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An Interview with Rich Hoffman:

His Quest to bring the Truth about UFOs out into The Open

By: Brent Raynes

RICHARD HOFFMAN (best known simply as Rich to his many good friends) embarked upon a quest to understand UFOs at an early age, when he became aware of the initial news reports regarding the Lonnie Zamora case from Socorro, New Mexico in 1964. Today 47 years later and with over 300 UFO investigations under his own belt, Rich takes a firm position with the UFO phenomenon, accepts the core anomalous reality of this controversial enigma, and strives to do everything within his ability to bring increased awareness, understanding, and respectability to the field.

Brent Raynes: Rich, please share some with our readers the story of how you became drawn to the UFO controversy way back in 1964.

Rich Hoffman: My UFO history resulted from an eighth grade science class book report I was asked to give a ten minute presentation on. A list had been provided and the only topic no one chose was UFOs. Not knowing what they were, I approached my teacher after class to ask him for clarification. He told me that they were also called flying saucers. I looked at him with a puzzled expression and said..."This is science class not a science fiction class right?" Over the next week I procrastinated in completing the assignment but finally read a section of an encyclopedia on UFOs. Additionally, I found a book in the library that spoke to someone having been to Venus. I pulled the report together, but basically dismissed the topic altogether.

My book report obviously showed my lack of preparation and I found myself pummeled with questions by my teacher afterwards clearly showing it was his interest. After getting my "D" that day, I went home. The date was April 24th 1964. Walter Cronkite came on that evening announcing the Lonnie Zamora case in Socorro, NM . He spoke about an object that was witnessed by a police officer who saw two small beings, left burned scrub brush and footprints on the ground and witnessed by others. Hearing this from Walter had an immediate impact on me that day and altered the rest of my life. Days later, my aunt took me to a book store and bought my first book, "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" by Capt Edward Ruppelt, the former head of Project Blue Book. Ruppelt coined the term UFO and wrote an excellent piece of work that spoke to the Air Force's programs on the subject along with incredible military cases. When I learned that this project by the Air Force was right in my back yard (at Wright Patterson AFB), that nailed it for me. I was "hooked" immediately and have not stopped in 47 years.

Brent Raynes: Growing up in Dayton , Ohio , right there in close proximity to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, you were in a unique and opportune position to visit and learn first-hand the staff of Project Blue Book, the investigative body assigned to look into reports of UFOs. You got to meet the head of that project, Lt. Col. Hector Quintanilla, and others. What was that like and what did you learn?

Rich Hoffman: After starting my interest in the UFO phenomenon, I could not gather and read enough information on the subject. Reading about UFOs became my obsession. Later, I found a few friends who had a similar interest in the subject and we began comparing notes. By age 14, I began lecturing on the topic with the very first one to an Astronomy Club in Dayton . This and other lectures put me in touch with people who had some relationship with Wright Pat, either in the past or currently. I learned quite a bit from just listening to them. I was also featured in numerous newspaper articles in the Dayton Daily News and other local papers. Next, I found myself on TV and radio shows and it was when I appeared on Phil Donahue, that my celebrity status soared. He was in Dayton before going to Chicago but his show was popular locally. This continued over the many years and my appearances led to me being contacted for all UFO sightings and other paranormal events. Sightings had been heavy in the mid 60s and over time, I found myself bumping into Project Blue Book investigators. I also forged a relationship with RAPCOM, the radar operations organization who could help me in identifying air traffic in the vicinity of a sighting. I attended many lectures by others to include J. Allen Hynek, the astronomy consultant for Blue Book. He spoke in Dayton and this gave me an opportunity to meet him which ultimately led to meeting with Quintanilla and other members of the Blue Book staff. Unfortunately, my relationship was short lived, as the Condon Report was released and led to the closure of the Air Force project by the beginning of 1970. My experiences with the Project were limited, but I did share my findings openly with them. I could readily get some acknowledgments on unclassified aircraft in areas of the sky, but know that classified flights were not going to be confirmed. The Air Force Project Blue Book staff were looking forward to having an ending to the UFO phenomenon. It yielded little benefit to keep looking at yet another light in the sky report. In their mind, the Condon Report would take this burden off their shoulders once and for all. By the way, I was asked on one occasion to conduct a UFO presentation at Wright Pat. This had many people who worked at FTD, Air Force Materiel Command and other locations on the base. I recall asking them if they had seen UFOs and had one nervous hand go up. It was during the break that around 20 people approached me to tell me their stories and encounters with objects.

Brent Raynes: You quickly got a great deal of media exposure because of your own interest in the subject of UFOs and one day found yourself at a television station, ushered into a room with a scientist from Wright Patterson, who shared with you something incredible. Care to share some details with us?

Rich Hoffman: This was around 1975/6. UFO sightings were keeping me busy! I found myself again being interviewed about various sightings. I had appeared on Gil Whitney's Summertime Shows - Gil was the meteorologist from WHIO-TV but had a show in which he would invite stars like Pearl Bailey, Tom Bosley, Jimmy Coco, Dodi Goodman, Peter Strauss and others. These are the ones I met and discussed UFOs with. It was very exciting being in the Green Room and many of them claimed they had seen objects that they could not identify! One day I received a phone call from one of the lead producers at WHIO-TV who called me into the station. He did not say why, but I found myself being escorted into a glass enclosed room. There was another gentleman dressed in a suit sitting in chair and I sat next to him. We sat there for a period of time and did not say anything to each other until I broke the silence by asking him if he knew why we were there. His reply was that he had something of interest to tell me. I told him about my UFO interest and he seemed like he knew this already. He mentioned he worked at the base and that he was the Chief of AeroMed Research there. He mentioned that he had been to numerous crash sites, found beings with no backbones and had to do autopsies on these. He went on to tell me of his team's work in studying the effects that being in the space environment exacts on the human body and stated that they had been sharing bone marrow studies with the Soviets on the Cosmonaut's who spent months in orbit. He claimed that his team's studies showed conclusively that if we lived in space for two generations, the newborns would have a similar appearance to the beings reported in UFOs. Stunned, I told him that this was quite interesting and gulped! We departed a short time later and yes, he did tell me his name.

After arriving home, I called my friend, Leonard Stringfield in Cincinnati , Ohio to tell him of this encounter. Len had been actively pursuing the Crash Retrieval stories and this logically had a fit. He attempted to follow up with the Doctor and identified that he did actually work at WPAFB in the organization he stated he was in. He did not, however, successfully converse with him to my knowledge in a later follow-up conversation with Len.

Brent Raynes: As I recall, to date you've investigated over 300 UFO cases. For you, what have some of your most interesting investigations been about?

Rich Hoffman: There are many cases that are quite compelling and interesting. One involved a disk that was hovering over a pond in Lebanon, Ohio. I had a couple provide me this story and had kept it quiet for over 48 years. They were heading to bed and noted an orange light coming in their back window. There are three houses located around this pond. For over a half an hour they watched from a window until it rapidly ascended straight up in a flash. Two days later, a neighbor's boy mowed their lawn and asked if they had seen the orange light the other night. They said no and asked about what they saw. He told them that they saw the object and it had what appeared to be a hose coming from the bottom of it and in the water. The boy finished the job and left. The couple kept quiet and later never told the story to even their children. I was able to locate the one of residents in the third house after much time investigating. They had moved away and were now living separated. The wife was the one I got to talk to and she told me that for some reason her husband left the bedroom and did not return. She fell back to sleep and woke up in the morning and found him muttering about an orange object and that his hair was now snow white. He was apparently in a confused state. She said he later went to treatment, but never figured out what had caused this.

The Carrollton, Ohio landing was another interesting case. UFOs were observed in the area the night before a farmer found a 70 foot in diameter circular area where his wheat crop was now not present. On the outer perimeter was swirled wheat in a clockwise pattern indicating rotation and puffed wheat. The ground was baked two feet below ground and reduced in depth as you moved away from the center. Wheat roots were gone in the center, but you found some below ground and the above ground on the perimeter. Soil indications suggested a microwave baking, but how do you do this for an area 70 foot in diameter? My take...the object has a field around it that is interacting with the atmosphere and extending below the ground, thus the cupping effect where reduced baking happens at the perimeter.
There are many other cases, but I could go on for days.

Brent Raynes: After all of your 47 years of study and personal investigations, who do you think pilots these things and where do you think they're coming from?

Rich Hoffman: I take the position that most of the craft are not piloted. They are surveillance craft. Orbs and smaller craft are these versions. Larger craft like the one at Roswell showed that 4 beings were in this craft. If you look at the mile-wide object or the cigar versions many more beings are noted. Two beings occupied the egg-shaped object seen by Lonnie Zamora in 1964, where many were in the Travis Walton or the Barney and Betty Hill objects.
If you look at all the reports collectively, you would easily surmise that the earth is a great place to visit by other civilizations. It is a great travel destination, but don't bother the ants living there. The huge variations in the descriptions of occupants from robots (Pascagoula) to the smaller robots with pointy ears at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to the eight-ten foot tall Flatwoods Monster and now the trends towards greys, nordics, reptilians and other make one destination source plausible. We are likely having visits by a galactic source and some have been here all along. The clear intent of visiting nuclear sites and trying to disarm them, could readily indicate a concern that they would be impacted negatively by these weapons equally. This is, after all, an abundantly resourced planet. They don't want the ants messing it up. In the 1890's the airships were piloted by other men. There were no greys. Even the Villas Boas abduction case was with normal sized, human-like being. There has been too much focus on the grey version to the complete overlooking of the fact that the previous observations show many forms are also here.
When we entertain the "from" question we have to entertain the "where" and "when" equally. Craft have been observed throughout recorded history. Read the book by Vallee and Aubeck called "Wonders in the Sky". Some craft take off into the sky and some dematerialize suggesting both a planetary and an inter-dimensional origin and now that scientists are now speaking readily about mutiverses and the likelihood of alternate dimensions, this is becoming more plausible all the time. My take after my 47 years is that we have more than one visitor and multiple originations using multiple capabilities to get here.

