The Only UAP Photos I’ve Ever Taken, Part 3: Analysis of the Images

The first installment in this series dealt with my brief association, in late 1974, with Dr. Richard A. Blasband, a well-known orgonomist, and how I came to be present at a demonstration by Blasband of the “cloud buster,” a device Reich invented originally to remove poisonous nuclear radiation from his Maine laboratory which later turned out to be a boffo weather control machine, capable of making it rain in the Arizona desert (or so Reich said)!

The second installment dealt with the actual circumstances of Blasband’s demonstration and technical details about how I photographed it on Kodak Infrared Ektachrome with Blasband’s top-end Topcon camera and wide-angle lens. What I did not report, at that time, but which I remember distinctly, is thinking I should take photographs with a large amount of sky in them, because if anything was going to appear, it would probably appear there. Given what was recorded on the slides, I find this premonition eerily prescient.

This final installment deals with unpacking the 35mm. slides, my analysis and that by some technical representatives from Eastman Kodak. It also exposes the dreadful fate that befell the original slides, and why we have to work from custom high-quality 4×5″ negatives.

On October 27, 1974 I wrote: We have some very, very interesting things on film!! On the day I photographed, we got some very strange things. On one shot of the orgonomists we have something like this:

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Then, when Blasband was busting on Oct. 11 we got some really weird stuff. (The 36 exposure roll of infrared slides was unfinished when I was done shooting, having about 12 shots left on it, and the film being an expensive special order item, I gave the camera to Blasband to finish up the roll and turn it in to Kodak for processing. Why I don’t think he messed with the film will be explained later on.) I don’t know who was taking the photos – we got some strange, ring-like formations in the sky, like this:

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We can see, very faintly on projections something like a dome – but the fuckers are transparent, except for the rim lights!! We’re fascinated. In one series a small brilliant red light appears on the ground to the W. when the ring is directly in the CB beam – ring disappears, dot back near CB – ring appears to W. of CB, dot under it!! Don’t think these are lens flares – they’re there on the shots at f16 but not at f5.6. Very odd…

On Thursday, November 28, 1974 I again met with Blasband at his laboratory outside Doylestown, Pa. He operated his cloud buster, and we took more Super 8 movies and 35mm. slides, but this time with a camera borrowed from my friend Bill Hayward and conventional Fujichrome 100 slide film, which I had observed was better at discriminating closely-matched neutral tones than Kodachrome or Ektachrome. There were no results out of the ordinary. The next day, Friday, November 29:

…Then I took the slides over to Kodak (field office) in Ft. Washington and showed them to a Technical Rep named Barry DuBois (that really was his name!). Fortunately he’s very interested in UFOs! – he has good eyes and saw all kind of things in them. He agreed that the strange objects are much too uniform to be defects in the film & lens flare, and suggested we contact one of the UFO organizations such as NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), which I guess we’ll do – after I consult Blasband.

These are my last journal notes on the cloud busting demonstrations with Dr. Blasband and the resulting UAPs; I’m not sure the things I photographed are “objects” so much as phenomena. At this point we should look at scans of the original slides, but I have a sorry, stoned confession to make. After showing the slides to the Kodak tech-rep and friends, I tried a couple of times to have them copied with no success; the weird colors of the Infrared Ektachrome defeated the Kodak duplicating film, and the copy slides were either over- or under-exposed. So I put the slides away and didn’t mess much with them until I was running a B&W photo lab in Seattle in the early 1980s.

At that time I edited the slides and had a custom color lab we did business with make 4×5″ inch (10×12.5 cm.) color internegatives from them, including the complete area of the slide to the edges of the mount window. Color negatives offer a greater range of correction than trying to print from color slides, which is notoriously fickle, and the oversize negatives have virtually no grain and capture every bit of the slide’s resolution.

After that, the slides were again put away until the mid-1990s, when I was working as a reporter for a daily newspaper in Gallup, N.M. One assignment brought me in touch with some experienced UFO investigators from MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), and I asked them where I should send the slides to have them computer-scanned and professionally analyzed. “Send them to optical physicist Bruce Maccabee, he’s excellent and will take good care of the originals,” they said. “He really knows his shit.”

But for some reason I do not now recall, I didn’t follow this great advice. Instead, I somehow got Dr. Bruce Maccabee, Ph.D., mixed up with Village Labs’ Jim Dilletoso, a rather notorious person in the UFO community. Notorious for his flakiness and unreliability. And that’s exactly what happened to the slides.

After Dillettoso had received the slides, I didn’t hear from him, so I called. “These are remarkable!” he said. “There’s nothing like them in my database of over 10,000 images! I need more time to study them.”

And that was the last from Jim Dilletoso. The slides disappeared into the gaping maw of Village Labs, AND HAVE NEVER BEEN RETURNED! So much for Mr. Dilletoso; fortunately, we still have the internegatives to study. Let us turn to them. The 4×5″ internegatives were re-photographed with an iPhone camera, then inverted into positives in PhotoShop.

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Cloud busting image #1: Overall view of the site.

The first photo shows a general overview of the site, with the upper half sky. The cloud buster is out of frame. In the sky are 4 transparent “orbs,” and to the left, behind the power lines, is a bright curved line of light of unknown origin.

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The white spots are dust on the internegative, except for the one immediately to the left of the curved line, which is part of the image. This raises two questions:

1) Are the orbs due to lens flare from glare on the chrome of the car, just below the trees on the left side? No. Lens flare due to light sources in the picture is always transposed to the opposite side of the image and inverted; thus, if the orbs were from the glare on the car, they would appear at the extreme right of the image, slightly above the centerline.

2) Is the curved line of light an artifact? No. The Kodak reps checked the surface of the slide, and the curved line is not a scratch in the emulsion or any other kind of defect. It was in the scene, recorded by the Ektachrome Infrared film, but otherwise invisible to the eye at the time.

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The cloud buster, pointing north at about 30 degrees elevation, and the body of water nearby for the tubes, visible between the tires.

The second image shows the cloud buster itself, no humans present in the photo, with details of its construction revealed. In the sky there is another invisible phenomenon.

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The close-up shows another curved line in the sky, with a lighter patch apparently emanating from it, expanding in a downward direction. I have no idea what the fuck this is, but it was in the original scene, invisible to the eye and is not an artifact of any type. Everything else in the sky, that is, black lines or white spots, is dirt or dust. Sorry about that.

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The cloud buster in scene, pointing 90 degrees left from last photo, presumably west. The dark circle in the sky near the center frame is an artifact.

The third image, somewhat under-exposed, shows the farm structures and a house near the location of the cloud buster. Dr. Blasband rotated the tubes approximately 90º left,  and began “drawing” (the orgonomists’ word for what a cloud buster does) from the west. The dark circular area is an artifact of the copy process, but in there we can see something that is recorded on the film:

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It’s that odd swatch of light again! What is it doing there, and more fundamentally, WHAT THE HELL IS IT? A close examination shows there is also a faint black line on the lower side of the wider white line. We will explore the possibility that the photos were faked in one way or another shortly.

The final photo shows the gathered orgonomists near the cloud buster.

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Note the very odd globular light forms in the sky. They resemble “orbs,” in that they are both luminous and transparent, but anyone can create beautiful orbs with a spray bottle and a cheap camera – cheap, because they have the flash close to the lens, and that’s what’s needed to create the phenomenon best known by its SCUBA divers’ name: BACKSCATTER.

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Above, this was created with a $50 digital camera and a spray bottle. Just blow some spray into the air in front of the lens and take a picture, and oh, make sure the flash fires, because it’s the reflected light from the flash that makes the suspended droplets appear luminescent. I’ve diagnosed a couple of “paranormal” photos of orbs that have been taken this way – the same thing can happen with raindrops, dew, drifting mist, an insect or any other reflective object in front of the lens – and the photographers always seem to hate me, for some reason, when I tell them their orbs aren’t the ghost of Aunt Laurie, or visitors from the Pleiades. I really don’t understand it. Don’t people want to know what they’ve photographed?

