Volume 6 The SWAMP GAS JOURNAL ISSN 0707-7106 Number 3 * November 1992 This is the second

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Volume 6 The SWAMP GAS JOURNAL ISSN 0707-7106 Number 3 ********************* November 1992 This is the second issue of the SGJ which will be available in both online and hardcopy format. The response to the last issue was overwhelming, to say the least. It seems that there is a need for an electronic version of this zine, so from now on, as long as is feasible, the SGJ will be available via email. However, photos or graphics pages will not be included in the electronic version; they will be available in hardcopy only. (No, I do NOT want to hear about .gif and .pif files!) UFOs, LITs, LATERs, BOLs and WYSIWYG With regard to those pesky flying things, a recent story in TIME magazine (August 31, 1992, p.44) reported that: "UFO sightings are down, and the saucer spotters are getting skeptical. What on earth is going on?" This was most interesting, especially to ufologists who tabulate UFO activity. The UFOROM Canadian UFO Survey, for example, found that numbers of UFO reports increased during the past two years. Similarly, Paul Ferrughelli's annual report on American cases also found an increase. What HAS decreased is the media's interest in carrying stories about UFOs. This is not suprising, since the ridicule curtain (as named by Allen Hynek) is still in effect. Furthermore, the vocal efforts of CSICOP and independent skeptics' groups (that have absolutely NOTHING to do with CSICOP, obviously) have caused many editors to think twice before doing an article on paranormal phenomena. An article by Don Berliner in a recent issue of IUR (Vol.17, #5, Sept/Oct 1992, pp. 16-18), titled "Why the Press Acts That Way", enumerates the various reasons why ufology is not taken seriously by the media. The TIME article went on to describe a UFO investigator named Philip Mantle as one of "a new breed of UFOlogists who do not believe that UFOs come from outer space." Where has TIME been all these years? They interview New Agers wearing pyramid hats, and then interview Philip Klass, and they think they have a complete overview of ufology! In terms of sighting numbers, Ferrughelli's latest National Sighting Yearbook 1991 (60 Allen Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470) lists the following totals: 1987 - 170; 1988 - 291; 1989 - 268; 1990 - 194; and 1991 - 201. Report numbers dropped slightly in the early '90's, but numbers are still above the 1987 figure. In Canada, UFOROM's annual survey actually records many more cases per capita than the USA, and numbers hover steadily around 175 cases per year. Where's the drop in numbers that TIME describes? The article points to the Belgium wave, where 2000 sightings were recorded in 1991, but there have been only 50 in 1992 so far. In Britain, the article cites a similar number this year, compared to hundreds per year in the 1980's. But any ufologist worth his or her salt would have been able to explain the mechanics of flaps and waves, not to mention historical trends. So, the TIME article is not only wrong, it's not even well-researched. THE CIRCLE GAME Let's talk circles. For years now, I've been commenting upon the suspicious similarities between crop circles and classic UFO physical traces. I've pointed out that flattened areas of crushed vegetation have been found WITHOUT associated UFO activity throughout recorded history. In Canada, classic UGM cases include Langenburg in 1974 and Rossburn in 1977, both predating the British wave. And even Doug and Dave admitted getting their ideas to make their hoaxes from the Tully saucer nests in Australia back in 1967. Furthermore, I have said all along that the vast majority of crop circles are likely hoaxes. My own investigations and research, as well as consultation with others in this field, suggested that the Meaden vortex theory was not tenable, nor were theories concerning mating hedgehogs, lightning and whatever. My observations were that, although it is difficult to PROVE a particular site is a hoax, the likelihood of this being so is very strong. In recent issues of circle- and ufozines, some people seem to have arrived at similar conclusions. In particular, a recent article in the AFU (Sweden) Newsletter (No.36, Jan-Dec.1991) by Clas Svahn echoes many comments that are quietly circulating among cerealogists fearful of exposing the Emperor's new clothes. Svahn has visited the British circle sites several times over the past few years, and his observations are very interesting. He says: "MONEY has become the number one concern for many of the circle 'researchers'. Selling dubious books, postcards and other circle paraphernalia tend to be more important than investigating the real phenomenon (hopefully, there is one). "It is not very reassuring to note that speculations and wishful thinking are taking more and more space in books and magazines dealing with the crop circles. Instead, one would like to see more soberness and objectivity from the different groups involved." In a review of recent books, Svahn notes that all authors: "treat the phenomenon as if it was 100 percent genuine. Of course, they acknowledge the Bower and Chorley 'intermezzo', but [none] seem to realize that today there is no way to distinguish between 'real' circles and hoaxes ... While the research is getting out of hand, the researchers become more and more like New Age prophets ..." Svahn's article includes personal observations of circle sites, and commentaries about the actions of specific cerealogists. His most poignant comment is emphasized in the original: "Most researchers tend to hold on to their pet theories without taking others' criticisms seriously. During my visits to England - and from the few reports I have investigated here in Sweden - I HAVE BECOME MORE AND MORE DISAPPOINTED AND UNCERTAIN OF THERE BEING A REAL PHENOMENON BEHIND THE CIRCLES." Is he alone in his opinions? Definitely not. In a major British circlezine, the CROP WATCHER, editor Paul Fuller has a few biting comments about the current state of cerealogy. In CW #12 (July/Aug 1992), Paul writes: "Even the paranormally-inclined cerealogists have admitted that 1992 produced fakes galore, with few prepared to stick their necks out and claim that a single [NB!] British circle qualified as 'genuine'. In some ways, this restrained response could be construed as an over-reaction to last summer's hoax revelations, but in reality the awful truth has dawned on cerealogists everywhere - that most modern crop circles really are man-made hoaxes and that if there ever was a 'genuine' phenomenon in the first place it has now been utterly swamped by a smokescreen of wishful thinking and media-inspired mythology. Sad words indeed but a fact which most researchers now seem to be accepting with some reluctance." Paul notes that "leading cerealogists accept that they have lost the crop circle battle and that it is time to flee the sinking ship." He observes that some prominent cerealogists are emigrating to the USA, possibly for this reason. In fact, as obvious on a recent TV episode of Sightings, Colin Andrews is now based in Connecticut. As for the remaining "meteorologically-caused" circles, Terence Meaden, that theory's main proponent has now stated that: "Anything other than a simple circle is definitely a hoax", and he has now restricted the number of 'genuine circles' to "fewer than a dozen a year". Paul further notes: "It remains to be seen whether Meaden's meteorological theory can survive such trauma." Later in the issue, there appears a map of England, showing the locations of "Known Crop Circle (Groups of) Hoaxes". I can't reproduce it here, but to give readers a flavour for what's on it, the editor notes that "there are so many known hoaxers that we couldn't squeeze them all in!" Good old Doug and Dave, who got all the publicity, are on there wih their small number of formations. In North America, arch-skeptic Rob Day has publicly admitted he was responsible for some of the recent crop circles in Alberta. A farmhand who had used a garden tractor to make a UGM was caught by Roy Bauer and Grant Cameron here in Manitoba. At least one set of hoaxers has admitted to making some circles in the American Midwest. Given the proliferation of hoaxes and the obvious contamination of crop circle/UGM data, cerealogists had better take more care to ensure their investigations are truly objective and unbiased. Obviously, though, this caution is not confined to cerealogy. In no less a controversial subject as crash/retrievals, Barry Greenwood defends his publication JUST CAUSE in Number 33 (Sept.1992) of that zine: "Recently, we have received comments from several pro-UFO readers questioning the relevancy and value of what we have published in the last couple of years. We have apparently not been pro-ET enough ... We could very likely double our subscription rolls by reporting titillating stories of underground alien bases, of simple verbal accounts claiming knowledge of UFO technology, of what has become so very trendy now - alien/human SEX! Actually, it would not be enough to report such information - we would have to advocate it on a soapbox. Then, we would likely be invited onto numerous media programs to give the public what it craves - sensation. "As one UFO pundit told us recently, printing sensible information is not the road to fame and fortune. Trying to be balanced and careful seem to be undesireable traits to some. So be it. We exist to inform, not to put on a Wild-West show." Howdy, pardners. Are you cowpokes listening? Perhaps the most significant issue here is that all the comments reprinted here are from zines that are ostensibly "pro" as opposed to "skeptical" in the CSICOP sense. Despite repeated claims that ufology and cerealogy are running rampant without any peer review, there has always been a great deal of constructive and rational discussion within the Fortean community. It isn't as common as "Wild-West" shows, but it IS out there. I have always advocated an open and non-confrontational approach to discussions in the fields of so-called "pseudoscience". Very often, "balanced" forums or debates between skeptics and "believers" degrade into arguments on semantics or the nature of science. Innocent viewers/listeners/observers who are desperate for understandable information about UFOs only get more confused and turn back to traditional sources of information - the tabloid media. Throughout my 15 years of involvement in Fortean research, I have always tried to encourage discussion between the two camps of "believers" and "skeptics". Usually, I've failed. Normally, "believers" consider me to be a skeptic, while ardent skeptics think my fence-sitting makes me an irrationalist. I often comment that sitting on the fence can be very painful, not only from the pickets, but also because you get things thrown at you from both sides. The trouble is that, in my opinion, one cannot be truly impartial and objective unless meaningful dialogue is shared between opposing parties, and such dialogue should be solicited or precipitated whenever possible. I find it amazing that I am one of a few ufologists who reads the Skeptical Inquirer, and I am also one of the few skeptics who reads IUR and the MUFON Journal. Conferences are a sore point, too. I received an invitation to the second Las Vegas UFO Conference, featuring talks by Wendelle Stevens, Jaime Shandera and Stanton Friedman. At a cost of about $500 (CDN), I couldn't attend. CSICOP conferences are similar in format; both factions usually feature presentations of "the converted preaching to the converted". The two groups meet with cross-purposes, and no useful dialogue talks place. But can you imagine a joint CSICOP/MUFON meeting? I can't, either. If such a meeting were to take place, it would likely degenerate into a shouting match, and possibly a barroom brawl. The situation would be similar to a radio debate for which I was invited to be the spokesman for the "pro" side of UFOs, crop circles, etc. My opponent was a member of a regional skeptics' group (which had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with CSICOP, of course). I was astounded at the vigour with which I was verbally attacked. I was taken aback when my opponent read from a transcript of a previous interview I had given, in order to show how irrationalists such as myself contradict ourselves at every opportunity. After listening intently, I pointed out that nothing in my statement was contradictory, and he grudgingly agreed, having been caught in his own trap. After all, I sometimes never contradict myself in the course of a discussion. The unfortunate part of the "debate" was that because there was a constant stream of offensive and defensive verbiage flowing, only three telephone calls from listeners were taken. Even the radio host admitted that he was completely confused by the semantic arguments. Listeners were wanting to get good information about sensational subjects, but were completely turned off by the presentation. How did I advocate the "pro" side? I didn't, deliberately. I had explained that I represented UFOROM and had been investigating UFOs and related phenomena for about 15 years. At no time did I claim that the aliens were here, raping our Streibers and stealing our children. I spoke from experience, describing facts without any deliberate interpretation. On crop circles, my opponent insisted they were all caused by hoaxers. I pointed out that that was a definite possibility, but we had only caught one hoaxer in Canada in three years. Furthermore, there still exists a possibility that winds can make SOME crop circles. I may not think much of Meaden's theory, but many scientists (defined variously) think it may have some merit. My opponent insisted that these were trivial arguments, and that his view was completely correct. The skeptical view is that since hoaxers are the most PROBABLE explanation, then that is the CORRECT explanation. My caution is that there are so many categories and kinds of UGMs, a blanket statement of any kind is improper. There ARE cases which are caused by hedgehogs, just as some are caused by hoaxers. ABDUCTIONS? A similar hassle would be created for an all-sides meeting to discuss UFO abductions. In one corner would be skeptics such as Robert Sheaffer and Philip Klass (author of "UFO Abductions - A Dangerous Game"). In the other corner would be researchers such as John Mack, David Gotlib and, of course, Budd Hopkins. Both sides would need to put their dukes up. The skeptical standpoint is that abductions do not take place, and the experiences are little more than dreams or hallucinations fueled by the popular media. The "pro" UFO standpoint, which is the one adopted by most UFO buffs and proclaimed at UFO conferences, is that the aliens are abducting us for nefarious or possibly benevolent reasons. But Mack and Gotlib are clinicians who are engaged in the treatment and counseling of individuals who appear to have had traumatic experiences that are represented by images of aliens. Thousands of such cases DO exist; this is not the issue. WHY people are reporting the experiences is the real issue. Imagination fueled by tabloid tales? Certainly some cases are, but even if this is so, there is still the problem of determining why such cases are multiplying. What is the mechanism responsible? Why would people unconsciously generate such experiences and hold to them so intensely? There is no other comparable experience in the history of psychology or sociology that has grabbed such a foothold in the public mind. So, the problem is NOT to determine if aliens are abducting humans, but rather to determine WHY the cases exist at all, and to understand the psychological/sociological mechanisms behind the stories, IF there is no physical or paraphysical cause. BOO! Fear-mongering. That's what discussions about cattle mutilations and satanism are said to be. I was accused of being a fear-mongerer for simply describing a meeting I had attended. Now, I really didn't want to get into this argument in the SGJ, but it's relevant to this discussion. In the course of my investigations into Fortean phenomena, I have been asked to look into a few mute cases here in Manitoba. None were extremely interesting. One carcass I examined near Teulon in 1977 was badly picked over by the time I got to the scene, and I never did get a chance to see the others. I have spoken to various veterinarians, and opinion seemed to vary. At the time, I heard a number of bizarre anecdotes, including one about a perfectly square patch of hide removed from a carcass found in Alberta in the 1970's. Jerry Clark of CUFOS recently wrote a relevant editorial for IUR which related his views on mutes. He pointed out that the link between UFOs and mutes was virtually non-existent, somewhat contradicting Linda Howe's stance. (Stigmatist Tom Adams also supports the UFO link). A popular book by Daniel Kagan, titled Mute Evidence, is often recommended by debunkers. Kagan spent some time talking with a number of vets and government officials, and came to the conclusion that mutes were a non-issue. Mute proponents, however, have pointed out that Kagan's credentials and expertise are somewhat dubious, implying he was not a credible authority and his conclusions were unjustified. In the mid-1970's, mute cases were popping up everywhere. Tommy Roy Blann (does anybody know where he is these days?) even prepared a confidential report for RCMP in Alberta, in which he provided them with background information for their investigations into Canadian cases. Tommy was pro-UFO, and the RCMP at the time were seriously considering the possibility that satanic cults were involved. In 1992, more mutes were reported in Alberta, but this time, newspaper accounts have the RCMP denying any satanic links. Recently, I had been invited to contact individuals in the employ of both civic and provincial family services, because of my involvement in local UFO cases. It seems that these individuals have encountered, in their opinions, clear cases of ritual or satanic abuse in the course of their work. They had heard of the alleged connection between child abuse and UFO abductions, and wanted my opinion. They explained that they had encountered "many cases" of ritual abuse, but that it was very difficult to gather enough evidence that would be accepable in a court of law. That is why, they suggested, debunkers' arguments that there has never been any proof of ritual abuse or satanic cult activity are technically correct, yet clinically false. The problem is that, by strict definitions of proof and falsifiability employed by debunkers in their analyses of unusual phenomena, sociological and psychological phenomena sometimes fall outside the definitions. It has been pointed out by other writers that Freudian psychology and stock market analyses both fail in tests of "scientific" definitions because they rely a great deal upon interpretation and subjective opinions on the part of researchers in those fields. So, in terms of "rigourous" proof, cases of ritual abuse may be factual according to social workers and criminologists, but are spurious and unsubstantiated to scientific objectivists. The day after I met with the individuals from family services and the social agencies, I was involved in a public debate on UFOs and related matters. Hence, when I was asked if satanic cults had anything to do with cattle mutilations, I replied that there might be some connection. I was immediately branded a "fearmonger" by my opponent, who obviously had never discussed the matter with social workers and who probably would never do so. In no way was I trying to scare the audience with gruesome tales of satanists killing cattle and drinking blood; I only replied to the question with information I had received the day before. It is quite true that many social caseworkers believe that ritual abuse exists in our society. Indeed, my cynical nature makes me fairly certain that "sick" people with an affinity for such activity live in our midst. The complexity of the issue is best described in a new book by David K. Sakheim and Susan E. Devine, titled: Out of Darkness - Exploring Satanism and Ritual Abuse (Lexington [MacMillan], 1992). Sakheim and Devine present a survey of various views on the subject, written by social workers, police, psychologists and victims. This is about as balanced of a work as I have ever seen. The various authors caution that the sensationalist version of rampant satanism is clearly fiction, but note that there is some evidence that ritualistic acts do occur in our society. The problem of finding "conclusive proof" is a major concern, and obviously parallels ufology in this regard. In fact, UFO abductions are mentioned several times in the the book, in the context of evidence for alleged child abuse and screen memories. Perhaps the most revealing chapter is about dealing with "nihilists" - those who deny that such phenomena exist at all. Indeed, the infamous SKEPTICAL INQUIRER article on the non-existence of satanism is examined and refuted. Another complication is the creation of a new skeptical group, called the False Memory Syndrome Association (3508 Market St., Suite 128, Philadelphia, PA 19104). The executive director of the group, Dr. Pamela Freyd, is sending reams of information to social workers involved in abuse cases, in an effort to stop proliferation of the acceptance of "remembered memories" such as child abuse, ritual abuse and, yes, UFO abductions. Freyd points out that in many cases where an adult "remembers" early abuse, investigation shows that no such events had ever occurred. Cynical case workers are quick to point out that the FMS group includes many people who have had work published by Prometheus Books, and are therefore CSICOP debunkers at heart. However, the FMS group's warnings should be heeded. The lesson is there, too, for researchers involved with UFO abductions. If debunkers wish to get into long diatribes with ritual abuse investigators, arguing about the existence of cultists, let them do so. It is beyond the abilities of most UFO/mute/trace investigators to properly deal with this subject. Rationally, it would seem that ufologists should remain apprised of the subject, but refer incidents to more appropriately-trained individuals. This material is clearly out of the league of most UFO buffs, and should stay there. INSOLUBLE MISERIES By now, many of you will have seen my appearance as a "U.F.O. Researcher" on the Unsolved Mysteries segment aired on November 4th, 1992. The segment concerned the strange story of Stefan Michalak, who claimed he was injured by an encounter with a saucer-shaped craft in May, 1967. Long ignored by most ufologists, the case may very well be one of the best on record. According to his story, Michalak was doing some amateur prospecting near the resort town of Falcon Lake, Manitoba, Canada, examining the many rock outcroppings for signs of quartz. The area is part of the Canadian Shield, quite rugged and covered with evergreens. Numerous lakes and swamps exist there, and the forests are protected by Federal and Provincial programs. Around noon, Michalak heard the sounds of agitated geese on a pond below his perch on a rocky plateau. He looked up to see two red cigar-shaped objects flying slowly through the sky. One descended toward him, and appeared to land about 150 feet away in a clearing. After it landed, it appeared to change colour from red to orange to silver, as it "cooled down". It was now a classic flying saucer, about 35-40 feet in diameter, with a dome on its upper surface. The other object in the sky flew away. Over the next hour, Michalak observed the object from a hiding spot behind a large rock formation. He sketched the object and puzzled over its nature. He couldn't see any markings on the side, and he didn't believe in "little green men" at the time. He concluded it was an experimental American aircraft which had landed for repairs. His theory seemed correct when he heard some high-pitched voices coming from the craft. A door opened in its side, and brilliant purple lights flooded out of the portal. He decided to sarcastically ask the Americans if they needed help fixing their ship, so he cautiously walked toward the vehicle and shouted his offer for assistance. The voices ceased abruptly. Edging closer, he reached the side of the craft and poked his head into the opening. He noticed that its walls were about eight inches thick, and had a honeycombed appearance. Inside the ship, he could see what he described as a myriad of small flashing lights, like those on a computer panel. Stepping back, he found that when he touched the side of the craft with his rubberized work glove, the glove had melted from intense heat. Suddenly, the door closed and the craft rotated counterclockwise. In front of him was some sort of "exhaust" grille. A blast of hot gas shot out of the grille, striking him in the chest and knocking him on his back. His shirt was set on fire, and he struggled to remove it. The craft quickly ascended and flew out of sight. As the Unsolved Mysteries segment showed, a dazed Michalak staggered back to civilization with his fantastic story. The story of the investigation is itself a fantastic tale. Michalak was beleaguered by reporters, UFO buffs, loonies and other characters all wanting the REAL story or to give him their own advice on how to deal with the aliens. Much has been published about the Michalak case, some of it inaccurate and contrived. An excellent series of articles had appeared in Canadian UFO Report in the late 1960's and early 1970's, but it did not receive much attention outside of Canada. After I had reopened the case files in the late 1970's, I wrote a series of articles about it for FLYING SAUCER REVIEW, whose editors were astounded that a full report on the case had never seen international print before. Yet, I have found the Michalak case recounted in various versions in many books and zines, often repeating claims of radiation sickness and alien death rays. I had re-opened the case because the original team of investigators had broken up, and the case files were unavailable. I re-interviewed Michalak and his family, and tracked down several hundred pages of government documents about the case. Dr. Berthold Schwarz was invaluable in his assistance in tracking down much of the information, especially the medical reports. The case had been investigated by the RCMP, RCAF, USAF and Edward Condon's Colorado UFO Project (which listed it as "Case 22": unexplained). The incident had been debated several times in the Canadian House of Commons because the public wanted to know what the government had learned about the injury to a Canadian citizen. An official announcement was made that the files would never be made public because of a danger to "the public interest". This, of course, fueled the belief that the craft had been an alien spaceship. The government was obviously covering up the affair, and the whole thing smacked of conspiracy. It didn't help when a UFO buff asked the Mayo Clinic for Michalak's medical records, and the response was that Michalak had never been there. Of course, Michalak had the bills to prove his stay there had been real. Another often-repeated story is that Michalak had some sort of radiation sickness or had radiation burns. This isn't supported by the medical reports. If the pattern of burns on his abdomen was caused by radiation, he would have had many other symptoms of this. The pattern was considered by dermatologists to have been caused by chemicals, more like an actual exhaust such as Michalak had described. Another story in circulation (particularly in the four-volume set of UFO books by Yves Naud) is that Michalak was suffereing from impurities in his blood, brought on by the UFO's radiative effects. Again, this is not supported by the medical evidence. In fact, it is often repeated that Michalak lost a great deal of weight and that his lymphocyte count was reduced, more symptoms of radiation poisoning. The trouble is that Michalak had not been to a doctor for many months before his experience, and there were no records of his pre-experience weight or blood count available for comparison. Michalak believed that he had lost weight the same way we all think we might have lost weight - he guessed and looked at his own bathroom scale. Considering he had severe nausea and vomiting, this wouldn't be too unusual. As a matter of fact, this is more evidence in support of his having ingested a chemical mixture of gases. Still, we're left with a curious case. Physiological and physical effects, an unchanging story over 25 years, and yet there are no definite answers to what happened to Michalak at Falcon Lake in 1967. If it was a hoax (and psychological testing suggests that Michalak didn't do it), then it is certainly one of the best on record. Why would a hoaxer physically harm himself and put up with 25 years of ridicule by making up a saucer story? Publicity? No. The Michalaks shy away from publicity. Money? No. The Michalaks haven't made a bankroll from the experience, as some might claim. Notoriety? No. In fact, the Michalaks have threatened to take action against some people mentioning the case in public because they just want to be left alone. ROUND AND ROUND AND ROUND IN THE CIRCLE GAME As mentioned earlier, Paul Fuller's recent editorial in the CROP WATCHER included a very cynical survey of British cereaology, pointing out that the "experts" were backpedalling on how many of their "real" formations had been created by hoaxers. During the preparation of this issue of the SGJ, another issue of the CROP WATCHER was received, with even more goodies. Issue 13 of the CROP WATCHER (3 Selbourne Court, Tavistock Close, ROMSEY, Hampshire SO51 7TY) includes another editorial in which Paul shows that vortex theorists now tend to believe that Doug and Dave were responsible for most of the early British circles during 1978 and 1991, as they had claimed. Furthermore, Doug and Dave are publishing a book about their hoaxing career, which will show in no uncertain terms how silly the crop circle "experts" have been. Paul laments: "Sadly, our attempts to uncover the truth simply met with insults and riducule by some of the other people who have since made six-figure sums of money by promoting themselves and Doug and Daves' hoaxes ... It is sad to see [ufology and cereaology] desecrated by a small group of stubborn, deceitful people who refused to listen to BUFORA's findings and who instead went out of their way to suppress evidence for more mundane explanations ... UFOlogy's name will be dragged through the mud yet again because these stupid, egotistical idiots decided that it didn't really matter what created the circles as long as they were the researchers most closely associated with the phenomenon by the public." And those are his kinder remarks. A few pages later, Paul reviews Pat Delgado's latest crop circle book: CROP CIRCLES - CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE?. In his review, Paul notes instance after instance of Delgado's hyping of a formation as "real", when it had been shown to be a hoax by other researchers. Even the non-existence of the infamous Highland, Kansas, formation in 1991, (claimed by Linda Howe to have been covered up by the military), and long since shown to have never existed, is ignored by Delgado, who apparently includes it as a "real" site. In short, the issue is chock full of revelations about crop circle hoaxing, while at the same time Paul lauds the meteorological vortex hypothesis. [Sorry, Paul, I don't see the evidence for vortex-created circles to be any more solid than the evidence for alien-created circles.] But the commentary and discussion of cerealogists caught with their pants down makes the zine a must-read. Ufologists and cerealogists should pay heed to this zine in order to get accurate info on what is really occurring in the field (pun). And debunkers - get this zine because it deals with the issue and does your work for you much better than the minimal and trivial coverage in the SKEPTICAL INQUIRER. Further note: Paul notes that BUFORA was the lone voice in the wilderness, warning cerealogists not to get carried away with the circle scene in the late 1980's. UFOROM had advocated a rational approach to this, too, as soon as the hype started up. But who listens to us Canadians, anyway? UBI EST DATUM? Despite pleas for information about North American circles in 1992, NAICCR has not received much case data from researchers. The NAICCR preliminary reports have been posted several times, but very little information from other researchers has been received. For those who have sent me data: thank you, your contributions are gratefully credited. Despite rumours that some cerealogy "experts" are becoming more and more "proprietary", we hope that information exchange will be ongoing, unlike the British experience. Since I have been receiving a number of requests, here is the latest NAICCR preliminary list of rumoured or known North American UGMs and crop circles. ======================================================================= 1992 North American UGM List, November 1992 920426 Jonesboro, Georgia - a "formation" of crop circles, "exactly" like those found in 1991 in the same location, was discovered. No other data given. Source: Rosemary Ellen Guiley; Vance Tiede 9204?? , New Hampshire - UGMs were found following a small local flap of UFO reports. Source: Rosemary Ellen Guiley; Vance Tiede 920506 near Edmonton, Alberta - a "space cookie" UGM was discovered in a meadow. It is a perfect circle, 6 metres in diameter. Its depth varies from 5 cm to 31 cm. Grass is growing straight up both inside and outside the circle. No tracks were found leading to the area. The UGM is not a sinkhole. Source: Gordon Kijek 920525 Limerick, Pennsylvania - at least 12 "matted down" areas were found in a wheatfield north of Philadelphia. Three were circles about five feet in diameter, arranged in a triangle. One feature was "T-shaped". Soil samples taken by a UFO investigator "showed no irregularities". Geiger counter readings were also normal. Although a hoax was suspected by the UFO investigator, the owner of the field believes that the UGMs were caused by lodging, wind and fertilizer damage, and that "It happens every year". Source: Steve Bernheisel on FIDONET; UFO Newsclipping Service #275 920627 Raeford, North Carolina - a circle of flattened grass was found in a hay field following a CE2 UFO sighting. A loud noise, "like a freight train", was heard, and two witnesses ran to look out their front door. A object "the size of a swimming pool", "like orange windows lla around it", was in a field about 300 feet away from their house. When they went to call other witnesses, the object disappeared. Source: Patrick Kirol on FIDONET 9206?? , Massachusetts - a small area of flattened cattails was found in a marsh close to a major highway and reported as a crop circle. Source: Tom Randolph on DEC COM via INTERNET 920701 St. Adolphe, Manitoba - nine "horseshoe-shaped" patches of flattened grass were found on either side of a brook in a Winnipeg suburb. Because of recent storms and heavy rainfall, lodging was thought to be the cause. Source: Guy Westcott; NAICCR 920705 Hobbema, Alberta - two ovals of flattened barley were found in a field after unusual lights were observed descending to the ground. The largest UGM has a major axis of 47 feet. The crop is pushed away uniformly from the centers of the patches, but the centers are "clumped", like breaking waves. Barley inside the circles is "white", and devoid of colour. It was later suggested that the areas were due to spilled seeds and fertilizer, combined with lodging. Source: Gord Kijek 920715 St. Adolphe, Manitoba - a field beside a highway was discovered to have numerous patches of flattened crop, in irregular patterns. The formations were discovered by the same person who found case 920701. Investigation by NAICCR and interviews with the owner of the field established that the crop had been laid down by strong winds and heavy rain. The person who discovered the formations was convinced that aliens created the flattened patches. Source: NAICCR 920721 Friedensruh, Manitoba - a farmer found a triangular area of flattened/swirled grass which was surrounded by an electric fence. The dimensions were 31x27x17 feet. Local residents could not explain the phenomenon. However, NAICCR investigators found evidence that animals had trampled the site. Source: NAICCR 920799 Pilot Peak, California - according to the Phoenix Project, a number of "landing zones" were discovered near the site of an alleged underground alien base. Visits to the site by independent invesyigators have found only patches of grass trampled by deer and other animals. Two "landing zones" were claimed. Source: John Pickens on INTERNET via Paranet 920799 Miniota, Manitoba - it was reported that a crop circle was discovered in a field of oats. The circle is perfectly round and 32 feet in diameter. The oats are flattened and swirled in a clockwise fashion. The center of the circle is devoid of vegetation. Source: NAICCR 920801 Strathclair, Manitoba - a circle of flattened wheat was discovered in a field southwest of Strathclair. It was 28 feet in diameter. The wheat was flattened and swirled in a counterclockwise fashion. Source: NAICCR 920808 Strathclair, Manitoba - a flattened area of wheat in the shape of the symbol for Mars (a circle with an attached arrow pointing away from it) was discovered in a field southwest of Strathclair. The main circle was 28 feet in diameter, with no detectable eccentricity. The wheat was flattened counterclockwise. In the arrow, the wheat was flattened away from the circle. The arrow pointed on a bearing of 260 degrees. Source: NAICCR 920815 Ipswich, Manitoba - a flattened area of wheat in the shape of the symbol for Mars was discovered just east of Ipswich. The main circle was elliptical, with axes 26 and 24.5 feet. The wheat was flattened counterclockwise. The arrow pointed on a bearing of 65 degrees. A UFO was seen hovering over the site the night before the UGM was discovered. Source: NAICCR 920815 Strathclair, Manitoba - a flattened area of wheat was found near other crop circle UGMs. It was roughly 20 feet in diameter. Wheat was laid down in random clumps. Examination suggested the area was caused by lodging. Source: NAICCR 920815 Strathclair, Manitoba - a flattened area of wheat in the shape of the symbol for Mars was discovered west of Strathclair. The main circle was 24 feet in diameter. The wheat was flattened in a counterclockwise fashion. The arrow pointed on a bearing of 120 degrees. Source: NAICCR 920815 Estevan, Saskatchewan - two circles were found, sharing a tangent. Each diameter was 12 feet. A small path led from the tangent to a very small circle, within which was a "squashed porcupine". Source: Chad Deetken 920815 Kyle, Saskatchewan - a flattened ring was found, 12 feet in diameter with a core of standing wheat, 3.5 feet in diameter. In the center were "porcupine droppings". Source: Chad Deetken 920817 Brandon, Manitoba - a television station received an anonymous call that a crop circle had been found on the property of the Brandon airport. Explained easily as a parachuting target. Source: CKX-TV; Jeff Harland; NAICCR 920825 Guy, Alberta - fifteen circular marks were found in a field near Peace River, Alberta. Investigated by Gord Kijek of AUFOSG. Source: AUFOSG 920820 Milestone, Saskatchewan - a triplet of crop circles, touching each other in a line, were discovered in a wheat field. The dimensions of the affected area were 63x22 feet. All were swirled counterclockwise. A "squashed porcupine" was found inside the formation. Investigated by Chad Deetken. 9208?? Champagne, Illinois - crop formations were found. No other info. Source: NACCCS 920??? , Iowa - a number of "ice circles" were reported discovered. Investigated by Davina Riska? No other data. Source: Rosemary Ellen Guiley, NACCCS 920??? Troy, Illinois - circles were reported found in cattails. Discovered by Peter (Darren?) Bistrom (?). Reported to MUFON (?). Investigated at least two months after their discovery by George Wingfield. Source: Rosemary Ellen Guiley, NACCCS 920923 Albertville, Saskatchewan - a circle with a ring was discovered in an oat field. The ring was 35 feet in diameter, and the circle was about 16 feet in diameter. It was swirled counterclockwise, but the ceter of the swirl was off-center. The ring had a varying width of 15 to 27 inches. Source: Chad Deetken 920924 Albertville, Saskatchewan - a second circle with a ring was discovered in a wheatfield. Ring diameter: 22 feet; circle: 13 feet. Ring width: 8 inches. All were swirled counterclockwise. Source: Chad Deetken 920923 Melita, Manitoba - two circles were found in a wheat field, only a few feet apart. Reported to NAICCR. Investigated by Jeff Harland. 920930? Orillia, Ontario - one large oval patch of flattened corn was found in a field near Orillia. The area was 75 by 100 feet, on the south slope of a south-facing hill, only about 100 feet from a major highway. The corn was flattened and swirled in a counterclockwise direction. Reported to NAICCR. Source: Colin McKim. 921002 Nipawin, Saskatchewan - three circles were found in a wheatfield, spaced irregularly. All had diameters of about 8 feet and were swirled counterclockwise. Source: Chad Deetken ===================================================================== Are there others? Let us know. Zines received: IUR (International UFO Reporter), Vol. 17, #4,5 ARCTURUS BOOK CATALOG (1442 Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952), 1992, #10,11; GEO-MONITOR (Vince Migliore, 65 Washington St., Suite 400, Santa Clara, CA 95050), Vol. 2, #9,10,11; WINNICENTRICS (RASC Winnipeg Centre, 110 St. Paul's College, 930 Dysart Rd, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2M6), V. 50, #5,6; AFU NEWSLETTER (Box 11027, S-600 11 Norrkoping, Sweden), 1991; JUST CAUSE (Fawcett, Box 218, Coventry, CT 06238); MUFON JOURNAL (103 Oldtowne Road, Seguin TX 87155-4099), #293,294; UFO PARADOX (Eric Aggen, Jr., Box 12245, Parkville MO 64152; CROP WATCHER (Paul Fuller), #12,13; ORBITER (Box 652, Reading, MA 01867), #36; and a slough of others, including Jenny Randles' NORTHERN UFO NEWS, Jim Moseley's SAUCER SMEAR and HORIZON. Sorry, I don't have other addresses handy. WaHF: Leanne Boyd, Paul Fuller, Mike Strainic, Christian Page, Angela Mather, Peter Warren, Bob Girard, Chuck Muschweck (why, I don't know), Bill Bell, Pat Vince, Shannon McGinn, Melissa Craig, Steve Canada, Paul (the mad photocopyist) Cuttle [thx for all the stuff!], Linda Howe (or at least her form letter), Eric Herr (no, Eric, I don't have info on those cases you inquired about), Matteo Leone, Mary Ann Martini (the Pavarotti tapes were great! Thx!), Gord (best and most underrated ufologist in North America) Kijek, Mac Davidson (who wants to become a ufologist when he grows up), Vince Migliore, Greg Kennedy, France St-Laurent, Darren Hartigan, Janet Bord (UFO pix galore), Gary (best underrated Fortean writer in Britain) Lanham, Ed Wilson (yes, Ed, I will speak at the WoldCon in 1994), Lorne Goldfader (master of the fax machine), and Mrs. Victor Wilson. I want to make a special effort to emphasize that my review in the last SGJ of Jerry Clark's UFO Encyclopedia was meant to be very positive, and not negative as some had interpreted. An especially big hello to virtual correspondents Pamela Thompson and dAvid tHacker. Thanks also are due to Roy Bauer, Grant Cameron, Greg Kennedy, Vladimir Simosko - and Myra! If I have left anyone out, I'm sorry! I can only dig through my "IN" basket just SO far! Best "classic" letter received: "Gentlemen: We are on the verge of organizing the Philippines' first UFO Watch, an organization that will dedicate its knowledge and interest in ufology. In this respect, would you know the equipment used in tracking down incoming and landings as well as being able to pinpoint the presence of an alien ship? Also, can we represent your organization in the Philippines? We hope to hear from you soonest possible. Sincerely, Hernan Ramirez de Cartagena" ====================================================================== The Swamp Gas Journal is copyright (c) 1992 by Chris A. Rutkowski. Mail correspondence to: Box 1918, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3C 3R2 Email correspondence to: rutkows@ccu.umanitoba.ca The Swamp Gas Journal, UFOROM and NAICCR are not affiliated with the University of Manitoba, and don't represent its ideas, opinions, etc. (Standard disclaimer) -- Chris Rutkowski - rutkows@ccu.umanitoba.ca Royal Astronomical Society of Canada University of Manitoba - Winnipeg, Canada ** End of article **


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