Portage County/Ravenna UFO chase 1966

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Magical Realist, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    That's a very magnified photo. See how large the moon is? In reality Venus would resume it's starlike point of light appearance just as it always does.
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Magical Realist:

    When we say somebody is telling a lie, the important thing is intent. A lie involves knowing the truth and deliberately misrepresenting it to somebody else.

    Compare this to people making honest mistakes. When they do that, they might tell other people things that they personally believe to be true, but which are not in fact true.

    I do not regard it is a lie to tell somebody else something that you honestly believe is true. And it's still not a lie even if it turns out that the thing isn't really true after all.

    In light of this education on what it means to tell a lie, let us examine what you've said, quoted here.

    I have not claimed that newspaper accounts in general tell lies when they describe events second-hand. If a news journalist is honest, she usually aims simply to report accurately what the interviewees said. But journalists are people, and people sometimes make mistakes. In summarising accounts from interviewees, journalists can sometimes, if they are not careful, inject their own assumptions into their reporting. This is not lying, because it need not involve a deliberate distortion of what happened. However, it is a mistake, and such mistakes can hinder later analysis of what actually happened.

    I have pointed out several specific places where Renner made assumptions that appear to be entirely his own and not based on what the witnesses said. This is not lying, but it is a case of a journalist making a mistake (even if it seemed perfectly reasonable to him).

    In Weitzel's case, I have given a specific example of where Weitzel made a mistake, such that his own report is internally inconsistent. Both sets of alleged facts in his report cannot be true simultaneously. Weitzel's intent or lack of it is actually secondary here. It is enough to notice that Weitzel gives two contradictory accounts of events.

    As for Spaur, he was the star witness in this case. Neff, apparently, wanted to avoid the limelight. Spaur's story gradually changed over the course of multiple interviews after the event. Some details changed, but as importantly we can see that Spaur tended to expand and elaborate his initial accounts in later interviews. I think that Spaur probably felt pressured by the expert grillings he was getting from "official" people in the Air Force, and equally by the press, to make his story sound more impressive over time. Also, he probably had the urge to "double down" on his UFO story when he felt like it was simply being dismissed our of hand by people like Quintanella.

    I'm not saying that Spaur was lying, either. He probably believed what he was saying.

    As for Panzanella and Huston, both made mistakes, but again I have not accused either of them of telling deliberate lies.

    All things considered, the major police witnesses in this case all seem to me to have given basically honest accounts of what they thought they saw.

    I can't definitively account for Spaur's claims about the extremely bright illumination of the ground. But then, I know that memories are fallible and that Spaur may well have imagined this detail after the event. I'd have to check what Neff and Huston had to say about ground illumination. Of course, all of them had time to talk to each other before giving any official statements.

    The problem here is that we don't have a word-for-word transcript of what they actually said in their interviews. It's very easy for somebody writing the account to write something like "While they watched...", but there's no guarantee that detail is correct. I think it is quite plausible to assume that the UFO only began to move down the road and accelerate once they started driving down the road and accelerating the car.

    I did not say that the meteor needed to be massive or exploding. But you are correct about the mistake.

    Again, we have no way to reconstruct the exact sequence of events. Spaur's estimates of size and distance and stuff could have come from any time in the 30 minutes or so that he was observing the UFO. And then, when he told the story, he could retrospectively applying those estimates to the time of the initial sighting.

    The meteor is lost to view as they get into the car. They look around for it. They see Venus out the front windshield. What's implausible about that?

    How long before? Remember, they passed under bridges and through tunnels and traffic during the chase. At some point, it is likely they shifted their attention from Venus to the weather balloon.

    I'm not sure about this notion of it "returning". I think that may be an assumption somebody has injected into the account. See how easy it is to do that? Can you understand now how a journalist could do the same thing?

    What they said was that the UFO apparently waited for them when they lost it, but they managed to pick it up again. This is all consistent with the "pacing" effect of Venus that I discussed previously.

    I think it was later than the Pennsylvania border. Very probably, though, this is what Panzanella was watching at the petrol station, and what they were all watching by the time they met up there.
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Philosophy sites will back up the definition of lying as an intentional act of deceiving. But I have trouble teasing out the unconscious from the conscious when it comes to lying. If someone makes up some shit, and then tells people it actually happened, then they're lying in my book. Could they be lying unintentionally? Maybe so. But telling a lie is still telling a lie, whether you believe in it or not. The motive may be different, but the action is the same.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Hey! This is interesting. Thanks, Magical Realist.

    I'm starting to get the impression that some of the issues in this case stem from the fact that the quoted times are often out by an hour. I can chase this up, but I'm sure I read somewhere that there was some kind of daylight saving time in effect in certain places but not others.

    In another document, I have the time of the UFO report from a woman in Summitt County to the police as 4:50 am. Is Newton Falls, Ohio in Summitt County? Are we talking about the same thing here? I'd guess this is the same, but here the time she woke up is given as 3:50 am.

    Also, the rise time of Venus, above, is given as 3:35 am, but elsewhere I've seen it as 4:35 am.

    If we assume that all the times in the quoted report are an hour "early" according to the times I've been quoting from other reports up to now, then we have her seeing a bright light in the sky at 4:50 am, which was most likely Venus.

    Then at 6:15 am, she notices a second light in the sky, must brighter, to the southeast of Venus (as reported). She describes that as a bright yellow color. But notice that sunrise was at 5:50 am local time, so the sun by this time had risen, though she might not have been able to see the sun directly yet from her location. And by 6:30 she can't see it any more.

    It is at least conceivable that at the second light, seen at 6:15 was the weather balloon, accounting for its yellow colour, reflecting the sun's rays. However, this probably also depends on how far away she was, and I suspect she was too far away to see the same weather balloon the police officers were looking at at around 5:50 - 6 am.

    Since she wasn't interviewed, apparently, it's hard to get to the bottom of what she saw. Suffice it to say that what she saw is not inconsistent with the Venus/weather balloon hypothesis.

    I didn't claim there was a great meteor explosion.

    Go out at night some time and watch the sky. Chances are that if you watch for a while, particularly at certain times of year, and you're in a dark enough place, you'll see a number of meteors. They are much more common than you think.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    There's no way to know. Nobody mentioned or was asked about the moon, to my knowledge.

    Or maybe because they recognised the moon and thought nothing of it, whereas seeing Venus was unusual and it drew their attention.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Go outside and look at it when you get a chance.
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Oh right..that weather balloon that was 80 miles all the way over in Pennsyvania on a practically still morning. My does it get around, wherever it is convenient for you to invoke it. lol!

    Uh no..there was no sun at 5:15 in the morning, the time quoted in the report. So there's no way it would be a brilliant light as big as a house. And since it was in the east-southeast, it wouldn't be reflecting anything even if there was some sunshine. It'd be silouetted. You know how light works right?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I've lived my whole life looking at Venus. I know for a fact it looks like a star. You're just desperate to turn it into a ufo. I know your game. You're not fooling anyone.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    More on times in Ohio in 1966:

    Daylight saving time started on 24 April in 1966, when clocks were moved forward by an hour, and ended on 30 October 1966. The events in question occurred on 17 April 1966.

    There are at least two timezones which people have used to quote the times involved in the events of 17 April.

    There's Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is what I have been trying to use.
    Then there's Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDST), which is what some other sources use.

    However, even taking these things into account, there still seem to be problems with the times reported by some sources. For example, some quoted times seem to be an hour earlier than EST times, for some reason, so perhaps some sources used a third time zone.

    The best way to ground all is, I think, is to try to use EST consistently. There's no argument about the time of sunrise on 17 April, relative to the events in question, and that occurred at about 5:50 am EST. The rest of the events are best referenced to that.

    I should note that I've also come across a reference to one website, at least, that claims (incorrectly) that daylight savings stared on 3 April in 1966, and that site therefore assumes that the EST times are 1 hour before the quotes times in witness statements. This is incorrect, and might account for some of the confusion. I'm not sure how many sources make a similar mistake, or to what extent this mistake has propagated down the years.

    More information of the daylight savings problem can be found in the discussion at the bottom of the following page:

  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    So Spaur's account of it being like high noon and so bright he thought his clothes were on fire was just what,,his imagination? It would have to have exploded to make a light that bright. I mean that's your whole reason for making up this fictional meteor, to explain the initial light that came over the trees and then brightened like the sun? Tell me how that's not an exploding meteor. Go outside tonight and look at a normal meteor and tell me how that's like high noon.
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Now, now, Magical Realist. Don't go making shit up.

    I have already corrected you on the notion that Spaur thought his clothes were one fire, twice. So please don't make that mistake again. I'll start to think you're deliberately lying.

    As for his account of it being like high noon, yes, I think that was probably his imagination after the event. What did the other witnesses say about it?

    Certainly nobody else on the roads reported a light as bright as high noon flying along not far above the road/fields.
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    The sequence is provided by Spaur himself and his description of what he experienced. That is totally reliable, just as everything else he said he saw is reliable. Editing his account to fit your theory isn't going to work.
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    You're lying now. Spaur himself said he had to check to see if his clothes were on fire in the audiotaped interview. I told you to listen to that. You never did did you? So much for your credibility on this. And no, it brightening and being like high noon wasn't his imagination. It's actually in his recorded account. Go back and read it again.
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    So what? Knock yourself out..lol!
  18. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    There have been times where Venus has surprised me the way it stood out and I have experienced looking at it and thought it was moving as if flying. Early morning.
    I can believe someone could mistake it for something else.
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Checking with my astronomy program, I put the rise time of Venus on 17 April 1966 in Ohio at around 4:00 am EST, with the precise time depending on exact location. (I haven't narrowed down the location precisely.)

    Moonrise was at around 4:50 am EST. Interestingly, Saturn also rose at about this time, a little to the north of the Moon, but it was much dimmer than either Venus or the Moon.

    Sunrise was at about 5:50 EST.

    Note: EST is UTC -5.

    To summarise:

    Event Time (EST) Time (EDST) Azimuth Elevation
    Venus rises 4:05 am 5:05 am 100 deg. 0
    Moon rises 4:55 am 5:55 am 102 deg. 0
    Venus at moon rise 4:55 am 5:55 am 108 deg. 8 deg.
    Sunrise 5:55 am 6:55 am 77 deg. 0
    Venus at sun rise 5:55 am 6:55 am 118 deg. 19 deg.
    Moon at sun rise 5:55 am 6:55 am 112 deg. 11 deg.

    Interestingly, the moon was at about half the apparent elevation of Venus at the end of the chase, and still quite low on the horizon. It is quite possible that, taking intervening terrain into account, the police officers chasing Venus would not have been able to see the Moon until late in the chase.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    And except for the fact that two sources confirm that Venus rose at 3:35 AM, everything would be peachy!
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Those two sources are incorrect for Ohio. Check for yourself if you don't believe me.
  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I've never mistaken the planet Venus for 45 ft across elliptical brilliant object with a cone of light shining on the ground. Not even on my best shroom trip...
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I don't believe you. I believe the astronomer Allen J. Hynek..He was there, remember?

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