Tag Archives: By Robert Sheaffer

“Tom DeLonge … Believes Practically Every Crazy UFO Story He Hears”

Tom DeLonge

Tom DeLonge, Serial Deleter

     By now you probably have heard all about rocker Tom DeLonge, formerly of Blink 182, and his long-promised “UFO announcement” on October 11 that turned out to be nothing more than a fund-raising scheme to provide income for him and his colleagues, with whatever money that might be left “invested” in wacky pseudo-scientific research, like a faster-than light spaceship.

Now that a few weeks have passed since that famous announcement, we are getting a clearer picture of DeLonge, and his

By Robert Sheaffer

venture (which has now raised almost $2 million from “investors”, who are perhaps better called “suckers.”) For one thing, he is a Serial Deleter on social media. Meaning, that he carelessly posts stupid stuff, that he soon has to delete after the embarrassment of having it quickly shot down.

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Skeptic Robert Sheaffer Critiques Recent ‘Kecksburg UFO Incident’ Report

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 Great Lakes Fireball
The train of the Great Lakes Fireball, seen across at least six states and Ontario, that started the Kecksburg ‘UFO crash’ story. Photo taken 9 December 1965 4:43 p.m. E.S.T. by Richard Champine of Royal Oak, Michigan. Location: 2 miles east of Pontiac, Michigan, approx. 45 seconds after event.

Another Nonsensical “Explanation” for the Kecksburg Incident

     The so-called “UFO Crash” at Kecksburg, Pennsylvania on December 9, 1965 has become a UFO legend as a ‘second Roswell.’ In reality, there is no mystery at all. The supposed “UFO” was simply the Great Lakes Fireball of December 9, 1965, reported by many observers over a wide area and written about by astronomers.


By Robert Sheaffer

Now there is a brand new theory to explain Kecksburg, by Bob Wenzel Gross, a “semi-retired researcher and writer with a forthcoming non-fiction memoir entitled: In Pursuit of Anomalies: How Great Music and Real UFOs Can Save the Human Race. Dr. Gross has worked as a researcher, field investigator, scientist, writer, lecturer, educator, administrator, change agent, turnaround specialist, and professional musician.” Published in Frank Warren’s UFO Chronicles, Gross’ account is very long-winded, and you can mostly ignore Part 1 – it’s just Gross showing what a clever guy he is ….

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MUFON Unravels

MUFON Ravels

     A few years ago, MUFON – the largest UFO group in the U.S., and probably the world – seemed to be riding high. Its motto is, “The scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity.” Its TV show Hangar 1 on the “History” Channel was attracting attention and new members, in spite of being soundly denounced for its sensationalism by practically every serious student of UFOlogy. Today, MUFON has hit a very rough patch, and seems to be skidding out of control.

By Robert Sheaffer

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In Search Of ‘Progress’ in UFOlogy – At the End of the Road?

In Search Of 'Progress' in UFOlogy - At the End of the Road?

     Every so often, a cry goes out from some well-known UFOlogist about the lack of “progress” in UFOlogy. The cry is often echoed by others, typically with great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Solutions are proposed, but ultimately nothing changes.

As those of you who follow the UFO Blogs and postings already know, the most recent cry of this kind comes from the Spanish UFOlogist Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos. Olmos has been researching UFOs for fifty years now, and since the year 2000 has been

By Robert Sheaffer

concentrating his efforts on FOTOCAT, a world-wide catalog of UFO photo events. Many researchers have assisted with this collection, myself included. Olmos is well-respected among UFO Realists (those who attempt to adhere to facts (more or less) in investigating UFOs, as opposed to the Unrealists who are always ready to believe exciting UFO stories with little or no proof). In Jacques Vallee’s autobiographical Forbidden Science (Volume 2), he mentions in an entry for 1970 that he has been corresponding regularly with Olmos concerning reported Spanish landing cases. In fact, Vallee mentions Olmos several times in that volume. You won’t find anyone with better UFO street cred than that.

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The 25th Annual UFO Congress – A Skeptical Look

UFO Congress

     Once again this year, I attended the International UFO Congress at the We-Ko-Pa Resort, Conference Center, and Casino, near Phoenix, Arizona. It looks much the same as last year, except for the really ugly bright orange bags we were all given. There are not as many plastic alien statues as last year, but there still are a few scattered about.

By Robert Sheaffer

The very first speaker was Samuel Maranto, MUFON’s Illinois State Director, to speak about “Mass Sightings” in his state. […]

Paul Davids is a writer and producer of movies and TV shows. He was the producer and co-writer of the Showtime film Roswell in 1993. He spoke on “Marilyn Monroe, the CIA, and UFOs.” He made much of the FBI Hottel Memo that talks about an alleged UFO crash [….]

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Dr. Simon’s Position on Hill Abduction Isn’t New Revelation, Contrary To Forgery Claim

Dr. Simon's Position on Hill Abduction Isn't New Revelation, Contrary To Forgery Claim

It’s a “Forgery,” Marden Charges!!

By Robert Sheaffer

     I frankly didn’t expect to get a lot of response to my posting of December 23, Dr. Simon Reveals his Real Thoughts on the Hill “UFO Abduction” Case. I scanned and posted a 48-page PDF of old letters and documents related to the case, most of them about 40 years old. In a sense, it did not reveal anything new, but merely added more detail to what we already knew: Dr. Benjamin Simon, the Hills’ psychiatrist, did not believe their story of having been abducted on board a flying saucer. I wrote about this as far back as 1981. It was also in my book UFO Sightings, published in 1998. Indeed, if you go all the way back to The Interrupted Journey (1966), the book that started it all, we find Dr. Simon saying [chapter 12] that he found the most tenable explanation for the abduction story to be that the dreams of Mrs. Hill had “assumed the quality of a fantasised experience.” In very diplomatic terms, he is saying, “I don’t buy it.” So the fact that Dr. Simon did not accept the abduction story is not exactly news, or at least it should not be to anyone carefully following both sides of this controversy. (We all know how few people that is.)

I realized that this ran counter to what Kathleen Marden, Betty Hill’s niece and heir to her celebrated Saucer Story, was saying. What I didn’t realize is how fiercely invested Marden is in preserving the illusion that Dr. Simon accepted all of the Hills’ account as being factual, including the abduction story.

On December 26, Marden wrote on her Blog, “Debunkers at it Again.” In it she says:

I received an email message from Andre Skondras on Christmas day informing me that debunker Robert Sheaffer, an associate of Philip Klass and longstanding member of CSI (formerly CSICOP) , had found a never before published letter allegedly written to Klass by Dr. Benjamin Simon. The letter dated March 1, 1976, was mailed by Klass to Betty in 1988. It spoke of Dr. Simon’s intent to “give the true story of the Betty and Barney Hill affair.” It is our opinion that Dr. Simon would not have stated that his untested, unproven conjectures were the truth. He was circumspect and professional in voicing his opinion. The intentions voiced in the letter would have been a violation of his contract with John Fuller and a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Of course, that confidentiality had already been breached, with permission, by the entire commercial enterprise exploiting the Hills’ account, including John Fuller’s 1966 book The Interrupted Journey, and by 1976 the NBC-TV movie dramatizing their account, The UFO Incident. Once a story gets that far out into the public eye, and questions arise about its interpretation, you can’t claim that further discussion constitutes a “violation.” Once the Hills’ sessions with Dr. Simon have become pillars of support for the pro-UFO abduction argument, you can’t release that information selectively.

But there was something in that letter even more upsetting (and ultimately threatening) to Marden’s enterprise than Dr. Simon’s skepticism about the abduction story. In his letter of March 1, 1976 to Philip J. Klass, Dr. Simon stated that “my interest in UFOs was almost entirely on the phenomenon of Barney Hill’s developing racial paranoia which seemed to me to have been the best representation on the matter I have seen.” But that was not Marden’s biggest problem. In the letter Dr. Simon writes:

the Today show [Oct. 20, 1975] was the first time I did this openly to the public at large [state his skepticism about the abduction account]. A few days later I did the same thing on the NBC TV station here, WBZ, which resulted in Betty telephoning and implying that I was lying when I said (what you have said in your book) that Betty’s sister [Marden’s mother] was much interested in UFOs and served as a stimulus, and that the idea of a true visitation had been suggested by her narration in the presence of her sister and her supervisor. She promptly telephoned WBZ and undoubtedly was looking for my appearances and affirmed that her sister was not interested in UFOs and that she had never told the story. Aside from the fact that this is a lie denying her own statements on the tapes we also received a letter from Betty’s mother proclaiming that while I have the right of free speech, I was telling lies abasing her beloved daughter! I revealed the entire story on an hour an a half radio show with Larry Glick.

So that is the true dark heresy, which cannot be admitted: that Betty’s sister was a UFO buff, and encouraged Betty’s fantasies. Every time this was mentioned, Betty Hill (and now Kathleen Marden) would pop up to deny it. But here we have Dr. Simon saying that it’s true.

Marden says that Klass sent a copy of the March 1 letter to him from Dr. Simon to Betty Hill in 1988. I do not know anything about that, but it does not surprise me. Klass and Mrs. Hill exchanged many letters, and he must have sent it along to prove a point he was trying to make. Marden continues:

I had thought about publishing the letter in my book Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, with Stanton Friedman, but decided not to, due to uncertainty about the identity of the writer. Betty had marked “Forged Letter!” at the top of the letter.

Now, it does not surprise me one bit that Betty Hill had said such an absurd thing. Mrs. Hill wrote and said many absurd things, and not just about her famous UFO incident. Even Marden admits in her book Captured (p. 275), “After Barney’s death, she turned away from careful, objective evaluation, and with subjective enthusiasm began to identify any lights in the sky as UFOs.” Although as I showed in my review of this book in The Skeptical Inquirer (November/December, 2007), after Barney’s death was not the only time Betty Hill said absurd things about UFOs and aliens. There is much evidence of Betty making wild UFO claims with Barney sitting right beside her.

Taking complete leave of her senses, Marden joins in her aunt’s delusion:

I have had it and other letters that Dr. Simon wrote to Betty examined by several individuals, including three who were close to Dr. Simon, and all believe it is probably a forgery. The style and phraseology were not characteristic of Dr. Simon’s writing. An important piece of information is the fact that Dr. Simon signed a non-competition clause with John Fuller. He could not have legally written a book. It is doubtful that Klass would have known this. Dr. Simon was circumspect with regard to sharing his opinions about the Hill case, and it would have been highly uncharacteristic of him to opine or violate doctor-patient confidentiality.

Between the two of us, Marden and I have recently posted four letters from Dr. Simon, three from me (one of which she claims is a “forgery”), and one from her. As I understand it, she has clarified her claim to mean that only the letter if March 1 is a “forgery,” the others are genuine. If you’re inclined to believe her absurd claim, I urge you to compare the four letters. They are all very similar. None of them are “forgeries.”And in all of them, Dr. Simon maintains the same thing: he believed that the Hills had a “sighting” (as do I), but he believed that the abduction story was not real and came from Betty’s dreams. How did Barney learn about Betty’s dreams? Betty always maintained that she never told him about them. But as Dr. Simon explained on the Larry Glick show, Betty was telling the truth saying that she did not tell him directly. However “she did tell it in Barney’s presence [to Betty’s sister, and her supervisor], and that’s where he got it.”

And to settle the matter of Dr. Simon’s skepticism about the abduction story once and for all: you can go to the wonderful audio archive CEIV An Audio History Of Alien Abduction And Animal Mutilation 1957 1976 compiled by the well-known UFOlogist Wendy Connors. Click on track #21:

Betty Hill and Dr. Benjamin Simon are interviewed on the Today Show to promote the NBC TV movie, the UFO Incident, on October 25, 1975. 08:30

You will hear Dr. Simon describe the abduction account as a “fantasy,” and plainly state, “the abduction did not happen.”

Perhaps Ms. Marden will say that this recording is a “forgery,” too?

If you click #5, you can hear Dr. Simon on Larry Glick’s radio show, saying more “heretical” things.

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Documents Surface Re The Barney & Betty Hill Abduction Case

Barney Hill Viewing UFO

Dr. Simon Reveals his Real Thoughts on the Hill “UFO Abduction” Case

By Robert Sheaffer

     Digging through some boxes in my garage, I came across a collection of papers I had earlier set aside concerning the famous “UFO abduction” case of Betty and Barney Hill, the subject of John Fuller’s 1965 book The Interrupted Journey, as well as the 1975 NBC-TV movie The UFO Incident.

I have just finished scanning 48 pages of these documents, and placed them on my Historical UFO documents page on my website www.debunker.com. They will be of great interest to anyone interested in the Betty and Barney Hill case. These documents contain:

• Correspondence between Dr. Benjamin Simon and arch-skeptic Philip J. Klass.

• Correspondence between Betty Hill and Philip J. Klass, in which she attempts to persuade Klass that her abduction story is factual.

• Correspondence between Dr. Benjamin Simon and yours truly (!!).

• Copies of the supposed “radar evidence” of the Hills’ UFO.

• Betty Hill’s drawing illustrating the relative positions of her “UFO” and what she is calling “Jupiter”, and the moon, establishing that it was actually Jupiter she saw at the beginning of her sighting.

• My skeptical article about the Hill case, published in the August, 1976 issue of Official UFO magazine, and Betty Hill’s letter to the editor about it.

• The complete record of weather observations for Sept. 19-20, 1961 from the Mt Washington Observatory, the highest point in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

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A Secret UFO Symposium in New Hampshire – Betty Hill’s Last Hurrah

A Secret UFO Symposium in New Hampshire

By Robert Sheaffer

This article is reprinted from my Psychic Vibrations column in the Skeptical Inquirer, September/October, 2007. I am reprinting it because it describes an important piece of UFO history that is not otherwise available on-line. It contains some updates and revisions. It also gives me an opportunity to share some great photos of UFO history.

     One of the most curious events to come out of the Great Internet Stock Bubble was the so-called “Encounters at Indian Head” project, whose very existence has been kept unknown to the public until just now [2007]. The symposium was prepared under a shroud of secrecy that was amazingly effective, given the decades-long inability of most top UFOlogists to behave responsibly about anything. Organized by the late Karl Pflock, author of Roswell – Inconvenient Facts and the Will to BelieveRoswell – Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe(Prometheus, 2000) and the British Fortean author Peter Brookesmith, the event was funded by Joe Firmage, the Silicon Valley then-multimillionaire who seems determined do whatever it takes to bring the public into an even higher state of extraterrestrial awareness.

In September of 2000, I traveled from California to New Hampshire to participate in the secret “stealth” UFO symposium. The subject was the alleged 1961 UFO abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, the first such incident reported in the U.S., made famous by John Fuller’s 1966 book The Interrupted JourneyThe Interrupted Journey, then even more so by the 1975 NBC-TV movie, The UFO Incident. Firmage was covering all our expenses, and even paid us for the rights to the papers we were writing, which would be published as a book. The purpose of the symposium was, simply, to find out what really happened to Betty and Barney Hill. The plan was that nobody would find out about even the existence of the symposium until the book containing its published proceedings appeared ‘out of the blue,’ presumably creating a sensation. The symposium came off exactly as planned, a tribute to the skills of the late Karl Pflock. . . .

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‘Roswell Slides’: A 20th Anniversary Commemoration of ‘Alien Autopsy’ Hoax?

‘Roswell Slides’ - A 20th Anniversary Commemoration of ‘Alien Autopsy’ Hoax?

By Robert Sheaffer

     Is it possible that the now-famous Roswell Slides, set to be publicly unveiled very soon on Cinco de Mayo in Mexico City, are a hoax intended to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the infamous Ray Santilli Alien Autopsy hoax, possibly even by the same people who created the Santilli alien? The slides are to be publicly revealed in a big shindig in Mexico City on May 5, sponsored by the Mexican UFO fabulist Jaime Maussan, who has a long history of promoting bogus photos of UFOs and supposed alien creatures. This is the exact twentieth anniversary of when the Santilli hoax video was first publicly shown, a fact that has not gone unnoticed. . . .

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Noted Skeptic, Robert Sheaffer Gets Face-Time with Roswell Alien Slides Documentary Film-Maker, Adam Dew

Adam Dew at UFO Congress 2015

A Skeptic at the UFO Congress, 2015 – Part 3 (final)

By Robert Sheaffer

Editor’s note: Noted skeptic, Robert Sheaffer made the trip to The UFO Congress last week and posted his experience to his blog (while there), which in large part were the talks he attended by various UFO personalities–this included Mexican UFO journalist, Jaime Maussan. Towards the end of his talk, Maussan introduced Adam Dew, who (as our regular readers are aware) is one of the parties involved in the upcoming show, hosted by Maussan to reveal the so-called Roswell Alien Slides. In the aftermath, Sheaffer was able to get some face-time with Dew. With Robert’s permission, we present that dialogue here:

     Afterward, a number of people sought out Maussan, but nobody was talking to Dew. I introduced myself to him, and began asking him questions.

Sheaffer: How did you first obtain the slides?

Dew: The slides were found by the sister of my friend as she was cleaning out a house to be demolished in Sedona, AZ. They said, Adam is a video expert, let’s give the slides to him.

Sheaffer: Who is the owner of the slides?

Dew: My company is the “owner” of the slides, it controls the slides.

Sheaffer: How did Schmitt and Carey get involved?

Dew: I’ve spent two years researching and investigating the slides. I wanted to speak to people who have seen the bodies.

Sheaffer: Did Schmitt & Carey claim to see bodies?

 Dew: No, but they are the professionals. They spoke with credible people who did.

[I explained that Karl Pflock (certainly no UFO debunker) showed that all of the supposed “witnesses” who claimed to have seen alien bodies in Roswell have been discredited (“only four persons claiming firsthand knowledge of alien bodies have been interviewed by Roswell authors and identified publicly… there can be no reasonable doubt that none of the purported firsthand witnesses to alien bodies and a lonesome survivor is credible. Not one.” Pflock, Roswell – Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, p. 118, 120.). I should also have mentioned Schmitt’s well-known loose relationship with the truth. (Neither Schmitt or Carey was at the Congress this year. I spoke with Schmitt when he was there last year, but nothing was said about the Roswell Slides.)]

Sheaffer: How did Maussan get involved?

Dew: Schmitt and Carey brought him in. Maussan offered a nice package.

[I explained how the fact of Maussan’s involvement made many knowledgeable people in the UFO field immediately suspect a hoax, given his reputation for promoting many UFO hoaxes in the past. I had the impression that Dew, clearly a newcomer to UFOlogy, was not familiar with Maussan’s oeuvre, or his reputation as a purveyor of rubbish. I suspect that Dew did not realize how much trouble bringing in Maussan would cause. He felt that some people were being very unfair and making unfair accusations about the slides, that they have not even seen. I referred to Maussan’s just-concluded talk, invisible beings and such, as illustrating my point. ]

 Dew: “Was all of it fake?”

Sheaffer: “Yes”

Dew: “How can you prove that?”

[I explained that the burden of proof is on Maussan to show that his wild claims are valid, not on me to disprove them. Dew agreed.]

Dew: I’m interested to bring this thing to the public, to people who don’t know Maussan. I just did an interview about this in Chicago, on WGN.

A few minutes later, Dew came up to me and asked if he could interview me about the slides! I agreed, and signed his standard release form.

We talked about the controversy over the slides.

I explained how Maussan’s involvement made people extremely suspicious of the slides.

He said to me, You realize, I hope, that nobody gets rich making documentary films? Look at my crew, he said, pointing to himself and his camera. I replied, yes, I have heard that before (I was thinking of similar comments made by Paul Kimball, when he took on the late Roger Leir.). But in a few cases, I explained, large sums of money have been made, the most obvious example being Ray Santilli’s Alien Autopsy hoax twenty years ago. Dew was indeed familiar with this.

When the Alien Autopsy video was shown on TV, it got tremendously high ratings and made a lot of money, even though most serious persons realized it was probably a hoax. But that couldn’t be proven yet. By the time that the hoax was exposed, Santilli had already made a great deal of money on it, and I said that many people think that you, Mr. Dew, will travel that same path. So I ended up comparing him to Ray Santilli, by which he seemed slightly taken aback, but I think he saw the reasoning behind that and took it humorously and without offense.

I closed repeating the observation that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” and that two photos of unknown origin, no matter what they seem to show, cannot possibly suffice to prove the reality of crashed saucer aliens. He seemed to agree with my point.

So if someday you see my face in one of Dew’s videos about the Roswell Slides, don’t be surprised!

I asked Dew did he live in Chicago? He said yes, that’s where I’m “based.” I don’t want to talk about where I live. He also told me, No matter what you hear on the internet, I really am a graduate of Northwestern University, in Journalism. I told him that I am a Northwestern graduate, too.

Based on our conversation, here is what I understand the history (and planned future) of the “Roswell Slides” to be:

• Through a social connection, Dew obtains a collection of historical slides. He discovers that two of them seem to show what looks like a supposed alien body.

• Seeking out ‘Roswell experts,’ Dew (not surprisingly) happens upon Schmitt and Carey. He contacts them and shows them the slides. They share it with members of their “Roswell dream team.”

• After convincing themselves that the slides seem authentic, Schmitt and Carey contact Maussan to arrange a profitable “unveiling” of the slides.

• Maussan presents an attractive offer which Dew accepts. The slides will be revealed to the world in Mexico City on Cinco de Mayo, 2015, which is also the twentieth anniversary of the premiere screening of Ray Santilli’s Alien Autopsy video before an invited audience at the Museum of London.

• Afterward, assuming that the slides are authenticated, Maussan told an Italian journalist that John Rao, the wealthy businessman who operates Open Minds (the promoters of the International UFO Congress), has expressed an interest in buying them. Assuming that takes place, next year’s UFO Congress (already scheduled to take place in the same location) will presumably have the Roswell Slides displayed in a glass case.

Continue Reading . . .

See Also:

A Skeptic at the UFO Congress, 2015 – Part 2

A Skeptic at the UFO Congress 2015 – Part 1

Roswell Alien Slides: “It’s Not a Scam,” says Jaime Maussan | INTERVIEW

More Info On Roswell Alien Slides; Adam Dew Interviewed By Chicago News Station | VIDEO

Chicago Man Uncovered Secret Alien Pics? | VIDEO

Spying on the Roswell Slides

Sneak Peak at The Roswell Alien Slides?

Live Press Conference with Roswell Alien Slides Researchers | VIDEO

Pictures of the Beings Found in Roswell to Be Presented by Jaime Maussan | VIDEO

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is Shown Roswell Alien Slides | VIDEO

Maussan Explains Origin of Roswell Alien Slides & Upcoming Show | VIDEO

First Glimpse of Roswell Alien Slides Documentary – Surprise! | VIDEO

Roswell Alien Slides To Be Unveiled in May Via a Live Streamed Event

The Roswell Slides and the Aztec UFO Crash

The Roswell Slides and Premature Disclosure

Roswell Researcher, Tom Carey Announces Discovery of Alien Photographs | VIDCAST

“Two Color Kodachrome Slides … Purport To Show A Glass-Encased Alien Cadaver”

Real Alien Autopsy Photos: ‘Roswell’ Image Of Extra-Terrestrial Body Dated To 1947

Roswell UFO Researcher Claims He Has Alien Photos | VIDEO

Noted Roswell Researcher Talks of ‘Smoking Gun Evidence’ at University Forum

“How Often Does An Honors Class Take A Serious Look At UFOS?”

Journalist, Miles O’Brien To Moderate UFO Panel at American University | VIDEO

New Details of Alleged Roswell Alien Slides/Photos Revealed


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