The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

UFO “Investigators” and Their “Research”

Aside from the arm-chair UFO research- ers, of which I am one, what do we have with those formidable souls who traverse the landscape using the rubric “UFO Investigator” or “Researcher”?

I noticed, during a UFO showing on The History Channel, a fellow proclaiming he had been investigating triangular UFOs.

His methodology?

He would go to the place where the UFO was seen, seek out the person who said they saw the thing, and he would then ask them some questions: Where in the sky was it? How large was it? How fast was it moving? What did it look like? Et cetera.

That’s about it.

That is and has been the state of UFO “research” and/or “investigation” for years now.

Grabbing soil samples and other flora from supposed UFO landing locales was once de rigueur for UFO investigators, but that was just pretend research. No one ever did any real forensic lab work on samples gathered form UFO landing sites. (Sure, they put some of those samples under a commercial (inexpensive) microscope sometimes but the persons looking through those microscopes rarely had bona fide credentials.)

Today, one can find, online, “research” into classic sightings.

Take the Tremonton film by Delbert Newhouse from 1952, being rehashed at Kevin Randle’s blog.

The “research” consists of argumentation over irrelevant detritus from interviews with Mr. Newhouse and an evaluation of filming procedures and what birds look like in film.

David Rudiak provides crazy data, Lance Moody responds, only because he likes to argue. And Kevin Randle struggles to keep the matter on track; that is, what did Newhouse actually film? – a question that wasn’t answered then and can’t be answered now.

But what’s the point? Even if the discussion ends up disclosing that Newhouse actually filmed a flotilla of UFOs, what do we have?

Where does that take us?

That’s the state of UFO research, nowadays, as it has always been: pretense at forensic UFO study, and a spate of nonsense that doesn’t ever deliver.

Research and investigation are two words that mean something in the academic and scientific communities.

In the UFO world, research and investigation are words used by those pretending to be involved with a real scrutiny for the UFO phenomenon but, instead, are engaged in a kind of foolishness that indicates such persons are fraudulent, to themselves and to those who truly wish to know what UFOs are or have been.

Going to a UFO sighting, after the fact, is ridiculous on the face of it. Arguing over old UFO sightings, that have been rehashed time and time again, is futile at best and silly at least.

Armchairing old UFO cases is proper. That’s all one can do with classic or rare sightings; they are outside the opportunity of hands-on forensics.

Pretending to be doing research by arguing minutiae that is scrummed by time and erroneous accretions is almost insane, but that’s “ufology” as one skeptical wag often puts it.

RR 

18 Comments:

  • There are five issues at fault for the lack of progress in actual research.
    1. An inability to recognise that the subject requires new theories that recognise the similarities between manifestations that are now classified as distinct and separate from the subject. A parable to this is that we know a single root of an environmental factor can cause several maladies and symptoms.TAn example of one is the behaviorism of classical ghost and PSI manifestations to UFO reports share specific key characteristics. Whether it is energetic atmospheric anomalies, the defiance of physical laws, the chimeric qualities of appearances, the strange role of magnesium in both, physical traces without evidence of physicality, the role of vivid dream states,etc, etc. Everything is energy and energy translates to information and science if finding information can be stored in unique ways. All of this is potentially measurable. Think outside of where the subject has been boxed in by so called “knowledgeable” babblermouths who hold he microphone at bay.
    2. The enormous amount of trash talk, feigned knowledge and expertise that has flooded the huge gap when it’s science advocates died off or left the field.
    3. Roswell.
    4. Money and a lack of focus. An inability to self organise and fund and chose areas of research. PK could teach us all how to fund projects. I work in the preservation world as well and over a million dollars was raised to purchase Telsa’s lab on the internet. I could bore you with projects funded by this means or by subscription counted in the millions of dollars..An example of this is the methodology I drew up to study the sensory and physical anomalies of ghost phenomenon. It would be an expensive experiment and yet we have mass media funding what are essentially groups of bozos running around in circles.
    5. Replace the joke that is MUFON. Get rid of the lectures on “How to tell you have been abducted by aliens” People running around like chickens with their heads cut off taking useless measurements.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • Perhaps because we view UFO's from different perspectives, I can't agree with you, Rich.

    Since my view is that UFO's are likely prosaic (many different prosaic causes), I see the attempted myth making that UFO "researchers" do with the old cases fascinating.

    I didn't know much about the Newhouse case and quickly saw the way the myth makers had tried to tart the case up to make it look like more than it was.

    Indeed, I think I found good indications that Newhouse was a tale spinner, changing his story over time, making it look more and more important. This is something that the UFO buffs never noticed, naturally.

    Additionally, I caught Rudiak in another hilarious (and telling) gaffe. Once again we see that he just makes up the voluminous stuff he says and figures that most UFO buffs are too stupid to realize it. He is one endlessly amusing piece of work--even Kevin has had to chide him for his zealous nuttiness.

    It is often surprising how coming at an old case from another perspective can reveal facts not noticed by the pious believer.

    So, if UFO's are largely a social/psychological phenomena, the discussion of the old cases DOES have merit and can mean something.

    It just doesn't mean what the saucer nuts want it to mean.

    Lance


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • I do not disagree with you Lance.

    You hope to correct the record but it's like that whac-a-mole game; once you nail one mole, another pops up.

    Even if you "prove" how silly Rudiak's arguments are, you end up back at square one...that is, the UFO believers will bring up another case and you have to start all over again.

    AS for UFOs having a prosaic explanation, I'm not so sure of that.

    But as for UFOs being ET oriented, that seems to be a flawed explanation as I've tried to point out over the years.

    My point here was merely to show that what passes for research and/or investigation is anything but.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • Showing up Rudiak (while satisfying) was just a bonus.

    I think there is a realization among a few of the UFO old timers that the vast bulk of their beloved cases are just puffed-up trifles.

    Take a look at any of the UFO Top 10 lists that permeate the interwebs and you will see a motley collection of dubious cases, some long-since discredited or explained.

    This latest attempt by Kevin to polish off the old Newhouse chestnut is interesting. He honestly thinks it has merit but only because of a decades-after-the-fact interview he did with Newhouse in which Newhouse related facts that he never mentioned in 1952.

    Kevin is a smart guy and honest. But he has a blind spot when it comes to understanding that people get things wrong and they fabricate and they lie, especially decades after the event. This is particularly egregious because Kevin's mythmaking in the Roswell case helped promote many of the known liars, frauds and assholes that define that myth (to his credit, he also tried to expose them, but the genie was already out of the bottle).

    Anyway, I think the whole thing is interesting and amusing. One wonders why the typical UFO writer feels the need to up to ooga booga on their tales instead of just trying present the facts. Your promotion of one of the worst offenders in that camp is probably not to your credit. :)

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, Rich, on one key point. It is most definitely a form of investigation to attend the scene of an event after-the-fact and interview witnesses. Indeed, it is one of the fundamental pillars of police investigation, and of oral history, two things about which I know a fair bit. It should be one of the key pillars of UFO research as well. But it isn't. Why?

    The problem comes with the UFO "investigators" themselves, because in almost all cases they are neither trained in the proper methodology to conduct interviews with witnesses and then to follow up on leads, nor are they emotionally conditioned to be objective (a malaise that also undermines the work of the more ardent disbelievers sometimes).

    When you see an experienced police officer conduct an interview, or a good and well prepared lawyer or oral historian, then you gain an appreciate for the skill and training involved.

    And then you have the UFO "investigator"...

    PK

    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • First, let me address Lance's last sentence swipe at you-know-whom.

    I've made my point about that person over and over again.

    Roswell is a bone of contention for Lance (along with CDA an Gilles Fernandez).

    It is a hoary UFO tale I agree.

    But there is enough mystery in it to warrant an ongoing look-see.

    Not to do so, would be irrational, if one really wants to clarify the Roswell story/incident.

    Seccond, Paul, my point is exactly what you note.

    I'm not disparaging after-the-fact investigation, just how it is carried on by "UFO investigators."

