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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 14

Re: Media Influence on Abduction Reports

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 17:24:56 -0800
Fwd Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 17:47:15 -0500
Subject: Re: Media Influence on Abduction Reports

>  Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 13:11:21 +0000
>  To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>  From: Sean Jones <tedric@tedric.demon.co.uk>
>  Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Re: Media Influence on Abduction Reports

>  >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>  >From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
>  >Subject: re: UFO UpDate: Media Influence on Abduction Reports
>  >Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 00:49:56 -0800

>  >That's why IFO until proven UFO has to be the rule.

>  Mark I understand your precept, but I'm afraid I have to disagree,
>  slightly. :-)

>  A UFO report is a report of something unexplained. As the
>  investigator I try to find and explanation. If I then cannot find
>  an explanation though one source or another then it is a bonafide
>  UFO. I do not start with the precept that it is a IFU unless I
>  cannot find an explanation. Its a UFO report and unless I find
>  and explanation thats all it is, a report of a UFO. Somehwere
>  in between I hope, I start with no precept that it is a UFO or IFO
>  until I have concluded my investigation. In some certain cases
>  an investigation sometimes is ongoing, and in this case it is "a
>  UFO until/unless found out otherwise".

Sean -

I understand, and frequently have this debate with people. I
suppose that is because I try to keep my terminology as precise
as possible, and perhaps make more distinctions as a

First, I adhere to a modified Hynek definition of UFO report:

"UFO Report - a statement by a person or persons judged
responsible and psychologically normal by commonly accepted
standards, describing a personal visual or instrumentally aided
perception of an object or light in the sky or on the ground and
/ or its assumed physical effects, that does not specify any
known physical event, object, or process or any psychological
event or process [even after examination by qualified

You'll notice the "even after examination" part. For that
reason I call the report which may or may not be a UFO, an
"initial report". Its value, prior to expert examination, is
relatively low, since 70-90% of initial reports will turn out
to be IFOs.

In the process of determining whether or not to classify an
initial report as an IFO or UFO, I find it valuable to take the
stance that it will turn out to be an IFO. This keeps me
focused on the salient features of the case which may
lead to it being explained. And that is essential, because
when we are trying to draw conclusions from any UFO case
which we have not investigated, it is critical that it not
later turn out to be an IFO, or every conclusion derived
from it will be invalidated.

(As an aside, I may note that I suspect this is one of the
largest reasons for lack of progress in the scientific wing
of the UFO community. There is a basic insecurity which
every researcher must face, that a key case will be "IFOed"
after work and reputation has gone into deriving
conclusions from that case. And yet, if we must consider
every case to be soft, then we will hang back and never
develop any progressive "stand on the shoulders" sort
of work. This is the reason that I admire the efforts of
Dr, Maccabee, the more scientific efforts of Dr, Vallee
(esp. with regard to energy level estimates), and the others
who have staked out some terrain on which the rest of
us may someday be able to build.)

Back in the investigation, as in famous Sherlock Holmes
quote, one must eliminate the _possible_ before accepting
that what remains, no matter how improbable (i.e. UFO
status) is indeed the truth. The case must literally _compel_
acceptance as a UFO in the face of a considerable and
warranted focus by the investigator on proving it an IFO.
When that happens, the resulting case can be considered
(hopefully) as solid and usable UFO data.

This does not mean that the investigator should be biased
against the witness or the case. But realistically, the
investigator must know going in that there is no more
than a 30% chance that the case is a UFO case. With
that perspective and drive, the investigator is less likely
to pack up and go away when the surface of the case
has been explored, leaving another time bomb for some
trusting researcher to end up having explode in their

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...

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