It was a big week for Mormon news. The owner of Skinwalker Ranch, Brandon Fugal, discussed how his Mormon faith in infinite populated worlds helps to shape his investigation of Skinwalker Ranch, which culminated in his assertion that the ranch is inhabited by a noncorporeal “precognitive” intelligence that adapts its supernatural manifestations to the subconscious “intentions” of each visitor. “It can anticipate and even be aware of your thoughts and consciousness and react according to your intention that you bring to the property,” Fugal told Salt Lake Magazine. That sounds a lot like people are seeing what they want to see and are experiencing their own expectations reflected back at them through the mirror of their own minds. In other words, there is no interdimensional intelligence, just people scaring themselves with their own fantasies.
Sometime in the next few days, the Senate will pass the version of the National Defense Authorization Act which passed the House this week. Section 1638 of the new legislation will require the establishment of a program to research UFOs, including some bizarre provisions taken straight from the fever swamps of cable TV UFO shows. The legislation, a slightly watered-down version of an amendment Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand proposed this fall, represents a triumph for ex-government UFO research advocates and infotainers Chris Mellon and Luis Elizondo, whose lobbying efforts and UFO wish list were incorporated almost completely, and sometimes nearly verbatim, into the law.
In a recent podcast appearance, UFO advocate and media personality Lue Elizondo explained his reasoning behind claiming that UFO mysteries have made him "somber." His speculative ideas are straight out of middle twentieth century science fiction, particularly the so-called "zoo hypothesis" that appeared in a number of stories at that time, imagining that Earth was essentially a zoo run by space aliens. This is an outgrowth of Charles Fort's claim that some non-human intelligence essentially operates Earth as a prison or an ant farm to watch us, and it is the basis for the "prison planet" claims of some contemporary ancient astronaut theorists.
Yesterday, the Pentagon announced the creation of a new group to handle UFO investigations as part of an effort to distance the military from the increasingly unhinged fringe science narratives circling around the subject. The Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence issued a directive creating the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, which will investigate and identify potential aerial threats. According to officials who briefed reporters, the group was created in response to frustration within the intelligence community that the UAP Task Force did too little to explain sightings, letting UFO looneys promote alien speculation that military and intelligence officials do not take seriously.
On Thursday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) submitted a revised version of her amendment to create a UFO office within the Pentagon. The new amendment, SA 4810, is now cosponsored by a bipartisan coalition of senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Most of the amendment remains the same, and there is one key provision of the amendment worth highlighting now that the bipartisan legislation seems likely to become law.
A few months ago, NBC's Peacock streaming service gave Demi Lovato a UFO series in which the streamer presented Lovato as a goofy, cuddly conspiracy theorist gawking in wonder at lights in the sky. Gaia TV saw the publicity that Lovato gained and appointed them a brand ambassador, and Lovato began telling their 118 million social media followers to watch hand-picked promoting extreme fringe history ideas, including lizard people conspiracies.
Last week, Avi Loeb appointed Lue Elizondo and Chris Mellon, formerly of To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and the History Channel, to the advisory board of his Galileo Project, the Harvard-backed organization hunting UFOs. Events this week made it a little clearer why Loeb took the extraordinary step to open his “scientific” search for UFOs to men who have variously claimed to have psychic powers, speculated that UFOs emerge from undersea portals to other dimensions, and endorsed fantasies about the U.S. government recovering dwarf aliens from a 1945 UFO crash site.
Avi Loeb made quite the splash when he claimed to have scientific evidence that an interstellar object was actually a piece of alien technology, and he got a free pass from the mainstream media as he steadily pushed into the fringe of ufology. He headlined this year's ancient astronaut conference Contact in the Desert alongside lunatics and racists like Erich von Däniken, and he started a project at Harvard to hunt UFOs with the explicit aim of trying to prove some of them were craft from other worlds. As a reward, he is speaking at the National Cathedral next week on a panel with the Director of National Intelligence and the administrator of NASA on the future of humanity in space and how UFOs will impact our religious ideas--you know, science. Surely, we want an astronomer with a fetish for existentialism and high government officials (seriously: the DNI?!?) speculating about aliens and religion. Now Loeb is thumbing his nose at science and reason yet again.
Fresh off his cameo appearance this week as a newscaster on CSI: Vegas, paranormal journalist George Knapp published an interview with paranormal investigator Jacques Vallée in which the two discussed the topic of their mutual interest—self-publishing badly written, bonkers books about investigating supernatural UFO mysteries. Both Knapp and Vallée recently put out their own books, Skinwalkers at the Pentagon and Trinity: The Best Kept Secret, respectively, both alleging to reveal secrets about UFOs and their connection to government investigations of the paranormal. Oddly enough, Knapp chose not to disclose in the interview or the accompanying article that Vallée served on the board of the organization that investigated Skinwalker Ranch, or that Knapp wrote a book about said ranch at the behest of, and with the support of, their mutual friend, Robert Bigelow.
I feel like I should say something about the press conference held at the National Press Club yesterday in which several very old men shared familiar stories alleging that UFOs deactivated American nuclear missiles in the 1960s. But what, really, is there to say about it? The press conference, similar to one that UFO researcher Robert Hastings held at the same venue in 2010 to promote his 2008 book about UFOs and nukes, included some of the same people who gave the same accounts in 2010, including Robert Salas, who has spent decades alleging that he witnessed a UFO deactivate missiles in Montana in 1967. Salas arranged this week’s news conference but offered nothing new beyond attempting to link events from 1967 to the more recent Navy videos of blurry blobs alleged to represent superior technology.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, 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.