Friday, July 25, 2008


Edgar Mitchell, Part 2: And now for the bad news...

Our book collections are amazing. Between my wife's massive collection of critical science and epistemological works (she has all of Carl Sagan's works, Penn & Teller, Houdini, etc.) and my collection of UFO/paranormal books, we cover the waterfront.

So, when I read the UK Guardian article about Edgar Mitchell's UFO revelation and his claim that he was cured of kidney cancer by an action-at-a-distance healer named Adam Dreamhealer, light bulbs went on. My wife dug out her copy of Adam Dreamhealer's first book in which he describes his "mentoring" by Edgar Mitchell. In fact Mitchell is quoted throughout the book and praises Adam (a Canadian) for his ability to manipulate energy at the quantum level with his mind, curing people of their diseases simply by thinking about them, even if they live on the other side of the world.


Then I dug out my copy of Mitchell's book Psychic Exploration, basically a compendium of papers by other researchers on psychic phenomena. It also has some nice things to say about Uri Geller.

Oy again.

So when Mitchell makes the claim that he knows that aliens are visiting Earth, his history of association with paranormal investigators will provide more fuel for debunkers to deride his statements.

So do we believe Edgar Mitchell, who had an amazing spiritual conversion on his way back from walking on the Moon? Or should he be dismissed as yet another voice in the wilderness?

The astronaut and the UFO

So Edgar Mitchell was on an Australian radio show this week, and stated matter-of-factly that aliens are visiting Earth and UFOs are real. This wasn't breaking news to ufologists because he stated the same thing in the forward to Stanton Friedman's new book Flying Saucers and Science, which came out last month. But the tape has been getting some play - although mostly negative, as newscasters are doing their usual giggling and grinning about how silly UFOs are when they stick the comments at the end of their newscasts.

Skeptics, of course, simply point out that Mitchell is entitled to his "opinion" and that as everyone knows, there is no evidence that alien spacecraft are visiting Earth. But here's the paradox; other astronauts have made statements contradicting Mitchell. For example, in 2007, on Larry King, Buzz Aldrin said, "I just can't believe that we would be covering up such a major, significant event as true evidence of being from somewhere else." He thinks, as do most skeptics, that the UFOs reported by astronauts in space were simply debris or parts of other spacecraft. The irony is that this is also simply Aldrin's opinion, and it all depends on whom you believe.

I'll go with W.C.Fields, who once expressed: "A man's got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


UFO video

I just watched the video that's up on the CTV website, regarding a UFO video taken a few days ago. I had been contacted by CTV for my opinion on what it was. The link is at:

We're getting more and more of these videos and photos. They look like still photos of comets, but they're moving through the sky at a moderate trot. These are almost always aircraft at high altitude, catching the Sun's rays while sunset occurs on the ground down below.

They simply don't look mysterious to me; I don't know why people think they're odd.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


2008 Canadian UFO Survey, part 2

Media interest in the 2008 Survey has been at a steady trickle. We received emails and calls from media two or three per day, and then it would be quiet for about 8 hours, then start again. It's interesting how media play out a story and also put their own interpretations on things.

I did a TV double-ender in my study with Global TV one morning, and expected it to show up that evening. Nothing appeared. However, the next day, the UFO story appeared on Google alerts and on the Global TV national website, under "top stories." Yet it never actually made it to air, as far as I could see, that day or the next. Even the local affiliate didn't appear to run the story. Meanwhile, the story appeared in papers across the country. But the next day, another Global reporter called me and did a second interview. It appeared later that day on the CanWest wire, and eventually in the National Post on July 19, 2008. It was a good story, and quite long, and well-placed in the paper. The reporter had clearly read the Survey, something few had bothered to do even in years past. The only problem with the story was that in the last paragraph, she wrote that we "work with" NORAD and NASA to explain UFOs. I definitely didn't say that, and now that I think of it, it was she who mentioned NORAD and NASA, and I replied something to the effect that we try to use or get information from NASA and NORAD to help explain reports. We do; I occasionally check NASA launch data on re-entries and North Bay on possible satellite or fireball observations. I don't think that's "working with" them, but we do try to cover the bases. I've contacted James Oberg in the past about some cases, as his connections are significantly better placed than ours.

I still have some left-over interviews to do on Monday, but that may be the run for this year.

2008 Canadian UFO Survey

Yes, we finally were able to release the 2008 Canadian UFO Survey. We usually get it out by about March but this year we had some things pile up and were only able to finish data entry by June.

It seems our timing actually worked out better this year, though, since we released the study right in the middle of the History Channel's "UFO Week" and only a day after the airing of David Cherniack's new UFO documentary "UFOs: A Secret History." And Larry King had another UFO special on Friday as well, with some good guests including Stan Friedman and designated skeptic Bill Nye. (More on that later.)

I sent the news release on the Survey to a comparative handful of reporters this year on the morning of Wednesday, July 16, targeting those who had expressed interest in the subject during the past year. Curiously, no local media contacted me here in Winnipeg. The ones that did cover the story simply went with one of two wire stories done on July 16.

One of the first media to respond was a national wire service reporter who did a short hit with me that resulted in a brief national story. I had spoken with her via cell while away from the office, and on the audio clip you can actually hear a lot of ambient noise in the background. But she had got one glaring thing wrong in the story: that we "usually" get only 10 unidentifieds every year. Since I know I didn't say that, as soon as I heard it on the news, I emailed her right away and asked her to correct the figure. Not only did she call me back, but she did a more extensive interview that included many more details and corrected the percentages. This I found remarkable, as I have rarely seen major corrections like this on national wire stories in my job working with media. This reporter has my respect.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


A Mysterious Manitoba Vacation

I just got back from a short vacation with my family. We opted, of course, for a nearcation, taking a trip out and around sunny Manitoba.

On the way out of Winnipeg, heading west, we noted the statue of the white horse at St. Francois Xavier. As readers of my book Unnatural History know, the statue is one of the few in the world that commemorates a ghost story, in this case, that of a revenant white stallion said to be seen galloping across the prairie.

We then spent several days at Riding Mountain National Park, enjoying the sun and lakes there. Naturally, we are book afficionados and sought out the few bookstores in the area. In the town of Onanole, we discovered Poor Michael's, a wonderful cappuccino cafe and used bookstore that had a huge selection of titles in all categories. I found a copy of The Golden Bough in excellent condition at a great price (mine has wandered off), and Donna found a copy of Price's Ghost Hunter, also in great condition.

We also went to Lake Audy to see the bison herd there and saw several bear but no moose or cougar. Especially since I got out of the car at Audy to take a photo.

We went up to Mt. Baldy one day, just to say we were there on the peak of the highest point in Manitoba. We also went to the wave pool in Dauphin, the only one in Manitoba.

Forteanly, we stopped at the grotto of the Holy Mother of Lourdes at Ste. Rose du Lac, supposedly an accurate copy of the one in Lourdes itself. We saw no apparitions there, although the site is close to a BVM sighting dating back about 20 years. Next to the grotto, there is a statue of whom I assume is Bernadette Soubirous, kneeling in rapture and prayer. We noted that a thick cobweb was attached to the statue, making it appear as if ectoplasm was emerging.

Finally, we went to Manipogo Beach near Rorketon, where we enjoyed Manipogo burgers and Manipogo dogs at the concession stand. It was quite a drive, and it was worth it for the experience, although you'd think the monster would have shown us the courtesy of appearing as we played Bocce on the beach. [Question: If they're selling Manipogo burgers there, does that explain why no one's seen Manipogo for several years?]

And now, back to regular UFO programming.

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