Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Ed Mitchell and the Roswell Red Herring

By now this is old news, as it is actually really old news, as Greg Bishop reminded, being more than a decade that Apollo astronaut Ed Mitchell expressed his opinions publicly about UFOs and aliens. But I thought I should add some more skeptical comments to what Phil Plait has already noted, reminding that Mitchell has a lot of (other) fringe beliefs (and that his ET opinions are no news).

First and foremost, what should be emphasized on Mitchell’s statements is his simple and plain honesty. And that’s extremely important because he clearly stated, many times over that:

I have never had first hand experiences of ETs or UFO phenomena. Rather, I rely upon the testimony of trusted “old timers”.

You would expect that someone who was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, who spent days beyond Earth, would have seen aliens spaceships. If alien spaceships are out there, of course. Or, if not, that he would at least be briefed beforehand on some secret procedures or even ordered to maintain secrecy, just in case such an event would happen.

But although Mitchell has claimed the government does hide the alien presence, he has also been honest as to his first-hand experience on Apollo, stating that neither he nor anyone from Apollo was ever ordered to maintain secrecy regarding UFOs.

Mitchell’s claims are all based on hearsay, as he promptly admits. Now, this doesn’t mean they are false, but it does mean they are simply hearsay, and anonymous at that, as he didn’t disclose the names of the people who confided all these secrets to him.

This must sound like the plain old and boring skeptical attack on testimonial evidence. And it is. But let me go further.

Suppose for an instant that Mitchell, a true old-time American national hero, did manage to break many levels of secrecy in the alleged Great Cosmic Conspiracy, and was let in on some “above top secret” information. That is plausible, or at least more plausible than some people coming from nowhere claiming inside knowledge, as is often the case.

Problem is, Mitchell didn’t reveal anything new. In fact, he is many, many years late on the latest fashions and hot UFO topics, and you may take his references to Roswell as evidence.

As you UFO buff must know, Roswell was not the beginning of ufology. It was news on 1947, true, but it was quickly ignored even by ufologists for decades afterwards. Ufology thrived on huge UFO flaps, contactees, intriguing cases, USAF’s Bluebook, and was even already into abductions when the Roswell case came back from the dead to full stardom only around the early 1980s. History was rewritten as Roswell turned into a pop culture icon, when in fact for more than three decades, UFO crash claims would more likely be associated with the Aztec UFO crash hoax.

Here’s what Mitchell has to say about Roswell:

The relevant part here is when Mitchell says that he came to be interested on the Roswell UFO crash as something alien only in the 1980s. That is, of course, after it was already a very public subject.

If Roswell was indeed a real alien spaceship crash retrieval event, as Mitchell believes, and as some ufologists have been claiming for the last twenty-plus years; and furthermore, if Mitchell’s sources are indeed good, wouldn’t you expect for him to have been interested about it before the whole public mythology developed itself?

This is nowhere near any proof that Mitchell’s claims are false. There’s not much to deny about Mitchell’s claims, as they are only hearsay and his personal beliefs. Testimonial evidence without any corroborating physical evidence would be useful if it contained some exclusive, verifiable information, but Mitchell’s revelations are no revelation at all.

Some may suggest he could be part of a disinformation campaign, but I think he’s just victim of a Total Perspective Vortex.

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Posted in Aliens,People,Skepticism,UFOs | 7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Joseph Capp July 28th, 2008 7:57 pm

    I have to say you are a swell tap dancer. Give me a break you called the man a liar. Who are you to decide how he should feel at a given point in his life and then because he doesn’t feel the way you think he should feel you put his statements in question. That doesn’t sound to me you have any respect for the man. Let’s talk your lack of knowledge of releasing secrets. It is obvious Mitchell knows how to manage the information he releases so as to not break his oath…get it.
    He never mentioned NASA he never mentioned names of the other Apollo astronauts. He never mention the committee he attended. I believe his sole purpose is to try and get others on broad so they can have a even greater voice maybe one of his comrade from NASA. Give the man some really respect will you.
    Joseph Capp
    UFO Media Matters
    Non-Commercial Blog

  2. The Other Greg July 29th, 2008 3:21 am

    Not to nitpick Mori, but the Bishop guy is at UFO Mystic, not The Daily Grail…

  3. Mori July 29th, 2008 4:16 am

    Apologies to both Gregs! I’m terrible with names, often forgeto things. :)

    Joseph, honestly, I didn’t mean any offense, and certainly don’t think Mitchell is lying. Please take into account my terrible English.

    My point is that he clearly admits it’s only hearsay, and furthermore, everything he has revealed so far is old news. Nothing verifiable — note, not even non-verified, it’s actually non-verifiable.

    The direct uselessness of his statements may obviously be due to some oath, but this doesn’t seem to be a very good explanation. If he thinks it’s OK to speak about what other people told him, why doesn’t he give any good details of what others told him? He has spoken about some very specific claims — Roswell, presidents not briefed since JFK, etc.

    But nothing new, nothing verifiable, and we have to say, nothing directly useful.

    One explanation that makes more sense to me is that Mitchell, rather than revealing secrets, is just recycling rumors, and that he didn’t see anything indeed.

    Perhaps he thinks it’s only OK under his oath to confirm already public rumors, not to reveal any secrets, but in this case there would be many workarounds — people out there speculate openly about so many things. The thing I most suspect about is that he confirms the most popular and dubious rumors, including Roswell.

    Anyway, the too easy idea that he’s simply lying doesn’t appeal to me in any way, and I wasn’t implying that in any way. He walked on the Moon, he will be remembered for a century after he’s dead because of that. He has a PhD from MIT. And if he was lying, he would probably say that he saw something himself.

    Bottomline is, like everyone has already noted, Mitchell’s claims are relevant, but without corroboration are “just” an Apollo astronaut’s claims. Of what he heard from the “old-timers”.

    Everything else in this post are just my preconceptions and thoughts on the subject. You may ignore it, but please don’t be offended as I honestly didn’t mean to call him a liar — only someone who may have been fooled, even by himself.

  4. […] Ed Mitchell and the Roswell Red Herring | forgetomori (tags: aliens america history space) […]

  5. Justin Boland July 29th, 2008 4:43 pm

    It’s also signifigant that he was briefed by Stephen Greer of the “Disclosure Project” and Laurance Rockefeller. That’s a big basis for his beliefs.

  6. Damn Data July 30th, 2008 8:33 pm

    That Mitchell and web thing…

    The web seems to have lit up with comments on the announcement that former astronaut Edgar Mitchell believes in UFOs. I wasn’t going to comment on it as others have summarised this better, like Greg here and here. However, I wanted to touch on the a…

  7. jim edwards August 5th, 2008 11:22 am

    Well now, an esteemed former NASA astronaut publicly states that he “knows” we are being visited by aliens. My first thought is that the government has chosen him to do this so that the general public can be slowly introduced to the reality of aliens. My second thought is that this astronaut has lost his mind. Would someone please tell me which thought I am supposed believe. Is Neil Armstrong going to publicly announce next week that the moon was actually made of green cheese? This whole alien thing is getting crazy. Are the damn things real or not?

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