Tag: podcast

Irvine-Based UFO Group Marks 50 Years of Watching the Skies

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by Ben Brazil                   June 26, 2019                       (latimes.com)

• The Mutual UFO Network, or ‘MUFON’, is an international research nonprofit that investigates UFO sightings. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the group has spent decades investigating reports and sightings of UFOs worldwide with chapters in all 50 states and about 40 countries. A symposium at Hotel Irvine July 26th to 28th marked the organization’s 50th anniversary.

• Reports are gathered from each chapter and funneled through the Irvine office. Jan Harzan worked as Orange County MUFON section director from 1995 to 2013. He also earned a degree in nuclear engineering at UCLA and worked as an IBM executive for 37 years. Today the 64-year-old serves as the executive director of MUFON.

• For five decades, MUFON’s volunteers have investigated more than 120,000 cases. There are more than 600 trained investigators worldwide, as the organization receives about 500 to 1,000 reports a month. About 30% of them go unexplained. Harzan says the study of UFOs “has had this stigma for years.” “Anybody who saw a UFO was considered a crazy person.” “The military and intelligence community don’t think you or I have the right to know this stuff exists.”

• Harzan believes the stigma surrounding UFOs may be fading as more reports come to light. The New York Times recently reported that several Navy pilots reported encounters with UFOs, and US senators have received briefings on these sightings. “[W]e are entering a new era,” Harzan said. “It’s no longer, ‘Are UFOs fact or fiction?’ It’s ‘UFOs are real, deal with it.’ Now the questions will shift to who are they and why are they here?”

• Harzan thinks that aliens are intergalactic observers, monitoring the activities of the ‘apes with the nukes’. “They are interested in our nuclear capabilities,” Harzan says. “My personal opinion, I think they are watching over us to make sure we don’t kill ourselves.”

• When Harzan was a boy of 10 years old, he saw a UFO in his backyard in Thousand Oaks. The craft was about 10 feet long and 3 feet high, smooth and metallic on the outside with a corrugated metal landing gear. It hummed like a transformer on a telephone pole. Harzan says, “I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t ours.”

• Investigator Linda Flechtner had experiences with UFOs when she was a teenager and started working with MUFON about six years ago out of the Irvine office. She’s always discussed UFOs with her brother and sister who’ve both been MUFON investigators for nearly 30 years. Of the 300 cases she’s investigated, about 20 of them are classified as ‘unidentified’. One of her most memorable cases involved a pilot who encountered an interactive orb as he was flying. “He chased it, and it played with him,” Flechtner said. “He said he tried to get (behind it) but it interacted with him. Then it took off.”

• MUFON will remain a sanctuary for the sky-gazers,” says Harzan, “… for people who have had (UFO) experiences, and … where people can come and get answers.”

 

The pilots must have been small.

Jan Harzan reckoned the craft was about 10 feet long and 3 feet high. He described it as smooth and metallic on the outside, something similar to a water tank, with corrugated metal landing gear. It hummed like a transformer on a telephone pole.

“It’s like it had been born as one piece,” Harzan said. “I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t ours.”

Harzan said he first saw a UFO at age 10 while standing in his backyard in Thousand Oaks. The experience, whatever it may have been, stuck with him. The 64-year-old Newport Beach resident now serves as the executive director of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, an international research nonprofit.

Harzan works out of MUFON headquarters in Irvine, the central hub of a network with locations in all 50 states and about 40 countries.

The organization is marking its 50th anniversary at its annual symposium, July 26 to 28 at Hotel Irvine.

The group has spent decades investigating reports and sightings worldwide, seeking to provide an answer to one of humanity’s central questions: Are we alone? But the organization has also acted as a refuge for those who believe they have experienced the incomprehensible and wonder what secrets the sky may harbor.

The nonprofit has investigated more than 120,000 cases. Most end up being drones, balloons, a planet. About 30% of cases go unexplained.

Everything is funneled through the Irvine office. Annual reports are gathered from each chapter.

About four people regularly work in the office. The conference room is filled with UFO-related books. The back wall is lined with dozens of file boxes spanning five decades of investigation.

“The military and intelligence community don’t think you or I have the right to know this stuff exists,” Harzan said.

Investigators are volunteers. They are trained with a field investigator manual. There are more than 600 investigators worldwide. The ranks are needed as the organization receives about 500 to 1,000 reports a month.

No one else it seems will listen to their stories without presupposition.

“It has had this stigma for years,” Harzan said. “Anybody who saw a UFO was considered a crazy person.”

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What We Get Wrong When We Talk About UFOs

Listen to “E22 7-7-19 What We Get Wrong When We Talk About UFOs” on Spreaker.
by Faye Flam                       June 25, 2019                         (bloomberg.com)

• Navy pilots have reported seeing alien UFOs is the skies, and Congressmen are being briefed on it. These UFO sightings should be investigated in a scientific way, but errors in thinking are undermining the effort. There are two reasons why we should not conclude that these are extraterrestrial craft.

• But the pro-extraterrestrial visitation arguments rest on two serious errors. One is the confusion of observations with interpretations, and the other is a slight twist on an error called ‘god of the gaps’.

• The first error is that Navy pilots cannot know a flying object’s speed or acceleration without knowing whether these were little things seen up close, or bigger things farther away. Former NASA engineer James Oberg says, “The bizarre events reported by Navy pilots are not ‘observations’; they are interpretations of what the raw observations might mean.”

• The second error is that when a scientist cannot explain something, they go to the supernatural explanation or an “act of God”. The same thing is happening with UFOs, with alien visitors being used to fill gaps in our understanding of the latest detection technology, the sky and human vision. Extraterrestrial visitors and gods fall into the same category of unscientific explanation because they haven’t shown themselves to humanity in a coherent enough way for claims about them to be tested.

• The arguments for extraterrestrial UFOs falsely equate the possibility that extraterrestrial life exists with the plausibility that it’s visiting us. Yes, there are other planets out there, and some might harbor life forms. But why should we assume they’d want to come here? Are we really that exciting?

• Many UFOs have been explained scientifically. The Air Force conducted studies starting in 1947, and continuing through the 1960’s, when the matter was turned over to a panel of civilian scientists headed by physicist Edward Condon at the University of Colorado. The committee explained most of the outstanding cases as reflections, equipment glitches, balloons, astronomical phenomena and human-built craft. So what about the unexplained cases?

• Len Finegold, a retired UC physics professor who consulted on a few Condon cases says there are plenty of unexplained phenomena left in physics, “so we’re used to that.” Mysteries of life may one day be solved, but in the meantime, let’s get comfortable with the gaps.

[Editor’s Note]    This is a hard core Deep State response to the UFO phenomenon, which the government has maintained since the 1940’s. They roll out their greatest hits of half-baked, irrational arguments to prove that UFOs and aliens do not exist. First, experienced Navy pilots have no idea what they are looking at. Second, the ignorant public tends to attribute outrageous religious or supernatural explanations to natural but as yet undiscovered phenomenon. Thirdly, the government has thoroughly and scientifically examined the UFO phenomenon and proclaimed that there is nothing to it. Lastly – and this is the best one – why would any extraterrestrial want to come here? It appears that the Deep State has shifted its ‘deny and cover-up’ strategy from all-out ridicule to a reasoned argument that we’re all just a bunch of idiots who should leave the heavy thinking to the ‘experts’.

 

If you’re reluctant to believe the latest round of media claims that alien spacecraft are lurking around our airspace and surprising Navy pilots, well, you are not alone.

The New York Times leaned toward aliens as the reason Navy pilots have seen unexplained flying objects, and the Washington Post made a similar case in its news coverage followed by a guest editorial: “UFOs exist and everyone needs to adjust to that fact.” Others followed suit. Congress is getting classified briefings.

But the pro-extraterrestrial visitation arguments rest on two serious errors. One is the confusion of observations with interpretations, and the other is a slight twist on an error called god of the gaps. The UFO sightings should be investigated in a scientific way, but the errors are undermining the effort.

The first error made in most of the news coverage was to claim that Navy pilots observed craft that accelerated, rose upwards or turned faster than was physically possible. But pilots can’t know any object’s speed or acceleration without knowing whether these were little things, seen close up, or bigger things, that were farther away. It’s just one clue that the vocabulary is being blurred.

James Oberg, a former NASA engineer turned space journalist, pointed out: “The bizarre events reported by Navy pilots are not ‘observations’; they are interpretations of what the raw observations might mean.” To start an investigation from a conclusion rather than from data is, he says, “a recipe for confusion and frustration and dead-ended detours.” 1

The other error cropped up many times when I wrote newspaper stories about evolution. Readers would sometimes write in to argue that if scientists couldn’t completely explain some phenomenon – say, the origin of DNA – then it must be an act of God. Theologians sometimes use the term “god of the gaps” to describe the erroneous use of supernatural explanations for natural phenomena that aren’t yet explained. The same thing is happening with UFOs, with alien visitors being used to fill gaps in our understanding of the latest detection technology, the sky and human vision.

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FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

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