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R e :   E r n a g e   -   D e c e m b e r   1 1 ,   1 9 8 9   
 Received : 10/27/07  Estimates of size and distance - 1   Roger PAQUAY   

According to your web site, when the craft turned and moved in the direction of the witnesses, it was at a distance of 1 km (0.62 mile or 3,280 feet), a distance that can be measured on the scaled map....  read more 

 Received : 04/20/08  Helicopter noise - 1   Martin SHOUGH   

In this case, an Army officer, Lt. Col. AMOND [now retired], and his wife, stopped their car on what Wim [VAN UTRECHT] describes as a "lonely road" and wound down the window with "ears pricked" to try and detect any sound from an object of evidently large angular size showing details of lit "panels" or windows as well as various other separate lights which circled apparently nearby for up to 8 minutes.....  read more 

 Received : 05/13/08  Helicopter noise - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

It is correct that an inversion will refract sound towards the surface, and the recommendation to avoid flying in an inversion makes sense therefore. But the inference that flying above the top of an inversion will have the inverse effect of abnormally refracting sound upward is unwarranted I think.....  read more 

 Received : 05/17/08  Helicopter noise - 3   Martin SHOUGH   

Re the Ernage case in particular and silent helicopters in general, I looked a bit further into the sound propagation question and helicopter noise sources. Perhaps this will help us decide the merits of the theory. Anyway I've collected some information for future reference - and just because it's interesting.....  read more 

 Received : 05/26/08  Estimates of size and distance - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

I'd like to point out that Mr. PAQUAY treats Lt. Col. AMOND's "2x moon diameter" light as relating to the angular size of a light source, when clearly this should be treated as an impression of the circle of glare (overloaded retina) caused by this "huge" and "brilliant" light shining into the witness's face......  read more 

 Received : 06/05/08  A response from the prime witness   André AMOND, Col. (Ret.)   

I would like to correct the approach of Mr. PAQUAY who claims that the observation of the "spotlight" was made while the craft was 1,000 m from my observation point. This is COMPLETELY WRONG.......  read more 

 Received : 06/17/08  Estimates of size and distance - 3   Roger PAQUAY   

In his response, dated June 5, 2008, Col. AMOND claims that my distance estimation of 1,000 m for the phase during which the craft turned towards him is completely false and that the real distance at that moment was 100 to 200 m. He also disputes my calculations and qualifies them as unscientific.......  read more 

 Received : 06/22/08  Not a helicopter - 1   Wilfried DE BROUWER, Maj. Gen. (Ret.)   

The Belgian airspace is surveyed by four powerful radars, two military and two civilian, which are all interlinked, i.e. any duty controller can select the image of any of these radars at any one time. All radar registrations are recorded and these recordings are kept during a well determined period......  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Witness reliability - 1   Jean-Michel ABRASSART   

A little comment about the strawman argument at the end of Wilfried DE BROUWER's email:

"Summarising, just like the other reported sightings of 29 November and 11 December 1989, the Ernage case cannot be attributed to a helicopter or any other aircraft. Discussions based on such assumption are not relevant. Furthermore, Colonel AMOND is a highly qualified and very reliable person, the major elements of his testimony are consistent and there is no reason why he should be discredited.

I find it kind of annoying that UFO proponents can't seem to understand that, based on psychological and sociological researches, UFO skeptics say that EVERY human testimony is unreliable. There's nothing specific to one individual (here Col. AMOND). Human testimony is unreliable because we are human. Our perception, our memory, our recollection of an event and how we testify about it depend on the way our brains are hard-wired. To simplify this point : we see with our brains, so culture can influence they way we perceive things, no matter who we are. These influences can come from science-fiction or other UFO stories (in the case of an isolated UFO sighting), or media coverage (in the case of a UFO flap like the Belgian wave).

So it's a strawman to say that UFO skeptics try to "discredit" a person, when in fact we follow the scientific literature which tells us that every eyewitness testimony is unreliable.

No title (here colonel), and no qualification whatsoever, can make a human testimony reliable. We perceive an event subjectively, by definition. About the UFO phenomenon, the only thing I can think of that may help when observing an aerial phenomenon is to be an amateur astronomer. It will help someone recognise certain stimuli that lay people are not familiar with (meteorites and so on). But that doesn't imply that amateur astronomers can't be fooled by other stimuli (non astronomical ones) or cannot have hallucinations for example.

On top of that, Wilfried DE BROUWER writes that the colonel is a "very reliable person". This is a purely subjective statement on his part. It's not because someone is reliable in some situation (at work for example) that he is always reliable in every kind of situation. From a scientific viewpoint, assuming this is false too. That's not how we humans work. Seeing a UFO is not a usual situation at all. So, in my opinion, that kind of statement is meaningless, except if Wilfried DE BROUWER had presented us with an objective psychological personality profile of the witness to back up his claim, but I'm sure he didn't (and anyway, Mr. DE BROUWER is not a qualified psychologist). So, in the end it's like someone saying: "that person is a very reliable source because I talked to him on occasion and he seemed to act normal". As I said before, we can't infer from this that, in an unusual situation, that same person would be reliable as well.

Of course, all this has nothing to do with trying to discredit a specific person. The above is true for every human being, including me.

Yamaguchi, Japan

[Jean-Michel ABRASSART owns a degree in psychology and philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. He is also a member of "Comité Para", the Belgian French-speaking skeptic organization. In 2001 he wrote a thesis about the sociopsychological aspects of the UFO phenomenon. His main interest lies with the "predispositional and situational factors" that influence the belief in paranormal phenomena.

Jean-Michel currently resides in Japan where he works as an English teacher. He maintains his own blog, which has a section dedicated to the UFO phenomenon (]


 Received : 06/23/08  Witness reliability - 2   Grégory GUTIEREZ   

In my opinion, the important information in DE BROUWER's e-mail is not in his last paragraph about the reliability of Col. AMOND. Of course human testimony is not always reliable, but Jean-Michel ABRASSART tends to say that it's NEVER reliable. I think he pushes his argument too far here, turning it into some kind of indisputable doctrine.....  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Plasma stealth chopper - 1   Jean-Pierre PHARABOD   

Now I am beginning to wonder : how could it be that the four Belgian radars did not detect these objects in the sky which were neither aircraft nor helicopters...  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Not a helicopter - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

Gen. DE BROUWER's first-hand testimony confirms not only that no helicopter should have been flying (as previously reported by Col. AMOND) but that, in point of fact, no illicit helicopter or other aircraft was detected by radars covering the area....  read more 

 Received : 06/26/08  Plasma stealth chopper - 2 / Map confusion   Prof. Auguste MEESSEN   

I will try to contribute to this debate by sharing with you that I have the following documents concerning the Ernage case....  read more 

 Received : 07/02/08  Recapitulating   Martin SHOUGH   

Re your reply to Prof. MEESSEN, you're right, the statement about flight plans in the Defence Minister's reply to the Parliamentary question is different from what we understood Gen. DE BROUWER to say....  read more 

 Received : 07/03/08  Estimates of size and distance - 4   Martin SHOUGH   

Thanks for Mr. PAQUAY's follow-up. I was not (as Mr. PAQUAY believes) suggesting that Col. AMOND was "dazzled" to explain a large image. As he says, an "overloaded retina" is not a very good explanation....  read more 

 Received : 07/06/08  Not a helicopter - 3   Wilfried DE BROUWER, Maj. Gen. (Ret.)   

Allow me to clarify a few points. 1. Your statement: "A helicopter is perfectly capable of executing such a manoeuvre". The report of André AMOND suggests that the object was making a tight turn with a considerable angle of bank (45 degrees?) at very slow speed (20-30 km/h?)....  read more 

 Received : 07/14/08  Helicopters noise - 4 / Banking angles - 1   Joe McGONAGLE   

I don't claim to have the detailed aeronautical experience of General DE BROUWER, but during my own military service, I did have some exposure to helicopters as a passenger and as an observer from the ground.....  read more 

 Received : 07/14/08  Helicopters noise - 5 / Banking angles - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

Thanks for your input Joe. Yes, clearly it can happen that when the conditions for sound propagation and other witness circumstances are unfavourable people can fail to hear helicopters......  read more 

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