|EDITOR AND STILL
James W. Moseley
Volume 49, No. 3
April 1st, 2002
(April Fool's Day)
P. 0. Box 1709
Key West, FL 33041
We have never had the pleasure of reading John Keel's book, and can only assume that the movie is a wildly loose interpretation thereof. However, it is good science fiction, and a welcome change from most science fiction movies. Even when the continuity gets rather garbled, this only adds to the atmosphere of mystery and confusion, and tends to make the film better rather than worse.
The aim of the movie is to convince us that we cannot always trust our own senses, and that there are forces around us that we simply don't understand. We'll drink to that!
Then there are the weird subtle elements: The hero is named John Klein, which is remarkably similar to John Keel. There is also a Dr. Leek, which is Keel spelled backwards! The number of people who died in the 1967 Silver Bridge disaster is deliberately misstated, as is the date of that incident; and the entity who keeps making crazy phone calls is named Ingrid Cold.
There was indeed an Ingrid Cold in ufological lore, but this was an entirely separate incident involving an alleged spaceman who landed near a highway in West Virginia around the same time as the Mothman sightings, and it involved a human named Woodrow Derenberger, who wrote, a book about his personal adventure with the Unknown.
Although John Keel and your editor have not chosen to speak to each other for quite a few years, we say again that we are glad that the producers of this film were decent enough to give him a payoff for using his book as the basis for their story. We understand that it took some legal pressure for Keel to accomplish this goal. In the end, Keel made out a lot better financially than the late J. Allen Hynek, who was screwed to the wall by the producers of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - which was a chapter title in one of Hynek's books.
As for the small germ of Truth behind the "Mothman" science fiction - yes, there were sightings of a mysterious winged creature in West Virginia in 1966-1967. (Wisely, the movie does not attempt to show exactly what this alleged bird looked like. This adds to the mystery.) And yes, there was the collapse of the Silver Bridge, which we can only assume was unrelated. As for the paranormal things that supposedly happened to Keel during his real-life investigation, some may well have been hoaxes perpetrated by our long departed mutual friend Gray Barker. There is no way we will ever know for sure, at this late date. However, Barker did write a book in 1970 called "The Silver Bridge", which touches on the same topics as Keel wrote about five years later in "The Mothman Prophecies".
There are things in this world that we are not likely to ever understand. UFOs constitute one category. "Mothman" constitutes another category, far less widely known but equally interesting ....
Mothman actually has a Web address, and it is that of "Criminal Records" (see ad above), which is a store located on Main Street in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. We visited there last year, with Tom Benson, Antonio Huneeus and others. The other day we phoned the guys at "Criminal Records", and as expected, they report a big increase in business in recent weeks. People from all over the U.S. and various other parts of the world have been visiting, even though the movie was not filmed there...And, there has been much silliness. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, author of a current book about Mothman, reports that someone (or some thing?) is pretending to be him, on the Net and in person. Fake people such as this are known as "doppelgangers". There were various such incidents in the late 1960s, some of which are now known to have been hoaxes. (See our book for more information on the madness of that era!)
Now, regarding this year's glorious National UFO Conference (NUFOC), to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio on September 28th: The exact location is the Kings Island Inn Conference and Convention Center. On hand will be noted UFO researcher Kenny Young, this year's local host. The big news is that the Master of Ceremonies will be Bill Boshears, host of "The Sci Zone" radio show on 700 WLW ("The Big One"), heard in 38 states. Also scheduled are Karl Pflock, Peter Davenport, Steven Bassett, John Timmerman, Jerry Black, and of course your above-mentioned "Smear" editor. Other speakers will be added to the list in the near future. You can contact Kenny Young on the (cursed) Net, or by phone at: 859-371-7955 or 513-588-4548. His address is: 3903 Hunters Glen Drive, Florence, Kentucky 41042.
Anyhow, "Bob" is now in Big Trouble with the Prophets Conference, an apparently wealthy outfit which holds 3 or 4 high-class conventions each year in various parts of the U.S. & elsewhere. The group is based in Hawaii. Since the Prophets (Profits??) charge attendees through the nose, they presumably pay their speakers well. "Bob" has spoken at several of their con-claves, but when we attended one such conference in Santa Fe a couple of years ago, hoping to finally meet him, he was not there because of illness, "Bob's" trouble is that he placed on his website a highly profane quote from a current Spike Lee movie called "Jungle Fever" We would quote it here, but after all this is a Family Newsletter (maybe). Said the Prophets, in part: "The opening lines of your web page are an example of why we have discontinued presenting your work. Even though you are quoting Spike Lee and leading to a significant point, we were set back by the above-mentioned introduction."
"Bob" lives from lecture fees and book royalties, so, although this is a Moral Victory for him it is not a Financial Triumph. All we can say is - F**K CENSORSHIP!
To learn more, turn to email@example.com. See also "Bob's" brief letter to "Smear" about this matter - further along in this issue.
Vorilhon has called for beautiful young women in his group to step forward as hostesses for the arriving aliens. Members of the elite "Order of the Angels" are to devote themselves fully - and in some cases sexually - to these creators and also to their prophet on earth, namely Vorilhon himself! According to former members of the cult, more than 100 women have volunteered!
Some of these women have also volunteered to carry the first cloned baby, and they will consider it a privilege to do so. All this has become highly political in the United States, where the sexually repressed Bush administration is against all human cloning for any purpose at all. About a year ago, the anti-cloning chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee invited Vorilhon to testify in the strange outfit he normally wears, and the chairman later stated that Vorilhon's testimony convinced lawmakers that "even kooks may have the capacity to make human beings through cloning, and we better get serious about legislating here".
The Raelian headquarters in the provence of Quebec is called Ufoland, and it is open to the public. It is part office space and part museum. Visitors are given a guided tour of the founder's life history and belief system ....
Last "Smear", my friend and High Official of the Fund for UFO Research Rob Swiatek wrote, "I must confess I find your fifth columnist's recent... articles most puzzling. What's all this frippery about UFOs leaving in the '70s? When I read this, I about jumped out of my Fund...running shorts! His odd speculations might have merit but for the fact that UFOs continue to be seen! There were several excellent cases in the '80s and '90s that puzzled a whole lot of us..."
Earth to Rob: I didn't say UFOs have gone away. I said flying saucers have gone away. We still have UFOs - and would-be UFOs - with us, but the otherworldly craft and critters that once contributed to the UFO count have split, or so it seems to me - and to no less a personage than Kevin Randle (see "Smear", Nov. 1st, 2001). I've been explaining why I think so since I started this series ("Smear", Aug. 4th, 2001).
I'm not sure which "excellent cases" Rob has in mind as he jogs along in his Official FUFOR Running Shorts - and, no doubt, the Official FUFOR Wrap-Around Rose-Colored Glasses - but I certainly haven't heard of any. (Care to offer up a few, Rob?) All the latter-day cases I've seen touted as "excellent" and "puzzling" and involving reports of machine-like objects or such objects with associated flesh & blood (of whatever color) beings, certainly haven't ranked high on the strangeness-probability index (ref. Hynek's "The UFO Experience") - the strange ones being far from probable, and the probable ones being far from strange, or, rather, far from unearthly (e.g., I know what the big black triangles are, and they aren't from another planet/dimension/universe. Don't ask. If I told you, I'd have to force you to listen repeatedly to a Walt Andrus lecture!)
The types of objects sighted during the Golden Age of Saucers, their behavior, their purposefulness revealed by the patterns of their activity, etc., are no more, and haven't been for at least 30 years. What the data now suggest is a cargo-cult-like hangover, aided and abetted by the popular media, the dreaded internet, and a cadre of ufological hucksters and true believers - whose messages are falling on fewer and fewer ever-more-bored ears!
Welcome to the Ufological Dark Age, Rob. Better pull up your shorts, take off the rose-colored glasses, and hunt for The Answer to The UFO Mystery in the historical data. That's where the saucers are.
We never tamper with Karl's Sacred Text (above), but this time we want to chime in with an additional thought. July of this year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the biggest UFO "flap" of all times. In July, 1952, over 1,500 cases were reported to the Air Force's Project Blue Book - far more than in any other month in history. No one will ever know how many other important cases were not reported. There were sightings by airline pilots, plus the famous anomalous radar blips over Washington, D.C., and a host of other horrors. If the Space People bother to keep track of our earthly months and years, maybe they will make a comeback very soon. Or, maybe they won't. As George Adamski often said, TIME WILL TELL!
"UFO Politics at the White House" (sub-title: "Citizens Rally 'round Jimmy Carter's Promise") is an exercise in prose by Larry Bryant, the tenacious, pugnacious firebrand of the group called Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS). The book consists mainly of UFOoriented letters written to the White House by ordinary citizens.
BRIEF BIASED BOOK REVIEWS
The premise here is that while Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia, he actually saw a flying saucer and officially reported the sighting to NICAP, which was Major Keyhoe's long-defunct UFO research organization in Washington, D.C. Most reasonable ufologists now believe that Governor Carter was misled by a sighting of the planet Venus, which can be a scary-looking object under the right atmospheric conditions.
On February 6th, 1977, Larry Bryant himself wrote a long letter to then-President Carter, reminding him of his campaign promise to "release to the public all heretofore unreleased files, reports, and other data on the federal government's role in the investigation of sightings of unidentified flying objects". Alas, young Larry never received a personal reply from the President. Instead, he received a self-serving form letter from one Colonel L.E. Seminare Jr., USAF, who answered "on behalf of President Carter". We all know the feeling of frustration & disgust when a high official pays no attention at all to our pet project.
In 1977 Larry was already a veteran trouble-maker in UFO research, in spite of his job as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army. He retired in 1994, and since then he has had more time & energy than ever before, to devote to his obsessive hobby.
This self-published book is one of the results.
What can we say? Our view is that the Government probably knows little more about real UFOs than we do, but of course we could be wrong about this. Mavericks like Larry Bryant are needed, to keep the kettle boiling and to keep the water running under the dam (as Tim Beckley might say).
Our (free) copy of "UFO Politics at the White House" is signed by the author, with a note stating that the solution to the UFO Mystery can be found on Page 317. Amazingly, the solution is on Page 317, but you will have to buy the book to read it. (We don't want to spoil this for you!) Write to the Invisible College Press, P.O. Box 209, Woodbridge, Virginia 22194.
MISSIVES FROM THE MASSES:
- WILLIAM MOORE, famed ufologist of yesteryear, writes:
"... In regard to 'Rael' and human cloning...it seems like no matter how hard some segments of the ufoological community strive to build legitimacy and credibility, all it takes is some lunatic with a penchant for publicity to knock things right back to fairy dust. So here we go again. Move over Adamski, Van Tassel, Meier, Cooper, et al, and make way for 'Clonin' Claude and his Celestial Concubines' - the greatest act to hit ufodumb since 'Spaceship Ruthie and the Unarians'!
"There is one consolation, however. When flying saucer clone-meisters rate more print than flying saucer physicists (not to mention grave-robbing ufologists), it's a sure sign things really haven't changed that much after all.
"As to other matters, I continue to be both shocked and dismayed by your association with Prometheus. Have you no shame? Allowing them to publish your material is, it seems to me, nothing less than the moral equivalent of having the Taliban publish the Holy Bible! Somehow can't imagine many ufologists going out of their way to either buy or promote your book - but then perhaps you expected that!..."
- Ufological historian JERRY CLARK, shown above with his new bride, writes:
"I was interested to read your editorial 'Where Have All the Saucers Gone?'...You make some good points, but it's surely overstating the case to assert that 'ufology is in a profound slump these days'. It's in a slump, but hardly a profound one. We're in the low end of the usual, decades-long cycle of popular interest and indifference. Karl Pflock's book about Roswell, unheard of by any but the minuscule population that carefully monitors ufological arcana, has nothing to do with it. Fact is, UFOs had a pretty good run from the mid-1980s well into the 1990s. Probably all of us, including ufologists, need some time off. UFOs will be back one of these days, no doubt on the back of a new wave of sightings or some interesting development or other.
"Back in 1983, convinced that it was all over, I actually wrote a piece for Fate Magazine based on the premise that the UFO era had passed and that only a later generation would be able to look back and sort it all out. For my pains I was interviewed by a New York Times reporter. How wrong I was. As a historian of the controversy, I've learned since that UFOs were pronounced dead for the first time about two or three weeks after Kenneth Arnold's sighting. The number of obituaries for UFOs and ufology declared thereafter is probably uncountable..."
- Anthropologist, ufologist, etc. CHRIS ROTH writes as follows:
"...I was glad to see the 'Where Have All the Saucers Gone?' editorial, as well as Karl Pflock's discussion of similar issues. And I think these raise some interesting questions, such as: Why did there stop being 'little man' sightings of the Hopkinsville and Socorro variety after the Hill and then Strieber type abduction scenario became ascendant? Why no hairy dwarves outside of South America? One could say that the actual alien incursions came in waves and, perhaps, in the case of hairy dwarves in South America, that it's similar to the reason why nineteenth-century New Guinea natives were making Englishman sightings while nineteenth-century Madagascar natives were making Frenchman sightings. Have different alien species divided the earth into territories?
"The trouble is, then we would also have to assume that chupacabras 'territory' includes Hispanic neighborhoods in U.S. cities but not Anglo ones. And here we have to stretch the hypothesis to avoid saying that these sightings are cultural and folkloric phenomena. And I also don't buy, necessarily, the implications of Pflock's idea that 'when confronted with something strange and out of the ordinary, (cultural) filters seek to make sense of it by imposing a "normalizing" frame of reference'. That's true enough, but it is the sad truth that culture and folklore do not only filter perceptions; they also create them. People don't need any stimuli at all to start thinking that they are encountering the bugbears of their cultural unconscious (chupacabras, aliens, child molesters, demons, fairies, etc. ) in the flesh!..."
- DR. LEO SPRINKLE, famed abduction researcher, writes as follows:
"Thanks for the note in your Vol. 49, No. 2 issue that the Rocky Mountain UFO Conference no longer is being conducted (1980-2001). We enjoyed 22 years of presentations by UFO experiencers and researchers.
"However, the last six years were hosted by Franklin Carter of the Institute for UFO Research, 1304 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, Colorado 80524. The Conference was held each year at the University of Wyoming - Laramie. Now, my former colleagues can breathe a bit easier. Whew!"
- Famed remote viewer ING0 SWANN writes:
"I continue to enjoy your marvelous 'Saucer Smear'. Thanks for it.
"I have a question: One Joseph Trainor puts out a weekly UFO Roundup via firstname.lastname@example.org. This seems loaded with fresh & up-to-date reports of sighting events around the world. Yet, ufologists hardly ever mention this update, and I don't recall seeing mention of it in your wonderful zine. There seems to be a noticeable avoidance here, a sort of sociological one, which is puzzling. Can you enlighten me, or perhaps others might..."
- KENN THOMAS of Steamshovel Press (Box 210553, St. Louis, Mo. 63121) writes:
"The Prophets Conference dropped Robert Anton Wilson as a speaker for using the 'dirty' words long ago liberated by the likes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. I was reminded of when Acharya S., great chronicler of the conspiracy known as Christianity, was kept off the dais at one well-known UFO conference in Nevada because her topic might have offended one of the other speakers. Then I thought of what Jerry Lucci wrote in the last issue of 'Saucer Smear', about the same people ranting on and on about the same things. Small wonder, considering the kind of decision making that apparently goes into these conferences. Too bad, since they should be places where free speech and new ideas reign. I called for Ram Dass to remove himself from the Prophets Conference in protest!"
- And, the one & only ROBERT ANTON ("BOB") WILSON writes:
"Enclosed is background info on the Prophets and their excommunication of me from their Elite circle... which I have thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, I haven't felt so flattered since Barnes & Noble removed my books from 'New Age' and placed them in 'Philosophy'.
"The androphagian joke at the end of my offensive essay (on the Net) refers, of course, to Swift's demonstration, in 'A Modest Proposal', that those who can stomach imperialism should not gag at cannibalism.
"Some of my fans have discussed staging a protest outside the ProfitsCon, but I don't know if anything will come of that.
"Keep the lasagna flying'."
- Ace cartoonist MATT GRAEBER writes:
"Thanks (I guess??) for giving me the glorious opportunity to be 'Smear's' roving movie critic:
"Well, at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 17th, I went to a multi-cinema theater to see 'The Mothman Prophecies'. Of a 300+ seating capacity in the theatre, only 37 brave souls were in attendance. A quick check with a ticket-taker and cashier confirmed my suspicions that this was not out of he norm for the show. So, here's my review of the flick:
"Mothman - a Fortean Flop: If you relish gazing at out-of-focus globs of street lighting, seemingly endless footage of lines on a highway zipping by at various speeds or, just patiently waiting for the show to get off the ground - then, Mothman should be right up your alley!
"But in all fairness, I must report that the film's star (Richard Gere) and the entire supporting cast did the best anyone could do with a two-reel storyline that was stretched into a four-reel movie. I'll give this production lę stars out of a possible 5."
- MILLER JOHNSON, MJ-13, who is rumored to have a secret underground base somewhere under his house in Albuquerque, New Mexico, writes:
"I suddenly realized my communication with you has fallen by the wayside with the hectic pressures of Strange and Weird Projects that confront me on a daily basis.
"I did, however, take a break on January 28th, the third day after opening, to see the long awaited 'Mothman Prophecies'. I had dreaded the possibility of 'ET'-like lines of Mothman fans with grand expectations of the true story on the big screen. The much anticipated long line of Mothman fans was, however, nonexistent. After ticket purchases for myself and wife another clue to Mothman's sagging popularity was soon evident. There was no theater employee to accept our ticket stubs as we entered Auditorium 6 of the Four Hills Mini Mall Theater complex...There is something positive to be said for a non-crowded auditorium. There were only 9 other patrons seated to watch the film!
"What is known as the 'true story' had obviously been HOLLYWOODIZED into 99% BULLSHIT. John Keel should sue!..."
We are quite sure that John is too busy counting his money to sue! - Editor.
- Researcher THOMAS LEE CURTIN JR. writes as follows:
"...I saw the Mothman movie as soon as it came out. I must say I love John Keel and his books, but the movie did no justice to his book. In short, I was very let down and I'm sure many of his other fans will be too...
"You guys (Jim and Karl) are great! The best thing I've ever done is become a nonsubscriber to 'Saucer Smear'. Keep up the great work..."
- Our Dear Friend ED KOMAREK, formerly of "Operation Right to Know", astounds us with the following missive:
"I expect the next news I'll hear will be that you and Karl move in together and get married! Please send me a wedding invitation. I would like to attend. I would like to buy your new book and enrich your wallet, but not Karl's or CSICOP's. Any ideas?"
Yes, we'll bind half of each page for you, for half price! - Editor.
- GREG BISHOP, editor of "The Excluded Middle (P.O. Box 481077, Los Angeles, Ca.90048) writes as follows:
"...Who speaks for the UFO community? Certainly not Steven Greer! At the last MUF0N conclave out here in California, he sounded like a televangelist. Now, I'm the last one cheering for 'respectability' in the saucer field, but to me he looked even sillier than those 'Operation Right to Know' people from the late '80s. Isn't he supposed to be reaching out to the public? Preaching to the choir and pausing every sentence or so for applause is not the way to get a message out on a subject that's pretty strange for the general public, unless you're trying to break into inadvertent standup comedy!...
In any case, Greer goes on his merry (VERY merry if you ask me) way, talkin' the gospel according to Steve, and picking up accolytes on the way. Doesn't he know that Intelligence types not only lie their compartmentalized asses off, the retired military dudes he relies so heavily on don't seem to have ever been in the loop on anything!..."
French Intellectuals to be Deployed in Afghanistan to Convince Taliban of Non-Existence of God.
The ground war in Afghanistan heated up yesterday when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack French existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale of Taliban zealots by proving the non-existence of God. Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre Brigade, or 'Black Berets', will be parachuted into the combat zones to spread doubt, espondency and existential anomie among the enemy. Hardened by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation of Paris's Left Bank, their first action will be to establish a number of pavement cafes at strategic points near the front lines. There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly about the absurd nature of life and man's lonely isolation in the universe.
Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke yesterday of his confidence in the success of their mission. Marc-Ange plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on man's nauseating freedom of action with special reference to the work of Foucault and the films of Alfred Hitchcock. However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the operation as inhumane, pointing out that the effects of passive smoking from the Frenchmens' endless Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on civilians in the area.
Speculation was mounting last night that Britain may also contribute to the effort by dropping Professor Stephen Hawking into Afghanistan to propagate his non-deistic theory of the creation of the universe. This is only one of several Psy-Ops operations mounted by the Allies to undermine the unswerving religious fanaticism that fuels the Taliban's fighting spirit.
Pentagon sources have recently confirmed rumours that America has already sent in a 200-foot-tall robot Jesus, which roams the Taliban front lines glowing eerily and shooting flames out of its fingers while saying, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. Follow me or die!"
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