Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lorenzo Kent Kimball - Update

Back in March, 2005, I wrote a post about Captain Lorenzo Kent Kimball, a participant in the Roswell incident - or, to be more precise, a non-participant, but in a way which made his story worthy of consideration (you can read it here). I took Stan Friedman, Kevin Randle and others to task for ignoring Kimball's story, or at the very least not giving the story its due.

Kevin replied to me privately at the time, but now he's put a public reply up at his blog, A Different Perspective (which you should put on your reading list, if you haven't already). You can read it here. I replied in the comments section.

Kevin remains one of my favourite UFO researchers out there, and I appreciate him taking the time to answer my questions about Captain Kimball (who was not a relation of mine).

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The CTH - On the Other Hand...

I think a few people have misunderstood me lately, and assumed that by discussing the difference between proven fact and an unproven but valid hypothesis with Stan Friedman, I am somehow a supporter of the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis. I'm not - I simply think that people, like Jerry Clark, should suspend judgment until they read Mac's work in its entirety. That's what I'm doing.

However, as Mac is happily blogging away some of his CTH ideas, I feel free to comment on them, particularly as it relates to the general commentary on my general commentary on the ETH lately.

Recently he wrote:

I've always been intrigued by the essentially clumsy methods employed by the purported aliens. Their induced amnesia has a way of crumbling over a curiously brief period of time. Their craft -- which proponents of the ETH would have us believe are arbitrarily more advanced than our own -- tend to leave incriminating scars on the terrain, if not crash with worrisome frequency. Coupled with their occupants' human mannerisms, such seeming anachronisms suggest that we rethink an extraterrestrial origin; instead of dealing with beings wielding technology "indistinguishable from magic," UFO files reveal beings with surprisingly limited capabilities.

Indeed, their arsenal of gadgets, while impressive, is only a few decades in advance of our own. This observation, culled from a near-inexhaustible catalog of close encounters, hints that the phenomenon is at least partly physical, yet extraordinarily unlikely to represent ET visitation.
The same logic that applies to Stan Friedman applies to Mac here with the use of the term "extraordinarily unlikely". Indeed, here Mac comes perilously close to doing to the ETH what Jerry Clark did to the CTH (although, to be fair, at least Mac is familiar with the ETH) - he presents an absolute conclusion, or one pretty close to it, instead of a more nuanced, "who knows?"

I see nothing "extraordinarily unlikely" about the ETH based on the various reports. Let us suppose, for example, and just for the sake of argument, that the aliens are perhaps no more than 30 or 40 years more advanced than us. This is not unreasonable, at least as a hypothesis. Who knows where we will be in 30 or 40 years? Perhaps we will discover a technology that allows us to travel to the nearest stars within a reasonable period of time, but not to solve all of our other problems. In other words, we will be a significantly improved version of ourselves in terms of technological knowledge, but not so significant as to be unrecognizable as human.

And here's a thought about supposed crashes - Murphy's Law probably applies to any alien space travellers, should they exist, just as it is likely to apply to us (indeed, it does - just ask NASA). That may seem trite, but it covers a host of possibilities - indeed, probabilities, although I admit that I find it unlikely the aliens would just leave a crashed spaceship lying around for humans to discover it, a la Roswell, especially as they supposedly have huge motherships (just ask Stan).

The point is, I wouldn't rule it out. Indeed, I still think it more likely than the other paranormal explanations on offer. But unlike some, I don't rule those other explanations out, because I genuinely understand that we are still dealing with an enigma here, in all respects. That leaves all options open (although some are, logically, more open than others) - including the option that it can all be explained prosaically.

In presenting a theory that competes with, or questions, the ETH, however, one should always be careful not to do what the ETH as ETF advocates do - overstep the evidence, and dismiss the possibilities. Including the ETH.

Further, one should make one's case stand or fall not on the weaknesses of other possible explanations, but on the strength of their own.

Which is, the slight hiccup above notwithstanding, what I expect Mac is going to do.

Paul Kimball

Dear Stan - Concluded

The last installment in my recent colloquy with Stan Friedman over at UFO Updates (which, if you're interested in the UFO phenomenon, should be something you subscribe to). I've said all I have to say on the subject, so I'll leave Stan with the last word, should he choose to respond (if he does, I'll let you know here).

Paul Kimball


What are the arguements against some UFOs as alien space craft? Basically that there are no other civilizations - ot a loud argument - that one can't get here from out there, that "they don't behave they way they might be expected to behave".
Again, absolutely irrelevant, although I understand why you talk about all this stuff, because it gives you a perceived air of authority, and it distracts from the central question.

Again, I am not saying space travel is impossible. Mac is not saying that. No-one, to the best of my knowledge, is saying that it is impossible, although some (er... most scientists) seem to think it would be harder than you are implying.

So, no more talk about whether space travel is possible or not. It isn't relevant, because no-one disagrees that it is. At the very least, I don't, and as it's you and I chatting here...

Therefore what has been observed in those investigated cases that survive careful examination are manifestations of alien civilization or civilizations.
Now that is the question. Your conclusion is that aliens have and continue to visit us. Everything you wrote before that, however, doesn't make it so.

We deduce that if they are not from here, they are from somewhere else. Therefore intelligently controlled ET spacecraft.
Stan, this is false reasoning. You're the one doing the deducing, but you can't show definitively that they're not from here. You say that we can't do the things that UFOs have been observed doing? How do you know? As you yourself say, the black budget is huge. Unless you're working for the government, a la Bill Moore, only much further up the food chain, I assume you don't know what they're working on - what they might have, and might not have. After all, technological progress comes from doing things differently - maybe there are other people working for the government in industry who were doing different things than you were "back in the day", and maybe those things were even more successful and more advanced than the nuclear rocket program?

Since you like stories, here is one for you - particularly as you and others cite USAF pilots as some of the best types of witnesses. It comes from Flying the RB47, by Lieut. Col. Bruce Bailey. The section is subtitled "UFO" - at pp. 38-39:

"We were returning from one of our RB-47 'spy' flights, which had been a joint mission involving our aircraft and a U-2. We were entering controlled air space near Alaska when U.S. radar sites began picking us up. All our missions were strictly radio silent, so we didn't identify ourselves and were treated as an enemy aircraft each time, until fighters could be scrambled to visually ID us. We had great fun our running and fooling the older F-89 fighters during those times.

However, the newer and more advanced F-102 had recently been deployed to that area. We couldn't out run it and couldn't deceive their radar without using some of the equipment that would get us into real trouble (those units were to be used only as a last resort to save the airplane when under attack).

When radar picked us up, we were at 38,000 feet and the U-2 was directly above us at 72,000 feet. The radar operator couldn't believe that, figuring it had to be a malfunction or reflection or spurious response, etc. So he kinda averaged the two returns and reported a bogie at 55,000 feet.

Two F-102s were vectored to the spot between the U-2 and us. They were about to fall out of the sky near 50,000 feet, but could see nothing. We could see their contrails well above us and listened to their radio talk. They reported 'No Joy', meaning they could not see a target, but the radar site assured them the bogie was still there.

The U-2 was also listening to their radar chatter, but had reached the point to begin his descent, which he could not delay. It took much longer for the U-2 to come down than go up. He was coming down through about 55,000 feet when the F-102 pilots spotted him. They had never seen a U-2 and probably didn't even know of its existence at that time.

One pilot radioed the other, 'What in the world is that?'

'I don't know. I've never seen anything like it.'

'Well, what do we do? Should we shoot it?'

'That's what we were sent up here for.'

The U-2 pilot heard all that and stood the U-2 on its tail and began climbing at an unbelievable rate. The two F-102 pilots were flying our latest and greatest interceptor and were barely hanging in the air at that altitude. Then that unknown plane, which was still well above them, climbed away nearly straight up.

One said, 'Cheez, did you see that?'

The other one answered, 'No, and I'll never tell if you don't.'

The two fighters went away, reporting no visual contact on the target."

Who knows how many cases like this were reported, or how many things we have up there, like the U-2, of which even our top fighter pilots have been and remain unaware?

Or, maybe it really is extradimensionals, or cryptoterrestrials, or ultraterrestrials, time travellers, or monkeys with super-large brains (okay, I'm just kidding about that last one)...

The point is - what proof is there that it has to be aliens from another world?

We further know that the development of our advanced flying craft has been done for military purposes and at enormous costs. We Earthlings have a long history of developing craft and spying on other countries to see what their capabilities are along lines that we would either have to defend against or copy.
Er... thanks. See above.

Of course we can say for sure what many UFOs are: some are Venus, some are meteors, some are searchlights on clouds, some are balloons,are high performance military craft, some are a whole host of other relatively conventional phenomena perhaps seen under unconventional circumstances.

You are indeed asserting that no UFOs are alien spacecraft.
Nope. Again, that's an old debater's trick, designed to distract people's attention from the real issue. It's also false, and unworthy of you - I never said any such thing. Ever.

For the final time, I simply said that we can't prove they are ET spacecraft. Big, gigantic, huge, Yukon-UFO sized difference.

Something you not only have not established but which assertion is clearly contradicted by the evidence that some are.
A. I have never said it, so I don't have to establish it. The burden of proof is one you, because you're the one trying to establish a positive proposition, i.e. that some UFOs are indeed intelligently controlled alien spacecraft.

B. You have not presented any evidence to support that proposed fact.

There you go again back to the murder conviction.
No, Stan, I never mentioned murder. I have news for you - the standard of proof in criminal cases is the same regardless of the crime. Murder, armed robbery, assault, theft under $5,000 - it's all beyond a reasonable doubt. Why? Because it is the ultimate type of case, one where, if the accused is found guilty, he may be deprived of his liberty, which is the harshest sentence that can be imposed (short of the death penalty, which, thankfully, my country doesn't have anymore). Therefore, it requires a higher standard of proof. That's the rationale for it.

Ditto UFOs as ET spacecraft - it is the ultimate scientific proposition, life elsewhere in the universe that is coming here. Such a proposition requires the ultimate standard of proof before it can be asserted as a fact.

I wasn't aware that Carl was ordained the judge of all claims.
Another debating trick - no-one said he had, Stan. I was merely pointing out the standard of proof which he called for, and which is the correct one, not because Sagan said it, but because he was right.

Since he was often wrong, as I have noted in TOP SECRET/MAJIC, in response to his "Demon Haunted World",I have no reason to accept this dogmatic claim from him and many reasons not to as I noted in a fairly recent MUFON Journal Column.
Okay, Stan - you've been wrong. Glenn Dennis, Gerald Anderson, MJ-12 (I think the majority would agree with me on that last one). Similarly, I have no reason to accept your dogmatic claim about aliens being here.

But that's not the point, and you know it. The point is about what level of proof is required. That's what Sagan was talking about. It has nothing to do with whether he was right or wrong about other things, just as it has nothing to do with whether or not you were right or wrong about other things.

As noted above I see no reason to say that worldwide claims of observations of manufactured craft behaving in ways beyond the scope of Earthling craft are extraordinary.
As noted above, how do we know they behaved in ways that are beyond our capabilities, as, with that giant black budget, we can't really be sure what our capabilities are? Further, there is the question of the quality of witness testimony, i.e. the ability of people to observe what they saw - not form, but performance - accurately. I'll leave that for another day (although I would suggest you re-read Lieut. Col. Bailey's story above).

Happens all the time all over the planet. So these are ordinary... not extraordinary. It his claim that is extraordinary.
Nice try, but false reasoning. Sagan never said these things didn't happen - he said there was no definitive evidence that they were ET spacecraft. Again, big difference.

And again, his "claim" was simply to establish the burden of proof required of your claim that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. And he was absolutely right when he said it.

Clever words oft repeated, but signifying nothing.
The flip response for me here would be to say, "you should know".


Often they are used by well educated people to avoid dealing with surprising claims... The doubters think that, if the claim were true, they would have known about it. They didn't, so it must not be true... the evidence be damned. The world of science is loaded with such resistance in a host of different areas. It may take years to create acceptance of new ideas because of the demanding of extraordinary evidence... not obtainable without huge funding, more sophisticated equipment,etc. Many ideas currently accepted are accepted on the basis of less than extraordinary evidence... continental drift, destruction of dinosaurs by an asteroid, causation of ulcers by bacteria,etc.
None of which is relevant, except in this ironic way - you are guilty of exactly what you are decrying with science. You look at something like parallel universes (and other earths), or time travel, or cryptoterrestrials, or... well, fill in the blank. Then you say, "nope, it's gotta be the ETH." Even when you grudgingly admit that these other things can't be ruled out, it's always with the caveat that "but they're just theories, with no evidence, but the ETFact has all sorts of evidence."

Paul wrote:
Now, I understand why you don't like that, because you know that you can't do it. But that's what thinking people require in order to assert that something like alien visitation to Earth is a fact, and not just a good working theory.

Stan replied:
I should say some thinking people.. certainly not all.
I think it would be pretty safe to say that the vast majority think that way, but this isn't about opinion polls. It's about objective standards of proof, whether legal, or scientific. And with the ETH as ETFact claim, I have no doubt that the correct standard of proof, which you haven't met, and can't meet, is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still, as noted before, for the purpose of argument, I'm willing to work with a slightly lower standard.

Paul wrote:
But I'll play along with the lower standard, just for fun. Clear and convincing evidence it is.

Accordingly, I'll ask my original question, which you didn't answer (you didn't answer it when you were asked it by Seth Shostak a couple of years ago during your "debate" on C2C).

Here it is again, with the lower standard of proof substituted for "beyond a reasonable doubt":

Name the one case that proves clear and convincing evidence that the ETH is the ETFact, and not something else. One case, Stan. That shouldn't be so hard.

Don't cite stats like "hundreds of physical trace cases", or "thousands of witnesses". That's ducking the question. It's non-responsive, and it proves nothing, other than that we have a mystery, which is what I and others are saying here.

Stan replied:
No, it means we have evidence of ordinary events involving observations of alien spacecraft.
No, it doesn't. No matter how many times you repeat it, it doesn't make it so, although I understand that you're not going to change your mind.

I can think of several, some of which you have covered in your soon to be broadcast documentary. One, that isn't, is my favorite: The Betty and Barney Hill case.

But what if you aren't satisfied? Will that prove no UFO is of ET origin? Obviously not.
But, as noted above, I don't have to prove that they aren't - it's up to you to prove that they are ET spacecraft. The Hill case, which even amongst ufologists remains controversial, hardly constitutes clear and convincing evidence to that effect. It certainly doesn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Even if one accepts that something genuinely weird did indeed happen to the Hills (and remember, not everyone does), that doesn't prove it was aliens. It doesn't rule out the other paranormal hypotheses, even as, under those circumstances I would agree that the ET explanation would be the most likely one. But that's a long way from proof.

At the end of the day, Stan, you and I are looking for different things, in different ways. You're looking to convince people of a conclusion you came to decades ago, whereas I am looking to explore what I still consider a mystery. I think your conclusion outran the available evidence, then and now, and is more of a belief than a proven fact, whereas you no doubt look at me as some kind of Hynek-esque wishy-washy apologist ufologist.

Fair enough. I can live with that. People can judge for themselves which is the right approach.

Happy New Year.

Best regards,

Countdown to 40 - Part III

U2 - New Year's Day

When I first heard this song, it was like I had been hit with a ton of bricks, that's the kind of impact it had.

I saw U2 live in Montreal a couple of years ago, which was great, but the first time I saw anyone live playing their songs was a U2 cover band that I saw at a high school in Montreal back in 1985, when I was representing Nova Scotia at the National Debating Championships (I finished eleventh out of a hundred or so, and the team came in second, which was pretty good for a small province).

I also got to sit in the desk once occupied by Corey Hart on that trip! Wow!!

Here's a live version from a German concert.

When people would ask me in interviews (back when I was a musician) what bands had influenced me the most as a songwriter, I would always say the Beatles, the Smiths and U2. We only did a couple of covers over the years - one of which was "Exit" from the Joshua Tree album.

I always wished I could play the guitar like The Edge!

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Ravagers of the Extraterrestrial Orthodoxy

I favour the ETH as the most likely of the paranormal theories - but, unlike Stan and many of his colleagues, I understand that it is just a theory, and I don't assert it as a fact. As a result, I keep an open mind about the other theories on offer - because no matter how much someone like Jerry Clark might try to dismiss Jacques Vallee, or J. Allen Hynek, I don't, because, unlike Clark, imprisoned as he is in his need to be accepted by "science", they understood that the UFO phenomenon was a mystery - perhaps even one that our science could not solve.

And that's what really bothers them - they are unable to face the prospect that there is something "out there" that is far beyond our comprehension, that might resemble "religion", at least in terms of our relationship to it, because they are avowed secularists, and any hint of something "divine", whatever the manifestation, is beyond their self-imposed intellectual walls. To them, it simply has to be nuts and bolts craft from another world that behave pretty much exactly like we do, because that's what they need it to be.

As a result, they are unable to say, without equivocation, that "we just don't know", which runs against everything my dad taught me about the nature of true wisdom.

In their failure to grasp this, to admit it, they forget that the science they claim to adhere to is a method, not an end in and of itself.

Of course, cryptos, or extradimensional beings, or whatever, hardly fit the traditional concept of God, although they might fit the ancient concept of "the gods" (you know, like Thor, Loki, Odin, Zeus, Appollo and Aphrodite). But that doesn't matter, and it isn't the point, because I'm not saying that UFOs are a manifestation of the divine (that's Barry Downing's beat, not mine). The point is that anything which calls into question the ETH as ETFact threatens a certain "ufological orthodoxy", in the same way that the protestant Reformation threatened the Catholic othodoxy hundreds of years ago, or Henry Alline threatened the Calvinist orthodoxy in Atlantic Canada in the late 18th century, to the point where his enemies referred to him as "the ravager of churches".

