Monday, July 1, 2013

The classic Delphos trace case - Another soil analysis

Hi all,

In a recent post (click here) I wrote about the classic physical trace case which occurred at Delphos, in the USA. At the end of the article I asked if anyone knew of any other soil analysis? A blog reader referred me to a two part article in the International UFO Reporter (published by the J Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies.) The articles appeared in the Jan/Feb 1987 issue and the May/Jun 1987 issue. Thus, this was a much earlier analysis than the 2003 Budinger study.

This earlier analysis was undertaken by Erol A Faruk, an English chemist who performed an analysis between 1977 and 1979 "...while doing postdoctoral research at a British University." (Jan/Feb p.21.)


Faruk received his samples from Ted Phillips, in late 1977, six years after the event. His first investigation was the reported ring soil's hydrophobicity. A dictionary definition of hydrophobicity is repelling, tending to to combine with, or incapable of dissolving in water.

"Samples of ring soil were initially inspected for their alleged hydrophobicity. They did indeed appear to be surprisingly impervious to water..." (p.22.) He then stated "Further examination revealed that this substance and its direct decomposition products appeared to be the only ones 'foreign' to the soil and hence were solely responsible for the observed hydrophobicity." (p.22.) The substance he was referring to "...being an alkali metal salt of an organic acid."

Ring soil:

Faruk conducted tests on the ring soil and concluded "Evaporation of the oxidized solution yield a whitish solid which may, I believe give a clue as to the nature of the white surface of the ring soil. The strong implication is that this has been caused by a layer of the fully oxidized compound coating the surface soil. As such, it might be what is being referred to as a "...crustlike-crystalline" material on being touched by the witnesses." (p.23.)

Anesthetic effects:

Referring to the apparent anesthetic effects reported by the witnesses after touching the ring soil, Faruk writes "The presence of nitrogen in the compound may be of significance with regards to the anesthetic effects alleged by the witnesses as local anesthetics generally contain nitrogen..." (p.24.)


Testing of both ring and control soil samples showed "...the former to be five times as bright...a result which would not be inconsistent with the claim that the surface of the ring was 'glowing'..." (p.25.)

Part two:

In part two of the article Faruk examines possible explanations for the ring. He eliminates a hoax explanation, stating "In view of the instability and unusual properties of the soil compound, the prospect of somebody's penetrating a hoax to cause the ring seems extremely unlikely, in my opinion." (p.19)

The second hypothesis examined is that of a fungal ring. "This explanation appears at first sight to be an attractive one...But the soil analysis reveals a number of discrepancies. The chemical nature of the ring soil compound appears to be of a water soluble metal salt of an organic carboxylic acid. Can such salts be produced by fungi?" (p.19.)

In addition, Faruk points out that fungal rings grow in size with time. Six years after the event the Delphos ring was the same size as in 1971. "Furthermore, the sample removed by the sheriff the day after the alleged event showed no evidence of fungal growth." (p.19.)

Faruk's third hypothesis is that the sighting was genuine. He proceeds to look to fit his findings with such an hypothesis.

"If we follow this reasoning, a number of features of the sighting report now become much clearer...The reported glow between the object and the ground...would be attributable to the actual deposition of the compound from the object as an aqueous solution...(p.19.) Two other features of the ring, its elongation toward the wind direction on the night, and the reported 'blistering' of the soil.

In conclusion, Faruk writes "The catch 22 with the Delphos case is that unless this kind of corroborative evidence is presented and considered, thereby exposing oneself to considerable risk of derision, the tendency would be for it to be conveniently but falsely dismissed as a "probable fungus ring."" (p.20.)

What do readers think about these soil analyses of the classic Delphos case? Have you come across any other soil analysis in a UAP physical trace event?

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