    It's the slipshod approach by amateurs that irks.

    If they gathered information that was not accrued initially that would be one thing but that isn't the case.

    They merely go through some actoring procedures, thinking that gives them the investigator or research rubric.

    Calling oneself a UFO researcher or investigator brings guffaws from the public and news media, but does get you a minute or two on some outlying TV channels.

    Third, I open the door here to all kinds of UFO input, only deleting or ignoring the obnoxious stuff.

    Extreme views or goofy views that supplement my posting points are allowed.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • Good post Rich. Based on the type of cases that intrigue me personally(ufo/ICBMs), I have to wonder which category that I fall in to.

    Based on my former profession and assignment locations, I should have seen many "fascinating" lights/objects dancing in the skies, yet I observed NONE.

    Am I a researcher? Maybe since I tend to do document research and review testimony, but I suspect that I fall short in many ways.

    I merely want to present an alternative view point and let people take from it what the will or discard as they see fit.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • Investigation and/or research, Tim, is different for each person, depending upon their interests and predilections.

    For me, I look for patterns in sightings, long ago and current.

    And any indication of intelligence, as indicated by symbols or behavior.

    The Socorro insignia interests me, as you know but that key observation by Officer Zamora was flummoxed by Ray Stanford and allegedly by the AF Captain who set up a supposed bogus symbol.

    I clarified the issue, to my satisfaction, by querying Mrs. Zamora, a few years ago.

    (She said the common insignia was what her husband saw.)

    And, as with the Ruwa sighting, I posted a few days ago, I saw details that often chow up in accounts that Jose Caravaca has presented.

    Such re-occurring details help, substantiate, for me, the reality of a sighting, or the duplicate mental processes involved.

    (That's my kind of research, arm-chair and appropriate enough to be called "research" as indicated by some of the article excerpts, by academics and scientists, I keep providing here.)

    As for the back-and-forths engaged in at Randle's blog, they are worthless, as Kevin is the ultimate democratic blog ruler: everything and everybody gets a voice, no matter how goofy.

    But he only chastises the skeptics, like Lance or CDA, but never the hopeless believers like Rudiak and a few unknown individuals from the UFO universe who use his blog to vent their obeisant and sycophantic views.

    That's not research or investigation of any sort.

    It's a sop to ego and legacy.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • I would agree that the recognition of patterns in similarities are an indication that something is afoot that could potentially be intelligible.
    The only proviso in addition to those presented by Paul and yourself in regard to witness testimony ( of which we have plenty) is the fact that it strikes me that outside of a intelligible pattern, this one facet of research \ investigation simply hearkens back to what I see is a question already answered. Does this phenomenon as an incommensurable manifestation exist? If so, are there cases of misidentification? Yes, there are.
    That's it in terms of where this is taken. However there have been extrapolations of luminosity transferable to the energy required to produce them which was a study conducted by Vallee, that was provocative to say the least of it. Of course then you have electromagnetic disturbances, draining of stored energy in devices, compass anomalies etc. All of this is seemingly overlooked in favor of some trashing others. The similarity of these attributes of the subjects behaviorism to other phenomenon that represents a recognizable pattern is also overlooked in favor of unsubstantiated rumor mongering and inference to the suggestible. The whole subject is so off track its a pathetic example of self distracted egos.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • But I think, Bruce, we (some of us) can separate the chaff from the wheat, eliminating those extraneous elements you cite.

    Yes, it's daunting because of the tomfoolery that has enveloped the topic but it is not overwhelmingly daunting.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • It is daunting only if we look at the subject with relativity, meaning that all information is usable. This has been the issue since our advocates in the science fields vanished. You hit on this subject when you addressed hard core skepticism as a belief system. Weeding out non productive sources is a first step. otherwise it is handing the knife by the hilt to distraction. Everything has been reduced to infantile personality issues. The lack of maturity and focus is astonishing. The inability to see the forest for the trees is best exemplified by comparison. Would a scientist sit down with the Roswell crowd? Would a scientists look at data from a luminosity \ energy perspective? This is so obvious as to be soporific. I was not implying that this applies to you or anyone else, such as AJB,as a personality issue but I think a more pragmatic approach is required in order to bootstrap the topic. Cut out the signal noise and focus on the measurable.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • I agree, finally, with Bruce: Cut out the signal noise and focus on the measurable. In that regard, The Navy analysis of the Tremonton film concluded that if the (internally) lit spheres were 5 miles away their speed would have been 3,780 MPH; if they were less than a mile (from the camera), their speed would still have been 472 MPH. I await some prosaic explanations for those estimated measurements.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • You say Kevin never chastises believers like Rudiak. You are wrong; he has more than once told Rudiak off. I'll grant you that he has told me and Lance off far more often but I sense that Roswell, for him, has receded in importance. It may even have reached the point where he is leaning more towards the skeptic side, but maybe I should keep my mouth shut here.

    Bruce asks whether a scientist would "sit down with the Roswell crowd". A few would but that is all. The vast majority know it is space fiction. They know this without needing to read one word on the case, either pro or con.

    Equally, they know abductions are merely more space fiction, together with crop circles and cattle mutilations.

    But there are always the few exceptions, as well as those who are open-minded enough to listen to a certain extent.

    What role does MUFON now serve? Bruce has one answer; maybe he is right. I recall years ago seeing the names and qualifications of all the MUFON scientific consultants as listed in their annual conference proceedings. These were clearly given so as to impress the scientific world - as if saying "These guys are top guys, you gotta listen to us".

    Alas, science has not listened to them, and is never likely to. And it may well be that most of these 'consultants' never did any actual consulting anyway, and had merely lent their names in case they might be called upon.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Yvan D., at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • CDA
    The best material on the subject has come from the Society For Scientific Exploration. The archived papers alone are worth the price of admission.
    MUFON to my mind is a hobbyist \ enthusiast organisation and there's nothing wrong with that except when in comes to actual research.
    Here is the list of presenters at this year's MUFON symposium.

    http://www.mufon.com/events.html

    As far as I can tell, I really do not see any scientific research being presented by scientists qualified to research the subject via any applied specialty

    Ufology has stubbornly refused to mature.I joined MUFON for a brief moment due to a lapse in judgement and I was bombarded by such experts as Whitley Strieber, etc.
    I was not kidding about the title of the MUFON essay "How To tell If You Have Been Abducted"
    And so it goes. Did any of their top scientific advisers review this material for it's appropriateness? Peer review?
    Ugh...If it's intriguing entertainment out of the norm thats fine..but I would not call what they do research by any stretch of the term.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • Two lesser known factoids about MUFON:

    MUFON's founder, Walt Andrus, was a successful career Motorola manager in real life.

    Walt Andrus' brother was a career employee at the CIA in real life...

    By Blogger Chuck Finley, at Tuesday, December 10, 2013  

  • Dominick:

    Here is my 'prosaic' explanation for the speeds you quote re the Tremonton film:

    Look at appendix II in Keyhoe's "The FS Conspiracy" and you'll see the figures quoted therein:

    The Photo Reconnaissance Lab wrote a report, reproduced in the above book in which they state:

    ".....Speed of the objects can be calculated only on the basis of the distance from, and their movement relative to the observer....if the distance is assumed to be five miles and the movement perpendicular to the line of sight, the average velocity would be 653.3 mph."

    This figure is way off your quoted figure of 3780 mph.

    Where did you obtain your figures?

    The point I am really making is that we are, once again, getting wildly differing figures for a UFO sighting. It is another case of not knowing who or what to believe.

    The case becomes next to worthless if speed calculations differ so widely.

    Remember also that we have to assume Newhouse held his camera still.

    Further discussion is probably best kept for Kevin Randle's blog, not here.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, December 11, 2013  

  • Thank you CDA...

    Yes, take the discussion to Kevin's blog, where the ongoing comments have rivaled the usual Roswell colloquies.

    It's a stupid discussion but what do I care? It's there, not here.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, December 11, 2013  

Post a Comment

<< Home