Wednesday, August 1, 2007

UFOs (the alien kind!)

This month for Book Group, we're reading Hunt for the Skinwalkers, by George Knapp and Colm Kelleher. It's about a ranch in northern Utah that was apparently infested with UFOs, and was the focus of the "most in depth, scientific study" ever held, by the National Institue for Discover Science (NIDS).

Which is all horse hockey.

One of the major claims of the book is that the main characters "wanted to remain anonymous", so they changed their names. Which doesn't explain why all the "sightings" were all over the UFO press years before the book was published.

And, the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) (gee, that sounds impressive, doesn't it?) is actually the brain child for a loon with too much money, and zero sense - Robert Bigelow, who founded Budget Suites, and then went on to fund the Bigelow Chair for Consciousness Studies, at UNLV. This was a university department meant to study Life After Death, and featured a "harmonic resonance chamber".

I read one chapter of this book, and had to stop myself from throwing it across the room. (I'm really trying to read the whole thing for book group tomorrow.) Then I did several hours of research, which uncovered the whole horse hockey connection.

A friend of mine used to be the secretary for the "Consciousness Studies" department. She told us at length about the ... less than professional nature of the department. UNLV closed the department quietly, several years ago. Thank heavens!

I initially thought that Colm Kelleher must be a total quack. It turns out he's a pretty good biochemist, who was lured into this nonsense by huge amounts of money. He quietly left NIDS a while back to get a real job, and try to live down the stigma of this unfortunate interlude.

George Knapp is generally a pretty darned good investigative reporter. I keep telling myself that Arthur Conan Doyle also ended up believing in fairies...

Can you say gullible?