Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Between the Lies: The Hoax and the Paranormal

Hoaxes run consistently through every paranormal interest. As technology advances, some of the fakes become increasingly complex, while others baffle as to how anyone could take them seriously in the first place.

It's often thought that these hoaxes are done for monetary gain. But when you look at the small sample of the population truly interested enough to get enough involved with any piece of 'evidence', you find that there's no real financial windfall to be had. For around 27 years I contributed to UFO research by way of visual data examination (as digital imaging has been my full-time profession my entire career). Over that time I probably looked at thousands of submitted photos and videos, and found very few to be compelling enough to remain 'unknown'. Just by virtue of being the guy who for years got visual data sent to him, I've found a lot of hoaxes and have spoken first-hand with many perpetrators of them. 

There is no key.
The interaction between myself and them was not always (in the end) terse and laden with conflict. More often than you'd think, I found people more than pleased to be released from the controversy of presenting their 'proof' to the public as legitimate. You would of course get the standard hoaxer who would curse at you and cease all communication with "I don't care what you think!" But I recall a significant amount of fakers that when caught replied with "I don't know what to say. I'm sorry to have wasted your time."

These people you could actually talk to and try to get in their heads a little about motivation. More often than you'd imagine the answer was for example, "I don't have a good reason other than I felt compelled to do it one day."  

I find it highly interesting that many hoaxers say they have no excuse for their trickery other than they 'felt compelled' to do it. Just as suddenly as they entered the field(s), these hoaxers left the momentary marginal spotlight and did not return to the UFO or paranormal fields again. It's been my experience that there are few aptly titled serial hoaxers in the UFO field, and most of the hoaxes are from one-off random people.

The 'feeling of compulsion' was noted across many fakers over years, who couldn't possibly know each other. This has also been noted in the crop circle controversy - people felt compelled to go make a crop formation, and sometimes in the process of doing just that, would witness light phenomena around them in the field.

The perfect place to hide: within the lie. Who would believe a hoaxer saying he saw phenomena as he was faking? It's between a lie, and the truth.

The internet has greatly exacerbated the hoax issue, giving world exposure from the hoaxer to the digital artist simply putting out composite video for his portfolio (never meaning for it to be taken seriously in the first place)

But let's look at what effect hoaxes have on people in the field: the discovery of a hoax, and the aftermath of the presentation that the data is demonstrably fake.

The Billy Meier case is a wonderful example, rich with fakery and trickster thematics. Anyone who's known me over the years remembers my close to 2 year involvement in demonstrating what kind of hokum this case is. The operative question is - should I have gone on that long with it?

Of course not.

(Note: while I write this blog now, in many instances I write from experience - I'm not ashamed to admit that I was as embroiled in these trickster effects as anyone in the past - until I realized that this part and parcel to the phenomena. In other words, once you know what to look out for - you can avoid certain obstacles, and almost predict timelines of action and outcomes.)

I found myself quickly at odds with Meier case believers - even long before my public examples of deception within the case. I gave a presentation in the late 90's to a conference in Washington D.C. and during the lecture mentioned that until we 'shelf things like the Billy Meier case, not much is going to be taken seriously by the public at large, much less anyone working in any branch of science'. 

After the lecture, I had a contentious encounter in the hotel with a gentleman who held a PhD in physics. 

"The only part of your presentation I take issue with is your statement about the Billy Meier case. I've done a lot of looking into that and I'd say you're completely wrong there." he said with a furrowed brow. 

"Well I've spent a lot of time on it too. And if you think those photos and films represent anything other than models and simple forced perspective you're dead wrong."  I replied. 

One of our mutual friends said something like "Bob has a doctorate in physics he's a..." I interrupted to say it was nice to meet him (as I shook his hand), but it didn't change my statement of the case or the evidence. I also went a step further "The difference between your stance and mine on this case is I can conclusively demonstrate and prove mine." (Knowing full well that he couldn't.)

"Bob", tended to get a bit intense as he railed my 'ignorance' and 'fear of the truth' and added "I don't know much about the photos, but the written information of prophecy is solid!" 

He didn't know much about the photos? Could this be serious? This is how Meier entered the field's eye - his clear, daylight photos of alleged UFOs. How could someone so obsessed with Meier's prophetic writings (which are also nonsense btw), be blissfully unaware of the volume of alleged UFO photos an film? 

This is yet another example of the complete loss of critical thought by accomplished scientists upon entering into the field(s) of the paranormal variety. We've spoken about this effect before here. 

Photographed Model. Was it real or Meieresque?
In later years I would get into discussions with accomplished meteorological scientist Dr. James Deardorff (another supporter of the Meier case) that were equally as absurd. I would eventually join a Yahoo group devoted to the Meier case, where I would present all matter of photographic demonstrations showing the photos to be faked. I was challenged that if they were simply models on a string, that I should be able to duplicate that easily. So I did. (Left)

The photo was a small model suspended on a string from my deck. Many of the members found the image of the model in the file section of the group and posted asking "when/where did Billy take this photo?" I then reminded them that this was the duplication that was asked for and posted days before. Several (and some prominent) members of the group left, and wrote me privately to say they couldn't believe how fooled they had been.

There are still people from all walks of life and profession that solidly believe the Meier case is the best evidence of UFO contact ever. By many more, it is considered the longest enduring hoax in UFOlogy. 

I use this case because it's such a great example of the repeated disconnect from critical thought exhibited when clearly faked (some laughably so) photos are presented as legitimate. 

But was my obsession with showing obviously faked photos to be...obviously faked photos, logical? No it wasn't. Taunting, duplication challenges, and sometimes even physical threats from believers only have so much effect - after awhile it just doesn't phase you. The depth and length of my involvement was irrational considering the painfully obvious fabrication of the case and it's 'evidence'.

You become so involved that you completely lose sight of the fact: no one with any critical faculties believes the case anyway. You are killing a mouse with a howitzer. It's overkill in the extreme.

Later with the epiphanies I would learn from George Hansen, I would recognize these patterns of irrational obsession with disproving hoaxes and hoaxers, and accept that such things are to be expected in the paranormal field.

But my experience of becoming overly-driven to expose that which everyone knows is already laid bare isn't unique. The relatively recent Roswell Slides and the Roswell Slides Research Group is another good example. When the photos of the 'alien' broke on the internet, it was clear that this was a museum exhibit, and not any alien scurried away in a top-secret lab somewhere. The slide showed a placard with blurred writing on it, that after being de-blurred by a member of the Roswell Slides Research Group, read: 'MUMMIFIED BODY OF TWO YEAR OLD BOY"

The group, of which I was a late coming member (I was first outside the group to verify the de-blur results, and after doing so was made a member) then published results. There was fierce push back from the proponents of the slides (of which Jaime Maussan seemed to be the main presenter), and the group went so far as to put up a website and endlessly argue the point with opponents on the opposing side.

I have to stress one thing: all this was over a slide of an alien, from a source that was dead. Could anything be more absurd from the very start - even before the Roswell Slides Research Group was formed? It was nice to have the placard de-blurred, but was it necessary to dismiss the slide? Of course not. The entire fiasco was absurd on it's face, right from the start. You were never going to prove an alien from a photo/slide. I deemed the slides 'anti-evidence' because that's exactly what they were.

Forgetting Maussan was the presenter, that Don Schmitt was also closely involved in the slides? His own former research partner Kevin Randle said of him in a "To Whom It May Concern Letter" on September 10, 1995:

"The search for the nurses proves that he (Schmitt) will lie about anything. He will lie to anyone… He has revealed himself as a pathological liar… I will have nothing more to do with him."

This seemed not to dissuade supporters. Schmitt had been back lecturing and writing books for some time after his background was exposed. Such short term memory loss in the field is another hallmark we'll address in a future post. 

Some members of the Roswell Slides Research Group to present day are still posting about Maussan's proliferation of long since dismissed fake videos and cases. It went on months after the slides had faded away, and there was plenty of talk on how nonsensical, ridiculous arguments and excuses from proponents of the slides should be addressed. 

The long-touted slides were still-born of course, and in my opinion the efforts put into responses past the de-blurred placard bordered on the absurd. Nonetheless, initial facts had no effect in dissolving attention from the circus.

These types of situations and actions are not unusual for the paranormal field(s). They happen over, and over again as a pattern you can almost follow as a script. You will see unusual obsession with some people responding to every little comment made (pro or con) on different cases that begins to border on the surreal. It's beyond the standard back and forth debate. And this doesn't exist on only one side of the argument - but with both the hoaxer and the debunker. I think that if you recall many debatable cases (or even the un-debatable ones) you'll see this schism of illogical, obsessive actions on both sides of the issue being discussed.

The phenomena operates in the pool of chaos and liminal periods, and when cases are effectively debunked and yet still believed as true by many - like it or not, it exists in a state between real, and fake. That 'limbo' period exists longer in the paranormal fields than any other interest. It often can exist there for decades (as the Meier case has, being one of the longest standing fakes on the face of the UFO subject).

I'm sure at one time or another we've all seen the cognitive dissonance that is so pervasive among those steeped in the paranormal. Often the particular focus is so aggressively defended from the start (an interesting wrinkle on it's own), that opposing parties are incapable of admitting that either they've been fooled on one side - or that the effort to disprove the obviously false was far and away overboard on the other. The paranormal seems to maneuver itself to force these kinds of self-introspection(s) on participants. 

It's easy once again to put this down to random psychological effects in people - but one cannot assume that all these repeated absurdities are happening as a result of deliberate and calculated logical thought. On both sides of the debate there exists a thin film of illogical obsession that often expends years of effort and aggravation, while the phenomena continues unabated. 🔻


  1. "The phenomena operates in the pool of chaos and liminal periods, and when cases are effectively debunked and yet still believed as true by many - like it or not, it exists in a state between real, and fake." Exactly, and the phenomenon continues! Another brilliant blog post for thought. Thank you.

  2. Another great post that will be ignored by those it could most help. This issue was examined in another way by Keith Thompson in "Angels and Aliens" in the 1990s, when he examined the UFO believer/ skeptic dichotomy as an evolving system that followed a mythological/ psychological script.

  3. No serial hoaxers? Hoaxers aren't in it for the money? What about all those BS hoaxer sites on the net? The Cousin twins/3rd Phase of Moon have set up a lucrative cottage industry of CGI hoaxes that earns them HUNDREDS of thousands per year. And they are only one of dozens who are pulling the wool over neophyte's eyes, raking in the cash and piling up the hits & likes... Just say'in...

  4. Yes, but those are nothing but click-bait businesses. I don't even count them as hoaxers - they aren't making money off the fake video's actual content (such as the Roswell Slides attempted to do, or Meier does), only the amount of people who click. That's a completely different avenue than what I'm referring to here.

    There are after all click bait outlets for *everything*, from women who stare into the camera for an hour to footage of staged 'fails'. UFOs and ghosts would of course be included just because they're sensational and would garner hits.

    Make sense?

  5. Excellent post Jeff. I find myself looking forward to the next. The Roswell slide people didn't just attempt to make money, they did. As Red Pill Junkie can attest, because he attended, they held an 'event' in Mexico City, after and while the slides were being debunked. I believe he recounted the experience on the Grimerica show podcast.
    He estimated that they probably raked in in excess of 100k due to the ticket prices, which were priced by seat location, much like a concert.

    I don't have much more to say about it; whenever somebody announces they have an announcement, it's damn near a sure bet that it's much ado about nothing. If there was, would they wear it on their sleeves?And if there was any truth to it, the devil in the details would be so bizarre that nobody would believe it anyway.

