Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Roswell Incident (1947 - 2007) - RIP & Rebirth

Amidst all the hoopla and partying in Roswell this weekend, I hope people take a moment to pause and think about what it all means. Because it isn't a celebration of Roswell's 60th anniversary that's going on there - it's both a wake, and a rebirth.

I say a wake, because the "Roswell Incident", as a serious UFO case, is dead. It's been on life support for quite a while now, but it's finally given up the ghost. Oh, sure, as with Elvis, there will always be a few people who think the "case" is still alive and kicking. New "evidence" - like the occassional Elvis sighting - will pop up from time to time to give them hope (the Walter Haut affidavit shows just how desperate some people are to keep it going, as does the fact that Donald Schmitt is still considered a top Roswell researcher). But the truth is that it's over folks. If the "Roswell Incident" was the crash of an alien spacecraft, we'll never know - at least not until the government admits it, or the aliens reveal themselves. If it was something more prosaic, like Project Mogul, or Nick Redfern's theory, or some other super-secret project, then there will always be those who don't accept that explanation, no matter how much proof the government or researchers might show them. The "case" is dead in the water, because there is no resolution in sight that will definitively answer everyone's questions.

Making matters worse, Roswell has been hit by a number of "bullets" in the past couple decades that have wounded it beyond saving. The Alien Autopsy, Majestic-12, Philip Corso, Frank Kaufmann, Glenn Dennis - any one of these things undermined it as a serious "case" worth investigating. The cumulative effect has been fatal.

So, to Roswell the serious UFO case, I say - rest in peace. Better that people focus their attention on better cases, like Tehran, or RB47, or the 1996 Yukon sightings, or Shag Harbour, or yes, even Rendlesham. Even better still, with Roswell dead to all but the most ardent "Elvis" fan, perhaps researchers can get back to the business of investigating modern sightings more thoroughly. In the process, as we have seen with the O'Hare case, they might discover that interest in the UFO phenomenon, which has waned in recent years, could rise again. After all, the maxim that all politics is local at the end of the day applies in a temporal way to the UFO phenomenon - the "here and now" is the "local". A sixty year old case like Roswell is the equivalent of Timbuktu.

What will this mean for the serious study of the UFO phenomenon? I confidently predict that not only will it survive Roswell's passing - in the long run, it will be better off without it.

But I also said that this weekend is a rebirth. Why? Because while Roswell as a serious UFO case might be dead, Roswell as a legend is just really being born, as my good friend Nick Redfern has recently pointed out. And it is as a legend that Roswell will continue to fascinate people for many years to come, much the same way that the insoluble Jack the Ripper case still fascinates visitors to London, or some of the disappearances in the so-called Bermuda Triangle continue to fascinate people, or the various stories about bandits like Billy the Kid still captivate us, even though we'll never really know which ones are true and which ones aren't.

That's good news for the city of Roswell, of course, and for the people there who make money off of the Roswell story. And there's nothing wrong with that - anymore than there's anything wrong with people making money off of Jack the Ripper walking tours in London.

So, here's to the "Roswell Incident". No matter how hard people tried to crack it to everyone's satisfaction, it remained until its dying days a mystery. It left this world (er... no pun intended) the same way it came in - as a ball of confusion, with a wink and a nod, no compromises and no answers.
And here's to the "Roswell Legend". I predict it will have a long, and profitable, life from hereon in.

Call it the "Elvis" of ufology.

Long live the King!

Paul Kimball

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're one of those nutcase wackjobs who don't believe Roswell happened. Sad day for you odd ball. And discounting WALTER G. HAUT????
Are you a crazy person?

Anonymous said...

Touche. Though I still think it is rather interesting, and worth pursuing.

If you really believe his motive was simply to create profit for his family, then I suppose you should offer some kind of evidence - see if they are actually collecting from his affidavit.

Even still, don't you think there should be some investigation into his claims? I know that it is sixty years later, but surely there are some things that can be done.

?

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Oh c'mon anonymous! This is pretty transparent... there is all manner of room for reasoned expression on the Roswell issue as you know... and other things, Sir, even more objectionable and untoward and scary and threatening... ...as you know...

Only Aping the classic unreasoning "believer" (a klasskurtxian all the time?) You're just trying to paint your threatening (I suspect) *opposition* as touchy nut-cases... when nothing could be further from the truth in more than enough persons to count.

Mr. Kimball, I'd presumed you didn't allow this kind of trollish "anonomoid crut" to smother up a discourse to start.

If you're serious, "anomo," take a deep breath and know that you're just not helping, pardner, as frustrating as ~some~ of these folks in opposition can be. And if you can't say what you're saying without being _completely_ destructive, or at least really creative when you do it, just don't, eh?

Still and verily -- piss on you if you're the former.

alienview@roadrunner.com
> www.AlienView.net
>> AVG Blog -- http://alienviewgroup.blogspot.com/
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BoyintheMachine said...

