This week, the Washington Post offered a thoughtful account of how so-called “UFO whistleblower” David Grusch ended up testifying before Congress. The story itself didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know, but the new details were intriguing. First, there is the obvious: Grusch declined to sit for an interview with the Post and instead has devoted his time to largely uncritical UFO podcasts and YouTube channels. A serious man with serious evidence should, in theory, be sitting with the biggest media outlets to get his story out, especially when they offer. And yet, Grusch isn’t. Indeed, he has not really ventured outside of the small network of ufologists who know and work with one another.
Second, Grusch went to and from the Capitol in July in the company of YouTubers, who ferried him about as they shot a YouTube documentary about him. (We previously saw photos of him meeting with UFO celebrities in a Capitol office before the hearing.) It’s not unprecedented, but it’s certainly an unusual look for a supposed whistleblower to prioritize the production of fringe media products.
But, lastly, the most interesting part of the article was Grusch’s reflections on his Catholic faith, which the reporter witnessed Grusch discuss at a meetup for UFO fans after the July hearing:
If his tale proves anything at all, it’s Grusch’s sincere desire to connect with — and believe — his fellow humans. He told the meetup about his Catholic upbringing, and the “woo-woo” nature of faith in any transcendent mystery — how he drifted from it, and how, in a way, he has returned.
And there you have it. Whenever you dig down far enough, you find an unshakeable faith in flying saucers serves as secular substitute for an absent God. It is faith in things unseen, and even Grusch himself sees the parallels between his lapsed Catholicism and his newfound community of believers and their sacred mysteries.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
And isn’t that the substance of ufology, and Grusch’s testimony—and celebrity?
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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