Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Best Evidence - Case #4: McMinnville, 1950

Here is a clip of one of the segments from Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings. The 1950 Trent photo case, from McMinnville, oregon, came in at #4.

Narrated by Kris Lee McBride, the film is distributed by B7 Media in the United Kingdom. Hopefully it will make its way to a broadcaster in your country soon (it's currently playing on Space in Canada, and TVNZ in New Zealand).

Paul Kimball

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kimball & Friedman - The Media and UFOs

Here's another clip of Stan and I on Melanson Live back in 2004, this time discussing the media and UFOs. We also touch upon SETI, and my colleague Mike MacDonald, who made The Shag Harbour UFO Incident and Northern Lights, and is currently in post-production on Intruders.

FYI -at the start of the clip, the lead-in question was: "what did you find most surprising when you made the film?"

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Talkin' UFOs on Melanson Live

Back in 2004 (ignore the title card), Stan Friedman and I appeared on a cable show called "Melanson Live" in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to discuss UFOs, and plug "Do You Believe in Majic, which was about to premiere on Space: The Imagination Station. In this clip, I discuss the relationship between sci-fi and interest in UFOs, and the talk a bit about the Robertson Panel.

FYI - I had to cut out the interviewer's opening question. He asked me why I made DYBIM. My critics might appreciate my initial response. ;-)

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dad, Where Do UFOs Come From?

Dad, Where Do UFOs Come From?

As always, Greg Bishop is worth a read.

Now, back to my hiatus.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Other Side of Truth - UFO Hall of Shame

Because for every yin there is a yang, and to every season... well, you know how it goes.

UFO Hall of Shame - Who should be inducted first?
Frank Scully
George Adamski
Dr. Seth Shostak
George Van Tassel
Frank Kaufmann
Dr. Steven Greer
Linda Moulton Howe
Silas Newton
Richard Doty
William L. Moore
Philip J. Klass
Gerald Anderson
Ray Santilli
Billy Meier
Bob Lazar
Ed Walters
Todd Zechel
Budd Hopkins
Dr. Edward U. Condon
Marshall Applewhite
Free polls from Pollhost.com
The same rules apply to the Hall of Shame as the Hall of Fame - the top five vote recipients will form the introductory class of 2007. Write-in votes are allowed, either in the comments section or by e-mail to kimballwood@aol.com. One vote per person.

Vox populi.

Paul Kimball

UFOs and the 2008 Presidential Election

From UFOs in the 2008 Presidential Election

As of yet UFOs have not become a part of the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Issues still centre on the war in Iraq, and domestic issues that affect daily well being.

Well, d'uh.

Honestly - you try and get folks to take the UFO phenomenon seriously, and then you run into stuff like this. Sure, I have more than a passing interest in UFOs (I have more than a passing interest in a lot of subjects), and think they're worthy of serious scientific study, but compared with Iraq (or foreign policy in general), or global warming / the environment, or the economy, or health care - probably the "big four" topics in the next US election - does anybody really think UFOs rate a mention?

I don't. I would rate human space exploration higher than UFOs - especially if you were to confront a candidate with the "when are you going to release / tell The Truth about the Cosmic Watergate" question, as opposed to a more sensible question, such as"would you commit to government-funded scientific study of unidentified aerial phenomena?"

Who knows? Ask that question, and you might even get a yes from a candidate who doesn't understand that UAP is simply a more precise, accurate and scientific way of saying UFO.

In the meantime, I'm just guessing that Mitt Romney, and John Edwards, and even Governor Richardson have better things to do than answer questions from exopolitical believers about a grand conspiracy to cover up the truth about the "alien agenda".

At least I hope they do.

Paul Kimball

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Other Side of Truth - UFO Hall of Fame

The "Hall of Fame" concept is nothing new in the world of UFOs and the paranormal. Royce Myers III at UFO Watchdog has had a UFO Hall of Fame (and a Hall of Shame) for years now. Steven Bassett has one with his X-Conference. Tim Binnall, when he was plugging the Brad Steiger episode a week ago, referred to Steiger as a "sure-fire first ballot esoteric Hall of Famer". And so on.

Never one to let a good idea pass me by, I've decided, after over two years here at The Other Side of Truth, to create a UFO Hall of Fame for this blog. Now, no offense to Royce or others who have created a Hall of Fame on their own, but whereas they have basically just picked the members themselves, I'm a big believer in vox populi, i.e. let the people decide. So, without further ado, in much the same way as the baseball Hall of Fame elects its members, here is the first ballot for the Other Side of Truth UFO Hall of Fame.

The first class will have five members, so the five people who get the most votes over the next month are in.
Who belongs in the 1st class of The Other Side of Truth UFO Hall of Fame?
Dr. J. Allen Hynek
Major Donald Keyhoe
Dr. James McDonald
Captain Edward Ruppelt
Dr. Jacques Vallee
Stanton T. Friedman
John Keel
James Moseley
Richard Hall
Jim Lorenzen
Coral Lorenzen
Philip J. Klass
Brad Steiger
Jerome Clark
Major Kevin Randle
Errol Bruce-Knapp
Gray Barker
Nick Pope
Dr. Bruce Maccabee
Rev. Barry Downing
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Your call, folks. My vote will just be one of many. Write in votes will also be allowed - you can either leave them as a comment, or e-mail me directly at kimballwood@aol.com.

Voting will stay open until 12:01 am, August 10, 2007.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, July 07, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call it the "Elvis" of ufology.

Long live the King!

Paul Kimball

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mac Tonnies and the Paranormal Mainstream

I had a long chat with my good friend Mac Tonnies this evening, which always makes me smile, because when we start talking to each other it feels like a jam session with the old band, where we would just play and play until we were played out (just check out our extended, extemporaneous riffing with Greg Bishop on our 2006 Radio Misterioso gig to see what I mean).

Mac is one of the brightest and most articulate people involved in the paranormal / esoteric field of study, and is always well worth a listen, even when, as is sometimes the case with me, one might disagree with him. It is to the enduring shame of Coast to Coast, that the likes of Richard C. Hoagland and Linda Moulton Howe make regular appearances and pretend that they know what they're talking about, whereas Mac has never been invited to be on the show. The Coast people are shortchanging their listeners - in a big way. So too are most conference organizers, who invite the likes of Michael Horn or Steven Greer, but routinely ignore guys like Mac, who might actually say something worth listening to.

What Coast and these conferences are doing, of course, is preaching to the converted. It was undoubtedly a sound business model in the past, but it will eventually run afoul of the law of diminishing returns, i.e. without some new blood with some new ideas, people will eventually get bored, and stop coming or listening. Given the declining numbers across the board at conferences, it should be clear that this process is already underway.

Of course, Mac isn't the guy you want at your conference or on your show if you just want to reinforce the audience's pre-existing beliefs, or to make them feel better. But if you want to challenge people, and stimulate them, and introduce them to ideas and concepts with which they may not be familiar - and isn't that what you should be doing - then Mac is one of the guys you want on board. But when was the last time that the "mainstream" paranormal / esoteric community actually wanted to challenge anyone with new ideas?

And there's the irony with the situation Mac finds himself in, and Greg Bishop, and others - in a field of study where the weird, wacky and far-out should be the coin of the realm, where ideas should matter, and where an intelligent discourse should be paramount, most people have settled for the familiar, comfortable, and easy-to-digest orthodoxy of the commercialized paranormal establishment. "Same old, same old" is the rule, not the exception. Which is why fewer and fewer people seem to care these days.

Religion may be the opiate of the masses in the general sense (or one of them), but in the paranormal / esoteric world, it's Coast to Coast, and Linda Moulton Howe, and Richard Hoagland, and most conferences, and so forth. The stagnation is palpable. It reeks of complacency.

It's not too late to change that, mind you. A good start would be for one of the Coast producers to give Mac a call, or shoot him an e-mail, and invite him on for a full three hour long show.

In the meantime, if you haven't done so, check out Mac's blog, The Posthuman Blues, which is an always interesting, and often amusing, grab bag of stuff, both paranormal and otherwise.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Walter Haut and alien bodies at Roswell

Much ado is being made within ufology these days about statements made by the late Walter Haut, the young lieutenant at Roswell in 1947 responsible for releasing the "we recovered a flying saucer" press release, to the effect that he saw alien bodies. He made these claims in an interview with Wendy Connors and Dennis Balthasar in 2000, and again, in much more detail apparently, in an affidavit he signed for Donald Schmitt and Tom Carey in 2002.

My take?

It's much ado about nothing.

Let's all recall that Haut vouched for Frank Kaufmann, who was shown to be a fraud, and Glenn Dennis, who similarly has been exposed. This stuff about alien bodies, long after there was any reason for him to keep it secret, reads as bogus to me. Indeed, I interviewed Haut and Dennis in 2001 - they sat right next to each other, and Dennis told his story about dead bodies etc., and Haut said not a word about it. Don't tell me it was his "oath" either - he had already talked plenty about Roswell, and broken his oath if he had given such a thing.

It is my considered opinion, which will no doubt make me unpopular in certain quarters again, that there are three possible explanations for this "revelation":

1. Haut may have been manipulated, either intentionally or unintentionally, by unscrupulous or careless and untrained researchers for their own ends.

2. Haut may have told a purposeful tall tale in order to give new life to the Roswell story, which his family still has a financial stake in. A note here - when I interviewed Haut and Dennis in 2001, they both asked for money, even though I was doing a film about their old friend, Stan Friedman. It was only when Stan intervened personally that they dropped their request. They are the only witnesses to any UFO case that I have ever talked to who ever asked to be paid for an interview, and in my case I was talking to them more about Stan and his career than the Roswell incident itself. Charles Halt, Bruce Bailey, and Robert Salas, all veterans, made no such request for the recent Best Evidence film, for example.

3. Haut was simply an old man who had heard so many stories like Dennis' that he came to believe them himself.

The latter is the most charitable explanation I can come up with.

The fact that he insisted that none of this be released until after his death should be a red flag as well - it neatly inculcated Haut from having to answer the tough questions about what he said. As a piece of evidence, this kind of statement is practically worthless regardless of who made it, or the circumstances under which it was made, because the person who made it cannot be cross-examined / questioned by independent researchers.

A final note - if the affidavit was given in 2002, and Haut died in 2005, why is it only now making the rounds within ufology? If true, it is indeed an earth-shattering revelation, and yet it was neatly tucked away for well over a year, until (a) Schmitt and Carey had a book to sell (apparently they had to obtain permission from the Haut family to publish it, but why did it take so long), and (b) Roswell had a 60th anniversary to celebrate.

Consider those further red flags. Big ones. Because if aliens on earth really is the biggest story of the millenium, as Stan Friedman is wont to say, then these people deliberately withheld critical information from the public, for motives that could only be attributed to profit. So much for free and easy "disclosure".

None of this will stop those with financial and emotional interests in Roswell from flogging this story, probably for years to come, and claiming it as proof of crashed alien spacecraft near Roswell in 1947. Don't be deceived, folks. It is nothing of the sort.

Paul Kimball