An interesting article has recently appeared in the periodical University Affairs/Affaires universitaires, describing some of the new studies on the social science and history of UFOs being conducted by researchers in Canada. Matthew Hayes, Paul Kingsbury, Noah Morritt, and Laura Thursbury are among those conducting studies of ufologists and their organizations, the culture of crop circles, media responses to UFO events, and the Roswell festival. Last year, in May 2017, Thursby and Hayes hosted a conference at Trent University entitled “UFOs, Aliens, and the Academy: An Interdisciplinary Conference.” We can look forward to some fascinating new articles and books on the subject over the next few years.
*Thanks to the fascinating blog and facebook page of Andreas Sommer – Forbidden Histories – for the tip.
Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley at the SETI Institute moderate a discussion about the recent news regarding the formerly secret Pentagon UFO program – the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. With detailed information about the program’s work and evidence still remaining scarce, they attempt to wade through what is and is not known at this stage and to place the revelations in historical context. Their guests are space journalist James Oberg, the director of the Grasslands Observatory James McGaha, and deputy editor of the magazine Skeptical Inquirer Ben Radford.
From zocalopublicsquare.org, courtesy Susan Sterner/Associated Press
The online magazine Zócalo has published an article of mine entitled “How the Industrial Age Fuels Over Belief in UFOs.” In it, I discuss the ways in which modern technologies helped spark interest in the possibilities of strange and amazing inventions and their eccentric inventors.
Veteran UFO researchers Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos and Wim van Utrecht have just published a new book that presents and analyzes an array of UFO photographs taken in Belgium from 1950 to 1988. For those interested in UFO images and in considering how the scenarios surrounding identified flying objects can inform how we make sense of unidentified objects, it’s well worth your time. And here’s a big plus – it’s available to download for free via academia.edu.
Just days before the announcement in The New York Times about the secret government program to collect data on UFO sightings, I was interviewed by historian Michael Robinson for his podcast “Time to Eat the Dogs.” We talked about the history of UFO sightings, changes in claims of alien contact, and my approach to the subject. You can check out the interview here or on iTunes here.
Michael himself has written some fascinating histories. His first book is The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (2006) and his most recent is entitled The Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists, and the Theory That Changed a Continent (2016). And check out some of the rest of his interesting interviews.
The New York Times have published an article about the work of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program in the United States. Financed by the Defense Department to the tune of $22 million and housed within the Pentagon, the program (2007-2012) documented “sightings of aircraft that seemed to move at very high velocities with no visible signs of propulsion, or that hovered with no apparent means of lift.” Video included.
This past spring I had an opportunity to visit with historians involved in The Hidden Persuaders project at Birbeck, University of London. While there, I talked with colleagues about the ways in which the UFO phenomenon became a subject of interest for many researchers in the human sciences during the Cold War.
The Hidden Persuaders project is a fascinating collaborative venture, examining forms of persuasion and “brainwashing” – both real and imagined – in the Cold War and the role played by psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts in evaluating and developing techniques designed to alter people’s perceptions and views. Their website is well worth the visit!