High Strangeness: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Tasty UFO Blog

Well, damn, that one reader was right! I stop blogging about Dr. Hynek and I start to get comments! How about that?

And the thing is, they're great comments! But don't take my word for it, read them yourself:
"Don't you feel that the days of the large UFO research groups are just about at an end? MUFON and the other dinosaur organizations have seen better days. In the internet age, people aren't getting together for big symposiums anymore.

"Why travel to a site far from where you live when you can communicate instantly? It doesn't bode well when no one knows there is a new head guy, and this person lives in France, no less.

"Worse yet, these UFO groups collect data, then hide the info away, not allowing anyone to use the research. Naughty, naughty.
"There seems to be lots of work ahead for MUFON" -- Anonymous
 Amen to that, Anonymous. Here's another:
"I feel this is one of the so much vital information for me. And i am happy studying your blog. However should observation on some general issues, The web site taste is ideal, the blog is actually great : D. Excellent activity, cheers." -- Filtech 704 silicone diffusion pump oil
Thank you, Filtech 704 silicone diffusion pump oil. I couldn't have said it better myself! Someday you'll have to explain to me how you were able to taste my website.

I saved the best for last! This comment, also from Anonymous, has been making me smile all day:
"Due to continued stress of work and competition in
the life of modern day people, it is not surprising any more that increasing
numbers of them are facing challenges of keeping a healthy sexual relationship.
These pills had definitely helped improve the general quality of
their lives. ] What annoyed me was that the young man on
the other end of the phone was so soft-spoken that it was difficult to hear him; plus, because his diction was unintelligible, it was
difficult to understand him as well.

"Feel free to surf to my web page viagra 100 mg" -- Anonymous
Great comment, Anon! Did you ask the young man on the phone to speak up and take the Goddamn marbles out of his mouth? That usually works for me!

P.S. I will definitely check out your website, but first please tell me: is it NSFW?

Well, that about does it for this week's comments. Keep writing in! I love hearing from you!

When it's time to oil my silicone diffusion pump, I only use Filtech 704.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

UFO Shake-Up!

Good news! You can still register to attend the Mutual UFO Network's 2013 Symposium!

What's that you say? The MUFON 2013 Symposium was held two weeks ago? Well, yes it was, if you want to split hairs, and that's one of the reasons for my intense love/hate relationship with MUFON. Huge news -- HUGE -- came out of the Symposium two weeks ago, and not only is it not posted at www.mufon.com two weeks after the fact, you can literally still register to attend the Symposium that already happened... two weeks ago.

Fortunately, this doesn't surprise me at all. I expect this from my MUFON colleagues, so instead of waiting for news of the 2013 Symposium to show up on the MUFON website, I did what I always do: I went out looking for it. And what I quickly found out was that there was BIG news at the Symposium!

The big news is... MUFON has a new Executive Director!

Dave "The Captain" McDonald is stepping down after 18 months and his big old shoes will be filled by a guy named Jan Harzan, about whom I know nothing. Turns out The Captain only signed up for an 18 month gig, and his time is up. Now, back when The Captain first took the reins 18 months ago, I questioned why the entire organizational headquarters -- the files, the desks, the paperclips, the Post-Its -- had to be moved from Denver to Cincinnati, so now I wonder where they will be moved next and if I will be asked to help with the move...

While I wait to hear about that, here's what I know about Mr. Not The Captain Jan Harzan: He is not a Captain; He wants to beef up MUFON's presence in social media; He wants the general public (that's you!) to have better access to MUFON's case files; He wants to promote the most serious, most remarkable UFO sightings; and he wants to work more closely with the French UFO organization GEIPAN (Groupe d'Etudes et d'Informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux non Identifiés). UFOs? Oui!
The question of the hour: Who is Jan Harzan? Somebody better find out fast.
That's all great, and I am happy to say that I have already taken care of the social media thing with my blog, so Mr. Not The Captain can X that off his list right away. I can help with his desire to play up the most serious, important cases by making sure that every case I investigate is one of the most serious, important cases of all time. 

Number three is tricky, as I don't live anywhere near France, but I will be working on this.

So, that's all good, right? Well yeah, it all sounds good, and I want nothing more than to rally behind my new leader and bring MUFON.

But how can the guy talk about doing better with social media and publicizing serious cases when the news that he became president of the organization isn't even on the organization's website? I think this guy has his work cut out for him...





Friday, July 26, 2013

UFO Dilemma

I'm on the horns of a dilemma today...

In recent days I have been criticized by one reader for blogging way too much about my book about Dr. J. Allen Hynek:
"You might get more people interested in your blog if it wasn't so focused on J. Allen Hynek. I am sure it is important to you, writing a book on him, but I don't see many comments. I know when I see Dr. Hynek's name I immediately move on. Frankly he doesn't interest me in the least."
Okay, so the world doesn't revolve around my book. I get it. But at the same time, I got a comment from a reader asking about my corrected history of the UFO, in which I said I had found a 1947 government document using the term "unidentified flying object" at least two years earlier than the term is widely thought to have been coined. This reader asked if I was willing to give any more information to substantiate my claim, which I thought was a fair question.

Trouble is, if I write more about the "unidentified flying object" document that I discuss in detail in the book, I'll make that guy happy, but I'll piss off the guy who doesn't want to hear about my book. What to do?!

I'm sure there must be an old saying about how you can't make everyone happy, and if there is, I've just found out that it's true.

Part of me feels as though I just piss off everyone--keep blabbing about Hynek and not reveal anything more about the "UFO" document--but that would be the easy way out. So, I will give a little more information about the mysterious document without mentioning that man for the remainder of this post...

Green fireballs never make anyone happy.
The document in question is a U.S. Army memo, which is odd in itself because it was the Air Force that was officially in charge of investigating flying saucer reports. But in this case, the reports were coming from civilian and military pilots, scientists and government officials, and they were centered around some very high-security nuclear test labs in the New Mexico desert. All these serious, credible witnesses were seeing "green fireballs" in the skies about Los Alamos and Sandia Labs, and they were scaring the government to death... The Air Force was already busy debunking flying saucer sightings through "Project Grudge," so a separate group was formed to investigate the "green fireballs." The investigation's name: "Project Twinkle."

The document I came across is an Army memo with a status report on "Project Twinkle," and it describes the "green fireballs" quite casually as "unidentified flying objects." More than that I will not disclose, because I'm writing this thing I can't talk about, about this guy I can't mention, and it's part of that story....

There. Did I make everyone happy? Did I make anyone happy?

Didn't think so.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The UFO Documentary That Never Was

Today was the day I was supposed to be interviewed for a documentary film about the UFO experience. It didn't happen, and that's a good thing.

To recap briefly: Ten days ago I got a letter from Vxxxx, my MUFON State Director, asking if I would be interested in being interviewed for a documentary film dealing with "the supernatural and how the public perception of believers has changed over the past fifty years." The filmmakers, Mike & Molly, from Nashville, TN, seemed sincere enough, so I said yes. (NOTE: These are not the characters from "Mike And Molly," the hit CBS comedy about funny fat people. No, these filmmakers are neither fat nor funny).

M&M were planning on driving up to Wisconsin from Tennessee this week, so we scheduled the interview for today, at the famed Sci-Fi Cafe not far from where I live. All seemed well, but I had a funny feeling--a sixth sense, if you will--that Mike and Molly were not telling me the full story. So I asked them to send me some sample questions. That's when Mike wrote to me with bad news:
Hi Mark,

I have bad news. The vehicle that my video crew and I are planning on traveling the country has broken down, and our cross country UFO trip is on hiatus for now. Instead of an in person filmed interview, would you be available for a phone interview on the same date and time? 

I'll get you some sample questions before then. Basically I'm interested in two things: the effect if the traumatic experience of abdication on individuals and the impact it has on their life, and the search for answers and knowledge of the extraterrestrial as a means of healing that wound. Anyone with a lot of interest in the field of UFOs will I'm sure be useful.
Two things bothered me about this letter. First was his use of the word "abdication" instead of "abduction"; I was not comfortable with the idea of being interviewed by someone who didn't know the difference between those two words. Secondly, the idea of doing a phone interview for a documentary film was problematic. If I'm sitting down to do an interview with a guy and he's got a full camera crew and sound crew there, lights, mics, release forms, pretty makeup girl, I'm pretty confident that he is, in fact, making a film. If I'm talking to him on the phone, I don't know who the hell he is or what he's going to use the interview for.

