Tuesday, May 14, 2019

 

In Remembrance: Stanton Friedman, 1934-2019


It is with deep sadness that I post about the passing of Stan Friedman. A few people have confirmed that Stan passed away while in Toronto on May 13, 2019.

I first met Stan when he visited Winnipeg in about 1976, during the Charlie Redstar UFO furore. He gave a lecture about UFOs at the University of Manitoba and received a standing ovation. After his talk, we met and exchanged info. Ever since then, we had kept in touch and got together or at least spoke on the phone every year.


Stan stayed with me sometimes when he came to Winnipeg, choosing to sleep on my couch rather than in a nondescript motel room, but mostly to save money.

He was a mentor, a rebel, a challenger, and most of all, a friend.

He had a remarkable career in physics, although he never received his doctorate. In his own words:
I worked my way through five years of college as a busboy in the Catskill Mountains and then as a Union waiter at Windermere East Hotel on the South side of Chicago within walking distance of the University of Chicago. I was anxious to join the real world which I had done in industry where a PhD was not required. First, the General Electric Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Department, near Cincinnati, then Aerojet General Nucleonics near San Francisco on compact nuclear reactors and fusion for space applications, then General Motors Allison Division in Indianapolis on portable nuclear reactors for space systems and the Westinghouse Astronuclear Labs on fission rocket reactors for space applications. I must have set a record for working on cancelled programs.

A very young Stan Friedman visiting Rutgers in 1950.

But of course, he is best known as the "Flying Saucer Physicist."
As a scientist. I have always felt that one wasn’t entitled to a scientific opinion if one hasn’t read the relevant literature. Often over the years In my “Flying Saucers ARE Real” lectures, I discussed five large scale scientific studies and then asked my audiences how many had read each of them. Typically fewer than  two per cent had read any. Included were the biggest study ever done for the US Air Force, Project Blue Book Special Report 14, The Congressional Hearings on July 29,1968 (with statements from 12 scientists including Allen Hynek, myself, and Carl Sagan), Allen’s book UFOs: A Scientific Inquiry, Edward Condon’s The Scientific Study of UFOs, and MacDonald's Congressional paper. 
I had the opportunity on several occasions to sit and talk with him about all things ufological. He agreed to let me record our conversations. Some of these were at UFO and paranormal conferences, where we sat in either his or my hotel room while Donna or someone else filmed us.

The following are links to our informal discussions:

Q&A with Stanton Friedman
At Paracon 2012, held October 12-14, 2012, at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, Minnesota, one of the keynote speakers was Stanton Friedman, well-known proponent of trying to break through the UFO cover-up. I spent some time at Paracon talking with Stan about his research and why he believes that, as his movie is titled, "Flying Saucers Are Real!" He agreed to answer a few questions for putting up on my blog and on Youtube. 1. Why does he keep at it? 2. Is there anything left to find out about Roswell?

Oct. 2013: Stanton Friedman on Astronomers and UFOs
At Minnesota Paracon, I sat down with Stanton Friedman and asked him if there was any question he had never been asked, but wished someone had asked. He replied that no one ever asked him why astronomers are generally down about UFOs and ufology. He explained that astronomers are generally uninformed about ufology and can be arrogant in their dismissiveness. [NB: I'm an astronomer]

October 2013: How has ufology changed since 1967?

October 2013: I ask Stan about how ufology has affected his family and personal life

Stan at Minnesota Paracon in 2014
I caught up with Stanton Friedman at Minnesota Paracon 2014. He has some words of advice for UFO buffs.

Stanton Friedman thinking of retiring
At Minnesota Paracon 2014, I caught up with "the Grandfather of Ufology," Stanton Friedman. It's been only a month or two since his heart attack, and he's 80 years old, so I asked him how that's changed his approach to his UFO research. His answer: he's going to be retiring!

2016: Stanton Friedman on the Clinton/Podesta UFO emails
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvXzi68G6Uo&t=1s

Stan Friedman on the Aztec UFO Crash. From Minnesota Paracon 2016.

2016: Stan Friedman talks with me about some regrets he has about his many years of work in ufology. Surprisingly heartfelt and honest, this is all about passion for a subject he believes in.

I asked Stan Friedman about the failures and mistakes of ufology. Where have ufologists fallen short? Filmed at Minnesota Paracon 2016


Me and Stan in 2001 when I visited him in his home in Fredericton while filming an episode for the the documentary series Magnificent Obsessions. (Full episode here, my visit to Stan at his home starts at about 17:25)


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We were on stage together at the Telus World of Science Expo in Edmonton in 2007.


Donna Lobchuk helping Stan at his table at Telus in 2007.


I may have deliberately set up this photo with me between Stan and Kevin Randle (and Frank) at MUFON 2009 in Denver.


Stan in a typical pose behind his book table, at MUFON 2009.


Travis Walton, me, Donna, and Stan having dinner at Minnesota Paracon.


Stan, Raymond Szymanski and Kathleen Marden at World UFO Congress in 2016.


Donna with Stan at Minnesota Paracon in 2013.

In 2014, his daughter Melissa asked me to do a short video wishing him a happy 80th birthday. I got some friends to help me. Apparently, even Michael Shermer made one.

He will be missed.

Update: CBC reports that Stan died doing what he liked doing; he was returning from a speaking engagement in Columbus, Ohio, and passed suddenly in the Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Update 2: Paul Kimball's film about Stan is viewable here.

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

 

How many see UFOs? How many report them?


I had posted the latest Canadian UFO Survey results, and was surprised when someone questioned that only ten percent of all witnesses report their experiences.

(Not that he had offered any alternative, just that he doubted the value was correct.)

I realized that most people in ufology these days have likely never seen poll data on UFOs, so I went looking for results from Gallup, Decima, and others. 

Of course, I've posted about such things many times, but hey, no one listens to me.

In 2012, I noted:

http://uforum.blogspot.com/2012/06/lies-damn-lies-and-polls-about-ufos.html

And them in 1997, MUFON published an article concerning the Ufology Research poll of Canadians about UFOs.

http://uforum.blogspot.com/2012/11/poll-on-canadians-views-on-ufos.html

(Yes, there was a time when MUFON liked me.)

So, there are some stats to  back up that about ten per cent of the population believe they have seen UFOs, and that only a small percentage of UFO witnesses report them, as one might expect given the climate of ridicule that is still evident.

And one this that came out of that early study was the note that about the same number of people were as likely to report their UFO experience to a UFO group as to not report it at all. But they would rather report it to a government agency.



Maybe the US Navy will be getting some UFO reports, after all.

I would love to do a more rigorous set of polls on this, with cooperation from many UFO groups so that we can get a better sample size and hopefully more refined results.

But that's not likely to happen.

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Thursday, May 02, 2019

 

The 2018 Canadian UFO Survey





14,000 Canadians saw UFOs in 2018

New study finds that numbers of UFO reports are down nationally, but five per cent are unexplained

An analysis of UFO sightings reported in Canada in 2018 found that 937 cases were reported from across the country, from witnesses ranging from farmers to airline pilots. This is the lowest on record since 2004, when 882 cases were filed. In fact, for the past several years, the number of UFO reports each year has been well over 1,000. Despite this, the 2018 number of cases is only about a 15 percent decline from last year, and the number may well recover in 2019.

The study was conducted by the private organization Ufology Research, which has been studying national trends in Canadian UFO reports since 1989.

In 2018, Quebec led all Canadian provinces with 41 per cent of all Canadian UFO reports, followed by Ontario (24 per cent) and BC (13 per cent).

About five per cent of all UFO reports were classified as unexplained.

The typical UFO sighting lasted approximately 16 minutes in 2018.

The number of witnesses per UFO report averages to about 1.5, so that about 1,400 Canadians saw UFOs in 2018. And, since polls have shown that only about one on ten witnesses report their UFO sightings, it’s possible that at least 14,000 Canadians saw UFOs in 2018.

The study found that about 40 per cent of all UFO sightings were of simple lights in the sky, but witnesses also reported point sources of light, spheres, and objects shaped like boomerangs.

Study coordinator Chris Rutkowski notes: “Results of this study show that many people continue to report unusual objects in the sky, and some of these objects do not have obvious explanations. Many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgement.”

He adds: “Though UFO report numbers are down slightly, interest in the subject remains high, with even mainstream news sources like the Washington Post and CNN doing recent stories on UFOs.”

However, popular opinion to the contrary, there is no incontrovertible evidence that some UFO cases involve extraterrestrial contact. The continued reporting of UFOs by the public and the overall long-term trend of an increase in numbers of UFO reports suggests a need for further examination of the phenomenon by social, medical and/or physical scientists.

For further information, contact:
Ufology Research via e-mail: canadianuforeport [at] hotmail.com
Twitter: [at] ufologyresearch

NB: The 2018 Canadian UFO Survey was produced with the help of Ashley, Sarah, Geoff, Donna, and Curt. Your help was greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

 

The Tectonic Strain Theory of UFOs


Going back a few decades, one of the proposed theories to explain UFOs was "earth energy." The late Michael Persinger was one of its advocates, and he wrote literally dozens of papers on why UFOs and seismic events were related, and published them in several scientific journals.

[In other words, scientific papers on UFOs have been published quite often over the years, and are nothing new.]

The trouble with Persinger's Tectonic Strain Theory of UFOs (TST), as it was known, was that it took someone with a knowledge of geology and psychology, and with an interest in UFOs, to understand it. Such people were few and far between. But as luck would have it, that was exactly my expertise while doing my undergrad work at university. I even had a geology prof who was curious about UFOs and was willing to entertain discussions about the phenomenon.

When started taking a close look at what Persinger was proposing, I found it seriously lacking. What he was suggesting made even less sense than assuming UFOs were alien spaceships, since it distorted geophysical principles. In fact, I managed to track down Persinger's PhD thesis advisor (who, by amazing synchronicity, was teaching at my university!), who when shown Persinger's published papers, was thoroughly appalled. In fact, he encouraged me to publish a rebuttal in the same scientific journals. And I did, becoming one of the few ufologists to publish papers about UFOs in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


As part of one of my geophysics courses, I needed to do an undergraduate thesis. I decided to do it on the TST, and spent the better part of a year researching and collecting data and others' works relevant to the issue. The result was a long, detailed, and sometimes equation-heavy analysis that explained why the TST didn't make any sense.




I managed to recover my original text, piecing it together from ancient floppy disks and computers, and am able to make it available for anyone who is interested in reading it through. The mathematical characters didn't translate well, and the figures had to be recreated, but it's relatively perusable.

To read the entire thing (good luck!), it's here.


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Tuesday, April 02, 2019

 

Going deep into the UFO archives



In preparation for moving much of my collection of books and other materials about UFOs, I have been going through my files in detail. I’ve been finding many things I had completely forgotten about, as well as many things I had thought had been lost over the years.

And I’ve found some gems. Like letters from contactees imparting to me the true nature of the universe and the name of the planets their aliens come from (“Excelsior” and “Zanthar-3” were my favourites.) Or programs from scientific conferences where I had been invited to present papers on the taboo subject of UFOs.

Among them was the original invitation from 1977 to speak at the University of Manitoba at a colloquium in the physics department “to faculty and students.” 


This was the talk that had to be moved to the largest lecture hall on campus because so many people wanted to attend from beyond the campus community, including media. It led to my becoming “the UFO guy” and to my encouragement to speak widely on the subject across Canada. 

The colloquium was even reviewed in the university newspaper, allowing even more people to find out about me. 



I did numerous TV and radio interviews that year, likely damaging my reputation among my physics peers but making me realize that the general public needed some serious education on the subject of UFOs.

This wasn’t my first media appearance regarding UFOs. That was actually Uforum, the cable TV show on UFOs that I was involved with in 1975. It lasted one season of six episodes, all of which have been lost to time.


[Aside: I only predated Tom DeLonge and his media push for UFO programming by about 45 years.]

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