Mirage Men, Disinformation, and The Kernel of Truth

I figured out something important by watching the documentary “Mirage Men” last night. It’s a flick about Richard Doty and company at the Air Force planting fake alien stories in ufology to ferret out Russian spies during the Cold War. In the process, they drive scientist Paul Bennewitz mad (actually, he was the catalyst for the process) and screw over some ufologists. Unless I’m forgetting something I saw or read, it would appear that nobody documenting this through the years has bothered to ask if it worked. Was it worth driving Paul Bennewitz insane? Did we catch any spies with this tactic?

That gripe aside, the film is quite good. Very well done. Arguably the most important ufological doc to come along in ages. In other words, it will not be winning an EBE award anytime soon.

I won’t bother with a full review of the flick. If you’ve got Netflix streaming, pretend I wrote a glowing review that swayed you and go watch it. It’s that or pick up Birdemic where you left off–Am I right?

All I really want to say here is that I’ve figured out how to keep the disinformation stories going even after they have been exposed. It’s by telling ourselves this little deceptive phrase that we take as a truism. Richard Doty says it a number of times and others repeat it in the film as well. It is this: Any good lie contains a kernel of truth.

Therefore, you see, even the disinformation contains a truth. Therefore, you see, there really are aliens being covered up–we just don’t know what in the fake documents is real information about them and what is bogus.

Ho-hum, ufology.

Here’s the truth about that truism: Sometimes the kernel of truth is not contained within the structure in question but in the interplay between giver and receiver. Let me show you what I mean….

The same thing is said about comedy–every joke contains a kernel of truth. So, if you tell a racist, sexist, or homophobic joke, that means you’re secretly a racist, sexist, or homophobe. While that can be true, it can also be true that you are not and that the truth of the joke lies in its taboo nature. The danger of it is what’s true and what makes it funny–and that’s how you can tell, for example, a racist joke from a racist slur. That’s what makes one funny and the other offensive even when, on paper, they’re both offensive. Taboo + faux naiveté and/or irony = magic formula to getting away with it. The truth to a racist, sexist, or homophobic joke, then, is that both you and the comedian know the comedian shouldn’t be saying this.

In the case of disinformation about aliens, the kernel of truth isn’t found within the documents claiming that aliens shook hands with the president, took over an underground military base, or created homo sapiens in a lab. No, in this case, the truth is that enough of us don’t want to let it go and so we will latch onto the trusim Any good lie contains a kernel of truth and have it mean what we want it to mean because that’s all we have left to believe in.

The truth is, some of us refuse to be shattered by facts and move on. In that way, we willingly continue the disinformation campaign for the Air Force. We do their job for them. The papers and the stories are smoke and mirrors. Doty is a magician. We’re the act. Beyond and apart from all of that sits a great mystery. A mystery we’ve loosely based this act on. We’ve taken the shape of it and endowed it with details and a meaning we can comprehend–good guys/bad guys. Good aliens/bad humans or the reverse.

The real Trickster joke of it is that people who engaged mystery didn’t want to do it on mystery’s terms and so they gave it a definition. Then they were duped by a sophisticated disinformation campaign tailor-made to fit their definition and executed for relatively mundane reasons. Not fit the mystery, but fit their definition of it. For all we know, nobody organizing that disinformation campaign understood, cared about, or believed in that mystery at all. They only cared about that which ufologists believed in: alien technology at military facilities. There’s no kernel of truth to any of it.

Meanwhile, there is a shape in the periphery walking away. If you know how to look you can see it through the smoke. Barely, but it is there. It has no relationship to the smoke, the magician, or the act. A Trickster theorist might say that this is how it hides. I’d say this is how we hide it.

Those who scoff at this, those who say this is nonsense and that there are aliens and so why don’t they just land already and declare their intentions–because we’re ready for the truth, damn it, we can handle it… those folks don’t know it but they are only interested in talking to themselves. And there’s a military agency all set to write them their monologue. But do they even need to anymore?

Coverup? Disinformation? Thanks, but… we’ll take it from here. That’s been the ufological motto since Doty.

Shall we abandon the script?

Alien Theory Aids And Abets Debunkers

ETH. Three little letters that have been the backbone of ufology since its inception. It stands for “Extraterrestrial Hypothesis,” but the way it is commonly used today you’d think it’s more forgone conclusion than hypothetical. To any reasonable person this is jumping too far ahead. No one ever accused ufology of welcoming reasonable people to its fold.

Still, there are some astute researchers who hold a personal hypothesis of what is behind ufo sightings and accompanying phenomena, but they never make it public. This is because the question is the important thing, not their conclusion. No cart before the horse for them, no sir. And I’ve been thinking lately why that’s important. I mean besides the obvious reasons contained in these two paragraphs and others we’ve covered on Paratopia and elsewhere.  Let us add this to the mix–nay, let us make this the main ingredient from here on out:

It is important not to promote the ETH anymore because it allows the Secular Humanist debunkers masquerading as skeptics to avoid the real issue. The real issue is, Are UFO sightings and accompanying phenomena worth examining or not?

The question isn’t, Is it aliens? It’s not, What does the government know? It’s, Is this worth our time?

In order for it to be worth our time, there has to be an unknown or unidentified in the data. Skeptical groups, as I’ve been hammering lately, are not really comprised of skeptics. They are organizations under the umbrella of a religion called Secular Humanism. Humanists are, as you may guess from the name, real big on what humans think and do and not so much concerned with anything else. Science. Philosophy. The end. Every good thing is a healthy mental construct from the human brain; everything else is a delusional mental construct.

They are more afraid of the dark than abductees and haunted people. They light that dark with themselves–with what they know “for sure” and with what they assume they will know once the scientific method has proved it. If a phenomenon hasn’t run that course then it isn’t real.  Needless to say, once it has run its course–and if it has been proven to be real–what was formerly scoffed at is now taken as conventional wisdom.

All of that is to say that “skeptics” (Humanists) must debunk the unknown and the unknowable because these are antithetical to their belief in the human capacity to know all. Some unknowns get the scientific treatment, with judgement put on hold until a verdict is in; other unknowns get laughed out of the room. It is far easier to laugh and be done with it than to investigate. Upholding their belief in themselves takes precedence over science and discovery. If you take unidentified objects or manifestations in the sky and call them “alien,” man alive are you ever making the Humanist’s job easier, because that they can know the answer to and laugh you out of the room.

Jeff Ritzmann and I have often complained that “skeptical” organizations always pick the low-hanging fruit to debunk. I never saw this before, but it’s actually ufology’s fault that they do. If you say “UFOs are alien spacecraft” then all the debunker need do is concentrate on those photos and videos that look like props from a sci fi movie to debunk it. “Nope. Sorry. That mothership is a spray-painted cup glued to a plastic tree.”

There goes your proof of aliens.

Well… duh. But, see, that’s the wrong conversation to have. The real one, the one ufology and Humanism despise for the same reason (lack of a concrete answer) is, “Okay, if we put aside aliens and every definition for these things, is it worth studying? If we examine it, we’ve got to go all in. We’ve got to be honest with what happens to experiencers–ALL the weird surrounding phenomena. What happens, how it happens, when it happens. We’ve got to throw away the hypnotically-retrieved junk and the CGI footage. No more Greer talking about alien fetuses when we know it’s human. No more Jim Sparks sweating into the camera as he assures you that he already knows everything about the aliens. No more Steve Bassett fake news conferences or any promotion where the promoter takes center stage over the science. That on our part–so skeptics, we’re abandoning aliens, which means you have to  put down the 15-page dissection of Billy Meier’s obvious hoax and the frame-by-frame examination of Stan Romanek’s puppet in the window and actually look at the data from legit case studies, not the sensationalized cottage industry junk.”

What can we glean from examining the still-unknown cases, the top 10%? We can glean whether or not this is worth investigating further. Humanists don’t ever have to address that question so long as we refuse to ask it. They LOVE having the alien fight. They will win that every time until an alien actually lands and gets out and says, “Lead me to your taker.”

That’s their whole thing, right? How many times have you heard a Humanist say, “Where’s the proof? Where’s the piece of the ship? Where’s the alien?”

And they are right to say that. More than that. In fact, they have all the proof in the world that it’s not aliens thanks to the likes of Meier, Romanek, Bassett, Greer, and every fledgling special effects house trying to go viral on youtube with “real” UFO footage. That’s the answer they NEED–it’s just humans behind all of this. Humanists require that it be just humans and ufology keeps feeding their belief system.

I say, no more. Stop playing into their hand and ask the question they’re glad to ignore: Is this worth looking at?

You ask that and they have to look at it to know what you’re talking about to give an answer. And if they say no, they have to give a reason. And that reason can no longer be, “Because it’s not aliens. It’s hoaxes, delusions, and misidentifications of planets.”

“Yes,” you can agree, “it IS all of those thing. That’s the other 90% and the cultural filter we wrongly tried to force onto it. But what’s this 10% over here about if it’s not aliens, Mars, a hoax, and the witness is sane? It’s an unknown, right? So, is it worth examining?”

The last thing a Humanist will ever reply with is, “I don’t know.”

What Does The End of The Age of Visual Evidence Mean To Ufology?

Now that Photoshop is no longer the special domain of photographers and analysts, cameras run at unlimited frame rates, everyone with a computer has access to special effects suites, and Google Earth is Google Earthing, I’d say the age of visual evidence is pretty much over for ufology, wouldn’t you? But is that a bad thing?

One could suppose that advanced aliens would have the means to make their craft invisible, rendering the question moot–but if they do they certainly haven’t used their cloaking devices liberally over the years. Maybe they want to be seen. Maybe they don’t care either way. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t exist at all.

What if the end of the age of visual evidence means this: we can prove that ufological phenomena belong to the trickster realm more than alien? We will know this if, for instance, ufological evidence stops being visual and starts taking place in the other senses. Already we’ve seen people talking about mysterious booms and mysterious trumpet noises. Phantom sounds. And as our attention spans have been decreasing, we’ve been asking ourselves if time is speeding up, right? Some people link this and deja vu to interdimensional beings, parallel worlds, time travelers, and aliens or future humans fixing our timeline, whatever that means. I imagine the next big thing will take place through touch: people claiming to be knocked down by a mysterious invisible force. A phantom sucker punch, if you will. Or perhaps a light tickle on the back of the neck that feels like a finger. Maybe it starts out nice but grows violent until you have a story to tell.

I can also imagine an entire town waking up from the same strange dream about grays and talking to each other about it. Then someone calls Coast and it goes viral.

Is that us searching for an unknown to explore in the face of the “alien” unknown growing quieter and quieter as youtube hoaxes proliferate? Or is the phenomenon doing that? It could be both: as our visual tech renders photo and video evidence moot, we create several new mysterious options for the “alien” to appear in our lives and whichever one becomes the popular norm is built upon by the enigmatic other–if there is an enigmatic other. Perhaps that other is no more than the human collective working in a way we have yet to prove, creating tulpas that act out our agreed-upon mystical fantasies in a concrete way that today’s materialism demands.

We won’t know what the definition of the enigmatic other is if alien ships get replaced with sound, touch, taste, dream, time, or other  phenomena, but we’ll know what it is not: what we thought it was, believed it was, and fought over deep into the night for the last 60+ years. And when the hurt wears off from realizing we’ve wasted our lives believing self-woven fantasies about the other, that’s when we’ll see we’ve actually taken one small step closer to seeing it as it is by having dramatically peeled off a huge layer of what it is not.