Friday, 20 April 2012

The Recent Fuss About The Exeter Case

Some time ago I mentioned the famous Exeter, NH case after midnight on the third of September 1965. [I think that it was in one of the blog entries on CE1s]. Lately I've become aware of a lot of hullaballoo and even name-calling about the case. This regards a debunking effort being made by notorious CSICOP member, Joe Nickell [pictured to the left], and James McGaha [pictured next below]. Now I have read many debunkings by Nickell. Sometimes I can agree with what he's doing [his reconstruction of a Nazca Plain image was right on target and eliminated one extremist comment that some people were making about how "impossible" it would be to make an accurate design on that scale without having some aerial oversight --- everything from ancient astronauts to hot-air balloons were being hypothesized.] But I believe that Nickell seems [to me anyway] to be enjoying his debunking hobby so much that he is always on the hunt for another kill. So, he has put the Exeter case into his sights, and believes that he has blown it away.

This is naturally of some interest to me. The case has long stood as a CE1 classic, was investigated by not only the local Pease AFB UFOB officer [who credited it], but also one of UFOlogy's best, the 1965 version of Ray Fowler. J.Allen Hynek was impressed by the case and included it as a foundational example in his The UFO Experience.
The case was judged as having credible multiple witnesses [by everybody] and a strong smoothly visualizable narrative [i.e. the story had a natural context and flowed]. Also, though somewhat irrelevantly, it was the subject of a major book in the field, John Fuller's Incident at Exeter. So this is important in UFOlogical history, if one can say that anything is.

The other author of this debunking attempt is a person named James McGaha. I really don't know much about him. I seem to remember someone saying that he's retired USAF but claim no insight. I've heard his name occasionally over the years, but none of his debunks seem to have made an impression on me.

So, what are these guys claiming? N&M are saying that the Exeter CE1 was caused by the witnesses seeing a lengthy re-fueling operation where the fuel-bearing tanker was using red-colored strobe lights to guide the plane-to-be-refueled into place. That's the nub of their concept anyway.
At Exeter the general concept of the witnesses report was of bright red lights flashing, so one can see how a superficial analyst could read that and begin to build up an alternative hypothesis to debunk the case. Happily, this is another example of the debunker's predilection for having a simple brain gush, disregarding massive amounts of the actual witness testimony, and force fit an inadequate thought into an inappropriate situation.
Fortunately for us, and the search for Truth [which these --- jeez I want to put an uncivilized adjective in here --- "speculators" care almost nothing about], we have almost all the field investigation forms for Muscarello, Bertrand, and Hunt [ which were made very promptly at the time] available to any veteran researcher in one's files. My own Exeter file is about an inch and a half thick with all the USAF, Fowler, and Fuller interview materials.

Just to give you the answer that you already expect: those interview files show that the N&M speculation is itself bunk. Who would have guessed?
My modus operandi today is to give information directly out of those reports. Two of the witnesses were policemen [Hunt and Bertrand, pictured to the left] and were deemed as of the highest credibility/honesty. Since the third witness, 19-year old Norman Muscarello, basically agrees with them, one can reasonably give him high marks as well. Three witnesses... high credibility... was there enough "strangeness"?
Muscarello originally was confronted by the object [a thing with several very bright lights in a line] while, in his judgement it was nearby over a farm house. He was looking almost West at the time. He said that the object wobbled as it flew, the line of lights changing angles constantly from sloughed downwards left to flat to sloughed downwards right. The thing scared him greatly and he ultimately got to the police department and told his story.
One of the police officers [Eugene Bertrand] had interacted with a near hysterical woman [unidentified] earlier who said that her car had been chased by a brilliant red glowing object, which dived at her auto several times. He hadn't taken that seriously before but now he was beginning to. He went back with Muscarello to the farm area. Nothing. They walked down into the field. Nothing.

Then Bertrand saw a bright red light rise over a treeline. In fact it was a line of bright red lights which encompassed about a quarter's diameter [held at arm's length] when first spotted. Then the object began to come nearer --- now a baseball diameter --- now a grapefruit in diameter.
It seemed to Bertrand that this thing had to actually swing around a tall tree in order to enter the field in which they stood. They were looking just north of east at the time, so whatever it was had been moving about.

Bertrand was so astonished by the severe brightness of the lights as the thing approached, that he thought that there was a chance that they could be burned by them if the thing came right up to them. They turned and ran from it and, in their estimation, the thing stopped at about 100' closest approach. Meanwhile, farm animals and a neighbor's dog were in full distress. Bertrand called for back-up.
The thing then began to move off to the southeast. In five minutes, Officer Hunt got out there and watched the thing continue to move to the southeast, towards Hampton and the sea, for another five. Sometime later, a hysterical man called Hampton police and said that he had been chased by a UFO.
That's a thumbnail with the most significant elements of the case. Note that a distant re-fueling operation seems hardly cogent. Why then would anyone come up with this? It's classic debunker brain-rot. One of the debunkers heard that the angle of the Exeter lights was about 60 degrees, and, since this is the angle which the re-fueling hose dangles, by gum THAT must be it!! Witness testimony? Say no more!! I've heard all that I need to!!!!
I'd like to put this stupidity out of its misery by just noting one clear and dramatic fact. Bertrand and Muscarello were so staggered by the severe brightness of the red light that they thought they were in danger of being damaged by it. Now, how in the hell could anyone say, with a straight face, that this could be caused by a distant airplane operation?? Answer: no one with a properly operating mind and conscience.
And that's where a lot of the truth may lie here. I participate in a football fan board just for some mindless fun. It's my old university and I still like to watch them play [when they win]. Often on that board we get idiots whose "fun" is posting things just to get people riled up. It is a type of soul-dead nastiness which resides in some people. Sick brains who enjoy causing other people stress just for their own ha-ha-ha's. I'm becoming more convinced all the time that this is the big motivator for the majority of debunkers. On the boards we call them "trolls". Ugly morons who "troll" the internet waters trying to hook naive fish with their intellectual worms. On internet boards, these trollers have found that the best trolling is just to invent things bearing little relationship to Truth. Well, fellas, CSICOP beat you to it long ago. They've been scaling to new heights of intellectual dishonesty and un-care for decades. All Hail the "mental" criminals!!!
So, there is Exeter. Still strong after all these years. No USAF vehicles about to nearly burn the witnesses with their brightness. But plenty of skeptical dimness to last a lifetime. If those boneheads actually wanted to try to construct an alternative hypothesis which had a chance, they might expand their universe a bit and bring in the Real trolls to replace ET. At least They might be able to pull the appearances off.
Oh, wait a minute... I said those guys expand their view of the Universe ..... Nevermind.