Friday, February 3, 2012

"Fireballs, skyquakes and hums" - new book alert

Dear readers

Adelaide is now into the last month of our summer, with February traditionally our hottest month.
My preferred manner of getting through it, after work, is to find a nice cool spot in my place, and settle in with a nice glass of South Australian wine (the best in the world), and a good book (on UFOs or intelligence agencies of course!)

My latest find (again courtesy of my local library - one day I must thank them for all the UFO books they get in) is called "Fireballs, Skyquakes and Hums: probing the Mysteries of Light and Sound." The author is Antony Milne (published in 2011 by Robert Hale. London. ISBN 978-0-7090 -9278 -0)

This book covers many fascinating topics, of relevance to the UFO researcher. There are sections on fireballs, balls of light, lights in the sky, mysterious explosions and mystery hums, drawing on a wealth of data and case studies. It is a mix of straight science reporting, and speculation; together with a mix of conventional explanations and posing way-out ideas.

Australia 1993:

The book starts off in Australia and takes a look at what is known about the May/June 1993 South-West Australia series of  "...loud rumbles and explosions..." together with "...a regularly returning 'meteor fireball'..." (p.17.) (For more on this click here.)  Suggestions as to causes ranged from meteors, to earthquakes, and UFOs. Other examples of such unusual phenomena have led to suggestions of mini-black holes, anti-matter collisions and other esoteric ideas.

Celestial missiles:

Asteroids are one example of objects which the Earth periodically encounters, but "Trying to account for the number and type of fiery rocks and boulders falling from the skies has been compounded during the last century by similar unexplained occurrences, usually described as Fortean." (p.41.) Milne gives examples of such things as falling ice blocks, pebbles, plastic pellets and other items.

UFOs:

"There was growing alarm that many glowing objects seen in the skies did not 'stack up' as genuine space missiles, and there is no escaping the fact that the entire subject of 'fireballs' is wrapped up with the mystery regarding UFOs." (p.46.)

Unusual electrical blackouts:

Coronal Mass Ejections from the Sun are believed responsible for some large-scale electrical blackouts on earth. However, the author suggests that lights in the sky seen near power stations may be natural or unnatural.

Lightning and other atmospheric phenomena:

Milne explains the subject of lightning, red sprites and blue jets; halos; sundogs; noctilucent and lenticular clouds; all known phenomenon. However he then introduces observations which tend to the UFO category.

Balls of light:

In chapter six a variety of observations of 'balls of light' are described and explanations put forward which range from "...electrical pollution from human sources" (p.94); plasma balls; earthlights; and earthquake lights. Milne covers a lot of ground here, citing Jack O'Lanterns; spectral lights; spook lights, describing examples from around the world.

Mirages:

Accounts of unusual images in the sky, caused by variations in air density in the atmosphere abound, and Milne cites examples from a number of localities, in chapter seven. Also covered here are lights seen at sea; "Phantom fogs;" phantom submarines and rockets.

Chapter ten covers the subject of experiments which beam electrical energy into the atmosphere, and the effect this has. Nikola Tesla's work; beam weapons; the HAARP project and other experiments are mentioned.

Back to fireballs:

Chapter eleven, "Man-made fireballs" looks at the large number of satellites and rockets which re-enter the atmosphere, causing reports of 'fireballs.' The US Operation Moondust is described (click here for a previous post on this ) in some detail, but the author incorrectly states it was set up in 1967, whereas it originated as early as 1961.

Mystery sounds:

The author then switches to the topic of "Unidentified pulsating, humming, throbbing and hissing noises..." He covers examples of such things from a number of countries and time frames. Conventional explanations given are military activities; supersonic aircraft; long range Loran transmissions; industrial sources and earth movements.

Chapter thirteen "Imprints of the past" could have been found in a book dealing with paranormal phenomenon research , as it covers poltergeists; "battlefield ghosts;" "phantom aircraft;" "phantom ships;" "phantom tapes and messages."

Taking UFOs seriously:

The title of chapter fourteen brings us to the topic of UFOs, in some detail. "Fearful speculations runs rife throughout the subject of UFOs. The entire gamut of 'LITS', 'UAPs;' and 'BOLs' offer a wide range of interpretations." (p.209.) "Optical; illusions and varying misperceptions of eyewitnesses play a crucial role in many UFO sightings..." (p.210.) "Many South American sightings are still attributed to space debris." (p.211.)

"A common explanation for very large UFOs is that they are dirigibles or experimental lighter-than-air craft." (p.212.) "There has always been a mainstream, and commendable approach to explain UFO sightings within the known Western scientific canon. Yet it is taken too far." (p.213.) "The positive puzzlement over the new 'flying saucer' saucers in the USA, with their mooted link with secret weapons, plus the lack of scientific expertise in judging UAP and space debris phenomenon, has had a significant impact on defence and security organizations." (p.214.)

Chapter 15 "The worldwide enigma" notes the global nature of the UFO phenomenon. Unfortunately it starts off with an incorrect fact, stating that NICAP was "...an official US agency..." whereas actually it was a private research group. (p.223.) Citing cases from Turkey, Iran, the USA, Brazil and numerous other countries, the author demonstrates that UFO reports are made world-wide.

"The Europeans take UFOs seriously, and are prepared to be open-minded and even publicity-minded- about the phenomenon." (p227.) "The Italians, unlike the British, have regarded UFOs as a military threat." (p.217.) "The French regarded UFOs originally as a metaphysical problem, and were on the whole sceptical." (p.227.) In the UK "...the Airprox Board...the Civil Aviation Authority's Joint Agency Working Group...little success at arriving at definite identification of the flying objects." (p.281.)

Again another error arises when he author states that "...like Project Condigm of the 1970s..." when Condigm was conducted in the mid 1990's.

Are UFOs alien?

After reviewing dozens of UFO cases, in chapter sixteen, the author poses the question "Are UFO Aliens?" and opens the chapter with "Many experts, ufologists and even scientists believe that UFOs are aliens themselves, or are a projection of aliens, or are robots made by aliens, or are vehicles that actually house aliens from outer space." (p.234.)

Reviewing the connection with the paranormal , Milne writes "Many UFOs are surreal in character, singing absurd songs, or throwing objects such as potatoes at people." (p.235.) "...bear in mind the rather strange, poltergeist nature of UFOs..." (p.243.)

Speculation enters into Milne's work on such  statements as "We can perhaps only understand UFOs by relating them to quantum effects and other weird aspects of the atom and its innards." (p.245.) and "Intelligent BOLs could be using the voltage potential of the Earth's massive electrical field by liberating the  energy from it." (p.245.) "Is it possible, we could ask that UFOs have actually developed some kind of 'invisible cloak?" (p.255.)

Conclusion:

In looking to summarise Milne's views on UFOs and the paranormal, I turned back to the book's "Introduction." Here he suggests that there are many conventional explanations for UFOs. However, he suggest that "The 'orb' mystery has still not been explained." (p.11.) "Visions of ancient phantom armies trampling across the countryside are clearly evidence of the paranormal..." (p.13.) "UFOs, of course, represent the most obvious clash between straight science and the paranormal, in that they embrace the entire gamut of unidentified aerial phenomena." (p.14.)

"Many theories about UFOs seem wide of the mark - largely because even ufologists are reluctant to believe that these fleeting, erratic objects, changing their shapes and colours, are earthbound paranormal entities with an insect-like awareness of their surroundings. They are more like poltergeists than aliens..." (p.14.)

"We must simply admit that we are limited. It will be a longtime before humans gain a real understanding of UFOs because we have no real knowledge of the nature of reality. UFOs remain a mystery because fireballs remain a mystery." (p.15.)

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