Thursday, August 27, 2009

Taking a fling at UFOs

If you want to participate in an adventure, there are many places on our own planet to visit and experience, there are many areas of research on the frontiers of established Science and Technology [but fight to stay on those frontiers rather than become a herd-follower and a brick maker], and there are two ubiquitous, albeit frustrating, real, anomalies: parapsychological phenomena and UFOs. The path of my young life pulled me towards the non-Spiritual of these anomalies (UFOs), but it has been interesting and mind-expanding in its own way. Even though UFOs have little to do, directly, with the spiritual, they are a mystery that I, for better or worse, know a great deal about, and maybe you would like to hear some of that. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My own interest began in 1957 when I read the (surprising) book written by the retired intelligence officer who had led the Air Force's UFO project (investigating them, not trying to build them) in 1951-1953. Captain Edward Ruppelt wrote The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, and, although he fought like crazy to maintain a middle road on his experience with those military (mostly) encounters, facts like his admission that his group could not explain over a quarter of the cases, even though there should have been sufficient evidence in the reports to do so, were very hard to ignore. Two years later, my brother and I saw a domed disk relatively close up (hard to judge, but possibly less than a football field away) and as it silently cruised across the sky in front of us, skepticism "left the building". Years later my sister-in-law (a person who I very much respect) told me of an even closer encounter that she had with her high school girl friends when a disk came and parked directly overhead for a brief time. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As life went forward, and I became formally an academically trained scientist, I always kept my interest in UFOs, though on a back-burner. Once in my University job, I went to Chicago one weekend to listening to a series of talks by Dr. J. Allen Hynek (who had been Ruppelt's scientific advisor on the Air Force project), and several other people I'd never heard of. These speakers were insightful and encouraging; there really were serious people looking at this mystery. I began, slowly, to become involved.

Over the years I was able to meet and talk personally, a few times (he was getting to the end of his life, unfortunately) with Dr. Hynek, and also with nearly every well-known person working on the field. There are a lot of these folks who are intelligent, knowledgeable, and honest. There are some that are neither. I "kept" the first and dumped the second out of my life. In time, through this "making a real effort", it became pretty obvious, at least in general outlines, what was going on. And I promise to let you know gradually over the course of future blog entries.

As for now, I, and I would never have dreamed this, have handled the very Pentagon papers (some of them) that Colonel George Garrett of the Collections Division of Air Force Intelligence used in August of 1947 to make the first assessment of what UFOs were for the military. In that assessment (what the military calls an "estimate"), Garrett said that although he could not say exactly what they were, they were "really flying around" and were some form of aerial technology. I have been able to handle and read the remaining files of Captain Ruppelt and see his "private" notes about what was going on and the things that he struck from his book draft before publishing it. I've read the half-foot thick stack of Freedom-of -Information-Act [FOIA] releases by the Pentagon which reveal much of their anxieties and confusion about the phenomenon. And case reports by the hundreds. The result of all that, is that it could hardly be clearer that the military has always taken these intruders into our airspace seriously (how could they not and still do their job?) and that there are hundreds of incidents which are strikingly unexplained.

Are they ET? We don't know that yet. They are Something, though. Of all the concepts which people who have actually made a serious study of them have come up with, ET is actually the least altering of our scientific consensus about the nature of Reality. Our scientific consensus says that our Universe teems with life, some of it is surely advanced, and although interstellar travel might turn out to be hard, even then you could do it. All the ET hypothesis would add to our current consensus beliefs is that at least one of those civilizations has done it. There are absolutely wonderful rock-solid UFO cases on the various "books". I'll tell you the stories as we go.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive