Thursday, November 15, 2012

UFO Interest In The U.K. Is Dead, Or Soon Might Be, Says Leading British Paranormal Organization

The question of whether little green men are visiting Earth may be an idea whose time has come and gone, according to a leading British educational and research organization.

For the past 31 years, the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), has been dedicated to finding explanations for a variety of subjects considered fringe science -- ghostly hauntings, psychic phenomena and UFOs, among other things, even accounts of fish spontaneously falling from the sky.

ASSAP is a registered United Kingdom charity formed in 1981 by researchers, with more than 300 members.

The association approaches investigations "without preconceived ideas of what we will find. We are interested neither in starting new philosophies nor in spreading unyielding skepticism. We simply want the truth, whatever it may turn out to be," according to the group's website.

UFOs were once a central part of the ASSAP's mission. But in recent years, members have noted a decline in the number of UFO research groups in the U.K.

According to the ASSAP chairman, Dave Wood, the lack of overwhelming evidence of alien visitation to Earth may signal the end of UFOlogy, a generic term widely used to refer to the study of UFOs.

"The trends all seem to point in the direction of groups that have been into this are beginning to close down because of the reduction in the number of reports," Wood told The Huffington Post. "The UFO reports that remain are much more prosaic in nature. Large numbers of them, for example, are of Chinese lanterns and things like that which are very easily explainable."

To determine if UFO studies have a future in the U.K., ASSAP will spearhead a conference, dubbed "Seriously Unidentified," at the University of Worcester on Nov. 17.

"We've called for this conference to try and establish what the mood is in the community, although some of the press reports so far have presented it as a bit of a fait accompli -- UFOlogy is dead," said Wood.

In the United States, the Air Force ended its long study of UFOs -- Project Blue Book -- in 1969, concluding that 95 percent of UFO sightings are misidentifications of things like balloons, clouds, conventional aircraft, birds, planets and satellites, with a residue of about 4 to 5 percent remaining as unknowns or unidentified.

That doesn't mean those unknowns are visitors from another planet, but without some major new development in the entire UFO field -- including a mass eyewitness encounter with an object that lands, producing beings that say, "Take us to your leader" -- is there really any reason to continue being interested in flying saucers?

"It's very much an open verdict as far as I'm concerned," said Wood. "There's definitely the evidence which points to a major decline in sightings and participation, but I'm very open-minded to the idea that there actually could be a further renaissance around the corner."

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