Connect with us

Mysteries

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 122

It was New Year’s Day, 1979, when the world woke to the news that strange lights had been spotted by six people on a plane off the New Zealand’s South Island.

Was it a UFO? No, said the sceptics. It was Venus, it was squid boats, it was radar returns from a field of cabbages.

But 40 years later, the two pilots and four passengers are adamant it was none of the above and are frustrated at being unable to find answers.

New Zealand’s The Herald on Sunday tracked down each member of the group around the world. One is a mango farmer in Hawaii, while another is an 80-year-old newlywed after her royal wedding-themed ceremony at her retirement village the night before Meghan and Harry’s big day.

The case bought instant fame — but no fortune — for some, before bringing shame and anger when they were accused of hoaxing the sighting. It broke up a marriage.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 123

Guido Valentich holds a photograph of his son Frederick, a pilot who went missing while on a flight to King Island in a Cessna in October 1978. Picture: Popperfoto/Getty Source:Getty Images

At the end of 1978, Australasia was in the grip of UFO fever. In October, 20-year-old Frederick Valentich disappeared while piloting a small Cessna 182 aircraft over Bass Strait while heading to King Island in Tasmania. Described as a “flying saucer enthusiast”, Valentich informed Melbourne air traffic control he was being accompanied by an unknown aircraft.Two months later across the Tasman, on December 21, Safe Air pilots Vern Powell and Ian Pirie spotted strange lights while flying from Blenheim to Christchurch.

A producer for Melbourne’s Channel 0 (now Channel 10), Leonard Lee heard the news and tracked down reporter Quentin Fogarty, who worked for the channel but was on holiday with his wife and children in Christchurch, staying at TV Onejournalist Dennis Grant’s home.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 124

Quentin Fogarty presenting the news in 1979 after the sighting. Picture: File Source:NZ Herald

Freelance Wellington cameraman David Crockett was also hired, along with his wife Ngaire, who operated the audiotape recorder.

The group were invited to jump aboard Safe Air’s Blenheim-based Argosy plane, named Merchant Enterprise, late on December 30, which pilots Bill Startup and Bob Guard were taking on a newspaper run between Wellington and Christchurch.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilots noticed strange lights appearing and disappearing over the Kaikōura coastline about 30 kilometres west.

“While we were filming a stand-up to camera, Captain Bill Startup shouted to us that we should go to the flight deck immediately as something was happening again,” says David Crockett.

He managed to film a rapidly moving, bright white light.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 125

Bob Guard, left, and Bill Startup in 1979. Picture: Paul Davidson Source:NZ Herald

“With the conversation coming through my headphones from the pilots and radar from Wellington, it all started to get very scary,” says Ngaire Crockett.

“I was able to stand up a couple of times and was able to see these bright light coming and going. [Quentin] was a real mess and grabbed hold of both my hands and started shaking. I didn’t have time to worry about myself, I had to help him.”

The plane landed at Christchurch to unload newspapers and the pilots asked the news team if they wanted to go back through the area they had traversed. Ngaire was too frightened so stayed in Christchurch. The others reboarded the plane with Dennis Grant in Ngaire’s place.

“David had used up all the film in his 16mm camera,” Grant says.

“Quentin called me sometime after midnight from Christchurch Airport to see if I could provide a fresh roll of film. I could — but there was a catch — I wanted to get on the plane for the flight to Blenheim.”

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 126

The “UFO”, captured by cameraman David Crockett in New Zealand.Source:News Corp Australia

The plane took off at 2.16am. About three minutes after takeoff, the group saw a bright, round light to the right. The aeroplane radar showed a target in the same direction about 18 nautical miles.

Fogarty would later be heard saying on camera: “Let’s hope they’re friendly.”

Crockett filmed the light for several minutes as it appeared to travel along with the plane.

When they turned toward it, the light seemed to react by moving away from the aeroplane.

“The experience itself was extraordinary,” Fogarty says.

“Just being on the cramped, noisy flight deck of the Argosy barrelling down the coast in the dead of the night was exciting. Factor in a row of pulsating, hypnotic lights hovering outside the window, and it goes to another level.”

After landing at Woodbourne Airport at about 3am, the group stayed at the two pilots homes in Blenheim.

Startup’s daughter Tracy Moore remembers her father coming home in the middle of the night.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 127

A copy of the New Zealand Herald from January 3, 1979.Source:NZ Herald

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 128

This was the copy of the Herald on January 4, 1979. Source:NZ Herald

“Everyone was at our house talking about it in the middle of the night. They were talking about lights, unexplained radar.

“At one point, I remember dad saying it might be a good idea to report it to the police. It was during the Cold War, there was a bit of paranoia around. Mum said: ‘You can’t sit on this information’.

“It was scary at the time. It was a big unknown thing that had happened and we had all the adults around discussing it. There were certainly no jokes being made.”

Fogarty interviewed the pilots before flying to Melbourne to give the recordings to Channel 0. The footage featured on prime time news that night and a longer documentary piece screened later.

The news went around the world and was featured by major news media, including by the Herald and by CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 129

Bruce Maccabee, pictured in 1979, examined footage of the supposed UFO. Source:NZ Herald

The sceptical reaction was immediate. Explanations included that it was Venus, drug runners, light reflected from cabbages or squid boats.

The Robert Muldoon Government ordered an inquiry by the Air Force, which concluded that the sightings could be explained by natural but unusual phenomena.

Leonard Lee travelled to the US to give the film to Bruce Maccabee, an optical physicist who specialised in laser technology and worked for the US Navy in Maryland, Virginia. He was also flown to New Zealand and Melbourne to interview witnesses.

He concluded the event involved unknown objects or phenomena fitting the definition of UFOs.

“One would think that the conclusion that several of the sightings involved unidentified objects flying with impunity in the New Zealand air space would have been sufficient to start an even deeper study of the UFOs,” Maccabee says.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 130

Maccabee pictured recently. Source:NZ Herald

“But it wasn’t. The sightings were relegated to the dustbin of history, forgotten by all except the witnesses and a few ufologists who discussed the various sighting events for years afterward.”

He says that 39 years after the Kaikōura footage emerged, in December 2017, major media carried reports of UFO sightings by US Navy personnel during training exercises.

He says they involved multiple witnesses and multiple sources of information such as battleship radar at sea level, radar in the Navy jet aeroplanes, visible and infra-red video cameras in the aeroplanes.

But the incident appears to have been forgotten.

“History appears to be repeating itself.”

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

The Herald on Sunday caught up with the pilots and passengers.

Journalist Quentin Fogarty, 72

After his world scoop, Dunedin-born Quentin Fogarty suffered from “nervous exhaustion” and ended up in hospital for a couple of weeks.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 131

Quentin Fogarty. Picture: Paul Davidson Source:NZ Herald

“The level of initial scepticism both surprised and, at times, overwhelmed me. I certainly did not expect to be accused of hoaxing the whole thing. That cut deep, it still does.

“The local daily tabloid in Melbourne branded me as the ‘UFO Reporter’, and that stuck for a short time, but it did not take long for me to be back in my role as a TV journalist reporting on more mundane matters.”

Fogarty, a father of four who still lives in Melbourne, says he endeavoured to report the story as accurately and as impartially as he could.

“We had film, our own eyewitness accounts and confirmation from the flight crew and air traffic controllers that we had stumbled into something astonishing.

Fogarty, who started his career at Dunedin’s Evening Star wrote a book about the experience in 1982, Let’s Hope They’re Friendly, and remains convinced that enhanced computer analysis of the film might get closer to finding answers.

“Forty years down the track, this is still unfinished business.”

Pilot Bill Startup, 85

Startup now lives in a rest home in Blenheim. He had a stroke a three years after the incident and had to retire from flying.

He wrote a book the following year, The Kaikōura UFOs, his daughter says, to clear up the misinformation doing the rounds. The same year, Startup then took his wife Shirley and children to visit Bruce Maccabee in the US.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 132

Bill Startup in 1978. Source:NZ Herald

Shirley, who died in 2012, was interviewed in 2008 and said a psychiatrist had thought the men had lost their faith in God and were seeing angels.

Startup, who was not well enough to be interviewed by the Herald on Sunday, told a documentary in 2009: “What it was all those years ago … I wish I knew. People can think what they want but they were not in the aircraft.”

Startup did not dwell on the experience, Moore says.

“Over the years there has been periodic interest, so he was being visited every one to two years from reporters all over. But he didn’t bring it up.”

She didn’t get the impression he truly believed it was UFO.

“He’d seen something that he did not know what it was, and his colleagues couldn’t come up with an explanation. He had no thoughts that he ever communicated to us.”

Co-pilot Bob Guard, 73

Guard has never said too much about the strange lights.

“One of the issues for me is we were just doing our job. We suddenly had to justify ourselves. We didn’t know what the hell it was.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 133

Bob Guard in 1978. Source:NZ Herald

Bob Guard recounting his experience in Paul Davidson's documentary The Kaikoura UFOs. Picture: Paul Davidson

Bob Guard recounting his experience in Paul Davidson’s documentary The Kaikoura UFOs. Picture: Paul Davidson Source:NZ Herald

“We didn’t expect to see anything. It was a bit tense as it got closer to the aircraft.”

“I got over it. Have I ever seen anything like that again? No I haven’t. Do I believe in UFOs? No I don’t. Pilots see a lot of unidentified flying things.

“Would I tell anyone if I saw anything like that again? No I wouldn’t. It’s not worth the hassle.”

Research followed the sightings but he says “some were a sham — they used newspaper articles for their research”.

Guard stopped working for Safe Air in 1990 and went on to work at Air Nelson. He was the flight operations manager when he retired, aged 65, in 2010.

His children and grandchildren were aware of the story but it is not “something that has taken over their lives”.

Sound recorder Ngaire Crockett, 80

The Crocketts, who had five children, separated soon after the incident.

Ngaire is now Ngaire Gilmore after her new marriage to husband Ray Gilmore.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 134

Ngaire Crocket in the 1970s. Source:NZ Herald

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 135

Ngaire Gilmore at her home in Palmerston North. Picture: Alexander Robertson Source:NZ Herald

The pair, who met during a blind date eight years ago, married in a surprise ceremony at the Julia Wallace Retirement Village in Palmerston North the day before Meghan and Harry’s nuptials this year.

Residents dressed up in royal wedding theme for happy hour but didn’t know they were attending a real wedding.

“Has this film changed my life?” asks Gilmore.

“I guess it did. We had phone call after phone call and people knocking on our door. David and the reporter became so obsessed that the doco was all they talked about. I switched off as we had five children and it was effecting all our lives.”

Cameraman David Crockett, 85

David Crockett dealt with health a handful of effects after filming the strange objects.

“To this very day, the incident has never left my mind. I am also reminded of the event by people who come up to me and say, ‘I saw you the other night on the Discovery or Science Channel’.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 136

David Crockett in 1978. Source:NZ Herald

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 137

David Crockett. Picture: SuppliedSource:NZ Herald“The effect this historic sighting has had on all of us has certainly included a fair amount of stress. As for me, I was sleepless for several nights, and after having performed several overseas lectures on this sighting, became quite depressed.

Crockett, who now lives in Hawaii where he worked as a mango farmer, made a documentary about the incident, and gave lectures, which took him around the world. He is hoping to make a new documentary to mark the 40-year anniversary.

“It substantially changed my life. At that time in the history of the UFO phenomena, sceptics thought we were crazy, and criticised us in many ways. In 1978, most persons would not seriously consider that these were real object and may even originate from other planets.”

TV journalist Dennis Grant, 66

Over the years Grant has amassed a massive collection of a newspaper and magazine stories. He’s scoured official records in Australia and New Zealand and lodged official information applications for long-forgotten files.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 138

Dennis Grant. Source:NZ Herald

“The results are overwhelmingly unhelpful in explaining the lights and what they were doing in the lonely summer skies of New Zealand. Forty years on I’m still very curious.

“My grandkids love to hear the story of my brush with UFOs, I just wish I could provide an ending.”

Grant was working at TV One (now TVNZ 1) in Christchurch in 1978 and now lives in Australia.

“I was a young journalist back then, fired with the zeal of telling stories untold, and I helped tell this story. But the rest of the world, the scientists, the officials, the military and — saddest of all for me — the media, were all consumed with indifference. Incurious.”

So does he believe in UFOs?

“I am entirely sceptical of the notion of little green men, Martian anal probes and all the rest of it. I note that the number of UFO sightings has greatly diminished since video and digital cameras and phone cameras have became readily available. However, what we saw that night over Kaikōura was unidentified and still is.”

The Argosy

The decommissioned Argosy now sits on land near the Marlborough Airport owned by Blenheim filmmaker Paul Davidson.

He purchased the aircraft in 1991 after hearing it was to be scrapped, telling the Safe Air general manager he would pay what he would have got from the scrap dealer.

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 139

Paul Davidson, of Blenheim, with his Argosy aircraft. Picture: Tim Cuff Source:NZ Herald

The aircraft had special meaning to him — in 2009, Davidson made a documentary, featuring interviews with the pilots and crew from 1978.

Davidson, whose home is on land adjacent to the aircraft, has restored and refurbished the aircraft and runs flight simulation experiences, complete with in-flight movies telling the story of Safe Air — and meals.

Passengers can dine at the Argosy Cafe, next to the plane, which acts as a terminal where they can collect their boarding passes and go to their gate for the experience. There is also memorabilia on display.

“We put it back together and tidied it up. It’s unique to Marlborough.”

How the 40-year-old mystery of a UFO in New Zealand lives on 140

Paul Davidson, of Blenheim, with his Argosy aircraft. Picture: Tim Cuff Source:NZ Herald

From Thursday, to coincide with the first strange sighting, Davidson will be running a UFO-themed experience.

His documentary will be screened, lights will be dimmed on-board and a “spooky atmosphere” created.

“People can sit in actual seat Captain Startup sat in.

“It’s the only place in the world where you can do that.”

So, does Davidson believe in UFOs?

“I believe in the possibility of them.

“I got to know both pilots with my documentary. They got sick of people saying ‘It was probably the lights of cars, or lights of squid boats’. These were professional pilots. ‘We know what Venus looks like, this was not Venus’.

“Everyone on board has said the event had a traumatic effect on their lives.”

• The accounts were pulled together with the help of Bruce Maccabee.

Source www.news.com.au

Mysteries

“Submerged UFO’s” – mysterious and not fully explained phenomena in the oceans

"Submerged UFO's" - mysterious and not fully explained phenomena in the oceans 153

When asked who lives on the ocean floor, people answer differently. Kids and some adults will say: SpongeBob SquarePants. Lovecraft fans will mutter something like “Cthulhu fhtagn” with a twinkle in their eyes. Divers and oceanologists will look thoughtfully at the questioner and, if they are lucky, will tell a lot of interesting things about Quakers, “bio-duck”, “bloop” and even Poseidon -anomalous phenomena of the underwater world.

