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  • Luis Cayetano

Corruption & venality in the UFO/paranormal/supernatural scene: structural, not incidental

It is apparent that within the pseudoscience known as "ufology" - a bizarre mishmash of faulty logic, flimsy to non-existent evidence, grandiose but unjustified claims, and contradictory narratives, all thrown together into a train-wreck of stupidity and scientific ignorance - there is also an ugly undercurrent of corruption manifesting as racism, sexism and human exploitation. This, I believe, is not an incidental aspect of this "field", but one that is structurally tied to and even necessitated by the need for "ufology" to maintain its narrative that there are amazing "truths" about to be "revealed" - while having virtually nothing to show for this after seven decades. As in any human enterprise where concrete evidence is lacking and wild claims are thrown about with wanton disregard for objectivity, this lack must be compensated for with fluff, and since there are almost no quality control filters within "ufology", the "field" becomes an echo-chamber in which any wild and unsubstantiated claim can become amplified out of all proportion to its veracity. This, in turns, serves as an attractor for bad-faith actors to descend upon "ufology" in order to use it as a vehicle and wedge to traffic in ugly social chauvinist themes and undermine confidence in established democratic institutions, the rule of law, and the scientific method. It is no coincidence, then, that themes of government cover-ups of alien technology find easy traction among a contingent of fascist and racist opportunists who are also enamored of motifs such as "Stop The Steal" and assorted other items of fake news and "alternative facts". There are also left-wing or left-leaning advocates for alien myths and UFO cover-up conspiracism, and their motivations often find remarkable convergence with their counterparts on the right. Both see the government as "the enemy"; both are dissatisfied with the political status quo; both seek further radicalization of society and the lumping of people into categories. However, by all appearances, extremism within "ufology" currently exhibits a more overall right-wing bent. There is no reason that this must persist indefinitely, but it seems to be the prevailing configuration.

The disgusting saga involving the racist outbursts of John Ventre, former MUFON State Director for Pennsylvania and now candidate for Pennsylvania governor, is merely the tip of a very corruption-drenched iceberg. Convicted child molester Wendelle Stevens, who is still upheld and venerated by Billy Meier's FIGU cult and its American spokesman Michael Horn; UFO "researcher" (propagandist and liar) Richard Dolan and his promotion of abuser David Jacobs; the cruel saga surrounding Erica Lukes and the misogynist hate that she continues to endure from a largely male-centered "field"; and many, many other cases such as these are likely the norm rather than the exception within "ufology", or at least are much more prevalent than many people might suspect. They are also illustrative in that the responses they elicit from the UFO faithful tell us a lot about the underlying emotional needs that are being served and perhaps why there is a "UFO community" in the first place. Hot on the heels of a fresh scandal there is often the outright promotion of UFO hucksters and charlatans through the rote repetition of their lies or the peddling of excuses for their misdeeds (ironically, the very crowd of people who demand complete transparency from the government seem ever-willing to overlook a lot of malfeasance on the part of their own thought-leaders) - or it is imagined that these personalities are only a small problem within the larger "UFO community". and that "if only" we could get rid of some bad apples, then we can finally set things right and hold hands and walk into the sunset together, onto the Promised Land of Disclosure. If this sounds like fundamentalist religion, then that's because it is. When people are willing to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse (including of minors) and the corruption perpetrated by people on their "side" in order to sustain a belief in hokey stories, then they are enabling further acts of abuse. They should well ask themselves what their priorities really are in life and if their commitment to a narrative is so strong that it can even override their human compassion for their fellow creatures. If the answer to that is "Yes", then what awaits society is not Disclosure, but perhaps something approximating the definition of hell.

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