    As I have discovered, and you have pointed out many times, it is a self negating phenomena. Mind boggling encounters or experiences that change the poor soul in it's sights, time and time again, with an 'escape hatch', as you have poignantly pointed out, sowing doubt and shaking convictions. Meanwhile, the trickster hides, back into the shallow gaps in between realities, it's job done, and returns to play with the toys children discover are missing from their bedrooms. Keep up the good work!

    1. Indeed I'm sure Maussan and Co. made some cash off the slide nonsense. But these are rare instances where hoax = cash. Looking across the landscape of hoaxes, you don't often see the cash happening. I probably should have been more clear about the cash/hoax/success rate, but I think you get the idea.

      Had the Roswell slides not been brought forward with Maussan, Schmitt, Carey, Dolan and others in tandem - the slides would have never had such a turnout (or possibly even seen mass exposure at all). The slides event was for the most part not only what the alleged data was, but who was associated with it. Dolan was added late to the mix for the presentation to draw even more people and bolster the credibility factor IMO. As far as I'm concerned he ought to be ashamed of himself for being part of it. Make no mistake, whether he meant to or not - him joining the others on stage could be publicly perceived as lending his validation. And even after the truth was evident he stated:

      "For all the hoopla that accompanied and followed the Mexico City event, and all the furor that followed it, I feel it was a worthy endeavor. I believe the people involved are honest."


      Unfortunately there's no way to prove how much the event actually made as far as profit. I booked national acts for many years as co-owner of an event company and we often booked large arenas, and some of those cost thousands just for the event. Then there's a percentage going to concessions and whatever items being sold at the event. Then add in other expenses like travel and speaking fees and it adds up quickly. I'm not saying no money was had - but I seriously doubt 100K.

      All that said, this is still a very rare instance in comparison with the majority number of fakes and outright hoaxes.

  6. "The perfect place to hide: within the lie." Humanity is interacting with a non-human intelligence and the proof is overwhelming. Of course it's not extraterrestrial. It's an intelligence that disguises itself in a paranormal cloak so as not to be taken seriously, generally ridiculed, and easily debunked. An intelligence that can promote it's unknown agenda through various strategies including "... many hoaxers say they have no excuse for their trickery other than they 'felt compelled' to do it." There have been a suspiciously high amount of obvious and not-so-obvious hoaxes in the UFO field from it's modern day beginnings in the 40's to its unfortunate conclusion in the 90's. While present it methodically influenced people's beliefs through hoaxes, programming, and actual interactions down a path leading to a "first contact" scenario. If there is one thing I learned after being intimately involved with the phenomenon for over 50 years is that truth is irrelevant to a believer or skeptic. A believer will accept a hoax as true if consistent with his/her beliefs. When and if the hoax is exposed half the believers who accepted it as true won't be privy to the revelation while the other half will claim tthe revelation is a cover-up. The same for the skeptic in reverse: even a truly strange UFO encounter will be prejudged as false if only based upon the skeptic's predisposition to believe UFO's do not exist. Meanwhile people remain unaware of its true nature while the phenomenon remains unacknowledged. If you have read this far you are entitled to a compliment: Though I do not agree with all your thoughts or believe you are seeing the "bigger picture" when it comes to UFO hoaxes your commentary is one of the 11 best I have read since the 40's,

  7. Meier case not only falls under those hoax=cash cases, but it is much more, a cult. In our interview with Meier's son Methusalem, he revealed several instances where Meier tried to lure his female followers and sleep with them (if already in a relationship then separate them) by persuading them that they were pleiadian ETs in their past lives who have been assiting Meier in his past lives for thousands of years. Methuaslem also revealed how Meier was able to hide his donations from his disciples, that came in huge sums. Check our interview with Methusalem here:

    Jeff, hope you have read my mail to you sent 3 days ago.