|EDITOR AND STILL
James W. Moseley
Volume 52, No. 1
January 1st, 2005
(Whole Number 377)
P. 0. Box 1709
Key West, FL 33041
We welcome your correspondence, pro or con, well-reasoned or otherwise,
but please keep in mind that while Saucer Smear is on the Dreaded Internet, your humble
editor is NOT! So, if you wish to receive a personal reply to your letter, or wish to
have any chance of seeing it printed on Our Glorious Pages, please print it out, put it in an
envelope, affix a stamp thereto, and SNAIL mail it to:|
P.O. Box 1709
Key West, FL 33041
It's simple and loads of fun! Ask your grandma if you don't remember how to do it!
We thank you!
IN WHICH YOUR SOMEWHAT HUMBLE EDITOR GOES ON A WELL-DESERVED EGO TRIP!
Pflock was aided in this madness by several kindly people - mainly Steve Mansee, who has been putting "Smear" on the Net since 1994; Ace cartoonist Matt Graeber; and UFO researcher Tom Benson, who is the keeper of all back issues of our zine.
The project was supposed to progress in secret (from us) until it was finished, and this should have been easy, since your Editor, individually, still is not on the (cursed) Net. However, Security was broken awhile back by T. Allen Greenfield, D.D., Ph.D., a delightful intellectual with whom we have had many pleasant times, years ago. Greenfield did not realize what was going on, as nothing on the Net is secret except from those of us who never look. He just assumed we were "in on it", somehow.
Most of the comments were very friendly, with the notable exception of our ex-wife Sandra (nee Sandra Svindsin, now known as Amanda Stevenson), who decided to share a crazy nightmare fantasy about our wedding night. Somehow this delusion is still vivid in her mind after 42 years! And then there was Richard "Dick" Hall, whose opinions appear at the right. In this Net exchange Karl Pflock is leading the dialogue and "Dick" is replying. Way to go, "Dick"! There is obviously no Space here to print all the nice comments we received from ufological cohorts, so we will focus briefly on just a few, from people we barely know or don't know at all: Says Linda Cortile, "Congratularions for fifty years of interesting and funny stuff you've said and done..." Linda, whose real married surname is Napolitano, was the star of the "Manhattan Transfer" ufological caper of the late 1980s. Her mentor, Budd Hopkins, has never forgiven us for our "Smear" exclusive, revealing her real name to the masses, but Linda is a good sport and still a very attractive lady!
Says Bird Gillespie: "Jim saved me from a life of believing the likes of Budd Hopkins and Whitley Strieber. Go, Moseley!" Says Jack Hunter Daves: "Your serious yet wry take on the world of UFO-dom is above reproach and your front row seat over the years makes you the perfect commentator. Thank you for keeping folks like me alerted to what's going on... I salute you!"
Our thanks to these two gentlemen, whom we do not know, and to all the others who contributed. May the Space Brothers bless you, one and all! We just wish Gray Barker was here to share this "Roast" with us!
For those of you who are interested, most of the "Roast" comments can still be seen at: http://www.martiansgohome.com/moseley_roast/. It is too late to add anything, however.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
EDITORIAL: WHO WAS CHARLES FORT, AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
Fort had friends who were major writers of his generation, and some of these formed an early version of the Fortean Society. We understand that Charles Fort himself gave little or no encouragement to this effort to keep his legacy alive. Tiffany Thayer, one of these well-known writers from the 1920s, became secretary of the Fortean Society around the time of his mentor's demise, and edited a slick little magazine called "Doubt" - a very appropriate title. We used to have quite a few issues of "Doubt", which we exchanged in the 1950s for our zine "Saucer News". Thayer had no use for flying saucers, recognizing correctly that the field was more of a cult than a serious inquiry. We corresponded with Thayer a bit, and once asked him to send back a printable comment about "Saucer News". He answered to the effect that since he could say nothing good about it, he would be kind enough to say nothing bad!
After Thayer's death in the late 1950s, the original Fortean Society folded, but there were several attempts to revive it in subsequent years. The (then) well-known naturalist Ivan Sanderson formed an organization called SITU (Society for the Investigation of the Unknown), which for many years published a slick magazine named "Pursuit". This struggled on after Sanderson's death, and then went out of business. Another Fortean organization has its home base in Maryland, and still exists, in that it sponsors annual conventions there. And then there was a short-lived attempt by the notorious John A. Keel to run a Fortean Society in New York City in the 1970s. Such a group should, by definition, have the same sort of openminded skepticism as did Fort himself, but Keel's highly opinionated beliefs may well have contributed to the death of this particular group. Also lack of funds, as often happens.
In 1973 the British newsstand magazine "Fortean Times" was founded by Bob Rickard, who was later joined by two other gentlemen. This zine is a force to be taken seriously. Currently it is a very professionally-done monthly production of about 80 pages, sold on some newsstands on both sides of the Atlantic, and available by subscription for the hefty price of $59.40 per year. Getting in touch with them may be somewhat difficult, but the subscription address appears to be: Fortean Times, Cary Court, Bancombe Road Trading Estate, TAll 6TB, United Kingdom (UK). Here you have in-depth articles on an endless array of interesting off-beat subjects, written by professional writers rather than amateur hacks. Karl Pflock and Jim Moseley have contributed a few times, and your humble "Smear" editor has crossed the Pond twice, in 1997 and 2002, to speak at their annual "UnConventions" in London.
For devotees of "Fortean Times", UFOs are only one topic out of many, and we have noticed, in our two convention appearances, that the interplanetary hypothesis, even among those drawn to the topic of saucers, is far less prevalent over there than it is here in America. Charles Fort reported on countless mysterious lights in the sky, on the Moon, etc. - seen through telescopes or by the unaided eyeball - and he facetiously suggested that these might be spaceships from other planets. But he most definitely did not make a quasi-religion out of it!
Our gratitude to "Fortean Times" is not only for the honor of having been invited to two of their "UnConventions" in London, but for the remarkable tolerence they have shown for the fact that we "borrow" material from them (mostly in the form of little printed vignettes) in almost every issue of "Saucer Smear". We doubt that the present "plug" in our magazine will do much to increase their circulation, but we do want to express our thanks for the intellectual enlightenment we have received from them, over the years. We wish a very long life indeed to Bob Rickard and his literary efforts!
THE "SAUCER SMEAR" HALL OF SHAME
#10 - Richard Ogden - long-ago pro-Adamski fanatic
#9 - Julie Schuster - Roswell UFO Museum
#8 - Lucius Farish - "UFO Newsclipping Service"
#7 - Jerry Clark - touchy UFO historian
#6 - John Keel - former UFO writer
#5 - Vicki Cooper - UFO Magazine
#4 - Don Ecker - UFO Magazine
#3 - Erik Beckjord - Bigfoot nut
#2 - Richard "Dick" Hall - humorless UFO historian
#1 - Budd Hopkins - Twilight Zone abduction guru
Let us add, however, that we, as followers of the Great Spirit (or whoever), hold little if any grudge against the above-named people. They are listed here for entertainment purposes only.
"NIGHT SHIP 282" - by Curt Sutherly
As you may recall, the accident occurred after Preziose's aircraft apparently struck another object only minutes after departing Mobile Downtown Airport. The incident occurred at about 7:45 p.m., just after Preziose had sent a final radio transmission declaring: "I needed to deviate, I needed to deviate, I needed..." The wreckage of his plane was found in a swamp near Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Debris at the crash site was covered with numerous red smudge marks, which NTSB refers to as "transfer marks". These marks did not match the color of anything on or in the Cessna. In addition, the ship's engine was found split in two and separated from the airframe. Inasmuch as the crash occurred in a swampy area eight to ten feet deep, the rational conclusion is that the engine was split before hitting the swamp - by impact with some thing in the air! The preliminary report from NTSB states quite bluntly that Prezione's aircraft is believed to have "collided in-flight with an unknown object at 3,000 feet."
Since then, the investigation has been transferred to NTSB's Washington headquarters. Here's where it begins to sound a bit like an X File.
According to a spokesman for NTSB, the comment about a mid-air collision should not have been included in the preliminary report since it was analytical and not based on fact. In so saying, they appear to be ignoring the evidence of the split engine block, and appear to be trying to prove that the red transfer marks were caused by something inside the aircraft rather than from something hitting the plane. They also appear to be ignoring the final cryptic radio message, and are openly suggesting that Preziose may have lost control of his aircraft - clearly leaning toward an explanation of "pilot error".
Conspiracy theories about hand-launched missiles have been proposed, as well as speculation about impact with a meteor. For various lengthy reasons, none of these notions fit. This leaves a UFO. By that, I do not mean "spaceship'." The red transfer marks seem to indicate something of terrestrial origin, and I suspect there are people out there who know but of course aren't talking. Stay tuned!
One of the scientists claims that, based on his calculations, the mass of the space object headed for Earth in 1908 was nearly one billion tons. He believes that this meteorite was blasted by a spaceship at an altitude of ten kilometers, to prevent the destruction of all humanity on this planet. Says he: "I am fully confident that I can make an official statement that we were saved by some forces of a superior civilization. They exploded this enormous meteorite that was headed toward us at tremendous speed. Now this great object that caused the meteorite to explode has been found at last. We will continue our research." Until 2004, members of numerous expeditions had apparently failed to find any remains of the object that caused this event.
Thus, we seem to be talking about two distinct objects here - the meteorite and the spaceship. It all makes little sense to us, but we await further word on this fascinating case. (Thanks to non-subscriber Dean Zevchek)...
One scientific critic says, "It is in large part crackpot physics". He describes the Air Force report as "containing some things adapted from reasonable theoretical studies, and other things from nonsensical ones".
Some experts have long criticized what they see as a military sweet tooth for junk science. A "remote viewing" project, for example, undertaken by Defense intelligence services and declassified in 1994, sought to see whether psychic powers could be employed to spy on the Soviet Union. Says an Air Force Research Laboratory statement: "The views expressed in this (above-mentioned) report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. There are no plans for additional funding on this contract."
When asked why they commissioned this study in the first place, a spokesman said: "If we don't turn over stones, we don't know if we have missed something."..
There is also a touching story by Whitley Strieber in the same issue, discussing a serious illness that recently befell his wife. We wish them well...
This is a fitting motto for a sentimental movie about Christmas, but it is a very bad mind-set for everyday life. In the UFO field, we find a great deal of faith in events that common sense tells us we should not believe without proof. But what constitutes proof? This is something that can be argued endlessly. All we can say is - try to keep your research objective. Faith should be saved for (ugh!) religion!
"Dear Demigod of UFOdumb:
"Although you phone me regularly to touch base and pick my brain, there is seldom anything there worth mentioning. Wait a minute. That didn't come out right. What I mean is, I am seldom motivated to pad my resume with a letter to 'Smear'.
"But I must take issue with your comments about Harvard's problems with Dr. John Mack. The concern of his peers was not simply for Mack's beliefs, but for his patients. The head of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who had known Mack for 40 years, agreed that Harvard's investigation was 'long overdue', referring to Mack at the time as 'a brilliant fellow who occasionally loses it, and this time he's lost it big time'. Now he's lost it for good, for which I am sad for his family, but not for his patients."
Rather unduly harsh! - Editor
"I received your 'Confidential' postal card today, for which many thanks. I thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with you and renewing our olde friendship over lunch at the Snow White Cafe on Hollywood Boulevard. Too bad you don't live nearby. I'm sure we could have some good times together, and I know the comraderie would lift you out of those doldrums.
"I continue to be very busy here, as the newspaper for which I work part time is planning a special holiday issue with pages filled with patrons' greetings to our troops abroad, and I'm up to my ears laying out ads and preparing copy. The boss wants everything ready by Thanksgiving, which gives me barely two weeks to get it done.
Since you have retired from being chairman of the annual NUFOC conference, I think it is only fitting that I join you by offering my resignation from the largely symbolic Permanent Organizing Committee, thus happily relinquishing my last toe-hold in ufo-dumb.
I join you in wishing your successors many happy cons to come."
"Dear Supreme Commander (Esteemed Turd on the Carpet):
Richard Hall's calling you 'a steaming turd on the living room carpet' is a wonderful tribute, because you, Supreme Commander, are a glorious agent of the trickster archetype.
"The 74-year-old Hall is widely regarded as a distinguished elder of 'conservative' ufology, but he acts like a potty-mouth 5 year old. How could this happen? When status-conscious old white men encounter the paranormal, they often lose critical judgment and emotional restraint (e.g., Mack, Maccabee, Wood, Andrus, Hopkins, etc.) But they don't realize it. Richard Hall is another example.
"Hall longs for ufology's respectability and has dedicated his life to that goal. He often mentions his degree in philosophy, to emphasize his serious, sophisticated interest. He diligently adheres to the advice of high-status dead white men, but those efforts do him no good. He doesn't understand why!..."
"I haven't yet seen any comments on Frank Feschino's book on the Braxton County Monster, but I have read it and found it to be extremely strange. He's clearly done an enormous amount of first-rate research, but the book switches back and forth in a bewildering way, from straightforward presentation of his research (which unearthed much information that was totally new to me) to bizarre speculations that don't really seem to follow from it. The dramatic interpretations of the sightings of one particular day as bringing the world to the brink of interplanetary war, the peculiar combinations of the aliens' superhuman technology and their inexplicable ineptitude...and the grotesque descriptions of the protective suit and of the aliens themselves, make for spellbinding reading but are hardly believable. He could, of course, be guessing right, but the data seem open to any other interpretations. Any ideas?..."
"I just finished reading the Dec. 2004 'Saucer Smear', and I could not help noticing the Christmas Greeting and the plea for money. Thank you for your honesty. I think your 'Saucer Smear' Ministry is why I am a devout believer in the Flying Saucer Religion. Therefore, please accept my humble offering, to help enable your ministry to continue its mission of enlightenment, entertainment, and hope for all mankind. (I found that girly picture last year to be very enlightening!)...
"Best to you and yours this Holiday Season. I must close now and return to my current project of photographing one of those invisible UFOs I've read so much about!"
"Thank you very much for your nice note. I always read 'Saucer Smear' carefully, all the way through...It was a great NUFOC conference, with delightful ambience and exchange of ideas, just like 2003, but with more people embracing & exchanging. I look forward to next year. I hope they will keep the separation between abductology and ufology. It is so important!"
"Regarding NUFOC, what can I say? While I'm very glad to see that NUFOC has survived another year and is in the hands of people who seem genuinely interested in keeping it going, it's still the end of an era and that's for certain! NUFOC will voyage on into an increasingly uncertain, hopefully prosperous future, but the familiar, reassuring figure of the Commander will no longer be on the bridge to guide it. There's also the unhappy fact that those of us who don't live on the west coast will no longer be able to look forward to a possible visitation from NUFOC a little bit closer to home. So be it - that's how the Adamski scout ship crumbles! But I hope, after so many years as permanent chairman of this event, that most of your memories are happy ones and that you had a good time doing it..."
"Here's my Love Offering for another glorious year of 'Saucer Smear'. I can't say enough about what an inspiration you are and what a treasure your magazine is! Thanks to you, my wife discovered 'Fortean Times' and got me a subscription for Christmas, which is my definition of true love! 'FT' and 'Smear' are the only journals in this field that have the necessary combination of common sense, humor, and most importantly, fun - which is what got me into ufology in the first place. Thank you, thank you!"
"This is a note to let you know that my six year stint as State Director for MUFON of Georgia is over. I recently stepped down and resigned, having become dissatisfied with some of the parent organization's policies and practices that keep it mired in mediocrity. While our Georgia chapter was in pretty good shape due to its motivated and sensible membership, we experienced some difficulty with other divisions within MUFON. International Director John Schuessler, a true professional (along with a few others) deserves something MUCH better out of the various MUFON sub-groups.
"Please find a check enclosed, as I do wish to continue abreast of the various happenings that you never fail to humorously report..."
"I saw the made-for-TV movie about Betty and Barney Hill, which you mentioned in your recent 'Smear'. However, you got the wrong Estelle. It was Estelle Parsons who played Betty, not Estelle Getty...
"I agree with you about the MUFON UFO Journal. It is poorly written and getting more absurd all the time. By the way, our local MUFON group died. It no longer exists. I no longer subscribe to the Journal, so I can't even put 'J.S.' ('Journal Subscriber') after my name like you do!...
"Robert Bigelow is Las Vegas's biggest slumlord. He rents to anybody with a nickel, and his properties are filled with drug dealers!"
"...With the end of the year 2004 comes the end of another major UFO-related organization, NIDS (National Institute for Discovery Science). People might not have liked NIDS, but it was the best thing going for UFOs while it lasted. It certainly did more than what CUFOS (IUR notwithstanding) and MUFON have done during the past 8 years or so. Now who's going to step up to the plate?..."
"Regarding Don Ecker and his editorial about you in 'UFO Magazine': Just consider the source! I was included on his enemies list back in May of 2003. The deliberate misspelling of your name in the editorial struck me as being particularly juvenile. This is the kind of crap that goes on in elementary school playgrounds...
"Another year has passed, and the 'Dreaded X' is back. To maintain my non-subscription to the only UFO publication worth having, I am sending a check to brighten your holidays...Best wishes for the New Year, and Keep Watching the Skies!"
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