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To Julian and Holden, Star Travelers

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I would like to acknowledge the team from To The Stars Academy of
Arts & Science: some very busy individuals who generously gave of
their time and a ention to look over the manuscript and suggest
changes or additions. This list must include Jim Semivan, Hal
Puthoff, Garry Nolan, and Chris Mellon. I would also like to thank
Christopher “Kit” Green and Eric Davis for their kind comments and
support. And, of course, this project would never have go en off the
ground at all had it not been for Tom DeLonge’s vision and drive.
From Sekret Machines to The Stars, it has been—and remains—a wild

Thanks also to Kari DeLonge for keeping us all in check and on

schedule and for her many helpful suggestions as well.

I would also like to thank Whitley Strieber for his friendship and

guidance on all things Visitor. I have had many long conversations
with Whitley about the Phenomenon, and they always give me
much to think about and provide a valuable perspective on
something that defies easy explanation.

Also many thanks to friends and family: people I have had to

avoid in order to do the research and the writing (and the thinking)
on this most difficult subject. Writers are antisocial beings anyway,
but Tom had me pondering the philosophy and psychology of
machines in a manner I had never considered before and set off a

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trail of thought that has been proceeding unbroken and
uninterrupted for more than three years now, making me seem like
an absent-minded troll most of the time. My apologies!

And it should go without saying: any errors of fact or

interpretation here are solely my own.

Peter Levenda

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Section One: Genetics and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis

Introduction to Section One






Section Two: Consciousness

Introduction to Section Two


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Section Three: Human-Machine Symbiosis

Introduction to Section Three






Appendix: Galileo’s Revenge: Science versus Spirituality


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Government Documents


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If anyone says they have the answers, they’re fooling
We don’t know the answers but we have plenty of evidence to
support asking the questions. This is about science and national
. If America doesn’t take the lead in answering these
questions, others will.

:  P.M. –   Dec. 

—Senator Harry Reid (emphasis added)





 ₁₆, ₂₀₁₇—





nationwide that Tom DeLonge’s To The Stars Academy of Arts &
Science (TTSAAS) had served as the vehicle for the release of two
official Department of Defense videos showing the existence of
UFOs—former Nevada Senator Harry Reid admi ed there was a
secret program at DOD to investigate UFOs, and that “This is about
science and national security.”

In the first book of this trilogy—Sekret Machines: Gods—we

explored the ancient cultural evidence for Contact. This ancient
evidence took the form of religious and spiritual texts concerned
with beings from the heavens and the relationship between these
beings and the impetus all across the globe to create civilizations
around architectural devices that were believed connected to the

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“gods” and to the heavens. These were also associated with divine-
human contact and the possibility of immortality and altered states
of consciousness. In ancient Sumer and Egypt—among other
cultures—this meant a kind of spiritual technology (at least, that is
how it would be understood today).

In this book we will pick up where we left off, but by taking a

page from Harry Reid and his UFO project. We will look at the
implications of the UFO where science is concerned. In our third and
last book—Sekret Machines: War—we will examine the national
security implications.

While we feel that it is problematic to separate the spiritual,

scientific, and security fields from each other when discussing the
UFO Phenomenon, we also realize that we as human beings have
been trained to think this way, at least in the past two hundred years
or so since Newton. We have compartmentalized knowledge to such
an extent that the chance of a real Renaissance Man or Woman rising
from among us has been drastically diminished. While we can’t
hope to rectify that situation, we do intend to show how a
multidisciplinary approach to the problem of the UFO Phenomenon
will yield the best results and will advance the cause of global
knowledge and security, if not a Renaissance of the human spirit.

Further, you will notice that we will spend a great deal of time in

this volume referring to the contactee and abductee aspect of the
Phenomenon. To many in the UFO/UAP (unidentified aerial
phenomena) community, this aspect is the least credible or
unworthy of being “lumped in” with the purely physical component
of the Phenomenon. However, as recent research by Dr. Garry Nolan
and his colleagues suggests, there are physical effects in contactees

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that can be observed and traced on a biological level; and as Dr. John
Mack observed in 

, abductees are suffering from a form of

PTSD, indicating that they had experienced some kind of
psychological trauma. This combination of physiological and
psychological evidence makes it incumbent upon us to integrate the
contactee/abductee experience with the UFO/UAP experience to
some extent, and we have a empted to do so here.

One of the characteristics of UFOs that is common in the popular

literature is that these “sekret machines” represent a technology that
is far in advance of our own. There is a flaw buried deep within that
argument, however. Our technology is advancing by leaps and
bounds, and has been since World War II. Our achievements in
genetics, physics, computer technology, and artificial intelligence
have now reached what once were science-fiction levels of
sophistication and complexity, and there is no sign that this trend
will slow down in the foreseeable future. So the question has to be
reformulated to take these advances into consideration. If the UFO
Phenomenon represents a technology more advanced than our own,
advanced by how much?

In ancient times, the technology was seen as magical and

otherworldly. There was no Journal of the American Medical Association
in those days; no Scientific American. The scientific journals of the
time are interpreted today as religious or magical or spiritual texts.
The ancient peoples were trying to come to terms with phenomena
that seemed incredible, even impossible for humans to achieve.
Today that same technology is seen as simply a few levels higher
than our own. We could not fly in ancient times. We could not
communicate over long distances. We could not see the trans-

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Saturnian planets. Today, however, we are gradually reaching the
same level of technological expertise as the purported “ancient
aliens.” What does that say about the “alien” culture that already has
that technology?

More important, what does that say about us?

 ▼ ▼

To The Stars Academy identified several research areas for their
focus in the coming years. We have selected a few of them for
investigation here, in order to explain the reasons they were chosen
and their implications for the study of the Phenomenon. These are
consciousness, the brain-computer interface, and telepathy, along
with genetics.

Genetics is chosen because of proposals by Francis Crick and

others that the RNA and/or DNA molecules were designed and
seeded onto this planet deliberately. We find that there is anecdotal
evidence to support this idea in several divinatory systems from
Africa, China, and elsewhere, as well as in ancient “religious”
systems of Egypt and India, among others. We will examine the
theories put forward by scientists concerning the genetic code and
amplify them with reference to these systems.

Consciousness studies is the hot new field combining

neurobiology, genetics, and quantum mechanics. There are several
important theories of consciousness that deserve our study, but most
important are their implications for understanding both the
UFO/UAP Phenomenon as well as human-“alien” contact.

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One of the following sections is concerned with the brain-

computer interface and thus with artificial intelligence, robotics, and
cyborgs. We are close to developing machines that will seem as
sentient as human beings but with none of the physical or emotional
vulnerabilities. When that happens, we will be forced to ask
ourselves some far-reaching questions, such as what it means to be
human. We will be forced to ask whether those who pilot or control
the UFOs are nothing more than robots or cyborgs, the kind we are
in the process of building ourselves. That might have sounded
fanciful only thirty years ago, but today there is a very real
possibility that human-created androids of some type will be
piloting our spacecraft outside the solar system to more distant star
systems. Doesn’t that automatically make us consider that the
“aliens” reported by our experiencers and abductees are nothing
other than the same technology we ourselves are developing?

We will also look at telepathy, taking into consideration the

scientific research done in the area of remote viewing and also
bringing in what we have already learned about consciousness and
the brain-computer interface. As many abductees report being in
telepathic contact with the “aliens” who abducted them or
performed some kind of experimentation on them, is it possible for
us to employ the techniques of mental communication in reverse? Is
there a component on the microlevel, the non-Newtonian level, that
can be exploited to allow us to communicate in new ways with other
human beings or even with those nonhuman actors connected with
the UFO Phenomenon?

These and many other possibilities will be explored in the pages

that follow. The information and data we employ will come

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exclusively from experts in the scientific and engineering
communities, from their published work and from personal
interviews. The arguments proposed will come largely from
ourselves and our advisers, some of whom you already know.

The conclusions will be exclusively your own.

Tom DeLonge
Peter Levenda

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Either the machine has a meaning to life that we have not yet
been able to interpret in a rational manner, or it is itself a
manifestation of life and therefore mysterious.

— Garet Garre , Ouroboros: Or the Mechanical

Extension of Mankind

We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly
programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as
genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.

— Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene












artificial intelligence, and the idea that consciousness may not be
restricted to biological structures but may be a characteristic of
advanced forms of machines.

We are moving gradually to the point at which we will ask these

questions seriously, with regard to a potential and perhaps
threatening future where we co-exist with machines we have created
but that have turned on us, or turned away from us.

If we—homo sapiens sapiens—are on the verge of developing

sentient machines, does that not imply that perhaps what we have

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experienced in terms of the Phenomenon may be just that: sentient
machines, and not “extraterrestrial biological entities” (EBEs)?

All of those harrowing, nightmarish experiences claimed by alien

abductees—the kidnapping from their bedrooms in the dark of
night, the experimentations, the physical intrusion of tools,
equipment, and the like—may be due to machines inspecting what
they believe to be other machines: us. After all, we feel no remorse,
no twinge of conscience, when we tinker with the innards of a
personal computer, a smartphone, or a television set, or work on a
car or a boat or a plane. They are all machines, inorganic devices we
have designed and built and mass-manufactured. But as we
approach ever more closely to designing, building, and mass-
manufacturing be er and faster and smarter machines, we are
reaching a point at which it will become virtually impossible to
distinguish a machine from a human being.

Are the Visitors—the ubiquitous aliens of our fantasies, our

experiences, and our radar traces—actually machines? Have they
simply reached that point ahead of us, by fifty or a hundred years or
so? Are we in danger of not being able to recognize that which is
alive and that which is merely a simulacrum of life? Or is the danger
more visceral than that: have we become increasingly unsure of
what the dividing line is between life and nonlife?

Indeed, have the Visitors?

 ▼ ▼

There are now robots that look amazingly human, with synthetic
skin that feels real (even warm) to the touch, and with artificial

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intelligence (AI) capabilities such that they can converse with us,
even sing. They do not have the lurching, staggered moves of
Hollywood robots but are designed to operate more smoothly. While
it is impossible to mistake one of these robots for an actual human
today, in a few years the distinction will be hard to make.

If we were to land on an alien planet and confront a being there,

would we be absolutely certain that what we saw was not an organic
life form but an artificial creation, left there by some other
civilization or perhaps created on that planet itself, years or even
centuries earlier?

Ask yourself one question in particular: with all the evidence that

has accrued over the past seventy years concerning close encounters,
alien abductions, and the like, why have no alien children ever been
spo ed? Why do the Visitors we have seen not age or show signs of
aging? Could it be that they are not organic life forms that are born,
age, and die, but are machines that are created in the form we see

If so, were they created by organic beings like ourselves, or by

other machines?

These sound like fantastic ideas—or they would have, even fifty

years ago—but these are questions we now have to consider,
carefully and dispassionately. They lead us to question the nature of
life and of consciousness. These are the very questions that are
raised by the Phenomenon, and our inability to answer them thus far
has made it virtually impossible to identify, characterize, and
explain the Phenomenon. In order to understand them we have to do
a be er job of understanding ourselves.

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According to the Biblical account, human beings were artificial

creatures made by God for no particular reason we can discern. Thus
we are already a kind of machine, made “in the image and likeness”
of God, just as we are creating robots in our own “image and

As the scientist-philosopher Loren Eiseley wrote:

Man reached his mind into the emptiness to seize upon the
machine; with it willingly or not, he seized hold of the future.
Ever since, he has been trying to free himself from the embrace
of the future.

Is it that bad? Or have we learned to “stop worrying and love the

Bomb” as the tagline for the film Dr. Strangelove would have it? Or
conversely, as the tagline for the X-Files movie asks us, do we “Fight
the Future”?

 ▼ ▼

Many contactees and abductees report that experiences with the
Visitors are terrifying, not least because there seems to be no
empathy coming from them toward their human subjects, whom
they treat as things to be taken apart and studied. For some reason,
we are naïve enough—politically, anthropologically, psychologically
—to expect a certain degree of “humanity” from them, which is
nowhere assured or indicated. In fact, their affect seems uniformly
detached; one might say “machine-like.” Is this what we ourselves
are creating? Is this the end point, the natural conclusion, of the
much publicized “Convergence”?

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Perhaps Homo sapiens, the wise, is himself only a mechanism in a
parasitic cycle, an instrument for the transference, ultimately, of
a more invulnerable and heartless version of himself.

 Loren Eiseley, Kenneth Heuer, ed., The Lost Notebooks of Loren

Eiseley, Boston, Li le Brown, 

, p. 


 Loren Eiseley, The Invisible Pyramid, Lincoln, University of

Nebraska Press, 

, pp.  – .

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I would never say, yes, there are aliens taking people. I would
say there is a compelling powerful phenomenon here that I
can’t account for in any other way, that’s mysterious.

— Dr. John E. Mack, Professor of Psychiatry,

Harvard Medical School

There exists a global phenomenon the scope and extent of
which is not generally recognized. It is a phenomenon so
strange and foreign to our daily terrestrial mode of thought
that it is frequently met by ridicule and derision by persons
and organizations unacquainted with the facts.

— Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Professor of

Astrophysics, Harvard Observatory










the spectacle of alien abduction and the type of close encounters that

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result in human beings being adversely affected by contact. This is
probably the most prickly of all the themes we encounter in a study
of the literature and through our personal interactions with
experiencers. It is easily the most controversial aspect of the
Phenomenon, the one with virtually no corroborating eyewitness
evidence and which leaves few discernible traces except in the
psyches of the individuals involved, as well as (at times) some
bizarre physical symptoms. The stories they tell us are outlandish
and bizarre. It is far easier to accept UFO sightings and even
speculate about crashed saucers than it is to believe that someone
was taken from their bed in the middle of the night, beamed aboard
a spaceship, physically abused (which would be the legal definition
of being prodded, poked, probed, and even inseminated) and then
returned to that same bed as if nothing had happened. And, in fact,
UFO skeptics insist on exactly that: nothing happened.

A Case in Point

While stories of alien contact have appeared regularly since the early

s, when George Adamski claimed an ongoing relationship with

a Venusian, the more frightening alien abduction scenario came to
public a ention with the case of Barney and Be y Hill, who claimed
they were abducted from their automobile while on a lonely road at
night, driving back to their home in New Hampshire from a trip to
Montreal. It was the evening of September  – , 

, and while it

would become the most famous case of alien abduction, it went
unreported in the press until 


The facts of the case are not as clear as either the believers or the

skeptics would insist. Sometime around midnight the Hills saw

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what they believed to be a UFO along Route   in northern New
Hampshire (south of the Old Man of the Mountain site). They
stopped the car to get out and take a closer look. Barney Hill,
initially irritated by his wife’s insistence that they stop and look at
what was probably only an aircraft, became frightened by what he
saw through a pair of binoculars he kept in the car. The object was
large, had windows, and what appeared to be people of some kind
staring out the windows at him. Barney began to feel a distinct sense
of terror, and ran back to the car.

The couple was about to get back on the highway and head for

home when they heard a strange beeping sound they could not
identify. At this point they seemed to have lost consciousness.

For two hours.
They “came to” after hearing a second set of “beeps.” Barney was

still driving, and they were a long way from their home near
Portsmouth. They reported that they did not feel as if they were fully
conscious until they saw a sign saying “Concord   miles.”

They had no idea what had happened. They felt odd, out of sorts.

Once home they began to do things that didn’t make a lot of sense,
such as Be y pu ing her luggage near the back door of the house for
no particular reason. Their watches had stopped and wouldn’t start
again. Barney, for reasons he could not explain, felt he had to go into
the bathroom and examine his genitals, but there was nothing
unusual about them.

They had had an experience that was at once terrifying and


People are terrified all the time for perfectly acceptable reasons:

war, crime, disease, natural disasters, and all “the slings and arrows

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of outrageous fortune.” But then there is a category of terror that is
not so easily defined or characterized, for it seems to come out of
nowhere. It manifests during times of what Dr. J. Allen Hynek—
during a speech about UFOs before the United Nations on
November  , 

—referred to as “high strangeness.”

The accounts given by abductees/contactees are similar in several

details, but a common denominator is their sense of complete
“otherness” just before, during, or after a contact. It is a complex
emotion that has elements of fear, dislocation, and awe, and is often
accompanied by physical symptoms such as a feverish feeling,
nausea, dizziness, trembling, difficulty breathing, etc. Psychiatrists
have a empted to characterize these feelings as stemming from
night terrors or from various levels of sleep deprivation or
suggestibility contributing to a kind of waking nightmare or
hallucination. This is a somewhat disingenuous position to take. Of
course there are various psychological states that show similarities to
the alien abduction experience, such as sleep paralysis or
hypnagogic hallucinations that can occur in the moments just before
falling asleep, but to assume that those coming forward with
experiences of alien abduction are all suffering from sleep paralysis
is as far-fetched as any other explanation and is evidence of bias on
the part of the observer rather than deception on the part of the

Another objection to the reality of the alien abduction experience

is the assumption that the details of the experience are all culturally
conditioned. In other words, if one has seen a movie about aliens,
certain details from that film help to create the delusion that one is
experiencing actual alien abduction. While it is entirely possible that

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perceptions of the experience may be filtered through a cultural lens,
that does not negate the initial experience itself; it only negates the
way in which it is described by the experiencer. It’s like the road
show of a popular musical: the actors may be different and the
costumes not identical to the original, but the songs are all the same,
as is the overall plot.

A cardinal mistake, and a source of great confusion, has been
the almost universal substitution of an interpretation of the UFO
Phenomenon for the phenomenon itself.

This is the situation that currently bedevils the UFO community:

the preponderance of interpretations, speculations, and UFO
“gurus” whose contributions often far outstrip the evidence. As we
have seen in Sekret Machines: Gods, human beings perceive this
Phenomenon in different ways depending on their cultural
conditioning, but the Phenomenon still exists as an event separate
from normal waking (and sleeping) reality and is perceived
accordingly. The seemingly outlandish tales that are told by
experiencers are the sincere efforts of human beings who have no
working vocabulary for this type of encounter, much like the
mystical literature one encounters in many cultures in which words
fail the mystic as he or she struggles to communicate the ineffable.
Because our scientific and technological trajectory has left the field of
consciousness (and its related disciplines, such as religion,
mysticism, dreams, the psyche, etc.) behind, we increasingly rely
upon scientific and technological language to describe our world.
When we apply that terminology to the Phenomenon, we are left
sounding vaguely foolish. Or just vague. That is more the problem of

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language—which is culturally conditioned—than it is of the
reliability of the experience itself.

We can determine the outlines of this sense of “high strangeness”

in the actions of Barney and Be y Hill in the days and weeks
following their experience on the New Hampshire highway. Be y
Hill, believing they had seen a UFO, went to the library the day after
the incident and borrowed a book on the subject by Donald E.
Keyhoe, a major in the Air Force and an important figure in the field
of Ufology. Eventually she contacted Major Keyhoe and told him as
many details as she could recall, including her husband’s statement
that he had seen humanoid passengers aboard the UFO. She also
phoned Pease Air Force Base on September  , 

, to report her

sighting, leaving out those details she felt would make her sound
insane (such as the humanoid occupants that Barney saw). She
received a return phone call the following day from Major Paul
Henderson, who filed his report on September  , believing that the
couple had mistaken the planet Jupiter for a UFO. That report
eventually was included in the Project Blue Book files of the Air

On October  , 

, the Hills were visited by a member of the

National Investigations Commi ee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP),
which was the leading civilian UFO investigative body at the time
and was headed by Major Keyhoe. (NICAP was cofounded by Major
Keyhoe and Thomas Townsend Brown in 

 and lasted until


.) Barney admi ed that there were elements of the story

that eluded him, and that he thought he was suppressing some
memories. Of the two, Be y Hill seemed more at ease with the
experience, while Barney was more anxious and troubled.

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Then Be y started having unse ling dreams involving a

spaceship, medical exams conducted by humanoid figures aboard
the ship, and other elements that are now familiar to many
concerning alien abduction. The dreams were vivid and took place
over five consecutive nights during the first week of October 


It would not be until March 

 that the Hills mentioned this

experience in a public forum, which happened to be their local
Unitarian Church. This aspect is important, for it shows that the
Hills were not intent on creating a publicity furor over this event.
They had remained quiet about it for eighteen months. In fact, even
after this minor disclosure, they remained reticent and only agreed
to hypnosis sessions to retrieve repressed memories in January 


Under hypnosis, the Hills—who were hypnotized separately—

began recalling many more details about the contact than they had
consciously remembered. Their therapist, Dr. Benjamin Simon, was
not a believer in alien abduction, although he had witnessed UFOs
before. Regardless, he initially thought that Barney Hill’s anxiety
was caused not by alien abduction but by some form of childhood
trauma. In the end, his conclusion was that the alien abduction
scenario was the manifestation of a new, previously unknown form
of psychological disorder, and he left it at that.

However, it seems that at least one tape of the Hills’ hypnosis

sessions was leaked to the press. In October 

—and thus a full

four years after the alleged abduction—the story made the front
page of the Boston newspapers. Suddenly, the Hills were an
internationally famous couple.

The Barney and Be y Hill story a racted a great deal of

a ention, some of it sympathetic, but obviously that was not the

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intention of the Hills, who sought no publicity at all. By the mid-

s, however, and with the publication of John G. Fuller’s book

about the event,  the Hills had become poster children for Ufology in
general and alien abduction in particular. Be y Hill enjoyed the
celebrity, while Barney remained troubled by it. Some psychiatrists
offered the opinion that the proximate cause of his anxiety was
sensitivity over his relationship with Be y. This was the early 


in New Hampshire, and Barney Hill was a black man married to
Be y, a white woman. However, the racial theory was not a
conclusion reached by their therapist, Dr. Simon.

Debunkers entered the fray and tried to suggest that the details

came not from their own subconscious minds or from an actual
encounter but from memories of early television shows—like The
Twilight Zone
 or The Outer Limits—or from pulp magazines or articles
about UFOs; in other words, cultural contamination, a phenomenon
that seems to exist only in connection to UFOs and alien abduction
scenarios. There is no evidence to support this contention, of course,
but it does make debunkers feel be er because it avoids
consideration of the one theory that would account for both the
popular ideas concerning aliens and the accounts of those
experiencing alien abduction: that they derive from the same source.

There is a straightforward continuum of evidence that extends

from “primitive” beliefs concerning witches, shamans, magic, and
sorcery to modern accounts of alien abduction and close encounters.
We may say that modern abductees interpret their experience using
language and concepts borrowed from contemporary media—
although there is no proof of that—but the interpretation should not
be mistaken for the experience. While there is no evidence that Be y

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Hill, for instance, saw a single episode of The Twilight Zone before her
experience, there is no reason to discount her experience because her
interpretation of it may have been influenced by Rod Serling. We
have all seen thousands of hours of police procedurals and violent
films on television and in theaters; that doesn’t mean people don’t
actually get shot. We may misidentify the shooter as a Mafia hitman
or a terrorist when it’s really just our next-door neighbor, but that
does not invalidate the actual experience. The problem for us lies in
the alien abduction experience itself, for which there is not now—
nor has there ever been—a reasonable explanation outside of the

In the absence of qualified or board-certified professionals taking

an official interest in the Phenomenon, the field had been left open to
talented amateurs. One of these was the artist Budd Hopkins (


Hopkins was a nationally recognized and lauded painter who

was awarded everything from a Guggenheim fellowship to a grant
from the National Endowment for the Arts, eventually winning a
full membership at the National Academy of Design (

). He

wrote and lectured on art for decades, but it was his interest in the
Phenomenon that garnered him a kind of celebrity status among

His initial fascination with the Phenomenon began about the

time the Hills were undergoing hypnosis sessions to recover what
happened during the period of “missing time” after which the Hills
found themselves   miles farther along the highway that September
evening. It was August 

 and Hopkins and two of his friends saw

a UFO during broad daylight over the Cape Cod town of Truro,

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Massachuse s. In a pa ern familiar to researchers, this sighting was
to inspire a lifelong interest in UFOs and related phenomena. In 
Hopkins published an article in the Village Voice concerning a UFO
incident in North Bergen, New Jersey, that he investigated as a
member of NICAP. That article generated a lot of interest from
readers, and soon Hopkins found himself at the center of the alien
abduction controversy. His first book on the subject—Missing Time

)—helped create the alien abduction “meme” and positioned

Hopkins as the expert in the field. His interviews with many
abduction survivors over the years contributed to an overall view of
the Phenomenon as real, as remarkably consistent from one account
to another, and as representing genuine contact between human
beings and entities from elsewhere who were dispassionately
examining humans for reasons of their own. He expanded on this
theme in Intruders (

) and Witnessed (


It was in 

, however, that the idea of alien abduction went

mainstream. That was when Whitley Strieber’s book—Communion
hit the bookstores and eventually became a feature film (


starring Christopher Walken as Strieber. Strieber was a screenwriter
and novelist at the time, having wri en the horror novels The Wolfen

) and The Hunger (

), both of which were made into feature

films. In October and December of 

 Strieber had an experience

that changed his life forever.

It happened up at his cabin in the woods in upstate New York.

He was awakened by a noise or disturbance on the ground floor,
even though he had turned on the burglar alarm. He began to feel
fear—the usual initial emotional reaction common to many

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abduction reports—and then noticed a small figure near his
bedroom door.

The figure—which had the familiar appearance of what

abductees and experiencers referred to as the “Small Grays”—
rushed at him and Strieber lost consciousness for a while, recovering
at a time when he had the sensation of movement, as if he was being
carried. He was paralyzed, unable to move (which gave some
observers the impression that he was experiencing sleep paralysis;
however, the additional details of the experience argue strongly
against typical sleep paralysis), and eventually wound up being held
in a small chamber filled with tiny people. Various things were done
to him, including a hair-thin needle inserted into his cranium and an
unpleasant experience involving a rectal probe.

A succubus in the saucer.
He saw different types of beings, some squat and wearing blue

coveralls, and at least one that he felt was feminine. His emotional
responses ranged from fear, to absolute terror, to anger.

And then everything abruptly ended and he next regained

consciousness in his bedroom at the cabin with only a vague feeling
that something was terribly wrong. His emotional state went into a
sharp decline, similar to what happened to Barney Hill twenty years
earlier. Strieber’s wife, Anne, reminded him that they had gone
through a rough patch a few months earlier like the one he was
going through now, and she was worried.

Eventually, the events of October 

 and December 


be linked to a series of alien abduction experiences occurring during
that time. Strieber made contact with Budd Hopkins, who
recommended therapists who were professional hypnotists, but

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Strieber selected his own so that there would be no chance of the
therapist contaminating the recovered memories. The transcripts of
those taped sessions comprise one of the chapters of Strieber’s
Communion so that readers can judge for themselves whether the
therapist was asking leading questions or trying to guide the
memory recovery in a specific direction.

As Whitley Strieber continued his investigation, more and more

details began to emerge, not only of the specific abduction events of

 but of strange experiences from previous years as well. Strieber

has discussed with us (Levenda) the possibility that the memories he
has are screen memories designed to conceal or protect his
consciousness from some awful reality. He has never, in fact,
insisted that his experiences involved actual aliens from some other
planet; only that the experiences are real and that the intelligences
who populate the memories of these experiences are real. We
explored the idea that some of his memories may be linked to the
infamous mind-control experiments of the 

s and 

s. The fact

that the young Whitley Strieber lived near Randolph Air Force Base
in San Antonio, Texas—site of one of the largest contingents of Nazi
scientists brought in under Operation Paperclip, scientists whose
specialties ranged from aviation medicine to psychology—gave rise
to speculation that some of what he had experienced as a child and,
later, as an adult has its roots in experimental projects undertaken at
that base at that time.

This relationship between the UFO Phenomenon and

consciousness or “mind control” projects will be discussed and
developed more fully as we go along. For now, however, it is
enough to note that Strieber does take this aspect of the experience

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very seriously. That there is a heavy “consciousness aspect” to the
UFO experience is undeniable. In fact, it would seem that many of
those who later claimed an abduction experience were UFO
witnesses first, sometimes on the very same day, as in the case of the
Hills. This is why it is so difficult to separate the observation of what
appear to be very material, very physical aerial craft from the
psychological effects they seem to produce in witnesses. This is a
unique aspect of the Phenomenon, something that sets it apart from
other types of human experience. One can become traumatized by
war or by violent crime, but how do we explain a traumatic reaction
to the mere observation of a disk flying in the sky? Yet this seems to
be what occurs on a fairly regular basis.

Strieber has wri en several more books that deal with his

experiences and his interpretation of them. Strieber is a Catholic, so
some of the titles of his works—CommunionConfirmation—have a
distinctly sacramental feel. But he also has a background in Gurdjieff
and Ouspensky, and at one point even investigated the Process
Church of the Final Judgment at its headquarters in Mayfair,
London, during 

; that event was discussed during one of our


Sincerity is no determinant of truth, but it does argue against

conscious deception. Strieber is sincere in what he reports, almost
painfully so. In 

, his collaboration with esteemed professor of

religious studies Jeffrey Kripal was published as The Super Natural, a
book that is groundbreaking in its approach to the Phenomenon.
Here we have a specialist in religion and spirituality in conversation
with an admi ed alien abductee (perhaps the most famous living
abductee) as they both try to understand the experience, where it

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comes from, and how to deal with it within an academic context as
well as within a purely spiritual or psycho-spiritual context. Until
that point, however, Strieber had been subjected to the usual ridicule
and outright hostility of a broad spectrum of the population who
jumped to all the usual conclusions before actually reading his work
or making an a empt to understand it.

 ▼ ▼

That was where we stood on the question of alien abduction for
another decade. Then along came John Mack, who directed his
a ention to the survivors of alien abductions and found many of the
same themes occurring in their accounts.

Dr. John E. Mack (

) was a professor of psychiatry at

Harvard Medical School and the author of several volumes in his
field before writing a Puli er Prize–winning biography of T. E.
Lawrence, A Prince of Our Disorder (

). But in 

 he published a

book that would put him at the center of the Ufological controversy,
Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens.

He became intrigued by alien abduction victims because he

thought the study of them would result in a diagnosis of a unique
mental disorder. However, on the advice of his friend Thomas Kuhn
—who authored the enormously influential The Structure of Scientific

)—he approached the problem with an open mind:

He told me not to worry about science and to watch out for the
traps of language: real/unreal, inside/outside,
psychological/external, happened/didn’t happen.

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This proved to be valuable advice and, in fact, the approach we

have tried to take with this project as well. Mack realized that the
people he interviewed—in the neighborhood of some 
individuals—were suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress
disorder but were otherwise psychologically healthy. Where he
expected to find disability and delusion he found people who were
intelligent, well-adjusted, even skeptical, but who all shared an
experience that could not be explained within the confines of
Western science.

In other words, they had experienced something.
Mack was criticized for Abduction and specifically for his

conclusion that the abductees were discussing real events that they
had experienced. Harvard University even held an investigation to
determine if Mack should lose his tenured position and be fired.
Although he had never said that the abductees had experienced real
alien abduction or made a claim as to the “reality” of UFOs, etc., it
was assumed that he had. Oddly, nuance seems to escape many in
academia, and no less so in mass media. Critics jumped to the
conclusion that Mack was saying that alien abductions were “real”
in the sense that the abductees claimed they were. He had not
claimed that at all, but as the quotation at the beginning of this
chapter demonstrates, he did admit that a real Phenomenon was at
play and that he had no idea what it was. That honesty was too
much for many to appreciate. Mack managed to hold on to his
tenure after celebrated a orney Daniel Sheehan (of Iran-Contra
fame) and legal scholar (and fellow Harvard alumnus) Alan
Dershowi  questioned the legality of the proceedings.

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Nonetheless, the die had been cast. Mack, as a fully accredited

member of the academic establishment, was now the most visible
defender of the Phenomenon. Like Dr. James McDonald  before him,
he had to deal with pushback from his colleagues and the potential
of a ruined reputation just for taking the Phenomenon seriously and
also taking the people who experience it seriously.

John Mack died in a traffic accident in England, hit by a drunk

driver in London on September  , 

. Many conspiracy theories

were developed over this event, but it does seem that his death was
purely the result of an accident and not a deliberate a ack. He was

 years old.

