The Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel movie film and 35mm stills

This hillside site is located just a few kilometers east of Hinwil, Switzerland, where Meier lived in 1975-76. During these two years, in addition to using a 35mm still camera, Meier used two different 8mm movie cameras on different occasions, one of which, plus a tripod, he sometimes brought along with him on his moped. On this occasion, March 8, 1976, he had a very lengthy photographic session, taking many stills as well as some 8mm footage. His contactor posed her spacecraft for him starting at 9:38 in the morning and lasting until 4:50 in the afternoon, according to Meier's still-photo records (in his Verzeichnis booklet). Some 62 still color-slide photos taken on this occasion, many of them showing up to three of the craft hovering at a time, still survive.

Of particular interest is the 8mm movie film he shot. We don't know which of the two movie cameras was the one he used at this time; one was a Nalcom (or Malcolm) FTL, the other a Raynox XL 303, each with variable focal length. The one he used here had a slight obstruction to its view that left a small, blurry cusp at the top center of each frame of the film.

 Fig. 1. 8mm frame taken from Meier's Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel film sequence as video-taped by
Yaoi and crew of Nippon TV and presented in the video of Genesis III entitled "Beamship: The Movie Footage."
From 1st replay of the film, 7 seconds before the jump. Video camera was partially zoomed in.

Near the start of this sequence, seven seconds before the craft makes an abrupt jump in position, the beamship is seen in Fig. 1 to be hovering up high within the frame and to the right of center. A panel (lower right) indicating hours, minutes, seconds, all relative to an arbitrary initial time, was later added to the video by Jun-Ichi Yaoi of Nippon TV, including the frame number of the video (30 frames/second). The frames being shown are from a video recording made by Nippon TV when Eduard Meier, his wife Kaliope and their son Atlantis, Lee and Brit Elders, Wendelle Stevens, Tom Welch, Herbert Runkle and Nina, and Yaoi and his TV crew of six, were all present. The film was projected onto a movie screen at Meier's residence; this was in the fall of 1979. The projected film was backed up and replayed twice while the video camera kept taping, with the frames of Figs. 1-6 stemming from the first replay of the film, and the remaining frames (including that of Fig. 1.1) shown from the second replay.

About four seconds before the jump, the beamship has hovered upwards a bit, with the tip of its dome now out of the frame of view. See Fig. 1.1 below.
 Fig. 1.1. Video frame of 8mm movie about four seconds before the jump. From 2nd replay of film.

One frame before the jump (0.033 seconds before), the scene appears as in Fig. 2 below. By now the beamship has drifted a little higher still, such that only its lowermost portion is visible.

 Fig. 2. Video frame of 8mm movie projection about 0.033 seconds before the jump. From 1st replay of film.
Only the lowermost part of the craft shows at the top (arrow).

(Compare with Fig. 1. The dark blurry cusp in the center of the top of the frame is an imperfection of the movie camera used, as noted before). Notice the many cloud fragments over the valley, which we shall be examining shortly. From what Stevens has reported, this filming took place around 4:50 PM (Stevens, 1982, p. 283).

THE JUMP.  Frame #20 in Fig. 3 shows the jump, which has been sufficiently simultaneous that no streaked track

 Fig. 3. Video frame of the 8mm movie taken at the time of the jump — one frame later than in Fig. 2.

of the object is seen across the field of view from its previous to its new position (arrows). The beamship, now down low, appears approximately as bright and distinct as in further frames, whereas the craft's bottom slice, up high, seems to be less distinct. This suggests that the jump occurred early in the small time interval that the movie frame was exposed.

The frames at and immediately after the time of the jump, see Fig. 3, are seen to be brighter, and Meier has commented on the brief flash he observes at such a time. The first frame after the jump (Fig. 4) is nearly as bright as during the jump, while the next frame (Fig. 5) scarcely shows any excess brightness and the next after that (Fig. 6) is almost back to normal. See Figs. 4-6. Thus the brightening occurred very suddenly

 Fig. 4. The 1st video frame immediately after (0.033 sec after) the jump of Fig. 3.

