Monday, June 02, 2008

UFO Lunacy in Colorado!

Denver, Colorado man Stan Romanek is working hard to become the next Whitley Strieber. Romanek has been taking UFO pictures and videos since 2000, but he's recently hit the big time with a video that he claims shows a real, live alien (That, of course, happens to look exactly like every single gray, bug-eye alien you've ever seen.) peeking in through his window. The video itself is hard to comment on, but only because it hasn't been shown to the public yet. Though it was taken several years ago, Romanek won't allow more than a single frame of the video to be shown because "the scientists" who are studying it have asked him not to. (The apparent situation is actually that the video is going to be part of a "documentary" show later this year and they don't want to give up the goods.) Embedded below is a video of Romanek's recent appearance on Larry King Live. Of particular chagrin to me is that while Romanek's "real" video appears only in the form of a single still, there are several "reenactment videos" shown during the story that have already been circulated on the internet as genuine footage of aliens.

Romanek's other evidence consists of the regular contactee bollocks - pictures of "mysterious" cuts and scratches, a few lame UFO pictures, etc. His website makes much ado about his "automatic writing" of such things as Drake's Equation, which is an equation that was generated by Dr. Frank Drake in 1960 to estimate a plausible number of alien civilizations in the galaxy. Romanek disingenuously claims to have "never heard of" this equation at the time the aliens magically commanded him to write it in 2002. I mean, after all, how would a guy who thinks aliens have been contacting him for 2 years (at the time) have ever heard of one of the most oft-quoted bits of esoterica among the UFO True Believers? Come the hell on, man. Oh, I almost forgot, the aliens made him write "X 100" at the conclusion of the equation. Spooky.

The man is a walking museum of alien encounter clichés - drawing "star maps" a la Betty Hill, telling stories about encounters with alien hybrids a la Whitley Strieber, or making pronouncements about historical UFOs a la Erich Von Däniken - Romanek does it all! One of his feature automatic drawings is a tesseract (with mysteriously straight lines, he notes) with a tunnel leading out of it to a place beyond the 4th dimension. Double-spooky. Please. Not only is this guy hokey, he's not even creative. He's just pillaging all the old UFO lore and rehashing it wholesale.

Romanek's chief backer in all this is a guy named Jeff Peckman, who has a degree from the Maharishi University of Management. Yeah, that's right, that Maharishi. Peckman is a former Senate candidate (for the Maharishi's own Natural Law party) and is now using Romanek's video to push the city of Denver to create a special organization in the city government to investigate extraterrestrials. He previously headed up an unsuccessful ballot initiative to mandate "peacefulness" in the city. These guys deserve each other.

I'll be watching all the major UFO websites (as much as I can stomach anyway) so I can give you guys a taste of the reaction to this pair of loons amongst the other True Believers™. I have a feeling it's going to be a long week.


Garret G said...

Yeah, gee, that was the clearest photo of an alien EVER! Its obviously a Chupacabra, I mean, get real people!
(I am enjoying reading 'The God Delusion' very much- I see some of your objections in there, hmmmm?)
Peace and/or love

Jeff Tompkins said...

Good post. I was searching for other blog posts on Stan Romanek after I posted about him tonight, and found yours.

Garret G said...

Hey Skippy-
Just curious- do you feel (gut feeling okay here) that it is highly likely that there are other intelligent civilizations in the universe? You obviously feel that interstellar travel is unfeasable if so, is that correct?

Skippy the Skeptic said...

I feel that it's plausible enough that somewhere in the vastness of the cosmos there are other sentient beings. I do, however, feel that interstellar travel is pretty unfeasible.

One thing that's always struck me as daft about modern alien encounter claims is that people are claiming that a race of beings with technology sufficient to travel across the vastness of interstellar space and survive all that that entails would nevertheless opt to study the Earth by running around, on foot and naked, and looking in some guy's kitchen window.

Garret G said...

Yeah good point LMFAO- the movie Signs was horrible- partly because of the absurdity of an alien race who gets horribly burned on contact with H20, coming here, a planet covered with it, to take over.

Skippy the Skeptic said...

M. Night Shyamalan is good at setting up taut, spooky tension in his films, but the last couple of movies he's done have had increasingly lame "twists" at the end. I was hugely disappointed with "The Village". I'd pretty sure there was an episode of "The Twilight Zone" with almost exactly the same payoff.

That being said, I actually found "Signs" pretty enjoyable despite the awful logic behind it and the countless deus ex machina moments. Hopefully "The Happening" will end up being cool.

Jay said...

Given that the physics of the universe (and thus the chemistry) are the same throughout, it doesn't seem unreasonable to conclude that somewhere out there are other planets capable of sustaining life. Given that, it doesn't seem unreasonable to conclude that some of that life might be intelligent.

The same physics put limits on the feasibility of interstellar travel (via fuel/energy requirements).

One of the most interesting ideas I've seen is the concept of a "generation ship", which is a ship large enough to be basically self sustaining (e.g. the occupants could grow their own food and such), that trade speed of travel for endurance.

It's interesting to speculate what such extraterrestrial life might be like. Life on Earth is carbon-based largely because carbon chemistry works really well in the conditions we generally find on Earth. In slightly different conditions, silicon chemistry works about the same way. The fact that earth DNA has two base-pairs vice some other number is a contingent fact, not an inevitable necessity. The fact that almost all terrestrial organic molecules are left-handed vice right-handed is another contingent fact (and one that we don't understand very well).

This is a long way of saying that it's kinda vain of us to assume that any alien creature visiting us would be a recognizably humanoid one capable of living in our atmosphere without difficulty...