This, in turn, led Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp to attempt to take back the narrative after too many UFOs were revealed to be Chinese spy devices rather than space monsters. They jointly produced an interview with Jay Stratton to insist that some UFOs are probably space aliens (Reptilians, Corbell claimed), but to most outside the UFO community it seemed fairly obvious that the space alien fantasies had done actual quantifiable damage to national security.
So, it’s a great time for Ancient Aliens to devote an hour to fluffing MUFON, the UFO investigation group that previously aired a 2014 History Channel series infamous for having fabricated government documents to “prove” a conspiracy theory. In January, MUFON director David Macdonald announced that the United States House and Senate issued a joint letter to the Pentagon requesting in the strongest terms that MUFON be appointed an official “non-state actor” in partnership with the military’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, the UFO office Congress established by statute last year.
As much as I have no interest at all in MUFON or this episode, given that Ancient Aliens is continuing to function as an unofficial mouthpiece for the U.S. government, and MUFON is poised to become a government agent, we are sadly forced to treat this episode as part of the parasitic tower of occult fantasy that leeches off the national security state.
The first segment opens at the 2022 MUFON conference in Colorado and introduces the audience to MUFON in preparation for explaining why the amateur organization should be considered a scientific organization worthy of partnering with the U.S. government. Despite claims that MUFON is “serious work” by “police officers” and “lawyers,” I can’t say it inspires too much confidence that one MUFON director in charge of an entire state, Mindy Tautfest, claims to have only started to become interested in UFOs in 2019 after taking a vacation to Roswell and deciding to call up MUFON, at which point she was appointed an investigator and shortly after director of a whole state. The segment then traces MUFON’s involvement in the Cash-Landrum Incident, which the show previously covered in 2020. As I noted in the time, the so-called victims of a UFO encounter lost their lawsuit against the U.S. government because medical records showed their supposed health effects actually started prior to the supposed encounter. MUFON in this episode claims the failed lawsuit as a great victory that gave them “credibility.”
The segment is very strange, a long, dull recitation of MUFON’s alleged credentials for adjudicating UFO sightings—quite different from any other Ancient Aliens episode, and difficult to explain except as either a brief intended to justify spending government money on MUFON or a backdoor pilot to setup a future MUFON reality show.
In the second segment, Travis Taylor and Nick Pope go to visit MUFON, and Taylor, who had long hidden his involvement with the government’s UAP Task Force, now openly talks about it as though it were common knowledge, and he speaks of it as though he did a good job on it and didn’t completely miss Chinese spy balloons in his efforts to find interdimensional space poltergeists. The rest of the segment traces a MUFON investigation into an alleged UFO landing in a woman’s backyard. The UFO left 1-foot wide circles in the lawn. Apparently the aliens are tiny. (Shades of Twilight Zone episodes like “The Invaders” and “The Fear”!) The details of their investigation are rather prosaic and boring, but a MUFON investigator—complete with his “MUFON INVESTIGATOR” jacket—claimed that the landing site gave him blistering due to a residual electromagnetic pulse, though his medical records only indicate an ”unexplained skin eruption,” which could simply be psychosomatic. There’s a lot of talk of “I believe…” and very little evidence supporting their inferences.
The third segment follows the Ancient Aliens and MUFON teams as they reenact their investigation and attempt to prove that the aliens’ electromagnetic signature remains a year later. I have no idea if this is a backdoor pilot for MUFON series or what, but it plays like a very boring version of the Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. Having found nothing, the show flips over to a video of three lights in the sky over England and another from Tooele Army Depot in Utah of a blurry light in the sky. No effort is made to provide any results from MUFON’s “investigation”—MUFON simply shrugs and says they added the mystery to their database. Beats me what the point is. MUFON is proud of being unable to explain cases, but a lack of evidence doesn’t translate into aliens unless you start with the flawed assumption of aliens. Frankly, it makes them look incompetent at best and (after saying they have “our ways” of getting information from the military) deceptive at worst. They failed even to provide evidence that the lights were a “craft”—they just assumed one was a shapeshifting vehicle.
The fourth segment gets into cases of alien visitation and abduction, which I’m sure will make proud those one hundred congresspeople who called for an official status for MUFON. The story concerns an Oklahoma encounter between schoolchildren from the Miracle Mountain school and “shapeshifting entities” in 1975, but only investigated in the 2020s. No effort is made to provide evidence for the tale, and the witness drawings are all of a standard stereotypical sci-fi flying saucer. With no details given, there is no way to draw any conclusions, and the show doesn’t want us to. All that matters, they say, is that old mysteries are “valuable” as data points for some obscure reason they can’t explain, since they steadfastly refuse to draw conclusions from their data. I guess it makes for a more valuable back catalog to sell to the government.
The fifth segment covers MUFON’s “Experiencer Resource Team,” some kind of apparently ersatz psychotherapy for people who claim to be traumatized from alien encounters. Unsurprisingly the success story of a man who overcame his alien abduction trauma turns out to now be yet another MUFON official. He joined the ERT to help abductees like himself and now provides the kind of “compassionate care” I assume they can’t legally call therapy even though it is presented exactly like psychotherapy on the show. (The ERT includes one psychiatrist and four psychologists but is not described as therapy on the MUFON website; it does, however, explicitly claim to deal with “alien contact” with no qualifiers.) An unspoken theme of this episode revolves around how many MUFON officials are themselves UFO witnesses and alien abductees. The segment alleges that abductees are repeatedly abducted over their lifetimes.
Are you listening, Congress? This is what you want to use tax dollars to support: Fake psychotherapy for repeat alien abduction.
The final segment briefly discusses MUFON’s potential involvement with the U.S. government’s UFO investigation. Most of the segment is devoted to last year’s House of Representatives UFO hearing, for which a MUFON official briefed staff for some members of Congress on UFO sightings. The show ends with MUFON begging the government to let them “assist … any way we can” and trying to persuade the government to patronize them and their database of UFO sightings. Bizarrely, they claim they will “never say it’s extraterrestrial” because they “can’t scientifically prove” it, yet they also claim they are determined to find “the truth.” How is that going to work, unless the truth is not alien? Their mission is as muddled as their arguments, and there is only one clear through-line: They want to be in government, like every other ufologist.
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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