Congrats to the OP for the excellent summary of this important case.
I actually made an account on ATS just to reply to this, as I wanted to comment on some of the skeptical replies.
I've been studying the UFO phenomenon for years in my spare time, and as an educated individual I can tell you without a doubt that they are real, and
furthermore, that they most likely are not "ours".
If this 1966 case doesn't convince you, and you still demand "proof," then I would be very skeptical as to such a person's ability to reason clearly.
1) I would be skeptical as to their understanding of anecdotal evidence, or
2) I would suspect some deep-seated psychological / emotional / cultural prejudices that bar them from assessing a novel phenomenon from a rational,
unbiased viewpoint, or
3) a combination of 1) and 2)
Let me try to explain what I mean by 1). The school students', administrators' and teachers' accounts are all considered anecdotal evidence, yet
anecdotal evidence is not weak by any means, especially when taken in large numbers. In fact, a large portion of our realities are deeply rooted in
anecdotal evidence. For instance, have you ever seen an great white shark in person and actually experienced it first hand? I'm guessing you
haven't. Yet you still, based on purely anecdotal evidence, believe in great white sharks.
In other words: Even if you have absolutely no direct perceptual evidence of something, your anecdotal evidence can still strongly justify a
The strength of anecdotal evidence depends on quantity and quality. To illustrate this, take this simple example. You are situated outside of a barn
in the country, and it is your job to take peoples' tickets to walk into the barn and see some exotic car. You've never been inside the barn, and
you've never seen the car. After taking peoples' tickets and watching them walk in and back out of the barn, they all tell you of how strange the car
looks, that they've never seen anything like it, its details and its color. Now after this happens, say, 100 times, you'd say that you have strong
reason to believe that an exotic car actually is in the barn, wouldn't you? Even though you have absolutely no direct perceptual evidence of it, you
are still justified in your belief based on the quantity and quality of the reports. Now obviously, if they were all intoxicated, or blind, or only 2
people went in, then your anecdotal evidence would certainly not justify your belief. But what if they were all sober, came from all walks of life
and all cultures, included pilots, scientists, professors, government officials, doctors, police officers and high-ranking military officers, would
you say that your anecdotal evidence was strong enough to justify your belief that an exotic car really is in the barn?
This all has to do with 1) one's understanding of anecdotal evidence. The other primary reason why it seems as though some people have so much
difficulty thinking clearly about the UFO phenomenon is 2) that there is some sort of underlying psychological / emotional state that creates an
immediate prejudice against their existence. It is of course natural to want to deny the existence of something that makes one feel uncomfortable,
but just because something makes you feel uncomfortable, that doesn't mean that its denial is intellectually justified. In other words, how you feel
about something cannot count as proof for something, no matter how deep seated such a feeling is.
In conclusion, if this 1966 case doesn't convince you that UFOs are real, then I would suggest that you stop and reflect very carefully on a) your
understanding of anecdotal evidence, and b) whether or not psychological or cultural biases are muddying your ability to think clearly about this
[ As an aside, I mentioned early on that I both believe that UFOs are real, and that I also believe that they most likely are not "ours". I have no
doubt that UFOs are real. On the other hand, I am not as certain that they aren't ours. Yet I find it almost impossible to believe that "we" had
fully-functional anti-gravity technology in the 1940s and even prior, and furthermore that we'd be flying it out in the open over heavily populated
civilian areas. ]
edit on 15-7-2012 by Brighter because: spelling