The George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" Nuclear Mall Zombie UFO Believer's Syndrome

by James Carlson

Recent revelations published internet-wide by Robert Hastings of Albuquerque, New Mexico represent, I believe, a new form of mental disorder phenomena that is uniquely related to the wide proliferation of UFO-related belief systems in the 21st century, particularly those that have originated or otherwise made themselves known on the world wide web. Conversations with colleagues in France and the United States

indicate that this very specific grouping of mental symptoms has been observed in the field often enough to rate its own identified classification as a delusional syndrome. The most notable symptoms include wildly expressed delusions of grandeur, a far more robust form of self-expressive intentionality regarding commonly accepted standards of belief, and observed clinical inability to move one's personal motivational electorate beyond single issues, thereby preventing the psyche's continued development and growth.

In recognition of the individual who first exhibited this symptomology to a sufficient severity of organized behavior that its existence in the annals of psychology could no longer be denied, I would like to propose that it be addressed in future studies as "The Hastings Syndrome", which I shall more commonly refer to as "The George Romero's 'Dawn of the Dead' Nuclear Mall Zombie UFO Believer's Syndrome", after the zombie character in George Romero's 1978 horror movie Dawn of the Dead that was observed trying to walk through a pane of protective glass, but without the wherewithal to notice either the presence of a physical barrier or the fact of its uninterrupted and perhaps permanent prevention of forward movement. Zombie film buffs will immediately recall the blank expression on the zombie's face as it continuously bumped into the barrier, thud, thud, thud, unable to move beyond that one point, to change direction, or to even

recognize that its progress has been impeded, characteristics which are also perfectly suited to any discussion of the psychological disorder herein described.

All jesting aside, Robert Hastings seems to have identified personally with the worst of our horror movie stereotypes, having exhibited a pointless adherence to the details of a single UFO case that has already been widely recognized as completely void of fact. As a result of this affliction, he has failed to produce anything even remotely interesting in his chosen field of endeavor, because he can't seem to get past the failure that the Echo Flight Incident represents to his now frustration-scarred personality. As a result, he continues to assert his poorly analyzed and completely unfounded conclusions, ignoring the evidence so clearly placed before him, while refusing to discuss openly any of the numerous flaws, doubts, and remarkably ill-conceived stunts he has employed the past few years to place those conclusions before the public, and entirely unable to produce a detailed assessment of his theories without proving absolutely the turgid ignorance and flaccid leaps of intuition that represent their most recognizable features. Unfortunately, the fact that he will continue to insist upon the sanctity of the many easily dismissed aspects of this incident that he helped to create from little more than the wishful thinking of Robert Salas and the best forgotten musings of Raymond Fowler's 40-year-old paranoia, will ensure that its already damaging influence on American

UFOlogy will continue unabated. This is primarily due to the fact that he possesses the easy means (i.e., Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles website) to continue his onslaught against the better natures of real science, real documents, real testimony, and real people not yet colored with the imaginary stains of his wasted and tarnished insistence. And this will in turn exert a debilitating influence on subsequent studies of the phenomena itself.

Robert Hastings' inability to recognize what has been so clearly stated by Walt Figel himself seems to have reached the level of a genuine psychosis. Unfortunately, some people are willing to believe him, because he fails entirely to give them sufficient information to reach an otherwise educated conclusion. For instance, he continues to publish that Walt Figel received a UFO report on March 16, 1967 even though Walt Figel has repeatedly insisted otherwise, stating very plainly that no UFO was seen, reported, investigated, or involved in any way with the missile failures at Echo Flight in March 1967. As a result of Figel’s revelations, not one participant witness anywhere else in the world has produced testimony that such an event ever occurred – not one! And yet Hastings nonetheless insists without any evidence whatsoever that such an event took place. Sadly, he can’t even describe in any real detail what Robert Salas, the originator of this pathetic little UFO fable, has invented, because he has either refused to examine the available materials outright, or he lacks the intelligence, insight, and organizational ability to research the matter for himself.

It’s patently obvious that Robert Hastings has elevated his own work to the level of psychotic symptomology by insisting that Figel's testimony represents a genuine UFO report. What he has refused to discuss in the course of his presentation, however, is the fact that both Walt Figel and Eric Carlson, the only two people who were at Echo Flight on the date in question, have repeatedly denied both the existence of a UFO, as well as the apparent de facto act of war that Hastings’ and Salas’ claims suggest. In addition, both men have very clearly established that Robert Hastings is simply a selfpromoting liar. Eric Carlson has insisted for decades that there was no UFO, which Hastings attributes to “poor memory” while Salas simply lies about it, telling everybody

that both Carlson and Figel have confirmed “everything.” Figel, on the other hand, has stated unequivocally that Robert Hastings has distorted his claims, taken statements out of context, and invented where necessary those points that dictate the presence of a UFO where no such presence was ever established or even believed to exist. These are not charges that have been recently invented by someone with a cultural agenda – they are charges plainly addressed by the very man Hastings insists provided him with "testimony" of an actual UFO, a UFO that Figel has repeatedly stated does not now exist, and has never existed!

Specifically, Walt Figel has written:

I have always maintained that I do not nor have I ever believed that UFOs exist in any form at any place at any time. I have never seen one or reported that I have seen one. I have always maintained that they had nothing to do with the shutdown of Echo flight in Montana.

He was equally clear regarding the events following Echo Flight – events that Hastings insists involved a very high level debriefing and a crowd of high-ranking officials asking questions, recording responses, and configuring the possibilities of exposure:

It was just another day with an unexpected event in our lives. It was rather underwhelming at the time. No one rushed out to see us, no one made us sign any papers, no one interrogated us for hours on end.

There is no Air Force “cover-up” [of the Echo Flight incident] it just did not happen the way Salas has portrayed the course of events. I am sorry that you are all caught up in a pissing contest with these people, I really am. They are just not going to let go no matter what you say or do. He has made a 15 year career pandering about the country talking about things he has no knowledge about. I am not at all interested in taking them on – it’s not worth my effort – I have more important things to do with my life.

This nonsense of Robert Hastings' and Robert Salas' invention is an insulting racket that more ethical men would have ceased attempts to circulate a long time ago. They worry like a dog with a bone at the discussion, prompting their pursuit and use of the tiniest measure of insulting rhetoric to deliver in public to little or no purpose, doing so merely to avoid the necessity of establishing for themselves a public response to valid arguments. This defines the dispute immediately as merely another layer of ash – an indication of a long dead controversy already burned down to the insignificant leavings of an already settled, and now senseless dispute – originating within a single psychotic chapter of the UFO belief community that Robert Hastings has for years appealed to. Unfortunately, while this particular sub-group of an otherwise large (albeit somewhat disorganized) community is completely willing to suspend belief without the need for further conviction, examination, or impression, the group as a whole tends to ignore such matters, a failing that influences their ultimate disregard for disputes commonly believed to be based on silly proposals that any well-publicized rejection of is nonetheless thought to malign the eternal cause of establishing UFO credibility to the rest of the world. Such a reaction originating with better educated individuals

possessing a more practiced ability to apply with greater success the tools of human logic, precision, and effective argument does more damage to that cause than the mere reprobation of a fundamentally specious or ludicrous argument would suggest. After all, the excuse goes, they are still believers, even if they are a little tainted by their more obvious insipience. Why bother exposing or criticizing anything they discuss –

ridiculous as it may be – when doing so would represent a burden on the entire UFO proponents’ community? It's not like they're hurting anybody, is it?

Sadly, that's exactly what it's like.

Every single facet of Hastings' argument has been completely shredded with factual, documented testimony proving its insignificance and falsity; every minor point of contention has been repeatedly addressed in response to both his recent claims, and those claims he has since abandoned as worthless to continue, and yes, there actually are arguments that he has raised in the past that are so definitively baseless that even

he has refused to continue making the point. Anyone can examine the arguments made and the detailed responses, many of which have been published at Reality Uncovered. I can personally guarantee that not one single feature of Robert Hastings' case has been ignored, although you'll search the internet forever before you'll find any answers that he's willing to provide in response to the dozens of questions that have been repeatedly asked of him. There are easy answers and well-documented proof showing that every conclusion he has ever reached in relation to the Echo Flight mythos has been based entirely on proven lies, his ridiculous assertions having been made without evidence or even, at times, reason. In addition, it would represent the apex of arrogant neglect were we to ignore as well the intemperate recklessness and indolence of a man who spends his life talking about ex-military witnesses of classified incidents without once bothering to learn for himself even the smallest portion of military procedure or classified materials protocol, evidence of which is plentiful in any thorough examination of his many baseless allegations. This one factor of his analysis alone has become a running joke amongst men and women who actually possess some knowledge of classified materials protocol, primarily because whenever he uses such phrases as “need-to-know” it’s obvious from the context that he has no real understanding of the concepts involved and no interest at all in correcting that disability.

Does this ignorance bother him? No, of course not! Ignorance doesn't bother Robert Hastings; he dresses himself in it daily. Is it notable? Absolutely! Nearly every exmilitary careerist in the country will instantly note the faults in his stories and the lack of truth in his claims, but they don't care enough about the subject to take a public stand, because it isn't someone they know who's being dumped on by this sadly repugnant little man and his base desire for recognition beyond what his intelligence and abilities alone would ordinarily grant him. And besides, it's not like he’s hurting anybody.

It’s particularly annoying, from the point of view of a sane man, to continually read the insistence in Hastings’ tone even when Hastings himself manages to destroy his own arguments. His most recent pile of published swill is no different. He asserts with ambitious conviction his insistence that Col. Frederick Meiwald has confirmed every

aspect of Salas’ Oscar Flight folk tales on the one hand, while on the other he poisons his own case by revealing the sordid little secret at the center of his entire body of work regarding Malmstrom AFB in March 1967:

Meiwald then elaborated and said that he couldn’t support everything Salas has said about the incident because he had been resting/sleeping when the first missile or two dropped offline — which occurred moments after Salas received a report from the Oscar Flight Security Controller about a UFO hovering over the Launch Control Facility’s front gate.

Although Salas had quickly told Meiwald about that telephone conversation, Meiwald says that he can’t remember it.

I ask you, are these the validated arguments of a sane man? Or is there a substantial expression somewhere within his mind similar to the mental disorder that I jokingly outlined at the beginning of this article? It’s possible as well, I suppose, that he’s

purposely laying ground for the “insanity defense” as a means of dispelling charges of dishonesty, unethical grandstanding, and the invention of UFO accounts intended to sway his audience of true believers. After all, he continues to make much of the 120 exmilitary witnesses that he has included in his book UFO’s and Nukes, but when taxed to provide public admissions from his witnesses at that silly little September 27, 2010 press conference that he and Robert Salas conducted in Washington, DC, he could only provide 8 witnesses, one of whom was Robert Salas. And once again, Hastings

managed to make himself the center of attention, not his witnesses nor their spurious claims. It’s more than apparent that the zombie metaphor I used above seems

particularly suited to his character.

Robert Hastings’ attempts to keep his name in the news on the backs of American servicemen who want nothing more than to be left alone regarding what they consider a foolish affectation manufactured merely to sell books and provide a meaningless career choice for a man who seems to lack any worthwhile abilities to otherwise provide for himself is little more than a mark of shame he is unwilling or unable to recognize.

Taken in its entirety, these attempts represent a forthright and pointless insult to everything UFOlogy is supposed to favor, if you read anything at all in the self-glorifying assertions true believers use in their attempts to convince the world that UFO Disclosure is going to happen (this year for sure!), so while I can certainly understand the desire to learn about all of the secrets and the hidden conspiracies at work in the world today, any suggestion that a dishonest rube like Robert Hastings is pointing in the right direction should be properly and aggressively denounced. If he was telling the truth, it wouldn’t be so easy to prove that he’s not only lying, but has no real knowledge of the topics he’s attempting to establish himself as an authority on.

If the investigation of UFOs has indeed reached the point where a self-promoting jester like Robert Hastings can so easily hijack the attentions of readers knowing less of his severe personality flaws than those of us who have been targeted by this lying, opportunistic man, than UFOlogy in its current state has reached a new low point in its existence. It’s dumbfounding that he is actually allowed to do so by members of

CUFON, MUFON, NICAP, and by every UFO blog owner in the world today without one single voice willing to address a measure of protest regarding an issue that has been so plainly defined by its very participants. People in general consider those individuals who want so badly to defend their point of view and to discuss what they've supposedly seen and what they know to be little more than cretinous objections to common sense that are worth nothing to the world beyond a few rabid giggles following late night talk show comedy routines, all because of the farcical activities of men like Robert Hastings. This man is a proven liar. He has repeatedly slandered those who have addressed arguments that he is unable to otherwise counter like an intelligent man. Worse yet, although tens of thousands of people around the world are well aware of Hastings’ predilections for the fictional exploits of UFO heroes he has been unable to establish as anything more than the fevered expressions on the faces of old men with less self-worth than a common busker playing for nickels and dimes, not one of them will raise a word of defiance against his baseless story-telling. Doing so would deliver the wrong

message to those still willing to credit whatever Robert Hastings has to say. After all, they tell themselves, he’s a believer like us; and it's not like he’s hurting anybody. Is it?

This is no longer an intelligent conversation about what is real and what is not real. It isn't even a contest between skeptics and true believers anymore. It has degenerated into a violent assault on common values and intelligence, and those who desperately want to believe in UFOs seem, at times, willing to accept absolutely any shrill insult to their senses, their desires, and in many cases their need to understand something of what's magical or otherwise hidden from them in the world today. Is this refusal to examine such claims a measure of human responsibility? Does it recognize anything evocative of reasonable accountability? Of course not! It’s a handicap, and a

substantial portion of the people in the world today who believe in UFOs knows this very well, so well, in fact, that in many cases, this same handicap has been adopted as a mark of personality and part of how they reason through the conscious knowledge of who they are and what they want from life. Sadly, this quality also suggests that most will very likely say nothing, will offer no opinion in public beyond a hypocritical head nod signifying possible support, maybe, who knows what's real anymore these days, eh bub? and will simply let the garbage continue, repeating it ad infinitum until their wasted efforts are planted, taking root in the public’s perception of generalized UFO fraud, as easily recognized as a bonfire cracking and screaming in the moonlight. They will continue printing and advertizing the well known debris and rubbish that Robert Hastings produces on their blogs, relaying it to the next UFO website, dictating it to the few heroic wire accounts left, misspelling words in poor translations afield in Europe, Asia, Africa, or South America, mentioning it to the postman, sharing it with buddies at the bowling alley, or at the grocery store, even singing it to their oddly theatrical yet nonetheless misunderstanding cats in the kitchen who just want someone to crack open another tin of turkey giblets and gravy. They will very likely do this without once

qualifying any of it, without once bothering to say in public what many already know so very, very well: that Robert Hastings is a lying and manipulative testimonial to

nonsense and cheap comedy in the world today, offering no more than a flawed characterization of secrets told and myths believed. They’ll buy it all, even through the conviction that he's just a wastrel on a mission to deceive and to cheat for money and a measure of fame that will never be deserved, ignoring thereby any actual and personal

measurements of conviction they may hold that Hastings, in concert with Robert Salas, has brought to light little more than a fraudulent hoax – a hoax offered up in sacrifice to Hastings’ own 35-years of "UFO research" that has produced nothing more substantial than the toy rattle noise you hear in the bedroom of a slowly awakening infant, in short, a very common type of farce, ill-deserving what he's gained in the marketplace for what he's actually produced. The mutually assured silence and failure of will to demand a fair-minded critique of so many counterfeit claims within their own community may well guarantee the further degeneration of UFOlogy as a force in search of credibility and a discipline in need of validation. As the primary result of this arrogant refusal to examine, most of those who publish, list, or create links to the generally fact-free musings of Robert Hastings and Robert Salas will simply ignore the issue once it’s been circulated through their websites and blogs, and very few will ever find fault in it.

After all, it's not like he's hurting anybody …

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