Monday, December 30, 2019

Your stealth campsite likely isn't.

I was listening to the  Astonishing Legends podcast, episode 155, which covered an alleged alien abduction at Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas in the 70s.  The details aren't important, I'm not here to judge on the veracity of this, I haven't even read the book of the account.  I'm one of those "wish things were real but accept they probably ain't" kind of guys.

No, my problem was that the story-giver, Terry Lovelace, gave some...questionable statements in the course of the Interview.  Not related to extra-terrestrials, per se, but the more mundane parts of the narrative.

The story is that he and a buddy stationed at Whiteman AFB abruptly decided to go camping one week.  No problem there, I've done it, and I think it strikes people more often than you think.  Rather than heading to a nearby location,. they decide to drive  down to Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas.  Terry implies that there's a odd drive on the part of his friend to go there, as if there was an external force at work.  I don't know about that; I have certainly felt a need to visit a location out of the blue before and I don't think that external forces were at work.

Terry and "Tobey" head on down, decide to stealth camp instead of getting a permit at a campsite, have an experience and leave. By the time they get back to Whiteman, when they check into the hospital the base command had already been informed about missing airmen because they left all their crap at the site.

This is where it gets questionable to me.  Mr. Lovelace expresses doubt that park rangers could have found their stuff so quickly, as he thinks the fire would have been out before dawn. This is part of an implication he has of a government cover-up in the narrative.  This doubt is very problematic.  It shows a breathtaking lack of understanding how easy it is for locals familiar with an area to immediately pick up a change.  Especially as Mr. Lovelace and his friend were able to park the truck close by.  In other words, it's likely a known so-called stealth campsite for people who think they are being clever.  To my mind, it is very believable that employees, or even someone going on a hike themselves and coming across the site, found it quickly.    Mr. Lovelace admits a lack of outdoors experience, but that the podcasters accepted this at face value represents a problem with the Fortean Phenomena Crowd: Complete credulity. 

This doesn't seem like much, but colors much of the rest of the interview.  Now that he established that there couldn't have been "casual" discovery of the site, it makes the OSI interviews more menacing.  After all, he and his bud showed up with burns and dehydrated and left a bunch of crap in a state park traced back the USAF.  Of course OSI is interested.  He describes a 50-something Major, which is a shocking age for that rank for someone on active duty(unless they were a mustang) as bullying him and making sure he was unaware of his rights.

Again, the implication is that there is a cover-up of some kind.  To me it's something else; it's a OSI major who has done little with his career and is a pompous ass who is overstretching.  Officers are assholes, news at 11.

To be clear, I am not rendering judgement on the experience.  I've had enough "crazy crap happening in the woods" to not want to slight him.  Buuuutttt...not being cognizant of how camping works and general, basic outdoorsman stuff is often what brings these experiences into doubt.