One goal of science is to find out if we’re alone in the universe. Still, it seems obvious that “there’s an extraterrestrial intelligence out there,” said Errol and other members of the Oregon UFO “watcher” group that investigated coastal beaches Feb. 12 in search of “mysterious metal boxes” that “showed-up last week after a particularly busy night of sightings.” Meanwhile, there’s still no “official” explanation – as of Feb. 13 -- about the boxes from marine science officials at the nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. What’s known is the “boxes” sort of radiate a “blue light” that doesn’t get lost in the blaze of “our sunsets.” Also, Errol notes how coastal beach goers seem to just walk by the boxes without even taking notice." In turn, there's a “who cares” attitude by local police since the metal boxes seem benign. Still, there were reports from locals this past weekend that “someone is moving the boxes.”
Metal boxes radiate colors
In turn, those who live near Stonefield Beach – where three metal boxes have appeared in the surf – also notice an aura of colors.
Also, locals are at odds on how to explain the colors.
For instance, Errol’s recorded several views, including one local Stonefield astronomy fan who says that “over the course of time it takes for the sun to set, the colors deepen, and you get this very intense feeling inside that this is much more than just a big square block of metal.”
Also, some beach goers – who said they feared some radiation or other threat might be thrown off by the mysterious boxes – are now “sort of living with them” as part of the local beach debris.
“It’s nothing to me but a hunk of solid metal,” quipped one senior who poke one of the boxes with a stick; while also noting “there’s no barnacles around it. I dug down and there are no barnacles underneath it either?” The man said anything floating at sea for a long period “would have barnacles of some sort?”
An unofficial count of 18 boxes has been identified along the Oregon coast, adds Errol, with “many others up along beaches in Washington State and a dozen others down at Clam Beach in the Humboldt, California area.”
SETI watchers lights go off and on
At time same time, news that the “Allen Telescope Array” had gone into a state of temporary hibernation due to lack of funds was a big UFO sighting story at this time last year when the University of California Berkeley’s website berkeley.edu explained that the “Allen Telescope Array – named after its main donor, Steve Allen – went dark due to funding problems.
In turn, berkeley.edu noted that the Allen Telescope Array – that’s operated by the University of California Berkeley’s Radio Astronomy Laboratory – had to cut operations because “it relied on funds form the National Science Foundation and the state of California. In April of 2011 those funds ran dry, causing the humongous 42 dish field to turn off the lights. Many feared that this heralded the end of SETI.”
However, there’s been new funding and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) continues, but “the program has not gone unscathed from the recent economic turmoil,” added a report on berkeley.edu.
“What this all means is the big watchers looking as we do for life out there also have issues with a worldwide community that still views UFOs as a joke,” says Errol during a Feb. 12 Huliq interview at Stonefield Beach where locals are also musing about ways and means to make UFO sightings more mainstream.
“The draw,” adds Errol, “is that we now know from scientific investigation that Mars and other planets may harbor life,” with other ufologists thinking the real reason for having a SETI program is to ease the real fear in man about the “unknowns in this universe.”
One SETI scientist, Dr. Paul Davies of the University of Arizona, even suggested that we review high definition images of the moon to look for signs of ancient alien civilizations, added Errol who also notes how “people are so sensitive today that even us mentioning these metal boxes on the beach has some saying ‘who cares,’ and others thinking ‘what the heck?’”
Metal boxes metaphor of UFO fear
While Errol and other UFO “watchers” think the sudden appearance of these strange metal boxes is interesting, they say the real story is still up in the heavens “during those blue night” UFO sightings that still capture their attention “when those lights change in the sky.”
Also, anything that’s “unknown” – such as those blue nights or metal boxes appearing – becomes “a sort of metaphor of our deep fear of UFOs and what they really mean to us,” explained Errol who spent time as an agriculture student at nearby Oregon State University before becoming a mill worker who retired at nearby Bray’s Point where he now writes and studies the sky.
In fact, French UFO hunters call the practice of watching the skies for UFOs as ‘l’heure bleue.”
According to the famed author Joan Didion, the English version of this blue light – that’s cast by unexplained phenomena – is termed “the gloaming,” with Didion stating how “the very word gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour – carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows. During the blue nights you think the end of the day will never come. As the blue night draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going.”
While Didion writes about these “blue nights” as a metaphor about fear and loss, there’s also real fear for many locals here at Stonefield Beach whose homes overlook the Pacific where UFO sightings are a "main event" on many evenings; while, in turn, "other stuff seems to occur on the beaches."
