The Hasenböl Movie Segment

Meier shot this movie segment in the late afternoon and early evening of the same day he took his 35mm photos, at the Hasenböl-Langenberg location looking southward. He began filming with his movie camera just after he had used up a couple rolls of 35mm color slides. This episode is briefly described by Wendelle Stevens in UFO...Contact from the Pleiades: A Preliminary Investigation Report, pp. 283-284, and to a greater depth in his UFO...Contact from the Pleiades: A Supplementary Investigation Report, pp. 284-291. In all, Meier shot two 2-minute rolls of 8mm movie-camera film on this occasion. The history of this movie film is briefly described here.

In the first 2-min segment, the craft started out by hovering near the left side of the movie frame. It then moved steadily to the right along a shallow arc, stopped abruptly with no tilt or over-swing, and hovered there motionless for 26 sec. The arc was up to 25 beamship widths in length. Continual motions of tree limbs in the near foreground indicate that a stiff breeze was blowing.
 Fig. 1. 8mm movie-frame capture, using the Apple G-5 "Final cut" software.
From the Genesis III video, "Beamship: The Movie Footage."
The craft then moved back along the same path to the left side of the frame, pausing out of sight on the left for some 20 seconds. This same performance repeated itself five more times, but with variations in the length of time spent hovering on the left and right, and in the total distance of left-right travel. The time required for each traverse averaged 4 to 5 sec. On four of these traverses from left to right, the craft would execute a rocking motion, or wobbles, in the plane of the movie during the lower half of the arc—wobbles of up to ±5°. On its left-to-right traverses Nos. 4 and 6 it displayed no perceptible wobbles. On its return arcs from right to left, such wobbles were weak or non-existent, with the exception of the return of run No. 2. The wobbles appeared to occur about the craft's center of gravity, at a rate of 2 or 3 per second.

No such wobbles ever occurred at right angles, towards and away from the viewer. Neither did the craft exhibit any swinging motions left-and-right or to-and-fro.

The path traversed by the craft on its run No. 4 is shown in Fig. 2 below.
 Fig. 2. The craft's track during its left-to-right run No. 4, obtained using the Apple software "Motion"/"Trails."
In forming it, a track of the first 2/3 of the arc was superimposed over a track of its latter half.
Subsequent image was enhanced in brightness and contrast.

Problems with the hoax hypothesis. The first third of the beamship track of Fig. 2 can be approximated by an arc whose radius is 40 beamship widths in length. However, not only would this require an impossibly long support pole from which to dangle a model UFO, the rest of the track shows less curvature still. The absence of any swinging motions further rules out the possibility of a model supported by a string (of over 10 model-UFO widths in length) tied to an extremely long pole extending out above the field of view.

Instead, the track resembles a catenary curve.[1] So the skeptic in favor of the model hypothesis can hardly postulate anything other than the presence of a non-visible support wire sagging under its own weight in the shape of a catenary curve but not sagging from the weight of a model UFO attached to it. This support wire would be imagined to be attached to two tall vertical poles off to the left and right, respectively. Their tops, equipped with pulleys, would need to be some 18 model-UFO widths above a level ground; for a model of 1-ft width, the poles themselves would thus need to be considerably taller than 18 ft since the ground slopes down away from the camera. It must further be postulated that the poles have guy wires to support them. For a 1-ft diameter model, the poles' distance apart would need to be over 37 ft in order that they remain out of the camera's view.

The idea would be that the hypothesized model UFO would have a ring mounted at its top through which the catenary wire would have been threaded. Two hoaxer's accomplices would be stationed off even further to the left and right, respectively, holding similarly long poles, to each of which a long string would be attached that in turn attached to the rim of the model UFO. At signals from the master hoaxer, they would both trot to the right and then abruptly stop, causing the model UFO to slide along the catenary to the right and come to an abrupt halt. They would then pause and trot back to the left, repeating this five times, taking care never to step into the field of view. (As an alternative, the two accomplices remain stationary, holding very long fishing poles with reels attached with which they can crank line in and out at up to 7 ft/sec.)