Brent Raynes: Do you think quantum physics has anything to do with this?

Rich Hoffman: The quantum world is indeed interesting in and of itself. It is very likely that the aliens have mastered this world before us. We are only just discovering this world where another civilization may have had this figured out thousands or even millions of years before us. In any event, I enjoy watching us humans with our anthropomorphic notions about what is out there and thinking we are the center of the universe. Our scientists are still of the opinion that UFOs cannot exist, because it just cannot be. Recall the scientists from our past who made the same statements concerning flying machines. As we look at such areas as quantum entanglement where, for example, you can split a proton into two that yield two correlated protons, one with a spin that is balanced with the other but in opposite directions, and can then take one through a polarizing filter altering its direction and observe that the other proton now alters its spin regardless of distance is a pretty fantastic situation. It readily suggests that our notions about the universe are vastly different than what we see at the Newtonian level.

Brent Raynes: Through the years, you've met a lot of the top people in the UFO field, including Len Stringfield from Cincinnati , the author of Situation Red: The UFO Siege. Care to stroll down memory lane for a moment and share some stories and details of your meetings and associations with some of those people who have had a significant impact on your ufological journey?

Rich Hoffman: I have had many great opportunities to meet with most of the top researchers in the field of UFOlogy over the years. I met with Dr. J. Allen Hynek on many occasions and even had the opportunity to meet his lovely wife Mimi in their home when they lived in Evanston, IL. I also met Mark Rodeghier who was in the house at the time. Interestingly enough, I was in a car crash near their home and they were very helpful in assisting me to get a rental car. I had many a conversation with Allen when he was in Dayton in the 60s with Blue Book and later when he presented at the 1978 MUFON Symposium. I met Stanton Friedman when he visited at a Columbus, Ohio, meeting when Jennie Zeidman delivered the Larry Coyne case to a group there. I also saw him on other occasions and enjoyed his discussions. I am an admin in Facebook for a site dedicated to his work. I met Richard Hall in the late 60s when my science class did a Capitol and a Smithsonian tour. I decided I was going to visit NICAP and left the group one day. I had no transportation and did not know my way around the City so I chose to walk, not knowing how many blocks this would be. I ended up walking the entire day, but made it there just as they were closing their office. Richard let me in and allowed me some time. I was deeply impressed! I was in attendance at a MUFON conference in Iowa when Marjorie Fish delivered her Star Map presentation. Rev. Barry Downing delivered his excellent work on UFOs and the Bible. The 1978 MUFON Symposium I arranged allowed me the opportunity to have great conversations with MAJ (Ret) Donald Keyhoe, Ted Bloecher, Walt Andrus, Ted Phillips, and many others. Today I now include Brent Raynes in the mix of great people I have met over many of these years.

Brent Raynes: What suggestions or advice would you give to anyone interested in becoming a UFO researcher/investigator? I know that you've been very involved in providing instructions to people on becoming effective field investigators.

Rich Hoffman: As I clearly point out in my recent presentation to the Tennessee MUFON group in Memphis, you must be dedicated and independently wealthy because there is no money in it. No one is funding anyone so it remains a voluntary task. Investigations must be done objectively. You cannot go in with a pre-conceived notion about what the object is or is not. You must maintain a scientific attitude and look at the total picture - the witness, the weather, the location, the environmental clues, the sky, satellite data, time of day, physical evidence, photographic evidence and much more needs considered. Recognizing that most sightings are identifiable and explainable, the greater efforts should be dedicated to the one that provides the most supportive evidence. A landing or physical effects case requires s systematic approach that requires careful handling of the material. Training is essential and we are lacking in helping to bring up the skill levels required to be effective.
Interviewing a witness is a work of art. You must not lead them. The MUFON Field Investigators Manual is an excellent start to preparing the Field Investigator, but it does not stop there. The book by Alan Hendry for CUFOS is another excellent work. I suggest that the Field Investigators get familiar with all aspects mentioned in these books in greater detail, identify experts around them (astronomers, labs, etc.) and obtain many of the tools now available for iPhones, Androids, and computers that were not available at the time I taught investigators in the 60s and 70s. Tools are readily available that show satellites, aircraft, and the weather in the vicinity of the observation. Use these to aid in reaching a quick resolution to the obvious (e.g., the planet Venus, a satellite) if possible.
Do a better job of looking beyond the current location 9is there an airport or military base nearby? How about a defense contractor building prototype craft? Do you have a radar facility that you can contact? How about a lab for soil analysis? Do you know of any photo analysts? Can you locate graphic developers who can help show what the event may look like?
Look at criminal investigations. Research and study. Chapters can hold landing exercises and conduct simulations to help train investigators. We do this all the time in the military and I am sure that it is needed in UFOlogy.
Report writing is critical. Keep in mind that good accurate and complete data helps researchers who use their data in support of scientific study and analysis. If the data is bad or no one can interpret the report, what good is it?

Brent Raynes: How do you handle a UFO case where the high-strangeness factor includes paranormal elements, maybe a Bigfoot too, or a winged creature similar to Mothman?

Rich Hoffman: I consider myself a UFOlogist and as such investigate UFO observations, not cryptids, Bigfoot, ghosts, and other paranormal observations. If I get these, I pass them off to other Subject Matter Experts who are better equipped to handle them. Remember, no one is an expert on everything. I personally see very little evidence that creates any significant correlation to UFOs. The sighting of a UFO in vicinity could also be coincidental. A plane may have flown overhead so do I say that the creature came out of a plane? No.
I continue seeing people take one unsolved mystery and try to chain it to another unsolved mystery and claim a connection. My suggestion is to be scientific and look for evidence that proves this is the case and to this point, I fail to see it. Let me also state that I have a similar opinion about abduction cases. If the Roper Poll suggests 3.7M claim to have been abducted by aliens, why don't we have 3.7 M cases of objects hanging above neighborhood houses? I am 60 years old, have lived around the country, have been on roads and in communities and never seen a UFO. My family and friends also do not see them. Thus, my opinion is that most of the cases, are probably explainable as a psychological event. I also, am open to the claims of others who have more tangible supportive evidence like scuffed shoes, radar trackings, missing for 5 days like Travis Walton, or other factors. Similar to UFOs, it may be an 80/20 rule with 80% being explainable and 20% unexplainable. Abduction cases need more study by medical and psychological Subject Matter Experts. The challenge is getting them to take the professional risk to do this. Therein lies the conundrum, we lack scientific study of a sociological event that has great impact on the well-being of many people who claim these intense and disturbing interactions.

Brent Raynes: What do you hope to see achieved in the UFO field in the not too distant future?

Rich Hoffman: We have our work cut out for us. As we progress in time, our conventional and military aircraft testing of advanced weapons like UAVs, UCVs, blimps, and other technologies comes closer to appearing as UFOs. More defense contractors are building and flying prototypes that have UFO-like appearances. I continue seeing a waning interest in the subject because of the disinformation vendettas and a gullible public buying into the disinformation and taking us further away from the truth. Funding is dwindling and scientists are moving further away from the subject than previously experienced. The noise in the signal is becoming too loud.
UFOlogy requires a single focus and that is dedicated to getting evidence that means something. We cannot have people running after every light in the sky and many investigators are dropping out due to the economy situation. Additionally, many of us are focused on Iran and other matters that are more immediate, than sightings of objects which are mostly explainable. I suggest that we work with our global partners and collaborate on a plan that can be executed at a ground roots level and taken to an organization like the UN for consideration. Leslie Kean detailed an excellent plan and others like Richard Dolan and Dr. John Alexander have done similar. We need to promote a strategy and do it!
We need to be better able to educate and communicate the compelling amount of serious cases that exist to the public. We must focus on the UFO and not link to other mysteries as stated. We have too many people blurring the lines of the subject now. I am not sure that going to government for action will yield anything as it sees no evidence and would get caught in a lie to say otherwise. They already have a credibility problem anyway.
Demanding yet another scientific study yields nothing because we have had enough of these that too readily tie the UFO to the ETH hypothesis without looking at the other plausible explanations for UFOs - they have been here all along and could have likely preceded us. We fail to evaluate the underwater objects, the materialization and dematerializations of craft and other aspects of the UFO.
My hope is that we can get better organized, collaborate, and forge a single unified approach for the UFO phenomenon. I also hope that we get better tools for this (e.g., a unified database - a UFO portal with collaboration, use of business intelligence, chat and more). Certified and trained UFO investigators and researchers can post papers on a wiki and allow for peer reviews. Evidence is collected, evaluated, and results are published for all.
Once we get our act together, we can then engage and look for either corporate or government support (e.g., use of FAA radar data, and EPA for soil analysis, JPL or other photo labs for photo analysis, etc.). This is indeed wishful thinking but then again, I have always been an optimist!

Saturday, April 13, 2024