High Strangeness: UFO Hit Parade

Sunday, June 1, 2014

UFO Hit Parade

Well, tonight I'm having a web radio podcast thing on PANG Radio, and I'm looking forward to it! Tune in at 8 p.m. Central for some brain-exploding UFO talk.

How long does the show last? I have no idea, and it doesn't really matter, because your head will have exploded within the first ten minutes. You've been warned.

Anyway, prepping for this show has given me cause to review some of the highlights of my first three years of blogging here at High Strangeness and my first two years as a MUFON Certified Field Investigator. What a wild ride it's been...

I started out in the summer of 2011 looking for material for a screenplay about UFOs, and quickly discovered that, with some time and effort, I could become a Certified UFO Field Investigator for MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network. What a perfect way to research the field up-close and personal; instead of just writing about it from the inside I could be participating in it from the inside! It had occurred to me about the same time that it would be fun to write about the process as it's happening, and so this blog was born.

But there was a problem: there were already so many people writing about and talking about UFOs, in blogs and books and on radio shows and webcasts, that I would have a very hard time making my blog stand out.

Or would I? It didn't take long to realize that an awful lot of UFO writers/talkers/authors/commentators were approaching the phenomenon with an identical combination of a super-serious demeanor and an overload of pseudo-scientific pretense.

Where was the fun? Where was the excitement? One of the biggest things attracting me to the UFO phenomenon was the sheer otherworldly absurdity of it, and yet there was very little of that evident in UFO literature. I got the distinct feeling that most UFO authorities wanted so badly to be taken seriously by mainstream audiences (and the scientific community) that they tried to pretend that the sensational aspects of the phenomenon didn't exist. I marvel at how many UFO writers are able to make such a fascinating, spine-tingling topic so mind-crushingly boring... and yet they seem driven to do so.

The Esme Alien, back by popular demand!
I decided to go against the grain and highlight and celebrate the sheer goofiness of UFOs, and you know what? It works! One of the silliest UFO cases I have ever reported on, "The Esme Alien," would probably have been rejected by most if not all UFO writers as being too ridiculous -- even embarrassing -- and yet it instantly became one of my most-read blog posts -- 2,322 page views at latest count -- and the page views just keep coming! See, the silliness of the story is what makes it so compelling to me, and, apparently, to a whole lot of you readers as well.

As for my own experiences investigating UFO sightings here in Wisconsin, the work just gets more and more interesting and enjoyable all the time. Sure, I've had my share of suspected hoaxes, and a handful of witnesses who seemed to be slightly cracked, but that comes with the territory. I've also investigated some truly hair-raising cases reported by some very sincere and credible witnesses that have left me wondering what exactly is going on. Close Encounters... Missing Time incidents... encounters with UFO occupants... these cases just keep coming; they don't go away.

And neither do I!


Terry the Censor said...

> Where was the fun? Where was the excitement?

James Moseley provided that, and Richard Hall (among others) hated him for it.

I've been reading Fowler's UFOs: Interplanetary Visitors to supplement the increasingly shrill and paranoid Incident at Exeter. It's been a pleasant surprise. Fowler speaks very scientifically about UFO investigator methodology, not afraid to point out weaknesses and suggest improvements, but he also has a light touch, often breaking up his findings with humourous chapter titles and amusing phrasings. Fowler's not particularly good at being funny, but the tone is engaging -- quite unlike reading the ultra-stern Keyhoe, for instance.

UFOs are very entertaining, potentially. The people involved are often (unintentionally) amusing. But I guess when one is reporting the Most Significant Scientific Breakthrough of All Time, most people are afraid to laugh and break the spell.

Ufology needs another ironist like Moseley.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

I'm not familiar with Mosely... I'll have to look into that. Thanks!

Terry the Censor said...

I recommend his memoir, "Shockingly Close to the Truth!" co-written by Karl Pflock.