Monday, May 13, 2013

That "Citizens Hearing" on UFO Disclosure Got the Respect it Deserved - (Very Little)

Recently I wrote about the forthcoming "Citizens Hearing on UFO Disclosure" arranged by the Paradigm Research Group, headed up by Steven Bassett.

Parapolitical's image of Sen. Gravel

In past exercises in UFO "disclosures," the major media were surprisingly passive and uncritical, taking the "revelations" at face value. And some were still credulous this time and could see nothing amiss about these wild claims, for example the New York Times.

But not all of the media were quite so uncritical this time - some reporters actually did their jobs. Some noted the fees being paid to the ex-Congressmen, and the absence of any skeptical witnesses. A full week before the "hearings" began, on April 21, the website Parapolitical had a long and quite cheeky review of the forthcoming proceedings titled "UFO Carnival Returns to National Press Club ."   Among its observations were:
What is more significant than the topic of the event, however, is the fact that it marks a first-ever convening of the, hands-down, nuttiest U.S. congressmen who ever lived....Historic Meeting of Lunatics - The hearing panel will be headlined by former congressman Merrill Cook (R – Utah) who was once banned from his own party’s offices after a profanity-laced tirade and was famously plagued during his few years in Congress by reports of erratic behavior leveled by his own staff. “Merrill has taken up permanent residence in whacko land,” Cook’s chief of staff Janet Jenson wrote in an intra-office e-mail in 2000. ”If he asks you to fax his underwear to the speaker’s office, please just do it.”
 Joining Cook will be former congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R – Maryland). The 86 year-old raised eyebrows in 2004 when he attended a Unification Church event to receive the “Ambassador of Peace medal” from cult leader Sun Myung Moon who, afterwards, declared himself the Messiah and his wife the Assistant Messiah as Bartlett watched in delight...The crazy train doesn’t stop there. Also appearing is former congresswoman Cheeks Kilpatrick (D- Michigan) who embarrassingly failed to receive her own party’s re-nomination in 2010 owing, in part, to her connections with  her son, the disgraced former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (who is facing up to 30 years in prison after being convicted of 24 federal crimes involving stripper parties at the mayoral mansion, funneling city funds to his wife, tax evasion, mail fraud, assaulting police officers, and more).
Rounding out this happy band of lunatics is former senator Mike Gravel (D- Alaska). Since his most recent bankruptcy, Gravel has pathetically taken to making public appearances for anyone who will buy him lunch – his previous engagements have included a conference sponsored by the holocaust denial website Barnes Review. (UFO conspiracies aren’t Gravel’s only angle. He’s also been working the 9/11 Truth circuit and several truther websites have accused him of absconding with donor funds.)
Not surprisingly, perhaps, these probably cash-strapped has-beens are each getting $20,000 to perform at  the Paradigm Research “Citizen Hearing.” 
In fact, the cost of the entire circus has been pegged at $600,000. Who is paying for all this? There was a lot of uninformed speculation on the internet, but it looks like Parapolitical has nailed it down:
Following much speculation, Steve Bassett – the ringmaster of next week’s UFO carnival  – has identified his financial backer for the event as a man named “Tom Clearwater” who lives in Canada. Who is Tom Clearwater? A Twitter account belonging to a “Thomas Clearwater” of Vancouver is filled with tweets containing links to websites that claim a U.S. government laser beam destroyed the World Trade Center. So, yeah … maybe that guy.
The New York Daily News pulled no punches, and showed the "hearings" for what they really were: SPACE CADETS HIT D.C.: UFO buffs beam up to well-paid ex-pols. "Six former members of Congress, who were paid $20,000 each, heard testimony on the U.S. government trying to cover up contact made with extraterrestrial life."
Daily News photo: "Ret. USAF Col. Billie F. Woodard shows off his shirt and Lemurian Crystal headband during the hearing."
Lee Speigel, Weird News reporter for the Huffington Post, sat there at the National Press Club all week long to listen to this thing. He provided live updates during the week. He listened to all this so we don't have to! (Don't feel too sorry for him. He's a reporter, he got paid to do this.). If you want to read his full coverage, his five articles are here:
1. Citizen Hearing On Disclosure: UFO Believers To Testify At Congressional-Style Hearings
 2. Citizen Hearing On Disclosure Day 2: England Has Close Encounter, UFOs Tamper With Nuclear Sites
3. Citizen Hearing On Disclosure Day 3: Panel Takes On Animal Mutilations And Roswell Crash
4. Citizen Hearing On Disclosure Day 4: Global UFO Encounters Take The Stage 
5. Citizen Hearing On Disclosure: Pilots Testify To UFO Encounters
Lee Speigel (right) with Yours Truly at the 2011 MUFON Symposium
 Here are some highlights from Speigel's Live Updates:
"Linda Moulton Howe on reported UFO abductions and the possible manipulation of the human mind. She tells a story about a military person who told her he was on a team that, in 1978, was assigned to investigate a town that was allegedly flooded by extraterrestrials."

"Kilpatrick introduces Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. “I am honored today to take on this assignment, and to have one of the leaders here on this topic. I’m honored to introduce Minister Louis Farrakhan.” To which, stood up to mild applause. " [Farrakhan claims to be a UFO Contactee. She also introduced Dick Gregory.]

 "Sgt. James Penniston claims a Close Encounter With A UFO Taking Off" (Rendlesham Forest, U.K, 1980). Apparently nobody asked him about that 'binary message' that he supposedly received "telepathically" from the UFO, and wrote down - thirty years afterward.
"Cong. Roscoe Bartlett gets a little testy about the press coverage so far about this week's Citizen Hearing On Disclosure: "I've been looking at some of the press clippings from yesterday's session and the government has been quite successful in relegating this issue to the lunatic fringe." [Does this former Congressman think that the government controls stories in the press?] "I'm going to comment on only one article. [Not specified, but from the Atlantic Wire.] It says 'The mock Congress hearing on aliens is heavy on real-life Mulders and not Scullys.'" [But this is correct: the "hearings" consist entirely of True Believers, and no skeptics.] "The trouble with this week's alien panel (we're an alien panel now) at the National Press Club is that any of the participating members of Congress who might naturally be a Scully have been incentived to suspend their disbelief. Because the Citizen Hearing foundation is paying them $20,000 plus expenses to listen to the testimony.'" "That's just insulting, that we can be bought for $20,000." [What is the going price these days for a has-been former Congressman? Perhaps he feels insulted because he was bought too cheaply?]
Dr. Robert Wood, the principal promoter of recent MJ-12 documents (supposedly revealing a secret government UFO coverup group), said ""The identification of one aspect of a questioned document as being anomalous often results in a skeptic accepting none of the rest of the document, even though it might be filled with accurate information. It seems to be accepted in the intelligence community that faked documents usually -- if not often -- contain much valid information to help get it accepted as genuine throughout." [ In other words, the MJ-12 documents are Fake, but Accurate.]

Lt. Col Richard French (Ret) told the committee about an incident he witnessed in the late 1960s in Alamogordo, N.M.: "While there, I learned of an accident a few miles away in the direction of White Sands [missile range]. A short time later, I witnessed the takeoff of a prototype fighter aircraft that I neither recognized or knew what it was. The aircraft took off at a very high rate of speed and fired a rocket, five inches in diameter and about six feet long... Afterward [I was told] there was an unknown number of humanoids, either killed or injured. The parts of the casualties were taken to base operations at Holloman Air Force Base [in New Mexico]. The only parts of the craft that I was allowed to see had markings that appeared to be Arabic or some language I didn't understand."
 Speigel has a follow-up interview with French in which French describes seeing underwater UFOs while standing  with a crowd of people on a wharf in St. John's, Newfoundland, where Blue Book sent him. Two glowing underwater UFOs were apparently being repaired by two swimming ETs. (My understanding is that Project Blue Book did not send investigators to foreign countries to investigate UFOs reported there. )

French claims to have been an investigator and paid "debunker" for the U.S. Air Force's Project Blue Book. However, John Keel has this to say about French in The Mothman Prophecies:

“Did you ever hear of anyone—especially an air force officer—trying to drink Jell-O?” Mrs. Ralph Butler of Owatonna, Minnesota, asked. “Well, that’s what he did. He acted like he had never seen any before. He picked up the bowl and tried to drink it. I had to show him how to eat it with a spoon.“
Mrs. Butler was describing the man who had visited her in May 1967, following a flurry of UFO sightings in Owatonna. He said he was Major Richard French of the U.S. Air Force although he was dressed in civilian clothes and was driving a white Mustang. His neat gray suit and everything else he was wearing appeared to be brand-new.

Even the soles of his shoes were unscuffed, unwalked upon. He was about five feet nine inches tall, with an olive complexion and a pointed face. His hair was dark and very long—too long for an air force officer, Mrs. Butler thought. Unlike Jack Brown, Major French was a fluent conversationalist and seemed perfectly normal until he complained about his stomach bothering him. When Mrs. Butler offered him the Jell-O she suspected for the first time that something was out of kilter.
Richard French was an imposter. One of the many wandering around the United States in 1967. For years these characters had caused acute paranoia among the flying saucer enthusiasts, convincing them that the air force was investigating them, silencing witnesses and indulging in all kinds of unsavory activities—including murder. When I first began collecting such reports I was naturally suspicious of the people making such reports. It all seemed like a massive put-on. But gradually it became apparent that the same minute details were turning up in widely separated cases, and none of these details had been published anywhere ... not even in the little newsletters of the UFO cultists.
There was somebody out there, all right. A few, like Richard French, almost pulled off their capers without drawing attention to themselves. But in nearly every case there was always some small error, some slip of dress or behavior which the witnesses were usually willing to overlook but which stood out like signal flares to me.

They often arrived in old model cars which were as shiny and well kept as brand-new vehicles. Sometimes they slipped up in their dress, wearing clothes that were out of fashion or, even more perturbing, would not come into fashion until years later. Those who posed as military officers obviously had no knowledge of military procedure or basic military jargon. If they had occasion to pull out a wallet or notebook, it would be brand-new ...although most men carry beat-up old wallets and notebooks quickly gain a worn look. Finally, like the fairies of old, they often collected souvenirs from the witnesses ... delightedly walking away with an old magazine, pen, or other small expendable object.
Keel seems to be suggesting that French was an extraterrestrial! Or at least an MIB. While I find both suggestions extremely unlikely, the point being made is that French was an "impostor" and did not represent Project Blue Book, although he may have gone around pretending like he did. Is there any documentation to prove that French actually worked with Project Blue Book? A search for "French" in the Blue Book archive returns nothing except references to the country, or its language. By comparison, a search for "Quintanilla" returns 89 hits.

Continuing with Speigel's updates:

"Possibly the most intriguing testimony offered today so far came from a former 25-year Peruvian air force fighter pilot. Col. Oscar Santa-Maria (pictured below). In 1980, he was ordered to takeoff and shoot down a sphere-shaped UFO that was in restricted airspace near an air base. The encounter lasted more than 20 minutes. "These were 22 minutes where we went up and down, it went around, and it was trying to avoid me while I was pursuing it and I was trying to fire." [A pilot having a 'dogfight' with a supposed UFO has happened before. In 1948, Air National Guard pilot George F. Gorman spent twenty minutes in a "dogfight" with what he described as a "ball of light." The Air Force says he became disoriented while chasing a lighted weather balloon. ]
"Final Day Of Citizen UFO Hearing Takes Off With Pilot Testimony... Cong. Kilpatrick appeared very moved by the testimony of the private, commercial and military pilots as well as previous panel witnesses during the week... "I was convinced before this morning's panel that there probably is something out there, and I'm willing to work the rest of my life to see that, if it is, how we can enhance the universe to see that we all have a better quality of life." "[ Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the late USAF Project Blue Book consultant and perhaps the best-known and most-respected of UFO proponents, came to exactly the opposite conclusion. On page 271 of his 1977 book The Hynek UFO Report, Hynek wrote, "Surprisingly, commercial and military pilots appear to make relatively poor witnesses."]
"a 15-minute video was a 15-minute video was about to be shown of a 77-year-old man man, in very bad health, who wanted to take the opportunity to reveal a story of what happened to him while he worked for the CIA under Pres. Dwight Eisenhower in 1958.shown of a 77-year-old man man, in very bad health, who wanted to take the opportunity to reveal a story of what happened to him while he worked for the CIA under Pres. Dwight Eisenhower in 1958. This gentleman has received numerous threats from his government not to talk... X goes on to talk about how Eisenhower was upset when he learned that there was activity going on at a base in Nevada (that would later be renamed as Area 51) that the government allegedly had no jurisdiction over. Eisenhower sent X and his boss to the base to find out what was going on there.
Photo of "Mr. X" as shown at the "hearings"
X: "There were different garage door openings and inside they had different saucer crafts. The first one was the Roswell craft -- it was kind of crashed up, but apparently every alien had died except for a couple. Later on we viewed the autopsy film and then the colonel said, 'What we've got in here is we're interviewing a grey alien.'"... X and his superior went back to Washington to meet with Eisenhower and Nixon again.
Is this "Mr X" being interviewed at the International UFO Congress, 2013? (photo by author)
"Leir, a podiatrist, described the numerous surgeries he's performed with a medical team in which they removed unusual small objects from people who claimed to have experienced alien abduction.... by use of a radio wave frequency detector, we were able to detect that certain radio frequencies in the FM band, were being emitted from the object.

