Calvine: Disclosure Team Q&A

Rory

Senior Member.
Most of the questions I sent to David have either been answered by now or weren't able to be answered due to confidentiality, but here are his answers to the ones that remain:

4. How confident are you that the photo location you identified is the right one? If confident, what is this based on?

Not confident. It just feels right (my personal feeling, having visited Struan point and Calvine in May 2022). It is simply our 'best guess' based upon local knowledge imparted by Giles Stevens, a member of our team, who lives approximately one mile from Calvine and has explored the area in detail whilst searching for the location.

5. Is it a confirmed fact that both witnesses were male or is that an assumption?

Not a confirmed fact, but assumed based upon several versions of the story from more than one source.

7. Spiers and Baldwin both said they thought it was a "spoof". Did either of them say how they thought it was done? If not, is it possible to ask them?

I did ask them. Baldwin said he believed it was a spoof simply based upon the fact that an object of that size and shape was impossible and it was equally impossible for a Harrier to be present but no record to exist of its flight-plan etc - therefore it must be a spoof, or 'an aerial version of the Loch Ness Monster' as he put it. But he admitted he could not clearly recall the photograph he saw in 1992 only that it was a 'blurred' image of a Stealthy aircraft and he did not remember seeing any analysis of the image.

As for Spiers he told me he did recall the image and agreed with Baldwin that it was a 'spoof'. When I asked him how he could be so sure he said it had been determined by their [MoD]'technical experts'. I then asked for more information as to which technical experts he was referring to (being under the impression that both JARIC and DIS had reached a very different conclusion)...but I never received a response.

1. David has written that the witnesses were chefs who left work at 9pm, whereas Lindsay says the two witnesses were "mainly washing dishes" and it seems generally accepted that the photos were taken close to 9pm, which would be at least forty minutes after they left work. What explains the discrepancies there?

Simple: memory plays tricks. Lindsay admits that his memory is good with respect to some details but poor in respect to others. Any 32 year old memory is likely to have inconsistencies and discrepancies. For instance Lindsay gave us the name of a hotel (Atholl Palace) that he felt sure was their place of work. After visiting the hotel and speaking to the head chef, general manager, receptionist etc and other staff at the relevant time, none of whom were aware of the story, It was obvious this was a red herring. That was confirmed by two other sources who have named another hotel as their place of work - one of whom was a chef who worked with the 2 men (who he says were part-time chefs). I don't feel this contradicts what Lindsay says the men told him, e.g. they were casual, part-time staff working during the summer in a hotel...'mainly washing dishes' does not exclude chopping vegetables and preparing breakfasts.

2. David is quoted in Newsweek as saying The Daily Record said they never received the negatives back from the MoD and seemed doubtful when Lindsay also said they had been returned. Did someone at The Daily Record tell him they hadn't been? And how would they know?

Yes, in 2009 when I first made inquiries at the Record I was told by the librarian and by someone on picture desk (sorry did not make a note of their names) that the negatives had not been returned. But this is anecdotal. I have since heard several other versions from other staff members. The current Chief Reporter tells me that it is possible if they were returned that they might have been 'accidentally thrown out or destroyed' when the Record digitised its old stock of photographs and prints during the late 1990s/2000s.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Clarke says one of the photographers was a keen birdwatcher (hence camera)
is it common for birdwatchers to use b&w film?
Won't be revealing it though (not just for privacy, but also for verification purposes)
this makes me think the photographer is dead or moved to parts unknown, otherwise anything could be verified through him
Hilltop peak over cloud likelwise would either be massively supported, or destroyed.
the UFO was said to not be moving, so it shouldn't look different in the various frames? unless it was rotating?
I'm always a bit wary about things recalled from memory but there was never any sense in him of stalling, making stuff up, reaching for information. Very straightforward and detailed.
that just means he got his story straight beforehand? and that means the delivery cannot attest to the accuracy of the memory

Thank you for the detailed writeup!
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
is it common for birdwatchers to use b&w film?

this makes me think the photographer is dead or moved to parts unknown, otherwise anything could be verified through him

the UFO was said to not be moving, so it shouldn't look different in the various frames? unless it was rotating?

that just means he got his story straight beforehand? and that means the delivery cannot attest to the accuracy of the memory

Thank you for the detailed writeup!
Pure bird photography in the film days would be an expensive and hard to do pursuit it seems unlikely to be the type of thing done by very young person working kitchen jobs like the profile described in the story, it's hard and expensive enough today with digital cameras and relatively cheaper/lighter telephoto lenses, it seems unlikely black and white would be used its rare to see black and white processing of bird photography these days, it of course exists. We'd be talking about a niche specialist though.

I mean it could be that they were inexperienced and didn't really know better and just thought let's go photo some birds and not have any of the right gear.

Or they knew of a place where they could get close to an eagle nest that it would work with a normal camera lens or something. It seems like a bit of a blithe suggestion though to justify the camera, but it raises more questions about the encounter than it solves..

Also a birdwatcher in those days would likely have had binoculars which might have factored into the observation
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Says he was told the camera was a Canon AE 1 Program
Article:
The Canon AE-1 Program is a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera that uses Canon's FD mount lenses. It was introduced in April 1981 as the successor to the Canon AE-1 [..]. The major difference was the addition of the Program AE mode [..]. This mode sets both the shutter speed and aperture automatically—albeit with a slight bias towards the shutter speed setting. The user focuses the camera and then presses the shutter button. For those desiring more control, the AE-1's shutter priority auto-exposure and full manual modes are still available.

No autofocus.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Article:
The Canon AE-1 Program is a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera that uses Canon's FD mount lenses. It was introduced in April 1981 as the successor to the Canon AE-1 [..]. The major difference was the addition of the Program AE mode [..]. This mode sets both the shutter speed and aperture automatically—albeit with a slight bias towards the shutter speed setting. The user focuses the camera and then presses the shutter button. For those desiring more control, the AE-1's shutter priority auto-exposure and full manual modes are still available.

No autofocus.
Yeah the only way they could have had AF was to use a Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF lens which had its own self contained AF

I can't find any specs on fast it could take photos, this would be an interesting comparison, if 6 photos were taken and jet moves in them, knowing how far apart the images could have been taken would be useful.
 

Max Phalange

Active Member
Yeah the only way they could have had AF was to use a Canon FD 35-70mm f/4 AF lens which had its own self contained AF

I can't find any specs on fast it could take photos, this would be an interesting comparison, if 6 photos were taken and jet moves in them, knowing how far apart the images could have been taken would be useful.
With a film camera, the limitation on how quickly it could shoot was just how fast you could wind the film. Paparazzi and sports photogs would use motor drives, and you could fit one to an AE-1 — although this would be unusual for an casual user.

Four frames per second, 12x AA batteries! https://www.fstopcameras.com/accessories/canon-motor-drive-ma

 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
So I guess how fast you could take photos would come down to a practical exercise based on the operator skill, etc.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
is it common for birdwatchers to use b&w film?

That I wouldn't know. But let's say the answer was "no, it's not common, it's rare" then we can infer that it sometimes happens and that it could have happened here.

To be honest, I think most of the questions about "whether it was normal or usual for a chef/a teenager/a photographer/a hiker/etc to do x" are red herrings. Even if unusual it doesn't mean impossible, and people do all kinds of things that aren't necessarily optimal or logical. I had a decent film camera when I was around that age and I had no clue how to use it, just had a bit of cash and thought it might be cool.

this makes me think the photographer is dead or moved to parts unknown, otherwise anything could be verified through him

Not sure why you would think they were dead or "moved to parts unknown" - though the latter must be true since all places are "parts unknown" when you don't know where someone is - it just means that he doesn't want to put the name out there not only for their privacy but to aid his own verification process. Like if someone gets in touch and says they were part of it he can ask them what the name is on the back of the photo and if they don't know then it weeds out the phonies and the kooks; that sort of thing.

I should also add that David just mentioned in an email that he's not 100% that the name on the photo is the photographer (ie, it could be a go-between, a pseudonym, etc).

that just means he got his story straight beforehand? and that means the delivery cannot attest to the accuracy of the memory

Always possible. But give the whole two-hour thing a watch and see what you think. I didn't notice any hesitation or reaching in providing highly specific and detailed answers to the questions that were put to him. My only real concern would be in trusting someone's memory of something so far back that he only spent fifteen minutes looking at.

Thank you for the detailed writeup!

My pleasure! Thanks for thanking. :)

12x AA batteries!

Oof! Life was so expensive and tedious - all that shopping, all those actual physical objects - back when we lived in the real world. So much better now that we can just download everything for free.

Imagine having to buy cameras and film and batteries and development to take pictures whereas now you can just take them from someone else's website.

That's progress. :)
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
the UFO was said to not be moving, so it shouldn't look different in the various frames? unless it was rotating?

Then we're going up against the laws of physics. It's under a force it can't avoid, so unless that's countered it will accelerate down that gravitational gradient. To not move, it needs to negate that force, which it can't do by generating a field of any known type, so it must instead fling an alternative mass downwards with the same momentum that it would have gained due to the force on it. That would be turbulent, and very noisy for an object of that size, it wouldn't be just two hobbyist photographers who would know about this. The contrivance becomes untenable.

