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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Am I A Skeptic? Am I A Debunker? What DO I BELIEVE? This could be a long post

I've had to address this before but people keep asking how I can impartially look at cases? I must be either Pros or Contras  something like UFOs, Sasquatch or other phenomena?

Let's explain what walking the pather of "Counter actuality" involves.

Put it this way: I have seen 'UFOs' at very close quarters and on one occasion I was even asking myself "Where are the (RAF) interceptors -this is over a city!" No panic.  No running away. Where I could I tried to get closer and if I could not then I just observed and took notes.

After a major UFO flap of 1977-1978 I went on holiday to Germany. Away from all the hassle of following up reports and even, on two occasions, being in a speeding car chasing a UFO -on the final occasion I (and the driver) almost met our ends!  So there I was on a lovely Summer's evening in Germany and I sat back and took a deep breath and glanced out of the window. About a kilometre away, over forestry, a 1st magnitude, star-like object rose in three very clear and distinct arched 'steps' -not a star or planet rising.  Not a flare (Dalborn is situated near a garrison town).  I watched and made notes in the back of the leaflet that came with my new telescope.  I then uttered some rude words -it was forgotten.  Well, next day I did walk the area in question. Sucker.

Were these 'UFOs' extra-terrestrial space craft? No. By the time I had completed the AOP Bureau's Project Grey Book Report in 1981 I had gone over each sighting and the circumstances and conditions -everything I had observed.

I have interviewed people who have seen low flying, seemingly constructed objects. Some I thought -knew- were very likely misidentifying something else.  But what of the others? It was never a case of sit down, take out questionnaire, fill in questionnaire and that was it.  In fact, maybe the first 30 minutes involved no reference to what was reported. Investigation techniques must involve being able to be able to fairly judge whether you are dealing with someone genuine or a hoaxer or someone liable to misinterpret what they see.

So did that prove these were extra-terrestrial craft? No. I believe that those observers saw something that they could not identify and after almost 40 years no such flying vehicle developed by nations on Earth has ever been revealed.

We -or a few of us- were not surprised when the USAF B2 Stealth bomber and F-117 Stealth fighter were revealed because a lot of 'UFO' reports were obviously of such man-made craft.  We have a good idea what the next generations will look like because of, again, 'UFO' reports (with the AOP Bureau we discreetly 'lost' those reports) .  We can even "guestimate" what the new Russian fighters and bombers will look like -RQ-180 for example.

Above a video looking at 'secret' USAF stealth craft and below something on the Russian developments.

No saucer-shaped craft with large fact some of the best detailed UFO reports do not involve descriptions of even experimental craft that were tried out.

You then get to abductions by aliens -"Greys" who apparently have been here for many generations but until the 1980s and the popularity created by abduction researchers books, TVs, movies and more, were not reported before. In fact, you have to ask, based on the "100% accurate" drawings just how many Greys there are.

I have dealt with abductions at length in these posts:

In fact, the clues as to what may be behind this whole phenomena (and I'm not talking about the hysteria that created much of this) are there in the reports detailed by the abduction researchers, though I tend to hate using the term "researchers" and, as anyone will known, I corresponded with, supported and even defended the work of Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs. Read the books of 'abductee' Dr Karla Turner and you will read all you need to know and the books should feature in a Psychology 101 somewhere.

I have had long term contact with 'abductees', both women, both very sincere and at a 1970s UFO conference in Trowbridge, Wiltshire (apart from being asked a string of questions privately by a Russian in a chauffeur driven car with Corps diplomatique number plates) I was able to examine one side of one of these ladies as overnight her entire left side had become reddened as though she had sunbathed just on that side facing the sun.  There was an explanation as I saw a much worse example a few years later that did not involve an abductee.

So I out-rightly dismiss all so called cases of "alien abduction"?  No. "What?? Are you kidding me? You just wrote--!"  Evidence.  You see, even my observations are not evidence just observations and I can't prove I saw what I saw.

I go by evidence or gather material that looks "substantial" and base further work on that. At my age I can no longer afford to think 40 years down the line!  But, ignoring the Jacques Vallee principle of "I never check anything myself but its a fact", I look more closely at past cases.

More on The Vallee Principle here:

Above: Franklyn A. Davin-Wilson

My late colleague, Franklyn A. Davin-Wilson told me how to investigate a report:

                       "Check the source given.  Then check the source that the 
                       source gives. If it all tallies and you have spoken 
                       to the original source or seen it -then use it"

As is seen in my books, in some cases it took 25-40+ years to get to the bottom of a report and the truth rather than repeating false information as some very well known Ufologists have done for decades.  And even the "world renowned" Flying Saucer Review has proven guilty of continuing to promote cases when they were fully aware that those cases were proven hoaxes or the result of psychological illness.

