The Phenomenon + Active Deception? - Hunt the Skinwalker

Paranormal phenomena often seem actively to be messing with our minds, in particular those encountered at Utah's Skinwalker Ranch. This article includes a litany of mostly-harmless "trickster-like" activity at the Skinwalker Ranch that does seem to go rather beyond mere absent-mindedness by members of the resident family. When added to the hide-and-seek games the site's phenomena appear to have played with the National Institute for Discovery Science researchers as well as much scarier and more grisly stuff here, plus similar "trickster" behavior elsewhere and elsewhen, the suggestion is "that the phenomenon is actively evasive and deceptive." Joel Achenbach, Carl Sagan, and the UFOlogists is David Halperin's latest contribution to ufological sociology. Halperin has just finished reading Washington Post science columnist Joel Achenbach's 1999 book Captured by Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe, and he senses elements of high tragedy in the intricate story it tells. As always, Halperin's essay is thoughtful and a welcome perspective on the larger meanings surrounding UFO reports. (WM)

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