Friday, December 30, 2005

The Other Side of Truth - My Faves from 2005

Here are my favourite columns from the past year, in no particular order.

Combatting the Condon Effect - The Sturrock Gamit

How to Be a Real Whistleblower

Majestic 12 - R.I.P.

Dear Mr. Fulford

Ladies and Gentlemen - Meet the REAL Paul Hellyer

Ufology - Going... Going... Gone?

Ufology's Top 10

The End of "Roswellism" & The Creation of a Ufological Third Way

The UFO Phenomenon: Where... or When?

Whither Ufology?

GUEST COLUMN - No Flying Saucer Recoveries

The Galactic Barrows Boys

Frank Scully's "Barilko" Moment

Oh Canada - Wilbert Smith & UFOs

It's been an interesting ride. I've been called everything from a Christo-fascist to a neo-con, and a klasskurtzian debunker to a rampant narcissist. All of this has also been pretty amusing to those who really know me. :-)

On the flip side, as the sidebar shows, plenty of good people in and around ufology seem to like The Other Side of Truth. Again, all of this has been pretty amusing (in a different way than the critiques) to those who really know me. :-)

The critics are clearly bad people, evil-doers to the core. Boo, hiss! The fans are clearly good people, discerning, intelligent and thoughtful. Yay!

Seriously, though... oh, wait - I was being serious. Or was I??

All that I know is that I've been true to myself, and that's really all that matters. I've enjoyed presenting both the research and the opinions - and yes, even the narcissistic little bits about me and my world. Expect more of the same in 2006.

As Captain Kirk said, "it's been fun."

Happy New Year!

Paul Kimball

Champion Liar Crowned; Several UFO Whistleblowers Claim Contest Rigged by MJ-12

They should have a separate category for certain UFO whistleblowers / tall tale tellers / hoaxers / con men.

Paul Kimball

World Champion Liar Crowned in Wisconsin

BURLINGTON, Wis. (AP) - Don't believe a word that Bill Meinel says. He's a World Champion Liar - no, really, he is.

Meinel won his second title this week from the Burlington Liars Club with the fib: "My son's high school grades went from all As to all Ds. This happened right after he had his wisdom teeth extracted."

Meinel, 62, also won the contest in 2003 with this tall tale: "My wife is so indecisive about choosing paint colors, our 1,800-square-foot home is now 1,000 square feet due to all the coats of paint."

Meinel said his latest winner comes from a line he used to pull on students.

"Whenever one would tell me they were going to miss class to have their wisdom teeth pulled, I would suggest they take all their tests ahead of time," Meinel said.

John Soeth, president of the club, said Meinel's lie was the best of just under 400 entries this year. Meinel, a former teacher from Burlington, is the first person to twice win the contest.

Former Burlington police Officer Jim Kubath, now of Palm Springs, Calif., won honorable mention for writing that the price of gasoline is so high in California that each gas station has its own loan officer.

Belated Merry Christmas to The Kaiser

This one's for my good buddy, Will "The Kaiser" Fraser, currently ensconced in his manor house in Dorset, the United Kingdom. He was in Halifax for a visit in early December, and we had a ton of fun (as always). Better yet, I don't think we were thrown out of any bars. I'm not sure, given the amount of alcohol ingested, but I think we behaved ourselves... this time.

Must be getting old!

Anyway, J. S. Bach is his hero (I just can't seem to get him to buy into "Cartman-mania"), so hopefully, if you're reading, Herr Kaiser, you'll get a kick out of the Bach action figure (above), which can be purchased, along with all sorts of other cool goodies, at McPhee Toys, and which are allegedly made by Magic Pixies (which gives this all a tenuous paranormal connection).

Hopefully, like Arnie's Terminator, the Kaiser "will be bach."


2005 Ufological Top 10 - #1 Peter Jennings and "Seeing is Believing"

My column from Monday, March 7, is reprinted below. I meant it then, and I mean it even more now, as the year comes to a close. I have amended only the end, to reflect the untimely passing of Peter Jennings since March.

It was the best thing that happened to ufology in 2005. Could it have been better? Of course - any program that omits Dick Hall, Dr. Peter Sturrock and Dr. Jacques Vallee could have been better. But despite some flaws, it was well done nonetheless - fair, even, and balanced (abductionologists and Roswellians will no doubt disagree, but, as the ongoing debate over the recent books by Dr. Susan Clancy and Nick Redfern should show, those two issues are still pretty contentious - to say the least).

The bad news is that some ufologists couldn't see the generally positive side of Seeing is Believing, and the potential to use it as a step forward.

The good news is that others did.

Check out the website about the program here.

Paul Kimball


People within the UFO community have spent the past week and a half commenting on the Peter Jennings ABC News Special UFOs: Seeing is Believing. Most, but not all, of the commentary has been negative, focusing on the second hour and the anti-Roswell and anti-abduction stances taken by ABC, and the time given to the SETI scientists.

Count me as one who disagrees with this general assessment of the program. I thought it was quite good, particularly in the first hour, which I thought was the best UFO documentary I've seen yet - compelling stuff. I agree the second hour went a bit too far - even if you think Roswell was a Project Mogul balloon array (a not unreasonable position, as the matter of what happened at Roswell is still a contentious one, even amongst ufologists), the portrayal of Stan Friedman as nothing more than a "Roswell promoter" was unfair.

Still, some of the people who are lambasting Seeing is Believing (including some who - of course - claim it is all part of the great "cover-up") strike me as more the "glass is half empty" types (or, in many cases, the glass is "completely empty") than as objective observers. The program didn't present all of their pre-conceived notions about UFOs as gospel, so there could be nothing good in it.

Too bad, because Seeing is Believing has opened a real opportunity for Ufology to move back towards the mainstream, and away from the likes of Michael Salla and Steven Greer. The witnesses they presented, particularly in the first hour, were reasonable, responsible types (police officers and USAF crew especially) - the kind of witnesses who are hard for even the debunkers to ignore. No Bob Lazar's, or William Cooper's, or Philip Corso's.

No Exopolitics.

Thank God for that.

But, most important, the SETI scientists came out looking particularly bad. Who are the true "believers"? Watch the SETI people talk (if you can get past their smug condescension), then watch guys like Jerry Clark (pictured, left) and Dr. Mark Rodegheir talk. No question who made the more logical presentation - the ufologists.

Better still was the end of the program. There was Michio Kaku, one of the pre-eminent physicists of our time, taking the side of the ufologists.

Some quotes:

"Some people slam the door on the question of other civilizations visiting the Earth because distances are so far away. I say, 'Not so fast.' "

"The fundamental mistake people make when thinking about extraterrestrial intelligence is to assume that they're just like us except a few hundred years more advanced. I say 'Open your mind. Open your consciousness to the possibility that they are a million years ahead.' "

"When you look at this handful, handful of cases that cannot be easily dismissed. This is worthy. This is worthy of a scientific investigation. Maybe there's nothing there. However, on the off chance that there is something there, that could change the course of human history. So I say, ' Let this investigation begin.' "

Dr. Kaku's website can be found here.

So much for those in science who say there's nothing worthy of investigation.

So much for those who say you can't get there from here.

Kaku came across as a visionary. The SETI people (Shostak, Tarter and Drake, especially) came across as cultists.

Chalk one up for ufology.

So, when discussing Seeing is Believing, ufology needs to keep its eye on the ball - yes, there were things that some in ufology won't agree with (Roswell, for example). But the study of the UFO phenomenon needs to get back into the mainstream, after years of wallowing in conspiracy theory, New Age-ism, and wild tales from alleged "whistleblowers" about dozens of alien races.

It needs to move away from "Exo-politics", and back to looking at the evidence again.

And yes, it needs to make its case to the general public, to the media, and to science.

Seeing is Believing was a critical first step in that process. Kudos to ABC, and the late Peter Jennings.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #2 CNES UAP Committee Established

On September 28th, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France's space policy in Europe, announced that it had created a steering committee to oversee the monitoring of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (i.e. UFOs) - the first meeting of the committee was held on September 22nd.

The Committee is chaired by Yves Sillard, the former Director General of CNES (1976 - 1982), Chief of Defence Procurement , and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Scientific and Environmental Affairs. The membership of the Committee includes the Deputy Director of the Toulouse Space Centre, the Director of External Communications, Education and Public Relations, and the Ethics Officer, as well as representatives of the gendarmarie, police, air force, civil protection agency, civil aviation agency, Meteo-France national weather service, and members of the research community. Meetings of the Committee are to be held at least twice per year, with a yearly report to be submitted by the CNES officer responsible for activities related to UAP.

The activities of the committee cover three areas:

1. Data collection and capture, and archiving of reports in a database;

2. Analysis of information gathered, working with correspondents providing related domain expertise; and

3. Communication to target audiences, publication of periodic reports, and management of access to archives.

The committee came about as a result of an audit of the now-defunct SEPRA UFO study in 2001-2002, which was made by Francois Louange, an image analysis specialist who had worked for SEPRA and its predeccessor, GEPAN, and who was a member of the Scientific Review Panel of the Sturrock Panel (see also GEPAN/SEPRA).

In an interview with Radio France International on September 29th, Sillard stated that "it is necessary to tackle [the subject of UFOs] with rigour, seriously, and without any preconceived ideas."

We'll see where this goes (sometimes these things don't work out as well as one might hope), but it is definitely a positive development, which advocates of this kind of study / program in other countries, including Canada, can point to as an example of what can be done in terms of an objective investigation of the UFO phenemenon.

See... not all the news in 2005 was bad!

Now the only question which remains is - what is #1??

Any guesses?

Paul Kimball

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #3 UFOs and the "Rest of the World"

Westerners, particularly of the Anglo-Saxon kind, (i.e. Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and, of course, the United States) still like to think of ourselves as the center of the universe. Oh, most of us deny it, usually vociferously, but think about it. How many non-Western movies or books have you read in 2005? How many non-Western television programs do you watch? How many non-Western magazines do you subscribe to? Name the capital of Tajikistan, or describe the political system in Malaysia. And so forth. The truth is, we Westerners, even well into the post-colonial era, still spend most of our time discussing how we view events. Unless you happen to subscribe to the Economist (as I do), you probably don't spend a whole lot of time becoming familiar with what's going on in the Rest of the World (ROW) on a day-to-day basis, unless it happens to be Iraq or the Middle East. And even the Economist is a Western magazine.

This is as true in ufology as it is in just about every other field. Events in 2005 reminded us that we are not alone - no, not in the extraterrestrial sense (who knows for sure about that one?), but rather here on Earth, where there are billions of people in the ROW who are not Westerners, who have views and agendas of their own, and who, in the coming years, may have a far greater impact on the study of UFOs (for good or ill, or perhaps both) than they have up to this point.

The biggest example?


Over one billion people (a lot more people than if you put all of the Anglo-Saxon countries together, and then multiplied by two).

What have they been up to?

Putting people in Space (not a good thing for a communist dictatorship to do, in my opinion, from a realpolotik point of view - does anyone really believe that the Chinese just want to take a peaceful look around? But that's another story, for another day, and if it spurs the Americans to get serious about space exploration again - as it seems to have done - then the news isn't all bad).

Talking about sending explorers to the moon.

Oh yes - and giving lots of government money (relative to the West) to the study of the UFO phenomenon.

Note that I didn't say the "serious study" of the UFO phenomenon. That's because much of what is coming out of China - and certainly it's neighbour, India - seems to be pretty... well, silly. The UFO stories published regularly in the India Daily, for example, are pretty "far out," unless you are a died-in-the-wool exopolitics believer type - like the one from March 21, 2005, that carried the headline "India Cancels Manned Moon Mission - Warned By ET?"

The reports from the 2005 World UFO Conference, held in Dalian, China back in September, were decidedly mixed.

Still, Sun Shili, the chairman of the conference, claimed that the Chinese interest in UFOs has created the largest community of enthusiasts in the world. The number now exceeds half of the world's total number of intellectuals, he stated. And these aren't all superstitious peasants in the impoversihed countryside, either. In Dalian's UFO Society, 90 per cent of the 400 members have college degrees. "It's exciting for us to use science to decipher UFO sightings," said Zhou Xiaoqiang, secretary-general of the Beijing UFO Society.

That's reason for guarded optimism.

If even a small percentage of the people of China and India are interested in UFOs, that's a number that can't be ignored, by either ufology or the governments of those countries - which may not be a good thing, in the long term, of you happen to be a Chinese ufologist. For example, Stan Friedman, who spoke at the Conference, had this to say: "Ufology is blossoming in China, and the participants are mostly professionals." Interestingly, the official Chinese news reports that I read referred to Stan as an American nuclear physicist - not a UFO lecturer, or proponent, as he is so often referred to here in North America, particularly by debunkers.

At the end of the day, who knows where this will all lead. China is a brutal dictatorship, after all. If you think information is tightly controlled in the United States, then you don't know much about China. Hopes of Chinese "disclosure" (assuming for the moment that there is something to disclose) are patently ridiculous, given the nature of the regime - and the fact that the media (which speaks for the regime) indicates, as one report said, that "one suspects that the truth may well be less strange than the fiction." This could all be disinformation of some sort, or part of some plan by the Chinese government (I can think of any number of reasons how and why the Chinese would be using UFOs, and trying to link with western scientists, none of them good).

Still, the point is that China (and the ROW) can't be ignored anymore (in ufology, as in so much else). People interested in the UFO phenomenon are going to have to deal with what comes out of these countries in the years to come - for good or ill. China in particular should be viewed with caution, the same way we deal with them in foreign policy and trade. Still, as with trade, and culture, the opportunity exists to use UFOs to establish common links with the Chinese people (in a much smaller way, but every little bit helps), and to bring them into the broader world community. Credible reports coming out of China (and the ROW) are also important - too many ufologists simply focus on Western, particularly American, reports. In the past, this made some sense, as it stands to reason that the better reports would come from a more technologically advanced country. But as the ROW catches up to the West in terms of technological sophistication, that gap in quality reporting will close.

This is not a new development. But with the increased exposure of China, and elsewhere (India, Brazil, or the Philippines, for example), in 2005, it has taken on a new importance.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #4 The Death of Philip J. Klass

I've written about Klass's death in August here and here. It was big news within ufology. After all, how many times do you get to mark the passing of Satan (as he was seen by more than a few people)?

Klass had a huge influence, for good and ill, on ufology over a period of almost 4 decades. He will be missed - whether by those who miss him as a human being (yes, there are some who considered him a friend), or as a target - as a yin, so to speak, to their yang. He was important to them, as indicated by the fact that his very name became an epithet for attacking their foes, both real and perceived. The big question for this latter group in 2006 will be: "who will take Klass's place as Public Enemy #1?"

I'm sure they'll find someone to fill in, but it won't be the same. Klass, like his longtime sparring partner, Stan Friedman, was one of a kind. He certainly wasn't perfect, and could definitely be mean-spirited at times (he did not "kill" Dr. James McDonald, as some suggest, but that episode of Klass's career did him no credit). But he also had something else, especially as he got older, that more than a few pro-ET people lack - a sense of humour, and a willingness to hope that he might be wrong, as he showed in an interview for Skeptic Magazine in 1999:

"Skeptic: And what would you say to those critics who claim that you are motivated by some sort of "hatred" or "fear" of the idea that UFOs and ET visitations might be real?

Klass: As I turn 80, my fondest hope is that a genuine ET craft will land on our back patio and that I will be abducted. Hopefully, with the ETs' advanced technology and knowledge, they will be able to cure my spinal and walking problems and the damage to my vocal cord. Of course, I would have to pay Stanton Friedman $10,000 -- based on my long-standing wager that UFOs will never be proven real -- but I would expect to become wealthy from the royalties of a new book titled Why Me, ET? And instead of spending many hours each week "debunking" UFOs, I'll finally have time to watch some TV, go to the movies, and perhaps get to read a few non-UFO books for enjoyment. I even keep my videocam near my bed in the hopes of being able to film a beautiful "Nordic-type" ET extracting sperm 'the old-fashioned way.'"

Klass was definitely a controversial and polarizing figure - most people in ufology either liked him, or loathed him. The one thing they couldn't do was ignore him.

Paul Kimball

2005 Ufological Top 10 - # 5 Prophet Yahweh & Project Serpo

Every year has to have at least one UFO hoax to irritate the sensible people within ufology. In 2005, there were two significant ones - Prophet Yahweh and Project Serpo (which is continuing into 2006). Which was / is more ridiculous? You make the call.

Prophet Yahweh

The self-proclaimed "Prophet Yahweh" claimed that he could call spaceships upon command. At his website, it stated that people should:

"Be Advised! YAHWEH and His Angels are superhuman Beings, on other planets, Who fly in spaceships!" The Prophet Yahweh (he had his name legally changed, from Ramon Watkins), "has been blessed to resurrect the lost, ancient art of summoning UFOs and actual spaceships on command."


In a press release on May 23, which marked a ufological hoax version of the "limited time offer" seen so often on commercials, Watkins... er, Prophet Yahweh, stated that for 45 days, and only 45 days, from June 1st until July 15th, he would be calling down "UFOs and spaceships" (apparently there is a difference between the two in Yahweh's world) for the news media to film and photograph (if you couldn't get to him, he was happy to come to you - all expenses paid, of course). Then, at the end of the 45 day period, a spaceship would descend, and hover in the sky, for almost two days, near Las Vegas (where else??).

KTNV, a Las vegas ABC affiliate, took him up on his offer, specified the location and the date and time, showed up, and - sure enough - Yahweh managed to summon not just one "UFO," but two. The reporter in the video clip (Channel 13) seemed genuinely surprised, which simply proves that you can fool some people in the media. One look at the video, however, or others made by Prophet Yahweh himself, which can be seen at his website (only view them if you don't have to pay for it), and it should be apparent to anyone but the most credulous that what the "prophet" summoned was a balloon.

Prophet Yahweh went on to make a host of other promises, none of which were met - including a 50 state "Black Israelites Only UFO Summoning Tour," which he described as follows:

"Very soon, you'll see the videos of me going to all 50 American states, waking up my people, black people of slave descent, to the fact that we are the original and true Jews of the nation of Israel! I will wake my people up, from their deep sleep, by calling down YAHWEH's UFOs as a sign that the things I say are true! As a result of this, I am destined to:

1.) trigger the mass awakening of my people to the fact that we are the true Jews of the Israelite nation

2.) and start the greatest movement ever of my people since we were brought to this country as slaves.

We are the true Jews, of the tribe of Judah, of the nation of Israel!

We are the Israelites!"

Good grief.

As for the "tour," it never happened. Why not? Well, according to Prophet Yahweh, it was because the media stopped paying attention to him, and the space beings wanted media attention (I swear, for those of you unfamiliar with this "story," I'm not making it up), so without it they wouldn't appear.

Uh huh.

The nadir of this "story" came with Yahweh's attempts to win the $1 million Paranormal challenge set up by James "the Amazing" Randi. You can read the hilarious correspondence between Yahweh and the administrator of the challenge here.

However, Prophet Yahweh did continue to get plenty of attention from the "alternative media," which, contrary to the claims of its defenders, is not any different than the "mainstream media" they love to deride - at least not in terms of what drives them to do what they do.

Take Jeff Rense, for example (please, someone take him, far, far away). When KTNV showed some common sense (they said the story was being "blown way out of proportion," which was true), and decided to back out of anymore filming / reporting of Prophet Yahweh's ongoing scam, here is how it played on the Rense website.

"Note - Since when does a tv news department drop a RED HOT story? Answer: When it is TOLD to. - Jeff"

Ahh... good old Rense. Like most in the "alternative media" (I say "most," because there are always exceptions that prove the general rule), the man can - and more importantly, will - make anything seem like a cover-up or conspiracy, so long as it helps ratings (i.e. makes a prophet... er, profit). Even better is when an alleged cover-up or conspiracy comes along, masquerading as "breaking news."

Speaking of which...

Project Serpo

If you have some spare time, are of sound mind (and hopefuly body), and want a good chuckle, wander over to the latest UFO hoax craze, Project Serpo. What was Project Serpo? It was, according to the "anonymous source" that is releasing the "information," the gradual release of "confidential documents pertaining to a top secret exchange program of twelve US military personnel to Serpo, a planet of Zeta Reticuli, between the years 1965-78."

Gradual, of course, so as to better maximize the opportunities for profit, and make as many appearances on "alternative media" programs as possible.

From the Serpo website comes this description of the "information":

"The information began to be released on 2 November 2005 by a retired senior official within the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) who calls himself “Anonymous”. Until he chooses to make his name known, this is the way he will be represented here. Anonymous reports that he is not acting individually and is part of a group of six DIA personnel working together as an alliance: three current and three former employees. He is their chief spokesman.

Anonymous writes 85% of the material; another 13% comes from another source directly connected with the project; and the final 1-2% comes from a "ghost," who cancels his e-mail account as soon as he sends his information.

The information is currently being released in installments on a private UFO e-mail list moderated by Victor Martinez. The list contains about a hundred and fifty people, including many extremely well-known names in UFO research and related or leading edge scientific fields. Until permissions are granted, their names will be withheld out of courtesy and to respect confidentiality.

Those on the list have differing views regarding the veracity of Anonymous’ claims. However, the pedigree of the list as a whole is important to emphasize. There has been a substantial amount of intelligent discussion about the revelations, and it is important to state that there are many senior people in the US Intelligence and Military community who are taking this information very seriously. It may now be time to release this information to a wider audience, in close approximation to the format in which it was originally made available."

Hmm... does this remind anyone of Majestic-12, that greatest of all ufological hoaxes? It should. The same MO is there (anonymous sources with earth-shattering revelations, dribbled out over time), as is the same claim of "objectivity" by some of the "investigators," i.e. "Those on the list have differing views regarding the veracity of Anonymous' claims" (remember Bill Moore and Jaime Shandera's The MJ-12 Documents: An Analytical Report, wherein they debunked some MJ-12 documents - not very many, mind you - and then assigned percentages relating to the probable authenticity of the others?).

Of course, there is one final aspect of the Project Serpo scam that should bring back "fond" memories of the MJ-12 saga - the involvement of Rick Doty.

Rick Doty!

It's almost like listening to a "greatest hits of the 1980s" CD.

With the Project Serpo hooey, it has been Coast to Coast, amongst the "alternative media," that has taken the lead for this "developing story," which is picking up momentum across the Internet. A few weeks ago, there was Doty, who has no place on any radio show that purports to seek the truth, on Coast to Coast, chatting away about Serpo.

Rick Doty!!


Stuart Miller hit the nail on the head at his blog when he wrote:

"The real question for me is, is this old stuff or has [Doty] just got bored and had a bit of a play again, just for old times sake? And if it is old stuff, why has it re-surfaced now? What is this evil genius's master plan? Hold on a moment; did I say genius? In terms of what we do know about his activities, bumbling incompetent would seem a fairer description. And he just can't leave the bloody subject alone. I wish he would."

Now, there are those who might think that, sure, this is fake, but it's disinformation, designed to distract ufologists, and throw them off the scent.

Nope. In my opinion, it's just a scam. There is real disinformation out there, about all sorts of things, but none of it is this clumsy and obvious.

Either way, however, you can count on the "alternative media" to continue to run with the story for a while in 2006, because, as I said above - it's good for ratings, and that's what drives them - just as it drives the "mainstream media," which some on the fringes of ufology refer to as the "hijacked mainstream media."

Well, even assuming that the mainstream media has been "hijacked" by the government and big corporations, then episodes like Yahweh and Serpo (and so many others) show that the big names of the "alternative media" consort with wackos and con-artists (or worse), all so they can turn a buck or two off of people gullible enough to swallow this stuff.

This doesn't mean that you can't get useful information from the "alternative media," just that people need to recognize what their agenda really is, what drives them, and then exercise the same caution with it that you would with any other source of information.

And that's the real story here.

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 23, 2005

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #6 Nick Redfern's "Body Snatchers in the Desert"

Nick Redfern's book on Roswell, Body Snatchers in the Desert, did a couple of things that I didn't think were possible. First, it made Roswell the topic of discussion within ufology again, something that I though was impossible. Second, whatever else might be said about Nick's theories (and I don't buy them, and have told Nick so, in many very pleasant conversations), they created a ufological "hell has frozen over" moment. In response to Nick's "cover up of dastardly government experiments" theory, the Big Three of Roswellism - Stan Friedman, Kevin Randle, and Karl Pflock, all of whom have promoted, for years now, alternative theories as to what happened (or did not happen) in 1947 - came together in a "perfect storm" of criticism (most of it well founded, in my opinion). Of course, Stan still thinks Karl and Kevin are wrong, and Karl still thinks that Stan and Kevin are wrong, and Kevin still thinks that Karl and Stan are wrong - but the one thing they can all agree on is that Nick is definitely wrong.

The fact that Nick was probably wrong is almost irrelevant. The alacrity and vehemence with which the "Roswell establishment" jumped on his claims was stunning (some people actually did so without having read the book - I critiqued Nick's book too, but at least I had read it first). Most amusing was the criticism of his anonymous sources, and the claims that he had been the subject of a disinformation campaign. With respect, there should be a rule when it comes to Roswellism, namely that someone who has ever used "anonymous sources" - Stan with the MJ-12 documents, Karl with his mysterious Aztec witness, and Kevin with "The Colonel" found in Case: MJ-12, all pop to mind - should be very careful about criticizing someone else who has made use of anonymous sources, as Nick did (unlike with the MJ-12 documents, Nick actually knows who his sources were, but chose to keep them anonymous).

Still, Nick's book demonstrated that the Roswell case is far from dead. It was the topic of discussion amongst UFO cognoscenti for several weeks, and continues to be debated by die-hards as the year winds down. People generally seemed to respond to it according to their pre-disposed beliefs. If you believe Roswell was an ET crash, or another, less dastardly, government project (i.e., Mogul), then you were almost guaranteed to be against Nick's theories. After all, the people who buy either the ET or Mogul explanations have invested a lot of time, effort, emotion, and, in some cases, money, in their pet theory. It would take a herculean effort for most of them to shift their position. On the other side of the ledger are those (many of them from "across the Pond") who are willing to believe just about anything about Roswell, so long as it has nothing to do with aliens, and so long as it casts the United States government in an even worse light. For them, Nick's theory was made to order, regardless of its merits. It is a weird (and sad) world where folks not only find it easier to believe that the U.S. government would conduct the kind of experiments described in Body Snatchers in the Desert, but actually prefer that this would be the case, as it would confirm their pre-existing belief that the United States is an Evil Empire, and always has been.

Many others saw in Body Snatchers in the Desert a new theory that might solve the Roswell case once and for all. They are fed up with Roswell, and just want to put it in the past.

Alas, no such luck. Rather than providing a unifiying answer, Nick has simply put forward another flawed theory. It has been added to the mix, and has found its own small group of die-heard adherents. But it didn't tell us what really happened in New Mexico all those years ago. I don't think anything ever will - at least not to the satisfaction of everyone in that dwindling group of people who still care.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #7 The "Return" of Jacques Vallee

An event that slipped under many people's radar was the appearance of Dr. Jacques Vallee at the UFOs: The Full Spectrum Conference, held from December 1st to the 3rd in Virginia Beach, where he gave a presentation entitled "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: Beyond the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis."

This came as a surprise to many because for years Vallee has shied away from public appearances, preferring to work behind the scenes. Why? Because he offered a critique of the ETH, and a different possible theory to explain the UFO phenomenon - two things that, in the world of American ufology at least, mark you as an outsider, or, as Vallee called it, a "heretic amongst heretics."

In 1990, he provided a concise statement of his reasons in for this switch in "Five Arguments Against the Extraterrestrial Origin of Unidentified Flying Objects," in the Journal of Scientific Exploration:

"Scientific opinion has generally followed public opinion in the belief that unidentified flying objects either do not exist (the "natural phenomena hypothesis") or, if they do, must represent evidence of a visitation by some advanced race of space travelers (the extraterrestrial hypothesis or "ETH"). It is the view of the author that research on UFOs need not be restricted to these two alternatives. On the contrary, the accumulated data base exhibits several patterns tending to indicate that UFOs are real, represent a previously unrecognized phenomenon, and that the facts do not support the common concept of "space visitors." Five specific arguments articulated here contradict the ETH:

(1) unexplained close encounters are far more numerous than required for any physical survey of the earth;
(2) the humanoid body structure of the alleged "aliens" is not likely to have originated on another planet and is not biologically adapted to space travel;
(3) the reported behavior in thousands of abduction reports contradicts the hypothesis of genetic or scientific experimentation on humans by an advanced race;
(4) the extension of the phenomenon throughout recorded human history demonstrates that UFOs are not a contemporary phenomenon; and
(5) the apparent ability of UFOs to manipulate space and time suggests radically different and richer alternatives."

Is Vallee right? Who knows? I find his theories intriguing, but, like the ETH (which I still tend to favour, among all of the non-mundane explanations on offer), unproved. Still, ufology has suffered from his absence on the public stage. In my list of the Top 10 ufologists of all time, I ranked Vallee at #1. I wrote:

"A respected scientist (he has an MS in astrophysics and a Ph.D in computer science), Vallee is unquestionably Ufology's "deep thinker," i.e. one of the few ufologists to consider the more existential aspects of the phenomenon, and possibilities beyond the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), of which he was initially a supporter... Vallee is often at odds with die-hard ETH proponents, particularly in the United States, and as a result has largely withdrawn from the public realm of ufology, even as he continues his work in private."

His appearance at the Full Spectrum Conference is a welcome development, especially if it portends further public appearances by Vallee in 2006. His presence in ufology adds much needed credibility to the study of the UFO phenomenon, and he provides a serious alternative theory to the ETH that is worthy of discussion and debate.

Paul Kimball

Monday, December 19, 2005

The 2005 "Zorgy" Awards

I work in an industry - entertainment - that has more awards shows and ceremonies than it does people (at least it sometimes seems that way). Accordingly, I can't resist the temptation to hand out some awards myself, to the deserving in the paranormalist community.

Thus, here are The Other Side of Truth's 2005 "Zorgy" Awards (named in honour of my alien pal, Zorgrot).

Paul Kimball

Best paranormalist website [magazine]
Fortean Times

Best paranormalist website [forums]
UFO Planet

Best paranormalist website [news summary]
The Anomalist

Best paranormalist blog
Posthuman Blues (Mac Tonnies)

Best UFO Radio Program
Strange Days... Indeed (Errol Bruce-Knapp)

Best UFO blog
A Different Perspective (Kevin Randle)

Best UFO Website [research]
Project Blue Book Archive

Best UFO Website [news summary]
UFO Review

Best UFO Website [ufologist]
Stanton Friedman

Best UFO publication
Saucer Smear

Best Ufologist (research)
Brad Sparks

Best Ufologist (public speaker)
Stanton Friedman

Best UFO documentary
UFOs - Seeing is Believing (ABC / Peter Jennings)

Best UFO book
Project Beta (Greg Bishop)

Best Crytozoologist
Jonathan Downes

Best Paranormal Trouble-maker
Nick Redfern

2005 Ufological Top 10 - # 8 Dr. Susan Clancy's "Abducted"

You know you've touched a nerve when you make so many people angry. Dr. Susan Clancy's 2005 book on the alien abduction phenomenon, Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens, has done just that - at least within the pro-ETH camp of ufology. Unlike many UFO books, most of which struggle to find a place on bookstore shelves, Clancy's has broken into the mainstream media, and received a great deal of attention - which is no doubt part of the reason why so many in ufology are so angry at her.

From his most recent Mufon Journal Column, Stan Friedman summed up the views of most of the pro-ETH community:

"One could write a lot more about the trash in this book and the self serving nonsense about being objective. Not surprisingly there is a blurb on the back from Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, one of the leaders of the False Memory Syndrome cult like group: 'Abducted is an enormously brave, smart, original book.' I suppose that is true once one recognizes that most of it is fiction masquerading as Truth."

So, what is Clancy saying? In an interview at, Clancy sets out and defends her theories. An excerpt:

"Question: You're convinced that most people who believe they've been abducted by aliens are normal people, and that every one of them with vivid memories got them in therapy. How does that happen, exactly?

Clancy: I do think these people are fundamentally normal. The belief in alien abduction is much less weird when you consider the process by which the belief is acquired. It doesn't happen overnight. Nobody wakes up and says, "Holy shit, I was abducted last night, they took me, there were rotating vibrating devices and then they extracted my sperm." People say, "I have these weird experiences. I wonder what it could be?" They look for explanations and at some point they'll say, well, maybe I was abducted. I know it sounds weird but it's just like what Whitley Strieber wrote about, or it's just like what happened to Betty and Barney Hill. There are a lot of people out there who believe aliens are real and a lot of people who believe aliens have been on earth—look at the Roper polls and the Time/CNN polls—and it's not that weird that some people would say, maybe I've been abducted.

Question: And the memories are recovered later on?

Clancy: Either by choice, or because it kind of happens that way, some end up in an abduction researcher's office or a psychotherapists office to talk about their concerns or beliefs. I never met a single subject that had detailed autobiographical memories of what happened to them until they ended up under hypnosis."

Now, these are not new theories - Kevin Randle, William Cone and Russ Estes came to basically the same conclusions in their book, The Abuduction Enigma, a few years ago. As readers of The Other Side of Truth know, like Randle, Clancy, and Jacques Vallee, I am extremely skeptical of the use of hypnosis by so-called abduction researchers. However, that doesn't mean that I dismiss the abduction phenomenon / enigma out of hand. I agree with Jerry Clark when he wrote, with reference to the best-known of all abduction cases, the Betty and Barney Hill story, that:

"The resolution of the Hill case awaits the resolution of the UFO question itself. If UFOs do not exist, then Barney and Betty Hill did not meet with aliens. If UFOs do exist, they probably did. The evidence available to us from this incident alone provides no answers surer than these. In other words, no answers at all. For now, anyway.”

This applies to all abduction cases.

What is disappointing to see is the amount of abuse that some in ufology have heaped onto Dr. Clancy. Again, I think that this has less to do with her actual theories (which are, again, neither new nor completely unsupported within ufology), but with all of the attention that she has garnered. What they overlook is that, in the process, the alien abduction phenomenon has been thrust back into the public consciousness, and the pro-ETH / pro-abduction ufologists have been given time to make their case, and to counter what Dr. Clancy is saying - as on the most recent Larry King episode discussing UFOs, where Clancy shared the "stage" with Budd Hopkins, among others.

Counter her theories with reason and logic if you can, but for those people in ufology who have made it personal (even to the point of basically calling Dr. Clancy a "dumb blonde"), you just diminish yourselves. You do a disservice to the cause you espouse, and you undermine the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, a study which requires a constructive dialogue - even with people with whom you disagree.

One thing is for certain, however - Dr. Clancy certainly made an impact on ufology in 2005!

Paul Kimball

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Walter Haut Passes Away

Stan Friedman sent me an e-mail late last night informing me that Walter Haut, one of the key figures in the "Roswell Incident," has died. I met Haut back in 2001 when I interviewed him for the film Stanton T. Friedman is Real (he appears in the film briefly talking about Stan). He seemed like a very nice man. My condolences to his family.

From Kevin Randle's The Roswell Encyclopedia (pp. 134 - 136):

"Walter Haut was a first lieutenant assigned to the Roswell Army Air Field in July, 1947. He had trained during World War II as both a navigator and a bombadier. He served in the Pacific during the war and later, in 1946, participated in Operation Crossroads, the atomic tests at Bikini. He had been assigned to the 509th Bomb Group on temporary duty for the atomic tests, but that duty was expanded into a permanent assignment.

According to Haut, about 9:30 on the morning of July 8th, 1947, he received a call from Colonel William Blanchard, who told Haut they had found a flying saucer, or parts from one. Blanchard said the wreckage came from a ranch northwest of Roswell and that the base intelligence officer, Major [Jesse] Marcel, was going to escort the material on to Fort Worth. Blanchard wanted Haut to write a press release explaining the situation and then take it to the local media. According to Haut, it was about noon or a little after when he made the rounds to radio stations KGFL and KSWS and then on to the Roswell Daily Record and the Morning Dispatch.

The Daily Record published the account in the afternoon edition, but the next day announced that the debris had been identified as a weather balloon. In another story in the same edition, Mack Brazel was interviewed, giving a description of the debris that sounded suspiciously like that of a weather balloon. Brazel also said, however, that what he had found that time didn't look like any of the other balloons he had seen.

At the same time, other newspapers, some of which identified Haut as Warren Haight, suggested that he had received blistering telephone calls from the Pentagon and other top military officials rebuking him for the press release. Haut maintains that he received no such telephone calls and said, 'A first lieutenant getting telephone calls from Washington? Had it happened, I would have remembered it.'

The press release did not affect his military career. Haut hadapplied for a regular Army commission and received it. He was promoted to Captain. In early 1948, he received orders that would have transferred him to another military base. Haut established a home in Roswell, his first child having been born there, and the family had no desire to leave. Haut resigned from the service in early 1948."

Haut was a co-founder of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

See Haut's affidavit, and quotes from Haut about Roswell at UFO Evidence. Here is what Haut said on the American television program "Unsolved Mysteries":

"I took the release into town. And that was one of the things that Colonel Blanchard told me to do, take it into town, because if there was any validity to this, he didn't want the news media to feel that we had jumped over their heads and were not cooperating with them."

Here is what Haut said in an interview for an article in "Air and Space/Smithsonian" magazine, Sep-Oct 1992, when asked what he thought really happened back in 1947:

"I feel there was a crash of an extra-terrestrial vehicle near Corona."

Stan tells me that the funeral is set for Tuesday.

Paul Kimball

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #9 Paul Hellyer & Exopolitics

Remember, when I started this list, I said it would be the top 10 developments or events of ufology in 2005, for good or ill. #9 definitely falls into the "ill" category.

I have dealt with Hellyer's entry into the UFO field elsewhere; see Paul Hellyer - The Big Fish Flops and Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet the REAL Paul Hellyer, columns that anyone who thinks this is "good" news should read carefully, and objectively. The man has been an embarassment for ufology, and, frankly, for Canada. He and his exopolitical fellow travellers have set the cause of the serious and scientific study of the UFO phenomenon back, not moved it forward. Last night on Strange Days... Indeed, Hellyer was called "courageous" by two commentators. There is nothing courageous about what he has done, because he had nothing left to lose (What? His reputation and credibility?? Sorry, but that ship sailed years ago). None of the exopolitics crowd have anything to lose. How is that courage?

Answer: it isn't.

Still, this development does symbolize two things, in a broader sense, for ufology.

First, it highlights the frustration felt by many people at the failure of the mainstream to take ufology seriously (a situation which isn't as bad as they sometimes make it out to be, and which as much ufology's fault as it is anyone else's). Most of these folks are good people, like Victor Viggiani, the Strange Days... Indeed co-host who organized the Toronto exopolitics conference this fall where Hellyer had his coming out party (and where Philip Corso's The Day After Roswell got a new lease on life). What these well-meaning people don't realize, however, is that things like exopolitics (and the constant, conspiratorial nattering on about the "Truth Embargo" and "disclosure" that goes with it), and Paul Hellyer's involvement therein, do far more harm than good to the serious study of the UFO phenomenon. It is the 21st century equivalent to the contactee movement of the 1950s. The attention that it draws to ufology is uniformly negative.

Second, it highlights a "methodology" that has elbowed it's way into the study of the UFO phenemenon, which is not really a methodology at all, but rather an evangelical belief system masquerading as a methodology. A read-through of any of the convoluted writings of Michael Salla, or Alfred Webre, reveals exopolitics to be nothing more than an unscientific, a-historical sham, foisted upon people who desperately want to have their belief in the Extra-terrestrial hypothesis confirmed, and will follow any pied-piper, no matter how ridiculous, down the merry-little path of self-delusion. It isn't science; it isn't even pseudo-science.

That would be fine, in the "hey, each to their own" sense, except for the fact that in the process of their whacked-out, New Age, ETH evangelism, the expolitics crowd taints all of ufology. It is, after all, easy to dismiss someone like Dick Hall, Kevin Randle or Brad Sparks these days - just point to Salla, Hellyer, Webre, and Steven Bassett (a self-important quartet if ever there was one), and say, "well, they're all part of the same bunch." Indeed, it forces good guys like Randle, Sparks, and Hall, to waste their time countering the garbage put out by the exopolitics cadre, in the hopes of setting the record straight. Alas, as the exopolitics gurus seem to be making a full-time career of it, it's almost impossible to keep up; they drown out the voices of reason simply by the amount of material that they produce, almost as if they were being paid by the word, like a hack pulp novelist churning out bad sci-fi paperbacks .

Alas, quantity seems to be trumping quality these days, as the guys who are getting the publicity are the Hellyer's of the world - ridiculed on American television, in the Canadian press, and so forth.

This is a good thing?


Lately, Webre et al, with Hellyer as front man, have been calling for public hearings / disclosure here in Canada (does this remind anyone of similar calls for disclosure made a few years ago by that Steven Greer south of the border??). Here is a confident prediction for 2006 - nothing will come of it, except for more ridicule heaped on ufology in general, and more television and radio appearances for the publicity hounds that steer the exopolitical ship - a "ship" which, more and more, seems to be dragging ufology in it's wake.

It's time for ufology to change course... before that "ship" sinks, and drags ufology down under, once and for all, into the depths of complete and utter irrelevance.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, December 17, 2005

2005 Ufological Top 10 - #10

Over the next couple of weeks, I've decided to count down the 10 events that I consider to be the most significant in ufology over the past year. Not all of them will be positive developments, to be sure, but they are the ones that I think had the greatest impact on the ufological world during the past twelve months.

Thus, without further ado:

#10 - The rise of the UFO Blog

Like them or loath them, UFO blogs have taken off (no pun intended) over the past year. Much of the credit / blame for this development is due to Rich Reynolds (pictured at left) and the now-defunct RRR Group, who were the first UFO bloggers to really make a name for themselves. They self-destructed about two months ago when, as part of an ongoing war of words, they went after another UFO blogger, Alfred Lehmberg, and in the process crossed a line of common decency that destroyed whatever credibility they had left within the UFO community. But they stirred things up, and brought the idea of blogging to a wider audience; in that respect, their impact lives on (again, whether for good or ill is a matter of opinion).

The blogs themselves are of varying quality, and have been created to serve various purposes. Mine is a mix of research, commentary, and personal asides. Others are more like journals for ETH believers. Even some longtime ufologists have gotten into the act, including Kevin Randle. While a few UFO blogs pre-date 2005, most do not, and the blogs, as a group, certainly had nowhere near the readership, or influence, that they do today. The phenomenon of blogging, which is far from unique to the world of ufology (indeed, it is now an integral part of politics), will no doubt continue to grow in 2006, and the years to follow. A blog is, after all, nothing more than a tool to facilitate communication. However, unlike writing books, or writing for magazines, it is a tool that anyone can use (once again, for good or ill). It is also, unlike a website, immediately accessible (it takes maybe 5 minutes to set one up), to the point where even a technophobe can use one. The result has been a lot of hooey - but also some good stuff. That's what always happens when the barriers to communication are broken down, and everyone has the ability to contribute. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff - but that's always been the challenge with ufology!

Whatever your opinion of UFO blogs might be, they are here to stay - and have changed the ufological landscape for good.

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 16, 2005

CNN Reports... on Alien Abductions

Ufologists often complain that they can't get the mainstream media to pay attention to them. Well, here is a CNN report from today on the controversial subject of alleged alien abductions.

Yes, Dr. Susan Clancy is there (that's called balance, folks), but the reporter treats the alleged abductees with respect, and provides the 2% of all Americans have been abducted or know someone who has statistic, which translates into roughly 5 million Americans.

All in all, an interesting little piece, about a subject that even ufologists can't agree upon.

Paul Kimball

Kimball on SDI

Just an FYI - I'll be on Strange Days... Indeed tomorrow evening, at (I think) 10 pm EST. I'll be discussing yesterday's Schreyer column, a bit of Canadian UFO history, and how best for ufology to move forward, i.e. The Sturrock Gambit.

You can check program listings and tune in at Strange Days... Indeed.

Paul Kimball

Christmas Cards

One of the best parts of the Christmas season is getting cards from friends, family and business contacts - particularly when they are something different than the norm of store bought cards.

Now, I'm a bit biased, but of the ones I've received this year so far, the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation's is hands-down the best. My fiance, Linda, is at the top left, with the hat on and her hand on Santa's shoulder.

Her hand on Santa's shoulder??

Wait a minute! Santa looks like he's enjoying himself a little too much!!!


Still, best card of 2005. Kudos to the NSFDC staff for having a sense of humour, and doing something a bit different. The only thing that would have made it even better would have been putting Premier John Hamm's face in for Santa's!

Also, kudos to the NSFDC for last night's Christmas bash at the Halifax Club. Great tree, a federal cabinet minister (Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to whom I was introduced as the "UFO guy," and with whom I had a brief chat about UFOs, or, as Steven Greer would say, "a briefing"), the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, a Mountie in dress uniform, and free liquor... as Eric Cartman would say, "sweet!"

Paul Kimball

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Candidate for Election in Canada Who May Interest Ufologists

Another candidate for election, running for the Liberals in Quebec (meaning even he isn't guaranteed election this time around), who may be of interest to ufologists, is former astronaut and genuine Canadian hero Marc Garneau.

He's been "up there," and while, to the best of my knowledge, he has never seen any UFOs, he is the kind of person who may respond to a reasoned approach with respect to the scientific evidence behind the UFO phenomenon. Should the Liberals squeak back into office, it is a virtual certainty that Garneau, if he wins his own race in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, will be a cabinet member, possibly in Science and Technology.

Again, the Sturrock Gambit would be a good place to start.

Paul Kimball


Born in February 1949 in Quebec City, Canada. He received his early education in Quebec City and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in Quebec and in London, England. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the Royal Military College of Kingston in 1970, and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, England, in 1973. He attended the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College of Toronto in 1982-1983.