But back to cloud buster photo #4. There was, of course, no mammoth spray bottle to provide droplets, and no flash on the camera, although the sun, coming from behind the photographer, will do the same job. The shadows of the orgonomists show this to be the case, the sun is directly behind me. There are 4 orbs, and they appear to be in the shape of a triangle, with the fourth orb located on an imaginary straight line between two points of the triangle. Of course, please note that ANY 3 POINTS  not in a straight line will be automatically categorized by the human mind as a triangle, be it obtuse, acute or right angle.

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The last photo is a detail of #4 showing the orbs with greater clarity. (The tiny white spots are, alas, dust.) The triangle at first appears to be a right angle, with the bottom almost parallel to the ground below. The two orbs denoting the ends of the hypotenuse are of approximately similar size and color, while the two other, smaller orbs have a bluish cast. If you draw all the lines from orb to orb, this displays ALL the triangles: obtuse (the lower three orbs), acute (the upper three orbs) and right angle (the overall figure)!

The orbs don’t appear to be reflections from specular highlights in the scene, like the bright chrome on the car; they’re not the right shape or in the right position.

This invisible figure is just utterly weird. I have no idea what is causing the orbs or arranging them in this peculiar fashion, and although I am no statistician I can tell you the odds against this happening by random chance, and my photographing it without being able to see it, are millions to one.

Which raises a question: Were these photos faked? Short answer: I think not, for several reasons. As I remember it, I shot about 24 pictures on the 36-exposure roll. At this point I could either have rewound the film and developed it, in which case the last 12 pictures would have been wasted (Kodak returned them as unmounted, short black strips of film), or I could leave the camera with Dr. Blasband, let him finish the roll shooting something else and have the film developed. I opted for the latter, because, well, I’m cheap, and the thought of throwing away 1/3 of a roll of special-order Kodak slide film didn’t appeal to me. So Dr. Blasband had the loaded camera for about a week before he finished the film and sent it to Kodak for developing.

During that time, the possibility exists that Blasband did something to the film to create these images, but although I acknowledge that, I think the odds are vanishingly small. Let me explain. The typical way to produce these images, which are lights against a darker background, is by double-exposure. This involves either shooting the two overlapping exposures in quick succession or rewinding the film and running it through the camera a second time to add the supplemental exposures afterward. The Beseler Topcon Super D camera we used had no provision for making intentional double exposures; indeed, there was a wind/shutter interlock against it! It wasn’t until later that professional-grades cameras began to incorporate this feature for special effects photography.

The other method, rewinding the film, requires that you line up the film while loading it accurately both times; usually you mark the 35mm. film leader with a Sharpie, and line this up with some part of the camera, so that both exposures overlap on the same frame line. Then you close the camera and wind to the first frame where you want to add a lighter object and photograph it against a black background, being careful to place it where you want to appear in the final photo. Since the film is slides, the original film is developed to produce the final image, and there is no printing process involving negatives to manipulate the image, add or remove things from it. Slide film is the original WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)! Since I’d never marked the film the first time I loaded it, Blasband would have no reference point to re-load it, and his second batch of double-exposed images might not have lined-up with the first, which I shot. It would be one hell of a crap shoot to get them right!

Finally,  although Dr. Blasband owned a couple of expensive cameras, he was basically a photographic novice and didn’t possess either the technical skills or the imagination to create these vague images. And why on Earth would anyone who was going to go to perpetuate a UFO fraud make such a poor, insubstantial one? I’d have gone out of my way to make it much more impressive than this stuff!

Dr. Blasband shot the rest of the roll taking pictures of random things around his property, and I think his wife took a few of him. Of course, the infrared film does nothing for his complexion. And Jim Dilletoso, damn his fucking ass, still has the original slides.

Conclusions

What conclusions can be drawn from these four images? We will not speculate, but deal strictly with the evidence, what was recorded on the film.

  1. Four exposures (1/9) of the Ektachrome Infrared film revealed strange aerial optical phenomena, luminous in the IR range but invisible to the eye.
  2. Are these phenomena connected to the demonstration of the cloud buster? There just isn’t enough information to say either way, and we don’t have a big enough sample to know if these phenomena occur when the cloud buster isn’t operating. It is tempting to connect the two events, the CB demonstration and the appearance of the luminous phenomena, but we can’t do it with any certainty.
  3. The luminous phenomena don’t appear to be artifacts, film defects or processing errors, such as scratches of the emulsion on the film. They don’t appear to be any type of lens flare or other optical artifacts that I know of. The Kodak tech rep Barry Dubois (remember that name?) confirmed this.
  4. The luminous phenomena all appear in the sky. Three of them are similar, a small curved white line of light, while the fourth is a meta-triangle made of orbs, which should not, under these conditions, be recorded.
  5. The curved white line of light moves around from picture to picture; it is apparently something out in the environment. One of the photos shows what appears to be a hazy cone of light extending earthward from the line of light.
  6. It’s unlikely, due to Dr. Blasband’s lack of technical expertise and the characteristics of the camera used, that the optical phenomena recorded are the result of deliberate deception, lens artifacts or special effects.
  7. The event appears to be a singularity. It would be interesting to repeat this photographic experiment at other cloud busting demonstrations and see if anything is recorded; modern digital cameras and camcorders can be modified to record IR and/or UV light.

I have no fucking idea what is going on here. If you do, please write it down on a scrap of paper, enclose with $20 in Bitcoin and mail it to me at the Coyote Enrichment Foundation, Easy Street, Port Charlotte FL 33***. Unfortunately it won’t be tax deductible, but I will ask my private daemon, a python, to give you a hug.

Doubtless if anybody into Reich’s “orgone energy” shit reads this stuff, they’ll be pissed that I’m skeptical and report that this all reinforces Reich’s work. As I pointed out above, we simply don’t have a large enough sample to make this conclusion with any certainty. If we had photographed 100 cloud busting demonstrations, and these luminous phenomena showed up in a statistically significant portion of them, we might be able to conclude that they do tend to appear more often at CB demonstrations than not, but we STILL would not have established any cause and effect, let alone established any proof of Reich’s outlandish claims.

The film project with Dr. Blasband fell apart when I submitted a demo film that was misfortunately lacking a soundtrack to a competition for funding. I began moving away from everything having to do with orgone energy and Reich’s work as I got a better, adult understanding of what science is: a laborious, methodical process of failing to prove something wrong. Only then can we assume it is correct, until a better model comes along and pushes it aside. Reich, as anyone familiar with his career knows, hopped from one field of science to another like a frog in a pond full of lily pads, never staying with any one long enough to master it and disrespecting the accepted masters when they failed to agree with him. I went back to Florida and lost contact with Blasband, who passed away some years ago. I don’t know what happened to his cloud buster.

The odd photos I recorded at that event on windy day outside Doylestown remain a mystery, like many other things in my life. I refuse to speculate on what they might be, where they come from or if they have any intentions, and I am reconciled to the fact that I’ll never know much more about them than I do now. These photos, however, do bear mute witness to the fact that they were there, and so was I.

The Only UAP Photos I’ve Ever Taken, Part 2: The Cloud-busting Demonstration

The first installment of this three-part series dealt with my involvement in the 1970’s with Dr. Richard Blasband, a follower of the late misfortunate Neo-Freudian psychiatrist Dr. Wilhelm Reich, who claimed to have discovered “orgone energy” in the 1930’s, a primordial substance that explained… everything! Except why Reich was such a narcissist, comparing his heavy-handed prosecution by the FDA to the cruxifixction of Christ, for instance. Got it?

The third part will deal with the analysis of the photos taken at the cloud busting training session.

This installment is taken directly from my journal That Ol’ Tripe-Face Boogie, a spiral-bound notebook dated beginning January 1974. Dr. Blasband’s cloud-busting training session occurred on September 28, 1974, a Saturday. Sections in italics are my editorial clarifications of things that need to be explained in context.

…So we come to today (actually the previous day, as this was written at 3:30 a.m.). Hugh (my brother Hugh R. Brenner, R.N., then receiving orgone therapy himself) and I set off for Blasband’s early but he took a long time showering at Rena’s so we got there 20 minutes late – not that it mattered much. Blasband was in the middle of a very detailed lecture to a group of about a dozen ergonomists and others – (M.D. Charles R.) Konia, Sally L****’s orgonomist, was there, looking very strange – Gypsy-ish, with swarthy skin and heavily lidded eyes.