Submarine project 212 at periscope depth
Submarine project 212 (Type 212 submarine at home, in Germany, as well as Todaro class in Italy) at periscope depth / © Ministero della Difesa

The depths of the sea have always been a mysterious and frightening environment for humans. Perhaps there are no more impressive and persistent legends than those associated with various places in the oceans. Take the notorious Bermuda Triangle or the “Flying Dutchmen” – at first glance, serviceable ships that were abandoned by the crew. Many of them received a reasonable explanation, and some still remain mysteries, even if supported by a lot of evidence.

By analogy with UFOs, or, as they are now officially called “unidentified aerial phenomena”, marine anomalies are often called USOs – unidentified submerged objects. These phenomena can be divided into two classes based on the way they are detected: visual and acoustic. It is logical to note that most of the observations of sound anomalies occur in the second half of the 20th century, when submarines and methods of tracking them became widespread. Whereas descriptions of the first class of USOs have been found since ancient times. Let’s start with them.

Buddha wheels and devilish carousels

The ability of many marine life to produce bioluminescence has long been known. Some species of plankton emit light enough to be seen by the human eye. Most cases of observation of any glow on or directly below the surface of the water are associated with this phenomenon. Well this is from the point of view of science. And if we turn to bikes, stories about mysterious circles on the water are popular. Let’s note right away: despite the prevalence of these stories, not a single documentary evidence of such phenomena exists.

They are called “wheels of Buddha” or “devilish carousels”. There is a version that the first name was given to the luminous circles on the water by Eastern navigators, and the second – by European ones. Moreover, the Chinese considered the meeting with these phenomena a favorable sign, while the Christians took them for a bad omen. It is difficult to find authoritative confirmation of these stories, except for the transmission on Channel One, so let’s move on to the next point.

Krakens and Submarine Sharks

By the 1970s, sane people were convinced that horror stories about giant sea monsters were nothing more than the fruit of the inflamed fantasy of sailors of the past. What could they only think of after six months of eating corned beef, which they have to wash down with water that has bloomed in barrels? But no, sometimes the legends turn out to be true.

Four years before the incident with the damage to the bulb, Stein safely patrols the coast of Hawaii / © US Navy National Archives
Four years before the incident with the damage to the bulb, Stein safely patrols the coast of Hawaii / © US Navy National Archives

In the spring of 1978, the USS Stein DE-1065, the USS Stein DE-1065, was attacked by a giant squid while patrolling the Pacific coast of South America. The target of a deep-sea giant that unexpectedly approached the surface was the protective casing of the nasal sonar. The alarm was sounded by acoustics, whose work was unceremoniously interrupted by a strong abnormal noise. Inspection of the bulb at the forward end of the ship’s keel, where the instrument was located, puzzled the sailors.

The first ever filming of a giant squid in its natural habitat.  Taken from aboard a deep-sea vehicle.  These creatures live at great depths and if they float to the surface - either dead or for a very short time / © Discovery Channel, screenshot from video
The first ever filming of a giant squid in its natural habitat. Taken from aboard a deep-sea vehicle. These creatures live at great depths and if they float to the surface – either dead or for a very short time / © Discovery Channel, screenshot from video

Almost 10% of the rubber-like coating was badly damaged. In cuts and scratches, they found pieces of chitin, similar in composition to the tissues of squid suckers. The problem was that, judging by the size of these suckers, the length of the mollusk should have reached, according to some estimates, 45 meters. That is, almost three times more than the theoretically calculated maximum length of the giant deep-sea squid. History is silent as to whether anyone’s hearing was hurt by hitting a sensitive underwater sound receiver.

But this incident is not the only example of an attack by marine fauna on the US Navy. Around the same years, American submarines acquired active sonar stations AN / BQR-19 from Raytheon : expensive and complex equipment, the outer elements of which were covered with neoprene. It suddenly turned out that on this material, almost in every trip, round holes with a depth of one or two millimeters began to appear.

Submarine USS Ohio, the first in its class of submarines.  The seemingly monolithic bow part of the hull is a huge casing of the AN / BQR-19 sonar.  Much of it is made of soft materials like neoprene and special rubber / © US Navy photo by Wendy Hallmark
Submarine USS Ohio, the first in its class of submarines. The seemingly monolithic bow part of the hull is a huge casing of the AN / BQR-19 sonar. Much of it is made of soft materials like neoprene and special rubber / © US Navy photo by Wendy Hallmark

Open sources do not indicate what worried the military most of all: damage to the appearance or some kind of malfunction caused by these caverns. According to some reports, the deepest “wounds” led to leaks of special sound-conducting oil, which literally “blinded” the submarine. In any case, the problem was closely studied by both the command of the fleet and the manufacturer of hydroacoustic stations.

The engineers argued that no animal could leave such damage. The military reached the point where they began to suspect the secret development of Soviet “colleagues”: they say, the communists have come up with a new weapon against nuclear submarines (nuclear submarines). The naval biologists solved the riddle. They remembered that in tropical waters you can find an extremely unpleasant fish: the Brazilian glowing shark. For the specific structure of her jaws in English, they came up with a telling name – cookiecutter shark (the first word means a device that cuts the dough for cookies in even circles).

This rather disgusting-looking creature has a length of about half a meter, hunts in packs and attacks anything that it considers to be food. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a whale or a submarine. With their incredibly sharp teeth, Brazilian glowing sharks pull a large piece of flesh from their prey and swim back to a depth of more than three kilometers. Their belly also emits a pale green light. After the neoprene parts of the nuclear submarine were covered with fiberglass, which fish cannot bite through, the damage to the equipment came to naught.

This female elephant seal was unlucky enough to be attacked by a Brazilian glowing shark.  The bites of this fish rarely lead to the death of marine life, but they give them a lot of torment / © Jerry Kirkhart |  Wikimedia
This female elephant seal was unlucky enough to be attacked by a Brazilian glowing shark. The bites of this fish rarely lead to the death of marine life, but they give them a lot of torment / © Jerry Kirkhart | Wikimedia

Fun fact – ten years later, history repeated itself. Apparently, the Navy forgot about the curious incident with sharks and did not cover the new rubberized outer parts of the submarines with solid materials. Nature was not long in coming: the fish again inflicted considerable financial damage on the US Navy.

Cthulhu awakening?

The mention of Lovecraft in the first paragraph was no coincidence. The writer in his works indicated a fairly accurate location of the underwater city of R’lyeh. This is the abode of a gigantic monster – the Great Ancient Lord of the worlds, Cthulhu. Under normal conditions, he sleeps, but if he wakes up, he will destroy the entire human civilization. How does all this relate to reality? It seems to be nothing, but in 1997 an incredibly powerful infrasonic signal was recorded. He proceeded from approximately the same area of ​​the Pacific Ocean, where, according to Lovecraft’s description, Cthulhu is hiding.

© Andrée Wallin
© Andrée Wallin

The piquancy of the situation is added by the general character of the sound, which is very similar to the noises emitted by a living creature. However, if these “gurgles” (Bloop is the official name of this USO) were produced by an animal, it must be several times larger than a blue whale. Many theories have been put forward.

Spectrogram "Bulka" / © NOAA
Spectrogram “Bulka” / © NOAA

A combination of factors that enhance the natural infrasound, and the noise of a large concentration of marine life, and the grinding of ice on the ocean floor were assumed. In 2012, scientists agreed that the most likely cause of such a sound was a cracking especially large iceberg.

And other results of the work of SOSUS

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( the NOAA ) after the Cold War had access to a powerful tool – SOSUS. This acronym hides a sophisticated American submarine tracking and tracing system. After the collapse of the USSR, there was no need to conduct continuous monitoring of the now not Soviet, but Russian nuclear submarines.

Some SOSUS nodes were mothballed, and the secrecy was somewhat lowered. As a result, “civilian” scientists gained access to high-precision hydroacoustic instruments. And since the early 1990s, the number of sound anomalies found in the ocean has begun to grow. Among them – both with conditionally established reasons ( Bloop ), and still unexplained. By the way, by a strange coincidence, all unusual sounds that received an explanation were attributed to especially large icebergs.

Takeoff spectrogram / © NOAA
Takeoff spectrogram / © NOAA

But there are real mysteries too. For example “off» ( Upsweep ) and “whistle» ( Whistle ). The first anomaly was first recorded in August 1991 and has been observed every spring and fall ever since. The sound source is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and may be associated with volcanic activity. Or it may not be: it seems that it will not be possible to establish for sure – every year it is quieter. The “whistle”, in turn, was heard only once and with only one hydrophone one and a half thousand kilometers from the coast of Mexico. Its peculiarity is an unusual spectrogram and a high frequency for infrasound.

Quakers and bio-dips

If the reader gets the impression that only the Americans recorded “sea UFOs”, then they are mistaken. The Soviet sailors also had their own adventures associated with sound anomalies. The most documented “communist” USOs are called “Quakers”. In the mid-1970s, the crews of Russian nuclear powered submarines faced an alarming acoustic phenomenon. Most often it was found in the areas of NATO anti-submarine lines in the North Atlantic.

The acoustics of Soviet submarines recorded unusual sounds, similar to the croaking of frogs. The sources of these low-frequency vibrations almost always accompanied the submarine and moved at incredible speeds (up to 150 knots, according to some reports). The problem was that the active sonar did not show any metal or plastic objects in the place where the sound appeared. Either the Quakers were alive or too small to be found.

Soviet nuclear submarine of project 671 "Ruff" / © US Department of Defense
Soviet nuclear submarine of project 671 “Ruff” / © US Department of Defense

Until the late 1980s, attempts were made to establish the nature of these sounds. Assumptions were different. Someone suspected previously unknown phenomena occurring in a nuclear reactor: after all, diesel-electric submarines have not heard anything like that. According to another version, the sources of “croaking” could be special oscillatory processes at the boundary of water layers of different temperature and salinity.

