The Psychology of UFO Disclosure
By Dr. Greg Little
In part 1 of this article
(http://apmagazine.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=217) it was related that UFO disclosure cannot, by definition, happen. Thus, it will never happen. There will never be any official statements from U.S. government officials that confirm the beliefs of “UFO Disclosure” proponents. In brief, the disclosure proponents, also strangely called “exopoliticians,” are convinced that genuine UFOs are physical craft that have been interacting with Earth and its inhabitants for all recorded history. They go on to assert that some of these craft have crashed, bodies and saucers were recovered, and that elements of the government have been working with the aliens toward some kind of resolution. Until the government officially acknowledges the truth of these ideas, the disclosure proponents assert that an ongoing conspiracy of lies and deceit to cover-up the truth will continue. In essence, disclosure proponents see themselves as freedom fighters who know the truth. Until someone officially confirms their truth—their beliefs—they are convinced that those who don’t share their beliefs are lying or misinformed.
There are so many psychological processes at work in this issue that it could form the basis of a comprehensive textbook. At the core of all of these processes lies one fundamental concept. It is a type of perceptual defense that allows a person to maintain a consistency of beliefs. Beliefs are organized in a manner that maintains a sort of internal balance. In brief, we have a tendency to perceive things in the ways we want to perceive them. So when something is observed it is interpreted in a manner consistent with what we already believe. This simple process is what drives disclosure proponents. In never occurs to them that what they believe could be wrong.
The beliefs that disclosure proponents hold are based on such a massive accumulation of observations that it becomes a nearly impossible task to dismantle them. When one UFO case falls apart as a hoax or misidentification it is simply discounted because there are so many others they believe in. It’s like trying to take apart a haystack that has lots of fake hay. As one piece is shown to be fake, the believer looks at the rest of the haystack and thinks, “the rest is real.” Making the task more difficult is that the haystack continually grows as more and more reports are made.
Before we continue, I need to add a statement I have made many times previously. There are real UFOs, there is a real mystery, and many stranger aspects of the phenomenon such as abductions, do take place. But the disclosure proponents are misguided and are a barrier to real progress.
As examples of this overall idea, two key “UFO” reports will be discussed briefly. In April 1964 Socorro, New Mexico police officer Lonnie Zamora reported that he had observed an object that he wrote, “looked like an upside down car.” According to his radio report on the object, when he was asked what it looked like, Zamora replied, “It looks like a balloon.” In his official report he continued that he “saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object.” He heard a roar and a flame came from the object shooting down. The object rose slowly and moved away to the southwest. The case was investigated thoroughly and there were marks on the ground where the object was first seen. This case was quite impressive to Dr. J. Allen Hynek who saw it fitting into a world-wide pattern. In televised depictions of the Socorro case, Zamora is shown wearing thick glasses as he observed the events, but ignored is the fact that Zamora’s official report indicated he had dropped his glasses and wasn’t wearing them at the time. He had poor sight without them. Subsequent books on the case as well as televised accounts also change his description of the “two people in white coveralls” to a more impressive “two humanoids.” Oddly, it wasn’t until 2009 when UFO researcher Anthony Bragalia (http://ufocon.blogspot.com/2009/09/socorro-hoax-exposed-famous-1964.html) exposed the case as a hoax—a prank by college students. Bragalia was led to the facts of the case through a letter to Dr. Linus Pauling from the President of New Mexico Tech, Dr. Stirling Colgate. In his letter Dr. Colgate related that he “knew the student who engineered the hoax.” When an inquiry was made to Colgate by Bragalia in 2009, Colgate confirmed that it had been a hoax. The details of the hoax were also confirmed by a psychology professor at the university, and it was revealed that the students there had a society devoted to perpetrating pranks and hoaxes, but this case got so out of hand (with involvement by the Air Force, FBI, and others) that it scared those involved. Before Zamora had served for 5 years as a local police officer, he worked 7 years at the university as a mechanic. The students did not like him and when he became a police officer the students complained that he seemed to harass them for no good reason. They decided to get back at him.
Few UFO disclosure believers have accepted the explanation of Socorro, but that’s to be expected, given that the process of selective perception is so strong in them. The facts are inconsistent with what they believe, so they simply respond with disbelief. But it is what it is.
One more case will be mentioned here, the case that serves as the fundamental basis of it all—Roswell. The case will not be dismantled but one piece of critical information will be discussed. This bit of information shows how disclosure proponents subtly change the facts of a case to fit what they believe the facts should be. If you visit the Roswell UFO Museum you can pick up the official “Roswell Incident Timeline.” That timeline is detailed in several Roswell-oriented books. You’ll note it begins on July 4, 1947 when Mac Brazel hears a loud noise. On July 5 Brazel “discovers” the debris and picks up “a sackful of the stuff. “ On July 6 he takes the “stuff” to Sheriff Wilcox of Roswell and then the Roswell base becomes involved. It’s a well-known timetable and the rest is irrelevant to the issue. However, the timeline simply isn’t true.
The July 8 issue of the “Roswell Daily Record”—the newspaper issue declaring “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer”—has another article at the bottom of the front page. It’s an interview with Mac Brazel and it is conveniently ignored by the Roswell proponents. In the article Brazel states that he first found the wreckage on June 14—three weeks before he brought some of it to town. He described it as “rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper, and sticks.” He went back to the spot on July 4 and gathered up a bundle of the debris. The next day he became aware of Kenneth Arnold’s UFO report so he took the debris to town. He estimated the weight of what he recovered at 5 pounds or less. He noted that there was “considerable scotch tape with flowers printed on it.”
The actual Roswell timeline is an inconvenient truth to the Roswell proponents, so it is simply ignored, in accordance with the underlying psychology of the believers. The truth is a lot less impressive and does not support what they want to believe nor what they want you to believe. Perhaps one additional fact should be mentioned. Roswell was seen as insignificant by J. Allen Hynek. Of course, it’ll all be denied as part of the conspiracy.