The Heretics: Adventures With The Enemies of Science


Book review: The Heretics by Will Storr
NOAH HAD dragons on board his ark.
By: Rob Crossan
The-Heretics-is-an-accessible-and-absolutely-compelling-read         The Heretics is an accessible and absolutely compelling read

Homosexuality leads to paedophilia. Las Vegas is full of aliens in wigs playing the gaming tables. We have eyes in the back of our heads.
These are just some of the beliefs, ranging from the farcical to the toxic, explored in journalist Will Storr’s utterly engrossing series of interviews.
Laced with self doubt and, at times, intense irritation with his subjects, Storr sets out to discover why individuals nurture beliefs that fly in the face of scientific evidence, from climate change denier Lord Monckton to the late UFO believer and Harvard professor John Mack.
Yet this is no Louis Therouxstyle “let’s laugh at the oddballs” narrative as Storr delves deep into the world of neuroscience. He grapples manfully with attempts to explain how our brains can deceive us and selectively create a universe that slots in with our belief system, despite a lack of consensus among the disciplines that research the workings of the mind.
“Intelligence is no protection against strange beliefs,” Storr tells us.

He admires the raw IQ of such heretics as David Irving and creationist John McKay while failing to be remotely convinced by their arguments.

On the other hand, when speaking to the internationally renowned doyens of science, rationality and reason Richard Dawkins and James Randi (an opponent of anyone who believes in the paranormal and the occult), Storr discovers an astonishing amount of subterfuge and skulduggery at work to prevent their own beliefs being tested too rigorously.
There never seems to be any danger of Storr buying too deeply into the polemics of any “enemies of science” but he also mounts a considerable attack on the smugness and arrogance of those who attack believers in homoeopathy, past-life regression and creationism.
At one point, Storr takes part in a mass public overdose of homoeopathic medicine which claims to “prove” the uselessness of the products and he is amazed by the participants’ lack of knowledge. “Have you ever read any scientific studies into homoeopathy?” Storr asks one of the organisers of the overdose. “Not personally,” is the response.

            Storr sets out to discover why individuals nurture beliefs that fly in the face of scientific evidence

This kind of complacency and hubris irritates Storr who, not unreasonably, suggests that perhaps the high-handed approach of the sceptics is masking a deeper insecurity. How else, he asks, can one explain James Randi’s belligerence? He takes part in a series of last-minute dodges to avoid participating in scientific tests with people who believe they can prove the existence of paranormal power under controlled conditions.
Perhaps predictably, many of these “heretic” believers turn out to be rather damaged individuals. The motley crew of racists, conspiracy theorists and fantasists who join Nazi historian David Irving on a concentration camp tour are granted the opportunity to expand upon their opinions. The result is an achingly heavy vista of dead air punctuated by bigotry, self loathing and personal loneliness.
Despite the appalling personal characteristics of many of the people he bravely manages to engage, The Heretics is an accessible and absolutely compelling read, Storr leaving us with a distinct lack of trust in the verity of our own beliefs. The most dangerous thing anyone can do is dismiss as stupid the beliefs of fringe extremists.

Propaganda and UFOs in Movies and Television


Propaganda and UFOs in Movies and Television with Comments from Robbie Graham

Big bucks are spent manipulating belief systems via the big screen.

In the novel ‘1984’, author George Orwell described life under a totalitarian regime in which a disingenuous Ministry of Truth regularly rewrote history to effectively promote the state. It might therefore be considered darkly ironic that the Central Intelligence Agency changed the ending to the movie version of the story. The change portrayed a less morally defeated main character than contained in the book and against the specific instructions of Orwell. The CIA apparently did not want movie goers to think Big Brother was all that bad.

That was the case according to Frances Stonor Saunders, author of the 2000 book, ‘The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters’. Stonor Saunders further reported the CIA purchased the film rights to Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ following his death in 1950. Agents were dispatched to visit Orwell’s widow and secure the rights so the Agency could present a more overtly anti-Communist message than the author saw fit to do in his original classic novel. Orwell used a tale of political unrest among animals on a farm to metaphorically suggest the fundamental difference between greedy, power hungry capitalists and greedy, power hungry Communists was impossible to discern, a point that seemed to have sat no better with the actual CIA than it might have sat with the fictional Ministry of Truth.
It is clear the media is used for propaganda purposes. The sources of such propaganda may represent a wide range of individuals and organizations, and the range of motives may be just as broad.

