With Regret – Why I Must Leave MUFON Completely
I am addressing this letter to all MUFON State Directors and Members of the Board. I joined MUFON in 1987 in Washington State where I have lived since 1977 when I was honorably discharged from the Army. Recently I resigned from my position as Washington State MUFON Director for reason that will be explained. Chase Kloetzke asked me if I would remain as an FI, STAR Team member and investigator for the Special Assignments Team. Hesitantly, I agreed to remain out of respect for her. Shortly after that, I heard about the MUFON Inner Circle as part of the disclosures from Jan Harzan when he was interviewed by Kevin Randle. For the reasons explained below I believe I must leave MUFON altogether.
Since I am certain that most of you know very little about me, I will tell you that after I arrived in Washington state on 1975, I completed a 20-year career as a police sergeant with numerous assignments such as fatal accident team supervisor and detective sergeant. I have also spent 2 years as a child abuse detective and 10 years as a state fraud investigator. On a parallel path, I have had a lifelong commitment to trying to explore the UFO Mystery.
Given the situation that I am addressing, where I live is extremely relevant to my decision to quit MUFON. I live in Olympia in Thurston County in Washington State; Olympia is 19 miles from Yelm, WA, the location of the world headquarters of the cult leader, JZ Knight AKA Ramtha, who is arguably the richest and most powerful member of the MUFON Inner Circle. I am painfully aware of all the negative consequences that may arise from the influence of those in the MUFON Inner Circle.
I did not know JZ Knight’s role in MUFON until after I heard the Kevin Randle interview of Jan Harzan, not long after I resigned as a MUFON State Director. Given the power and influence of JZ Knight, and not knowing how much influence she truly has in MUFON, I may be taking a risk by daring to voice a concern about her Inner Circle status. At the same time, I will not have my reputation in this field compromised by affiliating with a rich and powerful cult leader who is now a member of the MUFON Inner Circle.
To fully understand my position, I would ask that the reader should study two web articles and then return to this letter:
Right after the recent resignation of another MUFON State Director and charter member, Rich Hoffman, I resigned my directorship because of long-term burnout and a growing sense that MUFON as a serious UFO investigative organization no longer exists. I suspect that I am not the only State Director suffering from a deep malaise while watching MUFON become an income-generating enterprise. The triggering event for me was the lack of an immediate dismissal of John Ventre from his State Directorship after his racist outburst on Facebook, or at least an immediate statement that Ventre’s comments were not acceptable coming from a leader of MUFON.
Because of what I am about to explain, remaining in MUFON in any capacity is morally unacceptable. Simply, I will not place my reputation as an Investigator and Researcher into the hands of JZ Knight or other mysterious people who have purchased a position of influence at the highest levels of MUFON. And from the Kevin Randle interview I have learned that John Ventre is still an Inner Circle member. He may also be appointed to any number of key positions in the future. Before you pass judgment on my reaction to the disclosure that JZ Knight is a member of the MUFON elite, please consider that you do not live in her immediate shadow. You are not privy to the local news that I am.
I communicated directly with Rich Hoffman after he had said his goodbyes, and he told me that he was worn out trying to seek better treatment of field investigators and state directors by the leaders of MUFON; he said he was just worn out from trying. If you want the specifics, then you must ask him. I also resigned because I have had the sense for a long time that no matter how often I promoted MUFON over many years during numerous UFO lectures, in my books, lectures, and elsewhere, I would remain “Unacknowledged.” I don’t pretend I am better than anyone else, but any work horse in harness would like to be given an apple occasionally and be patted on the head.
I think I am not a lot different than other State Directors who devote hundreds of hours to running on the CMS Hamster Wheel, who spend their own money, time and effort to promote MUFON to the public. One of the criticisms I have of MUFON is that if you are not a Jaime Maussan or a Steven Greer, or someone with money to donate, then you are just one of the cogs in the machine. You do your job until you wear out and then you are replaced. Even State agencies as bureaucratic as they are, will give you a certificate and a pin for longevity.
For the last 9 years I have been the Washington State Director. I have personally investigated over 750 cases for MUFON; I have assisted in the investigation of countless others, recruiting and training Field Investigators and by assisting Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center and William Puckett of UFOs Northwest. I have lectured at major conferences across the country and once in Paris. I have appeared on countless internet radio interviews, a TV gig or two and I have written two books. I have always proudly talked about my position in MUFON. Right now, I have a YouTube interview which garnered over 19,000 views in 4 weeks. But I really believe I could walk in with a Gray on each arm and hand out pieces of memory metal as souvenirs, but in MUFON I would be invisible. I am living proof that “No man is a prophet in his own kingdom.” It is hard to watch an organization that you once served proudly become an income-generating entertainment company. And then you just can’t do it anymore.
It is not my way to draw attention to my background or accomplishments. There are many in MUFON with far greater than mine. I am describing myself fully so that others may relate to how disconnected I have felt while working as a State Director while watching MUFON move away from being an investigative organization to what will probably be a UFO entertainment franchise business. I draw that conclusion because I was one of the six State Directors who was interviewed at length by a business consultant.
That in-depth interview may be summarized simply: Have you incorporated your MUFON organization? How much income do you generate as a MUFON State organization, and how much can you donate?
I am hoping that this letter may be a catalyst for real change in MUFON’s direction if it is not already too late. The influence of the money-worshipping corporate mentality is already damaging our country like cancer; what is happening to MUFON doesn’t seem much different.
It appears the focus is so concentrated on income generation that anything like investigative integrity is just an anachronism. Caring about investigative integrity has become a nuisance. I am providing evidence in the form of one example.
The Special Assignments Team (SAT) was asked to investigate “part” of a very dubious 1946 UFO Crash case submitted by Paola Harris. Who ever heard of partially investigating a UFO report, especially when the key piece of evidence is a cast aluminum windmill pump part that is being presented as an artifact stolen from the interior of a crashed UFO in 1945? The SAT found critical investigative failures. She claimed the site was deliberately planted with noxious weeds that were genetically modified by the Government to deter UFO researchers from exploring the alleged crash site, and then on Harris’ own YouTube videos, we see the same group walking through the weeds wearing shorts. Apparently, they no longer needed to wear the full body isolation suits that look so “scientific” on camera. And the result? We got to watch Harris be given special status and an award at the Symposium. I have attached a report with evidence to support this statement. Please note that Frank Kimbler supplied the scientific data and he gave me full permission to use it as I see fit. I know that he would appreciate its inclusion herein. This is one example of many.
Within the Kevin Randle interview the reader is left with the suggestion that being a member of the Inner Circle is just about receiving a few perks. That was implied so that none of the readers would be too alarmed by having to imagine what happens when a cult leader who channels a 35,000-year-old Lemurian Warrior named Ramtha ascends to a position of authority in MUFON. I would point out that Marie Malzahn was an Inner Circle member of MUFON who worked as the Director of Investigations replacing Chuck Reever in 2010. So, every State Director should contemplate what happens if Ramtha is running UFO Investigations for MUFON, or if there are even stranger developments arising from recruitments to key positions in MUFON from the Inner Circle elite.
I know this situation has the potential for very bad outcomes because in 2011 when I was trying to assist an excellent new FI regain access to CMS after she was arbitrarily locked out, Director Malzahn ordered me to obey her or else. I chose the “or else.” After I returned in 2012 at the request of Dave MacDonald, I made peace with Ms. Malzahn. In 2013, she asked me if I could carry a gun in Nevada to help guard Dr. Steven Greer who requested armed bodyguards at the Symposium. Somewhere along the way she must have offended someone who had real influence because little was heard from her after that.
I will end with a cautionary tale to point out that the rest of the UFO community may not be quite as sold on MUFON’s supremacy in this field as we are led to believe. In 2010 my wife inherited a trip to Paris and while we were there I presented to Les Repas Ufologique. I told the story of my friend June Crain and immediately sold all my books. The Parisian Ufologists were very gracious and welcoming. The only disquieting moments occurred when they commented that they had not trusted MUFON for a long time. This has been a recurring theme in various places I have visited over the years; I could build trust personally with the audience and other researchers but there are always many people who don’t believe MUFON lives up to its avowed mission. The newest version of this arose on the Internet after the John Ventre scandal and the Kevin Randle interview; MUFON is now being called MUFONINO – MUFON In Name Only.
The value of MUFON has always been its reputation for integrity. But every time we endorse the Greer’s, the Maussan’s, the JZ Knight’s, and all the rest who will push anything for a buck, then MUFON has that much less integrity to lose. I know all the arguments; you must give the public what it wants to generate the most Symposium tickets sales. When you argue from a business perspective, the intangibles such as integrity, reputation or honor become sadly irrelevant.
It would be great if this is not true. I will always help anyone who asks me to assist their investigation whether they are in MUFON or not. It is with regret that I am resigning from MUFON, but I don’t see that I have an honorable alternative. We should all be on the same side and not divided into Elites and the Subservient. Thank you for reading this. I have tried to be as honest as I know how.
James E. Clarkson
Former MUFON State Director
Career UFO Researcher