A SURVEY AMONG U.A.P. INVESTIGATORS AND SCHOLARS - Part XXI


It is a wonderful experience to get the opinion of a very selective group of people at an international level and get them together giving answers to just 8 questions referred to the Unusual Aerial Phenomena.
We give a big thanks to all those colleagues who are answering our survey and we are very pleased to present to you their ideas. We hope that what they say would be useful to you in your own work with the U.A.P. and that their criteria would help to shape your own one.
We continue today the publication of the answers of these colleagues, and we are doing so in the order they were received.



Hans-Werner Peiniger (Photo: Hans-Werner Peiniger with an iron-meteorite in front of the GEP-sighting-archive)
born in 1957, technical employee in a telecommunications company. Peiniger has been interested in the UFO phenomenon since his childhood. In the beginning, he himself saw numerous UFO phenomena that seemed inexplicable to him at the time. Adhering to an almost religious faith in UFOs, he also sat at the window at night and sent rhythmic flashlight signals to the – but the hoped-for answer by extraterrestrial visitors failed to appear.
In order not to limit himself to the study of ufological literature, he founded the “UFO-Jugendclub Lüdenscheid” in 1972 and began to collect UFO sightings by others and became acquainted with the optical appearances of conventional aircraft and natural phenomena. He soon understood that a large number of sightings could be traced back to conventional causes. Not only did more and more spectacular UFO sightings turn out to be due to terrestrial phenomena and thus explainable, he also found many known UFO photos could be identified as forgeries. These facts, sobering as they were for him as a former believer in UFOs, made him a critical UFO researcher who wanted to get to the root through witness interviews and field investigations.
Peiniger is chairman of the “Gesellschaft zur Erforschung des UFO-Phänomens (GEP) e.V.” founded in 1984 (www.ufo-forschung.de/. He is also author of numerous specialist articles on UFO research, co-editor of the journal “Journal für UFO-Forschung (jufof)” (www.jufof.de), published by the GEP e.V., and specializes in the research of UFO observations with a focus on witness interviews and field investigations. He is author of the book “Das Rätsel: Unbekannte Flugobjekte”, Rastatt 1998, ISBN 3-8118-1393-5. Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Werner_Peiniger

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1) Do you use the acronym UFO or another designation, and if so, why?



Today, the term UFO has a negative connotation, although it comes from American aviation terminology. It is often equated with “extraterrestrial visitors” by people and in the media.
I use the term nevertheless, because it is still very much in use and has ultimately become the word for the subject we are dealing with. It is also important to offer an alternative to UFO esoterics and UFO believers, and it is necessary to use the same terms.

2) Have your idea about UFOs changed along the time?

When I started to deal with UFOs at the age of 15, I was convinced that the earth is visited by an extraterrestrial intelligence and that UFOs are their space vehicles.
After over 45 years of research and over 4000 investigated UFO sightings from German-speaking countries, I take a critical view. I now think that we currently have no evidence for a visit by aliens. Nevertheless... we have some unresolved cases which are suitable for further scientific investigation and we should pay more attention to these cases.

3) Should the UFO investigator become an expert in IFOs?

A UFO investigator must have sufficient knowledge of IFOs. This is a basic prerequisite for being able to investigate UFO cases at all.
The UFO phenomenon is almost drowned by a large number of UFO cases. With the appropriate IFO knowledge, these could have been filtered out in advance.

4) If there were still some unexplained phenomena, what could they be?

We have analyzed the unsolved GOOD-UFO cases of the GEP (www.ufo-forschung.de) and found no common anomalous features (https://www.ufo-forschung.de/shop/product_info.php?products_id=35&MODsid=mrak4jce4sid3kbah1ptechok7). Personally, I do not see any evidence for extraterrestrial visitors or any other exotic explanations in these cases.

5) How do you consider this issue in general? What do you think about the whole subject?

This cannot be explained in a few sentences.
It is exciting to deal with the topic scientifically. I am personally attracted by the detective work and the involvement with various scientific topics.
In my opinion, the UFO phenomenon is influenced by sociological and cultural factors. It is in part also influenced by the media, and has developed into a myth. Nevertheless, it is worth investigating. We have formulated numerous research questions that show that there is still a lot to learn about the UFO phenomenon or the UFO myth: https://www.ufo-forschung.de/forschung/grundkonsens-der-ufo-forschung  

6) Is it possible to do something effective to bring the truth to the public and to change the mind of those who still proclaim or believe that extraterrestrial beings are living with us on Earth?

Sometimes one feels one's own work is like Don Quixote's fight against the windmills. The belief in aliens and the corresponding uncritical thinking have spread to such an extent that a comprehensive clarification is no longer possible. Most people also do not want explanations, they only seek confirmation of the eccentric view of the world they have read in books. Conspiracy theories are more exciting than solved UFO cases. Nevertheless... I see it as my task to separate the wheat from the chaff and, in case I am asked, to give an appropriate answer. Either you accept the assessment of an experienced UFO researcher or you don’t. I am not a missionary.

7) Do you think SETI and similar searches are valid activities?

Yes, these are certainly important research projects. The interesting thing is that amateurs worldwide can participate in the SETI project via their software. But such projects have nothing to do with the actual UFO research. These projects deal with the possibility of extraterrestrial life in space. In UFO research, on the other hand, we ask ourselves, among other things, whether the UFO event described by an eyewitness or the UFO photo presented by a witness can be traced back to an extraterrestrial influence.

