Sunday, August 23, 2009

UFOs and the Old Geezers

Many times when someone posts something somewhere that is ridiculous or meanspirited, I just ignore it. Ignorance is in great supply in the world of the Internet and all you need to do to see that is take a look at the comments appended to news articles. Ignorance of the UFO world is overwhelming.

Just recently the RRR Group posted a picture that my wife took at the MUFON Symposium in Denver and claimed that those of us on the Speakers panel were a bunch of geezers who had failed to solve the UFO question. It was time for us to get out of the way and let those younger, brighter and more enlightened take over. We had our chance and we failed.

Except we haven’t failed. We solved the problem. We have the proof that some UFOs are alien spacecraft and we can make that point over and over. The evidence for that is overwhelming, but not unlike Galileo, who failed to convince the church that there were moons orbiting Jupiter, we get a bunch of people who "refuse to look through the telescope."

Old geezer Ted Philips, being interviewed during th MUFON Press Conference made an important point. Talking about the four thousand or so landing trace cases that he had investigated, he mentioned that once he had a description of the craft, he could predict what the landing traces would be. In other, more scientific words, we had reproducibility, meaning the same things observed under similar circumstances and the predictability that comes from repeated observation. This was science at its best and it’s something that the debunkers, the skeptics, and apparently those in the RRR Group ignore.

Old geezer Chris Rutkowski (seen here) reviewed, at length, a longitudinal study of twenty years of UFO reports in Canada, looking for trends. Here again was a statistical study that provided information about what people saw and how it was identified, if it was identified and what it meant when the mundane, or what some would call the rational, did not explain the events. These were unidentified sightings that suggested alien visitation.

Old geezer Stan Friedman (seen here) diverted from his normal "Flying Saucers Are Real" talk and spoke about the possibilities of interstellar travel, something the youngsters, the debunkers, and the skeptics will always reject out of hand. The distances are too vast and we just can’t travel that far with our chemical rockets.

Well, of course, a chemical rocket would quickly run out of fuel, but other methods of propulsion have been discussed everywhere from science fiction to science conventions... and ways to generate the necessary energy have been discussed. Methods that aren’t beyond our current technology so that when the opposition says the Voyager spacecraft will take 70,000 years to get to the nearest star, they don’t mention that it is not accelerating. Any trip to another star will require constant acceleration until a point is reached that the craft will have to begin to slow down, but the round trip time drops considerably.

Old geezer Bruce Maccabee (seen here) examined the pictorial evidence for UFOs and there are some cases in which there are but two possible solutions. The object is either alien or the case is a hoax. Maccabee mentions the McMinnville, Oregon case which he had investigated for decades and he finds no evidence of hoax... which, coincidentally, is the solution offered by the Condon Committee, the University of Colorado scientific study of UFOs. The object in the photographs matches no known earthly-built craft and was, or is, therefore good evidence of alien visitation.

I, myself an old geezer, would point to the Lubbock Lights photographs taken by Carl Hart, Jr. in 1951. The four known pictures show the objects in V-shaped formations over the town and are either of some unknown craft (which could be of earthly manufacture though no one can point to it) or they are faked. Donald Menzel, that paragon of scientific thought and rationality, for no reason what-so-ever, declared the pictures to be fakes. Carl Hart, Jr., told me in an interview a number of years ago that they weren’t faked and he doesn’t know what they were.

I could point here that the Air Force has been less than candid in its investigation of UFOs, slapping on ridiculous solutions just to be able to label the case. For the 1957 sightings in Levelland, Texas, which involved multiple witnesses, the UFO interacting with the environment, sightings by law enforcement officers and even the suggestion of a landing trace, the Air Force decided the sightings were weather related and the culprit was ball lightning... at the time, even science denied the existence of ball lightning. No one then seemed to catch the irony of using something that didn’t exist to explain the sightings of something else that didn’t exist, at least according to those in the Air Force.

If you are interested in the duplicity of the Air Force, let me point out that according to their nearly day long investigation, their representative spoke to only three witnesses. Later, when Major Don Keyhoe suggested that there were nine witnesses, the Air Force all but called him a liar.

But the truth is that both Keyhoe and the Air Force were wrong. There were many witnesses in thirteen separate locations. Many of their stories, gathered before the publicity and within minutes of their sightings were strikingly similar, including the electromagnetic effects on their vehicles engines, radios and lights.

What all this means is that we geezers have solved the UFO question. We know what is going on and we use our experience to provide answers for those cases that we can and we suggest that some of these UFO sightings are the result of alien visitation. I believe that we know what is going on with the cattle mutilations, a subset of UFOs, I’m fairly certain we know what is happening with crop circles, another subset, and the jury seems to be out on alien abduction, though we have some very interesting terrestrial solutions.

And now we have people... scientists saying the evidence is anecdotal but, of course, that is a way to reject it without having to examine it. We have people claiming that after 60 or 70 years of investigation we have no answers, though we have many solid answers, and we have one group waiting impatiently for those they consider geezers to die off and get out of the way of the new breed who can bring a fresh approach to the problem.

I ask, just what will this new breed do differently? Use the Internet for their research? Rehash the cases that have been solved and involve us again in messes like the Allende Letters, which was explained thirty years ago? Or maybe the RRR Group will support more experiments like those two clowns in New Jersey who proved that witnesses report accurately what they see and that UFO investigators provide answers quickly...

Old geezer Marc D’Antonio told me that he knew the objects in the New Jersey case were either Chinese Lanterns or flares after examining the tape of the lights. The only people fooled were the news media who haven’t conducted much in the way of investigations in thirty years and the employees of a Ford dealership. The two "twenty-somethings" who conducted the "experiment" lied to the media, lied to the researchers, interjected themselves when the publicity began to slip, and then drew conclusions that were not based on the research but on their own personal bias. So much for the new life interjected into UFO investigations and research by the young, hip, enlightened youth.

Here’s the bottom line in this. We know the answers but we can’t get the scientists, the Air Force, the media and the debunkers to look through the damned telescope. They know there are no such things as alien visitors and any evidence that shows otherwise must be manufactured.

And now we have to put up with those enlightened individuals who believe that we have failed in our mission the last several decades. But no, that’s not where we failed. It was in the public relations war. The bad guys had access to the media who are too sophisticated to believe that creatures from another world were smart enough to get here from there. They’re too sophisticated to believe that an average person is smart enough to distinguish between the mundane and something extraordinary. They’re simply too sophisticated to look through the telescope.

So what is the answer here? Simply do a better job communicating the results of investigations to the press. Make sure that everyone knows when an explanation is the result of a desire for a specific truth rather than the culmination of an investigation. And to get those who refuse to finally look through the telescope.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Exopolitics and Robert L. Salas

I often see interesting stuff posted on other sites and I sometimes ask for permission to reprint (as others ask me). This came from The UFO Chronicles ( and was written by Robert Salas, not to be confused with Dr. Salla and his Exopolitics site. Don’t expect me to be invited to speak there any time soon. Thanks to both Frank Warren of The UFO Chronicles and to Robert Salas for permission to reprint.

Exopolitics, By Its Current Methods is Doing More Harm Than Good...
By Robert L. Salas
Dr. Salla seems to be saying that we should take in and analyze all input from every source in order to fully understand both the scientific and social aspects of the phenomenon. First, I don't know how that is possible and I don't understand what he means by 'flexible social scientific techniques.' Does he mean accepting questionable witness testimony or documentation and using it to conjecture about a possible event? That seems to be what he has done with his Exopolitics Journal Article (July 1, 2009) - Kennedy's Deadly Confrontation with the CIA & MJ-12.
In this 'research article' he links Kennedy's death with his fight with the CIA over UFO information. I do not claim that this is false or true but I reject the approach to drawing such a conclusion or implying such a conclusion through these 'flexible social scientific techniques.' This is the kind of output from Exopolitics that I find objectionable because it creates fodder for those who would denigrate the UFO phenomenon.
I admit I had to look up the word existential in order to try and understand what he meant by his accusation of 'existential hysteria.' The American Heritage Dictionary (1982 edition) defines existentialism as: "A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts." While I would not necessarily associate myself with the first part of this definition, I do accept the concept that we have freedom of choice and are responsible for the consequences of our acts. I am normally not hysterical about that but I suppose I could be driven to hysteria under the right circumstances.
When I wrote my recent article criticizing Exopolitics I did not do it in a moment of poor judgment. Soon after the 2007 Exopolitics Conference, I contacted Dr. Salla by phone and in writing to express my disappointment with the Exopolitics movement and to emphasize that I no longer wanted to be associated with his group. I essentially gave him the same reasons then as I have done here.
In those two years, I have not changed my opinion that Exopolitics, by its current methods is doing more harm than good in the effort toward disclosure. I thought about it a long time before deciding that a public critique of Exopolitics was in order.
I am certainly not insisting on 'strict scientific filtering mechanisms for witnesses and sources.' No one has any control over what people will say or what they will present as evidence. What I do ask is that each of us be responsible for what we present as fact, fiction or other when we make public statements about the phenomenon.
In taking personal responsibility for improving the viability of the study of this phenomenon, we are all 'Ufological gatekeepers.'Nowhere in my dictionary did I find a definition for Exopolitics. I did find a definition for Exobiology. It states, "1. A branch of biology that deals with the search for and study of extraterrestrial living organisms." Dr. Salla; unless you have access to an ET life form, what gives you the credentials to elaborate on the political implications of dealing with such life forms? Certainly, as many have done before you, you can speculate about what political implications disclosure would have on the world.
If you are talking about human politics surrounding the phenomenon, then you are dealing with assumptions and speculations. Is that what you mean by a nuanced approach to the truth of ETH? Walk into any bar in the world and you will hear that kind of 'nuanced approach' to the truth.

Salas contributed more thoughts to all this at the same The UFO Chronicles web site. Here he writes specifically about the Disclosure Project, which to some sounds good, but to others seems to be little more than smoke from some distant fire.

The so-called Disclosure Project apparently has the same objective as Gary McKinnon had when he, reportedly ‘broke-into’ some government computer files—to discover what the government knows about the UFO phenomenon. Both efforts have been met with frustration and disappointment.

Stephen Bassett’s (or Steven Greer’s depending on which one is talking) Disclosure Project has been ineffectually trying to penetrate that door of secrecy since 2001. They have presumably tried to achieve disclosure by enticing speakers (myself among them) to tell as many stories, theories, philosophies, reports, and conjectures as possible during these conferences. I say presumably because these pointless exercises have been so ineffective in gaining serious public attention that one might conclude they were intentionally designed to keep disclosure from happening.

They seem to have achieved one probable objective of those who would maintain the secrecy, i.e., "to keep the public confused and unsure about the subject." The hallmark of these Exopolitics Conferences is generally unsupported statements and conjecture – lots of conjecture.The mainstream media has not gotten on the bandwagon because there is little substance to talk about. The public is not clamoring for action because they simply don’t know what or who to believe and take the path of least resistance, i.e., indifference. As long as the UFO phenomenon is defined by confusion and conjecture, there will be nothing specific to demand of our government. Note there is no hue and cry for a march on Washington demanding that disclosure happen now. Even though I do not agree with his methods, at least McKinnon tried to take the most direct path to the truth. The Exopolitics groupies are simply hurling whatever they can get their hands on in every direction. I too believe disclosure of the truth of the UFO phenomenon is important. If even a small percentage of the stories are true, it should be THE most important story ever. It cries out for a federal investigation. But we find ourselves with the following ‘estimate of the situation’:

First, those who would keep disclosure from happening have done a masterful job of keeping the public dis-informed and confused on the subject. That effort has no doubt been aided by well-placed agents acting as interested parties but really promoting ineffectual activities or encouraging true advocates to bicker among themselves or act in disunity. In addition, government agencies, like the USAF, who probably have a substantial amount of information, have showed an intense indifference to the subject, furthering the perception that there is nothing of interest to be investigated.

Second, whenever claims are made or ‘witness’ reports without credible substantiation are presented, damage is done to the credibility of the phenomenon as a whole. Claims, such as Greer’s ‘free energy’ fantasy, the controversy of the MJ-12 documents, underground alien bases have only served to provide more grist for ridicule. There seems to have evolved a culture where certain individuals or groups compete to be identified with having insider information or some special contacts with the aliens themselves or who are making a living telling good stories at UFO Conferences. That culture can only be detrimental to the objective of disclosure.

Although the stated objectives of groups like Exopolitics profess the need for government disclosure, the result has appeared to be an eagerness to relate and support every wild-eyed story or speculation about the ET presence that anyone might come up with. An example of that occurred recently when Dr. Michael Salla wrote an article on his website for his Exopolitics Examiner extolling a supposed spectacular sighting by Walter Cronkite around a naval missile launch. After, a number of readers took exception to the truthfulness of the stories originator, he had to file a retraction and admit there was serious doubt to the story.
Another example is Dr. Steven Greer, in 2007, when he announced to an audience that he had held an Alien baby in his arms and promised to present proof. Two years later, we are still waiting for that proof. There have been many other examples of individuals in the Exopolitics Group simply trying to promote their own notoriety.
The public study of this phenomenon has evolved into a kind of game; the Ufology game. What is the purpose of this game? Is it to get as many people to play as you can? Do we simply want a meandering mix of fact and fiction out there to titillate curiosity?It is time we worked smarter toward the disclosure objective. We need to stop entertaining the public and simply inform the public as to the valid history of the phenomenon and the facts of particular cases. By ‘we’, I mean each of us who have something to contribute or has an audience to speak to about the subject. We simply need to be responsible. We need to state clearly when we are relating substantiated fact and when we are simply speculating. If we want scientists to take a serious interest, we have to present our cases as scientifically as we can. I have always been open to any critique of my own case (Malmstrom AFB, 1967) and to answering any question about what I present. I believe my incident has been supported and substantiated by multiple witnesses and documentation.
There are many other such valid cases. These are the ones that should be the center of exposure in trying to focus media and public attention to the phenomenon. There are many conscientious researchers out there who have worked hard to validate incidents. There is much to present to a new Congressional Hearing by witnesses and documents that could provide compelling evidence of the truth of the phenomenon. Let us focus on that and decry those who would keep the phenomenon the subject of ridicule.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alien Abductions, Sleep Paralysis and MUFON

For those of you who might have missed it, I was just at the 40th MUFON Symposium in Denver (The Speakers Panel at the Symposium seen here). I had the opportunity to give a talk about using the scientific method to upgrade the evidence that we gather, but that’s not the point here.
During the question and answer period after my talk, someone, naturally, asked me about alien abductions. I pointed out that I believe that there is a terrestrial explanation for most abductions and like it or not, sleep paralysis is a viable answer to many cases. I attempted to make it clear that I don’t believe that all cases of abduction are actually episodes of sleep paralysis, but some are. I suggested that we needed to develop a protocol to separate sleep paralysis from alien abduction and was aware that some work along those lines was being done.

In fact, in a brief discussion with Kathleen Marden (seen below), the niece of Barney and Betty Hill, she told me that you could tell the difference because abduction descriptions were in black and white and sleep paralysis was in color. What she was saying was that because it was normally dark in the room when the abduction took place, the abductee described the events there in black and white. During sleep paralysis, which is often accompanied by the feeling that something is in the room, the descriptions are in color because this is, essentially, a hallucination.

That was an intriguing point and it suggests other ways to develop the protocol to separate sleep paralysis from abduction. But that’s not the point here either. Just a taste of something I learned at the Symposium, which proves the worth of such gatherings, but as I say, I digress...

I went out of my way to explain that while it was clear to me that some cases of sleep paralysis were offered as evidence of abduction, I didn’t believe that this was the end all solution. It was clear to me then, as it is now, that there will be many diverse answers to this problem and sleep paralysis is just one of them...

Or, I suppose I could say, "Get it?" Not all sleep paralysis ends with a belief that the person was abducted and not all abductions are explained by sleep paralysis.

I tried to make that distinction, but, of course, as there is in any large group, there were those who didn’t listen. They heard, "sleep paralysis" and then were so busy forming their response, they lost the rest of the message. They didn’t listen, and, of course, wouldn’t believe that sleep paralysis solved any case even if the witness came forward and said, "I experienced sleep paralysis and not abduction."

To make that point, all we have to do is look at the knee-jerk reaction to Susan Clancy’s book about abductions and sleep paralysis (called Abduction: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens, if you must know). Of course, she was so busy trying to prove her theory that she didn’t bother to see the flaws in it, but then again, I digress.

The next day, one of those in the audience came by and handed me a short list of statements by John Mack that he thought refuted the whole idea of sleep paralysis. I told him that not only had I read Mack’s book, but I had a signed copy given to me by Mack. I didn’t even have to pay for it.

For those interested in such things, the inscription says, "To Kevin, with admiration for your pioneering work. All the best wishes. John Mack."

So, yes, I understand that sleep paralysis won’t explain everything. But I also know that its part in abduction can’t be dismissed with a couple of words of derision. To understand abduction we’re going to have to understand sleep paralysis.

And when we dismiss sleep paralysis with a smart-ass response, then we’re doing exactly what we accuse the debunkers of doing. Not looking at the evidence. Not willing to learn something new. And not bothering with research because our minds are made up. After so many years of this, shouldn’t we be a little more open to solutions and a little less closed minded about the work of others, even if we don’t like where it is going?