The 1937 best-selling "Secret Life of Plants" includes an entire chapter on Vogel. In one scene, he attempts to determine whether plants wired with electrodes show a physiological response to "spooky stories." The book says that at "certain points in a story, such as...`Charles bent down and raised the lid of the coffin,' the plant seemed to pay closer at- tention."
Vogel, 70, said Meier's UFO movies convinced him the farmer had been in contact with "some form of extraterrestrial intelligence" However, Vogel doesn't regard the metal samples by themselves as proof of extraterrestrials because he didn't have a chance to consult with other experts before the samples mysteriously disappeared. Vogel added that since his plant work of the 1970's, he had founded a psychic research institute in San Jose, employed his "mental energy" to bend spoons and studied the use of crystals to cure illness.
"Light Years" also quotes authorities such as Robert Post, head of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, as saying: "From a photography standpoint, you couldn't see anything that was fake about the Meier photos... I thought, God, if this is real, this is going to be really something."
Or is it? In an interview with The Examiner, Post recalled that several years ago, Wendelle Stevens visited him at JPL and requested an expert opinion on the pictures. Post acknowledges he was fascinated by the images, but was unable to perform a scientific analysis for two reasons: First, he isn't a photo analyst but rather the operator of a photo processing lab ("like you take your film to K-Mart", he said); and second, the pictures weren't originals but rather copies of originals - perhaps even copies of copies of copies. Such multiple copying tends to obscure delicate details, making it hard to detect evidence of fraud - e.g., threads supporting hubcaps.
In addition, when Post examined some images with a magnifying glass, he realized "a lot of the pictures weren't really photographs at all - they were lithographs," or high-resolution ink prints made from photos - and, hence, were worthless for purposes of analysis. Furthermore, the photos were " a lot fuzzier than the stuff on the lithographs, and I thought that was a little strange."
For that and other reasons, Post began "to think, `Nuts, maybe this guy is just a con man.' That's not the kind of guy I want to have anything to do with."
In 1983, Stevens was convicted of child molestation in Pima County, AZ. He is now serving time in the Arizona State Prison and declined to be interviewed. But he did send The Examiner a cryptic letter in which he said a "number of high officials...have taken a personal interest in some of the things we were doing, but they could neither support nor tolerate them officially."
Stevens' conviction triggered a wave of paranoia among Meier buffs. Some phoned Vicki Cooper, editor of California UFO Magazine in Los Angeles, and said Stevens "was `set up,' that certain witnesses were being killed," said Cooper, who is not unsympathetic to Meier's claims. "I was discouraged and disgusted with the people I was talking to."
"Its a cesspool out there," she said. "Personality conflicts are rabid in this field...There are hoaxers, there are fraudulent people who are claiming outrageous things all throughout the UFO field.
End of report
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