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An Eye On The Sky

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2006 09:04:28 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2006 09:04:28 -0400
Subject: An Eye On The Sky

Source: The Bangkok Post - Thailand


Sunday July 30, 2006

An Eye On The Sky
Erika Fry

Whether truth or fiction, the idea of supra-intelligent alien
beings fascinates us all

A strange thing happened in Thailand in mid-May. For three days
hotdog-sized gelatinous "slugs" turned up in backyards all over
Thailand. Before it was all over, the mystery had wormed its way
through Uthai Thani, Khon Kaen, Phrae, Samut Prakan, Chon Buri
and Bangkok. Rumours were flying that aliens (or at least part
of them) had landed.

The "slugs" were jarred. They were cooked. They were admired,
studied, and worried over by villagers who thought, seeing them
shrivel in the sun, that they were dying. They were thought to
be invading organisms from outer space, or at least the
droppings of them.

The incident inspired headlines, an investigation by the
Ministry of Science and Technology, and stirred up enough public
confusion and alarm to warrant the start-up of the ministry's
Science Hotline 1313.

It turned out that the "slugs" were - disappointingly to those
who jarred, studied, and considered them life-like - none of the
above. Just fever-cooling gel sheets, available at pharmacies
nearly everywhere for 85 baht a pack.

To be fair, they were not in their original packaging nor, being
bloated from rain water, their typical size. They looked less -
or more - than terrestrial. It is a strange and obscure object
to find in your backyard.

So maybe it was the next best guess, that the unidentified
object belonged to a flying one; that the unknown was begotten
by the unknown; and that aliens were to blame.

Two and a half months later, all is quiet at the hotline. Our
call, on a normal Friday afternoon, is answered on the 4th ring,
and perhaps comes as a disappointment to the other end that we
are not calling to inquire about strange activity, but only to
inquire about people inquiring about strange activity.

The staffer said the line has been virtually uncalled since
about 10 days after the "slugs" incident. Until then, it
received about 10 calls a day, most of them questions regarding
the incident and wondering if the rumour - that the "slugs", if
cooked, could be eaten - was actually true.

"It says something about how unscientific the general population
is," says Visanu Euarchukiati, an assistant editor at National
Geographic Thailand and one of the 1,000+ amateur astronomers in
the Thai Astronomical Society.

Visanu, having recognised the "slug" as the gel pack on the
first day the story ran, knew right away that the imaginative
alien dropping theory was "rubbish".

But, there are believers and there are non-believers. And we
live in a place and time where, in most cases, if not this one,
each has the luxury to believe they are right.

Space - infinitely vast and hardly explored - has captured the
imaginations of men since the beginning of time. We can find
Orion in the sky, and Superman, flying in from his glowing green
planet Krypton, in the theatres.

Yet space, with its black holes and many moons, has given us
realities almost as strange as its fictions. It is after all,
out of this world.

So, what to make of those much bandied about beings from beyond
- the extraterrestrial and its UFO-the substance of what so many
claim to be truth and what so many others claim to be fiction?

Thailand's First Tourists

However strange UFOs are purported to be, sightings of them are
not that rare in Thailand. The Thai Astronomical Society gets
reports around twice a month. Dr Debhanom Muangman, a prominent
doctor and civic leader (see InSight column on Page 2) claims to
have seen more than 200 of them, and says he can call them at
will. The Internet boasts of vivid tales, that may or may not
have made headlines, from Phuket (ox-blood coloured lights in
the sky, March 2006) to Chiang Mai (a large-headed, yellow body
creature wandering the rice paddies in September 2005).

There's also - depending on whom you ask - a long and rich
history of UFOs flying through Thai skies and landing in the
nation's rice paddies. Dr Debhanom, who has written a book on
the subject, says extraterrestrials have been visiting Thailand,
especially the northeastern provinces, for at least 5,000 years.
He says evidence of this exists near Chiang Mai in the form of
cave drawings that depict robotic-looking men with large eyes
and rockets.

Dr Debhanom says he discovered the drawings after an alien
contact named Perasitao telepathically told him to visit the
caves. He is currently trying to raise funds and organise an
effort to clean and preserve the cave drawings.

