High Strangeness: 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Holmes & Watson and the Case of the Purple Gobbler

I've taken a few weeks off from blogging due to a combination of travel, the holidays and family matters, but I'm back and ready to start the new year off with a bang!

I had the opportunity to visit my old friend and fellow UFO witness Jxxx just before the holidays, and found that he's been thinking of becoming a Certified UFO Field Investigator himself! He even went so far as to propose that he and I could be the Holmes & Watson of the UFO detection field, an idea I like quite a bit.

The funny thing is, it doesn't really matter to me which of us would be Holmes and which would be Watson. We would just be Holmes & Watson and that would be that. And we'd have this whole UFO mess cleared up faster than you could say "Professor Moriarty." Jxxx has already identified our Moriarty, by the way: Jxxx Sxxxx, our old nemesis on our High School student council. I admit, that's going pretty far back, but not everybody can be a Moriarty.

Hot on the heels of that stunning development came another. Yesterday my wife and I drove to our favorite local truck stop for our last Sunday breakfast of 2012, and on the way we passed an old, abandoned restaurant that has been closed up for years, and a stupendous, fantastic, insane idea exploded in my head...

The restaurant is called The Gobbler, and it has been a landmark in the area since it was built in the late 1960s, because of its unique atom-age ambiance...
The Gobbler was the swinging place to dine in 1967.
Even today it retains its essential pizzazz.
Think of it as an intergalactic cruise ship that only the coolest aliens can get into...
Together with a companion hotel that shared the same name (but was razed years ago by some damn fool), Hartwig's Gobbler, as it was known then, was a welcome wayside for travelers along the newfangled Interstate Highway between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. Back then, it was a 70-mile trek between the two cities, and folks needed a posh, otherworldly place to forget the cares of the road, fill up their empty bellies, get stuck to purple vinyl upholstery and perhaps rest up overnight for the final 35-mile leg of their journey the next day. Of course, today in our modern motorcars we make the trip from Milwaukee and Madison in a day or less, so there's no more need for a space oasis at the halfway point.

Or is there?

The Gobbler has been up for sale for years, and is, as they say in the realty game, "Dividable."
"Dividable." I don't like the way that sounds, do you?
We've been driving past this place for years, but what jumped out at me yesterday was that the price has been reduced. It had been listed at well over $1 million, but the price has now dropped to a very doable $998K. So as we drove past yesterday, I said to my wife: "Hey, what if we bought the Gobbler and turned it into an International Center for UFO Studies?"

She said, "That's a great idea, honey. You need to find a backer."  Then, after a pause, "You'd need at least $10 million dollars" (she's good at this stuff).


So, with the new year comes a new mission: buy the Gobbler, and turn it into a 21st-Century 221B Baker Street, from which the Holmes & Watson of Ufology finally solve the riddle of the UFOs...



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nocturnal Missions

Crazy stuff is going on... I have not yet submitted my official case report of the possible alien abduction occurrence I was assigned to investigate, but my MUFON State Director has already forwarded my preliminary report to the famous Kathy Marden, Director of MUFON's Abductions Research Team, and Kathy's preliminary response is a doozy...

Here's what I had to say in my email:

"I just interviewed the witness, and it's a pretty interesting case. The object that he saw doesn't seem to have been all that spectacular, but the physical effect aspect is amazing. You know how he had reported the sighting happening on Nov. 21? Well, he checked with HR at work to confirm the date he had called in sick, and it turned out it really happened on October 31st. He was three weeks off!

"His description of how he suddenly felt so fatigued and shaky is very interesting as well. It came over him so quickly that he wasn't able to think about what was happening at all. He just felt he had to get to bed NOW, so he did. That was maybe 7 pm. Next morning he couldn't even get out of bed until 11."


So, as I say, this email gets forwarded to Kathy Marden, and that's a big deal. Kathy is famous for being the niece of the most famous UFO abductees of all time, Betty and Barney Hill, and hats off to her for having the foresight and presence of mind to be their niece. I have heard her talk before, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to this most unusual of UFO topics. As such, I expected her reaction to this case to be reasoned, calm and rational.

Did my witness actually see this entity on a nocturnal visitation?
I don't know why I expected that, because she is, after all, part of MUFON, and so her actual response was pretty loopy:

Hi everyone,
Thanks for making me aware of this report. The distant light in the sky might be nothing more than a coincidence, but we'll know more about the answer to this question with the passage of time. If the witness begins to awaken with memories of nocturnal visitation by non-human entities, who take her to an alien environment, it might be an indicator that it was more than coincidence.
Best wishes,
Kathy
MUFON Director of the Abduction Research Team. 

Gee... all my MUFON training tells me not to jump to unwarranted conclusions or project my own biases or expectations on a witness' testimony. Why doesn't the Director of the MUFON Alien Abductions Team have to follow the same rules? I mean, I kind of get where she's coming from: she expects my witness' experience to mirror that of her aunt and uncle. But as it stands there is absolutely no reason to believe that that will happen. As much as I would love to have a case involving nocturnal visitations by non-human entities taking the witness to an alien environment, I kind of think it's up to the witness to initiate that conversation.

So now I have to wonder what happens next. If Kathy gets interested in this case and decides to interview the witness, how can I be sure she won't try to influence his testimony, or even implant false memories? She just can't go there, but going by her letter she already has.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creepy Things

This is amazing. Also creepy. Mostly creepy. I was just about to head out for a week of travel when I got this urgent MUFON email from Vxxxx, my State Director:

Dear Mark:
I just assigned this case to you. There is a possibility that this woman may have been abducted or otherwise affected. Please question her in this regard, using non-leading questions.  If you feel that it would be helpful to have Star Team back up, let me know. We will probably want to forward your findings to Kathy Marden, head of the abduction research team, for review. Thanks!
Vxxxx

Wow, that's quite an intro. What was she so hopped up about?

Turns out, someone (a he, not a she, as Vxxxx had assumed) in central Wisconsin had reported seeing a brightly-colored star-like object hovering in the sky a couple weeks ago. Nothing so special about that, but he also reported that after the object disappeared he grew fatigued and started to shake. He went to bed and called in sick from work the next day, so... naturally, Vxxxx is thinking: physical effects>missing time>abduction!

Well, I wasn't going to write back to Vxxxx and say "Sorry, I'd love to take on this case, but I'm just about to leave for a week," was I? They'd assign the case to someone else and I'd lose out on all the fame and fortune. So I put off my packing for a few hours and called the witness tonight to begin my investigation...
Will Wisconsin soon have a UFO abductee as famous as Betty (left earthling) and Barney Hill, seen here portrayed by Estelle Parsons (left earthling) and James Earl Jones in the TV movie "The UFO Incident"? Will he get a TV movie made about his abduction? Will I get to write it?
The conversation wasn't very gripping to begin with. The guy had seen something in the night sky that seemed to be a star or planet, except that it was flashing and pulsing with multi-colored light. He was clearly fascinated and confused by the object, and had a very strong feeling that it didn't belong in the sky, and yet he went inside to watch the news on TV. He can't remember why. He kept checking the object in the sky during commercials and it never moved or changed appearance. Then he called his girlfriend and told her about the object in the sky. Then he checked it again and it was gone.

And that's where the story gets weird... Shortly after the object disappeared he grew completely fatigued and started to shake. It hit him so hard that he couldn't even think about what he was doing; he just knew he had to get to bed NOW. He went to bed and crashed, and the next day he couldn't get out of bed until 11 am, nearly 14 hours later. He called in sick and felt awful all day, then twenty-four hours later he felt fine again.

Here's creepy thing  #1 about what he told me: He said the whole thing feels like a dream that's slowly fading from his memory, and yet his girlfriend remembers him calling to tell her about the strange object in the sky. Here's creepy thing #2: He reported that the sighting took place on November 21, but when he contacted the HR department at work today to confirm the date he had called in sick, they told him it was actually October 31. He was off by three weeks!

Holy shit.

Within minutes of emailing Vxxxx to give her the highlights, she had alerted the aforementioned Star Team and head of MUFON's abduction research team.

This is flipping huge...

But I'm still leaving.









Monday, December 10, 2012

High Weirdness

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing interviews for my book about J. Allen Hynek, and learning some surprising things in the process. A few days ago, I interviewed Mark Rodeghier, who started as a volunteer to Dr. Hynek back in 1974 and now is the President of Hynek's Center for UFO Research, or CUFOS, and, even though I've talked with him a dozen times, he had a few surprises for me.

When it comes to UFOs, Mark knows just about everything, and what he doesn't know he can find out, because he's got every UFO expert in the word on speed-dial. And I like him because he recruited me to write this book in first place, and he recruited me because he read a few of my blog posts here on High Strangeness. And if that doesn't prove that anything is possible in this crazy, mixed-up world, I don't know what does.

One of the most famous UFO pictures ever, taken in McMinnville, OR in 1960. Weird, or not weird? I say weird and a half.
Anyway, during the interview, Mark and I had a long talk about his experiences with one of the greatest UFO researchers of all time. I asked him which UFO incidents were his favorites, and he gave quite a list of sightings that were of personal significance to him. But along the way he talked about how these incidents have changed their nature over the years and how that has changed the way they've been investigated over the years... And at one point he said, "After all, what is a UFO incident? It just means, 'Something weird happened here.'"

I had to laugh! Here's one of the world's foremost experts on the UFO phenomenon -- if anyone had the right to take himself and the entire phenomenon entirely too seriously, it would be him -- and he boils the whole thing down to, "Something weird happened here." I love it!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Singing Like a Canary

I haven't been blogging much this week because I've been focusing on my J. Allen Hynek book. It's been a pretty fantastic week, actually, because I've been able to interview some people who play key roles in the UFO story, and I'm learning how to be a dirty, underhanded interviewer. This is great!

I'll talk about the second interview in a later blog, but first up was the layer fella from Mississippi, whom I have already immortalized in this blog. Lawyer Joe had been smack-dab in the middle of the media frenzy surrounding the famous Close Encounter of the Third Kind alien abduction that took place in Pascagoula, MS, in 1973. The first time I spoke with Joe, about a month ago, he was fresh out of the hospital and did not feel up to doing an interview. He asked me to call him back in a few weeks, and I was happy to oblige.

I gave it a few weeks and called him up the other night. As soon as I said my name he remembered me, and boy, was he ready for me.

"You know, Mark, I've been thinking about this interview, and I just don't think it's something I want to do," he said, to my dismay. "It was forty years ago and I really wasn't involved very much, and so there's nothing new I can tell you."

Of course, ace interviewer that I am, I was sort of expecting this from Joe. So I knew not to let him off the hook. First, I reminded him of something he had told me during our first talk that had never, in my knowledge, ever appeared in any account of the Pascagoula abduction: namely, that he had not been hired to represent Charlie and Calvin, the two men who were abducted, as is commonly reported, but rather was hired by their employer to scare away reporters. I told him that he did, in fact, have something new to tell me about the incident that people would want to know. Well, that got him all fired up, as expected.

For the next half hour, Mr. "I have nothing to add" added and added and added, until the batteries in my recorder started to run out of juice. He told me about the lie detector test he arranged, and how Charlie passed with flying colors. He told me about getting the local Air Force base -- which was officially out of the UFO business -- to test the two UFO abductees for radiation. He told me about accompanying Charlie to New York to appear on The Dick Cavett Show, and how Charlie barely said a word to him or to anyone until he was on camera in front of two million television viewers. It was fantastic. He's the experienced trial lawyer, and here I am getting him to sing like a canary. Amazing.
UFO abductees Charlie Hickson (left) and Calvin Parker. I am one handshake away from these two gents!
And Joe's a great guy. He never earned a penny from his involvement with Charlie and Calvin, but he remained a steadfast supporter and protector of the two men for weeks and months after the incident. "I never thought they were crazy," he told me, "but I think that a lot of people thought I was crazy for not thinking they were crazy."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cindy Lou Who, What, When, Where and Why

Something interesting is going on with this blog...

High Strangeness has now gone past 10,000 page views in a little over 17 months, and day after day, week after week, month after month, the most popular post is this one, written a little less than a year ago, about my friend Jxxx's childhood UFO sighting. It's a great story, so I'm not surprised that it gets so many reads, but I wonder if people read it because of the UFO angle or the Cindy Lou Who angle...

So, you 639 people who have read "Cindy Lou Who -- Part II," what is it that draws you in? Is it that cute little Dr. Seuss face, as rendered by the pen of "Grinch" animator Chuck Jones?