Former Canada Minister Of National Defense "Paul Hellyer is widely known and credited for his work to unify the Canadian Armed Forces. In 2005, he made headlines by announcing that "UFOs are as real as the airplanes flying overhead." ...Among the things Hellyer says he has learned and believes is a particular document that concluded at least four species had been visiting Earth for thousands of years"
After the UFO carnival had ended, Parapolitical pronounced its post-mortem:
Results Are In – UFO Carnival a Failure. How bad was it? Google Trends actually recorded a decrease in online interest in the term “UFO” during the carnival. To say this week’s UFO carnival – billed as a “mock congressional hearing” – at the National Press Club was a failure would be an understatement... There are roughly 2,200 television stations in the U.S. Three covered the event. Radio coverage was similarly sparse...A search, by parapolitical, of closed captioning records of U.S. television stations found that only four stories had been filed on the UFO circus – half of them by KLAS-TV (Las Vegas). DC’s WTGG-TV gave five minutes to the subject on their morning news. They then did a segment on acrobatic cats...Bassett managed to secure the singularly nuttiest group of former congressmen to have ever walked the planet, a fact lost on no one except, apparently, the UFO believers. He also failed to organize a costume-check at the front door of the hearing (the New York Daily News photographed ufologists wearing tin foil hats). Self-described “investigative reporter” Linda Moulton Howe even wore a costume to “testify” (it appears she was dressed as a Reptilian-Grey hybrid).

Now Paradigm Research wants to take its show to the U.N.:
Citizen Hearing on Disclosure Committee Seeks UN World Conference on Possible Extraterrestrial Presence
Washington, DC – On May 3, 2013 members of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure Committee and Hearing witnesses representing ten UN member nations met at the National Press Club to draft a statement seeking United Nations review of evidence of a possible extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race. 
Presumably they will need a U.N. member nation to sponsor the motion, and the United States shows absolutely no interest in doing so. There was a previous proposal for the U.N. to study UFOs in 1977-78, sponsored by the tiny Carribean nation of Grenada (whose Prime Minister, Sir Eric Gairy, was a UFO buff), and organized by non other than Lee Speigel. As I wrote in my Psychic Vibrations column (in The Skeptical Inquirer) for Spring/Summer, 1978 (page 5 in the paperback book),
This past fall, Gairy braved the hazards of a trip through the Bermuda Triangle to travel to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly, proposing that the UN set up a special agency to study UFO sightings. The New York Times reported that as Gairy spoke to the half-empty assembly hall, “the atmosphere was one of somnolence”; more diplomats appeared to be greeting friends or preparing dispatches than listening with rapt attention as the way was prepared for the great quantum leap in science. To build enthusiasm among the delegates, Gairy invited them to a showing of the much-hyped film, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Eagerly awaiting the all-important vote, the tabloid National Enquirer reported that “initial reaction seemed favorable at UN headquarters.” But when Grenada’s proposed UFO agency came to a vote, out of the other 148 member nations of the UN, only one voted with Grenada - Idi Amin’s Uganda. 

That time, the proposal to set up a U.N. agency to study UFOs at least was able to present the testimony of seemingly-credible persons like Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee, and Gordon Cooper. The U.N. still ignored it. This time, they would hear from the likes of Steven Greer, Linda Moulton Howe, and Richard French. Does anyone think this U.N. proposal has even a snowflake's chance in hell of getting anywhere?


  1. I'm so confused, if you do jello shots, you're an alien?

  2. Roscoe Bartlett is no "lunatic." I've watched him on C-Span numerous times, and he comes across as very intelligent. The rest of the bunch, not so much. I wonder if there have been any Freedom of Information Act requests to the government regarding stealth blimps. Given that we now know there are stealth helicopters, it seems rather obvious there should be stealth blimps.

  3. What makes ret. Col. Woodward and his headband any less credible than ret col french?

  4. Thank you for the overview. I certainly was not going to pay to watch this streaming on youtube. Its important to scrutinize the paid witnesses ... why are they all people of despicable character? Is this a requirement?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. What despicable act is Former Canadian Minister Of National Defense Paul Hellyer guilty of?

  5. I just edited the piece to include Parapolitical's "post-mortem" analysis of the UFO Carnival.

    Also, I've spent some time conferring with some other skeptics about the claims of Richard French, and we all seem to be converging on the conclusion that his supposed work for the Air Force's Project Blue Book is entirely fabricated. Not a single piece of evidence ties French to Blue Book, and much of what he says about it contradicts what we know about it. Even Antonio Huneeus of Open Minds, as well as Col. John Alexander, have previously expressed doubts about French's claimed work for Blue Book: .

  6. @Robert Sheaffer -- Have you considered having a public debate with Steven Bassett? I'm sure a lot of people would be interested in seeing that.

  7. Time for another UFO debate in the UK House of Lords. The last was in January 1979 when our very own Lord Clancarty (of hole at the pole fame) started it. But think of all the myriad of UFO landings, abductions and so on since then. With luck, the HOL might even get another debate before the US Congress does.

  8. Hey, all -

    I'm under the impression that the supposed revelation provided by Dolan and the allegedly well informed spook was first reported by LMH some 15 years ago. If that is correct, it appears the man shared his deathbed confession as early as 1998:

  9. And our next UFO Disclosure speaker is.. Roger Dangerfield..

    I tell ya, I get no respect, God sends me back from the dead and I wind up here!

    Last time I saw so many nuts was at a Planters Peanut factory.

    This meeting is different. Citizens telling lies to politicians.

    I was abducted once, but the aliens rejected me.

    My love life stinks. The last time I had sex was from an alien anal probe.

    I went to see my doctor. I said "Doctor, I have an alien implant that plays FM radio."
    He said, "Great, can you dial it to the ball game?"

    I was a UFO Contactee once. I was told, don't call us, we'll call you.

  10. What's with the extensive quoting of "" like it's some kind of well-established and respected website? It's barely two years old, generates roughly the same amount of traffic as my miniscule blog and none of the article's authors that I could see sign their damn names to their work. Welcome to 21st-century non-journalism.

    1. It looks as if gets less than 2K visitors a day. Probably a lot of those are random Google searches, probably mostly based on their sensationalist conspiracy-oriented headlines. I'd wager they get much repeat traffic. There is most definitely a distinctly hinky whiff to the place. If it's any consolation to Mr. Sheaffer, some underpaid blogger at WaPo took a swipe at the proceedings.

    2. I didn't cite Parapolitical because I think they're the most definitive website around. I cited them because they had information about these ex-Congressmen, that I didn't see anywhere else. And they researched how much news coverage the "Hearings" were getting - very little, it turns out. Was this information available anywhere else?

    3. According to Quantcast, their monthly traffic is 7,785. According to Quantcast, isn't measured.

      Neither fact should hold one over the other, however. Robert makes a salient point, if the information is there - and is verifiable - it's relevant. If the information is there - and comes from a channeling session with a Lemurian warrior-priest from 3000 B.C. - it's irrelevant.

      I'd never heard of the site before, but I just went there and the latest post is 2500 pages of FBI files on Special Agent Ted "UFO" Gunderson that seems to put his credibility in serious doubt (for those who thought he had credibility). If this is correct, and it's the first time these have been seen, I don't care if it has 2 unique visitors per month.

    4. "According to Quantcast, isn't measured."

      And predictably, neither is

    5. Not to burst anyone's sad, lonely, bitter little bubble but I got more than three times as many pages views in the past 30 days despite only publishing four posts two of which were just announcements. That's 53,858 views compared to Parapolitical's 17K.

    6. @Christopher Like flying saucer sightings and high-level discussions with the Lemurian ambassador, I guess this is just one of those things on which we'll have to take your word because it's beyond the ability of science to measure or whatever. ( Data unavailable. This site has relatively low traffic.) No search results to display for ( Alexa Traffic Rank - 1,508,542 N

    7. Uh, no.

    8. A JPG picture of your pageviews from an unknown, unlabeled source that can't be accessed or verified by anyone - while three labeled, accessible sources that can be verified by everyone tell a 180-degree different story.

      Only in the world of UFO enthusiasts ...

    9. Uh, do you know anything about this newfangled computer stuff at all? That jpeg was from the Blogger stat page. Ask Robert to show you his. Or better yet start your own blog and go look for yourself.

      Internet lesson #2- the domain is "". Counter services don't always get full information on individual blogs. Did you happen to notice my blog has more than a thousand followers? Do the math, Chuckles.

    10. I'm sorry you're so terribly upset, though I did chuckle seeing the words "newfangled" and "Blogger" in the same sentence. Usually "Blogger" evokes memories of Pearl Jam, Toy Story and other iconic images of the 90s.

      In any case, (1) Compete and Alexa do, in fact, measure sub-domains, and, (2) if you'd care to post your unique visitors, instead of pageviews, the conversation might be more fruitful and (frankly) terminal.


  11. All that I can say about Robert's post is.....Yikes!

  12. I think proceedings like these are immensely helpful.
    We're conditioned to respect the statements made by authority figures such as Air Force colonels.
    The hearings showed us that people can attain high rankings and still be no more believable than anyone else.
    The picture of Mr. Woodard pretty much negates anything he'd have to say. It may be ad hominem, but the profiles of the witnesses and panel can't be ignored.

  13. In regards to Col Woodard: It seems to me that his mental health may have been in jeopardy for quite some time. This should not negate what possible fine service he performed for his country up until then. This also clearly points out how low some of these money-grubbing leeches will go to take advantage of the misguided and unfortunate. Why wasn't Sylvia Browne on the panel?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This comment that the author deleted (I don't know why) suggested that the claimed military background of Billie F. Woodard be scrutinized, as it sounds highly implausible. I did a little digging, and I must agree that it sounds highly bogus: Area 51, crashed saucers, alien telepathy, etc. See this interview with Woodard:

      Also the website is supposed to contain a lot of information about him, however I am unable to load anything from that site. But thanks to the magic of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, you can read an interview with him here:

      And I must say he strikes me as one of the least credible people in all of UFOlogy, which is saying a lot!

  15. Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that all the witnesses who testified at the hearing were either making up stories or they were delusional. Why do you think it is that so many military and ex-military personnel claim to have seen UFO's and ET's? Those who testified at the hearing were just a small fraction of such personnel out there who are all claiming similar things. Do you think service in the military does something to a person's mind, or attracts fantasy-prone type personalities?

    1. "Why do you think it is that so many military and ex-military personnel claim to have seen UFO's and ET's?"

      There are 23.5 million living active and veteran members of the U.S. military alone. "So many" is a nebulous term so I'll say it means at least 10%. Are you saying 2.4 million have experience with space aliens and flying saucers or a similarly significant number (a couple dozen to a couple thousand in a set of 23.5 million is insignificant and irrelevant)? What's your source?

    2. Jonas said:
      "Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that all the witnesses who testified at the hearing were either making up stories or they were delusional. Why do you think it is that so many military and ex-military personnel claim to have seen UFO's and ET's?"

      There are so many problems with this it's hard to know where to start. Your opening posit does not relate to the question you asked immediately afterwards, nor (as Atticus has been demonstrating) have you even supported the "so many" aspect.

      Since UFO proponents dearly love military witnesses, undoubtedly thinking they lend veracity to their beliefs, then we're very likely to see heavy emphasis from former military people in any selected group of witnesses - this is not a random sampling in any way. So any speculation that this is a representative sample is unwarranted.

      Then, of course, there's the meaningless posit of all witnesses being hoaxers or delusional, which introduces all sorts of assumptions. There's no point in bringing it up, because this does not reflect either skeptics' arguments or the weakness of eyewitness evidence. I won't speculate on what the majority of skeptics will argue, but a significant portion of such arguments revolves around the inability to accurately determine details visually (speed, altitude, size, etc.), the suggestibility of humans overall, and the desire to actually witness something unique, among many other factors. None of this spells hoax or delusion, merely mistaken identification, and there's no reason to believe military personnel are any less prone to this than any other person.

      Now, is there any reason to believe military personnel might suffer from more mental health issues on average than non-military? Yes, decidedly so - Google "PTSD" and "military suicide." These factors contribute, perhaps insignificantly, to a lower confidence level in military accounts, not higher. However, such a modifier really doesn't mean anything. Let's say we could confidently determine that military accounts are 10% more likely to be inaccurate than civilian accounts. Which 10% do you choose?

      Well, if you have any sense, you don't even bother. You simply take all accounts and treat them individually, based on what information they impart and how much they can be corroborated, especially with other evidence. Because the possibility that any personal account is completely fictional also exists, so ruling this option out right from the start would be a good thing, and the only way to start considering that you're collecting real data. When someone fails to account for this possibility (and fallible observations, and suggestion, and a desire for notoriety, and so on,) then it's safe to say they're not interested in performing a real investigation.

    3. @Al Denelsbeck:

      1. How can an anecdotal story even be "real data"?

      2. Have there ever been _any_ accounts for which the "completely fictional" possibility has been ruled out?

    4. mike3:

      1. Anecdotes admittedly fall pretty low on the list, but it's also possible to question any data as "real" - there's always some level of doubt, whether it's voltage error in measuring devices or questioning the veracity/accuracy of a witness. But an eyewitness can be perfectly accurate as well. The problem is in assuming any given level of accuracy (high or low) automatically.

      2. Given the limitations of any kind of evidence, there's no rational way to rule out completely fictional - or the opposite, either. But skipping philosophical absolutes, sure, there can be enough confidence in accounts to put "fictional" down below, say, 5% likelihood; the large number of corroborating witnesses, along with photos and video, of the Phoenix lights keeps them out of the fictional bin. But that doesn't make any particular interpretation stronger by itself. There's a difference between, "I saw lights," and, "I saw alien spacecraft," and the ability to separate observation from interpretation is important, with vastly different levels of confidence between them.

  16. I'm saying a significant number of the so-called witnesses are military or ex-military personnel. The estimate of "at least 10%" of 23.5 billion is still an high number, wouldn't you say?

    1. Yes, I believe he was saying 10% would be an extremely high number and was wondering what your actual figures are and where you got them.

      As far as the rationale for the ones who were at the hearings, don't over-think it.

  17. "I'm saying a significant number of the so-called witnesses are military or ex-military personnel."

    I still don't understand where you're getting this information. I acknowledge that flying saucer enthusiasts have managed to wrangle together a handful - of the 24 million available - of low-to-mid grade military officers and NCOs and pushed them to the front of the pack. I have never read any reputable source that indicates a "significant number" of flying saucer enthusiasts are current/former military, however.

    Whenever I go to the mall there's a noisy group of 14 year-old skateboarders in the food court making a general nuisance of themselves. Despite the attention they always manage to draw to themselves, I'm not under the impression, however, that a "significant number" of mall patrons are 14 year-old skateboarders. I guess some people could form that idea, however.


    2. So if I buy this book of UFO stories, and slog my way through it, somewhere buried in there your statement "a significant number of the so-called witnesses are military or ex-military personnel" will be affirmed?

      Well that's definitely a conversation killer.

    3. The book contains report after report by military personnel from WWII up to the present. You be the judge as to whether that constitutes a "significant number".

    4. First, I hate to tell you this, but, in the western numbering system "report after report" is not a number. "Twelve" is a number. "One thousand seventeen" is a number. "Report after report" is *not* a number. How many reports does it contain? How many total reports are there? We need those two pieces of information to determine if "a significant number of the so-called witnesses are military or ex-military personnel." Otherwise we're in the aforementioned position of noisy 14 year olds outside the Orange Julius in the food court at the Agoura Hills Mall.

      Second, this is probably the first time I've been told I need to purchase a book in order to continue a conversation in the comments section of a blog...

    5. You can have lots of fun with numbers. Over the years the percentage of people claiming to have seen a UFO has hovered fairly consistently at about 7 percent in US polls. That currently represents about 22 million people. By coincidence, and assuming the cited figure is correct, the 23.5 million serving & former US military personnel also represent 7.4 (or so) percent of the population. This makes it possible that only people with direct military experience see UFOs which, were it so, might tell us something about UFOs, perhaps yet more about the military, and add greatly to the gaiety of nations. That correlation don't ackle in the real world, sadly, but we can say that those with military experience form a representative sample of the US population, and you can predict that around 7 percent of them will have seen what was, to them, a UFO in the colloquial sense of the term.

      In other words, the military types wheeled forth by the likes of Greer, Bassett, Hastings & Co (Hon. Tea Lady, L. Keane) are no different from the rest of us and no more or less likely to become a bit doo-lally in retirement. The only real point of interest is that GBH & Co have cherry-picked such people, working on the presumption that they carry more authority and credibility than civilians. We may know, as did Allen Hynek, that that doesn't make them reliable UFO witnesses, but it's still an article of faith among True Believers, and may still have some PR value.

      One of the risks of run by the military is that it attracts stolen-honour merchants. Has anyone checked to discover if Cols Woodward and French have any actual history of service?

      Peter B

    6. Your Grace,

      It has been stated, elsewhere in this blog entry and its comments, that while French's military service is apparently confirmed, his connection to Blue Book and UFOs has not, and frankly looks quite dubious. As for Woodard, his entire claimed military career looks bogus: Area 51, crashed saucers, etc.


