Thursday, October 12, 2023

Netflix's "Encounters", Episode 2, Promotes Sensational Claims but Ignores Answers

In the previous posting, we examined how the first episode of Encounters presented the 2008 sightings in Stephenville, Texas in loving detail, but ignored the already-known explanation for all of it. Second verse, same as the first!

Episode 2 of Netflix's Encounters (one of whose Executive Producers was.Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television) covers the alleged 1994 UFO and alien sightings by as many as 62 school children (but no adults) at the Ariel School in Zimbabwe. A great deal has been written about this case, I won't try to repeat that in any detail.

One of the children drew this Spaceman, with his Spaceship.

As described in UFO Evidence,

On 14th September, 1994, a UFO streaked across the sky over Southern Africa. Two days later, something landed in a schoolyard in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, with three or four things beside it, according to journalist Cynthia Hind. This was witnessed by 62 schoolchildren, who had little or no exposure to TV or popular press accounts of UFOs. Cynthia Hind interviewed them the day after the encounter and made them draw pictures of what they had seen.

The case has since gone on to become a classic. The Harvard psychiatrist and UFO abductionist Dr. John Mack (1929-2004) came to Zimbabwe two months after the incident, and spent two days at the school interviewing the children, and the school staff. Interestingly, while there were about 250 children playing outside at the time, only 62 claim to have seen it. Not all 62 children were interviewed by Hind or Mack. (It should be noted that Cynthia Hind was a dedicated UFO author and  investigator.)

What might have been causing such extraterrestrial excitement? A "UFO streaked across the sky over Southern Africa" on Sept. 14? Newspaper reports described it as a "meteor shower," but there was no meteor shower. Not until several weeks later was it determined that the object widely seen across southern Africa was, in fact, the fiery re-entry of a Zenit-2 rocket that had launched Cosmos 2290. This then-unexplained sighting had caused a great stir and great UFO interest across the area.

Satellite guru Ted Molczan recorded this visual observation of the rocket's fiery re-entry.

Charlie Wiser has written a very detailed account of the Ariel School incident, from a skeptical perspective. I wrote about this case in 2016, some of which is reprinted here. The French psychologist Dr. Gilles Fernandez reviewed all of the written and recorded material concerning the children's interviews. He wrote that

Interviewing children has been the subject of numerous scientific papers and experiments, adaptations and creations of interview standard protocols, in psychology or criminology, to well avoid or minimize biases that occur when such interviews (or questionnaires) "pollute" the evidence. Cynthia Hind's interview methodology with children is very far from these standards.... Cynthia Hind and an adult (Headmaster?) debrief and discuss "other planets", "space travel", etc. while children are in the room and hear everything ...

Cynthia Hind interviewed the children all together, not separately

Fernandez notes that the children were not being interviewed individually, but instead all together:

The child must be interviewed individually (again following proper procedure). Now, in the video-recorded excerpts above, it is striking to see that children are interviewed in a "line" from four to six. Sometimes other children are in the background and listen to another child being questioned. The adults talk to each other or "debrief" while the children are still very close and present ... Also, children hear what others say (including adults), and therefore are likely to influence each other. Even worse, a child who has seen very little or nothing, sees his classmates details and that this is something that greatly interests adults (verbal and non-verbal rewards). This could encourage them to participate in the "game".

These collective sessions have therefore enabled children to hear each other and even to copy each other, caught in a game where they see adults and a nice lady interested in the narratives. We must therefore deliver in our turn, not be excluded or unwelcome in this "game" that took place. This potential participation or having participated give a certain homogeneity to the stories and therefore reported details ...
Also, Cynthia Hind conducting the interview is constantly interrupting the children and not allowing the free narrative. We must also wonder if the fact that the interviews as drawings sessions were held in the school, this did not lead them precisely, encouraged or "biased" them to make what would be compilations of stories ... kinds of school events, where, for example, the child thinks he must absolutely answer questions, produce a drawing, the adult (or authority here) will be waiting for answers and therefore it happens.

Then, as if the problems in the interrogation technique were not bad enough, Fernandez notes

Finally, and this is rarely mentioned or noticed, there was also a session where the children were invited [by Hind] to draw on the board this time around-and not just on paper. Again, this does not back it literally "to send the child to the table"  ? And it is still in my opinion a methodological error: the child is placed as in a school exercise status, "forcing him to produce" adult authority and waiting for something (and "authority" that the reward verbally or non-verbally) ... John Mack also, two months later, again invited children to draw ..

Dr. Fernandez' article detailing all of the problems with Ms. Hind's and Dr. Mack's interviews is well worth reading (in French, which Google can translate).

But then, unexpectedly, Encounters shows us a fellow named  Dallyn (all of the students were identified by first name only. Later he was identified as Dallyn Vico) who claims to have made up the entire ufo/alien story to get out of class. He claims it was a “shiny rock” and somehow supposedly persuaded the other students they were seeing spacemen. To say that this guy was disbelieved on social media would be an understatement, and I don't believe him, either. Journalist Nicky Carter interviewed Dallyn Vico and other students two weeks after the event in 1994. At that time he made no mention of making anything up. He said that he had seen the "meteorite" the night before, and the object he supposedly saw at the school looked like that, so he thought it was a meteorite, too. Asked if he believed that people could live on other planets as well as earth, Dallyn replied "yes."

Dallyn Vico in 1994

In a second interview in 2008, Dallyn said,

I believe that the Ariel sighting, although we do not fully understand what happened, there was something definitely that did occur there that was out of the ordinary... I looked up into the sky and I saw these lights in the sky, but they weren't fixated in one area..."The lights were flashing like different colors, blue, red, yellow, purple. But they would like flash and then disappear and then they would flash again, but maybe a kilometer or a large distance in the air. They would reappear and flash again, in a different area.

He made no mention of his alleged role in any of this. When the story told by an alleged witness changes in such a major way, that person is a liar. Either he was lying before he changed his story, or else he is lying afterward. Which it is doesn't matter.

So what actually triggered the Ariel School incident? It is difficult to say for sure. But let us recall that this is far from the only incident of apparent mass contagion or mass hysteria, especially among children:

  • "The Voronezh UFO incident was an alleged UFO and extra-terrestrial alien sighting reported by a group of children in Voronezh, Soviet Union, on September 27, 1989. The area has been popular with UFO-hunting tourists.

    "According to TASS, boys playing football in a city park "saw a pink glow in the sky, then saw a deep red ball about three metres in diameter. The ball circled, vanished, then reappeared minutes later and hovered". The children claimed to have seen "a three-eyed alien" wearing bronze coloured boots with a disk on the chest, and a robot, exiting the object.According to the children, the alien used a ray gun to make a 16-year-old boy disappear until the object departed."
  • "In 1959 Papua New Guinea was still a territory of Australia. June of that year saw the spectacular sightings by Father William Gill, an Australian Anglican missionary, and 37 members of his Boianai mission. Gill made notes about the experience, which the media obtained. Stories appeared in August, causing a sensation...One above the hills west, another over- head. On the large one two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the center of the deck, were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or “setting up” something (not visible). One figure seemed to be standing looking down at us (a group of about a dozen). I stretched my arm above my head and waved. To our surprise the figure did the same.... Hynek and Allan Hendry, the the [CUFOS] center’s chief investigator, concluded the ‘lesser UFOs’ seen by Gill were attributable to bright stars and planets, but not the primary object. Its size and absence of movement over three hours ruled out an astronomical explanation." While this account does not involve children, the fact that Father Gill was the spiritual leader of this religious community makes it very likely that his followers would simply agree with what he claimed they saw. Chapter 22 of UFOs Explained by Philip J. Klass discusses this case, and gives compelling reasons why these claims should not be taken seriously.

  • More recently, "On Monday October 2, 2023, news reports from western Kenya told of a bizarre condition that had swept through St. Theresa’s Eregi Girls’ High School. At least 62 students were hospitalized after exhibiting uncontrollable twitching of their arms and legs, including rhythmic muscle contractions and spasms. At times the girls were reported to appear as if possessed by spirits and complained of headaches, dizziness, and knee pain. Many were unable to walk and had to be taken in wheelchairs to waiting ambulances. The strange outbreak occurred in the town of Musoli, about 230 miles northwest of Nairobi...Samples of blood, urine, phlegm, and stool were taken, along with throat swabs. All proved to be unremarkable. By Thursday, Kenyan health officials also ruled out the role of infectious disease and instead concluded that they were suffering from “hysteria” in response to stress from upcoming exams." Psychologist and skeptic Robert E. Bartholomew suggests that it was "mass psychogenic illness... Motor-based outbreaks are most common in less developed countries. They evolve more slowly, often taking weeks or months to incubate. They typically occur in the strictest schools where there is tension between students and administrators or some other conflict. Under such prolonged stress, the nerves and neurons that send messages to the brain become disrupted, resulting in an array of neurological symptoms such as twitching, shaking, convulsions, and trance-like states. This is the same type of outbreak that affected the young Puritan girls in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and led to the infamous witch craze."  Which brings us to:
  • Saducismus Triumphatus by Joseph Glanvill might be thought of as "The Scientific Study of Witchcraft," as it attempted to prove the reality of witchcraft on purely empirical grounds. In the 1689 edition, we read that in 1669, reports reached the Swedish king concerning a large-scale outbreak of witchcraft in the village of Mohra. The king dispatched some commissioners, both lay and clergy, "to examine the whole business." They found that the Devil had apparently drawn hundreds of children into his grasp and had even been seen "in a visible shape." After a careful investigation, they found no fewer than seventy adult witches in the village, who had managed to seduce about three hundred children into the practice of black magic. The commissioners interviewed each of the children separately (they were wiser than John Mack), and found that "all of them, except some very little ones" told stories that were highly consistent, of being supernaturally carried away to the witches' fest, riding through the air on the backs of animals (see chapter 7 of my book UFO Sightings, which can be purchased on Amazon, or "borrowed" from the Internet Archive library.).

