Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fallout from the Fiasco

Yes, I know, but this really isn’t about that. It’s about lessons learned and what we all can do to improve the state of UFO research… though at this point it might be a lost cause.

There were two loose groups operating here. One of them was engaged in secrecy and nondisclosure agreements and limited release of information. The other was an international coalition that shared all the information they could and relied on the expertise of their members to get things done. In one case, the story kept building to a climax that was less than accurate (to put it kindly) and the other solved the mystery rapidly. Had the information been shared the fiasco in Mexico could have been avoided.

So, what is the take away on this?

We have the opportunity here to engage in changing the face of the research in the UFO community. We could create a coalition made up of believers and skeptics and try to avoid the rabid ends of the spectrum whether true believers or debunkers. We could work together to share information about cases and attempt to come to a consensus about it. We have seen, in recent years, that better knowledge, better education and access to the World Wide Web, allows us to solve cases that were once puzzling.

Back in July 1947, Major George Garrett, at the urging of his boss, Brigadier General George Schulgen, created a mini Estimate of the Situation. It consisted of some eighteen cases that they found puzzling and asked for assistance in solving them.

In today’s world, some of those cases aren’t particularly puzzling. Solutions have been offered and some of that, I think, are the results of investigators who are no longer overwhelmed by the information. I mean, that assumptions, such as these people seeing something strange in the sky would be able to tell the difference between something truly strange and something mundane, are not being made. We now know that sometimes conditions converge to fool even the most careful and experienced observer.

The point of this is that we have better techniques, we have access to a wide range of information and we can communicate easily with others around the world. It seems to me that a loose coalition of researchers, bringing their expertise to bear on a particular problem or sighting might resolve that sighting in a matter of hours or days and give us some insight into what is happening.

I don’t believe we’d want to create a formal organization simply because that could result in a “corporate” philosophy that would dictate results rather than search of a logical and solid answer. It would have to be made up of people from across the spectrum so that a charge of pandering to a specific belief structure would not be a valid claim. The members of the coalition would ebb and flow with the sightings because sometimes specific expertise would be required and other times it would not.

It would seem that a web site, blog, or Facebook page could be created that would facilitate the communication and where results could be published. The activities of the Roswell Slide Research Group is a good model for the beginnings of this because, once they had the proper material (meaning a good quality scan of the slide) they were open and transparent, providing the information to anyone who cared to look at it. And so it shouldn’t be forgotten, their results were replicated from a half dozen other sources around the world.

This would also provide a forum for peer review, which is something I have advocated for fifteen years. Instead of hiding information behind a veil of secrecy, it is all open to be discussed by those who had knowledge of the situation and of the various disciplines necessary for unraveling the mystery.

And finally, some of the nasty and snarky things that appear in the comments section of this blog and so many others would have to be eliminated. The assumption must be that all of us are searching for the truth and not just to impress our own belief structures on others. Sometimes the answers will be simply and obvious when all the information is available, and sometimes there just might not be an answer. This would be a search for answers whatever those answers might be and not an advocacy for a point of view.


Curt Collins said...


Lance said...

Thanks for the above, Kevin!


Unknown said...

Collectively, we all want to find the truth about extra-terrestrial contacts and other evidence which several government officials have already hinted may really exist. But, we have got to search inside of us first, so that we discover what motivates us to find real answers.

The possibility that EBE or ETI exist is already being debated in institutional scientific circles. Physicists are locked in a serious and perhaps very consequential debate as to whether signal directly planets that are likely to harbor life. Some figures such as Stephen Hawking have suggested it is better to "stay low" in case ET turned out to be as predatory as humanity.

Many of us have witnessed what we are each one consideres unexplained lights or phenomena in the sky. This experience has for me, driven me to seek answers. However, in our search we have become fertile ground for hoaxes and absurd claims. Many have profited from a UFO cottage-industry which as you've correctly said, has no standards nor any real guidelines. As the case of the Roswell slides has shown us, we have created a group of UFO "high priests" whom we believed had some special talent or knowledge. Alas! They have naught any special gift nor they care for the value of our beliefs.

Therefore, I for one completely agree that this UFO community should crystalize into a more structured and cohesive movement. We are the first truly digital generation and as we connect virtually in this venue, we come closer to forming such collective mind. In a rather literal way, we ourselves are a mesh-network.

Count me in among your ranks and let's cast aside the pursuit of personal recognition. Are we prepared to come together in search of answers? It is a turning point where ego meets the greater good and those who lead, must be willing to be the greatest servants.

Are we prepared to form a serious panel? To invite a few real scientists and philosophers? Can we become a truly open movement and yet be cohesive? Are you willing to pass on the glory of your trophies and discoveries?

Is our coll collective mind ready to meet ET? What if it ever happened? What would we say? Should we open an academic collaboration with serious space institutons?

In any case, the aftermath of the "Roswell fiasco" is perhaps a great opportynity to come together as a UFO community and like many others, follow the most succesful and best practices, which no doubt are available to us.

Live long and prosper!

Floren Cabrera de Teresa
Apollo Earth Productions

Paul Kimball said...

Collectively, we all want to find the truth about extra-terrestrial contacts and other evidence which several government officials have already hinted may really exist.

This is the problem (and I mean no offense to Floren in particular). The only way such an ad hoc group works is if everyone leaves their pre-conceived notions at the door before entering the room. This is the reason I turned down Kevin's invitation to be on the "Dream Team" several years ago (well, that and the silly name!). I knew a team with Schmitt, Carey et al could never be objective... and I was right. Kevin would have been the one exception, but that's not enough. Everyone has to be a middle-of-the-road skeptic going in or it doesn't work any better than what exists now.

As for peer review, I remember years ago when Kevin did his lengthy Mantle paper and posted it for comment at Updates. Crickets... Ditto for the most part Tim Printy's recent exhaustive analysis of the RB47 case. And similarly Kevin's cattle mute and abduction work.

People get the ufology they deserve.


albert said...

I agree with your 'open' approach (except I would object to having to use Facebook).
I'm sure that everyone agrees that there's a lot of drivel out there, and in this respect, the UFO field is perhaps worse than others. Does anyone even bother viewing (let alone analyzing) shaky-lights-in-the-sky videos? And the number of blatant hoaxes and misrepresentations has reached plague proportions.
This is the milieu in which we find ourselves. Therefore, a 'clearing-house' approach should require more than a little effort from folks who wish to participate.
One side effect of the 'open source' approach is the marginalization of the 'for profit' individuals. Folks who _need_ to monetize the subject are often desperate enough to the ignore rational and objective, and concentrate on the publicity and promotion. This never ends well, muddies the waters, and increases marginalization by the MSM/scientific/gov't communities.
I hope this fiasco is not soon forgotten, and doesn't serve merely to make the side-show barkers more creative.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Well done, Kevin!

Unknown said...

Oh, no offense at all. It's just strange that there is such a disconnect with the scientific community. I am sure you followed the "Disclosure Project" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C? I for one found the testimonies ot people like the former Governor of Arizona and the Commander of a nuclear base, especially compelling. I am sure you are following like me, comments made by Leon Panetta and even by Bill Clinton himself on "disclosure." So, I wonder why you call this fact "the problem."

Rather than any "preconceptions" I posit that the problem is that UFOlogy offers a great opportunity to any eloquent writer or media savvy individual to make a buck. You see, my point is subtly hinted between the lines, which is this is a game of "showmanship" and "fake credentials." So, in one exchange, there is already literaly competiton, rival ideas...

Perhaps then, it is every man for himself!

However, the tide is turning and I can assure you, Paul et al, that there is indeed a very profound scientific debate about the existance and consequences of "first contact."

Those who collaborate will continue to do so, but to seek a collective open-group would require a high degree of selfless idealism.

Cheers and hope to add my grain of salt!

TheDimov said...

Indeed this whole Roswell Slides thing could prove to be the most positive thing to ever happen to UFOlogy.

Anthony Mugan said...

I agree with the aspiration. in terms of maintaining standards ( both work and manners) there may need to be a mechanism by which people could be voted out of the group ( or some other mechanism to maintain standards)

Bruce Duensing said...

A well reasoned perspective.

Dennis Pharr said...


This is an excellent idea and long overdue. I am only a consumer of UFO information and therefore have no real expertise in the subject, but I would like to echo some of albert's statements.

I too would object to having to use Facebook. Also, to albert's point about the marginalization of the 'for profit' individuals and organizations, this issue would be one stumbling block that would have to be overcome before the idea would get any real traction.

A case in point - last Monday night one of the KGRA radio hosts (I won't mention a name) went on a tirade expressing his anger that "trolls" on the Internet were expressing their opinion about the Slides issue. I couldn't understand his anger until I realized he was afraid of the black eye the incident would give to Ufology in general and thus affect his audience size. Of course, his reaction is exactly opposite of what it should be - i.e. there should be more voices heard and not less.

Again, this is a great idea - here's a suggested name for the initiative - Open Research Initiative (ORI).

Unknown said...

"Had the information been shared the fiasco in Mexico could have been avoided."

But then they wouldn't have made any money!

Seriously, I hope everyone realizes by now that from day one this was never about aliens or Roswell, it was a money making scam.

Larry said...

Excellent attempt to take a load of lemons and make lemonade. I concur on basically every point. I personally would much rather participate in a discussion format that is structured to be a dialogue between scientists than an argument between lawyers.

One additional suggestion: I've thought for some time now that the current blog format in which the blogmeister basically puts out a topic and random people say the first thing that pops into their mind is poorly structured to make systematic progress on any topic--UFO or otherwise. Ideally, there should be standing discussions on a core set of topics. That set of topics could include specific cases (Roswell, the Trents, Socorro, etc.) and also IMHO, discussion on process (When is photo deblurring admissible as evidence? Is a particular premise Popper falsifiable? Etc.)

KRandle said...

All -

Merely mentioned Facebook to facilitate discussion... I figured we'd all have something to say about the best way to do this.

It's also why I suggested a loose coalition rather than something more structured so that we might attract those with a specific interest or expertise but not limit anything to what I think of as a corporate view.

Curt Collins said...

Kevin, having used Facebook for our project, I can tell you it's got great benefits and drawbacks. The ability to communicate is excellent. The ability to organize data is near zero.

It's a great tool, but not right for every job.

Anthony Mugan said...

Very much agree with Larry's comments. With the slides it was practical for people from both sides of the debate to work together. It will be important for the members of the group to be focused on objective investigations rather than argument and name calling. If it can be achieved it would be tremendous.

Gurkenstein said...


For the time being you can run it from your blog since it seems to be well-read by a slightly more “serious” audience, take a case on a trial basis and submit it for investigation, see if it gets traction.

This is exactly what seemed to have happened with the slides.

Excellent initiaive btw.

David Rudiak said...

One easy place to start is everyone who comments has to comment under a real name, no more use of pseudonyms. That would weed out 90% of the trolls, sociopaths, and just plain idiots right there. Maybe some partial exceptions could be extended to people whose jobs might be affected by posting under their full name. (I'm thinking, e.g., of "Larry" here, who worked for NASA, even though most of us already know his full name. I would hate to lose the input of experts like Larry, probably the smartest guy regularly posting here.)

Also if debates center around some expertise in a subject (say an actual background in medicine, engineering, physics, etc.), then maybe there should be a requirement that people provide their qualifications, or at least back up their statements with WELL-RESEARCHED actual references. No more research by proclamation allowed.

Also no ranting, libel, insults, and obviously inane commentary. If they persist in this behavior, then they should be banned--permanently. Only serious people willing to engage in serious discussion should be allowed.

Paul Kimball said...

One easy place to start is everyone who comments has to comment under a real name, no more use of pseudonyms.

Something David Rudiak and I agree on... which he then sort of ruins by offering exceptions. But half a loaf is better than none.

No pseudonyms, no anonymous handles. If you're not willing to put your real name to something, then don't say it. This should be a basic general rule of thumb for everything, but especially ufology. Nobody is going to get fired simply because they have an interest in UFOs.


albert said...

Trolls are best dealt with by ignoring them. Trolls relentlessly argue their opinions (which in itself is OK) without offering any evidence, citations, or facts to back them up. If necessary, the moderator can ban them. Posting rules need to be clear and fair.
I think Kevin has done an exemplary job in warning posters when they 'cross the line'. He shows more restraint than I might.
What I don't want to see is overdoing the 'democratic' bit. It's not a popularity contest, and no one needs to be 'voted out'. If folks stop acknowledging trolls, they will either leave, or eventually blocked by the moderator.
I disagree with many on this blog, but if I can't learn something from folks I don't agree with, then I need to examine my 'objectivity'.

Unknown said...

I think you're right on, Kevin. The thing that bothered me the most about the slides was that the presenters of the 'evidence' charged money so people could see it. They hoarded this 'evidence' as if it was going to make them a bundle. This is not how potential artifacts of the E.T. phenomenon should be shared. This isn't some type of sporting event. On the contrary, this information should be shared freely with all who are interested. After all, we are trying to understand what the phenomenon is all about. If we are proven wrong, well then too bad for us. We have to accept that, even if it hurts. When financial motives are involved, it may lead to half-truths, unverified information, and false hopes. I like your idea of sharing on Facebook or other blog-related sites. This discipline we refer to as 'ufology' should be more about educating each other than making a buck. If we don't remove the financial motivation here, we may never get the true answers we seek. Everyone on this earth deserves to know the truth about intelligent life from other planets or dimensions visiting here. Oh, and I also agree with you that too many people on your blog are more interested in pushing their beliefs than seeking out the facts in a methodical/scientific manner. Wow, and a lot of egos too. Many intelligent people, however, follow you, so that says a lot about the respect people have for your opinion.

Marcos said...

An excellent suggestion. As an interested outsider to this discussion, IMHO what is sorely needed is an elevation of the level of discourse. It may require a new site with very strict parameters for participation. Some of the hardy skeptics on this blog seem to participate because they actually want to know what is going on. They seem rightly frustrated at having to wade through fraud, after hoax, after irrational thinking, after pseudo-scientific proclamation, to get to an honest, rational discussion of a true puzzle.I think most of us knew how this slide-thing would end. So, onto the next investigation but with a nucleus of serious-minded investigators. You all exist.

David Rudiak said...

Paul Kimball wrote:

Nobody is going to get fired simply because they have an interest in UFOs.

Depends on their position. Certainly people in the past have had their careers compromised by publicly reporting a sighting or expressing an interest.

Younger academics, e.g., seeking tenure are very vulnerable to getting blackballed by their senior academics and having their academic careers stall. Even academics with tenure expressing unpopular opinions might see their grants from NIH or NSF dry up, since you might now be considered fringe or even a nutcase.

It's not just UFOs; it's anything taboo outside of what is considered mainstream. E.g., Peter Duesberg, molecular biologist and an expert in retroviruses, lost all his grants when he championed what became known as AIDs denialism. Duesberg didn't believe the HIV retrovirus caused AIDS. This was very early on (1987) in the outbreak of the AIDs epidemic when little was still known about the disease. (I'm not here to argue whether Duesberg was right or wrong, only that you risk losing your research money for being a contrarian and expressing an unpopular view.)

Another example, when Hynek and Sturrock polled astronomers, astrophysicists, etc. if they had UFO sightings, they reported most who said they had chose anonymity for fear of what it might do to their careers.

Or if you are a politician, it is a third rail of politics. Or a policeman, or an airline pilot. Your credibility and psychological stability are likely to be questioned. (Which is why NARCAP, e.g., guarantees anonymity to pilots who report to them, should they choose. Most do just that.)

There is very much a sociological and political aspect to being involved in any way with the subject, and yes, many people do very much fear the effect it will have on their jobs.

Terry the Censor said...

@David Rudiak
> everyone who comments has to comment under a real name

You would ban Isaac Koi?

What about Brad Steiger? (Not his real name either.)

And the Duke of Mendoza too?

Anthony Mugan said...

From a practical point of view tools such as Wikis or Sharepoint (etc) might be useful for sharing documents, whilst the blog format might be useful as a means of summarising developments. In depth studies of specific issues may go on for a long time, so a means of accessing all relevant information such as a Wiki may be useful

KRandle said...

Terry -

Brad Steiger is his real name.

