The late researcher of UFOs, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, once wrote that, “In one’s frustration it is all too easy to seize on an explanation of the “Men from Mars” variety and to ignore the many UFO features unaccounted for… We may be inadvertently and artificially increasing the significance of the conspicuous features while the part we ignore–or that which is not reported by the untrained witness–may contain the clue to the whole subject.”
I would also argue just as well that, in addition to part of the UFO enigma that remain hidden, there might be researchers in this field that do the same.
I recently attended the 2013 International UFO Congress as a speaker, as well as a panelist for a discussion with fellow researchers Stanton Friedman and Richard Dolan, where we discussed the state of ufology in the 21st century. The Congress, arguably the largest and most well-attended UFO conference anywhere in the world, is not only a proving ground for both the budding young researcher and the decades-in ufologist alike; it is also a breeding ground for new ideas and the formation of new hypotheses, which may eventually sow the seeds of new insight toward solving this enduring mystery.
International UFO Congress – Educating the World One Person at a Time
And yet, while there is this obvious mainstream component to the UFO research community, there is another more clandestine arm of the community that is less active before the public eye… but not all things that are “secretive” are necessarily nefarious or part of some grand dark conspiracy. In truth, it may be within the humble confines of Ufology’s “Shadow Research Community” that some of the more innovative thinkers exist, working out problems behind the scenes that many point-and-click researchers of today might overlook altogether.
No doubt, a statement of this caliber might be enough to anger many prideful UFO researchers at large (although I would argue that most serious UFO researchers will learn early on to rid themselves of any pride, lest they be crushed by the seething sensationalism in the mainstream media, and their overt approach toward the UFO community in general). But again, the notion of their being an underlying academic element that persists behind the mainstream study of UFOs–if one could ever call UFO research “mainstream” at all–is nothing new.
French Ufologist and computer scientist Jacques Vallee in his book Alien Contact by Human Deception argued that there were many private UFO researchers in academic circles–perhaps a few hundred he knew and had worked with–that studied the UFO problem intently, but without doing so publicly. Vallee referred to this as being a sort of “Invisible College” that has continued serious scientific study of UFOs, despite the fact that since the late 1960s, Edward Condon and his University of Colorado UFO Project helped determine that once and for all, the UFO mystery would forever be pseudoscientific.
Hynek and Vallee
Indeed, the general study of UFOs has largely been pseudoscientific, in that the largest body of serious research spanning the last several decades has been carried out by civilians, and often those with little or no academic or technical training suited for study of the phenomenon. While this has often been a point of criticism by scientists the likes of Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and many others, it also highlights yet another problem in the UFO field: the tendency for academics to push for debunking of UFO phenomenon or labeling it as pseudoscientific, while doing very little on their own accord to help further the serious scientific study of the phenomenon aside from waging an ongoing war of words.
To the credit of the academicians, it should be noted that to openly and publicly embrace the study of UFOs most often becomes equivalent to academic suicide in the Western world. There are many instances where professionals have been forced to choose between studying fringe subjects and maintaing a career by more conventional standards. Scientists such as Dean Radin, who lost his teaching position for openly discussing parapsychology, comes to mind, as well as members of the media like Angelia Joiner, who famously reported on the Stephenville, Texas UFO flap several years ago; the latter was eventually pinned into a position where she felt she had to resign as a reporter for the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, in order to be able to continue following the UFO story.
Altogether, the problem here is that UFO research, by virtue of the fringe or “kooky” subject matter it has often become directly associated with, warrants blacklisting among professionals (especially scientists, university professors, etc). In my own experience, I’ve had numerous interactions with those in academia who reach out to me, often under aliases at first, to express interest not just in UFO research, but to share their own ideas and findings (albeit covertly) from an academic standpoint. The reasons these individuals would reach out to ufologists at all most often has to do, in my experience, with a hope for finding someone who will allow them to plead their case, but also that they might be able to influence or steer with their own professional observations. On both counts, this is usually a good thing, as it allows the academics to find others who won’t be so openly critical with the treatment of fringy subject matter, but the less technically skilled civilian researcher also gains insight from members of the scientific community.
Thus, while there is certainly a “trickle down effect” with regard to academics who occasionally reveal tidbits of insight to the publicly known UFO researchers, it could be argued that some of the most plausible and interesting insights into the field of ufology may exist behind the scenes, in what Vallee dubbed a so-called “Invisible College.” Today, could we ever get a serious, ongoing academic discourse on UFOs back into mainstream scientific circles… or is this even something that could ever be afforded the modern UFO research community, with an ever-growing divide that is occurring between the “believer” and “skeptic” diametric?
I actually don’t find it odd that there are some “mainstream” scientists working on the UFO mystery on their own time. After all that is what Jacques Vallee and Stanton Freidman did before devoting their studies of UFOs full-time .
The late J. Allen Hynek was a little different, he waited until he had a government pension before becoming a convert to studying UFOs on a full-time scientific basis.
Believe it or not, it is this “covert mainstream” that is fueling SETI, astroarcheology, astrobiological and advanced propulsion technology research.
Or perhaps, it’s the “science-fiction” collective consciousness?
Hat tip to the Daily Grail.
On 20 October 1954, Louis Ujvari, 40, a native of Slovakia, got on his bicycle
and pedaled away from home. After 10 years in the French Foreign Legion, he had
lived in France with his wife and five children for 3 years, specifically in the
town of Le Bas in a small, isolated farm near the picturesque road from
Saint-Remy to the Fraispertuis Valley.
His work shift began at three
o’clock in the morning at the Derey works, a construction materials firm, in the
town of Etival, so he set off around 02:30. After a few hundred meters, he was
forced to dismount and continue the remainder of the way on foot, since the road
was under repair, making it unsuitable for his vehicle.
