By James CarrionIn the UFO field where wild claims abound and the subject matter is “spooky” and challenges reality as we know it, evidentiary standards are paramount. Not only are we dealing with everyday people claiming to have extraordinary experiences but we comingle with UFO researchers, benefactors, insiders, whistle blowers, etc., all who are motivated in their own way to involve themselves in this surreal field. Their motivation can range from outright bewilderment to scientific curiosity to selfless altruism. Bewilderment and curiosity I understand. Altruism is a little trickier to establish.
Follow The Magic Thread
Follow The Magic Thread
While writing summaries of my investigation into the Michael Nelson Portage County UFO claims, I came across an email message where Nelson outlined his motive for reviving the 1966 case as “clearing these guys reputations (the original Portage detectives involved in the case) before they die”. How sweet. What a nice guy. It is so American and Apple pie I can’t help but feel patriotic. If it had any basis in fact that is. I could write a dissertation on Nelson who went to great lengths to weave his web of deception and which only came unraveled after I spent hundreds of hours investigating and documenting his half-truths, forgery and bold face lies.
Stan Romanek is also one of these nice guys, claiming that he is just coming forward because it is the right thing to do. “For Humanity”, I can hear him and his cult groupies chanting around him. I would be up there chanting also if any of his so called “scientific evidence” was actually released for public testing to more than just his managed circle of friends. Wanna bet this blog triggers more “friends of Romanek” staunchly supporting him while spewing righteous and indignant venom in my direction? How dare I question his claims? How can any self proclaimed truth seeker not question his claims?
And then there’s Robert Bigelow, benefactor of the paranormal, champion of space science and extraterrestrial science. What a swell guy funneling dollars into UFO research. Of course it is easy to take the altruistic philanthropist pedestal when not disclosing the true source of those dollars, giving out government security clearances to prominent UFO researchers and then hiding behind signed non-disclosure agreements. Visions of Howard Hughes begin to swim around in my mind.
But altruism so abounds in this field, I can’t forget this guy – Joseph Capp of UFO Media Matters – self proclaimed champion and advocate of the UFO witness. You see, Joe is so incredibly worried about the fragile mental state of UFO witnesses; he doesn’t care what end of the witness spectrum they are from – innocent bystander or outright charlatan. Joe's reasoning: if the witness makes a claim, we must believe them, and solid investigation must take a back seat to handling their fragile mental state. Maybe Joe should volunteer his counseling skills at the local NYPD precinct and see how welcome his soft skills would be on the police beat where everyone is innocent until proven guilty or at least caught in the act. “Sir, I am worried about your fragile mental state, now please put down the gun and give the clerk his money back and we’ll attend to your needs.” Sure for every charlatan there are many more bonafide UFO witnesses, but if you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff because you don’t have the cojones to question witness motives through solid investigation, then you are but a pawn in the charlatan’s game.
I have already written in my other blog articles why altruism doesn’t wash for me as a proper motive for UFO whistle blowers and alleged insiders, making them come up stinking instead of smelling like roses.
It is ironic that Ufology that so desperately would like to join the halls of academic “ologies” refuses to first establish what its own standards of evidence are for the subject matter it is studying. To illustrate this, here’s a link to a summary paper written by Robert Powell, MUFON Director of Research that begins with “some of the best physical evidence of a UFO landing has been uncovered in the 1966 Portage Ohio UFO Chase”. On the surface it all sounds very scientific, but when you take the time to chip away at Nelson’s claims by doing an adequate background investigation, a different much more mundane story emerges – a story based on pure and simple human deception.