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Location: Mothership -> Ufo -> Updates -> 1998 -> May -> MAGONIA ETH Bulletin 02

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MAGONIA ETH Bulletin 02

From: Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 17:44:09 -0400
Fwd Date: Sun, 17 May 1998 11:30:24 -0400
Subject: MAGONIA ETH Bulletin 02


from:
http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/ethbull/ethbull2.html


MAGONIA ETH Bulletin
No. 2, April 1998

Editor: JOHN HARNEY

---------------------------------------------------------------

EDITORIAL

Most sceptics, in their efforts to debunk the ETH, employ a
priori and ad hominem arguments to attack reports which seem to
indicate that there might be a case to be made for it. They also
sometimes give the impression that any explanation will do, so
that we are sometimes given two or three of them to choose from.

We intend to take a more reasonable line, maintaining a critical
attitude to inadequate sceptical explanations as well as a
refusal to accept unlikely tales unsupported by corroborative
evidence or independent witnesses.

---------------------------------------------------------------

HE IS A LUMBERJACK AND HE'S OKAY:
THE WALTON EXPERIENCE

A baffling case

Q. What do sceptics do when they encounter a baffling UFO report?

A. They jump up and down and shout 'Liars! Liars!'

Many initially puzzling cases are eventually solved, at least to
the satisfaction of most serious ufologists, by a process of long
and painstaking investigation and careful examination of the
available evidence and testimony. A few, however, seem to the
unbiased researcher to offer no easy answers and it is these that
rouse the sceptics to hysteria in their denunciations of
witnesses and ufologists. One of the most interesting of such
cases is the incident which occurred in Arizona on 5 November
1975.

On that day Travis Walton claimed to have encountered a UFO while
on his way home from his work as a logger in the Sitgreaves
National Forest. He was apparently taken on board the UFO and
returned, several miles away, five days later.

If Walton had been alone at the time this story would probably
have been almost forgotten by now. The problem for the sceptics,
though, was that when Walton encountered the flying saucer there
were six other men with him. Apparently they all supported his
story and testified that they panicked and drove away when Walton
was zapped by the saucer. They returned a short time later, but
could not find him. He turned up five days later in a telephone
booth in the nearby town of Heber.

Possible explanations

This is a case which is difficult to debunk without asserting
that the witnesses are liars. Not only must they be liars, but
they must also be highly disciplined, painstaking and ingenious
liars. The only other approach is to suppose that Walton and his
workmates saw an unusual natural phenomenon which they
misinterpreted as a flying saucer, and that Walton, knocked out
by an electrical discharge from the phenomenon, wandered about in
a trance for five days before fully regaining normal
consciousness.

Both of these explanations have a certain plausibility, but only
if you just skim through the story and pay little attention to
the details. On closer examination both of them seem rather
feeble. However, there seem to be no other obvious explanations
and rejection of these hypotheses would leave open the
possibility which dedicated sceptics will do anything to avoid.

Encounter in the forest

A very strange feature of this case is the concentration on what
happened, or allegedly happened, after the incident, with very
little attention being paid to the incident itself. Most writers
on the subject seem to copy descriptions of the UFO encounter
from one another rather than referring to the description written
by Walton himself. For example, some writers tell us that when
the men saw the UFO, Walton jumped out of the truck before it
stopped. But, according to Walton:

Suddenly we were electrified by the most awesome, incredible
sight we had seen in our entire lives. 'Stop!' John cried out.
'Stop the truck!'

As the truck skidded to a dusty halt in the rocky road, I threw
open the door for a clearer view of the dazzling sight.

'My God!' Allen yelled. 'It's a flying saucer!'

Mike shut off the engine. We watched, spellbound.

... Turning back to that impelling spectacle in the air, I was
suddenly seized with the urgency to see the craft at close range.
I was afraid it would fly away and I would miss the chance of a
lifetime to satisfy my curiosity about it. I hurriedly got out of
the truck and started toward the hovering ship. (1)

The description that Walton gives of what happened after the
'blue-green ray' shot out from the UFO is obviously a
reconstruction based on what the other witnesses said. They got
the impression that Walton was hurled backwards for ten feet and
fell heavily on his right shoulder. This happened very suddenly,
so their recollections could be inaccurate. However, Philip Klass
has made much of the fact that doctors who examined Walton about
24 hours after his return (i.e. about six days after the alleged
incident) found no bruises anywhere on his body. He doesn't
consider the possibility that Walton did not suffer any
noticeable bruising, or that the bruises would have disappeared
within a few days.

Was it a hoax? Klass, and most other sceptics, presumably think
that the whole affair was an elaborate hoax. Let us, then,
consider it to have been a hoax and try to see if this
explanation makes sense.

If it was a hoax then the group of loggers did not see anything
unusual in the forest that day (that is, assuming that they were
in the forest). Therefore the whole business must have been
carefully rehearsed beforehand. Having got the concocted story
clear in their minds they drove into Heber where one of the men,
Ken Peterson, phoned the police. Deputy Ellison duly arrived to
interview the men, who told him that Walton was missing. The men
were either in a highly emotional state, or were excellent
actors.

When Travis reappeared five days later he, too, was in a highly
emotional state. Either that or, as generally agreed, his acting
was brilliant. So, we have seven hoaxers who are fine actors,
wasting their talents cutting down trees, rather then making
Hollywood blockbusters.

Such a hoax requires a motive as well as the not inconsiderable
ability and discipline required to fool enough people for a long
enough time. Two main motives have been suggested.

Philip Klass asserted that, as the men were behind in their work,
they stood to gain financially by having their contract
terminated because of some cause outside their control. However,
the contract was held by Mike Rogers, who paid his men by the
hour for work actually done. Forest Service staff who supervised
the contracts confirmed that Rogers would gain nothing by
terminating his contract in this way. They didn't believe the UFO
story anyway. In his latest book, Walton has explained the
details of Forest Service contracts at great length (2) and Klass
seems to have finally dropped this explanation, as it is not
mentioned in his latest newsletter, which is entirely devoted to
yet another attack on Walton, his methods and motives. (3) It is
amusing to note that a number of sceptics uncritically strung
along with Klass's allegations for many years, for no better
reason that he has been recognised as the arch-sceptic of ufology
ever since the death of Donald Menzel, who is the sceptics'
equivalent of a saint.

The other motive was the large sum of money offered by the
National Enquirer for anyone who could prove that aliens had
visited the Earth. However, Walton, Rogers and the other men must
have been aware that they would be thoroughly grilled about their
story and that, when they were questioned separately, a fantastic
yarn told by seven men would soon display serious inconsistencies
and fall apart, leaving them all looking very foolish. Actually
it was the UFO organisation APRO that contacted the National
Enquirer, and not Walton or Rogers. They also must have known
that they would have to face the dreaded polygraph tests.

Polygraphs

Polygraph? I was surprised, when I started looking at the
literature on this case, to see how much space was devoted to the
use of this absurd contraption. Believers and sceptics alike seem
to treat it with great reverence. The descriptions and
controversy concerning polygraph tests used in the Walton
investigation have done nothing to alter my perception that 'lie
detector' testing is just one of those strange and irrational
American customs, like shooting holes in road signs.

The believers asserted that the polygraph tests showed that the
witnesses were telling the truth and the sceptics were satisfied
that they showed that they were liars. Again, the lack of
consensus goes to confirm my impressions about this gadget.

Klass keeps up the pressure

The witnesses have stuck to their original story over the years
and the sceptics have little more to offer by way of explanation
than calling them liars. Klass goes even further, by telling us
what Walton would have done if he really had been in a UFO:

If Travis was really abducted by a UFO, and even if he previously
had no interest in the subject, UFOs should have become the focal
point of his interest. He should certainly have joined APRO,
whose leaders endorsed his abduction tale, to participate in its
efforts to 'solve the UFO mystery'. But he did not ... Surely he
would want to attend UFO conferences and 'support group' meetings
to talk to other "abductees". But the only UFO conferences Walton
attends - always with Rogers - are those where they are invited
speakers. (4)

Klass is trying to have it both ways. If Walton did these things
he and other sceptics would say that he was just like the other
abductees, his experiences being purely subjective. So whatever
Walton does or does not do, it somehow proves that his story is
false or that he is deluded. Klass also criticises Walton for
refusing to attempt to recall any further details of his claimed
experiences at the hands of the aliens. But if he did eventually
come up a greatly extended account Klass would not believe a word
of it anyway.

