Monday, March 21, 2022

Another UFO "Magazine"


They sucked me in again…

Just last week on the radio show, I suggested that I was tired of all these people writing books about UFOs who didn’t bother to do their research. I didn’t want to single out any one writer because, hey, I understand being criticized for something that took me months to write… even if those months weren’t filled with in depth research.

But then I saw, on what used to be the magazine rack but now holds all these one-time special magazine format, well, magazines, another one devoted to UFOs. This one was called The Complete Guide to Aliens & UFOs: The Search for the Truth. A pretty grandiose title for something that had so many pictures and irrelevant side trips. Does it really tell us anything useful about UFOs because the “stars” such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, January Jones and Jaden Smith have an opinion about them?

When I see one of these “magazines,” the first thing I do is look at the segment on Roswell because everyone of them has a segment on Roswell. I’ll start here where they (whoever they are) wrote, “…what really happened in the summer of 1947 on

William Mack Brazel

rancher William ‘Mac’ Brazel’s ranch…” We, of course, know that it was the Foster ranch and Brazel was the ranch foreman. We know, because more than two decades ago Tom Carey and Don Schmitt photographed Brazel’s grave showing us it as Mack rather than Mac.

In that paragraph they continued, “It started when Brazel and his son Vernon came upon odd debris – “bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil and rather rough paper and sticks – strewn across a field.” But, of course, it wasn’t Brazel and his son, but Brazel and Dee Proctor, the son of his neighbors.

I was going to stop at this point, but the next paragraph provides the paradox that I examine in a little more detail in Understanding Roswell. They wrote, “Brazel gathered up what he could and took it to Roswell Sheriff George Wilcox.” But if the debris was as described above, and Major Jesse Marcel had the opportunity to examine it in the sheriff’s office, what would have compelled him to drive out the ranch to see more of the same? I mean, according to that description, the material brought in by Brazel was nothing so extraordinary that the Air Intelligence Officer, the highest-ranking intelligence officer on the base, couldn’t recognize it for what it was… parts of a weather balloon and a rawin radar reflector. At that point, Marcel would have had no reason to drive out to the ranch because there was nothing for him to investigate out there.

Okay, just one more little slip up here. They write, “It was Marcel who made a public statement on July 8…” No, it was Colonel William Blanchard, the commanding officer in Roswell, who ordered Lieutenant Walter Haut to make that statement. Marcel did not provide any information to Haut, he did not write the statement, and he had no authority to issue the statement without Blanchard’s permission.

All this nonsense in the space of two paragraphs and it gets worse. They mention Philip Corso’s nonsensical and discredited book about the reverse engineering. They do nothing to suggest that Corso’s account couldn’t be trusted, other than ask, “Where is the hard evidence?”

We are then treated to the Roswell Slides fiasco. They mention Adam Dew and Joe Beason, who claimed to have gotten pictures of an alien body from Beason’s sister. Of course, we all know the outcome of that. I will note that I did interview Dew a number of years ago and you can listen to that conversation here:

And for those who wish to revisit the Roswell Slides, or, rather explore this in a little greater depth, you can find it here:

The magazine writers conclude this somewhat inaccurate and more than a little biased account by quoting Karl Pflock and invoking Project Mogul. They end the segment with Karl’s quote, “… all but certainly something from the Top-Secret Project Mogul.” They don’t mention that while the ultimate purpose of Mogul was classified, the experiments in New Mexico and the equipment used were not.

Ramey, crouching and DuBose, sitting,
examine the remains of a weather
balloon and rawin target.

I did have to grin at the caption (cutline in the world of newspapers and magazines) on the picture of General Ramey and Colonel DuBose with some metallic debris. They wrote, “Alien Tech? Army Brass identify metallic fragments and balloon.” Absolutely correct. They didn’t tell us, however, that one of the men in the picture, Colonel DuBose, told UFO researchers that these pictures did not show the material brought from New Mexico.

Yes, I found other errors. In what I think of as a sidebar, they briefly, very briefly, discuss Project Blue Book. They note that Pamela Weintraub, their editor-in-chief, interviewed Dr. J. Allen Hynek in Scottsdale, Arizona before Hynek died in 1986 (which I note only to suggest the interview is decades old and did not mean to suggest the interview took place after Hynek’s death). They introduce Hynek by saying he ran Project Blue Book from 1952-1969. Of course, we know that Blue Book had been preceded by Project Sign in 1948 and then Project Grudge before it became Blue Book, and that it was always “run” by an Air Force officer. Hynek was the scientific consultant and never ran the project.

I was going to provide some limited praise for this compilation of poor reporting, but then I found this quote, “For the first time in the 75-year history of UFO sightings, the military has admitted some objects are ‘real’ – but what does that mean?” I was a little surprised to find the quote attributed to A.J.S. Rayl. She should know better… in September 1947, Lieutenant General Nathan F. Twining, in a letter calling for the creation of an investigation into the flying saucers, wrote “The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.” That seems to be the military admitting, 75 years ago, that the objects are real.

But enough of this. I was most outraged in the segment called “Stellar Selections,” that reviewed “The greatest alien movies of all time.” While I agreed with most of the picks, I couldn’t believe they missed the greatest of all of them… The Thing from Another World (1951) starring Ken Tobey,

In case you missed the point here, this was a superficial examination of the UFO field that provided nothing extraordinary. It followed, what? The party line?  Roswell was Mogul. Shag Harbour was the result of a Soviet spacecraft crash? And which one would that be…

This isn’t a very good introduction to the world of UFOs, alien visitation, the search for extraterrestrial life. I can’t see where those who would be interested in this wouldn’t already be familiar with the information contained in here… on the other hand, there are a lot of color pictures.


Bryan Sentes said...

It's a real game of Whack-a-mole, eh.

Glad to get word of your latest Roswell book! Gonna git meself a copy, forthwith!

Donald said...

Agree entirely about THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.

Joeschmoe said...

It's unfortunate and disturbing that Hollywood celebrities hold the doctrine that their opinions are gospel and that their fans should, and in all probability, accept the opinions from the likes of Lovato and Cyrus.This trend also crosses over into the world of politics as well.. And there's an ample quantity of dim wits who accept their views..As far as an abundance of photos in books or magazines, I recall a H.S. teacher advising a class of students in a study hall: "Open your txt books and read..and if you don't how to read, look at the pictures "

Olden said...

I wonder if Colonel “Butch” Blanchard, Major Jesse Marcel and Lieutenant Walter Haut all sat in a movie theater somewhere in the USA during 1951, and while watching Howard Hawks’ sci-fi classic, “The Thing From Another World,” they each said to themselves, “Been there, done that”?