Anti-gravity and Hyperspace Propulsion: One Step Closer To Star Trek
March 17th, 2006
From issue 2533 of New Scientist magazine, 05 January 2006, page 24
EVERY year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awards prizes for the best papers presented at its annual conference. Last year’s winner in the nuclear and future flight category went to a paper calling for experimental tests of an astonishing new type of engine. According to the paper, this hyperdrive motor would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds. It could leave Earth at lunchtime and get to the moon in time for dinner. There’s just one catch: the idea relies on an obscure and largely unrecognized kind of physics. Can they possibly be serious?
The AIAA is certainly not embarrassed. What’s more, the US military has begun to cast its eyes over the hyperdrive concept, and a space propulsion researcher at the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories has said he would be interested in putting the idea to the test. And despite the bafflement of most physicists at the theory that supposedly underpins it, Pavlos Mikellides, an aerospace engineer at the Arizona State University in Tempe who reviewed the winning paper, stands by the committee’s choice. “Even though such features have been explored before, this particular approach is quite unique,” he says.
Unique it certainly is. If the experiment gets the go-ahead and works, it could reveal new interactions between the fundamental forces of nature that would change the future of space travel. Forget spending six months or more holed up in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyperdrive could take as little as 5 hours. All our worries about astronauts’ muscles wasting away or their DNA being irreparably damaged by cosmic radiation would disappear overnight. What’s more the device would put travel to the stars within reach for the first time. But can the hyperdrive really get off the ground?
”œA hyperdrive craft would put the stars within reach for the first time”
The answer to that question hinges on the work of a little-known German physicist. Burkhard Heim began to explore the hyperdrive propulsion concept in the 1950s as a spin-off from his attempts to heal the biggest divide in physics: the rift between quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
Quantum theory describes the realm of the very small – atoms, electrons and elementary particles – while general relativity deals with gravity. The two theories are immensely successful in their separate spheres. The clash arises when it comes to describing the basic structure of space. In general relativity, space-time is an active, malleable fabric. It has four dimensions – three of space and one of time – that deform when masses are placed in them. In Einstein’s formulation, the force of gravity is a result of the deformation of these dimensions. Quantum theory, on the other hand, demands that space is a fixed and passive stage, something simply there for particles to exist on. It also suggests that space itself must somehow be made up of discrete, quantum elements.
In the early 1950s, Heim began to rewrite the equations of general relativity in a quantum framework. He drew on Einstein’s idea that the gravitational force emerges from the dimensions of space and time, but suggested that all fundamental forces, including electromagnetism, might emerge from a new, different set of dimensions. Originally he had four extra dimensions, but he discarded two of them believing that they did not produce any forces, and settled for adding a new two-dimensional “sub-space” onto Einstein’s four-dimensional space-time.
In Heim’s six-dimensional world, the forces of gravity and electromagnetism are coupled together. Even in our familiar four-dimensional world, we can see a link between the two forces through the behaviour of fundamental particles such as the electron. An electron has both mass and charge. When an electron falls under the pull of gravity its moving electric charge creates a magnetic field. And if you use an electromagnetic field to accelerate an electron you move the gravitational field associated with its mass. But in the four dimensions we know, you cannot change the strength of gravity simply by cranking up the electromagnetic field.
In Heim’s view of space and time, this limitation disappears. He claimed it is possible to convert electromagnetic energy into gravitational and back again, and speculated that a rotating magnetic field could reduce the influence of gravity on a spacecraft enough for it to take off.
When he presented his idea in public in 1957, he became an instant celebrity. Wernher von Braun, the German engineer who at the time was leading the Saturn rocket programme that later launched astronauts to the moon, approached Heim about his work and asked whether the expensive Saturn rockets were worthwhile. And in a letter in 1964, the German relativity theorist Pascual Jordan, who had worked with the distinguished physicists Max Born and Werner Heisenberg and was a member of the Nobel committee, told Heim that his plan was so important “that its successful experimental treatment would without doubt make the researcher a candidate for the Nobel prize”.
But all this attention only led Heim to retreat from the public eye. This was partly because of his severe multiple disabilities, caused by a lab accident when he was still in his teens. But Heim was also reluctant to disclose his theory without an experiment to prove it. He never learned English because he did not want his work to leave the country. As a result, very few people knew about his work and no one came up with the necessary research funding. In 1958 the aerospace company BÃ¶lkow did offer some money, but not enough to do the proposed experiment.
While Heim waited for more money to come in, the company’s director, Ludwig BÃ¶lkow, encouraged him to develop his theory further. Heim took his advice, and one of the results was a theorem that led to a series of formulae for calculating the masses of the fundamental particles – something conventional theories have conspicuously failed to achieve. He outlined this work in 1977 in the Max Planck Institute’s journal Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Naturforschung, his only peer-reviewed paper. In an abstruse way that few physicists even claim to understand, the formulae work out a particle’s mass starting from physical characteristics, such as its charge and angular momentum.
Yet the theorem has proved surprisingly powerful. The standard model of physics, which is generally accepted as the best available theory of elementary particles, is incapable of predicting a particle’s mass. Even the accepted means of estimating mass theoretically, known as lattice quantum chromodynamics, only gets to between 1 and 10 per cent of the experimental values.
But in 1982, when researchers at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg implemented Heim’s mass theorem in a computer program, it predicted masses of fundamental particles that matched the measured values to within the accuracy of experimental error. If they are let down by anything, it is the precision to which we know the values of the fundamental constants. Two years after Heim’s death in 2001, his long-term collaborator Illobrand von Ludwiger calculated the mass formula using a more accurate gravitational constant. “The masses came out even more precise,” he says.
After publishing the mass formulae, Heim never really looked at hyperspace propulsion again. Instead, in response to requests for more information about the theory behind the mass predictions, he spent all his time detailing his ideas in three books published in German. It was only in 1980, when the first of his books came to the attention of a retired Austrian patent officer called Walter DrÃ¶scher, that the hyperspace propulsion idea came back to life. DrÃ¶scher looked again at Heim’s ideas and produced an “extended” version, resurrecting the dimensions that Heim originally discarded. The result is “Heim-DrÃ¶scher space”, a mathematical description of an eight-dimensional universe.
From this, DrÃ¶scher claims, you can derive the four forces known in physics: the gravitational and electromagnetic forces, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But there’s more to it than that. “If Heim’s picture is to make sense,” DrÃ¶scher says, “we are forced to postulate two more fundamental forces.” These are, DrÃ¶scher claims, related to the familiar gravitational force: one is a repulsive anti-gravity similar to the dark energy that appears to be causing the universe’s expansion to accelerate. And the other might be used to accelerate a spacecraft without any rocket fuel.
This force is a result of the interaction of Heim’s fifth and sixth dimensions and the extra dimensions that DrÃ¶scher introduced. It produces pairs of “gravitophotons”, particles that mediate the interconversion of electromagnetic and gravitational energy. DrÃ¶scher teamed up with Jochem HÃ¤user, a physicist and professor of computer science at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzgitter, Germany, to turn the theoretical framework into a proposal for an experimental test. The paper they produced, “Guidelines for a space propulsion device based on Heim’s quantum theory”, is what won the AIAA’s award last year.
Claims of the possibility of “gravity reduction” or “anti-gravity” induced by magnetic fields have been investigated by NASA before (New Scientist, 12 January 2002, p 24). But this one, DrÃ¶scher insists, is different. “Our theory is not about anti-gravity. It’s about completely new fields with new properties,” he says. And he and HÃ¤user have suggested an experiment to prove it.
This will require a huge rotating ring placed above a superconducting coil to create an intense magnetic field. With a large enough current in the coil, and a large enough magnetic field, DrÃ¶scher claims the electromagnetic force can reduce the gravitational pull on the ring to the point where it floats free. DrÃ¶scher and HÃ¤user say that to completely counter Earth’s pull on a 150-tonne spacecraft a magnetic field of around 25 tesla would be needed. While that’s 500,000 times the strength of Earth’s magnetic field, pulsed magnets briefly reach field strengths up to 80 tesla. And DrÃ¶scher and HÃ¤user go further. With a faster-spinning ring and an even stronger magnetic field, gravitophotons would interact with conventional gravity to produce a repulsive anti-gravity force, they suggest.
”œA spinning ring and a strong magnetic field could produce a repulsive anti-gravity force”
DrÃ¶scher is hazy about the details, but he suggests that a spacecraft fitted with a coil and ring could be propelled into a multidimensional hyperspace. Here the constants of nature could be different, and even the speed of light could be several times faster than we experience. If this happens, it would be possible to reach Mars in less than 3 hours and a star 11 light years away in only 80 days, DrÃ¶scher and HÃ¤user say.
So is this all fanciful nonsense, or a revolution in the making? The majority of physicists have never heard of Heim theory, and most of those contacted by New Scientist said they couldn’t make sense of DrÃ¶scher and HÃ¤user’s description of the theory behind their proposed experiment. Following Heim theory is hard work even without DrÃ¶scher’s extension, says Markus PÃ¶ssel, a theoretical physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany. Several years ago, while an undergraduate at the University of Hamburg, he took a careful look at Heim theory. He says he finds it “largely incomprehensible”, and difficult to tie in with today’s physics. “What is needed is a step-by-step introduction, beginning at modern physical concepts,” he says.
The general consensus seems to be that DrÃ¶scher and HÃ¤user’s theory is incomplete at best, and certainly extremely difficult to follow. And it has not passed any normal form of peer review, a fact that surprised the AIAA prize reviewers when they made their decision. “It seemed to be quite developed and ready for such publication,” Mikellides told New Scientist.
At the moment, the main reason for taking the proposal seriously must be Heim theory’s uncannily successful prediction of particle masses. Maybe, just maybe, Heim theory really does have something to contribute to modern physics. “As far as I understand it, Heim theory is ingenious,” says Hans Theodor Auerbach, a theoretical physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who worked with Heim. “I think that physics will take this direction in the future.”
It may be a long while before we find out if he’s right. In its present design, DrÃ¶scher and HÃ¤user’s experiment requires a magnetic coil several metres in diameter capable of sustaining an enormous current density. Most engineers say that this is not feasible with existing materials and technology, but Roger Lenard, a space propulsion researcher at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico thinks it might just be possible. Sandia runs an X-ray generator known as the Z machine which “could probably generate the necessary field intensities and gradients”.
For now, though, Lenard considers the theory too shaky to justify the use of the Z machine. “I would be very interested in getting Sandia interested if we could get a more perspicacious introduction to the mathematics behind the proposed experiment,” he says. “Even if the results are negative, that, in my mind, is a successful experiment.”
From issue 2533 of New Scientist magazine, 05 January 2006, page 24
UFOs and the CIA: A Close Encounter Of The Wrong Kind
CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90
A Die-Hard Issue
WARNING: Before reading this lengthy commentary, be aware of the fact that this is but one of many, well-developed methods the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community uses via social media to disseminate its own disinformation, where they continuously lie in an effort to dissuade the public from believing that UFOs are real. What’s so even more interesting, is how the intelligence community in general has trouble keeping their own lies straight, where they appear to continuously contradict themselves. This is now a well-oiled machine, that is regularly reinforced by the media. I find it most interesting how the CIA places propaganda on their own servers. Do they really think that anyone with even half a brain will be stupid enough to believe that the CIA’s own “alleged cover-up” is an accurate one? Give me a break!
An extraordinary 95 percent of all Americans have at least heard or read something about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), and 57 percent believe they are real. (1) Former US Presidents Carter and Reagan claim to have seen a UFO. UFOlogists–a neologism for UFO buffs–and private UFO organizations are found throughout the United States. Many are convinced that the US Government, and particularly CIA, are engaged in a massive conspiracy and coverup of the issue. The idea that CIA has secretly concealed its research into UFOs has been a major theme of UFO buffs since the modern UFO phenomena emerged in the late 1940s. (2)
In late 1993, after being pressured by UFOlogists for the release of additional CIA information on UFOs, (3) DCI R. James Woolsey ordered another review of all Agency files on UFOs. Using CIA records compiled from that review, this study traces CIA interest and involvement in the UFO controversy from the late 1940s to 1990. It chronologically examines the Agency’s efforts to solve the mystery of UFOs, its programs that had an impact on UFO sightings, and its attempts to conceal CIA involvement in the entire UFO issue. What emerges from this examination is that, while Agency concern over UFOs was substantial until the early 1950s, CIA has since paid only limited and peripheral attention to the phenomena.
The emergence in 1947 of the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union also saw the first wave of UFO sightings. The first report of a “flying saucer” over the United States came on 24 June 1947, when Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot and reputable businessman, while looking for a downed plane sighted nine disk-shaped objects near Mt. Rainier, Washington, traveling at an estimated speed of over 1,000 mph. Arnold’s report was followed by a flood of additional sightings, including reports from military and civilian pilots and air traffic controllers all over the United States. (4) In 1948, Air Force Gen. Nathan Twining, head of the Air Technical Service Command, established Project SIGN (initially named Project SAUCER) to collect, collate, evaluate, and distribute within the government all information relating to such sightings, on the premise that UFOs might be real and of national security concern. (5)
The Technical Intelligence Division of the Air Material Command (AMC) at Wright Field (later Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) in Dayton, Ohio, assumed control of Project SIGN and began its work on 23 January 1948. Although at first fearful that the objects might be Soviet secret weapons, the Air Force soon concluded that UFOs were real but easily explained and not extraordinary. The Air Force report found that almost all sightings stemmed from one or more of three causes: mass hysteria and hallucination, hoax, or misinterpretation of known objects. Nevertheless, the report recommended continued military intelligence control over the investigation of all sightings and did not rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial phenomena. (6)
Amid mounting UFO sightings, the Air Force continued to collect and evaluate UFO data in the late 1940s under a new project, GRUDGE, which tried to alleviate public anxiety over UFOs via a public relations campaign designed to persuade the public that UFOs constituted nothing unusual or extraordinary. UFO sightings were explained as balloons, conventional aircraft, planets, meteors, optical illusions, solar reflections, or even “large hailstones.” GRUDGE officials found no evidence in UFO sightings of advanced foreign weapons design or development, and they concluded that UFOs did not threaten US security. They recommended that the project be reduced in scope because the very existence of Air Force official interest encouraged people to believe in UFOs and contributed to a “war hysteria” atmosphere. On 27 December 1949, the Air Force announced the project’s termination. (7)
With increased Cold War tensions, the Korean war, and continued UFO sightings, USAF Director of Intelligence Maj. Gen. Charles P. Cabell ordered a new UFO project in 1952. Project BLUE BOOK became the major Air Force effort to study the UFO phenomenon throughout the 1950s and 1960s. (8) The task of identifying and explaining UFOs continued to fall on the Air Material Command at Wright-Patterson. With a small staff, the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) tried to persuade the public that UFOs were not extraordinary. (9) Projects SIGN, GRUDGE, and BLUE BOOK set the tone for the official US Government position regarding UFOs for the next 30 years.
Early CIA Concerns, 1947-52
CIA closely monitored the Air Force effort, aware of the mounting number of sightings and increasingly concerned that UFOs might pose a potential security threat. (10) Given the distribution of the sightings, CIA officials in 1952 questioned whether they might reflect “midsummer madness.” (11) Agency officials accepted the Air Force’s conclusions about UFO reports, although they concluded that “since there is a remote possibility that they may be interplanetary aircraft, it is necessary to investigate each sighting.” (12)
A massive buildup of sightings over the United States in 1952, especially in July, alarmed the Truman administration. On 19 and 20 July, radar scopes at Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base tracked mysterious blips. On 27 July, the blips reappeared. The Air Force scrambled interceptor aircraft to investigate, but they found nothing. The incidents, however, caused headlines across the country. The White House wanted to know what was happening, and the Air Force quickly offered the explanation that the radar blips might be the result of “temperature inversions.” Later, a Civil Aeronautics Administration investigation confirmed that such radar blips were quite common and were caused by temperature inversions. (13)
Although it had monitored UFO reports for at least three years, CIA reacted to the new rash of sightings by forming a special study group within the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) and the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI) to review the situation. (14) Edward Tauss, acting chief of OSI’s Weapons and Equipment Division, reported for the group that most UFO sightings could be easily explained. Nevertheless, he recommended that the Agency continue monitoring the problem, in coordination with ATIC. He also urged that CIA conceal its interest from the media and the public, “in view of their probable alarmist tendencies” to accept such interest as confirming the existence of UFOs. (15)
Upon receiving the report, Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI) Robert Amory, Jr. assigned responsibility for the UFO investigations to OSI’s Physics and Electronics Division, with A. Ray Gordon as the officer in charge. (16) Each branch in the division was to contribute to the investigation, and Gordon was to coordinate closely with ATIC. Amory, who asked the group to focus on the national security implications of UFOs, was relaying DCI Walter Bedell Smith’s concerns. (17) Smith wanted to know whether or not the Air Force investigation of flying saucers was sufficiently objective and how much more money and manpower would be necessary to determine the cause of the small percentage of unexplained flying saucers. Smith believed “there was only one chance in 10,000 that the phenomenon posed a threat to the security of the country, but even that chance could not be taken.” According to Smith, it was CIA’s responsibility by statute to coordinate the intelligence effort required to solve the problem. Smith also wanted to know what use could be made of the UFO phenomenon in connection with US psychological warfare efforts. (18)
Led by Gordon, the CIA Study Group met with Air Force officials at Wright-Patterson and reviewed their data and findings. The Air Force claimed that 90 percent of the reported sightings were easily accounted for. The other 10 percent were characterized as “a number of incredible reports from credible observers.” The Air Force rejected the theories that the sightings involved US or Soviet secret weapons development or that they involved “men from Mars”; there was no evidence to support these concepts. The Air Force briefers sought to explain these UFO reports as the misinterpretation of known objects or little understood natural phenomena. (19) Air Force and CIA officials agreed that outside knowledge of Agency interest in UFOs would make the problem more serious. (20) This concealment of CIA interest contributed greatly to later charges of a CIA conspiracy and coverup.
Amateur photographs of alleged UFOs
The CIA Study Group also searched the Soviet press for UFO reports, but found none, causing the group to conclude that the absence of reports had to have been the result of deliberate Soviet Government policy. The group also envisioned the USSR’s possible use of UFOs as a psychological warfare tool. In addition, they worried that, if the US air warning system should be deliberately overloaded by UFO sightings, the Soviets might gain a surprise advantage in any nuclear attack. (21)
Because of the tense Cold War situation and increased Soviet capabilities, the CIA Study Group saw serious national security concerns in the flying saucer situation. The group believed that the Soviets could use UFO reports to touch off mass hysteria and panic in the United States. The group also believed that the Soviets might use UFO sightings to overload the US air warning system so that it could not distinguish real targets from phantom UFOs. H. Marshall Chadwell, Assistant Director of OSI, added that he considered the problem of such importance “that it should be brought to the attention of the National Security Council, in order that a communitywide coordinated effort towards it solution may be initiated.” (22)
Chadwell briefed DCI Smith on the subject of UFOs in December 1952. He urged action because he was convinced that “something was going on that must have immediate attention” and that “sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major US defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.” He drafted a memorandum from the DCI to the National Security Council (NSC) and a proposed NSC Directive establishing the investigation of UFOs as a priority project throughout the intelligence and the defense research and development community. (23) Chadwell also urged Smith to establish an external research project of top-level scientists to study the problem of UFOs. (24) After this briefing, Smith directed DDI Amory to prepare a NSC Intelligence Directive (NSCID) for submission to the NSC on the need to continue the investigation of UFOs and to coordinate such investigations with the Air Force. (25)
The Robertson Panel, 1952-53
On 4 December 1952, the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC) took up the issue of UFOs. (26) Amory, as acting chairman, presented DCI Smith’s request to the committee that it informally discuss the subject of UFOs. Chadwell then briefly reviewed the situation and the active program of the ATIC relating to UFOs. The committee agreed that the DCI should “enlist the services of selected scientists to review and appraise the available evidence in the light of pertinent scientific theories” and draft an NSCID on the subject. (27) Maj. Gen. John A. Samford, Director of Air Force Intelligence, offered full cooperation. (28)
At the same time, Chadwell looked into British efforts in this area. He learned the British also were active in studying the UFO phenomena. An eminent British scientist, R. V. Jones, headed a standing committee created in June 1951 on flying saucers. Jones’ and his committee’s conclusions on UFOs were similar to those of Agency officials: the sightings were not enemy aircraft but misrepresentations of natural phenomena. The British noted, however, that during a recent air show RAF pilots and senior military officials had observed a “perfect flying saucer.” Given the press response, according to the officer, Jones was having a most difficult time trying to correct public opinion regarding UFOs. The public was convinced they were real. (29)
In January 1953, Chadwell and H. P. Robertson, a noted physicist from the California Institute of Technology, put together a distinguished panel of nonmilitary scientists to study the UFO issue. It included Robertson as chairman; Samuel A. Goudsmit, a nuclear physicist from the Brookhaven National Laboratories; Luis Alvarez, a high-energy physicist; Thornton Page, the deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Operations Research Office and an expert on radar and electronics; and Lloyd Berkner, a director of the Brookhaven National Laboratories and a specialist in geophysics. (30)
The charge to the panel was to review the available evidence on UFOs and to consider the possible dangers of the phenomena to US national security. The panel met from 14 to 17 January 1953. It reviewed Air Force data on UFO case histories and, after spending 12 hours studying the phenomena, declared that reasonable explanations could be suggested for most, if not all, sightings. For example, after reviewing motion-picture film taken of a UFO sighting near Tremonton, Utah, on 2 July 1952 and one near Great Falls, Montana, on 15 August 1950, the panel concluded that the images on the Tremonton film were caused by sunlight reflecting off seagulls and that the images at Great Falls were sunlight reflecting off the surface of two Air Force interceptors. (31)
The panel concluded unanimously that there was no evidence of a direct threat to national security in the UFO sightings. Nor could the panel find any evidence that the objects sighted might be extraterrestrials. It did find that continued emphasis on UFO reporting might threaten “the orderly functioning” of the government by clogging the channels of communication with irrelevant reports and by inducing “hysterical mass behavior” harmful to constituted authority. The panel also worried that potential enemies contemplating an attack on the United States might exploit the UFO phenomena and use them to disrupt US air defenses. (32)
To meet these problems, the panel recommended that the National Security Council debunk UFO reports and institute a policy of public education to reassure the public of the lack of evidence behind UFOs. It suggested using the mass media, advertising, business clubs, schools, and even the Disney corporation to get the message across. Reporting at the height of McCarthyism, the panel also recommended that such private UFO groups as the Civilian Flying Saucer Investigators in Los Angeles and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization in Wisconsin be monitored for subversive activities. (33)
The Robertson panel’s conclusions were strikingly similar to those of the earlier Air Force project reports on SIGN and GRUDGE and to those of the CIA’s own OSI Study Group. All investigative groups found that UFO reports indicated no direct threat to national security and no evidence of visits by extraterrestrials.