Jerome Clark has commented: 'Should the Walton episode turn out
to be a hoax, we may be confident that it will not be the kind of
hoax Klass says it was.' This seems fair enough to me, if a
little enigmatic. In his latest newsletter Klass says: 'It is
rumored that Clark helped Walton write his first book and there
is evidence that he served as "ghostwriter" for much of the new
material in Walton's recent book.' (5) Over to you, Jerry . . .

References

1. Walton, Travis. Fire in the Sky: The Walton Experience,
Marlowe & Company, New York, 1997, 35-37

2. Ibid., 303-312

3. Klass, Philip J. (ed.). Skeptics UFO Newsletter, No. 50, March
1998

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

---------------------------------------------------------------

FUNDACION ANOMALIA

Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos

In January 1997, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture
approved the official establishment of Fundacisn Anomalma
(Anomaly Foundation), a non-profit organisation which is the
first of its kind in Europe.

Fundacisn Anomalma is a cultural organisation, created by a group
of experienced UFO researchers and supported by a large number of
investigators, experts, qualified individuals, scientists and
others. They have decided to offer their books, archives,
experience and dedication, as well as financial assistance and
know-how, to make this project viable.

This project has the following objectives:

1. To promote the study, in a rational and scientific
perspective, of anomalous aerospatial phenomena, commonly called
UFOs, and other related subjects, as well as their social-
cultural influence.

2. To preserve and professionally manage archives, files,
libraries and other legacies covering such topics.

3. To continue editing the well-established UFO journal Cuadernos
de Ufologma (Ufological Papers), considered the best UFO
information source in Spanish, as well as other publications,
books, research monographs, essays, etc.

4. To finance UFO investigations through research grants and
scholarships.

Fundacisn Anomalma was born within the team backing Cuadernos de
Ufologma, a loosely organised group of professionals who edit,
collaborate or circulate around this most influential Spanish-
language journal. As required by law, the foundation has a board
of directors, composed as follows: President, Mr Julio Arcas
(Santander); First Vice-president, Mr Josi Ruesga (Sevilla);
Second Vice-president and Research Director, Mr V.J. Ballester
Olmos (Valencia); Legal Director, Mr Matmas Morey (Palma de
Mallorca); Publications Officer, Mr Luis Gonzalez (Malaga);
Archives Director, Dr Antonio Petit (Sevilla); Miss Matilde
Gonzalez (Santander).

Fundacisn Anomalma unites a number of decentralised and even
competing organisations, becoming an outstanding example of
maturity not commonly seen in the UFO field. In order to create
this foundation, several UFO libraries were donated, with over
1,200 volumes, as well as nine major national UFO archives,
computer equipment, etc. The budget for the year 1998 amounts to
8 million pesetas (US $55,000).

Projects in progress include:

o Data base on the Spanish ufological culture. This is a most
ambitious project which aims to gather together all UFO
information collected in Spain in the past 50 years: UFO reports,
photographs, data on UFO organisations, press information,
publications, etc.

o Collective UFO book. Under the editorship of University of
Barcelona documentalist Mr Martm Fls, the book concept will
include contributions from many authors who review local UFO data
and their significance, with the purpose of being informative and
didactic.

o CD ROM on Spanish UFO literature.

o Field manual for UFO investigators.

Project already accomplished:

o Diccionario Tematico de Ufologma. This is a hard-cover, 416-
page thematic UFO dictionary edited by Matmas Morey, with 18
contributors. The result of a three-year effort, the book was
published by Fundacisn Anomalma in December 1997.

1998 grants:

o 'Ricardo Caruncho' Prize, 100,000 pesetas (US $700). This is to
be awarded for the best field investigation or case analysis
performed during the year.

o 'Universitas' Scholarship, 150,000 pesetas (US $1,000), to
finance a research project on the UFO phenomenon, to be prepared
in an academic environment (college, university) which applies a
scientific methodology in any field. Partly sponsored by the Fund
for UFO Research, Inc. (Washington, D.C.)

o 'Zurich' International Prize, 250,000 pesetas (US $1,700), for
any quality research on the UFO problem. Entries accepted from
any nation. Fully sponsored by the Zurich Insurance Co.
(Barcelona, Spain)

o 'Cuadernos de Ufologma' Prize, a diploma and commemorative item
to honour a UFO publication.

Fundacisn Anomalma, Apartado de Correos, 5.041 - 39080 Santander,
Spain

---------------------------------------------------------------

BOOK REVIEWS

Timothy Good. Alien Base: Earth's Encounters with
Extraterrestrials, Century, London, 1998. #16.99

Although few British ufologists take the ETH very seriously, most
of them are uneasily aware that this is what draws the crowds to
UFO lectures and, more importantly, sells books by the trainload.
Seeing the danger of boring his readers with yet more rather dull
official UFO reports and catalogues of funny lights in the sky,
and still unable to produce evidence that would convince a
reasonably alert six-year-old, Good obviously feels that he has
to come up with something.

Some of us can remember the old days when we read about the
amazing exploits of Adamski, Fry, Bethurum, Angelucci and all the
other contactees, and naively wondered if there might possibly be
some grain of truth in their stories. Quite a few of us are still
around, and Good obviously realises this and is mindful of the
old adage: The older they get, the dafter they get.

And what could be dafter than attempting to rehabilitate that
notorious fantasist, who needs no introduction. Ladies and
gentlemen, George Adamski! [Applause]

It seems that Adamski really did meet the space people, but it
all went to his head and they eventually decided he was
untrustworthy. How does Good know this? Simple - a friend told
him. This friend had been contacted by 'the same, or a similar
group of extraterrestrials that Adamski knew' who told her that
'Adamski was indeed selected and contacted by this certain group
of extraterrestrials, but at an early stage he disclosed some
secret information with which he had been entrusted, and it
therefore became necessary for them to feed him with false
information which would discredit him, thereby protecting their
own interests'. So that's how it's done; if you want to know if
one contactee is genuine, just ask another contactee.

There are other ways of testing the veracity of contactees. For
example, Paul Villa was asked what the other crew members were
doing while he was conversing with the pilot of the saucer. Villa
replied that they were just bathing their feet in the river. Good
remarks: 'At the time, that reply, delivered without so much as
the bat of an eyelid, astonished me. Eventually, though, it
contributed to a growing conviction that Paul Villa's story
contains essential elements of truth.'

There are many other contactee yarns in this book, so if you are
as easy to convince as Good is, then you might enjoy reading it.
But do I detect a hint of doubt? The author's use of chapter
headings such as 'A Pantomime of Unrealities', 'A Festival of
Absurdities', 'Alien Fantasia' and 'Beyond Belief' suggests that
perhaps we shouldn't take these tales too literally.

Nicholas Redfern. The FBI Files: The FBI's UFO Top Secrets
Exposed, Simon & Schuster, London, 1998. #16.99

The FBI at one time denied that they investigated UFO reports,
but files obtained from them under the provisions of the Freedom
of Information legislation have shown that they have been
involved from the beginning. US Army Intelligence had asked for
their help in questioning witnesses to find out if they were
'sincere in their statements that they saw these discs, or
whether their statements were prompted by personal desire for
publicity or political reasons'.

Of particular interest are the FBI's investigations of
contactees, such as Adamski and Van Tassel, which were partly
accounted for by the fact that some people complained that they
were spreading politically subversive ideas. Redfern, though, has
devised a complicated theory to account for the FBI's continuing
interest in the subject.

