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Was the 'Betz mystery sphere' an alien device ?

Posted on Friday, 1 January, 2021 | Comment icon 31 comments

The sphere was widely reported in the papers. Image Credit: St. Petersburg Times
A strange metallic sphere found near the home of a family in Florida sparked a decades-long mystery.
The strangeness began in 1974 when the Betz family of Fort George Island, Florida discovered a mysterious metal sphere in their garden shortly after a fire had destroyed their property.

Believing it to be a cannonball from some historic battle, they decided to keep it, however it soon became clear that the object - which was suspiciously pristine - was not what it seemed.

They later reported that the sphere had started to behave peculiarly, reacting to guitar playing by emitting a throbbing noise and changing direction when being rolled across the floor.

The family dog was also said to whimper and react in fear of the object.

Eventually, the US military got their hands on the sphere.
According to one analysis, there were "radio waves coming from it and a magnetic field around it", however initial attempts to x-ray it proved futile due to the metal being too thick to penetrate.

Even UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek got a chance to examine it, but he, along with the military experts, all concluded that the object was most likely man-made.

This didn't stop it being billed as an extraterrestrial device by the media, however.

It was later discovered that the stainless steel sphere happened to be a perfect match for a component kept in stock by a Jacksonville equipment supply company.

Its erratic movements, it was argued, were more likely to be due to the uneven floor at the family's newly rebuilt house rather than due to any unusual properties of the sphere itself.

Even so, to this day the sphere continues to remain a topic of debate and intrigue.

Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (31)

Tags: Betz, Sphere

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #22 Posted by Tatetopa on 2 January, 2021, 3:42
That is great, thanks so much.  I read your link.  I was living with false information I never tested on ball bearings.  Live and learn.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Hankenhunter on 2 January, 2021, 4:39
You just quoted the true meaning of life. Live, and learn. That's it. Congratulations Tateopa! Can you see the other important phrase that ties into those last two words? Very important, and not from a metallurgy point of view either.
Comment icon #24 Posted by qxcontinuum on 2 January, 2021, 6:11 I recently discovered Antique and Vintage jewellery made from magnetites Magnetite is a rock mineral and one of the main iron ores, with the chemical formula Fe?O?. It is one of the oxides of iron, and is ferrimagnetic; it is attracted to a magnet and can be magnetized to become a permanent magnet itself. It is the most magnetic of all the naturally-occurring minerals on Earth. Wikipedia
Comment icon #25 Posted by Desertrat56 on 2 January, 2021, 18:52
Thanks @jmccr8 & @Tatetopa  I just remember having to re-do xrays when I forgot to take bobby pins out of my hair, or remove a necklace.  It just leaves a bit white spot on the xray.   I did not know that there are applications for xraying metal.
Comment icon #26 Posted by the13bats on 2 January, 2021, 19:52
So if you take a steel ball, a pinball will do first how would you magnatize it and what would dictate its poles?
Comment icon #27 Posted by jmccr8 on 2 January, 2021, 20:45
Hi 13bats Not sure how they get magnetized but did come across this while looking around apparently this happens with pin balls at times. I have problems with magnetized pinballs in some games. mainly Totan they stick to metal parts in the game and sometimes get stuck. I have taken the balls out and they can pick up metal paper clips  I done a search on the forums and saw a lot of people replacing them with new ones. I thought about science lessons at school 35 years ago  I went on ebay and bought one of these a degauser. They were used on old type crt monitors to take image burn out by demagn... [More]
Comment icon #28 Posted by Trelane on 2 January, 2021, 21:35
Hmmm, I'll say no. No it wasn't a piece of alien technology.
Comment icon #29 Posted by the13bats on 2 January, 2021, 21:46
One of my hobbies is restoring old arcade games and i love pachinko, those balls are 10mm and engraved, i do not recall running across a magnetized one, I have ran into many magnetic other "pin balls" i speculate solenoids/relays might be a culprit, Im curious how a pin ball would decide what becomes its poles, Ive also found case ball bearings in cars and stuff that did have weak magnetism, i cant say what part of assembly held the "charge"
Comment icon #30 Posted by jmccr8 on 2 January, 2021, 21:52
Hi 13 bats I am not sure as I have never worked on pin ball machines so not sure if the games use electromagnets in some of the moving parts and if they do that over time the balls become magnetized but did see this video earlier so will link it for you.   jmccr8
Comment icon #31 Posted by the13bats on 2 January, 2021, 22:25
Yes, they do, bumpers flippers etc are electric solenoids, Also if one takes 2 iron nails, or screwdrivers and rubs one down the other like whittling a stick it will get a weak magnetic charge, something akin to this is likely how pin balls get a charge. Back to the threads ball, if it was magnetic so what we have that here on earth no aliens needed, This case reminds me of

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