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Your Paracast Newsletter — July 3, 2022

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
The Paracast Newsletter
July 3, 2022

Explore the Teen Ufology Movement and the Flying Saucer Culture with Rick Hilberg on The Paracast!

The Paracast is heard Sundays from 3:00 AM until 6:00 AM Central Time on the GCN Radio Network and affiliates around the USA, the Boost Radio Network, the IRN Internet Radio Network, and online across the globe via download and on-demand streaming.

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This Week's Episode: Gene and guest cohost Tim Swartz present UFO writer and publisher Rick Hilberg, an individual Gene has known for longer than either cares to admit. They first became acquainted when posting messages in the original Saucer Club News section of Ray Palmer's Flying Saucers magazine. They became fast friends. Hilberg has been writing, publishing and investigating UFOs and related phenomena since 1962 and was one of the founding members of the original Conference of Scientific Ufologists, which later became the National UFO Conference. It was a key part of what was then labeled "Middle Ufology," because of its responsible and even-handed approach to research in the field. He was the editor of UFO Magazine (the first American version), Flying Saucer Digest, and several Fortean publications, and has written and published more than 20 books and booklets on these subjects since 1965.

After The Paracast — Available exclusively for Paracast+ subscribers on July 3: Veteran UFO researcher Rick Hilberg shares fascinating incidents from years ago with Gene and guest cohost Tim Swartz. Why for example, did NICAP’s office manager, Richard Hall, once order Gene to leave their offices? What about the time that Rick and his cohosts announced a UFO conference and soon thereafter got word that another organization, APRO, decided to plan a rival meeting that same night and refused to change their schedule? What about the ongoing pranks played by Jim Moseley and Gray Barker? Hilberg also talks about serious UFO research and all the work he's done in the field over the years. After catching the UFO bug in his early teens, Hilberg has been writing, publishing and investigating UFOs and related phenomena, and was one of the founding members of the original Conference of Scientific Ufologists, which later became the National UFO Conference.

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Remembering Ufology’s Great Middle
By Gene Steinberg

Before you start reading this commentary, do a Google search for the term “Middle Ufology.” Take your time.

I won’t take any bets, but I’m pretty sure you won’t find much or anything about it. In fact, I also tried it with an alternate such engine, DuckDuckGo, said to be more secure than Google’s, but the results were the same.

Now during that process, I did find a link to a 2018 entry in Sharon A. Hill’s blog, where she quotes an article from Peter Brookesmith in Fortean Times, entitled “Ufology today: all fringe and no middle.”

The piece goes on to summarize the article, reporting that Brookesmith “says that the modern topics on the MUFON conference agenda – like reptilians and shapeshifters and the heavy plod into exopolitics and disclosure – has as much to do with scientific investigation as his cat has to with breeding racing snails.”

And it is unfortunately true that MUFON appears to have removed the blinders that point directly at Ufology’s fringe, and opened up topics that take us down the rabbit hole.

No doubt this is done to fill seats during a conference, and, they hope, convince attendees to buy stuff at the concession tables, and they should not forget to join or renew their memberships.

In the old days, things were so much simpler. On the one side, you had such UFO clubs as NICAP preaching for Congressional hearings that, it hoped, would demonstrate that the government was keeping the truth about UFOs a secret. The truth? That we were being visited by beings from other planets.

On the other side, there was Ufology’s fringe, which consisted largely of such contactees as George Adamski, George Van Tassel and Howard Menger. They and others claimed to be in touch with so-called Nordic aliens who were here to help mankind find the road to peace and brotherhood.

Coming at a time when we had the Cold War and ongoing development of nuclear weapons, it all made sense. Except for the fact that ET tended to contact people nobody ever heard about except, perhaps, for Adamski who had a small following.

In any case, the so-called scientific UFO researchers did their level best to either ignore or expose those “bad people.” They had to, because the contactees often got the lion’s share of publicity due to the outrageous nature of many of their claims, thus conveying the impression that flying saucers were just fantasies.

Unfortunately reality sometimes gets in the way of simplicity.

So to such organizations as NICAP, beings were rarely seen in connection with a sighting, and there were few landings. Sure, Lonnie Zamora, a police officer, saw two beings near a landed saucer during his classic 1964 sighting. But the beings made no effort to communicate with him. There wasn’t even a perfunctory wave.

In short, UFOs could only get so close before skepticism took over. But this posture flies in the face of logic, which is that, since the phenomenon allegedly represented physical craft from other planets, it was perfectly reasonable to expect them to land from time to time, not to mention the crew sometimes exiting such craft.

When the 1961 abduction of Betty and Barney Hill became public, NICAP was said to be reluctant to take it seriously at first. Not only did the saucer come very close, but the Hills were captured, taken aboard, and subjected to physical exams. The creatures even communicated with their victims.

But the case was investigated and taken quite seriously. Maybe a one off? Not quite, because more abductions came to light over the next few years. The beings? From almost human to insectoid to reptilian, it appeared that a variety of alien species were among us. By the end of the 1960s, NICAP was largely history.

Worse, some of these creatures were allegedly busy creating a hybrid race, part human/part alien, in other to do something or other. Maybe it was to repair their broken genetic pools, or maybe it was designed to birth beings who’d walk among us, undetected, to advance ET’s goals.

One way to separate abductions from “real” UFOs was to put them in the category of an experience. So the experiencer is having a paranormal experience of some sort, but it may not be a physical one. Perhaps they are interacting with an alien force, perhaps it’s the product of their minds. But it represents a different mystery altogether.

But in the earlier days, when you had the scientific and presumed crackpot UFO camps, a group of young researchers suggested that we need to pay more attention to the often-ignored anomalous aspects of the mystery. We need to accept all valid evidence regardless of where it points, even if it’s not quite in the realm of visits by spaceships.

The concept of “Middle Ufology” was hatched in a variety of meetings involving my old friends Allen Greenfield, Rick Hilberg and others. Even court jester Jim Moseley got involved in one way or another.

In our discussions, Middle Ufology was designed to take, as the title implies, a middle-of-the-road approach, where the valid points from all sides of research were considered. Such theories as UFOs from alternate realities — the multiverse — seemed to make sense. It wold explain why UFOs sometimes appeared to blink in and blink out again.

Over the years, the multiverse concept has gained a wider following. Today Ufologists speculate about window or portal areas, said to be entry/exit points to different dimensions. The idea has become part of pop culture, and both DC Comics and Marvel feature popular movies and TV shows where the protagonists weave back and forth among realities. So in a series of shows on The CW network entitled “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” three versions of Superman were featured, plus multiple versions of The Flash, including a cameo featuring both the movie and TV actors who took the role.

Middle Ufology?

Well, it’s not talked about so much these days, except that its ideas have become embedded in UFO culture. When it comes to speculating about the source of UFOs, the extraterrestrial solution is considered, but so are UFOs from the multiverse, possible time travelers, and even the collective unconscious, where it’s an illusion in which we all participate.

Will any of this expanded theorizing lead us to a solution? Probably not. Most researchers are still searching for ET and not considering the possible flies in the ointment.

But that’s why we at The Paracast have always presented a wide variety of views, and have strayed way beyond the conventional wisdom. You see, when it comes to UFOs, there is no conventional wisdom.

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