Friday, April 29, 2022

Bill Moore and UFO Disinformation Accusations

The 1980 Cash-Landrum UFO case was plagued with problems, and a significant one came from the  false claims about it promoted by Bill Moore and Richard Doty. Their contamination of the case was briefly discussed in our article, MJ-12, The "Pratt Sensitive" Documents, Cash-Landrum, Doty and Mooreand we'll eventually document their negative influence in greater detail. The following article provides some necessary background, focusing on other maliciousness by Moore.

The Problem was His Program

On July 1, 1989 ufologist William L. Moore delivered a lecture at the MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas that has become legendary. Facing mounting controversies about the origin and authenticity of the MJ-12 UFO documents and his own credibility, Moore struck back. Along the way, he made a shocking confession that he had been recruited by the U.S. government, tasked with spreading falsehoods to Paul Bennewitz and others. 

Bennewitz on the traveling salesman road not taken from The Albuquerque Tribune April 15, 1981

James W. Moseley summarized the 1980s events in "The Paul Bennewitz Case Revisited," an article in Saucer Smear June 15, 2000. A few excerpts:
"It seems that [Paul] Bennewitz somehow got in way over his head in regard to UFO research. He acquired film of mysterious lights in the sky, he heard a strange alien code over his radio, and he saw UFOs in daylight as well as entrances to secret tunnels in the hills near his Albuquerque home [near Kirtland Air Force Base]. 
Sergeant Richard Doty of the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) comes into the picture... It was Doty's job to misdirect Bennewitz into continuing to believe the messages were actually from the aliens!

William Moore... was a friend and co-worker of Sgt. Doty's in that era. ...Moore admitted [they worked together on Bennewitz] in his famous 'mea culpa' lecture at a MUFON convention in Las Vegas, back in 1989. Moore also admitted to other ufological sins, and by doing so he effectively ended his career in ufology.
Eventually Bennewitz spent a short time in a mental hospital...We believe that he is retired, and his son now runs the family business." 

Moore responded to Moseley's article, but first let's look at a few key quotes from his MUFON lecture on two topics, disinformation, then about Paul Bennewitz's alleged means of communicating with aliens.

Moore: 1988 in UFO Cover-Up? Live and 1989 at the MUFON Symposium 

Moore spent a lot of time defending himself, essentially saying the end justifies the means. "I would play the disinformation game, get my hands dirty just often enough [while trying] to learn as much as possible about who was directing it and why." And Moore insisted that there were other ufologists engaged in the same game, spreading bogus concepts that came to be tenets of ufology.

 On the coded alien messages Bennewitz said he was receiving:

"...Paul was intercepting some kind of low frequency electromagnetic emission or signal... convinced that he was receiving alien radio transmissions, and had even gone so far as to develop a home computer program capable of translating them into English. The problem, as I saw it, was that his program... could just as easily have been adapted to assign similar 'alien' translations to the various energy pulses found in ordinary Morse code!"
Later Moore stated: 
"I examined the computer program Paul was using to 'decode' the alleged alien radio transmissions and communications, and I had a lengthy discussion about this matter with the late Dr. Allen Hynek who had also independently examined Paul's program..." 

Accusing Dr. Hynek 

When Bill Moore wrote to comment on Moseley's Bennewitz article, he shifted some of the responsibility in the deception on to other ufologists. From Saucer Smear, Aug. 10, 2000, the relevant portions: 
"Regarding the Bennewitz Affair in general - two things which have never come to light and which might prove most interesting to ufoology are the roles played by doctors J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee... I personally know that Hynek was still under contract as a USAF consultant at the time, and Vallee had very close ties with the CIA and others (although what his obligations to them may have been, I do not know). For those still hoping to uncover some hidden treasure in this whole mess, here is a good place to begin... Hynek's hitherto unknown forte had to do with providing Bennewitz a carefully crafted means of 'decoding' the supposed 'alien' transmissions he was intercepting. As for Vallee, numerous clues pertaining to his particular specialty can be gleaned by a careful rereading of his book Messengers of Deception."
(Satiric illustration)

That was the first I'd head of these accusations, but Moore had said something similar six years earlier.  Bill Moore was interviewed on Don Ecker's radio show, UFOs Tonite! on June 11, 1994. At 14:55 into the show, Bill Moore said:

"There were a lot of other ufologists involved with this and I have never discussed this before… One of those others was J. Allen Hynek, who did covert work, who knew what he was doing. And he was very much involved in one phase of the disinformation operation that was used in Bennewitz affair… Hynek was part of this operation. He was under contract to the Air Force and I have a copy of that contract in case anybody wants to contest this."

A general discussion of the Bennewitz story followed. After a commercial break, Ecker asked him about alluding to other prominent ufologists involved in disinformation in Moore’s 1989 MUFON speech. At 35:00 into the recording Moore said: 

"Yes, there were others, and one of them I just named off-mike and that will come up in Focus. And I'm sure that's going to be very controversial, because that individual has written a number of books. … it's about time some of these other people had to answer for some of the things they were doing."

Seventeen years later, Don Ecker rebroadcast the show. Discussing what Moore told him on and off-mike, Don Ecker wrote in the Paracast forum in 2011:

"I had [Bill Moore] on my radio show... he claimed that J. A. Hynek and Jacques Vallee were government assets. (Much like he said he was.) When I challenged Moore on that he stated on the record that he could bring me proof to another show and I could verify it on the air... I agreed and invited him back... I never had another contact again with Moore." 

