Friday, March 30, 2018

Why I'm Beginning to Dislike the UFO Field - Part Three

Almost from the moment that Kenneth Arnold’s “flying saucer” (yes, I know he was describing the motion and not the shape) hit the newspapers, this field has been plagued with fakers, liars, charlatans and hoaxers. They have made up their experiences, their expertise, their military service and they have been believed by millions, even when exposed for the frauds they are. Which is, of course, one of the reasons that I have begun to dislike this whole field.

Before the ink was dry on the Arnold report, there were those who had met the alien creatures piloting those interstellar craft, who had ridden in them, or had seen them crash. Some of those tales were so outrageous that they were nearly impossible to believe, but believe them, some did.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, in July 1947, a saucer crashed into the street. It caused such a stir that both the Army and the FBI were involved in the investigation. J. Edgar Hoover even wrote, on a memo later that month about the “La case” in which the Army grabbed the debris and wouldn’t let the FBI look at it. Some later attempted to suggest this little note proved that the Roswell crash was real. But the object found in Shreveport was only about 18 inches in diameter, and was an admitted hoax. And, it was clear that Hoover’s note referred to the Shreveport case and not the Roswell crash. We still have to deal with it long after the truth was learned, even with the documentation available to prove the crash was a hoax.

Worse still is the Aztec UFO crash, which happed in March, 1948. Although there is no documentation to support the case, and it was started by a couple of con men who were peddling something they called a doodlebug that could find mineral deposits, there are those who today defend this as a real UFO crash. The problem is there are no first-hand, credible witnesses to the crash, much of the information about it has been proved to be inaccurate, and the case, which resulted in the bestselling Behind the Flying Saucers has been discredited. While the case was completely rejected by serious researchers first in the early 1950s and later in the mid-1960s, we are still arguing about the authenticity of it today. I have to ask, “Why?”

With the interest in flying saucers growing, there were those who claimed to have made contact with the space brethren. These contactees as they became known, were men, though a few women claimed contact as well, who were provided with messages of hope and peace from the people of Venus, or Mars, or maybe the big interplanetary council on Saturn, though some suggested the travelers were from beyond the Solar System. They offered out of focus photographs and other evidence that had no properties that would prove they were of extraterrestrial origin as proof of their adventures. They made predictions that were often ridiculous, often completely the opposite of what later happened, and then rewrote those predictions to make them more accurate and to seem they, the contactees, were prophets. Even with the lack of evidence, and even with our modern science proving that the surface temperature on Venus is hot enough to melt lead and our exploration of Mars that has failed to find any evidence of advanced life there, people still believe these silly claims. I don’t know why.

In fact, it has gotten worse today with several men claiming to have been involved in an interstellar war fought on Mars and fought with alien allies against other spacefaring races. I was even supposed to have been involved according to one of those tales. I hadn’t been in Iraq as I had thought but had been fighting on Mars. When I returned to Earth, as were all my fellow soldiers and Marines, we were brainwashed into believing we hadn’t been on Mars. Why they were even clever enough to provide us with various souvenirs and photographs proving this… and there are people actually believe this nonsense.

But it is in the last twenty to thirty years that we have been nearly overwhelmed with blatant hoaxes that have divided the field. It might be said this all began with the announcement of a number of government documents that alleged the creation of a super-secret program to exploit the find of alien technology at Roswell. Majestic-Twelve, or as it is commonly known, MJ-12, has been examined carefully, been the subject of extensive research, and held up as proof that the government is hiding the secret of alien visitation and UFO crashes. In all those years of research, in all those archives that have been visited, in all those declassified government files from dozens of formerly high-ranking military officers and government officials that have been searched, there has never been a single document found to support MJ-12. In fact, the original documents have no provenance and that is one of the largest red flags there is, though the supporters of MJ-12’s reality brush off questions about it.

Since that time in 1984 when the documents were mailed, anomalously to UFO researchers, there have been a number of fatal flaws found in them. The first was the improper date format, which told us all that the Eisenhower Briefing Document or EBD as it now called, was not prepared by government officials or military officers, but by someone outside those realms with a knowledge of the Roswell case but no military or government service.

Stan Friedman, one of the leading promoters of the
MJ-12 Documents. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
While the inaccurate dating format probably isn’t sufficient for everyone to reject the documents as faked, there is additional, larger problems. In the EBD there is a discussion, short though it is, about a UFO crash in the El Indio – Guerrero area of northern Mexico, very close to the Texas border. This case is a hoax started by Robert Willingham in 1968 and co-opted by Todd Zechel in the 1970s. Willingham had originally said that he saw the crash in 1948 while flying Air Force fighters, but Zechel, in his interviews with Willingham, said the date was actually December 6, 1950, a date that appears in the EBD.

On December 6, 1950, there was an alert about something, or some things, heading toward the United States.  Within an hour, the alert was canceled when the objects were identified. Willingham, who had gone along with this date for years, told Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte that the crash couldn’t have happened in December 1950 because he, Willingham, had been in Korea at that time (tangentially, this too is a lie based on his military records as retrieved from NARA in St. Louis). Willingham himself later told me the crash took place in 1954 or 1955, contradicting his own, original statement (published in March 1968, Skylook, the precursor to the MUFON UFO Journal), Zechel’s claim of the date, and the Eisenhower Briefing Document. And if, there was no crash in that area of Mexico, regardless of the date, that would destroy the credibility of the whole document… yet there are those who believe that is not the case. I don’t know why this doesn’t convince people about the truth.

Accompanying the EBD in the data dump, was a note or memo on White House stationery authorizing the creation of what would become MJ-12 and that memo was allegedly signed by President Truman. But the signature was proven to have been lifted from another, authentic document, which has been identified. It was attached to the memo and then copied again to remove the cutlines. It was placed uncharacteristically low on the memo, suggesting that Truman had not actually signed it. More importantly, there are some slight indentations on the cross bar of the “T” in Truman, which suggest that the parts of the letters that had been touching it on the original signature had been removed artificially. In other words, the signature had been cut from the authentic document, placed on the memo, and then photocopied. Neither the original Eisenhower Briefing Document nor the Truman memo have been found, another big indication these two documents are faked, but we still hear arguments about their authenticity.

In the mid-1990s, these faked documents were used as part of a package to prove that the alien autopsy was real. This was a short film that allegedly showed the autopsy of an alien creature found in the Roswell crash. Overlooking the fact that the documents are faked and those using them might not have known that, the
Creating the alien for the Alien Autopsy. Photo
courtesy of Philip Mantle.
autopsy itself suffered from the same problems as those Eisenhower documents. There was no provenance for them. Ray Santilli had claimed he bought the film from a US Army cameraman who was never identified. The actual film of the alien was never actually seen by anyone. All that we had was a videotape made from it. As they say, many notorious forgeries have some mechanism to explain the lack of an original document that would yield a great deal of evidence that could prove authenticity or reveal the hoax.

But all this is now unnecessary because those who made the film have said they faked it. Photographs of them creating the creatures in their workshop have been published. Drawings made as they designed the creatures have been furnished. Without any evidence, the autopsy is real and a pile of evidence that it is faked, there are still those who claim that it is authentic. They demand that I, and everyone else who knows the autopsy is faked, just need to look at ALL the evidence to show us reality of the film. But it is those supporting that reality who refuse to look at all the evidence.

It seemed that the 1990s were consumed with these various fakes. Research resources that might have been better used, were wasted as we all chased our tails. The US government, or rather the U.S. Air Force, got into the act in their attempt to prove that the Roswell UFO crash was a case of mistaken identity. After a long investigation, they semi-retracted their original statement from 1947 that what was found was a weather balloon, replacing it with another answer. It was a… weather balloon. Oh, this was a somewhat different one that was part of a top-secret plan to spy on the Soviets, so naturally, they had to cover it all up. But now, in the 1990s, they could tell us all the truth about that.

The truth here, however, is that while the ultimate purpose of that balloon project was classified, the activities and experiments being conducted in New Mexico were not. Even the claim that the name, Project Mogul, was classified and unknown to those in New Mexico turned out to be untrue. Documentation, ironically provided by the Air Force, proved that Mogul was not the culprit, but still, today, we have those who refuse to accept this (let the bullying begin again and we can start another round of why the documentation that refutes Mogul as the culprit cannot be trusted).

Not all that long ago we all were surprised to learn that pictures of the alien creature found at Roswell had surfaced in a private slide collection. The slides were the smoking gun and the skeptics would be howling in pain when all was revealed. For more than a year we waited to see the actual slides while being told that the evidence was here, that due diligence in the search for the truth had been made, and experts agreed with the conclusion of alien visitation. Within 48 hours of the big reveal in Mexico City in May, 2016, we learned that the slides showed the remains of an unfortunate child who had died centuries earlier. I outlined all of this at length on this blog in 2016. Just type in Roswell Slides and take a look at the evolution and the destruction of this tale… and there are still those who insist that the slides show an alien creature and somehow all the documentation is in error.

So, why now, go through all this again? Why bring it up? Because we find ourselves making the same mistakes over and over. We attempt to put an end to all these distractions but find ourselves having to repeat the arguments, prove the same points again, and still argue with those who refuse to look at the evidence that goes against them. They don’t want to hear the truth. They just want their belief structures validated. They accuse us (or rather me) of failing to look at the evidence when that is exactly what they do.

Even the most innocuous of remarks is taken as an insult. Not all that long ago I suggested that I didn’t believe the Billy Meier tales of alien contact. I didn’t say it was a hoax at that time, just that I didn’t believe it, offering nothing more about it. I was then the subject of an email attack, I was labeled a coward, told that I refused to look at the evidence, and I couldn’t prove the case was a hoax anyway. Of course, it really doesn’t work that way. Those claiming that Meier is traveling among the stars with his Pleiadean pals were required to prove the case was real, but that didn’t stop them. And yes, I believe this will open up another assault on my character. We live in an age where you just can’t express an opinion without someone taking offense and demanding an apology or attacking you for holding that opinion. In this case that’s not going to happen because it is my opinion and I’ve seen nothing to alter it. Let the second wave of bullying begin.

The real problem here, as demonstrated by the Meier group, as well as several others, is that a small number will cling to one or more of these nonsensical stories, hide the truth and expect us not to ask critical questions. News media find these people in their attempts to be fair, giving them a platform that they do not deserve and by doing this, make all of us look as if we have no ability to discriminate between fantasy and reality. We all get lumped into the tinfoil hat brigade, even as we attempt to provide real evidence that can be independently evaluated and we accept those conclusions that have been found scientifically even if they are not the conclusions we wish to see.

And once we take a stand, based on our evaluation of the evidence, we are attacked as debunkers, members of the CIA, and propagandists who are unable to think for ourselves. These true believers don’t understand that I, and many of my colleagues, do reevaluate the evidence periodically in case something new has been found or the case has been changed in some way. And when we demand evidence, why, it’s just that we can’t see the truth, though the evidence is never offered.

Finally, if the evidence breaks against them, such as that now suggesting that the Atacama Desert mummy is totally human, the immediate reaction is that those doing the research is just junk science. That has become the default setting. Or we are told that the CIA has buried the information and discredited the case to hide the truth. The only truth they will accept is their truth. Belief structure trumps evidence every time.

And we read that a new study completed after five years of work, a new peer review of those DNA results, is going to be launched. Steven Greer is going to select those to make this new study, seemingly unaware that a preselected peer review committee by him isn’t going to prove much of anything. To be effective, the peer review must be made up of those who are disinterested in the subject. It means they have no bias about the outcome, other than to determine if the study is accurate or flawed in some fashion and that the conclusions follow logically from the evidence.

This has been the trouble from the very beginning of the UFO era. If you don’t find the proper conclusion, then you are labeled as a bad person. Skeptics seem unable to say that a specific case is extremely unusual, which is not to say that it proves alien visitation. Believers are unable to say that a specific case they favor has a solid terrestrial explanation. The study of UFOs has become so polarized that neither side wants to give an inch or even just say, “You have an interesting point.” Doesn’t mean you agree, only that you understand the concept.


Although there are some who have quietly taken up this position, too many see it as a debate rather than an investigation that has yet to be finished. There are cases that seem to defy terrestrial explanation but there don’t seem to be any cases that prove alien visitation. I’m not sure why this is something that is so hard to understand. I’m not sure why each side believes it to be the Keeper of the Flame of Truth. There are times when the best you can say is, “I just don’t know…” but no one seems to be able to do that.

18 comments:

TheDimov said...

exactly - why cant people say "I don't know" when, in many instances, this is the right, or most accurate response. Its because, sadly, most people are not truly interested in 'Truth', capital T. They seem to want to fantasize, hoax, have wishful thinking, romanticise what they hope might be true, but the truth is a different matter altogether. Its not just UFO's - look at the Loch Ness Monster, or Bigfoot cases. They are just as bad, perhaps even worse than Ufology. But even with religion itself, you have millions of fervent believers who more or less simply believe in what their parents do - is their search for God honest, or limited to their parents? Who are they really worshiping? People have this need to have an answer, and not 'sit on the fence'. But to say simply "I don't know" is not sitting on the fence, it is a response made in honesty. But many find that so hard to do.

purrlgurrl said...

The problem Ufology has is that it’s organizations and well-known names seem to be focused on pandering to whatever beliefs are currently rippling through the UFO community in order to monetize those beliefs (If I can sell you a book or conference about a secret space war because that's what you believe, I'll do it. Who cares if everything I present is totally fabricated bull shit, as long as you pony up for it.).

If a belief involves an improbable, impossible, and completely unprovable conspiracy theory (secret space program, breakaway civilization, aliens encountered on the moon, secret alliances with aliens) so much the better because so many in Ufology are right-wing conspiracy addicts who’ll eagerly lap up any scenario in which the government or the elites are the bad guys, with no questions asked.

Some more rational Ufologists have abandoned their well-grounded critical thinking about UFOs to pick up some change from the credulous believers. Others, while now rejecting the ET hypothesis, are advocating even more far-fetched, unprovable esoteric theories about UFOs because these play well to the anomalist/paranormal community that buys these books or goes to these conferences.

Sometimes, I swear to God, I believe the “influencers” in Ufology meet clandestinely on a regular basis to choose which bat shit crazy UFO “case” or theory they’re going to push next (see, Ufology’s turned me into a conspiracy nut, too).

In my mind, the phenomenon of UFOs (real sightings by unbiased credible observers) exists in an entirely separate universe from that of Ufology, and these universes very rarely touch or overlap. The most compelling firsthand account of a truly frightening UFO encounter I’ve heard (from members of my own family) has never been reported. Why? The witnesses are adamant about not wanting any part in the UFO circus. And who can blame them?

Adam S. said...

Thanks Kevin, why do you personally feel that people have such need for the ETH to be the explanation for the phenomena? I can see how early on, it might have provided a convincing hypothesis. But, we know so much more now that it is untenable.

Mr. Sweepy! said...

I agree with your conclusions. I would add that the one thing you left out is the money aspect. Your books are good because you take the time to write about fact and note what isn't. Anymore now days, people want to make money, whether books, seminars or whatever, because they know people will buy it. Truth? Well for many, this is a afterthought. Seeing a checking they can deposit in the bank, now that is the real truth.

cda said...

In any debate on an unconventional topic, you will get strong protagonists on both sides. But ufology is different in a big way; this is because of the 'official conspiracy' theories surrounding it. In other words, whilst most fringe topics, such as in alternative medicine, astrology or ancient astronauts there are plenty of believers, there is no suggestion that the authorities are covering up the 'great truth'.

It is this mixing of UFOs with conspiracy theory that makes ufology a unique fringe topic. (I may possibly be wrong, and others can point out whether there are any other paranormal subjects that have a 'government cover-up' as a central part of the subject). Moreover this cover-up, or conspiracy, seems to almost entirely confined to the USA (food for thought?). Other countries do not, or do not seem to, suffer from this 'disease'.

On the same lines, only very recently I read of some ex-sheriff (forget where) standing for election to the US Senate who honestly believes that Barack Obama was a phony and was NOT born in the USA. He refuses to accept the documentary evidence showing he was born in Hawaii, and insists he has proof it is all faked. What do you do with this guy? I presume he is also a racist and won't accept ANYTHING proving Obama was a true American. And this guy is hoping to be elected to the Senate in due course.

Oh by the way, before I forget: those moon landings - they never happened, did they? The biggest cover-up of all time, anywhere on earth. (Or should I say on the moon?).

ufodude2010 said...

Hey Kevin -- Regarding the EBD, even though I haven't done the extensive research you and Stan Friedman have done on the subject, we both know there can be two sides to every story. Stan makes good points regarding the El Indio reference and the way you focus on Willingham even though he is not linked to the original EBD. Also, the date format argument may have been proven incorrect by Stan, and your signature issue may be incorrect. Just out of curiosity (and I don't know the answer to this...maybe you do, maybe you don't), could Truman have used signature stamps on memos? This comment is mainly for your viewers to see both sides of the story. I'm not trying to argue or say one side is right or one side is wrong. Debate is critical on a topic like this as we all know. Please see these two links: http://www.theufochronicles.com/2014/10/mj-12-debate-continues-stanton-friedman.html and http://www.stantonfriedman.com/index.php?ptp=articles&fdt=2004.04.15&prt=2.

edithkeeler said...

Kevin Said:
This has been the trouble from the very beginning of the UFO era. If you don’t find the proper conclusion, then you are labeled as a bad person. Skeptics seem unable to say that a specific case is extremely unusual, which is not to say that it proves alien visitation. Believers are unable to say that a specific case they favor has a solid terrestrial explanation. The study of UFOs has become so polarized that neither side wants to give an inch or even just say, “You have an interesting point.” Doesn’t mean you agree, only that you understand the concept.

I have to point out that these days, you could plug the discussion of just about any subject into this statement and it would be equally true.

KRandle said...

ufodude2010 -

Can you find any reference to the El Indio crash that predates Willingham? It was Todd Zechel who gave the information to Bill Moore and Zechel got it directly from Willingham. We all believed it because Willingham claimed to be a retired Air Force fighter pilot... and given that, in 1984, it was necessary to include the information in the EBD because it would to be an obvious oversight if left out. So, Willingham, through Zechel are linked to the document which obviously was prepared by Bill Moore...

Stan has yet to provide any samples of legitimate American military documents with the bizarre dating format. Citing the British and NATO is not the same as finding it on high level US documents. However, that same dating format was used by Bill Moore at the time the MJ-12 documents surfaced... interesting coincidence.

Please provide any document signed by President Truman in which the cross bar on the "T" didn't intersect with the text. To date the only examples found are on printed material, meaning the signature was part of the printed document and not signed by Truman. And, the donor document has been found. The signature is an exact match for one on a document dated October 1, 1947 (I'm writing this from memory so I might have the date wrong), which contains a strange and unique extra down stroke and the signature on that document does intersect with the text of the letter... If you look closely at the signature on the Truman memo, you'll see little scoops where the bottoms of those letters have been removed.

We have no provenance for the documents, they are traceable only to Bill Moore, they include items that related to Moore such as the strange dating, and we have no independent verification that the documents are legitimate. At what point do we decide that this should be relegated to a footnote in UFO history rather than given a prominent place in the literature of the field? Stan has not adequately addressed these issues but has danced around them with so much rhetoric and diversion that it seems MJ-12 might have some legitimacy, but he had never really answered the questions...