Genevieve said...

I got goose bumps when I read this, Kevin. That probably proves I'm the only girl in here. lol

The idea of everyone coming together with what they know and working together in an unbiased way, respecting other people's knowledge an opinions….it could lead to wonderful exciting things!

I laugh because it seems so easy, but some people will never come out of their own box.

Even in this thread, there are so many comments of "Yeah, that would be great, BUT…."

No BUTS!! Let's do this. I'm in.

William Strathmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian B said...

The coalition has to be something more than just loose and less than corporate. I suggest members also post their bios on whatever website is created so that no assertions of secrecy can be made. It should also state their current disposition on the subject (ETH'er, full skeptic, open to any possibilities, etc). Gives followers a clear understanding of researchers' potential biases with benefits of being fully transparent.

To do solid investigation you'll also need funding - unless members pay to get in (I don't suggest that), consider a global nonprofit entity that followers can make small donations to for financial support of the endeavor. Crowd fund it first as a test.

Any member -skeptic or believer - gets no money for their efforts - no salary. All donations go into research, investigation, open and free publishing of results or conclusions, etc.

Brian B said...

PS - on the above I AM NOT suggesting another type of CUFOS, MUFON, CSETI, etc. That sort of thing must be avoided.

By the way - you would get to the "round table debate" concept we spoke of earlier in this way.

papageno said...

David Rudiak (2:30 PM):
"... at least back up their statements with WELL-RESEARCHED actual references. No more research by proclamation allowed."

David Rudiak (7:52 PM):
"Certainly people in the past have had their careers compromised by publicly reporting a sighting or expressing an interest."

It would be nice to lead by example.

Unknown said...

Hi Kevin,
This sounds like an excellent plan. This is exactly what I've been thinking since this slide fiasco unwound. Putting into action may be difficult but not impossible IMO. The biggest problem beyond stopping the bickering is obtaining the cooperation of the FAA and other government bodies that may have relevant information. Maybe, as time goes by and such a model you suggest proves it is serious then that cooperation may materialize.
I would prefer using the Chilean model but for now I doubt that will happen.
I suggest that for a start, the Stephensville case should come under serious investigation. Raw radar of that event seems to be available. At least one skeptic claims that the data was cherry picked to give a false result. I don't know but I would certainly like to know. This particular case has a lot of what is needed, contemporaneous interviews with witnesses who could be re-interviewed to check for memory issues etc. These witnesses are still alive, a big plus in my opinion.

Brian B said...

@Neal Foy - indeed which is why credible sciences must be applied including investigation of alternative hypothesese.

Believe it or not, despite the fact the USAF totally screwed up in their bobbled explanation of "time compression".....medical science has already demonstrated significant memory decline issues that indeed compact protracted events and reinforce exaggerations of non-factual recollections. A simple Google search or access to medical databases already bear this out. Tired of hearing from Roswellians "no such thing exists as time compression" - it does, but don't expect a USAF officer without medical training to explain it well.

Unknown said...

@Brian Bell
Actually, I don't disagree, time compression is real. The question is, does it apply equally to every individual?
To be honest, I'm kind of sick of Roswell. Most of the witnesses or alleged witnesses are dead. I'm skeptical of a lot of the alien body sightings. I think that something of high strangeness crashed there, but I can't say it's 100% true.
That's the reason for suggesting Stephensville or another more recent case where witnesses are alive. I don't know what happened there either but I think we have a chance to find out at least what it wasn't.
Call me cynical but in my opinion the definition of an expert as a guy with a briefcase a long way from home too often is true.

Brian B said...

@Neal Foy - agree. Other cases more interesting and likely to produce better results.

Whatever the group becomes, suggest focus on crash claims rather than sightings. Cheers!

Gurkenstein said...

Let's do get our priorities straight.

Anonymity is the least of our worries. Seriously.

The singular most toxic element in this field isn't the hoaxes and frauds. They're simply dismissed in due order. No, the poison in this field that apparently NO ONE is willing to address is the complete lack of decorum.

There are contributors on this very forum who portend to post their "real identities" with "real names" with their "real background information" who then believe all this "real identity" nonsense gives them free reign to belittle, cajole, harass at will.

