USS Trepang UFOs.

An Analysis of USS Trepang Encounter.

USS Trepang Launch

Trepang being launched at Groton, Connecticut, on 27 September 1969.


Early in 1971, following local operations out of her home port in Connecticut, the USS Trepang submarine set sail for the Arctic. From February 22 to March 22 she operated beneath the polar ice cap. Whilst conducting extensive tests for her weapons systems and scientific experiments on the Rear Admiral Dean Reynolds Sackett cap itself, it is alleged she ‘accidently’ encountered several anomalous objects somewhere between Jan Mayen Island and Iceland. During the course of the encounter several photographs were taken through her periscope, recording the unfolding events. The Commanding Officer at the time of the said sighting was Admiral Dean Reynolds Sackett Jr. He was commissioned as the Commanding Officer of the Trepang (SSN-674) on August 14 1970 to December 7 1973.



I have attempted to make some chronological sense of the sequence of  events from the images below which are said to have been taken during March 1971. The photos are taken from case files and are the original high resolution images sent to Alex Mistretta, Investigator/Researcher, at

fig 1

 Official Trepang UFO image1

[There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.]
As  you can see from the above caption, I have conducted a scan of the image and looked for signs of editing.  The file metadata showed nothing untoward. A visual inspection of the photo was equally unforthcoming. The image appears genuine. The question arises as to what the huge object actually represents. Is it an extra-terrestrial “mothership”, as some have claimed, or something entirely different? 
Seeing this image reminded me of another photographic analysis case I had worked on. As it transpired, that single photo case turned out to have a rational explanation as, I believe, the above image does. 


Red circle = Jan Mayen. Red arrow = Iceland.
As you will recall from the background details of this sighting the Trepang was situated between Jan Mayen Island and Iceland at the time of the encounter. it’s my contention that the above photograph shows an inverted superior mirage of the island itself. The following flipped, cleaned up and cropped  image  shows the object in an entirely different light. In it you will note what appears very much like shoreline breakers, and sparse vegetation (possibly tree canopies?).


A comparison example of a superior mirage

superior mirage

Please note the cut off line at the top of the mirage element of the ship, and that the whole vessel isn’t visible.  Superior mirages are quite common in polar regions. A superior mirage can be right-side up or upside down, depending on the distance of the true object and the temperature gradient. Often the image appears as a distorted mixture of up and down parts.


Superior mirages can have a striking effect due to the Earth’s curvature. Were the Earth flat, light rays that bend down would soon hit the ground and only nearby objects would be affected. Since Earth is round, if their downward bending curve is about the same as the curvature of the Earth, light rays can travel large distances, even from beyond the horizon.
Moving on to the next image in my imagined sequence of events brings us to fig. 2. Here we see a cylindrical object low on the horizon. The attendant caption describes what was uncovered after a scan of the image.


offical trepang ufo 2
Pixels only match software editors, showing that it has most probably been altered.
A visual inspection of fig 2 shows disturbances in the pixilation pattern, suggesting  the image has been tampered with. The vertical crosshair ‘ghosting’ in this image is most probably due to the submarine’s analog camera creating a double exposure. Multiple exposures are photographs in which two or more images are superimposed in a single frame (see fig 6 crosshairs).

fig. 3

offical trepang ufo4 - Copy

Based on the pixels, this image could have been created with one of several software editors.
In fig. 3 we see what appears to be a triangular craft (possibly an early prototype stealth fighter). It is difficult to determine whether it is heading towards the sub or away from it in a nose dive toward the ocean. A visual inspection of the image shows no signs of it being photo shopped. The faint vertical periscope crosshair intersecting the object doesn’t show any signs of warping as it would had the object  been added to the image, as the image below demonstrates.

