Here are the final results of the Best Evidence poll that I started on March 13th. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and voted - particularly those of you who voted "other" and then took the time to either leave a comment, or e-mail me privately, as to what your "other" was.
This is hardly a scientific sampling, of course, but I think it is nonethless revealing of one of the major challenges facing ufology. I think it's fair to assume that most, if not all, the people who voted have at least some interest in the subject of UFOs (otherwise they probably wouldn't be popping by to vote). Accordingly, one would assume that their knowledge level about the best cases would be a bit higher than that of the average man or woman on the street. And maybe it is, because there's nothing inherently wrong with Shag Harbour, the Belgium case, or Bentwaters, the three that polled the most votes. All three are good cases. Indeed, maybe they really are the best.
But, as I am also the only person privy to the results of my survey of some of the world's top UFO experts last summer and fall, I can't help but note that there is a bit of disconnect between what the public considers to be the best cases, and what the experts consider to be the best cases. I've noticed this when I talk to people at conferences, as well - mention RB47, or Kelly Johnson, Killeen, Malmstrom AFB, or even Minot AFB, which was featured prominently in the Peter Jennings special "Seeing is Believing" a year ago, and most of the time they don't know what you're talking about (although they're usually eager to learn).
Again, this is not to say that the Belgian case, for example, is not a good case. But is it better than RB47, Killeen, Kelly Johnson (Agoura) and Minot all put together? Or is it just more recent, and better known? The same is true of Shag Harbour and Bentwaters, both of which have been the subject of films and books in the past few years (even though Shag Harbour occurred almost 40 years ago, it's heightened public profile is a relatively recent development).
But how often do you hear ufologists talking about these "old" cases in public? Not very often. Is that their fault? In some ways, yes (call it the "Ivory Tower Syndrome"), but in other, very significant ways it isn't. After all, when was the last time you went to a UFO conference and saw someone give a serious presentation on the RB47 case, as opposed to a presentation on Project Serpo? But one can't just blame the conferences - what about the radio shows out there, like Coast to Coast? How often do you hear these "old cases" discussed on those shows, as opposed to another appearance by David Icke (note: the notable exception is Errol Bruce-Knapp's Strange Days... Indeed, which does talk about these "old cases" frequently, and usually intelligently, including a recent appearance by Robert Salas, one of the key witnesses for the Malmstrom case)? It is a question of opportunity, namely the opportunities to discuss in a public forum the "old cases" which may contain the best evidence for the objective reality of the UFO phenomenon. Sadly, very few of these opportunities exist anymore. As a result, the general public isn't really aware of the great "old cases".
I look forward to the opportunity to change this situation with the Best Evidence film, even if just a bit, and to give some of the great "older cases" the public attention they deserve.
Rest assured, however, that some of the "newer" and "better known" cases will be there too.
It's always about balance - not forgetting the past, i.e. the foundation upon which ufology is built, even as you continue to research and study the more recent cases that our generation has experienced.
Again, thanks to everyone who voted. Vox populi!