It's amazing how time flies. We are already well into the New Year, and I'm still thinking about all of the events of 2004.
For me it was an incredibly good year. It wasn't the same for UFOlogy though.
I was very happy to attend the UFO Conference in Campbelltown, NSW, and to speak about Victorian UFO cases. It was the first time I have ever done such a thing, at a conference, and with an attendance of around 200 people it was very exciting.
It was a fantastic event, with overseas and international guest speakers, as well as the best and most active Australian researchers.
Peter Khoury and I spent an evening with Budd Hopkins, where we chatted and drank Scotch until the wee hours.
One thing I've been trying to tell the AUFORN Vic members is that events like these are well worth getting to, and you can really miss out on rare opportunities by not attending.
It's also very rewarding to make contact with like-minded people from all over Australia, and to keep in touch with them.
The best thing about AUFORN is that it is a national group, with units operating in every state and territory. No other UFO organisation has ever existed like this.
On the more negative side, 2004 was very tragic for UFOlogy.
We lost some of the best researchers and organisers that there ever has been, and we are all the worst for it.
I'm referring to the loss of Graham Birdsall of the UK UFO Magazine, who organised the Annual UFO Conferences in Leeds, produced a Brilliant Magazine, and kept everyone up to date with the latest news and UFO events from world-wide sources.
As a result of this loss there are no more Leeds conferences, and the UK Magazine no longer exists in hard copy. (There is an online version continuing, however.)
Then there was the unbelievably tragic death of John Mack when he was visiting London. Mack was a Professor of Psychiatry from Harvard Medical School who investigated the abduction phenomenon and concluded that the people who reported these events were 'normal' people.
Mack was so important to UFOlogy for the reason that he was a credible person with the strength and confidence to stand up to the sceptics and critics, and to stand his ground. And they hated him for it. He was almost booted out of Harvard because the subject matter was so 'non-mainstream'. We really need more people like him, rather than less. Anyone who has not read his books would do well to source them and get into them. You'll find they are not heavy reading, are well researched, and lead to interesting conclusions. I'm hoping that this year will be as good as last year, but hopefully with a little less tragedy, and a little more truth being revealed. Fingers crossed.