Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Review: Bad UFOs by Robert Sheaffer

Bad UFOs: Critical Thinking About UFO Claims by Robert Sheaffer


Robert Sheaffer has been covering the UFO beat a long time, reading the literature, attending conferences, corresponding, debating with the players, and has become a part of its history. In the book,"Bad UFOs: Critical Thinking About UFO Claims," Sheaffer covers a range of UFO cases, topics and personalties from the dawn of the era, up to recent events. Frankly, some of which read like a hall of shame,  and it could have been titled, UFOlogy’s Greatest Misses.” I can picture some scoundrels in UFOtown tearing through the pages, praying that their products and names aren’t in it. Sheaffer does mention a few good eggs along the way, “UFO realists,” but as the title suggests, he’s focused on the bad ones. 


Robert Sheaffer, meanie. That’s what some UFO buffs have heard, and skeptics and debunkers are supposed to be attacking the very existence of UFOs, close-minded to the point of denying the truth, and rumor has it that some of them are even discrediting witnesses and evidence. Trace those tales to the source, and you’ll see they originated with phonies who didn’t want their carnival act exposed, people like Silas Newton, George Adamski and Jaime Maussan. The truth is more complicated, but then, that’s why so few people bother with it. 


What many UFO/ET proponents fail to appreciate about skeptics and debunkers is that the devils are observing the same kind of claims about extraordinary things on a range of other topics, not just UFOs. There’s more in common with UFOs, Ghost, Bigfoot and Nessie than the ET camp would like to admit, and it lies in the seeker. It’s about the quest for something extraordinary, with belief driving the investigation. The big problem there is that they regularly accept insubstantial evidence if it bolsters their beliefs. Witness testimony is subject to great problems ranging from accuracy to authenticity, and the record of photo and physical evidence shows an alarmingly high tolerance for counterfeits. Sheaffer sees the absurdity and humor in the UFO circus, something the field seems incapable of seeing about itself. Worse, they seem incapable of dealing with frauds, and policing themselves. Like disgraced televangelists, if they have an apology or excuse, proven UFO scoundrels are welcomed back into the fold.

Table of contents from Bad UFOs


One recurring theme in Sheaffer’s book is that a UFO claim surfaces, gets  embraced by the ET camp, and then is fiercely defended against not only challenges to its authenticity, but even logical questions about it. They get sour when it falls flat, but they are willfully ignoring their own statistics. According to MUFON, 80 to 90% of UFO reports crumble after being investigated, the remnant serving to keep hope alive, designated as “unknowns.”  By cherishing UFO stories before all the facts are in, frequent disappointments are assured.


Sheaffer holds up a mirror to the UFO circus, and many in it won’t like the picture.  Where I disagree with Sheaffer is over the conclusion that the study of UFOs is futile. My personal opinion is that it ufology should work towards co-operating with existing astronomical and meteorological projects, instead of trying to re-invent or duplicate them.  Sheaffer convincingly makes the case that the current value or purpose of UFO study is only self-perpetuation, promoting UFO beliefs: that there’s a mystery and behind it is ET visitation.


The book discusses several key cases, some in detail, others in passing, including famous sightings from Kenneth Arnold to Kenju Terauchi’s report of a giant spaceship to recent cases. In these, he points out the recurring problems with the evidence or the interpretation of it. So often, it comes down to stories, and looking at the alien abduction accounts from Betty and Barney Hill to Emma Woods, these incredible tales emerged through hypnosis. In other stories, like those of Roswell alien bodies and the conflicting claims at Rendlesham Forest, Sheaffer shows that many of the heavily-promoted UFO tales have plot holes, big black plot holes, big enough to swallow planet Nibru. 


Chances are, if you are seeing this, you’ll read a UFO book or two this year, and “Bad UFOs” should be one of them. If you are used to taking UFO stories on faith alone, you may want to throw it across the room a few times. Instead, take one of the cases discussed and look up the documentation for it, and to see for yourself if the facts back up the legends you’ve been told about it. The cases that hold up to the challenges of skeptics are the one really worth pursuing.


About the UFOs being spacecraft, Sheaffer also reintroduces some hard scientific facts that many ET proponents don’t know, or choose to ignore about the overwhelming physical impracticality of interstellar space travel. Even folding or warping space seems out of the realm of possibility, and to make it work, something like magic must be needed. Just how are the visitors getting here? Perhaps believing is the key to seeing. Dr. Steven Greer can lead you through meditation to summon and communicate with ETI spacecraft. Sometimes, you won’t see them at first, but with patience, Greer can teach you how- for a price. 



Sheaffer thinks that behind all the UFO stories, there’s nothing but cases of mistaken identity, wishful thinking and fraud. I hope he’s wrong, and that there is a rare, genuine phenomenon, whatever it is. I do agree, however, that the problems he discusses are severe and until UFOtown polices itself, it’ll remain a ghetto- or a ghost town.



Robert Sheaffer
Bad UFOs: Critical Thinking About UFO Claims
Trade papeback
292 pages $18.95

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Val Johnson 1979: Prelude to Cash-Landrum?


Val Johnson in a reenactment for That's Incredible!
The Cash-Landrum story is a perplexing case, and a lot of attention is given to Betty Cash's skin problems, which have been mythologized as radiation burns from the UFO. As dramatic as it is, it’s by no means the first instance of UFO “sunburn.” Claims of burns from UFO encounters go way back; some notable early examples are the Sonny Desvergers “Scoutmaster”story, Palm Beach, Florida, 1952, Levelland, Texas, 1957Loch Raven Dam, Maryland, 1958, and Stefan Michalak, Falcon Lake, 1967. 

It didn’t end there, and reports and rumors of UFO burns became a staple in UFO literature. In 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind introduced the concept to millions, and was highlighted in the scene where Roy Neary shows his wife his burns from a UFO, and insists that it is not a "moonburn."



Val Johnson


There were other cases shortly before the Cash-Landrum event with UFO burns, some that received nationwide news coverage. The Jerry McAlister UFO sighting on September 11, 1980 has previously been posted here.  His case featured a huge, brilliant UFO that allegedly left the witnesses suffering eye damage and radiation burns.

Before that, a much more famous case featured some details that would be found again in the Cash-Landrum case. On Aug. 27, 1979, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson was driving  along a lonely road at night, when he saw a blindingly brilliant UFO above the road ahead. Unlike the C-L case, he didn’t stop, and his vehicle collided with the UFO. The car was damaged, and he suffered injuries including “welder’s burns” to his eyes. When help arrived, Johnson was taken to the hospital for an examination and to treat his injuries.  Unlike the C-L case, there was extensive visible damage to his car, and it was preserved as evidence and carefully examined.

That’s Incredible!

There’s another possible connection to the Cash-Landrum case. The popular television show, “That’s Incredible!” debuted in March of 1980 and ran until 1984. It often featured UFO cases, and in its first season they aired a segment on the Val Johnson story. It featured a reenactment of the event, and an appearance by investigator Alan Hendry of the Center for UFO Studies. Johnson was presented as a credible witness, and it showed that his doctor, employer and family stood behind him. 


What was strange, though, was that at the end of the segment, host John Davidson asked Johnson a question out of left field.
“Was it a religious experience for you? 
Many times these events are a religious experience.”
A strange and seemingly scripted question, perhaps to allow Johnson the opportunity to unburden on the topic. The effect was to suggest that UFO sighings are expected to have a religious element.

Vickie Landrum in particular put emphasis on how she initially took the UFO to be the Second Coming. She said, "The Bible says the sky will split and in a rain of fire, Jesus will come." Could the Cash-Landrum witnesses have been influenced by this program, perhaps in how they reported their story? In 1981, they appeared on “That’s Incredible!” themselves.

The rare segment with Val Johnson on “That’s Incredible!” recently surfaced on YouTube. It’s certainly interesting in and of itself, for the insight into his case it provides, and as a bit of UFO history.





