Thursday, November 5, 2009

UFOs: What Is Believed?

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled on an old file folder that had within it some "favorite" cases listed by some well-known veteran UFOlogists. Coincidentally, another such list popped up on the web. Well, serendipidity I say to myself, and stick the two things together on the side of my desk. Uncovering them from the accumulated debris which followed, I thought, hmmm, why not post them? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I totalled them up and the result is the table you're looking at. These are the cases that 35 veteran UK and USA UFO researchers "believed", that is, the ones they would "take to war" with the skeptics. What you have here is a gestalt synthesis of these researchers' Strangeness/Credibility graphs that they carry around in their heads. For them, these are the cases with enough strangeness to indicate that the incident involved true anomalousness, and, more importantly, was reported by witnesses that they had some reason to trust. [It's ironic that the lead case is Socorro...just at the time some meatheads are trying to push a preposterous "explanation" of it, and just three days after Lonnie Zamora passed away.] The list shows a lot of "cultural bias" in that very few "foreign" cases appear, but in many ways surprised me at its relative uniformity and its match with what Ufologists would expect from the history books. I'll say something more about this list in a moment.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The above list is not my list. But guilt has made me say, you put them out there, you better fess-up and put your own cases on the line. So, remembering that such things are a "movable feast" changing as the years and knowledge arrives, I've put one together on the left. There are a lot of similarities [and, by the way, if I felt that a completely different set of cases was the "proper" list, you'd have gotten a completely different set. But I apparently am not entirely residing on Pluto, so there are agreements.] The differences stem from my research emphasis on early UFOlogy, I believe. Something strikes me about these two lists [including the "extension" list of my favorites below]. They overwhelmingly "honor" the phenomenon of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. After the year 1980, the veteran researchers are not as "confident" in the "goodness" of the cases at all. Other researchers who would wail at this, need to take at least one thing away from this result: no matter how good they think their work and their cases have been, they have not made their case well. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In my supplementary list [and this could go on to quite lengthy numbers] I've tossed in favorite cases of differing sorts of strange elements to better cover the UFO phenomenology. Even adding these in, the emphasis is still 50s,60s,70s. The strangeness quotients are not what's making the difference here. The difference is in the credibility: the trust in the witnesses and the trust in the quality of the field study. Even when one was dealing with a botch job by the USAF, one had lengthy reports in the hand of witnesses [or same as] and independent interviews or commentaries and, over time, we "got to know" who these people were [often] or at least could set them into some credible context where not everything reduced to "believe it or not". Modern research has often considered the cases so "private" or the researchers become themselves so guarded with their information that the rest of us are often left outside looking in. Naturally we're not in a comfort zone about such claims. All this and more produces lists which emphasize "old-fashioned" UFOlogy. They are lists which count 25 CE2s vs. 4 CE4s. [I'm counting if I doubled an "expert" case, which I shouldn't, but that didn't hurt the ratio]. I note that I am more "risk-taking" than my colleagues, mentioning 4 "high-strangeness" incidents [Toledo; Taize; Lytchett Minster; and Montrose] [admittedly in my second list] but none of us are high on CE4s except for the Hills, Walton, and Buff Ledge. The question a UFO researcher should ask is: what is the consensus Credibility/ Strangeness criteria graph like? What do my colleagues think is reasonable? Where have I fallen short [if so one has]? None of this means that we do not believe on-board experiences have taken place. Almost every well-read UFO researcher that I know thinks that the Hills experience happened, though they hardly agree on what the "agenda" was. Almost anyone who has read Walt Webb's Buff Ledge Incident believes that one happened too. Others start running into resistance. Why this is, I have not the answer. But it's real. If anyone who researches CE4s cares, they should think about this.


  1. Hello, whomever you are, "The Professor",

    Your case compilations are interesting, but what I really would like to know is the source of the artwork shown at the top. Why it so intrigues me could be told, if it even interests you, but its content highly surprises me.

    Ray Stanford
    Author of the 211-page (USA edition page numbering)book on the 4-24-64 Socorro CE III case.

  2. I was interested to see a case involving Lake Ronkonoma on the list. I used to live near there and was wondering if you had more information about the event.

  3. Dear Ray, the artwork is my own, such as it is.--------------------------------------- As to the other question on Ronkonoma, the case information is secondarily from the Blue Book files, which provides the background to the case, and the primary description comes from a lengthy letter in NICAP files [written to Keyhoe I think]. The case was written up, alongside the other astroalignments for CUFOS' International UFO Reporter. CUFOS might be willing to sell you one and you'd be helping grass-roots UFOlogy.

  4. Many thanks for your reply to my inquiry re the Lake Ronkonkoma case. I'll see what I can find out from the information you graciously supplied.



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