As most of my readers know, I have spent a number of decades following the subject of UFOs – actually starting in 1964 (which is more decades than I really like to ponder). That interest culminated more recently in some seven of intense research and the publication of my work on UFOs as a national security subject.

In the book I explore the history of the American intelligence community with UFOs, focusing on how seriously both Air Force Intelligence and indeed the CIA took the subject for the first several years – even recommending it as a special task for the national intelligence community due to the implications of what appeared to be a focused series of incidents over the American atomic warfare complex. I also introduce the concept, with examples, of adapting a technique from classic threat analysis to the study of UFO activities.

Since the publication of Unidentified I’ve gone on to join the Scientific Coalition for UAP studies, and am currently participating a project devoted to the study of both the characteristics of physical UAPs observed at close range, as well as a UAP intentions study based in historical pattern analysis .

Our teams will be reporting on both those projects at SCU’s annual conference in June. Its a hybrid conference with options for in person and remote attendance. I’d certainly encourage anyone interested in the subject to participate, even if only remotely (the fee is quite reasonable). You can find out more about the conference here:

17 responses »

  1. Larry, we’ve obviously been seeing a lot more UAP reports in the past decade because of smart phones. And the military footage and interviews are quite intriguing.
    What is your take on the more recent sightings that have been reporters? Is there anything structurally different from what we were seeing during the Cold War?


  2. larryjoe2 says:

    Chris, that’s actually one of the things the press has not picked up on, the point that the truly anomalous capabilities in certain of the incidents – including extreme acceleration beyond the point of not only human tolerance, but literally beyond any known materials as well as the ability to essentially hover at very high altitudes – was reported by military observers even in the earliest years after WWII. I’m not talking about mystery drones but the truly anomalous encounters with Navy ships and aircraft since early in the last decade. In other words the thought that it could be advanced Chinese or Russian devices in those incidents just does not fly at all.

    About the only difference is that these days we have advanced sensor suites on military aircraft including infrared trackers and of course video tracking cameras. That gives us more technical detail but in terms of the capabilities, those were recorded on multiple radar systems and instruments in the late 1940s and 50s.

    So the answer in terms of what they can do is that has not really changed that much over time, the question of patterns of activity is something totally different and that is what our Intentions project has begun to explore with pattern and indications analysis techniques.

  3. AnthonyM says:

    One of the tricky things with trying to do anything scientifically with UFOs is coming up with testable hypotheses. We can’t say that just because we have some unknowns where we can reasonably rule out all known sources of misidentification it must therefore be alien technology (or paranormal or time travellers or whatever). Over the decades previously unrecognised natural phenomena have been discovered that help identify quite a few cases, and who knows what else we don’t yet know about.
    As I personally think the ETH is quite credible, the challenge is to identify diagnostic characteristics that could be tested. That’s very tricky as it is hypothesis dependent on how such a thing might actually work from a technological point of view. It would a bit like asking the very best engineers Ancient Rome had to figure out a F-35 just from observations.
    Indications analysis is an interesting alternative approach as it asks, if this is the case, what would we expect to see in terms of behaviours and actions etc. Again though it rests on extrapolating our expectations on to them. That’s hard enough between nation states, as we have seen, doing that with what may be a totally alien culture is very problematic, but well worth the effort. My reason for saying that is a species developing technology to that extent is likely to be descended from top predators (brains, tool making etc) and some of the evolutionary pressures may not be too dissimilar if convergent evolution is credible (which I would argue it is).
    Good luck, looking forward to seeing how you all progress…

  4. larryjoe2 says:

    The approach we are taking is activity focused in regards to at least providing some estimate of intentions. Its a highly process driven methodology – we take hypotheses, convert them to scenarios and then come up with an indicator list matched to the scenarios (in a matrix). Then we have to come up with ways to to determine which indicators show anomalous activity and which don’t.

    So far we are some two years into this process and almost ready to complete testing on our first set of scenarios which apply to UAP activities in the military and technology domain. We aren’t trying to deal with UAP origins or even capabilities; instead we are interested in what long term patterns in their activities may reflect about their actual interests/intentions.

    I think its going to produce some pretty ground breaking analyses – but there is no doubt its a slog and occasionally mind numbing in regard to data collection and verification. Just creating the baseline database has been a huge challenge.

    Anyone interested in the effort is welcome to join SCU and volunteer for the team – by the end of the year we will be moving into some even more challenging work in the messaging and social impact domains – individuals with a background in psychology/perception, neurological studies and non-verbal communications would be especially welcome.

  5. Michael Briggs says:

    During my tenure as editor-in-chief at the University Press of Kansas (1995-2016), I published one of the extremely rare scholarly press books on the subject.: UFOS AND ABDUCTIONS: CHALLENGING THE BORDERS OF KNOWLEDGE edited by David Jacobs of Temple University. Two decades later, the academic/intellectual establishment remains extremely wary of the subject and that wariness over time has made serious and legitimate study by establishment scholars a risky business. (Jacobs himself is proof of just how risky such work can be for anyone seeking advancement and support at the university level. John Mack, one of the contributors to Jacobs’ book, is another obvious example, for those familiar with his Harvard inquisition.) That reality in turn has undermined (but not defeated) efforts to apply commonly accepted academic standards for research into and analysis of this subject, which has allowed “bad apples” to taint this barrel over time and in a way that continues to reinforce the above-mentioned wariness. One recent bright sign that things may be shifting into a more positive future is the publication last year of THE BELIEVER: ALIEN ENCOUNTERS, HARD SCIENCE, AND THE PASSION OF JOHN MACK, authored by longtime NYTimes reporter Ralph Blumenthal and published by the University of New Mexico Press, which has just brought out the paperback edition of Ralph’s book. It’s exceedingly well researched and well written and very measured in its analysis and judgments. And many of you are probably aware that Ralph (and fellow writer-reporter Leslie Kean) were the by-lines designated for the NYTimes reporting about recent military (naval especially) experiences with UAPs. All by way of saying: if we’re not there yet we should be approaching a breakout moment for the serious study of the subject. Something I wholeheartedly encourage.

  6. larryjoe2 says:

    Thanks for posting this Michael, I am familiar with the original book by David Jacobs and will be looking for The Believer, which I was not aware of before now.

    Certainly there is no doubt that the “encounters and contacts” aspect of the subject is exceptionally challenging, especially when you deal with it incident by incident and source by source. Our intentions team does have hopes to explore questions in that domain down the road, but when we do it will likely still be at the level of pattern analysis.

    If you are anyone you know would like to further discuss our approach and goals feel free to drop me a note a and I can provide some background to our approach.

    • Michael Briggs says:

      I’d also like to recommend the legendary Jacques Vallee’s latest book: TRINITY: THE BEST KEPT SECRET, a meticulous study of a virtually unknown and largely neglected UFO crash in New Mexico that predates the (in)famous Roswell crash by two years. Over the years, Jacques has cautioned researchers to be wary of jumping to conclusions concerning the precise nature of the related phenomena. He’s been especially skeptical of or at least cautious in embracing the aliens-from-outer space claims and theories and is well known for demonstrating the continuity and parallels between modern-day sightings and experiences and those reported throughout the preceding centuries. Which is one why I find his new book so striking.

  7. larryjoe2 says:

    Thanks Mike, I am a Vallee follower from way back and have virtually every work he has published. Generally speaking I prefer his earlier work to some of the paths he has followed in later years – his database and pattern charting work really paved the way to approaching the subject in a manner we are pursuing in our Intentions study. His pattern analysis on landings was especially interesting.

    I also find his exposure of various hoaxes quite helpful, on the other hand I’m not as comfortable with some of his mixed writing on abductions and in particular implants where he seems to muddy the waters a bit (at least to me).

    I have looked at his most recent book related to Roswell and again I have some mixed emotions. Actually I find his work in Confrontations to be of more interest simply because there are enough related incidents to paint a picture of something quite serious without depending on only a couple of sources or reports.

    Researching and writing Unidentified left me with the firm opinion that single incidents are something of a trap no matter how good they seem (if that were true I would probably be more persuaded by Hopkinsville.

  8. John F Davies says:

    Have reviewed the flyer for the conference and find the presenters to be serious scholars from quite diverse backgrounds.
    Much of what I see with the new research on Unidentified Objects is a more measured approach when it comes to reporting and research. One of the problems I find when seriously studying this subject is the tendency for certain interests ( Especially the media.), to exaggerate UFO sightings and incidents. Like doing research on such controversial topics as the JFK Assassination or Political Pedophilia, one has to tread carefully, because there are way too many tripwires on this path.
    To put it simply, anyone doing serious UFO research must beware of the danger of media hype, especially on the internet.

  9. larryjoe2 says:

    I think its fair to say that most of the SCU members are more than a little sensitive to just that problem. Many of them have been around the subject literally for decades and have seen way to much sensationalism and hype – which is one reason that the average reserach or white paper from SCU takes something on the order of a year to complete and even longer to peer review and publish. Both the projects I am involved with have been in progress for over two years and are months away from reports on even the initial research.

    Of course not all the presenters are members and even members are free to pursue their own practices, but as a group we are extremely conservative about research, claims and moving forward with studies that are as rigorous as possible – in an arena where even having names associated with such studies can be a risk for academics and professionals in certain fields.

  10. John F Davies says:

    From what you say in your final paragraph, it appears that pursuing any research into what’s been called “Hidden History” seems like a “Scarlet Letter” for serious scholars.
    It reveals a kind of censorship that’s infinitely more covert and evil than anything Hitler, Stalin, and Mao ever implemented. For speaking heresy one is not sent to the Konzentratsionlager , the Gulag, or the Reeducation Camp, instead one’s reputation and credibility are destroyed by media and other Establishment Gatekeepers. Its indeed an illusion of freedom. Alexis De Tocqueville referred to it as “The Tyranny of the Majority”.

  11. larryjoe2 says:

    The way I understand it the problem is largely the nature of academia – tenured professors can sometimes get away with it but even senior professors without it run the risk of being scoffed at – and if they want to get grants or work on government or corporate projects its a risk as well.

    This has been going on for decades though, one very experienced atmospheric scientist who chose to investigate UFOs was literally laughed out of Congressional hearings on a totally different subject, ostracized in his profession and ultimately committed suicide due to pressure and stress.

    Its not censorship in the classic sense but its every bit as real. Of course the same can also be said for other areas of academic study.

  12. Michael Briggs says:

    I’d also like to recommend THE SUPER NATURAL, published in 2016, coauthored by Whitley Strieber, well-known for his series of books (beginning with COMMUNION) that helped launch a new era in UFO-related literature and by Jeffrey Kripal, J. Newton Raynor Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. Whatever you think about Strieber’s accounts of his experiences with “the visitors”–and he has strong detractors and supporters both–the dialogue he establishes with Kripal in THE SUPER NATURAL should act as a catalyst for reexamining old approaches to the UFO/abduction phenomena and for developing new ones. If any of you’ve actually read the book, I’d love to hear our thoughts on it.

  13. larryjoe2 says:

    I have not read The Super Natural – I did register for and remotely view part of the recent Rice conference which certainly explored the overall area psychic and paranormal phenomena.

    But honestly I have to admit to being more than a little turned off by Strieber’s book series which certainly began as what I read as a series of true physical encounters which then morphed into a psychic experience, and then into some sort of composite which I simply stepped away from after a time.

    It reminded me a bit too much of the same series of events in the earlier Menger transition from real to psychic and back…

    I realize this makes me sound old and grumpy but this quote from a negative Amazon reader review of Super Natural rang a note with me “I have read all of Whitley Strieber’s books. He is a very good writer but this book is a mess. Please make your mind up, Whitley. Can you say, once and for all, if what you have experienced is actually real (implants, rape, meeting small people, etc.). If you cannot categorically say that it is real, all of the complex theorizing and possible explanations are only interesting up to a point.”

    It also sounds something not unlike the content in several of Vallee’s books such as Passport to Magonia, Dimensions, etc? Is it really all that different?

    Personally I certainly do accept certain aspects of the paranormal such as precognition and even remote viewing – but then I’m also “into” entanglement and other strange microcosmic areas of quantum physics. I certainly don’t intend to avoid the paranormal in terms of UAP activity but in the end I suspect I’ll drift back to the basic question of not “how its done” or what form it takes but rather what intention and motive is behind it.

    • Michael Briggs says:

      Larry: “If what you have experienced as real” refers, I think, to a purely materialist paradigm or at least seems to privilege that view. On the other hand, your closing comments about the “paranormal” suggests that you do allow that “reality” may actually involve aspects that transcend the purely material. Which is my view and also reflects our mutual interest in “entanglement and other strange microcosmic areas of quantum physics.” In light of that especially, I still strongly recommend that you read THE SUPER NATURAL, in which the tension between materialist and non-materialist aspects of Strieber’s experiences remains. The fact that there’s not a single resolution in favor of one view over the other indicates that our understanding remains incomplete, not that we should stop attempting to understand (which seems implied by the quoted reader). Mike

  14. larryjoe2 says:

    Mike, I definitely plan on taking a look at that as part of our Intentions studies, at the moment that particular domain of activity is down the road a good ways for us as we are looking at more concrete incidents in the military, aerospace and infrastructure domains. However its on our lists of areas to investigate – it will however be far more challenging and it will take some doing to really develop a structured approach.

    Interestingly we face the same challenges Vallee did, when he started out he was very much into controls and pattern analysis as we are now, but over the years became immersed in several tangents, leaving him to cover a great deal of territory but with few actual conclusions. Perhaps there is no way around that quagmire but if not I’d hate to be simply replicating previous work.

    As it happens I am a big fan of Lee Smolin who writes extensively about the unfinished business of quantum physics (Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution is one example) and the controversy between a realist view of the universe and more virtual realities.

    What I think we have to do is to isolate paranormal experiences (perceptions) from latent and abilities (such as precognition and remote viewing – both well within some of Smolin’s views where reality starts with time and energy and then space/time appears as a result).

    Along the way its also going to be necessary to parse out non UAP entities such as “tricksters” and “elemental” which are quite likely “native” and who have been around for ages from specific UAP incidents involving unknown intelligence who very likely may be using non-verbal communications were of various sorts.

    My concern, as I sensed from the Rice conference, is that if you intrinsically link UAPs with the paranormal without some segmentation and definition you can wonder around from one type of anomaly to the other, and even run the risk of being actively mislead.

    In other words, to get anything more than being fascinated by whats going on around us we need to start with a program…(sort of like football, or even more, like cricket) grin.

  15. Michael Briggs says:

    A very intelligent and suitably measured reply, Larry. You certainly demonstrate the kind of deliberative care greatly needed to study such anomalies. Thanks also for the reminder regarding Smolin’s work, which I need to revisit at some point.

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