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A Flying Saucer (Maybe) and Four Martinis

The story of the crash of an alleged UFO in May 1953 – on the fringes of the town of Kingman, Arizona – is one of the most controversial of its kind. But, how many people really know how the “crashed saucer” saga began? I thought today I would share with you just how the whole thing took off, so to speak. The genesis of the story can be traced back to early February of 1971. At the time, Jeff Young and Paul Chetham were two new and enthusiastic UFO investigators who were digging into a truly sensational story that, if true, strongly suggested intelligent life existed outside of the confines of our own world. These amazing revelations came from a man named Arthur Stansel, who was a good friend of Young’s family and who claimed to have had personal, firsthand knowledge of a crashed UFO and alien body recovery near Kingman on May 21, 1953.

During the course of a face-to-face, tape-recorded interview with Young and Chetham, Stansel – who held a master’s degree in engineering and who took part in the D-Day landings at Normandy, France, during the Second World War – recounted that in 1953, he was working at the ultra-secret Nevada Test and Training Range. It was the location of a then-recent atomic bomb test that had been a part of a larger series of tests known as Operation Upshot-Knothole. This operation was just the latest in a whole series of atmospheric nuclear weapons-based tests that fell under the jurisdiction of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), all of which were conducted on land overseen by the NT&TR from March 17 to June 4 of 1953. Still on the issue of the matter of Operation Upshot-Knothole, on several occasions Stansel speculated that perhaps the incredible blast from one of the bomb tests inadvertently caused the UFO to go wildly out of control, cascading and finally crashing in the next state over, Arizona.

Stansel began by telling the astonished but excited duo that late one night, he and a colleague observed nothing less than an honest-to-goodness UFO soar across the skies near the site. Ultimately, however, Stansel had much more to impart than a sketchy story of a hard-to-define aerial encounter. As Stansel felt more and more comfortable telling his story, he gradually divulged the details of what would become known as the Kingman affair to the unsuspecting Young and Chetham.

Stansel stressed that the incident had taken place during his brief tenure with the U.S. Air Force’s UFO investigation program, known as Project Blue Book. He had received a telephone call from the base commander at Wright-Patterson in Dayton, Ohio, with orders for him to fly to Phoenix, Arizona. From there, Stansel was driven to the crash site of what he was told was a secret Air Force project gone awry. Upon his arrival at the site – which he was certain was situated on the fringes of Kingman – Stansel could not fail to see the unusual object. This was no classic flying saucer, however; rather, the object was shaped like a cross between a teardrop and a cigar. Moreover, it was small, barely twelve feet long. But that was not all: There was a body. According to Stansel, this was no human body. Yes, it had arms, legs, a torso, and head, but it was only about four-feet-tall, its skin was dark, and its facial features were manifestly different than those of a human being. The truth soon dawned on the shocked Stansel: A spaceship from another world had just crashed at Kingman.

Aside from being mentioned in an April 23, 1973 article in the Massachusetts-based Middlesex News, not much else came of the Kingman story – for a while, anyway. Things eventually changed: a man named Raymond Fowler, a well-respected UFO investigator and author, read the article and was intrigued. As Fowler began to dig into the story, he discovered something amazing and near-synchronistic: both he and Arthur Stansel were employed by the very same company. Needless to say, Fowler wasted no time in contacting Stansel, and the pair met in Stansel’s office at noon on May 4, 1973. The Kingman case was about to be taken to a whole new level.

Fowler, admittedly, had some deep concerns about both the witness and his story, since it soon became clear that the tale Stansel told to him was radically different from what had been imparted to Chetham and Young, two years previously. Stansel explained, somewhat awkwardly, and with a degree of embarrassment, that this discrepancy arose from a basic confusion regarding the dates as well as from the fact that he had been under the influence of four martinis when he was interviewed back in 1971. Stansel admitted that when the booze kicked in, he was often prone to exaggeration. Not a good thing when you’re trying to convince someone you saw a dead alien, whose craft may have been brought out of the sky from an atomic bomb detonated on the Nevada test and Training Range.

