Saturday, June 30, 2012

Open Mic Night

Emails were recently sent from The UFO Trail to some 30 or so members of the UFO community. Recipients were asked to provide statements to be quoted and explaining what they thought would be the most constructive directions for ufology.

Over half of those contacted responded, representing a quite diverse sample of individuals, life experience and resulting points of view. Comments were provided by experiencers, scientists, investigators and bloggers, among additional and multiple demographics that could be used to describe each of them. Following is what they had to say:

Travis Walton suggested researchers widen their scopes of vision and stop forcing all UFO and alien reports into limited categories. Travis additionally expressed his opinion on what he feels may be a variety of relevant entities, explaining: 

Jack, I have a number of suggestions for researchers, but I will pick one. I think researchers should stop trying to force all UFO/alien reports into one or a few categories. I see constant reference to "the" aliens or "the greys" as if this represented a single specie or race.
They speak of "the" alien agenda or purpose. Differences in descriptions are brushed aside as witness error or "screen memories."
There are numerous species on earth that have evolved forms very similar to each other yet are widely separated geographically and are not genetically related at all, such as the American flying squirrel and the Australian sugar glider, a marsupial. Marsupials split off the mammalian a long, long time before there were flying squirrels or sugar gliders. 
In my opinion it is entirely likely that many of those entities lumped into the "grey" category are actually from entirely different star systems. Basically, similar environments will shape the species arising there similarly. I think this concept extends to other types of beings, even perhaps those called Nordics.
Ross Holcomb
Commander Ross Holcomb, US Navy, Retired, capped off a multifaceted 25-year career serving in intelligence. His extensive travels took him to every state in the union and over 60 countries. He began pursuing his metaphysical interests full-time following his retirement in 2005 and as described on his website, Energy Works!. Ross shared some perspectives as expressed by Travis about the manners researchers interpret evidence and the possibility many types of beings may be interacting with humans:

The UFO question/issue is relevant in nearly every field of unexplained mysteries. And, I believe, the answer is pretty much the same for each field of inquiry: crop circles, UFOs, cattle mutilations, abductions, MIBs, Big Foot, ET visitation, et al:

The truth behind these phenomena is far grander and deeper than 99% of the researchers believe. They look into the phenomenon (with biases and filtered perspective) and latch onto, or develop their own, pet theory. Then they work hard at selectively collecting and touting those pieces of evidence that fit their pet theory and then defend it aggressively while they ignore, discard, or destroy those pieces of evidence that they do not wish to deal with.

We need to take the blinders off and think much bigger! There may be thousands of different types of beings interacting with humans in a variety of forms and dimensions. They may or may not use/need ships for conveyance and some may be nuts and bolts while others are totally light/energy. There may be as many different agendas as there are types of beings. Some benevolent and some not so much. What was prevalent 50 years ago may no longer be today. UFOs/ETs is not a "one answer fits all" issue. There are likely many facets and layers to the phenomenon which explains the variety of experiences and evidence by so many different people over the years.

Secondly, our tools and methods of observation (collecting empirical evidence) are very inadequate for the task. The percentage of ET/UFO activity in the ranges of EM spectrum that we can observe and measure is minimal. Let's start exploring and tuning in to alternate ranges of frequencies in the known spectrum and take more seriously those that can "tune in" to the less well known areas of the energy spectra.
Ross and his wife are involved in many projects, including leading crop circle tours to England. They recently embarked upon their twelfth such expedition and The UFO Trail wishes them and their fellow travelers safe and rewarding journeys.

Kathleen Marden
Kathleen Marden currently serves as the MUFON Director of Abduction Research. She is a researcher, author and lecturer. Following are her comments about constructive directions for ufology:
UFO research and investigation is a diverse topic dominated by a number of dedicated individuals, each specializing in his or her area of expertise. We take our work seriously and expect others to regard us with respect and consideration.

Any serious researcher deserves to be treated fairly. That is not to say that we are perfect. We do, however, strive to present well researched, unbiased information based upon our meticulous research.

Each of us approaches our work differently, based upon our educational backgrounds and personal interests. To name a few, UFO researchers are historians, physical scientists, social scientists, journalists, police officers, artists, and medical doctors. Others are hard working investigative volunteers from a variety of diverse backgrounds. The one thing that we all have in common is our dedication to the search for the truth.

Along our journey we are likely to encounter naysayers, pseudo-skeptics, and adult bullies whose primary purpose is to present an armchair debunking analysis, often based upon false information and laced with ad hominem remarks. We’ll also encounter respectful skeptics that will nudge us in the right direction, should we overlook an important piece of evidence.

History is rife with authoritative claims made by reputable scientists and others that have impeded scientific investigation and progress. Throughout history it has been difficult, if not impossible to promote the acceptance of new discoveries. We, as UFO researchers and investigators, are aware of the great challenges we face. Mutual respect and consideration will go a long way in moving UFO research ahead. Additionally, we must be patient and present ourselves as the professionals that we are. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, especially when it is offered privately by an informed source, and without a mean-spirited attempt to embarrass or demean.
Professor Ted Goertzel of the Rutgers University Sociology Department was not enthusiastic about the likelihood anything particularly constructive would arise out of ufology, simply stating, "I suggest finding a new area to investigate."

"Probably a pretty solid suggestion, sir," I replied.

It should nonetheless be noted in 1994 the professor published valid critical review of alien abduction research in his work, Measuring the Prevalence of False Memories: A New Interpretation of a "UFO Abduction Survey." His contributions to the genre are respected and appreciated by The UFO Trail

Leah Haley also expressed herself concisely, stating, "Ufology would be better served if more people would focus on searching for and analyzing the evidence rather than spending their time engaging in verbal battles with others and letting their emotions dictate what 'the truth' is."

True enough, Leah. Frank Purcell, a retired process design engineer who graciously provides work to The 'Trail, recently expressed similar observations, stating, "When a 'rebuttal' degrades from a rational discussion to hate mongering and personal attacks, it means that there is no good counter argument to what has been presented."

Commenting on constructive directions for ufology, Frank explained:
I think everyone will agree that more emphasis needs to be made on measurement. A few 'hot spots' around the world are equipped with cameras (e.g., Hessdalen, San Luis Valley). More UFO observatories should be built. I have no idea how the money for such things could be raised, nevertheless, these are the relatively easy problems.

Much harder problems are mind sets. The current focus most enthusiasts have on UFOs is too narrow. Most people interested in UFOs take it as a given that interstellar intelligences are behind the phenomena. It's a belief based on nothing. Few interested in UFOs know anything about PSI science. (In fact most people don't consider PSI a science.) Only a few interested in 'ghosts' and paranormal phenomena have any interest in UFOs, and conversely. Each genre is shunned not only by mainstream, but mostly shunned by other fringe groups.

Lastly, nothing within ufology is ever put to rest. No matter the strength of counter evidence to specific claims, myths continue to compound. Beliefs outweigh facts just as they do with religion, politics, scientism, and every other belief system humans have ever invented. Ufology needs to be treated as a science, not as just one more pointless belief system.
Tim Printy of the Skeptical UFO Newsletter, popularly known as SUNlite, echoed Frank's calls for more specific observation, particularly concerning camera systems. Tim noted such systems could improve data collection and analysis, among other points expressed:

My advice to UFOlogy is to stop wasting time chasing UFO reports both old and new. They haven't solved anything in the past 60+ years and there is no reason to believe they will solve anything in the future. 

The reports by themselves provide very little useful data for analysis. Most of these reports do not even contain real observational data that can be analyzed.

The best hope is for a technological solution to eliminate the human factor. Fortunately, the technology exists today with various inexpensive low light camera systems being readily available that could effectively cover and record the entire sky. A system of such cameras and associated recording equipment at several locations can be used to provide triangulation data that can be quantified and analyzed. It would eliminate the human element and might show that UFOs ARE worth studying.
Denise Stoner
Denise Stoner wears many hats within the UFO community, including that of long time Florida MUFON Chief Field Investigator. She wrote:  
I find this a very difficult arena to enter - from any direction actually. There are so many people who are firm believers in this phenomenon and others who are out to tear it apart by any method possible including the use of insults, rudeness, etc. tossed at others rather than sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences - and in the process showing each other the utmost respect. The only way to find the truth is to listen, research, study, and continue on in this way until every door has been opened and the answer stares us straight in the face - no doubts, guesses, no more questions or speculation - we know beyond the shadow of a doubt what this is all about.

However, if we stop searching now, and base our belief on theory alone, something is sadly missing. What happened to our great explorers who began, for instance, believing our world was flat? How many people stayed back on their shores shaking their fists, sure this adventurer would fall off the earth should he sail toward the horizon? ...there were many.

