Happy New Year! As we start the new year, it’s time to take stock of a few odds and ends left over from the month that just passed by. First, I will share my unalloyed joy that the offensively incompetent Unexplained + Unexplored on the Science Channel hit a series low of just 299,000 viewers on Sunday for its painfully awful effort to find the Fountain of Youth. The show has steadily lost viewers for the majority of its eight weeks, according to the Nielsen ratings, which is typically the kiss of death for a cable show. It lost 10% from its lead-in and barely squeaked by the ratings for mid-afternoon reruns of Dr. Pohl on NatGeo and the middle of the night reruns of Married to Medicine on Bravo. Of course, it’s also a show about history conspiracy theories, and cable networks love to renew those because they are considered “evergreens” that can be rerun, repackaged, and resold around the world for years to come. And it did manage to outdraw original shows on other cable channels in its 10 PM timeslot, including Oxygen’s lineup.
Perhaps more than any year in recent memory, 2019 was the year in which fringe history stopped being fringe and went completely mainstream. This year, we saw pseudohistory and conspiracy theories top the literary bestseller lists, multiply across cable channels like mushrooms on a rotten log, and attract record crowds to traveling carnivals masquerading as pseudohistory “fan” conventions. It perfectly captures the tenor of the times for the post-truth era that the very notions of fact and fiction ceased to have meaning. This was a long, hard year, both for the world and also for me personally. After dealing with family health problems, buying and selling a house (and still not being able to close on selling the old one until early 2020, nearly half a year after the sale), writing two books, and a knot of lawyers for many different developments, I am ready for this unpleasant year to end. Let’s look back in anger:
Jacques Vallée Claims to Have Proof CIA Faked Alien Abductions as "Psychological Warfare," Refuses to Let Anyone See It
A few months ago, Jacques Vallée, the longtime UFO researcher and scientific advisor to space-demon-hunting billionaire Robert Bigelow, published the fourth volume of his diaries, Forbidden Science, covering the 1990s. In that book, Vallée made the shocking allegation that the CIA staged fake alien abductions in Latin America and that there were documents that supported the allegation: “I have secured a document confirming that the CIA simulated UFO abductions in Latin America (Brazil and Argentina) as psychological warfare experiments.” Vallée did not provide support for the dramatic assertion in Forbidden Science, which prompted Jack Brewer of The UFO Trail blog to ask him for his evidence. The answer was… exactly what you’d expect: a mixture of arrogance, incuriosity, and buck-passing in place of actual proof.
Apparently, it is dream week here on my blog, since Silicon Valley entrepreneur turned UFO enthusiast Deep Prasad posted a long Twitter thread this past weekend outlining what he claims to be his own UFO experience. Regular readers will remember Prasad because he planned to use Silicon Valley resources to hunt UFOs, and because he criticized me on Twitter for doubting claims about “alien” metamaterials. His recent Twitter thread was collected and published by the aptly named Hot Air, and I think you’ll quickly see that the supposed encounter is almost certainly not what Prasad thinks it is. Here is the most relevant part. The story occurs three months after Prasad began obsessive UFO studies and shortly after the suicide of an acquaintance that he said left him “traumatized.”
Last month, researcher Chris Aubeck gave an interview to Danish writer Thomas Brisson Jørgensen of the Vomanomalous blog on the subject of UFOs, particularly on accounts of pre-1947 UFO-style encounters with objects from the sky and their alleged occupants. In the interview he discusses some strange stories from old books, though without specific references and links, there is no way for me to identify the stories. Some are quite bizarre, like an old tale of a rocket-like ship from which emerged a being who got into a horseless carriage. If I find myself interested enough, I’ll ask him for the references, but today I am more concerned to discuss some of the broader themes that he discussed in the interview.
Gods, Man, & War 2: Man
Tom DeLonge with Peter Levenda | To the Stars… | 2019 | 460 pages | ISBN: 978-1-943272-37-2 | c. $25
When I was young, I thought the apocryphal words of the Caliph Omar on the burning of the Library of Alexandria to be horrible. “If these books agree with the Koran, they are useless; if they disagree, they are pernicious: in either case, they ought to be destroyed.” While the religious sentiment still strikes me as offensive, the older I get the more I have come to realize that too many books are bullshit in dust jackets. Would we really be worse off if books that were full of lies were sent to be pulped and those that added nothing new to the store of human knowledge were never written? Currently, publishers print more than 100,000 titles each year, and 99% of them are read by almost no one. We could do with fewer, and the newest volume of Gods, Man, & War could easily have joined the pile of worthless volumes that would have made the world a better place for not existing.
First, the good news: I am so close to finishing Legends of the Pyramids that I want to take the rest of the day to close the books on that project, at least until after the holidays, when the publisher will send me the typeset page proofs to proofread and index. Therefore, I will keep the rest of this entry short. Therefore, our second topic for the day: The hunt for “alien” metal is spreading. It was bad enough that To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science convinced the U.S. Army to help them analyze “Art’s Parts,” but now there is a new piece of alleged Roswell wreckage in the care of a new team of researchers.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.