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On Wednesday, July 26, a highly anticipated congressional hearing took place, featuring numerous members of the House of Representatives listening to the testimony of several individuals. But instead of indictments or insider trading, economic woes or social media regulation, the testimonies were all related to evidence that the US government has had secret knowledge of alien visitations for decades.

The star witness was a former intelligence officer, David Grusch, who related numerous alleged testimonies of alien technology, non-human biological materials, and government cover-ups over the better part of a century. The hearing lasted over two hours and was streamed to hundreds of thousands of people by YouTube views alone.

The hearing also included testimony from David Fravor and Ryan Graves, both US Navy pilots. Only Fravor claimed to have seen an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) when he allegedly had an encounter with a super-advanced craft in 2004, part of the larger “Nimitz Incident.” Graves had seen anomalous radar signals off the East Coast of the US, but never saw any actual aircraft. Fravor has been talking about his experiences for years in major media outlets, so it may be safe to say that the “new kid on the block,” David Grusch, got the most attention, having just in the last couple of months performed a media blitz that helped instigate the hearing in the first place.

How credible are these claims? With Fravor, there is the question of how good his personal, eye-witness testimony is. Grusch’s story, however, is in many ways not his own. He has made no claims to have directly seen alien ships, bodies, or any amazing technologies from beyond. Instead, he says he has been told about these things by people he has come to believe. Grusch has no documents, no photos, and provided no names of the people that have seen the incredible.

So, why is Grusch getting any attention? This is hearsay of extraordinary claims, and such hearsay is far, far away from extraordinary evidence. The biggest reason to take Grusch seriously is that he was in a position to hear classified reports about clandestine operations and had the analytics skills to judge claims, as he was until recently an officer in good standing with the United States intelligence services, first in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and then the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). So the implication is that Grusch was in a position to know and had the ability to see the truth.

Now, we lowly civilians without security clearances with a need-to-know basis for UAP data cannot directly evaluate the evidence that Grusch claims exists. All we have is his hearsay. What should we make of it?

There are a few premises to consider and question:

  1. The government, especially the military and intelligence agencies, only pay attention to real phenomena and do not tend to fall for misinformation—if you’re in the CIA, you’re not going to be easily fooled.
  2. The testimony comes from good witnesses without a history of deception or outlandish claims.
  3. Eye-witness testimony is sufficiently reliable to make a UFO or UAP into something we can confidently claim was not of terrestrial origin.
  4. UFOs/UAPs as alien vessels is not an outlandish claim.

None of these premises are or need to be absolute. But if they are not solid, then there is no good reason to take the claims of Grusch or others like him as likely true, unless and until direct evidence is on display. To help evaluate this, let’s contextualize the US government’s interest in UFOs historically.

Previous US government UFO studies

There is a bit of a false impression that the US government is only now getting interested in studying UFOs. UFOs (or in newer vernacular, UAPs) have actually been at the forefront of several collections of investigations. The most famous is probably Project Blue Book, starting in 1952 as the successor to Project Sign and Project Grudge from the late 1940s, and all conducted by the US Air Force (USAF). In 1966, there were Congressional Hearings on the topic, and the Condon Committee was created in its aftermath to study of UFO reports. The Condon Committee released their report in 1969, and the very few cases it presented as possibly extraordinary were not convincingly of alien origin. Project Blue Book was closed that year.

After that, there was much less government interest in UFOs, though there were reports from the government relating to particular issues. For example, in 1994, USAF presented a report on what really happened in 1947 at Roswell, New Mexico. In 2007, under the particular interest and influence of Senator Harry Reid, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) was established, which looked into UFOs. Reid was big on UFOs, perhaps in part by being a senator from Nevada, with its own UFO culture thanks in part to Area 51, about 83 miles from Las Vegas. The AATIP’s director, Luis Elizondo (or so he says; the Pentagon disagrees), would go onto more paranormal ventures, including being connected to Skinwalker Ranch (more on this later) and its numerous extraordinary claims.

The flurry of interest in UFOs came up again in 2017 when several videos of strange objects were released to the public by the New York Times (which has had plenty of issues that shouldn’t be ignored). These videos were gained thanks in part to the company To The Stars Academy, founded by Tom DeLonge (former guitarist of Blink-182) and influenced by Elizondo, using both Elizondo’s knowledge as well as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

In a real sense, the current iteration of government UFO interest is a repeat of the 1960s, with first the establishment of a committee to study UFOs (the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), established in 2022), congressional hearings, and public interest. We have been here before.

However, there is one particular thing to note about this most recent public hearing: who wasn’t at the hearing. While Grusch and Navy pilots were there giving testimony, there was nothing from the head of AARO, nor any leaders from the current UAP task groups within the government. While Grusch was supposed to have been a whistleblower, the statement from AARO’s head, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, said that the allegations presented at that hearing were never reported to AARO. In other words, it seems like Grusch has not actually reported his knowledge up the chain of command but is doing a run-around to the media and then Congress. This is strange and worth highlighting, as it means the only person who has vetted these claims of alien technology and retrieval is Grusch, and no one above him. We basically have to take Grusch’s word for the quality of the reports, since he did not report this within AARO.

Could the CIA believe in bad data?

A fair amount of the credibility of the claims of Grusch comes from the fact that he was in the intelligence services, and people there deal in hard, verified facts. It’s hard to imagine an analyst believing something without doing their due diligence to authenticate the claims. Plenty of raw intelligence comes in, but it’s not just believed without another thought.


When it comes to aliens, there are cases of people within the US intelligence services believing propaganda about ETs and using it in their assessments. In 1968, in a document classified as “SECRET” was titled “UFO Hypothesis and Survival Questions,” and it included the work of Jacque Vallee, a long-standing UFO proponent. It also cited the statements of Vyacheslav Zaitsev from the Soviet Union. The thing is, the source for Zaitsev’s claims, a magazine called Sputnik, was a Western-facing propaganda outlet of the USSR, and Zaitsev’s claims that UFOs explained the stories of the Bible were part of Soviet efforts to undermine Western religion. And here, a magazine article by the United States’ enemy was used to the very ends that the Soviets wanted.

Such documents show that not only have people within the US intelligence services been treating UFOs and aliens seriously for decades, but there has been credulity. And if 1960s NSA operatives can fall for Soviet propaganda, modern CIA officers can believe faulty claims about UFOs. There is no guarantee that an analyst will be skeptical of these sorts of claims.

And of course, there are the infamous projects funded by the intelligence agencies hoping to tap into psychic powers against the Soviets. This included the Stargate Project (1978-1995), which was part of the story told in The Men Who Stare at Goats (the film and the book). Among the researchers related to this look into psychic powers for military ends was Harold E. Puthoff, who was one of the people who has claimed Uri Geller harnessed actual magical powers—powers famously demonstrated by James “The Amazing” Randi to be replicable with simple techniques used by magicians. 

Basically, there is a solid, documented history of military and intelligence agencies getting sucked into studying and spending significant amounts of money on UFOs and paranormal activity. And all to no avail, as individuals within those bodies were fooled into believing the incredible without incredible evidence.

Let us return to Project Blue Book. The biggest long-term US government investigation into UFOs led to no confirmed discovery of extraterrestrial technology, but it was believed by one of its scientists, J. Allen Hynek. While he started out as a skeptic of UFOs as aliens (he was the first person to explain a UFO as swamp gas), as time went on, Hynek became a believer, even though the final report of Blue Book did not match his conclusions. In fact, as time progressed, Hynek would believe at least some UFOs were interdimensional and supernatural, in part because of the psychic impact that these things supposedly had on people, leading to apparently seeing poltergeists and developing psychic powers. Hynek was effectively believing in ghost stories towards the latter part of his life.

