The UFO UpDates Archive

Pelicanist [was: Magonia Supplement No. 54]

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 15:14:52 -0600
Fwd Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 16:50:03 -0500
Subject: Pelicanist [was: Magonia Supplement No. 54]


>From: Kyle King <kyleking.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 13:43:27 -0600
>Subject: Re: Magonia Supplement No. 54

>>From: Rich Reynolds <rrrgroup.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 10:55:35 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Magonia Supplement No. 54

>>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 09:39:40 -0600
>>>Subject: Re: Magonia Supplement No. 54


Hi, Kyle,

>Instead of explaining the term [pelicanist], why not point
>them to the Updates archive and having them... gasp...
>investigate for themselves. You did say these were
>journalists, no?

In my book Strange Skies (2003, p. 35) I define "pelicanist" as
"one who proposes hard-to-believe solutions to puzzling UFO
sightings." It is not synonymous with skeptic; in other words,
skepticism about UFOs need not be unreasonable in principle,
even if it sometimes is so in practice. A skeptic becomes a
pelicanist only in the latter instance.

I think of pelicanists not as casual dismissers (as, for
example, most skeptical scientists and journalists are) but as
persons who know the subject and are active within the UFO
community. The original pelicanist was James Easton, who
proposed, then fiercely defended, the scientifically
unsustainable idea that Kenneth Arnold observed not aircraft of
some sort but pelicans. Pelicanist interpretations tend to be
extraordinary claims masquerading as prosaic explanations.

Even the Magonians, many of whom I think of as pelicanists, have
taken the term as it was intended, knowing that my intention was
to put a bit of humor into the longstanding, never-ending debate
between proponents and debunkers. One Magonia columnist uses the
pseudonym "The Pelican." I approve, and I chuckle every time I
see it. If the pseudonymous columnist and I agree on nothing
else (besides, that is, our taste in music), we do share the
same sense of humor.


Jerry Clark