Friday, July 31, 2020

Awakening Sleeping Dogs - Or Billy Meier Again **

Michael Horn appended a comment to post that was a couple of years old. I had grown tired of the whole Billy Meier mess. Given the state of the world today, I really couldn’t care less about Meier and his claims of alien contact. To me, it just isn’t worth the effort.

I would have posted Horn’s comment had he not made some rather snarky comments and then descended into profanity… not to say that I haven’t said a

Michael Horn
profane word now and again. I just try to class things up periodically and have attempted to be the voice of civility in the world; sort of a mission to civilize. *

Anyway, Horn has talked about Meier’s uncanny ability to predict the future and one of the references sometimes cited are the books published by Wendelle Stevens on Meier’s contacts called Messages from the Pleiades: The Contact Notes of Eduard Billy Meier. In the copy that I have, there are ten copyright dates going back to 1979 and continuing up to 1989.

Here’s the problem. It is very easy to predict the future from that future. In other words, here in 2020, I could say that in 1990, I said that in thirty years, there would be a global pandemic, that there would be civil unrest in the United States, and that the presidential nominating conventions for the two parties would be thrown into turmoil. Nothing really specific here, but close enough to the situation today that it is an impressive list. And, if I produce any sort of document with a date attached showing it was “created” in 1990, that helps prove the point.

But what if there was a book that had a series of copyright dates in it suggesting that it had been updated over the years? What if we could check one of those 1979 versions with what was published in 1989 to see if the predictions had been updated at some point? And if there had been no changes to the earlier predictions to make them conform to our shared reality, then haven’t we moved into an arena that suggests that Meier’s predictions were as accurate as Horn and others have claimed.

All this boils down to the fact that I need to find a copy of Stevens’ book with a lone copyright date of 1979… though the same thing can be done with one that has a 1980 or even a 1981 date as long as it doesn’t have the 1989 date. The best situation is, of course, to compare the first edition with the one I have from 1989. If anyone has access to one of these earlier copies, I would certainly like to borrow it. Contact me through the comments section with a good email address and we’ll try to work out the details… and yes, Michael Horn, this applies to you too. If you have one of those earlier copies, might I borrow it for comparison?

*I bow to Will McAvoy and The Newsroom as the originator of the Mission to Civilize.

**I changed the “Kicking sleeping dogs,” to “Awakening sleeping dogs,” to not offend those care about animal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Bermuda Triangle Solved - Again, for the Fourth Time

No matter how many times I post about the Bermuda Triangle and the true explanation for it, someone comes up the scientific find that will explain it all. The latest was an article by Ryan Unger in an article entitled “Scientists Find Evidence that May Finally Explain the Bermuda Triangle.”

My response?


As those of you who visit here on a regular basis know, I have explained, repeatedly, that the Bermuda Triangle is a manufactured mystery. That means that those who have written about or investigated the Triangle have overlooked the evidence, misrepresented the case or just repeated what others have written about it. They haven’t gone to the original sources to learn the truth, just repeated whatever

seemed to support their belief structure.

As I have mentioned, I was, at one time, a member of the 440th Tactical Airlift Wing which lost a plane in the Triangle. Before you all go searching the Internet about this, I was in a subordinate unit, the 928th Tactical Airlift Group. While visiting the Wing Headquarters, I asked about the loss of the plane, and was told that it had crashed. They had some of the wreckage from it. That means, of course, it didn’t vanish without a trace, only that it crashed. You can read the longer article here:

Anyway, this latest “explanation,” was that Rogue Waves were the culprit in pulling down the ships. It is a very plausible explanation, given that the waves can be 100 feet high and can swamp a ship in seconds. There would be no chance for a distress call and if the ship turned turtle, meaning capsized, it would sink nearly intact.

The problem here is that Unger mentioned the loss of Flight 19. A Rogue Wave would not take down an aircraft. They just aren’t tall enough to do that. Although Unger mentioned Flight 19, he didn’t say a word about the impossibility of a wave knocking an aircraft out of the sky. There are some interesting ideas about what happened to Flight 19 and I did explore those on my radio show/podcast. You can listen to those interviews here.

My real point is that Unger didn’t address the problem with aircraft and he didn’t really write about anything that hasn’t been suggested before. This seemed to be click bait, which worked on me until I got tired of the story moving into arenas that has nothing to do with the Bermuda Triangle. Just be glad that you didn’t have to click through 40 pages of three sentence text and 9 million ads to learn nothing new. I did that for you.

Too Young to Be Believed: The White Sands Sightings

Here’s something else that really annoys me. I’ve been doing some research into the Levelland case after Robert Sheaffer mentioned that four of the witnesses had been discredited. I’m not sure discredited is the correct word, but I have discovered some problems with three of these testimonies, but that’s a discussion for another time.

This led me to the sightings at White Sands Missile Range that took place some two or three hours after the sightings in Levelland. The witnesses were military police on routine patrol and reported an object that descended onto the range and according to the testimony, including what one of them told me, the object was seen below the horizon and not all that far away. That rules out the “official” explanation, which, of course, doesn’t mean it was an alien spacecraft.

What annoyed me was the statements made by the investigating officer after the interviews. He basically rejected the testimony of the men because of their youth. Glenn Toy was 21 and James Wilbanks was only 19. The impression that because of their youth, they were naïve and impressionable. I mean, one was still a teenager and you would expect them to be overly excited by the attention being paid to them.

187th AHC on the ground. 
The problem is that the military often places great responsibility on the shoulders of the young, including teenagers. As a single example of this, I was appointed an aircraft commander at 19. I had, by that time, flown nearly 300 hours in that combat arena and had an additional 200 hours of flight time. I lead the flight more than once, and was responsible for my aircraft and the lives of the crew, not to mention the passengers.

I might mention here one other aspect of it. In our unit we called one of the helicopter pilots and aircraft commanders “Papa.” He was the oldest of the men who were assigned to the flight and was not one of the platoon leaders or the company commander. I mention this because, at that  time, Papa was… TWENTY-THREE.

The point is that you simply can’t look at the age of the person and decide that he or she is somehow less than competent. The Army looked at the skills of the soldier to decide what his or her responsibilities might be. All we have to do is look through history to see that soldiers have often reacted with intelligence, skill and courage in some nearly unimaginable situations.

You can reject the White Sands sightings of November 3, 1957, because you don’t believe in alien visitation or because you believe there is another solution that doesn’t require the invention of interstellar travel, but you can’t reject it because the witnesses were so young. In the military that is just a non-starter.

Monday, July 27, 2020

UAV's and a Little Corroboration for the Latest Story

In Ufology, it seems that every time there is an issue that has a clear solution, someone, somewhere comes up with a new problem. Just last week Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal reported on the continuation of a secret program to gather UFO information. There had been some definitive statements made about crash retrievals and “off world vehicles not made on this earth.”

I talked with John Greenewald about this and he offered an interesting scenario that suggested the “notes” provided by Dr. Eric Davis read more like a scene from a movie script than it did the sort of thing that would be written down during a meeting. His theory is interesting and not completely outside the realm of possibility. You can listen to our discussion here:

I had said that Davis’ brief mention of the Del Rio UFO crash as a real event was problematic. It was single witness and he had radically altered his story from his first telling of it. Robert Willingham, contrary to his claims, had not been an Air Force fighter pilot and had not retired as an Air Force colonel. With those revelations, he took down the Del Rio crash proving it was a hoax. He lied about who he was and how he had been involved. Given that Davis seemed to accept this tale as true suggested that Davis was not the insider he claimed to be.

Now, however, I learned that Lisa Rein, who is the Digital Librarian for the Timothy Leary Archives, has released an interview that she conducted with Dr. Edgar Mitchell in 2010. During that interview, Mitchell said, “…another contact… [ellipses in original] encountered the Admiral in Las Vegas, where he had been looking for and trying to get into the so-called ‘strategic access program’ around the UFO incident and had been denied.”

This sounds suspiciously like the tale that was told to Davis by Admiral Thomas Wilson. Of course, those of you who have been paying attention, realize that no names were appended to this revelation and that Mitchell apparently never said anything like this to anyone else… not to mention that Wilson has denied that the conversation ever took place. So this might refer to something else.

I’m not a fan of plugging in the names here so that it fits with one of the current stories going around the UFO field. I mention this in the interest of fairness, because it is suggestive of some sort of reality behind what Davis has claimed. There are the other problems with Davis’ version of some events and his seeming lack of knowledge about the discredited Del Rio UFO crash is evidence of that. This isn’t actually enough to validate the claim but it is enough for us to say, “Well, maybe, but probably not.”    

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Unexplained Aerial Vehicles, the New Times, and Eric Davis

In what I suspect The New York Times thinks of as an exclusive story, Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal reported that the AATIP program, which had supposedly been suspended and disbanded, still existed. The name had been changed and the location changed but the Office of Naval Intelligence was still gathering information on UAPs, which is the new and improved name for UFOs.

