Friday, March 31, 2006

Greg Bishop's Bill Moore Interviews

Greg Bishop, radio host / author / paranormalist, has conducted some excellent interviews over the years with one of the seminal figures of the UFO scene in the 1980s, Bill Moore (of Roswell / MJ-12 fame, or infamy, depending on your perspective). A lot of people think Moore is a pretty slippery character, and maybe he is given his involvement with AFOSI, and the Bennewitz affair, and so forth. But he also still has some interesting, pointed, and relevant things to say about UFOs, and ufology, that are worth a listen.

For example, here's an excerpt from an interview that Greg conducted with Moore way back in 1993 (with whom I corresponded while making Do You Believe in Majic, and found to be quite friendly, although he ultimately declined my request to be interviewed for the film):

"MOORE: ...One thing that I find the most outrageous...actually there are two things. One is that most of the people who are into UFO research are their own worst enemies. They sabotage their own efforts before they even get under way through ignorance in how to proceed. Through a preconceived position of "well this is what I'm going to find, so if I find anything that doesn't fit, I'll ignore it." and by broadcasting far and wide exactly what they're doing, and by their blind belief that in what the Freedom Of Information Act is going to get them. What happens is when you tell somebody what you know, it immediately shows up on the (UFO rumor) grapevine. If you've told your friends, you've told everybody. If there's anything to it, people who are custodians of the information can detect where it came from immediately, and will rush to protect it... The other thing that bothers me is that the greater portion of the UFO community exists to feed off itself. In other words, they don't want to find an answer--they want to find more questions."

That's Bill Moore - always controversial, always stirring the pot... and sometimes making sense, at least about some things. Just remember to carefully separate the wheat from the chaff.

For more of Greg's interviews with Moore, including more recent ones, check out Greg's website, The Excluded Middle.

Paul Kimball


Greg Bishop said...

Well, the secret Bill Moore interviews are finally leaking out. I must add that although some see him as "slippery," in the 18 years I have known him, I have yet to catch Moore in a lie or even a half-truth. It's strange to look at his legacy from this perspective, since I caught on to the Moore story about a year before the infamous Las Vegas MUFON harangue of 1989.

He's an enigmatic character in the UFO lore, but he seems far less mysterious in one-on-one conversations, especially if one approaches him without any political or emotional agenda, which is how we should probably deal with anyone we don't know. He is always open to a debate, and also willing to change his views if the argument is compelling enough, which is rare, especially in the UFO field.

I think I covered this subject best in the book "Project Beta," which your readers should buy or borrow if they want a better picture of my perspective on Moore. He said that although he didn't agree completely with my views of him and the Bennewitz affair, that I treated the story fairly enough for an "outsider."

Greg B.

Mike said...

I don't see Moore as slippery either (based
on some old interactions).
Pretty much like Greg B
describes, imo.

Mike J

Paul Kimball said...

Mike & Greg:

I don't know Moore well enough to judge whether he's "slippery" or not. I think his involvement with AFOSI in the 1980s (and beyond?) points to slippery, but his "confession" at the Vegas conference points to a different side of Moore, one that perhaps more people in ufology should have listened to. Still, at the end of the day, I don't think anyone will ever trust him again. You usually reap what you sow.

Enigmatic is probably the best word.


Greg Bishop said...


Your comment that "anyone" (probably should be amended to "most in Ufology") will ever trust him again shouldn't trouble Moore much, as he officially retired from the field years ago. Some (including me) would say the field retired him, and he knew what he was doing. He doesn't use ufology as an ego crutch, at least that's not my impresison.

Judging by the download count on the archived shows that feature him, I daresay that even though not many trust him, they still want to hear what he has to say, so not much has changed since 1989.

I think Moore knew exactly what he was "sowing" when he took the bait from the AFOSI et al. "Reap what you sow" usually implies the "sower" doesn't count on what later sprouts up, weeds and all. Moore's garden, among other equally intersting things, apparently contains the infamous "corpse flower" (Amorphophallus titanum.) Smells terrible, looks like nothing else, but there are lines around the block to have a look.

He pretty much knew what he was planting and was prepared to be unsurprised by the reaction, even if it was rather violent.


PS Mike Judge reads your blog?! He rules!

Paul Kimball said...


I'm still not convinced that Moore didn't have a hand in the creation of the MJ-12 documents, and anyone who has read your book, Project Beta, should come away with the impression, at the least, that Moore is either ethically challenged, or has extremely poor judgment.

Like I said, however, he was perfectly cordial with me when I corresponded with him a couple of years ago, and I do think that some of the things he had to say about ufology, including the quote I've excerpted here, are pretty close to the mark.

A mixed bag, in my opinion, and definitely an enigma - which is probably how Bill Moore likes it. :-)


Paul Kimball said...


A further note - you're spot on in implying that there are those in ufology who use UFOs as an ego crutch (which is pretty sad when you think of it). They're the ones that Moore correctly pegs as wanting not answers, but more questions, because if the "answers" ever came, they would be left with nothing, at which point they might actually have to get a real life, like the rest of us!


Mike said...

Hi Paul,

I talked with Moore when he
was in the middle of writing
his MUFON presentation and he
told me what he was going to say.
I felt he utilized a great
opportunity to witness a c/i operation and told him so. As
far as Bennewitz: as a psych
tech I knew no one drove him crazy.
That's not how it usually works.
(Exceptions include extreme circumstances of imprisonment, etc.) Moore argued with Bennewitz
over the validity of his views, after seeing how bad he was getting. All the AFOSI did was
reinforce Bennewitz's presumptions.

I gave Walt ANdrus a heads up on
the speech before Moore delivered it and he thought I was nuts! (Clearly not, later on.) But, when
I told Jerry Clark, he had heard
from Moore about what he was going to, it wasn't all a surprise.

I agree then with space brother that Moore was not out to be some
sort of popular guru figure in the
field. I think he knew that when
he spilled the beans it would turn out (the reactions) the way it did.
In the end, we all learned something, didn't we?

Mike Jamieson

PS: People think I was a nitwit
for putting out a supportive take
on Moore in those old days.

Paul Kimball said...


Yes, I agree that Benenwitz must clearly have had a predisposition to both believing in the crazier UFO stories (that much is obvious from his record) but also that he might have had a predisposition to mental instability that could have manifested itself without any help from Moore or AFOSI.

However, my problem with Moore's role in all of this (including his links with AFOSI) centers on the old legal maxim that a criminal must take his victim as he finds him. Therefore, its not enough to say at your murder trial "hey, I didn't know the guy had a bamboo spine when I whacked him over the back with a stick in a bar fight." Guess what? You're still going to prison for murder.

Similarly, it is irrelevant whether Bennewitz had a predisposition to mental illness. Moore (and AFOSI) shouldn't have been screwing around with him like they were. Period. And Moore should have known better than to ever get involved with Doty or AFOSI in the first place, indicating to me that he is, as I said, either ethically challenged, or extremely naive (to give him the benefit of the doubt, I'll stipulate that it was the latter).

Yes, Moore had some interesting things to say, and made some pertinent observations, but I don't think that this ameliorates the other stuff that he was involved with, which may well have included (despite his persistent denials) the forging of the original MJ-12 documents.