Cute, yes... but cuter than a UFO?
I have several reasons for wanting to solve this mystery. Obviously, it could point me to the ultimate solution to the UFO enigma, and that would be great for me. But it could also reveal a deep connection between Dr. Suess, Mr. Jones and our racial psyche. What is it about Cindy Lou Who that is so appealing? If I keep pilfering pictures of characters from "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," will my readership skyrocket?

Let's find out...
Max!



Monday, December 3, 2012

Too Many Goals

I'm freaking out here. I'm finally catching up on the heaps of email from my superiors at MUFON and what I'm finding is a mess wrapped in a mess covered with a mess.

I only have the energy and patience to deal with one letter per post, so bear with me. The first letter came from Sxxxx, the new MUFON National Director of Investigations (DOI), and it made my head spin. Sxxxx is a real hands-on guy. He starts right out telling us that if we ever have a question, "large or small," we should come to him, and if we ever have a problem, "large or small," we should come to him. Basically, we should come to Sxxxx with anything of any size.

"I always say that MUFON has no problems…….only solutions." Sxxxx goes on. "It has been said that 'United we stand, Divided we fall.' Never have so few words meant so much." I don't know. "I hate you" is only three words and I think it means at least as much, maybe more. I'll have to bring this up with Sxxxx when I meet him. Except that I might not meet him, because he also says, "I have met only a few of you and really seriously doubt I will meet everyone but that is what the internet is all about."

Okay, so we probably won't ever meet. Seems like an awfully shaky start to an introduction letter, but I'll give the guy another chance...

"As you know, with new faces come new ideas," he continues. "I do have certain goals in mind and I am asking the State Directors to join me in my quest. "

Now we're talking. I love quests! I've always said this organization needs more quests and shorter meetings. So, what are your certain goals, Sxxxx?

Here's where the mess really starts. First, Sxxxx lists seven (7) goals. Then he lists another seven (7) goals that may be expanded versions of the first seven or may be seven completely different goals; it's hard to tell. Then, he breaks the second Goal #1 into three (3) more goals. So now I count seventeen (17) goals and I'm afraid to keep reading the letter. 

Especially since the typical goal reads like this:

"Goal #2……a new supplemental report form has been added for each report old or new.  It requires the investigators to fill in the required information in a basic short form.  I suggest that you begin with the basic questions pasted in a word Doc…cut and paste from the CMS onto the Word Doc…once finished, capture the entire document, resize the fonts to be the same, save the document…then cut and paste or save the short form onto the CMS.

"I have had this form brought to my attention on the first day as the DOI.  I am told that it is a waste of time and should only be used for Cat 3’s.  My answer to this is, this short form is being placed into the CMS programing and will soon be a searchable document.  We have a Scientific Review Group that is reviewing sighting reports for any scientific value.  This group is made up of MUFON members and not a third party.  This new short form has the priority data and can be read at a faster pace thereby cutting time.  So the faster everyone gets onboard the better.  Anyone needing to be trained on the use of the CMS please contact me by email."

Lord help me. I have no idea what the man is talking about, but he seems to be saying that the more time we devote to cutting and pasting and resizing fonts, the faster we'll solve the UFO mystery. Once again, ET is laughing all the way back to Alpha Centauri.

If aliens exist, do they laugh at us behind our backs like this little fellow?
Is there any hope for Sxxxx? I'm really not sure. Here's how he closes his letter:
"I am a straight shooter….I go by the rules…I don’t like under the table goings on…rumors…back stabbing…I will tell you exactly what is on my mind and I expect nothing less from each of you. Much like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas......so it is with me....I over analyze everything while reading between the lines and I'm all about being a "Nuts & Bolts" Investigator. So let's all get organized. It goes without saying...you guys and gals are the life force and doing all the work and I won't ever forget that."

I like how Sxxxx compares himself to Vegas. I guess that means everything that happens in Sxxxx stays in Sxxxx, but that seems really uncomfortable. Also, I didn't think we were supposed to call UFO witnesses "Nuts." Or "Bolts."


 


 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

UFO Counselor -- Part II

In my last post I wrote about the young girl whose UFO sighting I investigated last month, and who had written me this week about a subsequent sighting. Sxxxxxx had two problems, only one of which I could help her with.

First problem: her parents and step-parents are razzing her about her growing preoccupation with UFOs. I couldn't really help her with that.

Second problem: her growing fear that the UFOs and watching her and following her. I tried to help her by suggesting that she is actually watching and following them, and that instead of feeling scared she should feel lucky that she gets to keep seeing these strange objects in the sky.

It seems to have been fairly good advice, because here's what I heard back from her:

"What you are saying totally makes sense to me. Now that I know alot more about them..I'm becoming less 'afraid' and more amazed! It really is exciting to see something unknown up in the sky! I guess Im going to have to start taking my camera along when we go out to places now just incase I see something again! Thanks for responding to me Mark! I appreciate it!"

They don't train you for stuff like this when you become a Certified UFO Field Investigator. You either got it, or you don't got it, and I got it. 

How did I come across this wisdom and awareness? Partly because I'm just naturally that way, but partly because of the words of my mentor, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, when asked in 1973 about the two fishermen in Mississippi who claimed to be captured by creatures (see photo left) and taken aboard a strange vessel. "There is no question in my mind that these men have had a very terrifying experience," Hynek told reporters after interviewing the two abductees. "Under no circumstances should they be ridiculed. Let's protect these men."

Amen.






Wednesday, November 28, 2012

UFO Counselor

I did not sign up to be a Certified UFO Field Investigator to counsel troubled teens, and yet... When I got home from my Thanksgiving travels I found my inbox filled with UFO correspondence, all of which I will be writing about in the coming days, but one letter in particular jumped out at me. It was from Sxxxxxx, the 16 year-old girl who's UFO sighting I had investigated last month, and it started out with a bang:

"Hey Mark,
This is Sxxxxxx again (she really said that). I think I spotted another UFO yesterday..I know what I saw. I just dismissed it as I feel crazy now for seeing more things like this. My dad and stepmom already make jokes about the previous UFO incident to me since it happened. Everytime I mention the word UFO my dad just shakes his head and laughs."

Oh man, what are you doing, dad? This is your daughter! When the dad called me last month to offer more information for my investigation, he seemed to be taking the whole thing seriously, and now he just shakes his head and laughs??? This is the kind of shit we're up against every day folks. The people who you know will ridicule UFO witnesses are bad enough, but dads who say they take their daughters' UFO sightings seriously and then shake their heads and laugh whenever their daughters mention UFOs are a blight upon the earth.
Sxxxxxx (right) and her mom showing me the site of their first UFO encounter. The object they spotted and then tracked  first appeared in the wooded area to the right. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to publish official photographs of an investigation in progress, but neither do I want to be accused of a coverup.
And apparently stepmoms are just as bad, because this latest sighting took place while Sxxxxxx was riding in the car with her stepmom, and she didn't dare point out the strange lights in the sky to said stepmom because she knew it would be a lost cause.

So instead she wrote to me, her friendly neighborhood Certified UFO Field Investigator.

After describing the sighting to me in detail, and sending me a link to a YouTube video that looks like the object she saw, she ended with this plaintive message: "Please tell me..Why do I feel like I am seeing them more now? Do they 'know'? Are they following me? Do they know I believe?"

Wow. Nothing in my Certified UFO Field Investigator prepared me for this. Ask me where babies come from, I can describe the miracle of life without blinking an eye. Ask me if UFOs are following you, I'm clueless.

But I couldn't let the girl down. She has no one else to talk to! So I sat down and wrote her this:

"I'm not surprised that you saw another strange object in the sky, and I think it means something that you found a video of something else just like it. Now that you're aware of what's up there, you're looking at the sky more and you're noticing when something doesn't fit in. I'm not willing to go so far as to say that you're being watched or followed, but I do think that in a way you're watching and following them, whatever they are. I told you that I see a lot of case reports come in from your area, so if there really is a UFO hotspot in that area and you're keeping your eyes open, it stands to reason that you'll see them again. I don't want you to feel disappointed by that, but I also don't want you to feel that you have something to be afraid of, because you don't! Just consider yourself lucky that you get to witness these strange things that keep appearing when you're around"

Did I send her the right message? Not sure, but I know what I wrote to her was a lot better than shaking my head and laughing.




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CROPCOM Responds

In my last post I wrote about a crop circle appearance here in Wisconsin in 2003 that had attracted the attention of my fellow UFO Investigators, and since we here in the US are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, which is all about crops and grains and such, it seems appropriate to follow up on that post.

When I got the first email that alerted me to this, the links did not work, but since then I've gotten a new link that has led to more information, and, I have to admit, a massive let-down.

I am accustomed to the kind of crop circles they get in the UK; big, spectacular, complicated, breathtaking crop circles like these:
That's some pretty good stuff. No matter who made them, no matter how they were made, they are impressive. But when I heard there was a Wisconsin crop circle my first thought was, "Oh yeah, now we can finally show the Brits how a proper crop circle is done!"

Then I saw the Wisconsin crop circle...
I hang my head in shame...

It's not just that the Brits have better crop circles than us. They have better crops than us! Look at that mess. What rancid crop are they growing there? Whatever it is, it better not show up in my Wonder Bread.

Then it got worse. In the account of the investigation of this eyesore, the "research team" describes how they started to realize that they were being watched by the "U.S. Air Force Special Crop Circle Investigation Unit," or as I call it, CROPCOM. The researchers realized their investigation was being monitored when a miltary helicopter started circling over them... This is the photo presented as evidence:
I hate to break it to these guys, but that symbol on the side, that white square with the big red cross, that means it's a medical chopper. Maybe they were circling over you because they mistook you for a hospital?

Then our intrepid researchers noticed a CROPCOM officer watching them through binoculars from down the road, and they present this photo as evidence:
Are you, like me, getting more and more convinced with every new photo??

There's more to the story. The "Air Force" man comes over to talk to the researchers, and they make some small talk about the crop circle. The researchers pump him for information about the helicopter and find out that the "Special Crop Circle Investigation Unit" is based out of an Air Force Base in southern Illinois, but somehow they fail to get the guy's name even though it's sewn onto his shirt. Then they file a Freedom of Information Act request to get documentation about CROPCOM, which seems kind of silly when you already had a guy from CROPCOM right there telling you everything. Sadly, there is no evidence that they got anywhere with their request, or that CROPCOM has ever appeared anywhere since 2003.

So, while I still support MUFON getting involved in crop circle investigations, I will have to file this particular report in the "Stoopid" file, and never look at it again.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



Monday, November 19, 2012

Crop Circles! Finally!

Finally, I am writing about crop circles!

I have a thing for crop circles. Crop circles are strange and wonderful images -- usually circular but not always -- that mysteriously appear in farm fields when no one is looking. They're created by the systematic flattening of crops by forces unknown... They've been a big deal in southern England for decades, where they appear all over the landscape every summer.
Crazy, right? This circle appeared overnight in May, 2007, in England.
I got into them when I first learned the story of Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, a couple of old British blokes who became world famous in 1991when they took credit for creating every circle that had ever appeared in England. That was clearly impossible, but the British press was so happy to have a reasonable explanation they went with the story and made celebrities of Doug and Dave. I thought the story was so charming that I wrote a screenplay about it, and back in 2006 it looked as though the movie might get made at Disney with Bill Paxton directing. That didn't happen (although someone named M. Knight Shyamalan made a dopey alien invasion movie around that time that had crop circles in the story), but people still get excited about the script every now and then and I have maintained an interest in "cereology," which has nothing to do with Cap'N Crunch and everything to do with the study of crop circles... Mostly I just like them because they're so beautiful and so strange, and nobody has ever come up with a better explanation for them than Doug & Dave.

The reason I bring this up now is that I got a flurry of emails over the weekend from Vxxxx, my State MUFON Director, about a crop circle that appeared in 2003 in Polk County in northern Wisconsin. As near as I can understand, one of the state's Certified UFO Investigators came across an article about a US Air Force Special Crop Circle Investigation Unit, and in the article the USAFSCCIU is investigating this crop circle in northern Wisconsin, and now my state UFO investigation colleagues are seriously wondering whether crop circles fall under our venue...

This brings up some serious questions, such as, should we investigate something that doesn't necessarily involve UFOs? I say yes, because Bigfoot. Also, should we stick our noses into something that the US Air Force is already involved in? I say yes to that too, because I simply don't believe that the US Air Force Special Crop Circle Investigation Unit exists. Because I don't believe that the US Air Force would ever form an investigation unit with such a stupid, obvious name. If you were the US Air Force and you were going to form a special crop circle investigation unit, would you call it the Special Crop Circle Investigation Unit? No, you would give it a clever -- but not too clever -- decoy name, like the US Air Force Directorate of Unremarkable Tedium. Or Unit 9. Or CROPCOM.

