Out of This World

Don't worry mom, I'm sure I'll get the accounting position at Cisco.
Don't worry mom, I'm sure I'll get the accounting position at Cisco.
Sometimes people do and say stuff that you just can’t believe. From the ubiquitous emails from Nigerian princesses who want to make you rich to the guy on the corner who’s “legally reselling” flat screen TVs for $50.00, there are some things that are just too good to be true. The former, should you decide to pursue it, will earn you a visit from some very nice people who work at the FBI. They will come to meet you and then whimsically arrest your greedy butt and make life miserable for the rest of your sad, pathetic, life. I know this to be true because I was asked for bail money a couple of years ago for just this very reason. When I got done laughing, and that took a few minutes, I said no. There are some who think me insensitive due to my response. But bail was $25,000.00 in cash and I try not to empower stupid people.

In other words, I’d respond the same way again.

In much the same vein, Pennsylvania police are trying to figure out how many women fell for a doctor’s “in-office orgasm” program which, allegedly, would help them lose weight. Memo to ladies the world over; if your doctor breaks out a hand held vibrating device and asks you lie back and think of England, it’s probably not a legitimate medical procedure.

Other things sound insane but turn out to be 100% true. Like the group of Brazilians who recently got together to build a 10 story tower out of Legos. Given the rampant unemployment in Brazil this, at least, gave them something to do for a while. Now people only need to be aware that there aren’t really any apartments for rent in the structure.

But what do you do when faced with something that is 50% true and 50% complete con? How do you pull apart fact from fiction? Lee Spiegal reports that that’s exactly what people are facing when they read an FBI memo discussing the remains of 3 UFOs found in New Mexico.

In the past few days a story has come out about a new FBI site called “The Vault” that allows history buffs and Web surfers the chance to check out a variety of documents, including some about UFOs.

One particular 1950 document seems to be taking on a viral life of its own. Written by FBI agent Guy Hottel and sent to the bureau’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, it relates how “flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter.

“Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture,” etc., etc.

Sound too good to be true? It is. First of all, it is a real FBI document — that’s not in dispute. The problem lies in the content of it, all the flying saucer, alien body stuff.

In most of the stories published this week about the alien encounter, only a handful have made a big deal of the fact that this is not a “newly released” document or that the story is a hoax.

“It was one of the documents I got in the first bunch of documents out of a total of 1,600 that were released by the FBI way back in the late 70s,” said retired U.S. Navy optical physicist Bruce Maccabee.

Maccabee actually obtained the document from the FBI via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1977 and even wrote about it in his 2000 book, “UFO-FBI Connection” (Llewellyn Publications).

Maccabee is a renowned investigator of UFO photographs and visual evidence.

“First of all, the document was in this official FOIA release, so I have no doubt that the document is true,” Maccabee told AOL News.

As to the contents of the document, “it appears this was the result of a story told by (oil scam artist) Silas Newton, during a lecture at the University of Denver on March 8, 1950 (two weeks before the document was written),” Maccabee explained.

“Newton tried to convince some potential oil company investors that he had secret alien technology that could be used to locate underground oil.

“So this was a con job. Newton was laying the groundwork for it by saying there had been three crashed saucers with creatures.”

Maccabee says the story kept getting passed from person to person and believes “an Air Force Office of Special Investigations man picked up on it and told the FBI guy, who then sent a memo to Hoover.”

This wasn’t unusual, Maccabee continued, because around the same time, in 1947, “the Air Force initially asked the FBI to investigate witnesses to find out if there were any possible Communist subversive activities going on, generating spurious stories to make the American public fearful that our own military couldn’t handle Soviet aircraft in our skies.”

Even though nothing came of this investigation, Maccabee says it at least established a connection between the FBI and the Air Force, especially about UFOs.

“Back in the late 40s and 50s, no one expected the Freedom of Information Act 20 years later,” Maccabee added. “Basically, the FBI was told by Hoover, ‘If you come up with UFO information, do not investigate, send it to the Air Force.’ But, nevertheless, they would sometimes send memos back to headquarters.”

And that’s apparently how this whole 1950 crashed flying saucer with dead aliens memo evolved, with a little bit of con artistry kicked in.

If there’s a moral to the story it’s this: You can’t trust every document you read, even if it’s a genuine document. To get at the truth, you need to really dig into it. How did it germinate? Are the people involved reliable, and is there a high or low credibility factor associated with it?

The truth is always out there, but it often requires investigators to use the correct filters to weed out the good from the bad.

I know, I know, you want to search the FBI’s vault to find out what they have on your weird Uncle Merton. Feel free to click the link and have fun.

Okay, looking back at this you can see how true believers would really, really, want this to be true. However one thing leaps to mind immediately that should set off warning bells. Any ship capable of crossing interstellar distances would be much larger than a Volvo. Assuming the best possible miniaturization, you’re still looking at an object that’s, at minimum, about 100 yards in circumference. Three of those would have gotten more than the attention of some locals. They would have come screaming out of the sky, simply due to wind resistance, even if they had silent engines. The crash, with hundreds of yards of mass displacing other hundreds, perhaps thousands, of yards of soil, would have been deafening and highly destructive.

In other words, it would have warranted more than a mere memo. And someone would have noticed. Despite popular belief, there are real people living in New Mexico and they would’ve paid attention to something like this.

Keep your grandparent’s advice with you at all times and you’ll be fine. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true and you should just continue on with your merry life and ignore it.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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