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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Did the U.S. Navy Admit that UFOs Are Real in 1961? Or was it 1954?

On October 1, the veteran Canadian UFO researcher Chris Rutkowski posted on the Facebook group UFO Updates the wry comment, "Wow! The US Navy admitted UFOs are real!... In 1961." He refers to a brief article published by  NICAP, the largest UFO investigative group in the U.S. at that time, in its publication UFO Investigator, July-August, 1961."UFO Recognition Charts Issued to U.S. Ships" was the headline.
Approved by the U.S. Navy, recognition charts showing two types of UFOs are now posted for quick use on the bridges of most American ships.

Designated "OPNAV-94-P-3B," and bearing the words "Authorized by the Secretary of the Navy," these early-warning recognition charts show two sketches of UFOs - one as a typical round "flying saucer," the other a bat-like space craft with ports along the side.

With the illustration of these two UFO types specifically authorized by the Secretary of the Navy, this appears to be official Navy recognition that UFOs are real, regardless of public Air Force denials.

Rutkowsi adds, "Please alert Fox News immediately and thank Tom DeLonge for advancing Disclosure." He is referring, of course, to DeLonge's frequent claim that he and his colleagues at his To The Stars Academy are single-handedly responsible for the U.S. Navy 'admitting that UFOs are real.' 

NICAP UFO Investigator, July-August, 1961.

 Below we see the chart to which the NICAP article refers:

This is the actual "recognition chart" released to sailors in 1961.

Of course Tom and his pal Luis Elizondo won't know this, as they are Babes in the Woods concerning what happened in UFOlogy before they came along. But those of us who have been around for a while will remember hearing about JANAP 146, which is mentioned in the above article as the requirement for reporting unidentified objects. JANAP 146 was promulgated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest level of U.S. military command. It concerns "instructions for reporting vital intelligence sightings from airborne and waterborne sources."

It all seems eminently reasonable. The U.S. military, then as now, has a need to know if unknown aircraft, ships, or missiles are encroaching into the territory that they are sworn to protect. They would be derelict if it were otherwise.

In related news, Tom DeLonge announced that his series on the "History" Channel, Unidentified, would be back for a second season.  The first season ended on a disastrous note with TTSA's descent into pure crackpottery. Let's hope that they can be a bit more skeptical and sophisticated in the next season, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Pentagon's AATIP Program and "Range Incursions" - Was This The Program's Real Purpose?

A photo of a sign along Highway 12 near Helena, Montana published in the Great Falls Tribune, Sept. 14.
"JAML" is the Jesse A. Marcel library, attempting to promote "UFO Disclosure".

What has been happening in the world of TTSA lately, besides starting their second round seeking funding? Researcher John Greenewald of The Black Vault has been publishing some excellent analyses of TTSA-related claims and information (and taking a lot of flak from those who don't like what he has found). He has confirmed once again that TTSA's famous three videos were not "released" by the Pentagon (as TTSA endlessly claims), but apparently leaked:
“The videos were never officially released to the general public by the DoD and should still be withheld,” said Pentagon Spokesperson Susan Gough to The Black Vault earlier this year. Mr. Gradisher, on behalf of the Navy, confirms the Pentagon’s position this week by adding, “The Navy has not released the videos to the general public.”
On September 11, Greenewald published the latest information he has received from the Pentagon. We finally have the dates for the three IR videos promoted by TTSA. “[The] dates are 14 November 2004 for ‘FLIR1’ and 21 January 2015 for both ‘Gimbal’ and ‘GoFast.’” This tends to confirm what I wrote earlier that "it appears that the Gimbal video, and the Go Fast video, were taken by the same aircraft, by the same pilot, on the same mission, and less than 20 minutes apart." So TTSA doesn't really have three different Navy UFO videos, just two. Or so it seems.

Tom DeLonge says that TTSA plans to build spaceships
Explaining the use of the term  "UAP,"  Joseph Gradisher, a spokesperson for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, told Greenewald:
“the ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ terminology is used because it provides the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges.”
From this statement, it sounds as if the Navy is only concerned about objects entering military-controlled air spaces. Aviation maps clearly mark off certain "Military Operations Areas" that are prohibited or restricted  to civilian aircraft at certain times, elevations, etc to support military operations . According to the FAA, "MOAs are designated to contain nonhazardous, military flight activities including, but not limited to, air combat maneuvers, air intercepts, low altitude tactics, etc." If an unknown object enters one of those areas, the Navy investigates it as a UAP. If the object is elsewhere, they apparently don't care.
An example of a Military Operations area in Oregon
This same point was made by the Navy soon afterward in a different letter to the Swedish researcher Roger Glassel. Published in the Swedish magazine UFO-aktuellet and reproduced in part in the Facebook group UFO Updates, the Navy spokesman replied to a question about why the Navy recently changed their reporting guidelines for such incidents,  
We have updated guidelines and simplified the process to facilitate reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena in order to support an objective, data-driven analysis of the range incursions.
"Range incursions". Later in that same letter, the Navy spokesman again talks again about "range incursions", in response to a question about the terminology "UAS" and "UAP", 
The wide proliferation and availability of inexpensive unmanned aerial systems (UAS) isn’t contradictory, it’s just when the UAS is *NOT* immediately identifiable we refer to it as UAP. A quadcopter is immediately identifiable. As we have previously acknowledged, the number of incursions into our ranges has increased with that wide proliferation and availability of inexpensive UAS. Additionally, we use the generic UAP term in communications so as not to pre-judge the results of any investigation.
Any range incursion by unauthorized craft affects the safety of our aviators and/or the security of our operations. Our revised reporting guidance solicits reports of any unauthorized craft (UAP or UAS) observed within our ranges so that we may investigate that range incursion. Incursions/sightings since 2014 may be referred to as either UAS or UAP, depending on the circumstances surrounding the specific incident in question.
When I noted this on Facebook, Glassel added the following comment:
Yes, in a hearing in the Senate on March 8, 2017, General John Hyten stated the following. "Of recent concern have been the unauthorized flights of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) over Navy and Air Force installations. These intrusions represent a growing threat to the safety and security of nuclear weapons and personnel. Both the Navy and Air Force are working to field counter-UAS capabilities that can effectively detect, track, and, if necessary, engage small UAS vehicles."
This clearly seems to confirm my above comments about John Greenewald's latest info from the Pentagon. The Navy seems only concerned with what appear to be trespassers in their private military areas. Otherwise, they would have no need for AATIP.

Monday, September 16, 2019

UFO Disclosure - The World is About to BLOW!! [UPDATE - Hoax Confirmed]

UPDATE: The validity of the supposed comment by Tom DeLonge has been questioned. While it certainly sounds like what DeLonge has been saying, there is no confirmation of it, or of the prediction, from DeLonge or any of his associates. When Tom DeLonge makes a bizarre claim (as he is known to do), he places it on his own social media accounts, not someone else's. Silva insists that the comment has been verified, but refuses to say how.
Danny Silva's comment on the Facebook "UFO Updates" group.
Note how Silva writes "Delonge" without the capital "L", exactly as in the disputed comment. The "real Tom DeLonge" capitalizes the "L". This error makes it look even more likely that Silva hoaxed this comment.

Then finally, the other shoe has dropped. The hoax has been confirmed:

Seeing how he has tried to hoax his readers, I no longer can accept Danny Silva as a credible source of information.

As for the material that used to follow here, it has been moved to the next post.


Here it comes!!  On  September 13, Tom DeLonge posted a comment on the website Silva Record:

DeLonge- the guy who brought all this TTSA, AATIP etc. business to the public - promises  that this week (presumably by September 21), the "World is about to BLOW" because of his amazing UFO disclosures. So, hold onto your hats, and get ready for something amazing! Or so he says.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Skeptic at MUFON's 50th Anniversary Symposium, Part 2

(Continued from the previous posting.)  The Saturday evening speaker was Paul Hynek, son of the famous Air Force scientific consultant on UFOs Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and consultant to the series "Project Blue Book" on the 'History' channel. His talk was titled "Growing up with UFOs," because "to me," he said, "UFOs are the family business." He is now an Adjunct Professor of Finance and Accounting at Pepperdine University, and works with high-tech startup companies on finance. He also was involved in the production of movies and video games such as Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes, Tintin, Real Steel, Warcraft, and The Hobbit. He related numerous incidents of how his father's UFO investigations and his growing fame affected their family life, and showed some family photos from the time he was growing up.

Paul Hynek

A photo I took of J. Allen Hynek at
Northwestern (about 1970).
The thing that surprised me the most was when Paul said that he and his brother Joel are working on replicating Claude Poher's experiments on anti-gravity. Claude Poher (born 1936) is a French astronomer who, like Hynek, became deeply involved in UFO investigations. Poher headed up UFO investigations for GEPAN, a group operating under CNES, the French equivalent of NASA. Allen Hynek and Poher were close allies and colleagues in UFO matters. In fact, Poher has been so prominent in global UFOlogy that, according to Allen Hynek, the character of the French UFOlogist in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind was based not on Jacques Vallee (as Vallee claims), but on Poher (O'Connell, The Close Encounters Man, p. 320). 

Poher's anti-gravity scheme involves something called "universons," which mainstream physicists have not yet discovered. This somehow makes interstellar travel possible. The device involves superconductors and semiconductors and I forget what else. There is a video of Poher's antigravity device on YouTube, which shows some pretty neat little explosions, but I confess I have no idea what it is supposed to be doing. It does not rise up into the air.  If Paul and Joel's father were still alive, I'm quite certain he would tell them "this is a crazy idea," or words to that effect. (Poher did not start dabbling in anti-gravity until long after Allen Hynek's death).

Later the next day, I had a chance to talk with Paul Hynek. I introduced myself as a longtime UFO skeptic, and also as a former student at Northwestern, who had taken several astronomy classes from his father. I showed him one of the photos I took of his father at the observatory. He recognized the telescope, and we chatted a bit about Northwestern and what has transpired there. He seems like a nice fellow. In his talk he had said that 99% of what is on the series Project Blue Book is not accurate, that it is a work of fiction. I told him my opinion (that I am sure he has heard from others many times before) that if you have a work if fiction, you can put anything in it that you want. But since Project Blue Book refers to real people, real organizations, and real historical UFO events, its hyper-sensationalized approach is spreading rampant misinformation and confusion into the UFO debate.

What the well-dressed alien family wears.
The first speaker  on Sunday morning was Dr. Irena Scott on "Massachusetts UFO Experience includes Poltergeists, Strange Lights, Ancestors, and More." She got her PhD in physiology, and worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Aerospace Center in satellite photography. She said that when she was growing up, she had sightings in her bedroom for 4 to 6 years, a light that flew around. She reported this to CUFOS, and they wrote it up. As an adult, she had more sightings in Massachusetts, also reported to CUFOS. One UFO, she said, began to  circle the airport, and she tediously began to describe all of her sightings. Budd Hopkins once asked her if she had experienced missing time, which led her to conclude that she had. She showed photos of her UFO sightings, squiggly blurs. Later, when she lived in Washington, DC she was tormented by a poltergeist. I found Dr. Scott to be a very uninspiring, rambling speaker.

Next was Dr. Joseph Burkes, M.D. He is a colleague of Dr. Steven Greer of CSETI, and spoke on "Human Initiated Contact Experiences and the Consciousness Connection." He explained that "prime contactees," like Steven Greer, act as a "UFO magnet." Those like Dr. Greer can "request UFO sightings and UFOs actually show up."

Looking at the sky on one of their contact weekends, Burkes and others observed "a new constellation" whose stars started moving around. Of course, these were UFOs.They saw repeated meteors, in one case meteors appeared three times in a row, on request. (Was there a meteor shower?). But some sightings, he explained, are "virtual," that is, false memories planted by aliens.

The next speaker was Adam Curry, who describes himself as "an inventor and tech entrepreneur from San Francisco who grew up in the consciousness research community." He founded the Collective Consciousness App Project which explores the horizons of “consciousness technology.” He spoke on "A Glimpse of Consciousness Technology." He talked about the philosophical concepts of  Materialism, Dualism, of Materialism vs. Consciousness, etc. Materialism, he asserted, is nearing its end, because it fails to explain consciousness. He previously worked at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab, which did experiments to try to prove that consciousness could affect a random number generator, and other experiments in mind-matter interaction. Consciousness, says Curry, can affect even Quantum phenomena. He also mentioned time travel from the future which could affect events in the past.

The final speaker on the main stage was Paul Davids, a filmwriter and producer who was the executive producer and co-writer of the 1994 Showtime dramatic film, “Roswell.”   He spoke on "Flying Saucers and the Culture Wars: The First Invasion from 1951 to 1977." He proceeded to show many interesting clips from movies, songs, science fiction stories, and other items of popular culture involving flying saucers or spacemen from [mostly] that period. He brought back from oblivion a number of crazy saucer-related movies and songs that I recall from my childhood. He seemed to be promoting the idea that certain movies back in the 1950s were part of an Air Force plan to prepare the public for UFO revelations. If so, they've had more than enough time for that revelation - where is it? He also had some rather unkind things to say about "debunkers" and the like.

The Vendors' room was, as usual, filled with tables for selling crystals and jewelry, quack medicine, UFO books, subscriptions, night vision equipment, etc. Probably the most interesting display in it was that of UFODAP, the UFO Data Acquisition Project. They have spent years designing, building, and programming automated cameras that are supposed to track and zoom in on moving objects. As explained on their website,
"The UFO Data Acquisition Project is here to expand the capability of UAP/AAO/UFO research through the deployment of next generation data acquisition technology.... The technical focus of the UFODAP is to provide methods to recognize, track and videotape anomalous objects while simultaneously collecting data from multiple sensors. It is our goal to expand a growing network of these triangulated sensor systems to other hot spots around North America and then the world.... UFODAP is providing cost effective methods to recognize, track and videotape anomalous objects while simultaneously collecting data from multiple sensors. ... Optical Tracking Data Acquisition Unit (OTDAU) software recognizes and tracks moving objects in combination with various optional cameras including units with fixed optics and Pan-Tilt-Zoom capabilities."
Christopher O'Brien (left) and Ronald Olch of the UFO Data Acquisition Project.
The software of the system is designed to learn to recognize ordinary objects, such as birds and aircraft, and ignore them, while following and zooming in on any object it doesn't recognize, and sending notification of the event. Two such cameras have already been installed in Colorado's San Luis Valley, famous as a reputed hotspot for UFO sightings. One of them is at the well-known "UFO Watchtower" in the Valley, and having two cameras will allow an object to be triangulated. O'Brien says that he formerly lived in the San Luis Valley, and experienced several dramatic, close-range UFO sightings. If there is such a thing as a "real UFO," and if it should ever (again?) visit the San Luis Valley, then I would expect this camera system to capture it. (But I wouldn't hold my breath.) UFODAP also offers their equipment for sale, at "low cost", in case you should want to snare some UFOs on your own. ("By 'low-cost' we assume a unit cost of perhaps $2500 or less.") Happy UFO hunting!


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Skeptic at MUFON's 50th Anniversary Symposium, Part 1

This year's MUFON Symposium returned to southern California, in Irvine, so I signed up. Other than it being MUFON's 50th anniversary, there was no over-arching UFOlogical theme, like the much-derided "Secret Space Program" theme in 2017 (although the idea of "time travel" seemed to come up a lot in the talks). I didn't attend the Friday evening banquet with longtime MUFON director John Schuessler, whose theme was "MUFON at Fifty - A Fantastic Journey."

Jim Penniston spins his Tales from the Rendlesham Woods.
The first speaker on Saturday morning was Jim Penniston, whose talk was titled "Rendlesham - Days of Future Past." Penniston's story of encountering a landed craft in the woods outside the U.S. Air Force base at Rendlesham, U.K. in 1980 is well-known in UFOlogy. This case is sometimes referred to as the "British Roswell." The British skeptic Ian Ridpath provides the best summary and analysis of this extremely complicated case. 

Penniston opened by asking how many people had heard about the Rendlesham case? Practically everybody. "Half of what you know about Rendlesham is wrong!," he claimed. This is obviously a swipe at certain other individuals enjoying the Rendlesham spotlight, and whose tales are incompatible with his. For example, John Burroughs says that he and Penniston were abducted by aliens in the forest, and Larry Warren claims to have seen aliens scampering out of the craft. Penniston related a tale about chasing "the airman" (presumably Burroughs) over a fence and across a farmer's field, for reasons that escape me.

Penniston claims that he saw a landed craft in the woods that night. He paced off its size, it was 9 feet long and it was about 7 1/2 feet tall.. He showed pages from his "real-time response notes" supposedly describing the incident. (Unfortunately, that supposedly "real-time" notebook didn't surface until many years after the incident.)  When he approached the craft and placed his hand on it, he perceived a blinding white light, "and I began to see ones and zeroes." Later he wrote about 16 pages of the binary code in his wonderful notebook. The craft supposedly lifted off silently, and disappeared. Penniston claims to have been required to attend debriefings and special meetings for "containment" of the story, and for "witness control." That's the UFO cover-up, you understand.

Penniston was not a very inspiring speaker, and there was much fumbling with A/V issues. He said that the scribblings of binary in his notebook have been analyzed, and supposedly represent the locations of various UFO-related and mystical sites around the world. He concluded his talk with the idea that the beings in the craft are not extraterrestrials, but somehow are our future selves (who must actually be quite small to fit into the dimensions that he gave of the craft, unless like Dr. Who's time-traveling TARDIS, "it's bigger on the inside"). 

Clas Svahn

The next speaker was the Swedish researcher and archivist Clas Svahn, who has been studying UFOs since the late 1960s (as have I). He has investigated over 1,500 UFO cases (here is his very interesting interview of Betty Hill), and has published 30 books. His talk was titled "The Real X-Files and the Mystery of the Ghost Rockets."

The first part of the title refers to the vast UFO and Fortean-related archive Svahn and his colleagues have long been assembling, the Archives for the Unexplained (AFU). It contain four separate libraries, has 20,000 UFO reports from Sweden, and files from many countries, in addition to books, papers, news clippings, microfilms,films, DVDs,  and UFO-related toys (they even have a store selling surplus materials from their collections). His soon-to-be published book will illustrate the contents of the archives.

The second part of the title refers to the legendary "Ghost Rockets" reportedly seen in Sweden beginning in 1946, the year before Kenneth Arnold's famous sighting. A Ghost Rocket sighting begins with an object in the sky that looks like a rocket. It might fly around and change directions, but then it always crashes into a lake, and disappears. The Swedish military has investigated over 1,000 reports of Ghost Rockets, yet despite numerous searches of lakes involving divers, metal detectors, and sonar, nobody has ever recovered a single artifact from any supposed "ghost rocket." Hence the name - like all ghosts, ghost rockets simply disappear. Svahn showed some photos of an expedition he went on to a very remote, difficult-to-reach lake in Sweden, into which a ghost rocket had been reliably witnessed to plunge. They had to walk miles carrying their tents, supplies, and equipment. Their first few attempts didn't find any fragments, but they plan to go back again with better equipment. If they find any strange metamaterials, they can always send them to "To The Stars" for expert analysis!

