Sunday, February 08, 2009

Roswell

Lately, the Roswell case has been the subject of discussion at a number of places, most notably Kevin Randle's blog A Different Perspective and the UFO Iconoclasts blog.

Roswell is a subject that I've addressed here in the past, particularly in The End of Roswellism and the Creation of a Ufological Third Way, wherein I talk about why the fixation with Roswell by UFO researchers has had a negative impact on serious UFO research. My conclusion about Roswell, and Roswellism (i.e. crashed flying saucers, government conspiracy stories, and the like), has not changed. I wrote:

What ufology needs, and has started to get in the past few years, is a “Third Way” of its own. My own version of this Ufological Third Way – which marks the end of Roswellism – is as follows:

1. Roswell is but one case. There are many others which provide more compelling evidence that the UFO phenomenon is real, and worthy of serious scientific, historical, journalistic and political attention.

2. Roswell remains unsolved, but is worthy of continued objective investigation until an explanation is finally proved.

3. The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is a very plausible explanation for the UFO phenomenon, and is worthy of serious scientific consideration, but remains unproved. Further, other possible explanations, including time travel, extra-dimensional travel, and the prospect that UFOs are terrestrial phenomena and devices of which we may or may not be aware, also deserve study and consideration.

4. The American government has not released all information it has pertaining to the UFO phenomenon; this is not proof, however, of a conspiracy of silence / Cosmic Watergate to keep the “truth” about extraterrestrial visitors / crashes from the public.
I also addressed Roswell, and Roswellism, seven years ago in my documentary, Stanton T. Friedman is Real:





There is no harm in a continued discussion of Roswell; I just don't think it's particularly productive, especially when that debate usually remains focused solely on the crashed flying saucer(s) vs. Project Mogul positions, with no new research on either side being offered; rather, it's just a re-hash of old positions with which everyone is pretty much familiar. The one guy who is doing new research into the Roswell case, Nick Redfern, is almost never mentioned. It's like a bar argument between old timer Red Sox and Yankees fans - they don't care about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, even though they're the team that actually made the World Series this year. The argument isn't about the actual fact or fiction of the Roswell case anymore; it's about the tribal instincts of each camp of followers, whether Mogul or alien. The questions that pop up are ones like: "who was the bigger liar, Charles Moore or Jesse Marcel, Sr.?" What both sides miss is that neither Moore not Marcel are very credible sources, but then their "debate" is not really about credibility, which would imply that there is an actual search for the truth involved. Rather, it's about defending their well-established positions. It is the intellectual equivalent of trench warfare.

So what is the answer when it comes to Roswell? It may be Mogul, but there are a number of flaws with that story. It may be aliens, but there are even more problems with the crashed flying saucer story than Mogul. Nick may well be on to something with his "third way". Although I think the witnesses presented in his book "Body Snatchers in the Desert" were problematic in many respects, he could well be right that the answer to Roswell lies in an explanation that comes from terra firma, but which represents a shameful secret that the United States government would still work to cover-up over sixty years later. You can follow his work at his blog, Darkness in the Desert.

The real answer, however, is that even if the truth was revealed, many people would still reject it. Roswell has become the stuff of legend, and arguments between fans of "this" theory or "that" theory. The truth doesn't really matter anymore; perhaps it never did. Perhaps what really matters is the telling of the story, and what it says about us and our capacity for creating our own "truths".

Paul Kimball

4 comments:

purrlgurrl said...

I couldn't agree with you more. A lot of time and energy is being wasted on this old chestnut, when there are equally or even more compelling more current cases that have been given short shrift by high profile Ufologists. The clock is ticking on those as well. Is Ufology going to wait until those are over 60 years old to start serious investigation? The preoccupation (or obsession, if you will) with Roswell is a sad example of the current lack of investigative will in Ufology. It’s easier to rehash Roswell’s tired, old arguments than to begin new investigations on new cases. Roswell is no longer a case, it's a sacred (cash) cow and a dead end. If you take exception to the last statement, just think about all the honoraria and speaking expenses as well as books (and a museum and tourist chatchkies) that have been churned out over the years. No wonder Ufology is addicted to Roswell and, at the same time, has so little credibility outside its own world.

Mac said...

I've personally become more and more dissatisfied with the supposed veracity of Marcel, Sr. His account of the nature of the debris in the famous Fort Worth photos mutated with alarming frequency before his death. Once a lynchpin of the controversy, it's increasingly clear that much of his testimony is a distraction.

Bruce Duensing said...

Whether it is intentional or not, Roswell as well as MJ12 are textbook cases of a psychological misdirection of attention from the study of the phenomenon to the study of politics.
The concept of misguided patriots intentionally creating a Last Redoubt, a proverbial mythical stronghold full of non existent secrets could have been borrowed from the SS, which diverted U.S troops on a ill fated expedition up into the Bavarian Mountains to buy time.
Whether this is a metaphor for Roswell or it's simply a case of a terrestrial meme in the form of a mythology that back fills the gaps of our inquiry, nothing has been gained, no verifiable advantage to shoveling more sand into the tide is seen.
Your views match my own.

A-J Charron said...

Back in 2000, I wrote an article called "Roswell, Enough Already", where I proposed a solution which was a third way. A few years later, Redfern wrote his book which, according to what people are saying, seems to be an expansion of that idea. Stanton Friedman told me that that article was quite possibly Redfern's inspiration for his book. I haven't read it, I find it frustrating, especially since that article, which was on a pay site, was stolen and republised on a free site where it was viewed thousands of times, thus depriving me of an honest revenue. And you know what? On that site, everybody disagreed with me. Everyone who posted a comment said I should look at the facts and believe in the UFO idea...

I agree with you, almost nobody wants to see beyond the two sides of the story and this does keep ufology from evolving.

Still, from what I've been studying about Roswell since the time of that article, sifting through the BS on both sides, I've come to think that I was initially wrong and tend to believe in the probability of a crashed alien ship... Go figure!