24 August 2009


Peter Brookesmith explains to readers of the UfologyinUK mailing list why he voted for John Keel in the Magonia poll:

"I just came back from a visit to the New Model Ufologist's blog and voted for John Keel as the greater contributor to ufology than Dick Hall (the Ufologist's Philosopher).
"Actually, I think Keel wrote huge tracts of illogical and ill-founded, evidence-free, but entertaining crap about UFOs. He also, however, had one of the better stabs at explaining "Roswell" plausibly before we knew what we now know about Mogul, etc. (He thought it was a Fu-Go balloon.)

"So there is Keel, a purveyor of a morass of both admitted fiction and reasonable inference, with the occasional fact sticking out of the dross like a white lighthouse in the middle of the Sargasso, along with some very illogical and eccentric conclusions about the phenomenon; and then there is Hall, Philosophy BA c.1954, a sedulous and even obsessive collector of UFO reports over virtually the lifetime of the phenomenon, foe of the unsubstantiated inference, friend and evangelist of science, and (without noticing the contradictions) devotee of the ETH and much abduction lore. And I choose Keel.

"Well, yes. The description of Keel's productions above could as well stand as a description of ufology from about 1951 to the present. Now this is a wafer that sticks in the craw of those who think that there is some kind of real ufology and a kind of false one (the latter represented by Adamski, Creighton, Cooper & Lear, Shuttleworth et al), and that the real ufology will in due course be an embarrassment to "science" when it's realized that chaps like Hynek, Hall, Hopkins, Harris et al were on to something after all. But ufology is ufology, just as English tennis is everything from Andy Murray to half-competents knocking balls about on the courts in Norland Square W11 on a warm and dusty Friday night in summer. I see no way of disentangling these threads.

"Both Hall and Keel contributed much to the UFO myth but Keel did a better job as a mythopoeist (or mythochreiast) than Hall. This says nothing negative or positive about either of them, unless you're a witch-hunting super-rationalist CSI/CSICOP inquisitor busy missing the whole point of the exercise. Or perhaps Dick Hall."

1 comment:

  1. Keel v Hall:
    Hall was of the orthodox school, Keel was of the unorthodox school. This is probably the best way to describe them. Hall's big contribution to ufology was in his two tomes "The UFO Evidence", the first of which (1964) was distributed to every member of Congress when it was published. It is certainly a useful reference book. I never got round to reading Keel's books although I did attend one lecture by him at Sheffield and have read a few articles. Both had their supporters and their critics of course. As for who contributed the most to ufology, I just don't know. I believe they were the same age (within a few months). Hall would obviously have appealed far more to the ETHers than Keel ever did.