2. Alternate Explanations and Conclusions
As we saw in the last chapter there was much research carried out by the USAF and this was taken very seriously. The conclusions reached by the facts
of the film analysis point to one of two things in my opinion. One is that this is actual video of objects of unknown technology, two is that this was
a flock of birds that led to erroneous lab results from the lack of reference points, approximate distance, and modern film analysis technology. In
this chapter I will go over the alternate explanations that could be possible to discount the UFO theory, as well the official conclusions reached by
There was put forth a variety of possible explanations to account for the fleet of objects filmed by Newhouse. Some put forth were pillow balloons,
birds, insects, spider webs, “flying spiders”, reflected plane headlights, aircraft flares, temperature inversion, hoax, and more. None of those
panned out with further research and logical conclusions, and in fact the only theory that even remotely fit
was the “flock of seagulls
theory”. We will go into that theory now.
Picture courtesy of flickr.com
The Bird Theory
The film analysis was done by the USAF at Wright Field (home of Project Blue Book and Air Force Intelligence) and the Navy’s Anacostia film
laboratory . More than 1,000 man hours went into the research of the Newhouse film with personal making graph plots of frames, relative and apparent
motion calculations, and light intensity variation studies. Interestingly enough, Blue Book ruled the bird theory out first and concentrated on other
things such as balloons or aircraft, the consensus that the objects seen in the film were not birds was almost completely unanimous.
analysis by Blue Book came to the conclusion that the objects in the video were not
birds for the following reasons:
• There is no flapping or fluttering in any of the detailed analysis of the film. If the objects were birds, even at 10,000 feet you would still
be able to see the characteristic ‘wing flapping’, which was not seen at all.
• It was also the opinion of the experts that the objects were self-luminous because there was no blinking while passing through 60 degrees of arc.
This means that what Newhouse saw could not have possibly been birds because birds are not self-luminous !
Image of flight path of ‘fleet’ courtesy of nicap.org
Graph showing angular velocity and position courtesy of nicap.org
Memorandum to the Director of Naval Intelligence courtesy of nicap.org
Here is a good freeze frame showing the ‘fleet’ Courtesy of ufologie.net
For comparison purposes here is a picture of a gander of Snow Geese in a V-type formation, courtesy of
Here is a summary of the findings of the analysis by the USAF and Navy teams courtesy of
The following is the report by the military personal after conducting Photogrammetric and Spectroscopic tests on the film. I have highlighted the
pertinent areas with a yellow and red underline for ease of discovery. All original document images courtesy of
Those documents that I just showed pretty much dismiss any alternate explanations in any likely probability. So if the objects were not spiders,
chaff, planes, or birds what were they? When one takes into account the velocity and acceleration calculations as well, it appears that whatever these
objects were that they are still not currently known to exist by anyone, lest maybe a few privy government officials. In the same year of the
sighting, due to a continuing influx of sightings (especially the “DC Flap”) a special panel, called the
, made up of qualified scientists led by Dr. H.P. Robertson was set up by the
CIA to further investigate the UFO phenomena before Blue Book made a more public final conclusion of their research on the events they had
investigated. Blue Book presented its best cases, including this one to the panel for review. The panel’s main goal was to ‘debunk’ all UFO
reports in the “interest of national security” as they felt the “hysteria” of public reports wasting the military’s time was distracting the
main purpose of the military. They concluded that the majority of cases could be explained by mundane explanations and the remaining minority could
too with further study. Well the Robertson Panel, which was heavily infused with CIA officials and world renowned professional skeptics like Donald
Menzel, Dr. Condon, and many others came to another conclusion; They said that the objects were “very obviously a flock of birds” and closed the
The astronomer of the group, Dr. Donald Menzel found that a incorrect procedure was used by the Navy in their use of the
. He said the tests should be redone, they never were and it is not known if the
errors would have made a difference anyways. Another member, Dr. Thornton Page said that he thought the film showed a flock of seagulls. His only
argument was that they look like “seagulls he had seen where he lives”. He and other members ignored the other evidence of the case, such as
Newhouse’s testimony of seeing the objects closer and in much more detail before he got the film out, as well the two in-depth analysis run on the
film. They offered no acceptable rebuttal evidence to the official Blue Book conclusion and even the famous skeptic Dr. Condon did not agree with the
panel’s final explanation, which judging by their lack of counter evidence to the facts of the case it seems that they wanted to pretty much
attribute the sighting to a flock of supersonic, glowing seagulls! Here are some further reasons given by the Panel to why they felt it was birds,
this of course in addition to them saying that “they could not accept the conclusions reached by Blue Book and the Navy “:
a. A semi-spherical object can readily produce a reflection of sunlight without ‘blinking’ through 60” of arc travel.
b. Although no data was available on the “albedo” of birds or polyethylene balloons in bright sunlight, the apparent motions, sizes and
brightnesses of the objects were considered strongly to suggest birds, particularly after the Panel viewed a short film showing high reflectivity of
seagulls in bright sunlight.
c. P.I.L. description of the objects sighted as “ circular, bluish-white” in color would be expected in cases of specular reflections of sunlight
from convex surfaces where the brilliance of the reflection would obscure other portions of the object.
(Chapter 11, Durant report of the Robertson Panel Proceedings)
Obviously it appears that the Panel disregarded all evidence and twisted and distorted the facts to fit their purpose, which was debunking. In fact
it is widely believed that the reason for the stigma on Ufology is directly related to the Robertson Panel placing a bad tag on UFOs, this has also
been stated by some of the members themselves. The following excerpt is an example of how the Robertson Panel disregarded the evidence in reaching
their quick decision:
The report of Photogrammetric analysis by Dr. Robert M.L. Baker, Jr., Douglas Aircraft Corporation (which included a study of the 1950 Montana
film) examined the possibility of seagulls. He states: "The motion of the objects is not exactly what one would expect from a flock of soaring birds
(not the slightest indication of a decrease in brightness due to periodic turning with the wind or flapping)." Dr. Baker reports that no definite
conclusion could be reached, but "the evidence remains rather contradictory and no single hypothesis of a natural phenomenon yet suggested seems to
completely account for the UFO involved."
[edit on 6/22/2009 by jkrog08]