Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Crash of Philip J. Imbrogno

It has happened again in the world of the UFO. Another researcher, who talked of advanced degrees and of military service in the Special Forces has been found to have invented his background. Philip J. Imbrogno, who claimed a Ph. D. and service with the Army’s Green Berets had neither degree nor Special Forces training.

Lance Moody, who has appeared here in the past, wrote that he recently became interested in Imbrogna’s background and began a somewhat routine search to verify his credentials. Lance, on his web site at:

wrote, “Recently, I became interested in the claims of ‘respected’ UFO and paranormal author, Philip J. Imbrogno. Imbrogno has written many paranormal books. Perhaps his best known was the account of the Hudson Valley UFO sightings he co-authored with J. Allen Hynek.”

The information provided by Imbrogo on his web site claimed, “"Imbrogno holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics, astronomy and chemistry from the University of Texas and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2010 he was awarded a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from MIT. He is a staff member of the McCarthy Observatory in New Milford, Connecticut, and is a founder and former director of the Astronomical Society Of Greenwich, and former director of the Bowman Observatory."

As Moody noted, this suggested the Imbrogno, unlike so many others in the field, had a fine education and was a “real” scientist working in the paranormal arena. Radio show hosts often recited the information without bothering to check the validity of it (though I don’t really blame those hosts... they take the information supplied by the guest and because there are so many guests that it would be nearly impossible to check everything... besides, who would lie about something so easy to verify?).

Moody wrote, “A telephone conversation with the [MIT] office further determined that there has never been a student with the last name ‘Imbrogno’ attending classes at MIT. Wow. Can it really be that easy?”

The answer was, “Yes, it can be that easy.”

But Moody also received a written reply, which he published on his web site. No one by the name of Imbrogno had attended classes there. The registrar even checked on various spellings. Nothing.

Moody contacted Don Ecker of “Dark Matters” radio fame. Ecker said that he’d had Imbrogno on his radio show several times and when he and his wife, Vicki Ecker had been leading UFO, they’d published articles written by Imbrogno.

Ecker was somewhat skeptical of what Moody had found and cautioned that Moody had better be sure of his facts. I suggested the same thing. Be sure you’re right because you could cause yourself some real trouble.

But Moody had the goods. It made Ecker suspicious of Imbrogno. He wrote, “Then something else hit me. On the last two shows with Imbrogno he made a point of mentioning his ‘Viet Nam military service’ while a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces.”

This sent Ecker off in another direction. He began to investigate Imbrogno’s military claims. As with those from the academic world, Ecker was unable to verify that Imbrogno had ever served with the Army’s Special Forces.

Ecker sent a note to Imbrogno and a posted reply that sounded like Imbrogno that said, “One last thing Don, you are a great guy if you want my military record DD214. It will show I was a medic in the USAF and did a tour in indochina It might show I was attached to the army for a while I don't know when and where it was all pretty disorganized. I was part of a specialy trained group of medics (the first in line of what today is called a PA in medicine) Much more that a coreman [sic], more than a nurse, but less than a doctor. I was primarily stationed in Thailand, but was attached to a number of army units over the tour. I believe I was in every country in that area The hope was to increase the survival rate of the wounded getting aerovacted out. Get my DD214 it will show 90250 training... # I got punished and article 15 and had to run the VD clinic for a week.”

This answer is pretty disorganized and I’m not sure what to make of it. He is now suggesting he was a Air Force medic and was attached to the Army. While the Marines always use Navy “Corpsmen” (and wouldn’t he know how to spell it if he was a corpsman?) for their medics, the Army has had it’s own medics. It has no need to “borrow” them from the Air Force. And note that he has covered that by suggesting this service attached to the Army might not be reflected on his DD 214.

I’m not sure why Imbrogno doesn’t know what is on his DD 214. He should have received a copy when he left the service, and he would have been told that it was an important document. It is needed to apply for veteran’s benefits, some states use it to determine property tax reductions for veterans, and it is proof of military service.

