High Strangeness: May 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Human or Alien? UFO Denial

I'm just listening to Don Schmitt on "Fade to Black," and he just uttered these words regarding the "Roswell Slides":
"This isn't finished... We don't care what the placard says."

The "deblurred" placard
Wow. Just wow...

You can hear the statements at about 25 minutes in, but you should listen to the rest of the interview, just for the pleasure of hearing the rising panic and desperation in Schmitt's voice...

Friday, May 29, 2015

Boast to Boast AM

You know what's wrong with UFOlogy today?

I've just been listening to a podcast of a popular late night radio show, and I'm seriously bugged... The show is, of course, Coast to Coast AM, hosted by George Noory, and although I'm not a regular subscriber, I'll pay in for a month or so here and there if there's someone I really want to listen to.

Such was the case this week, when I got word that a UFO guy named Robert Perala, who is appearing this weekend at the big-league goof-a-thon called "Contact in the Desert," would be a guest on the show. But that, in and of itself, is not what made me want to tune in to the show. No, I wanted to listen because the promo for Perala's interview said this:
In December 1977, while staying in Lake Tahoe, as a violent lightning storm was taking place, his room was suddenly inhabited by three 8-ft. tall space-suited figures (they closely resembled the photo of an ET figure taken by Jeff Grenshaw in 1973). When he started screaming, he was placed in a blue bubble and the side of the house fell away, and he found himself being transported in a wormhole-like tunnel.
Perala was suddenly in a spherical room facing a glass obelisk, then quickly hurled back, lowered onto his bed. The faces of the ETs were covered by visors, and they had orange antennas. Later, he discovered he was badly sunburned and his body was covered in a honey-like oil. In 1978, he shared his story at a UFO convention, where J. Allen Hynek recorded his testimony, as William Shatner listened in.
That's some pretty stupendous stuff, eh? Not only does the guy have an amazing abduction story to tell, complete with evil astronauts, blue bubbles, wormholes and melting houses, but he had an encounter with two of my heros: Dr. J. Allen Hynek and The Shat! Holy shit! I had to pay in and listen to that!!
OhMyGod! They put you inside a blue bubble? Then they made your house melt??
Why did I have to listen? Because the story immediately struck me as bogus. I can pretty safely say, after researching Hynek's career the past few years, that he strenuously disliked and avoided this kind of story. Maybe Hynek did listen to this Perala guy tell his abduction story, and maybe he did record Perala's "testimony," but that doesn't mean he believed a word of it, or thought it merited an investigation (indeed, Perala moved on pretty quickly from this story without ever telling how it ended... which I found weird in and of itself, because wouldn't anybody milk that moment for all it's worth??).

What really bugged me, though, was how Perala described Hynek. First he said that Hynek was "the founder of Project Blue Book," then a few minutes later he said that Hynek was "the founder -- the father, sort of -- of this whole industry."

Yikes. Wrong on both counts, dude. As most of us know, Hynek was a hired consultant to Project Blue Book, not its founder. And it would have steamed Hynek's shorts to hear himself described as the "founder" or "father" of the UFO industry. There is no escaping the fact that his work played a role in the development of the industry, but as I have written here recently, Hynek himself deplored those who preyed on people's hopes and beliefs to make a quick buck off the UFO phenomenon.

And Noory let both misstatements slide without comment.

And that's what's wrong with UFOlogy today.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Visit to a Real UFO Landing Site!

In my last post I told the story of finding the "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" game at an antique store in Chattanooga, TN, while driving back to Wisconsin from Atlanta the other day, but that's only the first part of the story...

A few hours later we were traveling through western Kentucky, and came upon the exit for a town called Hopkinsville. I had noticed it on the drive down but hadn't had the time to stop. But I made a solemn vow that we would pull over on the way home and see what there was to see. My wife Mxxxxx understood.

Hopkinsville, Kentucky, you see, is right up the highway from Kelly, Kentucky, and together they form the site of the "Kelly-Hopkinsville" alien invasion... How could I not stop?

In August, 1955, the Sutton family were enjoying a quiet Sunday night with some friends on their isolated farm off the Old Madisonville Road in Kelly, when a UFO landed in the gully behind the house. Soon after, strange little creatures -- "shiny men" -- started to approach the house, apparently trying to get it... For 4 hours the Suttons fought off the little creatures with rifles and shotguns, but the little things seemed impervious to gunfire... Finally, frightened out of their wits, the family made a run for it, packing into two pickup trucks and racing to the police station in Hopkinsville.

