Timothy Good. Earth, An Alien Enterprise: The Shocking Truth Behind the Greatest Cover-up in Human History. Pegasus Books, 2013.
John Hanson and Dawn Holloway. Haunted Skies Volume Nine, 1981 - 1986. Haunted Skies Publishing, 2013.
Give him his due, Timothy Good is able to assemble a vast mound of UFO related folklore, urban legends, “things I learned in the services” stories, rumour, fringe beliefs and the like, much of it stuff that 'sensible' ufologists wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. His books are among the last refuges of the old fashioned contactee stories that were the staple diet of British gutter-roots ufology 50 years ago.
There would be no problem with any of this if all this material was actually presented as folklore, and as such it would give an interesting insight into the range of fringe beliefs that circulate around the field.
The problem is that Good actually seems to believe much of this lore. He really does believe the stories told by George Adamksi, Dan Fry, Gabriel Green and their imitators as well as by the likes of Philip Corso. In fact there isn’t any piece of UFO lore that he doesn’t swallow, or at the very least give it a damn good chewing.
As you read this book, you come to a rather sad conclusion, that Tim Good simply cannot grasp a sizable proportion of his 'informants' are just having a laugh at his expense, and that the rest consist of the usual motley collection of frauds, liars, bullshitters, con-artists, cult leaders, fantasists and the plain delusional. The only population excluded are plain ordinary folk who happen to have, to them, puzzling experiences.
Good is so gullible that he is even taken in by the infamous Monguzzi photographs, fakes so crude as to make George Adamski’s seem examples of fine art by comparison. There is a detailed discussion of these photographs in Maurizio Verga’s excellent study When Saucers Came to Earth, published by the Italian group UPIAR in 2007, which shows how they were made.
The real anomaly with Tim Good is the puzzle of how such an obviously intelligent and cultivated person can be so naive. The answer must surely be that for him ufology is a religion, a field in which otherwise entirely sensible people can believe the most extraordinary things.
The same lack of critical faculty is increasingly appearing in the works by Hanson and Holloway. In inverse proportion to interesting cases from ordinary members of the public, more and more of the material seems to come from a small coterie of uncritical ufologists and their friends, family and neighbours. Whether this is because of all sorts of copyright and other legal issues that mean much of the more recent material is unavailable or for other reasons is not clear.
What is clear is the dearth of material, which falls practically to nothing past 1983, and so the authors have to pad out more and more with other material. Some of it is interesting such as the cases of stone falls, other just bizarre such as the pages devoted to Brenda Butler, Billy Meier, and even convicted child abuser Wendelle Stevens. -- Peter Rogerson.