Monday, February 23, 2015

A Skeptic at the UFO Congress, 2015 - Part 2

Ruben Uriarte
On Friday Morning, February 20, the first speaker was Ruben Uriarte, longtime MUFON investigator and State Director for Northern California. I first met Ruben on the UFO Tour of Mexico we took in 1996. He was one of the organizers. We didn't see any UFOs, but we saw some great places in Mexico and had a lot of fun. It was good to see him again after many years.

His subject was "Border Crossings of the Third Kind," or UFO crashes in Mexico. He re-hashed the MJ-12 papers & the FBI memo, also the Marfa Lights and the Star Child Skull. He pointed out that in the movie "Earth vs the Flying Saucers," a high-frequency beam is used to bring down the saucers (as is claimed about the Aztec and some other "UFO crashes.").

He showed video excerpts of his appearances on the "History" channel. Ruben discussed 3 UFO crashes in northern Mexico in the 1950s. One in Chihuahua is reported to involve alien bodies. The U.S. military is said to have been present assisting the Mexicans. Some witnesses claim to have seen an "explosion" in the sky, and also strange creatures.

One of  the crashes supposedly occurred in 1948, near Laredo, Texas.  It has a photo of a burned and dead being commonly known as "Tomato Man"  Unfortunately, Ruben's investigation is a little behind the time. Later investigation has shown that Tomato Man is a dead pilot, and is definitely terrestrial.
James Gilliland

Next was James Gilliland, who calls his group ECETI - Enlightened Contact with Extraterrestrial Intelligence. He has a ranch in rural Washington state, where he and those who visit him claim to see all manner of implausible things. In fact, he says that ET ships have been seen at his ranch every night for thirteen years! Gilliland showed a night vision video of bugs flying about. He also showed some photos of Fairy Beings and Gnomes obtained there.

Among the claims that Gilliland made in his alloted time: Chemtrails, Black Helicopters, microwave psychotronics (i.e., mind control), and beings coming through a wall.  We have cures for everything,  but it's being suppressed. He showed videos of a door that opens up in the mountain, and objects go in and out. (You have to use a lot of imagination to see that door.) He showed a video excerpt from the show Paranormal State Illustrated where "psychic" Chip Coffey came out to the ECETI ranch, and predicted the time of a UFO appearance. However, since UFOs are apparently seen there almost constantly, the prediction, while reasonably specific, was not surprising. Gilliland  plaintively asked: with so many sightings, why is the ECETI group marginalized, even in the UFO community? Earth to James: even many UFO believers have a limit of how many weird claims they are willing to accept.
Joshua P. Warren

Next Joshua P. Warren spoke on the Brown Mountain lights. He has made extraordinary claims on just about every 'paranormal' cable TV show there is. He mentioned the USGS investigations of the alleged lights, and just about everything he said about that was counter-factual. The USGS could, and did, explain the lights. This has been written about in UFO books for decades.

He thinks that the lights are naturally-produced plasmas, and that reports of strange military activity in the area means that the military wants to study the lights. He showed a few videos of Bug UFOs, then talked about the "Wishing Machine" he is selling, which operates using the "Law of Attraction." He also teaches an expensive seminar on how to use that machine.

A crowd lines up to check out the "Wishing Machine" of Joshua P. Warren, which uses the "Law of Attraction."
Mark Pilkington
Next was Mark Pilkington, whose book (now also a movie) Mirage Men purports to show how military and intelligence operators have shaped and exploited belief in UFOs. He called his talk "The Abuses of  Enchantment." I would have to say that Pilkington is not a man who gets directly to the point.

While I can agree that such involvement has been shown to happen a few times, including incidents outside the United States - for example, he cites a Rand Corporation paper on exploiting local superstitions - I don't see how this has any real significance for our understanding of the UFO circus. I had only a brief opportunity to speak to him afterward. I said I didn't think such instances were of much significance to the UFO scene as a whole, and he agreed. I think what he was saying was that military and intelligence involvement was responsible for shaping the public perception of a UFO cover-up, which is at least partly true. Like I said, he doesn't get directly to the point, but if you can figure out what he means he seems to be pretty skeptical. Somebody asked him about crop circles - are there any that are not of human origin? Pilkington's answer: no, except for a few simple ones which may be of meteorological origin. (Thus none are made by aliens.)

But good olde Stanton Friedman, the Flying Saucer physicist, wasn't having any of this. During the Q&A period (Pilkington was among the few speakers to actually allow time for a real Q&A), Friedman, who says he is fully recovered from the heart attack he suffered last year, laid down the gauntlet: this was "effective propaganda," he said, and asked Pilkington "Who are you working for?" You, Friedman said, might be part of the Disinformation campaign.

Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden peddling Extraterrestrial tall tales
More Plastic Aliens

Leda Beluche, GirlieVegan Energy Healer, poses with the plastic aliens of Australian artist Alan Groves. He says that he did these sculptures during the past two years. I asked, "So these are not the same plastic aliens that Boyd Bushman photographed?" "Not the same ones," he replied, "mine are much better."

