From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul> Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 10:47:38 -0600 Archived: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 12:01:24 -0500 Subject: Re: Astronauts Kept Secret For Fear Of Dismissal >From: Dave Haith <visions1.nul> >To: UFO Updates <post.nul> >Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 13:05:37 -0000 >Subject: Re: Astronauts Kept Secret For Fear Of Dismissal >>From: Dave Haith <visions1.nul> >>To: UFO Updates <post.nul> >>Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:21:49 -0000 >>Subject: Astronauts Kept Secret For Fear Of Dismissal >>http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qm3yr ><snip> >>But the Professor revealed that he had had a conversation with >>an astronaut who revealed that previously all the astronauts had >>experienced the weird lights but had not reported them because >>they feared being taken off the space program. >>If individuals were scared to speak up about a few flashes of >>light then one can maybe understand their reluctance to report >>UFOs. >>The link above may not work outside the UK. I have a two minute >>clip with the above quotes as an mp3 which I can send to anyone >>interested. >Further to this email I have now had a response from UFO sceptic >Jim Oberg in which he appears to pour cold water on the whole >issue. >In the interests of fairness and balance I will paste his email >below: >----- >Dear Mr. Haith: >Alas, the lurking pitfalls of depending on decades-old memories >to validate mysterious phenomena, and to be made to appear to >validate existing biases. Of course, only others - never Oberg himself - have "existing biases." What you "know" you only believe. What Oberg knows, on the other hand, he _knows_. Well, maybe not. Maybe the man is, after all, an ideologue whose arguments always serve whatever point, however inconsistent and even hypocritical, he is trying to make at the expense of anomalists. His criticism of the notion of "lurking pitfalls depending on decades-old memories to validate mysterious phenomena" is an example. In 1976 my late friend Bob Schadewald - a skeptic but, unlike Oberg, not a party-liner - sent me a clipping from a 1943 Kansas newspaper. It quoted a retired newspaper editor who seemed to be referring to the well-known allegation of rancher Alex Hamilton to have witnessed creatures in an airship as they stole one of his calves. The editor joked about how the story was a fiction in whose creation he played a role. Intrigued, I wrote the newspaper to solicit information from readers. Soon after, I received a letter from a woman who told me that a relative, living in a nursing home (though my correspondent insisted she was clear-headed), could shed light on the matter. Subsequently, she sent me a statement from this elderly woman, who asserted that she had been in the Hamilton home when Alex informed his family of the yarn he and "the boys" in town had cooked up for publication in the local weekly. Imagine what Oberg would have made of her testimony if she had confirmed rather than discredited Hamilton's famous report. ("What? Are you nuts? An old lady in a nursing home? How typical of irrational ufologists.") When I published the results of my inquiry (Fate, February 1977) and pronounced the Hamilton story a hoax, I got a few letters from thoughtful readers who cautioned me that this testimony was, after all, long after the fact. They warned me, in other words, about the lurking pitfalls of depending on decades-old memories. One of these correspondents, of course, was not Jim Oberg. I am going to quote what I wrote in a review (Fate, August 1982) of a UFO-bashing book he later published: "'We've learned,' Oberg says, 'that old cases are not particularly useful as sources of investigation. After 20 or 30 years people's memories are not what they were. Even a few days passing can hopelessly scramble crucial data in human memory banks. The things people remember are no longer accurate.' "But that's only if people are remembering things that have _pro_- UFO implications; [otherwise] their memories are clear and accurate literally decades after the event in question. So Oberg has no trouble endorsing my expose... of the famous UFO 'calfnapping' of 1897 - based solely on testimony recorded 46 and 79 years after the fact." In due course folklorist/ufologist Eddie Bullard uncovered an article in a May 1897 issue of an obscure Missouri small-town paper wherein Hamilton admitted that the story was made up. The moral: memories can sometimes indeed be accurate long after the fact. To an observer more objective and less attracted to double standards than Oberg, it follows that those memories can sometimes be accurate about pro-UFO/anomaly matters, too. Most of my recreational reading is of history, a subject that's engaged me since I learned to read a long time ago. If a historical writer is chronicling events that have occurred in the living memories of the participants, he or she will seek out those who were there and who might contribute to our understanding. I'm currently reading the late David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War (2007). Halberstam prominently quotes informants' more than half-century old memories of their combat experiences. I think we may assume that Oberg did not write Halberstam a chastening letter. After all, it's not as if Halberstam were writing about memories of anomalous experiences. In the current matter, I'll take Oberg's word for it, though it would be interesting to have a second opinion from a more disinterested source. In any event, the problem here is not memory, but the essentially vague, third-hand, anecdotal nature of the claim. Jerry Clark Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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