If we do end up investigating crop circles I'll be a very happy guy. And if there is a connection between crop circles and UFOs, you'll read it here first.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Strange Case of the Duplicate Alien

I spent some time this week once again combing through the archives of CUFOS, the UFO research organization founded by Dr. J. Allen Hynek in 1973, and as always I came across some real bombshells that I may or may not share with you at some point. What was different this time was that I had a research companion. Txxx the English professor was there doing research for the poetry he plans to write about the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction case.

After our many emails, it was great to meet Txxx in person! He had recently returned from a very fruitful research trip to the Betty Hill archives in New Hampshire, and we had a lot to talk about. At one point in the conversation, Txxx mentioned an odd little story that I had forgotten... In all the hoopla round the Hill's abduction case when it became public knowledge in 1964, some skeptics tried very hard to prove that the Hills had just imagined their experience, and one skeptic, I can't remember who, suggested that the Hills got the whole idea from an episode of "The Outer Limits" TV series that had just aired the week before.

Now, I'm no stranger to "The Outer Limits." It was a very eerie, atmospheric science fiction anthology series that ran on ABC TV from 1963 to 1965, and it scared the living crap out of adorable little 3 year-old me. Nightmares. Bed-wetting. Piercing screams in the dead of night. You name it. This show had some scary-ass monsters...

The episode in question was called "The Bellero Shield," and it featured a glowing humanoid creature made of light that was trapped on earth. It's a particularly creepy episode, and the luminous alien is pretty memorable. Here it is, in all its glory...
Yes, this thing gave me nightmares when I was three.
So this skeptic notices that this show aired on TV just the week before Betty and Barney Hill underwent their first session of time-regression hypnosis and remembered the aliens who abducted them, and back then you only had three channels, so odds are pretty high that the Hills had this tuned in the previous Saturday, so it fits, right? The Hills obviously remembered the "Outer Limits" alien and imagined that they had encountered a whole spaceship full of similar beasties out on that lonely detour back in 1961.

Txxx and I had a good laugh going over the story, and Txxx told me that when Betty had been confronted with the accusation that she and Barney had simply recreated an alien from "The Outer Limits," she said, "I don't even know what the hell that is!" You go, Betty! Then I mentioned that that particular "Outer Limits" episode was actually a science fiction retelling of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," and Txxx got really excited about seeing it. What do you expect from an English professor?

But I've been thinking about the strange case of the duplicate alien for the past few days, and something just isn't right. I decided to look up the ABC TV Saturday night lineup for 1964 and discovered that immediately after not remembering watching "The Outer Limits" at 7:30 the Hills would have not remembered watching "The Lawrence Welk Show" at 8:30... so, if their TV set had been turned on and if the TV show connection is valid, the Hills actually would have gone under hypnosis and remembered being abducted by a spaceship full of this:

Lawrence Welk, alien
Actually, this would explain a lot...



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Who's Dime Is It, Anyway?

Today I had one of the most enjoyable experiences of my entire UFO career. Today I had the privilege of interviewing William T. Powers for my book about UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, and honestly I'm not sure who had more fun.

I discovered Bill Powers in an odd way. A few weeks ago I was researching Dr. Hynek's career in the archives at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, just north of Chicago, and I kept coming across Bill's name on all sorts of correspondence. Now, Dr. Hynek got a lot of letters, and every time he popped up on TV or in newspaper headlines, the volume of mail mushroomed...

People from all over the world wrote to Dr. Hynek to describe their own personal UFO encounters, and let me tell you, these people couldn't keep it brief and to the point if they were dangling above a vat of boiling oil with a candle burning through the rope. The letters go on and on, and some of them are pretty intense... Dr. Hynek couldn't possibly answer them all, so he had his right-hand man at the Northwestern observatory, Bill Powers, answer a lot of them. And here's the thing: Bill's replies to these letters were unfailingly polite, thoughtful and respectful. Someone would write in saying, "Dear Dr. Hynek, I need to tell you about my theory of reality! But first I have to tell you my entire life story so you can understand exactly how my life experiences led me to my theory..." Bill would write back, "Dear X, thank you for your interesting letter. I found your ideas fascinating. Let's begin with your comment on page 302..." And then he would go on himself for two or three or ten pages.

I found this extraordinary, and decided I needed to interview this man. I had no leads, nothing to go on, but after a little online detective work I found a number for a William T. Powers and decided to take a chance. It turned out to be the right guy, and he turned out to be incredibly charming and tickled pink that I wanted to interview him. When I told him how much I admired the letters he sent back to the UFO folks way back when, he said, "I just always figured that if a person has an idea, they deserve to be listened to." I was hooked. We set up a date to talk this morning, he suggested we talk on Skype, and we were on!

He told me a mothershipload of stories, and I wish I could tell them all here but then you would have no reason to buy my book and I need the cash. But there was one story that really got me, and I will share it here. Bill had started working for Dr. Hynek as a sort of a gopher/office assistant/observatory repair man around 1960, but from the start there was always a little UFO work mixed in, even though the university didn't approve. So one day in 1964, to keep the university off his case, Hynek sent his young assistant out to investigate a UFO sighting. In New Mexico.

Nobody ever could figure out what Officer Zamora saw outside Socorro, New Mexico, but the amazing Bill Powers has a pretty good idea what it was...
Turns out that this was a pretty famous and important Close Encounter of the Third Kind. It involved a small-town cop named Lonnie Zamora who saw what he first thought was a crashed car in an arroyo, then realized was a strange craft with two occupants outside it. As Zamora watched, the creatures got inside the craft and blasted off into the sky.

I was stunned. Hynek trusted this guy a lot. Not only did he entrust his correspondence to Bill Powers, but he sent him across the county to investigate a really significant UFO case. When I got over my shock I said to Bill, "So, he sent you to New Mexico to investigate a UFO sighting  on Northwestern's dime?" Bill chuckled and said, "To tell you the truth, Mark, I was never really sure where all his dimes came from..."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities

A few days ago I posted about the huge collection of UFO books I have amassed over the past several months, and writing that post reminded me that I should stop buying new UFO books and read the ones I have. So I went out the next day and bought more UFO books.

The first is called "The Everything UFO Book," and it is just as silly as it sounds. Just imagine a scholarly treatise on UFOs that has somehow been trapped inside Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World and you'll get the idea. Apparently there exists a "Complete Idiot's Guide to Extraterrestrial Life," but I doubt it could be more simple-minded than "The Everything UFO Book." 
What would Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm do if they saw a UFO? "The Everything UFO Book" can tell you!
Oh, don't get me wrong; the book has its sublime moments, such as this passage: "If you have the opportunity to visit a cattle mutilation site to inspect the downed animal, remember, don't touch the carcass with your bare hands." That's good stuff. But in general "The Everything UFO Book" is everything that's ever been wrong with UFO literature, in that it desperately tries to make the UFO phenomenon accessible and acceptable to non-believers and wanna-believers, and in the process it just dishes up page after page of pseudo-information that makes the whole topic ripe for ridicule from the very people it tries to impress.

So why did I buy it? Because it's silly, and I have a blog to write.

The second book caught my eye because of its title: "UFOs." It kind of took me by surprise. Very search-engine friendly.

The book also has a great subtitle: "Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities," and it has a foreward by Dr. Jacques Vallee, which makes me think that Vallee liked it. And it has four pages of "Advance Praise" blurbs written by minor UFO celebrities who were lucky enough to read the book before it was published and knew enough to say good things about it so that they could get good blurbs back when they publish their books. Four pages! So that's all good.

Then I started reading it, and whoo-boy is it dynamite! Seriously, this is a UFO book that dares to say, "Hey, you know all that stupid shit you believe about UFOs? Well, you're stupid, because none of it is true." No, the author, John B. Alexander, Ph.D., hasn't actually called anyone stupid in the first 50 pages, but I think it's coming any page now...

Government coverup? Stop being so stupid.
Area 51? Stop.
Disclosure? Stop. Now.

I love this guy, and I love this book. Alexander worked deep, deep within the deepest layers of military intelligence work for a very long time and he never found any trace of any secret knowledge the government had about UFOs. And he looked hard. It's just not there. And I'll say it if he won't: you're stupid to believe it is.

Which is not to say that he dismisses the UFO phenomenon. He just favors a clear-eyed, intelligent approach to the subject, something that I have been promoting here in my own ass-backwards way for the past year and a half. So if you want to get smart about UFOs, you should read this book. While at the same time continuing to read this blog. Because they go hand-in-hand. No, actually, they go fist-in-glove. I believe I am the fist, but I will settle for glove. I should point out, though, that the book costs money, but you can read this blog for free anytime.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Final Reckoning, Almost

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I really like the people I meet on my UFO case investigations. Today I met Dxxx and Sxxxxxx, the mother-daughter team behind this UFO video. We hopped in my car and we retraced every inch of their sighting, and you know what? It was a blast. They were earnest and funny and genuine and wanted to share every little detail about their sighting, and I ate it up.

The locale of the sighting was interesting, to say the least. Within a 100-foot radius there's a cell phone tower, an abandoned quarry, an electrical substation and a water tower, with a railroad track a half mile down the hill as a bonus. What UFO wouldn't want to hover over all that infrastructure? With one well-aimed laser blast the aliens onboard could deprive the whole community of electricity, water, cell phone service, railroad service and decorative stone.

Now one thing in the video that had caused me some doubt was the loud, thrumming noise I heard that made it seem that Dxxx and Sxxxxxx were watching a helicopter. While we were out retracing their sighting, I heard the sound again, and it was coming from a freight train passing by on the nearby tracks. I'm not sure, but I could end up being the Sherlock Holmes of UFO investigating.

Trouble is, I still can't say for sure what they saw. According to my astronomical software, it could have been the planet Jupiter or the stars Capella or Alebaran. All three were visible in the sky that night, right in the general area and at the rough elevation where they saw their UFO. But what they saw moved, or at least seemed to move, and it moved fast. And it came towards them and then retreated, and then rose up very high in the sky, so it could have been a vehicle. Then again, they were in motion a lot of the time, and it's easy to think that stars are moving when you view them from a moving car...

And the sketch that Sxxxxxx made of the object doesn't really look at all like Jupiter, Capella or Aldebaran:

This does not look like Jupiter. For one thing, where are the moons?
Meanwhile, Sxxxxxx's video is getting tons of views on YouTube, and some dude took a screen shot from the video and blew it up to get this:

I don't know what the hell this is, but I guess I have to include it in my investigation.
What does it mean? Right now I'm wavering between "Unknown" and "Identified - Natural Occurrence." But since I have to submit my report to Vxxxx, my State Director, before I decide what it was, I have to hold off on deciding what it was until she tells me what to decide. What it was.





Speaking Up For UFOs

In a few hours I will be meeting up with Dxxx and her daughter Sxxxxxx to see the exact spot where they saw their UFO just two weeks ago. Will there be scorch marks? Deep depressions in the ground from where the UFO's landing gear settled into the dirt? Mutilated alien corpses? Better yet, will the UFO make a return visit?

More likely, we will tromp around in the wet grass for a while, they will point to places in the sky where they saw the object, they will struggle to find the right words to describe its appearance and motion, they will each draw a picture of the object for me and the drawings will be identical, and I'll come home, file my report, get my State Director's feedback, and classify it as an "unknown."

What I'm really hoping for is to get a better idea of the fear Sxxxxxx was feeling when she pleaded and begged her mom to drive away fast when it looked like the UFO was coming after them. In the video she submitted, the poor kid was scared shitless and wanted to get away just as the mom decided she wanted to stay put and get a closer look. It makes for some real drama, which you can hear at about the halfway mark in the video. Both of their reactions were very human and understandable, but it's really fascinating to hear the tension between the voice saying, "It's coming closer! Let's stick around and get a better look." and the voice saying, "Holy shit, it's coming after us! Let's get the hell out of here!" Then the first voice laughs and says, "Oh, stop! Look at it now!" and then the second voice loses it completely and begs, "Mom, PLEASE! Let's GO!"

Fascinating stuff.

Unfortunately, when I file that report later today I must also file a few others that disappoint me. I have four other cases that I am going to have to close for "Insufficient data," which is a nice way of saying the jerks never called me back or didn't put complete contact information on their report. One of these people was even cheeky enough to list the town where he or she lives as his or her name. We really need a category for "Insufficient courtesy."

These four cases involved:

"VERY bright white light, large, no sound, same intentsity (sic) all direction"

"Looked like fireball, sudden directional change light slowly faded off until we couldnt see it."

"Pulsing orbs 3rd night in week, and one triangle ufo on the 2nd night observing orbs"

"just happened to look just above the tree line and saw a very bright glowing solid ball of light falling straight down until it went past the tree line and could no longer see it."

Unfortunately, that's all we will ever know about these occurrences. They are now relegated to the dustbin of UFO history.

I would like to contact each of these individuals and thank them for wasting not only my time, but humanity's time. Where would we be today if Galileo never called back? Where would be today if Einstein forgot to put his email address on the theory of relativity? Where would we be today if Stephen Hawking just ran away whenever someone wanted to ask him something?

Does this guy ever duck out of his responsibilities to mankind? No way.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

4,471

Four thousand, four hundred and seventy one. That's how many pages of UFO reading I have in front of me... It's a horrendously tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Here's what 4,471 pages of UFO books looks like:





Here's another view:



I have bought the vast majority of these books just in the past six months. Amazon has got my number.

Feel sorry for me yet? I'm not sure you do, and even you do I'm not sure you do deeply and sincerely enough, so let me continue: Not only do I have to read all these books, I also need to catalog them. I need to find perfect quotes on every one of these four thousand, four hundred seventy one pages for the pages of my own book, so my reading comprehension level has to be very high. Like college level. That's tiring.

And then, once I've comprehended it all, my work is only beginning! Why? Because then I have to make writing magic happen, and making writing magic happen is very demanding. The air up here is very thin, my friends. Have you ever written a sentence? You have? Now imagine writing page after page of sentences, each of them meaning something, each of them flowing from the sentence before it, each of them -- and this is the really hard part -- each of them saying something that hasn't already been said in any of these other books!

My God. And I'm only going to get paid, what, six figures for this? Then another six figures for the film rights?

Also, do you realize how many UFO books are not available on kindle? It's a travesty. It's also discrimination.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Problematic Carl Sagan

The other night I had dinner with a bunch of writer, filmmaker, actor and otherwise creative friends, and I was talking about my J. Allen Hynek book project with Cxxx, a documentary filmmaker. I mentioned that I was trying to track down a video copy of the November 8, 1973 episode of The Dick Cavett Show, but wasn't having any luck so far...

The episode of this classic American TV talk show is important to my book research because it brought together Dr. Hynek, Dr. Carl Sagan, best-selling author and creator of the PBS TV series "Cosmos," recent UFO abductee Charles Hickson, recent UFO witness and helicopter pilot Army Capt. Lawrence Coyne and UFO witness and NASA astronaut James McDivitt to talk about the "flap" of UFO sightings that had been sweeping the nation for months. The program is perhaps most notable for bringing Hynek and Sagan together, as Hynek had become known as a proponent of serious UFO research and Sagan had become known as a proponent of serious UFO skepticism.

Sagan had been systematically picking holes in Capt. Coyne's account of how a UFO had pulled his Army helicopter up nearly 2,000 feet in altitude during his encounter, and Dr. Hynek came to Coyne's defense, saying "Altimeters don't hallucinate." To which Dr. Sagan replied, "I don't mean to attack Captain Coyne, but people who read altimeters hallucinate."

Ouch... That had to have left a mark.

So at dinner, my friend Cxxx asked what TV network the show had appeared on. Turns out that in his work making documentary films, he frequently requests archival footage from TV networks, and they happily oblige. So he's offered to approach ABC and request access to this episode of The Dick Cavett Show... which is just amazing. Thank you, Cxxx!

My best idea up to that point had been to write to Dr. Sagan's widow and ask if she had a copy of the show that she could give me access to, but that was a tricky letter. How could I explain that I wanted to see the video so I could write in my book what a knob her husband had been to everyone on the show? Clearly that wasn't going to work, so I just wrote her a very bland, generic letter. I think Cxxx's approach is better.
Why is Carl Sagan smiling? Maybe because he thinks he knows exactly when extraterrestrial civilizations have visited the earth.
So, yeah, I'm conflicted. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for both Dr. Hynek and Dr. Sagan, and I hate to see them fight. But here's why Sagan's disdain for the UFO experience is so problematic. He believed that life almost certainly must exist elsewhere in the universe. And he believed that at least some life on other planets must be technologically advanced and capable of interstellar travel. And he believed that some of those civilizations could very well have visited earth in the distant past. But he ridiculed people who believed that they were still visiting the earth in 1973...

His logic was that the time and distance between our world and theirs must be so great that they would only visit us every couple hundred thousand years or so. But it seems to me that he was making some very big assumptions there, and engaging in what Dr. Hynek was fond of describing as "temporal provincialism," or the belief that an alien race would have to be locked into the same developmental timeline as we are.

I love you Carl, but I think you blew it on this one. I don't mean to attack you, but people who accuse people of reading altimeters of hallucinating hallucinate.








Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Complaint Department

I regularly complain here about the way my UFO organization, MUFON, operates, and I usually make light of my complaints. But tonight I have some serious complaints that will be very difficult to make light of, because they're pretty serious. I still hope to make light of them, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to.

There's been a flurry of worrisome emails this weekend from my State Director, Vxxxx, about reporting standards for case investigations. The weirdness started a few weeks ago, when MUFON's new management sent out a new form us Certified UFO Field Investigators  to use when reporting on our UFO sighting investigations. The trouble with that is that the new reporting forms pretty much duplicate the old reporting forms, and the trouble with that is Management is making us add the new reporting forms to the old reporting forms. If you're thinking, "That's dumb. They're making you report the same information twice!" you would be absolutely correct. It is dumb.

But now it's worse.

Up until now, when I fill out an investigation report, the last thing I do is to mark the report "Complete," and then indicate the "Case Disposition." Basically I'm saying "The report is done and I think this person saw a (fill in the blank)." The catch is that the MUFON online Case Management System doesn't let you fill in the Case Disposition until you've marked the report Complete. So far, so good, but now my State Director is instructing us not to mark our reports Complete until she's had a chance to look them over. Which means she can decide what the case disposition is... Which means she gets to decide what the witness saw. Which means she gets to have all the fun. Why am I doing all the investigating if she gets to do all the solving?

As always, I blame the Captain.
But then it gets worse.

