Rods: The Smoking Gun
Has Been Found
By James A. Peters
Assistant State Director
Colorado Mutual UFO Network
I was first exposed to Rods when Jose Escamilla had come up from New Mexico to give the Colorado Mutual UFO Network ( CO MUFON ) a lecture on the Midway, NM UFO sightings. As almost an aside to his main presentation, Jose mentioned these other weird things they were finding on their video tapes. Jose had some tapes available and a fellow CO MUFON member showed me the tape a few weeks later. He thought the Midway UFO footage was good, but he asked me what I thought of these Rods. I initially thought what most people think when they see Rods for the first time; "Can't insects look like that?" A few months later, Jose and Karen Escamilla, attended one of our state CO MUFON meetings, and I found out that they were now residing in Lakewood, CO, my hometown. At that meeting Jose presented the latest Rod tapes. The material he presented was even more intriguing than before. As an investigator, I knew I needed to contact Jose and see for myself what he was working on first hand. After calling Jose, he immediately invited me over. We made a date and I went over to his home. He took me downstairs to the basement and there were a couple of Macintosh computers and a keyboard on a set-up of desks and platforms made out of 2x4s, plywood and doors. Shelves around the immediate area were filled with video tapes and books. In-between the computers were a television set and a little black and white video editing monitor. His expertise as an editor became immediately apparent as he slapped this or that tape into the VCR and we either viewed it on the TV or captured an image and pulled it into the computer for analysis. I had warning flags going off. If this guy was this technically adept, what was he capable of producing on tape?
I kept that to myself, as I basically told Jose, "show me what you got." He then led me through a short history of what led to their first Rod shots. This meant going through the Midway UFO footage and the details behind those sightings. Those images were amazing, but I have to admit, to me, they were just more distant UFO shots. They were too far away to determine what they really were. Then Jose shows me the first "Rods." Through these early tapes, Jose showed me what it was that first caught his attention to these objects. I had to consider his profession as a film editor since he had looked at thousands of hours of film and video. Here was something that didn't seem quite right. He'd seen birds and bugs before, right? Okay, fine. Then I see the first "Rods" on tape. ( "Hmmm" ) He's already shown me UFOs, birds and bugs...but there was something different about these "Rods." I was not convinced of anything but intrigued enough to keep looking. We spent the next weeks meeting two or three times a week. About three or four hours at a time were spent looking at what he and Karen were taping. We literally went through the Rods videos frame by frame. Most of the tape, at this point, was inconclusive. Yet, there is still some tape that stood on its own as being very unique. Then Jose receives tape from Mexico and Arizona. I start seeing similarities in these images from different sources. Jose is no longer the source of the images; other people are capable of taping very similar objects. I then see a video tape sequence of a bird and then a Rod. ("Hmmm") Then I see video tape with a Rod behind a telephone pole. ("Hmmm") None of these tapes were taken by Jose or Karen.
Here is when I become convinced that here is something that needs to be investigated even more deeply. I can see that the investigation of UFOs will be influenced by what we've been observing. What if insects are being reported as UFOs while captured on video tape? What is really going on inside a camcorder when it captures an image? What the hell are these things? I told Jose and Karen that we need to concentrate on the best data. That meant concentrating on the images captured at the fastest shutter setting and using points of reference in the field of view. ( ie. telephone lines, trees, etc..) Jose then published his "sky fishing" protocol. People started to send in better quality video. I examined the possibilities. The more I analyze the tapes, the more bugs become bugs, the more birds become birds, and the more Rods become Rods. Recognizing the fact that the Rods were nothing like anything that I've ever seen before, I'm convinced by the hundreds of hours of tape I've analyzed, that the Rods seem to be a unique phenomenon. I don't think they have anything to do with classic UFOs. How can anyone say anything else, after looking at the Rods, other than that they appear to be alive? They don't appear to be "mother-ships" or "cigar-shaped" craft. They look and behave like a biological entity. Yet not birds or bugs. Having become engrossed with their shape ( we now have classifications of Rods: the "centipedes", the "spears", and the "white Rods") I began concentrating on the "centipede" type Rod. They display the most structural detail. They display "wings" or "appendages." I figure that by concentrating my analysis on these "appendages" that they will tell me more about what we are observing. Usually the "appendages" are observed in pairs. But not always. And the number of the pairs varies. Yet the relative length-to-width ratio of the centipede rods stay about the same no matter what shutter setting is used. One day, while in Jose's basement, looking over his shoulder at the computer monitor, I notice a feather that was next to his computer. Then it hits me: the variations in the configuration of the "appendages" can be easily explained if they aren't "wings" or separate "appendages" but are a really a "fin" that runs along the body.
Like the fins on a cuttlefish. And if this fin is translucent and only catches the light depending on the light source and the angle of the body to the camera, then this fin will be illuminated along different parts of the body. The fin undulates along the body in varying patterns depending on what the maneuver the Rod is currently performing. Please remember, at these shutter settings, bugs still are identifiable as bugs. Bugs have shorter, more distinct bodies and legs hanging down. Bugs have wings attached to the top of their body. Their wings don't blur along the side of their body. All clearly evident at these higher shutter settings. As a UFO investigator and being well versed in the physical sciences, I'm now even more convinced of my assumptions regarding these Rods. I've now observed the video evidence that is the "smoking gun" of all Rod evidence to date: Broadcast quality video that can demonstrate that the Rods are a unique phenomenon. They were taken by Mark Lichtle while filming parachutists jumping into a vertical cavern in Mexico, Sotano De Las Golondrinas-The Cave of the Swallows. Fourty-five minutes of digital tape that is just filled with Rods. We've got birds, bugs, people and Rods all in the same sequences. If anyone can look at this tape and say there is not something unique there, then they are not being intellectually honest. And we know of even more tape taken in this same location by another party. But that doesn't matter. Because this is the "Smoking Gun" of Rods. If these tapes in this cave don't show what we've described as the Rods for the last few years, then we don't know what evidence will be required to demonstrate the Rods as a unique phenomenon. A phenomenon that needs to be studied even further. Now it is up to the skeptics to prove that they are bugs or birds, and not something else. Reproduce these images with the same camera, with the same high shutter setting. the same high resolution while taking pictures of provable bugs or birds. This video has:
In the SAME sequences:
There are shots of Rods
There are shots of bugs
There are shots of birds ( very fast swallows )
There are shots of people ( standing, jumping, falling, parachuting)
There are shots of rain.
Examine this video in real time, as it was filmed. Then examine the video frame by frame. Then I ask you to observe the obvious:
1. Insect wings are attached to the dorsal side of their thorax. a. There is a shot of a Rod from the end, the "appendages" are attached to the middle of its body b. No legs are apparent at all. c. There are shots of bugs where you can see the wings and legs and how they are attached to the bug.
2. Rod "wings" appear like a continuous wave when viewed from the side. a. Just like a cuttlefish's fins would look like. b. Centered along the length of the body, unlike an insect or a bird.
3. We are not dealing with "blurs" because the Rod's structure is the same no matter what their orientation is in relation to the camera. a. One shot in particular has a Rod flying into view over the cameraman's right shoulder. It banks into the field of view, flys away so that you can see the Rod "end-on", and then continues to bank and fly out of view to the right.
b. A rod flies into the shadow of the cave. How can a "blur" have a shadow cast across it?
4. Notice the behavior pattern of the birds, bugs, and Rods. They are different. a. One sequence has a flock of swallows fly in front of a base jumper as he jumps into the cavern, and then a rod flies by. This offers many frames to compare the shape and "wings" of the swallows and the Rods. b. Some sequences have the Rods performing extremely fast changes in direction, even performing a loop.
5. The Rods are extremely fast. a. Faster than the swallows b. Faster than the insects c. Faster than the parachutists
These are just some of the basic observations to hold in mind while observing this video. And the video is most appreciated when viewed at full speed before seeing it in slow motion. We have seen these things before in the video evidence that Jose has collected to date. But never like this. Instead of a few frames here and a few frames there, we can now watch what we call Rods in what appears to be a natural habitat for them. They zip in and out of the field of view, more frames available for analysis than that have ever been available before. There is only one way to proceed at this point. We need to get the equipment and experts necessary to define this phenomenon once and for all. At the least, we need ornithologists and entomologists there to examine and document the local flora that could possibly emulate the Rods. We need high resolution cameras set up in a stereo configuration to determine the position, distance, size, and velocity of the Rods. We need higher speed cameras to eliminate any blurring to show the true structure of the Rods. Then, and only then, can we define this phenomenon. All in all, this video is the "smoking gun" of Rods.