Today, where the UFO phenomenon is concerned, the "Church" is the dogmatic acceptance of the ETH - and the ravagers are guys like Mac Tonnies, and Nick Redfern, and Greg Bishop. Does that mean they're right? No - but then, unlike the die-hard ETHers, they don't claim to be right, or to have all the answers. They don't dismiss guys like Mack, or Vallee, or Hynek, as "New Agey" types, or "apologist ufologists", because they understand that we're still at the stage of asking the questions.

The journey of discovery isn't over - it hasn't even really begun.

Paul Kimball

Dear Stan - Continued

The latest, from UFO Updates, with Stan's response, and my reply (original here).

Paul Kimball


Virtually all of this response is, well, non-responsive, but I'll go though it anyway, and then get back to the central question, which you completely evaded.

Proof also has scientific and technical meanings as well as legal. As does evidence. Where is an adversary? Who is on trial?
If using the Anglo-Saxon legal standard of proof bothers you or confuses you so much, then I would suggest that you stop referencing it at your lectures, and in your media interviews.

I like the recent decision of the Washington State Supreme Court (Ongom vs State of Washington Department of Health)which reversed a lower court and the appeals court in a manner involving professional competence, licensing, etc., by claiming that the lower decisions were based on a "prepondernce of evidence" standard wheras they should have used a tougher standard "clear and convincing evidence". They did not require "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Stan, with all due respect, you should stick to nuclear physics, and leave the law to we lawyers. Of course they would be talking about a standard of proof lesser than "beyond a reasonable doubt", because it was a non-criminal case.

Did you even read my post all the way through?

Many things in science are deduced based upon "clear and convincing evidence"... We know that people can build apparently metallic structured maneuverable vehicles capable of flight. We have not come up with any evidence that Earth is unique. We know that the age of our current vehicle building civilization is very very much less than the age of the planet or of the solar system or of the galaxy or the universe.
None of which is even remotely relevant, but it makes for good eyewash for some I suppose.

We have, so far as I can judge from this discussion, not seen any evidence of the existence of ultraterrestrial or cryptoterrestrial beings. This doesn't mean we have established that they don't exist. We do know of many observations of the flight, landing, take off of highly maneuverable manufactured craft that move up up and away and sometimes are seen in the company of very very large airborne craft.
None of which proves that any of these sightings are of an intelligently controlled, extraterrestrial spacecraft, which is what you assert as a fact.

We further know that the development of our advanced flying craft has been done for military purposes and at enormous costs. We Earthlings have a long history of developing craft and spying on other countries to see what their capabilities are along lines that we would either have to defend against or copy.
Not relevant to the discussion in the least.

Nobody has presented "clear and convincing evidence" that the items seen in the best cases originated from any group on earth.
They don't have to Stan. The burden of proof lies on the party making the assertion of fact, which in this case is you, as you assert that some UFOs are intelligently controlled alien spacecraft. I don't assert that they are not - I merely state that we can't say for sure what any UFOs are.

Your stance reminds me a lot of the Billy Meier defenders - they tell everyone who calls the photos/films into question to prove that they are frauds. That's not required - the Meier-ites have to prove that they are real, not the other way around. Ditto you and the ETH as the ETF.

Anything less is intellectually dishonest.

They were, therefore, produced by intelligent beings from somewhere else. That, of course, doesn't answer with "clear and convincing evidence" where they originate, why they are here, or why they don't seem to do a host of things. I would say that the Star Map work associated with the Hill case makes a very strong case that the base planets (not necessarily the homes of any of the crew) are near Zeta 1 or Zeta 2 Reticulum for those particular craft crew-members.
I notice throughout that you've latched onto that "clear and convincing evidence" line. Again you miss the point - your old buddy Carl Sagan was 100% correct when he said that extraordinary claims, which is certainly what the ETH as ETF is, require extraordinary proof. In other words, beyond any reasonable doubt.

Now, I understand why you don't like that, because you know that you can't do it. But that's what thinking people require in order to assert that something like alien visitation to Earth is a fact, and not just a good working theory.

But I'll play along with the lower standard, just for fun. Clear and convincing evidence it is.

Accordingly, I'll ask my original question, which you didn't answer (you didn't answer it when you were asked it by Seth Shostak a couple of years ago during your "debate" on C2C).

Here it is again, with the lower standard of proof substituted for "beyond a reasonable doubt":

Name the one case that proves clear and convincing evidence that the ETH is the ETFact, and not something else.

One case, Stan. That shouldn't be so hard.

Don't cite stats like "hundreds of physical trace cases", or "thousands of witnesses". That's ducking the question. It's non-responsive, and it proves nothing, other than that we have a mystery, which is what I and others are saying here.

Just one case. That's all I need - the one case that shows clear and convincing evidence that aliens have visited Earth, which is the standard that you have adopted, and which sits higher than the preponderance of evidence standard (i.e. the balance of probabilities).

Then we can talk about that one case.

Best regards,


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dear Stan - Evidence, Fact, the Burden of Proof, and the ETH

Stan Friedman and I are friends as well as relatives. I like and respect the man. But that doesn't mean I always agree with him. Especially when he's wrong.

Case in point, the following exchange from UFO Updates (Stan's was published today - my response is working it's way through the system - I've edited this version only to correct spelling or grammatical errors I made the first time around).

Paul Kimball

Topic: The ETH, Evidence, Fact and the Burden of Proof

Stan wrote:
I do not use the word 'proof' nor do I insist upon other star systems. I say the evidence is overwhelming that Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled ET spacecraft. In other words SOME UFOs are of ET origin. Please look up 'Extraterrestrial'. It means from outside the Earth. It does _not_ mean only from other solar systems or other galaxies. It includes the moon and other planets in our solar system.

I replied:

Well, d'uh. Poor little plebes, unable to figure out what "extraterrestrial"means. Sheesh...

Perhaps you should look up the term "evidence" in a dictionary, and then the term "proof" - follow it up with "fact", as in "proven fact", which is what you have asserted the ETH is for decades now. While you're at it, you might also want to look up the term "overwhelming".

Aw, heck, I'll save you the trouble, as you were so kind as to provide me with a definition of "extraterrestrial".


From Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition (which is the proper source, as you use the legal standards of proof when you're trying to make a point about this):

"Any species of proof, or probative matter, legally presented at the trial of an issue, by the act of the parties and through the medium of witnesses,records, documents, exhibits, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or jury, as to their contention." So, that's what evidence is. You use it to prove your point, i.e. induce belief in whatever your target audience is). In this case, the point that you seek to prove is that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. In other words, that the "Extraterrestrial hypothesis" is really the "Extraterrestrial fact".

Here's a brush-up on "prove" (again, from Black's):

"The effect of evidence; the establishment of a fact by evidence".

In other words, while you might not use the word "proof", you should, because that's what the evidence you talk about is designed to do. Now, let's take a look at the term "fact", again, as understood in the context of using evidence to prove something, using, again, the legal standard to which you often refer (more on the exact standard in a second): "A circumstance, event or occurrence as it actually takes or took place; a physical object or appearance, as it usually exists or existed. An actual an absolute reality, as distinguished from mere supposition. A truth, as distinguished from fiction or error."

Now we're getting to it - you say the evidence proves that some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft. Don't duck from the word "prove" - its what you're really saying.

You assert this proposition as a proven fact. And therein lieth the problem. Because, by any measure of how one weighs evidence, and establishes whether it proves something, the ETH is not a proven fact. Neither is the CTH, or the EDH, or any of the "H's" that are out there, because they all rely on the same evidence, which can be interpreted in different ways (including the "null hypothesis"). One may seem more likely than another, as the ETH does to me when compared to the CTH or the EDH, but I would never assert it as a proven reality, an "absolute reality, as distinguished from supposition", which is what you and some of the ETH proponents do.

Ah, but you might say, we can safely make that claim on a civil standard of the burden of proof, i.e. it is more likely than not that the ETH is the ETF (again, something I've heard you use many times - I have it on tape, in fact).

Well, let's look at those standards which, as the party making the assertion, you are called upon to meet.

First, there's the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, i.e. the civil standard, as it is commonly known. From Black's:

"As standard of proof in civil cases, is evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not."

This standard, I agree, has been satisfied if the proposition one wishes to prove is that UFOs are an objective reality, i.e. the phenomenon, whatever it may be, including the "null hypothesis", exists. No-one, not even the most ardent debunker, could logically argue this. However, this standard is wholly inadequate, in my opinion, to prove the much more contentious proposition that the ETH, or any theory, is a proven fact, i.e. that some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft.

That's not being less than brave, that's just common sense. Sagan was right - extraordinary claims, whatever they may be, require extraordinary evidence. In the terms of the burden of proof, that means something more than just a preponderance of the evidence when one asserts that a theory for the UFO phenomenon is instead a fact.

Further, people like Mac could, using this standard of proof, make the same claim as you do if they wanted to, using the exact same evidence (that Mac doesn't is a point in his favour, and to his credit).

For example, take the Malmstrom case, or the Rendlesham case. What, exactly, about those cases (or any other case, for that matter -Tehran, RB47, Shag Harbour, on and on and on) makes them extraterrestrial, as opposed to interdimensional, or cryptoterrestrial, or explainable as a mundane event misinterpreted? Nothing. Mac could use Rendlesham or Malmstrom to bolster his CTH by saying, as he did in one of the clips I posted, that these beings may be using advanced holographic technology to project these images to us. He could also say that it would be relatively easy for this advanced group, working covertly, to create a device, like the one that was allegedly touched by one of the airmen at Rendlesham (and how hard would that be - after all, you claim the US government has managed to keep things secret all these years, by keeping the information compartmentalized, and limited - what could be more limited than a small group of cryptos?).

Do I buy that as a proven fact? Of course not. But I don't buy the ETH explanation as a proven fact either. No-one should based on the available evidence.

So, which standard does that leave? The one that should be used, indeed, that must be used, if one wants to assert one of these theories as a fact, proven by the available evidence.

Beyond a reasonable doubt.

Indeed, you indicate that this standard is the one to use when you use the word "overwhelmingly".

Again, from Black's: "In evidence means fully satisfied, entirely convinced, satisfied to a moral certainty; and phrase is the equivalent of the words clear, precise and indubitable. In criminal case, the accused's guilt must be established 'beyond reasonable doubt,' which means that the facts proven must, by virtue of their probative force, establish guilt."

Now I know you, and some others, think that you've met that standard Stan, but you haven't. No jury in the world, no group of objective citizens, honest and true, when presented with the best available evidence and then asked, "does this prove that some UFOs are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft" will answer in the affirmative. They won't, because they can't (and don't quote me the results of some Oxford debate, or some C2C "debate" with Seth Shostak - those are hardly full, frank discussions of all positions, and the evidence, which if done properly would take days, or weeks, and would involve many different players). You're a man of science, and you've spent enough time with lawyers (thereby covering both bases) - you above all people should know that.

Does this mean that the ETH is not a good theory?

No, and Mac never said it wasn't. He's just saying, as others before him have, that it isn't proven, and there are other theories as well. In a subject where the best that one can say is "something is happening, and we don't know for sure what it is," one cannot assert that any one theory is a proven fact.

Of course, you disagree, but then we're back to the original question - where is the evidence that proves your assertion? Don't just cite me the 5 scientific studies, etc., etc., - unlike most of your audiences, I am familiar with them. Cite me the actual evidence. Name the one case that proves the ETH is the ETF beyond a reasonable doubt, and not something else.

Best regards,

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 22, 2006

Moving Forward

A must-read column from Mac Tonnies.

Here's an excerpt:

While its luminaries might noisily claim otherwise, ufology collectively wants to be marginal. With the lamentable exception of a few spokesmen who feel the need to "explain" the phenomenon's intricacies to a wary public (often in the guise of would-be political discourse), the ostensible UFO community remains afraid of stepping into the rude glow of widespread public attention. And it has a right to be be afraid. Having dotingly constructed a theoretical house of straw, many ufological proponents secretly prefer the tenuous commaraderie of their peers to the much more exciting prospect of being taken seriously by science.

2007 is going to be an interesting year.

I predict people like Mac, Nick Redfern, and Greg Bishop (Nick and Greg at their excellent new site, UFO Mystic) are going to begin a long overdue redefinition of the study of the UFO phenomenon, and in the process bring the subject to a wider and more mainstream audience.

I won't agree with everything they say, or write, but I applaud the effort.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The UFO Phenomenon: The 50 Most Influential People of All Time

I picked up a copy of The Atlantic this month because the cover story is about the 100 most influential Americans of all time, as selected by a group of eminent historians (Abraham Lincoln tops the list).

As I read it, I began to think to myself - who are the most influential people ever in terms of the UFO phenomenon.

Voila - my list, which limits it to the top 50.

There are people, as with The Atlantic's list, who are omitted that others will think deserve a place, and people will no doubt quibble about the order as well. They will also question the definition of influence, which is a subjective judgment.

Good. I hope this list generates discussion, debate and thought about where the UFO phenomenon has been, and where it might be going.

So, without further ado...

Paul Kimball

P.S. The list is limited to humans!

The UFO Phenomenon - The 50 Most Influential People of All Time

1. Dr. Edward Condon - Head of the USAF-funded University of Colorado Project, and author of the Condon Report; his conclusions still shape the way mainstream science views the UFO phenomenon.

2. Major Donald E. Keyhoe - Driving force behind the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and original proponent of the Extra-terrestrial hypothesis.

3. Dr. J. Allen Hynek - Project Blue Book scientific advisor, and later founder of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

4. Dr. Carl Sagan - The great popularizer of science, and the concept of ET life in particular, in the second half of the 20th century, and a leading UFO opponent.

5. Captain Edward Ruppelt - The first head of the United States Air Force's Project Blue Book, and the author of The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.

6. George Adamski - The founder of the Contactee Movement.

7. Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell - CIA Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence in 1952, he was a proponent of the need to take the UFO phenomenon seriously.

8. Betty Hill - The first abductee story to gain widespread public attention.

9. Dr. James McDonald - The best case investigator ever, and a passionate advocate for both the serious scientific study of UFOs, and the ETH.

10. Stanton T. Friedman - Researcher / author / lecturer, a leading advocate for the ETH, and the man who, with William Moore, made UFO virtually synonymous with Roswell.

11. Major Jesse Marcel - Army intelligence officer who was a key player in the Roswell case, and whose story breathed new life into the crashed flying saucer mythos.

12. Art Bell - Maverick late-night radio talk-show host, and founder of Coast to Coast AM, he gave ufologists a regular public platform in the 1990s that continues today under George Noory.

13. Kenneth Arnold - The original flying saucer witness - even if he didn't exactly coin the term, it is forever linked with his name.

14. Whitley Strieber - Author / alleged abductee, he popularized the concept of the gray alien and secret government agencies dealing with UFOs.

15. Chris Carter - Creator of The X-Files television series, which made conspiracy theories about aliens popular.

16. Dr. Jacques Vallee - Leading UFO theoretician and investigator, and proponent of the Extra-dimensional hypothesis.

17. Dr. Donald Menzel - Harvard astronomer, author, and the original UFO debunker.

18. Dr. H. P. Robertson - Head of the CIA's Robertson Panel in 1953, which called for the official debunking of UFO reports.

19. Colonel William Blanchard - His decision to issue a press release about the recovery of debris near Roswell would change ufology thirty years later.

20. George Van Tassel - Contactee, founder of the Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention at Giant Rock, California, which ran from 1954 to 1974.

21. Coral Lorenzen - Co-founder and driving force behind the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO).

22. Maj. Gen. John Samford - Director of Intelligence for the USAF in the early 1950s (and later head of the NSA), most famous for his 1952 press conference to explain the Washington sightings.

23. Nick Pope - British researcher / author, and former head of the Ministry of Defence's UFO desk.

24. Ken Purdy - Editor of True Magazine in the early 1950s, his decision to publish articles about UFOs brought widespread attention to the subject.

25. Erich von Daniken - Author of Chariots of the Gods, and leading proponent of the "ancient astronauts" theory.

26. Dr. John Mack - Harvard professor who beame a leading, and controversial, researcher into the abduction phenomenon.

27. Richard Hall - Longtime NICAP staffer / investigator, and author of The UFO Evidence, Volumes 1 and 2

28. Walt Andrus - Founder of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).

29. Lieut. Colonel Philip Corso - Former army officer who claimed in his memoirs The Day After Roswell to have been responsible for seeding alien technology into industry.

30. Dr. Steven Greer - Controversial CSETI founder, exopolitics guru, and head of the Disclosure Project.

31. Frank Edwards - Author / journalist, his book Flying Saucers - Serious Business was a best-seller.

32. Major Hector Quintanilla - The last head of Project Blue Book.

33. Frank Scully - Author of Behind the Flying Saucers, which first popularized the idea of crashed flying saucers (the Aztec hoax).

34. Jerome Clark - Researcher, author, historian and CUFOS member, as well as Editor of International UFO Reporter.

35. Philip J. Klass - CSICOP's UFO "expert", and longtime debunker / bete noir of ufologists.

36. William Moore - Co-author of The Roswell Incident, and perhaps the MJ-12 papers. One of ufology's most controversial figures.

37. Dr. Seth Shostak - SETI spokesperson / scientist, and leading UFO skeptic.

38. Kevin Randle - Leading Roswell investigator, author of numerous books on a variety of UFO subjects, from abductions to 1952 Washington case.

39. Leonard Stringfield - Collector of crash retrieval stories.

40. Brad Sparks - Co-founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, and one of the best researchers of all time.

41. Steven Bassett - Political activist, ran for Congress on UFO platform, speaker, and conference organizer.

42. Linda Moulton Howe - Media entrepreneur, popularizer of stories of crashed UFOs and government cover-ups; best known for her cattle mutilation investigations and theories.

43. Cmdr. Robert McLaughlin - His 1950 article for True Magazine had a tremendous impact on the public, and lent credibility to the ETH.

44. Errol Bruce-Knapp - Radio host and founder of UFO Updates, the premiere on-line discussion forum for ufologists and others interested in the phenomenon.

45. John Greenewald, Jr. - Founder of, and master of FOIA applications.

46. J. P. Cahn - Journalist who exposed the Aztec crash hoax in True Magazine.

47. Wilbert Smith - Canadian civil servant who was considered by some to have been involved in super secret UFO research.

48. Wendelle Stevens - UFO researcher / author, and a leading proponent of the Billy Meier story.

49. Paul Hellyer - Former Canadian Minister of Defence who has become a leading advocate of exopolitics.

50. Ray Santilli - Perpetrator of the alien autopsy hoax.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mac Tonnies explains the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis

Author / blogger / essayist Mac Tonnies (After the Martian Apocalypse, Posthuman Blues) discusses the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis as an explanation for the UFO phenomenon in this clip from the interview I conducted with him in Kansas City for Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Cases, in May, 2006.

Mac is currently working on a book, due for release sometime in 2007, about the CTH.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dick Hall discusses Colorado Project and Condon Report

Dick Hall discusses the University of Colorado Project on UFOs, and the infamous Condon Report which came out of the study.

Paul Kimball

Rev. Barry Downing - Religion and UFOs

Rev. Barry Downing, author of The Bible and Flying Saucers, discusses the relationship between UFOs and religion in this clip from an interview I conducted with him for Stanton T. Friedman is Real in 2001, in Irvine, California, where he was speaking at the 2001 MUFON Symposium.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kevin Randle discusses the problem of UFO frauds

Kevin discusses the problem of frauds in ufology.

And to think that some people ask me why I like guys such as Kevin, Karl Pflock, and Stan Friedman. It's easy - even when I disagree with them about particular cases, I never lose sight of the fact that they "get" the big picture.

Paul Kimball

Kevin Randle: The difference between a debunker and a skeptic

A clip from the interview I conducted with Kevin Randle back in September, 2001, in Kevin's hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for Stanton T. Friedman is Real. In this heretofore unseen segment, Kevin talks about the difference between true skepticism and debunkery / true believer-ism.

Paul Kimball

Monday, December 11, 2006

Karl Pflock and the ETH - Part 2

In this clip Karl expands a bit upon his theory that aliens were here, but have since left, and comments on the Betty and Barney Hill case - an abduction case that he accepted as real.

I discussed the "here, but gone" theory back in 2005, in The Galactic Barrow's Boys. As I noted then, Karl's theory certainly refelcted our own experience with exploration:

A study of the history of human exploration shows that Karl might be on to something. Even into the first half of the nineteenth century, there were areas of the world (Africa, the Artic, the Antartic, large parts of the Pacific) that were still unknown to the Europeans. The explorations that they sent out were small, almost always under equipped, often poorly managed, and usually had no idea of what they were doing. Being British, they sometimes - but by no means always - muddled through, but almost never without mishaps. Sometimes they would visit a place, and then leave, not to return for decades.

With this is mind, perhaps Karl's theory isn't so crazy after all. What if the aliens are the galactic equivalent of the Europeans, and good old Earth the equivalent of Melville Island? Under Karl's theory, even the Roswell crash would be possible. Consider it the alien Franklin.

Paul Kimball

Stan Friedman on Philip J. Corso

Part 2 of Stan's comments about frauds in ufology - the first one he highlighted was Bob Lazar, and here he talks about the second, Philip Corso, author of The Day After Roswell.

Now, if only Stan would apply this same steady logic to the MJ-12 documents, or Wilbert Smith. Still, where Lazar and Corso are concerned, he hits the nail square on the head.

Paul Kimball

Karl Pflock on the ETH

Karl always maintained that some UFO cases were visits from extraterrestrial visitors, but he was also convinced that "they" came here in the 1950s and 1960s, and then left - perhaps to return someday, perhaps not.

Paul Kimball

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stan Friedman Discusses UFO Frauds and Bob Lazar

I interviewed Stan for 10 hours back in 2001 for the documentary Stanton T. Friedman is Real. As the film was only 48 minutes in length, obviously there was a lot of stuff that didn't make it in the final cut. Here's one of those clips, where Stan talks about the problem of frauds in ufology, and then Bob Lazar in particular.

Note that Stan mentions two examples in the beginning. I'll post the second example that he cited in a couple of days.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pflock on Greer, Disclosure Project, and Exopolitics

Here's a clip of the late Karl Pflock talking about the direction ufology has been headed in the past decade or so, with things like the Disclosure Project, linking UFOs with political issues, and exopolitics. From the 2001 interview for "Stanton T. Friedman is Real."

Again, I agreed with him 100% on this question.

Paul Kimball

Karl Pflock Discusses Ufology

In this clip from an interview I conducted with the late Karl Pflock in September, 2001, for Stanton T. Friedman is Real, he talks about what's wrong with ufology.

Karl's untimely death earlier this year was a huge blow to the cause of the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, precisely because he was one of the small group of ufologists who understood (or understand) the "big picture", and what ufology needs to do if it ever wants to be taken seriously.

Karl and I had our disagreements, as friends always will, but on the topic he discusses here, we agreed one hundred per cent.

Paul Kimball

Friday, October 27, 2006

SMU Journal Review of the New Frontiers Symposium

From The Journal, the university paper at St. Mary's, where the New Frontiers Symposium was held:

Stanton T. Friedman Lectures at SMU:
"A Cosmic Watergate?"
by James O'Brien

On October 14th, Redstar Productions hosted a UFO symposium at SMU. Redstar produces UFO documentary films. The symposium presented many lecturers on UFO phenomena, including Mr. Friedman whose lecture focused on the physics of interstellar travel and the probability of flying saucers. His thesis concerned the probability of many different forms of space travel and how these technologies are currently being developed. They ranged from nuclear fission propulsion, using the gravitational pull of other planets (a method used in the Moon "landings") as well as a brief astronomy lesson about where deep space travel could take us - to nearby stars and constellations "in our own backyard", referring to the Milky Way.

His lecture contrasted with the others, as his was more technical and mathematical versus the conjecture and use of memorandum and testimonies of UFO sightings. Friedman's lecture had little to do with UFO sightings and the existence of UFOs and more to do with space travel and physics theory. The lecture was a straighforward presentation that would not seem out of place in an introduction course on astrophysics. It was interesting to note that one of the big names in the UFO conspiracy community gave a lecture at a UFO symposium that mentioned extraterrestrial life in passing.

Make no mistake, Friedman does believe in extraterrestrials, positing that the intergalactic community has us quarantined - asking if it would be reasonable to let a race with our destructive history loose on the cosmos?

After his lecture, Friedman discussed alien abduction - a topic he didn't cover during his speech. His take on alien abductions is the same as his on UFO sightings, that there are those that are mistaken for "natural" phenomena, hoaxes and then those which are unexplainable. "It is simply case by case analysis."

What does he believe regarding the theory that alien abduction being symptomatic of sleep paralysis?

"While sleep paralysis is real and there are situations which alien abduction can be explained by this," he noted alien abduction cases which cannot be explained by sleep paralysis. Referring to the Betty and Barney Hill case, where both shared the same experience and Mr. Hill was driving at the time, he asked, "how would this be a case of sleep paralysis?"

Is there any correlation between alien abductions and the MK Ultra tests - a nationwide US experiment in the 50's and 60's where private citizens were abducted by military personnel and forced injections of hallucinogens? Friedman observed that both cases demonstrate the vulnerability of the human mind to external control. Citing Betty and Barney Hill again, Friedman explained that as Mr. Hill was driving, he was compelled to drive into an open field so that the saucer could land. He cited this as an alarming example of mind control and said he "could see how any government would love to get their hands on this sort of mind control."

When asked about Gary McKinnon, the British hacker charged with infiltrating NASA, CIA and FBI files in search of UFO evidence, Friedman replied, "I think that is merely just the US government panicking. I've read how he hacked into government and Pentagon computers," referring to the lack of security on said computers. "They were caught with their pants down and now they have to save face and make an example out of him." Friedman showed disdain for the Bush administration, charging them with violating human rights and the Geneva Convention for economic agendas.

"You know that I am a dual citizen (Canadian and US) and the only time that I was ever embarrassed to be an American, and I have always been proud to be an American, was when George Bush said that he was going to set up a model democracy in Iraq."

I asked him if he has ever received any hostility from authorities for his research and lectures. "No. Definitely not."

Always nice to get free publicity, even if it was after the Symposium as opposed to before!

