Back more years than I care to think about it, I developed my interest in flying saucers. At that time I had questions and wrote to both APRO and NICAP. NICAP responded with a membership package and nothing else. APRO responded with a membership package but also took the time to answer my questions. Naturally, I joined APRO and developed a relationship with both Jim and Coral Lorenzen.
Over the years I spoke with Coral and Jim on many occasions, visited them in Tucson, which was their headquarters then, and met them in various locations. They asked me to investigate specific cases for them, which I was happy to do. Coral provided information for me to use in magazine articles with the only requirement that I mention them and APRO’s address in the text of the article which was never a problem. I don’t remember a single time that it was ever edited out or that an editor asked that I remove it.
Eventually I noticed that every case I was investigating turned out to have no solution. I knew that something above 90% of all sightings resulted in a conventional solution but I wasn’t finding that myself. I began to dig a little deeper and found that there were avenues that I sometimes failed to explore. I began to find solutions. I investigated a series of three photographs taken near Amana, Iowa that seemed to be unexplained but further analysis revealed that the streak of light seen on the pictures could be a private aircraft. Years later, with all the computer programs available, scans of one of the pictures showed the actual aircraft at the beginning of the streak of light. For more information see:
|One of three photos taken over Amana, Iowa. Photo copyright|
by Kevin Randle
|Blow up showing the aircraft at the beginning of the light|
streak. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
I mention this to provide a context. Maybe we should think of it as becoming more professional in the investigations. Maybe it was just becoming more skeptical in the investigations. Whatever, I was finding far more solutions than I was unexplained cases.
One of the best examples of finding solid solutions is the Chiles-Whitted sighting which we have discussed before at:
Given what we have learned in the last fifty years about bolides, about human perception and ambiguous stimuli, the answer here seems, at least to me, to have been found, yet there are those who will argue the point. To be fair and honest, there is a remote chance that Chiles and Whitted witnessed something other than a bolide, but the evidence now argues against that.
We have seen the Aztec UFO crash case revitalized once again. The first time was in the mid-1970s, then in 1986 when William Steinman wrote UFO Crash at Aztec and lately with Scott Ramsey, et. al. with their The Aztec Incident. There is still no solid documentation for the event and the few eyewitnesses that have been put forward are shaky at best. In fact, some of the information misrepresents the actual situation.
I could go on in this vein, suggesting the same trouble with the Kingman UFO crash, the Las Vegas crash, and several other sightings that seemed inexplicable at the time but now have what I see as logical and rational explanations. That is not to say that there won’t be those who wish to argue using outdated information or witnesses who have demonstrated that they are less than credible.
And this is the problem. When there is a solid explanation to one of the “classic” UFO cases, it seems to me that the solution should be embraced. I’m not talking about debunker solutions such as that offered by Philip Klass for the Coyne helicopter case. You can read my take on it here:
You can see a more detailed analysis of this in The UFO Dossier which came out last year. Of course that is my take on the case as well.
The point is that real solutions are being rejected in an attempt to preserve the status quo, which is not the way to do research. If there is an answer for a case, we shouldn’t reject it simply because we prefer the mystery of it. There are still many good cases that continue to defy explanation so that when a solution is offered that covers all the facts and makes sense, we shouldn’t reject it. Test the solution, yes, but reject it out of hand, no. That is why UFOlogy is in a decline. It is no longer about learning what is happening, it is no longer about finding an answer, it is now about making money, getting asked to lecture throughout the United States and in some very exotic location, and standing in the spotlight spouting what the audience might wish to hear.
Research is no longer about finding the truth and answers but in confirming a belief structure. Too many people only want validation for their beliefs and if the evidence aligns against them, they reject the evidence. They argue the trivia endlessly, applying their own opinions as if they are fact, and refuse to understand that others might know something about a case as well.
Until we pull back on the speculation, reject the use of anonymous witnesses when there is no other evidence available and concede that sometimes we can find solutions to classic cases, we’re just not going to advance. We’re going to be stuck in the 1940s, afraid of what is flying around over our heads, and unable to find any rational solutions. We’re just not going to get anywhere.