"Contact in the Desert": Mothman Investigator Claims Money, Government behind Ancient Astronaut Festival
The second annual Contact in the Desert event just wrapped up yesterday, and judging by media accounts, the event was better attended than last year’s but just as wacky. According to media accounts, more than 2,000 people attended the event and organizers had to end registration early due to the volume of ticket requests coming from around the world, including Canada, Britain, Australia, and South Africa, in addition, of course, to the United States. According to the Desert Sun newspaper, the attendees came from all age groups, though no children were present. Event coordinator Paul Andrews told the San Bernadino County Sun that “All the people in the UFO community know who these people are and will pay to come see them.”
Andrews accidentally gave away the raison d’être for the ancient astronaut theory: celebrity and money. It’s probably also worth noting that Andrews got the San Bernadino County Sun to describe conference presenters as “scholars,” a twist of the word if ever there was one.
The event also required attendees to sign release forms absolving the event from liability in case of injury and preventing lawsuits against the event and its speakers.
Ben Moore, 34, traveled from Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend the event and cited Ancient Aliens as a powerful influence in turning his mild interest in the supernatural into a growing belief in ancient astronauts and a willingness to spend money on its most famous figures, as he told the Sun:
While he has always been curious about what is “out there,” Moore said his interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials has grown even more in the last three years with shows like “Ancient Aliens” and the work of David Wilcock. an author on the subject and recurring guest on “Ancient Aliens.”
Wilcock, as we learned last week, recently went on Russian television to accuse the U.S. government of being in league with Jews (er, um, international financiers who all happen to be Jewish) in order to hoard gold, commit genocide, and hide the truth about ancient aliens.
According to the Desert Sun, the audience clapped and cheered in the manner of a religious revival when celebrity ancient theorist Erich von Däniken told the crowd that the aliens would someday be returning to the earth in a Second Coming. According to the paper, in his presentation, von Däniken abandoned his usual claim to only be “asking questions” and instead made several direct assertions without the weasel words and qualifications he typically cites when confronted with his own claims. This time he asserted:
Isn’t that special? But to return to Paul Andrews’s point about how many people are willing to pay good money to see the leading lights of UFO scholarship, you’ll probably find of interest an interview in the Examiner with Andrew Colvin, author of The Mothman Speaks and its two sequels, The Mothman Shrieks and The Mothman Squeaks. He claims to be one of the founders of Contact in the Desert since he was involved with its predecessor gathering. Despite being a Fortean researcher, Colvin has soured on the UFO movement, accusing its leading lights of, essentially, being scam artists out to inflate their egos and their bank accounts. He singled out Steven Greer and David Wilcock as the most egregious, citing their “posses” of bodyguards and Greer’s claim that purchasing his products would lead to contact with the “Space Brothers.”
Colvin calls out the ancient astronaut theorists and UFO celebrities for their profit motive: “It is just a bunch of blowhards, living double lives, talking about how great they are, scamming people for money.” And what are these double lives? Oh, right: Colvin is a conspiracy theorist who feels that the U.S. government is secretly employing ancient astronaut theorists to create a fake religion:
All of these spook UFO researchers are claiming that the government is after them, trying to kill them for "speaking out," which is why they have to hire these thugs. But the fact is that this is complete whackadoodie. They all work for the government, or are paid somehow. They think that by acting like they are under attack, people won't realize that THEY are the enforcers, holding weak and vulnerable people under their ET spell, harassing anyone who tries to stop their fake religion.
Colvin estimates that “90%” of UFO researchers are government agents. This apparently even includes Wilcock, who delivered anti-U.S. propaganda on Russian television.
Despite the apparently he generous government paychecks, these UFO researchers somehow also need to scam everyday Americans for cash. Thus, Colvin disapproves of the profit-oriented UFO conferences, which are organized like a circus or a county fair: “Well, they have these fake UFO conventions all over the world. It’s pure spectacle—a theatre of the absurd. I assume they are all funded by ex-Nazi millionaires in South America.”
Oh, how accidentally close to the truth he came! The truth is that fringe history is built atop a mountain of racism and is deeply intertwined with white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Wilcock, at several generations’ remove from the black heart of conspiracy culture, never quite seems aware that his claims about Jewish financiers and their alien allies descend from anti-Semitic literature, but there are many who do not hide their racist and anti-Semitic beliefs.
Consider this: White nationalist John de Nugent specifically cites ancient astronauts as a reason to separate the white Aryan race, descended from Nordic aliens, from Jews and other non-Aryans (which he considers descendants of Neanderthals), who are in league with the evil Reptilians and Greys:
What we now understand is that our race colonized this earth, but was long ago separated by a cataclysmic nuclear war from the home planets. The stories of the gods reflect actual visits to earth by actual, highly evolved relatives of ourselves. The ‘ancient aliens’ theory being promoted now non-stop on TV (by the Jews who own the TV networks) is partly valid, but the Jewish media refuses to highlight the huge role of the Exonordics, and focuses instead on the Grays and the Reptilian species, because the Jews themselves are allied with THEM. Earth is just one battlefield of an ongoing war in our entire Milky Way galaxy between the Exonordics and the Reptilians.
De Nugent also believes that “blond” aliens gave the Maya and the Inca their cultures, and he cites the Destination America series Unsealed: Alien Files as evidence that the Nazis had special relationships with Nordic aliens to advance the human race. Like David Wilcock, he believes that the Jewish conspiracy and their Grey alien allies are planning to use the New World Order to commit mass extermination, but he differs from Wilcock in identifying the Aryan race as the potential victims. Wilcock does not specify who will die.
Oh, and he, too, would like you to send him money, specifically envelopes stuffed with cash, or, better still “valuable jewelry or gold coins.” I’ve occasionally asked for small donations to keep my website running, but asking for gold by mail? Wow. Apparently I am doing things the hard way.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, De Nugent had a close relationship with the Barnes Review, which you will remember because it is the same Holocaust-denying publication that publishes articles by Frank Joseph (a.k.a. Frank Collins), the onetime head of the American Nazi party, for whose offshoot, the National Alliance, De Nugent once worked. In that publication Joseph calls to the attention of its white nationalist readership the Templar claims of Scott F. Wolter, whose work Joseph also publishes in his capacity as editor of Ancient American magazine’s paperback anthologies.
You can’t scratch the surface of fringe history without uncovering some dark ideas.
Before I conclude, let me offer this word of disclosure: John de Nugent contacted me in 2010 to criticize my views on the Solutrean hypothesis, which he considers to be evidence of a white race of original Americans massacred by incoming Native Americans, and demanded to know if I were gay, liberal, Native American, or Jewish in order to “rebut” my “bias” against acknowledging “white genocide.” “Are you dating or married to a non-white?” he asked, “Yes, Jason, this is relevant. It shows your partiality.” I guess it’s comforting, at least, to know that the case for white nationalism is so weak that only ad hominem attacks can keep it alive. Well, that and the support of cable television shows about aliens and ancient white Americans that serve as convenient entry points for conspiracy culture.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
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.