Is there more information available on the Bigelow Foundation?
After publishing my last post, in my series, about the Bigelow Foundation, I thought I had written all I could about that Foundation. However, I just came across yet another aspect of the Foundation's work. This aspect, was drawn to my attention by coming across a 2018 comment by long-time United Kingdom Researcher Isaac Koi. He mentioned an entity named the TRIAD Research Conference Foundation, linked to the Bigelow Foundation.
In the August 1993 edition of the MUFON Journal, page 20, the following appeared:
UFO researchers and enthusiasts now have an organization dedicated to providing forums for the professional presentation of information and ideas about UFOs and related subjects. The Triad Research Conference Foundation, in partnership with the Bigelow Foundation has begun organizing conferences across the United States in an effort to bring researchers, professionals, and the general public together for educational exchanges regarding the UFO phenomenon.
"The emphasis is on quality," says Denise Carpenter, a Triad founding member." This is a serious subject that deserves a serious and professional setting for discussion," she adds.
Susan Bedell, another founding member of Triad agrees. "We're not interested in presenting an off-the-wall circus. You can look at the credentials of our speakers and see that. Triad can bring it all to the area in which you live.
Conference information is available by calling (417) 882-6847 or by writing to:
Triad Research Conference Foundation
4033 South Belvedere Court
Springfield, MO 65807."
I recently reached out to Susan Bedell, who graciously answered my questions and gave me permission to publish her responses. Here are the questions and answers.
Q1. How did the idea of the TRIAD Research Conference Foundation come about, and what did it wish to achieve?
A1. Robert Bigelow, Denise Carpenter and myself formed Triad to present quality research conferences around the country with the goal of giving people the highest form of information available. It could not be just nuts and bolts due to the high rate of abductions taking place in the mid 1990's. Of course since then we have had to recognize the paranormal occurrences that seem to attach themselves to experiences. Anyway it only lasted 1 year due to the fact that Denise, who was married to the MUFON head of abduction research John Carpenter divorced her husband who also MCed our conferences. Mr. Bigelow moved on to much bigger projects."
Q2. Hoe many conferences were held?
A2. I think there were 7 conferences in 1996.
Q3. How the link between the Foundations occurred? Who approached who?
A3. I don't remember exactly how Triad came about except we had been putting on very successful UFO conferences in Springfield, MO since 1992. We always had between 400 and 600 people in attendance. At that time I facilitated an investigators group and abductee support group in my home and John held a public meeting every month. We were inundated with abductions, cattle mutilations and very close encounters with UFOs. Carpenter may have spoken to him first. Anyway we all talked and came up with a plan and a name. Bigelow's people created a contract and Denise and I started putting it all together. Denise was in charge of finances and travel and I made all arrangements for speakers and facilities. It was a good arrangement until the Carpenter's marriage went bad."
Who is Susan Bedell?
I found a 2018 advice of a public meeting where Susan was speaking. The blurb for the meeting read:
"Special Guest Speaker Susan Bedell will be discussing Cattle Mutilations and Alien Abductions. Susan has been a ufologist for many years and is an expert in Cattle Mutilation and has assisted many victims of Alien Abduction. Susan is former State Section Director and Certified Field Investigator with the state of Missouri MUFON. Susan has investigated many cases of cattle mutilation that occurred in the State of Missouri."
The TRIAD conferences
Susan Bedell recalled that the TRIAD conferences had been in 1996; but the fact that the MUFON Journal article about them was dated August 1993; and the fact that Susan recalled they lasted about a year, made me think that her recollection of the year 1996 might be in error. Which is easy enough to do when looking back to the mid 90's from the year 2021. I also found an email dated 27 July 2000 from John Carpenter to John Velez. In part, Carpenter, speaking about various research projects funded by Robert Bigelow, says:
"He helped fund the MIT conference in 1992 and other events as well such as the TRIAD conferences in 1993-1994."
I checked the Internet, looking for information about any of the conferences. I found details of seven in all; by browsing digital copies of UFO magazines, held by the Swedish Archives For the Unexplained, and thanks to the dedicated scanning work of individuals such as Barry Greenwood, and Isaac Koi.
