Since losing his Travel Channel TV series, former America Unearthed host has been on a downward slide into the depths of conspiracy culture in search of revelation and relevance. Because he no longer has a media platform, I haven’t been covering his antics as much as in the past, but because he is a former three-time cable TV show host and likely to return to TV in some capacity in the future as the demand for filler content grows among streaming services, it’s worth noting some of the extremes Wolter embraced in his latest podcast interview.
It has long been obvious that Harvard’s Avi Loeb wants to be a UFO guru. Not only has he parlayed his minority opinion on the artificial nature of the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua into a book deal, but he has inserted himself into the media frenzy over UFOs and publishes regular dispatches in Scientific American speculating in his amateurish way on the morals and ethics of humans and aliens. In recent weeks, he publicly volunteered to lead a government inquiry into the nature of flying saucers and took a slot headlining the Contact in the Desert paranormal conference. His UFO interests have now reached their logical peak with the launch of his newest initiative, the Galileo Project, a UFO investigation conducted through the auspices of Harvard’s and the Smithsonian’s Center for Astrophysics.
Note: This piece first ran in my Substack newsletter earlier this week.
Over the past few months, Extraterrestrial author Avi Loeb has tied himself more and more to the UFO community as he builds his brand as the astronomer most willing to entertain the possibility that aliens are visiting Earth. He appeared on the TMZ UFO special to speculate about military UFO videos as evidence of alien contact. He is headlining the Contact in the Desert conference of ancient astronaut, UFO, and paranormal charlatans, and he said in a podcast last month that he is in talks with wealth patrons about heading a team to investigate UFOs.
Diana Pasulka is consistently infuriating. The American Cosmic author is persistently half-right in her analysis of UFOs as a quasi-religious movement, correctly understanding how UFO belief systems parallel those of decentralized religious traditions but faltering time and again in showing too much faith in the truth claims this New Age religion passes off as science. A case in point is this week’s essay in Religion Dispatches in which Pasulka alleges that the recent government UFO report has transformed UFO belief through the validating holy baptism of government approval.
The long-awaited UFO report from the Pentagon and the Director of National Intelligence required by Congress dropped on Friday. Most of us anticipated that it would have little concrete to say, but it was especially surprising that it seemed to represent very little effort on the part of the UAP Task Force, which seems to have conducted no original research and engaged no outside experts to evaluate the 143 unexplained sightings (mostly by sensor) it listed. Instead, the report served largely as a call for a permanent UFO investigation within the Pentagon, with the requisite need for funding, contractors, and consultants. How fortuitous that the new think tank Skyfort, on whose advisory board UFO advocate Lue Elizondo sits, is ready to answer the call. The Pentagon began the process of formalizing UFO research, and budgeting for it, in an order on Friday.
I sat down with science writer and skeptical investigator Mick West on his podcast to discuss UFOs, the small group of believers driving the UFO flap, and the paranormal-UFO connection. You can watch our conversation below.
This week, the New York Times published a piece exposing the close connection between Tucker Carlson and the media elite, for whom he often serves a source, in an unspoken exchange that results in soft-pedaling coverage of Carlson’s conspiracy theories and extremist rhetoric. I spoke with Chauncey DeVega of Salon.com about Carlson’s fascination with UFOs and the close connection between radical UFO conspiracy theories and right-wing extremism. You can read my interview here.
Last month, when I wrote about the current UFO flap for The New Republic, I discussed the paranormal themes that occasionally crop up in Lue Elizondo’s discussions of UFOs. It was, to my mind, fairly obvious that he had become heavily influenced by the space poltergeist investigations from which his Pentagon UFO program originated. But hundreds—literally, hundreds—of UFO believers pushed back, often vociferously, arguing that Elizondo was not pushing a paranormal or extraterrestrial narrative but was strictly interested in the national security concerns surrounding unidentified craft.
I have been on deadline this week writing a book review for the New Mexico Historical Review and another piece under consideration elsewhere, so I have not had as much time to write blog posts as usual. However, I did want to make note of this rather extraordinary exchange from a recent interview with Lue Elizondo, the former reality TV UFO hunter turned co-founder of UFO think tank Skyfort LLC. Here, the ex-Pentagon UFO investigator uses a series of strategic on-denials to imply that fictitious organizations like Majestic-12 and the Collins Elite are real.
Atheist philosopher Sam Harris told Ricky Gervais on Absolutely Mental that an unnamed person contacted him to inform him that he will be participating in a Zoom call with top U.S. intelligence officials to plan messaging around the disclosure of the existence of space aliens. Here is what he said:
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