Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:29:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bruce Maccabee
Subject: Wells Alan Webb Incident, May 5, 1953; Yuma, Arizone
To: Fran Ridge


Bruce Maccabee:

May 5, 1953; Yuma, Ariz.
Bt. 9:45 & 10:00 a.m. Scientist observed silvery disc; concentric rings visible through Polaroid glasses. A visual observation by Wells Allan Webb (reported in "Mars, the New Frontier", 1956; reproduced in "The UFO Evidence," NICAP, 1964, R. Hall, Ed.) may also be related to a magnetic field around a UFO. He reported that ...he was observing the sky near the Yuma Air Force Base in Arizona. Beside the normal Air Force craft flying around he also noticed, in the northern sky, "...what at first appeared to be a small white cloud... the only one in the sky at the time." However, it was not a cloud. It was at an elevation of about 45 degrees, initially, and it moved about "30 degrees to the east" during the first 5 minutes of his observation. It appeared "oblong with the axis in the horizontal plane." Then, "it appeared to abruptly turn and travel northward; at the same time it's oblong shape changed to circular section. As a circular object it rapidly became smaller as if receding. While receding it did not lose any of its apparent brightness. In about 30 seconds of this, its diameter became too small for the author to hold in his vision."

What makes this sighting interesting from the magnetic perspective is what Wells reported seeing through his polaroid glasses. He wrote, "The author was wearing Polaroid glasses having a greenish tint and, as was his custom when studying clouds, he took the glasses off and put them on at intervals to compare the effect with and without Polaroid." During the first 5 minutes or so of observation he noticed no special effects of the polaroid glasses. However, after the object turned, "...several uniformly spaced concentric circles appeared around the now circular object" when viewed through the polaroids. "The circles were distinct dark bands which enveloped the silvery disc. The largest of these circles was, perhaps, six times the diameter of the central disc. When the writer removed the glasses the disc remained but the concentric rings vanished. When the glasses were put on again the rings reappeared. The writer repeated this several times, each time with the same result. The rings with glasses on faded to invisibility before the disc became too small to see." So, what does this sighting have to do with a magnetic field? The answer is the property of strong magnetic fields to cause substantive media including gasses (air) to rotate the plane of polarization. Since Mr. Wells was looking northward (roughly perpendicular to the direction to the sun) in the morning, a sizeable fraction of light reaching his eyes from the clear sky was polarized (hence the value of polarizing glasses, to cut glare by reducing the amount of polaroized light). Polarized light passing close to the object before reaching Mr. Well's Polaroid glasses could have been effected by a magnetic field on the object. More specifically, the field could have rotated the plane of polarization by varying amounts, with the lowest amount being for light farthest from the object but which is still within a strong field. As the plane of polarization was rotated by varying amounts some light would pass the polaroid glasses (because it has been rotated such that it aligns with the polarization direction of the glasses, i.e., horizontal) and some would be blocked (not enough rotation or too much rotation). Whether the polarized skylight was passed (bright ring) or blocked (dark ring) would depend upon how close it passed to the object. Because the rotatory power (Verdet constant) for air is very low the magnetic field would have to be huge to cause this effect.