Sunday, June 21, 2015

Curt Collins And The Cosmic Rorschach Test

© 2015 Ray X

UFO researcher Curt Collins has always been inquisitive, not one to accept anything at face value.

For example: the banana peel experiment.

 “At age five,” he explained, “I attempted to verify whether [TV] cartoons accurately depicted slipping on a banana peel. It turns out, yes, it can be done."

Through an email interview he detailed how he set up his experiment in four steps:

“1) Observe cartoon. 

“2) Go on to carport and eat banana.

“3) Place peel on smooth concrete surface.

“4) Step on it while walking.”

But Step 4 failed to yield results until he changed tack.  He duplicated the scene from an episode of “Magilla Gorilla” by running and jumping on the banana peel.

“As I recall,” he continued, “the slip resulted in landing primarily on my right gluteus maximus, without any injuries or circling cartoon birdies produced.  The results were conclusive, and I felt further studies were not required.”

Curt always kept asking “How?” and “Why?”   Both parents were tolerant of his inquisitiveness.  His father preferred his son to pursue mainstream interests like sports.  With his imaginative mind Curt was drawn to areas such as comic books, science fiction, and flying saucers.  Back in those days such interests were outlier.

It was his mother who helped him develop his investigative skills.  He recalled how she was supportive, sometimes providing materials and advice.

One time he wanted to be a “mad scientist,” mixing kitchen ingredients until the formula started smoking.

“At that point I was urged to pour it outside,” he said, “and the lab was closed.

Ufofology drew his attention until the “Hangar 18” incident.

At age twenty-one Curt watched "Hangar 18," a low-budget theatrical movie billed as a documentary revealing the true story behind UFOs.  It was a great disappointment, even as fiction.

“It was advertised as if it was a documentary,” he said. “[‘Hangar 18’] promised to peel back the curtain of Government secrecy, or at least that was what I was expecting. I even took my mom who had some interest in UFOs. The film was so awful, I was embarrassed for ever wanting to have seen it, more so for dragging my mother there.”

Years later a real documentary, "Shades of Gray," renewed Curt’s interest in ufoism.  The film told the story of the late Gray Barker, one of the great names from the early years of saucerdom.  Gray is known as a myth maker, i.e., someone who enjoyed creating fabrications and put-ons.  One of Gray's friends was Jim Moseley, Supreme Commander and self-proclaimed court jester of ufology who wrote the zine "Saucer Smear."

Intrigued, Curt contacted Jim. They became phone and pen pals before the death of the Supreme Commander.  Curt’s interest in ufology would have waned once again but through Jim he found a new way to look at the subject.

 “[Jim] told me 99% of it was bullshit,” said Curt.  “But then he kept talking about the genuinely interesting cases, and the sideshow of wild, weird and wonderful people.”

Jim Moseley was known for calling bullshit with certain cases or people.  Curt carries on with the tradition at his blog, .  One case he finds genuinely interesting is the Cash-Landrum incident.

December 29, 1980.  Two women and a young boy travel by car through a section of dense woods in Texas.  Betty Cash is driving when all three see an unusual light in the evening sky.  Vickie Landrum tells Betty to stop.

A mysterious object, shaped like a diamond, descends in front of them, throwing off intense heat.  Both women get out of the car to view the object.  Colby Landrum, Vickie’s grandson, becomes upset and she returns to the car to comfort him. Helicopters are seen chasing or escorting the huge object.  After this encounter all three witnesses, especially Betty, suffer health problems apparently caused by ionizing radiation.

Curt called BS on a TV “documentary” series that exaggerated the appearance of the UFO, the dramatized recreation showing the object discharging lighting. (Not true.)  During the encounter the heat was so intense that a handprint was left on the dashboard.  Another visual exaggeration in the TV program showed the handprint had left a deep impression but in actuality it was a subtle shape.

Curt is a stickler for the truth.  More recently he participated in the Roswell Slides Research Group, UFO researchers who banded together to investigate the validity of an old color slide that purportedly showed the body of a dead ET from the Roswell Crash.  (Note the word “purportedly.”)

To Curt there is more than one answer to the UFO mystery.  He doesn’t believe that all encounters can be explained by gray aliens who sometimes slam their craft into our planet.  He stresses the first word in the term Unidentified Flying Objects.  He says that the term has become polluted after becoming a synonym for extraterrestrial spacecraft.
 “The UFO term is a crutch,” he said. “It covers a spectrum of sightings of things that may be caused by many different things, some of them unknown. Within that, there’s a subset that could be ET visitors, but that can’t be the answer for all of it, and we have to keep an open mind.”

He remembers Jim Moseley was fond of an observation by Ray Palmer: Flying saucers/UFOs were here to make us think.

Or as Curt sums up: “Stanton Friedman is wrong; it’s not a cosmic Watergate, it’s a cosmic Rorschach blot.” 

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Note: Quotations were lightly edited for clarity.