The first story of 2008 we cover is easily the biggest UFO story of the year, which happened in the first week of January: the Stephenville, Texas UFO sightings. Nick gives us his take on what made Stephenville so special and provides what he sees as two key reasons why the story gained such legs with the mainstream media. Greg shares his take on the Stephenville mania and then we move on to the media coverage of the event and what our guests thought of how the mainstream media handled the story.
Then we get Nick and Greg's perspective on how Ufology handled the Stephenville case, since the field should be aptly prepared by now for when a breakout case emerges onto a national stage. We wrap up the Stephenville discussion with a look at where Ufology really stands after the event and if it actually changed anything.
The next story we cover is also from early January: the folding of the Southhampton UK UFO group. We find out from Nick what the closing of the group means from a larger perspective of UFO studies. Greg then shares his take on Nick's perspective on what the story meant to the big picture of Ufology. Looking at the first of a few folks who passed away in 2008, Nick shares his thoughts and remembrances of the late who died in late January.
Moving on from there, we look at one of the more promising stories from 2008: the debut of UFO Hunters on the History Channel, Ufology's most mainstream program in quite some time. Greg begins by giving his take on the program and what he thinks it means for Ufology as a whole. Nick joins in to observe how the nature of television programming has changed and that is now reflected in esoterica on television.
Then we discuss the story of an alleged UN UFO meeting that was discussed in Exopolitical circles back in February. Both Nick and Greg share their take on the story, most notably why neither was very optimistic about the story, but from different perspectives. Greg shares some amusing first hand recollections on why he has issues with the source of the UN meeting story.
Following that, we rehash a popular rumour in 2008, that Steven Spielberg was going to start an online esoteric community (ala Myspace). Nick begins with speculation on what may have happened with that story and how is is symptomatic of Ufology as a whole. Greg reflects on his thoughts when he first posted the story at UFO Mystic. From there, we look at another passing in 2008: Arthur C. Clarke, who died in mid-March. Nick and Greg reflect on the influence of Clarke on Ufology and esoterica as a whole.
Remembering another noteworthy figure who passed away this past year, Greg reflects on the influence of the late Albert Hoffman on esoterica. This segues into some discussion on the role of psychotropic drugs on esoterica and 20th century history.
We then dive into another rather big story from 2008, the UK UFO files release from mid-May. We get Nick to finally clear up what is going on with these files and why it seems like this story gets reported as news every year over and over again. He also shares some amazing insight into what is really going on with the UK UFO file release and why the perception on many in Ufology may be way off base. Greg joins in to ask an important question about just what came out of those UK UFO files.
Examining a similar story from right around that time in the past year, we get Nick's perspective on the Vatican saying aliens could exist and he tells us why he gets angry over stories like this. We then have Greg speculate on the motivation behind the church saying that belief in aliens is okay. After that we discuss another of 2008's Ufology lowlights: the Jeff Peckman "alien video" mania of mid-May.
From there, we get Nick's take on one the Summer's hottest stories: the UK UFO flap. He observes that there is a conundrum at work with a story like this: is it a real rise in UFO sightings or just a rise in coverage/people looking? He also makes a wise observation about why UFO flaps seem to germinate slowly over time. We also find out from Nick if anything came out of the flap that would constitute good evidence or a key case in some fashion. After that, we cover the Needles "UFO crash" from this past Summer and Greg recounts the story and the buzz surrounding it as well as what we know about it today.
Wrapping up our discussion on the first half of 2008, we finish with what should be a life lesson for all students of esoterica: the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska event and how we never really did find an answer to the mystery a century after it happened. Nick details the Tunguska event and what we know about it and Greg reflects on how Tunguska has been a fixture of esoterica for his entire lifetime. Closing out Part One, we speculate on what the Roswell mystery will look like at 100 and if Nick, Greg, or binnall will be in attendace at the 100th Anniversary Roswell event.
Greg Bishop became interested in UFOs at a very early age. He has no idea why. In 1991, he cofounded a magazine entitled The Excluded Middle, for the purpose of educating himself first, and secondly, passing on the info to interested readers. How selfish. TEM was a journal of UFOs, conspiracy research, psychedelia and new science (now online at www.excludedmiddle.com ). "Wake Up Down There!" a collection of articles from the magazine, was published in 2000.
Greg's writing has appeared the L.A. Weekly, Fortean Times, UFO Magazine and Magical Blend, among others, and in the book-length anthologies "Conspiracy And Cyberculture," "Zen And The Art of Close Encounters," "Kooks," and "You Are Being Lied To." In 2005, his book "Project Beta" was an attempt to set the record straight on the Paul Bennewitz disinfo saga. His third and newest title, "Weird California," was published in March of 2006. His internet show, "Radio Misterioso," can be heard on Sundays from 8-10 PM PST at www.killradio.org. Interviews with fringe-topic researchers and weird music are the usual fare.
When not writing, he can be found in the southwestern deserts of the US or flying his paraglider above vertiginous cliffs and mountains, sometimes with a propeller strapped to his back. Successful bribes include New Mexican cuisine, recordings of outsider music, rare contactee books, tickets to baseball games and selected original artwork.
His websites are www.ufomystic.com and www.excludedmiddle.com
Nick Redfern started his writing career as an eighteen-year-old in 1982 on a British-based music, fashion, and entertainment magazine called "Zero." His interest in UFOs was prompted by his father, who worked on radar with the British Royal Air Force, and who was personally aware of several UFO encounters investigated by the British Government in the 1950s.
Nick is the author of several books on unsolved mysteries and UFOs: "A Covert Agenda;" "The FBI Files;" "Cosmic Crashes;" "Strange Secrets" (with Andy Roberts); "Three Men Seeking Monsters;" "Body Snatchers in the Desert;" "On the Trail of the Saucer Spies;" "Celebrity Secrets;" "Monkey Man;" and "Memoirs of a Monster Hunter". He has written for UFO Magazine; Fortean Times; Fate Magazine; and the British Daily Express newspaper.
Nick has spent weeks chasing the vampire-like Chupacabras in Puerto Rico for the Sci-Fi Channel and Canada's Space Channel; roamed around the old base at Roswell, New Mexico in search of decaying, smelly, alien corpses; tried to conjure up Tulpa-style thought-forms of Bigfoot, lycanthropes, and lake monsters in his home-country of England; and was once less-than-politely turned away from the fringes of Area 51, Nevada by a fat and humorless security guard.
His website is nickredfern.com