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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 2. 1969.

Patching a tired idea

Patching a tired idea

Bruce Cathie: Harmonic 33. Published by A. H. and A. W. Reed. Price $3.50.

Harmonic 33 is an account of the theory which Captain Cathie, an NAC pilot, has about UFO's, which are popularly known as flying saucers. He views them as extraterrestrial objects, broadly describable as spaceships, which are being navigated by intelligent beings or an intelligence. This theory is based on his observations that the UFO's appear to fly along the lines of a rectilinear grid superimposed on the Earth. He then relates this grid to various "natural" features, such as catastrophic explosions (the co-called meteorite which landed in Siberia in 1908 for example) and some strange anomalies in the gravity field of the Earth which occur in North America.

Particular distances are seen as characteristic "harmonics" of the grid, such as 2640 or 2546 nautical miles. The Harmonic 33 of the title is another of these. With these harmonics Captain Cathie found he could relate many other things to the grid, (or in fact to two grids, since he thinks there is an older damaged grid and a new grid which is now being constructed).

The UFO's travel along the lines of the grid and underground "aeriels" at the junctions of the grid lines pull power from the Earth's magnetic field. Any damage to an aerial causes unfortunate effects when a UFO passes over it and this is the cause of the catastrophic explosions mentioned, and also of such major "volcanic" eruptions as that of Krakatoa.

Another thing which is related to these grids is nuclear explosion. Captain puts forward the idea that nuclear explosions can only occur when the bomb is in the correct relationship with the sun, and he relates the distance from the bomb to the point on Earth directly under the sun to the characteristic harmonic distances of the grid.

This is one of the weakest points of the book, and it weakens the whole argument. The idea that the sun must be in the right place for a nuclear explosion is somewhat improbable, because all nuclear reactions are very little affected even by changes in the outer shells of the same atom, much less by anything as far away as the sun. But also, five countries have more or less independently developed and exploded atomic bombs, so these five countries must have discovered the nature and position of these grids and have successfully kept this information secret, a highly unlikely situation.

Captain Cathie has discovered some interesting relationships but it would be difficult to say definitely that they are more than coincidences. In fact the amount of time and calculations required to obtain these relationships rather makes one wonder how natural they are (though if one is stalling from the "wrong end" an enormous amount of work may be required to obtain a simple pattern, as with Kepler, who spent a lifetime getting three basically simple laws of planetary motion.) He has pointed out some phenomena which are not easily explained within the normal bases of terrestrial physics.

But overall the theory put forward does not impress because the explanation always follows the facts and never leads to new ones. Each new phenomenon can, after much work, be fitted onto the grids, but no new relationships suddenly emerge from unexpected places. Rather than a set of new ideas bursting forth with new explanations for old problems, this theory looks like a tired old idea which must be patched and altered to fit each new bit of data, hardly a good position for a new theory.