Thursday, June 25, 2015

Can We Get Back to Talking About UFOs Now?

I have to admit to feeling a little discouraged about the state of ufology over the past few days, but something happened yesterday that has renewed my sense of purpose as a UFO investigator.

My MUFON State Director assigned a historical case to me and asked that I contact the witness ASAP, because it involved multiple witnesses and at least the possibility of photographic evidence. I read the report and was intrigued...

I called the witness up yesterday evening and heard quite a story... The event took place in 1980, when the witness was in the Army and based at Ft. McCoy, a sleepy little training base in west central Wisconsin. At that time, Ft. McCoy was designated as a Cuban Resettlement Center, and as such was used to house several thousand Cuban refugees who had fled to the US. The witness was part of a "human fence" ringing the perimeter of the camp to keep the refugees from slipping away at night. He was one of about 40 or 50 men who stood guard together 24/7 on this unusual assignment. One night, after "late chow," when it was his turn to get some shuteye, he unrolled his sleeping bag in the grass about 50 yards from the other men and got in.
Fort McCoy, the sleepiest Army Base in the US. Until the UFO showed up...

It was then that he saw something strange moving in the sky behind the trees to his left. He got up and watched as the object moved out from behind the trees, and was shocked to see it was a brilliantly-lit square or rectangular craft of some kind moving at uniform speed from his left to his right. That's when it got weird.

All of the men in the human fence saw it, and he told me that "You could hear 50 voices all shouting out 'What is that?' all at once." He noticed that some of the men had cameras and were taking pictures, but he didn't look very closely because his attention returned to the strange object. It took about two minutes for it to cross from the tree line on the left to the tree line on the right. but in that time he saw an opening in the side of the object... He told me that he didn't perceive it as a window with a glass pane, exactly, but more like an opening protected by a force shield. Visible in the opening were two beings "looking right at me." He could only see their outlines in the opening, but he sensed they were looking at him by the way their heads appeared to turn as the object moved past from his left to his right. "I knew they weren't human," he told me after some hesitation.

His attention was also drawn to what appeared to be a flaming exhaust trailing the craft, but when he looked at it, it didn't display any physical characteristics of a rocket exhaust... There was no trail of smoke behind the craft, just a stationary "light coming out of the tail."

He said "I freaked out for a spilt-second. A wall came down in front of me and I went blind; that's the best way I can explain it." Then after the object disappeared behind the trees to the right, he got back in his sleeping bag and fell asleep immediately. To him, this was the oddest, most unsettling part of the experience. How could he just fall asleep after such an emotionally-charged experience? He can't make any sense of it and it bothers him intensely, even after 35 years.

He woke up the day after the sighting feeling perfectly normal, and found that no one wanted to talk about the events of the night before. He asked his Lieutenant "what to do" about the sighting and was told "You're on your own." When he asked his Colonel the same thing, the Colonel said "If it comes out in the local paper, then we'll investigate." The witness smelled a rat: "He knew that as long as we were on that guard duty, no one would have a chance to get into town to look at the papers!" So, of course, nothing ever came of it officially.

The witness told me that he has a list of the men on that guard assignment that night. I had a hard time understanding how he had this document, but by this point in the conversation he was pretty shaken and his voice was giving out a lot... He is sending me the list in the hopes that I can track down someone else who saw the same thing and is still living and is willing to talk about it. A tall order, but still...

Now I'm going to be very unscientific here and tell you what I found persuasive about this man's story...
  • He told me that when this happened he knew less than nothing about UFOs. 
  • He told me that he has kept this inside for over 30 years and can't do it anymore. 
  • His voice exhibited signs of strain and fear as he told me his story. 
  • At times he struggled to find words that would convey the true feeling and meaning of the event -- he had particular trouble describing the "wall" that came down in front of him and how it made him "go blind" for an instant.
  • Sometimes he couldn't find the words to describe things and he just gave up -- the appearance of the odd "flame exhaust" was just impossible for him to put into words, no matter how hard he tried.
  • Odd "soda pop factor" items came out; strange little details like the absence of glass in the opening on the side of the ship, which has no bearing on the story but stuck out to him as significant enough to report in detail.
  • He offered to share the duty roster with me, even at the risk that I might contact someone who would contradict his story.
I believe this man had a very real but as-yet unexplainable experience. If I were to fill out the Ballester-Guasp Report Evaluator with just the information I have now, this case would register a whopping 48.85% Certainty Value, the highest I have ever encountered personally (Yes, I have written in the past about my problems with BGE, but it's what we have to work with).

