I am always amazed at how people in our UFO community jump to conclusions without any background investigation. Actually, it's eerie how that happens, because you think that UFO investigation would involve one skill: investigation. Yet, folks in the nonfield of ufology get away with some of the most incredible leaps based upon nothing but personal opinion. But even personal opinion can be very revealing, as in the recent comments by Frank Warren.
For openers, I didn't know there was a ufology dress code. Most UFO people dress in a variety of ways for their presentations at conferences and on television. For example, you can usually find Stan Friedman in his blue blazer and tie. Rich Dolan prefers a sport jacket and tie, while MUFON investigators usually dress for the weather.What does Frank Warren wear as he sits at his computer opining away about the wardrobe of others? Is he deshabille or a plate from a Ralph Lauren catalog?
On UFO Hunters, to settle this question once and for all, the network usually calls the shots on what we're supposed to wear based on the jobs we do. Pat, for example, is really "action Pat," rappelling down cave walls, scaling steep hills, and being lowered into to wells (see next week's Aurora Airship Mystery episode). Ted is "Dr. T from MIT," the preppie casual physicist cum MBA who is at a perpetual loss to explain phenomena that defy what he and photo analyst Terrence Masson say should and shouldn't be in videos.
Then there's myself, Bill. Actually it's Dr. Bill because I have two doctorates, but at age 64, who's counting? The network calls the shots for me, too. And the outfit is jeans because we do go out into the muck and mire of crash sites, an outdoorsy shirt for either hot or cold weather, usually from LL Bean or Cabelas, a good pair of hiking shoes, and either my leather flight jacket or the Navy pea jacket that the network fell in love with four years ago when I wore it in a UFO Files filmed on a very chilly and windy day on the beach at Playa del Rey. And as for the UFO Magazine hat, it's UFO Magazine, as in the originator of the show. What is Frank not getting?
Perhaps someone can suggest a proper outfit for slogging through overflowing streams in Rendlesham forest or for picking through a muddy draw in Kelso, Washington while an irate neighbor defending rusty sixty-year-old wreckage on a land he doesn't own fires a weapon over our heads. Is there an outfit for scrambling through the Mexican desert with a Mexican army patrol, 50 cals at the ready, hot on our heels? Or what does the fashion-conscious UFO Hunter wear while hiding amidst stalks of corn on a hundred-degree day while questioning a Mexican police intelligence official in fear of his life for revealing UFO secrets? Scouring the Roswell crash site? Lurking just on the outskirts of Area 51? Digging in the drainage ditch at Kecksburg?
That's right, we were ditch diggers in our UFO crashes episode, and in our Aurora episode, and in our Roswell episode, and in our Cash/Landrum episode. How does one dress for digging ditches? I checked with the folks at J. Crew about this, where I usually shop when I'm not digging ditches in Texas or New Mexico, and they had no suggestions except to stay away from khaki chinos because they really show the mud. So it's back to LL Bean and Cabelas for me. Pat prefers his REI. And Ted, although we haven't spoken about it, seems to be an Old Navy meets Gap.
But who am I to dictate the fashion predilections of the UFO Hunters? Each of us is an army of one, wielding pickaxes, sledge hammers, shovels, GPSes, magnetometers, inclinometers, iPhones, and Blackberries, heigh-hoing off to work in the woods where dig we must because in UFOs we trust.
Somewhere in Time
Next Wednesday's UFO Hunters takes us to the 1897 Aurora Airship Mystery in Texas. Speaking objectively as I can, this is one of the best episodes in the entire series, ranking up there with last year's Code Red at Edward's Air Force Base.
The Aurora episode, called "First Contact," has more science than many of the other episodes we've done and forces the team to come up with real hypotheses about what the object was that hit Judge Proctor's windmill a hundred and one years ago. We actually find the evidence of the original windmill and the well. We find the metal fragments in places where metal fragments shouldn't be -- such as in the trunk of a 200-year-old oak -- and get the metal fragments we retrieve over to a laboratory for testing.
Our historian in this episode, Sara Canady from Stephenville, dug up some very interesting records about lighter-than-air airship activity in the American southwest in the 1890s, and Jim Marrs leads Ted and our archeologist Garth Baldwin to the mysterious grave.
This is one of my favorite episodes along with the upcoming "Alien Effects" episode about the Cash/Landrum incident. I think we came up with an intriguing hypothesis for that case as well.
Some great episodes are coming up with real science, real on-site investigation, and real debate.