Monday, February 19, 2018

A Skeptic at the 2018 UFO Congress, Part 1

So, once again I am attending this year's International UFO Congress in Fountain Hills, Arizona, near Phoenix, sometimes billed as the world's largest UFO conference (although Contact in the Desert seems to have overtaken it). I won't necessarily discuss every speaker, or every movie shown, just the more interesting ones.

T. L. Keller

The first speaker on Wednesday, the first day, was T. L. Keller, who worked as a computer systems analyst at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. His talk was titled Spacecraft Carriers – Extraterrestrial or Terrestrial? Assuming, of course, that Spacecraft Carriers (like Aircraft Carriers, but much larger) actually exist. His "research" is based on such credible sources as George Adamski, Michael Salla of Exopolitics, Bill Tompkins, Steven Greer, and Felix Dzherzinsky. (Keller said that he had reservations about Adamski's claims of UFO contact, but British author Timothy Good assured him that Adamski's stories are substantially true.) After all, the UFO that abducted Travis Walton was itself a "spacecraft carrier," by his own account. Keller showed a number of blurry and dubious photos, in addition to Adamski's photos, and the Petit-Rechain hoax photo from Belgium. His hypothesis: Both E.T. and human Spacecraft Carriers exist, using anti-gravity technology. There are human bases on the moon, and on Mars.

Cheryl Costa
The next speaker was MUFON's Cheryl Costa, who started out with an informal presentation of dubious and mostly blurry UFO photos. As for shapes of UFOs, she showed that there are dozens of them. Statistics have shown that the number of UFO reports in recent years has been going up, up, and up. She presented statistics broken down by states and counties. It appears that leisure time and temperate weather correlate with a greater number of UFO sightings (which should not come as a surprise). One result of her statistical analysis is that UFOs are not hanging out around nuclear reactors.

Cheryl said that she talks regularly with Ralph Blumenthal (co-author with Leslie Kean of the New York Times story about "Glowing auras" and the Pentagon UFO business), who promises that there is much more info coming.



Great Big Alien


Dr. Bob Gross
Dr. Bob Gross spoke next. His main claim is that the Kecksburg "crashed UFO" was supposedly an errant film canister from a just-launched Corona spy satellite. It supposedly was maneuvring all around changing direction, and dropped hot debris that started grass fires. He heavily relies on Ventre and Eichler (2015), who had a similar wacked-out theory about an errant missile launch.  Unfortunately for Gross, the once top-secret Corona project files, declassified and released after about 30 years, completely contradict all of his claims. Both of the film buckets were recovered in the Pacific Ocean two days later (and not in a forest in Pennsylvania). But Gross has a ready answer for this: the files were all faked. And of course, no way would the film bucket have sufficient propulsion to enable it fly thousands of miles off-course, and zig-zag all about. The zig-zagging is deduced from eyewitness accounts, which Gross calls "direct evidence." Gross, a relative newcomer to UFOology, has a lot to learn about "reliable witness testimony"!

He says that a "nuclear experiment" was on board, and implies that it was radioactive and dangerous. He already knows that's not true, because we went over this argument a few months earlier. The experiment was a "nuclear emulsion," which is not itself radioactive. It is just a film plate sent up to try to capture cosmic ray strike images. He also claimed that the earth had an artificial radiation belt created by nuclear testing, which would come as a surprise to most space scientists.

 Hollywood writer and producer Bryce Zabel, who spoke to the UFO Congress in 2012, spoke about "Fear and Loathing on the Trail of the Saucers." It was his personal account of 25 years of making many UFO and alien themed programs for movies and TV, including Dark Skies on NBC (1996). His main "bombshell," such as it was, was to reveal the name of the government official who reportedly confessed to working in an a secret underground lab near Washington, DC where aliens are kept. This confession was revealed 30 years ago to Zabel's colleague and partner Brent Friedman, and the name of the government official reportedly was - ta da - John S. Herrington, former Secretary of Energy in Ronald Reagan's second term. Apparently Mr. Herrington is still living, although I was not able to find an email address to contact him for his version of the story. Perhaps some enterprising researcher will be able to contact him to confirm or deny this.












14 comments:

  1. The conference is expensive. If UFOs and "alien contact" are nothing but bogus believed in by fruitcakes, why spend that amount of money? You seem to put a lot of money and energy into debunking this stuff. Why? This is not meant as a personal attack, it is an honest question.

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    1. Jonas, the UFO Congress doesn't cost any more than going to Comic-Con, and is much more entertaining.

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    2. Registration for the full conference is $349. Passes to hear the speakers only are $309. Weekend passes are $119. Plus hotel and food, and travel expenses to AZ.

      https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/arizona/2018/01/31/international-ufo-congress-phoenix-2018/1067409001/

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    3. Only fruitcakes would spend that kind of money. Also, they make it high because that keeps out the skeptics and troublemakers.

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  2. Jonas, the super early-bird registration for the UFO Congress, all-inclusive, was only $269, which is what I paid. Comic-Con tickets (when they are available)cost $276 for the full event.

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    1. Comic-Con is for you a local event. Attendance at the UFO Congress includes hotel, meals and travel expenses. The total cost of the latter is considerably more expensive.

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    2. And if you're flying in from the Moon it's even more expensive.

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  3. The professed leading skeptical investigator of UFOs, Robert Sheaffer, seems to have miscomprehended a lot about my presentation that he attended on February 14, 2018, at the very informative 2018 International UFO Congress. First, according to the NRO, no declassified once-top-secret Corona satellite project reports were released about 30 years after the 1965 Kecksburg event. Moreover, in the carelessly written 1966 report allegedly reference by the above mentioned skeptic, the NRO presumably maintained that one film bucket was apparently recovered about one day (not two days) after the launch, while a second bucket was supposedly recovered after a little more than two days in orbit. However, other documents refute such a purported recovery sequence. Moreover, as I explained in detail during my PowerPoint Presentation (which included detailed illustrations and citations) a Corona satellite recovery vehicle—with stabilization jets and retro rocket on its thrust cone and golden film bucket inside its ablative forebody—had the capacity to travel long distances and zig-zag about. Such zig-zagging was accurately described by eyewitnesses who precisely provided direct evidence about the occurrence. Direct evidence supplied by several eyewitnesses was supported by a great deal of circumstantial evidence uncovered by my research. Thus, my research project, based on scientific methodology, provided a preponderance of evidence that a Corona satellite recover vehicle—which utilized an ablative forebody and acorn-shaped golden film bucket—was a primary candidate for the mysterious Kecksburg UFO

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    1. "according to the NRO, no declassified once-top-secret Corona satellite project reports were released about 30 years after the 1965 Kecksburg event." This document concerning the mission in question, 1027-1, was written in 1966, and declassified in 1997, 31 years later:
      http://nrojr.gov/foia/CAL-Records/Cabinet4/DrawerE/4%20E%200029.pdf

      " other documents refute such a purported recovery sequence." Such as? Please provide these "other documents."

      " my research project, based on scientific methodology,": Collecting anecdotal eyewitness accounts does not constitute "scientific methodology."

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    2. Re: "Please provide these 'other documents." They will be available and cited in my book in progress. I will inform you when it becomes available. Until then, please feel free to do your own homework. Also, none of the documents in my possession, including the document you referenced concerning the mission in question (1027-1), indicate that any film bucket related to that specific mission was recovered from an ocean by a Corona waterborne recovery team . . . Nice try, but I think you may have misread something or might have been mislead somehow . . . Regardless, please keep up your writing. I find it entertaining and somewhat informative. . . Take care Robert . . . Dr. Bob Wenzel Gross . . .

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  4. Can someone enlighten me as to what Felix Dzerzhinsky had to do with UFOs?

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  5. I always enjoy your take on these conferences Robert - thanks for this.

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  6. UFO congress 2018 comments

    I can't understand this uptick in Adamski. He's an old, 1950s discredited contactee that raised red flags with any serious ufologist. It's more disturbing that a former NASA employee with a major science background was influenced by Adamski. Is there such a thing as cognitive delusionalism?

    These believers always throw in anti-gravity with no understanding of gravity. It's like adding a negation to anything... anti-oranges (which are not apples). The one exception is antimatter of which we have loads of evidence and theoretical/math reasons for its existence. Even in Paul R. Hill's book, Unconventional Flying Objects: A Scientific Analysis (1995), he carefully analyzes all the evidence as to how ufos perform and then eliminates every possible propulsion system that could explain their extraordinary flight characteristics. His conclusion is that they are possibly powered by anti-graviton beams of some kind. This notion is entirely speculative. Physicists hypothesize that there may be a force-carrying graviton particle but there's no mention of an anti-graviton.

    I commend you for going to these UFO congresses that seem at times, like a freak show at a carnival.

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