Don Donderi. UFOs, ETs and Alien Abductions: A Scientist Looks at the Evidence. Hampton Roads, 2013.
Despite the subtitle and the blazoning of the author’s PhD across the front cover (always a bad sign), Donderi, a retired Canadian psychologist, is not writing as a scientist in this book. Rather it is yet another lawyer’s brief for the ETH, and a pretty poor one at that. Examples of the ‘evidence’ include a photograph taken in Quebec in 1978 of a luminous thing which looks suspiciously two dimensional and just happens by coincidence to be under foliage from which a cardboard cut-out might have a been hung. However ‘experts’ have pronounced it genuine. They have said the same about the Cottingley fairies and the nonsense produced by Ed Walters
Then there is the university professor who was paced for an hour by a light, always suggestive of an astronomical misperception. The light seems to expand, open windows, reveal occupants and cross the road. Perhaps something of psychological interest is going on here, maybe an altered state of consciousness produced by fatigue, sensory restriction and staring at a point source of light for a long time. But not evidence for the ETH.
The credibility of this book is not enhanced by Donderi’s totally credulous account of the Linda Cortile/Neopolitano story. The fact that no investigator has ever met the alleged witnesses in that case, and that there is not a scrap of evidence that they exist outside the imagination of Linda and perhaps a couple of her friends, does not faze him at all.
The sad fact is that far more impressive UFO books were written more than forty years ago, and this book is just another symptom of the death of ufology. - Peter Rogerson
Micah Hanks. The Ghost Rockets: Mystery Missiles and Phantom Projectiles in Our Skies. Rocketeer Press, 2013.
Ghost rockets feature in the ufological literature mainly in connection with the famous Scandinavian wave of 1946, but, as this books shows, similar things are still being reported. Hanks looks at a range of such cases and provides a (partial) catalogue of them. Unlike many writers in this field he does not assume that all these reports have a common cause; some are misperceptions of other things, some seem to occur in altered states of consciousness, but some may be due to very real and very terrestrial missiles and the like, and pose a real risk to aircraft, and may in fact have been responsible for more than one fatal crash.
Some of this latter class are presumably due to blunders by military agencies, tests that went wrong and the like, but the possibility that some are due to stuff that has walked away from military stores over the years, the products of a variety of DIY experiments, or material in the hands of terrorists, drug gangs, clandestine agencies that have gone feral or whatnot is rather alarming.
Hanks clearly thinks that some are more anomalistic than that, but does not speculate on what they might be, and certainly does not try to ram the ETH down our throats. He notes that they seem to be part of patterns that represent futuristic technology round the next corner but one , or at least how such as technology is currently imagined. An interesting contribution to serious anomaly study. -- Peter Rogerson