For the full story of the Val Johnson case, see this article by Chris Rutkowski:
 The Val Johnson CE2 case of 1979 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cash-Landrum キャッシュ・ランドラム Japanese UFO Documentary





The search for original documents on the Cash-Landrum case continues, and that extends to early media coverage of the events. The story received international attention and was covered at least twice by Japanese Television.

Below is a segment posted on YouTube on the case from a Japanese television show featuring witnesses Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and investigator John Schuessler. It’s particularly notable for Betty and Vickie participating in a reenactment of the UFO encounter instead of the being portrayed by actors. Colby did not participate and is shown only in a school photograph.


I’ve been unable to locate details on this program, but reportedly, there was a documentary featuring the case filmed in May of 1989, and aired in August in Japan.
"890518 - People from Nippon Television Network of Japan complete Cash Landrum film, interview John Lear... in Houston, Texas.
890923 - Cash-Landrum documentary shown in Japan."

Nippon Television producer Jun'ichi Yaoi was very active in the 80s and 90s and filmed many UFO documentaries shown on NTV, and it is very likely this would have been one of his projects. However, it’s also possible this was an unknown US program dubbed for use in a Japanese broadcast.  I don’t think this clip is from this 1989 show, though. After comparing it against Betty's appearance in the 1988 show below, I feel strongly it must be from something earlier, maybe 1983. While the show mentions Area 51, which surfaced late 80s, but that could be material edited in years later.

Betty Cash from the Japanese clip, and at right from 1988 in UFO Cover-Up Live
Unfortunately, a translation of the program is not available, since the real value in programs like this comes from the opportunity to hear directly from the witnesses themselves. So often direct testimony is not available and we only hear the UFO cases summarized and reinterpreted by others. 


UFO科学大学院の公開講座(F)をUFO科学大学院(USS)から紹介します



If anyone has information on this program or other non-USA shows featuring the Cash-Landrum case, please share the details by contacting Blue Blurry Lines.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Roswell Slides Return: a Book and a Conference

Jaime Maussan was an honored guest at the annual MUFON Symposium. There was considerable controversy about his inclusion, and in June he was invited on their KGRA program with Erica Lukes to deflect some of the criticism and to defend BeWitness and the Roswell Slides.




MUFON Executive director,  Jan Harzan on how and why Maussan was welcome:
Another long time UFO Speaker and Journalist is Jaime Maussan fresh from the “Roswell Slide” controversy. Several people have asked me why he is speaking at the MUFON Symposium and my answer is pretty simple. I invited him at the beginning of 2015, well before the slide discussion, and my reason for doing so is because he has some of the best UFO video footage I have ever seen. Being involved in UFOs over the past 40 years, and owning his own television station and TV show in Mexico, Jaime has tens of thousands of people from all over the world sending him their UFO videos. He has narrowed these down to the 100 best videos you will ever see in this field.  I have had the good fortune to see his presentation twice in the past year, and I can tell you it is quite impressive. So much so that I am looking forward to seeing it a third time! I might also add that right after Jaime speaks on Sunday... we hold a Panel on “Making Ufology Respectable” with the idea being that if there was ever an event or breakthrough in Ufology how would or should we as Ufologists go about announcing it to the world. He proposed using the “Roswell Slide” experience as an example to learn from. 
Harzan and Maussan at the 2015 MUFON Symposium

Leading up to the Symposium, Maussan had been silent for months on the Slides, but during his presentation of UFO video clips a segment was devoted to the Roswell Slides. He claims that the body in the Slides is not the body pictured and described in the National Park Service documents, or the placard identifying it.

