Before we begin today, some ratings news: America Unearthed ticked up in the live plus same day ratings to 514,000 viewers and a 0.09 in the advertiser-preferred adults 18-49 demographic. The show reached a series high for its Travel Channel run for an atypical episode with almost no fringe history content. The rise in viewership might be due to viewers finding the series after a few weeks on the air, or realizing new episodes are airing. It might also be due to continued weak ratings for the History Channel, whose Curse of Civil War Gold draws two-thirds fewer viewers than Curse of Oak Island, which normally fills the Tuesday night timeslots, or to the lack of major sports events on Tuesday leading to lower ratings for ESPN, whose largely male audience overlaps with that America Unearthed. The show’s performance over the next few weeks will let us know if the audience will continue to grow.
It isn’t much of a secret that the current team of UFO researchers at To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science is made up of a large number of people who formerly worked for Robert Bigelow at his National Institute for Discovery Science, the organization that hunted for paranormal anomalies at Skinwalker Ranch and claimed that poltergeist-like creatures from another dimension caused anomalies and left no trace of their existence for researchers to find. In the runup to the launch of To the Stars’ History Channel series Unidentified, several sets of alleged documents from NIDS were posted anonymously online in April and came to the attention of UFO researchers a week ago thanks to Richard Dolan of Ancient Aliens excitedly calling them the UFO “leak of the century.”
Other ufologists are split on whether the documents are real or fake.
The documents claim to be leaked notes from Eric Davis, formerly of NIDS and now chief science officer at Hal Puthoff’s EarthTech International, which shares Puthoff with To the Stars and works under contract with To the Stars.
One set of documents purportedly written by Davis claims that Davis, Puthoff, and the NIDS team took the infamous Fox Alien Autopsy very seriously and former CIA agent and UFO researcher Christopher “Kit” Green claimed to have been shown photographs of the “real” alien autopsy by Pentagon officials.
According to Puthoff’s longtime research associate Jacques Vallée, writing in Forbidden Science, Green did indeed claim to have researched photos of an alien autopsy in the 1980s but told Vallée and Puthoff at the time that he was unable to confirm anything. The photos, he said, were fakes: “‘It goes back to the seventies,’ he answered. ‘When the first alleged autopsy pictures came out, all that stuff by Len Stringfield.’ The pictures turned out to show bodies in coffin-like boxes with wires and pipes running into them, a bad joke.” As Keith Basterfield noted, Vallée’s journals do not confirm the dates or content of the documents but do support the general information about the group of characters who spent more than a decade investigating alien autopsies. But in Vallée’s telling, they found nothing.
The second set of documents claims to be a set of minutes Davis recorded during interviews with Adm. Thomas Wilson, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, in which the admiral claims that a UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico and the U.S. government had been working to reverse engineer the craft.
When asked about the documents, Davis declined comment, but To the Stars’ Christopher Mellon suggested (without confirming) that they are fake. Wilson has confirmed that he met with UFO-believing former astronaut Edgar Mitchell and UFO researcher Steven Greer in 1997 as a courtesy to Mitchell, but he has adamantly denied any involvement with UFOs and contradicted Greer’s claims about Wilson’s supposed efforts to ferret out UFO secrets.
In reading the documents, they read to me like fakes. There are a large number of stylistically strange tics in them, including some weird attempts at recording dialect that seem out of place. The material is too conveniently in line with modern Roswell mythology, which itself lacks a strong evidentiary foundation, given that it is a confection made up of claims piled on claims dating back at most only a couple of decades.
The more interesting question is who would bother creating these fake documents, which tend to serve to make the current To the Stars team and those in their orbit look like they are the secret possessors of UFO secrets that they are holding close to the vest for some glorious day of disclosure yet to come.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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