CUFOS' POSITION ON THE GULF BREEZE CASE Readers of the article by-lined by Ware, Flannigan
CUFOS' POSITION ON THE GULF BREEZE CASE
Readers of the article by-lined by Ware, Flannigan and Andrus
(though apparently written by Andrus) in the July '88 issue of
the MUFON UFO Journal may get a misleading impression of CUFOS'
current stand on the Gulf Breeze, FL CE-III photographic
episode. Our concern here is not with what we consider the
author's errors in reporting privately-stated views. We simply
wish to make clear why we feel its wise to take a cautious view
of this difficult case, and to await results of the
CUFOS considers Gulf Breeze a potentially significant UFO case,
but one that remains unproven, and it is essential that research
into every aspect of both photographs and testimony, continue.
Important questions are yet unanswered, and necessary avenues of
inquiry yet unpursued.
1) On November 19, 1987 the Gulf Breeze Sentinel published Ed's
original, anonymous letter, accompanying his first five
photographs. His letter stated there were no beams coming from
the UFO. On December 7th, on his first MUFON report form, he
mentions no beams in his account of this November 11th incident.
It is not until his third account of the incident, completed
January 8th, 1988 that Ed reports a "blue beam"; in fact a blue
beam which would come to figure prominently in Ed's claims was
first reported by a Gulf Breeze resident on November 11th,
according to a November 25th Sentinel article. Critics are bound
to suggest that Ed retroactively incorporated a blue beam into
his later account of the November 11th incident.
2) Ed has given three different versions of his activity at the
initiation of the November 11th sighting. Why?
3) Questions have been raised about the relationship of the
MUFON investigators and Ed and his family. Some observers have
complained that Ed was kept fully informed on the ongoing
inquiries, including those that were turning up leads that might
have produced disconfirming evidence. Since all photographic
cases should be considered at least POTENTIAL hoaxes, it is
essential that investigators operate independently from those
whose claims they are checking. An operation that gives
claimants sufficient advance warning to cover their tracks (if
there are tracks to be covered) is seriously flawed. We are not
accusing the MUFON team of committing this kind of
methodological blunder, but the charge has been made by others,
and has so far not been answered.
We applaud Bruce Maccabee's admirable analysis of the Gulf
Breeze photographs. He deserves nothing but praise for the care
and thoroughness he has brought to the problem. But his analysis
is only the first step. In science, replication of findings is a
necessary part of the process of inquiry. It is now time for
another scientist, as skilled and conscientious as Dr. Maccabee,
to examine the photographs and to report his conclusions.
We feel that the Gulf Breeze case has generated too much
needless heat. We hope that in the future, ufologists will
devote their energies solely to sober consideration of the
promises and the problems of these extraordinary series of
events. Since all of us, we hope, have only one concern: that
the truth, whatever it is, be found, we can put behind the
emotion that has so far played far too large a role in the
debate, and concentrate on the work that needs to be done.
Whatever the answer turns out to be, ufology can only benefit
from adherence to the strictest standards of scientific study.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank