Re: 'Fire Balloons' & 'Exeter'
From: Mark Cashman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 23:34:05 -0800
Fwd Date: Fri, 05 Dec 1997 11:17:56 -0500
Subject: Re: 'Fire Balloons' & 'Exeter'
> Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 06:25:53 -0500
> To: " UFO UpDates - Toronto" <email@example.com>
> From: " Jerry Cohen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: "Fire Balloons" and "Exeter"
> Those people that think "fire balloons" are the definitive answer to
> "Exeter, N.H. 1965" are cordially invited to examine this theory for
> yourselves by visiting the following websites:
Jerry, you have done some fine work. My compliments.
There was one item that I noticed, which is also relevant.
Robinson states: "Data about the distance of the object
from the observers is inherently unreliable due to the fact
that binocular vision is only good out to about 20 feet
unless the object passes directly in front of or behind a
While he cites no source for this, a standard reference
on optical illusions is Minneaert's "Light & Colour".
On p 160...
"Street lights farther away than 160-170 yards seem at
night to be all the same distance."
This does not mean that the viewer cannot tell how
far away they are, BTW.
Minneaert also states:
"The average uninstructed observer underestimates
all long distances, e.g. a fire at night."
And he describes the Von Sterneck calculation
for correcting for under-estimation beyond 200 yards
(600 feet), which is:
d' = (cd)/c+d
where d' is apparent distance, and c is a constant
varying from 200 yards to 10 miles.
According to "Incident at Exeter" the estimated
distance was 300 feet. This is well within the
Minneart distance, and thus would be perfectly
acccessible to an observer.
I believe that Robinson's claim is a common
misconception, even among UFO investigators. Note
that Minneart's information, backed up by research
done on Von Sterneck's equation, shows that even
beyond 600 feet, the distance estimates made by
witnesses may be correctable.
Some might claim that the distance to an object which
is being misperceived, and thus which is not
comparable to a known object, cannot be considered
accurate. However, Minneart makes no such distinction
and implies that the Von Sterneck calculation is valid
regardless of what is under observation. Certainly
the examples he mentions (fires, street lights, and
distant city lights) are germane to UFO observations.
I'd may also say that I have actually visited Tel & Tel
pole #668 and looked out over that field. If hoaxers
picked this location, they certainly were crazy. This
is an empty location even in the daytime. The
lack of a fire caused by these alleged balloons is, given
the treeline, is very hard to explain.
You may enjoy my recreation of the Exeter sighting,
which can be found at
The image is based on my inspection of the site, and is also
a computer model which uses the distances, sizes, and
angles estimated by the witnesses to provide a good sense
of the angular size of what the witnesses observed.
(Note that the background of the image is NOT a site
Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...