At long last we have slipped into Autumn here in Melbourne. The very hot days of summer are behind us, and we can look forward to cooler weather. I find Autumn a pleasant time, and my productivity usually increases the further away from summer we get, when the hot weather drains your thoughts away.
The recent family trip mentioned in my last post was very enjoyable. I had the opportunity of getting in some dark sky observing. Looking up at the sky from a country location reminds you of our place in the vast universe. You can't help but start to think about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Not just life, but conscious intelligent life such as ourselves. Then, of course you get to thinking about the likelihood of any such intelligent life finding its way to the third planet of an average star in an average galaxy. Statistically this is extremely unlikely. This inevitably brought my thoughts back to the UFO phenomenon.
In my last few posts I have been exploring the contents of Australian UFO websites and Facebook pages. In this post I decided to use a browser and typed in the key words 'Australian UFO Conference.'
UFO conferences of the type once regularly held in Australia, by such organisations as ACUFOS and MUFON in Australia, and UFO Research (NSW) Incorporated are a thing of the past. No organised UFO group now brings together a group of say a dozen, well credentialed speakers from overseas and interstate, and post-conference publishes (either in print or electronic form) a proceedings of referenced papers by all the speakers. I can understand why not, as these big conferences used to cost A$40,000 or so each to put on. That's a lot of money.
The first thing which came up was the 'Cardwell UFO Festival.' Cardwell is a small tropical coastal town in Far North Queensland with a population of 1,176. Someone there decided to start up an annual UFO Festival as a means of attracting tourists. If you read the details provided on the website, you will see that the festival is an updated version of a country fair, but with an extraterrestrial flavour. The UFO part is catered for by a couple of speakers; dress ups, kids activities and other ET flavoured functions. However, it is by no means a 'conference.' As I mentioned above, I would define a conference as a gathering which brings together a large number of speakers, usually around a central theme, for several days. Professional conferences always publish a proceedings of the papers presented by all the speakers.
Close Encounters Conference
The only other entry which emerged in my browser search was a 'Close Encounters Conference' which does partly meet my definition of a conference (it doesn't seem to publish a conference proceedings.) The 2019 three day conference is being advertised on this website, together with a list of speakers, with the venue being Coffs Harbour, on the north coast of New South Wales. Unlike most conferences of the past it is not being held in a state capital city.
The speakers listed are: Caroline Cory; James Bartley; Megan Heazlewood; Tim Zyphin; Mary Shaw; Kay McCullock; Cask J Thompson; Elektra Titania; and Pane Andov.
I chose two of the speakers at random and used the Internet to find out something about them. I was particularly interested to know their qualifications to be speaking on the UFO subject.
James maintains an 'official website' and the 'About James Bartley' area allowed me to find out that 'He specializes in research and investigation into Reptilian aliens and Military Abductions,' having carried out most of his research in the USA. The site goes on to state that 'James is an independent Historian with an emphasis on Military History, Intelligence/Counterintelligence and Special Operations.'
What it didn't tell me was anything about him as a person; where he was born; his educational qualifications, or his work history. It gave me no indication as to why he was qualified to talk about the material he does.
Under the site's 'articles' tab we find articles about Native American spirits; monosodium glutamate; chronic disease; and how to protect yourself from radiation. What these have to do with the UFO or abduction phenomena isn't clear to me.
Bartley's own articles speak to such topics as 'the Grey Recyclable Container Agenda;' 'the Grey Borg Hive Agenda (weren't the Borg a fictional alien race in the fictional Star Trek franchise?); and mention of a law enforcement person whose genetics were altered; and finally, 'the training reptilians give to human abductees' (following the same line as US abduction researcher David Jacobs speaks of - although Jacob's methodology has been questioned of late.)
In short, the site's content is an exhaustive personal interpretation of Jame's perception of the UFO and abduction phenomena, and the interaction between a bunch of alien races and humanity.
I spent some time reading though articles and viewing a 2014 presentation which James gave in Sydney to make sure I was correctly understanding the content presented there. I came away feeling it was a bottomless morass of ill defined opinion; from dubious sources, all wrapped up in a fantasy land of unreality, with zero evidential base behind it.
This didn't give me much confidence to spend money to travel interstate to listen to James as a speaker.
The next speaker runs an organisation titled ' Consciousness Development and Research Group (Australia). The website contains the following 'All information on this blog is copyright of C.D.R.G (Australia). Do not reproduce without prior consent.' Fair enough. So, I will paraphrase.
Amongst other things the group is about providing opportunities for individuals to contact aliens using certain protocols, some of which derive from the work of Dr Steven M Greer in the USA. Readers might be aware that Dr Greer's work has come under increasing criticism in recent times. The group facilitates 1-3 day duration CE-5 events. It also researches other subject such as demonology; cryptozoology; shamanism, and magic.
My overall impression of the website and hence the group was of a lengthy collection of catch all 'new age' topics designed to offer something for everyone.
Unlike James Bartley's site, Kay did provide the information that her educational qualifications were 'Adv. Dip. Nat. BSc and Adv. Dip. Ap. Sc' which provides a scientific background. I checked with 'Google scholar' and did a general Internet search for professional/academic publications which Kay may have written but found nothing.
The site also states that she was associated, some years back with a number of Australian UFO groups, which provided her with insight into the UFO phenomenon. Elsewhere I found details of her personal ET experiences.
In her energy and environmental medicine work, Kay charges for consultations, healing sessions, shamanic healing sessions, and spiritual mentoring.
During my general Internet search I did come across one odd item. This was in December 2017, where it is reported that Kay felt that an invisible predator was terrorising a guinea fowl.
Is it worth going to the conference?
I will leave it to my readers to conduct their own research to judge if the two speakers I randomly selected from the Close Encounters Conference 2019 event are representative of the other seven listed on the CEC website, and the value of spending money to travel to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales to hear them speak. Based on my random selection of two of the speakers I won't be going.
Victorian UFO Action is a Victorian based group which has in recent times put on conferences (and provided videos of speakers' presentations; more here) VUFOA are to be congratulated on these efforts. A visit to their website reveals no current plans for further conferences, other than asking for ideas for speakers.
NEXUS Magazine was holding regular annual conferences with a few of the talks being about the UFO phenomenon. There wasn't one in 2017, but the website refers to 'some exciting events being planned for 2018' although there is no mention of a conference.
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