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Taking Things for Granted

I finally had a chance to listen to Timís interview with John Greenwald Jr. of the Black Vault site, and was once again reminded of the fantastic work John does. That got me thinking of other dedicated UFO researchers who share their data and knowledge with the rest of us. For free.

Absolutely free.

Itís no news that UFOlogy has its share of lone ďcrazies,Ē (not a polite word to describe these types, I know) but to constantly drag out their cases and hold them up as representative of UFOlogy in any way is dishonest. This is, of course, what the chronic skeptic does, and one point they are continually making is that itís a sad, pathetic waste of time to waste time writing about, or researching, UFOs.

The truth is, there are many dedicated, intelligent, serious people out there who willingly share their findings for free. They donít get paid, or if they do get some monies for some of what they do, they donít make a living from it. Some may ask for donations, or you have to subscribe for a fee, but they are non-profits, and no one, trust me, is making any kind of income from this. They spend their own time, efforts, and money in getting the information out to the rest of us. This is an astoundingly wonderful thing. Itís too bad these people are taken for granted, and I take them for granted too. Weíre all simply busy and involved with our stuff, and weíve become used to getting on the internet and accessing such sites as Greenwaldís Black Vault, or Peter Davenportís NUFORC, UFO Updates, or MUFON without thinking much about how we got to get these in the first place.

John Greenwald, of the Black Vault. If you havenít listened to the pod cast here on BOA with Tim Binnall, try to get the time to listen to it. And visit Johnís site. Make a donation if you can; I know mine will be pitifully small, just enough to pay for a book or two of stamps (hey, I donít have any money!) and put a link up on your blog or site if you have one. Without Johnís incredible efforts, the rest of us involved in UFO studies wouldnít have the data we have. Greenwald has spent literally hundreds of dollars, and hundreds of hours, going through the convoluted hoops to get FOIA documents to the rest of us.

Peter Davenportís NUFORC. My personal, minor issues with him aside (I donít share his politics, and didn't care for his attitude when I reported a UFO to him a few years ago) he has given us a place to report UFOs. He has created a databank of sightings, and made himself available to the public. All on his own time, with his own resources. No one is giving him any money; except for donations, he is paying for all of this with his own money. Without his dedication we wouldn't have the wealth of information on UFOs in this country (and beyond) that we have. We wouldn't have a safe place to report our sightings too. Outisde of UFOlogy, the average citizen often isn't sure where to report a UFO sighiting.

Not wanting to look foolish, or be accused of being drunk or mentally ill, many an individual doesn't report their UFO sighting. Davenport provides a place to report a sighting where you won't be made to feel like an idiot. You can call his number 24 hours a day. But, like Greenwald, he gets no support from any official source, and is marginalized -- as all UFO researchers are -- by the pseudo skeptics.

UFO Updates. A great resource for chat about current UFO news. All kinds of UFO bigwigs are on the list, but anyone can join. Okay, so some people have a problem with the list. So what? It gets cranky and silly at times, (I e-mailed a female writer, asking if I she had a link I could put up on my Women in UFO studies page; she was offended and it ended up with her threatening me. Sheesh, some people!) and the list owner gets irked pretty easily if you donít use the e-mail function properly, but itís free and it offers all of us a great resource. You can lurk, or get involved, and learn and read and get caught up on the latest in UFOlogy.

MUFON. Yes, it costs money to be a member and subscribe to the journal, but no oneís making some huge profit off it and living in a mansion in Aspen. They have resources to help anyone interested in UFOlogy, chapters in virtually every state, and do good work.

Then there are the daily lists, like The Anomalist, UFO Review, UFO Digest, The Book of Thoth, and The Daily Grail. They may make a bit of money from advertising and the like, but again, it isnít paying for anyoneís retirement. These daily informational lists provide the rest of us with links to Fortean, UFO, and paranormal stories, news, books, blogs, and websites. Itís all there in one place for us to either explore, or ignore, depending on our interests. Some of them provide forums or discussion lists, even book publishing resources, etc.

Another resource: right here on Binnall of America. It may sound like cheap self promotion, but it isnít. This website is run by one individual, Tim Binnall, who each month offers us interviews with known UFO and anomalous researchers, for free. There is a wealth of freely available interviews with all kinds of interesting people in the field; thatís a great resource.

And finally, there are the individual bloggers and website owners, who are very good and offer us their insights and research. Yes, you have to slog your way through sometimes because there are also a lot of silly, mean, creepy and just plain bad blogs and sites as well, but thatís a given, and thatís true in any field.

Looking at this body of free, or nominal, resources, I realize that this is all very good. Itís a positive feeling, which is a nice change, because too often the attacks and ugliness that exists in UFOlogy seems to be the only thing that exists. There a lot of people out there who are giving freely of their genuine, sincere interests and experiences with UFOs and anomalous phenomena.

Whatever way we can help these organizations would be a good turn. Links, banners, word of mouth, donations; these are some ways we can show our support. Not to mention a big ďthank you!Ē


The Anomalist

UFO Review

The Black Vault (John Greenwald, Jr.)


The Book of Thoth

UFO Digest

The Daily Grail

The National UFO Reporting Center (Peter Davenport)

Contact R.Lee

Trickster's Realm Archive

R.Lee's Blog : The Orange Orb

Women in UFO & Paranormal Studies