The first episode was Texas Is For Sightings, and it was mostly about the mass sightings in Stephenville, Texas, not far from Dallas-Ft. Worth, on January 8, 2008. The way they investigate this is to go to Stephenville and arrange a "UFO Town Hall Meeting" to "share stories," i.e. tell random anecdotes about lights seen in the sky. (To a UFOlogist, the plural of "anecdote" is "data.") There was no order to these accounts, and no reason to believe that any one account has anything to do with any other. They ignore the fact that the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, former scientific consultant to the Air Force's Project Blue Book and Patron Saint of today's UFOlogists, repeatedly said that reports of lights in the sky are of little or no value. He also said, contradicting the program, that pilots make relatively poor observers while they are engaged in flying their aircraft.
|Ben McGee stumbling around in the dark|
|The UFO video taken by Mauricio Ruiz|
It's strange that the National Geographic Channel would put so much emphasis on the Stephenville case. There is no longer any mystery about what happened in Stephenville on January 8, 2008. UFO skeptic and retired Air Force pilot James McGaha investigated, and submitted his findings to Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier, who published them in the January/February, 2009 issue. The article is on-line here.
The FAA informed McGaha on January 18 that a group of four F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron entered the operating area at 6:17 pm local time. A second group of four F-16s entered the same area at 6:26 pm. They departed at 6:54 and 6:58, respectively. The time the aircraft were flying in the MOA accords with the time of the sightings....Case closed. The Stephenville case was essentially a repeat of the flare drop responsible for the famous Phoenix Lights in 1997. Don't the National Geographic researchers know how to use Google??? Those responsible for this program must be either totally incompetent, or else deceitful. They must know that the Stephenville mass sighting was simply a flare drop, but how can you make a mystery out of that?
What were the aircraft doing? McGaha says they were flying training maneuvers that involved dropping extraordinarily bright flares. The LUU/2B/B flare is nothing like the standard flares you might think of. These flares have an illumination of about two million candlepower. They are intended to light up a vast area of the ground for nighttime aerial attack. Once released, they are suspended by parachutes (which often hover and even rise due to the heat of the flares) and light up a circle on the ground greater than one kilometer for four minutes. The flare casing and parachute are eventually consumed by the heat. At a distance of 150 miles, a single flare can still be as bright as the planet Venus. McGaha also describes the testimony of a medical helicopter pilot, a retired U.S. Army pilot, flying that night, who saw the lights. He said: “I saw multiple military aircraft, with some dropping flares, in the area of the Brownwood 1 MOA.”
See the next Blog posting for more about Chasing UFOs..