|EDITOR AND STILL
James W. Moseley
Volume 47, No. 1
January 15th, 1900
P. 0. Box 1709
Key West, FL 33041
As of this writing, late on January lst, the planet Earth has not (yet) suffered the various computer breakdowns and other man-made disasters predicted for midnight last night. Seriously, we know that private businesses downtown here in Key West had emergency power generators ready to go into action, and the biggest bar in town (Sloppy Joe's) even had an emergency evacuation plan - not for customers, but for employees only!
Even though the crisis appears to be over, certain disturbing questions remain: What will become of Twentieth Century Fox? Will they quickly rename themselves Twenty-first Century Fox? And what of the Century 21 real estate outfit? Will they reinvent themselves as Century 22, or will they fall behind the times? Inquiring minds want to know!
As for the (alleged) Space People, they are probably wise enough to now this wasn't the real millennium anyhow, and they will simply carry on as usual.
The winner, as you may have guessed by now, was James Randi! The irony is that, just a few years ago, Randi resigned from CSICOP under a cloud. He had caused that august organization to lose its libel insurance because of various off-the-cuff remarks he made about Uri Geller and others, for which he was sued. The details of these several lawsuits are long and complex, but the upshot was that Randi left CSICOP and is now closely allied with Michael Shermer's rival skeptical magazine out of California, called simply "Skeptic".
The first six runners-up after Randi are CSICOP members in good standing. Thus numbers 2 through 7 of the "10 Outstanding Skeptics of the Century" are Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan (recently deceased), Paul Kurtz, Ray Hyman, Issac Asimov (deceased) and Philip Klass. If we were asked to vote on this matter, we would definitely put Klass in first place out of the seven - as he is, we feel, in a Klass by himself, though like all of us, he is not without his faults.
But the worst is yet to come: No. 8 on the list is Bertrand Russell; No. 9 is Harry Houdini, and Lord help us, poor old Albert Einstein is at the bottom of the list, at No. 10! In our opinion anyone who makes a favorable comparison between James Randi and any of these three is plainly deranged! What more can we say?
Incidentally, last year's NUFOC in San Antonio was our best ever in many ways, and was even covered by FOX. On the evening of Dec. 28th, there was an hour-long Special on the FOX News Network, called "We Are the Aliens". This included quite a bit of video film (or whatever) from interviews with several of the speakers there, including your "Smear" editor. Our co-worker Karl Pflock had the unique opportunity therein to give the definitive "last word" on the Roswell Incident. Whitley Strieber, Patrick Huyghe and Dr. Kevin Randle also received a lot of air time. The show included a brief history of ufology, and over-all, it was one of FOX's better efforts on the subject - or at least it was a lot better than the alien autopsy video of a few years back!
On the other hand, MUFON itself is currently in worse shape than usual, with the impending resignation of czar Walt Andrus, the continuing decline in membership, and the continuing clash between various factions within the organization. These are indeed dark days for Ufodumb! ...
Quite a few years ago, Beckley produced a hardcore porn movie called "Driller", intended as a sick takeoff on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album. All the above info is taken from Beckley's own recent literature. All we can say is, "Tim, do whatever turns you on!"
Incidentally, Beckley still maintains his interest in UFOS, as he recently posted a rather sensible anti-MJ-12 opinion article on the Internet. However, let no one mistake "Mr. Creepo" for a skeptic, as most of his ufological writings strongly encourage Belief...
As most "Smear" readers know, Geller's arch-enemy is/was James Randi, and they engaged in several complex lawsuits a few years ago, which were duly reported in "Smear" at the time.
Back in 1992 your "Smear" editor met Uri Geller and his family in person at a posh hotel in Miami, and he gave us a private demonstration of one version of his spoon-bending "trick". We still have the autographed spoon.
Last "Smear", my (gasp!) friend Phil Klass waxed wroth over my having taken him and other "skeptics" to task for their zealous unwillingness to consider contrary facts concerning UFO reports they've "explained" ("Smear", Nov. 5th). He also didn't like my example: his tenacity in defending his ludicrous notion that all seven men directly involved in the Travis Walton UFO-zapping incident conspired in a hoax.
As Phil noted, I'd told him I thought Walton and his best friend Mike Rogers could have rigged up something convincing enough to make the other five think they'd seen a hovering, hostile UFO. * Properly primed with flying saucer talk by Walton and Rogers, with clever theatrics by the duo during the sighting/zapping, with Rogers whisking the crew away after but a few seconds exposure, it wouldn't have taken a "Day the Earth Stood Still" saucer to fool them. After the fact, in the forest gloom, with Walton and the UFO mysteriously gone, their impressions easily could have been further molded by Rogers continuing his act and repeating his version of the saucer and what it had done to Walton.
Experienced investigators know eyewitness testimony frequently is unreliable, a point often made by Klass in criticizing the work of ufologists. They also know people are highly suggestible during and in the wake of dramatic unexpected events. Yet, in pooh-poohing my suggestion, Phil implicitly accepts the accuracy of the Walton witnesses' publicized descriptions of the UFO.
Phil also ignores some very important testimony he obtained from witness Steve Pierce during a June 20th, 1978, tape-recorded telephone interview (a dub of which he kindly supplied me in early 1998), testimony which to my knowledge he's never revealed in any of his writings about the case:
Klass: What did you see?Hmmmmm... A "Plan Nine from Outer Space" saucer, perhaps?
Pierce: Uh, well, I thought it was something a deer hunter, you know, rigged up. You know, 'cause it was deer season, you know, so he could see. You know? And, uh, and, but I couldn't see the bottom or a top or sides, all's I could see was the front of it, you know. You couldn't tell if it had a bottom to it or, you know, or a back to it or anything...
* I hasten to add that, while I think a hoax is possible, I have not made up my mind about the case.
"I thank Karl Pflock for introducing me to a new word, 'amanuensis', in the Nov. 5th 'Smear'. But perhaps you'd be so kind as to inform your readers that Pflock is full of pflit as far as this derogatory characterization is concerned. Further, I challenge him to offer even a single piece of evidence in support of his borderline-libelous charge that I 'fight down and dirty' to support pet UFO explanations and to 'suppress any evidence or theory to the contrary'. Jim, are you aware of anyone in the field (or cesspool) whose writings are more honest, fair and reasoned than mine (other than yours, of course)?"
"... I don't think it fair to call my Ph.D. a half-assed degree. It's at least three-quarters assed and might even be fully assed. When I first mentioned that I was working toward it (you remember, you were in the audience where I made the first public statement about it) I said it was from a 'non-traditional' source that involved 'distance larning', which is the politically correct way, of saying correspondence. What I see today is that more people are turning to this alternative of education because it doesn't disrupt life the way attending a more traditional university does."
"... I was amused by Kevin Randle's arguing in the latest 'Smear' that his Ph.D. is legitimate by pointing out first that it is not from a mail-order university but from a 'distance learning' one. Distance learning is in fact a euphemism for maii-order, and just because it's over the World Wide Web doesn't make it better than education through the mail. Then he claims that Web-based learning is the wave of the future - which is exactly what was said about mail-order degrees a hundred years ago!
"It's one thing to say that California Coast University is accredited: fair enough, and Randle may well have gotten the most out of his education 'there' and deserve his Ph.D. But that would be up to his initiative, whereas a bricks-and-stone university's degree guarantees that some real learning took place (more or less!) He should have just pointed out that C.C.U. is accredited and left it at that. I'll call him Dr. Randle on those grounds, not on any other....
"Poor Bill Clinton has now weighed in saying that we might as well call Dec. 31st, 1999, the eve of the millennium. It's my new acid-test for presidential candidates. Anyone who celebrates the millennium's dawn this New Year's Eve won't get my vote. How can you hope to balance the budget if you can't even count to ten? ...
"Happy holidays. I hope you enjoy the remaining twelve-plus months of this millennium. Today I turn thirty-three, the same age at which Jesus, Evita, and John Belushi died. Now if that doesn't portend a new dispensation, I don't know what does!"
"... So Pflock is one of those who still can't let go of Charles Fort's old 'extraterrestrial-constructions' conjecture about UFOs, and consequently must reject all UFO-associated preternatural phenomena as 'merely imaginary, and having no real connection with true UFOs'. I wonder how he would account for Kary Mullis's experience. Of course your (and my) judgment - that this is just the latest 'show' put on to tease us by unseen 'supernatural' (?) entities who have always been playing with us - is the only one that can account for the facts as they have developed since 1954...,,
"Pflock's column was interesting in this issue of 'Smear', though I disagree with his general nuts and bolts point of view. I strongly disagree with his statement that spacefaring beings would seek worlds similar to theirs, and consequently would also resemble us. I don't quite understand why aliens would find earth so interesting. If they're advanced enough to travel throughout the galaxy, there must be more fabulous places to visit than a small, socially backward planet in the backwaters of the Milky Way..,.,
"Yikes: What's this, a revolt in Smeardom? I guess it's O.K. for Karl (Pflock) to question your leanings toward the 3 1/2-4-4 1/2D theories on the UFO phenomenon, but his endorsement of Betty Hill's notion that if aliens looked like elephants they'd be interested in terrestrial elephants (sexually and for abduction/experimentation), is pure ufoology! After all, everyone knows that elephants are primarily interested in peanuts, and only occasionally aroused sexually when the cows of their species are agreeably in heat. Since the grays appear to be lacking reproductive organs, it could be that they're poking around the abductees' body cavities 'in search of peanuts".'
"I am still baffled as to why Walt Andrus dug out the old Valentich case to talk about at the convention. I think that one is a no-brainer with no connection to alleged UFO sightings in the area during the days before and after. I think... that the most likely explanation is prosaic: A leak of carbon monoxide fumes into the cabin through the firewall which separates cabin from engine compartment. Slow unrecognized poisoning (carbon monox is colorless, odorless and tasteless) could well have been accompanied by hallucinations which, given the kid's interest in UFOS, could have been ufological in nature. And the ocean currents could likely have swept the sinking plane a long ways before anyone began looking for him. Of course, Jerry Clark says ever. those who officially investigated the crash don't buy my idea, but I don't notice anyone putting forth a better one ...
"Random query department: Do you (does anyone) know what happened to Dennis Crenshaw who used to publish a mag called 'The Hollow Earth Insider' and who had a website, now apparently abandoned, on the topic? ..."
"... You had a nice mention of Al Manak's passing, in 'Smear'. I have been receiving all kinds of notes from 'oldtimers' offering sympathy, as someone put the word out on the Internet. As I mentioned to you on the phone, Al (and myself too, to some extent) chose not to 'go national' and whore himself like so many 'names' in the UFO and Fortean fields have done. He was happy with that decision, and that's all that counts.
"Not too many people knew the great amount of research and documentation he engaged in over the years..."
"... There was an unexplained rumor a few months ago in 'Saucer Smear' that Kal Korff was going to analyze the now re-surfaced original Heflin photos to 'prove they were hoaxed'. However, no one yet, besides our 3-person team, has had the ability to analyse these re-surfaced Polaroids. They're safe in my care and they're staying there until our team (two scientists & myself) have had our analysis published. It's in that stage now, pre-publication.
"But Rex Heflin got a weird call last Friday, Nov. 19th, from an unidentified man telling him that the 'original photos were being chemically treated so that no one would ever be able to extract meaningful data from them again.' Rex became used to anonymous threats, etc. long ago, but it's interesting to try to speculate what kind of twisted mind would make a call like that to Rex, a witness not in the best of health, whose scientific attitude toward UFO research in general & his four UFO photos in particular is unquestioned. There is no clue as to who did this. Any ideas?..."
"I've been enjoying 'Smear' more than I thought I could. Your newsletter is informative, and at the same time, it's funny.
"You know, after having been involved within the UFO community for about ten years, I've finally come to a reasonable conclusion, of course in an affectionate way: If morons could fly, this community would make some hell of an airport!..."
"I continue to enjoy and admire your production, I always stop what I'm doing when it arrives. I then draw a hot bath and read it with pleasure and smiles...
"Cheers for the New Year and all best wishes forever! ..."
"I love your publication. I always read 'Smear' cover to cover and pass it along to friends ... As far as keeping abreast of the latest ufology news, 'Smear' is still indispensable and the best. None of the UFO websites can hold a candle to your highly informative and amusing publication, I'm looking forward to reading 'Smear' in the coming millennium. Keep up the fantastic work!"
"I wonder why I'm doing this. Here I am, a furloughed airplane mechanic, and I'm sending you cash for something I could read FREE on the Internet. It has to be some kind of subliminal thing you encode in 'Smear'. Maybe someday after you croak the hard copies will be worth something to somebody, but mine won't get a very good price, as I read them on the throne (somehow it seems appropriate) and they have been soiled! ...
"Please find enclosed a Love Offering, as I have received the Dreaded X. I enjoy each issue of 'Saucer Smear' and hope you'll continue with it forever. Best wishes for the New Year...
"I noticed that I have the Dreaded X on my mailing label! But I have a valid reason! I was abducted by aliens, and I've got the Star Map to prove it!
No, wait, you wouldn't believe that one ... How about I just submit my 'tardy' offering!? Keep up the good work. I enjoy 'Smear' a great deal - It's by far the most unique periodical of its sort!"
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