Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ufology in Decline, Part Two

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.

25 comments:

TheDimov said...

Yes, the alarm bells went off for me when I saw Richard Dolan backtrack from BeWitness, I had previously thought this guy was one of the few UFO researchers with integrity but his embarrassing excuses afterwards had the red flags waving for me and my eyes started to open. Then of course you had Schmitt and Carey apologise and retract and go loop-de-loop, and then release another book with no mention whatsoever of their previous fiasco... and no mention of returning any profits. Nor did Jaime Maussan who made himself look the biggest idiot of all.

I want to think Stan Friedman is a ufologist with integrity but his determination to cling on to MJ-12 worries me a bit, but he has said they could all be faked, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I think its the romanticism of the whole thing though, I mean the best evidence in the Loch Ness Monster case have all been proven hoaxes or otherwise hasn't stopped sightings still cropping up. Rhine's photo's were doctored, Dinsdale's classic film was on analysis shown clearly to be a motor boat, and the surgeon's photo was a hoax. Then you have bigfoot and the classic Patterson/Gimli footage, the guy who wore the suit has told all about it, but it wont stop people believing in that footage, its amazing.

It's just too easy I think to get into ufology and make - or milk - a living off it, but to make the big bucks you have to stretch things a bit, or call yourself things like Dream Team, or keep propagating things that have been proven fraudulent. Maussaun to me is the worst proponent of all but he has such a big following who believes whatever he says that he feels more like a movie star who can say what he wants and get away with it. And so he does. The money rolls in and integrity went out the door a looooong long time ago with him. Well that is, if he ever had any integrity in the first place.

Steve Sawyer said...

"Research is no longer about finding the truth and answers but in confirming a belief structure."

Which is actually the opposite of genuine research, if the quote above reflects some "ufologists" perspective on their efforts. Confirming a belief structure is then relegated to speculation and presumptive theorizing.

Actual research employs scientific methodology and the vetting of empirical evidence and data, along with objective peer review and analysis, with no specific outcome anticipated or planned for, but only what the discernible facts would both suggest and establish beyond a reasonable doubt.

Anything less than that is not scientific research.

Craig McDaniel said...

Kevin,

You opened up my eyes about not just UFO's by the research side and just how much work it takes to even to find a spec of real evidence. I agree with all of your comments and that there are too many looking to make a quick buck on the speculation markets about UFO's. There is a handful on a TV show that the best they are good for is learning every kind of question there is. Like, what if it is true that...? or This may be the best evidence ever...if this can be proved. It's a joke of a show with nothing I would even call evidence. But sells advertisement.

So in the end, will there be some who appears on your doorstep with real evidence in the future? Possible but not likely. Will Disclosure happen? I don't think so.

I do think there will be historians who will replace the oblivious red flag words like UFO or Spacecraft or Roswell with words like special projects, scientific investigation and other phrases in future historical writings. So you get a new line of bread crumps to follow. With that said, I do think there might be some in military that want to see the UFO story become public but not the full picture. It might take another 50 years or more to really see a clear picture about what happened in the 1940's, 50's or long after both of us have been buried. By this time there will also be the next generation of money making speculators to take the current's batch will hear as expects on the TV.

Thanks again for your many years of dedication and hard work tracking down quality information on the this subject.

Craig McDaniel said...

Kevin,

One other thought. I think you know what I do as a publisher in the field of online promotions and advertising on the net. We are moving from the desktop and laptop text market into mobile and video in the near future. This is a giant step for us.

I have been researching videos and who have been successful in creating them now for a few years. With that I think there could be another area for the Ufology research. This is creating an online video channel closer to what "America's Most Wanted TV show has been. Instead of criminals the subject is UFO siting and old UFO stories.

I think the answer to your question about the decline is because UFO research is basically boring. It lacks entertainment value. However if you had email in leads of sightings, and ask for information about "Cold Cases" this might work. I had a very close friend that was shot and killed by a person who ended up on AMW. It took a while to catch the bad guy but it convinced me the show works.

This is a thought but might work because UFO is a interesting subject.

cda said...

You write:

"...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."

There is nothing new here. The desire for money out of ufology has been going on for decades. Frank Scully, Donald Keyhoe, Stanton Friedman, followed by Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs et al have been doing this since the 1950s. And yes they are all sincere (I believe) but still made lots of money. So why tell us that people's motives nowadays are any different to what they were in the past?

Yes ufology is in decline. But it may recover; my memories of the subject are that it has had many rises and falls over the decades. (Just like the stock market!). Part of the problem is that the younger generation do not take to the subject as they did in the past, whether in the USA or elsewhere. Hence us 'oldies' are the only mainstays left.

starman said...

The Las Vegas case has been debunked?? Are you referring to the brilliant explosion near Las Vegas in 1962? Or some other case?

Paul Young said...

Craig McDaniel..."I think the answer to your question about the decline is because UFO research is basically boring. It lacks entertainment value."

If you're suggesting that UFO research needs "jazzing up"...or that they should crank up the "show-biz" aspect of it, then you're advocating an increase in the problem, not the cure.

The field of Ufology, on both sides of the fence, needs more hard-headed research. What it really, really doesn't need are people (or should I say, EVEN MORE PEOPLE than we already have out there) trying to turn it into a bigger circus than it already is.

John Steiger said...

Dr. Randle (Kevin)--

In A HISTORY OF UFO CRASHES (1995) you wrote: "Something extremely extraordinary happened on the night of April 18, 1962. The air force offered a series of explanations ignoring the facts. But the witnesses who were there know the truth. They saw something from outer space, and it was not a meteor. It was a craft from another world." [p. 94].

In CRASH: WHEN UFOs FALL FROM THE SKY (2010) you closely paraphrased the paragraph above, then added: "There is no doubt about it." [p. 204].

In A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE (2016) you write: "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." [EMPHASIS ADDED] Pray tell what "logical and rational explanation" is there today for the 1962 Las Vegas crash other than what you wrote in the past?

Brian F said...

Ufology has been disappointing. It has been concerned with reports of sightings, schemes for categorizing sightings, promulgation of "mysteries" that read like space age ghost stories, kidnappings, killings, alien sex crimes, various horror stories and "spiritual awakenings". I think this kind of "research", if one could really call it that, has reached a dead end.

I think many "REAL" UFOs originate right here on earth, and are built by humans. The nuts-and-bolts variety use a type of physics that is known, but not taught in the schools. Read

"Beyond Einstein: Non-local physics" by Brian Fraser (2015) The paper is about physics, not UFOs, but here is a sample of relevant content:

"Example: there are two kinds of position and two kinds of velocity. Remember those two terms in the non-local form of gamma? We are using only one of them for propulsion—the spatial velocity one that depends on Newtonian mechanics. The other possibility, that of non-local motion, has been left unexplored. Using that, an aircraft could move from one position in the sky to another without traversing the intervening space. It would appear at one location, then disappear, then re-appear at another location. It could move at extremely high speeds without generating a sonic boom. It would use “field propulsion” based on the non-local characteristics of electric and magnetic fields. It would be completely self-contained because there is no action/reaction (exhaust) as in conventional propulsion (in this case, the reaction forces are radial, and cancel out within the structure of the aircraft, making the preferred shape one of something with radial symmetry, like a saucer or cigar)."

Two different kinds of non-local physics are discussed in the article. One of these can be used for non-local propulsion (going to the stars without traversing the intervening space, which also avoids the energy problem).

The paper can be downloaded from: http://scripturalphysics.org/4v4a/BeyondEinstein.html The .html file gives a link to the .pdf file but the former has additional information, such as many thought-provoking references that will probably keep readers awake at night.

Anthony Mugan said...

The appearance of decline may be largely due to several factors.
a) the Internet has allowed many more people to publish information, the bulk of which appears to be nonsense or largely so. In other words there are barriers to entry that act to maintain some sort of standard of quality.
b) Most people have short attention spans and are not trained to think critically. Entertainment is therefore more commercially viable than rigorous work.
c) In order to make progress there needs to be a clear idea of what you are trying to find out and how you answer that question. Almost all material published in ufology is basically stamp collecting...endless superficial descriptions of cases almost all of which will have mundane explanations.

Over the decades individuals and occasionally small groups have made important contributions. Some examples (far from exhaustive) might include rigorous 'case books' to establish a primae facie case of something worthy of investigation (Keyhoe, Ruppelt, Hynek through to Leslie Kean etc etc). Some have made important contributions to understanding new phenomena to inform our understanding, and in working out how to identify misidentifications. A few have gone beyond this to attempt to understand the physics of what might be going on (e.g McCampbell, Hill, Puthoff, Davis).
To go further we need predictions from these theoretical models that can be compared to observation. In particular we need to find cases that have excellent data that show characteristics diagnostic of technology as predicted by one or another of the theoretical models.
For example our best theories predict relativistic effects close to a UAP. There are a lot of anecdotal reports that seem to fit with this but those with high quality data seem to me to not do so, but are usually observations from too far away. Conversely some of the EM effect cases such as Levelland and Trans-en-Provence may potentially be diagnostic of technology...?

Neal Foy said...

It may be in decline or there may be a bit of a sea change happening. For years many people in the Paranormal community stuck to their own topic, ghosts, bigfoot, ufos etc. I see some who have adopted a unified paranormal theory to embrace all those. Basically dimensional in nature. Allen Hyneck showed some interest in that. I see people like Stan Gordon and Linda Zimmerman who is investigating the Hudson Valley sightings thinking that way as well.

I can't say that is a better answer than space aliens but it deserves attention IMO. I could be wrong but I think I saw Kevin rejecting that theory.

But whatever is happening the investigation should be free from those who say it can't be so it didn't happen as well as those who are biased in another direction. This may be too much to hope for because we are all human and carry that bias with us.

Brian Bell said...

@ TheDimov who wrote:

"Then you have bigfoot and the classic Patterson/Gimli footage, the guy who wore the suit has told all about it, but it wont stop people believing in that footage, its amazing."

I realize this blog isn't about Sasquatch, but wanted to point out that the two different men claiming to have made the suit and the other wear it have never been able to demonstrate it, have no suit to prove their claims, and have essentially and factually "inserted" themselves into the story much like the characters of Kaufman et.al. In UFO lore. People do this for attention and a tiny bit of notariety.

To be honest, there's actually more evidence to support Sasquatch than ET mainly because of the physical evidence that can be analized by reputable academics and the fossil record.

Unfortunately UFOs don't leave much tangible evidence to examine. Nothing physical...

And by the way, just why have all of these supposed alien races visiting Earth stopped crashing into the desert? Because they became better pilots? Because they improved the reliability of their technology?

Funny how the hundreds of claimed ET races visiting our blue planet happened to master improved flight characteristics simultaneously....isn't it?

Or is it just that with the demise of ufology comes fewer and fewer claims of the extraordinary....?

John Steiger said...

Re: Starman -- yes, I believe your reference to the "brilliant explosion near Las Vegas in 1962" is the incident I am asking about for clarification ... given this posting. Thanks!

starman said...

Brian Bell wrote:

"Unfortunately UFOs don't leave much tangible evidence to examine. Nothing physical."

Even leaving out Roswell and Kecksburg, there have been many cases in whih UFOs have left landing traces, including damage to railroad tracks or roads, footprints and some metal.
If Sasquatch were real, there would be conclusive proof by now since an ape is confined to Earth and hardly more capable than us.
There have been reported crashes or explosions in recent years. And who says there are "hundreds" of different races?

KRandle said...

John -

Yes, I was referring to the April 1962 event over Las Vegas. I will explore that journey in a posting later, but will say that the Meteorite Men provided some clues about this case that I found compelling.

Brian -

There is all sorts of evidence that include (as starman noted) landing traces with landing gear imprints and impressions of the craft, there are pictures but fewer than we would expect (and too many by teenaged boys with too much time on their hands) radar tracks such as that provided by the FAA's John Callahan. There are some reported samples of metal recovered that I find somewhat dubious, and over course, those strange EM Effects that don't seem to have an explanation in our current understanding of these things.

So, there are many things left by or associated with UFO sightings that can be examined, analyzed and that suggest something more than delusion or illusion.

John Steiger said...

Mr. Bell: "If Sasquatch were real, there would be conclusive proof by now since an ape is confined to Earth and hardly more capable than us." No, your reasoning does not necessarily lead to your conclusion.

Where is the evidence that Sasquatch is 1) an ape? 2) confined to Earth? and for that matter 3) hardly more capable than us???

Craig McDaniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KRandle said...

All =

The post was about a decline in Ufology and not about big foot. Any more comments that mention big foot, even in passing will be deleted. Big foot is a topic for another time.

Paul Young said...

It's possible that the noted decline in Ufology might, in part, be due to the fact that we haven't had any truly puzzling UFO incidents for some time now.
The really interesting events like Roswell, Shag Harbour, Rendlesham, JAL 1628 (better still...my favourite of all time...Hopkinsville :-) ) are ancient history for anyone under 40, and almost anything that can be investigated into these cases have been investigated to the 9th degree.
This might, in part, explain why the "Not Roswell Slides" fiasco got off the ground in the first place; Nothing of note was happening in the world of the UFO...so something was practically willed to happen.
Our most eminent ufologists have hit a wall but it's not really their fault, because if nothing new happens then they have nothing new to investigate.
What is unforgivable though are the less scrupulous one's who will do anything to keep the gravy train rolling.

What we need is a good, old fashioned, flying saucer flap... in a sensible country (ie, not Mexico or Brazil.....or France) that our more serious investigators can get their teeth into.
Then again, maybe, they aren't here at the moment!

Brian Bell said...

Starman wrote:

"And who says there are "hundreds" of different races?"

Ah...well you should clue in more often.

There are many ET believers who claim this. For example:

59 Alien Species are listed here:

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vida_alien/esp_vida_alien_19a.htm

And this YouTube Vid says there are more than 89 Alien Species on Earth:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Fsn0B3ti8

I think this sort of nonsense is a factor in UFOlogy's decline (demise?).

starman said...

@Brian Bell,

Of course I've (long ago) heard of dozens or scores of alien races visiting us but who ever said "hundreds"?

@Paul Young,

Stephensville wasn't so long ago. It meets your criteria of a "flap" in a "sensible country" (well it's a matter of definition....). I would say that, as time has gone on, UFOlogy has gained in respectability. Look at Podesta. Ironically, though, at the same time, it's lost some of the old excitement. There have been crash reports, flaps etc since 2000 but interest doesn't seem what it used to be.

Terry the Censor said...

A good post and some good comments.

(Anthony, your "stamp collecting" line is a keeper.)

purrlgurrl said...

My observation - the function of Ufology today is to fulfill a social need for Believers. Underlying that, generating revenue from exploiting Believers is the reason for almost all Ufological activity.

Meanwhile, this social network is steeped in unproven and unprovable claims, wild misinterpretations, deliberate misrepresentations, tall tales, myths, and hoaxes that are continually exchanged and embellished. They're the dogma that bind Believers together. In this world, truth is fungible and tailored to fit Ufology's central tenet -- aliens are here and the government is covering it up.

There's always been a lunatic fringe in Ufology, but that fringe now appears to have moved front and center and taken charge. Objectivity, critical thinking, reason, logic, evidence are abjured in favor of belief.

Meanwhile, it now appears to many of us objective observers that most UFO cases have terrestrial explanations after all. But so what? The belief system that grew up around aliens in flying saucers has developed a life of its own. Ufology is now a matter of faith.

Rusty Lingenfelter said...

I've been absent for quite some time, but I will say that posts like this make me a fan of Kevin's work. I would make a couple of points:

1) Ufoloogy is not the only field that finds "scientists" who are more interested in a paycheck than good science. That is the world we live in, unfortunately.
2) Ufology is not in decline because it is not "jazzy" it is in decline because there is little new evidence and a proliferation of crap weasels who are more than willing to advance a "jazzy" theory with absolutely no evidence.

As I have danced around it previously, let me say unequivocally, Stan Friedman is an unscientific speculator who, despite reasonable professional credentials has not advanced an intelligent notion in the last twenty years. He couldn't carry Kevin's jockstrap and if it weren't for his entertainment value, he would have been mowing yards long ago. I apologize if that is too ambiguous. Cheers.

Craig McDaniel said...

Kevin,

After spending a number of months looking for new material that I have not seen or talked about in regards to the Roswell crash, I started to look at the subject about "UFO in Decline" in a different light. First, is I have a greater appreciation to the work you have done in this field. Second, just how hard it is and must be to find original material that is not fake. It is frustrating to find. I did find two very minor original lines of documents but might have been either passed up because of the lack of significances or other researchers missed them. Either way, they simply beg for more documents to proof the connection to Roswell. Hence, the proverbial cat chasing's it own tail.

This leads to several questions.

If you were to retire today the research of Roswell, (like a baseball player retiring from the profession) who would take you place?

If you were to train someone to do research into Roswell and UFO's, where would you begin? In a sense, this at times seems impossible when it's nearly impossible to get anything from FOIA on the subject.

If you had a list of subjects of that have open ends or things you would like to know, what would they be?

I am sure there are many who might like some of your insights and help but for me, any advice is appreciated.

Craig M.