Frankly, if any such future projects can not be conducted with an air of utmost collegiality and decorum I have NO interest in it whatsoever.

I agree that Richard Dolan has lost much credibility these last few years after his involvement in several of these nonsensical ufo scams, but I will say this about Dolan... he NEVER stoops to the level some if his critics so casually do, and for THAT, I applaud him.

Frankly Kevin, I would say you best employ a Broker No Shit standard. People who just can't play nice with the other children have no room in any effort you attempt to pursue, and quite frankly, I don't see it succeeding for that simple reason. Some of these "real people" seem quite content to be real jackasses.

William Strathmann said...


A bulletin board like phpBB might provide a suitable venue for some measure of participant regulation.

Files can be uploaded. The administrator can set the forum's registration level from quite restricted to virtually unrestricted, and can wield the "ban hammer" if needed.

Terry the Censor said...

Kevin, several sources give Eugene E. Olson as Brad Steiger's real name, starting with Wikipedia, and including:

James Lewis (ed.): The Gods Have Landed, p 299
Jerome Clark: Unexplained! (2nd ed.), p 489

Loren Coleman reports it as well:

Movie Props said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KRandle said...

All -

He legally changed it a quite a while ago. The first time I ever talked to him I was able to find him because he was listed in the telephone book as Eugene Olson. We had a very nice chat. That was decades ago.

Steve Sawyer said...

Speaking of names, and further "Fallout from the Fiasco," it appears that the name of the slides owner, Joseph Beason, has been popping up on various blogs, forums, online articles, etc. over the last couple of weeks.

As has his sister's name, Catherine "Cat" Cecilia Beason, who found the slides.


Curt Collins said...

Steve, I collected some background info on Joe Beason and how he was connected to Adam Dew and Slidebox Media, LLC, but just didn't have enough to do anything more than name him. For whatever reason, the key players have not used his name, except for what seems like a slip of the tongue by Jaime Maussan on his show. When Maussan discussed how the physical slides would not be at the show, he said they would remain in the hands of their owner, Joseph Beason.

Steve Sawyer said...

"For whatever reason, the key players have not used his name..."

Actually, Kevin mentioned Beason's name as the owner of the slides a few days ago, in an audio podcast for, along with other interesting info about the background of the slides affair, at about the 27 minute mark at this link:

Also, see: (from May 7th!)

I only mention these references, and Beason's name, since they are now public and it seems to me that Beason and Adam Dew, who still remain silent and have yet to release the two highest-resolution copies of the slides, are the most probable beneficiaries of any proceeds and profit from the live stream and May 5th "reveal" event, and should be held accountable in some manner for the debacle that resulted from the 2+ years of promotion and apparent deception they initiated.

Methinks they still "got some heavy 'splainin' to do."

Curt Collins said...

Steve, actually, Greg Bishop's Radio Misterioso show of 5/10/15 with the RSRG was the first US broadcast of Catherine & Joseph Beason's names.
But it was circulating before that on Twitter:

You are right about the 'splainin,' I might as well add to the background, Beason is a partner in Slidebox Media LLC, via "Redscare Media."
Time for Mr. Beason to step out of the shadows and take a bow or whatever he's got coming.

Unknown said...

Interesting in the Dreamland interview with Jaime Maussan that Linda Moulton Howe suggests that 'somebody put an alien body in the museum [Mesa Verde or Million Dollar?] to test public reaction' that somebody she suggests is a government agency.

She doesn't appear to recall her Denver 2006 MUFON Symposium presentation on UFO crash retrievals where she discusses the reasons for the secrecy surrounding crashed UFOs and suggests that it maybe due, amongst other things, to concerns over the spread of alien viruses. She specifically refers to the 1952 5th MJ-12 Annual Report, Annex A paragraph 13 where it states, “In the opinion of the senior AEC medical officer, current medical equipment and supplies are wholly inadequate in dealing with a large scale outbreak of the alien virus.” A virus it is suggested earlier in the report might have killed four technicians, wearing protective suits, shortly after having come into contact with the retrieved bodies.

Is it therefore plausible that a government agency would inveigle to put on public display the actual body of a retrieved alien?