Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wright Wrote Whilst I Knew Not

During the mid-sixties T.M. Wright was out there doing UFO research, yet I never knew. The fact that I never heard of him still amazes me. I guess my chaotic absence from Central New York explains the "mystery."

As I've mentioned (ad nauseam) over the past year, the military draft came after me in the sixties and I instead enlisted in the Air Force, thus absent from the Syracuse area from 1968 to 1972. However, while home on leave briefly in late 1969, I was rummaging one day through the used book section in the basement of a popular book store when I spotted a book entitled, The Intelligent Man's Guide to Flying Saucers by T. M. Wright. What a title, I thought, assuming it to be just another worthless debunking volume of nonsense.

But it wasn't. Actually, the author provided a reasonably fair assessment of the UFO situation as it stood in the sixties. Further, to my surprise, Wright, like myself, was born in Syracuse, and in researching his material had referenced many of the same people I previously contacted in my teenage years regarding the "great Northeastern power blackout" of 1965. His book saw publication in 1968, a time when my life was in turmoil because of the military, and I was certainly in no position even to know of its existence. Still, a book and author involved with considerable information about Central NY UFO activity of which I was unaware seemed unlikely. Yet, there I stood in a musty store basement, thumbing page by page through this used volume, a reliable research project published widely by A.S. Barnes & Co. of the USA and by Thomas Yoseloff Ltd. of England.

Wright covered some typical UFO cases, UFO waves and even tackled the contactee issue with appropriate discussion, wisely separating and leaving the Betty and Barney Hill incident open for conjecture. Those familiar with UFO history probably wouldn't find much new here, but I did note with interest such nuggets as Wright's disclosure that famed author John G. Fuller (Incident at Exeter, The Interrupted Journey, etc.) had tentatively planned to come to Central NY and other areas involved with UFOs seen during the blackout in order to write a book about the event. Of this I was unaware, and apparently Fuller eventually declined, for whatever reasons.

However, though my military leave had ended and I was required to return to Texas before I could seek Wright out, what ultimately and supremely impressed me in later years was Wright's ability to see the future. Publication of Guide occurred while the disastrous Colorado University UFO project continued to forge ahead, before the extent of its innermost corruption came to public attention via the expose' of NICAP, Look Magazine, John G. Fuller and others. Here, in his own words, is what T.M. Wright predicted:

"The University's report will be released some time after this book is published, and it doesn't take a genius to realize what the report will conclude.

"1. That UFO's, for the most part, are explainable, and all that's lacking in the few unidentifieds is more concise information.

"2. UFO's do not represent extra-terrestrial visitations. (Again the baseless statement that 'no evidence has been offered that UFO's come from another planet.' What kind of evidence do they want? What exactly are they looking for? Do they know?)

"3. Finally that the Air Force should close down its full-time (?) investigation of UFO's.

"The report will be warm milk for the skeptic, and a hangnail to the believer. It will be completely forgotten two months after it's released."

The accuracy of Wright's astute assumptions became clear as the months progressed. My only objection would be that he might have said instead that the Colorado report SHOULD be completely forgotten two months after its release; unfortunately, its tainted, odorous fragments stuck around long enough to exert an unfair influence on UFO research. The warm milk and, of course, the hangnail.

Wright himself has gone on to write numerous novels, is written about extensively and even has a web site for his fans. I never did locate him in the earlier years, though a brief reading of a writer's interview with him indicates that he currently does not believe UFOs exist. Nevertheless, when he wrote his first book Wright did leave the door open a crack regarding the extraordinary nature of the UFO phenomenon in his conservative, though powerful, closing words:

"The chances of extra-terrestrial contact, however small, must not be ignored. The evidence seems clear that life on Earth is not unique, and that we cannot go about our business unnoticed, or undisturbed."