I met with the author of the following document, Jerry Birdsall, at the Lincoln Symposium,
I met with the author of the following document, Jerry Birdsall, at the
Lincoln Symposium, and found him to be genial and credible. He has asked
me to post this information with the understanding that I not mention the
name of the individual or the book referred to. You can correspond with
Jerry on this system, in private mail to: JERRY BIRDSALL.
THE GROWING CONCERN REGARDING MISINFORMATION AND UNFOUNDED CONSPIRACY
SPECULATIONS IN THE UFO COMMUNITY
The purpose of this letter is to warn interested persons that mis-
information is occurring in the UFO community and in at least one case is
being carelessly propagated. This is based on my own experience due to the
publishing of a recent trade paperback concerning UFO phenomena in the
greater New York area. This book specifically contains naive and off-based
speculations about certain government involvement in this phenomena.
I am referred to in this book (under an alias) as a government agent
who interfered, threatened, and in general loused up research investiga-
tions. Nearly all of the recounting concerning me is either out of se-
quence, out of context, misinterpreted, or out-and-out wrong. It is true
that I did work for the Department of Defense when I first contacted the
author in 1984 (I left the government shortly thereafter). I volunteered
this information up front so that this sort of misunderstanding would not
happen and stressed that I was interested for purely personal reasons
only. I did not in any manner represent myself as an "agent" from the
government as was alluded. The main reason that I wanted to meet the
author was to try to get him funding through the Fund For UFO Research
(FUFOR) of which I was a member while I lived in the DC area. As a point
of fact, several key members of FUFOR are employed by the government -one
by the Navy, one a Pentagon lawyer, and one by the CIA.
I tried to contact the author several times by phone between the
Fall of '84 to the present. It was only just recently that I finally got
through to him. He was not interested in hearing me out but chose instead
to cling to his seemingly paranoid conspiracy beliefs. I think that this
is quite unfortunate - that someone who purports to be an authority on
UFOs hasn't the interest or courtesy to listen to someone who he has in
effect slandered in the eyes of the UFO community. And what happened to
scientific objectivity? We should all truly examine our definitions of
what an authority in this field means. There are those who represent them-
selves as such who are doing harm, in my opinion, to the future of UFO re-
search. If the legitimate UFO community as a whole shared information more
openly and networked more efficiently, consensus approval could be given
to those who wish approval from the UFO community as legitimate and re-
I contend that there is no room for unfounded, wild speculation in a
field such as this where things are bizarre enough on their own without
the creation of contrived, self indulgent, half-cocked bizarreness. I am
really disappointed in the author, and have lost nearly all respect for
him. Irresponsible writing of this nature only serves to raise the ambient
level of paranoia, muddles future research, and is a true disservice to
the field in general.
I first found out about the author from a local newspaper article
when I came home to Connecticut one weekend. I was living and working in
Maryland at the time. This was in the summer of 1984. I called him from my
home in Maryland (he said I called from my office), we spoke briefly (he
said I quizzed him for an hour), and I didn't mention any details of what
work I did until we met at my parent's home weeks later. Furthermore, I
only had his home number and could not have called him from work because I
didn't have his work number. In fact, I didn't even have an office!
It would take several pages to list all the errors about me in his
book, and that is not the point I wish to make here. If the author was
half the investigator that he makes himself out to be, you [would] think
that he would have bothered to verify that I indeed was from Connecticut,
and not only that, but was raised in the same town he was! He did admit to
me that his editor did change a few things around. I contend that the mo-
tive was to add drama to help sell his book.
It was just recently when I had finally spoken to the author and
heard his position that I felt I owed this to the UFO community at least
to set matters straight. I am all for the government coming clean on all
it knows about UFOs. I am however totally against irresponsible, conjec-
tural accusations being leveled against anyone - the government included.
I think it is absurd that two persons who are on the same side of the
fence - even between the same fenceposts - on the UFO issue should be at
odds with one another. This is through no fault of my own. The author
knows that anytime he wishes to talk, I am more than willing.
I feel now more than ever it is time for responsible, objective, and
open-minded research into all areas scientific, psychological, sociologi-
cal, medical and paranormal if we are to make any real progress regarding
the UFO question. This is the time for more cooperation and sharing of
information within the UFO community. As our awareness of the UFO issue
grows broader, and our notions of the phenomena become more complex and
unusual, I think we will find that we will be straining our perceptions of
reality itself. It will become increasingly difficult to remain objective.
It is time we put our preconceived notions aside and reexamine the issues
with a fresh eye.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank