Back when I was in graduate school and preparing to write my dissertation, I learned that the first thing you did to prepare was make a search of the literature… well, the second thing, after you have figured out what you wanted to research. You looked to see what others had done before you, if someone had already accomplished what you wanted to, and how you might improve on both your idea and what had gone before.
Apparently in UFO research, this is not the case.
I don’t know how many times we must revisit cases that seem to have been solved, that seem to have nothing to do with UFOs, or that are hoaxes. Every five years or so another crop of interested people show up and we begin all over again… and somehow the blame is pushed on the “Geezers.” We just haven’t made the case, whatever the case might be.
Take the Allende Letters, that group of correspondence between Carlos Allende or Carl Allen and Morris K. Jessup. Allende/Allen wrote about Jessup’s UFO books. Allende/Allen suggested a knowledge that was based on inside information and personal observation. Part of it was the so-called Philadelphia Experiment in which it is claimed that the US Navy teleported a ship in 1943. Ignore the fact that no documentation has ever surfaced to prove it. Ignore the fact that the allegedly teleported ship’s logs place it elsewhere at the time. Ignore the fact that there is nothing to support this claim except Allende’s allegation.
Allende/Allen arrived in Tucson, Arizona in the 1970s, apparently on his way to Mexico for cancer treatment. While in Tucson he met with Jim Lorenzen, then the International Director of APRO and signed a statement that the whole Philadelphia Experiment, the letters, and everything else associated with it was a hoax. Allende/Allen said he made it up because Jessup’s writing frightened him and he didn’t want Jessup to write anything more.
To me, that admission, by Allende/Allen ends the discussion. It is a hoax. It is an admitted hoax. They guy who started it said it was a hoax. What more do we need?
Remember, that was in the 1970s. I even did a magazine article about this in the 1970s. Robert Goerman, a UFO researcher interested in the Allende Letters found Allende’s family who told him, Goerman, that Allende was slightly unhinged… bright but unhinged. There was nothing to the story he told…
But then the youngsters enter the field, bringing their “fresh” perspective to it, and we begin again to hear about the value of the Allende Letters. We hear there might be something to them. We hear how they might be the key to solving the UFO mystery… and away we go again, covering the same ground because Allende/Allen’s admission of hoax was forced by the CIA and should therefore be ignored.
Or take the latest of the Aztec “re-investigations.” We have a new book that suggests that there might be something to the Aztec UFO crash. Once again, this is a case that should have been relegated to a footnote a long time ago. It is clear that Aztec is a hoax started by a con man, Silas Newton, who is probably laughing his ass off in his grave because there are still people who believe it.
Newton told the story to Frank Scully who made fun of it in his newspaper column in 1948, but a couple of years later Scully seemed to have changed his mind and suddenly began to believe the tale. He wrote a book about it that became a bestseller… and then J. P. Cahn wrote an expose about it that should have put the whole thing to rest… but didn’t.
In the 1970s Robert Spencer Carr said that he had found five witnesses to the Aztec crash and the case was revitalized… but even the reinvestigation failed to find much in the way of evidence. Carr relied on unidentified witnesses and rumor and we don’t know who his witnesses were or why he accepted what they said. There was nothing new… until the 1980s when William Steinman began his new investigation, “proving” there was something to the crash tale. Of course, Steinman offered little evidence of anything other than he is a fan of garage sales and that he had been to Aztec annoying the locals with his less than gracious manner.
But even with all these investigations and the failure to find anything substantial, Aztec is back. We’re told that the proof is now incontrovertible, but it is weak at best. Though we’re told to ignore Newton and his con man buddy Leo GeBauer, they are still tied to the case. We are treated to links between alleged witnesses and the event, but when we look deeper, we find the links broken. There is simply nothing there that hasn’t been discussed before, yet we’re supposed to roll over and accept this new data as if it is proof.
I could go on in this vein. We have arguments that maybe the contactees had something important to say, but in reality, they merely cluttered the UFO field with their nonsense making it easier to hide the truth, whatever that truth might be. We hear about great air wars between the aliens and our Air Force, but the evidence doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. We have phenomenon, such as crop circles linked to UFOs, but that really should be another field of research…(get it? Field?).
True, there are some things that do need to be reexamined. The Majorie Fish Star Map that was based on Betty Hill’s memory needs new work now that we have better information. Some of the stars she used are not where we had thought them to be and she excluded red dwarves because she didn’t think there was anything interesting to be found near them, not to mention there are so many of them. Fish’s work was great when she did it, but it is now badly out of date. Maybe a youngster who plays with computers could do the work in minutes rather than the months it took Fish.
The point is that we geezers have something to add, if only it is to direct the youngsters into areas that should be explored. We don’t really need to study the Allende Letters again. We have all we need to know about Aztec, and if Scott Ramsey really spent a half a million dollars on his research, I can think of better areas that he could have explored with that kind of money.
So rather than dismiss us all as failures, maybe some should look to what we have learned. It just might save someone a half million dollar mistake; years of research that will go nowhere, or help focus the spotlight on areas that could provide a breakthrough or two.
And rather than pit the geezers against the youngsters as some are attempting, maybe we should all work together. Why does it have to be an either or propostion?