He also speaks of more recent events, like that of a UFO crash
in the dense mountainous jungle near Chiang Mai in February
1958. He says the crash caused enough alarm that the US Consul
in Thailand alerted the White House. Despite this, he says much
evidence from the crash, which he hopes to investigate himself,
still exists in the forest reserve area.

He shares another colourful story of a UFO crash in Kanchanburi
25 years ago. He describes a scene of chaos in which a hairy,
winged alien with green blood was killed by a police officer
with a shotgun.

Dr Debhanom says the alien body is buried somewhere in the
province, but its whereabouts are known only to the 80-year-old
police officer's wife. Because of bad dreams in which she is
threatened with death for telling, she will not reveal the

He says sightings nowadays are mostly made by uneducated
villagers who see lights in the sky or a craft landing, with no
scientific evidence to support it.

He has also had his share of sightings, though, having the
meditative powers to call UFOs at will, he is usually prepared
with a camera or a video recorder.

He says he has summoned or observed over 200 UFOs and about 15
different species of aliens, many of which he has recorded on
film and in photographs that he readily and excitedly shares.

In Thailand, he knows of 12 other people that can also
communicate with ETs. While he says it's hard to know whether
one is being honest about such abilities, he says they often
test new claimants by asking them to call a UFO. While Dr
Debhanom does so simply through meditation, he says others "go
into trance or speak in strange tongues."

A Look At The Evidence

According to Dr Debhanom, you can tell a UFO by the silence and
stealth of its flight. Unlike earthly vessels, UFOs can fly
horizontally and vertically - quickly and without sound. UFOs
vary immensely in shape, size, colour and make, as demonstrated
by a postcard handout showing 16 different photographs of UFO
craft that he's produced.

Despite the claims that he can call a UFO at will, when asked to
do so he says it will have to wait for February, or at least the
end of rainy season. "There are clouds," he says, and ETs,
despite the fearlessness and the comfort one might presume would
come with their sixth senses, are afraid to drive their UFOs
below them.

While his photographic evidence is abundant, none of it is
particularly convincing. Perhaps because of the nature of the
UFO and the ET, most are unfocussed photos of blurry bright
lights. One might expect similar pictures from a malfunctioning
camera or by adjusting the shutter speed and photographing a
moving vehicle at night.

There are others that appear to have been staged, and that call
to mind the special effects used in movies from the 1950s or
sensationalistic National Enquirer covers. It does not seem
inconceivable in many cases that the scene could have been
engineered by someone with a sense of mischief, some coloured
light bulbs and a black background - especially in this day of
digital manipulation.

Dr Pornchai Pacharintanakul, an assistant professor in
Chulalongkorn's Physics Department who has seen some of Dr
Debhanom's photographs and finds them dubious, says of UFO
sightings in general, "Most of the incidents are hoaxes,
hallucinations, or misunderstandings. Whether the individual
believes it or not, they are seeing something else."

Pornchai Amornsrijiratorn, a computer programmer, who also
serves as a board member and webmaster for the Thai Astronomical
Society, often receives the calls from people - "usually very
excited and convinced" - reporting UFOs.

Despite their certainty, Pornchai also says the sightings are
invariably "misunderstandings" and can be proven untrue.

For example, callers' frequent reports of "lights dancing in the
sky," or lights beaming from the ground to sky are phenomena
that can be easily traced back to the less-than-phenomenal
spotlights at Siam Paragon, Emporium or other spots in Bangkok.

Another common mix-up comes with the spectacularly bright planet
Venus. Pornchai says airplane passengers, especially, see the
glowing planet and assume it is a UFO.

The Society also receives inquiries from people who "know it is
not a UFO, they just want to know what it is."

Pornchai, who does believe that somewhere beyond our system
there is probably intelligent life, says he personally gets more
excited about phenomena like eclipses, comets, and meteor

The 25-year-old Society, which organises Star Parties, sky-
gazing events, and this October, the burial of a time capsule to
be unearthed at the time of the next total solar eclipse (April
11, 2070), is a good outlet for the lifelong astronomy

All Shapes And Sizes

Dr Debhanom offers a postcard handout that pictures an equally
diverse bunch of ETs, and a description of alien properties that
is at least as intriguing.