Although these issues raised some justifiable suspicions about the legitimacy (or otherwise) of the Stansel account, as related to Fowler it was still one that cried out for scrutiny and investigation – which is precisely what Fowler did. On June 7, 1973, Fowler procured a signed affidavit from Stansel, albeit one in which Stansel’s name was changed to the pseudonym of “Fritz Werner” – which, of course, rendered the affidavit wholly meaningless and worthless. Nevertheless, the very fact that Stansel had been willing to put at least something in writing was encouraging, if nothing else.

According to Stansel’s new – or, to be precisely accurate, modified – version of events, it was while on a very short assignment with the Air Force’s Project Blue Book that, on May 21, 1953, he was flown to Phoenix, Arizona, and then driven in a bus with blacked-out windows to a location not too far from the nearest significant landmark: Kingman. When Stansel spoke with Fowler, however, what he had originally described to Young and Chatham as a twelve-foot-long teardrop/cigar-shaped object had suddenly been transformed into an oval-shaped craft with a diameter of at least thirty-feet – a definitive flying saucer, Stansel stressed to Fowler. That’s quite a difference. The exterior of the vehicle resembled brushed aluminum, Stansel added, and the craft had only penetrated about two feet into the ground, which suggested a light, semi-controlled descent had occurred, rather than a violent crash.

The affidavit also described some kind of a hatch, about three-feet-high and roughly one-foot wide, on the side of the craft that provided entrance to its interior. Looking inside, the investigative team spied an oval-shaped cabin, two swivel chairs, and a variety of instruments and screens that did not resemble conventional aircraft technology. Most significant of all, a small body was retrieved from the interior of the vehicle and was taken to a nearby, hastily constructed tent. Very human-like, if small in stature, the presumed pilot had a pair of eyes, two nostrils, a small mouth, and two ears. It wore a silver-colored, one-piece suit, and atop its head sat what appeared to be a small skull-cap made out of the same material as the suit.

Quite naturally and wholly understandably, Fowler had some concerns about the differences between the two narratives, but he did not discount Stansel’s story entirely. Quite the opposite: he continued to investigate it – and Stansel, too – with vigor. What he uncovered added a degree of credibility to Stansel’s new or reworked version of the events. Fowler was able to confirm that between June 1949 and January 1960, Stansel held a variety of engineering and management positions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and that during the period in which the incident supposedly took place, Stansel worked within what was known at the time as the Air Materiel Command Installations Division, within the Office of Special Studies. Stansel certainly did not appear to be a fool or a fantasist; quite the opposite, in fact. These welcome discoveries with respect to Stansel’s career did not negate the fact that he had clearly told one story to Young and Chetham (after having had a good old, head-spinning time quaffing a few martinis with his new buddies) and a very different one to Fowler. And, that’s how it all began – a weird and controversial case which continues to provoke interest.

SOURCE:

Mysterious Universe

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Woman captures a strange figure while on a video call to her best friend

Lori –  who claims to have been home alone at the time – said her ‘heart stopped’ after she replayed the chilling footage and witnessed a dark figure dash in and out behind her while she spoke to Shana. 

The store manager said: “I’d only just moved into my apartment, so I was video chatting with my friend to show her around and I was just talking about general things. It was nothing out of the ordinary. 

“We were using an app called Marco Polo, which is like a video walkie talkie. You can hit the start button to record, and others can watch you in real time like a regular video call. You can then replay it. 

“But all of a sudden, her face got really serious and she asked if someone was in the house with me.

“I live alone but I instantly looked around because it was so weird the way she said it and it really frightened me. 

“I told her I was home alone. She looked pretty shocked and told me to watch my video again to see what I thought. She said it was like someone was following me around the house. 

“So I watched it, and my heart jumped into my throat. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. 

“It was so scary. It sent chills down my spine, and just shocked me so much. 

“I’ve had lots of paranormal experiences in my life, but nothing quite like this.

“I’ve only cried twice in my entire life from things that I’ve seen, but this did make me cry.”

Lori said she was so frightened by what she saw that she decided to stay at her daughter’s house for the night – and the next day had the house ‘cleaned and blessed’ by a spiritual friend.  

The mum added her new house, which was built in 1935, is located in the oldest part of town and is situated right next to both a hospital from the early 1800s and a nursing home. 

Lori believes the figure to be the ghost of a ‘prankster’ teenage boy – but is also open to the idea of it being an alien. 

And despite the horrifying ordeal, the mum is determined to stay in her new home.

She said: “I showed the video to people at my work and they actually screamed. That scared me, to see their reactions. 