As he pushed his
bicycle along, he saw the shape of a man. A phrase he couldn’t understand
prompted him to freeze in his tracks. The stranger advanced toward him with a
gun in his hand, threatening him with the weapon all the time in a language that
Ujvari couldn’t understand. The man stood at least 1.65 meters, dressed like a
pilot of that time: cloth trousers, collared leather jacket, a sort of cloth
balaclava. His boots made an audible noise on the fractured pavement.
time in the military had given the old Legionnaire the rudiments of several
languages, and what the man had told him didn’t sound like any of them. So he
decided to address him in Russian, and the man suddenly
“Where am I?” asked the stranger, “In Italy or
Ujvari was not afraid, despite the weapon, and explained that he
was the Vosges, in the district of Saind-Dié. “Am I far from the German border?”
asked the pilot. About a 100 miles from the Rhineland, came the reply.
The stranger appeared to be completely disoriented, even asking about the time. Two thirty in the morning, replied Ujvari. The obfuscated man changed the pistol to his other hand in order to pull out a pocket watch. He then shouted angrily: “You lie! It’s four o’clock!”
The next question showed that the pilot was more than lost. “How far away is Marsillia?”
Ujvari, believing he meant Marseilles, told him.
“Go away!” the stranger spat. He accompanied Ujvari for some 30 meters, pointing the sidearm at him throughout. That’s when the old Legionnaire saw the “flying saucer”. Earlier, he had seen an outline that made him think of a car or truck. For a brief moment, he was able to make out the object’s shape – 1.60 meters tall by 3 in diameter, dark grey in color. It looked like two enormous welded plates supporting a dome, crowned by an antenna with corkscrew-shaped fins. He felt the gun’s barrel against his back, prompting him to keep moving. Then he heard: “And now, farewell!”
The stranger took off quickly. Ujvari got on his bicycle, escaping toward a
farmhouse some 200 meters away. Before being able to warn anyone, he saw a beam
projected upward into the sky, the sound of an engine, and saw the saucer rise
vertically like a helicopter. Some 10 meters above the ground, the machine
accelerated, heading toward Saint-Dié. The pilot turned off the beacon, and the
object became lost in the darkness. Ujvari retraced his steps and was unable to
find any footprints on the ground.
He told his co-workers the story upon
reaching the factory. They thought it was a prank or hallucination, but given
the former Legionnaire’s insistence, the story reached the ears of the mayor of
Saint-Rémy. The gendarmes of Raon-l’Etape were notified, but their investigation
added little. The General Information Brigade (Reseignements généraux) –
the secret service – also intervened, subjecting Ujvari to
Amid the French flying saucer craze of the time, the Le
Matin newspaper published the story on 22 October. It was picked up by other
newspapers and included in books on flying saucers over time. Apparently, the
idea of using “flying saucer” and “Martian” came from Jean Thernier, the news
item’s author, since at no time did Louis Ujvari every say anything along those
lines. The drawing included in the article was not the exact image of the object
described. The fins were removed, with their corkscrew-shapes, replaced by a
single spiral antenna. Ujvari’s exact description was ““une sorte d’antenne
se terminant par des ailettes en forme de tire-bouchon.”
This is a classic example of the media ( especially in the 1950s ) of turning something that could be as mundane as a lost Russian military helicopter pilot into a sensational alien and UFO story.
Though I have to admit when I first ran across this story, I thought it was another Russian time-traveler whom could have been mistaken for an alien!
But it boils down to the fact that human beings are capable of reading into things and events that aren’t there and that we must all be mindful of all of our observations and how we interpret them.
Fortean explorer and UFO humorist Jim Moseley died of cancer this past Friday night ( 11/16 ) at the age of 81.
I never talked to, emailed, posted a reply or blogged Mr. Moseley at all since I’ve been posting on the Internet over the past five years, but I’ve listened to him and Gene Steinberg banter on Steinberg’s Paracast radio show enough times to know that he was a very fascinating and interesting folk character in his own right and that his influence will be felt in the UFO community forever and his type of humor will be greatly missed:
Fortean friend, ufology humorist, and writer James W. Moseley, 81, died Friday night, November 16, 2012. He passed away at a Key West, Florida, hospital, several months after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.
Upon hearing of the death of Moseley, Anomalist Books publisher and editor Patrick Huyghe said: “He was one of the last remaining old timers from the golden age of flying saucers. Goodbye, Jim.”
I, Loren Coleman, first met James W. Moseley (“Jim” to his friends) when he, John Keel, and I were speaking at a Fortfest in the D.C. area, in 1973. The most vivid memory I have of that time is sitting with these two gentlemen in the dark and shabby lobby of a motel, listening to the foremost scholars of ufology decide what they would do that evening. I recall politely excusing myself to finetune my next day’s presentation, as they skipped off, by foot, across the multilane highway, to visit a nearby striptease joint. And thus I was introduced to the braintrust of ufology, and knew what the end would look like – some sort of cosmic mix of humor and nudity galore!
For years, according to only a few readers, Moseley too frequently posted photographs of large-breasted women in his humorous ufology newsletter, Saucer Smear, confusing people who wished to claim that Moseley was gay, even though he was not, just because others wish to remain closeted for years.
Did it matter what people thought? Ufology historian and Moseley friend Jerome Clark wrote me: “Well, it did matter. It mattered to Jim, who was not gay and who did not like it when people spread such speculation.”But it went beyond breasts: In the May 10, 2004, issue of Saucer Smear, Moseley highlighted the republishing of a book on three alien monsters raping a woman named Barbara Turner in her bedroom.Actually, it was quite obvious. Moseley was a comic, extremely interested in women and sex, and loved to be the center-of-attention. Certainly, his lifestyle was secretive to some. For almost thirty years, Moseley lived in Florida.Moseley with a large poster of marine treasure hunter Mel Fisher.
In 1984, Moseley established an antiques store in Key West, Florida. He also made money in real estate. In 1992, Moseley donated his Peruvian material to the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural History, located in Dania, Florida, where it is on permanent display.
James Moseley was a pivotal chronicler of a now-famed mystery that issued from his interest in ancient Peruvian artifacts. It is to be recalled that the Nazca Lines were first discovered by the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, who spotted them when hiking through the foothills in 1927. He discussed them at a conference in Lima in 1939. Maria Reiche, a German-born mathematician and archaeologist, first studied and set out to preserve the Nazca Lines in 1940. Paul Kosok, a historian from Long Island University, is credited as the first scholar to seriously study the Nazca Lines in the USA, on site in Peru, in 1940-41. But it was Moseley who first wrote about the Nazca Lines as an intriguing Fortean phenomena in Fate Magazine, in October 1955, suggesting a mysterious origin, long before they interested alternative writers such as Erich von Däniken (1968), Henri Stierlin (1983) and Gerald Hawkins (1990).
From the Daily Grail:
The National Archives have released recently declassified records from the USAF’s Aeronautical Systems Division which feature a project aimed at creating a military-grade flying saucer:
The above illustration was discovered in the pages of a document titled “Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report” (d.1956) The caption reads “USAF Project 1794”. However, the Air Force had contracted the work out to a Canadian company, Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario, to construct the disk-shaped craft. According to the same report, it was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane designed to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet, and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.
This project is not a new revelation to UFO researchers - Look Magazine had this scoop in 1955, before this report was even released:
Though I’m sure serious UFO researchers would be encouraged to further investigation by the National Archives’ mention that “the images here are from selected reports in just two boxes of this collection. The entire series is available for historians to research”.
The two main questions that arise out of Project 1794 though are (a) what was the specific inspiration for creating a flying saucer, and (b) what became of the project?
In the case of the latter question, opinions vary. On Wikipedia you’ll find mention of a number of research accidents, suggesting that the prototype craft was so dangerous that staff “were afraid of the machine”. On the flipside, in his book Mirage Men (Amazon UK and as a pre-order from Amazon US), Mark Pilkington wonders whether the project went ‘dark’:
So what happened to America’s flying saucer? Aviation historians Bill Rose and Tony Butler see the confusing use of multiple project names for essentially the same aircraft as deliberate obfuscation, and suggest that MX-1794 went ‘black’ in its final stages. The authors claim to have seen US documents from 1959 discussing an ongoing flying saucer development programme, with Lockheed’s famous Skunkworks, home of the U-2 and Stealth planes, as a likely location.
…in 1958, just as the MX-1794 vanished from sight, Avro announced a new project, the VZ-9AV, best known as the Avrocar, an eighteen-foot-wide, three-foot high, single-pilot flying saucer. Intended as a hovering jeep for the Army, the Avrocar turned out to be a juddery, unstable and ultimately useless dud whose only role seemed to be providing comic turns in newsreels – a deliberate distraction, some say, from the real and top-secret MX-1794.
And here, for your entertainment (dare I say distraction!), is some video of the Avrocar. Accompanied by some hypnotic psytrance, allowing me to say slowly in a mantra-like fashion: “repeat after me: the USAF has no flying saucer technology”…
Heh heh, I get a kick out of the Air Force’s “Avrocar” too whenever I see videos of it. They still try to pass it of as the result of “mainstream” UFO technology. It is to laugh!
What the article fails to mention is about the same time frame as the Avrocar, the military snagged a piece of home-grown UFO tech that Otis Carr, a protege of Nicola Tesla, invented around 1957.
That is the true tech the Air Force ( and the military-industrial-complex ) uses today!
From Huffington Post:
Lord Martin Rees recently offered The Huffington Post his opinion about UFOs:
“No serious astronomer gives any credence to any of these stories … I think most astronomers would dismiss these. I dismiss them because if aliens had made the great effort to traverse interstellar distances to come here, they wouldn’t just meet a few well-known cranks, make a few circles in corn fields and go away again.”
Such sweeping statements from well regarded scientists are endlessly frustrating to the UFO researcher. Particularly given that interest in UFOs actually drives some people to study astronomy! Unfortunately the idea that only kooks see UFOs is prevalent.
But because Lord Rees is a scientist, the correct answer is to provide him with scientific data that is directly relevant to his claim. I am aware of only three attempts to scientifically gauge what percentage of astronomers see UFOs. Two show that not only do astronomers see UFOs in America, but many are afraid to report their sightings because they fear professional and public ridicule. The final source indicates that astronomers see UFOs at a dramatically greater rate than the general population.
On August 6, 1952, Astronomer J. Allen Hynek offered the USAF’s Project Blue Book a “Special Report on Conferences with Astronomers on Unidentified Aerial Objects.”
Hynek interviewed some 45 astronomers on their experiences and opinions about UFOs during and following the meeting of the American Astronomical Society that June. Hynek provides some notes on each individual astronomer and their opinions. Here’s what some astronomers thought in 1952:
Astronomer Y (no sightings) said, “If I saw one, I wouldn’t say anything about it.”
Astronomer II (two sightings) “is willing to cooperate but does not wish to have notoriety,” Hynek reports.
Astronomer OO: (one sighting) was a new observer at the Harvard Meteor Station in New Mexico. He saw two lights moving in parallel that were too fast for a plane and too slow for a meteor. He had not reported his observation.
Hynek concluded: “Over 40 astronomers were interviewed of which five had made sightings of one sort or another. This is a higher percentage than among the populace at large. Perhaps this is to be expected, since astronomers do, after all, watch the skies.”
The next data point comes from 1977. Dr. Peter Sturrock made a questionnaire about UFO attitudes and experiences. Again the target was the members of the American Astronomical Society. The paper was eventually printed in 1994 in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, a peer-reviewed but decidedly non-mainstream publication.
Sturrock received 1,356 responses from 2,611 questionnaires. Sixty-two astronomers responded that they had observed something they could not explain which could be relevant to the UFO phenomenon. Eighteen of those witnesses said they had previously reported their sightings, and Sturrock notes that a 30% reporting rate is greater than what is assumed for the average population. Section 3.2 of the paper titled “Comparison of Witnesses and Non-Witnesses” contains a table showing that UFO witnessees were actually more likely to be night sky observers (professional or amateur) while non-witnesses are more likely to not even be observing the skies at all!
Sturrock also includes commentary from the astronomers, and again a sample is illuminating:
C1. “I object to being quizzed about this obvious nonsense. Unidentified = unobserved or factually unrecorded: modern mythology. Too much respectability given to it.”
C1O. “l find it tough to make a living as an astronomer these days. It would be professionally suicidal to devote significant time to UFOs. However, I am quite interested in your survey.”
C16. “Menzel and Condon have made further investigation unnecessary unless some really new phenomena are reported … There is no pattern to UFO reports except that they predominantly come from unreliable observers.”
I could add more, but I want folks to read Mack’s article.
Rees’ comments are not unusual for the conservative scientific community at large and in turn benefit the military-industrial-complex which runs the U.S. and most world governments. The MIC doesn’t want any release of technology that is derived(?) from supposed alien technology because it would destroy the present world order. They prefer a slow “leak” of tech in dribs and dabs which doesn’t rock the boat much. Apples Ipod and other Smart Phone technologies are relatively innocuous in that they are primarily for games and other entertainment that distracts the younger population from more important concerns.
Hat tip to the Daily Grail.
From Scott Corrales’ Inexplicata :
In 1920, when Karel Capek wrote the three-act play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) he probably didn’t realize he would be changing humanity’s conception of what it is to be alive for generations to come, much less had the word “robot” to the world’s collective glossary. Derived from the Slavic term “robota”, meaning the work done by an indentured servant, robots have gone on to become a staple of science-fiction. We take their functions and existence for granted, with our own efforts at robotics ranging from industrial mechanical arms to the new wave of lovely Japanese automata. According to our age group, we look back fondly at either Robbie the Robot or Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio. Perhaps some even remember seeing the graceful “María” making her appearance for the first time in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis
Only a year after “R.U.R.” appeared on the stage, French director André Deed created one of the first science-fiction movies involving robots: L’uomo Meccanico (The Mechanical Man), depicting a giant humanoid robot created for criminal purposes, but who is checked by another equally sizeable machine, settling their differences inside an Italian opera house. These original “rock’em-sock’em robots” showed audiences that the mechanical men, while emotionless, could serve the cause of good as well as evil.
In an article for SAGA UFO Report (UFO Annual, 1975), Otto Binder wrote: “[Robots represent] a rather rare category of UFOnauts, but one that cannot be ignored. Witnesses often describe these creatures as having stiff movements and also having angular lines quite unlike living human beings. These strange entities range from the uncanny to the eerie.” He goes on to add: “We can logically assume that some worlds do not send their living explorers to Earth, but use robots somewhat like the Russian mobile vehicle on the Moon. But apparently the aliens have perfected observation vehicles in the form of living creatures.” Binder refers to the automated Lunakhod probe, but a more updated example would be our own Curiosity rover on Mars, about to engage on a study of the red planet in 2012.
UFO encounter reports from the late 1960′s and the early to mid-1970′s often described encounters with robotic entities emerging from UFOs or conducting their activities in areas where UFO activity was common. Researchers at the time conceded that organic ufonauts could, on occasion, entrust certain missions to mechanical creations much in the same way that our planet’s space programs launch unmanned probes to destinations within the solar system. The robotic alien, for want of a better term, became one of the four or five “recognized and accepted” types of possible UFO occupant.
Did robots from another planet visit Avon, Connecticut in September 1967? Police officers found themselves responding to frightened calls from the public involving a “shiny-suited robot” in the vicinity of Talcott Mountain. The seemingly mechanical entity appeared to be engaged in some sort of frantic semaphore, trying to stop drivers along Route 44. Descriptions of the entity coincided in aspects such as a cowl or helmet that completely enshrouded the figure’s features, and its stiff movements as it wobbled on the road’s shoulder, trying to stop traffic. Police officers reported to the scene, but were unable to find any trace of the intruder.
In February 1981, Luis Dominguez, proprietor of small food and beverage concern in the village of Fuentecén in Spain had a brush with the unknown that led him to believe that ‘robots” of unknown provenance had visited his small community.
Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on February 13 of that year, Dominguez had closed down his business and was heading home when two red lights caught his attention. Thinking it might be the taillights of car being used to commit burglaries in the wee hours of the morning, he headed in their direction, hoping to take the law into his own hands, but the would-be vigilante was floored by what happened next: the “taillights” rose into the air, made an odd twisting turn to the right, and landed elsewhere in the countryside. By his own admission, the unnatural sight made him break out in goosebumps.
Speeding back home, from where the red lights were still visible, Dominguez, his wife and son watched nervously as the lights engaged in a variety of movements, some of the undulating. Most spectacular of all was a sudden flash or beam of white light fired from the source of the two red ones, illuminating all the homes of Fuentecén as if by a giant klieg lamp.
It was then that Dominguez heard his dog bark. The family pet, ominously named “Satán”, was outside the house barking at an object near to fence that encircled the property. Dominguez realized described it as a box-like contraption resembling a washing machine or small refrigerator, taller than the fence by a few inches. It had neither head nor appendages.
The curious object disappeared when Dominguez armed himself with courage and a flashlight and stepped outside for a closer look. However, he made a startling remark to J.J. Benítez: “the dog would bark at it and the object, from the very edge of the fence, would answer it with a very slow “bark” that was slower and muted. It may seem ridiculous, but I swear it’s true. We got the sensation that the thing was imitating our dog.”
The following day, while returning from school, Jose Francisco Dominguez excitedly told his father that a patch of burned vegetation was now in evidence at the site where the red “taillights” had been seen the night before: in fact, a patch measuring some five square meters of desiccated–rather than burned –grass was found in a field. The case attracted the interest of a number of local newspapers, which in turn prompted government ministries to take an interest in it. Subsequent analysis revealed no traces of radiation at the site.
Willy Rodriguez was an avid fisherman who enjoyed practicing the sport in the waters of the Esla River, not far from the monastery of Santa María de Moreruela in the Spanish province of Zamora. During the quiet hours of an early morning in the spring of 1974, Rodríguez’s two dogs began to bark furiously for no reason. Chiding his animals for spooking away the fish, the man later became aware of a bizarre figure, standing over six feet tall, with its arms held closely to the sides of its body, “like a soldier”, according to his description. In the sunlight, the strange entity looked as though it had been made of silver. Once recovered from the shock, he ordered his dogs to attack the strange metallic form, which simply glided away toward a nearby hill, and then vanished.