All of this indicates that there is precedent for people to work for the military of the US, investigate the paranormal, and come out believing incredible things. But this is clearly not the case for everyone who worked on these same things.

Could the same be true in the case of David Grusch? Consider the fact that while Grusch had worked at AARO for a few years, the director of that organization, Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, has responded that AARO is “as yet to find any credible evidence to support the allegations of any reverse engineering program for non-human technology.” Previous to Grusch’s media blitz, Kirkpatrick had stated in a much-less-noticed hearing before a Senate committee: “I should also state clearly for the record that in our research, AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology or objects that defy the known laws of physics.” In terms of seniority and access, the director of AARO should know more than what which Grusch is aware of. We have good reason, then, from background knowledge and contradictory testimony, that Grusch may not have the goods.

Moreover, as noted earlier, the claims that Grusch has made have been known within AARO, as Kirkpatrick stated. Apparently, Grusch didn’t share his intel with the rest of AARO, meaning these claims came from outside of the knowledge base of the very people exploring the topic. That suggests Grusch’s sources are outsiders, not insiders.

But does Grusch have demonstrably outlandish claims? He spoke of a gigantic ship the size of a football field, which is somehow in an unknown location. How does one hide that? He says the ships might come from another dimension, because that’s allowed in quantum mechanics (spoilers: this is nonsense; quantum mechanics makes no such claims). And below, we’ll consider one other notable claim and see how good he is at critically assessing it. There are reasons to think he doesn’t have the goods.

The Nimitz Incident

While Grusch got the limelight, there was also the actual eye-witness of a UFO, the fighter pilot David Fravor. This has become known as the “Tic Tac” UAP supposedly witnessed by Fravor doing maneuvers from the carrier group around the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. As CBS reported:

During the training exercise, Fravor and Dietrich each had a weapons system officer in the back seat of their F/A-18F. 

“There was four of us in the airplanes literally watching this thing for roughly about five minutes,” Fravor said in his 2021 interview.

Fravor went in for a closer look. He described the “Tic Tac” object mirroring his movements, saying “it was aware we were there.”

The object was about the size of Fravor’s F/A-18F, with no markings, no wings and no exhaust plumes, he said. When Fravor tried to cut off the UAP, it accelerated so quickly that it seemed to disappear. He said it was detected roughly 60 miles away less than a minute later.

“I think what we experienced was, like I said, well beyond the material science and the capabilities that we had at the time, that we have currently or that we’re going to have in the next 10 to 20 years,” Fravor testified Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee’s national security subcommittee.

Could someone trained as a pilot of an F/A-18 fighter jet get so confused as to think he was maneuvering with a flying saucer when it was something like a balloon? There is the default belief that pilots have to have great eyesight and discernment since not being able to tell what another aircraft is doing could be a death sentence when in a dogfight.

Interestingly enough, one person who didn’t find pilot testimony all that great was J. Allen Hynek, the skeptic-turned-believer in supernatural UFOs. “Surprisingly, commercial and military pilots appear to make relatively poor witnesses” (The Hynek UFO Report (1977), p. 271). In fact, Hynek found that pilots had a misperception rate of nearly 90%, which was above the general average and among some of the worst evaluated. This is a point others have made as well. Pilots in the 1930s were worried about meteors, for example, dodging and swerving to avoid a shower of them, even though the meteors were actually miles away and high up in the stratosphere.

So we actually need to be careful with pilot testimony. There is no claim here of them lying, but that what they saw was interpreted in ways that might have suggested more than what the facts may allow.