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 Review of the New Frontiers Symposium

Here's another review of the New Frontiers Symposium, by Halifax writer / critic Ron Foley MacDonald:

UFO Conference Explores the Unknown
Ron Foley Macdonald

Halifax hosted an early Halloween party on October 14th when Redstar Films presented the first New Frontiers Symposium at St. Mary's University. Covering subjects such as Extraterrestial Life, Space Exploration and The Future, and examinations of various strange creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and Chupacabras from Puerto Rico, the conference was a weird and wonderful confluence of what constitutes the borders of known knowledge.

Redstar President Paul Kimball delivered one of the sessions himself in the day-long seminar. His subject was four of the top-ten UFO incidents. Not surprisingly, it is the subject of his latest documentary film for the Space Channel. Kimball's latest non-fiction film, Fields Of Fear--on the subject of possible mutilation of livestock by alien interference--made its debut on the Space Channel in mid-September of this year. Check your local listings because the hour-long film will be returning to the small screen in various re-broadcasts through the fall and winter.

The actual conference was open to the public, allowing attendees the rare chance to question some of the world's UFO and para-normal experts directly. A final Q&A session ended the conference Saturday night, giving the speakers the opportunity to discuss and debate amongst themselves.

Hearing Stanton K. Friedman--the leading civilian investigator of UFO phenomena in the United Stages and Canada--debate Greg Bishop about the current status of 'the Contactee Movement' was worth the price of admission alone. Using the infamous Betty and Barney Hill case from the early 1960s as a starting point, the duo covered all sorts of fascinating ground concerning why the whole 'Alien Abduction' story seems to linger on despite various authority groups' stringent attempts to discredit it.

On a practical note, one sessioneer--the IT specialist William Wise--delivered a nuts-and-bolts talk on how a raft of dedicated volunteers are putting the voluminous information from the now-unclassified 'Project Blue Book' on the web for better public access. Project Blue Book contains the American Defense department's records of unexplained encounters, from strange balls of light all the way to UFOs.

Begun in the immediate post-war period during the depths of the Cold War, the archival material contains so much information that it will take years to get it all posted on the web.

Another fascinating session, by the British writer (now living in Florida) Nick Redfern, revolved around the issue of 'Crypto-Biology'. Redfern detailed strange and mythical creatures from around the world, from the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland (which he personally researched for almost 20 years) to the more recently discussed appearances of Chupacabras in Puerto Rico. Cupacabras are kind of a cross between vampires and gargoyles, and have haunted that Caribbean Island for centuries. Their story has only emerged to the wider world over the last decade or so.

Redfern's main argument was simple and elegant. There are, he says, apparently, many life forms on this planet that defy easy explanation. Like much of the rest of the conference, Redfern's presentation keyed in on the whole process of keeping an open mind, and encouraging communication and ongoing research.

The Conference's keynote speaker was American Historian Robert Zimmerman, who delivered an engrossing talk on little-known incidents from the American, Soviet and Russian Space programs. His expert testimony revealed many small but surprisingly enlightening moments in programs that revealed just how far we've progressed in the process of space exploration.

Entertaining, provocative and informative, the New Frontiers Symposium is further proof that Halifax is well on its way to becoming the Roswell of Canada. With several world-class UFO researchers based out of the city, and the Shag Harbour Incident of October, 1967 proving to be this country's equivalent of that famous late 1940's New Mexico incident, the East Coast of Canada is turning into a hotbed of para-normal inquiries.

Attaining coverage from CBC and CKDU Radio, along with featured print articles in The Halifax Daily News, The Chronicle-Heral and the St. Mary's Student Union weekly paper The Journal, the New Frontiers Symposium clearly achieved an impact on the media. Kimball, in a post-conference e-mail, promised that the gathering will be back next year to continue the discourse on the borders of the known and the unknown.

For more info on this years New Frontiers Symposium, check out
Roswell of Canada?? I hope not! :-)

As I noted in a yet-to-be-published comment at the site, it's Stanton T. Friedman, and Nick hails from Texas now, not Florida. Otherwise, thanks to RFM for the nice review - glad he enjoyed the day.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Greg Bishop's New Frontiers Photo Show

"Spacebrother" Greg Bishop has a nice set of photos from the New Frontiers Symposium and his trip to Halifax up on the Net - you can find them here.

Here's a shot of me laying out the best evidence for the objective reality of the UFO phenomenon.

Hopefully Greg will add more photos in the days to come. Of the current crop, my favourite is the shot of Nick Redfern and Stan Friedman at Freeman's restaurant - "Crash at Corona" and "Body Snatchers in the Desert" trying to figure out what to have for lunch!

Paul Kimball

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NFS Reports

Here are a couple of reports from Jezzie, of the blog I Dream a Little Dream, who came to Halifax all the way from Texas to take in the Symposium.

Part 1

Part 2

Good stuff - thanks J.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

UFOs... Organic Beings, or AI?

There's a debate going on over at UFO Updates right now about whether alien visitors to Earth are organic, flesh and blood beings like us, or some form of artificial intelligence (assuming there are such visitors, an assumption I don't make, but I'll go with it for the sake of argument).

The "organic, flesh and blood" types seem to be having trouble wrapping their minds around the concept of AI - indeed, the probability that, if aliens are here, they would be some form of AI (they have clearly not read Kurzweil lately, or seen an episode of Battlestar Galactica). The adherence of some folks to the idea that alien visitors would be flesh and blood, organic beings is almost... quaint. In many respects, it reminds me of how some evangelical Christians have for years portrayed Jesus as a blond-haired, blue-eyed northern European, or how for centuries people tried to fit "God" into their own conception of what "God" should be, and look like, i.e. them, only much more powerful.

When talking about potential alien explorers, it's time to jettison that comfortable conceit - or at the very least expand your horizons to include the possibility (or, as I would say, probability) that they would be some form of AI, because that is precisely what aliens who encounter us in space in 100 years are likely going to run into.

Things are changing fast in the world of "computers" (a word that just doesn't cover it), and that includes AI. Think about where we are now, and how far we've come in such a relatively short span of time.

I can think of no-one better to illustrate that point than Captain James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner.

That was 1982, folks, when Gorf was the "wonder arcade game".

Again, take a moment to think of how far we've come in such a short time, and then tell me there's nothing to AI as a theory for what alien explorers might look like.

The folks at Updates who "get" AI and the implications and possibilities it presents are playing an interactive game on the X-Box 360; everyone else is still playing Gorf on the Vic-20.

Paul Kimball

New Frontiers Symposium Report - Vol. II

Here's my take on the Symposium:

About 50 people showed up at McNally Auditorium at St. Mary’s University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the 2006 New Frontiers Symposium. They were treated to a tour de force by some of the best "new frontier" researchers around today, as well as a presentation by yours truly.

First up in the morning session was Virginian Will Wise, a software engineer who is the driving force behind the Project Blue Book Archive, which is, for my money, the best on-line research resource for anyone even remotely interested in the serious study of the UFO phenomenon. Will gave a brief history of Project Blue Book, and its predecessors, and then talked about the Archive. I spoke with the other speakers, and all agreed that Will is to be commended for his work on this important project, which slowly but surely is making all of the Blue Book files available to anyone, free of charge. Will also snags the award for best-dressed speaker, with a very stylish ensemble that eclipsed even Stan Friedman.

Next up was the always entertaining Nick Redfern, the Joey Ramone of the paranormal. Moving away from his usual topics of body snatchers in the desert and saucer spies, Nick spoke about cryptozoology, i.e. those strange creatures like bigfoot and the chupacabras that allegedly wander about the countryside, usually just out of reach of investigators (i.e. they’ve never seen one, much less caught one). His talk was given in the spirit of what, in my opinion, is Nick’s best book, Three Men Seeking Monsters, which is to say a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Along the way, he also made the very good point that science occasionally discovers animals that were previously unknown to us, so it’s unwise to dimiss cryptozoology, although the Loch Ness Monster might be a bit of a stretch.

The final speaker of the morning was author and essayist Mac Tonnies. A native of Independence, Missouri, Mac tells it like it is, much like another (more) famous Independence native, Harry S. Truman (of MJ-12 fame, and apparently also a former President - who knew??). Mac spoke on the subject of Transhumanism, i.e. what the near future holds for the development of humanity. His lecture, however, was more than a simple recitation of Kurzweil-ian predictions - if there is a philosopher amongst those who research and write about the paranormal, it is Tonnies. He makes people think, and challenges their perceptions and beliefs. His presentation was as much a fireside chat as a lecture, a thoughtful and at times cryptic appeal to those in the audience to take the future seriously, and to make a difference before it's too late.

Lunch was had by the speakers and a few others who tagged along at one of Halifax’s better eating establishments, Freeman’s of New York. Bill Cosby once said it was the best pizza in town, although Bob Zimmerman was adamant that any restaurant where you couldn’t get a slice of cheese pizza was not an actual pizza restaurant. It’s a New York thing, apparently.

