| THOMAS EDDIE BULLARD
Thomas Eddie Bullard was born in North Carolina in 1949 and developed an early interest in flying saucers thanks to Friday and Saturday nights at the movies, where he saw such classics as "Earth Versus the Flying Saucers". Sputnik inspired him to begin reading the newspapers and he no sooner started than the Levelland sightings piqued his curiosity. He began to read all the UFO publications he could find--Keyhoe's books, Dick Hall's "The UFO Evidence", Fate, Ray Palmer's Flying Saucers--and he eventually joined NICAP and APRO in the 1960s. After spending his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina, Bullard went to graduate school in Folklore at Indiana University, and wrote his dissertation on UFOs, completing his doctoral degree in 1982. During his research he scanned a great many newspapers for reports of the 1896-97 airship and other pre-1947 sightings. He continued this work by traveling to state archives and began issuing collections of this material as The Airship File in 1982. When the Fund for UFO Research called for someone to catalogue and carry out a comparative study of abduction reports, he took on the job and completed "UFO Abductions--The Measure of a Mystery in 1987." The literature up to that time included some 300 reports, and comparisons demonstrated that reliable reports had many details of sequence and content in common. Following up on this abduction research, Bullard published articles in the Journal of American Folklore, Journal of UFO Studies, IUR, the MUFON UFO Journal, and the 2000 MUFON Symposium, arguing that abduction reports maintain a surprising consistency. This sameness contrasts with folk narratives, urban legends, and products of fantasy, where narrators readily exploit opportunities for variation in the subject material. Bullard contributed several articles for the Abduction Study Conference held at MIT in 1992. One such article, treating a comparison of abduction investigators' findings, he later expanded into "The Sympathetic Ear", published by the Fund for UFO Research in 1995. His ongoing interest in the historical and cultural aspects of UFOs led to an article in "UFOs and Abductions", edited by David M. Jacobs and published by the University Press of Kansas in 2000. He is currently working on a UFO book for the same press. Over the years he has served on the board of CUFOS and the advisory board of the Fund for UFO Research.
My current conclusion on the UFO mystery continues to be that a residuum of reports reflects a genuine unconventional phenomenon. Even so, the vast majority of reports, including many that are impressive and intriguing, are probably conventional in nature. The body of unknowns consists of a few defensible and ironclad cases while the rest remain in a gray area with too many uncertainties to decide pro or con.