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Betz Mystery Sphere: What Is It?

10/14/2019 3:02 PM

My son sent me this link. I had never heard of it. The link says it was in newspapers. Anybody with personal knowledge or a newspaper article from the 1974 era please enlighten us:

the-betz-mystery-sphere-was-it-really-an-alien-drone

And I want to know what happened to it as do others:

whatever-happened-to-the-betz-mystery-sphere

If it could be found, some more experiments could be performed:

  1. Audio tests (response to various frequencies), etc.
  2. Ultrasonic imaging
  3. Drilling into the outer hull and analyzing the scrap material
  4. Response to magnets and radio waves
  5. Effect of G-forces
  6. etc.
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#1

Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/14/2019 4:45 PM

..."Mrs. Betz then called the US Navy base directly across the water from the island and asked if they could examine it; perhaps it was theirs. They did so, but returned it to the Betzes once they verified that it was not Navy property. They X-rayed it and did a metallurgical test and found it to be high grade yet common stainless steel; hollow with a shell approximately 1/2 inch thick (about 13 mm); measured 7.96 inches in diameter (202.2 mm); and weighed 21.34 pounds (9.68 kg). The numbers added up, it was the right weight for that much stainless steel. Its surface was scuffed but seamless, with only one identifying mark: a tiny triangle about 3mm long."...

..."The Palm Beach Post reported on April 18 that Lottie Robinson recognized the ball from the pictures, then went and got her own out of the garage where it had sat for some 15 years. Technicians from the St. Regis Company paper mill identified it as a ball check valve from some large pipes used in their factory, and that had been scrapped 15 years before. Somehow that ball had found its way from a scrap dealer to Mrs. Robinson's son, and from there to her garage. It was very close, but not identical, in size and weight to the Betz sphere.

Seeing this, Robert Edwards, president of a Jacksonville, FL equipment supply company, picked up the phone. He showed a UPI reporter a brand new stainless steel ball, manufactured by Bell & Howell in Bridgeport, CT. Edwards and the reporter uncrated it, weighed and measured it, and found that it was 8 inches across and weighed just over 21 pounds...exactly the same as the Betz sphere."...

..."There are many published news reports of the incident, and from these reports, we can glean that what the Betzes reported at the time is considerably less remarkable than what is now claimed on some of the paranormal websites that promote the Betz sphere as an alien artifact. For one thing, the ball sat quietly on display inside the Betz home for nearly two weeks, and is not reported to have ever moved on its own at all, except for when someone took it down to experiment with it. Neither the US Navy nor J. Allen Hynek reported observing the ball do anything unusual whatsoever. Neither corroborated Carl Willson's assertion that it had odd magnetic properties, or that it was broadcasting a radio signal. The only thing Hynek and his fellow Enquirer panelists noted was that it rattled when shaken.

Regarding the ball's movement, the Navy's spokesman Chris Berninger concluded:

"I believe it's because of the construction of the house... It's old and has uneven stone floors. The ball is almost perfectly balanced, and it takes just a little indentation to make it move or change direction."

The Betz story even has an elegant thread that ties it full circle, which is not something we always find on Skeptoid: how the ball came to be on Ft. George Island in the first place. After the story broke, a Coca-Cola delivery man saw some similar looking spheres in a sculpture outside the hotel managed by artist James Durling-Jones in Taos, New Mexico. He called Durling-Jones' attention to the newspaper stories about the Betz sphere. Soon, reporters were calling him to ask about his 8-inch stainless steel globes. It turns out he had several sculptures that used them, including a kinetic sculpture using one as a pendulum.

He'd made a run a few years back in his Volkswagen bus, collecting scrap metal for his sculptures. A friend had supplied him with a number of balls from large industrial ball check valves at his company, in two sizes: some 8-inch balls weighing about 22 pounds, and some 10-inch balls weighing about 70 pounds. Having no room left inside the VW, Durling-Jones put the balls on a luggage rack up on top. He drove through the Jacksonville area around Easter of 1971, at which time a few of the balls rolled off the luggage rack and were lost. And there it sat for three years until the Betzes happened along."...

https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4334

Case closed...

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/14/2019 9:37 PM

"Case closed..."

In your mind it seems. This was an easy find for you, but not what I asked for. I am skeptical of Skeptoid. From your link:

"There are many published news reports of the incident, and from these reports, we can glean that what the Betzes reported at the time is considerably less remarkable than what is now claimed on some of the paranormal websites that promote the Betz sphere as an alien artifact."

This at least shows there were newspaper reports. That's what I asked for. If there was nothing remarkable that the Betzes reported, then there wouldn't have been an article. I am looking for verification of what they said.

The uneven floors do not at all explain what the Betzes allegedly reported. Also I find the story of the balls falling off the luggage rack without being noticed rather shallow. From the front they would each put a large dent in the hood. From the back they would each put a large dent in the trunk. How do you not notice that?

