High Strangeness: August 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

UFO Media Frenzy

This has turned out to be quite a week... Hot on the heels of being referred to extensively in Jack Brewer's splendid article about UFO predictions, I learned that a UFO case I investigated last year was chosen by MUFON as one of the Top Ten UFO sightings of 2012!

Honestly, I didn't know there was a contest going on. Had I known, I would have gone for all ten of the top spots! Why didn't anyone tell me? I could have been making prize-winning shit up all year!

I know right now you're thinking, "Cripes, Mark gets sent out on so many wild and amazing investigations, which one could have been picked for the Top Ten?" Well, it all happened about a year ago when I was called out to investigate my first Close Encounter case. As it was only my fourth investigation as a MUFON Certified Field Investigator, I felt pretty special to be handed a CE1K!
Only ten people get chosen for this award every year. Ten!

I have no idea what sorts of fame and fortune will ensue from being named to the Top Ten, but I'm expecting a boatload of each. I've already been interviewed by a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a piece in their Sunday issue, so I'll provide the link to that when the time comes. Unless it's completely embarrassing, in which case you'll have to hunt for it yourself.

It's hard to tell which way this guy might go in his column. I rarely read newspapers anymore, but I gather that he sees himself as Milwaukee's Dave Berry, so he might be looking for an easy target for cheap laughs (I have some experience with that). He was, in general, fairly sober and respectful throughout the interview, but about halfway through he said, "You know, you seem like a pretty normal guy." This was clearly a surprise to him.

I simply said, "Thank you! I take pride in that."

Next up: a TV news interview.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Alien Motor Oil

I've been waiting a lonnnnnng time for this...

Last spring, I investigated a pretty interesting Close Encounter of the 2nd Kind for MUFON, and blogged about it here. It was a pretty big deal at the time, because it involved a really weird object flying across a highway in front of a car and causing the car's dash lights to flicker. Because it was a UFO causing physical effects on the surrounding environment, it qualified as a CE2K, and because it was one in a series of Close Encounters that I had been assigned to investigate last spring, I officially dubbed myself "The Close Encounter Kid," a title I still hold.

Anyhow, because my investigation revealed a possible magnetic anomaly with the car several days after the encounter, the powers that be at MUFON ordered that the car's oil should be drained and the oil and the oil filter should be sent to a MUFON-associated research lab for analysis. Was the oil radioactive? Did it contain metachlorians? Did they use Valvoline Max Life? We needed to find out!

Well, now, almost 5 months later, we have the answer: negatory.

Vxxxx, my State Director is bummed. Her exact word was "Bummer." To tell the truth, I am bummed, too. The UFO encounter was pretty fascinating, the witness and his family turned out to be paranormal phenomenon magnets, and there was absolutely no doubt that my compass jumped at the exact same spot every time I walked around the car... I thought that something pretty weird was going on, and despite my reservations about asking these people to please give us their motor oil, I really was curious to see what the analysis would come up with...

The reason Vxxxx and everyone at MUFON got so excited about this case is that a few years back a car in Phoenix, Arizona that had been involved in a Close Encounter had its motor oil altered at a molecular level, and everyone wondered if my case would yield the same results. Here's what the report said about the Arizona car:

An Arizona car which also was close to a UFO in 2011 was found to have sodium nitrate in the oil filter. There is a special form of nitro-oxidation produced from the oil reaction with NO­­­x from combustion.  Organic nitrates are mostly formed.  These were not found in the Arizona vehicle.  Only inorganic sodium nitrate.  This was NOT formed by the nitro-oxidation process.  
The fact that my car didn't have sodium nitrate in its filter is a bummer, but I have to say this: I am mightily impressed with the dude who did the analysis of the oil and filter. This guy is good:


· No unusual materials are detected in the used oil filter from the Wisconsin contact vehicle.  The used oil from the oil filter of the Wisconsin car has normal additive depletion.  There is no significant oxidation.  Isolated particulates from the filter are composed of calcium oxalate, and inorganic sulfate(s) and possibly inorganic carbonate.  No sodium nitrate is detected such as in the previous Arizona car contact event.

· Reference used oil filters from three cars that had oil changes were examined to verify that the above particulate components are normal.  These were from a Toyota, Suburu Outback and Ford Focus.  The infrared spectra of these solids are similar to each other as well as the solids from the Wisconsin vehicle. They all show calcium oxalate, sulfate(s) and possible inorganic carbonate.  Two of the filters (Ford and Suburu) also have small amounts of silicone lubricant which is a very common contaminant.
Good stuff, eh? So, basically, I now have to write back to the super-paranormal family and tell them that they have decidedly non-spooky motor oil. I hope they take it well. They may not be happy to see what happened to their oil filter, however...
Sadly, some oil filters must be sacrificed in the search for truth.
By the way, they did indeed use Valvoline Max Life.

On the Trail of the UFO

This is pretty cool. High Strangeness has been quoted extensively in an article appearing in Examiner.com! The article is here, and I urge you--no, I command you--to go read it now and spread it far and wide to every corner of the internetiverse! Because I may never get an opportunity like this again, you know?

What's really cool about it is that we may actually be in the trail of a genuine UFO conspiracy.... I will have more to say about this in coming posts, so stay tuned.
Could the key to the whole UFO mystery lie within the pages of this 1956 book?
Big, big thanks to fellow UFO researcher and blogger Jack Brewer for citing my blog posts in his article. Be sure to check out The UFO Trail, Jack's much more thoughtful and much better researched UFO blog, at http://ufotrail.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Predicting UFOs!

Good news! I have finally heard from someone who has not dissed my discovery of a method of predicting UFOs appearances!

If you've been following along--and a whole lot of you have been--I found what I thought was a very credible reference in a 1956 book in which a government scientist revealed that UFO appearances could be accurately predicted. Sadly, though, certain UFO experts pooh-poohed my discovery, which made me feel bad. So I went on vacation to forget.

But, life is full of surprises, at least mine is, and to a surprising degree: while I was on vacation I got a letter from a gentleman in the U.K. who backed me up and turned me on to several researchers and authors who have done interesting work on... predicting the appearance of UFOs... and I am intrigued.

His letter began with this:
"The first guy I came across who seemed to be able to predict when and where ufos would appear  was the French author Aime Michel.   He noticed ufos made straight line paths - or paths along particular tracks around the earth.   He seemed to be onto something but apparently a statistical analysis of his findings suggests his findings were not significant"
I was actually already aware of this, as Dr. Jacques Vallee writes a lot in his books about his friendship with Michel, and the work he did to try to substantiate Michel's concept of "Orthoteny." It's pretty interesting stuff, but, sadly, never went anywhere.
"The second person to study ufo prediction - though he seemed to be more concerned with earthquake prediction and predicting when nuclear explosions take place - is Bruce Cathie.  (Recently deceased).  Bruce Cathie seems to have had some success and his work warrents further study.   I wrote to him a few years ago and he replied saying that his publisher was ready to publish another one of his books (he has written several) when suddenly the publisher decided not to publish them.  In fact, several thousand of his books were burned or otherwise destroyed.  It seems the Intelligence agencies did not want his work to be known to the world at large."
See why I'm intrigued? I've stumbled into another conspiracy!! But back to the letter...
"Finally - and perhaps most relevant to ufo prediction - is the work of retired British Aerospace engineer Roy Dutton.  He claims to be able to predict when/where ufos will appear with a high degree of accuracy and indeed he may truly be onto something.   He sent his research findings to some British scientific group but never received an answer.  This may suggest he is onto something!   Dutton has written a book called "UFOs in Reality"  In this book he describes the technical details of his work with all the relevant graphs and data.  Get it before it's banned - or before the men in their Black Helicopters abduct you."
Holy shit! Not only have I stumbled into another conspiracy, there may be black helicopters shadowing me this very minute. This is why I got into the UFO racket in the first place!
I just looked out my kitchen window and saw this. I may be on the run for a while.
Now, some attentive readers may have recalled my recent exchange with special effects uber-genius Douglas Trumbull. Mr. Trumbull is developing a very cool camera called UFOTOG, with which he hopes to capture sharp, spectacular images of UFOs, but to make it work he needs to be able to predict where UFOs are going to appear...

