Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Skeptical Look at the 25th Annual International UFO Congress (Part 2)

Alejandro Rojas

(Continuing from the last posting) Alejandro Rojas was the  Master of Ceremonies for the Congress, introducing the speakers and making announcements. He spoke about several interesting but implausible "Strange Alien Encounters," in many different countries: the U.S., the UK, Italy, Chile, Poland, Japan, and others. The famous Kelly-Hopkinsville "goblin encounters" in Kentucky, in 1955. An alleged encounter  with extraterrestrials by a maintenance man on the estate of Lord Mountbatten (Prince Philip's uncle) in 1955. Desmond Leslie was Mountbatten's friend, who related further ET contact claims by this maintenance man. (It wasn't mentioned that Leslie was a close associate of and co-author with George Adamski).  Perhaps the most interesting story was that of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who served as president of the Republic of Kalmykia for 17 years and for 20 years as the head of the World Chess Federation. He claims to have been abducted by aliens, and even claims that the game of chess was invented by space aliens.

Barbara Lamb (left), with one of her Alien Hybrid friends
Longtime UFO abductionist Barbara Lamb's talk was titled "Meet the Hybrids - ET Ambassadors on Earth." She explained that when she goes to UFO conferences (she goes to pretty much all of them), she meets women (mostly) who claim to be alien "hybrids" born to earth women. Some claim to have Reptilian paternal ancestry, while others' fathers are Mantis beings. She has a completely different view of the alleged hybrid invasion than does Jacobs, who sees it as our greatest existential threat - she sees it as all Sweetness and Light. She actually said that the aliens' whole reason for being here on earth "is to serve humanity." Perhaps she is not familiar with the episode of the Twilight Zone in which the alien comes to earth with a book titled "to serve man" - and everyone is delighted until it's discovered that this is a cookbook. In any case, she quickly added, "in a beneficial way."

In her rambling, unfocused talk, Lamb asserted "we are all one," aliens and earthlings alike. She called up her six "hybrids" to speak, one by one. Five of the six are women. As the first one rambled on, taking far more than one-sixth of the remaining time, it occurred to me that Barbara Lamb seemed unaware of the Second Law of UFOlogy: Whenever a New Age "experiencer" has an opportunity to speak to an audience about her paranormal adventures, she will continue to do so until someone loops a cane around her neck and pulls her offstage. These various Hybrids claimed to be 5th dimensional beings, and spoke about their hybrid children aboard that UFO. They are here to "raise the frequency" of earth, as well as to help the animals.
Dr. Joe Lewels

Dr. Joe Lewels has a PhD in journalism, and is a certified hypnotherapist. His subject was "Forbidden Science - UFOs and Religion." He asserts that UFOs are the "missing link" for understanding the miracles of the Bible. All that talk about Ezekiel's Chariot and the Burning Bush and such are just "Biblical terms for UFOs." He concluded that "UFOs inspire religious beliefs." Amen, brother!

David Hatcher Childress is well-known as the co-star of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, and styles himself as "the real life Indiana Jones." He spoke on "Ancient Aliens and Megalithic Construction." He explained how all of these ancient megalithic sites are so wonderful that they could have only been built by aliens. 

Even after his talk, Childress showed himself to be a veritable dynamo of energy as he held the attention of assembled crowds at his literature table and elsewhere, dispensing off-the-cuff wisdom about ancient aliens and such.
Childress at his literature table, taking the Name of Science in vain. 
Animated and energetic, he wows the assembled crowd.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, who has the largest UFO conference of them all? According to the Guiness Book of World Records in 2015, the International UFO Congress near Phoenix is supposed to be the largest. Its auditorium, sometimes filled or nearly so, seats 1200 people. Add in a few hundred more milling about, and you've got maybe 1500 people attending. But according to press reports, last years Contact in the Desert UFO Conference drew over 2,000 people to the Mojave Desert at the end of May. What is their draw? It certainly was not the amenities, with much of the conference taking place outdoors in the summer desert heat, or under tents. Probably it's because of the "even more fringe" orientation, including the likes of David Wilcock, Georgio Tsoukalos, and even Erich von Daniken himself.
A scene from "Contact in the Desert," 2015. Attendees enjoying the nice, warm 100-degree desert summer sun.
 (to be continued)


