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     What you are about to read is a report and analysis of a Gulf Breeze, 
Florida, UFO sighting that involved Ed Walters and half a dozen other 
witnesses.  The analysis shows  that something truly 
unusual was seen and photographed.

     Originally written in 1990, this report has been modified slightly for 
this presentation.  (Shortened versions appear in "Gulf Breeze Without Ed," 
published in the 1991 MUFON Symposium Proceedings and in _UFOS ARE REAL, 
HERE'S THE PROOF_, by Ed Walters and Bruce Maccabee, Avon, 1997.)

     This began as a sighting by Ed Walters and his (then) wife, Frances.  
Ed became famous for his photos of objects which he saw in 1987 and 1988.  
Starting in the late spring of 1988 there were public accusations that he 
had hoaxed all his sightings and photos.  Ed's response to his critics was 
to write a book that was published in March, 1990, _THE GULF BREEZE 
SIGHTINGS_ (by Ed and Frances Walters, Morrow Pub, 1990).  The publication 
of that book and subsequent controversies have left many people confused 
over whether or not the original 1987-1988 sightings were hoaxes.  (It is
my carefully considered opinion that they were not hoaxes. )

     The initial flap of Gulf Breeze sightings started on November 11, 1987 
with about 8 sightings.  Ed was one of the witnesses.  What made him stand 
out was the fact that he took pictures with his Polaroid camera.  The 
initial flap ended on July 17, 1988, having resulted in about 117 reports 
involving over 200 witnesses in the Gulf Breeze area.  Only 24 of the 
reports during this first flap involved Ed.  After July, 1988, the sighting 
rate dropped precipitously (only 8 more reports in 1988) and then started to 
rise again in the latter half of 1989 so that by the time of the sighting 
reported here there had been about 60 more sightings, involving nearly a 
hundred witnesses.  Ed had been involved in only one of these, a sighting 
that occurred during a MUFON group meeting in Pensacola in September, 1989.

     So, it had been a "long dry spell" for Ed, a period of few sightings 
that wouldn't really end until November, 1990.   But that's another 
a LONG story!

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                    GULF BREEZE:  JANUARY 8, 1990
                          Bruce Maccabee            c  1990, 2000

     It was 6:30 PM during a nice, cool winter evening (January 8, 1990) in 
Gulf Breeze, Florida.  The uniform cloud layer overhead allowed only a hint 
of the light from the full moon to pass through and cast a dim light on the 
city below.  The gentle, warm breeze merely tickled the waves of the Gulf of 
Mexico several miles south of Gulf Breeze.

     Ed and Frances Walters were taking their (nearly) daily evening stroll 
along the streets of this small city (several thousand residents living on a 
peninsula abou 3 miles south of Pensacola).  Everything was quiet. There had 
been UFO sightings off and on over the previous months by other citizens of 
the area, but it had been four months since Ed had seen anything unusual 
(the last sighting was September 12, 1989 in Pensacola; he and several 
others saw a red light ascending into the sky and he had photographed it 
with a 110 format camera). It had been two years since he and Frances were 
virtually under seige by UFOs (See _The Gulf Breeze Sightings_ by Ed and 
Frances Walters, Morrow Pub. Co., 1990).  But now all was quiet, so nothing 
was going to happen this evening.  Right?

     WRONG!  Suddenly Ed noticed a bright red light in the sky and just as 
suddenly, it became Not Just Another Evening Stroll.

     Looking up he could see a uniform "ceiling" (cloud layer) made visible
 by dim full moonlight filtering through the clouds.  He also saw something 
else...a dark circular disk, silhouetted against the clouds, with a red 
light at the center.  The red light seemed to be "boiling."  The disk was 
darting back and forth and not really going anywhere.  Of course, Frances 
saw it, too.  She said it was "bright red and easy to find at a sharp angle 
overhead.  I had to tilt my head almost straight back to see it."  

     After watching this for perhaps a minute Ed became convinced he was 
seeing another UFO.  Where was his camera when he needed it?  Unfortunately, 
not hanging from his shoulder!  He and Frances ran to the house for his 
newest camera in the hope that the object would still be there when they got 
back.  It was now 1 - 2 minutes since Ed had first seen it.

     In September, 1989, Ed explained to me that he had bought an
Instamatic camera (110 film format) to replace his old Polaroid (made famous 
by the 1987-1988 UFO photographs) because he thought that, since it was a 
new camera, it would be "better" than his old Polaroid.  (Note: he used this 
camera to take a photo of the light seen during the Pensacola MUFON meeting 
on the night of Sept 12, 1989.)  I disabused him of this erroneous notion 
(the Instamatic creates much smaller, lower resolution pictures) and 
recommended that he get a new camera, a 35 mm type.  Several months later I 
learned that he had bought a Canon A-1 with a Soligor zoom lens (70-222 mm 
focal length).  He also bought a tripod.  However, he had not used this 
camera and lens as of the time of this sighting.  (Ed does not take many 
pictures!)  It was this camera and its tripod that Ed ran home to get.

     When they arrived home Frances told their daughter, Laura, what they 
had seen and then she and Laura went onto the front lawn to watch the object 
from there.  

     Before running outside with the new camera Ed decided to call several 
MUFON investigators (Charles Flannigan, Vicki Lyons and Gary Watson) and he 
also called Duane Cook and Buddy Pollak.  He did this, even though he knew 
that the object could disappear at any time, because he had been severely 
criticized for not having witnesses to the previous sightings (which 
debunkers had claimed that Ed hoaxed).  This time he wanted to try to get 
witnesses, even if he ended up looking foolish for calling them out to a 
"wild goose chase," which it would be if the UFO were gone when they 

     He left messages on the answering machines of Charles Flannigan (6:32 
PM: "Charles, it's Ed.  There's a little bit of commotion here in town.  
Some kind of red thing hovering over the Methodist Church.  I don't know how 
high up in the air, but its very clear.  You may want to get your camera and 
come on over.  Bye."  Flannigan did not get this message until long after 
the sighting was over.) and Vicki Lyons (6:34 PM: "Vicki, this is Ed.  
There's a UFO over the Methodist Church in Gulf Breeze right now.  You 
better grab your camera and come over here.  It's 6:34.").   Vicki Lyons 
arrived home soon afterward, heard the message, and drove to the sighting.  
Unfortunately she lived several miles away across the Pensacola Bay Bridge 
and when she arrived at 6:50 PM she was told that the object had just 
disappeared.  (Note: Vicki provided the investigative report on this case, 
including sighting forms, weather information, the results of her contact 
with the air traffic control center at Pensacola airport and the results of 
her contact with the Naval Air Station several miles east of Gulf Breeze.  I 
also interviewed the witnesses so this report is based on the combination of 
her investigation and mine.)

     Ed also left a message with the answering service of Mr. Watson, who 
did not receive the message until much later.  Then he called Duane and Dari 
Cook.  Ed told Duane about the light and Duane immediately told his wife, 
Dari, and her teenage son, Chip Holsten.  They all decided to go and Duane 
said to Ed, "I'll be right there."  They quickly got into their car and 
drove to the church.

     Next, Ed called Buddy and Brenda Pollak.  (Brenda had seen a UFO moving 
through the sky on the night of March 17, 1988, when Ed got his first large 
stereo camera photo of a UFO.)  Buddy answered and yelled to Brenda, "Get 
the camera and come quickly."  He explained to her that Ed and Frances had 
seen something over the church.  As quickly as possible Brenda got her new 
camera and noted that it was 6:39 when they were "pulling out of the 

     Meanwhile, Frances and their 16 year old daughter, Laura, were watching 
it from their front yard.  Laura described seeing "a red object with a 
glowing bottom that seemed to be floating high in the sky."  Then they got 
the binoculars.  Through binoculars "it was still fuzzy" and it was 
difficult to keep centered in the binoculars.  According to Frances, "During 
the time that Laura and I watched the light through binoculars it dimmed 
even more so that it was difficult to find again if you looked away from 
it.  Also, occasionally clouds would cover it for a few seconds."  (Later 
Laura went upstairs and onto the porch roof for a better view but by the 
time she relocated it, it was "no longer red, but black.  Then it 

     After making these calls Ed quickly walked back to the church parking 
lot where he had first seen the light.  It was still darting about high 
overhead.  He set up the camera on a tripod.  The camera was loaded with ISO 
400 film and Ed set it to automatic exposure.  He was about ready to start 
taking pictures when Duane, Dari and Chip arrived, at about 6:40.  Ed 
pointed upward toward the object and at first they couldn't see it, but as 
their eyes adjusted they could see the light moving in a zig-zag pattern.  

     According to Dari, "We arrived on Russ Drive, next to the Methodist 
Church, at 6:40.  Ed was setting up his camera.  We looked up at the dark 
sky and could not see anything.  I asked if it was gone, thinking we had 
probably missed it.  Ed looked shocked that we couldn't see it and pointed 
up to the sky.  Finally our eyes adjusted to the darkness and we could see a 
red object with a bright red light or ball at the bottom.  It looked like it 
was a black object with a reddish haze over it.  It moved around in a zig-
zag pattern and if you blinked you had to refocus to find it.  It was ragged 
around the top and seemed oblong and was dark red, almost burgundy, not as 
bright and clear as the red light over the water tower on Fairpoint.  (Later 
on) the object seemed to be tilting around slowly.  Finally all the red was 
gone and it was totally black. It was easier to see now that it was black."

     Duane Cook provided the following description of his initial 
impression.  At first he couldn't see it, but then "it was a matter of 
waiting for our eyes to adjust to the night sky."  Duane saw a "faint red 
light standing still high in the sky.  After staring for a minute I could 
see a steady red light in the middle of a small black area high in the 
clouds.  Then I heard Dari say, 'I see it.' with such excitement in her 
voice I knew she was seeing it, too.  Once Brenda and Buddy arrived there 
was a lot of excited chatter about whether it was moving or not.  I couldn't 
say for sure because each time I blinked I lost it for a few seconds and had 
to relocate it against the fuzzy background of the clouds."

     Chip also described the object:  "When we arrived at the church we saw 
Ed fixing his camera tripod and camera.  We looked and couldn't see the 
object until our eyes focused in because of the clouds.  After a few seconds 
we could see a red light on the bottom and an egg shaped black outline above 

     While Duane, Dari and Chip were having their initial difficulties in 
seeing the object, Ed was having difficulty pointing the camera at the 
object because of the steep angle, nearly straight up (estimated at 70 
elevation).  He tried to see it through the lens.  Several times he aligned 
the camera only to have the object move just before he pushed the shutter 

     At about 6:41 Buddy and Brenda arrived, she with her new Minolta Maxxum 
3000 automatic camera with a time stamp, 200 speed film and a 100-300 mm 
zoom lens.  She was determined to get her own picture of a UFO.  After 
looking upward for several seconds she located the object and prepared to 
photograph it but then found that "it was impossible to get it into view 
because it was darting about so rapidly that I would lose it."  (Note: 
anyone who has used a telephoto lens knows that the lens restricts the field 
of view as it magnifies the image. This makes it much more difficult to keep 
a moving object near the center of the field of view of the lens.)  Brenda 
pointed out to the other witnesses that there was no noise associated with 
the object.  Later in the evening they did see airplanes and a helicopter 
which they could easily hear at great distances.

     Finally, about 6:42 Ed managed to take his first picture.  Not knowing 
how to operate his new camera in the manual mode, he had set it for 
automatic exposure.  As a result, because of the low average light level,
the shutter was open for the maximum time allowed by the camera, 4 seconds 
according to my subsequent measurements.  During this shutter time the 
object remained quite stationary and apparently there was very little 
vibration of the camera/tripod because the image is reasonably compact and 
overexposed in the (white) center with a wide red "annular region" or 
"fringe" around the white area.  (Note: the aperture was set at f/3.5.)  See 
PHOTO 1, below.



     Although the center is very pale yellow or white, the red fringe 
(caused by light scattering sideways within the film) proves that the light 
source was, indeed, red.  (There is also a much dimmer, red, oval image to 
the right of the main image.  This is a "lens flare" caused by reflections 
within the camera lens.  Such reflections always occur, but they are only 
noticeable when a bright light source is photographed in a much darker 
surrounding.)  Because of the overexposure the white, central portion of the 
image is larger than it would be for normal geometric imaging [geometric 
imaging:  (image size/focal length) = (object size/distance)].  The image 
also appears to be smeared slightly, probably as a result of a slight camera 

     Ed tried to take more pictures.  He would reposition the camera only to 
have the object speed away as he was ready to take another picture. Several 
minutes later Ed managed to get another exposure as the object hovered.  
This picture shows an overexposed image at the left end of a red line of
decreasing brightness (decreasing exposure level) extending to the right 
side of the picture.  See PHOTO 2, above.  

     Again the center of the main image is overexposed indicating that for 
most of the shutter time of 4 seconds the object was stationary or nearly 
so.  There is a red fringe around the overexposed center and a dim, red lens 
flare, again indicating that the light was red.  The exposure level, of the 
line extending toward the right, decreases as the distance from the 
main image increases.  This indicates that the object accelerated and moved 
toward the right just before the shutter closed.  (This is assuming that Ed 
did not bump the tripod-mounted camera.  He said he did not.  The 
compactness of his first picture proves that he could take a picture without 
jiggling the camera very much.)  

     One interesting aspect of this line is that it does not shrink to 
(nearly) zero (vertical) width but rather shrinks somewhat and then 
has a nearly constant width for a considerable portion of its length.  The 
constant width can, therefore, be assumed to be a measure of the width of 
the light itself. (Note: the brightness of an image is roughly proportional 
to the exposure level which, in turn, is proportional to the amount of time 
the image of a light spends at any particular point on the film.  If a 
moving light were to accelerate its image would spend less and less time at 
a series of locations along the image of its path of motion.  Hence the 
exposure level, and therefore the image brightness, would decrease as the 
object sped up and moved farther and farther along its path of motion.  If 
the light were too small to be resolved by the camera, what could be called 
a "point source" of light, then the size or WIDTH of the image would also  
decrease with decreasing exposure level.  Hence, if it were a point 
source, both the brightness and the width of the line would continually 
shrink as the speed increased.  [This assumes that the intrinsic brightness 
of the light remains constant during the acceleration time.]  In this case 
the brightness decreases but not the width of the path of motion, indicating 
that the light was large enough to be resolved by the camera.  Resolved 
objects obey the geometric imaging rule given above.)  

     The constant width of the line is about 0.2 mm.  The geometric imaging 
formula makes use of this value, represented as I = 0.2 mm,  along with the 
experimentally-measured effective focal length of the camera, F = 214 mm and 
the distance to the object, D, to calculate the width of the light (the 
horizontal dimension which is perpendicular to the nearly vertical line of 
sight) as follows:  W = (I/F)D.   

     The distance can be estimated from the weather report which stated that 
cloud height was about 1,300 ft.  With D = 1300 one finds W = 
(0.2/214)(1300) = 1.2 ft.  (Had this calculation been based on the size of 
the overexposed white area of the first photo, about 0.6 mm, the result 
would have been 3 times larger.  Hence this is likely to be a lower bound on 
the size of the light.)  Note that this was, presumably, the light 
at the center of the bottom of the object.  Note also that it was certainly 
larger in diameter than a light bulb or a road flare.

     The length of the line, 11 mm, is also an important feature.  
Projecting this to the cloud height with the above formula shows that the 
object moved (11/214)(1300) = 67 ft or thereabouts before it left the field 
of view of the camera.  It definitely moved this distance in less than 4 
seconds since that was the time the shutter was open and part of that time 
the object was stationary.  Because the left end of the image is compact and 
overexposed by an amount comparable to that in the first photo, I conclude 
that it was stationary for MOST of the shutter time.  In other words, I 
suggest that it moved to the right in a second or less.  If it moved in 1 
second the _average_ velocity was 67 ft/sec or about 46 mph!  Furthermore, 
the continual decrease in exposure level, when moving along the image toward 
the right side, suggests, as noted above, that the object underwent a 
uniform, perhaps a constant, acceleration.  If one assumes a constant 
accelerating force acting over a distance of 67 ft for 1 second one can use 
the simple acceleration equation, d = (1/2)at^2 to find the acceleration:
a =  2d/t^2 = 2 x 67/(1sec)^2 = 134 ft/sec^2.  This is about 4 times the 
acceleration of gravity ("g" = 32 ft/sec^2) or four "g's".  At the end of 
one second the object would have been traveling 134 ft/sec or about 92 mph!  
If the time of motion were less than 1 second then the acceleration was 
greater.  For example, if it traveled 67 ft in 1/2 second the acceleration 
was 4 times greater and the velocity was twice as great.

     A very rough estimate of the brightness of the light can be made using 
the (nearly) linear portion of the image.  The estimate is based on the 
following assumptions: a) on the average over the length of the line the
image brightness corresponds to an exposure level about 10 times the typical 
red light exposure for ISO 400 film, (b) the time represented by the line 
was 1 second and (c) the object radiated its light uniformly over a 
hemisphere (2 pi steradians).  Assumption (a) means that the exposure level 
was on the order of 1 mcs = 1 meter-candle-second = 1 lumen sec/m^2.  The 
film area covered by the 0.2 mm by 11 mm line is about 2.2E-6 m^2 so the 
luminous flux collected by the film during the assumed 1 sec was about 1 lm 
sec/m^2  x  2.2E-6 m^2 / 1 sec = 2.2E-6 lm.  Using the manufacturer's focal 
length, 222 mm, and the f stop, f# = 3.5, the aperture diameter, d = F/f#, 
was about 0.063 m.  Hence the area of the aperture was about (pi/4)(0.063^2) 
= 0.0031 m^2.  The distance to the object was about 1,300 ft = 396 m so the 
solid angle for acceptance of light was Area/Distance^2 = 0.0031/396^2 = 
which is about 2E-8 steradians (0.02 microsteradians).  The camera 
intercepted only 2E-8/2 pi of the total radiation into a hemisphere centered 
at the light.  Hence the luminous flux from the light was approximately  
2.2E-6 lm x (2 pi/2E-8) = 690 lm.  Thus the light may have been appoximately 
equivalent to a 200 watt incandescent light bulb with a red filter.  (Note: 
I have not attempted a calculation based on the size and exposure of the 
overexposed images because I do not know, even approximately, just how 
much exposure the white area corresponds to.)

     Returning, now, to the history of the sighting, Ed continued to try to 
take photos while the other "invited guests" watched.  Soon other people 
passing by noticed the crowd and stopped to see what was going on.
     Then, according to Ed, at about 6:47 PM, "The UFO came closer and 
suddenly a circle of lights or portholes blinked into view.  I yelled that I
could see the portholes and shot photo #3."  Other members of the crowd 
recall Ed yelling, "I see the portholes."  He quickly took a picture, which 
shows that the central bright area of the UFO had turned white with some 
other colors mixed in (See PHOTO 3 above and BLOWUP OF PHOTO 3 below).  The 
maximum width of the image is about 1 mm which is about 5 times the width of 
the streak in photo 2 which could indicate that the object had decreased in 
altitude to about 1300/5 = 260 ft (moved closer, as Ed thought) or perhaps 
the lighted area of the object increased in size while the object remained 
at a constant altitude (or a combination of decreased altitude and increased 
bright area). If the width and length of the lighted area increased by a 
factor of five, then the area increased by a factor of 25 as compared to the 
area of the linear region analyzed above.  This means that the overall 
optical power output could have increased (in proportion to the area) by 
dfactor of 25.  

     The image is not accurate portrayed in the digitized version presented 
here.  The effects of digitization of the color has produced "color 
contours" that are instructive, but not accurate portrayals of the print 
that was scanned to make this web presentation.  In the original print (made 
for me by Dr. Robert Nathan, formerly of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory) the 
outer boundary is pale blue "haze" that blends smoothly into the white 
central portion and the red also blends smoothly into the white. (See BLOWUP 

     Returning to the history of the sighting, Chip Holsten ran to Ed and 
asked if he could look through the camera and see the portholes, too.  Ed 
said,  "Sure," and let Chip look through the camera.  (Note: the 222 mm lens 
acted like a telescope.)  Chip yelled "I can see them, too.  Can I take a 
picture?"  Ed said "Sure can,"  and Chip took the fourth photo with Ed's camera.  

     Duane Cook heard the brief conversation between Chip and Ed and 
thought, "That's just wishful thinking."  Then he heard the camera click and 
recalled thinking at the time, "Too bad it's so dark.  That picture doesn't 
stand much of a chance of coming out even if they push process it the way we 
do to our night football game film."   

    However, as fate would have it, the picture did come out, and it is one 
of the weirdest UFO photos ever taken in the presence of multiple witnesses.  
Note, in particular, the greenish bent "spikes" that stick out around the 
circumference.  There is no good theory for what these might be.  (See PHOTO 


     The oval "body" portion of the image has a more structure (lines)
and an "underlying" red color. The most peculiar characteristic of the image 
in Photo 4 is what seems to be a network of glowing white and greenish 
lines or "hairs" that protrude outward from the oval portion. The hairs are 
bent or crooked, with the nature of the crookedness varying around the edge. 
What, if anything, these hairs signify is, of course, unknown. However, it 
does not appear that they are 'portholes,' as suggested by Ed. 

     If there were no crookedness the hairs might be explained as being 
created by small bright particles emitted outward by the object during the 
exposure time.  However, it seems impossible to explain the bends in the 
hairs in terms of ejected particles.  Also, there is no testimonial evidence 
that the object emitted any particles.  Another possibility is that the 
hairs are images of the actual structure of the object, a network of beams 
or struts, perhaps, that only became visible when more of the object lit up.

     Shortly after the above picture was taken the amount of light 
diminished and the object again looked like a dark disc with a light at the 
center.  Ed drew a picture of the object showing the central bright area, 
the dark disc and the "portholes" (see Figure 4 below).  Similar but less 
detailed sketches were made for the MUFON investigator by Brenda and Buddy 
Pollak and Duane and Dari Cook.  Their sketches did not show portholes.  
They just show the dark disc and the central red 'boiling' light.  See 
Figure 5 below.




    Then the witnesses noticed that the red light was no longer visible, 
although the dark disk could still be seen darting about below the cloud 
layer. Brenda reported, "After a few minutes the red disappeared but the 
object was still visible as a round black dot, about 1/4 inch in diameter 
(at arm's length) moving about against the clouds."   Assuming Brenda's 
"arm's length" to be about 20 inches, the angular (apparent) size would be 
about 1/80 = 0.0125 of a radian or about 0.7 degree. Ed estimated the 
apparent size as about that of the full moon which is about 0.5 degree or 
0.008 radian and Duane estimated it was the size of the nail on his little 
finger at arms length, i.e.,  about 1 degree which corresponds to about .017 
radians. Using 0.0125 radians as an average estimate, the size of the 
object at 1,300 ft would be about 1,300 x 0.0125 = 16 ft, with a minimum 
estimated size of about 11 ft and a maximum of about 22 ft. It is 
unfortunate that there is no photographic data to confirm these size 
estimates.  (Even with the 4 second time and the ISO 400 film, the light 
from the moon, filtering through the clouds, did not make the clouds bright 
enough to photograph even though they were bright enough so that the 
(apparently) opaque disc could be seen against the cloud background.  Eyes 
are more sensitive than film, at least under these circumstances.)

     After the object became a black disc, according to Brenda, "It 
continued to move rapidly, then hover, then move and change directions very 
abruptly."  Duane reported that he lost sight of it and thought it was gone. 
Then someone pointed it out to him.  It was "a little lower in the sky. But 
this time it didn't have any lights and it seemed to have a definite oblong 
or circular shape. It was either black or very dark grey." Dari recalled 
that "finally all the red was gone and it was totally black. It was easier 
to see now that it was black."

     Brenda still had her camera ready to take a picture. When the light 
went out she suddenly realized that it might be going away and she wouldn't 
have used her camera. She decided to take a picture even though it was now 
all black. She reported, "While it was hovering in the 'black dot' state I 
tried to photograph it, but my camera malfunctioned; it's never done that 
before. It's working perfectly today (a day after the sighting)."  The 
automatic time indicator imprinted on the film the image, "6:50 PM."

     Actually her camera did not malfunction. What she interpreted as a 
malfunction, as she later realized, was the extra long exposure time. From 
previous use during ordinary photography (daytime or nighttime photos with a 
flash) she expected to hear the shutter click shut in a second or less after 
she pushed the shutter button. Instead, it stayed open and, to her, seemed 
never to close.  Since the shutter did not close right away she began to 
worry that something had happened to her camera. This caused her to report 
after the sighting that her camera had malfunctioned in the presence of the 
UFO.  (Of course, the shutter did close 4 seconds later, as determined by 
experiment several days later.)  

     A day or so later she had the film developed.  She told me that she had 
contemplated asking the photo company not to print photos which showed 
nothing, since she assumed that that photo would show nothing.  However, the 
photo company developed all her pictures and she found, to her amazement, 
that there was an image on the film of the object.  However, it was an 
enigmatic image.  It didn't look at all like the dark disk she thought she 
was photographing.  In fact, the image didn't look dark at all.   Instead it 
looked as if the image had been made by a light.  "But," she thought, "there 
was no light when I photographed the dark disc!"

     During the four second exposure time the camera vibrated back and forth 
a bit (natural hand vibration, since she was holding it rather than using a 
tripod) and this created a small squiggly line consisting of "sausage link"-
like images of a light that changed color numerous times!  (See Figure 3 



     Each tiny "sausage link" is actually the stretched - by camera motion -
image of a tiny burst of light of some color (see the inserted blowup of the 
image in Figure 3). Since the time between bursts was very short the bursts 
appear connected, like the links of a long chain of sausages.  The hand 
vibration caused the series of light bursts to make a line that moved 
randomly around on the film. (Note: the scanned and digitized version 
presented here does not accurately portray the length of the squiggly line, 
the number of light bursts which make up the line or the colors of the 
bursts.  Quantitative statements about this strange image are based on the 
analysis of an excellent print made at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.)

    Because of the camera motion (and perhaps some object motion as well), 
changes in the brightness and color of the light are spread out in a thin 
wiggly line over the film. Thus, by allowing the camera to move, Brenda 
inadvertently caused a time-to-space conversion that allowed the temporal 
variations in the light to become visible on the film. These changes would 
not have been visible had both the camera and the object been perfectly 
steady.  If this had been the case, all the different light bursts would 
have blended together in a single spot and we would have been unaware of the 
color changing ability of the UFO. 

     For several reasons, aside from the multiple witnesses nature of this
sighting, this image is one of the most enigmatic in UFO history because of 
the conditions under which the photo was taken.  First, there are at least 
100 distinguishable light bursts (sausage links) which make up this image 
(counting from either end to the other end of the squiggly line; we don't 
know which end of the line represents the beginning of the shutter time).  
Second, the light burst images are of different colors, typically white, 
pale blue, pale red, pale green and pale yellow (but none of the bursts is 
an overexposed image).  For example, in one loop of the image there is the 
following sequence: red, white, blue, green, red, white, yellow, red, 
yellow, red, green, red, green, blue, yellow, etc.  There appears to be no 
regular pattern to the color changes.  

     The fact that the total exposure time was 4 seconds means that the 
light changed color at a rate of (at least) 100/4 = 25 times per second.  
This rate of change is so fast as to be undetectable to the eye.  To the eye 
it would appear as a steady light of some average color, probably pale red.

     The third, and perhaps most enigmatic, aspect of this photo is that 
there was no light from the object before or immediately after Brenda took 
the picture.  In fact, the UFO disappeared very soon after the photo!  

