A SURVEY AMONG U.A.P.S. INVESTIGATORS AND SCHOLARS - PART XVIII



It is a wonderful experience to get the opinion of a very selective group of people at an international level and get them together giving answers to just 8 questions referred to the Unusual Aerial Phenomena.
We give a big thanks to all those colleagues who are answering our survey and we are very pleased to present to you their ideas. We hope that what they say would be useful to you in your own work with the U.A.P. and that their criteria would help to shape your own one.
We continue today the publication of the answers of these colleagues, and we are doing so in the order they were received.

 

EDOARDO RUSSO

- born in 1959, married with two grownup sons, living in Torino (Italy). Classical studies, graduated in economics, working as a tax consultant and chartered accountant;
- an UFO buff since teenage (1973), active with various UFO organizations (Gruppo Clypeus since 1976, Centro Ufologico Nazionale 1978-1985, Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici 1985-) and with the editorial boards of UFO publications (Clypeus 1976-, Ufologia, 1979-1984; Notiziario Ufo, 1978-1984; Quaderni Ufo, 1981-1983; Ufo Phenomena International Annual Review, 1981-1984; Ufo ­ Rivista di informazione ufologica, 1986-; Notizie UFO, 1985-2000; European Journal of Ufo and Abduction Studies, 2000-2003);
- author of a few hundred articles published both in Italian and in international UFO periodicals, plus several chapters in UFO books and the UFO Field investigation methodology manual; investigated a few hundred case histories in more than 40 years; presented some dozens papers at UFO congresses in Italy and abroad; interviewed a few hundred times on radio, TV and newspapers.
  

1) Do you use the acronym UFO or another designation, and if so, why?

Though it's now accordingly unfitting both in the past (as of its etymological meaning, born out of air defense concerns) and in the present day (because of the semantic drift to "extraterrestrial device" now firmly rooted in pop culture), I'm still using the UFO acronym because of two reasons:
- historical continuity and widespread recognizability           
- not to let the field in the hands of the "true believers" who have been polluting the scientific study of the subject and have long been a substantial part of the problem.

2) Have your idea about UFOs changed along the time?

Of course I did, especially since I began reading about UFOs when I was less than 14 and it's been 45 years ago. On the contrary, it would be worrying if I still had the same opinIons (and beliefs) I had as a teenager, though I have to admit I know of quite a few self-proclaimed "ufologists" who have remained where they were at that age, indeed.

3) Should the UFO investigator become an expert in IFOs?

No. The inverse is true: if you are not knowledgeable about IFOs, you are not (you cannot be) a UFO investigator, since a largest part of incoming witness reports are due to identifiable causes, so how can you do your investigation without knowing what data we need to collect in order to try and identify that 90+%?

4) If there were still some unexplained phenomena, what could they be?

If we knew, those would not be unexplained, would they?

5) How do you consider this issue in general? What do you think about the whole subject?

Too big an issue to be properly covered in just a few lines. As a rough approximation, my general position is the following:
- there exists a phenomenon worth to be studied;
- the phenomenon is people reporting having seen things they cannot explain;
- we now know we can easily identify more than 90% of those sightings, while we cannot find an explanation for the remaining part;
- that 90% IFO part is not just garbage and is not unworthy;
- parallel to the UFO phenomenon as above, a UFO myth has been developing all along the past 70 years (and even longer than that), implying extraterrestrial visitations to the Earth; it's unclear whether the phenomenon or the myth came first, but they have long been influencing each other;
- that UFO myth is as worthy a study as the UFO phenomenon is;
- interdisciplinarity is inherent the overall UFO study, and that's a difficulty as well as a fascinating side of this study.

6) Is it possible to do something effective to bring the truth to the public and to change the mind of those who still proclaim or believe that extraterrestrial beings are living with us on Earth?

I'm afraid we can no longer reverse so widespread and acceptable a belief. Maybe we should accept that a UFO myth is now paralleling the UFO phenomenon, and we should study that as a sociological sideview, too. On the other hand, I never cease to claim and explain the misunderstanding whenever I can, separating wheat (real-life experiences of seeing something strange in the sky) from chaff (opinions and beliefs about what there might lie behind it all). It's a rearguard battle but I share John Wayne's opinion: "it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it".

7) Do you think SETI and similar searches are valid activities?

They surely are, but my humble opinion is that they have very little to share with ufology. SETI is looking for ILE (intelligent life elsewhere) while ufology is about UAP (unusual aerial phenomena) here on Earth.

8) What is your idea about multiple universes?

I have no idea about that subject. I am humbly struggling to do my investigation homework and that's already enough.


Next publication: answers from Dr. Roberto Enrique Banchs (Argentina)

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