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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Patterns in Ufology

A few months back I picked up a (legitimate) copy of John Keel’s classic Operation Trojan Horse, this was made possible by the fine folks over at Anomalist Books who had recently reprinted the book. Prior to this the only copies of the book one could find online had been going for around 80 USD, which is a bit more than I want to pay for a non-textbook book.  But thankfully the newly printed addition is much more reasonable in price and so I highly recommend you purchase and read it if you haven’t before. In the work, Keel begins to layout his “Ultraterrestrial” Inter-dimensional theory of the UFO phenomena that I’ve discussed many times in the past on this blog. 

Additionally, as I rediscovered, Keel talks about an interesting pattern that he began to notice that the UFO enigma displayed. He entitled this the “Wednesday phenomenon” because of the reports that he looked into, the overwhelming majority of the sightings and interactions with the UFOnauts took place on Wednesday nights. Looking at other countries data, Keel found that this same “Wednesday” thing held true. Naturally, he wasn’t stating that all UFO sightings occur on Wednesdays but rather

“This does not mean that flying saucers are out in force every Wednesday night. But when there is a large flap, it nearly always takes place on a Wednesday.” pg 12 Operation Trojan Horse

The years with which Keel looked for this pattern, were unfortunately limited. Naturally I wondered if perhaps anyone else had looked into the “Wednesday” phenomenon more recently, and if so, what had they discovered? Thankfully on Twitter I was pointed over to the UFO DNA blog where the author had taken a second look at Keel’s theory. What he found was pretty interesting.

“The Wednesday Mystery ... Updated

John Keel noted that a disproportionate number of UFO sightings occurred on Wednesday evening. This was true when he was studying them in the 1960's, but was not true over the long term. Remarkably, the peak day for UFO sightings has migrated over the decades, an average of one day per week per decade until the 1990's. Thereafter it moved to Sunday in the 1990's, then firmly to Saturday in the 2000's and the 2010's”

I don’t wish to steal the bloggers thunder, he did a lot of work and there are some really cool graphics at the site so I definitely recommend that you check it out. Discussing the “Wednesday” phenomenon on Facebook, led to a friend pointing out the fact that Jacques F Vallee also did quite a bit of analysis on the UFO phenomenon, specifically looking for patterns. Vallee, who is a computer scientist by training, has been discussed a number of times by me here at Forteania.  

Vallee and a Dr. Claude Poher, eventually published  a paper entitled “Basic Patterns in UFO Observations”, which you can access as a PDF from Vallee’s website. Not to belabor that point too much, they came to a 4 point conclusion that I will list here about the phenomena:

(1) a significant proportion of the thousands of UFO reports analyzed by the authors come from witnesses who have really observed an object in the sky or at ground level; (2) the objects these witnesses have seen have characteristics very different from all identifiable objects and phenomena; (3) the phenomenon is of high scientific interest; and (4) a systematic research approach can be defined.

Jacques Vallee
The conclusions reached by Vallee and Poher seem to have not made much of a difference in regards to Ufology as a whole, or for the general public for that matter who largely don’t give a damn about this stuff one way or another. This idea isn’t unique to me of course; recently Tim Binnall of Binnall of America interviewed Historian/Author Aaron Gulyas about his most recent book, The Chaos Conundrum, when the idea of doing a statistical analysis of the UFO was brought up. 

Binnall and Gulyas both agreed that somewhere within all of those stats may lie some kind of clue as to what the UFO phenomena may be. I would tend to agree for the most part, although I wonder if perhaps we should be looking at the phenomena from a slightly different perspective. Knowing that Keel did his own kind of “stats” research and Vallee later did an arguably much more scientific analysis of the available UFO data, looking at the same side of the data might not prove very useful.

Instead, as Greg Bishop has said a number of times on his podcast Radio Misterioso, we should be looking at the people who have these experiences themselves. I’m not interested in what color the UFO was or what size it was. Rather, I wish to know if the person had recently had some kind of trauma in their life? Had they been experiencing any kind of depression or new stress? Maybe the key lies with the experiencer rather than with what it was they experienced?

Who knows? It’s unlikely that we may ever really discover the answer to any of this stuff, but at the very least we shouldn’t necessarily retread old ground. I say we keep trying new and different things. But what do I know? I’m just a guy with a blog.

That’s all for now dear readers. Until next, stay classy internet!


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