  1. wonderful, thank you. I always wonder why alien hybrids... I have met more than one, that are of the here to serve man and animal kind types....tend to not do much actual serving. Besides talking about being hybrids. Or bringing people to a more spiritual universal awakening, usually via their self published book. I thought, of Betty Hill with the endless talking comment. And yes it being mostly women is a THING. Now, it may mean aliens just like to abduct women more (as they can breed?) or that the hybrids are mostly women (as they can breed?) but it could also be that women feel this sort of attention is something they need as they have low self esteem or have been treated poorly, or just some other psychological reason. Psychologist I work with feels that this is the reason (though they often truly believe it they are not liars), and for women this is far more acceptable socially than for a male. Men that feel they have been abducted often hide it, or feel shame, or write a best selling book that is made into a movie. Women get more of a pass. But just my opinion.

    1. I'd say it's a more guru/follower thing. You'll find this in alt med too, where the men are more likely to be the gurus (or in this case the 'expert researchers/Indiana Jones') and the women are more likely to be the followers (the hybrids, experiencers, etc). It's just a classic case of expected gender roles being played out where the men are knowledgeable adventurers and the women are nurturing carers.

  2. Jason Colavito has done a good job of showing how Childress has shifted from Ancient Civilations to Ancient Aliens. I guess you have to go with what is popular.


    But as to Lamb, my first reaction was to wonder who was collecting the material to run DNA tests on the hybrids that spoke at the conference. But that is probably beside the point. She brings us back to the time when Space People wanted us to live in peace. We know the Ozark farmer Buck Nelson visited Venus because he drew pictures of Venusian architecture. We know the hybrids at the conference spoke the truth because they drew pictures of the aliens and their children - although their children looked more like aliens then they did. Perhaps next time they could take a camera.

    That is also beside the point, though. On the way home it finally hit me. Lamb reminds me - in more than one way - of the old time faith healer Kathryn Kuhlman. And it probably comes down to faith. Faith is why abductees might know about sleep paralysis or the problems with hypnotic regression, but as Susan Clancey ("Abducted") observed, they have been baptized into a new religion for the technological age. And If Jacobs is the equivalent of a fire and brimstone preacher, Lamb is on a different level. Kathryn Kuhlman.

    On a more personal note, it was a pleasure to meet you there. There were a few skeptics here and there, but Lamb was a popular speaker.

  3. One more comment about the numbers. Both the IUFOC and The Contact in the Desert have a ways to go to approach the numbers that attended Von Tassel's gatherings at Giant Rock. Open Minds states that the 1959 event attracted around 10,000 - although that was before Guiness measured such things.


    I have been to Giant Rock and it is a pretty big rock, with only a few remnants of its old claim to fame. But why are these things held in the desert? Von Tassel was channeling the aliens out there; I have always suspected that an event called Contact in the Desert is hoping that Orthon will come - although he has not been seen since Adamski. But what brings that IUFOC to Arizona, except for the fact that all flights pass through Phoenix?

  4. It is amazing that hybrids are now presenting themselves at allegedly scientific conferences BUT! don't challenge us with hard, undeniable facts, rather, they try to charm us with rambling, unstructured stories.

    Aliens in the movies present more evidence of their origin than these people. These putative hybrids would be more comfortable in the Actors Studio, I think, doing their "impressions."

    1. Aliens in the movies are also more interesting. Although does Open Minds claim to present a scientific conference?

    2. It's interesting that these telepathic hybrids require the use of their vocal chords in order to communicate with us humans. Why not give conference attendees the experience of a lifetime by telepathically giving their speeches?

  5. So this is officially the biggest UFO conference in the world, with about 1,500 attendees, but possibly topped by another similar event with an unofficial crowd of maybe 2,000.

    So what? According to wikipedia, in 2015, Anthrocon, the world's biggest annual furry convention (out of 40 worldwide), attracted 6,348 attendees, and if the current trend continues it'll get even more this year.

    So there you go: the average American is between three and four times more likely to want to hang out with other people who share their interest in dressing up as Bugs Bunny for a sexy thrill than they are to care enough about the latest alleged proof that extraterrestrials are visiting this planet to show up in person to experience it first-hand.

    I think that puts the importance of this event in perspective! And judging by those photos, the average age of attendees is such that it won't be too many years before the dwindling band of survivors will be booking function rooms rather than conference centers.

    Like the pitiful remnants of the absurd-from-the-start Unarius Foundation, the congregation increasingly consists of people who are there simply because they've believed in this nonsense for far too long to stop now.

    On a different note, the people on this blog seem to be making the mistake of assuming, as the skeptical camp tends to, that if they can demonstrate logically that a paranormal claim isn't true by showing that proof which ought to exist if it were true cannot be produced, then they've won the argument.

    Unfortunately, on the other side of the fence things are a lot blurrier. Ever heard of "walk-ins"? They're people who for some reason reckon their souls have been displaced by those of extraterrestrials, often prior to their birth. Try proving or disproving that with a DNA test, or any other objective means!

    For this to have even the remotest possibility of being true, of course you have to believe in both surreptitious extraterrestrial visitors and the existence of a scientifically undetectable immortal soul, two concepts which most people wouldn't consider to be in any way connected with each other. But hey, in New Age circles everyone believes everything and it's all mashed up together!

    You, Robert, say in the blurb for your new book that, since every sensible person knows ghosts, witches and Bigfoot aren't real, by showing that flying saucers are just as unreal as these mythical entities, you've conclusively exiled them to the realm of mythology.

    May I point out that MUFON's "Experiencer Questionnaire":


    states that a staggering 88% of alleged alien abductees (or at any rate, 44 of the 50 MUFON chose to interview because they already believed their stories to be true) think their homes are infested with poltergeists!

    It may possibly be relevant that Denise Stoner, one of the two people who compiled this test, makes it her special mission in life to help people who are plagued by space people and ghosts at the same time. Strangely, I can't find the phrase "fantasy prone personality" anywhere on that page...

    Using logic and reason to disprove this sort of thing is a bit like testing the DNA of a communion wafer and triumphantly concluding that, since you've found genetic material from wheat and yeast, but none from a human Jewish male, one of the basic foundations of Roman Catholicism is a transparent lie. Technically you're absolutely right, but don't expect Pope Francis and his 1.2 billion followers to therefore become atheists overnight.

    1. That furry number is somewhat frightening.

      Did you check out Stoner's website? Fascinating stuff.
      I didn't know they had certifications for hypnotists. I like the Skeptical Dictionary's entry on it. Something about the similarities of hypnosis and the placebo effect.
      Did you know that Denise Stoner taught classes in stress reduction? I wonder how telling people they were abducted and, subsequently, their houses became haunted, figures into it.

      I'm not sure about the "movement" dwindling. I think the age of the attendees is indicative of the need later in life for some to find a greater purpose or design in life.
      Just my two cents.

    2. Mein Herr Count,

      Truly you place the entire UFO question in its proper perspective, when you note that Americans are at least three times more likely to attend a convention for those who are sexually attracted to furry animal cartoon characters than for those who want to hear the latest news about our alien overlords.

      The Furry Critters are even starting to infiltrate Renaissance Faires and Steampunk events. Imaging waking up and finding a giant six-foot ocelot standing above you, calling your name! It happened to me. Maybe the Furries are even a greater menace than the hubrids?

    3. Good comments, count. One quibble:

      You're right that UFO believers are unlikely to be swayed by scientific arguments. But remember, skeptics are not imposing this standard on UFO buffs. The proponents are the ones who claim to be "scientific ufologists," it is the proponents who insist they have mountains of scientifically valid evidence, only proponents complain that scientists ignore this evidence, etc.

      Which begs the question: why don't these "scientific ufologists" practise science?

      The answer might be that UFO believers think ufology is the one true science which will inevitably replace the current scientific paradigm, therefore, "UFO science" should not be judged by the standards of our allegedly deficient and biased mainstream science.

    4. If the soul is the very essence of being, how is it even possible to complain aliens have displaced it (presumably to another 'realm of being') and taken over their mortal clay, when the soul would be entirely disconnected from this world (in that other 'realm of being'), and the alien/Martian/whatever entirely in control of said mortal clay (and therefore unlikely to break cover)? (I hope all that is at least partly coherent.)


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