14 October 2012

UFOs: YES,THERE IS A MYSTERY - by Milton W. Hourcade

Along the years, --and in my case they are 54—we have said so many things that sometimes there is a risk to be misinterpreted. 

I remember the time when we started all in Uruguay.  There were nobody dedicated to the UFO subject, no investigation, no study, nor evaluation, nothing!

But people reported they have seen strange things in the sky and sometimes landed.

What were those things?  People wanted to know and we took the responsibility to give them an answer.

It was not easy. We started from the scratch. Nobody had experience on the subject. We were obliged to read and learn from what the Americans have done, privately (APRO, NICAP) and officially –Project Blue Book.

Being in Uruguay we get in contact with investigators in Argentina (CODOVNI, Mr. Ariel Ciro Rietti, NCO Rualde Moyano, CEFAI, Dr. Roberto Banchs, CIU, Mr. Guillermo Roncoroni, FAECE) and Brazil (CBPCOANI and some individuals like Dr. Olavo Fontes, Dr.José Escobar Faría, Dr. Walter Buhler, Dr. Flávio A. Pereira, Eng. Joao Martins).

But besides a bunch of UFO reports from those countries, the only  practical thing we were able to get was an Interrogation Form that was used by the American organizations. 
We were able to adapt and develop our own Interrogation Form that we called Observation Sheet, and to develop the skills and strategy for questioning the witnesses.

In those times –1958—nobody talked about UFOs. In our geographic area they used to speak about “flying saucers” which sounded ridiculous and nothing serious. One of our first battles was to convince de media to abandon the practice of talking about “flying saucers” and start talking about UFOs. We won.

But we were the laughingstock of the newsrooms. I still remember the sly giggles of the journalists when someone announced “here are the guys of the flying saucers!”

Yes, we went through that barrier of ridicule and jeer, we made strides to endure it and finally to overcome it. But I can assure you it was not easy.

Old generations have gone, new generations come to the Ufological field knowing almost nothing of all the things we learned by ourselves, of all the experience and expertise we have accumulated along the years. They don’t have an idea of the many readings we have done, and the mail and personal contacts we have enjoyed with the most prominent investigators and scholars in de field.
And surely they have not investigated the amount of cases we did, nor have they probably sacrificed time for leisure, the family and even their own money, for the cause of trying to find the truth behind a UFO report.

Now they face a different world. The Internet is a tremendous tool to find information, relate with other people, read the best material, buy good books, and getting in contact almost with anyone in any part of the planet. 

They don’t need to learn from the scratch how to investigate a UFO report, and what to do next. It is all explained in manuals. As a matter of fact, I wrote one. 

They don’t need to adapt and adopt an Interrogation Form; they are already available. Once again, I developed one.

But…they lack of experience, and above all, they lack of criteria. 

Why? because anybody who wants to deal with the UFO subject can do so. There is not a filter, not a process of selection, not an academic title that prepares a person for the task. There is no one  that analyzes the personality of the individual to determine if he or she satisfies the requirements of an adequate level of formal education, honesty, lack of financial interest, adherence to the scientific methodology, and therefore is in conditions to be a good and effective investigator.

In our experience in Uruguay, we dealt with many people who were very passionate about the subject and said they wanted to investigate. We first met them personally and had a deep conversation about UFOs and other issues. We tried to know their personalities, the things they have read about the subject, what did they think or know about some individuals involved with UFOs, and what they thought about the whole subject, as well as their jobs, academic achievements, etc.

We also tried to know about the neighborhoods where they lived, their families, what instruments they have (e.g. binoculars, walkie-talkies, cameras, compass, etc.,) if they have a vehicle, etc. and after that we decided or not to invite them to join us at the level of Collaborators. 
We explained them the way we faced the problem, how do we investigate, what our work consisted of. We told them that UFO reports did not happen every day but were sporadic; that we dealt meanwhile with a lot of administrative and other issues, like international mail, publications, etc.

After a whole year attending all our meetings, dealing with some UFO reports, investigating them with us and participating in our analysis and evaluation of each case, we gave them the option to take the decision:  either they want to continue with us or they won’t do it.

Some people who started as Collaborators became full members, investigators and scholars. 

Others, after a while step down. There was a man who stood with us for a while and after he learned something about our work, the way we did our investigation, the Interrogation Form that we had, he decided to leave us and to start another organization by his own initiative. He was a good man but was not able to share our criteria.

Along the time that organization that never reached the efficiency and precision of ours split into two, and some people left that institution to start another one. They were competing among themselves.

We continued without hesitation with our work that proved to be the best.
Since the very beginning of our institution, we established a relationship of cooperation with the Uruguayan Air Force.  It worked perfectly. 

Nevertheless, when the military took over the government in Uruguay, they decided to create by themselves an official entity, and they did it with the other two institutions which declared themselves non-existent after been engulfed by the official structure. It was clear that the intention was to eliminate the private institutions and get a direct control over the issue and the people related to it.

Later, our organization was invited to join the official commission. We first requested a clarification of the viewpoint of the commission about the UFO subject and we demanded total transparency and a policy of no secret, which at the moment was assured to us. Under those premises we decided to participate in the official commission but retaining our independence as an institution. 

In other words, our relationship with the official investigation would be between two institutions: the Uruguayan Air Force and CIOVI. Regretfully, the lack of knowledge of the issue by the military and the enthusiasm but lack of adequate criteria of the people of the other groups made finally impossible to work together and CIOVI left the official commission.

Now, at the very beginning we were really subsidiaries of the ideas and viewpoints developed in the United States, mainly by Donald E. Keyhoe (a retired Major of the US Marine Corps) whose book “Flying Saucers from Outer Space” came to us in its version in Spanish and at the time was the “Bible” for every Ufologist in the region.  But there was a problem of which we become aware many years later: Keyhoe was the spokesman of the military intelligence and he openly promoted the idea that UFOs were coming from outer space.

We accepted that position, we thought it was nearly the only one reasonable and realistic; we fought fiercely the skeptics that said that UFOs did not exist, that they were not real, or just of psychological nature.

Along the years we learned that NICAP –the organization founded by Keyhoe was a child prodigy of the C.I.A., and that there were other hypothesis and positions to be taken into account.  

We learnt that one is the thing the witnesses see and another one is the interpretation provided by the culture that usually goes along with what has been systematically instilled by all the media, magazines and books included; and now preponderantly by the Internet. 

We learnt that the press exaggerates an even distorts the tale of a UFO report in order to sell it better to the public, affecting the work of the investigators.

We learnt that when there is a live TV program where the anchor deals regularly with the UFO subject, the amount of UFO reports increases concomitantly.

We learnt that even the most outstanding and respected scholars dedicated to the UFO subject (Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Dr. Jacques Vallée) did not subscribe to the idea of aliens visiting Earth.
But we certainly know that UFOs are still going around. Not in the amount that supposedly did before, and surely not in the amount the enthusiasts of the issue pretend us to believe, with photographs and videos that day in and day out upload to YouTube.

We certainly recognize that there are material objects, with an ovoid shape that fly the skies and they do not belong to the countries where they are seen. And that there are the so-called Anomalous Luminous  Phenomena which are very intriguing and are currently the specific subject of field investigation and study for about 40 scientists and technicians throughout the world, in what constitutes the most relevant expression of the latest development in UFOlogy, what I personally call the New Ufology.

This New Ufology demands the use of some sophisticated instruments and the direct observation, registration and measuring of the A.L.P. in the places where they occur.

All said, the UFO field is nowadays and particularly in certain countries exceedingly populated by ignorants, people without sufficient formal education, without any experience and knowledge of the issue, its history, who is who, what have been done, what we already know and what we still don’t know.  

There is too much enthusiasm, a pretentious discrimination against the people who do not agree with the “ET dogma”, there is a conspiranoic tendency that tends to think that everything that is coming from an official source is suspicious or a lie, and that all the governments of the world, no matter how antagonistic they could be among themselves, nevertheless participate in a planetary cover-up to hide the “truth” that we have visitors from outer space.

This position and attitude is not only unscientific, but do not comply with the minimum requirements of an intelligent intellect and a logical way of thinking. 

We find people that consider themselves “UFOlogists” but accept at face value almost anything that comes to their knowledge, be it a photograph, a video, a tale of “men in black”, crop circles, the “chupacabras”, underworld  creatures, whatever!

Well, it is time to be rigorous; it is time to apply a responsible filter to the tales going around and not to relate all of them with the UFO subject. It is time to apply a filter to the people that have not learned what imply to be a serious, responsible and effective investigator and scholar specialized in the UFO subject.

Certainly not anyone has the right to call him or herself an UFOlogist! 

That is why, due to the terrible distortions that we verify nowadays, in the same way that we decided not to speak any longer about UFOs, due to the disseminated idea that UFO is equivalent to extraterrestrial ship, and we talk about Unusual Aerial Phenomena, or Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, by the same token we decided not to call us any longer Ufologists but investigators and scholars, or experts in UAPs.

This is a measure to take distance and clearly differentiate the subject or our investigation and study and ourselves, with the popular versions of both of them.

We think that there are still many reasons to investigate and study the UAPs, and that we are possibly on the verge of an outstanding scientific breakthrough. 

But certainly it will not come from the pseudo documentaries of some channels, or from some radio or TV program, or from popular round tables where any issue could be discussed, or from YouTube and speculations about “ancient astronauts” and a world conspiracy.

It will come from the silent, nearly secret work of a group of dedicated people throughout the world that works without blinders, without prejudices or the assumption of any belief, but with the honest purpose to find the truth, whatever it could be.

In the meantime, what can we do with the new generations of people really and seriously interested in the UAP subject?

One of the main problems that have created the current turmoil around the subject is the lack of involvement of the scientific establishment. Seen as something fantastic, unreal, not worth of investigation, the truth is that ever has been allocated enough money as to develop a wide and deep study of the subject.

The scientific community, those investigators at universities and colleges are always in desperate need of funds to develop their work. No nation in the world –that I am aware of- has ever established a permanent fund to do research in the UAP area.

Had it been done, there wouldn’t be any longer charlatans, merchants, and people exploiting the credulity of others to get their money, but the truth and only the truth. We would be permanently informed of the progress done in the area, and finally an answer would be reached that definitely would be able to put the whole issue at rest.

The lack of this situation determines all the uncertainties and all the speculation and fantasy that we currently suffer.

We think it is time to put an end to this kind of circus, and understand that this is a matter scientists have to get by their own once and for all.

Some of them are already doing that privately. But it has to be done by official or private universities and with enough funds. 

What we investigators and scholars of the UAP subject can do, is to give all our support and cooperate with those scientists.

This is our opinion.

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