Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paul Norman (1916-2012) veteran UFO researcher left a significant legacy

Long time UFO researcher Paul Norman passed away on June 23rd 2012.  His long time associate John Auchettl describes Paul's significant legacy in a statement on UFO Update http://www.ufoupdateslist.com/2012/jun/m26-004.shtml 
Paul was a prodigious investigator for the Victorian UFO Society (VUFORS) and was instrumental in facilitating the 1967 visit to Australia of Dr. James McDonald.  Originally from the United States he had strong ties with the NICAP group as well as other US groups and researchers.
Some of the many significant cases he was involved with included the Burkes Flat case of 1966, the 1972-1973 Maureen Puddy affair, the 1977-1978 Leitchville-Echuca flap, the Valentich case of 1978, the 1980 Rosedale landing case, and the 1988 Knowles family case.  He helped facilitate the involvement of US researcher Dr. Bruce Maccabee in the famous 1978 New Zealand Kaikoura case. 
A passionate advocate of the VUFORS way of doing things he was fond of casting some groups and individuals as examples of "malfunction junctions" and "armchair ufologists" even viewing me and the Sydney based group UFOIC in this vein (indeed he cast these labels far and wide). I never let these dubious characterisations diminish my assessment of his achievements.  
Paul Norman's UFO legacy is both broad and substantial.  His extensive field investigations and interactions with media and authorities were sustained and very extensive.
My condolences to his family and friends.  
Here is the 1980 Gippsland Times story featuring Paul Norman and Pat Gildea of VUFORS with the Rosedale witness George Blackwell. This event was also investigated by Keith Basterfield and myself (both recipients of Paul's "malfunction junction" and "armchair ufologist" labelling), on location with the witness's support and encouragement.  Below are photos of myself and Keith Basterfield with the Rosedale witness on site at Rosedale in December 1980. We certainly agreed with Paul Norman's assessment that the Rosedale case was a very impressive example of a UFO landing and physical trace event.  Indeed, I would consider it to be one of the best examples of "a close encounter of the second kind" in Australia. 





5 Comments:

Blogger Loren Coleman said...

Do you know the exact time of death? I'm wondering if it was June 23rd or June 22nd in the USA when he died.

Intriguing that he passed away so close to the 65th anniversary of the beginning of modern ufology, which occurred on June 24, 1947.


http://copycateffect.blogspot.com/2012/06/st-johns-day.html

9:56 AM  
Blogger Bill Chalker said...

Hi Loren,

I suggest you try John Auchettl directly at praufo@yahoo.com.au to see if you can get clarification on this. I don't know what sort of reception you will get from John.

Regards,
Bill Chalker

1:01 AM  
Blogger Jan Aldrich said...

I always like to quote one of the thing Paul said about investigating UFOs. A quick telephone interview could ususally tell the investigator if the case was worth the effort of a follow up. Most then could be dismissed as too vague or probably IFOs. (Yes, indeed you might miss a good every once in awhile, but with limited resources this is the way to go.)

Simple, simple, but if you look at the corpus of Project Blue Book files, huge effort expended on trivial cases, but almost none on some very puzzling and significant reports.

Condon had a good screening scheme proposed by Craig, but not always followed in operation.

Paul made the point that some screening at the start would eliminate silly and meaningless UFO stats kept by almost every official investigation.

3:17 AM  
Blogger Bill Chalker said...

Hi Jan, Yes Paul had a lot of memorable quotes. Certainly screening UFO reports in such a way was sound, but quite often now email exchanges etc help establish if one is potentially dealing with a report of significance. A lot of preliminary information can be more easily transmitted these days if witnesses are able, to assist in preliminary determinations.
I noticed in the UK Condign report that much of data that led to the "plasma" hypothesis and other speculations, was based on very slim and relatively scant report forms which quite often were insufficient to make even the most basic of interpretation. That Achilles Heel was sufficient to make one question the validity of the conclusions. Best wishes, Bill

2:12 AM  
Blogger Bill Chalker said...

Hi Jan, Yes Paul had a lot of memorable quotes. Certainly screening UFO reports in such a way was sound, but quite often now email exchanges etc help establish if one is potentially dealing with a report of significance. A lot of preliminary information can be more easily transmitted these days if witnesses are able, to assist in preliminary determinations.
I noticed in the UK Condign report that much of data that led to the "plasma" hypothesis and other speculations, was based on very slim and relatively scant report forms which quite often were insufficient to make even the most basic of interpretation. That Achilles Heel was sufficient to make one question the validity of the conclusions. Best wishes, Bill

2:13 AM  

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