After about an hour’s lecture we removed to the field with the CB (cloud buster in Reichian jargon) in it. It was a beautiful day but unfortunately no clouds. The air was very clear but not quite sparkling. I was filming with the Beaulieu (Blasband’s movie camera, a very expensive French Super-8 mm. with an excellent Angenieux zoom lens) and trying hard to remember all the controls – I think it’s not well-human engineered but I think I did everything right. Blasband put the (cloudbuster’s flexible metal) tubes in the water (a pond) and pointed it W. Within 5 minutes a strong breeze had sprung up. The breezes had been fairly random all day, more or less from the east, but this was constant and from the W. I couldn’t see the discharges on the tubes too well – only a slight purplish flame – but we noticed that the W –> E shimmer of the atmosphere OR (orgone energy or “heat waves”) stopped and went straight up. I tried to film it but the 66 mm. telephoto (on the Beaulieu) wasn’t quite long enough. 100 mm. would be good.

I had Blasband’s Beseler Topcon (a 1960’s Japanese 35mm. camera equivalent to the Nikon-F) full of EK IR (Ektachrome Infrared, a unique Kodak color slide film that recorded red and infrared light in false colors) rated at 100 ASA (now ISO) thru deep red filter and took a lot of photos (with a Topcon RE 35mm. f2.8 lens) at 1/125 @ f5.6 and f16, for bracketing. 5.6 was the meter reading off the grass. I was getting pretty close to the tubes & began to feel dizzy and slightly sick. Blasband had pointed out a kind of patchy blackening of the horizon of a hill to the W. Now the blackening was swirling in a cyclonic fashion! I had never seen anything like it before! It looked like Cecil B. DeMille special effects. I could just barely perceive it. How do we record it on film? It reminded me of a passage in (Arthur C. Clarke’s science-fiction novel) Childhood’s End where Clarke describes the Overmind manifesting itself.

I tried shooting the pipes in innumerable different ways. My spaghetti-legs tripod didn’t help. Finally I felt I had enough. I was so highly charged I felt like I was tripping. B. then swung the CB to the north. Within a minute, the wind had changed direction! That was eerie. I felt like an observer at a magic ritual – things unseen, powers almost beyond control surging around me. I shot the tubes both in normal speed and at 4 fps. at f22, shutter closed to 1/2, 1 stop underexposed. We went back – I’d shot 2-1/2 rolls, or about 7 minutes worth – good tie-in for the footage we already have.

I just threw up twice in the bathroom. 5:20 a.m. This could have any one of 4 causes: 1) The Sherman’s cigarettes I’ve been smoking. As of now I stop smoking cigarettes forever. 2) The dinner – although it wasn’t all that bad; ham, sweet potatoes, string beans. 3) The wine and beer I had at Rena’s (our stepmother). 4) Overcharge from the CB, or 5) all of the above. Sometimes I do abuse my system a little… (writing about sister’s birthday party). …In retrospect, even tho’ there were no clouds to bust, the demonstration was very impressive.

(Historical note: I came to my senses quite suddenly one afternoon, while talking with a customer over a joint in the back of my Seattle photolab, Superposter. When I told him about having had orgone therapy, he said “Huh! You went through that shit?”) 

(I’d never heard anyone refer to Reich’s work like that, but his words seem to coalesce several suspicious, subversive thoughts about Reich’s work, the objectivity of his science, the reality of “orgone energy,” his self-appointed reputation as a Great Man, his “UFO experiences,” his closeness to the Great Cosmic Orgone, whether the USAF was REALLY watching over him as he believed, his “murder” in a federal penitentiary, how crazy the people who followed him were, etc., and from that point on I found myself falling out of love with Herr Doktor Reich. His feet of clay had left tracks all over my life.)

(But, at the time this was written, I was still amenable to explaining everything in orgonomic terms, hence the comments about the “purplish flame on the tubes” (retinal rhodopsin fatigue, when you gaze steadily at any object) and the swirling cyclonic formation — I was obviously seeing something, but I don’t attribute it to the demonstration of the cloud buster any more. I am absolutely certain that “orgone energy” as Reich described it, a bio-field or life-energy that apparently extends into the Universe at large, and moves everything, doesn’t exist, and Reich’s headlong plunge into self-delusion about it only shows how increasingly narcissistic and crazy he became toward the end of his life.)

Next Installment: The Images, and What They Show

The Only UAP Photos I’ve Ever Taken, Part 1: Dr. Blasband, the Orgone & Me

In the 1970’s I was still under the thrall of my family’s very own “orgone guru,” the late, absolutely bonkers Austrian Freudian psychiatrist Dr. Wihelm Reich. I lent what skills I had to proving to skeptics that “orgone energy,” which I really can’t explain here except to say that it explains EVERYTHING, existed, could be measured and, possibly, photographed with the appropriate equipment, filters and film.

Thus it was I found myself working with Dr. Richard A. Blasband, one of the last orgonomists to be trained by Reich, a rather humorless man in his mid-40’s who had established an orgonomically-correct (no fluorescent lights, not near a nuclear power plant, etc.) laboratory in the countryside outside Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The thing that made Blasband interesting was that he had constructed a “cloudbuster,” a purported weather-control device with which Reich claimed he had made it rain in the Arizona desert, among other achievements. You can see something like it in the Kate Bush/Donald Sutherland video “Cloudbusting,” but that’s sort of the Terry Gilliam version of one; Reich’s, as you can see, was much less complicated! (The photo is uncredited and in the public domain.)

The Mad Scientist with his Weather Machine

Basically this isn’t a machine at all, as it has no obvious energy input, and you can only detect the output if you are a sufficiently “open” or “sensitive” or “unarmored” or “orgastically potent,” which all are ways of saying you’ve paid some Reichian therapist (they drift rather far afield, these days, from what Reich wrote) a lot of dead presidents to treat the chronic muscular tensions that are the root of all your neuroses, psychoses, repressed desire to kill/fuck your mother/father/poodle/FFA project or whatever is bothering you.

The cloudbuster’s nothing but a bunch of telescoping aluminum tubes on a gimbaled axis that allows it to be swung and aimed at any point of the sky, preferably from the horizon to the zenith. The tubes, in turn, are, by Reichian logic, grounded by connecting them to a body of water (running is best) with flexible metal BX cable that has been wrapped in adhesive cloth tape. The theory is that the cloud buster will then “draw” the orgone energy from the sky to the body of water, and, depending on how you manipulate it, make all the clouds in the vicinity of where you point it either grow, or shrink.

(Hey, clouds are either doing one or the other, so you’re bound to win, right?)

With this contraption, Reich’s heirs (Such as Charles Kelly, James Trevor Constable, Blasband et. al.) claim to be able to do wondrous things such as change the path of mighty hurricanes by influencing the Earth’s “orgone energy envelope,” which is the force that controls hurricanes, natch.

(Hey, it’s Reichian physics, the less objective sense it makes, the greater its appeal!)

Let’s get one thing straight: Reich was trained as an M.D. and a psychiatrist, and that’s what he should have stuck with. His fascination with the microscope and his discovery of the “bions” (basic units of life) was the beginning of his endless fall down the rabbit hole of his own ego. Just because a man has a couple of interesting social ideas or espouses an appealing philosophy or writes a textbook titled “Character Analysis” doesn’t mean he, himself, can’t be totally fooled by a slick, sadistic, pedophile quack psychiatrist named Dr. Albert Duvall, who will molest virtually all of his pediatric patients as well as break his Hippocratic and psychiatric oaths with his adult patients.

Dr. Albert Duvall, the serial pediatric sadist, with his cloud buster. Notice the pack of cigarettes in the shirt pocket. Duvall always stank of cigarettes.

Hmm, this piece is getting rather long, since I still have the original notes from the experiment, and the rather extensive analysis of the slides to refer to. Perhaps I should make this Part 1, and continue later in the day, it being 12:07 a.m.? Perhaps indeed.

Part 2: The Cloud Busting Demonstration

Part 3: Analysis of the Images