INSIDE UFOLOGY August 1988 TENSIONS MOUNT OVER GULF BREEZE ParaNet Alpha 08/10 - Depending

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

============== INSIDE UFOLOGY August 1988 ============== TENSIONS MOUNT OVER GULF BREEZE ParaNet Alpha 08/10 -- Depending on whom one chooses to believe, Gulf Breeze gadfly investigator Robert D. Boyd was/was not kicked out of MUFON. Boyd, who had concurrent titles of Investigations Coordinator for CUFOS and Alabama State Director for MUFON, was definitely asked to resign from the latter organization by its chief, Walter Andrus. But in a July 14th press release, first picked up by James Moseley's Saucer Smear, Boyd claimed that Andrus informed him "that he was no longer a member of MUFON." Andrus flatly denied the charge, saying "the subject never came up." Andrus, in a phone conversation from MUFON headquarters in Seguin, TX, told ParaNet that Boyd had been told to resign due to "unprofessional investigative techniques" in his work on the Gulf Breeze, FL, photographic case. He said he had asked Boyd to come along on the investigation last January, as a gesture of cooperation between the two organizations; but that since that time, Boyd had conducted a "smear campaign" against "Mr. Ed," the chief witness in the case. Andrus said Boyd had "gone off half-cocked," going on talk shows as a MUFON representative with faulty and downright false information about the case. "I demanded his resignation, and he refused," said Andrus. "I relieved him of his duties [as State Director] anyway. But I never told him he was out of the organization." Simple MUFON membership consists mainly of a subscription to the organization's Journal. "I'm telling you that he lied to you," said Boyd in response. "What's in my [release] is just what happened." Boyd's release expresses "complete disgust" with the Gulf Breeze investigation, and cites "suppression of all facts, collaboration between investigators and/or witnesses, and a four-month campaign to discredit [me]." In a phone call, Boyd cited further instances of what he called "shoddy" techniques on the part of the primary investigators, Charles Flannigan, Donald Ware, and Andrus. In one conversation, Boyd asked Flannigan if one of the photos turned out to be a hoax, would it destroy the case in their minds? "ALL the photos would have to be proven hoaxes," Boyd quotes Flannigan as saying. Boyd still has the support of the Hynek Center, according to Don Schmitt, one of CUFOS' directors. And the Center is none too thrilled with an article in the latest MUFON Journal, in which Andrus made it sound as if CUFOS members were on bended knee, begging for forgiveness for having written several anti-Gulf Breeze articles. He charged that Schmitt, George Eberhard and others had "unwittingly accepted the distorted information supplied" by Boyd. He claimed that the two seemed "shocked by revelations of the truth," referring to information Andrus provided them at the MUFON Symposium at Lincoln. "Obviously," says Andrus, "they were embarrased for the premature article in the CUFOS Bulletin and the International UFO Reporter." "Nonsense," says Schmitt. "Obviously, there is a lot of information in this case, and some of it we have not been privy to. But we stand fully behind our basic premise, which is that of calling for an independent investigation and analysis of the evidence by a non-UFO entity, such as a government agency." Ware said that such an analysis might be in the works, but declined to give details. "We also still decry the premature publicity given the case by MUFON, and the premature declarations of authenticity" by such people as Andrus, Budd Hopkins and Donald Ware. "This case stands or falls on the evidence, and the evidence isn't all in yet." Generally, reaction to Boyd's alleged removal from the ranks of MUFON was surprise. "Does this mean we all have to agree with Walt in order to keep our positions?", one MUFON officer asked. "I thought this was a scientific organization." But Andrus was unruffled. "My action [regarding Boyd] was due to his spreading false and grossly irresponsible information about Ed in the name of MUFON. I would never ask anyone to resign simply because they didn't agree with me. But we have a certain standard of responsible investigation that needs to be adhered to." Boyd, in the meantime, is continuing to "research" the case from his home in Mobile, Alabama. He says he is offering copies of all his Gulf Breeze correspondence to anyone interested, for a small fee to cover copying and postage. And he continues to be outspoken about his conviction that "Mr. Ed" is a hoaxer. "I'm 95% convinced that this is bogus," he muses. "But I'm willing to leave the other 5% open, just in case." <<>> COMMENTS: Initially, I praised Boyd for expressing the same reservations I had with the GB case. But as one independent researcher asked me, rather plaintively, "What exactly is it that Boyd is pointing to, regarding the evidence itself, that makes him say its a hoax?" I had to agree, Boyd's main contentions are with the quality of the investigation and the attitudes of the investigators. He points out very little with regard to the photographs, deferring instead to Dr. Willy Smith of UNICAT, who published one paper critical of the case. Part of that paper was based on weather information supplied by Ray Stanford, which was later discredited. Boyd also points to gaps in our knowledge of Mr. Ed's background, and rather freely bandies about the suggestion that Ed has done hard time at some point in the past. He offers no evidence except hearsay. I believe I was not supposed to print that; but then, Boyd didn't know me from Adam, and therefore he was not supposed to say that. It may very well be an example of the "irresponsibility" Andrus spoke of. As Boyd said, there's politics, ego, and wishful thinking at work here. However, without solid evidence, we have not the slightest reason to call this an outright hoax. As the independent researcher said, poor investigative techniques "are not Ed's fault." However, without a high standard of investigative thoroughness, we have not the slightest reason to call this "proof of extraterrestrial visitation." Our ParaNet rating remains: S5/P2.

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank