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Famous 1971 Lago de Cote, Costa Rican UFO hoaxed?

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Butting in here for just a moment, it may be that Stanford is being cautious and letting the science and its admittedly slow plodding ways take the lead here. Having had a few paranormal experiences myself, though not publishing it, I can understand why his background might make him, what to others may seem as over-cautious with this branch of his investigations.

I suspect he doesn't want the ball to be dropped here. I'm sure he wants the science to stand on its own against all comers, his own forays into paranormal experiments notwithstanding. His relationship with physicists like Leik Myrabo, and the advances brought by careful observation of anomalous craft as shown in X-Descending is the path he has chosen to bring his research into main stream science.

We don't have to like it.

We don't have to make any decisions regarding his data, whether to believe or not. We can, for the nonce, take the word of folks who have seen his work, without making up our minds one way or another. Indeed, belief doesn't even enter into it. In fact, beliefs have a way of obstructing the quest for knowledge. Certainly, we're all a bit frustrated by the slow pace of developments. Like the wheels of history, the wheels of science grind exceedingly slowly but also extremely finely.

I just hope he's made some arrangements should he depart this mortal coil before releasing his data.

To withoutlimits09, I'd repeat Shakespeare's line, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This is the line of which I often think when reflecting on my own strange experiences.

the Bulk
Back to the photo.

First it is necessary to determine the direction of the sun in the xy plane of the photo. I'm using a portion of the best photo I could find. You'll notice there's clouds and their shadows. I've drawn red lines from edges or sharp points of clouds to their corresponding shadows on the terrain.

There is one cloud shaped like the Greek letter 't', or tau, whose line comes close to the object in question. This angle is about -36 or -37 degrees from horizontal, and is the direction of the sun in the xy plane of the photo--approximately. This is the line with the arrow.

This method gives a more accurate angle than the building's shadow method I wrote in my p. 1 post.

This line will be essential when setting up the model combined with the elevation of the sun at the time the photo was taken and the angles of the object's plane relative to the lake and the sun.

I've been trying to figure out where the reflection on the object on the hill side is coming from. Were we able to sit in a boat at the object site while looking to the hills on the left of the disk (opposite direction from the sun) we would see bright reflections not only from the curved, concave coastline, or bay, and hills but also from their reflections on the lake itself to the object in question. Clouds near the top of the photo may also play a part but without added photographic evidence, this point might be moot.

So in setting up the model, I'll have to use something like a crumpled-up bedsheet for the hills and a sheet of glass for the lake and dark material under the glass to simulate the black lake. Or I may just blow up the image then place the glass on it, the sheet along the coastline and the model of the disk directly over the disk image.


More later..

I know you were responding to a cocky poster, but let me interrupt for a sec:

No dude, I don't worship anything or anybody.
But then don't you feel the need to enlighten people about his entire past (or at least acknowledge it) when talking about him?

.. I have seen his amazing analytical work and I don't care what you or anyone else says about this.
I imagine that he made his past time-travel machines etc appear like heavy science.

..I have known Greer for 20 years. I have known Ray for 12 years. I know them as people and I know their work well. I don't know you but I can say that perhaps you might be better off (and come across more mature) if you took the time to get to know people and their work before whining so loud and slandering them with insults and innuendo.
Frankly, it's your job as an 'investigative journalist' to inform your listeners about all the issues. I'm sorry if that's entitlement, but that's what people expect. We need the whole story, like when balancing abd. stories and sleep paralysis facts.

I think you can still do this Stanford thing and please the sceptics, if you balance two truths at one time: Acknowledge Stanford's past wrt. UFOs, but explain that you still want to see his stuff out, because Stanford has at least filmed something that is unusual. You could say that Stanford has come out on the other side, in part with his dinosaur-discoveries and has distanced himself from previous antics (has he?). Even 'sceptics' should respect that. Avoiding facts (like the Messiah or time-travel stuff) or not acknowledging past problems won't get you credit from the healthily sceptical chunk of participants here. You must understand that stuff like that, is like a red banner blowing in the wind.

That said, his analysis of the Costa Rican UFO is a fine job, it could bode well for what else he has.


BTW: Who are you? What have you done to take the field forward? Where and what have you published? Where have you presented? On what topic(s) What is your area of expertise (besides whining)? Where can we go to see (and contemplate) your work and your contributions?

It is in your personal interest to get exposure on these topics. For me, it's the complete opposite. I want searches for my real name to show my music, not my forum chatter across the web. If this is a problem for you, either ban all anonymous posters or change the forum rules. Don't accuse posters for how the forum works, that is certainly whining.

Finally, I definitly want to see this stuff! I mean, we need some closure here! Even if the picture of the red fireball that we saw (chock full of measured data) wouldn't normally make me think about anything but an odd natural phenomenon, I sure wanna see it, you got sceptical me wanting to see it, at least.
I just wanna say I edited my above post quite a bit now, to clarify my points, or because I clarified my point better for myself..
This photo was copied from the 1990 JSE article by Haines and Vallee on new evidence from the three original frames obtained in February of 1990.

The new evidence shows some interesting detail on the disk image. These details are oblique, short lines evident on the edge of the disk.

I have been thinking that the disk was neither going into the water nor out of the water but was flying more or less parallel to the surface of the lake, though at an oblique angle relative to the water. This would explain the lack of disturbance of the water surface and the fact that neither the frame before nor after this one shows the disk in question.

In this vein, the oblique lines could be indicative of field lines emanating from the disk just prior to its departure. It's reminiscent of the painting by Lambright of the craft flying face on into the air in a most un-aerodynamic manner using the plasma spike. The short oblique lines, and the disk itself can be viewed using a trick of the eye in 3D. (Merge two identical photos by slightly crossing the eyes.) Then, by viewing these from top, right, upsidedown, and left views, one can also see short lines going out from the edges of the disk radially as well.

The fact that the bottom edge of the disk cannot be seen could be due to the thickness of the field there distorting light itself from the POV of the camera, that is, light has to travel through more of the field at the bottom than the top. Light distortions have often been reported near objects.

There's also some detail at the apex of the cone. There's what appears as short 'squarish' petals (like a flower) or panels opening outward. I count 4 such panels. The others are presumably difficult to see because they are edge-on to the camera's POV. I didn't notice them at first until I used that 3D trick of the eye and staring at the image for a while.

The copied image from the JSE pdf is pretty lousy. I'd sure like to get as good an image as possible. I've emailed narcap requesting the loss-less digital photo.

This photo was copied from the 1990 JSE article by Haines and Vallee on new evidence from the three original frames obtained in February of 1990.

The new evidence shows some interesting detail on the disk image. These details are oblique, short lines evident on the edge of the disk ...

Let's return to this point from the photo analysis paper with respect to the details.

"To summarize, there are enough inconsistencies in the appearance of the image to raise
doubts that it represents a physical object. The most serious of these is that the image's
sharpness appears in places to exceed the resolving power of the lens. This issue can
and should be evaluated quantitatively. If the resolving power has, in fact, been exceeded,
then the observation must be rejected as representing a photograph of an aerial disc."
Let me repeat the salient parts for emphasis: "The most serious of these is that the image's sharpness appears in places to exceed the resolving power of the lens ... If the resolving power has, in fact, been exceeded,
then the observation must be rejected as representing a photograph of an aerial disc." This problem was evident in the initial analysis, so how could getting even more detail remedy it? Logically it can't. In fact it can only reinforce that conclusion. Also notice that this problem was conveniently left out of the secondary analysis.

The above being said, the acquisition of the original film also tends to reinforce the idea that a hoax isn't likely. This leaves us with the possibility of an artifact, most likely a reflection from inside the compartment off the glass plate below the camera. Although reflections were said to have been ruled out, given the evidence so far, I think that conclusion may have been premature.
This was part of the referee's review, not part of the Haines / Vallee analysis, and which was addressed in Authors' Reply to Referee's Review in the original paper, with reference to several rooftops with sharp focus, demonstrating the adequate resolving power of the lens. She only had access to a third-generation positive copy, according to the Authors' Review.

For the next several days, I'll be dealing with a mundane but urgent matter involving replacing an old pipe with copper line under a concrete driveway where my water line has sprung a nasty leak.

Below is a RMKA/15/23 in a Cessna 195. Photo by W. Mayo .



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I would like to offer my take on the Costa Rica photo, and show a simple illustration that I did when Ray asked me to take a look at the photo before he wrote his article. I had seen this image over the years, but had never done any kind of close examination of it simply because it did not look that interesting. Nevertheless, without telling me just what he thought, Ray asked my opinion and I spent several hours looking at it.

I tend to approach images first from a perspective of keeping things as simple as possible. I have plenty of tools to use if necessary, but your eyes, mind, and instincts are your best tools. Sit back and look at what is there first, if something does not feel right...figure out what it is and look again. Most of what I did with this image was simple contrast enhancement, curves adjustments, and small moves that helped delineate subtle edges. I also used some software to sharpen it a bit and try to remove any extraneous blurring, but very little of that was required or made that much difference. In the end, because nothing can ultimately prove this image is of an exotic aircraft captured on film, I simply looked at it to see whether I could find anything that made me lean more in favor of it being a 'ufo'...or anything I felt made it 'dangerously suggestive' of something conventional. In the latter case, whether it was an intentional hoax or pure happenstance wasn't my concern. I only studied the image carefully, and when I had seen enough to feel certain of a likely explanation, I found several images that I felt showed a good assortment of conventional examples. For my part, I agree with Ray that this is some kind of reflector.

My first check was to compare the light and shadows, and it was very obvious that the ground shadows do not match the light patterns on the object in question. Even Haines and Vallee stated (in the Abstract for JSE, Vol.3, No 2) that the angular position of the sun was found not to be consistent with the dark regions on the disc, which strikes me as an immediate problem for what is purportedly a large object reflecting bright sunlight. It doesn't take any effort to recognize that the light and dark patterns on the object are totally inconsistent with other light and shadows in the image, but that still leaves the image of the 'disc' and whether, by itself, it might contain anything revealing enough to be a deciding factor one way or the other.

I've attached an image with some notes inserted to point out areas that were significant to me. I can't say if it is a flashlight or some other type of conical reflector, or what brand it might be, but what I can see inside the conical area (see the illustration) is extremely suggestive to me of a bulb of some kind, still stuck in the middle of this thing. My guess leans toward some type of flash reflector, if only because this was reportedly taken during a photography session and so photo equipment could be a logical candidate. But it may well be some other type, or exactly what Ray suggests it was. Nevertheless, the simplest explanation to me, based on what is easily visible in even the best of the images I could find online, is much more suggestive of a conventional object, a reflector of some kind, than a huge flying disc that can reflect sunlight in an inconsistent way with shadows on the ground. If Haines or someone else is able to provide the best possible print, or the negative, then perhaps things can be brought out even more clearly and a better explanation can be found.
-Chris Lambright


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Yes, I looked at all the partial photos, and even the one I posted up this page is only about half. I tried to get the sun's direction from the ground shadows but was only able to get a rough estimate. Using the full picture with the clouds though gave me a much better approximation.

However, based on the photo and the JSE articles it seems there were more patches of clouds (you can see a few of them in the post above) north of the object (towards the top of the photo).

Even the visible clouds in the photo could produce such a bright reflection. Could even be a reflection of the sky and the clouds for that matter, as well as the lake's reflection onto the object. Too bad it isn't in color, we might be able to discern some color detail. Now the dark line on the right side is actually a scratch or line on the film, as seen in my post on p.1.

As you can see from the photo just above with the red lines, you have to imagine that all these lines are in fact parallel and only look splayed out for some reason. Those red lines are drawn from the most visible parts of the clouds to their corresponding shadows. The whole collection
exhibits a certain predictable consistency. So it's likely the camera, lens, or the fact the sun is about 44 degrees above the xy plane of the photo. (When the sun is at 45 degs elevation, a pole perpendicular to level will be exactly as long as its shadow.) Using this principle, some Greek mathematician figured out the height of the Khufu pyramid.

This photo shows some items I have been using for preliminary testing, including a two bulb fluorescent fixture, a couple flashlights, two cones, one convex, the other concave, made from the inside of soda cans, the curved bottom of a soda can, another flashlight reflector, a creamer with reflective curved lid, and a curved glass soup-pot lid.


This was part of the referee's review, not part of the Haines / Vallee analysis, and which was addressed in Authors' Reply to Referee's Review in the original paper, with reference to several rooftops with sharp focus, demonstrating the adequate resolving power of the lens. She only had access to a third-generation positive copy, according to the Authors' Review.
It's not quite that simple. The issue isn't so much about detail as it is dynamic range, in this case the lens being capable of resolving more detail than the step function is permitting, suggesting the exposure of the shape in question doesn't match the camera setting. However, I've also been doing some muckety mucking with Paintshop Pro on a higher resolution scan I found of the object, and it looks to me like the illumination of the object is at an entirely different angle than the rest of the picture, coming roughly from the top-right side of the photo, whereas the sunlight appears to be coming roughly from the lower right. Now what really gets me about this is that it seems to rule out a simple artifact. It appears to actually be something, and it doesn't look like a simple flashlight reflector. Perhaps it's a photo flash reflector as Lambright suggests, but the enlarging and enhancing produced a couple of odd features that make me wonder.


This is enlarged and enhanced with a combination of filters that adjust brightness, contrast, and sharpness in fairly precise ways, creating two independent images, one that reveals details in the highlights, and another that reveals details in the shadows and then merging them with HDR. IMO the areas that look like shadows seem to fit the shapes that are above them too precisely for this to be a simple artifact. It could still possibly be a photographic flash reflector, or who knows what. I don't.

I looked at that tree and several others several days ago and other ground shadows to determine the xy direction of the sun at the object site. You can see by the diverging red lines connecting clouds with their shadows (a couple posts above) why decided on the Tau cloud, as it's sun line runs very close to the object.

I realize that extensive analysis has already been done on this photo and perhaps I'm re-inventing the wheel. However I feel that I'm getting a fresh look and who knows, maybe I'll find a detail others have missed. I thought about modelling the scene in gmax (open source 3D software, similar to 3D studio), and I may do that too. But the scene looked simple enough to model in real life. Heck, I may actually use a deep tray of water for the lake and mold some paper mache hills for good measure if I could find a photo of the hills/bay from the object's POV and some basic topo data. Google earth was less than useful in this regard.

That close-up of the object with the triangular dark spot is interesting. None of the pictures I have shows this feature so distinctly.


I've used PSP8 to create the 'colored terrains', in 2D, to be imported into gmax to create 3D maps for games like HaloCE. It's an idea. I could model it pretty well and be able to fly around in a 'banshee' or a 'ghost', he he. My chops might be rusty since it's been about 7 years since I dabbled with this set of several different, slightly wonky, programs.


it just looks wrong to me, although I really have no photographic experience but I'm amazed at the capability to analyse it , that's pretty impressive stuff. This category of photo which have or haven't stood the test of time are important as new researchers coming at it fresh can give it new meaning .

btw, does anyone know of the consensus on the puerto maldonado cigar shape ufo photo from 1952?