Ufology’s Golden Age has passed.
With the advent of extremely, increasingly “magical”military and “secret ops” technology, a “real” UFO has virtually become indistinguishable from a piece of sophisticated military-industrial aerial hardware.
A last-ditch effort to “keep the distinction distinct” is the attempt at classifying the true UFO (a real “Unknown” as contrasted with our most developed known technologies) as against Trickster Hardware. This fairly recent work of classification considers the UAV to be an Unidentified Aerial Vehicle and considers the UAP to be the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. The categories are self-explanatory. Although the “Phenomenon” is, like the God of the Gaps, ever-shrinking – a kind of ufological endangered species – a slim hope of new, non-ordinary data accumulation still does linger.
In addition to hardware, of course, there is the new sophistication of digital imaging in which virtually any image may be created or manipulated in order to create a picture whose limits are only those of its creator’s imagination. Thus, a photograph that would have been considered evidential in, say, 1958, today would have to pass through a series of stringent digital critiques, with of course the usual “witness reliability” provisos in place, with no certainty of authenticity being firmly established.
Therefore, it seems that the Golden Age of the UFOs is long gone. It would seem that whatever intelligence may lurk behind the phenomenon and its related phenomena will probably be the only true source of future data and disclosure. If, that is, that presumed sentiency decides to make the first move.
Hence, genuine, serious Ufology will probably become mostly a refinement of historical studies. An informal time period for study might be provisionally marked from the Foo Fighters and Ghost Rockets of the Second World War era, on through (about) 1977 or so, with the advent of the “Triangles”, which (the reports suggest to the present writer) are all too humanly technological. A stretch of some 35 years, or thereabouts. Project Sign, Project Grudge, Project Bluebook, the five major Ufological studies listed by Stanton Friedman (best of luck to him with his recent health setback), the Sturrock Panel report, the work of Dr.s Hynek, Vallee and James E. McDonald, all the compendia of sightings gathered by any number of responsible UFO organizations, and Leslie Kean’s recent work documenting “reponsible, trained observer” reports … all of these and more consist of the only remaining “Ufological gold mine” of which I am aware.
The phenomenon is real, complex, profound, absurd, inspiring, terrifying, bashful, bold, enigmatic, maddening, occult, shocking and confusing all at once. The data reflects this, but the data does exist and is available to investigators and researchers, even if governmental barriers remain in their traditional placement. This is what the Ufologist is left with: the youthful ghost of a phenomenon that is probably continuing with all the robustness it always has, but is being occluded by human technological advances.
Vale, Golden Age.