Here's video of the presentation, but sadly, the audio is lost less than half way in.
http://www.streaminglatam.com/vod/index.php/video/3699/conferencia-maussan-mufon/

Update: Video now posted on the MUFON YouTube channel:



Making Ufology Respectable

Afterwards, there was the panel, “Making Ufology Respectable." From the advertisement:

With Stanton Friedman, Robert Wood, Jaime Maussan, Marc d'Antonio, and Cheryl Jones. This panel asks the question what IF the UFO community were presented with the smoking gun evidence that would end the debate on UFOs permanently. How should we go about substantiating that evidence and presenting it to the scientific community and general public in a credible way that ends the debate on UFOs permanently? Is this even possible? Would anyone listen? The "Roswell Slide" announcement will be used as one example and lessons learned discussed about what went right and what went wrong, and how can we do even better next time.
“Making Ufology Respectable"

Lee Spiegel joined the panel, and provided the only criticism of the Slides fiasco. He said that he avoided the story, and that if you are trying to present a smoking gun, don't hype it before you have finished your investigation. 
MC John Greenewald seemed to give him a pass, saying that Maussan had brought a lot of attention to ufology, and that he shouldn't be blamed for trying.

Most of the other discussion was hypothetical, panelists saying what kind of evidence they would try to present as proof or how they'd do it. Maussan 
asserted that he had done tried to do everything right, but it was rejected by critics and disbelieved since it happened in Mexico instead of the USA. He said the case is not closed and that experts in Mexico are still studying the evidence. Maussan left he panel early, and no solid conclusion was reached on how to make 
Ufology respectable.



Maussan heavily advertises his participation in the MUFON Symposium, using it to enhance his status. He offers a replay of it to his paid subscribers at Tercer Milenio

It's not over yet

Maussan Productions has a new book out, available through iTunes for $19.99.
It's listed as BeWitness, detrás del caso Roswell by Tomas J. Carey, Donald R. Schmitt & Jaime Maussan. The ad and excerpt don't mention the Slides, it just alludes to "new evidence." At present, the book is only available in Spanish.



There's also a show...

Maussan had promised a scientific examination of the evidence, but that was postponed from June due to the release of the National Park Service documents conclusively identifying the body. Now, he's announced this for Oct. 26 at 12 PM, "ANALISIS DE UN CUERPO NO HUMANO":



Dr. Miguel Angel and Maussan
There's a video on YouTube...

beWITNESS, El Análisis y Debate / 
BeWITNESS the Analysis and debate






It's part of a series of videos at Tercer Milenio
Se Pospone el Debate beWITNESS, Recompensa beWITNESS, 
Dos posibles Seres No Humanos, Comparación Forense del Cuerpo de beWITNESS and Comparación del Ser de beWITNESS.



The presentation is listed as an analysis and debate, but only Dr. Miguel Angel and his INACIFO associates are mentioned. The participation of the Tom Carey, Don Schmitt, Adam Dew and other financial parters is unknown. This event is free to attend, although there is no mention of the free streaming of this event as previously advertised.

There's been no mention of the event outside of Tercer Milenio, nothing on their Twitter or Facebook accounts or the personal ones for Jaime Maussan. It's almost as if they are avoiding international exposure for this. To the jaded eye, it would appear that Maussan is staging this event in an attempt to salvage a wedge of doubt that the Slides show an unusual body.

Maussan has been through this kind of thing before. He has a long history of holding on to and promoting discredited UFO and alien stories.

The Metepec Creature: author confess hoax


The BeWitness fiasco stink seems to have landed on Carey and Schmitt. For Maussan, business goes on as usual.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Questions on the Cash-Landrum UFO Investigation


I recently was invited to appear on an episode of the Paracast, “a special shop talk/listener roundtable episode...” Somehow, much of the discussion centered on the cover-up of alien bases on the dark side of the Moon, so I didn’t have much to add to the conversation. However, there were some listener’s questions that were very good, but there wasn’t time to present them all. A few very good ones came from “cosmonaut,” who'd asked about the Cash Landrum UFO case.

If it was a human military experiment why test the craft in a public area? How do you explain that?

Airport Ramada Inn, Indianapolis, Indiana
http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/RamadaInn_A-7D_1987.htm

The idea that a secret or experimental craft would be tested over a populated area seems incredible, as in the ridiculously implausible sense of the word. The article “Cracks in the Black Dike” by Jim Cunningham is an excellent examination of the attempt and failure to maintain secrecy about the F-117A stealth plane. In it, he mentions two crashes from the program that were near populated areas, the July 1986 crash of a training flight near Bakersfield, California, and also an A-7D Corsair (a daytime stand-in for used to keep F-117A pilots sharp) crashed into a hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana, killing 10 people.