Mack’s contribution to the dialogue surrounding alien abduction

experiences was on the same level as Jacques Vallée’s decades-long
contributions on UFO sightings and contactee reports. Dr. Thomas E.
Bullard—a professor of folklore at Indiana University and a member
of several UFO organizations—made a similar contribution to the
literature, taking abductee reports as seriously as John Mack did and
publishing The Myth and Mystery of UFOs (

). This trend would

continue to the present day with the groundbreaking work by
religious studies scholar Dr. Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University) in
collaboration with the world’s most famous alien abductee, Whitley
Strieber, in The Super Natural (

), as previously discussed.

So what has been going on? Is there a context for the alien

abductee experience, and to what extent is it related to the UFO
Phenomenon, if at all?

 ▼ ▼

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Between the sighting of a UFO and the abduction experience, there is
an intermediary type of encounter. It’s not an abduction, but it does
leave physical traces on the experiencers, as do some abductions.
This refers to encounters of human beings with the craft themselves,
rather than with the occupants or presumed pilots of the craft.

Briefly, we will look at two such cases and the reasons why they

are so important to a scientific study of the problem.

 ▼ ▼

What is probably not well known outside of a small circle of
specialists is that there are scientists with impeccable pedigrees who
have been studying the UFO Phenomenon in earnest, and most
specifically the way that a close encounter affects the neurobiology
of the contactee. Gradually, this information has come to light in
books like Annie Jacobsen’s Phenomena. Some of these scientists are
either members of the To The Stars Academy founded by Tom
DeLonge, or are colleagues.

Their area of study has centered on the physical effects produced

by close proximity to a UFO, and their work has resulted in one of
the first successful lawsuits brought by a contactee against the US
military for injuries sustained during one such encounter. This is an
important development and one that invites closer scrutiny. It is a
Catch-  situation for the military: in order to avoid civil liability for
injuries caused by a UFO, the military would have to concede that
the damage was not done by one of their aircraft or weapons
systems, but by some other “unknown” aircraft or weapons platform
over US airspace; conversely, if the damage was identified as having

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been occasioned by a military mission in the line of duty, the
circumstances of that encounter would have to be described and
identified in court documents, which then would demonstrate that
while the military might be legally liable for the injury because the
soldier in question was injured while on a military mission, the
actual cause of the injury was a UFO.

One such case was the Rendlesham Forest episode, which

involved US military personnel on active duty. The second was the
Cash-Landrum affair, in which the victims were civilians. Oddly,
these cases occurred within a day of each other in December 


The Rendlesham Forest incident took place at a USAF military base
in England on the  th and  th of December that year; Cash-
Landrum occurred outside a small town in Texas on December  . In
both cases, unidentified aerial phenomena were reported, and in
both cases witnesses were injured as a result of proximity to the

The Rendlesham Forest incident is controversial to this day.

Numerous a empts have been made by professional skeptics to
debunk the case—declaring that what US servicemen saw and
experienced at the site could be everything from stars and planets to
a lighthouse beacon—and we won’t go into all of the details and
arguments in this place. What is certain, and a ma er now of public
record, is that one of the US servicemen involved—Airman First
Class John Burroughs—was injured, and his medical costs were
eventually covered by the government in a tacit admission that his
injuries were sustained as a result of his interaction with a
phenomenon for which the military has no explanation.

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The bare facts of the case are that on the night of December  ,

, what appeared at first to be either a fireball or a downed

aircraft was spo ed by a security patrol in Rendlesham Forest near
the east gate of Royal Air Force (RAF) Woodbridge, a base that was
being used by the United States Air Force at the time. John
Burroughs provided an account of the sighting, in which he and two
fellow servicemen followed what they thought was a light from a
downed aircraft. There was a lighthouse with a bright beacon in the
vicinity, and this was the fact that was seized upon by the skeptics
who suggested that all the lights seen by the servicemen at
Rendlesham Forest were explicable as a lighthouse beacon or as
lights from a neighboring farmhouse, etc. That explanation does not
account for the reason why the servicemen were scouring the forest
for what they thought might be a downed aircraft in the first place,
nor does the existence of other lights in the vicinity account for all
the lights that were observed at the time. (For instance, should a
UFO land in New York City, one could account for some of the lights
as coming from virtually any building in the city, but that would not
account for the sighting of a UFO in the first place.)

Burroughs was told to wait a li le distance from what they

believed to be the crash site and act as a radio relay back to base, but
fear and curiosity overtook him and he followed the two other
airmen, Penniston and Cabansag, who went deeper into the forest to
investigate. Penniston saw what he assumed to be a craft si ing in
the woods, approached it, and actually touched the surface of it.
Burroughs saw it and made sketches of it.

It was this proximity to the object that caused a rare medical

condition in Burroughs.

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According to Dr. Christopher “Kit” Green—a multi-credentialed

medical doctor, scientist, specialist in psychiatry and radiology as
well as in behavioral and neurosciences (including remote viewing),
former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, and Assistant
National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology, among
many other positions—John Burroughs was suffering the effects of
something called broad-band non-ionizing electromagnetic
radiation, such as that found in radio waves, thermal radiation, and
light from different ends of the spectrum, such as infrared and
ultraviolet. This type of radiation can cause burns and inflammation
in living tissue.

According to statements made by Dr. Green, the government’s

medical files on Burroughs were classified for a long period. Even
though Green himself has had Top Secret TS/SCI clearances for most
of his life, he could not gain access to Burroughs’ medical file. This is
very unusual, and again according to Green, the only medical files
he knows of that were ever classified that high were the autopsy of
President John F. Kennedy and the medical records of Adolf Hitler,
pu ing AFC John Burroughs in very rare company. Reasons given
included the fact that Burroughs’ file contained multiple references
to Special Access Programs and other ma ers that similarly were
classified, making the declassification process a rat’s nest of
interlocking classification protocols. With a major push by several
Senators, however, the files (or their salient details) were eventually

The story they told, combined with Green’s analysis of

Burroughs’ symptoms, including damage to his heart, was
astonishing. It offered clear evidence that something very unusual

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had happened to Burroughs and, as Green’s investigation into this
type of condition in other patients continued, seemed consistent
with injuries suffered by other military personnel for whom there
had been no previous diagnosis that made any sense. Partnering
with Dr. Garry Nolan—a world-famous specialist in genetics
research, and today a member of Tom DeLonge’s team at To The
Stars Academy—the two men came to agree that these patients had
been exposed to electromagnetic radiation.

This and related cases suggested to Green and Nolan that contact

with the Phenomenon could leave traces in human experiencers and
contactees: biomarkers, including neurological and cardiological
effects, skin lesions, some types of cancers, and even changes in
DNA. This is an astonishing claim, but one that Green, Nolan, and
their colleagues make quite soberly. Going where the evidence leads
them, they assert that Burroughs’ injuries were due to a damaged
heart valve, which resulted from having been exposed to radiation
from the UFO/UAP for an extended period of time and within close
proximity. The Department of Defense and the Veterans
Administration eventually agreed that Airman Burroughs had
suffered these injuries as a result of the Rendlesham Forest incident
during which Burroughs was on active duty, and thus he was
eligible for medical benefits.

The victims in the Cash-Landrum affair—which as mentioned

earlier occurred only a day or two after the Rendlesham Forest
incident—were not so lucky, but the event is still important because
it forced the US military into the position of having to say that
whatever caused the medical problems in the three Cash-Landrum
witnesses was not due to any aircraft owned or operated by any of

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the branches of the Defense Department; that it was, in fact,

What is known about the la er incident is that Be y Cash, Vicky

Landrum, and their li le seven-year-old grandson Colby Landrum
were in a car driving along Highway FM 

 near the town of

Huffman outside of Houston, Texas, around   pm when they saw an
amazing sight. In fact, it was so amazing that the three eyewitnesses
gave conflicting testimonies of what they saw. That something
strange did appear in the sky over Texas that night was corroborated
by other witnesses in the area, but none could agree on the contours
or exact nature of the device, which seemed to be shaped like an
upright diamond. What was agreed upon was that the bright light
shone from a craft of some kind that sailed down from the sky and
then hovered over the landscape at treetop level. A few minutes
later, the device was surrounded by what appeared to be a fleet of
Chinooks, the giant helicopters with twin rotors that are often used
to haul troops and equipment. In this case, the witnesses were
precise in their count of the number of Chinook-like objects
encircling—at a distance—the strange craft. There were twenty-

Later statements by the various branches of the military known

to have Chinooks in their inventory were clear: the helicopters had
nothing to do with them, and they had nothing like the diamond-
shaped craft in their possession either, leaving observers to suggest
that there were only two remaining possible explanations. Either
what looked like Chinooks were being disavowed due to the fact
that their mission was highly classified and was connected with a
UFO, or that they were alien craft, too! Since the la er was not very

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plausible, only the former made any sense at all: the helicopters were
there to escort (or to maintain contact with) a craft that was
somehow going rogue.

The light and heat emi ed by the craft was intense, accompanied

by a very loud roaring sound, accompanied at times by an erratic
buzzing noise. Flames shot out of the bo om of the craft. The entire
scene was so incredible that the three persons in the car felt that
what they were witnessing was a religious event of some kind. Be y
Cash and Vicky Landrum were devout, born-again Christians, and
they interpreted the image of the descending light, the flame, and
the roaring sound in typically Biblical terms, believing it at first to be
connected with the Second Coming of Jesus and the End Times.

(It is worthwhile to note here that the case we made in Sekret

Machines: Gods of human interpretation of UFO contact as
communication with the Divine is reinforced by the automatic
response of present-day pious Christians to a similar scene, as if
revisiting the most ancient points of contact experienced by the
Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, Indians, and others.)

The three got out of their car to see the craft more closely, but

Colby Landrum was frightened and wanted to stay in the relative
safety of the car. The damage, however, had been done. All three
had been exposed to whatever was emanating or radiating outward
from the craft. Even the surface of their car became extremely hot to
the touch.

It was then that the Chinook-like helicopters showed up and

hovered in a kind of formation near the craft. The flames shooting
out from the bo om of the craft increased in intensity as it began to

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rise and move away, with the helicopters following it. The entire
episode took about twenty minutes.

The three returned home, but there were other witnesses

(including a police officer and his wife), and they confirmed the
story about the fleet of helicopters. The la er was an important
element, for it suggested US military involvement in the episode. But
Be y Cash and Vicky Landrum almost immediately began to
develop serious physical symptoms, including nausea, diarrhea,
weird growths on their scalps and elsewhere, and burns: what
appeared to be radiation sickness.  Their symptoms multiplied and
got worse, and eventually Be y Cash and Vicky Landrum lost their
jobs because they were unable to work and their medical bills were
becoming astronomical. Be y Cash got the worst of it, as she was the
one who stood in front of her car and was closest to the source of the
flames. Alopecia also set in: their hair started falling out.

The Cash-Landrum case, as it became known, resulted in their

$  million lawsuit against the US Government for damages that led
to their illness being dismissed because the witnesses could not
prove that the device that caused their injuries was in fact made
and/or operated by the US Government. Because the various
branches of military service all denied that the helicopters were
theirs—and investigation showed that they belonged to no other
organization or corporate entity—and they professed no knowledge
of the diamond-shaped craft at the center of the affair, the episode
therefore could not have been the fault of the government or the
military. Thus the radiation sickness suffered by all three of the
Cash-Landrum victims was caused by an unknown craft. In other
words, by a UFO.

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In a stunning presentation before a conference in Las Vegas on

June  , 

, Dr. Hal Puthoff (laser physicist, specialist in space

propulsion and alternate energy research, adviser to NASA and
other government agencies for more than fifty years, one of the
pioneers in the field of remote viewing, and a vice president of the
To The Stars Academy) actually explained how this type of radiation
sickness results from an anomalous vehicle—i.e., a UFO—“up-
shifting” from infrared light to visible light in a specially engineered

So, in fact the infrared that you don’t ordinarily see can get blue
shifted up into the visible, so it’s not surprising that all these
craft should be so luminous. Now the downside from all of this
is the fact that visible light, which doesn’t have any particularly
harmful effects, gets blue shifted up into the ultraviolet, so if
you get too close to a landed craft you might get a sunburn, or
off into the soft X-ray regions, so there’s a chance of radiation

If you run across one of these si ing on the ground and it’s
powered up, I recommend you don’t rush up.

The biological markers that researchers like Dr. Garry Nolan, Dr.

Kit Green, Dr. Hal Puthoff, and others have been studying are
tangible evidence of contact between human beings and the
Phenomenon, and the biological, neurological, and genetic traces left
by this contact may tell us a great deal about the Phenomenon that
even videos of aerial pursuits and gun camera footage may not. It’s

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the “Man” variable in Sekret Machines; it’s the Phenomenon leaving
fingerprints at the scene of the crime.

 Angela Hind, “Alien Thinking,” BBC News, 

/ / ,

h p:// /hi/uk_news/magazine/


. Retrieved January 


 Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Speech before the United Nations, November


 Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Speech before the United Nations, November


 John G. Fuller, The Interrupted Journey: Two Lost Hours “Aboard a

Flying Saucer,” The Dial Press, New York, 

, from which the basic

outline of this story is derived.

 John Mack quoted in Missy Daniel, “John E. Mack: The Psychiatrist

and Biographer Addresses Human Encounters with Aliens,”
Publishers Weekly,   April 

, pp.  – .

 Dr. James McDonald was a physicist who testified before the US

Congress in 

 on the reality of the UFO Phenomenon and was

ridiculed mercilessly for it. He took his own life in 


 As an aside, one may note that a biomarker such as a burn from

too-close contact with the Phenomenon may have been referenced in
the Bible, in Exodus  , where Moses comes down from Mount Sinai
after spending time with God, unaware that his face is shining so
brightly that he is forced to wear a veil to cover it. The Hebrew word
for this condition—ן ַ֛רָק—is so rare that it appears nowhere else in the

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 As another aside, one of the most famous individuals associated

with the alleged New Orleans–based conspiracy to assassinate
President Kennedy—David Ferrie—also suffered from alopecia,
which is why he often pasted on fake eyebrows as well as wore a
wig. Ferrie had been a pilot for Eastern Airlines, but we do not know
why or how he developed alopecia. This is only of interest because
two other characters from the conspiracy cabal—former FBI SAC
Guy Banister and Fred Crisman—had a background in UFOs dating

 and the Kenneth Arnold and Maury Island affairs. See

Levenda, Sinister Forces: The Nine, for more information on this
bizarre series of coincidences.

 Dr. Hal Puthoff, presentation before the SSE/IRVA (Society for

Scientific Exploration/International Remote Viewing Association),
June  , 

, in Las Vegas, NV. Transcript available on the website of

the Paradigm Research Institute,

h p://

/ / /dr-hal-

puthoff-presentation-at-the-sse-irva-conference-las-vegas-nv- -


, Retrieved June  , 


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I broke open the door of the house of life, without knowing or
caring what might pass forth or enter in. . . . I played with
energies which I did not understand, and you have seen the
ending of it.

— Arthur Machen, The Great God Pan








aspects of the Phenomenon, from UFOs to spirit possession to
science fiction and fantasy. In the popular culture we had the films
E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (the la er boasting
prominent French astrophysicist and Ufologist Jacques Vallée as a
consultant). We also had the first installment of the Star Wars saga.
We were being told that the alien presence on Earth actually may be
benign, from the cuddly alien in E.T. to the vastly intelligent, if not a
li le manipulative, aliens from Close Encounters. The aliens in these
films may not have been purely angelic, but they were far from evil
and hardly threatening.

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However, we were still reeling from the ideas presented in

another genre of films. Movies like The Exorcist (based on the best-
selling book by William Peter Bla y and “based on a true story”)
and The Omen were telling us that our children were either being
possessed by demonic forces or were vehicles for the Devil himself.
Aliens were non-denominational, but demons were all Christian. In
fact, they were Roman Catholic! The Rituale Romanum (the basic
ritual text of the Catholic Church) was used to exorcise the li le
bastards regardless of the human victim’s own religion or lack of
same. “The power of Christ compels you!”

It was not so much a factor of demons being Christian or an

invention of Christianity as it was an extension of Christian power
over beings that had once been gods or paranormal presences in pre-
Christian, pre-Abrahamic, times. The demon in The Exorcist
famously was identified with Pazuzu, an ancient Babylonian demon
who was held responsible for famine and plagues of locusts but also
was used to defend a home against a acks of the lamaštu: female
demons who preyed on pregnant women and newborn babies. In
fact, images of Pazuzu from the first millennium BCE are remarkably
similar to those of demons in the popular imagination: a hideous
expression, wings, talons, the tail of a scorpion, and even a serpent
for a penis.

Some of this mid- to late-twentieth-century anxiety over aliens

and angels may be due to the fact that the Vietnam War was coming
to an end, and with it the counterculture optimism of the Sixties. The
Watergate scandal had just begun, and the combination of these two
ideas—political demons and demonic politicians—led some to
believe that our leaders could not be trusted. To some, it also

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implied that our children—the Flower Power hippies of Woodstock
who morphed into the violent bikers of Altamont—were evil. They
were the enemy, conduits for the Devil’s sinister plans. The
ignominious end of the Vietnam conflict, with its searing image of
desperate people clinging to helicopters leaving the roof of the US
Embassy in Saigon, signaled the possibility of a weakness in the
American psyche, some heretofore undetected flaw in the American
dream. Nixon and Kissinger had promised Americans “peace with
honor.” What they got instead was the fall of Saigon and the killing
fields of Cambodia. This catastrophic failure of military
interventionism in Southeast Asia would be reprised in the equally
disastrous campaign in Iraq more than twenty-five years later.

By the 

s, the continued public interest (and official US

government disinterest) in the UFO Phenomenon was further
inflamed by a new twist. The ca le mutilations of the American West
and reports of alien abductions everywhere began to shift perception
of aliens as feel-good older brothers dedicated to our survival to
amoral sociopaths tinkering with our DNA, implanting tracking
devices, and . . . well, probing. The sexual deviance our ancestors
expected from congress with the Devil—including the infamous
succubi and incubi, demons who (respectively) visited unsuspecting
men in their sleep and stole their semen, then impregnated women
with the stolen semen and in the process created “hybrids”—now
manifested in a most unexpected form: those that the most famous
alien abductee, Whitley Strieber, calls the “Visitors.”

How much of this was due to some kind of psychological

dysfunction in the American psyche, and how much had a more
tangible origin in the UFO Phenomenon itself? The problem became

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more complex, since reasonable people were ready to accept the
reality of UFOs based on the preponderance of evidence—a
mountain of it growing every day—but balked at accepting the idea
that “space aliens” or “li le green men” were abducting human
beings in the middle of the night and experimenting on them. The
whole alien abduction scenario was poised to submerge the entire
UFO field by associating it with claims that were much more
difficult to swallow than was the possibility of advanced aviation
technology in the sky. Those who insist on a real-world explanation
of UFOs—even extending to the extraterrestrial hypothesis that they
are craft piloted by beings from another planet—have a hard time
dealing with its corollary: that these same beings land, walk through
walls, abduct human beings from their beds, experiment upon them,
abuse them sexually, implant devices in their bodies, and return
them to their homes only to abduct them again at some random time
in the future.

Then there were those who insisted that the two phenomena—

UFOs and alien abductions—were not related at all. The alien
abduction phenomenon was linked to religious hysteria, shamanic-
type experiences, or simply to psychological disorders, and therefore
had nothing to do with flying saucers. The scenarios that some
abductees reported of aliens, spaceships, and the like was considered
to be culturally inspired rather than an expression of what actually
transpired. In other words, today it’s aliens in flying saucers, but
yesterday it was witches on broomsticks. There is a core experience
among humans that is reported differently depending on the era and
the culture within which it takes place.

And that is exactly what we have been saying in this project.

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The experience of religious figures, gods, angels, demons, jinn,

may be expressions of contact with the Visitors. Therefore, alien
abduction and experiences of contact with demonic forces are
cognates: they are referring to a singular experience that is described
differently by different people from different backgrounds.
Therefore UFOs and alien abductions are related. They may be a
step or two removed from each other (we don’t understand the
mechanism yet) but these “otherworldly” experiences derive from
the same source.

As humans, we perform certain mental functions of which we are

usually unaware. Our mind—our consciousness—sets up
relationships between phenomena that might not exist in any kind of
Newtonian context. We manufacture meaning and connections. Carl
G. Jung called synchronicity (coincidence) an “acausal connecting
principle.” That pre y much sums up how most of us understand
the world we live in.

The experience of the UFO is one such example of how we think

and interpret our reality. Basically speaking, a UFO is nothing more
than a machine that appears and disappears according to laws and
motivations that are unknown to us. A sekret machine. There is no
reason to assume that every UFO we see is actually piloted by some
being inside of it. Many of them, perhaps most of them, may be
completely empty. They may not even be material the way we
understand the term. Some are, of course, if eyewitnesses are to be
believed and there are enough solid cases to enable us to state this
with confidence. Some may be the equivalent of unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs), or drones. Some may be holographic images that
are projected onto our world by a device unknown to us. There are

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many possible explanations, but few of them require beings that are
using the UFOs as transport. Yet, because we associate flying
machines with human operators, we assume that all UFOs have
operators, albeit “alien” operators. We assume the UFO is a
transportation device like an airplane or a helicopter, and not
something completely different. These are logical conclusions, but
they’re based on too many assumptions rather than on the evidence.
Since the civilian public is largely denied access to the evidence, the
basis upon which their conclusions are drawn is reduced to
speculation and assumption. Then an actual experience happens to
one or more of them and—absent any academic, scientific,
governmental, or military authority—they are forced to interpret it

When that happens, interpretation becomes representation;

speculation becomes revelation.

This relinquishing of authority on behalf of trusted institutions

may serve a short-term goal (kicking the proverbial can down the
road, leaving the problem to some other group or organization to
deal with at some later date), but in the long term it has eroded
public confidence in the ability of the state or its component parts to
inform, protect, and defend them. Prior to the December 
revelations concerning existence of the Pentagon’s Advanced
Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP; the special
Pentagon program that studies UFOs), the state had been able to
contend with this situation through its ridicule of Ufology or by
issuing blanket denials. Now, however, a tipping point has been
reached, and this strategy is no longer viable. Too many individuals
in government and industry with specific knowledge of the

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Phenomenon have come forward in recent years, and especially

. In addition, too many individuals have been exposed to

the Phenomenon and, in the Internet age, they are communicating
with each other and forming their own opinions and strategies.

We’ve been here before. In the European Middle Ages, the

response of the state (and the church) may have had more to do with
ignorance of the nature of the Phenomenon than with an articulated
policy mixing denial with ridicule. In fact, the general response was
one of panic, hysteria, and fear. There was a paradigm within which
to interpret the Phenomenon, however misguided, and it was Us
versus Them, or more correctly God (and his church, and his state)
versus the Devil (which included anything, any phenomena, which
could not be explained or measured within that paradigm).
Individuals were arrested, tried, tortured, and in many cases put to
death on charges of having contact with the Devil. In addition, the
material possessions of the accused were seized, which revealed a
monetary aspect to the Inquisition and exposed a cynical dimension
that had nothing to do with the spiritual war of good versus evil (or
human versus alien) but rather an economic war of the state versus
the people.

This is something to keep in mind when we examine the political

implications of the Phenomenon. To study its history as purely one
of technology, or of spirituality and consciousness, or of military-
type conflict is to ignore its complexity; not only the complexity of its
intrinsic nature, but also the complexity of its interrelationship with
human institutions.

Over the years the US Air Force has stated that UFOs pose no

threat to national security, which is why no resources have been

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devoted to tracking them, analyzing sightings, etc. Yet there have
been many reports of UFOs harassing nuclear installations on the
one hand or terrifying the civilian population on the other (alien
abduction scenarios, radiation-type burns, and so on). In one case, in
the Soviet Union, a missile installation was so badly compromised
that it could have led to World War III.  In another case, in the
United States, the nuclear missiles at one base were taken off-line at
the time of a UFO overflight.  It would seem that these cases would
merit a “national security” concern, but until recently there had been
no evidence forthcoming from the government or the military of
either country that such was the case. Until the December 
announcement in the mainstream media of the existence of AATIP
there had been no acknowledgment that “Yes, this is a dangerous
phenomenon with the capability of instigating global nuclear
conflict; we have to begin a serious study with the goal of protecting
our citizens.”

In the case of the witchcraft hysteria in Europe during the Middle

Ages, witches were considered a threat to the state as well as to the
church. This is why instruments of the state were employed during
the Inquisition to identify, arrest, imprison, torture, and execute
those suspected of trafficking with the Devil. “For rebellion is as the
sin of witchcraft” (  Samuel  : ): i.e., rebellion against the moral
authority of the church (witchcraft) was identified with rebellion
against the state (treason). Thus, contact with alien powers did have
a national security implication that was consistent with the Catholic
worldview that predominated in Europe at that time. Secular leaders
derived their moral authority to rule from the church, and the
church was the institution that determined the legitimacy of

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paranormal phenomena. It also determined what was, and was not,
acceptable in the scientific realm (as seen in the trials of Galileo,
Giordano Bruno, etc.). So the Church was able to say that
paranormal phenomena existed (making an essentially scientific
statement concerning the reality of phenomena experienced by the
people) but that they were the work of the Devil (a spiritual
judgment, warning people of the dangers of trafficking with the
phenomena as well as the punishments that would ensue).

It is important to realize that “reality” was a fluid concept before

the scientific revolution arrogated to scientists the final word. Reality
was composed of both natural and spiritual phenomena, with
religious concepts at the heart of the worldview. The very word real
is problematic, for it derives from an Indo-European root that has
given Romance languages, for instance Spanish, the word real as in
“royal” as well as real for “reality,” thus leading us to understand
that “reality” was whatever the “royal” said it was. Reality, in this
case, is not what we experience; reality is a social construct of
science, technology, and cultural a itudes that has been crafted by
specialists who are in the employ—via government grants—of the
state, i.e., of the “royalty,” and which can change considerably from
culture to culture, society to society.

Civilian authorities realize, however, that personal experience

can be in conflict with—or entirely opposed to—what the state
considers “reality.” That is where the relatively new discipline of
psychology comes in. Psychology picks up where religion left off: it
fills a vacuum created by the scientific revolution. Psychologists can
point to behavioral motivations, unconscious states, instincts left
over from an earlier, prehistoric age, etc., as the malleable and

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therefore faulty mechanisms that cause us to see things that are not
there, in the sense that they are not part of the sanctioned reality of
science and state. Love—which for Marsilio Ficino, Giordano Bruno,
and so many others of the Renaissance and the centuries since then
was a force of nature, a magical emotion that effected
communication and influence across time and space, even “spooky
action at a distance”—became something entirely personal, i.e.,
psychological, and incapable of being measured. Love was analyzed
as being the result of a complex of hormones, pheromones, and
deep-seated, unresolved psychological conflicts and neuroses, of
which Freud’s Oedipal and Electra complexes serve as examples. In
their zeal to be accepted as scientists, since science is the only game
in town, psychologists a empted to impose standards of
measurement and predictability onto the human mind, resulting—
after World War II—in the first-ever Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders
 (DSM- ).

Many do not realize that the DSM was not the brainchild of

psychologists doing pure science but was the result of a mandate
from the United States Department of Defense. The idea behind the
DSM was to discover a way to defeat a empts by soldiers who were
seeking ways of escaping active duty by claiming shell shock or
other traumatic conditions. The Army had no legal way of knowing
if the soldiers were faking mental disorders, and they were in
desperate need of having as many soldiers as possible return to the
field. Thus the DSM was born, bringing a degree of respectability to
the soft science of psychology—or at least acceptance of it by the

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In the old days, paranormal phenomena could be addressed and

identified by the church, which would then take appropriate
measures to counteract their effects. There was a defense against
demons and witches and their hybrid offspring: exorcisms, the Holy
Mass or Divine Liturgy, prayers, holy water, the sanctuary of the
church. Until recently, paranormal phenomena in the modern age
had no defense; the split between the authority of the church and
that of the state is pre y well defined, with the state having the
upper hand through its surrogate, the scientific establishment. Thus,
paranormal phenomena were deemed not to exist, to have no reality:
what is called paranormal is the result of delusion, ignorance of
scientific principles, psychopathology, or just simple credulity. Thus,
there is no defense against it.

Or, to put it another way, since there is no defense against the

paranormal—including all aspects of the UFO Phenomenon—then it
does not exist. Problem solved.

While Europe in the fifteenth century might have been obsessed

with ideas of succubi and incubi, witches, and Devil worship, other
parts of the world believed that nonhuman beings existed at the
fringes of “reality.” Among the Arab populations of the Middle East
and North Africa there was—and still is—a belief in the existence of
the jinn. The jinn (from which we get the English word genie) are
corporeal, they reproduce, they have free will, and they live much
the way human beings do, but they are beings composed of a
“smokeless fire.” Some of the jinn even have converted to Islam,
according to Islamic tradition. Indeed, some of the figures known as
demons—such as Satan or Shaytan (known in Islam as Iblis)—are
actually evil jinn. This not only shows a point of connection between

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Islamic tradition and Christian beliefs but also shares some common
ground with alien abduction scenarios in which the aliens are
perceived much the same way that Muslims perceive the evil jinn, as
well as with the school of thought among some Evangelical
Christian groups that aliens (as popularly understood) are actually

But are “aliens” the same thing as “extraterrestrials,” i.e., actual

beings from another planet? A number of recent books have
popularized the idea that aliens are extraterrestrial beings:
grotesquely sinister creatures who are either hostile to humans or
simply behave in ways that are dangerous to humans. The famous
physicist Stephen Hawking even went so far as to warn us against
commerce with extraterrestrials,  and for good reason. We have no
way of knowing how an extraterrestrial race would interact with
Earthly humanity. The possibilities for communication would
appear to be nonexistent. A race evolving on another planet and
subject to entirely different environmental conditions would not
possess the same set of sensory instruments (ears, eyes, mouth) that
we do, and could—if they existed at all—be composed entirely
differently and would interpret different data and different stimuli.
Their somatic structures would be so different from ours as to render
any identification of humans as similar beings almost impossible.
They might see us the way we see insects, or animals, or plants—if
they see us at all. We have no idea if concepts like empathy or
sympathy would exist among beings of another planet; if they don’t,
then we can’t expect an extraterrestrial race to care about what they
do to us.

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This is the official, NASA-sponsored opinion as represented by a

study they commissioned and published in 

. Titled Archaeology,

Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication, it was edited by
Douglas A. Vakoch (director of interstellar message composition at
the SETI Institute and a professor of clinical psychology at the
California Institute of Integral Studies) and included essays by
sixteen contributors on subjects ranging from SETI (the search for
extraterrestrial intelligence) to the archaeology of the ancient Greeks
and the Maya to ethnology, evolution, and culture. The consensus
among the scholars consulted was that communication between the
human race and an extraterrestrial race would be virtually
impossible, due to the conditions mentioned previously.

This implies that even colonization would be impossible. A look

at world history of the last few thousand years reveals that although
a nation could colonize another on the other side of the world, a
modicum of communication was necessary to do so. The Dutch may
not have been fluent in the Indonesian languages when they arrived
in Java, for instance, but they found there human beings like
themselves with needs and desires so similar that learning their
language was facilitated (and, of course, so was their colonization

What is more likely in an ET visitation scenario is what

happened when Europeans colonized the Americas.

In that case the Native Americans were considered to be

nonhuman, at least by the English and many other European
commentators. This was due to the fact that there was no mention of
the Native American “race” in the Bible; hence, the “Indians” must

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be devils. This was an excuse to engage in one of the modern world’s
most infamous campaigns of genocide.

To the Spanish conquistadors, the Native Americans might have

been human, but they surely weren’t Christian. Thus, the indigenous
inhabitants of Mexico and the lands south were forced to convert to
Catholicism or die. It was not only necessary to accept the secular
authority of the church, but to adopt its spiritual worldview: to
abandon traditional culture, to take new names, to close the door on
direct communication with the Other and to leave all of that to the

Race and religion were used as rationales for the enslavement or

annihilation of the Native American populations of both North and
South America. The race issue was probably the worst-case scenario;
although one could, theoretically, convert to another religion, one
cannot “convert” to another race, much less to the human race from
a race of demons. We have to assume, therefore, that an
extraterrestrial race arriving on our planet could have the same
a itude toward us. The popular literature that characterizes aliens as
demons could as easily be understood in reverse: that human beings
are the demons and the aliens are the real humans. Wouldn’t an
outside observer, coming to our planet for the first time and seeing
how we slaughter each other and the planet with reckless abandon—
like three-dimensional characters out of a painting by Hieronymus
Bosch—come to that same conclusion?

