Monday, March 28, 2005

Alien Abduction and Leading the Witness

Recently there has been a discussion on UFO Updates about alien abduction. In the course of that discussion some of the myths were laid out for us all to see. It’s time, to challenge these once again, I did with Russ Estes and Bill Cone, Ph.D. in The Abduction Enigma (TOR Books, 1999). I will mention that the book offended a large number of people in the UFO field, but only because they refused to understand the message of that books.

One of those who disagreed with the message, wrote, "How anybody can claim that abductions rest with omplicated sleep disorders is beyond me. There are literally hundreds of cases where the people aren't in bed, but are driving, walking etc. There are loads of cases where more than one person is abducted at a time. Now will we hear about a new contagious disease.. sleep paralysis that occurs when people are driving or doing other non horizontal activities?"

The answer to this is that few are claiming that sleep paralysis answers all abduction cases. It does explain some. Besides, there is a type of sleep paralysis that does, in fact, affect people who are wide awake and involved in other "non horizontal activities." It’s called cataplexy and before anyone runs off to look it up, I will point out that it is always associated with narcolepsy. No one, as far as I can tell, has ever done any research into the number of abduction witnesses who are also narcoleptic (though I will speculate that the number is quite small).

The point is that some abductions, but by no means all, can be explained by sleep disorders.He also wrote, "I have seen no examples that sleep paralysis has produced accounts just like abductions any more than magnetic fields have."

Well, then let’s take a look around and see if we can find some examples for you. First is Pat Roach, the Utah woman who said that she and a number of her children had been abducted. She said that she awakened, believed there had been an intruder in the house, then called the police. Over the next two years she became convinced that the intruders had been alien creatures. It was after reading another abduction account in a magazine that Roach made contact with me through that magazine and because of the article I had written.

It is quite clear to me that Roach was led into her more detailed descriptions by Dr. James Harder who was looking for some validation of the Hill abduction. It is also clear that Roach took cues from the magazine article I had written about another abduction. Her descriptions of the interior of the craft, for example, mirrored those in that article.

Between sessions, Harder discussed with Roach other abduction cases. Just before the session in which Roach revealed that she had been "medically" examined on the craft, Harder told her about Betty Hill’s examination on board a craft. Harder’s leading questions took her into other arenas.

So, this would seem to be a case in which sleep paralysis had produced an abduction account, helped along by the witness reading the literature that was available and by a researcher who fed her additional information between the sessions. Harder, I believe, had the best of intentions, attempting to calm the witness with his stories of other abductions, but all he did was contaminate the case.

Oh yes… this was a multiple witness abduction. The genesis was the adult’s episode of sleep paralysis and then two years of discussing this with her children until some of them believed they had been abducted.

Budd Hopkins describes the case of "Philip Osborne. Osborne. had seen an NBC UFO special and one night after that awoke, paralyzed. This experience reminded him of another similar experience he’d while he was in college. He awoke in both cases unable to move or call for help. In the latter case, he felt there was some kind of presence in the room with him. I might point out that in about 80 percent of sleep paralysis cases, the victim believes there is something in the room with them.

During the hypnotic regression, Osborne gave few answers that took them in the direction of an abduction experience. According to what Hopkins wrote, Osborne told them that he "had more or less refused to describe the imagery or events that seemed ‘too pat,’ too close to what he and we might have expected in a UFO encounter."

And, during the discussion after the session Osborne told Hopkins that "I would see something and I would to myself in effect, ‘Well, that’s what I’m supposed to see.’"
The point here is that a case can be made that Osborne experienced, not alien abduction, but classic sleep paralysis. It was under the close questioning of hypnotic regression that details were added to make it into an abduction.

Finally, the Roper Poll, about alien abduction and commissioned by Robert Bigelow, had a fatal flaw in it. The five critical questions, those designed to identify abductees by examining their experiences, could also point to sleep paralysis. There was no mechanism in the survey to differentiate between sleep paralysis and abduction. Someone answering the questions on the survey, who had not been abducted, but who had experienced sleep paralysis would also answer these five critical questions in the positive. There is no way to know if the answers reflect alien abduction or sleep paralysis.
The Roach abduction shows leading of the witness, much of it outside the hypnotic regression sessions. The Osborne abductionsuggests that Hopkins led him into an abduction, though I believe that Hopkins was unaware of this. Suggesting that there is more to the story, even after the witness has said he or she remembers nothing else, leads to this. The suggestion that the aliens had erected mental roadblocks can also be interpreted to mean that the hypnotist, unsatisfied with the answers, keeps asking the same questions until he or she receives the answers desired.

