Recently, I came across a new book "UFOs Caught on Film: Amazing Evidence of Alien Visitors to Earth" by Billy J Booth. Published by David and Charles. 2012. ISBN 9-781-446-3016-92. It is part of a series of books, whose titles include "Ghosts Caught on Film;" "The Paranormal Caught on Film" and "Monsters Caught on Film."
On the front cover, the author, Billy Booth, is described as follows "...has been a UFO researcher and writer for over 30 years. He is webmaster of ufocasebook.com, one of the largest UFO websites, and has appeared on UFO radio and TV shows on the Discovery and History Channel. He has also been the guide at about.com for UFOs.
This 160 page book features dozens of photographs of UAP, and associated text.
The contents of the book are broken down into eras. They start with "Early sightings (1800s to 1940s); through "The Golden Age of Flying Saucers (1950s to 1960s); "Close Encounters and beyond (1970s to 1980s); "The X-Files (1990s); and "Everyone's got a camera (Latest sightings.)"
There are classic photographs such as McMinnville, Oregon, USA (1950); Lubbock, Texas, USA (1951); Salem, Massachusetts, USA (1952); Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (1965) and Lake Cote, Costa Rico (1971.)
The latest sightings section contains 40 photographs, with dates ranging from 2001 to 2011, including from the USA, UK, Europe, Asia and South America. There are two photographs from Australia, namely labelled Palmerston, Queensland (2009) and Sydney-Melbourne Flight (2011.) Given the multitude of photographs in this section, I decided to take a look at the two Australian ones, thinking they should be a representative sample of the whole 40.
"Multiple sightings of 'discs of light' in Australia
2009 - Palmerston, Queensland.
In April 2009 two men from Queensland spotted a mysterious white light as it moved through the night skies. That same month several other sightings had also been logged, including photograph of two other UFOs from a woman who described them as two 'discs of light' which she accidentally caught on the frame of the picture she took on her mobile phone during a storm.
Her photograph only corroborates the sighting of a UFO by Michael Baker, a resident of Nerang. On the same day he had seen an unknown object in the sky above the shopping centre in Worongary. Yet another report came from Ian Mayes who was walking with his young daughter Chloe along the Peregian Beach when he saw a 'bright white light' in the sky. When asked about the report, an astronomer suggested that the witnesses could have seen a meteor shower. However, all those who saw the lights claimed that the object did not move quickly enough for it to be a sufficient explanation for what was in the sky that night. The two UFOs shown here are very clearly defined and therefore could not have been moving at a high rate of speed and could almost be stationary." (p.136.)
My comments on this photograph:
Looking for more information on this photograph, I first checked the database of UFO Research (Queensland) at their website (click here.) While there are eight reports shown for April 2009, none match those in the account above. I found that Nerang is a suburb of Brisbane; Worongary is a Gold Coast suburb; Peregian Beach is a small seaside town on the Sunshine Coast. Strangely, there was no location named Palmerston.
I then went to the original story at ufocasebook (click here) It turns out the photograph was not taken in Queensland but in the Northern Territory, a different part of Australia.The full text on the ufocasebook site is as follows:
"Palmo UFO is spotted in Qld
May 12th 2009.
Two men on Queensland's Gold and Sunshine Coast have reported seeing a mysterious white light shooting through the night sky about the same time as a Territory woman claimed to have photographed UFOs near her Palmerston home.
The Territory mother-of-three who wanted only to be known by her first name Kym, photographed two 'discs of light' in the sky as she watched the dark rain clouds roll towards her Palmerston home last month.
Kym said the image was taken on her mobile phone and that she didn't notice the strange lights in the clouds until she downloaded the pictures on to her computer.
The Gold Coast Bulletin has revealed that Nerang resident Michael Baker was standing outside the Worongary shopping centre at sunset on the same day when he saw the strange light travelling from the west about 5.50pm. "We were just taking in the sunset, looking at the clouds and suddenly we saw a big white streak," he said. "As it came down towards the ground, it turned blue and then green as it broke up with a bit of a sizzle and a spark."
About the same time, Ian Mayes was taking his 10 year old daughter Chloe for a walk at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast when he saw an unusual light. "We just saw this bright white light, like a star, burning for a few seconds and then it fizzled out," he said.
But Springbrook Research Observatory astronomer Andre Clayden said the Queensland sightings were probably a meteor shower.
Kym said she had never had any previous UFO encounters. "I'Ve never really thought about them or had a view on them" she said..."
The source of the information for the ufocasebook story is given as http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2009/05/12/50661_ntnews.html.