The Symposium reconvened at 1:30 with Greg Bishop, who took his usual two hour long lecture on the contactee movement and whizzed through it in just under an hour. However, because Greg knows his material inside-out, nothing was lost in the abridged version. Perhaps no one other than Jerry Clark is as knowledgeable about the contactees as Greg. His presentation had strong echoes of the classic documentary, "Farewell Good Brothers", which is to say that while Greg acknowledges that most of the contactees were bogus, he leaves the door open for the possibility that some of them may have had experiences with an intelligence from beyond, and he has a great deal of affection for them. Greg is definitely one of the more intellectually adventurous guys in paranormal research these days, and he’s not afraid to challenge widely-held beliefs about any aspect of the parnormal.

Greg was followed by yours truly, talking about some of the "best evidence" cases that prove the UFO phenomenon is an objective reality. McMinnville, the Valentich case, Tehran 1976, the 1953 sighting by Kelly Johnson and some of his top test pilots, and the 1957 Vins-sur-Caramy case from France were all referenced, as was a hitherto unknown case from Prince Edward Island in the 1960s to which I’ve been made privy. I think I also mentioned RB-47s somewhere along the way, and I may have been the first person to ever use the "F" word in a UFO lecture. As to the quality of my presentation, I’ll let someone else speak to that. Let’s just say that it was probably the most "theatrical".

Closing out the afternoon session was Stan Friedman, who went back to his roots as a nuclear physicist with a compelling presentation about flying saucers and physics. Yes, there was the obligatory mention of the dreaded "Cosmic Watergate", etc., but for the most part Stan stayed away from the conspiracy end of things and focused on how "they" could get from there to here,
and where "they" might be coming from. As always, Stan was entertaining, tossing off one-liners and bon mots with aplomb. However, he was also very convincing, if not of the" fact" that aliens are here, then at least of the possibility that, should they exist nearby, and be just slightly more advanced than us, then they could get here. I’ve seen Stan over a dozen times over the years, and I thought that this was the best presentation he’s given. He’s still got it.

Dinner followed for the speakers, who all braved the torrential downpour that the Gods had unleashed to make their way to Henry House for an excellent, if slightly rushed, meal.

The evening session kicked off with the keynote speaker of the Symposium, award-winning historian of space exploration Robert Zimmerman. Bob told several great stories of the courage and ingenuity of astronauts and cosmonauts during what can only be referred to as the golden age of space exploration (the current version being, more or less, the "leaden" age), including one amazing story of how desperate Soviet cosmonauts, who had to perform a space walk (for which they were untrained), patched together a space suit that had a hole in it with duct tape, and managed to get the job done! Bob’s lecture was inspiring stuff to all of those who, like myself, believe that "space is the place" - he ended with a ringing call for leadership in the space program, and for us to get back "out there".

After Bob finished, all of the speakers took their seats on the firing line, i.e. the speakers panel, as emcee Veronica Reynolds (who did a super job all day long) managed a Q & A session with the audience (and sometimes with speakers asking other speakers questions) that lasted over an hour, and covered topics as diverse as remote viewing, abductions, and space exploration. Some highlights included Stan getting a dig in at Nick’s book "Body Snatchers in the Desert" (which Nick took in stride, unless he had dozed off, in which case this is the first he’s heard of it), Mac trying to explain his cryptoterrestrial hypothesis in a hundred words or less (he didn’t quite make it), Greg and I politely disagreeing about the effectiveness of remote viewing, and Stan and Bob talking about propulsion systems for space exploration. When the topic of abductions came up, a couple of us were quite critical of modern abductionologists like Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs, while Stan defended them, in principle if not necessarily in practice.

After the Symposium ended, the speakers and some friends (except for Stan, who turned in) went back to the Westin, where everyone was staying, and finished the day with drinks and conversation, most of which had nothing to do with UFOs, the paranormal, or space exploration, although Mac Tonnies did continue to opine about a posthuman future, especially when I pressed him about which actress he would include in his virtual reality if he could download his consciousness (his answer? Natalie Portman).

In the end, a great time was had by all!

Paul Kimball

Monday, October 16, 2006

New Frontiers Symposium Report - Vol. I

The 2006 New Frontiers Symposium is now officially over, and a good time, I think, was had by the 50 people (give or take) who managed to make it out in the rain (and it was raining hard by the afternoon) to see what I thought was a great group of speakers.

Yes, I wish the numbers had been higher, and yes, I'm going to take a "not insubstantial financial loss" on the Symposium this year. But that's only part of the story.

From a corporate point of view, my company got a lot of good coverage in the run-up to the Symposium - more than it's gotten in the previous seven years combined. That's a good thing, and a positive for us.

From a "do we do it again" point of view, I view the attendance as a beginning, not an end. The folks who showed up are something we can build on. And we will. We'll take what we did right, and use that as a foundation, and we'll learn from those things that we could have done better.

I view the 2006 Symposium as a trial-run for things to come. Will Wise and I were bouncing some very interesting ideas around after the Symposium about how we can move forward by using the Internet, and concepts such as live streaming of symposium video, which would allow people from all around the world to "attend", and, hopefully, even interact with the speakers. More on all of this in the days and weeks to come.

Most important (for me at least), is the sense of satisfaction in a job well done - a risk taken, and rewards gained, although perhaps not in the standard ways that people might think of. What do I mean? Well, it's worth noting that in my first production, way back in 1999, both my company and I lost money (as I said above about the Symposium, a "not insignificant amount"). But we demonstrated to the network that we could bring a good project in, on time and on budget (and it was a very small budget). As a result, bigger projects followed. We took the initial hit because we knew you have to start somewhere if you're going to build something. To use a cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day.

So too with the New Frontiers Symposium, which will have a 2007 edition, most likely in the late Spring. Some of the speakers are already being lined up; others will follow.

For now, let me just say THANKS to everyone who came to this year's Symposium, everyone who helped behind the scenes. Let me single out just a few:

- Redstar's Christine Boss, who manned the front door all day long;

- my brother Jim, who was also there pretty much all day long, working away;

- my parents, who attended for the whole day;

- my old pals Peter Black and Carrie Smith, who were also there pretty much all day long;

- our host, Veronica Reynolds;

- Will Wise, who designed and maintained the Symposium website;

- my friend Katie Martin, who flew in all the way from Texas to see the Symposium, and was great to hang out with;

- lastly, but by no means least (!!), my "better half" Linda Wood, who caught some of the sessions, but more importantly didn't smack me over the head with a frying pan or teddy bear when I (a) showed her the financial report from this year (which puts the kibosh on our winter vacation, except perhaps for Bedford - hahahahahaha...), and (b) didn't shoot me when I said we were going to do it again. Without her, there would have been no Symposium, nor would there be another.

Of course, thanks as well to all the folks like Rob McConnell at the X-Zone, the gang at the Book of Thoth, the Anomalist, Errol Bruce-Knapp at Strange Days.. Indeed, Tim Binnall at Binnall of America, my friend and fellow traveller Stuart Miller at UFO Review, and on and on and on down the line, who helped us get the word out this year. Much obliged, one and all.

Most important, thanks to the speakers / friends - Will Wise, Nick Redfern, Mac Tonnies, Stan Friedman, Greg Bishop, and Bob Zimmerman - who made it all truly worthwhile for me, and the audience. Great work, guys. A pleasure sharing a stage with you, and drinks afterwards! Hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as I did.

More later, including my take on the lectures, and photos etc. For now, however, you can check out an early review / report at The Halifax Daily News and (which includes some pics).

Paul Kimball

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Are We Alone?

To anyone who thinks we're alone in the universe - that we are the jewel of creation, that we are "it" - you really need to take a prolonged wander through the website of the Hubble Telescope, and just look at the photos.

Try one of the other galaxies. Try to imagine the vastness of the universe.

And then tell me, with a straight face, that it's all there for us - including galaxies that we will probably never see, much less visit.

Is there intelligent life out there?

D'uh. It's the one thing that SETI and ufologists can agree on.

Is it coming here?

Who knows? But it's at least within the realm of possibility, if not now or in the past, then someday. It's definitely worthy of something more than just a smirk.

It's time for us to grow up, and accept the overwhelming odds that we are not alone - and then we need to start considering what that means for us, not necessarily in practical terms (we may never actually meet this ETI), but in terms of our understanding of ourselves, and how we interact with each other, and how we should go about resolving our differences.

Ironically, the realization that we are just a drop in the universal bucket, and a small drop at that, is what we need to open our eyes up to all of the larger possibilities, and to reorientate our way of thinking to the future, as opposed to fighting over the things that we've been fighting over for years, and in many cases decades or even centuries.

By realizing how small we are, we will become bigger in the ways that matter.

If you're an American, you might want to ask your candidates about this in the upcoming election - not the "UFO question", but rather the almost certain reality that we're not alone, and what they think of that.

Paul Kimball

Friday, October 06, 2006

Kimball of America

Tim Binnall knows how to put a promo together. Here is his "commercial" for my Binnall of America Audio appearance tomorrow night.

Perfect music, Tim!

Right back at ya!

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Greg Bishop Interview at Book of Thoth

Greg Bishop is the latest "New Frontiers Symposium speaker to be interviewed by the good folks at the Book of Thoth. You can check it out here.

An excerpt:

BoT: How’d you come to be involved with the New Frontiers Symposium?

GB: Paul Kimball and Mac Tonnies were on my show a few months ago. The freewheeling conversation drifted to the topic of what was wrong with Ufology and what might be done to change it. Someone suggested a conference with people WE wanted to hear, and to his eternal credit, Paul decided to do it. Since I was “present at the time of creative inspiration” I forced him to put me on the speakers’ slate, or face massive legal retaliation.
Yes, the truth is out - nobody invites Greg on his merits as a speaker; rather, we invite him because he threatens us.

He's the Russian mafia of ufology!

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Transhumanism vs. UFOs

I'm a bit concerned about the New Frontiers Symposium.

I consider myself a serious person (history degree, law degree, professional filmmaker, Capricorn), and I think Stan Friedman (M.Sc. in physics), Bob Zimmerman (award-winning historian), Nick Redfern and Greg Bishop (published authors), and William Wise (software engineer, archivist) are serious people too.

And they'll be talking about serious subjects - history, physics, space exploration, evidence for the objective reality of the UFO phenomenon.

So what's to worry about?

Well, here's my concern - Mac Tonnies.

You see, I'm not sure we want to be associated with him.

Now, don't get me wrong - Mac is a great guy, very bright, and has some very interesting things to say about UFOs, and Mars, and Veronica likes him and... well, lots of good stuff.

The problem, you ask?

Shh... don't tell anyone, but Mac is a... [gasp] transhumanist.

SHHHHH! I said to keep it quiet!!


Aw, crap, the cat's out of the bag.

As much as I like Mac, and consider him a good friend, I'm not sure the Symposium can afford to be associated with someone from a "movement" (cult?) that can offer no empirical or objective evidence for the things that they predict are going to happen to the human race.

I mean, really - people have been predicting things for years. Back in the 1950s, there were folks who said we would all be flying around in sky-cars by now. I don't know about you, but I don't have my sky-car yet.

But there are these transhumanists (at least the most rabid, evangelical ones, who are so dissatisfied with their own lives that they desperately long for another world where they hope that they'll be the top of the food chain), tossing about predictions like they were... well, fact. Received wisdom from the technological Gods they worship, or whatever.

And talk about intolerant of other people's views? Whew. Some of them are just downright nasty, in a Pat Robertson kind of way.

Hanging out with one of them might give we ufology types a bad name. It might diminish the credibility of the serious study of the UFO phenomenon. After all, we might not know what UFOs are, but we can prove they exist (that whole "unidentified" thing, which even Condon couldn't explain away). The transhumanists? Well, forgive me, but some of them seem like just another bunch of "sky-cars for everyone" people, updated to the 21st century. You know the type - they confuse Blade Runner with a history text book, and list "Jedi Knight" as their religion on census forms.

Free Image Hosting at

Alas, I've already bought Mac's tickets, and reserved his hotel room, and put his name in the ads, so I guess we're stuck with him. And as far as transhumanists go, he's one of the reasonable ones (and there is some interesting, thought-provoking stuff about tranhumanism).

He's not one of the crazy, bug-eyed, believer types (see photo, above).

So we serious UFO phenomenon guys (and Bob Zimmerman, who is talking about space exploration, not UFOs) might be okay.

Fingers crossed.

Paul Kimball

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mac Tonnies NFS Poster

And here's the Mac Tonnies poster for the New Frontiers Symposium.

This will definitely help us attract any Borg that might be in Halifax at the time.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why I'm Interested in the UFO Phenomenon

When I logged onto AOL today, the first thing I noticed was a headline in the News section that read, "Friends Again?" and asked the question, have Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie kissed and made up?

To which I can only ask - who gives a flying rat's ass? Really. Who cares??

Of course, it seems the whole thing was probably staged, but the question of manipulating the media will have to wait for another day.

I can see how this kind of stuff can be depressing (uh oh - I'm starting to sound like Mac Tonnies here, but bear with me for a bit), and how it can make one despair, at least a little, about the future of humanity.

Are we that... vapid?

I don't think so.

I honestly believe that people want to be challenged. They need to be challenged. Intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, sexually... everything. Not everyone realizes this, of course - they've been beaten down for so long by the mundane (much of it foisted on them by people who have less faith in humanity than I do) that they've lost their sense of wonder about it all. But inside, somewhere, I think we all have that spark.

UFOs challenge people. I'm not talking here about those who just sit back and believe whatever is fed to them (where's the challenge in that). I'm talking about the people who understand that it's a mystery.

But it isn't just UFOs - it's all aspects of the paranormal, and science. It's exciting stuff. Why? Because in a world where, more and more, we're told what to do, and what to think - believe me, it isn't as overt as you might imagine it to be - there are still things we don't know. Things we might never know.

For me, the real thrill of life has always been, and always will be, thinking. Questioning. Exploring. Wondering.

I've been asked a lot over the past year or so why I got involved in the UFO phenomenon, and the paranormal - why I'm interested in it. I don't think I've ever really given a satisfactory answer, at least not a pithy one, but here it is:

It's a challenge.

It's an unknown.

It's exciting!

Is it the only thing that excites me or challenges me? Of course not - all sorts of things do. But it's definitely one of them.

Which is why I've sunk a bunch of time and money into the New Frontiers Symposium. I hope people come, but at the end of the day I've done it because the various subjects that we'll be talking about interest and challenge me. Is there really any other reason why we as human beings should be doing something?


Carpe diem, folks. Carpe diem.

Paul Kimball

Friday, September 29, 2006


Tim Binnall has set his early schedule for Season 2 of Binnall of America Audio, and it looks like I'm on tap for weeks 2 and 3. Here's what Tim has to say on his website:

Paul Kimball (Part 1 of 2) . Perhaps the most controversial BoA : Audio episode yet, the documentary filmmaker and blogger extraordinaire arrives on BoA : Audio to discuss how he got into following Ufology, his film "Stanton T. Friedman is Real", UFO documentaries, and the problems with exopolitics and Ufology in general. Plus Paul previews his 10.14.2006 New Frontiers Symposium. And, of course, tons more.
There should be a promo commercial on BOA next week sometime (set to a song by Nazareth, which is absolutely hilarious). Keep an eye... er, ear, out for it.

Paul Kimball

The Book of Thoth New Frontiers Symposium Interview Series

The folks at the Book of Thoth have been kind enough to run a series of interviews with speakers at the New Frontiers Symposium - all have been interesting, and are well worth having a quick read-through.

My favourite quote so far comes from the interview with Robert Zimmerman:

BoT : What makes you want to write or speak about these subjects?

RZ : I am interested in the idea of exploration, of going where no one has gone before, of tracing a warm line of life in barren dead places. Scientists do this when they discover something new about the universe. Astronauts do it when they go to new places. Engineers do it when they figure out a better way to built something. In every case, their effort enriches human existence. The challenge of pushing the unknown forces us to be better then we are. And as a writer it has been my goal to encourage this effort in the future by telling the stories of how others have done it in the past and present.
The more I hear from Bob, the more I look forward to meeting him, and hearing him speak. He's got vision, which seems to be a rare thing these days.

Keep an eye out for an interview with Project Blue Book Archive head honcho Will Wise, which should be available this weekend.

Paul Kimball

A. J. Gulyas on Mars (not literally, of course...)

A. J. Gulyas is a guy worth checking in on regularly. Here's his brief take on the "Mars thing":
Like many, at one time I thought that RCH was the be all and end all of the face on Mars debate which meant–to me, at least–that the whole thing was a bit of a joke. But after looking at the work of people like Stan McDaniel and Mac Tonnies, I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t something to these Mars anomalies. No, not mystical connections to Egypt and a Freemason-NASA-Old Navy-Jose Cuervo cabal of evil but rather the possibility that at sometime someone did inhabit Mars and that they left behind archeological artifacts that are worthy of study. At the very least, we should be heavily pursuing exploration of Mars because it’s Mars! Humanity must move forward or else we’ll stagnate. I want the frontier back, darnit!
He hits the nail straight on the head with those last two lines.

Paul Kimball

Mac Tonnies, Cats... and UFOs?

Mac at his best.

UFO sightings demonstrate many of the same aspects of a typical feline laser hunt: mysterious disappearances, "impossible" maneuvers and a predilection for trickery -- the apparent desire to be seen despite (or because of) a technology presumed to be far in advance of our own... According to astrophysicist Jacques Vallee, UFOs are part of a psychosocial conditioning system by which perceived "rewards" are doled out to reconcile for the dearth of irrefutable physical evidence. The phenomenon -- whatever its ultimate nature -- obstinately denies itself, thus enabling the very game it's intent on playing with us. We see that sudden spark of red light; we pounce. This time we'll catch it for sure.

Read the whole column here.

Paul Kimball