     To better understand the nature of this enigma, recall from 
what is written above that the witnesses saw the overall red color and 
"windows" diminish in brightness so that they could see only a dark disk 
against the sky with a single red light at the center.  Then the red light 
went out.  Ed said that shortly after the red light went out he took 4 
photos of the black disc.  When the pictures were developed they had no
image at all. (More comments on Ed's activities are reported below.  Of 
course, no one knew until several days later that Ed had gotten no images.) 
Then Brenda "panicked" and took her picture of the dark disc.  She reported 
that immediately after her picture she realized that there was no light and, 
in fact, not even the dark disc.  There was nothing in the sky but cloud!  

     The existence of an image in Brenda's photo means that the object must 
have "turned on" for at least a portion of the 4 second exposure time. 
However, she was not able to confirm by eye that it had turned on because  
she could not see it while she took the picture. (This is because her 
single-lens reflex camera blocked the light path from the lens to the eye 
during the exposure.) 

     The image in Brenda's photo clearly indicates that the light was 
changing color while she photographed it (even though there was no visible 
light from the dark disc before and after the photo!). However, the image 
streak in Ed's photo #2 (see above) shows no such color variation, although 
it should if the light changed color as the object moved quickly to the 
right.  Could it be that the color changing was "saved" by the UFO 
until the very end of the sighting?

     Although Brenda got an image of a light when she photographed the black 
disc, Ed says that he took four photos of the black disc but nothing came 
out on the negatives. These four of Ed's photos do confirm the witness 
testimony that after the central light disappeared the disc was, at least 
for the most part, dark.  However, there seems to be a conflict between
Ed's failure and Brenda's success in getting an image.  This conflict can be 
resolved by a closer study of the history of the end of the sighting.   

     According to Ed, after he took four photos of the black disc and noted 
that it was still visible he suddenly thought that he might be able to get 
come video of it.  He ran two blocks back to his house for his video camera. 
He saw Laura and Frances on the porch roof watching the sky. They could 
barely see the object.  When he returned several minutes later the "disc 
was just disappearing into the clouds" and he never did use the video 
camera. At about the same time Vicki Lyons arrived at the scene.  According 
to her estimate, the time was 6:50 PM. She was told that the disc had 
disappeared just before she arrived.  

     If we assume that Brenda started her photo at the beginning of the 
minute 6:50 (so that her camera would imprint 6:50 PM onto the picture) and 
Vicki arrived at the end of the same minute (so that the object was gone at 
least by the time Vicki talked to the witnesses, i.e., by 6:51) then 
Brenda's photo must have been taken just before (within a minute of) its 
disappearance. Ed said that he returned from home with the video camera 
just as the object was disappearing into the clouds. Thus he returned at the 
end of the minute 6:50 (or thereabouts). Since it would have taken him a 
couple of minutes to run home, get the video camera and then run back he 
couldn't have taken any of four photos of the disc during the minute 6:50. 
Instead, he must have taken the four photos several minutes before 6:50 and 
hence more than a minute before Brenda's photo. Thus there is no conflict 
between Ed's failure to get an image and Brenda's success. 

     Considering that the object was dark for several minutes, from the time 
that the central light went out until the minute 6:50 when Brenda got her 
picture, and considering that the object also disappeared during or soon 
after that minute, it seems that it gave off a brief multicolored burst of 
light just before it departed ... a "parting shot".... and Brenda caught it 
on film!  This raises the question, was Brenda extremely lucky to get the 
image (did she just happen to take the photo when the UFO sent out a final 
burst of light) or did the UFO intentionally emit its oscillating burst of 
light during the shutter time of the camera?   If the latter, how would it 
know when Brenda pressed the the shutter button?  

     Returning, once again, to the history of the sighting, the other 
witnesses had the impression that the disc simply increased its altitude and 
disappeared into the clouds. Duane reported "Suddenly I realized I couldn't 
see it any more. I don't know whether it went behind a cloud or what 
happened to it. I kept looking where it had been in case it was a momentary 
lapse in concentration. But no luck. Nobody else could see it anymore 
either, in spite of the crowd of people that had gathered to see what 
everybody was looking at."

     Vicki Lyons reported that she arrived on the scene at 6:50 she said 
that the witnesses told her she had just missed it. Using her time for the 
disappearance (6:50) and Ed's estimated time when he first saw the object 
(6:28) the total sighting duration was about 22 minutes. At about 6:55 
Duane, Dari and Chip left the area for a previously scheduled engagement. 

     Then, only minutes after the UFO disappeared, IFOs began to appear: two 
large helicopters few over the area. At about 7:04 Vicki and Ed and the 
other remaining witnesses drove to Shoreline Park and walked to the end of 
the pier to look for anything unusual. They noticed a lot of helicopter 
activity around the area. The helicopters appeared to come from the Naval 
Air Station. 

     Vicki left the park at 7:30 and at 7:33 again passed the location of 
the sighting on the way home. She saw a Navy helicopter with a searchlight 
sweeping the area where people had been standing only 45 minutes before 
watching a UFO. Ed and the Pollaks also saw the helicopter from their 
location at Shoreline Park. Later she checked with the Chief Air Controller 
at the Naval Air Station. He stated that a rescue squadron had been in the 
area at 7:33. (What would a rescue squadron have been trying to rescue from 
the land around the church? Certainly there was no crashed aircraft.) He 
suggested that the helicopters might have been from Whiting Field. However, 
checks with Whiting Field and Eglin Air Force Base failed to identify the 
source of the helicopters. Nearby weather stations and Eglin AFB stated that 
they had no balloon in the air at the time of the sighting. None of the area 
radars had an unusual target at the time. 


     Clearly the reports of the witnesses indicate a strange event with 
Ed and Frances as the initial witnesses and then they were "backed up by" 
half a dozen other witnesses.  So it appears that something really happened.  
Nevertheless, the first question to be asked about any UFO sighting is, did 
it occur as reported?  The second question is:  could it have been a hoax?

     A reasonable skeptic would probably agree that the witnesses saw 
something.  (Only the most obdurate debunker would suggest that it was all a 
hoax, a conspiracy between the witnesses, or perhaps a mass delusion 
combined with photo hoaxing.)  However, Ed Walters does not have a good 
reputation among skeptics, many of whom believe that Ed hoaxed all of his 
sightings during the 1987-1988 time frame (and that all the other sighting 
reports were a result of misidentifications and "me too"-ism of other 
witnesses trying to "get in on the act.")  Therefore the analyst should look 
for some way in which Ed (or perhaps someone else; Ed isn't the only 
possibly unscrupulous character around!) could have placed a real object of 
some type in the sky to photograph.

     Here is an immediately apparent argument in favor of the 
hoax hypothesis.  Suppose this was a real sighting of an unidentifiable 
object.  Clealy it would be foolish for Ed to contact other witnesses who 
lived a distance away because he would have no way of knowing if the object 
would still be there when they arrived.  If it weren't there he would be 
criticized by the people he called for bothering them with a wild goose 
chase, and he might even become the butt of jokes.  Also, as in the "boy who 
cried wolf,"  if he ever DID see a real UFO and called for other witnesses 
no one would believe him.  Therefore it must be that he KNEW IN ADVANCE of 
the phone calls that the object would still be there.  How could he know?  
He put it there!  (QED.  No more discussion necessary.)

     Ed's response would be a bit more sophisticated than this simplistic 
argument.  Ed told me that he had already been the butt of severe criticism 
in previous years for reporting many UFOs without the presence of other 
witnesses.  Therefore he wanted to avoid that criticism if possible.  
Furthermore, a new "wrinkle" in Gulf Breeze sightings had occurred in the 
previous year.  There had been a number of multiple witness sightings, some 
with and some without Ed's presence, of red lighted objects moving over Gulf 
Breeze.  A small group of people had taken an avid interest in these 
sightings.  This group was willing to travel to a sighting location in the 
hope of seeing something.  If they arrived and the object was gone, then 
they would be disappointed but willing to take the word of the initial 
witness(es) that some unusual light had been in the sky.  Therefore Ed did 
not feel that it would be a great detriment to his credibility if the object 
departed before the witnesses arrived.  On the other hand, he felt it would 
be a great boost to his credibility if the object were seen by other 
witnesses.  From the gambling perspective, the payoff of having other 
witnesses exceeded the risk of having them arrive after the sighting. 

     For the skeptic who says "Ed (or someone else) did it," there is the 
question, given the details of the sighting and photos, how did he do it?  
The uniform description of the witnesses is that there was a dark round 
object as seen from below (a disc) with a red light or a red "haze" at the 
center.  This object did not remain in one position constantly but rather 
moved quickly from one location to another.  The cloud cover and the abrupt 
motions rule out misidentifications of astronomical bodies of all sorts.  
Therefore the object must have been no higher than 1,300 ft (approximately).    

     A skeptic might propose the following explanation: that Ed or someone 
tied a road flare or a battery powered light to a balloon and sent it aloft.  
While it was ascending he called the other witnesses and it was well above 
ground by the time they arrived.  If a small red light were hanging below a 
large black balloon it might appear from below as a red light at the center 
of a dark disc.

     It is not sufficient to propose an explanation and leave it at that.  
The scientific method requires that consequences derived from the proposed 
explanation be compared with the available evidence.  In this case, there is 
one immediate consequence of the balloon/light assumption:  a typical 
balloon continues to ascend.  In 22 minutes it would have passed above the 
clouds.  Moreover, a freely floating balloon moves with the wind.  There was 
a  gentle breeze blowing (about 4 mph; about 6 ft during 1 second) which 
would have moved the balloon abou 1.5 miles during the 22 minute sighting, 
such a great distance that the witnesses may well have lost sight of it over 
the nearby houses.  Certainly they wouldn't have reported that it stayed 
basically overhead.

     OK, says the skeptic, let's imagine a tethered support such as a 
tethered balloon.  It would ascend to the height specified by the tether and 
remain there.  If we suppose that Ed had an accomplice, then we can explain 
the "coming closer" as a result of the accomplice pulling the balloon 
downward for a short time during the sighting.  We can also explain the 
eventual departure as a result of the accomplice cutting the tether.  Of 
course, the balloon would eventually land, but it would be miles away and 
likely over water before it landed, so there would be no evidence of the 
hoax.  If the tether consisted of a pair of thin wires it would be possible 
to have a bright light or several bright lights on the balloon without 
having to fly a heavy power source (battery).  
     Of course, one consequence of the above explanation is that there was 
an accomplice controlling the tether while Ed was with the witnesses.  No 
accomplice or even a hint of an accomplice has ever turned up in the years 
since this sighting.  

     Another consequence of using a tethered balloon is that it would remain 
in a fixed location determined by the wind and the length of the tether.  
However, the witnesses reported an object that was stationary for a few 
seconds or a minute or so at one location and then quickly moved or "darted" 
to another location, again to hover for only a short time, etc.  This 
saltatory motion is supported by Ed's second photo with the estimated 
acceleration of 4 "g's."

     Yet another consequence would be that the lights, hanging below the 
balloon, would sway back and forth.  No witness reported the light swaying 
back and forth, and Ed's and Chip's photos do not indicating a swaying 
effect (which would have severely blurred the images or would have caused 
hot-dog shaped images.)

