High Strangeness: UFO Goofballs

Thursday, July 20, 2017

UFO Goofballs

No, I'm not talking about the Roswell Dream Team.

The UFO Goofballs I'm talking about resurfaced this week in a video recorded in 1990, and while their hijinx may be mostly harmless they will still make everyone in UFO world cringe.

There's a lot of cool stuff in CUFOS files, like this amazing drawing of a UFO by the commercial artist who reported it.
I uncovered the video earlier this week, when I appeared on a public TV show in Chicago called "Chicago Tonight," to talk about my J. Allen Hynek bio, The Close Encounters Man. CT is a nightly public affairs program on WTTW Channel 11, and I was slated to go on last, after some Illinois politicians and a Roman Catholic Cardinal, of all people. The producer of the show told me right off that he was a long-time UFO buff, so that put me right at ease, and we had a fun chat and a few good laughs as he prepped me for my interview.

At one point he asked me, "Do you remember an old show called 'Wild Chicago?'" I did not, so he filled me in. WC was a series WTTW produced in the distant past of the 1990s that showcased offbeat people and event in Chicago, and in one episode in 1990, they profiled an organization that called itself "CUFOS," or "The Center for UFO Studies."

What happens when Wild Chicago visits the Center for UFO Studies? Well, it's pretty nutty, as it turns out. CUFOS was a little directionless in 1990; Hynek had disengaged himself from running the organization in the mid-80s, and passed away in '86, and the folks running CUFOS were not yet fully immersed in Roswell fever, so the CUFOS gang of 1990 comes across seeming like a bunch of excited people with not enough to do...

There are at least five CUFOS staffers and volunteers on hand for the shoot, but the man in charge is Dr. Mark Rodeghier, who still serves as CUFOS Scientific Director, who starts the four-and-a-half segment by saying to the reporter, "I suppose like everyone who comes here, you've come to see the alien bodies, right?"

It's a funny moment, and because I know Mark personally I know that he was just trying to keep the tome of the interview light. But that tone takes a beating throughout the segment, as the TV crew seeks out the weirdest and most embarrassing things they can find...

First there's a shot of a tabloid cover taped to the wall that reads, "I was a Slave in a UFO Labor Camp."

Then there's the volunteer who describes himself as a CUFOS "minion" and describes his job in this way: "I'm here to defend the galaxy from intergalactic invasion."

There are random shots of the reporter on the floor playing with tops and mugging for the camera.

Staffers show off various silly drawings of aliens and say things like, "They often have some sort of apparatus around them as well," or, "Often there's communication, but it's telepathic"

The camera pans past some books on a table and comes to rest on one titled, "Round Trip to Hell in a Flying Saucer."

So, yeah... The CUFOS people are clearly trying to keep things light and fun and a bit ironic, but the TV crew isn't exactly in on the joke, so the whole thing just feels weird and unfortunate.

Then there's this very curious statement by Mark Rodeghier:
"One of things people experience is being shown a movie, like a 3-D movie, that's often projected in space, and the aliens look at their reaction to this movie. They often are shown scenes of great terror.or fright or great emotion, Like a woman reported that she saw her husband in a plane, coming to land the plane, and the plane crashed  on the runway."
This quote is almost too bizarre to be believed. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing before? I really have to check it out with Mark!

Watch both videos here.


Unknown said...

wow ; that was an interesting piece about the center for ufo studies {cufo's } .... man i bet they have many different shapes of ufo's in their library . im still very much trying to get info on the different shapes and sizes of ufo's . i believe one day i'll find a rendition or photo or something that will give me answer to my quest to see an official photogragh of the craft i saw ; meanwhile im getting an education on the subject of sightings such as mine .

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Your UFO is still very unique, Jeff. I've never come across a description quite like yours! The main detail that always stands out is how you described the two beings as being behind a "window" that seemed to be covered by a force field instead of glass.

purrlgurrl said...

The "Wild Chicago" piece is kind of endearing. After all, when you realize there's not a shred of proof for decades of wild hare claims stored in your archives, you've just gotta' be good sports and poke a a little fun at yourselves.

Among Ufology's problems (and it's rife with them) is an absence of humor among many of its researchers and its community of true believers. This bit of film highlights that lack.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

You know, that's a very good point. I try to inject a little humor into UFO world when I can, so I should be supportive of their efforts to do the same!

Bill Pilgrim said...

I know this will be difficult for many to accept, but the ET visitors sometimes display a wry sense of humor.
I forget which UFO reporting sight I saw this on, but several years ago a British police officer posted a sighting report of a most unusual nature. He was camping in a public campground in the countryside one night and was awakened by loud music coming from somewhere nearby. At first he thought it was young people playing a boom-box in the campground. He went outside his tent to investigate and saw nothing until he happened to look up and was stunned to see a huge, silent triangle-shaped craft hovering motionless a few hundred feet above the campground. It remained directly above him for a minute or so then slowly flew away into the night.
He couldn't be sure, but he speculated the music might have come from the mysterious craft.
And what was the music that woke him?
The iconic first few bars from the theme song of The Twilight Zone.
I kid you not.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

I find it very easy to accept that UFOs/ETs have senses of humor. The phenomenon has been leading us around by the nose, teasing us, setting us up for spectacular pratfalls, exploiting our gullibility and trusting natures for decades... They obviously enjoy having a spot of fun with us now and then. Why wouldn't they?

Thanks for sharing the story!

Bill Pilgrim said...

"...Meet John Doebyshire. He's a senior British police officer - a Bobby - enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation on a camping trip in the verdant English countryside. On this moonlit night he'll have an encounter that will propel him into another dimension - a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. He'll journey into a wondrous land of unimagined realities. His first stop: the Twilight Zone."