Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Skeptic at the 2018 UFO Congress, Part 4 (last)

Suzy Hansen
Saturday is always the biggest day of the UFO Congress, the day of the largest attendance, when the best-known speakers are scheduled to speak. The first speaker of the day was  Suzy Hansen from New Zealand, "Experiencer/Author/Researcher." The title of her talk was "Alien Technology – the ‘New Physics’ of Consciousness and Intelligent Light" (whatever that is supposed to mean). Synopsis: "Suzy Hansen’s book outlines complex alien programs to assist and advance human evolution, and prepare us for future contact.  Part of this agenda involves training and testing humans in the use of advanced alien technology that has the power to radically change our future medical, educational, environmental and societal norms.  Is a global evolution of spirituality and consciousness a necessary pre-requisite for such technology? Since childhood, Suzy has been able to describe such technology she has observed and used onboard craft.  In the last ten years, similar technology in less sophisticated forms has emerged in our own world.  Suzy presents rare and irrefutable corroborative evidence of specific ‘conscious’ technology provided by other experiencers/abductees."

I found her talk to be tedious and highly emotional. But the audience loved it, and gave her a standing ovation.

Stephen Bassett
Next was Stephen Bassett, "the executive director of Paradigm Research Group (PRG) founded in 1996 to end a government imposed embargo on the truth behind extraterrestrial related phenomena. He has spoken to audiences around the world about the implications of formal “Disclosure” by world governments of an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race and given over 1000 radio and television interviews".

Bassett, who hopes to produce a UFO documentary, reminds us that Tom deLonge has accomplished much. For someone who has largely spurned formal education, DeLonge has accomplished much through sheer determination: his great success in the highly competitive world of rock music, his success in organizing his businesses including To The Stars, his success in getting these accomplished individuals to join him in his UFO-related venture, etc. Bassett has a good point here - DeLonge is no slouch.
Mirageman on Above Top Secret
reminds us where the phrase
"To The Stars" originated!

Bassett said that he does not accept the claim that the "bone UFO" shown in the TTS announcement video during Chris Mellon's talk is in fact a mylar balloon. No mylar balloon could possibly manoeuvre like that, he insisted! I think that Bassett is very confused about this - the "bone UFO" has nothing to do with any of DeLonge's videos.
Bill Birnes

Next, the irascible Dr. Bill Birnes, formerly of the cable TV show UFO Hunters, strutted out to speak without Powerpoint slides or other AV assistance. His talk was titled "UFOs and the White House: What did our presidents know and when did they know it?" But it was not the usual collection of supposed Presidential UFO sightings. Instead, it was a history of alleged paranormal and extraterrestrial events throughout American history. George Washington allegedly received a mysterious celestial visitor while at Valley Forge. A UFO allegedly hovered over Theodore Roosevelt's house. Eisenhower met with aliens. And so forth. And of course, President Truman directed the reverse-engineering of alien technology recovered from the Roswell crash, and so Bell Labs' patent on the transistor was derived from Roswell. (Remember that Birnes was the co-author with the late Philip J. Corso of The Day After Roswell., which started the whole "reverse engineering" nonsense).
Travis Walton, Chuck Ellison, and Don Walton. (Fountain Hills Times photo).

Next was a panel featuring the famous "UFO Abductee" Travis Walton, described as 
the Arizona logger whose 1975 encounter with a UFO was made into the Paramount movie, “FIRE IN THE SKY”. Ignoring the warnings of his fellow crewmen, Walton approached the craft and was struck by a blast of energy from it and taken aboard. The crew were suspected of murdering Walton and making up a wild story to cover up for the deed until Arizona State Police lie detector tests cleared them."

In this panel, Travis will be accompanied by Chuck Ellison, the first police officer Travis’ fellow crewmen talked to when they could not find Travis after he disappeared, and Travis’ brother, Don. Chuck will share what it was like speaking to the young men the evening they lost their fellow logger, and his reaction to the wild tale they told. He will also share the details of the investigation to find Travis from the perspective of the local police. Don will share the impact the event had on his family. Once news got out of Travis’ disappearance and the wild UFO story his fellow crewmen told, the media ascended on Travis’ family.
 There is an article on summarizing the Walton panel, so I won't try to cover all the details here. What interested me the most was when Don Walton acknowledged,
"Quite literally, the townspeople put us through hell," Don Walton said of his family's experiences as they stayed in the sleepy town of Snowflake. "We were shunned, we were taunted, teased, called liars."
And Ellison noted that some people back in Snowflake were saying, "This is a hoax, I know Travis." I don't remember Travis Walton ever acknowledging any such thing. And it makes me wonder: what did those people know about Travis Walton that we don't?

Travis has been quoted as saying that ‘Aliens accidentally killed me but took my corpse onto UFO to save my life' (admittedly not a very reliable source - Jon Austin writing in a British tabloid). Travis clarified this claim while on the panel. Describing the alleged burst of energy from the UFO that supposedly "zapped" him, he said, "This blast of energy scrambled my neurons... I think I was mortally wounded. They resumed medical intervention, which saved my life." So the alien blast almost killed him - it was accidental, not deliberate - and the aliens took him on board the UFO to save his life.

Next came the interview that everyone was waiting to hear - Luis Elizondo, who formerly headed up the Pentagon's secret UFO investigations and now works on To The Stars with Tom DeLonge. Elizondo was originally scheduled to appear in person at the Congress, but because of surgeries he appeared in a video presentation. That video has now been released, and is embedded below. In it, he replies to questions that were put to him by the organizers of the Congress.

This is the interview of Elizondo shown at the UFO Congress.

Elizondo said that with the Pentagon AATIP program, "we got very clever" in managing our resources after funding was cut off. "Duel use" is the relevant phrase. He said that he had purposely steered away from reading UFO books, so as not to prejudice himself on the subject. (Thus he is unfamiliar with UFO history, with its long history of misperceptions, hoaxes, and self-delusions.) As for the statement in the New York Times article that the supposed UFO artifacts contain unknown "alloys," that is not correct, he explained. But they do (allegedly) contain anomalous isotope ratios (a claim we have heard before regarding other supposed alien samples). What I thought was most interesting, he said his job is "Director of Security" at To The Stars Academy, protecting persons and things. So his background (such as it is) in managing UFO investigations is not directly relevant to his job. He is, in essence, their Bouncer. 
Yours truly with Nick Pope and Leda Belouche of

The last speaker of the session was Nick Pope. "Nick will be sharing his thoughts and insight into the recently unveiled Department of Defense Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Although Nick has not been involved with the DoD’s program, his unique experience allows him to give an informed overview of the program from the perspective of someone who ran a similar program in the UK." He noted that, within government there are believer factions and skeptic factions, and I think this is quite correct. We have seen these "believer factions" before, with the CIA people involved in NICAP, with the Pentagon "remove viewing" programs, and the Men Who Stare at Goats. Pope suggested the possibility that there could be more secret government UFO investigations that we haven't discovered yet. Maybe?

Ann Druffel

At the  banquet, the Lifetime Achievement award was given to Ann Druffel, whose work was described by her daughter in the previous posting. Her daughter Allis picked up the award for her.

At the banquet, UFO Congress organizer Alejandro Rojas announced  some big changes, including a change in ownership. The UFO Congress is no longer operated by Open Minds, but by Out Of This World Media and Events, Inc. Next year's UFO Congress will be in September, and it will not be at Ft. McDowell. Instead it will he held on Sept. 4-8, 2019 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix, a large conference hotel in downtown Phoenix. This will result in a far better availability of rooms, allowing the UFO Congress to grow even larger. It will be beastly hot in Phoenix in September, but (unlike the Contact in the Desert conference) it will all be indoors. No reason to go outside at all!

I did not attend the final day of the Congress on Sunday, as there were only two talks and a panel, so I got an early start home. 


  1. Just think. If Steve Bassett were ever to admit his interpretation error regarding the “Bone UFO”, then it would become . . . Hold on! Wait for it! . . . . . The Boner UFO!!!

  2. Hello Robert, I really love that you found that book cover of L. Ron Hubbard’s “To the Stars” book! I’ve been hanging out at Paracast, and recently I was going over the “provenance” of TTSA, which traces back to the late 60’s to the Church of Scientology because of one person, Hal Puthoff.

    Let me copy from my Paracast comment:

    If you study the “provenance” of TTSA you see that it traces back 50 years in an unbroken “chain of custody” as it were, through one and only one “custodian” and that is Hal Puthoff, who, BTW, is an old hand at writing proposals for landing contracts from the government to study psychic phenomena, as he did in the early 70’s when he won the contract to study Remote Viewing, (which was also $20 million dollars, though given those are 1970s dollars would be a little bit more than the Bigelow contract he won for $22 in 2007 dollars.)

    But back to the provenance of TTSA. You will find a detailed timeline here in Brother Recluse’s article about Bob Bigelow. (Scroll down a little past halfway)

    Maybe I could get Biblical and summarize it like an Old Testament prophet:

    Scientology begat Remote Viewing which begat CIA at SRI which begat UFO Working Group which begat Stargate which begat NIDS which begat AATIP which begat TTSA. So, Hal Puthoff as Father Abraham but clean-shaven? (Remember, before Jesus said “Feed my sheep” to Peter, Hal Puthoff said to John Alexander: “Stare at my goats.”)

  3. "Thus he is unfamiliar with UFO history, with its long history of misperceptions, hoaxes, and self-delusions."

    Since Elizondo looked into internal military cases, your aside is quite irrelevant . . . unless you're suggesting that it's standard procedure for military personnel to hoax UFO reports.

  4. Stephen Bassett refers to disclosure by world governments (my emphasis on the plural). Is he saying that other governments, beside the US, are in a position to 'disclose'? I certainly hope the UK does so. It would be a welcome change of news from the tiresome talk about 'Brexit'.

    1. I thought that all the UFO nuts believed that a slow drip feed of info was being released into the public consciousness via programmes like The X-Files and films like ET, so we'd all be ready for the 'Big Moment' when aliens, popes and kings appeared on the balcony together?

      As for the idea that evolution advances towards some goal, rather than just meander around adapting to circumstances, well, Suzy Hansen needs to read some text books.

    2. The evolutionary process is ateological in that there is no designer extraneously guiding the process toward the ultimate actualization of an idea. But denying the guiding hand of a designer does not rule out the possibility (or my opinion, the probability) that the process is constructive. Evolving organisms do not simply meander around adapting to circumstances; rather, the process produces increasingly complex ("higher") organisms capable of increasingly broader, more complex interaction with the environment, thus with each advancement in the process transcending more simple and localized circumstances.

    3. You're absolutely correct, aliens are improving humanity. Can you point the way to yours or others peer reviewed literature?

    4. Did I mention aliens? All I did was explain evolutionary process to you. IMO there are natural "algorithms" at work in the process, a natural process that always constructs advanced life forms with predictable characteristics (some variation is possible here), and also a natural end point in this process.

    5. No, it's completely random--chaotic, with no progress or end. There's movement from simple to complex in time because that's all it can do.

      Billions of Earths, billions of outcomes, but only one us.

    6. Please explain what you mean when you say, "There's movement from simple to complex in time because that's all it can do."

      The evolutionary process not only creates innumerable different species, it also creates complex and elaborate ecosystems.

      You say, "only one of us" - but you do not know that for a fact.

  5. Robert, Thanks for rubbing shoulders with these sleazebags so we don't have to.

  6. "To the Stars" is also the title of Star Trek actor George Takei's 1994 autobiography. It's possible Hubbard was the first to use the phrase for his 1950 serialized story in "Astounding Science Fiction" magazine but there are also a lot of sci-fi comic books going back to the 1930s where it might have appeared earlier as a story title or in dialogue. Gene Roddenberry pitched Star Trek as "Wagon Train to the stars." Those of us who are old remember similar cultural phrases from 1950s and '60s TV shows as "To the moon, Alice" and "To the Batcave." I would agree for now, Hubbard's is the earliest known use.

  7. Dear Robert. Several posters have suggested that you are wasting your time by going to these UFO cons. I love everything on your website but your reports on these meetings are my favorite. I do not have the time, money, or patience to attend them so thank you for doing it for me.

  8. We now have a solid source for Travis claiming that the aliens accidentally "killed" him, then brought him on the saucer to bring him back to life:

    "Travis Walton Now Claims: ‘Aliens accidentally killed me but took my corpse onto UFO to save my life'
    From: The 'X' Zone Radio Show"


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