Unidentified: The UFO Phenomenon, by Robert Salas (Paperback, 2014)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Let me start out by saying I'll be convinced that UFOs are extraterrestrial
when all these people walking around with smartphones start producing real
pictures and real videos. That does not mean I reject UFOs out of hand. It just
means there is a huge chunk of "should be there" evidence missing.
On the other hand, I question the official explanations that "debunk"
current-day "evidence" and I also question the official explanations for the
many artifacts (going back thousands of years) that "debunk" Erich Von
Daniken and other writers. As a logician, I find these explanations don't
pass the smell test. This doesn't mean Von Daniken is right; it would be a
non-sequitor to reach that conclusion from the fact the official
explanations fail. I'm just saying that nobody makes a conclusive case
either way (though EVD makes very compelling arguments while his detractors
make arguments that are intellectually insulting--at least in regard to the
detractor arguments I have read).
Regarding the tagline under the title of this book, conspiracy is a
common attribute among national governments. Skullduggery is standard
operating practice among governments. The stealing, lying, cheating, and
other negative behavior endemic in these institutions is staggering both in
its scope and in its cost to society. And it has been for thousands of
years. In short, only a fool trusts them. Don't extrapolate from this that
I'm an anarchist. I'm quite the opposite. I believe in the rule of law, but
that concept is absent in most governments today (particularly in failed
states with nondemocratic regimes--such as the USA).
I also have to wonder about obvious questions such as why aliens would
invest huge resources to visit this planet but then hide from humans except
for a select few of low status and no influence. Think of how things would
be with the shoe on the other foot. If humans visited another planet (or
moon) with life, would we skulk around incognito? Granted, with the current
situation in Washington, DC, there is the wry observation that these aliens
are still looking for intelligent life on this planet. But humor aside, why
would contact not be a momentous event? So I don't readily accept that we're
being visited by folks from another planet.
With that perspective in mind, let's proceed to discuss this book.
If we were being visited by folks from another planet, they may have a
compelling reason for coming here. If you're familiar with the Star Trek
story, you know that the Vulcans waited to make first contact. They made it
only after the first demonstration of warp drive. The reasoning there was
humans were joining the league of seriously advanced civilizations at that
But the same can be said for nuclear power, which seems to be the focus
Salas has in this book. Setting aside von Daniken and other "they came long
ago" theorists (I consider it a theory, not a mere postulation, and you need
to understand the meaning of "theory" in science to get my meaning here), we
see that UFO sightings really ramped up following World War II. Salas and
many others attribute this to the fact this coincides with the dawn of
nuclear power. But it also coincides with many other developments, such as
jet propulsion, radar systems, and television. Some people try to "correct"
me about television, stating it didn't happen until the 1950s. The fact is
that the USA had an official, FCC-regulated network in 1941.
My point here is that many things can explain the huge ramp-up of UFO
sightings, including mass hysteria, approval-seeking behavior, and even
ideas planted by television. Or it could be a combination of these factors
plus activities due to technical developments such as jet propulsion.
What about the abductions? It boggles the mind that aliens would go into
people's homes, take them to a space ship, give them a rectal exam, and then
bring them back home. That sounds more like something the IRS would do, but
sans the space ship. I have two words that can give you more to think about
on this topic: "extraordinary rendition." The USA "government" is no
stranger to illegally abducting American citizens. I would look there,
rather than to the cosmos, for an explanation of mysterious abductions.
All that said, Salas could be right. And if our own species has no
problem installing psychopaths into governments and those governments have
no problem ignoring the dignity and rights of members of our own species,
and those governments engage in abductions--what would bar aliens from doing
the same thing? Or think of how those who study wildlife catch animals (or,
in some cases, remove a hibernating bear from its den), examine them
physically, then release them. We do this to those who live on our own
planet. What would bar aliens from doing this to those who live on another
Also consider how violent the primates are. Chimpanzees have bloody,
massacring wars between tribes. Humans do this also, taking the violence to
a level of absurdity and psychopathy that should embarrass all of us. I note
here that the main purveyors of this mass violence and destruction are
"governments" rather than individuals.
It doesn't follow that just because we routinely engage in savage
insanity that intelligent beings from another planet do. Perhaps this is why
they study us (as many presume) and why, in particular, they study us quite
a bit since the advent of the nuclear age (as Salas presumes). Maybe they
want to hide (as much as is practical) to avoid influencing our evolution or
These are the main themes (we are dangerous now, we need to be studied)
that Salas explores in this book. Whether you believe in aliens or not,
these themes are worth thinking about. And because of other evidence and
occurrences, thinking about them in relation to extraterrestrials is also
worthwhile. Salas presents that other evidence and describes several
relevant incidents, making this a fascinating book.
He cites several verified examples of nuclear arms facilities being
inexplicably shut down. And these incidents happened while UFOs were
present. An explanation other than extraterrestrials is possible, but I
think you would really have to stretch the imagination to make it sensible.
So to this ET doubter, the book is yet another nudge toward acceptance of
ETs. I just need to see those photos and videos that are inexplicably
It's a good read, regardless of your views on ETs.
This book consists of 9 chapters and an epilogue, running 195 pages. It
also has a foreword, preface, and introduction. It's indexed and has
bibliography that runs just over 6 and a half pages. Some of these
references are unimpeachable, for example Science Magazine. A few are noted
for not adhering to journalistic standards and thus spewing disinformation
(e.g. Huffington Post). Salas also tapped personal memoirs of some people
"in the know", in addition to books and websites. A pretty thorough job.