Saturday, May 8, 2021

The New Yorker's Credulous Article on Pentagon UFOs - Part 1

On April 30 the normally serious New Yorker has dropped a very misleading article titled How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously. (UFO author Leslie Kean says that work on this story "has been underway for months," which is quite surprising!)

The article is illustrated by a "classic" UFO photo, described as "Four mysterious objects spotted in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1952." It is almost certainly just a reflection of lights in a window.

This article by Gideon Lewis-Kraus boldly begins, "On May 9, 2001, Steven M. Greer took the lectern at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of the truth about unidentified flying objects." In pursuit of the truth, no less! Because Lewis-Kraus had only a few months to research this article, he apparently had no opportunity to learn that serious UFOlogists, both skeptic and not, consider Greer to be a yarn-spinning money grubber whose credibility is zilch. Greer once even claimed to have an 'alien familiar' named Bijoux

Steven Greer offers the opportunity to spend six days with him mentally communicating with UFOs, for a mere $3,472. However, anyone displaying "negative attitudes toward these interstellar visitors will be asked to leave."

 After recounting the exploits of the mighty Dr. Greer, still in pursuit of the truth, we learn,
Among the other speakers was Clifford Stone, a retired Army sergeant, who purported to have visited crash sites and seen aliens, both dead and alive. Stone said that he had catalogued fifty-seven species, many of them humanoid. 

Again, in his rush to prepare the article Lewis-Kraus didn't have time to discover the fact that the wild tales of Clifford Stone are soundly rejected by most serious UFO researchers

The principal Hagiography in this piece is that of Leslie Kean. Lewis-Kraus portrays Kean as "stand[ing] apart from the ufological mainstream," which is pure bollocks. Kean is down in the UFOlogical mud, wrestling with the rest of us. She has a best-selling book from 2010, “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record,” whose credibility, like that of most UFO books, is pretty bad. He tells us that Kean's apartment is "a tranquil space decorated with a Burmese Buddha and bowls of pearlescent seashells." 

Lewis-Kraus mentions only in passing that Kean's "latest project examines the controversial scholarship on the possibility of consciousness after death." Actually, it's much worse than that. Leslie Kean has gone full woo-woo on the subject of ghosts and spirit manifestations. She insists that she has "absolutely no doubt, not one iota," that a spirit manifested and touched her while she was attending a seance:

In May, 2019, I experienced a full form materialization in a seance with Stewart [Alexander]. His communicator Dr. Barnett, who normally speaks in independent voice, walked out of the cabinet, stood in front of me and touched my hair. He then placed both his large hands on top of my head, bouncing them up and down for about a minute and a half. (That’s a long time). These were solid “living” hands. He spoke in his recognizable voice. “I just wanted to let you know that I am a solid human being,” he said. He then returned to the cabinet and disappeared.

We read how Kean's intense interest in UFOs began in 1999 when she was sent a copy of a ninety-page French report referred to as "COMETA." (This account is also in her book.) Prepared by "a dozen retired French generals, scientists, and space experts," she "was certain, though, that anyone given access to the French report’s data and conclusions would understand why she had dropped everything else." (They didn't.) However, others, more experienced in the crazy world of UFOlogy, reached other conclusions. John Alexander, who was involved in Pentagon ESP experiments and is surely no skeptic, described the COMETA report as “an embarrassment… unsubstantiated data from questionable sources” in his book UFOs Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities (p. 218-20). No such doubts occurred to Ms. Kean. who seems quite certain  that the government is hiding something really big from us concerning UFOs, although she professes (a bit disingenuously) to be agnostic on the question of whether they are extraterrestrial.

 In this very long article, Lewis-Kraus tries to give us a summary of UFOlogy's Greatest Hits, its Golden Oldies such as the Airship sightings of 1896-97, Kenneth Arnold, the Washington, DC incidents of 1952, the Robertson Panel, J. Allen Hynek, the Condon Report, etc. etc. I guess the purpose of all this is to show that UFO sightings and UFO controversies have been around for a long time. 

 Continued in Part 2.



  1. Several years ago, I described the ‘questionable foundation’ of Leslie Kean’s book as the na├»ve and unverified faith in pilot reports. She has insisted the UFOs show intelligent purpose based on their perception of the nature of their witnesses, since they are reported to behave differently when seen by military pilots than when seen by civilian pilots [when the more common-sense explanation is that different pilots report observations in terms of what they expect from their own different experience bases]. The data archives she touts as ‘unexplainable’ pilot sightings [such as the French ‘Weinstein Report’] can easily be shown to contain numerous pilot misinterpretations of unrecognized space and missile activity around the world, so who knows how many other prosaic explanations were never found by the ‘investigators’? See here:

  2. Was it not DR. Steven Greer, who revealed to the world that little baby alien, found in the deserts of Peru? Why is he called a doctor in the first place? Anyone? This guy is an out and out con man, like so many other so-called ufologists (BTW, what college did these ufologists go to, to get their UFO degree?). Leslie, Leslie, your on the edge of becoming a common con lady...another Moulton Howe. I expected more from you.

    1. He's an MD specializing in emergency medicine. Which in no way qualifies him as a urologist. Sounds like he uses his doctorate as an appeal to authority.

    2. He's an MD specializing in emergency medicine. Which in no way qualifies him as a ufologist. Sounds like he uses his doctorate as an appeal to authority.

  3. I have a running column in SUNlite regarding the Weinstein catalogue. Many of the cases are very poorly researched and are a similar to the "Best evidence" by NICAP. Some only come from a newspaper story. There is no investigation and no details. Calling the Weinstein catalogue a listing of good unexplained cases is a joke.


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