Thursday, October 26, 2006


Beware of The Pelican

On Tuesday (24 October) a pelican caused a sensation in St James's Park, London, by scooping up a pigeon in its bill and eventually swallowing it. Ornithologists expressed amazement, saying they had never heard of pelicans consuming birds.

Magonia has a formidable bird of this type, known simply as The Pelican.

The Pelican does not eat pigeons (unless properly prepared and cooked) but does eat True Believer ufologists, together with some of the barmier sceptics who come to believe that almost all UFO incidents have the same explanation, e.g., mirages, meteors, electrical phenomena, etc.

However, The Pelican does not make unjustified attacks on his victims. As Chilean ufologist Diego Zúñiga once so rightly remarked: "El Pelícano es fuerte en sus apreciaciones, pero muy razonable." The Pelican proudly adopted this as his motto.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Richard Dolan - Scholar or Entertainer?

Recently, on UFO UpDates, Alfred Lehmberg wrote, about Richard Dolan:

I think it's important to remind everyone that Dolan's scholarship is not competently questioned _anywhere_ and it is largely uncontested, moreover... ...Excepted, that is to say, by a few more concerned with the disruption of their personal paradigms than chips falling where they may.

I disagree. Anyone who reads his book UFOs and the National Security State carefully will find that a lot of what he has written is anything but scholarly, especially his reliance on single, unreliable sources and his giving credence to wacko conspiracy theories. For more detailed criticism, read my review, which I wrote shortly after the book was published and is available here.

If Dolan has written any scholarly works, this book is not one of them. It is an example of a book written to provide entertainment rather than reliable information.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Those Elusive Multiple Witnesses

We are often told that UFOs are real "structured craft" because there are many multi-witness sightings, including some with idependent witnesses. Unfortunately, most multi-witness sightings are of the "lights in the sky" type which usually have fairly obvious explanations. Others fail to stand up to critical examination, as in the notorious Trindade case, where investigators failed to obtain any statements from the alleged multitude of witnesses, apart from the photographer Barauna and a few of his associates. Also, investigators seemed strangely unperturbed by their failure to obtain the negatives of the UFO photographs.

At least a great deal has been written about Trindade, both pro and con, but, so far as I know, the following report, recorded by Jacques Vallée ("The Pattern Behind the UFO Landings", Flying Saucer Review: The Humanoids, October/November 1966) has aroused no interest whatsoever:

In Monza (Italy) a man saw a light in a stadium and soon a crowd of 150 people gathered, destroyed the barriers and rushed to get a closer look. They saw a disc set on three legs, emitting a blinding white light. Figures dressed in light colours and wearing transparent helmets were standing close by. They seemed to communicate with "guttural sounds". One of them had a dark face and a sort of trunk, or hose, coming up to his face. The craft flew away without noise.

Vallée certainly doesn't have much to say about the case. All I can find is the following sentence in his book Challenge to Science (Jacques and Janine Vallée, Neville Spearman, London, 1967), which presumably refers to it:

In one case a crowd of 150 people reported seeing the craft and its operators.

So there we have it. On the face of it one of the most well-witnessed, close-up UFO landing and occupant reports ever, and nobody is interested. So is this a made-up story or a distorted account of a real incident? Does anyone have any further information about it?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Uniformed Ufologists

Some UFO groups take themselves very seriously and devise various rules and regulations for the conduct of their members, especially concerning the interviewing of UFO witnesses. These rules can sometimes have unintended consequences, especially in the case of dress codes, which can lead to ridicule or confusion rather than the intended respect.

Some years ago an American group APRO (not the Lorenzens' one) announced that members would wear uniforms when investigating UFO incidents. APRO spokesman Bill Heft said: "The uniforms will consist of a black jacket, with black pants, black shoes and a crisp white shirt. The back of the jacket will identify the wearer as an APRO investigator."

There would also be a shoulder flash on the jacket and investigators would carry picture identification and a pocket badge. Heft said that the uniforms "will show the public that APRO is taking the investigating of UFOs very seriously". The shoulder flashes would show the 'rank' of members within the organisation. When asked if he was inspired by the MIB film, Heft replied that he got the idea from his local fire department.

In recording these interesting details in Magonia (No. 63, May 1998), editor John Rimmer commented: "In fact I quite like the idea of uniforms and 'rank' badges for ufologists (I originally typed 'ufologits' there, which seems somehow appropriate). Obviously the rank of 'Editor' would involve an awful lot of gold braid and flashy badges, but one can scarcely imagine what the splendour of the uniform would be like for 'Supreme Commander' Jim Moseley!"

Of course, some groups merely insist that their investigators should be neatly dressed, but even this can cause problems, as happened in northern England where dress codes were quite strict. For example, members of the Northern Anomalies Research Organisation (NARO) efficiently investigated and explained a multi-witness UFO report, only to become aware that reports were circulating that witnesses had been visited by the MIB. It was eventually realised that these people were simply NARO members wearing their regulation dark suits.

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