Summary: As a means of introducing the reader to the EM data, and as an interesting exercise in itself, this article presents here a list of "firsts;" that is, within the category of EM events, the first appearance of an important or unusual characteristic.
As a means of introducing the reader to the EM data, and as an interesting exercise in itself, I present here a list of "firsts;" that is, within the category of EM events, the first appearance of an important or unusual characteristic.
The earliest recorded UFO event involving EM effects on a vehicle occurred in 1909, but the distribution of events remained scattered in time until 1954, when the frequency increased to its modern-era level of about fifteen reported events per year. This frequency has not been constant, of course, displaying wide variations from year to year. No witness to an EM event had reported the presence of an entity associated with a UFO until September 13, 1952, when a group of people in Frametown, West Virginia, reported a "monster," a strange odor, a bright light, and interference with a car. The presence of humanoids in or near a UFO was by no means common in this period. For comparison, see Bloecher's Report on the UFO Wave of 1947 (1). Essentially no humanoids or entities were reported in those cases.
No witness reported any physiological reaction (except fear) to the EM phenomenon until the spate of cases in France in 1954. A majority of these nineteen reports, the most from any country in a period of only over one month, included some physiological reaction. It is curious that no effects were reported previously, but it may be significant that the distance between the UFO and witness in this sample of nineteen events was small compared to pre-1954 reports.
Light beams that do not behave as if constituted of light as-we-know-it have been widely reported. Such a phenomenon made its first appearance in EM events on March 30, 1955, in the Arizona desert near Tucson (see catalogue section). There are thirty-one cases involving light beams in the catalogue, or one for every fourteen cases or so, on the average. If the occurrence of light beams is a non-directed event, it is perhaps not so unusual, then, that the first occurrence was not until 1955.
Twenty-seven of the events involved some manner of control over the vehicle, beyond just interfering with the operation of the engine, lights, or radio. This usually meant directing the steering of the vehicle or actually lifting it off the ground. The first such event occurred on July 26, 1962, in Darana, Argentina (2), but the second took place over four years later in Peoria, Illinois (3). Almost half of the events in this catalogue had occurred by 1966, which lends some justification to the idea that the characteristics of the UFO phenomenon have changed through time, since by chance, one would have expected events involving control to occur more frequently before 1966. The probability that this distribution would occur by chance is less than 1%, but that is not a definitive result, because selection factors or differential reporting rates may suffice to explain the report frequency without resort to the hypothesis of the phenomenon itself changing with time.
For quite some time, no diesel engines had been affected whatsoever, but only those operating by internal combustion. For example, a UFO passed over two tractors in Forli, Italy, on November 14, 1954, one tractor with a diesel engine, the other with an internal combustion engine. The engine of the diesel tractor continued to operate, but the other tractor's engine stopped and could not be started until the UFO had vanished (4). There are other cases, particularly in the United States, where diesel trucks' engines were not affected by a UFO, but their headlights or radios ceased to function. Since at least 1974, though, this dichotomy has not remained intact. On March 21 of that year, a diesel truck in Spain was totally disabled in the presence of a UFO (5). This case and others that probably exist are perhaps another indication that the UFO phenomenon varies with time.
Some of Fred Merritt's work in the CUFOS Bulletin has demonstrated another possible change. He has shown how the number of CEIII cases has increased, both absolutely and as a percentage of all cases (6). There is still disagreement as to the meaning of his results, but if such change can be established, it will have great bearing on any theory advanced to explain the phenomenon.
In periods of numerous UFO reports, such as 1954 in France and 1957 and 1973 in the United States, it is common to receive more than one report describing the same type of UFO and the same level of effects on the witnesses' vehicles. This is not often true of other periods, and this fact has led some skeptics to conclude that there is no consistency in the phenomenon. Two reports, separated by about one month at a time of low activity, are illustrative of some internal consistency, though, and also of the need to perhaps invoke a common stimulus for both events. In December of 1959, near Proberta, California,, a man driving to work saw a green, crescent-shaped object. The headlights on his car dimmed, the radio made a "snapping" noise, but the engine wasn't affected (7). Upon-later inspection, he found that his car's battery had melted. Then about one month later, on January 18, 1960, in Lakota, North Dakota, a single witness saw a green, crescent-shaped object. The headlights of his car dimmed, but the engine wasn't affected. The radio was not turned on (8).
The conjunction of these two events and their similarity is persuasive evidence that we must search for the cause of the UFO phenomenon in something external to the witnesses or vehicles. No other green, crescent-shaped objects were reported before or after these sightings, so the chance of this conjunction occurring at random is rather small. (The first event was not reported immediately by the witness, either, so that a hoax should be ruled out.) Such events as these demand an explanation.