Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Who am I?

Why UFOs?

I became actively interested in UFOs as a teenager in 1963. Part of this interest can be attributed to childhood visits with an uncle, an amateur astronomer with a large library of books relating to science, science fiction, the UFO subject and other topics of the unknown. Like many people intrigued by "things" that don't quite add up to society's quest for the supposedly normal and rational, the first volume I read from his library was a collection entitled, The Books of Charles Fort, an early classic among books dealing with strange occurrences.

Inspired by a real scientific mystery that even most scientists wouldn't touch, I went on to become a member of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in 1964 and a field investigator for the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) in 1965, and joined with organizations such as (Ivan T. Sanderson's) Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU) and the International Fortean Organization (INFO). Somewhere in the mix, I also became a member of the International Platform Association. In early research years, I wrote to and received replies about UFOs from political figures such as Gerald Ford when he was House minority leader, Sen. Robert Kennedy and Sen. Everett Dirksen.

My first letter-to-the-editor about UFOs appeared in a newspaper in 1965, with many more to come over the years, along with numerous regional radio and TV interviews in NY. Still a teenager, my first magazine article, about UFOs in New York, appeared in Syracuse Magazine in 1967.

With the military draft barking at my heels during the Vietnam years and having "successfully" completed a pre-induction physical, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, trained as a medic and then cross-trained as a physical therapy specialist, a critical field which produced only about 30 graduating airmen a year. Following education at the Air Force Medical Service School, I served at the large Sheppard Air Force Base hospital in Texas, and for the last 15 months of service operated my own independent duty physical therapy clinic at Moody AFB, a pilot training base, in Georgia.

While stationed in Texas in 1970 I wrote an article, eventually printed in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin (Mar-Apr 1971 issue) following scientific review, regarding the possibility that some UFOs may utilize ultrasonics as part of their function. This theory came about based upon my observations and use of ultrasound to treat clinic patients. I was somewhat hesitant to submit the piece because of my then-current association with the U.S. military, which even in those days was leery of its members bringing the UFO topic into the mix, but there were no repercussions. In fact, when on military leave, I appeared on TV and participated in radio UFO discussions, keeping my military affiliation separate.

In the years following military service, I continued a college education which began prior to and during my military time, and by 1976 entered the world of national magazines when my expanded article on the UFO ultrasound theory appeared in the May issue of Official UFO. This kindness is directly attributed to the late Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO, who offered my name as a writer to the magazine's editor.

For the remainder of the 1970s my articles continued to appear in Official UFO, Argosy Magazine's Argosy UFO and True Magazine's True Flying Saucers & UFOs Quarterly. In addition to these and various regional newspaper and magazines, my articles and media reviews since the 1970s have appeared in Pursuit, journal of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained, the UFO Research Newsletter and the International UFO Reporter, journal of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies.

One of my Argosy UFO articles turned up briefly as a prop in the motion picture, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (black page, big white circle with the term, UFO, encased in large white letters). Also in the late seventies, I assembled and taught several sessions of one of the USA's first (non-credit) courses about UFOs at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY, entitled "UFOs: An Introduction." In addition, I once received a Congressional recommendation suggesting my participation in an alleged new government UFO study -- a study, however, which apparently never materialized, so no further action was initiated.

It's a pleasure, a thrill actually, to see that my writings about UFOs have been quoted in such books as Strange Skies: Pilot Encounters with UFOs, by Jerome Clark (Citadel Press, NY, 2003), pages 83-84, and Unconventional Flying Objects: A Scientific Analysis, by former NASA scientist Paul R. Hill (Hampton Roads Publishing Co., VA, 1995), pages 129-130. Several of my magazine and journal articles are listed in the exhaustive two-volume reference book set, UFOs & the Extraterrestrial Contact Movement: A Bibliography, by George M. Eberhart, first edition published by Scarecrow Press, NJ, in 1986. Issue #154 of Great Britain's TV Zone Magazine carried a brief interview with me (2003) in a lengthy article primarily concerning a sixties British sci-fi TV series entitled "UFO."

In recent years, I've had the honor of donating numerous reel-to-reel and cassette recordings about UFOs to Wendy Connors' Faded Discs (click on link at top of page) project (New Mexico), her goal being the rescue, conversion to digital format, and preservation for posterity important UFO-related broadcasts, government interviews and case reports. The project also accepted some 12 hours of taped Central NY TV/radio interviews with me encompassing the years 1965-1978 and put them into digital audio format, to become part of the vast Faded Discs collection whose intended destination one day is The National Archives.

What are UFOs? The primary conclusions one might reach from examining the evidence: (1) They are "real" and (2) there appears to be intelligence involved, to say the least.

One primary concern for me at this point is to encourage interest in the 1956 United Artists documentary motion picture, "U.F.O." (not to be confused with the British science fiction TV show mentioned above). I've written extensively about this rather obscure film and two articles are available for free viewing on the Internet, on at least three web pages (one version is in French). More recently, I wrote two articles for The International UFO Reporter (CUFOS). Concerned with the U.S. government's official UFO investigation in the late forties and early fifties, this dramatized feature-length film called upon former government and military UFO investigators to create a script for an incredible story -- and it is my firm conclusion that "U.F.O." may one day become the most important movie ever made.

As I write this in April of 2007, I must confess that I'm only marginally active in UFO research now, and surely offer my best wishes and encouragement to younger and, especially, scientifically oriented researchers who join the ongoing quest to determine just what UFOs are. In these pages, it's my hope to offer an assortment of miscellaneous things from my old files and the UFO research/history area in general that might be of interest to one and all. But be forewarned: The word "miscellaneous" very much applies here, while I serve as something akin to an UNpack-rat.

A few of my older articles, recent web posts and items related to my UFO interest may be found via one's favorite search engine, and would be a nice site to consult. Simply type in : robert barrow ufos or robert barrow ufo. Thanks for stopping by.