Warping effect

In figure 4 we see the object in what appears to be a manoeuvre that would suggest it is vectoring away from the sub. Note the lack of periscope crosshairs in the image. This may be due to it having been cropped.

offical trepang 5 - Copy

Cleaned up image
Original image/ fig 4

offical trepang 5

Pixels only match software editors
fig 5

official trepang ufo 10

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
You will note in fig. 5 that the object appears to have a tail fin unlike that of fig 2, which suggests they are not the same object.
fig 6

official trepang uof7

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
The above image (fig 6) shows the stricken object crashing into the ocean. To it’s left is a smaller object. It’s triangular configuration would suggest it is the aircraft seen in figures 3 and 4. Note the angle and orientation of the cylindrical object as it strikes the water.
fig. 7

official trepang ufo6

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
The change in the viewing perspective of figures 6 and 7 has changed dramatically. The tiny triangular object seen above the cylinder in fig 7 may be the aircraft mentioned earlier. If so, this image was taken from an entirely different view point, probably another submarine.

official trepang ufo8

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
In images 7 and 8 you will note the dark, small funnel-like cloud that appears on the left of the photos. This would imply that both images belong to the same batch. In image 6 it is not visible. Nor is the heavy cloud cover from which it is projecting. This could be due to the possibility that the image was taken from a different angle in which the overcast is not visible i.e. from a different submarine.
fig 9

trepang ufo 10

Photo edited with GD graphics.
Of all the above images this one is highly suspect. The image quality is far superior to the others and the pixilation pattern is not consistent throughout the image, particularly around the object. Note also there are no indications of the periscope crosshairs or range finder lines. Also, just above the ocean’s surface on the left is what appears to be an island landscape. It is unlikely to be Jan Mayen Island because as we learnt in image 2 the island was below the horizon and was only visible as a superior mirage.
We have seen from the foregoing that the Trepang was conducting not only a survey of the polar icecap but was also engaged in a weapons testing exercise. Research shows that it was common practice at the time for the military to use decommissioned balloons/Zeppelins as targets after stripping them of any external superstructures such as gondolas, etc. It is quite probable that the cylindrical object(s) seen in these images are of decommissioned balloons.
Triangular stealth aircraftGiven that they were testing “new weapons systems” at the time may account for what appears to be a stealth fighter. It is conceivable that images 3 and 4  could be that of an early prototype  fighter being tested. Its design certainly fits in with many modern triangular-like stealth aircraft we know of today.


There are 9 images in total. Of those 9, five show signs of digital manipulation to one degree or another. They are figures 2, 3, 4, and 9, the remaining showing no signs of manipulation whatsoever. Of those, figures 6, 7and 8 appear to have been taken from a different vantage point, possibly another submarine. Approximately one month earlier the submarine USS Skate was in the same region. Might images 6, 7 and 8 have been taken at that time by the USS Skate and subsequently added to the mix by some hoaxer? My recent research into the Skates whereabouts at the time would suggest it wasn’t in the Arctic at the time as the deployment list link above shows.
The so-called Trepang images themselves are contentious. When Admiral Sacket was approached by Steve Murillo, head of the UFO and Paranormal Research Society, he steered away from the UFO question saying, “I only saw ice” It could be argued, however, that he said that so as not to fall foul of his security oath.

David v Goliath.

How often have we heard or read about the superior technology employed by our extra-terrestrial visitors. Our fastest Jets can’t outrun them, and when and if they do manage to lock on to them with their weapons systems they are immediately shut down or the UFO becomes invisible, both on radar and to the naked eye. To suggest that these images show a bona fide extra-terrestrial craft being shot down using inferior terrestrial weaponry is about as believable as David killing Goliath with a stone. For this author, given the inconsistencies pointed out in this analysis, I find it more credible that an elaborate hoax was perpetrated by person or persons unknown.
 © David Calvert 2016

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Inter-Dimensional Hypothesis.

images (12)
 “We are dealing with a multidimensional paraphysical phenomenon which is largely indigenous to planet earth”.
The Inter-dimensional Hypothesis (IDH) is an alternative theory to the extra-terrestrial hypothesis (ETH) It seeks to explain the origins of mysterious UFO spacecraft and visitations from other separate realities or dimensions that coexist separately alongside our own. The idea encompasses existentialism as well as quantum physics and parallel universes. 
Albert Einstein spoke of theories supporting inter-dimensionalism to the degree that the cosmos could contain many versions of “you” and many of “me”, and both of us might not be contained in all of them. This idea of other realities and inter-dimensions is also advanced by renowned ufologist Jacques Vallée.
Some UFO proponents accepted the Inter-Dimensional Hypothesis (IDH) because interstellar  distances between the stars would make  travel impractical using conventional means. and nobody had demonstrated an antigravity or faster-than-light travel hypothesis that could explain extra-terrestrial machines. The IDH eliminates the  necessity  to explain any propulsion method because it holds that UFOs are not spacecraft, but rather devices that travel between different realities.

Inter-Dimensional Entities.


Frequency & Harmonics. By Preston Cash 
‘Imagine that we are all radio receivers,  (I believe that we all broadcast as well.), and I am tuned to a certain wavelength of energy.  Everything that I imagine to be real (existentialism) is vibrating relative to that frequency.  For the sake of argument let’s say that my frequency is the 20-meter radio band.  My brain contains the antenna, tuner, mixer, and oscillator.  It’s the “front end” of my radio and allows me to experience everything in the format of that frequency, or rate of vibration.  I won’t experience anything in the 10-meter band because I’m not vibrating in that frequency and my “tuner” won’t pick it up.  People, places, and things in the 10-meter band may be real and solid for them, but invisible to me.
Now it begins to really get interesting.  In theory, (quantum physics), several different realities can occupy the same space, and you and I wouldn’t even experience a ripple.  For reasons unknown, people do catch glimpses of other scenes and people from other dimensions.  Among yogis and mystics, the “Jeweled Tower” is one, (as mentioned in the book “Poetic Vision”.)  The people may be called ghosts, spirit guides, etc.  They may enter our dimension, frequency, vibration, wavelength, or reality.  Since our personal “radio receivers” may be tuned differently, two people may be in the same room, seated together, yet one sees the vision or ghost, while the other does not.
I think it entirely possible that alien aircraft may be subject to the same conditions.  This would explain how they could appear, disappear, and re-appear at will…..’
M theory and “Branes” is a cosmological theory that proposes 11 dimensions exist throughout our known universe or “membrane”, from which the term “Brane” is derived.
Membranes are multidimensional objects also called p-branes referring to the spatial dimensionality (p) of a particular brane, such that a 1 dimensional string would be a 1-brane and a 2 dimensional surface would be aMultiverse 2-brane. Resulting from M-theory equations, they are membrane-like structures consisting of from 1-11 dimensions. The idea is that these branes exists in an 11-dimensional space, and that they contain universes. According to this model our universe is a 3-brane. This 11-dimensional space is called the “bulk” in Brane cosmology.
Each of these branes is its own universe and could have different laws. Furthermore these parallel universes could be closer than your computer screen, but in directions we can not perceive. Also, since they are outside the space-time of our universe, they would have a time all their own. The Bulk could even have its own distinct time or no time at all.
It has been theorised that interactions could occur between branes coming into contact with each other. In fact collisions between branes have been proposed as a possible cause for the Big Bang proposed by Evolutionists as the beginning of the universe, however this is speculative and not a requirement of M-theory’.
If there is any veracity to the idea that several different realities occupy the same space and can bleed over into one another  this could possibly account for the frequent reports of ghostly visions, sightings of cryptids (animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti.), demons, angels, UFOs and their occupants, and various other paranormally related “high strangeness” phenomena.

High Strangeness Case:

 The Case of Indrid Cold.
John KeelIn the aftermath of the Mothman sightings case in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, (a case of high strangeness in itself), John Keel, the author of ‘The Mothman Prophecies,’  met and interviewed a man named Woodrow Derenberger who related the following story to him. 
At 7 P.M. on November 2, 1966, he was heading home in his panel truck after a long, hard day on the road. The weather was sour, chill, and rainy. As he drove up a long hill outside of Parkersburg on Interstate 77 a sudden crash sounded in the back of his truck. He snapped on his interior lights and looked back. A sewing machine had fallen off the top of a stereo, but there didn’t seem to be any real damage.
A car swept up behind him and passed him. Another vehicle seemed to be following it. He eased his foot on the accelerator. He had been speeding slightly and thought it might be a police car. The vehicle, a black blob in the dark, drew alongside him, cut in front, and slowed.
Woody Derenberger gaped in amazement at the thing. It wasn’t an automobile but was shaped like, “an old-fashioned kerosene lamp chimney, flaring at both ends, narrowing down to a small neck and then enlarging in a great bulge in the centre.”
A door slid open on the side of the thing and a man stepped out. The stranger was about five feet ten inches tall with long, dark hair combed straight back. His skin was heavily tanned. Grinning broadly, his arms crossed and his hands tucked under his armpits, he walked to the panel truck. He was wearing a dark topcoat.
Underneath it Woody could see some kind of garment made of glistening greenish material almost metallic in appearance. “Do not be afraid.” The grinning man did not speak aloud. Woody sensed the words. “We mean you no harm. I come from a country much less powerful than yours.” He asked for Woody’s name. Woody told him. The stranger then replied, “My name is Cold. I sleep, breathe, and bleed even as you do.”
Cold told Woody to report the encounter to the authorities, promising to come forward at a later date to confirm it. After a few minutes of aimless generalities, Cold announced he would meet Woody again soon. The object descended, the door opened, Cold entered it, and it rose quickly and silently into the night.
The story of Indrid Cold does not end there, however. Keel mentions that a number of times while investigating the Point Pleasant area he received phone calls from mysterious persons claiming to be “Indrid Cold”. Of course Keel was no stranger to mysterious and bizarre phone calls, as many portions of his books dealt with his seeming “harassment” by some informed third-party. This concept is captured in the 2002 Richard Gere film, The Mothman Prophecies, where Gere played a ‘John Klein’.
In The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings, which has been republished making it easier to come by, Keel discusses the idea of the “Grinning Man”. Within this category he includes the figure of Indrid Cold. Keel also tells another story of a similar type of entity which two young kids encountered. Keel writes:
‘A blazing white light “as big as a car” nearly scraped the 550-foot-tall television tower outside of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, site of the large DuPont explosives factory, on the night of October 11, 1966. A policeman and his wife watched the object move slowly northward and disappear beyond the neighboring hills.
On the other side of those hills. Sergeant Benjamin Thompson and Patrolman Edward Wester, of the Wanaque Reservoir Police, observed the same sight at about 9:45 P.M. as it swooped low over the reservoir. “The light was brilliantly white,” Thompson said. “It lit up the whole area for about three hundred yards. In fact, it blinded me when I got out of the patrol car to look at it, and I couldn’t see for about twenty minutes afterwards.
Forty miles south of Wanaque, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, two boys had a frightening experience that October 11, at approximately the same time that Officers Thompson and Wester were watching the glowing object cavort above the reservoir. There had been a number of aerial sightings in the vicinity of Elizabeth the previous week, apparently clustered around the New Jersey Turnpike which slices through that city. New Jersey newspapers from one end of the state to the other were filled with UFO reports during that period.
The two boys, James Yanchitis and Martin “Mouse” Munov, were walking home along Fourth Street and New Jersey Street when they reached a comer parallel to the tumpike. The tumpike is elevated and there is a very steep incline dipping down from the busy thoroughfare to Fourth Street. A very high wire fence runs along the street, making it impossible for anyone to scramble up the incline to the tumpike. There are bright street lights on that particular comer.
It was on this comer that the two young men encountered “the strangest guy we’ve ever seen.”Yanchitis spotted him first. “He was standing behind that fence,” the youth said later. “I don’t know how he got there. He was the biggest man I ever saw.” “Jimmy nudged me,” Mouse reported, “and said, ‘Who’s that guy standing behind you?’ I looked around and there he was . . .behind that fence. Just standing there. He pivoted around and looked right at us . . . and then he grinned a big old grin.
The story of Indrid Cold seems to evaporate around the same time that the Mothman flies back to wherever he had made his home and after the collapse of the Silver Bridge’.
[Taken from a Post by Tony Morrill]
Michio Kaku is an American futurist, theoretical physicist and populariser of science. Kaku is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York. He is the co-founder of string fieldmichio-kaku-0314-mdn theory (a branch of string theory). It is therefore appropriate that I leave you with his explanation of the 11 dimensional Multiverse theory, commonly referred to as ‘M-theory’.


