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Ted Phillips Has Died
Premier UFO trace case investigator Ted Phillips has passed away. The UFO community has lost a dedicated researcher and a friend to those of us fortunate enough to have met him. Kevin Randle offers a tribute to the man, his work, and his legacy. In particular, this reader honors Ted for--as Dr. J. Allen Hynek termed it--his "pioneering work" in developing the classic compilation Physical Traces Associated with UFO Sightings, for the Center for UFO Studies.
Ted Phillips, the founder and director of the Center for Physical Trace Research died, on March 10, 2020. Phillips was born in 1942 and spent his life in Missouri. A young Ted Phillips.He began investigating UFOs in 1964 and met Dr. J. Allen Hynek during the investigation of the Socorro UFO landing.
Phillips was trained as an engineer and was a professional photographer. He was involved in the Vanguard Satellite Program and was a field engineer on the Minuteman Missile Project. He was also employed as an inspector for the Missouri State Highway Department, an associate of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, and made presentations at the MUFON Symposiums.
It was Hynek who suggested that Phillips concentrate on UFO physical trace cases. Phillips and his team investigated more than 4000 physical trace cases in more than 90 countries. Phillips once said that if you told him the physical markings left be the UFO, he would be able to describe the craft that left them.
With Hynek, Dr. Jacques Vallee and Dr. David Saunders, Phillips participated in Ted Phillips at the Illinois conference.the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Sciences meetings. He was also participated as a member of a small group who met with the United Nations Secretary-General. Phillips made presentations to a wide variety of groups and was a participant in several television programs and documentaries dedicated to UFOs.
In recent years he was involved in the investigation of strange lights seen in the Marley Woods in far southern Missouri. I met him in Illinois when he made a presentation about those lights at a UFO conference there. I had hoped to talk to Phillips about this while at the conference but there never seemed to be a couple of moments when the two of us crossed paths, with one exception. I told him it was my impression, from his presentation, that he wasn’t looking toward the extraterrestrial on this. He confirmed that he had thought it was some sort of terrestrial manifestation but he didn’t know what it might be. For those interested, there is more about Phillips’ presentation here.
In the 1970s, he provided a “position statement” for Ron Story’s Encyclopedia of UFOs that said:
'The available facts are mostly statistical, but by taking a large number of reports, we can begin to develop a fairly clear picture of the objects observed and the traces left behind. Obviously, a report involving a landed object is of much greater value than a nocturnal light case. The landed object immediately eliminates a number of possibilities. One would not expect a balloon to land, leave unusual traces, and then ascend vertically at high speed. Stars and planets do not appear at ground level between witnesses and a line of trees. When several witnesses observe a disk-shaped object with a metallic surface, no wings and no sound, landing, ascending vertically, they have, with their descriptions, eliminated most of the natural or conventional explanations. When these objects then leave traces at the landing site, we have something tangible to examine
I believe, after thirteen years of investigation, the data indicates a nonterrestrial origin"
Ted Philips, truly one of the pioneers in scientific UFO research and a dedicated investigator is dead at 78.
"After 30 years of research it is obvious that UFO traces represent the most direct approach to resolving the UFO mystery. When multiple witnesses observe an object on the ground, less than 50 feet away with no engines, no wings, no visible means of propulsion, they have, with their observation, eliminated many natural or conventional explanations.
When they leave traces behind, we have something tangible to examine long after the object is gone. I believe the data indicates constructed machines under some sort of intelligent control which can interact with their surroundings in a very physical way. What these machines are or where they might originate are open questions. These questions simply cannot be answered by ignoring the facts".
Physical Traces Associated with UFO Sightings, A Preliminary Catalogue - Ted Phillips
Ted has personally investigated some 600 UFO cases. He is currently investigating the "Marley Woods" case
He was one of UFOlogy's greatest for a reason. Not only a giant in the UFO field... but a great person and friend. I am lucky to have gotten to know him over the years, and was one of the ones lucky enough to see his files, collection and UFO trace evidence he's collected when I was at his home. It's something I'll never forget, since he was the one who showed me. The man had passion and an amazing knowledgebase he had in his head.
RIP, Ted. Your legacy and pioneering in this field will live on forever.
"The end of the line"
We are all ageing, and time's arrow only points one way. However, for some of us who have researched UAP for years, the time is getting closer to think about "the end of the line" - death.
An increasing number of long-term researchers are reaching their 70's and 80's. What can they do to best preserve their files, accumulated over many years?
In the USA, the collections of many deceased researchers have found their way to Barry Greenwood of Boston. For a long time, Barry has toiled away converting paper documents into the digital realm, making them available to multiple individuals, and archives like the AFU, throughout the world. Thus, what was the collection of a single individual, becomes available for anyone to research.
Other researchers have packed up documents, whether their own, or that of colleagues; and sent them off to the special collection area of a university; e.g. the James McDonald collection at the University of Arizona. Part of Jacques Vallee's collection has already gone to Rice University.
Yet others, like Michael Swords, have scanned their collection and made copies available on USB memory sticks to individuals all over the planet. On a personal level, over the last few years I have scanned most of my Australian material, and like Swords, have copied it to numerous international researchers.
What about online material? What do your family do with it, after you pass away, leaving perhaps a vast website of quite original material and research? Do you simply hope that others have already downloaded the contents of the entire site? It might be wiser to leave instructions in your will as to what you would like to have your family do with this material.
What of blogs? Many individuals have written hundreds of thousands of words on their blog, often providing much data and analysis unique to that blog. Consider an addition to your will which sets out what you would like to happen, following your death. Again, on a personal level I was pleased to be approached by the PANDORA project of the National Library of Australia. They asked if they could upload the ongoing content of my blog to their website, which would preserve it, even if Blogspot goes out of existence. If you are a blogger, do you make a PDF version of each blog post and save it somewhere?
So, if you are a researcher of senior years, why not take a few minutes now to think about this topic? Perhaps draft an action plan; but do not forget to actually start acting upon it. Scanning original material a bit at a time and distributing it around, will only take a few hours of your time.
Once you have put something in place to preserve your material, perhaps original investigation notes, and unpublished analyses of some famous cases, etc, comes a peace of mind that you are prepared. Too often in the past, I have heard that a researcher has passed away and then that their family have simply ordered a rubbish skip and sent material which took a life time to collect, off to the rubbish tip. Don't let this happen to you
These cases represent some of the high strangeness trace/landing events from a database of over 4,000 such events.