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Greece Post
  • UFO meet-up group provides research, discussion

  • Richard Dolan is author of two books on UFO history, part of a three-volume series with the final edition in the works.

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  • The recent discovery of two Earth-sized planets has some toying with the idea of life like ours is found elsewhere in the universe. But some wonder the very same thought every day. Some believe there’s more to the universe.
    Is it possible?
    Richard Dolan thinks so. So do around 130 members of the Rochester UFO Meet-Up group, or at the very least, they’re skeptic enough to want to learn more.
    “What constitutes proof, and what’s more, who is authorized to declare such and such as proof?” Dolan asked the meet-up group at its most recent gathering at Barnes and Noble Rochester Institute of Technology.
    Dolan, a longtime academic who lives in Rochester, and he’s one of the most well-known ufologists in modern times.
    It’s unclear how many UFO sightings happen year after year, and researchers are like Dolan are the first to examine for scientific explanation or hoax efforts.
    “Most people don’t mention the sighting to people let alone report it,” Dolan said. “Sometimes its nothing other than unusual phenomena.”
    Dolan is author of two books on UFO history, part of a three-volume series with the final edition in the works. He began his studies when he read a book while researching the Cold War in the early 90s as part of graduate school at the University of Rochester.
    “I had this moment of cognitive dissonance,” he said of that day. “I’ve had this world view where all of this is nonsense, and here’s literature that’s generally saying it’s a bit of problem. Even if they’re mistaken, how had I never heard about this? Is it part of history? How important is it, not even asking if they’re real.”
    There’s enough happenings, sightings and leaked government reports to support the ufology field of study. The discipline brings together textbook subjects like science, philosophy, mathematics, anthropology, ancient history and physics.
    Cookie Stringfellow is the organizer of the Rochester UFO meetup group. A longtime researcher herself, Stringfellow says having a group helps believers of UFOs share information.
    “There’s camaraderie,” she said. “They share all their information, they post videos they come across, they’ll bring books. We have a lending library among the members.”
    There’s monthly meetings for the group, which features guest speakers like Dolan — who can arrive in person — or through conference calls.
    Some members, like Stringfellow, have studied for years. Back in the 1950s and 60s, pop culture and social philosophy flirted with thoughts of unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrial beings. Consequentially egged on by the Space Race, the possibility of life outside earth was controversial, weird, but to many, a very real thing.
    Page 2 of 2 - Today, how much has changed? Human technologies have far surpassed where they were; from frequency operations to optics, from robotics to artificial intelligence, mechanics are smoother than ever before. Some, like Dolan, wonder where the ideas came from.
    Dolan believes far more is known about the possibility and existence of technology and life from other planets than is let on to the public.
    “All we have is guesswork,” he says of existing information. His work often cites leaked government documents that discuss once-classified sights and investigations, but Dolan believes those are only pieces of the puzzle.
    He says eventually, the truth — whatever it may be — will come out.
    “It’ll end, frankly, because nothing can last forever in our society is changing too rapidly and too dramatically for it not to.”

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