ALLEGED ALIEN RADIO SIGNAL CAUSES CONTROVERSY
On Thursday, October 22, 1998, at 21:13 UTC (9:13 p.m. UK time), Paul Dore, an engineer with Siemens Corp., reportedly picked up a strange signal emanating from the constellation Pegasus.
In an Internet post, Dore stated that he had been doing SETI research for "a year and a half," using the company's 10-meter (30-foot) dish antenna, plus "Inmarsat LNA with about 25db gain."
Dore reported that he was running two Pentium II processors with FFTDSP42 and SETIFOX programs. While he was out of the office, the FFTDSP42 "logged a Hit...when I came inside to take a look, I saw the last of the signal fading into static. I quickly ran the REPLAY.EXE program to replay the data."
He also calculated the coordinates of the transmission: Right Ascension - 23 degrees, 31 minutes, 48 seconds; Declination - 19 hours, 55 minutes, 50 seconds. The signal had come from the star system EQ Pegasi about 22 light-years (132,000,000,000,000 miles) from Earth.
After a careful check of the equipment, Dore began scanning again at approximately 21:17 UTC on Friday, October 23. "The same signal was picked up, and it was at the same right ascension and declination."
Once Dore posted his information, a lively debate ensued on the Internet.
Grad student John M. Dollan of the University of Montana cautioned against optimism, noting that "EQ Pegasi is an unlikely, if not impossible site for indigenous intelligent life."
"EQ Pegasi is a double star system, with both members being red dwarf stars," Dollan explained in an interview with UFO Roundup. "(Type) M4 and M6 respectively. Being of this class star, an Earthlike world is almost certainly out of the question, since either member will be too dim to support a viable ecosphere...Also, both stars are flare stars, meaning that they are quite young, and that their massive solar flares would be quite lethal to life."
While the debate raged, Dore logged three more hits, on Monday, October 26, at 5:58 and 6:45 UTC and on Tuesday, October 27, at 7:15 UTC, all from the EQ Pegasi system. He said he had picked up the signal on frequency 1453.07512Mhz, plus or minus 400hz Doppler.
While proponents claimed that a similar anomalous signal had been detected coming from EQ Pegasi on September 17, 1998, the SETI League branded the incident a hoax.
"A hoax," said Prof. Nathan Cohen of Boston University, "Not even a good one."
"It stuck out like a sore thumb," Cohen said, adding that he was unwilling to share the data used to determine that it was a hoax, adding, "My colleagues and I share the belief that we shouldn't aid the hoaxsters by telling them" how to improve on a fraud.
Cohen did reveal that the signal "lacked the bandwidth required of a SETI signal."
In an official statement, Dr. Paul Shuch of the SETI League said, "The non-profit, membership-supported SETI League has been analyzing this claim since Friday night (October 23). None of our 63 active stations around the world have been able to confirm it."
"The 'signal' has been discredited by a host of radio astronomers, amateur and professional, who have analyzed the GIFs posted to the Internet," Dr. Shuch said, "The person who reported the alleged signal has violated every principle of responsible science. He has not fulfilled the carefully-crafted SETI League signal detection protocols to which all of our members are signatory." (Many thanks to Stig Agermose and John M. Dollan for this story.)
(Editor's Comment: If you go outdoors tonight, look up at the nearly full moon. To the right is a bright star. That's the planet Saturn. At a two o'clock position relative to Saturn is the constellation Pegasus, the region of space from which the alleged signal came.)
Two goats were found dead and mutilated in Thompson, Ohio in early October, stirring up talk of cult activity in rural Geuga County.
"Some Geuga County residents are expressing concern that the mutilation of two dead goats may be an indication of cult activity. But a law enforcement officer says he needs more evidence."
"'Until somebody can prove this is satanic stuff, it's not satanic stuff,' Thompson Township Police Chief Robert Fowler said."
"One goat was found dead with its horn cleanly cut off and a square of skin cut from its neck."
Thompson is on Ohio Route 528 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Lake Erie and 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Cleveland. (Many thanks to Lou Farrish of UFO Newsclipping Service for this news story. See the Columbus Dispatch for October 5, 1998, "Mutilated goats spark fears of cult activity.")
On Friday, October 23, 1998, at 3 a.m., James C. and a friend were in a backyard in South Houston, Texas (population 14,209), not far from Genoa Bluff Road and Almeda Mall when they saw a UFO.
The men "were actually just watching the stars and talking about life, problems, etc.," James reported. "We viewed this object for a period of seven seconds. I first saw it in the east, maybe a little southeast of where I was, and last saw it in the northeast."
