Monday, August 16, 2010

UFO POSERS AND THE "MIRAGE MEN" MYTH by Anthony Bragalia

Copyright 2010, InterAmerica, Inc. [Permission required to reproduce this article verbatim. Fair Use of course is acceptable, but internet links are preferred.]

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A recent book entitled "Mirage Men" by Mark Pilkington has been received with great fanfare and positive review by the UFO community. According to Amazon's summary, "Mirage Men" are those men who are part of "the strange and symbiotic relationship between the U.S. military and intelligence agencies and the community that believes strongly that UFOs have visited earth."

But much of the premise of the evocatively titled "Mirage Men" - like a mirage itself - is illusory and insubstantial. The truth is that there is no truth to a "strange and symbiotic relationship" with agencies of the US Government and those into UFOs. There is nothing whatsoever to be gained from giving even passing consideration to the UFO tales told by those such as former AFOSI Special Agent Richard Doty. Such people are not government-sanctioned "disinformers" as some speculate. And their efforts are not being used to officially "cover up" advanced experimental military craft or operations. Nor do such men have any "special knowledge" to impart us about the true "core story" of UFOs and ET.

Calling even more attention to such attention-craving individuals only serves to feed their egos and perpetuate their pranks. Putting the spotlight on these types - even in the context of "UFO folklore" or as a social commentary - does the field of serious UFO research a serious disservice. The best course of action is not to highlight the actions of these Mirage Men at all - but to ignore them forevermore. We should not listen to the Mirage Men.

MIRAGE MEN

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UFO enthusiasts know of the endless stories and documents associated with people such as Richard Doty. I will not detail here the many things that he has been involved with in the world of UFOs, as the list is so long: MJ-12 stories, the Paul Bennewitz Affair, fabrication of a UFO base intrusion document, the book "Exempt from Disclosure" with author Robert Collins, etc. Recent evidence ties Doty rather conclusively to the ridiculous "Project Serpo" hoax from a couple of years ago.

Mirage Men are much more than a mere "distraction" to the disciplined and intelligent pursuit of the UFO mystery. To have to "deal with a Doty" - and those of his ilk - is tiresome and counter-productive in every way. Such nonsense takes away valuable resources that are better spent on real investigation. It involves the time of researchers who must work to "disprove" fraud. And most importantly, it clouds the public's perception of what is true when it come to things UFO.

"Mirage Men" are not here to help- but their role is not a "sinister" or "covert" one either. Rather, their "role" is a self-serving one. They are not "mysterious" or "shadowy" - though they would like you to think so. They are really here to feed their egos. They receive enjoyment from deceit because they have nothing "real" to give. They insinuate their "power" over others in a way that is meaningful only to themselves.

People hoax many things - from literary works to clinical results. Precisely why they do this is difficult to ascertain. But personal "elevation" is always at the heart of such hoaxes. We have all faked something in our lives. We do so when we cannot offer truth. And there are many who have faked their knowledge of the truth about UFOs. This includes people from all walks of life. Station and position in the world have little to do with the desire or ability to fake. Some very intelligent and very prominent people have done so. Those who lie about the "core story" of ET have included military officials, intelligence agents and even men of science. They all can be Mirage Men.

Stories from people such as these - which surface with alarming regularity in the world of UFOlogy - suggests that the "Walter Mitty" syndrome is widespread in the field. Making up stories to get attention, or wanting to be someone important without expending a lot of effort, are hallmarks of these compulsive fantasists. They remind me of The Talented Mr. Ripley. The title character says what Doty, et al. must believe: "It’s surely better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody."

But unlike Walter Mitty and The Talented Mr. Ripley (which are clearly and delightfully fictional) Mirage Men is rather like putting the spotlight on those afflicted with deep-seated emotional, social or mental challenges. There is nothing "funny" or "entertaining" about it - and it only serves to document the sad, inner workings of the deluded and psychologically needy. It also "eggs them on" to create new "mirages" and it inspires future Mirage Men.

Dr. Colin Gill, a brilliant UK psychologist who has studied such types, states: "There is a suggestion that these kind of fantasies reflect some kind of deficit in childhood - they were not noticed, rewarded or perhaps loved - so later in life they go on to try and seek the attention or praise that was denied them." Such psychologists caution that the best "treatment" is not to engage them in their delusions and to give them no attention. Do not play into their mind-games, or they could infect yours too.

John Lear Jr. (UFO tall-tale-teller and Doty friend) is a perfect example of the psychological dynamic of which Gill speaks. The rebellious son of an overachieving father, the Junior's achievements were far surpassed by those of the Senior, the inventor of the Lear Jet. John Jr. did not need the money or notoriety to tell his tall ET tales, he just wanted to have some fun and spin some yarns in his advancing years. An adventurous type, Mr. Lear spun tales of adventure about pretend underground alien bases at Dulce. Lear even flirted briefly with supposed ex-Navy Intel's William Cooper's UFO fantasies. When Cooper began carrying guns and behaving very strangely, Lear backed away.

"REAL" DISINFORMING

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"Real" disinformation does of course exist. Governments generate false information all the time. This is particularly true in two cases: during wartime for military purposes and for political purposes during peacetime. Such disinformation and propaganda can include covert media placements; dissemination of false stories and documents; and editing broadcasts or images. The technique of disinformation by military and intelligence goes back to at least 1918 with the end of WWI.

And I do believe that the art and science of disinformation does extend to UFOs. As readers know, I also believe that the Government used all manner of disinformation to suppress the truth of fallen ET at Roswell in 1947.

But such obviously phony stories emanating from people like Doty are not examples of an "official" disinformation campaign - or of "authorized" actions. They are amateur attempts by men who are trying to insert themselves into history. They are like Walter Mittys and talented Mr. Ripleys:

* They are not helping to "hide secret military aircraft experimentation" with tall tales

* They are not themselves knowledgeable about the "core story" of the truth about UFOs and ET

* They are not agents who are authorized by their superiors to spread "wild tales" to make UFOs and ET "appear ridiculous"

Rather, Mirage Men are men who wish that they knew the truth about UFOs and ET. Due to their positions in US military and intelligence, they may have even been near - or suspected that they were near - the truth. But instead, they are men who never quite made it, ones who would never be in a position to "really know." They were always near the action and around men of achievement, but were themselves mere wannabes. They wanted to "make a mark" for themselves by making great "revelations." They would use "smoke and mirrors" to delude themselves and others in the process.

The Mirage Men are "seeking" ET answers - just like all of us. The difference is that they will go to any length. They will even lie, play "games" and use others to find the truth. The MJ-12 "papers" were fabricated - not so much as to "deceive" - but to "smoke out" the "real" papers. Mirage Men have their own sense of strange humor. And they will even make up stories to get to the real story.

MY BRUSH WITH MIRAGE MEN

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"RESEARCHER" WILLIAM MOORE

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FORMER AFOSI AGENT RICHARD DOTY

I have little interest or time for the Mirage Men. I hesitated even writing this article because I do not wish to give them any more attention than they already "enjoy." They need no more attention from anyone, ever. But during the course of doing some research on Roswell, I had a brush with them.

Some months ago I had happened across a 1982 MUFON paper that researcher Bill Moore had presented. Moore had cited an interview with Special Agent Percy Wyly (who authored the FBI Telex on Roswell.) Moore claimed the interview of Wyly was conducted by Richard Doty, about a year prior. Due to the startling, confirmatory information that Wyly supposedly imparted to Doty about Roswell, I felt compelled to "break my rule" and I contacted Mirage Men.

I e-mailed Richard Doty directly about this. He chose not to answer my question about his supposed interview of Percy Wyly. Instead, I received a brief e-mail reply from him dated March 31, 2010, 12:09 AM that read:

"Mr. Bragalia: I am no longer involved in any aspect of UFO investigation, research, nor do I involve myself with the topic. It is impossible to provide any information without being criticized, defamed or trashed. I suggest you contact Bill Moore. Richard Doty."

So, I then contacted Bill Moore by e-mail and received an email back from him:

"Dear Mr. Bragalia: You must understand that all of my concerns were satisfied a long time ago and therefore I no longer have any need, or desire, to pursue these matters any further."

But then Moore later in the e-mail contradicts himself and indicates that he would indeed pursue the matter with me further - but only under these stipulated, bizarre conditions:

"If you can answer these three recognition questions correctly, you will have identified yourself as someone I can safely talk to. Otherwise I have nothing more to say. I understand that you have an Aunt who is a famous dancer. (1) What is her name? (2) Where does she dance? (3) And what is her favourite bird? Best, WLM"

I do not need to point out to readers that the reply from Doty is disingenuous. He still loves being a Mirage Man. Though we should not listen, we will hear more nonsense from Richard Doty in the future. Of that you can be sure.

The e-mail reply that I received back from William Moore seemed like it could have come from a kid obsessed with "cloak and dagger" games. He continues with his imagined "aviary" of "UFO insiders." Moore had put together what he termed an "aviary" of individuals in military and intelligence who were seeking truth about the "core story" of ET after Moore had written his book "The Roswell Incident" in 1980. He assigned these individuals code-names using the names of birds. The "birds" (many of whom I have talked with) often did not even know that they had ever been "assigned" such names or that they were even part of a formal "Aviary." On the face of it, we should have known that Bill Moore was not acting as an especially mature man. He was acting out James Bond-like scenarios. William Moore's e-mail to me confirms that he has still not grown up. At one time early on, a ground-breaking UFO researcher, Moore has perhaps regressed into fantasy and puerile behavior.

Doty and Moore fed each other tall tales. And they fed each other’s egos. A "minor member" of the Aviary was Dr. Henry Monteith. Erroneously reported as deceased in Greg Bishop's credulous book "Project Beta" on the "Paul Bennewitz Affair," Bishop did not dig deep enough and he allowed the "cast of characters" to influence his research.

Now retired after decades with Sandia Labs, Monteith is a believer in ET. However, when Doty came by to discuss the UFO matter with him in the 1980s, Monteith told me, he did not trust him. Not because Monteith felt that Doty had a "covert" agenda or any "official" status, but because he didn't think much of Doty. Doty was apparently trying to elicit any UFO "tidbits" from anyone he could because he had no "special knowledge" about ET himself. He then fed the information to others, inspired others, and mixed a cocktail of stories only the gullible would swallow.

Do you really think that the US Government military or intelligence agencies would employ such rank-amateur, laughable characters as Messrs. Moore, Doty or their ilk? Would they entrust the cover-up of state secrets (whether relating to ET or to experimental military technology) to people who write e-mails like the ones written to me?

Mirage Men can be found out. We know many of these military, intel, and science posers already: Sgt. Rick Doty, Capt. Robert Collins, Dr. Kit Green (whose MD is apparently from a non-existent school) Sgt. Clifford Stone, Dan Smith, John Lear Jr., Val Valerian (Capt. John Grace, Lear's friend) Bob Lazar, Sgt. Dan Sherman, Command Sgt. Major Robert O. Dean and many, many others.

They form their own cliques; they "support" and reinforce one another's claims and they feed their "mirages" into the future. Despite their station and position, these Mirage Men are not dissimilar to "contactees" and other fringe denizens of UFO conventions. None are worth our energy, and to get too near them will sap our's. We are instructed in Galations to "discern" the spirits and test for their veracity. So too must we apply this instruction to anyone in military, intel, or science who claims to know the "core story" of UFOs and ET.

AVOIDING THE MIRAGE MEN

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Mirage Men are legion, but they are easy to detect. Many are mentioned in the book- and there were many before this current crop. In fact, they have always been with us under many guises, and they always will be.

But they are not "official government agent dis-informers." Nor are they "trickster figures" with some sort of "deeper meaning." Nor do they know more than we about ET. They are merely a group of minor men who themselves have more questions than answers. In their own confusion, they confuse us and waste our valuable time. And in some way, putting a spotlight on them is cruel, like putting a spotlight on the afflicted, for our own entertainment and amusement. They deserve our pity but not our attention, lest we get woven into their web ourselves.

The lesson learned from the Mirage Men is that they are best left alone.

42 comments:

Frank Stalter said...

I have to say it, that Serpo stuff is fun science fiction and so are some of the MJ-12 docs. Fan fiction in my view, very enjoyable.

cda said...

The story of the brief phone conversation with FBI agent Percy Wyly is given in Bill Moore's 1985 paper "Crashed UFOs: Evidence in the Search for Proof" given at the MUFON conference of that year and revised later.

Moore does not say who actually spoke to Wyly but I assume it was either himself or Stan Friedman.
No mention at all of Doty.

You will not get any joy or encouragement about Roswell from the contents of that (very) brief conversation.

Nick Redfern said...

Tony:

I read with interest your post on Mirage Men by Mark Pilkington.

How would you react if, hypothetically, I had reviewed your latest Battelle piece on the Roswell memory-metalo saga, and then someone else denounced that work after having read my review, but who had utterly failed to read your original Battelle piece?

I doubt you would be impressed. Have you actually read the Mirage Men book that you comment on? Or do you feel it's not necessary to read it to make a comment?

Regardless of what people may think of the book, Mark Pilkington took the time to fly from England to the US to meet with Doty, Green etc in person, rather than pulling this material from already-published sources.

In other words, in my opinion, offering a viewpoint on a major part of a new book without having read it achieves very little. Simpky because it cannot achieve much.

I saw this when my Body Snatchers in the Desert was published. I saw people trash it who openly admitted they hadn't read it and had no intention of reading it!

Whether people agree with the conclusions of the book or not when it comes to the Mirage Men, that's an important point to note - new material is new material, and new interviews and new revelations are new interviews and new revelations!

And, as new offerings, they should be reviewed, not commented on by what has come before and without knowing what the new revelations are. In my view, at least!

Anthony Bragalia said...

Nick-

I made it very clear in the very first sentence, "according to Amazon's summary." And in the second paragraph I specifically refer to the "premise" of the book. A "premise" is defined as "by way of introduction." In legal parlance it refers to "statements about a matter put forth beforehand."

And I read not only your review Nick, but also at least 15 other summaries and critiques of the book. Google "Mirage Men" UFO as keywords- I have studied most these commentaries. Some of these are extremely lengthy, detailed and thorough. I was also aware of the Mirage Men movie website a very long time ago.

And my experience with MM is not simply second hand or through simply reading about people like Doty and Moore. Not only did I correspond with both of them recently, but very early on in my investigations of Roswell I corresponded with Moore. I also have talked with Henry Monteith (something Greg Bishop should have done) directly about Doty. I have also talked to two others to be named later who "interfaced" with Doty during the "height" of his deceptions in the 1980s.

And it is not so much the book itself Nick that is irksome. It is the whole larger issue of having to contend with fringe elements. Especially those self-deluded intel, mil and scientists who fancy themselves as "in the know." I would extend that to early "contactees" who are now being rehabilitated by some and being tied to some "larger meaning" like a connection to intel. These and other assorted types waste our energy, time and resources and cloud public perception on things UFO.

I really do believe that some of these Walter Mittys are suffering a psychological disorder. Paying attention to them is rather like going to a Freak Show. You want to look, but you should not.

AJB

cda said...

Nick:
I think that Tony is saying (but cannot bring himself to admit it directly) that no he had NOT read the said book before reviewing it.

A case of circumlocution, or avoiding the simple answer to your question. Reminds me a bit of UK politicians when interviewed on radio or TV.

RRRGroup said...

CDA:

I don't think Mr. Bragalia inferred that he read the book.

His posting was about the guys in the book whom he thinks shouldn't be getting the publicity they're getting.

RR

Nick Redfern said...

Rich:

I understand that; however, the key point is that the material in the book relative to Doty, Green etc is brand new material and new interviews that were obtained when Mark Pilkington was in the US to interview them both in-person.

This is my main issue: offering words relative to a new book (and the people in it) when the data from those people is new - and was specifically obtained for the book - surely requires the book to be read first.

Or, in my view, it should!

If Tony reads the book and then vehemently disagrees with what Mark Pilkington says, and what Doty etc say, and he then prepares a blog-post to that effect, then that's totally fine - because this is precisely why we have forums like this, where people can offer opinions etc.

But it seems to me the process here is reversed. It should be very simple: if someone wishes to comment on a book, the people in it, their claims etc, then the very first thing they should do is to read it, then make the comments, good or bad.

RRRGroup said...

Nick:

Tony Bragalia informs me that your point is well-taken.

However, the thrust of his post, which may have been flummoxed by the appearance of a book review, was that he (Bragalia) is incensed by the continuing showcasing of the guys he mentions in his piece.

He feels, and I have to agree, that the continuing highlighting of some UFO characters who are reprobates -- and I'm not referring to the the Doty/Moore situation (with which I am rather unfamilar) -- continues unabated in the UFO community.

This acceptance of scoundrels along side paragons of virtue (such as yourself, Friedman, Bishop, Warren, Keyhoe, McDonald, Kimball, et al.) is irksome to Mr. Bragalia, and me too.

And I know that media and academia often stay away from the UFO topic
because of the taint that some of these people have brought to the mystery.

RR

Nick Redfern said...

Rich:

Understood; however, I think it's worth noting that "Mirage Men" is a very balanced look at the claims of such people.

In other words, this is not Klass territory. But, very importantly, neither is it true-believer of the wide-eyed variety territory either.

The author makes it clear that much of what he learns is swamped by a bizarre hall of mirrors, half-truths, distortions, disinfo, lies etc - but, somewhere at the heart of things, something is still going on.

So, even though I understand the way in which giving exposure to certain players may exasperate some within Ufology, this book is unlikely to actually appeal to those who swallow all the tales of Serpo etc.

Yes, it gives much page-space to the mirage men (and that may anger some people), but it does so in journalistic, investigative fashion, not in UFO "I want to believe" fashion.

RRRGroup said...

Nick:

You, of course, reviewed the book based upon what it contains, and I trust your acumen when it comes to such things.

The problem seems to be that Tony Bragalia and me (by default) have been sidetracked by our pique with some in the UFO universe -- past and present.

I, recently, in a discussion with Tony Bragalia, said that one shouldn't dismiss some UFO tales out-of-hand, even the most ludicrous tales, as there could very well be a nugget in them that is pertinent to the phenomenon.

The UFO enigma is irritatingly baffling. Even such episodes as the Serpo affair or the contactee stories (that your book covered so expertly) should not be dismissed readily.

If there is new, useful information to be garnered from the Pilkington book, then I expect Mr. Bragalia (or some other researcher) will exploit it, to get at the hidden truth of UFOs.

RR

Frank Stalter said...

"one shouldn't dismiss some UFO tales out-of-hand, even the most ludicrous tales, as there could very well be a nugget in them that is pertinent to the phenomenon."

The Majestic 12 docs got me to start poking around in the Truman library online archives and oral histories. I'd say it was very helpful in that regard even though it was obviously fan fiction.

I can't say I'd be any more interested in reading a book about these guys than I would about someone who cranks out Star Trek or Star Wars fan fiction.

RRRGroup said...

Frank:

It's often the tangential information that brings the greatest gains in human knowledge;
e.g., quantum physics, evolution, psychoanalysis, et cetera.

RR

Christopher Knowles said...

Nick writes: "In other words, this is not Klass territory. But, very importantly, neither is it true-believer of the wide-eyed variety territory either.

The author makes it clear that much of what he learns is swamped by a bizarre hall of mirrors, half-truths, distortions, disinfo, lies etc - but, somewhere at the heart of things, something is still going on."


Well, that's not what the media outlets reviewing the book are taking from it. The reviews I've seen all seem to think it's yet another book making fun of all those stupid Yank UFO nuts and exposing those ever-elusive government UFOs that never seem to make it to the battlefield, 60 years on.

Christopher Knowles said...

Here's a money quote from Total Sci-Fi: It’s a good read, and hits all the main highs (and lows) of Ufology history. Pilkington’s rational thesis is that the majority of UFO sighting are misidentifications of stars, planets or top secret experimental aircraft. He claims that the UFO myth is used by intelligence agencies deliberately to disguise their advanced aircraft. It’s a well-argued theory, but just one more among many — and it may just be what ‘they’ want him to believe… Mark James

Nick Redfern said...

Christopher:

The book may not be to everyone's tastes, but it does not poke fun at "stupid Yank UFO nuts

I have some people being hostile about the book because it casts doubt (rightly, in my view) on the whole Serpo saga, for example.

But, casting doubt, and suggesting that people have been fooled, misled and deceived, is not the same as calling them stupid.

Mark does come away believing that a great deal of official manipulation and exotic military hardware may explain much of the UFO puzzle, but he still leaves very much open the idea that - at the heart of all this, and buried very deeply - is a real UFO phenomenon.

You say that the review you quote from is a "money" review, but it makes no comment with respect to people being stupid. And, again, Mark himself does not say that. Just that people have been fooled.

Being fooled by intelligence ploys does not make a person a fool. It makes them human. And it is how the UFO phenomenon can have a profound effect (whether the real phenomenon or the officially orchestrated aspect of it) that the book devotes a lot of space to.

Frank Stalter said...

"I have some people being hostile about the book because it casts doubt (rightly, in my view) on the whole Serpo saga, for example."

A lot of the Serpo material is pretty entertaining science fiction. I liked it anyway. There's also a fair amount there that is so hysterical even the writer can't possibly take it seriously.

The MJ-12 docs are at least reasonably well researched fiction based on useful fact.

Christopher Knowles said...

Nick, I don't buy the premise at all. I think Anthony's article spells it all out pretty well. There are so many false assumptions attached to this black project UFO thesis that I see it as being every bit as faith-based as the most gullible contactee cults.

It's been 60 years of this government UFO disinfo meme and not much real proof to back it up. The stealth projects and all of the rest are impressive vehicles, but are simply refinements of ordinary fixed wing technology. We've got any number of difficult situations in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc and no sightings of any kind of super-exotic hardware. All of the drones and the rest have fixed wings and the expected means of propulsion. We have thousands of reports of UFOs from credible witness and thousands of sightings in places no where near any military base (nobody is going to fly secret, experimental tech somewhere where it could crash in public).

The idea that intelligent people- never mind trained personnel- mistake Venus for a flying vehicle is so incredibly stupid and insulting it's not even worth commenting on.

I think if there is an agenda on the government's part it's to muddy the UFO issue as much as possible and plant the idea that they're responsible for it all. Just as Saddam had his intel people convince the Iranians he still had WMDs after the Gulf War.

I'll just go on record and state that I believe all of this is meant to disguise the fact that extraterrestrial craft show up from time to time and there's nothing anyone can do about it. I won't go any farther than saying that they're there simply to keep an eye on what's going on down here and don't seem to have any real interest in contact or disclosure or whatever. Just like we keep an eye on isolated tribes in the Amazon or New Guinea.

And I think that fact becomes incredibly disillusioning to people who spend a lot of time researching it, and leads to these kinds of born again denialist conversions.

I think this fact makes a whole lot of people nervous- politicians, scientists, intellectuals- since they want everyone to think they're atop the universal food chain.

Christopher Knowles said...

Let me add, Nick, that I loved this paragraph in your article:

"Personally, I suspect that it is this profound potential for deep, personal change that the UFO mystery offers us that the US Government fears most. It is not so much that UFOs might exist or that aliens could be visiting us that worries the official world. Rather, it is the fact – and officialdom’s realization of the fact – that the phenomenon seemingly has the ability to rewire the collective mindset of the populace, who may discard their old ways, give the finger to the old men in suits and ties that run the world, and become truly transformed."

Anthony Bragalia said...

Christopher Knowles, I could not have said it better myself!

AJB

Nick Redfern said...

Christopher:

Again, Mark isn't saying that the whole phenomenon is due to secret aircraft etc.

He's saying that certain classic cases seem to have the hand of official manipulation in them, others may well be classified vehicles, but that at the heart of all this there could very well be aliens who came here, and maybe still are coming here.

He openly admits in the book to becoming paranoid, confused lost of his moorings etc, as he dug further into the investigation, and the realization hit home that the UFO mystery wasn't just tales, misidentification etc.

So, yes, he does go down the "secret aircraft" line, but allows for real aliens to be with us too.

You also say: "I think Anthony's article spells it all out pretty well."

I actually don't disagree. Tony's article perfectly sums up what we knew about the players in the story - thus far. And those last two words are the important ones. Tony's post is indeed a good study of what we have been able to ascertain previously.

The problem I have with his article, is that what we knew thus far, doesn't take into account the brand new material and interviews that appear in Mark's book.

Had the article appeared after Tony had read the book, I would have had no problem.

I just dont understand how someone can do a post that includes the book title in the blog-post, includes the book-cover as an image, and also uses the term "Mirage Men" throughout the article, but admits to not having read the book!

If the book rehashed 100 words on Green, or 200 words on Doty from older works, or older interviews, then Tony's piece would have been entirely acceptable.

But, it doesn't. Mark traveled around the US to secure extensive new interviews with the mirage men.

Therefore, in my view, when a book conatins substantial new material (even if the people have been quoted in earlier books and interviews), then the right approach is to read it, see what new material it adds (interviews, documents etc) and then review it or comment in-depth on it.

Red Pill Junkie said...

From what I gather after reading Greg Taylor's interview with Mark @ The Daily Grail, the book starts with Mark's *own* account of a UFO sighting.

So, this obviously is not your classic skeptoid repeating "there ain't no aliens!", nor he is the tin-foil-hat believer of every delusional space-brotherly story oozing from the interwebz.

Mark's goal (apparently, since I as well haven't been able to read the book yet) is to show that the Intelligence Services of the US government (and possibly other nations) have taken advantage of the UFO mythology for their own particular ends —regardless of whether UFOs (unknown aircraft displaying unconventional technology and intelligent manipulation) actually exists or not. And they have done this through deception, disinformation, intimidation among other dubious methods.

Is he right? is he wrong? how about we read the book first to make our opinion.

Christopher Knowles said...

Nick, I understand what you're saying but I just don't see it. These characters in question have more than a whiff of Munchausen about them, whatever new info they're revealing. Are we to accept that in this age of rampant secrecy and terminal classifying and re-classifying that these characters have clearance to rattle off all of Uncle Sam's deep secrets to some random journalist? Is this UFO brainwashing program over and done with and that's why we're seeing these characters spilling the beans?

It's also tough to swallow the gov't manipulation thing when the official position has been so militantly anti-UFO, and gov't surrogates in the media and academia have perfected the arts of hounding, ridiculing and ruining the lives of anyone who takes the subject seriously. I think Mark seems to have fallen into Conspiratainment Wonderland (another spooked-up field that is largely anti-UFO) thinking on the subject, which I admit can be very seductive.

But I'm also getting a whiff of Picknett and Prince, who took Coppen's research on Puharich et al and wove a very, very similar story (prompting Coppens to refute a lot of their theories/suppositions) to the one we're hearing here.

Whatever the case may be I know for sure how the media will interpret this book- we see it screaming out as us on the cover of Fortean Times. The take on this will be "CIA created UFO craze" which will pour the usual scorn on researchers in addition to Alex Jones types accusing them all of being CIA dupes.

Well done, Mr. Pilkington.

Nick Redfern said...

Christopher:

We seem to be at cross-purposes here and, to an extent, going around in circles.

Here's the point I was trying to make:

You'll note that my argument was not - and still is not - whether the words of these so-called insiders and whistleblowers are legitimate or not.

I clearly said: "Tony's article perfectly sums up what we knew about the players in the story - thus far."

And I stand by that. My argument and problem I had with what Tony wrote is not the fact that he comes to his own conclusions on these people.

Tony, by his own admission, has recently corresponded with Doty and Moore.

So, in other words, Tony could have written a very good study of these characters and more, based solely on his own investigations and what had been written about them, said about them etc, previously.

That would have been totally fine, and he could have done all that without even mentioning the Mirage Men book.

But what Tony chose to do instead was not just comment on his own findings and those that came before, but instead he tied this all in with the data contained in a new book he has not read.

Ideally, in my view, what Tony should have done is to have written an article on Doty and co., that reflected his own personal dealings with them, and that reflected his own conclusions - and stopped right there.

Then, we had actually read Mark's book, he should have done a follow-up post that focused on the book and its contents on Doty and co.

What Tony has actually done, however, is to offer thoughts and opinions on Doty and co., but to do so in a fashion that crticizes a book he has not read.

That's the problem - and the only problem I have. I don't have a problem with Tony holding the view he holds on Doty and co. I have a problem with using that view to knock an unread book.

Christopher Knowles said...

Nick, my problem isn't with you at all- it's with this unread book. Here's a direct quote from the Fortean Times article:

"Over the next six decades, the UFO mythology, and those who engaged with it, would continue to be exploited, steered and shaped by America’s armed forces and intelli­gence agencies."

Heavy stuff. His star witnesses for this bold assertion? Richard Doty and the other men Anthony discusses in his piece.

So yeah, I don't see what Mirage Men going to do besides embolden attacks on UFO researchers. I haven't read it but I've read all of the material up on the Daily Grail and his blog and it's pretty clear that he's arguing that UFO sightings are all nonsense if they're not sightings of secret aircraft. As we see, he is arguing that the Intel community is actively pushing UFO belief, which is really based on nothing of any substance at all. As to his own sighting, there's no reason for anyone to believe that it wasn't just the Aurora spyplane out for a spin.

In short, it's just going to be treated as another "UFO believer sees the light and comes clean" book, something we're seeing a lot of recently for reasons that I won't even speculate on. The media will have its prejudices confirmed, the Conspiratainers will use it as a way to impugn UFO researchers and nothing at all will be learned.

I'm really loathe to come here and say all of this, believe me. But I don't see any good coming of this and given Pilkington's sources will never be scrutinized by the mass media he's courting, I see a whole lot of bad.

Anthony Bragalia said...

Nick -

Not to belabor...but the point is that the story in not worth the read! What more can be gained -after two decades- in listening to anything new that Doty has to say? He is -I will say it- a proven liar. He -and his ilk- are not worth our time, not even to read a book that contains "new information" about him, or anyone like him...

I will simply not spend money or waste time reading anything that includes him.. And this goes for other fringe denizens of UFO conventions and of contactees - yesterday and today. I am especially by those who are former mil and intel (Robert O. Dean, Clifford Stone, etc.) who continue to pretend and BS for years now.

We have had enough of them...

And even the name "Mirage Men" bothers me hugely. It is a monicker that gives these types "meaning." And they have none....

AJB

Nick Redfern said...

Christopher:

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you on the matter that there is a real UFO phenomenon - of course there is.

Im saying - and only saying - that regardless of whether people agree (or not) with what Mark Pilkington has written and concluded, we should at least read the book - IN FULL - before launching into a large commentary on it.

Some will say Mark is right, some will say he's wrong, some might say it's somewhere in between, but whatever they say should be based on fully digesting his book first.

That is my ONLY issue.

Nick Redfern said...

Tony:

Fair enough, you say you won't buy the book, and that the story is not worth the read.

Ok...

But, in that case, why on earth did you even mention the book, and as a result, bring it to the attention of maybe 100s of people via your post and its subsequent links at places like The Anoamlist???!!!

If you don't feel it's worth the read, and you won't buy it, and you have had enough of them, then why do a lengthy post that highlights (in its title no less!) the very book you think should not be read?

All publicity is publicity - good or bad, and by writing an extensive blog post about a book you won't read, and a person you call a liar, you have ensured that probably quite a few people will now go out and buy the book to see what all the fuss is about!

Christopher Knowles said...

Nick, to wrap this up let me just say I read a lot of Pilkington's writings and interviews pertaining to the book, including the Fortean Times article, which I assume is an excerpt. To debunk the Washington incident he relies very heavily on Leon Davidson, a government scientist with atomic clearance (he worked on the Manhattan Project).

Let me spell this out here- Pilkington is relying on the work of someone he acknowledges as being deeply embedded in the MIC, and somehow expects that this man would actually go against the Allen Dulles and his very powerful CIA and expose their nefarious conspiracies at the absolute height of the Cold War, at a time when even Oppenheimer and Teller were facing attacks over their loyalty? Does that make a drop of sense to anyone? I hope you'll forgive me if peg Davidson for a shill.

As to the interest in the book, I'm sure the media - especially in the UK- will love it. I'm sure he'll be getting plenty of face time and ink in the months to come. I'm sure Phil Plait and Penn and Teller will probably come calling, so he needn't worry.

Anonymous said...

After the way Mark Pilkington behaved this past weekend, toward the witnesses of the Rendlesham Forest Incident, on the B.B.Cs Evan Davis "The Truth Is Not Out There", Ill be steering well clear of a book that was written simply to cash in on the latest Fad to hit the UFO community. Pilkington himself is the biggest Mirage Man that ever lived! Theres no way on Gods green earth, hell ever get a penny out of my pocket after the disgrace that was last weekend.

Nick Redfern said...

Christopher

Again, your words are appreciated.

But, again, and I think for the final time(from me, at least! LOL), it's only a shame that we aren't all debating this issue after we have all had the chance to actually read and appreciate everything he has to say in the book, not just via Net extracts etc.

Agree with him or not, but I still think that this whole thread has jumped the gun, so to speak, by the very fact that practically no-one commenting at length (aside from me) has even read the book.

And I think - and I hope - that this places my only opinion on this matter firmly on the table!

Christopher Knowles said...

Just as I said- the media is licking it up:

"Everything that the UFO community believe about the UFO cover-up is actually the inverse of what has quite clearly been going on," he told me.

"Various intelligence agencies have actually been encouraging beliefs in flying saucers and extra-terrestrial visitation as a convenient cover for all sorts of operations of their own."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8901000/8901936.stm

That's all we need to know about Mr. Pilkington and his book.

cda said...

'Anonymous' talks about "the latest fad to hit the UFO community".
This 'fad' was actually promoted by Leon Davidson exactly 50 years ago, in the pages of FSR (FLYING SAUCER REVIEW) in its January 1960 issue, where the said Dr Davidson told us how Adamski's meetings with Venusians & his trips to the moon were all due to the machinations of the CIA. He also told us that the Washington radar sightings were caused by CIA 'electronic warfare'. In a letter to me in the 1970s he even postulated that the photo of the 'Martian' depicted in Allingham's contactee tale was really a CIA agent!

So Pilkington is reviving a 50-year old theory. But I admit that I too have not read his book.

Mark Pilkington said...

Hello Tony, Nick and friends

Sorry I've arrived at the party a little late. I'm glad to see that at least Mirage Men has people talking, if for all the wrong reasons!

Just a few things:

1) Tony B: I don't want to sound picky, but to write a long and largely dismissive piece about a book that you haven't read *without actually stating that you haven't even read it* doesn't really do a whole lot for your reputation as a researcher.

Reading about the book on web sites isn't really the same thing as reading the book itself. That's why John Lundberg and myself travelled around the US at our own expense meeting and interviewing people who had played key roles in shaping the modern UFO story. That's also why you'll find material in Mirage Men that hasn't been brought up in relation to the UFO phenomenon before, and that's why I've come to the conclusions that I have with regard to the subject.

Please read the book - it will only cost you about $10 if you order it from Amazon.

The irony is that, having read your piece, I think you'll probably agree with quite a lot of what I say. Many people on both sides of the UFO question who have read the book seem to agree with at least *some* of it, and some claim to have actually enjoyed the experience!

Mirage Men has had me attacked by both sceptics and ETH supporters – in my view that's a sure sign that I'm doing the right thing!

Nick R: Thanks for your solid defence of the book - sorry, that should be my job!

Chris K: Your insinuation that my book is just another attempt to make fun of Americans and their culture is quite wide of the mark, while, like Tony, I think you'd be better qualified to criticise the book if you'd actually read it.

Not that it's particularly relevant, but I have American family, some of my greatest friends are US citizens and I've spent a lot of time in your country in my life. What is relevant to this discussion however, is that the UFO story *is* whether you like it or not, a fundamentally American one and to get to the heart of the phenomenon, both phenomenologically and culturally, you need to look at the USA. By the way, for what it's worth, the UK, France, Germany and the USSR all get a look-in during the course of the book.

Meanwhile, I'm not familiar with your work, but I'll check it out, it sounds interesting.

I'm going to be doing a few internet radio interviews over the next few weeks, and I'm looking forward to them, but until then if you really want to get a sense of what the book is about please read this interview with me over at Greg Taylor's Daily Grail site.

And Tony, if you still don't like the book once you actually *have* read it, then I'll be very happy to discuss it with you!

Thanks for listening, and hopefully for reading.
Cheers
Mark

Anthony Bragalia said...

Thanks for the reply Mark.

I do wish to clarify something to everyone, however. My article was in no way meant to be a formal "book review." Rather, it was intended to address recurring themes seen throughout UFO history. These themes include former military and intellegence personnel with fantastic claims.

It is said that they are either covering up ET truth or hiding secret advanced terrestrial aircraft. I would also include "contactees" and the fringe elements often seen at UFO conventions as distractions to scholarly study of the phenomena.

We have had decades of "BS" from these types- and it is time to move on...

There used to be a great website called "UFO Watchdog" and it had a "UFO Hall of Shame." It highlighted those in the field who - like Mirage Men - deserved to be "called out" for what they were - frauds. But even the administrator of that site tired of putting a spotlight on these types - and decided to instead ignore them all together...a wise move that I will follow.

AJB

Christopher Knowles said...

Mark, that's terrific that you're not trying to bash Americans and their culture, only those Americans who look at the UFO issue differently than you. Unfortunately, I never accused you of bashing American culture or Americans in general.

And as I also said I'm not criticizing the book, but your other writings including the Fortean Times piece.

What's more, I can't help but notice that you ignored all of the other points that I raised, particularly the credibility of the sources your thesis is based on.

Let me ask you a question- didn't anyone warn you as to the man's credibility before you decided to make Doty the star witness of your case here?

Kenn Thomas said...

I'm way late and with little to say, but I have to add this discussion to my impression of Anthony Bragalia's recent post about Maury Island -- that the writer is not a thorough researcher. Obviously, as a reviewer he's also not a thorough reader. He's not a reader of Mark Pilkington's book at all, apparently. For this reason, it's difficult to take seriously his accusations of fraud in others. His comments really were just more of the tiresome complaints that get made all of the time about enduring aspects of the the ufo subcult. None of that will come to a reverent halt just because Mr. Bragalia sculpted an opinion from some impressions of a book he hasn't read and blogged about it.

Anthony Bragalia said...

Kenn Thomas -

I purchased and read your book "Maury Island UFO" 10 years ago...In fact, I can see it right now across the room on my library shelf....

I will not read another book ever about con-men such as Crisman, Doty, et al...

They are not worth the money - but far, far more importantly - they are not worth our time!

I do not need to read in infinite detail anything ever again about such men. We have collectively wasted decades considering such types! What is it that folks such as Thomas and Pilkington do not get about that? In a very similar vein, do we need to continue to read endlessly about Adamski? Billy Meier? Daniel Fry?

In other words, if something new is written about these types, using your logic, I cannot comment on them because I have not read in entirety a particular book about them? No, they have already proven themselves liars -time and again.

There is no further need to belabor their fraud or further consider them in any way...

AJB

Kenn Thomas said...

I'm not quite sure what Bragalia doesn't get about the growing disinterest in the list of things he's reading and not reading with regard to UFOs. He's certainly not the first dilettante to trumpet a closed mind and pretend he's made some righteous judgment. I have to wonder why he's carried the debate on this long if he truly has no interest. My thumbs up to Mark Pilkington for a more intelligent approach to the topic.

Nick Redfern said...

Tony

In your reply to Kenn Thomas's comment, you say - with respect to the people in Mark's book:

"In other words, if something new is written about these types, using your logic, I cannot comment on them because I have not read in entirety a particular book about them? No, they have already proven themselves liars -time and again."

Yes, of course you can comment on them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

To me, the problem is that you made your commentary largely based around Mark's book (such as using the book's title in the blog post title, the book-cover image, and constantly referring to the Mirage Men throughout the article - clearly reflecting on the book).

A highly critical piece from you on these characters that reflected your views would have been perfect, and I think everyone would have been totally cool with that.

But, it was only (and I do mean only) the fact that you chose to introduce Mark's book (that you had not read) into your post that I have a problem with.

I know that you could have done a very good post on all this without significant reference to a book you hadn't read.

Or, you could have done a lengthier post that focuses on the new book - after you had read it.

But, the middle ground of citing the book before reading is the one thing that lets the post down in my opinion.

Kenn Thomas said...

If you read Bragalia's contribution to the current volume of PARANOIA, The Conspiracy Reader, you will find him repeating the story about Barry Goldwater being scared off his pursuit of the alien bodies by Curtis LeMay. LeMay and Goldwater both, along with many, many people in the history of ufology, were egomaniacs who had no less a propensity to guild the lilly trying to look like insiders as Doty, et. al. So Bragalia's just picking and choosing who he wants to think are lying braggarts. Similarly, in his declaration of Maury Island as a hoax he quotes a few people who support that idea and ignores the full body of research he can easily find in my book. That's disingenous and "reviewing" a book he hasn't read is unprofessional. So I really have towonder if he actually could produce and adequate deconstruction of the personalilties he's so adamant that he will never consider again.

Tristan Eldritch said...

I think Pilkington is getting a somewhat raw treatment here. In two of the most remarkable books ever written on the UFO subject, Messengers of Deception and Revelations, Jacques Vallee reached an essentially similar conclusion: that human agency and manipulation play a HUGE part in the UFO phenomenon. Vallee was canny enough to realize that hoaxing, disinformation, and deliberate political manipulation were as integral a component of the phenomenon as any of its allegedly legitimate manifestions. But the UFO community didn't want to listen then, and it seems to me that Pilkington is suffering from a similar knee-jerk reaction to anything that deveiates even slightly from the ET/paranormal hypothesis. The main issue is this: rejecting someone's work based a cursory look at its Amazon page, or based on something someone else entirely says about it in a review, is a situation that would be wholly unexceptable to any writer. Like Nick said earlier, it's the exquivilent of somebody branding Anthony's work as a complete waste of time without reading any of it, based purely on their personal oposition on prinicipal to the premise of an ET crash at Roswell. More than that, I see this as being inherantly similar to the way people in the dreaded "mainstream" will refuse to ever read a UFO book, based solely on the fact that they're not comfortable with the premise of UFO's being taken seriously on any level. UFO study by its very nature is a highly speculative business, and people need to keep their minds open to a whole variety of perspectives - including the slightly more sceptical, down to earth alternatives offered by people like Pilkington.

Michael Voulgaropoulos said...

Thanks to Mr Redfern in upholding basic principles of investigation and of commentary.

For some clarification into the issue many of you may know of Grant Cameron's talk over in Liverpool, England (Dec 2012?) re the CIA's roles in affecting public perception of the ongoing ET phenomenon. Names written in this blog entry and subsequent comments feature heavily in Grant's lecture.

A small unfortunate/humerous note: Doty appears to be a state trooper based on a new story I saw today!