Tuesday, April 01, 2014

"Jonathan Reed" - A Doctor of Fraudology


During the long and sad history of UFO hoaxers, frauds and hucksters, the case of "Dr. Jonathan Reed" is surely one of the most pathetic. The fact that there are still people who believe this con artist is amazing to me... but then so is the fact that anyone bought his phony act in the first place. 
As a film director, I know good acting when I see it, and I know bad acting when I see it, and Reed's 2000 appearance at the IUFOC is bad with a capital "B". A shameful episode in the history of a "field" with more than its fair share of shameful episodes, but one worth revisiting from time to time as a reminder of just how even the most obvious huckster can find an audience and a paycheck amongst those who are guided solely by their "will to believe."

For an exhaustive expose on "Reed," check out the good work of Royce Myers III at UFO Watchdog, who nailed the conman years ago.

Paul Kimball

3 comments:

Curious Fellow said...

Yeah, I always thought good old "Dr. Jonathan Reed" was a really "funny" guy. He's not a doctor, and his last name is actually Rutter. A complete fraud.

"Aliens killed my dog!"

Sure. And I'll bet they also ate his homework, too. Darn aliens!

Paul, I know you have an upcoming book for later this year on the various frauds in "ufology," and I assume "Dr. Reed" will be included, but I was wondering if you'd thought of a section in your book being a kind of "where are they now?" update of sorts.

I'd be curious to know just what people like William Moore, Philip Imbrogno, Bob Lazar, Rutter, et al are currently doing and up to these days, if such can be found out.

In other words, are they still cons, with perhaps a different focus or "area of endeavor," or have most of them just "faded away" into a quiet oblivion? Or what?

One of the problems in this field is how groups like MUFON and the IUFOC support these fairly obvious cons, providing them with publicity, funds, and channels for distributing their bogus wares. Another issue is the kind of psychopathologies evident in these kinds of cases and personalities: are they really just kind of nuts, or are they knowingly and sociopathologically defrauding their "audience" for the narcissistic ego-boo and meager funds they garner behind their tales?

I met Bob Brown, one of the original founders of the International UFO Congress in the mid-90's, when he gave me a ride back from an OPUS meeting I attended, early in my interest in the UFO phenomenon, and when Brown started talking to me about the conspiracy of the bankers taking over the government, or some such fairly ridiculous conspiracy theorizing, I thought, "What next? The evil Jewish cabal and the Elders of Zion?" It was somewhat evident to me that Brown was coming from a somewhat anti-semitic perspective, or so it seemed to me at the time.

When I looked into, as a result, the speakers and topics being presented at one of the IUFOC "congresses," I then first realized there was a really bogus and manipulative part of ufology which still persists today.

And, it's not just about the money, though: it's about a delusional, and disturbing, belief system almost akin to the kind of Christian fundamentalist religious extreme right wing philosophies that gave initial rise to the Tea Party fringe, IMHO.

Really kind of sad, in a way, how some people allow themselves to believe in shysters and unsubstantiated "alien conspiracies," even if it is a relative minority of individuals caught up in this form of self-fulfilling and self-aggrandizing mythos. It's a tacky "side show" off the seedy midway of some dark carnival of the mind.

Sapient said...

I'm really glad that you're keeping a record of real, un-varnished history that most Ufologists would shove under the rug. This video is a laugh-cry riot in the right mood; I suggest copious doses of decent Tequila as an anecdote to the anger that this "performance" brings... you are right. It is nothing less than a performance, and bad acting to boot. Some of us who perform can see this really easily. I love how even the preamble brings the sidekick to tears. Crocodile tears...

Sapient said...

Also, I second Mr. Curious' idea of a "Where are they now" section... you could make a whole book out of that! The project, concerning Ufological has-been frauds, would be voluminous and probably unfair to give to any one person.