Tom Jonard's U.F.O. Page

    A wonderful antidote to UFOs if you are still plagued with them is The Complete Book of Extraterrestrial Encounters by Randall Fitzgerald (Collier Books, 1979).  This is no less than a catalog of all the UFO claims that had been made up to its publication.  If you can take all this and synthesize a coherent, consistent theory of what UFOs are, good for you.  My conclusion was that it can't be done!  If UFO are a real phenomena why is there so much diversity in the reports concerning and the explanations given for them?  It seems more logical to conclude that whatever they are they are unlikely to be anything as concrete as visitors from another planet.  UFO's remind me of a Rorschach test.  They are an ambiguous stimulus which everyone fills with their personal interpretations.  They might be cosmic visitors but they bare more resemblance to cosmic ink blots.

    Watch the Skies! by Curtis Peebles (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994) is also another "must read".  It is a history of the UFO phenomenon and explains its connection to pulp fiction, hoax and misinterpretation.

    Then there are the hoaxes.  One of the first authors writting about UFO's I came across was Frank Scully who wrote about saucer crashes before anyone ever heard of Roswell.  (In my opinion the Roswell story is purely derivative of this earlier work.  Even though the Roswell crash supposedly occurred a year earlier than the crashes Scully described it was largely ignored until the 1980's.)  Scully's book includes some horribly bogus science and his story is widely discredited because his main sources turned out to be con men.  Then there are the crop circle hoaxes.  Again the original perpetrators have confessed though they appear to have inspired many copycats.  The problem with hoaxes is that they truly call into question all related phenomena.  As the saying goes, "Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me."  And I find it curious that a subculture that thrives on conspiracy theories would not recognize the conspiracy that hoaxing among them is.

    Since I am an amateur astronomer I have seen what were literally UFOs -- Unidentified Flying Objects.  But I've never not been able to identify them -- even the one's that were so strange they made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  Amateurs like myself spend countless hours under dark skies observing and watching those skies.  Not one that I know has seen an inexplicable UFO.  Of course we take the time to learn what we are likely to see.  We study the skies.  And we are able to identify both common and uncommon natural phenomenon.  After all we are out there looking for that one great discovery that we alone can claim.  Believe me if there were UFOs amateurs would know about them.

    And so would everybody else.

    Home.Return to Tom Jonard's Inquiry page

    Created April 13, 2002, 
    © 2002, Thomas A. Jonard