8) What is your idea about multiple universes?

This is one idea among many others. Cosmological questions are not one of my core topics. They do not help us in UFO research either. They are in the domain of astrophysics.


A SURVEY AMONG U.A.P. INVESTIGATORS AND SCHOLARS - PART XX


It is a wonderful experience to get the opinion of a very selective group of people at an international level and get them together giving answers to just 8 questions referred to the Unusual Aerial Phenomena.
We give a big thanks to all those colleagues who are answering our survey and we are very pleased to present to you their ideas. We hope that what they say would be useful to you in your own work with the U.A.P. and that their criteria would help to shape your own one.
We continue today the publication of the answers of these colleagues, and we are doing so in the order they were received.



Thomas Tulien is a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, whose interest in the subject began as a documentary filmmaker. In 1999 he organized a Workshop for UFO historians in Chicago and initiated the Sign Oral History Project. He is the author of “Minot AFB, North Dakota, 24 October 1968” radar-visual case, which incorporates quantifiable data in the form of radarscope photographs taken onboard the B-52 of a pacing UFO, and over flight of a stationary UFO.



See: http://sohp.us/Three-Radar-UFO-Cases.pdf




1) Do you use the acronym UFO or another designation, and if so, why?

Since my orientation concerns historical aspects of the phenomenon I am most comfortable using unidentified flying object (UFO). This use is specific to identifying an object with extraordinary performance characteristics, which is a focus of my interests. Unfortunately, in the cultural context the term has been corrupted to imply ”an ET spacecraft,” so it is reasonable in a scientific context that U.A.P. be adopted.

2) Have your ideas about UFOs changed along the time?
Of course! It is a personal curiosity with this subject that rather than describing the experience as a learning curve my experience seems appropriately described as having gone around the block (in circles) over many years before accumulating enough knowledge and understanding of the nature of the phenomenon to step aside.
3) Should the UFO investigator become an expert in IFOs?
By default anyone with a serious interest in the subject becomes fairly expert in identifying IFOs. This is the point where any investigation essentially begins. In doing historical case research, one develops an accumulative ability to identify aspects of available data that suggest a naturally occurring phenomenon. The general approach is therefore reductive considering cases after the fact. For example, regarding the 1968 Minot AFB case, Martin Shough eliminates at least 18 possible causes for the B-52 UFO radar contact, in an attempt to determine what the UFO echoes are not. The quantitative data provides additional possibilities. Based on Martin’s analyses, Claude Poher constructs various hypotheses examining the performance characteristics of the UFO attempting to determine what it is.
4) If there were still some unexplained phenomena, what could they be?
Well, naturally occurring plasma formations in the atmosphere, though there is no convincing scientific evidence supporting this explanation and no support for the thesis among atmospheric physicists. The Condign Report (2006) suggests ”buoyant plasma” resulting from meteor reentry as a cause of the more puzzling reports.  It is not so much an irony that in 1968 Project Blue Book explained the cause of the Minot case as plasma, which was one of its default explanations adopted in the later years. On the other hand, Poher is able to describe the loss of B-52 radio transmission as a result of a plasma field enveloping the UFO, implicating a strong ionizing effect as a by-product of the UFO energy source.
5) How do you consider this issue in general? What do you think about the whole subject?
Looking at the issue from a historical perspective, the U.S. government has been very successful in controlling the narrative over the past seventy years. In effect, it has spent considerable effort creating a collective ignorance regarding the issue. Wendt and Duvall perhaps best describe why governments systematically ignore the UFO phenomenon despite the overwhelming evidence in “Sovereignty and the UFO.” My guess is that understanding the origin and nature of the UFO phenomenon is more complicated, incorporating a mythology based on reason extending back to the post-Copernican concept of the plurality of worlds. And even the possibility, heretical, as it may seem, that some component of the phenomenon is a result of a terrestrial development program hidden while in plain sight.
6) Is it possible to do something effective to bring the truth to the public and to change the mind of those who still proclaim or believe that extraterrestrial beings are living with us on Earth?
What has always been lacking and remains so after seven decades is an objective, systematic scientific study of the UFO phenomenon. However, any serious attempt would require a considerable technological infrastructure and lots of money. In the current status quo, UFOs can only be “known” without actually trying to find out what they are. So, given the history it is politically unlikely to happen since it would be self-subverting. [Taleb claims that although people tend to place a higher value on things they know; it is the things we don’t know, and therefore can’t see coming, that tend to shape our world dramatically.] The recent confirmation by the Department of Defense (NYT, Dec. 17, 2017) of the classified “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program”involved in monitoring UFO activity underscores the issue. Particularly given the paucity of response from the scientific community and the media. It appears to send a reassuring message that the status quo has not changed, UFOs are still not a national security concern, and they are continuing to monitor the situation—which has been the consistent position since the early fifties when it was embodied in Project Blue Book’s public relations effort. What is remarkable is how little has changed over seventy years!
7) Do you think SETI and similar searches are valid activities?
Certainly, in particular the current Exoplanet explorations, which are far more fruitful than the original SETI project’s tragically, limited scope.
8) What is your idea about multiple universes?
I honestly don’t know. I will however quote Carlo Rovelli: “I like physics because it opens the window through which we can see further. It gives me the sense of fresh air entering the house.”