For a long time of observations, sailors and scientists have sorted out all possible hypotheses – almost from attempts to contact an alien mind with humanity to an unknown weapon of capitalist aggressors. In the end, the USSR Academy of Sciences insisted that the sounds are of a biological nature: either they are some kind of whales, or unknown species of deep-sea molluscs, mistaking the submarine for prey. Or maybe even large concentrations of sea crustaceans sound like that.

The divers, in turn, argued that this was all nonsense and that the Quakers did not at all look like marine fauna. Mysterious objects tried to find bearing, plotted the places of their detection on the maps and compared the accumulated data of different crews after the campaigns. But no intelligible explanation has appeared.

Loading of sonar buoys into SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter.  Such devices can be dropped from almost any type of equipment - an airplane, helicopter, drone, ship or boat.  They transmit information about the surrounding acoustic situation on a single frequency and any combat unit equipped with a suitable receiver can receive this intelligence / © US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips
Loading of sonar buoys into SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter. Such devices can be dropped from almost any type of equipment – an airplane, helicopter, drone, ship or boat. They transmit information about the surrounding acoustic situation on a single frequency and any combat unit equipped with a suitable receiver can receive this intelligence / © US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips

There is the most realistic version, expressed by many skeptics. For croaking, Soviet sailors took the sounds of active buoys being dropped from anti-submarine aircraft. These hydroacoustic radios have water-filled batteries and are hypothetically capable of producing similar sounds. This theory explains why Quakers were most often observed in areas of active NATO patrols – and why they stopped hearing in the 1990s: after the collapse of the USSR, Russian nuclear submarines no longer needed to be monitored so closely. And the rapid movement of the source of the mysterious sound can be a simple effect of the sequential activation of several buoys in a row.

However, Soviet submariners were not the only ones who heard croaking in the depths of the sea. Similar sounds were recorded by sailors of the Royal Navy. True, they christened them differently – “bio-ducks” (the English onomatopoeia of quacking is similar to the Russian-speaking onomatopoeia of croaking). Moreover, the British submariners would not have succeeded in attributing the anomaly to someone’s anti-submarine equipment: the waters around Australia were of interest only to the British. The fact is that this southern continent served as the main nuclear test site for Her Majesty’s army, navy and air force.

Southern minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) shortly before diving.  Most likely, it is at this moment that the whale makes a sound called "bio-duck" / © Oceanwide Expeditions
Southern minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) shortly before diving. Most likely, it is at this moment that the whale makes a sound called “bio-duck” / © Oceanwide Expeditions

In such a distance, in the 1960s, to closely monitor the underwater situation, not only the USSR, but even the United States would not have enough resources. Then they assumed that the sounds were associated with some kind of marine life, and they calmed down. It took British scientists more than 50 years (kidding aside!) To establish the origin of these “bio-dips”. The initial guess turned out to be correct – whales made a mysterious croak-quack. The southern minke whale makes such a strange sound before deep diving, for an unknown reason.

The loneliest whale in the world

One of the most curious mysteries of the World Ocean is the so-called 52 hertz whale. Since the 1980s, specific singing at a frequency of 52 hertz has been recorded in various parts of the Pacific Ocean. Known species of large whales emit lower sounds: blue – 10-39 hertz, fin whales – 20 hertz. But, despite the anomalous frequency, these sounds are associated in structure with gigantic marine mammals.

By 1992, the unique “singing” was somewhat lower, but the rest of its characteristics remained almost unchanged. The sound source travels at a speed of 30 to 70 kilometers per day and migrates 708 to 11,062 kilometers per season. This behavior is typical of whales. On the basis of all these signs, biologists and oceanologists have suggested that hydrophones record a “voice” of either an unknown species, or a mutant, or a hybrid, or an individual with birth defects.

Migration map of a sound source identified as a "fifty-two hertz whale" / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Migration map of a sound source identified as a “fifty-two hertz whale” / 
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In any case, if this is a whale, then it has already been dubbed the loneliest in the world. The fact is that other individuals of his species are not able to understand singing at such a frequency. For them, the sounds emitted by the 52 Hz are just noise. There is also a more optimistic hypothesis, according to which this singing is one of the “whale dialects” inherent in a previously unknown population of a species.

Stationary objects

The term USO is understood as some mobile or temporary phenomena. But in the World Ocean there are a large number of stationary anomalous objects. If we discard the completely fantastic legends about Atlantis, the list of curious formations on the seabed will still remain impressive. The most notable ones are:

  • Terraced formations near the Ryukyu Islands, or “Yenagui Monument”, are stone structures lying at a shallow depth near the Japanese island of Yonaguni. The dominant point of view in the scientific community is that, despite the correct geometric shapes, it is simply a rare geological phenomenon. It does not prevent many pseudo-archeologists and lovers of everything mysterious to seek confirmation of the man-made origin of this object.
  • The megalith at the bottom of the Pantelleria Vecchia Bay in the Strait of Tunis is a piece of limestone (calcirudite) 12 meters long and weighing 15 tons. It has three neat round holes, at least one of which runs through the megalith. Presumably, this huge stone was processed by man in the Mesolithic (Stone Age), about 12-15 thousand years ago. Analysis of the megalith rock showed that its age is at least 40 thousand years, and the bottom sediments under it are dated no more than 10 thousand years.
  • “Cuban Underwater City” – regular geometric structures on the shelf of the western part of the island of Cuba. They were discovered using sonar in 2001, while exploring the seabed relief. Subsequent research with a remotely controlled underwater robot has raised more questions than answers. The camera image showed pyramidal and ring structures made of granite blocks. It is planned to study education better, but this requires funding.
Left - sonar data obtained from the study of the area of ​​the bottom, later called the "Cuban Underwater City".  On the right is a computer simulation based on them.  Most oceanographers are inclined to believe that these are just bizarre-looking natural formations / © Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews |  Badarcheology
Left – sonar data obtained from the study of the area of ​​the bottom, later called the “Cuban Underwater City”. On the right is a computer simulation based on them. Most oceanographers are inclined to believe that these are just bizarre-looking natural formations / © Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews | Badarcheology

Other riddles

The phrase that mankind has studied the depths of the sea worse than near space has long been sore. But there is some truth in this. The oceans are a very difficult environment for research, moreover, it has a colossal volume. It is not surprising that there are still many interesting discoveries to be made in it.

In this article, we have considered only those marine anomalies that have a more or less scientific explanation or mention in several independent authoritative sources. Of course, there are many other unexplained (yet) phenomena. For example, the mysterious “ping” ( Ping , onomatopoeia for sonar), which scares away the creatures in the Fury and Heckle. In 2016, the Canadian military initiated an in-depth study of this phenomenon, but so far without success.

Continue Reading

Mysteries

Ball lightning: Plasma fireballs coming from another dimension?

Ball lightning: Plasma fireballs coming from another dimension? 154

There are probably fewer people who have seen ball lightning than those who have met a ghost. And even fewer of those who, after meeting with this phenomenon, began to study it. Having become scientists, such lucky ones surprise us with their hypotheses.

Do fireballs come from another dimension?

Ball lightning and ghosts

The comparison with ghosts is no coincidence. According to the British Ghost Club, a research organization that researches the paranormal, the hallmark of most ghosts is their silent appearance and disappearance. The same can be said about ball lightning.

Ghosts are capable of taking any form, including creating some kind of spherical formations. In addition, it is also a bunch of electric charge. Is it not for this reason that there are more pictures of ball lightning (they can be counted on one hand) than pictures of supposedly ghosts? Hence the version appeared that ball lightning, like ghosts, is a consequence of hallucinations or a disturbed psyche.

Common hypotheses

If we collect exclusively scientific versions of the origin of ball lightning, then even their summary will make a decent volume. Scientists all over the world take this phenomenon seriously, but at the same time they can neither theoretically explain it, nor experimentally reproduce it in laboratory conditions, nor even reliably document it. 

Ball lightning: Plasma fireballs coming from another dimension? 155

The famous physicist Pyotr Kapitsa believed that ball lightning is a gas discharge moving along the lines of force of a standing electromagnetic wave between clouds and the earth. Another Russian scientist, Boris Smirnov, suggested that this is a plasma cellular structure that stores its energy supply.

At the moment, only a reminder on how to behave when meeting with an uninvited guest is effective, in particular, not to make sudden movements and try to minimize air fluctuations. Unpredictability of ball lightning behavior and violation of the above rules are fraught with death or severe injury.

Ball lightning – from another dimension

One summer afternoon in the early 1980s, an Italian teenager sat in his bedroom and watched an afternoon thunderstorm sweep across the Roman countryside. Suddenly, a ball of light, the size of a soccer ball, appeared in the corner of the room. No heat, no smell – the ball hovered about a meter in front of him and rose slightly above his head. 

The dark yellow impenetrable ball hovered for only a few seconds, then it disappeared as silently as it appeared. The teenager didn’t even have time to get scared.

What he saw interested Andrea Aiello so much that, having studied physics, he began to work within the walls of the German Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, where he develops his own theories about this phenomenon. The most likely explanation is that he witnessed ball lightning, a rare form of atmospheric electricity that can float smoothly above the ground inside or outside buildings and even pass through closed windows.

Some scientists believe that ball lightning is the result of a discharge of electrical energy during severe thunderstorms. Others think that this natural phenomenon could have been caused by the lightning strikes themselves. Some believe it is a jumbled mess of electromagnetic field lines wandering the Earth alone. The most bizarre is the next hypothesis that ball lightning is from another dimension.

Continue Reading

Mysteries

Ararat’s main secret: why Turkey forbids exploring the mountain

Ararat's main secret: why Turkey forbids exploring the mountain 156

According to the Holy Scriptures, it is known that Noah made an ark of solid gopher wood and built it like modern ships. The ark had three decks with bulkheads and interiors, and its hull was tarred outside and inside.