“I believe it was the spirit of a teenage boy, maybe 13 or 14 years old. 

“But many people have said they think it’s an alien. I definitely believe in aliens, so it’s certainly a possibility. 

“People have told me to move out, but you can’t run from these types of things.”

Jewellery maker Shana, 46, was on the video chat with her best friend Lori at the time and said she ‘couldn’t believe her eyes’ when the figure appeared. 

She added: “I seriously thought someone was walking behind her, like a human child. 

“I watched this all happen in real time on the app. I saw this thing peek around the corner at me as if to see if we were still talking. 

“I’ve watched this video probably 1000 times and it still creeps me out. I kind of felt like it wanted to be seen, almost playful.  

“I believe it was the spirit of someone who has passed and wants to be acknowledged. 

“It was very startling to see. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Source: New Idea

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Why Some Scientists Worried About Interest in Aliens and the “Face” on Mars

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1976 was a historic year for Americans. A contentious U.S. election was underway between incumbent Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, his Democratic challenger. It was also the year of the bicentennial, as the United States celebrated two centuries since its founding. And like NASA had done less than a decade before by putting men on the moon, in September of that year the space agency would seek to make history again, as the Viking 2 mission went speeding toward the Red Planet in an attempt to place an unmanned lander on Martian soil.

In the humid summer months preceding the successful Viking 2 mission, its predecessor, Viking 1, had already been in orbit around Mars, sending back a constant stream of photographs which NASA scientists planned to use to help them locate a suitable landing site for Viking 2. On July 25th, the usual batch of images were being received and processed, when a peculiar geological feature of the planet began to reveal itself.

One of the photos depicted a sloping prominence, befitted with a number of depressions and rock formations that, casting hard shadows and observed under the sharp contrast of Viking 1’s photography, bore an obvious likeness to a human face.

Some thought little of it, chalking the ghostly visage staring back at the orbiting Viking 1’s cameras as being merely an instance of pareidolia—the natural tendency of the human eye to assemble familiar shapes and images from random features in nature.

Most who observed the area depicted in the photograph probably thought this, in fact. Although it is hard to imagine that there weren’t some, at least—or perhaps even several—who hadn’t cautiously entertained the other possibility: what if there had been a civilization on Mars at one time? And if so, what if this gloomy face befitted upon an odd, polygonal mountain in the Cydonia region, might actually be some remnant of that civilization?

It wasn’t long before NASA determined that the “face” on Mars was, in fact, a natural formation. In their own words, upon releasing the image publicly just days later, the space agency described a “huge rock formation in the center… which resembled a human head.”

The famous photograph from Viking 2 in 1976, which spurred debate over a “Face on Mars” (Credit: NASA).

The image was, of course, enough to get people talking, whether or not they believed NASA’s determination about the photograph. Many found it impossible to believe that the likeness of the curious features in the photograph to a human face could be pure coincidence. The hope for discovery of life on Mars had already been a source of great anticipation: now an eager public was nearly sold on the idea, but instead of microbes, hoped that within the coming months there would be irrefutable evidence of life on the planet in the form of archaeological traces of a civilization that once lived there.

Interestingly, some scientists were concerned about the emphasis being placed on the search for life on Mars. “There is also a fear that if too much emphasis is placed on the possibility of life and none is then found, as still seems likely, the public will consider the mission a futile failure,” a New York Times article reported on July 22, 1976, just three days before the photos of Cydonia returned to Earth depicting what many believed to be a face.

However, if the famous “face on Mars” had indeed been such, it would raise a number of hard questions. Chief among them is: how could a feature like this—if artificial, as many claimed—have lasted for the untold amounts of time that passed before Viking 1 arrived… especially considering how much it appears to have weathered in the few decades since that time?

While the 1976 photographs remain the most famous ones of the region depicting an alleged face, NASA has released numerous additional photos of the location over the years, captured during ensuing missions (which is interesting in itself, since it shows that there was at least a modicum of interest in the unusual collection of features). However, as we can see in the photos below, NASA’s infamous face didn’t appear to age very well:

By 1996, the “face” looked a lot more like a pile of rocks (Credit: NASA).

Arguably, the more perplexing element to the region where the Martian “face” appears is not the rocky places that form what many liken to eyes, a nose, and a mouth, but the odd, almost geometric shape of the outcrop itself. According to Space.com, “The rocky outcropping that creates the illusion is approximately a mile across and bears a resemblance to buttes or mesas from the American West. It likely formed from a combination of landslides and collected debris.”

Additionally, the differences between the 1976 and 1998 photos are actually greater than those between the first photos, and some of the most recent, in which the face-like details appear to have returned, although only slightly: 

 

Perhaps what is most fascinating about all of this is people’s desire to look for unusual things on barren, alien worlds. Rather than aliens, or simply a desire to believe in them, people’s interpretations of Martian “anomalies” seems to say an awful lot about us.

I’m reminded of a story my grandmother told me once as a child. Often at night, she and her siblings would become very frightened by the sound of loud crashes that came from the back of their family home. Occurring only at night, they would emanate from the back of the home, the portion facing the forest at the edge of their property. Naturally, they began to believe that an animal—or perhaps something else—had been appearing and pounding on the house at night. Several years later, she laughed about how she finally learned that the thick slabs of pine in the walls would creak and pop as they cooled at night, no monsters necessary.

In much the same way that some people interpret random, natural events as evidence of “supernatural” happenings, people seem to both enjoy, and at times even display a need to look for structured things in environments where none should exist. In years since, similar “anomalies” have continued to appear on Mars, which range from odd structures and other alleged “manmade” features, to sightings of Bigfoot.

So let’s face it: that famous “face on Mars” was never really a face at all. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t other “faces” that have been spotted on the Red Planet… 

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Crashed Israeli Lunar lander Likely Left Thousands of Tardigrades on the Moon

When Israeli lunar lander Beresheet crash-landed onto the Moon in April, watched live by millions across the world, the spacecraft left a rather serious dent in the lunar surface.

According to a report published Monday by American magazine Wired, however, Beresheet may have left more on the Moon than previously thought. The SpaceIL spacecraft was apparently carrying thousands of microscopic tardigrades, also known as “little water bears,” which are among the most resilient animals known to man.

The tardigrades, only 0.5mm in length when fully grown, joined the lunar-destined journey as part of an initiative led by the Arch Mission Foundation, founded by Nova Spivack.

Aiming to maintain a backup of planet Earth around the Solar System, Beresheet carried the foundation’s lunar library – a tiny 30-million page archive of human history and civilization, human DNA samples and a few thousand dehydrated tardigrades.

Based on the foundation’s analysis of the spacecraft’s trajectory and the composition of their lunar library, Spivack told Wired that he was quite confident that their payload mostly or entirely survived the impact.

Engineers lost contact with the spacecraft only minutes before it was due to complete the historic lunar landing on April 11, making a high-velocity crash-landing inevitable. Reaching the moon was a feat previously completed only by the United States, Russia (then the USSR) and China, backed by giant sums far exceeding Beresheet’s modest NIS 350 million ($99m.) budget.

“For the first 24 hours, we were just in shock,” Spivack said. “We sort of expected that it would be successful. We knew there were risks but we didn’t think the risks were that significant.”

Known for their resilience, a 2007 European Space Agency experiment showed that tardigrades are able to survive space exposure. Some 3,000 organisms joined a 12-day journey into space on-board the agency’s Foton-M3 mission, and survived conditions that would kill humans in minutes.

If the dehydrated tardigrades survived the landing, Spivack added, they could hypothetically be revived in years to come by future human astronauts upon their return to Earth. Research has previously shown that dehydrated micro-animals can be revived decades later.

While SpaceIL and its lead donor, Morris Kahn, quickly stated their ambition following the Beresheet crash to launch a second spacecraft to the Moon within two years, the organization announced in June that reattempting the same mission would not present a sufficiently great challenge.

If some lunar enthusiasts might have been disappointed by the announcement, SpaceIL co-founder Kfir Damari told The Jerusalem Post in July that the decision is about broadening their horizons even further.

“It’s possible that we will return to the Moon, but we won’t give a green light to the same project with the same design,” Damari said.

“We decided that we want to look for different options – maybe to go to the Moon and come back or to take something special with us. We’re also thinking about other places, including the ability to go beyond the Moon.”

It remains to be seen whether SpaceIL’s next mission will include taking even more tardigrades to the Moon, or perhaps even beyond.

Eytan Halon
Jerusalem Post

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