UFO censorship and propaganda
A review of such events in ufology might quickly turn our attention to insights provided by researcher Robbie Graham. A self-described independent scholar, Graham reports on such topics as processes by which Hollywood’s UFO movie content is shaped and the resulting impact on popular perception. According to his Blogger profile, Graham holds a Masters degree with Distinction in Cinema Studies from the University of Bristol and a First Class Honours degree in Film, Television and Radio Studies from Staffordshire University. He maintains the blog ‘Silver Screen Saucers’, has contributed content and interviews to numerous venues, and has collaborated on research projects with Matthew Alford. Their work includes a 2011 paper titled, ‘A History of Government Management of UFO Perceptions through Film and Television’, which presents many items of potential interest.

One such item involved a 1958 CBS broadcast in which the network subsequently admitted it was subjected to official censorship. During a televised discussion about UFOs in which military officers participated, the microphone of U.S. Navy Major Donald Keyhoe was cut. The major was muted when he made apparently unapproved statements, including suggesting UFOs were real machines under intelligent control. Nine days later, CBS director of editing, Herbert A. Carlborg, acknowledged that “pre-determined security standards were in place” and that deviations thereof were not authorized for release, resulting in the censorship.

Graham and Alford inform us that during the 1980’s the Department of Defense assisted in the production of a UFO fantasy film for children, ‘Invaders from Mars’. The DoD granted full cooperation, including providing Major Fred Peck and Chief Warrant Officer Chas Henry of the Los Angeles Public Affairs Office to assist the director. What’s more, a retired public affairs officer, Captain Dale Dye, prepared extras for the film.

There are many such examples. Government agencies clearly have certain levels of interest in productions involving UFO-related subject matter and controlling public perception of alleged alien space travelers. The history is long and well documented.

Some of the more recent events on the time-line include the splash Chase Brandon made in 2012 when he cannonballed into the deep end of the pool of ufology. Described by Graham and Alford as a 35-year veteran of the CIA, Brandon was apparently employed for some 25 years in undercover covert operations prior to his assignment in 1996 as an Entertainment Liaisons Officer. He was then involved for ten years in shaping film scripts, characters and concepts.

Brandon also claimed he knew about an official cover-up of alien bodies retrieved from Roswell or some such stuff. Such circumstances arguably give added meaning to the now classic line from ‘The Wizard of Oz’, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

Just how influential are intelligence agencies in manipulating UFO-related film scripts, info presented in documentaries and so on? “Very influential,” Graham informed me via email, but that is by no means to suggest Hollywood is entirely controlled by the powers that be, because of course it is not.

“Whatever effect UFO movies have on our perceptions of the phenomenon,” Graham continued, “it is largely the result of a natural cultural process whereby Hollywood creatives feed off of existing UFO literature and debate, and incorporate these ideas into their narratives. Just because a film contains specialized UFOlogical detail does not mean it has been produced at the behest of the US government for acclimation or disinformation purposes. More often than not, it means the screenwriter has read one or more books on UFOs or watched some documentaries on the subject and thought it would be cool to incorporate some of these ideas into a fictional story.

“That said, and as Matthew Alford and I showed in our peer reviewed article, the US government and military have demonstrated a very keen interest in Hollywood’s UFO output since the early years of the phenomenon and have, on occasion, monitored and successfully interfered in the production process of UFO-themed movies and documentaries. So, is there a Hollywood UFO conspiracy? Yes and no.”

Motives
Identifying motives for the vast majority of investors in film and other forms of media is simple enough. Some want to increase public awareness of topics in which they have personal interests. Some are artists and support the arts. Many, of course, desire to profit from their financial investments.

In the case of government manipulation of media and resulting perceptions about UFOs, motives become more difficult to conclusively identify. The fact such manipulation occurs is clear enough, but precisely why it happens is the subject of debate.

Some would argue a gradual disclosure of an alien presence is taking place. Others would disagree, suggesting such a gradual disclosure is highly unlikely for reasons including it has seemingly been crawling along at a snail’s pace for over 60 years.

Others still would suggest government interference in the Hollywood-portrayed UFO phenomenon might be indicative of efforts to cover up an alien presence – not disclose it. Arguments to this effect commonly include citing circumstances of official censorship of potentially relevant events. Those who support such theories and the extraterrestrial hypothesis also tend to suggest the topic is intentionally made to appear silly in an official attempt to devalue its likelihood and oppress serious public consideration.

Yet others argue government manipulation of public perceptions about UFOs might be due to it being a scam – that select members of the powers that be actually want us to believe in a nonexistent alien presence. Supporters of this school of thought suggest the intelligence community finds it advantageous to conduct some of its covert operations, such as certain projects involving advanced aircraft or psychological experiments, within the confusion and resulting cover provided by an alien meme. Some suspect the intelligence community has essentially perpetrated an alien hoax for numerous advantageous reasons.

Perhaps the truth is found somewhere among and between such possibilities, not entirely within or without any of them. Perhaps certain events indeed involve circumstances that confound many of us, but in reality have nothing whatsoever to do with interplanetary spaceships or their alleged occupants, interesting and fascinating as correct explanations might actually be. And perhaps sometimes the intelligence community indeed manipulates perception of such circumstances for many reasons.

Robbie Graham on UFOs in the movies
“Feature films and documentaries influence our opinions about pretty much everything, including UFOs,” Graham explained, “to a very great extent indeed. Outside of the UFO community – which is relatively very small – almost no one reads factual UFO literature (and most UFO literature isn’t very ‘factual’ anyway). For most people, ideas about UFOs and potential ET life come via TV and cinema – either in the form of ‘factual’ documentary series (such as ‘Ancient Aliens’, for example), or, more traditionally, through the fantastical imaginings of Hollywood creatives. TV and cinema are, without question, the two biggest ‘spoons’ feeding us ideas about UFOs and ET life.”

Graham suggested cinema is more powerful than television, lingering much longer in the memory. He gives television its due in cultural influence, but described cinema as having a mystical ability to completely detach us from our physical environments while creating a vivid realm of perception.

“But regardless of the medium through which they are screened, movies can pack a punch that we feel for weeks, months, or even years afterward. The power of the story – of storytelling – is primal, and essential. Movies, in their slick, neatly packaged, self-contained way, serve to narrativize the frustratingly non-narrative, and therefore unpredictable and confusing events, processes, and ideas that constitute our world. Life rarely makes sense, but movies usually do, and in that we take comfort – rightly or wrongly.”

How does Graham assess the overall accuracy of UFO documentaries, films based on true stories and similar such productions?
“Most TV documentary series about UFOs are sensationalized pap,” he replied. “This is a shame, because even the worst of them do include demonstrably factual and important information about the phenomenon; sadly, this information is usually presented in the tackiest and most hyperbolic manner, which has the effect of discrediting the actual material.”

Graham thinks there are a handful of very good documentaries dealing with the UFO issue, including ‘Out of the Blue’ and ‘I Know What I Saw’ by James Fox. This would be the case, Graham added, even though Fox himself criticized what Graham termed “the impossibly ridiculous” National Geographic TV series, ‘Chasing UFOs’, in which Fox appeared last year.

As for films, Graham gives thumbs ups to the 1994 TV movie ‘Roswell’ by Paul Davids, ‘Fire in the Sky’ about the Travis Walton saga and ‘Communion’, in which the Whitley Strieber story is presented. The films do not always represent details in entirely accurate manners, Graham observed, but the films are nonetheless memorable and reasonable portrayals of the stories.

“So, while some UFO movies are arguably quite accurate in their depiction of certain aspects of the phenomenon, I think it’s impossible for any UFO movie to give an entirely accurate depiction of the phenomenon as a whole because, quite simply, no one in the world can claim to have a complete understanding of what we’re dealing with. Still, it’s fair to say that the vast majority of UFO/alien-themed movies take a considerable amount of artistic license with the UFO phenomenon as experienced by millions of people. And that’s absolutely fine, of course – Hollywood is interested in entertaining, not educating. But we do need to constantly remind ourselves of this fact, especially when watching films dealing with the UFO/ET issue: movies, no matter how realistic they are in the events they depict (and regardless of the nature of the events they are depicting), are not real life. They are, at best, reflections of our reality, snapshots of it, simulations of it, skewed and distorted through the ideological framework of those who have made them.

“Movies masquerade as the final word on a given topic. No matter what the subject, and regardless of how much that subject has already been written about and debated, once it is committed to film – once it has received the full Hollywood treatment – it is embedded in its glossy cinematic form firmly and forever into the popular consciousness.”

Commenting further on the extent such films result in largely inaccurate beliefs held by the public, Graham continued, “Cinema and TV are meme generators, or at least meme magnifiers. Think, for example, of the idea of ‘Little Green Men’. Actually, although little green beings were reported in the Hopkinsville, Kentucky ‘farm siege’ of 1955 and the ‘little green men’ term itself was coined by the press in their reporting of that event, it was Hollywood that took this meme and ran with it in the 1957 movie ‘Invasion of the Saucer Men’, in which little green men terrorize a small town in rural America. One of the characters describes the alien she encounters as ‘a little green man.’ Hollywood has thrown the ‘little green men’ meme at us ever since in movies too numerous to list (though the ‘Toy Story’ movies immediately spring to mind, as do ‘Planet 51’ and ‘Aliens in the Attic’). But actually, as anyone who has studied this subject knows, green beings – little or otherwise – are almost never reported by UFO witnesses.”

What does Graham think is most important for us to understand about the relationship between the film industry and UFO subject matter?
“Quite simply, when it comes to our understanding of UFO phenomena and our expectations regarding potential extraterrestrial life – make no mistake about it – movies matter… perhaps more even than anything else.  As audiences, we should therefore seek to actively engage with Hollywood’s depictions of UFOs and extraterrestrials – to look up from our popcorn once in a while and acknowledge that such phenomena spring first and foremost not from the minds of Hollywood creatives, but from the fabric of our lived historical reality. By more actively engaging with Hollywood’s UFO movies, we enhance our ability to distinguish UFO fact from fantasy, and to more easily identify and understand the political thinking behind instances of government manipulation of UFO-themed entertainment products.”

Looking ahead
Taking a look forward on the time-line of television and UFOs, we might turn our attention to an item that stated, “We’re seeking subjects for the first season of a new TV show for a leading US cable network.” The item specified interest in people who “have had an extraterrestrial encounter, seen a UFO, been abducted” or similar, and was posted on several UFO-related discussion forums and blogs. The post stated experts were available to help, yet provided no details other than a relatively generic hotmail address. However, one website which published the post identified a Lauren James as a contact.
Your writer sent emails to the hotmail address provided and requested permission to ask some questions about the upcoming production in order to include responses in a blog post. No replies were received from Lauren James, helpful experts or anyone else, for whatever reasons.

While there may of course be many reasons the involved parties might prefer to not field questions about their project, they might nonetheless choose to take the nature of the genre into ample consideration in the future and plan accordingly. Distrust understandably tends to figure rather prominently within the UFO community, and providing reasonable amounts of information tends to be much more of the solution than the problem.

Items on the film and UFOs horizon include The John Mack Project, which includes a forthcoming movie from Denise David Williams of MakeMagic Productions. David Williams reports that she secured the life rights to the late researcher of alleged alien abduction, Dr. Mack, apparently giving her exclusive access to and portrayal of the information contained in his books, personal archives, journals, manuscripts and similar such property.

Further research suggests the subject of life rights has become increasingly relevant when producing documentaries and films based on what are promoted as true stories. Obtaining such rights stands to become important when telling a story or retelling it if the story has previously been presented in another media or context. Life rights may also become relevant to ensure due consideration and/or compensation is provided to researchers who invest significant amounts of time and resources in a story.

Beliefs
A wide variety of individuals, corporations and agencies are clearly competing to influence your beliefs about alleged extraterrestrial visitors, for whatever ultimate reasons. Successfully accomplishing the task has apparently been identified as worthy of substantial amounts of money and sustained effort.

Ultimately, we are each responsible for that which we choose to believe, as well as how we arrive at such choices. Please recognize and be mindful of how you make your decisions.
Sanctity of free thought should be cherished and encouraged to thrive. Consciously develop your process of making intellectual choices, honor and respect your process, and do not allow it to be overtly or covertly hijacked.

 

ARE UFOs JUST A CIA CON-TRICK?


ARE UFOs JUST A CIA CON-TRICK?

MIRAGE MEN BY MARK PILKINGTON

By HARRY RITCHIE

The way of things to come?: Or are UFOs just a CIA conspiracy?
The way of things to come?: Or are UFOs just a CIA conspiracy?

Ufology is a faith that includes many beliefs, from the oddly popular one about Nazi aliens who live under the ground to David Icke’s contention that the Duke of Edinburgh is in fact a shape-changing, blood-sucking alien lizard.

But here’s the core of the faith – that some UFO sightings and encounters are real, the U.S. government knows all about these extraterrestrial visitations, and they’ve mounted a huge conspiracy to keep the aliens secret and us in the dark.

This book threatens to demolish that faith. Because here Mark Pilkington sets out to prove that the U.S. government really has been conducting a top-secret UFO conspiracy – only one designed not to hide UFOs but publicise them, fuelling and even creating the major UFO myths. Flying saucers, alien abductions, crash-landed spacecraft, secret underground bases in New Mexico – they were all created by the U.S. government.

As Mark Pilkington immediately acknowledges, that might sound only marginally less ridiculous and emptily melodramatic than claiming that the Royal Family are actually alien reptiles. But he begins to build a pretty convincing case that U.S. agencies really have been conducting just such a long-running disinformation campaign to promote UFOs. And it does make sense.

UFOs make the perfect cover story to hide experimental aircraft from prying Russian eyes as well as those of their own citizens. Ufologists are a particular pest to U.S. Air Force security, for ever trying to root around their secret projects and hack into their systems – they need to be led up various extraterrestrial garden paths and far away from finding out about actual highly-classified experiments in weaponry or aircraft.

The Roswell Incident: were alien bodies really found?
The Roswell Incident: were alien bodies really found?

Pilkington’s theory would certainly explain why so many of the key UFO sightings and events happen near U.S. Air Force bases – such as Roswell, home of the famous ‘incident’ when an alien craft was supposed to have crash-landed, with a couple of aliens aboard.

And why so many extraterrestrial spaceships seem to behave like the pilotless drones and stealth aircraft developed by the U.S. Air Force. And why flying saucers should first turn up at the start of the Cold War, just when the U.S. Air Force was beginning to experiment with exotic new types of flight.

According to Pilkington, the campaign to promote the idea of UFOs was masterminded in the Fifties by the head of the CIA, Allen Welsh Dulles. More recently, many of the leaked fake documents and bogus stories seem to have come from the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).

One victim of fake UFO documents evidently supplied by the American government was Timothy Good, whose international bestseller about supposed contact with aliens, Above Top Secret, included completely bogus papers planted in the American National Archives.

Another is George Adamski, an early fan of flying saucers whose bestselling books in the Fifties described his meetings with a chap called Orthon from Venus and his own trips in flying saucers.

I came across one of Adamski’s mad books in my local public library when I was a boy, and I remember being disturbed and perplexed – this was a book, a proper printed book, so all this stuff about going to Venus and meeting Venusians … it had to be real, didn’t it? Now, it seems Adamski was an innocent, eager dupe and that Orthon and the spaceships weren’t figments of his silly or venal imagination but real people and vehicles supplied by the CIA.

Fake spaceships, fake aliens, fake documents and even a fake underground alien base – it might all seem unduly elaborate and indeed expensive.

But the Americans certainly had the money for it, budgeting billions of dollars for the CIA’s black arts.

The Pentagon already had a good bash at that themselves, sponsoring a recruitment film of the Seventies, which claimed that UFOs were real and which included footage of a flying saucer landing at a U.S. Air Force base and a couple of aliens disembarking.

And that, you might think, is the Pentagon bang to rights. But at this point in the book, things begin to get even more complicated.

An AFOSI agent takes Pilkington aside and confides the real ‘truth’ – yes, there is a huge government conspiracy to produce a smokescreen of nonsense about UFOS, of course; however, it’s designed to hide not supersonic test-flights but … real UFOs.

Because, you see, by offering up a series of scary stories about UFO invasions and alien abductions, this will gradually desensitise the public to the eventual truth that the U.S. government really has been in contact with aliens.

Argh! Clearly, obviously, surely, this is more hokum, an attempt to exploit Pilkington with a slightly refined version of the same old stories – but he has previous as a Ufology believer and he can’t quite shake off the thrill of thinking that maybe, just maybe, an alien spaceship did crash-land at Roswell. That’s typical of a book that isn’t quite the rigorous hard-hitting investigation it could and should have been. Pilkington just about manages to hold on to his scepticism but ends with a spiel about nobody knowing for sure what the truth can be and Ufology being a murky, grey area.

No, no, no. There’s nothing grey about it. Either we have been visited by aliens and the American government is covering this up or we haven’t and it isn’t.

Either that debris at Roswell was part of a crashed flying saucer or it came from a test-flight that went wrong or a knackered high-altitude weather balloon. Either the Duke of Edinburgh is a blood-sucking alien reptile seeded from a distant star system or he is a human from Greece. So. What do you reckon? Great credit to Pilkington, though, for revealing who Orthon really was/ those aliens really are.

The Truth Behind UFO Sightings and the U.S. Air Force


The Truth Behind UFO Sightings and the U.S. Air Force
‘Mirage Men’ author Mark Pilkington discusses how the military used UFO stories to keep aircraft projects secret

By   Alex Kingsbury

Are UFOs a mirage, conjured up by the Air Force to obscure classified flight projects? In part, argues Mark Pilkington, a British journalist and filmmaker who writes about society’s oddities. In Mirage Men: An Adventure into Paranoia, Espionage, Psychological Warfare, and UFOs, he makes a persuasive case that much UFO-logy canon was started or encouraged by the government trying to conceal Cold War military projects. He recently chatted with U.S. News about the origins and effects of UFO mythology around the world. Excerpts:

How has the UFO story been shaped by the government?

These ideas do generate themselves to some extent, but there is evidence that they were specifically shaped in some instances. I don’t think this is some long-running grand conspiracy, I just think that the UFO story has been deployed and used at times when it was convenient. Just about everything that is popularly believed about UFOs has been exploited, shaped, and, at times, generated by people working for the U.S. Air Force and the intelligence community. The idea that UFOs crashed on U.S. soil, that the U.S. government was harboring and hiding UFO technology, that it was denying its citizens the right to know that aliens have come here and visited—all these things have been deliberately seeded into the culture.

[See who the defense aerospace industry gives the most in campaign contributions to.]

Why would the government “seed” these ideas?

UFO stories are used as a cover story for the flight-testing of experimental and clandestine aircraft. If you look at the places where UFO sightings are frequent, they are also the places where the military tests its experimental aircraft. For the first few years that UFOs circulated in popular culture after World War II, the public didn’t talk about UFOs as being alien. Rather, they were talked about as advanced U.S. or Russian aircraft.

How long has this been going on?

Much of it dates to the first flights of the U2 spy plane back in the 1950s. The CIA’s in-house journal had a story about 10 years ago that said that one of the functions of Project Blue Book [the official Air Force investigation into UFOs] was to monitor how visible the U2 was to people on the ground. Someone would see what they thought was a UFO and then the Air Force would send someone around to talk with them. Of course, the Air Force would have a schedule of the U2 flights and be able to tell if what the person saw was indeed a U2. By talking to all these supposed UFO witnesses, the CIA could assess how visible the U2 was.

Were the Soviets a target for this?

There are other, more subtle motivations from the U.S. side. One is the idea of a super weapon. If unfriendly nations believe that you harbor alien technology that you have integrated into your own weapons systems and aircraft, then they have good reason to be afraid.

[See photos of space missions.]

What happened in 1952 over Washington, D.C.?

The first incident took place early one morning in July. It was reported extensively in the newspapers that a number of unknown objects appeared on radar screens around Washington. Now, it looks very plausible to me that the Washington incident was a demonstration of a technology from the Defense Department, known as Project Palladium, which allowed the operator to project radar blips onto other radar screens. Later on, the technology became very sophisticated to the point where you could change the shape of the blip and its speed and so forth. We go on in the book at length about the evidence that suggests that the Washington radar incident was a planned operation.

Do UFO fanatics know it may be they’re duped?

Certainly. I’m not the first person to tell them this. UFO lore has transcended to what has become a religious matter for many of those involved. We talk to a man called Bill Moore, who in the 1980s was one of the most respected people in the UFO community. He was co-opted by Air Force intelligence to act as a mole passing information to the Air Force about what people were researching and to pass disinformation back into the UFO community. When he came clean about all this at a UFO convention in 1989, people ran out crying into the hallways. But what happened to the larger UFO lore? Nothing.

Is this a worldwide phenomenon?

The UFO story is a global one, but I think it has its origins in American culture. Not long ago there was a major UFO wave in Iran. Not surprisingly, all the UFO incidents happened near the country’s known nuclear sites. Initially it was odd lights in the sky, then over a few days, the stories started getting more dramatic. They were describing small robots hovering in the skies. I read an interesting article recently that described the impact of the drone use over Pakistan and Afghanistan. The villagers describe the drones as being spiritual beings with a life of their own that live in bedrooms in space and come to feed on women and children. It is fascinating to watch, because I feel like I’ve seen it all before. It will be different for every nation, as they develop. Perhaps every nation will get the aliens it deserves.