This is a sad day for me. Earlier, I received news that my good friend, Dick Hall, had passed away from cancer. Dick was a man whom I greatly respected, both as a person and as a serious UFO researcher. Indeed, when I was interviewed by Stuart Miller for UFO Review #17 a couple of years ago, Stuart, tongue firmly planted in cheek, chose as the title for the story: "I Like Dick".
Dick was an icon of serious UFO research, from his days with NICAP to his seminal works, The UFO Evidence, Vols. I and II. He was a rare voice of reason in a field full of charlatans, huxters, and died-in-the-wool true believers.
Dick had grown increasingly disenchanted with the UFO research community in recent years, and I don't blame him. In his heyday, he knew men like J. Allen Hynek, and James McDonald - now UFO research is the domain primarily of people like Steven Greer, and Steven Bassett. The likes of Dick Hall are few and far between these days, and UFO research is worse off because of it.
Dick hated UFO documentaries, and usually refused requests to be interviewed, so I was honoured when he agreed to be interviewed for my last UFO film, Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings. One or two of his clips made it into the film, but the rest remains in my tape archives - one of these days I'll make the time to edit it together and put it up on YouTube, so people can see and hear a real UFO researcher. Here is an outtake from Best Evidence that includes a clip of Dick talking about the Malmstrom missile base case:
The last few years were not kind to Dick, who was a victim of the financial disasters wrought by the Bush administration. Driven into poverty, he was forced to sell many of his prized UFO-related possessions. I was shocked when I went to interview him in Washington, D.C., to see the conditions in which he lived. I never pay interviewees, but I made sure Dick was an exception (we called it a "consulting fee").
Dick Hall was a giant in the world of serious UFO reseach, but more important than that, he was an honourable and decent person in a world with far too few such people. He will be sorely missed, even as his work lives on, and continues to inspire those of us who think there is something interesting about the UFO enigma, and that it's worth studying seriously.
Rest in peace, Dick.