Anomalistic Observational Phenomena


Baker, Robert M. L., Jr., Observational Evidence of Anomalistic Phenomena(1). Journal of  the Astronautical Sciences Vol XV, No. 1. pp. 31-36, 1968.


"A summary of data obtained from a series of analyses and experiments, which were initially carried out by the author under the auspices of Douglas Aircraft Company and based upon movie film containing anomalistic data, originally provided by the United States Air Force, is presented. It is concluded that, on the basis of the photographic evidence, the images cannot be explained by any presently known natural phenomena. On the other hand, the quality of the images is insufficient to determine the nature of the anomalistic phenomena recorded on the movie film.

"Footnote 1. Manuscript submitted November, 1967. Paper was presented at an AAS Seminar at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. A manuscript on the same subject matter was originally submitted in 1962. The complete revision of this earlier manuscript, after receiving three favorable reviews, was accepted.


"Because of the conflict between every hypothesized natural phenomena and one or more details of the hard-data, photographic evidence analyzed (in addition to the uncertainty of the soft data, reported accounts [or rumors] of jet aircraft), no clear-cut conclusion as to a natural phenomena can be made and the anomalistic images, having no real detail, cannot be analyzed further. These unexplainable images, taken alone, do not provide data on mass, shape, size, or linear speed and, indeed like the early single-camera meteor photographs or even like the early attempts at photography through the microscope, are merely unresolved blobs and simply indicate the presence of a phenomena. In the past, historical instances, supplementary data and equipment improvement was sought after in a systematic fashion even though there was only conjecture as to the exact character of the phenomena. A number of other films have been viewed by the author, which purport to be UFO's, and the all seem to exhibit the common quality of poor image definition. This situation is not especially surprising since most of them have been taken with amateur equipment or they were accidentally taken from a great distance by cinetheodalites that were not "tracking" them. Like the Montana film, some of these films definitely cannot be explained on the basis of natural phenomena (others can be "explained" if one stretches one's imagination)."

Baker, Robert M. L., Jr., Letter to the Editor: Future Experiments on Anomalistic Observational
Phenomena, Journal of the Astronautical Sciences Vol. XV No. 1. pp. 44-45, 1968.


"The requirement for additional experiments in the area of anomalistic phenomena is given, based upon the paucity of "hard data"; relevant data collected by astronomers, meteoriticists, and meteorologists, which would be either over-looked or not detected; and the possible "filtering" and/or "editing" out of pertinent data by our various space surveillance systems prior to its evaluation. An experiment involving two cameras slaved to a detection radar is outlined broadly and it is concluded that such a system should be constructed for the use in meteoritic, meteorological, astronautical, psychological, and "UFO" study programs.


"In summary, then, four points are to be made:
1) That we have not now nor have we been able in the past to achieve a complete or even partially complete surveillance of space in the vicinity of the Earth, which would betray the presence of anomalistic phenomena.
2) That so-called hard data on anomalistic observational phenomena do, in fact, exist; but that they are of poor quality due to the equipment employed in obtaining them.
3) That it follows from the scientific method that an experiment or experiments be devised to define better the anomalistic data.
4) That, in order to justify such an experiment or experiments, it is not necessary to presuppose the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life operating in the environs of Earth or to make very dubious speculations [9],[10] either concerning "their" advanced scientific and engineering capabilities or "their" psychological motivations and behavioral patterns."

Anomalistic Observational Phenomena (AOP) from "UFOs - A Scientific Debate", Sagan C. and Page, T., Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. pp. 190-210, 1972. Chapter 8 entitled: Motion Pictures of UFOs by Robert M. L. Baker Jr.

Chapter Introductory Statement -

"The data that I have reviewed and analyzed since 1954 lead me to believe that there is substantial evidence to support the claim that an unexplained phenomenon-or phenomena-is present in the environment of earth, but that it may not be "flying", may not always be "unidentified", and may not even take the form of substantive "objects". I would, therefore, prefer the label "Anomalistic Observational Phenomena" rather than "UFO". In this report I will concentrate on the anomalistic observational phenomena as depicted in motion pictures, and will not attempt to support any particular hypothesis as to the source of the phenomenon.

Chapter Conclusion -

"As already mentioned, 'UFO films' are ungratifying for research--at least those I have seen to date. Amateur photographic equipment is usually brought into action after the most remarkable aspect of the phenomenon is past, the photographer is usually excited, his camera is not at hand, and he is ill-prepared to do an adequate photographic job. Furthermore, films taken with amateur or even professional photographic equipment cannot be expected to be adequate for photogrametric analysis as would, for example, a cinetheodalite films. Thus we find ourselves viewing images of little blobs or dots of light. About the only correlation among them is that the images are usually elliptical and usually come in pairs. The characteristics of these blobs and dots may rule out most natural interpretations, but they cannot define what really is being portrayed on the film. It is frustrating to analyze these films. One often wishes to grasp at some candidate natural phenomena, only to find this first theory shaken and, in all honesty, to discover that the natural-phenomena hypothesis is faulty and should not be further maintained.

"If the only alternatives to birds, airplane reflections, mirages, balloons, Venus and so forth were little green men from another solar system scooting around in flying saucers, then one would be forced to say that such creatures and machines are so unlikely that any alternative, no matter how hard it is to justify, is 'better.' I do not hold to this concept of one alternative hypothesis. I believe that photos are hard observational data (albeit extremely vague in meaning due to low information content), data that result from poorly understood phenomenon or phenomena. It may be that these photographed phenomena are related to ball lightning, or the rocket effect in small comets entering our atmosphere, or ephemeral natural meteoritic satellites of the earth, or a thousand other things. Whatever they are, we are obliged to find out more about them. It is my conclusion that there are only so many quantitative data that can be squeezed out of the vast amounts to date, including the 'bit buckets' of surveillance-radar uncorrelated targets (UCT's).

"I believe that we will frustrate ourselves by endless arguments over past, incomplete data-scenarios; what we need is more sophisticated analysis of fresh observational anomalistic data. We must come up with more than just a rehash of old data such as fuzzy white dots shown in figures 8-5A and 8-10.

"It seems very unlikely that existing optical and radar monitoring systems would collect the type of quantitative data required to identify the phenomena. Moreover, we currently have no satisfactory basis upon which to evaluate the credibility of the myriads of eyewitness reports. Thus, continuing to 'massage' past reports of anomalistic events would seem to be a waste of our scientific resources.

"In balance, then, I conclude that we are not now, nor have we been in the past, able to achieve even partially complete surveillance of space in the vicinity of earth sufficient to provide statistical information on anomalistic phenomena. Hard data on anomalistic observational phenomena do exist, but they are of poor quality because of the equipment employed in obtaining them. Soft data on anomalistic observational phenomena also exist, most of them of doubtful credibility. Experiments should be devised, and study programs should be initiated, expressly to define anomalistic data better.  In order to justify such experiments and associated studies, it is not necessary to presuppose the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life operating in the environs of earth, or to speculate about 'their' advanced engineering capabilities or 'their' psychological motivations."