50 years of UFOs

Philip L. Rife. It Didn't Start with Roswell: 50 Years of Amazing UFO Crashes, Close Encounters and Cover-ups. Writers Club Press, 2001.

Not as dramatic as the title suggests, this is a compilation of pre-Arnold and Roswell UFO stories -starting with the 1897 airship -compiled from press clippings, Internet postings and UFO books and magazines. Sadly Rife appears unaware of much of the research in the field, such as the monumental studies by Bullard and Neely. Thus many of the 1897 stories he retells have long been recognized as newspaper hoaxes.

A look at the references (not as easy as might be, as for most of them you have deduct 1 from the text reference number to find the correct entry in the list of references), shows something I remarked on years and years ago, that the pre-1947 cases that are described in terms of 'modern' flying saucers are invariably reported or published during the 'age of flying saucers'. Not only that, they clearly reflect the times in which they reported. Thus backdated cases reported in the 1950's are of aerial craft, those reported in the 60's and 70's are of landings and occupant reports, those from the 80's and 90's include abductions and crashes. This suggests that all these backdated cases are examples of reinterpreted memories, false memories, confabulations, fantasies and downright lies.

If this is the case with back dated material, might it not be true of many post-1947 cases? To understand the evolution of the UFO myth, you must take the cases in the order in which they were reported and published, not the date ascribed to the event.   |PR|

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