This rescue vessel had very specific dimensions: it was 300 cubits (about 135 meters) long, 50 cubits (about 25 meters) wide and 30 cubits (about 15 meters) high. Students at the British University of Leicester made calculations and found that approximately 70,000 animals could enter such a ship.

According to numerous legends, the ark “on the seventeenth day of the seventh month” moored “on the mountains of Ararat”, the peaks of which, appearing from the water, were found by a dove.

Now Ararat is called a huge mountain range, which reaches 130 kilometers in length. It is located on the border of Iran (Persia) and Armenia, but most of it with two snowy peaks lies within Turkey. The height of Ararat reaches 5,165 meters from sea level or 4,365 meters from the foot of the mountain to its top.

Mount Ararat can only be considered conditionally – in fact, it is an active volcano with two craters, which last erupted in the 19th century – then melt water penetrated into the crater of Big Ararat, which caused a thermal explosion.

Search history

The history of the search for the ark, thanks to which mankind was saved, excites the minds of people for the last two centuries. Until the beginning of the 19th century, local residents – Persians, Kurds and Armenians believed that it was impossible to climb the sacred mountain.

In 1828, according to the Turkmanchay peace treaty, Ararat passed from Persia to Russia, and the German Johann Parrot first ascended the summit. Over the course of a century, the ark on the mountain was seen three times – once it was reported by a shepherd, the second time by the Turks (1833), and the third time by the English climber James Bryce, who reported that he found wooden remains at an altitude of 4000 meters.

According to unverified data, in 1916 a Russian expedition ascended Ararat, which reported that the ark was found in the saddle between the peaks of Ararat according to photographs taken by pilot Vladimir Roskovitsky. Allegedly, in the same year, a certain American, Colonel Alexander Coor, also visited the site.

But the materials of the expedition disappeared during the revolutionary events, and in 1921 Ararat withdrew to Turkey, and its northern slopes became inaccessible to the Russians.

But the Turks prohibited access to Ararat and other researchers, moreover, they did it in the most unexpected way. During the Cold War, Ararat was closed to expeditions, but spy planes of the United States hovered over it every now and then, watching the border of the USSR.

The American Christian astronaut James Irving, who visited Ararat, devoted several years to the search for the ark, and according to rumors, in 1982 he found the remains of the ark, but the Turkish authorities prohibited further research. Irving took this as a sign from God that the search should be stopped.

Climber from Milan Angelo Palego, who visited the mountain 15 times, told the researcher from Yerevan Ashot Levonyan that in the summer of 1989 he found a ship at an altitude of 4000 meters, but when in 2000 he gathered an international expedition to examine the find, the Turks forbade the climb …

In 2003, they denied access to the mountain to Russian explorer Andrei Polyakov. What caused locked?

They do not want conflicts with the Kurds

The Turks themselves refer to the fact that warlike Kurds are operating on the slopes of Ararat, who kidnap tourists and demand a ransom for them. In the late 1920s, there was even the Ararat Kurdish Republic, which ceased to exist in 1930.

There are indeed Kurdish settlements at the foot of the mountain; they even organized the Noah’s Ark Museum there. The Kurds venerate the mountain as Sacred, and the Christian and Muslim Kurds have no doubt that somewhere on the slopes of the mountain lies an ark.

Kurds believe that this is their mountain, call Noah Nuh and consider themselves the successors of the Old Testament history.

Do not want to conflict with the Armenians

Perhaps the Turkish authorities understand that Ararat, as a recent “gift” of the Bolsheviks, belongs to them without impressive grounds. The volcano is still a symbol of Armenia, and the Turks even tried to dispute the fact of the image of the mountain on the coat of arms of the Armenian SSR, but they failed: the mountain is still on the coat of arms of the country.

Believe in prophecy

According to Islamic prophecies, the ark of the biblical Noah will be found just before the end of the world, and perhaps that is why the authorities of the Muslim country are in no hurry to give the green light to the search. Perhaps that is why it is almost impossible to get to the northern side of the volcano, on which the ark is supposedly located.

No matter what happens

Perhaps the Turks are tired of the attention to the mountain, which is located in the border zone, the entrance to which is only by passes. Perhaps they do not want to bear the costs of the rescue operations of climbers who have lost their way or caught in bad weather.

The kidnapping or disappearance of athletes from America, Europe or Russia in such an area could harm the country’s reputation.

One way or another, but in the XXI century Ararat is open only once a year, in August. Certified climbers can follow a single route on the southern side of the mountain, which is guarded by the Turkish military, but on which you will definitely not find an ark. Tourists have no other ways to get to the mountain.

Store it for the Americans

However, the well-known Russian researcher in search of the ark, says that the mountain is closed for European, Russian and Armenian scientists, but not for Americans. He is sure that Ararat will be examined by the Americans. Led by Professor Bright, they search at an altitude of 4,000 meters and above and drill the ice in search of Noah’s Ark.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending