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Elaine Douglass
Elaine Douglass

Elaine Douglass passed away Jan 27, 2014 of her recurrent battle with cancer. She served as State Director for Washington DC and later the State of Utah. She was also a speaker at the 2005 MUFON Symposium. In her professional life, she helped attorneys with legal marketing, writing a column that ran for years in Legal Times. She was well-known enough to be interviewed in a long article in the New York Times in 1993. Quoting from the article: "Miss Douglass has a master's degree in military policy from M.I.T. -- expertise, she said, that comes in handy in legal marketing. She answers her questions with all the subtlety of Gen. George S. Patton."

The NY Times certainly got that right! I knew Elaine from her time back in DC, around the time she was protesting in front of the White House for CAUS (Citizen's Against UFO Secrecy). Right about then she became a burr under the saddle of the Fund for UFO Research, as the Executive Committee was divided as to whether she added to the meetings or simply disrupted them. At Dr. Bruce Maccabee's annual May UFO events, Elaine would be the only one with the guts to stand up on a chair and shout to end Bruce's "free speech" after 2+ hrs. She would beg for mercy for Bruce to please yield the floor ... we gasped, but we were glad that Bruce finally decided to wrap it up. She was always very direct. She would smoke when hotel personnel would beg her not to. She would drive tacks into hotel meeting room walls when they asked her not to.

I was at her DC condo good-bye party when she was preparing to head off to Moab, Utah with Ron Regehr. There were some historically significant people present to see her off, such as Bill Weitzel of Ohio NICAP fame and physicist Dr. John Brandenburg (a 1990 Symposium presenter). Brandenburg had been romantically connected with Elaine years earlier. The three of us shared the same philosophy that the alien presence was something to be quite wary about. Years later, she asked me to help edit the first issues of JAR (Journal of Abduction Research). I brainstormed with another artist friend to come up with the logo and art for the magazine, and an electronic project was born. My relationship with Elaine went south quickly, though. We had different ideas about how to proceed. I really wanted to edit and fact-check; Elaine, not so much. If something felt "emotionally relevant" she just wanted to "get it out there!" She was very complex, nuanced and driven, but our conflicts were just as intense. Later Elaine continued her burr-under-the-saddle routine as self-appointed ombudsman for MUFON.

Still, no one was more passionate that abductees needed to be heard if we are to understand anything about the phenomenon. For that passion, and for many memorable exchanges, I sincerely salute you Elaine. RIP.

Susan Swiatek