UFO artist and violinist serenades the Symposium attendees
Next to speak was the Brazilian researcher A. J. Geveard, whose title was "UFOs in Brazil - An Official Matter." He has been a full-time UFOlogist since 1985. He said that Brazil's government has an official UFO investigation program, all of whose documents are unclassified and available to the public. Argentina also has government-run UFO investigations, but it is run by skeptics. This is disgraceful, he says!

In Brazil, UFOs seem to want to attack people. Some of the crafts would "suck blood and energy" from people. The only place people were safe was in the church; apparently the aliens recognize the ancient principle of religious Sanctuary. The most dramatic incidents occurred in Varginha, where at least two creatures were captured while still alive. The Military Policeman who captured one of the creatures carried it on his lap to the hospital. He died three weeks later at the age of 23. The dead creatures were taken to Campinas University, presumably to have an alien autopsy. The army and the government, of course, still deny that anything happened at Varginha, but Geveard insists that Varginha was "ten times better than Roswell."

A. J. Geveard.

Next to speak was Paul Stonehill, who was born in the Soviet Union, on "The Turbulent History of Alien Visitors to Russia and the USSR." He told of numerous encounters between the Russian and Soviet military, and aliens. Indeed, UFOs have shot down military jets. I had heard Stonehill speak before, at the UFO Congress in 2013, and this sounded much like that same talk:
He explained that there were all kinds of UFOs in the Russian territories, ancient and modern. UFOs are depicted in ancient rock carvings, and there are "out of place" artifacts in ancient rock strata. The KGB was very interested in UFOs and paranormal phenomena, but Stalin had the records destroyed. Later there was an official Soviet military program for recording and studying UFO reports. In 1982, a UFO almost started World War III by initiating a nuclear missile's launch sequence for 15 minutes. Unlike UFOs in the U.S., which are reported to be peaceful and try to interfere with nuclear-tipped ICBMs, in the USSR UFOs apparently are warlike, and try to launch such missiles.

Stonehill also talked quite a bit about USOs - Unidentified Submersible Objects. Soviet divers have found themselves next to underwater humanoids working on recovering something, wearing no breathing apparatus.
Michael P. Masters
The final speaker of the afternoon was anthropologist Michael P. Masters, PhD, who lectured on "A Multidisciplinary Scientific Approach to the UFO Phenomenon." He is selling not just a book, but T-shirts and such for his "Multidisciplinary" approach, so I guess it must be very important. He started out talking about bipedalism and how significant that was in human evolutionary history. It initiated the brain/behavior feedback loop, he said. This is rare among mammals, and is likely even rarer on earthlike exoplanets. Bipedal animals are constantly fighting gravity, he explained, and since earth is [reportedly] small compared to known exoplanets, which would have stronger gravity, he suggests that bipedalism would be unlikely to develop. And hence intelligent life. Of course, it's likely that many smaller earth-sized exoplanets exist, but we don't see them because it's easier to detect the larger ones. Also, a creature with six or eight limbs wouldn't need to worry about becoming bipedal. Masters tries to deduce aliens' evolutionary history from witness descriptions, suggesting that he takes such accounts far too literally.

Can you travel backwards in time? Masters thinks that you can. Rotation, he says, creates relativistic frame dragging, warping spacetime. This can ultimately cause light cones to tip over, enabling one to travel to the past. This might, he suggests, give rise to "time tourism" surrounding major historical events. Noting the serious problems with the extraterrestrial hypothesis - the extreme distances between stars, and the supposed difficulty in evolving bipedalism, Masters suggests (like Penniston) that the beings in UFOs are not aliens, but our future selves. He calls them "extratempestrials."

In the vendors' room: the Earth isn't flat - it's Hollow!!

[More to follow]