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UFO Crash Retrieval Conference IV


Pics of binnall & friends @ UFO CRC

More UFO CRC pics, courtesy of Ralph Molesworth


UFO CRC IV :: In Review

Las Vegas, Nevada. The illustrious and mysterious binnall returns to his roots ... the UFO conference. Not just any UFO conference, mind you, this was the fourth annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference. The UFO CRC, as I've come to call it, has earned a reputation as one of the premiere conferences of the year in Ufology. Held at the Tuscany Suites and Casino, this year's event lived up to the lofty standard set by the conference's history.

Upon arriving and seeing the various spectators, I was impressed with the large number of UFO luminaries who were merely in attendance. Amongst those who made the trip to see the conference were James Carrion, new head of MUFON, Terry Hansen, author of "Missing Times", Paul Davids, creator of the film "Roswell", Bill Ryan of Serpo fame, and his cohort in Project Camelot, Kerry Cassidy. There was even a rumour that John Lear was there, but I never saw him. So suffice it to say, Las Vegas on the weekend of November 10th to the 12th was the place to be if you were a serious student of the UFO enigma.


The conference kicked off with on Friday evening with no less than Stan Friedman talking about the "why questions" of the UFO phenomenon and what he think the answers are to those questions. This was a fascinating presentation from Friedman, who put a fresh spin on his years of research. Michael Salla followed next with a comparative study of the two cases of military whistleblowers. Intriguing stuff from Salla, who did a fine job connecting a lot of dots between the cases and leaked documents as well.

After those two talks, there was an hour long "meet and greet" with the speakers, which was a pretty cool interlude that gave everyone the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the presenters. This was my first chance to meet some of the folks I'd interviewed in the past, like Richard Dolan and Nick Redfern, both of whom were very cool. It was a fantastic time of talking shop and discussing non-UFO subjects, like baseball, with some great minds in the field.

Friday's short session ended with the raucous Speaker Panel, featuring all 13 of the weekend's speakers. Each presenter gave a little soundbite on what they would be talking about and then they tackled questions from the audience. I would be remiss in not mentioning the outstanding job done by Steven Bassett as emcee of the panel. Bassett is electric in the role and was a maestro at conducting the discussion.

Having thirteen heavy hitters up there and a host of luminaries in the audience wasn't without it's share of drama. To those in attendance who are in the know, we saw a few heady instances of Ufological infighting that had to be seen to be believed, including a passionate refutation of one Ufologist's critics and a tense moment between an audience member and a panelist. The entire affair was a tour de force and a great prelude to the rest of the weekend.


The real grind began on Saturday morning at the painful time of 8:30 AM. Thankfully, the first presenter was Richard Dolan, which made waking up so early well worth it. Dolan talked about the evolution of UFO crash reports and also talked about how the structure of UFO secrecy may work. As expected, this was outstanding.

Paul Schatzkin was up next with a presentation on early 20th century inventor T. Townsend Brown. Schatzkin shed some amazing new light on the mysterious Brown, in this awesome sidebar to the UFO discussion that went on all weekend. Conference organizer Ryan Wood followed that with an investigation of the Devil's Hole UFO crash case. The presentation did a great job showing the detail involved in actually investigating an individual UFO crash report.

Following lunch, Michael Lindemann gave tantalizing details on a late 1990's symposium of industry big wigs where the topic of discussion was dealing with ET contact. This was fascinating material that had never been presented before and really gave pause for thought about how UFO disclosure may go down. Peter Merlin was next with a hard look at government plane crashes and what we can learn from their response in comparison to UFO crashes. Wrapping up the formal presentations for the day was Frank Feschino, who presented his film on the Flatwoods Monster Incident, featuring rare interviews with key witnesses to the event.

A nice little evening break allowed everyone to collect themselves after an exhausting day of in-depth presentations. The festivities capped off for the evening with the exclusive banquet and keynote address from Las Vegas legend George Knapp. Knapp speech was fantastic, a rapid fire dissertation on the media and UFOs and Ufology as a whole. Hilarious at times and also quite poignant, Knapp brought a different slant to the UFO subject than we'd heard thus far. The dinner, the speech, and the laid back mingling made for an enjoyable end to the day.


The final day of the conference saw Bob Wood present on potential alien viruses and how the government may deal with them. This was very thorough and truly thought provoking. Nick Redfern's follow-up presentation worked in tandem with Bob Wood, as Nick looked at the alien virus concept from the UK point of view, weaving in stories like the Berwyn Mountain Incident and the mysterious British facility Porton Down. Redfern provided an enlightening, international look at the UFO scene.

Linda Moulton Howe then gave an extended look at military whistleblowers and their evidence. This was just riveting and, at times, frightening material. LMH lived up to her superstar status with this presentation and had the room at full attention throughout. Dr. Bruce Maccabee was the post-lunch speaker, talking about a mysterious UFO incident from 12.6.1950. Maccabee covered the story from a number of different angles, from historical records, biographical recountings, and witness testimonies, all of which pointed to something strange going down on that fateful December day.

The big weekend wrapped up with the Matthew Thuney as the final presentation on Sunday evening. Thuney discussed the "Lummi Island Incident", where something seemingly crashed in the waters just off the state of Washington. This rather recent event from 1984 was fleshed out by Thumey, who gave some tremendous details into what may have been an overlooked UFO crash. The final lecture embodied the entire mood of the weekend, which was serious investigation of the UFO phenomenon.

Other Stuff

Meanderings, musings, and other things that went on that didn't fit in the formal recap ...

I'd be remiss in not mentioning two folks who made my weekend a total blast. First, Ralph Molesworth, who hung out with me most of the time there and provided some great companionship throughout. Ralph's good people and it was a pleasant surprise to have him along for the ride. Second, Jay Armitage, a journalist out of Canada, who I ended up spending quite a bit of time with over the course of the weekend. She was a real firecracker, a total outsider to Ufology but a tenacious and sharp-witted reporter who impressed me quite a few times.

I only briefly saw the Vegas strip for a few hours on Sunday evening. It was exactly the showcase of retarded decadence I expected it to be, including an unsettling lion habitat, an outlandish fountain show @ the Venetian, and the world's tallest chocolate fountain that I was skeptical was even chocolate (it looked like paint to me). Plus lots of other sideshows and gimmicks that had one's head spinning in all directions to take in the entire atmosphere.

All in all, the trip was quite an adventure. As conferences go, this one was top notch, with a great line-up of speakers giving in-depth presentations on a host of topics. The crowd was a nice mix of serious researchers, long time UFO enthusiasts, and people relatively new to the field.

For the last three years, I'd heard a lot of talk about the UFO CRC, so experiencing it first hand for the fourth edition was a must. I can honestly say that I was tremendously impressed with the entire event and would consider the 5th installment next year to be well worth the investment for those who missed out on the festivities this year.

BoA : Audio listeners will be happy to know that binnall did five on-the-fly interviews from the big event and they'll roll out sometime in the next few weeks as a special episode of the show.