Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meteotsunamis and UFOs

Dear readers

Greetings from Adelaide, South Australia, where our summer is starting off slowly. Only 30 degrees C today, lovely blue skies and cool nights. Great for star gazing. Venus and Jupiter are very prominent in our night skies at the moment, and the summer constellation of Orion is rising in the early evenings to the north-east.

The subject of today's post is meteotsunamis (click here) and their possible relationship to UFOs. I must say that I hadn't heard of meteotsunamis before I read the article by English ufologist Jenny Randles in issue number 280, November 2011, of the Fortean Times magazine (pages 30-31.)

These are unusual waves which appear to be generated by "...pressure changes in the ocean surface from a passing weather front" (p.30.) The waves so generated can be up to 6m high.

Jenny notes that "...close observers in southern Cornwall felt sudden pressure changes and their hair stand on end as the waves arrived." (click here.) She then re-examines a number of unusual incidents in the light of this new knowledge. There was the SS Mohican (click here) which in July 1904 off the eastern coast of the USA encountered a strange grey mist, static electricity, and an unusual calmness and silence.


Jenny poses a question " ... whether similar effects might occur inland as well as out to sea, with recognisably similar consequences -mistakenly assumed to be UFOs." Jenny cites the following cases in support of her hypothesis:

1. Nov 1953 Lake Gjersjoen, Norway (click here)
Car surrounded by green mist. Man's body tingles. Watch magnetised. All rust on car removed.

2. 24 Feb 1975 Sizewell, Suffolk (click here)
Green/yellow mass floated on to sand. Man's skin tingled. Air ionised. Locals report static on TV.

3. 26 Sep 1973 Minehead, Somerset
Woman sees misty shape. her skin prickled. Hair stood on end. Floating mass. buzzing/humming sound.

4. 1966 Kent.
Misty shape floated towards witness over a river. Abnormally quiet. Numbness. heavy feeling.

Jenny writes: "With so many cases where witnesses have tried to describe unusual physical sensations experienced while seeing what is tacitly assumed to be a UFO, I tend to suspect that an atmospheric event of some kind might unify these disparate stories."

"We may face a wider phenomenon in which frontal systems under certain conditions can not hist trigger unusual surge waves in the ocean (or rivers or lakes) but UFO encounters that are interpreted in the guise of our modern space mythology."


As always, Jenny is on the look out for novel interpretations of the data. I love her thinking patterns and the fact that she has a great knowledge of English UFO reports and merges them into big, broad hypotheses.

Have any readers come across hypotheses suggesting weather frontal systems may generate some UFO reports?

1 comment:

  1. Hiya Pauline, I can hardly wait to tell you how summery it is in England whilst you're listening to hailstones on your windows...we're hovering near the zero tonight.

    I haven't read the article and can only go off the details you posted. So far, I'm at a loss as to why meteotsunamis could be the cause of UFO sightings. There's a suggestion that the *reporting* of unusual phenomena have been conscripted by ufologists.

    For example, the SS Mohican report has no relation to objects, flying or otherwise. It seems to detail an encounter with some meteorological phenomena. The witnesses reported a still sea and the appearance of a cloud that approached them. This could be similar to lightning being conducted and discharged through a high object - the ship. The electrostatic effects share similar features to electrical storms.

    The cases described possibly reflect some of the over-enthusiasm of ufologists as they seek to flesh out their databases. Shifting clouds and static seem far more suited for the meteorological crowd than ufology.

    Randles is right to isolate some of these cases and remove them from consideration as UFOs. Doesn't it seem like a large part of ufology is creating mystery to buttress ideas of high-strangeness and visiting entities?

    Her comment about the 'tacit' assumption that anything unusual must be a UFO is pretty fair. I'm less convinced that meteotsunamis could be responsible for more than a few isolated entries into Ufoloric collections.

    It's evident that some ufologists will grasp at anything unexplained and yet 'misty shapes' and electrostatic effects are rather uncommon. The olden cases of vehicle interference and suchlike often included bright, solid shapes instead of mists.

    In a Guardian news article, the descriptions wouldn't encourage any but the most devout to attribute them to UFOs.



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