The Roswell Festival, sponsored by the International UFO Museum and Research Center, was held over the first weekend in July. The July 4th holiday, falling as it did in the middle of the week, created a situation where there was no real three-day holiday, which meant for many that both Friday and Monday were work days.
After a detour through Levelland, Texas (where I looked at the stretch of road where a number of the close encounters or landings took place in 1957) I arrived in Roswell early on Thursday afternoon. I checked into the hotel and headed down to the museum to see what was going on the day before the festival started. You might say it was a bad idea because Don Schmitt and I got involved in helping to set up the museum floor for the festival (oh, I didn’t do all that much, but did provide a little commentary on how things should be arranged).
The next morning started with a breakfast before the doors opened. Julie Schuster, the museum director, who is ill, managed to show up to greet many of us. It was her only appearance at the festival and I fear it took a toll on her. She stayed to complete some work for the museum, though nearly everyone wanted her to go home to rest. They had the situation well in hand and didn’t want her to worry.
Almost at the moment the museum opened, one fellow came in to suggest that he wanted to take Stan and me to dinner so that Stan and I could hash out our differences. I told him absolutely not. I would not be a part of such a thing, though he did promise to pay for the meal. Any meal with him around would have been quite unpleasant.
I spent the day talking to people about UFOs, my philosophy of research, and early on, had a brief talk with Steve Pierce of Travis Walton abduction fame. As noted, I had a nice chat with Travis about his abduction experience, my philosophy of alien abduction which does not mirror his, naturally, and UFO research in general.
Tom Carey had arrived by then, with his wife, Doreen, as had David Rudiak with his wife, Roberta. While setting up the tables, I suggested that David could share my table, which he did throughout the festival.
|Combat assault in Vietnam|
I did several programs about my journey through UFO research, but in keeping with some of the complaints about my book, Reflections of a UFO Investigator, (that there wasn’t enough about my activities outside UFO research), I added some of that material to the presentation. If nothing else, people got to see some photographs that I had taken in Vietnam and learn that the vast majority of Vietnam Vets were “normal.”
On Saturday night, there was the Roswell investigators panel that included Stan Friedman, Tom, David, Frank Kimbler, Don and me. Don acted as the moderator, though he let some of those in the audience ramble on with their questions a little longer than I thought necessary, which is probably why no one asked me to moderate. After all, the title was “moderator.”
|Frank Kimbler, David Rudiak and Tom Carey|
The fellow, who thought that Stan and I should go to dinner, attempted to create some controversy with his “question.” As he talked, I whispered to Don that I wasn’t going to be dragged into the fight. I wasn’t going to say a word in response. Apparently Stan wasn’t going to either.
His point seemed to be that we all should agree on everything because those at the far end of the spectrum, the debunkers, just loved it when we didn’t. He seemed to think that we all should embrace a common theme regardless of the evidence, or our interpretation of that evidence.
This seemed like an idiotic stand to take. If we all agreed on everything, regardless of the evidence, then wouldn’t the Skeptics have a field day with that? … And rightly so. There is no point in it, and no rational reason that I should accept everything that leads to UFOs as being extraterrestrial, and there is no point in Stan (or anyone else for that matter) doing the same. To get to a proper place, whether it is the extraterrestrial or somewhere else, we must be free to examine the evidence without worrying about agreeing with the opinions, interpretations, and beliefs of everyone else.
Talking to Stan later (he wasn’t dragged into the discussion either) I noted that he had the same opinion. There is no point in agreeing to agree with everything regardless of the evidence. All that would do was drag the whole discussion down with it.
Interestingly, a woman asked if we were all locked into the extraterrestrial explanation and there was a certain amount of agreement among us all. I suggested that given the evidence, it was the most likely solution, but there was a chance we were talking about something that might be interdimensional, intradimensional, or that we were talking about time travelers. I believe, given the other responses, the others on the panel tended to agree. We weren’t going to eliminate any possible explanation, but there were some solutions that seemed more likely than others.
While at the festival, I did have a chance to talk, briefly, to Denise Crosby who had been in Star Trek: The Next Generation and who had done a couple of interesting documentaries about Star Trek. I thought it interesting that she traveled the world, literally, talking to people about Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry’s vision of world harmony. National origin, ethnic origin or religious belief didn’t seem to matter when it came to Star Trek. It is a common bond throughout the world.
Sunday night a number of the speakers were invited to dinner, which I wouldn’t mention except for a bit of irony. As we made our way to the table, I selected a chair and someone commented that it was as far from Stan as I could get. Well, that hadn’t been on my mind, and I hadn’t really noticed, but I walked to the other end of the table and selected a chair across the table from Stan.
Earlier, when no one was around, he had said to me that he appreciated my service to the country. I thought that was a nice thing for him to mention, especially since some of our beliefs about UFOs are at the opposite of the spectrum.
Proving that Stan and I are at opposite ends, I had said to him, at the hotel one morning, “Aztec? Really?”
We had a brief, but not acrimonious debate about the case, with Stan saying, “Yes, Aztec.”
Anyway, we sat down there and about five or ten minutes after we had, someone said, “You seem to be getting along.”
Stan said, “Of course. We are gentlemen.”
At the meal, we avoided the topics we knew that could grow heated and discussed some points in general, a little about the Levelland sightings, and some of the history that seems to interest us both.
Those at the table, who expected some fireworks, were probably disappointed in that. But hey, we were there to eat and socialize and not debate the reality of MJ-12 or the Aztec UFO landing.
I did sit in on one of David Rudiak’s presentations about the Ramey memo, which I found interesting. He went to the trouble to point out other interpretations of it and why he accepted, or rejected, the conclusions drawn by others. This seemed to be a presentation that gave the facts and though I knew what he believed, I thought the program was fair. His history of the events leading up to the Roswell crash and the newspaper articles about it from around the country was fascinating.
Random Thoughts and Observations:
The vendors, out in the parking lot, and there seemed to be fewer this year, complained that the people were not spending their money as freely as in years past. Inside they seemed a little more cautious about what they bought as well but I found many who were interested in my books.
I did notice that gas, on the north side of Roswell was selling for about $2.96 but on the south side and out west, it was going for $3.13 to about $3.21. I don’t know why it was so much more on one side of town, but the difference was enough that I would think you’d drive over to the other side to buy it cheaper.
It seemed that it was hotter this year and the hotel was a different one. If asked, I don’t know if there was anything significantly different between the two, though this year’s inn was just off Main Street which might have made it a tad quieter.
I also met a fellow, Martin Dreyer, from New Zealand, who I have been talking to on the telephone for a decade and a half. It was nice to put a face to the voice, and he has a real interest in the Roswell case, often asking the difficult questions. He did take pictures of the Saturday night panel for me.
Frankie Rowe, having moved to Roswell, showed up a number of times and I have a number of nice chats with her. She wanted to show me a “magazine” from 1938 proving that her father had been a firefighter. She seemed to think that I questioned this… I told her that I have a page from one of the logs at the fire station dated June 1947 that proved her father had worked there. It had never been a question for me.
I did see Yvonne Smith briefly, said hello, and that was about it. We were on opposite sides of the museum and our schedules seemed to conflict slightly.
Derrel Sims and I were on opposite sides of the museum as well. He came up to me and said that he had appreciated my service. Again, I thought that was a nice thing to do.
And I did see Dr. Frank Thayer who is listed as one of the co-authors of the book about the Aztec crash. We spoke briefly and he told me that Scott Ramsey hadn’t wanted to send me a copy of the book because I would negative about it. I don’t know if that means that Scott thought his information weak (doubtful) or that he thought I wouldn’t give it a fair reading. I did read it and found the evidence to be weak, so Scott was right but for the wrong reasons.
The main thing, though, seems to be Julie’s illness. There was a lot of concern for her by many there. She had done such a good job of organizing everything that her staff could step right in without missing a beat. I can’t think of a thing they might have overlooked, which is a testament to Julie’s organizational skills.