Another Bizarre Claim from the Bigelow / To the Stars Team, This Time about Underground Humanoids and Mind-Altering UFOs
From time to time, I am sorry that the story of the so-called “alien” metal under investigation by Bigelow Advanced Aerospace Space Studies and To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science ever fell into my lap. It’s my own fault, really. I first encountered Tom DeLonge nearly two decades ago, in my freshman year of college, when I spent long, lazy evenings hanging out with the school’s football team in their overheated dorm rooms watching MTV. (It was not my choice.) I couldn’t possibly have guessed that the goofball parodying boy bands in the video for “All the Small Things”—inexplicably a favorite of my friends, presumably because of its juvenile humor—would someday become the avatar of modern ufology.
When DeLonge launched To the Stars in October, it fell to me to be one of the only people skeptical enough to search through the company’s financial records and publish the results. I couldn’t have known at the time that DeLonge’s organization was working closely with staff members from Bigelow Aerospace, or that To the Stars was also working with two freelance writers to deliver a story about the Pentagon’s UFO program and the “alien” metal to the New York Times. I didn’t even know at that point that ancient astronaut theorist Jacques Vallée was in on it, and his claims about “alien” metals were not independent, but rather the same claims from a different mouth, as To the Stars’ staffer Garry Nolan later confirmed in a critical but obscure interview.
In other words, I accidentally primed myself to end up running point on this important, disturbing, and utterly absurd story. I take no pleasure in pointing to the increasingly ridiculous nature of the claims made for the pieces of “alien” metal, which is frequently claimed to be a “metamaterial” composed of layers of magnesium and bismuth. The only publicly documented laboratory work conducted on a piece of it found it to be earthly and likely slag left over from a midcentury lead refinement technique.
Today’s entry in the evolving story of the alien “metal” is almost so painfully stupid that I hesitated even to bring it up. But in the interested of completion, I feel duty-bound to report that To the Stars and Bigelow Aerospace are trying to find interdimensional intelligences, a lost race of godlike ancient humanoids, and other Lovecraftian tropes. At least, that’s the takeaway from an interview that Dr. Eric W. Davis gave to Coast to Coast AM Sunday night. He made a number of standard claims, without evidence, such as the idea that the U.S. government retrieved crashed UFOs, and that Atlantis was real, but I am interested in what he accidentally revealed.
Davis is an astrophysicist who once worked for NASA and has been involved in ufology for nearly twenty years. It is, of course, no surprise that he is a former employee of billionaire ufology buff Robert Bigelow’s National Institute for Discovery Science and worked on the Pentagon’s UFO program, much of which was contracted out to Bigelow Advanced Aerospace Space Studies (BAASS). The other participants in the alien “metal” story are also directly tied to Bigelow, including Hal Puthoff of To the Stars, who served as a subcontractor for BAASS and previously served on the board of Bigelow’s paranormal research organization and before that spent decades claiming to have access to government UFO secrets; Luis Elizondo of To the Stars, who oversaw the Pentagon program and its Bigelow contracts; and Jacques Vallée, who is a paid consultant for Bigelow Aerospace and a close colleague of Puthoff’s for the past four decades. (They met in September 1972 when they worked in the same building and developed a close relationship due to their shared love of the paranormal. Shortly thereafter, Puthoff claimed to Vallée that he was privy to secret government UFO research and had recommended Vallée to the NSA, as Vallée reported in Forbidden Science, vol. 2. The two men watched the Rod Serling In Search of Ancient Astronauts TV special together over coffee and cake in January 1973.) As Peter Levenda confirmed earlier this month, many positions at To the Stars were filled with Bigelow staffers and friends. George Knapp, who covers the story for Las Vegas TV station KLAS, promoted another “alien” metal fragment a few years ago and is a former member of Bigelow’s paranormal research group who wrote a book about Bigelow’s paranormal research.
In other words, we are not getting a wide range of independent views but one view reflected through many different people who are all working together and not making clear their connections to one another. Vallée, for example, has been cagey about his connection to DeLonge’s To the Stars, and Knapp does not disclose his connections to Bigelow when covering the Bigelow / To the Stars story on TV or online. They create the illusion of multiple independent sources, but it is just an illusion. I think Jacques Vallée of all people summed it up best in a journal entry from February 21, 1973: “Hal [Puthoff] said his high-level contacts walked around with UFO books in their briefcases, particularly mine. I found this depressing: Doesn’t that imply that they know less than I do?” What, really, has changed in 45 years?
Anyway, Davis appeared on Coast to Coast to discuss his work on Bigelow’s behalf. He criticized skeptics and fellow ufologists alike for disbelieving some of the claims coming out of the Bigelow / To the Stars group, calling critics “not only ill-informed, they are uninformed.” But somehow, whenever critics ask for information to support the assertions being made, particularly about alien “metal,” To the Stars and Bigelow Aerospace refuse to provide it, and when they accidentally give out information, like when Puthoff made a speech earlier this month, it only confirms critics’ suspicions. Crucially, Davis confirmed that the supposedly alien metal was not a government project nor collected by the Pentagon but came from civilian sources and has always been in private hands, just as I surmised. (In January, Puthoff told Coast to Coast that he had personally done the examination work on the metal, despite not being an expert on metals.)
Davis also confirmed a report last month in Newsweek, citing information from Knapp at KLAS, that Bigelow Aerospace is studying poltergeists to learn the secrets of UFOs. Davis said that BAASS concluded that angry ghosts are real and that they are closely related to the UFO phenomenon, because UFOs are likely actually sentient species from another dimension that can manipulate space and time. “The phenomenon also involved a whole panoply of diverse activity that included bizarre creatures, poltergeist activity, invisible entities, orbs of light, animal and human injuries and much more,” a senior BAASS manager told KLAS. As I have pointed out previously, this “phenomenon” is not singular but is mistakenly believed to be, by Vallée and others, because they are reading modern UFO accounts backward into the past. Before the 1970s or 1980s, these different parts were not considered to be related to one another, and, objectively speaking, have no evidence to tie them together other than the UFO myth as propounded in those years.
The BAASS manager said that the company tests its hypotheses by using “the human body” as “a readout system.” Listen to this bit of questionable explanation from the Bigelow manager:
This novel approach aimed to circumvent the increasing evidence of deception and subterfuge by the UFO phenomenon in that multiple eyewitnesses co-located in the same vicinity frequently reported seeing widely different events. The evidence was multiplying that the UFO phenomenon was capable of manipulating and distorting human perception and therefore eyewitness testimony of UFO activity was becoming increasingly untrustworthy.
Even a basic, entry-level skeptic will see the problem here: because their preferred belief—in the objective reality of flying saucers—isn’t supported by the evidence, the evidence must be wrong, “deception” from wily flying saucers, thus allowing the hypothesis to stand by discounting the evidence against it as fake. It’s the ufological version of alleging dinosaur bones were planted by Satan to question the Bible. The Bigelow team say they are trying to measure changes to cell biology, neuroanatomy, and immune responses to determine scientifically whether people encountered the unexplained, though with no way to connect measured changes to a “phenomenon” (since they don’t trust reports of what it could be), at best they would only record the presence of unusual physiological changes.
Davis echoed the claim that observers do not all see the same thing because some people have a greater ability to perceive otherworldly phenomena such as ghosts. And he knows this how? From the testimony of people BAASS dismissed as bamboozled by otherworldly intelligences? As Newsweek previously reported, Bigelow’s people have basically gone full paranormal and are looking for interdimensional beings that are leaking into our dimension and triggering reports of UFOs and poltergeists, and possibly are also responsible for psychic phenomena. How this aligns with the belief that UFOs are flying saucers that drop chunks of metal as they weave and duck across the landscape, I can only speculate, but I will note that Vallée reported in the 1970s that he and Puthoff had already developed a hypothesis that UFOs were staging their own sightings as a form of otherworldly theater, manipulating how witnesses experienced them. They believed, he said, that UFOs were not about space aliens but something “bigger.” He suggested that the bigger idea was that UFOs were sentient, visible forms of information.
Davis added what is both the most depressing and utterly, gloriously absurd detail in this whole sorry stupid affair. David claims that Hal Puthoff now believes that there was once a race of “ultraterrestrials” who once lived on the surface of the Earth, some of whom fled underground in ancient times while the rest traveled into space. Their superior technology allows them to remain hidden from our observation. Following the recent extreme claims promoted by the likes of Andrew Collins, Davis believes that the Denisovans, an extinct hominin species or subspecies known from a few bone fragments, may have been this lost race. According to interviews with colleagues collected by Cassandra Frost in 2005, Puthoff, a former OT-VII-level Scientologist, has long been secretly interested in underground space alien bases. In 1973, a supposed psychic—former Burbank police officer Pat Price—introduced Puthoff to the concept, telling him that beings nearly identical to humans had built underground bases and were using them to abduct and monitor human beings. Puthoff and F. Holmes “Skip” Atwater led the CIA’s efforts to psychically probe these bases a decade later, with Joe McMoneagle, a psychic viewer, claiming to have no words to describe their fabulous composition and “atomic” machinery. Jacques Vallée offers a similar report in Forbidden Science, though with less detail.
is it entirely a coincidence that the Operating Thetan mythology of Scientology, which Hal Puthoff studied in the 1960s, shares more than a little similarity, particularly in the idea of disembodied information, the Thetan souls from other planets, manipulating human affairs, and the brainwashing bases where aliens altered the minds and thoughts of the disembodied thetans?
If all of this sounds familiar, it should. It’s also the backstory in Robert Shaver’s novel I Remember Lemuria and his many other entries in the so-called “Shaver Mystery” published by science fiction editor Ray Palmer in Amazing Stories from 1945 to 1948. Shaver and Palmer claimed, absurdly, that the novels and stories were based on true history, which had been rewritten as a fictitious romance to better appeal to the public. In the stories, the people of the ancient Earth feared solar radiation would kill them, so they built vast cave cities underground, now occupied by the Deros, a race of degenerates hot for S&M, while the majority of the population decamped to other planets in their spaceships. The Deros, who rode the skies of earth in rockets and ships of their own, had access to fabulous machines that could manipulate human perception and alter the visions they saw and the sounds they heard. The Deros also were in league with evil space aliens who came to Earth. “I am saying,” Shaver wrote in June 1947, just days before Kenneth Arnold saw the first flying saucers, “that earth’s peoples are a destructive, extravagantly luxurious and decadent ‘secret class’ who rob us of our birth right—the science that could be learned from the mechanisms of the Elder race; which same mechanisms are the instruments that have held this class in power for many, many centuries.” This is also the thesis of the books put out by To the Stars.
What makes this so gloriously perfect, and indescribably depressing, is that Palmer invented the modern UFO in 1947 when he was trying to sell more Shaver Mystery magazines by tying the story to Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of unusual aerial phenomena that July. Palmer hired Arnold to write for him and to investigate … wait for it … metal slag from industrial waste that hoaxers claimed to be flying saucer parts from Maury Island, Washington. And the hoaxer, Fred Crisman? He was a fan of the Shaver Mystery who wrote to Amazing Stories in June 1946, bizarrely, that he had encountered the Deros in Burma during the war. As the FBI concluded in a declassified September 1947 report (with redactions filled in where possible), “it should be noted that Raymond Palmer, Arnold’s employer, was from the start ‘exploiting’ the appearance of the flying discs, possibly to enhance the appeal of Shaver’s stories. It is possible, therefore, that the entire flying disc theory was conceived by [redacted for either Raymond Palmer or Palmer and Shaver].” Of course, this means that I just cited formerly secret declassified government documents to dispel part of a conspiracy theory positing the existence of secret government knowledge of space aliens.
We have come full circle. You just can’t make this stuff up. But I do wish I could make it go away.
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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