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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > Oct > Oct 22

Re: Gill Sighting - Clark

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 10:23:13 -0500
Fwd Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 08:50:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Gill Sighting - Clark

>From: John Rimmer <jrimmer.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 00:15:29 +0100
>Subject: Re: Gill Sighting

>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 10:35:24 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Gill Sighting

>>>From: Martin Shough <mshough.nul>
>>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 14:35:14 +0100
>>>Subject: Re: Gill Sighting

Sigh, John,

>>And it is equally reasonable to conclude that this articulate,
>>non- UFO-book reader drew the term from his knowledge of
>>nautical terminology, with which he was presumably familiar as
>>both Brit and resident of an island in the South Pacific. There
>>is no "very likely" connection between Adamski and Gill in their
>>use of "mothership."

>This is pretty feeble stuff.

>I doubt that a Church of England clergyman would be overly
>familiar with a fairly specialised piece of maritime jargon,
>used almost entirely in the Royal Navy. I see no reason why Gill
>should be assumed to have any detailed knowledge of submarines,
>naval supply ships, etc.

Of course you're just blowing smoke here, since you really have
no idea which words were or were not in Father Gill's vocabulary
- which, I might note, having met him and spent hours talking
with him (as you haven't), I found to be an excellent and
erudite one, reflecting his good education and knowledge of the
world beyond his own provincial concerns. Anyway, in due course
we shall have occasion to be reminded precisely of what Gill
himself had to say on the subject.

As you of course fail to note, the only reason anything is made
of his use of the phrase "mothership" is that debunkers are
grasping at any straw available, and this one is thin even as
straws go. Having much more experience of the nautical than you
and I have - simply by function of his being dependent on
shipping owing to his remote, ocean- bound geographical location
- Gill could easily have known the word.

If only Klass were still alive, you could take your complaints
to him, where they belong. Klass took great delight in wasting
ufologists' time. Apparently you have chosen to perpetuate that
grand avian tradition.

Nautical matters were certainly closer to Gill's daily concerns
than the claims of George Adamski. In other words, his use of
"mothership" is a matter of no particular consequence to
anything and betrays no special knowledge of UFO terminology.

>To assume that a person, in describing a UFO incident, would use
>the word "mothership" via a naval analogy, rather than via the
>wealth of popular books, newspaper and magazine article which
>made the word familiar to most people even in the 1950s, shows
>an element of desperation which is extreme even for you, Jerry.

Sounds more as if your wings are flapping even more vigorously
than usual.

>When Gill said "mothership" he meant mothership in exactly the
>way that Adamski and dozens of other contactees, ufologists,
>journalist and science-fiction writers used it at the time, and
>I do not see what you think you have to gain by trying to
>wriggle out of this obvious conclusion.

One can only presume you are being disingenuous again. Let me
repeat, since apparently you have memory problems:

"Mothership" came into the discussion only because Klass used it
to try to discredit Gill as a UFO-obsessive who could only have
gotten the phrase from Adamski. Got that now? My point was
simply that this is hardly necessarily true and almost certainly
untrue. Got that? Klass clearly believed, hilariously, that
"mothership" did not exist in the vocabulary of English-speaking
people who had not read Adamski. If Gill used it, it betrayed
his immersion in, or at least keen awareness of, the most
extreme saucer beliefs. In fact, Gill had little interest in
UFOs. Got that? Can we drop this now?

Significantly, when asked about his use of the term, Gill, who
is the ultimate authority here, replied thus: "Well, it seemed
as though it was a 'mother' with her 'children.' Just a sort of
feeling. The use of the term 'ship' is natural because of the
superstructure, see; it reminds you of a ship. I could have even
called it a 'launch.' It gave the impression of a 'mother
chicken'" (IUR, November 1977, p. 6). Allan Hendry then asked if
"that was your own choice of words, then, rather than something
you'd read before." Gill responded, "That's right." Note, by the
way, the nautical terms in Gill's vocabulary. In short:

(1) "Mothership" existed in English in a non-UFO context prior
to Adamski and could have been used by Gill


(2) Gill himself says that the term seemed a logical one to
employ in context and did not allude to "something [he'd] read


(3) Gill did not say that his observation brought to mind a neat
phrase he'd encountered in UFO literature or popular saucer


(4) Gill was bright, articulate, and creative enough to speak in
his own words and draw his own analogies.

Reflecting on this recently, I was struck at how often I hear
the phrase "mothership" used in, for example, CNN's coverage of
naval matters, usually in connection with the war in the Persian
Gulf. We may confidently expect, I'm sure, to learn from our
pelicanist friends how this betrays the UFO interests/awareness
of journalists.

>Depends what you mean by "immersion". Some topics, flying
>saucers amongst them, were so widely discussed and reported in
>the late 50s, early 60s, that it would be impossible for any
>intelligent, well-read individual, as I'm sure Father Gill was,
>not to have absorbed at least some of the vocabulary of the
>subject. This is even without bringing up the subject of the
>"flying saucer vicars" who were such a feature of British life
>at the time!

Why the exclamation point? To give phony weight to a matter of
little interest or relevance?  I could respond by pointing out
that "flying saucer postal workers" are a feature of American

The second, central sentence in the quote above speaks to
something I've long noted: the provincialism of UFO-interested
persons, who profess to see reflections of their own
fascinations in the broader society where they don't exist.
Perhaps next we'll learn that every time somebody uses the word
"brother" or "scout," it's an allusion to Orthon and his
spacecraft. Come on, John. Give it a rest.

Jerry Clark

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