A Heavy Week For Ufology!

Dave’s Write Away
By Dave Scott, Host, Spaced Out Radio
A Heavy Week For Ufology!
The world of Ufology was rocked this past week after it came to light that Jan Harzan, the International Executive Director for MUFON since 2013, was arrested and charged with trying to lure a 13-year old girl for sexual interaction.  Harzan’s arrest happened on July 3rd.  It came to light on the 14th about his arrest.  We only found out about the incident after the HBPD released a statement on their Facebook page.  “On July 3, detectives contacted a male by the name of Jan Harzan after Harzan solicited sexual activity from a detective he believed was a 13 year old girl. The suspect solicited the minor to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity, and when the suspect agreed to meet the supposed minor, detectives were there to take him into custody. On July 8, detectives contacted a different male by the name of Norman Powers after Powers also solicited sexual activity from the detective posing as a 13 year old, and also arranged to meet for the purpose of sexual activity. Once he arranged a meet, detectives contacted him and determined he was there to engage in sexual activity with a minor.  Both Harzan and Powers were arrested for multiple felonies and transported to the Huntington Beach jail. Both of the suspects in these cases were specifically targeting minor females online. This is a great opportunity for us to remind anyone who has minor children with access to the internet – predators are out there, and they are looking for victims.”

MUFON’s Board of Directors held an emergency meeting that evening, firing Harzan effective immediately and releasing this statement, “
In light of recent events, Jan Harzan has been permanently removed as the Executive Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). Effective immediately, he will no longer serve any role in the organization. David MacDonald, Executive Director Emeritus and a member of the MUFON Board of Directors, will now assume the duties of Executive Director. MUFON remains committed to its core mission: the study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity. This mission is greater than any one person or member of MUFON and supersedes all other considerations. We will continue to move forward and focus on our mission statement.”

As I stated on Spaced Out Radio, I know two people on MUFON’s BOD whom I consider friends.  In chatting briefly via text message with both of them, the shock and the pain they felt over this was unconscionable.  The one person hadn’t slept in a couple days.  Rumors and conjecture immediately started to run rampant on social media.  The ‘Cancel Culture’ wanted MUFON shut down effective immediately, stating it wasn’t just Harzan’s malicious and alleged charges; but also racism and racist comments made by former members of MUFON, who were State Directors on the East Coast.  

MUFON is at a crossroads right now, and gathering daily via conference and video calls to discuss what their next few moves should be in order to clean up this latest mess and move away from Harzan and the horrid charges laid against him as quickly as possible.

Over the last decade, MUFON’s reputation has been questioned on numerous occasions.  Weak leadership can do that.  I have been overly critical about the organization for the last couple of years, as Harzan deliberately dodged coming on our show because he didn’t want to answer any tough questions on MUFON’s history.  That shows weakness when your leader doesn’t want to defend his own team.  

But is there still a place for MUFON?  Cautiously I state that I do believe there is, for a few reasons.  They have an amazing database of information and connections that can be used and added to.  They need to figure out and implement a game plan effective immediately on how to start rebuilding their reputation post-Harzan.  My recommendation to one BOD member was to hire an independent investigator to thoroughly interview everyone on the BOD and around head office in Orange County, to make sure that everyone is as clean as they say.  MUFON needs to be held accountable and the best way to do that is to hire a private firm to investigate.  If it comes out clean, it’s a step forward.  If more dirt is found, clean up the mess even more.  It would behoove MUFON’s current BOD to do this, and make it public as well.  Drain the swamp, I believe, is the correct statement here.

On a personal level, from what I have been able to find out from people within MUFON, the rest of the Board of Directors had absolutely no clue about this. And I believe this statement.  But even more twisted, and what does make me think here and needs to be investigated, was how was Jan Harzan arrested on the 3rd, and kept it silent from so many people until it became public 11 days later?  The dude went back to work without informing anyone.  That is very brazen on Harzan’s part, as he should have immediately resigned from his position.  But whether it was ego, fear, or naivety he kept on like it was business as usual.  That states one of two things: 1) Someone else knew and told him to shut up.  2) He thought this would pass over and if he kept it quiet, he’d still have a job.  He forgot one thing, THE INTERNET!

This is where an internal investigation from an independent source can find out this information.  It’s imperative the BOD and MUFON do this, otherwise they will do nothing to rebuild their credibility within the field.  It would also put any other potential perverts on notice that their days of abuse and sick, twisted sexual fantasies are not going to be tolerated by the UFO community at all.  MUFON has a chance to be a real leader here, championing a new cause, if they do it right.  Let’s hope they do.

As for the rest of the Ufology field, everyone now has to be questioned, especially those closest to Harzan.  In talking to a couple of former police officers who are working within the UFO community, they state these types of sick people are either lone wolfs, or they work in a wolf pack.  Details regarding Harzan and his alleged actions are few and far between right now.  We will learn more.  Was this a one-time thing on a bad judgement call?  Were there other victims?  Right now we don’t know.  You know that in cases like this, all of his computers will have been seized for evidence, likely including the ones at MUFON headquarters that he had access to.  We will know soon enough.

Until more evidence comes out, there’s a couple of things we have to remember; 1) In the court of public opinion, Jan is already tried and convicted.  He can’t come back into the field now.  But in the court of law, he is innocent until proven guilty.  2) Jan Harzan is NOT MUFON.  MUFON has some great, brilliant and wonderful people involved.  To persecute them for Jan’s arrest and alleged actions is unfair at best.  The mob mentality can be sickening at times, so we must do our best to separate the two sides.  3) MUFON needs to work their asses off to rebuild their reputation and they only have one shot to get this right. 4) In looking for future leadership, MUFON should look outside their current organization to find a permanent replacement to lead their organization.  That person should be someone who is educated, understands the UFO world, empathizes with the prior mistakes previous management has made, and has a heavy hand strong enough to take this once proud organization back from the ditches to the penthouse in Ufology.

As we continue to monitor this story, we all need to thank the Huntington Beach Police Department for their great work in getting alleged predators off the streets and protecting our children.  This is a good reminder for all of us with kids who use the internet, to teach them that chat rooms are not safe.  Never give out email addresses, and take the time to learn about securities along with whom our children are talking to online.

Author: Gail Hodson Shirk

Please Login to Comment.