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The Great Ecker-Klass Debate

Wade

FeralNormal master
I did listen and I hope that Dwight enjoyed his coffee. at the risk of sounding thick though I didn't really understand ..in the context he used...his dismay of the new age crowd, was it in reference to a greer type following ? I didn't get the impression it had anything to for with consciousness or anything that strayed from a eth, also at the same time he really banged on the '47-' 52 time frame as to where the answer lay. there seems to be plenty of evidence that UFOs didn't start with the Arnold sighting but it certainly kicked things up a notch.
 

Goggs Mackay

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Goggs,

I suppose saying "debunking tactic" is somehow more acceptable than just calling me a liar?

Here are some facts about Valentich:

"He studied for the commercial pilot examination in his free time; however, he either was not applying himself or was not capable of absorbing the information required to pass the test. In his first two attempts, Valentich failed all five subject areas on the commercial pilot exam; moreover, a month before his legendary incident, the young man had failed three of the five areas in his most recent attempt. Additionally, while in the air, he had been involved in flying incidents which began to tarnish his reputation. He had flown into a controlled zone near Sydney (for which he received a warning); additionally, he twice flew intentionally into cloud banks (a prosecutable offense for which criminal litigation was under consideration). But these potential legal complications became the least of the young maverick’s concerns on this fateful day."

Much of this info was released in a fairly recent FOI request in Australia.

Keep looking for those mythical debunkers!

Lance



I'd never call you a liar Lance! If the above information about Valentich is true then I accept his being a dodgy pilot. As for mythical debunkers - you aren't seriously trying to tell me there are no people in the world who will use any method to 'debunk' ufo-related material, and by that I mean, use explanations for sightings (of whatever) that are either not correct, or cannot be shown to be correct? That does happen, I thought all agreed on that, and I don't mean any skeptic, only rabid debunkers.

If debunking does not exist, why did Phil Klass make that statement about Valentich being a drug-runner? Do you know that to be the case? Does anyone?
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
..in the context he used...his dismay of the new age crowd, was it in reference to a greer type following ? I didn't get the impression it had anything to for with consciousness or anything that strayed from a eth, also at the same time he really banged on the '47-' 52 time frame as to where the answer lay. there seems to be plenty of evidence that UFOs didn't start with the Arnold sighting but it certainly kicked things up a notch.

What he was saying was that he felt that in the New Age crowd, many were attempting to make money from it. Crystals, channeling, seminars on how to get in touch with your inner you, that kind of stuff, which are ways of convincing people to open their wallets to buy this stuff.

As for the time period of 1947-1952 or 3, at that time we are pretty secure in what type of aircraft were possible and this was before the government really got their act together on how to tighten down the "UFO" hatches as far as keeping the information "in the black" so to speak. At that point some really juicey cases still managed to leak out. In many regards it was the "golden" age of UFO research with people like Donald Keyhoe and Ivan Sanderson among others leading the charge.

Decker
 

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
I'm not so pleased with Keyhoe, although I became interested in the subject courtesy of one of his books.

Through the 50s and 60s, he was heavily focused on getting congressional hearings, and when they happened, his only argument was lost because the hearings resulted in the Condon Report. Yes, he brought a number of important cases to the table, and was a respected advocate for UFO reality, but his conclusion that they were extraterrestrial was there from his very first book. So it seemed as if each book simply repeated the arguments of the previous book with a few different cases to alter the scenery a little.

In case you're wondering, I met Keyhoe on several occasions and found him a friendly guy; I even interviewed him once for a national publication. I just think he could have accomplished more if he laid off the lobbying. But that's not much different from what the Lorenzens at APRO were saying about Keyhoe at the time.

So maybe it's not unfair to characterize Donald Keyhoe as the first Steve Bassett. So what's changed?
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
"THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF PHILIP J. KLASS To ufologists who publicly criticize me, ... or who even think unkind thoughts about me in private, I do hereby leave and bequeath: THE UFO CURSE: No matter how long you live, you will never know any more about UFOs than you know today. You will never know any more about what UFOs really are, or where they come from. You will never know any more about what the U.S. Government really knows about UFOs that you know today. As you lie on your own death-bed you will be as mystified about UFOs as you are today. And you will remember this curse."

Philip J. Klass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
"In the late 1960s, Klass quietly abandoned his plasma theory and afterwards argued that all UFO sightings could be explained as misidentification of normal phenomena (such as clouds, stars, comets, or airplanes) and/or as hoaxes. Clark contends[21][17] that Klass argued in favor of hoaxes more than almost any other UFO skeptic, but that Klass rarely had evidence in favor of his accusations; this position was echoed by Don Ecker,[22] who asserted that during a 1992 debate, Klass made unsubstantiated charges of "drug smuggling" against Australian pilot Frederick Valentich, who disappeared in 1978 after claiming a strange UFO was flying near his airplane."
Philip J. Klass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
"In the late 1960s, Klass quietly abandoned his plasma theory and afterwards argued that all UFO sightings could be explained as misidentification of normal phenomena (such as clouds, stars, comets, or airplanes) and/or as hoaxes. Clark contends[21][17] that Klass argued in favor of hoaxes more than almost any other UFO skeptic, but that Klass rarely had evidence in favor of his accusations; this position was echoed by Don Ecker,[22] who asserted that during a 1992 debate, Klass made unsubstantiated charges of "drug smuggling" against Australian pilot Frederick Valentich, who disappeared in 1978 after claiming a strange UFO was flying near his airplane."
Philip J. Klass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

for a man that didn't believe in the existence of UFOs...at least in the sense that we talk about here...it sounds like to me his "curse" at the very least comes across as a tactic admission, an acknowledged there is an unexplainable element out there. hence the "may you never learn more , or find out anything more than you know now". it sounds like he intended to cover his ass in death, so I guess in that regard he was smart.
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
for a man that didn't believe in the existence of UFOs...at least in the sense that we talk about here...it sounds like to me his "curse" at the very least comes acoss as a tactic admission an acknowledged there is an unexplainable element out there. hence the "may you never learn more , or find out anything more than you know now". it sounds like he intended to cover his ass in death so I guess in that regard he was smart.

Well, some here may disagree with me but in that "last will and testament" of Klass I think shows his venal and nasty side of him. I actually, at first, liked Klass before we had some disagreements .. but then his fanatic denial of the phenomena and what I learned he did to others a bit later simply turned me off to him.

Decker
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
Well, some here may disagree with me but in that "last will and testament" of Klass I think this shows his venal and nasty side of him. I actually, at first, liked Klass before we had some disagreements .. but then his fanatic denial of the phenomena and what I learned he did to others a bit later simply turned me off to him.

Decker

oh yeah, certainly that as well, it's just that my thinking is if UFO's were just a hoax then there is nothing to learn or understand about them so in that context his curse has no meaning. 0therwise it seems that he just felt like pissing on a few flowers before he passed away.
 

uforadio

Paranormal Adept
Few more clips from my archives that I uploaded and posted to different Paracast threads in the past. Compiled here for this thread:

Randle vs Klass on Larry King (June 28, 1997)

Friedman vs Klass (June 24, 1987)

Blum vs Klass on Oprah (December 5th, 1990)
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you uforadio for those additional links in regards to the Phil Klass thread. You have provided a wonderful service in maintaining these archives!

Decker
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Well, some here may disagree with me but in that "last will and testament" of Klass I think shows his venal and nasty side of him. I actually, at first, liked Klass before we had some disagreements .. but then his fanatic denial of the phenomena and what I learned he did to others a bit later simply turned me off to him.
Oh I dunno, personally his "UFO curse" made me laugh. To me it's just a twisted sense of humor. On the other hand, I heard recently that Klass used to contact employers of UFO witnesses and try to tarnish their reputations. I haven't seen anything to substantiate this, but if it's true, then my respect for the man is greatly dimished. Do you know if it's true? Does anyone have any evidence of this?
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
Oh I dunno, personally his "UFO curse" made me laugh. To me it's just a twisted sense of humor. On the other hand, I heard recently that Klass used to contact employers of UFO witnesses and try to tarnish their reputations. I haven't seen anything to substantiate this, but if it's true, then my respect for the man is greatly dimished. Do you know if it's true? Does anyone have any evidence of this?


You may very well be right Randal, it may very well be just a final sly fu to the ufo community, I don’t think anyone, least of all Philip would give any credence to “working” curse and perhaps I am reading too much into it, BUT I am still surprised at the content of what was said. I would not have been surprised if in his final statement he had said something about how sad he felt that people in the ufo community were for giving any attention to the thought of extraterrestrial visitors and that ufologists are on a fools mission…or something along those lines….being a good little defiant debunker to the very end. I would expect that from him, but that statement definitely reeks of someone making a statement that’s saying there may be something to it but I hope you don’t find it….nyah, nyah, nyah. I would have expected P.K. to consider his words more carefully. Or maybe he was playing a roll all along and was just looking for people to pick on. Ufologists could be a prime target especially back in the day. I am less interested in his intent or sentiment than what he actually said.

