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Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Three: It’s Just a Jump To The Left

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In the trailers for Jan de Bont’s 1996 film Twister there is a brief shot of what appears to be the twisted, ruined remains of a full-size pick-up truck tumbling violently towards a potential head-on collision with the storm-chasing vehicle containing the heroes played by Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt (who, despite what Peter Griffin thinks, is, in my opinion, quite hot). And yet in the final theatrical release, this hair-raising dramatic shot is nowhere to be found.

The 2005 film The Exorcism of Emily Rose was advertised widely as a horror film and yet it turned out to be rather a mundane courtroom drama, which surely pissed off millions of school kids looking for a good scare after forking over wads of hard-earned money they got from hours of working at the drive-up window.

Graham Hancock’s book The Mars Mystery: The Secret Connection Between Earth and the Red Planet stops being interesting about halfway through the derivative tale of other people’s research and discoveries and abruptly becomes a banal rallying flag for finding and stopping Near Earth Objects before they decimate our planet, a noble cause to be sure but very little or nothing whatever to do with the title or presumed content of the book itself.

Deceptive side steps and misdirection may be great if you’re a magician but in just about any other situation, however, they tend to spark anger, disgust, and animosity, making people feel betrayed and even humiliated, sort of like Fergus discovering Dil brought the wiener to the picnic.

Purchasing a book, whether fiction or non-fiction, is generally based on a previous knowledge of, or a passing familiarity with an author’s work or an interest in, or a desire to learn about the subject matter. But it is almost always done with the implied understanding that the title (often the first thing to draw a reader to a work) will be relevant, in some way, to the overall content of the manuscript or vice versa. Yet continuing in the long, rich tradition of public deception, Dark
Mission: The Secret History of NASA
shows the reader a few tantalising glimpses of The Great & Secret Show and then immediately whisks them away to the House of Mirrors to fumble aimlessly about.

In the Air Force (and it’s probably common in all branches of the service and of the government) we lived by the axiom ‘Hurry up and wait,’ and it appears that the manuscript of Dark Mission was written with this same consideration in mind because, ultimately, despite the promises made in the introductory matter, it bears very little resemblance to an actual ‘History of NASA’ – secret or otherwise – and serves as more of a recycling bin for Everything Richard C Hoagland.

So is my criticism simply that the title is stupid or ill deserved? Well, if this were a discussion of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 being translated for metric-based countries as Celsius 232 or being made more kid-friendly with a title like Fireman Guy, it might be. Or maybe if we were talking about The Teletubbies being called Fox News one could make an argument for stupidity. But here is something to consider: When I was in very early primary school I used to wear Red Ball Jets (a type of trainer) because, the belief was, if you pressed the little red ball on the heel of the shoe it automatically switched on the jet power which could then make you run faster. And as the fat kid, I needed all the extra power I could get. But does my providing you with that information necessarily constitute a history of Red Ball Incorporated or of the LaCrosse Company who bought them out? Not entirely. And that’s my point. This book is about a History of NASA in the same way that The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins is about the history of haberdashery.

Without a doubt NASA loom large in this tale, but they are essentially the giant evil windmills against whom Richard C Hoagland’s sad little Don Quixote keeps tilting as he relentlessly parades about on his allegorical Rocinante, waving victoriously to a crowd of none.

Perhaps some suggested alternative titles could be:

1. NASA Are Mean and Don’t Like Me and Don’t See How Smart I Am

2. Michael Malin Is A Poopy Liar

3. Mein Own Sort of Kampf

4. I’ve Got an Angrstom Award, Be-otch, What The Hell Do You Have?

5. Dark Mission: Exposing The Hidden Agenda of NASA

or

6. Almost Everything I’ve Ever Published On My Website: The Book. Or How I Just Got You To Spend $25 For Something Mostly Available For Free If You Only Bothered To Look by Richard C Hoagland, founder of The Enterprise Mission, recipient of an Angstrom Medal, former science advisor to CBS News and Walter Cronkite, author of The Monuments of Mars, co-creator of the ‘Pioneer Plaque,’ originator of the ‘Europa Proposal,’ and principal investigator of The Enterprise Mission. And Mike Bara.

After the expository groundwork in the introduction, the reader is prepared to face the challenge of a far-ranging document; a scathing exposé whose sprawling, epic scope will, for the first time in full view of the public, pull down the shorts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and point and laugh at its winkie.

But first, it’s just a jump to the left, as we take time out after fourteen gruelling pages of preliminary material to embark on chapter one, entitled The Monuments of Mars, based on the book The Monuments of Mars by Richard C Hoagland. marsfaceHere we are treated to a sixteen page (twenty if you include the photos) encapsulation of the entire 350-600 page book (depending on the edition in question) The Monuments of Mars first written in 1987 in which Hoagland spells out in striking, explicit and perhaps not just a little dubious detail the stunning discovery of the ‘Message of Cydonia’ and the mathematical key with which to unlock that message. I say dubious because there have been, over the years, a number of detractors who have shown that there are some serious flaws in Hoagland’s mathematics. I for one am exquisitely not gifted in this area (though I do know someone who owns a calculator) and, frankly, wouldn’t know the difference. This is one of the primary reasons why I say that if someone is going to leave an important ‘message’ for you lying about for thousands of years, they would probably make it as obvious as they possibly can. Because it would be fairly presumptuous to believe that absolutely everyone is (or will be) mathematically inclined enough to point at an otherwise random collection of rocks and say, ‘Oh! See! That’s obviously the 19.5 degree position represented by the idea of circumscribed tetrahedral geometry!’

And speaking of tetrahedral geometry, let’s take a step to the right and drag ourselves even farther from anything about NASA and go slogging through chapter two, 44 pages (or 50 if you count the pictures) all dedicated to Hyperdimensional Physics and the defence of James Clerk Maxwell entitled Hyperdimensional Physics. As exposition, this chapter is not only tedious but wildly out of place in what is ostensibly a ‘History of NASA.’ In fact it has so little to do with anything other than the need for a bit of Hoagland soapboxing that, as you turn the last page and realise that you have just pissed away seventy pages of manuscript and learnt nothing of the History of NASA, you start to get really bloody annoyed.

With our hands on our hips, however, we vault into Political Developments – chapter three – where NASA are mentioned a staggering five times on page 71. Generally these are in reference to their purported  ‘curiosity’ regarding Hoagland’s work on Cydonia. It’s interesting to note that this chapter is begun with a quote from Carl Sagan – ‘The question is not whether you are right or wrong, sir. You are not even in the conversation’ – because it strikes me that, appropriately enough, Hoagland has been trying to either insinuate himself into ‘the conversation,’ assume he is part of one, or start a new one for almost thirty years with varying degrees of success. It is also interesting to note that Hoagland makes a comment early on that, throughout the 80s, ‘as interest in the Cydonia issue began to reach unprecedented levels, NASA began to march out troops to try and quiet the unrest.’

I envision a scene from Battleship Potemkin when I read this, with screaming crowds demanding the truth from NASA as they muscle through police barricades and armed officers throwing tear gas. Maybe in some scientific circles or in the ‘anomalist community’ there was ‘unrest,’ but for the real world in the 80s we had Reaganomics and Wham! to deal with. And Ferris Bueller. And eventually ‘A Thousand Points of Light’ and the Church Lady.

I was fully aware of The Face on Mars and Cydonia at that time and would read anything I could find relating to the topic as I researched it, but to classify these things as ‘firestorms of controversy’ (as Hoagland periodically does) is, I think, overstating the issue a bit. Or a lot. Not that Hoagland is any stranger to overstating. For a vast majority of us ‘regular people,’ however, these topics never even registered on the radar. So the idea of NASA marching out their stormtroopers to ‘quiet the unrest’ seems rather self-aggrandising.

But I digress. And so does Hoagland.

barsinisterThe bulk of chapter three is given over to a tired discussion centred around Hoagland’s proposed nemesis – his Simon Bar Sinister – Dr Michael Malin and how, in conjunction with NASA (this book is about the History of NASA, as you might recall), Dr Evil has tried to thwart every possible attempt to correctly image (or re-image) Cydonia. And then there’s a big chunk of the text which again concerns itself with the finer details of the Kennedy assassination – so much so that I found myself  beginning to look back at the cover from time to time just to make sure I hadn’t grabbed the wrong book.

I do, however, generally agree with Hoagland’s assessment that Bar Sinister has a history of tampering with and manipulating data. One example of this, outside of Planet Hoagland, can be found in a multi-part examination entitled Lowell’s Legacy where, in a section about half-way down the page called ‘The Doctored Image and the Pareidolia Paradigm,’ is an interesting examination of Malin Space Science Systems tinkering with Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) data.

But NASA, who are again referenced in the next chapter, The Crystal Towers of the Moon, are not the only ones who tinker with and manipulate data (as will be shown). Here the references to NASA, unfortunately, have even less to do with ‘History’ and even more to do with how NASA not only disagree with Hoagland’s theories about giant ‘glass-like’ structures on the Moon, but how they are also ‘hiding’ from the public these giant structures they don’t believe in.

And this is one of those areas of Hoagland’s research that I simply cannot follow.

The much-referenced ‘Brookings Report’ or, more properly, Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs somewhat bizarrely stated, in 1961, that ‘face-to-face meetings with it (extraterrestrial life) will not occur within the next 20 years.’ There is no hedging or equivocation, no maybes, just a point of fact which, treading in conspiratorial waters, gives one pause to wonder if this was just a lucky guess or if there was some foreknowledge of things to come. The report goes on to say that ruins or artefacts ‘left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the moon, Mars, or Venus’ which, again, seems an odd bit of ‘prognostication.’

I don’t doubt for a moment that this prediction may very likely have come true. I also do not doubt that there are anomalies on our moon that have yet to be fully explained…

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…perhaps even things purposely denied and hidden from public view by NASA. I don’t doubt that there might be (A) odd structures built inside massive craters, (B) ‘towers’ reaching out into space, (C) multi-storey buildings, (D) a huge triangular construction in Ukert crater, or (E) ‘glass domes’ jutting from the lunar surface. Not personally having been to the Moon, I cannot say with any certainty that these things actually exist or not, though I’d like to think that maybe they do. Read that carefully: I’d like to think that maybe they do. But I have my doubts.

Even though I often tend to side with the group that says there’s some good evidence for further research, I’m also wise enough not to leap to conclusions and to understand that these images could also have perfectly natural explanations. The ‘towers’ or ‘domes’ may be a chance-in-a-million photo of out-gassing, strange geologic activity, volcanic plumes, random meteoric impact, or photographic blemishes. Have these objects been photographed again for comparative purposes? Could the other, more structural type of anomalies simply be pareidolia – seeing things as significant when they are perfectly mundane, like seeing faces in clouds?

So, as much as I may agree with many anomaly hunters that there are unknown, unusual, and mysterious things ‘out there,’ and as much as I generally tend to agree with (or at least find interesting) some of Hoagland’s findings, I just simply cannot believe, in any way, his assertion that there are ‘miles high glass structures’ covering vast areas of lunar real estate. For me, the hard evidence is simply not there. And what little evidence there seems to be is, in my opinion, scant, subject to closer scrutiny and qualified peer review and, at the very best, suspect.

Logically speaking, if there are in fact vast glass structures sprawled out across the moon, why don’t we see them with our telescopes? Oh. Right. Because they’re clear glass and therefore invisible. But don’t clear glass things often reflect light? Oh. Right. They have lunar dust on them from long centuries or millennia of just sprawling there in the vacuum of space. But if they’re dusty, then they aren’t really clear any more and we should be able to see them, then, right? Oh. Right. Because the moon is too far away for us to see them from the Earth. So why didn’t the astronauts see them? Oh. Right. They did. But they were ‘made to forget’ or they were sworn to secrecy. Why haven’t other space agencies seen them? Oh. Right. They have. They’re just not saying anything until we say something first. Why didn’t our initial lunar probes, or the Soviet probes, smash into them? Oh. Right. Because we knew they were there and we navigated around them. Why don’t they show up in photographs? Oh. Right. Because every single photograph taken of the lunar surface – every single image ever – has been meticulously doctored.

The litany of lunacy is endless.

I recommend that, if you are interested in pursuing the issue, you take some time to browse through the Lunar Anomalies site, which is about the only place you are going to find even a portion of this information, as any and all references to these ‘crystal’ structures have nearly completely and inexplicably disappeared from The Enterprise Mission archives. Even a Google search won’t pull up the original Crystal Towers of The Moon pages that once so proudly cluttered up Hoagland’s site. Or perhaps I’m doing it wrong. Your mileage may vary.

§

It had been my original intention to make this the final instalment of my theoretical ‘review’ of Dark Mission, except that I have, whilst reading it, begun to discover, much to my consternation, quite a number of interesting, surprising, and somewhat irritating things – and I want to share them with both of you – so it will necessitate an additional post. But allow me to share these as a preview:

moonguy-hoaglandOne of the examples used in Dark Mission to illustrate for the reader the existence of these so-called ‘Crystal Towers’ is a photograph (click on the thumbnail image on the right for a larger version) which is said to show ‘backscattering’ of light off of one or more of the gigantic structures ‘hidden’ by NASA. The description is essentially that Gene Cernan – or ‘Cerman’ as he is mistakenly referred to in the blurb – is taking a photograph of Harrison Schmitt who, in turn, is holding some piece of equipment. That photograph is capturing ‘an “impossible” lunar phenomenon,’ so says the text, of the sunrise (which would be behind ‘Cerman’ and shining towards Schmitt) reflecting light back at the camera, creating both the reddish band across the image (the so-called ‘backscattering’) and the little tell-tale sliver of prismatic distortion (which Hoagland has enlarged in the giant black box at the bottom centre of the image so you can see it better). This is, by the way, the best image I could muster, after numerous attempts, from the very crappy photo in the book. Sorry if it’s not the best quality, but it does represent as accurately as possible the original image used in the text.

sunsetThis is what backscattering looks like in a real world application –  something that, I hope, nearly everyone has seen at one time or another in their lives and an analogue which is fairly understandable. I won’t go into all the physics regarding optics and how atoms do this or that because, frankly, it’s virtually irrelevant to the topic and I cannot explain it adequately anyway. If you really want to dive in and dissect the How & Why of Backscattering, a quick Google search will provide you with all the information you really need to know. But this is the poor-man’s version: what I can see and explain in basic terms without brow-beating you (and there’s really no need for that anyway). Anyone who has even a basic understanding of photography (and I mean the old fashioned kind, kids, with real film) can tell you that they’ve seen this very effect millions of times – light shining off something in the strangest possible ways. It happens in digital photography, too, but these NASA images in question were originally taken on film and it is a medium with which I am much more familiar. In my Film School days I could have merely glanced at a photo and likely told you the kind of film stock used and the approximate aperture settings. Though I am rusty these days, much of it is like riding a bike and it will eventually come back to you as you go along.

Anyway if you look closely, you will see that the reflection of the sun coming off Harrison Schmitt’s helmet (because he is facing the sun and photographer Gene Cernan), is virtually identical in shape, size, and colour to the apparent ‘reflection’ from the theoretical ‘glass structure’ we are told is towering invisibly behind him. Behind him. How can an object reflect off the front of his helmet if it’s behind him?

It can’t.
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You can also see that the two ‘reflections’ are not only amazingly almost the very same length, but they both share the same ‘hot spot,’ the brighter portion where the sun is reflecting the most, and they are on exactly the same angle, though the ‘floating’ one is slightly offset. The reason this is such an ‘impossible’ photo is because it is just precisely that: impossible. This is not a photograph of a ‘crystal tower’ scattering light on a lunar sunrise. What you are seeing is a reflection from Schmitt’s helmet appearing to ‘float’ in space, not ‘behind’ him, but to his right. This is an incredibly common artefact of bright sun photography. It’s called lens flare. sunreflections

Even when not facing the sun, a photographer can experience lens flare on a bright day. Obviously the most common occurrence is in direct sun, which is why, in the photo to your right, it looks like there’s a UFO flying just over the trees. I suppose one could argue that this photograph depicts crystal shafts towering over the forest and that the UFO is flying out of them to return to its secret base on the double suns we don’t have, but I think it’s an absurd suggestion.

