Monday, 21 September 2009

The Credible Witness.

I often hear the term “credible witness” when someone is talking about the topic of UFO sightings. It would seem that there are two categories for witnesses and these are credible and unreliable. Why is this when pretty much every witness report is thrown into doubt by even those within the UFO community? I have often heard incredulity from fellow researchers when the topic is being discussed, even (and sometimes, especially!!) when it comes to other researchers. There seems to be an underlying game of one upmanship within circles which to me is utterly ridiculous, but then some people are terribly set in their way’s I have discovered.

I want to discuss the “credible witness” and the “unreliable witness” here. I want to try and decipher who is who and why. Police officers, Pilots, Radar operators and people from the scientific community who report sightings have more weight than most of us for a reason; the fact that they can retain information and are obviously intelligent.

However your normal “ordinary” witness in the street has a harder time being believed and is therefore probably more reluctant to come forward and tell of their experiences for the fear of ridicule rather than the police officers, scientists and pilots whose careers could be put at risk for reporting their sightings. Also a lot of people don’t even know who to approach to tell. There is also the underlying fear that someone dressed in black will come and tell you that they will hurt your nearest and dearest if you tell anyone. It’s hard to believe in this day and age but true. Most people just think that no one will listen so what is the point.

Why is it so ridiculous and who made it so? Thousands of UFO’s are reported every single year by all and sundry, what’s the big deal and who say’s Jo Regular isn’t reliable? Have we just assumed this or have we been told? Are we setting up our own barometer of believability and if we are … why?

As some of you may know I have an interest in psychology and for me to believe what a person has witnessed, I particularly rely on the way the ordinary “Jo Regular” recounts their experience, I had a close encounter myself in 1996 and this has really made me more interested in the ordinary folk rather than other’s who’s only difference to me is that they can sign your passport photograph. If it happened to me, an ordinary mother at the age of 26, then it can happen to anybody…. and it does on a regular basis.

I have talked to many people about the subject and I can only recall one incident where someone flat out refused to believe I had seen a UFO, the rest usually have their own tales to tell. I am regularly told stories by friends, neighbours and associates alike who have all seen something they could not explain, sometimes I have been able to proffer an alternative explanation but some of them I have to put into the category of Unidentified Flying Object, or should I even dare to create another alternative name for this phenomena (which seems to be popular these days) and that would be an UMA “Unidentified Manoeuvring Objects” as a lot of them seem to jump around the sky without doing very much flying at all.

To be a credible witness there are certain criteria you must fulfil:

CREDIBLE WITNESS - A credible witness is one who is competent to give evidence, and is worthy of belief. In deciding upon the credibility of a witness, it is always pertinent to consider whether he is capable of knowing the thing thoroughly about which he testifies. 2. Whether he was actually present at the event. 3. Whether he paid sufficient attention to qualify himself to be a reporter of it; and 4. Whether he honestly relates the affair fully as he knows it, without any purpose or desire to deceive or suppress or add to the truth.

Now that is the legal definition of a credible witness so what does this mean to ufology and how does it relate?

It used to be the case that only certain individual’s accounts would be taken seriously, Let us take police officers as an example. It would seem that even they do not count anymore. Alan Godfrey and Tony Dodd who sadly passed away recently, both of them extremely good police officers in their own right and both of them are UFO witnesses. Now they were credible up to a point but then they came under scrutiny and for some people are no longer considered worthy proponents in the field. There are credible police witnesses in the states, you can find no end of police officers reporting their sightings if you can dedicate a couple of hours to a Google fest, yet if any of them were to ditch their career and go into the subject full time, they would instantly be struck off the list. So it seems that you can be a credible witness but only up to a point and depending on your behaviour afterwards! Oh and lets not forget the money angle... The cries of “I can hear the cash registers ringing already” every time someone tries to get something into the public arena... If the media can’t be trusted to take the subject seriously then we have to take it upon ourselves to present a reasonable case and to be fair I don’t know many people who’ve made very much money from their books if any at all. As for doing it for the fame.. who are we going to be famous to???

So there are two distinct camps in the police community as far as UFO sightings are concerned. If you have a sighting, make a report and go about your life as if nothing has happened, then you are a good witness, but if it has such an effect on you that you become embroiled in the subject and dedicate your time to it, then you are obsessed and suddenly find yourself on the unreliable list. For those of us who have had experiences, it leaves you in little doubt that something incredible is going on, it changes the way you view life in general and sets you on a hunt for the truth. Exactly how are you supposed to behave when you have seen something that quite literally blows your mind? As if nothing has happened is not really an option, and it’s a good job too, otherwise this article wouldn’t be being written and I would still be cooking chips for a living.

So what makes a good witness? Someone who knows about aeronautics? Nuclear Physics? Astronomy? Well that’s pretty much the case. If you have a career which involves any work in the scientific community or possibly the civil service but then only some parts of it… then you have a good chance of being on the winning team. Even so, there aren’t many scientists who will come forward and say that they think that some of the events reported are worthy of further investigation because they cannot be explained by any methods known to them and even fewer who will come forward and admit that they have witnessed something themselves. If they do they are in danger of being ridiculed and their career prospects compromised. Yet there does seem to be small percentages who are gathering together who are looking into the phenomena even if it could mean trouble for their careers.

If we look at the disclosure project which to me is invaluable, every one of them has seen something and knows it is of extra terrestrial design. It is a risky business though as I’m sure you will know each one of them has had their issues to deal with since coming out into the open with their knowledge. Let’s take Phil Schneider for example... strangled himself with a catheter apparently..... How?. So i suppose in a certain sense the disclosure project is pushing onward with some risk but how can that many scientists be eradicated without everyone going “err... hang on a minute.... maybe these guys are onto something if they all meet mysterious ends.” Soon enough the conspiracy documentaries will start rolling out with every tiny detail analysed to the minutia whether correct or assumed, drawing more attention to the project than Dr Steven Greer and associates could ever have dreamed of... It’s a bit self defeatist really so they continue the denial and the ridicule. So you can understand why people might be backwards in coming forwards.

July the 9th 1947 saw the first coming together of official sources to debunk the claims of any or all UFO reports that might be given. The FBI were informed that Army Air force Intelligence was using “all of it’s scientists” to determine whether or not such a phenomenon could exist and to ascertain whether the phenomenon was in fact celestial activity or if they were being designed, manufactured and controlled. Within just a few weeks they had concluded that this phenomenon was not imaginary or natural weather conditions, in fact they concluded that these things were actually flying around! These objects could travel at ridiculous speeds, change shape and change direction without banking or stopping, seemingly impossible feats considering the technology we were using at the time. I’ve heard people say “well the military are 50 years ahead of what you or I know with their technological advancements, everything you see in the sky is a secret military project” Well in that case we should be seeing some of that technology by now wouldn’t you think? Just look at these examples of objects tracked on radar showing their speed fifty years or more ago by totally credible witnesses:

Summer 1948 Goose bay, Labrador; USAF and RCAF radar independently tracked unidentified target travelling at 9000 mph at an altitude of 60,000 ft.

October 15th, 1948 Japan, Air Force F-61 night interceptor tracked and saw visually UFO shaped like “a rifle bullet.” On one pass, F61 got close enough to see silhouette 20-30ft long. It’s speed was between 200mph and accelerated to 1200 mph at an altitude of 5000ft rising to 6,000 ft.

Autumn 1949 Key atomic Base, Korea. Five UFO’s in formation clocked covering 300 miles in less than 4 minutes at an average speed of 4,500 mph.

Now from Officers and pilots reporting manouvreability: 28th June 1947 two pilots and two intelligence officers reported seeing a bright light source zig- zag with bursts of speed and make a 90 degree turn.

18th November 1948, Washington D.C. Lt Harry g. Coombes, Lt Kenwood W. Jackson pilots had a Dogfight with a glowing oval UFO which put on bursts of speed up to an estimated 600 mph.

3rd November 1948, Baja Mexico. Capt. William Donnelly, Pilot saw four discs “cavorting” in flight.

8th March 1950, Dayton Ohio. Two F-51 Pilots and several airline pilots saw a round UFO observed from the ground, tracked on radar, climbed away from interceptors through the clouds.

12th July 1952, Chicago Illinois. A captain and a weather officer watched a reddish object with small white body lights made a 180 degree turn and disappeared over horizon.

Ten years ago a Gallup poll concluded that 71% of the United States’ population believed that the government was covering up information regarding UFO’s and a 2002 Roper poll for the Sci-Fi channel believed that the government were covering up information but there were more people believing that the UFO’s were actually extraterrestrial craft. Around 70% believed the government were not sharing all that it knew about UFO’s or extraterrestrial life but 56 % thought UFO’s were real and that 48% believed that aliens had visited Earth or were here living among us. Those polls conducted only relate to the populace of America.

This briefly leads me to the extraterrestrial hypothesis. There are many among us who have claimed to have met with and talked to ET’s and many claim to have been experimented on by these creatures. The stories are largely the same which in one camp denotes believability but in the other camp they are believed to be the product of social conditioning, wishful thinking and delusion. If there are ET’s visiting this planet why have they not been captured is a frequently asked question. The answers are varied. Maybe they are too clever to be caught, they visit through interdimensional means and do not actually exist on this Earth plane, or they have been captured and we are kept in the dark about it etc.etc.. How many times have we heard that ET’s live at various military installations? How many pieces of footage have we all seen depicting incubation tanks and interrogations for example? All of them are dismissed largely, but how are we to know for sure when such secrecy and lies shroud the subject? Even reports such as Grudge, Sign and Blue book have now been for the most part relegated to the category of disinformation but why? These reports are now decades old and once again, if they were there to distract our attention from military craft, then we would be seeing that kind of manoeuvrability and technology now.

When we look at alien abduction literature, the motives behind these visitations are as varied as the crafts described in reports. Explanations run from benevolent beings coming here to make us see the error of our ways and subsequently change the way we live and love, genetic assimilation for the survival of their species, genetic manipulation for the survival of our species, food for the visitors and general scientific experimentations on ourselves and other species on this planet as in the case of human and cattle mutilations. Some seem to think they are operating a cruel to be kind philosophy as most abductees report their intentions are benevolent and that they are expressing concern about human survival, with a large proportion of abductees reporting having been shown images of the planet blowing up and being told this is your future if you do not amend your ways. Another idea thrown into the arena is that it is ourselves travelling back in time with the same warnings, I love this theory but I get my brain in a knot trying to figure out the eventualities or motives and ten million other questions!

They seem to be expressing the need for us to learn to love one another regardless of colour or creed whilst reportedly having no emotional capacity themselves? Various hypotheses have been brought forward but there is a tendency to disbelieve anyone who has had an encounter with an ETI because there has never been any evidence other than hearsay that they exist, yet the objects we see in the sky on an almost daily basis appear to be intelligently controlled so who’s flying them?

Another hypothesis is that this planet is a sort of celestial Ark and we are a storehouse for all life in the cosmos with genetic coding in place to be activated individually when the time is right for each of us to develop on an evolutionary basis, having physically developed as much as we are able. Spiritual growth seems to be the order of the day which would tie in with the need to adopt a more environmentally friendly way of living. Your guess is as good as mine.

But the lack of physical evidence leaves us to merely speculate on who, why or what these sightings and interactions are. Mass hallucinations, Fantasy prone personalities, Drunkenness and drugs? Not in the case of sightings where visual contact is made by pilots and radar operators in the same instance. Yet if the pilots are confused as to what exactly it is they are scrambling after, how are the rest of us meant to find out?. Simple answer is… we are not. Yet we see things often and come under a massive amount of doubt and ridicule for saying we have and in some of cases we are told to stay quiet about what we have seen. When asked why I didn’t report what was happening to myself and my companions to the police I say that we would not have been taken seriously and if it takes a police officer several hours and even day’s to respond to a real physical event, do we seriously believe that they would have been with us in a matter of minutes? I think not. Also at the time, we were all so caught up in what was happening we could only think to phone a friend who was a believer and did not consider ringing any other parties. If we were to have informed another body then what would have happened then? No one really knows how people are treated in such circumstances and although the extraterrestrial exposure law is an American law, you can be sure that the same rules apply, in a nutshell, it just doesn’t seem worth the added trauma.

( to read the exposure law)

Any other physical evidence is always open to interpretation, especially with today’s technological advancements in photography and film making. I myself am guilty of dismissing most images and films, it’s almost impossible to say whether a photograph is the real deal or not now and so anything that is reported with at least this evidence attached goes straight into the bin. Even when physical evidence is collected and collated by those dedicated enough to get out and about to collect it, what do you do with it afterwards? Make your report and hope to be believed? Physical trace evidence has been collected in the past, ground impressions, burned and desiccated soil, broken and burned foliage, increased radiation levels and magnetic anomalies and traces. Take Rendlesham forest as an example, even now we are being told that it was a lighthouse, the troops were drunk, it was Christmas, they were unreliable witnesses due to alcohol. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I have drunk more than my fair share of hooch in my time and not once have I hallucinated a UFO with my friends! Can you imagine the amount of sightings being reported every Saturday night over city centres.. especially at the end of the month when everyone gets paid. These guys’ were. Also having visited Rendlesham a couple of times myself, you would have to be a lunatic to think you could get away with the lighthouse theory but most people will never visit the place so can only take “expert” testimony as truth.

