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Best cases - National Enquirer Panel

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posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:12 AM
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“Top 100 UFO Cases”
By Isaac Koi. Copyright 2007-2008.


PART 10 Consensus lists : National Enquirer Panel


Many UFO researchers have complained about ridicule of UFO witnesses, arguing that a fear of ridicule has resulted in many UFO witnesses failing to report their sightings.


What if, partially in an attempt to overcome that fear and obtain further reports, a company were prepared to offer a reward of $1,000,000 for proof that UFOs come from outer space and are not natural phenomena?


What if the same company were prepared to offer $10,000 for the best report submitted each year, even though not the proof required for the $1,000,000 reward?


Anyone involved with UFO research for a few years must have wondered how much more progress would be made but for the constant bickering between researchers and UFO groups. What if the company that was prepared to offer a million dollars had also managed to persuade the heads of the three most influential UFO groups (say, NICAP, APRO and MUFON) to put aside long standing feuds to work together, and join forces in screening reports submitted for the $1,000,000 prize?


What if the same company were prepared to provide funds to investigate reports screened by those two groups and/or provide financial rewards for investigators for performing thorough investigations of interesting cases?


What if the same company managed to get several of the most respected scientists involved in UFO research, individuals such as Dr J Allen Hynek, to agree to look at the best reports selected as a result of that screening? If those scientists were put in a room together and asked to agree on the top UFO cases, which cases would be nominated? This would involve researchers reaching agreement on the relevant list of cases (i.e. producing a true “consensus” list), and thus can be contrasted to the approach of taking a poll of UFO researchers (as to which see Parts 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9).


For good measure, what if the same company also managed to persuade to persuade several highly respectable members of the legal establishment (such as a former Supreme Court Justice and former Attorney General, and a former New York Court of Appeals Judge) to review any cases considered by the panel of scientists to be a UFO that is not a natural phenomenon and came from outer space?


A pipe dream?


No. It has already happened.


It’s just a shame that the relevant company was “The National Enquirer”…


All this happened in the 1970s, when the National Enquirer established a “blue-ribbon panel” to consider UFO reports. The questions about “what would happen if…?” can be considered in the light of that experience.

Unfortunately, the answer in that case was:

    (1) The Panel has largely been forgotten by UFO researchers.

    (2) Disappointingly little happened as a result of the Panel. Given the resources available to the Panel, and the individuals associated with it, this may be viewed by many ufologists as serious cause for concern. Most efforts within ufology have far, far less support than the Panel. It is possible, however, that the National Enquirer’s reputation was a disadvantage which drastically affected the efforts of the Panel.



[edit on 1-4-2008 by IsaacKoi]




posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:13 AM
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Given the diversity of cases included within the lists of the “best” cases produced by various researchers (see Part 3 of this article), it might be considered a fairly obvious step to attempt to get UFO proponents to agree between themselves on a list of the “best” cases to be put before sceptics. The National Enquirer’s Panel was one of very few such attempts.

The involvement of the National Enquirer in an effort that, prima facie, involved commiting significant financial resources and obtaining the assistance of high calibre individuals (both from inside and outside the UFO community) is surprising given the perception of that publication. That perception is reflected in comments made by several sceptics and by pro-UFO authors:

(a) Skeptic Philip J Klass has refered to the National Enquirer as “a sensationalist tabloid newspaper” (see Footnote 10.01);

(b) Terry Hansen, author of “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (2000), has commented that the National Enquirer is “normally perceived as a just sleazy tabloid…” (see Footnote 10.02). Terry Hansen also commented that: “[The National Enquirer has a] reputation for over-the-top senationalism and dubious veracity … Although the elite news media rarely provides serious, in-depth coverage of the UFO issue, the Enquirer was for many years uniquely eager to publish UFO stories, often under screaming, front-page headlines. The juxtaposition of sensational, even ridiculous Enquirer headlines alongside the more restrained (if not openly contemptuous) coverage of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, has served to amplify the disreputable public image of UFOs …” (see Footnote 10.03).

Anyone interested in the role of the “The National Enquirer” in ufological history may be interested in the 9 page discussion of that publication by Terry Hansen in his “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (see Footnote 10.04). Unfortunately, as with virtually all UFO books, the National Enquirer’s Panel is not discussed within those pages. However, that discussion does include a number of interesting assertions, including a quote attributed to Bob Pratt “Issues of the Enquirer that had a UFO story as the lead headline on page one never sold well. Arthritis, celebrities and such always sold much better” (see Footnote 10.05). Most of the relevant discussion within that book is devoted to the provocative, if far from convincing, suggestion that the National Enquirer’s UFO coverage was manipulated by the CIA.

The details of that Panel do not appear, to put it mildly, to be very well known within the UFO community.

The Panel is rarely referred to in pro-UFO books.

Also, while there are a number of references to the Panel online, most of the references to the Panel on pro-UFO websites are generally in the context of discussing a specific case and merely refer to the fact that the relevant case was selected by the Panel as the best case of a specific year.

Disappointingly, a book on UFOs published by the National Enquirer itself (“UFO Report”, 1985) based on articles previously published in the National Enquirer does not refer to the Panel. Instead, it is a rather sensationalist publication containing section titles which include the following:


    (1) “Attack by Space Robots” (pages 16-18)
    (2) “Eisenhower met Space Aliens” (pages 43-45)
    (3) “Skeleton Found on Beach May Be Space Alien Child” (pages 82-85)
    (4) “Russians say they found live Alien Baby” (pages 85-87)
    (5) “Damaged Alien Spacecraft Orbits Earth” (pages 100-104)
    (6) “Housewife says she visited Alien Planets” (pages 104-106)
    (7) “Aliens Beamed To Earth” (pages 107-108)
    (8) “Brazilian Says He’s Father of Alien’s Baby” (pages 147-150)
    (9) “ ‘Vampires From Space’ ” (pages 160-165)
    (10) “Did Space Aliens Teach the Chinese Acupuncture?” (pages 173-174)
    (11) “Vietnam Vet Meets Invisible Alien” (pages 205-206)


Somewhat ironically, the most detailed accounts of the Panel that I’ve seen in print have been written by UFO sceptics such as Philip J Klass and Robert Sheaffer (see below). With the notable exception of the website operated by UFO researcher Jerry Cohen, discussion of the Panel online is fairly limited and/or inaccurate. Jerry Cohen has commented on the difficulty in obtaining accurate information regarding the Enquirer’s Panel, commenting that “you really can't find it anywhere” (Footnote 10.52).

Indeed, in one online debate on the UFO Updates forum, one leading UFO historian (Wendy Connors) attacked claims made by sceptics about the Panel and:

(1) initially denied that the Panel existed, stating that claims made about its existence were "bogus", that “It does not exist” and that "None of these people [on the ‘blue ribbon panel’] are ever named by the CSICOP cult because this blue ribbon panel does not exist" (see Footnote 10.06); then

(2) after being challenged, she accepted that the Panel existed, but claimed that "but it was not composed of top-notch scientists as claimed by CSICOP. The reasoning is quite simple. No legitimate scientist would align themselves with a gossip tabloid because it would endanger their credibility and possible cause for loss of research funding. The ‘blue ribbon panel’ is the typical sham..." (see Footnote 10.07).

Fortunately, due to very generous assistance from the AFU (an organisation which is undervalued by many within ufology, possibly because it keeps a relatively low profile), I have been able to review copies of various relevant articles from the National Enquirer.

As detailed below, contrary to the views expressed by Wendy Connors:

    (1) The Panel did exist;
    (2) The National Enquirer somehow managed to attract some of the top names from within ufology, and some impressive names from outside ufology. The Panel involved participation by Dr J Allen Hynek and representatives of APRO, NICAP and MUFON. It even involved a former Attorney General of the USA.


[edit on 1-4-2008 by IsaacKoi]



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:14 AM
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On 12 March 1972, the National Enquirer featured an article entitled “Enquirer Offers $50,000 Reward for UFO Proof” (see Footnote 10.08). That article stated that a reward of $50,000 would be paid by the National Enquirer to “the first person who can prove that an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) came from outer space and is not a natural phenomenon”.

That article also gave the first details of the National Enquirer’s UFO Panel. It reported that “Five of the country’s top scientists have been named to a special ENQUIRER investigate panel which will examine the UFO evidence submitted by our readers”.

That article indicated that “the editors” would screen the evidence and “the best ones” would be presented to The Enquirer’s “investigative panel composed of five of the country’s top scientists”. $50,000 would be awarded to a person submitting evidence if “it is the unanimous agreement of the panel that the Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) came from outer space and it not a natural phenomenon”. The article stated that all evidence had to be in the hands of the editors before 1 January 1973 to qualify for the reward.

While referring to the relevant individuals as five of “the country’s top scientists” may have involved a degree of hyperbole, they were certainly five of the country’s top scientists active in UFO research. They were:

    (1) Dr J Allen Hynek;
    (2) Dr R Leo Sprinkle;
    (3) Dr Frank B Salisbury;
    (4) Dr James Harder;
    (5) Dr Robert F Creegan.


Dr Creegan is probably the only individual on the Panel that may not be instantly familiar to most UFO researchers. He was a professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Albany.

Philip J Klass’ second book on UFOs contained several references to the Panel. He noted that all five members of the panel were university professors – all with Ph. D.’s. Four of the members of the Panel were “long-time technical advisors to APRO”. (The fifth panel member was Dr J Allen Hynek). Klass commented that it was “not, therefore, surprising that the National Enquirer characterized this illustrious group of UFOlogists as a ‘blue-ribbon panel’ ” (see Footnote 10.09). Robert Sheaffer, the skeptical author of “The UFO Verdict” (1980), has commented that the Panel was “dominated by APRO consultants” (see Footnote 10.10 and Footnote 10.11).

The launch of the Enquirer offer of a reward for UFO proof was briefly reported in the April 1972 issue of NICAP’s “UFO Investigator” (see Footnote 10.12). The relevant article referred to a panel “of scientists associated with the Aerial Phenomena Organization (APRO)” and stated that to win $50,000 “all you have to do” is prove that a UFO came from outer space and is not a natural phenomenon.

On 23 April 1972, the National Enquirer reported that the reward system had been expanded. It reported that the Enquirer had “agreed to the panel’s suggestion at a recent meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., to make an additional award of $5,000 to the person who presents new evidence which, in the panel’s opinion, is the most scientifically valuable, although it not considered conclusive enough to win the $50,000” (see Footnote 10.13).

On 28 May 1972, the National Enquirer featured an article indicating that the Enquirer’s “blue-ribbon UFO investigative panel” was considering the Delphos Ring incident, following a preliminary study conducted by APRO at the request of the Enquirer. Relevant soil samples were reportedly “baffling scientists” (see Footnote 10.14).

On 17 September 1972, the blue-ribbon Panel hit the front page of the National Enquirer, with the headline “Enquirer Blue-Ribbon Panel Investigating UFOs Reveals… 5 AMAZING UFO SIGHTINGS”. The accompanying article referred to a meeting of the members of the panel in San Francisco and gave details of five “promising reports selected by the panel for further investigation”. The relevant reports included an incident involving “two pilots and 21 passengers” over Labrador, Canada in May 1953 and a case from September 1944 involving “a German soldier in World War 2 who hit a UFO with an armor-piercing bullet fired at point-blank range” (see Footnote 10.15).

On 25 January 1973 the National Enquirer published an article with the somewhat optimistic title of “UFO Riddle May Be Solved Soon, Says Enquirer Team of Experts” (see Footnote 10.16). Jim Lorenzen of APRO was referred to as “the consultant to the panel” and featured in a photograph of the five members of the Panel. Despite the optimistic title of the article, and various statements by members of the Panel about the value of the reports obtained, the article did not indicate that any of the members considered at that point that any of the reports satisfied the requirement for the main reward of $50,000. Instead, the article reported that this issue (and the awarding of the $5,000 reward for “the claimant who has supplied the most scientifically valuable evidence on UFOs”) would be determined at a further meeting again “early this year”. The same article included an announcement that the Panel had agreed to extend its research through 1973. “When appropriate” the Panel would send “experienced researchers to probe the sightings on the spot”. The Panel would decide on the distribution of $1,000 to informants that provided information on “outstanding cases” (see Footnote 10.16).

[edit on 1-4-2008 by IsaacKoi]



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:15 AM
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On 23 March 1973, the Panel met in Tucson, Arizona to consider the reports that had been submitted prior to the deadline of 1 January 1973. The results of the Panel’s deliberations were reported in the National Enquirer on 27 May 1973 in an article entitled “Enquirer Awards Kansas Family $5,000 for Supplying the Most Scientifically Valuable UFO Evidence in 1972”. That article reported that the Panel “agreed unanimously that none of the claims merited the $50,000”. However, four of the five members voted in favour of awarding the $5,000 award to the Johnson family for their report of the Delphos Ring incident because “the case did supply ‘the most scientifically valuable evidence’ – even though it did NOT prove that UFOs are extraterrestrial vehicles”. Dr Robert Creegan abstained from the vote “for technical reasons”. The National Enquirer announced in the same article that it would continue its offer of the $50,000 reward for “the first person who can prove that an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) came from outer space and is not a natural phenomenon”. The deadline for submissions was extended to 1 January 1974. The article also repeated that the Panel could distribute award money of $1,000 between those judged by the Panel “to have supplied scientifically valuable evidence of recent UFO sightings” (see Footnote 10.17). This award has been referred to by various ufologists, and has also been given as a reason by several UFO skeptics for their consideration of the case. See, for example, the references to the award by Philip J Klass (see Footnote 10.18) and Robert Sheaffer (see Footnote 10.19 and Footnote 10.20).

The award to the Johnson family was reported in two separate articles in the June 1973 edition of MUFON’s “Skylook” journal. An article by Norma Short Norma Short commented that investigative reports by Ted Phillips were used by the Panel in making its decision, but that he did not share in the prize money “which doesn’t seem right” and that the Enquirer “did not even have the courtesy to give him credit for the investigation in their announcement of the award” (see Footnote 10.21). In very similar comments in the same edition of MUFON’s Skylook journal, Lucius Farish referred to the 27 May 1973 edition of National Enquirer commented that “It seems to me that a portion of the prize money should have gone to Ted Phillips … At any rate, I suppose this proves that it can be profitable to have a UFO land in your back yard!” (see Footnote 10.22).

A couple of articles followed about physical evidence being considered by the Panel, including a “mysterious” steel sphere found at Terry Matthews near Jacksonville, Florida. (see Footnote 10.23) and a “mysterious” pice of “metal-like material” found by carpenters Harry Sjoberg and Stig Ekberg near Stockholm, Sweden in 1958 (see Footnote 10.24).

At about this point in time, NICAP appears to have become actively involved in selecting cases for the Panel. The January 1974 issue of NICAP’s “UFO Investigator” briefly mentions that NICAP “is presently evaluating cases for the Panel” (see Footnote 10.25). Further detail was given in the following month’s issue of the same publication (see Footnote 10.26). According to that article, decision makers from the National Enquirer met with APRO’s director (Jim Lorenzen) and NICAP’s President (John Acuff) at the Enquirer’s offices in Lantana, Florida to review UFO reports for possible submission to the Enquirer's UFO panel. In addition to selecting various cases, the NICAP article indicates that:

(1) it was agreed that cases which were submitted for the Enquirer's UFO panel evaluation would “now receive funding from the National Enquirer to insure complete analysis”;

(2) somewhat surprisingly given the number of references in the ufological literature to the long-standing feud between NICAP and APRO (particularly between Donald Keyhoe and Coral Lorenzen), the NICAP article states that “Of equal importance is the resolve by both Mr. Lorenzen and Mr. Acuff to continue to seek means for mutual cooperation between NICAP and APRO”. Perhaps the National Enquirer should not receive too much credit for getting APRO and NICAP to agree to work together, since the two groups had in fact previously indicated an intention to attempt to improve relations, as reported in the June 1972 edition of NICAP’s “UFO Investigator” (see Footnote 10.27).

The Panel met on 20 April 1974, in New Orleans, to consider “five claims, out of hundreds submitted to The ENQUIRER”. Once again, the panel members “agreed unanimously that none of the claims merited the $50,000 award”. However, the National Enquirer article dated 23 June 1974 reporting the relevant Panel meeting indicates that the Panel members “all voted in favour” of awarding $5,000 to the four-man US Army helicopter crew, including pilot Major Larry Coyne, involced in a UFO incident on 19 October 1973. The article indicated that the $50,000 award and award of up to $5,000 would continue to be offered (see Footnote 10.28). This award was briefly mentioned in the July 1973 edition of MUFON’s Skylook journal (see Footnote 10.29) and has subsequently been referred to briefly by several researchers, including by Philip J Klass. Klass referred to the award as being a reason for giving relatively lengthy consideration to this case in his book “UFOs Explained” (1974) – see Footnote 10.30.

The same 23 June 1974 Enquirer article also indicated that reports would be screened by the Enquirer’s editors, Jim Lorenzen (international director of APRO) and Jack Acuff (president of NICAP) and that the “best ones” would be forwarded to the five members of the Panel (see Footnote 10.28).

On 8 March 1975, the members of the screening committee (including NICAP’s President, John Acuff) submitted five cases for the Panel to review (see Footnote 10.31). Those cases were: (1) A sighting on 30 October 1974 over Jay, Oklahoma involving 6 police officers and more than 50 other witnesses, (2) a sighting on 21 October 1974 in western New York involving several police officers, (3) a sighting on 12 August 1974 in central New Hampshire involving several police officers, (4) a sighting involving several pilots and others on 23 October 1974 over the San Antonio International Airport, Texas, and (5) a sighting on 20 August 1974 over Albany, New York, involving several police officers and others.



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:15 AM
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In the summer of 1975, the $50,000 reward for “positive proof” that UFOs come from outer space and are not natural phenomena was doubled to “a whopping” $100,000. An article published in the 3 June 1975 edition of the National Enquirer publicised the increase in the award. The same article referred to the fact that the Panel had met in Los Angeles “recently” and had considered “five claims screened by our editors from the hundreds submitted”. (The article indicates that claims contintued to be screened by National Enquirer editors, Jim Lorenzen of APRO and by Jack Acuff of NICAP.) At that meeting, the five members of the panel “agreed unanimously that none of the cases merited the full reward”. However, the Panel voted to award $500 to each of four witnesses to a “spectacular” UFO sighting over San Antonio near San Antonio International Airport, Texas (namely to Eastern Airline pilots Jerry Noyes and Chuck Nickerson, security officer Chester Blanchard and air traffic controller Jim Stevens). The article quotes Hynek as stating that the sighting was best of those which came before the panel and that it “confirmed the existence of the UFO phenomena beyond doubt” (see Footnote 10.32).

(I note in passing that this incident, in contrast to several of the earlier cases that receiving awards from the Panel, is rarely mentioned in UFO books).

The increase in the reward from $50,000 to $100,000 was reported in the July 1975 edition of MUFON’s Skylook journal. Lucius Farish commented, “So, if you have any crashed saucers in your backyard and you can prove (ah, there’s the rub!) they came from outer space, you can be $100,000 richer” (see Footnote 10.33).

There was an even more dramatic increase in the main reward in 1976. The reward was increased from $100,000 to the “enormous sum” of $1,000,000. An article in the National Enquirer on 13 June 1976 reported this ten-fold increase. It also reported on a meeting of the Panel on 18/19 May 1976 in Palm Beach, Florida to consider five cases for the top award. The Panel “felt that none of the case merited” the top award. However, the Panel awarded the $5,000 award to those involved in the Travis Walton abduction incident. Travis Walton was awarded $2,500 while the six others that reportedly saw the incident shared the other $2,500 (see Footnote 10.34). This award has been briefly referred to by several ufologists, and also mentioned by skeptic Robert Sheaffer (see Footnote 10.35 and Footnote 10.36).

In addition to announcing the dramatic increase in the main reward to $1,000,000 the same article also announced two other developments.

Firstly, any claims unanimously viewed by the Panel as being a UFO that was not a natural phenomenon and came from outer space would be submitted to a Judicial Review Board for “final judgment”. The $1,000,000 reward would be awarded if “the two judges agreed that the award recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel is correct”.

The calibre of individual that the National Enquirer managed to persuade to agree to participate in the “Judicial Review Board” may be considered rather surprising. The article stated that the relevant two judges were:

(1) Tom C. Clark : Justice Clark “was an Associate Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court from 1949 to 1967 and Attorney General of the U. S. from 1945 to 1949”. [For the wikipedia entry on Tom Campbell Clark see Footnote 10.37].

(2) Francis Bergan : Justice Bergan “was Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, that state’s highest court, from 1963 to 1972, with a long and distinguished career before his retirement”. [For a brief biography of Justice Bergan see Footnote 10.38].

Secondly, the National Enquirer doubled the award for the “most scientifically valuable evidence on UFOs” (though not qualifying for the main reward) submitted each year, from $5,000 to $10,000.

A further article in the National Enquirer, dated 19 October 1976, reported on the Mona Stafford, Kentucky abduction incident. That article indicated that the $1,000,000 reward was still available and that the offer was “good until” 30 June 1977 (see Footnote 10.39).



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:16 AM
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The National Enquirer achieved yet another surprising coup in 1977. It had already succeeded in getting APRO and NICAP to cooperate in assessing the “best” UFO cases (despite the long-standing feud between the leaders of APRO and NICAP) and in 1977 it managed to add representatives of MUFON to the selection process (despite the feud between the leaders of APRO and MUFON).

In the May 1977 issue of the MUFON Journal, Dennis Hauck reported upon the expansion of the National Enquirer Panel to include MUFON representatives (see Footnote 10.40). Dr John L Warren (MUFON State Director for New Mexico and a consultant in Physics) joined the National Enquirer’s Panel. Also, John F Schuessler (Deputy Director of MUFON and a mechanical engineer) joined the mini-panel that screened cases for the Blue Ribbon Panel, along with representatives of APRO, NICAP and the National Enquirer. These appointments were reported to have been the result of “many months of consultation between Bob Pratt, John Cathcart, and Brian Wells of the Enquirer Staff and Walt Andrus, International Director of MUFON”. Bob Pratt has stated that John Schuessler represented MUFON instead of Walt Andrus because “Walt and Jim Lorenzen despised each other” (see Footnote 10.45).

Interestingly, Dennis Hauck commented that these appointments “rectify a sensitive situation and give full recognition to the Mutual UFO Network, Inc as one of the major UFO organisations in the world” (see Footnote 10.40). That comment may imply that some within MUFON viewed the previous lack of involvement of MUFON to have been some sort of snub.

The first prize after MUFON representatives began participating in the Panel deliberations was made in relation to the Tehran jet intercept case of September 1976. An article in the National Enquirer reported that the Panel had awarded $5,000 to six (unnamed) Iranians in relation to this sighting, for the most scientifically valuable UFO case “reported in 1977”. The reference to “1977” appears to have been an error, since the Tehran case was in fact reported in 1976 and the Panel’s prize for the best case in 1977 was in fact reported in a subsequent edition of the National Enquirer (dated 13 June 1978). Unfortunately for the relevant Iranian individuals, they were not permitted to accept the cash award which was instead awarded to an Iranian charity similar to the Red Cross. The relevant cheque was accepted on behalf of that charity by Iran’s ambassador to the USA (Ardeshir Zahedi) at the Iranian Embassy in Washington. The 6 Iranians had to accept the consolation prize of an engraved plaque.

The same article in the National Enquirer reported that former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark had died, creating a vacancy on the National Enquirer’s “Judicial Review Board” which had been filled by another “outstanding jurist” – Emilio Nunez “retired Associate Justice in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court” who reportedly had “had a long and distinguished career in law”. The article once again summarised the procedure in relation to the Panel’s deliberations, indicating that all evidence sent in would be screened by the editors and the “more promising entries” would be sent to Jim Lorenzen (international director of APRO), Jack Acuff (president of NICAP) and John Schuessler (deputy director of MUFON). The claims with “the best evidence” would be submitted to the Panel, and if the Panel recommended payment of the $1 million award then they would pass the case on to the Judicial Review Board “for final judgment” which would determine if the Panel’s award “is correct”.

On 13 June 1978, the National Enquirer reported (see Footnote 10.41) that a prize of $7,500 for the most scientifically valuable evidence of 1977 had been awarded to five policemen in Memphis, Tennessee, who reportedly observed a large triangular UFO over that city on 17 May 1977.

On 29 May 1979, the National Enquirer reported (see Footnote 10.42) on awards totalling $9,500 for the UFO cases which provided the most scientifically valuable evidence of 1978.

On 27 May 1980, the National Enquirer reported (see Footnote 10.43) that an award of $2,000 for the best UFO case of 1979 was shared between UFO research Allan Hendry and Minnesotta deputy sheriff Val Johnson. An award of an additional $2,000 was presented to Dr Bruce Maccabee for his investigation into the New Zealand UFO film.



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:16 AM
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What happened to the Panel after May 1980? Emails to John Schuessler (one of the individuals that had been on the Panel and is still alive) and MUFON have, about a year on, not resulted in further information. UFO researcher Jerry Cohen has, however, made available some information from Bob Pratt, one of the National Enquirer reporters involved in reporting UFO sightings, in relation to Pratt’s knowledge of the Panel from “late 1975” onwards (see Footnote 10.45).


Comments by Bob Pratt in relation to the continued existence of the Panel after 1976 include the following:

    (1) The Panel continued until “1980 or 1981”, when “the Enquirer formally abandoned the reward offer and disbanded the Blue Ribbon panel and the mini-panel”;

    (2) The meetings to screen the reports to be submitted to the Panel consisted “of representatives of the three main UFO organizations, would meet once or twice a year with me and my editor to help select those cases that would be considered by the big panel. No one got paid anything but the Enquirer took care of all arrangements and all expenses for visits to south Florida or wherever the panel would meet -- such places as New York, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and even Mexico City)”.

    (3) Dr Hynek quit the Panel “after he became convinced that the Enquirer wasn't too interested in funding research”. Although NICAP had reported that the Enquirer had agreed to provide funds for investigations, Pratt has commented “If such agreements had been made, they were no longer in effect when I got involved in late 1975”. Pratt has stated that Hynek asked Pratt’s advice “on whether he should stay on the panel. I told him I didn't think the Enquirer was serious about funding any research and he quit the panel. He had agreed to participate in the beginning in the hope that the Enquirer would provide some research funds. It certainly could have afforded to do so (it would spend great gobs of money to get stories of all kinds) but the publisher, Gene Pope, wasn't all that interested”.


It should be noted that if Hynek quit the Panel because the Enquirer would not fund research, his timing may have been poor because the Enquirer eventually started paying some of its financial award to investigators (see discussion above of the 27 May 1980 edition of the National Enquirer and the financial awards for 1979 cases).

One of the longest discussions of the National Enquirer in the MUFON Journal appeared in the February 1984 issue, in an article by Walt Andrus entitled “The Enquirer and MUFON” (see Footnote 10.46). The article acknowledged that the National Enquirer’s Panel no longer existed, but did not state when it was disbanded. The article was about other actual and potential cooperation between MUFON and the National Enquirer. For the first time in the MUFON Journal, the article had a very cautious, even defensive, tone regarding co-operation with the National Enquirer. The article stated that “Since Bob Pratt left the National Enquirer, some of us have had serious doubts about the authenticity and integrity of some of the UFO stories that have been published under various reporters names”. However, despite those “serious doubts”, Walt Andrus indicated that MUFON would be co-operating with a National Enquirer reporter by providing documentation on the “four best current cases that MUFON members had investigated but which had not been previously published in the Enquirer”. Walt Andrus stated that the four cases selected had all been published in the MUFON UFO Journal “over the past few years” and gave the following titles: “Mother and Child Abducted in Texas”, “Pilot Encounters Ringed UFO”, “Missouri Landing Trace Case”, and “Repeated Sighting of Domed Disc in Michigan”. Due to the “serious doubts” regarding the National Enquirer, MUFON imposed several conditions upon this cooperation. Firstly, Walt Andrus required that nothing could be published until “every word was cleared with him” to ensure the accuracy of the article. Secondly, to expand the membership/subscription base of MUFON, Walt Andrus required that the article include the complete address of MUFON (including a code added to the zip code, to track the number of responses). Andrus stated that “the number of new and competent field investigators joining the MUFON team will be the ultimate criterion”. He went on to state that members of the MUFON Executive Committee “recognize that there is a gamble in cooperating with the National Enquirer” but expressed the view that “the integrity of the tabloid and its management is also at stake in the eyes of the UFO community” and that “my experience to date has been very positive and congenial”. (The anticipated article subsequently appeared in the 10 April 1984 edition of the National Enquirer, see Footnote 10.47).

Andrus ended his article in the MUFON Journal with a paragraph calling for views from readers of the MUFON Journal concerning future cooperation with the National Enquirer. Several responses were published in subsequent issues of the MUFON Journal.

Although not directly relevant to a consideration of the National Enquirer Blue Ribbon Panel (since that Panel had disbanded by this point), I think that the contents of two of those responses are worth noting since they indicate the diversity of views regarding cooperation with the National Enquirer.

Firstly, a letter to the editor from Joe Kirk Thomas of Los Angeles, California opposing cooperation with the National Enquirer was published in the May-June 1984 edition of the MUFON Journal (see Footnote 10.48). In an articulate and well-argued letter, Mr Thomas expressed the view that “the wrong audience was targeted” and asked “why would we court a relatively undereducated audience?”. He suggested the readers of the National Enquirer were largely “middle aged or older housewives of fairly low educational background” and “a rather credulous lot”. Given these characteristics, “while such a population could increase Journal circulation, it is unlikely that it would provide us with new, serious ufologists”. Mr Thomas went on to state “I can guarantee that academics do not place the Enquirer very high on their readings lists!”.

Mr Thomas contended as follows: “Like most of the supermarket tabloids, the National Enquirer has a reputation for sensationalism and fabrication. It may be unfortunate, but it is true that ‘you are known by the company you keep’. Mixing UFOs with such circus favourities as Jackie Onassis and Princess Di can only trivialize ufology, and reinforce the sceptical attitudes of many citizens. It is a poor vehicle for public education of any type”.

Mr Thomas concluded that MUFON should “diligently pursue” publication of articles in magazines, but that even if MUFON could find no national publications willing to present MUFON material “I think it is a very serious error to cooperate in any way with the tabloids. It is the wrong type of publicity and can only cause embarrassment and division within our organization”.

Secondly, in the October 1984 issue of the MUFON Journal, a view supporting the MUFON directors was expressed. Cliff Henderson of Sunnyvale, California, did not take issue with Mr Thomas’ characterisation of the National Enquirer’s readership. Instead, Mr Henderson relied upon the large circulation of the National Enquirer and stated that the relevant housewives could write to their Senate and House members, providing the Journal with an increased “clout” (see Footnote 10.49).

The conflicting views expressed in those two letters to the MUFON Journal give some indicatation of the range of potential strategies that could be adopted for promoting ufology (although such matters are rarely discussed in the UFO literature).


[edit on 1-4-2008 by IsaacKoi]



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:16 AM
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CONCLUSION

The National Enquirer’s Blue Ribbon Panel is rarely mentioned in modern discussions of ufology, even when (as happens fairly often) sceptics allege that ufologists are never/rarely prepared to list the best cases.

There appear to be two main possibilities to explain this fact.

Most ufologists are either:

    (1) unaware of the work done by National Enquirer’s Blue Ribbon Panel and those associated with it (including the considerable collaborative work by APRO, NICAP, MUFON and several leading ufologists); or

    (2) would prefer not to mention the National Enquirer, due to its image.


The former possibility is questionable given the number of references to the Panel (including express reference to the dates of some of the relevant editions of the National Enquirer) to be found in Philip J Klass’ 1974 book “UFOs Explained” (see Footnote 10.01, Footnote 10.09, Footnote 10.18, Footnote 10.30, and Footnote 10.44), and repeated by Robert Sheaffer in his books (see Footnote 10.10, Footnote 10.11, Footnote 10.19, Footnote 10.20, Footnote 10.35, and Footnote 10.36). However, it should be noted that at least one leading UFO historian (Wendy Connors) appears to have been unaware of the existence of the National Enquirer’s Panel (see Footnote 10.06 and Footnote 10.07). The first possibility therefore raises questions about the familiarity of many ufologists with the most influential sceptical literature.

Several skeptics, including Philip J Klass, should be given due credit for seeking out details of a process by which involving several leading ufologists selected the “best cases”, and for seeking to address those cases. They generally have not received due credit. It is far more common to find allegations in the ufological literature that Klass and other skeptics have only attempted to address weak cases and have ignored the “best” cases.

The second of the two possibility outlined above raises questions about the wisdom of the strategies adopted in the past (and currently) by leading UFO groups. If the image of the National Enquirer’s image is such that most ufologists find it unpalatable to refer to work done in association with that publication, then one may suggest that all the relevant collaborative work done in relation to the Blue Ribbon Panel by APRO, NICAP, MUFON and others was basically a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

In a decade or two, will current efforts within ufology similarly appear to involve an unwise allocation of very limited resources and highly questionable strategic judgments?

One of the few ufologists to have previously written about the National Enquirer’s Blue Ribbon Panel is Jerry Cohen. He kindly provided the following views:


    (a) “…the big problem was, _where_ it was taking place. I believe the reason little happened is because of the fact it all occurred at the Enquirer, which mainstream scientists, or most other educated people for that matter, could not possibly take seriously, no matter who was involved. Knowing the type publication it was, people could never trust the paper. Therefore, the fact they were published in that paper carried with it a virtual guarantee everyone's efforts would be totally ignored and forgotten as more silliness from the Enquirer” (see Footnote 10.51).

    (b) “We can easily see why skeptics would want to avoid [discussion of the Enquirer’s Panel], but what about the pro-UFO people? I'm a little surprised here. Again, it may have something to do with people's personal agendas, or just that people missed the importance of it (because we get so focused on our own thing, we can't see the overview), or perhaps other research might have been done that tended to diminish its importance, but I am not aware of this … They most likely didn't focus on it because it was information from a tabloid paper which most people thought were probably entirely dubious. Pro-UFO people probably didn't want people remembering Hynek associated with the Enquirer, for fear it would compromise the rest of his excellent research by association.” (see Footnote 10.51).


[edit on 1-4-2008 by IsaacKoi]



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:17 AM
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FOOTNOTES

[Footnote 10.01] Philip J Klass in his “UFOs Explained” (1974) at page 312 (Chapter 28) of the Random House Hardback edition, at pages 370 of Random House paperback edition.

[Footnote 10.02] Terry Hansen in his “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (2000) at page 236 (in Chapter 6) of the Xlibris softcover edition.

[Footnote 10.03] Terry Hansen in his “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (2000) at page 230 (in Chapter 6) of the Xlibris softcover edition.

[Footnote 10.04] Nine page discussion by Terry Hansen in his “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (2000) at pages 231-239 (in Chapter 6) of the Xlibris softcover edition.

[Footnote 10.05] Terry Hansen in his “The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-Up” (2000) at page 238 (in Chapter 6) of the Xlibris softcover edition.

[Footnote 10.06] Comments made by Wendy Connors on the UFO UpDates forum at:
www.virtuallystrange.net...

[Footnote 10.07] Comments made by Wendy Connors on the UFO UpDates forum at:
www.virtuallystrange.net...

[Footnote 10.08] Article by William Dick entitled “Enquirer Offers $50,000 Reward for UFO Proof”, National Enquirer, 12 March 1972 (page 30).

[Footnote 10.09] Philip J Klass in his “UFOs Explained” (1974) at page 313 (Chapter 28) of the Random House hardback edition, at pages 370-371 of Random House paperback edition.

[Footnote 10.10] Robert Sheaffer in his “The UFO Verdict” (1980) at page 20 (in Chapter 3) of the Prometheus softback edition.

[Footnote 10.11] Robert Sheaffer in his “UFO Sightings: The Evidence” (1998) at pages 37-38 (in Chapter 3) of the Prometheus hardback edition.

[Footnote 10.12] Article entitled “Newsnotes” in NICAP “UFO Investigator” April 1972 issue, page 4.

[Footnote 10.13] Article entitled “Enquirer Panel Investigating Reader’s Claims for $50,000 UFO Reward”, National Enquirer, 23 April 1972 (page 27).

[Footnote 10.14] Article by William Dick entitled “Enquirer Blue-Ribbon Panel Investigating Reported Discovery of … ‘Glowing Ring’ on Kansas Farm After UFO Sighting - Soil Baffles Scientists”, National Enquirer, 28 May 1972 (page 27).

[Footnote 10.15] Article by William Dick and Robert H Abborino entitled “Enquirer Blue-Ribbon Panel Investigating UFOs Reveals… FIVE AMAZING UFO SIGHTINGS”, National Enquirer, 17 September 1972.

[Footnote 10.16] Article entitled “UFO Riddle May Be Solved Soon, Says Enquirer Team of Experts”, National Enquirer, 25 January 1973.

[Footnote 10.17] Article by William Dick entitled “Enquirer Awards Kansas Family $5,000 for Supplying the Most Scientifically Valuable UFO Evidence in 1972”, National Enquirer, 27 May 1973.

[Footnote 10.18] Philip J Klass in his “UFOs Explained” (1974) at page 314 (Chapter 8) of the Random House Hardback edition, at page 372 of Random House paperback edition.

[Footnote 10.19] Robert Sheaffer in his “The UFO Verdict” (1980) at page 23 (in Chapter 4) of the Prometheus softback edition.

[Footnote 10.20] Robert Sheaffer in his “UFO Sightings: The Evidence” (1998) at page 44 (in Chapter 4) of the Prometheus hardback edition.

[Footnote 10.21] Article by Norma Short entitled “National Enquirer Gives $5,000 Award To Johnson Family” in Skylook, June 1973, page 13.

[Footnote 10.22] Article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Other Words” in Skylook, June 1973, page 15.

[Footnote 10.23] Article by David Klein entitled “Mysterious Steel Sphere Puzzles Enquirer Panel of UFO Experts”, National Enquirer, 26 May 1974.

[Footnote 10.24] Article by Bud Gordon entitled “Enquirer Panel of Experts says … Mysterious Object Found After UFO Sighting May Be From Outer Space”, National Enquirer, 9 June 1974.

[Footnote 10.25] Article entitled “$50,000 Reward” in NICAP’s “UFO Investigator”, January 1974, page 4.

[Footnote 10.26] Article in NICAP’s “UFO Investigator”, February 1974, pages 3-4. Article entitled “NICAP-APRO Evaluate UFO Cases for National Enquirer Panel”. The text of the relevant article is available online on Jerry Cohen’s website at:
www.cohenufo.org...

[Footnote 10.27] Article entitled “NICAP and APRO Take Major Step Toward Improved Relations” in NICAP’s “UFO Investigator” June 1972 issue, page 1.

[Footnote 10.28] Article by Allan A Zullo entitled “Enquirer Awards $5,000 to Helicopter Crew for 1973’s Most Valuable UFO Evidence”, National Enquirer, 23 June 1974.

[Footnote 10.29] Article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Others' Words”, Skylook, July 1974, page 16.

[Footnote 10.30] Philip J Klass in his “UFOs Explained” (1974) at page 332 (Chapter 28) of the Random House Hardback edition, at page 394 of Random House paperback edition.

[Footnote 10.31] Article entitled “NICAP Cases Among Best of Year” in NICAP’s “UFO Investigator”, April 1975, page 2.

[Footnote 10.32] Article by John M Webb entitled “Enquirer Doubles Its UFO Reward Offer to $100,000 … 4 Share Out $2,000 Award for 1974’s Most Spectacular UFO Sighting”, National Enquirer, 3 June 1975.

[Footnote 10.33] Article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Others' Words” in Skylook, July 1975, page 14

[Footnote 10.34] Article by Bob Pratt and John M Cathcart entitled “$1,000,000 Reward – Enquirer’s New Offer for Proof That UFOs Come From Outer Space … Seven Share $5,000 for 1975’s Most Extraordinary Encounter with a UFO”, National Enquirer, 13 July 1975, page 5.

[Footnote 10.35] Robert Sheaffer in his “The UFO Verdict” (1980) at page 20 (in Chapter 3) of the Prometheus softback edition.

[Footnote 10.36] Robert Sheaffer in his “UFO Sightings: The Evidence” (1998) at pages 37-38 (in Chapter 3) of the Prometheus hardback edition.

[Footnote 10.37] For the Wikipedia entry on Tom C. Clark, see:
en.wikipedia.org...

[Footnote 10.38] For a brief biography of Justice Bergan see:
politicalgraveyard.com...

[Footnote 10.39] Article by Bob Pratt entitled “3 Women Are Abducted by a Massive UFO … Lie Detector and Hypnosis Confirm Their Chilling Account”, National Enquirer, 19 October 1976.



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 11:17 AM
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[Footnote 10.40] Article by Dennis Hauck entitled “National Enquirer UFO Panel Expanded” in The MUFON Journal, May 1977, page 17

[Footnote 10.41] Discussed in an article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Others' Words”, The MUFON Journal, June 1978, page 19.

[Footnote 10.42] Discussed in an article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Others' Words” , The MUFON Journal, August 1979, page 19.

[Footnote 10.43] Discussed in an article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Others' Words”, The MUFON Journal, July 1980, page 19.

[Footnote 10.44] Philip J Klass in his “UFOs Explained” (1974) at page 312 (Chapter 28) of the Random House Hardback edition, at pages 370 of Random House paperback edition.

[Footnote 10.45] Email from Bob Pratt to Jerry Cohen dated 25 June 2002. Text of email available online on Jerry Cohen’s website at:
www.cohenufo.org...

[Footnote 10.46] Walt Andrus, “The Enquirer And MUFON”, The MUFON Journal, February 1984, pages 16-17.

[Footnote 10.47] Discussed in an article by Lucius Farish entitled “In Others' Words”, The MUFON Journal, March 1984, page 19

[Footnote 10.48] Letter to the editor by Joe Kirk Thomas, MUFON Journal, May-June 1984, page 19.

[Footnote 10.49] Letter to the editor by Cliff Henderson of Sunnyvale California, MUFON UFO Journal, October 1984, page 16.

[Footnote 10.50] Article by Bob Pratt entitled “6 awarded $5,000 by Enquirer for Most Scientifically Valuable UFO Case”, National Enquirer, date not stated on copy held by Isaac Koi.

[Footnote 10.51] Email from Jerry Cohen to Isaac Koi dated 12 May 2007, quoted with permission from Jerry Cohen.

[Footnote 10.52] Email from Jerry Cohen to Isaac Koi dated 26 May 2007, quoted with permission from Jerry Cohen.



posted on Apr, 1 2008 @ 12:17 PM
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Nicely done Isaac. I don't think I would have believed this had you not sourced everything so thoroughly!


It's really amazing the things I missed. I was born in 1978, and didn't really even start researching the ETH until about the 90's.

I suppose I fit into this category here:
"(1) unaware of the work done by National Enquirer’s Blue Ribbon Panel and those associated with it (including the considerable collaborative work by APRO, NICAP, MUFON and several leading ufologists)"

Thank you for the education this morning. I'm pretty sure from your two posts worth of footnotes that this is one thread that is surely not an "April Fool's' joke.

By the way, for those in England, it's still only 10:30 in the morning here in California.
I've got a feeling those of us over here haven't seen the last of today's pranks just yet.

My office is pretty tame (thankfully) so I haven't seen any yet this morning, it's making me a bit suspicious! LOL

-WFA



posted on Mar, 28 2011 @ 07:32 AM
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Originally posted by WitnessFromAfar
Nicely done Isaac. I don't think I would have believed this had you not sourced everything so thoroughly!



Well, there a lot in the history of ufology that is difficult to believe (and that's just in relation to the humans involved...)

All the best,

Isaac



posted on Mar, 28 2011 @ 08:03 AM
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reply to post by IsaacKoi
 


perhaps the reason ufologists dont talk about it is becuase depsite a $1million reward it produced hee-haw.

I'll offer 1 trillion dollars (US) to anyone who can prove we are being visited by ET in spaceships. Get busy believers!
edit on 28-3-2011 by yeti101 because: (no reason given)



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