My challenge now: can I help Doug Trumbull devise a way to get his camera to where a UFO is about to appear before the black helicopters nab me?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Astronomer With An Eye Patch

Well, I've been gone on vacation for a little over a week, and I'm a little upset to see that things just kept happening while I was gone. What's wrong with you people?

Since I'm still sorting through all my emails, I'll just give you the highlights of what's been going on, and then fill in with more detail as needed over the next few days:
  1. I've been asked to be a secret envoy by a prominent UFO research group that wants to reach out to another UFO research group to collaborate on a top-secret, high-tech project that could save the world.
  2. I have accepted the position of Chief Investigator for MUFON in Wisconsin.
  3. I have received a heartwarming letter from an old friend of my favorite alien artist, Anthony Ranfone, and learned that Mr. Ranfone died some time ago.
  4. My post on the Michigan Swamp Gas incident inspired a brilliant reader to post this reply, and just like that High Strangeness has a theme song!
  5. Another reader responded to my joke about a guy wearing an eye patch being unsuited to being an astronomer, and asked "Why would having having one eye be relative to being an astronomer?" Glad you asked! At first I thought your question was kind of dense, but upon reflection, it occurs to me that having one eye might make you the ultimate astronomer, because you never have to decide which eye to use on any given night, and you don't have to waste all that energy keeping the other eye shut tightly all night. Good call, reader!
  6. The MUFON State Directors Forum on Facebook continues to suck up my life energy every time I look in on the day's news and trivialities. We are now, perhaps inevitably, at war with the French, as this recent post indicates: "Kxx, please refrain sending out info to French ufo orgs....I have solid reasons to please ask you to do so till we clarify one of the USO websites we check and which seems to be on the ....politely....competitors side whom states Mufon is in France to take control of French ufology. These competitors have been throwing sticks and stones to us, and spreading unfounded rumors...."
  7. My efforts to restage "Roswell: The Musical" were dealt serious a blow by the news that the guy who wrote the play and thought he might have a copy packed away in a box checked the box and it was empty. Bummer.
  8. Speaking of Roswell, another reader commented on my coverage of the nonsensical "Citizen Hearing on Disclosure" and said that I was full of beans. To wit: "It was not Major Marcel's grandson at the event. It was his son. According to Jesse Marcel Jr., he actually handled wreckage from the 47' crash. This makes him pretty relevant. With regards to Mr. Friedman, I think you are off the mark. Every preacher of the UFO gospel has his or her own voice. It appears you are starting to develop your own." 
  9.  ...Which brings me to the sad UFO news of the day. It was reported that Jesse Marcel, Jr., one of the few remaining eye-witnesses to whatever happened in Roswell in 1947 to inspire a musical, has died.
Also, while on vacation, my wife and I took a ride on a UFO:
That's me and my wife at Hilton Head last week, being taken 500 feet aloft by this strange flying device. The name of the parasailing company was "UFO Parasailing." Coincidence??

Friday, August 16, 2013

On Vacation

High Strangeness will be on vacation until August 26th. But just because I won't be blogging regularly that doesn't mean I won't be watching the skies...

And you aliens... don't try anything while I'm gone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grand-daddy of All UFO Sightings -- Part II

Well, I've been asking around about who might have known that in 1952 the US government had a method to accurately predict UFO appearances, and I haven't gotten very far. I have gotten some interesting feedback, but nothing that helps solve the mystery.

To recap, I recently discovered a passage in the 1956 book "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects," by former head of Project Blue Book Captain Edward Ruppelt, stating that a secret government agency had in 1952 detected a pattern in UFO appearances and predicted that the Grand-daddy of all UFO sightings was about to occur in Washington, D.C. Two days later, Ruppelt wrote, the Washington, D.C. flap began.

Do you have any idea how amazing it would be to be able to predict when and where a UFO was going to appear? We would have the whole flipping mystery solved in about five seconds, wouldn't we? All we'd have to do is wait with a big net at the place where the UFO was due to appear and then just grab the sucker! I'd be out of a job, but we'd finally know what's going on!

