The UFO Skeptic's Page

Robert Sheaffer

NEWS:
 
My review  Unexplained’ Cases—Only If You Ignore All Explanations, of Leslie Kean's book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record  is now available here.
 
Just Published! Psychic Vibrations - Skeptical Giggles from the Skeptical Inquirer. And enter discount code UJR6KB8R using that link to get 15% off!
You can download a Preview of Psychic Vibrations (PDF) here.
 
I now have a Blog, http://www.badUFOs.com. Check it out!
 
New on my Historical UFO page,  some "White Papers" by Philip J. Klass pointing out inconsistencies in the public statements of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, consultant to "Close Encounters" and the Air Force. Also Klass' "White Papers" about atmospheric physicist and UFO proponent Dr. James E. McDonald (1968). Many pro-UFOlogists have accused Klass of unfairly 'hounding' the poor Dr. McDonald, implying that Klass had a role in driving McDonald to his tragic suicide in 1971. For the first time, Klass' own papers on the subject are now available to researchers.
 
The above ads selected by Google do not necessarily imply endorsement

UFO made from banana-split dish
My photo of a UFO made from a banana-split dish and modelling clay (from UFO Sightings)

I have been interested in UFOs since I was a child in the 1960s. Reading the widely-published misinformation of authors such as Donald E. Keyhoe and Frank Edwards, I was persuaded that 'there must be something to it.' Of course, UFOlogy in those days was much less wild than it is today. Even Keyhoe disbelieved most if not all claims of UFO "contact", and the early "abduction" cases. As I noted in The UFO Verdict (chapter 3),

the willingness to believe on the part of the UFO movement has steadily grown with each passing year
Those words were written over 15 years ago, and subsequent events have proved them to be absolutely true. Since they were written, the credulity of the UFO Movement has expanded to take in:
- The supposed "UFO Crash" at Roswell, New Mexico, now with

- a supposed "Alien Autopsy" film.

UFO made
from




 2 aluminum plates - A veritable Epidemic of supposed "UFO Abductions", including

- Supposed "UFO Abductions" that take place right in your own bedroom, and "beam you up" right through the ceiling, just like in Star Trek. No longer do you need to go out to deserted roads late at night to run into aliens. Since Budd Hopkins' books were published in the early 1980s, the aliens now come right into your bedroom to get you.

My photo of a UFO made from two aluminum plates

When I became older and a little wiser, I read other, more skeptical, UFO authors such as Dr. Donald H. Menzel. I realized that the UFO proponents were not being careful, reliable, or accurate in their statements on the subject. I began to correspond with the late Philip J. Klass in 1968, and we met the following year. We've been good friends ever since. I first met James Oberg in 1975. I met Gary Posner in 1977, and James McGaha in 1987.

my photo of a UFO made from a cottage cheese container and an aluminum plate

When I attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, during the very exciting yet frightening time of the Vietnam War protests, I majored in mathematics, and also took many astronomy classes. In fact, I had enough astronomy classes for an astronomy major, although I would have needed more physics classes to major in astronomy. I got to know the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek (1910-1986) quite well, I found him to be a most interesting character. He was the U.S. Air Force's chief astronomical consultant for the celebrated Project Bluebook . While a man of much personal integrity, he was also gullible in the extreme. He believed himself able to determine the sincerity, and even the reliability of an individual, simply by his intuition as he listened to their story. He was valuable to Northwestern in his role as Astronomy Department Chairman. Hynek was largely responsible for the construction of Northwestern's Lindheimer Astronomical Research Center right on campus, which has since been demolished since little useful research could be done from that location. Hynek's skills were primarily political and personal, rather than scientific. He did not generally teach advanced-level astronomy courses, he made few if any tangible contributions to the science of astronomy during his decades at Northwestern, and was primarily known for his interest in UFOs. His presentations and media appearances on the subject of astronomy were first-rate. Hynek was a great popularizer of astronomy. However, he was not greatly esteemed by his fellow astronomers - in fact, he was frequently the butt of their private jokes. Hynek envisioned himself as "The Galileo of UFOlogy", (see, for example, Newsweek magazine, Nov. 21, 1977, p.97.) but unlike the original Galileo, Hynek had no demonstration that could be made to believers and unbelievers alike to allow them to evaluate his claims. If the original Galileo had no more solid evidence to offer than did the Galileo of UFOlogy, his name would be forgotten today.

my triple-exposure UFO photo



My article on the famous Campeche, Mexico 'Infrared UFO Video' was published in the September/October 2004 issue of The Skeptical Inquirer.

Information on the Heavens' Gate UFO Suicide Cult, led by Marshall Herff Applewhite. Here is a scan of an actual hand-written recruiting poster used by the Applewhite cult in Oregon in 1991 (thanks to Dan Bigelow for providing the image). I attended one of the cult's recruiting meetings at the University of Maryland in College Park in 1976. In it, cult members talked glowingly about the coming "harvest," in which those who were ready to be "harvested" would be taken up to the "next level" by the UFOs. Asked about the whereabouts of "Bo and Peep" (Applewhite and Nettles), the group's leaders, the cultists claimed to not know where they were. He was lying: Bo and Peep were sitting right in the audience, and indeed arriving early I saw all of the cultists chatting with them.

The famous NASA STS-48 Space Shuttle "UFO Video" has been widely promoted on The TV show HARD COPY and by Richard Hoagland. Here James Oberg explains what it really was. Henry Troup offers some additional technical information proving that identification.

I am honored that the well-known space writer James Oberg has asked me to host a collection of his classic papers debunking frequently-made sensationalist claims. )

The Skylab 3 "UFO Photos" of 1973 (new, December 2011)
The Failure of the "Science" of UFOlogy (Winner of the Cutty Sark Prize, also published in The New Scientist, 1979) Soviet Saucers (OMNI, 1994)
The Black Box Approach to UFO Perceptions (Conference paper, 1985)
The Great Soviet UFO Coverup (MUFON UFO Journal, 1982)
The Apollo 11 UFO Incidents (from UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries, 1982)
The Dogon tribe and The Sirius Mystery (from UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries, 1982)
Tunguska Echoes (from UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries, 1982)
Astronaut "UFO" Sightings (from The Skeptical Inquirer , 1978)
A Giant UFO over Two Continents (from Fate Magazine, 1983)

More Oberg papers

Did President Jimmy Carter see a real UFO?

The very famous Travis Walton UFO Abduction Story was made into the movie Fire In the Sky. Here is an inside account of that incident, by one of the first reporters on the scene, sent by the National Enquirer. The story he tells is very different than what you will hear from the mass media!

My review:  Unexplained’ Cases—Only If You Ignore All Explanations, of Leslie Kean's book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record .

Read the long-unavailable Condon Report on-line, courtesy of the National Capital Area Skeptics.


Pages Containing Detailed Information on "Classic" UFO Incidents

Kenneth Arnold, Mt. Rainier, Washington, June 24, 1947.
Trent photos, McMinnville, Oregon, May 11, 1950.
Frank Scully's "UFO Crash" story,  1950 (Aztec, New Mexico).
Bentwaters-Lakenheath 'Radar UFO' (external site). Same location as 'Rendlesham' (!!), but back in August, 1956.
Trindade Island, Brazil, 1958 (external site).
The Kecksburg, PA "UFO Crash" (actually the great Fireball Meteor of Dec. 9, 1965).
Rendlesham UFO "landing" (or "crash"), Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK, Dec. 26, 1980 (external site).
(More to follow. Check back soon!)


"UFO abduction" researcher David Jacobs claims that people are Entirely Unpredisposed by the existing Science Fiction literature to tell stories of supposed abductions by aliens. Here Martin Kottmeyer shows how dead wrong Jacobs is.

More great writings by Kottmeyer:
The Eyes That Spoke
The Eyes Still Speak
Still Waiting - A List of [failed] Predictions from the "UFO Culture"

My flash photo of the two-plate UFO whizzing past the moon

Is the Space Conspiracy book Alternative 3 really "banned" in the United States, as some claim? Recently, one of the spoof's authors confessed all. (You can even watch the bad acting in the original video here!)

A Close Encounter with Whitley Strieber, best-selling author of "Communion" and many other books. (español)

Erich Von Daniken's Ancient Astronauts - Science or Charlatanism? (en Espanol aqui)



Resources for the UFO Skeptic - Links

The Klass Files - CSICOP's on-line collection of the UFO writings of Philip J. Klass (1919-2005).


Debunking the famous Roswell Alien Autopsy film.

Tim Printy's UFOs: A Skeptical View . Also see his skeptical newsletter SUNlite (whose title pays homage to the late Philip J.  Klass).

Ian Ridpath's UFO Skeptic Pages

Find out about Crop Circles - from the people who make them! (Whitley Strieber says that Crop Circles are "two-dimensional portraits" made by dead people.)

Books

UFO Sightings - The Evidence by Robert Sheaffer

The Real Roswell Crashed-Saucer Coverup by Philip J. Klass

Roswell Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe by Karl T. Pflock

UFO Abductions: A Dangerous Game by Philip J. Klass

UFOs: The Public Deceived by Philip J. Klass

The UFO Invasion Edited by Kendrick Frazier, Barry Karr, and Joe Nickell.

Watch the Skies! A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth by Curtis Peebles.

Bringing UFOs Down to Earth (for young readers) by Philip J. Klass



Links to UFO Believers' Pages

Judge for Yourself how "Credible" they Might Be!

this is what a Chupacabra looks like! Art Bell has returned (weekends only) to the ever-popular popular Coast to Coast AM radio talk show, which peddles a steady stream of wild conspiracy and paranormal claims to millions of eager listeners. Here's a photo of a supposed "Chupacabra" from that site.

The Roswell UFO Crash! (Now read the Skeptics' version of what happened at Roswell.)

The Home Page of Stanton Friedman, the famous Flying Saucer Physicist, who will tell you all about the "Cosmic Watergate"!

The Home Page of MUFON, the largest UFO group in the U.S.

The Fund for UFO Research. Maybe you can get a grant to investigate your favorite UFO crash?

The Center for UFO Studies

The nonconformist physicist Bernard Haisch tries to co-opt the name UFOskeptics.org . But don't be fooled - he and his pals are pursuing 'breakthrough propulsion' notions in physics like the "zero-point energy". His private California Institute for Physics and astrophysics boasts of being "a few blocks from the Stanford University campus," as if academic respectability were contagious.

Haisch is pretty boring, but the nonconformist physicist Jack Sarfatti, who operates StarDrive.org, is anything but. He sings operetta, name-drops celebrities, and writes of long-ago love affairs, while promoting theories designed to turn 'old phyics' on its head. He even boasts of receiving a phone call from an alien's intelligent computer back in 1953.

Visit the wild-and-woolly group CSETI, which claims to draw UFOs down for Close Encounters by shining lights at them!

The Official U.S. page for Swiss UFO contactee Billy Meier (who is also a prophet from God). Read about his friends from the Pleaides. (Then read this in-depth debunking of Meier's yarns , incongruously on a conspiracy-mongering website!).

A former French race car driver, now calling himself Rael, has set up a UFO religion to worship the extraterrestrials who supposedly created us. (And now they claim they're going to start cloning people!).



Information-Rich UFO Sites

Scandal! Backstabbing! Slander! To get the Inside Dirt on UFOlogists' squabbles, read James Moseley's Saucer Smear. It's Shockingly Close to the Truth!

For the serious researcher - my pages on Historical UFO information.

Joseph Trainor's UFO Info and and UFO Roundup.

Lots of fascinating stuff on forgetomori.com .
"Extraordinary Claims, Ordinary Investigations." (More than "ordinary," I'd say!)

The Anomalist - a fascinating, eclectic collection of UFO and "paranormal" stuff, typically quite well-written.

UFOseek - UFO search engine, with links to many sites and articles arranged by subject.

Project 1947, a large collection about the early years of UFO signtings.

From ufoevidence.org, a  very complete catalog of UFO sightings and claims  


"Anyone who suggests that UFOs are anything but alien spacecraft soon finds out
how it feels to be taken apart by a pack of flesh-ripping religious weasels."
-Peter Brookesmith, Fortean Times, May, 2000.

Go to The Debunker's Domain

Miscellaneous Skeptical Resources