It appears Jim Moseley thought the same thing ( I think) from the Oct 20th 2005 issue of Saucer Smear. Jim used a double negative here so it sounds like he agrees with what my thinking is but with jim one couldn’t always tell

"... Of course, this curse is ambiguous when you really think about it. The fact that you may never know any more about UFOs than you do today does not necessarily mean that there isn't a genuine mystery! It just means that the mystery may not be solved any time soon. We obviously know that Klass did not live long enough for a solution to be found. Perhaps others of us will be more lucky and perhaps not...'
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
You may very well be right Randal, it may very well be just a final sly fu to the ufo community ...
Like most people, I didn't know Klass personally, and until I heard this bit about him contacting the employers of witnesses to malign their characters, I had always considered Klass' skeptical input valuable. Even if he was wrong, IMO he contributed as much to ufology as a number of other pro-ufology personalities, and he's certainly made his way into the history and culture. I'd never considered him to be mean spirited before. So it's kind of disappointing to hear these other stories. I'd like to know just how much truth there is in them.
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
Like most people, I didn't know Klass personally, and until I heard this bit about him contacting the employers of witnesses to malign their characters, I had always considered Klass' skeptical input valuable. Even if he was wrong, IMO he contributed as much to ufology as a number of other pro-ufology personalities, and he's certainly made his way into the history and culture. I'd never considered him to be mean spirited before. So it's kind of disappointing to hear these other stories. I'd like to know just how much truth there is in them.

Do yourself a favor and go back to uforadio's links and listen and read. Your questions will be answered.

Decker
 

Decker

Administrator
Staff member
Klass was willing to argue for the truth wherever he perceived a challenge. In February 1975 he called the editor of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin and "in strong terms laced with sarcasm he derided our publication of the article by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, 'The UFO Mystery'". Klass accused the FBI of perpetuating a hoax in the form of extraterrestrial UFOs and referred to Hynek as a fraud. The editor explained to Klass that at no point did Hynek say that UFOs were extraterrestrial in origin, and that UFOs present a unique problem for law enforcement as they are often the first people called when a UFO is spotted. The editor also defended Hynek as a "widely respected scientist... affiliated with a leading university", to which Klass replied, "He won't be for long!" Klass followed up with a letter to the LEB offering a rebuttal article, but the offer was declined.[8]

Philip J. Klass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

uforadio

Paranormal Adept
This is from Dr. David R. Saunders' 1968 book: "UFOs-Yes-Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong" which gives inside chronology of the Condon Committee. Saunders was one of the committee members who was later fired because of the Low trick-memo controversy. Few references on Klass:

Page 178:
"Marty Altschuler, a solar physicist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, discussed what they had learned about thunderstorms-lightning and ball lightning are both examples of plasma-and presented his plasmoid theory of UFOS. Altschuler contends that some UFOS could be chunks of plasma that have broken away from the sun and hold themselves together by electromagnetic forces. His theory is good as far as it goes, but it should only account for about one in a zillion sightings because, according to Altschuler, the plasma UFOS need to be either doughnut- or wheel-shaped in order to hold themselves together. Altschuler recognizes that the theory simply isn't versatile enough to explain a wide variety of reports. One who apparently hasn't taken pains to work out this algebra is Philip Klass, author of UFOs-Identified. Klass carried on a voluminous correspondence with the Project and placed numerous long telephone calls to various members. At one point, I even bought a copy of his book and started to read it. It seemed incredibly naive to me for him to have based such a complex theory on so few cases. As we often said at the Project, "Klass Dismissed!"

Page 15:
"As Senior Physicist of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and Professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Arizona, Dr. McDonald commented at length on a book written by one layman, P. J. Klass, who claimed that the phenomenon known as ball lightning or plasma were responsible for practically all the UFO sightings . . . "Klass has, in my opinion," Dr. McDonald said, "ignored most of what is known about ball lightning and most of what is known about plasmas and also most of what is known about interesting UFOS in developing his curious thesis. It cannot be regarded as a scientifically significant contribution to illuminating the UFO problem."

Page 139:
"The only difficult thing about the APA (American Psychological Association) Symposium was the questioning from the floor. There had been five of us who spoke to the meeting, but over half of the questions were directed at me. Of course, this is exactly what (Robert) Low had feared. Many of the questions were loaded, including the very first one-asked by a man in the front row who had ostentatiously, but without permission, been tape-recording the whole session. I found out later that this was Phil Klass, who has since published the most presumptuous UFO book of all time-UFOs-Identified."
 

Bob Watson

Paranormal Adept
Ok..randi is a super skeptic...he though has done much good in eposing fraud..in his life did klass do the field any favors or was he just so closed minded that he could not do the field any good at all?
 

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