Sunday, January 20, 2008

An Interview with Inexplicata Contributors

Separated by distances that span both the wide Atlantic and continental landmasses, it isn't often that INEXPLICATA's contributors get to exchange views with each other or with our readers. Here's what some of our contributing editors and writers had to say in response to our questions. Participating in this interview are Contributing Editor Lucy Guzman (LG) from Puerto Rico; Contributing Editor Manuel Carballal (MC) from Spain; researcher Andrea Pérez Simondini (APS) from Argentina, "Desclasificado" editor Javier Garcia Blanco (JGB) from Spain; Luis Eduardo Pacheco, editor of "Informe Alfa" (LEP) from Argentina; Inexplicata Contributing Editor Willie Durand Urbina (WDU) from Puerto Rico and Josep Guijarro (JB), editor of "Karma-7" magazine.

Voices of the Millennium: The INEXPLICATA Interview

Q: Can you recall when you first became interested in paranormal phenomena? For example, was there any reading or image that acted as a "trigger" of sorts? Do you think young people should become interested in these matters?

LG: As a child, I became aware of the paranormal (I was some 8 to 10 years old) when I noticed that if I wished someone harm, within 24 hours, something would happen to that person. When I realized what my mind was able to do, I begged God for forgiveness and swore that I'd never wish anyone harm again. I later noticed that things I told my friends would turn out to be true. I later began having experiences which I termed "ghostly", and which due to ignorance and lack of knowledge would terrify me to death. As teenager I was moved to investigate what was happening and why they happened without ever finding an answer to my questions. It wasn't until 1972, when I had a missing time experience (2 hours) and months later, after seeing a UFO, I truly felt the urge to find a response to the phenomena I was encountering. That's when I began to read, research and I continue doing it. I think there's no end to it. Regarding my opinion as to whether young people should be interested in these matters, I will answer that today it appears to be something innate in them, since they are not only interested in it, but find it commonplace. I see no reason why they shouldn't be interested and want to study them, but it depends on their age at the time that this interest is spurred. They should be guided by an adult, preferably by their parents.

MC: I don't recall the precise moment, although I do remember wolfing down novels on vampires, extraterrestrials and strange beings at ages 12 and 13. I also recall that the first "occult" book I read was Formulario de Alta Magia by P.V. Piov --I must have been 14 at the time--but I had been interested in the supernatural and miraculous much earlier. Perhaps that's why I leaned toward the priesthood and studied theology. I now consider myself an agnostic, but I don't reject my theological background, which has helped me to understand the realm of belief with greater tolerance. I think it's wonderful that the young should feel restless and rebellious toward orthodox dogma. It is thanks to these rebels against orthodoxy that science has progressed, but I believe that the paranormal realm holds too many hazards for immature minds--regardless of age--and I know of too many suicides and crimes due to occult beliefs.

APS: I recall that I started taking an interest in paranormal phenomena when I was small. I would have been 11 years old. One day, while home alone with my two younger brothers, I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and heard a noise on the kitchen table. It was a crucifix that my mother had hanging on the wall above the table. The situation wasn't unusual until the moment we noticed the nail from which the crucifix was hanging was in its place; in other words, it hadn't broken or fallen out. The question my brother and I asked ourselves was that the only way that the crucifix could have come off was if it had been removed. And I can attest to the fact that this could not be, since only my brothers and I were home that time. It was always a source of mystery to me. That was my "trigger" experience. I find it positive that the young should become interested, since these mysteries are there for all generations to look into, and the young perhaps retain that modicum of objectivity that one may lose as one gets older.

JGB: I don't remember the exact moment that anomalous phenomena drew my attention, but I can tell you that I was still a child. Here in Spain a there was a program directed and hosted by Dr. Fernando Jiménez del Oso which dealt with these subjects. From there, I went on to read and collect all material that fell into my hands. I think its fantastic that young people should become interested in these matters. The future of ufology and parapsychology is in their hands.

LEP: I was interested in anything having to do with space since childhood, and of course, it was a matter of time before I asked my father what a "flying saucer" was. I must have been 7 years old and had heard the term on a TV show in my native Uruguay. It was around 1978 when I got closest to the subject. During that year there was a massive UFO flap in Argentina, to which my parents had emigrated in 1975. Sightings were being reported on a daily basis in the mass media, press, etc. That era has a certain "magic" for me, since we appeared to be living alongside the UFO phenomenon at every second. I'll never forget it, despite not having had any direct experiences.

WDU: I was a few hours away from undergoing surgery for a brain tumor which was causing me constant headache. In those anguished moments I was visited by a "spirit guide" who engaged me in a dialog regarding the operation. It told me to pray to heal myself from this condition. During prayer, I underwent a paranormal experience within myself--I felt that something broke away from my body and my temperature was raised above 40 degrees. I managed to see myself free of the condition, although I was completely drained of energy. A CAT scan would later show that there was no trace of the tumor. Following this experience I had two experiences with UFOs.

I think its very healthy for the young to become interested in the paranormal, since during the course of their lives they may encounter certain events or experiences they will not be able to explain. They will require an understanding as to how these phenomena appear, and the best way of doing so is through reading and analyzing the nature of the universe and all that is in it.

JG: The fact is that my connection with strange phenomena was insidious, progressive and surprising. I say "surprising" because there isn't a family background of unusual phenomena. It was a neighbor who lent me the first books on the subject: "Not of this Earth" by Peter Kolosimo and "Without a Trace" by Charles Berlitz. In fact, the Bermuda Triangle was one of my favorite subjects for years until I discovered the critical versions and wisened up. It's important that the young should become interested in these subjects--youth wants to change the world, the established order, curiosity overcomes all obstacles and heeding some strange impulse, youth is able to leave no stone unturned to learn the truth.

Q: Can we speak in terms of a predominant personality type among investigators and researchers, or are we pretty much a "mixed bag"?

LG: The only similarity I've noticed is the attempt to find an answer to these phenomena. Beyond that, I haven't noticed any common patterns.

MC: I think that active minds and non-conformists are drawn to the world of mystery, but others, such as mediocre or ambitious individuals are attracted by it, as are mere swindlers, who find the paranormal as an easy means of sating their egos or pockets. On the other hand, before defining a profile for "investigators" we should perhaps define the term used so flexibly by all manner of individuals involved with the field: Philip Klass, Giorgio Bongiovani, Hilary Evans and Salvador Freixedo, and even myself (and I know all of these friends and enemies personally) call ourselves "investigators", and I thin that the opinions, work methods and even human qualities of each have very little in common. That's why I'll return the question to you, Scott: what the hell do you call an investigator?

APS: As with all activities, I think that there are always dominant personalities and others that are less so. I think it's a matter of the interactions that one may develop within a given group, in this case, the paranormal realm. One will be the leader, another will be passive, another will go against the short, different responses in action.

JGB: Well, maybe we're all a little nuts (laughs). But from the researchers that I know, I can say that what we share in common is that we carry this matter deep within us. It consumes all of our time and effort, and we greatly enjoy what we do.

LEP: I think that were a mixed group, but with the passing of time, become polarized or aligned with a more or less clearly defined pattern which marks the three predominant trends in the field: the "believer", the one who "steps back and analyzes", and the "skeptic."

WDU: There are many paranormal researchers who concentrate on a single aspect of the wide world of the paranormal. Some of them specialize in communication with extra-dimensional entities, while others choose to decipher the future. But I believe that the most important thing is to somehow harmonize with the energies emanating from the universe.

JG: I'd say we're a coloful lot. I'm not aware of a more varied and ornery "fauna" that those who are attracted to UFO and paranormal research. This is made even more serious by the fact that these subjects are employed to preach peace, love and brotherhood...It's also true of the field that friends are truer FRIENDS than in any other.

Q: Could you share with us the names of the researchers who have inspired you? Do you consider yourself as part of a give school of thought?

LG: No researcher has served as an inspiration to me, nor do I agree 100% with any of them. Not even with myself. I don't belong to any "school" of thought...I'm a free thinker.

MC: I always recommend reading a book by Freixedo and another by [South American contactee] Sixto Paz; hearing a presentation by Ballester Olmos and another by J.J. Benitez; reading a report written by CSICOP and another by SPR, because only b knowing these juxtaposed points of view can we be free to make informed choices. I admit that I feel a special fondness for the work of John Keel, Jacques Vallée or Hilary Evans, but I also admire Freixedo's boldness, Siragusa's irreverence, Randi's cynicism, Benítez's romanticism, W. Smith's methodology, Von Kevicksky's experience, Hynek's education and above all, Andreas Faber Kaiser's honesty. I don't share any of their opinions fully, but I feel that whether actively or passively, they all have a contribution to make to our knowledge of the paranormal. If there's any school of thought that can collect them all, that would be my school.

APS: I can't answer this question accurately, because I think it wouldn't be fair toward many people. But I'll give you an approximation. I feel respect for researchers like Jorge Anfruns Dumon, Antonio Huneeus, Stanton Friedman, Adhemar Gevaerd, my friend Rodrigo Fuenzalida, for all researchers in Chile, for my friends Carlos Iurchuk, Alex Chionnetti, and Oscar Mendoza, for the people conducting research in the Province of La Pampa, where my friend Mario Quique is making great efforts, for Claudeir Covo...I don't know, the list feels infinite. On the other hand, I can tell you that my greatest inspiration is my mother, Silvia Pérez Simondini, because she taught me that one should never give in and this belief, applied to the UFO phenomenon, I feel will allow us to earn a small space in the immense UFO community. My school of thought is, as I tend to call it emotionally, rationalism. I think that he or she who researches phenomena that aren't covered by science must have the disposition of the true scientist, which is, that a hypothesis ceases to be one when the facts give you elements to approve it or reject it. My best base are the laws that science set forth by convention but not by demonstration.

JGB: Well...I've always said that J.J. Benítez is to blame for my being mixed up in the world of UFO research...or rather, his books are. The minute one of his books fell into my hands, I wolfed them down one after another. In spite of this, I don't share all of his hypotheses. I currently think my line of thought is closer to that of Jacques Vallée and his interdimensional hypothesis. The books of John Keel also influenced my perceptions on the UFO phenomenon. I don't like boxing myself into a given "school of thought", but given my country's ufological situation, perhaps I should be counted among those who believe in the non-human origin of ufology.

LEP: I've grown up, ufologically speaking, with the "greats" of the field--from Keyhoe and Benítez to Hynek-- and in my country for a while I had deep respect for the pioneering work done by Fabio Zerpa and his "Cuarta Dimensión" magazine. I say this with a certain amount of sadness, since it has reincarnated into a publication called "Punto Azul" which along with its editor, are a pale shadow of what they once meant for national ufology. Through the pages of that magazine I was exposed to the writings of Alejandro Vignati; the unforgettable columns of Norberto Comte and his "Anthology of the Fantastic"; and it gave me the opportunity to meet an exceptional human being: Dr. Candido Victor del Prado--biologist, author, esotericist--and an all-out "rebel" whose attitude taught me the value of reason in the world of the paranormal.

WDU: The researcher who has influenced me the most, and has taught me to have a wider perspective on paranormal phenomena has been Jacques Vallée. I believe that he remains the one who has created the proper guidelines to follow in dealing with paranormal phenomena. Many researchers have considered his theories when conducting their own investigations.

JG: Well, it all depends on the time first it was Antonio RIbera, who is a great teacher and whose books constitute a Bible for anyone wishing to delve into ufology. Some have thought that I may be his heir (I imagine that's because, like he, I've taken a great interest in abduction phenomena), but I don't feel this to be the case, since there are many nuances which make us different. I'm an avowed follower of Jacques Vallée, whose way of viewing ufology is revlolutionary and in step with science rather than mysticism. I've also felt influenced by the adventures of J.J. Benítez--and who hasn't? . Combine these three researchers and you get Josep Guijarro.

Q: If you had to take three books on the paranormal with you to a desert island, which would these be, and why?

LG: I really don't have a favorite author. Perhaps [a book] by Laura Tuan and others of subjects like telepathy, precognitions, premonitions, oneiromancy and UFO/ET subjects.

MC: The Bible, because while I don't consider myself christian, nor devout, my deepest unconscious is the offspring of a given age and culture, and no other field has promoted the paranormal more than religion has. The other two would be some of my own books, since I've always tried to gather the best of other authors and if possible, to enrich their findings with my own contributions. Besides, logically, I think no one can be closer to what is subjectively true than myself. If I thought otherwise, I'd be either a cultist or an imbecile.

APS: 1) The Bermuda Triangle (for sure); 2) Florencio Balsda's La Raza Roja (an early 20th century Argentinean researcher; 3) a book on Spontaneous Combustion.

JGB: Juan José Benítez's La Quinta Columna, which is in my opinion one of the best field research books on encounters with humanoids; Vallée's Passport to Magonia, since the hypotheses stated in this book changed (or expanded) my view of the UFO phenomenon; Salvador Freixedo's La Granja Humana. In my opinion, and while I don't share all of Salvador's ideas, this book portrays a disquieting aspect of the UFO phenomenon: are we being manipulated at will by the intelligence(s) behind the phenomenon?

LEP: I'd sooner have a good survival manual! (laughs). But if I had to choose, I'd certainly lean toward one of Vallée's "classic" works, or Antonio Ribera, or the early days of Juan José Benítez (before the Caballo de Troya books were released). These were authors who, with the passing of time since I first read them, have acquired their true stature.

WDU: If I were to find myself alone on a desert island, my three favorite books would be the following in order of importance: Apparitions by G.N.M. Tyrell; Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind by C.D.B. Bryan; and Electric UFOs by Albert Budden.

JG: Confrontations by Jacques Vallée; Light Years by Gary Kinder, and my book Infiltrados. The first because it is a primer for anyone who conceives ufology as a scientific discipline detached from superstition. The second because it is a magnificent investigative work on one of the most important events in the contactee phenomenon and does objectivity justice. And ultimately, rooting for the home team, I'd include my book Infiltrados among them because its pages feature wonderful years of memories and experiences that I would always want to remember on a desert island.

Q: In regard to the UFO phenomenon, do you think there are marked differences between the cases you've investigated in your country and the ones in the U.S.A.?

LG: Yes and no. Yes, because many of the cases which have occurred here have also taken place in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. No, because despite [Puerto Rico's] small size--it's maximum length is of 111 miles by 39 miles wide--and such a high population density-- 3,522,037 inhabitants according to the 1990 census-- not only have large numbers of sightings and encounters with alien races been reported, we also have an infinity of "alleged" UFO contactees. If we compare the island's population to its size, I could say that we are perhaps [one of the places] with the highest percentage of UFO sightings and "contactees".

MC: Absolutely. The cases are very similar, as are the cases I have been able to research in Africa and Asia, aside from a good part of Latin America. Only the witness and the researcher change. The witness subjects his/her experience to a perceptive selection process according to his or her cultural education, belief system and even language. The researcher, on the other hand, usually belongs to a given school and has widely diverging techniques and research methods. We can't compare a French ufologist from the Psycho-Social school with an American conspiracy theorist, or an expert in African tribal legend. All three experts would focus the same UFO event from different perspectives, and I therefore suppose that their conclusions for one given case would be very different.

APS: There are no marked differences as regards the phenomenology, but there are massive differences regarding the case histories. I think that there's a great consumerism in your country as far as UFOs are concerned, which fortunately has not occurred in Argentina as of yet. This allows us researchers to have a greater degree of truthfulness in witness experiences and in the specialist's opinions. For example, when we collect evidence from an alleged UFO landing and take it to a university to be studied, no researcher in said academic environment ventures an opinion regarding an alleged UFO event. I think this might make any scientific verdict all the more conclusive.

JGB: Personally, I've tried to concentrate on close encounter cases in Spain. At first blush, the phenomenon behaves in a similar way all over the globe. Perhaps the greatest difference between the U.S. and Spanish cases is the way that certain cases in the U.S. are treated by some researchers. Perhaps there's an excess of sensationalism in certain events.

LG: As I've always said, I'm not a researcher. I'm an enthusiast for the subject with a grain of sand to contribute to it. From that perspective and analyzing the Argentinean cases, recent years have shown a tendency toward incorporating "elements" and "patterns" which were uncharacteristic of these lands. It would seem that, on the one hand, the globalization of the culture and the popularization of the subject in the media have brought along a baggage of things that have served to modify popular perception on the phenomenon, "modelling" a uniform pattern in the popular unconscious. I think that this is one of the most interesting aspects of modern ufology as a mass sociological phenomenon. A brief analysis would be impossible.

WDU: The differences between Puerto Rico and the U.S.A. as regards UFO activity are clearly marked. Number one is that the military government of the United States is much more involved in many of the events which have occurred in Puerto Rico. There is currently a UFO flowchart here in Puerto Rico involving over 15 Federal agencies, and these are mentioned when an sighting takes place on the island.

JG: The differences are remarkaable. Basically because the UFO phenomenon isn't a terrific business for anyone here in Spain, while the contrary occurs in the United States. It's harder to study ufology here due to the lack of resources, but it's also easier to remain independent.

Q: In your opinion, are there typical traits common to UFO witnesses or abductees worldwide? Could we speak in terms of a "regional mindset" among witnesses stemming from language, culture, etc.?

LG: Globally speaking, there are several characteristic traits among witnesses, abductees and contactees. They come in all types...regarding their mindset and mental level, these factors do play a part, since they witness the phenomenon differently.

MC: At one time I published a study on 100 abduction cases, and I've only been able to follow a dozen or so of them over the years. I still wouldn't venture an opinion on the abduction phenomenon, but as with all of the UFO phenomenon, I think that traditional ufology's focus hinges on an flawed premise.

APS: We've asked ourselves that question thousands of times. I think that if a cultural pattern does indeed exist, then it is a global one and therefore, no regional patterns can be found. I think this is one of the great mysteries to be unveiled.

JGB: A country's culture and customs weigh heavily on the way in which a possible sighting or UFO encounter is retold. However, all witnesses appear to describe similar creatures and artifacts. On the other hand, the witnesses belong to all types of social, economic and cultural strata. The UFO phenomenon doesn't discriminate among its witnesses.

LEP: As I said my preceding reply, an "archetype" has been created in recent years about the UFO phenomenon, which all cultures and countries are gradually assimilating. The subject of abductions is clearly the most visible exponent. A few years ago, the abduction of humans by ufonauts with seemingly physical experimentation purposes took place on a wholly "physical" level. The victim was usually in a lonely place where he/she was often forcibly taken into a UFO and examined (Villas-Boas, Betty Hill, Franzetta, etc.). A particular detail is the diversity of humanoid phenotypes involved in these experiences. The exact opposite occurs today, where the abduction phenomenon acquires a more dreamlike than physical nature, and most cases involve a single type of being, thus giving us an entirely new generation of ufonauts born in the shadow of Eighties conspiracy thinking, which modified the "shell" or external aspect of ufology. Thus, today we are abducted by "Greys", "Reptoids", "Rigelians", etc. as opposed to beings with a more "astronautical" and this friendly appearance. I believe that the influence of this subculture in regard to the creation of new ufological images and icons that are subsequently assimilated by potential witnesses is clearly evident.

WDU: I've met persons that have had UFO experiences and who never cultivated or mentally formulated a desire to have such an experience. I don't believe that their intellectual formation or their religion played a role in this. Specifically, they were simply in the right place at the right time to undergo the experience. Other persons have had encounters with these objects and appear predisposed to have all kinds of paranormal experiences, since they come from families in which spiritualism in practiced. Furthermore, many of them live in areas rich with folkloric traditions and abnormal events.

JG: Naturally. UFOs are a universal phenomenon, regardless of the existence of ufologists who collect UFO cases or witnesses willing to describe their experiences.

Q: As you know, ufology in the U.S. is divided between believers in the ET hypothesis and believers in more rational explanations. Do you get such marked divisions in your country?

LG: Yes, there is a difference, but not as marked as in the U.S.. I wouldn't characterize Puerto Rican ufologists as "believers in a hypothesis" but rather searchers of a serious, scientific and objective answer.

MC: Absolutely. [the divisions] are ferocious and border on irrational hatred. In my humble opinion, these ego-wars constitute a universal malaise in ufology.

APS: Yes, definitely. But I'll also add that there's a third line of belief, which is the one that I subscribe to: the rational posture within the extraterrestrial hypothesis. A good position to be in, I think.

JGB: We could say so...although in Spain, the defenders of the non-human origin of the phenomenon could be divided in turn into those who believe that it has an ET source and those who lean toward a multidimensional hypothesis or others. In this regard, the Spanish landscape is somewhat peculiar. The existence of denial groups such as ARP or "rational" ufologists such as those belonging to Fundación Anomalía have created a peculiar division. Simply stated, we could say that researchers have divided themselves among those who believe in an anomalous origin and the naysayers and believers in the psycho-social hypothesis. However, it's much more complicated than that.

LEP: It occurs, although timidly. As opposed to other scenarios, belief in the ETH is predominant in Argentina. New voices have emerged lately in the ufological community which tend to modify said approach and draw attention to other alternative origins, but the influence of the extraterrestrial scenario as a possible origin is still strong.

WDU: The division between the theory that postulates the interplanetary or interstellar origin of these creatures is very sharp. There are few of us who hold the belief that these entities are interdimensional and that the psyche plays a very important role in these experiences.

JG: Yes. What's more, the most radical standpoints can be found in Spain. You can start the spectrum with the most recalcitrant skeptics (debunkers) of the A.R.P. organization, followed by the rational ufology of the Fundación Anomalía. The midpoint would be occupied by the Third Generation ufologists (Sierra, Carballal, Cardeñosa and myself), and the "believer" end of the spectrum would include the pro-J.J. Benítez, [Antonio] Ribera sector. Finally, you'd have the ET Contact extremist groups such as Aztlan, etc. It's worth noting that the ufological "center" takes other hypotheses into consideration--from interdimensionalism to the psychosocial hypothesis--leading it to fan out considerably.

Q: It's almost impossible not to bring up Roswell. What's your take on it?

LG: I don't doubt that it did occur, but I think there's been a lot of cover-ups and disinformation.

MC: Years ago, I made the decision not to voice my opinion on cases that I hadn't researched myself, and while I've studied other "UFO crash" cases in depth, and have indirect references to Roswell through my work on the Secret Services' (Spain's CESID in particular) involvement with the paranormal, I haven't formed an opinion...yet.

APS: I think that Roswell is the mystery of the century because of all its details. I don't think we will ever know what really happened and we'll never know what didn't happen. I think it ought to remain in an "investigative black hole", much like we deal with "legislative black holes" in the legislature. I reached this conclusion when I spoke with Stanton Friedman. I think the eyewitness accounts have been exhausted...

JGB: I truly believe that something important happened at Roswell. Did a UFO crash there? I honestly doubt it. Nevertheless, I think that something very special occurred there and that U.S. authorities have tried to conceal it. Regarding the controversial affair of the alien autopsy film, I'm convinced it's a fraud.

LEP: It's an example of how a myth can survive itself. The image that most readily comes to my mind when I realize that there are still those who believe in a non-terrestrial origin to this case is that of someone desperately giving CPR to a skeleton. I often wonder how contemporary ufology would be without Roswell. The amounts of time, effort and money that would have been saved...To me, the end of the case came about with the publication of Kent Jeffrey's Anatomy of a Myth. After reading it with an open mind, there's little that can be done to keep the case alive without behaving like a fool.

WDU: The Roswell case is the most sensational UFO event that has taken place in the U.S., but it is an event that has been transformed with each successive retelling over the past 40 years and to which no one, like we researchers, attributes much credibility. Perhaps part of this event may be somehow linked to extraterrestrial evidence.

JG: All my investigations regarding this phenomenon lead me to believe that an incident with enormous repercussions took place there in 1947. I don't know if it was an extraterrestrial spacecraft, but it was something with tremendous significance for humanity's progress.

Q: Do you think that governments are able to "keep secrets", regarding animal mutilations, aliens, etc.?

LG: It's been proven that they have been able to, and their creation of false reports has also been proven. Their reasons for doing so is only known to them. I cannot applaud disinformation; however, I can comprehend the need for a sort of cover up on grounds of national or global security.

MC: I consider this to be another error in focus. Governments don't hide anything, since at least in democratic societies, the change every couple of days. The keeper of the secrets and holders of control are the highest military echelons, and other types of para-governmental agencies. Information is power, and those who hold the information have the power.

APS: I definitely think they can't. I'm going to tell you what I've always told my mother. As you know, I serve in the Argentinean Congress as an active member of a political party. I play a role in the decision making process for substantial matters. Oftentimes, these decisions affect certain sectors of the population negatively or positively. But these decisions are implemented and the average person never hears of the details that led to the implementation. This leads me to think: I, Andrea Pérez Simondini, a minor player within this immense structure, am able today to do the things I mentioned to you earlier, I cannot imagine [that this would not be the case] at the very top of the system's pyramid. Am I making sense here?

JGB: Governments all over the world conceal information on strange events. However, I doubt that they're in contact with alien civilization or that they know the true origin of the UFO phenomenon. In Spain, at least, all they have is a wealth of reports on sightings, landings, etc..I don't think they know more about the phenomenon than we do. One thing's for sure: they hide information that would be of great assistance and interest regarding certain events.

LEP: I think they can, but not to the extent that conspiracy theories would have us believe. Obviously, any power mechanism or structure must possess means upon which to act to avoid a certain subject or another from becoming known. But said mechanisms always have an axis on which they pivot--a human being. And there lies the weakest link of the chain. There is always someone willing to talk, to retell what he or she knows, what they saw, etc. This does not imply believing in those who claim having seen something but can't prove it. My opinion is that I don't think there is as broad a conspiracy around UFOs as many believe and would like us to believe. The belief that we only ever see what "Big Brother" would like us to see is rooted in a number of things:

First, the contradictory nature of the phenomenon itself. It's behavior is thoroughly irrational but still shows a certain logic or a vaguely "outlined" plan.

Second, our own ignorance of the phenomenon. We know more about what the phenomenon ISN'T than about what it IS. This leads us to having fertile soil for any theory--the wilder the better--without any need for corroboration.

Third, generalized and global mistrust by the governed toward their government, political leaders and military men.

If we combine these three ingredients we have the basic recipe for any conspiracy theory. As for the alleged conspiracy of silence by the military toward the UFO phenomenon, we may have an inkling of what's going on if we step into the boots of anyone in uniform.

I don't think its a matter of concealing human advances in extraterrestrial technology, nor dark power pacts with a dying alien race, nor anything similar. It has to do with the inability of those who control the most sophisticated technological means on the planet to admit the existence of "something" about whose origin they haven't the least idea, much less its intentions. To say: "We haven't a clue as to what it is," is tantamount to saying: "We are defenseless...", which is inconceivable to their rigid and omnipotent mental framework.

WDU: Puerto Rico is, today, the most active site for UFO activity in the entire world, and the place in which the most animal mutilations have occurred. The government is involved in a struggle against a growing number of events in which no scientific explanations can be found for animal mutilation. UFO researchers are responsible for educating the public on the phenomenon, which has astonished and disturbed the Puerto Rican people. The government has exposed itself to ridicule by trying to find rational explanations for the situation, but when witnesses to these events explain that they have seen military personnel at the site in which military helicopters were seen a day earlier, many people are now able to forecast when cattle mutilations are about to occur at the site. We believe that the government is concealing something, or that it plays an active role in the events.

JG: I haven't the least doubt. Mi personal research confirms (at the level of Spain) what most ufologists worldwide have maintained.

Q: In the U.S., we can safely say that abductions represent ufology's greatest concern. Do researchers in your country hold this opinion?

LG: I think there's a concern in my country over abductions, but there is greater concern over their ultimate causes and effects.

MC: In Spain, the fact that we've become the second country in the world (after the U.S.) to have authorized a declassification (albeit a questionable one) of a portion of the Ministry of Defense's UFO files, has displaced all ufological attention in that direction, eclipsing all other facets of the phenomenon.

APS: I think we're not as wrapped up in the abduction topic because we don't have cases in the same amount and forcefulness. Our emphasis is on videos and photo evidence.

JGB: Abduction research gained importance here in Spain some years ago. Certain researchers like Josep Guijarro and Javier Sierra concentrated on this subject for a while. However, Spanish researchers have concentrated on all aspects of the phenomenon. Perhaps over the past years (due to international ufology's interest) the subject of abductions is closer than ever, but the other aspects of the UFO phenomenon have never been neglected.

LEP: No. Or at least not until a short time ago. Obviously, the media's influence has caused the subject of abductions to become fashionable and set trends, but I think that abductions have been secondary in Argentinean ufological history.

WDU: Puerto Rico has experienced dramatic events involving abductions. Six year-old children tell us about what they have undergone in their experiences with strange entities; people who remained quiet for years now discuss their abduction experiences. We believe that after the cattle mutilations phenomenon, abductions occupy the next most prominent place, since there is so much to be investigated: the site where the witness lives, his or her family history, hypnotic regressions, etc. these factors alone lead us to give it importance due to the level of high strangeness.

JG: Yes, for a period of time. However, I've changed my mind about it, given that the massive broadcasting of abduction cases has managed to taint the seriousness of ufological research, and its enormous impact remains a blow against it. Might we dealing here with a weapon created by certain interests to discredit the UFO subject?

Q: Would you be so bold as to tell us what's the greatest problem facing paranormal research at the turn of this century? Likewise, what changes would you like to see implemented by 21st century researchers?

LG: I don't see any reason why the change of centuries should affect research itself. Regarding the changes I'd like to see, I think I'm already beginning to see them...the uniting of researchers on a global, non-profit basis.

MC: The researchers' education and means. We endeavor to revolutionize Newtonian physics and the entire scientific paradigm; we speculate on the existence of other intelligent, non-human life forms, the survival of consciousness after death with the mind's non-sensory capacities...and we investigate using a tape recorder, a photo camera and a notebook. Until the universities and scientific hierarchies commit themselves, we will be fighting the Goliath of mystery using David's paltry slingshot.

APS: I think the greatest problem has to be lack of training among researchers and the final acceptance of a method [of research]. We aren't giving playing the scientists' game by developing investigative techniques. This will make us seem more credible to our own selves. In order to convince others, we will have to convince ourselves first.

JGB: The greatest problem would have to be "official science's" lack of interest in researching these phenomena. Ufology and parapsychology need the help of scientists in various fields. Perhaps, when science decides to take a serious look on these subjects, we'll begin to make progress in the study of both disciplines. Meanwhile, all of us researchers must limit ourselves practically to the task of popularization. In the 21st century, researchers must be more critical, have scientific training and pursue field research, which is indispensable, in my mind.

LEP: I don't think that they are different from the problems it has experienced in the past 20 years. I think the Internet is something we'll have to pay attention to. It is an absolutely revolutionary means, but it is the ideal place to generate all manner of rumors which undermine the phenomenon's seriousness and the trust of those approaching the subject for the first time.

WDU: The world is currently facing a struggle between good and evil, which is manifesting itself through events that lead us to believe that we're facing entities that are somehow trying to involve themselves in the destiny of our lives. I don't believe they have the best intentions in mind. They disguise themselves as angels, small, large-headed beings, beings of light, and myriad other forms to penetrate our minds and control our actions. I would like to see paranormal researchers in the coming century accept the fact that there are new avenues of exploration, new revelations and theories, and that they can discard old concepts that will lead them nowhere.

JG: It's hard to foretell. The most immediate concern it to see how the phenomenon transforms itself after the sudden structural, social and scientific changes we are about to experience in the new millenium.

Q: INEXPLICATA's readers are just dying to know if you've ever witnessed any paranormal event yourself, whether it be ghosts, strange creatures, UFOs...

LG: Yes, some of them pleasant and other less so. But I usually don't mix research with my own experience. It's hard for me to be objective when I've had personal experiences; but when I set out to investigate a case, I prepare myself mentally to insure that my own experiences do not influence the investigation. I also have the help of my husband, Ing. Orlando Plá, who while believing in the possibility that we are not alone in this beautiful universe, is skeptical and always keeps me alert, so that I'll never cease being objective and looking at the UFO/ET phenomenon through a scientific, serious outlook.

MC: In the 15 years I've devoted to intensely studying the paranormal, I've had the chance to experience 3 or 4 paranormal experiences (in the UFO, shamanic and parapsychological fields) that I haven't been able to explain.

APS: Yes, I have seen [such things]. My father retired from a multinational corporation here in Argentina called Perez Companc, an oil company involved in the privatization of energy sources. My father was in charge of developing an assessment of SEGBA, the former power utility. Its warehouses had been used during the military dictatorship as a prison camp, according to reports from thousands of witnesses. During stock rotations at the warehouses, [people] could hear screams and [something like] electric discharges. When my father told me about this, we staked out the area, and what we saw and experienced, to my mind, was straight out of a Sightings episode. We saw [something like] greenish-blue bolts of energy coming from the roof, followed by terrifying screens. It was truly hair-raising. Subsequent research with people who'd been kidnapped there identified the screams as those of a pregnant woman.

JGB: Unfortunately, I've never seen a UFO, nor have I ever witnessed a paranormal phenomenon. I have participated in several "spirit recording" sessions which have produced some rather interesting results, though.

LEP: None. My paranormal life has less excitement than a Teletubbies episode (laughs).

WDU: When I was small--10 years old at least--I was visiting some neighbors and people close to my family. While spending time together, I was asked to look out for the family's elderly mother as she warmed herself in the sun. While standing beside her and looking at the horizon, I was able to observe something strange that moved like a cigar-shaped cloud moving at high speed. The other clouds remained still, while small saucers resembling "Mexican hats" moved around the larger one. This was an utter astonishment to me. At my age, I was unable to understand why they didn't look more like airplanes! After many years, I discussed my experiences with a relative, who kindly gave me a book entitled Platillos Voladores de Otros Mundos, which finally opened my understanding to these matters. It was a translation of Major Donald E. Keyhoe's famous 1953 book (Henry Holt Eds.). I guard it jealously in my library!

JG: Yes, I feel quite fortunate. I've witnessed and experienced healings with psychic surgeons, seen two UFOs and if that weren't enough, I witnessed a small being while researching a UFO abduction case.

Q: In closing, do you have any thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

LG: Thousands of thoughts...and many more thousands of words of advice...but if I could summarize them, I'd tell them to improve themselves spiritually, to try to become better human beings every day when it comes to respect and love, and to care for our beautiful planet and Universe.

MC: I think that in spite of all the unpleasantness involved with research, in spite of the enormous amount of work and money to be invested in each study, in spite of the fear, lack of understanding, rage and intolerance you must go through by being a scientific heretic and a religious heterodox, in spite of the shameless, miserable and despicable human beings who call themselves "researchers", "contactees", "mediums", "skeptics" and other epigraphs of paranormal wildlife...that which underlies paranormal phenomena is truly worthwhile. In fact, and this is only a personal opinion, but I'm unable to conceive of any aspect of human knowledge that is more important, transcendent or fascinating than researching anomalous phenomena.

APS: Yes, I'd like to share with you what I tell my friends and colleagues. There is nothing more inspiring that to find an answer to something that has no answers. One day, someone will think, "I searched all my life for something that would prove my faith, and now I feel that I've found it."

JGB: I would only ask them to never lose their interest in mysteries, and a word of advice: learn to differentiate between reliable information and that which tends toward sensationalism.

LEP: Only to remind them that as occurs with television, the viewers are ultimately the ones in charge. Therefore, if people who are interested in this subject demand greater seriousness in the treatment of the subject and stop paying attention to the science-fiction rigmarole of the "pseudoresearchers" or "mediumistic ufologists", we'll sooner or later achieve a worthier condition for the subject that interests us so much.

WDU: To quote from Arthur C. Clarke's Voices in the Sky: "The stars speak to each other an infinity of languages...someday we may join that cosmic conversation.

JG: I would only ask them to research and thoroughly compare their information. The Internet has often proven itself to be an effective means of communication, but it's also a double-edged blade where half-truths and rumors circulate. It is high time to remind ourselves of William Moore's dictum about every time that someone repeats unverified information they are in fact contributing to the disinformation process.

Q: Thanks for participating in our interview!

LG: The pleasure is all mine. Thanks for the invitation.
MC: Thank you, and I hope my answers didn't put you to sleep!
JG: On the contrary, it's been a pleasure.