Science and Water UFOs

       The purpose of this page is to present aspects of UFOs and water with regard to their components that are presented in the case text of this site. Below are the topics covered thus far. Click on the topic for full text report.



IONIZED FIELDS ( See Journal Every-Eve, 8-06-1952)


By Robert Hendrickson, PhD.

Robert Hendrickson is a MUFON consultant in entomology and Delaware state director.

       Anomalous lights under and on the sea are diverse phenomena summarized in Corliss (1982), Fort (1974), and Sanderson (1970). One of the most peculiar forms is wheels of light; These are hubs around which spokes of light revolve. Corliss (1982) synthesized many reports, "The spokes, may be straight, curved, or S-shaped. Rotation is in either direction and may change during the display. In some cases, the outer part of the wheel seems to spin in a different sense from the central part. Illustrating the illusory character of the phenomenon, different observers sometimes see the same wheel rotating in opposite directions. Wheel sizes range from tens of feet to several miles, with spoke widths of 5-50 feet being common."

       As an example, Evans, hydrographer aboard the H.M.S. Vulture observed light wheels near Bahrain which were reported by Pringle (1879). "On looking towards the east, the appearance was that of a revolving wheel with centre on that bearing, and whose spokes were illuminated, and looking towards the west a similar wheel appeared to be revolving, but in the opposite direction." The spokes were about 25 ft. wide, separated by a dark interval of about 75 feet, and appeared at a rate of 74-75 per minute.

       Light wheels may have been described in ancient Indian literature (Sanderson) and sightings continue into the 1980's (Corliss 1986). They are most commonly reported from the periphery of the Indian Ocean.

       The explanations for light wheels are generally biological or mechanical. Moss (1879) suggested "noctilucae and crustaceans . . . but if so, the exceedingly swift traveling cause of the stimulation would still remain unaccounted for." An observer in Fort, "pulsations of long strings of jellyfish."

Harris (1880), "electro-magnetic currents exercising their exciting influence upon some organic animal

or vegetable substance.” Corliss. (1982), "If the light source is not bioluminescence, as generally

supposed, the anomaly is even stronger." Sanderson eliminated several hypotheses and was

reduced to the "most ‘unpleasant' notion --  i.e. that the source of the triggering energy is mechanical."

General configuration of a typical phosphorescent wheel

       Fort thought extraterrestrial "super-constructions” were involved and his lead will be followed in the analysis of a subset of the observations, i.e. light wheels operating in groups of two or more, moving abreast.

       If the source of light wheels is mechanical and they have been reported for hundreds or possibly even thousands of years, they cannot be of human origin, although perhaps we have the technology now to crudely duplicate the phenomenon on submarines. We assume here they're UFO-related. We have no problem getting UFOs into or out of oceans since there are many reports of these events.


       But what are they doing? Why the lights? One thing undersea lights do is frighten fish. An 1826 account in Corliss (1982) reported, "Long tortuous lines of light in a contrary direction to the sea, showed, us immense numbers of very large fish darting about as if in consternation at the scene."

       So why frighten fish? Maybe revolving undersea beams of light are used to herd fish, to force them into a particular place in the sea or in relation to light wheels. We limited our discussion to light

wheels in groups of two or more, advancing abreast. If fish swim rapidly away from a disturbing light stimulus, they may tend to more-or-less line up midway between two of them, not knowing in which direction to escape. If a pair of light wheels towed a narrow, tubular net between them, they could rapidly sweep vast areas of the sea for fish, in a form of trawling far more efficient than that of modern day commercial trawlers with their huge, cumbersome, slowly-towed nets.

Three sets of expanding rings – two circular, one elliptical

       Observations supporting the trawling hypothesis are fragmentary but suggestive. Pringle (1879) reported that "the ship passed through oily-looking fish spawn" while observing light wheels. Harris (1880) noted that the water was "studded with patches of faint, luminous, inanimate matter" during his sighting. Perhaps if a substantial catch of fish is dragged through water fast enough, pressure will force fish body contents out, which float to the surface. Possibly the ships crossed the paths of nets.

       Fort compiled a number of reports relating to a fascinating 19th century incident. "Report of the British Association, 1861-30: That, upon June 18, 1845, according to the Malta Times, from the brig Victoria, about 900 miles east of Adalia, Asia Minor (36°40' 56”, N. Lat.: 13°44' 36” E. Long.), three luminous bodies were seen to issue from the sea, at about half a mile from the vessel. They were visible about ten minutes." (Sanderson notes that east in the quote is a typographical error for west.) At about the same time, a witness in Adalia, Asia Minor noted "a body that appeared and then broke up" in a sighting that lasted twenty minutes to half an hour. Other witnesses remarked that two luminous bodies, apparently five times the size of the moon, were connected by "sail-like or streamer-like appendages," which appeared as "large flags blown out by a gentle breeze."

Spinning groups of phosphorescent patches

       A possible scenario for these sightings is that three extraterrestial vehicles had been light wheeling, or trawling, for fish using two nets. They exited from the sea. One of the outside UFOs transferred its net end to the other outside UFO, then went its own way. The remaining two UFOs were then transporting two nets loaded with fish to an unseen mothership when they were observed.

       Indeed it's a wild hypothesis. Perhaps the principal objection to it is that aliens capable of traveling several light years from a nearby star system do not require food from a planet they watch. Motherships are reportedly huge. They can probably transport enormous quantities of food and also grow their own aboard ship. On the other hand, why should they ignore an abundant supply of highly nutritious food which can be easily removed from a planet without disturbing its natives, who don't even know it's happening. Trawling is a way to conserve a mothership's food stores. Maybe fresh fish is a welcome change in diet.

       Probably the reason most sightings are reported from the Indian Ocean is that the water is relatively clear there and beams of light can penetrate great distances before attenuation, at least compared to more murky bodies of water, such as the North Atlantic. In the Indian Ocean they may be able to catch a lot of fish fast.

Groups of phosphorescent crescents were observed rotating about several different centers in the Arabian Sea. The groups averaged 35 meters in diameter.


1) Corliss, W.R. 1982. Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights And Related Luminous Phenomena.

       The Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, Maryland.

2) Corliss, W.R.) 1986. Phosphorescent bars and wheel. Science Frontiers 48: 3-4. The

       Sourcebook Project, Glen Arm, Maryland.

3) Fort, Charles. 1974. The book of the damned. In The Complete books of Charles Fort.

       Dover, NY.

4) Harris, R.E. 1880. A Strange Phenomenon, Nature 21: 409.410.

5) Moss, E.L. I879. Report of an unusual phenomenon observed at sea. Nature 20: 428.

6) Pringle, J.E. 1879. Report Of An Unusual phenomenon Observed At Sea, Nature 20:291.

7) Sanderson, LT. 1970. Invisible Residents. World Pub. Co., NY.                                          

This reference: As indicated at the beginning of the article. My thanks to John Schuessler and MUFON for permission to post this article to this website. MUFON UFO Journal #227, © March 1987