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Prometheus Skeptic's Books Added to Catalog

From: campbell@ufomind.com (Glenn Campbell, Las Vegas)
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 00:16:19 -0800

As a known government agent and aspiring Man in Black, I feel an
obligation to support the work of my fellow operatives. Thus, I
have just accepted a clandestine shipment from Prometheus Books,
mouthpiece of the Buffalo Cabal. Among them are a number of
amusing and well-written works of skepticism. They are all a bit
pricey but are worth the cost if you have been attracted to any
of the cases they discuss.  Below are a few that I have reviewed
so far.

All reviews are my own.  These books are available from our
Research Center by phone (702-729-2648) or on-line shopping cart.
See more at the given URL.

--------------------------------------------------------------

SPACESHIPS OF THE PLEIADES: THE BILLY MEIER STORY
By Kal Korff, $26.95, http://www.ufomind.com/catalog/k/korffmeier/

Kal Korff effectively trashes the Billy Meier story in this
weighty, well-illustrated volume. Meier's claims are among the
most enduring, mainly because they produced stunningly clear
photos of flying saucers hovering above the Swiss landscape.
Meier said he was in contact with "Semjase," a beautiful female
humanoid from the Pleiades star system who allowed Meier, but no
one else, to photograph her "beamships." Korff methodically
dissects the claims and the photos. Not only does he prove the
photos hoaxes; he also provides detailed how-to instructions for
producing your own. In Switzerland, Agent Korff goes undercover
to investigate Meier and his group, the Semjase Silver Star
Center, which Korff calls a ufo "cult."  (A bit too strong a word
we think. "Clown college" would be a better term, with special
guest appearances by Wendelle Stevens, Lee Elders and Jim
"Give-Me-A-Photo-And-I'll-Show-You-A-UFO" Dilettoso.) There are
plenty of footnotes and references, and the whole work is so
carefully researched and ultimately devastating that we feel a
little sad. Billy Meier's aliens were so full of peace and love
-- a product of the 60s -- and the saucers were so stunningly
stylish -- even if made with dinner plates -- that it seems
inhumane to dispatch them with such efficiency. (We can imagine
poor Santa Claus getting similar treatment from Korff.) Still,
this book is a lot of fun, and Korff comes off as quite a
character himself -- a sort of mad crusader who will let no
Pleiadians stand in the way of the truth. (1995)

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THE TRUTH ABOUT URI GELLER
By James Randi, $20.95, http://www.ufomind.com/catalog/u/uri/

Professional magician James Randi analyses the feats of famed
psychic Uri Geller, who Randi argues is little more than a crafty
illusionist. The difference between Geller and a stage magician,
Randi says, is that the magician acknowledges he is a trickster.
Geller performs the same tricks but never admits them, instead
using them to defraud wealthy benefactors. Randi provides how-to
instructions on spoon-bending, clairvoyance, psychic photography
and "teleportation." Gellers psychic feats only seem to happen
when people look away momentarily or when his low-key assistant,
who you rarely hear about, is lurking nearby. Randi can't prove
that _everything_ Geller does is phony, because he can't be
everywhere Geller is. What Randi does prove, beyond a reasonable
doubt, is that Geller cannot be trusted. Randi is at his best
when explaining magical illusions and the art of misdirecting
attention; he is weaker when attempting to debunk remote viewing
experiments at SRI, where Geller earned a qualified endorsement.
(Randi only speculates that some sort of fraud must have
occurred.) Written at the height of Geller's popularity in 1975,
this book still stands as a fascinating exercise in healthy
skepticism.

---------------------------------------------------------------

THE ROSWELL UFO CRASH: WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
By Kal Korff, $26.95, http://www.ufomind.com/catalog/r/roskorff/

This is a book you won't find in the Roswell International UFO
Museum! It is a devastating disassembly of the Roswell case which
leaves little of it standing. Korff methodically addresses each
point of the crashed saucer hypothesis and pokes holes in the
claims of each of the prominent witnesses, including Frankie
Rowe, Glenn Dennis, Frank Kauffman and all the others you have
heard about. Published this year, the book includes chapters on
the Project Mogul balloon and the alien autopsy film.  Apart from
the Air Force's more recent "Parachute Dummy" report, you can't
claim that Korff is overlooking anything, and his style is much
easier to take than that of the better known Roswell curmudgeon
Phil Klass. (Klass has just released his own Roswell book, but it
seems superfluous after this one.) This book is much more
effective in addressing the Roswell claims than the much
ballyhooed Air Force report, which only fanned the flames with
more speculation. This is the book that Roswell proponents must
deal with if the hope to resurrect their case.  If they can't
respond effectively, then the Roswell Incident will live on only
on T-shirts.

---------------------------------------------------------------

UFOS: THE PUBLIC DECEIVED
By Philip Klass, $19.95, http://www.ufomind.com/catalog/k/klassufo/

Our favorite misanthrope tackles the belief that UFOs are being
covered up by the highest levels of the U.S. government. Klass
analyses dozens of popular claims prior to this book's 1983
publication date, including the Travis Walton case, classified
CIA documents, UFOs over SAC bases and many alleged aircraft/UFO
encounters. Not surprisingly, Klass finds only fraud, fantasy and
misperception. Klass is an impassioned disbeliever - a religious
zealot of ufology's far right - and all of his writings and
investigations are colored by this ideology. He makes many of the
same mistakes of reasoning as the true believers - inferring the
whole from one detail, for instance, or liberally inserting his
own speculation where facts are lacking - but unlike the
believers, Klass also conducts solid research on occasion, and he
has dug up devastating information on many seemingly plausible
UFO claims. Unfortunately this book suffers from a lack of
footnotes or a bibliography, but most of those references can be
found in "pro-UFO" books like "The UFO Cover-Up," which examines
many of the same cases. Whenever reviewing an historical UFO
case, it is important to seek Klass's analysis to read the worst
that anyone can say about it. If the case holds up after a "Klass
attack," then it might be something worth pursuing.

---------------------------------------------------------------

UFO ABDUCTIONS: A DANGEROUS GAME
By Philip Klass, $20.95, http://www.ufomind.com/catalog/k/klassabd/

Philip Klass agrees that alleged abductees are victims -- but not
of aliens. They have been deceived, instead, by abduction
researchers, who in the process of promoting themselves are
determined to see alien intrusions regardless of the facts. Many
victims are suffering from ordinary human mental illnesses, which
go untreated as long as as the false "alien" diagnosis prevails.
Due to popular books, movies and TV shows on the subject,
thousand have been "implanted" with the idea that aliens are
messing with them, and this breeds unnecessary fear and neurosis.
This book is mostly a response to Whitley Strieber's Commmunion
and Budd Hopkin's Missing Time and Intruders. Those who know
Klass and his work won't find any surprises here. This book is
written by the Klass-o-Matic skeptic machine without footnotes or
index. If you are seriously interested in abductions, then you
need to read it. However, if you are only casually interested and
already recognize the possibility of human self-deception, then
the book probably isn't worth the high price, since you know what
Klass is going to say before he says it. (1989)

---------------------------------------------------------------

Entries for other Prometheus books will follow as I have a
chance to review them.  (I've already rejected a number of them
as Way Too Boring.)

(c) Glenn Campbell, 1997.  This message may be freely
distributed on the internet so long as it remain intact.

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Index: Essays & Articles by Glenn Campbell
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