DIRTBAG OF THE MONTH
If you ever want to see what a circus is really like, then by all means don't pass up the opportunity to attend one of the many UFO conferences that take place across the United States. A lot of these conferences are truly an eye opener as to what a lot of so-called UFOlogists are really all about. Here's the International UFO Congress web site.
The conference earns a place in the Hall of Shame for continually assaulting UFOlogy by hosting known frauds under the guise of presenting a free-forum for people to speak, the conference appears to be unwilling to challenge its speakers or use even the least bit of discretion in selecting speakers based on credibility even when the evidence clearly shows fraud. Sensationalism, silly UFO film awards, and every new age fad vendor you can imagine make up one of the most ridiculous UFO related events (next to the Roswell UFO Festival)...and they actually have the nerve to not only charge people but advertise the conference with this statement from their website: "Our primary goal is to 'research, document and disseminate UFO and related information worldwide'. " They seem to have forgotten how to do the research and the documenting part of things.
You can get anything at these conferences, so long as you're willing to fork out the cash for not only admission into the show, but for audio cassettes, videos, CD Roms, t-shirts, UFO coffee mugs, alien repelling devices, UFO detectors, UFO buttons, UFO ties, UFO posters, UFO coasters, UFO ashtrays, alien alarm clocks, alien traps, alien jewelry and so on. One UFO conference I attended actually had two guys dressed up in alien costumes with big alien heads running around hugging people. It's interesting going to these conferences since I'm a big unknown in this field, so I'm able to walk around and talk to people without any problems and the conversations never stopped when I was around.
ABOVE: UFO vendors. Cash, credit cards - they'll take it all so long as you're willing pay for what they're selling.
I was privy to a conversation with some researchers that referred to Whitley Strieber as "Witless" several times. One of these researchers now works closely with Strieber, though I think he wouldn't have the nerve to call Strieber "Witless" to his face. Whitley Strieber came up to me later and just started talking to me about how the Associated Press was suppressing UFO stories sent over the wire - I didn't so much as blink at Strieber and have no idea what prompted the conversation. That isn't to say that the conversation wasn't interesting, it was just odd how it came about.
Jaime Maussan (pictured left) did the same thing, he just stopped and started telling me some wild tale of how stars in the night sky were moving their positions. In fact, they weren't stars at all but gigantic UFO motherships. He went on about the massive sightings in Mexico and how he had a very special video that would be coming out soon - ala the Mexico Daytime UFO Hoax. Jaime didn't skip a beat and talked about UFOs colliding with airliners and the military getting into dogfights with UFOs. Evidence of all this? Well, that was another story...
At one conference, I witnessed a UFO researcher completely trashing Sean David Morton to a group of people. That stopped when Morton came over and said hello to that person, they both hugged each other like long lost friends and asked how the other was doing. Morton, dressed in an 80s Miami Vice jacket, boots with at least a 4 inch lift, and a medallion of such size around his neck that it would surely cause anyone back problems, was as loud as they get and he made sure everyone within a one mile radius knew he was there. Morton left and the trash talking resumed. This is the same Sean David Morton that avoided my many questions about him by simply turning around and walking away. I got to see a group of alleged alien abductees have a sudden "implant attack." They made quite a scene leaving in the middle of someone's presentation. I talked to a UFO vendor selling video tapes - he made it clear he was there for the money and nothing else. "I don't buy any of this alien horseshit. I just do this on the side," the vendor told me. I got a similar response from someone else selling books.
ABOVE: Just some of the things you can see at UFO conferences. The truth is out there...really out there.
A lot of people were networking, talking about that next big movie, TV or book deal they had in the works. People telling other people to make sure and see this guy to buy this, or that guy to buy that. One person who is well known in UFO circles, pointing to a vendor's table, told me, "You should be sure to buy this CD Rom. It's great and you could really use it." I really didn't have much use for a CD Rom loaded with overused and almost cliche pictures of UFOs that anyone can find at the local library. The next day the same guy urging me to buy the CD Rom was talking to the same vendor about a marketing deal for the CD and about producing his own CD.
I went to a lot of the presentations, and I wasn't at all impressed. Much of the material being shown was the same thing that these guys have been selling for years - even material that was proven to be fraudulent was still being sold as the real deal.
Don't bother asking too many questions either. A simple yes or no question will turn in to a 10 minute diatribe about suppression of the truth or some other vast conspiracy designed to divert your attention from what is actually happening. What exactly is supposed to be happening is never quite clear and your simple question never gets an answer. Of course, you can always buy the book and get the answer. Maybe the video or the CD Rom might help you out...for only $19.95. One guy was actually selling outdated copies of a self-published newsletter for $40.00 a piece...the scary part was that some people were actually buying them.
At another conference I attended I met the organizer. This guy was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. He had apparently sold-out two or three presentations for a particular presenter, but the presenter could not make it to the conference. I overheard the organizer, chirping away on his cell phone (one of the presentations was the dangers of cell phones) about how he couldn't afford to give refunds and the presenter "had better find a way to get his ass here. I paid for his God damn ticket!"
What I found to be the worst part of these conferences is where you pay the admission price, get to go to a lecture where the speaker hypes you up about the information he/she allegedly has and then they tell you if you want to hear more that you have to attend the workshop after the free lecture. Talk about bait and hook. Of course the workshop isn't included in the general admission price and can range from $20.00 to $45.00 just for a single presentation. Then the speaker will try to sell their books, videos and whatever else they can to you.
Many of these so-called conferences are nothing more than a traveling circus trying to get you to shell out your hard earned cash for their performances where the audience 'ooos' and 'ahs'. Of course, there's also the over priced candy (i.e.: videos, books, tapes, etc...) at the concession stands, where a $1 soda will cost you $6.75. Overall, many of the speakers at these conferences come off more like carnies, those guys at carnivals working booths that try to get you to play their games where you spend $40 to win a $2 stuffed animal. This isn't to say that all people that attend or present at these conferences are ripoff artists, just most of them.
Unfortunately for the people that actually do serious research and investigation, these UFO conferences are the only venue they have to share their work with the public on any kind of scale. There were a couple of researchers in attendance that were sincere and credible. These are usually the people that get the least amount of people to attend their lectures. Why let boring facts get in the way when just down the hall some guy is spewing sensationalist crap about the secret alien base under the Giza temple where Atlantis is supposed to buried and where a huge colony of clones is being grown with biological tissue taken from abductees and cattle mutilations...or something like that.
And don't bother trying to let anyone running a UFO conference know that one of their presenters is a fraud. I tried doing this a couple of times - they're not interested. I sent an e-mail to the Bay Area UFO Expo coming up this month about UFO fraud Sean David Morton (pictured left). I pointed to the investigation into Morton done by UFOWATCHDOG.COM. The response was an e-mail entitled "Uh-Oh." One of the assistant producers of the expo wrote, "Please be advised that Sean David Morton will be appearing at the Bay Area UFO Expo...You might want to let your listeners know..." (By the way, it's readers, not listeners). I really liked the bit where the assistant producer wants me to do free advertising for him in the process. Gee whiz, he sure got me didn't he...
Some would think that a conference organizer might want to try and make sure that the presenters and their claims were credible. After all, the media does show up at these things on occasion. And what about those people interested in the subject going to one of these conferences for the first time? Alas, it appears the only thing that any conference organizer is interested in is the bottom line - the almighty dollar. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that conferences cost money. But why would anyone claiming to have a sincere interest in the subject jeopardize it at the cost of showcasing a proven fraud? There is no accountability in this field and certainly it appears there is a complete lack of responsibility on behalf of the promoters of these so-called conferences. And what about...never mind, these people can't hear me over their own voices, "...one-hundred...one-hundred and fifty...two-hundred..."
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