A survey of ten cases of unexplained aerial phenomena accompanied by material residues shows a broad distribution of natural elements, many of which are metallic in nature. They can be roughly described as belonging in two categories: “light materials” of high conductivity such as aluminum, and “slag-like materials” reminiscent of industrial byproducts. Most of those cases under consideration strive to meet four criteria: 1) the literature gives sufficient ground to support the fact that an unusual aerial phenomenon occurred, 2) the circumstances of the actual recovery of the specimen are reported, 3) there is data to suggest that the specimen is in fact linked to the observed aerial object, and 4) physical analysis has been performed by a competent laboratory of known reliability. In several instances the sample is available for continuing study by independent scientists. In the absence of a firm chain of evidence and of professional field investigation, most cases cannot lead to a definite conclusion about the nature of the phenomena that gave rise to each specimen, but much can be learned from the methodology involved in such analysis. Furthermore, compilation of similar cases on an expanded basis may eventually lead to the discovery of underlying patterns.
Keywords: UFOs — UFO sightings — physical evidence — propulsion
The combination of a reliable sighting of an unexplained aerial object with the recovery of a durable physical specimen is rare. While the media often allude to sensational finds and at least one former military intelligence officer has stated that he once had custody of advanced technology coming from a “crash” (Corso, 1997), the material is not available for independent study and the details of its composition are scanty and contradictory.
At a more modest level, in the course of their investigations of the phenomenon around the world, civilian researchers acting privately have patiently assembled the embryo of a sample collection, starting from physical specimens reportedly gathered at the site of a close encounter or “maneuver” type sighting.
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