So, whatever you choose to call it, "mass hysteria" and "social contagion" are not at all unlikely as explanations for bizarre incidents such as this.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Netflix's "Encounters", Episode 1, Leaves Out Something Important - The Explanation!

So much has been happening in UFOOLogy of late, stuff that is so silly and so widely-reported elsewhere, that I can't see any reason to write about it. Many have finally woken up to the fact that David Grush and other "whistleblowers" tell dramatic tales, but have no proof at all - a situation that has persisted for decades. (In the 1970s and 80s, Len Stringfield of MUFON was telling almost identical tales - also without proof). The Peruvian "alien mummies," presented to the Mexican Congress by Jaime Maussan, are being soundly and deservedly mocked as the frauds they are. These mummies have been known to be non-alien for at least five years now; so anyone involved in their promotion either didn't do any research, or else didn't care and wanted to promote fakery.


Which brings us to the new series Encounters, which premiered on Netflix on September 27. There were high hopes among UFO proponents for this series, one of whose Executive Producers was.Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television. I suspect many were disappointed. I have only seen the first episode so far, and found it tedious and boring. Its primary case is the well-known and widely-witnessed incident from Stephenville, Texas on the night of January 8, 2008. Far more time was spent telling us how people felt about what they saw, than trying to analyze what they saw.

It's strange that Encounters would put so much emphasis on the Stephenville case. There is no longer any mystery about what happened in Stephenville on January 8, 2008. UFO skeptic and retired Air Force pilot James McGaha investigated, and submitted his findings to Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier, who published them in the January/February, 2009 issue. The article is on-line here.  It turns out that the sightings occurred inside a "MOA", a Military Operations Area, where military training routinely goes on.

The FAA informed McGaha on January 18 that a group of four F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron entered the operating area at 6:17 pm local time. A second group of four F-16s entered the same area at 6:26 pm. They departed at 6:54 and 6:58, respectively. The time the aircraft were flying in the MOA accords with the time of the sightings....

What were the aircraft doing? McGaha says they were flying training maneuvers that involved dropping extraordinarily bright flares. The LUU/2B/B flare is nothing like the standard flares you might think of. These flares have an illumination of about two million candlepower. They are intended to light up a vast area of the ground for nighttime aerial attack. Once released, they are suspended by parachutes (which often hover and even rise due to the heat of the flares) and light up a circle on the ground greater than one kilometer for four minutes. The flare casing and parachute are eventually consumed by the heat. At a distance of 150 miles, a single flare can still be as bright as the planet Venus. McGaha also describes the testimony of a medical helicopter pilot, a retired U.S. Army pilot, flying that night, who saw the lights. He said: “I saw multiple military aircraft, with some dropping flares, in the area of the Brownwood 1 MOA.”

That episode also showed us radar returns, supposedly demonstrating the presence of unknown objects inside the MOA at that time. What does this mean?

These raw data contain 2.5 million points of noise and scatter. MUFON’s report selected just 187 of these points to contend that radar had tracked a huge “object” at least 524 feet in size, traveling near the Western White House (the Bush ranch, which is fifty miles southeast of Stephenville). “MUFON’s radar analysis is nothing more than cherry picking the 187 targets out of 2.5 million points of noise and scatter to make a track moving forty-nine mph for over one hour,” says McGaha. “This analysis is absurd!”

Case closed. The Stephenville case was a flare drop, essentially a repeat of the flare drop responsible for the second part of the famous Phoenix Lights in 1997. That flare drop also occurred in a military training area. The writers of Encounters either chose to leave out the obvious explanation, or else did not bother to even look for one. After all, why risk losing a really good "unexplained" case by looking for explanations?

A blurry UFO photographed by a Stephenville witness, weeks after the main sighting.

 I'll try to watch Episode 2 of Encounters soon, if I feel I can stomach it.

Another Famous Flare Drop - The UFO From 29 Palms

May 23: NBC News reports on the UFO From 29 Palms

Back in May, the major news media were filled with breathless accounts of a "mass UFO sighting" in the California desert, at Twentynine Palms two years earlier. Now, that fact alone should have raised one's eyebrow, because it is well-known that this is the location of a major training base for US Marines. So it'd be reasonable to suspect from the beginning that the Marines had something to do with this.

But the Usual Suspects were hyping the incident as if it were something utterly amazing:

Multiple videos appear to show a UFO flying over Camp Wilson in Twentynine Palms, California. The videos were recorded in April 2021 but only recently released by Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp during an episode of their podcast, Weaponized.

Corbell and Knapp said that at least 50 people, including dozens of Marines, reported seeing the triangular object with lights on its edges. The object was in the air for about ten minutes and prompted a response from military officials, who dispatched helicopters and dozens of trucks to the area.

Jeremy Corbell's Podcast

It sounded too good to be true, and indeed it was. Research by Mick West of Metabunk and John Greenewald Jr. of The Black Vault showed that there indeed was a big training operation involving flare drops going on during the night in question, and that photos taken of the flare drop match perfectly with photos by those who believed they were seeing UFOs. Like the Stephenville incident, and the Phoenix Lights incident, a military flare drop has again been shown to be the cause of a highly-publicized UFO case.

While this UFO case was all over the news, I was listening to an oldies radio station, and they played a 1947 hit by the Andrews Sisters, The Lady From Twentynine Palms. It tells about one young lady:

She left twenty-nine broken hearts
Broken in twenty-nine parts
Now there are twenty-nine fellas complainin' to their moms
About the lady from 29 Palms

She got twenty-nine Cadillacs
Twenty-nine sables from Sach's
They came from twenty-nine fellas who never had their arms
Around the lady from 29 Palms

The point being that, with so many unmarried young men in the Marines in Twentynine Palms, an attractive available woman might be showered with gifts by all the men pursuing her.

So it occurred to me that this UFO ought to have its own version of the song. With a little help from my Muse (that's like a Moose, only smaller), I settled on this, as a beginning.

It had twenty-nine flashing lights
Gave twenty-nine people a fright
And now it's on the news for twenty-nine nights,
It's the UFO from 29 Palms!

Perhaps you can think up some more verses?


Thursday, July 6, 2023

More Credible Eyewitness Testimony about Crashed Saucers & Dead Aliens!!!

Since UFO "confidential sources" and "whistleblowers" are now all over the news, let's examine some cases you might not have heard about. "Psychic" spoon-bender Uri Geller recounts how he was supposedly taken by his good friend Dr. Wernher Von Braun to see the alien bodies from a saucer crash. 

Friends I saw them with my very own eyes I was there in a refrigerated vault with Dr Wernher Von Braun, I had an encounter with them when I was 5, there are none human built vehicles, there are bodies and there are living aliens among us. The Israeli government knows about everything I have seen so does #NSA. I had  photos which I took with my #MINOX camera that were stolen from my 57th apartment in NY. Wait until I find the negatives.

Wow! That always happens when somebody gets a good, clear photo of UFOs or aliens - something "happens" to the photos! Is this credible? Robert Salas, of "UFOs and Nukes" fame, says he believes Uri . So there you have it! I'm wondering if Hal Puthoff has anything to say about his old colleague's claims?

Uri Geller says this Tik Tok video of a living alien  is authentic!

[Update July 9: Scott Brando of ufoofinterest reminds us that back in 2020, he showed us that this "alien video" is an acknowledged 'artistic creation' by Shaban Havuzsalim. ]


Those of us who are not UFO newbies are well aware of the times when we have been through all this before. Most significant were the many claims of the well-known UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield (1920-1994), who worked with NICAP, MUFON, and CUFOS. In the 1970s, Stringfield began chasing down claims of "crashed saucers," and it seems that the more people heard about his investigations, the more people he heard from to make such claims. Here is an excerpt from a 1978 interview of Stringfield:

on several occasions in the past 30 years UFOs have crashed and the bodies of dead entities have been taken from them. The bodies have been examined and preserved. My sources describe the beings as from three to four feet in height and of humanoid appearance ..... What I have been getting lately are growing numbers of reports from reliable military people who claim to have seen all this firsthand.... There's a 1948 crash, another from 1951 or 52, something in 1953, one in 1958, and two incidents in the 70s.

This was published forty-five years ago, almost a decade before the current celebrity "whistleblower," David Grusch, was born.

Here Stringfield says that he has a total of 24 different sources, although only four are first-hand witnesses. When Jacques Vallee spoke with Stringfield in 1989, that number of "first-hand" sources had reportedly  increased to 37.

And what has happened to all these "informants," and the secret ET projects they supposedly worked on? Did it all just 'evaporate' into the haze of history?

Of course, Stringfield was not the only one to gain attention by claiming knowledge of Crashed Saucers and dead aliens. In 1974, Robert S. Carr made headlines by telling stories about alien bodies in the deep freeze at Hangar 18 of Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. And of course, the famous hoax in Frank Scully's 1950 book Behind the Flying Saucers, claiming that a saucer crashed near Aztec, NM in 1948.

So, you can see why those of us who are familiar with UFO history are pretty much all saying, "Same old, same old!" in this matter.

And now, just for fun, here is the Flying Saucer Physicist, Stanton T. Friedman, predicting impending 'Disclosure' in 1968, fifty-five years ago!

from the Dallas Times Herald

Thursday, June 29, 2023

He Sees Dead People. "The Key – A True Encounter" By Whitley Strieber

Now that Whitley Strieber has come forward to talk with Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp, taking advantage of the current UFO infatuation to peddle his usual woozy stuff, it made me recall the review I wrote of Strieber's later book, The Key. I am wondering how much of Whitley's wacky claims Corbell and Knapp even know about. Do they still think that Strieber is credible?

By the way, in this interview posted June 27, Whitley says, "I think we're right on the edge of the truth coming out, I think we're very close" to UFO Disclosure. Let's add this to the long, long list of Disclosure predictions. Maybe this time he'll be right? 😂

Jeremy Corbell, Whitley Strieber, and George Knapp.

( My review of Strieber's book, The Key – A True Encounter. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin Group 2011. ISBN 978-1-58542-869-4. 256pp, $15.95)

Reprinted from The Skeptical Inquirer, July/August, 2011 

He Sees Dead People

In 1987 Whitley Strieber, already well-known as a writer of fantasy and science fiction like Wolfen, The Hunger, and other tales published the supposedly non-fiction book Communion about his ongoing encounters with ET-like beings he calls “the visitors.” It was on the New York Times bestseller list for many weeks, followed up by Transformation in 1988, and then by numerous other paranormal-themed books, some admitted to be novels, others not. Imagine if Steven King had written a masterful horror novel, but claimed that all of the ghostly goings-on really did happen to him, although he could offer no proof of any of it. That’s where we stand with Strieber.

Whitley with his late wife, Ann Strieber, in 2012.

In The Key, Strieber writes, “my experience between 1985 and 1993 with creatures that appeared to be alien was associated with a surprising side effect, which was simultaneous contact with the dead, who would appear along with the visitors, and not as ghosts.”  What a pity he didn’t mention those dead people when he wrote about “the visitors” in Communion or Transformation.

The Key begins in 1998 when Strieber says that, late one night during a long and grueling book promotion tour, a mysterious man unexpectedly knocked on the door of his hotel room.  Against his better judgment he let the man in, who proceeded to engage Strieber in “the best conversation I’ve ever had,” described as “deeply, profoundly new” and “richly textured.”  What did this ordinary-looking man, who came to be called “The Master of the Key,” have to say? Gems like “The energetic body has a spin, or vibration. This can go infinitely fast. It can reach beyond the speed of light, and exit time altogether.”  Or, “All being includes all elements of the earth, and thus all are part of all bodies. We are the consciousness of the planetary level that it has spent all of its life evolving, each and all of us.“ The Master would seem to be on the fast path to a Nobel Prize in physics, except for being disqualified by his admission that he was dead.

There is also some dark conspiracy about Mars that is only hinted at in statements like “Mars was murdered by you.” As for crop circles, they are “two dimensional portraits” created by dead people. The Master also warned “Warmth being retained near the surface by greenhouse elements results in cooling aloft. A massive and extremely powerful convection can arise that results in a storm so great that it changes the climate permanently. The next ice age will begin soon, and this will lead to the extinction of mankind.” Strieber is the co-author of the ridiculous eco-disaster novel, The Coming Global Superstorm, along with Art Bell, the late night conspiracy talk show maven, from which was made the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

As you might surmise from a skilled storyteller, The Master walks out the door, and disappears mysteriously into the night. Say what you want about Strieber’s credibility, but he does know how to turn a fine phrase, and how to spice up a story. Still, Strieber, the Master’s ventriloquist, comes across as a rather loopy and preachy social activist, but as the late George Adamski surely realized, nobody would care about his political statements unless they actually came from the Venusians.  And however preachy, at least The Master isn’t as long-winded as John Galt.

Strieber had more to say about seeing Dead People when he spoke to the International UFO Congress in 2012.

Streiber returned to the theme of contact with the dead that he first began to promote in his book The Key. Dead people, he says, dress in a brown monk's cowl, "Jesuit clothing." Some of the visitors think it is possible for mankind to Evolve, while others apparently are not so optimistic. That is why the visitors are so cautious and stealthy. Afterward, mankind will be changed completely, and come face-to-face with the dead. Strieber still says he does not know exactly who "the visitors" are, but he knows that The Dead play a large role.

(This book review also appears on my Debunker website, along with another piece describing my Close Encounter with Whitley Strieber in 1988.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

8 Foot Tall Aliens Land in Las Vegas Back Yard!!!!

So, you've probably seen wild stories about this on the news:

"Big, shiny eyes. Towering nearly 10 feet tall. 100% not human." the Los Angeles Times.

"Vegas police respond to report of '10-foot creature' in yard after green flash across sky." CNN.

"Aliens among us? Vegas UFO report latest in UAP sightings investigated worldwide." USA Today.

And many other places. UFO stories are good for "clicks", for ratings, and the wilder, the better.

Note the time stamp: 2023 May 1, 06:49 UTC

But let's look at this carefully. From this video, it is obvious that the object is a brilliant meteor fireball. I've seen many such videos before, and even a few such fireballs with my own eyes. Now in this copy of the video, we can see the time stamp (for some reason George Knapp's Channel 8 seems to have chopped it off in their copies). And when I saw the time stamp, I realized, since the American Meteor Society records such fireballs, this gives us something to investigate.

American Meteor Society map showing observers' locations. Trajectory was east-to-west.

The American Meteor Society states, "We received 21 reports about a fireball seen over AZ, CA, NV and UT on Monday, May 1st 2023 around 06:48 UT."  This exactly matches the time stamp on the above video. There is no doubt remaining, what people saw that night, all across the Western states (and not just in Las Vegas), was a brilliant fireball. Watch the video on that AMS page, and you will see how absolutely brilliant the meteor became for just a second.

What about those 8-foot-tall aliens reportedly seen in the back yard? Well, it turns out that Angel, the guy who claimed to see the aliens, now has a YouTube channel named "Alien Society 51." On it, he tells his yarn about how two giant alien creatures supposedly invaded his back yard. Here is another interview with him, where he tells how the alien went into his fork lift. Believe it, if you can.

Honest, I'm not making this stuff up!

Some people are suggesting that a circular pattern in the gravel in his yard was left by the saucer landing, although Angel did not strongly make such a claim. In any case, photos from Google Earth reveal that this pattern already existed more than a year before the supposed incident

In January, 2022, a twitter account called "Alien Society 51 NFT" was created, and some have attempted to link it to Angel. NFTs ("Non-Fungible Tokens") are a type of digital ownership certificate, pertaining to works of art. While a few people have profited greatly from such "investments," they remain highly speculative. That NFT account never went beyond its initial posting. Other than the name similarity, I have not seen anything to connect "Alien Society 51" to "Alien Society 51 NFT."

 When a transparently bogus story like this makes national headlines, usually without a hint of skepticism or investigation, it shows the sorry state of UFOOlogy, and so-called "journalism," today.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Story of Dramatic New "UFO Whistleblower" Begins to Crumble

So, unless you have been living under a rock these past few days, you have seen the breathless, uncritical news coverage about the latest "UFO whistleblower" making extraordinary claims. His is a former Intel guy named David Grusch, who has recently been turning up all over the credulous media, making claims of 'secret government crashed UFO retrieval programs.' How to know which reporters are credulous and foolish? That's easy: if they ran with this story on the basis of no evidence at all, that's them. And Grusch admits all this is only hearsay - he says he hasn't seen any crashed saucers, or even any photos of them. Or of the alien bodies that he says were found inside......

David Grusch

It began with an article in The Debrief by Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal, "INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS SAY U.S. HAS RETRIEVED CRAFT OF NON-HUMAN ORIGIN."   Where have we seen those names before? Yes, the authors of the now-discredited 2017 New York Times story that launched the UFO mania about Tom DeLonge, Lu Elizondo, etc. (Kean is now also a major promoter of belief in Spiritualism and ghosts, but that is the subject of another posting.)

The problem for Kean is that her 'respected source' can't keep his mouth shut. "Government Whistleblower Claims U.S. Has Recovered Alien Bodies, Is Covering It Up." 

I don't care what lies he is telling other people, what he told us is TRUTH!

This has caused Leslie Kean to back away from her earlier, breathless endorsement of Grusch's tales. John Greenewald, Jr. of The Black Vault writes,

Kean states that the "UFO whistleblower"'s claim about "dead pilots" and bodies from the "non-human craft" was never discussed with her, she doesn't want to talk about it, nor would she have published it.

How could you not have heard about that during the vetting process, and why would you not publish something that could change the human race if you felt the source of your story was credible and his claims were true?

In other words, Kean is saying, "My source only lies half the time." 😅

And the more interviews Grusch gives, the more wild stuff comes up. In an interview with the French newspaper le Parisien, Grush said,

In 1933, a bell-like craft, around ten meters in size, was recovered in Magenta, northern Italy. It was kept by Mussolini's government until 1944 when it was recovered by agents of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, a former US intelligence agency). Ironically, it predates anything the public has heard about for decades, such as Roswell, etc. I was authorized to talk about it by the Department of Defense's Office of Prepublication and Security Review.

Well, if Hitler could have his Nazi flying saucers, why can't Mussolini have his, too?

Nazi flying saucer

UFO grifter Dr. Steven Greer wrote,

Dr. Greer met with this whistleblower in March 2022 in Culpepper, VA and has been providing him with information about facilities and operations.

So Greer claims that he has been providing information to Grusch, and not the other way around! "In fact, Dr. Greer mentored this key whistleblower David Charles Grusch." To which Grusch replied,

I have not been mentored by anyone, and my public disclosure has been done independently under my own free will. I emphatically request that Steven Greer cease using my name to promote his personal agenda”.

But it is beginning to appear that Grusch's entire tale might be just be recycling the same old stories we've been hearing for years. Citing comments made elsewhere,  Area503 notes on Twitter that

Grusch's insider information comes from Hal Puthoff's employee at Earth-Tech International: Eric Davis??

No wonder
 found his testimony to lack credibility.

This is getting downright silly now.

As more 'connecting links' between the old cover-up tales and the new begin to be noted, Jack Brewer adds,

Looking like Kean's "multiple insiders" are Elizondo, Puthoff, Davis... because of effing course they would be. If so, what a complete waste of time, of which these people should be ashamed of themselves.

In other words, these are the same, familiar old claims, from people who have been involved with Bigelow, TTSA, etc. The collapse of the current extreme Disclosure mania will surely rank as one of the worst black eyes in the history of UFOOlogy. Persons seeking to hasten the general acceptance of UFO belief by hastily embracing welcome (but dubious) claims will have damaged that acceptance almost beyond repair, once the dust settles from this fiasco.

UFO newbies apparently have no idea that this "Disclosure tease" has been going on for more than seventy years, and always comes up empty. Every few years (at least), some new set of rumors begin to swirl, usually based on some dramatic claim, that 'government secrecy about UFOs will soon be ending!'. But of course, it never does. You can't "stop" something that never started.

Friday, May 19, 2023

"Trinity UFO Crash" Story Crashes - and Vallee Melts Down!

Those who follow developments in UFOdumb are probably familiar with the book Trinity, The Best-Kept Secret, self-published by Paola Harris and Jacques Vallee. I wrote only a little about it early last year. It's the story of a supposed saucer crash in New Mexico in August, 1945 not far from the site of the Trinity nuclear test, the world's first. It's primarily based on the accounts of two young boys who supposedly witnessed the saucer crash, saw still-living aliens, and then watched as the army carried it all off.

The Second Edition

Paola Harris and Jacques Vallee



When the book was first published, to say it was not well-received by serious researchers would be an understatement. Longtime researcher Kevin Randle interviewed both authors in 2021, and wrote

I’ll just point out that Vallee and Paola said that there was no documentation, the physical evidence that was talked about didn’t exist in today’s world, other than a couple of pieces that, when analyzed didn’t demonstrate an extraterrestrial origin. 

Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Others were less generous. Bryan Sentes wrote on the Skunkworks Blog

On finishing Vallée’s and Harris’ Trinity, the reader would be forgiven if they wondered if the “Jacques Vallée” who co-authored this book were the same “Jacques Vallée” credited with writing Revelations or the recently re-issued Passport to Magonia. Where the last volume is, at least in certain circles, highly-prized for being inventive and groundbreaking and Revelations is a focussed, critical examination of the stories about alien abduction, crashed flying saucers and dead aliens, secret alien bases and cattle mutilation, Trinity is an unfocussed, raggedly-composed, eye-rollingly credulous mess of a book.

It would be a tedious exercise to catalogue its manifold failings. While Vallée speaks of himself as a scientist and even imagines scientists reading the book (286), Trinity is no work of science, scholarship, or even investigative journalism. Indeed, it reads like a first draft, in sore need of a thorough editing for content and structure, let alone a proof-reading.
And Jason Colavito wrote
The San Antonio crash story is rather unbelievable, even by UFO standards. According to the most common version of the story, Jose Padilla and Reme Baca, then aged 9 and 7, witnessed a nearly thirty-foot-long spacecraft crash into the desert. They ran to the crash site and saw two little men emerge and begin running about in a panic. One of the boys took a piece of debris from the crash site. Then, the U.S. Army arrived, built a road out to the crash site, and retrieved the spaceship. The boys never knew what became of the little men from inside the ship.
Illustration of the crashed UFO at Trinity by James Neff, based on the boys' description.

So the Trinity UFO Crash story was on pretty thin ice, from the time of its release in May, 2021. But now it has been blown apart completely. A very diligent researcher named Douglas Dean Johnson has dropped a whole boxcar of dynamite on the yarn, and blown it to smithereens. Johnson did the research that Vallee and Harris should have done before publishing this outlandish tale.

I first heard of Johnson about two years ago, when he sent me material critical of the UFO claims of Ray Stanford. Now he has published a very careful and detailed refutation of the principal claims of the Trinity Crash story, mortally wounding it. He writes,

This article, Crash Story: The Trinity UFO Crash Hoax, and the linked Crash Story File series, are based on my journalistic investigations (extending over three months, as of May 1, 2023). I present extensive documentation establishing that all three of the claimed “eyewitness” sources – Baca, Padilla, Brophy -- have propagated lies and/or fantasies that are absolutely fatal to their credibility. Because I have demonstrated, in my opinion, that the three primary sources have all engaged in multiple gross fabrications, it would be folly to attach any credence whatever to any of the oft-conflicting versions of the UFO crash-recovery events that they have described....

the Trinity UFO-crash story is a tale dreamed up by a serial pretender, Remigio (Reme) Baca, AKA "Ray Baca," now deceased– who faked a history as a political "kingmaker" and senior aide to a governor, and fabricated a story about viewing an ultra-secret government file about his fake UFO crash.  Baca enlisted a man who faked a history as a police officer and wounded veteran, Joseph Lopez (Jose) Padilla. These two fakers hijacked the names and personas of a real policeman (Eddie Apodaca) and a real governor (Dixy Lee Ray) as characters in their shoddy work of fiction.... The tale has grown and morphed over a 20-year period. The current Vallee-Harris presentation incorporates claims that flatly contradict early statements by Baca and Padilla that have been overlooked, ignored, or forgotten.

Johnson's findings were for the most part embraced by the UFO community. Journalist Billy Cox, a staunch UFO promoter, wrote "Based on three months’ worth of scouring public records, contemporaneous newspaper articles, myriad podcasts and consultations with experts, Johnson’s fact-checking revelations are absolutely devastating." And Kevin Randle wrote that Johnson's research "should be the stake in the heart of this tale."

For a few weeks, everyone wondered - what would Vallee and Harris say about this? Would Vallee admit his mistakes, apologize, and move on? Harris herself of course said nothing, then on May 15 she published a reply from Vallee to Johnson on her website. Vallee writes that the history of UFO research

is littered with interminable fights, meaningless boastings and pretentious proclamations, more often designed to denigrate an opponent than to elevate a debate.

The attack against the work that Mrs. Harris and I have conducted in New Mexico since 2018 with the guidance of a scientific research team is a case in point.
There was no "attack" in anything Johnson wrote; he was simply noting the discrepancies between what V&H wrote, and verifiable facts. And Lord knows that one must never dispute "the guidance of a scientific research team"!! Vallee continues,
The accusation of naivety and negligence against us made in « Crash Story » is inaccurate: As the primary author, I only used the recorded data originating from Reme Baca when it could be compared and verified against other statements of fact. Why support the fictitious tale that our book relies primarily on Baca’s version of the story ? That is simply inaccurate.

To which Johnson replies with a quote that is in both editions of Trinity:

From "Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret" (1st Ed. p. 317; 2nd Ed. p. 337): "The primary reference to the events described here [in Trinity] is a monograph by Reme Baca and Jose Padilla, entitled, Born on the Edge of Ground Zero..."
So Vallee apparently does not even remember what he wrote about his own sources.

One clear demonstration of Vallee's "naivety and negligence" was how he ignored all the Red Flags about the research of Ms. Paola, who did not have a reputation for careful research; in fact, quite the opposite. The UFO Watchdog told us all we need to know about her over ten years ago. She told a UFO conference that  "Billy Meier is the real deal." She was hailed by Michael Salla as a  "Pioneer" of Exopolitics. What is "Exopolitics"? It deals with the "Political Implications of the Extraterrestrial Presence." They have no doubts about ETs being here - it is fact!


In fact, Ms. Paola is so far into "Exopolitics" that she is teaching a course in the "Exopolitics Institute," titled "Exo-109 – Messages from Space – Past and Present Contact."  From the course description:
This course takes us back to the early days of contact and the messages given to early contactees. It examines the geopolitical structure of the world in a cold war era. It focuses on the giant Rock conventions and the mission of people like George Van Tassel , Howard Menger and George Adamski. Then the course will shift to present day human alien contacts in both Italy and Latin America.  Contactees such as Sixto Paz, Ricardo Gonzales and Luis Fernando have given us messages about the shift that is taking place and the current evolution of man in the context of an inhabited cosmos.
Got that? The messages from the Space People given to "Classic" contactees like Adamski and Menger were authentic, and so are those of later contactees, as well. How Vallee could simply ignore such absurdity strongly suggests that his discernment, his reasoning, is not what it used to be.
Reading Vallee's autobiographical volumes Forbidden Science, it is apparent that the Vallee of old was not one to simply accept fantastic tales, and he was told plenty of them over the years. He would  react with sort of a bemused smile, and a suggestion that their story might be more compelling if they had any actual evidence. In 1977 I wrote in the Skeptical Inquirer a rather dismissive review of Vallee's book The Invisible College, which teaches "Metalogic." Given the opportunity to reply, Vallee wrote a few calm lines, noting that "a great deal of my time is spent precisely in exposing the contradictions of contactee stories," and he ended it with a silly poem he wrote about the recently-deceased Dr. Donald Menzel. He was unflappable under criticism, which is so different from the Vallee we see in this current screed

Also, in reading Forbidden Science, one is constantly reminded how close Vallee was with his wife Janine, who died in 2010. Her death must have been a tremendous blow to him. One suspects that Janine's death, combined with age-related mental issues, has left Vallee in a rather vulnerable state, prone to being unduly influenced by others. The fact is that Vallee, come September, will be 84, and mental confusion and decline is extremely common among persons of that age. It would be ironic if Vallee's reputation in UFO history were to be largely determined by this absurd screed written in his dotage. It is reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his foolish embrace, in his old age, of the Cottingley Fairies.

Update May 20, 2023: Douglas Dean Johnson has done it again!
He has just published a new article titled Caught in the Act - The Reme Baca Smoking-Gun Interview.
Less than a year before going public with what became the Jacques Vallee-Paola Harris story of the 1945 crash of an avocado-shaped UFO, Reme Baca was tape-recorded peddling a very different story about a boyhood encounter that he and Jose Padilla had with a very different sort of UFO: a tale of their discovery of a classical flying saucer, crashed-- in 1946. And that's just the start.

Reme Baca contacted Roswell author Tom Carey peddling a different "crashed saucer" yarn. This one took place in 1946, not 1945, and involved different circumstances. Johnson posts the recording and the transcript. There is no 'wiggling away' from this one. 

I wonder what rationalization Jacques Vallee will use to dismiss this one? 😄