So it's your position that this is an example of the lies told by the news media? Maybe it's Skeptoid that is lying.

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#4
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/14/2019 10:01 PM

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

There is none....

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#10
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/15/2019 1:12 AM

I'm still trying to determine what the claims were. From my second link:

'Gerri Betz, was quoted in the ‘Palm Beach Post’ newspaper on April 15, 1974, stating “There must be high frequency waves from it. When we put our poodle beside the ball, she whimpers and puts her paws over her ears”. '

and

'In the April 16, 1974 of ‘News Sentinel’ in Lodi, California, Gerri was quoted “If you shake the ball vigorously and then place it on the ground, it feels just like a huge mexican jumping bean, which is trying to get away from you”.'

and

'...April 12, 1974 edition of the “St. Petersburg Times”. “ She told me to put it on the floor and give it a push. It rolled a ways and stopped. So what? She said, ‘just wait a minute’. It turned by itself and rolled to the right about 4 feet. It stopped. Then it turned again and rolled to the left about 8 feet, made a big arc and came back right to my feet.”'

Anyone have access to any of these newspapers or any other about the sphere?

One thing bothered me when I read this link. Why would the US Navy seize the sphere if they hadn't seen its weird behavior? And when does the government give back what it took?

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#11
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/15/2019 1:20 AM

..."Mrs. Betz then called the US Navy base directly across the water from the island and asked if they could examine it; perhaps it was theirs. They did so, but returned it to the Betzes once they verified that it was not Navy property. They X-rayed it and did a metallurgical test and found it to be high grade yet common stainless steel; hollow with a shell approximately 1/2 inch thick (about 13 mm); measured 7.96 inches in diameter (202.2 mm); and weighed 21.34 pounds (9.68 kg). The numbers added up, it was the right weight for that much stainless steel. Its surface was scuffed but seamless, with only one identifying mark: a tiny triangle about 3mm long."..

Nothing to see here, move along....

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#26
In reply to #10

Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/15/2019 5:25 PM

As to the reports of the sphere rolling in an irregular fashion, that can easily be explained by unequal mass distribution, ala the "trick cue ball".

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#27
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/15/2019 10:17 PM

Not to mention that an 8" cannonball launched from the roof of a moving vehicle at perhaps 40 mph might have killed somebody or hit another vehicle or immovable object, the shape may have been altered slightly...and I don't see any reason it would be balanced...so it likely would not roll in a perfect line...even on a flat surface....

You can buy a remote controlled ball for about $40...

So I guess it's possible to build a remote controlled steel orb if you really want, that will roll around at your command, play music, flashing lights, really whatever you can dream up, not exactly alien technology...but would have been a hoot back in the 60's....

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#31
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/16/2019 12:37 PM

Yeah you could build a remote controlled plastic ball like the one shown (with antenna inside), but a smooth steel ball would have no antenna.

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#34
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/16/2019 2:16 PM

Well you could make a plastic insert at the equator of the orb that was colored to look like the surrounding metal, again not really what I would call alien technology...

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#38
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/17/2019 4:41 PM

"Not to mention that an 8" cannonball launched from the roof of a moving vehicle at perhaps 40 mph might have killed somebody or hit another vehicle..."

But due to the curve and location of the highway, the ball would have been launched away from the property, not toward it. That's another reason I find this explanation ridiculous.

And here we have a slight contradiction to where the ball was found:

Do I think that the sphere was dropped from Air Force One to distract from Watergate? NO. The article does bring up the slight possibility that there is artificial intelligence inside (a bit more that the toy shown in the top photo).

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#40
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/18/2019 12:51 AM
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#41
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/18/2019 11:42 AM

Well, that certainly adds fodder to the fire!

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#42
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/18/2019 12:41 PM

Perhaps the metal sphere captured a ghost somehow...?!!

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#43
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/18/2019 1:52 PM

Is Betz actually Father Guido Sarducci?

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#46
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/18/2019 3:49 PM

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#45
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/18/2019 2:07 PM

A possibility. Knowing that people died at that castle adds credence to it. It is commonly thought that spirits hang around where they died especially if they have "unfinished business." And this is likely why the ball is also called "The Ghost Ball" in my first link.

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#29
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/16/2019 9:29 AM

Another thing was they mentioned it responded to music. A bell will do that if you hit a resonant frequency.

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#30
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/16/2019 10:11 AM

Is it possible the ball was cracked? ...that would explain some stuff...

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#35
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/16/2019 2:54 PM

Like what?

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#36
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/16/2019 8:42 PM

Resonate frequency noise, movement, the rattling, a chip had broken off inside because of the crack....

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#39
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Re: Betz Mystery Sphere: What is it?

10/17/2019 5:23 PM

In my experience a crack would reduce resonance. I had an old piano that didn't sound right. I found a crack in the sound board. It sounded much better after that was repaired. A crack might provide an exit for the "organ music" though. I don't see any reason why it would help movement, the opposite IMHO. The rattling sound may be explained here: