COPYRIGHT DAVID CHERNIACK PROD. LTD.
[00;00;28] LET'S BEGIN WITH THE CONTACTEES. (background talk)
[00;00;46] WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR THEM DO YOU THINK?
[00;00;52] Inevitably when flying saucers came along there were different kinds of responses to them and one of them was going to be a religious response.
[00;01;03] The contactee movement represented a kind of religious - mystical, religious response to the image of flying objects in the atmosphere from some other intelligence presumably. And the contactee movement insisted that these intelligences, or at least the bulk of them, were benevolent and they were God-like beings from other worlds who had come to save us from particular crisises - the particular crises of the atomic age.
[00;01;37] Adamski, INTERESTING CHARACTER, FASCINATING CHARACTER.
[00;01;43] George Adamski was one of the really fascinating characters of the period. He was a guy who had a long history as a kind of low rent guru in the southern California occult scene. And he later claimed that he had gotten into the mystical business because during Prohi-
IT'S OKAY TAKE YOUR TIME.
[00;02;04] -during Prohibition it provided him a cover to, to sell wine. But he got into flying saucers as so many of these characters from that period did, when UFOs came along. There was already a southern California occult scene where, because of the influence of the writings of Charles Forte, the great anomalist and the occult writings of Adamski and other theosophists, there was already before flying saucers came along the idea of people on other planets who interacted with the Earth.
[00;02;41] So Adamski simply fused these pre-existing ideas with the flying saucers that came along beginning in the summer of 1947.
[00;02;52] And in the late 1940s he was taking pictures from his little observatory of flying saucers in the atmosphere, flying saucers nears the moon and was actually publishing articles on his photographs of flying saucers.
[00;03;10] This was all moving toward the climactic event on November 20th, 1952 when in the desert in southern California he encountered a landed flying saucer and met for the first time the Venusian, his friend named Orthon who was one of his primary contacts that continued for the next few years and were the subject of a couple of books that he wrote that were widely influential, excited people all over the world.
[00;03;41] And in the 1950s, George Adamski was an international occult celebrity.
[00;03;46] HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK HIS RESIDENCE ON MOUNT PALOMAR HAD TO DO WITH THE DIRECTION HE WENT IN?
[00;03;52] Adamski worked in a restaurant that was at the foot of Mount Palomar, actually some distance, several miles from the actual famous observatory. But the association with Palomar caused many people to think that he actually was associated with the astronomical observatory.
[00;04;13] And it gave him among people who weren't paying a lot of attention or who had been a little credulous the scientific association. He also had a telescope. He was an amateur astronomer and so people would believe that his little telescope had something to do with actual astronomers.
[00;04;30] Of course the astronomers at Palomar were appalled (laugh) but that's the way it worked and Adamski milked that for all that it was worth. And it was worth a lot to him.
[00;04;41] YEAH. IT REALLY MUST HAVE BEEN. I'M GIONG TO GO UP THERE ACTUALLY. I'M GOING TO TRY AND FIND THE SITE. ACTUALLY WE FOUND ONE OF THE WOMEN WHO IF NOT WERE PART OF HIS INNER CIRCLE BUT WERE JUST SLIGHTLY OUTSIDE. BUT SHE LIVES IN A TRAILER PARK NEAR TIMIKULA.
[00;04;57] What's her name?
[00;04;58] I'M TRYING TO REMEMBER. I'LL LOOK IT UP. SHE'S A GREAT OLD GAL. ACTUALLY TOM SUGGESTED TALKING TO HER.
[00;05;04] Lucy McGinnis?
[00;05;05] YEAH THAT'S HER.
[00;05;07] She was part of the inner circle.
[00;05;08] OH SHE WAS?
[00;05;09] OH OKAY. BUT SHE WASN'T ON THE, ON THE ORTHON JAUNT.
[00;05;14] See that was the Williamsons and the Baileys. That's four of them, Alice Wells. God she may have been. I can't think of the sixth name.
[00;05;24] I DON'T THINK SHE WAS ON THE ORTHON JAUNT.
[00;05;27] OH well here.
[00;05;27] WE HAVE A GOOD REFERENCE.
[00;05;29] It happens.
[00;05;34] Let's see. I have a big long thing on Adamski here.
YEAH, YEAH, I KNOW.
(looking through book)
[00;05;40] Actually I'm very proud of the Adamski thing. I think it's one of the best short treatments of his career. Let's see here.
[00;05;50] There was some speculation which I don't want to go on … that Adamski was gay. That he would meet with these like ah - when he was touring Europe he'd meet with these handsome kind of pretty blond-eyed young men that ah -
[00;06;07] Yeah, Venusians, that's better. Anyway, you read Lou Zinstock's book about her travels with Adamski and the naiveté is just hilarious. (laugh) The whole account is like there's a whole other way to read this.
[00;06;24] (LAUGH) A MORE MODERN WAY TO READ IT.
[00;06;30] Alice Wells, let's see here.
[00;06;55] I guess I don't name them. I just mention the - but I know it was Williamsons and Baileys but I - but Lucy McGinnis was very - in fact she was the one who actually goes throughout some of his books I believe.
[00;08;07] Mostly Adamski in his dealings with officialdom would make people mad because he misrepresented the, the ah - Adamski used everything that he could to enhance his credibility including misrepresentations of his encounters of FBI agents and so on and he infuriated Hoover over this. You don't - you don't want to infuriate Hoover.
[00;08;31] (LAUGH) I'M SURE THE FILE THEY MUST HAD HAD -
[00;08;35] Oh yeah. And also he made some fairly indiscreet, you know, political comments for the 1950s, you know.
[00;08;43] YEAH, YEAH VERY MUCH SO.
[00;08;44] All kinds of things so -
[00;08;45] YEAH, YEAH. ANYTHING ELSE WE NEED TO SAY ABOUT THE CONTACTEES? THE EFFECT - THEIR EFFECT ON -
[00;08;53] I could - yeah go ahead.
[00;08;54] THEIR EFFECT ON UFOLOGY ACTUALLY.
[00;08;57] Right, okay. Just the politics of it.
[00;08;58] YEAH THE POLITICS OF IT, YEAH.
[00;09;02] The contactees - yeah okay. The contactees infuriated the mainstream so-called serious Ufologists because their extravagant and often bogus claims made the whole idea of UFOs and interplanetary visitation look ridiculous.
[00;09;20] And of course sceptics and debunkers played on this with glee and malice. And so the major mainstream Ufologists of the period such as Donald Kehoe and his organization NICAP, fought the contactees furiously. Challenged them to, for example, polygraph tests which they usually refused.
[00;09;44] And ah stressed serious reports by pilots and scientists and clergy and other people with impeccable middle class credentials. Whereas the contactees really - to the contactees there weren't any UFOs. They were identified. They were spaceships flown by friendly people.
[00;10;03] Now the contactee movement encompassed a wide range of people with a wide range of motives. Some of them were out and out conmen who were - found fertile territory and were planting new harvests.
[00;10;17] Others were people who were - whose motives are a little hard to read. They were sincere about something but weren't reluctant to lie and create phoney evidence to advance their claims. Others were entirely sincere visionaries. These were people who didn't produce photographs of spaceships because you couldn't do that without faking photographs and therefore being at least in part a conscious hoaxer.
[00;10;47] But people who channelled material from exotically named space people like Ashtar, these people tended to be sincere, that they were just visionaries. If it had been another time they would have been channelling gods or discarnantes or whatever kinds of superior entities fitted the particular cultural environment.
[00;11;13] I SUSPECT THAT SOME OF THEM PROBABLY ENTERED ALTERED STATES SUCH AS THEY IMAGINED ALL KINDS OF THINGS WE WERE TALKING ABOUT EARLIER, SOME OF THEM. MAYBE EVEN Adamski.
[00;11;29] Adamski TOO. I KIND OF READ HIM THAT WAY. ALL THESE GUYS, A LOT OF THEM, THE OCCULTISTS, THERE'S A KIND OF AH ENDS THAT JUSTIFY MEANS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THINGS. THEY'RE NOT ABOVE FAKING THINGS IF THEY BELIEVE THE EXPERIENCE THEY'VE HAD IS A REAL ONE, THAT KIND OF THING.
[00;11;47] Adamski in some ways, in many ways was just a bald-faced liar. But there were other aspects of his personality that are a little puzzling. He was sincere about something. He really believed on some level in what he was saying. And there are individual acts, private correspondence where he's really kind of letting his hair down and he doesn't come across as an entirely cynical conman.
[00;12;17] I think that Adamski in ways contained multitudes, that he was sincere, he was a liar. He was a lot of different things, all competing with each other. But one thing I'm certain of and that is that all of his so-called evidence - the photographs, the footprints in the desert sand and all those things are fake and he was consciously faking them.
[00;12;40] He wasn't the victim of someone else's con. It was his own con. But I think that in his heart he did have a sincere kind of mystical vision which incorporate benevolent space people coming to the Earth.
[00;12;55] He couldn't prove it, so he faked it. He never got rich. He wasn't in it for the money. He was always poor. He just got by. He basically was the kind of guy who never picked up the tab at the restaurant. But people liked him and I don't think he -
[00;13;14] He didn't con any little old lady out of her life savings or anything like that. I think that he was basically in his own way a benevolent man.
[00;13;22] YEAH, YEAH. OKAY, GOOD. ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANTED TO SAY ABOUT THE CONTACTEES? I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO TOO MANY OF THEM. I'LL MENTION THEM ALL BUT HE'S THE KEY ONE. I THINK EVERYBODY KIND OF -
[00;13;36] Well the other guy was George Van Tassel because Van Tassel was the guy who really organized the contactee movement. That Van Tassel was there just before Adamski and he was the guy who began organizing contactee meetings in southern California.
[00;13;54] Van Tassel's at least initial contacts were channelled.
[00;13;58] AND LOOK AT HIS RESIDENCE.
[00;14;01] Yeah. Giant Rock, California, which really in the 1950s was the contactee centre of the universe.
[00;14;07] YEAH;, YEAH.
[00;14;08] Van Tassel also introduced the enormously influential channelling entity, Ashtar, who is channelled to this day by mediums and contactees all over the world.
WHERE SHALL WE GO NEXT?
[00;14;30] We could talk about the evolving theories about UFOs within Ufology.
SURE THAT'S GOOD.
[00;14;37] Evolving understanding.
LET ME MAKE A LITTLE BIT OF AN ADJUSTMENT. YOU'RE MOVING AROUND.
[00;15;01] Reports of anomalous aerial phenomena, things that we might today call UFOs, begin to show up at least with any regularity in the 19th century as far as we can tell, are not necessarily UFOs as we would think of them today in the sense of daylight discs or cigar shaped structures or flying wings or whatever.
[00;15;25] But there were certainly anomalous nocturnal lights that were structures that were reported in the air, often described as mysterious airships that in a general sense anyway are like what we would call UFOs today, not exactly the same. And the differences are interesting as well.
[00;15;46] But in the early years, the early decades of the 20th century, Charles Forte, who was an eccentric American writer, collected these reports and reports of other kinds of extraordinary anomalies, natural or paranatural.
[00;16;01] And in a book published in 1919 called The Book of the Damned, actually presented the first draft of what would be called the extraterrestrial hypothesis, theorizing that these events and these sights and these reports suggested the presence of other worldly visitors.
[00;16;18] Now Forte incorporated into his theories a whole range of phenomena, not only unknown lights and structures in the sky but anomalous archeological artefacts, falls of material from the sky, monsters, creatures, ghosts.
[00;16;38] He theorized that ghosts and demons were actually extraterrestrials who were misperceived or misinterpreted. This is the very first draft of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. When UFOs appeared and became an international sensation in the summer of 1947 and after that within days, within days of Kenneth Arnold's sighting on June 24th, 1947, speculation about Martian visitors began to appear in the press.
[00;17;09] Almost all of it came from people who had read Charles Forte's book. Charles Forte himself had died in 1932. But that was the people who first thought these things could be from outer space.
[00;17;22] Otherwise people thought they were Russian experiments or secret aircraft experiments, the Navy or there were all kinds of explanations. Some people thought they were an artefact of atomic testing and so on.
[00;17;35] Not very many people except the followers of Charles Forte were thinking about spaceships from other planets.
[00;17;40] But eventually by the mid 1950s the association of UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors was quite widespread, but it wasn't automatic and natural. It took a while.
[00;17;51] In fact, some of the first people who thought that UFOs could be extraterrestrial spacecraft were in the air force because people in the air force understood just how extraordinary the apparent technology of these things was. They knew that there was no earthly power that could duplicate that technology.
[00;18;13] They understood that in a way the general public probably didn't. But in time the idea that visitors from outer space were here became quite popular, widespread, the subject of popular science fiction movies and comic books and serious speculation, even by scientists.
[00;18;31] In the early 1950s groups of people that were interested in UFOs were formed and these people became called Ufologists. I've got a tickle in my nose. Excuse me.
IT'S OKAY, GO AHEAD.
[00;18;47] And ah Ufologists organized around the idea that UFOs were extraterrestrial visitors. Unlike Forte, they tended not to incorporate all kinds of weird phenomena into one hypothesis but wanted to concentrate on UFO sightings along. Everything else was not relevant to them.
[00;19;09] So they focused on sightings of anomalous objects, landings, reports of humanoid crews and these things. And at first in the 1950s when even mainstream scientists thought that neighbouring planets in the solar system could be inhabited, tended to see these visitors as coming probably from Mars, possibly from Venus.
[00;19;32] But to them this was a speculation. They thought it was a likely explanation but they understood that it wasn't proved. This was the difference between the Ufologists and the contactees. The contactees, there was no mystery, it was solved. It was known what flying saucers were.
[00;19;48] To Ufologists flying saucers were a mystery, probably signifying extraterrestrial visitation. But as the proof of the extraterrestrial hypothes-
[00;20;02] As proof of the extraterrestrial hypothesis remained elusive, some Ufologists began to look in other directions. And some of the more Fortean inclined Ufologists, the ones who were attracted to the idea that UFOs were part of a broad range of anomalies and mysteries, speculation grew that there weren't extraterrestrial visitors, that these were actually paranormal entities wo -
[00;20;33] THIS IS AROUND WHAT YEAR?
[00;20;36] 1960s. About the mid-1960s the idea begins to form that UFOs really aren't what they appear to be. They may not even be craft. They may not even represent a technology in the ordinarily understood sense of those words, that these were actually shape shifting entities from some unknown other world - a parallel universe, a demonic realm, something like that.
[00;21;07] And there was an attempt to link flying saucers not only with other weird phenomena that people reported like strange creatures and so on, but also to traditional folkloric entities like fairies and angels and demons which were also interpreted as not literal entities but as representations of kind of cultural expectations about supernatural experience.
[00;21;32] These things existed in some sense. The experiences of them were real but (cough) excuse me.
[00;21;44] But they weren't what they appeared to be. They really were something else, representing some kind of unknown other reality. The most influential writers in this new school were Jacques Vallay and John Keele. In 1969 Jacques Vallay wrote a book called Passport to Magonia where he links modern UFOs to traditional beliefs about fairies, demons, gods, entities of various kinds.
[00;22;14] John Keele, who was much less intellectually sophisticated but just as influential as Vallay, wrote several books in which he revived traditional demonology. And he argued that UFOs and their entities and all kinds of other strange creatures were literally demonding entities.
[00;22;34] He didn't say they were from hell but he called - he renamed hell the super spectrum. The super spectrum was also related to the traditional occult idea of the etheric realm, a realm on another level of vibrational -
[00;22;54] -frequency, on another level of vica -
[00;23;00] On another -
[00;23;03] Okay. On another level of vibrational frequency. Now to -
[00;23;13] Now to critics, this was really an abdication of reason, logic and science, that this was really a reversion to magical thinking and a rejection of science and reason as the right tools with which to investigate phenomena.
[00;23;35] But the absence of conclusive proof for these, you know, extraordinary phenomena was very frustrating to a lot of people and some people had come to this less as scientists than as mystery mongers. They weren't really hard, clear thinkers.
[00;23;57] People like Keele, for example was really appealing to people who weren't simply bound by more traditional methods of inquiry, shall we say. Vallay was trained as a scientist. Vallay was trained as a physicist. Valley was intellectually sophisticated and not as inclined to rank paranoia as Keele and his followers were.
[00;24;24] But still underlying his reading of what was going on was really magical thinking, that really had as much to do with traditional occultism as with science.
[00;24;39] OKAY. WHERE DID THE PSYCHOSOCIAL - LET'S GIVE IT A TERM. WHAT PSYCHOSOCIAL HYPOTHESIS, IF YOU WANT - OR SOMETHING ELSE THAT IF YOU PREFER, BUT WHERE DID IT GO? FOR A WHILE IT WAS EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL AMONG PEOPLE WHO STUDYING THE PHENOMENA. IT ACTUALLY I THINK IN THE '70s KIND OF TOOK HOLD AND PROBABLY ONLY STARTED TO COME BACK AH - OR THE REVERSAL OF THE PENDULUM PROBABLY ONLY STARTED WITH ABDUCTIONS. THAT WOULD BE MY KIND OF TAKE ON IT. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER I'M RIGHT OR NOT.
[00;25;24] Out of the school -
[00;25;33] Out of the paranormal school of ufological theory there evolved the so-called psychosocial hypothesis which actually rejected paranormal processes but did see UFO reports and experiences as part of a broad range of folkloric supernatural phenomena. But instead of ascribing them to demons or parallel universes or some other unknowable place, held them to be psychological phenomena, sometimes extraordinary psychological phenomena.
[00;26;11] The whole premise was that these things couldn't be happening. This was implicit. It was really the debunking view by another more pretentious name. So there was this great effort to study the most extreme kinds of experiential claims and without really much empirical investigation or documentation. Just claiming that by their nature they were explainable as the witness's deep-seated psychological or spiritual needs, often ascribed to witnesses that the writers have never met and knew nothing about except what they had reported.
[00;26;52] This school really grew among European Ufologists. And to this day is fairly popular in - in Europe, representing a kind of sceptical Ufology which is making its own variety of extraordinary claims.
[00;27;14] LET ME JUST INTERRUPT FOR A SEC. WHY DO YOU THINK IT APPEARED IN EUROPE AS OPPOSED TO NORTH AMERICA? DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROXIMITY TO FOLKLORE IN EUROPE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THAT?
[00;27;29] I MEAN TRADITIONAL FORMS OF FOLKLORE.
[00;27;32] Well you can - Well there's plenty of folklore in the American …
[00;27;33] I KNOW. EXACTLY. IT'S NOT NECESSARILY RECOGNIZED AS FOLKLORE.
[00;27;38] There are all kinds of facile, you know, kind of explanations you could have for that. I don't even know that I want to go there.
[00;27;48] One, one - I do - I will say this though. It seems to me that with many people they get interested in UFOs and other weird stuff when they're young. They don't understand how much this marginalizes them in many ways.
[00;28;04] They grow up and their interest remains but it becomes rather embarrassing. So on some unconscious process they want to keep interested in UFOs but they want to make them some kind of mainstream thing so they become sceptics, at least publicly. And they don't even realize themselves what's happening to them.
[00;28;24] But they're - they're -
[00;28;27] They want to become -
[00;28;32] They want to maintain their unrespectable interest while being respectable. So if you said I'm interested in UFOs but I don't believe them. I believe they're psychological and social phenomena, they don't have to worry about being ridiculed or marginalized.
[00;28;51] PERFECT. …
[00;28;57] Yeah. I've said that to them and of course they go berserk when you say that because it's so obviously true. Because if these things really are trivial why - why maintain a lifelong interest in them and why write about them?
[00;29;12] ALRIGHT WHERE SHOULD WE GO NEXT IN TERMS OF OUR INTELLECTUAL HISTORY?
[00;29;16] We could go to the revival of the extraterrestrial hypothesis.
[00;29;21] Critics of paranormal and psychosocial approaches to UFO theory pointed out that there is a body of physical evidence for the presence of something anomalous that seems irreducible, that doesn't seem amenable to prosaic explanation or to being contained within known knowledge at this stage.
[00;29;44] And so they would respond to psychosocial theorists and paranormalists as saying this isn't all just airy fairy stuff. This isn't all subjective. There actually is some objective evidence that something strange is going on.
[00;30;00] And the paranormalists and the psychosocial sceptics could never really adequately rebut this argument. And eventually, some Ufologists who had gone over to the paranormal or psychosocial side said yes, the physical evidence is really the core evidence. It really is at the core of the controversy.
[00;30;29] Also in the 1970s there was a revived interest in testimony which for many years was dismissed without much thought of claiming that UFOs had been recovered, that physical evidence of UFOs existed in the form of crashed vehicles. And there were some people who came out of the woodwork who seemed to be saying and sincere, making claims that while they were in the military they had participated in these retrievals.
[00;30;58] And these stories were revived and reconsidered and there were new investigations that went on, for example, into the famous Roswell incident.
[00;31;08] Now none of this in the end really led anywhere. It just became itself its own well of confusion and a rich source of inspiration for a whole new generation of hoaxers.
[00;31;22] Nonetheless, more productively there was renewed interest in close encounters of the second kind where UFOs leave some trace of their presence, radar visuals, hard core evidence. There was a historical interest which led to the most serious historically minded researchers to go into archives to recover official document, recover old forgotten cases from the '40s and '50s that were very puzzling, that involved, you know, instrumented traces of UFOs and other kinds of hard evidence.
[00;32;00] And so there was really a more serious focus on hard evidence.
[00;32;06] PLUS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION …
[00;32;10] The Freedom of Information Act of course really facilitated this kind of inquiry.
[00;32;17] THAT'S ALL? YOU'VE GOT TO GIVE ME ANOTHER SENTENCE. (LAUGH)
[00;32;22] The Freedom of Information Act revealed cases, for example, radar visual cases that heretofore had either been totally unknown or very imperfectly documented in the public record.
[00;32;34] So there were all kinds of new people to go to to interview, you know, radar operators, pilots, people like this.
[00;32;43] And so out of this comes a real body of apparently irreducible evidence that really is the core for the case that UFOs exist as extraordinary phenomena. It goes beyond just, you know, the testimony, the anecdotes which are interesting and intriguing but ultimately unprovable.
[00;33;02] And they were also the basis on which non-hardware explanations of UFOs whether sceptical or paranormal were based. But this sort of soft evidence did not comprise the whole of the UFO evidence and that seems to me to be a crucial fact that if often overlooked in the controversy about UFOs.
[00;33;26] OKAY. THEN SUDDENLY IN THE LATE '70s SOMETHING ELSE STARTS ROLLING IN, THE ABDUCTION REPORTS, WITH PASCAGOULA BUT ALSO MOSTLY WITH TRAVIS …
[00;33;42] Well the Hills of course.
[00;33;43] AND THE HILL - WELL THE HILLS YEAH, EXACTLY.
[00;33;48] Let's see how we're going to approach this. …
[00;33;56] Mainstream conservative Ufologists always have had this sort of tendency to contain the strangeness of the phenomenon, the stranger and more exotic its manifestations the more unbelievable it is to the average person or to the average scientist.
[00;34;12] So the focus is on sightings by credible people, well investigated sightings where there can be some independent evidence in the form of instrument attracting landing traces, those sorts of things.
[00;34;26] Beginning in the 1970s and particularly the later 1970s, the UFO abduction phenomenon just seems to explode, where you have people telling the most incredible, fantastic, unbelievable stories of being taken aboard UFOs by humanoid beings and subjected to tests. There are some cases claiming sexual contact between humans and humanoids.
[00;34;54] Some cases of people claiming they were taken even to other worlds in spaceships. These stories are just fantastically unbelievable. Many of them, though not all of them, are elicited through hypnosis which has its own problems. But there are also people making conscious claims.
[00;35;12] These people are different from the contactees. They're not marginal types with a long history of occultism. Most of them don't have any history of confidence crime. They're just normal people. In fact they pretty much had the profile of other kinds of UFO witnesses to less extraordinary manifestations of the phenomenon.
[00;35;34] These claims are enormously controversial because of their sensation nature and their incredible far reaching implications.
[00;35;47] The problem is that although these reports are very interesting and they come from people who don't seem to be crazy - in fact psychological inventories of abductees indicate that these are not psychologically disturbed people. There are some really interesting patterns including some very subtle ones that connect the reports over time and space.
[00;36;12] But the kind of evidence, the kind of hard evidence that these things are occurring in the world within consensus reality never materialize.
[00;36;25] And so you have incredible stories, fantastic stories matched up against very, very limited to non-existent objective evidence that they're happening in the world. There are no abduction cases that are the equivalent of good solid UFO cases. We have multiple witnesses, instrumented observation and those sorts of things.
[00;36;51] So it becomes really difficult to know what to do with reports like these. Many Ufologists become sceptical of them, say that this is just something that is not necessarily a bunch of hoaxes but some kind of extraordinary experience of consciousness or psychology that we don't know that merely borrows images from UFOs - from the UFO literature, from science fiction and so on, but really isn't related to the UFO phenomenon of the metallic disc that's seen by pilots, for example.
[00;37;28] Others want to link these with the contactee claims and say that this is just a more later version of the contactee model. I think that's wrong. I don't think that's true. Because contactees and abductees really fundamentally are different kinds of people.
[00;37;48] The abductee stories are far stranger. You read the testimony of abductees and you really have the sense that whatever happened to these people is extraordinarily strange and and very hard to explain.
[00;38;08] But getting from very hard to explain to seeing this as the activity of physical, biological entities from other solar systems, that is a big broad jump that nobody has been able to bridge.
[00;38;24] OKAY. NEVERTHELESS SO - I DON'T WANT TO FORCE ANY LINKAGE BETWEEN THE ABDUCTEE PHENOMENA AND THE MJ12 STUFF THAT BEGINS TO ROLL IN AROUND THE MID-80S. BUT THAT'S ANOTHER KIND OF TWIST TO THE WHOLE THING. SHALL WE DEAL WITH THAT?
[00;38;49] Yeah. A long with the renewed interest in claims about crashed UFOs and wreckage recovered by official agencies is naturally revived interest in the idea that the US government and other world governments are involved in some kind of mass cover-up of proof of extraterrestrial visitation.
[00;39;11] Minus the crash disk this was a theme in very early UFO interest. In the 1950s it was widely believed that the air force knew what UFOs were. They were from outer space and the evidence is being covered up to prevent popular panic.
[00;39;25] This idea goes into eclipse for some time but is revived in the late 1970s and the 1980s with revived interest in crashed disc stories.
[00;39;36] And so documents began to appear, documents of unknown provenance for the most part, making claims that they are the minutes of some - the secret U.S. government operation that oversees the cover-up. And these documents allegedly report what the government knows what it studies of the bodies and the wreckage at Everett Field.
Now these documents are almost certainly not what they appear to be. But it has proven very difficult in many cases to figure out exactly who created them, where they come from and why they're circulating.
[00;40;20] I'm certain that some of them are just done by your standard garden variety hoaxer who likes to fool people. Some of them actually seem to be traceable to ah offices of military agencies. And they may actually have been generated there for one reason or another. My own speculation is that these are kind of very low level operations involving sort of experiment s by people being trained in psychological warfare techniques.
[00;40;53] That people who believe in flying saucers, people who might take these documents seriously are people that know serious journalist or ah legislative body pays any attention to it so there's not going to be any real investigation of where these documents come from. But they do help circulate ideas, even false ones, through society. And so presumably somebody being trained in psychological warfare techniques can observe how rumours and legends and stories with national security implications circulate.
[00;41;31] So that when the day comes in another context, when a far more serious psychological warfare operation has to be launched, they'll have some idea of how it works, how these stories circulate.
[00;41;46] AN INTERESTING THEORY. THERE'S ANOTHER ONE THAT I CAME ACROSS. MAYBE I EVEN THOUGHT OF IT MYSELF ALTHOUGH I'M SURE IT'S NOT ORIGINAL. WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE OF THE MJ12 STUFF? THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE IS THAT THE UNITED STATES IS IN POSSESSION OF TECHNOLOGY THAT IS FAR SUPERIOR TO ANYTHING ELSE ANYBODY HAS IN THE PLANET. WHAT IS THE TIMING OF IT? WELL WE'RE APPROACHING THE END OF THE COLD WAR. IF ONE WANTED TO SEND A MESSAGE TO ONE'S ENEMIES AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES HAVE ALWAYS USED MARGINAL GROUPS TO PASS THIS INFORMATION TO THEIR ENEMIES BECAUSE MARGINAL GROUPS ARE THE EASIEST GROUPS TO INFILTRATE.
[00;42;30] SO IF THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WANTED TO GIVE THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AN ADDED PUSH TO GIVE UP, YOU KNOW, ANY THOUGHT OF COMPETING IN ANY KIND OF TECHNOLOGY RACE, THIS WOULD BE ONE WAY OF DOING IT. I MEAN IT'S AN INTERESTING IDEA. IT'S SHEER SPECULATION. I HAVE NO EVIDENCE FOR IT AT ALL. BUT YOU KNOW, IN SOME KIND OF WAY IT DOES MAKE SENSE.
[00;42;58] Well I'd like to emphasize that there is no conclusive evidence about the meaning of these phoney documents, what their purpose is. This is all speculative and we just simply don't know. I think the fundamentally important fact is that they are not what they claim to be.
[00;43;18] There is no evidence that there are super secret organizations within the U.S. government which study the bodies of extraterrestrials and the wreckage of their spacecraft. That is really the fundamental fact. That's all we really -
[00;43;34] Certainly an interesting question of why these documents exist, who created them. Even the FBI when it investigated the background of some of these documents couldn't really come to any conclusions.
[00;43;46] WHICH IS ITSELF INTERESTING.
[00;43;51] AND YET THEY LEAD INTO OUR NEXT KIND OF MAJOR MOVEMENT IN THE STUDY OF … THE DARK SIDE.
[00;44;04] In 1950s contactee lore, there is this sort of subtext that the major story is that flying saucers are here. The good news is that they're being flown by God-like benevolent beings who are here to save us from blowing ourselves up with atomic bombs. But there's also another current, less visible, that there is a dark side.
[00;44;26] There are dark agencies. There are evil extraterrestrials working with evil human beings to frustrate the designs and ambitions of the good space people. And some of these dark side people are high within the government, high within the establishment. They're trying to create a one world government run by evil international bankers and other nefarious agencies.
[00;44;53] And the, and there's this alliance of convenience between them and bad extraterrestrials.
[00;45;01] By the 1980s this heretofore secondary stream of popular belief about space people has bloomed into a full fledged movement which has allied itself with far right wing groups. For example, militia groups, far right wing radio broadcasters and conspiracy theorists, some of them with anti-Semitic backgrounds.
[00;45;31] So you get this whole notion. Then it begins to merge with the idea that there are crashed spaceships, dead extraterrestrials and also secret ongoing communications between the U.S. government and extraterrestrials, except that in this version the good extraterrestrials have vanished entirely.
[00;45;54] The U.S. government is run by the most craven, wicked people possible who have no other motive than to make life hellish and turn it over to these demonic space people. And for, for a few years, maybe about ten years or so, there's this whole movement based on really what the late American historian Richard Hofstadter called the paranoid style in American politics.
[00;46;26] And it's subsumed into this flying saucer subculture of people who live in fear and who believe the very worst of anything in any kind of institution in American life - government, church, whatever. And it's just sort of a nightmare vision that emerges out of a bunch of strains, both within the UFO subculture and in popular political culture.
[00;46;56] AND EMERGES IN POPULAR MEDIA CULTURE TOO WITH THINGS LIKE ….. ALL OVER THE PLACE. THAT KIND OF BRINGS US TO THE NEXT MOVEMENT.
[00;48;01] Throughout Ufology there's been this idea that there are people within the cover-up who know what's going on and can be persuaded to step forward or they can be forced to testify, for example, before Congress.
[00;48;15] In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Donald Kehoe, who is the major UFO proponent of the early UFO era, proposed that there be congressional investigations. He and his organization lobbied Congressmen. Here and there would find a sympathetic Congressman.
[00;48;35] And they wanted big congressional hearings to bring the air force, air force representatives before the hearing and be forced to testify under oath. Kehoe was sure that they would be forced to testify that yes, we have known since the late 1940s that UFOs are extraterrestrial visitors; we've been covering that up by lying about what's going on, by explaining cases in shoddy careless ways to diffuse belief in UFOs because we want to cover up the truth.
[00;49;07] This theme has continued for - in the last two or three decades. People come forward who claim that they know the truth, that they were involved in projects studying extraterrestrial remains or wreckage.
[00;49;24] Many of these people have proved not to be credible, shall we say. Others tell these stories and they can't prove anything and we know that many of the people where we could prove something, their claims disintegrated.
[00;49;43] So you hear testimony and I don't know - wouldn't want to say that all of it is false but I would encourage anybody who hears it to be sceptical unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.
[00;50;01] WHERE DO YOU THINK WE ARE RIGHT NOW? IT'S OBVIOUS AH ABDUCTIONS HAVE KIND OF PLAYED ITSELF OUT. WELL DAVE JACOBS HAS TAKEN IT TO A PLACE WHERE - KIND OF AN INTERESTING IDEA. IT SEEMS LIKE IT'S KIND OF GONE TO SLEEP A LITTLE BIT. AND IT'S GOING TO WAKE UP SOMEHOW.
[00;50;30] I think the UFO controversy as we have known it since the period just after World War 2 has really been in a state of stalemate for a long time. It really hasn't gone anywhere. In fact, if anything, UFOs and people who propose that UFOs represent something interesting have been marginalized as much as they were at the beginning of the controversy decades ago.
[00;50;56] There's no evidence that scientists are going to pick it up. In fact there are scientists who have always been interested but they're deeply closeted, most of them and they will remain closeted. And this isn't going to go anywhere.
[00;51;12] I think that this controversy is dead for our generation, maybe the next generation to come. UFO sightings continue. There's puzzling testimony. There's puzzling evidence for anybody who wants to look at it and it will be taken up again at some point probably later in this century. But most of us won't be around when that happens.
[00;51;33] It will take something spectacular to reignite it. But all the claims and counter claims, all the drama, all the attempts to explain these things prosaically, this fight has gone on and it really in the end hasn't gone anywhere, probably because at the core of this we're dealing with questions beyond current knowledge.
[00;51;58] And only when knowledge expands will we be even able to frame the proper questions, find ways to investigate them and document them fruitfully.
[00;52;11] VERY GOOD. NICE… SHOULD WE REVISIT KEHOE, McDONALD AND Hynek?
[00;52;22] DONALD KEHOE. PROBABLY - WELL CERTAINLY THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FIGURE ON THE SCENE IN THE '50s IN TERMS OF WHAT HE WAS ABLE TO GENERATE WITH HIS BOOKS AND WRITINGS AND WITH HIS VERY FORCEFUL WAY OF PRESENTATION (LAUGH). HE BROOKED NO QUARTER IS A GOOD RHETORICIAN.
[00;52;54] The first major UFO proponent was a retired Marine Corps major named Donald Kehoe. Kehoe worked in the Pentagon. He had once been an aide to Col. Charles Lindberg. He had all kinds of contacts. He was a popular writer. He wrote stories, adventure stores in pulp magazines, usually with an aviation theme.
[00;53;17] He wrote articles on aviation questions for various flying magazines. And he was not famous but he was known and he had lots of friends, particularly in the military, because his job, his travels, he knew many people.
[00;53;33] So when True magazine which was a very popular men's magazine back years and years ago decided that it wanted to look into the question of what flying saucers were thought, well Don Kehoe is a good guy. He's got all these Pentagon contacts. He knows about aviation. He knows a lot of pilots and many pilots are reporting UFOs.
[00;53;55] So he spent about 8 months investigating the story for True magazine and the article that he published in January 1950 issue of True was titled, the flying saucers are real. This was a sensation. This article got press coverage all over the world.
[00;54;11] Kehoe concluded from interviewing his air force contacts, interviewing pilots, other credible witnesses that flying saucers were coming to Earth probably from Mars. That sounds rather ridiculous today but in those days even many reputable scientists thought it was at least possible that Mars harboured an intelligent civilization. This was before the space probes and other advances told us that this was not possible.
[00;54;41] But at the time it was considered a reasonable speculation that Mars was inhabited. Kehoe thought they were peaceful. They were coming here with good intentions. But they were afraid of us because we had sent our interceptor aircraft after them and so they were shy about establishing contact.
[00;54;58] But they were watching us and they'd started watching us intensely because they began monitoring our atomic bombs. This was a version of the extraterrestrial hypothesis for the UFO age. Kehoe was a master at publicity.
[00;55;17] He was good on radio; he was good on television. He had a certain kind of personal charisma. He was intensely sincere. He rejected the claims of the contactees. He even rejected claims that UFOs had landed and that people had glimpsed humanoid beings associated with the craft.
[00;55;36] Relatively speaking he was very conservative. He attracted pilots, he attracted both active and retired military people around him. He attracted clergymen; he even attracted a few scientists. And he started a movement in the 1950s based on the idea that UFOs from outer space were visiting the Earth; the air force knew it. And he worked hard to force the air force to disclose what it knew.
[00;56;06] And he had a fair amount of credibility in his time. In 1957 he assumed directorship of an organization called the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena which brought together all kinds of people with solid professional and middle class credentials to argue for interplanetary visitation to lobby for congressional hearings.
[00;56;31] NICAP began as a hugely ambitious operation, but the funding that Kehoe had counted on did not materialize. That's an interesting story in itself.
[00;56;42] But in the late 1950s up until the later 1960s, Kehoe and NICAP represented respectable pro-UFO opinion. And this was at a time when although there was a great deal of scepticism the idea that UFOs could be real, even extraterrestrial, was not quite the marginalized idea that it would become in later years.
[00;57;09] GOOD. QUICK QUESTION. HILLENKOETTER'S PRESENCE ON THE BOARD. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT?
[00;57;19] I can't explain it. I don't really understand it. I suspect that there's no sinister explanation. That I think that Admiral Hillenkoetter who was the first director of the CIA had a genuine interest, at least for a time, in UFOs. And he was willing to publicly associate himself with Kehoe's organization although he did leave the organization and did later claim that he had been converted to a sceptical view of UFOs.
[00;57;48] ALTHOUGH THAT CONVERSION IS SOMEWHAT CONTROVERSIAL ISN'T IT?
[00;57;52] Yes. Really as so often happens, what people say and what they really believe are often not the same thing.
[00;58;05] JAMES McDONALD.
[00;58;07] McDonald, James Mc -
[00;58;10] James McDonald was a highly respected atmospheric physicist at the University of Arizona. In 1954 he had a UFO sighting and what we would call a daylight disc and it was really a very puzzling sighting, good sighting. Obviously a very good trained witness.
[00;58;32] But he didn't do anything with it because he was starting his scientific career and it was a question that he put aside. He thought I have all these other projects to work on. I will return to this at some point.
[00;58;50] By the mid-1960s he had done all kinds of things that he wanted to do in terms of atmospheric physicism. He had accomplished a great deal in his professional career, so he decided it was time to turn to the UFO question.
[00;59;07] In the 1960s there were some big UFO waves. UFO sightings were all over the papers, there was a lot of interest. Some scientists were openly taking it up. But nobody did it as fiercely as McDonald did.
[00;59;22] McDonald decided that he was going to look at the air force documents. He was going to read the UFO literature. He went through all of this in a period of months. Began talking with witnesses. Was really impressed with the quality of evidence and he thought that this was the most important, overlooked scientific question of the century, maybe one of the most important of the billennium. He thought this is prima facie evidence of visitation from elsewhere.
[00;59;50] There are some very interesting, incredible reports from impressive witnesses, some of the scientists, pilots, people like that. So he put aside almost everything else and spent his time on the phone interviewing witnesses, travelling to interview witnesses to ….
[01;00;09] - to attend scientific conferences -
[01;00;14] TWO MINUTES LEFT ON THIS TAPE.
[01;00;15] - to lobby his fellow scientists. And he never got to write a book but he wrote some really good papers on his investigations. He did excellent investigations.
[01;00;28] But he also suffered from a psychological problem, what we would now call clinical depression. You have great highs and great lows. In the course of all his travels his marriage fell apart. He neglected his wife. And he ended up sadly committing suicide in 1971.
[01;00;47] LET'S STOP BECAUSE I WANT TO ASK A QUESTION -
[00;00;13] PHIL KLASS MANAGED TO CAUSE HIM ENORMOUS TROUBLE. WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT?
[00;00;24] The - In the 1960s a fierce antagonist of UFO phenomenon and its advocates emerged. It was an aviation journalist from a magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology. His name was Phillip J. Klass. Klass was an implacable kind of character who was relentless. Who, like McDonald, in pursuit of his own beliefs was unstoppable and would go to great lengths, shall we say, to see that he prevailed.
[00;00;58] Klass had written a book called UFOs identified which proposed an idea that plasma physicists had judged even then pseudo-scientific. But he claimed that UFOs were actually extraordinary but they weren't caused by extraterrestrials or paranormal entities. They were the product of extraordinary sort of ball of lightning phenomena that could have almost magical properties.
[00;01;25] Klass was not a physicist. Physicists thought this theory was laughable although it got a lot of respectful play in mainstream and respectable media.
[00;01;35] He was intruding on James McDonald's territory. McDonald was an atmospheric physicist who knew atmospheric phenomena, even unusual and extraordinary atmospheric phenomena work.
[00;01;51] Klass's theories were based on some elementary physical errors. McDonald wrote a paper exposing why Klass's ideas should not be taken seriously, why they should not be getting the respectful hearing they were getting from elite media that should have known better.
[00;02;10] Klass was enraged and sought vengeance by trying to get McDonald into legal trouble. McDonald had gone to Australia on a U.S. government grant, a grand from the Office of Naval Research to do atmospheric research in Australia.
[00;02;31] Before he left he made the mistake of saying that while he was working on his contract and studying atmospheric phenomena in Australia, he was also going to investigate UFO sightings, interview witnesses, link up with UFO researchers in that country.
[00;02;46] Klass went to the ONR, the Office of Naval Research to argue that McDonald was using his grant money in an illegal fashion to investigate UFOs when in fact it was given to him to investigate more conventional atmospheric phenomena.
[00;03;07] McDonald made the mistake of not taking Klass seriously. McDonald's supervisor at ONR did not take Klass seriously at first. He just really thought this was not an issue, that he knew McDonald would do his work and whatever else he did on his spare time was his own business.
[00;03;26] Klass is relentless. He went to Congress. He went to the highest levels of the U.S. government to try to get McDonald into trouble for fraudulent misuse of government grant.
[00;03;40] Eventually this failed but McDonald's grant was not renewed. So it succeeded on some level. And Klass threatened to expose the granting agency as a bunch of UFO believers who were financing a UFO believer.
[00;03;58] And finally it was decided that it apparently just wasn't worth the hassle. So McDonald didn't get into legal trouble but it did cause him and his employers embarrassment. It caused them time, it caused them grief and eventually caused McDonald to lose grant money.
[00;04;19] This was the way that Klass operated. He was, as I say, like McDonald in being fierce and implacable in his beliefs although I'm certain that McDonald would not have gone to the lengths that Klass did.
[00;04;37] Klass then went on to become a more conventional UFO debunker. Until his death he was THE major UFO debunker in the world and hugely influential. Although Klass wasn't a scientist, scientists who were disinclined to accept UFOs, thought the whole thing was nonsense, would refer to Klass's book.
[00;04;59] And you can see Klass's books being referenced in all kinds of books by astronomers and physicists and other people who when having to deal with the question of UFOs say simply just real Phil Klass; he took care of it.
[00;05;13] In fact, Klass's efforts were dubious. His explanations really don't stand up under scrutiny. But for people who didn't want to bother with them, he was the final word on the subject.
[00;05;25] AND I THINK WE'VE PRETTY WELL COVERED DONALD MENZEL….
[00;05;31] Right. Mike really knows a lot about Menzel.
[00;05;34] THAT'S GOOD. LET'S DO ALLAN Hynek AND THEN I THOUGHT OF ONE OTHER THEME YOU CAN TALK ABOUT AND THAT'S THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA, BEING IN THE MEDIA.
[00;05;49] Allan Hynek was a scientist who …
[00;05;58] In 1948 when the first air force UFO project began, the officers who were involved in it knew they needed a scientist. They needed a scientific consultant who could help them, for example, explain sightings astronomically. If someone had seen Venus they could - the astronomer could explain to them what this was.
[00;06;23] And ah so the scientist nearest them, the astronomer nearest them, was Jay Allan Hynek, who was at Ohio State University. The air force project was centred at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
[00;06;35] That's how Allan Hynek through that accident of history and geography became a scientist very early on involved in a serious way with UFO investigation.
[00;06;49] Hynek was very sceptical. From the beginning he assumed that all reports were - were explainable in conventional terms. And that is in fact what he did, that was his function for the air force.
[00;07;04] They would take the cases to them and say we can't explain this as - we can't trace a weather balloon. Is this a comet, a meteor, a planet? And Hynek would provide the explanation. If they weren't astronomical explanations he could suggest other lines of inquiry they could pursue that would presumably eventually identify the stimulus for the sighting.
[00;07;28] But, again, there is the question of what people say they think and what they really think. And it was clear that by the early 1950s Hynek was more intrigued than he let on. In public he was totally sceptical, allowed no possibility for something anomalous.
[00;07;53] But privately hooked up with some of the more serious private Ufologists and he was interested in what they were finding. And he communicated with them and he would quietly communicate with them.
[00;08;07] None of this was happening in public view. On the other hand, by the late 1950s he seemed to have gone through another cycle where he had really become a hard core sceptic. It was as if there was an ambivalence. There was a period when he was open minded, a period when he was deeply sceptical.
[00;08;25] And then again in the early 1960s prompted by a young astrophysicist named Jacques Vallay, Vallay begins to play on Hynek's doubts about the air force's approach and he would say, well what about this …. Isn't that kind of interesting?
[00;08;47] And Allan would have to say, well, yes there were some interesting aspects to that. I'm not sure that the air force's official explanation really is the correct one. And then he - Allan Hynek's mind begins to open up and all the doubts that he had about the hard core debunking approach of the air force and many of his fellow scientists, these doubts begin to evolve into a position where he's willing to go public and say the UFO question has not been resolved. It is something that scientists should pay attention to. It is potentially a really important scientific question.
[00;09;29] DO YOU WANT TO TOUCH ON THE SMO… INCIDENT IN THAT REGARD OR MAYBE MARK COVERED THAT. THAT'S OKAY.
[00;09;35] Yeah let Mark do that.
[00;09;37] In 1972 he publishes a book called The UFO Experience which to this day is one of the major works in UFO literature where he carefully and methodically lays out the case that UFOs represent something extraordinary, that scientists and the air force have not explained it satisfactorily.
[00;09;58] In fact that science -
[00;10;03] In fact scientists have done a very poor job of either looking at the evidence, or worse, not looking at it.
[00;10;13] Now this book comes after a number of very interesting UFO sightings throughout the 1960s. This book is well reviewed, even in the scientific literature. It's as if there's this period where they're waiting for some trusted colleague with impeccable sceptical credentials to come forward and say, yes, we should look at this; this looks like a really interesting question. Potentially some really fascinating answers could be at the end of our inquiry.
[00;10;45] So Allan Hynek goes on to become, for a time, something of a popular celebrity. Scientists don't like scientists to be popular celebrities. They want them to be scientists. Allan Hynek ends up spending a lot more time lecturing Rotary clubs and making cameo roles in science fiction movies, things like this, becoming a celebrity.
[00;11;12] And he looks the scientist, you know. He's got the Van Dyke beard, he's got the pipe. You know, he just looks the part of the professor. But there's this other side to him that begins to emerge too and that is a private interest in occultism, particularly Rosicrucianism. And this begins to come out as he's speaking in groups that are not just not scientific groups but actively occult like groups.
[00;11;45] And he speaks to them and he begins to talk publicly about his own kind of fantastic world view. And he begins to incorporate this fantastic world view into his UFO advocacy which further makes him seem like a marginal figure that allows his critics to say, see he's been crazy all along.
[00;12;13] But Allan Hynek, like all of us, was different things at different times. And his UFO investigations when he was busy investigating sightings in the 1950s and 1960s are very good, almost textbook scientific investigations of reports of unusual phenomena.
[00;12;35] You go back to his investigations, he did a very good job. He thought hard. He was naturally sceptical of UFO reports. I think he came by that scepticism honestly and I also think that he came by his later advocacy honestly.
[00;12;51] But I think that when he became a popular figure he really mishandled things to the point that he really helped marginalize himself by, by some mistakes that he made and things that he said. In his later years his thinking did become looser, less defensible, less rigorous.
[00;13;13] ANYTHING PARTICULARLY YOU RECALL THAT MAY … IN TERMS OF THE MARGINAL COMMENTS THAT HE MADE.
[00;13;27] Excuse me, I don't understand the question.
[00;13;29] THAT HE MARGINALIZED HIMSELF BUT WAS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT DID THAT? THE BOOKS MAYBE?
[00;13;37] The UFO Evidence which came out in 1972 is a very good solid book. It's a good work of scientific thinking and logical analysis and rigorous investigation. But in 1975 he published a book. It's a book of sorts; it's basically transcripts of conversations, some freewheeling conversations he had with his younger colleague, Jacques Vallay, where Hynek begins to open up about his private occult beliefs which heretofore had been separate from his UFO ideas.
[00;14;12] But he was beginning to merge them and worse, from a political point of view, talk about them openly. So in this book which is called The Edge of Reality he begins to talk about elementals and things like this, using occult language which actually made many Ufologists uncomfortable, much less his scientific colleagues whom he was trying to bring over to his side.
[00;14;39] OKAY GOOD. PERFECT. ONE LAST QUESTION ABOUT Hynek. HOW DID HE FEEL ABOUT THINGS DURING HIS LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? WHAT WAS HIS GENERAL MOOD?
[00;14;56] Allan Hynek liked being a celebrity. I mean he was a human being. He liked it that people paid attention to him that when he was flown in to give a speech there were people waiting for him. Women liked him. People took him to nice restaurants. He was a human being. He was an older man. He was in his last years. He really enjoyed the kind of avuncular figure that he - that he was seen as and he was a wonderful man.
[00;15;23] He was a man of warmth and humour. He was a great dinner companion. I was very fond of Allan Hynek. I believe that when the history of science is written, that history will be very kind to Allan Hynek. It will overlook the mistakes and flaws and see him as a brave man who was willing to step forward and saying, hey science is neglecting an important question.
[00;15;48] And he did that at great cost to his professional reputation. He did it belatedly admittedly. Excuse me…
[00;15;57] He did it belatedly admittedly toward the end of his career with the air force. But he did it.
[00;16;06] GOOD. THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN ALL THIS, PARTICULARLY THE OFFICIAL MEDIA IS TROUBLESOME TO SAY THE LEAST. LIKE MANY THINGS THEY HAVEN'T DONE THEIR VIEW…
[00;16;24] Oh yeah, yeah. You know, in a lot of ways the failure of society to come to, to grips with the UFO question in any kind of serious way is also the failure of journalism. Because one thing that the UFO question needs besides scientific inquiry is journalistic investigation. That if somebody took a claim about a UFO sighting or a claim about government secrecy concerning UFOs and really did a good, kind of investigative journalism job, we would really know more than we know now just as so much of what we know about things generally comes out of good hard working journalism, good newspaper reports of various kinds of social and political and scientific questions.
[00;17;16] AND WHY HASN'T IT HAPPENED?
[00;17;18] I think very early on major media decided that this was not a serious question, that flying saucers and UFOs were silly season stories. Now local papers, small newspapers, would treat this more seriously. But they weren't doing great journalism. It's just that they would report someone's UFO sighting without ridiculing the guy.
[00;17;44] Or you know they might run sympathetic editorials. But it didn't really change anything. These were newspapers of little circulation. On the level of elite media, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, publications like that, the major news weeklies, Newsweek and Time, it was a joke.
[00;18;02] And air force claims debunk - air force debunking claims would be published almost like press releases. Unquestioned, this is the final word. When somebody's sighting was reported it would be laced with ridicule.
[00;18;16] And through this failure of journalistic imagination UFOs and theories about UFOs were pushed so far to the margins that now they're where they are which is nothing that is going to be - I'm not saying that very well.
[00;18;35] Journalism's failure had a lot to do with the marginalization of UFOs and theories about UFOs, UFO reports.
[00;18;47] TAKE ANOTHER CRACK AT IT. I'LL TELL YOU WHERE YOU CAN GO WITH IT IS THE EFFECT OF THAT ON THE WITNESSES THEMSELVES….
[00;19;01] One of the major social facts of the UFO controversy is ridicule. Ridicule has played a huge, almost overwhelming role in the UFO controversy. It's kept scientists from investigating it. It's kept witnesses from reporting what they saw. It has discouraged serious intelligent, thoughtful conversation about what all of this may mean. Ridicule is a whole story in itself, really under-appreciated. Ridicule is one of the major social and psychological facts of the UFO controversy.
[00;19;44] AND ITS EFFECT ON WITNESSES.
[00;19;46] Ridicule keeps witnesses from reporting their experiences or it causes them to regret reporting their experiences when their stories go public. It causes their private lives suddenly to become open to anybody who wants to discredit their testimony. There are fierce sceptics who will go into their private lives, expose embarrassing but irrelevant personal details from their lives.
[00;20;18] There really isn't a lot of incentive for anybody to go public with his or her UFO sighting anymore.
[00;20;26] WHAT DO YOU REALLY THINK IS BEHIND IT? WHY WOULD THE NEW YORK TIMES, WHY WOULD - THIS IS THE STORY OF THE MILLENNIUM IF IT'S TRUE. WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? WHAT'S AT THE BASIS OF THIS FAILURE OF IMAGINA- IN OTHER WORDS I'M SAYING THAT THE FAILURE OF IMAGINATION IS MORE THAN JUST A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION. I THINK SOMETHING ELSE IS GOING ON.
[00;20;46] Elite media like the New York Times and Washington Post have very cosy, too cosy relationships with the governments they cover.
[00;20;56] The New York Times and Washington Post operating with people at the highest levels - the president, the Pentagon, State department, these people say there is nothing going on. They're interacting with people at the most prestigious universities. All these people are saying this is nonsense, treat it as such.
[00;21;19] OKAY. LAST THING. JERRY CLARK, WHAT DOES JERRY CLARK STAND ON THE PHENOMENA. WHAT'S GOING ON?
[00;21;33] In my opinion what's going on is not one thing but two things. There's the event phenomenon and then the experience phenomenon. The event phenomenon is the core of the UFO question I believe.
[00;21;49] That is are extraordinary and puzzling events happening in the world outside our own perception, outside our own consciousness? The way you investigate that question, determine the answer is you look at the evidence and the evidence is mostly physical evidence. It's electronic evidence. It's the evidence of radar visuals. It's the evidence of landing traces, studies in the laboratory. It's that sort of thing. The thing that documents that an actual event occurred.
[00;22;20] The experience phenomenon is much more puzzling in many ways because we don't even have a vocabulary for it. We know from all of human history and all of human testimony that fantastic things can be experienced that have the resonance of a reality. They seem like things that are happening in the world but they aren't.
[00;22;44] They don't seem to be happening in the world because there is no evidence for them, except in people's experience, testimony and memory. We also know that these kinds of experience anomalies take place in cultural contexts where they reflect a culture's idea of what a supernatural experience is.
[00;23;06] In a traditional culture you're going to experience ghosts or spirits or fairies. In our own kind of modern technological, scientific context, we may be experiencing extraterrestrials. These are extraordinary experiential phenomena, deeply anomalous. We don't understand them but they appear not to be happening in the world as we ordinarily understand it. That experience and event in this sense are not synonymous.
[00;23;37] So if we're being invest-
[00;23;40] If we're being visited by extraterrestrials, we will find that out through the investigation of physical and instrumented evidence.
[00;23;50] Experience anomalies appear to be so far beyond current knowledge, current language, our imagination of what knowledge could even be. We're going to be stuck with them for a long time.
[00;24;07] WHAT'S GOING ON ON THE EVENT LEVEL REALITY THEN? WHAT DO YOU THINK? …
[00;24;11] On the event level, we're dealing with something that appears to have a technology. It appears to have a technology beyond our technology.
[00;24;23] If the galaxy is densely populated, as some astronomers believe, visitation from other solar systems is more likely to occur, in fact it's almost certain to occur. So in that sense the extraterrestrial hypothesis of Ufology is not really that outrageous. It's really in line with a lot of astronomical thinking.
[00;24;46] If there are billions of civilizations out there, why shouldn't they come here? If they don't come here they're probably not there. So I think the extraterrestrial hypothesis, true or false, is an eminently reasonable inference from the evidence of the event phenomenon.
[00;25;05] PERFECT. ANYTHING ELSE?
[00;25;09] I hope not.