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Ted Phillips

Christopher O'Brien

Back in the Saddle Aginn
Staff member
Chuck Zukowski

This reminds me of something I got into with Chuck Zukowski... Needless to say I didn't come away from it a big fan of the guy.
Lately Chuck has been investigating cattle mutilations down in the San Luis Valley, where I have been involved in field investigative work since the early '90s. Now, you'd think that an outside investigator would be interested in dovetailing their efforts with longtime investigators from the area, but nooo, not Chucky. I contacted him and suggested that we compare notes on the cases from last Fall he became involved with. He took me to task for writing on my website that "an amateur investigator" had come from CoSpgs (where he lives) to do field work in the SLV. He was highly insulted that I referred to him as an "amateur." I asked him if he had a degree in animal pathology. He doesn't. Therefore, like me, he is an amateur. I have always referred to myself as amateur unexplained livestock death investigator. What's the problem Chucky? He told me never to call or email him again!

My point is this: Chuck Zukowski is either bucking for "investigator of the year" or trying to bedazzle the Hollywood types for his own show. He doesn't care about any "team effort" as I (and others) have suggested. The fact that he has swallowed the Romanek kool-aid speaks volumes. So, Wicky, it would seem it ain't about you in yer armchair, it's about Chucky and his inflated view of his investigative prowess.

The funny thing is: he thinks I view his work in the SLV as competition. Nothing could be further from the truth! We need all the help we can get investigating all the weird events that routinely occur there. Only with a concerted TEAM EFFORT will we ever hope to solve these mysteries...
 

Tom From Hong Kong

Sleeping with one eye open . . .
I disagree completely. This is symptomatic of the cult of the field investigator, as I've begun to call it.

I think it's pretty clear that after several years "in the field," much less several decades, someone like Phillips will lose whatever objectivity they might have had. They may still be able to gather information (although there is the risk that they will subconsciously distort it), but the interpretation is always better left to people who can maintain some objectivity and distance, and view everything in context.

This is why police officers investigate, but it is Crown Prosecutors (or DAs) who decide whether to lay charges, and ultimately a judge or a jury who decides what actually happened - particularly when it comes to assessing credibility.

Paul
We will need to respectfully disagree then. I have never seen anyone argue against the virtues of "experience" before, so you probably rank as the first!

I believe the touchstone in this debate is whether someone is overly rigid or closed minded in their views of the subject, and based upon his public interviews, I see no evidence that Ted Phillips falls firmly in that category. Indeed, he appears to allow data to drive theory -- not to use a cliche. The fact that he is coming around to the inter-dimensional perspective demonstrates flexibility on his part, not to say the inter-dimensional perspective is ultimately correct or incorrect. I have never heard any claims that Phillips is inaccurately presenting his data, either.

Your police/prosecutor analogy has its limits. There, each job position requires certain skill sets (e.g., legal training & bar admission) or are so time intensive (e.g., policing footwork) that they largely and reasonably exclude the other (but to be clear, a prosecutor who formally worked as a police investigator probably has an edge in the courtroom on someone who didn't). In paranormal investigation, it doesn't strike me as logical that such specialization or separation is required. In fact, if I am not mistaken, Jacques Vallee' believes that his theories surrounding the subject are been largely driven by his actual experiences in investigating the topic. Vallee' presents a good counter-example, as does Phil Imbrogno.

I personally would have trouble assessing credibility with access only to someone else's written reports, not ever having met the eyeball witness to the event. To the contrary, I would be poorly positioned to pass judgement on what someone else saw and their credibility without ever having talked to them. This is why I think it is difficult to debunk a case unless the whole thing smells really bad (e.g., Stan Romanek's claims). There is a lot of grey area in the real world that requires face-to-face contact to pick up the finer details. This is why prosecutors interview witnesses firsthand, once uncovered by the police, and why prosecutors are deferential to police statements as to witness credibility.

To be clear, this is not to say that someone who does not do field work cannot be a good theoretician -- you need to take each individual on his or her own merits. But, I wouldn't discount the importance of frontline observations in helping to generate theory that conforms to what people are actually encountering the real world.
 
P

Paul Kimball

Guest
We will need to respectfully disagree then. I have never seen anyone argue against the virtues of "experience" before, so you probably rank as the first!

I believe the touchstone in this debate is whether someone is overly rigid or closed minded in their views of the subject, and based upon his public interviews, I see no evidence that Ted Phillips falls firmly in that category. Indeed, he appears to allow data to drive theory -- not to use a cliche. The fact that he is coming around to the inter-dimensional perspective demonstrates flexibility on his part, not to say the inter-dimensional perspective is ultimately correct or incorrect. I have never heard any claims that Phillips is inaccurately presenting his data, either.

Your police/prosecutor analogy has its limits. There, each job position requires certain skill sets (e.g., legal training & bar admission) or are so time intensive (e.g., policing footwork) that they largely and reasonably exclude the other (but to be clear, a prosecutor who formally worked as a police investigator probably has an edge in the courtroom on someone who didn't). In paranormal investigation, it doesn't strike me as logical that such specialization or separation is required. In fact, if I am not mistaken, Jacques Vallee' believes that his theories surrounding the subject are been largely driven by his actual experiences in investigating the topic. Vallee' presents a good counter-example, as does Phil Imbrogno.

I personally would have trouble assessing credibility with access only to someone else's written reports, not ever having met the eyeball witness to the event. To the contrary, I would be poorly positioned to pass judgement on what someone else saw and their credibility without ever having talked to them. This is why I think it is difficult to debunk a case unless the whole thing smells really bad (e.g., Stan Romanek's claims). There is a lot of grey area in the real world that requires face-to-face contact to pick up the finer details. This is why prosecutors interview witnesses firsthand, once uncovered by the police, and why prosecutors are deferential to police statements as to witness credibility.

To be clear, this is not to say that someone who does not do field work cannot be a good theoretician -- you need to take each individual on his or her own merits. But, I wouldn't discount the importance of frontline observations in helping to generate theory that conforms to what people are actually encountering the real world.
You're right - we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree, because I think your approach is symptomatic of almost everything that is wrong with paranormal investigation. This should not be taken as me saying that there is no merit from "in the field" investigation - but your views are symbolic of the raising of the "field investigator" to a status above anyone else - something you usually hear from "field investigators" as their last line of defence when challenged as to their work, i.e. something along the lines of: "well, when you get out there and do it, then maybe your views will be equal to mine." I've heard that more than once, including on the Paracast, and it's ridiculous. What matters is the evidence, not the viewpoint of the person who collected it.

One final note: the worst way to assess credibility is from personal interaction, which is purely subjective. Stan Friedman thought Gerald Anderson was credible based largely on personal interaction (and a will to believe); ditto Kevin Randle with Frank Kaufmann for many years. I could go on, because it's a long list. It was only when their records were checked, and cracks showed in their stories that had nothing to do with an assessment of credibility based on personal interaction, that they were discovered for the liars that they really were.
 

Ron Collins

Curiously Confused
I disagree completely. This is symptomatic of the cult of the field investigator, as I've begun to call it.

I think it's pretty clear that after several years "in the field," much less several decades, someone like Phillips will lose whatever objectivity they might have had. They may still be able to gather information (although there is the risk that they will subconsciously distort it), but the interpretation is always better left to people who can maintain some objectivity and distance, and view everything in context.

This is why police officers investigate, but it is Crown Prosecutors (or DAs) who decide whether to lay charges, and ultimately a judge or a jury who decides what actually happened - particularly when it comes to assessing credibility.
What you are saying is true. However, are their not researchers that you trust more than others? You would lend more merit to research conducted by Mr. O'brien than by say Dr. Greer right? In this case Greer's view/opinion is less valid by a mile. For me, and I suspect many of us, Phillips has this level of weight. I dont think anyone is saying they absolutely believe anything the guy says without the requisite backup material. At least I am not saying that. But when I hear him say something is happening and we need to look at it, I lend significantly more weight to it and make it a point to look into it. If it takes him a while to put it up on his site, so be it. As long as it gets up there in a reasonable amount of time.

I have been around to see formerly respected researchers take a long walk of the short pier of sanity too many times to be lulled into believing out of hand. The truth is that some have proven themselves to be more trustworthy and deserving of that respect. But until proven to be charlatans I have a short list of researchers I lend more respect to. Phillips has done nothing to take himself off that list for me.

---------- Post added at 03:52 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:45 AM ----------

Lately Chuck has been investigating cattle mutilations down in the San Luis Valley, where I have been involved in field investigative work since the early '90s. Now, you'd think that an outside investigator would be interested in dovetailing their efforts with longtime investigators from the area, but nooo, not Chucky. I contacted him and suggested that we compare notes on the cases from last Fall he became involved with. He took me to task for writing on my website that "an amateur investigator" had come from CoSpgs (where he lives) to do field work in the SLV. He was highly insulted that I referred to him as an "amateur." I asked him if he had a degree in animal pathology. He doesn't. Therefore, like me, he is an amateur. I have always referred to myself as amateur unexplained livestock death investigator. What's the problem Chucky? He told me never to call or email him again!

My point is this: Chuck Zukowski is either bucking for "investigator of the year" or trying to bedazzle the Hollywood types for his own show. He doesn't care about any "team effort" as I (and others) have suggested. The fact that he has swallowed the Romanek kool-aid speaks volumes. So, Wicky, it would seem it ain't about you in yer armchair, it's about Chucky and his inflated view of his investigative prowess.

The funny thing is: he thinks I view his work in the SLV as competition. Nothing could be further from the truth! We need all the help we can get investigating all the weird events that routinely occur there. Only with a concerted TEAM EFFORT will we ever hope to solve these mysteries...
Its that kind of crap that blows me away. But, that kind of self important righteous indignation is an obvious defense mechanism in my opinion. In this context, I completely agree with Paul's assessment of the field investigator. Thats what truly sucks about this field, it is always a battle to separate the absurd and the asinine from real credible information.

This should not be taken as me saying that there is no merit from "in the field" investigation - but your views are symbolic of the raising of the "field investigator" to a status above anyone else - something you usually hear from "field investigators" as their last line of defence when challenged as to their work, i.e. something along the lines of: "well, when you get out there and do it, then maybe your views will be equal to mine." I've heard that more than once, including on the Paracast, and it's ridiculous. What matters is the evidence, not the viewpoint of the person who collected it.
I completely agree with that.
 

Gareth

Nothin' to see here
I agree re the photo. Why cant you host the photo on the Paracast site Gene?

Lets just hope Ted comes through.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
I agree re the photo. Why cant you host the photo on the Paracast site Gene?

Lets just hope Ted comes through.
I have offered to help advise him on the new site if he needs help. At this point let's give him a chance to get it running. As I said, such things tend to take longer as a matter of course.

If it doesn't show, I'll suggest we host some of it.
 

Ron Collins

Curiously Confused
I have offered to help advise him on the new site if he needs help. At this point let's give him a chance to get it running. As I said, such things tend to take longer as a matter of course.

If it doesn't show, I'll suggest we host some of it.
About 12 years ago I was half owner in a web design firm. That was a cut throat, dollar churning business and I am glad to be rid of it. Template Monster pretty much killed the bread and butter medium and small client market. Typically, those guys would trap you in endless revision and because the dollar to design hour ratio was so one sided you had to dramatically overbook timeframes and delay the smaller guys while working with the larger accounts that had a marketing and art department. I did customer retention sites for Lexus, Ford, and BMW most of them were live by the seat of our pants on deadline day. When you get into the lower dollar accounts, as I suspect Phillips is, there is typically no contractual "Go Live" agreed on. Hard deadlines equal money and most of the time it is a time and materials billing with an estimate paid up front. You go over, and work stops until the next installment is paid. During my time in the industry we put off a bunch of launch dates site owners would toss out there on the "Under Construction pages. (I hate those, the most useless things ever.) I knew over 15 other firms that operated the same way and most were either bought by marketing firms and assimilated or were killed by the template monster type sites.

The important part to note is that Ted is not a computer person. I'll bet he is having someone construct the site, managing and editing the media, and organizing the flow of the entire thing into something resembling coherence. I doubt he wants to disturb the progress just to satisfy our curiosity. So, I have no problem believing that while not technically difficult to many of us it may be logistically difficult for Ted. I am willing to wait and see.
 

justcurious

Flying Kitchenettes
Ted has been part of the Invisible College and often mention his friendship with Vallée and Hynek, so I will be mad at him if he is not up to it. I am okay to wait for the promised data and even to accept some understandable delays but since he associates himself with such names, he better deliver.
 

Ron Collins

Curiously Confused
Ted has been part of the Invisible College and often mention his friendship with Vallée and Hynek, so I will be mad at him if he is not up to it. I am okay to wait for the promised data and even to accept some understandable delays but since he associates himself with such names, he better deliver.
I agree. But until he shows me he is a tool by promoting something he can't back up, I choose to respect and admire his contributions.
 

Tom From Hong Kong

Sleeping with one eye open . . .
You're right - we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree, because I think your approach is symptomatic of almost everything that is wrong with paranormal investigation. This should not be taken as me saying that there is no merit from "in the field" investigation - but your views are symbolic of the raising of the "field investigator" to a status above anyone else - something you usually hear from "field investigators" as their last line of defence when challenged as to their work, i.e. something along the lines of: "well, when you get out there and do it, then maybe your views will be equal to mine." I've heard that more than once, including on the Paracast, and it's ridiculous. What matters is the evidence, not the viewpoint of the person who collected it.

One final note: the worst way to assess credibility is from personal interaction, which is purely subjective. Stan Friedman thought Gerald Anderson was credible based largely on personal interaction (and a will to believe); ditto Kevin Randle with Frank Kaufmann for many years. I could go on, because it's a long list. It was only when their records were checked, and cracks showed in their stories that had nothing to do with an assessment of credibility based on personal interaction, that they were discovered for the liars that they really were.
To be clear, nothing in what I wrote above should be read to mean anyone is beyond constructive criticism, or that our collective bullshit meters should be switched off when a particular view or set of facts happen comes from a 'field investigator.' Everyone should expect to provide proof, as we can all see from the calls on this Forum for Ted Phillips to post his photos (however, people do need to be a little more patient in giving Phillips' nephew time to construct the website). And, indeed, the evidence is the key -- evidence to which the front line investigator is the closest and most intimately familiar.

If you believe that Phillips, Imbrogno or others systemically slant the facts to fit a pre-existing belief, then please kindly say so for all our benefit. However, given that he is talking mostly about balls of light and physical traces, I suspect that is not the case. My sense is that Phillips historically has just laid the facts as he found them out there for others to draw their own conclusions. Without a rigorous field investigator, there is no theoretician -- or least one that is effective. To draw an analogy, unlike Einstein and his theory of relativity, the investigatory aspects of the paranormal largely drive the theory, not the reverse.

Finally, we all make mistakes, including field investigators who interview witnesses. This means that people's backgrounds should be checked. I would submit that a field investigator should devote part of his or her time to doing exactly that. My impression is that Imbrogno does this quite a bit, and I doubt many residents of Marley Woods have incentives to lie about seeing balls of light to Ted Phillips and his team. But, as I said above, between the field investigator and the theoretician, my money is on the field investigator to get it right more often with respect to credibility.
 

DamnDirtyApe

Skilled Investigator
I am okay to wait for the promised data and even to accept some understandable delays but since he associates himself with such names, he better deliver.
Hasn't anyone learned by now - The game is played as follows:

1) Incredible accounts of fantastic pictures and videos of a "compelling new case" are mentioned somewhere like ATS. Perhaps a few low-res phone cam images are included, with "better and clearer" examples coming soon.
2) Temporary interest is generated in the UFO community, including a sharp spike in blog posts and forum threads. Strieber, Howe and Rense latch on in support of the case.
3) Technical delays, NDAs, "sensitivities to the participants" and "awaiting lab results" and/or "the lab [suspiciously] lost the samples" are typically cited as to the reason no further hard evidence is immediately forthcoming or that real people's names are not given.
4) At some point the full "evidence" might eventually be posted, but soon proves to be underwhelming/inconclusive at best, and laughable at worst.
5) After several months of the topic being debated on various forums, interest wanes and the community moves on.
6) The UFO community urgently waits for the next explosive case to make the rounds.
7) go to step 1 (rinse and repeat)

* Alternately, the pictures and video are released right away, but quickly prove to be intentional hoaxes (ie Drone Photos/Caret, Serpo, etc)
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
The problem with someone being involved with one case for so long is that objectivity goes out the window. If he were to bring on some one to look on it with fresh eyes, someone that knows nothing about the paranormal, someone with a science background, we would probably see that there's nothing paranormal going on at all. As soon as you taint the mind with the idea that there's something strange going on, you'll be looking for it - it's human nature.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
The problem with someone being involved with one case for so long is that objectivity goes out the window. If he were to bring on some one to look on it with fresh eyes, someone that knows nothing about the paranormal, someone with a science background, we would probably see that there's nothing paranormal going on at all. As soon as you taint the mind with the idea that there's something strange going on, you'll be looking for it - it's human nature.
So let me understand. We want investigators to spend sufficient time to get as much evidence as possible, but if you spend the "wrong" amount of time, you're no longer being fair and balanced in the investigative process. So when is it long enough and when is it too long?
 

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
No Gene. The problem is that "scientists" aren't involved. As we all should know by now, there is no such thing as the paranormal so therefore Ted Phillips is wasting his time and has been for a number of years. He should just disregard all of the evidence he has collected and just give up. As we all should.
Now if he was a "scientist", or had a mate who is one, he would have quickly debunked himself and this would've been all over, red rover.
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
So let me understand. We want investigators to spend sufficient time to get as much evidence as possible, but if you spend the "wrong" amount of time, you're no longer being fair and balanced in the investigative process. So when is it long enough and when is it too long?
It becomes too long when you start finding specific evidence to support a specific viewpoint, and ignoring everything else. It also becomes too long when you don't allow anyone else to investigate the location and you become protective of it. How about you get someone that's qualified to look at biological life forms - perhaps a biologist? Or someone like a geologist to look at the landscape. The problem is that they would probably find nothing out of the ordinary and the investigator's life work would amount to nothing more than stories of the paranormal. The only recourse would be to fall back on the notion that if you're not willing to believe, the phenomenon will not present itself to you.
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
It becomes too long when you start finding specific evidence to support a specific viewpoint, and ignoring everything else. It also becomes too long when you don't allow anyone else to investigate the location and you become protective of it. How about you get someone that's qualified to look at biological life forms - perhaps a biologist? Or someone like a geologist to look at the landscape. The problem is that they would probably find nothing out of the ordinary and the investigator's life work would amount to nothing more than stories of the paranormal. The only recourse would be to fall back on the notion that if you're not willing to believe, the phenomenon will not present itself to you.
It's not that he is blocking other investigators, but the people who live in that area who don't want to see it become fodder for reality TV. At least that's the explanation. Let's see what happens when more material is publicized.
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
No Gene. The problem is that "scientists" aren't involved. As we all should know by now, there is no such thing as the paranormal so therefore Ted Phillips is wasting his time and has been for a number of years. He should just disregard all of the evidence he has collected and just give up. As we all should.
Now if he was a "scientist", or had a mate who is one, he would have quickly debunked himself and this would've been all over, red rover.
And with that we see the problem. Looking for a pattern to fit the paranormal hypothesis. You do understand that being able to falsify a hypothesis is part of science right? That's what makes this so frustrating. There's no willingness to look for anything but a paranormal explanation.
 

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
And with that we see the problem. Looking for a pattern to fit the paranormal hypothesis. You do understand that being able to falsify a hypothesis is part of science right? That's what makes this so frustrating. There's no willingness to look for anything but a paranormal explanation.
Or in your case there is no willingness to look for anything but a scientific explanation. Looking for a scientific pattern to debunk any paranormal hypothesis because you believe there is no such thing as the paranormal.
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
It's not that he is blocking other investigators, but the people who live in that area who don't want to see it become fodder for reality TV. At least that's the explanation. Let's see what happens when more material is publicized.
That could be one reason, but if things are so astoundingly strange in that area, why hasn't word gotten out to the government. Or is that beyond them. That's what I find funny - the government has access to extra-terrestrial technology, they know aliens are coming, etc, but they don't know about "Marley Woods." I just find it funny that the paranormal "theories" are so much like religions - if one is true, then the other ones are mostly false. Not so with science - there are competing hypothesis, but once one is proven, it has to become accepted unless proven wrong. I like that type of logic a lot more.

---------- Post added at 10:34 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 AM ----------

Or in your case there is no willingness to look for anything but a scientific explanation. Looking for a scientific pattern to debunk any paranormal hypothesis because you believe there is no such thing as the paranormal.
Yeah, that sums it up nicely. Thanks!
 


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