Those of you who have been reading the comments about the Fact or Faked: The Paranormal Files know that there has been some criticism about the same old, tired voices being interviewed on various TV shows (not that I’m particularly tired). Some viewers have liked the interjection of new blood into game and appreciate the new points of view.
While I agree with the philosophy, I will also note that there is a problem with these new voices. They often do not know the subject well enough to make intelligent comments about it... Or, they seemed surprised by the information they discover, never knowing that it has been circulating for years among those of us who study the field.
My latest case in point is Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on History (please note that History removed the “channel” from it’s name a while back). They decided to look into UFOs and seemed stunned to find that the reports come from more than the guys in bib overalls who quit school in the eighth grade (please note that this stereotype is suggested by the intellectuals who are too sophisticated to believe aliens have visited Earth.)
Here’s where I’m coming from. They go to Roswell and interview Julie (seen here), the daughter of Walter Haut, the PIO who issued the press release about finding the “flying saucer.” Of course, this is second-hand testimony, and Julie clearly believes what she is saying about what her father mentioned to her. But they don’t discuss the affidavit that Haut signed, and if they had asked some of us, we could have supplied video and audio tape of Haut himself talking about the things that Meltzer’s crew was getting second hand.
Meltzer mentions that while we all know something fell at Roswell, what we might not know was that just two weeks earlier, Kenneth Arnold had made the first sighting of a formation of objects. Well, sorry, but anyone who has paid any attention to UFOs, knows about Arnold’s sighting, knows when it took place, and even knows that the term “flying saucer” was coined at that time.
So, they talk about the Roswell (Main Street looking south toward the museum seen here) case but give us nothing new about it. Two people who were not involved describe the events in the briefest terms. If there was anything good about it, they rejected the balloon theory and didn’t even mention Project Mogul, that was, essentially, the balloon answer dressed in new clothes (I mention this with the fear that it will start another debate where everyone can copy and paste everything that they have said before, but this time I might just delete those comments).
Meltzer also talks about Project Blue Book, but says nothing about Sign, Grudge or Moon Dust (and for my skeptical friends, we do know that Moon Dust had a UFO component based on documentation). I don’t know if he didn’t know about them, or didn’t want to confuse the issue by talking about them.
They finally trot out to Area 51, mention the Extraterrestrial Highway (I bet the Air Force was thrilled when Nevada did that) and show the bullet-riddled sign announcing the route. But they drive toward the base, see the base security on the ridge watching them, and start climbing, on foot, toward the Air Force (or is it Wachenhut?) vehicle. When it moves toward them, they scramble back to their car and beat feet for Las Vegas.
They find a guy who was in security at Area 51 and he explains that he had access to everything on the base because of his security clearance... with the exception of one hangar. One weekend, on a fluke, he got a look inside, but he wouldn’t say what he had seen. It could have been anything or nothing. It was a good story, but it didn’t advance our knowledge at all. We know nothing now that we didn’t already know.
Oh, we’re treated to the Janet aircraft on the corner of McCarran, and we’re told that employees at the base fly out there everyday. But we already knew that, too.
We see John Lear and we learn about Bob Lazar, but there is nothing new there either. Meltzer does suggest that Lazar is surrounded in controversy, but then, we already knew that.
In the end, they sit around and we listen to them talk about the number of stars and the number of galaxies, and the size of the universe. But then, we’ve heard these discussions too and that aren’t particularly insightful. What we need is someone to tell us how to short circuit those vast distances.
Yes, I enjoy the show, but this one disappointed. It was a bunch of new people coming into the UFO arena, but they hadn’t done their homework (or they assumed that most people were as ignorant as they when it came to UFOs). They did suggest there are some strange things out there, but again, I believe that even my skeptical friends will agree that there is something strange out there.
In the end, it was a way to see where we stand in our search and we know that we’re way down the road from Meltzer and crew. Too bad they didn’t take time to learn a little more before they leaped into this one.