It's crazy. This bombshell information was published in 1956. It's just been sitting there all this time, raising so many important questions, and nobody thinks it's worth following up on??

I was so troubled by this that I asked Mxxx, my sponsor at CUFOS, what he thought of Ruppelt's story. He said, 
"You’ve hit on an interesting episode in that eventful year of 1952. I’m not a UFO historian, and not fully up on the details of events in that era, as are the "UFOs and Government" gang, but I can tell you that, certainly, if it was possible to detect a pattern in UFO events, that knowledge would have been used by those in charge. But it wasn’t possible, so this prediction was probably a good hunch based on the incredible events of early 1952 with the rising crescendo of sightings that seemed to be trying to get everyone’s attention."
Did the government predict the Washington, D.C. UFO flap? Yes it did.
I was massively disappointed that Mxxx thought the predictive analysis Ruppelt talked about "wasn't possible," but he went on to suggest that I bring the question up with the Council of UFO Elders, aka "The UFOs and Government" gang, and I thought that was a pretty smart idea. I could wait until next month and ask them directly, but I'm an impatient man, so I decided to consult their book.

Here's what I found:
"Even without knowing anything more about this mysterious prediction, it is, to say the least, interesting because it came true. It also is of some direct interest to the subject of this book, as it indicates that people other than the Air Force had monitored UFO activity and had attempted to pattern and predict it."
I am completely baffled by this. According to Ruppelt, people hadn't simply "attempted" to pattern and predict UFO activity; they had actually succeeded! Why would the "UFOs and Government" gang not acknowledge this? I mean, they go to the trouble of citing the passage in Ruppelt's book, and they accept the first part of the story, but then they don't even comment on the second part of the story--which also happens to be the really amazing bombshell part of the story.

My God, these people make my head hurt...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My UFO Promotion

Vxxxx, my State Director at MUFON, finally got back to me with the official horrific description of what my life would be like if I accepted her offer to make me the Chief Investigator for the state. It's pretty grim:

The Chief Investigator's job is to assign, review and approve cases.  The Chief Investigator, if utilized in a given state, is a senior field investigator appointed to the position by the State Director.  The Chief Investigator must work closely with all Field Investigators and State Section Directors to ensure that the state's caseload is efficiently managed.  The Chief Investigator must be thoroughly familiar with MUFON's Case Management System (CMS).  The Chief Investigator may also provide periodic investigator training to state volunteers.  The Chief Investigator is responsible for the initial review of the investigator's case report to assess its completeness, including reviewing the Vallee Definitions and BGE calculations.  In addition, the Chief Investigator may also actively manage an investigation only at the request of the State Director.  The number of Chief Investigator positions shall be limited to one per state unless approved by the Executive Director.
Whoever takes this job is going to need all-day relief
Seeing as how my state of Wisconsin is currently ranked #29 in terms of percentage of new cases assigned to an investigator within 72 hours and percentage of assigned case reports completed within 90 days, and state #30, Rhode Island, is just a Close Encounter away from bumping us out of our spot, I'd say that whoever takes this gig had better keep the Aleve handy, because he or she is going to have the weight of the world on his or her shoulders.

(For those of you who were wondering, California is in first place and Louisiana is in last. But isn't that true in general?)

Anyway, before I could absorb all of this, I read the rest of Vxxxx's letter, specifically the part where she totally lets me off the hook:
"To be honest - this wasn't how I was viewing the position and I don't think it's the way that most CIs are used.  The way it's described is much more administrative than I was thinking.  I was thinking more of the go to person who knows how to conduct a proper investigation - someone who can oversee and direct others if necessary in the proper techniques."
She wants me to be the go-to person! Why didn't she just say so? I'm all about being the go-to person. I love going to new places! I wrote back asking Vxxxx where she wants me to go, and I'll let you know just as soon as I find out!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Okay, so I may have been premature in poking fun of the new MUFON State Directors Forum on Facebook. Yes, there's still a lot of talk about things like color-keyed ID badges and the like, but the other day someone posted a pretty useful piece of information that got me kind of excited.

I was browsing through the latest postings, looking for something of interest, when I came across a discussion of a UFO seminar to be put on this fall by a MUFON chapter in Pennsylvania, and someone posted this suggestion:
 "Have you considered having Marc Dantonio and Doug Trumbull (Special effects producer for some well known films) to speak at the symposium on the new camera systems and detection systems for UAPs. Also you could add his Movie he is producing with Marc to show at the symposium. Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciGiYohwRlc"
GREAT suggestion.

I've been a fan of Douglas Trumbull's work since I was a kid and found a paperback of "The Making of '2001: A Space Odyssey'" at the library and read it cover to cover. To create the special effects for this movie, Trumbull and director Stanley Kubrick pretty much threw out everything that had ever been done before and invented entirely new methods of doing, well... everything. I followed his career after that, as he created the effects for a slew of amazing movies, including "Blade Runner," "Silent Running," Star Trek: The Motion Picture," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

So I was thrilled to see that he was now working on an amazing camera system for capturing images of UFOs. The system is called "UFOTOG," and I have to admit it took me two days to realize it was a mash-up of UFO and PHOTOG. Now, what could be cooler than bombing around the countryside in a modified Humvee with a clamshell roof and a high-tech imaging system in the back, hunting UFOs?  

Now, this is what I signed on for.
Douglas Trumbull poses with one of the miniatures from what famous movie?
After reading about the system and watching the video, I wrote to Mr. Trumbull to find out more about his plans to turn the whole world of UFO research on its pointy little head, and I got an extremely nice reply from the Wizard himself...
"The UFOTOG project became financially daunting, and became a vehicle to raise what needs to be substantial money to do it right. That has not materialized, nor has the CIA been willing to help, even though I was approached with an offer that was later retracted. The technology has dramatically changed over time, and we are still working on the latest version. It will still require funding, and I am hoping that the UFOTOG movie will jog some money loose from someone. Ideally a high net worth individual who is interested in space - and there are a few. I tried some and got rejected, but this movie might do the trick. I never give up.
"The film about the project will be done in late September, available for screenings here at my studio in Massachusetts. Later we hope to screen it in other locations."
I have a new goal in life: be at one of those screenings.

One more thing: Not only is Doug Trumbull a genius, he's a very nice guy. He read my recent blog post about the Million Intruder March and wrote: "Good luck on the MIM. A wild idea. A friend of mine recently visited Area 51 and got some amazingly scary video."

Hmmm, scary video from Area 51... Sounds like something I should see before risking my life--and yours--at Area 51 this fall.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Roswell Shame

Is Roswell an embarrassment to the field of UFO research?

I got this comment today from a reader who mentioned that he had interviewed Dr. J. Allen Hynek in 1979. I had asked how this came about, and here's the response:
"I was a news reporter at a TV station in Champaign, Illinois at the time. I had to put together a five-part series for sweeps so I thought that UFOs would make a great subject for it. CUFOS was up in Evanston at the time, so a cinematographer and I made arrangements to spend a day at CUFOS and video the interviews.

"I must have been absolutely brain-dead for not saving any of the footage. It didn't contain any shocking revelations, but it would have been an interesting indicator of where UFOlogy was in the late 70s.

"One thing I do recall - neither Hynek nor Hendry ever once mentioned Roswell. Hynek did mention abductions (after I prompted him) but he wasn't sure what to make of them or whether they were part of the UFO phenomenon at all."
The "Hendry" referred to is one of the investigators who worked for Hynek's Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). I think it's pretty interesting that neither Hynek nor his investigator brought up the 1947 Roswell "UFO crash." I don't want to knock the whole Roswell thing--God knows it's given me plenty to blog about, and I am still hoping to restage "Roswell: The Musical" someday--but, besides that, isn't it a story that's run its course?

Hynek wrote three books on the UFO phenomenon, and he never mentioned Roswell at all. In fact, in his 1975 book, "The Edge of Reality," Hynek pooh-poohs the idea of UFO crashes in pretty unambiguous terms:
"...if you were a bushman in Australia, how many parts from a Boeing 747 would you be picking up? The bushman might see an airplane fly over his territory for many years and not once be 'fortunate' enough to be witness to an air crash."
Aside from his books, in the reams and reams of articles, papers and books I've combed through researching my book on Hynek, I have not come across a single mention of Roswell. Sure, Roswell is mentioned in the Project Blue Book files, but only as a part of the 1948-49 "green fireballs" mystery, and since that episode took place all over New Mexico, pretty much every town in the state was mentioned in the report, so... sorry, Roswell!
Any of you who really believes in Roswell ought to buy one of these. Otherwise, shut yer trap.
I know this will hurt some peoples' feelings. One loyal reader who I know through my wife's work told me this week about a close relative who has Roswell fever, and I hate to burst her bubble, but like Dr. Hynek before me, I have to remain true to the facts. Don't get me wrong: I'd love to believe that a UFO crashed on a lonely New Mexico ranch in 1947, and that the Air Force has the wreckage of the craft and the bodies of its little green pilots on ice somewhere. But, sadly, there doesn't seem to be any proof, and there may never be. And really, when you get right down to it, even if a flying saucer had crashed in Roswell--or any of the dozens of other sites where saucers are believed to have crashed--why would the aliens allow any earth people to discover the wreckage and the corpses of their people?

Maybe I'll have to write a new ending to "Roswell: The Musical." Unless the aliens come back and write it for me...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Intruder Alert!

The other day, the guy who was bagging my groceries at the supermarket asked me how the planning was coming along for the Million Intruder March. That's the kind of town I live in.

I was both delighted and dismayed that Dxxxxx asked me that, because while I appreciate the interest, in truth I haven't done any planning at all. I just kind of figure it will all come together spontaneously. Or maybe even by itself.

What is the Million Intruder March, you ask? Well, I am gathering a group of one million people to storm the gates of Area 51 and let the world see once and for all what the government keeps hidden there. The idea, first voiced by UFO author Richard Dolan, is that the guards can gun down a few intruders, but they can't gun down a million! At least one or two of us would get through, and then... it's non-consensual Disclosure time.
See that teensy little heavily-armed vehicle at the top of the hill? That's all that stands between us and glory!
I've written about the MIM here and here, and you can sign up to join here. I think you'll agree it's a pretty terrific idea, and one whose time has come. And I fully intend to be there. There'll be t-shirts and everything.

But there's this complication...

Suddenly I'm kinda sorta invited to this gathering of the Council of Elders of the UFO world that very same week. I'm not even sure what that event might entail, but I know it could provide invaluable material for my J. Allen Hynek book (there, I lost half my readers by mentioning the book...). But can I soak up the combined knowledge of over a dozen UFO experts on September 13th through 15th and still make it out to Rachel, NV on the 19th to lead the charge into Area 51? That only gives me, really, four days to plan the MIM, which seems a bit problematic. I'll have to get to Nevada with all those t-shirts. And write an inspiring pre-march speech. That speech is key.

My worry is that I'll be so wrapped up in planning the MIM, which is a really a once in a lifetime thing, that I won't make the most of my time with the Council of Elders of the UFO world, which is also a once in a lifetime thing. See, I wasn't invited by the host; I was invited by a guest, who didn't clear it with the host, and the host, while he hasn't barred me from attending, hasn't exactly rolled out the red carpet either. So, it seems unlikely that I would ever be invited again. Hence, the need to make the most of the opportunity at hand.

So, really, now that I think about it, it'll be one long week of intruding into places where I'm not welcome.


Monday, August 5, 2013

New Age Claptrap

I blogged a few days ago about the leadership change at MUFON, and today I can inform you that the repercussions of the new power structure are already being felt...

First came the invitation to to join a MUFON State Leadership Forum on Facebook, which I did somewhat reluctantly... I knew the new MUFON boss, Jan Harzan, was all about beefing up MUFON's social media presence, and this Forum seemed like a good first step. But in only a few days it has lived up to my worst expectations: the latest conversation is about whether we should have color-keyed ID badges--"Let's say a gold one for State Directors, a silver one for Assistant State Directors, and a green one for State Section Directors"--or maybe color-keyed golf shirts with our names and ranks embroidered on them. 

Speaking as a State Section Director, I question why the color scheme goes from gold to silver and then directly to green. Why don't I deserve at least bronze? What is MUFON trying to tell me? Can you imagine the furor if the Olympics started giving out green medals for the poor saps who come in third? At the next Olympics there would be exactly two competitors in every event.

The discussion that followed this suggestion was entertaining and informative... What about colorblind MUFON members? What about MUFON people who live in hot climates who prefer wearing light colored shirts? Who will pay for the embroidery? Would everyone have to stick to one standard font, or could we get creative?

This is the new MUFON.

A perennial  MUFON favorite, the human-alien hybrid...
Reading further into the MUFON State Leadership Forum, I came across a lively discussion about a recent blog post (not one of mine, I'm sorry to say) that went after the credibility and effectiveness of MUFON and created great angst among the MUFON State Leadership Forum members. The post, "The UFO Trail: MUFON, Science and Deception" is a very well-researched and very well-written piece about the challenges MUFON faces in trying to remain relevant, and how MUFON often makes these challenges even worse, or--truth be told--creates these challenges all by itself. The post used the nonsense science featured at last month's MUFON 2013 UFO Symposium to make its case, and I couldn't disagree with any of it...

My favorite part of the blog post came in the section about a gentleman named Antonio Paris, who has founded a pretty cool-looking new group called "Aerial Phenomenon Investigations" (API). Mr. Paris offered some sound advice for Mr. Harzan as he takes the reins at MUFON:
"After two years at MUFON, I quickly realized several problems that can be easily fixed by Mr. Harzan. The first and most important mission for Mr. Harzan is to ensure MUFON recalibrate its compass. After attending dozens of MUFON conferences nationally, for example, it is clear that MUFON has been inundated with topics that have nothing to do with Ufology – it is intoxicated with conspiracy theories, hoaxes, junk science, new age claptrap and a level of sensationalism that would make The National Enquirer envious. His first goal, therefore, should be to drain the swamp of all this garbage and bring the science back to the subject."
 Amen, brother. Amen.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Grand-daddy of All UFO Sightings

Once again I've come across something quite startling in researching my book about J. Allen Hynek. You Hynek haters, bear with me, because this has nothing to do with Hynek and it's pretty interesting...

I found my latest bombshell while reading the 1956 book "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" by Captain Edward Ruppelt, the original head of the Air Force's UFO investigation unit, Project Blue Book. In Chapter 12, "The Washington Merry-Go-Round," Ruppelt recounts the sensational 1952 UFO flap over Washington, D.C., our nation's capitol, and he drops what I think is a pretty amazing piece of information: Ruppelt claims that he was forewarned.

A few days prior to the Washington sightings, Ruppelt wrote, he was talking with a scientist “from an agency I can’t name” about a “build-up of reports along the east coast of the United States.” The scientist, who Ruppelt said had access to all the Air Force’s flying saucer reports, made a bold prediction: “’Within the next few days,’ he told me, and I remember that he punctuated his slow, deliberate remarks by hitting the desk with his fist, ‘they’re going to blow up and you’re going to have the grand-daddy of all UFO sightings. The sighting will occur in Washington or New York,’ he predicted, ‘probably Washington.’

“The trend in the UFO reports that this scientist based his prediction on hadn’t gone unnoticed,” Ruppelt wrote. “We on Project Blue Book had seen it, and so had the people in the Pentagon; we had all talked about it."
It could happen! It will happen! Oh wait, it already has happened!

This passage blows my mind for a number of reasons. First, it indicates that there was some sort of scientific analysis being made of flying saucer reports even in the earliest days of Project Blue Book. Second, it indicates that there were clear patterns to flying saucer reports. Third, it indicates that parties unknown at the Pentagon were paying very close attention to UFO reports before the Washington sightings. And, finally, nothing seems to have been done after this moment to make use of this high level of analysis to make any further predictions about flying saucer reports. Surely this invaluable predictive analysis, once validated, would have become an integral part of Blue Book’s ongoing operations, and yet it is never mentioned again by Ruppelt or by anyone else associated with UFO study and research. 

Okay, commenters, time to earn your keep. Can anyone poke a hole in this account?