When it comes to the facts, this is where we need to discuss the so-called Nimitz Incident, which took place off the coast south of San Diego back in 2004. Actually, that’s not quite right—there were multiple incidents between November 10 and 16 of 2004. On one day, an anomalous reading of the radar of the USS Princeton suggested that some flying object was jumping from 60,000 feet to 50 feet in a matter of seconds (60k feet is above the operational ceiling of most fighter jets, and jetliners tend to cruise between 30-45k feet). Because the computer was set to track aircraft rather than objects with such odd motion characteristics, it dropped the thing as if it were a false target. Other aircraft with good radar systems, such as the E-2C Hawkeye, also detected an object, but no recording was made.

Then, a group of F/A-18s were sent to look at the object, though it was all but ignored by their onboard radars; the Princeton had to provide a signal to actually find the object. The radar returns were also inconsistent, as the F/A-18 reported an altitude of near the water surface, while the Princeton said it was between 15,000 and 18,000 feet. There was no sensor lock either, even when directly attempted. Fravor, one of the pilots, would discuss his maneuvers with the object in more detail, which are astonishing as told.

Fravor says his radar did not pick up the craft, even though the Princeton and Nimitz did. If the craft were stealthy, then why was it detectable by ships miles away, but not by an F/A-18 jet near it? Doesn’t that suggest that their radar readings were of something other than what Fravor was dealing with? Also, another pilot flying with Fravor reported things differently; Fravor said the object was holding in place at around 10k feet, while the other pilot said the object was moving at 500 knots (about 575 mph) at a lower altitude between 500 and 1000 feet.

It also needs to be noted that Fravor did not have an infrared camera pod on his jet, so the FLIR (forward-looking infrared real-time) video related to the Nimitz Incident was from another pilot’s flight at another time. During that flight, no distance information could be determined (and in the video, you can see the distance ranger was pegged at 99.9 RNG (range), indicating either no return signal or so weak that the object was too far away to determine its distance. Moreover, the pilot who took the FLIR video never saw the object himself with his eyes, so he could not confirm it was the same object seen by Fravor.

With the inconsistencies in these reports, it is not even clear the radar operators and pilots were seeing the same objects. And since the only recording of the event is the short FLIR video, which did not show any of the actually amazing motions alleged by the USS Princeton and by Fravor, we cannot confirm the most fantastic details of the story. While it’s not in any way easy to determine what happened, one thing that seems plausible is that there was not a single thing that was providing radar pings. The fact it was detected by the Princeton and the E-2Cs but not the F/A-18s suggests that what Fravor saw wasn’t the same thing as what the Princeton detected; it was a radar return that only affected its systems but not an F/A-18s. Again, why would the UFO be stealthy to an F/A-18 but not a cruiser? Also, because Fravor’s account was inconsistent with the other pilot with him, we cannot take his report as gospel. This is especially problematic since Fravor says the incident lasted 5 minutes and another pilot only saw things for 8-10 seconds:

What it could have been was suggested by Mick West, a prolific debunker of UFO videos. Perhaps there was an issue with Fravor thinking the object was farther away than he believed, so when he went in to turn, its motions did not match his expectations. Since Fravor’s testimony of the altitude and speed of the object is contradicted by the other pilot, that is plausible. Also, the FLIR video suggests the object it saw was very far away, so the lack of detail is a product of low-quality data, not that the object was Tic Tac shaped. For all we know, it was a jetliner too far away to get a lock on by the F/A-18’s radar.

I won’t claim to have solved this case, as there is probably just not enough information to make a determination. However, that also means we do not have strong evidence for advanced technology. In fact, we have quite the opposite. If this UFO/UAP were moving with the incredible speeds and maneuvers alleged, then it would have been producing sonic booms and greatly heating up the air as it moved through. It’s basic physics: if you move through the air, you push and compress the air, and if you compress it a lot, such as by moving really fast, the air will get extremely hot.

This is a point made in a physics paper by AARO’s Dr. Kirkpatrick and astronomer Avi Loeb, the latter recently claiming that an alien artifact had passed through the solar system. The trail of a hypersonic UFO should have been picked up, such as by an infrared camera, and the ionization from such heating would even be detectable by radar. The lack of such data for the aftershocks and ionization of the air by such movements, especially by an object more than 40 feet wide (according to Fravor), goes against the testimony of otherworldly motions. Most likely, there is some combination of radar issues and pilot error. It’s not really good evidence of ET flying around the West Coast for a few days.

