MUFON Praises Cable Fringe Shows for Driving New Interest in UFOs, Paranormal
The good news is that my new boiler was installed yesterday. The bad news is that the old lead water main sprang a leak below the shutoff valve, and the outside cutoff is also broken. The pipes were designed to last 75 years, and they turned 85 this year. Two different plumbers both said I need a new water main installed at an astronomical price. One wanted to remove the front porch to excavate a trench for the new line. Needless to say, it has not been a very good week.
So, anyway, yesterday I linked to an article in the Uniontown Herald-Standard about an upcoming MUFON conference on whether Bigfoot is really a space alien. The question of Bigfoot’s extraterrestrial origins is one I’ve covered before, so I don’t really want to revisit that. Pretty much everything you need to know comes from the words of Bob BeHanna, the Section 6 director for Pennsylvania MUFON, who thinks Bigfoot may be a ghost, alien, or trans-dimensional being: “If you think about it, we’d have found something if it was flesh-and-blood.” Non-existence doesn’t cross his mind, only ever more elaborate rationalizations for how it might exist unseen and un-evidenced.
But I do want to highlight the article’s admission that television is the driving force behind the ecosystem of insanity that is the wacky extremes of fringe science. Take a look at the article’s description of the list of conference speakers for the MUFON event:
Many of them are appearing on television shows. They include journalist Nick Redfern, who appears in "Ancient Aliens" on the History Channel, Derrel Sims, who appears in "Uncovering Aliens" on the Discovery Channel," PA MUFON director John Ventre, of Greensburg, who appears in "Hangar 1" on the History Channel and "Alien Mysteries and Close Encounters" on the Discovery Channel. [Center for the Unexplained director Brian] Seech also appears on "Monsters and Mysteries" on Destination America.
(Ancient Aliens and Hangar 1 actually air first-run episodes on H2. Alien Mysteries aired on the Canadian Discovery Channel before rerunning on Destination America.)
According to MUFON’s Ventre, these television programs are the driving force behind what he says are an uptick in MUFON memberships and case reports. If true, this would reverse a decades-long decline in MUFON’s reach, which had fallen along with the popularity of traditional nuts and bolts ufology. Part of this can be attributed to MUFON branching out to include paranormal topics like Bigfoot and inter-dimensional beings alongside traditional ufology, but Ventre specifically cites cable TV as a driving force in the group’s renewed fortunes. Today, Ventre says that Pennsylvania MUFON alone receives a new “case” nearly every day of the year, many of which involve Bigfoot.
I would love to see hard numbers that show how strong a correlation there is between UFO/Bigfoot/ghost reports and the number of airings of paranormal TV programs rather than anecdotal accounts from obviously biased paranormal researchers. Does the sheer volume of this programming normalize a belief in the supernatural to the point that it motivates viewers to participate in supernatural or occult culture?
If we can rely on the data collected by the National UFO Reporting Center, which I’ve assembled in this chart covering the past 20 years, the number of UFO sightings seems to track rather well with the increase in cable TV programs on aliens.
(Download a full-sized version of the chart with the file linked above.)
If I had to guess, I’d think that the spike in the mid-1990s correlates with the popularity of the X-Files after its first season, while the huge leap between 1998 and 1999 probably represents not just Millennium-tinged anxiety but the widespread adoption of the internet, thus making reporting UFO sightings easier. After that, we see what seems to be relatively slow increase in UFO reports until the 24-hour, around-the-clock UFO documentary wave, which began in large measure after the unexpected success of the Ancient Aliens pilot special in 2009 and the launch of the Ancient Aliens series in 2010, with competing shows springing up on every channel in short order. I don’t know enough about ufology to know whether there are other factors (such as a change in reporting method) involved in the recent surge of reports.
West Virginia MUFON director and Bigfoot researcher Fred Saluga said that the Hangar 1: The UFO Files program, produced in cooperation with MUFON, along with other cable shows has emboldened viewers to defy authorities and reveal the truth: “I think people are starting to come out now with shows like ‘Hanger (sic) 1’,” he told the Herald-Standard. One might more logically conclude that exposure to such programs influences individuals to believe what they see on TV and interpret their own experiences through that lens.
Neither Ventre nor Saluga is recorded as expressing any concern that the show they cite, and on which Ventre appeared, Hangar 1, engaged in misrepresentation and outright deception—forging fake documents—to make a case for a government UFO conspiracy.
10/11/2014 08:54:44 am
While I definitely agree with your assessment of the correlation between the rise of UFO-centric programming and the growing acceptance and reporting of UFO phenomena, I tend to question the National UFO Reporting Center's numbers in general.
10/11/2014 09:05:18 am
And there's the rub: The reports don't necessarily reflect actual UFO phenomena but rather how interested the public is in reporting and pretending, sort of a proxy for paranormal culture.
10/11/2014 10:15:14 am
Just the point Jung was making! Synchronicity! :P
10/11/2014 04:33:20 pm
I've often wondered why Peter Davenport doesn't get bored with his web page. He is recording reports of UFOs that lead nowhere. He doesn't have advertising on his web page that I am aware of.
10/11/2014 04:55:56 pm
There is no place like home! :)
10/11/2014 12:56:45 pm
WATCH as the amazingly intelligent primates replace the old mysterious sky people with new, even more ill-defined mysterious sky people. Watch in amazement.
Steve in SoDak
10/11/2014 02:04:43 pm
I'm waiting for the water into the house shoe to drop, my home was built in 1941, and all the plumbing into and out of the house is all original. I do have a newer boiler, it was installed in 1991, crossing my fingers that it doesn't go at the same time the in and out pipes decide to corrode.
10/11/2014 02:38:24 pm
' I don’t know enough about ufology to know whether there are other factors (such as a change in reporting method) involved in the recent surge of reports."
10/11/2014 02:46:09 pm
The internet arrives in the 1990s.
Steve in SoDak
10/11/2014 04:51:58 pm
I would agree that the ability of people to share the crap they believe increased, but you can't discount the ability of charlatans to make people think they expererienced things that never actually happened has also increased. without all this garbage on tv, some people wouldn't think it's aliens instead of just being bored/crazy/looking for attention, and then blaming it on the alien show. but yes you are right that the ability to share delusions has increased, when all is said and done, crazy people have gained the ability to infect the rest of the planet exponentially since the internet came into every household.
10/12/2014 02:43:53 am
In the description of MUFON membership, you could have stopped the sentence with, "traditional nuts."
10/12/2014 02:47:44 pm
10/12/2014 02:51:54 pm
his fame were the reason they emerged from their exile now. They told their Derrel stories and turned over their Derrel files. They gave names of people who would talk. None was more eager than Rebecca Schatte, a real estate agent turned Internet paranormal reporter who has committed much of her recent life to investigating the investigator.
10/12/2014 02:52:38 pm
had been taken away. When her mother died a few years ago, she realized her ties to the earth had been weakened, and for some reason, she reached out to the chief investigator of abductions. She completed Sims' paperwork and waited, but he never agreed to take her case, never said anything at all except that he was terribly busy.
10/12/2014 02:53:37 pm
there's little sign its ever been much more than a post office box and a La-Z- Boy in Sims' home. This is where Sims works as a certified hypnotherapist.
10/12/2014 02:54:34 pm
C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!!! :P
10/12/2014 02:54:21 pm
and a third was handed silverware when she said she was hungry. It wasn't nice of the aliens to cut the secretary's finger off, but they were polite enough to sew it back on.
10/12/2014 02:55:48 pm
(OOPS, left out the following from the previous post:)
10/12/2014 02:56:34 pm
"In a way, this is almost as unbelievable as the alien abduction phenomenon," said the doctor. "But the difference is, I have the documents to prove this stuff exists." And he handed over some issues of his magazine, Close Encounter Chronicles.
10/12/2014 02:57:37 pm
flesh-slicing surgery, one implant coming out as it supposedly went in.
10/12/2014 03:08:46 pm
10/12/2014 04:15:45 pm
Sorry, this was on my hard drive for years. Just did a search and (of course) it is on the net:
10/12/2014 04:42:38 pm
Wow, this Rosa person might as well make her own page devoted to this. So long to read. Eyeballs melting.
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