Also, there have been a number of accidents in populated areas involving classified transportation of nuclear materials or weapons, as you'll see in this article on U.S. Nuclear AccidentsThere must be many more projects that we’ll never know about, and it’s only because these incidents were disastrous and unsuccessful that become public knowledge. These examples can’t prove anything about the UFO in the Cash-Landrum story, but they show that the potentially dangerous military operations have often been conducted close to populated areas.

One further comment on the UFO as a secret military project. I think it is unlikely. These projects are built to solve a particular problem or serve a pressing need. US spy planes are a perfect example of that, and provide a good case to study in the developmental process. What we usually see is a five to ten year developmental period involving dozens or hundreds of people. Typically, secrecy of the project or its concept is not tightly maintained, about all that can be concealed is its purpose or function and some of the technical and operational details.  For example, the CIA’s U-2 spy plane was claimed to be a NASA project collecting weather data at high altitude. 

NASA's experimental weather plane, so the cover story said.
Eventually, most of these secret programs are eventually exposed during their operation and eventually publicly disclosed. But, if the Cash-Landrum UFO was a secret military project, it may have been scrapped and literally buried. That's just the fate of some other experimental aircraft, see Top Secret Tombs: The Classified Stealth Aircraft Burial Grounds of Area 51

What attempts have been made to get FOIA documents and the results?


The best Freedom of Information Act results on the case resulted from an inquiry from Fred Whiting of FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research) into the DAIG investigation, U.S. Army Inspector General's Office, Washington, D.C., which resulted in the release of the report by Lt. Col. George C. Sarran

Another FOIA request produced some interesting trivia, an attempt to learn more about the C-L case via a remote viewing session. I’d say they failed, but if you are interested, see:

As far as I know, these are the only materials produced and have been released to multiple individuals over the years. so far, I’ve only attempted two FOIA requests, one directed at getting the records from Bergstrom AFB, and another directed at the DAIG. both were unsuccessful.

There must be other material, but locating it and getting it released may be difficult. There should be documents from the Air Force from Captain Virginia (Ginny) Lampley’s brief investigation, from the defense prepared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Conforti in the legal case, and from the various branches of the military and NASA when they prepared statements indicating that they neither owned or operated any device resembling the UFO. In addition to that, there may be court documents from the Southern District Federal Court in Houston. Probably no smoking guns in there, but material I’d like to obtain and have persevered for the study of the case. These are the known knowns and known unknowns, but there may be unknown unknowns as well.



Can you elaborate on the idea that the UFO was launched from an aircraft carrier? What is the source and evidence for that?

USS New Orleans
The aircraft carrier theory was proposed by John Schuessler, but as a source for the helicopters, not the UFO. He suggested it could have been the USS New Orleans.

Tim Printy looked into these claims, and found it unlikely, with the New Orleans in particular being ruled out. 
“There is no evidence a carrier was out on operations over the holiday period. Like the rest of the military, unless they are deployed, most ships are in a stand down period over the holidays. Sailors spend a lot of time away from home (I have personal experience with this) and to deploy at this time of the year would have caused quite an uproar with the families. I think Schuessler had proposed the theory that the USS New Orleans was in the area. I recall looking into this and the New Orleans was on the west coast getting ready for an overhaul. It also had completed a westpac/operations in the Indian Ocean in November 1980. It seems highly unlikely that they would leave their home port in California shortly after returning from a long cruise overseas (this act would alone would cause a riot among the navy wives) to go to the east coast, conduct this secret exercise, and then return to the west coast in time to go to Puget Sound.” http://badufos.blogspot.com/2013/11/between-beer-joint-and-some-kind-of.html

Additionally, such a carrier would provide only about half the number of helicopters described in the case, and we’d still have to find a source for the others. Schuessler has done just the type of thing that skeptics get hammered for, manufacturing a real-world solution that fits the story, but for which there is no evidence.


What is your plan to further investigate this spectacular case?


Three key areas:
1) Seek out unreleased civilian documents on the case. There seem to be some in the files of both MUFON and FUFOR. The key item here is the original report made by Project VISIT led by John F. Schuessler. Copies of this report were circulated to the prominent UFO organizations at the time, but for whatever reason are not available.
2) Launch targeted FOIA requests for the material described above.
3) There are surviving participants in the case, reporters, investigators, medical and perhaps military personnel. Some of these have not spoken publicly in the case since after the story initially broke. I’ve located some of these individuals and would like to travel to Texas to personally interview them.

There are some other items, probably held by the family of the witnesses. For example, Betty Cash had a big file of clippings correspondence and documents, and Vickie Landrum maintained a log of her and Colby’s health and experience after the event. These personal records are a sensitive issue, so that will depend on the cooperation of the families.


Cosmonaut, thank you for asking some very good questions about the case. The C-L story is fascinating and holds a unique place in UFO history. The response and interaction by the US government alone sets it apart from other cases and makes it worthy of study. While the case has become a legend,  underneath the layers of myth, there seems to some genuine event at the core. I also hope that by continuing to discuss the case that perhaps someone with information about it will be prompted to come forward to share it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Cash-Landrum UFO Mystery on the Air


In the last few weeks, I was invited to talk on two different programs about the Cash-Landrum case.

Micah Hanks' The Gralien Report Podcast




TGR 07.13.15. The Cash Landrum Incident: New Details? 

Within days of the Rendlesham incident, halfway across the world a similar UFO observation would occur near Dayton, Texas, which forever changed the lives of two women, Betty Cash and Vicky Landrum, along with Vicky’s grandson Colby. The story, known today as the Cash Landrum incident, is well remembered in UFO literature, but is there reason to question certain aspects of the long maintained story, and can any new information be determined by a careful examination of early witness descriptions? Finally, we look at theories about the case espoused by members of the skeptical community, and ask whether aspects of these investigations haven’t offered equal amounts of conjecture, comparable to that of UFO advocates, albeit from an ‘opposing’ viewpoint.
http://www.gralienreport.com/podcasts/tgr-07-13-15-the-cash-landrum-incident-new-details/


and more recently...



Alejandro Rojas on Open Minds UFO Radio



Curt Collins – Amazing Texas UFO Encounter – July 20, 2015
Curt Collins is a UFO researcher and founder of the website BlueBlurryLines.com where he posts his work. Among other cases, Curt has taken a particular interest in the Cash-Landrum Texas UFO Encounter. The Cash-Landrum incident took place in 1980. Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Vickie’s seven-year-old grandson, Colby Landrum, claimed to have encountered a UFO on the road near Dayton, Texas. It made the vehicle very hot and the group apparently suffered from physical effects due to the encounter.
In this interview we talk to Curt about how he got involved with UFO research, his findings regarding the Cash-Landrum incident, his work with the Roswell Slides Research Group, and much more.


Both Micah and Alejandro did a great job asking questions about the  Cash-Landrum case, and I was able to focus on some different aspects of the story for each show. As usual, I left lots of things out, and mangled a few details, but I enjoyed talking about the case and appreciate the opportunity to get the word out about it. If you've got any questions about things described on the programs, or just want to discuss the case, please post a comment.

Also, if you are visiting this page for the first time, welcome aboard, and please check out the case files on the Cash-Landrum case found at  Resources: Articles and Documents.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Review: David Clarke’s How UFOs Conquered the World


David Clarke’s How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth


David Clarke has a PhD in Folklore. His use of the word “myth” in the the subtitle may scare away some readers, but consider,
"To qualify as myth a story does not need to be true or false, but it must express a conviction held tenaciously by its adherents." 
Tenaciously held? Yes, definitely.

Clarke’s approach is a departure from most UFO books. He’s done a neat trick of arranging the material in such a way that a reader new to the topic can absorb the essential history of UFOs during the course of the narrative. He covers UFO lore in an organic way, introducing it in conversation with non-sequential chunks of it, as it relates to his analysis, personal experience, or the topic at hand. 

Like many UFO buffs, Clarke was indoctrinated into the topic via pop culture entertainment, and developed a lifelong fascination. As an adult, Clarke worked to get the Ministry of Defence to release UFO documents, and once that began, he joined them in the role of external consultant to facilitate the disclosure. His unique relationship to the MOD’s documents are just part of it, though. Just as valuable are his interviews and personal relationships with significant UFO witnesses and researchers, something which allowed him to obtain first-hand testimony.

The book explores the spectrum of UFO philosophies, and the chapter “Angels or Demons?” provides one of the most memorable quotes, one from Father Paul Inglesby: “I once had a huge collection of UFO literature, but I burnt the lot. I decided the whole subject was polluted by evil. You should do the same.” 
Later in the same chapter, Clarke talks about meeting one of his big influences, author John Keel, who revealed that his groundbreaking concepts on the secrets of UFOs were a “literary device.”

Extraterrestrial proponents frequently say that if skeptics would just open their eyes to examine the evidence that they’d come to accept the reality of alien visitation. Clarke has done all that and more, but the ETers are not going to be entirely happy with  his conclusions. However, his examination provides something of interest whether you are skeptical about alien visitation by UFOs or a complete believer. The book will likely challenge your beliefs and understanding at some point. Even if he's wrong about whether ETs are here, his discussion of our ideas about them is valid.



Clarke's book is an interesting examination of the way we use UFOs as a mirror of sorts, on which we project our own beliefs and expectations about the universe around us. By reading it,  the reader will be challenged, and you’ll be introduced to some new ideas, and chances are you'll come away able to put aside some old notions and be encouraged to investigate new possibilities.


How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth is hardcover, 320 pages from Aurum Press. It contains a glossary, notes and references, bibliography, an index and a color photo section. Ask for it in your local bookstore.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dr. Richard O’Connor on Putting Away the Roswell Slides


Dr. Richard O’Connor was a guest on an episode of The MUFON UFO Radio show on KGRA 
guest-hosted by Erica Lukes. The topic was the controversy over the Roswell Slides. 

KGRA's MUFON show, courtesy of Race Hobbs. Click to listen.


Dr. Richard O’Connor had written a letter to Linda Moulton Howe shortly after the placard was read, where he said although he had personally confirmed the deblurring of the Slides placard, he felt it did not accurately describe the body in the pictures. He went on to describe features that looked unusual.
On May 24, Jaime Maussan interviewed Dr. O’Connor by Skype where he discussed his views on the body in the Slides. The full interview was posted on YouTubeWhitley Strieber’s Unknown Country used the video as part of this article, “Doctors Agree: Roswell Slides Show a Nonhuman Body

Although Dr. O’Connor did not participate in the BeWitness event, but he became associated with it after the fact. This was in large part due to him being one of the few people discussing the case that was knowledgeable in medicine and spoke English.  

Getting back to the KGRA show, Dr.  O’Connor was the first guest. He recapped his analysis, but stressed that it was made from (what amounts to) a single picture, a blurry image shot through glass, taken at an angle to the body.

The interviewer mentioned the consequences of the  NPS material released due to the FOIA request by Shepherd Johnson, to which Dr. O’Connor replied, 
“Yeah, I’ve just, over the past 48 hours more or less, been looking at that, and it seems to me like it's drawing us toward the conclusion that in fact is this photograph probably does represent a native American child. There were some, a couple of photographs in the last pages of that set of documents, one of them in particular on page 176, and in my opinion it really does show a different photograph of what is very likely the same child.”


Tom Carey on life after the Slides


Maussan interviewing Carey prior to BeWitness 

Tom Carey had been on another KGRA show June 2 with Don Schmitt, and at that time he was challenging the reading of the placard, and all that it meant. On this show, Tom Carey appeared to have absorbed and accepted, or is in the process of accepting the facts. He was not asked about whether he’s changed his mind on the Slides, but in the discussion it sounds like he's come to the realization that the Slides are not "what we believed we had..." He talks about things in the past tense. 

In talking about the material gathered for the BeWitness presentation, “that was our conclusion... what we knew up to that point..” Of the placard being read he says, “a day or two later, this bombshell hits about it being a mummified two-year-old boy. Well, talk about a right cross, or a left hook. He also seems to feel betrayed by two of the people who he’d asked to help with the placard have since “joined our critics.” Of the critics, he said he’d have worked with them, “had they been civil. In the opening, he mentioned having plenty to keep him busy, a new book coming out with Don Schmitt, and another one planned beyond that, but first up is their appearance at the annual Roswell Festival. Perhaps he’s putting the Slides behind him, returning to fundamental Roswell research.


Jaime Maussan from BeWitness

To finish discussing the show, I should mention that Jamie Maussan was the featured guest, and the last hour was devoted solely to him. He maintains that the Slides are genuine and the other photos do not seem to match it, and even if they do, the body is abnormal, possibly the that of an alien being, one of the “Sky People” of native American legend. He rejects the new evidence, and continues to defend the Slides.

Call with Dr. Richard O'Connor, Wednesday, June 17 

After the show, I was interested in finding more about about Dr. O’Connor’s change of position on the topic. I found his information at the Jesse A. Marcel Library and sent him a note, and to my surprise he invited me to call him instead. I found Dr. O’Connor to friendly, knowledgable, and  was impressed with his candor and swift willingness to revise his conclusions in the face of more information and evidence.

Dr. Richard O’Connor

He told me that looking at a photograph is fraught with pitfalls, and mentioned the fact that the quality of the Slides photograph was not very good, the details were not clear due to the blurry photograph, which was taken at an angle from the body (and possibly distorted by the glass in the case). 

There were some characteristics that he still didn't quite understand, like the condition of the chest cavity, but it occurred to him that the terraced cliffs of Montezuma Castle must have caused the deaths of a number of children from falling off the ledges. He wondered if that could have accounted for the injuries to the child's body, particularly the damage to the head and the fractured femur. I pointed out the the shallow grave may have accounted for some of this, particularly the loss of the lower leg. (I thought later that the excavation by amateur archeologists could also be a factor.) 


The cliff dwellings of Montezuma Castle


He stated that after he looked photo in the National Park Service FOIA documents, that the  “there’s no way that’s not the same being,” and that the body in the Slides was a Native American child,  the “only conclusion.” He thinks that this absolutely proves that the Slides had nothing to do with Roswell and that that the matter is closed. 

“there’s no way that’s not the same being”

He thinks the lesson is to be learned from this, that if you have some extraordinary evidence, that putting it out for an open-source examination was the way to get results In this instance, it didn't take long for many people working together to determine the truth, and that by sharing information it's a more efficient means of reaching the truth.

As for the Slides and the BeWitness show, he personally does not feel it was a scam, and that the people involved were sincerely acting on the information they had available to them at the time.  We discussed how the limitations imposed by the Slidebox Media non-disclosure agreement had prevented the sharing of the information. He said by holding back the information, it hindered the discovery of the truth.

He went on to say that the Maussan had made a good presentation in other respects than the Slides, and felt there was value to the discussion of the historical Roswell case and presentation of witness statements.  About the Roswell Slides, he also said the evidence shows it was an archaeological finding. Unless there’s a body can be examined, the case is completed. Otherwise, it is just speculation from a photograph alone. He won't say a negative word against Maussan or anyone involved, but can't figure why Jaime is hanging on in the face of overwhelming evidence.


Facing the Future

Dr. O’Connor thinks this is finished, but that he’s still optimistic about the study of UFOs and the Roswell case. O’Connor worked alongside Jesse Marcel Junior for a great number of years and was convinced by the experiences that he shared, as well as the testimony of other witnesses. He’s sure of the reality of the Roswell event  and that UFOs are visitors from outside our planet, and that they are worthy of study.


He’d like the reputation of the UFO topic to improve so that more scientists would be attracted and become involved. He also thinks that the average person is unaware of the genuine nature of things, and that with better education on the topic, support could be given to properly fund the scientific investigation of UFOs. He’s convinced that would to some conclusions and developments to help answer the questions and provide some understanding.