Adam Gorightly takes us on a fascinating exploration of the car crash that underlies and undermines ufology in the USA. He begins with the research of Stanton Friedman into Major Jesse Marcel’s testimony about the recovery of alien wreckage at Roswell. This led to the publication of Incident at Roswell in 1980, co-authored with William “Bill’ Moore, that initiated our obsession from crashed saucers.
Another strand of the UFO mythology began a decade earlier with cattle mutilations associated with black helicopters and UFOs in the area of Dulce. This, again in 1980, resulted in Linda Moulton Howe’s documentary A Strange Harvest. Even decades later she refused to believe the incidents had anything to do with a secret government project, and that a gas mask found at one of the sites was according to her probably planted by ETs to throw investigators off track.
This sets the scene that UFO investigators are incredibly gullible and whatever the evidence, or lack of it, they will stick to exotic beliefs that The Government is suppressing from the public domain.
Moving on we get the story of Paul Bennewitz who in the early 1980s was manipulated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AUFOIS) agent Richard Doty in secret league with ufologist Bill Moore to believe in an imminent alien threat. Aiding this campaign to keep Bennewitz from sticking his nose into the research activities at the nearby Kirtland Air Base, Dr J. Allen Hynek provided Bennewitz with a computer that was pre-loaded by the USAF with software that told him about dangerous ETs residing at an underground base near Dulce New Mexico.
Doty passed on to Moore and other ufologists information about secret government recoveries of crashed alien craft and that there was an agreement between the ETs and the government to allow for cattle mutilations and abductions. Much of this he fed to Linda Howe who wrote Alien Harvest: Further Evidence Linking Animal Mutilations and Human Abductions to Alien Life Forms.
In the meantime, Bill Moore and Stan Friedman were involved in the release of the secret MJ-12 documents which are certainly a hoax, and the disclosure that there is a secret ‘aviary’ of intelligence personnel researching UFOs.
As can be seen the same names crop up time again, and others have joined the party following the same pattern of holding the key to impending revelations and public disclosure followed by a quick exit or a long depressive slide into a world of delusion and paranoia. John Lear and Bob Lazer for instance in the late 1980s fuelled a belief in aliens and their gear at Area 51, in 2005 the SERPO story surfaced saying astronauts had visited in collaboration with ETs their planet in Zeti Reticuli, which was promoted by Bill Ryan.
This scratches the surface of the intricate network of theories, speculation, disinformation and people with different missions and agendas profiled by Gorightly. The MJ-12 releases, for example, could well have been used to flush out people who were leaking sensitive information to the media or the Soviet Union.
Most of these stories are outright fabrications, hoaxes and lies that take on a life of their own, with or without the guiding hand of the omnipresent Doty and other shadowy figures. Yet, they have firmly established themselves as UFO facts that are constantly being confirmed and re-invented by new witnesses and theories.
Another factor that influences all of us is confirmation bias or what Gorightly calls the Chapel Perilous where events, information and synchronicities seem to be directing you on a mission to a certain goal. In the case of ufology this can lead to the belief that you are getting near to the truth about UFOs and the motives of those who operate them. He tells the story of a friend who thought that Gorightly had CIA connections and that he had spiked his drink in order to brainwash him. When Gorightly said he had nothing to do with this, his friend said the CIA must have been putting false memories into his head as well. When Gorightly said his wife could confirm he had nothing to do with it, his friend said she had her head fixed too. No wonder he felt he was lost in an Escher painting, but it does underline how once you are in a rabbit hole it is hard to get out of it again.
This book is especially useful as it underlines the fact that much of ufology that goes mainstream is brewed in vats of misinformation for the edification of gullible researchers who recycle and embellish it to the heights of revelation. We can see this with the latest excitement about the government release of UAP information, that has been orchestrated by several players in the background who have elevated Louis Elizondo to chief spokesperson, who will ultimately be a fall guy when nothing much is exposed.
As with Doty, Howe and crew, that will not stop him being hailed a UFO hero and celebrity at future conferences and on (non)reality TV.
- Nigel Watson.