16.9.13

DISASTER AREA

Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt. Inside the Real Area 51. New Page Books, 2013.

Even works of fantasy and science fiction have their own internal logic, so that readers can enjoy the stories by achieving a suspension of disbelief. Very few writers of UFO books seem to bother about being logical or consistent, and Carey and Schmitt are not among them.

This book is about the Roswell incident, not just about Wright-Patterson and Area 51, as the title suggests. A brief history of this facility is given, but the authors are mainly concerned about it as the place where the Roswell wreckage and alien bodies are said to be kept.

The main problem with the notion that the Roswell incident was the crash of an alien spacecraft, the wreckage of which has been kept hidden since 1947, is that it needs to be a one-off event. It is at least conceivable, if very unlikely, that one crash could be kept secret, but if a number of others are said to have occurred then it is just not credible that that the truth about them could be concealed. The development and testing of military aircraft and weapons systems at Area 51 can obviously be kept secret because those in charge of it can control what happens there and the people who work there. However, if alien spacecraft survey our planet and occasionally crash, then this can obviously happen anywhere, at any time, unpredictably. To suggest that every nation where a UFO crashes would be willing or able to keep it secret is utterly absurd.

In discussing the allegedly indestructible Roswell wreckage, Carey and Schmitt make this incomprehensible statement: "Once it was realized that that the wreckage was extraterrestrial and not Russian as initially thought, the decision was made in Washington to keep this knowledge secret from not only the Russians (for obvious reasons), but also from the American people." They do not explain how this could be revealed to the American people without the Russians ever getting to hear about it. But perhaps this is an example of what the late James Moseley called "saucer logic". Also they do not explain how the wreckage of an alien spacecraft should bear such a remarkable resemblance to a Mogul balloon rig. One difference, though, is that some people belately remembered, years after the event, that the bits of wreckage were indestructible, even though they had somehow shattered when or before they hit the ground.

One of the mysteries of American ufology is the question of why any of its practicioners ever took Leonard Stringfield seriously. He was notorious for telling stories about UFO crashes, but never produced any details which would enable them to be idependently investigated. However, in this book considerable space is devoted to his nonsensical claims, and is mainly about him being given details about an alien by a doctor who allegedly conducted an autopsy on one at Wright-Patterson. The authors found similar tales about captive aliens there, mostly dead and, curiously, allegedly emitting foul odours even though they were kept with suitable preservatives in sealed containers. We are, of course, given no good reasons to believe any of this nonsense, but at least they don't mention the story of the alien who liked strawberry ice cream.

Readers will not be surprised to find the attack on the Condon Report, as it is so common in UFO books for believers. It is attacked by employing the usual illogical arguments and unsupported assertions. For example, we are told that the Committee ignored the best reports from the Blue Book files, even though they recorded a much higher proportion of unexplained cases than Blue Book. This was all part of the conspiracy, "a well-coordinated and well-conceived cover up of the true nature of UFOs". No, I don't understand what they are on about, either. I think they mean that Condon was not impressed with the unexplained ones. This is probably because they were not entirely reliable, because of such details as unreliable evidence and lack of independent witnesses.

The book follows the usual weird convention of most American UFO literature of apparently regarding UFO reports and what should be done about them as a purely American problem. No consideration is given to the possibility that if some UFOs are found to be actually or probably alien spacecraft, then this might be announced by some nation other than the USA.

If you want to enjoy a real dog's breakfast of a UFO book, then this one is for you. -- John Harney.


2 comments:

  1. It was the aliens discovered at the Aztec crash that liked strawberry ice-cream. The aliens found at Roswell were, I believe, more fond of chocolate ice-cream.

    But is always possible that I have got it slightly wrong. Other flavours may also play a part.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "The book follows the usual weird convention of most American UFO literature of apparently regarding UFO reports and what should be done about them as a purely American problem. No consideration is given to the possibility that if some UFOs are found to be actually or probably alien spacecraft, then this might be announced by some nation other than the USA."
    ____

    But isn't that usually the case no matter what situation is being considered? To many Americans the map beyond their borders is still marked "Here be dragons". And anything that happens "out there" is of no importance.

    ReplyDelete

MAGONIA RECOMMENDS