This weekend I attended my first UFO conference. It was also a first for the conference organizers in Lawrence, Kansas. Dubbed OZUFO Summit, it promised to be a high-level event by inviting some of the big names from UFO research and investigation.
The expressed goal of the conference was to bring together "variously experienced world-class authors, investigators, researchers, and speakers" to share a "sincere and urgent call for complete UFO Disclosure of the UFO-ET Reality."
For those interested in UFOs, the names were noteworthy. Physicist and researcher Stanton Friedman and dogged investigator Donald Schmitt both spoke about their parallel investigations into Roswell — the Watergate of UFO cover-ups. Jesse Marcel, Jr. recounted the historic event from his childhood when his father (Jesse Marcel, Sr.) showed his family debris from the Roswell crash. And former airmen, Capt. Robert Salas and Col. Charles Halt, discussed their separate experiences while in the Air Force.
On the other hand, there were those whose connection to the UFO phenomenon was more personal. Kim Carlsberg discussed her abductions and how she had been used as part of an extraterrestrial cross-breeding program. Rosemary Ellen Guiley drew parallels between alien abduction stories and the folklore of the djinn (a.k.a. genies). And Butch Witkowski shared the results of his investigations into cattle — and human — mutilations.
With all these different voices to discuss the UFO phenomenon, one thing was notably missing: a consensus. When one thinks of a summit, one imagines high-ranking officials coming together to reach an accord. While the goal of government disclosure was the predominant theme of the conference, it did not seem to be shared by all.
Some speakers — though not all — seemed more interested in pushing a personal agenda (such as ascribing a particular meaning to the reason for these visitations) rather than discussing Disclosure. One speaker talked of a feeling of love and compassion for the aliens. Another flat out told people not to stand around watching the lights, but urged people who see them to "run." Others, including the conference organizers, seemed intent on making this a rallying point for nuclear disarmament.
Keeping the conference on track were Bryce Zabel and Richard Dolan, who spoke separately on the topic of Disclosure.
In his presentation, Life After Contact, Bryce discussed the two points of view surrounding Disclosure and discussed how our world might be affected by disclosure that we are not alone. (Point #1: The People Have a Right-to-Know -- Point #2: The People Can't Handle the Truth)
Why has the mainstream media taken a hands-off approach to the subject of UFOs, rather than employing the same investigative journalism that it brought to Watergate? Where, Zabel asked, are the Woodward and Bernstein of this cover-up? How can we trust the media when they refuse to examine 60+ years of evidence?
As if to prove the event's message correct, the mainstream media did the same thing it always does. It either ignored the Summit completely or focused only on the fact that the speakers believe in UFOs. What little coverage I found in the newspapers and on television did not mention Disclosure at all.
But after all was said and done, what was the outcome of the OZUFO Summit? Did anything change?
For me, my beliefs still remain steadfastly intact. I think most people who attended the Summit would say the same. Those in the audience were most likely already believers. I doubt many converts were made.
Yet, despite the coming together of so many believers, nothing was done to capitalize on the voices of the speakers and attendees. There were no petitions to sign, no attempt to capture the attention of our government representatives, no marching for interplanetary peace.
We were left without a call-to-action. A movement without a direction, a cause without a leader.
After a weekend of seeing the words "UFO Censorship Must End" on signs outside Liberty Hall, I find myself wondering who will take up the torch now that those signs have come down.