Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Betty Hill’s Last Hurrah – A Secret UFO Symposium in New Hampshire

This article is reprinted from my Psychic Vibrations column in the Skeptical Inquirer, September/October, 2007. I am reprinting it because it describes an important piece of UFO history that is not otherwise available on-line. It contains some updates and revisions. It also gives me an opportunity to share some great photos of UFO history.


Betty Hill’s Last Hurrah –
A Secret UFO Symposium in New Hampshire

One of the most curious events to come out of the Great Internet Stock Bubble was the so-called “Encounters at Indian Head” project, whose very existence has been kept unknown to the public until just now [2007]. The symposium was prepared under a shroud of secrecy that was amazingly effective, given the decades-long inability of most top UFOlogists to behave responsibly about anything. Organized by the late Karl Pflock, author of Roswell – Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe (Prometheus, 2000) and the British Fortean author Peter Brookesmith, the event was funded by Joe Firmage, the Silicon Valley then-multimillionaire who seems determined do whatever it takes to bring the public into an even higher state of extraterrestrial awareness.
Betty Hill chats with Eddie Bullard (left) and Hilary Evans. On the right is "junior," sculpted by Marjorie Fish.

In September of 2000, I traveled from California to New Hampshire to participate in the secret “stealth” UFO symposium. The subject was the alleged 1961 UFO abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, the first such incident reported in the U.S., made famous by John Fuller’s 1966 book The Interrupted Journey, then even more so by the 1975 NBC-TV movie, The UFO Incident.   Firmage was covering all our expenses, and even paid us for the rights to the papers we were writing, which would be published as a book. The purpose of the symposium was, simply, to find out what really happened to Betty and Barney Hill. The plan was that nobody would find out about even the existence of the symposium until the book containing its published proceedings appeared ‘out of the blue,’ presumably creating a sensation. The symposium came off exactly as planned, a tribute to the skills of the late Karl Pflock.
Marcello Truzzi (left), Karl Pflock, Greg Sandow. Seated: Kathleen Marden.

The event was held at the Indian Head Resort, just a stone’s throw from the spot where Betty and Barney allegedly saw the UFO cross the road and hover right in front of their car. The setting and accommodations were unarguably splendid, the company surprisingly congenial. UFOlogists have a reputation for feuding like Hatfields and McCoys, even those who are in general agreement. Probably the high level of the discussion was due to the organizers’ careful decision to exclude those UFOlogists who have a reputation for insufferable behavior, whatever their knowledge of the subject. Bravo, Karl. The pre-symposium secrecy ensured that we would not be troubled by the press, the curious, or by certain UFOlogists well known for being pushy and obnoxious.

However, the insistence in the nondisclosure agreement for post-event secrecy was more difficult to understand. In January 2001 Pflock announced the “suspension” of the Indian Head project to its participants. The ongoing internet stock collapse undoubtedly cut into Firmage’s discretionary spending, with the once high-flying company he founded, U.S. Web (later merged with CKS and March First) now bankrupt and liquidated. Still, Firmage paid every cent promised to the participants. With Karl’s death on June 5 2006, I presumed that the project was defunct, and that the non-disclosure requirement might last indefinitely. But Karl’s widow, Mary Martinek, completed the editing, and the result is the volume “Encounters at Indian Head”, published by Anomalist Books .
Karl Pflock gave Betty Hill this T-shirt.

The Grande Dame of UFOlogy, the late Betty Hill herself, was present to guide us through a re-enactment of the entire “abduction” scenario, assisted by her niece Kathy Marden, who knew the story almost as well as Betty did. I’d met Betty several times before. She regaled us with stories about her literally hundreds of UFO sightings occurring after her initial UFO “abduction.” She claims that she organized an entire “Invisible College” of scientists from top laboratories who went out with her to observe and study these UFOs, who gathered reams of documentation and data on the UFOs, then apparently flushed it all down the toilet, as it was their intention to merely study the UFOs, and not publish anything about them. Several of the more naïve participants spoke of how listening to Mrs. Hill had made it more difficult for them to accept the reality of her accounts, as if Mrs. Hill’s wild stories had not been well-known in UFOlogy for at least twenty-five years. It was the way she told of greeting the extraterrestrials with a jovial “Hi, Guys!” that stuck in the throat of several of the participants. Not a single participant in the symposium was willing to describe the Betty Hill we heard first-hand as a credible witness; nonetheless, a number of them still were inclined to accept her story of alien abduction, including Karl Pflock. The organizers had wisely chosen to send Betty Hill away before we began the actual discussions, as they realized it would be impossible for us to objectively discuss the mental state of a kindly but delusional old lady who was sitting in our midst.

Most of the symposium participants were well known in the UFO and Fortean worlds. Peter Brookesmith of Fortean Times magazine, clearly the junior partner as co-organizer, showed himself to be a no-nonsense fellow who also took the partying aspect of the conference very seriously. The good times quaffing with Peter, Karl, and Karl’s wife Mary were memorable. Another Brit in attendance was Hilary Evans, whose writings sometimes seemed to me a bit woozy but who in person seemed sensible enough. Two participants were present only virtually. Walter N. Webb, who began a first-hand investigation of the Hill case a month after it occurred in 1961, and Martin Kottmeyer, who writes amazingly perceptive papers without ever leaving his farm in central Illinois, participated from a distance.
Our Field Trip to the "Close Encounter" site, just south of Indian Head
Looking south from the "Close Encounter" site. The freeway had not yet been built in 1961.
 In addition to the conference sessions, we took a Field Trip. First we took the short drive to where the UFO Close Encounter allegedly occurred, just south of the hotel. According to Betty, the Close Encounter site is on the east side of Rt. 3, just north of the present Rt. 93 freeway interchange (exit 33). She showed us where Barney left the car in the middle of the road with the engine running, while he grabbed binoculars from the trunk to get a good look at the aliens. Betty also guided us to the alleged “capture site”, a small, sandy clearing in the woods just off Mill Brook Rd., which goes off NH State Route 175 to the east near Thornton. However, Barney and Betty Hill much earlier had indicated a “capture site” in a different location. [GPS trekkers will want to know that the "capture site" Betty took us to was at 43 deg 54.529’ N, 71 deg 39.852’ W., elevation 662 ft.] One driver, seeing the small crowd in the woods, stopped to ask if there was a moose on the loose (tourists often travel these back roads seeking Moose Encounters); I replied “no,” but didn’t have the inclination to explain that we were chasing UFOs. Someone else did, and the driver sped away.

We're following the leader, the leader, the leader: Betty Hill guides us to the alleged Capture Site.
You can learn a lot about a UFO case by visiting the site that you can’t learn by reading. Driving from the “Close Encounter” site to the “capture” site, I was surprised to see how many quaint little New England towns lie between them. While driving frantically, allegedly being pursued by the UFO at close range, the Hills must have driven through the towns of North Woodstock, then Woodstock, West Thornton, and then Thornton. The speed limit in (and around) these towns is 30 MPH. Even granting that these sleepy little towns, which look like they’ve come out of Norman Rockwell portraits of New England life, would be quiet around midnight, it seems impossible that nobody at all would have noticed a car madly speeding down Rt. 3, screeching around corners, running stop signs and traffic signals, with a low-level UFO in close pursuit. This is related to another great puzzle, to wit: why is it that we never receive reports of UFOs coming in menacingly close, but following someone else’s car? 

Examining Betty's "Capture Site": no sign of any UFOs.
We even had an evening screening of relevant science fiction films, including the very episode of Outer Limits that is suggested by Kottmeyer to have inspired Barney Hill’s description of the aliens’ “wrap-around eyes.” There was much discussion of the possible influence of the films on the Hills’ account. Firmage sat by himself watching the films, saying nothing. He spent much of his time during the symposium sessions glued to the phone in the hotel lobby, no doubt negotiating major business deals back in Silicon Valley. His participation was slight. I did have a chance to speak with him for a few minutes during the first evening session. He confidently expounded about how one dissident physicist or another had come up with a theory showing that it is possible to do the things that UFOs allegedly do: travel faster than light, defy gravity, etc. For him, this settled the matter: such things were possible, and we should drop our present-day prejudices. He seemed not to appreciate the objection that the great majority of physicists were unconvinced by unsupported speculative theories, or else he seemed not to care. Firmage is an impressive, dynamic speaker, but not such a good listener.
Getting down to business: from left, Pflock, Evans, Bullard, Truzzi, Firmage, Stacy.

Ultimately, no agreement was reached concerning whether the Hills’ story was real or imagined. Each participant (except for Greg Sandow) expounds his viewpoint at length in a chapter in the book.  Eddie Bullard, Greg Sandow, Walter Webb, and Karl Pflock argued that the Hills’ abduction account should probably be taken literally. I argued strongly for the opposite, as did Peter Brookesmith. Martin Kottmeyer and Hilary Evans agreed that the explanation was more likely to be psychological than physical. Dennis Stacy, a former editor of the MUFON Journal and the publisher of the symposium volume, limited himself to carefully chronicling and recounting the incident. However, in private conversation he confessed to difficulties with accepting the Hills’ account. Sociologist Marcello Truzzi pronounced it impossible to come to any conclusion whatsoever. [Truzzi was a co-founder of CSICOP in 1976, with Paul Kurtz. In hindsight it's obvious that their planned cooperation was doomed to fail.]
Joe Firmage expostulates his theories about UFOs. From left: Stacy, Hill,Sandow, Bullard, Evans, Brookesmith, Firmage, Pflock.

It was clear that the participants who had not previously met Betty Hill were dismayed and/or disappointed after hearing her ramble on glibly about things that could not possibly be true. However, there were rationalizations aplenty as to why we should believe her claims made in 1961, but not afterwards. I also felt that co-organizer Karl Pflock, and sponsor Joe Firmage, had expected some sort of pro-Hills consensus to emerge from the discussions when all of the “facts” supporting it were martialled – and were rather disappointed when it did not. I found it puzzling that the book's progress accelerated after Karl's death, especially since the book was virtually completed by 2001, before he fell ill. When Betty's own statements raised doubts even among those inclined to believe her story, Pflock probably came to view the symposium as a tactical mistake. I suspected that Karl in essence sat on the project because he was disappointed how it turned out, although Peter Brookesmith assures me that this was not the case, and cites difficulties in getting the book published. I spoke with Pflock on the phone several times after the conference, and each time he was downplaying the book, and the idea of getting it published. He did not seem  enthusiastic or eager in any way to see it published. At least, that was my impression.

One of the “evidences” in favor of the alleged abduction has long been Betty’s statement that her husband Barney, after having his genitals examined by aliens, developed a ring of warts around his groin. The pro-abductionists seemed genuinely startled to be told (after Betty had safely departed) that this symptom is evidence, not of alien activity, but of a common venereal disease.
The "Encounters at Indian Head" symposium patricipants: from left, Marcello Truzzi, Peter Brookesmith, Greg Sandow, Dennis Stacy, Karl Pflock, Eddie Bullard, Robert Sheaffer, Hilary Evans. Not present: Walter Webb, Martin Kottmeyer.
Almost seven years separated the symposium and its public revelation. It has now been fifteen years, and four of the participants have passed away: Marcello Truzzi, Karl Pflock, Hilary Evans,  and Betty Hill. You can’t do this symposium again. As for Joe Firmage, he seems to have disappeared from the UFO scene completely. Whether he was able to hang on to any of the huge fortune he once had is unclear. He no longer operates his old website firmage.org, which used to contain earth-shaking ideas concerning UFOs, the future,  and New Physics, his new website is somewhat toned-down by comparison.  Firmage seems to have resurfaced, perhaps briefly, with the "9-11 Truther" crowd. Recent reports concerning Firmage's current activities do not sound good.

36 comments:

  1. Hello,

    "However, there were rationalizations aplenty as to why we should believe her claims made in 1961, but not afterwards."

    Interesting (at least for me). Any of you could summerize such rationalization attempts if you have sounds/traces or excerpts of them?

    Well, I have an idea of such possible rationalizations, but however curious.

    Regards,

    Gilles

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    1. Well, Gilles, Kathleen Marden suggested in "Captured" that the stress of Barney's death caused Betty to become somewhat unhinged. (I countered by showing a letter written by Betty making wild claims about more alien encounters - while Barney was still alive).

      Others attribute the effects of a sort of PTSD following the "abduction event" causing Betty to become unreliable. 'She was a credible person until her trauma in the aftermath of her UFO abduction.'

      Delete
  2. Thank you Robert.

    More or less "my guess"...

    I expected something like: "Betty experienced (what it was) something really amazing (or fortean), then after, so "marked" by her "princeps" experience, from prosaic stimuli, she saw things in regards/filtered by her princeps sighting/encounter, despite she misinterpreted conventional/prosaic stimuli".

    The further "alien encounters" during or not the time Barney was still alive were of "the third kind", or (typical "I see a flying object in the sky")?
    Sorry, I bad know such "details" :(

    Regards, and thank you again for your time (and your blog as a must to read).

    Gilles.

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    1. They were "typical", Gilles, and as far as I recall the more outlandish claims occurred after Barney's death. I think Betty never really recovered from losing him, and her "invisible college" and the like were in some way a means to memorialize and vindicate him (at least) or even perhaps to keep him somehow alive.