 Fig. 5. The 2nd video frame of 8mm movie after the jump (0.067 sec after).

 Fig. 6. The 3rd video frame after the jump (0.10 sec after).

but required about 0.1 sec to die away completely. Meier has also reported a brief electric shock-like tingling sensation during the jump of a nearby beamship craft.

If one places the frames before and shortly after the jump, in which the cloud edges are not washed out by the brightening, namely Figs. 2, and 5 or 6, into one's browser such as to be able to flick back and forth immediately between them, the changes in cloud outlines one can perceive are imperceptible over this 0.10 or 0.13 sec interval. This of course is not surprising if the time interval was indeed very short.

Now, Wendelle Stevens has shown many photographic enlargements of 2- and 3-frame sections of Meier's 8mm films, including the two successive, connected frames just during and after the jump shown here (Stevens, 1989, pp. 242-291, and p. 281 in particular). Also, Elders & Elders (1983, p. 49) show color photos of the three frames centered on the jump. Should this not already be proof enough that the jump occurred essentially during one frame of the movie? Various critics have suggested that the brightness would have been introduced if the movie camera had been stopped, and then restarted a little while later, with subsequent cutting of the film and splicing having taken place, rather than being associated with the abrupt change in a UFO's position. However, it will be seen soon that the sequence of cloud pictures around the time of the jump does not permit much time for cessation of the filming, repositioning of one or more model UFOs, and resumption of filming. Until this is shown, critics may feel that hoaxing would have been a simple matter, because Meier's original film was lost or stolen and splices on the original are not visible on the film copy, which was later also lost or stolen.

Bruce Maccabee has pointed out that a splice nevertheless is usually evident, when projecting a film copy, if it was not made with professional skill. It gives itself away as a slight vertical jump in the film image. However, no such film jump occurred at or near the point in question.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FILM.  Earlier Meier had had all nine of his short 8mm movie film segments spliced together so as to be available for viewing on a single reel, about 16 minutes in length. However, as Stevens explains, "A TV station in Munich, hearing of the pictures in Switzerland, sent a team to interview Meier for a special TV program in Austria. The producer persuaded Meier to let him take the reel of original movies to Austria for transfer to videotape for the program. It took the group in Switzerland a long time to get the reel of movies back, and when they did, they just put them away for safekeeping. When we got there with the NTV team from Japan [in 1979], to look at them again, we noticed missing footage. When we examined the film on the reel, we found that there were no longer any splices. Somewhere along the way [film] clips had been removed, and after that the rejoined sections had been copied and the copy sent to Meier. The Austrian television station insists that they returned the same reel of film that they borrowed, and in fact the film did come back on the same reel that the originals left Meier's possession on" (Stevens, 1989, pp. 237-238).

Fortunately, the copy that was returned in place of the original did not have the section removed that shows this jump the craft made at Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel, although Meier has noted that other short sections had been removed. However, as Stevens continues, "The production company making the motion picture documentary on the Meier case persuaded Meier and his group to let them take Meier's only copy of the movies of the spacecraft back to Los Angeles with them to get the best possible reproduction from Meier's copy. Meier had kindly and generously agreed to this temporary loan of his precious film, provided it was promptly returned in as good a condition as it left his hands. After all these promises, we lost it somewhere in the many hands it went through, and could not find it, even to this day. Eduard Meier was very upset, and justifiably so, and complained for years that he wanted his precious movies back."

As further clarified by Brit Elders (2001), the videotape of Meier's film went to Japan with Nippon TV's specialist in UFO matters — Jun-Ichi Yaoi — for him and his crew to examine, record onto better, 1-inch tape, and air in a program to millions of Japanese. They sent a copy of the improved videotape to Lee and Brit Elders of Genesis III, as per their contract. When Meier was later persuaded to loan his 8mm-film copy to Savadove/Young Productions of Los Angeles for their use in making the documentary "Contact," it was somehow lost after a rough draft of "Contact" had been produced, so the 8mm film was no longer around to be returned to Meier. Savadove/Young Productions ran out of funding to complete "Contact," which Genesis III later finished. The present frames come from: "Beamship: The Movie Footage," one of a Trilogy made available in 1985 by Lee and Brit Elders of Genesis III Publications.

