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Still Waiting:
A List of Predictions
from the "UFO Culture"

by Martin S. Kottmeyer


The collection of predictions that is presented here arose out of long study of the UFO phenomenon. Most of them were sought out in the early 1980s during a period when I was interested in the application of Murphy's law to UFO study. I had intended it as a chapter of a book I was writing. During a bout of nostalgia I recently reread it and decided to update it. One motive was a realization that this information constitutes a fascinating measure for assessing the nature of the UFO phenomenon and the quality of our collective thinking about it. It is sometimes said that theories about it are unfalsifiable, yet there is obviously a body of discourse here which not only can be falsified; it has been.

It will be noticed that this collection contains references to something known as Fetridge's Law. It was an important feature of the original study and I have decided to retain it. Fetridge's Law derives from an unfortunate fellow named Fetridge who ambitiously decided to do a live broadcast of the return of the swallows to Capastrano. The swallows were known to infallibly return each year to that town on a certain date. Of course, that year the swallows decided to procrastinate. The dictum learned from this debacle states, "Important things that are supposed to happen do not happen, especially when people are watching you."

The UFO phenomenon follows this law with almost spooky conscientiousness. The few predictions that do come true in this collection are always about basically unimportant things happening or important things not happening. Unbelievers tend to have a better success rate than believers, but that seems to be largely because their predictions tend to be of a modest and forgettable form like the UFO phenomenon behaving more or less as it always has with no high consequences. When they get a little ambitious, they get cut down as well.

I make no claim this collection is exhaustive. There are doubtless many other predictions out there that I missed or forgot about simply because virtually nobody can read and digest the whole UFO literature. There is an obvious bias towards items predating the Eighties. I read much less of the literature nowadays. I state this merely to warn people against seeing a trend of predictions getting fewer ergo people are wising up. That is doubtless wrong. I also tended to avoid predictions from psychics and tabloids. I favored proclamations from ufologists and individuals claiming direct contact with aliens. For those who argue the UFO phenomenon extends back through history, a few predictions associated with ancient astronauts are included to demonstrate the ubiquity of Fetridge's Law.

Though imperfect, this collection is large enough and representative enough to derive a number of solid conclusions and recommendations. The aliens in the UFO phenomenon, be they those of contactees or abductees, do not give accurate information about the future, particularly when the information concerns matters of great concern like the destruction of the planet, war, or profound changes in society. Whether this indicates deception, folly, or mere error can be argued about, but the basic upshot is that their pronouncements deserve no more weight than the opinion of an average man in the street. Theories by ufologists, particularly those derived from the ETH (UFOs=extraterrestrials), have a poor track record and can be considered falsified in the sense of showing trustworthy or practical results. You can safely ignore aliens and ufologists in figuring out how to live your life. When they say the world will end, don't end your own. The historical record gives you ample precedents to judge them as unworthy of your attention.

Go to Part 2: The List
Go to Part 3: Footnotes

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