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Ain't No Such Thing As A UFO
June 16, 2013 11:05 PM   Subscribe

Mirage Men is a book and documentary by fortean investigator and author Mark Pilkington on governmental manipulation and general mindfuckery of UFO investigators. "In 1983, while researching a documentary on the subject of UFOs for HBO, [Linda Howe] was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), initially with the promise of helping her investigate an alleged UFO landing near Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Howe's meeting with Doty took an unexpected turn when the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes. Within it was a document titled "Briefing Paper for the President of the United States of America on the Subject of Unidentified Aerial Vehicles", which listed a number of alleged UFO crash retrievals by the government, as well as paragraphs that became "emblazoned" on Howe's mind concerning how they had discovered that Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates."

Here's a great write up of the doc, an interview with Mr. Pilkington, and the blog for the project.

Mr. Pilkington ranks a Wikipedia page, too. This is his publishing project, Strange Attractor Press.
posted by artof.mulata (47 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Full disclosure: I met the (human) subject of the post the only time I've ever been to London back in 2008. We had a beer and chatted for a few hours. Interesting fellow. Sadly, we are not friends, but I do have a number of his books and they are quite well made and intriguing.
posted by artof.mulata at 11:07 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates

Those aliens must be idiots. Back problems, death from childbirth, etc.: surely such advanced peoples could have done better.
posted by rosswald at 11:13 PM on June 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


rosswald = roswell. We are on to you, Majestic!
posted by artof.mulata at 11:14 PM on June 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


It was always Yaskoydray
posted by Ironmouth at 11:15 PM on June 16, 2013


surely such advanced peoples could have done better.

Hey now! Maybe they got a really nice ribbon that says "Participant" on it.
posted by ODiV at 11:19 PM on June 16, 2013 [23 favorites]


I didn't get the reference, but luckily Google: Majestic 12
posted by rosswald at 11:23 PM on June 16, 2013


the best theory i've heard is that the government encouraged UFO speculation to distract people from real test flights of experimental aircraft
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:28 PM on June 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Charlemagne, that's what the documentary is about.
posted by artof.mulata at 11:32 PM on June 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


"The question that comes to mind, and which runs throughout this entire film, is 'WHY?'."

Because they could. Perhaps it was fun to tell people ever more elaborate lies and get them to believe the most ridiculous stories, bit by bit. Richard Doty in particular sounds like the kind of con man who'd be selling aluminum siding or get rich quick schemes if he wasn't already working for the US Air Force.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:47 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Same reason the CIA encouraged postmodern art and literature. Keep people occupied with unproductive speculation instead of actual political organizing.
posted by cthuljew at 11:50 PM on June 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


yeah it meant the people talking about this stuff was dismissed as nuts
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:51 PM on June 16, 2013


UFOs are a Scooby-Doo Hoax? (warning: tv tropes)
posted by stbalbach at 11:52 PM on June 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Same reason the CIA encouraged postmodern art and literature. Keep people occupied with unproductive speculation instead of actual political organizing.

That project was cancelled as redundant once DARPA invented the internet.
posted by straight at 11:57 PM on June 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


Watch the Skies remains, IMO, the best debunking of the entire subject.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:58 PM on June 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you take the word UFO
and you move each letter backwards
through the alphabet one space
the word spells TEN.
This is pretty cosmic
when you realize that TEN
is the basis of our counting system
and thus all of our engineering and science.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:08 AM on June 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Scene: two hogs in a CAFO. One hog tries to turn to the other but of course fails, since they're packed in so tight. "Christ, our lives are miserable," the hog mutters. "Humans must be morons."

All things considered, I can see more scenarios where aliens breed/design us for interests other than our own than scenarios where they'd care about our back pain.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:48 AM on June 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


where aliens breed/design us

"Sure, it's a distorting and sensationalistic caricature of Mormon beliefs to say that all of us believe we're going to get our own planets."

If you believe nonsense like this, being bred by aliens arriving in UFOs seems rather credible.
posted by three blind mice at 12:56 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The CIA did in fact talk up the UFO phenomenon to divert Soviet attention from aerial overflights in much the same way and ISTR that the Soviets did much the same from their end to sow distrust of US Intelligence agencies (if only they'd have waited twenty years!)

Ah, the Cold War, when things were both terrifying and fucking stupid at the same time (see Operation INFEKTION for one). Shame everyone seems so desperate to get back to that same state of affairs.
posted by longbaugh at 1:02 AM on June 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


...the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes.

"Can show to random people as long as they don't make copies?" What classification level is that?
posted by DU at 4:54 AM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


But, but....

I thought we are stardust......
posted by mightshould at 5:11 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Can show to random people as long as they don't make copies?" What classification level is that?

The kind that allows access for a single conspiracy nutter whom no one will believe.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:18 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


"A Perception Management Production"

Well, that's pretty blatant.

So does this explain the Lizard People?
posted by marienbad at 5:20 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the "great write up" link:

"Was the disinformation meant to distract investigators from secret government projects. If so, as Pilkington points out, why did they encourage Bennewitz when they could have just told him (as the patriotic citizen that he was) to cease and desist for the good of the country? Was it intended to discredit the investigators for some reason? Or perhaps it was a psychological study in how people react to certain information and events, perhaps it was intended originally for 'real' enemies like the Soviets during the Cold War, or maybe it was all an exercise in how supposedly secret information is transmitted and by whom...

...What it does do though is gets Richard Doty, a notoriously slippery man to corner, in front of the camera discussing the things he has done, along with a number of the other significant players. The intelligent viewer will however ask why Rick Doty came forward willingly to be an interview subject for this documentary, given every move he has made on the UFO topic seems to have been precisely calculated to have a certain effect. He seemingly has no reason to offer all this information. So why is he doing it? And why does he admit to so much, but then deny involvement with Serpo when investigators seem to have caught him red-handed (via email IP addresses)? "


This is why I love conspiracy theory. Which way round does it work, and how can you be certain of the whys and wherefores of it when you pretty much can't know the right information - (Quick - who ordered the break in at the Watergate?) Truth and reason and deception and disinformation and liars and idiots abound. Perfect.
posted by marienbad at 5:31 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


What classification level is that?

Top Bullshit
posted by unSane at 5:47 AM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think I met this woman. She was selling her very expensive coffee table photo book of cattle mutilations on consignment at the bookstore where I ran the Bibles through Hollow Earth section.
posted by thelonius at 6:21 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


UFOs = huge waste of everyone's time.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:26 AM on June 17, 2013


Katjusa Roquette: "UFOs = huge waste of everyone's time."

Nice try, Zeta Reticulan.
posted by jquinby at 7:09 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Same reason the CIA encouraged postmodern art and literature. Keep people occupied with unproductive speculation

The spooks must love metafilter. Anyway. Unless the CIA was behind the likes of Sontag, Jencks, Barth, and Salle, you mean modern art and literature. Encounter magazine, in particular, though I think they threw Horizon some bucks, as well as funding an AbEx exhibition or two. Given these revelations, however, I like to think the CIA ran Fortean Times.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I remember being into this stuff as a kid, and then as a freshman university student, reading Above Top Secret by Timothy Good.

Then Spin Magazine published a great article that claimed, among many other things, that the entire "Alien technology / Area 51 / Roswell" thing was all part of an attempt by the American defense establishment to discredit people who were raising concerns about defense expenditures.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:29 AM on June 17, 2013


Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates
Those aliens must be idiots. Back problems, death from childbirth, etc.: surely such advanced peoples could have done better.
You're assuming that they're concerned with something other than taste.
posted by Flunkie at 7:33 AM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was introduced to the idea of humans being were created by extra terrestrials was a clip of Zecharia Sitchin and Art Bell discussing the Annunaki, by way of a weird indie hip-hop album (hear on Grooveshark).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:35 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a manila folder at home with the results of a US NAVY ONI Deep One Hybrid autopsy originally classified TOP SECRET under Project ICE CAVE (previously Project Covenant, ONI-CVT#37, 1929). You can't take it home with you but I can show it to you.

The problem is that you can't believe everything you see in files. The X-Files was fictional for example. And it's not just files either - even the contents of binders are subject to this. Look at the Mitt Romney's binders full of women for a perfect example of this.

Essentially if the basis of your belief in conspiracies is informed by the type of stationary in which the files are carried you will always be disappointed.
posted by longbaugh at 7:58 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Commonwealth Club recently had on a journalist talking about her research on Area 51. Her explanation for the Roswell crash-- that it was an experimental Soviet aircraft full of bodies that had been mutilated, Mengele-style, by the Russians-- is pretty far out there and probably not terribly credible, but it is way scarier than anything I've ever heard about actual aliens.

I love conspiracy theory and Fortean-type stuff. It's bunk but maaaaan does it get the old monkey pattern-seeking brain fired up.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:15 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The kind that allows access for a single conspiracy nutter whom no one will believe.

UFOs: The Bill Murray of atmospheric phenomenon.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:33 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have an uncle who was a pilot for the United States Air Force for twenty years. He is aware that I am interested in UFO's and flying saucers and aliens and other dimensions and all related science fiction / speculative fiction / possible alternative Realities. He is an extremely talkative guy who is actually a bit of a know it all.

He will not speak to me about this with his normal enthusiasm for going on and on about just about any other subject you can think of. Well there is one other thing he won't talk about. Vietnam.

Steven Greer Sirius is my current favorite in the genre, although the all time greatest is definitely Jacques Vallee Forbidden Science.
posted by bukvich at 8:41 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


If a web site isn't done in courier font, I don't believe a word of it.
posted by marxchivist at 8:42 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The kind that allows access for a single conspiracy nutter whom no one will believe.

Perhaps Apple should start doing that, inviting in rumour bloggers into a sealed-off building, and after making sure they're not carrying cameraphones, showing them the new prototype iToasterFridge?
posted by acb at 9:10 AM on June 17, 2013


As someone who was obsessed with the X-Files and the mytharc storyline (involving the "Colonists" and the secret society that worked with them in hopes of being spared in the Doomsday scenario), I have to point out some flaws in the logic of such a conspiracy. I guess you can apply this to the "Ancient Aliens" nonsense.

1) If they had genetically manipulated primates, what was the advantage of doing so? Why not dolphins (with their advanced brains, and a planet 2/3 water), or another animal? Before someone says "primates are more advanced intellectually", let me point out that these aliens supposedly had the know-how to make our brains "more advances".... That's the whole idea, right? So what would it matter if they took another being?

2) Assuming we are a Petrie dish species, totally at the whim of the aliens who created us, what exactly is the advantage of keeping themselves secret, and how exactly does it prevent them from simply smudging out those that know about it? In reference to the X-files, even the most die-hard fans cannot explain why the Colonists would need the Syndicate and the project to be kept under wraps. If the aliens are in charge, and we have to obey them, then that's that. The only potential pratfall would be if the entire race said "F--- you" and committed mass suicide on a grand scale, at which point, the aliens would simply repopulate and do it again (they were cloning us, after all).

3) Why do we have species? Pretend the variability of the races is an attempt to encourage diversity in the genetics, so the end result would be a more viable species. Ok, understandable. However, THEY ALREADY HAVE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED AN ENTIRE RACE. If there's a problem with our photic sneeze response, or something, then that can be fixed with a little culling of the species or twist of the gene computer.

4) Which alien was responsible for leaving a large amount of the population adopting a technology and practice that greatly increased the CO2 levels of the planet, all while leaving them with the dependency on oxygen? He should get fired.

5) Lastly, and this is perhaps the biggest hole in the theory... Why?

Why did they do this? Once you ask this question, their supposed method becomes needlessly complex.

If they're intending to colonize the planet, and they need to create a hybrid humalien (as was the case with the X-Files), ok... Why does this take millions of years, and what part of the process requires the conjured species to over populate the planet to its breaking point, thus introducing more genetic variables possibly making some impervious to the virus, and in either event, leaving part of the planet inhabitable thanks to pollution. Why did you wait until a small segment of the population with the most technological advances in weapons technology figured it out?

If they're doing it for shits and giggles, why did they do it on a planet millions of light years away from another with a suitable atmosphere? Why not use that for prime real estate?

If they're doing it to increase the viability of their species, why does it have to be on another planet, way the fuck out of the way, where you have to travel through a dimension or use your cold fusion reactors to get there? Why not on your planet? If you're overpopulated, start limiting the expansion of your species? Hell, the Chinese are doing it... What ethical constraints are you under where it is more acceptable to let your species grow beyond its bounds until you need to create an entire new species to give it a shot on the other side of the universe? And if you have millions of years to wait for this species to expand because... Shit, I don't know... You mean to tell me they can't social engineer their species to cut back on breeding in that time?

Or, if we go WAY out there, if they are time travelers from a future earth trying to manufacture a more responsible populous so they don't have the environmental issues they have, well shit... They aren't doing so well, are they?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:57 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw the movie last year. It's good.

BTW anyone who's realistic about this subject, including the film makers , will say that although most of these unidentified aircrafts are military or mistaken objects, there is a genuine mysterious phenomenon happening that no one is apparently in control of, or understands (but in some cases may be exploiting).
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:33 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they had genetically manipulated primates, what was the advantage of doing so? Why not dolphins

Duh, dolphins couldn't build the pyramids!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:04 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks Liquidwolf - although what you saw last year was work-in-progress - we only finished the film three weeks ago. (I'm one of the co-directors). It's changed a bit since then.

The film does not set out to prove or disprove the source of the UFO phenomenon, what it does do is to follow the spread of disinformation by the military, particularly that instigated by Richard C. Doty. I see it really more about why, how and what people believe and the creation of myth rather being about UFOs. I also think its about about the whole notion of film-as-evidence.

That said, anyone who delves into this area will find many more questions than they find answers.
posted by rolo at 12:25 PM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]



That said, anyone who delves into this area will find many more questions than they find answers.


Yes exactly, that was my main point. The film wasn't meant to necessarily provide answers to the phenomenon I know. It rather showed what a hall of mirrors it can be and how it has effected some people close it. (This is based on what I saw)

I knew the version I saw wasn't final so I'm curious to see it again.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2013


Why?

An associate of mine who is a conspiracy theorist (which is why I refuse to allow him more into my life than 'associate') has a theory about that (of course):

The Aliens that did all of this had a civil war on their homeworld and a lot of information and knowledge was lost. So they came here, did this thing to Earth, and then the supervisors got called back when the civil war started, and most of the records about us were lost. So the UFOs are basically checking to see 'wait, was this that experiment? what the hell were we doing here anyway?' The probes and cattle mutilations and all of that are basically these extraterrestrials trying to figure out what a previous regime was doing here. They have just as little an idea as to the reason for the experiments as we do.

I have to admit, of all the theories I've heard about this, I find this one a bit reassuring, that one of the reasons that the Greys are hanging out and looking at Earth is, basically, "Oh, by Grabthar's hammer, who thought that DISINTEGRATING the Science Council's archive building was a good idea?" and a lot of facepalming and swearing.
posted by mephron at 1:58 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jung's theory was that after Darwin and Nietzsche and Freud killed God the innate religious impulse had to be sublimated into these spaceships in the night sky and alien visitors. See Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, Complete Works V. 10 p.307.

mephron's story would then be a Demiurge Gnosticism variant.
posted by bukvich at 2:38 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Linda Howe] was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty,

And I'm sure that in 1983 Ms. Howe was able to thoroughly vet the credentials of 'Rick' Doty vis-a-vis his AFOSI employment.

many more questions than they find answers.

Generally what happens when smoke meets mirrors.
posted by Twang at 6:19 PM on June 17, 2013


So the UFOs are basically checking to see 'wait, was this that experiment? what the hell were we doing here anyway?'

So they're auditors?

'Welcome to our craft! We're so glad you could make the time to meet with us. Your understanding of The Project will be a big help for the development our risk-based enagement plan.'
'Wha...what is this? Where am I?'
'Oh, don't be intimidated. This is just the entry interview.'
'Entry interview? That...that doesn't sound so bad...'
'Hey, good for you. Glorx, prep the auditee's cavities for entry.'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:29 AM on June 18, 2013


"...So the UFOs are basically checking to see 'wait, was this that experiment? what the hell were we doing here anyway?'"

If you're going with that story idea theory, there's no reason to assume that the aliens who meddled with homo sapien genetics 200 000 years ago are the same ones probing campers and hillbillies today. It could be two completely different species. Heck, maybe the grey dudes were created by the same aliens that made us, and they're hoping to find evidence of the progenitor species in our DNA, like the fingerprints of a common god.

This stuff is total fiction, so you could go a million different ways with it.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:49 AM on June 18, 2013


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