Hence, only the video recording of the 8mm film remained, from which Genesis III has made copies available over the past 15 years. Also remaining, however, are the photographs of small sections of the film-strip copy that Stevens made before the copy was lost, and which he later published (Stevens, 1989). However, no analysis was made of the changes of the cloud patterns, from which an upper limit of the elapsed time during the jump can be estimated. The present study fills this gap, as well as exhibiting further evidence that the craft was a large object in the distance.

THE PARTIAL ECLIPSE  The next frame we show here is one taken 22 seconds after the jump, by which time

 Fig. 7. 8mm frame taken 22 seconds after the jump. From 2nd replay of film.

the craft had eased itself over to the left and downward until it was partially obscured by the brow of the hill — see Fig. 7. However, by subjecting the frame to enhanced contrast and brightness,

 Fig. 8a: Section cropped
from Fig. 7 with contrast
and brightness enhanced.
 Fig. 8b: The craft at its lowest point,
26 frames before that of Fig. 8a, with
brightness and contrast enhanced.

 Fig. 8c: From frame of same scene from "The Meier Chronicles" video,
contrast and brightness enhanced, showing foreground better.

the dark greenish earth in the foreground can seemingly be distinguished from the dark underside of the craft beyond. See Fig. 8a. This, too, suggests the UFO could not have been any small model close to the camera. The interested researcher may start with the frame in Fig. 7 and subject the whole frame to enhanced brightness and/or contrast to see this result for oneself. Or, one may acquire a later video copy (look under "Products" for "Beamship: The Movie Footage"), and notice that there are three dozen other frames in which the craft is partially eclipsed which one may examine.

In Fig. 8c rocks and wild flowers show up near the camera, though out of focus, while before the brow of the hill is reached there is an expanse where they are not resolvable, due to the greater distance. This indicates that the distance to the latter was appreciable—I would estimate some 30m at least.

During the second replay of the film, the operator of the video camera zoomed in on the craft for about 25 sec shortly after the craft's jump; by 07:09:13 the lens setting was returned nearly, but not quite, to its original setting. As a consequence, in Figs. 7 and 9 the top of the film's frame does not show up, and probably a sliver across the bottom is missing, too. Regarding flaws in the film, a small mark at the very bottom of the frame in Figs. 2 and 3, near the left side, resembling an "=" sign, is visible in some of the subsequent frames and not in others. When present, it is always located precisely at the very bottom of the frame. It is present in nearly the same location in some of the other film segments. I believe it is a mark introduced when the Genesis III videos were produced, as it occurs also in still-camera photos superimposed within the video. In any event, this artifact was present in consecutive frames both before and during the jump (Figs. 2 and 3).

A frame taken 11 seconds later than in Fig. 7 is shown in Fig. 9 below. At this time the craft has risen further upwards, and continued to do so for another 9 sec, at which time the end of the film segment is reached.

 Fig. 9. 8mm frame taken 11 seconds after the frame of Fig. 7. From 2nd replay of film.

CLOUD-FORM CHANGES AND THE HOAX HYPOTHESIS.  One may start with the frame just before the jump and inspect the cloud patterns for subsequent changes, starting 4 frames later when the sky brightness had returned about to its normal level, and continuing at increasing intervals. This is done below,

 10a. 07:08:03/19  10b. 07:08:03/23  10c. 07:08:04/1
 10d. 07:08:04/5  10e. 07:08:04/9  10f. 07:08:04/13
 10g. 07:08:09/13  10h. 07:08:14/13  10i. 07:08:17/13
 10j. 07:09:08/0, from 2nd replay
25 sec after the jump
 10k. 07:09:18/26, from 2nd replay
36 sec after the jump
 Fig. 10. Cloud pattern (contrast enhanced) over a 36-sec period; view across the page. Relative times indicated
(hrs: mins: secs/frame No.). The jump occurs just after the first panel in the upper left.
Time in secs after Jump (J) in upper right of each frame.

in Fig. 10. It is difficult to discern any consistent differences in the cloud pattern during this sequence, until about frame 10i, 13.8 seconds after the jump. Then the rather faint cloudlet indicated in the earliest frame by the arrow on the left can first be discerned as becoming relatively brighter and larger, while the faint cloudlet pointed to by the other arrow, which almost connects to cloud fragments just above and below it, is starting to diminish in size. These changes are not very apparent, however, until 25 to 36 seconds after the jump. There is nothing anomalous about the cloud patterns just before the jump relative to just afterwards. Thus I conclude that the cloud patterns indicate that the jump took place in a time period less than roughly 15 seconds, and that it may indeed have taken place during the exposure of one frame.

This conclusion probably cannot be made more definite because small parts of these somewhat tenuous clouds are at the threshold of visibility and may or may not show up well on any given frame, given the limited resolution of the 8mm movie camera, and because there is a faint background "noise" in color and brightness, which resembles faint, horizontally strung-out, wormy cloudlets. Examination of the first couple rows of frames indicates that, due to these limitations, a certain amount of small apparent variations in the pattern occurs from frame to frame.

As already noted, the reason the cloud-pattern issue is being pursued here is that some skeptics have claimed that the UFO was a model dangling on an invisible line from a very long fishing pole, for example, and was simply moved from one location to the other, with or without the camera having been stopped and restarted, and with the film during this interval later being excised and the ends spliced back together. Since such activity would require some time, it is of interest to estimate how much time would be available. For example, it would require several seconds for one hoaxer to lower such a pole, and for a second hoaxer to run and grab the dangling model, and unreel some 6 meters of line — probably 5 seconds, minimum. It would take more time for both hoaxers to reposition the supposed model and long pole, to steady them from all oscillations, and for the second hoaxer to then run back out of the scene — probably 15 seconds or more in all. However, this scenario doesn't get the model in both places at once in one frame.

Hence another scenario might be imagined, involving two model UFOs. In it, one hoaxer supports a long pole to which the first model UFO is attached by a short thin line, and the other hoaxer supports the second, nearly identical model by a long thin line attached to another long pole, which he holds off to the side until the time for the jump. At the time for the jump, the camera is stopped, the second pole is swung around into position, and Meier is envisioned to step out into the scene holding the model. He would position it directly underneath the tip of its support pole, release it carefully, and check to see if oscillations or swinging motions were commencing, in which case he would readjust its position and re-steady it and again release it, until no such motions are seen to occur; then he would step back out of the scene. Then the camera would be stopped, to simulate the sudden onset of the sky brightening, after which the hoaxer holding the first pole would move it with its model back out of the scene and the camera would be restarted. Later, undesired portions of the film showing the hoaxers at work would be cut out, including all but the brightest full frame occurring as the camera speed decelerated to zero, and some frames occurring as the camera is restarted so that the initial sky brightening as the camera started rolling would nearly match that occurring when the camera was stopped; then the various ends of the film would be spliced together and a copy made. The critical parts of this scenario might be envisioned to take place in about 15 seconds, if the 2nd model did not start oscillating or swinging upon being released. However, this is a very formidable "if."

OSCILLATIONS IN A DANGLING MODEL.   Presence of oscillations or swinging motions must be considered very seriously because the support poles envisioned by the hoax hypothesis would need to be long. From Fig. 6 the amount of sky directly above the UFO is some 18 UFO diameters in height, and of course no tip of any pole is visible. If the model were but 30 cm in diameter, this would still require a pole some 6 meters, or 20 feet, long. It would likely require more than 10 seconds of trial and error just to remove initial oscillations in a model dangling from such a long pole, and it is very doubtful that oscillations would not immediately redevelop due to small motions continually induced by such a long support pole and by the wind or breezes. However, no tilting oscillations of the craft are observed upon viewing the moving film—neither rolling nor pitching. No up-and-down bouncing motions are observed, either, as would probably occur with use of a fine support line and a model UFO sufficiently heavy to be little affected by the breezes. Similarly, no swinging motions are observed, either to the side or fore-and-aft. Finally, no rotary motions are observed.

In Fig. 1 and subsequent pictures, the craft is seen to be continually tilted to one side (to the viewer's left). A model UFO could be made to appear similarly tilted at some preferred angle when suspended from the center of its top, if one side (e.g., on the left) were heavier than the other. However, the rotary movements it would be subjected to, due to torsion in the support line, would then show up as the tipped side gradually rotated around. (They wouldn't show up with a model that was properly balanced and exhibited no preferred tilt, except for simultaneous tilting oscillations.) However, the tilted UFO in the film does not execute any rotary motions, either. Moreover, a similar tilt would need to have been implemented in each of the two models we have seen would have been required.

These and the previous considerations explain why no Meier-case detractors or skeptics have tried to simulate this kind of movie episode with a model UFO and succeeded.

Further, the imaginary hoaxers would likely not notice the constraint the small clouds would introduce, and so would take their time in repositioning their model(s); or, if they would be aware of the problem, they could just do their filming during a different time of the day when scarcely any clouds were present, as indicated by Meier's many still photos that day showing clear skies during the afternoon hours. In addition, in implementing a model "jump" scene, surely any would-be hoaxers would ensure that both models would show up well at the time of the jump, and would not raise one of the models almost entirely out of the frame of view just before the jump.

ATTEMPTED DEBUNKINGS.  In Korff's (1995) book, he does not attempt to debunk any of Meier's movie film. However, he has done so on some radio and TV programs. On the Fox TV program "Encounters," Dec. 18, 1994, in which he participated, a portion of this particular film was shown. However, they showed only the portion occurring after the craft partially eclipsed itself, which then avoids the evidence of genuineness shown here. As demonstrated above, a copy of the original film, as projected and videotaped, is ample in this case to show quite conclusively that the large object in the distance beyond the brow of the hill, which object appears to have jumped nearly instantaneously from one location to another, was no part of any human hoax. The facts that computer enhancement of the available frames is needed to bring out this detail, and that the craft only maneuvered part of itself behind the brow of the hill, appear to have been the beamship pilot's method of implementing a strategy of semi-plausible deniability here. The negative skeptic can simply choose to ignore evidence that goes against his wishes.

Further implementation of this strategy may be exemplified by the fact that in the photo/video frame showing the craft in both positions at once (Fig. 3), only the very lowermost portion of the craft is visible at the upper edge of the frame. Thus a skeptic might argue that a second model was not required, and thereby preserve his view that a hoax was involved. However, the video shows that in the previous several seconds the craft had been fully in view and then slowly but continuously moved upwards until mostly out of view of the camera. Moreover, had hoaxers gone to all the effort to rig such a set-up and movie, and ward off the questions of curious rural residents of the Swiss hills, they would have ensured that their model UFO was fully in sight at the time of the jump.

Among the many still shots Meier took of the craft that morning is his photo #209 shown in Fig. 11.

 Fig. 11. Meier's Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel photograph, #209.
Photo taken around noon.
This photo is especially provocative for the skepti-bunker because the beamship is clearly in the sunlight, which came from the right and behind, while the tree limbs through which the beamship was viewed were totally in the shade. In all likelihood, the shading factor was a grove of evergreens located behind where Meier was standing. If a model UFO had been positioned along the line of sight to the beamship image, such a nearby model would in all probability have been in the shade.

The best view of the beamship that day comes from Meier's still photos his #200, Fig. 12.
 Fig. 12. Meier's Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel photograph, #200.
Photo taken at 11:25 AM.
It shows that the craft possessed small protuberances along its outer rim as well as a decorative- appearing cupola, which the 8mm camera could not resolve. In 1978 Stevens took Meier's original color slide of this photo to a company in Basel, Switzerland, a few years later for careful analysis (Stevens, 1982, pp. 339-340). According to Stevens, "This photograph was taken to Interrepro, A.G., in Basel where it was put into a HELL Chromograph DC300 scanning computer which, using an Argon laser beam, scanned the original transparency at 400 lines per centimeter and created new 4-color separation negatives. These negatives were then taken to Schori Repros in Bern where they were set up and printed on poster paper." The Basel company looked for support structures, in case it were a suspended model, but none such was detected.

One result of this analysis was a large poster in which the enlarged image of the beamship, with its edges enhanced due to the raster scan done by Interrepro A.G., was made available by Stevens. One of these posters was later obtained by an officer of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), namely John Timmerman, which for many years he would bring, along with other UFO pictorial material, to UFO meetings for display on large bulletin boards.
 Fig. 13. A portion of another of Meier's
Bachtelhörnli photographs. Taken
from Stevens' 1990 calendar photos.
The caption that was emplaced stated in no uncertain terms that it was a hoax, since the craft's edges were too well delineated for the UFO to be a large craft in the distance. The caption completely failed to explain, however, that the poster showed the computer-enhanced version of the object in the photo. Such intensive but false debunking helped cause ufologists and UFO buffs to realize that it was "politically incorrect" to give credence to the Meier UFO-contactee case.

Another of the still photos from the Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel series is shown in part in Fig. 13, to indicate that more than one UFO was often present when Meier took his pictures that day. In this instance there are three, the larger one being of the same type, presumably the same one, as in Fig. 11 and the movie film, while the two somewhat smaller craft were explained to Meier as being drones. One of them is partially obscured by a very nearby twig.

It is no wonder that Korff at times resorted to a hoax hypothesis that involved use of helium-filled balloons and tethering lines (Korff, 1995, pp. 219-220), so as to try to explain how three or four hovering UFOs could be filmed at a time. However, he failed to mention that this would require a couple of hoax-confederates with a considerable amount of gear, to set up and maintain for many hours at a time. During this time, such activity would surely attract the attention of neighbors, who would come and have a look at what was going on, and perhaps photograph the setup and activity for themselves. They would immediately have realized that Meier was not alone. As Kinder has noted, the people in the vicinity of where Meier lived quickly became very curious as to what was going on, whenever he went out on his moped and didn't return for hours. Quoting Stevens, "...if there were confederates, in three, three and a half years they would have found one, because we weren't the only ones looking for confederates; everybody there was looking for confederates" (Kinder, 1987, pp. 10-12,102).

To implement his "tethering line" hypothesis, Korff displayed some of the still
 Fig. 14. From a photo of Stevens (1982, p. 337) to which I added
an arc denoted by arrows in simulation of Korff's Fig. 66.
photos from the Bachtelhörnli-Unterbachtel series which had somehow acquired scratch-like markings. A close representation of one of them (Korff, 1995, Fig. 66) is shown at the right in Fig. 14. The arc shown here was fed in by hand. Unfortunately for his hypothesis, Korff's marking showed the same curvature: convex upwards. This was no catenary curve!

Thus, the attempted debunkings fail because of their omission of relevant evidence and relevant considerations of basic physics. On the other hand, the alternative—the photos and movie film are genuine because Meier's contacts were and are genuine—does not suffer any of these problems and does not require that Meier have been a super magician. Instead, the reason behind his contacts is then seen to be to attract the attention of independent-thinking people to the reality of the extraterrestrial presence, to the philosophy and teachings of this particular ET group, and to the Talmud of Jmmanuel and the teachings of Jmmanuel, with whom the same ETs' predecessors had contacts two millennia ago.

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Elders, Brit. (2001). Personal Communication, Dec. 22.

Elders, Lee and Elders, Brit. (1983). UFO...Contact from the Pleiades, vol. 2. Genesis III Publishing, P.O. Box 25962, Munds Park, AZ 86017.

Elders, Lee and Elders, Brit. (1985). Beamship: The Movie Footage. Genesis III. See this site.

Kinder, Gary (1987). Light Years: An Investigation into the Extraterrestrial Experiences of Eduard Meier. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Korff, Kal. K. (1995). Spaceships of the Pleiades: The Billy Meier Story. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Stevens, Wendelle C. (1982). UFO Contact from the Pleiades: A Preliminary Investigation Report. Tucson, AZ: UFO Photo Archives (out of print).

Stevens, Wendelle C. (1989). UFO Contact from the Pleiades: A Supplementary Investigation Report. Tucson, AZ: UFO Photo Archives (out of print).

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