UFOs: The Secret History

DATELINE: (well, not so secret)

Be Still, My Earth.

Though it is billed as having new information, it really has only a new and amusing perspective.  The film is irreverent in many ways, through use of movie clips and the laconic narration of its clever director.

We are happy to report that, unlike many cheapskate directors who save money by doing their own voice-overs, this director is actually a fairly good voice and speaks with intelligence and drama. David Cherniak directs with aplomb. He also led the film for the recent look at Bob Lazar in late middle age, revisited. Don’t hold it against him.

UFOs: The Secret History  is indeed a history, but with few secrets. It does have a plethora of marvelous clips from classic sci-fi films as part of its narrative.

His hilarious insights that are new include the notorious “pelican” theory that Kenneth Arnold in 1947 actually saw pelicans flying in formation at 1700 mph and called them saucers.

Yes, a scientist tells us this with a straight face.

When it comes to more serious matters, director David Cherniak still chooses photos that are unusual, not ones you’d see on Ancient Aliens. He does give us a a fresh take on Orson Welles, Roswell, Project Grudge, and the usual litany of UFO incidents that brought us to a wholesale government coverup.

He also plays on the notion that seeing UFOs was psychological, part of the J. Allen Hynek approach, which was code for saying the viewer of such events had a psychological problem. Even Hynek was turned into a buffoon over “swamp gas.” Well, yes, being called a nutcase is distressing.

One turning point is hardly secret: abductions of Betty and Barney Hill of New Hampshire, the template for lost time and sexual abuse by space creatures.  There is no secret about the Travis Walton case, but it grabbed worldwide attention, as did the appearance of elderly Jesse Marcel who was at the Roswell crash in 1947, blowing the whistle.

If there is a secret here, that may be the hybridization plan of aliens to take over the Earth in subtle fashion by genetics. Oh, that secret…

 

 

 

 

 

To Believe or To Investigate?

DATELINE: I Want to Believe! 

 Nicks Redfern & Pope

The documentary with the worst title so far this year is I Want to Believe! 

What a pity because it actually might attract more viewers with a better title. Of course, the opening credits undermine it further when the production company is misspelled as “Prodruction.”  Sloppy filmmakers.

Once the film starts, you realize that it is giving us some of the better Ancient Aliensexperts in a different light. Yes, there are our personal favorites Nick Pope, Nick Redburn, and Mike Bara. They are the true stars of this picture—and they dominate the interviews, though a few other lesser knowns offer opinions.

These three usually offer sound-bite one-sentence comments on a specific topic on Ancient Aliens.Here they are allowed to open up—and even explain a bit of their personal history and why they went into this crypto-journalism field of UFOs.

Make no mistake, they do think of themselves not as believers, but as investigators with an open mind.

The term UFO is widely disparaged as it is meaningless since anything unknown in the sky is a UFO. They also tend to respect “professional” witnesses over “abductees” because expertise carries some weight in their investigations. Bara disputes this and thinks the Travis Walton case is highly compelling because six witnesses passed multiple lie detector tests.

As theorists, they tend to lump all paranormal into one or two categories: either governmental disinformation for political motives, or the more interesting—interdimensional beings. Here, whatever culture you find, whether ghosts, orbs, little gray men, a Bigfoot. It is from a time-travel source in our past or parallel universe.

They do not dismiss the idea that an ancient civilization, now long gone on Earth, went to the Moon or Mars, and then eons ago came to an end. Their remnants may be our visitors.

We tend to agree that interdimensional explanations work best to include spirits who may have connections to ordinary people today whom they visit in one form or another.

As an adjunct to Ancient Aliens, we thought this was a more comprehensive consideration, with more attention to details than a fly in the ointment.

 Travis Walton Story

DATELINE: Kidnapped by Aliens. 

 Two Famous UFO figures.

Apart from flashy Hollywood rendering or re-enactments on Ancient Aliens, it is refreshing to find a low-budget documentary that tries to explain what happened when the young Arizona logger was abducted by space aliens in the 1970s. This extraordinary film is called Travis.

With many newsreel footage, archival photos, and then interviews with aging witnesses, you have a real picture of the people who were frightened and terrorized by the events way back when.

As a bonus, there is Travis Walton himself, now explaining rationally the incredible experience he underwent. As his brother tells, Travis never pulled a practical joke in his life. Yet, many in Snowflake, his hometown, disbelieved him, thought he faked it all.

The young men were too blue-collar, too un-educated to have any credibility. They must have been on drugs or drunk out in the woods, after a day of clearing the Ponderosa pines. Their polygraphs were so honest that it would have been a million to one odds that their story was false.

Polygraphs, government intimidators, and the like, dog the men. The police cannot be blamed for trying to be objective and discover if there was a fraud. However, it was clear that no one wanted that kind of fame, or trouble.

