BIO: Marian Rudnyk is an astronomer, artist, planetary scientist, & author – all rolled into one.
Marian put himself through school by working in the aerospace industry as a machinist and precision assembler for military and spacecraft components. With a degree in planetary geology in hand he began work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where as a planetary photogeologist he did mapping of Saturn’s moon Iapetus, ice fractures on Jupiter’s moon Europa, and lava flows on Mars. As an astronomer he worked at Palomar Observatory as an asteroid hunter and was part of numerous programs such as the Planet Crossing Asteroid Survey – PCAS; the International Near-Earth Asteroid Survey – INAS; & the International Comet Halley Watch. During this time he made numerous named-discoveries, his first being Asteroid 4601 Ludkewycz. From there he moved on to managing JPL’s Planetary Image Facility & was on the imaging-science flight teams for such missions as Magellan at Venus & Voyager 2 at Neptune. Read more →
The Phoenix Lights is a classic case among UFOlogists and one of those where you quote the date (March 13, 1997) when mentioning it if you want to impress upon your fellows that you know your subject. It involves a night of sightings by thousands of Arizona residents, including Governor Fife Symington, of a huge V-shaped craft that was defined by lights on it edges and blocked out stars as it passed. It made national news and became the subject of the 2009 television movie, “I know What I Saw.” The case was explained away as being a misidentified military flare drop, which happened two hours after the sightings reports. The flare drop was localized, while the reported craft was said to travel across the entire state and, despite the incongruity, enough of the public accepted the explanation that the case was able to fade into history.
Similar sightings of huge V-shaped craft by thousands of witnesses along the Hudson River Valley occurred in the early 1980’s. This was not just over a single night but over a period of years and should have overshadowed the Phoenix Lights in UFOlogical circles, but many don’t even know where the Hudson Valley is let alone that there was a fascinating series of sightings there which are being investigated to this day. Even now there is still activity in the small area town of Pine Bush that holds a yearly UFO fair. To give you an idea where the HRV is located, the Hudson River meets the ocean just past New York City. The valley runs north up to Albany with New York State to the west and Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, to the east with Vermont’s border being defined by the river. Read more →
Subscribe to full shows for $2 or more per month. Alejandro Rojas with UFO Updates, guests Jon Sumple & Jack Roth discuss their latest film, Extraordinary: The Seeding to released September 3rd, and share that it is more a story of people and their extraordinary experiences, whatever they may be, plus claims of purported hybrid children, they do not claim evidence, but there film is for you to watch and make up your own mind. Support us through Patreon here.
By coincidence, two UFOlogists who studied mass sightings by school children ended up dying an untimely death. One was John E. Mack, an Ariel School sighting researcher who was hit by a truck in London in 2004 and the other was James E. McDonald who researched the Westall sighting in Australia and took his own life in 1971 in Tucson, Arizona. Both were reputable scientists with careers in psychiatry and meteorology respectively and both suffered attacks on their credibility due to their pursuit of UFOlogy. Due to different public attitudes towards UFO research during their times, Mack was able to withstand an investigation by the Dean of Harvard Medical School which threatened his position there and write best-selling books on the abduction phenomenon, whereas McDonald endured multiple threats to his career, funded his own research without book deals and was publicly humiliated at a congressional hearing. Still reeling from this he received the blow of his wife’s request for a divorce, which seems to have led to his suicide.
McDonald, born May 7, 1920, was one of very few scientists of his time who were willing to go on the record and advocate for the extra-terrestrial hypothesis as an explanation for UFOs. He had a PhD from Iowa State University, taught at the University of Chicago and then the University of Arizona where he helped establish a meteorological and atmospherics program. His interest in UFOs started with his own sighting in 1954 while driving in Arizona with two other meteorologists. What was seen was a less than dramatic distant point of light but the fact that three scientists who specialized in atmospheric observation were unable to identify it signaled to McDonald that there was a need for a focus on “the UFO problem” by the scientific community. He began investigating on his own and joined the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon. After interviewing between 150 to 200 witnesses from 1956 to 1966 in his home area of Tucson, Arizona he was, in his own words,”far from overwhelmed with the importance of the UFO problem.” His attitude would change in 1966, sparked by a sense of betrayal felt by himself and many other investigators, witnesses, and members of the general public. This was brought on by the growing realization that the U.S. Air Force investigation into UFOs had become nothing more than a public relations campaign designed to downplay and debunk as many incidents as possible. Read more →
Right at the very beginning of modern UFOlogy, researchers had to contend with hoaxes. This has continuously been an issue and causes great indignity among serious researchers. From the point of view of an historian, however, hoaxes and hoaxers have provided stories and characters that range from amusing to downright bizarre. Motivations for hoaxing range from those of the practical joker to those of people with a penchant for making a dishonest living. A person who was subject to both of those was Gray Barker, who was an early investigator of the Flatwoods Monster case and who had links to the introduction of the Men In Black and the Philadelphia Experiment into the literature. Barker’s associates included legendary researchers from the fifties and sixties including Ivan Sanderson, Jim Moseley, Morris Jessup and John Keel. All of these people were writers trying to make a living in a tough market and if there was a scale for measuring truth in journalism, Jessup followed by Sanderson and then Keel would be on the side of truthful whereas Moseley followed by Barker would be towards the opposite.
Gray Barker first became prominent in the world of UFOlogy with his investigation of the September 12, 1952 Flatwoods Monster case which was reported in his native Braxton County, West Virginia. He arrived on the scene just after Ivan Sanderson and both interviewed primary witnesses as well as many residents of the area. Sanderson was preparing an article for True while Barker was commissioned by Fate. Barker seems to have been earnest in this early investigation and this is reflected by his recollection of it in his classic 1956 book, “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.” After the Flatwoods case, Barker wrote articles for Space Review, which was a regular publication of the International Flying Saucer Bureau run by Albert Bender and later became IFSB’s chief investigator. In his book, Barker relates that Bender claimed to have solved the mystery of UFOs but was forced into silence by higher powers and visited by three MIBs. This is the first mention of MIBs in UFO literature but the story originated with Bender. Bender abruptly ceased his IFSB activities and Barker seemed to have been impressed that there was a genuine element to the story, which can be discerned from his archived correspondence with Morris Jessup.