Strange Stonefield Beach
In turn, locals state that because of the rash of UFO sightings – “that have been part and parcel of this area since we first heard about ‘flying saucers’ during World War II when the ‘watchers’ were looking out for threats from Japan that used hot air balloons to drop bombs on Oregon beaches.”
While it’s an historical fact that Japan did drop bombs on Oregon beaches during World War II, the jury is still out on who or what dropped 18 or more metal boxes on local beaches.
At the same time, a Stonefield Beach house is playing the Eagles “Hotel California” song, with lyrics that go:
“Relax, said the night man
We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave.”
Thus, it’s no wonder that those visiting Stonefield Beach for the first time this past weekend – in search of those strange metal boxes – note how “very strange this place really is.”
SETI still going, but for how long?
Because there’s been so much back and forth on the Allen Telescope Array going away, and then returning and then going away again, SETI project manager, Dr. Eric Korpela, wrote about it recently on the SETI@home staff blog. Here’s some views from this renowned SETI scientist, Doctor Korpela:
“The ATA has gone into hibernation due to lack of funding. ATA requires about $1.5M/yr for operations and an additional $1M/yr to support the SETI Institute's science programs. $2.5M/yr sounds like a lot, but the cost of one F/A-18 jet could fully fund that for 23.5 years.”
“Hibernation is in between operational and fully shut down. In hibernation some systems necessary to keep the telescope healthy are still powered on. In a full shutdown, critical components would be removed from the telescope and put into storage to prevent damage. That would make restarting expensive. But keeping systems powered during hibernation is also expensive. If funding is not found, at some point the decision would be made to shut down completely.”
“We don't have that kind of money. We're also on a very tight budget and will have enough difficulty keeping SETI@home in operation with our current funding.”
“The 350 telescope ATA would have been a great instrument for SETI. But as it exists now, the 42 telescope ATA is less sensitive to SETI signals than Arecibo and takes longer to survey the same amount of sky. That doesn't mean it's inappropriate for anyone's research, it just doesn't fit the bill for mine. The expansion to 350 telescopes will take much more money than the I will ever have known anyone who knows anyone who has. It may even approach the cost of that F/A-18. I'd love to see it happen, but I'm understandably pessimistic. If I were a billionaire and had 60 million burning a hole in my pocket, then I might fund the expansion. Assuming I didn't blow it all on ninja supermodel robots first.”
And, when it comes to the key question is SETI in danger of closing down? Dr. Eric Korpela writes: “Not by a long shot. Remember the start of the SETI Institute what caused by the cancellation of all federal SETI funding. If the ATA closes down, I think the SETI Institute will just concentrate on making instrumentation that they can use on other telescopes.”
Black-Hole mystery at Stonefield Beach
While it’s not up there with strange metal boxes that one can see and touch, the carvings in various large pieces of driftwood at Stonefield Beach is “probably the coolest discovery we’ve made,” explains an Oregon State University student named Emma who was so moved by the drawings that she’s now working on an essay about “a rendering of stars drawn on old beach logs that point to the same black holes that we’re now hearing so much about.”
According to Emma, astronomers have recently discovered two of the largest black holes ever recorded. “We’re talking about black holes that are maybe 20 times the size of the solar system. And we’re talking about me sounding like Carl Sagan, but there are billions of stars and maybe 40 billion suns.”
Emma also explains that the black holes are now believed to be at the center of the galaxies, but “how did someone know this when they drew these black holes (burnt into the logs with a hot poker or something?, and putting stars around our Sun and our solar system with these black holes that tells me somebody or something knew this before the official star map rendering of this discovery of black holes in the midst of so many, many cuttings in these logs of stars.”
Colors and stars and metal boxes
While it’s known that we human have been enthralled by those intense colors in the sky for centuries, Emma notes from her studies at nearby Oregon State University, that it’s just been within the past decade that “our natural environment, such as here at Stonefield Beach, contains something that creates a ‘diffraction of light form a marital containing a periodic structure on the length scale of the wavelength of visible light,’ stated one of my physics textbooks.”
Now, after spending time and researching such things as the “iridescence of these metal boxes in certain light,” Emma goes on to speculate that “there’s strong colorations here in the sky, on the beach, in the dead trees and just in life at Stonefield Beach that I believe are made of the structural color found in nature with even the building blocks of life. A very strange and mysterious life, I may add.”
Image source of beach trekkers enjoying a stretch of Stonefield Beach Feb. 12 while seeming to ignore two metal boxes seen near the surf at the top of this photo by Dave Masko.