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  • Luis Cayetano

FIGU's Michael Horn aims & misses with emotionally charged "response"; doesn't address points

Michael Horn, the American representative of Billy Meier’s organization FIGU ("Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien" - Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) is upset at me for exposing his laziness and ineptitude as a "researcher" in a recent blog article of mine. Before I get onto all that, let me just note from the outset that when dealing with Horn, one should always keep in mind that this is the very same man who hopped on Steve Cambian’s Truthseekers podcast and not only promoted convicted child molester Wendelle Stevens as a “credible witness” with defensive murmurs that “life is messy”, but in the very same podcast adopted a diametrically opposed position to “life is messy” by claiming that a photo showing an embarrassingly hokey toy gun being brandished by an associate of Stevens' on Meier’s Swiss ranch is somehow clearly compelling “evidence” for alien technology. Horn, you see, is the type of person who thinks that it’s impossible for a one-armed man (Billy Meier) or a child molester in his service to ever solicit the help of an assistant in perpetuating a hoax, such as drilling a hole through a tree and passing that off as the product of a "laser beam" emitted by an “alien gun”. As mind-numbingly nauseating as it sounds, Horn actually thinks, or pretends to think, that an alien laser beam fired through a tree is somehow MORE likely than people lying about it. Read that again if you need to, because it’s literally as bad as it sounds. Of course, to credit and elevate such a man to the level of a nincompoop is to hugely overstate his integrity, intelligence or both. I therefore won’t attempt to do so, nor will I pretend to think that he really grasps how science works at all. Horn, of course, has no scientific training or experience to speak of, and this shines through in every one of his dialogues, which are invariably replete with excuses, evasions, and extremely weak logic.

Now Horn has taken to more whining and foot stamping because I’ve exposed his sloppy “research” and proven that he failed to engage in even the most rudimentary fact-checking surrounding a set of photos he released earlier this year. He tried to evade his failures by offering the lame excuse that he’s “not an expert in aircraft” - as though that somehow precludes him from looking up basic facts that are readily available from public sources. One would hope that this “expert investigator” is at least a novice when it comes to operating a search engine. Note that he failed to do this fact-checking before repeatedly passing off a (non-existent, evidence-lacking) event in 1976, ostensibly involving a Swiss Mirage fighter jet and a “Plejaren” beamship, as “actually” an event in Nevada in 1981 involving the maiden flight of the F-117 stealth aircraft. And even after I raised several problems with his narrative months ago on his website, he issued no corrections in the interim from then till no. Horn is apparently having something of a meltdown, too, as he mysteriously and weirdly invokes an “Easter bunny” that I have supposedly "denounced". Of course, I haven’t even hinted at an “Easter bunny” in any way, shape or form. Perhaps Horn is reporting some sort of sexual proclivity for rabbit costumes, but he should keep such matters to himself instead of letting them spill out into forums that are ostensibly about flying saucers:

From Horn's "response" to my article.

He has also invoked “Thanksgiving” and claims that I “asked for help on Thanksgiving”; again, this has more to do with him than with me, as I posted my article on October 14 and asked no one for "help" at that time or on Thanksgiving. It is of course he who needs help in the basic art of telling the truth.

Needless to say, Horn's "response" does not refute anything I actually said. My article, on the other hand, correctly points to how he:

-- Conflated two stories based on total ignorance: 1) a supposed event from the Meier canon in 1976 in which a Swiss Mirage jet attempted to intercept a "beamship" by making "22 passes" at it, and 2) a supposed 1981 event in which a beamship with Wendelle Stevens on board had been whisked through time from 1976 to view the maiden flight of the F-117 stealth aircraft in Nevada. Horn's excuse that he is not an aviation expert is pathetic, given that he should have known that virtually NONE of the elements in the original "Swiss event" align with those of the F-117 yarn. It's inexcusable for him to have gotten to the stage where he would write that the two stories were linked in any way. For one thing, Swiss personnel (the "pilot" and "military intelligence officer" mentioned in the older Swiss story) wouldn't be told about top secret American military developments like the F-117 - and in the original story, they "confirmed" that the jets were Mirage jets. As I also mentioned, the terrain in the photos is that of a flat desert - yet Horn doesn't compute the obvious from this: that this precludes any possibility that it could be the "same" event since Switzerland doesn't have flat deserts. Why link the events in the first place? Does Horn know ANYTHING about the "Swiss Mirage" fable? He isn't just ignorant about aviation; he's also ignorant about narrative consistency - or he just hopes that his readers are.

-- Didn't bother researching any of the operational details of the maiden flight of the F-117 (such as the presence of a chase plane during that flight, which is NOT shown in any of the photos he's produced) - even though these details are now publicly available - and how these details in no way align with the beamship story he is trying to hawk.

-- Has not made the original film negatives for the photos or the camera used available to anyone - which is entirely typical of FIGU's handling of photography to push its stories, in which original film and cameras are invariably missing. I'm not saying that he's hiding this evidence in this case, only that he never had it to begin with.

Now, at the end of his short "response", he does include the following correspondence by someone who looked at and apparently at least tried to analyze the photos in an objective way. Here, my earlier claim that the photos are "doctored" could reasonably be called into question, but as I explain further below, doctoring (that is, manipulating a photo's contents after the photo has been taken) would not be required to seriously doubt what is supposedly being shown in the photos.

Note how Xavier qualifies his endorsement by saying that he would prefer to have various bits of information that he doesn't currently have. Based on the very limited information he does have, gleaned from the photos themselves, his conclusion is that an actual object was photographed and that it was in between the jet and the viewer. Does this provide solid evidence that a Plejaren ship actually buzzed a classified military jet? No, it does not. Without the aforementioned items that he himself states would be helpful to have, and without the original negatives, anything that can be stated about the photos must necessarily be amended with important qualifiers and in no way counts as strong, let alone unassailable evidence for an alien craft. To return to my supposition that the photos were doctored, this definitely remains a viable possibility, whether through digital means coupled with film photography, or through more traditional means. This could have been done at any time between the early 1980s and now. People have engaged in hoaxes for thousands of years, and there is no shortage of individuals who are motivated to carrying them out, or who revel in the art of a good scam. These hoaxes sometimes involve fairly elaborate incorporations of period-specific elements to give an added appearance of temporal authenticity (for example, the numbering convention on the backs of photos is something that could be included in a hoax and would be trivially easy to replicate by someone with the right know-how and equipment). The perpetrator could have been someone at Area 51 (military men and women are not above practical jokes, with pranks often used to alleviate boredom or build comradery, though in this case, it seems unlikely that serving personnel would have used a commercial lab to perpetrate their hoax, given the sensitive nature of the F-117 at the time; but what about Stevens? Would he have gone to a commercial lab to have these processed if he was so wary of releasing the public photos at the time?), and he/she might simply have thrown a model of a flying saucer into the air while the jet flew nearby, possibly as part of an inside joke (the F-117's maintenance crews stationed at Tonopah Test Range and who looked after the plane's sensitive radar-absorbent paint were known as "Martians", for whatever that may or may not be worth). There are flying saucer models readily available on the market and one can easily build them. Some flying saucer models are even remote controlled. Does the F-117 in the photos even have to be a real jet? Again, not at all. There are remote controlled models of this plane on the market, along with custom builds by enthusiasts. This Styrofoam model uses internal propellers:

Michael Horn and FIGU would certainly make easy "marks" to direct such a hoax at, given their eagerness to believer anything that supposedly affirms Meier's story. Isn't it strange how we're NEVER presented with unassailable evidence that stands unequivocally on its own, and doesn't need to be accompanied by excuses that this or that went missing, that this isn't available, etc.? Just for ONCE, give us this evidence. Meier and Horn have never produced, and will never produce, such evidence. It just ain't gonna happen. All they can do is cobble together questionable singular items and try to claim that "in totality" they act as compelling evidence or even proof for the narrative. But regardless of how they may protest and hiss like depressed alley cats when someone sensibly doubts their claims of cosmic wisdom and insight, what FIGU and its supporters can’t get around are the following facts:

1) The style and content of the Plejaren narrative promulgated by Meier has an embarrassingly obvious pedigree in the earlier and similarly fraudulent story concocted by George Adamski, who also spoke of Nordic-looking extraterrestrials (though Adamski’s Nordics were Venusians, while Meier’s pantheon hails from the Pleiades) complete with goofy sci-fi sounding names (“Orthon” in the case of Adamski’s main go-to alien; Meier’s “Plejarens” are donned with names like “Ptaah”) traveling around in small flying saucers (Adamski's were "scout craft"; Meier's are "beamships"). Various other narrative elements show a clear link between the two stories and that the Adamski tale acted as inspiration for the Meier yarn. Supposedly, Meier just happens to be telling the truth even though Adamski, the guy before him, was a crook – and even though Meier is a self-confessed former crook and vagrant who did stints in Swiss jails for shirking his civic responsibilities. Which leads onto the second point:

2) The inherent stupidity of supposing that super-advanced extraterrestrials with an urgent message for humanity are using a self-confessed former crook and vagrant as a conduit for their message – as though that somehow represented an efficient means of engendering confidence in the story against a social backdrop of similarly questionable UFO stories and hoaxes. Are the aliens incapable of, for example, simply taking over the airwaves (FIGU and Horn love to claim that Plejaren technology is “thousands” of years more advanced than human technology), openly presenting unassailable evidence to the world’s scientific community, or, as the old cliché has it, landing on the White House lawn? Instead, they choose to go through a man who just happens to have a questionable past – and who just happens to be precisely the type of person who would make up a story about being in contact with ETs, and who has grown out his beard to project the aura of an archetypal spiritual father figure, and who has set up a cult that takes in regular donations from members (neatly resolving all of Meier’s former financial woes), and who claims to be the reincarnation of various historical religious figures. In other words, he wants us to adopt faith in a religion – yet, he claims to have “scientific evidence” for it (just as Young Earth Creationists claim to have evidence for their pseudoscientific drivel). And that leads to the third point:

3) If FIGU is so big on science and standards of evidence, why then can’t Horn, who claims that Meier “prophesized” COVID-19 thanks to his time-traveling journeys aboard “beamships”, explain why Meier didn’t name COVID-19 by that designation before it became a household name - instead of issuing derivative “predictions” about something that was going to happen sooner or later anyway (a pandemic, of which humanity has experienced many)? Why, in others, can’t the “prophet” Meier (and there’s another religious giveaway), who has access to time-traveling alien technology, be precise enough to specifically name the crises, disasters, pathogens and personalities that he “predicts”? Does he just forget to write stuff down? After all, wasn’t he “there”? And speaking of time travel:

4) Why can’t Meier or any of this time-traveling associates take a single verifiably authentic photo that is presented well before the thing or event in the photo becomes reality and/or public knowledge? Why are ALL the photos of his "travels" through time or around the universe always qualified with excuses that the Men in Black switched the “real” photos, or that the original negatives have been lost, etc. etc.? Pathetically, the F-117 photos that Horn is promoting as “authentically” showing the proximity of a beamship are only being shown now, DECADES after the F-117 was ALREADY publicly available information.

5) Why are so many of the beamship photos so atrociously and hilariously bad? I'm not saying that they all are, but why the need to pump out such quantities of garbage if there is, according to Meier and Horn, also so much “good evidence” supporting the story? Why the need for filler? When there is as much filler as there is in the Meier story, one then needs to question the veracity and be supremely skeptical of the supposedly "worthy" items as well. After all, someone with real evidence wouldn’t need to produce junk alongside the good stuff. When it comes to the really bad photos, did Meier just not care about the legwork needed to trick his supporters because he supposed them to be such idiots or emotionally fragile people that he knew that quality fakery was not a prerequisite to hoodwinking them? Or was just so inept in the art of fakery that he skipped over the finer points of camera infinity focus? Why did he overlook that some of his “beamships” have dents and other blemishes that expose them as dinner plates and trash can lids? One might reasonably look at Meier’s cult as being like a “Nigerian prince” email scam. It is replete with giveaway errors and inconsistences, but these should not necessarily be viewed as shortcomings but rather as features of the story. They’re present not so much because the scammer is inept, but because he/she wants the fraud to be adopted only by those who are themselves too inept to know that they are being tricked. Such people are easier to manipulate than those who can see through the ruse by asking pertinent questions and using some measure of skepticism. The ones who are "enlightened" (inept or emotionally fragile) enough to join the fold and stay in it are then trained in the art of seeing logic itself as illogical and all disconfirming evidence as lies pushed by an evil establishment in order to discredit the "truth". We see this exact same dynamic played out again and again by embezzlers, liars and frauds across the breadth of the UFO scene, even those who have not set up religious sects like Meier has.

As if Horn's fumbling of the F-117 story wasn't bad enough, here is another nail in the coffin of his buffoonery, courtesy of Harold Farley, pilot of the maiden flight airframe in 1981, being asked if he's ever seen a UFO:

What do we have in the end? A denial by Farley (a REAL pilot, not the concocted one who made an appearance in the fictitious 1976 Swiss event) that he's ever seen a UFO; some photos of unknown provenance which may or may not be from the time period from which they supposedly hail; a bunch of missing information that the person who provisionally affirms the photos himself says he would prefer to have; narratives that contradict each other; and no necessity for the items in the photos, even if they are bona fide three dimensional objects that were actually photographed, to be the real deal. Pretty weak "evidence" overall.

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