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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

UFO researchers try to go mainstream

Some reach out for scientists’ assistance; others see a cosmic cover-up
DENVER - With so much planet-hunting and planet-spotting going on, we are in a showdown to see whether the universe is perhaps chock-full of extraterrestrial life.

Distant starfolk is one thing. Having E.T. stopovers here on Earth, via UFOs, is another. And that was just the topic du jour here at the 38th Annual International UFO Symposium, subtitled "An Estimate of the Situation: The E.T. Hypothesis," held August 10-12 and sponsored by the Denver-based Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON for short.

As a yearly affair, the symposium provides a platform for specialists and investigators who delve into UFOs, purported military cover-ups and denials, physical evidence surrounding UFOs, as well as those "high strangeness" encounters with alien visitors.

The MUFON summit brought together more than 500 people — a true gabfest for the flying saucer devotee. Passion for the truthJames Carrion, MUFON's international director, said the organization is fervent about resolving the scientific enigma known as unidentified flying objects.
"To me, it's all about the truth. I have a passion for the truth," Carrion told Space.com.

Still, after decades of pursuing "the truth" behind UFOs, Carrion admitted that the quest is befuddling. "Why is it always within out of reach ... kind of there, but it's not there?" This year, MUFON is implementing a new initiative to reach out to mainstream scientists and seek their assistance for a more detailed look at the data, Carrion said. An open letter to the professional scientific community is now being drafted, to be issued before year's end, he said.

We have to gain respectability here ... so we're trying to kick-start intellectual curiosity out there," Carrion added. "We know that there are folks in academia who have an interest, but they don't know what to do with it."

The MUFON strategy will start by centering on the hypothesis that UFOs are human-manufactured, and then evaluate the data amassed to date against that premise, Carrion said. "If this triggers your intellectual curiosity ... help us out," he said.

Carrion said that MUFON is also forming two research teams: one to dive into the history of "UFOlogy" and government archives, the other to probe into the abduction encounters.

"I'm a skeptical believer," Carrion pointed out. "I've never seen a UFO. But I've read enough of our own evidence. There's something real to this. To me, it's an issue of what is it?"

Tell it like it isFor nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, there is no doubt that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. In his view, the subject of flying saucers represents a "Cosmic Watergate" — a colossal government cover-up.

Friedman is a globe-trotting lecturer on UFOs and is the original civilian investigator of the celebrated UFO crash case in Roswell, N.M. That out-of-the-blue happening supposedly occurred 60 years ago, in 1947, involving no less than two crashed saucers, strewn debris and recovered alien bodies, he reported at the MUFON meeting.

"I come on very, very strong. I'm not an apologist UFOlogist ... I tell it like it is," Friedman told Space.com. He senses that a "big sea change" is taking place on several fronts.