Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Skeptical Look at the 2017 UFO Congress - Part 5 (last)

Paul Stonehill
Paul Stonehill spoke on UFOs and USOs in Russia and the USSR. For some reason, USOs (Unidentified Submerged Objects) were popular this year, mentioned by several speakers. Both UFOs and USOs have been spotted by the Soviet Navy. Some USOs, he said, have been spotted on the same day as an earthquake.

Nanotechnology found in the Ural Mountains, he said, goes back 100,000 years to ancient aliens. Then he presented a long, tedious list of UFO sightings reported in Russia and the USSR, including Cosmonaut UFOs.

"Dr." Ken Johnston Sr. presented "Exclusive NASA Photos of Alien Bases on the Moon," with his colleague Brett Shepherd. He represents himself as a former "civilian astronaut" and "NASA Scientist," but in reality he was hired by NASA contractor Grumman as an assistant electrician to check the wiring in the Lunar Module. He also worked as a projectionist for NASA's photo lab. He was never an "astronaut trainer," let alone any kind of astronaut. As for that "PhD," Ken has a "Doctor of Metaphysics" diploma from something calling itself The Reform Baptist Theological Seminary in Denver. This is not an actual school. It is not accredited in any way. It does not have a campus, or instructors, or offer courses. Just diplomas.

Thornton Page and James Oberg at NASA, 1978.
Johnston said that while he was working as a projectionist for Dr. Thornton Page and other scientists at NASA in Houston,  he projected a 16mm film from Apollo 14, showing a pentagonal cluster of alien domes in the crater Tsiolkovsky (which is on the moon's far side, and never visible from earth). He claimed that Page and the other scientists made some knowing comments when they saw this - they all knew about the supposed alien bases. Within 24 hours, NASA had altered the film, removing the alien bases. In fact, he claims to have met people in NASA's photo lab whose job it is to paint over alien artifacts. Apparently it's an occupation that keeps them quite busy.

Johnston portrayed Page as a rabid UFO debunker, but that is not accurate. Dr. Page was mostly of the same mind as Dr. J. Allen Hynek. For example, Page wrote, "UFO sightings show some statistical patterns that can be fitted to a theory based on the hypothesis of "extraterrestrial civilizations which know far more physics than we do, and have developed materials, energy sources, and field devices that we have not yet invented." " (See the photo I took in 1978 of Thornton Page and James Oberg, caught in the act destroying UFO information at NASA).

Johnston says that "professional debunker" James Oberg was wrong in claiming that Apollo 14 never filmed the Tsiolkovsky crater, and claims to have documents to prove it. Oberg replies that Apollo 14 never filmed Tsiolkovsky with its 16mm movie camera, which is what Johnston claims to have seen, although the Apollo 14 astronauts did photograph Tsiolkovsky late in the mission using a hand-held still camera. 

Shepherd explained how we were "warned off" from the moon by aliens, which is why Apollo 18, 19, and 20 were canceled. He showed a list of possible ET types, including Nordics, Valiant Thor, Interdimensionals, etc.

Johnston said that he brought 250 copies of his book Ken's Moon to the UFO Congress, and sold them all. He remarked, "tomorrow I leave for India." Actually, he had been in India a short time before, and was returning. While in India, Johnston seems to be representing himself as a real astronaut. If you've seen a photo of Johnston in a space suit, the suit belongs to astronaut Michael Collins. Ken borrowed it for a bit of Cosplay.

Panel: "The Future of Abduction Research," or, "Venting." Kathleen Marden is upset because the media misrepresent the fact that Barney Hill had conscious recollections of Beings, and not just hypnotically-regressed memories. In fact, she is quite angry about that. Yvonne Smith said similar things, but more in sadness than in anger.

Marden said that abduction cases are less evidence-based than before. We have less evidence today, no good abductions (deserted-road type). Just people being abducted in their beds. [Thanks, Budd Hopkins]. These two ladies are not happy campers. Since this panel was the last event, I didn't stay to hear them whine to the bitter end, and started home.

I should have mentioned earlier that in the "Meet the Speakers" event on the first evening, rocker Tom de Longe, formerly of Blink 182, was awarded the "Researcher of the Year" award for his work in promoting 'UFO disclosure.' He has reportedly conferred with several high-ranking military officials who want to coordinate the release of supposed UFO secrets. One of them allegedly told him, "We found a life form." Some of De Longe's emails about UFOs were found in the Wikileaks release of John Podesta's emails.

De Longe was not able to attend the Congress to accept his award, but he submitted a short acceptance video. (Open Minds has now placed this award video, and De Long's acceptance of it, on its YouTube channel.) In it he explained how he did his research, staying up all night for twenty years reading books on Roswell, Serpo, etc, and so, he said, I now know it all. (This is what passes for "research" in UFOlogy: listening to Coast to Coast AM, and reading conspiracy-oriented books.) He said that there is "big shit" coming, a big announcement in about sixty days. (Thirteen of those days have now passed. His deadline is about April 15.). He hinted that on its surface the announcement might not seem all that dramatic, but if you study it with your knowledge of UFOlogy, you will understand its significance.

On the Way Home - The UFO Motel in Gila Bend, Arizona.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Skeptical Look at the 2017 UFO Congress - Part 4

Ben Hansen: The former host of Fact or Faked presented an "Analysis of Recent Presidential UFO Comments." He mostly dealt with the body language of presidents and presidential candidates on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, when asked about the government and UFOs. 70% of communication, he said, is non-verbal. Drawing upon his background in law enforcement, and using techniques that investigators typically use in crime investigations, Hansen analyzed body language and gestures to try to divine what the subjects really are thinking.

The big guy, Ben Hansen, with yours truly (2016 UFO Congress).
Hansen found that former president Clinton displayed "significant apprehension" when Kimmel asked him about aliens, although the cause of that apprehension is, he emphasized, unknown. When President Obama was asked a similar question by Kimmel, he displayed extremely rapid breathing, about four times the normal resting rate. Obama said "I can't reveal anything," which is "no actual denial" of aliens, according to Hansen. When Kimmel asked Hillary Clinton about aliens, she said that she wants to look into that question again, implying that the question has significance and has not be properly answered. Hansen noted that Hillary's choice of John Posesta, a well-known UFO believer, as her campaign manager was a risky move for Hillary, as it could open her up to potential embarrassment over his UFO pronouncements.

Hansen reached no firm conclusions, but this exercise was a lot of fun.

Richard Dolan spoke on Media Bias in UFO Coverage. "The mainstream media is not your friend," he said. The mainstream media literally "makes us sick." While we can probably all agree that media bias is something very real, each medium to its own bias, I wouldn't go as far as that.
Richard Dolan

Dolan reviewed some examples of media coverage of flying saucers in the 1940s and 50s, illustrating what he called "the ridicule factor." He told how the National Enquirer began serious coverage of UFO incidents in the 1970s. The paper's owner, Generoso Pope, had worked  in Psi Ops, or psychological warfare, with the CIA in the 1950s.

The New York Times, he said, publishes CIA and Air Force "disinformation." But, according to Dolan, the mainstream media is influenced by more than just the CIA. "Control is international." (By whom? The Illuminati?)

Somebody was displaying outdoors supposed '5,000 year old artifacts' allegedly found in graves in Mexico. I'm quite sure they are of much more recent vintage than that, especially given the alien motifs.

Col. Charles Halt
Col. Charles Halt (ret.) spoke on "Bentwaters Revisited". He repeated his usual claims, some of which we saw in the panel the previous day. He claims that he saw three triangular nocturnal light UFOs from the Air Traffic Control tower. He said the object they saw was red, and the Orford Ness lighthouse does not shine red light onto land. (This is in reference to the hypothesis that what they saw at one particular time in the forest was, in fact, the rotating beam of the distant lighthouse. For a full explanation of this, see Ian Ridpath's Rendlesham pages.) Halt made certain that we knew that airman Larry Warren is lying in his rival version of Rendlesham UFO events, repeating this a number of times.

Dr. Erling Strand is the director of Project Hessdalen in Norway, where people reportedly see all manner of strange light phenomena, especially at night. ("dalen" is pronounced like "dalek", so it's like Hess-dalek).  Many of these lights appear to hug the mountain ridge-line, or the horizon, suggesting they could be phenomena of meteorological optics, mirages and such. Others are the usual wiggly-camera blurfos, and some frankly suggest that some of the local folks are doing their best to give the sky watchers something to look at.
Dr. Erling Strand

Strand founded Project Hessdalen in 1983 to study the phenomenon, and they have been at it ever since. I thought to myself, they have been studying this thing diligently for thirty-four years, and haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet? They are studying the alleged phenomenon with cameras, diffraction gratings, and other equipment, measuring, and recording the objects. About the only thing they didn't seem to be doing was using telescopes or binoculars to get a better look at them. Now they have a "science camp" at Hessdalen each summer, as students (and others) gather to see and phototograph the lights.
The most famous of the Hessdalen photos, caused by a moving, wiggly camera? French investigator Dominique Caudron suggests that "this pseudo trajectory is only a shake effect, which reaches nearly 10 °"

Later I spoke with Dr. Strand, asking him if the Hessdalen Project has any telescopes, or binoculars. Yes, we have them, he replied, but we don't use them much. It's too hard to keep the objects in view when they keep moving. (Not so hard if you use binoculars, though.) I reminded him that he had shown us a photo of an 'anomalous' object (looking to me like a mirage image of a very distant mountain peak) that was visible for four hours. To me it is inconceivable that a supposedly anomalous object could just hover in plain view for hours at a time, and no "researcher" puts a telescope on it. Other objects reportedly remained still, or moved slowly, for many minutes. Dr. Strand was not interested in discussing the matter further. I was left with the suspicion that Strand and his crew do not want this "mystery" to be explained, for then the excitement would be over.

James Fox
James Fox spoke on "the Phoenix Lights After 20 years." Much of what Fox said in his talk was a repeat of what he had said in the earlier Phoenix Lights panel, especially concerning Governor Symington, so I won't repeat it here. Joining him were two women who had witnesed the 'flying triangle,' and they spoke at length on their recollections of it, and their reactions to it. 

Fox said he was told, by somebody who presumably was in a position to know, that "We went to Defcon 3" that night. In other words, that the Phoenix Lights UFOs triggered U.S. air defenses to a war-ready state, which is quite absurd. There would have been enormous consequences following such a development, instead of the several-month "yawn" until UFO enthusiasts could build up sufficient interest in this incident to get the media reporting it. Fox noted that this incident was the same night that President Clinton seriously injured his knee while visiting golfer Greg Norman in Florida.  He speculated that perhaps, because of the alleged Defcon emergency, the Secret Service was in such a hurry to rush the president off to a safe place that he was injured in the process?

Fox and others kept mentioning queries about the incident made to Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, which denied having any planes in the air at the time. They were telling the truth. All of the planes involved in the Phoenmix Lights incidents, the triangle and the flare drop, were Air National Guard planes from Operation Snowbird, flying out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. The Air Force and the Air National Guard have completely different command structures, and neither knows much about what the other is doing.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Skeptical Look at the 2017 UFO Congress - Part 3

David Marler
David Marler: The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of L.A. This incident, he says, introduced the term "flying saucer" in 1942, five years before Kenneth Arnold. This was just two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and 36 hours after a Japanese submarine surfaced and fired on an oil terminal near Santa Barbara (doing minimal dmamge). Further Japanese attacks were expected along the west coast, and "hysteria was
definitely a component." But, Marler said, we cannot necessarily dismiss the entire incident because of this.

Marler's collection of  newspaper headlines.
On the night of Feb. 24-25, 1942, an unidentified radar target came in from the northwest. Authorities quickly ordered a blackout, and started shelling. No planes were sent up. The familiar version of the photograph showing converging spotlights was heavily retouched. Marler has found what appears to be the original negative of that photo. It is much less densely exposed than the retouched photo, but does not clearly show any object.

Marler's working hypothesis: a single unidentified aerial object flew over the Los Angeles region. I might agree, if that object were a balloon. Marler ruled out a balloon, on the grounds that it would have been destroyed by shrapnel from all the shells fired at it. But that assumes that the object was actually in the crosshairs where the shells were fired.

Stanton Friedman
No UFO conference would be complete without Stanton Friedman, today speaking on Astronomy Versus UFOlogy.  Astronomers, he complained, ignore "large scale scientific studies," like Blue Book Special Report 14 (his favorite). He presented some well-known scientific blunders, such as statements that 'space travel is impossible.' Friedman claimed that interstellar travel using nuclear fusion propulsion is perfectly plausible. He maintained that scientific critics of the viability of interstellar travel, such as the late Nobel prize winning physicist Edward Purcell, "didn't know anything about space travel," although Purcell's objections are based in fundamental physics. Friedman also threw his usual punches at SETI - the "silly effort to investigate."

He showed Marjorie Fish's interpretation of Betty Hill's UFO star map without any disclaimer, even though its pretense of significance has now been completely refuted. He recommended the UFO research of Kathleen Marden and Linda Moulton Howe (!!!!).
Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop: The Co-Creation Hypothesis - A Fresh Approach to UFO Research. Bishop discussed the role of our minds in constructing what we see. "What causes UFO reports?" Our memories are reconstructions, not faithful images. Our mind fills in what we expect to see.

I'm not clear about what is supposed to be "fresh" here. He seems to be advocating a position similar to what British Forteans call the Psycho-Social Hypothesis. Throw in a touch of John Keel, Gray Barker, and Jacques Vallee, and Bishop seems to be walking a well-trod path.

John Alexander
Col. John B. Alexander (ret.) spoke on "UFO Encounters:  More Complex than We Imagine." He was very big on the Chris Bledsoe case, an alleged abductee who films orbs all the time, and now apparently has not only been miraculously cured of Crohn's disease by ETs, but has also "healed" others. Alexander was especially impressed by the fact that, talking with Bledsoe outdoors one evening, the "abductee" said he felt the ETs are here now. They looked up, and within about 30 seconds, a bright object was seen to flash across the sky. Later I suggested to Alexander that this impressive demonstration could have been arranged in advance, if Bledsoe had looked on-line to get the time that a brilliant flare from an Iridium satellite would be visible from that location. He didn't buy that.

Alexander repeated his theme that "disclosure has already happened," citing vague statements from various world leaders about ETs. Government employees can talk about UFOs, and nothing happens to them. In his view, the government knows that ETs are real, but it knows nothing can be done about them, and it has more urgent problems to worry about, anyway. So government ignores them.

The Roswell incident, he said, was caused by a Project Mogul spy balloon. There is no evidence of ET technology being used anywhere in any nation's space program.

Panel, Government and UFOs:  The usual suspects repeated the usual things.

Charles Halt repeated his claim that after the Rendlesham forest incident, Air Force agents came in and drugged the witnesses, changing their memories.

When the matter was raised of "missing files" concerning Rendlesham, or Roswell, John Alexander noted that many U.S. government agencies are required to report bi-annually on the linear feet of files they have destroyed. Given the mandate of purging old files, he says it is no surprise that many old government files cannot be found.
The night vision skywatch (from 2013 Congress).
Night Vision Skywatch: Once again, Ben Hansen, formerly the host of Fact or Fake: Paranormal Files on the SyFy channel, presented an outdoor public viewing using night vision cameras, projecting on giant screens. The weather was not very cooperative, there were a lot of clouds. The wind was so strong (a rainstorm was coming) one of the screens blew over several times. But we managed to see a few satellites go by, and a bird or bat or two. Ben did pretty well keeping the presentation on solid ground, emphasising that you will be seeing lots of satellites, birds, bats, airplanes, even moths, so don't assume it's aliens when you see something moving. But he left open the door to the possibility that you might see something truly extraordinary, which is why people would buy these expensive devices costing $2,000 and up. My advice: save your money, and buy a really good pair of binoculars, say 10x50. Night vision devices trade resolution for sensitivity. In binoculars you will be able to see everything these devices can see, and with much better resolution.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Skeptical Look at the 2017 UFO Congress - Part 2

Alejandro Rojas
Conference host Alejandro Rojas delivered his own talk about ETs and Religion. He cited examples of what appear to be discussions of alien beings in various world religions, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Native American beliefs, Mormons, Nation of Islam, Scientology, Raelism, and Heavens Gate. 

He referred to Ted Peters' survey of religious attitudes toward extraterrestrial beings, presented at the UFO Congress in 2014. Practically nobody said that the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligent beings would pose a problem for their religious faith.

Erika Lukes
Erika Lukes, formerly MUFON state director for Utah, is now head of a new group, Unexplained Utah. She said her interest in UFOs began when she had a series of sightings in the Salt Lake Valley. There are many important sightings in Utah, she said, and many top-secret military sites. "All of the ley lines in the world" converge right here in the Mormon Temple. She seemed not to realize that "ley lines" are complete nonsense.

Her best case was apparently the American Airlines 434 radar-visual case, which occurred over Utah on January 14, 2016. Tim Printy looked into it in his E-Zine SUNlite (scroll down to p. 6), and noted that "the radar data is not a match and can not be used as confirmation that the 'bright orange square' was an airborne object." So there was apparently no "flying object" involved, and no radar detection of it.

Now, she believes, UFOs are "the most important subject we will ever deal with." She says that night vision optics are very important in UFO investigation (I disagree, as will be discussed later), as is a device called MADAR III to measure geomagnetic anomalies.

Bob Davis
Dr. Bob Davis serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Research Team of the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial Encounters (FREE). His talk was, "A Study on Individuals who Report UFO Related Contact Experiences with a Non-Human Intelligent Being."

He found that 83% of those who reported ET contact said that it had changed their lives in a positive way. 95% of them report having "paranormal" experiences. He showed a chart illustrating the "Quantum Hologram (QH) Resonance" theory of consciousness, which includes everything from the Collective Unconscious to Remote Viewing, Telekinesis, Reincarnation, Oneness, Wholeness, all the way to "peace with the universe." UFOs, he explained, have a "psycho-spiritual" dimension. (Here is an interesting interview with Davis.)

Kathleen Marden talked about "Perplexing Phenomena." She has experienced weird phenomena all her life. A UFO landed within 500 feet of her house in 1966 (five years after her aunt Betty Hill was allegedly abducted). After that, weird things began to happen: poltergeist, orbs, "apports" from thin air, "bed walking": the sensation that something is walking across your bed, which she says 65% of "experiencers" report. Also, "shape shifters" and "shadow people." She showed an "actual photograph of shadow entity." Unfortunately, it was dark and shadowy, without detail.
Stanton Freidman with Kathleen Marden at the 2015 UFO Congress
Marden has been receiving reports from a man named Melvon, who works at a small airport. His supposed UFO video, showing an object pulsing and getting larger and smaller, is nothing more than the autofocus of the video camera trying to focus in on a distant light - without success. Melvon has been reporting seeing entities with faces of a man, or a goat. He also reports experiencing "time shifts."  In one such incident, he saw elephants walking across the savannah, at his airport. Actually, he believes the animals to have been wooly mammoths.

Phoenix Lights 20th Anniversary Panel: Dr. Lynne Kitei is now a full-time promoter of the Phoenix Lights. She told how she and others had seen the  famous lights on several other occasions. A mile-wide object was sighted covering Las Vegas. People are seeing triangular craft, and also circular ones. Ten different kinds of craft were seen. One object was eight miles across. She said she is now working on a Phoenix Lights coloring book. Delightful!

UFO expert-on-everything Richard Dolan stated that the Maryland Air National Guard absolutely did not drop flares on the night of March 13, 1997.  Lt. Col. Ed Jones of the Maryland Air National Guard, who piloted one of the four A-10s in the squadron that launched the flares, would disagree.

Jim Mann of Phoenix MUFON said we can't say that the Phoenix Lights were extraterrestrial, only that they were an "anomaly," an unknown. It isn't flares, or airplanes in formation.

James Fox told how he interviewed former Arizona governor Fife Symington, who belatedly "confessed" to having seen the lights ten years earlier, a dramatic reversal of his previous disparagement of the "lights". When Fox was a speaker at the 2013 UFO Congress, I spoke with him and explained why it is obvious that Symington is lying, and simply made up his sighting:
 I reminded Fox that Symington claimed to have seen news coverage of the lights on TV, then went outside to look. He says he walked down to where the news crews had been filming the lights (the flare drop), and then saw the V-shape fly over, big and mysterious. However, there was no news coverage of the sightings before the planes landed about 8:45, and there could have been nobody filming the "lights" prior to 10:00, because the flares had not yet been dropped. Therefore Symington's claimed sighting occurred after 10:00, probably well after, and hence is an obvious fabrication. "No, he saw it at 8:20. It was 8:20," Fox insisted. "How could he have seen news coverage of this by 8:20?", I asked. "Maybe he heard chatter on the radio or something," Fox said. "How could there have been news crews filming this by 8:20?", I asked? Fox was having no more of this conversation.

In 2017, Symington's story has changed again (or more likely, Fox changed it for him). As Fox explained in his own talk later, Symington was listening in on the scanner and heard about the lights. (We don't know that there was any discussion of the first incident on some unspecificed scanner channels, although we can't say that there wasn't. This removes the obvious timeline discrepancy in Symington's first "I saw it" statement, which was that he saw the news reports, and went out to where the news crews had been filming the lights. This would be much too late to see the "triangle.") Symington supposedly drove out to Camelback Mountain, where he saw them.

In response to a question, Fox marvelled at Symington's abrupt change of heart on the subject:
I can't get it out of my mind. Earlier in the day he seemed so adamant, let's get to the bottom of it...it didn't seem like he was joking...let's find out what it was these people have seen, of course at that time not admitting the fact that he too had seen it.

But then that whole shift between that morning and that afternoon... I can't help but wonder, if he must have received a phone call. Something was going on that we're not privy to. So I asked him, did you receive a phone call from somebody? He said no. I don't know man, it's really kind of strange that he would do a 180 from the morning to the afternoon...
What "went on" was simply that Symington had decided to jump on the Phoenix Lights bandwagon, and invent a story about seeing them. Symington is an experienced liar (his conviction was later overturned on a technicality, but before he could be re-tried he was the lucky recipient of one of many undeserved pardons issued by the outgoing President Clinton).

The Registration Desk

Evening Film Festival: The first film was Robert Hasting's UFOs and Nukes, which claimed that UFOs have been menacing U.S. missile sites and taking the missiles off-line. For brevity, I will simply refer the reader to Tim Printy's in-depth critique of it (scroll down to page 7).

The second short film was something called Seek, basically a ten-minute rock video supposedly having something to do with love between a human and an alien.

Next was a full-length film called The Awakening of 12 Strands.
“Awakening of 12 Strands” is a story about ETs (including negative Reptilians), walk-ins, djinn, military, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, alchemy and more. Jasmine, who is the main character, is diagnosed with AIDS. This inspires her to undertake an unusual worldwide journey to awaken souls. The movie covers DNA issues and how Jasmine is effected by the events that unfold.

Think: European directors, symbolism, no obvious plot. The director Sandra Daroy says, "A MOVIE that NEEDS TO be WATCHED at least twice to see all details and clues." I only lasted about twenty minutes.


Monday, February 20, 2017

A Skeptical Look at the 2017 International UFO Congress - Part 1.

The 26th annual International UFO Congress was held from February 15-19 at the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center in Fountain Hills, Arizona, near Phoenix.
We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center

In his introductory remarks, conference host Alejandro Rojas noted the significance of several anniversaries this year: the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Lights, the 75th of the Battle of Los Angeles, and the big one, the 70th anniversary of Roswell.

Stanton Friedman, the “Flying Saucer Physicist,” had been scheduled to be the opening speaker. However, his flight got canceled in the big snowstorms back east, so his time slot was swapped with the Los Angeles area abductionist Yvonne Smith.  Smith said that since about 2011 she has been receiving “messages,” about whose source she was not very specific. She suggested that many members of the audience might also have been receiving these messages, too.
Yvonne Smith

These messages are taking on an increasing urgency to “do something,” she explained. “Time is running out.” She reflected back to the 1992 Abduction Study Conference held at M.I.T. which she attended (as did I, representing CSICOP). The “messages” being received back then reflected much less “urgency” than today. Now, almost all “experiencers” feel increasing urgency and receive visions of impending ecological doom and other catastrophes. She showed a slide of a mushroom cloud, and warned of “earth changes.” Experiencers, she said, are feeling great “election related” angst, and launched into a rant against Trump.

The last part of her talk was handed over to Jim Lough, a California attorney of long experience, who spoke on “Civil Rights and Experiencers.” The UFO coverup, he said, has led to the Military Industrial Complex. Political dirty tricks are part of the great E.T. coverup, as is intrusive government surveillance.

Next was UFO author Noe Torres, speaking on “Real Cowboys & Aliens – UFOs in the Old West.” He said he found over 100 such cases, from which he selected ten or so for his book as the best. The one he talked about the most was the 1897 airship crash in Aurora, Texas. Long recognized as a hoax by serious researchers, if Torres was aware of this he did not let on. While some later cases might have been influenced by science fiction tales, he said, “they did not have the terminology" of airships at this time. Oh really? I wonder if Torres has ever heard of Jules Verne? Verne's famous airship novel Robur the Conqueror was published in 1886.
Noe Torres

Torres’ other cases mostly seemed to be based on newspaper stories, although he was not specific as to their source. He made no mention of 19th century newspapers' practice of publishing entertaining journalistic hoaxes. If these are the “best” cases, imagine how bad the rest of them are. In addition to aliens, the Old West also boasted of having Bigfoot, cattle mutilations, crash debris, and Unidentified Submerged Objects. Yee-haw!

In another substitution, Jennifer Stein, who made the recent movie Travis about Travis Walton, was supposed to speak on U.S. Crop Circles. But she was unable to attend, so Walton himself substituted. “He is a deep thinker,” Rojas said in introducing Walton.

Rojas had earlier promised, in announcing Travis’ substitute talk, that if you had already heard Walton speak, this would not be the same talk he always gives, but something different. Broken promise. Walton droned on as he usually does about his five fun-filled days aboard the alien craft. A few details sounded different than before. He observed that “we were all in a trance” when they spotted the UFO nearby. And I don’t recall hearing before the claim that after he was zapped and Mike Rogers drove away, they tried to catch up with some hunters, but could not. That would seem to imply that the hunters drove by that same spot, and contradicts what Rogers said elsewhere about how he just drove a quarter mile down the road, then stopped and anguished over what to do next.
Travis Walton
Walton did babble on toward the end some vague statements about the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe. I guess that was supposed to make this a new talk.

Ryan Sprague spoke on “UFOs vs. UFOlogy – the Convergence of Experience and Study.” He explained how he had a “catalyst” sighting of a triangle UFO in 1995. Subsequently he interviewed hundreds of people about their own sightings, and showed brief videos of some of them.

He made some confused claims about the star “Meroz,” which isn’t a star at all but a village mentioned in the Bible. He referred to the apparent contradictions in UFOlogy vs, Chemistry, Physics, Theology, Philosophy, etc., with some quotes intended to help resolve the disagreements.

Erika Lukes and Ted Roe
Ted Roe, Executive Director of NARCAP – the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, spoke on the Future of UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) research. He began by talking about his own early sightings, and many “synchronicities.” He also spoke at length about his own personal challenges: PTSD, family estrangement, and stress. He took up freediving, and became a teacher of it. The dolphins helped him, he said. ( I asked him about that later. He explained that dolphins often accompanied him in his dives, and showed some amazing underwater videos.) By deep contemplation and martial arts, Roe says, “I empowered myself.” He ended up talking more about himself and his eventful life than about NARCAP or UFOs.

He talked about some of the investigative papers that NARCAP had published on its website. Their goal, he said, is to establish a peer-reviewed journal for UFO research. He spoke about pilot UFO reports: "Pilots are good witnesses." He didn't mention that Dr. J. Allen Hynek came to exactly the opposite conclusion: the late USAF Project Blue Book consultant wrote on  page  271  of his 1977 book The Hynek UFO Report, “Surprisingly, commercial and military pilots appear to make relatively poor witnesses.”

Reflecting on his responsibilities as an administrator of a UFO group, he remarked that you must restrain those who “start attacking peoples’ image.” This struck me as ironic, considering that Roe recently reportedly drove from UFOlogy the highly-respected investigator “Isaac Koi,” who uses a pseudonym to protect his career and whose identity Roe allegedly threatened to expose (details are here). While Roe was still speaking, his colleague Erika Lukes posted to Facebook, “Ted is on top of his game.” I didn’t think so. In my view there was too much drama and self-promotion here.