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Grassroots UFOs: Case Reports from the Center for UFO Studies [Paperback]

Michael D. Swords
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

27 April 2011
THE RAW MATERIAL OF UFOLOGY Over a period of a dozen years, John Timmerman ran a traveling UFO exhibit for the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) that appeared in malls from Seattle to Dallas to Nova Scotia, and from Guam to Puerto Rico. In the process he spoke to hundreds of people from around the world who came in off the street and described their own UFO sightings and experiences. Timmerman ended up with nearly 1,200 taped interviews, firsthand testimony with the lingering taste of truth. Their stories present the UFO phenomenon in all its raw glory, describing lights, disks, cigars, boomerangs, and objects where the structure was... well... indescribable; close encounters of all kinds, landing traces, physiological effects, vehicle interference, entities, radar cases, jet scrambles, crashed disks, morphing objects; and cases of such concentrated weirdness they'll just make you shake your head, leaving you puzzled and uncomfortable - if not totally floored. A mighty strange universe is providing this entertainment. JOHN TIMMERMAN graduated from Cornell University in Sociology and had a long and successful career in business. He was intrigued almost immediately by the UFO phenomenon when sightings began, and in the 1950s he was one of the volunteers for Project A at Ohio Northern University in a long-forgotten chapter in UFO history. In 1978, after attending a lecture by astronomer J. Allen Hynek, he volunteered with CUFOS, taking on a variety of responsibilities, ranging from case investigation to Treasurer. He was editor of the CUFOS Associate Newsletter and developed and manned the CUFOS display, allowing him to record the many reports detailed in this book. MICHAEL D. SWORDS graduated from the University of Notre Dame in Chemistry, Iowa State University in Biochemistry, and Case Western Reserve in the History of Science and Technology. He was a professor of Natural Science at Western Michigan University for 30 years and spent 20 years of scholarship and service with CUFOS, including editing the peer-reviewed Journal of UFO Studies. He now writes a blog called The Big Study.

Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Anomalist Books (27 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193366553X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933665535
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,388,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating tales from Joe public 29 Oct 2011
By JFest
I purchased this after discovering 'The Big Study' blog, containing many fascinating reviews of old UFO cases.
This distillation of reports volunteered by the public is entertainingly presented with a welcome leavening of bemused humour as some of the scenarios described are off the scale in their strangeness.
Nevertheless the approach is a useful counterpoint to Leslie Keans recent UFO book which employs a more 'credibility through authority figure' tactic to convince the reader.
The text is illustrated per case with small drawings which I found gave neat at-a-glance overview of the object types encountered in each chapter.
Highly recommended (as is the Big Study blog)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY IMPORTANT BOOK -- HERE'S WHY 5 May 2011
By Ray D. Stanford - Published on
To anyone who seriously would like to get an in-depth concept of the incredible range of phenomena reportedly associated with UFOs, this extraordinary book is a must. Better than that, it's a phenomenologist's 'mother lode'.

Some of my qualifications for calling Grass Roots UFOs one of the most important books on the subject, ever, are: I've been quite actively involved in studying the objects not only as reports since 1952, but, since 1973, in successfully recording their images and effects with sophisticated instruments, including a recording gravimeter, a recording magnetometer, spectrographic camera, audio recorder, movie and other cameras, etc. resulting in some in-depth analysis of the objects and their physical phenomena. Following my on-site investigation with Dr. J. Allen Hynek (chief consultant to the USAF UFO project) I 'wrote-the-book', literally, on North America's most well-documented close encounter of the third kind, the daylight landing of a highly strange object with two diminutive occupants clad in white 'coveralls', on April 24,1964. (Socorro Saucer in A Pentagon Pantry, Blueapple books, 1976)

That background, including the UFO study with instruments, informs me that many of the even highly strange cases described in Grass Roots UFOs are not the products of mistaken observations or of deranged minds, but are simply the observations and experiences of honest, and often very intelligent people, of objects and phenomena that many of the observers would never have considered possible until their encounters.

