The long-awaited UFO report from the Pentagon and the Director of National Intelligence required by Congress dropped on Friday. Most of us anticipated that it would have little concrete to say, but it was especially surprising that it seemed to represent very little effort on the part of the UAP Task Force, which seems to have conducted no original research and engaged no outside experts to evaluate the 143 unexplained sightings (mostly by sensor) it listed. Instead, the report served largely as a call for a permanent UFO investigation within the Pentagon, with the requisite need for funding, contractors, and consultants. How fortuitous that the new think tank Skyfort, on whose advisory board UFO advocate Lue Elizondo sits, is ready to answer the call. The Pentagon began the process of formalizing UFO research, and budgeting for it, in an order on Friday.
It is, however, interesting that the UFO report contradicts the intimations that UFO advocates like Elizondo made about secret government UFO knowledge. There was no disclosure, no major revelation, only ambiguity and begging for cash. If the report is true, then the government does not have secret hangars of alien flying saucers, or a clandestine program to study alien incursions or arrivals from another dimension.
I gave my take to Space Channel in their coverage this weekend:
While the report is the result of lobbying from UFO advocates, the actual report was written by a small number of career staffers with no known connection to UFO advocacy. While there were a few takeaways that believers see as sensational, the overall tone is one of concern that the lack of evidence leads to potentially faulty conclusions. The task force seems to have conducted only secondary research, reviewing testimony and sensor reports, but conducting no original research. There is also no mention of consulting relevant outside experts, or even of studying the sensors detecting the vast majority of so-called encounters. Overall, the report is highly provisional and better serves as a call for a new UFO program–something the Pentagon quickly implemented–and a brief for more funding, more defense contracts, and more consultants.
I also published an article (behind paywall) in Nevada's largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review, on Sunday discussing TV ghost hunter Zak Bagans's recent purchase of the transaxle assembly from James Dean's Porsche Spyder for nearly $400,000. In my piece I discuss Bagans's plans to display the piece in his Las Vegas museum of the paranormal, where he intends to devote a room to James Dean and the "curse" that allegedly followed him and his car. In my article, I outline why the curse is fakelore and explain how it gained traction only after the revelation that Dean had had same-sex relationships during his life. Here is part of what I wrote:
These revelations came a decade before any other star of his magnitude came out as gay or bisexual. The straight men who grew up idolizing Dean as teens felt betrayed that their hero and role model was one of “those” people. The newly visible gay community adopted Dean as a gay icon. This only increased that sense of betrayal. An early Goo Goo Dolls song described the band’s disgust when “you found out Dean was gay.”
In addition to the museum of the paranormal, Bagans will also star in an upcoming TV series from Discovery+, produced by Hostel and Cabin Fever director Eli Roth, in which Bagans will exploit the allegedly tragic backstories of supposedly haunted or cursed objects in his museum for entertainment.
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.
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