Saturday, June 04, 2005

Tools of the trade - Hardware

What tools have been used by those interested in UFOs?

Taking hardware first, there are a variety of tools that have
been used.

I find it useful to think about the following category
separately, which reflect a wide range of different approaches
and interests.

(a) Tools for field investigations of past sightings,
(b) Tools for instrumented UFO sky searches,
(c) Tools for attempting communication with UFOs.

Whilst some tools may be used by some researchers in more than
one category (e.g. a flashlight), at the very least the most
obvious sources of discussion of such tools differ in each
category. For example:

(a) the first category is most commonly discussed in the field
investigation manuals produced by various authors and groups,

(b) the second category is most commonly discussed in relation
to SETV, Project Twinkle, Project Identification and Project

(c) the third category is most commonly discussed in relation to
Greer, CSETI etc.

A. Tools for field investigations of past sightings

In relation to the first category, relevant discussions in field
investigation manuals include the following:

(a) MUFON's manual - Raymond Fowler discusses The Field
Investigator's Kit in MUFON's Field Investigator's Manual -
4th Edition (1995) at pages 102 (in Chapter 4) of the MUFON
looseleaf edition. That chapter includes three lists of items,
without discussion of their uses. The relevant lists are of
Necessary Equipment (identification card, questionnaire forms,
investigator's manual, compass, camera, tape measure,
flashlight, string, knife, and other items), Desirable
Equipement (tape recorder, colour chart, elevation indicator,
arc indicator and other items), Optional equipment (Geiger
counter, video camera, rangefinder, and other items). The MUFON
manual also includes several chapters discussing the use of
various items of equipment in relation to specialised categories
of UFO reports (eg. Chapter 14, Radiation Survey of Landing
Cases by Thomas P Deuley).

(b) A longer (albeit somewhat biased) discussion of tools for
field investigations is given by David Coomer in his The UFO
Investigator's Guide (1999) at page 21-27 (in Chapter 1,
Equipment) of the Blandford softback edition. Page 21 advises
the preparation of a panic bag to allow rapid response to a
UFO report, noting in particular that, once the police or
military have sealed off the area, you are unlikely to be able
to gain access to carry out tests and analysis. Items included
(and discussed) in that chapter are:

(1) Notepad and pens
(2) Dicataphone/cassette recorder
(3) Torch
(4) Camera
(5) Video camera
(6) Tripod
(7) Binoculars/telescope
(8) Night vision scopes
(9) Watch
(10) Geiger counter/dosimeter
(11) Passive radar/UFO motion detectors
(12) Mobile telephone / CB handset
(13) Scanner
(14) ID Card
(15) Tape measure / pegs and string
(16) Sundries (with a list of items
including a pocket knife, soil testing kits, resealable plastic
bags etc)

(c) BUFORA includes some relevant material in its UFO
Investigation (1976), e.g. para 3.D(4) (in Chapter 3) of the
spiral bound first edition includes a check list of items for a
basic field kit (with a few words on the uses of each item
and/or other comments); para 4.A (in Chapter 4) includes a
longer list of items for a kit which applies to those cases
where a UFO is reported to have left residual traces at ground

B. Tools for instrumented UFO sky searches

The various field investigation manuals tend to include less
material on these types of tools. One exception is Allan
Hendry's The UFO Handbook (1979). Although well known for its
discussion of the identification of IFOs, it is worth
remembering the Tools Section at pages 160-285 of the Sphere
softback edition. Whilst the tools referred to in that section
extend to multiple witnesses (chapter 14) and statistics
(chapter 20), there are various chapters relevant to attempts at
instrumented UFO research. For example, in addition to chapters
on Optics (Chapter 15) and Photography (Chapter 16), see:
Chapter 13 : Magnetic Detectors at pages 186-190 of the Sphere
softback edition. Chapter 19 : Radiation Detectors at pages 237-
240 of the Sphere softback edition.

Generally more relevant than field investigation manuals, are
books or websites discussing SETV, Project Twinkle, Project
Identification, Project Hessdalen and Project Starlight.

In relation to SETV, see in particular the chronology at the
following link (and other pages on the same website):

I'd be happy to cut and paste into this email lists of
references for material on Projects Twinkle and Hessdalen from a
UFO chronology I've been working on, but the lists are rather
long. Also, most discussions of Project Twinkle are limited to a
general overview of sightings of green fireballs rather than a
discussion of instrumented searches. Similarly, most discussions
of Project Hessdalen focus on a description of the earthlights
hypothesis rather than on the equipment used on in the project.
You may have more luck looking at the much shorter lists of
references for Project Starlight and Project Identification that
I've cut and paste from the relevant entries in my draft
chronology (below).

Some references for Project Starlight:

Curran, Douglas in his In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts
of Outer Space (1985) at pages 70, 71, 72-73 (in the unnumbered
chapter entitled In Advance of the Landing) of the updated 2001
Abbeville Press hardback edition.

Evans, Hilary in The Age of the UFO (1984) (edited by Peter
Brookesmith) at pages 24-25 (in the unnumbered chapter entitled
First Catch Your Saucer) of the Black Cat hardback edition. The
relevant chapter is an article reprinted from the weekly partwork
The Unexplained.

Stanford, Ray in his Socorro Saucer (1976) at pages 184-191 (in
Appendix B) of the 1978 Fonatana revised paperback edition.

Some references for Project Identification:

Andrews, George C in his Extra-Terrestrials Among Us (1986) at
pages 18-20 (in Chapter 1) of the Llewellyn softcover edition,
at pages 21-23 of the Llewellyn paperback edition.

Ashpole, Edward in his The UFO Phenomena (1995) at pages 42-43
(in Chapter 3) of the Headline hardback edition.

Campbell, Steuart in his The UFO Mystery Solved (1994) at page
179 (in Chapter 12) of the Explicit Books softcover edition.

Devereux, Paul in Phenomenon (1988) (edited by John Spencer and
Hilary Evans) at page 326 of the MacDonald hardback edition
(Part 4, in the unnumbered chapter entitled Earthlights).

Devereux, Paul in his Earth Lights Revelation (1989) at page 129
(in Chapter 5), 186-187 (in Chapter 7), 222 (in Chapter 8) of
the Blandford softcover edition.

Evans, Hilary in Frontiers of Reality (1989) (edited by Hilary
Evans) at pages 52-53 (in Chapter 3) of the Guild publishing
hardback edition.

Evans, Hilary in The Age of the UFO (1984) (edited by Peter
Brookesmith) at pages 28-30 (in the unnumbered chapter entitled
First Catch Your Saucer) of the Black Cat hardback edition. The
relevant chapter is an article reprinted from the weekly
partwork The Unexplained.

Evans, Hilary in his From Other Worlds (1998) at pages 83-84 (in
Chapter 3) of the Carlton hardback edition.

Evans, Hilary in his The Evidence for UFOs (1983) at pages 28-29
of the Aquarian softcover edition (in Chapter 1) and pages 117
and 128 (chapter 7) and pages 149-150 (in Chapter 8).

Jacobs, David in his The UFO Controversy in America (1975) at
page 282 (in Chapter 10) of the Indiana hardback edition, page
251 of the Signet paperback edition.

Marvels and Mysteries (Editors Of) in Marvels and Mysteries:
UFOs (1997) at pages 86-89 of the Parrallel softcover edition.

Phillips, Ken in UFOs: The Final Answer? (1993) (edited by David
Barclay and Therese Marie Barclay) at pages 62-62 (in Chapter 3)
of the Blandford softcover edition.

Spencer, John and Evans, Hilary in Phenomenon (1988) (edited by
John Spencer and Hilary Evans) at page 175 of the MacDonald
hardback edition (Part 3, in the unnumbered chapter entitled
Investigating UFOs - Introduction).

Spencer, John in his The UFO Encyclopedia (1991) at page 157 (in
an entry entitled Identification, Project) of the Guild hardback
edition (with the same page numbering in the Avon softcover
edition), at page 180 of the Headline paperback edition.

Time-Life (Editors of) in The UFO phenomenon: Mysteries of the
Unknown (1987) at pages 134, 135 (in Chapter 5) of the Time-
Life Book hardback edition.

In terms of other material on instrumented searches, I note in
passing that the AFU bibliography project has a code for
publications that are devoted to Detection & alarm systems,
instrumented research. The relevant code is UD and the only
English publication currently listed with that code is one that
I 'm not familiar with : Viewing, David: The use of analytical
instruments in the search for extra-terrestrial spacecraft.
(BUFORA science papers, 1), 1976. The relevant list is at:

C. Tools for attempting communication with UFOs

I've gone on far too long already, so for this category I'll
merely mention that there's been plenty of discussion on UFO
Updates and elsewhere of Greer and his flashlights. An
entertaining list of such tools has been given by Joe
McGonagle (including candles, Ouija boards, Orgone
generators, Spiritual batteries, and strobe lights). However,
that list is far from exhaustive. For example, the use of
radio has not been limited to SETI researchers. Apart from
Marconi and Tesla, there have been plenty of more recent
claims to have used radios (and television sets) to
communicate with UFOs.


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6:02 AM, September 18, 2009  

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