Tuesday, 17 April 2012

UFO Seen from Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand (Video)

By UFO Casebook

Mt. Maunganui, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand - April, 2012
Clare Bridges
My girlfriend and I were taking our regular walk on Saturday up the Mount, enjoying the wonderful weather, and I had my camera with me to take some photos.
We were about one third of the way up the path, looking out over the main Mt Maunganui beach, when we overheard some people talking about a saucer one of them claimed to have seen in the sky just prior to us arriving there.

Everyone was looking at the sky and it seemed like more than one person had seen something, although everyone was calm and not excited about it. We had not seen anything, however, and I thought nothing of it until one person saw it again, or perhaps it was a different one, and so I switched my camera onto video mode hoping to record something.
As I am not familiar with my camera, and did not see what the others saw at the time, I did capture something noteworthy while I was focusing on the group of hikers in front of me, which does indeed show a saucer or something like that clearly in the sky before it departed.
When I recorded this I could not see into the eyepiece clearly enough to know what was right in front of us all, but afterwards I spoke to more people who had seen the first object, but had not seen this one.
Only a couple of people there had seen what my camera caught, despite it being clearly visible. At the time, I didn't check the footage as I didn't know even if the camera was recording properly, as I use it mostly for photography.
My partner saw another video taken at the Mount on youtube about the same time we were there yesterday and said I should upload this too.
UPDATE: I have now seen the other video and the objects on that video, while demonstrably further away, appear to be following the same path, which is south across the main Tauranga region.
We continued our walk to the top of the Mount, and did not see anything else during our time there, and we were there from about midday until about half past one or two. No one else we spoke to on the way up or down reported seeing anything unusual.
(Editor's Note: This video is hard to figure. The object is so far away, and when I slowed it down to a crawl, it looked like a bird with its wings flapping. But, if the original video was submitted at the proper speed, well... we don't have birds that can fly that fast in Texas. Maybe they do in New Zealand.) What do you think?

UFO Over Russia April 13, 2012 (Video)


Published on 4 Apr 2012 by

These lights hovered over the Market Street Apartments, moving in differnet formation till they were in the formation you see now on the video. Then in a very low, deep hum, the lights started to move very slowly north to Rantoul while flashes in different patterns and colors.

The Terror of the Men in Black

I was eleven years old when I was introduced to the menacing and macabre world of the enigmatic Men in Black. It was a typically bleak and windswept English evening in the late autumn of 1976 when they first darkened my door. On the night in question – wide of eye and full of youthful excitement and anticipation – I eagerly began reading the disturbing pages of John Keel’s classic title, The Mothman Prophecies, which told of distinctly strange goings-on at Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the mid-to-late 1960s. Strange goings-on? Hell, outright supernatural foulness and malignancy would be far more apt terminology!
A glowing-eyed, winged-monster, surreal reports of contact with enigmatic alien intelligences on lonely, moonlit, tree-shrouded roads, occult phenomena plaguing the town, and lives manipulated and transformed in ways near-unimaginable were the order of the day – as was the brooding, predatory, and repeated manifestation of the dreaded MIB.
For reasons that I have never truly been able to fathom, from that very day onwards I became particularly fascinated by the Men in Black, their silencing of UFO witnesses, their near-ethereal presence in our world, and, of course, their overwhelming and mysterious elusiveness. Who, or what, were they? From where did they originate? What did they want of us? Why were they so deeply intent on preventing Flying Saucer-seekers from learning the truth about UFOs?

Even as a child, such questions plagued and tormented my mind. And, the further and deeper I dug into the world of Forteana, the more I found myself attempting to penetrate the veil of unsettling darkness and hostility that seemed to forever surround the MIB.

In the immediate years that followed my reading of John Keel’s legendary study of Mothman, I sought out just about as many works on the MIB as was conceivably possible. And, at the absolute top of my list – in joint first-place – were Gray Barker’s 1956 title They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers and a small, overwhelmingly bizarre book titled Flying Saucers and the Three Men. It was penned in 1962 by a curious and undeniably paranoid character named Albert Bender, without who there simply would be no MIB puzzle – period.
Barker, a skilled, atmospheric writer with a flair for all-things dramatic, Gothic, dark and stormy, was the perfect person to address the MIB mystery. But, he would never have been in a position to do so had it not been for the eccentric Bender – who, in 1953, was allegedly silenced by a trio of black-garbed, glowing-eyed entities from some strange netherworld after getting too close to the truth about Flying Saucers.
For someone now just barely in their teens, I found both Barker’s and Bender’s books and tales to be even more captivating than those of Keel. Of course, as my teens became my twenties, and then my thirties, my views on the MIB phenomenon changed, in some ways subtly, but in other ways far less so. But there was one thing that never did alter: My earnest wish to solve the puzzle of the true nature, origin and intent of the Men in Black.

Since those now-gone days of my childhood, I have pursued the MIB on a scale that has far exceeded my quests for Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, and the truth about Roswell combined. My first book, A Covert Agenda, which was published in 1997, detailed a number of curious MIB-style encounters in the British Isles from the 1950s onwards. My 2003 title, Strange Secrets, included a chapter on the little-known issue of government files on the Men in Black. Three years later, I penned On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, which was a full-length study of the secret surveillance of certain elements of the UFO research community by MIB-type characters in government. Then, in 2011, my The Real Men in Black hit the bookshelves.
This latter title specifically addressed the paranormal side of the MIB phenomenon, with a great deal of page-space focused upon the possibility that the darkly-clad ones might be time-travelers, energy-sucking vampires, Tulpas, Trickster-style entities, or even demons from Hell – or maybe all of the above! And, in that same year, I was very pleased to be asked to write a new Foreword to an updated edition of Gray Barker’s 1983 book: M.I.B.: The Secret Terror Among Us.
In other words, while I have never been fortunate enough to have received a late-night visit from the MIB (Yes, I would consider such a visit to be fortunate, as I might then be able to finally answer the riddle of who they really are!), they have certainly got their grips into me in other ways.
Having written about, and pondered so extensively on, the Men in Black, would I consider my research in this area to be a full-blown obsession? Maybe so; I can’t really deny such a possibility, as much as I would dearly prefer to. But, if an obsession it is, then I’m certainly not the first – nor will I probably be the last – to be pulled, magnet-like, into the eye of the MIB hurricane.
Bender, Barker, Keel: they all came before me, and all three became truly enveloped by MIB high-strangeness. And doubtless there will be those Men in Black seekers who will follow me. Maybe you will be one of them. You have been warned!!!

Fireproof UFO Spotted Near the Sun (Video)

A gigantic UFO, seemingly impervious to the blazing heat of the Sun, was spotted on a NASA image of solar flare activity. What is it?

The unidentified flying object, when magnified, appears to be solid and circular. But what could withstand the Sun's heat so close to the solar surface?

It's difficult to gauge the actual dimensions of the object, but it must be bigger than the Earth. A trail of vapor appears to be coming off its leeward edge. But the object itself is whitish in color.

From the angle this photo was taken, it seems the object is flying toward the Sun. How can that be possible?

Recent news stories have claimed that UFO activity has been detected near the sun, with one video report going so far as to claim an alien mothership was siphoning energy from the star before detaching a tether and flying away. Can this be related? Here's the video:

UFO Newspaper Clipping - The Times 23.3.1966

St. Petersburg Mystery Lights Russian Military Alien False Flag Event? – Video


[Photo-Image: April 9, 2012, St. Petersburg Russia 'Mystery Lights']

“St. Petersburg is considered that the military shot down a UFO and hide it.”
Russia Earth Chronicle report (Google translation) on the April 9, 2012, St. Petersburg mystery lights

Were the April 9, 2012, St. Petersburg Russia mystery lights a Russian military false flag UFO event?
Mexico’s premiere Ufologist Jaimie Maussan believes St. Petersburg was visited by a ‘mothership’. The following video a report from Tercer Milenio.

If we were conspiracy theorists we’d wonder if what occurred on April 9, 2012, in the skies near St. Petersburg Russia was a UFO (OVNI) false flag event perpetrated by the Russian military; another step towards a New World Order. A ‘mystery lights’ event St. Petersburg residents believe was similar to the 1947 Roswell UFO event; a UFO Russians believe was shot down by the United States military.

Russia Earth Chronicles website:
“Explanations of the representatives of the Western Military District, and solve the mystery of UFOs in the skies over St. Petersburg (they say it was a military target), does not satisfy the citizens. Some believe that the doctrine for the pilots – a failed attempt to conceal the appearance of newcomers.
In St. Petersburg, still rumors about unidentified flying objects that appeared on April 9 in the skies over St. Petersburg. The military explained that the camera lenses of numerous witnesses, the so-called light bomb – a target used for night training military pilots. Air target – it is a thin-walled metal casing, inside which are placed seven torches, each of which consists of illuminating pyrotechnic composition.
It would seem that this story could have ended, but the Internet has inflamed heated debate took place with respect to the anomaly. Video recordings of the “plates” are subjected to scrutiny. Many citizens seriously believe that far from the capital city of North American history could repeat itself. Ufologists believe that in the State of New Mexico in 1950, among the mountains crashed UFO supposedly shot down by military fighter jets the United States. The aliens are still studying in a secret U.S. lab.”
The writer of the Earth Chronicles post was off by 3 years but we got the gist of the Google translation.

Video of the April 9, 2012, St. Petersburg ‘Mystery Lights’,

Video Info (Google translation):
04/10/2012 UFO in the civilian world. St. Petersburg. It seemed to me that it’s a UFO and not Chinese lanterns. Because the object approached glowing balls and they came together into a coherent whole. Watched for 20 minutes, then he has disappeared. What is this?
On April 9, 2012, St. Petersburg residents witnessed mystery lights that hovered for up to 20 minutes over the area of Ladoga Lake. The Russian government quickly responded the lights were ‘Tribute’ air targets used during the ‘Ladoga 2012′ military exercises in the Ladoga Lake area which meant the military would have been shooting at the Tribute air targets in close proximity to St. Petersburg. In a Google translated comment at Earth Chronicles the observation:
standard target is a CD of MRC and their derivatives. short-launched cruise missiles. they can start with pulnut earthly home but often dropped from Tu-nis – bombers .. But NEVER! launches are not produced within a radius of reach inhabited areas. For violation of the GSS (security system testing and firing) immediately fall under the Tribunal with a complete removal from the post .. so, someone apparently hastened otmazatsya. But when you consider that there are different press secretaries and the closure of public relations – it is the usual non-political officer for the most part no grammulki technical education then what are you so miserable gang up on them? make their own conclusions from infy,, filter data, pull out the right and do not pay attention to the explicit “mistakes.” let them think that we believe them ..
Over here in the United States we wondered if the St. Petersburg mystery lights event has parallels to the 1997 Phoenix Lights event? Mystery lights that hovered in the skies above Phoenix for several nights witnessed by thousands of residents. Along with the mystery lights residents witnessed a massive, silent V-shaped craft with a shiny black exterior belly that ‘rippled’ as it glided over Phoenix.

The extraordinary sightings occurred in mid-March, 1997. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson reported no military maneuvers took place at the Barry M. Goldwater Range to the west of Phoenix, the direction of the Phoenix Lights. Two months later the claim from the military, the lights were flares dropped during nighttime exercises by the National Guard at the Barry M. Goldwater Range.

Were the residents of Phoenix, UFO false flag event guinea pigs whose reactions were observed for two months until the military doled out the National Guard was dropping flares explanation? Thousands of human guinea pigs who resided in a major metropolitan area?

Ten years after the 1997 Phoenix Lights event former Arizona Governor Fife Symington, a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, claimed he witnessed a massive delta-shaped, craft navigate over Squaw Peak as Symington turned to look at the Phoenix Lights hovering west of Phoenix. Symington’s admission, astonishing, given the stunt Symington pulled in 1997 during a press conference on the mystery lights and UFO: the appearance of an aide dressed as an alien from outer space.

Invisible aliens: they’re not life as we know it — yet

Artist’s conception of Viking lander taking samples for biological examination. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Whoops. Over the past four decades, NASA has launched a long series of exploratory probes to distant worlds in our solar system. It has sent up the Kepler space telescope to search for planets around other stars. All these missions have nurtured a hope, however faint, that astronomers might one day see unambiguous signs for life elsewhere in the universe. So it is only with the deepest sense of irony that one can hear the recent news that 36 years ago, scientists might have seen but disregarded proof of life on our closest planetary neighbor, Mars.
Don’t judge the experts too harshly, however. The problem of how to recognize alien life — life that might be radically unlike anything ever seen on Earth even at the molecular level — has been tormenting would-be exobiologists since the early days of space exploration.
What may be most surprising, though, is that this is not just a problem facing space scientists. Some biologists suspect that we may be overlooking alien types of life right here on Earth, too, even though they may be in fairly plain sight.
Missed on Mars
The two Viking landers that arrived on Mars in 1976 provided much of the foundation for our knowledge about the planet’s geology, weather conditions, and atmospheric and surface chemistry until the rovers Spirit and Opportunity arrived in 2003. The most exciting instruments on the Vikings, however, were the ones designed to carry out three kinds of experiments aimed at detecting biological activity in Martian soil. (It’s worth pausing to note that in the history of planetary exploration, those Viking experiments have so far been were the only ones explicitly and specifically designed to detect life.)
Two of the experiments gave disappointing, negative results. The third, called the Labeled Release experiment, did initially seem to detect gas release from soil samples provided with nutrients, which would be in keeping with alien cells growing or reproducing. Yet NASA’s scientists eventually concluded that spurious inorganic chemical reactions might be a more likely explanation in view of the other results. The Vikings search for life was written off as unsuccessful.
A new study appearing in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences, however, argues that conclusion was premature. The four American and Italian authors analyzed patterns in the collected Labeled Release experiment data. They argue that the high complexity of that Viking data is more suggestive of biological causes than of simple nonliving ones. (Tuan C. Nguyen described this work in more detail for SmartPlanet last week.) [Update (added 4/17): Keith Cowing at SpaceRef also offers some reasons for viewing this announcement with many grains of salt.]
This reanalysis is not immediately persuading all skeptics, and most scientists probably won’t start believing in Martian life without new, more sharply convincing proof. If nothing else, though, the work demonstrates how tricky and ambiguous chemical evidence for new kinds of life can be — which is a bit of a shame, because it may be indispensable in the ambitious quest for life not as we know it.

Defining life without knowing the answer

The silicon-based Horta from Star Trek. (Credit: Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios)
The silicon-based Horta from Star Trek. (Credit: Paramount Pictures/CBS Studios)

Say “life not as we know it” and many people immediately think of the Horta from “The Devil in the Dark” episode of Star Trek. That fictional subterranean creature — picture the offspring of a Galapagos tortoise and a heap of carpet samples — was presented as a life form based on silicon rather than the carbon in our nucleotides and amino acids. Corrosive juices secreted from its fibrous asbestos tissues allowed it to burrow through solid rock as casually as we move through air, according to the episode.
In imagining a silicon life form, Star Trek’s writers were less constrained by fact than modern scientists must be. Still, anyone looking for realistic insights can find plenty of inspiration because the scientific literature speculating on the unusual biochemistries of highly exotic alien life is almost surprisingly big.
Two publications in particular show up prominently in recent discussions of the topic. One is a 2004 paper in Current Opinion in Chemical Biology by Steven A. Benner, Alonso Ricardo and Matthew A. Carrigan, “Is there a common chemical model for life in the universe?” The other is a 2007 review, The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems, issued by the National Research Council. Benner contributed to both, which helps to explain many of the similarities in their arguments.
(As an aside: Anyone who wants to know much more about the foundations of exobiology will probably find both of these works to be enjoyable reads. I especially appreciated the whimsy of the NRC report’s dedication page, which notes that it is “Dedicated to Non-Human-Like Life Forms, Wherever They Are.”)
A starting point for both papers is the development of a definition for life that does not rely on familiar (and restrictive) biological concepts such as cells and DNA. Even young children in science class learn how tricky it can be to define life uniquely by its characteristics — after all, fire consumes, crystals grow, and so on. The problem only gets harder when one wants to avoid being too close-minded about what alien life could be.
Both publications posit that life, at its most abstract, involves a thermodynamic disequilibrium. That is, life involves physical structures that can only maintain their integrity with inputs of energy. These physical structures will require covalent bonds between atoms (to allow nontrivial chemical reactions), so the environment in which life appears must allow such chemistry to occur. Some kind of liquid, but not necessarily water, would therefore also be necessary to enable those reactions. Finally, some molecules in the living system would need to be capable of Darwinian evolution for the life to arise. (Take note, creationist doubters of evolution: it is now a useful part of the definition of life!)
From theory and experiments, both papers argue that life with these traits could evolve under a wide (but definitely limited) range of environments. Carbon-based life on worlds with liquid water might represent a particularly versatile and common set of solutions, but biochemistry could go in many directions even on Earthlike worlds. And on planets and moons where terrestrial life would perish instantly, life based on silicon instead of carbon or liquid hydrocarbons instead of water might thrive.

Drink methane, breathe hydrogen

Titan's atmosphere, as photographed by the Cassini probe, showing its haze of hydrocarbons. (Credit: NASA)
Haze of hydrocarbons in Titan's atmosphere, as photographed by the Cassini probe. (Credit: NASA)

An interesting case in point is Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Its average surface temperature is about -180 degrees C. (-290 degrees F.) and its atmosphere contains almost no water vapor, though a liquid mixture of water and ammonia under pressure seems to exist under thick layers of ice, according to the Cassini probe. Parts of Titan’s surface are nonetheless wet with lakes of liquid methane and ethane raining out of the hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere.
Measurements by the Cassini mission’s Huygens probe in 2010, however, suggest that the amounts of hydrogen, acetylene, and ethane on Titan’s surface seem to be lower than investigators had expected to find. That finding fits almost eerily well with a speculation by Chris P. McKay and Heather D. Smith that appeared in the journal Icarus in 2005. They had theorized that Titan might be home to organisms based on liquid methane rather than liquid water. These “methanogens” would breathe in hydrogen gas instead of oxygen and use it to consume organic compounds like acetylene and ethane.
The existence of such methane-swilling organisms is still no more than a hypothesis, but it’s one that any future missions to Titan will surely want to test.
A fourth domain
We might not have to embark for Titan (or even Mars) to find bizarre new forms of life, however. There’s at least a possibility that life as we don’t know it might be lurking on Earth. Perhaps it’s hiding in some very secluded refuges, or perhaps we’re simply not recognizing it for what it is. After all, one of the three major domains of terrestrial life — the unicellular organisms called archaea that often live in extreme environments like volcanic vents — were lumped in with bacteria until about 50 years ago.
Jonathan A. Eisen of the University of California Davis Genome Center and his colleagues, working with Craig Venter, analyzed DNA in samples of seawater collected from around the world, which contained fragments of genomes from countless unidentified organisms. They then tried to organize the collected sequences for certain families of genes into phylogenetic trees to approximate how they might be related to one another. What they found, as they described in the journal PLoS ONE in 2011, was that not all the genes associated simply into the three recognized domains of life. One explanation for the anomalous ones was that they came from some unknown fourth division of life. (Eisen’s own detailed blog description of what he and his team did tells the story behind the paper most eloquently.)
No one knows what organisms could be the bearers of those anomalous genes, but one possibility that Carl Zimmer has discussed in his eye-opening book A Planet of Viruses is that they come from the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses, a group of viruses so massive that they were formerly mistaken for bacteria. Science is only beginning to understand what these viruses represent.
Stalking the shadow biosphere
Nor do those viruses represent the outer edge of how weird life on Earth might be. In recent years, some scientists have begun to wonder about the possibility that our planet harbors a “shadow biosphere” of organisms that differ from conventional live at a profoundly basic level. Their evolution might have branched away long before the recognized domains appeared, or they might have evolved separately and in parallel with the rest of life.
As Carol E. Cleland and Shelley D. Copley wrote in the International Journal of Astrobiology, for example, variant forms of life could use different sets of amino acids in their proteins or different pairs of nucleotides in their DNA. Or they might use versions of familiar molecules that have mirror-image symmetries.
An even more radical possibility that the physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies has discussed is that some of the RNA-based life that may have predated DNA-based life on Earth could have survived. RNA life would not only lack DNA: it might also have no need for proteins because folded RNA could do many of the same jobs as those molecules. Unencumbered by any need for protein-making organelles, RNA-life cells could be much smaller than conventional cells.
RNA life might therefore be extremely well suited to an existence deep underground. (Shades of the Horta!) Not that RNA life would have super-advanced burrowing skills; rather, RNA-life cells could happily occupy minute spaces inside and between rocks.

Petroglyph from Death Valley. (Credit: National Park Service archives)
Petroglyph from Death Valley. (Credit: National Park Service archives)

What’s amazing is that most of these unusual forms of life could easily be overlooked. Science has still not had a chance to characterize more than a fraction of the ordinary types of life believed to exist in nature.
In fact, it might be literally true that one piece of evidence for alien types of life has been right in front of mankind all along. Back into prehistory, human beings in desert areas have been scratching glyphs and drawings into rocks that have dark weathered surfaces. Those desert varnishes coating the rocks, however, have often perplexed geologists: good explanations for what causes these mineralized layers to form have been lacking. Biological activity has always seemed like one possibility but the agents responsible haven’t been in evidence.
Maybe we just haven’t known what to look for.