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Saturday, January 9, 2010

JAN. 9 .- UFOlogy : What Is It?


Dear Friends,

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Be Well.

David

UFOlogy : What Is It?

This sounds like a simple straightforward question. It isn't. "UFOlogy", it seems obvious, must be the study of UFOs. Frankly, lately anyway, I haven't noticed. This is not just the irritation of a grumpy old man [I don't think, anyway] but a dilemma of serious "philosophical" proportions . UFOlogy would like to be taken seriously. To do that it needs to be a field of study. To accomplish that, it needs to define, or at least give some very serious thought to what it is that it is studying. My "reading" of the "recent" UFO literature [say in the last 20 years or so] indicates to me that there is no agreement on that even among people who have the aura of "UFO authority" about them. With no agreement on what's "in" and what's "out" of UFOlogy, there is no "field of study" and no possibility of ever being taken seriously by the larger intellectual community. That thing of being "taken seriously" matters to me, and it matters to many of my friends "in the business". Not that we want to cave into the restrictions of academia [far from it], but we would like to be able to have productive research discussions with other professionals without being considered an immediate laughing stock because of what some "authority" has been preaching lately and loudly, and smearing the whole field with foul odor. There could be some help for this if we could at least define what we're doing.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In case anyone does not yet see the dilemma, the array of pictures on the right displays a portion of the types of things which find themselves into UFOlogists' files, and are taken seriously as part of the field by some of them. Yeh, there's disks and triangles and diamonds. There's traces and occupants and even CE4s. But there's also Mothman and ghosts and goblins; ancient documents and crop circles and men-in-black; dreams of traveling to other planets and trance messages from those who live there; stars-of-Bethlehem and Ezechiel visions and tales of the coming apocalypse-in-a-UFO; black helicopters and fairies and ... well...any @#%* thing that's weird enough that someone's having a hard time understanding it. UFOlogy has become "Flypaper for the Bizarre" and it's not doing any of us any good. Are there ANY borders? Elvis? Jimmy Hoffa? Witches on broomsticks? One alleged CE4 case [Pelham, GA] actually had a voice calling "I am Jimmy Hoffa!". And recently, to its MAJOR shame, in my opinion, a well-known UFO organization spent nearly its entire journal trying to link UFOs to the end of life as we know it in 2012. This lack of any sense of definition and boundary not only reduces the alleged field to chaotic absurdity but is the source of endless destructive howlers. If we can't at least try to lick this, we're reduced to situation comedy entertainment forever. What's our history, was it always this way, and can we learn anything from it? Maybe. Let's see.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Back at the "beginning", when the USAF started to attempt to make sense of what was happening, they felt that they knew [generally] what they had to deal with. UFOs were flying disks. They operated like advanced aerial technology of very great performance characteristics. The diagram on the top of the picture to the left is to represent a field of possible experiences, each box of which is a case. Colonel Garrett, when he started to analyze his cases, felt that they were closely related [so "graphed" right beside one another by me] and this tight array represented a "field of study" which was definable. So he defined it: advanced unknown disk-like technology. Wright-Pat's SIGN did the same thing. Later, Blue Book added Radar cases and films and cigar-shaped craft, but it was still well-defined. [diagram two]. This is the USAF core phenomenon. Note that it took no genius to immediately see that they were dealing with a physical technology beyond their own capabilities, and the ETH was born. As the field "matured", the phenomenon came closer: CE1s, CE2s, rumors of crashes, and rumors of the partial pollution of the data by our own advanced "black projects". Still this concept of UFOlogy (what we might call NICAP UFOlogy) was still well-defined and consequently capable of defending itself, merely by definition, against the majority of elements of the "Theatre of the Absurd". There are many UFOlogists today who maintain a NICAPian definition of what they are doing, and cringe at what the not-a-field has become. To legitimately add phenomenology to the NICAP array, they argue, correctly, that we must have very good empirical reasons for doing so. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UFOlogical "evolution" did not stop. The phenomenon, I believe deliberately, began to present more aspects to the field researchers. These things included, of course CE3s and CE4s. Certain previously unnoticed or at least unfeatured elements of "high strangeness" began to appear. Historians, rightly or wrongly glued Foo Fighters and Green Fireballs onto the field. Then came MIBs, Crop Circles, Cattle Mutes, et al. Part of this seemed clearly legitimate. What I have nicknamed "From Bill (Nash) to Gill to Hill" appears to be a clearly defensible linkage of old-style advanced aerial technology to occupants to on-board experiences. Foo Fighters also seem a legitimate expansion of the field. The rest seems poorly linked [to me]. Allen Hynek knew the importance of defining the field to achieve credibility. Grudgingly he bought into the CE3s and 4s and made the only intellectual attempt of any noteworthiness to define what we were doing. Hynek was a college prof and a textbook writer and he knew exactly what the field needed to get off the ground. The UFO Experience is our "textbook". If we could find it in ourselves to stand by what Hynek was trying to do there, we might have a chance to be called a "field of study", but we do not. Hynek would not include crop circles in UFOlogy unless there was very strong evidence for the link; likewise cattle mutilations; likewise Men-in-Black; likewise "trance controls"; etc. If someone wanted to research them and try to find such strong and credible links, well, more power to them. But don't expect it to be called "UFOlogy" or sanctioned by publication in any Hynek-organization document. As we have seen, other organizations seem to have no qualms whatever in publishing anything in their magazines. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NICAP and even the more liberal APRO had no trouble holding to a set of boundaries for the field, beyond which any new claim would have to be supported rather massively to achieve entry within the fence of the field. Journals like FSR and the MUFON Journal could not find it in themselves to do so. First FSR and later MUFON Journal [it was not originally so--Dick Hall, afterall, was once editor] could not or merely refused to maintain any boundaries whatsoever. Their behaviors have opened the gates to arrays alleging to be UFOlogy, such as that on the left. It is a Fortean world wherein anything goes. It has had several practical consequences. One, the UFO phenomenon has lost all possibility of definition and the field all possibility of being a field. Two, it has inspired endless theoretical syntheses with any thing that one chooses to present without any disciplined editorial oversight--any idea becomes as "good" as any other. Three, this attitude feeds a "neophilia" which replaces in-depth research and analysis, and even critique, and inevitably leads the subject into the realm of entertainment rather than scholarship. Four, it encourages vast "Theories-of-Everything" which ultimately submerge the UFO phenomenon as a minor element within a macro-speculation, often without the UFO phenomenon even being a focus point. Finally, and most grimly laughable, it seems to ensure that the organizations employing this neophiliac entertainment modus operandi go on surviving, while the APROs, NICAPs, CUFOS' do not. The world in the accompanying diagram is the world of Fort and John Keel, which, regardless of what merit it has, tends to destroy depth in favor of superficiality. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Is there any cure for this? Maybe not. All I can tell you is what I do to protect myself, and what I believe that my closest colleagues do---and what I believe Allen Hynek would approve of. I'll admit, with enthusiasm, that A). a proto-field like UFOlogy can not have "iron" boundaries. But I insist that it cannot mindlessly swallow whatever crap comes along. I believe that you begin by defining the field conservatively [based on the tonnage of USAF, NICAP, APRO, McDonald, CUFOS, Dick Hall, Keith Basterfield, Bill Chalker, GEPAN, etc. etc. etc. data "in the books"] and then as rigorously as possible analyze whether a new thing qualifies. B). Maintain an interest [in some depth] in things which MAY bear relation to the field, but are not yet up to speed in terms of strong linkage. Heck, I have files on hundreds of "little folk" encounters [which I'm not ashamed of] but only rarely find a UFO case which really looks like "they" are behind it, rather than a "real world" physical technology. If that changes, I'll change. When I surmise that I have two interesting "piles" of encounter types, I look at them "side-by-side" and try to see if genuine "bridge" cases exist. To convince me of a "bridge", I need several cases and they have to be well-documented. [I've seen speculators try to construct vast concepts bridging ideas based on a single incident--talk about speculative risk-taking!--entertaining, yes; scholarly, no].C). IF a "bridge" seems real, then I have to ask a tough set of questions: Is the bridge "apparent" [i.e. merely the product of a similitude or accident] or is it ontological [a true oneness in some important way]? If ontologically real, towards which "side" of the bridge does the connection point? [that is, does the strangeness involved seem to arise from a paranormal leprechaun or a technologically super-advanced ET , just as a crude example]? My Big Picture look at the Fortean universe array or map, leads me to very strongly believe that not everything on that map arises from the exact same source. That means some boundaries of some sort need to be drawn on the map. I cannot imagine how much data it would take to convince me that everything in my files is just a variation on a single theme. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But some people either do believe this or they don't care. People of the first sort are the Theorists-of Everything whose ideas, I feel, are so "vast" and vague when it comes to any criteria that would allow analysis, that they defeat the exact thing that they claim to want--a theory which defines a field and ultimately explains at least something. They live in a mono-colored world which, if they saw it that way, would repulse them, as they have destroyed the "color" that gave Wonder to their lives. Other folks who glue together everything in sight don't seem to care about any answers at all. They are total one-off fragmentists [the old word is dilettantes] who are in it only for the neophiliac kicks. Their map is no map. I believe that in the end they want no answers. Answers restrict the "fun". I could be either one of those people IF the data led me there. It does not. I believe that the data tells me that I am living in a [basically] Hynekian UFOlogy, which looks remarkably like high-technology aerial objects not of this Earth, as a primary, but not proven hypothesis. I will be happy to consort with a "college" of UFOlogists who are willing to define the field in Hynekian ways, and exercise tough analytical thought before allowing other alleged concepts and claims in the door. I also believe in, as you've seen in this blog, many other anomalous types of phenomena, many of which might originate in a hard-to-define "other" existence from which Jerry Clark's "experience anomalies" arise. My data so far do not indicate that these two classes of things are the same. My world is a multi-colored world of anomalies, which has boundaries. This does not mean that the agencies behind one sort of reality might not imitate another [that is the modus operandi of "tricksters" afterall] but, to me, the "piles" seem largely separate. The thing is to stay open-minded but not empty-headed. And, if any of us really cares about any of this, we have to be able to communicate what we're about, and have the fortitude to say "no" to some things. Dick Hall was far and away the best UFOlogist ever at saying, in public, "no", and that is perhaps where we miss him most.

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MUFON

How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:


Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:




Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.

MUFON.COM

ESOTERIC



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