A Tribute to the Iconic Stanton T. Friedman, 1934-2019

I heard the rumor of Stan Friedman’s passing upon waking today through a Facebook message, and immediately called his close friend, Kathleen Marden in Florida. She had not heard anything, but had been expecting to hear from him yesterday.

She later wrote me that Stanton had indeed passed away in Toronto on his trip home from a speaking engagement with George Noory in Ohio. The family has asked people to honor their privacy. She was also asked to speak to the media for the family.

Besides doing several shows with Stanton, I met him many times. He was always very kind to everyone and made himself totally approachable. It is truly a sad day in the UFO field and there will never be another to replace such an icon as Stanton.

Thank you Mr Friedman for all you have done, for giving such credibility to this field,  you will be sorely missed by all.

Click HERE to watch a tribute show with Alejandro Rojas & Martin.

 

Researching OVNIs (UFOs) on a Government Payroll

by Charles Lear

UFO sightings near airports are common.  A UFO sighting near an airport with an official report from the airport control tower and a supporting document from the Air Force is not common, if you’re looking at occurrences in present day North America.  In South America however, where the described event was reported, the chances of having official involvement in a sighting are much higher due to there being not only one, but four active, state sponsored organizations devoted to handling UFO cases.  These can be found in Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay.  Brazil may or may not have an active investigation team. Their Air Force was directed in 2010 to receive and catalogue reports and presumably still does so but presently, there is no official public discussion of the subject.

The biggest problem researchers have is with funding, so having an organization backed by government money is a big deal, especially if that organization is willing to openly engage with the public.  Imagine being a paid UFOlogist with government benefits.  Kinda makes you jealous, doesn’t it?  Let’s examine the South American big four and decide which ones are worthy of the envy of the North.

  Argentina has the Committee for the Investigation of Aerospace Phenomena (CEFAe– Comisión de Estudio de Fenómenos Aeroespaciales) that was created by Resolution No. 414/2011 of the Chief of General Staff of the Argentine Air Force.  They didn’t release their first report until Dec. 2015 and that was a collection of 12 cases from Nov. 2014 through Nov. 2015 and all were explained in prosaic terms.  Their latest release was a collection of 22 cases from May 2015 through Dec. 2018, also explained, along with a rejection of a famous 1995 incident involving an airliner encountering a UFO that was blamed for a total blackout in the city of Bariloche.  There were reports that the organization was to be shut down in 2016 amidst allegations that it was a means of funneling money to political cronies of the former administration.  The fact that it still exists may mean that it was deemed worthy of maintaining as a public service or that it was deemed an effective means to continue funneling money to the cronies of the present administration. Read more

Sympathy For the Air Force Regarding UFOs

by Charles Lear

   How much do you really know about Project Blue Book?  Many of you may look at it as UFOlogy 101 and feel you’re beyond it.  Some may even ignore it due to its reputation as the Air Force’s means of deflecting the Press and citizenry who hounded them for information in the midst of 1950’s UFO mania.  But this is really the beginning of UFOlogy and for a brief couple of years, in its infancy, Project Blue Book was an earnest attempt by the Air Force to answer whether or not “flying saucers” were interplanetary craft.  Fortunately for us 21st century folk, there are two books and one movie that were made around the early days that were all the firsts of their time.  Taken together, they seem to present an accurate account of the investigation and provide a great jumping off point for anyone interested in the history of military UFO involvement.

   In 1950, Donald Keyhoe published a book titled “The Flying Saucers are Real.”  He was a retired U.S. Marine who later worked for the National Geodetic Survey and U.S. Department of Commerce.  He was also a writer of pulp fiction and created stories around war heroes with super powers. Keyhoe was approached by the editor of True magazine after the Kenneth Arnold sighting to see if he could get some answers from the Air Force regarding flying disks.  Keyhoe managed to gain access through contacts in Washington and wrote an article, “Flying Saucers Are Real”, appearing in the January 1950 edition of True.  He expanded the article into the book and that book was the first to be devoted to the subject.

   Keyhoe’s book is a dramatic telling of his investigation and research for the True article.  He interviews witnesses and Air Force personnel and hears incredible stories while at the same time an Air Force spokesman tells him they’ve determined that flying saucers are “bunk.”  He devoted many pages of the book to the Mantell case and during the course of his investigation the Air Force claimed Mantell died chasing Venus and then ruled Venus out. In Keyhoe’s words, “the Air Force seems divided.”  Keyhoe became convinced that flying saucers were interplanetary and that the Air Force was hiding information. He devoted the rest of his life to hounding the Air Force and others through the organization he initiated known as the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.

   In 1956, retired Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt published, “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.”  This was the first time UFO was used in public literature and though Ruppelt is erroneously credited with coining the term, he certainly was the one to popularize it.  Ruppelt was the last director of Project Grudge and the first director of Project Blue Book. Project Grudge had replaced Project Sign on February 11, 1949 and this transition happened during Keyhoe’s investigation. Read more

How do you Capture a Moving Target?

by Charles Lear

  By definition a UFOlogist is a person who studies UFOs.  Well, how does one do that?  If you think about it academically, it’s a very broad field with many possibilities for specialization utilizing many different disciplines.  Say you’re looking at the question: “Are UFOs physical craft piloted by non-terrestrial biological entities?”  Any attempt at answering that question requires knowledge of astronomy, astrophysics, theoretical physics, engineering and biology.  How far back in time do UFO reports go and what has been reported?  To answer that you need to study history.  Are some sightings lights, caused by earthquakes?  That’s geology.  Abduction?  Psychology and sociology have been extensively used regarding this subject.  Ancient alien theorists bring in the discipline of archaeology (most of them rather undisciplined, I’m afraid) and if you specialize in crop circles, knowledge of botany couldn’t hurt.

Obviously the above are way too many disciplines for any one person to master.  A thorough, scientific investigation into the subject would require a collective effort and there are organizations presently using this approach. Recent groups include the Scientific Coalition for Ufology, a “think tank” that has just released a 270 page report on the Nimitz incident and To The Stars Academy, devoted to scientific investigation and possible real world application of exotic technology.  Surely it’s just a matter of time before we have some real answers.  Or, maybe not.

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The Rendlesham Forest Incident Aint Easy

 

by Charles Lear

The Rendlesham Forest Incident is a British UFO case from 1980 that is comfortably familiar to those who are interested in the subject and is known, affectionately as, “The British Roswell.”  It’s good, clean, UFO fun with an official memo and unofficial tape from a USAF Lt. Colonel, multiple military witnesses and an exuberant former Ministry of Defense employee, Nick Pope, championing the case as if he were the official British spokesperson.  Nod and smile and on to the next case, right?

Well, I’m sorry to disillusion some of you but things are much darker than that.  Research into this case reveals a possible violation of the Geneva Convention, mental and physical trauma, possible abuse during interrogation, and a group of witnesses with conflicting stories that can’t all be in the same room together.

The case involves a series of sightings and encounters that occurred over three nights in 1980 from December 25th through the 28th in Rendlesham Forest, which separates the twin airbases, RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bentwaters, then under control of the USAF.  The timeline is difficult to establish due to the variations in the witness’ accounts but a simplified version is as follows:

December 25, late night through December 26, early morning.

Staff Sergeant James Penniston is picked up at his post by Airman First Class, Ed Cabansac to be driven to meet up with two members of the base’s military police, Staff Sergeant Bud Stefans and Airman First Class John Burroughs.  Burroughs and Stefans reported seeing strange lights in the forest and Penniston suggested they might have witnessed a downed aircraft and should investigate.  Stefans corrected Penniston saying they had seen what looked like a landing.  Penniston contacted Central Security Control and a decision was made that they should go off-base and investigate.

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F.O.I.A. is Giving All of Our Secrets Away

by Charles Lear

If it wasn’t for my interest in UFOs, I would know nothing about the Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.) or even that it existed.  This is a little embarrassing to admit but I bet it’s true for a lot of our citizenry.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started researching for this blog that I was aware of how old the act is.  It seems like such a modern concept.

Way back in 1955 (the year that the Air Force released Project Blue Book Special report #14), Democratic Congressman, John Moss, began to seek support for the bill and it took more than ten years to get it passed.  The problem was with finding Republican co-sponsors but he eventually received the support of Representative, Donald Rumsfeld.  The bill faced strong opposition from federal agencies who would be directly affected and President Johnson (we’re a few years away from 1955) but it was passed, by both the Senate and the House, with a 307-0 vote in the House.  Johnson signed the bill without holding a public event and on July 4th 1966, he issued a signing statement.

Committees were created, namely, the Special Government Information Subcommittee and the Foreign Operations and Government Subcommittee, both chaired by Moss, and they took on the daunting task of assessing what documents, out of the tons of paper generated yearly, should be released.  Two UFO organizations to first contact F.O.G.I. were Flying Saucers International and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena.  However, for the most part, UFO researchers of the day didn’t make much use of the act.

For a researcher or journalist, the act was not as effective as would have been hoped.  Johnson focused on national security exemptions and its open interpretation and effectively de-clawed and de-fanged the act.  It wasn’t until Watergate that Congress would be motivated to amend the act, adding time limits, sanctions for wrongful withholding and the waiving of fees for journalists and those working in the public interest.  It was up to President Ford to sign it but Rumsfeld, Chief of Staff, and Antonin Scalia, head of the Office of Legal Council, urged Ford to veto the bill.  However, the House and the Senate weren’t in the mood after dealing with Nixon and overrode Ford’s veto. Read more

What did you see and who did you tell?

by Charles Lear

 

Over the last year there have been quite a few articles reporting that there has been a steep decline in UFO sightings.  The usual source cited for data is either MUFON or NUFORC or both and a chart or charts may be included as well.  Many reporters then focus on the possible causes and these range from the skeptic celebrating the public return to rationality following the cancellation of “The X-Files” to the possibility that reports have been intercepted by the government.  Peter Davenport, NUFORC’s director, put out the last possibility in 2018 while speaking to Business Insider.  So, where and when did this spate of articles begin, how reliable is the data and are sightings actually down?

The current discussion seems to have begun with an article posted June 6, 2018 on the Syracuse Newtimes website by Cheryl Costa.  Costa is a longtime investigator and was named “Researcher of the Year” by the UFO Congress in 2018.  In her posting titled, “Close encounters with UFOs are getting harder to find” she offers a sightings report chart she created using data from MUFON and NUFORC along with an analysis.  She notes that where, given her experience, she would have expected the numbers to go up in 2016 after a decline from a three year peak from 2012 through 2014, they instead continued to decline a total of 41%.  She mentions a seven year cycle of rising and falling numbers and that the numbers seem to be reflecting this if you take into consideration a spike in 2012 being produced by the “Mayan calendar media ballyhoo that simply had more people outside looking up.”

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The Return of the Weirdos

by Charles Lear

by Charles Lear

In the last blog, “AFFA and the Intelligence Community” I mentioned a paper titled, “The UFO Contact Movement From the 1950’s to the Present” written by Christoper (not a typo) Bader, published in Studies in Popular Culture Vol.17 issue 2 1995.  The author looks at the history of alien and UFO encounters as a social phenomenon and shows how the focus of researchers changed as they felt more and more compelled to explain the encounters in physical terms using modern physical science. Particularly interesting is Bader’s summation of the transformations that have occurred in the alien descriptions.

The history of encounters, as Bader presents it, is familiar to most of us.  In the late 1800’s mystery airship reports, the occupants were, almost always, reported to be human and the airships themselves thought to be a human invention.  It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the ET hypothesis became widely considered as an explanation for strange aerial phenomena and the aliens themselves weren’t widely reported until the 1950’s.  At this point Bader focuses on the contactee movement, which is appropriate, given his paper’s title, devoting several paragraphs to George Adamski.  After taking us through the Betty and Barney Hill case, which he uses to represent the 60’s, he describes 70’s encounters with an assortment of strange web-footed, clawed and winged creatures which he argues forced the UFO community to try and reach a consensus as to what an alien should look like.  This brings us to the 80’s abductee research, from which the “Greys” emerged as the acceptable alien form. Read more

AFFA and the Intelligence Community

by Charles Lear

by Charles Lear

    I’m a fan of 1970’s UFO documentaries.  They have cool, period, analog synthesizers in the scores, descriptions of classic cases and the best of them maintain a decent sense of journalistic integrity.  My favorite is, “UFOs:  It Has Begun” which is a 1979 re-release of a 1974 documentary,  “UFOs: Past, Present, and Future” based on a book of the same title by Robert Emenegger.

 

  The movie is hosted by Rod Serling and has Burgess Meredith and Jose Ferrer as well.  Once you get past Serling’s delightful cheesy introduction, and Meredith’s somber narration of the story of Ezekiel as a UFO sighting along with other “historical” encounters, there are some excellent cases dramatized and discussed.  Notable figures presenting testimony include researcher Jaques Vallée with a stunning hair helmet, J. Allen Hynek and Robert Friend, science advisor and director respectively of Project Blue Book, Al Chop, an Air Force press operator present in the Washington National Airport radar room during the famous 1952 event, and Lonnie Zamora discussing his 1964 Socorro sighting.  The movie was made with the cooperation of the Air Force, and with this in mind, a very strange case is brought to light by Robert Friend that involves a contactee, Naval Intelligence and the C.I.A Read more

UFO Sightings Graph

by A. J.Threlkeld

The data was collected from the National UFO Reporting Center website. Two separate Python programs were written to create the bar graphs. The first graph contains the first 25 states of the United States in alphabetical order, and the second graph contains the last 25 states. Each individual bar represents each state, and the number of UFO sightings corresponding to that state. The horizontal axis contains the names of 25 states, and the vertical axis represents the number of UFO sightings over time.

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Pentagon’s Program to Investigate UFOs & the USS Nimitz Tic-Tac UFO

 

by Charles Lear

On December 16, 2017, The New York Times published an article and sidebar that startled a lot of people.  The article was about a Pentagon program to investigate UFOs, which was proudly championed by former United States Senator and Minority Leader from Nevada, Harry Reid.  The sidebar was about an 2004 encounter with a UFO by two Navy pilots and included an embedded 76 second video purported to have been taken during the encounter.  The fact that the Times had published a UFO story was almost stranger than the stories themselves because it was well known, at least among UFOlogists, that The New York Times NEVER reported on UFOs.  The encounter is now referred to as “The Nimitz Encounter.”  This should have been The Case that put to rest the question of whether some UFOs are intelligently controlled craft of non-human origin and the claim that the “Government” has hidden evidence in its possession.  It should have but it didn’t.

For those who are unfamiliar with the details of the case I present the “Executive Summary” from a confidential report “prepared by and for the military” according to the KLAS I-Team who released it.

Executive Summary

During the period of approximately 10-16 November 2004, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was operating off of the Western cost of the United States in preparation for deployment to the Arabian sea. The USS Princeton on several occasions detected multiple anomalous aerial vehicles operating in and around the vicinity of the carrier strike group. The anomalous aerial vehicles would descend very rapidly from approximately 60,000 ft mean sea level altitude down to approximately 50 ft mean sea level altitude in a matter of seconds. They would then hover or stay stationary on the radar for a short time and then depart at high velocities and turn rates.

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UFOs & Truth That is Out There

by Charles Lear

“Truth.”  That’s a word that has been deeply associated with ufology thanks to “The X-Files” and apparently the “truth” is what U.F.O. researchers are looking for.  But what truth is it?  Is it the whole truth as in a unifying explanation for all strange phenomena or just proof of alien visitation?  Do we want it from the “Government” or do we want to find it on our own through research and maybe, actually experiencing something ourselves?

Many researchers believe that the U.S. Military is in possession of alien craft and bodies.  Some also believe that, sometime in the past, certain elected representatives or those appointed by elected representatives to be part of our governing body, made a deal with extraterrestrials that allowed them to harvest our reproductive cells, livestock and pet soft tissue and perform experiments in exchange for advanced technology.  All this makes for a good tale but we have yet to see any irrefutable evidence despite over 70 years (!) of searching.

If you are a researcher who has gone down this path, I salute you and I feel your pain.  Research in this area is treacherous and the main nemesis is disinformation.

Richard Doty

Disinformation is real and was brought into the spotlight by a tragic case involving William Moore, a well-known researcher, Richard Doty, a self-professed disinformation agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and a man named Paul Bennewitz, an investigator with the Arial Phenomena Research Organization.  William Moore is credited with bringing the Roswell case back into the public’s awareness with, “The Roswell Incident”, a book published in 1980 co-authored with Charles Berlitz.  Famed ufologist, Stanton Friedman, actually did the bulk of the research and witness interviews but the publishing company, feeling Berlitz’s name would sell more books, insisted he write the final draft from Moore and Friedman’s notes.  Friedman would get caught up in another tangle of intrigue but we’ll come to that later.  It was because of this book that Doty contacted Moore and promised him information about UFOs that he claimed the government wanted dispersed to the public.  In exchange, Moore was to observe and report on certain fellow ufologists. Read more