REVIEW OF +quot;LIGHT YEARS+quot; SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - JUNE 21, 1987 During and after

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REVIEW OF "LIGHT YEARS" SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - JUNE 21, 1987 During and after a 1947 wave of UFO sightings, an unofficial collusion between the U.S. Air Force and the press resulted in tainting the study of UFO phenomena. At best, studies of UFOs were considered pseudo-scientific and at worst in the realm of occultists and kooks. Respected scientists became leery of having their names associated with UFO investigations, and accounts of human-alien contact ("The Interrupted Journey"; "Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods"), while credible, have not stood up under hard scientific analysis. So far, because of lack of solid evidence, it has been easy for "experts" to dismiss most UFO cases as the result of suggestion, mass hallucination, misidentification or hoax. Now here is "Light Years: An Investigation into the Extraterrestrial Experiences of Eduard Meier," by Gary Kinder, the account of a UFO case that has yielded analyzable artifacts. It is the story of a Swiss farmer-laborer, Eduard Meier, who claims to have had over a hundred contacts with extraterrestrials from the Pleiades star system. According to Meier, these contacts would occur after he'd been signaled telepathically to go to a meeting place, and they occurred voluntarily, as he'd been chosen as a "truth offerer." Meier took hundreds of photos of the spaceships, some 8- millimeter films, made sound recordings of the "beamships" and gave investigators metal samples he claimed were given to him by his primary contact, the human-like female, Semjase. What happened to all of this "hard" evidence comprises the greater part of this account. Meier's case is something like a dog that emits a meow, but no one can prove it isn't a dog, and no one can prove it's a cat. According to Kinder, Meier's photos have not been proven fakes (although he has been known to fake at least one), his sound recordings have not proven capable of being duplicated by experts in the field and his metal sample, analyzed by Marcel Vogel, then a research chemist with IBM, proved to be a rare and unearthly compound in initial tests but mysteriously disappeared before more thorough testing could be done. But Meier's credentials as an interplanetary conduit - a man with a prison record, little education and a sense of "mission" - are not the only thing about Kinder's account that seem shaky. While Meier kept a journal of all his contacts, Kinder relays little of the information in it, giving us some quotes from Semjase's Edgar Cayce- like warnings about the lack of spiritual development among the human species. Even the most casual reader can't help but think: To tell us this, someone has traveled millions of light years? What does this Semjase, more specifically, look like? What does she eat? If her mission, and Meier's, is to inform us of the existence of extraterrestrial life, then why not a photo of the visitors themselves? Why didn't Kinder ask these questions of Meier? Why didn't Meier make sound recordings of his conversations with Semjase (who, according to Kinder, although she can communicate telepathically, speaks to Meier in German so he can understand), and why couldn't Meier obtain another metal sample? The questions are many, and that's if you ignore the curious situation that in Chapter Four we find Meier in India back in 1964 giving an interview to a newspaper reporter in which he claims he's already visited another planet in a spaceship, while in a later chapter we're given the account from Meier's journals of his "first" visit in 1975 with a Pleiadian as it took place in a Swiss meadow. Yet the fact remains, as the jacket cover of "Light Years" claims, that Meier's photos have not yet been proven fakes, nor were the sound recordings or the one metal sample. And while the author could have spent twice the amount of time on the investigation and in the interest of objectivity have presented more of Meier's journal writings, regardless of how incredible they may be, this account serves an important purpose. It demonstrates how completely inadequate our scientific and military institutions are in dealing with UFO phenomena even when they do yield solid, analyzable evidence. As in the '50s and '60s, government officials still often insist that sightings of UFOs by experienced pilots - an example is the sighting by a Japan Airlines pilot last November of three UFOs that followed his plane - are cases of mistaken identification of planets for UFOs. Meanwhile, some reputable scientists like Carl Sagan are saying that the probability of there being other sentient beings in the universe is great. Then there are some ufologists like George C. Andrews (author of "Extra-Terrestrials Among Us"), who claim that the Pentagon has come to believe that indeed there is something "out there" and, fearing a possible invasion by extraterrestrials, has pushed for the Star Wars defense system for that reason. Myself, I like to remember that just because Eduard Meier's story isn't believable, that doesn't mean it isn't true.

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