Ufologists do not like me saying this. It means I am a "debunker" -and to them that means someone who is out to lie or cover up the truth.  They need to consult a dictionary (no "Grey" pictures in it but lots of words):

 "debunker is a person who attempts to expose or discredit claims believed to be false, exaggerated, or pretentious. ... According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to "debunk" is defined as: "to expose the sham or falseness of."

You can only get to the truth by investigating and carrying out research.  If "A" is a case that is known to be a fake yet authors and Ufologists continue to promote it then you have to expose it to be such.  If you jumble up reports of seemingly constructed non-earthly craft (UFOBs) with light phenomena, ball lightning, meteorite sightings, mythology, known psychological cases, hoaxes and more then you do not have 'a phenomenon' that indicates extra-terrestrial visitation being covered up by world governments. You have a mess. The Vallee Principle in effect.

From 1973 onward I looked for alleged landings of "flying saucers" involving what were non-humanoid entities.  Why? Because good old Science dictated that were extra-terrestrials to visit Earth then they would not be humanoid.

This old post, currently being up-dated, looks at what I came up with:

The thinking, now, is that aliens might very well look human!

There are cases that I was asked to look for "holes" in.  One, the 1977 Lee Parrish abduction I failed to find any in. It was an encounter and then...nothing.  No claims to newspapers or anything you would expect from a hoax and the investigators who interviewed him straight after were stumped: Parrish seemed genuine.  But I did not investigate that one by talking to the percipient (where ever he may be now).

The "Flatwoods" case.  Ivan T. Sanderson was one of the first investigators there and he was stumped but believed what was reported. In the decades since every time someone "exposes" the case you find that the exposé  is a failure -it only succeeds with people who are closed minded and want (for their own reasons) that exposé to be the final answer. Good Christian family -no death bed hoax confessions or any straying from the facts given at the time and it seems that those involved would have been happier had they never reported the event.

The "Kelly-Hopkinsville" case. Investigated by very competent people who could find no fraud involved. Time and again since the 1950s there has been one exposé after another. All they achieved was to make the case even more solid.

I must hate those who do these exposés?  No.  You see, if these are honest people then they will focus on the weak points in a case.  If they come up with "Ten years before as a teen, 'Elmer' was arrested for being drunk which casts great doubt on his later story" then they are embarrassing themselves. What of the other seven people 'Elmer' was with when they had the encounter? 

"LaSarza was suffering from a mental breakdown/was a hoaxer/was a drunk" Why? "Because he dun seen one a them there flying saucers and little green men!"  But no little green men were involved. Oh, 'local authorities' said so because these things "don't exist" US service personnel cooperating with Canadian forces roped off a road and were digging around the alleged landing area because that's what always happens when a nut/drunk/hoaxer saw he/she saw aliens?  Fair enough.

The point is that you have people who are skeptics and who do not care about facts. If out of some 100 facts they can find 1 that is even the remotest suspect for whatever reason then that case is a hoax. Case 'proven'.  For these people I have no time as they claim to adhere to "scientific principles" but "scientific principles" they can bend and twist to their own ends -this is provable to happen on both sides which is why there is so much nonsense going on. 

Now, someone who asks "Is this true?!" and decides to look into the case -those are the best as they have no agenda other than to work things out for themselves and, sometimes, communicate what they find.  A flaw in the story? Something that seemed odd which makes you question the report? If we hear about these we may be able to answer the points satisfactorily because the lengthy npublic report was cut down for brevity.  Or we could go back and look at those aspects.  They may prove a hoax or whatever -good. Now we can close the case and move on. But the answers might make the case stronger.

1973, Pascagoula, Mississippi abduction  -drawing of one of the alleged entities above- I have read one exposé after another over 43 years (43 years!!) and none have achieved their aims.  Now I have to admit that I still search periodically to see if anyone has exposed the case as a fraud. Accusations and twisting facts or even not including facts is neither the "scientific way" nor very rewarding. The case remains as solid as it did in 1973 and I find that, at times, disturbing.

Below a documentary on the Pascagoula case.

I stand between Skeptics and Believers and hear and read all they have to say on cases. Then I weigh up the circumstantial evidence and decide whether the case deserves to be left open and further investigated or closed so I can move on to the next. Despite Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker and their accounts still standing up to scrutiny and even if they sound totally believable, it is still classed as circumstantial evidence because they experienced the event -I -"we"- did not.

