Journal: Tell us what brought you to MUFON.
I have always been fascinated with the possibility of ET Life and the adventures that lay in store from that discovery. In my world, there is nothing more exciting than the pursuit of that knowledge and the wonders we may discover about ourselves and our universe at large.
Journal: How long have you been with MUFON?
I have been in private UFO research for 30+ years and came on board with MUFON about 3 years ago. I was fortunate to meet Eddie Middleton, Tennessee State Director, and was invited to take Steve White’s position as Chief Investigator when he moved into a new position with MUFON.
Journal: In your bio you relate that at age 13 you had a profound life-changing paranormal event. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Growing up, I was lucky to have a father with a very unique and open mind. He was a professor of biology at what is now Vanderbilt University and he was fascinated with the possibility of extraterrestrial life and the potential of humanity. At a very young age he schooled me in Drake’s Equation, (a statistical approximation of possible life in our galaxy), taught me the immensity of the universe and pretty much prophetically pronounced Ellie’s father’s quote in “Contact”, “That if life is not found out there, it’s a pretty huge waste of space”. We also had frequent talks about the potential of human consciousness, studies and disciplines that would enhance development and what those enhanced abilities may look like. With that being said, in my view life elsewhere was pretty much a given, and with work humanity not only will one day interact with said life, but may need to improve itself to make said contact possible. Needless to say… I had a pretty inquisitive mind and was more curious about things than fearful. This background is important in understanding my reaction to the “Event.” In retrospect, I feel fear would have closed down my perception of the phenomenon. Also, this event is being presented from my present viewpoint and knowledge base. As with any paranormal event, language is very limited, as I feel we do not even have words to describe these alterations of our current understanding of physics. So, I will do my best, with the language at hand, in describing my experience.
So here goes…. I was scheduled to go away for the weekend and was waiting for my ride one Friday evening. I remember the wind picked up slightly and in some unusual way everything seemed to slow (the experience was one of some kind of time distortion). My perspective changed and the world came to me from a distance,(a very dramatic dissociation occurred from my normal state of awareness). My attention was drawn from the world at hand, from the sun and the hard porch beneath me, to the most subtle of changes, a pressure, a sense, an untapped realm of knowledge that began to exert itself upon me. Again, since I was more curious then afraid, I just let the experience wash over me. In that instance, I knew completely that I must not leave for the weekend event. The decision was a good one…The event ended up with a kidnapping and murder and had I had not trusted that experience I would not be here with you now.
That event sealed it for me. There was no “just believing” after that. Just an insatiable curiosity about our universe. Because, if a little human, such as myself, could have such a profound experience, just think of all the possibilities of other life, other realities and adventures that lay before me and all of humanity.
Journal: Being an experienced Chief Investigator, State Director and member of STAR team, you have had the opportunity to investigate many cases. Which case stands out in your mind? Why?
One of my current cases (#76348) has been fascinating. I have been working with this witness for almost a year now, and the events of this case just keep unfolding. This case has everything you dream of as an investigator. There is missing time anomalies, tangible physical evidence, audio recordings captured during the missing time event itself, ongoing UFO sightings, ongoing paranormal events, helicopter flyovers and the list continues. This case has been presented on The Official MUFON UFO Radio Show in a two part format and we have only skimmed the surface of the story. I want to thank hosts Stan Seba and Nancy DeSousa for all of their hard work in presenting such a complex case. Also, thanks to Race Hobbs, KGRA Operations Manager for his hard work in presenting audio and the whole MUFON media staff. I would encourage all to check out the live presentation on Tuesday evenings and the archives for any past shows that may catch your interest. We also hope to present a follow up to case #76348 this summer.
Journal: What do you feel is the most understudied corner of Ufology?
The Witnesses themselves, hands down. In the very early years of my research, I started out just like all the other researchers of that time, Nuts and Bolts research. Just the facts, please, kind of inquiry. But, problems begin to arise with this approach. No matter how hard I tried to keep my research “pure” anomalous experiences continued to arise in very high percentages of my cases.
Furthermore, I found that many other so called, “serious researchers”, would edit out those experiences or just discard the whole case. They ended up, categorizing those cases under various mental disorders, hallucinations, or just plain hoaxes.
My research just did not lend itself to these explanations in all cases of paranormal reports. I found high percentages of these cases were told by sane, stable, grounded, productive, articulate and integrated individuals. They were hesitant to come forward or even give their names, wanted no notoriety or attention, were afraid of being labeled “crazy” and just wanted someone to hear their stories and actually believe them. And, the cases just kept piling up…. So I came to the following conclusions:
1) These events were happening way to frequently to be ignored or discarded.
2) A very high percentage of witnesses had valid credibility.
3) Some very strange things were being reported on a regular basis, with consistent content throughout events regardless of cultural factors, sex or upbringing.
4) There were patterns and common denominators arising with every case investigated. And, one of these curiosities was the witnesses themselves
With that realization, my research took a dramatic turn…
Journal: Can you tell us about an interesting case that you worked on that stands out in your mind? Did this case have any impact on your views on UFOs?
That would really be a hard one as I have been fortunate to have been present at some truly astonishing events and been part of some incredible investigations. The cumulative knowledge, pattern recognition and collection of common denominators throughout years of research have offered up some dramatic reinterpretations of our current understanding of reality and our place in that reality. So, yes my view of the UFO phenomena has taken on a vastly more complex interpretation that what I began with. I feel our space here is limited, but hope to present some of these more interesting cases in future radio shows and possibly a book.
Journal: With the advent of the internet, interest in Ufology and MUFON has grown tremendously. What impact has this had on the organization?
I feel that MUFON as a whole has had to step up it’s methods, documentation and education as all serious investigators have had to do. I see this happening with the new MUFON University classes, new protocols for investigation and new guidelines for timely assignment and completion of cases. This causes growing pains as we all resist change to some degree but in the end only increases the overall credibility of MUFON and it’s investigators.
Journal: If you could go back in time and be the lead investigator on a case in UFO history, which one would it be?
Wow… so many possibilities. I guess at this point I would choose the Bentwaters-Woodbridge UFO incident which has become linked with The Rendlesham Forest UFO sightings. I was fortunate to meet Larry Warren and Peter Robbins years ago and struck up a friendship during a UFO convention I was attending. The volume of evidence continues to unfold to this day concerning this case.
Journal: Conventional academia tends to dismiss ufology as a legitimate area of study, although many researchers in the field of ufology have doctorates, PhDs., as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees. Having a Bachelors and a Master’s Degree yourself, how do you feel about this? That being said, is there a way to combat the misperceptions the public has about Ufology research?
I tend to believe the adage we make progress one funeral at a time at least in the standard scientific realm. Sounds harsh but true. Old ideas die hard, especially for those who have spent their lives in research that has been based on inadequate descriptions of our world. I have found, however, with the general public throughout my years of research, that given a safe non-judgmental space to share their stories, most individuals reveal a basic intelligent and curious perspective about our universe and their experiences. I believe as recent as 2015, polls revealed that 54% of Americans believed in the existence of alien life and the possibility that life was interacting with us. That’s incredible and exciting.
Journal: You stated that you are endeavoring to continue your father’s work in private research. Can you tell us more about this?
As I have mentioned above, I’m fascinated with a certain group of witnesses that have ongoing UFO and paranormal events. Some of these witnesses have so many anomalous happenings it just becomes normal in their everyday lives. In studying these cases, I have come to some pretty interesting findings. In many cases, bringing these witnesses together intensifies the phenomena and this affords us the opportunity to do some interactive investigating. “Thinking outside the Box”, has offered up some intriguing new theories about the human component and how it is not just a passive bystander in this ongoing mystery. I hope to elaborate on this more in future publications of my research.
Journal: Thank you very much, Angelia, for sitting down with us for the MUFON One on One.