We learn that the program, now known as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force (UAPTF) was to “standardize collection and reporting” on these UAP sightings or what has been described as unexplained aerial vehicles which seems to put back into that acronym some of the trouble found with UFO. UFO, an Unidentified Flying Object implied, in the name, that there was an object and that it was flying as if under some sort of control.

An Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon brought none of that baggage to the discussion because a cloud, under bizarre conditions, could be described as an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon.

But I digress…

According to the Times report, the findings of this renamed and relocated organization, would be made public every six months (which should have actually said, that the director of national intelligence is supposed to report 180 days after the enactment of the authorization and not every six months). The Times noted that some of the retired senior officials hoped “the program will seek evidence of vehicles from other worlds,” but the main focus would be to discover if our competitors on the world stage have developed an aerial platform that allows them to penetrate our air space and well, basically, spy on US military facilities.

Senator Marco Rubio, the acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that they were worried about “unidentified aircraft” over US military bases. Rubio said that some of the unidentified aerial vehicles (and now another new acronym: UAV, which also means Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) possibly exhibited technologies that are not available to US military forces but he also suggested that there might be “a completely, sort of, boring explanation for it…”

All of which strikes me as a bunch of weasel worded statements meant in an attempt to spice up a story about nothing. Might be, possibly, maybe and the like. No one came out and said what he or she really thought about it because in the world of politics it is necessary to carefully phrase a statement so that, if it turns out to be wrong, the speaker can deflect the criticism.

But I digress, again…

The real problem with this latest expose is that one of the sources quoted is Dr. Eric Davis, who had earlier claimed that in private conversation with Admiral Thomas Wilson, he had learned about the on-going UFO or UAP studies, and that there had been crash retrievals. That meant that the technology had failed and that US authorities were in possession of that technology. In passing, in a comment on national radio, Davis suggested that the Del Rio UFO crash was real. He refused to expand on this.

Dr. Eric Davis
To me, that suggested that Davis might not be as inside as he would like us all to believe. The Del Rio UFO crash is based on the testimony and affidavit of a single source, a man who claimed to be a retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot. Robert Willingham first told his story in March 1968 in an issue of MUFON’s first magazine known as Skylook.

In that earliest, 1948 version of the story Willingham had said that he was flying an F-94, when he was alerted by the Dew Line (a radar fence built in Canada) that a UFO had been tracked. Willingham said that he saw three objects, one of which was in trouble. It eventually crashed just south of the Mexico-Texas border near Del Rio. He managed to get there to witness part of that retrieval operation.

In the 1970s, Willingham provided an affidavit about the crash, altering some of the details. Eventually, it was claimed that the crash of a single object had taken place in 1950. Later still, Willingham changed the date to the mid-1950s. There were other problems with his tale, and the lack of proof that he had been an Air Force officer, let alone a colonel didn’t help. I went over all this on this blog and you can read about it here:

The point here, however, is that if Davis was on the inside of these sorts of things, he would have known, as so many of us do, that the Del Rio crash is a hoax. I published that information more than a
Robert Willingham in
his CAP uniform.
decade ago along with the reasons the story is not true. But that is not the only credibility issue here.

In his “notes” about his discussion with Admiral Wilson, who denies everything about this alleged 2002 meeting, he said that Wilson had met with or talked to General Michael Kostenlnik sometime in April, May or June 1997 about a Special Access Program which dealt with UFOs. Chris Lambright discovered that Kostelnik was not involved in the SAPs and he had left his position in the Pentagon in the Secretary of Defense Office some two years before Wilson attempted to gather the information. When Davis alleged that Wilson had met or talked with Kostelnik as the director, Kostelnik was assigned to a new job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

To be accurate, Wilson, if he truly told Davis anything, should have mentioned Kostelnik’s successor rather than Kostelnik. Both of these items, his belief in the Del Rio crash and his job at the Pentagon should raise red flags about the reliability of Davis’ information because it demonstrates a problem the value of his information. At best, it was out of date and at worse it is based on Internet searches to provide a note of credibility to what is, in fact, an incredible story.

John Greenewald published his own analysis about those notes, suggesting it read more like an early treatment for some sort of drama as opposed to actual notes taken during a meeting. You can listen to him describe that here:

In the final analysis, there is not much to this story. We already knew that former Senator Harry Reid had been involved in securing the financing for the AATIP program. We had already seen the trouble with the three Nimitz videos released into the public arena and we had listened to the various Pentagon statements about them.

To make matters worse, the Times posted a correction to an earlier version of the story. According to them, Senator Reid had been quoted as saying that he had not said that “[UFO] crashes had occurred and that retrieved material had been secretly studied for decades.” He had said that he believed it, which removes a great deal of importance from his statement. In fact, it changes the revelations from authenticated and moves them into a realm of speculation that has been discussed, literally, for decades.