The impossibility of such a scenario. It is not difficult to find several fatal problems with the above scheme.

  1. In order that the wire hang like a catenary curve, it must be both flexible and rather heavy; a chain is the typical example. Yet, in order to not be visible in a movie while allowing a device to slide along it, the wire must be very thin and smooth, since it would not be very far away from the camera. These two requirements seem to be fatally opposed. If a sufficiently thin wire were to be practicable, however, the stiff breeze that was present, when gusting upon the model, would cause the whole catenary with its model UFO to sway towards and away from the camera. No such swaying occurred.
  2. The movie indicates that the craft remained oriented parallel to its track. In order that a model UFO exhibit this behavior, it would have to be suspended from two hoops, one fore and one aft, not just one hoop at its top. Or else the strings attached to its rim would themselves need to be guided along the catenary wire. But then the model could not exhibit the pronounced fore-and-aft rocking motions observed, while rocking motions at right angles, which are not observed in the video, likely would occur.
  3. In the above scenario the pole tip of the hoaxer's accomplice on the left would have to traverse to the right at the very same speed (or have its line reeled out at the exact same rate) as the speed at which the pole tip of the right-hand accomplice traverses to the right (or has its line reeled in), to allow the steady motion observed in the video. And vice versa when traversing back to the left, and consecutively six times in all. The impossibility of satisfying this requirement would show up as jerkiness in the motion of the UFO model, while the movie shows no such jerkiness in the craft's movements left to right and back.
The next level of scenario that would stand a chance of succeeding would require constructing towers some 50 ft apart supporting a high catwalk from which a model UFO could be dangled and managed like a puppet on strings. It is no wonder that no supported claims of negative skeptics to have simulated this film segment have surfaced yet in 25 years.

Highlight of the second reel. A little later in the evening, after taking more still shots with his 35mm camera and reloading his movie camera, Meier was again given the opportunity to turn the latter back on and let the craft maneuver into its field of view. Perhaps its most interesting feature is that during several approximately half-second periods the craft flashed one or two two lights of some kind on then off, in tandem. Two or three times, Meier was able to zoom in on the craft until it appeared two to three times larger. On one of these occasions a light flashed.

 Fig. 3a. Two bright lights flashed on
briefly at this time.
 Fig. 3b. Zoom-in on
craft, light on.
 Fig. 3c. Zoom-in on
craft, light now off.
 Fig. 3. Portions of frames from the evening Hasenböl 8mm movie,
from "The Meier Chronicles" video of Genesis III.

The light beams seemed especially coherent to Stevens, who was one of those who watched the movie film itself while it was being projected onto a screen and video taped at Meier's residence in 1979. Although they occurred on the side of the craft that faced the western twilight, they were clearly no reflection of sunlight, being too intense. Also, by that time the sun had set far enough below the horizon that it does not seem to have directly illuminated the top of Mt. Aurüti, a neighboring hill to the south, and only high cirrus clouds remained partially illuminated by the pale golden and reddish hues of the twilight. Further, the craft was stationary in orientation as the two lights flashed on then off. Reports of UFOs emitting beams of light of varying kinds and appearances are not infrequent; a report of a recently occurring example of this may be read here.

Motivation seems missing for an unknown hoaxer in 1976 to have gone to the effort and expense to have remote-control technology be built into a never-discovered model UFO of complicated design, complete with lamps, battery and circuitry, just to flash its lights briefly.


1. An equation for a catenary that roughly approximates this curve is:

y/L = 4.5[cosh(0.222 x/L) - 1]

where the x,y origin is taken at the lowest, flattest point of the trajectory, x is positive horizontally towards the left, and y is positive upwards. L is the horizontal distance between the origin and the upper starting point of the curve. "cosh" stands for the hyperbolic cosine.

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