The film is refreshing to say the least—and devoid of the usual “experts” pontificating (Richard Dolan excepted). Young Travis in 1975 came to the attention of two important people in UFO research: Dr. J. Allen Hyneck and Dr. Stanton Friedman.

 Going back to the area in 2014, researchers discovered that the trees exposed to radiation had grown in the direction of the source, jutting out weirdly. The other place this occurred was Chernobyl.

For most of his life Travis was vilified by hired guns of secret government agencies, so called debunkers like Phillip Klass, a paid character assassin. Walton is an articulate, intelligent, sensitive man who has suffered like Betty Hill, as the two most famous abductees in history of space aliens.

Most people who know, met, or dealt with Travis Walton consider him intelligent, fair, honest, and courageous. He is a man to whom a horrid experience was involuntarily put upon him. Few could have handled it with such grace under pressure.

 This is a sober, outstanding film that needed to be made for posterity.

Shapeshifting Shifts Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: UFOs & Dracula 

 Dracula’s Church?

Can it be an accident that History Channel has a new series starting about shapeshifters? And, just by coincidence, Ancient Aliens devotes a show to the bizarre suggestion that visiting aliens have now taken new forms to hide among us! Isn’t that a bad sci-fi movie from a decade ago?

They can become bats like vampires! Or they can pretend to be your family member. These legends seem to have a new connection to shapeshifters from another planet!  Oi vey.

This does give us a chance to see Travis Walter again: you know the famous missing person from Fire in the Sky. He claims the aliens shifted their looks to calm him down during his abduction.

Human looking extra-terrestrials? This is a shapeshifting conspiracy theory. These spies are a new version of a Fifth Column. Ancient Aliens says this is a historical idea right out of your favorite Bible. These changes in “gods” like Zeus want to fool some of the people all of the time.

Yes, shapeshifting is the new date drug. They show up to make time with those babes on the Florida beaches.

This is not hypnosis, but technology—according to our favorite Giorgio. And this technology is the best trick since Halloween extracted candy from neighborhood households. These are your trickster gods.

The greatest shapeshifter from another dimension is the octopus with his multi-brains with weird DNA from another planet. Not indigenous?Oi vey!

Yes, even the cloaking device from Star Trek is a kind of shapeshifting. They also trace the jinn to the Koran—and now we find out that Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeanniewas a shapeshifter.

Even more interesting, a painting of a UFO over Dracula’s hometown church is 700 years old. Fee-Fi-fo-fum, these creatures eat blood. That’s not all:  the Wolfman, half-man and half-wolf at the full Moon is right out of your UFO.

If you are confused, maybe Ancient Alienshas turned into Skinwalker Ranchbefore our eyes!  Yup, Nick Pope can barely keep a straight face while shifting his shifty argument.

Fire in the Sky, Pants on Fire

 DATELINE:  Liar, Liar?

Sweeney in Slime  Sweeney in the Slime!

The 1993 movie version of the second-most famous alien abduction story (after Betty and Barney Hill) is certainly intriguing, whether it’s true or not. Fire in the Sky is no wet blanket sending up smoke signals in the UFO sweepstakes.

A group of young men, redneck loggers out in the woods of Arizona in 1975, encounter something mysterious and glowing. One of them seems to be “killed” by a ray—and the others flee. Later, the town suspects they have murdered their friend Travis Walton.

If the UFO segment were not played out in the final minutes of the film as flashback and Post-Trauma Syndrome, you would have a compelling tale of “witch hunt,” as the young men are hounded by media, tormented by police, and maligned as murderers by the community.

Robert Patrick, as the leader of the young loggers, gives a remarkable and nuanced performance as a befuddled man proclaiming his innocence.

On the other side of the equation is James Garner!

Yes, that big star is Detective Watters! He plays again a wry, cynical police detective. If you wanted a tale to have a certain gravitas, Garner’s appearance is perfect. He is the ultimate skeptic about UFO abduction and is the voice that the entire episode is a fraud.

The film has it both ways.

D.B. Sweeney, a boyish leading man of the ‘80s and ‘90s, nowadays mostly a voice-over man, was a handsome and sympathetic victim. His traumatic flashbacks are fairly disgusting and frightful.

Rednecks around him are all rather insensitive to his immediate troubles, calling on UFO experts before an ambulance when Travis returns after five days missing.

The real Travis Walton has since disparaged the movie’s sensational UFO sequence: yet, that is just a small element of a fascinating character study.

The kidnapping sequence resembles being taken by large insects and put into slimy cells for later digestion. And, the tests done to Travis are fairly horrific.

As Garner’s detective points out, he finds a National Enquirer magazine in the truck after the disappearance, with a headline about alien kidnapping.  Yet, he never truly debunks the story told by the young men, including Craig Sheffer as the problematic Dallis.

This film may surprise you by being at odds with the usual sci-fi films of this ilk; this is extremely well-done, whether you buy into the premise or not.