When this latest “Breaking News” is digested, it turns out to be little more than rumor based on the tales Eric Davis, whose inside information is no better than that of a ten-year-old kid with Internet access. Given all that is known about this news inside the UFO community is it astonishing that no reporter thought to ask a few questions that would have put this latest information into its proper perspective… interesting but nothing newsworthy.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - John Greenewald

This week was a two-part show with John Greenewald, inspired by the renewed interest in the Dr. Eric Davis notes about an alleged meeting with Admiral Thomas Wilson. We began, however talking about the recent events at the top of the MUFON organization and how that might hurt them in the long run. You can listen to the shows here:

We then talked about John’s theory that the notes Davis took read more like a
John Greenewald
Hollywood script than the notes of a meeting. John explained his theory on that, and that he’d, in the past, emailed Davis a number of times without response. John also mentioned why he didn’t accept the notes, finding fault with Davis’ discussion, in another interview, of classified documents. Davis had said that classified documents wouldn’t be released for 25 years, even under FOIA. Both John and I knew that wasn’t correct.

 I mentioned Davis’ claim that the Del Rio UFO crash was real. I have investigated that, and the alleged witness, Robert Willingham, and determined the case to be a hoax. You can read about my investigation here:

Well, I think that proves the point if not bury it completely. Willingham’s claims annoyed me because of his creation of an Air Force career that he didn’t have and wearing of medals that he hadn’t earned (with the exception of those awarded by the Civil Air Patrol).

In the second hour, we shifted to the idea of Disclosure and to the AATIP program. John provided some information that the sightings from the USS Nimitz might not have been anything of an extraterrestrial nature. He cited documents that he had recovered through FOIA. Some of the earlier documents didn’t actually mention UAPs (the new term for UFO) but suggested terrestrial explanations. John did make it clear that there is not, at the moment, a clear solution for what was seen, only that there is some ambiguity in the witness statements and the evidence.

I said that I had thought, upon the first release of the videos, that we were moving closer to Disclosure, but John thought that hadn’t really moved us in that direction. He, like me, just don’t believe that Disclosure is close. Assuming for the moment that there is any great UFO secret to disclose, the government and the military have no motivation to disclose anything.

John did say that he thought of Disclosure as more of a personal event, meaning that each person could look at the evidence and decide what it meant. For some, the evidence of alien visitation was solid and for others the question was still open… neither of us actually thought about the skeptical point of view that there was nothing to disclose and therefore would be no Disclosure.

Next up is John M. Tiller who is a member of Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies and who edited their latest publication. We’ll delve into their mission and what that latest publication revealed.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of SCU, but have done little with them in the last year. If you have any questions, submit them through the comments section here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Jan Harzan and the Decline of MUFON

Jan Harzan, the Executive Director of the Mutual UFO Network, was arrested by Huntington Beach, California, police on July 3 on charges of soliciting sexual activity with a thirteen-year-old girl.

According to the Huntington Beach Police website, Harzan solicited the minor to meet with him for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. Instead of the young
Jan Harzan
girl, Harzan was arrested by detectives who were there to take him into custody. He has been charged with multiple felonies.

Harzan became the MUFON Executive Director in 2013, and since that time, MUFON has undergone a number of changes and endured several scandals that rocked the organization. In 2018, John Ventre, the MUFON Pennsylvania State Director and a member of MUFON’s “Inner Circle,” posted several racist comments on his personal Facebook page after learning about a Netflix series that he claimed promoted white genocide. Ventre wrote, “The last things blacks want is for white males to organize and that’s not too far away!”

In Harzan’s tepid response, he worried about the social media world in which we all now live rather than the racist nature of the comments. Harzan wrote, in part, “there is no justice in hate.” After an internal rebellion by a number of MUFON’s state directors, including the resignation of a few, Harzan’s statement was withdrawn, replaced by another and Ventre was removed from his leadership positions in MUFON.

Just last month, Ken Pfeiffer, MUFON Rhode Island and Vermont State Director, posted a number of allegedly racist comments to his Facebook page. MUFON took no action because they found no evidence of bigotry in his posts.

The Inner Circle caused additional trouble for Harzan and MUFON after Ventre’s rant. Although described by Harzan as a “donor level perk” without any real clout in the operation of MUFON, the website described it differently. According to that website, “Inner Circle members provide advisory guidance to MUFON and are included in annual conference calls, attend private functions…” which sounds like something more significant than a donor level perk.