      —Peter B

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    2. Gilles,

      As I worte in an earlier Blog posting, "The Hills reported what appears to be a second Close Encounter with the light atop Cannon Mountain on April 2, 1966: "As we were returning through the Franconia Notch in the general area of the tramway and Cannon Mountain, one [UFO] moved around the mountain about 50 feet from the ground, in front of us. Its lights dimmed out and we could see the row of windows before it became invisible. It just faded out of sight and then just reappeared with different lighting behind us... On the opposite side of the highway was a second one, which also faded out. ” (Marden, p. 208-209)."

      This incident reportedly occurred in the car, with Barney right next to her.
      http://badufos.blogspot.com/2011/10/mr-and-mrs-hills-wild-ride.html

      Delete
  3. I have always assumed that the Hills probably did witness some type of anomalous aircraft. The abduction story, I believe, surfaced later under hypnotic regression. Thus, I have always discounted that part of the story.

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    1. Tom—Betty's abduction story emerged not under hypnosis but in a series of dreams (not in chronological order, she said) that occurred after she had read a number of UFO-related books. The only one she recalled reading was Keyhoe's "Flying Saucer Conspiracy", from which, I maintain (see the book), she could well have developed the story she did. Her original notes on the dreams were lost (she said), and the account of them we have is one reorganized into chronological order... how much might she have elaborated in the process is anyone's guess.

      Despite Betty's protestations to the contrary, Barney knew about these dreams well before he started hypnosis with Dr Simon. At least once she recounted them in public in his presence (a recording exists). I think it's fair to say that when, under hypnosis, he departs from Betty's dream material, he tells Simon, and us, more about himself than about aliens, &c.

      It's also worth bearing in mind that Simon wasn't trying to get to 'the truth' about what happened, but to purge the Hills of their anxieties about their experience. In this he seems to have succeeded, if not wholly in Barney's case.

      —Peter B

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  4. I still would like to see Betty and Barney Hill's medical records released. It seems fairly obvious to me that they had mental problems.

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  5. Sometimes even the best of us can't find a way to re-think something so integral to our core beliefs. Without the Hills' abduction, things might start to crumble away entirely, leaving true believers without that crutch.

    Now, in 2015, we need a Jenner symposium detailing Kylie's concerns about "chemtrails" that she so illiterately wrote about recently.

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  6. Now that New Hampshire has attacked us with nuclear missiles, might we not have a clue why elders from space "MARKED" the state?

    Are we figuring out how elders choose to communicate with us?

    Search: UFO prevents nuclear shots.

    Bitch world shares some thoughts about it. Thank you.

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    1. Seems to be spam for some sort of UFO/elites-are-killing-us conspiracy theory. The search phrase pops up similar comments all leading guess where... Bitch world. It's very unsophisticated spamming.

      Delete
  7. The entities do not stop at one abduction. These are also the 'powers and prinicipalities' spoken of in the Bible.

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  8. May I be permitted the hospitality of your columns (&c)...

    There are some minor inaccuracies in Roberto's account, and a few things that deserve a bit more gloss.

    Karl and I extensively discussed the selection (and deselection) of contributors and, obnoxious ones aside, our aim was to gather together people who could be relied upon to be as objective as possible and who, preferably, had contributed something original to the general abduction debate. The broad idea was to avoid an adversarial atmosphere, which meant various overbearing parties weren't invited. Having Marcello Truzzi along as chairman was my idea. Likewise, Karl and I planned the general drift of contributions and planned and edited the book together (our last session was on the phone, the day before he died); Mary completed the revision of his chapter. I saw it through design and production, which meant much hassle for Patrick Huyghe, but he was pleased with the results and eventually grateful for the hassle (so he told me). Karl was certainly the 'senior' partner in the enterprise in its administration, mainly because Firmage naturally paid in US dollars, and it besides made no sense for me to try organize the event per se, contributors' travel, &c &c, from the UK. It was also he who persuaded Firmage to fund the project.

    The book itself took so long to emerge from the shadows because first, it transpired that Firmage no longer had the funds to finance its publication, as had been planned. (This was the reason for the 'suspension' of the project in 2001.) And a grand tome it was to have been, with transcripts of parts of our discussions & who knows what all. Although the 'suspension' held, we tried to go the commercial route for pubication. But no literary agent would take on our grand plan as a project, and indeed no agent would take on the pared-down, revised-papers-only version we then hawked around. Dennis Stacy & Patrick Huyghe had not long set up Anomalist Books, and Dennis was keen to publish it, and eventually what you see now came about. Either shortly before, or not long after my visiting Dennis in 2005 to discuss 'final' details, Karl was diagnosed with MND, and as he worsened things slowed down. It's simply wrong to suggest that Karl (or I) sat on the project in the intervening years, or did so because he was "disappointed at the way it turned out": he was very pleased with it, believing it fairly presented the range of views to be had on the case. He certainly didn't expect "a resounding vindication of the Hill story", nor did he think holding the symposium was "a tactical mistake". He was rightly proud to have been instrumental in making it happen.

    End of miff!

    —Peter B

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    1. Yer Grace,
      As always I am delighted to receive yer comments. As I said, it was my impression that Karl was not eager to have the proceedings published. I mostly formed that opinion based on some telephone calls with Karl following the Symposium. When I raised the querstion, he invariably replied something like 'Oh, that, forget it. Too bad,' instead of something like 'I'm hoping this new proposal will work out.' But you were closer to the effort than I was. I have revised the text a bit to reflect your comments. And also to add some more recent info on Firmage, which does not sound good.

      Delete
  9. Betty Hill’s T-Shirt:
    “I was abducted by aliens and all I got is more UFO stories!”

    Barney Hill’s T-Shirt:
    “I was abducted by aliens and all I got was genital warts!”

    Joe Firmage’s T-Shirt:
    "Not Your Average Joe!”

    Karl Pflock’s T-Shirt:
    “Birds of a Feather Pflock Together”

    Robert Sheaffer’s T-Shirt:
    “The Truth is Out There”

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    1. Peter B''s T-shirt:
      "I am the Duke of Mendoza and I am nobody's junior partner"

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    2. Am I right in thinking that in a distant back issue of FSR (forget when) there was an abduction tale from a place called Mendoza (in Argentina)?

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    3. Yes, Chris, and as I recall one of the pair was called Higgins. Charles Bowen took it seriously, but it was later exposed as a hoax.

      My own ducality does not derive from this incident.

      —Peter B

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    4. Betty Hill’s T-Shirt:
      “I DREAMT I was abducted by aliens and all I got ...."

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  10. Hi all,

    It always warms my heart, upon my infrequent visits to this blog, to find the same old personalities shadow boxing in front of one another, in critique of the same old cases, enacting some ritualistic merry-go-round of righteousness. Watching you guys create a Strawman, attack it, then discuss your many intellectual victories is indeed heart-warming.

    I ask, why focus on the stories of Mrs Hill and the endless list of features which exist as fictional speculation? When, all the while we have an endless list of world leaders having made statements just as controversial, only, they exist not as fiction, but as real world determinations/conclusions

    Follow the link, open your eyes for just a brief moment, and realize how much of your lives you have spent, wasted on a false premise of denialism and misconstrued facts. Realize the inevitability - you're all wasting your time here. Heart warming, huh?

    http://www.paradigmresearchgroup.org/QuotesPage.htm

    Warm regards
    Mark

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  11. Indeed there are a great number of people of high ranks and positions that have made positive statements about UFOs and their origins. It would be just as easy (and probably a lot easier) to find as many, or many more, people of equal rank and position who will say exactly the opposite. So where does that leave us? Answer: nowhere. I first read some of these assertions from the high & mighty decades ago. So what?

    Presidents Carter of the USA and Idi Amin of Uganda both saw UFOs. Big deal. (Neither was abducted by ETs - to my knowledge).

    You can find a similar number who will say the same about astrology, faith healing, psychic phenomena, telepathy and so on. And where does that get us regarding understanding these phenomena? Again - nowhere.

    Note that although all these people in high, or sometimes not so high, places all pronounce positively on UFOs, none has said they were abducted by aliens, as Betty Hill did. But since I have not read them all, maybe I am wrong and at least one of them HAS been abducted. Where do we go from there?

    Enough said.

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  12. Hey, it's the old Argument from Authority fallacy! Talk about time wasting....

    Gosh, Mark, another visit to the Hall of Questionable Quotations (by public figures) in the "UFO" wing of the Pseudoscience (formerly Kooks) Museum.

    As if any one of them knows any more about the subject of a modern myth than the average person when we know they don't; as if these quotations are even real or accurate; as if public figures are somehow immune to a social delusion and aren't simply making statements of personal opinion divorced from their office.

    Mark, we've seen most of these questionable quotations for decades and fantastic flying saucers are no more real now than before; and appealing to foolish quotations by whoever seems the least likely way of ever making a convincing argument. It's worthless.

    While a personal report, with photos, on an historic secret symposium on the classic Betty Hill "abduction" case is informative in many ways, is interesting and entertaining—and will be into the future. That's not something I can say about Internet testimonials to mindless belief in the tired flying-saucer myth.

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    1. Zoam:

      Let's give credit to Mark for one thing. He has resuscitated this blog - after lying dormant for five weeks.

      Delete
  13. "At this time the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention. Sightings of unexplained objects at high altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of vehicles."
    H. MARSHALL CHADWELL
    Assistant Director of Scientific Intelligence, CIA
    December 2, 1952



    "No agency in this country or Russia is able to duplicate at this time the speeds and accelerations which radars and observers indicate these flying objects are able to achieve... there are objects coming into our atmosphere at very high speeds."
    ADMIRAL DELMER S. FAHMEY
    Former Head U.S. Navy Guided-Missile Program
    New York Times, Page 31, January 17, 1957



    "What I found [in doing research for the book Project Delta] was compelling evidence to claim that most of these aerial objects far exceeded the terrestrial technology of the era in which they were seen. I was forced to conclude that there is a great likelihood that Earth is being visited by highly advanced aerospace vehicles under highly 'intelligent' control indeed."
    DR. RICHARD F. HAINES
    Retired NASA senior research scientist
    Ames Research Center
    Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science
    1998



    "It is time for the truth to be brought out... Behind the scenes high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.... I urge immediate Congressional action to reduce the dangers from secrecy about unidentified flying objects."
    VICE ADMIRAL ROSCOE HILLENKOETTER
    CIA Director
    Statement to Congress
    August 22, 1960.


    "An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers. Approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall. Dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots."
    TO: J. EDGAR HOOVER
    FBI Director
    Memo to J. Edgar Hoover from the Washington FBI Office
    March 22, 1950
    Released in 1976 under the FOIA



    "This 'flying saucer' situation is not at all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomena. Something is really flying around. The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious."
    GENERAL NATHAN F. TWINING
    Chief of Staff, US Air Force
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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  14. "As if any one of them knows any more about the subject of a modern myth than the average person when we know they don't"

    This statement, right here, is everything that is wrong with the Debunking of UFO's. I mean, c'mon, are you actually claiming to have at your disposal an intelligence apparatus of global proportion, equivalent to that of the US intelligence agencies? If not, then with respect for sense and reason you must concede that these individuals are making comment from a position far more informed than your own - point being, they do not believe it to be myth, why is that? What do they know that you do not? Even if it is all merely "opinion", they are, nonetheless, the opinions formed on a wealth of data and insight that neither you, or any other Debunker would ever have the luxury of relying on (a large portion of the military witnesses speak of Radar and electronic data confirming eye witness accounts, what more does one need?)

    When the Director of the CIA can make a brief but mysterious statement so fundamentally attached to secret intelligence, what gives an ignorant Debunker the confidence to utterly discount that statement? Please, can someone answer that? Is it, perhaps, that um, UFO's are a myth, therefore, everything the Director of the CIA says = wrong?

    "as if these quotations are even real or accurate;"

    Zoam, if you wish to discount the accuracy/legitimacy of the quotations, I'd suggest first finding evidence to support this claim. The quotations themselves are referenced and founded. Please try not to resort to the kind of weak cynicism we all know you most enjoy.

    "as if public figures are somehow immune to a social delusion and aren't simply making statements of personal opinion"

    Well, sure, I agree with that statement on the face of it - people everywhere are subject to the same tricks of the world. However, what's clear is that it's the quality of the data which is forcing these reluctant admissions from conservative, well adjusted individuals -consistent data supercedes social delusion. Moreover, these claims based on data stand with mass, consistent in detail and through time as a collective conclusion born of proper military Intel that, if we are being realistic, shouldn't simply be discounted by petty conjecture from a man with a vague hypothesis of human fallibility.... Let's be honest here!

    The statements above are the product of our militaries best scientific estimates over the last 60 years. They do, in a factual sense, represent the best judgment we as human observers of the phenomenon can reasonably make.

    But please, do continue to explain how some old attention seeker (Mrs. Hill) has managed to gain the attention of a forum full of debunkers. And yet an almost endless list of documented, credible, in-the-know military believers are simply unworthy of even light reading

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  15. Mark:

    You talk about "in-the-know military believers". Can you tell us what these guys know about UFOs that we, the public, do not know.

    Do they possess some special knowledge they have not told us? Because if they do, you are, in effect, implying there is a conspiracy and cover-up at an official level. Therefore you seem to belong to the conspiracy brigade. If, on the other hand, you are saying that they are simply better informed than our civilian scientists and in particular our astronomers and astrophysicists, again I put it to you: what special information do these military & intelligence guys have that the scientific world does not have? Certainly they are worth listening to, but so are just as many others who have come to a different conclusion.

    Incidentally, Hillenkoetter changed his views somewhat in later years.