Thanks to the diligent investigative work of two amateur UFOlogists, the incident has been documented in minute, terrifying detail. And thanks to a map drawn by one of those investigators, Isabel Davis, I knew exactly where to go...

Visit www.kellyky.com

Just like in 1955, Kelly barely exists. It consists of a few houses, a church and a sign, in front of which I'm standing. It's a nice sign, but I wondered why it showed an old locomotive instead of one of these more unique symbols:

Skeptics said they were chimps that had escaped from a nearby circus...
Seriously, which would you rather be known for? Anyway, that road you see behind me and the sign is the Old Madisonville Road, and if you follow it a short way to the left (or north), you come across this...

Somewhere back in those woods... two worlds met.

This, I believe, is the entrance to the Sutton farm, or at least this is pretty damn close. It leads east into the woods and into a gully off the Old Madisonville Road, seen here.

It's a very quiet place, and if you listen hard you can almost hear the gunshots of the terrified Sutton clan as they fought off the invaders... I would have walked back to the woods, but I wasn't sure if this was private property, and I didn't want to hear -- or feel -- any modern day gunshots.

Pretty cool moment, though. Honest-to-God UFO landing sites are few and far between, so it's a real kick to actually get to see one, exactly as it was when the UFO landed... The case was never explained by the Air Force's Project Blue Book, because it was never investigated by Blue Book. But Dr. J. Allen Hynek new and trusted the two civilian investigators and felt that something very real had happened to the Suttons that night.

But here's what's really weird about the case: when you read the two reports and the newspaper accounts of the incident you quickly realize that there were in fact Air Force officers as well as non-military government investigators from an unnamed agency swarming all over the Sutton farm after the incident... Here's my final tally, complied for my Hynek bio:

Sunday, August 21, 1955
  • The Hopkinsville New Era reported that four Military Policepersons from Fort Campbell responded to the Hopkinsville Police Department’s APB
  • The Madisonville, Kentucky Messenger reported that “At least a carload of Military Police sped to the scene.”
  • Russell N. Ferguson, Jr., confirmed in a 1996 letter that Military Police from Fort Campbell were among the investigators present at the Sutton farm that night
Monday, August 22, 1955
  • Bud Ledwith was present in the Sutton home when Pfc Gary F. Hodson made a sketch of the little man and spaceship based on Billy Ray Taylor’s description; Ledwith reported that Hodson was there as a private citizen
  • Ledwith offered his own sketches to “an Air Force officer,” who declined – someone besides Hodson, of course, who was not an officer
  • The Evansville, Indiana, Press, reported that Ft. Campbell authorities today sent Major Albert Coren to the scene to investigate”
  • Major John E. Albert reported to 1st Sgt. Charles N. Kirk that he had driven to the Sutton farm and investigated the incident at the suggestion of unnamed personnel at Ft. Douglas
  • Captain Robert J. Hertell reported to 1st Sgt. Kirk that “a couple” officers went to the Sutton farm on their own time
  • Hopkinsville Police Chief Greenwell stated “definitely” that Air Force Intelligence was present at the farm, as were multiple MPs, Pfc. Hodson and two men from an unnamed agency at Standiford Air Field in Lousiville, KY
Date unknown
  • Miss Glennie told amateur UFO investigator Albert Andre that “three investigators” from Fort Campbell visited the farm, got descriptions of the creature from Sutton family members, then returned within a matter of hours with a model of the creature that passed the family’s inspection
A conservative head count arrives at a total of 13 MPs, officers and Intelligence operatives from Fort Campbell descending on the Sutton farm between August 21st and 22nd, as well as two men from an unknown, possibly civilian agency. At what point does unofficial become official? At least one of the officers was at the Sutton farm at the suggestion of his commanding officer. At least one was there at the direct request of his CO, although perhaps not technically under orders. At least one was with Air Force Intelligence.
Can you see why I wanted to see the site of the world's most famous alien invasion? Even today, 60 years later, the incident is still shrouded in mystery... Give me a case like this over Roswell any day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The UFO Game

My wife Mxxxxx and I just got back from a nice little vacation in Georgia, where we went for a family reunion of sorts, and over the course of the trip two very significant UFO happenings happened. Well, three things, if I count the fact that my wife's uncle Cxxxxxx turned out to be very interested in UFOs, which led to some fun conversations at the party.

That was cool, but in a normal, earthly way. The other two things that happened were much more on the weird end of things...

On our way out through Chattanooga, TN, we spotted an antique mall and pulled off the interstate to check it out. It was a pretty huge place, so when we got inside we kissed each other goodbye and went off on our separate ways. While my wife loves to look for antique kitchenware, I gravitate to vintage toys. I'm happy to say the place was full of old toys. I'm sorry to say very few of them were of any interest or value, so I returned to the front of the mall to see if I could find my wife.

It was there that I found my treasure, partially hidden by other items in a case. I had walked past it at least once before and hadn't noticed it, but this time it jumped out at me...
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Game
That's right: the geniuses at Parker Brothers made "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" into a board game! And there it was in the display case right in front of me, in a random antique mall outside Chattanooga, TN, -- a place I would, most likely, never set foot in again -- on sale for the ridiculously low price of $10.00! What could I do? I had to have it!

As soon as I had the chance I opened the game to see how it was played, planning to challenge my wife to a game at the earliest opportunity. I don't mind saying, my expectations were pretty high; Parker Brothers have created Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, Risk, Aggravation and countless other classics; surely "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" would rise to the same level.

My expectations soared when I saw the game board was decorated with an image from the movie depicting the "Dark Side of the Moon" UFO landing site at the base of Devil's Tower National Monument. They soared even higher when I began reading the instructions:

"Imagine this: First you see some spaceships. Then your mind becomes possessed: you see visions of Devil's Tower in Wyoming; you hear a weird, mysterious 5-note melody; you travel to Devil's Tower with the hope of boarding the Mother Ship and flying from earth with its crew. You arrive at Devil's Tower only to discover that others have come for the same purpose. You learn that only one of you will be allowed to board. To board the Mother Ship, you must compete against the others in a game, and win."

Okay... that's not exactly how the movie played out, but I get it: they were trying to make a game out of a very non-game-like narrative, so they had to take some liberties. But then I read further into the instructions and found that they really, really loused it up... The point of the game is to get onto the Mother Ship, right? But to actually play the game, you start at Devil's Tower, then journey to the Mother Ship, then back to Devil's Tower, then back to the Mother Ship, ad infinitum, until you "'sound' all five notes of the mystery tune by placing each of your five chips on the board."... or go completely insane from boredom. Because the way the rules are written, it could take years to place even one "chip" on the board, much less five. It's like playing Battleship on an ocean gameboard the size of the actual ocean.

Really, I was ready to cut the game designers a little slack, but they designed a game that is not only completely boring and drama-free, but pointless, brainless and virtually unwinnable, all while having absolutely nothing to do with the actual movie on which it is supposedly based. You never actually hear the crucial five notes, and then the aliens don't even show up, for Christ's sake! My God, it's stupid.

What makes it even worse is this: Columbia Pictures was obviously licensing the hell out of this movie when it came out in 1977, but do you think Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who coined the "Close Encounters" terminology, earned one single penny off of this game?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Sincere, Overdue Apology

Under intense pressure from the so-called Roswell Post-It Research Group (RP-IRG), I find I have no choice but to man up and admit that that the figure visible in the Roswell Post-It is not actually a space alien but is, in fact, a drawing. It's not even an ancient drawing. The truth is I drew it last week with a regular old ink pen on a pad of dayglo orange lined Post-Its purchased at the local office supply store.
The "controversial" Roswell Post-It

How did they suss me out so quickly? Maybe they figured out that Post-Its didn't come with lines until 2011. Or that dayglo orange wasn't introduced into the Post-It color scheme until 2013. It could have been either of those things, but it now appears that some guy in the RP-IRG by the name of "Smart DeBlur" (an obvious alias) figured out a way to sharpen up the placard at the bottom of the drawing...

Busted... or scammed?

Damn you, Smart DeBlur.

So now that the truth is out, I keep hearing all these crazy things, like that this fiasco will destroy UFOlogy, and that I should bow out of serious UFO research forever, and that I should give refunds to all the people who laid out their life savings to get a glimpse of my little beasty.

All I can say is, chill out, people, and stop acting like little children. I'm just a normal person like you, and we all make mistakes. I never, ever endorsed this drawing as being of extraterrestrial origin. Furthermore, I was bedazzled by the amount of scientific analysis that went into determining that the Roswell Post-It was of alien origin, and again, you or anybody would have made the same mistake. Also I was pushed onstage.

Does that mean I'm admitting to making a mistake? Hell no. I still believe that the recently released "reading" of the placard by the so-called "Roswell Post-It Research Group" is still open to debate, seeing as how it was taken from a distorted "screen grab" that all of my closest friends, some of whom are science buffs, deemed unreadable. You want to know who is really in need of some "Smart DeBlurring?" It's the quidnuncs in the RP-IRG.

I will also state unequivocally that, while emotions can cause one to outrun one's headlights and run UFOlogy off the road, one did have one's high-beams on, and so cannot be held responsible. In closing, I have no more interest in this matter and fully believe we can and will move on. There remains much work to do.

Again, at this time I consider the matter concluded and intend on moving forward. With my high-beams on.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kodachrome The Comedy!

Oh, dear. As if the Roswell Slides promoters didn't have enough troubles already...

I just checked out the company that's credited on imdb.com as the producer of the comedy short known as "Kodachrome," and it's not good.

It's Thursday! Productions is a couple of women who produce a very loud and strange web series called "Long Island Divas." I guess it's a satire of "Real Housewives," but any comedy writer knows you can't do a satire of something that's already played as self-satire. It just lands with a thud, as you'll see when you watch any of their videos...


I'm sure they're very nice people. How they ever got involved with Adam Dew and the Roswell Slides is a mystery for the ages, but then again, Adam Dew seems to have a knack for leeching onto associating himself with people who can further his ambitions.

Of course, this could all be a ruse. I noticed today that the story synopsis for the film -- the synopsis that referred to "two slides" with images of an alien -- had been deleted from imdb.com sometime in the last few days...

Still, assuming that the production moves forward, I'm thinking the woman on the left will play "Hilda Ray" and the woman on the right will play "Eleanor Roosevelt."

And of course the boy mummy will be played by...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UFO Crash Team

Since all of UFO world seems to be engaging in wild, unfettered speculation these days, I'm going to engage in a little of my own.

Suppose an alien spacecraft crashed somewhere on earth. Suppose that spacecraft was a "nuts and bolts" construction, i.e., a real physical object.  Once we suppose that, it goes without saying that the beings that built such a craft would be far beyond us in terms of their understanding of science and the cosmos.

With me so far?

If you accept all that, wouldn't it also be reasonable to assume that if that spacecraft crashed somewhere on earth, the aliens would immediately send out a clean-up crew?

That's how I see it. Those things from another world would have their best clean-up crew on the scene so fast it would make a tachyon look like a tortoise. They'd have that crash scene fully CSI'ed and scrubbed clean of every shred of evidence in nanoseconds... if not sooner. They might even manipulate time so that the crash never actually happened!

"Saucer clean-up in Space-Aisle 7! Saucer clean-up in Space Aisle 7!"
As a result, if, let's suppose, a ranch hand came blundering along the crash site the next day, all he would see was, well, whatever a ranch hand normally sees on a ranch... cattle, I guess (non-dismembered).

That's my wild speculation of the day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

UFO Hoaxsters & Charlatans

Here's something to think about. This is what Dr. J. Allen Hynek had to say about UFO hoaxsters and charlatans:

“(T)here are at present a number of commercially inclined individuals, addicted to sensationalism... who presume to speak and write with flamboyant authority and with na├»ve disregard for scientific accuracy.
Listen to this guy. He makes a lot of sense.
“Such people do a great disservice to everyone but themselves. They capitalize on the wishful thinking of large numbers of people who are legitimately interested in the possibility of space travel, and are intrigued with the idea that other civilizations, living on some far off planet, may be paying periodic visits to our own planet, the earth.
“A clever speaker can, by mixing judicious amounts of space travel science fiction with extravagant and ill-reported accounts of strange events, adding a rumor here and a rumor there (perhaps about the little men who are pickled in bottles and kept in a secret vault at Wright Field!) make a thrilling but highly fictional case for flying saucers.
“If... anyone wants to take the fragmentary reports uncritically, and at face value, a mighty fine story can be fabricated. But that’s all it will be, a fine fabrication.”

Hynek wrote this in an October, 1955 column for the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch