Friday, February 25, 2005

A First Reaction From Outside Ufology

By Loren Coleman

I'm not a Ufologist, per se, but merely a Fortean researcher and writer. So I watched _the_ program, anyway, out of curiosity and to see how ABC News dealt with this subject. My first reactions: Very well-done. High production values, not sensationalized, and quite intelligent.

Peter Jennings' UFO special created a decent overview of the ufological phenomena, I thought, for the general public. First a few quick grabber moments with recent cases of triangles over Phoenix and southern Illinois, with Coast to Coast AM's Art Bell
(but why no credit to George Noory?). Then some good historical material, with great down-to-earth commentary by Jerome Clark and others. Pilots' sightings, J. Allen Hynek, and more pro-UFO material filled the first hour.

When hour two opened, I thought the good cop-bad cop split was going to occur. And indeed, for a time, it was nothing but skepticism, from SETI people and astronomers. Then the "myth" of Roswell was retold, with lots of funny viuals and a bit of media bias in the voice-overs. Stan Friedman and Karl Pflock were given good moments to detail their thoughts. This was followed by a segment delivered, with a careful introduction from Jenning, on abductees and Bud Hopkins, who was portrayed as the "first one out of the gate" on this subject. Unmentioned, let's hope Betty and Barney Hill and John Fuller, please, are resting in peace. Whitley Strieber's book cover was shown as one of those tomes coming after Hopkins. I'm outside the feuds of the field, but I could feel the sparks flying already. And then the whole thing ended with some thoughtful insights on space travel from physicist Michio Kaku.

All in all, an excellent addition to the documentary attempts to address the question of UFOs.

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