There has been another call for we geezers to retire from the UFO field so that the younger, more energetic, more enlightened, and better equipped to investigate can move to the front. I say, speaking from my position as a geezer, "Nonsense."
This idea that the youth will be able to move forward without we rearward looking geezers in the way doesn’t float... not just because they’re young and not just because they’re more enlightened but because we’ll end up fighting the same battles again and again.
There are any number of reports that I thought we’d driven the stake through so that we wouldn’t be forced to study them again, but such is not the case. Take the Allende Letters. Here is a case in which there is no evidence beyond the demented musings of a man who didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on reality and who admitted that the whole thing was hoax more than thirty years ago. That’s right, Carlos Allende, or as he was born, Carl Allen, admitted, in a written statement to Jim Lorenzen, then the international director of APRO, that he had made up the whole tale.
And today we have to fight through those who still accept the Philadelphia Experiment, which is part of the whole Allende Letter episode again. Not to mention those who claim their identities were changed so that they can say they were part of the original experiment without having to explain why their names don’t surface anywhere in the case until much later or why they aren’t old enough to have participated. They time travel... There are some who actually believe this nonsense.
Oh, and we have to explain, again, that the Office of Naval Research didn’t take the letters and the annotated book seriously. That much of what was suggested in the book and the letters has been proven to be in error. And that Allende annotated everything he got from birthday cards to traffic citations.
Finally, I received, just a couple of days ago an email from someone who had new information about the Philadelphia experiment. He seemed to be unaware of the history of the case.
Or we can look at the Aurora, Texas UFO crash from 1897. Here was a story that appeared in the newspapers of the time but seemed to have no follow up written about it and a case that disappeared until the 1960s.
So, there I was, living not all that far from Aurora, Texas. It seemed that it might be a good idea for me to drive up there and see if I could learn anything about the crash. Now, remember, this was the early 1970s, and while 1897 was seventy or seventy-five years earlier, there were still people living who had been in the town in 1897. I talked to some of those same longtime residents who told me that nothing had happened in 1897.
There was one old fellow, his hands all twisted and disfigured who had been there in 1897 and who would later appear in some of the documentaries about the crash. He told me, when I was there, that nothing had happened. Had it been as big a deal as had been reported in the newspaper, he surely would remember something about it.
Later, as the story grew and many others arrived, he told them a different tale. Now he was suggesting that there had been a crash. He described some of what he saw, but I just couldn’t accept these new and better tales. I’d talked to him before it became a way to find some local fame. I’d talked to him before the people showed up with the television cameras and bright lights.
I also 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 wished 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.
A large number of people, including Hayden Hewes of the now defunct International UFO Bureau, Jim Marrs, who has 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 seem even more real.
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 in 1897 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.
The point, however, is that we revisit cases that have been solved. These youngsters, the alleged new blood with their fresh ideas might have new blood, but their ideas are not fresh. We can expect them to get excited over the old cases that we geezers have eliminated and will now have to disprove once again.
In Ufology, there is a cycle that used to run about every five years, though it has expanded in recent times. New people enter into the study of UFOs, find these old cases and are excited by them and begin to push them. Eventually, they reach the same conclusions as we geezers, but only after a lot debate about the value of the cases and a lot of wasted time, effort and money.
So bring in the new blood but please don’t be surprised when I am unimpressed with their new methods and their new insights. They aren’t advancing the study at all. They are retreating into a past that we could warn them about, but they are too smart to listen to we geezers. We need to just get out of the way so they can follow the old, overgrown paths because they’re just too smart to listen. We need to get out of the way so they can waste their time doing what we’ve already done. They’re too smart to think we have anything more to contribute.