It's been a while since I last commented on American ufology, and its most public face, the MUFON organisation, and after I posted those notes it did seem that MUFON's monthly magazine was showing a more rational and critical attitude, in keeping with its stated aims of "analytical and scientific investigation of the UFO phenomenon" and published several quite interesting pieces.
However any pretence of scientific objectivity seems to be jettisoned with the July 2011 number. Six and a half pages are given over to a feature called 'Big Questions in Ufology'. This is a summary of a discussion involving a number of well-known figures in American ufology, including Richard Dolan, Linda Moulton-Howe, Travis Walton and Kathleen Marden.
Now I must say from the start that this discussion took place at the Ozark UFO Conference in April, and not at an official MUFON conference, so the organisation is a least one step removed from it. Obviously, though, they thought it important enough to give over a large portion of their magazine to reporting the discussion, and several of the speakers have regular starring roles at official MUFON conferences.
However, rather than simply demonstrating the lack of objectivity in MUFON's publication, I think this particular article demonstrates tendencies in the wider US ufological 'community' which seem to be moving it farther and father from rationality. The theme of these 'Big Questions' is 'disclosure', which now seems to be an obsession with American ufologists. Recently Kevin Randle - one of the few sensible pro-ETH ufologists - ran a poll on his web-page asking his readers when they though 'disclosure' might come. Interestingly, in the first version of this poll he did not give as an option that there might not actually be anything to disclose. In fairness to Kevin, after some readers pointed this out, and Magonia ran an alternative poll giving this option, he did re-run the vote, with interesting results.
However, no such possibility is admitted in the Ozarks. From the start the contributors announce not only is there definitely something to disclose, but only the USA is in a position to disclose it. Linda Moulton Howe begins by telling us about a naval intelligence "guy" Scott Jones (Apparently 'Falcon' in the infamous 'Aviary') who was dispatched to China in the mid-1970s by Senator Claiborne Pell to "learn what China had in photographs, 16mm film or any kind of documentation about UFOs"
Scott Jones and Claiborne Pell have a lot of very interesting connections in the UFO, occult and 'human potential' fields as well as some interesting political links, as a quick trawl through Google will reveal, and Jones was an aide to Pell when the latter was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so it is not implausible that he was sent to China, and may have approached Chinese officials on a personal level about UFOs and related matters.
However, what happens next beggars belief, but Ms Moulton Howe obviously expects us to believe it. Scott reported that he was shown "everything that all of us would like to see - photographs of alien beings and of spacecraft - the whole nine yards". Naturally he asked why this information was not being revealed to the world: "there was a long pause before the handler bowed and said, 'we are waiting for the United States to act.'"
In the mid-1970s the USA and China were in a process of rapprochement, and were soon to establish diplomatic relations, but can anyone seriously imagine that even if they had such information, Chinese officials would show these to a fairly low-rating American diplomatic functionary? And even believing that impossibility before breakfast, can anyone believe that having got this world shaking evidence of contact they would wait patiently (even without the polite bow) for the USA to make the first move?
The Big Questions and their answers don't get any better after this. Ryan Jones, who was speaking at the conference on 'Hostile non-corporeal entities' - or 'boggarts' as they used to be called - offered the suggestion, from Michael Salla, that the real reason for President Nixon's groundbreaking China visit was to tell the Chinese that the US knew they had crashed discs and were reverse-engineering their technology: "You can ask for anything you want economically so long as you don't use the reverse-engineered technology until fossil fuels run out then we will all switch over together." For once I can agree with Richard Dolan: "I'm familiar with that theory about Nixon, and I personally don't subscribe to it"
In some of his reviews and Northern Echoes pieces Peter Rogerson has expressed unease at the way in which stories of alien-human hybrids and aliens posing as humans seem to be entering the US ufological mainstream, and some of the comments further along in this report only emphasise these concerns. One question the panel was asked was "The aliens that look just like us or make themselves look just like us - how integrated do you think they are in our society? ... Do you think they are involved in our businesses, or politics for good bad or indifferent...?
Well, we know all about people who look just like us but are "involved in our business, our politics" don't we? Maybe if we found out who they are we could make them wear some sort of identifying badge or arm-band couldn't we? But how can we find out who they are? The panellists had some ideas.
