High Strangeness: Has the Public Been Tricked?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Has the Public Been Tricked?

In general I would say yes, badly and quite often, but that would be counterproductive. We're not talking in generalities here: we're talking about one very specific incident in which the public -- and that includes you, bub -- may have actually been tricked.

It's all on the cover of a UFO book I picked up this week. It's an old used paperback that I bought for a few bucks from an Amazon reseller, and the old-school cover blurbs are so ripping that I'm afraid reading the actual book will be a big let-down.

First is the title. This book has the best title ever: "UFOs? YES!" which, coincidentally, is the exact conversation my wife and I have every time I sit down to blog.

The subtitle reads: "Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong." Then the other subtitle reads: "The Inside Story by an Ex-Member of the Official Study Group." I'm hooked! I love reading about Committees gone wrong!

It gets even better on the back cover. The back cover doesn't just say "Has the Public Been Tricked?" It also says, "This is the real UFO story--the one the public hasn't heard!" Apparently by not having heard the real story we have been tricked! Makes sense.

Never name your committee after this guy.
It also says some stuff about the rest of the book that's very wordy and kind of tiring to read, but the thrust of it is that in 1966 the U.S. Secretary of Defense announced the formation of a scientific panel to study the UFO phenomenon in depth. This was called the Condon Committee. And that's where it went wrong. You see, Condon didn't believe in UFOs, and neither did his wife. He thought the study was a waste of time and money. $500,000, to be exact.

In this age of sequestered cuts it's difficult to imagine the U.S. Government ever having given a cool half a mill to a bunch of scientists to study UFOs, but that's exactly what they did.

But, the book cover tells me, in 1968 a "near-mutiny" disrupted the scientific staff, two Ph.D.s were "dismissed," and the project's administrative assistant resigned. That's where it gets really interesting, because this book was written by one of those two dismissed Ph.D.s! According to the back cover, this dismissed and pissed Ph.D. has become convinced that UFOs "are likely to be vehicles from outer space."

So, here's the question: could the insides of the book possibly be as exciting as the outsides? That is what I, reluctantly, intend to find out.

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