Or ... it's a stationary object at rest because of static forces keeping it in place, like a mountain, or a rock.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I didn't notice any hesitation or reaching in providing highly specific and detailed answers to the questions that were put to him.
which to me is a red flag. if i was recalling something from 30 years ago, there'd be a ton of long long pauses, my eyes closed most of the time. were his eyes closed? or gazing off unfocused into the distance?

is it common for birdwatchers to use b&w film?
everything looks better in black and white.

especially if you already have them in color.

or if you forgot you had black and white in your camera
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
Or ... it's a stationary object at rest because of static forces keeping it in place, like a mountain, or a rock.
Or a balloon at equilibrium altitude. I know, I know, it's supposed to be a super-hi-tech stealth aircraft, and a balloon isn't any of that. But suppose the aim was to test the radar profile of the aircraft against the UK's radar systems, without actually sending the aircraft itself. Would it be possible to make a 'blimp' with the desired external size and shape, covered with panels of whatever stealthy hi-tech materials are used on the real thing? (I think 'Stu Little' claims to have noticed 'panels' in the photos he saw.) The blimp would then appear to 'hover' for long periods. There would be a problem with wind, as unless it is tethered the blimp would drift. But maybe this is part of the story: the blimp was originally tethered at some secluded air base, but broke away and had to be tracked down.

This is mere speculation, but any port in a storm! The findings of David Clarke & Co point quite strongly towards 'secret aircraft', but there are obvious difficulties with that. I was inclining towards a 'hoax' explanation, but the evidence of Spiers and Baldwin turns out to be disappointingly weak, unless Spiers can remember what the technical experts said. I don't think a hoax can be ruled out, but it would be nice to have a viable alternative.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
(I think 'Stu Little' claims to have noticed 'panels' in the photos he saw.)
...which would not be very doable for an inflated fabric object.

I totally reversed my meaning! Yikes! Edit to:

... which WOULD be very doable for an inflated fabric object.



rt.jpg
 
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...which would not be very doable for an inflated fabric object.

rt.jpg

...unless it is tethered to some secluded strategic place, at equilibrium altitude thanks to cutting edge static forces keeping it hovering for long periods depending upon the wind conditions?

Out of curiosity, is there today (or has there ever been) a blimp, kite, balloon or any other inflated fabric object with such vanguard airspace technology yet?
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Or a balloon at equilibrium altitude. I know, I know, it's supposed to be a super-hi-tech stealth aircraft, and a balloon isn't any of that. But suppose the aim was to test the radar profile of the aircraft against the UK's radar systems, without actually sending the aircraft itself. Would it be possible to make a 'blimp' with the desired external size and shape, covered with panels of whatever stealthy hi-tech materials are used on the real thing? (I think 'Stu Little' claims to have noticed 'panels' in the photos he saw.) The blimp would then appear to 'hover' for long periods. There would be a problem with wind, as unless it is tethered the blimp would drift. But maybe this is part of the story: the blimp was originally tethered at some secluded air base, but broke away and had to be tracked down.

This is mere speculation,

The blimp idea was my thought as well, a while ago. I think I posted it somewhere (can't be bothered to look for it). But why not? It is as much plausible as any other idea at this point. Can a ship like this "carry" large panels? Sure, if light enough. And also, it has this stealthy shape to it, typical of radar avoidance.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
  • Says he could see panels on the craft
  • Says "I never thought for one minute it was ETs"

  • Says "it was definitely man-made"
  • "Common knowledge that the Americans were testing stealth craft at Machrihanish"
  • Agrees with estimates of 100 feet in size

No purely manmade craft like this other than a balloon can maintain a static position without having engines/rotors etc

So is he essentially saying the story (hovering and then shooting into the sky) is embellished by the witnesses but there was a 100 foot manmade object there, that could only really be a diamond shaped balloon?

It's hard to tell because sometimes with UFO stories there is dog whistle, where you say I don't think its aliens, but the details of the story when followed through to logical conclusions and if taken at face value go in that direction, leaving the reader to fill in the blanks.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
According to the Wikipedia article on 'RAF Machrihanish':

During the 1960s, it [the airfield] was redeveloped and became an RAF station and was made available to the US Navy as a nuclear weapons store and base for components of the US Navy SEALs Naval Special Warfare Group 2.

The draw-down of US military forces in Europe after the end of the Cold War resulted in the US Navy leaving Machrihanish and returning their facilities to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on 30 June 1995, after which the station became MOD Machrihanish and was retained on a care and maintenance basis.

If this is correct, at the relevant time (i.e. around 1990) Machrihanish was in practice a US Navy facility, and might be seen as a suitable place for doing odd bits of research and testing. I leave it to American readers to consider how it would fit into the range of facilities available. I note that according to the Wiki article on 'US Naval Research Laboratory':

Fundamental aspects of stealth technology were developed at NRL, including the radar absorption mechanisms in ferrite-containing materials
 
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