We Are The Skeptics My Friend.
An article by Malcolm
Robinson on the Skeptics in the Pub meeting of
Someone once said, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but you’ll never get me in a haunted house!!” I quote these words quite often to show people what those skeptical of UFOs and the paranormal usually say to me when we are in discussion about such matters. They seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place and although they don’t believe in such things, it is difficult for me to tempt them to come on a haunting case with me!! This does not apply however to those more hardened skeptics who would gladly come with me on any Investigations. UFO and Paranormal research ‘needs’ skeptics. Skeptics keep us on our toes and make sure our feet remain firmly on the ground. So I decided to jump over the fence and enter into what some would say was ‘enemy territory’ I took in my very first skeptic meeting which was held at the Florence Nightingale pub near Waterloo Station, London on a very cold and wind-swept February night.
The bar was full
and the atmosphere was pleasant and after purchasing a drink at the bar, I made
my way upstairs to where the main meeting was being held. A number of people
had already taken their seats and more were coming in.
The title of
John’s talk was, ‘Alternative History and the Ma’atians
From Cyberspace’, subtitled, ‘Weighing the Evidence
for Alternative History’. John was only
about 5 or 10 minutes into his talk when chairman
continued with references of ancient civilisations throughout the world by that
early pioneer Erich Von Daniken. John
showed how in his belief, Von Daniken’s work and conclusions were very flawed,
he went on to say, “I personally would
never trust anyone with the initials V.D. in a name”. Needless to say, this got the desired
result and the audience fell about once more.
To his credit, John Wall opened my eyes to a lot about the work of
Graham Hancock and others. He spoke
about the face on Mars and showed how very different that face was now owing to
recent photographs taken of it by NASA.
In 1976 the Mars face was clear as a bell, whilst fairly recently (and
he showed the slide to prove it) you wouldn’t think it was a face at all (if it
ever was in the first place!) He
presented some fascinating stuff about the pyramids of
Resuming the talk John went into many many aspects of ancient civilisations, and brought up the name of Zechariah Sitchin. Sitchin too has claimed many wondrous things regarding ancient civilisations and men from the stars. Mr Wall stated quite categorically that in his opinion, Zechariah Sitchin was an out and out fraud and that he was more than happy to say slanderous things about him. The audience was then shown underwater walkways and steps, although as John pointed out these were all ‘natural formations’. Slide after slide after slide was shown by John all of ‘natural formations’ which Hancock and others believe were either terraces or walls of some ancient and forgotten culture. “Nonsense” said John. Looking at the slides of these underwater formations and hearing John point out the alternative explanation, well, it seemed he had a point! He then showed how flawed Hancock’s work was in regards to the three Egyptian pyramids and their alleged precision and alignment to the stars on Orion’s belt. Hancock, Wall said, misled his readers with shoddy assumptions, whereupon John with his descriptions and drawings showed that there were no correlations from the pyramids to the stars. John called the book ‘The Fingerprints of the Gods’ which was written by Hancock, ‘FOG’, as presumably it clouded the reader’s judgement on matters discusses by Hancock. John then had a go at Astrology and gave it as much credence as he did the works of Hancock.
‘Signs of the Sky’ is a book by one Adrian Gilbert, it too, said John, is heavily flawed, as is ‘The Book Keeper Of Genesis’ by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval and also ‘The Message Of The Sphinx’. And in regards to Graham Hancock’s latest book, ‘Underworld’, well John thinks it would have been better called ‘Blunderworld’ and would make a great door stopper. He also said that Graham Hancock is an ancient world Jilly Cooper!! He didn’t stop with these ancient civilisation authors; a number of interesting articles on ancient civilisations have been featured in the Daily Mail of late and John asked the audience had anyone read the ‘Daily Fail’. So dear reader, you can see the feelings that the guest speaker had towards his fellow ‘seekers of the truth’!
All the above may sound very ‘picky’ by me and I really don’t mean it to be so. John Wall presented a thoroughly fascinating lecture which, believe you me, made me sit up and think. We as researchers need to see what the skeptics are presenting; we need to attend their meetings and shouldn’t alienate ourselves from them. Far from it, we need to work side by side with them where we can both hopefully share in discoveries and put our hand on our heart when either ‘we’ or ‘they’ are wrong. My attendance at the Skeptics in the Pub (as they call it) meeting was an exercise for me to practice what I preach. I am always banging on about how there are two sides to every coin and for us never to take any story at face value. Good and honest research may well uncover hidden treasures, which will be a benefit to us all.
At the close of
the meeting I spoke to chairman
All in all, my decision to attend the Skeptics in the Pub meeting was a good one, there were around 45 people there and the guest speaker was very knowledagble. And although they kept poking fun at other researchers, which I felt was over the top, the evening was a thoroughly good exercise in ‘peering over the garden wall’ into the next door neighbours garden!!
Robinson, Strange Phenomena Investigations (SPI