Paul, why so pessimistic? Where's that gleam in our eyes that all of us UFO enthusiaste have had at least at one point in our lives?

Sure, there is much confusion with the Roswell incident. Sure there are cons, frauds, and hucksters making a some $bucks$ with chiconery and out-right lies. However, none of this diminishes the original case....something happened in Roswell in 1947. The military claimed it was a flying disk only to later retract it 24 hours later and say it was a weather balloon. Fast forward to 1994 or so and the military changes it's story again, this time claiming it's a 'top secret' weather balloon, a.k.a. 'Project Mogul'. Finaly in 1997 the Air Force decided to open the book once more and claim the supposed 'alien bodies' were crash-test dummies dropped from high altitudes, even though such tests didn't take place until the 50's.

So today we have 2 versions of the event, the first one being the actual mystery, and the second being the cultural fascination, a.k.a. 'money-maker'.

Neither version of this event has killed the initial mystery.

Roswell isn't 'dead'. The story may be hi-jacked for this or that promotion, but the mystery will always remain....just what exactly happened on that July night in 1947?

-Jason Gammon

Anonymous said...

"...the basic [UFO] data consist of REPORTS of UFO sightings, not the EXISTENCE of what was reported. This distinction is crucial because the fact that some people have reported such things has been verified by many investigators. There can be no doubt that people have made such reports. That the people in question actually saw or experienced what they say they did, however, is open to question" (UNDERSTANDING SCIENTIFIC REASONING, Ronald N Giere, pg 166).

I know five year olds who can make up better stories then the ones we are told by the UFO community. Just go to MUFON and read any of their reports to see what I mean. The minute I heard the Roswell story, I knew it was it was phony...but then again, I have something most believers in UFOs do not: common logical sense. If anyone read to me a story out of MOTHER GOOSE, I could tell it is obviously a make believe fairytale, but if UFO believer heard a story read out of MOTHER GOOSE to them, most of them would confuse it with reality, because they can't tell the difference.

"Better that people focus their attention on better cases, like Tehran, or RB47, or the 1996 Yukon sightings, or Shag Harbour, or yes, even Rendlesham"

Those cases are just as dead as Roswell, you just don't know it yet. Even as a non-believer, I find the Battle for Los Angeles to be the most intriguing of all UFO cases, yet blind, deaf, and dumb believers rarely take notice of it. During the Battle for Los Angeles, thousands of shells were fired at the UFO by the military, thousands of witnesses saw it, newspapers reported it, planes crashed, people died, a video was taken of it, and two or more photographs from more than one person from more than one vantage point were taken -- in other words, it has all the earmarks of scientifically acceptable evidence. It isn't based on just the mere words of some unconfirmable testimony. Yet all of the cases you list are based on nothing more than poorly told storytales. Period. There is no evidence to speak of.

Believers love that kind of evidence-less crap because the story can go anywhere from there. I guess you Hollywood types are there to support them because you are always looking to make a fast buck off of the gullible, and the Battle for Los Angeles leaves nothing to the imagination. There is nothing ambiguous or vague that can be exploited to twist the story around so it can sound bigger then life. There is nothing dramatic that can be twisted around to hint of hidden bodies or an active conspiracy. There is nothing that can be fit into the Hollywood formula that would include an underdog with a romantic interest.

Clearly believers don't want to hear any science, they want to be told good stories...and here you are, only you aren't telling them a good story, you are telling them the same ol' story.

Hollywood sucks.

The Odd Emperor said...

What will this mean for the serious study of the UFO phenomenon? I confidently predict that not only will it survive Roswell's passing - in the long run, it will be better off without it.

Good piece Paul and *some* interesting commentary;

Roswell seems to be a defining moment in Ufology, when a relatively obscure meme first hit the airwaves in a big way. The incident itself is likely nothing more than miscommunication regarding some rather mundane activity. The public furor and subsequent decades-long fallout that occurred actually (IMO) propagated a few other notable Roswell-like events, Rendlesham being one.

I agree that research and study of Ufology is damaged by “noisy” events like Roswell. The only consolation is that they are becoming so noisy and so over the top that most people with a serious bent in UFO biz won’t look twice at them.

Sometimes I wonder if we should not have other branches in Ufology, like Roswellology?

Paul Kimball said...

I know five year olds who can make up better stories then the ones we are told by the UFO community. Just go to MUFON and read any of their reports to see what I mean. The minute I heard the Roswell story, I knew it was it was phony... but then again, I have something most believers in UFOs do not: common logical sense.

Uh huh. Sure. The minute you heard it, you knew it was phoney. Wow. That's solid investigation. That's real research.

If anyone read to me a story out of MOTHER GOOSE, I could tell it is obviously a make believe fairytale, but if UFO believer heard a story read out of MOTHER GOOSE to them, most of them would confuse it with reality, because they can't tell the difference.

Do you have anything constructive to offer?