If you take a look at the photograph itself, as shown on the ufocasebook site you will see it shows two horizontal lines of white light against dark clouds. It should be clearly noted that the witness did not report seeing these two objects in the sky when she took the picture. It is possible she failed to notice them, but more likely, in my opinion, is that the two white lines are due to something like faults in the digital imaging process.
Sydney to Melbourne in-flight photograph:
In "UFOs Caught on Film" there is a photograph and associated text which reads:
"Sydney to Melbourne flight attracts mysterious follower
2011 - Sydney-Melbourne flight.
The report of this UFO sighting and photograph was made public in January 2011. It is one of the rare photographs of an unknown object taken from a commercial plane, snapped while the plane was in flight from Sydney to Melbourne at approximately 8.00pm local time. The passenger was an amateur photographer and had intended to take some photos of the flight using an Olympus Digital camera (Model FE340.X855.C560) as it neared its destination. He was particularly interested in clouds. To accommodate the window shape he placed his camera in a vertical position.
While looking through the viewfinder searching for a good shot his attention was drawn to something in the sky, a ball-shaped metallic sphere. He pressed the picture button and captured the object. Looking for a second shot, he was disappointed to find the object had gone. He does not believe the UFO flew away but simply disappeared. The lack of blur in the image makes the photographer believe that the UFO was pacing the plane and therefore flying at 700-8000kph (450-500mph) at an altitude of about 18,000m (11 miles). The object appears to be a round object of a metallic material in which the Sun's reflection is caught. It should be extremely difficult to explain the object away as a conventional craft." (p148.)
My comments on this photograph:
Again I went to the ufoccasebook site to check out the original account.
"Passenger Captures UFO on Camera during a Sydney to Melbourne flight
Published 8.44am 2/8/2011
Sydney to Melbourne, Australia - 01-14-11
While on a return flight from Sydney to Melbourne at around 9.00am I decided to take a photo outside of the plane window to capture the clouds.
While placing the camera in a vertical position and looking through the preview screen I noticed a ball shape appear a split second, just before I pressed the camera button and then it disappeared just as quickly. It did not fly away it simply vanished.
There is no motion blur in the photo as the plane was flying around 700-800 kph at an altitude of around 18,000 meters, so I can only assume that the object was following and keeping an exact pace with the aircraft in a "cloaked" state as it simply showed itself just as I was about to press the button.
There is no way I could have just fluked it, it was as if it appeared on queue.
Taken with Olympus Digital camera Model FE340, X855, C560 at 7.52 AM (Uncertain if camera timer was properly set.)"
The source cited is through www. mufon.com I went to the MUFON website but could not locate the report in the MUFON Case management System. However, there is text and the photograph on the ufocasebook site at click here).
I have a few observations on this photograph which are as follows:
1. The aircraft was said to be flying from Sydney to Melbourne which means the aircraft was travelling basically south-west. At 9am on the day in question the Sun would have been roughly in the north-east. The photograph appears to show the source of illumination on the "UFO" as coming from the left, i.e. roughly north -west, which is not the direction of the Sun at this time.
2. The observer, writing in the first person states that the aircraft was flying at about 18,000 metres. However, an Internet search confirmed my own thoughts that commercial aircraft do not fly at this altitude in Australia. They fly lower.
3. A search of the manufacturer's website for Olympus cameras shows that the Olympus FE-340 is a mid range model, with an 8 mega pixel camera with 5x optical zoom, and a 2.7 inch CCD.
4. The book credits the photograph to someone named "Annelies Middel." Interestingly, an internal search of the ufocasebook site reveals a previous photograph taken by a person of the same unusual name (click here.) This one was taken in Tenerife, Spain on 5 Nov 2010 and the photographer is shown as Annalies Middel. Here however, in my opinion, the "UFO" appears clearly to be a jet aircraft.
5. I located another site by Billy Booth (click here) On this site Billy says he spoke to the Tenerife photographer, whom he says was female, not male as stated in his book.
6. To me the source of the report (with photograph) is a self submission to MUFON. I cannot find anywhere a detailed investigation report on the event and photo. It therefore appears to me, at this point, that it is simply another of those tantalising photographs which would have benefited from a detailed investigation. I am troubled by the discrepancies I have pointed out above.
"UFOs Caught on Film" contains numerous photographs of diverse UAP. However, the reports of the two Australian photographs which I took a look at, contain errors of fact in the text. To me, they are both of very low evidential value, as to be almost worthless as "Amazing Evidence of Alien Visitors to Earth."
I welcome Blog reader's comments on this post.