So whilst most academics ignore the subject, some actually embrace it. In 1998 Peter Sturrock, professor of applied physics at Stamford University organised a panel of scientists who were supported by the Society for Scientific Exploration to review the matter. The panel which consisted of nine physical scientists responded to presentations by eight investigators of UFO reports. They concluded that some of the reports which were accompanied by physical evidence were worthy of further scientific investigation but that no known laws of physics were being violated."It may be valuable to carefully evaluate UFO reports to extract information about unusual phenomena currently unknown to science." To be credible to the scientific community "such evaluations must take place with a spirit of objectivity and a willingness to evaluate rival hypotheses" that has so far been lacking.” Although they concluded that the ET hypothesis is not worthy of investigation due to lack of physical evidence.

( for full report)

Leaving the physical debate to one side, there are other academics who are interested UFO enthusiast subcultures and folklore from a purely anthropological perspective and some feel the subject could provide new insights into various fields of psychology, sociology and communications yet there is no public body or government who wishes to fund or support UFO research feeling that the Condon report (1969!!) settled the matter and that any further UFO data is not worth researching. Yet absence of study of this subject increases scepticism and therefore strongly affects anyone’s willingness to begin to investigate the subject by scientific means, any or all physical evidence being kept under wraps by those powers that be even though some in the scientific arena think there is enough evidence to warrant further studies without this. Who would they get to fund it?

The negative conclusion of the Condon report seems to have been particularly damaging to the likelihood of any scientists involving themselves seriously in UFO investigations but the conclusion was written by Condon who had already expressed his disdain of the topic long before the investigation reached it’s end so in most cases it is dismissed as unworthy.

Even when the majority of UFO’s become IFO’s it is still only a majority, there are still a small percentage of aerial phenomena which cannot be readily explained, whether this is 1% or 10% it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that there is most definitely a small amount of cases which cannot be explained away no matter how hard anyone tries. Because of the OSA we know we have to wait a ridiculous amount of time before we can read the reports of strange goings on in the skies which have been witnessed by our “credible witnesses” and even then they are becoming more cunning about how they can keep us from gaining these reports. With the travesty which has come to light about documents being kept in areas where asbestos has been used, they are of course saving us from a fate worse than death by protecting us from this terrible substance, if you ask them…to quickly shredding reports before certain dates when laws come into effect then where do we get most of our sighting reports from? With every shred of evidence being hidden from us by the military and associates, we only have our beloved Jo Regular in the street to speak up when they see something. However unreliable a person might appear to be, with any amount of knowledge of human behavioural psychology, there are markers for you to look out for in how to determine a true story, yet we still have the issue of “yes they believe what they saw was unusual so of course they will tell it that way.” But what about people who claim to be abductees? Are they really all suffering from psychosis? If this is the case then there are many areas of science which are shamefully far behind in their studies of this phenomena, which some of us, if not all know for sure is really going on. If seeing ufos is a manifestation of an illness where are the studies? Where is the wonder drug? Thre's billions of dollars/sterling to be made from it.

I conclude that in the present climate one could be considered to be unreliable until undertaking some kind of academic qualification to prove ones intellect and use it retrospectively. But on the other side of the coin, if you are already in the credible gang it takes no time at all to be relegated to the division of unreliable witness from originally being credible if you make one dodgy remark it will be brought up immediately regardless of however many irrefutable points you’ve made!! Ad hominem.

If not having a university education means you cannot be a reliable witness, I wouldn't believe a word I've said if I were you... well at least not until I've got my degree...

1 comment:

  1. Sasha,

    You make some good points and I agree with you that the 'credibility' of witnesses is unfair. In my eight years of active research I have rarely come across any member of the public who has contacted me with a sighting and found them to be unreliable or attempting to perpetrate a hoax. People are genuine, the problem is that the media have created a climate of ridicule associated with the subject and to stand half a chance of being heard in the eyes of the press etc you have to be 'deemed a credible witness' ie. the pilot, the police officer, astronaut.

    Unfortunately I don't think this situation will ever change until an event occurs that will leave no-one in the world in doubt that ET is definitely around and thus open the doors to genuine reporting of the subject.

    Gary Heseltine
    The PRUFOS Police Database