Wednesday, April 9, 2008

UFO HUNTERS - Hist. - Alien Contact

History Channel - Original Air Date: April 2, 2008

The teaser for this show promises spectacular video images and compelling testimony by people claiming repeated contact with UFOs.  The show begins with a brief explanation of SETI's search for extra-terrestrial life, and then moves on to the two alleged contactees.  They speak to a former marine who claims to see strange lights more and more frequently, lights he claims are not aircraft from the nearby naval base.  He and the investigators believe the objects are focusing on the marine, following him.  The show notes that UFO's have been sighted in Chesapeake Bay since 1813.  The marine's first sightings involved chasing a blue orb that then split into two and became a triangular craft larger than the supermarket where he'd parked his car while chasing the thing.  At first, he thought it was a stealth aircraft, but it seemed too large.  The following year, he had an encounter with two pulsating lights that seemed to follow his movements.  The team promises to send his video (which looks nothing like the show's recreation -- and, in fact, looks much more conventional -- to an expert for analysis.  One team member notes that the military base nearby could explain these encounters.  (The most reasonable explanation given in this entire series.)  The marine then relates an MIB type encounter, along with a "missing time" episode that seems more like a sleep paralysis incident.  The lead investigator, of course, thinks the marine is being recruited, or  is perhaps an alien-human hybrid.  The marine admits to having a rare blood disease; the team doesn't follow up the idea that perhaps this condition could lead to some psychological problems -- such as seeing UFOs and suffering delusions.  For once, one of the investigators calls out the lead man, Bill, for telling this marine he might be a hybrid.  The team member insists the hybrid concept is way, way out, and might even be a harmful idea to lay on this struggling man.

The 2nd half of the show begins with a history of contactees through the centuries; oddly (or perhaps not), the contactees seem to only know about the planets known to science at the time.  More recently, contacts have turned more sinister, including abductees and the Heaven's Gate cult mass suicide.  In Cleveland, the team interviews its second contactee.  (The video proof of these contacts looks amazingly like terrestrial aircraft or other human-made objects.)  The team doesn't believe the films to be of aircraft, as a nearby nuclear power plant makes the area a no-fly zone.  No one mentions that airplane lights can be seen from a , long long way at night.  One team member suggests that some of these images could be reflections within the camera, but naturally this idea is quickly dismissed.  This witness is also seeing orbs and seems to have had sleep paralysis incidents as well, which he believes are alien surgeries.  Video analysis includes a good explanation of several video problems -- but then concludes the lights don't seem normal.  Video evidence doesn't seem to conclusively connect the two contactees, but they are both suffering from similar odd blood conditions.  Rather than conclude that perhaps the medical condition is causing these people's belief that they are being contacted, the team leader concludes that their alien contact is -- somehow -- causing their blood condition.  (Despite a total lack of evidence.)  The two men are then brought together to compare notes -- and to perhaps discuss future lawsuits against the team for practicing medicine and psychiatry without a license.  As a skeptic, I have to ask of the believers: Is this the best you can do?  Fuzzy images of lights in the darkness?  Witnesses desperate for validation?  Because if it is, I'm not impressed. Your best photographic evidence looks like ordinary aircraft and video problems.  Your best witnesses look like they could use a good shrink.  (I'm sure they're very nice, away from the TV cameras.)  On the aircraft, at least, one would think aliens could do better -- though clearly this show cannot.


d. chedwick bryant said...

I am an actual fuzzy headed witness! Really!

Stephen D. Sullivan said...

Though I realize this comment was left at least partly in jest, it did make me think about what I'd written late at night (2 hours later than the given post time, I think).

"Is this the best you can do? Fuzzy images of lights in the darkness? Fuzzy headed witnesses? Because if it is, I'm not impressed."

I've revised the post to read, "Witnesses desperate for validation?"

These witnesses were very sincere, and I regret if my characterization made them seem in any way dim-witted or impared. I do believe that the team on the show took advantage of them, and they would have been better served if the producers had sent them to a psychiatrist or for long-term medical care and advice.