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    1. "You talk about "in-the-know military believers". Can you tell us what these guys know about UFOs that we, the public, do not know"

      I'm not privy to the details, of course. I am merely making an observation which conveys the reality unequivocally depicted in the quotes. What I can tell you is only what they have told us: they know more than the general public

      "Do they possess some special knowledge they have not told us?"

      These are their claims, yes.

      "Because if they do, you are, in effect, implying there is a conspiracy and cover-up at an official level. Therefore you seem to belong to the conspiracy brigade"

      If, in fact, the UFO phenomenon is something real, and not simply a myth, then based on the claims of these individuals it seems conspiracy becomes unavoidable, does it not?

      To see 'conspiracy' as something to avoid reveals your desire to avoid taboo, in turn, showing that your motives upon taking a position on this issue are questionable (not guided purely by evidence) - you would distinctly like to avoid, at any cost, being viewed as a conspiracy theorist. Consider that for a moment. And then ask yourself if you will go anywhere the evidence takes you?
      As I've explained before, this topic reveals more about who we are as people and a culture than it does reveal any 'truths' about UFO's

      "If, on the other hand, you are saying that they are simply better informed than our civilian scientists and in particular our astronomers and astrophysicists, again I put it to you: what special information do these military & intelligence guys have that the scientific world does not have?"

      Let's do an exercise.. UFO's (provided they exist) operate predominantly in the skies, and exhibit behaviors that don't lend themselves to edge of a ruler, or the width of a test tube. If civilian scientists, or even Mrs Hill, have the fortune of interacting with a UFO in some way, the experience is scientifically meaningless for those involved and, almost not even worthy of consideration for anyone who didn't experience it first hand - this rule doesn't change, and for this reason, neither does the quality of the evidence at a civilian level, apparently. And with each experience happening randomly we aren't ever able to make preparations in which to improve the conditions for empiricism. So far as civilians are concerned, we're no better equipped today than we were 60 years ago.
      However, the military are at a particular advantage when it comes to taking more away from these types of experiences, for instance; they, the military, have our skies under heavy radar observation. When a UFO appears within our airspace, the military can, for example, make a series of empirical estimations as to the nature of the object via radar. Invariably, they'll send some fighter jets to 'investigate'. From this position they may be able to correlate all kinds of data: record gun camera footage, and use an eye visual to confirm the electronic data. Essentially, they have the ability to turn a random sighting into a definite and measurable encounter - that is the fundamental difference.

      There really aren't any other ways to collect verifiable data, that I'm aware of. And considering civilian researchers and civilian scientists don't have the luxury of military capability, naturally the quality of the evidence available to them is limited, often to radiation trace cases, video footage, witness testimony and released Gov documents. None of which, unfortunately, can be considered 'smoking gun' evidence on their own. At least not to the caliber of denialist that is Mr Zoamchomsky

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    2. "Certainly they are worth listening to, but so are just as many others who have come to a different conclusion"

      Well, disbelief is the position that most people take, but essentially, we'll never know what their experience of the evidence is, so we can hardly make a judgement of the evidence by counting the opponents of belief. We can, however, make a judgment of the evidence for those claims made in the positive as they often make mention to detail of the evidence itself. Moreoever, the common theme amongst the claimant's is their title or rank which would suggest that if this information was available, at all, they would likely have access to it

      "Incidentally, Hillenkoetter changed his views somewhat in later years"

      Can you prove this to a degree which positively discounts his original statements? Or are you merely choosing to believe this because it suites your position?

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  16. As if any one of them knows any more about the subject of a modern myth than the average person when we know they don't.

    Mark says, “are you actually claiming to have at your disposal an intelligence apparatus of global proportion, equivalent to that of the US intelligence agencies?”

    I’m saying that none of the same old questionable quotations made by individuals with no special knowledge of the popular-culture “UFO” myth and social delusion means anything at all in making the case for an extraordinary “UFX” of any kind haunting the stratosphere and nearspace. We’ve seen them repeated on the Internet for two decades at least and printed in many worthless “UFO” books for decades before Kean’s. Why one would think they mean something now is only evidence of the irrationality of believers in the myth and the utter lack of evidence for real “UFOs.” Mark, the USAF Space Command has monitored the globe and nearspace for decades and it has failed to detect “UFOs” of any kind—only earth-crossing asteroids, many more upper-atmosphere grazing than previously known, random meteoritic objects of metal, rock and ice, and man-made objects.

    Fallaciously assuming there are real “UFOs” of some kind and that world governments and their intelligence agencies must know something about it is just part of the juvenile myth. Beginning with lone workshop wizards, super scientists in secret mountain laboratories, secret air fields, vast networks of caves and underground installations, entire subterranean civilizations with flying saucers, MIB, spies and conspiracies have always been part of the myth, it all only evidences the myth’s origin in juvenile fiction—not reality. Think about it, Mark, it’s no coincidence that everything about “UFOs” even if transformed by evolving technology already existed in the early science-fiction of steam, electrics, radio waves and completely imaginary flying machines. So the idea that being a general, holding political office, or being a government bureaucrat gives one special knowledge of such fantasies because the world is in a state of continuous war and high-technology weapons development and they would be in the know—especially secret knowledge of real “UFOs” that never seem to appear—is laughable on its face. But assuming they did exist, it would be impossible to keep such a secret. (Just where are all those old airships and flying saucers? I’ve seen a lot of old jets in the desert but not a single saucer, crashed or otherwise.)

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  17. See the ridiculousness of this whole appeal to their nonexistent “authority?” And a few uninformed of the totality of an evolving situation, and so irresponsible, even irrational quotations made about “UFO” hysteria by individuals in government and the military over decades is worthless anyway as an argument for the extraordinary: Anyone might falsely believe and say anything! That doesn’t mean the extraordinary is even partially true. Extraordinary claims require more than mere inherently fallible human “quotations.”

    In the larger real-world in which the “UFO” myth and delusion is merely one in a documented history of popular myths and social delusions, these quotations and Kean’s book as well as all others are evidence of the veracity of the Null and Psychosocial hypotheses for “UFO” reports because there are no fantasical “UFOs” of any kind and never were. If what I’m saying were not the case and there were real “UFOs” of some kind or ever had been, we’d all know it already, it would be an obvious fact in the world like every other thing said to exist. “UFOs” would have presence, persistence, substance, but there are no “objects,” there is no “phenomenon.” “UFOs” are merely the subject of aerial ghost stories, a dead and fossilized pseudoscience and fading popular delusion—being so obviously unreal after decades of failing to materialize.

    There is but one set of data, the catalogue of every report ever made on the subject beginning with the first “airship” hoax in 1896. There are multiple pseudoscientific theories about that data, but neither those failed theories or the mass of reports considered as “evidence” have falsified the Null hypothesis: the data is unchanged, there just aren’t any real “UFOs” of any kind and never were. Even the “best” stories are bunk; in fact, the “best” stories are the most debunkable because they’re composed of utter bunk!

    Given the Null, the Psychosocial hypothesis documents the history of the myth. Debunking deconstructs the myth, the PSH destroys the reasons for belief and the social delusion. It's the most rational explanation for why people make "UFO" reports: Believing is Seeing.

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    1. Seems to me that Mark's first error is a reliance on ancient comments from people who, however well decorated with stars and fruit salads, did not know—because they were working from available information—what we know now about UFO sightings.

      His second error is to take UFO reports as "data". They aren't. They are reports, a.k.a. stories, and are subjective. (Zond IV, anyone?) As such they have their own peculiar interest, which is where the PSH comes in, and as such have created a set of legends within a larger myth. Betty Hill's story is one such legend.

      I am, as is no secret, mildly allergic to Zoam's kind of militant skepticism, and often see "experience" where he mostly sees "hoax". His comments sometimes remind me of the Maginot and Siegfried Lines. That said, I wonder if I am alone in often finding Mark's commentaries half intelligent and half obtuse? This makes them difficult to tackle short of massive nit-picking analysis, which would be even more boring to read than to write.

      It's not merely ego that makes me suggest Mark reads 'Encounters at Indian Head' before he pronounces on the obduracy of "debunkers" who comment on the Hill case. There's still much there to be unearthed, had anyone the time and resources—although I doubt leather-jacketed, prurient, stubby little aliens with protean noses will feature much in filling in the gaps.

      —Peter B

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  18. Wasn't there a book that debunks every single one of Ted Phillips physical trace cases?

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  19. Here's a review of "Encounters at Indian head" in which Peter Rogerson concludes, as others have, that the Hills were simply deeply troubled people who created their transformative late "Contactee" fantasy and so their self-anointed new-age flying-saucer spiritualist personae in order to paper over their many problems and present faces of achievement and wisdom to the world—however obviously imaginary and completely phony to rational people. And, like most other big "UFO" stories, all of this only happened because the actors, working from a culturally supplied script, played their roles to the hilt.

    http://mrobsr.blogspot.com/2012/08/encounters-at-indian-head.html

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  20. has anybody bought this on dvd

    http://www.classicmoviesandtvcom.com/product/the-ufo-incident-dvd-tv-james-earl-jones-estelle-parsons-1975

    ReplyDelete

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