And, of course, there is the questioned document analysis completed by expert Peter Tytell, who studied the documents at the request of Stan and told him oh so many years ago that they were faked... Stan's response? Tytell is CIA... and now that Tytell had not furnished a written report. But Tytell told me, on tape, what his conclusions were.

albert said...

@TheDimov,
"...why cant people say "I don't know" ..."
Why, indeed?
Many folks are conditioned by science, which they feel -must- have the answers, or can at least -find- the answers. They don't want to accept that no one has approached UFOs as a -scientific- issue. And that's unlikely to happen soon.

Your use of 'religion' as a comparison is telling. Most 'religions' are totally irrational notions based on tradition and faith. There are a lot of folks who cling to those notions up to (and often including) their dying breath. Religions are responsible for an awful lot of death and destruction over the centuries, yet they seem to be permanently entrenched in societies. UFOs don't seem to be going away any time soon. As long as folks fail to apply thoughtful skepticism to the subject, there will not be the possibility of finding satisfactory solutions to the problem.

I hate to see the UFO issue turned into a religion, but that's pretty much what it looks like at this point in time.

@cda,
You're a little behind the times:) How about the Moon Bases, the Mars bases, and the Secret Space Wars happening above us even as we speak? And don't forget the Secret Alien Technologies being used by the US Military.

(Wouldn't it be funny if we -really had- Alien Technologies?)

I'd look like an idiot. But hey, it wouldn't be the first (or last) time:)
. .. . .. --- ....


Mr. Sweepy! said...

I have a very difficult time how religion and UFO's come into the mix. This is news to me but I shouldn't be surprised to hear this. Before we start to pass the collection plate around, let's go back to what I started with the money.

In the fake autopsy film, this was about creating entertainment that many thought was real. To the credit of the film creators, they were brilliant in creating a fake storyline and was rewarded with what? Over $250,000 and I think that is low.

Everyone who is still pushing this narrative, the question why? Money.

Everyone in the UFO community that is selling show tickets or books, their motive? Money, fame or both.

Everyone in the UFO community who knows what they are saying that might be false, again it is usually has to do with money, fame or recognition.

Listen, I have been publishing sweepstakes for many Fortune 500 companies for 14 years now. They come to me because I am honest. I Also do some internet security work for them finding people who create fake sweepstakes under a client's brand to steal information. Why I am saying this is because there are plenty of fakes and hustlers in the UFO community now.

Yet, I still believe that UFO's are real and I believe that people like Kevin in the same as I.

Adam S. said...

Hi CDA,

At an academic conference I attended, a shouting match almost erupted between two researchers over the significance of a 3mm layer of sediment at an archaeology site. Strong protagonists exist in many fields and in many debates, not just those of an unconventional topic. Also, those fringe topics you mentioned do have proponents insisting on a cover up. Here are just a few examples of what some proponents believe:

Alternative Medicine - Big Pharma has been trying to cover up the results of it for years due to the fear it could have on their profits.

Ancient Astronauts - The field of academia covers it up because of the implications and/or the possibility it would put professors out of work.

The Moon landing was fake - Hey, Kennedy said we would get there by the end of the decade so we did...with a little help from the CIA and the nice employees at Area 51. (which, on a side note, you really have to compliment the patience of Armstrong and Aldrin when dealing with those people. I mean, how would we feel if that many vocal doubters arose to something we had accomplished).

As such, I don't believe the idea of a grand government coverup really differentiates UFOlogy in that regard.

Fendrich said...

Great points here, Kevin. Your blog is an indelible, searchable resource. It would be cool to create an updated version of the http://www.ufowatchdog.com/hall_of_shame.htm resource with proper architecture for Search Engine Optimization. It could backlink to appropriate stories on your site and others. If the site were designed well and had strong SEO authority, it might actually make some headway in the ongoing whack-a-mole games. Did anyone hear the interview on Coast to Coast last night with the guy who has performed 3,000 alien autopsies on an underground base in NM? What a load of bollocks.

couldbebetter said...

Fendrich, the interview on C2C not only was BS on so many levels, the damage done to
serious researchers by having some crackpot on is disgusting and insulting to the audience.
One has to ask if such "guests" are simply a way to tarnish all with that same brush. Why
a program like C2C would let a person like that on is beyond me. I have a military background
and most of the UFO stories that I believe are legit are told by ex-military. Thankfully,
people like Robert Hastings will only use military who can prove their service. The stories
he has accumulated do not seem to get much publicity, for some reason. What to make of COL
Charles Halt? People like him are about as credible as you can get.

Curtis Mullin said...

Parts of it can be, yes. But it is also a very real phenomena beyond any "I want to believe" folk. This very REAL issue exists with or without people, unlike religious dogma etc.. I have witnessed these aircraft in my teens, with friends, and possibly even other beings. That makes me -- PROOF -- to myself. No belief is required. Therefore we can to some degree avoid the cult side of things. But football culture is a cult; racing; wildlife conservation (those environmentalists are nuts -- listening to wild soundscapes and staring at blades of grass all day long... who does that!?). There's a Goldilocks Zone for everyone.

Anthony Mugan said...


I agree it is all pretty disturbing.

There is a case that can be made that subjects like ufology are positively dangerous as they give a vehicle for irrational thinking, which is an argument I have some sympathy with but on balance think we need to find a way of dealing with.


This sort of thing has always been there and is in some ways more a symptom of a deeper issue in human society and human nature than the other way around. We can see much the same sort of problems in many different areas of life. The problems are perhaps greater at the moment due to the amplification that modern technology gives to particular ideas, if they happen to catch hold of attention. It's the same issue that the CIA identified in 1952 regarding the potential psychological issues around UFOs and that no doubt the same agency is grappling with today on other matters.

Personal view
Why not just ignore the lunatic fringe?
There is enough to do stripping back the casebook to a core set of highly reliable cases and in working out some tests that could apply to the various hypotheses of what these things are. Throw in keeping abreast of the fast moving developments in mainstream science that are possibly relevant and there is quite enough to be thinking about.
If the aim is commercial success then there isn't enough to fill venues every month or write vast numbers of books etc., and much of this may not be that entertaining to a mass audience, but it would be potentially useful and certainly more interesting and lot less annoying than the drivel that infests so much of this field.

You are in good company...Ruppelt for example got pretty fed up with whole thing, but there is always a place for solid research...just little point in wasting time and energy on things that are clearly nonsense.

cda said...

Anthony:

Defining the 'lunatic fringe' and things that are 'clearly nonsense' may not be as simple as you think. People have differing views of where the boundaries lie.

I would say that to suppose the USAF discovered ET intelligent life in the New Mexico desert one day in 1947 but have been sitting on this secret for 70 years now is clearly nonsense. But there are certainly others who disagree and are quite vehement about it.

There are also quite a number who still insist the Apollo moon landings never happened.

Also, have you noticed there is a revival of the flat-earthest movement in the USA?

I does make you wonder just what the term 'lunatic fringe' actually means.

albert said...

@cda,
The 'hollow Earth' theory seems to be gaining traction. The 'hollow Moon' theory is even more attractive. I have no doubts that there are still black projects we know nothing about, but certainly not at the scale of Moon/Mars bases, Star Wars, etc.
..
@Anthony,
I was surprised by the amount of blowback I got when I suggested avoiding abduction cases when presenting UFO research at public gatherings like seminars, conventions, press releases, etc. And I did this without judgment or denigration. The same applies to other paranormal subjects.

To be convincing, you has to assume that your audience is being exposed to your information for the -first time-. Don't make any assumptions about what they know or may believe. Folks today have a difficult time separating fact from fiction; why make it worse by presenting the whole range of the paranormal? This is why people just walk away.

@couldbebetter,
C2C has always had an 'open door' policy, ever since Art Bell started it way back when. (Bells wiki is an interesting read)
So yes, you will hear from the nutters there. It was, and perhaps still is, the number one rated late night radio show, likely because of their guest policies.

@Mr. Sweepy!,
Money! It's probably the number one reason folks choose the fields they do.* Serious UFO researchers feel that they should be compensated for the work they do. I don't disagree. Scientists have the same problem. Sure, most have steady employment, but getting research funding is essential to maintaining their careers. Since everything is institutional and bureaucratic, research subjects are restricted to those that can contribute something to the folks who do the financing. They could be military, medical, manufacturing, agricultural, political, governmental, etc. It's quid pro quo when it comes to handing out cash. Forget new and exciting, it's still the old treadmill. For now, UFO research is a lightning rod for career suicide.

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Brian Bell said...

The polarization which Kevin describes is really not too surprising to me. It’s sort of been that way from the very beginning of Ufology - believers vs skeptics. Hasn’t it?

However, I get the impression that many people today have lost their sense of objectivity, choosing instead to swap it out for a strong mistrust of authority (and government) with a tendency to embrace big time conspiracies as an alternative explanation. Uncertainty seems to breed fear. Trust erodes, and then people doubt authentic facts and insert their own “alternative facts” to fit what they want to hear and believe.

I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me there are multiple factors which have contributed to this situation over time. In fact, probably over many decades.

Perhaps one contributor is the way young adults have been parented AND educated in today’s Western Society. These methods increasingly emphasized that “truth” is whatever you make it out to be. That each person’s thoughts, ideas, and conclusions are equal to all others and should be accepted without challenge.

For me, this is the kind of mindset that reinforces the concept that “If you think you’re right then you’re always right...so believe what you want to believe”. Of course, if unchecked this type of thinking leads to extreme bias. You can’t reason with people like this - they are deeply entrenched.

We also know from the science of psychology that cognitive biases contribute to the appeal of conspiracy theories. Apparently the three most relevant are:

- Confirmation bias: People's willingness to accept explanations that fit what they already believe.

- Proportionality bias: The inclination to believe that big events must have big causes.

- Illusory pattern perception: The tendency to see causal relations where there may not be any.

I think these biases can be readily observed in BOTH believers and skeptics at the extreme ends of the debate.

For example, take the following stats published in 2015 by THE ATLANTIC regarding the number of people in the US who actually believe the following unproven conclusions:

Global warming is a hoax - 37% (116 Million people)

Vaccines cause autism - 20% (63 Million people)

The government controls minds through TV - 15% (47 Million people)

Moon landing was a hoax - 7% (22 Million people)

Paul McCartney died in 1966 - 5% (16 Million people)

Lizard people control American politics - 4% (12 Million people)

So we have 12 Million people here in the US who are undeniably convinced that a humanoid reptilian species is actually controlling our government.

That’s nuts.

I for one will readily admit there are truly inexplicable UFO sightings that defy known explanations. However, I don’t embrace the ETH because it’s exactly that - a hypothesis - that for decades now has yielded ZERO factual evidence of alien visitation. High strangeness? Sure. But claiming anything we don’t understand to automatically be attributed to extraterrestrials is simply dumb.

Do they exist out there? Maybe, but we have no proof of that. Are there other dimensions? Maybe, but we can’t prove we’re being visited by beings from another place in space and time.

Likewise skeptics must consider that not every unexplained observation is a hoax, a lie, delusions, or simply the antics of misguided fools.

There is a percentage of sightings that are inexplicable. It may be small, but it’s there. There may be explanations for them such as geologic plasma releases, light or energy phenomenon, classified military projects, or any number of things which just may include the reality that intelligent beings are manipulating space and time for some ulterior motive we have yet to understand.

In truth we all come to our own conclusions, but none of us really know for certain.