DECEPTION AND DISAPPOINTMENT:
WAS 2023 THE WORST YEAR EVER FOR UFOS?
FEBRUARY / MARCH 2024
Events of the past year show that the serious study of UFOs may be at its lowest point since the late 1940s when the phenomenon was first considered. It has been marred by overwhelming deception and disappointment because of outrageous claims, unfulfilled promises and more than a few hoaxes. 2023 brought us:
A Congressional Committee interviewing a troubled man who captured the attention of the world with tall tales of UFO crashes
A Harvard Professor who discovered what he said were “alien marbles” on the ocean floor that turned out not to be
A revered UFO researcher who fell for a UFO crash fraud
Alien mummies from Peru that closer examination later showed were made from the heads of llamas
While the reality of the core phenomenon of UFOs remains, real investigation of UFOs suffers because of the "nonsense" factor. From supposed "whistleblowers" who never actually whistled, to PhDs whose credibility is forever tarnished by making uneducated announcements, the harm that they have inflicted upon the field may be irreparable.
THE DAVID GRUSCH DELUSION
AND THE MISSING WHISTLEBLOWERS
David Grusch is a former Air Force intelligence officer who worked in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), from 2019 to 2021. He was the representative of the NRO to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. From late 2021 to July 2022, he was the co-lead for UAP analysis at the NGA. After he left government service, in July of 2023 at a US congressional hearing, Grusch claimed that he had conversations with senior level officials that led him to believe that the U.S. government maintains a secretive UFO (or UAP) recovery program and is in possession of "non-human" spacecraft along with their dead pilots. In 2022, Grusch filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) to support his plan to share classified information with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
In April of last year, journalist Ken Klippenstein, writing in The Intercept, revealed that Grusch had been diagnosed and treated for serious mental health disorders. In 2014, temporary detention orders were issued on Grusch for being suicidal, having autistic meltdowns and alcoholic drinking episodes. He was placed in lockdown in a psychiatric unit. At one point his wife said that Grusch was maniacally lashing out with guns in hand, threatening self-slaughter. She was compelled to call the police. In 2018 Grusch had another mental breakdown. This may have positioned Grusch to lose his discernment and make him vulnerable to claims of recovered ET technology that may have merely been a rehash of time-worn tales, jokes, or casual friend-of-a-friend stories. Grusch subsequently admitted that news of his autism and psychiatric lockdowns was true, but, he stated, the reports of this were “leaked” by government officials seeking to discredit him. Nothing could be further from the truth, explained Klippenstein: "Every part of that is false. I used publicly available police records that I obtained under FOIA."
Additionally, Grusch would not have been read into an ET retrieval program with that kind of psychological profile. Nor would any officer above him even suggest such a thing to him in any way, given his known mental health challenges.
Grusch has offered up various excuses for not appearing to give testimony to identify his sources to the Defense Department’s AARO (All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office). These excuses have included that he has not received a formal request to appear, that a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) was not available due to his not having a security clearance, and that he did not receive assurance his flight and travel expenses would be provided to meet with officials to name names. Officials deny any of this is true.
He has appeared several times on fledgling television network News Nation and on many podcasts, including with Joe Rogan. He plans the release of a book on what he has learned. He told a French paper that he would like to start an institute or foundation to promote the inclusion of extraterrestrial-related curricula in schools.
Grusch has made the outrageous claim that certain UFOlogists and military/intel officers have been murdered because of what they know about ET retrievals. Grusch maintains he has personal knowledge of people who've been injured or killed in efforts to cover up or conceal the government's possession of extraterrestrial technology. If Grusch has such knowledge, he should have reported it to law enforcement and to the family members of those who have supposedly been offed. He also does not explain why he himself has not been murdered for coming forward.
Grusch has clearly been influenced by his meetings and association with such “wide eyed” and non-discerning researchers such as George Knapp, Jeremy Corbell, and Steven Greer. Corbell and Knapp actually accompanied (and are seated behind) Grusch when Grusch testified in front of Congress. Over 30 years ago Knapp introduced the world to supposed engineer and whistleblower, hoaxer Bob Lazar who claimed to reverse engineer UFOs at Area 51. How much of Grusch’s tale is being told because of these people’s influence on his easily influenced mind?
Most disturbingly, Grusch also claims to have confirmed the “reality” of known UFO crash hoaxes, Notably, he claims to have viewed documents reporting that Benito Mussolini's government recovered a "non-human" spacecraft in 1933 and that the Pope and the Vatican assisted the U.S. in procuring it in 1944 or 1945. This sorry fraud has been known by Italian researchers for years, all who say the documents (available online) are spurious. Grusch’s endorsement of this UFO-Mussolini-Vatican story were carried in the British tabloids, with headlines like:
And despite the passage of many, many months, Grusch has yet to specifically identify to anyone the names of any projects, personnel, or defense contractors that were involved in extraterrestrial debris reverse engineering. He has not actually revealed who any of these supposedly involved engineers, scientists, and military and intelligence senior officers are, nor any of the locations in which this UFO reverse engineering is done. He has given us endless hints and allusions, but nothing actionable or definitive. Additionally, he has not offered up any materials, documents, photographs, or films of any type to support his claims. That is, for all of his appearances, he has failed to deliver on every level to everyone.
One must always consider the source. David Grusch was a young, mid-level military analyst who worked for the NGA (National Geospatial Agency) and the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) for relatively brief amounts of time. Prior to this, he was in combat and field intelligence, including in the Afghanistan war. He does not hold advanced degrees in any technical discipline, though he does hold a BS in Physics. What would have been his “Need to Know” about the greatest scientific secret in history? In Department of Defense parlance, the “Need to Know'' means that a determination has been made by an authorized holder of classified information that a prospective recipient requires access to specific classified information in order to function in their job, or because their
expertise is needed. On the face of it, we can determine that any stories that Grusch heard about ET debris were not officially given – they were anecdotal at best.
Grusch’s role at NGA and NRO was to track and report “uncorrelated objects” – those that do not correspond to known objects in space or in our atmosphere. Defense work is highly compartmentalized. His work does not mean that he would have been made privy to where retrieved craft are kept, who is working on them, their means of propulsion, the elements of which they are comprised, where they come from, where these items were retrieved, when such retrievals began and how many have been retrieved. Yet these are all things that Grusch has glibly commented about in various broadcasts. He seems to know so much about the subject that it strains credulity. It is always a huge red flag when someone knows something about everything.
Other people who have claimed to have firm knowledge of ET craft recoveries (or know of those that do) have come forward in support of Grusch. These include Dr. Jack Sarfatti, author Michael Shellenberger, and lawyer Daniel Sheehan.
Jack Sarfatti, Ph.D., 84, is a theoretical physicist working largely outside of academia. He co-wrote a best-seller in the 1970s titled Space, Time and Beyond, and at various times has been associated with the Esalen Institute and Werner Erhard’s Seminar Training. Sarfatti claims to have been recruited by agents of the CIA to work on the physics of consciousness. Recently, in his private email group and on his website Stardrive, he has made claims that are entirely unsubstantiated. He stated in an email dated January 4 2024 that “I have been read into classified intel on both live aliens and intact warp craft that corroborates David Grusch’s narrative.” Unsaid is why an octogenarian who has never worked in the private sector or in defense and has not worked at universities in 50 years would be read into such programs, nor has he offered his testimony or proof to the AARO or to Congress.
Michael Shellenberger is an investigative journalist who has broken major stories on crime and drug policy, homelessness, Amazon deforestation and the climate crisis. In an article on public.substack.com dated June 7 2023, Shellenberger made some extraordinary and completely unsubstantiated claims in support of Grusch. He stated that he has sources that "are all either high-ranking intelligence officials, former intelligence officials, or individuals" that have direct experience with recovered alien craft. These individuals said they have first-hand knowledge that the U.S. government, and U.S. military contractors, possess at least 12 or more alien spacecraft.
“I know of at least 12–15 craft,” said one person to him, and “every five years, we get one or two recovered for one reason or another, from either a landing or that we catch, or they just crash.”
A different source told him, “There were at least four morphologies, different structures. Six were in good shape; six were not in good shape. There were cases where the craft landed, and the occupants left the craft unoccupied. There have been high-level people, including generals, who
have placed their hand on the craft, and I would have no reason to disbelieve them.”
And one source described having seen three kinds of craft, including one shaped like a triangle and another that “looked like a chopped up helicopter, with the front bubble of a Huey helicopter, with the plastic windows, or more like a deep sea submarine, with a thick piece of glass bubble shaped, and where the tail rudder should have been, it was a black, egg-shaped pancake, and instead of landing gear it had upside-down ram's horns that went from the top to the bottom and rested on the ends of the horns.”
Shellenberger has refused to divulge just who these sources are, and it is certain that they have not come forward to government investigatory bodies or to the AARO.
Daniel Sheehan, 78, is a constitutional and public interest lawyer. Over his career, Sheehan has participated in numerous legal cases of public interest, including the Pentagon Papers case, the Watergate Break-In case, the Silkwood case and the Greensboro massacre case. Sheehan has spoken publicly about UFOs and alien visitation, and has served as counsel for the late Harvard University psychiatrist John E. Mack when Mack was being challenged by Harvard's administration about his work on alien abduction. He represents Luis Elizondo, the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program in a case against the US Department of Defense.
In April 2023 Sheehan made public that he is in contact with six former government officials or military contractors who say they worked on UFO programs, including UFO crash retrieval and reverse engineering programs. He says that one of his informants noted that one craft was “larger on
the inside than it appeared from the outside”. Since making his revelation, Sheehan has offered no additional details about this, and it is appropriate to question why. It is likely that we will never hear more about any of Sheehan’s "informants."
Sheehan has a history of making crashed UFO claims, including that he himself was privy to a file on a crashed extraterrestrial vehicle, including photographs, when he was working on a project in 1977 requiring his access to the classified section of the collections held at the US Library of Congress in Washington, DC. He stated that he was working on this project with Marcia Smith, who was a senior level specialist in aerospace and telecommunications policy at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Library of Congress. He maintains that he ‘happened across’ an official government file on a UFO crash retrieval buried in a cabinet while conducting research in the secured area of the library. Though Sheehan says that there were photos, he has never offered relevant information about the craft that he found in the file, such as the date, location, or names of those involved. Marcia Smith (who is still alive) has never corroborated that this ever happened, and Sheehan has never offered to testify about this experience in front of Congress or to the AARO.
WHY NAMING NAMES WON’T HAPPEN
The recovery and exploitation of extraterrestrial technology and life forms is the most highly restricted secret in US history. Why would some military or intelligence officer of high rank, or an engineer at a defense contractor admit to working on recovered ET technology? The penalties for speaking out of turn about the Manhattan Project and nuke development was death. Ask Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were famously sent to the electric chair for revealing nuclear weapons technology.
Revealing national security secrets that would be classified even higher than nuclear secrets (which is what extraterrestrial technology would be) would result in dismissal and loss of job, loss of pension, imprisonment, or for treason – execution.
The personnel that go into classified engineering project work know of their duty to not reveal their work details. Often defense contractors require new employees to sign legal documents that they will not reveal technology secrets at any time to anyone who is not authorized. If they do, they are fired, they are referred to the authorities and arrested, they are punished severely, and they never work in these areas again.
What person who has really worked on ET technology would ever come forward knowing this? And why would David Grusch name the names of people who compromised national security by talking to him about these things? If he did so, he would jeopardize his former work associates’ lives.
And those people (such as Bob Lazar and Phil Corso) who have come forward claiming that they worked on ET technology were never prosecuted when they went public, because their stories were fraudulent.
THE TRINITY UFO CRASH HOAX AND THE FALL OF DR. JACQUES VALLÉE
DR. JACQUES VALLÉE
Dr. Jacques Vallée, 84, began his scientific career as a professional astronomer at the Paris Observatory. Vallée co-developed the first computerized map of Mars for NASA in 1963. He later worked on the network information center for the ARPANET, a precursor to the modern Internet, as a staff engineer of SRI International's Augmentation Research Center. Vallée is also an important figure in the study of unidentified flying objects, and unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs). Vallée was first noted for his defense of the scientific legitimacy of such things and for promoting the interdimensional hypothesis.
Somehow though Vallée, in the winter of his life, attached himself to a tale of UFO retrieval and physical debris. For some strange reason, he teamed with Italian researcher Paola Harris to "investigate" and co-write a book on a supposed UFO crash retrieval in 1945 in New Mexico.
Harris is known as a naïve researcher who has promoted known frauds. She was responsible for translating Col. Phil Corso's fiction published as fact The Day After Roswell into Italian, and for publishing another Corso title, The Dawning of a New Age, available in Italian only. Harris' journalistic style is to simply present
what a person has to say without analyzing the information or vetting her sources, claiming that her in-person interviews allow her to use her intuition to tell whether her sources are credible. At a UFO conference in Atlantic City she proclaimed that Swedish contactee-fraud Billy Meier is the real deal, based on a visit to his ranch where she talked to him and saw about 100 photographs. She was unaware of Meier’s time travel "dinosaur" pictures which he lifted from a book. She also buys into known hoaxers Clifford Stone, Dr. Michael Wolfe, and Alex Collier, the contactee who says he has been visited by human-looking blue aliens from Andromeda.
The fact that Vallée associated himself with Harris is indicative of a serious lack of judgement.
The story told by Jose Padilla, now 86, and his friend Reme Baca (now deceased) was that in 1945 when Padilla was 9 and Baca was 7, they came across a crashed avocado-shaped craft on Padilla land in the town of San Antonio, New Mexico just days after the first test of an atomic bomb at the Trinity Site. Padilla’s ranchland is about an hour away from the Trinity Site. Based on interviews with Padilla, Vallée and Harris wrote a book, Trinity: The Best Kept Secret, which is an amateurish cobbling of unedited recollections, haphazardly conducted Q & A transcriptions, and middle school level illustrations. Last year, a researcher named Douglas Dean Johnson took a deep dive into the story. Johnson’s investigation was damning. Padilla’s own son stated his father was a pathological liar and that the incident never happened: https://douglasjohnson.ghost.io/crash-story-file-my-dad-is-a-pathological-liar/
Noted UFO researcher Tom Carey, co-author of the bestseller Witness to Roswell, told this author that over 20 years ago he was contacted by Reme Baca. Baca related his story to Carey, and Carey taped the conversation, which he shared with Douglas Dean Johnson. Carey immediately sensed a fraud and was disturbed by Baca’s obsession about just how much money he could make with his story. Carey related to this author that Baca even composed a song about his experience that he wanted to publish, perhaps as another avenue to “cash in”.
Distressingly, it is likely that Vallée’s Trinity Hoax may have been the impetus for Congress to have changed the year for government agencies to consult their records in support of Congressional UFO investigations from the original date of 1947 to 1945, the year of the supposed Trinity crash.
How is it that Vallée could possibly have fallen for this tale? Is it possible that he has been in the game too long and that he has lost his sense of what is true and what is not? Vallée has been cagey and offered up very insufficient rebuttals to these Trinity hoax revelations. It is a sad ending to an otherwise illustrious career.
THE MISGUIDED HARVARD PROFESSOR, DR. AVI LOEB
Abraham “Avi” Loeb is an Israeli-American theoretical physicist who works on astrophysics and cosmology. Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University, where since 2007 he has been Director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Center for Astrophysics. He chaired the Department of Astronomy from 2011–2020.
In June of 2023, Loeb made headlines with the sensational claim that tiny spherules recovered from the bottom of the ocean were probably of alien origin. He said to The New York Times that the spheres were “most likely technological gadgets with artificial intelligence.” Loeb’s proclamation stems from an object that US government sensors logged on January 8 2014, a fireball from space that blazed into the western Pacific Ocean off the northeast coast of Papua, New Guinea. Highlighting its logged speed and direction as an “anomaly”, Loeb and his undergraduate assistant targeted the otherwise inconsequential planetary entry as an object worthy of investigation. Loeb led a voyage (funded with $1.5 million given to Loeb by a crypto entrepreneur) to recover the evidence. Dragging a magnetic sled attached to the expedition boat across the ocean floor, the team did in fact recover several tiny spherical objects that Loeb characterized as seeming to “appear under a microscope as
DR. AVI LOEB
beautiful metallic marbles.” It all came crashing down on Loeb when further analysis by experts showed that the find was unique – but not tied to a technology. The metallic marbles turned out to be naturally occurring celestial fragments that originate from outside the solar system. He minimizes his achievement of finding and recovering the first known interstellar meteor by confusing it with an engineered alien fragment.
"People are sick of hearing about Avi Loeb's wild claims", said Steve Desch, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University. "It's polluting good science — conflating the good science we do with this ridiculous sensationalism and sucking all the oxygen out of the room." Dr. Desch added that several of his colleagues were now refusing to engage with Dr. Loeb's work in peer review, the process by which scholars evaluate one another's research to ensure that only high-quality studies are published. "What the public is seeing in Loeb is not how science works. And they shouldn't go away thinking that."
Desch is referring to the fact that two years prior, Loeb had stated that a strangely-formed flying celestial object that had been observed by astronomers was likely an alien spacecraft. The object (called 'Oumuamua) turned out to simply be an unusual, ancient, highly elongated comet-like object. Although the biggest scientific breakthroughs often start with a bold hypothesis, Loeb’s peers believe the decorated astrophysicist’s assertions can be called many things – but "good science" is not one of them.
JAIME MAUSSAN AND THE PERUVIAN ALIEN MUMMIES HOAX
José Jaime Maussan Flota, 70, is a Mexican journalist, television personality, and ufologist. Since 1970 he has been a reporter at various newspapers and broadcasting outlets, among them El Sol de México, XEX Radio and Televisa. He was also a correspondent with Mexico’s “60 Minutos”.
In September 2023, Maussan unveiled two allegedly "nonhuman beings" to Mexico's first Congress of the Union public hearing regarding UFOs. Maussan claimed that these were mummified corpses found in a diatom mine in the city of Cusco, Peru near Nazca, and were believed to be more than 1,000 years old. Maussan claimed that scientists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) came to the conclusion that, in his words, the corpses are not "part of our terrestrial evolution" and that almost a third of their DNA is of "unknown origin". However, Julieta Fierro, physics researcher at UNAM, stated that the university never endorsed such claims and that Maussan's data "made no sense." UNAM further said that they did not make any conclusion as to the origins of a sample sent to them for carbon-14 testing and that no other kind of testing was performed by them. Wired reported that the "mummies" presented by Maussan are believed to be "an elaborate hoax made of human and animal bones".
It turns out that some years prior to his 2023 unveiling of the creatures, Maussan was ‘soft-pedaling’ or ‘previewing’ these same or similar ‘alien mummies’ on lesser media venues. It caught the attention of an anthropologist with the Russian Academy of Sciences. He then teamed with the YouTube Channel “Scientist Against Myths” to release a 22 minute video that examines the materials and x-rays presented by Maussan at that time. It is shown conclusively that these are real bones of real beings who are really old – but they have been physically desecrated by human hands. The re-structured human mummy bones were fused to a mummified
llama skull. Here is the video that shows precisely how this was all accomplished. At about 14:25 in this video, it is revealed by a noted Russian scientist that the ‘alien’ head is indeed that of a llama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DmDHF6jN9A. UNAM archaeologist Mauricio Obregón Cardona pointed out to ‘EFE Verifies‘ that several studies have determined that “the skulls of camelids (such as llamas or alpacas) were used.”
Maussan apparently thought that enough time had passed and that he would ‘re-introduce’ the grotesque dolls - this time picked up by mainstream media and shown to a global audience.
UFOS AND “ALTERNATIVE FACTS”
"Alternative facts" was a phrase coined by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview in 2017 in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statement exaggerating the attendance numbers at Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Spicer would "utter a provable falsehood", Conway stated that Spicer was giving "alternative facts". Todd responded, "Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.”
Steven Spielberg referred to alternative facts in his acceptance speech at the National Board of Review awards for his 2017 film The Post. Spielberg said: "We are in a fight and it's a fight not just about alternative facts but it's a fight for the objective truth.” Such “alternative
facts” emerged in the world of UFO study in an alarming way in 2023.
Mainstream media excitedly reported on David Grusch’s "revelations", on Jacques Vallee’s 1945 UFO crash "investigation", on Avi Loeb’s "extraterrestrial debris spheres discovery", and on Jaime Maussan’s "Peruvian ET mummies". None of these things proved true, yet they garnered massive coverage by journalists that simply failed to do their homework.
Let us hope that in the future we become more discerning and vet out falsehood when considering such extraterrestrial claims.