At an early stage, relations with the military became rather
strained because the FBI suspected that they were withholding
information that they had promised to share. It seems that J.
Edgar Hoover was intrigued by reports of crashed saucers and was
keen to discover the truth of the matter. Redfern's thesis is
that, as they couldn't get satisfactory answers from the
military, they attempted to obtain information by checking on
people who claimed knowledge of UFO landings or crashes.

He goes into great detail about the alleged Aztec UFO crash of
1948, which is described in Frank Scully's book Behind the Flying
Saucers. The theory is that Leo GeBauer and Silas Newton had
somehow learned about it and passed on the details to Scully, who
published a distorted version. He implies that the FBI's interest
in these characters was due to their knowledge of UFOs rather
than because of their criminal activities.

The information that Redfern has extracted from the FBI
concerning their investigations of UFO reports, ufologists and
witnesses is very interesting. However, as in his previous book
(A Covert Agenda), his implausible speculations and his use of
unreliable sources to bolster his support for the ETH, tends to
spoil what could be a useful and serious work on his chosen
theme.

---------------------------------------------------------------

LETTER

What I can reasonably add from my long-past experience of DS8
(now AS2), as well as my subsequent reading of tolerably well-
compiled UFO reports, is that - setting aside the ETH altogether
- I doubt that the Psychosocial Hypothesis will wholly dispose of
the problem. A few (a very few) of the reports reaching the
Ministry of Defence from the public suggested the existence of
transient phenomena which could not be explained either by
conventional occurrences of a physical kind or by imagination.
Reports reaching us from RAF personnel (invariably of far higher
quality and always submitted with the unease which is felt by
people with a career to lose!) sometimes carried the same
implication, viz. that something was going on 'out there' which
had as much 'reality' - as well as the absence of 'solidity' - as
any rainbow. Rainbows are utterly 'real', even if a bit
idiosyncratic in their properties; the aurora borealis achieves a
slightly higher degree of 'solidity' (e.g. in its detectability
by radio receivers); and Nature contains other phenomena which we
would be rash to dismiss as 'unreal', UFOs and ghosts perhaps
being instances.

The difficulties come when people jump to simplistic conclusions
about these things - e.g. rainbows are a sign from God or a
manifestation of the Goddess Iris, ghosts are direct evidence for
human survival of death, UFOs are visitors from space. A more
'phenomenological' approach might get us further.

Ralph Noyes, London

---------------------------------------------------------------

THE ADAMSKI SAUCER

Most ufologists agree that the dome-shaped object photographed by
George Adamski was not a Venusian scout ship, as he claimed.
However, he obviously photographed something. Many attempts have
been made to identify it, most of them pure guesswork. These
guesses include: an electric light fitting, a chicken feeder, the
lid of a wine cooler, a part of a vacuum cleaner, and a model
specially built for the purpose. No one has produced convincing
evidence to support any of these identifications. Perhaps some of
our readers have information or ideas that would help to clear up
this little mystery?

---------------------------------------------------------------

Are you concerned about the activities of alien abduction
researchers? Then you should subscribe to Abduction Watch, a
monthly newsletter produced by Kevin McClure. In the UK only, 12
issues for #10. #5 (cash, UK cheque or International Money Order)
will bring you 5 monthly issues in the UK, 4 in Europe, and 3
issues - economy airmail where available - anywhere else in the
world. Please make cheques, etc. payable to Kevin McClure and
send them to him at: 3 Claremont Grove, Leeds LS3 1AX, UK.

---------------------------------------------------------------

For readers who do not already subscribe to or exchange with our
journal Magonia, full details may be obtained from the Editor:
John Rimmer, John Dee Cottage, 5 James Terrace, Mortlake
Churchyard, London SW14 8HB, UK.

e-mail: johnr@magonia.demon.co.uk

The Magonia web site is: http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/

Web Editor: Mark Pilkington e-mail: markp@syzygy.co.uk

---------------------------------------------------------------

MAGONIA ETH Bulletin:
Please address all correspondence, articles, etc. to the Editor:
John Harney, 27 Enid Wood House, High Street,  Bracknell,
Berkshire RG12 1LN , United Kingdom



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