Recently I was asked by a MUFON investigator to write my opinion on what I thought about the state of Ufology today for an upcoming book he has authored. It got me to thinking; are we really any closer to an answer, or are we still groping in the dark? Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.
I am now 64-years-old, and have been actively researching the UFO phenomena for over 30 years. I can remember the times when information on the subject was very scarce. There were a few dime-store books, with a picture or two, and mostly sighting reports, many of which seemed quite farfetched. Rarely was a source given.
As a young man, the only connection with UFOs were the early 1950s science fiction movies which fed a sense of imagination, but didn't help us discover information on UFO sightings. These movies molded what our perception of flying saucers and alien beings would be. We were also given various theories of what the alien agenda might be.
Even today, Hollywood influences public perception of the unknown. Of course some of them depict aliens as benevolent, while others show them as aggressive warriors bent on using the Earth and mankind for their own purposes.
Although I was not yet born when it happened, my parents told me that the first thing they ever heard about UFOs other than movies was the 1947 Kenneth Arnold Sighting. Although the Roswell Crash happened only a few weeks later, it died quickly and was not brought back to life until the late 1970s.
The first case that came to my attention was when I was about 15-years-old; The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction. Although this case occurred in 1961, it did not become known on a wide scale for several years.
I remember how everyone around our block was anticipating the made-for-TV movie based on the Hill case, 'The UFO Incident' (Interrupted Journey), which was released in late 1975. The network did a good job of sitting on the fence, giving us the idea that everything that happened was recalled from regressive hypnosis.
Regressive hypnosis has been implemented in many of the best known cases of abduction. Among them are: The Andreasson Abduction, the Schirmer Abduction, the The Buff Ledge Abductions, The Stanford, Kentucky Abductions, and the Allagash Abductions, among others.
Here Comes the Internet
When the Internet came into wide use, much more information on UFOs became available, with sources given for many UFO reports. The fact that video and still cameras were becoming more affordable to the everyday person opened up a whole new world of information and of course, debate.
It seems that advancements in modern technology, such as digital cameras evoked two paradoxical elements: 1) better film by everyday star gazers. However, this is negated quite often by 2) 3D imaging software which makes it much easier for hoaxers to create videos that often fool even the best investigators.
Modern technology was the key for many UFO investigators, including myself. The publishing of many UFO documents by governments around the world added a new dimension to the enigma, along with the many sites that log UFO sightings.
Overflow of Information
We have reached a point now where there is so much information on UFOs that one can hardly keep up with it. But having newer, better graphics programs and video editing equipment have made the future of UFO study an exciting one, if we can weed out the fakes.
The amount of UFO-related web sites and forums has grown exponentially. This too has two sides; 1) there is so much more information on the subject available, but 2) we have to try to distinguish what is real from what is not. And so, we move forward, always forward looking for the answer, with no guarantees. Who knows what we may discover soon?