Rather than urge him on and give positive reinforcement, although they feared for themselves, they reacted out of their own fear and negativity. They couldn't wish him well or God Speed. Instead they issued threats of banishment and more.

Hopefully we are a better people now and have the heart, minds, and daring to wait for our explorers of the unknown to complete their voyages, returning with the truth, whatever it is, placing before us clear and real as our own existence - the final answer to this SECRET that has so disturbed our very being for many centuries.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Rosemary Ellen Guiley has written extensively on Fortean phenomena. She is among those who feel it would be constructive to further examine the possibility that different genres of the paranormal may be divided more by perception than actuality:

UFO and ET experiences are not self-contained, but are part of a vast web of interrelated phenomena penetrating other areas, such as the paranormal and crypto-creatures. Ufology would benefit from a deeper examination of the cross-connections and patterns involving hauntings, shadow people, Djinn, Bigfoot, fairies, angels, and mysterious creatures. Also, more consideration should be given to the interdimensional aspects of UFO and ET experiences: we may be dealing more with shape-shifting ultraterrestrials from parallel dimensions connected to earth, rather than with beings from distant worlds.
Regan Lee maintains several blogs, including The Orange Orb, in which she described her puzzling sighting of an orb-like object, as well as additional paranormal experiences. Her thoughts:
UFOs present themselves as any number of a hundred diverse things. It may be one of those things (Djinn, fairies, angels,ETs, etc.) or, not. For sure it takes on many guises.

Then there are the entities -- human and non -- that take advantage of that fact. Because of that we can't afford to get stuck on one theory, insisting UFOs are ... whatever. We definitely can't play UFO Police and decide who and what's valid and what isn't. We know UFOs/aliens are, the question is, what? 

We also can't forget the witness, which may seem obvious. But the witness is not there for us, we are there for the witness. Having formalized standards is nice but we need to be flexible and not be afraid to toss those and think of something else when it comes to exploring UFO events.
Writer/researcher Kathy Kasten has delved into such topics as unidentified objects reportedly navigating the skies, state-sponsored covert use of involuntary human research subjects and alleged alien abduction, among others. Her path led her to serving on the Human Subjects Protection Committee at the University of California at Los Angeles.

"In order to get at the real phenomena we will have to begin to understand just what is human perception and how it functions," Kathy explained, adding that deepening our understandings of fields such as neurology would help us gain more accurate insights into the challenges. 

"One of the discoveries of research into human perception was defining what Universe is, so far as we understand it. What that means is most of the time what appears to be happening 'out there' is really happening 'in here.'”

Kathy went on to cite how individual worldviews are "shaped by neurological, physiological, psychological and sociological experiences," but don't be too quick to conclude what you think that might indicate about her perspectives. She does not by any means suggest all reports of high strangeness can be explained by such as psychological conditioning and how the brain transfers and stores information - that may only be part of the equation in some circumstances. 

"I am going to suggest that EARs (entities of an alternative reality) who make their appearance in our reality are able to create the energy to emerge into our worldview for a short time, do whatever they need to do to attract our attention, and then dissipate back into their separate reality. Further, I suggest it takes cooperation - whether consciously or subconsciously - between the entity and the human mind," Kathy explained in Possible Key to Understanding the Phenomena and generously provided in response to inquiries from The UFO Trail.
She suggested constructive directions for ufology would include taking more responsibility for the extents human personality, worldview and physiology influence what the witness perceives they experience. This could include implementing revised and extensive investigative procedures to more accurately assess data.

Mike Clelland
Mike Clelland explores issues surrounding experiences of high strangeness, some of them his, on his blog, Hidden Experience. He commented:
This subject is so elusive that it's nearly impossible to formalize it like other sciences. You can't force the UFO peg into a hole of your own design. I am not a scientist, I'm ever the creative type, and I'm content ignoring anything that resembles a formalized process.

There are aspects of this phenomenon that challenge everything, including my definition of reality. There are little strings all tangled up that seem to go everywhere. Life and death, expanded consciousness, mind-control, emerging mythology, channeling, mysticism, synchronicity, psychic weirdness and outright magic are all connected. Everything is on the table.

You start out questioning, "What is happening?" and you very quickly need to ask, "What is God?"

Too many researchers have locked themselves into confined little boxes. I've heard too many people say, "Well that's just ridiculous!" when asked about some of the outlying strangeness. When I dig into that preconceived ridiculous stuff, I find that there really is something going on there. It's complicated and slippery - but something is going on.

We are all human, and we are trying to peer into something from beyond our realm. True understanding might be impossible. We need to pull off our blinders, and this ain't easy. Or, at least we need to admit that we have these blinders - all of us.

I guess my point is that we need to admit that our own preconceived baggage is hindering the process of truly digging deeply into the subject. This includes me too, I have my own crappy flaws that make me just as guilty as anyone else. Everyone is gonna have different conclusions, that's just what we get. But I really believe that everyone, no matter how nutty (or how conservative), is bringing important puzzle pieces to the table.
Michael Naisbitt writes UFO-Blog, dedicated to "fighting truth decay." He also maintains the site, Drone Hoax, a page that should be saved in the favorites of anyone researching the drones fiasco. Expressing concerns related to a prevailing lack of qualified peer review, Michael commented: 
Until Ufology starts to police its own ranks it will be of no interest to the wider scientific community and, frankly, encouraging scientific/academic involvement should be a priority.

Divisiveness has essentially plagued Ufology since its inception. Now, with more information readily available than ever before in history, as well as globally communicating with others never being easier, you’d expect that some common ground could be found. Yet, paradoxically it seems that the gulfs are widening within the UFO community. Indeed this is perhaps most strikingly evident in the way the phenomenon is approached and interpreted by the majority of UK Ufologists compared to those of the US.

Unfortunately, the wider UFO community is so fractured & disjointed with nothing even remotely resembling a consensus on even the most basic assumptions, I fear there will never be a satisfactory resolution, and certainly not in the near future. I guess ultimately Ufologists get the Ufology they deserve.
Ryan Dube
Ryan Dube of Reality Uncovered and Top Secret Writers is well acquainted with the inherent challenges. From his vantage point, much more scientific inquiry would be beneficial:
If you've read my past writing then you probably know how frustrated I am with Ufology, and how the infighting and corrosive personalities drove me away from dealing with most of the stories and discussions that surface inside of that community.

However, the idea of formulating a new, future direction is a refreshing one. It's also extremely difficult, because there are so many pet theories that people who are well-entrenched in the UFO community have written about and feel the need to defend. How many times have you watched a UFO documentary and all they can come up with is the tired, old Roswell theories of Stanton Friedman - bringing him in as an "expert" as though the field of Ufology has not and cannot progress beyond the singular event of Roswell and the core theory of little green men crashing an alien disk into the sand?

For Ufology to enter into mainstream consciousness as a respectable form of scientific inquiry - it needs to become more like other scientific fields of study like paleontology or epidemiology. Even though those are fields that explore either new or old "unknowns" - the researchers involved understand the process of scientific inquiry. That is: never holding firm to one rigid theory, but instead always questioning, testing, and retesting. That is the answer - everything we think we know about sightings, abductions, and other related phenomena needs to be questioned, re-examined, retested and re-validated under real scientific study.

So long as Ufology continues to exist as a "hobby" for so many untrained and unscientific so-called "researchers," it will never have a chance of being accepted as a legitimate scientific inquiry by the mainstream. I honestly hold very little hope for this ever happening, unless someone finally makes a ground-breaking discovery that unsettles the very foundation of everything vanguard Ufologists have always accepted as their "truth" when it comes to UFOs.
Ryan wrote, FAA Instructions to Staff on UFO Sightings Debunk Cover-Up Claims, an article summarizing verified, pertinent yet rarely discussed details of events surrounding the investigation of a high profile UFO sighting. Such details contradicted Leslie Kean's sensational description of a supposed cover-up of the sighting and continued to be selectively omitted from Kean's account even after Ryan and research partner Andy Murray specifically brought the circumstances to her attention. The UFO Trail does not slap many 'must read' items on you, but this is sincerely a piece that should be read by all who wish to more fully understand the complexities of ufology and what is actually taking place.

Andy Murray was also a key player in revealing what competent investigation demonstrated to be a hoax perpetrated by a supposed whistle blower. The investigation and its findings were explained by Stephen Broadbent in his article, Ufology Exopolitics Special: Source A Exposed!.

Commenting on constructive directions for ufology, Andy explained:

I'm very dismayed by conventional ufology. It seems to be more focused on getting attention than the actual truth. One area I'm hopeful about are the great people - online friends - that hold the famous ufologists accountable; folks I've met online that see through the charades of Kean, Hopkins and others.

Ufology has benefited from a grass roots effort that refuses to allow the phenomena to be defined by mainstream fanatical ufologists. It sure has a long way to go, though.

Recently I became a mod at UFO Casebook. Hopefully a balance can be struck between the folks who believe anything and the folks that believe nothing.

I know there is some type of phenomenon that defies reasonable explanations - I've seen it. However, I don't believe jumping to conclusions answers any questions.

I remain skeptical of claims, but a good friend once told me to "consider everything and believe nothing." Ufology needs to get away from belief, it's not a religion, but everything should be considered in the absence of any real hard proof.
Carol Rainey
Filmmaker, writer and multi-talented Carol Rainey has addressed problems within ufology and, more specifically, within abduction research. She thoroughly explored such issues in her article, The Priests of High Strangeness: Co-Creation of the "Alien Abduction Phenomenon," which should be on your reading list if you have not yet read it. Concerning constructive directions, Carol provided the following practical considerations:
In brief, these would be my suggestions to potential investigators for studying a phenomenon that is still a baffling, though very real, human experience:  
  • Learn how to use raw data, allowing in all of the reported material, not rigging the narrative by selecting out only the data that fits that investigator’s preferred narrative. 
  • Have a researcher’s work peer reviewed prior to his/her publication. It’s a tried and true method of helping to spot a fallacy or other logical weakness in a case.
  • Try the scientific method or some kind of cross-disciplinary method.
  • Don't work alone: work with cross-disciplinary teams, all focused together on a case that all agree is worthy of their time. 
  • Keep a computerized database of the case findings, not chicken-scratching on note cards. (The epidemiologists from the Framingham Heart Study had an excellent database for the mining and it has been yielding up new epidemiological findings for decades, simply because they knew how to collect and store source data.)
  • Try some other way of recall, not hypnosis. It's simply potentially damaging to the subject and doesn't help the field get anywhere near those much needed National Institutes of Health dollars for grants. 
  • Keep current with the rapidly advancing field of neurobiology. Scientists have made great strides over the past decade in understanding memory and the validity of recovered memory. The field has changed greatly, while alien abduction researchers are still working on the basis of very old information. 
  • Have people's experiences heard and recorded in a neutral environment (When a new subject enters a famous UFO researcher's living room or studio, she is already being “led” by the very context of the setting). 
  • Try verifying that your case or book's main subject is fully credible. 
  • Be less credulous, and welcome in people who are open to the abduction possibility but who tend toward skepticism. They can help keep the researcher from falling into the paranormal trap of flat out embracing what seems to be real.
Dr. Tyler Kokjohn is a Professor of Microbiology at the Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has contributed much appreciated work to The UFO Trail on multiple occasions, is involved in ufology in a variety of capacities and maintains an informative YouTube channel. He offered the following comments:

Carol Rainey kindly shared her insightful ideas before publication and I have only a few things to add -

1. Critical reviews of the field are needed

Mainstream scientists continuously assess the state of knowledge in their fields. Part of this occurs as a consequence of the research publication process when data are evaluated and discussed. In addition to standard research papers, scientists also produce review articles and commentaries. These documents provide a synopsis of the published methods and principal results, critique the merits and weaknesses of the currently reigning hypotheses and identify gaps in existing understanding where additional research is warranted.

A veritable lifetime after Roswell, the UFO enterprise appears to be in a state of near disillusionment. Many ideas explaining UFOs have been proposed - the extraterrestrial hypothesis, cryptoterrestrials, 'inter-dimensional' apparitions, etc. - what are their respective pros and cons? More important, after examining the available data and concepts, what testable predictions can be developed for each? Elimination of untenable ideas is a crucial facet of progress and can be facilitated by collecting competing concepts and comparing them.

2. Broaden the knowledge base by utilizing largely overlooked opportunities to assess data

"Abductology" in particular suffers from a profound lack of perspective. By necessity, investigations are proprietary and destined for sale. Apart from rare glimpses offered by true insiders like Carol Rainey or the work of authors like Jim Schnabel* and Kevin Randle et al.,** consumers have virtually no insight into the actual methods employed by investigators or if it is valid to generalize their results. Abduction investigators have been publishing and lecturing widely for decades, but methods and conclusions vary widely and there exists no consensus as to the basic nature of the phenomena. Worse, investigators themselves have not recognized the need to establish context, ordinarily one of the first things a scientist will seek to do. Balkanized and encapsulated into the constraints of narrow narratives, abduction research has yet to reveal its own extent and boundaries. The present situation is troubling because it so strongly suggests that the explanatory storyline depends heavily on the storyteller.

Abduction investigators, including two asserting they possess many thousands of experiencer letters, apparently have little incentive to glean any new insights from the literal mountain of data they already have in hand. New surveys have been launched recently. Will the information garnered by the survey directors be used to further understanding of the mystery or will a new collection of the juiciest stories be on sale soon at UFO conventions? Clearly, a new investigative model is in order.

3. Consumers - Empower yourself

The good news is that a mechanism with the power to change everything already exists. Sites like and the Magonia blog have the potential to impose higher standards through the application of raw economic force. These sites provide critical reviews of books and empower consumers to weigh in with their personal evaluations or issue comments on the critiques of others. While what is on offer to consumers today is too often a pale imitation of science, readers now possess an unprecedented potential to act as effective public peer reviewers of quality. In principle, a field long accustomed to operating without meaningful quality standards may soon have them imposed from without through the insights and demands of discriminating and vocal consumers. Although the commercialization of ufology may have certain negative aspects, should enough readers accept the challenge to add value rather than just volume to discussions, the balance might shift in favor of improved product quality to meet direct market demands.

*Jim Schnabel. 1994. Dark White - Aliens, Abductions and the UFO Obsession. Hamish Hamilton.

** Kevin D. Randle, Russ Estes and William P. Cone. 1999. The Abduction Enigma. Forge.
I am grateful to all who contributed to this post. Your time and attention are appreciated. Thank you.

As for me, I think a constructive direction for ufology would be cultivating an environment that prioritizes personal responsibility, particularly in discriminating between established facts and chosen beliefs. Taking such responsibility and expecting it of others applies across the board and is possible regardless of personal areas of interest, levels of experience and extents of involvement.

I recognize fact as defined by Merriam-Webster. From my vantage point, life is mysterious enough, more than adequately wondrous and plenty full of intriguing challenges without jumping to premature conclusions. The creative process and exploration of the unknown need not be stifled by respecting accuracy.

Compassion and civility are important when applicable but are not synonymous with enabling unaccountability. Reasonable debate protocol and fair fighting rules should be practiced when confronting others about misrepresenting facts or irresponsible behavior, but it should be clearly understood that an environment of personal responsibility is not only conducive to addressing fraud and ill conceived research methodology, but demands it.

People are entitled to believe anything they want to believe. They are not entitled to do harm to others in the process. They are also not entitled to uncontested claims and they are not entitled to demand you support their belief systems.

As long as there is a market for presenting unsubstantiated claims as facts, there will be suppliers. Stop buying and they will stop selling. The whole is the sum of its parts, as each and every one of us and our actions collectively contribute to a prevailing paradigm. We are individually responsible for the finished product.

If we want change and improvement, then we must change and improve. If we want truth, we must consistently provide it while refusing to accept its substitutes. If conclusions are claimed, we are entitled to require presentation of supporting data and analysis. If others do not share our standards, we are justified in choosing not to support them and their activities. We are not only entitled to such conditions, we have personal responsibilities to provide, support and request them.

You deserve more quality. Refuse to accept less.

Now you know what some people and I have to say about constructive directions for ufology. What say you?


  1. Fascinating. Each of us filters the information through our own subjective lens. Somewhere in tose layers, the truth begins.

  2. Kudos on getting those responses. Anytimme a group refuses to send photographs to independent professional forensics, on the ground that all fotos may be cgi is highly suspect.This should be part of the cross disciplinary approach suggested. Everything costs money, but when major organizations like mufon entrench themselves into the commercial hollywood and tv business..then Huston we have a problem, and they overlook the simple explanations to promote the sensational. the record is replete with that. Simple explanations don't boost the dvd/video/books the fuel the current ufological landscape. This is what fuels in turn turf wars rather than good debates. Worse they become beholding to them, and in turn we are beholding to these high priests of radio entertainment for more entertainment, rather than solutions, answers, and facts. They gladly oblige us too. it is a sorry state.
    the suggestion and concern for further on the neurological limits of perception and avoidance of hypnosis is well founded, as well as the forays into crypto events (I don't mean yeti either) is highly desirable.

    Thanx for a fascinating article.
    Arm Chair Researcher

  3. yes, the grays,( who like to known as Zetas) as some people call them are a multifaceted race, they have many different genetic differences... the real issue for most people is, they try to place structure around what cannot be structured...there are so many races here, so many levels of connection, to try to say "one race is doing this" is not an appropriate statement...



  4. Jack, this was an interesting mix of people with various points of view. As for your request from readers for suggestions on a constructive direction for ufology I can't help but think of the late J. Allen Hynek who wrote decades ago to scientists a very important message.

    In the link under 'Change of Opinion' Hynek noted the "dismissive arrogance of many mainstream scientists towards UFO reports and witnesses"..."Ridicule is not part of the scientific method, and people should not be taught that it is". [I've wondered if this was partly a commentary towards fellow astronomer - debunker Carl Sagan who was utterly viscious in making fun of ufo witnesses and/or abductees on late night tv programs where he was a regular and popular guest - Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson in particular. Witnesses/abductees were invited on to unknowingly be confronted by Sagan who would look at the audience, not the lowly abductee - the audience laughing and the skeptic hosts laughing along with audience and smirking Sagan. As a young teen watching those shows Sagan came across to me as a conceited and dishonest man - and as I learned years later, he certainly was with Betty Hill, but that's a whole 'nuther story].

    Scrolling down to the section 'UFO origin hypotheses' and excerpts from Hynek's "The Embarassment of the Riches" speech which is thoughtful and controversial for a once establishment authority figure who was a skeptic. Hynek, like his 'invisible college' friend and colleague Jacques Vallee were clearly on to the complexity of the ufo phenomena decades ago.

    And, if Hynek's speech before the U.N. in 1978,( co-authored by Jacques Vallee and Claude Poher) had been successful in its objective for a centralized United Nations UFO Authority; a program might have developed whereby finances could have been allocated to countries for survelleince equipment - particularly areas where a 'flap' of ufo sightings is allegedly occuring, as well as the homes and properties of people who've had close sightings and also claim close encounters. Two potential examples: This could have been of great benefit to the longterm 'Marley Woods' project and the 'Skinwalker Ranch NIDS project.

    It seems though that taking pictures or videos of this phenomenon isn't that easy (like in some ghost/haunting investigation cases where camera/video battery drainage high jinx occurs). The intelligence that is interacting with people appears to wants to do so on its own terms and is not fond of being filmed.

    What Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Regan Lee, Mike Clelland, Kathleen Marden and Denise Stone contributed resonated with me personally. Also a pleasant surprise was reading Kathy Kasten, a skeptic, writing - "I am going to suggest that EARs (entities of an alternative reality) who make their appearance in our reality are able to create the energy to emerge into our worldview for a short time, do whatever they need to do to attract our attention, and then dissipate back into their separate reality. Further, I suggest it takes cooperation - whether consciously or subconsciously - between the entity and the human mind,".....Kasten's idea is similar to the late John Keel's who had a wealth of knowledge on ufos as well as the occult. He suspected intelligences were transmogrifying - using materials found in our reality and temporarily holding form as solid craft, nebulous craft; as well as entities and cryptids sometimes observed before, during or after ufo sightings. And a telepathic relationship with the human putting the human into a trance-like (hypnotic?/missing time?) state. For what purpose, Keel didn't know. I don't think anyone knows.

    ~ Susan Brown

  5. I like Kathy Kaasten's approach. There should be more effort in trying to understand the problem of perception, but more importantly the issue of human consciousness; because if it could be shown that consciousness is not merely an emergent neurological phenomenon, then there simply are not limits to the things we could discover.

    A peer-reviewed system obviously would be great, too. But how do you establish that in such a 'cliquish' world as UFOlogy? Pity because the Internet opens up a lot of possibilities to share data.

  6. Huge thanks to Jack for creating this post. The insights are impressive, and I feel that this dialog should continue.

    I want to add one more thing.

    Jack wrote:

    "As for me, I think a constructive direction for ufology would be cultivating an environment that prioritizes personal responsibility, particularly in discriminating between established facts and chosen beliefs."

    I try to do this myself, I work hard to make sure people who read my written work (or listen to me talk) know when I am speculating, when I'm sharing personal impressions and when I'm sharing things I know.

    I try hard to say: "I'm speculating about this idea," and then I speculate.

    And I try hard to say, "Here's what I feel intuitively on this idea," and then I speak from my heart.

    And when I *KNOW* something, I'll say as much. Sadly, all I really *KNOW* is that something is going on - and I can't really *KNOW* beyond that...

    Mike C!

  7. We are on the threshold of a truly historic moment in which science will answer many of the questions non-science, purported experts in ufology, have been unable to quantify. The whole alien issue from a ufologists perspective will become a moot point. Science is hard at work finding new planets and searching for alien life. As far as I am concerned there isn't much sense in ufologists beating the bush for answers. The real experts, astronomers and biologists, have arrived on the scene and all things considered, I am surprised ufologist continue their diatribes almost ignoring the discoveries that are about to reveal a more profound reality than we ever imagined.

    1. Well, if we're talking about the answer to the UFO phenomenon not coming from UFOlogists, then I have to agree.

      However, I kind of suspect that the answers might not come from research in Astronomy, but in the new discoveries in Particle Physics and Quantum Mechanics. Maybe the newly announced Higgslike particle will be the key to step inside them flying saucers once and for all! ;)

  8. Jack years ago I was watching the Kilroy show on BBC breakfast telly I think and the subject of crop circles popped up and Richard Dawkins immediately interjected they'd been explained away by the two Irishmen who'd come forward at the time claiming to be their creators.

    Setting aside the issue of why anecdotal data suddenly somehow becomes acceptable when it tells us what we want to hear the point Richard Dawkins omitted was the Irishmen'd also stated they'd felt compelled by some unknown force to carry out their actions.

    I mention this in relation to your observation "As long as there is a market for presenting unsubstantiated claims as facts, there will be suppliers."

    I get your point but what I'm trying to draw attention to's everyone's aware there's a 'hoaxing'/'unsubstantiated claims' industry out there but everyone seems to view this as incidental whereas what I'm suggesting is this might be as much a part of the phenomenon as any close encounter because why do these people feel compelled to do what they do or for that matter why do disbelievers spend so much time obsessing about something they think doesn't exist? Is it really just down to boredom mischief and maliciousness or even attention seeking or scoring off the opposition? Because the net effect's the same as any sincere report - the whole issue's brought to the fore again and debates break out anew whether there's anything to them or not. Even the often hilarious mockery serves the purpose of keeping the subject at the centre of our attentions.

  9. I appreciate the supportive comments. Thank you. I am very glad some find the material presented to be of interest.

  10. Jack, thank you for another great article. I don't have much to say that's against any of the input presented here, and a lot I, if not in outright agreement with, appreciate.

    I agree with Alan Borky's idea that the "hoaxing ... industry" is "as much a part of the phenomenon as any close encounter..." call it Trickster, or whatever. It's one connected angle to the whole.

    I think each of us has to find our individual area of expression that we contribute, whether it's sharing narratives or what have you. As a group, or culture, we have to accept each other's unique contributions and look at the whole, rather than a UFO Police "off with their heads" approach.

  11. Wow! I know I'm late in the game here, but YES!!!! What Ross Holcomb says...what Ross Holcomb says! I haven't been so excited re: seeing something in print about some of this, then until now, when I just found this portion of this blog.

    Cannot begin to state how important the statements are, made by Mr. Holcomb. My own experiences do NOT mimic in any way, shape or form that which is normally found in any of the abduction books I have read. In fact, one particular researcher stated to me that I MUST have had the typical grey in my experiences at some point; when I tried to explain this absolutely is not the case, she refused to let go of her own bias long enough to open her mind to the possibility that my experiences may be somewhat different than the norm.

    Her bias was so frustrating for me. But I was new to this ufology thing at the time and had no way of knowing then that this is a common complaint for several contactees.

    I would also suggest that most likely most experiencers have never sought out help re: their own events, for one reason or another. I would imagine there are hundreds, if not more, different species in our Universe, and therefore cannot imagine why it is solely the grey being who seems to be mentioned the most in most of the U.S. abduction cases. Why is this, exactly?

    Kelly Cahill's abduction scenario comes to mind. She certainly wasn't dealing with the stereotypical grey alien with her encounters. But she's an Aussie..

    So - are different species visiting different countries? If so, why? Government contract of some sort? Hard to say, but interesting nonetheless.