Monday, February 22, 2016

A Skeptical Look at the 25th Annual International UFO Congress (Part 1)

Once again this year, I attended the International UFO Congress at the We-Ko-Pa Resort, Conference Center, and Casino, near Phoenix, Arizona. It looks much the same as last year, except for the really ugly bright orange bags we were all given. There are not as many plastic alien statues as last year, but there still are a few scattered about.

Samuel Maranto
The very first speaker was Samuel Maranto, MUFON's Illinois State Director, to speak about "Mass Sightings" in his state. Unfortunately, most of his photos and videos only showed featureless 'lights in the sky,' which could have been a lot of things, like lighted balloons (which suggestion he rejected as "complete and utter nonsense"). I did not realize that when the celebrated early morning sightings occurred in southern Illinois on January 5, 2000, the state was already having a decent-sized flap of UFO sightings, and sightings occurred in that same area the previous evening. So people were well-primed to see unidentified objects. He also spoke about the now-famous 2006 UFO sighting at O'Hare Field Gate C17 (and apparently nowhere else).  There are no photos of it, and it did not show up on radar. However, he showed a photo that depicted a round, fuzzy cloud, and said this was what the observers said it looked like. I spoke with Sam quite a bit afterward. He is a very friendly guy, and is not dogmatic.
Paul Davids

Paul Davids is a writer and producer of movies and TV shows. He was the producer and co-writer of the Showtime film Roswell in 1993. He spoke on "Marilyn Monroe, the CIA, and UFOs." He made much of the FBI Hottel Memo that talks about an alleged UFO crash, not bothering to explain how it has been shown to be just a re-hash of the well-known (and bogus) claim of Silas Newton.As for MM, she was killed by the same people who killed JFK the following year. During the evening film festival, Davids presented his 96 minute documentary movie, Marilyn Monroe Declassified. I saw part of the movie, and found it entertaining, just like his talk, but based on gossip and conjecture. I also had some interesting conversations later with Paul. He says his interest in UFOs began when he and his family had a Daylight Disc sighting near Los Angeles in 1987.
Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern, who has written three books about the MIB in the past few years, spoke on "Men In Black: History and Mystery." He went into the well-known history of the Men in Black: Albert K. Bender, Gray Barker, John Keel, Tim Beckley. Brad Steiger, said Redfern, reported an MIB encounter. Since Steiger confessed to me when we met, decades ago, that nothing he wrote should be taken seriously, he knows it's nonsense, I doubt that Steiger's "MIB encounter" actually happened. 

Redfern suggested that the MIB could be (in addition to government agents) ETs, Time Travelers, Demons, or perhaps related to Vampires. He also suggested that in "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers," Gray Barker tried to understand Bender's MIB as best he could. When I had a chance to speak with him later, I explained that I knew Barker, who always treated this book as a joke, as did James Moseley, who according to the book was one of the victims of the MIBs' "silencing." (Moseley lived for 55 years after being "silenced," and was one of the least-silent people in all of UFOdumb.) Perhaps Redfern, having found a comfortable niche in UFOlogy as the MIB-man, has become protective of his prime assets. He certainly knows his MIB lore, even the obscure stuff.
David Jacobs

Longtime UFOlogist and abduction-finder David Jacobs gave one of the most interesting talks, "Understanding the Abduction Phenomenon," which pretty closely followed his latest book, Walking Among Us. That means aliens, or specifically human-alien hybrids, which he calls hubrids. And they are literally taking over our planet, slowly and methodically. This alien enterprise, he says, probably began either in the last quarter of the 19th century, or the first quarter of the 20th.  These abductions are a thing that her never happened on earth before that. Alien abductions are global, clandestine, and intergenerational - they run in families. There is no evidence that aliens have ever made contact with governments. The goal is apparently "planetary acquisition," which they are doing for their own benefit, not ours.

Hubrids aged in their late teens through early 20s are moving into apartments in groups or 2, 3, or 4, although a few of them live alone. (I have seen them, too, but thought they were college students.) The aliens and their hubrids are all telepathic - if someone claims to be an alien hybrid but can't read your mind, then they're not. Since Jacobs says that this alien incursion is the "greatest existential threat" to humanity, it is extremely strange that he and his followers have made no effort at all to identify these invaders, and expose them.

Jacobs says that when he begins hypnosis sessions with a new "abductee," the subject says all kinds of things that just are not true, especially in the first few sessions.  Subjects often "confabulate." But after a few more hypnosis sessions, Jacobs' subjects apparently learn which details are 'correct' and which are not, and tell stories that are much more 'correct.' This conformity among accounts is then cited to "prove" that the abduction stories are real.

