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Debunked is a rare skeptical work on the subject of UFOs, and it chronicles the investigations of several prominent cases, as well as a chapter of background on the disappearance of Ta'zhen, then known as Kayla Kavanaugh. It represents the culmination of Nat Atrella's years-long quest for the truth, and cites heavily the works of other skeptical people, such as William Randall, as well as his own investigations.


Atrella wrote Debunked as a response to the claims circulating around Esterholt about the reasons and motives behind Ta'zhen running away. His research into the matter has led him to a host of other zany theories about other famous UFO cases, which he meticulously picked apart, including a lot of work locating old witnesses and records. Debunked is a compilation of the current results of his quest for the truth.

Document Structure


Chapters are organized fairly loosely both chronologically and by theme. The book opens with the history of sightings, as widely accepted, before progressing through the series of "close encounters": physical trace cases, sightings of entities, and finally abductions. A significant portion of the book is devoted to the last, including the one known case where it appears someone ran off with an alien of their own free will (see: Ta'zhen). After this, Atrella devotes his page time to subjects like: theories about the origins of aliens, loony nonsense about government conspiracies, and the concept of disclosure. The last pages are devoted to an appendix, a bibliography, and an index.


Debunked cites a number of other skeptical works, prominently including those of William Randall, alongside accounts of Atrella interviewing primary witnesses and principals in cases where possible. Most commonly this is used to compare accounts across time, but this also includes his efforts to track down concrete data (such as the date and time of an incident) and thus determine a solution. Appropriate agencies are also cited accordingly. The chapter on Kayla's disappearance cites police reports and interviews conducted by Ohio Saucer Watch members, as well as OSW's analysis of security footage and Erin's personal photographs.

Publication Status

The book is available to anyone with a few dollars and access to websites like Amazon, or a brick-and-mortar bookstore.

Historical Details


Besides the impetus for this book, Ta'zhen's disappearance from Esterholt, a lot of other modern events fed into the final product, from the Roswell crash (a story which was later blown up by two UFOlogists writing a book) and the Arnold sighting just before it, through the contactee movement, through the abduction phenomenon, and into the present with a host of stories of hybrid children and the combination of all manner of ideas into UFOlogy. Atrella's mission in the research of the book became a remarkably long process of separating the wheat from the chaff, piecing together what was and is fringe from what was and is mainstream. The pattern of increased credulity became apparent, as did the hoaxes and wild yarns sold to the community (always sold, despite promises of "guaranteed proof"). Thus, over time, more and more of his book became about putting to rest some of the craziest ideas in order to seek out the truth.

Public Reaction

Being a skeptical book about UFOs and related stories, it has never reached very far beyond a particularly niche market of skeptics and skeptical believers (and citizens of Esterholt, thanks to its comprehensive coverage of Kayla/Ta'zhen's disappearance). However, his work (primarily) debunking cases the UFO community clings to has earned him something of a sour reputation among UFOlogists and believers. Promoters of their own strange and unusual stories will be told things like "don't talk to that guy, he's a bad dude."


Thanks to Ta'zhen's reappearance (and admitted fondness for the "local boy") Debunked is likely to become one of the top sources on the seven years for which she was missing. In Atrella's words:  
If that gets more people reading the facts, that's fine by me.
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