UFO Conjectures

Friday, June 06, 2014

Ufology’s Lost Generation

The recent Socorro insignia/symbol letter to Ray Stanford, provided here by Spanish researcher, Jose Caravaca, is one indication of what went wrong and is wrong with UFO “researchers.”

Mr. Stanford, in his early, goofy-titled book on Lonnie Zamora’s 1964 sighting (Socorro “Saucer” in a Pentagon Pantry) had the opportunity to clarify exactly what symbol Officer Zamora saw on the side of the egg-shaped craft in the episode.

Mr. Stanford didn’t do that then but is trying to make amends by giving UFO buffs a copy of the letter (reproduced here the other day) from Army Officer Holder’s son who proclaims that his father talked Officer Zamora into fudging what he saw to throw off any potential hoaxers.

The red insignia/symbol Officer Zamora saw is the “smoking gun” that would explain that he saw.

But the matter is confused by the differing accounts of what Officer Zamora saw. 
His wife told me, in a phone conversation a few years ago that what her husband saw was the popular symbol we’ve all come to know.

Was she continuing the Holder/Hynek ruse, or was she telling what was the truth?

We don’t know and we can’t know, it seems.

Stanford is no real help here. He screwed up back in 1964 but is trying to correct the record now apparently.

Kevin Randle (with Don Schmitt) screwed up when he (and Mr. Schmitt) took Roswell witnesses at their word(s), which were often confabulated by memory glitches or outright prevarication.

Mr. Randle is trying to amend his past investigational faults by revisiting that past, hoping to correct the errant testimonies he collected.

(Mr. Schmitt is hopeful that his work with the Roswell Research Team will cleanse him of his sins.)

Jerry Clark, while not a real UFO researcher but, rather, a kind of UFO historian, has gone all silent, recognizing that his long-time UFO efforts are for naught in the scheme of life and have turned out to be essentially meaningless.

Stanton Friedman, as near to passing on as anyone is in the mid-80s, has proved nothing, leaving a legacy of unresolved UFO detritus that only old-time UFO mavens know or care about.

UFO skeptic Robert Sheaffer has turned no ufological heads away from their ET belief and is a relatively unknown in the younger UFO community and certainly a nobody in the world at large. (And I like the guy’s take on many UFO sightings.)

Don Ledger, who has been obsessed with the 1967 Sag Harbor incident, is absolutely unknown outside UFO circles and totally without a forum after UFO UpDates shut down.

Professor Michael Swords, one of the better UFO encapsulators, is without recognition in his Kalamazoo academic milieu and pretty much subliminal in the newer UFO community.

Jacques Vallee is a revered name among many UFO devotees, but is no longer relevant in  most UFO circles, having made his case(s) years ago, to no denouement.

I could go on, but you get the point: the progenitors of “ufology” and UFO lore have almost become invisible, and in the real world are a lost generation from within the fringe of life.

Sad but true, I’m (almost) saddened to write.



  • "...a copy of the letter (reproduced here the other day) from Air Force Officer Holder’s son who proclaims that his father talked Officer Zamora into fudging what he saw to throw off any potential hoaxers."

    Captain Holder was an Army officer. It is easy to label him USAF due to Project Blue Book being a major source. It is a slip, I think, we all make.

    It is interesting that an Army officer would suggest anything since Socorro falls directly into the USAF's domain.

    Holder's request would mean the symbol Zamora provided to the public was the false one, and the one he provided to the authorities, the true one. Since it seems there is controversy about it, I guess it is not as simple as that.

    Best Regards,


    By Blogger Don, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Thanks, Don, for the astute corrective, which I've accepted.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • The juxtaposition of two parallel and entangled threads come to mind.

    The post editorial pliability of memory which has no physicality and the equal post editorial histories of classical Ufology.

    All of which depend on what Freud and Jung had the courage to attempt to describe, the utterly pliable nature of the mind.

    It brings to mind the image of someone trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • What you mean is that ufology desperately needs some new, keen, young researchers and investigators to replace the old brigade.

