Nimitz Carrier Group UFO Witness Claims Seeing "Tic Tac" Craft Gave Him "Advanced Cognition" and Apocalyptic Dreams
At the dawn of the UFO era, Ray Palmer, the editor of Amazing Stories, told his readers that the fantastical tales Richard Shaver spun of underground and interstellar races and their spacecraft were all true but had to be disguised with a romance storyline and the trappings of fiction. And many readers believed the lie, even if a large number recognized the truth.
I’ve related this information many times before, but I have to keep bringing it up because it maintains a strange relevance in the face of new claims that fiction hides facts too important or dangerous to reveal.
The latest exemplar comes to use from the punctuation-challenged pen of Kevin Day, the air intercept controller serving aboard the USS Princeton during the so-called “Tic-Tac” encounter with a UFO by servicemembers in the Nimitz carrier group in 2004. Skeptics have raised a number of questions about the incident, and no evidence of extraterrestrial or extradimensional origins for the apparent object in the sky has been produced. The incident became famous in December of last year when the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science publicized infrared video of the incident in conjunction with a New York Times report revealing the existence of a Pentagon program to study unidentified aerial phenomena. Members of that program and its Robert Bigelow-controlled subcontractor had joined To the Stars at its inception two months earlier.
Day claims that he wrote about the incident in 2008 in a short story entitled “The See’r” (sic) in his collection Sailors Anthology Book’s I and II (sic). In a recent interview with Mike Damante of Punk Rock and UFOs, Day said that “writing it as fiction provided me a way of attempting to describe the very nature of what we had encountered. To capture the weirdness of it.” I have difficulty imagining that it is necessary to make up fake facts and imagine fake people to describe one’s own experiences. The autobiographical novel has a long tradition, and many writers have claimed that it allowed them to explore emotional truths that facts alone could not, or that it gave them the ability to protect the innocent by disguising them. Several memoir writers, like James Frey, admitted to fabricating parts of their own life stories to make for better than real tales. But in all these cases, the mixing of fact and fiction muddies the waters. They may speak to emotional truths, but they are worthless as factual reports.
But the more Day talks, the less reliable he becomes. As he speaks, we learn that he displays signs frequently associated with fantasy prone personalities. He claims that merely witnessing the “Tic Tac” UFO has given him what Punk Rock and UFOs calls “advanced cognition,” which manifests as apocalyptic dreams of a coming disaster.
The dreams I began to have in 2008 can be loosely described as eschatological; world-wide disasters, comets causing tsunamis, epic floods, earthquakes, plane crashes, (and) end of the world scenarios. […] I remembered the “nightmares” the next day and those dream-memories would trigger acute anxiety, which I experience daily even now many years later. Sometimes the anxiety becomes so intense that I flashback – remembering the dream surfaces other real memories and I suddenly “zone out” for a short time. It is sometimes so intense that other people present have asked if I am OK, which I am after the extremely unpleasant episodes are over. If not for the anxiety, perhaps the dreams themselves would not bother me so much. They’re just dreams.
Imagining himself a prophet is certainly one way to interpret these experiences, but it strikes me as the least likely. But rather than pursue what science and logic would tell us are more likely causes of his anxiety and troubled dreams, he instead cites Jacques Vallée and Eric W. Davis—two ufologists associated with Robert Bigelow and To the Stars, directly or indirectly—to support his claim that a UFO gave him mental superpowers. In 2003, Vallée and Davis published a paper through a Bigelow-funded group claiming that UFOs could provide the key to a new understanding of physics. This paper is popular among ufologists, but (if I may steal from my own analysis of the paper in a private email), the authors make two fundamental errors in their zeal to make a case for imaginary physics. First, they reason backward by assuming that “the phenomenon” is (a) singular and (b) correctly understandable from human perception of it. What we see isn’t necessarily what is actually there. When you watch a cartoon, you might report that the drawings move, but that’s just your perception creating a false reality from still images passing very quickly before your eyes. It doesn’t mean that “animation” is a miraculous phenomenon that brings drawings to life. Similarly, to deduce a “phenomenon” from witness reports is to reason backward and bias the results.
Second, there is no evidence that “the phenomenon” is singular. Lights in the sky might have many causes, and there is no historical evidence that supernatural abductions, cattle mutilations, flying ships, or any other part of the “phenomenon” was associated with lights in the sky before ufologists made it so in the middle twentieth century. To start from that assumption is to work backward from a myth to a justification for it. One might equally well try to reason backward from Greco-Roman reports of appearances of the gods (e.g. Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.611ff. with Acts 14:11-12) to investigate the physics of how Zeus and Hermes walked the earth.
Despite these foundational problems with the underlying assumptions in this article by Vallée and Davis, Day wants to give the cover of science to what in other cultures and other times would have been labeled a divine revelation or madness. Day believes that he is being watched at all times and that UFOs will give people the power to “manifest things” out of thin air and to spontaneously heal. These are the kinds of “miracles” associated with prophets and demigods, but Day sees them as science, based on Vallée and Davis: “Basically, microtubules in our brains get vibrated by tremendously high frequency (THz) or terahertz radiation. We are affected at the quantum level, (and) therefore this is a technology and scale problem.” The right vibrations—a favorite term of the spiritualists—give people magical powers.
According to Punk Rock and UFOs, Day is in talks with To the Stars to work with the organization on the UFO phenomenon. Day says that he cannot comment while negotiations are ongoing.
I will await, likely in vain, proof that Day’s visions have any reality outside of his own mind, or that flying saucers give ordinary people the powers of Apollonius of Tyana.
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 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.