UFO Hoaxes

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UFO Hoaxes

Postby James Carlson » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:42 am

I'm on the record as protesting the use of UFO hoaxes to make the valid point that mere photographs or films do not constitute sufficient evidence to prove a case. With me, it's a moral issue, not a strategic one. I recognize and acknowledge that the use of such tools can be very convincing and could well sway the opinions of others, but the fact that such tools are fundamentally lies forces me to adopt a candid point-of-view preventing my own involvement. That doesn't mean, however, that such practices have no use. Any statistical assessment -- whether the hoaxes originate within the UFO proponent communities or with more skeptical groups -- will always provide a measure of important information in regard to the extent such practices are undertaken.

Given this characteristic affecting the issue, I thought it would be enlightening if such methods could be discussed in the context of actual UFO hoaxes, and where better than here? So I'm asking anyone who is familiar with such matters, or knows of specific incidents that should be reviewed, to please report them here in this thread. In light of my own beliefs, I think that UFO hoaxes would provide much more interesting data if they originate with those who believe in the veracity of UFOs, i.e., the UFO proponent groups. I doubt very seriously that hoaxes engineered by skeptics would provide enough information to reach appropriately useful conclusions, but that doesn't mean such hoaxes intermittently occur. Due to this, I don't consider it proper behavior to ignore them, and would therefore appreciate any review of hoaxes originating with skeptics. Any data from this classification of hoaxes would, at the very least, provide information for comparison purposes. In both instances, verification of the hoax would be most helpful, but debate can certainly be undertaken for incidents under suspicion.

In any case, to set the idea off, I'm posting the following link detailing a UFO hoax: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/594291/?sc=rsln. The motivation is different from those I assume most hoaxes are associated with, but it's an interesting starting point anyway.

Aloha ...
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby nablator » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:54 am

ALoha!

To narrow the subject down a bit (it's huge), we could discuss new cases (I've been researching the documents presented by Raul Julia-Levy to back up his claims of ancient extraterrestrial contacts for his upcoming documentary Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond) or those famous cases that are not generally known to be hoaxes, but should be, like Lubbock lights' photos allegedly taken by Carl Hart on August 31, 1951.

P.S. Reading again your post, I probably misunderstood what you are looking for. Statistics on the motivations of hoaxers? A general theory about the psychology of UFO hoaxing?
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby sentry579 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:52 am

Hoaxes are a favorite topic of mine!

If I understand correctly, he's looking for cases of hoaxes by skeptics in order to demonstrate the imperfections in witnesses' UFO reports. There are several instances of this, the Caltech students in the 60s
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=eS ... rnia&hl=en, the more recent balloons by the New Jersey duo http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/b ... -2009.html. There was a UK hoax where they had a light on a car and staged a phony photograph being taken in front of a witness. That was in the early 70s, I believe, and they let the UFO community absorb and spread the story for over a year before revealing their trickery.

There were some interesting reports generated by this 1958 hoax: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/arch ... e_man_hoax
Several witnesses attributed superhuman characteristics to the "alien".

It is useful to look at these hoaxes and other false generators of UFO reports to test the accuracy of witnesses. Events like meteors, rocket launches and satellite re-entries have caused colorful stories, and James Oberg has documented many of these. Allan Hendry in the UFO Handbook was able to document UFO reports that were generated by a lighted advertising plane. In most of these reports, the witnesses seem to report an exaggeration of what they actually saw. My understanding is that they are reporting events as filtered through the excitement they felt and it is further colored by their rationalizations after the fact.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby James Carlson » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:13 am

nablator wrote:ALoha!

To narrow the subject down a bit (it's huge), we could discuss new cases (I've been researching the documents presented by Raul Julia-Levy to back up his claims of ancient extraterrestrial contacts for his upcoming documentary Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond) or those famous cases that are not generally known to be hoaxes, but should be, like Lubbock lights' photos allegedly taken by Carl Hart on August 31, 1951.

P.S. Reading again your post, I probably misunderstood what you are looking for. Statistics on the motivations of hoaxers? A general theory about the psychology of UFO hoaxing?

What I'd like to see are discussions around both proven hoaxes and suspected hoaxes. Regarding statistical examinations, I was only suggesting one possible purpose such a study might provide. I probably did so a bit clumsily. Many people can justify the use of hoaxes on the grounds that they provide evidence of the ease with which UFOs can be declared and believed in by UFO proponents even when they do not exist. It's a measurement of credulity that shows how gullible people can be when their beliefs are sustained, whether those beliefs are sustained by actual evidence or false assumptions. However, being a one-on-one examination (one hoax to one believer through which the hoaxer absorbs full responsibility for the lie), it says nothing about extent (which tends to diffuse responsibility). I simply suggested that a statistical study -- an examination of extent -- has some use as well, the implication being that one can study statistical data without taking on the moral responsibility inherent to the lies that generate this data. I do recognize that this extrapolation might simply be a means by which I can fool myself into enjoying the fruits of another man's guilt without its attendant responsibility, but it nonetheless represents a valid use for the data.

Your suggestion to limit the scope of the discussion is a good one, and should probably be adopted. I admit, I was trying to keep the topic as wide open as possible in order to attract participation from as many people as possible, but I hadn't taken into account the large amount of data this might involve. In addition, I'm always open to the reexamination of famous cases, whether they're generally known or not. The more famous cases that can be associated with hoax behavior, the more obvious it will be that proponents of UFO activity are willing to use dishonest means to achieve their ends. For me, I find this objective particularly necessary.to achieve. First, because It's absolutely true, and second, because I believe that the inherent dishonesty hoaxes represent is merely a strategy that UFO proponents are using to gather support for the full disclosure of all Department of Defense classified materials addressing the topic of UFOs. I am 100% percent convinced that such disclosure of materials will absolutely never come about, and this assures me that this type of strategy establishes nothing more than the reckless and immoral propagation of paranoia, disturbance, stress, distrust in our nation's military, and dissatisfaction with our government -- all without cause or applicable justification. I'm also certain that there are no classified materials with content sufficient to satisfy disclosure advocates in regard to UFO activity, and would thereby lead to even more accusations of military cover-ups and dissatisfaction with government if such disclosure was granted. Given that classified materials are generally classified for very good reasons, any disclosure of such materials would necessarily cause far more harm than it would satisfaction.

Frankly, people advocating full disclosure would do themselves and the rest of the world a far greater service if they would concentrate on proving their UFO claims before demanding the disclosure of materials they believe will exonerate the beliefs they've thus far failed to substantiate. Until they can do that, any attempts to convince others to support their demands for full disclosure -- whether they succeed or not -- will achieve a large measure of intolerable discontent for absiolutely no reason.

In any case, I think I'm preaching again while further separating myself from the topic of discussion. I believe in overkill as it pertains to almost any subject worthy of study, so any examination of statistical context, the motivations of hoaxers, or general theory regarding the psychology of UFO hoaxing are all interesting subjects deserving of study. As such, it certainly wouldn't bother me to discuss any or all of these -- it would all be educational to my interests, because I've never actually studied, formally or otherwise, very many hoaxes (the only exception being those established for Malmstrom AFB, March 1967). My own personal curiosity, then, would be easily satisfied. If, on the other hand, any discussions were limited to either new cases or "those famous cases that are not generally known to be hoaxes, but should be", I would have no problem attempting to stay within the bounds of discussion.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby mosfet » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:38 pm

Copied from omf or case or mufon?

There are probably many motivations for one to initiate a hoax. And I would certainly agree that some people have the misguided concept that a hoax will generate interest in the topic thereby leading to disclosure blah blah etc. If anything, such an approach leads to just the opposite, convincing even more that the UFO community is full of nut cakes or hoaxers. So it might be purposeful to review some of the motives hoaxers find compelling. At the simplest level it's probably just plain fun to see how many will fall for your trick especially since UFO believers are such an easy target. A second level might be how well a graphic artist can produce a convincing example. Another level might be some kind of obsessive-compulsive psychological problem for example one individual who posts incessantly pictures and drawings of UFOs and aliens.

There was some real psychology going on here for example when the drones first appeared it wasn't too long before most esteemed/practiced graphic artists could discern the deception; and even the bull shite stories that accompanied the graphics as equally deceptive. And yet even today there remains a core group still grasping a drone reality and even have a website devoted to such.

And while not commonly considered a hoax the entire abduction scenario I believe is at best a distraction to the UFO phenomena. While there may be some people who genuinely believe in their alien abduction it's been my experience (from these various UFO bulletin boards) that most of these people enjoying the notoriety stroking their own egos as they constantly tell and retell their abduction stories. They become the bulletin board hero and when asked to prove anything there comment is for you to prove that it didn't happen. Never mind the fact that the entire episode can be replicated in the laboratory with the use of electromagnetic pulses etc. and is even used as a therapy.

But trying to convince any one of these abductees that the experience could be anything but real represents a threat to their uncontested egotistical notoriety. They truly enjoy their unique stature and self-aggrandizement. And while some may or may not know of the true reality it would be difficult to separate those who hoax the abduction phenomena versus those who genuinely accept the incident as a reality as opposed to a mental induced phenomena.

I've also noticed how these individuals tend to attract like-minded individuals to the point where any rational discussion about abduction becomes fruitless and these abductees just tend to reinforce their own self-aggrandizement. Eventually they dominate the board to the point where it becomes more of a club then open forum.

And then there is the RC crowd with convincing examples with high-intensity LEDs etc. and while the graphic artist might submit a jpg example as a testimony to his graphic skills the RC enthusiast could likewise be motivated in the same manner in effect testing his art or building skill on the general public. Several people have confessed to such and it's unknown how many have never disclosed their deception except perhaps to the local RC club.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby nablator » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:21 pm

sentry579 wrote:There was a UK hoax where they had a light on a car and staged a phony photograph being taken in front of a witness. That was in the early 70s, I believe, and they let the UFO community absorb and spread the story for over a year before revealing their trickery.

The Warminster hoax! Credulous Pierre Guérin, famous French UFOlogist and astrophysicist wrote in Flying Saucer Review Vol. 16 No. 4: "In my opinion there is no question if the object photographed being in any possible way the result of faking."

I believe this is the relevant part of BBC Horizon - The Case Of The UFOs (1982):
http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo ... rate_Hoax/

There were some interesting reports generated by this 1958 hoax: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/arch ... e_man_hoax
Several witnesses attributed superhuman characteristics to the "alien".

Funny costume! It reminds me of the Martian invasion of France in 1954. Two journalists tried the same stunt and got similar results. If I weren't so lazy I could write about the many hoaxes of 1954 now elucidated that are still part of the CE3 UFO lore. Sometimes the time is ripe for a massive outbreak of "UFO occupants" hoaxes. We had one in France in 1954. There was one in 1973 in the US I believe but I don't know much about it. Maybe there is a "rule" (if I may extrapolate from two instances only) that the "UFO occupants" flaps are the last in any country. After these, people become blasé, interest for UFO sightings dies down and the focus moves to something even more outré (UFO crashes, abductions, mutilations...).

P.S. My theory is wrong. Mexico is an exception. They had a major UFO flap in 1991, after the total eclipse sighting (of Venus), despite the UFO occupants sightings of 1965 and 1978.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby sentry579 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:10 pm

Thanks, Nab! I couldn't think of the name of the Warminster hoax or recall the documentary it was featured in. You've save me a lot of worry tracking it down.

Here's a good article on the case:
http://magonia.haaan.com/1976/experimental-ufo-hoaxing/

And an even better one
http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/ufo-hoaxing/
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby IsaacKoi » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:21 am

James Carlson wrote:The motivation is different from those I assume most hoaxes are associated with


I've had contact with quite a few hoaxers. The motives of these individuals have varied considerably.

(1) Many created material simply for a laugh. While many within ufology doubt people would put in the effort necessary to, say, create a photoshopped image the amount of effort involved is generally far less than most people seem to think.

(2) Scientific experimentation : There have been a few interesting hoaxes which (at least according to the hoaxers) were done primarily to test the responses of witnesses and ufologists, i.e. they were conducting an experiment.

The best known such experiment is the Cradle Hill hoax (referred to in some of the post above as "the Warminster hoax", which is potentially confusing since there were several alleged hoaxes at the Warminster "hotspot"). That one is discussed in quite a few articles online (particularly on the Magonia website, with D I Simpson writing at least two articles giving the background to the hoax) and in about a dozen books that I've noted. I'm happy to post the full list of references to those discussions, but the longest and most informative ones are by:
(a) James Oberg in his book “UFOs and Outer Space Mysteries” (1982) at pages 103-106, 116 (in Chapter 5) of the Donning paperback edition; and
(b) Jenny Randles in her book “UFO Study” (1981) at pages 135-138 (in Chapter 11) of the Hale hardback edition.

(3) Art : Apart from the obvious example of crop-circle makers, several UFO videos and events have been hoaxed by individuals that considered they were creating works of art. The audience response is part of the art-work. Several crop-circle hoaxers have branched out into this type of UFO "artwork" in the last decade or two.

(4) Money - I don't think this one arises as some people think (with plain mischief being far more common...), but at least some characters in the history of ufology seem to be have been prepared to lie in order to make money.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby James Carlson » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:09 am

I've had contact with quite a few hoaxers. The motives of these individuals have varied considerably.

I can believe it. It would be interesting to know just how much of it is self-justification for just "mischief" -- wanting to have a little fun for the sake of having a little fun. This is just a suggestion, of course, but you should see how many of them would be willing to write up their involvement in hoaxes in association with a very in-depth series of interviews. All of it could be conducted with complete anonymity, of course, but it would be really fascinating, I think, to hear about the whole story from an actual encounter point-of-view. If you could combine that sort of story in association with the actual reported details through newspaper articles, MUFON assessments, internet forum discussions, and so forth, I think you would have a very real and worthy project that could eventually form the basis of an interesting publication. It's something worth weighing the pros and cons of, at the very least.

While many within ufology doubt people would put in the effort necessary to, say, create a photoshopped image the amount of effort involved is generally far less than most people seem to think.

You're absolutely right. It's also true that a lot of these folks continually underrate the abilities of humans, which should also be applied to "the amount of effort involved". They tend to believe that ancient structures in line with the pyramids, Machu Picchu, Stonehenge and many other such reflections of human accomplishments could not have been completed by men, simply because doing so was probably hard. And if humans didn't create such monuments, aliens from outer space must necessarily have done so. In the long run, this type of justification for their beliefs is just plain insulting.

Money - I don't think this one arises as some people think (with plain mischief being far more common...), but at least some characters in the history of ufology seem to be have been prepared to lie in order to make money.

I agree, to an extent. I also believe, however, that everybody who writes a book, or gets paid to lecture, or happens to be a paid attendee on the UFO circuit is most definitely in it for the money. They're not exactly educating anybody, so what else is there? Once you confirm their habitual need to ignore contrary evidence, or to consciously distort claims, I think you need to factor in the paycheck.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby IsaacKoi » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:07 pm

James Carlson wrote:It would be interesting to know just how much of it is self-justification for just "mischief" -- wanting to have a little fun for the sake of having a little fun.


Oh, I think the big grin on the faces of some of those involved CLEARLY indicated that some of their talk of "scientific experimentation" and/or creating "artwork" was seeking to put themselves in the best light possible. I'm sure the "mischief" explanation that I put at the first bullet point in my list is one of the main motivations even with some of those that ALSO have one of the other motivates.

This is just a suggestion, of course, but you should see how many of them would be willing to write up their involvement in hoaxes in association with a very in-depth series of interviews. All of it could be conducted with complete anonymity, of course, but it would be really fascinating, I think, to hear about the whole story from an actual encounter point-of-view.


The problem is finding the time to write things up. It hardly seems worth the time and effort involved.

I also believe, however, that everybody who writes a book, or gets paid to lecture, or happens to be a paid attendee on the UFO circuit is most definitely in it for the money. They're not exactly educating anybody, so what else is there? Once you confirm their habitual need to ignore contrary evidence, or to consciously distort claims, I think you need to factor in the paycheck.


This is where I have to disagree with you. I think you are being a bit unfair to SOME of those involved in ufology. I don't accept that "everyone who writes a book" is "most definitely in it for the money".

I know a few people (not the ones seen at UFO conferences) that have written UFO books that certainly have not made themselves rich as a result - nor did they expect to become rich in this field. Take Jenny Randles or Richard Hall, for example. Both spent a lot of time and effort working on books that are well respected by more serious students of ufology - but neither obtained the sort of financial success that they could have achieved if they wrote in a more sensational style (or if they had simply decided to stop spending time and effort on ufology!). SOME people that write UFO books are merely looking to disseminate their results (and possibly recoup SOME of their expenses, potentially making a very small amount of money) rather than being in it for the money.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby nablator » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:43 pm

IsaacKoi wrote:SOME people that write UFO books are merely looking to disseminate their results

... and some UFO-evangelists merely want to disseminate their faith.
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Re: UFO Hoaxes

Postby mosfet » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:07 am

Looks real to me?

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