While reading my MUFON Journal for December 2009 I came across an article written by Mark Easter, the Nevada MUFON State Director, entitled, "The Man Who Says UFO." It was written in two parts and the first part in the above dated journal described how Mark was contacted by the History Channel about a new program, "Mystery Quest". The producer proceeded to tell him they wanted to do a show on searching for crashed UFOs near Area 51; that's right they wanted to search near Area 51 for ET crash material.
Mark is a Director Of MUFON in Nevada with a day job in broadcast TV. He was savvy enough to know that these shows value ratings above all. Mark, against his own inner advice, decided to take the show on anyway because the program was going to hire a university lab to the do testing on whatever they found. This meant MUFON wouldn't have to pay for the testing themselves. I thought, when I read this, what testing? Do they expect to find a crashed UFO at Area 51? Mark described in the article how he tried to talk the producer out of searching near Area 51 because there had been no reports of crashed UFOs in that area.
As silly as the show's premise was, it was the second part of the article "The Man Who Says UFO" Part II in the January, 2010 MUFON journal that really disturbed me. Mark wrote how he asked the producer, "as a representative of MUFON what do you expect from me?" Now this may sound like a benign statement but it is a very powerful one. Mark Easter was not there as an actor; he was there as a MUFON representative.
The producer, the crew, area 51 advisors and Mark all met at the Rachel, Nevada Little Ale 'Inn. As they were talking about the day's shoot. up pulls a man named Peter Marlin with a jeep full of wreckage. "It's the remains of a nose cone to a test rocket from Area 51 launched in 1967". Not only did Peter have the debris but he also had"1000 pages of tech information on the rocket". This debris was not mysterious at all. They all knew what it was, when it was launch and by whom. The producer had hired Peter as part of the show. But, here is where it got really tricky. They all go out to the crash site where the wreckage was found and:
"When we arrived at the destination the producer proceeded to explain how the sequence would be shot. We had to pull the huge pile of debris out of Peter's Jeep…and plant it in the desert so on camera we could drive up and discover it. In the shot Peter and Mark are kneeling next to the debris and pulling pieces out talking about them as they pretend they are looking at it for the first time."
The producer instructed Mark to interject certain words about the debris into the dialogue like "alien", "extraterrestrial" and the word "UFO". They all then proceeded to go searching the site for other debris. When they didn't find any, the producer again came up with a brilliant, if less than ethical, solution. They would plant a piece of the debris and act as if they just found it. This farce even went to the extent where the show sent the material out to a Rutgers' scientist for analysis.
As I continued to read the article Mark apologized for "misleading the public" and explained that was why he was writing the story. There is a problem with just his apology. Mark was a representative of MUFON when he did this show. MUFON is supposed to be the scientific and ethical leader in UFO research. Mark apologized in the MUFON journal but how about the hundreds of thousands of people who watched that program? There are people out there interested in the UFO subject who are smart enough to see that debris for what it was. There are pilots, engineers, and others who may have been watching for the first time. This same public watched as a MUFON Director acted as though he was bewildered by material which was so obviously not ET that Mark underlined this point in the article: "What is funny is I am handling asbestos shielding and stiff hydraulic tubing in my hands while she asks me to act like I don't know it was man made." Mark doesn't seem to realize that the real joke is on MUFON.
I am left bewildered by this article. I am bewildered by why Mark didn't just say "Hey, I am a representative of MUFON; I can't fake that." He said in the beginning of the article he wasn't that interested in doing the show and that he was media savvy. He stated that he would be the MUFON representative, so why didn't he set up some ethical guidelines? What also bothered me was the matter of fact way he proceeded to do what the producer wanted. There was not one statement in the article where Mark objected to the hoaxing. In my book, that is basically what it was.
This has raised some questions about MUFON, such as: Was this an isolated event? Doesn't MUFON have strict ethical rules on media program participation by it's representatives? Do certain people up in the higher echelons of MUFON allow the bending of rules to get MUFON's name out there in the public? Does the reader think what he did was harmless? Do you believe an apology in the MUFON journal is enough? I believe Mark is a good person who got caught up with the pressures of doing a show despite the claim of being in the know. Maybe MUFON should monitor their directors a little more closely. Maybe James Carrion should spend more time working on the ethics on MUFON directors in the media instead of all of the time he puts in trying to prove Roswell was a secret American weapon.
Some say MUFON is sacrosanct and shouldn't be criticized. I believe healthy public discourse on MUFON will help the organization. If someone like me, just a member of MUFON for a few years, can observe these flaws there must be those inside MUFON that have witnessed much more, and maybe by reading this, they will find the need to speak up also. I believe MUFON should not be abandoned in any way, there are far too many great volunteer field investigators and directors that do what needs to done. What I think MUFON needs is a man of vision who will also lead MUFON… to do what it needs to be done.
In the end the Mark the MUFON Director became part of the problem. The honest and brave UFO witnesses who have lost their careers and who struggle every day to be believed, just don't deserve that.
UFO MM Presents "Dead ET Walking"