Then Vxxxx sent out an email talking about "Categorization," which is what we do when we decide on the disposition of the case. Here's what the email said:

"Sometimes the hardest part of the whole report process is trying to determine whether it's an unknown, man-made, natural object or insufficient information. According to the statistics that have been done nationally, only about 5-7% of our reports should be unknowns. I got a peek at some of the statistics for Wisconsin and we are way over that (I'll ask to see if they'll forward the study to me). Everyone else is struggling with this as well and they are working on definitions and examples for us so that we have better guidelines but I have no idea when they'll be coming out. All I'm saying is that you need to keep this in mind when you make your decision when checking the final categorization and provide your thinking on how you came to that conclusion. If it's a toss-up in your mind, it's better to lean away from an unknown. One of the things I look at is whether there are anomalous movements. To me, it's much more likely that it's an unknown if there are erratic movements as opposed to something that glides across the sky with no change in direction. Something to consider."

According to the national statistics, only five to seven percent of our reports should be identified as "Unknown." So now we're on a quota system. But we won't know what "Unknown" actually means until HQ sends us the new guidelines. But Vxxxx has no idea when the new guidelines will be coming out. But we have to start changing our reporting now.

I'm sure this will all make sense someday. No it won't.

I don't mind doing the work. I just want it to mean something.


Friday, November 2, 2012

A Bit of Balony

I wish I had known years ago how much fun it would be to write a book about the career of a famous UFO researcher! Had I know what a pleasure it would be, I would have made this my career fresh out of college. Which would have been weird, just having gotten a film degree, but what the hell?

My latest fun experiences have just unfolded over the past few days. First, I've been in correspondence with a couple of gentlemen in Kalamazoo, MI, both of whom have done exceeding amounts of work in documenting the history of UFO research, and both of whom have been graciously allowing me to interview them via email.

One of these guys, in particular, is a real hoot. He's a cantankerous retired college professor who is extremely particular about how he will and will not help me:

"I dislike long talks on the telephone and don't want to do that;"
"This probably is not feasible, but coming to Kalamazoo for a day [+] would be not only much more comfortable for me, but doubtless far more informative for you;"
"I am willing to write short responses to specific questions via e-mail, or possibly landmail, but more than that is onerous;"
"Should you want to stay in Kzoo more than a day in a nearby motel, I could deal with a couple of days of inquiries or files mining if that was within your scope"


After some haggling, we agreed that if I stood on my roof and sent short questions to him via semaphor, he would happily respond with monosyllabic answers in Morse Code. So far it's working, but my arms are getting tired.
This is no way to conduct an interview.
Seriously, he has been a peach, in part because I have deliberately asked him questions designed to arouse his ire, and so he can't help but send me long, detailed, irritated responses refuting my questions :) See? I'm kind of a genius that way.

Then there's the lawyer from Mississippi... I love this guy!

While writing about the Close Encounter of the Third Kind that took place in Pascagoula, MS, back in 1973, a case that has been written up a billion jillion times, I was quite understandably looking for a fresh angle. I kept running across references to Joe Calingo, a local lawyer who was called in after the Close Encounter to look out for the best interests of the witnesses, Charlie Hickson and Calvin Parker. After a little internet scrounging, I found a phone number and called it. After a few rings it was picked up and I found myself, against all reasonable odds, talking to Joe Colingo.

Turns out I got lucky. Joe had recently been hospitalized and thought I was the hospital calling him. That's the only reason he answered. It helped that I identified myself as Dr. O'Connell from the hospital. But when he realized his mistake he was not rude to me at all. In fact, he started rattling off memories of Charlie and Calvin and Dr. Hynek faster than I could jot them down.

The first amazing thing he told me was that, despite what 50 zillion babillion UFO books not written by me have maintained over the years, he had not been hired to represent Charlie and Calvin at all! SCOOP! In actuality, he represented the shipyard where they worked, and the morning after the incident the shipyard was being overrun by nosy reporters and pesky TV crews. Joe told me that "(Shipyard owner) Johnny Walker called me up and said 'Joe, you've got to come down here and help me figure out how to keep these reporters from getting in the way!'" 

Joe also told me that, while he never got to know Charlie and Calvin very well, he never doubted their sincerity. He also had a high opinion of Dr. Hynek, telling me, "There wasn't a bit of balony to that man."

And that, folks, might just end up being the title of my book: "Not a Bit of Balony -- The J. Allen Hynek Story."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Let Them Know You Care

Sometimes I just have so much deadly important UFO stuff to write about that I forget to slow down and smell the roses... which have probably been charred at a UFO landing site. Today is one of those days: I've had major developments in the UFO sighting I'm investigating and in the J. Allen Hynek book project, and I need to blog about them both, but... but... I have been sidetracked by sweet smelling soaps.

I took the time to read the Letter from the President in the November MUFON eJournal, and boy was I wrong about that guy. Sure, the Captain is a crusty old dog, but in his column he got all mushy about the coming holidays. Take Thanksgiving, for instance. He's thankful for every MUFON member, and thinks every last one of us is "top notch," from the members of the Board of Directors to the lowliest misfit. I'm in there somewhere, so that's good.

But it's not just me he's thankful for: The Captain is thankful for our membership growth, for the increased stature of our organization, and for the "fresh, bright atmosphere sweeping through MUFON." He doesn't seem to have figured out yet just who is behind all those things, but I expect a call from him any day now.

So the Thanksgiving thing is cool, but it turns out he's crazy about Christmas too! In fact, he wants everyone to have a wonderful Christmas. And the way everyone has a wonderful Christmas is for everyone to get wonderful MUFON merchandise from the MUFON eStore in their stockings Christmas morning! Things like alien soap. "They smell great!" The Captain advises us, and you know he's right.

Just look at these adorable soaps and tell me you wouldn't be tickled to get one of these from your best gal or fella...

Manly yes, but aliens like it too!
It's an "Out of This World" value for only $13.50 (you knew I was going to go there, right?)!

But that's not all! The Captain also enthuses about "Ladies shirts with the MUFON logo made of Swarovski crystal. (These are "HOT")" When I first read this I was puzzled: how could I, a Certified MUFON Field Investigator, afford a ladies' shirt encrusted with fine crystal? And what lady would wear something so dangerous? I turned quickly to the Apparel section of the eCatalog and there it was... for only $35... the MUFON Sparkle Logo Ladies V-Neck Shirt!



 Two words: VA-VOOM

 Five words: TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER



 Five other words: BUILT... LIKE A BRICK MOTHERSHIP



I am so glad I took a break from the serious side of UFOs. I needed this.