The book's section on pre-1947 cases informs us, for example, of a "silvery, shiny" cigar-shaped object seen in 1902! We read of a dirigible-shaped mothership with shuttles going from and to it, seen in 1926 or 27. These are hardly post-Kenneth Arnold flights of fantasy, because the observations happened long before June 24, 1947. I also find them credible because my project and I have daylight-movie-filmed such objects as described back then, beginning with a nine-witness encounter with two movie cameras filming simultaneously, on July 28, 1959. Large objects releasing much smaller craft suggest conservation of energy, possibility for transportation across very great distances, and explain what UFO skeptics claim is a problem of too many objects for them to have traversed interstellar distances individually.

Grassroots UFOs has several cases of non-spreading, collimated, slowly projecting, glowing beams extending and, often, retracting back to, sky objects. Science fiction? Hardly. Why do I believe anything so bizarre sounding? Well, for one reason, in broad daylight, in mid-afternoon, on October 5, 1985, and in the presence of abundant witnesses, I, along with my two eldest children and others, filmed a domed disc-shaped object as it approached, paused almost overhead, and projected such a 'telescoping' beam through which several smaller objects departed at high speed and flew away. The beam then slowly retracted back to the larger craft, which disappeared by going into the distance almost straight up!

The relatively exotic physics my project's instruments have documented operating around, and projected far from, anomalous aerial objects, can explain many of the wonderful, seemingly incredible things you can intellectually feast upon in Grass Roots UFOs. As a result, I find many of them quite credible.

Frankly, at age 73, and as the most seasoned researcher into these phenomena alive today, I tire of book authors who are so cowardly of the mystery that they dare only present readers with reports from persons with military stripes and metals, or with a Ph.D. behind the observers name. In wonderfully refreshing contrast, Grass Roots UFOs lets us read what anyone, from high-estate to the 'average Jane or Joe' had to report, merely out of their need to tell a willing-to-listen John P. Timmerman of what many of them had kept very private until they saw him with his Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) photo exhibit.

Immerse yourself in the most diverse, refreshing, and just plain wonderful UFO book to come along in decades. You've my word on it, and no one asked me to say that. The book simply demands I recommend it. I'm not suggesting you believe all of it, but please examine it. You owe it to yourself.

It's a feast! Enjoy!

Ray Stanford
a 59-year veteran in this study
Founder, Organization for Physical UFO Science
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grassroots UFOs 20 July 2011
By Michael L Carr - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent account of UFO stories people have made to the author of their UFO sightings going back to the early 50's and even back to the Roswell incident. Most accounts of UFO sightings come from just your average American that happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness the event.
I would like to add more but I am starting to be late for an appointment, really. Gotta go.
Mike C.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Some Very Weird Stuff. 24 Feb 2012
By Steven Daedalus - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author was a volunteer at a respectable organization whose object was the study of UFOs. On request from a large shopping mall in Dallas, Swords, Timmerman, and Allen J. Hyneck organized a display of UFO-related materials -- photos, correspondence, and so forth -- and lent the exhibit to the proprietors of the mall. It generated enough interest that the exhibit began to circulate among different venues. Timmerman was one of the on-site attendants and was sometimes approached spontaneously by people claiming to have witnessed something odd in the skies. Timmerman took notes and did simple drawings of what the phenomenon looked like. The edited sightings and the drawings constitute the bulk of this text.

The book is organized into chapters based on common features of the sighting. Here are the headings of Sections Four through Nine, which should give you some idea of the contents.

4. Lights with unusual motions. (10 mini-case histories.)

5. Balls of light, up close. (10)

6. Even more unusual lights. (17)

7. Cases where the structure wasn't describable. (17)

8. Good ol' disks. (11)

9. Cigars, and variations on the disk theme. (10)

Keep in mind that these mini-studies -- most of them only a few lines long -- are anecdotes contributed by visitors to a UFO exhibit. Nobody asked them to step up. It's what's known as a volunteer sample, rather like the letters to the Playboy Forum. They represent no known universe. Who can even guess at the number of people who have experienced sightings and only told friends about it? Or who avoided telling ANYONE for fear of ridicule or endangering their jobs?

But then neither does any other collection of anecdotes make up a decent sample, not even the far more extensive lists at places like NUFORC and MUFON. That precludes any kind of scientific analysis. The closest we can come, at this point, is something along the lines of J. Allen Hyneck's "The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry," and that's only a rough typology.

This unordered and incomplete data base is extremely frustrating for anyone with a serious interest in the subject. I'm one of those who are interested because of an unspectacular but thoroughly mystifying sighting my friends and I had many years ago -- just a simple fuzzy glowing sphere in the middle of the night, the size of the moon, slowly doing antics denied earthly aircraft.

I, for one, can not understand it when an anchor man on national network news reads a report submitted by the pilot and crew of an airliner, describing a bright object "the size of an aircraft carrier" tracking them for hundreds of miles, and who can then chuckle and make some remark about the encounter being somehow connected with the cargo of French wine the airplane was carrying. I don't see anything at all funny about it.

"Well," goes the cry, "when they land on the White House lawn, I'll believe it." I doubt that anything will ever land on the White House lawn. There may be nothing TO land on the White House lawn -- or anyplace else. That's making the unwarranted assumption that these phenomena are "material" in the sense that we define the term.

Meanwhile, we settle for books and anecdotes. It's the best we can do, for now. This particular book might provide an excellent introduction to the field. Sure, it's anecdotal but, as I say, so are all such collections of sightings. This book at least doesn't bore the reader with turgid arguments about worm holes in space. It's easy to skim through and it's artless. There may be "men in black" but no beautiful visitors from Venus with bare bosoms and sex on their minds. If I had a friend whose interest in UFOs was genuine but slight, I might recommend a volume like this.
5.0 out of 5 stars very important and very useful collection of reports 14 Aug 2013
By Ron Westrum - Published on
I was very pleased to see this extensive collection of reports, gathered by John Timmerman and edited brialliantly by Mike Swords. This book is an excellent way to explore the great variety of UFO experiences, and is a perfect introduction to the subject. For the more sophisticated reader, the book offers many charms, not the least of which is the charming titling of cases by Dr. Swords, an old hand at UFO investigation. An excellent investment. Ron Westrum
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compendium of cases 22 July 2013
By Harrison Koehli - Published on
In the late 80s and early 90s, CUFOS put on a traveling display of UFO evidence. In the process, John Timmerman collected close to 1200 taped interviews with ordinary people sharing their extraordinary experiences. As Michael Swords, who wrote this book based on transcripts of those interviews, points out, this is of course not a scientific study. It's simply a collection of stories, told by ordinary people, sometimes anonymously (though rarely), and sometimes followed up in more detail (but not always). As such, there are bound to be exaggerations and fabrications, but several things stand out regardless. First of all, Swords shows that the frequency of reports, stretching from pre-1947 to the then-present, matches with the history of known UFO flaps and waves. In other words, where researchers know there were more sightings in particular years, those years are also more represented in the data collected by Timmerman. Second, the cases reported match with all the features we know from more well-documented and -researched cases. As such, they provide an inside glimpse of what people from all walks of life really experience.

Swords kindly breaks up the cases into bite-sized chapter groups, e.g., strange lights, discs, cigars, triangles and boomerangs, close encounters, physical traces, physiological effects, vehicle interference, CE-IIIs, abductions (many pre-80s), radar cases, crash reports, tiny UFOs, and the really weird 'high strangeness' cases. Throughout, you get an idea as to some of the recurring weirdness experienced: strange auditory phenomena (absolute silence, buzzing or humming), right-angled turns and impossible speeds, sudden appearances and disappearances, 'solid' light phenomena, many cases of missing time, other strange psychological effects (e.g., trances, compulsions, telepathy), MIBs. Having read only book-length analyses of the UFO topic, it was both entertaining and enlightening to read such a vast collection of actual first-hand reports: the raw data. It really helps get an idea of the scope of phenomena involved, and just how weird it all is. Plus, Swords cracks a joke every once in a while, and that's always a plus, especially as reading case after case can get kind of tedious. I'd recommend Grassroots UFOs (****) to anyone seriously interested in UFOs. There's a lot to be found in this little book.
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