The Baltic Anomaly: Answers at Last?

Nearly a year ago, the Ocean X Team discovered the Baltic Anomaly, a mammoth underwater formation or object of unknown origin. Now, they’ve finally wrapped up their return expedition. So, what did they find?

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

Let’s start with the background. On June 19, 2011, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. At the time, Peter Lindberg, co-founder of the Ocean X Team, jokingly declared “Hey guys, we have a UFO!

Return to the Baltic Anomaly!

On June 6, 2012, the Ocean X Team returned to the site. The Team issued two updates over the next five days.

“BREAKING NEWS 2pm, The divers are now down and investigating the circle and reports from the ship say they are really amazed. There is definitely something unusual hiding at the seabed – a Mystery Beneath. More information and pictures will be released next week.” ~ Ocean X Team on Site, June 7, 2:00pm

“Everything is top secret now … because of the risks … hope you all understand this is no game. But the truth will be reported shortly.” ~ Dennis Åsberg, Ocean X Team, June 10, 2012

Interest in the Anomaly’s exact nature surged. UFO enthusiasts were especially intrigued by the statements. Now, the Ocean X Team has emerged to finally tell the world about the “Mystery Beneath.” They published a press release and gave an exclusive interview to a Swedish media firm named Expressen.se. Unfortunately, the press release is somewhat vague and the translated interview is difficult to understand. Still, we’ve done our best to piece this together.It turns out the circle-shaped formation is actually a mushroom-shaped “object,” standing 10-13 feet above the silt. The Team doesn’t actually state the “object” is a large stone, but that appears to be the implication. Its sides are rounded and the edges are described as “rugged.”

The “object” has several curious features. An “egg shaped hole” is positioned at the top. Also, several “strange stone circle formations” resembling “small fireplaces” are positioned around the object. These stones are covered in “something resembling soot.”

The Team took samples from the site. However, one suggestion is that the rocks are made of sandstone.

“There is probably some kind of sandstone. When you look at the structure, it looks like it.” ~ Martin Jakobsson, Professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics, University of Stockholm

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So, it would appear the Ocean X Team has discovered a natural formation. A curious formation perhaps, but still, a natural formation. Nevertheless, they are working hard to maintain the level of mystery they’ve carefully built up over the last year.

“First we thought this was only stone, but this is something else. And since no volcanic activity has ever been reported in the Baltic Sea the find becomes even stranger. As laymen we can only speculate how this is made by nature, but this is the strangest thing I have ever experienced as a professional diver.” ~ Peter Lindberg, Co-founder of Ocean X Team

But what is this natural formation? And how did the rocks end up in such a nice circle? One clue lies in the fact that the Baltic Sea was under ice during the last Ice Age. Thus, these rocks might actually constitute a moraine. In other words, as an ice sheet retreated, the rocks slid down a cone of ice to form a circular shape.Regardless, it appears the Baltic Anomaly is no longer much of an anomaly. That’s not to say it isn’t interesting on its own merits. However, we must take issue with the Team’s recent publicity campaign. In particular, Dennis Åsberg’s quote about everything being kept “top secret” because of “the risks” now appears a little ridiculous. Obviously, the Ocean X Team was trying to maintain excitement among the UFO enthusiasts, even as it knew it was investigating a natural formation.

As most of you know, we’ve been the lead skeptic of the Baltic Anomaly. Between the vague and highly charged updates, the involvement of Titan Television, and dark hints at “military intervention,” we couldn’t help but wonder if this was a hoax to drum up publicity for the eventual documentary. And although the “military intervention” never came to pass, it appears we were right about the publicity angle. With that said, we’re pleased the Team came forward with this information and the images.Some UFO enthusiasts remain skeptical. And indeed, the photographs bear little resemblance to the original side-scan “photograph.” Do they have a point? We’ll take a closer look at that tomorrow.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Baltic Anomaly: The Lost Updates?

There’s still no word from the Ocean X Team on the Baltic Anomaly, a mammoth underwater formation or object of unknown origin. But there are still some things we can learn from the past. What are the Team’s “lost updates?”

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

Here’s the background. Last summer, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. It’s about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. Recently, the team returned to the site to give it a closer look (see the bottom of this article for our complete coverage of the Baltic Anomaly).

Let’s get one thing out of the way. We’re highly skeptical of the Baltic Anomaly. Between the vague and highly charged updates, the involvement of Titan Television, and dark hints at “military intervention,” we can’t help but wonder if this is a hoax to drum up publicity for the eventual documentary.

The Lost Updates?

That being said, we recently came across some interesting information. Back in August 2011, the Ocean X Team started a blog. It only lasted seven days and was subsequently removed from the Team’s website. There are only two places to access these “lost updates”…the Team’s original (now abandoned) Facebook page as well as archived comment pages. I won’t go into all of the updates. Some are fairly benign.

“A question that poped up was if we think ‘it’ still left and if we are monitoring the site. Here is my answer: ‘We think the anomaly is still there. We have not have had the site monitored due to lack of resources.'” ~ Peter Lindberg, Monitoring of Site, August 6, 2011

“…I do not know what the circle shaped anomaly can be. The anomaly is 60 meters (180 feet) across and not just 60 feet. Its about the same as the wing span of a Jumbo jet. The size of the anomaly is one of the reasons why we from the beginning found it a bit odd.” ~ Peter Lindberg, For Media, August 6, 2011

But at least two of the updates are somewhat intriguing. Here’s the first one.

“Speculations; In the area where we found ‘it’ there is approximately a 4-6 meter thick layer of glacial clay and on top of that a layer of sediment which is about 0,2 meters thick. Under the layer of glacial clay there is bedrock. At some places in the Baltic and Gulf of Bothnia the bedrock are [coming] up through the clay and ridges and hill-formations are formed. The area is in no way thermal active. Another thing is that this place was under the ice during the ice age which probably means that is not an old volcano crater. A crater should have been flatten out by the ice.” ~ Peter Lindberg, Speculations, August 9, 2011

Is the Baltic Anomaly a Hydrothermal Vent?

Assuming Lindberg is accurate, this calls into question our theory of a hydrothermal vent, or an underwater hot spring. We’ve long felt such a vent was the most likely explanation for the Anomaly. It would explain the radiation as well as the Anomaly’s strange shape.

“When hot water is expelled from a hot spring, it causes dissolved minerals and the surrounding soil to be driven outward. These materials eventually cool and harden in the water. All in all, this might account for the vast amount of disturbed seabed as well as an object that looks like a sandbar.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: UFO…or just a Hot Spring?

Lindberg’s statement makes an active hydrothermal vent extremely unlikely. However, it certainly doesn’t cancel out the idea of an extinguished hydrothermal vent. A vent can “die” at any time for several reasons. For example, seismic activity might cause a chimney to collapse. Fluid would then build up in the blocked vent, effectively choking it out. Or the hydrothermal fluid could simply run out, exhausting the vent.

One Last Update

The second post we found interesting is actually a comment from Mr. Lindberg.

“…No military or governmental departments have been in contact with us. Someone else can go out to find out what we have found. It’s always a risk in this business that other parties interfere. The find is not protected by any laws or anything. If the find would be fish, oil, gas or minerals it will belong to a Baltic country since our find is within an economical zone but off the nearest territorial border.” ~ Peter Lindberg, Comment on Another Anomaly 2, August 11, 2011

We’ve got two observations about this post. First, there were no thoughts of “military intervention” as of August 2011. That all changed when The Ocean X Team started calling attention to military exercises in the vicinity of the Anomaly.

“Do you know that there is a large military exercise in the Baltic Sea now, with Germany U.S., england. why is it so … what do you think?” ~ Ocean Explorer, May 30, 2012

“Right now there is a military exercise in the area where both Russians and Americans are involved. I can not help but wonder why it is happening right now.” ~ Dennis Åsberg, Translated from Aftonbladet, May 31, 2012

These military exercises are real, but hardly unexpected. They are called BALTOPS and take place every year in the Baltic Sea. The fact that the Ocean X Team called attention to them strikes us as suspicious. It’s possible they did this to help build a cover story for military intervention.

Second, Lindberg is obviously a treasure hunter and seems inclined to deal with the facts. His cooly-worded statements are a far cry from the highly charged and ultra-vague statements recently issued by his partner, Mr. Dennis Åsberg.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

You have to hand it to the Ocean X Team. They’ve done a marvelous job building up a captive audience. Many people, especially UFO enthusiasts, are on the edge of their seats. The Team accomplished this feat by teasing the possibility of something spectacular, such as a sunken city or a crashed UFO (on a side note, the fanciful image above of a crashed spaceship can be found on the Team’s website). The publicity campaign was necessary…without it, the Team wouldn’t have been able to afford any further expeditions to the Anomaly.

“It is not in our sphere of interest to go for this object since the cost for each hour out on the sea are tremendous. Since it might be nothing we can not afford spending funds just to have a look at it, even if it might be a ‘new’ Stonehenge standing on the bottom.” ~ Peter Lindberg

However, the successful publicity campaign now presents a problem. What if the Anomaly isn’t a UFO or a sunken city? What if it’s not even a shipwreck? What if it’s something rather mundane? How does the Team save face, especially after recent updates noted the discovery of “something unusual”? And how do they maintain interest for Titan Television’s documentary?

It’s possible the Ocean X Team has found something incredible. But if this is just a hoax of sorts, they still need to bring it to an end. No one else knows the exact location of the Anomaly. Thus, they could concoct any number of stories to cover up it’s true nature. One possibility that wouldn’t surprise us is if the Team claimed they were forced to evacuate the site due to “military intervention.”

“In other words, the Ocean X Team could hide the true nature of the Baltic Anomaly under the guise of ‘military intervention.’ That would leave everyone happy. It would help Titan sell its documentary on the ‘Baltic Cowboys.’ It would keep the Ocean X Team’s reputation intact. And it would give UFO enthusiasts yet another near-miss legend to kick around.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: Another “Great Lakes Hoax”?

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Baltic Anomaly: Another “Great Lakes Hoax”?

After a day at port, the Ocean X Team has disappeared again, presumably back to the Baltic Anomaly, a mammoth underwater formation of unknown origin. The excitement among UFO enthusiasts over the Baltic Anomaly is palpable. But is this just another Great Lakes Dive Company Hoax?

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

Here’s the background. Last summer, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. It’s about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. Recently, the team returned to the site to give it a closer look.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. We’re highly skeptical of the Baltic Anomaly. Between the vague and highly charged updates, the involvement of Titan Television, and dark hints at “military intervention,” we can’t help but wonder if this is a hoax to drum up publicity. It has precedent, namely the Great Lakes Dive Company Hoax.

The Disappearances of Felix Moncla Jr. & Robert L. Wilson

On November 23, 1953, radar operators in Michigan spotted something unusual on their screens…an unidentified flying object. First Lieutenant Felix Moncla Jr. scrambled an F-89C Scorpion Jet into the air to check it out. Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson flew with him, acting as the radar operator. Moncla caught up with the object 8,000 feet above Earth.

Back at Ground Control, radar operators watched the situation unfold. The radar blips – one for the jet and one for the UFO – grew closer and closer together. They merged, turning into a single blip. And then this blip vanished. Moncla didn’t respond to radio calls. And a search and rescue operation failed to recover him, Wilson, or the jet. No traces of the ill-fated flight were ever found (although some researchers think the parts were found in 1968).

The Great Lakes Dive Company Hoax?

In 2006, a man named Preston Miller emailed an Associated Press story to UFO scholar Francis Ridge. The story proclaimed the discovery of Moncla’s missing jet at the bottom of Lake Superior…along with something else. The divers who’d made the discovery called themselves the Great Lakes Dive Company.

“In searching the general vicinity of the wreck, we believe we have also found a part of the object that the F-89 collided with. We are still in the process of documenting the mystery object…There is still a lot of wreck site forensics to complete.” ~ Adam Jimenez, Great Lakes Dive Company Spokesman, Great Lakes UFO Mystery Solved, Another Begins – (Supposed Associated Press Story)

Ridge forwarded the email to a popular UFO forum and the story spread like wildfire. Adam Jimenez, the Great Lakes Dive Company’s spokesman, gave interviews to numerous reporters and radio programs. His description of the crash site was similar to the Baltic Anomaly, namely “a plow mark trailing behind the object (as if it had crashed).” Two images of the plane were posted on the company’s website, appearing to show an aircraft half-buried in silt. Sonar images of a second metallic object, presumably the UFO, were also posted (see above).

There was just one problem. The Great Lakes Dive Company didn’t exist. Neither did Adam Jimenez. Three weeks later, the company’s website, www.greatlakesdive.com, disappeared. So did the man claiming to be Jimenez. James Carrion, the International Director of Mutual UFO Network, investigated the incident. To make a long story short, he discovered the original Associated Press story was bogus as were many of Jimenez’s statements.

“In summary, MUFON after many hours of investigation by a number of our dedicated field investigators has not been able to substantiate any of GLDC’s claims. Until GLDC personnel resurface with more information and definitive proof of the F89 discovery, their claims remain doubtful at this time.” ~ James Carrion, Update on Kinross / Great Lakes Dive Company Case

Jimenez and the Great Lakes Dive Company never resurfaced. These days, most people consider the whole thing a hoax.

The Baltic Anomaly vs. The Great Lakes Dive Company Hoax

There are some similarities between the Ocean X Team and the Great Lakes Dive Company. Both groups published strange sonar images. Both made extraordinary and vague claims about their discoveries. Both deliberately fanned the flames of UFO enthusiasts. And both got increasingly tight-lipped as time progressed. Even the supposed image of GLDC’s UFO (pictured above) looks similar to part of the Baltic Anomaly.

However, if the Baltic Anomaly is a scheme, it’s far more elaborate and refined than the 2006 scam. The Ocean X Team is a real company with a real boat led by real treasure hunters. Their reputations are on the line. Also, they haven’t made any outlandish claims about the exact nature of the Anomaly, other than to say it’s “top secret.”

At the same time, the Ocean X Team is under pressure to produce something extraordinary. They’ve raised a lot of money and they could find it difficult to raise funds for other projects if the Baltic Anomaly turned out to be nothing of interest. That’s part of the reason why we expect the Ocean X Team to drag this out as long as possible before claiming they were forced to evacuate the site due to “military intervention.”

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

We’re not convinced the Baltic Anomaly is real. Side scan sonar images are highly prone to distortion. If it is real, we here at Guerrilla Explorer suspect it’s nothing more than a hot spring. A hot spring would explain the initial radiation reported by the Ocean X Team, as well as the Anomaly’s strange shape.

“When hot water is expelled from a hot spring, it causes dissolved minerals and the surrounding soil to be driven outward. These materials eventually cool and harden in the water. All in all, this might account for the vast amount of disturbed seabed as well as an object that looks like a sandbar.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: UFO…or just a Hot Spring?

So, is the Baltic Anomaly a hoax? Is the Ocean X Team this year’s version of the Great Lakes Dive Company? At the very least, we think this has the potential to turn into a hoax. In other words, the Ocean X Team could hide the true nature of the Baltic Anomaly under the guise of “military intervention.” That would leave everyone happy. It would help Titan sell its documentary on the “Baltic Cowboys.” It would keep the Ocean X Team’s reputation intact. And it would give UFO enthusiasts yet another near-miss legend to kick around.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Baltic Anomaly: Is it a Hoax?

The Ocean X Team has finally returned to port after investigating the Baltic Anomaly, a mammoth underwater formation. Is there something down there? Nothing at all? Or is this just a massive hoax?

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

Here’s the background. Last summer, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. It’s about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. Recently, the team returned to the site to give it a closer look.

On June 10, Dennis Åsberg, one of the cofounders of the Ocean X Team, posted his latest update on Facebook.

“Everything is top secret now … because of the risks … hope you all understand this is no game. But the truth will be reported shortly.” ~ Dennis Åsberg, Ocean X Team, June 10, 2012

The Ocean X Team’s ship, the Ancylus, is back in port. Curious onlookers have been swarming it, photographing the crew and equipment. There is talk of a press conference, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Accusation that the Baltic Anomaly is a Hoax?

However, that’s not the only new information. Disclose.tv recently announced the discovery of “documents stored on the team’s website that strongly suggest that the Baltic Sea anomaly is nothing more than a publicity stunt to raise money.” The documents are now gone, but still available in web cache form. One document is the group’s budget. Another appears to be an investor letter. It includes the following paragraphs (translated with Google Translate and with a few adjustments).

“Ocean X Team will do their utmost to raise awareness of the Circle project thus attracting considerable media value, which can be used in advertising. So far, about 700 million viewers around the world have been reached through news broadcasts, Internet-based news outlets are not included.”

“Is the circle something that can be salvaged and which is worth the money? If the circle is a natural resource, the OX can not guarantee income as it is within an economic zone.” ~ Ocean X Team, Investor Letter

Honestly, I think Disclose TV is overreacting here. None of this is a surprise. The Ocean X Team are professional treasure hunters and I can’t fault them for trying to do everything within their power to profit from the Baltic Anomaly.

Is this a Hoax?

Still, the question remains…is this a hoax, perhaps similar in spirit to the 2006 Great Lakes Dive Company hoax? Well, there’s no indication the Ocean X Team has lied about anything. Also, they have a reputation to protect, especially since they will need outside funds for their other projects, such as the “three missing Fabergé eggs.” And finally, the second paragraph from the investor letter above indicates the Team was unsure of what it would find, if anything, at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

However, we remain highly suspicious of a hoax. The entire expedition is being filmed by Titan Television. Titan has apparently reserved the website, BalticCowboys.com, for the eventual documentary. If the Baltic Anomaly turns out to be a natural formation, which is far and away the most likely possibility, how will Titan monetize its film? One possibility is to play the “military intervention” card. That is, the Ocean X Team could claim they are being forced to keep quiet by outside forces. That way, the documentary ends in mystery rather than disappointment. Interestingly enough, the Ocean X Team has called attention to military exercises in the vicinity of their search at least twice in the last two weeks.

“Do you know that there is a large military exercise in the Baltic Sea now, with Germany U.S., england. why is it so … what do you think?” ~ Ocean Explorer, May 30, 2012

“Right now there is a military exercise in the area where both Russians and Americans are involved. I can not help but wonder why it is happening right now.” ~ Dennis Åsberg, Translated from Aftonbladet, May 31, 2012

These military exercises are real, but hardly unexpected. They are called BALTOPS and take place every year in the Baltic Sea. However, they could still be used as a cover story for military intervention.

“The odds of finding a UFO are beyond miniscule. And no one’s going to buy a documentary about a hot spring. So, we can’t help but wonder if the purpose of the May 30 tweet was to lay the groundwork for a story about ‘military intervention.’ Ufologists are paranoid about government cover-ups of alien spacecraft, perhaps rightly so. However, that same paranoia can be tapped into by unscrupulous people looking to make some money.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: A New Discovery?

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

After investigating it, the Ocean X Team claims the Baltic Anomaly is real, calling it “something unusual hiding at the seabed.” Assuming that’s the case, we here at Guerrilla Explorer think the Baltic Anomaly is nothing more than a hot spring. A hot spring would explain the initial radiation reported by the Ocean X Team, as well as the Anomaly’s strange shape.

“When hot water is expelled from a hot spring, it causes dissolved minerals and the surrounding soil to be driven outward. These materials eventually cool and harden in the water. All in all, this might account for the vast amount of disturbed seabed as well as an object that looks like a sandbar.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: UFO…or just a Hot Spring?

We don’t want to be completely skeptical. It’s very possible the Ocean X Team has discovered a shipwreck or something else of interest. And if not, it’s very possible the team will be upfront about what they find. However, our skepticism on both counts is still growing.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Baltic Anomaly: A New Discovery?

The Ocean X Team is still investigating the ultra-strange Baltic Anomaly, a gigantic underwater formation. What have they found so far?

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

Here’s a quick background. Last summer, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. It’s about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. Recently, the team returned to the site to give it a closer look.

Latest News on the Baltic Anomaly

On June 6, the team reported the following update:

“The ship Ancylus, carrying the Ocean X Team, is now anchored above the circle-shaped object. They started to scan the seabed and they are taking samples for analyses. Due to really bad weather conditions the operation took a little bit longer than scheduled. But they are working hard and prepare to dive down there for further investigations today.” ~ Ocean X Team on Site, June 6, 1:00pm

Okay, so that’s not really news. However, it’s good to hear the expedition got underway without too much of a hitch. The real news came yesterday:

“BREAKING NEWS 2pm, The divers are now down and investigating the circle and reports from the ship say they are really amazed. There is definitely something unusual hiding at the seabed – a Mystery Beneath. More information and pictures will be released next week.” ~ Ocean X Team on Site, June 7, 2:00pm

A Mystery Beneath?

“A Mystery Beneath?” Wow! Sounds intriguing huh? And yet, incredibly unspecific. The Ocean X Team is being pretty cagey here. That should be no surprise, seeing as how the entire project is being filmed by Titan Television. Titan has apparently reserved the website, BalticCowboys.com, for the eventual documentary. Unfortunately, this very caginess makes it impossible to unpack the statement. Which is probably the point. The team and Titan have the ears of the public, especially the ufologists. Once they start to reveal details, the public could lose interest, especially if the Anomaly turns out to be a natural underwater formation.

The Ocean X Team promises “more information and pictures” next week. Personally, we think ufologists should temper their expectations. Nothing in these latest statements dissuades our theory. We continue to think the Baltic Anomaly is a hot spring. It would explain the radiation reported by the Ocean X Team, as well as the Anomaly’s strange shape.

“When hot water is expelled from a hot spring, it causes dissolved minerals and the surrounding soil to be driven outward. These materials eventually cool and harden in the water. All in all, this might account for the vast amount of disturbed seabed as well as an object that looks like a sandbar.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: UFO…or just a Hot Spring?

On a side note, the Ocean X Team has a lot riding on the exact nature of the Anomaly. After all the hype, anything but a UFO will cause a loss of public interest. Even a shipwreck would be viewed as a disappointment. With that being said, we think its wise to reconsider the team’s tweet from May 30.

“Do you know that there is a large military exercise in the Baltic Sea now, with Germany U.S., england. why is it so … what do you think?” ~ Ocean Explorer, May 30, 2012

This military exercise is real…but very easy to explain. Since 1971, United States Naval Forces Europe has participated in BALTOPS, an annual military exercise in the Baltic Sea. But the tweet seems to be implying something else, namely that the military exercise has something to do with the Baltic Anomaly.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The odds of finding a UFO are beyond miniscule. And no one’s going to buy a documentary about a hot spring. So, we can’t help but wonder if the purpose of the May 30 tweet was to lay the groundwork for a story about “military intervention.” Ufologists are paranoid about government cover-ups of alien spacecraft, perhaps rightly so. However, that same paranoia can be tapped into by unscrupulous people looking to make some money.

Overall, we hold out hope the Ocean X Team has discovered something truly unusual. Barring that, we hope they will be upfront about what they discover. However, our skepticism on both counts continues to grow.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Baltic Anomaly: UFO…or just a Hot Spring?

As we speak, Ocean Explorer is investigating the ultra-strange Baltic Anomaly, a gigantic underwater formation. Numerous explanations have been put forth, with a crashed UFO being one of the most prominent. But could the Anomaly be nothing more than a hot spring?

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

This is an exciting time for fans of the unexplained. Next month, TIGHAR will launch its latest expedition to Gardner Island in search for answers to Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance. And right now, Ocean Explorer is searching the depths of the Baltic Sea for answers of a different sort.

For those of you who haven’t been following the story, last summer Ocean Explorer used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. The object is about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. Its exact nature is unknown and thus, Ocean Explorer has returned to the site to give it a closer look.

Skepticism over the Baltic Anomaly

Now, I have to admit I’m skeptical of Ocean Explorer. They seem to have no problem fanning the flames of conspiracy theorists, which is far from a good idea for a scientific expedition that wants to be taken seriously. Take this tweet from May 30 to see what I mean.

“Do you know that there is a large military exercise in the Baltic Sea now, with Germany U.S., england. why is it so … what do you think?” ~ Ocean Explorer, May 30, 2012

This military exercise is real…but very easy to explain. Since 1971, United States Naval Forces Europe has participated in BALTOPS, an annual military exercise in the Baltic Sea. So, this looks like nothing more a weak attempt to get ufologists paranoid over military intervention. That’s a pretty big strike against Ocean Explorer’s credibility as far as we’re concerned.

As such, we’re required to take their statements with a grain of salt. That being said, here’s an interesting update from two months ago, which as far as I know hasn’t seen much discussion yet.

“incredible, we have measured the radiative value of the anchors we used. It’s quite intriguing, the normal level of radiation is 0,1 milli Sieverts and we get 0,63 when measuring on the anchors. It’s far from dangorus levels but still; it’s 6 times higher than a normal level of radiation. The anchors have been on the bottom like 2-3 kilometers from the circle, so one can wonder if we will get higher values of radiation the closer we get of the circle?” ~ Ocean Explorer, April 2, 2012

Six times normal radiation levels? Now, that’s a story. The cause of the radiation is unknown but of course, it’s assumed to be associated with the Baltic Anomaly. That begs the question…what could cause such radiation? Well, there’s actually a fairly easy answer…hot springs.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Hot springs are created when groundwater in the Earth’s crust is heated by geothermal means. They are found all over the world. Sometimes, they contain radium. In fact, the famous hot springs in Ikaria, Greece, enjoyed by people for thousands of years, are radioactive. Here’s another example of gamma radiation being found in hot (and cold) springs in Jordan.

Now, geothermal heat appears to be quite common in the Baltic Sea. Plus, a large hot spring would explain more than the elevated radiation levels. It would also explain the shape of the Anomaly as well. When hot water is expelled from a hot spring, it causes dissolved minerals and the surrounding soil to be driven outward. These materials eventually cool and harden in the water. All in all, this might account for the vast amount of disturbed seabed as well as an object that looks like a sandbar.

So, is the Baltic Anomaly a hot spring? A natural rock formation? Something else? Well, the last report from Ocean Explorer stated they were “on a roll” as of June 4. So, in all liklihood, we should have answers soon.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Baltic Anomaly?

Last summer, Ocean Explorer used side-scan sonar to “photograph” something strange deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet beneath the surface. Is it a natural rock formation? Or something else entirely?

Background

The object in question is about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. And no one knows for sure what it is. Opinions range from the plausible (a natural rock formation) to the wild (an Unidentified Submerged Object, or a USO).

Yesterday, a team of researchers led by Peter Lindberg and Dennis Asberg converged on the mysterious object. They plan to study it for 6-10 days.

“We’ll be searching the area in a number of ways. We’ll use sonar to make 3D images of the bottom, the clay bottom, of that part of the sea. We’ll send down deep-sea divers too. And a camera robot. We’ll also take samples from the sea bed and measure them for toxicities and radiation.” ~ Peter Lindberg

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So, what is this thing? Some of the more realistic suggestions include: crash debris from a meteor, a natural gas well, or a shipwreck. Perhaps the most likely option is that it’s nothing at all.

“Side-scan sonar is not a photograph and it can create false echoes, so it’s not crystal clear what exactly it is that you’re recording. The object that we’re talking about is basically flush with the ocean floor, and side-scan sonar is much less reliable for things like that.” ~ Benjamin Radford, Deputy Editor, Skeptical Inquirer magazine

So, the jury is still out…at least for now. But we should have an answer in a couple of days. Stay tuned!

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The “Wow!” Signal?

On August 15, 1977, Dr. Jerry Ehman detected a strange radio signal while working with Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope. The signal lasted for 72 seconds and appeared to be of non-terrestrial origin. Dr. Ehman quickly circled the signal’s markings on a piece of paper and wrote “Wow!” next to it. What was the “Wow!” Signal?

What was the “Wow!” Signal?

Well, the jury is still out on this question. The “Wow!” signal appeared to originate from the constellation Sagittarius, close to the Chi Sagittarii star group. However, despite multiple attempts over the last three decades, no one has been able to re-detect it. Even Dr. Ehman came to doubt the “Wow!” signal was of extraterrestrial origin.

“Even if it were intelligent beings sending a signal, they’d do it far more than once. We should have seen it again when we looked for it 50 times. Something suggests it was an Earth-bound signal that simply got reflected off a piece of space debris.” ~ Dr. Jerry Ehman, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 18, 1994

It should be noted Dr. Ehman later qualified this statement. However, he remains skeptical the “Wow!” signal originated from an extraterrestrial source. While we are no closer to solving the mystery of the “Wow!” Signal, plenty of dedicated researchers are still trying to understand it. Here’s an excerpt from an interesting interview on the “Wow!” signal from The Atlantic with one of those researchers, Robert Gray:

Is it possible that the “Wow!” signal is somehow a computer glitch, or a signal from earth that was reflected off of space debris of some sort?

Gray: Of course it’s possible. It could have been any number of things. However, it almost certainly wasn’t a computer glitch, because it showed this rise and fall of intensity that’s just exactly what a radio source from the sky would look like. Also, the Ohio State radio telescope was cleverly rigged to filter out local stuff.

The only thing that conceivably could have made that special signature is a satellite of some sort at just the right distance, going just the right speed, in order to mimic a celestial object traversing the sky. So that’s a possibility, but it seems pretty unlikely for a number of reasons. First, it would have been seen by a lot of people. Ohio State would have seen it repeatedly, because satellites broadcast repeatedly. Secondly, if it was a secret satellite it would have been pretty stupid to broadcast at a frequency that radio astronomers across the world listen to.

For a long time, Jerry Ehman, who actually scribbled “Wow!” on the original computer printout, considered the possibility that it was a piece of space debris reflecting a signal from the earth back down into the antenna. But he no longer believes that to be the case. And I’m not saying that it definitely was an extraterrestrial broadcast; there’s no proof of that. The best way I can think to analogize this thing is to say that it was a tug on the cosmic fishing line. It doesn’t prove that you have a fish on the line, but it does suggest that you keep your line in the water at that spot…

(See The ‘Wow!’ Signal: One Man’s Search for SETI’s Most Tantalizing Trace of Alien Life for the rest)

A Lost Shipwreck…or a Lost UFO?

A few months ago, Ocean Explorer used side-scan sonar to “photograph” something strange deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet beneath the surface.

Background

It’s a circular UFO-like object (or to be accurate, I guess a USO), about 200 feet in diameter, with a tail stretching over 1,300 feet across the sea floor. While some experts believe it’s nothing more than a natural rock formation, many others are extremely curious about it. Ocean Explorer hopes to get a closer look at it in 2012 and is seeking funding to do so. Until then, here’s a good update on the story from CNN:

Deep down on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, Swedish treasure hunters think they have made the find of a lifetime.

The problem is, they’re not exactly sure what it is they’ve uncovered.

Out searching for shipwrecks at a secret location between Sweden and Finland, the deep-sea salvage company Ocean Explorer captured an incredible image more than 80 meters below the water’s surface.

At first glance, team leader and commercial diver Peter Lindberg joked that his crew had just discovered an unidentified flying object, or UFO.

“I have been doing this for nearly 20 years so I have a seen a few objects on the bottom, but nothing like this,” said Lindberg.

(See the rest at CNN)

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

The Great Moon Hoax…of 1835?

On August 25, 1835, a strange article appeared in the New York Sun. The piece, attributed to famed astronomer Sir John Herschel, announced a startling discovery…the moon was inhabited by intelligent creatures. The Sun’s circulation increased dramatically and within a couple of days, was the most popular newspaper on the planet. What was the Great Moon Hoax of 1835?

What was the Great Moon Hoax?

In 1835, the moon was a source of great mystery. So, when the New York Sun’s headline blared, “Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made by Sir John Herschel, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c. At the Cape of Good Hope,” citizens turned their heads.

In total, six articles were published by the Sun, claiming to be supplements to the (non-existent) Edinburgh Journal of Science. Supposedly written by Herschel’s assistant, (the fictitious) Dr. Andrew Grant, the pieces described how Herschel had created a new telescope at his Cape of Good Hope observatory. This miracle of science was capable of 42,000x magnification, more than enough to see small objects in space. The resulting images were then reflected onto the observatory’s walls where they were sketched and described.

The Great Moon Hoax…Life on the Moon?

The articles insisted that Herschel had “discovered planets in other solar systems…firmly established a new theory of cometary phenomena…and…solved or corrected nearly every leading problem of mathematical astronomy.” Despite this impressive list of accomplishments, all of it paled in comparison to the shocking news that Herschel had spotted life on the moon.

After viewing rock, a poppy field, vast forests of yew trees, inland seas, and beaches, Herschel turned his attention to an oval-shaped lunar valley. He reported seeing bison herds and blue unicorns. But the most amazing animals were yet to come. On August 27, readers learned that Herschel had observed signs of intelligent life on the moon. More specifically, he saw a primitive tribe of biped beavers who lived in huts, used fires, and carried their young in their arms. The next day, he reported something even more spectacular…a population of winged humanoids who appeared to live near a golden temple. Herschel and Grant labeled these humanoids “Vespertilio-Homo,” or man-bat.

The man-bats appeared to be engaged in conversations, complete with gestures. While the initial creatures were somewhat primitive, more elaborate man-bats would soon make an appearance. Herschel would later report the existence of a beautiful race of angel-like creatures and a mostly human population of middle class citizens.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The story is now known, of course, as the Great Moon Hoax. Not only had Herschel failed to see any of the sights claimed by the article, he wasn’t even aware of the articles until well after they were published. From all accounts, he was initially amused by the incident but soon grew weary fielding questions about it.

The New York Sun reaped strong benefits from the Great Moon Hoax. Its circulation quickly rose from 15,000 before the series to 19,360 after its conclusion, making the Sun the most popular newspaper in the world at the time. Other newspapers followed suit and soon, the Great Moon Hoax was worldwide.

To this day, it remains unclear whether average citizens were aware of the Great Moon Hoax. At that time, newspapers were known for making up outrageous stories in order to drive sales. Also, it’s important to note that subscribers didn’t cancel their subscriptions once the truth began to emerge. Indeed, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 became somewhat of a cultural icon for the time, leading to a play at the Bowery Theater among other things. Still, eyewitness accounts from the time make it clear that large numbers of people were fooled by the Great Moon Hoax. For example…

“Yale College was alive with staunch supporters. The literati—students and professors, doctors in divinity and law—and all the rest of the reading community, looked daily for the arrival of the New York mail with unexampled avidity and implicit faith. Have you seen the accounts of Sir John Herschel’s wonderful discoveries? Have you read the Sun? Have you heard the news of the man in the Moon? These were the questions that met you every where. It was the absorbing topic of the day. Nobody expressed or entertained a doubt as to the truth of the story.” ~ Yale Reporter, 1853

So, that leads us to our final question: who was behind the Great Moon Hoax? A reporter named Richard Adams Locke is usually given credit for the articles. However, Locke never admitted his involvement in the Great Moon Hoax and some researchers believe that the French astronomer Jean-Nicolas Nicollet, or Lewis Gaylord Clark, editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine, may have perpetrated it. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know for certain. And unless new evidence comes to light, we may never know the hoaxer’s true identity.