Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Skylab III

There has been an interesting discussion at UFO Updates as of late about the little-known Skylab III case, so I figured I would make the segment on that case from Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings available. Here it is:



Paul Kimball

Monday, December 17, 2007

X-Conference photos

In September, 2007, I traveled with actor Kris Lee McBride to Washington, D.C., to screen Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings at the 2007 X-Conference (Kris narrates the film). Here are some photos.


The closing panel. Next to me is radio host Rob Simone.


The opening night reception. Kris and I look properly skeptical, but we were treated as VIPs, which was great.


The speakers at the closing party. Renowned British ufologist Nick Pope is in the back, and seems to have spotted a UFO! As usual, I'm ignoring everything around me as I mug for the camera!

Paul Kimball

Friday, November 30, 2007

Doing Time - The Coast review

It appears that we're a hit! All credit to Mac for coming up with a great story, and three great actors - Nick, Kris and Christina - for making it come alive.

Paul Kimball

Make Time for a Great Play
Semaphore Theatre Company's sci-fi hit
by Kate Watson
November 30, 2007 09:27 AM
[Original article here]

Time is running out to see Doing Time, a highly entertaining mystery based on a sci-fi short story by Kansas City author Mac Tonnies and adapted by the play's director Paul Kimball. It is staged in the tiny basement room of the Wired Monk Coffee Shop, which makes for a surprisingly effective space for this particular play.

The story is classic sci-fi, but you don't have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy Doing Time.

Three terrific actors elevate this play to must-see status. Kris Lee McBride anchors the work with an entirely convincing performance as the prisoner Leda. Christina Cuffari is controlled without being stiff, and does a fine job of showing the warmth beneath her character's frosty exterior. Nick Lachance is charming and funny and injects the last part of the show with a great energy.

In a season that has already had a banner crop of shows, Doing Time still manages to stand out.

Doing Time runs until Dec. 1st at the Wired Monk, corner of Hollis and Morris, at 7:30. Tickets are $8, $6 for students.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Doing Time - Review

Doing Time A Breath Of Fresh Air
Submitted by Ron Foley Macdonald on 11.28.07 at 7:03pm. [original here ]

There’s something genuinely thrilling - and unsettling - about Semaphore Theatre’s world premiere of the play Doing Time. First off, it’s unapologetically hard-core sci-fi. Second, it’s a stage piece more interested in ideas that character.

For audiences who despair of the contemporary theatre’s capacity for endless navel-gazing, Doing Time is like a breath of fresh air. Adapted by director Paul Kimball and Kansas City author Mac Tonnies from Tonnies’ short story, the play dispenses with the all those self-conscious notions about the relationship between audiences and players to simply present a space-time mystery that rockets along like a great 1950 pulp sci-fi paperback.

At about one hour in length, the play follows a single young female named Leda as she is held prisoner on some kind of spacecraft. With a single unadorned set, we’re spared any attempt to visualize the ship; instead, a few hung sheets, chairs, and bed establish her cell. She’s accompanied by an aggressively chirpy attendant - Chistina Cuffari in neatly robotic role - who keeps Leda’s questions at bay for the first half of the play.

When Nick Lachance enters - as John, the ‘manager’ - Doing Time’s action picks up considerably. Lachance also injects a great deal of wry, unexpected humour into the play with his quizzical delivery and dry asides. He’s clearly having a great deal of fun with the role, defining it as a kind of slightly off-kilter existential space delivery man.

Kris Lee McBride - in the central role of Leda - modulates her performance in the central role of the piece to underplay her growing rage and exasperation. At the end of the play she achieves a striking sense of resignation that translates into a glimmer of hope, especially since she’s faced with the ultimate unknown.

Kimball’s raw, no-nonsense direction often sacrifices delicacy in order to accelerate the plot; a couple of pantomime scenes that illustrate Leda’s boredom with the voyage reflect a cinematic rather than a stage background, with brisk fade-up-and-back-to-blacks.

The only drawback to the production was the odd use of rather well-worn Bob Dylan songs (All Along The Watchtower, Lay Lady Lay) over the scene transitions. Some Tangerine Dream or Portishead might have provided something a bit more appropriately mysterious and futuristic for a show that seems suspended in some other time and space.

The inanimate basement performance space at The Wired Monk coffee shop at the corner of Hollis and Morris proved to be a surprisingly effective place to stage a play. Hanging on the walls is a rather neat series of sci-fi-like paintings that resonate with the show and warrant a separate visit by themselves.

Doing Time is small but smart production that reveals Semaphore Theatre as a substantial new player on the indie theatre scene. Aimed at wider genre-loving audiences rather than the usual jaded theatre crowd, the company has made a serious stride into a totally new direction for theatre in Halifax.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

2007 Zorgy Awards - Let the Voting Begin

The nominations have been received (dozens of e-mails - thanks, folks!), and here are those categories which received at least four nominees.

Top Podcast
Strange Days... Indeed
Binnall of America
Culture of Contact
The Book of Thoth Podcasts
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Best Paranormal Blog
Posthuman Blues
UFO Mystic
The Debris Field
Odd Things
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Best UFO / paranormal "trouble-maker"
Alfred Lehmberg
Jeremy Vaeni
David Biedny
James W. Moseley
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Best Ufologist
Stanton T. Friedman
Jerome Clark
Nick Redfern
Nick Pope
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Best website [forums]
Department 47
Book of Thoth
The Paracast Forums
Above Top Secret
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Best website [news summary]
The Debris Field
UFO Review
The Daily Grail
The Anomalist
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Top UFO Story of 2007
Kucinich sees a UFO
O'Hare UFO story
Roswell's 60th anniversary
Walter Haut affidavit
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Best publication [print]
Saucer Smeared
UFO Magazine
Fate Magazine
Fortean Times
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Best Cryptzoologist
Loren Coleman
Jonathan Downes
Nick Redfern
Dr. Karl Shuker
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Best UFO Conference
2007 X-Conference
2007 International UFO Congress
2007 Crash Retrieval Conference
2007 MUFON Symposium
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2008 Hall of Fame inductees (top 2 selected)
Richard Hall
James Moseley
Gray Barker
Jerome Clark
Edward Ruppelt
Brad Sparks
Kevin Randle
Philip Klass
Nick Pope
Long John Nebel
Art Bell
John Keel
Ray Palmer
Corel Lorenzen
Brad Steiger
Errol Bruce-Knapp
Dr. Bruce Maccabee
Dr. Peter Sturrock
Nick Redfern
Paul Hill
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2008 Hall of Shame Inductees (2 inducted)
Alfred Webre
Frank Scully
Richard Doty
Frank Scully
Philip Corso
Linda Moulton Howe
Silas Newton
William Moore
Ray Santilli
Frank Kaufmann
Gerald Anderson
Michael Horn
George Van Tassel
George Adamski
Ed Walters
Dr. Seth Shostak
Jaime Maussan
Kal K. Korff
William Cooper
Bob Lazar
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Let the voting begin!

Polls will be open until 12:01 AM (AST), 1 January 2008.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kucinich, UFOs and the Media



Mac Tonnies is angry about how the Kucinich UFO question was handled at the Democratic debate. He writes:

This sad excuse of a "debate," in which Kucinich is essentially asked to apologize for seeing an object in the sky he didn't understand, typifies the mainstream response to a phenomenon that, by all counts, qualifies as a genuine scientific enigma. (For his part, Obama diverts attention from the subject at hand with consummate finesse, his condescension greeted by applause.) [entire post here].

Actually, I see it differently, and here's why:

1. The question itself wasn't looking for an apology. It was straight-forward, with the usual moderator run-on intro. If it seemed like Russert was looking for an apology, I would suggest that ufologists are a bit too touchy. They want people to ask questions, and here was a question. If there was a little bit of smarm on Russert's part (and honestly, I didn't really detect any more smarm than normal from TR), that's a small price to pay.

2. Kucinich has no hope of ever being President, but I thought he answered the question about as well as time and circumstance allowed (remember, this was a "rapid fire" round in the debate). He mentioned that a UFO is simply a UFO, and by extension not necessarily an alien spacecraft. He also got in the good line about more Americans having seen a UFO than support the president - catchy, if not quite true, at least according to the statistic Russert countered with, i.e. 14% of Americans have reported seeing a UFO. Is that stat true or not? I don't know, but as Kucinich indicated at the end, it's an awful lot of people regardless. He also name-dropped Jimmy Carter, although most people accept that Carter saw Venus, and not a genuine UFO. Still, not bad - if he was better informed, he would have added a few other names and occupations, including Kelly Johnson, Senator Richard Russell, Paul Hill, and any dozen of the scores of top USAF personnel who have reported UFOs. Better yet, he would have told people to purchase a copy of "Best Evidence" when it's out on DVD next year (yes, that's a shameless commercial plug!).

3. Mac also takes a dig at Barrack Obama's comments when he said, in essence, that we should focus more on problems down here, but what does Mac suggest that Obama (who no-one should confuse with presidential material at this point in his career - experience should count more than sound-bites and a good back-story), should have said, given the circumstances, i.e. he's trailing Clinton in the polls, and he had about fifteen seconds to answer? Besides, I happen to agree with the gist of his answer, which was "who knows what's out there, but we should focus on fixing our own myriad problems down here, which is what I'm going to do if elected President". I would probably have given the same answer, given the circumstances, and the priorities of a candidate trying to gain his party's nomination. Save the talk for manned missions to Mars, or the question of whether or not there's life out there, for another day, when you have more time, and when you might actually be in charge.

So, I think, all things considered, the debate was a good thing for "ufology" (and even for people interested in the serious study of the UFO phenomenon). Yes, there was some laughter from some in the audience, which just shows that there are Democrats who are as stupid as Republicans (did anyone who lived through the Carter presidency really doubt this?). Still, you have to walk before you can run, which in the case of the UFO phenomenon means that you're still going to have to put up with some chuckles every now and then. The way to silence the chuckles is to use facts and figures, and to point out that some very bright people have seen UFOs over the years, along with a pretty significant number of their fellow Americans.

That's not a bad place to start the process of re-building the public image of the UFO phenomenon.

I never thought I'd say or write this, but good for Dennis Kucinich.

Paul Kimball

Monday, October 29, 2007

Humanity vs... humanity?

Will the human race eventually divide into two different species, one far more advanced than the other? Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry at the London School of Economics seems to think so (see article here).

While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is the possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other. After that, things could get ugly, with the possible emergence of genetic 'haves' and 'have-nots'.

If you've ever watched the Jerry Springer show, you might be tempted to conclude that the process described in this article has already begun!

Seriously, leaving aside the genetic angle, technology is already rapidly creating an even greater divide within humanity - those who have it and understand how to use it, and those who do not. A divide may be coming - faster than we think - where the former group begin to merge in a meaningful way with their technology, and leave the latter group well behind... at which point the world becomes a vastly different place.

That I-Pod of yours, or that cell phone, or Blackberry, or X-Box 360, or ___________________ (fill in the blank) is taking us further and further away from the rest of the human race, bit by bit, at an ever accelerating rate. I'm not suggesting that we should give them up - rather than slowing ourselves down, we should be working harder to make sure that everyone else keeps up. Most of all, in our rush to have all of the latest gadgets, including those that may become part of our own bodies, we must not forget those who don't have access to them.

The alternative to maintaining an awareness of the growing divide within humanity, and trying to do something about it, is a bleak future for us all.

Paul Kimball

What Would ET Do?

One of the most annoying phrases I hear from Christians comes when they ask the question, in response to some dilemna (whether it's a biggie, like whether or not to go to war, or a small one, like whether or not to buy Captain Crunch or Fruit Loops):

What would Jesus do?

My answer is usually, "what a stupid question to ask".

However, in my current friendly "blog-war" with Mac Tonnies re: alien contact, I'll ask the same question, in a slightly different way, with regard to whether or not humanity is ready for knowledge of ET's presence.

In other words: what would ET do?

Let's assume for the moment that ET exists. Let's further assume that ET is here, and has been for some time. Finally, let's assume that ET is more or less benevolent (and if they weren't, I probably wouldn't be writing this). That's a lot of assumptions (all of which remain unproven to me, but as I said, "let's assume), but they're ones made by the supporters of the ETH as the ETFact, and those who advocate the government come "clean" about ET's presence on Earth.

Given those assumptions, and given the state of affairs vis-a-vis ET (i.e. no public revelation), one can but assume that ET agrees with me. In other words, by not yet revealing themselves publicly for all of the world to see, ET has indicated that, in their view, we're not ready for contact.

Perhaps they have some version of Star Trek's "Prime Directive". Who knows?

What I do know is that they show more common sense, and understanding of the state of affairs on Earth, than the "disclosure" advocates.

Besides, if ET is smart enough to get here, and wise enough that people are willing to pin their hopes for a better future on contact with them, who are we to argue with them when it comes to the question of when that contact should take place?

In other words, if ET is out there, we'll meet them on their terms, when they figure we're ready to do so, and not a moment sooner.

Good for them.

Paul Kimball

Are We Ready for "Contact"?

My good friend Mac Tonnies has responded to my recent post "Truth Embargo? Good" at his blog (read it here).

He writes, in part:

A large part of me is convinced that we need our paradigmatic bars rattled -- and if that means enduring the sociological sea-change likely to occur in the wake of ET "disclosure," I think it's worth the ride.

I understand where he's coming from, but I think on this issue he's naive, and wrong. I replied:

Mac:

You and others view "contact" through that Western, educated, middle-to-upper class point of view I discussed. The vast majority of the world does not share that point of view, including many in the West. A "contact" event would, in my opinion, be disastrous in the short term, with unpredictable consequences in the long-term. We just aren't ready for it as a species, and it is the height of cultural imperialism and hubris for us to suggest that because some of us may be ready (indeed, may even want that change), the rest of the world is, or at the very least should be forced along for the ride.

If I was in charge, and knew about ET on Earth, and could keep it secret, all the while slowly seeding the technology into society as well as the "knowledge", through the media (i.e. films), I wouldn't hesitate to "cover it up".

I'm pretty sure the Aztecs would have done the same if they could have.
Does anybody really think that the global reaction would be one of universal joy, where people who have hated each other for centuries would suddenly toss down their weapons and embrace each other as brothers and sisters? I don't.

Perhaps the aliens, should they prove to be benevolent, would enforce peace upon the world. They would no doubt have the means to do so, at least in broad strokes. But is that how we really want to solve our problems? And where would that lead us?

How would radical religious zealots (of any faith) react?

Does anyone for a second believe that the established order would just slip away - or is it far more likely that it would further entrench itself, paritcularly if the "contact" event was not a landing, but simply a signal that confirmed what Mac and I already suspect, i.e. that we're not alone?

The one thing I am certain of, as I look around, is that we're not mature enough as a species to face that future, at least not yet.

Maybe, someday, when we grow up and solve our own problems, we'll be ready for admission into the Cosmic Kindergarten. But for now we're still stuck in the crib.

Guys like Mac, and Stan Friedman, and Steven Bassett all mean well. They all want the best, and that's truly admirable. The problem is that when they say they would welcome a landing on the White House lawn, or that they want "disclosure", they are looking to the skies for salvation, when we should be looking to ourselves. We're the problem, but we're also the solution.

To think otherwise is to be no different than the people who have spent two thousand years waiting for the return of Jesus to save us from ourselves.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Truth Embargo? Good!

You often hear pro-ETH UFO researchers in the West state something along the lines of, "It's time to end the cover-up of the ET presence on Earth - it might have made sense 60 years ago, but we're a more mature society now, and we could handle the news". Stan Friedman has said words to that general effect at almost every lecture I've ever heard him give, for example.

I think that they're wrong. I think if we were really faced with certain proof of the existence of ET (like a flying saucer landing on the White House lawn), things would pretty much go to hell in short order. The view that things would be just fine (a few hiccups, perhaps, but we would adjust quickly) is informed by an educated, middle to upper class, very Western way of looking at the world - in other words, guys like Stan. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the planet's population is not educated to the degree someone like Stan is, and they're not members of the middle or upper classes, and they don't live in the relative comfort (both physical and ideological) of postmodernist and largely secular Western society.

The view of people like Stan that we're ready for the knowledge of ET's existence (should ET exist and be here) is also at odds with human history, where every time an advanced society came into contact with a less advanced society, there was chaos, with the end result that the less advanced society suffered greatly as a result of that contact.

I think Stuart Miller, in a recent post at his blog Alien Worlds Magazine, hits upon the more likely outcome. Here is an excerpt:

My opinion is that there would be substantial elements of world wide hysteria which couldn’t be ignored, for it would inevitably impinge on the calmer elements. The most un-endearing quality within the psyche of the human spirit is arrogance. Our world is full of strutting little despots, be it militarily, politically, administratively, the religious realm, or even in our personal lives. People full of their own self importance and power, without humility or empathy, who would seize the opportunity to terrify and manipulate. Martial law in some quarters would be a real possibility. After all, this would be an event of a life time. [Full article here]
Bingo - and as Stuart notes later in the column, this is what would probably happen if we just got a signal from SETI. It would be far worse if ET was actually here, and even worse again if ET was hostile.

Guys like Steven Bassett talk about a "paradigm shift" should the "truth embargo" ever be lifted. They're absolutely right, but for the wrong reasons. They see a sunnier future for humanity - a leap into a brave new world, where we would happily walk hand in hand with our space brothers and sisters, and all would suddenly be fine on Planet Earth.

Like Stuart, I see a different result, because I've spent years studying the world and its people, not as we might like them to be, but as they actually are. If the "government" is really covering up the "truth" about an ET presence here on Earth, I say "good - keep it up". Because as I look around, the truth is that we're not ready for it. We're not even close. And to reveal it now would be as disastrous as it would have been sixty years ago - perhaps more so.

We don't need alien "gods" to come down and solve all of our problems - we need to solve them ourselves. Only then, when all people are capable of seeing the world like Stan Friedman sees it will we be ready for First Contact, with any ET species, either here or "out there".

If ET really does exist, and is smart enough to get here from there, and is as benevolent as some people think, then I'm pretty sure they see things the same way I do, and that's why they choose not to reveal themselves. And if they aren't that benevolent, and resemble more an ET version of Cortez, then eventually we're all screwed, aren't we?

Does this mean that people should stop investigating UFO cases? No. Does it mean people should stop writing and talking about UFOs? Of course not. Because at the moment, the idea of ET UFOs are like the idea of God - maybe they exist, maybe they don't, who can say? You can believe if you want, or not. You can believe in one type of alien, or another, or none at all. You can explore other theories if you want. You can ignore the whole subject, as the vast majority of people do. You can even pretend that you're practising "citizen diplomacy" with aliens if you want. To each their own.

You can even pester the "government" for the "truth", but you'll find that it's a pretty futile slog, because they either don't know the "truth" (which is the far more likely answer, in my opinion), or, if they do and the truth is "ET is here", they aren't going to reveal it, for the reasons outlined above.

Good reasons.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nazis, neo-Nazis, and UFOs

Lately on UFO Updates there has been an embarrassing thread going on in which the idea that the Nazis may have been involved in UFO research (or something like that) in Antarctica has been floated (based upon some book that's about to come out). This is all rubbish, and I'm not going to dignify the "debate" by providing any more details, other than to note that the people who seem to put any stock in this notion are people who have no - and I mean NO - knowledge or understanding of the history of the period under discussion (if you're really interested, for some reason, you can subscribe to Updates and check them out yourself). Yes, they occasionally get facts right, but history isn't just about dates and facts - it's about understanding what they mean (that's what makes history interesting, and relevant).

Anyway, my point here is to note that the Nazi meme is not a new one in ufology, but it has been a dangerous one, for reasons that many people have pointed out in the past, including Strange Days... Indeed commentator Dave Furlotte (see here). Neo-Nazis like Ernst Zundel have used the UFO subject in the past to lure the most gullible people into their web of hate and lies on the theory that if a person was willing to swallow the kind of bilge that Zundel and others pedaled with regards to Nazi UFOs, then they were identified as prime targets for a far more dangerous kind of bilge, Holocaust denial (anyone who wants a more detailed examination of the Zundel story should pick up a copy of Warren Kinsella's excellent book, Web of Hate; for Zundel and UFOs, see The Nizkor Project's page here).

Does this mean that all people who support the "Nazi bases in Antarctica claims" that pop up now and then are neo-Nazis? Of course not. But their kind of rank stupidity does demonstrate that there are indeed people out there who are simply incapable of separating fact from fiction - people who are so desperate to believe in UFOs as aliens, or whatever, that they will believe virtually anything else. This is just this kind of "believer blindness" that neo-Nazis like Ernst Zundel, or cult leaders like Marshall Applewhite, always count on, something that anyone interested in the study of the UFO subject should always keep in mind.

Paul Kimball

Monday, October 22, 2007

Greg Bishop's UFO Platform

Greg Bishop, 3rd party candidate for the Presidency of the United States, has set out his platform as it relates to the UFO-question. Here it is:

Obviously, the UFO subject is not very high on the list of anyone running for public office, and it never will be, unless the phenomenon itself decides to make it important to the vast majority of the public. Elected officials need to work within the structure of military and security establishments to find out what is going on, how much is known, and what the problem would be exposing this knowledge to the public.

The way to force disclosure, I believe, is to convince those who hold those secrets that it would be in their best interests to release the pertinent information. That
would be a tall order indeed–perhaps nearly impossible. For anyone whose life is the custodianship of secrets within secrets, ad infinitum, an open approach is dead on the launchpad.

No, the proper way to do it would be behind the scenes, assuring the parties involved that no one but yourself and the people hired to speak for you would be responsible for revealing whatever could be revealed. Perhaps a political runaround would be in order, where you placed the information in the hands of a political adversary or even an ally, letting him or her take the heat and/or acclaim. Working on elected officials from the outside certainly isn’t paying any fast dividends.

Because I believe (and this is only a theory) that those in charge of UFO information know little more about the origin or purpose of non-human visitors than the rest of us, I also think that a real “disclosure” is not possible, since those in possession of the story don’t really know what to do with it, except scare the rest of us into submission by leaking wild stories and controlling the rumor mill. Perhaps the best way to look into it is on an individual level–using a “bottom-up” approach, rather than asking for official permission to spout the things we claim to know already.

Most people reading this already believe that the human race has had contact with non-human entities, or at least their effects. Why do we need some “authority” to tell us something we already know, except to provide some needed data points?

I stumbled onto that by writing it. Data points (meaning officially sanctioned, reputation-on-the-line data points) may be a key. If the some of the disclosure people (and many other UFO researchers) push their “we told you so” egos out of the way, perhaps what they should really be asking for (quietly and with little fanfare) is more and better info, and not a release of the “truth” about UFOs. What you are looking for defines what you will find, and how you ask the questions.

I will now take questions from the press.

Well, that makes sense. Greg would get my vote, if I had one, and if I thought "UFO disclosure" was an issue worth devoting any serious political time and energy towards.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NFOs

Brad Sparks copied me on this post he sent in to Errol Bruce-Knapp at UFO Updates. I think it's worth posting far and wide, so here it is.

Paul Kimball

I suggest naming the category of non-investigated or uninvestigated sightings "NFO's" or Non-investigated Flying Objects (NFO's). This is an indeterminate catchall category for initial incoming sighting reports prior to any Hynek screening or investigation. Most cases will fall into this category and never get reclassified as either IFO's or UFO's. The "NFO" term falls nicely in between IFO and UFO alphabetically which is conceptually where it belongs.

For simplicity I include all conventional explanations within the scope of the term "IFO" including cases where there is no object at all, such as some hallucinations and hoaxes. I don't quibble over hypertechnicalities of the "flying" term, where purists complain that we usually don't know if the object is flying using aerodynamic principles, and celestial bodies are not "flying" at all, etc. The traditional "UFO" term uses the word "flying" and everyone has a rough idea what "UFO" and "IFO" mean and they don't take it so literally. "NFO" nicely and logically alliterates with IFO and UFO so it will suggest the others.

Trying to replace the term "UFO" because of quibbles over the word "flying" will simply lose 99% of the people who have an interest in the UFO subject.

The Hynek screening process is explained in his basic textbook of UFO science, The UFO Experience, published in 1972 and endlessly reprinted in numerous editions ever since. You can buy paperback copies on Amazon.com for less than the cost of shipping so there is no excuse for serious UFO researchers not have it and read it.

No sighting report according to Hynek should get the "UFO" label until after a scientifically competent investigation has eliminated IFO's and other conventional explanations.

Whenever it is unclear what we mean by "UFO" or if there is a possibility of some confusion then simply say UFO Unknowns or "real UFO" or Unexplained UFO's or the like, just as we now do anyway.

With this new terminology the AF Project Blue Book statistics would transform to something like this (these are extremely rough approximations subject to refinement and more thorough statistics after Will Wise's BlueBookArchives can get all the BB files online so a more thorough analysis can finally be done):

NFO's - 10,500 (approx.)
IFO's - 1,500 (approx.)
UFO's - 3,000 (approx.)
Total - 15,000 (approx.)

I am being very conservative on the number of UFO Unknowns, as 20% of the total, whereas it is more likely as McDonald estimated, about 30% to 40% or about 4,500 to 6,000 Unknowns.

UFO's thus outnumber IFO's by at least 2 to 1 when we stop bastardizing the statistics by including non-investigated NFO's. Using Hynek's definition an investigation must be scientifically competent, hence very few BB investigations would qualify in his opinion and in the estimation of McDonald and others who have reviewed BB's work.

Brad Sparks

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Greg Bishop for President

I've been having a friendly little tete-a-tete with Alfred Lehmberg in the comments section to the post Dear God - I'm a Lefty!. The jist of it, at least from my side of the aisle, is that there is a marked lack of bi-partisanship on both sides of the political fence in the United States (and, sadly, in Canada as well these days).

My suggestion is simple - the United States needs a third party along the lines of the United Kingdom's Raving Monster Loony Party.

Now, the obvious candidate for President for such a party in the United States would be Nick Redfern, the king of off-the-wall cryptozoology currently living in that country (apologies to Loren Coleman, but he's from Maine, a state with no electoral clout). Alas, Nick wasn't born in the United States, so he can never be President.

Fear not, intrepid readers, for there is a perfectly good candidate waiting in the wings - Greg Bishop!

Unlike Coleman, Greg is from a state that matters when it comes to the electoral college - California.

Unlike Redfern, Greg is an American citizen, born and bred.

Like both Coleman and Redfern, Greg has spent a fair amount of time studying monsters, and he's certainly hung out with plenty of loons.

Best of all, Greg takes a truly bi-partisan point of view when it comes to all things paranormal. He keeps an open mind, and is willing to listen to all arguments, after which he generally makes an informed decision that, even if you disagree with it, you can still respect it.

Thus do I officially nominate Greg Bishop for President of the United States of America.

Now all we need is a party name, and a running mate, and the campaign can begin in earnest!

Let's start with the running mate...

Who should be nominated as Greg Bishop's running mate for President?
Mac Tonnies
Alfred Lehmberg
Lesley Gunter
Timothy Binnall
Richard Dolan
Jim Marrs
James Moseley
Kenn Thomas
A. J. Gulyas
Royce Myers III
Free polls from Pollhost.com


And thus begins a paradigm shift in American politics!

Paul Kimball

Nick Redfern's "Memoirs of a Monster Hunter"

My good friend Nick Redfern has a new book out, Memoirs of a Monster Hunter: A Five Year Journey in Search of the Unknown, that is a must-read for anyone who thinks a paranormal travelogue is a great idea. As always, Nick's breezy writing style engages the reader, and whisks them off to all sorts of strange places where Nick has tried to track down all sorts of strange creatures, from vampires to lake monsters. My favourite section is, of course, Chapter 15, which is about Nick's trip with yours truly and the Redstar crew to Puerto Rico in September, 2005, in search of the legendary chupacabra.

That was an exciting trip, with all sorts of twists and turns, witnesses, weird stories, odd coincidences, and so on (in the book Nick recounts a truly eerie MJ-12 story from his trip to Puerto Rico). As with all of his stories in the book, Nick brings our adventures alive for the reader, and makes it seem as if they were along for the ride.

I sometimes refer to myself as the "Jack Kerouac of the paranormal". If that's the case, then Nick is the "Hunter S. Thompson of the paranormal"... with perhaps a bit of Ernest Hemmingway thrown in for good measure. His writing informs and entertains in a field where authors tend to do one or the other, but rarely manage to do both at the same time (my pals Mac Tonnies and Greg Bishop are also welcome exceptions to this general rule).

In a brief passage in the aforementioned Chapter 15, Nick sums up nicely why he and I do what we do:

"That evening, we met in the bar for an evening of food and revelry... 'Life's never dull in this game, is it?' I asked Paul, in what was really a statement rather than a question. He heartily agreed. We toasted to a continued, productive week, and thanked God that we didn't have to work in the real world of 9-to-5. The conversation then turned to music, beer, gambling, and more, and bloodsucking vampires were forgotten about for the rest of the night."

Nick is one of those guys who gets exactly what Kerouac was talking about when he wrote:

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
There are plenty of "mad ones" in Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, an engaging journey through the strange world of the paranormal... and the sometimes even stranger world of Nick Redfern. Don't miss it.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2007 Zorgy Award nominations now open!!



Nominations for the 2007 Zorgy Awards are now open (you can see the 2006 results here). You can send your nominations for any of the following categories to Rear Admiral Zorgrot (seen above with Canadian actor Kris Lee McBride at the San Diego Zoo) at ZorgrotOnEarth@aol.com:

1. Best UFO / paranormal website [Magazine]

2. Best UFO / paranormalwebsite [forums]

3. Best UFO / paranormal website [news summary]

4. Best UFO / paranormal blog

5. Best UFO / paranormal radio show [non-Internet]

6. Best UFO / paranormal "Trouble-Maker"

7. Best UFO Podcast

8. Best UFO / paranormal publication (print)

9. Best UFO / paranormal research website

10. Best Ufologist

11. Best UFO documentary [released in 2007]

12. Best UFO conference

13. Best UFO book [released in 2007]

14. Top UFO story of 2007

15. Top Paranormal story of 2007

16. Best cryptozoologist

17. Best cryptozoology website

Nominations for The Pelicanist of the Year Award and The George Adamski Memorial Award will be determined by Zorgy and yours truly.

Nominations close November 10th - voting will commence soon thereafter, and run until December 31st. This year there will be statues for the winners, and an Internet broadcast awards ceremony!

Vox populi!

Paul Kimball

Peter Gersten interview - Part III



As the interview continues, Gersten talks about The Program and free will.

Paul Kimball

Peter Gersten interview - Part II



My interview with Peter Gersten continues, as he expands on his theory of "The Program" and what its end in 2012 will mean for him.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Peter Gersten interview - Part I



Part I of an interview I conducted with long-time UFO disclosure advocate Peter Gersten (co-founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy) in Sedona, Arizona, on 21 September, 2007. In this clip, Peter talks about 2012, and what it means to him.

Paul Kimball

Greg Bishop at the Integratron



Greg Bishop, Kris McBride and I travelled out to Yucca Valley, California, on the 2nd of October to shoot some footage of Giant Rock and the Integratron. Here Greg gives a brief description of what the Integratron was all about.

Paul Kimball

Greg Bishop on UFOs and Ufology



Author Greg Bishop (Project Beta, The Excluded Middle) discusses the state of modern ufology and how the study of the UFO phenomenon should be approached in this clip from an interview I conducted with him in his home in Los Angeles, 6 October 2007.

Paul Kimball

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stan Friedman on "working under security"



This is one of my favourite Stan stories. It didn't make it into Stanton T. Friedman is Real, but here it is from the 2000 pre-interview.

Incidentally, I always give my cameraman similar instructions with respect to taking care of the camera.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Review of Captured: The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience

Stan Friedman gets a nice review from my good pal, Halifax arts & entertainment critic Ron Foley MacDonald.

Paul Kimball

Fredericton UFO Expert Has Hot Summer
by Ron Foley MacDonald

World-renowned New Brunswick-based Unidentified Flying Object expert Stanton T. Friedman is having one hot summer. He just appeared on the widely seen CNN chat show Larry King Live to argue in support the possibility of extraterrestrial visits to earth; the former nuclear physicist has also just co-authored an exciting new book entitled Captured!: The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience.

This being the 60th Anniversary of the infamous 1947 UFO crash incident at Roswell in the American Southwest--of which Friedman is the leading civilian researcher--the affable Fredericton resident has been busy all across North America taking part in various UFO-conventions and commemorations surrounding the Roswell anniversary.

I caught Stanton T. Friedman at a Halifax Conference put on by Redstar Films last fall. He was a spellbinding speaker: funny, informed, and positively persuasive. I was looking forward to the new book--co-authored with Betty Hill's niece Kathleen Marden--because it would shed some light on what I think is the most puzzling and prominent UFO case since Roswell.

Captured! updates and deconstructs John Fuller's famous--but now out of print, alas--book The Interrupted Journey, which brought the Betty and Barney Hill story to a wide audience in the mid-1960s. Their tale reached an even bigger public in 1975 when a truly terrifying TV movie version starring James Earl Jones was broadcast on North American mainstream television.

I saw that movie as a teenager and it left an indelible impression. The nuts and bolts of the narrative are initially relatively simple. An inter-racial married couple, Barney and Betty Hill, believed they had an encounter with a UFO in September of 1961 in New Hampshire after driving down from a vacation in Canada.

They told only a few friends at first. After the couple began to experience disturbing nightmares, they contacted a psychiatrist who put them under hypnosis a couple of years later after a long course of preparitory treatment.

Astonishingly, Betty and Barney Hill recounted--under medical-supervised hypnosis--an amazing story of being taken aboard a UFO for some very uncomfortable tests. Betty even engaged in conversation with the aliens, and had them draw a star chart of where they came from. She re-drew the chart under hypnosis; it has become a key part in the controversy surrounding the Hill case.

Friedman and Marden go through the story step-by-step. They identify all of the major and minor players, and shed light on some of the short cuts that John Fuller took in constructing his version of the narrative.

All of this plays to Stanton T. Friedman's formidable researching strengths. He points out inconsistencies, gaps in logic and the many differences between Betty and Barney Hill's own testimony. More importantly, he coolly refutes the many debunkers who have grown up around the Hills' now-iconic narrative.

It's become all too easy to reduce the study of the UFO phenomena to a goofy side-show of crackpots, losers and loose canons. Friedman's lifelong crusade has been to give dignity to the process by treating the examination of UFOs through the compilation of useful and measurable data.

With the direct access to Betty Hill's diaries and other estate material provided by her niece and trustee Kathleen Marden (the other co-author of the book), an incredible amount of detail is now available to consider in what can only be considered the granddaddy of all UFO abduction cases.

And while skeptics can still spin all the metaphors about the case they can dream up--one of the favorites is that the whole thing was generated by the unconscious disturbances of a inter-racial couple in a time of deep discrimination--there's no question that Captured!: The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience represents the definitive statement on one of the great vexing para-normal encounters of our time.

Captured!: The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience is published by New Page Books, a division of Career Press, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, USA, 300 pages, paperback, $21.95 Canadian. For more information check out www.newpagebooks.com.

Stan Friedman on Project Blue Book Special Report #14



Another clip from the research interview I conducted with Stan Friedman in 2000 while developing the documentary Stanton T. Friedman is Real - here Stan talks about Project Blue Book Special Report #14.

Paul Kimball

Monday, September 03, 2007

Stan Friedman - Refuting the arguments against UFOs



I recorded a lengthy pre-interview with Stan Friedman in Halifax back in 2000 for the development phase of the documentary Stanton T. Friedman is Real, which we took into production in 2001. In this segment, I asked Stan to imagine himself on the other side of the UFO fence, i.e. as a person trying to poke holes in his various arguments.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nick Redfern on Ufology

In two comments at one of his UFO Mystic posts, Nick Redfern hits the nail square on the head with a spot-on analysis that will make many people within ufology cringe, or complain, or argue... but that won't change the fact that he's absolutely right.

Nick writes:

I predict that ufology will never be anymore than a subject that attracts a few thousand people on a regular basis (and maybe less now).

Many ufologists confidently think that the world is waiting for them to finally deliver the ET goods and go down in history.

They’re not. Most people outside could not care less about the petty arguments in ufology (and don’t know about it anyway) and unless someone really makes a major breakthrough (along the lines of proving that Roswell was ET, for example), we will not be remembered by science, the media or the public.

A good many ufologists are ego-driven and full of self-importance. But at the end of the day, we are just a group of largely unrecognized people who argue with each other, and publish things here and there that get read by a few thousand people. And that’s it.

Same as it ever was. Same as it always will be. I think the biggest problems facing ufology are (a) the image that we have with the scientific community and with the media - namely that we are all viewed as nutcases, eccentrics etc; (b) the fact that we lack any hard evidence in terms of something tangible that can be studied and proved to be anomalous (rather than different people having different opinions on something that remains enigmatic or unresolved); and (c) that we lack large funding to really devote to a deep study of the data.

I’m not sure how we change things, but I believe that things can only change if we can find some form of hard evidence to support the idea that UFOs exist.

But that will only ever happen (I personally think) if UFOs are literal nuts and bolts craft. If they have far stranger origins, it may well be impossible to get tangible, hard evidence. In which case, we may be perceived by the human race of the late 21st century and 22nd century in the same way that we view people who - 100 years ago - searched for fairies, or knocked on tables trying to contact the dead, etc.

In other words, we’ll be viewed as a group of people who looked into some unusual areas in search of the truth about aliens, but never really found any hard evidence that proved ET was visiting.

Ironically, if ET really does land, I personally think that ufology will be swept away in an instant as the public demands answers from the media, who in turn demand answeres [sic] from the government and the mainstream scientific community.

We may get a brief 5 minutes to say “we told you so,” but that will be it.

Unless we stumble on it first somehow.

The odds of anyone in ufology stumbling onto "the truth" (whatever that may be) are somewhere between slim and none, and most likely much closer to "none".

The one thing I'm absolutely certain of (and I talked about this on a Binnall of America appearance last year) is that if aliens ever do land, Nick is spot-on right that ufologists will be lucky to get 5 minutes to say "we told you so".

So, in the meantime, everyone should focus on the intriguing mystery, and have some fun, because that's what mysteries should be - fun.

This means that there should be room for some of the more "out there" theories (FYI - as far as the mainstream is concerned, that includes the ETH), even to the point of speculation. Where would I draw the line? When people are clearly lying, or when the theories and speculation goes so far as to be preposterous, at which point let 'em have it.

But that's me. Everyone needs to draw their own line in the sand, and then move forward from there.

Meanwhile, this doesn't mean that one can't make an effort to get science to take the UFO phenomenon seriously. We just have to remember that "ufology" is not a scientific endeavour - it is, by and large, a hobby, or entertainment. This is like the difference between serious scientists who study Mars on the one hand, and people like Richard Hoagland on the other - one should never confuse Hoagland with serious scientific study of anything, but he is entertaining, and that has its place, in the same way that the Jerry Springer Show is not real therapy for the people involved, but it has its place as entertainment.

Of course, there are people, like Nick and I, who walk the line between the two - serious study on the one hand, and entertainment on the other - but we understand that there is a difference.

Paul Kimball

The MJ-12 Brouhaha

At the moment controversy is raging within the "hallowed halls of ufology" about MJ-12.

"What," you ask. "MJ-12. I thought that was a dead fish".

Indeed. MJ-12 itself is a dead fish. It was a scam. Whether it was for disinformation purposes or financial gain is a secondary matter, as far as I'm concerned. Except for a few die-hard defenders (Stan Friedman foremost among them), everybody else has come to that conclusion some time ago, and for the most part moved on.

No, the controversy is not about MJ-12 itself, really, but rather about a paper written by Brad Sparks and Barry Greenwood, and presented at the recent MUFON Symposium. I had an advance peek at the paper weeks before the Symposium courtesy of Brad, and was going to provide some editorial input (mostly re: spelling, grammar, and overall construction, which it badly needed at that stage), but work and life got in the way, and I never got a chance to send back my suggestions, which Brad had asked for (putting the boots to any assertion that Brad can't take constructive criticism).

Anyway, the controversy, which is unedifying for all concerned, is between who wrote what, and when, and how much, and... well, you get the picture. Stuart Miller sums it all up nicely here.

Now, Brad is my friend, and was instrumental in making Best Evidence a well-received film, so I accept his account of how it all went down. Besides, I can't see what the point of all the argument is anyway. It is, in my opinion, a waste of time and energy.

With one exception.

As Stuart notes, Dick Hall has critiqued Brad for making reference to ongoing Roswell research, and big revelations on the horizon, without providing any specifics. Worse, Brad slams other researchers for their lousy methodology (fair game), but does so by comparing it with his own, which we can't check, because Brad hasn't published anything yet.

Dick is right, Brad - and I say this as a friend who has a great deal of respect for you and your work over the years. It is decidedly un-academic to use vague references to ongoing research that has not been made public to support your MJ-12 contentions, or anything else, including criticism of other researchers. If someone else tried this in a different context, I suspect that Brad would be one of the first people to go after them, and rightly so. This was the one part of Brad and Barry's MJ-12 paper that I immediately highlighted in yellow, with a couple of exclamation marks, and meant to send Brad a note saying I thought it was a bad, bad idea, but I never got around to it.

The unfortunate thing is that all of this petty to-and-froing has taken attention away from the real story, which was a paper that, by and large, was an excellent examination of the hows and whys of the MJ-12 fiasco, and should have been the final nail (if one was really needed) in the MJ-12 coffin.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Man as God?

In case you missed it, some scientists are claiming that we are within a decade of being able to create (basic) artificial life.

The quote that has me just a bit worried is this one:

"We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways - in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

Of course, that's followed by this one:

"When these things are created, they're going to be so weak, it'll be a huge achievement if you can keep them alive for an hour in the lab," he said. "But them getting out and taking over, never in our imagination could this happen."

Hmm... I guess I should feel better now.

Still, I'm left to wonder - are we really wise enough to be messing about with these things?

Perhaps it's time Joe Q. Public tuned in and started really, seriously thinking about what is coming down the pike.

In other words, perhaps they should stop watching Oprah and Springer, and start watching Battlestar Galactica.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, August 16, 2007

D'Arcy O'Connor - Some Oak Island "theories"

Author D'Arcy O'Connor discusses some of the more "out there" theories for Oak Island - could it be UFOs, leprechauns, or German submarines in World War II?



Mac Tonnies should take note of the leprechaun theory - cryptoterrestrials, perhaps?

Paul Kimball

D'Arcy O'Connor discusses the Knights Templar theory for Oak Island



Author D'Arcy O'Connor discusses the theory that the Knights Templar were behind whatever might be hidden on Oak Island, Nova Scotia in this clip from the interview I filmed with him on August 12, 2007, at the Oak Island Resort (you can see Oak Island in the background on the left). The questions were asked by Halifax-based esoteric researcher Graham Simms, with whom I'm working on developing a documentary about Oak Island.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Other Side of Truth - Halls of Fame and Shame Inductees, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, the voting is now closed, the results have been tabulated, and the first five members of The Other Side of Truth's UFO Hall of Fame and UFO Hall of Shame have been chosen by you, the readers. They are:

UFO Hall of Fame
Dr. J. Allen Hynek
Dr. Jacques Vallee
Stanton T. Friedman
Major Donald Keyhoe
Dr. James McDonald

You can view the final Hall of Fame poll results here.

UFO Hall of Shame
Billy Meier
Philip J. Klass
Dr. Steven Greer
Dr. Edward U. Condon
Marshall Applewhite

You can view the final Hall of Shame poll results here.

I can't argue with any of the choices for the initial inductees in either Hall - all are deserving, for reasons that I will elaborate on in a future post. For now, however, thanks to everyone who voted - and see you again next year when the polling for the class of 2008 begins.

Paul Kimball

D'Arcy O'Connor discusses Oak Island, folklore and the paranormal

Author D'Arcy O'Connor discusses some of the paranormal myths and folklore surrounding Oak Island, Nova Scotia, in this clip from an interview conducted with him August 12th, 2007, at the Oak Island Resort.




D'Arcy's book The Secret Treasure of Oak Island: The Amazing True Story of a Centuries-Old Treasure Hunt, is a cracking good read, and an excellent overview of the Oak Island saga from the perspective of someone who is convinced that there really is some sort of treasure buried there. His lecture this past weekend at Explore Oak Island Days was "Debunking the Debunkers", a title many in the UFO field might find familiar.

More to come...

Paul Kimball

Psychic Eugenia Macer Story discusses the paranormal and Oak Island

Psychic and clairvoyant Eugenia Macer Story discusses Oak Island, Nova Scotia, and the paranormal, in this brief clip I filmed at the Oak Island Resort, 12 August, 2007:



This is raw, unmixed footage, so the audio is a bit low, and the camera mic is still mixed in with the lapel mic. Still, a sample of some of the stuff we got while we were down at Explore Oak Island Days this past weekend.

More Oak Island stuff to come.

Paul Kimball

Monday, August 13, 2007

5 Questions with Tim Binnall

A short Q & A I conducted this past weekend with Tim Binnall while we were camping in Martin's River, Nova Scotia, and attending a conference on Oak Island.



Yes, folks - the first Kimbinnall Summit has been a rousing success. More photos, video and anecdotes to follow.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Best Evidence - Case #4: McMinnville, 1950

Here is a clip of one of the segments from Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Sightings. The 1950 Trent photo case, from McMinnville, oregon, came in at #4.



Narrated by Kris Lee McBride, the film is distributed by B7 Media in the United Kingdom. Hopefully it will make its way to a broadcaster in your country soon (it's currently playing on Space in Canada, and TVNZ in New Zealand).

Paul Kimball

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kimball & Friedman - The Media and UFOs



Here's another clip of Stan and I on Melanson Live back in 2004, this time discussing the media and UFOs. We also touch upon SETI, and my colleague Mike MacDonald, who made The Shag Harbour UFO Incident and Northern Lights, and is currently in post-production on Intruders.

FYI -at the start of the clip, the lead-in question was: "what did you find most surprising when you made the film?"

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Talkin' UFOs on Melanson Live



Back in 2004 (ignore the title card), Stan Friedman and I appeared on a cable show called "Melanson Live" in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to discuss UFOs, and plug "Do You Believe in Majic, which was about to premiere on Space: The Imagination Station. In this clip, I discuss the relationship between sci-fi and interest in UFOs, and the talk a bit about the Robertson Panel.

FYI - I had to cut out the interviewer's opening question. He asked me why I made DYBIM. My critics might appreciate my initial response. ;-)

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dad, Where Do UFOs Come From?

Dad, Where Do UFOs Come From?

As always, Greg Bishop is worth a read.

Now, back to my hiatus.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Other Side of Truth - UFO Hall of Shame

Because for every yin there is a yang, and to every season... well, you know how it goes.

UFO Hall of Shame - Who should be inducted first?
Frank Scully
George Adamski
Dr. Seth Shostak
George Van Tassel
Frank Kaufmann
Dr. Steven Greer
Linda Moulton Howe
Silas Newton
Richard Doty
William L. Moore
Philip J. Klass
Gerald Anderson
Ray Santilli
Billy Meier
Bob Lazar
Ed Walters
Todd Zechel
Budd Hopkins
Dr. Edward U. Condon
Marshall Applewhite
Free polls from Pollhost.com
The same rules apply to the Hall of Shame as the Hall of Fame - the top five vote recipients will form the introductory class of 2007. Write-in votes are allowed, either in the comments section or by e-mail to kimballwood@aol.com. One vote per person.

Vox populi.

Paul Kimball