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UFO Hoaxes: When Things Get Complicated

Well, my three recent articles on questionable documents (one on Marilyn Monroe, the second on the Rendlesham Forest affair, and the third on weird goings-on in 1940s-1950s Chicago) provoked a handful of emails in response. But, they weren’t quite the responses I was anticipating. With hindsight, though, maybe I should have expected them. Of the eleven people who contacted me, not a single one took the view that the documents were nothing but hoaxes perpetrated by people within the field of Ufology (which, in my view, is the most likely of all the explanations, even though I’m slightly open-minded on the Marilyn document, but as for the other two: pure garbage). Rather, all eleven only served to complicate things even further by suggesting that the hoaxes just had to be the work of – as one person worded it – “government agents.” Not sad figures with too much time on their hands and a lack of what is known as a social-life, after all? Terms like “disinformation,” “counterintelligence” and “psychological warfare” were tossed around, as a means to explain to me and justify why these were not just time-wasting hoaxes. So, in a roundabout way, by highlighting the three questionable documents referred to above, I inadvertently added to – or, at the very lest, encouraged – the conspiracy theories, rather than laying them to rest. The U.S. Government describes psychological warfare as, “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.” Then, there is the matter of disinformation – a word which pops up regularly in the UFO field. English Oxford Living Dictionaries says of disinformation that it is, “False information which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media.”

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