Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CUFOS-Michigan: Where all "Things" are Welcome.

Since I gave a status quo on the SITU archives the other day, it seemed [possibly] useful to follow that with a visual description of the archive [my own] with which it temporarily resides. Some researchers could possibly find that the co-location of these two resources was valuable to their investigations. I'll be brief, folks --- I know that this is like showing guests slides of one's vacation.

All this is in the basement of my home. The three tan-colored filing cabinets are those case files that I'm always complaining about being in Michigan when I am in West Virginia. They are broken down by sighting type, CE1s, Radar, CE3s, the different forms of CE2s, etc, and color-coded for orderliness of refiling. The gray cabinet has rare journals, some APRO cases, and the bottom two drawers are McDonald papers. Above the cabinets is a set of Loren Gross' history monographs [extremely useful]. Hidden under them is a complete run of FATE, just for fun. Through the door is the Inner Anomalies Library, nicknamed for George Eberhart.

Stepping to the door of that inner library. The cabinets on the right are for correspondence, topical files, NICAP and CSI-NY files, year-by-year news story files, FOIA, and Allen Hynek materials. The library shelves in this direction are for cryptozoology, Corliss books, and a variety of paranormal/ psychic topics. Place is almost always a working mess.

Looking from within at the other main wall shelves: This is for UFO books and documents mainly with some specially constructed topical files [examples would be "angelhair cases", "Robertson panel", HUMCAT, JAllen Hynek personal books, Ted Bloecher files, Howard McCoy materials]. There is a shelving unit dedicated to Archaeoastronomy, Lost Continents, Historical Arthur, Megaliths, et al.

The last of the shelving walls: Here reside the UFO journals mainly. All of CUFOS, NICAP, APRO, FSR, all of the non-recent MUFON, and the non-US best journals. This, far beyond the books, is the backbone of any researcher's facility, as here reside the actual cases which comprise the phenomenon. You are at least one step closer to actual encounters when reading journals rather than books. There's also a SETI section down below.

We're back outside the inner library now. The notebooks that you see and the boxes on the floor are the John Timmerman files from which Grass-Roots UFOs was written. Thank goodness John was able to get someone to type out transcripts of all his audiotapes or I'd never have done the work of writing them up for him.

The blue filing cabinet contains, in its top two drawers, the Edward Ruppelt files. Sacred Ground there. In the bottom two drawers are Colorado [Condon] Project archives. The shelving unit alongside contains a mix of journals [some worthwhile] and the Paul McCarthy files for his PhD thesis on James McDonald. To the left you see boxes full of extra PURSUITs which mainly will have to be culled from the SITU collection [we'll keep maybe 8-10 copies each].

The four cabinets to the left are the George Hunt Williamson archives; the one to the right is a personal mixed anomalies file cabinet. I decided to preserve Williamson's material because he is by far the most interesting/creative of the alleged "contactees". The fact that I rarely believe a word of what he's claiming is irrelevant to the scholarly historical process. And, it's a continual rock-&-roll hoot to read these.

Last picture [I AM trying to be brief :-) : This is the AV room. I don't spend much time in here anymore as that sort of thing takes so much time. But treasures abound in here. One is that set of similar-looking videocassettes you see strung across the middle back shelf. That's Tom Tulien's terrific Oral History video project --- mostly important witnesses, with a sprinkling of UFO research vets. Some very interesting "antique" audiotapes also reside here, including ancient reel-to-reel things from Hynek and NICAP. Fortunately that reel-to-reel player you see is in pretty good condition.

I'm stopping now... bored you long enough. What you've seen is what I feel some duty to pass on.

Now back to trying to relax...  till next time.


  1. Professor Swords, I have admired everything you have done for the field of ufology. You truly are one of the shining lights in the field. You're wonderful articles for the IUR, the Grassroots Timmerman book, the presentations you have made over the years at conferences, and so forth. Thank you for all of your hard work and I look forward to more wonderful things yet to come. Thank you for educating us all.

    1. Well, thank you ... always difficult to accept such a nice comment with grace. I feel, somehow, that all these things are important .... in some subtle mind & spirit expanding ways more important than almost anything that we could talk about, and refuse to be lost to our semi-crazy blurred and directionless culture.

      Many of the deeper thinkers on the ETI concept have wondered what kind of "people" they will be? I worry about what kind of people WE will be, when we get to those awesome technological achievements. Will we have left all our sense-of-the-greater behind us? Will we have lost our spirit? Will our imagination have shrunk to a small stone in a locket, firmly tucked away? It may be that in the preservation of these anomalies and "irregularities", we are preserving the gateways to that which is finest and most essential about ourselves. And all of them, the true and the false, break the fences that arbitrary preachers of dogma try to encircle us with ... just because they fear mystery and the unknown. The healthy mind and soul is the freely exploring soul. Boxes are great for keeping things. The human heart and spirit must not be "kept".

      So, we try our best....

  2. Is that dust I see on all those tapes in the AV room?

    Dust!? has a small collection of UFO-related files and would probably be delighted to host this collection. They'd be 'in the wild' and more likely to survive as digital archives than the old TDK and reel-to-reel tapes.

  3. Ha! Don't know how you determined that, but yes, the tapes on the lower left of the picture have been sitting there long enough to get dust. The rest haven't, but they're just as unused. Regarding your suggestion: most of these tapes ARE mine and I could theoretically "send them somewhere" for electronic reproduction --- the cassette tapes would be simple to do. The reel-to-reels are not mine but CUFOS' and anything done with them would have to go through Mark Rodeghier. That latter is similarly true of some of the cassettes. Even with the cassettes that I consider "mine", I got many of them from the greatest combination of UFO materials collector and genuinely good colleague, Barry Greenwood. I guess I'd have to ask Barry about those. When Wendy Connors visited that room a long time ago, she left with a huge pile of recordings which ultimately formed the base of her "Faded Disks" project --- much of which several UFO historians have [not me strangely; I'd have thought she'd send me a gratis copy --- I actually think that Wendy forgot where she'd gotten so much of her stuff]. Even if something could be arranged for the more "public talk" etc type of thing, the UFO case witness sort of tape brings with it the added ethical dilemma of the confidentiality of the witness. That is just about insurmountable in an audiotape situation. Still there would be some number of tapes which could be better preserved and accessible through the good graces of some organization of greater time and energy than I.

    Do you have a do-able suggestion?

  4. Absolutely fascinating, and enough to make any archivist's heart beat a little faster.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Not boring, in the least.

  5. Prof. Swords, You are a very tidy and thorough gentleman! I know I state the obvious, but I do hope some people - as mentioned - grad students or committed ufo buffs would assist you to get all of this information digitalized!

    BTW, I got a chuckle out of the sci-fi montage. My fav would be 'Morn' the ever-present barfly at Quark's bar on Star Trek:Deep Space 9 (my favorite series from the Star Trek franchise). ;-)

    ~ Susan

  6. Greetings from Guatemala city! First time I've checked the blog since we've been here. Many stories to tell and enjoying a little blog catch up. These pictures look strangely familiar, though they lack one element -- namely, Dave Ford, the most important artifact in your collection.
    See you next week.

  7. Glad Guatemala is treating you well. Look forward to seeing you back in Michigan.



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