Why the UFO Community Must Step Up Its Game.
If you follow UFO investigations in the media and wonder are the reports solid, well investigated and as clear as they seem then consider there may be a problem area you need to know about.
Arguably, two of the greatest problems inherent to the field of Ufology today are that approaches to studying UFOs are 1) not keeping up with available technology and 2) are perhaps, at times, being influenced negatively by technology more so than in ages past. I’ll expound further on precisely what I mean by this in a moment, but first I must pose the very necessary question: will the serious study of UFOs continue to live up to the challenges of our rate of technological growth, or will the study of more advanced intelligence than our own become hindered by these advancements?
Bearing this issue in mind, I must say that seldom after reading many UFO blogs do I want to jump up and say, “Finally, somebody seems to get it!” But today, I admit to feeling a bit refreshed, in that there is someone who has seemingly called the present field of Ufology on the carpet, in addition to acknowledging that technology is not being properly employed in this failing effort toward the furtherance of UFO studies. This alone may not shake UFO research to its core, nor will it beckon saucers toward the ground from their lofty sky-born pinnacles of imagination where they continue to reside today; but changes in attitudes, I think, might still aid us in naming the problems inherent to this field, and ultimately, helping us move forward feeling (and acting) a bit wiser.
Time To Act
“I have some serious concerns,” were the words that appeared over at The Big Study, a blog dealing with ufological matters penned by one calling himself “The Professor”:
There are ways to adjust to this of course, but they all require civilian researchers to step up their games significantly, and create very strong and investigatively efficient linkages to the sites which are brainlessly accumulating the unprocessed data. If that doesn’t happen, UFO research [with one exception] is over. The one exception will be historical research — old cases/ old FOIAs newly released etc. The same thing would be true for hauntings, poltergeists, bigfoot, faerie, Fortean Falls, black dogs, etc etc etc. In every one of these types of spectacular event anomalies, the mere typing into a collecting site which is a dead end will ultimately result in the complete reduction of the anomaly to shallow entertainment in everyone’s mind, and the anomalies will sink to the status of imaginary computer games. The UFO research community MUST STEP UP IT’S GAME!!!
Well said… and while for some it may come across as seeming a bit dramatic, the above statement inspires a number of questions about the current state of UFO research… questions which, routinely, I also find myself being attacked for even proposing for serious discussion (though I do so anyway… also in routine fashion). Its about time someone did this…and others should likewise step up to the plate. Do you wanna continue to play ‘club member’ and collect/file away UFO stories, or are you seriously in search of an answer?
Few would argue that the realistic capacity of computer generated imagery (just as we see already in “imaginary computer games”) has progressed to a point where, at times, it can be very difficult to tell “real” from “fake.” This has certainly been influential in terms of the study of UFOs, since rather than dangling hub caps from fishing line out in a Swedish field someplace, hucksters nowadays are more apt to render their illusions utilizing CGI technologies.
With the levels of realism already what they are today, it can be difficult, to say the least, when one hopes to utilize any kind of photographic or video evidence in an effort to bolster the view that UFOs exist. This isn’t to say, as I’ve already touched on, that UFOs couldn’t have been hoaxed three four decades ago using film, but simply that efforts toward creating realistic-looking fakes have become far more accessible, and less easy to determine from “the real thing.”
Which begins to lead to more troubling questions, such as what, precisely, IS “the real thing,” anyway? Is there such a thing anymore? While most would say that, without any question, of course there are real UFOs that people witness from time to time, the serious UFO researcher also knows that the mere testimony of any individual claiming to see an unidentified aircraft is nearly worthless. Stories about UFO sightings are to be found just about anywhere these days, but they cannot, by themselves, do much in terms of furthering our effort to “prove” whether UFOs do exist.
Hence our present conundrum: the majority of the basis for UFO studies today involves collected eyewitness reports that, by themselves, do little in terms of “proving” anything. While some would still argue that the preponderance of similar reports must stand for something (and I think that they do, in fact, bear some merit), the collected body of UFO reports, compiled by various agencies since the early 1950s, still do little on their own in terms steering us toward a reasonable explanation for the UFO phenomenon. We’re just about as “in the dark” as we’ve ever been, and we’re still attached to the same preconceptions we’ve held as “facts” for decades now.
Obviously, there are things that can be done in terms of furthering our knowledge, rather than simply continuing to mindlessly “study” UFOs. However, as the Professor points out here, these things really aren’t being done. For some time, I’ve spoken about the necessity for “very strong and investigatively efficient linkages to the sites which are brainlessly accumulating the unprocessed data,” since to my way of thinking, compiling and rehashing UFO reports doesn’t do enough on its own.
After the release of a book The UFO Singularity, the author found that many people considered the book to be “a rehashing of old cases” because he took time to examine the implications of statements and observations made by researchers like Jacques Vallee, Whitley Strieber, and several others over the years. The two names mentioned here, if anything, are fine (perhaps among the best) examples of individuals who have offered insights in the past, and not just “mindless” reporting on the UFO subject… the need for processing the data we have, and not just adding more and more useless information to our existing databases and entry systems, has become quite dire.
And yet, when we talk about “the next big UFO book,” nobody wants anything that really seeks to understand the phenomenon. Instead, people seem to want what amount to being “campfire stories” that will intrigue them a bit, and of course, which can also be passed off as “new material,” whether or not such stories really do anything to further our understanding of the UFO enigma at its core.
So will technology really continue to improve our ability to study UFOs, or will it only present more problems? Or, should we consider whether the “problems” we’re facing are actually more the result of shortcomings in the research community, and a lack of knowledge (or interest) in using technologies that will actually help us move forward? If I had to guess, I would remain optimistic, and while I think we’ll eventually “get there,” we may be experiencing a bit of a ufological “lull” right now nonetheless…
Video: Some of the claims defy credibility…
Fortunately however, these sorts of attitudes may begin to change soon (we might hope, at least), thanks to the release of recent books like Leslie Kean’s UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record. During an appearance with host George Noory on the overnight program Coast to Coast AM recently, Kean spent two hours discussing her hope, as an investigative journalist, that her research into undeniable aspects of the ongoing UFO mystery may eventually help lead to a couple of noteworthy results: 1) A greater interest among the greater scientific community with regard to serious treatment of the UFO phenomenon, and 2) that government organizations (legislative bodies, military, etc) will also begin to show renewed seriousness into the matter.
Though what Kean and others with goals similar to hers (myself included) propose to do here is of merit, it’s going to be a long road that must be traveled before the subject of UFOs will receive any real mainstream attention.
Perhaps the way of the “New Ufologist” is to work hard at bringing credibility back to the forsaken field of UFO studies. We certainly might benefit from this sort of thing; especially if there may be security issues at stake, as Kean points out, which thanks to people’s jovial dismissal of the evidence right before them, may often be overlooked entirely. UFOs may be, for all we know, a proverbial snake laying in the grass, just waiting and ready to strike.
Despite our best efforts to stare it right in the face, it seems that so many are all too comfortable pretending the snake isn’t there at all… and despite the fact that a bite, should it decide to strike unannounced, could lead to big problems on down the road! Are we really going to sit waiting in dismissal, and if the contrary is our goal, what will it eventually take to get the mainstream academic community back on board with the idea that UFOs are of serious scientific merit for study? Reference: Mysterious Universe.
Beware The UFO Club Syndrome
How sad and typical. I’ve been raising points and challenging the ridiculous and unproven claims made by a ‘UFO club’ called A.U.F.O.A. on Facebook. There are others of course but this bunch take the cake. It stands for ‘Australian UFO Action.’ It seems they cannot take any heat when their fantastic conspiratorial claims, blurry videos or dodgy reports are challenged, or you comment on an allied story they run.
I haven’t been hostile, or belligerent. I have been direct and simply asked for proof… what do I get.? I get banned (BLOCKED) from making any comments on their pages and all my posts get removed. How bloody childish. You are a group of FAKES claiming to make a worthwhile contribution to UFO Research when all you are doing is perpetuating garbage. You wouldn’t know what the word ‘Research’ meant.
IF you are going to make the claims you make then be prepared to be asked to prove them, or take feedback you may not like on your ideas without removing the posts. Folks, these people see me as an agitator as they do most who challenge them… I think the word now is “unbeliever'”…and that makes them “believers” I guess. Believers are those who accept something without demanding the proof. What are you doing researching something you already know the answer to?
Let me make this clear. I’m not anti-UFO. In fact I was a respected UFO investigator many years ago working with some really dedicated people and doing some solid, scientifically based research from reports systematically and METHODICALLY sifted before the results were made public.
I firmly believe there is ‘something’ there but unlike these ‘UFO Clubs’ fall short in calling everything unusual that flies a spaceship from another planet. I still work remotely with a number of fine researchers and write for a dedicated magazine ‘Ufology’ – Daniel keeps me updated and is an unbiased and integral part of its operation.
It’s a pretty fair bet that these people running these clubs under the guise of ‘research’ have nothing substantive to offer the scientific community when, after questioning, fold camp and bar you from any further dialogue.
Here’s another thing: This particular ‘group’ are publicly calling for people to join them a investigators. “A.U.F.O.A – REPORTERS WANTED!!” is the slogan.
It goes on, “….at the moment we are putting together a comprehensive Australian team of Reporters.”
Your qualifications? Glad you asked! This is what is requested of you: “If you have your own video camera and see yourself as a roving reporter who can interview people then we would like to hear from you.”
This I found amazing: “Your Interviews can go for 5 to 15 mins long.” An I depth investigation of an amazing incident gats no more time than it takes to down a cup of coffee!!!
Here is one of the greatest contradictions of all time from a UFO Club group… here they state: “We are interested in many Unexplained Topics. (but we would also like to state no BU@##CRAP stories please.” Folks, go look at what’s on their site and tell me I’m wrong.
Admittedly they are taking ‘submissions’ and may vet each applicant but from what I’ve seen you’d have to wonder what, if any, ‘training’ is given. Let’s hope they can at least spell correctly with their ‘investigative reports’ unlike the guy running the show and website. I can just imagine one of his official reports being read by an academically trained person…
Oh, I forgot, after you don your official UFOA cap and T-Shirt and send in your investigation they say “,…..all reports and findings will be collected and sent to UFO Groups Worldwide.” For what? To read? File away? Where’s the research? This is nothing more than a collection house for sightings of unusual aerial activity! Now go back and re-read the story above.
How Six ‘UFOs’ Panicked Britain in 1967
The alien invaders arrived without fanfare. No gigantic spacecraft casting mile-wide shadows over our great cities. No death rays and no obvious threats to annihilate humankind. And for their beachhead on planet Earth, these unassuming extraterrestrials chose not Central Park in New York City, nor the lawns of the White House in Washington DC. Instead, this was to be a very British Close Encounter.
After voyaging for tens of light years across interstellar space, the aliens chose to make landfall on the green of a golf course near Bromley, in South-east London, some fields scattered across southern England and a hill in Somerset. It was a small armada of six flying saucers that arrived in Britain on September 4, 1967. They were not gargantuan, circular craft constructed from exotic alloys, but shiny plastic pods that looked like gigantic fried eggs, and they were each light enough to be manhandled by two burly men.
Forty-three years later, it seems utterly extraordinary that anyone took this invasion seriously. But files released by the National Archives this week confirm just how concerned was the Government of the day about the threat from space. For this was Britain’s most successful UFO hoax — and a new book reveals in unprecedented detail how it duped the highest echelons of Whitehall.
The hoax caused panic among intelligence agents, senior police officers and top-flight mandarins. And it put Britain on alert for a full-scale interstellar invasion. ‘It was the most effective and elaborate flying saucer hoax ever perpetrated in the world,’ says the book’s author John Keeling. ‘And the hoaxers did it all for £30.’ The hoax exposed the fact that at the height of the Cold War, the British authorities had no idea how to respond neither to an alien invasion nor to an attack by a human foe using unconventional weapons.
In the late Sixties, Britain was in the grip of UFO fever. Every week, sightings were reported from across the land — strange lights, saucers, flying cigar-shaped objects. This was a time of tension both in the Cold War and the Space Race, and paranoia about new technologies and innovations was at its height.
It was also an age when extraterrestrials figured strongly in the TV schedules of the time, from Dr Who to the Quatermass series, a factor which is known to have increased reported alien sightings (we saw another peak in the Nineties, corresponding with the transmission of The X-Files). There were 360 British ‘sightings’ that year of 1967, nearly one a day, and the media was taking the subject of extraterrestrials seriously.
This made it just about the perfect time for a handful of clever, mischievous trainee engineers from the MoD’s Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in Hampshire to perpetrate one of the most audacious pranks in student history. The ringleaders were Christopher Southall and Roger Palmer, both aged just 21. The prank was conceived with the best of intentions — to raise money for charity as part of the college’s Rag Week. In this it succeeded admirably. But the team had a second, darker motive; they wanted to see how the authorities would react if there was an alien invasion, and to find out just how prepared Britain was.
The Farnborough Rag committee agreed to the plan in January 1967. But it would not be until September that the invasion would be launched. The idea was to try to make the ‘spacecraft’ enigmatic and sinister rather than cartoonish UFOs. The students constructed six oval flattened objects, 54 in long, 30 in wide and 20 in deep, moulded from fibreglass and laced with artist’s graphite to give them an other-worldly sheen. They looked more organic than mechanical, and indeed the team always referred to them as ‘eggs’ rather than flying saucers.
They decided that they would have to have something ‘alien’ inside them before they were sealed up. So they concocted disgusting jelly-like goo made from bread dough boiled at a high temperature. It looked like mashed human brain and stank to high heaven. Anyone who tried to break open one of the UFOs was going to be in for a nasty — albeit harmless — surprise.
Also inside each saucer was placed a small electronic loudspeaker, programmed to emit an unearthly wailing noise if the UFO was disturbed. Each saucer weighed about a hundredweight and just about fitted in the back of a car. The team had to decide where to ‘plant’ them. They drew a line along the 51.5-degree parallel, which runs from Kent to Somerset, and plotted six more-or-less equidistant points.
And so, in the early hours of September 4, they set out, in the dead of night in two-man teams. This was a time when few people drove and the students were wary of attracting police attention. The saucers were hidden in the backs of the cars by blankets, fishing gear and even the casing for a double bass. Saucer No 1 was placed on the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary, near a new housing development. At 2.30am the alarm inside the saucer began to wail as it was placed in position.
The pranksters fled the scene. Coincidentally, that night there were reported UFO sightings in nearby Rochester. But it was in Bromley, an hour’s drive away, that the fake spacecraft had the biggest impact — thanks to a weird cosmic coincidence. A strange noise coming from the night sky disturbed the sleep of a woman called Cynthia Tooth. She went to her bedroom window and saw a strange light — a UFO, she claimed — and ‘it went down behind some trees’. She alerted the local paper the next day, and her report played right into the hands of the hoaxers.
It wasn’t until the morning that the ‘egg’ left by the hoaxers on the Bromley golf course was discovered — by a caddy named Harry Huxley, who was out early searching for lost balls. What ensued was straight out of an Ealing Comedy. Huxley decided to carry on looking for the golf balls before reporting his find. But later that morning a policemen called Gordon Hampton — ‘Flash’ to his friends and colleagues — saw Huxley while patrolling the lane around the course in his panda car. Huxley told him of his encounter with the ‘egg’.
As PC Hampton stepped out of his car, he heard an eerie, piercing wail coming from the UFO. He radioed the station, convinced this was something extraterrestrial, but was wary of using the words ‘spaceship’ or ‘UFO’ over the airwaves — this was a time when police radios were unencrypted and routinely eavesdropped by radio hams. ‘I’ve found an unusual object,’ he told his boss, who asked him to describe it. Eventually PC Hampton admitted he had found a flying saucer and a posse was despatched from Bromley station to see if he was drunk or telling the truth.
The local police’s decision to take the saucer through Bromley’s streets back to the station later earned them a serious reprimand from senior Scotland Yard officers, who were concerned that they might contaminate the town. Once the UFO was in custody, the officer in charge of the operation, a Superintendent Sheppard, phoned someone at Scotland Yard called the ‘back hall inspector’. His job was to field unusual requests from across the nation’s police forces, and contact relevant government departments. In turn, the report landed on a desk at the MoD, just after 9am.
As southern England woke up, reports filtered through that the country was under attack. In Clevedon, Somerset, a paperboy found a flying saucer on Dial Hill. This boy went rushing into his shop and told his boss. Everyone burst out laughing. Shortly after, at a farm in Welford in Berkshire, a postmistress spotted one of the ‘eggs’ in a field.
Now, three UFOs had been found. At 8am, another ‘egg’ was discovered, this time in Winkfield in Berkshire. A man saw the object in his garden and went out to have a look. This particular UFO malfunctioned — its bleeper never went off. Across the road was a radar station used by NASA to track satellites and the new Gemini manned spacecraft. An engineer at the station came over to have a look and was concerned. The final two saucers — in Chippenham and on the Isle of Sheppey — were not discovered until 8am and noon respectively.
This was an era before mobile phones, before email, indeed before any sort of easy communication at all. Back then they had only pens and telephones. It is perhaps surprising just how rapid the official response was, even though it quickly descended into farce. Once the MoD was involved, intelligence staff and a senior unnamed flight lieutenant — who later became an adviser to the Thatcher government on missile security — took charge. ‘I asked him what he thought,’ says Keeling, who spoke to him for his book on condition of anonymity. ‘He said: “Well, s**t, what do we do now?” ’
The first thoughts in Whitehall were not, in fact, of aliens, but of Soviet weaponry. Could the Russians have sent a fleet of robots, perhaps primed with nuclear warheads or chemical weapons, as the first wave of an invasion of the West? The MoD asked Britain’s radar stations if they had spotted anything unusual the night before, but there was nothing. The police and government bodies looked ridiculous. They were furious and there were threats of prosecution. Britain’s top intelligence officers and policemen were mobilised and decided to keep the saucers secret, but news had already broken.
A senior detective drove down to Bromley only to find the police station mobbed with reporters and two TV crews filming the policemen, all happily posing with what might be a Soviet weapon of mass-destruction or an alien spacecraft. The detective exploded with rage. The detective was followed to Bromley by intelligence agents in a big black car from Whitehall. Geiger counters found the saucer was not radioactive. By this time, the police had tried drilling into the saucer — only to discover the rotting, smelly dough within. For a while it looked as if Bromley would have to be put into quarantine. A couple of hours later, a Ministry of Defence helicopter was rushed to the Isle of Sheppey egg.
Meanwhile, one of the other saucers, the silent one in Winkfield, was taken down to the police station and put in the lost property office.
The saucers were prodded, drilled, manhandled and in several cases punctured. The Chippenham one was blown up in a controlled explosion by bomb-disposal experts. If they had contained anthrax or smallpox or some deadly Soviet material, never mind alien technology, it would have been a catastrophe.
In the end, the hoaxers’ cover was blown — not by a top detective or MI5, but by a newspaper reporter who knew that the Farnborough students had form. The year before, they had built a convincing ‘robot’ for rag week which had appeared in all the media.
Towards the end of that extraordinary day, the hoaxers held a press conference, at which they admitted their guilt and stated: ‘We believe that flying saucers could land one day, so we landed our own to give the authorities some practice.’ The police and government bodies looked ridiculous.
They were furious and there were threats of prosecution. In the end, wiser counsel prevailed, perhaps because the Establishment realised that dragging the whole episode through the courts would only throw more egg on official faces.
As a result of all the publicity, the students raised about £2,000 for charity — they received offers from all over the world for the surviving saucers. One was put on display in a West End restaurant. The Isle of Sheppey saucer was taken by the MoD helicopter crew. And the silent one in the police lost property office just disappeared. Source: MailOnline
Now….. Let’s look at some reports that get publicity and implied credibility from certain UFO organizations. These go on to enter UFO history as ‘reputable’ sightings with ‘photographic evidence.’
UFOs Have Many Explanations. Try Some Of These On For Size:
MEDIA REPORT: UFOs Light Up The Melbourne Sky [VIDEO]
UFOs are reported all over the world, and over the weekend, they made an appearance in the skies above Melbourne, Australia. Three very bright objects were videotaped maneuvering in a variety of ways, as well as turning their lights on and off as part of the show, reports the International Business Times. At approximately 1:52 of the video — posted to YouTube by FindingUFO — one of the odd lights suddenly shoots away, seemingly from ground level, at incredibly fast speed.
While the individual who took the videotape doesn’t provide any personal information, commenters to the video suggest they, too, have seen similar light shows in the sky. According to onlyMelbourne.com, “We receive UFO sighting reports in Melbourne at the rate of one a week. The vast majority are lights at night, and a few with a video evidence.”
And then there’s Lou20764, who (Warning! Warning!) has posted several UFO videos on his YouTube channel, like the one below, where he writes: “One of the most amazing sights I have ever recorded. Objects not visible to naked eye. ‘Invasion’ may be the wrong title, but that’s what I felt. I hope they are benevolent.”
In the UFO world, people who are known as “repeaters” are almost always immediately considered suspect. The more times you claim to photograph something unusual, the less credibility you seem to have. Since we at Huffington Post don’t tend to pass judgment, we leave it to you to decide if Lou20764’s following UFO armada video, from Melbourne in November, is legit or not.
UFO videographer Lou20764 uses an infrared camera to allegedly shoot many unexplained aerial objects. “When I first started, I used to get a few captures per week, then every day,” he writes in the comments section of his video. “Whatever ‘they’ are, there are lots of them — all over the world.” (By Lee Speigel Posted: 02/11/2013 9:36 pm EST)
Pink UFOs Or Lens Flares?
What appear to be pink-red UFOs are actually lens flares from the Google Earth street view camera as it snapped images in Texas (left) and New Mexico (right).
UFOs Light Up The Skies – Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 2013