In the preceding decade, a new crop of UFO reports began to surface in mass numbers: Flying Triangles. To this day, they are still often reported. While they do not demonstrate the two-axis symmetry of a disk, they certainly are indeed symmetrical in ways we are used to seeing with our conventional aircraft and spacecraft. Despite how some may dismiss triangle UFO’s as a provincial concept because of this familiarity in configuration, I disagree in how strongly this criticism can be applied. I think there are sound technical reasons that would make triangular craft desirable.

Hill’s treatment of field manipulation for propulsion involved the use of devices that project a field to achieve propulsion and to protect the presumed occupants from the acceleration forces deduced from reports. He even produced a scheme of mapping out the number and position of field centers required to achieve the kind of performance expected by a UFO. The application of this scheme tends to include discs in Hill’s work, but a triangle would possess a symmetry that would be useful. So there is no compelling reason to discount the idea.

Other motivations for a triangular approach are economy of design and usage. It should go without saying that if UFO’s are real objects in a real universe, then that real universe also places limitations on their configurations.

As for the economy aspect, it is generally simpler to construct an object that is symmetrical in just one axis, that in multiple. Issues of how a particular UFO design is used come in to play, and the triangle shape is possibly one of the well-suited designs for a fast-travel transport. Given a wedge of field effects created by the machinery inside, a bias towards linear travel could be created.

The latter question of usage is what I’ll be focusing on in a project I’m starting. Imagine that a triangular UFO has a subassembly of “field nodes” used for propulsion and occupant inertial protection, giving a certain resemblance to an arrowhead. As with actual arrowheads, the tip is in the line of flight when in motion, so the UFO would have a field vector already biased toward forward motion, rather than a bias towards a hover. The triangle UFO would be a fast mover, a hot rod of sorts.

What I would really like to accomplish are a few things:

1. Create an interactive design database of field node geometries, wherein certain critical data for UFO size, performance, and shape are entered and adjusted to show optimization. This would be a strong start on characterizing the technologies needed for real R&D.

2. Create a simulation of a basic saucer craft, with an eye on applying it in an actual analog vehicle for flight control experiments.

3. Create another simulation for the “Arrowhead”, also with some expectation of a test vehicle in the future.

I’ll let you all in on my progress as time goes by.



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