What gives them a higher rating than most other alleged cases?  Firstly, the rarity of a description. Why do these people not report "typical" alien types from better publicized accounts?  This is why my files are always "active" -just in case a similar case pops up.  We might well expect genuine visitors from space to be rare rather than "common as pimples" and abducting millions of people for more than a century (which is, in fact by definition, Open and Hostile Contact).

There is a very little known case from the 1970s that I investigated and the entity reported (in fact two entities) were unlike any in my bulky files.  No UFO was reported but the case still got a file entry. 

Then, reading a new book (at the time) that was just translated into English and that the witness had never heard of, I came across a case "similar" enough to note.  

Looking through old journals last year (2016) for something unconnected I came across two very old cases that preceded the 1970s one with striking similarities!  

In a conversation with someone else I was told of another similar case, same decade, reported to a noted British UFO investigator -the case was not even investigated because (he says) it involved teens...yet good enough to refer to elsewhere but with no real detail of any kind. Ufology at its best.

And, no I am not publicizing it here.

In essence: I could produce book after book citing non-investigated cases or cases in which the details are incorrect.  Who would know?  I'd make my money.  But in this case I could just watch TV sci fi and accept that as reality.  I am looking for evidence of real events and that makes me "the enemy" to Ufology.
Above: Charles Hoy Fort ponders his "Super checkers" board

Don't even get me started on "Forteans" -there was a very good reason why Charles Fort did not want a society or movement named after him. Known and worked with a lot of them. Some 99% are not free-thinkers or searching for truth but rather self publicity seeking frauds and worse.  "Evidence that no longer exists" I have found (it's all in my books).  Evidence to disprove a case -ignored "it's debunking!" sigh  Middle class, pseudo intellectuals.
Above Bernard Heuvelmans cited as "the Father of Cryptozoology"

Cryptozoologists. At least there were some of credibility.  People who did do research, who investigated and presented facts for and against.  Most modern "cryptozoologists" fall into the same category as Forteans and will skip and jump from one subject to another for money making and TV fees and "celebrity".  It is not without reason that the term "Cryptozoologist" has been altered by some to "Craptozoologist".

Ivan T. Sanderson looked at various phenomena including UFOs, "Fortean", natural history, cryptozoology and more.   Investigator/researcher and author as well as TV presenter. He was one of the first to investigate the Flatwoods case and to look at and write the classic definitive guide to mystery hominids Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life
The founders of hominoid research in Russia are (left to right): Boris Porshnev, Alexander Mashkovtsev, Pyotr Molin, Dmitri Bayanov, and Marie-Jeanne Koffmann. Photograph is from January 1968.

Dmitri Bayanov and his colleagues who, during the old Soviet era and today, look at reports of wildmen in Russia and have written groundbreaking books looking at the evidence and historical records -two I reviewed:

You read and you learn.  Now, since there are no Sasquatch-like creatures nor wild men in the UK I have to judge by what I read and see. There are enough books with technical details to turn me from a Sasquatch/Almas skeptic into someone who believes there certainly are unidentified large hominids out there.  

Books on the subject that I'd recommend are (obviously Sanderson): 

Dr. Jeff Meldrum: Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science (Forge, 2007)
Dr Grover Krantz: Bigfoot: Sasquatch Evidence (Hancock House, 1999)
                             Big Foot Prints a Scientific Inquiry (Johnson 1992)
John Green:         Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (Hancock House, 2006)

There are, of course, a large number of books on the possible "Sea serpents" or as I prefer to call them unidentified sea creatures -and I've written about them including in posts here. The evidence for all these 'strange' subjects is strong and until you have looked at all the facts and case reports you should not say "Yay" or "Nay".

I have witnessed mild poltergeist activity.  I have seen "odd figures" -I have spoken to others who have.  Are they spirits of the dead? I doubt it. I, again, dealt with poltergeist and ghosts in Some Things Strange And Sinister.  I have seen no evidence of "life after death" visitations and, yes, I have a huge collection of journals and books. Both my grandparents said that after they died -if they could- they would visit me.  My mother and father said the same.  Nothing

My late colleague Franklyn stated the same and he was a huge believer in life after death -in his case I stated that I would sit for 30 minutes before and after the exact time he died on the date he died.  I did so for over 35 years. Nothing. And you have to admit that is a long term experiment!

So what are we dealing with?  I have a theory and that I will, eventually, publish.

Hated by Ufologists, cryptozoologists, Forteans, "paranormalists"(!) and hated by skeptics -I really do not care.  

I prefer to be impartial and assess the evidence or facts -that is "the scientific way" 

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