"It had a tail like a comet that was very long. It flew directly over our house and then across the sky and disappeared over the horizon. It was very fast. It was following the earth's curvature. It was very bright and had that tail...Its tail was very colorful, it was red and orange on the outline and blue in the middle, kind of like a butane lighter." (Email Interview)
On Friday, October 9, 1998, two residents of South Padre Island, Texas (population 1,677) reported seeing a red, white and green UFO hovering near the shoreline condominium towers.
According to the Brownsville Herald, "U.S. Coast Guard officials received two independent reports of a UFO hovering about a mile off the coast of South Padre Island. In separate telephone calls Friday night, at about 9:15 p.m., callers told a Coast Guard officer that they had seen a round object hovering in the air over the condos for between 20 to 30 seconds."
"'What was described was red, white and green rotating lights over the city, just staying there,' (Coast Guard Officer Steve) Williams said."
"The first report came from Seabreeze Condominiums, and the second, which came almost immediately after the first, was from Saida Towers."
According to Williams, the Coast Guardsman who took the calls "notified Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio."
South Padre Island is near Brownsville and the USA/Mexico border about 550 miles (848 kilometers) south of Dallas. (See the Brownsville, Tex. Herald for October 12, 1998. See also Filer's Files #42 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON, John Thompson and Philip Freeman for forwarding this news story.)
Canadian Armed Forces have begun contigency plans to deal with the Year 2000 computer crisis, including the call-up of 60,000 reserve troops, the biggest peactime deployment ever.
According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, "The Army is studying everything from the number of flashlights and batteries it will need if power is cut for weeks to which military air-traffic-control field equipment should be set up at civilian airports. Logistics officers are plotting where to position supplies, fuel, tents, cots" and other equipment.
All formations have been told that the "planning for the Year 2000 computer crisis is their highest priority and will be the focus of all training from January (1999) on."
Last September, Ottawa sent a 24-page order to all Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) commanders, regional headquarters and reserve units. The order stated, "There is potential for disruption of major infrastructure systems...that may require Canadian Forces support to civil authorities."
Navy captains were advised that their frigates may be docked in large seaports "to provide garrisons, power plants, field hospitals and soup kitchens."
In the October 1998 issue of Maple Leaf, Lt. Gen. Roy Crabbe, recently retired deputy chief of defence, wrote, "As far as Christmas (1999) goes, I don't think you can deploy 60,000 troops away from their homes at Christmas, especially from a morale point of view. I'm not sure you can say the same for New Year's Eve."
The code name for the deployment is Operation Abacus, with military activities planned for Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. (See the Toronto Globe and Mail for October 27, 1998, "Army fears civil chaos from Millenium Bug," by Jeff Sallot and John Saunders.)
(Editor's Comment: All rail transportation is now run by computers, so defective Y2K chips could disrupt delivery of food supplies. In cities reasonably close to food-producing areas, such as San Francisco, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Minneapolis, that's not a big problem. But in cities far away from farm districts, where there is only a seven-day supply of food, things could get really hairy. That would include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston. In South America, disruption of food deliveries could cause chaos in major metropolitan areas such as Caracas, Bogota, Lima, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile.)
On Friday, October 30, 1998, at 5:30 a.m., a witness spotted a bright reddish-orange UFO over Camp Verde, Arizona (population 6,243), a city on Interstate Highway 17 approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Phoenix.
The witness reported, "I was near the west end of town, and the light was a considerable distance to the south. At first I thought I was seeing something like the big UFO over Phoenix from last year (March 13, 1997--J.T.) as the unusual lights were in a rigid V-formation."
"It seemed very solid, and I first supposed it was a large object. In fact, I first thought it was a large object which was approximately 225 yards from where I was. But when I got out of my car and put on my glasses, I could tell it was several miles distant. It moved more or less east from the southwest and disappeared among the hills, then reappeared some 30 seconds later."
"When it came back again, however, it was no longer in a V-formation," he added. The bright reddish-orange lights "moved east again across my field of vision and were flying more like a 'swarm.' I can't describe it exactly. But they were sort of flying around each other...The group paused for a second or two, then moved off to the south and were gone. They made no sound, and the entire sighting from beginning to end lasted maybe a minute, no longer." (Many thanks to Jim Hickman of Skywatchers International for this report.)
On Wednesday, October 28, 1998, ufologist Christopher O'Brien, author of THE MYSTERIOUS VALLEY, heard his cell phone ringing and picked it up. The caller was fellow ufologist Fabian Sauvo in Center, Colorado, located 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of O'Brien's home in Crestone.
Sauvo was "reporting a brilliant red light flying west to east just north of Center," O'Brien reported. "I ran outside with the cellular phone and, sure enough, there was a large red light between Crestone and Center. The light ducked into a cloud around the sandpiles on Highway 17 and wouldn't come out. I waited to see if I could get a better look, and it either turned the light off or remained inside the cloud. If it wasn't a chopper, I don't know what it was. After waiting around for fifteen minutes, I gave up."
On the phone, Sauvo had told him that the UFO "exhibited several ballistic moves, i.e. bobbing up and down and hovering." (Many thanks to Chris O'Brien for this report. THE MYSTERIOUS VALLEY is published by St. Martin's Press and is still in print.)
On Sunday evening, October 25, 1998, residents of two cities of La Pampa province in Argentina reported seeing a UFO "shaped like a rugby ball and as bright as day."
The luminous UFO was first reported in Santa Rosa, the provincial capital. "The strange phenomenon appeared to take the form of a rugby ball and hovered without sound at a point 60 degrees above the horizon, reported Manuel Augustin Perez in a statement to the press."
"The object produced a glow similar to that produced by the reflection of the sun on a mirror or a piece of sheet metal, and, after several moments, disappeared in a southwesterly direction, he said."
Residents of Santa Rosa had "the mysterious apparition" in view for approximately 19 minutes.
"A pair of senior citizens who live on Ruta Provincial 7, near Camino (Highway) 5, 40 kilometers (24 miles) east of Santa Rosa, saw the object in the midst of dense clouds which dropped an intense rainfall on the area."
Santa Rosa is located 420 kilometers (252 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires, the national capital.
"Residents of the barrio Frederico Calandri in the city of Eduardo Castex, 80 kilometers (48 miles) north of Santa Rosa, described it as the visible form of a solid object."
"An OVNI (Spanish acronym for UFO--J.T.) specialist of the province, Oscar Mario, said that the object seen could be a flying saucer." (See the newspaper Diario Popular of Buenos Aires for October 28, 1998, "Vieron un OVNI en Santa Rosa." Muchas gracias a Carlos Iurchuk para esas noticias.)
(Editor's Note: Santa Rosa was the site of an encounter between three Argentinian police officers and a UFO in June 1997.)
Former astronaut and USA senator John Glenn, 77, returned to space last week as a payload specialist aboard the shuttle Discovery.
The shuttle blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2:19 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, 1998, cheered by thousands as it hurtled into the blue, wind-free sky. After jettisoning its fuel tanks, Discovery entered an orbit 340 miles (568 kilometers) above Earth.
"'This is beautiful. It's still a trite, old statement: Zero G and I feel fine,' he added, repeating the words he uttered on his first flight 36 years ago."
Then an astronaut with Project Mercury, Glenn rode into orbit aboard the Friendship 7, circling Earth three times on March 20, 1962.
This is Discovery's 25th mission, commanded by Curtis Brown Jr., 42, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. A resident of North Carolina, Col. Brown has flown four previous shuttle missions.
Pilot Steven Lindsey, 38, is another USAF veteran. A resident of California with a wife and three children, Lindsey is on his second shuttle flight.
Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson, 42, also from California, is a private pilot and a NASA research scientist.
Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski, 37, divides his time between California and his new home in Boulder, Colorado. Parazynski was originally scheduled to fly aboard the Russian space station Mir but he was pulled from the mission in 1995 because he was too tall for station's seats.
Representing the European Space Agency (ESA) is Mission Specialist Pedro Duque, 35, of Spain. This mission, STS-95, is Duque's first spaceflight.
The only woman aboard is Payload Specialist Chiaki Mukai, 46, a cardiologist from Japan. This is her second flight aboard a space shuttle.
Commenting on his first day back in orbit, Sen. Glenn said, "Being able to float around like this in Zero G--I just wish everybody could experience this...I was keyed in to every noise and quiver. It was quite a different ride than I got long ago."
As in 1962, the residents of Perth, Western Australia, left their lights on as an earthbound greeting to the spacecraft.
"We got a good view of Perth, a nice glow and spread out," Glenn said, "It looks even bigger now than it did back then. They've really got'em lit up tonight here."
The Discovery crew's third day in orbit began with a Nat King Cole song, Cachito, and a surprise announcement for Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque-- he's a new father.
"Crew member and physician Scott Parazynski- whom Glenn jokingly calls Igor--after Dr. Frankenstein's assistant--drew the first of 10 blood samples from Glenn" who "also gulped down an amino acid pill before being injected with amino acid. Researchers want to see how well alanine and histidine are absorbed by Glenn's weightless muscles and how fast protein in his muscles builds up and breaks down."
On Sunday, November 1, 1998, Discovery "released a solar science satellite for 48 hours of observation...Using the shuttle's robotic arm, astronaut Steve Robinson gently dropped the 3,000-pound Spartan satellite into space while the shuttle soared 341 miles above Mexico's Baja peninsula."
Mission Commander Curt "Brown then eased Discovery away from the $6 million satellite so it could go to work."
"Spartan will spend two days studying the sun's outer edge, or corona, and its atmosphere and solar wind before Discovery moves back in to retrieve it on Tuesday." (See the New York Post for October 30, 1998, page 2; the New York Post for October 31, 1998, page 5; the New York Daily News for November 1, 1998, page 7, and USA Today for November 2, 1998.)
(Editor's Comment: Seeing that photo of Glenn suiting up in NASA orange last week, I was struck by how natural--how essentially right-- the scene was. I thought, Flying through space is what you were born to do, John. Like they said in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home about Captain Kirk--"It is your first, best destiny.")
1977: THE ALGOMA TRIANGLE
On November 3, 1977, Craig Gavine, 47, an experienced bush pilot, checked out his airplane at the airport in Marathon, Ontario, Canada, a town on the north shore of Lake Superior. Gavine was planning a flight to Toronto with Erik Lind, 33, a local engineer.
The plane took off all right. But, as it passed over the Pukaskwa (pronounced Puck-a-saw) National Park on Lake Superior's eastern shore, just north of Wawa, Ont., radio contact with the aircraft was lost.
"During the search a total of eleven aircraft were used to search the route and to concentrate on a stretch of bushland along the north shore of Lake Superior. The bush here is a dense maze of rock, swamp and jackpine that claims an average of a hundred lives each year."
Neither Gavine nor Lind nor the plane was ever found.
The "Algoma Triangle," which stretches between Marathon, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, has a bad reputation. "Since 1953, thirty-four people and seventeen aircraft have been swallowed up in this area. All are believed to have plunged into the wilderness. Like Gavine and Lind, no trace of their aircraft was ever found, and their files were closed and stamped 'cause unknown.'"
Planes aren't the only vehicles that have disappeared in the Algoma Triangle, either.
"Among missing-person mysteries on the books of police of Winnipeg is that of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Kirk of North Bay, Ontario. On October 4, 1940, Kirk, a wholesale merchant and importer, and his wife left by car on a vacation trip. Their route took them from Sudbury, along a lonely highway running along the north shore of Lake Huron, to Sault Sainte Marie, Ont. The last man to see him and Mrs. Kirk was a gas-station attendant at Sudbury, who directed him onto Highway 17."
"Not until the end of October 1940 was it known that the Kirks had disappeared...So the mystery was narrowed down to the 175 miles of highway between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Lakes and rivers and creeks were dragged, bush and woods combed by 150 men for six weeks until the snows fell and put an end to the search. Kirk's friend at Sudbury, Mr. John Newstead, said it was extremely unlikely that Kirk would have given a lift to a paranoiac wanderer. To this day...no one knows what became of Mr. and Mrs. Kirk." (See GATEWAY TO OBLIVION by Hugh Cochrane, Avon Books, New York, NY, 1980, pages 66-67, and FLYING SAUCERS UNCENSORED by Harold T. Wilkins, Citadel Press, 1955, page 224)
FUN UFO WEBSITES:
Alain Delplanque informs me that the French UFO group, SOS OVNI, was a new website. Drop in anytime at http://www.sosovni.com
There's a new UFO website in Slovakia. Waldemar Uminsky's Asociaca UFO Badatelov (AUFOB) is open. Readers are invited to visit the site at http://www.aufob.sk
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO, with its vast array of news, photos and features. Just log in at http://ufoinfo.com
Back issues of UFO Roundup can be read, accessed and downloaded at our webpage. Feel free to drop in any time. We're at http://ufoinfo.com/roundup
Eighty-six years ago, on November 5, 1912, a pilot named Galbraith P. Rogers completed the first airplane flight across the continental USA. Rogers's flight time was 82 hours, 4 minutes.
(Editor's Comment: And if Galbraith were still among us, he'd probably volunteer for the next space shuttle flight.)
That's it for now. We'll be back next week with more saucer news from around the planet, brought to you by "the paper that goes home--UFO Roundup." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO Roundup on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.