"Better that people focus their attention on better cases, like Tehran, or RB47, or the 1996 Yukon sightings, or Shag Harbour, or yes, even Rendlesham"

Those cases are just as dead as Roswell, you just don't know it yet.


Actually, I'm willing to bet I'm more familiar with those cases than you are, and I don't think they're anywhere near dead. But perhaps you can enlighten me, and everyone else who reads this blog, by explaining them. Go ahead. I'm waiting.

... It isn't based on just the mere words of some unconfirmable testimony. Yet all of the cases you list are based on nothing more than poorly told storytales. Period. There is no evidence to speak of.

Perhaps you should study those cases before you make such sweeping - and incorrect - statements.

Believers love that kind of evidence-less crap because the story can go anywhere from there.

No. Those cases can only go where the evidence leads one.

I guess you Hollywood types are there to support them because you are always looking to make a fast buck off of the gullible, and the Battle for Los Angeles leaves nothing to the imagination.

Actually, I know people who have quite an imagination when it comes to the so-called Battle of LA, which was much ado about nothing, particularly when compared with a case like RB47.

By the way, I've never even been to Hollywood, although I did drive by. Try harder next time.

There is nothing ambiguous or vague that can be exploited to twist the story around so it can sound bigger then life.

There is nothing dramatic that can be twisted around to hint of hidden bodies or an active conspiracy. There is nothing that can be fit into the Hollywood formula that would include an underdog with a romantic interest.

Huh? See, now you've gone completely off the deep end. Tsk, tsk...

Clearly believers don't want to hear any science, they want to be told good stories...and here you are, only you aren't telling them a good story, you are telling them the same ol' story.

Ditto. I've heard your story here before. I wasn't impressed then with your sad little trollery, and I'm still not impressed.

Paul Kimball

Paul Kimball said...

Mr. Kimball, I'd presumed you didn't allow this kind of trollish "anonomoid crut" to smother up a discourse to start.

Oh, every now and then I let some of the trolls have a say, just so people can be reminded of how sad and ridiculous they are. ;-)

Paul

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Well -- Ok... but I really would have thought they could go just anywhere else for such as that... you know... rampant homo-centrism, reflex scientific reductionism, neo-skepticism, rabid klasskurtxianism, errant and unjustified intellectual hubris, and ardent pelican worship?

alienview@roadrunner.com
> www.AlienView.net
>> AVG Blog -- http://alienviewgroup.blogspot.com/
>>> U F O M a g a z i n e -- www.ufomag.com

Mac said...

Paul--

There you go again -- forming your own opinions! When will you *learn*, man? ;-)

The Odd Emperor said...

Oh, every now and then I let some of the trolls have a say, just so people can be reminded of how sad and ridiculous they are. ;-)

...You are not the only one.

:}

Anonymous said...

Do you have anything constructive to offer?

Yes, why don't you get a real job? You appeared to be unable to hack it as a lawyer, you appeared to be unable to hack it as a musician, and now you appear to be failing as a UFO movie director. I suppose you probably dream of being a cowboy or President or astronaut next. I would suggest something more in keeping with your apparent talents -- say busing tables at a restaurant.

Hmmm, this is beginning to sound like it could be something genetic. After all, didn't your uncle, who for some strange reason appears in many of your "films" (read: nepotism), fail as a nuclear physicist? He was starting to make headway as a New Age author but he put all his eggs into the Roswell and MJ12 basket before realizing they are full of gaping holes. The make believe MJ12 nonsense went first, and now the make believe Roswell nonsense is going down the drain as well.

I hope no one will ever say about you, that it was a case of "like uncle, like nephew". I hope you won't start gullibly promoting obvious nonsense like MJ12 or Roswell or Grimm's Fairytales. That would be pathetic but expected.

Paul Kimball said...

Jealousy is such a destructive emotion, Anonymous. It's even worse when coupled with a complete lack of originality. Honestly, can't you think of something new to say, as opposed to just trotting out the same stuff you've said before. Boooooring...

Mac said...

Ick. And I thought I had a troll infestation at Posthuman Blues. This guy's giving Korff a run for his money.

The Odd Emperor said...

Critics and trolls are two edged swords. Annoying perhaps, but necessary. If all dissent (read this "scoffing," "trolling" and sometimes "disrespect,") were eliminated you would have no movement, no advancement of knowledge. The best you can hope for in that case is stagnation which always leads to negative growth.

All new ideas are nutty or crazy the first time they are aired. If (and only if) they can survive the crucible of criticism can a new idea become mainstream.

I think in that light it's OK to have a few trolls around to rebound ideas - so long as they are less than competent trolls. ;)

http://oddempire.org

Dr. XYZ said...

"Mac said...

"Ick. And I thought I had a troll infestation at Posthuman Blues. This guy's giving Korff a run for his money."

Do tell, Mac. Care to name any names or pseudonyms of note in the troll category on your blog, so that those concerned may know your feelings and perhaps be motivated to move elsewhere (the reasonable ones, that is...real trolls tend to hang on longer, especially when noticed or named).