Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Young People and UFO Research

The following guest article is by Women of Esoterica contributor Karyn Dolan. You can find the Women of Esoterica website at

Young People and UFO Research
By Karyn Dolan

 I’ve been attending UFO conferences around the world since 2001. Wherever I go, I hear the same question discussed: Where’s the next generation of researchers? Everyone’s worried that when the present crop of researchers decides to hang up their Geiger counters and laptops, no one will carry the torch, apathy will set in, and the whole UFO question will fade into the twilight.

Why does this matter? After all, many people consider it a kooky hobby, a little wacky but probably harmless. They certainly wouldn’t see why anyone should care if UFO research fizzled out like pog collecting. (That did fizzle out, right?)

Most of the UFO researchers I know have asked themselves that same question, in one form or another, at some time in their lives. Yes, we know it’s a little "out there." We’re used to seeing people at work roll their eyes when we ask for time off to attend the Roswell UFO Festival, or the International MUFON symposium. Despite all the skeptics who say we’re all in it for the money, this is not a field one enters in order to get rich. Let’s face it, this is not a field one enters in order to get respect, either; at least not outside our own field. We all have moments when we ask ourselves why the heck we keep at it.

The thing is, there’s a larger issue at stake. We’ve all looked at the evidence for the existence of objects that have yet to be identified. It’s there. Sure, there are lots of cases that have been identified as atmospheric phenomena, as misidentified aircraft, as many other unusual things. But enough anomalies remain to convince anyone who honestly considers the evidence that there’s more out there than we know.

There are plenty of official statements explaining away the anomalies. The problem is that many of these excuses are far less plausible even than the idea that an object may in fact be unidentifiable. Consider the case of the Phoenix Lights. In 1997, thousands of people witnessed lights in the sky over Arizona, moving slowly in a V-shaped formation. One of the official explanations of this event was that flares had been dropped from conventional aircraft. Witnesses were dumbfounded at the suggestion that they had somehow mistaken flares, which fall at varying speeds, individually rather than in formation, and give off clouds of smoke, for a row of stationary lights on a slow-moving, V-shaped craft which moved horizontally rather than vertically and gave off no smoke at all. Another suggestion put forward to explain the Phoenix Lights, which were visible over a period of about three hours on this occasion, was that city lights were reflecting off the bellies of migrating geese. While geese are indeed known to fly in a V-shaped formation, and do in fact have light-colored feathers on their undersides, this explanation was just as ridiculous as the first.

Such cases as this prove to many people that not only are UFOs real, but that our authorities don’t want us asking about it. That immediately raises hackles for many people. We don’t like being treated like children who need to be protected from the truth. If something is going on, we want to know about it. I am a parent, and I understand that my kids don’t need to know about every upsetting thing that goes on in the world. But I also understand that they do need to be allowed to face facts, and to learn to live with the world as it is, not as someone else wants to pretend it is. Our government and military leaders need to be held accountable, to be prevented from patronizing us in this way. They need to stop keeping secrets from the people they serve; from us.

With that in mind, and recalling the question many of my friends and colleagues were asking about where to find the next generation of UFO researchers, I decided to ask my kids and some of their friends to join me on my weekly radio program to discuss the question. In the end, one friend was able to join my son and daughter on the show.

Now, I have to mention that all three of these young people, whose ages range between eleven and fifteen, have been homeschooled, and are very critical thinkers. My own two kids have grown up in an unusual household: my husband wrote a history titled UFOs and the National Security State, a projected three-volume work of which two are completed and published. We travel to UFO conferences nearly every month, and even took them with us to one where they met and spoke with astronaut Edgar Mitchell. I host the above-mentioned radio program that deals with UFOs and paranormal topics.

By contrast, their friend comes from a household with a more down-to-earth (literally!) approach to life, where UFOs are not a regular topic of dinner table conversation. He was unfamiliar with much of the UFO literature and evidence, and asked me to explain the cases I asked them about. Admittedly, I accept the existence of UFOs and he knows it, but I still tried to present information fairly, sticking to the facts.

The results of this conversation were heartening. All three asked excellent questions about the cases I mentioned, and all thought over my answers before responding. They didn’t respond with knee-jerk agreement, or with automatic rejection of any piece of evidence. They told me when they thought certain things were unlikely, or when they disagreed with a statement. But all three of them said that logically, they couldn’t see why life wouldn’t exist anywhere but on Earth; and if there is life elsewhere, they could find no reason why it shouldn’t eventually come here. They were fascinated by witness accounts and evidence, and quick to dismiss statements that had no supporting evidence.

I believe we have our next generation of researchers. I think we have a generation of thoughtful, intelligent people growing up and watching what’s happening in the world around them. When the time comes, they won’t hesitate to hold our leaders accountable for their statements and their actions concerning what has been called the truth embargo concerning UFOs. If by the time we are ready to retire, we haven’t yet broken open the vault of secrecy on this subject, they’ll be there, ready and willing to take up the task and continue to press on. And that’s what it’s all about.

Karyn Dolan hosts "Through the Keyhole" each week on the Paranormal Radio Network. For more information on her work, go to

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