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Re: Vernon British Columbia - 11-30-03 - Frison

From: Gene Frison <GeneFrison@aol.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 11:25:06 EST
Fwd Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 16:02:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Vernon British Columbia - 11-30-03 - Frison

>From: Brian Vike - HBCC UFO <hbccufo@telus.net>
>To: "UFO Updates" <ufoupdates@virtuallystrange.net>
>Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 14:44:31 -0800
>Subject: Vernon British Columbia - 11-30-03

>Vernon, British Columbia

>Date: November 30, 2003
>Time:  4:45 p.m.

>Hello Brian

>On November 30. Sunday at 4:45 p.m. I was watching a bright
>white light hovering low in the south west horizon. It was in
>the wrong place for Venus. A few minutes of observation and I
>knew it wasn't a plane or a helicopter. At about 4:50 it was
>slowly moving toward the west. It remained a bright white light.
>A few minutes later and I watched it descend into the trees on
>the hill directly south of Vernon airport. Through the binos I
>watched it disappear from sight, and the bottom of the light
>"seemed" to turn orange red as if it was shutting down.

>Then just over the lake my eye caught strobing lights moving too
>fast for a small plane about to land.I saw an  "orb ascend
>quickly"  towards (sort of) the north from the lake and in the
>binoculars it seemed to go right by a plane heading southwest.

>The plane was low (approx. 15,000 ft) with its wing lights
>on.The orb had pink strobing lights but was barely visible to
>the naked eye.The orb reminded me of the globes that appear when
>Ghosts are filmed. Nebulous but there.The sky was still in its
>final colors of sunset, though the sun was long gone.

>Wow. was I excited. take care

>Thank you to the witness for the report.

>Brian Vike
>Director HBCC UFO Research

>Vernon, British Columbia

>Date:  December 3, 2003
>Time:  4:45 p.m.

>Hi Brian

>December 3 at 4:45 p.m. the bright white light appeared over the
>hill south of the airport. The sky was clear after sunset. It
>hovered and sparkled. A red sphere flashed by going south. My
>neighbor came out on his balcony for a cigarette. The white
>light hovered. When he went in it started it's  vertical decent.
>It went down very slowly a bit at a time until it disappeared in
>the trees, at 500 p.m.

>It is difficult to describe the light. In the binoculars it has
>strobing red and other colours but white is the predominant one.
>It is white hot like a sparkler and hard to tell size or shape.
>I find it hard to believe that no one else has reported this as
>it is predominant in the sw sky and by the airport. It went down
>just before a jet landed. There is a population density around
>the airport and surrounding hills, and again I can't be the only
>one who sees this.

>The behavior of the light suggests that some people at a glance
>would view it as a star or a one spotlight plane on approach. It
>makes no sudden moves, as it moves in increments. This is a
>wonder-full event, lasting 20 minutes, from when I start viewing

>Thank you to the witness for the report.

>Brian Vike
>Director HBCC UFO Research


Dear Brian and List:

Going back to your earlier e-mails regarding this sighting
(apparently which extends into more than one sighting over a
number of different nights), your witness states that the light
being watched is situated low in the SW, which is exactly where
Venus is visible at - low in the SW at dusk. Thus, it is hard to
accept the claim made by the witness that the light was in the
wrong place for Venus. Venus is, indeed, smack dab right in the
portion of sky where the mystery light was observed precisely at
the same time over several nights acting exactly like a setting
celestial body. The light's punctuality, description, behavior,
position, time of appearance and disappearance, and line of
motion ALL make it consistent with one of the setting planets or
stars known to be in that area of sky at that time.

The above description of the light when viewed through
binoculars by the witness is a classic description of what
happens when a star or planet is viewed through non-astronomical
binoculars - particularly the red patch at the bottom. I know of
sighting reports made by police officers who viewed stars
through non-astronomical binoculars and provided the exact same
description as your witness, and who were fooled into believing
a star or planet was much more than it actually was. Because
non-astronomical binoculars don't have appropriate color
correction, the above distortion occurs when viewing stars and
planets through them. Thus, the witness's belief that it 'shut
down' really does nothing to elevate this above simple
misinterpretation of a star or planet in the process of setting,
although I suspect that this conviction of the witness that it
did 'shut down' goes a long way towards fueling both the
witness's and investigator's opinion that this is something
mysterious. This demonstrates how an investigator's conclusions
should be based more on careful ground work than on the
witness's interpretations of what he or she believes they saw.

The other moving lights observed in the area sound suspiciously
(no, exactly) like normal air traffic - the sighting did take
place near an airport. Considering the distance and time of day,
one would expect none other than the descriptions given to
pertain to normal air traffic in the vicinity of the airport.

I communicated with Brian off-list who states that he spoke with
the witness at length on the telephone and through e-mail. I
asked what it was that the witness said which convinced him
(Brian) that the observed light could not possibly be Venus, as
Brian had said to me [quote from his e-mail to me] "But the
Vernon sighting, it was not Venus. What it was is another
question. But certainly not Venus. I spoke at length with the
witness, both by email and telephone. "To date, I have received
no reply from Brian to this question. It is significant to me
that Brian, in his e-mail to me, mentions that he did a lot of
talking to the witness via different channels about the
sightings but never indicates that he did any checking into star
charts, etc. - there is no mention of the investigation that
elimiated the numerous possible answers that presented
themselves. If this had been done, I think he would have told me
[to the effect] 'I checked such-and-such chart and found this
and this but they didn't match because...!" However, through
several e-mails, there is no mention of this - only of the
lengthy discussions with the witness. And I have asked him for
information to convince me it could not be a planet or star!

I would strongly suggest that the Vernon, BC case of Nov. 30 -
 Dec. 3, 2003 can be explained as the misidentification of a
setting planet (possibly Venus). There is nothing to justify
raising this incident into the realm of the mysterious!

What sews this up for me and is proof positive as far as I'm
concerned that this sighting report is solved as the
misinterpretation of a celestial object is this: neither Brian
nor his witness even remotely mention or consider Mercury as
relevant to the events in question. Yet Mercury is clearly
visible low in the SW at those times and sets at the time the
witness says the light disappears from view. In fact, when I
checked by entering Vernon's coordinates into my Starry Night
program on hard disk, both Venus and Mercury jumped out from the
screen at me - they were so prominent on the computer screen.
And if one checks Heavens-Above.com, the presence of both these
planets at that point in time/position is blatently obvious.
Venus and Mercury were only a couple of degrees apart! Both the
witness and the investigator clearly have missed Mercury as
being present at the sighting point and that it probably
constitutes a significant contributing factor to the sightings.

The witness claims that the light was in the wrong place for
Venus (which is not totally true) but, even if we do concede
that the witness accurately recognized the light as not Venus)
the witness does not mention Mercury, perhaps because Mercury is
wholly absent from the witness's mind and considerations. In
short, the witness does not seem to know about Mercury being
visible there too. Brian, as well, fails to make the Mercury
connection. If he had considered Mercury, one would think that
when he was assuring me in his e-mail (quoted above) that it
wasn't Venus, he would have mentioned and eliminated Mercury
too. But he didn't! No mention of it, which I think, translates
into no idea of it.

Take your pick ... either Venus or Mercury provides the likely
solution to this case. Considering the 'sparkler' comparison
made by the witness, I personally feel (in the absense of
anything to discount Venus provided by Brian or his witness)
that Venus is the more probable culprit of the two, due to its
sheer prominence and the fact that Venus looks more like a
sparkler in the evening sky than Mercury - Mercury appears to
'burn steadier'. It is possible though that the witness did
recognize Venus or did see a light that he knew was not were
Venus was supposed to be but got totally puzzled by Mercury.

Of course, now that I have presented Mercury as being present in
the area of sky where the mystery light was located, nothing
prevents the witness from now saying that it was in the wrong
place for Mercury too. I'm not saying this will occur but I have
seen cases where, when the witness was confronted with the true
answer to something misindentified, the witness back-paddled and
said [to the effect] "No, it wasn't that because I saw that too
and it wasn't the same thing" - even though it was apparent they
had missed it. They want to avoid looking foolish at not
recognizing, and making  big deal, out of a star. The important
thing is that up until now neither witness nor investigator have
mentioned Mercury despite the fact that it was right there in
the sky where the sightings took place and very close to Venus
to boot - I think this speaks volumes as to the failure of the
witness to recognize Mercury and of the investigator to solve it
through proper investigative methods. The window of opportunity
has closed regarding this now because all of this information
has been presented; the ground work should have been done right
away before this information became available to contaminate
witness and investigator.

This illustrates the danger of putting more emphasis on the
collection of UFO sighting reports rather than on the thorough,
accurate, and objective investigation of them. As Richard Hall
said in the July 2000 issue of the MUFON UFO JOURNAL, "The work
of [MUFON] investigators to investigate and document these cases
is vitally important. To me, case validation is essential for
establishing a significant data base. Preliminary reports are
raw data only, whereas validated cases that have complete
information and for which careful investigation has found no
answers are the building blocks of all credible theory. Raw
data, suspended judgement."

This is not meant as an attack on Brian. Personally, I admire
his tireless efforts and I wish we had a few more like him in
our MUFON ranks. However, I question the value of the relentess
posting of sighting reports without adequately checking into
them. The above example illustrates how this can cloud and
confuse things. In fact, I think in the long run it does more
harm than good. Collection of UFO sighting reports is essential
but competent, thorough, accurate, and objective investigation
is the foundation of UFO research. There is no knowledge gained
by us without this - what is collected is valueless until such
investigation validates it as 'information.'

If this were an isolated incident, I would not have been
behooved to write this post. However, I have been checking into
a lot of cases (from behind the scenes) hitting the listservs
from Brian's organization and have noticed a significant number
of them are certainly explainable when one begins to dig. In
fact, I would even go on record as saying that there is no major
UFO flap going on in British Columbia, that it is all being
created by those who want to believe that something
extraordinary is going on there. Sure, BC, like the rest of
Canada, is getting its fair share of unexplainable cases - maybe
even a bit more than most other places in Canada. But from where
I sit, if you start to dig into most of the BC cases and if you
aren't setting out looking for something mysterious, then
reasonable answers present themselves fairly quickly, and common
sense will usually accept that these are more than likely the
correct answers.

When one takes the time to compare satellite positions,
astronomical charts, weather data, physical conditions in and
round the areas, etc., etc. and dissect sighting reports as to
description, behaviour, etc. - relevant to the BC region - one
finds that about 95 percent of the cases involve lights or
combinations of lights that do nothing out of the ordinary (no
reversing direction or right angle turns, etc.) and which are
mundane in appearance/configuration or which have probable
explanations come easily forward. Is it a coincidence that this
matches the belief held by a lot of reputable researchers that
about 95 percent of UFO sighting reports can be explained as
misinterpretations, misidentifications, hoaxes, etc.? Or is it
pointing out that BC's sighting reports (like everywhere else)
consist of about 95 percent misidentification/misinterpretation
of mundane phenomena?

I'd like to see more hard investigation and objective research
instead of relentless collection and posting of cases that have
barely been checked into! This, at best, is sensationalizing of
Maybe then we can find out what the answer to the question in
the paragraph above is! Posting raw cases is one thing...
attaching an aura of mystery to them without checking into them
is another!

Again, this is not an attack on Brian. I view Brian as one of
the best allies we have out there. But I do have the right, even
obligation, to point out my concerns regarding his, or anybody
else's, methods, conclusions, etc.! I think things have reached
a point where the public is in danger of getting a distorted
picture of things, particularly when it comes to BC, and that it
is tainting the field of Ufology even more than it already is.
Brian has brought several of these cases into the MUFON UFO
JOURNAL recently (October 2003) and our own evaluations of them
through independent investigation lean in a much different
direction. Had he not entered our journal, I would not have been
stirred to respond regarding Brian's work. But enter he has, so,
as the National Director of MUFON in Canada, I feel it is my
duty to present to the public and to the membership our
viewpoint on this work since it is contradictory to what Brian
espoused in our journal - it does, afterall, involve Canadian
cases and thus is part of my jurisdiction and concern.  Chris
Styles (our Canadian Director of Investigations) and I have
checked into a number of these allegedly unexplainable events
and we find there is no mystery attached to the majority of
them. It all comes down to whether you prefer to accept strongly
probable solutions or weave a lot of unrelated events into a

I'm not claiming we've solved them all... to the contrary, BC
has many true anomalies occurring constantly. But the fact is,
many cases are getting presented as mysteries that shouldn't
even get mentioned because careful and objective investigation
(even cursory) would establish them as probably explainable in
mundane terms. The noise level is being increased so much so
here that any really good 'signals' may be getting lost.

Eugene Frison


John Schuessler - International Director


Eugene Frison - National Director

Chris Styles - Canadian Director of Investigations

Michael Strainic ... Ed Barker
Co-Directors of Canadian Cold Case Archives and Research

Linda Chernabrow - Eastern Regional Director (Canada)

Mike Bird - Central Regional Director (Canada)

Gavin McLeod - Western Regional Director

WEBSITE: http://www.mufon.com