cited the strongest of emotions on both sides, and even the same side, of the ufological f

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==============Inside UfologyMay 1988==============GULF BREEZE FEUD HEATS UPParaNet Alpha 05/06 -- As predicted, the Gulf Breeze case has in cited the strongest of emotions on both sides, and even the same side, of the ufological fence. The Hynek Center for UFO Studies recently re leased a Special Bulletin condemning the case as a "probable hoax" and taking rival MUFON to task for "shoddy investigative techniques." But MUFON's Walt Andrus was quick to call ParaNet and warn us, "Don't you believe it!" In a brief interview with Dr. Bruce Maccabee, who spe nt a week in the Florida Panhandle looking over the photos and chatting with "Mr. Ed," it was learned that the CUFOS article was based at le ast partly on the work of Ray Stanford of Project Starlight International, who objected to the apparent motion of the clouds in one sequence of photos. Stanford's data told him the clouds should be moving in a different direction if the photos were taken sequentially. Stanford ha s since retracted that claim, however, since finding that his weather data was faulty. But the divisiveness continues. Robert Boyd, o f both CUFOS and MUFON, wrote a lengthy letter outlining some of his other objections to the case. They include: o The "chumminess" fact or -- the major corroborating witnesses are the mother and father-in-law of Duane Cook, the editor of the local paper. o The "Hokiness" factor -- The object just looks too much like a cartoon representation of a flying saucer - and a bad one at that. o The "Practical Joki ness" factor -- Mr. Ed, who involves himself with the local youth, was said by one teenager to be plotting "The Ultimate Prank." Dr. Maccabe e counters that the prank was to be played on the high school bandleader, and not the world at large. o The "Flaw" factor -- there seems to be a prominent chink in the bottom rim of the object. The CUFOS article suggests several ways in which the photos might have been fa ked, including the rather interesting possibility that a household object was suspended in front of a window, in order to reflect and be sup erimposed onto an outdoor scene. But this fails to explain the videotaped image, says Maccabee, as well as the enigmatic "road" picture, whe re the object is seen hovering a few inches over the highway, its bright bottom light reflecting off the blacktop. Most speculation cente rs around whether or not the photos are double-exposures. When the possibility of Mr. Ed having fashioned an actual backyard "flying saucer" was broached, Maccabee dismissed it out of hand. "Nothing we've seen would indicate that he had that level of skill." A major factor in Mr. Ed's defense is his character, according to his supporters. Both Maccabee and Budd Hopkins, who also spent a week in the Panhandle, say that, if he's lying, he deserves an Oscar -- and so do many of his friends and family members. "The `Hoax Hypothesis' is unfalsifiable," say s Maccabee. "Any evidence we bring out in his favor is countered with, `Well, that just shows that he's all the more clever a practical joke r.' Conceivably we could go around and around with it, and hence it could never be shown that its NOT a hoax." One interesting tid-bit br ought out in our conversation with Maccabee was the fact that Mr. Ed does have a history of photographic playfulness. At a Halloween party a few years back, he handily double-exposed some Polaroids to convince the partiers that ghosts were sitting next to them, a la Disneyland's Haunted House. But Maccabee eschews the anecdote, insisting that the UFO photos would require greater skill by far. Don Schmitt, a CUFOS investigator in Wisconsin, agreed the Special Bulletin may have been premature. He admitted that the Center was "concerned about the amount of positive hype the case is getting in advance of definitive analysis," citing as an example Walt Andrus' statement that Gulf Breeze "may turn out to be the most significant case" in UFO history. When pressed, Schmitt also agreed that the Center was afraid of CSICOP jumping out of the bushes to yell "Gotcha!" Indeed, the air has been rife with rumors of The Amazing Randi pulling off another "sting" similar to his e xposures of faith-healers and ESP laboratories. But Schmitt's, and the Center's, main concern was the apparent all-out endorsement of the ca se by abduction researcher Budd Hopkins, whose very involvement Schmitt questioned. "What's he doing there? Why is he endorsing photographs? This isn't even his territory," said Schmitt. CUFOS wanted to cool the fires a bit by getting Hopkins and other investigators to back off a nd wait for the analysis. There's no doubt CUFOS is right about the seeming lack of scientific objectivity displayed by the Gulf Breeze p rotagonists. But its a bit ironic to hear such outright, premature criticism from a group that is still calling for a full hearing on the MJ -12 evidence, in light of the work already done by Barry Greenwood and Phil Klass, which shows it to be an almost certain hoax. And in on e respect, Walt Andrus' prediction that Gulf Breeze may prove to be "the most significant case in UFO history" is well on its way to coming true. --Jim Speiserlain the videotaped image, says Maccabee, as well as the enigmatic "road" picture, where the object is seen hovering a few inch


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