Was the New Guinea/Father Gill UFO Case a False Horizon?

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
A false horizon may have been involved in one of the most famous UFO cases... The New Guinea/Father Gill UFO.

It has been suggested that it was a squid boat sitting "above" a false horizon.

http://www.project1947.com/forum/bcoz5.htm#gill2





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Squid boats in California.
 
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Mechanik

Active Member
Fascinating. I had no idea that that’s how you fish for squid. That’s why I love this site! I learn something new every day.
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
This makes a lot more sense from a human standpoint as well. I think it's more believable that squid fishers would be happy to wave at landbound folks than that aliens would stand still and parrot waving movements while hovering over the ocean.
 

jarlrmai

Active Member
Boats can move fairly fast, so if they start moving and then turn off the lights could have that effect.
 
It's all academic with no supporting photo/video evidence, but for me, from the Reverend's demeanour and description, even a fast squid boat doesn't fit what he says he saw.
 

JMartJr

Active Member
It's all academic with no supporting photo/video evidence, but for me, from the Reverend's demeanour and description, even a fast squid boat doesn't fit what he says he saw.
Unless he misremembers exactly what he saw, or misinterpreted it while seeing it. Which we are, all of us, prone to do.

I remain fairly uninterested in "eyewitness account" cases, for that reason. Some people my accurately and honestly describe exactly what was on display in front of them, but others lie (some well, some poorly, and from a variety of motives), still others honesty report their memory of things they have remembered incorrectly, or revise and extend their memories as they try to fill in gaps that they didn't observe. Lacking a reliable method for deciding which accounts fall into which category, I think the best I can do with such cases is say "Well, whattaya know? Neat, if true..."
 

Kavkaz1

New Member
Unless he misremembers exactly what he saw, or misinterpreted it while seeing it. Which we are, all of us, prone to do.

I remain fairly uninterested in "eyewitness account" cases, for that reason. Some people my accurately and honestly describe exactly what was on display in front of them, but others lie (some well, some poorly, and from a variety of motives), still others honesty report their memory of things they have remembered incorrectly, or revise and extend their memories as they try to fill in gaps that they didn't observe. Lacking a reliable method for deciding which accounts fall into which category, I think the best I can do with such cases is say "Well, whattaya know? Neat, if true..."
So, my area of focus in psychology (this is my major at uni) is forensics, and one of the things you very quickly realize is how astonishingly inaccurate eye witness accounts are - no matter who they are from. In general, people do not remember as many details of a situation as they think they do. You can run this experiment on your own! Think about the last time you were out with a friend and try to remember what color shirt they had on (or something). A common thing that we do is remember that some article of clothing was, say, red, and then apply that color to an item that it was not a part of. A red hat often becomes a red shirt in one's memory. These sound like small details, but they are really important in determining exactly what happened when all you have are eye witness accounts. Another thing that happens is that our memories of events are often colored by the narratives we superimpose over them, especially over time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUbKxVlA_0M


Here, in this video, you can see how this manager's memory of his interactions w/the helmet dude are colored by his feelings about the situation as it happened / after the fact. He believed, passionately, that he came face to face w/helmet dude on multiple occasions, standing shoulder-width-apart from him. In his mind, that is probably what the confrontation felt like, but if you go back and look at the security footage, he just passed him by. His memory of the situation told a different story than the evidence did, and while it may not seem like a SUPER big difference, when there is no better evidence, it becomes an extremely giant hole.
 
"Well, whattaya know? Neat, if true..."

I'll be honest: that about sums up my opinion.

While a fata morgana is obviously plausible, even probable, my personal opinion (and that's all it is) is that it's doubtful that almost 40 people, including dozens of Papuan natives, would mistake a squid boat for a hovering craft (or even up to 8 of them), two nights running, during 6 hours of observations. Plus, the report (linked below) makes it clear there were numerous sightings of anomalous craft in PNG around that time.

Re: the reverend's specific case, would not one of the locals likely be able to recognise a squid boat and be honest/brave enough to point out what it was to a man like the reverend, even if the admission came weeks or months later? The boats must have been common sights if they were operating in that area, and likely recognisable even if a mirage were distorting them. The reverend also kept detailed logs of his sightings, hence the "inaccuracy through emotionality" aspect doesn't seem to be a factor here as per the video of the biker.

The reverend even remarks at one point that the top part of the "craft" reminded him of the upper deck of a boat, and later on he says he can't be sure it wasn't a boat when asked if it was one (Interview: 38m02s). "OK," say some, "case closed." I suppose the counter argument to that might be: would 4 fishermen with squid to catch all climb up and down onto the top of the wheelhouse/super structure of their boat in order to wave at distant people on shore? Moreover, the reverend alleges that the craft moved in response to the movement of a torch wielded by one of his assistants. Do squid boats do that?

Is there also any research to indicate (a) the distance required for a false horizon/fata morgana effect to occur, and (b) whether they occur at night as here (the craft was sighted up to 10pm)? I appreciate that distant objects can appear close up because of the phenomenon (or vice versa, or even upside down), but my point is that, when asked whether the object was "miles" or "hundreds of yards" away, the reverend replies that it was "hundreds of feet", later quantifying that to "three-to-four hundred feet". And before anyone screams "Objection! Subjective!", the reverend is honest enough to admit that the day after the sighting, he did take some rudimentary steps to try and gauge the accuracy of his estimates (Interview: 19m58s).

Furthermore, does anyone also know if fata morgana are "reciprocal", i.e. if I'm on one side of the effect and you're on the other, can we both experience the illusion? I'm trying to judge the practicalities of this being a fata morgana and the (allegedly) distant fishermen even being able to see the reverend's party in order to wave back to them, as he alleges they did.

Reverend's Long Interview: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4n2ffAQ54s

Reverend's Short Interview: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usVEWKQLmpI

Partial Report: https://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/frgill1959.pdf
 
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FatPhil

Active Member
Furthermore, does anyone also know if fata morgana are "reciprocal", i.e. if I'm on one side of the effect and you're on the other, can we both experience the illusion? I'm trying to judge the practicalities of this being a fata morgana and the (allegedly) distant fishermen even being able to see the reverend's party in order to wave back to them, as he alleges they did.

Every possible route for a photon to get from the fishermen to the reverend is a possible route for a photon to get from the reverend to the fishermen. So they are reciprocally visible. However, the distortions won't be the same - the squashed will be stretched and the stretched will be squashed, so the fishermen won't *necessarily* recognise their observers as a party of humans. Of course, there will be air flow and the distortions won't be constant, so, all other things being equal, there's no reason to believe one party would get a clearer view than the other.
 
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