Thursday, April 2, 2020

Microwaves, Dead Cows and Light Pillars - "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch."

So, the "History" Channel has now allowed free streaming of the first episode of "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch," in which the new owner of the Ranch, Brandon Fugal, participates to sing the wonders of the  property he has purchased, the Skinwalker Ranch (tm). The show jumps right into presenting its evidence, starting off with a dead cow. The participants were warned not to touch it "until we see if it's radioactive or not."

One theory set forth to explain the supposed "phenomenon" is that the Ranch (and indeed, all of the state of Utah) was downwind from the atomic testing near Las Vegas in the 1950s, and so supposedly there is lots of radioactivity remaining in the landscape. (Except that there obviously isn't, or else the whole state would need to be evacuated.)

Another theory set forth is that because the Ute tribe supposedly used to hold Navajos as slaves, the Navajos cursed the Utes, and loosed Skinwalkers and other shape-shifting supernatural beings upon them. But this does not appear to be historically correct. According to one tribal history, the Utes "Stole women and children from Paiutes and Goshutes and sold them to the Spanish and Mexicans for slaves."
Mr. Fugal thinks that his "light pillar" is something paranormal. In fact, it's a
well-known meteorological phenomenon.
In the above screen shot from the program, we obviously see a photo of a Light Pillar, a well-known if uncommon phenomenon in meteorological optics. It's clear that not only does Fugal know nothing about such optical phenomena, but (like his counterparts in TTSA) he failed to consult anyone who does. This does not inspire confidence in the quality of his "experts," or his "investigations."

Speaking of Fugal's "experts," the one receiving top billing is Travis Taylor, PhD, billed as a "physicist" and "Astrophysicist." However, as Jason Colavito has noted,
We cut back to May 2019 to introduce our investigators, starting with Travis Taylor, who identifies himself as a scientist with decades of scientific and engineering experience. The show omits the fact that he is also a talking head from Ancient Aliens who has spouted inane drivel about aliens’ secret lunar colonies and other nonsense, or that is a former Curse of Oak Island guest looney who imagined the island to be a representation of the constellation Taurus. 
An ad for Ancient Aliens shown during the Skinwalker show. Astrophysicist Travis Taylor
also appears as an "expert" on this show.
Like good little Ghost Hunters,  Taylor and the others use electronic devices to look for spooky stuff. Using a Trifield EMF meter, he not only detects strong microwave energy, but proclaims it to be at "dangerous levels."

Perhaps the most surprising development was Fugal's directive to his staff, "No digging!" He said, "Once we commence digging, it opens up a whole Pandora's Box." Apparently, digging "triggers the phenomenon," and probably releases demons or something from the Underworld. (New people arriving on the ranch also seems to trigger the phenomenon, we are told.) After digging a hole, ranch supervisor Tom Winterton reportedly suffered a strange, unexplained "goose egg" swelling on his head that required hospitalization, although no medical records were released to substantiate this claim. If someone is going to claim medical effects resulting from a 'paranormal' cause (Cash-Landrum, anybody?), it's just hearsay until the full medical records are released. 

More mysterious stuff is promised in subsequent episodes. My first impression after seeing this show is that Fugal is setting up an organization that is in many ways similar to Tom DeLonge's "To The Stars Academy": He gathers a team of supposed "experts" (who seem surprisingly unprepared to carry out serious investigations) to eagerly charge off and investigate supposed "mysteries." But nothing is ever really resolved. Fugal and DeLonge now have dueling "mystery" series on the "History" Channel. May the best man win.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The New Owner of "Skinwalker Ranch" Steps Forward, and He's No Stranger to Weird Stuff [Updated March 13]

A secretive company called Adamantium Real Estate bought the supposedly haunted "Skinwalker Ranch" from Robert Bigelow in 2016. The company was named for a fictional metal alloy in Marvel comic books that was indestructible, and nobody knew who was hiding behind that impenetrable corporate shell. Well, now we know. His name is Brandon Fugal, and (as might be expected), he is no stranger to weird things and weird claims.

Fugal steps forward in an interview just published in Vice by M. J. Banias, "This Is the Real Estate Magnate Who Bought Skinwalker Ranch, a UFO Hotspot." Cynics suggest that Fugal revealed himself only because of the forthcoming series "The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch"  on the "History" Channel on March 31, and wanted to take full advantage of that publicity.

Fugal's bio from the website of the Ancient Historical Research Foundation

We read in Banias' article,
Fugal’s journey to Skinwalker Ranch began in 2010. He and several other investors launched a project focused on testing gravitational physics theories involving exotic propulsion and renewable energy. In really simple terms, it was an attempt to create a gravitational reduction device that could produce clean energy. Fugal admits it was a shot in the dark.

“It was a challenging time. Admittedly, we were all governed by this childlike wonder. We were filled with excitement and gut-wrenching frustration at every turn,” Fugal said.
Do you care to hazard a guess who it might be that Fugal teamed up with in that dubious undertaking? Here is a hint: Who else lives in Utah, and is trying to build an anti-gravity device? That's easy: Joe Firmage. I wrote about this last year. That ill-considered venture has now resulted in the "Anti-Gravity Lawsuit" that TV producer Robert Kiviat has filed against Firmage and some of his associates, alleging that he didn't get paid for his work on their anti-gravity systems. Brandon Fugal is mixed up in that Anti-Gravity lawsuit, and will be called to testify.

Joe Firmage with his Anti-Gravity device (from his video).
Banias asked Fugal, "People have speculated that you are trying to develop a ‘paranormal retreat’ or a tourist destination." His reply:
Really? That isn’t going to happen. The ranch isn’t some place for ghost hunters to get their jollies. It's a serious scientific endeavor that requires patience and humility, and I have committed significant resources dedicated to discovering the truth of what is really happening. What a silly idea.

There is zero intention to monetize it in any way, although we do have traditional ranching activities such as raising cattle.
Fugal's answer doesn't seem to mesh with the Trademark filing he made for "Skinwalker Ranch," which lists the purpose of the venture as "Providing recreation facilities; Arranging and conducting special events for social entertainment purposes; Entertainment..." Hmmmm.

As researcher Tom Mellett has noted, Fugal is listed as a director of the Ancient Historical Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to investigating dubious claims about the "hidden history" of ancient civilizations that are described in the Book of Mormon. Another director of that organization is the physicist Dr. Steven Jones, well known as a "9-11 Truther," who suggests that the WTC buildings were destroyed in a controlled demolition.

A recent lecture sponsored by the Ancient Historical Research Foundation  told how "Sixty years ago in Central Utah, John Brewer discoverd a cave of stone boxes, ancient records and giant mummies."

[UPDATE March 13: Brandon Fugal now says that his association with AHRF ended in 2005, although that website still listed him as a Director until a few days ago. He also says that he does not believe that 'anomalous archaeology' stuff.]

Brandon Fugal was a Director of the Ancient Historical Research Foundation, which researches "Giant Mummies"
and stuff like that..

Saturday, March 7, 2020

'British UAP Sightings Now Online' - Another Facepalm for To The Stars

Oh, really?
TTSA writes, "British #UAP sightings dating back from 1950s to 2009 will be shared publicly for the first time, according to the British Royal Air Force. This recent Interesting Engineering feature details what can be expected." The posting links to an article claiming, "British UFO Sightings Will Be Published Online for the First Time Ever," and is illustrated by a fake photo of a flying saucer hovering over London's Tower Bridge.  In it we find the omnipresent Nick Pope, who claims to have once run the "MOD UFO Project,"

I knew that couldn't be correct. I had written back in 2013 that 
Dr. David Clarke
In fact, the sightings were first published on 4 December 2007. Somehow TTSA didn't get the word. As I have said before, DeLonge, Elizondo, and their crew are Babes in the Woods in matters of UFOlogy and UFO history.

To be sure, I contacted Dr. David Clarke about TTSA's claim. Clarke is a former reporter and currently course leader and senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University teaching media law and investigation skills. His Ph.D is in Folklore from the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition, University of Sheffield. From 2008-13 he acted as consultant and curator of the MoD UFO files project with The National Archives.

Dr. Clarke replied that "The story is complete nonsense," and referred me to his Blog entry of January 29, 2020, where we read:

Self-styled ‘former head of the [non-existent] British government UFO project’ Nick Pope is quoted by the MailOnline as saying he is pleased the public are going to be given an insight into ‘our work on these real-life X-files‘.

Sadly nothing could be further from the truth. As the MoD have made clear on numerous occasions, no work has been done on these ‘real life X-files’ since the admin office that logged calls was cut in 2009. ....  there is definitely nothing remotely ‘top secret’ being hidden away within these records and, as this link to MoD UFO reports 1997-2009 proves it is also not the first time – as incorrectly claimed – the UK MoD has made this type of material available online.
Clarke added:
There is nothing remotely top secret in the records it's just a list of FOI requests and emails from people reporting lights in the sky. Nick Pope has made a tidy living out of hyping this kind of story and then promoting himself to the media as a former British government UFO investigator. He was just a desk officer who answered letters about UFOs for three years during the '90s and was never in charge of anything There was never any such thing as a 'British Government UFO project'.

He included the following document drafted by the MOD, in response to an inquiry about UFOs from a Member of Parliament. It states, "The MOD has never operated anything described as 'The UFO Project'," adding "Mr. Pope elected to describe his position as the "Head of the MOD's UFO Project," a term entirely of his own invention."

Friday, January 24, 2020

Newly-Available: "Alien Autopsy" Debate with Ray Santilli, Robert O. Dean, and Robert Sheaffer (1995)

I was a guest on the "Town Meeting" show on KOMO (ABC) Seattle, recorded Nov. 9,1995, and broadcast on Nov. 12. The subject was the supposed "Alien Autopsy" film - "Reality or Hoax?" - with Ray Santilli, the owner and promoter of the film, interviewed via a satellite link. Another guest in the studio was the well-known UFO fabulist, the late Robert O. Dean (1929-2018). So far as I know, this debate has not previously been available.

Why are we still talking about this film, widely recognized as a hoax?  It shouldn't surprise us to learn that the AA film still has its vociferous defenders. As I wrote last June,
Ray Santilli admitted in 2006 that the famous Alien Autopsy film was a contemporary re-creation, but one supposedly based on a genuine alien autopsy film. But not everyone is convinced of the hoax - the AA film still has its defenders today, in spite of Santilli's confession that it was a "re-creation."
To read some of these defenses, see the Facebook group Alien Autopsy Analysis.

In the KOMO debate, Santilli plainly states that there are two autopsy videos (around 8:00), as well as some "debris footage" and "there's a whole lot of scrap footage." Santilli said that he got 22 reels of film from the cameraman (who he did not name, but Dean identified as Jack Barnett ).

A screen grab from the show, showing the now-iconic rubber alien. Note Santilli's claim of copyright in 1995.

While we were in the Green Room waiting to go on, Dean said to me in conspiratorial tones, "I know that Santilli's film is a hoax, because I've seen the real Alien Autopsy film!" I was also on some other show with him, but don't recall exactly which one that was. Dean was a gentlemanly fellow, even though most of what he said about UFOs was pure poppycock. On camera, Dean was undecided whether Santilli's film was authentic, but he asserted that other, genuine alien autopsy films exist. He later went on to show photos of highly-bogus supposed NASA UFOs from the Apollo missions, which he claims were given to him by the Prime Minister of Japan. Why NASA gave those Super Secret photos to the Prime Minister of Japan was never explained, nor why the Prime Minister would give them to Dean.

From the KOMO "Town Meeting" show.

Several UFOlogists make "cameo" appearances speaking from the audience. We see Kal Korff around 23:00, Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center around 42:30, and Marilyn Childs of MUFON around 46:00.

The controversial forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril H. Wecht was interviewed by telephone about the AA film. Wecht gained national fame for his analysis of the assasination of President John F. Kennedy, criticizing the conclusions of the Warren Commission. Like Dean, Dr. Wecht was noncommittal about the AA film, saying it could be real, or it could be a hoax.

Robert O. Dean, and Yours Truly.

Santilli made a lot of claims, like ""by now, millions of dollars has been spent worldwide" to investigate his film. I challenged him on that. I gave it to the journalists, he said, and the journalists had it investigated.

Afterwards, the noted UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass wrote about this show in his Skeptics UFO Newsletter (SUN), January 1, 1996, Vol 37, and analyzed Santilli's claims.  (Issues of  Klass' SUN are hosted by CSICOP/CSI on its website.)
Television viewers in the Seattle area had the opportunity to see and hear “Alien Autopsy’s” Ray Santilli when he participated in an hour-long talk show, via satellite link, on station KOMO on Nov. 12. The show was hosted by a somewhat skeptical Ken Schram. At one point in the program, Santilli acknowledged that his company has “made some money” from the sale of TV rights and home videos. But he added: “We are not into any kind of profit and we won’t be until the film is proved to be genuine.”

When host Schram and skeptical panelists asked why he had not accepted the offer of Eastman Kodak to have its scientists evaluate a several-inch-long sample of the autopsy film, Santilli replied: “Film with image—and not leader tape—has been given to Fox and to Bob Shell, who’s an independent film expert. Kodak has film. The film has been given to the English broadcasters, to the French broadcasters...and if we keep giving away film there will soon be very little left.” (The 22 rolls of film Santilli says he acquired would be 2,200 ft. in length.)

During the closing moments of the KOMO-TV show, host Schram asked Santilli “why you haven't gone to every length to get this film authenticated....Do you feel you've done everything you can and should?” Santilli responded: “I've given it to the broadcasters and I've asked them to investigate it. They've got the money and the resources to do it.” (Earlier Santilli claimed that “Millions of dollars world-wide has been spent on investigating the film and the film still maintains its integrity.”) When Schram asked, “Why not submit this to Kodak?” Santilli replied, “It has been submitted to Kodak by the broadcasters.”

Eastman Kodak’s Response To Santilli’s Claim
SUN decided to check out Santilli’s claim with Kodak on Nov. 30 and talked with Jim Blamphin in the company’s public affairs office. He said that the only film that had been submitted to Kodak was a “two- inch section of solid white leader, which serves to thread a film into a projector, whose edge-coding indicates it was manufactured in 1927, 1947 or 1967.” Blamphin said that Kodak’s British affiliate had offered to conduct a detailed chemical analysis to determine approximately when the “Alien Autopsy” film had been manufactured and processed if Santilli would provide a 10-in. strip of film and pay $8,000. “But we've not heard further from him,” Blamphin said.

When we informed Blamphin that Shell had earlier told SUN that a Kodak movie film specialist in Rochester, named Tony Amato, had agreed to test the Santilli film without charge if Shell would provide a two- inch long sample from the autopsy film [SUN #35/Sept. 1995], Blamphin said he would talk to Amato to confirm such an offer. Several days later, Blamphin confirmed Amato’s offer.

Shell told SUN during our Sept. 7 interview that Santilli had agreed to provide the two-inch strip of autopsy film. But when SUN next talked with Shell, on Oct. 6, he reported that Santilli’s financial partner, a German named Volker Spielberg—who, reportedly, had stored all of the original autopsy film in a Swiss vault—had flatly refused to provide the two-inch strip that Kodak needed. Shell explained that because Spielberg had put up the money to acquire the film, he “owned it” [SUN #36/Nov. 1995].

When Santilli had appeared on a British radio talk show on Aug. 21, a panelist said he hoped the original film was safely stored “in a big vault somewhere.” Santilli responded: “Yeah, I was going to say, Switzerland in a safe....Some went back to the cameraman. And some is still with us.” Seemingly, Santilli had a sufficient surplus of film such that he opted to return some of it to the 80+ year old cameraman. Yet it never occurred to him to send a several-inch-long-strip of film to Bob Shell to submit to Eastman Kodak for chemical analysis.
In SUN #36, (November, 1995), Klass raised the matter of the wall telephone with a coiled cord we see in the AA film, which appears to be of a much later vintage than 1947:
The “Alien Autopsy” movie, which purports to show a 1947 autopsy of an extraterrestrial creature recovered from a flying saucer that (allegedly) crashed in New Mexico, could not possibly have been filmed before 1956.
Klass checked with experts, and found that the phone appeared to be a Dreyfuss-designed wall telephone (including coiled phone cord), which did not make its debut until 1956. I raised that point in arguing for a hoax. However, in the next issue of SUN in January, Klass noted that he had erred: there were a few wall phones, and a few phones with coiled cords, in 1947, although none were in widespread use, and the odds of finding both together in 1947 was remote, although it was not completely impossible.

As for the latest controversy concerning the Alien Autopsy film, there is an ongoing copyright dispute between Santilli and Spyros Melaris, who claims credit for having created the film. Santilli, however, claims to have obtained a copyright release from the original cameraman. None of this would matter, of course, if no significant money was being made off the film, as Santilli claimed.

For those interested in the recent history of the Alien Autopsy controversy, Alejandro Rojas provides a nice summary.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Secret Medical Experiments at the Skinwalker Ranch?

Most readers of this Blog are familiar with the so-called "Skinwalker Ranch" near Ft. Duchesne, Utah. Supposedly haunted and filled with all kinds of paranormal phenomena, it was purchased in 1996 by the wealthy investor and UFO buff Robert Bigelow of AATIP fame for study of its alleged phenomena. Members of Bigelow's National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) stayed on the ranch for careful first-hand study. One of them was Colm Kelleher, PhD, co-author of the book Hunt for the Skinwalker. Another was Dr. Eric Davis, an astronomer who now works at Dr. Hal Puthoff's Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, Texas, studying weird physics. Despite Bigelow's funding and the investigators' unfettered access to the alleged phenomena,
after several years of Gorman family trauma and of focused NIDS investigation, we managed to obtain very little physical evidence of anomalous phenomena, at least no physical evidence that could be considered as conclusive proof of anything (Hunt for the Skinwalker, p. 209).
So, all the King's Horses and all the King's Men and all the King's cameras and electronic recording devices could not document anything paranormal occurring at the Skinwalker Ranch, in spite of spending several years on-site trying to do so. NIDS never did find anything much anywhere, so Bigelow shut it down in 2004, and in 2016 he sold the ranch to Adamantium Real Estate, LLC, whose owner has still not been publicly named. 

Chris Marx, former security guard at Skinwalker, being interviewed by John Greenewald.
Chris Marx is a US Army veteran and certified military police investigator, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan. Returning from Iraq in 2009, he was hired by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) as an investigator and security guard at the Skinwalker Ranch. This was five years after NIDS had been disbanded, so Bigelow's PhD investigators were long gone by this time. Marx' claims of employment at the ranch by BAASS have been checked out and are not in dispute. 

Marx claims to have witnessed many unexplainable events at the ranch (see below), but that is not his most significant claim. Marx says he believes that the purpose of his being hired at the ranch was to make him an unwitting subject of secret medical experiments, whose alleged purpose is unknown. This might just seem like another paranoid conspiracy story, except for one thing: Marx says that BAASS required him to get an MRI brain scan as a condition of employment, and he produced a consent form documenting that fact.

Bigelow required Marx to submit to an MRI brain scan (first posted by Erica Lukes)
This fact has astonished a lot of people, including me. I cannot think of a single reason for an employer to require an employee to submit to a brain scan, and I cannot think of any other employer who has previously required this. Recently Marx has been working with Erica Lukes, former MUFON State Director for Utah and now independent researcher with her own podcast, to investigate this matter. ( I was a guest on Erica's podcast in 2017. )

When Marx's MRI scan documentation was first posted by Erica Lukes on her Facebook page on November 10, Eric Davis (formerly of NIDS) stepped in to say, "they signed consent forms and no medical testing was done on them." ("They" presumably includes Christopher Bartel, who also formerly worked for BAASS at the ranch.) Davis added,
the AAWSAP [AATIP] was not about the ranch! It was about the Nimitz encounters and other Navy/USAF encounters. The ranch became a subordinate issue of interest because Bigelow owned it. There was no AAWSAP tasking for the ranch.
When Bartel insisted that "medical testing was done on us," Davis replied,
 I worked on that ranch for five years when I was the Director of Aerospace and Astrophysics Research at NIDS. I investigated (on the ranch and all over the Uintah Valley) and personally experienced A LOT of phenomenon on the ranch including the shooting of a possible cryptoterrestrial, one very violent calf mutilation, orbs, telepathic contact, UFOs, powerful musky odors, etc. I was never mentally or physically injured or medically tested after five years or much later after leaving NIDS. All of my work on the ranch was documented in Kelleher & Knapp’s book followed by Knapp & Corbell’s documentary film released in Sept. 2018. You and Mr. Marx are misleading Erica with your “false narrative” of being military vets who were medically tested without your consent. I’ve read all of the ranch reports during the AAWSAP. You weren’t “medically tested”. You two come off as disgruntled, fired ex-security guards looking for a big payoff.
Marx was not "fired." He left the ranch for a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and upon his return continued to work for Bigelow, although not at the ranch.

On November 15, John Greenewald, Jr., tireless researcher at The Black Vault, did a very interesting YouTube interview of Marx. In it Marx explained that when he went for his first interview with BAASS in Las Vegas, he walked in a side door of the building and was greeted by his interviewer pointing a handgun at him (!!). They asked him if he had ever had any previous paranormal experiences, experiences he could not explain. He replied "Yes," and apparently that was the answer they wanted to hear. He got the job.

Marx told Greenewald that according to some unnamed physicist, James T. Lacatski was seen at the ranch, implying that AATIP was involved. Lacatski is the only person we know to have been the head of AATIP/AAWSAP, despite Elizondo's claims to have run that program. The only thing that AATIP is known to have produced are 38 papers in weird physics, like anti-gravity, wormholes, and negative mass propulsion, and Lacatski's name appears on all of them. Everything else is just rumor, unsupported by any documentation. Greenewald noted that Hal Puthoff, as well as the Pentagon, say that AAWSAP and AATIP were the same program, while Luis Elizondo of To The Stars Academy insists they were not. (I am wondering if perhaps Elizondo may have 'padded' the resume he gave DeLonge? 😉)

Marx went on to say that there was practically no research equipment at the ranch, and so they used their own cameras and such when needed. However they were not, he says, given any directives about what to do at the ranch in terms of research. He portrayed Bigelow as being very stingy with necessary expenses for food, transportation, etc. "The whole time I was at the ranch I never saw Bigelow or any scientist."

But that did not stop Marx and his colleague(s) from doing their own investigations and recording their own observations. He claims that he and Bartel independently identified thirteen "hotspots" on the ranch. They wrote questions for the supposed paranormal 'entity,' placing them in tamper-proof evidence bags. They then used a Ouija board to try to get answers to the questions. However, he says that no answers were received, and the Ouija planchette repeatedly just flew toward his chest. Other reported strange occurrences were:
  • On the day he arrived at the ranch, his gear was tossed all around. (I have long suspected that the Ranch indeed had a trickster. A human one.)
  • An "invisible person," a very heavy one, allegedly walked around their trailer. He suspects that this may have to do with an AATIP experiment in "cloaking." (AATIP's weird physics paper #7 is titled "Invisibility Cloaking".)
  • They reportedly saw a very bright light in the night sky lasting a few seconds, so bright that Marx said he could still see the light with his eyes closed, and with his hand in front of his eyes.
  • Strangest of all is Marx's tale about the bulletproof wolf. He says he went outdoors one night to see why the dogs were barking so fiercely. He allegedly saw the dogs being held at bay by three large wolves, who then came after him. (Supposedly there are no wolves in the wild near the ranch).  Holding his 12-gauge shotgun, he fired eight rounds at one wolf from close range. The weapon had a red dot laser on the animal, it was impossible to miss. Yet there was supposedly no effect, and the wolves slowly walked off. (Marx's story of the bullet-proof wolf is not the only such account from Skinwalker. At other times it was apparently seen regularly, and was named "Toby.")
Google Map's aerial view of the Skinwalker Ranch. (Just plug "Skinwalker" into the search box.)  I don't see any Cryptids, do you?
Marx referred to an anonymous Ranch employee, "Chip," whose concerns about possible medical testing of employees was supposedly told on Jack Brewer's Blog The UFO Trail in 2012. Nobody picked up on it, Marx said. I went looking for that piece and didn't find it, however I did find a comment left there pointing to an article on the Daily Grail by "Red Pill Junkie" that in turn references a Paracast podcast from Sept. 2, 2012 in which "Chip" discussed his experiences at the Ranch. Mr. Red Pill writes that "Chip" said in 2012 that
whenever the personnel saw or felt something strange, they were required to have urine tests and bring the vials back to Vegas by the end of their shift (!). Chip also mentioned ‘brain scans’ performed on the individuals, although they were never informed of the results of such tests.

This last part of his job convinced Chip that he was there at the Skinwalker ranch more as a ‘guinea pig’ than as a security guard. “They were testing us,” he said to Gene, Chris, David and Ryan on that Paracast episode. He thought that perhaps the military was trying out something new at the remote rural location, and he and his colleagues were used as lab rats without their consent.
Las Vegas is over 500 miles from the Ranch, so it's obviously not possible for employees to 'bring the vials back to Vegas' at the end of a shift. "Were we exposed to radioactivity?" Marx asked. He noted that "fuel rods," described as about six inches long and made of very tough material, were supposedly found on the ranch, and given to Bigelow. Actually, that claim was made as far back as 1997, when they were described as five jet black "alien fuel rods" about six inches long that were "extremely hard."  One suggestion is that the rods were simply graphite rods, possibly from a lantern battery. It is extremely implausible that radioactive fuel rods would simply be left lying about the ranch, even if they had been somehow used there, which they almost certainly had not. Nobody has any real information about this now, although I suspect it's Much Ado about Nothing.

Marx closed his Black Vault interview with the admonition to be skeptical of Knapp and Corbell. Actually, Marx had earlier let off some steam in an open letter he gave to Skinwalker researcher Ryan Skinner, to be posted on Facebook:
While Mr. Knapp knows better, he is frequently on the forefront of selling snake oil to the masses, and Mr. Corbell seemingly can’t resist to pose in front of a fictitious blackboard with “data” scribbled all over it. While Mr. Corbell has absolutely zero historical involvement or relevance to anything “Ranch”, he displays himself as an expert and frequently gives wrong information on the Ranch.... Mr. Knapp, there are no “predator monsters” living on the Ranch, and there are no people tied to chairs in expectations to be killed or devoured. How do I know this? I actually worked the Ranch for 6 years, day and night. Often without any artificial illumination and by myself. There also has never been any documentation of “Big Foot”.
You guys are going as far as calling the Ranch a “mental and emotional torture chaimber”; clearly, you know better. Stop your artificial hype and disinformation nonsense.

Were Marx, Bartel, or anyone else subjected to medical experiments at Skinwalker Ranch? I don't think so, and here is why:

Greenewald asked Marx, "You were told, the reason you had to sign it was that they were going to be looking for effects on your body by this phenomena, whatever it was. So you were told that up front?" Marx replied, "Correct. And also, it was not negotiable. Because if we wouldn't have signed it, we would have lost our jobs." So one interpretation is that Bigelow believed that the Skinwalker "phenomenon" itself might have effects on someone's body, and he wanted to document it. And if BAASS were carrying out any such experiments, they would have periodically checked up on the effects of those experiments on their employees, which does not seem to have happened. So I don't think there was any attempt to monitor the health of those working at the ranch.

But why the brain scan? I have a suspicion: old-timers in UFOlogy will recall the mini-controversy raised over whether or not Whitley Strieber might have Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, causing him to hallucinate his "visitors" (as opposed to, "just making them up," which is far more likely). Supposedly, Strieber had a brain scan showing that his brain was just fine, so he doesn't hallucinate. So the "visitors" are real, take that you skeptics! Bigelow would surely remember this isssue being raised, and (I suspect) wanted to rule out any of his employees being likely to "hallucinate" anything at his ranch. That way, if they reported that they saw a Cryptid, it would be because some Cryptid was really there! 😉

Perhaps someday Mr. Bigelow will explain all this to us. But that doesn't seem very likely.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

"To The Stars" Seeking Government Grants to Warp Space-Time, and do other Remarkable Things [Updated 10-21]

On October 17, 2019, To The Stars Academy (which has sucked the air out of all other UFO discussions recently) announced a partnership with "The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command to Advance Materiel and Technology Innovations."

It says,
SAN DIEGO — Oct. 17, 2019 — To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science (TTSA) announced today a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command to advance TTSA’s materiel and technology innovations in order to develop enhanced capabilities for Army ground vehicles.
TTSA's technology solutions, which leverage developments in material science, space-time metric engineering, quantum physics, beamed energy propulsion, and active camouflage, have the potential to enhance survivability and effectiveness of multiple Army systems. TTSA will share its discoveries with Ground Vehicle System Center (GVSC) and Ground Vehicle Survivability and Protection (GVSP) and the U.S. Army shall provide laboratories, expertise, support, and resources to help characterize the technologies and its applications.
It conveniently provides an "invest now" button for those who actually believe this ridiculous stuff. 

TTSA is apparently saying that they will help the Army develop devices that can warp space-time and use quantum physics and all that. This makes me wonder - are there any adults in charge of the U.S. Army CCDC?? Do they seriously believe A), that space-warping devices made out of exotic "metamaterials" can actually be built, and B), that these clowns can do it? 

People were soon asking, does this make TTSA a government contractor? It looks like it does, but actually, it's more complicated than that. Some insight came from astrophysicist Dr. Eric Davis, who is not officially affiliated with TTSA but has a long association with TTSA researchers. He has worked extensively with Bob Bigelow, Hal Puthoff, and others on far-out research. He also spent a long time doing on-site investigations at the so-called "Skinwalker Ranch." (Davis told reporter George Knapp that a poltergeist apparently followed him home from that haunted ranch.) Davis  posted the following explanation of the recent TTSA announcement on Erica Luke's Facebook page:

What in the world is an SBIR? I had to look it up
The Small Business Innovation Research (or SBIR) program is a United States Government program, coordinated by the Small Business Administration, intended to help certain small businesses conduct research and development (R&D). Funding takes the form of contracts or grants. The recipient projects must have the potential for commercialization and must meet specific U.S. government R&D needs.
The SBIR program was created to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy ... one business at a time.[1] In the words of program founder Roland Tibbetts: "to provide funding for some of the best early-stage innovation ideas -- ideas that, however promising, are still too high risk for private investors, including venture capital firms."
Davis adds that
the physics and engineering already exist for most of topics, but not for FTL propulsion. I’ve developed the incremental theory and experimental steps toward FTL propulsion at EarthTech. The DoD was ordered by law to fund by grants any disruptive sci-tech research that will benefit the military and commercial tech markets.
So TTSA isn't going to actually make anything for the Army or other government agency (although their press release seems to be written to make one think so). But they're basically fishing for government funds. TTSA wants your taxpayer dollars in the form of a Small Business grant to support their "scientific excellence,"  such as
  • material science. Presumably this refers to their "metamaterials" that supposedly come from the "Roswell UFO crash" (Art's Parts).
  • space-time metric engineering. In other words, warping space and time as desired. That part is easy - all you have to do is grab a Black Hole, and drag it around.
  • quantum physics - WHAT exactly does TTSA propose to do using Quantum Physics in the way of developing a useful technology?
  • beamed energy propulsion - The concept is well-known, but is TTSA going to be able to actually develop any useful technology using these ideas?
  • active camouflage -a modest term for what might be called "invisibility."
Presumably, after Dr. Davis completes his FTL research with Dr. Puthoff at EarthTech, "faster-then-light propulsion" will be added to the list of TTSA's unique technological capabilities.

How much of the taxpayers' money will Tom and Lu get from this? Time will tell.

                                                        [Update Oct. 21, 2019]

The indefatigable John Greenewald of The Black Vault has once again scored a coup by being the first to publish a copy of the actual agreement between TTSA and the Army. It reveals that the Army's interest lies not in TTSA's reputed anbilties to warp space-time, to control quantum mechanics, to make something invisible, or to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Instead, it is TTSA's possession of so-called "metamaterials": supposedly anomalous metal samples that had earlier been sent anonymously to Art Bell, and sometimes known as "Art's Parts." These were claimed to be fragments of the supposed saucer crash at Roswell. From the Army's initial statement:
Specific to the To The Stars Academy CRADA, TTSA has a set of different materials, the properties of which they’re interested in investigating the properties.  As materials research in general is of key interest to Army research, the Army is interested in any insights gained from investigating the properties of these materials, too.  In this case, the Army is providing the expertise and facilities to analyze the materials, and TTSA is providing the materials themselves; both parties receive the results of the analysis.  Just as there is no financial compensation to TTSA for the use of the materials, there is no financial compensation to the Army for the use of the facilities.
Dr. Doug Halleaux,  Public Affairs Officer for the Army’s CCDC GVSC, told the Black Vault,
As far as the materials– the Army’s interest is in the potential for novel materials and exploring the edges of materials science, any speculation as to their origin is (pardon the pun) immaterial. Our team is always excited to look at something new, whether it’s materials or technologies, capabilities or processes,” said Dr. Halleaux. “As materials research in general is of key interest to Army research, the Army is interested in any insights gained from investigating the properties of these materials, too. In this case, the Army is providing the expertise and facilities to analyze the materials, and TTSA is providing the materials themselves; both parties receive the results of the analysis.
It has been pointed out by several sources that the use of a CRADA precludes the transfer of funds in either direction. This seems to contradict what Eric Davis said above, about the CRADA involving the submission of SBIRs, which are grant requests. So far it is not clear whether or not TTSA will be submitting SBIRs, or has already done so.

One big benefit of this arrangement for TTSA is obvious: now they don't need to pay any lab to analyze those "metamaterials" for them. Pretty clever!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

"To The Stars" Covertly Publishes Bob Lazar's Book, and Buys 'Metamaterials' - from Tom DeLonge!

Bruce Fenton, who describes himself as "a British data scientist, adventurer and independent anthropologist," writes a far-out Blog titled "Hybrid Humans - Extraterrestrial genetic engineering of Homo sapiens alien-human hybrids." I didn't get into his claims about "Fingerprints of Our Ancient Alien Genetic Engineers." But on October 8, Fenton turned up something quite interesting. He noted that
Back in October 2017, Tom DeLonge [founder of "To The Stars"] was on the super popular Joe Rogan show, in what is widely considered a train-wreck of an interview (partly because Tom had to give various no-comment replies). During this conversation, Tom revealed that he would be putting out Bob Lazar’s autobiography. Despite two years passing we have not heard anything more about that project, and yet, the book is now available on Amazon [here] – at least ‘partly’.

For a while now there have been questions over whether TTSA would still be publishing Bob’s book, the publisher is listed as Interstellar, which turns out to be a small mysterious imprint with only one title in its listing, the Lazar autobiography. Strangely there was no clarification of who owns this imprint, but on the Amazon page for the autobiography, an error (or clue) was left that helped solve this puzzle. While the official launch date for the book was recently moved from the end of September to October 15th (the same date as Tom’s new Sekret Machines book), somehow the audio version did not get ‘correctly updated’ we are left to assume. This audiobook also included a small note stating that TTSA retained the copyright.
Fenton then did a Whois domain name search, and found that the domain name belongs to "To The Stars." I checked this myself, and here is what I found:

I obtained this registration information on, registered by "To The Stars".

 (Update October 11:)

Here is the exact same query submitted 48 hours later. "To The Stars" tries to cover its tracks.

Fenton also notes that the audiobook version of this book (probably carelessly) carries a copyright by "To The Stars." (Two days later, that "copyright" was changed to remove "To The Stars.")

Notice the copyright on this audiobook. This was also changed within 48 hours.
Most of my readers already know who Bob Lazar is. For the benefit of those who don't, here is the promotional blurb for his book:
Bob Lazar was a brilliant young physicist that found himself employed at a top secret facility in the middle of the desert outside Las Vegas. Under the watchful eye of the government elite, he is tasked with understanding an exotic propulsion system being used by an advanced aerospace vehicle he is told came from outer space.

The stressful work and long, odd hours start to wear on Bob and he becomes concerned for his safety. He tells his wife and a couple close friends about what he's doing in the desert, and his employers find out and are furious. When they station goons outside his house, Bob seeks help from wealthy UFOlogist, John Lear, who encourages Bob to take his story to award-winning investigative journalist George Knapp at KLAS-TV, a CBS affiliate.
George Knapp is, of course, the go-to journalist for all things concerning "To The Stars," or Bob Lazar, or Robert Bigelow, or anything UFOlogical.

Lazar claims to have gotten degrees in physics from MIT and Caltech. He says he worked on reverse-engineering crashed alien saucers at area 51. They are supposedly powered by Element 115, which ought to be named Lazarium, said to be a wonderful source of power.

Anyone in UFOlogy with a shred of intelligence or critical thinking realizes that Lazar's preposterous story is a hoax, from top to bottom. Even the famous "Flying Saucer Physicist," the late Stanton Freidman (1934-2019), consistently maintained that Bob Lazar was a "fraud." Friedman wrote about Lazar's story,
It is all BUNK. Not one shred of evidence has been put forth to support this story: No diplomas, no résumés, no transcripts, no memberships in professional organizations, no papers, no pages from MIT or Caltech yearbooks. He also mentioned, in a phone conversation with me, California State University at Northridge and Pierce Junior College — also in the San Fernando Valley, California. I checked all four schools. Pierce said he had taken electronics courses in the late 1970s. The other three schools never heard of him.... I checked his High School in New York State. He graduated in August, not with his class. The only science course he took was chemistry. He ranked 261 out of 369, which is in the bottom third. There is no way he would have been admitted by MIT or Caltech. An MS in Physics from MIT requires a thesis. No such thesis exists at MIT, and he is not on a commencement list. The notion that the government wiped his CIVILIAN records clean is absurd. I checked with the Legal Counsel at MIT — no way to wipe all his records clean. The Physics department never heard of him and he is not a member of the American Physical Society.
Old Stanton had no patience with those he considered phonies. The important question now is: If even Stanton Friedman could definitively call out Lazar as a fraud, why is "To The Stars" destroying whatever credibility it might possibly retain by publishing Lazar's absurd hoax? The initial answer is, I think - TTSA deliberately obscured its connection with Interstellar Books, and hoped nobody would notice that connection. That way they could get the revenue from the book sales, and enjoy the indirect benefit of greater public interest in wild UFO tales, without having such a preposterous claim directly tied to them. Either "To The Stars" is too gullible to see Lazar's obvious hoax, or (more likely) they don't care, because they are a "multimedia entertainment company."

Suddenly on October 9, the day after Fenton's piece was published, To The Stars abandoned its pretense of ignoring the Lazar autobiography, and for the first time promoted it on their Twitter feed:

However, sensitive to the inevitable criticisms, To The Stars added,

Notice that they did not say that any of the "facts" in Lazar's book might be bogus (which they clearly are), but only that there are some "the TTS Academy team can't verify." Like Lazar's claim to be a physicist? Plenty of Lazar's claims can readily be un-verified, if TTSA would bother to check.

To which Bruce Fenton had a fitting reply:


On 29 September 2019, TTSA filed a number of documents with the US government's Securities and Exchange Commission.  One of these documents, was "Form 1-SA." Item 4  to this form is a list of "exhibits," one of which is labelled "6.22 Asset Purchase Agreement dated July 15, 2019." It is this one which was of particularly interest to me, in relation to the 25 July 2019 announcement by TTSA concerning the acquisition of metamaterials.

This "Confidential" Asset Purchase Agreement is an agreement between TTSA as the buyer and Thomas DeLonge as the seller. Section 1.03 tells us that the purchase price for the Assets was $35,000.

Some of the "Metamaterials" purchased by TTSA from Tom DeLonge.
These "metamaterials" are of course also known as "Art's Parts," sent anonymously in 1996 to the late talk show maven, Art Bell of Coast to Coast AM. They have previously been examined, and appear to be a type of industrial waste from right here on earth. So, if you have "invested" in "To The Stars," and are wondering where your money went, a big chunk of it just went into the pocket of Tom DeLonge, for selling to his company supposed flying saucer pieces already in his possession. He sold them Art's Parts.

                                                UPDATE November 20, 2019

Linda Moulton Howe says it was she who owned Art's Parts, and sold them to Tom DeLonge for $35,000. However, the Form 1-SA filed by TTSA clearly identified DeLonge as the seller. So far nobody has explained this.