Moulton Howe reports that in 1983 she was shown a document about extraterrestrials manipulating DNA in primates to create homo sapiens, shown it by - who else? - Richard Doty. According to Richard Dolan the aliens might appear, as they did to a Pennsylvania teenage in the 1960s as "beautiful, a man and a woman. Blonde, perfectly built, wearing clothing that was vastly better than anyone's. Their suits were of very fine blue fabric". Beautiful, perfectly built, exquisite clothes - that lets the Magonia team off the hook! This couple appeared in a church, and when the witness spotted them she intercepted the telepathic message "She knows we're here", whereupon the couple did a runner, to meet up with a 7-foot-tall MIB and disappear into the woods.
Ryan Jones ("aerospace engineer with experience on the space shuttle") tells similar tales of people meeting strange people. A contact - "a person who is completely sane" - showed Jones a picture of a young woman who, according to his informant, "looked completely human but she didn't have the right emotional reactions to the things that they were talking about". Apparently she spoke to Jones's informant for "about two hours" on UFOs and ETs. The incident caused this person some distress so he went to a 'counsellor' (of what type or with what qualifications we remain in ignorance) who looked at the photograph and said "She's your daughter".
Jones's interpretation is that this woman was an alien who was trying to learn human emotional responses. My interpretation is that this woman might possibly have been autistic or suffering from Asperger's syndrome, and that any suggestion that people whom others may find odd or even slightly disturbing may be aliens is very worrying indeed.
We are told an absurd tale by Kathleen Marden (Stanton Freedman's collaborator on Captured, the Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience) about a woman, who was previously unable to conceive, who became pregnant after asking the ETs to help her. She was taken on board one of their craft and show a sort of library of foetuses in jars. A Grey indicated one and said "this one looks about right". A few days later she found out she was pregnant. The child subsequently born, we are told, "looked pretty normal, but had some physical characteristics that were different from the physical characteristics of his family". Hmmm. Well, there may be other explanations.
Richard Dolan's response to this gives more cause for concern. He's heard stories about women having their foetuses taken from them, and he's worried that they may end up being similarly 'adopted'. He then come up with this outrageous suggestion:
"If someone is adopted, and his or her mother or father worked in a military situation at the time the person should really think very long ... I think there's a type of collaboration happening among human and non-human groups. I don't know who is behind this, but there are women who become pregnant, they lose the baby. And I know of at least one case at least explicitly in which the baby was raised as an adopted child elsewhere and has all the same characteristics. These children have gifts. How do I put this? They are monitored their whole lives."
Can no-one in MUFON, and the wider US UFO community see how outrageous and dangerous this is? Much of this line of thought started with David Jacobs' The Threat, and was greatly expanded in Budd Hopkins' later books. Those writers, and the contributors to this conference discussion, seem to be building up a modern Malleus Malificorum, a witchfinder's manual. So far the atmosphere of fear and hostility they are creating is confined to a fairly small element of society, most of whom, when it comes down to it, probably don't really believe it anyway. But if this were to start becoming more mainstream, there are certainly large numbers of vulnerable people who could be targeted for their perceived 'differences' from us 100% humans. The disabled and 'different' are subjected to enough hostility and harassment already without being accused of being an alien fifth column.
Although, as I said at the beginning, the conference at which these claims were made was not organised by MUFON, it is the largest UFO organisation in America, and the appearance of this article at such length in its Journal will be seen by many as an endorsement. Yes, I know there's the old "views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position, blah, blah, blah" small print boilerplate, but the magazine must take some responsibility for what it publishes. Also two of the Ozark participants - Richard Dolan and Linda Moulton Howe - are to appear at the MUFON Symposium later this month which is devoted to contact and 'disclosure'. Ms Howe's contribution is 'Time Travel and UFO Cases'. Perhaps Dolan and Howe could think a little more deeply about what they have been saying, then team up with Jim Sparks, who is speaking on 'Time Travel is a Fact', pop back a few months, and be a little more considered in the contribution to the Ozark conference.
And perhaps MUFON could be a little more 'scientific and analytic' in future - but don't hold your breath! -- John Rimmer