As many of you recall, I attended the International UFO Congress in Scottsdale, AZ a week ago. The trip had three purposes.
The first was publisher business. I wanted to promote my novels, The Facade and The Portent. I didn’t sell much. You never do at an event like this when your aim is to give people real data (even in story form) that might lead them to rethink their UFO religion. But the good news was being able to re-unite with two members of Miqlat, “Ward” and “Clarise” (those of you who have read The Portent will understand). We had a lot of interesting conversations during the week, including some that dealt with Christianity (the real kind, not its gnostic new age caricature or its demonization that one often encounters at events like this). Several Christians came up to the table and thanked us for showing up.
For me the most interesting moment was the conversation I had with Byron Belitsos, one of the folks who were in the booth next to ours promoting the Urantia book (sort of the ET-alternative history Bible). I of course don’t put any credence in the Urantia book (it feels like warmed-over theosophical literature). Byron was in a doctoral program years ago and planned to do his dissertation on the Urantia book but couldn’t because its foundation refused to allow any citation of it in any documents. Things are different now since the foundation lost a lawsuit over that, but it’s too late for Byron. He said he was anti-Sitchin and told me he’d given a lecture critiquing Sitchin at a Contact in the Desert Conference. I haven’t been able to find any description of such a lecture, though (but I’ve only put a few minutes into that). But at least in our conversation he had no enthusiasm for Sitchin. My guess is that he “corrects” Sitchin at points (whereas my advice would be to just ignore anything he says about ancient astronauts). At any rate, it would be amazing that the Contact in the Desert conference tolerated anti-Sitchin material since 2015′s event features basically all the members of the pro-Sitchin / ancient astronaut nuttiness pantheon (Giorgio Tsoukalos, Jason Martell, Michael Tellinger, Erich von Daniken, James Gilliland). The amount of verified data/truth from primary texts and peer-reviewed research you’ll find in their collective presentations would fit on the back of a postage stamp. Byron offered to ask the organizers to invite me to speak at one of those events. I wished him luck. It was a nice gesture, but one sort of like when Art Bell tried to arrange a debate between me and Zecharia Sitchin. That of course never happened because Sitchin was no fool.
The second purpose was to chat with a couple serious ufologists (yes, they do exist) about a further round of testing for the Majestic documents. I got some encouragement, direction, and promises of data that will help frame the project. At some point in the future I’ll announce what’s up.
The third purpose was vacation time. My wife and kids were along. We had a lot of fun, on-site and off.
More generally, for those who’ve never been to a UFO conference, this one was pretty typical: lots of unsubstantiated claims (the session on the Allaghash abductions was a textbook sampling) mixed with mind-numbing nonsense (James Gilliland is the new master of that domain), with a dash of thoughtful material (Rich Dolan’s session is one example). Here are some links with pretty good synopses of the IUFO lectures by Robert Sheaffer of the Bad UFOs blog:
A Skeptic at the UFO Congress 2015 – Part 1
A Skeptic at the UFO Congress, 2015 – Part 2
A Skeptic at the UFO Congress, 2015 – Part 3 (final)