"It is the love of money that is the route to all evil" J. C.
"We sing about beauty and we sing about truth at ten thousand dollars a show" Dr. Hook
Nothing has been more a blessing and a curse to the UFO cause than commercialism. If it wasn't for commercialism in the early days of the UFO phenomenon there would have been very little public information on the UFO reports. The only way to get the message out was through publication. Believe it or not in the very early days comics were used to highlight interesting UFO reports. I don't know how it is now, but in the middle of the comics there would always be a two page post on different subjects; many times it was a UFO report. Late, TV jumped in especially after a UFO buzzed Washington DC and It was plastered all over the east coast newspapers. Occasional news shows would highlight the UFO subject. However, over the long term, the continuing publication of books and research made the difference.
Just to note here, it was the UFO witnesses that kept the UFO subject alive, but it was the honest UFO investigators that disseminated the details of what really transpired.
Then the UFO community started to have group meetings where UFOs subjects were discussed and where the writers could present their evidence and interact with the people who had experiences. One old timer claimed to me that they always saw men in dark suits with glasses at these meetings. Today, we have large conferences like the" International UFO Congress" and smaller, less expensive conferences, like MUFON PA. Most of the conferences pay a salary to the speakers with deals to sell their books. The old timers like Stanton Friedman received about 500 dollars plus expenses . I think Richard Dolan and others also try to work with the conferences.
I called up John Ventre, director of MUFON in PA, who runs that conferences. He told me one of the biggest headaches is renting space. He informed me some conference organizers charge a hefty fee knowing not many will come; why? So they don't have to put out for a larger space and they can still make money. John rents a larger space but he charges much less to attend. The prices to attend these American conferences can run 25 dollars a day to upwards of a thousand dollars with hotel included for the span of the conference. Many young people can't afford to attend the large conferences. At the MUFON PA conference with their low price I saw more young people than at any other UFO conference I have attended. The PA MUFON conference, as inexpensive as it is, is a two day affair, still I noticed these young people could only afford the first day. The conference was also attended by the old timers so it's always a success. We need more people like John Ventre out there.
This Years PA Conference Information:
The conferences are packed with merchandise. The MUFON International conferences are no different but at that those conferences you can buy exclusive MUFON material like caps and shirts and the expensive MUFON field manual which can cost about 45 dollars. Think about this, you have to put out 45 bucks plus join MUFON, which costs money, to read and pass their test to be a MUFON investigator so you can give your time for free. Wouldn't it be better to Xerox the test and charge just enough for paper and time. Maybe more young people could then afford it to take it.
I also asked John about financial records of MUFON and he said as far as he knows they are not public. I think that should change; we need to see where the money goes. I think John would be a great MUFON International Director. He has proven time and time again that he puts the subject matter way above personal gain. He brings a balance of intelligence, and empathy for the UFO witness- so sorely missed in the hierarchy of MUFON. He said he is interested in joining the board of directors of MUFON. I hope someday MUFON realizes what a special person he is. He told me he does the conferences so with the small profit he can buy equipment for UFO investigations.
The phase "money corrupts" is not to be taken lightly in this field. Dr. Steven Greer and is a good case in point. It could be argued that in the beginning he altruistic motives but now they may be in it just to earn a living. We know the serious researcher needs money to carry on their research I certainly don't hold anything against them for that.
Some of the UFO/New Age books sold at these conferences have no evidence at all to back them up. They are usually personal "spiritual" experiences which these so spiritual people duly charge for. Do you think Jesus would demand money for his a copy of Sermon on the Mount? I don't see any reports of ETs charging their "contactees" or "experiencers" money for their involvement. Why should they charge us for the information they claim ETs want them to put out there. There are crystals, and "magnetic healing" contraptions sold for thousands of dollars at these conferences. Many people who go to the conferences have real health problems and have had real mystical experiences. Their experiences are just fodder for these unscrupulous people. Also, it seems that when you go to the large conferences there is always a speaker who makes sensational announcements with the phase "the presenter will reveal for the first time…" and yada, yada yada. When you make money off an altruistic subject like UFOs you are automatically subject to charges of corruption. You can be Edger Mitchell and walked on the moon and people will think you are doing it for money. So all this hurts credibility.
Now we have a great deal of the media using the UFO and paranormal phenomenon to get ratings. But we all know there is no dedication to the UFO subject beyond the bottom line. However, there is money in these TV shows for top notch investigations which just wouldn't be there for the UFO investigator.
Most of the books coming out are more about the past than what is happening now. This is unfortunate since there is so much UFO related reports happening around the world. But the expense involved in doing something like traveling to foreign countries and investigating UFO reports is prohibitive at best.
The most important thing to happen to UFOs, in the history of UFOs, is the internet. From the very beginning there were UFO newsgroups and paranormal newsgroups. UFOs are one of the top subjects on the internet. There you can put everything up free or you can charge. One of the temptations in doing that is UFO popularity. You can get a great deal of hits if you use term the word " UFO" and sensationalize it. We all saw this clearly with the China UFO airport report. All types of photos and video were circulated as the China UFO. I was fooled myself at first.
There are great commercial sites that I think need the money to survive and hope they continue. The Anomalist is a prime example. There is a chance for many on the internet to stop making money and to help this subject for free. It is very tempting to get hits and be offered money but stop trying to get hits and to try to enlighten people to the facts and the human side to the story. Yes, you will not get the hits of the professional money machine but you will sleep better at night knowing what you're doing is right.
Make no mistake about the seriousness of the UFO subject. It is a fact that the most difficult to explain UFO reports are the most detailed reports. These reports are given by impeccable witnesses with evidence to back them up. Many of these unexplained, rather long in duration, detailed reports, were of advanced craft doing impossible things… not lights in the sky. So there was strong evidence from the very start that some UFO sightings were of advanced craft, craft designed, built and flown by some intelligence. Think about that for a second flying machines have been a theme throughout most of UFOs' reporting history. With that in mind UFO/ET proof would be the most momentous subjects to ever hit humankind. With the world torn apart as it is, that reality may be humanity's only hope of ever being united.
As far as commercialization of UFOs goes- do we have to make a buck off of everything?
UFO Media Matters