Thursday, September 11, 2008

Robert Hastings and My OMNI Letter

Bushels of UFO-related books seem to appear every year, and there are probably only a few worth the effort. I used to review books, and I saw (and ignored) worthless clunkers routinely. As you might suspect, these days I not only don't review UFO books much, I really don't even keep up with them. I guess that Stanton Friedman has a new one out about UFOs and physics, and that should be worth reading. Nor have I seen the book written by Betty Hill's niece, though I'm absolutely sure that one's a keeper.

Nevertheless, I tend to perk up on those rare occasions when an author devotes a few lines to mention something about me. Me? Good grief, you mention my name in your book and it's as if I received an Academy Award. I guess I'm easily entertained.

This time around, I do feel honored to apparently occupy a small space in UFO researcher Robert Hastings' new book, UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites (see cover). I've read with interest some of his previous writings about this subject (see his paper posted at, just check his name at the on-site search engine), and now that a few passages from his new book have been posted online at various sites, I expect that Hastings' privately published book is one of those rare worthwhile contributions to UFO literature -- a perfect complement to former Air Force Capt. Robert Salas' book, Faded Giant, a personal account of his own dramatic UFO experience at a nuclear base (see cover, and also check out my previous posting months ago about Capt. Salas -- refer to web page search engine above).

Hastings references a 30-year-old issue of OMNI Magazine in which my letter to the editor criticized UFO debunker James Oberg for not disclosing his then-current Air Force affiliation as he excoriated UFO researchers, cases and witnesses. My letter was followed by a blistering response from Oberg, but in his book Hastings defends my comments and soberly takes Oberg to task for his own (needless to say, I'm quite content to find myself on the happy end of Hastings' literary weapons of admonishment).

As a matter of fact, to include something here that I never felt worth the mention previously, when I taught a few sessions of a noncredit UFO course at Onondaga Community College in NY in the late seventies, somebody known personally by Oberg attended a semester faithfully. He was a very pleasant man, listened intently to everything I said and most assuredly informed James of all essential information. Yes, I did feel a tad uncomfortable when broaching a segment on famous skeptics and debunkers and, by virtue of James Oberg's popularity as a UFO debunker at that time, needed to offer a few criticisms to the class while the person sat in silence just a few feet away from me. Oh, how I wished at that moment that James was a chicken rancher or vacuum cleaner salesman devoid of UFO interest or notoriety -- anything but, by necessity, the subject of my classroom lecture.