Saturday, July 20, 2013

Roswell UFO Festival 2013 | A REVIEW

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Roswell UFO Festival 2013

By Kevin Randle
A Different Perspective

      The 2013 Roswell Festival celebrating the 66th anniversary of the UFO crash has come and gone (and I will note here that to appease the skeptics, I probably should have said alleged UFO crash). Held, as normal over the Fourth of July Weekend and sponsored by the International UFO Museum and Research Center, there was a full slate of speakers and presentations that covered the whole gamut of UFOs including a slight foray into science fiction.

On the science fiction side there was Tom Kirkbride, who is becoming a regular feature at the Festival. He is the author of the Gamadin books that he says evolved from a love of science fiction and his desire to write a “character” driven adventure for young adults. It is a series for boys that will appeal to girls, at least according to the promotional displays around Kirkbride.

Sharon King also writes science fiction for a younger crowd. Her latest book is Oops was Bullied? This is the story of a tiny alien named Oops and the Earth girl who befriends her. King said that her ideas were inspired by an earlier visit to the Roswell area.

Travis Walton at Roswell UFO Festival 2011
At the other end of the spectrum, there were those who are big with the UFO crowd and who have made the rounds at various UFO functions. Most popular of those who are involved with alien abduction was Travis Walton. I was told that his books are difficult to keep stocked in the Museum’s bookstore because of his popularity. Walton’s tale of being hit by a beam of light from an alien craft and his captivity for five days seems to resonate with the crowd. In the times I’ve met him, he has always seemed to be somewhat understated, meaning I guess, a little reserved or quiet but adamant about what he had seen and what he had experienced.

The interesting thing here is that those who were with him that night have remained steadfast in their support of their story and their observations which certainly suggest Walton had undergone a truly strange experience. After so many years, had this been a hoax, you would have expected some cracks in the story. The best that can be said is that Steve Pierce told Philip Klass it was a hoax, but that whole episode was covered last year in my interview with Pierce.

Kathleen Marden, Betty Hill’s niece, was there as well. She seems to take a more scientific approach to alien abduction than most, searching for ways to verify the experiences of those others and to build a file of corroborative evidence. She attempts to look at some of what I think of as the “hidden facts” about abduction such as the blood types of those who have been abducted. If there is an anomaly, meaning for example, that a certain group of people with these hidden attributes are abducted more frequently than those who are not, this information might tell us something about alien abduction. These could be things such as blood type or those who are left-handed, as just two examples.

Derrel Sims at Roswell UFO Festival 2011
Derrel Sims, who has billed himself as the “Alien Hunter,” after missing last year was back this year. He hosted a number of workshops that dealt with alien abduction and his views on the subject.

One of the things covered this year was the Citizen Hearing in Washington, D.C. Both Stan Friedman and Don Schmitt, who were in Washington for that Hearing, discussed what had gone on there, the format used, and the outcome of that event. As I have mentioned here a number of times, I thought the event was well done, seemed to gain some support from those who usually mock anything UFO related (meaning, for example, that the New York Times report on the Hearing was favorable rather than slanted against it simply because it dealt with alien visitation).

Quite naturally, there were panels on the Roswell UFO crash that included Schmitt and Friedman, but also Frank Kimbler and this year Jesse Marcel, Jr. Of all those on the panel, Jesse was the only one to have lived the event and held some of the actual debris.

Kimbler enjoyed a little fame in the last year when his discoveries out on the Brazel ranch site were featured on the National Geographic channel’s Chasing UFOs. Kimbler had talked of finding some buttons in the field that were of military origin. The Chasing UFOs crowd found a button as well, but it was from a Class A uniform, and not military fatigues as the buttons found by Kimbler were. That the fatigue buttons were metallic suggested they were old enough to have been dropped by soldiers cleaning the field in 1947… the button found by the Chasing UFOs crew was simply not old enough to have been dropped in 1947. History got in the way to prove that the Chasing UFOs button was not old enough.

Crowds this year seemed to be larger than those in the past and it might be there has been a lot of UFO coverage lately or it might simply have been the way the Fourth of July holiday worked out. Many took the Friday after the Fourth off which gave them an extra travel day… and some, it seems, took most of that week off to stretch their vacation days. Whatever the reason, more people were there this year than last (when the holiday didn’t really help.)

Whatever the reason for the increase in attendance that increase will surely result in a festival next year. Anything that alerts the public to the events in New Mexico in 1947 can’t be a bad thing, and the diversity of the programs and the presenters certainly represent a wide range of views.

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