Billy Cox – writer of the Devoid column/blog that often covers stories on the UFO beat – has posted an interesting anecdote about his own experience with well-known UFO skeptic Phil Klass:
Klass was a prolific writer who dismissed the Walton controversy as confabulation in his 1983 book UFOs: The Public Deceived. De Void was just beginning this forlorn and dreary journey back then. No reason for a newbie to doubt him. Except for, well, maybe this one case in Klass’ book concerning three people who suffered acute UFO radiation burns in Texas in 1980. Klass’ take on what became known as the Cash-Landrum incident stopped me cold. Because I’d actually done my homework on that one. And that’s when I got that first queasy feeling that the American press was routinely quoting a man who had a pathological disregard for truth.
It’s a good cautionary tale about giving too much authority to leading skeptical voices. It caught my eye because it echoed my own experience with Martin Gardner’s ‘debunking’ of medium Leonora Piper – a story which I was very familiar with, and which thus allowed me to see how loose Gardner was with the facts in achieving his goal.