This week, three of the members of Robert Bigelow’s circle of hacks, flacks, and crackpots self-published a book intended to set the record straight about the Pentagon’s involvement in the investigation into the alleged paranormal mysteries of Skinwalker Ranch. Skinwalkers in the Pentagon: An Insiders’ Account of the Secret Government UFO Program arrived on Amazon Sunday with little fanfare but carrying an endorsement from former senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.). James T. Lacatski is credited first, but co-authors Colm A. Kelleher and George Knapp have names familiar to anyone following the governments bizarre involvement with supposed supernatural shenanigans, and now these three Bigelow-adjacent advocates of the occult secrets of UFOs want to set the record straight about just what the Pentagon funded. Knapp published an article about it this week.
The three authors take great pains to specify that the media have greatly confused the public over the various Pentagon UFO programs. According to the authors, Harry Reid funded AAWSAP, the initial program designed to funnel money to Robert Bigelow to study werewolves, UFOs, and interdimensional poltergeists at Skinwalker Ranch, to the tune of $22 million. They claim that the more famous AATIP was not a formal program but an informal name for a subset of AAWSAP, for complex reasons related to secrecy, and was appropriated by Lue Elizondo as an unofficial UFO hunt that was never funded or officially recognized by the Pentagon. The New York Times, they claim, conflated the two and thus gave more credibility to AATIP than warranted.
Then they talk about how ghosts follow home anyone who spends time at Skinwalker Ranch and harass employees’ children.
The book contains many ridiculous just-so stories about alleged supernatural happenings that, of course, have no objective scientific evidence offered for academic scrutiny. It’s a bunch of ghost stories. The biggest news is that Lacatski outs himself as not just the first head of AAWSAP but also the previously unnamed Defense Department scientist who first became interested in Skinwalker Ranch, became convinced that ghosts were haunting it, and convinced the Pentagon to investigate. Lacatski claims to have had personal experiences with a poltergeist.
But the real showstopper is the claim the authors make the Lue Elizondo, the former AATIP operative who has made himself the face of quasi-official ufological research with his claims to be a straight-shooter who is concerned solely with science and security, actually believes that he’s a psychic.
The authors recount a dinner in which members of the Bigelow group and other Pentagon UFO researchers gathered and traded stories about the ghostly happenings that they had come to believe had followed them home from Skinwalker Ranch. Among them was Luis Elizondo:
As he enjoyed his steak tartare, Elizondo regaled those around him with some war stories, including one hair-raising exploit about how his advanced intuition and remote viewing capabilities had saved his life and the life (sic) of his men while on a covert combat mission in war-torn Afghanistan.
The context of the chapter involves Skinwalker Ranch, UFOs, and paranormal phenomena, so it appears that the ambiguous phrase “remote viewing” must refer to the paranormal power and not merely cameras on drones or something technological. I can’t vouch for the authors’ account, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable that someone who gets his interdimensional creature science from 1970s sci-fi novellas would also think he has psychic powers.
The book implies that Elizondo was familiar with the Bigelow team and remote viewing researcher Hal Puthoff back in the mid-2000s, long before Elizondo left the Pentagon to join Puthoff and other ex-Bigelow hacks and flacks at To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, contrary to initial publicity alleging that Elizondo’s arrival was independent of the Bigelow circle.
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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