Monday, July 9, 2012

Book alert - "UFO Conspiracy" - McLaren - which mentions Westall

Dear readers,

A beautiful, cloudless, blue sky winter's day here in Adelaide, South Australia. A chilly 3 degrees C at the start of the day, rising to a cold 14 degrees this afternoon. I was up at 6.30am this morning to take a look at the planets Venus and Jupiter, which were close together in the pre-dawn sky in the north-east. I have the luxury of a non-working day so earlier dug down to the bottom of the "book pile by the bed." There I found "UFO Conspiracy" published last year by Schiffer Publishing of Atglen, PA in the USA. ISBN 978-0-7643-3893 for those who might want to buy a copy for their personal UFO library.

The author:

Carmen McLaren in the "About the author" section is described as follows. "Since the age of 9, he has  read every book, article and periodical; watched every movie, documentary and special on television; and attended as many conferences/symposiums concerning UFOs and related phenomenon as possible."  He has been a member of APRO, CUFOS and is currently a MUFON member.

What are his views?

"...for over six decades the government and their lackeys, namely the vocal debunker/pseudo-experts and the media, have created a fiction surrounding the UFO phenomenon...They have intentionally mislead the general public...They have withheld the truth..." (pp6-7.)

"Having studied the UFO phenomenon for over thirty years, I can say wholeheartedly that UFOs are real...I concentrate on sightings by credible people only, with little or no mention of crashed UFOs and abductions to muddy the waters...My main aim is to disprove the notions of the UFO phenomenon that the government and the debunkers would like you to believe..." (pp.7-8.)

The book's introduction concludes with "I feel safe in saying that when you are finished reading this book, you will be among those of us who want answers to what these things are, where they come from, who the overlords are that operate these UFOs - and most importantly: why they are here!" (p.14.)

The contents:

The main body of the book contains chapters in chronological order starting with "
From Primitive Man to the Victorian Era" progressing through eras labelled " The Early 1950's - The Korean War Years" and " "1966-1969 - The Golden Age of UFOs" to "2000 to the Present - New Millennium, Same Old Story."

Each of these chapters has a similar format. They contain dozens of case summaries on individual UFO reports from  around the world, drawn from a range of books, UFO magazines and more recently the Internet.

Living as I do, in Australia, I thought that one way of sampling the case summaries, was to focus on those UFO reports in the book, which come from Australia. The "Location Index" pages 346-352 told me there were summaries on Clayton (p.178); Cressy (p.143); Grafton (pp 183-184); King Island (pp230-231) and Mackay (p.161.)

Clayton (Westall):

I first took a look at the summary of the Westall High School case. The summary reads:

"On April 6th, a science class witnesses this object or one very similar to it as it performed in Australia. Andrew Greenwood was busy about the business  of teaching his students scientific principles at the Westall School, just outside of Clayton, Australia."

There is a reference number at this point which indicates that the source of the material on this case was "Lorenzen, 273." However, looking at the bibliography in the back of the book one finds that the only book by the Lorenzens (p.338) is "The Great Flying Saucer Hoax," 1962. This book, published in 1962 , of course. cannot be the reference for a case which happened in 1966. So the cited reference is incorrect.

The book's account of Westall continues:

" His attention was averted to the classroom windows, when he saw a strange object rise up from its resting place, behind a row of pine trees some distance across the schoolyard. He moved towards the window, and saw upon closer examination that it was a large, gray, cigar-shaped object, now clearly visible through the classroom windows as it began moving toward downtown Clayton. Soon the class had joined their teacher at the window and all watched intently as the object hovered and flew around the sky in a somewhat erratic fashion. The class had watched the object for over twenty minutes, when it disappeared from sight at the conclusion of one of its strange maneuvers. Australian authorities did nothing in the way of investigating the object."

Anyone who has read the original Australian sources material on Westall will recognise that the above account, wherever it came from, contains many inaccuracies of detail.

Other Australian cases:

Next, I checked the entries for Cressy (Sourced to vallee 1965); Grafton (sourced to Edwards 1967); King Island (sourced to Good 1988) and Mackay (sourced to Edwards 1966.)

Most of the details given on these cases appears more accurate than the Clayton account. It is a pity though that the author used no Australian books, magazines, or researcher's first hand notes when compiling these case summaries. This reliance on non-Australian sources leads to errors of fact which distort the picture. For example, in the King Island (Valentich) incident summary in the book we find "...flying instructor Frederick Valentich..." (p.230). Valentich was not an instructor. "At 6.19pm while flying over the Bass Straight..." (p.230) when the aircraft did not take off until 6.19pm. "At 7.12pm...the plane disappeared off radar." (p.230.) The aircraft was flying below radar sight from Melbourne long before 7.12pm. Finally, "...the last anyone has ever heard from Richard Valentich..." (p.231.) The pilot's first name was Frederick, not Richard.

Looking at the bibliography list, the same, non-use of the material form other countries, for their UFO case summaries, could also be made. It leaves me with a sense that many of the non-US case summaries may carry errors of fact.

US examples:

Moving away from Australian cases, I did enjoy reading the many US examples given in this book and felt that the author lived up to his promise to "...show you that, contrary to what the afore mentioned parties have claimed, many honest, competent, scientific community and leaders in the government, have all witnessed these things we call UFOs." (p.10.)

Appendices:

Appendix A lists "UFO organisations from around the world" but contains only seven entries (one for Australia.) Likewise, with Appendix B, "UFOs on the World Wide Web," which is also a short list centred on the US.

As mentioned before, the bibliography is heavily loaded with books published in the USA and the "Periodicals/Journals" listing is almost entirely US based. David Clarke's "The UFO Files" is listed as a "Periodical/Journal" when it is in fact a book.

Conclusion:

All in all, in my opinion, this book is just an average read, with several of the Australian case summaries containing errors of fact, which could have been so easily corrected by using Australian source material.

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