Escamilla has never tried to explain what these rods really are, beyond hinting that they seem to be alive. In particular, he has never linked rods with claims of extraterrestrial craft or alien contact. If his latest findings bear out, it may be that he has documented the existence of a previously unrecognized indigenous life form.
CNI News has received further confirmation of this latest video evidence in a letter from James Peters, Assistant State Director for MUFON Colorado (James_Peters@compuserve.com). Portions of Peters' letter follow the text of Escamilla's announcement. (This story ran in the December 1, 1997 edition of CNI News.)]
Jose Escamilla writes:
New "Rods" footage from a cave in Mexico is the "smoking gun" evidence that we've been waiting for all along. This new footage taken in 1996 by Mark Licthle, a sports videographer, is part of the raw footage that was taken by him while videotaping base jumpers as they free-fall into the cave. [Note: Base jumpers are people who free-fall off bridges, cliffs, etc., with parachutes -- like very low-altitude skydivers.]
The cave is known as El Sotano De Las Golondrinas or The Cave of the Swallows. It is located near San Luis Potosi in Mexico. It is a verticle cave 165 feet in diameter with a 1600 foot drop straight down. There are literally thousands of swallows that fly around in the cave much like bats, and they emerge in the morning and come back at dusk.
One significant piece of the footage shows a Rod that enters the shadows of the cave, and the rim of the cave from about thirty feet above casts a shadow across most of the Rod's torso, while a small part of its tail section is still in sunlight. Even more significantly, Mark recently found footage from the three hours of taping he did there that shows the Rods in comparison to insects, birds and the base jumpers all in the same sequences. The footage was taken on broadcast quality digital tape.
There are so many Rods in the scenes that are distinguishable from the insects and the birds that it's almost scary. Jim Peters (Assistant State Director Colorado MUFON) and I spent close to eight hours reviewing the tapes over and over again in real time, and in slow motion, frame by frame, staring at what we are seeing here.
We have the evidence now that points to something that is indeed in that cave, aside from the known life forms. These Rods are of different varieties. Some resemble your typical white Rods with no appendages. There is one Rod that travels upward and that has seven appendages along the torso in one frame (three appendages on one side, four on the other), then in the next frame fourteen appendages appear -- seven distinct appendages, with seven thinner lighter ones in between the clearly visible ones. Truly an incredible type of Rod.
The "money shot" is one where the base jumper has already gone off frame. There are small gnats and insects flitting about at a quick pace, and some swallows fly by sporadically. Then a huge Rod enters screen right, (over the cameraman's shoulder). It has an orange torso with white appendages in a distorted but clear view. In the next frame as it moves further away it clearly keeps its elongated torso, which is beginning to bend at the middle. Eight appendages now show along the torso. Then the Rod goes linear and here we see that the appendages connect to the center of its torso. As the Rod comes out of the curve it is now farther into the shadows of the cave. It darts off to the right and goes level. It is now a grey color as it's in the shadows. There is curvature to the appendages along the torso, as if they're part of one complete membrane material. It goes off screen right, then appears to come back across going off screen at lower left, then comes back and crosses mid screen left to right. It is now entirely different. It now has six stubby small appendages across the torso. Whether this is a different one or the same one we can't tell.
As Jim and I watched the footage over and over again, we couldn't help but keep pinching ourselves. It's almost too good to be true! With this new evidence, we know we can answer all the scientists, skeptics and other UFOlogists who have been writing off Rods as hoaxing or mis-identified objects.
This is the proof. Now the next step is the Rods expedition, so that we can get the funding for the equipment we desperately need to further the study of these things. When we release this footage, there will be no doubt. These are the wildest things I've ever seen. And, to tell you the truth, I have always looked for a logical explanation. The only thing is... there isn't one!
We will keep you updated on our progress and when the footage will be made available for release. [End of Jose Escamilla's statement.]
Jim Peters of Colorado MUFON adds:
"I'm convinced by the hundreds of hours of tape I've analyzed that the Rods seem to be a unique phenomenon. I don't think they have anything to do with classic UFOs. How can anyone say anything else, after looking at the Rods, other than that they appear to be alive? They look and behave like a biological entity. Yet not birds or bugs...
"As a UFO investigator, and being well versed in the physical sciences, I'm now even more convinced of my assumptions regarding these Rods. I've now observed the video evidence that is the "smoking gun" of all Rod evidence to date: Broadcast quality video... taken by Mark Lichtle while filming parachutists jumping into a vertical cavern in Mexico -- 45 minutes of digital tape that is just filled with Rods. We've got birds, bugs, people and Rods all in the same sequences. If anyone can look at this tape and say there is not something unique there, then they are not being intellectually honest....
[In this video, Peters says, the following features can be observed, which distinguish Rods from known living things such as insects.]
"1. Insect wings are attached to the dorsal side of their thorax. There are shots of bugs where you can see the wings and legs and how they are attached. [But] there is a shot of a Rod from the end; the 'appendages' are attached to the middle of its body. No legs are apparent at all.
"2. Rod 'wings' appear like a continuous wave when viewed from the side: just like a cuttlefish's fins would look, centered along the length of the body, unlike an insect or a bird.
"3. We are not dealing with 'blurs' because the Rod's structure is the same no matter what their orientation is in relation to the camera. One shot in particular has a Rod flying into view over the cameraman's right shoulder. It banks into the field of view, flies away so that you can see the Rod 'end-on', and then continues to bank and fly out of view to the right. [Another] rod flies into the shadow of the cave. How can a 'blur' have a shadow cast across it?
"These are just some of the basic observations to hold in mind while observing this video.
"There is only one way to proceed at this point. We need to get the equipment and experts necessary to define this phenomenom once and for all. At the least, we need ornithologists and entomologists there to examine and document the local fauna that could possibly emulate the Rods. We need high resolution cameras set up in stereo configuration to determine the position, distance, size, and velocity of the Rods. We need higher speed cameras to elimate any blurring to show the true structure of the Rods. Then, and only then, can we define this phenomenon."
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