This collection of mirrors is a "Moonlight Collector," which will focus the rays of the moon (or bright star) where you want it. This of course results in "healing." This reflector is actually mounted on a goto telescope mount, which can track celestial objects. However, while the mount can be made to keep the mirror pointing at the same object, it does NOT keep that object's reflection fixed!
At the Film Festival in the evening, I stayed to watch the new movie Travis, which tells the story of the alleged UFO abduction of Travis Walton in 1975 (as does the 1993 Hollywood film Fire in the Sky, which they says is less accurate in depicting the "facts"). The movie is pretty well made, telling the story of the alleged abduction, albeit by a highly selective presentation of events. Much is made of the six woodcutters, five of whom barely knew Walton at all, passing a police polygraph test. This is not as significant as they make it, because the questions asked were primarily to determine whether Travis (still "missing") was murdered, and his body dumped in the woods. Most likely only Travis and his buddy Mike Rogers (driving the truck) were "in on" the hoax - the other five woodcutters had no idea what was going on.  Hence they could truthfully say that they didn't murder Travis, and they saw an unknown object in the woods. At least one other person needed to be in the woods, to work the light show.

Completely concealed, however, was the fact that Travis had flunked a polygraph examination, paid for by the National Enquirer, and administered by the most experienced examiner in the state of Arizona, who concluded that Travis was practicing "gross deception." APRO (which was promoting Walton's story) and the National Enquirer concealed this embarrassing fact. Walton later passed a different polygraph test (for which he had adequate time to prepare), but failed a later one on the 2008 TV show Moment of Truth. In reality, if someone is anticipating taking a polygraph exam, and practices for it, they have a very good chance of fooling the examiner. The skeptic's case against the Walton "abduction" is summarized here on my website.

This movie clearly displays Philip J. Klass Derangement Syndrome, spending about ten minutes raving about him and denouncing him (the Walton camp hates Klass because he blew the whistle on Travis' polygraph failure, and other things, that they concealed). They repeat the unfounded claim that Klass tried to bribe Steve Pierce $10,000 to say that the case was a hoax (I have already shown that archive documents support Klass' version of events). 

Ben Hansen, of the SyFy Channel show Fact or Fake?, with Travis Walton and the movie's producer Jennifer W. Stein

After that movie, I went over to the pool area of the hotel where Ben Hansen was holding a sky view, to demonstrate some very expensive night vision equipment that he wants to sell to credulous UFO buffs. The sky was mostly cloudy, so Hansen pointed his camera at stars wherever the clouds weren't, and looked for anomalous objects. He didn't see any, and he explained quite well what was happening whenever an airplane or bird flew across the view. Such equipment, in the hands of someone who doesn't understand it well, will produce all kinds of "sightings" (mostly bugs, birds, aircraft, and satellites), but it won't show you anything that you can't see with a good pair of binoculars.


  1. You're not supposed to be able to see the door as it's well camouflaged. The keyhole can only be seen in the last light of Durin's day.

    Sometime i wonder if I'm in the wrong business. Some of these people are making good money on this- heck, Walton has two movies about his "experience" now. I'm sure I could come up with a reasonably realistic tale to enthrall the believers.

  2. Its a Star Trek convention without all the Star Trek. As somebody mentioned earlier, I'd also like to know if Friedman confronted Lazar.

  3. Robert, I'm slightly interested in Stanton Friedman. He was trained as a scientist, so my question is: Did he look the least bit disconcerted at all the scientific illiterates attending this conference? As a scientist/engineer I know I would feel very uncomfortable....

  4. > "Who are you working for?"

    I am not familiar with Friedman's live performances, but this strikes me as a little desperate, even for him (although he does believes Menzel was in MJ-12). But I don't know. Is this Stan's way at conferences, Robert?

  5. > I'd also like to know if Friedman confronted Lazar.

    Judging from Twitter, it appears there was a confrontation between STF and Jeremy Corbell, who has made a new Lazar documentary. Lazar acolytes characterise it here:

    Afterward, Friedman went on Twitter and gave Lazar quite a bit of stick in a series of Tweets. Unfortunately, Stan's Twitter page has since been taken down (by who I don't know).

    I have to feel for Stan on this. These Lazar proponents sound like wild-eyed lunatics (one of them claims Lazar was prozen right about emelent 115!).

    1. > prozen right about emelent 115!

      Egad! Should be "proven right about element 115"

      (I shouldn't have had that glass of sherry so soon after a Mentos!)

  6. Is it possible that not only skeptics can effectively describe UFO experiencers and their subjects as ridiculous, but that the intelligence behind flying saucers deliberately introduces high strangeness as what Dr Vallee calls a 'control mechanism?" The phenomenon is deliberately staged is such a way as to allow authorities and their loyal servants to dismiss the subject while on a subconscious level the UFOs are changing human belief systems.

  7. I shared the picture of Girlie Vegan with my kid, who wondered why they were going to college when they could be doing that. But they would have to be a lot more new agey and a lot more girlie. So I guess it was back to the books.

  8. Cannot access the links to as it is firewalled off a "Hate". When did your page get banned please and why?

    1. Who exactly "firewalled" it off? Who "banned" it? Cannot you bypass that?

      I have some pages that critique bogus feminist claims. To the regressive left, that is "hate speech." They don't believe in freedom of speech, instead they try to censor views they disagree with.


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