    7. Sorry Roberto but I don't see this distinction put clearly anywhere above. But if French was a serving officer trotting about impersonating a MIB and such fun things as that, and apparently got away with it, doesn't that put the likes of Richard Doty somewhat in perspective? Would it be polite to ask how he did get away with it? French meanwhile would appear to belong to that select company of mad ex-colonels such as Bearden, Corso, Stevens, Halt, etc. They should have their own shoulder patch [a fruit loop rampant above a wingnut argent?].

      Dook P

  18. I can empathize with people who find the possibilities of alien spacecraft interesting. I can also empathize with those who desire to entertain the possibilities such craft visit earth. I would be much more empathetic, however, if they would more frequently acknowledge that others are not required to view their ET-opinions and -research as anything more than personal perspectives and attempts to present inferences. Specifically, all the arguing in the world will come back to the fact there is no established proof extraterrestrials are among us.

    The supporters of the ETH have at times been their own worst enemies. As Mr. Sheaffer has pointed out on occasion, CH participant Kean has demonstrated a willingness to court a preconceived conclusion on multiple occasions even after presented evidence to the contrary. Please note the involvement of fellow CH participant Callahan in the first instance, and another circumstance of ignoring obvious evidence in the second:

    Then, of course, we could also consider Greer, Filer, Friedman's refusal to let go of the MJ-12 story, Roswell proponents who either refuse to accept or fail to understand that they are, at best, trying to create implications (not presenting proof) and on and on. And that's just some of the researchers at the mock hearing. Never mind the ones not attending who consistently make outrageously extraordinary _and unsubstantiated_ claims, such as personally knowing ET-human hybrid beings yet apparently too busy to organize what would be the game-changing details:

    Such circumstances cause the more discriminating to question whether such people are dishonest or sincerely that ignorant and incompetent. Either way, their research should be rejected by the rational.

    People can believe anything they want. They are entitled. No one is entitled to demand others agree and share conclusions absent verifiable evidence, however, and all the complaining, arguing and hiring of former members of Congress or anybody else will ever change that from being the case.

    1. Excellent post. I would only add that, if a sighting is real, the simplest hypothesis is that the craft is military, not extraterrestrial. Before even considering the hypothesis that the craft if extraterrestrial, the military explanation should be first disproven.

  19. Peace be unto all 22 nations of humanity. The friends greet you. Greet the friends every one of them in 2013. For all who wants to know the truth about the creations of all things great and small you and i your brother Yohannan, Yahya, John, have revealed the truth unlike ever before in history. The Revelation of the most high Lord and God Yahweh. Real Angels, The Four Living Wheel, The Four Living Creatures, The Nephilims,The Fallen Angel know as the Serpant or the Devil who is Pope Benedict as i St John The Divine Baptist have Revealed unto all of humanity on my web site . Their you can view the only picture Bible in the world that was given unto i By The King Of Kings The Alpha And Omega The Beginning And The End. So all of humanity might believe and change their way of life.. any questions feel free to contact me.
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    St John The Divine Baptist

  20. I'm having a wonderful time visiting the Travis Walton National Monument, which officially opened just days ago. (It was so exciting when President Obama spoke on that occasion.) Wish you were all were here. Toodles.

  21. Well, of course we were there. Do you think we'd miss such a momentous occasion?

    1. Is there any chance of a prominent ufologist getting his face carved on Mount Rushmore?

    2. No, but there might be a vacancy for a new Face on Mars.

      It was the late, great Erik Beckjord who found the face of Ted Kennedy on Mars. So there may be something to this.

    3. Of the four U. S. presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore, three were extraterrestrials. (I'm not telling which three.) Curiously, the remaining president had a forked penis, but he was entirely human.

  22. According to exopolitic’s Alfred Lambremont Webre, who was a former close colleague of Basset, “UFO Citizen Hearing witnesses Bassett, Huneeus and Greer’s anomalous eye and body part movements may indicate brain-mind entrainment by manipulatory extraterrestrials or advanced military-intelligence nanotechnology as part of a global control agenda“ ( ).

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. As for the claims of Richard French, Kevin Randle has done some investigation, and came to the same conclusion: nothing that French says about his background concerning UFOs checks out:

  25. You can watch the citizen hearing here :

  26. When you go so FAR out of your way to try and discredit a legitimate phenomena then your motives become as clear as day. Your not fooling anyone in the know by this garbage.

  27. Stanton Friedman Discusses Stephen Hawking & SETI


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