The Italian UFO

Perhaps one of the particularly eyebrow-raising claims of Grusch is his belief in the recovering of a super-advanced flying machine with help from the Vatican at the end of World War Two. There is a story involving Mussolini and the recovery of a cylindrical flying machine that crashed in the town of Magenta in northern Italy. This stems from Roberto Pinotti, who claims to have received documents from an anonymous source in the 90s. In the mail, back in 1996, he received numerous allegedly secret documents from someone who said they had a family member who worked on the Mussolini UFO program.

That’s not a great chain of custody—an anonymous person said they know a guy who worked on it, which makes the claims doubly anonymous. There should be every reason to suspect these messages as inauthentic, since it is possible to fake Dead Sea Scrolls that experts take years to uncover—all the easier to fake recent documents. And yet, no one has authenticated most of these documents! Italian skeptic Massimo Polidoro had considered the case, but didn’t argue that the telegrams were fraudulent, but as they are without providence (as Polidoro and others also note, they lack any signs of being in an archive or connecting to any other documents), they could be fakes, and that means we should do some detective work.

Let’s see what signs exist that make the messages suspect. In particular, several telegrams are presented, coming from Mussolini (“Il Duce”) according to the text messages as reproduced by the Daily Mail.

How does this compare to known, authentic telegrams from the same approximate time period? Fortunately, online there are numerous Italian telegram examples, so we can look at those for comparison.

In fact, we are lucky enough to even find blank telegram forms for purchase. Notice that this is from the same telegraph office as the alleged Mussolini UFO telegrams, so it’s completely possible, even easy, for a forger to get old, authentic telegram paper and fill it in. So, testing the paper and ink would not likely help show the authenticity of the messages—and no one has actually done those tests, according to Pinotti, who has the telegrams.

However, there are some clues that do suggest the messages are suspect.

One thing to note is the use of the word “STOP,” an obvious English word in this Italian-language telegram. The use of STOP in telegrams was a filler word to act as punctuation, a practice that started during the First World War, since Morse code didn’t originally include punctuation. However, was this a practice in Italy during the early 20th century? I have looked at dozens of examples of telegrams in Italian from the war periods, and this seems to be absent. So far as I can find, there are no examples of “STOP” used prior to the end of World War Two, after which there would have been more direct Anglo-American influence on the country.

But even assuming the practice was occasionally used, it is incorrectly used in this alleged message from Il Duce. At the end of the telegram, there is the redundant use of FINE (“end”) and STOP, as if the message is saying it is over twice. Not only is that strange (it’s pretty obvious when a message is over without telling someone it’s over), but it goes against telegram practices—telegrams did not end with a STOP. In my observations of both Italian- and English-language telegrams, there are no examples of a message ending with STOP. This looks much more like someone who only knew about telegrams from popular media and assumed STOP had to be used to end every sentence. In addition, the double equal signs between sections seem unusual, as the telegrams I have found only have singles rather than doubles.

A third observation worth noting is that the message is directly typed onto the paper. That does not fit with the Italian telegrams that I have looked at, which have the text first printed onto tape, and then that tape adhered to the telegram form for delivery. Here is an example from 1943:

As one can imagine, having the message first directly printed from the Morse code signals into text, and then attached to the paper, would be more efficient than having a person listen to the incoming message and then typing it up as fast as possible. This is what ticker tape was used for. However, on the Mussolini messages, the text is directly printed on rather than coming from a ticker tape machine.

These observations suggest a modern forger who did not know the details of 1930s telegraphic practices, and instead they largely knew of telegrams from popular media, especially as sending telegrams is all but a dead practice and was largely obsolete by the 1990s. By 2006, Western Union ended their telegram service, for example. They also used a typewriter instead of a ticker tape machine, as it is much easier to find and use an old typewriter than ticker tape. More importantly, it means that we have plenty of reason to not accept these messages as genuine. And since this is some of the only hard evidence for anything relating to the Fascists having a UFO, this means the story is not believable.

In fact, it’s not believable even if you believe UFO literature. Consider one infamous book by a former member of the US Army who was in charge of foreign technology intelligence, LTC Philip J. Corso. In his book, The Day After Roswell (1997), Corso claims to have been part of the reverse engineering programs that people like Grusch have been talking about. And yet, Corso never talked about reverse engineering technology from a UFO that crash-landed in Italy. The oldest crashed UFO he knew about that was supposedly in US custody was the Roswell ship of 1947.

(If you are wondering, did Corso have classified documents proving his claims? No, it’s what he said he pieced together based on discussions years after the fact. And his trustworthiness was questionable, since he tricked Senator Strom Thurmond to write the foreword for the book, and Thurmond was duped about the actual contents of the book he endorsed.)

Corso suspected the Germans had recovered advanced tech, but not the Italians. So, there isn’t even consistency between UFO retrieval stories from people with military and intelligence service experience.

It’s almost like the stories are not based on fact, but on speculation and folklore.

Incredible claims incredibly believed

And yet, Grusch seems to have accepted such a tale, including the US recovering the 1930s UFO with the help of the Vatican. He has accepted unauthenticated telegrams as fact and was willing to tell reporters at NewsNation. “It’s long been known that the regime of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini documented numerous UAP. An internal memo from the Italian Secret Services includes crude drawings of the UAPs.” He has completely accepted the claims of Pinotti, who has done nothing to authenticate the telegrams and has no chain of custody, and whose claims have no independent confirmation. This does not look like Grusch is performing a skeptical investigation into the claims, claims so weakly evidenced that to pin an entire conspiracy theory on them makes his own judgment entirely questionable.

When it comes to what Grusch does question, he’s skeptical of the Roswell Incident. That is, he’s skeptical of the government story, not the tale of a flying saucer. Again, from NewsNation: “That analysis they did [on the Roswell Incident] was a total hack job,” he said. “I mean, even anybody with analytical skills … if you read it, you can deduce that they’re completing multiple situations crash test dummies and movable dunes. They (the Air Force) is just saying that the townsfolk who personally witnessed it were totally imagining things. They concocted that whole report just to disinform.”

So, the Air Force is lying about everything, but the non-authenticated, doubly-anonymous messages allegedly from Mussolini’s government are completely believable. Got it.

It’s worth noting that the original observations at Roswell did not include a flying saucer or alien bodies. Instead, the story has become more and more amazing with time. The original things seen by nearby rancher W.W. “Mac” Brazel were debris on the ground of his ranch, which consisted of tinfoil, rubber, and sticks. Only later did what Brazel get mixed up with the Flying Saucer hysteria going on at the time, along with the Air Force saying they recovered a flying saucer as a cover story for what Brazel really found: weather balloons trying to detect Soviet nuclear tests. The “test dummies” Grusch mentions were not part of that, but were from other activities the US military was performing which may have inspired the much later stories of people claiming to have seen bodies at Roswell—claims that did not exist in 1947, but only decades later as a part of folkloric expansion.

Grusch has dismissed the nearly 1000-page USAF report to believe the mythology that developed decades later around the site. Basically, Grusch has become a “true believer”, largely by occupying a bubble with other UFO enthusiasts. Follow the links to get a greater understanding of the people mixing in these circles. Steven Greer, for example, says he had been meeting with Grusch in 2022, and he and others in UFO-hunting circles have similarly been connected to Grusch. At the congressional hearing, right behind Grusch was George Knapp, a long-time UFO believer and host of Coast to Coast AM, who promoted Bob Lazar and connected Senator Harry Reid to Robert Bigelow and all the crazy happenings at Skinwalker Ranch.  Grusch’s former boss in the UAP Task Force, Jay Stratton, is also connected to these paranormal activity folks, including Stratton directly working on Skinwalker Ranch. Others have found Grusch attending a UFO conference (original video here) in Alabama last year.

In fact, Grusch’s claims seem to be the same that Eric W. Davis (who received $25,000 from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory to study the “conveyance of persons by psychic means” and “transport through extra space dimensions or parallel universes”) has about the US government’s clandestine UFO-recovery program. Davis is another believer in UFOs, and he has been promulgating some likely fake documents to prove the US government reverse engineers from alien tech. Davis on Facebook had said he had access to a “now-former Special Security Officer” and is “a US government whistleblower,” and this looks to be Grusch. In other words, Grusch may be repeating stories already reported to Congress years ago and were likely based on fake documents. After all, Grusch says he hasn’t seen any alien bodies or ships, but only other people’s testimonies. The only reason these same claims are getting traction is because Grusch was in the US intelligence service; in effect, even though Grusch may be completely honest, he is doing idea laundering.

In fact, a huge amount of all of this discussion goes back to Skinwalker Ranch. If you haven’t heard of this place before, then you haven’t been looking at the TV lineup on History channel, with its show “The Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch.” The ranch in Utah is claimed to have all sorts of paranormal activity—it’s like the Amityville Horror, but with cattle instead of New England housing. (Full disclosure: I have a weak connection to Skinwalker ranch and its show: my former boss’s father was one of the investigators on the program.)

Not only are there the sightings of UFOs as well as cattle mutilations, which have been a part of UFO-hunting culture for decades, but also Big Foot-like creatures, ghosts (yes, ghosts), and dimensional portals. These claims started becoming better known after the ranch was bought by Robert Bigelow in 1996. Bigelow, who became rich through his hotel business, started paranormal research organizations such as National Institute for Discovery Science, which included Jacque Vallee—the same Vallee who was cited in the 1968 secret UFO document mentioned above. Moreover, it was Bigelow whom Knapp introduced to Harry Reid and got the senator to start funding research there under AATIP, also mentioned above. That is the same AATIP run by Elizondo, who would be part of the release of the Pentagon UFO videos in 2017 with the company To The Stars Academy—a company that had as one of its founders Harold Puthoff, who already had psychic research funded by the military. The story and connections are described well by the journalism of Jason Colavito. Additionally, Steven Greenstreet has been making the Skinwalker Ranch/UAP connection through his investigating.

You might be thinking the following: is it all the same people involved in these stories? It certainly seems to be a small group who are most responsible for all of this activity, and much of it is centered around the claims at a ranch in Utah where people allegedly see ghosts. And this is the group that Grusch seems to be working in.

ETs are extraordinary

But is it really the case that UFOs/UAPs as alien craft is an outlandish idea to believe? Isn’t it not just possible but probable that we are not alone in the universe? And if there are other civilizations, could they not be so advanced that they could cover the distances between stars with ease, and their ships would be vastly superior in abilities to anything humans have put together? Aliens are not like supernatural entities; they do not break the laws of nature, and they might well be predicted by the laws of nature and the law of large numbers (given enough chances, improbable things will happen).

Recently, I co-authored a book with Jonathan MS Pearce, Aliens and Religion: Where Two Worlds Collide, in which we ran calculations on the famous Drake Equation, used to estimate the number of active, advanced civilizations in the Milky Way right now. Our conclusions were that it is very likely intelligent aliens exist in the observable universe, but there was only a 50-50 chance that we have galactic neighbors. If there are any such civilizations in the Milky Way, they would likely be tens of thousands of light-years away. Even at near light speed, it would take geological periods of time to get from their star system to ours. And no, things like warp drives and wormholes are not plausible solutions, given our knowledge of physics. And if you dismiss physics knowledge just to make it possible, you are effectively declaring “It’s a miracle!”, and now the claim is no more plausible than any other belief in the supernatural.

We have no reason to think ET would get in a tube and travel for tens of thousands of years, just to buzz around some Navy ships and only be kinda-sorta known about. Either they would be completely stealthy or they would make themselves known. This on-the-edge-of-detection thing is not expected behavior, but it’s exactly what one gets with phenomena when there is little information to go by. Basically, when you are in the dark and hear noises, your imagination fills in the picture. If the light were turned on, then you would really know what the phenomenon was behind what your mind conjured up in your fear-filled monkey brain.

The crashing of alien craft suggests another oddity. These are supposed to be super-advanced vessels, able to travel between the stars, potentially for thousands of years. And yet, they get to Earth and can’t navigate around the Southwest United States? A crash of such a ship should be highly improbable.

Let’s compare it to how often jetliners crash. That rate is about 1 crash per 100,000 flight hours. In other words, a given jetliner will have to have flown continuously for over a decade to have had a crash. As we expect alien vessels to be more advanced and more capable, then their crash rate should be lower still. In other words, for any crashes to be probable, there would need to be thousands of UFOs in the sky at any given time. In other words, for a single UFO to crash, we should have swarms of them around, not the occasional “Hey, what was that?” in the skies. And with so many ships, we would expect the people looking at the sky the most to have detected them: astronomers (both professional and amateur) as well as the US Space Force. But we get no such evidence of flying saucers. This is completely inconsistent with any crashed spaceship discoveries.

Moreover, the vast, vast majority of UFO sightings are explained. It is only a small number of sightings that go unexplained, and that is not because they defy all physics, but because there is not enough information to make a reasonable determination. That is exactly what Dr. Kirkpatrick stated earlier this year at the same hearing quoted from earlier: “Only a very small percentage of UAP reports display signatures that could reasonably be described as anomalous,” he added. “The majority of unidentified objects reported to AARO demonstrated mundane characteristics of balloons, clutter, natural phenomena or other readily explainable sources.” And none he considered evidence of alien tech. And Kirkpatrick only considered reports to AARO in the last few years. Decades of previous USAF tracking also found the same things. We have nearly a century of people claiming to have seen possible alien ships, and never does the evidence lead to that conclusion.

Let us now look at this in Bayesian terms to do our proper epistemic duties (epistemology is the philosophical study of truth and knowledge). A Bayesian analysis is a mathematical method to compare competing hypotheses that seek to explain some data. It concerns analyzing our background knowledge of how the world works, the prior probability (what the probability of a given hypothesis would be before we look at the data) and the posteriors (that concern the actual data being analyzed).

The prior probability that aliens exist and can easily travel the stars, such that coming to Earth is not a problem—that probability is low. Very low. The galaxy is so humongous that we are quarantined by distance. If aliens were here, we would expect quite a significant amount of evidence. Add the low probability of aliens existing and coming here to begin with, and we need really damned good evidence of those aliens to overcome the very low prior probability.

Most UFOs can be identified as terrestrial objects, and the few that can’t simply do not have enough data to say what they are—and probability is the objects are the more likely thing (something terrestrial) that we don’t have enough data to identify, rather than the unlikely thing (some extraterrestrial technology).

So the question is, “Is the quality of evidence for aliens good enough to overcome the low probability of them being here and doing what is being claimed?”

The maxim is better expressed as Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence. The claims of local ETs are extraordinary, but the evidence is, at best, poor.

Are we alone? I don’t think so. But I also don’t think David Grusch can show that we have galactic neighbors and that they are active here in the way he thinks. If we do find proof of ETs, it will take more than hearsay.

Dr. Aaron Adair is a physicist, data scientist, educator, and biblical scholar. He earned his PhD from the Ohio State University (2013), taught physics as a professor at Merrimack College and Babson College,...

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