Marc Garneau was a Combat Systems Engineer in HMCS Algonquin from 1974-76. While serving as an instructor in naval weapon systems at the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Halifax, 1976-77, he designed a simulator for use in training weapons officers in the use of missile systems aboard Tribal class destroyers. He served as Project Engineer in naval weapon systems in Ottawa from 1977 to 1980. He returned to Halifax with the Naval Engineering Unit, which troubleshoots and performs trials on ship-fitted equipment, and helped develop an aircraft-towed target system for the scoring of naval gunnery accuracy. Promoted to Commander in 1982 while at Staff College, he was transferred to Ottawa in 1983 and became design authority for naval communications and electronic warfare equipment and systems. In January 1986, he was promoted to Captain. He retired from the Navy in 1989. He is one of six Canadian astronauts selected in December 1983. He was seconded to the Canadian Astronaut Program from the Department of National Defence in February 1984 to begin astronaut training. He became the first Canadian astronaut to fly in space as a Payload Specialist on Shuttle Mission 41-G in October 1984. He was named Deputy Director of the Canadian Astronaut Program in 1989, providing technical and program support in the preparation of experiments to fly during future Canadian missions. He was selected for Mission Specialist training in July 1992.

Marc Garneau reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1992. He completed a one-year training and evaluation program to be qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist. He initially worked on technical issues for the Astronaut Office Robotics Integration Team and subsequently served as Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control during Shuttle flights. A veteran of three space flights (STS-41G in 1984, STS-77 in 1996 and STS-97 in 2000), Marc Garneau has logged over 677 hours in space.

In February 2001, Marc Garneau was appointed Executive Vice President, Canadian Space Agency. He was subsequently appointed President of the Canadian Space Agency, effective November 22, 2001.

Honorary Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute. Member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, and the Navy League of Canada. He was named Honorary Member of the Canadian Society of Aviation Medicine in 1988 and a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics in 2002. Marc Garneau is the National Honorary Patron of Hope Air and Project North Star and the President of the Board of the McGill Chamber Orchestra.

He was promoted Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003, having been appointed as an Officer in 1984. Named Chancellor of Carleton University (2003). Awarded a Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, by York University (2002) and the University of Lethbridge (2001). Recipient of the Prix Montfort en sciences (2003); Golden Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2002); NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1997); NASA Space Flight Medals (1984, 1996, 2000); the Canadian Decoration (military) (1980); the Athlone Fellowship (1970); and the National Research Council (NRC) Bursary (1972). Awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Ottawa (1997); the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean (1990); the Université Laval, Québec (1985); the Technical University of Nova Scotia (1985); and the Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario (1985). Co-recipient of the F.W. (Casey) Baldwin Award in 1985 for the best paper in the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Journal.

The Return of Ed Schreyer to Canadian Politics, and What it Might Mean for Ufology

There has been an interesting development in the Canadian election today, involving an important former Canadian politician, that should be of interest to ufologists.

Paul Hellyer?

Puh-lease. I said an "important" former Canadian politician, as in someone who didn't throw his career away, and who still enjoys the respect of Canadians, regardless of political affiliation.

It will be announced later today that Edward Schreyer, former Member of Parliament (first elected at 30), former Premier of Manitoba (1969 - 1977), former Governor General of Canada (1979 - 1984, and the third youngest to serve in that post), and former High Commissioner to Australia, will be returning to active politics, at the age of 70, to run for the New Democratic Party in the riding of Selkirk - Interlake, in Manitoba. Since his political career in government ended in 1988, Schreyer has worked as a national representative for Habitat for Humanity, and served as an honorary director for the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.

He is, in every sense of the term, a "star" candidate for the NDP, and stands a good chance of being elected to the House of Commons, 36 years after he resigned to become Premier of Manitoba. If he succeeds, it will be the first time a former Governor General has returned to elected politics.

All very interesting, ufologists might say, but what does it have to do with us?

Well, unlike Paul Hellyer, Schreyer actually cared about the UFO phenomenon during his time in the House of Commons all those years ago. Indeed, he was one of several MPs in the late 1960s, most of whom were New Democrats, to press the government for information about the official investigation of UFO sightings.

Schreyer first delved into the UFO question on 28 June, 1967, when he stood up in the House of Commons and asked the following question:

"Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport; perhaps he would like to take it as notice. Has he received any formal report containing the rather strange information that approximately 20 sightings have been made in a period of six weeks or less of unidentified flying objects in a relatively limited area of eastern Manitoba, including sightings by RCMP constables? Can the minister say whether the special investigation branch of the United States air force been invited to come to Canada to make an investigation?"

The question was placed on the order paper.

Just over four months later, on November 6th, 1967, Schreyer rose in the House of Commons and asked the folowing questions:

"1. Were any formal investigations conducted by the Department of National Defence or any other agency of the government relative to the reported sightings of unidentified flying objects in eastern Manitoba, which reports originated during the months of May and June, 1967?

2. If so, were any such investigations conducted with the joint co-operation of the United States Air Force or any other U.S. government agency or academic institution?

3. Is the Department of National Defence or any other agency of the federal government now in possession of a report on such investigations?

4. If so, will the report be made public?

5. Has a government committee been established to review this subject matter?"

Leo Cadieux, the Minister of National Defence (he had taken over from Hellyer in September), answered as follows:

"1. Yes, the Department of National Defence, together with the Department of National Health and Welfare, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, conducted an investigation into the alleged sighting of an unidentified flying object by Mr. Stephen Michalak at Falcon Lake, Manitoba.

2. No. However, representatives from the Universities of Colorado and Arizona conducted an informal independent investigation [PK note: one can only presume, or hope, that Cadieux did not realize that the University of Colorado study was being conducted at the behest of the United States Air Force, and therefore hardly qualified as an "informal independent investigation"].

3. Yes.

4. It is not the intent of the Department of National Defence to make public the report of the alleged sighting.

5. No."

Two days later, Schreyer, showing more interest in the subject than Hellyer (who was the Minister of National Defence at the time of the incident and the investigation) claims to have shown (at least until he read The Day After Roswell decades later) followed up with further questions:

"1. Is the Department of National Defence or any of its defence forces offices in possession of photographs of certain airborne objects, which photographs were reportedly given over to Canadian defence department officials by one Warren Smith of Calgary, Alberta?

2. Were these photographs or copies thereof made available to any of the Canadian newspapers or news magazines?

3. Were any requests made by any Canadian newspapers or news magazines for access to these photographs?

4. In all cases where Canadian defence department officials have interviewed persons reporting the sighting of unidentified flying objects, have departmental officials requested such persons to not communicate with newspaper reporters, etc., and, if so, for what reason?"

Cadieux replied as follows:

"1. Yes, the department is in possession of duplicate 35 mm. slides and one set of prints.

2. Not by the Department of National Defence.

3. Yes. All were referred to Mr. Warren Smith.

4. All persons who communicate information to the Department of National Defence on alleged unidentified flying objects do so on their own volition and are in no way requested to suppress the release of information to any other person or persons."

On Wednesday, 24 January, 1968, Schreyer followed up on his original questions (and others posed in the interim by fellow New Democrat MP Barry Mather):

"1. With reference to the reported sightings of unidentified flying objects in eastern manitoba during the months of May and June 1967, how many such reports were received by various departments of the government of Canada and by the Department of National Defence in particular?

2. How many of these reported or alleged sightings were investigated?

3. Will the reports and findings of these investigations be made public?

4. What are the reasons for not making public any such reports now in the possession of the Department of National Defence?"

Judy LaMarsh, the Secretary of State, answered as follows:

"I am informed by the departments of National Defence and Solicitor General as follows:

1. Four by the Department of National Defence. One by the Department of the Solicitor General.

2. Two; the other reports did not contain sufficient information and detail to warrant further investigation.

3 and 4. The actual reports received by the Department of National Defence have not been made public as some observers did not wish their names made public; and, in attempting to analyse reports, investigators have commented on the likely accuracy of observations. The description of sightings and the results of investigations are not classified information, however, and persons who send reports to the department do so on their own volition and are not asked to suppress the release of information to any other person or persons [PK note: the exact same language as Cadieux had used a couple of months earlier? Were they reading from some kind of prepared script?]. The report in 2 above refers to a sighting on 20 May 1967 by a person in the Falcon Lake area which was widely publicized in the press. The Department of National Defence investigation, which has now been completed, could not explain the sighting.

As a result of recent discussions between the Department of National Defence and the National Research Council, reports on sightings received through Canadian armed forces channels will be passed in future to the National Research Council to determine whether there are scientific reasons for further investigation."

This was the last question asked by Schreyer on the subject of UFOs, but other MPs, most notably Mather, continued to pressure the government on the UFO subject, until the Michalak file was finally tabled for the House on 6 February, 1969.

And that was it, largely due to the effect of the Condon Report. Shortly thereafter, Schreyer returned to provincial politics to take over the leadership of the New Democratic Party in Manitoba, and quickly led them to their first electoral victory there.

Now, whereas Hellyer is considered to be a flake by anyone who matters in Canadian politics these days, if they even think of him at all (and running around with the exopolitics crowd hasn't helped what is left of his reputation), Schreyer is still a credible, indeed, a formidable, political force. He was also once clearly interested in the UFO phenomenon - without having had to read The Day After Roswell.

So, ufologists - forget about Hellyer (please, please, please forget about Hellyer), and look to Schreyer. You might even want to send him a copy of Dick Hall's The UFO Evidence. Who knows - Schreyer pushed for answers, decades ago (when Hellyer was silent). Perhaps he can be persuaded to push again, should he win re-election - particularly if approached sensibly, a la the The Sturrock Gambit.

If you're looking for someone who might actually make a difference, Edward Schreyer may be your man.

Just keep him away from Alfred Webre, Michael Salla, and the rest of the exopolitics crowd.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Other Side of Truth on... Time Travel

For reasons that must remain Top Secret - Restricted (or something like that), at least for now, here are the three columns I've written regarding time travel:

The UFO Phenomenon: Where... or When?
Time Travel, UFOs & The Media
Kaku on ET, Time Travel, Space Travel

To CE, re: episode 2.

Paul Kimball

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kirk Strikes Again

Unbelievable! This one takes the cake.

William Shatner is God.

Paul Kimball

Kirk Fights Back

I've always liked Picard, but, at the end of the day, I'm a James T. Kirk kind of guy. He's definitely one of my heroes (along with Eric Cartman and Obi-wan Kenobi).

Accordingly, I want to give the original captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise a chance to go mano y mano with Captain Picard. Yesterday we had Picard's foray into music; today, Kirk's.


Paul Kimball

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Picard's Finest Moment

Jean-Luc Picard fans - click here for a laugh.

Paul Kimball

The Other Side of Truth meets Saucer Smear

A couple of issues ago, Jim Moseley's Saucer Smear made mention of my top ten and bottom ten ufologists lists from a while back (I suspect that contributing editor Karl Pflock may have drawn Moseley's attention to the lists). Moseley made the top ten list, much to his (apparent) surprise. As a result, he added me to his non-subscriber list for Saucer Smear, which I have read for some time now on the Internet. I've always been a fan.

He also asked about my relationship with Stan Friedman. So, by way of thanks for the non-subscription, and to answer his question, I sent him a letter, which he ran in the most recent issue of Smear. Here it is (original can be seen here):

"PAUL KIMBALL is "Supreme Commander" of Redstar Films, a leading producer of documentary films in Canada. He is also a meticulous flying saucer investigator. He writes:

"Thanks for the mention in the current 'Smear' of my Top Ten and Bottom Ten lists for Ufology, which appeared a month or two ago at my blog,

Your inclusion in the Top Ten was an obvious choice to me. I know there are those in the ufological community who pooh-pooh your contributions to ufology, including some people who are friends of mine. However, as I said at my blog, every field of study needs a court jester, a role you have filled for decades with aplomb and wit. And no matter what Wendy Conners says, 'Shockingly Close to the Truth" is a must-read - one of the few UFO books that is both genuinely interesting and well-written (many often being either one or the other, but rarely both).

Now, as for your questions about my relationship with Stan Friedman, I can only say:

(a) Yes, he is my uncle (married my Dad's sister 25 or so years ago), a fact that neither of us has ever hidden.

(b) He and I often disagree, particularly about MJ-12 and Wilbert Snith, but we also agree about a great many things too - like the ridiculousness of exopolitics, for example. Our biggest disagreement centers on the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis - he places the emphasis on the Extraterrestrial part, and I place it on the Hypothesis part, even as I tell anyone who asks that I find it an entirely plausible, although unproven, hypothesis; and

(c) Despite the disagreements mentioned above, I have nothing but the greatest respect, admiration and affection for Stan. I may know him as well, at least in a personal sense, as anyone in ufology. He is sincere in his beliefs, and a decent, honorable man, through and through. Plus he was a hoot to have around at family reunions when I was a kid!

Anyway, thanks again for the 'subscription', and all the best for the future. May 'Saucer Smear' and its Esteemed Supreme Commander live long and prosper!"

The only correction I would make is that Stan and my aunt Marilyn have been married for 30 years, not 25 (although, in my defense, I did say "25 or so").

Anyway, it's good to be on the non-subscriber list for Saucer Smear - as I said in my letter, may Moseley and his 'zine live long and prosper.

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 02, 2005

Re: The 1959 Rev. Gill UFO Sighting

There was a discussion a while ago at UFO Updates, mostly between Jerry Clark and John Rimmer, about the Reverend Gill UFO sighting, which occurred in Papua New Guinea back in 1959, and is considered by some to be a "classic" UFO case. During their "debate," Clark and Rimmer, and others, weighed in on the question of the relative cultural sophistication of Reverend Gill's "flock," always a tricky question, particularly in the post-colonial era. Those intrigued by this case may find this article of interest.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Science and the UFO Franchise

An interesting little colloquy is underway over at UFO Planet. While the original topic was alleged underground alien bases, it has evolved into a discussion of whether or not a serious scientific investigation / study of the UFO phenomenon will ever be undertaken.

The full thread can be found here.

One contributor, "Cozmikdebris," has shown a penchant for prophecy in his comments:

"I think the last thing the current 'leaders' of the ufo franchise want is true comprehensive scientific investigation. Science has a tendency to turn the mysterious into the mundane, after all. I think if the actual and true explanation for the ufo phenomenon were fully known, it would be rejected out of hand by the ufo crowd if it indicated anything but: alien visitation on Earth. Common way among ufologists: Complain that mainstream science won't investigate ufos. When a mainstream science effort is mounted, complain that it's too slanted in favor of scientists. Insist that ufo believers be part of the team. Start badmouthing the results before they are in, out of suspicions they won't support the ETH. If possible, get enough ufo believers in on the team so that it's no longer mainstream scientific. Overrule any finding that doesn't support ETH. End 'investigation' without resolving anything or explaining anything, but point out that the ETH wasn't disproved and further investigaton is warranted. Go on ufo confrence speaking tour. Sell books. Go on Coast 2 Coast. Sell more books. Wait six months. Complain that mainstream science won't investigate ufos."

I responded:

"What can I say? That about sums it up, at least for the majority of ufologists (there are always exceptions). Well said, and a solid dose of reality. The ironic thing is that more than a few ufologists (mostly in the pro-ETH camp) go on and on about how the "alien reality" will change everything (if it was real, this would probably be true), and rant against those who like things the way they are now, here on Planet Earth. What they don't understand is that if there was ever a serious scientific study of the UFO phenomenon, it too would change everything - and not in ways that the ufologists would like. Forget about potential conclusions - the harsh reality for ufology is that most of them would be quickly cast aside as unqualified to help in any meaningful way (again, there are some exceptions)."

Similar comments have been made to me in private over the past year by ufologists (those good "exceptions" I mentioned) who are fed up with the state of ufology, which would have trouble these days qualifying as even a pseudoscience. The interesting thing is that more than a few of them recognize that, should a serious scientific study of the UFO phenemenon ever be mounted, it probably wouldn't involve them (just as it wouldn't involve me), but they are okay with that. To us, the truth is what matters, not the "franchise," and our place in it.

Paul Kimball