“None of us at TTSA consider ourselves ‘Ufologists’ or part of the ‘Ufology culture,’” controversial TTSA figure Luis Elizondo told MJ Banias in Vice. Elizondo claims to have headed the Pentagon’s UFO program, but the Pentagon denies this claim. Elizondo fronts a History Channel UFO-hunting TV series, which will launch a second season next year, and is a fixture in the ufology media circuit, or should I say circus? (Elizondo, however, may be correct. TTSA’s executives, like Hal Puthoff, don’t believe in nuts and bolts UFOs but have pursued the claim that flying saucers are actually space poltergeists who haunt the skies by phasing in from other dimensions.)
Perhaps this is why the U.S. Army is now trying to explain exactly why it partnered with a UFO-themed entertainment company to investigate exotic metals.
According to Banias, a Pentagon spokesman said that the Army contacted TTSA and asked to partner with them because they wanted to know if the so-called metamaterials (i.e., the slag previously identified by an earlier researcher as likely industrial waste) TTSA acquired from the 1990s-era collection known as “Art’s Parts” could be used for military purposes. “Art’s Parts” included slag and other seeming chunks of industrial waste sent to radio host Art Bell as alleged wreckage of the Roswell flying saucer.
In particular, the government is interested in the group’s ADAM Project, which Doug Halleaux, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center described as “a global dragnet for the collection and evaluation of novel materials.” Last year, TTSA put out a call for individuals and organizations to submit materials from alleged exotic sources as part of the project.
So, to reduce this down to less flowery terms: Somebody in the Pentagon saw TTSA’s Instagram stories or tweets and decided that there was a chance that they might have accidentally stumbled onto something interesting. Therefore, (a) the Pentagon is staffed by the credulous, which we already knew from their longstanding patronage of TTSA’s Hal Puthoff and his hunt for psychic powers and (b) the military obviously doesn’t have actual UFO wreckage of their own if they are desperate to test out Art’s Parts. Also: Art’s Parts have been around since the 1990s, so the Pentagon might be interested in hearing about that alien autopsy video all the kids were talking about back then.
Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago TTSA’s PR flak promised me a copy of DeLonge’s new book with Peter Levenda. Apparently, after thinking it over, they decided they are afraid of me, since the book never materialized and the PR flak has gone silent. Typically, publishers deliver a promised book with 48 hours. It really says a lot about their confidence in the quality of their work.
But while we are on the subject of UFOs, it’s worth pointing to a disturbing promotional clip from the new UFO documentary Witness of Another World posted to YouTube the other day. The clip features Jacques Vallée, the venture capitalist who is a longtime colleague of Hal Puthoff, an advisor to Pentagon UFO contractor Robert Bigelow, and an investigator into metamaterial UFO wreckage working in an (as far as I know) informal partnership with TTSA. In the clip, Vallée claims that he isn’t sure if UFOs (which he calls “the phenomenon”) can alter our reality, but that we don’t know what reality is because—and this is what got me—drugs and altered states of consciousness can “alter” reality.
Embracing what seems like solipsism, Vallée suggests that we create our own reality and everything we perceive is merely “consciousness taking notice of our own experiences.”
I’m not really interested in the question of materialism vs. idealism that Vallée is circling around, but I am interested in the underlying issue that he has incidentally raised, which is that ufology isn’t really about UFOs (evidenced by their etherealization as “the phenomenon”) but is instead a full-scale retreat into magical thinking. Vallée’s fascination with the idea that our consciousness creates reality and the quasi-Gnostic concept that the material world is an evil illusion doesn’t really have anything to do with flying saucers. He says himself that these are questions that come from physics, not ufology. So why have they taken precedence? It’s almost as though ufology investigators like him want to be metaphysicians and philosophers and are trying to use flying saucers to enter into cosmology by a side door, without having to do the hard work of rigorously defending their speculations. They seem to hope that finding a single space poltergeist will undo the mathematical rigidity of physics and reenchant the world.
But seriously: Drugs change reality? Perceptions of reality, maybe. Reality itself? No.
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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