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Swift
Written by James Randi   

boylan.jpg From reader Mogens Winther, a teacher of physics, astronomy and maths in Sønderborg, Denmark, comes this item, which invoked his brief comment: “Stupidity never stops.” Somone named “Geri” wrote to “UFO Facts” – at UFOFacts@yahoogroups.com – with an inquiry:

Subject: Orbs or raindrops???

Dr. Boylan,

We had a severe storm here last night in Central Florida. It was worse than any storm I have every experienced (with the possible exception of a few big hurricanes). The energy was palpable and the dark cloud cover made it look like night. We had over 2,000 lightening [sic] strikes in one hour (lots of energy), along with rain and hail.

I went outside and took a photo. When I looked at it, it resembled the Orb photos. I was on the front porch and there was no water on my lense [sic] and no hail falling. I have attached the photo and I would like to know... Is this my first photo of Orbs? or are these just raindrops?

I appreciate your expertice [sic].

Geri first received a response from a Victor M. Vargas, evidently connected with the “UFO Facts” group:

Dear Geri and all,

If you want to compare your orb photos with the ones on the link to James Guilliand's web page: www.eceti.org/Eceti.ORBPhotographs.html.           

Now, these “orb” photos are excellent examples of how the imagination – and lack of experience – of amateur photographers can lead them to preposterous conclusions. They are actually puzzled by these digital anomalies! In particular, note the one at www.eceti.org/EcetiOrbPhotos/2008SPWTCIV.jpg – hardly an “orb” photo, but one that confounds the amateurs equally well.

(To refresh your data-base on such matters, see www.randi.org/jr/051002.html and do a search on the word “conditioner” to bring up the item. Then go to www.randi.org/jr/051702.html and search for “opinion” for the specific item. There are many more – 73 – “orb” references in SWIFT archives.)

But this “Dr. Boylan” of “UFO Facts” referred to above, just who is he? Good question! Dr. Richard J. Boylan, Ph.D., describes himself as a

…behavioral scientist, anthropologist, university associate professor (emeritus), certified clinical hypnotherapist, and researcher… a consultant to Star Kids and Star Seeds seeking to understand better their origin, identity and mission, so they can achieve full awareness of and clarity about their identity, inner growth, spiritual development, and future path. [He] provides hypnotherapy for recalling full details of partially-remembered close encounters with the Star Visitors, stored in subconscious memory.

The references to “Star Kids,” “Star Seeds,” and “Star Visitors” pretty well tell the whole story. Boylan embraces the sci-fi notion of visitors from superior species visiting Earth and mystically “advancing” certain children – much as Arthur C. Clarke wrote about in “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), though Clarke did it with an adult… Of course, this idea – as well as the myth of “indigo children” – is fully accepted by some woo-woo parents, who can be so easily convinced that they have produced a superhuman.

Dr. Boylan says he has

…conducted research into human encounters with the Star Visitors. This has led to his current focus, creation of the Star Kids Project, Ltd, and working with these genetically-upgraded children with advanced abilities, and their families.

And, as a capper to this illustrious career, he actually

…has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs, including NBC's Sightings twice, on Paramount Television Network's Paranormal Borderline, three times on Art Bell's Dreamland program, and as many times on George Noory’s Coast To Coast AM program.

Well, that convinces me, folks! The reputations of these shows says it all…

Another inquiry to Dr. Boylan – shown here exactly as written – must have pleased him, since it plays the music he wants to hear, and which he delights in repeating:

Dr Boylan,

i know that orb folks take different color and specially shapes, that is, they are not always round. they can be square, diamond, oval, star, irregular, etc, shaped. however, i don't understand the reason for their various shapes, maybe:

- because they are different groups (as to say races/ages within them?)

- because of their vibrational level or evolution

i would love to learn more about them, but have not found an answer for this question anywhere, including internet.

peace & wonder,

Mrs Alvarado

A response arrived from Dr. Boylan. As expected, it was fully woo-woo in nature and content:

From: UFOFacts@yahoogroups.com

Mrs. Alvarado,

Orbs are living life forms which are composed of energy, most often in the visible wavelength spectrum.

As sentient, self-directed beings they can change their shape and internal appearance at will. I cannot claim to know all the Orbs' individual reasons for changing or selecting a shape. But they can be whimsical, and they sometimes do so as a way of responding to a Human's contact and communication.

in the light,

Richard Boylan, Ph.D., LLC,  Councillor President, Star Kids Project, Ltd

Does this PhD really believe what he’s written? Has he any supporting evidence?

I’ve said it before: the mind boggles...

As an example of how real scientists handle this particular anomaly of digital photography, consider the item that Mogens sent me to illustrate the point: 

 I just found these "orbs" amazing – in ccd astronomy they are known as irritating dust "donuts" or "speckles," but with the woo-woo ufo- and ghosthunters they are – without discussion – regarded as being an intelligent lifeform.

Mogens sends us to this site    – where we find a fascinating description of how such images are electronically processed to eliminate such artifacts. And, as he says, this is how real scientists handle problems, not by inventing ridiculous scenarios that will earn them the recognition of the popular press.