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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

UNKNOWN DIMENSIONS: How to Investigate a UFO Sighting

UFO Depiction

UFO Depiction
Published: 7:08 PM 7/30/2015
white light far brighter than any star or planet...

Sam Uptegrove has been has been fascinated with the unexplained since childhood. He began actively investigating paranormal incidents in his late teens and has continued for more than four decades. Now retired and a cancer survivor, he has lived in the southwest Missouri Ozarks for over 30 years.

Recently, I received an email from a reader, and the body of the message consisted of the six words that make up the title of this column. My response was considerably longer than the question, since a thorough investigation into any unexplained incident can become quite complicated. Then a gentleman in Ozark reported an unidentified light to the Mutual UFO Network and his narrative account was posted on the excellent website, UFO Casebook.

It required several steps in the course of its investigation, and I decided to write this week’s column so that other readers had an idea what goes into determining whether a report has earned the ‘U’ in the familiar abbreviation UFO.

The report was relatively simple in itself. On the evening of July 19, the witness observed a white light far brighter than any star or planet in the sky, which suddenly began dimming and continued to do so until it had disappeared completely within a matter of 15 seconds or less without any discernible movement.

He mentioned the possibility of it flying directly away from him at high speed. First, I checked on the possibility of it being the International Space Station or some other man-made object, since entering the Earth’s shadow can create a similar fading effect. There was nothing scheduled to be even near the right part of the sky any time that evening.

I also considered the possibility of an aircraft coming directly toward him with its bright “landing light” under its nose pointing directly at him, and the light fading as the aircraft turned.

The problem with that scenario is that a winged aircraft does not simply rotate in one spot like it is on a turntable — it makes a looping change of direction that would have been almost certain to be seen as lateral movement by the observer. Besides, if it had been an aircraft landing light at a distance to present the brilliance and size he described — “easily three to four times brighter than any star and two to three times brighter than any observed planet” — the witness would have probably heard the sound from it.

Such proximity would have also made it more likely that he would have heard its engine and seen the red or green wingtip light that was turned toward him, as well as making the lateral movement even more noticeable.

That left one other possible solution I could think of — a helicopter is capable of stopping, rotating in place and flying in the opposite direction.

There is no question that this sighting, since it was so close to Springfield and the observation was made looking in that direction, could have been a helicopter. There are certainly no shortage of these craft in the area operated by law enforcement, air ambulance services, Air National Guard units and the local television stations

. But at least one of the reasons for calling a fixed-wing aircraft an unlikely culprit makes a copter an even less likely suspect. You can hear their distinctive engine and rotor sounds from several miles away.

I made several inquiries that failed to pinpoint a specific helicopter being airborne at the proper time, but of course there was no way to account for all of them.

Based upon the information available in the original report and the additional data that I uncovered during my own follow-up investigation, it was impossible to discount the sighting by explaining it away. But that does not mean that it constitutes proof that an alien craft was either conducting surveillance or simply out sightseeing in the skies over Christian County on July 19.

It only means that a light, which was apparently attached to something, was seen on that date in that place. What that something was remains unidentified, was flying and was clearly an object of some kind — by definition, a UFO.

I would love to ask the witness a few questions concerning his experience. Perhaps, if he reads this column in the Headliner News he will contact me.

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