There are many kinds of ETs; they vary in appearance and
properties according to their planet and how evolved they are.
(Humans, he explains, will one day advance to similar states.)
Of the varieties he has observed, some have been as large as a
house, while others have been only half the size of humans. They
come in a number of colours and in varying transparencies. They
are hyper-intelligent.

ETs live in the 6th dimension, he says. This means they can see
the future, they can see the past, and they can be seen or not
seen by humans, according to their wishes. They cannot breathe
oxygen, but depend on carbon dioxide, which he says is common in

They are not gendered, as evolution has taken them to a place
without gonads, emotions, or excretory systems. They reproduce
by cloning. They do not eat food, but consume energy.

They have no time for taste or beauty or love. They are a no-
nonsense bunch - they consume energy and they work.

Life in outer space may not sound like a lot of fun, yet they
live a comparative forever - typically 300 to 400 years, Dr
Debhanom says, having either adapted or developed technologies
that allow them to beat the diseases that usually kill humans.
Having mastered medicine, he says they rarely die by any other
cause than accident - usually a crash landing or in an
interplanetary visit gone awry.

Because they exist in a different energy state, they can travel
faster and more freely (Las Vegas to Bangkok in 5 minutes),
which they often do - depending on the friendliness of the
species - for aid efforts, exploration, exploitation (this is
where abduction comes in, he says) or conquest of other planets.

Though they have made efforts, they have yet to engineer body
systems which will sustain them on Earth or which will allow
them to cross-breed with humans, Dr Debhanom says.

This means that there are good aliens and there are bad aliens
(known as "reptilians", these once met with Hitler, he claims),
and while they don't have emotions and they do have powers to
see the future and the past, they are not so perfect as to avoid
war with each other. There are intergalactic battles already
going on, Dr Debhanom says.

Vastness A Barrier To Knowledge

Dr Pornchai remains unconvinced when listening to accounts of
person-to-alien contacts. He says of extraterrestrials, "In our
system, it is possible, but highly improbable. If there are any,
you get only small organisms, bacteria. You never get big

He does not discount the existence of intelligent life in outer
space entirely. "It is possible there is an intelligent alien -
there must be some. Maybe in other systems far away."

He explains the distance and vastness of space make it hard to
be sure if we will ever really know. "The question is how they
can get here. Communication is difficult."

SETI (Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence), a project
formerly operated by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space
Administration), and now an institute run by a private
foundation in California, is striving to bridge the distance by
using a network of volunteers and computers, radio telescopes
and lasers around the world, to capture and search for
intelligent signals from outer space.

Dr Pornchai calls it a "very good project," and says its
methods, "unless you can go out there by yourself or by
machine", offer the most hope for answering questions about the
existence of other intelligent life in the universe.

"Outside our system, we have no choice. Sending signals out, the
chance is also very low. It's more likely to come across
something by looking for them," he adds.

But will we know it when we find it? Even the very sceptical
Visanu chuckles that modern scientific minds might not allow it,
and "rationalise away any sign that life does exist."

While some may wonder, why bother?, others believe finding
intelligent life could lead to information exchange, scientific
and societal advancement, or extraterrestrial counsel like that
which Dr Debhanom claims to receive via meditation.

Space is also a place where borders break down and nationalism
seems petty. There is perhaps nothing more likely to inspire
global unity, an end to terrorism and political wars, and a
general world hug than being faced with a greater other.

That alone, might make the ET myth, however silly-seeming, one
worth hoping for.

Even if it doesn't immediately provide answers about life beyond
it, Visanu encourages all Thais to start looking towards the

"Astronomy is the best way to start teaching the population to
be scientific," he says. "Everyone can observe. It is a good
entry point for anyone to get into science."

Pornchai agrees, adding that astronomy quickly and deeply makes
an impression on people. He dares anyone to look into a
telescope and not become transfixed by the sight of "spectacular

You might not see a UFO, but he guarantees it will make you want
to keep a watch on the heavens.

[Thanks to Stuart Miller of http://www.uforeview.net for the lead]

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