Earlier this week, Vox magazine’s Sean Illing spoke with Diana Pasulka, the author of American Cosmic, about space aliens and the threat that UFO beliefs are becoming a religion. In the conversation, Pasulka offered this gem of a response to a question about the so-called “Invisible College” of UFO researchers, whose activities have shaped ufology for the better part of the past four decades:
I think it probably behooves us to note that Pasulka described Hynek and Vallée as “incredible” scientists, even though Hynek never managed to prove UFOs are a distinct and singular non-human intelligent phenomenon, Vallée has a long record of sloppy scholarship, and both men seriously entertained the idea that UFOs are demons or poltergeists haunting us from another dimension. You know, science! It’s also disconcerting that even in discussing the “science” of UFOs, the History Channel pops up like some angry fungus that sprouts on every rotten log.
But more to the point is that Pasulka left out key information about this “Invisible College.” Hynek and Vallée worked closely with Hal Puthoff, who for the past forty years has been closely involved with the U.S. government and with defense contractors and now To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science. Vallée himself reported in his Forbidden Science that Puthoff spent years worming his way into the Pentagon in order to convince the government to study demons and poltergeists in flying saucers. And he is still there. As a subcontractor for Robert Bigelow and now with To the Stars, Puthoff has exercised sizeable influence over the government’s UFO research, and he brought Vallée back into the mix by folding Vallée’s study of so-called “metamaterials” into his own efforts to prove that seeming pieces of industrial waste are really broken chunks of flying saucers.
The Invisible College of ufology isn’t invisible. It’s Hal Puthoff and his friends, celebrating four decades of pursuing extreme and seemingly nonsensical claims about supernatural UFOs.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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