Embrace The Unknown And
Seek The Truth - Part 3

By Michael Goodspeed

On a warm, cloudless night in the summer of 2002, a throng of UFO enthusiasts congregated in the middle of the Las Vegas desert. Some were there merely as interested observers, while others eagerly anticipated a momentous event. Sin City was the perfect location for this gathering, as UFOs and Vegas have long been synonymous - Area 51 is just over the horizon near Rachel, NV, and a famous late-night talk show host broadcasts from the nearby town of Pahrump.
In the midst of the sky watchers was a very boisterous Liar. He was a Liar and a buffoon and he demanded the crowd's attention.
The Liar had grey, disheveled hair and wore wire-framed glasses which lent him a nerdy countenance. He was no dispassionate observer, as the entire exercise was his idea and creation. Fifty large of his own cashola was staked on the outcome of the event, and like many a Liar who has played on the Strip, he had no compunction with cheating. He pointed at a bright glowing light among the stars, clearly an airplane headed for landing at nearby McCarran Airport, and screamed something to the effect of, "Jiminy Jillickers, friends and neighbors! It's the mothership coming to take us home! Prepare to beam me up, Mr. Sulu!"
By all accounts, the Liar's frenetic antics were greeted with yawns and confused shrugs by the disappointed crowd. Unfortunately for the Liar, who had hoped to entice the "suggestible" throng into a shared psychedelic trip of mass hallucination, he had failed to take into account one hugely critical fact - he was in VEGAS, a land where cynicism and hope have come to co-exist in the hearts and minds of the natives. Suckers come and go every weekend in Vegas, a little light in the wallet and heavy in the head, but permanent residents guard their hides more carefully.
The embarassing outcome of this ludicrous spectacle must have been a shock for the professional Liar. For you see, the Amazing Kreskin, as the Liar is known, has made his fortune off of deceipt and deception, manipulation and trickery. Make-believe psychic-readings and bogus future predictions are his devices of "entertainment," which depend on the gullibility of John Q. Public. It was this perceived "gullibility" of the common man which led Kreskin to assume that he could confuse a crowd of "believers" into mistaking commercial aircraft for spaceships from another world. He promised that the night of June 6, 2002 would witness "the largest UFO sighting in history," and even went so far as to bet $50,000 of his own cash, to be paid to charity, if the sighting did not occur.
The sighting unquestionably did NOT occur...but like many liars, Kreskin is also a welch. He has not coughed up one blood nickel of his lost wager, not to charity or to anyone else.
Perhaps Kreskin's undoing was his own "rationality." After all, it is the perception of all "rational" people that the UFO phenomena is nothing but mass hysteria fed by continuous media coverage and pop culture fascination. A "UFO sighting," we are told, has all the credibility of a child's "encounter" with Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. People only "see" UFOs because they are bored with their humdrum lives and need some excitement or distraction. Programmed by late-night talk shows and Hollywood movies and conspiracy websites, the uneducated commoner NEEDS to believe in aliens to escape from the crushing banality of day-to-day existence.
The biggest problem with this "rational" explanation for the UFO phenomena is that it cannot be true. Every criticism, every tired platitude, every uninformed opinion that self-described skeptics and alleged "rational" thinkers offer on this topic does not hold up to the tiniest measure of objective scrutiny.
Every year, thousands upon thousands of prosaic, educated, and entirely RATIONAL human beings report "sightings" of Unidentifed Flying Objects in the Earth's sky. Numerous organizations exist for the sole purpose of recording these sightings, including Peter Davenport's National UFO Reporting Center (, the many branches of MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network), George Filer's "Filer's Files,", and Scott Corrales's "Inexplicata." Among the credible eyewitness are doctors, lawyers, police officers, military personnel, airline pilots, and even noted politicans, including the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin (Source: ) Martin's sighting recently made international headlines, when his jet came within a "whisker" of a "streaking luminous object."
The previous installment of this essay dealt with official government denials of UFOs and ETs. This installment will deal with UFO eye witnesses, and skeptics' reactions to them..
Although many sightings are lent credibility by photographic and video tape evidence (the Phoenix lights, the Mexico City sightings, the Anthony Woods case), it is my position that eyewitness accounts NEED NOT be supported by hard physical or visual proof to be viewed as credible. In this country, we regularly convict people on the testimony of a handful of witnesses. In the Scott Peterson murder trial, a man has been charged with the pre-meditated murders of his wife and unborn son, and the only physical proof tying him to the crime (a few drops of his wife's blood) is a matter of huge contention. Anecdotal evidence and/or eye witness testimony have always played enormous roles in the investigative process.
Let's begin by examining the claim of some "skeptics" that UFO sightings are the product of media influence and pop culture fascination. As Matt Nisbet, Public Relations Director for Skeptical Inquirer writes: "The influence of the electronic media has contributed to a society of twenty-first century science and technology that is plagued by twelfth century superstition and belief. According to Gallup polls, more than half of Americans believe in the Devil, a third believe that houses can be haunted, three quarters believe in angels, and nearly a third believe in crashed alien saucers." (Source:
If "the influence of electronic media" is manipulating people into imagining paranormal phenomena, then why did the first "official" flying saucer sighting occurr in 1947 (pilot Kenneth Arnold), several years before the B-movie sci-fi craze of the 50's? The very term "fying saucer" was coined because of the Arnold incident. Which came first in that instance, the chicken or the egg?
Why did prototypical "abductees" Betty and Barney Hill describe ETs that looked NOTHING like the aliens in early sci-fi films? A review of "flying saucer" movies from the 50's shows aliens depicted as identifical or nearly identifical to humans (This Island Earth, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Plan Nine from Outer Space), as giant monsters (It Came From Outer Space), as robots (Forbidden Plannet), or as huge, green zombies (Invaders From Mars). Indeed, the term "little green men" was a creation of 50's sci-fi flicks, and aliens were never thought of as litte GREYS until AFTER the abduction phenomena became recognized. I challenge "skeptics" to find any early movie aliens which match Betty and Barney Hill's depiction of ETs - large, black, almond shaped eyes, grey skin, "fetus-like" appearance.
If the "skeptical" theory of UFOs as pop culture creation is true, one would expect UFO sightings to be endemic to countries where words like "alien" and "flying saucer" are a part of the cultural lexicon. An objective analysis of eye witness accounts from around the world proves that this is not the case.
On September 16, 1994, in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, 62 elementary school students ages 5-12 reportedly saw inexplicable "flying objects" in the sky, appearing and disappearing, until one of the objects landed on school grounds. From "The children said that a small man, about one meter in height, appeared on top of the object. The little man, who was described as having a scrawny neck, long black hair, and huge eyes, walked a short way across the ground toward the students. When he noticed the children, he vanished and then reappeared at the back of the object. The object then took off and vanished...
"The late Cynthia Hind, known as Africa's foremost UFO investigator, investigated the case the next day. When she was first contacted, she asked the headmaster of the school, Colin Mackie, to have the children draw pictures of what they had seen. When she arrived at the school, he had about 35 drawings for her. The drawings were of very similar objects.
"The headmaster affirmed that he believed that the students were telling the truth, and one little girl told Cynthia Hind that, 'I swear by every hair on my head and the whole Bible that I am telling the truth.'" (END EXCERPT).
A self-described skeptic can easily dismiss this account as the superstitious whimsy of children run amok. It is true that African folklore features a character called "Tokoloshi", which is similar to the "man" described by the children. However, we need to remember 3 critical factors: 1) Only 24 hours after the alleged sighting, the children reportedly drew remarkably similar depictions of the anomalous object and the "little man." If one is going to characterize an event as mass hallucination, one must explain how different people, even children, can hallucinate the SAME SPECIFIC DETAILS. Why were the children's accounts not imbued with widely disparate descriptions? 2) Western media accounts of UFOs and aliens have not infiltrated the overwhelming majority of African nations. However, the children's depiction of the "little man" - the short stature, the scrawny neck, the huge, black eyes - is very comparable to Western accounts of ET close encounters. 3) The events described by the children can not be explained in conventional terms. If the children described a malevolent "wolf-creature," perhaps we could pass it off as an encounter with a feral dog. But the pilots of conventional aircraft do not land in schoolyards, disembark from their planes, scare the hell out of a bunch of kids, then fly away at impossible speeds. Nothing in nature matches what the children have described. Therefore, their story, if it is not true, would almost certainly have to be an outright lie, a planned "conspiracy".
One common trait among very young children is an inability to keep secrets. Does it seem likely that if the children planned this event, none of them would subsequently spill the beans to their parents or teachers?
Here we have a case which is so "easily" dismissed by the self-described skeptic...yet so hard to ignore by the open-minded inquirer.
Common "skeptical" claims about "mass hallucination" and media influence also seem inapplicable to the noted Ohio UFO sightings of April, 2001. Over the course of 24 hours in Waynesville, Ohio, in Warren County, multiple eye witnesses, including civilians and law enforcement officers, reported disc-like objects hovering in the night sky, and moving in unconventional manners. As UFO investigator Kenny Young pointed out in his extensive report on the sightings, officers "repeatedly affirm(ed) a cogent distinction between the suspect UFOs and routine stars and airplanes." (Young's full report, as well as transcripts of police/dispatch communications, can be read at:
On the first evening of the Ohio sightings, county dispatchers contacted local flight control facilities, which denied any knowledge of air traffic in the vicinty of the "UFOs."
Peter Davenport of the NUFORC suggested that the officers may have misidentified natural celestial bodies for UFOs. But Kenny Young wrote: "The star 'Sirius' was identified by Davenport as a likely candidate for misperception, but after a sober review of the police tapes...this attempt at explanation is not looked upon favorably."
Eye witness accounts by highly trained observers should always be a source of interest for the open-mind skeptic. Consider also that the officers risked ridicule from their colleagues for reporting such "absurd" phenomena as "UFOs."
Other trained observers to report close-encounters include large numbers of military personnel, both in the United States and around the world. One of the most noted cases to garner attention is the Rendelsham forest UFO sightings of 1980, recently the subject of a Sci-Fi channel special hosted by Bryant Gumbel ( In what has become known as "the British Roswell," numerous US military personell witnessed UFOs and other "unearthly phenomena" that they could not explain. The servicemen reportedly found "three radioactive depressions" in the ground where the anomalous objects had been sighted. Some of the men involved say they were debriefed by U.S. and British officers and ordered to sign documents which contradicted the events they witnessed. They also claim to have been threatened with violence by U.S. military intelligence if they did not remain silent.
Although the British Ministry of Defense released a 180-page file on the Rendelsham encounter in 2002, the U.S. government continues still refuses to declassify its own files on the incident.
It has been suggested that if UFOs are real, the first ones to see them would be astronauts - and they have, repeatedly. Remember that the literal definition of UFO is not "alien spaceship," but rather UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT. Therefore, John Glenn's account of "fireflies" in space during his flight in Friendship 7 meets the technical definition of a "UFO" sighting. Some have also pointed to Jim Lovell's and Frank Borman's accounts of "bogeys" and "actual sightings" as vertiable UFO accounts. From Lovell's flight on Gemini 7 in 1965:
Capcom: This is Houston. Say again 7.
Capcom: Gemini 7, is that the booster or is that an actual sighting?
Capcom: ...Estimated distance or size?
The most famous astronaut to officially weigh-in on UFOs is Gordon Cooper, who became a self-described "believer" in part through his experiences with NASA. Cooper testified to the United Nations in 1985: "I did have occasion in 1951 to have two days of observation of many flights of them, of different sizes, flying in fighter formation, generally from east to west over Europe." Link:
Cooper further stated: "I believe that these extra-terrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet from other planets... Most astronauts were reluctant to discuss UFOs...."
Other noted sightings are too numerous to cover in great detail here, including the Hudson Valley sightings (http//, the Phoenix Lights (, and the Washington DC UFO "invasion" of 1952 Many of these cases are supported by physical and/or photographic evidence, but again, my purpose here is to explore the intrinsic value (or lack thereof) of human testimony.
As I have argued in previous commentaries, "skeptics" of UFO eye witness accounts seem to be operating from a basis of assumption. Even the ones who are not scientists in any sense of the world will parrot the assertions of astronomers and physicists who argue against UFOs. This is what's known as "the claim of consensus," and as author Michael Crichton stated in a speech to Cal Tech, "Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had."
Many "skeptics" have concluded, based on our current gravitational models of the solar system, that the likelihood of aliens visiting the earth is so low as to be nearly unworthy of consideration. The distance they would need to travel, and the "power" required to do so, are obstacles that no species, no matter how "advanced," could overcome. My problem with this argument is that it is predicated on two spurious assumptions: 1) Our current understanding of space and time is essentially correct, and only in need of some very minor fine-tuning; and 2) based on this understanding, we can accurately hypothesize the technological capabilities of an alien species. These arguments are spurious, because the Space Age, and more specifically the Age of Discovery, has barely even begun.
As author David Talbott writes in the forthcoming book Thunderbolts of the Gods (, "Only a few decades ago, all well-trained, feet on the ground scientists "knew" that: 1) Space is empty and cannot conduct electricity; 2) Magnetic fields do not exist in space; 3) The tails of comets are pushed away from the Sun by the pressure of light; 4) Jupiter and Saturn have been cold and inactive since the early history of the solar system; 5) The Planet Mars has been geologically dead for more than a billion years; 6) Venus is our "sister planet," with temperatures close to those of the Earth; 7) There are no other galaxies outside of our own; 8) There is no evidence for planet-wide geological disturbances of the Earth."
Talbott continues: "Before new findings disproved these beliefs, they were so 'obviously true' as to discourage challenges. It is easy to confuse theoretical assumption with fact, and today this tendency often conceals a tacit belief that, despite the mistakes of previous generations, WE have the big picture right and the remaining task is simply to tidy things up a bit."
We must remember that the word "alien" means literally dissimilar, inconsistent, incongruous, unknown. Could human beings one thousand or even one hundred years ago have visualized the technological marvels of the 21st century? Of course not. Any assumptions about the technological capabilites, or behaviors, or motivations of theoretical aliens will almost certainly be incorrect.
I again refer the reader to the true definition of the word skeptic: "One who is yet undecided as to what is true; an open-minded inquirer after facts or reason..."
Only when we lay aside assumptions of what is possible and impossible can the inexplicable become comprehensible.
At least one self-described skeptic is claiming to have "proved wrong" one statement I made in my story.
Regarding the Betty and Barney Hill case, I wrote, "I challenge 'skeptics' to find any early movie aliens which match Betty and Barney Hill's depiction of ETs..."
I've been referred to one CSICOP "investigation" (, which found that prior to Betty and Barney Hill's alleged abduction, a single episode of the Outer Limits aired which featured a creature with "wrap around" eyes reportedly similar to the eyes of the alien depicted by the Hills.
In my humble opinion, this is another instance where the "skeptics" are utterly incapable of seeing the forest for the trees. The alleged "influence" of pop culture and media on abductees and UFO eyewitnesses is laughably overstated. If people are really so prone to suggestion from television and movies, then where are all the reports of close encounters with The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, Giant Spiders, Giant Ants, Giant Eyes, Blobs, Robots, Axe-Wielding Hockey-Mask wearing psychopaths that never die, and a host of other biologically impossible characters in popular fiction. And as I clearly proved, the OVERWHELMING majority of movie ETS bared ZERO resemblance to the aliens reported by the Hills.
This is one skeptical "argument" that would be unworthy of rebuttal if it weren't repeated so often.



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