Remember Edith Fiore, interviewing a client about a past life, told the woman, who was unable to recall anything, to "make it up." While this was not an alien abduction, it was in a session using hypnosis to retrieve "lost" or suppressed memories. So we do have some evidence of leading the witness and we have some evidence that not all sessions are benign.

But even David Jacobs was aware of the problem with hypnotic regression and wrote about them in The Threat. Jacobs wrote, "When the unskilled hypnotists regress an abductee, they fail to situate him in the event’s minute-by-minute chronology. Without links to a temporal sequence, the abductee can interpret events without the facts necessary to guide his thoughts which leads to confabulation and other memory problems."

Lest you wish to argue that he does not include the big name researchers in this, Jacobs writes, "While Mack does not lead the witness in the classic meaning, he embraces the ‘positive’ therapeutic technique that leads to mutual confirmational fantasies and easily steers the abductee into dissociative channeled pathways… it represents the antitheses of scientific research – to uncover facts… John Mack accepts ‘recollections’ at face value." Which is, in fact saying that Mack leads his "experiencers".

Jacobs also shows us that he leads the witness. He believes that the abductions are a negative event. He wrote of Pam Martin (a name he invented) and told us, "As a result of her UFO experiences, Pam had come to believe over the years that she was leading a ‘charmed’ life with ‘guardian angels’ helping her overcome life’s difficulties…. After one particularly vivid abduction experience, she decided the aliens were wonderful beings…"

Jacobs later wrote, "I have had over thirty sessions with Pam, and during that time she has come to have a less romantic idea about what has happened to her. She was initially disappointed that what she remembered under hypnosis [conducted by Jacobs] were not the pleasant experiences she had imagined, but she now accepts the [Jacob’s] reality of what has been happening to her."

What he has just told us is that an abductee came to him with one set of beliefs and left with another. It is a reality that differs with the one suggested by John Mack. It can be said here that Jacobs led Pam to his negative interpretation of her abduction experience.

And John Mack said the same thing. He said, "It seems to me that Jacobs, Hopkins and Nyman may pull out of there experiencers what they want to see." (See Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind by C.D.B. Bryan, p. 271 hardback edition).

That’s just a polite way of saying that they lead their abductees to a specific type of abduction. But the point is, there is ample evidence that researchers, no matter how careful and no matter how competent, have lead their witnesses in the direction they want to go. To move research forward, we must be willing to admit this.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Aurora, Texas - A Story That Won't Die

A while back I had the opportunity to appear on the late night radio show, Coast-to-Coast. I bring this up only because, apparently, the next night the host had on Jim Marrs who talked about the Aurora, Texas airship crash of 1897. I wouldn’t have known this but someone who heard my interview the night before mentioned to me in an email that Marrs had talked about Aurora and suggested that it was a real event. That person wanted to know if Marrs was correct and if there is anything to the story of the crash.

And this provides us with an opportunity to examine one of the major problems in UFO research. No case ever dies, no matter how many times it is exposed as a hoax. This is true even when those exposing it range from the skeptics to the believers in extraterrestrial contact. And it continues even when no evidence for the reality of the case has ever been found... or none was found until people began to realize they could get their names in the newspaper or their faces on television if they said something to confirm the case.

The stories of the flight of the Great Airship of 1897 provides us with proof of both theories. Although many of the tales have since been shown to be jokes, there are a few that are repeated in the UFO literature with such regularity, and almost with such awe, that it is necessary to provide, once again, all the information about them so that we can work to remove them from that same literature. One of the most famous, and probably the most reported, is the Aurora, Texas, UFO crash that had been the subject of that email correspondence.

Typical of the airship sightings was that told by Patrick Barnes to the Fort Worth Register, "which hardly cares to repeat it." He claimed that he was traveling near Cisco, Texas, and spotted several men standing around a large cigar-shaped craft. He went over to talk to them and learned they were on their way to Cuba to bomb the Spanish. They had landed to make some repairs, and soon took off. Their immediate destination was the Ozarks where they planned to train for their self-designed mission.

The Aurora crash story, as it is told just days later, suggests the airship appeared about dawn on April 17, 1897, came in low, buzzed the town square and then continued north, toward the farm owned at the time by Judge Proctor. There it hit a windmill and exploded into a shower of debris, damaging the Judge’s flower garden, and house, not to mention his windmill. The townspeople rushed to the scene and found the badly disfigured body of the pilot. T.J. Weems, a Signal Corps officer (think intelligence officer here in 1897), thought the pilot was probably from Mars.

Being good Christians, and apparently because no one had anything else to do, they buried the pilot after a short memorial service that afternoon. They also gathered several documents covered with a strange writing found in the wreckage, and picked up tons of material including silver and aluminum that came from the airship. All that evidence has long since disappeared.
And that’s it. No follow up stories as tourists flocked to Aurora. No mysterious scientists arriving to inspect the wreckage. No Army response, though one of their own was on hand to report what he had seen. And finally, most importantly, no one ever produced those documents or bits and pieces of the wreckage, though there had been tons of it, at least according to the newspaper report.

The story died at that point, and then was resurrected in the 1960s by UFO researchers who stumbled onto the airship tales which had been dormant for about six decades. Suddenly the story of the tragedy reappeared and Aurora, Texas was now on the map with those scientists, researchers and tourists finally making the trek.

A large number of people, including Hayden Hewes of the now defunct International UFO Bureau, Jim Marrs, who had most recently suggested the story was real, and even Walt Andrus, the former International Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) at various times journeyed to Aurora in search of the truth. They all reported they found a strange grave marker in the Aurora cemetery, they found strange metal with metal detectors, and they gathered reports from long time Aurora residents who remembered the story, remembered seeing the airship, or remembered parents talking about the crash. There was also discussion of government attempts to suppress the data. To them, that made the story of the crash real.

The problem here is that I beat most of these people to Aurora by several years to conduct my own investigation. I talked to some of those same longtime residents who told me in the early 1970s that nothing had happened. I talked to the historians at the Wise County Historical Society (Aurora is in Wise County) who told me that it hadn’t happened, though they wish it had. I learned that T.J. Weems, the famed Signal Corps officer was, in fact, the local blacksmith. I learned that Judge Proctor didn’t have a windmill, or rather that was what was said then. Now they suggest that he had two windmills. I wandered the grave yard, which isn’t all that large (something just over 800 graves) and found no marker with strange symbols carved on it, though there are those who suggest a crude headstone with a rough airship on it had been there at the time. I found nothing to support the tale and went away believing, based on my own research and interviews, this to be another of the airship hoaxes.

Metal collected by all those others, when analyzed here, turned out to be nothing strange or unusual. Some of it was later analyzed in a Canadian lab and their results mirrored those of American labs. So much for the idea that the government, in the guise of the CIA, the Air Force, or the mythical MJ-12, conspired to suppress evidence of the Aurora UFO crash.

Isn’t it interesting, though, that none of the metal supposedly gathered by the town’s residents has ever surfaced. The metal analyzed was always recovered by researchers with metal detectors. Isn’t interesting that the strange grave marker has since disappeared and there is no real photographic record of it. There should be for all the research that has been done and the single picture that has turned up showed not an airship but a coarse triangle with circles in the center. And isn’t interesting that there were never any follow up reports from Aurora. First the big splash with the crash and then nothing for more than sixty years.

The final, fatal blow for the airship and Aurora crash comes from the original reporter. H.E. Hayden, a stringer for the Dallas Morning News, who claimed to have invented the story in a vain attempt to put his dying community back on the map. He hoped to draw attention, and people, to Aurora, Texas. He was successful. The problem was that he succeeded sixty years too late and those who arrived only wanted to learn about the airship, not settle down to rebuild the community as he had hoped.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


The History Channel, and some UFO skeptics, have been talking about the Arthur Kent hosted special, Roswell: Final Declassification since it first aired in 2002 and has been repeated a number of times recently. They have suggested that this documentary went a long way in ending the Roswell UFO crash controversy, because, according to Kent, "The History Channel has gained exclusive access to top secret files that have been recently declassified and for the first time on television our program reveals the content of those files and the government’s own research and conclusions about the most famous UFO case of the century."

Kent continued telling the audience that "Until this day the public had been denied access to these files..." and that this would be a "look at the records generated by the researchers at the center of the story."

It would have been quite the expose if anything in that opening had been true. It was not.
The access granted to the History Channel was not exclusive and I had been working with people at the National Archives for months trying to obtain those files. Almost none of the files had ever been classified as Top Secret, and none of them had been recently declassified. The program revealed very little of what was in the files, most of which had been supplied to the Air Force in the 1990s by private UFO investigators on both sides of the controversial Roswell UFO crash question.

I suppose I should confess that I am largely responsible for this disaster of a television documentary. More than seven years ago I began a quest to get at some of the documentation created by the Air Force during their highly publicized investigation into the Roswell case. I filed a Freedom of Information request with the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force asking for that documentation.

Specifically, I asked for "all minutes, reports, memos, documents or notes relating to the investigation, discussions, or interviews conducted by the Air Force through SAF/AAZD [the specific office symbol of the staff who conducted the investigation] of the so-called Roswell Incident beginning in 1992. I am also searching for any records, memos, letters, minutes of meetings that related to the Roswell case as it was discussed in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Shelia E. Widnall and relating to the investigation of the Roswell case. I would like copies of the minutes of meetings and other documents between Ms. Widnall and Colonel Richard Weaver, SAF/AAZD up to and including his instructions concerning his interview with Lieutenant Colonel Sheridan Cavitt. I would like all information relating to communications among the SAF, Colonel Weaver, Captain James McAndrew and other who participated in the research to include their instructions in the manner in which they were to conduct the investigation."

In other words, I was trying to identify the information I wanted in the most specific terms possible because I knew that those dealing with FOIA requests sometimes suggested that vague information inhibited their search. I had once asked for a specific document, giving the precise title, date of creation, and agency which had created it only to be told my information was too vague for a proper search.

The Secretary of the Air Force’s response was to tell me the official policy on UFOs and Roswell. I filed a second request, telling them that I had no interest in their official policy and had asked for nothing relating to UFOs. I wanted specific documentation concerning meetings that took place, instructions given, memos and letters that had been written in connection with their investigation of the Roswell case.

Their second response told me that everything that been sent to the Government Printing Office.

This I knew wasn’t true. Why would the Secretary of the Air Force send internal memos to the Government Printing Office? I went through the motions of sending a FOIA to the printing office and received a price list of their various UFO and Roswell related reports in return. I went back to the Secretary of the Air Force, with copies of the documents from the Government Printing Office proving that the information I had requested was not there. Now I was told the records I wanted had been sent to the Air Force Archives at Maxwell Air Force Base.

That made some sense, and I sent off a request to the Air Force Archives. They denied they had the records. A second request was sent, this time with a copy of the latest response from the Secretary of the Air Force telling me that the records had been sent on to Maxwell. Now the officer in charge of the Air Force Historical Research Agency, (AFHRA), wrote back saying, "Unfortunately, we do not have the information you are seeking. All remaining items related to the SAF/AAZD’s investigation are in the process of being shipped to the National Archives. Although these items were held briefly in our building, they were never organized and accessioned. Therefore, they were never officially part of our holdings. You may contact the National Archives..."

Of course, I wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and was told "Such records are not in the custody of Modern Military Records at the National Archives. In fact we have virtually no records of such a recent date. We suggest that you contact the Air Force Records Officer, Department of the Air Force (AFCIC)..."

We had now come full circle. I was being sent back to where I had begun the search. In four and a half years of trying to locate the material, I was right back where I had started in 1997.


I wrote to the Chief, Modern Military Records at NARA and told him that they had the records. In fact, I told him when those records had been sent and by whom, and that they should have arrived by then (February, 2001).

On March 16, 2001, I learned that, yes, the National Archives did have the records. I was told, "In June 2000, our agency contacted the Air Force and requested that they send us the forms necessary to transfer the records in which you are interested. It appears that at some point in this process there was a breakdown, and we never received those forms. We contacted the Air Force two days ago on this transfer and requested that they forward the requisite paperwork to us. Please contact us again in two months. We hope that the records will have been received by then."

In May, two months after my last communication with anyone at NARA, I sent another request. My request was forward to another department because there were lots of pictures, sound recordings and video tapes in the material. At the end of June, I was told that they had eleven boxes of material and that they could fax a copy of the index of the contents. By the middle of July, I had the inventory of those boxes and had sent a request for specific documents, ignoring the video tapes because those were obviously part of the video history that the Fund for UFO Research had put together in the early 1990s. These video tapes included interviews with Glenn Dennis and Gerald Anderson. Instead, I asked for those documents and materials that, from their index listings, might prove to be of the most value to my research.

While we went back and forth, I realized that I was going to have to go to Washington and sort through the material myself. There was no way that NARA would copy everything and send it to me, and I could tell that some of the material were documents I already had found. These were some of the old reports dealing with balloon research, high altitude testing of ejection systems and parachutes, and information that I had supplied to the Air Force during their investigation. But others were just a listing, a brief title, or a suggestion of a folder that might hold something of importance. There was no way to tell from the inventory I had been sent.
Then I received a telephone call from a production company that had learned that this material had arrived at the National Archives. Apparently someone there, learning about this stuff but who had not looked at it, called the documentary company to tell them that this declassified material about Roswell was there. One of the producers called me later, telling me that they planned to investigate this newly declassified material that no one knew was there. I managed to surprise them because not only did I already know this, I even knew what the boxes contained.

What all this tells us, simply, is that the material, contrary to what the Arthur Kent’s opening remarks claimed, was not recently declassified and that it wasn’t being shown to them exclusively. Anyone who drove out to the National Archives and who had made the proper arrangements could go through the boxes. And, contrary to their claims that "Until this day the public had been denied access to these files," the material was actually out in the open.

Producers, as well as writers, must make their stories interesting, and by suggesting that the documents and video tapes had been hidden in some dark vault makes the tale better. To prove their point, they trotted out a video tape of Gerald Anderson who, as a five year old boy, claimed to have seen the remains of a crashed flying saucer and the dead, dying, and injured flight crew. The host told us that "this video tape [was] discovered among the newly declassified materials and seen on televison for the first time."

In reality, the tape was made by Stan Friedman of an interview with now discredited Anderson and passed on to the Fund for UFO Research for their video history of Roswell. Not only wasn’t the tape "recently declassified," it had never been classified in the first place. And, portions of the Anderson interviews had been used in other documentaries, including Roswell Remembered produced and directed by California documentarian, Russ Estes.

The host, and the producers, introduced us to Glenn Dennis, the Roswell mortician, who claimed that a nurse, Naomi Self, had told him about the crash and the bodies. She supplied Dennis with a sketch of what the aliens looked like and made him promise not to tell anyone about the crash or the sketch.

Research conducted by many investigators including Vic Golubic of Arizona, failed to find a trace of a nurse by that name. Although Golubic even tried the civilian hospitals and doctors in Roswell, there had not been a nurse stationed at the base, or who lived in Roswell in 1947 by that name. She simply did not exist.

That didn’t stop the show’s producers from trotting out a record of court martial found in those eleven boxes. Although in a box by itself, and had apparently been requested by McAndrew during the Air Force search for information, it has nothing to do with Dennis’ missing nurse or the Roswell case. It should have been returned to the Judge Advocate General when McAndrew finished with it. This was not a copy, but the original document. I filed paperwork at the NARA suggesting that this record be sent back to the JAG.

The transcript was about a doctor who was having an affair with a nurse. His wife was in a mental hospital in California and it seemed as if she was going to remain there. The nurse was a not very bright woman who had met the doctor in Mississippi and later they found themselves both stationed at Roswell. They were so poor at their clandestine assignations that one week they used his car and the next hers, registering at the same El Paso (Texas) motel as husband and wife. All this happened in the mid-1950s and there is no reason to assume that it had anything to do with the Roswell case. I told the producers as much but they apparently weren’t going to let a little thing like that keep them from mentioning the court martial, the clandestine rendezvouses in Texas and the possibility that this had been the nurse identified by Dennis.

That, of course, was not the only irrelevance jammed into the program. We learned of the use of animals in space exploration, a topic that I had researched at the Space Museum in Alamogordo, New Mexico, over several months. I learned that the first use of any sort of living creatures was in July, 1947, but these were mice and insects. The first primates were used about a year later, but these were rhesus monkeys which are about the size of a house cat. The program suggested that primates in flight suits discovered on the New Mexican desert would certainly create mystery... if such a thing had ever happened but I found no records of lost flights carrying the primates, no records of civilians finding the wreckage of those non-existent flights and being mystified, and no records of lost rockets that could account for the Roswell story.

We can, if we want, pick apart the documentary. How good is it if the host mispronounces the names of key figures such as Mack Brazel and Jesse Marcel? How good is their research when they tell us about the official UFO investigation, suggesting that Project Blue Book began in 1949? The first official investigation, called Project Sign, began in 1948. Project Grudge replaced Project Sign in 1949 and Project Blue Book replaced Project Grudge in 1951, facts that made little difference to them.

I can point out that they talk about Project Mogul, the attempt to create a "constant level balloon" so that we could spy on the Soviets, but showed pictures of other balloon projects including Skyhook. They implied that these new kind of balloons made of polyethylene might have fooled some of the New Mexican ranchers because they didn’t look like regular weather balloons. The problem here is that all the polyethylene balloon launches are accounted for in the records and the only Mogul flight that is not was made of regular weather balloons and radar targets. There was nothing unusual about them and nothing to fool ranchers who had found similar balloons on other occasions.

They failed to mention that Mack Brazel, the rancher who alerted the military to the debris on the ranch he managed, told reporters at the Roswell Daily Record that he had found weather balloons on two other occasions and the debris he found was nothing like those. If it had been Project Mogul, as the producers suggested, then what he found would have been just like those other weather balloons because that was what Mogul was.

I feel responsible for this disaster. Had I not been chasing certain records, which, by the way, were not in those boxes, then the producers would not have made this documentary. No one at the National Archives would have known that the boxes had arrived or that the proper paperwork had not been filed. Those eleven boxes would be stored in some corner of the archives because no one would care about what they contained.

The irony here is that they only contained documents created in the 1990s, or irrelevant reports from earlier Air Force experiments. While some of that is interesting, and the that research eventually allowed us to touch space and probably made air travel safer, it was not what I wanted. It was not the critical materials for which I had been searching. Now, of course, I can begin that process all over again. But this time I know what not to request. All I have to do is figure out what I need to complete my research.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Ufological Mess

Given what I have read here recently, and given the Peter Jennings Special, it seems to me that ufology, as we call it, is in a mess. We agree on almost nothing, we get caught up in personal fights that don’t advance the cause, and we spend half our time defending ourselves from assaults by our friends and foes. Worse still, we never seem to learn our lessons. We make the same mistakes over and over and then blame the government for being too clever forus.

Take the recent debate between Michael Salla and Paul Kimball that has appeared on UFO Updates (See UFO Updates, Latest 100 Messages). While I find it refreshing because it hasn’t descended into name calling, it does demonstrate part of the problem. Here, I fall on the side of Kimball (See www.redstarfilms). His opinions and information more closely follows my line of thinking about Lazar and other matters than does that of Salla.

Let’s look at this. At one point Salla uses the SOM 1-01 as proof that Bob Lazar might be an authentic witness (Yes, I know proof is too strong a word here, but it makes a point.) Kimball suggests that using MJ-12 documents to bolster a point makes the argument weak since there is controversy around the authenticity of MJ-12 generally and the SOM 1-01 specifically.

Salla points out that Robert Woods believes the document to be authentic… but doesn’t mention that the man who received it, Don Berliner, believes it to be a hoax. In fact, a careful review of the SOM 1-01 by several prominent UFO researchers including Mark Rodeghier, and a review by former military men who worked with classified documents, also believe it to be a hoax. The anachronisms also suggest hoax. Reasonable people, I believe, can differ on their opinions about this. The one question that has not been satisfactorily answered is provenance. Just where did this document originate?
Yes, I know that Stan Friedman has suggested it came from Wisconsin based on the postal code used, and that there is a suggestion that they know the name of the man who sent it, based on the use of a postal meter, but that doesn't answer the question of provenance. It suggests there might be some valuable clues in that direction.

We can ask the same, important question of the original MJ-12 documents. We know that Bill Moore “retyped” the AquariusTelex because, according to him, the original was such a poor copy that he needed to do that for clarity. The problem is that we don’t have an original to compare with the retyped version so we have a document that is without provenance and that even Moore now suggests is a hoax. Few researchers accept the Aquarius Telex as authentic.

When we move to the Eisenhower Briefing document and theTruman memo that accompanies it we are left with the sameproblem. There is no provenance. Worse still is that Stan Friedman submitted those documents to a questioned document expert, Peter Tytell, who, after review, said that they were not authentic. He bases this in part on Truman’s signature, which he believes proves that document a fraud. It is placed improperly, it is an exact match for another signature and it shows signs of having been altered. (Robert and Ryan Wood's claims not withstanding. They have not answered these questions).

There are other reasons to argue the point such as the misspellings and the lack of any mention of the Plains of San Agustin as reasons to believe the document a fraud (if you accept the Plains crash as authentic. Isn't it interesting that there are some who accept both the Plains crash and the Eisenhower Briefing?)

But most important here is a tale told to me by Stan… Bill Moore had told him in the early 1980’s that he, Moore, had run upagainst a brick wall and was thinking about creating a document to see what would shake free. At the same time Moore was working on a novel about a secret government investigation (along withtwo others, Pratt and Dody) which is the first incarnation of MJ-12. Later, the first of the documents arrived at the home of one of Moore’s friends. This alone should raise all sorts of questions…

Here, again, I can see where reasonable people might disagree with a point. The arguments suggesting fraud, to me, outweigh those arguing authenticity. But I believe those suggesting the documents are real are sincere in their beliefs. I just think they are wrong, just as they believe I’m wrong.

This is the same sort of argument we find in the so-called whistle-blowers’ testimony being offered by Salla among others. Many of us suggest that these people have not been carefully vetted so that we end up with people telling wild tales to all who will listen. In response, we hear that there isn’t time or resources to investigate all the claims properly. Their testimony is offered because it is believed and they seem to be sincere.

But is that really enough? And, if one of the whistle-blowers is found to be a fake, doesn’t that really diminish, if not destroy, the testimony of others? If I can point to several of these people and suggest they are making it up, and present evidence that their claims are not true, doesn’t that really hurt the whole cause? Isn’t defense of those frauds damaging to all?

Salla mentioned Robert Dean and Cliff Stone as well as Bob Lazar. Here I side with Stan on Lazar. Too many questions about his background and too many holes in it. And I do not understand how claiming to be a physicist translates into proof of a Master’sDegree as Salla suggested in one of his Update posts.

As another aside, I interviewed a man for an article in the newspaper recently. He told me that he was an engineer. Later, he asked if this article would appear in his hometown and I said it would. At that point he changed from an engineer to an engineering technician. I had no reason to doubt his original claim and have no reason to doubt his amended claim. The point is that such a claim, printed in the newspaper doesn’t make it true. How many times have we seen people lose their jobs over claims, such as these, that could not be substantiated, yet here, with Lazar, we make up excuses for him.

For those who believe that Cliff Stone has any credibility, please read the article he wrote for UFO magazine (American version, Vol. 13, No. 6 1998) in which he made so many ridiculous claims about his Vietnam service that it’s difficult to believe anything he says now. Even with that out there, and with his service records available suggesting he has been less than truthful, we still hear of him as one of the whistle-blowers.

Which sort of leads to “dueling” witnesses. Stan and I disagreed over the importance of the tales told by Gerald Anderson and Frank Kaufmann about their Roswell experiences. I believed Anderson, at first, but then found so many holes in what he said and the evidence he offered that it was clear to me that Anderson was lying. He faked a telephone bill to make me look bad, his diary was in disagreement with that of Ruth Barnett (for which we did have provenance), and he made claims about his background that were found to be untrue. He changed his story, moved the crash site around the Plains, and could offer nothing in the way of corroboration that was independent. Stan, I think, still believes some of Anderson’s nonsense.

On the other hand, Stan did not believe Frank Kaufmann, while I did. We finally learned that Kaufmann was no more reliable than Anderson and while Kaufmann didn’t admit to lying, in so many words, it is obvious that he was.

So, the united front we could have maintained was divided by individuals who knew nothing other than how to spin a good tale. We should have been more careful in our review of the testimonies, but we all got caught up in what Karl Pflock labeled as a will to believe. We ignored red flags and argued for the authenticity of ourwitness and against that of the other. In the end, we both were wrong and neither witness was of value… (as an aside, since people have now started debating the definition of witness, shouldn’t both of these names be removed from a list of “witnesses”?)

The point here is that we should be searching for common ground. Instead we argue over the reliability of witnesses we know have lied to us. Worst still, we have found a number of researchers who lied about themselves and their colleagues but we still invite them to speak and listen to what they have to say. How many lies do these people get before we realize that they have not been honest with us and that continued support of them hurts our overall credibility.

So maybe we can search for some common ground here. Maybe we should stop attempting the defend the indefensible and concede that sometimes we make mistakes.