© David Calvert 2016

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Reflections of Monte Carlo

The Monaco UFOs

Case file #116121

Witness Statement.

“During a trip to Monaco last year with my mother, we took some pictures while touring the palace grounds and surrounding areas. Upon inspection, we noticed some strange lights in the pictures. I was using the ‘sports’ mode in my camera then and it captured a series of pictures in one click. The lights in the pictures could be seen in different angles and at different times. We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel then and the hotel manager suggested that we send the pictures to the press which were later published on their Facebook page (link: We have many more of these pictures. We also showed these pictures while in Monaco to the police and they were equally puzzled. One of them pointed out that they could have been caused by the street lights (?!). It has been a year since we took these pictures but have yet to receive a decent explanation. Any input is much appreciated”


lens flares 1

Image #1

Having looked at the images in detail I was able to ascertain  that the light anomaly in this photo is caused by lens flare.

Flare is particularly caused by a very bright light source in an image – which produces the visible artifacts witnessed in image one. Lenses with large numbers of elements such as zooms tend to exhibit greater lens flare, as they contain multiple surfaces at which unwanted internal light scattering occurs.

The spatial distribution of the lens flare typically manifests as several starbursts, rings, or circles in a row across the image or view. Lens flare patterns typically spread widely across the scene and change location with the camera’s movement relative to light sources, as appears to be the case in images 1 and 2.

lens flare 2

Image #2

In image 3, the spatial distribution of the flare would suggest that the bright light source on the left of the archway is the cause for it.

lens flare 3

Image #3

The colouration of the flares being different to the primary light source is due to chromatic aberration. Anti reflective lens coatings are meant to reduce the reflection levels of unwanted flare effects. However, they cannot eliminate it entirely. Lens flares often appear as hues of yellow, green, blue-gray, red, and violet and can appear quite ethereal in dramatic photos such as in this case.

You will also note that not only is the colour of the flare the same in all the pictures above, but that it also has the same shape. This is due to the shape of the camera’s diaphragm – which are often polygonal. It is the shape of the internal diaphragm which determines how the flare will appear in the photo.

If you look closely at the comparison image below of a known lens flare you will see the remarkable similarities.

monte carlo ufo comparison image

Based off the evidence, I have no hesitation in declaring the Monaco photos as a lens flare phenomenon.

© David Calvert 2013

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The Plane and Simple Truth.

Case No. 114869

Witness Testimony

I was in the house bent down to play with my dog when out the windows I noticed three large white objects in the west sky. I grabbed my camera and went out, my first thought was they looked like meteors falling. I snapped off 4 photos ran back in and grabbed my binoculars. Looking thru them I could see each had 4 contrails, but I couldn’t see anything but blue sky where an object should have been. I then took 3 more photos before they went out of my sight in the tree line. Also there was no noise.

In this image the contrails are quite pronounced and, as the witnessed described,  there are  four to each object. However, whatever is creating them seems to be johnson city ufos1invisible – even on higher magnification.  How is this possible? Are we dealing with some advanced cloaking technology of an extraterrestrial or terrestrial stealth technology or is there a more mundane explanation? More on the latter possibility later. It seems highly improbable that an advanced race of extraterrestrials – who are apparently capable of interstellar travel – would use heat exhaust engines to power their spacecraft. Equally absurd is the idea that these might be terrestrial stealth aircraft possessing the technological ability to become invisible. What would be the point .. their contrails would give them away anyhow.

On image 4a, enhanced for clarification purposes, you will note that the trailing johnston city ufos3object’s contrail has an interruption pattern in it.The upper yellow line points out an appreciable gap in the contrail and the line just below it appears to show several staggered dots that follow, suggesting perhaps that the engine cut out and an attempt was made to restart it.

Apart from the invisibility problem, the evidence points to a terrestrial explanation for these objects. However, the answer to the invisibility dilemma can be explained in mundane terms.

The smaller, higher and grayer a plane is, the  harder it is to see. In many cases you can see the contrail but not the plane itself, as evidenced by the comparison images below. Both images are of known aircraft.

johnston city ufos4You can see quite clearly that the planes have blended in with the background sky. This is especially true if the sky is slightly hazy or if there is some low cloud layer. Moreover, contrails are formed by the condensation of the water vapour in the aircraft exhaust. They typically form above 30, 000 ft. As you will recall the johnston city ufos6witness said that the objects made no sound. The truth is, they were far too high for her to hear the engines.

This second comparative image was taken from a report in Germany in December, 2010. The witnesses thought it was either a “fireball”, “meteor” or some kind of “UFO”.  Sound familiar?  This image  was later proven to be an aircraft.


Conclusion for case file 114869

Identified flying object (IFO) witnessed under unusual circumstances.

© David Calvert 2013

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MUFON case file #113711

rockwall ufo3

Witness Statement.

On my way home from work I saw four objects in the sky. At first I thought it was meteors,  but then I noticed they were staying in place. From the time I saw them to the time I got home it took me two minutes to grab my camera and take some pictures. They were right above and moved at the same pace for about 3 minutes. Two of them changed positions and then left slowly until I couldn’t see them anymore.”

Analysis Report.

After analysing the 7 images it quickly became apparent to me that the four objects mentioned by the witness are  most likely high altitude military jet contrails. That they are military jets is apparent by their V formation flight pattern. Commercial aircraft do not fly in formation patterns, other than at air show displays. However, there was something else on the photos that caught my attention; a faint elliptical anomaly with a small companion object on which the jets appeared to be converging. I thought it unusual that the witness made no mention of these in her statement.

Following clarification work by me on the following image  I began to suspect that the dark anomaly was perhaps a smudge on the camera lens – like that of a fingerprint.

Rockwall ufo1 .

The above image also shows one of the jet contrails partially occluding and intersecting the anomaly suggesting it is in front of it, thereby invalidating the smudge theory. However, I was able to determine that this was merely an illusion created by the ‘albedo effect’, wherein the bright light reflected from the contrail was washing out and overpowering the darker material making it look as though it were in front of it.

Further work carried out on images clearly shows the blurred, elliptical object has altered its orientation some 90 degrees to the right. The reason for this is quite simple … the photographer turned the camera to take two ‘portrait’ shots. In all the other images they are ‘landscape’.

rockwall ufo5

In the next shot  the anomaly has returned to its original ‘landscape’ orientation, thus lending weight to the idea that it is something on the camera lens and not a distant object. Seen in negative and with the auto levels fix on I could now make out that the single dark smudge was actually two white overlapping orbs, highly reminiscent of many confirmed dust particle orbs captured on camera. In this instance they are not airborne but are adhering to the lens, as my previous analysis has shown.

rockwall ufo4

Conclusion: High altitude military aircraft photographed through a lens with particulate matter adhering to its surface. As for the small companion object mentioned earlier I have no answer.

© David Calvert 2012

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UFOs Over Laporte, Indiana, United States.

UFO Buzzes Farm Tractor and Cars.

MUFON Case: 39411

Location: Laporte, Indiana, United States

Local time: 04:30 pm.

Witness’  Remarks On Sighting.

“These objects streaked across the sky so fast that they were undetectable to the human eye. I count five in the picture, flying in some type of formation.”

la porte ufos 1

Pic 1

Same photograph converted to negative for greater clarification

la porte ufos3

Pic 2/negative image

 Comments & Observations

On analysing the above images I have come to the conclusion that the “UFOs” are nothing more than particulate matter on the car’s windshield. The conclusions are based on the following observations:

The telegraph cable above the car is partially obscured by the far right object, showing that it is between the car and the cable, and is not distant.

The largest of the objects is quite blurred, indicating that it is quite close to the camera lens. The blurring is not due to motion. If it were it would look more like the comparison image below. It also bears strong characteristics to that of an insect impact against the windshield.

 There is no apparent motion blurring from any of the objects, suggesting they are stationary and were close to the camera lens at the time the photograph was taken.

motion blur

Motion blur is the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects in a still image or a sequence of images such as a movie or animation. It results when the image being recorded changes during the recording of a single exposure, either due to rapid movement or long exposure.

The witness claims that he did not see the objects at the time he took the picture, and speculated that the objects must have been travelling too fast for the human eye to see. On seeing the photograph he also stated that they were travelling in some kind of formation. There is no evidence to suggest any kind of flight formation whatsoever.  As for the former declaration of their speed, I believe he was just trying to make some kind of sense as to why he didn’t see them in the first instance. He may not have even been aware of the debris on the windshield at the time due to his focus being trained on the traffic ahead. He makes no mention of who actually took the photograph.

Evidence Based Conclusion: Particulate matter on windshield.

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Classifying UFOs


David Calvert

The Hynek UFO Classification System (HCS)

The first serious attempt at classifying UFOs came from the most influential figure in ufology, J Allen HynekJoseph Allen Hynek. A professor of Astronomy at North-western University, US, Hynek was employed in 1948 by the US Air Force to investigate UFO reports. As former head of Project Blue Book, he devised the following classification system, which has long been the ‘industry standard’. He initially divided UFO reports according to the distance from the observer – greater or less than 150 m. (500 ft.) – and then further subdivided these two sections into a total of six categories.


Nocturnal lights:

Light or lights seen at a distance. These may display various fluctuations in intensity, changes in colour and/or rapid acceleration, and sudden turns or directional changes. They frequently turn out to be no more than misidentifications of planets such as Venus or Jupiter, high altitude aircraft or meteors. Daylight (diurnal) discs: Often seen at a distance, and varying considerably in shape and size, may be disc, cigar or cylinder shaped, egg or acorn shaped (the former usually seen on a horizontal axis, the latter on a vertical axis). They may be spherical, ovate, irregular shapes or (as of late) large black triangles. They may or may not exhibit similar patterns of behaviour to nocturnal lights. Often the result of misidentified weather balloons, blimps, aircraft or even hoaxes.


Witnessed as a radar reflection and as a visual sighting by an independent observer. Stand-alone radar sightings are often written off due to the nature of false traces caused by natural phenomena such as flocks of birds, ground scatter (a reflected signal from high cloud), cloud banks and temperature inversions. Relatively rare, but important, they may provide instrumental evidence to support the visual aspect of the sighting.


CE I  (Close encounters of the first kind): Observations of phenomena with no interaction between UFO and witness or environment.

CE II (Close encounter of the second kind): The witnessing of physical effects on organic and non-organic, animate or inanimate objects. Such effects may include the disruption of car engines or other radio or electrical interference (due to the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effect on the electrical circuits, diesel engines are not usually effected), broken tree limbs, scorched or flattened vegetation, imprints in the ground, scorched or newly exposed earth, and increased radiation levels or localised time anomalies.

CE III (Close encounters of the third kind): The witnessing of occupants in or around the UFO. There is a bone of contention concerning these so-called ‘contactee cases’. Hynek himself believed that such reports invariably came from pseudoreligious fanatics, and sceptics to add weight to these arguments often quote cases such as those of George Adamski, et al. To fully qualify for CE III status, the occupants of the UFO should either be witnessed or have verbal or some other communication with the witness. There may be displays of hostility by or towards the extraterrestrial biological entity (EBE) or by remote devices.

CE IV (Close encounter of the fourth kind):  Although this is not one of Hynek’s classifications per se, it is included as a later addition to the above and implies actual abduction by EBEs, in its literal sense of being abducted without the witness’s consent and/or knowledge. These encounters frequently begin with a CE II and the abductee may have no knowledge of the event until such time as regression therapy becomes necessary due to subsequent emotional or psychological disturbances.

The Valée Anomaly Classification System

Jacques ValleeDevised by Dr. Jacques Valée, a French-American graduate of Hynek’s astronomy course at North-western University, this system is now more widely used than Hynek’s system, as it is more specific for analytical purposes and narrows things down somewhat. Valée divided UFO reports into the various sections detailed below.

AN ratings are used to classify anomalous behaviour.

AN 1: Anomalies which have no lasting physical effects, such as amorphous or flashing lights, and unexplained explosions.

AN 2: Anomalies that do have lasting physical effects, such as poltergeists, materialised objects, areas of flattened grass, scorched ground, broken or damaged trees, crop circles, etc.

A 3: Anomalies that have entities associated with them, such as big foot, ghosts, yetis, spirits, elves, goblins, or other such mythical or legendary entities.

A 4:  Witness interaction with the AN 3 entities, including near-death experiences, religious miracles and visions, out-of-body experiences (OOBEs).

A 5: Reports of anomalies in which there are injuries and deaths, including spontaneous human combustion (SHC), unexplained wounds, or even ‘supernatural’ healing that may result from such an experience.

MA ratings are used to describe the behaviour of a UFO and are comparable with the Nocturnal Light, Daylight Disc, and Radar-Visual Hynek classifications.

MA 1: A UFO has been observed which travels in a discontinuous trajectory – rapid acceleration/deceleration, vertical climbs or drops, manoeuvres or loops.

MA 2: MA 1 plus any physical effects caused by the UFO as per AN 1 or AN 2.

MA 3: MA 1 plus any entities observed on board, e.g., the airship cases of the late 19th century.

MA 4: Manoeuvres that are accompanied by a sense of reality transformation for the witness.

MA 5: Manoeuvres resulting in the permanent injury of death of the witness.

FB ratings are used to describe the fly-by of an anomalous craft or object.

FB 1: A straightforward sighting of a UFO travelling in a straight line across the sky.

FB 2: FB 1 accompanied by other physical evidence.

FB 3: A fly-by where crew, pilots or other entities are observed on board.

FB 4: A fly-by whereby the witness has experienced a transformation of reality into the object or its occupants.

FB 5: A fly-by in which the witness suffers permanent injuries or even death.

CE ratings are used to describe close encounters, and are very similar to the Hynek close encounter classifications.

CE 1: UFO comes to within 150 m. of the witness, but the witness or the surrounding area suffers no after-effects.

CE 2: CE 1 that leaves landing traces, or temporary injuries to the witness.

CE 3: Entities have been observed on or within the UFO.

CE 4: The witness has undergone abduction.

CE 5: CE 3 that results in permanent psychological injuries to, or death of, the witness.


The SVP rating system is an important rating of credibility. ‘Marks’ out of four are awarded for the three categories of reliability (first number), site visit (second number), and possible explanations (third number). For example, if a rating of 330 was awarded, it would imply that the witness was at first-hand and reliable, the site was visited by a reliable investigator, but the sighting could be explained by natural or mundane causes, thus:

Source reliability rating: 

  •  Unknown or unreliable source = 0
  •  Report attributed to a source of unknown or unmeasured reliability = 1
  •  Reliable source – second-hand = 2
  •  Reliable source – first hand = 3
  •  First hand personal interview with the witness by a source of proven reliability = 4

Site visit rating:

  • No site visits, or answer unknown =
  • Site visit by a person not familiar with the phenomena =
  • Site visit by a person or persons familiar with the phenomena =
  • Site visit by a reliable investigator (s) with some experience =
  • Site visit by skilled analyst (s) = 4

Possible explanations rating:

  • Data consistent with one or more natural or mundane causes =0
  • Natural explanation requires only slight modification of the data = 1
  • Natural explanation requires major alteration of one parameter = 
  • Natural explanation requires major alteration of several parameters =
  • No natural explanation possible, given the evidence =4

© David Calvert 2011

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