     An acceleration of 4 g's beats balloons, birds and many planes.  By way 
of comparison with the photo image, suppose that the witnesses were actually 
watching a tethered balloon move from one location to another as a result of 
changes in the wind direction.  At 4 mph it would move a distance of about 
5.9 feet in one second.  It would make a linear image on the film, assuming 
it were at an altitude of 1,300 ft, that would be I = (W/D) F = (5.9 
ft)/1300 ft) x 214 mm = 0.97 mm long during 1 second (longer if at a lower
altitude).  As pointed out above, the actual streak is 11 mm long, so 
even a 4 second long balloon track would make a shorter image than is on the 

     This assumption of a balloon driven by the wind from one tethered 
location to another location can't explain the initial hovering 
for, say, 3 seconds, followed by a rapid acceleration to a speed of many 
tens of mph over about 1 second.  The wind would carry the balloon and light 
from one position to another, but slowly.  There would be an acceleration 
but it would be a low acceleration because there is not perfect coupling 
between the balloon and the wind, i.e., the balloon would not accelerate 
"instantateously" to wind speed.  But even if it did accelerate 
instantaneously it would only move about 5.9 ft during the last second of 
the shutter time.    

     The use of a kite might seem to solve the problem of random darting 
from one position to another, but it introduces other problems, such as 
lifting any appreciable weight with a kite in a 4 mph wind.  

     And then there are the photos 4 and 5.  Photo 4, you recall, indicates 
a considerable light structure of the object.   Even if it were only a 
collection of lights there would be many lights and the structure size would 
be several feet at least, indicating a considerable mass.  Could such a 
thing have been created?  Perhaps, but it would require a considerable 
effort.  And consider that the initial red light by itself was radiating 
power equivalent to several hundred watts.  The image in photo 4 implies a 
larger electrical power as more lights, including white and green lights, 
would have been added to the red.  This would require a substantial wire to 
carry the power for hundreds to perhaps a thousand feet.

       Another suggestion might be a motorized blimp supporting the lights.  
However, the witnesses heard no noise so it would have to have been a mufled 
motor.  The blimp motions could be controlled by radio signals from the 
ground.  Such an arrangement would be custom made and quite expensive.  

     Photo 6 poses a different sort of problem.  Here the image indicates 
that the light source was small, a single light or several lights so close 
together as to appear as a single light.  A single light changing color 
could be done with a rotating color wheel in front of a white light. Such a 
wheel would, of course, establish a regular pattern of color change (e.g., 
white, red, blue, green, yellow, white, red, blue, green, yellow, etc.) as 
opposed to the seemingly random pattern described above.  (Note: a computer
controlled selsyn type motor could be programmed to turn through random 
angles thereby creating a random sequence of colors from a color wheel.  But 
this requires yet another escalation in the difficulty of making a color 
changing light.)  

     One could imagine a collection of 6 lights close together, each a 
different color (white, red, blue, green, yellow) and these lights would 
turn on and off in a random manner.  The rate of turn on and turn off, as 
suggested by the 25/sec light pulses (see above) would, however, exceed the 
rate of an incandescent light.  (The thermal mass of the filament slows the 
rate of change of brightness.)  Therefore the lights would have to be of 
some other type.      

     After consideration of several potential hoax hypotheses I have 
concluded that, of course it would be possible to create a device that 
could result in sighting reports and photos like what was reported.  However 
it woudl require some considerable expense and probably an accomplice to 
operate the device.  However, there is absolutely no evidence that any such 
device was ever created and there is absolutely no evidence that this 
sighting was a hoax.  (The dyed in the wool skeptic will say that the 
sighting report itself proves there was a hoax, because there is no evidence 
for TRue UFOs and therefore these people could not have seen or photographed 
one.   This is, of course, a circular argument.)


     On January 8, 1990 more than half a dozen witnesses watched a dark 
circular object (disc) with a bright center portion darting about in the 
cloudy sky over Gulf Breeze. The total duration of the sighting was about 22 
minutes. During that time 5 photos were taken. No noise was heard associated 
with the object. One picture supports the witness' claim that the object 
could move rapidly from one location to another.  The estimated 
acceleration was quite high (4 "g's"). The same photo shows that the color 
could remain constant as the object moved.  On the other hand, another photo 
shows that the light from the object could change colors rapidly, at least 
as fast as 25 times per second. Two other photos show a rather large ovoid 
image which structure around the edges. The structure is pale greenish blue. 
In the central portion there appears to be red overlain by white.  Size 
estimates based on the photos suggest that the lighted portion of the object 
was somewhat over a foot wide during the first part of the sighting and 
perhaps five times greater later on when the 'portholes' appeared. An 
estimate of the brightness of the object during the first part of the 
sighting suggests that it was putting out about as much light as a 200 watt 
bulb. During the time that 'portholes' were visible it may have put out as 
much as 25 times more light. 

     After the object disappeared several helicopters appeared in the area 
and these seemed to be searching for something. One even shined a beam 
downward to the ground beneath the apparent location of the 

     As of the date of this paper the object has not been identified 
and must be classified as a UFO. 

NOTE: This is one of the five recorded Gulf Breeze sightings in January, 
1990, and it is just one of about 45 sightings that were recorded as 
occurring between January 1989 and February 1990. 


     I could not have compiled this report without the help of Ed Walters, 
Vicki Lyons, Brenda Pollak and the other witnesses. Portions of the 
testimony were taken from the published account in the Gulf Breeze Sentinel 
of Jan. 11, 1990 (see below). Portions were also abstracted from the MUFON 
Sighting Forms filled out by the witnesses and included in the MUFON report 
by Vicki Lyons. I thank Robert Nathan, formerly of the Jet Propulsion 
Laboratory for providing excellent blowups of several of the original 
negatives. I thank Richard Vandenburg and Robert Oechsler for supplying me 
with prints of the test photos that I made with Ed's camera.