    Problem is that we are in a new age, and the younger generation are, mostly, not interested in UFOs any more. If perchance some are interested they will soon get bored at getting nowhere in their investigations.

    Instead the youngsters of today have found better things to do with their time and have other interests. There are exceptions, of course, but how long will they last out on the dead-end topic of ufology? Where are all the UFO groups and societies of old?

    When us oldies, or middle-agers, have died out who will be left?

    By Blogger cda, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Exactly, CDA, exactly.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Stanford is one of the most ridiculous and worthless characters in UFOlogy. His past history is well-known and full of transparent bullshit: channeling and trying to sell wacky UFO detectors, etc . You can find Youtube video of him in his silly lab coat pretending to interact with UFO's.

    Stanford currently claims he has motion picture footage (from the 1970's) that clearly shows closeup images of flying saucers, so close that you can see the robot pilots of the craft through the clear dome of the craft!

    Why has Ray not shared these films? His ridiculous excuse is that he is working to do so in a proper scientific way. He always mentions unnamed luminaries in various scientific fields who are supposedly working on his films (which are now 30-40 years old!). But in a recent interview, Stanford seemed to indicate that he is still looking for the right scientist for the job! I'll bet!

    Of course Ray has shared other of his bullshit UFO films--vague blurry white shapes in the sky. And he shares all sorts of dubious and unconvincing other evidence, pretending that he is doing some sort of science. But the good stuff never seems to appear anywhere.

    Recently he related an experience that demonstrates the Ray Stanford world. He says he and his wife here on a busy roadway with cars all around. There was a huge UFO in the sky. No one seemed to see the craft but Ray and his wife! No pictures, naturally.

    He told another story that could actually be checked out. I am working on that now. Hopefully I will be able to show (again) how unreliable Stanford really is.

    Someone is sure to pipe up about Stanford's various finds of dinosaur fossils. He has done some admirable work there as an amatuer paleontologist. This has no bearing on his idiotic UFO claims.


    By Blogger Lance, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Rich, I agree with your fine assessment of Michael Swords. He's someone that doesn't flaunt his Ph.D. or his previous position as a professor. His attention to detail in taking ufo reports for several decades now is indefatigable. And when you ask him a question, he kindly gets back to you with a thoughtful answer.

    Recently, I think it was particularly offensive that Swords had to endure a below-the-belt spam attack on him by the multiple publications of a 'letter' to him signed by (mostly 'the usual suspects')Jeremy Vaeni/Jeff Ritzmann/Alfred Lehmberg/Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D./Carol Rainey/Jack Brewer/Harvey Price/Emma Woods -- attacking Swords for not publishing an earlier David Jacobs attack piece which was submitted to him.

    Swords had made it abundantly clear, even previous to this latest attack, that he does not support hypnosis to retrieve 'missing time' memories and he's also pointed out he is not an 'expert' nor that interested in the field of abductionology. It's just not his forte.

    As for younger people being interested (or becoming interested) in UFOs -- I believe it's experiential. And if you haven't had a close sighting you probably (though not always) will dismiss UFOs. I still wonder if I would have taken an interest if I didn't have a shared CE in my family's backyard during a barbeque (with family, neighbors, friends) when I was a girl. After that 'Roy Neary' moment (which profoundly affected several others there as well), my reality changed.

    ~ Susan

    By Blogger brownie, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Thanks, Susan...

    The "usual suspects" you cite are a vile lot, making the field of UFO study stink.

    Their pathologies are palpable.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • I don't suppose you guys saw the Friedman AMA on ATS? I was very disappointed. :(

    That being said, there are a few of us younger folks trying to figure things out. The biggest problem, imho, is getting access to materials squirrieled away by the last generation. The recent collections of John Keel's writings, for instance, have some really interesting material in them. For example, he and Ivan Sanderson apparently investigated a entire New Jeresy town that experienced missing time after hearing an electronic noise in 1968. Thats the extent of what I know about that - if there is anything else, I bet its buried in Keel's files...

    By Blogger Clayton Robertson, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Perhaps younger people aren't interested in UFOs because the UFOs themselves have become background noise. The UFOs are still there but no longer command the amount of attention that they did in the past; they're perceived by most people as part and parcel of the environment to the point where few people bother to report their sightings.

    Vallee may be right.

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Yes, CS:

    I think you may be right.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • In case you've forgotten:

    ufoolergy is history;

    make belief in the "UFO" myth and delusion history as well.

    My apologies to the Pelican

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Skipper Steve! JV was right about something? I Doubt It! ;-)

    But you're onto something. As I wrote elsewhere:

    "...I think we all realise we are getting nowhere, nowhere at all."

    Because it's not intended to? What purpose has any collective delusion served? None.

    Another, more neutral, answer to Anthony's question is that the entire subject: the history of the myth and delusion, all reports ever, all media coverage, all books ever written about it, and all the activities of believers, skeptics, critics and theorists alike is simply mass-media static, psychosocial noise generated by the fact that world mass communications exist. The "UFO" is purely a media creation. As aviation and aerospace advanced, as the various media developed and the subject's currency was repeatedly proven, the subject became a semipermanent feature of the continuously evolving, pervasive media. And the intensity of this static, this psychosocial noise has varied with global crises.

    Ultimately, as I argued at Bad UFOs, the psychosocial milieu will change and the "UFO" will be forgotten, to be replaced by some new social delusion. But as it is: "UFO" is the icon of antiscience; belief in "UFOs" is anti-intellectual obscurantism; those who profess and practice belief in the "UFO" delusion expose their studied antiscientific contrarianism with every fallacious appeal and every irrational claim.

    They're not ufooling anyone! :-D


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • I think there is still an interest in UFOs among younger people. Myself included along with a number of my younger friends. I've never experienced a CE but the possibility of ET visitation has always piqued my interest. My friends are the same. I think the most disheartening thing is the lack of good photographic evidence that isn't fake. Lack of proof, is not proof that nothing exists- or however that saying goes. I commend anyone that takes a serious look at the UFO phenomenon. And maybe Capt. Steve is right about them becoming background noise. I think it's become somewhat acceptable to see unexplained things in the night sky. These days our skies are bustling with all kinds of flying machines- from satellites to drones to top secret spy planes. People are looking for something more substantial than unexplained lights in the night sky. However that does not mean there isn't any interest in the subject anymore. Maybe it isn't as popular as it was before, but everything has it's highs and lows.

    By Blogger Daniel Hurd, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Zoam...

    Your "atheistic" view is spicy but hardly intellectual or intelligently open-minded.

    Your stance is too hard-core for those who've followed the UFO lore over the years.

    You speak of irrationality and then engage in it mightily.

    I don't expect even skeptics to find your position savory.

    But you know I like you; you've got "balls" as they say.

    You're just a bit too loony for sensible people.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Daniel:

    UFOs are a fringe topic with little real interest or value.

    The phenomenon will always have a small coterie of aficionados, just like collectors of odd detritus.

    But the world has too many practical exigencies to hold our attention and needs.

    UFOs are giddy, ephemeral things for the light-headed.

    I'm surprised that any young person finds the topic interesting.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Zoam,

    And yet, there they are, flying across the skies. I'm not sure psychosocial noise behaves that way, or for that matter that it behaves in ANY physical way. If I remember correctly even Jung thought there was a physical nature to some UFOs.

    I tend to think that there isn't one explanation for any of this but a melange of explanations, and yes, I include some of Vallee's ideas in that mix.

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • Rich,
    I can agree that it is a fringe subject. I Find the subject interesting only because of the possibilities of what some of the sightings may be. I have an interest in top secret aircraft as well as the possibility of ET visitation. I think even the faintest possibility of life forms from other planets or space captures my imagination.
    Also, while the subject of UFOs is interesting to my friends and I- I must admit we are an odd bunch. :)

    By Blogger Daniel Hurd, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • We all here, Daniel, make up an odd bunch.

    That UFOs may be from other worlds is fascinating, and the top secret prototype possibility is also.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, June 06, 2014  

  • What is striking about the history of the subject is the abdication of technological science, which to my mind, opened the door to the lunatic fringe. Private industry, the military and technological science are in the same bed in terms of who funds what.

    Instead of making a case for the study of the subject we have theories, cults, philosophic blinders galore and I am as guilty as the next.

    It is easier to obtain funding for the study of the mating habits of chipmunks or blow billions on experimental weapons platforms that are unworkable.

    On one hand, you could say such a study by science has no pragmatic purpose as discovery science has been replaced by technology science and on the other we have a phenomenon that calls into question every critical assumption about the realities was inhabit.
    The evidence to date shows where our society places a higher value.
    I am reminded of the criticism of the program to land a man on the moon which in essence claimed there was no practical value to it. All we received in return was a bunch of moon rocks.
    Yet many of the discoveries made along the way to that goal are now considered essential both from a technological point of view as well as from achieving a greater understanding of many subjects.
    I absolutely disagree that there is no methodology to study this subject. More time is spent on theories than attempting discoveries because there is a void to be filled, a necessity or compulsion to gab in the absence of better evidence.
    It's telling that such gab will never go away and I think we over inflate our own minutia because there's no traction due to the abdication by science.
    Young folks are interested and even current professionals in the sciences but as always, money talks and bullshit walks.
    All of the above makes this subject more of a history of our failings without taking away anything from the potential of any real study itself.
    Simply but, there is no research only sociology at play.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, June 07, 2014  

  • American mainstream ufology -- Keyhoe, NICAP -- appears to have been created by the USN and the CIA, perhaps for the purpose of "shaking something loose" from the USAF about UFOs.

    It is history, political history, and should be written about as such.

    What Bruce calls "gab" -- the polemic and apologetics of all the sides -- has become in many instances about matters that few of the discussants are aware of unless they've done their research on ufology and the history of its "theories", or are of that earlier generation and hip deep in the issues since their youth.

    The study of ufos may never have a seat at the academic table, but the study of ufology will.



    By Blogger Don, at Saturday, June 07, 2014  

  • Rich; It's my pleasure to be known to you as an extremist of "UFO" skeptics, but

    Every Scientific realist and skeptic of "UFO" reports I know professes adherence to the principle of parsimony, formalized as the Null hypothesis in science and as applied to "UFO" reports. The entire history of the "UFO" idea--all reports, every small group scare, flap and panic, each and every bit of over a century of reports of ambiguous aerial apparitions--the entire mass of data, placed against other explanations, has but one best explanation, the Null hypothesis: There aren't any real "UFOs" (trufos) of any kind and there never were.

    The Psychosocial hypothesis of the "UFO" myth and collective delusion accepts the Null hypothesis as a scientific fact about the world and then explains its very well documented history, evolution and demise. The uniquely twentieth-century "UFO" social delusion is but one of many in centuries of collective delusions.


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, June 07, 2014  

  • Zoamchomsky wrote:

    "...There aren't any real "UFOs" (trufos) of any kind and there never were."

    The one study of UFOs that I would consider most scientific in that it was conducted by a set of qualified scientists and engineers, was hypothesis-driven, received consistent (albeit small) funding, was conducted over many years, and was not tainted by association with a military or national security apparatus was the GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN series conducted by the French national space agency, CNES. CNES would be the French equivalent to NASA. They were also observing the principle of parsimony and arrived at a conclusion exactly opposite of Noam's statement.

    By the way, the consensus adoption of the null hypothesis formality does not come from the principle of parsimony; it comes from accepting Karl Popper's ideas on falsifiability.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, June 07, 2014  

  • Larry;

    What a single study concluded--when that conclusion is contrary to the way that the world actually is--is completely inconsequential, as are decades of Believers' activities. Over a century of the "UFO" myth and delusion has not produced one real "UFO."

    New claims about the world are validated by evidence in opposition to the Null hypothesis, the default position, that the world remains as it is. So the principle of parsimony is fundamental to the practice of the Null hypothesis, and is essential to understanding it.

    It was evolutionary biologist Ronald Fisher who coined the "Null hypothesis" in 1935, which was probably influenced by Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein who showed the value of the negative proof. Parsimony, Occam's, Null hypothesis, Absence of evidence, and Russell's Celestial teapot are all related.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, June 08, 2014  

  • "there they are, flying across the skies."

    Really, Steve?

    Bright planets, stars, meteors, planes, blimps, sundogs, lenticular clouds, an occasional rocket launch, that's what we have here--but not one real "UFO" of any kind. ;-)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, June 08, 2014  

  • Zoam, having now seen and laughed at a feed by Roger Marsh of MUFON reports, I can suggest that the most common cause of UFO reports is abject human stupidity--particularly among UFO "investigators".


    By Blogger Lance, at Sunday, June 08, 2014  

  • Zoam has been freed of Bayesian inference and lives in the limited universe of classical physics which are being continually amended unlike his blank statements drawn as personal facts which is about as unscientific as the other dross that decorates this cake. He doth protest too much.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, June 09, 2014  

  • Zoam,

    Yes, really.

    We will agree to disagree. I learned a long time ago not to debate dogmatic individuals.

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Monday, June 09, 2014  

  • Bruce;

    There's nothing personal about the fact that the idea "UFO" is fundamentally absurd and is nothing but a mass media-manufactured myth and delusion: the first reports were newspaper hoaxes, and the failure to identify cannot logically be the basis for any identity. The continued "UFO" myth and delusion is an evidenceless false belief--faint psychosocial noise--and ufoolergy remains a stillborn dessicated turd. Endless reconsiderations will never alter those facts; and they are facts that bear repetition.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • Zoam
    If you want to don the mantle of skeptic you need to read skeptical material from more astute skeptics who have not reduced the entire and enormous litany of false perceptions to a single bullet theory of some vague "psycho-social" malady. Some examples: The planet Venus, temperature inversions,x-craft, conventional craft, ball plasma, etc etc.
    An astute skeptic performs an invaluable service to those of us who are agnostics as to determining the cause(s) for this phenomenon. Your personality is showing in your overwrought vehemence and overuse of adjectives despite your odd claim of being the embodiment of a arm's length observer. Its that transparent. A worthy dialog is one thing and your own brand of psycho -social noise is another.
    Theres nothing of merit in terms of the lack of specifics you attach to your vague rant.
    Have a nice day.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, June 10, 2014  

  • The Psychosocial hypothesis of the "UFO" myth and collective delusion accepts the Null hypothesis as a scientific fact about the world and then explains its very well documented history, evolution and demise. The uniquely twentieth-century "UFO" social delusion is but one of many in centuries of collective delusions.

    Contrary to these facts, Bruce is still pretending that the PSH is a personal view, and that it is not the fundamental complement to the Null hypothesis, from which skeptics have addressed all "UFO" reports in their proper context of the mass "UFO" delusion.


    Even if the pseudoscience of ufoolergy hadn't been stillborn, it would have long ago died the death of a thousand cuts. Every substantial "UFO" event has been adequately explained by editors and reporters who recognized the sensationalist inventions of "fake journalism" and by the investigations of skeptical debunkers.

    All were informed by some version of the psychosocial hypothesis. And all that's left, Bruce, is the original media-manufactured "UFO" craze, a myth, a faint psychosocial noise whose media-perpetuated intensity varies in relation to intentional promotion and random world events.

    There is nothing scientific about the "UFO" myth and delusion; there is nothing to be "agnostic" about because the issue was determined in the negative long ago. But even if there were, "model agnosticism" would be an inappropriate position because old-time radical skepticism is fundamentally flawed abstract posturing.

    1896-97, WR Hearst, among others, decries Airship mania as "fake journalism."

    1947, the JBIS calls American flying-saucer reports "mass hysteria."

    1979, James Oberg writes that the subject demands the "attention of sociologists."

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, June 11, 2014  

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