Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Karl Pflock - Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe (Part I)

Karl Pflock was a good friend of mine, who left us far too soon in 2006, after a courageous battle with ALS. I first met Karl in 2001 when I interviewed him in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the documentary Stanton T. Friedman is Real. I flew Karl up from his home in New Mexico, because I was going to be in Cedar Rapids interviewing Kevin Randle, and I was trying to stay on budget, something documentary filmmakers are always required to keep in mind. Karl and I hit it off immediately (as I did with Kevin, who remains a friend), and stayed in touch in the years after, corresponding frequently, and meeting again on a couple of occasions, including in 2003 when I interviewed him at his home in Placitas for Aztec: 1948. He told me once that he had considered going to law school when he was younger, and perhaps he saw a little bit of the road he might have taken in me; I admired him for his service to his country, and his open-minded and even-handed scepticism when it came to the UFO phenomenon. In the years since, I have come to appreciate the position his intellectual honesty put him in, because I take the same approach, and have generally gotten the same reaction - caught between the true believer deep blue sea on the one hand, and the disbeliever devil on the other.

In this first part of that interview I conducted ten years ago, Karl talks about his background, the sociology of ufology, and the Roswell case and the will to believe (and not believe). Given that the interview was for a film about Stan Friedman, Karl makes particular reference to Stan, but he goes far beyond just talking about Stan, because I always try and get as much into an interview as possible (usually much to the chagrin of my production manager, who tries to keep me on schedule), partly because I like to get as much information as possible (one never knows when one might want to use it), but mostly because when I have the chance to talk to someone like Karl, or Kevin, or Stan, I just want to keep the conversation going.

Paul Kimball

Monday, February 21, 2011

James Carrion - A High Tolerance For Ambiguity

James Carrion is the former International Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). He left that position in 2010 amidst a swirl of controversy revolving around the organization's relationship with Robert Bigelow, a deal that Carrion was instrumental in setting up.

In this episode of The Other Side of Truth podcast, Carrion joins me to discuss his background, his work with MUFON, the Bigelow brouhaha, what he discovered about the famous Skinwalker Ranch case, and what he believes is the key relationship between UFO groups and the various intelligence agencies.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Best Evidence on the X-Zone

A programming note: I'll be on the X-Zone Radio show this evening with host Rob McConnell talking about Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings.

Midnight AST / 11 pm EST.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dave Sadler - Hook, Line and Sinker

Dave Sadler filming an episode of Ghost Cases at the Bridestones, May 2009.
In this episode recorded on 12 February, 2011, I discuss a wide range of subjects with my good friend Dave Sadler, of the Unknown Phenomena Investigation Association in the United Kingdom, including the state of British UFO research (and Dave's views on some of its leading researchers), the decline of interest by the public in UFOs vis-a-vis ghosts and other topics within the paranormal, the question of UFO hoaxes, and why at least some of them may not be such a bad thing, and the Berwyn Mountain UFO case from 1974 in Wales. Oh, yes... and why Dave hates psychics... but sees them as useful from time to time.

You can find out more about Dave, his great work with the UPIA, and Phenomena Magazine at the UPIA Website.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings

Here is the original film, complete in one place.

Keep an eye out for the enhanced and revised DVD version, coming later this year!

Paul Kimball

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Perfect Witnesses?

Here's a question for you:

Assume that you have a multiple witness UFO sighting. Which of the following two accounts of that sighting would seem more credible to you?

Account #1 - All of the witnesses agree on exactly what they saw / experienced.

Account #2 - While the witnesses all agree that they saw / experienced something, they offer different descriptions of the event.

If you chose Account #1, you're wrong.

People experience things differently, and they focus on different things, with the end result being that each person's account of a shared event is going to be like a snowflake: it will be unique.

A good case in point is the 1953 Santa Barbara Channel UFO sighting, where Kelly Johnson and his wife saw a UFO from the ground in Agoura, California, at the same time as a Lockheed crew saw the UFO while flying over the ocean. The case is recounted in my film Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings, which you can view here (you can read the original statements here).

Johnson described the UFO as elliptical in his report. Chief Flight Test Engineer H. L. Thoren, however, who was aboard the plane, described it as a "flying wing".

Which one was more accurate? That's a question open to reasonable debate, although to me the clear answer is Thoren, who was closer, and in a better position to observe the UFO in more detail. But the key point here is that the fact that Thoren and Johnson offered different descriptions of the shape of the object doesn't undermine the credibility of the case; it enhances it, because that is what can be expected when different people see the same thing (especially, as in this case, when they see it from different vantage points). What's important is that they agreed on the main point - that there was a UFO, and that it acted in a certain way.

Indeed, it would be suspicious if Thoren and Johnson had agreed on every detail - that would be an almost certain sign that at best they had "gotten their stories straight" beforehand, and at worst that they had made the whole thing up from the beginning.

In short, the perfect witnesses are the ones who get the big picture right, even as they differ on particular details; they are not the ones who agree on every element of a sighting, and you should be wary of anyone who demands that kind of consistency from witnesses, because they simply don't know what they're talking about.
Paul Kimball

James Carrion coming to The Other Side of Truth

A programming note: I'll be interviewing James Carrion, the former International Director of MUFON, for The Other Side of Truth podcast on February 15th, to be aired on the 16th. We'll be talking about the current brouhaha at MUFON, of course, but we'll be concentrating on something of far more interest and importance, namely the relationship between the various intelligence agencies and the civilian groups and Internet forums devoted to the UFO subject. For some background information, check out James' most recent blog post, How To Take Down a UFO Organization 101.

If you have any questions you want me to ask James, feel free to leave them as a comment. No promises, but I'll see what I can do.

Paul Kimball

Friday, February 04, 2011

Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings - complete

As I have now posted all of Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings on YouTube, I figured I might as well post them all here in order, from beginning to end.

An enhanced and revised version is in the works, and will be available in Brazil in Portuguese soon, and then in English from Redstar Films, but here is the original, from 2007, originally broadcast in Canada, and then in New Zealand.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Kimball on UFOs and filmmaking (2010)

I appeared on the EastLink TV program Atlantic Filmmakers again this past year, and as always my good friend Scott Squires brought up the subject of UFOs and the paranormal. The first three-and-a half-minutes of this clip contains that exchange.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dave Sadler coming to The Other Side of Truth

Dave and I working on Ghost Cases, 2009.

My good friend, ace British paranormal researcher Dave Sadler, of the Unknown Phenomena Investigation Association, will be joining me Sunday evening for a no-holds barred conversation about the state of paranormal research in the United Kingdom, why he hates psychics, UFOs, ghosts... and whatever else pops to mind. I'll have it posted by Monday at the podcast, and here at the blog.

Here's a clip of some footage from Ghost Cases with Dave explaining the background of a ghost story from the Bridestones, near Congleton.

Dave's most recent book, "Paranormal Reality: Ghosts, UFOs and Pussy Cats", can be purchased here.

Paul Kimball