Date: Fri Oct 14 1994 00:00:28 To: All Subj: Larry King show review UFO - Encounters of th

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

Skeptic Tank!

Date: Fri Oct 14 1994 00:00:28 From: Sheppard Gordon To: All Subj: Larry King show review UFO ------------------------------- Encounters of the TV kind 10/06/94 Dallas Morning News Just because government officials are paranoid doesn't mean UFO "researchers" aren't after them. The latest terrestrial evidence: The UFO Coverup? - Larry King's TNT special that aired last weekend. Live from a desk in the Nevada desert, the talk-show host interviewed such "distinguished" guests as "esteemed nuclear physicist" Stanton Friedman, the "dean" of UFO researchers, who believes world governments are engaging in a "cosmic Watergate," and Dr. Steven Greer, an emergency room doctor who claims to have exchanged light signals with flying saucers and seeks a close encounter of the "fifth kind." "Welcome to the loneliest place I've ever seen, somewhere in the heart of the American West, somewhere north of Las Vegas, Nev.," Larry opined, white shoes kicking up desert sand, jacket slung over his shoulder as if he were on a date with Angie Dickinson (and apparently missing his road map). "Some say there's more than sand and scrub out here. Some say there are secrets, maybe the biggest secrets ever, right behind those hills." Some say maybe, possibly, the government is testing military equipment somewhere, maybe, possibly, right behind those hills. Some say, possibly, there may even be, potentially, a valley right behind those hills. Right behind those hills is Area 51, a super-secret military base where the Stealth bomber was developed and tested and where the UFOers believe the government is hiding the dirt from extraterrestrial landings. They're amazed when camouflaged soldiers carrying rifles in unmarked white Jeeps chase them away. Did they expect a welcoming committee of little green men? "The proof is always just out of reach," the host said. Darn! Human obsession with aliens and other supernatural or unexplained phenomena goes back to the ancients, and no letup is in sight (unlike those legions of flying saucers). On Sunday, Fox brings back Encounters: The Hidden Truth, an investigative magazine show replacing Fortune Hunter, whose ratings were all too down-to-Earth. The first fall installment of the summer tryout series takes a look at near-death experiences, explores the worldwide network of "professionals" who research UFO information, talks to astronomers who have identified structures on Mars that appear to be artificially constructed, examines an asteroid that has been "scientifically proven" to contain simple life forms and investigates accounts of a ghost-mother who was seen "rescuing" her son from death. Decades after The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing, and years after E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, angels and UFOs - two elements linked by a caller to Larry King - have descended upon TV and the movies again. The Star Trek franchise thrives. A new film (Star Trek: Generations) is due in theaters Nov. 18, and a new television series (Star Trek: Voyager) is set to kick off the fledgling United/Paramount TV network in January. CBS is airing a new fantasy series, Touched by an Angel, Fox's The X-Files is a cult hit and Paramount has Sightings in syndication. Mr. King's first caller proposed a Christian explanation for UFOs: Angels are down here looking after us. (I thought they had wings, not space vehicles.) It turns out that the King was in Rachel, Nev., 50 miles from Area 51, for an "incredible two hours." He asked his guests such incredible questions as: "What does the Air Force say if we call them in Washington about that base?" (So Larry, why didn't you dial them up?); "The workers in there, where do they live?"; and "We can't land there?" (TNT plans to repeat the King program, but no dates have been set.) On the skeptics' side, none other than the original Star Trek captain, William Shatner, offered an explanation: A culture gone astray wants to believe that a larger force can put it back on the righteous path. Said Carl Sagan: "It would be much more interesting if we were being visited than if we're not. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." The famed Roswell cover-up of 1947 is the best believers can do. They claim alien bodies were found near the site of a mysterious crash; the government now says what crashed near a military base in New Mexico was a balloon it was using to detect Soviet nuclear testing. Evidently, however, Cold War paranoia is not a good enough explanation for why the truth was hidden. If the government 'fesses up, "researcher" Friedman said, "there goes the election for all the people who have been lying." And maybe, possibly, Genevieve Bujold quit Star Trek: Voyager because the aliens told her to. Let's hope her replacement, Kate Mulgrew, doesn't get spooked, too.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank