George Knapp: Christian Fundamentalists in the Pentagon Shut Down Government Paranormal and UFO Probes Due to Demon Fears
According to the company’s semiannual report, they plan to make back the money by monetizing their search for extraterrestrial metals. They are currently paying their own executive Hal Puthoff $35,000 to analyze “reliable” reports of UFO scrap metal at Puthoff’s other company, Earth Tech. But they say in their SEC filing that, basically, they can only really make money by taking on debt or selling more stock.
In related news, since To the Stars is close cousins to the rest of the Robert Bigelow Extended Multimedia UFO Universe, with whom it shares characters and plot lines, regular readers will remember that the recent Hunt for the Skinwalker documentary drew heavily on videos shot by Las Vegas journalist George Knapp. In September Knapp gave an interview about this to Open Minds, which published a transcript yesterday. The PR firm representing Hunt for the Skinwalker offered me an interview with Knapp, which I accepted. Knapp, however, declined to speak to me and has done only friendly interviews, avoiding skeptics and challenges to the Skinwalker narrative.
One of the criticisms I have had of Knapp is that he seems to have acted unethically, prioritizing his close relationship with billionaire UFO nut Robert Bigelow, the owner of Skinwalker Ranch until 2016, over the public that as a journalist he is supposed to serve. Why, for example, did he not report what he knew about Skinwalker Ranch (or thought he knew, I guess) for decades? “Well, first and foremost, I made a promise to him. I know there are other journalists who operate differently, but look, this was a long-term study; there was no hurry, there was no reason to sprint,” Knapp told Open Minds’ Alejandro Rojas. He repeated the same thing a bit later: “I mean, as journalists, we have to sort of figure out whether we’re crossing a line. I never felt I crossed the line because the promise I had made, I kept and I never revealed information. I knew someday I’d be able to record it and I wasn’t in a hurry because this was a long-term study, a long-term project.” That rubs me the wrong way. Imagine supposedly knowing that a portal to another dimension exists in a certain place and deciding it wasn’t worth reporting and there was no hurry about it. Imagine agreeing to hide facts that you supposedly know for twenty years, distorting all your other UFO reports by omitting key information known to you. Is there any other field where this kind of excuse would fly?
Knapp makes some laughable claims in the interview. For example, when he relates how Bigelow’s men gave up their investigation when they failed to turn up evidence of the paranormal, look at how he frames it: “So, the activity had gone underground, there wasn’t enough for the team to do, there weren’t enough paranormal incidents, so basically, they gave up. I mean, the phenomena had made it clear that it was not going to cooperate; it destroyed some cameras, it was just not playing ball.” So how did it destroy the cameras? Wasn’t this “paranormal activity” that could be studied? Apparently not. And why not? Most likely because there wasn’t anything but a bunch of frightened idiots scaring themselves in the dark. Along the way, Knapp also confirms that he secretly shared information about UFOs with then-senator Harry Reid to feed Reid’s interest in flying saucers. This confirms earlier reporting that Reid helped establish the Pentagon’s UFO research program, which contracted with Bigelow, after Knapp helped facilitate communication between Reid and Bigelow about UFOs.
But the most important part of the interview came when Knapp spoke of how the Defense Intelligence Agency read the book about the Skinwalker Ranch that Knapp wrote at the behest of Bigelow and decided that it was important for government research into the paranormal. It’s important enough to quote at greater length than I would usually provide:
And then, in 2007, a guy from the DIA reached out to Bob Bigelow and said, “I just read this book about The Skinwalker Ranch, I’m really interested in it, can I go?” And Bob Bigelow said, “Yeah. Fly to Las Vegas, I’ll take you out there.” They did. The guy sort of got the idea that what is associated with UFOs might actually be a much broader perspective of paranormal phenomena, that UFOs are not an end to themselves, that it represents the tip of the iceberg, and he wanted to take a look. And he wasn’t there for five minutes, then he had an experience. [...] And this thing appeared inside the house, in broad daylight, and I’m not going to get into details about what it was, but it was pretty distinct and remarkable and it made a very big impression on this guy.
For the moment, we have only Knapp’s word for it, but what he reports is startlingly similar to what Nick Redfern reported in his discussion of the so-called Collins Elite, and it is similar, too, to what Jacques Vallée describes in his Forbidden Science, namely that some members of the military and the intelligence community, having absorbed a great deal of fringe literature—Vallée was aghast to discover that officials were using his Passport to Magonia as a research source, since he knew exactly how little he actually knew about the subject!—have used their positions to push for government-funded research into the paranormal. According to Knapp, they are opposed by Christian fundamentalists in the Evangelical-dominated military hierarchy: “they’re basically high-level people in different intelligence agencies who are fundamentalist Christians; who think that anything involving UFOs and the paranormal is satanic, that by studying it we invite Satan into this world, and they wanted it killed for those reasons.” Knapp claims that the Evangelicals convinced the Pentagon to end funding for occult studies.
That was one of the saddest sentences I’ve ever written. But the funny thing is that I don’t really doubt it. Paranormal enthusiasts and Christian demonologists almost certainly exist in the Pentagon ranks, and they probably exert more power than anyone would like to admit, though likely not in any formal way. How many times, for example, have we seen stories about Evangelical extremism in the Air Force? But that doesn’t make their beliefs true, any more than the government’s long-ago belief that Native American mounds were the work of a lost white race could make that lie true.
It’s hard to know whom to root for when Godzilla and Mothra are fighting. No good comes out of Evangelicals worrying that the government is tempting Satan, and no good comes from New Age zanies wasting taxpayer money chasing poltergeists and dimensional portals across the desert.
Rojas declined to push Knapp on the claims, or to demand specifics. Instead, he simply accepted the story with a “Wow.” No wonder Knapp didn’t want to tell his story to me. I would have questions.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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