It also troubled me that Mike's & Molly's "vehicle" had "broken down," and so they just put the entire production on hold. Where's their can-do attitude? Are they even real Americans??

I resized this picture to make it "Extra Large" because, well... it's kind of funny when you think about it.
I wrote back to Mike and told him I wasn't interested in taking part in his project, and I pointed out that "abdication" is not the same thing as "abduction."

He wrote back to me and blamed the "abdication" boo-boo on spell-check and asked me to reconsider. He was still hoping that a few good interview clips would help him put together a proposal for Kickstarter. Relieved that he actually did seem to have a smidgeon of can-do attitude, I agreed to talk to him after all.

It's all starting to sound as though there's a happy ending in store, right? Wrong. The other night I got this email from Molly (Warning: it's long and excruciating):
"My name is Molly X.  I wanted to let you know about a situation with which I was recently involved.

I had wanted to travel across the country to find out more about The Truth, and I shared my interest with a college friend named Mike X.  Mike appeared to be very interested in my project, and asked me to work with him on its completion.  We had planned to begin our journey last Thursday, and I believe that Mike may have contacted you about conducting an interview.

We began a blog to keep people informed about our progress.  You can read the blog here:



As you can see from the blog, I discovered upon my arrival in Nashville that Mike was completely unprepared for this endeavor.  He had pretended to have gotten experience as a filmmaker, and had told me that he had a support crew and equipment to make a documentary film, but none of that turned out to be true.  In short, our plans completely fell apart before they even began because my plans and interests were clearly no part of what Mike was intending to do.


However, I have just heard from Mike that he plans to go ahead with interviews that were initiated because of my deep interest in The Truth.  I am quite concerned about Mike's intentions moving forward, since he seemed complete indifferent to everything that was motiving me to make this trip. He has stolen my ideas and interests because he found out that there were many people interested in our trip, and left me with no ability to proceed to follow my dream.


To be perfectly honest, I do not know why Mike has done any of this to me (for whom he had been claiming to have respect and friendship), so I did want to alert you to my experience with him in case he is trying to use this for some purpose that would be to no one's benefit but his own. 
Now, if you go and read their blog (which I'm not suggesting you do, because it, too, is excruciating), you'll see that a lot of Molly's email to me seems to have been cut and pasted from the blog. Call me old-fashioned, but to me there is something slightly suspicious about a cut & paste letter of outrage.

Needless to say, there's not going to be any interview, and we may never know The Truth as a result. I can live with that. The question is: are Mike & Molly playing a not very funny and kind of pointless practical joke, or are they just extremely weird people who should be avoided at all costs?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The UFO Club

I'm coming to realize that there is a sort of Old Boys' Club in the world of UFO journalism. Apparently one must earn the right to be granted permission to live among these jerks, and I just don't care.

There are two things going on right now that are just annoying and ridiculous.

First there's the lying liar who has most likely lied to me and has absolutely, positively lied about me, and cost me a key interview for my J. Allen Hynek book as a result; this person now wants to make it up to me and grant me an interview, but why would I want to quote this person in my book?

Then there's the person who is hosting a weekend retreat for a council of UFO elders this fall (and, yes, the lying liar is one of them) who is kinda sorta willing to let me attend while making it clear that I'm not exactly welcome... If I go, I have to honor this person's boundaries and pretty much remain mute all weekend, so what's the point?
It's like they're the Mean Girls, and I'm Lindsey Lohan. Except we're all old guys.
The question is, do I really need to deal with these people to write my book? The answer is no, I do not. I already have mountains of material to use, and there are plenty of people who do want to talk with me... So if these members of the UFO Club don't want me entering their world, why would I want them entering mine? The absence of quotes from these jokers will not hurt my book in the least.

On the other hand, part of me is really fascinated by the fact that I'm encountering this weirdness, and wants to know why these people are so hostile. Do I threaten them? Are they pissed that I'm the one writing the book about Dr. Hynek and they're not? I think that's possible, but if it's true it's kind of pathetic. Any one of these people could have stepped up and written this book any time they wanted to over the past several decades, and they didn't.

I swear, it's like UFO high school.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Brief (Corrected) History of the UFO

Some UFO history is pretty sketchy. The more time I spend looking through archival material for my book on Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the more amazed I am by the amount of misinformation there is polluting the historical record of the UFO problem.

Not that it's the result of anyone's incompetence or dishonesty at all; it just happens. One author or historian gets a fact wrong for whatever reason, and everyone else just piles on, until 20 years later the mistaken story is accepted as fact.

For instance, conventional wisdom in the UFO world says that Dr. Hynek served as a consultant to the Air Force on all three incarnations of its UFO research group: Project Sign, Project Grudge and Project Blue Book. This is not so. I have discovered that Hynek only worked on Project Sign and Project Blue Book. He was so late with his final report for Project Sign, however, that by the time he submitted it, Project Sign had morphed into Project Grudge, and his report was included in the Grudge final report.

Don't feel bad if you got that one wrong. When I mentioned it the other day to Mark Rodeghier, the man who now maintains Hynek's UFO research organization, CUFOS, he chuckled and said, "Yea, I had that one wrong for a long time!"

Now, let's take the case of the "unidentified flying object." When the modern era of flying saucer activity began in 1947, the terms "unidentified flying object" and "UFO" didn't yet exist. Kenneth Arnold, the pilot who started the whole kerfuffle in the summer of '47, said the objects he saw in the sky moved like saucers skipping across the water. An enterprising reporter coined the term "flying saucer" and it stuck. Over time it was sometimes changed to "flying disk," but there it remained for several years.

Conventional wisdom in the UFO world states that the term "unidentified flying saucer" was coined in 1951 by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who ran the Air Force's flying saucer investigation unit, Project Blue Book. But I am about to prove that conventional wisdom is once again--ahem--wrong.

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, USAF: Good Guy
Here's what Wikipedia says in its write-up about Captain Ruppelt: "He is generally credited with coining the term 'unidentified flying object', to replace the terms 'flying saucer' and 'flying disk' - which had become widely known - because the military thought them to be 'misleading when applied to objects of every conceivable shape and performance.'"

WRONG.

Google Books, in its blurb about Ruppelt's 1956 book "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects," says, "Ruppelt, who coined the term 'unidentified flying objects' and headed Project Blue Book from 1951 to 1953, includes his personal investigations and findings in his extensive research on UFOs."

WRONG.

Even Hynek got it wrong in his 1975 book "The Edge of Reality," co-authored with Dr. Jacques Vallee. On page x of the Introduction, the authors state "The term UFOs was not employed until Edward J. Ruppelt, the first director of Project Blue Book, coined the term."

WRONG.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

So, what is the truth? The truth is, there is a U.S. Government document in one of the many archives in which I've been doing my research (and there are 5 now) that referred to these buggers as "unidentified flying objects." This document was written on December 19, 1948, well over two years before Captain Ruppelt had anything to do with flying saucers.

No knock against Captain Ruppelt. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest good guys in UFO history, and left the Air Force with a long list of accomplishments of which to be proud. This just isn't one of them.

Eat your hearts out, UFO historians!



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

High Strangeness: The Motion Picture

Alas, work on the J. Allen Hynek book and trying to mount a remake of "Roswell, the Musical" has kept me away from my beloved blog for far too long, but now I'm back for good. Or at least a little while. We have a couple of vacations coming up.

Anyway, the big MUFON 2013 Symposium is starting in two days in Las Vegas, and once again I am the only MUFON Certified UFO Field Investigator not going. So that means that for a few days my phone stops ringing off the hook and I can catch up some things around here. Here's what's been happening in my corner of the UFO world lately:
  1. Last weekend my wife, kids and I attended a Renaissance Faire wedding. I know this doesn't seem to have anything to do with UFOs, but on one level the Ren Faire is all about a fringy cultural group creating its own hospitable reality, so it actually has a lot to do with UFOs in my opinion. My eldest son's best friend was getting married, and my son, as a groomsman, got to/had to dress up like Robin Hood, which was a kick. It was a very fun day, and you have to love the young newlyweds for totally doing things their own way. It also reminded me of the last time I went to the Ren Faire, with a group of Trekkies who dressed up like Klingons (don't ask me why)--to my utter amazement, the Klingons fit right in. A dozen sweaty, long-haired aliens, all of them standing seven feet tall, clad in black leather, their skulls bisected by bony plates, all of them carrying lethal wooden scythes, spitting and cursing at everyone around, and nobody even noticed them. That was a lesson in tolerance, let me tell you.
    One of these Merry Men is my son. Can you guess which?
  2. A writer friend who was extremely critical of this blog when I first started it out two years ago has suddenly reappeared and wants to be friends again, which is cool. At the time he assumed I would be holding UFO witnesses up to ridicule, but for the most part I have avoided that, so I guess we're good now. Anyway, I can't really blame him for thinking this blog would be crass, because it kind of is.
  3. Speaking of estranged artists, the two estranged creators of "Roswell, the Musical" may both come through with long-lost recordings of the play, which is nothing short of a miracle! I will keep you posted as the situation develops.
  4. A person who I had really hoped would grant me an interview for the Hynek book bailed on me today. The woman was Hynek's student and personal assistant in the early 1950s, became a well-known UFO investigator in her own right, and had a very close friendship with the Doctor until he died in 1986. I had phoned her last year to ask about an interview and she wasn't exactly excited about it then, but she did leave the door open. "Read my articles about UFOs, and then if you have any questions you can try me again," she said. Well, I tried her again today, and after a very pleasant greeting she said she didn't want to be interviewed and she hung up on me. I know what you're thinking: this is two big interviews for the book that have crashed and burned. I swear there is no connection and the book is not doomed!
That's all interesting, of course, but here's the really big news. My State MUFON Director, Vxxxx, forwarded me an email last night from a documentary filmmaker and asked if I could help him out since she's heading for the MUFON UFO party in Vegas. Here's what the filmmaker was requesting:

Hi Vxxxx!

My name's Mxxx Lxxx and I'm a documentary filmmaker from Nxxxxxxxx, TN. I'm working with my parter Mxxxx to make a film this summer about the supernatural and how the public perception of believers has changed over the past fifty years. We are traveling through many states on a brief road trip, and we are hoping to meet as many authorities as possible. We will be passing through Wisconsin early next week. Is there any way you or members of your chapter would be willing to be interviewed for our movie?

Sorry for the short notice. We only just found out we had time for this project, but it is going to be a labor of love.

Are you or is anyone from your chapter available for an interview next Monday-Wednesday?

Best wishes,

Mxxx

Well, cripes, how could I say no to that? It sounds like a blast. It makes me a little embarrassed, though, that I once wondered whether "Sirius" could be the best UFO documentary ever. Obviously, that's wrong, because obviously this new UFO documentary that I might be in will be the best UFO documentary ever!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Loose Lips Sink UFOs

Last week I was digging through the archives of Dr. J. Allen Hynek's Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) when I came across something really odd. Let me tell you, there's a lot of odd stuff in those files, but what I found last week was a standout. It was a June, 1985 newsletter from an organization I had never heard of before: "Citizens Against UFO Secrecy," or CAUS.

What made it so odd? Well, CAUS' website doesn't seem to have been updated since 1997, so I don't think anyone associated with the group is going to object to a little constructive criticism. So, here goes:

I shouldn't even have to say this, but CAUS is a terrible acronym. It doesn't sound UFO-y or extraterrestrial at all. Of course, the organization seems to be run by a lawyer who calls himself UFOLAWYER, so that could explain it.

Then there's the mission statement. It's all standard Disclosure claptrap: earth is being visited by aliens, and we have a right to know, blah, blah, blah.

But then comes this part:

Pursuant to these principles, CAUS is involved to specific projects to get the truth out:
1) A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to be filed against the Army based upon the book "Day After Roswell" attributed to Lt. Col. (ret) Philip Corso. 2) "Project:Destination Moon,' the first civilian, privately financed, rocket to the moon to send back live photos from Sinus Medii to verify alleged artificial structures located there
3) the CAUS INITIATIVE, a viable and practical alternative to Congressional hearings, immunity and amnesty
4) 'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt,' a promotional and fundraising video on behalf of CAUS.
Okay, this was old back in 1997, although I have to admit I do love the audacity and genius of "Project: Destination Moon." A civilian, privately-financed rocket to the moon to send back live photos from Sinus Medii to verify alleged artificial structures located there?? Save me a seat! (This is no joke! I have heard the wondrous tales of the mysterious glass dome that covers Sinus Medii, and I want to be the first human to set foot inside it!)

But the best, oddest part of this CAUS newsletter was a reproduction of a security poster published by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1964, to warn government employees to keep their mitts off of the government's Top Secret UFO files.

Is it any wonder that this security poster won the DIA's coveted "Security Poster of the Month" competition? Look at the clean lines, the purity of its concept and execution, the funny look on the alien's face as he/she/it rams into the file cabinet... It's priceless!

Is it also any wonder that in the first ten days after this poster was posted all around that one file cabinet that housed all of the U.S. Government's most precious and sensitive UFO files, theft of those files decreased 17%?? True fact!

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Three UFO Cases

Suddenly I have three new UFO cases to investigate for MUFON! And I've already thrown one of them down the crapper!

All of us Certified UFO Field Investigators in the state got an email over the weekend from our State Director, Vxxxx, alerting us that cases were piling up and that we'd better get on the stick:  "Hi Guys - you may have noticed an increase in assignments," Vxxxx wrote. "That's because we have an increase in reports - that's usual in summer as people get out and enjoy the warm evenings.  I always say if people didn't go out to smoke or walk their dog, it would come to a standstill in the cooler months.

 "In any event, our load is heavier and Mxxx asked to be inactive for right now - so I'm having to assign more to each person.  If you run into problems, want to swap cases, etc. let me know.  At this point, I'm trying to just assign someone within the three days so our ranking doesn't take a hit."
 
It's pretty cool that we're getting crushed with new reports, and I sure as hell don't want our ranking to take a hit, but if it does I sure as hell don't want to be the chump responsible, so I went straight to our Contact Management System (CMS) to look up my new cases.
 
Sadly, my string of Close Encounters seems to be at an end, for now (although I still retain the right to call myself The Close Encounter Kid, and you can call me that as well). My string of weird entity encounter cases also seems to be at an end.... which is not necessarily a bad thing.
 
Here's what I got:
Case 1 -- June 22, 2013: "I was taking out some recycling between 10:00-10:30 at night. I noticed what looked like a burning ember from a firework in the sky over the houses directly south of my house. However, instead of falling towards the earth, it was moving parallel to the ground and traveling slowly above our neighborhood from W to E. I watched it for 2-3 minutes - even called someone out of the house to watch it, too. It slowly ascended into the clouds as it continued traveling E. This surprised me as it I thought it was closer to the ground, but apparently it was closer to cloud level (maybe it was bigger than I thought...?). I eventually I lost it in the clouds to the east of my house. I could hear no sound as I observed it."
 
Case 2 -- June 22, 2013:  "I was walking N on south KK whennotice what I thought was a flare. The object was traveling W towards my direction. It slowed to a stop and hovered for 20sec. There was no sound or smoke/vapor coming from it. From the distance of around 500ft it appeared to be 200-300ft from the ground. It appeared to be searching for something. It seemed to about the size of a small van. After hovering it turned back E and slowly ascended away from me at a slight angle until it disappeared into the hazy distance. The object had a burning quality shimmering between orange/red/yellow colors. Its shape orb-like and didnt alter much except for the fire-like shimmering. I felt compelled to walk towards it. May have just been curiosity, but its almost like it was putting a question in my mind that I cant quite remember. I took a photo with my iPhone. Its a little shaky and no ground reference is in the shot. I have enhanced slightly to make it less grainy. I have attached both copies. The coordinates for the object when it hovered are approx: 42.992439 -87.881799"

Investigator's Unique Insight: Both of these sightings took place on the same night, and involved objects that appear quite similar: "burning ember" and "flare." This could be what we call a "connection."

Case 3 -- July 2, 2013: "Fishing in dousman with 3 friends and saw reddish glowing object. went up to road, grabbed binoculars and shortly after disappeared"

This is the most expensive area code in North America. There is maybe one phone.
Now, Cases 1 & 2 are both just fine. Case #3, however, is problematic, and I'll tell you why. The person who filed the report listed three contact phone numbers--for home, cell and work--with three different area codes--one from California, one from the North Pole, and one that is nonexistent. You didn't know the North Pole had an area code did you? Actually, it's for the Northwest Territories, Nunavit and the Yukon, so it borders the North Pole, which is good enough for me.

But that's not the worst of it. The witness' email address is even more troubling. He asks to be contacted at something that's really so vile that I won't repeat it here but it begins with "p" and then has a "69", and then ends with "@pornwagon.com"

So, I wrote back to Vxxxx and told her I was going to pass on this one. I can understand someone trying to pull a prank, but why make it impossible for me to contact them? Isn't that half the fun of the prank, to get me to call back and then razz me for being so gullible? Or am I missing something?

Color me frustrated. Shouldn't Vxxxx be screening these reports?? More importantly, Doesn't anyone know how to pull a good prank anymore????

 

Happy Anniversary, Roswell!

I just spent waaay too long playing the cute little Roswell flying saucer game on Google's homepage (and only solved the puzzle with the help of my son Cxxxxx), but I'm glad I did it, because it's a nice way to commemorate the 66th Anniversary of the famous "Roswell Incident." Whether you believe the story or not, you can't deny the power of the Roswell story--for better or worse, it's become an enduring American myth.
He's so cute! You can't not help the lost alien!

Here's a quick recap: On July 8, 1947, a guy named Mac Brazel, foreman of a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, found a pile of what seemed to be wreckage from an aerial crash out in the middle of nowhere on the ranch. The wreckage made its way to Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) and into the hands of an officer named Jesse Marcel, who announced to the press that RAAF had captured a downed flying saucer. When the Army brass found out about Marcel's news release, they freaked out and quickly changed the story. Reporters were told that the initial report had been a mistake; the wreckage was actually from a crashed weather balloon. The crash site on the ranch was quickly cleaned up, both Brazel and Marcel were muzzled, and the story died a quiet death. Since it was rediscovered in the 1970s the story has taken on mythic proportions, but people are still arguing over what really happened: Was it the news story of the century? Was it the clumsiest government cover-up in history? Was it a crashed flying saucer, or just a weather balloon? If you want to know more about it, there are lots of places you can go; here's one website that seems to be quite popular.

Although I don't believe that either side has definitively proven its case, I remain open-minded. And in the meantime, I enjoy the many cultural treasures that have come about because of that "Wrong-Way Corrigan" of the alien world who took a wrong turn at Alpha Centauri in 1947 and crashed into the New Mexico desert. One such treasure is today's game on Google. Another is the long-lost stage production of "Roswell, the Musical," which I first found out about a few days back when my daughter visited the fabled city in the desert and brought me back a local UFO magazine announcing the musical--in 1999.

I was intrigued that there existed such a thing and I had to find out more... Surely if a stage production about the Roswell Incident exists, it deserves to be put on again for today's audiences, doesn't it? And who better to produce the revival than me??

I did a little digging and located the writer & composer of "Roswell, the Musical." Gxxx was a thoroughly pleasant man. He was delighted that I was interested in learning more about his play, but he informed me that he no longer had a single copy! They play had been put on for three years, from 1999 to 2001, but then there had been a parting of the ways of the original company that produced the show, and the playbooks and scores just disappeared.

All that survives is this little photo essay of one of the productions. You can see at a glance that this was a well-mounted show. The cast is huge, the costumes are first rate (as long as you don't look too closely at the aliens' feet), and the Coca Cola Company was a prime sponsor!

Tragically, the "parting of ways" Gxxx referred to that spelled doom for the production was not a pleasant one, and the parties involved all walked away from the wreckage, thinking that somebody else had kept the scripts and score. But it seems nobody had kept them. Alas, "Roswell the Musical" seemed to have blown away on the desert wind....

Until today. Inspired by the momentousness of today's anniversary, I went looking for the person who produced, directed and starred in the play, and, with the help of the fantastic Roswell Chamber of Commerce, I located him. Now, Gxxx had told me that if I did track this man down it might go better if I didn't mention his name, so I told a little white lie. I said he was the first person who I was contacting in association with the play, and it worked. Txx, the producer-director-star, was also thoroughly pleasant, and seemed tickled to be asked about the play. But, like Gxxx before him, he could offer me no hope. He had no copies of the play or the score after all these years, and couldn't think of where they had have gone...

My son Cxxxxx thinks the whole thing smells like a government coverup, but I disagree. Having spoken to both men, and found them both perfectly nice to talk to, I think it's just a case of creative differences and hurt feelings. I bet if I offered them both a cold Coke and we sat down together to talk it over, we'd have a revival up and running in no time!

And now there is a ray of hope... After a few minutes of talking, Txx suddenly remembered that he had raw video footage of the production taken by a Japanese TV crew back in '99, and he just might have a VHS dub... If he does, he may just be willing to lend it to me. And if he does, and if my old VHS deck still works, I could be in for the biggest, bestest celebration of the Roswell Incident ever!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The UFO Crazies -- Part II

I wrote the other day about some crazy people I was encountering in the course of working on my Hynek book, and today I finally got a little help decoding certain people's behavior. Turns out the situation--and the people--aren't quite as crazy as they were appearing. But they're still crazy.

So, here's the deal. I'm corresponding with three people who I want to interview for my book. I will refer to them as People #1, 2 & 3, and I should note that they all know each other.

Person #1 is cool, not crazy at all, an oasis of normalcy in the UFO world.

Person #2 seems sane, but has some credibility issues as far as I'm concerned.

Person #3 is crazy.

The whole thing started when #1 recommended that I interview #2 and #3 for the book, thinking they would have interesting insights on Dr. Hynek's work. I have made a couple attempts to interview #2, but so far we haven't been able to sync up our schedules.

I recently contacted #3 to request an interview. I was very polite. I offered to send along a sample of my writing. The response I got was very curt and yet utterly impossible to follow. It seemed hostile, but it was just vague enough that I really couldn't tell. So I followed up with another email or two, still hoping to open up a dialog.

#3 responded with a shockingly angry and incoherent letter stating that Person #2 had already told #3 all #3 needs to know about me. #3 then went on to criticize my writing (none of which #3 has actually read, to my knowledge), to criticize my book project (which I know for a fact #3 hasn't read), and to claim that I have been going around telling people that I've already interviewed #3 for the book--which is just beyond dumb--and so I should just shut up and go away.

But here's the catch: Person #3 cc'd Person #2.
Yeah, it's a lot like dealing with these guys, only add 1 to each number.

Next thing I know, Person #2 emails me and is apologizing like crazy for maybe, possibly, having said something bad about me to Person #3 (without actually telling me what that bad thing might be), and promising to arrange personally for me to get my interview with #3.

Okay, fine, but then #2 emails #3 and again apologizes for anything and everything that may have been said about me to arouse such hostility, and pleading with #3 to grant me the interview...

How do I know the contents of this email? Because #3 forwarded it to me moments later, with a note that said, and I quote: "...as I parse this: everybody lies!"

So, I spent the past week wondering if I want to interview #2 or #3 at all anymore, because I don't want to deal with such craziness and at this point, how could I really believe anything either of them might tell me in an interview? Besides, neither one of them has actually had the decency to tell me what exactly was said about me to have aroused such hostility...

Then today I finally had a chance to talk to Person #1 about this whole thing. After I told him the story he nodded sagely and said...

Wait for it...

He said this is pretty much how Person #2 and Person #3 treat everybody.

Wow, that makes me feel better... Person #1 then said I should probably just interview them both and hope that maybe out of each interview I'll get a syllable that I can use in the book.

Yeah. Maybe. But I'm not in a huge rush.