Importantly, the website added, “You’ll meet other Inner Circle members at MUFON who are kindred spirits [emphasis added] and you’ll participate in Inner Circle Only events.”

Joining Ventre and Harzan in this Inner Circle was J Z Knight, described as a New Age leader who channels a 35,000-year-old Lemurian warrior named Ramtha. While that sort of belief is not a disqualifying characteristic, her attitudes which were “filtered” through Ramtha said “To screw [though she used far stronger language] over God’s chosen people”, meaning the Jews. She said they’d earned enough cash to have paid their way “out of the… gas chambers by now.”

Ramtha, speaking through Knight, added that Mexicans “breed like rabbits,” all gay men were once Catholic priests and that organic farmers have questionable hygiene.

To make matters worse, another member of the Inner Circle was David MacDonald, who owned a flight service that provided a platform for those who wished to join the Mile-High Club. While certainly not as egregious as the racist and homophobic comments made by other members of the Inner Circle, the sexual nature of that activity has now come back to haunt MUFON.

Chris Cogswell was the MUFON Director of Research who resigned because of what he termed the “racist culture” at the organization. He said that the leadership at MUFON had been problematic for years. The attitudes of some of the State Directors and the members of the Inner Circle certainly reflect that.

Before all this came to the attention of the UFO community, MUFON had been involved in earlier scandals. John Carpenter, one time MUFON’s Director of Abduction Research, sold confidential information and notes about the abductees he interviewed and hypnotically regressed to a third party. According to some of those abductees, they had been told that the information would remain confidential. Carpenter admitted that he had received cash payments from Robert Bigelow through the Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, on multiple occasions, but, he said, his clients had not been hurt and that he had just supplied notes rather than cases. However, in a letter dated June 29, 1996, Carpenter wrote to Bigelow, stating, “Personally, I want to thank you, Bob, for your assistance regarding the 140 cases I mailed to you.”

For those interested in this rather tangential tale, the complete story, including the documentation, can be found here:

Although MUFON did not profit, directly, from Carpenter’s cooperation with Bigelow, MUFON did enter into an agreement with Bigelow Aerospace, again sharing information that the volunteers and unpaid field investigators had collected. MUFON was paid for the information but that money did not trickle down to those volunteers. This all began under the administration of Walt Andrus, the original International Director. John Schuessler, who took over from Andrus as this story began to break at the turn of the century may not have been aware of these arrangements. The April 2001 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal announced that Carpenter had resigned his position as the Director of Abduction Research, which tended to end that scandal.

One question arises from all this. What, exactly, is the mission of MUFON? Originally it had to do with the scientific investigation of UFOs, but in the last decade, it seemed to have shifted into creating financial streams of compensation for the MUFON corporation. Scientific investigation has been lost under the stewardship of Harzan.

One of the best examples for this redirection is the list of speakers announced for the 2017 MUFON Symposium. Here the criterion seemed to be who could fill the seats without a thought given to the reality of the story. For those interested in this episode see:

In 2018, X-Zone’s Rob McConnell created a petition calling for the removal of Harzan as the Executive Director. Response was tepid with some of those in the organization, defending Harzan and his leadership.

The petition didn’t gain much traction when it was first announced. Ironically, two years later, the MUFON Board did react to the arrest of Harzan faster than they did when Harzan had almost justified Ventre’s rant. In a matter of hours, they announced that Harzan was out and that there is no place for him in the organization in the future no matter the outcome of his current trouble. Harzan had not been convicted of a crime, only that he had been charged with multiple felonies.

The problem here is that the Board replaced Harzan with David MacDonald, a member of the Inner Circle. According to the information available, MUFON had taken the precaution of creating a way to rapidly transfer power from the west coast if there was a catastrophic event to their California headquarters. I was told that it took little more than the push of a button for the operation to shift.  

MacDonald’s selection did not meet with universal approval. As one member of the UFO community put it, “…this seems to me to be an incredibly tone deaf appointment by the MUFON board considering what just occurred with Jan Harzan. I mean the guy ran a company for aerial sex. Is this going to smooth over the bad publicity over the reprehensible sexual activities of the previous International Director [Harzan]?”

The speculation by some of the MUFON membership is that the organization might not be able to survive the latest scandal. At worse, it could fragment with some of the State Directors, or regional officers organizing on a smaller level. At best, it could see MUFON return to its original mission of scientific investigation and an elimination of some of the more controversial elements of the paranormal that has crept into the MUFON hierarchy.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Rob Swiatek (Harzan Scandal)

By a strange coincidence, I had invited MUFON Board Member Rob Swiatek on the show to talk about the history of MUFON and what is happening in the world of UFOs today. Less than twenty-four hours before we sat down, Jan Harzan, MUFON’s Executive Director, was arrested for attempting to engage in sexual
Rob Swiatek
activity with a minor, according to the Huntington Beach Police. That was, of course, the eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the room. As Rob mentioned, we could not not talk about it.

I began the show with a brief history of MUFON, starting with its creation in the late 1960s. I mentioned that Walt Andrus, the original International Director but a one time member of APRO, had approached Coral Lorenzen of APRO with the idea that he would organize the field investigators in the Midwest into a network to prevent duplication. This was the genesis of MUFON. Coral Lorenzen was furious about Andrus break with APRO to start his own organization.

After that very brief history, we moved onto the discussion of Harzan and what it meant for MUFON. You can listen to that discussion here:

During the interview, we did get some insight into the reactions of those inside MUFON and on the Board to the police report. It shocked nearly everyone who heard the news. My first reaction was that it was some sort of a hoax, but I made contact with some of those I know in the UFO field. It became clear, quickly, that
Jan Harzan
the information was true and that it had been released on the Huntington Beach Police website. There was a mug shot and a few additional details.

According to Rob, MUFON had prepared for some sort of a catastrophic event at the top before this happened so that there was a plan to pass the leadership to another if necessary. Their thinking, frankly, seemed to be that a natural disaster at MUFON headquarters in California would be the culprit. Leadership would then pass to another at the push of a button. The new Executive Director, selected by the Board in the hours after the news about Harzan broke, was David MacDonald, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

There were those in the UFO community but not necessarily members of MUFON, who wondered if this wasn’t a somewhat tone deaf (a term that will probably offend someone in the world today) move. MacDonald had run, and may still run, an aerial charter service that helped consenting adults join the “Mile High Club.” One of those commenters wondered, “I mean the guy ran a company for aerial sex. Is this going to smooth over the bad publicity over the reprehensible sexual activities of the previous International Director?”

Now, I confess that I’m a little concerned about this rush to judgement because, to be fair, Harzan has not been convicted of anything at this point. Arrest does not translate into guilt. I talked with Rob McConnell and in X-Zone Radio Show a few hours after I had interviewed Rob Swiatek (what are the odds there would be two Robs in this story?) and mentioned this. You can listen to our discussion here:

I think we make it clear that MUFON had no choice, and given the facts as they developed. The accusation was enough to require action by the Board. More to the point, it doesn’t seem as if there is any error in the arrest. Still, Harzan has not been convicted of a crime.

The other thing that has come up, as both Robs and I discussed is that in the last several years, MUFON has been rocked by a number of scandals, from racist rants by state directors, to similar statements held by members of what is called the Inner Circle. I did explore some of this a number of years ago and you can read about some of that here which links to the interview:

There was another part of the discussion as well. I was concerned that the mission of MUFON had changed from investigating UFOs to a more business-oriented strategy of filling the corporate coffers. Rob Swiatek said that the mission hadn’t actually changed, but in thinking about it, I believe that it has. Investigation was secondary to creating income streams. In other words, speakers at a recent MUFON Symposium were invited, not for their scientific credibility but for their ability to put butts in the seats. For those who wish to learn a little more about this, you can read some of my thoughts here:

For those in the UFO community, the latest scandal, is important even though it has nothing to do with UFO research. When the leadership falls, it sometimes takes everything down with it. This just might be one of those times. There are already rumblings by some of the membership that this was one step too far and some of those have said they will sever their connections to the organization.

Next week I’ll be talking with John Greenewald about Eric Davis and Admiral Wilson. What is the true story here? John has an interesting theory. And, we’ll probably talk about the latest from the AATIP program. If you have questions, let me know in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

MUFON Board of Directors Statement

For those interested, here is the statement released by the MUFON Board of Directors about this on-going story:

In light of recent events, Jan Harzan has been permanently removed as the Executive Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
Effective immediately, he will no longer serve any role in the organization.
David MacDonald, Executive Director Emeritus and a member of the MUFON Board of Directors, will now assume the duties of Executive Director. MUFON remains committed to its core mission: the study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity. This mission is greater than any one person or member of MUFON and supersedes all other considerations. We will continue to move forward and focus on our mission statement.
The MUFON Board of Directors
I will have more information later in the day. I will be talking with Rob Swiatec, a member of the board about this and will post a link to the show as soon as it becomes available. I will also be talking with Rob McConnell about this on hi X-Zone Radio Show this evening.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan Arrested

Just hours ago, I learned that Jan Harzan, the Executive Director of MUFON, had been arrested on a number of felony charges. He is accused of soliciting a minor “for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.” The Huntington Beach Police Department said that Harzan had been communicating with a girl he believed to be thirteen.

Jan Harzan
According to the police, “"On July 3, detectives contacted a male by the name of Jan Harzan after Harzan solicited sexual activity from a detective he believed was a 13 year old girl. The suspect [Harzan] solicited the minor to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity, and when the suspect agreed to meet the supposed minor, detectives were there to take him into custody. [Harzan was] arrested for multiple felonies and transported to the Huntington Beach Jail [for] specifically targeting minor females online."
Harzan had been the Executive Director of MUFON since 2013 and had shifted the direction of the organization from a more active, scientific investigation of UFOs to one that seemed to have a more business-oriented mission.
MUFON began in the late 1960s, when Walt Andrus, then a member of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) suggested to Coral Lorenzen that he would organize the field investigators living in the Midwest into a group to prevent duplication of effort. According to Lorenzen, this was the core of MUFON, originally named the Midwest UFO Network. Andrus eventually broke with APRO turning MUFON into the Mutual UFO Network, an autonomous organization.

In recent years, after the retirement of Andrus, MUFON had several international directors and in 2013, Harzan took over as the Executive Director. He changed the look of the MUFON Journal from a magazine that dealt with UFO sightings, investigations and controversies to one that focused on glitz with very little real substance.

In 2018, John Ventre, then the Pennsylvania State Director, a member of MUFON’s “Inner Circle,” and a promoter of UFO symposium in the northeast US, was fired after a Facebook posting that was little more than a racist rant. Ventre said that it was in response to the promos for a television program that seemed to portray white Americans in a very negative light. Harzan’s response was tepid at best but under pressure, he eventually fired Ventre.

The episode resulted in several state directors resigning because of the lack of a swift response. And just last month another state director made a number of comments posted to a number of racist comments on his Facebook page.

This latest is just another in a long list of missteps. Members of the Inner Circle also made racist comments. Membership in the Inner Circle was based on a yearly contribution of five grand to the organization. In recent years, a number of them have dropped out because of past comments and beliefs.

This latest blow, given the serious nature of the accusations, does not bode well for MUFON. Some of the members I have communicated with in the last few hours have suggested this might mean the end of MUFON. I was told, “This is awful for MUFON.”

I will be interviewing Rob Swiatec, a member of the MUFON Board of Directors for my radio show/podcast. I’ll post a link to it as soon as it is available.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Treasure Quest and Cork Graham

Once again, I’m annoyed. Yes, this happens all the time now and this annoyance has to do with Treasure Quest, that once had “Snake Island” appended to it but that is no longer relevant. As happened before when Keith Plaskett left a comment to one of my posts about Treasure Quest, Cork Graham did the same. Like
Keith Plaskett
Plaskett, he was on the first two seasons when they were searching for the Treasure of the Trinity. While my interest was now on the third season and what happened to the fourth, I thought he might be able to shed some light on that.

I found his Facebook page and sent him a message telling him that I hosted a radio show/podcast version of A Different Perspective. I thought he might be interested in appearing to talk about his experiences on Treasure Quest. His response was, “Would love to be on your show.”

In my response to that, I asked a couple of questions, which revolved around the third season. I knew that he hadn’t been seen on camera but thought he might have some insight into why, after the discovery of the Inca artifacts at the end of season two, and the suggestion that they were now close to finding hundreds of millions of dollars, the emphasis of the show switched to the Sacambaya treasure in Bolivia worth a ridiculously estimated two billion dollars. I also mentioned that I had interview Plaskett about Treasure Quest.

His response was, shall we say, less then complementary about his fellow castmates on Treasure Quest. Yes, I said castmates because that seems to be a better term for who they were. It was clear that Graham didn’t like Plaskett or Plaskett’s friend Jeremy Whalen. I did notice that Graham’s book, found on Amazon (of course) had a one-star rating from Plaskett, which isn’t surprising. Graham mentioned he wished he could hear Plaskett’s interview which was easy for me to arrange. I just sent him the link found on this blog. In fact, you can listen to it here:

In my email to him, I did say that Plaskett had told me that they didn’t know what was going to happen each day until they got the scripts. Graham wrote back, saying, “Let me make this 100 percent clear: this was a fully scripted show, with 100 percent hired actors, created by Discovery in order to complete against History Channel’s Curse of Oak Island.

He also wrote, “I’m definitely willing and able to come on your show, but only after you’re squared away with the knowledge I’ve already put out in an attempt to correct all this major FUBARy [fouled up beyond all recognition… and the “F” really stands for another word, but I used the G-ratedT version] sold to audiences around the world…”

I had wondered if the whole Plaskett “flashback to Vietnam,” had been scripted as well. If true, that offended me greatly. Graham wrote, “Plaskett had gone through two bottles of rum by the time we were on set the morning of the shoot that not only led to Plaskett replaying his memories with the 82nd as a combat engineer in the VN jungles, amplified by the booze…”

Graham suggested that Plaskett was to hold back and suffer from dehydration, but the Vietnam memories that surfaced had nothing to do with what was in the script. You might say that was something of a bonus that provided a better hook
The mission where the silver bar was allegedly
for that episode of the show, which, again is offensive.

For those who remember that, they had allegedly been trekking through the jungle from their boat, heading for this mission where a silver bar had allegedly been found, suggesting it was part of the Treasure of the Trinity. What we all learned was that the mission wasn’t some ruin deep in the jungle, but was a tourist attraction with a paved highway running near it and a town not all that far away that had a Sheridan Resort Hotel. You can read about that here:

Graham then slings a number of other allegations that are serious criminal offenses that I’m not going to repeat here. He told me in the email it was all in his book, so if you are interested in them, you can read the allegations there. He wrote, “Let me know when you’re done with the book and you’ll be more than ready to ask questions that would have been asked of Plaskett, as he was my source on much of this…”

I didn’t like being told what I must do for my show, and his trying to set the rules. I pointed out that the guests normally made copies of their books available to the host. This was the first time that a potential guest had required me to buy the book so that I could be “more than ready to ask questions…” I also pointed out that the appearance on the show provided the author with hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of free advertising for their book and I was surprised that he expected me to buy a book that would, basically, reinforce what I already knew. True, there would be new details and new examples of the staged nature of the show, but then again, Plaskett had told me that and I had reported it.

That was the last I heard from him. He seemed annoyed that I had set the terms for the show, but I made it clear the offer to appear was still viable. After not hearing from him, I sent a short email, again extending the invitation. His response was that work was piling up and thought that the last part of July or first week in August would work.

Well, I understood that our lives sometimes get in the way of doing a radio show or podcast. I try to remain flexible and provide a guest with a number of options. This was a story that I wanted to tell and I was willing to make some accommodations, as long as it was understood that it was my show.

After several weeks, I sent him an email for the last two shows in July or the first one in August. His response? “Thanks for the opportunity to chat with you on your show, Kevin, but at this time I’ve got so much work to do… that I’ll have to pass.”

Here is the take away from all this. I have communicated with two members of the original cast of Treasure Quest and both have been quite clear that the show was scripted. The Discovery Channel held auditions to recruit the cast, that they massaged the situations to build tension (like trashing the boat but not having it stolen and the dehydration of Plaskett for extra  drama), and that they wrote the scripts to provide that tension (sure as the loss of a knapsack with important research papers in it). Their research into the “treasures” was less than complex and when they didn’t have information, they simply made it up. According to Graham and hinted by Plaskett, the producers salted the area so the cast members could keep the narrative going, and when that failed, they changed directions, meaning the new search with a slightly different cast for a different but much more valuable treasure.

I have gone over much of this stuff time and again on this blog. When Plaskett had his melt down in the strip of jungle, we found out that there was more than just the cast traipsing through the jungle. There were cameramen, sound engineers, a doctor, and who knows how many others were with them. In one of the shots of them working on Plaskett, you see several people standing around, not to mention those actually doing something.

You can read about Snake Island and the trouble with the various episodes with the problems here:

I could go on, but just type Treasure Quest or Sacambaya Treasure into the search engine found on the left side of the blog and you can read the various postings about the show over all the seasons.

As I pointed out as they began season three in Bolivia, they weren’t very clever about hiding the truth. We’re told they had to use burros to pack into the area where the Sacambaya treasure was hidden. But their whole research was based on a story told in a travel guide written a hundred years ago. There simply is no evidence that the treasure ever existed. You can read about this here:

But the real point is that later in season three we learn that after a stroll of thirteen hours they arrived at a small town. And then they drive back to their search area in a truck, and they take an excavator with them. Did no one at Discovery think that we’d put it all together to realize they could have, and probably did, drive to the search area in the very beginning and that the trek with burros was for the drama. Bogus from the word “Go”.

While I think Cork Graham would have made an interesting show, and although he agreed, with enthusiasm to appear, he bowed out when he learned that I wasn’t going to cave to his demands. I’d run the show and he, as the guest, would not. I wish we could have done it, but as they say, “These things happen.”