Magonia 85, July 2004
The Pelican has been amused by the excitement generated among UFO believers by a report released by the Mexican air force about an encounter by one of their planes with a group of UFOs. The story and accompanying video, was released to Jaime Maussan, who has been vilified on the UFO UpDates mailing list because of his story, unsupported by evidence and relying on apparently false testimony about a UFO allegedly crashing into a plane near Mexico City airport and damaging its landing gear.
There was also, in 1997, the favourable publicity he gave to the amazing video of a saucer moving at a low altitude across Mexico City, which was eventually subjected to painstaking expert examination and demonstrated to be a fake. Then there was Maussan's wholehearted support for the story of "Dr Reed", who claimed to have killed an alien and kept it in his freezer until it came back to life and. Anyway, you get the idea? There is the suspicion among some ufologists that many of the UFO stories touted by Maussan perhaps might not be entirely true.
The incident occurred on 5 March 2004 involving a Mexican air force plane on a routine flight to attempt to detect aircraft involved in drug smuggling. The objects (or phenomena) were detected by radar and FLIR (infra-red detection equipment) but were not sighted visually. The Mexican secretary of defence, General Gerardo Clemente Vega Garcia, said that the incident was unexplained, so naturally he was asked why he had handed the details and the video to Jaime Maussan instead of giving them to scientists for evaluation.
He replied that they were given to Maussan because he is a person "who has been interested all of his life" in the study of these phenomena and were not given to scientists from institutions of higher learning "perhaps because we do not know them or know who they might be". He also denied that the release had been timed to distract attention from a scandal known as the Ahumada case, involving advisers of the mayor of Mexico City accepting large bribes and being videoed gambling with their ill-gotten wealth in Las Vegas. The scandal also involves a row with Cuba, whose diplomats are said to have interfered in this affair.
Some ufologists were outraged at what they thought were allegations of a hoax by the Mexican government, but they got the facts confused as usual. The allegations were not about the genuineness of the UFO video and testimony but about the timing of its release.
Further confusion was added when various scientists who were consulted about the report offered different and conflicting explanations, usually without taking the trouble to look at the data. These were reported by the news media with hardly any critical comments, which must have been very confusing to interested readers. These explanations most of them not from ufologists included US stealth aircraft, meteors, reentering satellites, hoax hot-air balloons, ball lightning, flames from oil wells, etc. One or two of them seemed worthy of further investigation but most were just silly. A good example of silty explanations was provided by a group of Mexican university teachers who said that the phenomena were just lightning flashes. They avoided commenting on the fact that the phenomena were not sighted visually and did not behave like any known type of atmospheric electrical phenomena. They also refused to study the weather report for the Campeche area (where the phenomena occurred) for the day and time in question.
When push comes to shove the old 'Luminescent refraction ionizational enturbulating coalescent pulse emission frazzilstatsis' trick always works
The Mexican meteorological service issued a report saying that the conditions at Campeche at the time of the incident would not have produced any electrical phenomena.
Meanwhile, some of the UFO UpDates Listers were getting a bit overwrought, especially Greg Boone, who pondered the reasons for people trying to debunk this and other cases. Commenting on some remarks by Stanton Friedman he expressed agreement with one of his crazier notions: "What do they have to fear? I recall at one of your lectures you mentioned something regarding a collapse of nationalism if the truth were known. This sounds a logical reason to me for their actions." In a later posting he gets even more excited and writes:
"I take it the 'How to Debunk Any UFO Report' handbook hasn't been updated recently. It might be due to the over abundance of 'X Ray Specs' and 'Build Your Own Sub' advertisements. Doesn't that booklet have fold-in back cover as well?"
The Pelican just can't resist making you cringe, so he is going to quote some of Boones joke debunking explanations: "They're not UFOs they're Keebler Cookie Elves [whatever they might be] with itty bitty graham cracker crust covered jets."
"Bugs. No one mentioned bugs! Ha! We've got them! We can say they're a rare collection of Mexican Lightning Bugs that fly in swarms in the upper atmosphere and on occasion have mistaken aircraft for possible mates. Icky but sufficient."
"Car lights. Yes, automobiles on the ground's headlights reflected from the clouds. Heck, the sighting was during the day so let's say that it was a funeral procession. That's why they had their headlights on."
"Ghosts. It's gotta be ghosts when all else fails. That'1l jam up the talk show lines with people who've seen ghosts so that no credible scientist can get a word in edgewise.
"Last but not least, when all else fails, when push comes to shove the old 'Luminescent refraction ionizational enturbulating coalescent pulse emission frazzilstatsis' trick always works. The term is so stupid that it will take weeks before they figure it out."
Yes, you might say, but The Pelican has so far avoided giving his views on the case. Ah, but The Pelican and the other members of the Magonia Mob don't have to say anything, as there are ufologists with the amazing ability to read what they haven't written. On UFO UpDates, Alfred Lehmberg wrote in reply to a posting by Magonia editor John Rimmer:
"Lately, with regard to the latest Mexico flap, you and yours are quick to trot out planet sightings, swamp gas, ground-fires and radar echoes . . ."
No such comments by The Pelican or other members of the Magonia team have appeared on UFO UpDates or anywhere else.