- As of June 17, my monthly column for the MUFON UFO Journal
was vetoed (read: censored) by John F. Schuessler, the International Director,
because it included critical comments about the line-up of speakers for
the 2001 symposium in Orange County, California. No dissension allowed.
As a result, I have submitted my resignation and will contribute no further
columns to the Journal.
- I was informed that the Orange County MUFON chapter had
selected the speakers and considered them "appropriate for the theme
of the event as well as the location of the event." How true! But
how appropriate are they for the national MUFON organization which claims
to be scientific in orientation?
- Following my own advice to others on this list, I did
some research and looked at the MUFON Orange County web site (www.mufonoc.org),
and discovered that the "New Age" is alive and well in Southern
California. Their stated goals include "Actively promoted INTERACTION
with intelligent life and URP." (Shades of Steven Greer, the speaker
that I protested most strongly.)
- URP (UFO-related Phenomena) is defined to include PSI
Phenomenon [sic], astro-geology, paleo-archeology, and human and animal
mutilations, among other things. MUFON-OC public education programs include
presentations about hypnotic regression by a woman associated with the
Association for Past Life Research and Therapies, and who has recently
published a book titled "Crop Circles Revealed: Language of the Light
- Other public education programs featured remote viewing,
underground bases, Area 51, etc. If this mish-mosh is where MUFON is going,
I'm not going with them. My advice to scientifically oriented MUFON members
is to instruct your leadership to clean house and start behaving scientificially,
which includes peer review as a central element.
- My offending column is attached. ___
- Perspective On the Role of MUFON
- By Richard H. Hall
- I have been made aware of an undercurrent of "unrest"
or "concern" about MUFON policies and activities that I wish
the people concerned would address directly to International Director John
Schuessler rather than to me. Essentially, they center around the apparent
(and I stress "apparent") endorsement by MUFON of some very extreme
and questionable people and viewpoints.
- It all comes down to leadership style, standard setting,
"free speech" and fairplay issues, and other sometimes subjective
judgments as well as honest evaluation of objective facts. Primarily I
am referring here to the 2001 MUFON symposium in California, though it
is merely putting a sharp focus on an incipient issue. That issue concerns
the credibility and, indeed, honesty and integrity of some of the people
in ufology who have now been invited to be featured speakers at the symposium.
- Let me say up front that I have privately protested the
inclusion of Dr. Steven Greer as a speaker for reasons that I won't reiterate
here, but that are obvious to anyone who has observed, or followed, or
participated in his activities. To me, it is a travesty that he is being
allowed to speak at a MUFON symposium. However, the leadership of MUFON
- for reasons that they have not expressed to me - disagree and are allowing
him to be on the program. So be it. We will see what the fallout is.
- In addition to Greer, we find on the program a highly
controversial leftist lawyer, Daniel Sheehan, who supports Greer but also
drags Left vs. Right politics into the arena as an unnecessary complicating
factor. He and another highly controversial character, Alfred L. Webre
(who has made some exceedingly strange political comments and dragged in
the issue of weapons in space) both were prominently involved in Greer's
press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., advocating
Congressional hearings about UFOs.
- Is the UFO subject not controversial enough in its own
right without introducing these politically loaded issues of questionable
- Some of the other speakers are controversial as well,
particularly Roger Leir and his claims about alien implants, Joseph McMoneagle
and remote viewing, and the Woods who are claiming (despite a great deal
of knowledgable commentary to the contrary) to be "expert" document
analysts. Leir and the Woods, at least, are making claims that are more
logically relevant and more subject to legitimate peer review. However,
it is my firm opinion that unless they are subjected to "real time"
peer review during (not after) the symposium, MUFON comes off looking naive
- As for "remote viewing," once again there is
an appearance of naivete and gullibility unless MUFON takes pains to provide
background as to its relevance and as to its validity.
- A symposium on UFOs obviously ought to explore a range
of issues with an open mind, but my suggestion is that perhaps more attention
should be paid to (a) vetting speakers, and (b) providing background information
and context to an ill-informed public to help them understand what the
speakers are saying. This is even more important in regard to the impressions
that scientific and news media observers who may be observing will obtain
on how MUFON (and "ufology") go about their work.
- My final thought is that John Schuessler and MUFON need
to give strong consideration to what the purpose of the annual symposium
is and how to go about it. My bias is that the symposium should have as
a primary purpose informing the public about reliably established UFO information,
a secondary purpose of providing background and contextual information
to help the public unerstand the information, and a tertiary purpose of
encouraging and promoting critical discussion of controversial issues.