Fact, Fiction, and Flying Saucers: The Truth Behind the Misinformation, Distortion, and Derision by Debunkers, Government Agencies, and Conspiracy Conmen

Fact, Fiction, and Flying Saucers: The Truth Behind the Misinformation, Distortion, and Derision by Debunkers, Government Agencies, and Conspiracy Conmen

by Stanton T. Friedman, Kathleen Marden

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There is a clear conspiracy to deny the existence of UFOs.

The mainstream media has misinformed us for years about UFO studies conducted by highly regarded scientists associated with some of the finest universities in the country. There is significant evidence that the U.S. government has covered up the alien presence through misinformation, distortion, obfuscation, and ridicule. Some prominent, politically connected scientists have engaged in the cover up. And a few professional writers have helped to successfully label any scientists who have been persuaded by the evidence and brave enough to take a stand as unscientific charlatans, fanatics, and kooks.

Fact, Fiction, and Flying Saucers examines the wealth of archival documents that clearly demonstrate this cooperative disinformation effort and refute the false claims made by these professional scoffers. Friedman and Marden set the record straight by examining politically motivated misinformation and presenting the compelling evidence that separates fact from fiction. They reveal:
  • The most compelling UFO evidence, including a variety of large-scale scientific studies.
  • The current state of UFOlogy and what the future holds.
  • The media's role in disclosure and denial.
  • The government scientists whose job it is to deny.
  • The Air Force, FBI, CIA, and NSA's involvement.
  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781632650658
    Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
    Publication date: 09/19/2016
    Edition description: First Edition
    Pages: 288
    Sales rank: 275,212
    Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

    About the Author

    Stanton T. Friedman is a nuclear physicist who worked on a wide variety of advanced, classified nuclear systems for major industrial companies. He began the civilian investigation of the Roswell Incident; wrote Flying Saucers and Science and TOP SECRET/MAJIC; and coauthored Crash at Corona, Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, and Science Was Wrong. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Friedman resides in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

    Educator and sociologist Kathleen Marden is Betty Hill's niece and trustee of her estate. She has all of Hill's papers and correspondence, and has transcribed the tapes of the Hills' hypnosis sessions with psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon. Marden has also met with the numerous scientists who investigated the case. For the past 10 years, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Mutual UFO Network, the largest International UFO organization and as director of Field Investigator Training for MUFON. Marden lives in Stratham, New Hampshire.

    Read an Excerpt



    The authors, because of all the time we have spent at archives and on investigation, understand how difficult it is for people new to the study of UFOs to separate fact from fiction. Much of what has been published is simply not true. An abundance of the literature is deliberate misinformation intended to mislead the public. Throughout UFO history, some individuals have made false claims, for financial gain or media attention, of having worked on ET technology at secret government facilities or of being in direct contact with extraterrestrial beings.

    Sometimes diligent researchers discover a false claimant's criminal record. Con men have historically attempted to deceive the UFO community for personal gain. It is reasonable to assume that a slick sociopath might slip through the cracks until exposed, by developing an elaborate scheme and hoaxed evidence. It has occurred in the past, and even careful, scientific researchers have been deceived. Funding for polygraph exams, psychological testing, and the scientific evaluation of evidence has presented a challenge to investigators. Historically, the evidence indicates that only a tiny percentage of UFO reports, even those investigated by the Air Force, have been deemed hoaxes. Yet, debunkers with an anti-UFO agenda have proclaimed that even the best evidence cases are fabrications or misinterpretations. As you will see in this book, a careful analysis of the evidence will refute the debunkers' and dis-informants' claims.

    Some false claimants are driven by the desire for public recognition and financial gain. Marden has discovered deception for this purpose in a small percentage of the cases she's investigated. The perpetrators are usually immature men or women on the margins of society, who are striving for a modicum of recognition in their otherwise-unproductive lives. Other deceivers have good intentions, but tie together strings of irrelevant information that result in erroneous conclusions. This leads to the unintentional distortion of information as the result of insufficient critical thinking skills. When she discovers evidence of deception, she informs the claimants of her findings and advises them to tell the truth before there false claims are made public by other investigators. This often has a positive outcome. Visits to social media sites will identify attention-seeking researchers and witnesses alike. Be suspicious of those who aggressively promote themselves through photos and sensational claims. Some researchers and witnesses alike are seeking celebrity status and care less about the accuracy of their information than their ascension into the limelight. Witness and researcher credibility is a major factor in the investigation of any UFO- related report, and especially when it involves claims of extraterrestrial (ET) contact.

    Periodically, a UFO investigator has been ethically or legally compromised. When this is played out in a public arena, it causes embarrassment for the UFO research community at large. Unfortunately, a few investigators have exaggerated their credentials, claiming to have advanced degrees from colleges that end up being bogus. It has bolstered their credibility and given them more authority than they deserve until they are exposed. Some proponents argue that everyone lies about their credentials, so if someone is exposed for presenting false information about their educational background it should not be held against them. If this is true, we have reached a sad state of affairs, in which ethics and morality are no longer held to a higher standard.

    The topic of UFOs is held to a higher standard simply because it has not gained scientific respectability. For this reason, the authors recoil when tenuous evidence causes a huge media stir. Historically, a cloud of suspicion has loomed over claims of UFO evidence when it is played out in the media. For example, in 2015, media attention was given to the sensational claim that a photograph of a tiny mummy was that of an alien body, coined "The Roswell Alien." The news stirred up a huge controversy among UFO researchers, as prominent figures lined up on both sides of the argument. The slides were discovered in 1989, in the home of deceased and childless couple who appeared to be socially and politically well connected. It depicted the mummified body of a small humanoid form inside a glass case. A blurred placard was visible that could not be immediately read. A photo expert confirmed that the slides were from the 1947 period and appeared to be authentic. However, at the end of a great deal of debate, de-blurring software made it clear that the photo depicted the mummified body of a 2-year-old boy. This is one of many unfortunate examples of media hype that has played out before a full investigation of the evidence could deliver a verdict. It will go down in history as one of many black marks on the field of ufology.

    Despite the hype that stirs and deflates the public interest, many UFO sightings by credible witnesses cannot be explained. A total of 12,618 sightings were reported to Project Blue Book between 1947 and 1969. Of these 701 remained unidentified, meaning that the description of the object and its maneuvers did not fit into a pattern of any known object or phenomenon. The percentage would have been larger had the Air Force not made the decision to appoint directors who were biased against the possibility that UFOs were extraterrestrial spacecraft. Many of the sightings that were identified as temperature inversions, swamp gas, stars, planets, satellites, and so forth, were made by credible witnesses, such as pilots, scientists, engineers, and even astronomers, and did not conform to the explanation that was assigned to them. Some had substantial evidence that should have eliminated a prosaic explanation.

    Of greater importance is the largest study on UFOs ever done for the Air Force (USAF), "Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14," carried out by the Battelle Memorial Institute and completed in 1955. It was found that 21.5 percent of the 3,201 cases investigated could not be explained. A quality evaluation was done and 35 percent of the 308 excellent cases could not be identified. Only 18.3 percent of the 525 poor cases remained unidentified. In addition a cross comparison between KNOWNS and UNKNOWNS determined that, on the basis of 6 different characteristics, the probability that the UNKNOWNS were just missed KNOWNS was less than 1 percent. Also, it should be noted that the UNKNOWNS were completely separate from the 9.3 percent listed as INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION.

    The closure of Project Blue Book left the responsibility for investigating UFO reports to civilian UFO organizations that systematically collect and investigate UFO sighting reports. The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena have long since closed. This leaves the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), which has a computerized case management system that collects and investigates UFO reports from around the world. To date thousands of reports have been systematically collected and investigated by trained MUFON volunteers. Each month, MUFON issues a statistical report of UFO sightings from around the world. Monthly reports range from 600 or so, upwards to 1,000. In September 2015, 985 reports were registered on MUFON's case management system: 769 were observed in the United States, 61 in the United Kingdom, and 53 in Canada. The remainder was divided among 49 countries with at least one UFO being reported in each. Of the objects sighted, 296 were reported to have been less than 500 feet away from the witness. One hundred forty-two of these were an estimated distance of less than 100 feet away from the witness. There were 50 landings, hoverings, and takeoffs, and one nonhuman entity was reported to have been observed. In any given month, a significant 10 to 13 percent of the objects sighted are estimated at less than 100 feet from the witness. These are not distant lights in the sky. Yet this information reaches only a small segment of our population. The failure by mainstream media outlets, to report accurate UFO information is a multifaceted problem.

    The challenge that careful researchers must confront is the propensity of some well-known researchers to blur the lines between credible and credulous evidence, lumping all cases into the same pot. This type of unscientific thinking casts a cloud of suspicion over the entire UFO research community. It is particularly important to the authors of this book to be impartial, meticulous, and honest in our research and investigations. Extraordinary claims require a thorough analysis of the evidence.

    Many scientists and journalists have done their research by proclamation rather than investigation, making the erroneous assumption that all UFO sightings and ET contact claims are misidentifications, hoaxes, or delusions. This failure to examine the evidence has led to declarations of UFO impossibility. Often minimal effort is applied to so-called "scientific" investigations, and this failure to honestly examine the facts results in a rush to false judgment. Sometimes the extraction of tiny bits of information and the omission of factual data are used by disinformants for the purpose of distorting the truth. Speculative arguments pertaining to hypothetical scenarios replace the available facts and a false narrative is created.

    Before we deal with the activities of some of the many players over the years, it should be useful to examine two areas that have been the focus of much of the noisy negativist literature. Some of the critical items may have even been well intentioned, but are still grossly misleading or inaccurate. The focus of this book is on the driving force that led to government UFO secrecy and the question of whether certain prominent scientists, journalists, and military leaders conspired to distort the public's knowledge of UFO reality. But first, it is important to discuss the need for secrecy and the government's ability to keep secrets.

    Many people have addressed the question of secrecy and concluded that secrets simply can't be kept in today's Internet and social media world. They proclaim that if an extraterrestrial vehicle had crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, we surely would have known about it by now. If the government possessed top-secret documents pertaining to the back engineering of ET technology, the scientists involved would surely have produced irrefutable documents to prove it. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, and the replacement for Dr. Carl Sagan as host on the Cosmos TV series, made the following comment at a public lecture at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania: "The proof that the government can't keep secrets is how much we know about President Clinton's genitalia." Dr. Seth Shostak, of the SETI Institute, claimed on Larry King's TV show that the public's knowledge of the terrible job done by FEMA, with regard to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, proves the government can't keep secrets. It should be noted that so far as we have been able to determine, neither Tyson nor Shostak has worked under a security clearance. Neither has firsthand experience with the handling and overseeing of classified material. Both have strong academic pedigrees and are accustomed to obtaining information from articles published in the refereed scientific literature. They also apparently believe that the question of extraterrestrial life would be a proper subject for formal scientific literature by academics, not in secret by government agencies. One method for evaluating this notion is to cite some of the many large-scale government research and development programs that have been conducted in secret and whose very existence was kept secret for many, many years. One must also consider the reasons why information about flying saucers would be kept secret by the government.

    A good example of government secrecy is that there was no publicity given to the breaking of the German and Japanese military communication codes during World War II until 25 years after the war was over rather than as soon as hostilities ended. There were about 12,000 people at Bletchley Park in England whose job it was to intercept, decode, translate, and carefully distribute the supposedly top-secret German military communications. Extreme care had to be taken to assure that there would be no clue to the Germans that the codes had been broken, because then they would change them, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Allied military people. This, of course, meant that very few Allied military leaders were aware of all the decoded information. The old saying that loose lips sink ships was certainly true. The key concept in keeping secrets is to restrict access to them to people with both an appropriate NEED-TO-KNOW and an appropriate security clearance: typically CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, TOP SECRET, or TOP SECRET CODEWORD. The codeword could usually be five letters, such as MAJIC, UMBRA, or ULTRA. Contrary to what many believe, having, for example, a Secret clearance, does not give one access to all Secret material, only that for which a need-to-know has been established in advance. The clearance used to take months and involved field investigation of where an applicant lived, what organizations he or she belonged to, and if they were missing periods of time when there may have been trips overseas. People who still had family overseas were examined particularly carefully to assure they couldn't be blackmailed for fear of harm to relatives. After WWII was over, the Cold War went in to full swing and Wisconsin Senator Joseph P. McCarthy was claiming there were many communists in the State Department and elsewhere. It is easy to forget that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed as spies in 1953, and there was shock at Russian spies such as Klaus Fuchs having worked at Los Alamos on the atomic bomb.

    Another widespread myth is that only scientists need clearances at places like Los Alamos National Laboratory. The fact is that everybody needs a clearance — including janitors, cooks, clerks, and so on — because of the possibility of hearing classified conversations or seeing classified documents on somebody's desk. Therefore, if a claimant submits evidence of employment at Los Alamos as evidence of a degree in physics, without supporting documents, it is worthless. The individual could have been a support staff member or held a custodial position in the facility.

    A very important part of the Manhattan Project was the construction and operation of a massive gaseous diffusion plant to enrich uranium in the U-235 isotope. It was only present at a concentration of 0.7 percent in natural uranium ore and, to be useful in an atomic bomb, it had to be about 80 percent. The plant was built at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and was one mile long. It used 5 percent of all the electricity being produced in the United States to pump uranium hexafluoride gas through tiny holes in nickel barriers, taking advantage of the fact that the lighter isotope, U- 235, moves a little faster than U-238. It was operated in secret and many of the people working there had no idea what they were working on, because they didn't have a need-to-know. In 1944, Senator Harry Truman did not know about the Manhattan Project — and was not informed until 13 days after he became president upon the death of President Roosevelt on April 12, 1945. But he had to make the decision to drop the atomic bombs.

    As a related example of secrecy, the first atomic bomb was exploded on July 16, 1945, at Trinity Site in New Mexico. It was a great success and released the energy of more than 15,000 tons of dynamite. The fireball was seen from as much as 100 miles away and local sheriffs received many calls about the explosion. A cover story was released saying that an ammunition dump had blown up, but fortunately nobody was injured. Three weeks later an atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. Only then was the public informed that one had been tested at Trinity.

    Some have suggested that the men working on the highly classified Majestic 12 committee and other high-security UFO-related projects would have told their wives what they were doing. That is almost certainly untrue. As an example, the wife of General Leslie Groves, who was in overall charge of the Manhattan Project for more than two years, didn't know what her husband had been doing until somebody in his office suggested to her that she would probably be interested in listening to the news on the radio at noon on August 6, 1945. The story was about the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It was at that moment she discovered that the program had been under the direction of General Groves. Prior to this she did not know about the Manhattan Project or her husband's involvement in it.


    Excerpted from "Fact, Fiction, and Flying Saucers"
    by .
    Copyright © 2016 Stanton T. Friedman and Kathleen Marden.
    Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction 9

    Chapter 1 Fact and Fiction in the UFO World 13

    Chapter 2 The Air Force, the CIA, and Disinformation by Government Scientists: The Early Years 27

    Chapter 3 Dr. Donald Howard Menzel 49

    Chapter 4 Philip J. Klass 67

    Chapter 5 Dr. Edward Uhler Condon 91

    Chapter 6 Dare We Call It Conspiracy! 109

    Chapter 7 Klassical Fiction 125

    Chapter 8 More Fiction 149

    Chapter 9 Fraudulent Claims by Scientists, Whistleblowers, and Self-Promoting Contactees 167

    Chapter 10 A Hard Look at the Media, the UFO Community, and the Trend Toward Sensationalism 191

    Chapter 11 The Push for Disclosure and Its Possible Ramifications 207

    Chapter 12 Fact, Not Fiction 225

    Conclusion 245

    Appendix 249

    Notes 257

    Bibliography 271

    Index 283

    About the Authors 287

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