INSIDE UFOLOGY September 1988 GULF BREEZE UPDATE ParaNet Alpha 09/14 - There seems to be n

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

Skeptic Tank!

============== INSIDE UFOLOGY September 1988 ============== GULF BREEZE UPDATE ParaNet Alpha 09/14 -- There seems to be no end in sight to the turmoil being stirred up by the already-legendary Gulf Breeze, FL photographic case. If the matter were settled tomorrow one way or the other, it will still take years to repair the rifts it has caused in many ufological camps. Several resignations have reportedly come in the wake of Walt Andrus' firing of Robert Boyd. At least one, that of National Public Information Director Marge Christensen of Tucson, was headed off at the last minute by Andrus, who reportedly promised her he would cease and desist from further "unscientific" statements in the MUFON Journal, which statements implied all-out endorsement of the case as real. In the monthly MUFON Newsletter, a semi-private organ circulated to State Directors and other key researchers, Christensen complained of being "dismayed by what I consider to be unprofessional and certainly unscientific conduct...and comments in regard to speculation about privately held views of members of CUFOS." But after speaking with Andrus and Deputy Director Dan Wright, Christensen agreed to a leave of absence until after the November Presidential elections. But privately, she holds out little hope of rejoining the organization. "Walt seems bound and determined to make this case a cause celebre," she told ParaNet. "I hope he is really listening to reason, and not just sweet-talking me to keep me in MUFON." But other resignations may follow. Richard Hall, Deputy Director for Publications and author of the recent "Uninvited Guests," told ParaNet he is "spearheading a campaign" to get MUFON to look more closely at its Gulf Breeze investigation, and to be more responsible in its public statements about the case. Hall, one of Ufology's savviest practitioners, reportedly called for an "extraordinary meeting of the Board" of MUFON via Teleconference, and it is said he will resign if the group continues its present course. According to various sources, that course may include a major media thrust in the near future, possibly including a press conference timed to coincide with the upcoming TV documentaries that will showcase the UFO situation. At least one of those documentaries, the NBC program "Unsolved Mysteries," to air on October 5th, is said to be "very pro-Gulf Breeze." The other will apparently be more balanced, but one of the producers of that program, Tracy Torme, is very taken with the case. "I went there [to Gulf Breeze] 85% convinced that its real, and after talking to Ed for two days, I'm now 99% convinced. I'm leaving the door open for the slight possibility that all of the witnesses, including Ed's wife and teenage daughter, are lying." Torme will appear in a live nationwide computer conference on CompuServe Sept. 18th. In other developments: - UFO debunker Phil Klass got wind of the fact that ParaNet was snooping around to find out whether CSICOP was behind the Gulf Breeze affair. He called us to deny any knowledge of such a "constructive hoax." "Certainly CSICOP has nothing to do with it, and, while [fellow debunker Amazing] Randi DOES live down there, I highly doubt he has anything to do with it either." - Klass has found a flaw in one of the photos that may be significant. While a streetlight in the shot can plainly be seen to be blurred in such a way as to indicate camera movement, the UFO remains perfectly focused and sharp-edged. Photoanalyst Bruce Maccabee explains that Ed was "tracking" the moving object with the camera; however, Klass doubts that such can be done so clearly with a one-second time exposure in low ambient light. - ParaNet spoke with the Mayor of Gulf Breeze, the honorable Edward Grey. Grey, a long-time friend of "Mr. Ed," the main percipient, claims the whole thing is a hoax. "Ed is a heck of a nice guy, very charming, but it is totally consistent with his personality to pull off a stunt like this." When asked if it was also consistent with the personalities of Mrs. Ed or Ed's daughter, the Mayor replied, "Well, I wouldn't know about that." When asked about the other 135 witnesses reported to have seen the object, Grey is doubtful. "When you have a lot of publicity attached to something like this, people are bound to look up in the sky and report any strange thing. They may have seen UFOs, but to my knowledge no one is seeing or experiencing the things that Ed is supposedly seeing. And in all this time, no one on Ed's block has seen a thing." The Mayor seemed unaware that Ed's across-the-street neighbors have reportedly had a sighting of an object very similar to Ed's -- despite the fact that they don't know that their neighbor Ed is the famous UFO witness being talked about. - Grey complained that neither of the two documentaries had been in touch with his office. Nor, for that matter, had any of the MUFON investigators. We understand now, however, that the producers of "UFO COVER-UP" (Oct. 14th) have made an appointment to interview the Mayor live during that broadcast (partially, perhaps, at our urging). For some undefinable reason, it seems many people are looking to October, the month of the TV expose's, as the time when the case will be resolved. Perhaps because it would be a perfect time for a debunker, or Ed himself, to jump up and yell "Gotcha!" Or perhaps because, with the increased scrutiny such national exposure will bring, a competent investigator will stumble across the "string in the photos" -- or the smoking gun that shows it to be genuine. Whatever the reason, the general feeling seems to be that this "can't go on much longer." MORE ON THE OCT. 14TH EXPOSE' Although we have been in constant contact with the producers of "UFO COVER-UP: LIVE," sad to say we cannot divulge much of what we have been told. We can, however, pass along two exclusive tid-bits. First, a host has been chosen: it is Mike Farrell, he who portrayed B.J. Hunnicut in the "M*A*S*H" TV series. Second, one particularly fascinating segment will feature a live interview with Col. William Coleman of Indian Harbor, FL. Col. Coleman is a retired Air Force bomber pilot and former Public Information Officer of Project Blue Book. As reported in this column two months ago, Col. Coleman is also a witness to a high-strangeness UFO encounter, back in the early fifties -- an encounter he was forced, by dint of his position, to DENY for many years. Sit back and think for a second...a former Air Force Officer, once charged with custody of the government's public UFO study, will go on the record as having sighted a metallic, saucer-shaped object that maneuvered at speeds of up to 25,000 mph. And he will do it ON LIVE TV TO A NATIONWIDE AUDIENCE. Is the dam starting to break? MEANWHILE, BACK AT MJ-12... Citizens Against UFO Secrecy is going to print an item in their next issue dealing with Prof. Ronald Westcott. You may recall that Westcott is the highly-touted "linguistics analyst" from Princeton who checked out the Eisenhower Briefing Document (the main MJ-12 document) and concluded it could indeed have been written by the Admiral. The Moore team, which is pushing the documents as possibly real, made a big to-do about Westcott's credentials and impartiality. Well, the credentials are in place, but according to the CAUS story, the impartiality may be in question. Westcott's name is alleged to be connected with Brad Steiger's Star People movement, and supposedly he has written on several New Age issues in the past. Stan Friedman is not impressed, however. "I recall [Westcott] writing some less-than-complimentary things about the ET Hypothesis," says the MJ-12 researcher. He also told us that the Hillenkoetter document is now in the hands of a questioned documents analyst, for further verification. --Jim Speiser


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank