Fans of all things alien, UFO, and well…basically odd, are seeing a very serious rift in the UFO community come to light this week. Actually, a civil war inside the UFO community has been brewing for quite some time if you listen to the key players in the field of UFO research. This week Dave Scott of Spaced Out Radio took aim at a large segment of that community with an article titled Another Reason To Distrust The People In Ufology. You’ll find the link to it at the bottom of this article.
Dave Scott hits hard in this article from the start, calling into the question the IUFOC for their choices of those they presented awards to at this years’ International UFO Congress in Phoenix, Arizona. Scott went on to present a list of those in Ufology that he considers to be the more serious researchers. For the sake of transparency, I subscribe to Scott’s podcast and have been a sporadic listener (when time allows) for about two years. His show covers a broad range of topics in the world of the strange and he is a serious minded person when it comes to Ufology. Although he backs up to say that he intended no disrespect to some that received awards by the International UFO Congress, such as Jeremy Corbell, he still holds no punches on his intended target which appears to be the UFO community at large that he deems to be more about commercialization than about serious research. He seems to take offense to those that won awards at the conference and goes on to point out who he thinks should have won. Sour grapes? Maybe.
It seems that he reserved the most animosity for the organizer of the event, Alejandro Rojas. He claims that the UFO community has received another black eye from one of its own! Pretty harsh words aimed at the folks at the IUFOC. Does he have a point? Does the entire UFO community have a black eye after this week? Has it been discredited? Are the players at these popular conferences doing irreparable damage to Ufology? Only time will tell, but I seriously doubt it. I do wonder why the axe to grind for this particular event when Scott is scheduled as a guest speaker for UFO CON 2020 next year in San Francisco.
Back to the question at large; Does he have a point? He makes some good points in his article even though in the big picture I think he’s way off course. Reading the article does sound like sour grapes, his chosen ones didn’t get an award. He’s pissed. Hell, the Reds haven’t made the playoffs in years. Yeah, I’m pissed at the Cardinals and Cubs for dominating the division. I can relate, in a weird sort of way. As a so-called “fan boy” of all things strange, including Ufology, I read this article from a completely different point of view than from where Scott was coming from. So let’s hash out the differences and hope it doesn’t piss everyone off in the UFO community. If it does…so be it.
Before we go any further about Scott’s article, a couple more things about me for the sake of transparency. I am a UFO nerd and fascinated by all kinds of odd and strange things. I’ve listened to countless different radio shows and podcasts that address these issues for more than 20 years. I even address this topic, and other oddities, in my own books. Am I novice to this? No. Am I an expert? Not at all. I am one of the curious followers that watch all the TV shows, listen to a lot of the podcasts and radio shows. Is my opinion important? Depends on who you ask, but I’m like millions of others who have taken a strong interest in Ufology and follow what is readily available.
Ancient Aliens is a show on the History Channel that has been around for a long damn time. I’ve watched it for years and it has gotten some good ratings or it wouldn’t still be running after all this time. It is the influence behind the well known AlienCon and countless other conventions for us “fan boys,” as I’ve seen us called on Facebook threads this week. Fan boy/girl…not a real nice term, not that I give a damn. I have thick skin, but some don’t like that term. That has annoyed more than a few of the casual observers from discussions with people that I personally know and from the feedback from those at the International UFO Congress in Phoenix. In fact, after a first reading of this article one person in attendance said that they were “appalled.” And the folks at that conference should be. Scott put them in his crosshairs.
Heidi Gadd, a small business owner in Chandler, Arizona and host of Aliens And Beyond, took offense to the article. She attended the International UFO Congress in Phoenix. Gadd is regular at the International UFO Congress in recent years, previously working as press and this year actually working in AV and sound for the convention. Gadd was one of the people that felt insulted by Scott’s article. Although she does not personally know Dave Scott, she did say that is was unfortunate that he has to take this stance.
“There’s a lot of great people doing amazing things in the Ufology community,” Gadd said in an email response to me. “I’d like to emphasize that word community. Maybe I’m just a girl that was raised by hippies and has idealistic views of what our world could be, but the best I can tell everyone I’ve ever met in Ufology does it for the same reasons. Probably the main reason, and this is just my opinion based off of observation from conversations I’ve had with researchers, enthusiasts and the curious, is they do it to spread the knowledge. Learning and exploring, growing this field in the search for truth is vital. Because, don’t we all want the same thing?”
I reached out to some folks on both sides of this argument for their thoughts, and it is clear that enough shots have been fired to cause a serious rift in Ufology. However, it isn’t one that can’t be fixed in order to help this field actually move forward and make real progress in the public eye if both sides can agree to just disagree.
Erica Lukes, one of the researchers mentioned by Scott, agreed to talk with me about this issue. I posed a few questions to her via email. Although she said she would get back with me the following day to address my questions and discuss the issue I never heard back. Lukes is the hostess of UFO Classified on KCOR Radio in Utah, a show that I highly recommend.
I think Scott is missing the big picture in this article. Most of us “fan boys” know that what we see on television is fabricated. It is made for mass audiences, just like like Ancient Aliens in which Lukes has appeared several times. In order to appeal to mass audiences you need a certain kind of showmanship that brings fresh eyes to the show because the show requires corporations willing to pay advertising dollars to keep it on the air. I don’t think Scott has considered the power of advertising dollars and the power of pop culture before he hit the submit button to publish this article. Odd, since I’d bet a vital organ that he must know the necessity of advertising dollars for his popular radio show.
There are some of the guest experts on Ancient Aliens (and other shows) that pose my favorite question on every episode: What if? As a writer, that question has led to some wild creativity. It’s the same for that show. It leads the show off onto some pretty wild assumptions that probably piss off Dave Scott and others to their very core. Is some of the stuff they propose unrealistic and ridiculous? Hell yes. However, I don’t know one person who watches that show and believes everything they see. It is television and we’re not rubes. But it is those wild assumptions that keep people watching and fascinated with Ufology. And the more people that come to this field with an open mind then the better off this field will be in the long run.
Let me clear about the shows on television and those on podcasts and radio that try to appeal to popular culture. These folks have to make a living! Does it take away from real research that is going on in the UFO community? No. It’s a problem of timing. Those that sell Ufology to the popular culture have to do so in increments, at a pace those in the public seeking this information can absorb? Is it their fault that some of the in-depth research might be a bit ahead of the times for public consumption? Maybe a bit too boring for the masses right now? Not really. I’ve been listening to Art Bell (RIP) and George Noory since 1999 and I still haven’t heard of some of the names that Scott mentioned as serious people in the research.
Does that make tens of thousands of folks like me idiots? Not at all, it just means that we don’t hang onto every word he says or catch every late night show on the radio. We don’t eat, sleep, and breathe all things alien and UFO. Reading threads on social media discussing Scott’s article I noticed the term “fan boy” being tossed around a bit and I got the impression it wasn’t meant in a complimentary way. I’ve seen Lukes on television but if it wasn’t for a post on social media I’d not have known about her radio show that she shares on YouTube. She is a very serious researcher and has fascinating archives of the history of this field. And she makes great points, as does Dave Scott. But there’s room in the field for those that want to cling to the accuracy of their findings and those in the field that add to the research but also bring the attention to the field.
Should we take Scott’s advice and distrust people in the UFO community? Absolutely not! Here’s what he’s missing. I think maybe he’s forgotten what it’s like to be someone new to the fascination of this industry. That’s right, I said “industry.” If he’s willing to rail on the International UFO Congress, Rojas, and all those involved, he should step back and see the bigger picture. If you want Ufology to continue and grow stronger in the future you need events just like the UFO Congress and all those AlienCons out there. It is those events that reach a broad audience, just like Ancient Aliens. Are there some that stretch the limits and boundaries? Hell yes, there are some out there just for the money. But consider this. Would someone like me have taken a real interest in this field and even know who Dave Scott is, or Erica Lukes, without those pop culture events? Nope. And you know what got me interested in Ufology in the first place…Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Yep, Hollywood and all of their sensationalism got me hooked long before I ever knew who Art Bell was. Is sensationalism all that bad? In the bigger picture it is what drew millions of folks like me to the field of Ufology to take it seriously in the first place.
So, if Scott is going to hold a grudge against shows like Ancient Aliens and Rojas and the International UFO Congress, he should hold an equally strong grudge against Hollywood for sensationalizing the topic, and in many cases ridiculing it. Men In Black was a great movie and was big hit at the box office. They ridiculed the topic of aliens and the alien threat all through the movie. I wonder how many people tuned in to watch shows about Roswell for the first time after seeing that movie. Or how about Independence Day? After all, all aliens must be evil and are coming here to destroy mankind. Let’s get ‘em! Even in my own books I bring up serious topics such as the existence of life out there somewhere, missing 411, cryptids, and ghosts. I present these topics to people in a humorous way with the hope that they get curious enough about the topics to do some of their own research. Maybe Scott would think I’m part of the problem, too.
Perhaps there can be a happy medium between the two sides. Why not form another research organization and have a list of requirements that one must have to be a part of the more serious research? Perhaps a board that votes on who is in and who isn’t? Perhaps reaching out to Rojas and others to have a more balanced presentation at these public events such as AlienCon and Congress would be a great first step. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. Guess it depends on those that Dave Scott and others in that camp want to do. I do know that it would be better to stop taking shots at one another and work more constructively for the sake of good quality research, and yes, packaging of the product to sell it to the masses. Questioning the “trust” of the folks in Ufology so often will eventually burn the house down and set this field back so far that we’ll only have Hollywood for our alien fix, and the truth be damned.
Aliens And Beyond https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk-eEUhyCjr0-_yXIbosDTw/videos