Friday, February 29, 2008

UFO HUNTERS - Hist. - Military vs. UFOs

History Channel - Original Air Date: 2/27/09

Well, my normal uncanny programs took Wednesday night off, so -- despite a previous vow -- I found myself tuning in to History's UFO Hunters again. The case this week was about the Rendlesham Forest UFO sightings in England, back in 1980 (another "cold" case, almost 30 years old). Yet, as usual, this is exactly the kind of case this show wants to investigate; with the fog of time clouding memories, it's much easier to buy into the UFO myths than to actually investigate. And, as usual, these folks don't investigate what the UFOs were; they already know what they were -- UFOs are intelligently controlled alien craft that have been visiting earth for years and whose existence is being covered up by the government. With that as a premise (the given "facts" of the "investigation"), there are only two things for the group to do: 1) they can talk to witnesses, or descendants of witnesses (they do), and 2) they can try to disprove the skeptical theories about the sightings. The witness testimony is interesting and compelling this time, including several highly credible witnesses with incredible stories. There's also a forester presented as a counter witness -- he thinks the UFO "tracks" are rabbit made -- but his opinions are quickly discounted. (After all, he doesn't support the theory that UFOs exist and are controlled by aliens.) The highlight of this show is a recreation of a skeptical explanation of the encounter. Skeptics have posited that a nearby lighthouse might have been responsible for the Rendlesham lights. The crew sets up an elaborate scale model of the area in their base and proves that the lighthouse "couldn't" have been responsible. Then they discover a witness who tells them that the landward side of the lite has always been shielded anyway; it can only shine out to sea. (They could have saved a lot of time and money making that model if they'd talked to this witness first.) So, hurray! They've disproved a skeptical theory, and the team leader (the publisher of UFO Magazine) declares the "investigation" a success. But, as usual, they haven't actually proven anything. They have witness testimony, but no actual evidence to support the existence of UFOs or their theory that UFOs are craft controlled by aliens. Of course, they don't need any proof, because they've already bought in to their own premise. I've seldom seen anyone so proud of accomplishing so little. Again, this is not an investigation show, it's a mythbuilding show. So, if you buy into their premise, you'll probably enjoy it. As for me, I'll keep hoping for better science. (And if you want to see how reliable eyewitnesses are in this kind of case, see Unsolved History's UFO show - reviewed elsewhere in this blog.)

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