So, yeah, just when I'm about to give up all hope for ufology and MUFON, a case like this falls into my lap. This guy is powerfully convincing when he says "I have kept this to myself for over 30 years and can't do it any more. Remember the other witnesses also. I was not alone."

And here's the great irony: he decided to file this report only after seeing some lame cable TV UFO show, possibly even the much-reviled MUFON show "Hangar 1."


PS: Speaking of "Hangar 1," something else has improved my mood: Jack Brewer's incredible piece of reporting at The UFO Trail today. Go read it now!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Talk With MUFON

Well, I had my talk with Jan Harzan, International Director of MUFON, and it went pretty well.

I hate to disappoint some of you but I did not destroy MUFON. I did not reduce Mr. Harzan to tears. I did not actually take down, dismantle or destroy anything, but it was a productive conversation nonetheless.

We talked for about a half hour, and the entire conversation was polite, respectful and friendly, which is the way it should be. Jan listened to what I had to say about excluding Jaime Maussan from the MUFON 2015 Symposium, and he understood where I was coming from. He explained that he had booked Maussan for the event many months ago, long before the beWitness fiasco came about, and that his main reason for doing so was so that Maussan would present the UFO videos he has collected over the years from UFO witnesses in Mexico. These videos are, apparently, a big draw.

We then talked about what could be done in the future to make sure MUFON is moving the UFO conversation forward, and I made two suggestions for future sessions at the Symposium. The first suggestion comes from the clever mind of Terry the Censor, who suggested here recently that MUFON could put the actual real people investigating UFO cases on stage to talk about their work. And then while they're at it, they could invite some of the UFO witnesses to get on stage to tell their stories as well. Jan seemed receptive to that, and shared that he has been trying to persuade some "experiencers" he knows to come to the Symposium for just that reason. Who knows, maybe in time that sort of real-life presentation could squeeze the Jaime Maussans of the world off the stage completely.

The second suggestion came about from my wife's and my recent experience hearing Don Schmitt's angry "speech" at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. I came out of that experience feeling that a whole lot of people had just had a whole lot of bad information hurled at them, and with no opposing viewpoints expressed, that was what they would be going home with. "What if," I asked Jan, "you put on a panel discussion or even a debate between Jaime Maussan and someone with the critical thinking skills to forcefully rebut the lies and misinformation surrounding the Roswell Slides fiasco?"
beWitness! Is it just me, or do these guys all look really depressed?

He seemed to really like that idea, and suggested that he might even be able to make that happen at the 2015 Symposium coming up this September in Irvine, CA. The trick, he said, would be finding an open slot in the schedule. Of course the real trick would be to get Maussan, or any of the people who stood on stage at the beWitness event, to willingly participate in a debate with people who knew from day one that the slides were bogus and could clearly explain why... You know, the "skeptics."

I don't see that happening anytime soon, but I could be wrong. These guys do have massive egos, and can be easily manipulated if you appeal to their narcissism.

So, who knows? I might have planted a seed... Just think about how many bums you'd get in seats to watch The Great Roswell Slides Debate!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Another Skeptic Whining About "Proof"

I think it's weird that in his wind-up to the big announcement about the Roswell Slides last November at American University, Roswell Dream Teamer Tom Carey referred back to "the Ramey memo" as "Smoking Gun #1."

The Ramey memo, for those of you not "in the know" like I am, is a piece of paper with text printed on it, visible in a 1947 photo taken of alleged Roswell saucer crash cover-up conspirator General Roger Ramey. In the photo, which shows Ramey displaying to the media the weather balloon debris that is central to the Roswell saucer crash "cover-up" story, the memo is clutched in Ramey's left hand.

What does the memo say?? Does it support the saucer-crash cover-up conspiracy narrative or debunk it? Is it -- is it a smoking gun?? The world needs to know!

Well, several years ago someone named David Rudiak decided to find out. Apparently, Rudiak used some slick software to "de-blur" what was written on the paper that was inexplicably clutched in Ramey's hand. You may be surprised at the results. Sure enough, the memo was shown to be a smoking gun because the software revealed the following words and phrases on the document:

"DISK"

"VICTIMS"

"WRECK"

"RANCH'."

"FORWARDED"

"FORT WORTH, TEX."

"DISC"

"ARMY"

"STORY"

"NEXT"

"OF"

I ask you, is that not the smokingest gun of all time? Wasn't it ballsy of General Ramey to be lying to reporters at the same moment that he was holding a clearly-visible document in his hand that proved that a saucer crash had occurred and was now being covered up? That's what we in the know call "Hiding in Plain Sight," and it's one of the government's favorite mind-fucks. The key is deniability: if any intrepid reporter had asked, "Say, General, what's that suspicious looking memo you are holding in your left hand?" he could have crunched it up and slipped it into his pocket in a flash and pulled the old "Memo? What memo?" ploy.

This is what a smoking gun looks like.
Now, here's the crux of the issue:

Back in November, Carey argued that the text said to be visible on the Ramey memo only after the picture had been photographically enhanced had to be accepted as the truth.

But after May 5, the DreamTeamers argued quite insistently for the exact opposite. After the mummy bombshell, they argued that the placard text said to be visible in the Roswell Slides only after the picture had been photographically enhanced couldn't be trusted, and was, in fact, false information. Even now, some of them still seem to think that.

How is this possible? How can these guys really think they can have it both ways?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

UFOs and Basketball

Remember the original "Dream Team"?

They were the 1992 US Olympic basketball team, and they were called the "Dream Team" because they were the first ever US Olympic basketball team to allow professional NBA players. The team was created to win, and they did. And, because they were so powerful and talented and pre-ordained to win Olympic gold, Sports Illustrated called them the "Dream Team."

The nickname worked, and you know why? Because Sports Illustrated came up with it, not the team itself. If the team had called themselves the "Dream Team" everyone would have hated them and they probably would have gotten bronze, if anything.
You want to know what a "Dream Team" looks like? This is what a "Dream Team" looks like.
Now, I know there are likely other uses of the term "Dream Team" that predate the '92 Olympic basketball team, but you get my point: a group of people can't name themselves a "Dream Team," because if they do they come off looking like a bunch of jackasses. Only someone else can name a team a "Dream Team."

Which brings me to the point of this post...

Since I wrote my letter to the Director of MUFON requesting that Roswell Slides impresario Jaime Maussan be taken off the speakers' roster at the 2015 MUFON Symposium, I have been inundated with letters of thanks and congratulations (which I appreciate a great deal) and invitations to appear on a number of podcasts (which I also appreciate greatly).

So, I've been thinking about what I would say about my letter on a podcast, and what kind of conversations or arguments my statements might start. I decided to do a little research, and I thought the best place to start would be to review the announcement Tom Carey made last November 11th at American University. Carey was part of a panel discussion entitled “UFOs: Encounters by Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials," and he used that opportunity to make a VERY BIG announcement that has now come back to bite him and his fellow "Dream Teamers" in the ass in a most spectacular way.

(I am very grateful to Mr. Ben Moss of the Virgina chapter of MUFON, who attended the event, recorded the speeches and posted them at www.mufonva.com To listen, click on the Audio tab then click Play on Tom Carey's recording, or go here.)

In light of claims that are being made now by Carey and his colleagues, it's very interesting to listen to the public statements Mr. Carey was making only 7 short months ago...

Here are the highlights of Carey's comments:
  • He begins his talk by announcing that he has in his possession a "Smoking Gun," but that he won't reveal details until the end of his speech.
  • He spends the next 15-20 minutes talking about the Roswell saucer crash case, and emphasizes that it is the only UFO case that either he or Donald Schmitt have investigated over the last 20-some years.
  • He identifies the "Ramey Memo" as "Smoking Gun #1."
  • He leads off his big announcement by mockingly saying "The Skeptics are always whining about 'Proof.'" 
  • He says he has in his possession "slides of an alien being," aka "Smoking Gun #2."
  • He says that "...it shows an alien that has been at least partially dissected," and that "its innards had been removed."
  • He says that the being in the slides "looks exactly like what I thought the Roswell aliens would look like, based on the information that had been given to me over the last 24 years; exactly what I had expected!"
As you can see, there's no ambiguity there. None. He clearly stated that he had photographic images of an alien being, and then he made a direct connection between the "alien" in the slides and his precious Roswell case.

So, after that, I feel pretty ready to talk about this on any and all podcasts that may come up. There's just one thing: which one of you skeptics has been whining about proof?? Cut it out! You're making us all look bad.









Thursday, June 18, 2015

Eradicating the UFO Pestilence -- Part II

Holy Green Fireballs! 

I never expected the kind of response I've gotten to my letter to the MUFON head office asking them to un-invite Jaime Maussan from this September's UFO Symposium, and to banish anyone who stood with him on that stage in Mexico City last month. 

I guess it had never occurred to me that nobody has ever made such a request before. How can that be?? I feel a little like Oliver Twist asking the orphanage Headmaster for "More please?" at lunch time: kind of bewildered that such a simple request would cause such a ruckus...
"Please sir, could you tell Jaime Maussan to stay home?"

Well, I am happy to say that I have an update, or at least a partial one: MUFON Director Jan Harzan  called me today to talk about the issue. We played a little phone tag over the course of the day, but never connected. Alas, I will be traveling tomorrow, so I won't be able to talk with him until next Monday at the earliest. 

I will say that I was pleased with the friendly tone of Jan's voice messages, and I am looking forward to talking to him. However, I don't feel it's right to comment further until we've had a chance to talk. I will post an update right here as soon as there is anything new to report. Meanwhile, thanks for all the support!

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this thought:

The other day an old friend of mine, who knows nothing about the UFO biz, was looking at the MUFON logo and asked, in complete innocence: "How do you pronounce this? 'MUFFIN'?"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eradicating the UFO Pestilence

You know how everyone keeps saying the members of the Roswell Dream Team should be banished to UFOlogy Siberia for their roles in the Roswell Slides fiasco? Well, last night I noticed that Mr. Jaime Maussan is a featured speaker at the MUFON 2015 Symposium this coming September, and so I decided to do something about it. I decided to write a letter to Mr. Jan Harzan, International Director of MUFON:

Hi Jan,
I'm the Chief Investigator and Assistant State Director for MUFON Wisconsin, and I have a request to make concerning this year's Symposium.

No doubt you have followed the sad saga of the Roswell Slides hoax, and so you must realize how inappropriate it would be to have Jaime Maussan appear at the 2015 Symposium. In light of the apparent duplicity and/or ineptitude of Maussan and the others involved, I would like to formally request that Mr. Maussan be removed from the speakers' roster. There is simply no way that MUFON can seriously present one of the perpetrators of the Roswell Slides fiasco as a speaker at this flagship event and retain any credibility. How can we say MUFON is dedicated to "The Scientific Study of UFOs" and then let a man who has just done immeasurable harm to our work come speak at our Symposium?
I would like to request further that from here on out, Mr. Maussan and his colleagues Tom Carey, Don Schmitt, Richard Dolan and Anthony Bragalia be banned from all MUFON events. There is no place for these people at any gathering that is meant to further the cause of serious UFO study.
Thank you for your time and attention,
Best regards,
Mark O'Connell
I haven't heard back from him yet...

Maybe we need to shut a few doors while we're at it...
Curiously, at the website for the Symposium, Maussan has an unbelievably lengthy bio, and yet there is not a single reference to the Roswell Slides or BeWitness!