Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Agent Redfern and the "Secret" Vault

I took this photo about 14 or 15 years ago inside the vaults of Britain's National Archive (which, at the time, was still called the Public Record Office).

Well, I used the photo in an article - on the British Government's UFO files - for a British-based UFO magazine around 98/99.

And what a controversy it caused!

Some paranoid lunatic sent a letter to the magazine claiming that "only government people are allowed in the vaults."

His near-inevitable conclusion: I was (and in Mr. Fool's mind, I probably still am!) working for the government.

Or "THEM," as they are known to one and all in Paranoia Land.

Had the idiot actually taken the time to check with me before firing off his letter, he would have learned that I was at the archives with the BBC - to film a documentary on UFOs and the British Government, and that the BBC had sought, and received, permission for us to film in the vaults.

Thus, a non-story was elevated to one in which I played a starring role as a "secret agent" of the Government - and all because I happened to take a photo in the vaults of the National Archive.

No wonder I sometimes despair of Ufology...


  1. Hey, accusations of being a secret agent is a badge of honor for the likes of us.

    Even I have been accused of being an infiltrated agent at The Daily Grail some time ago! ;)

    Which makes me wonder: what kind of benefit plans They give to their employees :P

  2. I used to think it was kind of amusing when people made these absurd claims, but I much prefer the idea of giving them a good kick in the head with my Doc Martens. Hopefully, the result will be even more brain damage than existed before.

  3. A likely story, next you will be telling us you weren't best man at the Cannock Chase Bigfoot's wedding.

    Anyway, it's fascinating the conclusions people will jump to based on very little evidence. The guy had two pieces of info a) access to the vaults is usually restricted to gov employees b) you had access. From that tiny amount of data he weaves a whole paranoid theory. Probably without ever considering any of the dozens of possible reasons you might have been allowed in.

    I've always thought “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” could be interpreted more than one way. Someone with only a little knowledge (and no interest in seeking more) can cause an amazing amount of problems for everyone else.

  4. Unknown:

    Yep, that's what the paranoid types in Ufology do - weave ridiculous stories and reach ridiculous conclusions via selective use of data that helps support their suspicions.

    What amazes me is that people have made such accusations on a number of occasions. But, you know what, they are all too cowardly to approach me and just ask! They have to do it via Net statements, letters to mags etc. Which makes them not just paranoid loons but confidence-lacking wankers too.

    Had that guy asked why I was in the archives, all that situation, the letter to the mag etc could have been avoided.

    But that's Ufology! As much as we want to legitimize it, there's still those people in the subject who are plain nuts.