Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reassessing Wilbert Smith

Over the years, I've had a great deal to say about Wilbert Smith, most of it negative, but I've been reviewing the Smith files and materials contained at the National Archives of Canada over the past couple of years, and I've reassessed my opinion of Smith, at least in part. While I'm still convinced that he overemphasized his role in Canada's official investigations of the UFO phenomenon in the early 1950s, I am now much more sympathetic to his personal journey, and the possibility that he may have had actual contact with a non-human intelligence of some sort (or, as he called it, "the boys topside").

I'll be writing a great deal more about my reassessment of Smith later this year, but for the time being, I leave you with this correspondence between Keyhoe and Smith from 1952 - a small piece of UFO history.

Paul Kimball


Kandinsky said...

Hiya Paul, A.C. Clarke seems to have had problems making his mind up about 'flying saucers' and when/if ETI had visited Earth. If he was telling Keyhoe in '52 that he accepted the existence of saucers, by 1958 he was opposed to the idea.

He took part in a panel discussion on the Nebel show of February 7, 1958. By this point, he apparently thought it was a ridiculous idea that ET could be visiting Earth in recent years. He then adds that it was inevitable that ET *had* visited...just not 'in the last century.' He suggests it might be possible 'they' visit again in the far future ('5000AD'). It isn't clear how he conjured these thoughts...

In a disappointing fashion, he equated flying saucers with unicorns in Central Park to induce the ridicule factor. He, correctly, pointed out the distances and timelines involved for any purported intelligence to arrive at Earth from outside the Solar System. Sensibly, he nodded towards the odds against overlapping civilisations too.

What raises the eyebrows is his willingness to raise these arguments and yet blithely assert that ET has visited before...just not lately?!

Between the Nebel Show and Wilbert's comments about 'black sheep,' it's more of the same evidence that things don't change much over the decades. Same arguments, different talking heads. Friedmans, Keyhoes, McGahas and Clarkes are apparently melted down and recycled every few years, put in contemporary clothing and placed on the set of panel shows to reiterate the same arguments.

Kandinsky said...

I forgot to add a link to the show for anyone interested. It's at Steve Kaeser's 'Konsulting'site with some other good audios


Paul Kimball said...


I've heard the "they were here, and may be again, but they aren't at the moment" refrain from a number of people over the years, including my good pal, the late Karl Pflock, who probably had the most sensible take on that meme. I think it's plausible - alien explorers pop by, check us out, and wander off, to return someday (a someday that might be a long way off, given the distances involved). This kind of thing happened in our own exploration of this planet - take the Europeans and the various Pacific islands that they visited, for example.

I'm not so sure that he or anyone else is "sensible" when they point out the distances involved, either. There's a lot we don't know, and an advanced civilization may well have figured out how to traverse space, at least within the local neighbourhood (and perhaps further). Of course, the problem for the nuts-and-bolts saucerers comes when you realize just how far in advance of us these aliens would have to be (as Kaku and others have noted), and how unlikely it would be for us to encounter them using a level of technology seemingly just a few decades ahead of our own!

Of course, as Mac Tonnies speculated, if the uber-advanced aliens are indeed here, or have come here, perhaps they choose to present themselves in a manner that will seem familiar to us, in much the same way that "God" supposedly did in the Old Testament.

These are the questions that make UFOs fun! :-)


cda said...

Wilbert Smith 'entered' ufology in 1950 when he wrote his famous memo on Geomagnetics (Nov 21, 1950). However this supposedly 'Top Secret' memo only surfaced in 1978 or '79 (it had been earlier downgraded to 'confidential' and was eventually declassified altogether) and eventually found its way to Stan Friedman, who soon showed it to Bill Moore when they were collaborating on the ROSWELL INCIDENT.

You can safely assume it was this memo that provided the starting point for the MJ-12 fraud. This is because the memo contains the name of Vannevar Bush as studying UFOs (allegedly as head of a special highly secret group for this purpose). To this day, nobody can be sure who provided Smith with this very dubious info, but it was someone at a conference in Washington DC in September of that year (1950). The conference had nothing to do with UFOs, but Smith did get talking to various 'hangers on', and got interested in Scully's book and crashed saucers.

Hence, without doubt, Smith's memo of Nov 21, 1950 was the seed for the whole MJ-12 forgery that followed 35 years later. However, we cannot blame Smith for that - even in later years he never suspected he would one day become famous, alas for the wrong reason.

One day, if the whole story of the MJ-12 forgery is ever revealed, I expect Smith's 1950 memo to get a lot more than a brief mention.