Here’s where we are today. Imbrogno has dropped out of paranormal research, at least for the moment. One of his co-authors has severed her relation with him. He does not hold the academic honors he claimed and his military service was not with the Army’s Special Forces. He may or may not have served in Vietnam as a medic with the Air Force.

Don Ecker wrote, “As I was in the process of completing this report, no verification of Imbrogno serving in the U. S. Army’s Special Forces, much less MACV-SOG was found by the SF Association. Imbrogno offered no copies of his DD-214. (Military Separation documents.) Since this scandal broke he has with-drawn from paranormal research, changed his telephone number and gotten a new and covert email address. His former working partner, Ms. Rosemary E. Guiley has broken her working relationship from Imbrogno. The paranormal field has once again been given a huge black eye from another person that felt the need to lie … for whatever reason. Okay, this has happened in the past and will undoubtedly happen in the future. But there is more here than meets the eye if you stop to think about it.”

As Ecker suggested, this is just another black eye for the field. We have had a large number of these problems in the last few years and I suspect we’ll have more in the future. What we need to do is be sure that the people who have come forward to tell their tales and those who investigate them are who they claim to be. In today’s world it is very easy to verify claims and we should be doing so. It won’t stop this endless parade of fakers and phonies but it will limit the damage they cause. It will also mean that we can stop wasting our time and get on with the work that needs to be done.


Frank Stalter said...

You don't need to read Night Siege to know the Hudson Valley case is a great one.

KRandle said...

Frank -

Just suggesting that we need to be careful with Imbrogno's interpretation of Night Siege... not that the whole case should be rejected... Just as when witnesses in the Roswell case are found to be wanting, we don't reject the whole case.

Frank Stalter said...

And it's not too late to go back and take a proper look. I was looking through some youtube videos on the subject and was really amazed at the number of people who comment that they were there, they saw something unusual. Some video sure seem like the stunt fliers, no doubt in my mind that accounted for some of it all, and of course it's just a comments board, but it was one helluva case and there's still a huge interest up and down the valley.

Lance said...

Thanks so much Kevin for mentioning my story.

I wanted to let you know that the response you quote above from Imbrogno actually is from an anonymous post at the Above Top Secret forums.

No one knows if it is really from Imbrogno or not but most of us (including Don) who have communicated with him agree that it SOUNDS like him.

One thing that has not received much discussion from the story is my suggestion that much of Imbrogno's schtick was silly even without knowing anything about his credentials. There were plenty of signs that should have given pause prior to this.

Instead Imbrogno became more beloved and respected even as his stories became crazier.

What did you think of the short clip I posted in which Imbrogno mentions that Hynek (who died in 1986) told him that Project Mogul was responsible for the Roswell story?

I know how you feel about Mogul but is it even possible that Hynek would have known about Mogul in the mid-80's?



John W. Ratcliff said...

What's amusing to me is that I always thought Imbrogno was a flake. I heard on some talk show that he was very 'scientific' in his approach. Then I bought one of his books and is was a load of nonsense.

None of this particularly surprises me other than the fact that it took so long to come out.


jeff thompson said...

This is just another example of the fact that "the UFO community" includes all too many hoaxers, pranksters and outright liars. Reader beware.

Jeff Thompson

fysisist said...

Even just on the face of it, Imbrogno's claims for his CV are somewhat hard to believe. Graduate work and degrees in physics, astronomy and chemistry? Founder of an astronomical society and director of an observatory? I have a B.S. in physics and did graduate work in physics to the MS level. I now work as an analyst and engineer in the defense industry. I was a regular schmoe in the US Army. Those things alone kept me pretty damn busy. One would have to be an exceptional human being to do all that Imbrogno claims. I read his book Night Siege: Hudson Valley UFO Case and while it seems to be written by a fairly intelligent man, the reasoning presented therein does not strike me as being that of a scientist, much less an exceptional scientist. Just my two cents.

RonCollins said...

Great article. The problem I see with most of the Night Siege case is how much was a con job. Imbrogno may have conned Hynek like he has the entire UFO community for decades. If that is the case how do we know that all of these people actually exist and that the testimony is an accurate representation of what they saw/experienced. in my opinion it needs to be gone over with a fine tooth comb and completely reexamined.

Randel Smith said...

I suspect that the good and very respected Dr. Hynek was duped as he was a very trusting gentleman. I am told that he was taken advantage of by some people when he moved out west and worked with the folks at APRO. Some of his valuable documents and papers, and all of APROs were lost to some unscrupulous individuals. So I'm not too surprised to learn that Imbrogno was able to gain the trust and cooperation of Dr. Hynek, whose work on the Hudson Valley case is now sullied. Sounds like a new book needs to be written on the case which vetts the witnesses and events more carefully.

Randel Smith

KRandle said...

I took down the previous post because this blog does not deal with the political situations in Washington. I was particularly offended by the nonsense that our president was not born in this country.

Yes, I know that I am sometimes not as strict with the postings here. I want all to have the opportunity to express their opinions. This one I thought was over the line...

And hey, it's my blog and my rules.

The Truth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Truth said...

The basis of Imbrogno's "Night Siege" has been vetted and found to be very wanting. We've had people come forward in the Hudson Valley to admit that they flew ultralights with christmas lights strung on them in groups to create a triangular light pattern. As you and Lance Moody have discovered, Imbrogno completely fabricated all of his academic and military service credentials. Veterans around here in CT & NY are none too happy about his stolen valor. How anyone can take Imbrogno's books seriously, given his total fraud in everything else, is a mystery to me. There are so many other potentially legitimate avenues of research to explore.

RemyC said...

Hmmm... just ran across this, sad, because the information he provided us about the Indian Point nuclear power plant was quite useful, but now this puts his entire testimony into doubt...

Roger H. Werner said...

I can't speak to Imbrogno's credentials or lack thereof. I would note that in this day and age of near instant communication, resume inflation isn't growing less common but more so.I simply don't get it. Claiming to have a doctorate from MIT would be so easy to verify why lie about it? Yet, it happens far more often then most people realize. Resume inflation is bad but fabricating military service is to my mind completely inexcusable and unforgivable. I never served for many reasons (college deferments then failed my physical and when I tried to join as a second lieutenant after proving myself physical fit, I failed a background test for my anti war associations. Whatever, those who did serve have my respect and gratitude and those who claim service falsely should be ashamed of themselves.

The Truth said...

Night Siege is pure BS. State troopers in this area noted in published articles that there was a group of ultralight pilots flying out of Stormville who draped lights on their crafts. Eyewitnesses confirmed it. Imbrogno ignored the facts and went right to the sensational extreme, just like his resume!

Alex Sargeant said...

I don't know about Imbrogno and haven't read Night Seige, but I know for sure that my parents and I saw what we saw, up close and at dusk, in Greenwich, CT in 1981. We got out of the car at the top of General Putnam's hill on the Post Road and watched it move very slowly, and silently, just a few hundred feet above the trees. It crossed the road right in front of us and over the high school football field before shooting out of sight in a flash. I was 14 and my parents were in their late 40's. They, too, remember that day like it was yesterday. No point in trying to figure out what it was. We were literally right under it. Way too close to be fooled by a prank. The lights, size, silence and the way it moved were not of this earth.

Alex Sargeant said...

Why does it have to be all or nothing for some folks? The Stormville Flyers and other pranks might explain some of the sightings, but not every sighting over a decade. Plus, some eyewitnesses, including myself and my parents, saw the craft at very close range when there was still plenty of light left in the sky. It's too bad Imbrogno lied about his background, because it undermines the credibility of so many sightings that might help advance our understanding of these visits. And they clearly are just that -- ET visits. We saw what we saw at dusk in Greenwich, CT in 1981. There are too many accounts coming from astronauts, pilots and other sober, educated people out there to discount or explain away what's so obvious. It's not like Bigfoot, where the absence of roadkills or other remains provides sufficient cause for doubt; these advanced crafts don't leave anything behind, and why would they?

muzuzuzus said...

I am not a rigic person--not obsessed with tidiness, and you know uptight, but i HATE sloppiness! Like how come people do not check the backgrounds of BOTH sides of the UFO debate, because as we see when this is not done it can undermine SO much. I came to find this blog after looking up about Robert O'Deane who ALSO claims some pretty big things. He claims to have held certain positions in the military and been one of the few to see a cosmic top secret document telling about UFOs and retrieval of UFO crashes and aliens, so I though I'd do a simply quick search and found these refutation, one for the actual place that holds such documents O'Deane said existed, and the other from scpetic Klass who like here shows that his military role is not what he claims to be. I then wanted to try and find any UFo researchers who had debunked the debunking---not ONE. This is SLOPPINESS. Why hasn't ONE UFO researcher bothered to look into this guy's background and check what he is claiming. Why can I find possible refutation in a couple of Google seconds?? Please Google this: The Alleged SHAPE “Assessment” of UFOs in 1964 ... - ACO - N
and Google this: Bob Dean Undergoes Klass Attack
and you will see what I mean. As I say this is utter lax sloppiness by so-called researchers. I am intensley interested in the UFO phenomena but this kind of thing including actual UFO hoaxers really irritates me. If someone lies about their background how can we trust them about anything they say?

muzuzuzus said...

The next question must be then, if so--are they deliberate disinfo agents whose role IS to undermine any seriousness to do with this subject because it shows up the gullibility of UFOlogists.

muzuzuzus said...

Also in your post Kevin you state that this expose is part of a list? Where would I find this list please so I know--have a hint-- who and who not to trust?

muzuzuzus said...

I have just remember the exact reason I found here. I am watching a video called The Day Before Disclosure, closely, and after finding out what I have about Robert O'Deane, I later--inthe video came to the part it is talking about the Hudson Valley UFOs. I checked it out and thought I would contact the man in question here to find out his thoughts about Robert O'Deane...LOL. what a mad world it is!!

Anonymous said...

I would not be surprised if Imbrogno was himself some sort of paid peddler of disinformation. But I do not agree with posters here that the "planes in formation" account for ALL the sightings which occured over those years. The descriptions of the objects is too bizarre and defies conventional craft. There were also hallucinatory elements described by witnesses.
If not some sort of "alien" craft, It may alternatively been some sort of experimental stealth blimp or drone being tested. rigged with pulsing lights and even experimental psychotronic weaponry, like LRAD or directed energy (ELF) weapons(which may account for the hallucinatory aspect of witness testimonies).
That is actually more troubling then an ET invasion. That the military has been using us as guinea pigs this whole time under the smokescreen of "ET visitors"

Anonymous said...

Shame b/c he was a good researcher and a good communicator; you'd've thought he'd've grown out of such pretentiousness at his age, especially as the sort of excessively left brain dominant, Authority-approved individuals prone to slavishly toeing the line that he's seeking to impersonate, are completely bereft of certain subtler more intuitive mental capacities necessary to investigating these sorts of phenomena, and whose research is all-too-often autistically, needlessly, complex; demonstrating an unsettling inability to extrapolate from the data the bigger picture and speculate wisely, their being cripplingly limited to the inductive method wholly ignorant and contemptuously dismissive of the role of the imagination, something they lack

Unknown said...

I'm just now watching an old episode of "Weird or What", titled "Parallel Worlds", hosted by William Shatter originally aired 10/17/2011 in which Imbrogno was referred to as a 'Science 'Educator' who was also a paranormal researcher. In this episode, Imbrogno gave 'expert' opinions on shadow people from parallel universes in which he suggested these shadow people were possibly performing reconnaissance missions in preparation for an invasion into our universe. Knowing the show's producers accepted him as an expert on this episode's content now makes me second guess about the authenticity of the previous episode's experts who spoke about a half human, half ape super soldier who allegedly attacked residents of New Delhi for a few weeks back in 2011. Hmmm. I sense a pattern here.