Who Does MUFON Represent?

MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) is one of the various UFO researching organizations still in operation. It has membership in many states and actually has some funding by a mainstream aerospace company (Bigelow Aerospace).

Unfortunately as my previous post indicated, the field of UFO (and paranormal) studies in general is fraught with danger, infighting, nepotism, fraud, lies and just plain old wackiness.

Believe it or not, it all helps promote the “field” and it brings the meme into the overall gestalt of the subconscious (Jung would’ve loved it!).

Anyway, the bedrock of the study of ufology and is the foundation of MUFON are the eye-witnesses. Well, it seems that a director of MUFON in Texas, a person by the name of Ken Cherry has taken the position of “debunking” some Stephenville eye-witnesses and radar evidence that has been studied by MUFON in the area.

This just doesn’t cut it according to UFO witness advocate Joe Capp on his site UFO Media Matters:

MUFON “members” are in an “uproar” over a series of videos on You Tube which showcase and critique Texas MUFON Director Ken Cherry. (Presentations below) Cherry decided to point out what he thought were some real problems inside MUFON and he did it the old fashioned skeptic/debunker way: by attacking the people.

Some of the members are angry because some Stephenville witnesses and the examination by MUFON of radar tests were his main targets. He went on to smear the pilot who he thought had mental problems because he wanted to seek counseling over the close encounters. Oh, what a cold hard world Cherry lives in where everyone has to conform to his idea of what a “normal” witness is.

Cherry claimed Puckett, a meteorologist who did independent analysis of the radar tapes, showed how MUFON’s analysis was greatly flawed. But Puckett is quoted as saying basically that there was some problems with the radar measurement and MUFON fixed it and that is was no big deal. Cherry had admitted in his presentation that there was a great deal of pressure to get the results out quickly so the mistakes made were probably innocent human error. Cherry, using quotes out of context, innuendos and sarcasm, paints a self serving portrait of himself that leaves only Cherry, and those that agreed with him, standing.

There are actions taken by many MUFON professionals, who we all respect, which I believe can be counterproductive toward good potential UFO witnesses. However, we find good old Cherry is part of the problem. In his presentation, Cherry relates how he was chasing potential UFO witnesses (to be interviewed for UFO Hunters) out of the room because of his two second psychological profile and mind reading. Cherry considered these “weirdoes” undeserving of going on TV. . After all these years of MUFON experiences (humble) Cherry doesn’t realize UFOs appear to the strange also! First of all, if you are a good hoaxer, would you act strange? Suppose a kind of weird person had entered the room with almost smoking gun evidence. This character, good old Kenny, would chase them away because of the strange glint in their eyes.

His whole attitude is one of dismissal and sarcasm. The bottom line is: how this is helping MUFON?

How indeed does this help MUFON?

Obviously it doesn’t. Clearly Mr. Cherry doesn’t back anything his local chapter does, at least this particular, very public incident. Perhaps he figures it’s not his job to “rubberstamp” anything that might bring ridicule to the local chapter of MUFON and most importantly himself?

The Stephenville Incident was a very weird, scary occurrence that was witnessed by a large number of people, one of which could have been the President of the US at the time and a local news-person who eventually lost her job because she covered it. In order to understand such events, especially in this day and age where we have the tools to truly investigate them, we need brave people to step forward and give their statements to organizations like MUFON that claim it’s their job to do just that, take witness information for future study.

In my view, MUFON should represent the individual who ignores the ridicule and stigma of being a “witness” to any strange event through no fault of their own. And to report it with no fear of recrimination.

Cherry did his local chapter a disservice.

And you go Joe!

MUFON’s Bonfire of the Vanities

hat tip

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15 responses

  1. You state that “we need brave people to step forward and give their statements to organizations like MUFON”. What happens when “brave people” is replaced by “lying hacks”? Isn’t it the responsibility of any investigative group to ensure that such statements are based in fact and not imagination? In addtion, what happens when an individual is more concerned with self-promotion than with the investigative aims of the group he or she represents? Take for instance CUFON — James Klotz has blatantly used his position in that group to sell his books and promote the very obvious lies of men like Robert Salas. Any honest examination of the events discussed shows only that they have been consciously spreading disinfomation for their own selfish reasons, and have lttle concern for the organization as a whole. Just because a person is placed in a position of “trust” within that organization — as we see with Texas MUFON Director Ken Cherry — that doesn’t mean people should simply accept what he affirms publically as gospel truth. At the same time, isn’t it part of his responsibility to ferret out the liars and hacks that use their credibility as “eye-witnesses” to publicize personal goals? Should Cherry simply accepting everything they’ve said without questioning anything? Any organization that simply accepts what supposed eye-witnesses have to say without examination on the grounds that such examination is not in the best interests of the organization is placing the interests of the group above the purposes of the group. We want honesty — we don’t want acceptance of fiction as fact simply because the publication of fiction is more lucrative and therefore provides more publicity for the group. You do that and you end up with an organization that pays Robert Hastings at the expense of J. Allen Hynek. And God knows, that would be a disaster.

    1. Excellent comment. How does one separate the liars from the real witnesses?

      I think that’s a main issue with “ufology” today, people who want their 15 minutes and the actual experiencers who want to share what happened to them.

      I don’t have an answer for this. Maybe others smarter than me want to take a crack at it?

      1. James E Clarkson, Washington State Director of Mufon, author, ufologist spoke at the McMinnville Oregon mufon convention. His observations about knowing how to recognize someone telling the truth (or not) was insightful, humanistic & practical.

  2. MUFON for the most part is comprised of well-meaning, sometimes over-enthusiastic, amateurs. For many MUFON volunteers, I suspect, it essentially serves as an interesting, fun hobby and source of social networking. As with all other organized social groups, cliques, factions, schisms, and infighting happen sooner or later as members jockey for power and influence within the group. What’s going on with MUFON now is not due to conspiracy, disinformation, etc., it’s just how people behave in groups.

  3. James Carlson | Reply

    With all due respect, if MUFON is simply a social networking group, than they need to redefine themselves in a very public way, because that isn’t what they claim at all. I certainly agree with your conclusions here, in a social context, but expecting the rest of the world to accept that MUFON’s own very public conclusions, demands, and political discourses are little more than the expected outcome of sometimes over-enthusiastic amateur speculations that, being the result of “an interesting, fun hobby and source of social networking”, will thereby reflect interests at times that are contrary to those admitted and publicized by the group is a little much, don’t you think? MUFON asserts very public goals and intentionally distributes information they claim to be factual with a purpose intended to persuade, and the fact that they may at times operate more as a social group with social functions and the associated problems that can result from this should not be used to dismiss any errors who outright lies distributed as a result.

  4. There is another northwest state director (SD) whose behavior cant be explained only as “over zealous”–OUTRAGEOUS, HOSTILE, AND UNPROFESSIONAL dont fully describe something strange going on in some(hopefully isolated) MUFON groups. From what we know about MUFON’S mission statement, their conduct and speakers at Mufon conventions–what happened at a June 2010 local mufon meeting seems way off base. Some people are attracted to Mufon positions they perceive as “powerful” or “ego-inflating”. As a newcomer to this Mufon group but a lifelong fan of science fiction and ufology, this group was very unwelcoming; they interrogated me like Joan of Ark and then scoffed at & ridiculed my answers. They didnt get to me though, I held my own, although I was outnumbered more than 12 to 1.
    When I arrived at this local Mufon chapter meeting the entire group was openly discussing ufology pro & con during their open forum round table time from 7-8:30 pm. Later on, without warning, SD just lost it; he was so visibly angry (he was shaking); he stood up from his chair pointed his finger with arm outstretched at me and shouted “I’m not going to let you take control of this meeting”! Stunned, I responded, that’s outrageous. Its impossible; we were talking and you interrupted US. Nobody’s taking over except you & your doing a really bad job of it. Your problem is you cant tolerate any opinion that doesnt toe the party line?
    Actually, the ASSISTANT state director (ASD) was in charge of the meeting up til then. I had not yet spoken since arriving,& was just sitting there listening. The ASD asked me to introduce myself and tell us how you got interested in ufos. I answered. I said I was a lifelong science fiction and ufology fan. I knew ufos were real. I hope aliens are too, but Im sitting on the fence about alien being real. The evidence is contradictory. There were experts in favor & against; there’s the govt coverup and the lack of good physical evidenceand hoaxers making it all confusing to know whats really going on. I think the proof is out there, we just havent discovered it. Mufon was the place to find it.
    From time to time people in the group asked questions or expressed their disagreement with something I said. My answers led to more questions &/or dissagreement from the group and so it went back & forth, round and round. .
    After a while, the assistant state director told me “your 5 minutes are up”, and I stopped then. The second woman in the room said, let her talk its interesting. (I didnt say anything more for a while) Then, people in the group resumed talking about another subject thread, conversing back & forth. I listened, & took notes. Sometimes the AD director would say (to no-one in particular) after a subject went on for a while, thats enough you can take it offline. The ASD was continuing to go around the table, giving each person 5 minutes, which always spun into more than 5 minutes because of questions, answers & pro & con duscussion. If there was a rule of order in force, it was informal. Up to this point the ASD was doing a good job running the meeting. The discussion was lively, opinionated, and interesting; and no-one was angry, upset or out of order. Why did SD suddenly, angrily take over the meeting from the ASD?
    Apparently, SD disagreed with & couldnt rebut the comments I offered regarding world renowned experts & scientists and brain research that could explain alien abductions as hallucinations. At some point the ASD asked “Why are you here?” and it sounded like, if your not a believer your not welcome. Responding to a group person’s question “Why dont you believe the evidence?”, I explained how the concept “the absence of evidence is not evidence” guides my decision making. Then, a group member said “Your not making sense” & 1-2 chimed in agreement. I responded, I am making since; I know exactly what Im talking about”. Let me explain. Then, the documentarian interrupted helpfully to explain what “evidence is not evidence” meant to him. Im seaeching for the truth. If you saw the prood you wouldnt beleice it; you said so. No I didnt. I said I was on the fence, thats undecided. One group member asked with a snear, “What would it take for you to believe, a ufo landing on the white house lawn. She answered, Oh yes, that would be good but it only happens in the movies. I just dont know yet if the evidence prooves aliens exist. We are certain ufos exist, we just dont know who is flying them. She said, throughout human history people often thought something they saw or didnt understand was supernatural. Centuries later as technology caught up, we got scientific explanations. Could angels in the bible be aliens in modern times? What about all the eye witnesses to alien abductions. Again, there’s a lack of physical evidence. The most promising physical evidence are the alien implants they’re finding in abductees, like Stanton Friedman’s research.
    Apparently SD felt threatened by the woman’s opinions on science & rational thinking, so X decided to use intimidation tactics. SD started swearing. SD falsely accused the woman of calling him a bad word. He literally ran from his chair on the opposite side of the table to catch up to the woman (who was already heading for the (exit) door). SD’s show of force was completely uncalled for. SD said he was going to throw her out physically. SD was so angry he didnt even hear what she did say which was OUTRAGEOUS. Perhaps SD was showing off for the mostly male group to show what a big man he is. Maybe SD knew she did not call him a bad word and he made it up out of whole cloth so he’d have an excuse to throw her out of the meeting.
    Incidentally, SD was the only person in the room who was angry & out of control. SD placed his body within inches of the woman to intimidate her; he was seething with anger; he was incoherent and it was obvious he was going to get physical. In response to SD’s threats, the woman said, “If you touch me Ill call the police; you are out of control!” Then another man in the room came up & gave SD a push & told him to step away.
    Why would SD be so threatened by the woman’s mention of Dr Persinger’s brain research? In his Ottowa Canada) lab they discovered a “god spot” located in the right hemisphere of the brain–which could explain alien abductions as hallucinations. Dr Persinger’s researchers stimulated test subjects temporal lobes with magnetism no more powerful than a hair dryer; and the test subjects reported “seeing” & “experiencing” things such as: seeing unknown “beings” nearby; having out-of-body experiences; flying (like birds); saw fire and felt heat; saw their own headless dead body lying in the road. All while they were in a sealed observation room of the lab, where their reported experiences could not have happened. This info has been around for a while, so why would it upset SD? A June 2010 history channel documentary presented Dr Persinger’s research findings. Nick Pope mentions Dr Persinger in his book “Open Skies, Closed Minds” 1998.

    1. I have found that MUFON as an organization is very fragmented and hierarchal in nature. Not quite what I would’ve thought about a “research” organization specializing in a ‘fringe’ study.

      But like all human groups, they are subject to the same ‘politicizing’ pressures that shape all human social structures.

      In the West anyway.

  5. aboutmufon :James E Clarkson, Washington State Director of Mufon, author, ufologist spoke at the McMinnville Oregon Mufon convention (May 2010). His observations about knowing how to recognize someone telling the truth (or not) were insightful, humanistic & practical.

  6. aboutmufon :

    aboutmufon : James E Clarkson, Washington State Director of Mufon, author, ufologist spoke at the McMinnville Oregon Mufon convention (May 2010). His observations about knowing how to recognize someone telling the truth (or not) were insightful, humanistic & practical.

  7. mufonquestion : Re: MUFON There is another northwest state director (SD) whose behavior cant be explained only as “over-zealous”-–OUTRAGEOUS, HOSTILE, AND UNPROFESSIONAL dont begin to describe something strange going on in some (hopefully isolated) Mufon sub-groups. From what we know about MUFON’S mission statement, their conduct and speakers at Mufon conventions-–what happened at a June 2010 local mufon meeting seems way off base. Some people are attracted to Mufon positions they perceive as “powerful” or “ego-inflating”. As a newcomer to this a local Mufon group (and a lifelong fan of science fiction and ufology) this group was very unwelcoming; they interrogated me like Joan of Ark and then scoffed at and ridiculed my answers. They didnt get to me though, I held my own, although I was outnumbered more than 12 to 1.
    When I arrived at this meeting the entire group was openly discussing ufology pro and con during their open forum round table time from 7-8:30 pm. Later on, without warning, SD just lost it; he was so visibly angry (he was shaking); he stood up from his chair pointed his finger with arm outstretched at me and shouted “I’m not going to let you take control of this meeting”! (What?) Stunned, I responded, that’s outrageous! “Its impossible; we were talking and you interrupted US!” “Nobody’s taking over except you and your doing a really bad job of it. Your problem is you cant tolerate any opinion that doesnt toe the party line?” Actually, the ASSISTANT state director (ASD) was in charge of the meeting up til then. I had not yet spoken since arriving,and was just sitting there listening. I dont know why, but the ASD stopped the discussion by asking me to introduce myself and tell us how you got interested in ufos. I answered. I said I was a lifelong science fiction and ufology fan. I knew ufos were real. I hope aliens are too, but Im sitting on the fence about aliens being real. The evidence is contradictory. There were experts in favor and against; there’s the govt coverup and the lack of good physical evidence and hoaxers making it all confusing to know whats really going on. I think the proof is out there, we just havent found it (yet). Mufon was the place to find it. From time to time people in the group asked me questions or expressed their disagreement with something I said. My answers led to more questions or dissagreement from the group and so it went back and forth, round and round. .After a while, the assistant state director told me “your 5 minutes are up”, and I stopped talking then. The second woman in the room said, let her talk its interesting. (I didnt say anything more for a while) Then, people in the group resumed talking about another subject thread, conversing back and forth. I listened, took notes. Sometimes the AD director would say (to no-one in particular) after a subject went on for a while, “thats enough you can take it offline.” The ASD was continuing to go around the table, giving each person 5 minutes, which always spun into more than 5 minutes because of questions, answers pro and con duscussion. If there was a rule of order in force, it was informal. Up to this point the ASD was doing a good job running the meeting. The discussion was lively, opinionated, and interesting; and no-one was angry, upset or out of order. Why did SD suddenly, angrily take over the meeting from the ASD?Apparently, SD disagreed with and/or couldnt rebut the comments I offered regarding world renowned experts and scientists and brain research that could explain alien abductions as hallucinations. At some point the ASD asked “Why are you here?” and (in context) it sounded like, if your not a believer your not welcome. Responding to a group person’s question “Why dont you believe the evidence?”, I explained how the concept “the absence of evidence is not evidence” guides my decision making. Then, a group member said “Your not making sense” and 1-2 others chimed in agreement. I responded, I am making since; I know exactly what Im talking about”. Let me explain. Then, the documentarian interrupted helpfully to explain what “evidence is not evidence” meant to him. I said, Im searching for the truth. One man said, accusingly “If you saw the proof you wouldnt believe it; you said so.” I said, “No I didnt. I said I was on the fence, that means undecided.” Another man asked with a sneer, “What would it take for you to believe–a ufo landing on the white house lawn?” I answered, oh yes, that would be good but it only happens in the movies. I just dont know yet if the evidence prooves aliens exist. We are certain ufos exist, we just dont know who is FLYING them. I said, throughout human history people often thought something they saw or didnt understand was supernatural. Centuries later as technology caught up, we got scientific explanations. Could angels in the bible be aliens in modern times? Some one asked “What about all the eye witnesses to alien abductions.” I said, “Again, there’s a lack of PHYSICAL evidence. The most promising physical evidence are the alien implants they’re finding in abductees, like Stanton Friedman’s research. Crime scene investigators think eye-witness testimony is the least reliable evidence.”
    Apparently SD felt threatened by my opinions on science and rational thinking, so he decided to use intimidation tactics. SD started swearing; SD falsely accused me of calling him a bad word. He literally ran from his chair on the opposite side of the table to catch up to me. (I was already heading for the (exit) door). So, SD’s show of force was completely uncalled for. SD said he was going to throw me out physically. SD was so angry he didnt even hear what I did say which was “You are OUTRAGEOUS!”. Perhaps SD was showing off for the mostly male group to show what a big man he is. Maybe SD knew I did not call him a bad word and he made it up out of whole cloth so he’d have an excuse to throw me out of the meeting.
    Incidentally, SD was the only person in the room who was angry and out of control. SD placed his body within inches of me woman to intimidate me. He was seething with anger; he was incoherent and it was obvious he was going to get physical. In response to SD’s threats, I said, “If you touch me Ill call the police; you are out of control!” Then, another man in the room came up behind me and gave SD a push told SD to step away or something like thats enough.
    Why would SD be so threatened by my mention of Dr Persinger’s brain research? In his (Ottowa Canada) lab they discovered a “god spot” located in the right hemisphere of the brain–which could explain alien abductions as hallucinations. Dr Persinger’s researchers stimulated test subjects temporal lobes with magnetism no more powerful than a hair dryer; and the test subjects reported “seeing” & “experiencing” things such as: seeing unknown “beings” nearby; having out-of-body experiences; flying (like birds); saw fire and felt heat; saw their own headless dead body lying in the road. All while they were in a sealed observation room of the lab, where their reported experiences could not have happened. This info has been around for a while, so why would it upset SD? A June 2010 history channel documentary presented Dr Persinger’s research findings. Nick Pope mentions Dr Persinger in his book “Open Skies, Closed Minds” 1998.

    PS. I must have said something SD didnt like. Maybe I said too much. They asked for it. They interrogated me and I answered their questions. Maybe SD got angry because I didnt fold under questioning? The man who was in charge of the meeting (assistant SD) said nothing about me being out of order; he looked embarassed by SD’s angry over-reaction. It was definitely not what you’d expect at a small group Mufon meeting. They say ufos are a controversial subject. Go figure.

    1. I’m not following here. Are you saying he got mad at you because you didn’t say what he thought you should’ve said?

      Pretty parochial.

  8. Brilliant discussion — personally I don’t understand at all why people wouldn’t feel threatened by the ire of a fanatic; after all, suicide bombers are also fanatical in regard to their own cherished beliefs, and those guys can get very violent when their beliefs are undermined.

    James Carlson

  9. I do not know Mr. Cherry, but I have encountered his type within MUFON myself. I reported a UFO sighting and about three months later I received a phone call from a man who claimed to be a MUFON Field Investigator. Okay, I thought, this should be interesting. We hadn’t talked for more than two minutes when it became painfully obvious to me that he was not interested in hearing the details of my sighting and discussing them objectively. He attacked me on every point. It was as though he was in the employ of a debunking or disinformation outfit, not a data collection and analysis organization. He stated categorically that I could not possibly have seen the UFO from where I said I had. I won’t go into the details of our local geography, but suffice it to say that I’ve lived here for 15 years and am quite well acquainted with the lay of the land. I tried to explain to him that one did indeed have a clear, unobstructed view of the site from where I had stood, but he wouldn’t accept it. I was gobsmacked, as the Brits say. I even offered to take him there myself, but he had already made up his mind. No need for that, he said. The conversation did not proceed much further after that. This was not an investigation at all. I became annoyed with his tone and methods and hung up on him. So, in short, my opinion of MUFON is now quite low. Actually, the way I was treated was more in keeping with a government hit squad looking for any means to discredit me than an organization dedicated to seeking the truth.

  10. Ahmen….I have to agreed with you regarding MUFON, at least for the Tampa Bay area group. I started to attend, but the meetings were so boring and far between. When I mentioned it would be interesting to learn about the ET experiencers, etc. and offered to help to have more meetings, I was attacked verbally online to the point I don’t feel welcomed there. They choose what they want. This is not a group for the people, rather one that treads lightly on its toes almost as a Government finger, not debunking sightings, but not recognizing either. Are they afraid of Government vigilance….or are they Government vigilance. Comments pls !

  11. From the two comments above, MUFON doesn’t look very good for representing the experiencers.

    I have to ask though; Do they represent nuts and bolts UFO researchers or all experiencers?

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