UFO's as Alien Spaceships
decades the media have given enormous attention to sensational claims
that vague lights in the sky are actually extra-terrestrial spacecraft.
In recent years, the claims have grown to include crashes of such
alien spacecraft and even kidnappings of unsuspecting Earth inhabitants
by aliens. A sober examination of these claims reveals that there
is a lot LESS to them than first meets the eye: when there is enough
evidence, UFO claims can be explained by perfectly natural terrestrial
or celestial phenomena (and, all too frequently, as deliberate hoaxes),
while alien abductions seem to take place in the mind of the victim
or the therapist, rather than in the real world. This section begins
with readings on UFO claims in general, and then moves to information
about specific famous UFO cases (including the almost legendary
Roswell incident, which turns out to have been the crash of a top-secret
balloon-flown package designed to search for atmospheric evidence
of Russian nuclear tests.)
Susan Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped
by Aliens. 2005, Harvard U. Press. Revealing psychological analysis
of people who believe they were abducted.
Kenneth, et al., eds. The UFO Invasion. 1997, Prometheus
Books. A fine collection of articles on some of the key UFO cases
Philip UFO's Explained. 1974, Vintage paperback. UFO's:
The Public Deceived. 1983, Prometheus Books. UFO Abductions:
A Dangerous Game. 1988, Prometheus Books. Klass was the leading
UFO investigator in the world, and his books are a model of UFO
Curtis Watch the Skies: A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth.
1994, Smithsonian Institution Press. A historical study of the UFO
Robert The UFO Sightings: The Evidence. 1998, Prometheus
Books. Thorough, responsible review by a noted UFO skeptic.
J. "The Doctor's Plot" in The New Republic, 24
May 1994. A New York Times reporter examines the work of
John Mack on UFO abductions and critiques the whole phenomenon and
the media's exploitation of it: http://www.around.com/abduct.html
L. "Did Aliens Really Land" in Time, June 23, 1997,
p. 68. A skeptical analysis of the Roswell incident. (Many good
Roswell articles can also be found on the CSI web site; see section
P. "A Field Guide to UFO's" in Astronomy, Sept.
1997, p. 39. Natural explanations for UFO's.
Carl The Demon-Haunted World. 1995, Random House. Chapters
4-11 are a marvelous debunking of many well-known UFO cases and
an examination of the psychology behind them.
issue of Skeptical Inquirer on UFO's, Jan/Feb. 2009:
Ridpath UFO Skeptic Page: British science writer investigates and
explains UFO reports, and discusses astronomical causes of UFO sightings.
Oberg's Space Age Myths: Veteran space journalist Oberg explains
a number of UFO cases, including those involving astronauts and
Autopsy Hoax: About a purported film showing an autopsy of an “alien”
body recovered at Roswell, New Mexico.
sensational claims of alien visitors making patterns in British
wheat fields (a claim reinforced by the horror movie Signs),
the evidence indicates that they are the work of Earthly hoaxters.
Both the number and complexity of the crop circles seems to increase
with media coverage, and several teams of hoaxter in Europe and
America have now confessed.
J. "Circular Reasoning" in Skeptical Inquirer, Sep/Oct.
2002, p. 17. Review by skeptical investigator. See:
Jim Round in Circles. 2003, Prometheus Books. A science writer
gives the history and explores the fascination different kinds of
people have for crop circles.
J. & Fischer, J. "The Crop-Circle Phenomenon: An Investigative
Report" in Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 1992, p. 136.
A detailed investigation, with many cases and much evidence.
J. "Crop Circle Mania Wanes" in Skeptical Inquirer,
May/June 1995, p. 41. Brief follow-up to the above.
Circle Report (CSI Archive):