The other telling thing about the Dark Mission photograph of Harrison Schmitt is the reddish band which Hoagland assures us is from backscattered light. When I first saw this image in the book, bloody awful as it is, my response was twofold: one, either the reddish band was also caused by lens flare or by a reflection from off the convexity of Schmitt’s helmet, possibly even something as simple as an over-exposure or a bit of ambient light from any number of sources leeching on to the film stock; or, two, the image used in the book was an amateurish scan of a photo and there was ‘light bleed’ coming from the scanner bed. The first scanner I bought back in the 90s – an ugly beige Hewlett Packard tank of a thing – regularly scanned images, especially glossy images like photographs, with a massive red streak through them, tonnes of annoying granulation, and everything was pushed to the red end of the colour spectrum no matter how often I calibrated and re-calibrated it.

Again, every photographer in the world has seen this same sort of phenomenon at some point, even when they aren’t taking snaps of invisible crystal towers. And with no atmosphere, the moon is in hard, direct, unfiltred sunlight bouncing everywhere. I recall once taking a photograph of a friend sitting on his sofa and, somehow, the resulting image came out looking like a photograph of an LSD trip: crazy colours everywhere, bizarre distortions, and nothing at all about the circumstances were anything other than absolutely ordinary. I pointed the camera at him and took the picture. What came out was completely anomalous. This stuff happens.

Frustrated, however, with the terribly poor image quality provided in Dark Mission and tired of trying to get a decent scan from the horrid quality of the printed page, I decided to locate a clearer version of the image to work with and, with luck, prove my hypothesis.

And imagine my surprise.

Hoagland, rather irritatingly, gives no catalogue number for the Schmitt image, but he does provide a number for an adjacent image which is equally as bad. So, armed with a vague notion of where to look, I went to the Apollo 17 image library and spent about four hours searching through it. Strangely, I could not find – anywhere – the Dark Mission version of the image as used by Hoagland. It wasn’t until I conducted a laborious second search through the NASA library that I finally discovered the answer as to why I was unable to find the image the first time through: It wasn’t quite the same.

moonguy-AS17-134-20426-smIf you click on this for a full size image, you will see a dramatic difference between it and the Hoagland version. I did nothing at all to this image other than to resize it for inclusion here. Otherwise it is exactly as it appears in the NASA catalogue as AS17-134-20426 (found in the Apollo 17 link after quite a lot of scrolling) just in case you don’t believe me. This is the smaller version. There is also a high resolution version available and I urge you to check it out for yourself if this smaller version is insufficient.

The Dark Mission version has, for reasons I cannot quite fathom and which are never fully (or even vaguely, for that matter) explained in the manuscript, been ‘enhanced’ by Richard C Hoagland. It says so right in the description of it. Typically ‘enhancements’ are, by their very definition, striving to achieve a clearer and cleaner image or, in general, improve upon the overall quality of a poor or damaged original. Look at, for example, the restoration of classic films such as Lawrence of Arabia or King Kong. This ‘enhancement’ by Hoagland does nothing of the sort. If anything, it appears to make the image worse. I reckon you could make all sorts of things ‘pop out’ of an image when you crank up the red filtre in Photoshop. The one thing the new image did prove to me, though, is that I was correct.

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If, as Hoagland claims, the ‘reflection’ off the enormous glass structure you can’t see behind Schmitt is ‘clearly’ broken into the prismatic spectrum, then why is that ‘reflection’ or lens flare (seen more clearly in this NASA-obtained image as well as the Hoagland ‘enhancement’) also consistent with the reflection on Schmitt’s helmet?  Is it because I failed to crank up the red to the point of eye-watering absurdity? No.It’s because it’s fucking lens flare and standard optical goofiness that happens hundreds of thousands of times in bright sun photography. Were any of the astronauts professional photographers by trade? My guess is, probably not. Even if they were, they’d still get anomalous optical artefacting every so often. It’s a natural and occasional (and sometimes damned annoying) by-product of rendering the three dimensional world into a two-dimensional form.

Hoagland also insists that the light from the rising sun is passing through the glass and scattering. But why, then, is the so-called light scattering happening on our side of the ‘glass’ – the front side, relatively speaking, the side facing us? If the light is passing through the glass and scattering, as Hoagland would have it, wouldn’t that scattering be happening on the opposite side of the glass structure – the back of it, away from us? And if the morning sunlight was bouncing back from the front side of the glass, then there would be obvious ‘hot spots’ and the light would be very like what is coming off the upper left corner of Schmitt’s visor, only magnified greatly. And if the scattering is happening in front of the glass, effectively coming towards the camera, then why is it, A) also in front of  Harrison Schmitt and seen in a hazy band across his helmet when it ought to be behind him and, B) why is the light red-shifting rather than blue-shifting? Light red-shifts when it is travelling away from an observer. That’s Physics 101 – hyper-dimensional or not. Red-shift is used to calculate the distance of deep space objects, amongst other things. If that theoretical ‘light scattering’ was happening the way Hoagland insists it’s doing, it would be blue-shifting towards us.

I will illustrate more of this in the next segment. For now, let me just say that chapter four ends with the reader holding 198 pages in their left hand and staring over at the remaining 350 pages (photos included) with a heavy sigh.

A Conspiracy Unfolds, the title of chapter five, draws our knees in tight and devotes roughly 28 pages to Hoagland’s ‘Ritual Alignment Model’ (not to be confused with the dozen or so other ‘Models’ he has, or had, in the works) in which we discover that virtually all of NASAs launches, landings, announcements, informational releases, restroom breaks and telephone calls are all scheduled round the agency’s occult belief system centred on the ancient Egyptian religion. As interesting as this ‘Model’ is, and as compelling as the evidence seems to be – especially when he claims it can be verified by independent research or by anyone using Redshift software – it is not a History of NASA. It’s a fascinating peek behind the curtain into the possible inner workings of NASA, but not really a history. It is also loads of rehashing of work previously done by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, but I guess that’s fair considering Hancock’s The Mars Mystery was largely derivative of Hoagland’s Cydonia work before it went wildly off the rails.

Finally, however, the pelvic thrust arrives about half-way through the book, on page 226, when we sort of get what we’ve been promised from the beginning. Starting with a sub-section entitled The Early Years: 1930 – 1960, the details are laid out about the Nazi scientists who helped develop our space programme after World War II and the supposed connections to figures like Aleister Crowley and the Masonic Lodge. Then approximately 22 pages later, we are directed back to what is clearly the main thesis of the book: how Hoagland is still tilting at windmills and how Simon Bar Sinister continues to be a thorn in the side of hard science and the ‘anomalist community.’ This drags on, quite literally, for the next six chapters.

We have now Time Warped through 460 pages of My Important Discoveries and How Important They Are (cunningly entitled Dark Mission) to be faced with one more chapter and an epilogue. As the bulk of the material in these final two bits are especially pertinent to the photographic manipulation and interpretation I alluded to earlier, I shall reserve my ‘review’ of them for the forthcoming instalment.

But let me leave you with this thought to ponder until next time:

There is a classic verbal Get Out of Jail Free card used by millions of people every day to diffuse potentially volatile situations. That phrase is, ‘I’m Just Saying…’ Somehow this magical talisman can protect an unexpected offender from harsh backlash or reprimand by making it clear that, no, I didn’t mean to imply that you are a fat pig, I’m just saying…

Simon Bar Sinister stated once that no-one he knew ‘would waste their time doing a “scientific study” of the nature advocated by those who believe that the “Face on Mars” is artificial.’ The response to that statement, by the authors of Dark Mission, is:

‘This was of course a gross misstatement of the argument. No one, not even Hoagland, had expressed a specific belief that the Face or any of the other objects at Cydonia were artificial.  Although we strongly suspected they might be, we’d merely argued that they deserved further study and should be imaged at every opportunity. But Dr Malin had a long history of distortion and obfuscation when it came to the Face and Cydonia.’

That’s the longest version of I’m just saying... that I have ever read.

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