Following the Robertson panel findings, the Agency abandoned efforts to draft an NSCID on UFOs. (34) The Scientific Advisory Panel on UFOs (the Robertson panel) submitted its report to the IAC, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, and the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board. CIA officials said no further consideration of the subject appeared warranted, although they continued to monitor sightings in the interest of national security. Philip Strong and Fred Durant from OSI also briefed the Office of National Estimates on the findings. (35) CIA officials wanted knowledge of any Agency interest in the subject of flying saucers carefully restricted, noting not only that the Robertson panel report was classified but also that any mention of CIA sponsorship of the panel was forbidden. This attitude would later cause the Agency major problems relating to its credibility. (36)
The 1950s: Fading CIA Interest in UFOs
After the report of the Robertson panel, Agency officials put the entire issue of UFOs on the back burner. In May 1953, Chadwell transferred chief responsibility for keeping abreast of UFOs to OSI’s Physics and Electronic Division, while the Applied Science Division continued to provide any necessary support. (37) Todos M. Odarenko, chief of the Physics and Electronics Division, did not want to take on the problem, contending that it would require too much of his division’s analytic and clerical time. Given the findings of the Robertson panel, he proposed to consider the project “inactive” and to devote only one analyst part-time and a file clerk to maintain a reference file of the activities of the Air Force and other agencies on UFOs. Neither the Navy nor the Army showed much interest in UFOs, according to Odarenko. (38)
A nonbeliever in UFOs, Odarenko sought to have his division relieved of the responsibility for monitoring UFO reports. In 1955, for example, he recommended that the entire project be terminated because no new information concerning UFOs had surfaced. Besides, he argued, his division was facing a serious budget reduction and could not spare the resources. (39) Chadwell and other Agency officials, however, continued to worry about UFOs. Of special concern were overseas reports of UFO sightings and claims that German engineers held by the Soviets were developing a “flying saucer” as a future weapon of war. (40)
To most US political and military leaders, the Soviet Union by the mid-1950s had become a dangerous opponent. Soviet progress in nuclear weapons and guided missiles was particularly alarming. In the summer of 1949, the USSR had detonated an atomic bomb. In August 1953, only nine months after the United States tested a hydrogen bomb, the Soviets detonated one. In the spring of 1953, a top secret RAND Corporation study also pointed out the vulnerability of SAC bases to a surprise attack by Soviet long-range bombers. Concern over the danger of a Soviet attack on the United States continued to grow, and UFO sightings added to the uneasiness of US policymakers.
Mounting reports of UFOs over eastern Europe and Afghanistan also prompted concern that the Soviets were making rapid progress in this area. CIA officials knew that the British and Canadians were already experimenting with “flying saucers.” Project Y was a Canadian-British-US developmental operation to produce a nonconventional flying-saucer-type aircraft, and Agency officials feared the Soviets were testing similar devices. (41)
Adding to the concern was a flying saucer sighting by US Senator Richard Russell and his party while traveling on a train in the USSR in October 1955. After extensive interviews of Russell and his group, however, CIA officials concluded that Russell’s sighting did not support the theory that the Soviets had developed saucerlike or unconventional aircraft. Herbert Scoville, Jr., the Assistant Director of OSI, wrote that the objects observed probably were normal jet aircraft in a steep climb. (42)
Wilton E. Lexow, head of the CIA’s Applied Sciences Division, was also skeptical. He questioned why the Soviets were continuing to develop conventional-type aircraft if they had a “flying saucer.” (43) Scoville asked Lexow to assume responsibility for fully assessing the capabilities and limitations of nonconventional aircraft and to maintain the OSI central file on the subject of UFOs.
CIA’s U-2 and OXCART as UFOs
In November 1954, CIA had entered into the world of high technology with its U-2 overhead reconnaissance project. Working with Lockheed’s Advanced Development facility in Burbank, California, known as the Skunk Works, and Kelly Johnson, an eminent aeronautical engineer, the Agency by August 1955 was testing a high-altitude experimental aircraft–the U-2. It could fly at 60,000 feet; in the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew between 10,000 feet and 20,000 feet. Consequently, once the U-2 started test flights, commercial pilots and air traffic controllers began reporting a large increase in UFO sightings. (44) (U)
The early U-2s were silver (they were later painted black) and reflected the rays from the sun, especially at sunrise and sunset. They often appeared as fiery objects to observers below. Air Force BLUE BOOK investigators aware of the secret U-2 flights tried to explain away such sightings by linking them to natural phenomena such as ice crystals and temperature inversions. By checking with the Agency’s U-2 Project Staff in Washington, BLUE BOOK investigators were able to attribute many UFO sightings to U-2 flights. They were careful, however, not to reveal the true cause of the sighting to the public.
According to later estimates from CIA officials who worked on the U-2 project and the OXCART (SR-71, or Blackbird) project, over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States. (45) This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project. While perhaps justified, this deception added fuel to the later conspiracy theories and the coverup controversy of the 1970s. The percentage of what the Air Force considered unexplained UFO sightings fell to 5.9 percent in 1955 and to 4 percent in 1956. (46)
At the same time, pressure was building for the release of the Robertson panel report on UFOs. In 1956, Edward Ruppelt, former head of the Air Force BLUE BOOK project, publicly revealed the existence of the panel. A best-selling book by UFOlogist Donald Keyhoe, a retired Marine Corps major, advocated release of all government information relating to UFOs. Civilian UFO groups such as the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) immediately pushed for release of the Robertson panel report. (47) Under pressure, the Air Force approached CIA for permission to declassify and release the report. Despite such pressure, Philip Strong, Deputy Assistant Director of OSI, refused to declassify the report and declined to disclose CIA sponsorship of the panel. As an alternative, the Agency prepared a sanitized version of the report which deleted any reference to CIA and avoided mention of any psychological warfare potential in the UFO controversy. (48)
The demands, however, for more government information about UFOs did not let up. On 8 March 1958, Keyhoe, in an interview with Mike Wallace of CBS, claimed deep CIA involvement with UFOs and Agency sponsorship of the Robertson panel. This prompted a series of letters to the Agency from Keyhoe and Dr. Leon Davidson, a chemical engineer and UFOlogist. They demanded the release of the full Robertson panel report and confirmation of CIA involvement in the UFO issue. Davidson had convinced himself that the Agency, not the Air Force, carried most of the responsibility for UFO analysis and that “the activities of the US Government are responsible for the flying saucer sightings of the last decade.” Indeed, because of the undisclosed U-2 and OXCART flights, Davidson was closer to the truth than he suspected. CI, nevertheless held firm to its policy of not revealing its role in UFO investigations and refused to declassify the full Robertson panel report. (49)
In a meeting with Air Force representatives to discuss how to handle future inquires such as Keyhoe’s and Davidson’s, Agency officials confirmed their opposition to the declassification of the full report and worried that Keyhoe had the ear of former DCI VAdm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, who served on the board of governors of NICAP. They debated whether to have CIA General Counsel Lawrence R. Houston show Hillenkoetter the report as a possible way to defuse the situation. CIA officer Frank Chapin also hinted that Davidson might have ulterior motives, “some of them perhaps not in the best interest of this country,” and suggested bringing in the FBI to investigate. (50) Although the record is unclear whether the FBI ever instituted an investigation of Davidson or Keyhoe, or whether Houston ever saw Hillenkoetter about the Robertson report, Hillenkoetter did resign from the NICAP in 1962. (51)
The Agency was also involved with Davidson and Keyhoe in two rather famous UFO cases in the 1950s, which helped contribute to a growing sense of public distrust of CIA with regard to UFOs. One focused on what was reported to have been a tape recording of a radio signal from a flying saucer; the other on reported photographs of a flying saucer. The “radio code” incident began innocently enough in 1955, when two elderly sisters in Chicago, Mildred and Marie Maier, reported in the Journal of Space Flight their experiences with UFOs, including the recording of a radio program in which an unidentified code was reportedly heard. The sisters taped the program and other ham radio operators also claimed to have heard the “space message.” OSI became interested and asked the Scientific Contact Branch to obtain a copy of the recording. (52)
Field officers from the Contact Division (CD), one of whom was Dewelt Walker, made contact with the Maier sisters, who were “thrilled that the government was interested,” and set up a time to meet with them. (53) In trying to secure the tape recording, the Agency officers reported that they had stumbled upon a scene from Arsenic and Old Lace. “The only thing lacking was the elderberry wine,” Walker cabled Headquarters. After reviewing the sisters’ scrapbook of clippings from their days on the stage, the officers secured a copy of the recording. (54) OSI analyzed the tape and found it was nothing more than Morse code from a US radio station.
The matter rested there until UFOlogist Leon Davidson talked with the Maier sisters in 1957. The sisters remembered they had talked with a Mr. Walker who said he was from the US Air Force. Davidson then wrote to a Mr. Walker, believing him to be a US Air Force Intelligence Officer from Wright-Patterson, to ask if the tape had been analyzed at ATIC. Dewelt Walker replied to Davidson that the tape had been forwarded to proper authorities for evaluation, and no information was available concerning the results. Not satisfied, and suspecting that Walker was really a CIA officer, Davidson next wrote DCI Allen Dulles demanding to learn what the coded message revealed and who Mr. Walker was. (55) The Agency, wanting to keep Walker’s identity as a CIA employee secret, replied that another agency of the government had analyzed the tape in question and that Davidson would be hearing from the Air Force. (56) On 5 August, the Air Force wrote Davidson saying that Walker “was and is an Air Force Officer” and that the tape “was analyzed by another government organization.” The Air Force letter confirmed that the recording contained only identifiable Morse code which came from a known US-licensed radio station. (57)
Davidson wrote Dulles again. This time he wanted to know the identity of the Morse operator and of the agency that had conducted the analysis. CIA and the Air Force were now in a quandary. The Agency had previously denied that it had actually analyzed the tape. The Air Force had also denied analyzing the tape and claimed that Walker was an Air Force officer. CIA officers, under cover, contacted Davidson in Chicago and promised to get the code translation and the identification of the transmitter, if possible. (58)
In another attempt to pacify Davidson, a CIA officer, again under cover and wearing his Air Force uniform, contacted Davidson in New York City. The CIA officer explained that there was no super agency involved and that Air Force policy was not to disclose who was doing what. While seeming to accept this argument, Davidson nevertheless pressed for disclosure of the recording message and the source. The officer agreed to see what he could do. (59) After checking with Headquarters, the CIA officer phoned Davidson to report that a thorough check had been made and, because the signal was of known US origin, the tape and the notes made at the time had been destroyed to conserve file space. (60)
Incensed over what he perceived was a runaround, Davidson told the CIA officer that “he and his agency, whichever it was, were acting like Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamster Union in destroying records which might indict them.” (61) Believing that any more contact with Davidson would only encourage more speculation, the Contact Division washed its hands of the issue by reporting to the DCI and to ATIC that it would not respond to or try to contact Davidson again. (62) Thus, a minor, rather bizarre incident, handled poorly by both CIA and the Air Force, turned into a major flap that added fuel to the growing mystery surrounding UFOs and CIA’s role in their investigation.
Another minor flap a few months later added to the growing questions surrounding the Agency’s true role with regard to flying saucers. CIA’s concern over secrecy again made matters worse. In 1958, Major Keyhoe charged that the Agency was deliberately asking eyewitnesses of UFOs not to make their sightings public. (63)
The incident stemmed from a November 1957 request from OSI to the CD to obtain from Ralph C. Mayher, a photographer for KYW-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, certain photographs he took in 1952 of an unidentified flying object. Harry Real, a CD officer, contacted Mayher and obtained copies of the photographs for analysis. On 12 December 1957, John Hazen, another CD officer, returned the five photographs of the alleged UFO to Mayher without comment. Mayher asked Hazen for the Agency’s evaluation of the photos, explaining that he was trying to organize a TV program to brief the public on UFOs. He wanted to mention on the show that a US intelligence organization had viewed the photographs and thought them of interest. Although he advised Mayher not to take this approach, Hazen stated that Mayher was a US citizen and would have to make his own decision as to what to do. (64)
Keyhoe later contacted Mayher, who told him his story of CIA and the photographs. Keyhoe then asked the Agency to confirm Hazen’s employment in writing, in an effort to expose CIA’s role in UFO investigations. The Agency refused, despite the fact that CD field representatives were normally overt and carried credentials identifying their Agency association. DCI Dulles’s aide, John S. Earman, merely sent Keyhoe a noncommittal letter noting that, because UFOs were of primary concern to the Department of the Air Force, the Agency had referred his letter to the Air Force for an appropriate response. Like the response to Davidson, the Agency reply to Keyhoe only fueled the speculation that the Agency was deeply involved in UFO sightings. Pressure for release of CIA information on UFOs continued to grow. (65)
Although CIA had a declining interest in UFO cases, it continued to monitor UFO sightings. Agency officials felt the need to keep informed on UFOs if only to alert the DCI to the more sensational UFO reports and flaps. (66)
The 1960s: Declining CIA Involvement and Mounting Controversy
In the early 1960s, Keyhoe, Davidson, and other UFOlogists maintained their assault on the Agency for release of UFO information. Davidson now claimed that CIA “was solely responsible for creating the Flying Saucer furor as a tool for cold war psychological warfare since 1951.” Despite calls for Congressional hearings and the release of all materials relating to UFOs, little changed. (67)
In 1964, however, following high-level White House discussions on what to do if an alien intelligence was discovered in space and a new outbreak of UFO reports and sightings, DCI John McCone asked for an updated CIA evaluation of UFOs. Responding to McCone’s request, OSI asked the CD to obtain various recent samples and reports of UFO sightings from NICAP. With Keyhoe, one of the founders, no longer active in the organization, CIA officers met with Richard H. Hall, the acting director. Hall gave the officers samples from the NICAP database on the most recent sightings. (68)
After OSI officers had reviewed the material, Donald F. Chamberlain, OSI Assistant Director, assured McCone that little had changed since the early 1950s. There was still no evidence that UFOs were a threat to the security of the United States or that they were of “foreign origin.” Chamberlain told McCone that OSI still monitored UFO reports, including the official Air Force investigation, Project BLUE BOOK. (69)
At the same time that CIA was conducting this latest internal review of UFOs, public pressure forced the Air Force to establish a special ad hoc committee to review BLUE BOOK. Chaired by Dr. Brian O’Brien, a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the panel included Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer from Cornell University. Its report offered nothing new. It declared that UFOs did not threaten the national security and that it could find “no UFO case which represented technological or scientific advances outside of a terrestrial framework.” The committee did recommend that UFOs be studied intensively, with a leading university acting as a coordinator for the project, to settle the issue conclusively. (70)
The House Armed Services Committee also held brief hearings on UFOs in 1966 that produced similar results. Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown assured the committee that most sightings were easily explained and that there was no evidence that “strangers from outer space” had been visiting Earth. He told the committee members, however, that the Air Force would keep an open mind and continue to investigate all UFO reports. (71)
Following the report of its O’Brien Committee, the House hearings on UFOs, and Dr. Robertson’s disclosure on a CBS Reports program that CIA indeed had been involved in UFO analysis, the Air Force in July 1966 again approached the Agency for declassification of the entire Robertson panel report of 1953 and the full Durant report on the Robertson panel deliberations and findings. The Agency again refused to budge. Karl H. Weber, Deputy Director of OSI, wrote the Air Force that “We are most anxious that further publicity not be given to the information that the panel was sponsored by the CIA.” Weber noted that there was already a sanitized version available to the public. (72) Weber’s response was rather shortsighted and ill considered. It only drew more attention to the 13-year-old Robertson panel report and CIA’s role in the investigation of UFOs. The science editor of The Saturday Review drew nationwide attention to the CIA’s role in investigating UFOs when he published an article criticizing the “sanitized version” of the 1953 Robertson panel report and called for release of the entire document. (73)
Unknown to CIA officials, Dr. James E. McDonald, a noted atmospheric physicist from the University of Arizona, had already seen the Durant report on the Robertson panel proceedings at Wright-Patterson on 6 June 1966. When McDonald returned to Wright-Patterson on 30 June to copy the report, however, the Air Force refused to let him see it again, stating that it was a CIA classified document. Emerging as a UFO authority, McDonald publicly claimed that the CIA was behind the Air Force secrecy policies and coverup. He demanded the release of the full Robertson panel report and the Durant report. (74)
Bowing to public pressure and the recommendation of its own O’Brien Committee, the Air Force announced in August 1966 that it was seeking a contract with a leading university to undertake a program of intensive investigations of UFO sightings. The new program was designed to blunt continuing charges that the US Government had concealed what it knew about UFOs. On 7 October, the University of Colorado accepted a $325,000 contract with the Air Force for an 18-month study of flying saucers. Dr. Edward U. Condon, a physicist at Colorado and a former Director of the National Bureau of Standards, agreed to head the program. Pronouncing himself an “agnostic” on the subject of UFOs, Condon observed that he had an open mind on the question and thought that possible extraterritorial origins were “improbable but not impossible.” (75) Brig. Gen. Edward Giller, USAF, and Dr. Thomas Ratchford from the Air Force Research and Development Office became the Air Force coordinators for the project.
In February 1967, Giller contacted Arthur C. Lundahl, Director of CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC), and proposed an informal liaison through which NPIC could provide the Condon Committee with technical advice and services in examining photographs of alleged UFOs. Lundahl and DDI R. Jack Smith approved the arrangement as a way of “preserving a window” on the new effort. They wanted the CIA and NPIC to maintain a low profile, however, and to take no part in writing any conclusions for the committee. No work done for the committee by NPIC was to be formally acknowledged. (76)
Ratchford next requested that Condon and his committee be allowed to visit NPIC to discuss the technical aspects of the problem and to view the special equipment NPIC had for photoanalysis. On 20 February 1967, Condon and four members of his committee visited NPIC. Lundahl emphasized to the group that any NPIC work to assist the committee must not be identified as CIA work. Moreover, work performed by NPIC would be strictly of a technical nature. After receiving these guidelines, the group heard a series of briefings on the services and equipment not available elsewhere that CIA had used in its analysis of some UFO photography furnished by Ratchford. Condon and his committee were impressed. (77)
Condon and the same group met again in May 1967 at NPIC to hear an analysis of UFO photographs taken at Zanesville, Ohio. The analysis debunked that sighting. The committee was again impressed with the technical work performed, and Condon remarked that for the first time a scientific analysis of a UFO would stand up to investigation. (78) The group also discussed the committee’s plans to call on US citizens for additional photographs and to issue guidelines for taking useful UFO photographs. In addition, CIA officials agreed that the Condon Committee could release the full Durant report with only minor deletions.
In April 1969, Condon and his committee released their report on UFOs. The report concluded that little, if anything, had come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years and that further extensive study of UFO sightings was unwarranted. It also recommended that the Air Force special unit, Project BLUE BOOK, be discontinued. It did not mention CIA participation in the Condon committee’s investigation. (79) A special panel established by the National Academy of Sciences reviewed the Condon report and concurred with its conclusion that “no high priority in UFO investigations is warranted by data of the past two decades.” It concluded its review by declaring, “On the basis of present knowledge, the least likely explanation of UFOs is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitations by intelligent beings.” Following the recommendations of the Condon Committee and the National Academy of Sciences, the Secretary of the Air Force, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., announced on 17 December 1969 the termination of BLUE BOOK. (80)
The 1970s and 1980s: The UFO Issue Refuses To Die
The Condon report did not satisfy many UFOlogists, who considered it a coverup for CIA activities in UFO research. Additional sightings in the early 1970s fueled beliefs that the CIA was somehow involved in a vast conspiracy. On 7 June 1975, William Spaulding, head of a small UFO group, Ground Saucer Watch (GSW), wrote to CIA requesting a copy of the Robertson panel report and all records relating to UFOs. (81) Spaulding was convinced that the Agency was withholding major files on UFOs. Agency officials provided Spaulding with a copy of the Robertson panel report and of the Durant report. (82)
On 14 July 1975, Spaulding again wrote the Agency questioning the authenticity of the reports he had received and alleging a CIA coverup of its UFO activities. Gene Wilson, CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, replied in an attempt to satisfy Spaulding, “At no time prior to the formation of the Robertson Panel and subsequent to the issuance of the panel’s report has CIA engaged in the study of the UFO phenomena.” The Robertson panel report, according to Wilson, was “the summation of Agency interest and involvement in UFOs.” Wilson also inferred that there were no additional documents in CIA’s possession that related to UFOs. Wilson was ill informed. (83)
In September 1977, Spaulding and GSW, unconvinced by Wilson’s response, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Agency that specifically requested all UFO documents in CIA’s possession. Deluged by similar FOIA requests for Agency information on UFOs, CIA officials agreed, after much legal maneuvering, to conduct a “reasonable search” of CIA files for UFO materials. (84) Despite an Agency-wide unsympathetic attitude toward the suit, Agency officials, led by Launie Ziebell from the Office of General Counsel, conducted a thorough search for records pertaining to UFOs. Persistent, demanding, and even threatening at times, Ziebell and his group scoured the Agency. They even turned up an old UFO file under a secretary’s desk. The search finally produced 355 documents totaling approximately 900 pages. On 14 December 1978, the Agency released all but 57 documents of about 100 pages to GSW. It withheld these 57 documents on national security grounds and to protect sources and methods. (85)
Although the released documents produced no smoking gun and revealed only a low-level Agency interest in the UFO phenomena after the Robertson panel report of 1953, the press treated the release in a sensational manner. The New York Times, for example, claimed that the declassified documents confirmed intensive government concern over UFOs and that the Agency was secretly involved in the surveillance of UFOs. (86) GSW then sued for the release of the withheld documents, claiming that the Agency was still holding out key information. (87) It was much like the John F. Kennedy assassination issue. No matter how much material the Agency released and no matter how dull and prosaic the information, people continued to believe in a Agency coverup and conspiracy.
DCI Stansfield Turner was so upset when he read The New York Times article that he asked his senior officers, “Are we in UFOs?” After reviewing the records, Don Wortman, Deputy Director for Administration, reported to Turner that there was “no organized Agency effort to do research in connection with UFO phenomena nor has there been an organized effort to collect intelligence on UFOs since the 1950s.” Wortman assured Turner that the Agency records held only “sporadic instances of correspondence dealing with the subject,” including various kinds of reports of UFO sightings. There was no Agency program to collect actively information on UFOs, and the material released to GSW had few deletions. (88) Thus assured, Turner had the General Counsel press for a summary judgment against the new lawsuit by GSW. In May 1980, the courts dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the Agency had conducted a thorough and adequate search in good faith. (89)
During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Agency continued its low-key interest in UFOs and UFO sightings. While most scientists now dismissed flying saucers reports as a quaint part of the 1950s and 1960s, some in the Agency and in the Intelligence Community shifted their interest to studying parapsychology and psychic phenomena associated with UFO sightings. CIA officials also looked at the UFO problem to determine what UFO sightings might tell them about Soviet progress in rockets and missiles and reviewed its counterintelligence aspects. Agency analysts from the Life Science Division of OSI and OSWR officially devoted a small amount of their time to issues relating to UFOs. These included counterintelligence concerns that the Soviets and the KGB were using US citizens and UFO groups to obtain information on sensitive US weapons development programs (such as the Stealth aircraft), the vulnerability of the US air-defense network to penetration by foreign missiles mimicking UFOs, and evidence of Soviet advanced technology associated with UFO sightings.
CIA also maintained Intelligence Community coordination with other agencies regarding their work in parapsychology, psychic phenomena, and “remote viewing” experiments. In general, the Agency took a conservative scientific view of these unconventional scientific issues. There was no formal or official UFO project within the Agency in the 1980s, and Agency officials purposely kept files on UFOs to a minimum to avoid creating records that might mislead the public if released. (90)
The 1980s also produced renewed charges that the Agency was still withholding documents relating to the 1947 Roswell incident, in which a flying saucer supposedly crashed in New Mexico, and the surfacing of documents which purportedly revealed the existence of a top secret US research and development intelligence operation responsible only to the President on UFOs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. UFOlogists had long argued that, following a flying saucer crash in New Mexico in 1947, the government not only recovered debris from the crashed saucer but also four or five alien bodies. According to some UFOlogists, the government clamped tight security around the project and has refused to divulge its investigation results and research ever since. (91) In September 1994, the US Air Force released a new report on the Roswell incident that concluded that the debris found in New Mexico in 1947 probably came from a once top secret balloon operation, Project MOGUL, designed to monitor the atmosphere for evidence of Soviet nuclear tests. (92)
Circa 1984, a series of documents surfaced which some UFOlogists said proved that President Truman created a top secret committee in 1947, Majestic-12, to secure the recovery of UFO wreckage from Roswell and any other UFO crash sight for scientific study and to examine any alien bodies recovered from such sites. Most if not all of these documents have proved to be fabrications. Yet the controversy persists. (93)
Like the JFK assassination conspiracy theories, the UFO issue probably will not go away soon, no matter what the Agency does or says. The belief that we are not alone in the universe is too emotionally appealing and the distrust of our government is too pervasive to make the issue amenable to traditional scientific studies of rational explanation and evidence.
(1) See the 1973 Gallup Poll results printed in The New York Times, 29 November 1973, p. 45 and Philip J. Klass, UFOs: The Public Deceived (New York: Prometheus Books, 1983), p. 3.
(2) See Klass, UFOs, p. 3; James S. Gordon, “The UFO Experience,” Atlantic Monthly (August 1991), pp. 82-92; David Michael Jacobs, The UFO Controversy in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975); Howard Blum, Out There: The Government’s Secret Quest for Extraterrestrials (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990); Timothy Good, Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-Up (New York: William Morrow, 1987); and Whitley Strieber, Communion: The True Story (New York: Morrow, 1987).
(3) In September 1993 John Peterson, an acquaintance of Woolsey’s, first approached the DCI with a package of heavily sanitized CIA material on UFOs released to UFOlogist Stanton T. Friedman. Peterson and Friedman wanted to know the reasons for the redactions. Woolsey agreed to look into the matter. See Richard J. Warshaw, Executive Assistant, note to author, 1 November 1994; Warshaw, note to John H. Wright, Information and Privacy Coordinator, 31 January 1994; and Wright, memorandum to Executive Secretariat, 2 March 1994. (Except where noted, all citations to CIA records in this article are to the records collected for the 1994 Agency-wide search that are held by the Executive Assistant to the DCI).
(4) See Hector Quintanilla, Jr., “The Investigation of UFOs,” Vol. 10, No. 4, Studies in Intelligence (fall 1966): pp.95-110 and CIA, unsigned memorandum, “Flying Saucers,” 14 August 1952. See also Good, Above Top Secret, p. 253. During World War II, US pilots reported “foo fighters” (bright lights trailing US aircraft). Fearing they might be Japanese or German secret weapons, OSS investigated but could find no concrete evidence of enemy weapons and often filed such reports in the “crackpot” category. The OSS also investigated possible sightings of German V-1 and V-2 rockets before their operational use during the war. See Jacobs, UFO Controversy, p. 33. The Central Intelligence Group, the predecessor of the CIA, also monitored reports of “ghost rockets” in Sweden in 1946. See CIG, Intelligence Report, 9 April 1947.
(5) Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 156 and Quintanilla, “The Investigation of UFOs,” p. 97.
(6) See US Air Force, Air Material Command, “Unidentified Aerial Objects: Project SIGN, no. F-TR 2274, IA, February 1949, Records of the US Air Force Commands, Activities and Organizations, Record Group 341, National Archives, Washington, DC.
(7) See US Air Force, Projects GRUDGE and BLUEBOOK Reports 1- 12 (Washington, DC; National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, 1968) and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, pp. 50-54.
(8) See Cabell, memorandum to Commanding Generals Major Air Commands, “Reporting of Information on Unconventional Aircraft,” 8 September 1950 and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 65.
(9) See Air Force, Projects GRUDGE and BLUE BOOK and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 67.
(10) See Edward Tauss, memorandum for Deputy Assistant Director, SI, “Flying Saucers,” 1 August 1952. See also United Kingdom, Report by the “Flying Saucer” Working Party, “Unidentified Flying Objects,” no date (approximately 1950).
(11) See Dr. Stone, OSI, memorandum to Dr. Willard Machle, OSI, 15 March 1949 and Ralph L. Clark, Acting Assistant Director, OSI, memorandum for DDI, “Recent Sightings of Unexplained Objects,” 29 July 1952.
(12) Stone, memorandum to Machle. See also Clark, memorandum for DDI, 29 July 1952.
(13) See Klass, UFOs, p. 15. For a brief review of the Washington sightings see Good, Above Top Secret, pp. 269-271.
(14) See Ralph L. Clark, Acting Assistant Director, OSI, memorandum to DDI Robert Amory, Jr., 29 July 1952. OSI and OCI were in the Directorate of Intelligence. Established in 1948, OSI served as the CIA’s focal point for the analysis of foreign scientific and technological developments. In 1980, OSI was merged into the Office of Science and Weapons Research. The Office of Current Intelligence (OCI), established on 15 January 1951 was to provide all-source current intelligence to the President and the National Security Council.
(15) Tauss, memorandum for Deputy Assistant Director, SI (Philip Strong), 1 August 1952.
(16) On 2 January 1952, DCI Walter Bedell Smith created a Deputy Directorate for Intelligence (DDI) composed of six overt CIA organizations–OSI, OCI, Office of Collection and Dissemination, Office National Estimates, Office of Research and Reports, and the Office of Intelligence Coordination–to produce intelligence analysis for US policymakers.
(17) See Minutes of Branch Chief’s Meeting, 11 August 1952.
(18) Smith expressed his opinions at a meeting in the DCI Conference Room attended by his top officers. See Deputy Chief, Requirements Staff, FI, memorandum for Deputy Director, Plans, “Flying Saucers,” 20 August 1952, Directorate of Operations Records, Information Management Staff, Job 86-00538R, Box 1.
(19) See CIA memorandum, unsigned, “Flying Saucers,” 11 August 1952.
(20) See CIA, memorandum, unsigned, “Flying Saucers,” 14 August 1952.
(21) See CIA, memorandum, unsigned, “Flying Saucers,” 19 August 1952.
(22) See Chadwell, memorandum for Smith, 17 September 1952 and 24 September 1952, “Flying Saucers.” See also Chadwell, memorandum for DCI Smith, 2 October 1952 and Klass, UFOs, pp. 23-26.
(23) Chadwell, memorandum for DCI with attachments, 2 December 1952. See also Klass, UFOs, pp. 26-27 and Chadwell, memorandum, 25 November 1952.
(24) See Chadwell, memorandum, 25 November 1952 and Chadwell, memorandum, “Approval in Principle – External Research Project Concerned with Unidentified Flying Objects,” no date. See also Philip G. Strong, OSI, memorandum for the record, “Meeting with Dr. Julius A. Stratton, Executive Vice President and Provost, MIT and Dr. Max Millikan, Director of CENIS.” Strong believed that in order to undertake such a review they would need the full backing and support of DCI Smith.
(25) See Chadwell, memorandum for DCI, “”Unidentified Flying Objects,” 2 December 1952. See also Chadwell, memorandum for Amory, DDI, “Approval in Principle – External Research Project Concerned with Unidentified Flying Objects,” no date.
(26) The IAC was created in 1947 to serve as a coordinating body in establishing intelligence requirements. Chaired by the DCI, the IAC included representatives from the Department of State, the Army, the Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI, and the AEC.
(27) See Klass, UFOs, p. 27.
(28) See Richard D. Drain, Acting Secretary, IAC, “Minutes of Meeting held in Director’s Conference Room, Administration Building, CIA,” 4 December 1952.
(29) See Chadwell, memorandum for the record, “British Activity in the Field of UFOs,” 18 December 1952.
(30) See Chadwell, memorandum for DCI, “Consultants for Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects,” 9 January 1953; Curtis Peebles, Watch the Skies! A Chronicle of the Flying Saucer Myth (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994). pp. 73-90; and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, pp. 91-92.
(31) See Fred C. Durant III, Report on the Robertson Panel Meeting, January 1953. Durant, on contract with OSI and a past president of the American Rocket Society, attended the Robertson panel meetings and wrote a summary of the proceedings.
(32) See Report of the Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects (the Robertson Report), 17 January 1953 and the Durant report on the panel discussions.
(33) See Robertson Report and Durant Report. See also Good, Above Top Secret, pp. 337-38, Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 95, and Klass, UFO’s, pp. 28-29.
(34) See Reber, memorandum to IAC, 18 February 1953.
(35) See Chadwell, memorandum for DDI, “Unidentified Flying Objects,” 10 February 1953; Chadwell, letter to Robertson, 28 January 1953; and Reber, memorandum for IAC, “Unidentified Flying Objects,” 18 February 1953. On briefing the ONE, see Durant, memorandum for the record, “Briefing of ONE Board on Unidentified Flying Objects,” 30 January 1953 and CIA Summary disseminated to the field, “Unidentified Flying Objects,” 6 February 1953.
(36) See Chadwell, letter to Julius A. Stratton, Provost MIT, 27 January 1953.
(37) See Chadwell, memorandum for Chief, Physics and Electronics Division/OSI (Todos M. Odarenko), “Unidentified Flying Objects,” 27 May 1953.
(38) See Odarenko, memorandum to Chadwell, “Unidentified Flying Objects,” 3 July 1953. See also Odarenko, memorandum to Chadwell, “Current Status of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOB) Project,” 17 December 1953.
(39) See Odarenko, memorandum, “Unidentified Flying Objects,” 8 August 1955.
(40) See FBIS, report, “Military Unconventional Aircraft,” 18 August 1953 and various reports, “Military-Air, Unconventional Aircraft,” 1953, 1954, 1955.
(41) Developed by the Canadian affiliate of Britain’s A. V. Roe, Ltd., Project Y did produce a small-scale model that hovered a few feet off the ground. See Odarenko, memorandum to Chadwell, “Flying Saucer Type of Planes” 25 May 1954; Frederic C. E. Oder, memorandum to Odarenko, “USAF Project Y,” 21 May 1954; and Odarenko, T. M. Nordbeck, Ops/SI, and Sidney Graybeal, ASD/SI, memorandum for the record, “Intelligence Responsibilities for Non-Conventional Types of Air Vehicles,” 14 June 1954.
(42) See Reuben Efron, memorandum, “Observation of Flying Object Near Baku,” 13 October 1955; Scoville, memorandum for the record, “Interview with Senator Richard B. Russell,” 27 October 1955; and Wilton E. Lexow, memorandum for information, “Reported Sighting of Unconventional Aircraft,” 19 October 1955.
(43) See Lexow, memorandum for information, “Reported Sighting of Unconventional Aircraft,” 19 October 1955. See also Frank C. Bolser, memorandum for George C. Miller, Deputy Chief, SAD/SI, “Possible Soviet Flying Saucers, Check On;” Lexow, memorandum, “Possible Soviet Flying Saucers, Follow Up On,” 17 December 1954; Lexow, memorandum, “Possible Soviet Flying Saucers,” 1 December 1954; and A. H. Sullivan, Jr., memorandum, “Possible Soviet Flying Saucers,” 24 November 1954.
(44) See Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach, The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974 (Washington, DC: CIA History Staff, 1992), pp. 72-73.
(45) See Pedlow and Welzenbach, Overhead Reconnaissance, pp. 72-73. This also was confirmed in a telephone interview between the author and John Parongosky, 26 July 1994. Parongosky oversaw the day-to-day affairs of the OXCART program.
(46) See Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 135.
(47) See Peebles, Watch the Skies, pp. 128-146; Ruppelt, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (New York: Doubleday, 1956); Keyhoe, The Flying Saucer Conspiracy (New York: Holt, 1955); and Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, pp. 347-49.
(48) See Strong, letter to Lloyd W. Berkner; Strong, letter to Thorton Page; Strong, letter to Robertson; Strong, letter to Samuel Goudsmit; Strong, letter to Luis Alvarez, 20 December 1957; and Strong, memorandum for Major James F. Byrne, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence Department of the Air Force, “Declassification of the `Report of the Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects,’” 20 December 1957. See also Berkner, letter to Strong, 20 November 1957 and Page, letter to Strong, 4 December 1957. The panel members were also reluctant to have their association with the Agency released.
(49) See Wilton E. Lexow, memorandum for the record, “Comments on Letters Dealing with Unidentified Flying Objects,” 4 April 1958; J. S. Earman, letter to Major Lawrence J. Tacker, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Information Service, 4 April 1958; Davidson, letter to Berkner, 8 April 1958; Berkner, letter to Davidson, 18 April 1958; Berkner, letter to Strong, 21 April 1958; Davidson, letter to Tacker, 27 April 1958; Davidson, letter to Allen Dulles, 27 April 1958; Ruppelt, letter to Davidson, 7 May 1958; Strong, letter to Berkner, 8 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Berkner, 8 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Earman, 16 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Goudsmit, 18 May 1958; Davidson, letter to Page, 18 May 1958; and Tacker, letter to Davidson, 20 May 1958.
(50) See Lexow, memorandum for Chapin, 28 July 1958.
(51) See Good, Above Top Secret, pp. 346-47; Lexow, memorandum for the record, “Meeting with the Air Force Personnel Concerning Scientific Advisory Panel Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, dated 17 January 1953 (S),” 16 May 1958. See also La Rae L. Teel, Deputy Division Chief, ASD, memorandum for the record, “Meeting with Mr. Chapin on Replying to Leon Davidson’s UFO Letter and Subsequent Telephone Conversation with Major Thacker, [sic]” 22 May 1958.
(52) See Edwin M. Ashcraft, Chief, Contact Division (Scientific), memorandum to Chief, Chicago Office, “Radio Code Recording,” 4 March 1955 and Ashcraft, memorandum to Chief, Support Branch, OSI, 17 March 1955.
(53) The Contact Division was created to collect foreign intelligence information from sources within the United States. See the Directorate of Intelligence Historical Series, The Origin and Development of Contact Division, 11 July 19461 July 1965 (Washington, DC; CIA Historical Staff, June 1969).
(54) See George O. Forrest, Chief, Chicago Office, memorandum to Chief, Contact Division for Science, 11 March 1955.
(55) See Support Division (Connell), memorandum to Dewelt E. Walker, 25 April 1957.
(56) See J. Arnold Shaw, Assistant to the Director, letter to Davidson, 10 May 1957.
(57) See Support (Connell) memorandum to Lt. Col. V. Skakich, 27 August 1957 and Lamountain, memorandum to Support (Connell), 20 December 1957.
(58) See Lamountain, cable to Support (Connell), 31 July 1958.
(59) See Support (Connell) cable to Skakich, 3 October 1957 and Skakich, cable to Connell, 9 October 1957.
(60) See Skakich, cable to Connell, 9 October 1957.
(61) See R. P. B. Lohmann, memorandum for Chief, Contact Division, DO, 9 January 1958.
(62) See Support, cable to Skakich, 20 February 1958 and Connell (Support) cable to Lamountain, 19 December 1957.
(63) See Edwin M. Ashcraft, Chief, Contact Division, Office of Operations, memorandum for Austin Bricker, Jr., Assistant to the Director, “Inquiry by Major Donald E. Keyhoe on John Hazen’s Association with the Agency,” 22 January 1959.
(64) See John T. Hazen, memorandum to Chief, Contact Division, 12 December 1957. See also Ashcraft, memorandum to Cleveland Resident Agent, “Ralph E. Mayher,” 20 December 1957. According to this memorandum, the photographs were viewed at “a high level and returned to us without comment.” The Air Force held the original negatives. The CIA records were probably destroyed.
(65) The issue would resurface in the 1970s with the GSW FOIA court case.
(66) See Robert Amory, Jr., DDI, memorandum for Assistant Director/Scientific Intelligence, “Flying Saucers,” 26 March 1956. See also Wallace R. Lamphire, Office of the Director, Planning and Coordination Staff, memorandum for Richard M. Bissell, Jr., “Unidentified Flying Saucers (UFO),” 11 June 1957; Philip Strong, memorandum for the Director, NPIC, “Reported Photography of Unidentified Flying Objects,” 27 October 1958; Scoville, memorandum to Lawrence Houston, Legislative Counsel, “Reply to Honorable Joseph E. Garth,” 12 July 1961; and Houston, letter to Garth, 13 July 1961.
(67) See, for example, Davidson, letter to Congressman Joseph Garth, 26 June 1961 and Carl Vinson, Chairman, House Committee on Armed Services, letter to Rep. Robert A. Everett, 2 September 1964.
(68) See Maxwell W. Hunter, staff member, National Aeronautics and Space Council, Executive Office of the President, memorandum for Robert F. Parkard, Office of International Scientific Affairs, Department of State, “Thoughts on the Space Alien Race Question,” 18 July 1963, File SP 16, Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, National Archives. See also F. J. Sheridan, Chief, Washington Office, memorandum to Chief, Contact Division, “National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP),” 25 January 1965.
(69) Chamberlain, memorandum for DCI, “Evaluation of UFOs,” 26 January 1965.
(70) See Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 199 and US Air Force, Scientific Advisory Board, Ad Hoc Committee (O’Brien Committee) to Review Project BLUE BOOK, Special Report (Washington, DC: 1966). See also The New York Times, 14 August 1966, p. 70.
(71) See “Congress Reassured on Space Visits,” The New York Times, 6 April 1966.
(72) Weber, letter to Col. Gerald E. Jorgensen, Chief, Community Relations Division, Office of Information, US Air Force, 15 August 1966. The Durant report was a detailed summary of the Robertson panel proceedings.
(73) See John Lear, “The Disputed CIA Document on UFOs,” Saturday Review (September 3, 1966), p. 45. The Lear article was otherwise unsympathetic to UFO sightings and the possibility that extraterritorials were involved. The Air Force had been eager to provide Lear with the full report. See Walter L. Mackey, Executive Officer, memorandum for DCI, “Air Force Request to Declassify CIA Material on Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO),” 1 September 1966.
(74) See Klass, UFOs, p. 40, Jacobs, The UFO Controversy, p. 214 and Everet Clark, “Physicist Scores `Saucer Status,’” The New York Times, 21 October 1966. See also James E. McDonald, “Statement on Unidentified Flying Objects,” submitted to the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, 29 July 1968.
(75) Condon is quoted in Walter Sullivan, “3 Aides Selected in Saucer Inquiry,” The New York Times, 8 October 1966. See also “An Outspoken Scientist, Edward Uhler Condon,” The New York Times, 8 October 1966. Condon, an outgoing, gruff scientist, had earlier become embroiled in a controversy with the House Unamerican Activities Committee that claimed Condon was “one of the weakest links in our atomic security.” See also Peebles, Watch the Skies, pp. 169-195.
(76) See Lundahl, memorandum for DDI, 7 February 1967.
(77) See memorandum for the record, “Visit of Dr. Condon to NPIC, 20 February 1967,” 23 February 1967. See also the analysis of the photographs in memorandum for Lundahl, “Photo Analysis of UFO Photography,” 17 February 1967.
(78) See memorandum for the record, “UFO Briefing for Dr. Edward Condon, 5 May 1967,” 8 May 1967 and attached “Guidelines to UFO Photographers and UFO Photographic Information Sheet.” See also Condon Committee, Press Release, 1 May 1967 and Klass, UFOs, p. 41. The Zaneville photographs turned out to be a hoax.
(79) See Edward U. Condon, Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (New York: Bantam Books, 1969) and Klass, UFOs, p. 41. The report contained the Durant report with only minor deletions.
(80) See Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense, News Release, “Air Force to Terminate Project BLUEBOOK,” 17 December 1969. The Air Force retired BLUEBOOK records to the USAF Archives at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. In 1976 the Air Force turned over all BLUEBOOK files to the National Archives and Records Administration, which made them available to the public without major restrictions. Some names have been withheld from the documents. See Klass, UFOs, p. 6.
(81) GSW was a small group of UFO buffs based in Phoenix, Arizona, and headed by William H. Spaulding.
(82) See Klass, UFOs, p. 8.
(83) See Wilson, letter to Spaulding, 26 March 1976 and GSW v. CIA Civil Action Case 78-859.
(84) GSW v. CIA Civil Action Case 78-859, p. 2.
(85) Author interview with Launie Ziebell, 23 June 1994 and author interview with OSI analyst, 21 July 1994. See also affidavits of George Owens, CIA Information and Privacy Act Coordinator; Karl H. Weber, OSI; Sidney D. Stembridge, Office of Security; and Rutledge P. Hazzard, DS&T; GSW v. CIA Civil Action Case 78-859 and Sayre Stevens, Deputy Director for National Foreign Assessment, memorandum for Thomas H. White, Assistant for Information, Information Review Committee, “FOIA Litigation Ground Saucer Watch,” no date.
(86) See “CIA Papers Detail UFO Surveillance,” The New York Times, 13 January 1979; Patrick Huyghe, “UFO Files: The Untold Story,” The New York Times Magazine, 14 October 1979, p. 106; and Jerome Clark, “UFO Update,” UFO Report, August 1979.
(87) Jerome Clark, “Latest UFO News Briefs From Around the World,” UFO Update, August 1979 and GSW v. CIA Civil Action No. 78-859.
(88) See Wortman, memorandum for DCI Turner, “Your Question, `Are we in UFOs?’ Annotated to The New York Times News Release Article,” 18 January 1979.
(89) See GSW v. CIA Civil Action 78-859. See also Klass, UFOs, pp. 10-12.
(90) See John Brennan, memorandum for Richard Warshaw, Executive Assistant, DCI, “Requested Information on UFOs,” 30 September 1993; Author interviews with OSWR analyst, 14 June 1994 and OSI analyst, 21 July 1994. This author found almost no documentation on Agency involvement with UFOs in the 1980s.
There is a DIA Psychic Center and the NSA studies parapsychology, that branch of psychology that deals with the investigation of such psychic phenomena as clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, and telepathy. The CIA reportedly is also a member of an Incident Response Team to investigate UFO landings, if one should occur. This team has never met. The lack of solid CIA documentation on Agency UFO-related activities in the 1980s leaves the entire issue somewhat murky for this period.
Much of the UFO literature presently focuses on contactees and abductees. See John E. Mack, Abduction, Human Encounters with Aliens (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994) and Howard Blum, Out There (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990).
(91) See Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore, The Roswell Incident (New York: Berkeley Books, 1988); Moore, “The Roswell Incident: New Evidence in the Search for a Crashed UFO,” (Burbank, California: Fair Witness Project, 1982), Publication Number 1201; and Klass, UFOs, pp. 280-281. In 1994 Congressman Steven H. Schiff (R-NM) called for an official study of the Roswell incident. The GAO is conducting a separate investigation of the incident. The CIA is not involved in the investigation. See Klass, UFOs, pp. 279-281; John H. Wright, Information and Privacy Coordinator, letter to Derek Skreen, 20 September 1993; and OSWR analyst interview. See also the made-for-TV film, Roswell, which appeared on cable TV on 31 July 1994 and Peebles, Watch the Skies, pp. 245-251.
(92) See John Diamond, “Air Force Probes 1947 UFO Claim Findings Are Down to Earth,” 9 September 1994, Associated Press release; William J. Broad, “Wreckage of a `Spaceship’: Of This Earth (and U.S.),” The New York Times, 18 September 1994, p. 1; and USAF Col. Richard L. Weaver and 1st Lt. James McAndrew, The Roswell Report, Fact Versus Fiction in New Mexico Desert (Washington, DC: GPO, 1995).
(93) See Good, Above Top Secret; Moore and S. T. Friedman, “Philip Klass and MJ-12: What are the Facts,” (Burbank California: Fair-Witness Project, 1988), Publication Number 1290; Klass, “New Evidence of MJ-12 Hoax,” Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 14 (Winter 1990); and Moore and Jaime H. Shandera, The MJ-12 Documents: An Analytical Report (Burbank, California: Fair-Witness Project, 1990), Publication Number 1500. Walter Bedell Smith supposedly replaced Forrestal on 1 August 1950 following Forrestal’s death. All members listed were deceased when the MJ-12 “documents” surfaced in 1984. See Peebles, Watch the Skies, pp. 258-268.
Dr. Larry Bland, editor of The George C. Marshall Papers, discovered that one of the so-called Majestic-12 documents was a complete fraud. It contained the exact same language as a letter from Marshall to Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey regarding the “Magic” intercepts in 1944. The dates and names had been altered and “Magic” changed to “Majic.” Moreover, it was a photocopy, not an original. No original MJ-12 documents have ever surfaced. Telephone conversation between the author and Bland, 29 August 1994.
Gerald K. Haines is the National Reconnaissance Office historian.
Demystifying The Paranormal. Dr. Barry Taff Unravels the Poltergeist Mystery
As Published In:
It’s cheesy, and certainly doesn’t speak to the man’s work, but take the three original Ghostbusters. Imagine the pithy sarcasm of Peter Venkman, the uncompromising shrewdness of Egon Spengler, top it with the zealous, stocky stature of occult-buff Ray Stanz, and you can more or less paint a picture of parapsychologist Dr. Barry E. Taff.
If you’re not familiar with the man, maybe you’re familiar with the 1983 film The Entity starring Barbara Hershey, an eerie psychological horror where the female protagonist is repeatedly raped by some malevolent presence. If you’re not familiar with either, then you’re not clued in on the stranger side of poltergeist phenomena (yes, it gets much stranger).
It’s a film that sparked notoriety in paranormal circles, and even placed at #4 in Martin Scorsese’s “11 Scariest Horror Films of All Time”. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/10/28/martin-scorseses-top-11-horror-films-of-all-time.html. It was based on a real 1974 investigation that would mark the beginning of, and ultimately define, Dr. Taff’s long, polarizing, and rather illuminating career in parapsychology.
If Los Angeles has any local legends, The Entity Case is definitely one of them.
During the summer of ‘74, Doris Bither (Carla Moran in the film) and her four children were being terrorized by unseen forces in their new, and rather shabby, home in Culver City, California. As research assistants at UCLA’s now-nonexistent Parapsychology Lab (I’ll get to that later), it was business as usual for Dr. Taff and his colleague Kerry Gaynor when they interviewed Doris at her home. She described some typical, ghostly disturbances since her family moved in, but it wasn’t long before she dropped a bombshell.
“I’ve been raped,” she told them. The men’s faces turned white. “There were three of them. Two held me down, and a big one attacked me.” It was at that point Dr. Taff and Gaynor referred Doris to a clinical psychologist on staff at UCLA and shortly after departed.
It was almost two weeks later that they agreed to return to Doris’ house… now there were witnesses. They arrived, this time met with the smell of rotting flesh, extreme drops in temperature (during a hot L.A. summer), and a frying pan that flew out of a cabinet and tossed itself across the kitchen floor.
What followed was a weeks-long investigation which peaked with the appearance of a full-fledge apparition. In front of Doris, Dr. Taff, and the two dozen research assistants and techies buzzing around the house, strange ‘corpuscular masses of light’ coalesced and formed into the upper torso of a large humanoid figure. It looked around at the room full of shocked onlookers before it vanished suddenly.
Doris eventually moved, only to have the activity follow her. So, she moved again, and then again, and then again. Dr. Taff eventually lost touch with her, and was left with more questions than answers. For more of the story: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1534e9_dr-barry-taff-the-entity-files creation.
That was forty years ago. Though a landmark case, Doris Bither’s is only 1 in over 4,000 that Dr. Taff has personally investigated. With a Ph.D in Psychophysiology and a minor in Biomedical Engineering, his life’s work in the paranormal field has essentially led him to this: “There is no such thing as the paranormal,” he says flatly, “it’s a misnomer.”
Taff posits that we’ve been calling ‘paranormal’ is actually more normal than we may think. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make you feel better, but, essentially, the problem could have less to do with dead people floating around, and more to do with the psychogenic nature of the human subconscious.
I mentioned the UCLA Parapsychology Lab earlier, Dr. Taff’s old stomping grounds. And no, it isn’t the subject of another horror film. Taff was mentored during a time when there was widespread interest in parapsychology. At UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI), now the Semel Institute, the lab operated from 1969-1978, headed by Dr. Thelma Moss. The lab functioned on two fronts:
Firstly, it facilitated ‘psi-training research groups’ in which average individuals were aided in developing their extra-sensory perception (ESP), recording the accuracy of nonlocal observation long before Remote Viewing became a household phrase. The lab’s psi results were uncanny, and to test subjects, startling. The success rates transcended the odds of mere coincidence. “It was intriguing, but also boring,” he recalls, “because it became easy to replicate.” In addition to being covered by The L.A. Times and local news, the experiments attracted the attention of the CIA, NSA, ONI, DLI, DIA, DARPA, the FBI, and even the CHP and LAPD, all of whom paid numerous visits to the lab, often in civilian clothing.
Secondly, the lab investigated haunted houses and sites all over Southern California. Among them was the infamous Holly Mont Drive case in 1976, where a once grandiose Mediterranean home now sits rotting, http://la.curbed.com/archives/2013/02/lovely_but_wrecked_mediterranean_in_the_hills_needs_a_miracle.php still nestled in the old Hollywood Hills above Franklin Village. In fact, it’s one of the few cases Taff considers to be a genuine ‘haunting’, as opposed to poltergeist phenomena they typically encountered.
The university quickly became wary of the lab’s work, and its end was looming. Being that the lab was a non-sanctioned entity, and with its prospects of attracting federal grant money, new NPI chairman Dr. Louis Jolyon West shut it down. UCLA didn’t want an embarrassing PR scandal on their hands. As disappointed as Dr. Taff was, he didn’t blame the university for its outlook, as the stigma attached to parapsychology was palpable even in 1978. Read more in detail here http://www.teemingbrain.com/2012/11/15/legacys-end-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-ucla-parapsychology-lab/. Asking the university for information about the lab will yield a stonewall denial of its existence, despite articles like this one still being published to this day. http://dailybruin.com/2010/10/26/ucla_lab_researched_parapsychology_in_the_70s/
Though survival-after-death is yet to be proved or disproved, a compelling theory surfaced for Dr. Taff after thousands of investigations and decades of collected data. According to him, what we imagine as ‘ghosts’ is actually stemming from very real, and very alive people. Taff refers to these people as Poltergeist Agents, who unknowingly act as ‘biological waveguides’ when they enter a specific environment. I know, stay with me.
Essentially, Taff lists three variables that act together in concert to produce the physical manifestations of a good old-fashioned haunting: 1) The haunted site is located in an electromagnetically (EMF) anomalous environment 2) The poltergeist agent is usually prone to seizures or epileptic, and their biomagnetic field emits well over one million times the amplitude compared to the average person and 3) The poltergeist agent is neurologically wired in a way, usually an inability to cope with stress, that enables their nervous system to hyper-react to said environment and wreak paranormal havoc.
“Once these conditions are met, all bets are off,” Dr. Taff bluntly assures, “anything could occur.” So, if you’d like to, imagine all your deep-seated, psychological frustrations and anxieties literally coming to life, as it were, and going bump in the night…
There’s more. Poltergeist phenomena, according to Taff, can also behave like a virus, following the agent from house to house, infected the site, leaving it saturated with its residual energy for another potential agent to come along, move in, and pick it up. “The places and faces may change, but the phenomena does not.” And you thought Ebola was scary.
Such intrepid and rarely discussed theories are not unlike the theories of those like Jacques Vallee (The Invisible College), D. Rogo Scott (The Haunted Universe), and John Keel (The Mothman Prophecies). They all too, in their own way, came to the conclusion that there is an underlying connection between all the seemingly ‘separate’ aspects of the paranormal. Consciousness, it seems, plays a pivotal and cunning role.
But it’s a long road to the kind of scientific discovery Dr. Taff is after. There’s a big hindrance to the pursuit of understanding the paranormal: Being eclipsed by its perpetual mystification at the hands of charlatans and science fiction.
“As there are no academic credentials required for anyone to go out and investigate the paranormal,” Dr. Taff says, as matter-of-factly as any scientist could, “every new age groupie is out there looking for demons, emulating the garbage they’ve seen on cable TV paranormal shows. To fully comprehend the possibility that a living person’s subconscious mind can involuntarily generate such power as to manifest luminous anomalies, apparitions, and macroscopic psychokinetic events, is for me, far more compelling than if a discarnate intelligence was responsible.”
The ranting of an acerbic old man, or the long-due condemnation coming from a hardened researcher? While you decide, here’s Nick Kroll’s “Ghost Bouncers” for your viewing pleasure. http://youtu.be/2LBPoxMnfzc
Whatever the case may be, it certainly begs the question: Is pop culture, and its increasing saturation in the media, hindering the scientific pursuit of demystifying the paranormal?
Even horror films pre-slasher-80’s held a general air of sophistication in regards to research. Recall the 1973 Roddy McDowall classic Legend of Hell House, based on the book by the late Richard Matheson, in which the rational physicist played by Clive Revill asserts that the Hell House hauntings are merely the result of unfocused electromagnetic energy, and nothing that suggests survival after death; a theory that is tested to untimely ends.
Jump forward to The Innkeepers, a 2010 indie darling written and directed by Ti West. The frumpy male character Luke, played by Pat Healy, is nothing more than an amateur (and, spoiler alert: phoney) ghost hunter hoping to get hits on his blog and score points with Claire, played by Sara Paxton, also a mere ghost hunting enthusiast. Nothing in the story comes to revelation, as it turns out creepy ghost brides are simply creepy ghost brides. Or how about the anti-climactic reveal in 2013’s The Conjuring, when it turns out creepy, satanic ghost witches are simply creepy, satanic ghost witches?
Not that anyone’s putting recent film-making efforts down, but it’s the culture itself that may have an impairment—pigeon-holing investigations as ‘ghost hunts’ and reducing its aims to nothing beyond a reality TV market in a culture that continues to shout, “Show me the money (not so much the data)!”
It’s these very reasons Dr. Taff doesn’t bother preaching to the choir. He blames the fact that the paranormal arena is ignored by mainstream science and psychologists on the fact that it attracts droves of mentally and emotionally unstable people. http://barrytaff.net/2012/12/psi-and-psychosis-be-afraid-be-very-afraid/
It becomes a catch-22—without the funding and research, it becomes difficult to properly differentiate between what’s parapsychological and what’s psychotic. Suffice to say Taff received a bit of backlash from the paranormal community, and was put down for what was construed as an attack on the mentally ill.
Although blunt, even curt, his conclusions and ongoing theories are made clear, steered by observational data. In our rational and mechanistic culture of the West, Dr. Taff is a lone voice in bringing a scientific framework to a phenomenon we have credulous language for, if any language at all—scrubbed from the pages of Wikipedia, purged from the annals of academia.
For the first time in his lengthy career, he published a book chronicling his case studies. Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown (Cosmic Pantheon Press) is a healthy mix of spine-tingling chills, dry analysis, and rather candid personal insight. There’s a lot to geek out to, everything from haunted houses to alien abduction to warp drives to alternative means of energy. There’s almost too much to consider. What you’re getting is the vanguard of rationale for strange albeit everyday phenomena that continues to dazzle the public, and frustrate mainstream science.
A remake of The Entity has been in the works for quite some time now (director Hideo Nakata was attached at one point), which would resemble more closely the events of the actual case. The 1983 version was based on the novel by Frank De Felitta, who was present during the investigation. If you’ve read this far, I imagine your interest is piqued. So, for your eerie pleasure, I’ve included segments of a phone interview I had with Dr. Taff this past Day of the Dead:
It’s been a long time since ‘The Entity’, a film that continues terrifying its audience. Do you think the remake can have the same effect, or are its aims completely different?
I personally didn’t like the film. The director rewrote a lot of it, and it was lambasted in the press. I remember Barbara Hershey pleaded with the production company to be in the movie, as did Ron Silver, but they hated it after it was torn apart in the media. If [the remake] was made today, and was the same thing as it was then, it might be a little hokey. But if it’s more serious and follows what really transpired, it could be more frightening. A lot of it simply depends on who’s writing, directing, and acting in it.
In the field, you’ve witnessed objects, even people, being tossed across rooms by unseen forces. If restless dead people aren’t the culprit, what then is at work here?
I don’t, for one second, believe this is the work of dead people throwing living people around. The evidence and collected data suggests these effects are the result of what’s called Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK).
There’s two types of psychokinesis (moving physical objects around without physical means). There’s microscopic, which works on very small scales, things like affecting random number generators, random event generators, and moving subatomic particles around. It’s usually electrostatic-based, fatigue in the individual is shown, as it’s done on a conscious level. And then there’s macroscopic, what we call ‘poltergeist,’ and that’s a whole different ball of wax. We’re talking about the ability of moving very massive objects, hundreds of pounds easily. It’s done on a subconscious level, as there is no fatigue seen in the person at the core of it. Like the microscopic type, it’s believed that the phenomena are generated by a living human agency.
So, it’s our subconscious minds, then, that have the ability to hurl household objects around?
It’s more complicated than that. It seems to be that there are several overlapping variables at work. One is the location—either a geomagnetic or an electromagnetic anomaly site—where there’s some strong form of energy that we know of affecting the individual at the core of the phenomenon. The second variable is that the individual is usually seizure-prone or epileptic, sometimes without knowing it. Lastly, they also suffer from ineffective coping mechanisms and problems dealing with stress. If those three variables work in the right relationship with one another, you get phenomena.
The way the electromagnetic environment affects these people is stressful. It alters their body in some way. The mechanism is called ‘inductive resonance coupling’. So, even if you’re in the right environment and you’re seizure-prone or epileptic, if the field doesn’t resonate with yours…nothing happens. And that may be based more on your emotions than anything else. What’s also curious is that most seizure-prone or epileptic people are not poltergeist agents. It’s unilateral, not bilateral, and we don’t know what the missing variable is. This is why, with every case we approach, on top of everything else we do a medical background check of the individual and ask a lot of personal questions that, seemingly, have little to do with what’s going on.
If mainstream science pursued the understanding this phenomena, what kind of consequences would it have on the current paradigm?
My gut is telling me is that if we find out what this energy is, it could take us to the stars. This is energy that does work without heat! There’s only four forms of energy that we basically deal with: electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear, and gravitational. Well, it can’t be gravitational because the mass is insufficient. It can’t be nuclear because the individual would be dead due to ionization long before any RSPK occurred. Is it electromagnetic? When you see a 215-pound man being picked up and thrown across a room, his clothing and everything else should burst into flame by the liberated heat of the force doing it. Second law of thermodynamics. But it doesn’t get hot, it gets cold! What are we being shown here? Call it Zero Point Energy, call it whatever you want, but whatever it is explains much, if not all, of the paranormal—from ESP all the way to OBE’s (out-of-body experiences) and NDE’s (near-death experiences). However, the way this energy couples to us is almost assuredly magnetic in nature. The problem is we can’t simulate these conditions and test it in a lab yet. For one, it would be very, very costly, and more importantly, it would also put the test subjects at risk—you might fry them.
A Wikipedia search for Remote Viewing tells us there is no credible scientific evidence that RV works, and that it failed to produce any useful intelligence information. What are your thoughts?
Well, I’m curious as to who wrote and posted the entry. Anyways, yes, there is an overwhelming amount of data, it’s been replicated thousands of times. We ran the research at UCLA long before there was work at SRI [Stanford Research Institute], and it ran until ’78 when the lab closed. After that, we went into offices in the Westwood area and ran it through 1987, and then everyone went in their own direction and that was that. It’s real. It’s demonstrable. It doesn’t work with everyone, if it did we would understand it. And even when it does work with a lot of people, we still don’t understand the mechanism. The reason our government didn’t do anything with remote viewing is because 1) they couldn’t weaponize it 2) they couldn’t profit from it and 3) they were skeptical of it because we couldn’t explain the mechanism, even though it worked. So, if you can’t kill anybody with it, and if you can’t explain it, then either it’s useless or it must be the Devil.
What do you think we can we do to reintroduce science into the paranormal?
First of all, get rid of the crap on television. One of the biggest negative factors dealing with this subject matter is, basically, all of these paranormal reality shows being fraudulent. In my opinion, they’ve set the field back at least three quarters of a century. The shows are all fake, everyone knows that. A lot of people don’t even care. There isn’t a legitimate paranormal reality show on TV because it can’t count on something happening, you have to make it happen, and that means you’re faking it. But if you’re a producer, you’ve got to have a show, you can’t just have talking heads for forty-two minutes. It’s this kind of market that has attached a stigma to the paranormal. If you go into this field there’s a good chance, academically, you’ll never work. You won’t have a job. I can testify to that.
So your work in this field has alienated you from other professional endeavors? What sort of prejudice have you experienced?
For example, I do a lot of normal things, I have a company that develops a number of medical patents, not involving the paranormal. But since my name is in these [business] plans, potential investors have looked me up and instantly think I’m nuts because, well… “You’re doing all this crazy stuff.” See, if you’re already wealthy, or you’ve made a lot of money turning investments into big profits, then you’re “eccentric,” and they don’t care what you’re doing. But if you’re not financially lucrative, or successful doing anything with someone else’s money, then you’re “crazy.”
I confronted an investor about it recently. It was a big multinational electronics company, you’ve probably heard of them. They initially approved to develop three out of five of our patents. It went to the head of development, they thought our work was great, we’re given a green light. Okay, great. But then months go by, and we don’t hear from them. So, we send an inquiry. The head of the company gets back to us, and starts going off on how the patents are bullshit, the research is bullshit, and on and on. And we’re going, “What? Where did this come from?” So, I asked him, “Look, tell me the truth. Drop the bullshit, and just tell me the truth.” And after a long pause he says, “Okay, you want to know the truth? I looked you up and the minute I found out who are you and what you do, I threw it away. You’re crazy. No one’s giving you money, no one will ever give you money, they’ll think you’re crazy, and you are. End of story.” So, this has happened at least six to eight times that we know of, and it’s because of my background in parapsychology. Since then, we’ve changed a lot of our plans, omitted my name, we changed the name of the company, I don’t even know what it is anymore, nor do I want to know. I’m completely removed from it. So, getting into this professionally, you’ll eventually discover you can’t get a job. “Sorry, position’s already full.” That kind of thing. It’s looked at as a pseudoscience, it’s looked at as a fringe science. If you can’t make a lot of money with it, and if you can’t kill people with it, no one cares. It has no use in the western world. So that’s, you ’know, where things are.
It’s interesting that hauntings could be more of a mental health issue than, say, a spiritual one. If people find themselves in a ‘haunted’ home, what can they do about it (short of running to their favorite television network)?
Well, first of all, the probability of something literally harming people is the chance of you getting hit with a meteorite in the next five minutes. It’s not going to happen. And since most people don’t even want to read what the real research has indicated, it’s a dead end. Until we get to the point where we understand the mechanism behind these things, nothing will ever change. This kind of phenomena has been around forever. Our ancestors believed this stuff was the result of dead people floating around. Now we know different. I have a little over 4,500 cases in my file, and I’d say more than 99% have been poltergeists. Very few, if any, have been what we call ‘hauntings,’ and even those are suspect. You go where the data takes you. If you can’t replicate something in a laboratory under controlled conditions, like we can with remote viewing, you’re basically left with noticing patterns—longitudinal patterns—in the data you collect. And it’s there. It’s kind of a joke almost. As I always emphasize: the places and faces may change, but the events do not. So you see the same thing, over and over, over and over. And you keep getting the same stories, the same measurements, the same readings, and the same answers to all the medical and psychological background questions. So the question becomes: How many times do you have to be hit in the head with this stuff before you realize, “Oh my god, this is amazing?!”
In terms of having an interest in this subject matter, I’ve gotten the most useful information attending your lectures. How often do you speak publicly?
Well, in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s I was lecturing a lot. But it’s very infrequently now. If I lecture a couple times a year, I’m amazed. The only thing I’ve done recently, funny enough, was film for a TV show, “Ghost Adventures: Aftershocks” on the Travel Channel.
So paranormal reality shows aren’t entirely off the table for you?
The only reason I agree to do certain shows is because they don’t ask me to lie about myself or the work. I’m not conducting any field research, but they are featuring a recent update from my Cielo Drive case in the Benedict Canyon area. We’ve got this incredible photo. The woman pictured was having a mini seizure, and directly next to her head is a strange, luminous anomaly that wasn’t seen by anyone present at the time. I think what we’re seeing here is the optical analog of what the energy is doing to her: the very potent geomagnetic field was literally cooking her brain, and she was convulsing because of it.
Wow, so that’ll be featured on ‘Ghost Adventures: Aftershocks’ on the Travel Channel?
Yes, it’s supposed to air in February.
The Lockheed Martin TR-3B
A friend said, he would never forget the sight of the alien looking TR-3B based at Papoose. The pitch black, triangular shaped TR-3B was rarely mentioned–and then, only in hushed whispers–at the Groom Lake facility where he worked. The craft had flown over the Groom Lake runway in complete silence and magically stopped above Area S-4. It hovered silently in the same position, for some 10 minutes, before gently settling vertically to the tarmac. At times a corona of silver blue light glowed around the circumference of the massive TR-3B. The operational model is 600 feet across.
Okay, admittedly the physics discussed in the video above is just speculation, speculation based on “Known” physics, primarily inside the box.
Could it be something more exotic? of course, something far more refined than mercury vapor at hundreds of thousands of atmospheres of pressure spinning at ridiculous speeds? yes.
Something like harnessing energy from the vacuum, complete localized control of gravity and inertia.
The bigger question is how could they keep this a secret for so long? for some answers and compelling thought on this question see the video below which discusses UFO’s and the national security state, how extensively important the deepest parts of the government consider this technology and the UFO issue to be despite their continued denial of being interested or having any knowledge at all, all the while having perfected gravity control since 1955 or 56.
NOTE: In 1965 the NSA had Computers with a clock speed of MHz, computer technology of that level was not available commercially until 2000, 35 years later!
NOTE: Some key aspects of Maxwell’s Equations were wrong!
If this is true as it seems to be, a good deal of the physics people use to discredit the possibility of these technologies may be rendered invalid!
The TR-3B vehicles outer coating is highly reactive to radar stimulation and can change it’s reflectiveness, absorption coefficient, and color (electro-chromic?). This polymer skin, when used in conjunction with the TR-3B’s electronic Counter Measures and (ECM), can make the vehicle look like a small aircraft, or a flying cylinder, or even trick radar receivers into falsely detecting a variety of aircraft, no aircraft, or several aircraft at various locations. A circular, plasma filled accelerator ring called the Magnetic Field Disruptor (MFD), surrounds the rotational crew compartment and is far ahead of any imaginable technology.
Sandia and Livermore laboratories developed the reverse engineered MFD technology. The government will go to any lengths to protect this technology. The plasma, mercury based, is pressurized at 250,000 atmospheres at a temperature of 150 degrees Kelvin and accelerated to 50,000 rpm to create a super-conductive plasma with the resulting gravity disruption. The MFD generates a magnetic vortex field, which disrupts or neutralizes the effects of gravity on mass within proximity, by 89 percent. Do not misunderstand. This is not anti-gravity. Anti-gravity provides a repulsive force that can be used for propulsion. The MFD creates a disruption of the Earth’s gravitational field upon the mass within the circular accelerator. The mass of the circular accelerator and all mass within the accelerator, such as that within the cockpit, avionics, MFD systems, fuels, crew environmental systems, and the nuclear reactor, are reduced by 89%. This causes the effect of making the vehicle extremely light and able to outperform and outmaneuver any craft yet constructed–except, of course, those UFOs we did not build.
The TR-3B is a high-altitude, stealth, reconnaissance platform with an indefinite loiter time. Once you get it up there at speed, it doesn’t take much propulsion to maintain altitude. At Groom Lake there have been whispered rumors of a new element that acts as a catalyst to the plasma. With the vehicle mass reduced by 89%, the craft can travel at Mach 9, vertically or horizontally. My sources say the performance is limited only the stresses that the human pilots can endure. Which is a lot, really, considering along with the 89% reduction in mass, the g-loading forces are also reduced by 89%.
The TR-3Bs propulsion is provided by 3 multi-mode thrusters mounted at each bottom corner of the triangular platform. The TR-3 is a sub-Mach 9 vehicle until it reaches altitudes above 120,000 feet, then god knows how fast it can go! The 3 multi-mode rocket engines mounted under each corner of the craft use hydrogen or methane and oxygen as a propellant. In a liquid oxygen/hydrogen rocket system, 85% of the propellant mass is oxygen. The nuclear thermal rocket engine uses a hydrogen propellant, augmented with oxygen for additional thrust. The reactor heats the liquid hydrogen and injects liquid oxygen in the supersonic nozzle, so that the hydrogen burns concurrently in the liquid oxygen afterburner. The multi-mode propulsion system can; operate in the atmosphere, with thrust provided by the nuclear reactor, in the upper atmosphere, with hydrogen propulsion, and in orbit, with the combined hydrogen\ oxygen propulsion.
What you have to remember is, that the 3 rocket engines only have to propel 11 percent of the mass of the Top Secret TR-3B. The engines are reportedly built by Rockwell. Many sightings of triangular UFOs are not alien vehicles but the top-secret TR-3B. The NSA, NRO, CIA, and USAF have been playing a shell game with aircraft nomenclature – creating the TR-3, modified to the TR-3A, the TR-3B, and the Teir 2, 3, and 4, with suffixes like “Plus” or “Minus” added on to confuse further the fact that each of these designators is a different aircraft and not the same aerospace vehicle. A TR-3B is as different from a TR-3A as a banana is from a grape. Some of these vehicles are manned and others are unmanned.
A Poltergeist Case To Remember
What you’re about to read below is a detailed chronicle of this most extraordinary poltergeist case that affected the lives of the late Lisa McIntosh, Barry Conrad, myself and many others. While this chronicle is almost a blow-by-blow account of what happened, even more background detail can be found in chapter seven, “An Irreplaceable Loss: The Life and Death of A Poltergeist Agent”, of my book Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations Of The Unknown.
While the majority of these events transpired at Barry Conrad’s house in Glendale, CA, there were a number of events that occurred outside Conrad’s house as related to Lisa. But what’s most important to remember here is that Lisa claimed that as she was growing up, her parent’s moved from one haunted house to another, which is equivalent to winning the Power Ball Lottery at the billion dollar level five times in a row. For a greater understanding of how this type of case fits into the lengthy history of such phenomena, read other blogs on this site entitled “Looking A Gift Ghost In The Mouth: The Science of Poltergeists” and “Hazardous Hauntings: The Enemy Within”.
One last item of note here. Barry Conrad moved into his Glendale home in 1997, and there were no poltergeist incidents until Lisa McIntosh moved in during the early summer of 2001, and after she had accompanied Conrad and I out on a case in the evening of October 12, 2001.
10/13/01: 8:30-11A.M.: Lisa MacIntosh’s hair dryer turns itself on in upstairs bathroom.
10/15/01: 12-3 P.M.: Lisa on computer when it shuts down spontaneously.10/17/01: 7-8 P.M. Conrad & Lisa observe blinding blue-white flash of light from no apparent source, while in entrance way of house.
October? After 1 A.M. Conrad and Lisa were upstairs asleep when the explosive sounds of heavy furniture crashing came form downstairs. Conrad runs downstairs thinking his home entertainment center has been destroyed, but finds absolutely nothing to account for the sounds. Once upstairs and back in bed and almost asleep once again, the loud sound once again emanated from the first floor. Again Conrad runs down expecting the worse and finds nothing.
10/26/01: 1 A.M.: While Conrad’s out-of-town on a shoot. Lisa is up in the master bedroom and begins to feel pressure around her head. The dog (Bo) starts to jump up into bed as it usually does. In mid-jump, Bo hits “invisible” wall and is violently repelled backwards into wall beneath window by unseen force. Dog is momentarily stunned, shakes, moans, etc. Then starts visually tracking something unseen while growling/barking at “it”. Interestingly, Lisa was harboring strong negative emotions towards Bo who was frequently jumping into bed. In fact, Lisa had Conrad put the dog out every night after that due to her disgust at dog’s aggressive/territorial behavior.
11/01/01: 2:30 A.M.: As Conrad and Lisa are about to go to bed there is an extremely loud sound within the bedroom. The high decibel sound of cracking wood (perhaps high voltage discharge?) Event lasts maybe 3-4 seconds. The sound appears to be coming from right next to them. Lisa is terrified and starts to shake and cry. Interestingly, the dog dives under the bed as if to hide just prior to event, as if in anticipation.
11/05/01: 11:15 A.M.: Conrad & Lisa in bed. Lisa’s calf is repeatedly touched/tapped by invisible fingers. She jumps out of bed terrified.
11/28/01: 1 A.M. : Conrad hears very loud pounding coming from ceiling of living room (3-4 bangs) while watching TV (like that of very big sledge hammer being slammed into the bedroom floor). When he goes upstairs to investigate, Lisa is sound asleep and heard nothing.
11/28/01: 8 P.M. : Lisa observes can of empty dog food that Bo dragged into entrance hall move of its own accord across carpet.
12/02/01: 5:20 P.M.: While Lisa & Conrad are lying in bed in main bedroom, they hear something approach the door. Doorknob turns and door opens. This event was preceded by both Conrad & Lisa feeling the same pressure around their head, which gave Conrad a headache.
12/16/01: 10:45 P.M.: While Taff was sitting in one of the lounge chairs in living room with Lisa & Conrad watching Bob Schott’s videos, something unseen struck his chair twice.
12/17/01: Approx. 7:30 P.M.: Lisa puts Pyrex cooking pan into oven to cook herself some dinner as Conrad is not home. Before the oven is even warm, the Pyrex pan explodes in many shards within the oven.
12/17/01: 1 A.M.: Sounds of coins falling & hitting the nightstand in main bedroom are clearly heard by both Conrad & Lisa. No coins were found.
2/14/02: 7 P.M. (approx.): While at the bottom of stairs Conrad and dog heard what sounded like Lisa walking down stairs. They both looked up in response. However, Lisa was, in fact, in the bathroom preparing to leave and nowhere near the stairs.
2/16/02: No time indicated. Conrad & Lisa in his office discussing his mother’s untimely death and the lawsuit she and Don Gebhart launched against Conrad. Immediately after that conversation, the bar lamp over the computer started flickering, going out and coming on again. According to them, this has not occurred before.
2/18/02: 11 P.M.: Lisa heard disembodied voices “counting down” while upstairs in bedroom.
2/19/02: 10:30 A.M.: Lisa’s hair was pulled very hard while in bathroom.
2/19/02: 10 A.M. (approx.) Phones ring incessantly for about one hour, but no one is onr was calling.
2/23/02: 8 P.M. Best Buy Store in Burbank, CA. Conrad & Lisa at store scouring through DVD’s. Lisa is alone in aisle searching through DVDs. Suddenly, she feels a hand stroking her hair from behind. She abruptly turns expecting to see Conrad behind her pulling a prank. However, no one was in the aisle at all.
2/27/02: NOON: Conrad & Lisa in living room hear a disembodied female voice move across room in front of entertainment center while system is off. No DVD, VHS or TV is on. Voice appeared to move from left wall and exit through the glass wall where dog sleeps. Vocalization unintelligible.
3/16/02: 6:30 A.M.: Downstairs hallway door before bathroom, next to table, violently slams shut. No door or window open to the outside is open.
3/17/02: 10:20 A.M. Lisa & Conrad in kitchen when they both felt a cold wind blowing through the area although the doors & windows are closed & heat is on.
3/17/02: Time:? The sounds of pipes loudly clanging from main bedroom upstairs.
4/3/02: 10:30 A.M.: As Conrad walks by dresser in upstairs bedroom, Christmas lights strung over the back of the dresser suddenly and seemingly inexplicably, fall off to the ground. May have conventional explanation of vibrations caused by his movement and lights being too close to back of furniture.
4/3/02: 4:15 P.M.: Taff hears sounds of women in garbled conversation outside but nothing is discovered to account for it. Sense of overpressure throughout house felt by Taff.
4/18-19/02 No time indicated. On the way to do interview with Kym Dumas in San Diego with Conrad and Lisa, an odd ringing sound began occurring in the van. While eating dinner at the Hungry Tiger Restaurant in Temecula, the same unusual ringing was continuously heard at our booth by us, by other patrons and the waitress. The ringing, always three successive rings, appeared to come from around Lisa, then next to me and then in the wall to my right in the booth. Must have rung at least a dozen times or more. It was clearly not Conrad’s cell phone or pager as they each make a very distinctive sound, which we were not hearing. Nothing unusual occurred while at Kym’s house.
We left Kym’s home at around 11:40 p.m.. During the 2.5 hr. ride back to Conrad’s house, the ringing began again. No discernable pattern or interval period could be determined in the ringing. Jokingly, Taff began taunting it and surprisingly it appeared to respond. Again the sets of three rings, and not from Conrad’s cell phone, pager or walkie-talkies, the sound emanated from the front dash area.
When Taff asked the ringing if it was not a random function of nature, it immediately rang in response. When Taff asked if it were the poltergeist attached to Lisa Macintosh, it immediately rang in response. When Taff asked if it were non-corporeal in nature, it immediately rang in response. The ringing also indicated that it was from the past?
As we approached Conrad’s house the frequency of ringing significantly diminished as did it’s seeming willingness to answer questions. The last ringing occurred at approximately 1:46 a.m. We pulled into Conrad’s driveway at approximately 2:04 a.m. Lisa’s fear response to the ringing increased steadily. Conrad became so upset the he lost control of the van at least three times.
However, as the ringing diminished in frequency, Lisa fell asleep, which given her heightened state of anxiety was very unusual, except for the fact that the hour was very late. Interesting side note here is that both Lisa & Conrad recalled that earlier that day (that morning to be specific), “something” turned off the ringer on Conrad’s downstairs phone. This is something that Conrad never does, nor does Lisa.
5/29/02: 11 A.M.: While Lisa was upstairs, she hears Conrad calling her. She yells down that she’ll be there in a second. However, when she comes downstairs she discovers that Conrad has been on the phone during that time and did not call her.
6/11/02: 3 P.M. (approx.) Conrad & Lisa hugging in garage when back door of house that opens into garage violently slams shut on its own accord without any wind.
7/12/02: Tippie Hedren’s photo in frame flies off table in dinning room and lands several feet away (4-6 ft.) by stone wall. Conrad, Lisa & Buster were not downstairs at the time. Occurred somewhere between midnight of prior day and 10 A.M. that morning.
7/27/02: 7 P.M.: Lisa hears what she believes is Conrad calling to her name as he comes home and rushes downstairs to meet him. He’s not there.
7/27/02: 8 P.M.: Lisa hears several knockings on the walls in the walk-in close adjacent to the upstairs bedroom.
8/07/02: 5 P.M. Lisa’s upstairs in office making copies of “California’s Most Haunted for Conrad. Suddenly, the computer which was on MS Word started generating its own text in the middle of the screen. The letters “cu” and “et” mysteriously appeared on their own without any prompting at the keyboard.
8/07/02 8:45 P.M.: While Lisa was taking a shower upstairs, the power suddenly went out in the house, requiring Lisa to find her way downstairs in the dark to the breakers to reset them. This power crashing has never happened before at Conrad’s house although there have been blackouts in the area affecting much more than just his home.
8/11/02: 3 A.M.: While Conrad is upstairs, unable to sleep, he is working in his office when he hears the sound of heavy footsteps coming up his staircase, which is followed by the distinct feeling of being watched while sitting at his desk.
8/30/02 9:15 P.M.: Lisa hears footsteps approaching upstairs bathroom and panics.
9/3/02: Late P.M.: While Conrad is upstairs in office he hears what he believes to be someone or something running around the house and the garage making a great deal of noise. When he investigates he find nothing. Earlier in the day, Conrad hears what he thinks is Lisa calling to him only to later realize that she did not.
11/4/02: 10:45 A.M. While Lisa is in upstairs bathroom combing her hair, the shower curtains begin to move as if blown by a strong wind. However, the window was not open and the heat was not on.
5/13/03: 5:45-6 A.M. Barry & Lisa are asleep in bed. They hear several loud knocks (pounds) apparently coming from the walls perhaps from outside the house. It abruptly wakes them up. Over an estimated five (5) minute period, they hear repeated volleys of three loud knocks coming form outside, perhaps above the bedroom. Barry gets up and knocks upon the wall attempting to get the knocks to respond. It does not respond.
5/26/03: Late evening, no specific time. Both Conrad & Lisa observe dark, amorphous image (apparition) in kitchen that resembles a distorted “M” at about 9:30 p.m.
11:30 P.M. Barry’s watching TV, Lisa is upstairs getting ready for bed when Conrad hears that sound of loud shattering glass from the kitchen area. Upon investigation, nothing is found to account for sound.
5/27/03: 9 A.M.: The blade out of Conrad’s razor mysteriously disappears. No explanation.
5/31/03: 9-10 A.M.: Hallway (by downstairs bathroom) cabinet door violently swings open with enough force to shake the house while Barry & Lisa were watching TV in living room.
7/28/03: 11 P.M.: Conrad & Lisa up in their office when “a warm hand” touches her right ribcage area and causes her to jump.
8/28/03: No time indicated. Out of the blue, Conrad tells Taff that he believes that Los Angeles will soon experience a major UFO flap or wave. Given that L.A. has never, to my knowledge, even had a minor such event, I pegged the likelihood as astronomical at best. However, days later what appears to be a UFO flap in Montebello and Monterey Park has apparently begun. KNBC News showed videos shot of glowing red plasmas surrounding 30+ ft. diameter saucers witnessed by many including the police. Whether this event is in any way related to the aforementioned events is unknown. But it is worth mentioning.
Just prior to this precognitive event, Conrad tells Lisa that he believes that his father will soon become very ill and perhaps die. Within less than five days, his father falls gravely ill due to kidney failure as a result of diabetes and eating lots of sugar. He’s found unconscious laying in his Ohio home with 107 degree fever by Conrad’s brother. Coincidence or another indication that Conrad is one hell of a psychic.
10/05/03 Approx. 6:30 A.M.: Picture of flowers over fireplace in main bedroom starts being producing sounds as if it’s being tapped by unseen hands. Then the dog “Buster”, violently reacts as if something either startled him or stepped on his foot. This woke Lisa up but not Conrad.
10/18/03, No time indicated, Knocking sounds are heard in upper bedroom by Lisa in early morning.
11/17-18 10 A.M.. Lisa clearly hears Conrad’s voice calling to her while she is upstairs, and mistakenly believes that he’s returned to pick up something he’s forgot. In reality, he’s not there at all.
1/24/04 5:40 P.M.. Lisa puts chicken into oven within a Pyrex glass pan that violently explodes when she opens the oven door after just five minutes of heating. Glass is intensely propelled out of the oven missing Lisa only because she was off to the side of the door rather than in front of it. This is the second such event, as the first one of this kind occurred on 12/17/01. Oddly though, the chicken itself barely moved given the fierceness of the glass’s explosion. Although the glass might have just blown out laterally beneath the chicken!
4/24/04: 7:55 P.M.: Buster awakens from his slumber in the downstairs bedroom and begins barking at the staircase. Backs up and continues barking while staring at the overhead light. Conrad goes up stairs and suddenly observes a bright blue flash of light outside in the direction of the neighbor’s house whose power immediately goes out. However, Conrad also notices that a framed picture of him that has originally on the bookshelf was now on the floor. He places it back on the bookshelf only to later find it again on the floor.
6/2/04: Approx. 11:50 P.M.: While Lisa & Conrad are watching TV in the main upstairs bedroom, something slams into the side of the door of the cabinet holding the TV making a loud crack startling them.
6/24/04: Approx. 6 A.M. While Conrad & Lisa were asleep in bed at Conrad’s father’s house in Ohio when the bedroom door begins to violently shake which lasts for about 6-10 seconds. When Barry goes into the basement in order to shower the power repeatedly short-circuits and blows out. Neither of these events has ever occurred at this house whether Barry was there or not.
7/5/04 1 A.M.: Morning after 4th of July barbecue. Paul Clemens, Conrad & Lisa at outdoor table talking when Conrad walks back into house and discovers that a large, heavy poster that had been leaning against the wall was now several feet away on the floor. After extinguishing the Tiki torches around the pool, Lisa discovered that one of them mysteriously reignited.
10/4/04 3 A.M. & 9 A.M. Both Conrad & Lisa hear a woman’s voice seemingly coming from the downstairs area. When they investigate, there’s no one there. This occurs more than once.
12/4/04: 10 P.M. While Conrad is walking up the staircase he hears something hit the wall and discovers that his manual toothbrush is lying beneath the stairwell next to the wall. Lisa’s diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma!
1/1/05 5:45 A.M.: Lisa & Conrad hear loud explosion as if something crashed to the floor. Investigation revealed nothing. Buster wouldn’t go downstairs.
7/19/05, Lisa,Conrad and Taff go to the Cielo Drive house, from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Lisa has an intense neurophysiological response to house. That night, Lisa has terrible dreams, feelings of nausea, vertigo, and general malaise. Within weeks it appears that Lisa begins to relapse. Conrad has odd sexual dreams and is irritable as was Taff. Neither Lisa, or Conrad, ever return to Cielo, and for good reason. (Read another blog on this site entitled, “Cielo Drive Convergence: The Ultimate Field Laboratory”, for more details on this.
9/26/05 12-Mid-night. Conrad & Lisa going to sleep. Loud rapping sounds are heard throughout the house, waking them up. Buster goes nuts thinking someone is at the door. It suddenly ceases. At approximately 3 A.M., there are loud sounds of footsteps coming up the stairs, Buster again goes wild. Lisa has been very sick last several days with symptoms suggesting that her Multiple Myeloma may be returning.
6/1/06 . No phenomena for some time now. Lisa has unfortunately relapsed for a third time, with severe weight loss, fatigue and numerous bodily tumors. She is about to begin radiation therapy.
7/16/06 Approximately 11 p.m. – Mid-night. A loud explosion is heard by Barry out where the pool is. Investigating the area for a possible source reveals nothing!
7/25/06 Lisa dies at 1:50 a.m., which was immediately followed by a door opening on its own, patio/pool lights flickering on and off as well as several lamps turning themselves on in the bedrooms. Approximately one half-hour prior to Lisa’s passing, Buster (the dog) began to intensely bark at the bottom of the stairwell, looking upwards as if someone or something was physically there but unseen to the eye. Buster’s barking abruptly stopped when Lisa died.
7/29/06 1:50 a.m. While Conrad is talking with Natalie’s (Lisa’s daughter) boyfriend in the kitchen, an ice cube apports right into the space between them and falls to the floor, Barry is amazed and the boyfriend freaks out and immediately leaves. Later that morning, when Conrad goes into his office, all the tapes from the Kelly, KY segment of his new show are pushed up against the door blocking his entrance.
8/1/06. No time indicated. Strange, whistling sounds of wind in house by Conrad.
9/10/07, 4 A.M. While alone upstairs Conrad’s new girlfriend was awakened by the sound of someone breathing very. It appeared to be coming from the closet. Overcoming his fear and getting up to investigate, he finds nothing to explain the sound.
5/10/08 Barry and his new girlfriend are in bed when he hears the sound of footsteps emanating from the attic and/or roof. Oh no, not another attic! But then again, maybe the new squeeze should have ventured forth to determine that cause of the noises and she would be really hanged in the attic!
5/21/08: Around 7:50 P.M.. Barry comes home with Buster to discover his blender is on within the kitchen. The “on” button was depressed and he had not used the blender for quite some time. At around 8:10 p.m. Barry hears some odd sounds in his living room and goes to investigate. He observes a candle within its glass casing, which rests on top of one of the large speakers, rapidly accelerates vertically and slams into the ceiling where it bursts into many pieces. The pieces and shards fall to the floor.
10/21/08, Evening. Taff at Conrad’s house to do a shoot on The Entity case for a production company and TV in Spain. Fortunately, the new woman wasn’t present. It was only Barry, Buster and myself. Around 7:30 P.M. I’m in the living room watching Thriller DVD’s while the sounds of chaotic footsteps were clearly discernable from the master bedroom above. I told Barry about it and he said that he frequently hears such sounds. About an hour later, the footfalls were so pronounced that it became a significant distraction while watching TV.
I turned the DVD off and spoke aloud to whatever the source of the sounds were overhead, assuming that they were perhaps those of Lisa’s. I first announced my name to Lisa as if she were actually present. I next said that I would knock three times upon the end table to the side of the couch and requested that if it was Lisa McIntosh, she should reply with three loud knocks as opposed to the continuing footfalls. I knocked on the table three times, and almost instantly, the frenetic footfalls ceased to be rapidly replaced three, loud knocks from the ceiling above.
10/21/08 10:15 P.M. – 10:40 P.M. While driving home from Conrad’s while doing about 140 mph on the 2-South, the interior of my car lights up as though someone hid a flash or strobe under the front of my passenger seat. Color was pure white. Nearly jumped out of the car. There were no cars in front of me, beside me or behind me. There was absolutely no opposing traffic whatsoever. Quickly scanning my gauges showed no problem, nor was there any smell of something burning.
As I continued onto the transition to the 134-N at around 110 mph, there was a second, identical flash of light. I finally exited the 134-N at Forrest Lawn Drive and continued to Barham Drive and turned left onto Cahuenga/Highland Ave. Just before I reached the Hollywood Bowl, there was a third flash of light from the same direction in my car.
10/25/08 LATE EVENING, SPECIFIC TIME NOT KNOWN, Conrad’s eating dinner alone in the dining room when a portion of a curtain rod, a “finiel” went flying across the room from no apparent source.
5/14-15/09, Early in the morning Barry’s up walking towards kitchen when he hears a loud bang coming from the laundry room. He investigated and found nothing to explain it.
Is this evidence that we can see the future?
Extraordinary claims don’t come much more extraordinary than this: events that haven’t yet happened can influence our behaviour.
Parapsychologists have made outlandish claims about precognition – knowledge of unpredictable future events – for years. But the fringe phenomenon is about to get a mainstream airing: a paper providing evidence for its existence has been accepted for publication by the leading social psychology journal.
What’s more, skeptical psychologists who have pored over a preprint of the paper say they can’t find any significant flaws. “My personal view is that this is ridiculous and can’t be true,” says Joachim Krueger of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who has blogged about the work on the Psychology Today website. “Going after the methodology and the experimental design is the first line of attack. But frankly, I didn’t see anything. Everything seemed to be in good order.”
The paper, due to appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology before the end of the year, is the culmination of eight years’ work by Daryl Bem of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “I purposely waited until I thought there was a critical mass that wasn’t a statistical fluke,” he says.
It describes a series of experiments involving more than 1000 student volunteers. In most of the tests, Bem took well-studied psychological phenomena and simply reversed the sequence, so that the event generally interpreted as the cause happened after the tested behaviour rather than before it.
In one experiment, students were shown a list of words and then asked to recall words from it, after which they were told to type words that were randomly selected from the same list. Spookily, the students were better at recalling words that they would later type.
In another study, Bem adapted research on “priming” – the effect of a subliminally presented word on a person’s response to an image. For instance, if someone is momentarily flashed the word “ugly”, it will take them longer to decide that a picture of a kitten is pleasant than if “beautiful” had been flashed. Running the experiment back-to-front, Bem found that the priming effect seemed to work backwards in time as well as forwards.
‘Stroke of genius’
Exploring time-reversed versions of established psychological phenomena was “a stroke of genius”, says the skeptical Krueger. Previous research in parapsychology has used idiosyncratic set-ups such as Ganzfeld experiments, in which volunteers listen to white noise and are presented with a uniform visual field to create a state allegedly conducive to effects including clairvoyance and telepathy. By contrast, Bem set out to provide tests that mainstream psychologists could readily evaluate.
The effects he recorded were small but statistically significant. In another test, for instance, volunteers were told that an erotic image was going to appear on a computer screen in one of two positions, and asked to guess in advance which position that would be. The image’s eventual position was selected at random, but volunteers guessed correctly 53.1 per cent of the time.
|For a more detailed commentary on what’s being discussed here, check out chapters 13 & 14 within Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown” on Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobel.com and at www.cosmicpantheon.com.|
That may sound unimpressive – truly random guesses would have been right 50 per cent of the time, after all. But well-established phenomena such as the ability of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks are based on similarly small effects, notes Melissa Burkley of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, who has also blogged about Bem’s work at Psychology Today.
Respect for a maverick
So far, the paper has held up to scrutiny. “This paper went through a series of reviews from some of our most trusted reviewers,” says Charles Judd of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who heads the section of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology editorial board that handled the paper.
Indeed, although Bem is a self-described “maverick” with a long-standing interest in paranormal phenomena, he is also a respected psychologist with a reputation for running careful experiments. He is best known for the theory of self-perception, which argues that people infer their attitudes from their own behaviour in much the same way as they assess the attitudes of others.
Bem says his paper was reviewed by four experts who proposed amendments, but still recommended publication. Still, the journal will publish a sceptical editorial commentary alongside the paper, says Judd. “We hope it spurs people to try to replicate these effects.”
One failed attempt at replication has already been posted online. In this study, Jeff Galak of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Leif Nelson of the University of California, Berkeley, employed an online panel called Consumer Behavior Lab in an effort to repeat Bem’s findings on the recall of words.
Bem argues that online surveys are inconclusive, because it’s impossible to know whether volunteers have paid sufficient attention to the task. Galak concedes that this is a limitation of the initial study, but says he is now planning a follow-up involving student volunteers that will more closely repeat the design of Bem’s word-recall experiment.
This seems certain to be just the first exchange in a lively debate: Bem says that dozens of researchers have already contacted him requesting details of the work.
RANDI’S CHALLENGE: A Big “So What!”
Loyd Auerbach, M.S.
Note: This essay was published as the majority of my “Psychic Frontiers” column in the February 2004 issue of FATE magazine.
I might actually title this essay “Why I no longer care about Randi’s One Million Dollar Challenge,” but honestly, “So What!” sums up my feelings these days.
Over the last several years, I’ve been somewhat outspoken about the specific details of the rules of Randi’s Challenge (http://www.randi.org/research/index.html). But recently, when being harassed by yet another disbelieving type about the test, some kind of light – an epiphany of sorts – went on in my head. The individual made a statement, with a question, that I often hear in variations from self-described Skeptics (actually disbelievers): “The Amazing Randi offers one million dollars for anyone who can demonstrate something paranormal. If psychic abilities are real, why has no one won the prize?”
Rather than responding as I have in the past with a discourse as to why I don’t believe anyone will win that money, I spontaneously switched gears.
The following is just an approximation of the conversation, with (yes, I admit it) a little dramatic license thrown in.
“What would that prove?” I asked.
“Huh?” said the Skeptic.
“Why is Randi offering the money?” I asked.
“For anyone who can prove something paranormal,” said the Skeptic.
“If someone did win the million, what would that actually prove?” I asked.
“Huh?” said the Skeptic.
“I mean, if a psychic won the million dollars, other than the psychic walking away one million dollars richer, what would that prove to the skeptical community or to Science?” I asked.
“That someone could do something psychic,” said the Skeptic with some confusion in his voice.
“Would it? If someone won Randi’s million dollars, would YOU accept that psychic abilities are real? Or even just possible?” I asked.
“Huh?” said the Skeptic.
“Would mainstream Science accept the probability of psi, if not the reality, if some psychic won Randi’s million?” I asked.
“Uh … uh … huh?” said the Skeptic.
“Would the organized Skeptics accept that psi is real, or would they be more likely to believe that Randi was simply fooled, scammed out of his million? Would you?” I asked.
I received a blank stare from the Skeptic, then saw confusion appearing on his face.
I continued to push at him. “The fact is that people who do not accept the laboratory and other evidence for psi that already exists are unlikely to change their minds or their beliefs simply because someone beats Randi’s challenge and wins Randi’s money. In the name of Science, many keep raising the issue of parsimony, of Occam’s Razor where psi is concerned. In this case, wouldn’t the simpler explanation as far as the Skeptics are concerned be that Randi was scammed out of the money? In the name of Science, many raise the issue of repeatability. If someone beat Randi’s Challenge once, how does this meet the criteria of repeatability? What does this prove?”
The Skeptic was silent, confusion and frustration (and a little anger) continuing on his face.
I finished with “If you can honestly tell me – I mean look me in the eye and tell me honestly – that you would be open to psi’s existence if a psychic won Randi’s money, I’ll give you 20 dollars** right here and now. It’s not a million, but to be honest, your opinion isn’t worth that much to me.”
He walked away (okay, he stormed off).
**[Note: Okay, I didn’t really offer the 20 bucks when this first happened. I only thought of it afterwards. But now, I often do!]
I’ve since used this argument on a few others, whenever Randi’s Challenge is raised like a weapon against the field of Parapsychology, and against the existence (real or just potential) of psi.
To recap: If someone wins Randi’s million, he/she will be one million dollars richer. However, as far as Science and the Skeptics are concerned, the simpler answer to this conundrum is that Randi (or his chosen panel of judges) was fooled.
In other words, So What if someone wins the money. It won’t change the prevailing attitudes towards parapsychology, or the prevailing beliefs of most who waiver to the disbelieving side of the center where psi is concerned.
As this is the case (go ahead…prove me wrong, somebody…please!), we waste our time even giving Randi’s Challenge the time of day (though I am somewhat in his corner where Sylvia Browne is concerned. – see his website at www.randi.org).
I respect the position of true skeptics, and even the beliefs and opinions of debunkers if they’re honest about their beliefs and opinions. But holding forth Randi’s Challenge as the benchmark for proof of the paranormal is as silly as someone telling Randi to “prove it does not exist.”
It’s not a benchmark for Science, or even for skepticism. So, why should we care?
“So What!” I say.
Let me finish with another observation.
In the September 19, 2003 issue of SWIFT, Online Newsletter of the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) entitled “Yellow Bamboo Surprise, Fear of Technology, and Answering Montague Keen…” (http://www.randi.org/jr/091903.html), Randi responds to comments by researcher Montague Keen, who (Keen) mentions me and FATE in his discussion of Randi’s Challenge. Randi had this to say about FATE:
“For those unfamiliar with Fate Magazine, from their own web page we see that they publish stories on ‘alien abductions, angels, archaeological hotspots, fringe science, ghosts, hauntings, life after death, monsters, paranormal investigations, psychic pets, psychics, readers’ personal mystic experiences, reports of the strange and unknown, spirit animals, spiritualists, and UFOs’ — to only begin. Not recognized as a scholarly journal, in my opinion.”
Randi’s correct. In no way could FATE be labeled a “scholarly journal.” It is a publication for the general public. While I’m not sure where on FATE’s website Randi got the quote from (as with many websites, FATE’s changes from time to time), what Randi lists is in fact a good description for FATE’s content coverage.
However, this could easily be a description of the contents of THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER and THE SKEPTIC magazines, neither of which is recognized as a “scholarly journal.” Of course, that’s my opinion.
Dr. Barry Taff: A Veteran Of The Psychic Wars
Sean Casteel and John Weigle
Dr. Barry Taff has been on the forefront of the academic study of psychic phenomena for decades and has long documented the connection between psi events and UFOs. His own psychic experiences began in childhood, and he has no doubt of the reality of some form of coupling between human consciousness and a field of energy that we do not as yet understand.
Taff spoke on March 9, 2013, at a meeting of the Close Encounter Research Organization, which earlier this year added the word “international” to its name and is seeking to branch out worldwide in the dissemination of UFO and alien abduction information. The meeting was held in Thousand Oaks, California, a city located just north of Los Angeles.
Taff opened his lecture by reciting part of a poem by T.S. Elliot that Taff felt eloquently expressed the fluid nature of time and the human mind:
“Time present and time past,” the poem reads, in part, “Are both perhaps present in time future. And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present, All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction, Remaining a perpetual possibility.”
Taff moved on to declare, “There is no paranormal. It’s normal.” He said that long-term memories are not stored in our brains, they’re kept in a remote source outside of us, which relates to the T.S. Elliot poem and his grappling with the nature of memory and time.
From there, Taff began to recount his own history of psychic experiences, beginning with an incident that happened when he was ten years old. In grade school, a young girl approached him and he asked her what the weird bag was that she was wearing. He didn’t know at that age that such a bag was used after a colostomy. The young girl screamed and told the principal, who called Taff into his office and asked if he had looked under the girl’s dress or sneaked into the girls’ bathroom. Taff told the principal he had x-ray vision and pointed out that he could see that the principal had unhealed keloid scar tissue himself. The principal then called Taff’s parents, and they said, “Don’t ask.”
Taff joked that if he had a dollar for every one of his psychic experiences, he would be a whole lot wealthier.
As a child, Taff predicted the assassination of John Kennedy to his parents a couple of years before the event. His parents insisted on making a bet in the belief that young Taff would be proven wrong. They didn’t speak to Taff for ten days, he said, after the prediction came true.
In 1968, Taff was visiting a girlfriend at her house when he decided he wanted some iced tea, which his girlfriend didn’t keep around. At that same moment, Taff’s father saw Taff enter the house, go to the refrigerator and drink iced tea from the pitcher. But Taff had never left his girlfriend’s house. Although his parents never drank iced tea, the pitcher was partially empty the next morning, as though someone had drank from it prior to Taff’s seeing the pitcher of tea the next day.
It was difficult to photograph Taff as a child, he said, and once, when he and a colleague were visiting a TV show producer, a photograph was taken of Taff and his colleague in which the other person showed up perfectly but where Taff had been standing the photo showed only a flash of light.
With this strange history behind him, Taff became a researcher of psychic phenomena in an academic setting, eventually earning a doctorate in psychophysiology with a minor in biomedical engineering from UCLA in 1975. From 1970 to 1987, he was involved in the study of remote viewing.
“What we saw blew us away,” he said.
When using the techniques of remote viewing, according to Taff, both past and future information are available, and it is possible to see information from a great distance. The evidence suggests that our brain, consciousness and space-time work in the same way. As part of the testing of remote viewing, Taff and his associates were given remote viewing “targets” and when they reported what they saw, they provided information on Trident submarines. The tape recordings made of the remote viewing experiments were later confiscated by representatives of an unnamed intelligence agency because of the classified details contained therein. Taff and his group later performed additional work for intelligence agencies with mixed results.
Unfortunately, Taff said, when understanding the implications of remote viewing and the nature of time, one is forced to conclude that there is no such thing as free will. He offered a story by way of example. In college, he was working with a girl in the psych lab when he had a dream of her going home and being involved in a car accident. In the dream, he saw a driver he thought was himself, so he broke off the relationship in the hope that he could change the future. The girl got involved with another man, and he was the driver in the accident that occurred. Nothing could alter the fulfillment of the precognitive dream, and thus the will of the participants was not free.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends and colleagues because of my work in this field,” Taff lamented, because they were frightened or put off by what he said or things that occurred in his presence.
Taff’s work on the case that became the novel “The Entity” brought him some degree of fame. In August 1974, he and some of his colleagues in parapsychology met a woman who said her house was haunted and that she had been repeatedly raped by ghosts. Taff wrote a big “P” on her report form, meaning he considered it a psychiatric case. Then the woman’s neighbors started seeing things. A skillet flew out of a cupboard. The bedroom felt like it was refrigerated, but it wasn’t. There was an odor of decaying matter. A green light double the size of Taff’s fist appeared and slowly turned into the form of an upper torso. When it disappeared, two of Taff’s assistants passed out.
The team later sealed off the rooms to prevent any light from coming in and prepared a grid on the walls so they could pinpoint any strange things that happened. They shot hundreds of frames of film that showed nothing unusual, but everyone saw things in the room during the filming. The team members wrote down their observations before conferring together and found that their stories matched when they discussed them.
Taff helped write the eventual novel “The Entity,” saying that not everything in the book actually happened. He appears as the slightly fictionalized character “Gene Kraft.” A movie starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver was released in 1983. A capsule recounting of the plot is included in “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide” that reads, in part, “A woman is raped repeatedly by a giant, invisible mass. Her psychiatrist thinks it’s all in the mind until parapsychologists set a trap for the critter.”
There is an article posted on Taff’s website at http://barrytaff.net entitled “The Psi-UFO Connection: What On Earth Is Going On?” In it, Taff writes of a rather fascinating yet obscure relationship between paranormal experiences and UFO encounters.
“Why is it that many CE-III’s and IV’s have paranormal fallout following the event?” he asks. “Why is it that certain people who have frequent paranormal experiences are more likely to experience a UFO encounter?”
Taff goes on to say that it is obviously not scientifically valid to try to explain one phenomenon by recourse to the other, but there is a “longitudinal continuity” between the two kinds of events that may one day help to explain them both.
In his lecture to CERO International, he offered the case history of Judy, another woman with whom he was romantically involved. There is a more detailed version of the story in the aforementioned article on his website.
“I met a beautiful girl on Valentine’s Day (1977) while investigating a case in the mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles,” Taff writes. “This girl was so physically stunning to me that it was impossible to stop staring at her.”
The case he was investigating was a very weak one and no follow up work was done. But he and Judy ended up in a very intense relationship. As time passed, there were repeated episodes of RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psycho-Kinesis) activity culminating in “a large glowing sphere of light emerging from the lumbar region of her back” while Taff was giving her a massage. The clocks in Judy’s condo would all frequently “desynchronize” and run at different speeds.
“All of this paranormal activity was kind of an added bonus to being in a relationship with her,” Taff writes. “At least I thought it was. Boy, was I wrong.”
Taff writes that they both felt it was a perfect relationship and that Judy turned out to be a gifted psychic who also worked with the psi training groups at the UCLA lab as well as on missing persons cases. Taff expected that he and Judy would be engaged within six months, but “fate had something else in mind.” He began to have repeated precognitive dreams in which he was given the message that their romance would end on July 22, 1977. The reasons for the split were never provided in the dreams.
He never told Judy about the dreams because she might misinterpret what he said as expressing a desire to leave her. The dreams stopped, and his happiness was restored. When July 22 came around, he had almost forgotten the dreams entirely. He awoke to find Judy beside him in bed, sobbing and shivering under the covers. She asked Taff why he hadn’t helped her the previous night.
When Taff asked her what she meant, she told him that she “had awakened to find the room brilliantly lit, but the lights were not on. She was levitated up out of the bed, eventually finding herself in a round, metallic-walled room where she was strapped to a metallic table around her wrists, neck, ankles and abdomen. There were tiny men who had skin like a snake or reptile and a face without ears or noses, with large black eyes, who were poking and prodding her everywhere, but especially in every bodily orifice.”
Judy could hear the little men speaking though their lipless mouths were not moving.
“They kept saying that they weren’t going to hurt her, even though that’s exactly what they were doing. The next thing she remembered was waking up in bed with me soundly sleeping next to her.”
Taff writes that he asked her if she knew anything about UFO abductions, which she did not. Although she was very interested in the paranormal, UFOs held no interest for her. Taff finally coaxed her out from beneath the covers and was shocked to find that Judy had bruises at her neck, waist, wrists, abdomen and ankles – consistent with her claim that she had been restrained on the metallic table. And she was bleeding from every orifice, bearing out her story that she had been poked and prodded in those same locations.
Judy subsequently had a complete breakdown, “becoming almost totally delusional with overt signs of dissociation. She never sought any help from anyone and she never, even marginally, recovered. She became a religious zealot, but of a very unusual type. Needless to say, our relationship ended on that day, just as my dream had predicted. From occasional contact with her over the subsequent years, she claims to have been re-abducted many times. It’s one thing to lose a potential mate, but not to something like this.”
At the CERO International lecture, Taff touched on another case that he also writes about in the same online article. He received a phone call in the mid-1970s from a local television network executive who complained about poltergeist activity in his home. Over time, he reported occasional luminous anomalies, disembodied voices, banging noises and problems with electrical items in the house. Both the executive and his family seemed “quite grounded, normal, stable and well-adjusted.” Eventually the man’s calls ceased. Then one night, while the man and his wife were on a road trip in northern California, they saw what they thought was a small, burning plane about to crash into the hills to their right.
“They drove up to where they assumed the plane had crashed,” Taff writes, “and after rounding a bend, they ran into a very unexpected sight. A shocking and terrifying visage to say the least. Sitting on the ground in front of them was a classic flying saucer, maybe 30 to 50 feet in diameter. And if that wasn’t difficult to enough to absorb, there were several diminutive humanoids in tight-fitting flight suits moving around the area around the saucer, as if looking for something. The beings were about four feet tall with grayish-brown skin, large, black almond-shaped eyes with no apparent nose or outer ears. Classic grays in every respect.”
Suddenly, several of the humanoids became aware of the man and his wife sitting in their car observing the scene. One of the creatures pointed a tubular-shaped object at the couple that emitted a bright light. The next thing the pair remembered was being back on the highway many miles away and several hours later.
After experiencing this classic abduction scenario, the two began to have disturbing dreams about their missing time, most of which they were reluctant to discuss with anyone. They sought psychological counseling but were assumed by mental health workers to have both had a psychotic break, for which medication was recommended. The abduction experience was little known in the mid-1970s, so this response from the mental health community is not surprising, Taff writes.
The man and his wife began to experience strong emotional mood swings, indicative of dramatically altered personalities. They eventually divorced, with the husband becoming particularly volatile and erratic, which led to his leaving his lucrative job in television in a newfound state of anxiety, anger and bitterness. What had begun as poltergeist activity had progressed to an alien UFO abduction and left great misery in its wake.
“We’re dealing with something far more advanced than we are,” Taff added during his lecture, “and technology that is like magic to us.”
But change is not the goal in physical science, he said, pointing to the fact that hardly anyone in mainstream science takes these issues seriously. There exists an inverse correlation between belief and whether new ideas will work, he said. What the scientists say won’t work will and what they say will work won’t. Imagine what would happen if a vehicle was unveiled tomorrow that used an entirely new form of energy. We need what Taff called “a change in the way we perceive normality.”
UFOs are the most classified information the government has, he continued. Add gray aliens to the mix of our own racial and ethnic problems, and one can imagine the results. We should not fear an alien invasion so much as the problems we’ve created for ourselves.
Both psychic phenomena and UFO contact involve an energy of a type we don’t understand, Taff said toward the end of his lecture. Most people are not sensitive to it and can live a long time without ever having any experiences with it. Others are sensitive to it.
“It’s there,” Taff said. “It’s real. We are always a (central) part of the equation.”
Is The Universe The Result Of A Black Hole?
Remote Viewing Into Deep Space: A Stellar Performance
Remote Viewing: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
The American Institutes for Research Review
Edwin C. May, Ph.D.
As a result of a Congressionally Directed Activity, the Central Intelligence Agency conducted an evaluation of a 24-year, government-sponsored program to investigate ESP and its potential use within the Intelligence Community. The American Institutes for Research was contracted to conduct the review of both research and operations. Their 29 September 1995 final report was released to the public 28 November 1995.
As a result of AIR’s assessment, the CIA concluded that a statistically significant effect had been demonstrated in the laboratory, but that there was no case in which ESP had provided data that had ever been used to guide intelligence operations. This paper is a critical review of AIR’s methodology and conclusions. It will be shown that there is compelling evidence that the CIA set the outcome with regard to intelligence usage before the evaluation had begun.
This was accomplished by limiting the research and operations data sets to exclude positive findings, by purposefully not interviewing historically significant participants, by ignoring previous DOD extensive program reviews, and by using the questionable National Research Council’s investigation of parapsychology as the starting point for their review. While there may have been political and administrative justification for the CIA not to accept the government’s in-house program for the operational use of anomalous cognition, this appeared to drive the outcome of the evaluation.
As a result, they have come to the wrong conclusion with regard to the use of anomalous cognition in intelligence operations and significantly underestimated the robustness of the basic phenomenon.
As part of the fiscal year 1995 defense appropriations bill, responsibility for the government-sponsored investigation and use of ESP* was transferred to the Central Intelligence Agency. In a Congressionally Directed Action, the CIA was instructed to conduct a retrospective review of the 24-year program, now known as STAR GATE, that resided primarily within the Intelligence Community. The analysis was to include the research that was conducted since 1972 at SRI International and later at Science Applications International Corporation.
In addition, the CIA was to include an assessment of the intelligence-gathering utility of anomalous cognition (AC), and the program history was to be declassified (CIA Public Affairs Office, 1995). Initiated in June 1995, the evaluation was to be completed by 30 September 1995.
The CIA contracted with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to manage the review. They, in turn, formed a “blue-ribbon” panel that included psychologist Professor Ray Hyman from the University of Oregon and statistician Professor Jessica Utts from the University of California at Davis. AIR contributed Michael Mumford, Ph.D. and Andrew Rose, Ph.D. to the panel to provide unbiased assessment on methodological issues. The President of AIR, David Goslin, Ph.D., served as coordinator of the evaluation effort.
I was asked by CIA to provide administrative support, technical documents, and briefings on an as-needed basis for the review. This work was supported by a small contract to Science Applications International Corporation.†
The CIA-sponsored AIR investigation concluded that a statistically significant laboratory effect has been demonstrated but more replications were needed. In no case had the anomalous cognition information ever been used to guide intelligence operations (Mumford, Rose, and Goslin, 1995).
I question the validity of their and the CIA’s conclusions because they:
In addition to questioning the validity of CIA/AIR’s conclusions, I find such serious problems with their evaluation methodology that I have become reluctantly convinced that their conclusions were set before their investigation began. The investigators failed to:
Finally, since the political situation and the status of the program had significantly deteriorated technically and administratively, I speculate that this contributed to the underlying reason why the CIA did not want the program even before the evaluation began.
In this paper, I will expand upon these topics to demonstrate clearly that the outcome and conclusions drawn by AIR and subsequently the CIA were set before the investigation began, and that methodological and administrative choices were made to assure that the results of the investigation would support the CIA’s pre-determined perspective. In addition, I will document that they have come to the wrong conclusion with regard to the use of anomalous cognition in intelligence operations and greatly underestimated the robustness of the phenomenon.
Critique of the CIA/AIR Conclusions
Limited Database for the Evaluation of Research and Operations
The program evaluation was set from the beginning to only include government-sponsored research. If the evaluation was confined to the assessment of the scientific quality of the research, then perhaps this is not a bad idea, given that the Congress was trying to determine whether there was merit to continue. Upon closer inspection, however, even in this case, limiting the scope of the evaluation to exclude replications is scientifically invalid. The evidence for or against a statistically-based phenomenon cannot rest on the evidence provided by a few investigators in two laboratories (i.e., SRI and SAIC). Rather, science demands that the evidence rest in replications. Yet, the reviewers were requested not to look outside the STAR GATE project.
In the CIA’s briefing to Congress, they list three points as attributed to the AIR investigation (May, 1995g) and I quote:
No statistically based phenomena can be established without replication, yet the investigators were instructed not to look for any. (Utts, ignored this instruction and clearly showed that a conceptual replication has been well established in the literature and that significant statistical consistencies existed between the SRI and SAIC data sets.) Since the investigators were restricted at the outset, the top two bullets above are true by construction-not by analysis.
A casual scan of my collection of technical journals found four independent replications of remote viewing (Dunne and Bisaha, 1979; Schlitz and Gruber, 1980; Schlitz and Haight, 1984; and Targ et al., 1995). Rather than more replications as called for by AIR and Hyman, what is needed is a meta-analysis of all the AC studies to date and more attention on potential mechanisms.
Perhaps I should rest my case here. The CIA/AIR conclusions appeared to be designed into the investigation. Their final bullet above is questionable on its face value, because it is true by the nature of intelligence, not because of a valid criticism of the program’s operational AC. The only valid measure of intelligence utility for anomalous cognition is a top-level out-come measure, not a statistical analysis. In short, do end-users come back for more? Do any end-users have cases they can point to that helped solve an intelligence problem? The CIA and AIR say no, but as I will show below, that conclusion was also arrived ate by construction rather than by analysis.
I first learned of the CIA/AIR’s plan for the evaluation of the intelligence value of anomalous cognition from Mumford during the July meeting of the “blue-ribbon” panel at which I was invited to present material and answer questions. At that date, Mumford claimed that they were only going to look back three years from the end of the 24-year program. I told him that I was convinced that this would not provide an honest picture of the utility of AC. I informed the panel that I could easily predict the outcome based on my knowledge of the morale of the government’s viewers, the substandard management by Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officials, the tasking (i.e., what data they were after) and the inappropriate collection protocols.
Mumford attempted to justify his decision by saying he did not want to rely on memory and hearsay. He would not have to, because there was an extensive written history including testimonials to official organizations within the Intelligence Community. Mumford reiterated that he was sticking to his plan, regardless.
I objected to this decision to ignore existing data. I called the individual at CIA who had been assigned to manage the review, hereafter called the Point of Contact or POC, and insisted that some of the officials I had previously named had to be contacted. I learned later that the names and phone numbers of at least six individuals had been given to the POC. These end-users were both on active duty and retired who have already been on written record as attesting to the value of AC-derived intelligence data in solving specific problems.
After the AIR report had been given to Congress, but before it was released to the public and before I had seen it, I called many of the individuals on the list. Most were not contacted and those that were, told the CIA representative the case specifics and value of their individual circumstances. Some of the positive findings occurred before the final year but within the last three years of the project.
Finally, even a cursory investigation of the written record of intelligence operations would have revealed substantial evidence of the operational utility of anomalous cognition. Minimally, there exists enough data to claim prima facie utility with regard to the method, and selected cases are beyond doubt as to AC’s specific utility.
Joseph McMoneagle, one of the original government viewers beginning in 1978 and a consultant to the SRI/SAIC and Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, in 1984 was granted a Legion of Merit award for excellence in intelligence service. The Legion of Merit is rarely awarded for other than 20 or 30 years service, yet McMoneagle received his on the following basis. I quote, with permission, from McMoneagle’s citation:
“…He [McMoneagle] served most recently as a Special Project Intelligence Officer for SSPD, SSD, and 902d MI Group, as one of the original planners and movers of a unique intelligence project that is revolutionizing the intelligence community. While with SSPD, he used his talents and expertise in the execution of more than 200 missions, addressing over 150 essential elements of information [EEI]. These EEI contained critical intelligence reported at the highest echelons of our military and government, including such national level agencies as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, DIA, NSA, CIA, DEA, and the Secret Service, producing crucial and vital intelligence unavailable from any other source…”
How is it that the CIA and AIR could not find compelling evidence for the operational utility of anomalous cognition? They clearly chose not to look.
Important Program Participants: Never Contacted
From 1985 through 1990, the research project at SRI International enjoyed substantial, on-going, and written scientific oversight of the major portion of the AC database at SRI. Twelve individuals, who are world-renowned in their individual disciplines, were chosen by the client and other government officials to serve on our Scientific Oversight Committee. In addition, they were selected on the basis of the scientific reputations and on the basis of their skepticism. “Believers” were not allowed on the committee. The SOC’s responsibilities were four-fold:
During the SAIC time, the SOC was limited to only five members but they had the same charter. Three of the five came from the SOC at SRI. At SAIC we established two additional oversight committees. An Institutional Review Board (i.e., human use committee) was established with nine members who were health and medical professionals and are renowned in their disciplines as well.
The list included one Nobel laureate as did SAIC’s Scientific Oversight Committee. Besides assuring the protection of our human subjects, they also served as a less formal scientific oversight committee.
The third oversight committee at SAIC was for policy. The three members of this committee came from formerly very senior positions in the DOD and their job was to assure that we were meeting our obligations to the DOD and supporting its mission.
Of these 17 individuals who had intimate knowledge of the inner workings of this project, scientifically, methodologically, and administratively only one was contacted by CIA. It was that single individual who provided the names of satisfied end-users I discussed above.
The SOC’s comments were available to the AIR reviewers in written form, and many of the committee members lived on the east coast and even a few lived in Washington. The CIA/AIR investigators could have easily contacted them. They didn’t.
The failure to contact significant program participants does not end with these committees. I provided the POC with the names and phone numbers of numerous other pertinent individuals. The list included the previous project director for STAR GATE who had retired less than a year before the review and the Commander for a still-classified client who initiated a single contract that accounted for a significant fraction of all the funding for the project over the 24 years.
In addition, I gave the POC the names of a number of the original government viewers. In short, with interviews of mostly local people the CIA could have gained significant insight to the scientific, operational, managerial, and political aspects of the STAR GATE project. They chose to ignore these resources.
One of AIR’s significant methodological flaws is important with regard to the assessment of operations. In the Section on the Evaluation Plan in the report, Mumford et al. (Page 2-1, 1995) correctly required of the laboratory investigations “…unambiguous [emphasis added] evidence for the existence of the phenomenon… .” Following this lead, Hyman hypothesized a number of alternative explanations for the observed statistical significance other than the anomalous cognitive one, although he admits he couldn’t find any obvious flaws in the methodology (Mumford et al., 1995, Page 3-75).
For example, he is troubled that during the SAIC research, a single judge was used to conduct all the laboratory evaluations. Although Hyman does not propose how this might effect the result, he is correct in proposing the hypothesis that it might somehow affect the outcome. (Hyman lists other alternatives as well, but this one illustrates the point.) As it turns out, Utts finds statistical homogeneity (i.e., meaningful consistency) among the results from SRI, SAIC, and replications elsewhere when that single judge was not involved. Thus, this hypothesis must be rejected. This same consistency also rejects the other alternatives Hyman proposes, as well.
Yet, AIR fails to apply the same “unambiguous” criteria to their evaluation of the efficacy of AC in intelligence operations. In this case, why operations may have failed. In particular, in their discussion in the Section on Evaluating the Utility of Remote Viewing in Intelligence Operations they list a number of “boundary conditions” that might affect anomalous cognition in operations. These include a number of physical and methodological issues such as feedback and whether a sender or distance to the target might be factors.
They did not discuss or propose any psychological issues that may have been the deciding factors as to why the operations failed in their limited sample. For example, it is well-known that human performance of any kind and most certainly AC-performance is profoundly affected by the morale, the expectations of the participants, and the emotional environment in which the performance is expected (e.g., home-team effect in sports). But none of these potentially critical factors was discussed in the context of reaching the unambiguous conclusion that AC was useless in operations.
I had discussed these points in my meeting with the blue-ribbon panel in July, 1995. In particular, having spent considerable time with the government remote viewing unit, I was knowledgeable about what psychologists call “set and setting.”
That is, I saw first hand and reported to the panel that during the last two years (i.e., the time of the operational evaluation) the emotional environment had deteriorated to the point that the viewers wanted to leave the unit, and some of the staff had already left in disgust (May, 1995i). The morale was so low that doing excellent remote viewing, or practically anything else, would be out of the question. The AIR investigators interviewed the government remote viewers (Mumford et al., 1995, Page 4-9) and learned of these problems, first hand (May, 1995j).
These critically important factors were completely left out of the discussion in the report and no alternate hypotheses were suggested to question their “unambiguously negative conclusion about the use of AC in intelligence operations.
Previous Program Reviews
Even before I was officially under contract with CIA, I gave the POC either copies of, or pointers to, a number of classified program reviews that had been conducted in the past.*
One important aspect of the program was its on-going and rigorous review and technical oversight. Everyone involved (i.e., the government sponsors, SRI, and SAIC) were correctly concerned that the research should be as rigorous as possible and that the program could be justified within the Intelligence Community and DOD. These reviews were extensive and were conducted by General military officers, senior members of the Intelligence Community, respected scientists from many disciplines, and end-users of the AC intelligence product.
These remain classified, and with one exception, were positive with regard to the existence of AC and its successful contributions to intelligence. Even the negative one only wanted to stop the research but continue the operations! The final such review was conducted in 1987.
In addition to the written reviews, from 1985 through 1990 the program enjoyed the continued oversight of a high-ranking military officer from the still-classified sponsor and a GS-15 geneticist from DIA as permanent on-site observers at SRI.
The POC is a Ph.D. scientist and at the time seemed dedicated to the best job possible. He informed me, however, that the CIA intended to ignore the previous reviews and start fresh. Given that the review had to be in Congress in four months, I could not conceive how it could be effective and accurate and ignore the substantial amount of previous oversight. After all, a complete analysis could, and should have, included a review of the previous classified DOD assessments.
A Thread of Bias, Potential Conflict of Interest, and Suppression of Data.
In the early days of the project, Targ and Puthoff (1974a) reported on a series of experiments they conducted at SRI with Mr. Uri Geller, an Israeli magician/psychic. George Lawrence from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) accompanied by two consultants, Ray Hyman and Robert Van de Castle, came to SRI requesting an opportunity to see an experiment in progress with Geller. Puthoff and Targ correctly denied access to the ARPA representatives because of technical and administrative protocol issues.
After all, with such controversy swirling about Geller, it is easy to become quite paranoid about who is trying to trick whom. The safest and the most scientifically sound course is not to allow anyone except the direct research team to witness formal experiments regardless of credentials (Targ and Puthoff, 1977 and May, 1996).
Yet, as part of their cover story, Time magazine (Jaroff, 1974) quoted Ray Hyman’s claim that the SRI tests were carried out with “incredible sloppiness.” The irony is that the tests that Hyman and Lawrence witnessed at SRI were indeed conducted with “incredible sloppiness,” but the experiments they witnessed were of their own making and had nothing at all to do with protocols of those experiments to which they had been denied access (Targ and Puthoff, 1974b and May, 1996).
It is clear that Lawrence and Hyman had strongly held positions and were willing to report their experiences at SRI inaccurately. Thus we see the first evidence of a negative bias on the part of Lawrence and Hyman.
In 1984, their biases were again demonstrated. The Army Research Institute (ARI) commissioned the American Academy of Sciences to investigate the potential of certain techniques that propose to enhance human performance (Druckman and Swets, 1988).
Although performance enhancement has never been the claim of research parapsychology, the National Research Council included parapsychology as one of the topics to be studied.
The same George Lawrence formerly from ARPA was ARI’s project monitor, and he asked that Ray Hyman be commissioned to head the investigation into parapsychological phenomena. David Goslin, Executive Director of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education for the National Research Council, served as overall project director and agreed to the request.
On parapsychology, the NRC study concluded (Druckman and Swets, 1988):
“The committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena. It therefore concluded that there is no reason for direct involvement by the Army at this time.
We do recommend, however, that research in certain areas be monitored, including work by the Soviets and the best work in the United States. The latter include that being done at Princeton University by Robert Jahn; at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn by Charles Honorton, now in Princeton; at San Antonio by Helmut Schmidt; and at the Stanford Research Institute by Edward (sic) May. Monitoring could be enhanced by site visits and by expert advice from both proponents and skeptics. The research areas included would be psychokinesis with random even generators and Ganzfeld effects.”
By the time the NRC began their investigation, I was the project director at SRI International. Our program was highly classified at that time and special access was required before any aspect of the project could be discussed even with individuals with appropriate security clearences.* Thus, neither the in-house DIA classified program nor the NRC investigators, and particular Ray Hyman, had access to over 80% of all the remote viewings conducted during the SRI years.
None of the research reports from this contract were kept with the DIA remote viewing group. So even though Hyman had access to the this group, he was denied access to and probably even unaware of the SRI data of that time period.
I was not even allowed to meet with Hyman in our laboratory or office space; he and I met in a separate building at SRI that was not associated with project. Our discussions were confined to our published account of a careful random number generator experiment that we had conducted in 1979.†
In the overall summary shown above, remote viewing was not even mentioned although an analysis of the early studies at SRI and later studies at Princeton are contained in the body of the NRC report. With regard to their conclusion on remote viewing: “…the literature on remote viewing has managed to produce only one possibly successful experiment that is not seriously flawed in its methodology-and that one experiment provides only marginal evidence for the existence of ESP.”
The parapsychology section of the NRC study was a mockery of good science and serves as an excellent model for a pseudo-scientific investigation. The methodology for the NRC investigation and their conclusions were soundly criticized and shown to be without scientific merit (Palmer, Honorton, and Utts, 1989). The four major points drawn by Palmer et al. are summarized:
This last point is particularly troublesome and reveals the political nature of what should have been a carefully conducted scholarly investigation that usually characterizes the National Research Council. Violating one of the basic tenets of science to report all findings, the NRC Committee asked Professor Robert Rosenthal to:
“…omit the section of our paper evaluating the Ganzfeld research domains. I refused to do so but was so shocked and disappointed by this request that I discussed this request with a number of colleagues in the Harvard departments of Psychology and of Statistics. Without exception they were as shocked as I was.
In the end, censorship did not occur, and Monica Harris’ and my paper is available in its entirety in a kind of preprint format from the National Academy Press.*”
Rosenthal’s and Harris’ commissioned paper listed the Ganzfeld methodological quality to be superior to the typical quality of the other four areas they considered (Rosenthal, 1990).
In addition to the significant methodological flaws and the attempt to suppress positive findings, the NRC study was essentially contradicted in it’s major conclusion by a one-day workshop hosted by the Office of Technology Assessment, the research arm of the US Congress (Office of Technology Assessment, 1989). The OTA did not completely exonerate the field of research parapsychology; there is no scientific endeavor that cannot be improved. The OTA did, however, clearly demonstrate that the research cannot simply be dismissed-a view directly opposite to the NRC’s conclusion.
In continuing the development of a potential conflict of interest, I point out once again that David Goslin had administrative responsibility for this seriously flawed NRC investigation.
When the CIA was searching for someone to conduct their technical review of the STAR GATE program, they were turned down by the National Research Council in part because of the time constraint and in part because of the substantial negative publicity that resulted from their previous report on parapsychology (May, 1995e). Instead, AIR was commissioned to conduct the review. AIR’s president is David Goslin.
Let me now summarize the thread of bias and potential conflict of interest. Ray Hyman and George Lawrence were denied access to SRI experiments with Uri Geller in 1974. Ray Hyman has a long history of a negative bias with regard to parapsychology. In 1985, George Lawrence commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to investigate parapsychology and picked Hyman to direct the effort. In 1986, David Goslin presided over a methodologically flawed review. In 1995, David Goslin assumed responsibility for the CIA-sponsored investigation of the STAR GATE program.
It is not a surprising that the NRC study is liberally quoted in the AIR report because it supports the possibly predisposed views of CIA/AIR, albeit from a flawed investigation. Since Professor Jessica Utts was one of the co-authors of the formal response to the NRC study, I questioned her (May, 1995f):
“Since you were a contributing author to the reply [to the NRC investigation] and since the reply soundly criticized the NRC’s review methodology, I was surprised to see that you did not mention the NRC study or the PA’s [Parapsychological Association] reply in your section of the AIR’s report. Considering the weight that the AIR investigators placed on the NRC study, I feel it was a substantial oversight for you not have added your first-hand criticism of the NRC report as part of your remarks.”
So that I make no errors in interpretation, I print, with permission, her complete reply (19 December 1995):
“This is in response to your question about why I did not mention the National Research Council’s 1988 evaluation of parapsychology in my report to AIR. The answer is that I was explicitly asked by AIR staff NOT to mention the NRC report in my review! This is very troubling to me for a number of reasons.
First, you are correct in stating that I was aware that the NRC committee was not shown much of the relevant remote viewing data when they did their review, and that they did not in fact even know the data existed. As you also noted, I co-authored a critical review of the NRC report shortly after it was published, illustrating a number of weaknesses with it.
What you may not know is that in addition to those problems, the statistical method the NRC committee relied on for its findings (called “vote-counting”) has been completely discredited, and is known to produce misleading results. I raised this point at the July meeting Ray Hyman and I attended with the AIR staff at their Palo Alto office, and it was substantiated by Stanford Statistics Professor Lincoln Moses, who had been asked by the AIR staff to attend the meeting to comment on that and related statistical issues. (Had the NRC committee included a statistician, that serious flaw, and the subsequent misleading results, may have been avoided. I am sorry to say that even at our meeting in Palo Alto, Ray did not seem to understand the problem, and he was the principal “statistician” for the NRC report.)
When I was explicitly asked by AIR staff NOT to mention the NRC report in my review, I assumed they had realized the problems with it, and, especially given the involvement of the AIR President with the NRC Committee, were happy to let it fade into oblivion.
Given that background, I was quite disappointed to see that AIR made liberal use of the NRC report in their conclusions. Had I known they were going to do that, I certainly would have discussed the multiple problems with it in my report. By not mentioning it, an uninformed reader may assume that I support it, which I certainly do not.
I would also like to explain another omission in my report that occurred for much the same reason. Despite the claims Ray Hyman is making in the media, we were shown very little of the “operational” remote viewing work. One of the few documents we were shown was a list of “[the former DIA project officer's] best” remote viewing successes.
Since the list provided almost no detail, you may recall that I asked you for names and numbers of individuals I could contact to get more information about those purported operational successes. In a memo dated August 1, 1995, you provided me with phone numbers for [ a former DIA project officer, a former senior DIA official, a military General who had program responsibility], and Joseph McMoneagle. You sent a copy of the memo to the AIR staff.
Shortly after you sent me that memo, I was contacted by the AIR staff and told that I was NOT to contact any of those individuals. Thus, I was not able to gain any details about the operational remote viewing work. I thought you should know that, in case you were wondering why I requested that information and then did not use it.
Again, I am clueless as to why Ray Hyman is making claims in the media that we had access to the operational work for our review. I do not think he was given access to any information not shown to me. I don’t know how he can substantiate the claims he’s making about remote viewing being useless for intelligence. He may be correct, but he has very little data on which to base that conclusion.”
While a case can be made that Professor Utts should not be contacting people with regard to operations because she did not possess a clearance at the time, the individuals I named are professionals and would not disclose classified information to an uncleared person. Regardless, the AIR investigators cannot be excused from the attempt to suppress intellectual findings by, or to limit the research of, a noted academic that may be germane to the stated goals of the investigation.
The NRC study was discredited in print and I had discussed that issues in detail with AIR’s blue ribbon panel.
Biased Investigators on the AIR’s “Blue-Ribbon” Panel
Since our research program had been reviewed by various Science Advisory Boards including DIA’s, it seemed prudent and natural that the CIA should ask their own Board or one of many that reside in the Washington area to conduct the program’s technical evaluation. I even provided names and phone numbers of individuals who I know on various boards to expedite the contact.
Instead, Utts and Hyman were chosen to act as the expert reviewers. At first glance, this seems like a reasonable approach given that no learning curve would be required. I told the POC that I thought this was not a good plan and that I could easily predict their conclusions based on their previous writing. See Hyman (1986) and Utts (1991) as samples. I reiterated that an in-place Science Advisory Board would better serve that evaluation.
What better way to conclude whatever you wish than to build into the evaluation protocol a priori stated scholarly views that are known to span the opinion space. This guarantees that the concluding remarks by CIA will, by definition, be consistent with some evaluator on the team. That is exactly what happened. In the CIA’s presentation to Congress, eight separate bulleted points are allotted to Hyman’s conclusion while only four are allotted to Utts’ and none are given to Utts’ important rebuttal to Hyman (May, 1995g).
Good Advice Ignored
Since most of the work under review occurred under my watch as the contractor program director, I could obviously not be involved in the analysis directly, but as part of my contract responsibility, I was asked to advise the review process. In a 4-page document (May, 1995a), I indicated in words and figures how a review might proceed. The major point was that acceptance criteria for operations and research should be set prior to the review so that they could be used to judge the validity of the program in an unbiased way.
(Arguably, one could say that I had a vested interest in the outcome and my views should be ignored; however, I only provided suggestions from a top-down perspective and did not suggest any details that could be considered self-serving. It was beneficial to the program and to me personally to have the most honest and rigorous review possible, and I was completely confident that such a review could only be positive.)
The criteria for the research could easily be adopted from the established and accepted scientific rules for evidence. Quoting from my memorandum (May, 1995a):
“The existence of anomalous mental phenomena cannot be statistically determined from the results of a single laboratory. The requirements for replication of a statistical phenomenon and the methods for the analysis of cross-laboratory results are well developed.”
Not only was this advice ignored, it was ignored by fiat. The reviewers were instructed to only look at research results from SRI and SAIC. Fortunately for scientific credibility, Professor Utts ignored this statistically invalid directive. Such action by CIA with regard to their review can only add to the evidence that they were either only interested in a negative outcome or statistically naive.
Determining the efficacy of operations was much more difficult. Would one successful operation be sufficient justification to continue the program, or would all the operations have to be useful? What constitutes a successful operation? A one percent hit rate might be considered miraculous by one customer, but a 50% hit rate might be useless to another. I made no attempt to suggest what that judgment criteria should be; I only urged that it be set in advance. It wasn’t.
It was not done as a matter of official policy or even informally as a guideline. As it turned out, the POC later informed me that only a single case would be sufficient as far as he was concerned, but he was careful to say that the decision was being made at “a much higher pay grade then his.” I learned later that they were only going to examine the last set of AC operations from the 24-year program. I and they knew that these cases were not representative of the program at large. This point will be expanded below.
Early in the review, I was request to provide a list of my 10-best examples of research that supported the existence of anomalous cognition. In a memorandum (May, 1995b), I complained about that request. In part, I quote:
“Since the complete document set will be available to AIR, I recommend the following approach:
This approach avoids the file draw problem [i.e., not publishing studies that fail to meet statistical significance] altogether and includes most of the documents I would count as my 10 anyway. I can only think of a few other studies that I might want to include and all of them have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.”
I responded in part again to the same request (May, 1995c):
Although the request seems straight forward at the outset, to establish the existence of Remote Viewing on the basis of a subset of the total data set does not conform to the accepted practice for meta-analysis as set forth in Rosenthal (1991) and Hedges and Olkin (1985).
I went on to comply to the request in such a way that the complete record would be examined to avoid any accusation of a so-called “file-drawer” problem by including in my list a detailed in-house meta-analysis covering the period from 1973 to 1989 (May, Utts, Trask, Luke, Frivold, and Humphrey, 1989). This analysis was conducted as part of contractual requirement to a still-classified sponsor.
AIR ignored the CIA directive by including the National Research Council’s review of parapsychology as a support for their conclusions about research. Knowing full well that the NRC investigators did not have access to any SRI reports from 1985 onward (May, 1995d), they featured it prominently in their final report.
Little Contact with the Program’s Principal Investigator
I would like to emphasize my role, or lack of it, in the CIA/AIR evaluation of the STAR GATE program. As I said before, it was inappropriate for me to be involved in the actual assessment; however, it is especially important to learn from the critical details that never make it into official reports.† To illustrate my point, of all the “blue-ribbon” panelists, Professor Utts was the most familiar with the project; she had served as a visiting scientist for a year during the SRI era. Even with her intimate knowledge she called me at least 12 times to seek clarification on specific points in the documents she was reading. Professor Hyman never called and the AIR team not only did not call but refused to return my multi-faceted communication attempts. As a result of AIR negligence, their report contains numerous errors of fact and errors of assumptions.
I was the director of the government-sponsored investigation of anomalous mental phenomena for 10 of the 24-year history. I presided over 70% of the total contractor budget, 85% of the program’s data collection, and had intimate knowledge of and responsibility for the project. For AIR to not use this resource is scientifically indefensible.
As the review process was coming to an end, I formally sought the opportunity to provide a written commentary to the AIR report to be included with the blue-ribbon panel’s reports (May, 1995h). Given that Utts and Hyman were given space to comment on each others work,* and since most of the science that was being reviewed was work conducted under my direction, it seemed only natural to include my comments. That request and a similar one to AIR was ignored.
Political Reason Why CIA may not have Wanted the Program
Under the reluctant auspices of the DIA, the program transitioned from SRI to Science Applications International Corporation in 1991. We recognized shortly thereafter that DIA did not welcome the responsibility as the contracting agency. The reason DIA management was not anxious to have the program was complex and not associated with the technical aspects. Some of the DIA management had previous negative experiences with senior military officers who had become “believers,” oversold the program’s capability, and were known as “loose cannons” in the community.
This reluctance manifested in two important ways. First of all, the initial financial support for the program in 1991 came directly as part of the supplemental Defense Appropriations bill and was considered by Congress as “seed” money. DIA was expected to request follow-on support as part of the overall DIA annual budget requests. Those requests never happened; all program support through 1995 came from the Appropriations bills.
One consequence was, that a member of the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee became increasingly disappointed with the DIA and began to micro-manage the program with disastrous results. A second consequence was that an attempt was made in 1993 to transfer the program to CIA. No willing recipient could be found there to accept the program. Even then the CIA did not want program responsibility.
Secondly, the negative attitude from senior DIA management filtered down the chain of command. For example, the final project officer who had direct responsibility for the program before it closed had little knowledge of the program; no knowledge of its substantial history; no technical background to manage such a project; ignored the research results; and created a crushing atmosphere with his management style. The morale was so bad that viewers and officials within the government’s remote viewing unit repeatedly asked me to intervene. This placed me in a very difficult position as a contractor. I informed middle management at DIA of the problems with no result.
In short, the program was in shambles. The operations that were conducted during the last few years of the project, for the most part, were destined to and did fail. It was this program, including personnel, that was to be transferred to CIA by 1 July 1995. In my professional opinion, which I shared with the POC, the program, as it was configured, would not produce successful AC intelligence operations.
So, CIA had strong and valid reasons not to want the program. The Agency was soundly criticized in the press for mishandling the Ames case and other excesses, so they did not need another controversy. In my opinion, the last thing they would want would be to inherit a Congressionally micro-managed program in severe internal distress no matter what its content or potential might be. Yet, by law they had to comply with the Congressional Directed Action and conduct the review. No wonder that it was probably done in such a way to assure a negative outcome with regard to operations.
It is impossible for me to prove whether or not the CIA determined the outcome of the investigation before it began. What is obvious, however, is that the evaluation domain of the research and particularly the operations were restricted to preclude positive findings.
The CIA did not contact or ignored people who possessed critical knowledge of the program, including some end-users of the intelligence data. Investigators were chosen who either had previously published conclusions or who possessed a serious potential for a conflict of interest. With the exception of the significantly flawed National Research Council’s review, all the DOD previous evaluations of the research and intelligence applications were ignored.
I am forced to conclude that either the AIR investigators were not competent to conduct a proper review of such a complex program-a view to which I do not subscribe-or they knew exactly what they were doing; they wanted to demonstrate a lack of intelligence utility for anomalous cognition. They did so by construction rather than by careful analysis.
Let us grant for the moment that my supposition is true; the CIA wanted to kill the program. Why was such a detailed rebuttal necessary? After all, an agency should be able to express their wishes with regard to the acceptance of any program that the Congress might assign.
In fact, I see it as part of the various agency’s responsibility to inform Congress of what might, or might not, be possible. Rejecting the STAR GATE program on the basis of an incomplete and incorrect analysis not only creates a false legacy, it does not easily allow for other organizations in the public or private sector to assume responsibility for a new version of the program.
Aside from setting the record straight, I felt obligated to show that as the result of their flawed methodology, the CIA/AIR greatly underestimated the statistical robustness of the research results and significantly undervalued the potential for anomalous cognition in intelligence operations.
Druckman, D. and Swets, J A. Ed. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 167-208.
Dunne, B. J. and Bisaha, J. P. (1979). Precognitive Remote Viewing in the Chicago Area: A replication of the Stanford Experiment. Journal of Parapsychology. 43, No. 1. 1-16.
Hedges, L. V. and Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical Methods for Meta-Analysis. Academic Press, Inc. Harcourt Brace Javanovich. New York, NY.
Hyman, R. (1986). Parapsychological Research: A Tutorial Review and Critical Appraisal. Invited Paper. Proceedings of the IEEE. 74, No. 6. p. 825.
Jaroff, L. (1974). Boom Times on the Psychic Frontier. Time Magazine. 4 March. 56-72.
May, E. C., Utts, J. M., Trask, V. V, Luke, W. L. W., Frivold, T. J, and Humphrey, B. S. (1989). Review of the Psychoenergetic Research Conducted at SRI International (1973-1988). Final Report-Task 6.0.1, Project 1291. SRI International, Menlo Park, CA.
May, E. C. (1995a). Memorandum to POC. 6 June 1995.
May, E. C. (1995b). Memorandum to POC. 14 June 1995.
May, E. C. (1995c). Memorandum to POC. 19 June 1995.
May, E. C. (1995d). In May’s only meeting with the AIR “blue-ribbon” panel during which the lack of NRC access was discussed in detail. July 1995.
May, E. C. (1995e) Personal communication. The CIA point of contact.
May, E. C. (1995f). E-mail letter to Professor Utts, 17 December.
May, E. C. (1995g). Personal communication. US Senate Appropriations Committee Staff Member.
May, E. C. (1995h). Memorandum to POC. 14 August 1995.
May, E. C. (1995i). Personal communication. Foreign analyst for the unit, June, 1995.
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Nightmare Alley: The CIA Memo On Marilyn Monroe, JFK & UFOs
The Marilyn Monroe CIA Memo
This is a CIA document that appeared sometime in the early 1990s and has been (unwittingly) authenticated by the CIA itself, in that when Dr. Donald R. Burleson, author of UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe, filed his appeal of the CIA’s refusal to release transcripts of government wiretaps on Marilyn Monroe’s telephones, the appeal, which was based largely on the 3 August 1962 document in question, was accepted; ultimately no transcripts were released, but the acceptance-of-appeal process did demonstrate that the document is of authentic CIA provenance. The CIA could have denied the authenticity of the document and could thus have turned the appeal down, but they did not. It is contrary to Agency policy to accept any Freedom of Information Act request or appeal based on documents which the CIA does not acknowledge to be authentic; so, tacitly, they acknowledged that the document is genuine.
Not only does the Freedom of Information Act appeal-acceptance show that the “Marilyn memo” is of authentic CIA provenance– it also proves that the transcripts of wiretaps on Marilyn’s phones do exist. When an appeal is accepted and the requester is told that the matter has gone to the CIA’s Agency Release Panel, that means that a debate is under way as to whether to release existing documents, documents in possession of the Agency. It’s nonsense for the CIA to debate with itself over releasing nonexistent documents! The wiretap transcripts undeniably do exist, and given what is now known about Marilyn’s death, they must be extraordinarily revealing.
The 3 August 1962 CIA document, written only a day before Marilyn Monroe’s death, reveals that some high government officials were in a state of extreme anxiety over the fact that the Kennedy brothers (Jack and Bobby) had been imparting sensitive information to Marilyn, and that she was writing a lot of it down in her little red “diary of secrets.” Of special interest is the CIA document’s mention of the fact that one of the secrets everyone was afraid Marilyn might have written down had to do with “the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space.” The obvious inference is that JFK had told Marilyn about the Roswell UFO crash and the retrieval, in 1947, of debris and alien bodies. (John Kennedy was notorious for having a difficult time separating his hormonal life from his political career. It got him into trouble more than once. Marilyn wasn’t the first such instance, nor the last.)
When the Kennedys started distancing themselves from Marilyn, she grew angry and (mentioning it on the telephone, unfortunately) started planning to hold a news conference and “tell all.” According to the hypothesis set forth in Dr. Burleson’s book, Attorney General Robert Kennedy then became so fearful that “tell all” meant telling the big secret– the government retrieval and coverup of UFO crash debris and bodies– that he simply could not afford to let her live long enough to hold such a press conference as she was threatening to hold. Dr. Burleson’s book explores the likelihood that had Marilyn indeed told the world the “secret of secrets,” the President would have been indicted for disclosing highly classified information to an unauthorized recipient, an offense quite possibly to be construed as treason. The Kennedys couldn’t risk the potential political disaster, and Marilyn became the victim of their fears.
For easier reference, here is a transcription of the text of the CIA document:
Wiretape of telephone conversation between reporter Dorothy Kilgallen and her close friend, Howard Rothberg (A); from wiretap of telephone conversation of Marilyn Monroe and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (B). Appraisal of Content: [A portion redacted.]
1. Rothberg discussed the apparent comeback of subject with Kilgallen and the break up with the Kennedys. Rothberg told Kilgallen that she was attending Hollywood parties hosted by the “inner circle” among Hollywood’s elite and was becoming the talk of the town again. Rothberg indicated in so many words, that she had secrets to tell, no doubt arising from her trists [sic] with the President and the Attorney General. One such “secret” mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space. Kilgallen replied that she knew what might be the source of visit. In the mid-fifties Kilgallen learned of secret effort by US and UK governments to identify the origins of crashed spacecraft and dead bodies, from a British government official. Kilgallen believed the story may have come from the New Mexico story in the late forties. Kilgallen said that if the story is true, it would cause terrible embarrassment for Jack and his plans to have NASA put men on the moon.
2. Subject repeatedly called the Attorney General and complained about the way she was being ignored by the President and his brother.
3. Subject threatened to hold a press conference and would tell all.
4. Subject made reference to “bases” in Cuba and knew of the President’s plan to kill Castro.
5. Subject made reference to her “diary of secrets” and what the newspapers would do with such disclosures.
[An indented block of text is redacted near the bottom of the page, and the document is signed JAMES ANGLETON, who at the time was the Chief of Counterintelligence for the CIA.]
The UFO connection becomes all the more compelling with the discovery, described in Burleson’s UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe, of an imprint to the left of the “TOP SECRET” stamp near the top of the document; the imprint, when Burleson enhanced it by computer imaging techniques, turns out to contain the name of Brigadier General George Shulgen, who was formerly the chief UFO investigation-coordinator for the U.S. Air Force. (The imprint also refers to General Schulgen’s Intelligence Collection Memorandum, a document known to have existed.) This imprint or “bleed-in,” however it came to be on a CIA document about Marilyn Monroe, makes a clear connection between her murder and the question of UFO secrecy, as someone, somewhere at some time, evidently thought it logical to archive the documents together. When all the evidence is considered, the case becomes very strong that government people murdered Marilyn because of what she knew about the UFO coverup.
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Exopolitics (The Greyada Treaty?)
A Life Changing Paranormal Event
What if a very rare and terrifying paranormal event totally changed the course of your life in a very dramatic and negative way? What if you couldn’t have prevented it? What if you couldn’t correct the aftermath of the event? What would you do? These are questions and matters I’ve personally dealt with for almost forty years.
One of the most common questions I’m asked when I do lectures and presentations, is why I’ve never been married. It’s not simply that I tend to meet rather unusual women, who either think I’m nuts or make me look totally normal. Obviously, neither of those scenarios play out well in terms of my finding a wife. But almost four decades ago I did find the right woman, in fact, the perfect one for me. The lady was so unique and special in almost every way, that if I were going to design the perfect soul mate for me, I could not have done a better job than what fate brought to me.
For the first and only time in my life I met my equal in almost every way; intellectually, mentally, emotionally, sexually and psychically. It was like two peas in a pod. We were able to sit in the car while driving with the radio off and we’d continually say the same thing at the same time. When she attended our psi training groups at UCLA long ago, we’d almost continuously say the same thing at the same time while within a sensory deprivation environment and responding to a mental cue (see:”Learned Psi: Training To Be Psychic”, elsewhere on this site). It was fascinating, astounding and incredible, in more ways than I could ever recount in words here.
This girl was so physically beautiful that she actually stopped traffic while walking. If I left her alone for more than a minute in restaurants or movies, there would be at five guys hitting on her. But that’s the price one pays when one looks that extraordinary, and fortunately, it never bothered me because I expected it. But what I didn’t consciously expect was the unimaginable event that was about to transpire which ended my only relationship that would have led to marriage. Even my dreams of things to come couldn’t have anticipated what was just around the corner.
It’s one thing to investigate other people’s paranormal encounters whether in the lab or in the field. However, when they intrude upon your personal life to the point of dramatically changing its course for the worst, one’s perspective on the paranormal is forever changed, good or bad. Just such an event happened to me back in 1977, while our UCLA parapsychology lab was still up and running.
It was on Valentine’s day of that year I met the only woman I could have married. If you want to see an exact physical replica of what this girl looked like back in 1977, check out the two, long deceased actresses (pictured here), Mari Blanchard (featured photo above). There was one other actress who also shared this look, Brenda Benet (see photo).
They both strikingly resemble my ex, but the only one who could pass for a clone of her was Mari Blanchard, But the similarities or synchronicities do not end with her obvious physical likeness.
In every physical parameter, my ex-girlfriend was a literal clone of Mari Blanchard; height, weight, figure, facial physiognomy, hair color, etc. The resemblance is so extreme that if Blanchard walked into my home today at the age she was in 1957 when her movie She-Devil came out, I would instantly think it was my old girlfriend as long as she didn’t speak, as Blanchard’s voice was much deeper. (see Blanchard’s photo from She Devil immediately below).
According to some genetic statistics I remember from graduate school long ago, everyone is supposed to have eight (8) doubles and twenty-two (22) look-a-likes on earth at any given point (unless you live in Asia, where the numbers are substantially higher due a more genetically homogeneous culture). Statistics my ass, this is pretty damn strange, even for someone like myself who’s lived a rather different life than most other people.
Adding more high strangeness to this striking similarity is the fact the that both of these women share the same birthday; month and day, although Blanchard was born twenty four years before my ex.
The reason behind my meeting her (not Blanchard, as she had been dead for seven years) was that she called the lab reporting poltergeist activity in her apartment. When we arrived to meet her and her ex-boyfriend, I was so captivated by her presence that I kind of zoned out for a moment, which for me is almost unheard of. My fixation on this girl was so intense, that my colleague had to repeatedly elbow me in the arm or ribcage to distract me.
While at this location we did encounter some minor evidence suggesting that their claims might have been real. However, as the frequency and magnitude of paranormal occurrences were quite low, the case was not worthy of pursuit, but she certainly was.
Long story short, we began dating and soon were embroiled in a very serious relationship, certainly the best I’ve ever had. For me, it was finding perfection in every sense of the word.
However, fate had other plans for her and us, such that would completely devastate our maritally bound romance. Even my dreams reflected the ominous path that lay ahead but without any specifics. And perhaps coincidentally, a month before I met my ex, she too had died her hair blond, just to look different, but then decided to return it to its natural black just before we met. As I’m not even marginally attracted to blond women, perhaps she was aware of this fact? At left is Blanchard as a blond.
On July 22, 1977, our relationship hit an extraterrestrial wall, literally. This girl was abducted right out of the bed we shared in her condo. They left me behind, but were apparently very interested in and curious about her. If you wish to read all of the disturbing details of what transpired there and then and what the fallout was to this event, you’ll have to read Chapter 10 “Abduction Central” of my book Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown.
There have been other cases within my own files demonstrating this linkage between classic paranormal activity such as poltergeists and ufology. Sometimes it begins with a close encounter of the third (CE-III) or fourth kind (CE-IV) which is then followed by paranormal fallout (OBE’s, healing, precognition & RSPK). On the other side of the coin, there are cases that begin as purely paranormal encounters and evolve into a CE-III or an abduction as discussed herein.
However, when the paranormal hits this close to home and tears asunder what might have otherwise been a life of happiness and bliss, what is one supposed to do? People frequently ask why they didn’t take me as opposed to her. Not having the foggiest notion of how to respond to that question, all that I can say is that if I were them, I wouldn’t take me.
On a somewhat humorous note, if I were to be abducted, I would mostly likely drive my captors crazy with my insistence to understand their propulsion system, power source, navigation, avionics, biology and evolution. Yeah, I’d be their worst nightmare. Or would I?
And of course, how could they take her without disturbing me as I slept right next to her? Believe it or not, that type of situation is not that uncommon.
The end result of this abduction was my girlfriend’s complete emotional, intellectual and physical breakdown, from which she never recovered. She became a religious zealot of a very unusual type, and as there were not the behavioral practitioners to deal with such an events back in 1977 as there is today, she never sought or obtained any professional help for her breakdown. We have occasionally been in touch over the years, and she’s claimed to have been re-abducted several times, and ended up marrying another religious zealot of the same persuasion. Well at least she’s not alone.
So in the end how am I supposed to incorporate such a life changing event that cannot be proved or disproved, although the evidence presented was quite formidable, into my own life and scheme of things in general.
So when people ask if I’ve ever been close to marriage and I tell them yes, some thirty four years ago, and then inform them as to what eventually happened, they don’t quite know what to think or say. As most people are totally unfamiliar with this field in its totality, how are they supposed to understand and interpret such an event? They cannot, as they lack any perspective to do so.
In closing, I’ve now come to notice after watching She Devil for the first time in more than fifty years, that if you were to remove all of Blanchard’s hair and thoroughly examined her facial physiognomy with her extraordinarily high and pronounced cheekbones, her disproportionately large, wraparound, almond-shaped eyes given her small face, her very small and thin nose. pointed chin and tiny mouth, she bore a startling resemblance to contemporary drawings of alien hybrids (see photo below).
As most, if not all, of my girlfriends over the years have shared similar looks with Blanchard, and she has alien-like features, what does that say about my lifelong, obsessive attraction to this particular look in women?
I’ve never known another man that is as fixated as I am on any particular female look, let alone this particular one.
Over the last several years in having seen several women I’ve found on various internet dating sites, the only ones I contacted were the ones who had this very specific look. The only one I actually met who dramatically resembled Blanchard, suffered from depression and was an alcoholic. Needless to say, that contact ended after the first meeting.
Isn’t it rather coincidental that my girlfriend who looked exactly like this actress ended up becoming an abductee while we were together?
Or maybe it wasn’t?
My life has been riddled with synchronicities, and perhaps this is just another one of them? But given that I’ve been singularly obsessed with this specific type of feminine beauty for my entire life, I suspect that there is something far deeper and more profound going on here.
I will not even begin to speculate as to what all this might suggest, as it would be nothing more than an exercise in sheer fantasy.
Or would it?