Friday, June 30, 2006


'UFO Car' Beams Into Spotlight

A thread was started recently on the UFO UpDates mailing list about the case of Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson of Marshall County, Minnesota, who apparently encountered a UFO while on patrol on 27 August 1979. His police car sustained damage in the incident, which greatly impressed the True Believers, who insisted that there could not be any mundane or conventional explanation for it.

A detailed report on the investigation of this case can be found here. The thread on UpDates has the same heading as the title of this item.

When I joined the discussion I was subjected to the usual insults ("pelicanist", "debunker", etc.), then the thread was suddenly terminated without explanation. However, I don't want my words of wisdom to be wasted, so here is the post I sent in and which did not appear on UpDates.

From: John Harney
Date: 22 June 2006 20:27
To: ufoupdates
Subject: Re: 'UFO Car' Beams Into Spotlight

> From: Jerome Clark
> To: ufoupdates
> Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 09:27:39 -0500
> Subject: Re: 'UFO Car' Beams Into Spotlight

> >From: Bruce Maccabee
> >To: ufoupdates
> >Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 12:45:58 -0400
> >Subject: 'UFO Car' Beams Into Spotlight

> >>From: John Harney
> >>To: ufoupdates
> >>Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2006 21:57:13 +0100
> >>Subject: Re: 'UFO Car' Beams Into Spotlight

> >>Yes the US Air Force got it right where UFOs were concerned.
> >>It's no use trying to wriggle out of it; in this case the
> >>evidence points to the damage to the car being done either by
> >>Johnson or by someone else (with or without his knowledge).
> >>However, it is unlikely that all the relevant facts will ever
> >>become available.

> >PJK recycled!

> >Very well.

> >In the interest of the preservation of law and order you
> >write to the Chief of Police in Warren, Minnesota to tell him
> >that all evidence points toward Val Johnson (or someone else
> >known or unknown to him) as the cause of the damage to the
> >police car and that he should therefore be punished.

> In order to "solve" UFO cases pelicanist-style,


If you had bothered to read my postings you would notice that I
did _not_ claim to have solved the case. I merely pointed out
that, as the damage to the police car was evidently deliberate,
then either Johnson or someone else must have done it. It's just
elementary logic.

>it always helps

> (1) to have had no involvement whatever in the investigation
> (conducted in what anybody with any common sense - to borrow a
> phrase - would recognize as a thorough fashion by Allan Hendry
> [whom pelicanists, knowledgeable readers will note with
> amusement, customarily regard as the last word whenever he
> rendered a conclusion they want to hear] almost immediately
> after the incident's occurrence);

Hendry can't be expected to get it right every time.

> (2) to live an ocean away from the scene and the persons
> involved, therefore ensuring that no inconvenient reality
> interferes with the joy of airy speculation and character
> assassination;

Don't be silly Jerry; following where the evidence leads is not
airy speculation and it is certainly not character assassination.
You really must try to look at these things objectively. As I
said, perhaps someone else did the damage (character
assassination of unknown character?), but you can't just wave the
evidence aside just because you want to preserve the air of
spurious mystery which gets attached to such cases.

> (3) and, to of course, to possess a beak, wings, and the
> to squawk in convincingly avian fashion and to the satisfaction
> of fellow flock members, if to nobody else's.

Now you're getting really silly.

> I would say that this thread has been a waste of time and band-
> width, Bruce. You did a fine job, but it was, as is so often
> case with these birds, utterly without point or purpose.

He hasn't done a fine job, he has just brushed aside or ignored
the points I raised.

> could as easily deflect the moon from its course via
> psychokinetic powers as to challenge a pelicanist's touching
> faith that all is safe and ordinary in the world Next time,
> try to resist the temptation. I, of course, lay claim to no
> perfection in this regard, but I'm trying, too.

That's right, ignore all the weaknesses and unanswered questions
in these UFO cases, resort to inane insults when you are losing
the argument, and always tell the True Believers what they want
to hear.

John Harney

Your comments would be welcome.

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