While may have questioned his claim, Rodriguez is adamant that the silvery presence he saw in the spring of 1974 “wasn’t a person – it was artificial. I think it was a sort of robot that came out of a flying saucer and answered to its commands,” he told Iker Jiménez and viewers of the Cuarto Milenio television program.
Spain’s own Antonio Ribera made a significant caveat when it came to cases involving humanoid occupants: “We must not exclude the hypothesis of biological robots created by an extremely advanced Science. Such robots would bear no resemblance to the crude robots of our science-fiction, full of nuts and bolts and electronic cells, but would be actual living being.” (FSR, “The Landing at Villares del Saz”). This dovetails, interestingly enough, with the physical appearance robots presented by Karel Capek’s “R.U.R.” – human looking in every way, and capable of emotion.
As mankind extends its explorations throughout the Solar System and eventually into interstellar space, semi-intelligent beings will evolve into intelligent entities that will become our surrogates to the Universe.
So it stands to reason the process has already occurred in the Milky Way galaxy and we are ( have been ) visited by intelligent machines.
Hat tip to the Daily Grail.
I am not the first to ask this and certainly not the last. In fact over at Micah Hank’s Mysterious Universe blog, researcher and author Nick Redfern asks the very same question and entertains some very interesting thoughts:
A few days ago, I wrote a Top 10-themed post at my World of Whatever blog on what I personally see as some of the biggest faults of Ufology. It was a post with which many agreed, others found amusing, and some hated (the latter, probably, because they recognized dubious character traits and flaws that were too close to home, and, as a result, got all moody and defensive. Whatever.). But, regardless of what people thought of the article, it prompted one emailer to ask me: “What do you think of the future for Ufology?” Well, that’s a very good question. Here’s my thoughts…
First and foremost, I don’t fear, worry or care about Ufology not existing in – let’s say, hypothetically – 100 years from now. Or even 200 years. In some format, I think that as a movement, it will still exist. I guess my biggest concern is that nothing will have changed by then, aside from the field having become even more dinosaur-like and stuck in its ways than it is today, still filled with influential souls who loudly demand we adhere to the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis and nothing else, still droning on about Roswell, still obsessed with what might be going on at Area 51, still debating on what Kenneth Arnold saw, and still pondering on what really happened at Rendlesham.
Ufology’s biggest problem also happens to be what made the Ramones the greatest band that ever existed: never-changing. For the latter, it worked perfectly. If, like me, you liked the mop-topped, super-fast punks in the beginning, then you still like them when they disbanded in 1996. Throughout their career, they looked the same, sounded the same, and were the same. For them, it worked very well. For Ufology, not so well. Not at all.
The reality is that 65 years after our Holy Lord and Master (Sir Kenneth of Arnoldshire) saw whatever it was that he saw on that fateful June 24, 1947 day, Ufology has been static and unchanging. It has endorsed and firmly embraced the ETH not as the belief-system which it actually is, but as a likely fact. And Ufology insists on doing so in stubborn, mule-like fashion. In that sense, Ufology has become a religion. And organized religion is all about upholding unproved old belief-systems and presenting them as hard fact, despite deep, ongoing changes in society, trends and culture. Just like Ufology.
If Ufology is to play a meaningful role in the future, then it needs to focus far less on personal beliefs and wanting UFOs to be extraterrestrial, and far more on admitting that the ETH is just one theory of many – and, while not discarding the ETH, at least moving onwards, upwards and outwards. Can you imagine if the major UFO conference of the year in the United States had a group of speakers where the presentations were on alien-abductions and DMT; the Aleister Crowley-Lam controversy; Ufological synchronicities; and the UFO-occult connection? And Roswell, Area 51, and Flying Triangles weren’t even in sight at all?
Well, imagine is just about all you’ll be able to do, as it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon!
While such matters do, of course, occasionally get mentioned on the UFO-themed lecture circuit today, the fact is that mainstream Ufology (and specifically mainstream ufological organizations, where more time is spent on deciding what utterly ridiculous title everyone will have than on doing investigations) will largely not touch such matters, or even consider them ripe for debate at their conferences. Why? Simple: they want everything to be as it was in the “Good Old Days” of the past. Well, tough: the past is gone, and no-one has succeeded in proving the ETH. So, give the highly alternative theories – and theorists – a chance for a change.
“Nooooo!” cries the old brigade. For them, that won’t work at all, because they don’t want to see the ETH-themed domain that has been so carefully nurtured for decades infected and infiltrated by matters ignorantly perceived as being of a “Hocus Pocus” nature. What they do want is crashed UFOs; aliens taking soil samples; landing traces; abductions undertaken to steal our DNA, etc, etc, blah, blah. Or, as it is scientifically and technically called: Outdated Old School Shit. They don’t want talk of altered states; mind-expanding and entity-invoking drugs; conjured-up beings from other realms; or rites, rituals and manifested Tulpas.
What this stubborn attitude demonstrates is: (A) a fear of change; (B) a fear of having been on the wrong track for decades; and (C) a fear of the unknown. Yes: mainstream, old-time Ufology lives in fear. It should be living in a state of strength. And it should be a strength born of a willingness to address everything, not just the stuff that some conference organizer thinks will attract the biggest audience. But Ufology commits the biggest crime of all: being weak and unsure in the face of new concepts and making like an ostrich when it encounters sand. Actually, I’m wrong. Ufology commits an even bigger crime as it coasts aimlessly along like an empty ship on the ocean waves: it avoids the alternative theories knowingly and fully aware of the long-term, and potentially disastrous, consequences that a one-sided, biased approach may very well provoke for the field.
If Ufology is to move ahead, find answers, and actually have some meaningful future, it needs to totally do away with belief systems and recognize that every belief is just a theory, an hypothesis, an idea. And that’s all. Ufologists need to embrace alternative ideas and paradigms, since many suggest far easier, and more successful, ways of understanding the various phenomena that comprise the UFO enigma than endlessly studying radar-blips, gun-camera footage, FOIA documentation, and blurry photos.
Should Ufology fail to seize the growing challenge it already faces, then will it die or fade away? Nope, it will still be here and here, popping up now and again. Not unlike a nasty, itchy rash picked up in the “private room” at the local strip-joint on a Friday night that never quite goes away. Probably even 100 or 200 years from now. But, it will be a Ufological Tyrannosaurus Rex: its sell-by date long gone, clinging on to an era also long gone, and perceived by the public of that era as we, today, perceive those nutcases who hold on to centuries-old beliefs that if you sail far enough you’ll fall off the edge of the planet. Or, the deluded souls who think the women on those terrible “Reality TV” shows that sit around arguing over lunch are really arguing.
I agree with some of Nick’s talking points in that UFO conventions often feature speakers who often talk of the “space brothers” and how they will save us and the Earth in spite of ourselves.
That is just the money making crap and smacks of televangelism.
Paranormal events versus technical reasons for UFOs is the wrong tact however. I think there is a way to join the two, but would be very hard to test using the scientific method.
Maybe there is a way to test paranormal events in the future? I do believe a scientist has tried to do so, but it is proving very hard to confirm by testability.
Perhaps that is why new paradigms are difficult to break through. The old ones must pass away slowly into that sweet night?
The future of ufology. ( The Daily Grail )
When one discusses the UFO flying saucer phenomenon, the idea of civilizations coming to Earth and how they get here becomes moot because the mode is obvious — the flying saucer is a spaceship that transcends space and time and is technology many hundreds, if not thousands of years ahead of ours.
But mainstream science claims — “Not so fast. Einstein claimed that nothing can go faster than the speed of light in this Universe. Things that appear to transcend that speed are fake and optical illusions. If aliens come here, it will be in slower-than light vessels that are easily detected.”
I find that idea interesting, especially if there are civilisations thousands of millenia ahead of us are actually noticing us, they are using technologies that are magical to us.
Anything else, they are not as advanced as we think they are:
SETI always makes us ask what human-centered assumptions we are making about extraterrestrial civilizations. When it comes to detecting an actual technology, like the starships we’ve been talking about in the last two posts, we’ve largely been forced to study concepts that fit our understanding of physics. Thus Robert Zubrin talks about how we might detect a magsail, or an antimatter engine, or a fusion-powered spacecraft, but he’s careful to note that the kind of concepts once studied by the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project at NASA may be undetectable, since we really don’t know what’s possible and what its signature might be.
I mentioned zero-point energy in a previous post because Zubrin likewise mentions it, an idea that would draw from the energy of the vacuum at the quantum level. Would a craft using such energies — if it’s even possible — leave a detectable signal? I’ve never seen a paper on this, but it’s true that one classic paper has looked at another truly exotic mechanism for interstellar travel, the wormhole. These shortcuts through spacetime make space travel a snap. Because they connect one part of the universe to another, you go in one end and come out the other, emerging into another place and, for all we know, another time.
The fact that we don’t know whether wormholes exist doesn’t mean we can’t think about how to detect one, although the authors of the classic paper on wormhole detection make no assumptions about whether or not any intelligent species would actually be using a wormhole. The paper is “Natural Wormholes as Gravitational Lenses,” and it’s no surprise to find that its authors are not only wormhole specialists like Matt Visser and Michael Morris, but physicists with a science fiction connection like John Cramer, Geoffrey Landis, Gregory Benford and the formidable Robert Forward.
Image: A wormhole presents a shortcut through spacetime. Can one be detected? Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The analysis assumes that the mouth of a wormhole would accrete mass, which would give the other mouth a net negative mass that would behave in gravitationally unusual ways. Thus the GNACHO (gravitationally negative anomalous compact halo object), which playfully echoes the acronym for massive compact halo objects (MACHOs). Observationally, we can look for a gravitational lensing signature that will enhance background stars by bending light in a fundamentally different way than what a MACHO would do. And because we have MACHO search data available, the authors propose checking them for a GNACHO signature.
In conventional gravitational lensing, when a massive object moves between you and a much more distant object, a greatly magnified and distorted image of the distant object can be seen. Gravitational lensing like this has proven a useful tool for astrophysicists and has also been a means of exoplanet detection. But when a wormhole moves in front of another star, it should de-focus the light and dim it. And as the wormhole continues to move in relation to the background star, it should create a sudden spike of light. The signature, then, is two spikes with a steep lowering of light between them.
The authors think we might find the first solid evidence for the existence of a wormhole in our data by looking for such an event, saying “…the negative gravitational lensing presented here, if observed, would provide distinctive and unambiguous evidence for the existence of a foreground object of negative mass.” And it goes without saying that today’s astronomy, which collects information at a rate far faster than it can be analyzed, might have such evidence tucked away in computer data waiting to be discovered by the right search algorithms.
Would a wormhole be a transportation device? Nobody knows. Assuming we discover a wormhole one day, it would likely be so far away that we wouldn’t be able to get to it to examine its possibilities. But it’s not inconceivable that a sufficiently advanced civilization might be able to create an artificial wormhole, creating a network of spacetime shortcuts for instantaneous travel. Matt Visser has discussed a wormhole whose mouth would be held open by negative energy, ‘…a flat-space wormhole mouth framed by a single continuous loop of exotic cosmic string.’ A primordial wormhole might survive from the early universe. Could one also be created by technology?
It is my theory that if we do not build worm-holes — our AI partners, and/or successors will be able to invent and construct them.
So that begs the question — “Are flying saucers constructed by biological beings, or AI/cybernetic creatures?”
NatGeo ( National Geographic TV ) has put out two versions of the UFO conundrum.
First is its show “Chasing UFOs” in which it has three protagonists look into various UFO stories all over the U.S. A lot of hard-core UFO researchers hate the show, but I find it entertaining ( I hold no illusions about any scientific veracity about the series ).
Now we have NatGeo’s latest production “Secret History of UFOs” which shows the other side of the coin. The “debunking” side:
Well-known “skeptic” Robert Sheaffer’s performance in Secret History of UFOs, the National Geographic network’s latest debunking-disguised-as-documentary, begs the question: At what point does the systematic presentation of half-truths and outright falsehoods about the UFO phenomenon cross the line from incompetent scholarship to intentional disinformation?
As I noted in my last article,given the extremely biased and propagandistic treatment of the UFO subject one consistently finds on Nat Geo, it might reasonably be argued that the network has been working behind the scenes with the CIA to debunk the phenomenon.
This is not some paranoid fantasy. Indeed, the history of the agency’s covert efforts to spin or suppress UFO-related stories, utilizing its contacts in the news and entertainment media, is now well-documented. The policy resulted from the findings of the CIA’s 1953 Robertson Panel, which explicitly recommended using the mass media to debunk UFOs in the interest of national security. Journalist Terry Hansen’s excellent, scholarly book, The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up, just republished as an e-book, details the agency’s decades-long use of the television networks, among other organizations, as tools to disinform the American people about the UFO reality.
While it would be nearly impossible to prove or disprove that producers at Nat Geo are in cahoots with the spooks—barring the intrepid efforts of some journalistic sleuth who is willing to ferret out the facts—it can at least be said that those responsible for the ongoing series of UFO “documentaries” at the network are slavishly spouting the agency’s official party-line regarding the supposed non-existence of UFOs, year after year, program after pathetic program. Their reliance on Robert Sheaffer, in particular, as a purportedly objective scholar on the UFO topic, belies either their naiveté or their premeditated participation in a disinformational ruse.
Highly relevant to this discussion is my research into Sheaffer’s affiliation with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) which was previously named The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). As journalist Terry Hansen has argued in The Missing Times, the historical role of CSICOP (now CSI) strongly suggests it has been performing as an intelligence community “front organization”—pumping anti-UFO propaganda into the media without revealing its true source or motivation.
My own findings about Sheaffer’s “skeptical” group—he was a founding member of its UFO Subcommittee—relate to my 39-year investigation of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites, as documented in declassified files and military witness testimony. Many years ago I discovered that two of CSICOP’s leading members had professional ties to the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program, something they seemed very shy about publicly discussing in any meaningful way.
Moreover, one of those individuals, James Oberg, once privately harassed a former U.S. Air Force officer, Lt. Robert M. Jacobs, after he openly discussed a still-classified, nukes-related UFO incident in various magazine articles the 1980s. As discussed in my bookUFOs and Nukes and online, Oberg—who had worked as a nuclear weapons researcher and security officer while in the Air Force in the early 1970s—chastised Jacobs, in a personal letter, for releasing “top secret UFO data” relating to the September 1964 Big Sur Incident. This was a very odd accusation indeed, coming from someone whose public, supposedly-skeptical stance is that UFOs don’t even exist.
(According to now-Dr. Jacobs, a UFO had been inadvertently filmed through a high-powered telescope/camera as it paced and then circled a dummy nuclear warhead during a missile test flight at Vandenberg AFB, California. Apparently, four beams of light were seen shooting from the domed-disc to the warhead in rapid succession, whereupon the warhead began tumbling, eventually falling into the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles short of its target. This amazing encounter has been confirmed as a real event by a second USAF officer, retired Major Florenze J. Mansmann, who unequivocally says that two CIA agents confiscated the Top Secret film.)
After Jacobs went public with the story, another leading member of CSICOP/CSI, the late journalist Phillip Klass, engaged in what Jacobs considered to be a thinly-veiled threat by pointedly mentioning, also in a private letter, his close professional associations with two leading figures in the U.S. intelligence community, Admiral Bobby Inman and U.S. Army General Daniel Graham.
Over the years, Klass had been accused of being a government disinformation agent by various UFO proponents. In response, he had always recoiled indignantly and dismissed the charge as nonsense. Interestingly, to my knowledge, never once did Klass openly cite Inman and Graham as associates and personal character references, as he did with Jacobs, when privately pressuring the former USAF officer. Fortunately, rather than being intimidated by Klass and Oberg, Dr. Jacobs eventually released the contents of their self-incriminating letters to him.
A third leading member of Robert Sheaffer’s organization, Skeptical Inquirer magazine editor Kendrick Frazier, published two demonstrably-inaccurate articles about the Big Sur case in an apparently frantic effort by CSICOP to debunk the incident, no matter how badly the facts had to be distorted or completely misstated to achieve the ruse. My documented exposé on the group’s now-discredited, attempted sleights-of-hand may be read at my website.
Significantly, although one will have to search diligently to find information confirming this fact, Kendrick Frazier was employed for over 20 years as a Public Relations Specialist by Sandia National Laboratories—one of the key facilities involved with the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program—during the same period his “skeptical” magazine was repeatedly pooh-poohing UFOs and ridiculing those who reported them. Frazier has even ducked mentioning his longtime job as a government-paid spin doctor in his self-written biography.
So, let’s recap here: Among CSICOP/CSI’s leading members are a former USAF officer (Oberg) who publicly rejects the reality of UFOs but privately chastised another former officer who leaked information about an Air Force/CIA cover-up of one very important case; a journalist (Klass) who publicly ridiculed those who suggested a disinformational motive for his UFO debunking, but privately acknowledged his close professional associations with top-level officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency; and a magazine editor (Frazier) who continues to work for a magazine ostensibly devoted to dismissing UFOs on purely scientific grounds but who simultaneously worked as a PR mouthpiece for the U.S. nuclear weapons program for two decades, a position he has avoided mentioning in published references to himself.
In short, Robert Sheaffer’s “skeptical” organization has some very suspicious links to the U.S. government which it has attempted to downplay and even hide from public scrutiny. And this is the group of “UFO experts” that Nat Geo calls upon when seeking a supposedly knowledgeable, objective authority to interview about the nature of the phenomenon, when producing its alleged “documentaries” on the subject.
Whether by design or default, the latest debunking effort by the network is possibly the worst piece of anti-UFO propaganda ever produced by them, comparable to the crudest of the former Soviet regime’s notorious and now-laughable fact-spinning exercises during the Cold War era.
For example, to hear Secret History of UFOs tell it, the reason Americans began reporting sightings of disc-shaped “flying saucers” in the late 1940s is because they had been whipped into a near-hysterical frenzy by sensational news reports in July 1947 relating to the Roswell Incident which, according to debunkers quoted on the program, was in reality the recovery of a secret military balloon-train belonging to Project Mogul, not a crashed extraterrestrial craft, as many now believe.
Dr. David Rudiak, a leading Roswell researcher, says, “Those guys are merely parroting the theory originally adopted by an Air Force counter-intelligence team at the Pentagon in 1994 to thwart U.S. Congressman Steven Schiff’s official inquiry into what happened at Roswell.” Rudiak further notes that the project’s own records confirm that the specific test flight alluded to, Flight #4 on June 4th, had been cancelled due to cloud cover, thereby discrediting the debunkers’ and the Air Force’s claims about its alleged involvement in the now-famous Roswell object debris-recovery operation.
Rudiak explains, “The Air Force also deliberately brought back the two previous flights from the dead, #2 and #3, in order to make a case for #4 being the crash object. In reality, Mogul records unambiguously show these flights were likewise canceled due to high winds and equipment failure. All three flights were therefore written out of the project summaries, as can easily be seen in one image excerpt:
- click image(s) to enlarge -
Note that the summaries instead list Flight #5 as the first ‘successful’ Mogul flight, and it is so-listed in NASA’s records and in an official Air Force history of flight. It cannot account for Roswell, nor can any other real Mogul flight, the fates of which are all well-documented. ‘Flight #4’ is a fiction created in modern times purely to debunk Roswell. How can a nonexistent balloon flight explain anything?”
In spite of this documentation, Robert Sheaffer and the other debunkers continue to assert that misplaced public interest in the supposedly-discredited reports of a recovered flying saucer resulted in thousands of ongoing UFO sighting reports, even decades later, as gullible Americans jumped on the bandwagon. In doing so, Sheaffer and company conveniently fail to mention the U.S. military’s own secret assessment of the mysterious aerial objects, undertaken not long after the Roswell Incident, as revealed in the now-declassified “Twining Memo”, which was only released to the public via the Freedom of Information Act, decades after it was written.
In the late summer of 1947, after a three-month, nationwide sighting wave, Air Intelligence at the Pentagon urgently requested a report on the “Flying Discs”, as the military called them at the time. In response, Air Force Lt. General Nathan F. Twining, Commander of the Air Materiel Command (AMC), based at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, held a conference with personnel assigned to the Air Institute of Technology, the Office of the Chief of Engineering Division, various aeronautical laboratories within the Engineering Division designated T-3, and Technical Intelligence officers. For raw data, these groups used in their evaluations interrogation reports supplied by the Pentagon, containing statements by military UFO sighting witnesses.
Summarizing the input he received from his engineering and intelligence staff, Twining sent a memorandum to Brigadier General George Schulgen, Chief of the Air Intelligence Requirements Division, in which he presented AMC’s initial assessment of the unexplained aerial objects. Dated September 23, 1947 and classified Secret, the key portions of the memo are as follows:
1. At the request of AC/AS-2 there is presented below the considered opinion of this command concerning the so-called “Flying Discs”… 2. It is the opinion that:
a. The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious. b. There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft. c. There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors. d. The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically, or remotely. e. The apparent common description of the objects is as follows:
(1) Metallic or light reflecting surface. (2) Absence of trail, except in a few instances when the object apparently was operating under high performance conditions. (3) Circular or elliptical in shape, flat on bottom and domed on top. (4) Several reports of well kept formation flights varying from three to nine objects. (5) Normally no associated sound, except in three instances a substantial rumbling roar was noted. (6) Level flight speeds normally above 300 knots are estimated.
In other words, despite the debunkers’ bogus claims on Secret History of UFOs about the reasons underlying public interest in the supposedly non-existent Flying Saucers—allegedly the result of inaccurate news reports relating to Roswell, coupled with Cold War hysteria and a widespread fascination with the dawning Space Age—in reality, behind-the-scenes, government analysts and officials took the UFO sighting reports by both civilian and military observers absolutely seriously.
Over on Rich Reynold’s site ‘The UFO Iconoclast(s)‘ , Rich speaks about Robert Sheaffer’s “unkept” appearance and how it’s a sign of “unclear” thinking.
I haven’t seen the show yet, but I will certainly see how any such thinking affects his debate. This certainly will be interesting.
After all, this is a thinly veiled attempt by NatGeo to present both sides of the UFO issue and most importantly, make the most money for its sponsors.
An amazing UFO video has been posted to YouTube showing what is described as a “snowflake” mothership dropping light balls over an unidentified area of South America. What is it?
In the video, taken at night, a man, speaking Spanish, is amazed by the sight of a lighted ship hovering over what looks like a farmhouse. The craft is shaped like a giant snowflake and appears to be throwing off smaller lighted orbs. It’s not like anything ever filmed before.
An interpretation provided by commenters on the channel is not really necessary, since the man’s amazement is understood in any language. But his family comes for a look and are amazed as well.
There’s just no way to describe this amazing UFO which defies explanation and does not appear to be a CGI hoax. At the end of the video, a separate segment renders the image in what looks like the infrared spectrum and the light balls dropping from the craft are more easily seen.
It’s just incredible.
I’m reminded of the Cordwainer Smith story “The Burning of the Brain” in which the starship is shaped like an old Southern manor. Starships in this far future time are held together by force-fields, not metal. Thus there is no need for pressure or vacuum hulls. The description of the UFO by the witness and its unorthodox shape is no surprise if the craft is built by a highly advanced space-faring civilization.