July 1993. The June 1993 issue of the MUFON Journal, page 22, reports that the "Seattle UFO Research Conference" is to be held between 17-18 July 1993. Speakers shown, were John Mack, George Knapp, John Carpenter and Linda Howe, among others. Inquiries were directed to 4033 S. Belvedere Court, Springfield, MO; the same address as TRIAD.
Interestingly, I also located an Associated Press wire story dated 19 July 1993 about the conference. Part of the story read:
"The two day conference organized by TRIAD, a Missouri based research group presented UFO enthusiasts and skeptics with a chance to learn more about a subject that goes far beyond the outer limits...Denise Carpenter, one TRIAD's three partners, said 10 to 12 more UFO conferences were planned within the next year. She said the group would like to overcome common stereotypes associated with unexplained phenomena. "We think it is important to bring the scientific community together with the public," she said. "This is not a Trekkie convention. These are intelligent people asking intelligent questions."
September 1993. The next conference was held between 17-18 September 1993 in Springfield, Missouri, the home of TRIAD. Titled "Midwest Conference on UFO Research," it featured speakers including Budd Hopkins, George Knapp, Linda Howe, Jesse Marcel Jnr., and Colin Andrews.
October 1993. "Is there Evidence of Contact From Our Universe?" was to be held 16-17 October 1993 in Houston, Texas, according to page 22 of the September 1993 issue of the MUFON Journal. Scheduled speakers included Budd Hopkins, Richard Haines, John Carpenter and Leah Haley.
November 1993. Volume 14 number 2, October 1993 issue of "The UFO Enigma" published by the UFO Study Group of Greater St. Louis, page 4, states that there was a TRIAD Research Conference titled "Are We Alone?" to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, between 20-21 November 1993.
January 1994. In addition, another TRIAD Conference was to be held in Phoenix, Arizona between 22-23 January 1994 according to Volume 1, Issue 11 of the MUFON Arizona Chapter's Newsletter. Featured speakers included John Mack; Yvonne Smith and John Carpenter. The title of the conference was "Are There Intelligent Life Forms Out There?"
February 1994. The October 1993 issue of the MUFON Journal advised that "Do We Have Visitors From the Unknown?" was to be the tile of a conference to be held in Tampa, Florida, between 19-20 February 1994. Featured speakers were Linda Howe, John Mack, George Knapp, John Carpenter and Yvonne Smith.
March 1994. Another was held 26-27th March 1994 at the Del Coronado Hotel, Coronado Island, San Diego, California. Among the speakers were Budd Hopkins; Yvonne Smith; and John Carpenter. Several hundred people attended. The title of the conference was "Is There Hard Evidence for Extraterrestrial Visitations?"
In addition to these seven conferences, I also found, in the March 1994 issue of the MUFON Journal, the following advert:
"TRIAD Research Foundation. We invite you to join our 11 day expedition to the crop circle area of England and to current UFO sites and Findhorn community in Scotland, departing July 18th. Price of $1999.00 includes RT airfare from most cities, lodgings, transportation, guide and some meals. Call 1-800-572-1576 now."
I went looking for any available official documentation, about the TRIAD Research Conference Foundation and found a website. This revealed that the "TRIAD Research Conference Foundation Limited Partnership" was incorporated with the State of Missouri on 20 May 1993, and dissolved 4 June 2018. Its registered address was given as Springfield 65807 Missouri, USA. The Inactive Director/Officer was shown as Denise Carpenter. I also checked the website for the Missouri Secretary of State and found the same information listed there. For comparison, according to the records of the Secretary of State for Nevada, the Bigelow Foundation Inc. came into existence on 4 December 1992, and is still active.
Understanding this aspect of the work of the Bigelow Foundation has added to our knowledge of how diverse Robert Bigelow's early interests, and funding, really were. Although there is no dollar figure publicly available of how much went to the TRIAD Research Conference Foundation, it adds to the millions he had spent, or planned to spend; in pursuing his interests.
Update: 13 January 2021
After having a chance to read the above post, Susan Bedell wrote me:
I agree with all you said except when Triad was dissolved .I have our original agreement and our signed dissolution (April 1, 1994) and I know Denise was gone before that. If Triad was still in existence until 2018, I have no knowledge what it was used for. Good article.