Printing the Legend

Bill Moore withdrew from ufology, and had virtually vanished except for his occasional letters published in Saucer Smear. But there was one notable exception, and it involved his accusation about Hynek. In Greg Bishop's 2005 book about the Paul Bennewitz story, Project Beta, Bishop said this about Moore in the acknowledgments: 
"[I] thank him for his support, assistance, and longtime friendship. This book would have been impossible without his generous cooperation and incredible patience..."
Hynek is introduced into the Bennewitz with this allegation:
"After the close of Project Bluebook  in 1969, [J. Allen Hynek] had reportedly continued to receive about $5000 a year... one of thousands of academics the government keeps on the payroll in case they might be needed—sort of like egghead sleeper agents."
Then came the story of Hynek delivering the alien message decoder:
"The sole source for the following information is Bill Moore... Moore claims that he met with Hynek at the 1982 Mutual UFO Network convention. [They took a break at a bar down the street.] As they sat down, Moore brought up the subject of Bennewitz. They had a couple of beers... then Hynek dropped the bomb: Sometime in the midsummer of 1981, he had delivered the computer program (and apparently a whole new computer) to Bennewitz at the request of the Air Force, but did not tell Bennewitz this when he delivered the setup."
Moore also told Bishop about Jacques Vallee being involved (possibly designing the alien decoder computer program). However, out of his veneration of Vallee, Bishop chose to not to publish that accusation. The book contained no mention of Vallee, except for citing Messengers of Deception in the bibliography.

Bill Moore claimed in his 1994 interview with Don Ecker that his infamous MUFON speech was intended to lay the foundation for a greater disclosures and documentation. They never came. A decade later, Moore was a prime opportunity to present his evidence with Project Beta, but we got more talk.

Since then, Bill Moore's unproven claim about Hynek has been repeated and cited in UFO articles and books, including Mirage Men by Mark Pilkington in 2010, and once again by Greg Bishop in the 2016 essay anthology, It Defies Language!

Jacques Vallee cited the Hynek anecdote from Project Beta in footnote in Forbidden Science 4: The Spring Hill Chronicles, but did he not mention anything about Moore's accusations about his own supposed involvement in  Bennewitz-era disinformation.

Forbidden Science 4: The Spring Hill Chronicles, 2019, page 52. 

Moore's accusation about Jacques Vallee never caught hold, but as of this writing, the rumor about Hynek as a disinformation delivery boy still continues to circulate in print. The "evidence" for both is insubstantial  stories from Bill Moore. A quote from Moore's infamous lecture seems an appropriate commentary on the situation:
"One of the problems the UFOlogy movement has with its image is that there is a significant number of people involved with it who support this sort of half-assed journalism."

. . . 

Bill Moore's 1989 MUFON Symposium Lecture

Bill Moore's lecture sounded much like sermon. He played the crowd by lauding the goals of ufology and cursed the devil debunker Phil Klass. Where Moore lost support was when he told the Bennewitz story and said that many of their cherished beliefs are government-crafted falsehoods.
Moore's speech seems to have been itself disinformation, falsehoods with a dash of the truth to help sell the story. As his own career and credibility as a ufologist was tanking, Moore's ploy seems to have been to either rehabilitate his status, or to take down the whole field with him. The lecture promised that  more revelations would follow, but instead Moore left ufology and the show went on without him

The full text of Moore's MUFON Symposium speech was published in the Nov. and Dec. MUFON Journal. On Twitter, bwp shared the link to a PDF that includes text, Moore's epilogue. 
 UFOs and the U.S. Government

The Lecture on Video

There is a rare (but unfortunately low-quality reproduction) video of Bill Moore's infamous speech, recently shared on YouTube by Matthew Riot. It begins at 53 minutes into this rare video, after the segment by Bill English. It runs about 2 hours long from (53:27 to 2:48).

Myths Die Hard

As an epilogue of sorts, in 2007, news surfaced about MJ-12 and how it came to be. MJ-12 was said to be a U.S. government cabal to control the UFO situation. At the MUFON 2007 Symposium, Brad Sparks presented a paper that he co-authored with Barry Greenwood. The researchers provided an interesting look into how Bill Moore and Rick Doty operated, and showed how the two had recruited ufologist Bob Pratt to help disseminate their ideas. 
All the characters and concepts about UFOs and the MJ-12 group were already in play and they planned to use them in a novel. After that plan failed, Moore's partner Jaime Shandera received something in his mailbox too good to be true. It was a roll of the film showing documents confirming UFO crashes and naming the members of MJ-12.  

Jim Moseley said (in our March 27, 2012, phone conversation) that while he considered Bill Moore a friend, he had come to regard Moore as a negative influence on ufology. Jim said Moore had "invented" the Roswell story as we know it, and spread nonsense such as the Philadelphia Experiment and the MJ-12 documents and lore. Instead of genuine UFO issues, Moore caused people to focus on manufactured mysteries.
. . .

For Further Reading

Bill Moore's 1989 speech came in large part by him being cornered by the charges made from serious ufologists. See this article from March 1, 1989, by Robert Hastings for context. 

The Roswell Files site has some good resources on the MJ-12 saga, and I recommend this page on Bill Moore and his partner's involvement.

Don Schmitt, has himself contributed a lot of imaginative contributions to ufology, yet he casts stones at Moore in this July 23, 2014, article.
"UFOs and the U.S. Government" from the 1989 MUFON Symposium in the original MUFON UFO Journal issues, which also carried some editorial discussion of the controversy.
MUFON Journal November, 1989
MUFON Journal December, 1989

1 comment:

  1. For the record we have Ron Regehr who (at great expense) videotaped the MUFON mea culpa conference that featured Moore’s presentation. As a result of a screw up w/ the conference center, Ron was forced to sync the S-VHS tape’s video w/ a pirated audio recording of the conference, he had to design a variable speed cassette playback devise to hand sync the audio to his master tapes. This took hundreds of hours! THANKS Ron!