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Question and answers on the "Tunguska UFO debris discovery":

To understand what this is all about, you need to read this in my news section first.

This page is updated whenever there is something new, jump below for the latest.

Do you believe it is true?

As a ufologist, I believe in nothing at all. Believe is not what ufologists do in general. They investigate.

The Tunguska UFO debris discovery is, at the moment, only a story. I do not know if it is a true story or not, as a ufologist I am skeptic of stories but opened minded.

By default, I seem a hoax with absolutely no truth in it. I do not believe it is a hoax. I only reason in such a manner that, if nothing proves it is not a hoax, then it probably is.

But it is reported by major Press agencies, does this not mean that it is true?

It has indeed been reported by major news agencies in Russia and elsewhere: Interfax in Russia, AFP in France, Yahoo news and such.

As a ufologist, with experience, I can tell you that this is in no way "proof." News agencies are publishing a lot of stuff without any checking. Notice how one agency just copies the news item of the other. It is visible that no investigation occurred there. In normal standards, this is only rumor spreading.

When it comes to UFOs, news agencies are even less helpful in sorting out facts from fiction. This is normal: they do not have any experience in ufology.

They do not know how to check in UFO reports, they do not know how to distinguish a UFO report in which someone mistook Venus for a UFO from an interesting UFO report, they do not know what the tell-tale signs of a hoax are and they do not do much to distinguish facts from fiction in UFO matters so they do not even try.

They do not even respect the meager facts. Look at the headlines: "UFO 'wreckage' found" Look at the text: "they have found remnants of an extraterrestrial spacecraft," "a 50kg rock which they have sent to the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk for analysis" etc.

They confuse UFO and extraterrestrial spaceship, they confuse wreckage and debris.

Now, I am not a prophet, but I have experience. I bet that tomorrow, the same agencies who spread the story unchecked, will claim that some expert thinks the story is bunk. here is how this works.

The news agency spreads the story they read from another news agency. Then journalists and people start to call, "wow, is this true? is this a hoax?" Then, and only then, the news people start to wonder: "oops, this may be a hoax." They need an "expert" to sort it out.

You would think that for UFO matters they would ask various ufologists of various opinions, wouldn't you?

Nope. When it comes to UFOs, they want a "serious" "Expert."

They think that serious experts on UFO matters are ...

...astronomers.

But of course, no an astronomer with ufology experience. This is because they do not know that such people exist. They think that astronomers in general all know how to check in a UFO story. So they call just any next-door-astronomer.

The astronomer would say, "well, there's no proof that aliens exist, so your story is bunk." Or "A lot of people see Venus and they believe they saw an alien spaceship."

And that's it. Next story please.

What would be the tall-tale signs this news is a hoax?

First, that it comes from 1 agency, the other simply reproducing the same text. This means that what the first agency reporter has not been checked by anyone else. It does not prove a hoax, but it does ring my alarm bell.

Second, a search on the Internet made me discover that the discovery team went there to explicitly look for extraterrestrial spaceship debris. It does not prove a hoax, it's not wrong to do that, but it provides a motive for a hoax, and it does not sound good to me.

Third, not one word is said on the finding itself. We only heard that it weighs 50 kg. It does not prove a hoax, but my experiences tells me that when there is no description whatsoever of some extraordinary finding, it is often because there is no finding, but a hoax.

Fourth, quotes from a researcher who commented his finding are definitely of the "wild speculation" type. He said the aliens saved the earth by stopping a meteorite disaster. Serious people do not indulge in wild speculation of that sort.

Fifth, a scientific expedition would not advertise a finding in such a manner. They would discreetly ask for peer reviewing, double check and triple check, and only then, let the news flow out. If I were to find a piece of extraterrestrial spaceship, I would not go "hey, here's a piece of UFO, let's have analyzed to see if it really is a piece of UFO." It was not done so; a team apparently claims to have found a piece of UFO, and that was sent somewhere for research. This all does not prove a hoax but it strongly indicates the non-scientific behavior of the discoverers.

These are the tell-tale signs of a hoax, which comes to mind immediately to any ufologist with experience.

So, it is a hoax.

Experience in ufology has also made me realize that things widely claimed to be hoaxed, thing which look like a hoax, sometimes, very rarely, are not a hoax, ultimately. This is why I keep an opened mind for now:

No. I do not know that it is a hoax and I do not know that it isn't a hoax.

It does not matter.

If a piece of a UFO was really found there, it must be made accessible to researchers. Not just the researchers who said they found it, but any researchers, then, we will see what happen.

If none of these alleged UFO debris ever surfaces openly, then, it does not matter whether it was a hoax or I would definitely trash the story as useless.

If it happens that a piece of extraterrestrial spaceship was really found there, without doubts, we'll all hear of it.

"Can't you investigate and let us know now?"

Well, I can't go to Siberia right now. So, I could simply wait that the alleged debris surface openly and wait for other to do research on it and communicate their conclusions, if ever this happens.

First let's check the claimant, Yuri Lavbin. It is said he is a scientist. Use Google, search the name. I find no sign of publications or anything. Obviously the only references to that name are the current news and two-three articles on Tunguska which say "Russian scientist Yuri Lavbin." This rings my alarm bell. But, wait. Not so fast. I have experience and I know that you always need to think twice and double check and search deeper. So use Google and type "lavbin tunguska". First there are different possible spelling for Yuri. Second, search engines do not find anything, it depends on the query a lot.

So, here is what I found.

Yes, Yuri Lavbin participated in an international conference, with mostly Russian participants including scientists but not all scientists, at some undefined date. His presentation was "The 1908 cosmic catastrophe - new investigations, facts and conclusions," summary here: http://omzg.sscc.ru/TUNGUSKA/en/newse/abstracts/lavbin1.htm

Lavbin has then already investigated and concluded the Tunguska object was "technogenic" (a nicer word for extraterrestrial, it means "of technological origin" but we all know what the state human of technology was in 1908, right?)

The abstract says: "Over a number of years members of the Tunguska Cosmic Phenomenon Siberian Fund carried out a thorough analysis of the reports of eyewitnesses of the 1908 catastrophe. This lead to the supposition that on June 30, 1908 there had been several cosmic bodies “falling” on the Earth. Moreover, some eyewitnesses assert that one body looked like a “tube” i.e. it was cylindrical and irradiated a white bluish light."

So, Lavbin did not unexpectedly find an alien spacecraft, he suspected there may be something of the sort, by looking into the eyewitness testimony literature, it seems he went there, and apparently there was some scientific work done:

"Spectral analysis of the soil, water and trees in this area revealed anomalous presence of a number of elements, including some of extra-terrestrial origin in all the media."

I then found that all this was presented in 1998 already during the June 30 - July 2, 1998 the International Conference "90-TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TUNGUSKA PROBLEM" was held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Actually, I have read the abstracts of this conference long ago. I did notice the abstracts by Yu. Lavbin. Here it is:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Cockpit/3240/conf98.htm

Interesting introduction: "Besides Russians, representatives from USA, UK, Italy, Japan attended the conference. Several dozens of reports were delivered. Some of them were strictly scientific, some less. The ideas about the Tunguska origin varies from versions of 'classic' meteorite to UFO and 'poltergeist-like'."

Worth the read.

Time to ask the author of the page, Andrei Olkhovatov , who was at the conference and may know Mr. Lavbin, may have heard the UFO discovery news, and may have information or an opinion. I asked. I let you know if anything comes out.

Now, we know Lavbin was convinced something artificial and extraterrestrial was involved at Tunguska in 1908.

However.

Lavbin did put forth some findings or interpretations which have been challenged if not disproved:

- The radioactivity measured on the site seems to be the remnant of an atomic bomb test of 1958, not related to the 1908 event. It was only of 1.2 to 1.3 about normal 1.0, and was not even detected on a 1964 expedition.

- In the trees, the slight radioactivity increase was found to have happened after 1908, not in 1908, during on expedition there.

- The eyewitness who described a "blue tubular object" seems to have seen a meteor, unrelated to the Tunguska event. And this witness was interviewed 50 years after the Tunguska event.

- Studies of magnetic anomalies in the soil have shown no relation with the Tunguska event. No iron was found. Alleged geochemical "anomalies" can be the consequence of the complicated and rich geological structure of the area. Metallometric studies found no anomalies.

- Searches for magnetite and silicate ball gave no anomalous results.

- Changes is plants are not mutations and not anomalous. Accelerated growth is normal since the existing plants and trees were destroyed. new plants then grow faster.

- a piece of porous iron of several kilogram found near Krasnoyarsk or Kansk by Yuri Lavbin is the only a residue of the iron industry there.

So apparently, some years ago, Lavbin already found a piece of metal and found it at least interesting, but it was only a normal piece of industrial waste. Now, if he finds a piece of an alien spaceship... should we accept the claim?

That's all for now, to be continued...

You are a nasty debunker.

Yes, I think bunk is bunk and I am glad to debunk bunk. I also think some properly investigated high strangeness high reliability UFO sighting reports are evidence of some visits of our planet by an extraterrestrial intelligence with a technology.

August 12, 2004.

Investigation news:

(See above to understand what this is all about).

August 13, 2004

I was told by a Russian scientist who knows Lavbin that a press conference will be held by Lavbin in Krasnoiarsk about the discovery. He wrote:

Dear Patrick,

I know Lavbin, but I cannot comment on his personality, as especially I don't know you. The only thing which I can say, that the report on "UFO-discovery" did not make me sad that my idea on Tunguska is is wrong.

By the way, today (Friday) there must be a briefing for journalists in Krasnoyarsk on the "UFO-discovery".

Best,
[X]

Jim Oberg wrote an article on the event for MS-NBC on the web. He suggests that the fragment, of which I think he knows nothing precise at this point of time, will probably soon be identified as ordinary space junk:

"...may be nothing more than wish fulfillment by devotees of a half-century-old Russian space myth, or they may actually have been based on genuine spacecraft fragments — but of Russian origin. ..."

See http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5686713/

That's all for now, to be continued...

Conference in Krasnoiarsk, picture of the debris:

August 14, 2004.

Yuri Lavbin the head of the last expedition and the man who claimed to have found debris of an alien spaceship on the Tunguska site, spoke at a press conference in Krasnoyarsk on August 13.

He confirmed that parts of an extraterrestrial device had been discovered during the latest expedition, organized by the Siberian Public State Foundation "Tunguska Space Phenomenon" and completed on the scene of Tunguska meteorite fall on August 9.

The object appeared to be a large block made with metal, of which samples were extracted (above picture) which will now be tested. Preliminary analyses show that it is a compound of iron silicate with unknown material.

Investigation news:

(See above to understand what this is all about).

August 23, 2004

AFP (Agençe France-Presse) has issued a new item signed by Victoria Loguinova, titled "Scientists bored by UFOs" on Monday, 23 August 2004.

There is absolutely nothing in AFP's report to prove or disprove Lavbin's claim, however new tidbits of information surface:

Lavbin apparently said that his team was on an expedition to the Podkamannaya Tunguska river in July they found two strange black stones between two villages, which were "regular cubes with their sides measuring a meter and a half." It is said that Lavbin said these stones "are manifestly not of natural origin", and "appear to have been fired and "their material recalls an alloy used to make space rockets, while at the beginning of the 20th century only planes made of plywood existed".

No indication is provided on how Lavbin can claim that these stones really date from the 1908 Tunguska event, it is only said that he claimed that the cubes were the remains of a flying machine, "perhaps an extraterrestrial spaceship," and that he was admitting that "an analysis of the stones had yet to be undertaken."

Lavbin is also said to have found "a huge white stone" "the size of a peasant's hut" stuck in the top of a crag in the middle of the devastated forest. He is quoted saying "Local people call it the 'reindeer stone'. It is made of a crystalline matter which is not typical of this region" and that Lavbin suggested it was part of the core of a comet.

AFP tells that Lavbin is president of the Tunguska Spatial Phenomenon Foundation in Krasnoyarsk, made up of some 15 enthusiasts, among them geologists, chemists, physicists and mineralogists, who have been organizing regular expeditions to the area since 1994.

Scientists know nothing

It seems obvious that no scientist has any idea on this affair except that they "remain unconvinced." None has been able or willing to check into the story further than I did, that is: zip.

Several scientific chronicle authors have expressed skepticism, as I did, but nobody found anything. Apparently, none of them have even found out that Lavbin already claimed to have found extraterrestrial spaceship debris in the past, which ultimately proved to be nothing more than a remain of the area's foundries.

The closest to that notion was in today's AFP release, where the indication "In Siberia where oil geologists regularly work you can find a heap of fragments of various machines" appeared.

"Many scientists remain skeptical" seems to be the theme song. For example, Anna Skripnik of the meteorites committee of the Russian Academy of Sciences told AFP: "There are plenty of amateurs who organize trips to the site of the Tunguska cataclysm"; which is a manner to tell just about nothing on Lavbin's claim.

Obviously, skepticism is necessary here. However, if Lavbin has really found a piece of an extraterrestrial spaceship (let me suppose this for the sake of the discussion here), the complete lack of any effort to check his claims indicates that, in the end, if someone would found a piece of extraterrestrial spaceship, it would only spread as rumor via news agencies and would probably be dismissed as "unconvincing" without any further effort.

To be continued ...

The story died naturally:

We are now in January 2005, and I found absolutely nothing new. No news, no analysis, nothing surfaced to my knowledge, except for this picture on a Russian website which is supposedly showing the "alien spacecraft" debris recovered by Lavbin in the Tunguska:

It could be several things, it does not obviously look like some piece of technology. It may be a piece of rock, or remnants of the nearby iron industries, or a piece of Russian tank or rocket. Is it really so complicated to discriminate? I can't see why. And yet we have no news.

A Michael Shermer of www.skeptic.com has been just as skeptic as I was above, except that he added some nonsense to the plot. On www.skeptic.com/eskeptic11-19-04.html#1 with the headline "UFOs and Tunguska," he presents what really is an already debunked fake UFO crash movie from the VHS tape "UFOS - the Secret KGB file" (Marshall Cavendish collection, a known series of commercial VHS tapes):

Shermer seems to claim that an image from this old tape is the crashed UFO found by Lavbin! No, it isn't, the faked movie (not a photograph, a movie, faked with the help of the locals by a western team - they told the folks they needed extras in 60's soviet uniforms for their shooting a science-fiction movie) has never had any relation with the Lavbin Tunguska story.

And on the webpage where Shermer saw what he mistakes for a Tunguska crashed saucer picture, of which he provides the URL, www.unexplainable.net/cases/Russian/ the year and place is all clearly specified:

The details of a Russian Crash on or about 1969 are sketchy and somewhat suspect.

And:

The event itself, according to the files, occurred in the state of Sverdlovsky, which was formerly Yekatrinburg of the USSR.

Can't "skeptics" read?

(Shermer goes on with dumb comments that if an ET spacecraft would crash on the earth, it would necessarily break in tiny pieces:

"Given what we know about what happens to aircraft when they hit the ground at high speed, and the fact that we've all seen pictures of the debris fields of such crashes where the craft is disintegrated into countless tiny pieces."

Apparently, ET spacecraft is not allowed any gentle belly landing. Next time you see an airplane emergency-landing with resulting heavy damages, as opposed to complete disintegration, dismiss it as proven hoax, it can't be. "Skeptics" know aliens perform high-speed crashes exclusively, they would never belly-land, right?)

To be continued ... (?)

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This page was last updated on January 20, 2005