(To be continued)


  1. oh thanks for the update. It's always good when someone knows their stuff, such as the MIB lore. Though sadly most psychologists would say that under hypnosis people become less accurate with their memories over time, not more accurate. This is often whey hypnosis when used to help stimulate memories say with a crime witness, are done as soon as possible after the incident.

    1. Hypnosis isn't used in witness recollection, unless the cops are really sloppy. It's been known for ages that hypnosis doesn't 'recover' anything and has a high likelihood of implanting false memories.

      Speaking of, (and aimed at all and sundry here) isn't Jacobs the historian with no training or licensing for hypnosis, who planted false memories in a woman, which included some fairly explicit sexual comments, asked for her panties for 'DNA evidence' of alien pregnancy (and to forget he asked once out of hypnosis), and got hoaxed by one of his subjects?

      (Ah I see my comment is too late... others have already mentioned him below)

  2. I see it's business as usual in saucerland. Nick Redfern is a particularly interesting sideshow in the Fortean circus, since his success rests mainly on his ability to squeeze out an endless string of books in rapid succession by recombining any and all "unsolved mysteries" in new and amusing ways, irrespective of plausibility, logic, or any meaningful distinction between between fact and fiction.

    Like Charles Fort (and quite a few other well-known Forteans), it's very doubtful indeed whether he believes a single word he writes. But unlike Charles Fort, he can write readable prose, so if you just want an entertaining slab of random weirdness that isn't identical to every similar book you've already read, he's your man!

    Also, he's only 51, which compared to most of that crowd makes him a mere infant, so he can still get away with pretending to be a teenager so long as there aren't too many genuinely young people in the room, which, at your average ufo conference, there won't be. Check out da skullz on his hat! Yo kidz, Nick's down widya! Awesome!

    By the way, there's a nice little article by Nick on the MUFON website (in the "Research" subsection?!) plugging a book he co-authored with Timothy Green Beckley, which I think reveals precisely how sincere he is about the balderdash he rattles off whenever there's a bill to pay:

    Which, from your point of view, is good news. When David Jacobs dies of old age, the last of the big names among the fundamentalist abduction preachers will be gone. And who will replace him? The likes of Nick Redfern, whose sole agenda is shifting enough books to maintain him in the lifestyle to which he's accustomed.

    He doesn't care who buys them or why, and he's certainly not going to proselytize about a belief-system he doesn't believe in himself, and which is probably going to be completely different next month when he thinks of another Fortean mash-up that nobody else has ever written a book about because it's too silly.

    And that, in skeptical terms, is major progress. In developed countries today, you have to be a religious maniac or a loony to think that Harry Potter-style witches who can fly and turn people into newts and so forth are real, and we no longer burn old ladies alive for being lonely and unpopular and talking to their cat.

    And although there are dim-witted New Agers who still believe in fairies, nobody lives in fear of a hidden world populated by malevolent baby-stealing elves who you can't even mention directly for fear of them taking offense and murdering you with magic invisible poisoned arrows.

    Thanks to the likes of Nick Redfern, "grays" are rapidly going down the road already taken by witches, fairies, mermaids, and those much handsomer ETs of yesteryear who lived on Venus (usually next door to Jesus Christ), and you should be suitably grateful for the favor, unintentional though it may be.

    PS - You should have asked David Jacobs whether he thinks Nick Redfern might be a "hubrid". Nick certainly seems to know lots of dangerous space secrets that by his own admission ought to get him killed, he dresses and behaves like those young whipper-snappers who are obviously telepathic mutant harbingers of doom (or at least tries to, in a middle-aged sort of way), and he has exactly the same hairstyle as your average "gray" - suspicious, no?

    1. I second what Count Otto says. Nick Redfern is not a reliable source of information. He will contest this with much a-cursing -- and may even attack your use of a pseudonym! -- but that is no defence for the unpalatable shite sausages he has been pinching out the last few years.

    2. COB:

      Just now saw this.

      You say: "By the way, there's a nice little article by Nick on the MUFON website (in the "Research" subsection?!) plugging a book he co-authored with Timothy Green Beckley."

      You need to learn to read: go back and you'll see that I did not co-author the book. It specifically states I was asked to contribute a paper for inclusion in the book. Even the Amazon link shows I am a "contributor" not an author or co-author. Get your facts right next time.

      I can't see what the issue is about wearing t-shirts and jeans and bandanas at any age. I don't like suits and ties etc (in fact, I own none) so its t-shirts for me, even though more than a few conf organizers try to get me to dress up a bit more. No chance of that happening.

      You also say: "Like Charles Fort (and quite a few other well-known Forteans), it's very doubtful indeed whether he believes a single word he writes."

      You are dead wrong. I fully believe in the existence of the MIB as paranormal phenomena. I fully believe that aliens did not crash at Roswell. I think it's likely that Bigfoot and certain other cryptids are Tulpas. The list goes on. You should have asked me directly, rather than make a sweeping statement that is 100 per cent wrong. Maybe you don't like confrontation. That would, after all, explain the fear of using your own name.

      You also say: "...The likes of Nick Redfern, whose sole agenda is shifting enough books to maintain him in the lifestyle to which he's accustomed."

      You're joking, right??? Do you know anyone who lives in the life of luxury from specifically writing books on Forteana? I don't. Unless you're really lucky, no-one in this scene gets rich. But, I'd much rather do the job I have and enjoy it and work from my small apartment, than be a bored and miserable millionaire.

      If you have any other incorrect assumptions about me...ASK ME FIRST.

      "Terry" is right - I have no time for people who can't face debating unless they can hide behind a pseudonym (ironically, Terry himself is one of these). For me, using a pseudonym is a sign of insecurity, and lack of personal self-esteem.

  3. Did anyone have the wit, balls or humour to ask Jacobs about Emma Woods? Or if she's the reason he's looking so ancient all of a sudden?

    Speaking of abductions, many here should be interested in Carol Rainey's latest, if you haven't seen it already:

    —Peter B

  4. Peter- You'd never get a straight answer out of Jacobs regarding Woods, so it'd be pointless to ask. And, honestly why should we care - if Robert's write up is conveying Jacob's methodology right, he first picks the confabulation he likes best (while discarding the rest as 'not true'), and then hardens his favored co-created nonsense with more hypnosis until it's accepted as fact. He's just gross.

    1. > if Robert's write up is conveying Jacob's methodology right

      It is. This has been documented in Jacobs' own books, as well as those by CDB Bryan and Jim Schnabel. (I hope I spelled all that right -- I've had a snoot.)

    2. Jeff, we should care for many reasons:

      1. an unlicensed/untrained practitioner is going around hypnotising people (long distance!)
      2. that same person, if licensed, could have been sued/barred from practicing because of the unethical sexual comments (amongst other things) that occured under hypnosis
      3. that Woods was looking for answers for, what turned out to be, an untreated sleeping disorder that could have recieved treatment and diagnosis far earlier (mental health issues tend to be seriously mistreated/ignored/underplayed by fringe believers of all types which can cause further damage too).
      4. the distress that was/is caused by planting false memories of alien rape, which I'd imagine aren't particularly good for one's psyche

      This isn't just bad science. This is seriously f*d up mistreatment of people (mostly women I'm guessing) that by all rights would have most actual doctors struck off. Woods has little recourse due to Jacobs not being licensed and the costs of suing overseas. That's why we should care; it's not just gross, he's an ongoing threat to vulnerable people.


  5. Jeff—I wouldn’t expect a *straight* answer from Jacobs. It was more a question about those attending. And any answer would have been revealing.

    On your second point: he’s been peddling this “first they confabulate, then they see the light” line for at least 20 years. I saw him at it in London circa 1995.

    As for “gross”—maybe not quite the *mot juste*, but it’ll pass muster as shorthand!

    —Peter B

    1. Hi Peter- I've been privy to the results of Jacobs' brand of 'research' quite closely. Trust me, gross is the right adjective. ;)

    2. I was at the same London (Fortean Times?) conference in which Jacobs spoke; I recall his prediction that the truth about abductions would, he was confident, be made public "within 5 or 6 years", i.e. by the end of the 20th century, so he must be a bitterly disappointed man. Alas, he is now the only remaining abductionist of the 'big three' (Hopkins, Jacobs and John Mack). Who will fill his shoes when he eventually departs this earth? Or is he hoping some hybrid or 'hubrid' will one day replace him?

  6. Well, it's a relief to have the whole JFK/MM thing straightened out at last! Thanks. I'll be following your report.

  7. I was at the conference but did not ask Jacobs about Woods. I did not say anything to Jacobs at the conference. I did not see the point. He's heard it before. But I talked about Woods at dinner when we sat next to a very nice hypnotherapist (whose office had worked with one abductee in over twenty years) and a skeptical film maker. I recommended Jack Brewers "The Grays Have Been Framed" to both.

    I am told that Jacobs had no time for questions during his performance. I missed it, however, because I thought it would be more fun to take our RAV4 rental 12 miles down a rough dirt road to a UFO crash site geocache. Apparently an out of control hybrid had flown straight into a rock and sliced it in two, leaving only a model saucer craft in its wake. Or at least that was my interpretation:

    But I did enjoy the Marilyn Monroe presentation (and the film). It was good to know that RFK had not killed her, although the alien connection was a bit tenuous. My skeptical dinner companion thought that an overdose killed her, but I would rather believe that she was the vuctim - one way or the other - of a perfect storm. I spent the rest of the night with Dan Bern's song about Marilyn in the back of my mind: "Marilyn Monroe should have married Henry Miller" and if she had she might be alive today.


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