Or would they see us as a race of termites, slowly destroying the

home we live in and deserving only of extermination before the
whole house comes down?

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 ▼ ▼

In the end, the anthropologists hired by NASA to contribute to their
study on alien-human interspecies communications entirely ignored
an important and vocal demographic: those human beings who
claim, year after year, that they have indeed communicated with
aliens. In fact, literature of this type goes back thousands of years.
What is required is a scientific appraisal of those communications—
from the point of view that it represents something real and not the
ignorant delusions of pre-technological peoples—in order to isolate
some common denominators, not only in message but in the
transmission of those messages, thus contributing to the overall
discussion in ways that officialdom has yet to appreciate.

Thou Shalt Not Suffer a (Witch, Alien,

Contactee) to Live

How did we used to handle contactee reports?

Beginning about the fifteenth century, European Catholics saw

the dissemination of official information concerning the Devil in the
so-called Witchcraft Manuals. This began with the Malleus
 (“Hammer of the Witches”) of Heinrich Kramer and
James Sprenger, published circa 

. Kramer and Sprenger were

Inquisitors, members of the Dominican order, and highly educated.
They were famous as witch hunters, and in that capacity generated
the Malleus Maleficarum for the use not only of Catholics but also
Protestants, for witchcraft was of grave concern to everyone in

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To the Inquisition, there was a human agency at work in the

phenomena they faced: dead and mutilated ca le, illnesses of
unknown origin, the constant reports of succubi and incubi, and the
Witches’ Sabbat. To the Inquisitors, the human intermediary
between the paranormal and polite society was the witch.

The witch could be male or female, but was assumed to be female

in most cases. Witchcraft was used to explain all sorts of events that
today would be considered as having natural causes: unwanted
pregnancies, the plague, dead cows, spoiled milk. The fact that
superstition can be used to explain away most of the reaction to
these events does not address the underlying terror that witchcraft
represented. Something was going on and, like today, perhaps   to

 percent of cases can be explained by natural phenomena or other

—nonparanormal—causes; but that leaves the   percent, or less, for
which there was no rational explanation.

Today there is no one in the UFO community who would claim

that sightings are the result of witchcraft, or that alien abduction
scenarios reflect the Witches’ Sabbat.  In other words, human
agency in these events has been ruled out as a contributing factor. In
fifteenth-century Europe, however, virtually all paranormal
phenomena were believed to be the result of spiritual forces at work
in the world through human agents: the witches. This resulted in a
purge of those who were believed to be cooperating with these
spiritual forces or who had some special contact with them.

The Witches’ Sabbat is a perfect example of a fifteenth-century

perspective on twentieth-century alien abduction. In the fifteenth-
century version a human being—usually a woman, but sometimes a
man—goes to sleep and wakes up at a great distance from her

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bedroom in a group of humans and demons, usually in a desolate
area remote from human habitation. Sometimes there is only one
demon—the Devil himself—who performs sexually with the victim
(i.e., the witch) or who expects sexual favors from the victim. In
many cases the victim has flown through the air to the Sabbat; in
other cases she simply goes to sleep at home and wakes up at the
Sabbat. At the end of the meeting, the woman either returns to her
bed by flying through the air or simply wakes up the next morning.

What is generally forgo en about the “confessions” elicited from

“witches” under torture is the fact that many of the self-confessed
witches did not find the Sabbat pleasurable. In fact, they recoiled
from the act of intercourse with the Devil for various reasons. In
some cases—at least, according to the Witchcraft Manuals—they
were made to kiss the Devil’s bu ocks as a sign of obedience and
loyalty. In other cases they were penetrated by the Devil, whose
member was said to be icy cold.

The benefits derived from being a witch were somewhat pathetic

for all of that. One would expect worldly powers of a scale seen in
the film The Omen: the ability to cause wars and global
conflagrations. Instead, a witch usually was accused of poisoning a
neighbor’s ca le, causing the milk to spoil (evidently a major issue at
the time, if the Manuals are to be believed), or of more dire actions
such as causing infants to be stillborn or, if they were born healthy,
of ensuring their deaths shortly thereafter. That is all they were able
to achieve for their a endance at Sabbats and kissing the Devil’s
hindquarters, risking as well their eventual discovery by the
Inquisition and certain torture and death.

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Eventually it was realized that human agency did not play such

an important role in the witchcraft phenomena. Even in the
infamous case of the Salem, Massachuse s, witch trials (

), in

which dozens of persons, mostly women, were accused of
witchcraft, and nineteen of them executed, the political authorities
finally realized that they had had enough and called a halt to the
entire proceedings. What is fascinating to learn about this episode is
that Tituba—the West Indian slave who generally is blamed for
having started the Salem witchcraft hysteria—was released from
prison and went on to live a normal life after the trials and
executions were over.  Even Tituba, with her tales of sorcery and
spells and flying to Sabbats—and including a Man in Black(!)—was
exonerated because it was believed that she had no influence over
the paranormal events that took place at Salem (although no other
explanation was given).

Today we have ca le mutilations that are inexplicable and are

often thought to be the result of nonhuman interference (as the
evidence clearly suggests, and as our own highly placed informants
agree). We have alien abductions that share many elements in
common with the traditional Witches’ Sabbat, from flying through
the air to sexual penetration with a cold instrument. The difference
today is that we do not accuse human beings of causing these
phenomena but of being victimized by them.

That approach might have something to do with politics.

Witchcraft was inexplicably linked with politics.

—Montague Summers

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The alliance between governments and science proved to be a

two-edged sword. In the beginning of the scientific revolution
secular governments could rely on the world of science to provide
advanced weaponry as well as improved methods of navigation,
manufacturing, metallurgy, medicine, and chemistry. While
religious institutions might have been suspicious of science and
scientists, the kings and nobles could not afford to ignore the tools—
the technology—that were the fruit of scientific research and
scrupulous adherence to the scientific method, which (ostensibly)
did not allow of ideological influences; rather, it was based on
evidence, on observable and measurable facts. That meant there was
no room for witches and demons in the hallowed halls of rationality.
The more the invisible forces were sidelined, explained away, or
ridiculed, the less the church could enforce its authoritarian will over
the people.

Gradually religion came to be located in a specific box, or

category, of human experience with li le or no contact with the
other boxes. The worldview represented by the scientific revolution
was that of the waking world; the world of sleep and dreams was
surrendered easily to the church. Even philosophers were hard at
work developing systems of thought and categories of knowledge
that had nothing to do with the God of the Hebrews or the Jesus of
the Christians, much less the pantheons of Africa, India, China, or
the indigenous populations of the New World and the Old.

By the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, the church was

under increasing a ack from the scientists, or at least it seemed that
way. Darwin’s theories challenged the Biblical history of creation;
archaeological digs in Egypt and the Middle East threatened Biblical

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authority over the history of ancient civilizations. People who were
not priests and not even Catholic or any other kind of Christian were
making statements about the world, about reality, and about human
origins that were not sanctioned by spiritual authority. A ention
was drawn to the “mysterious East” with a growing fad concerning
all things “Oriental” and correspondingly non-Christian. Helena
Blavatsky was in Central Asia and India; Alexandra David-Neel was
trekking to Tibet. If the church and the Protestant Reformation had
somehow failed to deliver the spiritual goods to Europeans (had
failed to stand up to the scientists), then India, Tibet, and China were
the last resorts, which implied (but actually never accomplished) an
eventual je isoning of Western values altogether.

Why didn’t the world—at least, the Western world—simply

surrender to the bland blandishments of the scientific worldview
and abandon its a raction to spirituality when it was obvious that
the scientists had the fancier toys and the stronger arguments? Why
did Westerners want it both ways? Why this insistence on the
mysterious, the esoteric, the occult, when science was shining a light
into all the dark corners?

While historians have tried to give various explanations for the

survival of spirituality (i.e., “superstition”) well into the twenty-first
century, and as atheists have published everything from irritated
manifestos to entire volumes dedicated to the subject, one essential
element of the problem is often overlooked: the close association
between governments and scientific establishments replaced the
close associations that had existed previously between governments
and religious establishments.

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The twentieth century saw the rise of a political system that took

this position to its logical conclusion, one that was determinedly
anti-religious and atheistic: communism. The Soviet Union officially
downgraded the role that religion—in this case, the Russian
Orthodox Church—would play in the new system. Membership in
the Communist Party would be jeopardized by church affiliation.
The same was true in Mao Ze Dong’s China. Atheism was a
prerequisite for Party membership, and Party membership was a
prize to be won and cherished. Science, and especially technology,
was elevated above everything else. In the communist system the
state owns the means of production, whether factories or farmland,
hammer or sickle. The church produces nothing, so it has no value
for the state; participation in religious services is a waste of time and
human capital, and thus of productivity. Church buildings were
seized and turned into offices or museums. Church officials were
murdered, or sentenced to hard labor, or pressed into service to the

One result of this policy was the loss of any mechanism through

which to interpret or manage the Phenomenon. With the
suppression of religion came the accompanying suppression of any
constructive means of addressing what everyone knew to be true:
that the Phenomenon exists, and that even in Mother Russia there
were unidentified flying objects buzzing nuclear weapons silos and
almost causing World War III.

In Western countries, of course, the same events were taking

place, but because there was no censorship of the press, the reports
of UFOs, ca le mutilations, and alien abductions would appear in
both mainstream and “fringe” media. The scientists and skeptics in

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the West could blame gullible persons for these sightings and
ridicule their insistence that the Phenomenon is real: a form of
censorship by sarcasm. In communist countries, the problem was
somewhat different.

Censorship meant that many of these reports could be

suppressed by the state, and they were. It also implied, however,
that what sightings were reported were the result of actual
observation and could not be blamed on superstitious witnesses.
After all, the Soviet Union was a country in which no superstition
(officially) remained. That put Soviet science in the awkward
position of having to explain the Phenomenon in scientific terms.
Scientists permi ed only two possible scenarios: mistakes by
untrained observers who did not understand that what they were
seeing were natural phenomena, or in some cases rocket launches for
which there had been no advance announcements—this being the
Soviet Union, after all—and which were mistaken for balls of light,
etc. They had to entertain the “ETH” (extraterrestrial hypothesis) just
for the sake of completeness, but they had no confidence in that

Like their American counterparts, they went to great lengths to

prove that the vast majority of UFO sightings were explainable (and
in most cases the result of secret missile tests). Of course, they were
still left with a small percentage that remained unexplained, and the
ratios are surprisingly similar between the US and the USSR. For
both, more than   percent were explained as natural phenomena,
weather balloons, astronomical events, and identifiable flying objects
such as advanced aircraft or rocket launches, leaving   percent (or
less) as genuine unidentified flying objects, though with a great deal

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of official certainty that they did not represent extraterrestrial

In fact, the Soviets did not even use the term or the acronym

“UFO” due to its suspect American origin. Rather, they preferred the
term “paranormal phenomena,” a phrasing that suggests they
situated UFOs within the broader field of “rejected knowledge.”
Published reports by Russian experts after the fall of the Soviet
Union imply that the UFO Phenomenon in the Soviet Union was
nowhere near as pervasive as that in the West (and especially the
United States) and that they had no alien abduction cases at all. This
led them to opine (humorously) that aliens obviously were not
interested in kidnapping Russian citizens. The implication, however,
was more serious: it was a critique of the entire field of Ufology as a
peculiarly Western (and hence decadent) form of mental aberration.
Reports of “flying saucers” were due to the credulity and weak-
mindedness of Western peoples, who were known for their
superstitious and unscientific a itudes.

Unfortunately, however, the hubris of the Soviet experts had

li le support in reality. The collective hallucinations of the Russian
military and intelligence classes share a lot in common with those of
their Western counterparts. There were alien abduction cases
reported in the former Soviet Union. There were close encounters
that would eventually be included in the voluminous files of
Western UFO research groups. In fact, the presence of UFOs over
Soviet military bases became so well known, and to an extent
predictable, that methods were developed by the Soviet military to
determine whether communication with these objects was possible.
Thus, to insist that the Phenomenon is a culturally conditioned hoax

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or delusion is to ignore the evidence. Interpretation of the
Phenomenon may very well be the result of prevailing cultural
a itudes—either in purely “religious” terms or purely “scientific”
terms or even some uneasy combination of the two—but the
Phenomenon does exist and does challenge the resources of
governments both capitalist and communist, democratic and
totalitarian. And when unidentified aerial phenomena can be
observed as radar traces, or when their presence coincides with
advanced technology malfunctioning, then cultural a itudes—
claims of religious mania, ignorance, gullibility, mass hallucination
—are virtually worthless.

After all, machines do not hallucinate.

 ▼ ▼

There are those who wish to extricate the “alien” hypothesis and its
associated reports from the purely mechanical aspect of the
Phenomenon, insisting that two entirely different phenomena are
involved. The former, they insist, has more in common with
mythology, psychology, and religion than it does with the actual
flying objects themselves. If only one could study and examine the
UFOs without any of the messy associations of humanoids, or Small
Grays or Tall Nordics, etc., then maybe some progress could be
made. The craft are not necessarily piloted the way we understand it.
They may not even be under conscious control. Why posit an alien
si ing at the instrument panel? Who says there is anyone in there at

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Part of the problem began with Dr. J. Allen Hynek. He proposed

what would become the famous “close encounter” system.

A close encounter of the first kind was a simple sighting of a

UFO at close range, up to 

 feet away. The machine itself.

A close encounter of the second kind was an effect the UFO

seemed to have on electronic equipment or other traces such as
electrical, chemical, physical, etc. Again, only the machine itself is
the subject of this type of encounter.

A close encounter of the third kind, however, is when a creature

is observed, such as a robot, a humanoid, etc. In other words, an
“alien” of some kind. At this point the connection is made between
the machine and an entity associated with the machine, implying
conscious control of the Phenomenon. Thus, what Hynek has done is
assume that the appearance of “aliens” and the observations of the
machines themselves are linked. There is a kind of continuum of
escalating revelation from seeing a machine or device of some kind
unknown to human technology to the effects the machine’s presence
has on mechanical and biological material in its vicinity and then,
suddenly, a leap to the infamous “li le green men.” One could argue
that the “close encounter of the third kind” was totally unnecessary
to Hynek’s scheme; that those who saw aliens wandering around the
vicinity of UFOs were of a different category of witness altogether
than those who saw unidentified flying objects that left radar and
other traces that demonstrated their objective reality.

In other words, are we projecting our own idea of “man and

machine” onto a phenomenon that has nothing to do with how we
understand machines? Do we see aliens because we need to see
them, need to understand the Phenomenon as deliberate,

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consciously controlled, mechanically manufactured transportation
devices for the beings who had built them?

Is the “alien” a liminal figure we create in order to get our minds

around the fact that a phenomenon exists for which there is no other
rational explanation? Have we anthropomorphized the Phenomenon
in this way, superimposing a quasi-human face on the mysterious—
the sekret—machine?


 This was the famous Byelokoroviche incident at an IRBM

(Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile) base on October  , 


 This was the equally famous Minot AFB incident of the late 


See the Robert Hastings article on “UFOs and Nukes” in the
MUFON Journal, August 

, or his book by the same name, for

details on these events.

 For instance, in the Discovery Channel program Into the Universe

with Stephen Hawking, April 


 Although there are those in Congress and the military

establishment who are not so sure!

 See for instance Elaine Breslaw, Tituba: Reluctant Witch of Salem,

New York University Press, New York, 

 and Chadwick Hansen,

Witchcraft at Salem, George Braziller, New York, 


 Montague Summers, “Introduction to 

 Edition,” The Malleus

Maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, Dover, New York,

, p. v.

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Among the be er-known of these legends is the one
connected with the name of Elijah of Chelm (middle sixteenth
century). . . . He was reputed to have created a golem from
clay by means of the Sefer Yeirah, inscribing the name of God
upon its forehead, and thus giving it life, but withholding the
power of speech.

— Joshua Trachtenberg









flying objects in ancient history were always associated with
“supernatural” beings of some kind, such as gods, demons, angels,
etc. That association has been made since the time records were first
kept. This is not a new development in the saga of the Phenomenon
but a characterization of it that goes back in time to Ezekiel, the
Mahabharata, the Enuma Elish: the flying objects are piloted. The
pilots are not human, but they are almost human. They speak with
us. They communicate knowledge and wisdom. Or they urge us to
violence. Or they fill us with despair. It’s possible that we have been

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projecting our own image onto the Phenomenon since time
immemorial. That may be the key to understanding it.

In Genesis, we are told that God made human beings in his

“image and likeness.” From that perspective, the human race is a
projection of the mind of God. We are the liminal figures. We exist in
a plane that is partway between the divine and the earthly. The
aliens, then, are wholly Other.

Consider this. According to Jewish and Christian tradition,

angels do not sit. They stand eternally. In fact, angels have no knees.
One of the earliest statements to that effect can be found in a
midrash known as the Genesis Rabbah,  composed about 


This theme was taken up around the same time by Saint John
Chrysostom in his homily based on   Corinthians.  What a strange
image, the angels with no knees. This idea was reinforced by the
merkava and hekhalot literature of early Jewish mysticism dating to
about the same period. In this tradition, the mystic—who has been
successful in rising up the seven heavens to reach the penultimate
stage—sees Metatron si ing on a throne. Because angels do not sit,
the untrained imagination would conclude that Metatron must be
God. That mistake could cost the mystic his life; Metatron is not God
(there are “no two powers in heaven”) but rather the very human
Enoch, the prophet who was taken up bodily into heaven. If one
mistakes Metatron for God, one is slammed back down onto Earth,
never to make the ascent again, for one dies as a result.

During the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church, one

stands for the entire three-hour service. There are no pews, and only
a few folding chairs around the walls for the elderly who are not
able to stand for extended periods of time. Is this in emulation of the

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angels standing eternally around the throne of God who,
presumably, does sit and does have “knees”?

Why is this important, you ask? Because aliens have no knees:

The Small Gray’s body appears frail, with thin limbs and no
musculature or bone structure. There are no “knees” or
“elbows” as such, and legs are the same diameter from the top
of the thigh to the bo om of the calf. Nor are there clearly
defined “ankles or wrists.”

That quote from Bryan fairly accurately reflects the way many

experiencers describe the “Small Gray” type of alien. This is such a
strange detail—yet reflective of ancient Middle Eastern ideas about
angels—that it may be yet another piece of textual evidence of an
actual observation that has been “verified” by more modern
“mystics”: the abductees. The information concerning the angel’s
lack of knees is not something that would be well known or
discussed outside a small circle of religious studies scholars, yet the
observations of nonspecialist citizens are seen here to validate a
concept of which they previously knew nothing.

Indeed, one is hard-pressed to find examples in alien abduction

literature of aliens who sit down. This pose of standing eternally was
understood in Biblical times to mean that the angels were constantly
singing the praises of God and would never presume to sit in front
of Him even if they could. (One could say, half-humorously, that the
angels’ lack of knees was the product of a kind of celestial genetic
selection.) This did not mean that angels could not walk; like the
aliens, their gait would appear somewhat robotic to our eyes, a stiff-

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legged strut like Russian soldiers on parade. Luckily, they had wings
for longer trips!

Angels would appear and disappear at will. They could pass

through walls like the Small Grays, and had many other a ributes in
common with alien stereotypes. High intelligence, a kind of serenity
born of a wisdom with which we humans have no experience,
supernatural power, the ability to know the future, and most
important, their true function—revealed by the Greek version of
their name, angelos—of messenger. Like the aliens, angels arrive with
important information, usually warnings of dire catastrophes to
come. In some cases, albeit rarely, their presence also contributes to
pregnancy, even of women normally considered beyond
childbearing years. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is one such woman
who was visited by an angel and who then became pregnant.
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, conceived the same way,
even though she was advanced in years (Luke  :  – ). The
impregnation of women by aliens is a staple of UFO literature. Then,
of course, we have the case of the “sons of God” and the “daughters
of men” that we discussed at some length in the first book.

While numerous a empts have been made to draw comparisons

between Biblical angels and the aliens of modern experience, the lack
of knees in both species is normally not mentioned. It also should be
noted that nowhere is there a suggestion that angels have
reproductive organs; the same is true of the Grays:

The lower part of their anatomy does not contain any stomach
pouch, or genitals; it just comes to an end.

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If it is held that the angels are responsible in some way for the

impregnation of both Mary and Elizabeth, then an alien abduction
parallel is not too far-fetched. The aliens themselves do not seem to
reproduce in the same fashion as humans or other mammals. Their
impregnation of human females, therefore, must be accomplished in
some other way. Hence the repeated accounts of sterile laboratories
and the aliens “operating” on women, or taking semen from
abducted human males and using it to fertilize the ova of abducted
human females.

Which brings us back to the Middle Ages and the realization that

there is a succubus in the flying saucer:

Abductees see no eating quarters, sleeping quarters, no
evidence of food or drink aboard the crafts. “What do we make
of this? . . . A humanlike figure which under its skin is very,
very different. They do not appear to breathe or ingest food or

Someone from the audience remarks, “Everything you have
described sounds more like machinery than biology
 . . .”  (emphasis

Beings that come from an environment other than our own, who

do not eat or drink, who are different from us in physical
appearance, and onto whom we project supernatural characteristics
can be angels or demons, gods or aliens, or even robots or androids,
because we simply have no earthly frame of reference that makes
any sense. The legend of Oannes—the supernatural being who came
out of the sea in ancient Mesopotamia to instruct the people in

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various arts and sciences—describes a very similar concept.
Oannes did not eat or drink, and this peculiarity was noted by the
chronicler. Oannes was dressed oddly and arrived from the depths
of the sea in his own vehicle. Oannes expected to have the a ention
of the people he encountered; he expected them to listen to him. He
knew that, for all his strangeness, his otherness, he would not be
a acked (or perhaps he was not afraid of being a acked, knowing
that the humans could not harm him). Abductees recall similar
experiences. There is no resistance to the alien presence, perhaps due
to being rendered helpless by alien technology. There is fear,
however, even terror.

Communication takes place via images rather than language as

we understand the term. This comes close to the thinking processes
of those born deaf. Hearing people think in terms of spoken
language, the “voices in your head.” The deaf think in terms of sign
language and images. In the absence of sound, images take on
greater significance and form pa erns of thought. The aliens as
described by abductees communicate with humans the same way,
which is consistent with what we “know” of alien biology—
speaking here of the Small Grays—which does not appear to include
ears or a mouth. If we are to believe the abductee accounts, the
Grays not only think in terms of images but can “transmit” these
images as a form of communication. We would consider this a form
of mental telepathy, but it may be only the result of a
communication method that evolved naturally among beings for
whom speech (in our sense, as a function of sounds as well as
meanings) was not possible.

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The contactee experience often includes warnings and prophecies

coming from the aliens. They do not communicate new technologies
or instruct in arts or sciences. Like the experiences of Old Testament
prophets whose “angels” brought only messages of dire
consequences, the aliens seem to be worried or anxious about the
state of affairs on Earth, perhaps mirroring humans’ own concerns.
While the experience of alien contact or alien abduction is unique
and often characterized as “high strangeness,” the information
collected during these experiences is surprisingly pedestrian.
Warnings of global catastrophes have been a staple of divine
prophecies since the earliest Biblical writings in the West and have
percolated into the popular culture (as, for instance, in both versions
of the film The Day the Earth Stood Still).

There is another aspect of this experience that should not be

overlooked: human beings are themselves treated as if they are

It has been noted that at times experiencers feel that the alien

presences are not organic beings like humans or other mammals.
They are sometimes described as insectoid or reptilian, but at other
times are compared to robots and mechanical devices bearing only a
superficial resemblance to humans or humanoids.

However, these beings—however they are described—seem to

treat human beings as objects. In some cases humans are poked,
prodded, examined with a variety of mechanical or electrical-type
instruments, and then sent back “into the field” to be picked up
again for further study. This intrusion is not limited to the bodies of
the humans they allegedly abduct, but includes their minds as well.
It represents a manipulation of the entire being, which often results

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in the kind of fine-tuning that some abductees report. Human beings
are treated like marione es, as simulacra of autonomous beings,
devices that need fixing or adjusting. It inspires a reversal of roles,
making us the machines and the “aliens” the ones who are the actual
autonomous beings, which is pre y much how the creation epics of
many cultures describe how humans were made, and why.

The human being as golem, or homunculus.

 ▼ ▼

In the Jewish legends surrounding the sixteenth-century Rabbi
Judah Loew of Prague, the Golem is created to defend the Jewish
ghe o from pogroms initiated by Emperor Rudolph II against them.
The Golem—created out of clay like the first humans—is “activated”
by the insertion of a parchment scroll in its head with the word of
God wri en on it.

We may consider this the first implant.
While there is doubt that Rabbi Loew was ever actually involved

in creating a golem, there are legends even more ancient that do
discuss the creation and management of golems.  According to the
Talmud,  Adam himself was created as a golem: a tradition that is
consistent with ancient Sumerian and Babylonian traditions. If
humans are golems, then humans are machines: artificially created
devices manufactured for a specific function. Strange, then, how the
alien abduction scenario often includes accounts of implants. These
are often imagined to be tracking devices, such as those used to tag
animals, but that may be the result of projecting a concept onto the
idea of the implant rather than an evaluation of the device itself. It’s

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possible that aliens have no need of tracking devices. What if the
purpose of these mysterious implants is something far more
ambitious? What if the implant is used to “activate” a human being
in some unexpected fashion?

In the 

s tremendous strides were made in the development

of electrical stimulation of the brain. This work—begun with Dr.
John Lilly but continuing under the CIA’s Office of Research and
Development (ORD)—was designed to enable the remote control of
animals and then humans via an electrode planted in the brain. This
research was augmented by genetic engineering projects that were
years ahead of work being done in the private sector. As investigator
John Marks revealed as early as 


“We looked at the manipulation of genes,” states one of the
researchers. “We were interested in gene splintering. The rest of
the world didn’t ask until 

 the type of questions we were

facing in 

. . . . Everybody was afraid of building the super-

soldier who would take orders without questioning, like the
kamikaze pilot. Creating a subservient society was not out of

The idea of implanting electrodes in human brains to control

behavior comes closer to a potential application of “alien implant”
technology. Jacques Vallée famously analyzes the Phenomenon from
the point of view that it is a “control system.”  What if his
impression is literally true? What if it is a multidisciplinary control
mechanism making use of everything from physically implanted
control instruments to the use of UFO sightings as hypnotic devices
designed to induce trance-like states, like those spinning disks seen

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on old science-fiction shows, or in the opening credits of Twilight
? What makes these admi edly fantastic proposals open to
serious discussion is the fact—the amply documented fact—that the
CIA (among other intelligence agencies in the United States and
around the world) experimented with the ideas of implants,
behavioral control, the manipulation of consciousness, paranormal
research, wiping of memories, etc., as early as the 

s; in other

words, in parallel with the explosion of UFO sightings that had
begun to take place after the end of World War II.

Is it possible that the “MJ” designation used in the (hoaxed?)

Majestic-  documents, which suggested the existence of something
called MJ-  for the study of extraterrestrial life forms, was a
cryptonym only one step removed from the “MK” designation used
for mind control at CIA?

Was MKULTRA an outgrowth of the “MJ” programs (or

something like them) designed to study UFOs?

After all, much of the mind control/behavior control projects of

the military and the CIA came out of the Operation Paperclip
material,  particularly the data that was collected by aviation
medicine pioneers including Dr. Hubertus Strughold and his team of
Nazi scientists. The Nazis were associated with some of the earliest
“flying saucer” prototypes, such as those by the Horten brothers. Is
it such a leap to consider that there is a nexus between the
consciousness research of the Nazi doctors on the one hand and the
alternate energy and alternate propulsion research of the Nazi
engineers on the other?

 ▼ ▼

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The controversy over implants was given considerable media
coverage when Dr. Roger Leir (

), a California podiatric

surgeon, claimed he had removed these devices from several of his
patients. However, none of these devices ever was examined by
specialists outside of Leir’s immediate circle, so no hard evidence
was obtained to validate these persistent claims.

That does not mean that the experiencers are lying or being

deliberately deceptive about their claims of alien-originated
implants. The implant scenario may point to a different event
entirely. It may be a metaphor for the psychic manipulation that
takes place during an abduction: an invasion, or—as artist and
psychic Ingo Swann described it—a “penetration.”  The stories of
invasive surgery and physical examinations generally precede or
accompany accounts of alien implants. The documented instances of
the CIA testing this type of device on human beings as part of the
overall MKULTRA program is either an a empt by human beings to
replicate something they had reason to believe was being done by
the Visitors, or was itself mistaken for alien interference in human

Taken a step further, the implant meme may be related to the

concept of “alien hybrids.” This is a subset of the alien abduction
scenario in which human women are impregnated by their alien
abductors using artificial means to create a fetus that is part human,
part alien; a hybrid of the two. This implies that human and alien
biologies are related to such an extent that a hybrid is possible. This
similarity in genetic and reproductive mechanisms would also
explain how communication of any kind is possible between the two
distinct species. It raises the question, however, of the origin and

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“homeland” of this alien species. Such a being would have had to
develop and evolve on a planet or in an environment that was
similar enough to Earth’s that the resulting biological differences
were minor: less than, say, between a human being and an ape.
Presumably, genetic material of humans and “aliens” would have to
be more than ninety-nine percent identical in order for this type of
reproduction to be successful.

 ▼ ▼

It is worthwhile to point out here that Dr. Garry Nolan made quite a
stir in 

 when he published a report in a peer-reviewed journal

stating that the infamous “Atacama” skeleton, which was discovered
in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, was not a “hybrid” (as
many UFO believers wanted it to be) but a deformed human child.
This was based on deep genomic analysis of the specimen performed
at Stanford University over a five-year period as described in the
report, which was co-authored by fourteen other scientists. Much of
the speculation about the Atacama skeleton being an alien-human
hybrid or at the very least an alien itself was based on the rather
unusual formation of the skull, which appeared quite elongated. To
some this indicated a being of nonterrestrial origin. Many were so
invested in the outcome that when Dr. Nolan and his colleagues
published their findings, these observers were outraged; that can
happen when an ideological position is at odds with scientific
evidence. Many scientists would have loved to demonstrate that the
Atacama skeleton was actually an alien, because it would have made
their careers forever. Sadly, however, this was not the case.

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Another key element of the “alien hybrid” scenario is the

retrieval or removal of the fetus from the human mother at some
point after conception but before birth. This means that the fetus
undergoes a period of gestation in the human womb but is viable
outside the womb at a very early stage. This theory is also on rather
shaky scientific ground and would still require that the “human”
and the “alien” in question be so alike genetically that it would be
difficult to tell them apart.

Is it even possible, though—according to our understanding of

science, genetics, and biology—that an alien race mated with
humans at some point and produced hybrid offspring? Do we have
to discount this possibility entirely?

It would be possible, of course, if the “aliens” in question were

actually humans, as in the early CIA experiments in gene
manipulation. We now know that homo sapiens mated with
Neanderthals in remote prehistory, for instance, and produced
offspring, descendants of which are among us today. The CIA
program itself may have been inspired by stories of alien-human
hybridization programs as recounted by experiencers. Would the
CIA have reason to believe any of this at all, or would they have
been intrigued by the possibilities offered by the accounts of the
abductees? After all, Dr. Nolan and his colleagues spent five years
studying the Atacama skeleton: there must have been the hope in the
back of their minds that maybe—just maybe—they were looking at
an extraterrestrial being or the offspring of an alien and a human.

 ▼ ▼

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In either case—alien or human—we are presented with the
uncomfortable realization that human beings can be regarded as
machines that need tinkering, modification, and manipulation
toward purely pragmatic ends: machines in the process of being
reverse engineered. Indeed, futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil
suggested precisely this in an interview during the 

 SXSW event

in Austin, Texas:

Kurzweil, who is currently director of engineering at Google,
believes that clinical applications of biotechnology will
profoundly transform health and medicine. One of the ways he
said this will be accomplished is by improving one of the
underlying components of our bodies: DNA.

All of this is pointed out not to provide a rationale or theoretical

support for the ideas of alien-human hybrids or alien implants, but
to drill down on the concepts to understand what ideas might be
lurking beneath the surface of this persistent theme. When matched
against what was actually taking place—in the same country, at the
same time (through the 

s), and by agencies of the federal

government and by their appointed and hired subcontractors
including psychiatrists, engineers, and scientists, and perpetrated on
its own citizens—the alien abduction scenarios do not seem very far-
fetched. Instead, one could make the argument that the abductee
phenomenon was a visceral manifestation of those same programs, a
bleed-through of the secret projects into the dreams and fears of the
general population.

It need not be interpreted as completely dire, however.

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Whitley Strieber is one abductee who—for all the unpleasantness

of his experiences—agrees that there is also something redeeming
about it all, as well as something profoundly disturbing. These two
emotional responses seem to be present simultaneously: to be
spiritually elevated and, at the same time, emotionally devastated.
This juxtaposition of emotions is evidence of the type of “high
strangeness” that accompanies the Phenomenon, as if human beings
are being made to experience a kind of psychological state for which
there is no known precedent. It is this, more than anything else, that
argues most strongly against the insistence of critics and
professional skeptics that the UFO experience—especially the alien
abduction experience—is nothing more than warmed-over sleep
paralysis or a simple nightmare. One does not have to struggle to
describe a nightmare, searching for the right words to limn the
contours of the feeling of being chased by monsters or standing
naked in front of one’s peers or colleagues. The Phenomenon is not a
space made for the type of pedestrian emotional responses with
which we are all familiar in our daily lives. The Phenomenon creates
its own space and makes its own rules. As the most famous observer
of the Salem witch trials put it:

Our dear neighbors are most really tormented, really murdered,
and really acquainted with hidden things which are afterwards
proved plainly to have been realities.

—Co on Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World

 Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk

Religion, Atheneum, New York, 

, p.  .

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 Genesis Rabbah,  : .
 St. John Chrysostom, Homilies,   Corinthians  : : “He does not

say these things as if he a ributed to angels knees and bones.”

 C. D. B. Bryan, Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: A Reporter's

Notebook on Alien Abduction, UFOs, and the Conference at M.I.T.,
Penguin, New York, 

, p.  .

 C. D. B. Bryan (

), p.  .

 C. D. B. Bryan (

), pp.  – .

 See for instance the citation from Berossus in Cory, Isaac Preston,

The Ancient Fragments; Containing What Remains of the Writings of
Sanchoniatho, Berossus, Abydenus, Megasthenes, and Manetho 
(trans. by
E. Richmond Hodges), 

, London, Reeves & Turner, p.  .

 See for instance Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and

Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion, Atheneum, New York, 

, pp.

– .
 The Sodei Raza of Eleazar of Worms (

) is one of the early


 Tractate Sanhedrin,  b.
 John Marks, The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA

and Mind Control, Times Books, New York, 

, p. 


 Jacques Vallée, Forbidden Science: Journals 

, North

Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 

, p. 


 See John Marks (

) as well as Tom Bower, Blind Eye to Murder,

Warner Books, London, 

, and Peter Levenda, Sinister Forces: Book

One, Trine Day, Walterville, OR, 


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 Ingo Swann, Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human

Telepathy, Ingo Swann Books, Rapid City, SD, 


 Garry P. Nolan, et al., “Whole-genome sequencing of Atacama

skeleton shows novel mutations linked with dysplasia,” in Genome
, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, April 


 Danny Paez, “SXSW: Ray Kurzweil says DNA is ‘Outdated

Software’ Biotech can ‘Reprogram,’” March  , 


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The people come here, Michael, to look for aliens, ghosts, and
cults, and gateways to hell, secret military bases looking into
other dimensions. I think, if there IS something, it is not none
of these things—or perhaps all of them.

— Resolution (

), Justin Benson (writer,

director), Tribeca Films





: G




Frankenstein and his Monster; to the golem; and to the tales of
humans revolting against the Gods that created them. These ideas
were introduced because they offer an important perspective on
what is taking place today: an inexorable movement of science and
technology that is obliterating barriers between what is human and
what is artificial, a movement that tells us to embrace a New World
in which it will become increasingly difficult to discern a human
being from its simulacrum. And at the shadowy core of this

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movement—the Ghost in the Sekret Machine—is the Phenomenon,
because what we are doing is establishing the parameters for our
own evolution from Earth-dwelling creatures to space-faring
instruments. We are creating the very robotic, androgynous beings
that populate the nightmares of the exorcist and magician, the soul-
sha ering experiences of the alien abductees.

If consciousness is, as some scientists insist, inseparable from the

brain, then the creation of artificial brains will result in the creation
of consciousness with all its social and legal implications. It will
challenge every conception we have of what it means to be alive, and
aware, and human. It will relegate human beings to a corner of the
created universe: vulnerable, primitive experiments and mere way
stations along the path to mental and physical excellence. There has
been much talk about claims of the reengineering of UFO machinery,
but what if our robots, androids, and cyborgs are nothing less than
reengineered aliens? What if it is not the craft we are reengineering,
but the pilots?

This raises the inevitable question: Where do we draw the line

between humans and machines? Between what is human and what
is alien?

How much of who we are as humans is a construct, a device, a

mechanism designed by another intelligence reigning on a dark
throne in some mysterious palace in an interdimensional multiverse?
Are aspects of ourselves mere components that have been cobbled
together like so many spare parts from other units, other workshops
in the cosmos? If so, what does that say about our consciousness, if it
is truly nothing more than a secretion of our artificially generated

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The world is much more mysterious than we have been led to

believe. Moreover, it seems that we have been aware of the secrets of
our own origins for a very long time, perhaps on a subconscious
level, and have not recognized them as such. Like our dreams, which
—according to psychologists—may reveal hidden truths, our
mythologies and our sciences contain very specific information from
the “subconscious” events of our history. In fact, the pa erns and
symmetries we discover in nature suggest the involvement of an
intelligence that sought not only to contribute directly to the creation
of all life on our planet but, astonishingly, left a calling card behind.

One of our informants suggested that we look more closely at the

role that genetics plays in the narratives associated with the
Phenomenon. He suggested that we entertain the possibility that acts
of genocide in human history had an ulterior function, if not an
ulterior motive. In other words, there were some human genetic
characteristics that have evolved over time that were less amenable
to the much-rumored “alien hybrid” scenarios that contactees have
reported with consistency over the past few decades. We were asked
to consider that some ethnicities might be carriers of specific genes
that were resistant to “alien” manipulation and that genocide was an
alien-inspired or alien-directed program to weed out any potential
problems: obstacles to alien control lurking in the human gene pool
as it had evolved on our planet. Conversely, what if some of the
genetic mutations that were “weeded out” of the human genome
due to natural selection—i.e., in order to survive on Earth—may be
necessary to enable us to live off-planet?

At first this sounds like warmed-over eugenics: the type of “race

science” that justified the worst excesses of the Nazi regime.

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(Perhaps it is not for nothing that some contactees report the
existence of so-called “Nordics”?) Looked at more closely, we can
see that some races and ethnicities are carriers of genes specific to
certain illnesses, such as sickle cell anemia among African-
Americans and Tay-Sachs disease among Jews. What if there was
another gene or genes that have no particular function or pose no
discernible threat as far as we are concerned—perhaps hidden
within our so-called “junk DNA”—but that would be considered
dangerous to an alien race? In other words, what if the human race
(or a certain ethnicity) was evolving “alien antibodies” that would
render us invulnerable to an alien hybridization program, or
whatever else the Others had in mind? What if we were developing
intellectual or physical powers that would enable greater awareness
of their presence, or provide us with some greater degree of
protection against their intentions?

What if, knowing this, the Others have taken measures to ensure

that these objectionable genes are not passed on or otherwise subject
to even greater evolution or specialization? What if the polarization
taking place between the races on Earth is part of this program and
we are just playing along, oblivious to what is really happening?

In fact, what if the genetic code itself was an invention of these

same Others?

Sounds outrageous, doesn’t it? Pseudoscience and fringe

conspiracy theory.

Humor us for a moment.
What follows is necessarily speculative. Although the data we

present is genuine and fully supported by documents and by other
primary source material as noted in the text, we are not suggesting

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that the conclusions we reach somehow reflect the “Truth,” but
rather serve as a platform for further study and research.

 ▼ ▼

The study of genetics and heredity is usually associated with the
nineteenth-century scientist Gregor Mendel, a Catholic monk, who
experimented with creating hybrid pea plants. As we saw in Book
One, however, even Biblical authors were aware of the possibilities
of creating hybrids between human beings and “angels.” The
Biblical account gives us an extra dimension to that scenario,

There was not only a new “being” created out of the mixed

parentage of human and angel—in this case—but the certainty of
conflict and struggle for survival. The episode of the “sons of God
and daughters of men” in Genesis   is the immediate prologue to the
story of Noah and his famous Ark: a means of preserving the genetic
equivalent of every desirable plant and animal on the planet in order
to repopulate the earth after the Deluge, a catastrophic event that
would eliminate a large segment of the population, human and
“hybrid” alike, from the world.

Genesis   was the first act of genocide mentioned in the Bible,

and it was ordered and carried out by God.

 ▼ ▼

In the older, Babylonian stories of creation we are told that human
beings were crafted as robots in a sense: artificial beings and
programmed workers designed to make the lives of the gods easier.

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This only happened after a cosmic ba le in which one set of gods
defeated the other set and created humans from the blood of the
slain. In another way of looking at it, human beings are a kind of
cyborg, part divine and part something else, something not quite
natural to the divine beings who created us, and therefore artificial.
Humans are already a hybrid race from this perspective. The kind of
“trans-human” species that is the subject of so much speculation in
contemporary scientific and Ufological literature may be only a
glyph of “trans-divine.”

Therefore the idea of genetic heritage is a complex one, a

spiritual history stained with the blood of ba le and the enslavement
of human beings. There may come a time in the very distant future
when memories of the Holocaust become cast in this fashion: that
there was a race of beings considered subhuman by one set of
“gods” that were ba ling another set of “gods” and were enslaved
and destined for destruction until the rescue of a small percentage of
them. Think of Israel as a kind of Noah’s Ark. If we can imagine this,
then we can go back to the Biblical and Babylonian accounts—which
are related—and reinterpret them as a empts to describe real events
that happened in the distant past.

Since we began this project with the assumption that the

Phenomenon is real, we are encouraged to interpret our history and
our understanding of reality using this as the basic premise. There is
a fundamental sentiment among many people that we are aliens
ourselves: visitors on this planet, prisoners of this reality. We
understand how bizarre human life seems to be, full of
contradiction, violence, hardship, and a lifespan that is severely
limited to at most a century, if lucky, and even then in a state of

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mental or physical disability for much of that time. Illness, war,
famine, the hideous lives of many of the world’s children . . . none of
this makes any sense to us. We are conditioned to think in terms of
purpose, and there seems to be no purpose in human suffering.

Are human beings an anomaly in the universe, or are we the

natural products of a process that began as early as the Big Bang? In
a sense everything that is, is because of the Big Bang; therefore, there
can be no conceivable anomaly. All that exists—from a purely
mechanistic point of view—exists because of a certain inevitability.
We are writing these lines, and you are reading them, because of
events that occurred billions of years ago and led inexorably to this

However, that is understating the case, isn’t it?
For a very long time human beings were part of their

environment. They lived in a symbiotic relationship with it.
Gradually, though, humans began to see themselves as midwives to
creation: sharing in the process of an evolving universe even as they
were separate from it.

Zecharia Sitchin proposed that humans were created by the gods

in order to mine gold on Earth. Without being that literal, we can say
that metallurgy’s origins were accompanied by a mystical view of the
earth and of the evolution of metals. The historian of religions
Mircea Eliade made a point of equating ancient metallurgical and
mining practices with what would eventually become alchemy.
Alchemy itself is a “midwifing” process that unites human
aspirations for spiritual perfection with the perceived perfectibility
of metals, from lead to gold. Human beings, by working with metals
and a empting to effect their transmutation, are essentially

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exteriorizing an internal process. As the interior and external
processes become more and more aligned, changes are believed to
take place in both the person and the metal.

However, when alchemy found itself discredited with the rise of

modern chemistry and the other sciences, the idea of cooperation or
collaboration with nature and creation was replaced with the hubris
of control, domination, and manipulation. With that came the
distancing of the essential human spirit from the process and from
nature and creation altogether. Science became a way of interacting
with the world that was purely intellectual, using mathematics as a
medium. Suddenly, nature was at best a servant and at worst an

This idea had Biblical precedents. God famously had instructed

Adam that he would have dominion over all the earth (notably not
over the planets and the stars!). Before the expulsion from Paradise,
Adam and Eve were simply guests who were told they could have
anything they wanted except the fruit of a specific tree. After the
expulsion, they were told their lives would be (to quote Thomas
Hobbes) “nasty, brutish, and short.” Giving birth especially would
be painful.

Gradually, over several thousand years, these ideas coalesced

into a worldview—especially in the West but also, with the
introduction of colonialism and its associated Abrahamic ideas, into
African, Asian, and Latin American societies—that saw human
beings separated from their environment in such a way that their
presence on this planet seems almost contrived. The human
condition—requiring food, water, shelter, and clothing, and which
includes painful menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth—seems

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alien to the planet. So much work to survive, not to mention
reproduce and thrive. Most human beings live under harsh
environmental, economic, and political conditions, and always have.
Human relationships are fraught with drama and conflict, even
those purporting to be love relationships between lovers, spouses,
and family members. Thousands of volumes have been wri en to
advise human beings how to live, how to relate to others, how to
manage their lives. None of it seems to be very useful, at least not for
very long. We take this state of affairs for granted; “that’s life.” Of all
the creatures on the planet, we seem to be the most uncomfortable, if
not the most miserable. It’s a psychological condition known to
philosophers as—appropriately enough—alienation.

There have been various a empts to rectify this condition,

perhaps the most notable being the philosophy known as Buddhism.
To a Buddhist, life is sorrow; the reason for this sorrow is a achment
to the world, to ideas, to existence itself, even to the gods. All of
these a achments must be neutralized in order to a ain eternal bliss.
In other words, one must leave the planet and even the universe

There have been philosophies that face the problem head on,

such as existentialism. There are religions that tell us, yes, the world
is an awful place but it’s the best of all possible worlds: a sobering
thought, but at least this is only a temporary posting. We go
somewhere be er when we die.

(Thanks a lot.)
All of these ideas and religions and philosophies struggle with

the same basic premise: that the world is not fit for human
habitation. Not really. Somehow, we wound up on this planet, in

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this life, and while Earth seems tailor-made to support life (as we are
told endlessly by scientists) it is not designed to support mental
health or a peaceful existence. Our alienation from our surroundings
is not the result of our contrary nature as human beings; it is due to
something far more profound. While we can take joy in some things
—a beautiful sunrise or sunset, the laughter of a child, the warmth of
an embrace, music that touches our soul—these only serve to
emphasize the ugliness of all the rest: the natural disaster, the drone
strike, the crack baby, domestic violence, war, plague, famine, and
drought. Life is beautiful. But it is also “nasty, brutish, and short.”

 ▼ ▼

What is beautiful in our lives is but a reflection of something dimly
remembered. There are aspects of Earth that remind us of home.
When we see that beautiful sunset or hear that child’s laughter, it is
like looking at an old photograph in a family album. The memories
make us smile. How often have people said to a lover, “I feel as if I
have known you all my life”? There may be more truth to that
sentiment than we realize. Not that we literally have known that
person before, but the emotion and connection we feel in their
presence is the remnant of an ancient sensation banging away at the
door to our unconscious mind, some genetic memory that has been
encoded and retained. Junk DNA, perhaps; and like the stone the
builders rejected, it may be the cornerstone of our particular temple.

Like our religious impulses—as discussed earlier in these pages

—we relive the original trauma, over and over again. Something
happened to put us here on this planet; in order to find out what it

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was we have to understand who we are. And once we understand
who we are, we can begin to figure out who they are.

The Origin of Species

Or, more precisely, the origin of the DNA molecule.

There is a great deal of controversy and conflict in the public

arena where Darwin’s theory of evolution is concerned. Among
scientists, there really isn’t any controversy. Evolution is a fact.
Granted, there are a few lacunae in the text; a few missing pieces,
one or two assumptions, but nothing to get too exercised over. There
are problems with understanding genetic mutations, for instance: we
have been taught that evolution occurs as DNA becomes mutated
and changes to accommodate the requirements for survival, but now
we know that some (if not most) of these mutations have a negative
impact, not a positive one, on evolutionary outcomes. In other
words, these mutations cause us to lose capacities, not to increase
them or expand them (except in certain, specific cases and under
laboratory conditions). We also don’t know quite how speciation
occurs, or how quickly; just that it does. These observations aside,
Darwin’s theory of evolution is still dominant and still offers a
comprehensive explanation that best accommodates the data.

Fundamentalist Christians and other religionists who have a

problem with evolution see a disconnect between the age of the
universe as determined by science and the age of the world as
determined by Biblical analyses. They also insist that God directly
created human beings (per Genesis) and that any suggestion that
humans are descended from a long line of primates going back
millions of years is an absurdity. They believe that the Bible is

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literally true and inerrant, and that discussions of creation,
evolution, and of reality itself must refer to the core statements of
that book.

There has been a tentative a empt to accommodate Biblical ideas

with a kind of theory known as “intelligent design.” Those who
adhere to this theory claim that there was a Creator and that the
world as we know it could not have come into being unless there
was a Someone who designed it; that the structures of living things
appear and behave with a certain symmetry, a mathematical
elegance, which is evidence of an Intelligence behind it all. This is
not a scientific theory in any commonly understood sense of the
term, and indeed it was the brainchild of political and religious
conservatives who wanted to promote the idea of God without
actually coming out and referring to God as the “Designer.” That
there is a certain degree of congruence between this theory and that
of directed panspermia (see below) usually is ignored, as the la er
still does not require the presence of a Biblical deity.

This is what happens when ideology is permi ed to drive the

search for knowledge. The same phenomenon can be observed when
political expediency dominates scientific research and development.
In fact, it was a combination of politics and religious zealotry that
closed down the military’s remote viewing programs in the 


and was to blame for “pushback” from “high-ranking officials”
against the US government’s Advanced Aerospace Threat
Identification Program (AATIP) because UFOs were seen as possibly

Scientific research typically requires large infusions of capital. It

is expensive to keep highly degreed scientists working for years on

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projects that may or may not bear fruit; it is costly to maintain state-
of-the-art laboratories and manufacturing facilities, and to pay for
the consumption of exotic raw materials, all in the hope that new
technologies will be developed. This money comes from universities
and large corporations—often defense contractors—and these funds
originate from government budgets. The level of bureaucracy, red
tape, and political intrigue involved in the allocation of these funds
is mind-boggling. This means that some of the most “out of the box”
thinking where science is concerned becomes toxic: one becomes
involved with these theories at one’s professional peril. Only those
who have job security (in the form of tenure, huge government
grants, or a Nobel Prize) can afford to advocate for new and
challenging scientific theories. That is why a Stephen Hawking or a
Michio Kaku can speculate on alien life, star drives, and the dangers
inherent in the SETI project without fear of losing their status among
their peers.

One of those high priests of the scientific community had done

just that, and suggested that life on this planet did not
spontaneously erupt at some point millions of years ago but that it
literally was seeded here from some other place, some other planet,
and moreover that it was done deliberately.

The scientist in question is Francis Crick (

), co-

discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule along with his
colleagues James Watson (b. 

) and Maurice Wilkins (


who shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery, and Rosalind Franklin

). Interestingly, Wilkins had worked on the Manha an

Project during World War II and was suspected by the FBI and MI
of having been a Soviet spy (like Oppenheimer, Jack Parsons, Frank

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Malina, H. S. Tsien, and many others, as we will see in Sekret
Machines: War
). Crick, on the other hand, worked for the British
Admiralty during the war and contributed to the war effort by
designing a type of underwater mine that would defeat the German
minesweeper, or Sperrbrecher as it was known (a technology that
used magnetism to explode mines at a distance). Crick was able to
design a mine that would be undetectable to the Sperrbrecher and
would explode underneath it.

After the war, Crick became involved in the study of genetics,

mostly due to his friendship with Wilkins, who was both a physicist
and a molecular biologist. Crick and Watson were not trained
biochemists, but they were passionately interested amateurs who
approached the problem of the genetic code by means of visualizing
pa erns and applying logical analysis.

The missing piece of the puzzle for Crick, even after they had

“broken” the genetic code and discovered the double helix of the
DNA molecule, was how a handful of amino acids could create life.
The role of consciousness was something that obsessed him for
decades after he won the Nobel Prize. Conversations with a
colleague—the chemist and evolutionary biologist Leslie Orgel

)—resulted in the two scientists proposing the idea that

life as we know it came from elsewhere, by a process they called
“directed panspermia.”

Primer on the Structure of the DNA Molecule

Before we explore what that means, a short summary of what we
know about the genetic code is in order. Briefly, the building blocks
of all life consist of a number of chemical bases. These bases—only

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four in total—are known by their initials: adenine (A), thymine (T),
guanine (G), and cytosine (C). Adenine can only bond with thymine,
and guanine with cytosine, forming what are known as base pairs.
These base pairs are a ached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate
molecule. Together—the base pair, sugar molecule, and phosphate
molecule—are called nucleotides. They are arranged like the steps of a
ladder in what has become familiar as the DNA helix (see Figure  ).

Figure  . The double helix of the DNA molecule.

The base pairs produce amino acids, of which only twenty are

considered “canonical” amino acids: that is, they are found in
human DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and create proteins. Each
amino acid is formed by a group of three base pairs, known as a
codon. Thus, the amino acid glycine is formed by the three base pairs
GGG (for guanine-guanine-guanine) or GGA (for guanine-guanine-
adenine). The RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecule differs from the DNA
molecule in that uracil (U) replaces thymine (T) in its composition,
and it is usually found as a single strand rather than the double-
stranded helix of DNA. RNA is often found as mRNA or “messenger
RNA,” as it relays genetic information to the cells. Tryptophan, the
serotonin precursor, is represented by the RNA codon UGG for

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uracil-guanine-guanine. RNA is simpler in design than DNA, and
some geneticists believe that the origins of RNA are earlier than
DNA, based on the observation that complex systems derive from
simple systems.

There are sixty-four possible combinations of the four base pairs

in groups, or codons, of three each (  x   x  ). This mathematical
pa ern is one that will be found in unexpected places, as we will see
in a moment, when the reason for explaining all this becomes clear
(see Figure  ).

Figure  . The universal Genetic Code map showing the   possible combinations or

codons, with U or uracil in RNA replacing T or thymine in DNA.

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What occupied Crick and Orgel was identifying the point at

which a collection of amino acids or their proteins becomes life.
What was the transition from test tube chemicals to life, and from
there to sentient life? Is consciousness nothing more than a wet bag
of biochemical goo reaching some kind of critical mass? If
consciousness is reached through evolution—gradually formed
during stages from the single-celled amoeba to the brain of a Nobel
Prize winner, or appearing suddenly as a side effect of the move
from the oceans to dry land—then is consciousness itself evolving to
something else? Is the next step in evolution the move from
consciousness to a kind of super-consciousness, or to something
altogether different and so far unimaginable, something paralleling
our evolutionary move from the oceans to dry land as we now move
from dry land to interstellar space?

Before they reached this level of speculation, however, Crick and

Orgel were motivated by a purely scientific appraisal of the available
evidence. They realized that a certain element—molybdenum—is
necessary for the development of the genetic code and, in fact, is an
essential element for life. Molybdenum is relatively rare on the
surface of the earth (although it is more prevalent in the oceans).
Crick and Orgel reasoned that the DNA molecule could only have
developed in an environment where molybdenum was plentiful.
Since molybdenum is a rare element on Earth, that meant
somewhere off-planet.

The implication is obvious: a source from elsewhere generated

the DNA molecule and transported it to Earth. That did not mean
that the selection of Earth was deliberate; our planet might have
been one of thousands or millions of destinations for a wide

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sca ering of DNA (or RNA) throughout the galaxy or the universe.
From our perspective, that seems a terrible waste of resources. One
would imagine that a more directed targeting of Earth—or perhaps
of a handful of targets, all possessing the necessary basic
requirements to enable DNA to replicate itself—would be more
economical. Another possibility might be a comet hi ing a planet
that already had life, and pieces of that planet, carved off at impact,
hurtling through space in the form of asteroids or chunks of rock,
one of which hit Earth a few billion years ago.

It’s possible that genetic material might have arrived on Earth in

a microbial form via a meteorite. As it crashed into Earth—surviving
a radiation-rich interstellar voyage and the perilous entry into
Earth’s atmosphere—it landed somewhere on the planet where there
were sufficient nutrients, allowing the genetic material to
spontaneously begin to replicate. All of this is what is meant by the
term panspermia: that the seeds for generating life on this planet
came from elsewhere.

These are only possibilities, and none of them have been proven,

but Crick and Orgel tended to think in terms of a directed form of
panspermia. By that it is meant that there was an intelligence behind
the seeding of Earth with genetic material, and a deliberate selection
of this planet by an organic precursor. The molybdenum
requirement is one reason. The other is the structure of DNA itself.

If DNA was a purely random accumulation of amino acids, one

would assume that there would be different forms of DNA in nature.
However, the structure of DNA is the same regardless of the life
form under discussion. In other words, whether we are talking about
plants, animals, or human beings, the structure of their respective

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genetic codes remains the same (with only a few variations, mostly
in mitochondria). This has led us to assume that it would remain the
same wherever we looked in the universe. They are just different
arrangements of the same basic “le ers” of the code.

By way of analogy, we can think of the  s and  s, the “bits” of the

binary code used in computer software. We can arrange the bits to
form bytes (traditionally, a group of eight bits), use the bytes to write
hundreds of different computer languages, then use those languages
to create millions of different computer programs, which result in
the software and apps that we use every day; but still, we can reduce
all of that back to  s and  s. This is analogous to the great
proliferation of life forms on this planet, all of which are reducible to
the same basic DNA structure and composition. From a purely
mathematical point of view this is quite stunning. The sheer
economy of using this system to create all of life—from the smallest
microbe to the largest mammal, every plant, every insect—is what
seems to indicate the active involvement of an intelligence. That
forces us, then, to ask a big question: From where did that
intelligence derive this system, and does that intelligence share in
the same genetic structure (is it identical to us?) or was it created
specifically for our planet, and for planets like ours? Questions like
these prompt some people to think of a god or gods as the “prime
cause” of life, but that solution reflects a lack of imagination. The
transcendent God of the Abrahamic religions is still very far away
from this scenario. We must address a lot of intermediary steps
before we can begin even to think of a “god” in the traditional
Western sense of the term. If there is or was an alien race that
generated our genetic codes, then we have to go there first before

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making overarching statements about “God” and particularly God’s
direct intervention in the very localized Creation of the planet Earth.

In fact, ancient religions do have a “directed panspermia” myth.

As pointed out by Robert Temple (the author of the bestseller The
Sirius Mystery
, first published in 

) in an article  for The

International Journal of Astrobiology, the idea of panspermia is very old
and can be found in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts as well as in
Sanskrit scriptures. The Egyptian god Atum, for instance, was said to
have created the world from an act of cosmic masturbation,
showering Earth with his seed. There are depictions of this act in
several places in Egypt. Empty space was personified as the goddess
Nu or Nut: she was the womb in which the spilled seed of Atum
took root. In the Indian Vedas, we have similar stories (as Temple
points out), and as one of our authors writes,  this type of episode is
depicted in the Tantras as an act of seminal emission (or, in some
texts, premature ejaculation) by the god Shiva.

Aside from these examples and the points we raised earlier in

Sekret Machines: Gods—which refer to the textual evidence in the
world’s religions and ancient cultures alluding to contact—is there
evidence of a more tangible nature to suggest that our genetic code
has an “otherworldly” or off-planet origin? Were the ancients right
in insisting that we are the creation of beings from elsewhere?

Crick and Orgel certainly argued for that explanation, starting

with a presentation in 

 and then extending to a co-authored

paper in 

 While Orgel modified his position over the years,

Crick remained a strong supporter of directed panspermia
throughout his life.

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More recently, two Russian scientists began arguing for the same

position, but this time from a purely mathematical perspective. In
order to appreciate their proposal we have to know that in addition
to the twenty codons of the genetic code that we discussed above,
there are three “stop” codons (UAG, UAA, UGA) and one “start”
codon (usually AUG). Their function seems to be limited to
providing a space between one group of nucleotides and the next,
like a punctuation mark.

Or a zero.

 ▼ ▼

Mathematics is a language that represents quantifiable relationships
in a symbolic way. It is the language of science, and often of
philosophy as well. Some of the earliest known writings—those of
the ancient Sumerians—are devoted to bookkeeping and accounting.
Other Sumerian texts are concerned with astronomical phenomena,
in lists with dates and approximate times the phenomena are
observed. Numbers became a way of interpreting and organizing the
objects seen and sensed in the world, and of drawing conclusions
and making predictions about observed phenomena. It was easy to
count the number of cows one had, or how many days to the next
full moon. One could simply draw a line representing each cow or
each day to be counted. That line was a symbol, a stand-in for the
actual cow. This type of symbolic thinking and its representation
gradually evolved into arithmetic and from there to the higher
mathematics of geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. But

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before that could happen, mathematics needed another stand-in,
another placeholder symbol, and that became zero.

The idea of “zero” is one of those accomplishments that helped

to create the modern system of mathematics, and by extension the
modern world. It helped differentiate   from  , for instance. It could
also represent the absence of a quantity, such as   minus  . In
modern mathematics, zero is considered an even number, divisible
by two into +  and -  with no remainder (which may sound
counterintuitive to some, but there you are). The Sanskrit term sunya
means “desert,” in other words, “emptiness,” and it gave us—via
Arabic sifr and Italian zefiro—the English word “zero” as well as
“cipher.” The ancient Mayans developed the idea of zero on their
own (as far as we know), independently of the Indian usage, and can
be dated to roughly the sixth century CE. The Indian concept of zero
eventually made its way west, where it wound up in the writings of
the famous Italian mathematician Fibonacci (Leonardo Bonacci,

), who had grown up in North Africa and learned of its

use in Arab and Indian mathematics there.

The reason for this brief history lesson on the number zero

should become clear. We in the West did not know the concept of
zero existed (much less create the actual numeral) until a thousand
years ago. In Asia, it was known about five hundred years earlier
than that. Before that time there were Chinese and Sumerian
approximations of zero as a rather awkward placeholder, signifying
an empty set, but that is pre y much the extent of it. “Zero” is
something we humans came up with; we “discovered” zero or
“invented” it when we needed it or something like it. It’s artificial. It
doesn’t exist in nature.

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Yet, from the point of view of two controversial Kazakh

scientists, zero can be found employed quite deliberately in our
genetic code; “deliberately,” because within the RNA and DNA
molecules the distribution of the start and stop codons—the
placeholders that separate one set of nucleotides from another on the
genetic chain—is non-random.

The entire theory of evolution is based on alterations taking place

over millions of years and over many succeeding generations. Some
of these “mutations” survive, due to the principle of natural
selection, and others do not. We are the result of a long series of
genetic mutations that have occurred over those millions of years.
Each strand of DNA in our cells is a history book containing every
step we took, all the way back to the first humans who walked the
earth, and earlier. Genetic testing companies such as
and specialize in taking a swab of your cheek or a
minute amount of your saliva and returning to you an ethnic
breakdown as well as, in some cases, probabilities of hair color, eye
color, propensity to certain illnesses or addictions, etc. We watch
television programs in which the wonders of DNA testing have
resulted in the guilty being arrested and the innocent set free.
Pregnant mothers can have genetic testing done to determine if their
unborn child has certain diseases or disabilities. We understand that
there is a certain order and predictability in genetics. It’s a valuable
tool for understanding our biological inheritance. For most of us, it’s
just there: an inherent part of our makeup as living beings. On a very
elementary level we understand that when a man and a woman
conceive, the resulting child will have a set of genes from each
parent. That’s basic secondary school biology. Sexual intercourse is

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about the extent of our conscious control of the process, and even
then the possibility of conception from each act is relatively random.
What we have not considered, however, is the possibility that the
genetic code itself was created consciously and deliberately.

The Kazakh Configuration


, two scientists based in Kazakhstan—Vladimir I. shCherbak

of al-Farabi Kazakh National University and Maxim A. Makukov of
the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute—published a paper in the
journal Icarus  that claimed the genetic code contains the equivalent
of “zero.” This would appear to be highly improbable in a random
evolutionary process, but it makes excellent sense if the code was
created by an intelligent source.

The full thrust of their argument is too dense to go into in any

great detail, particularly absent a good education in genetics and
mathematics, and the original article is well worth studying. What
we will do here is provide a much abbreviated version, with
apologies to its authors.

They begin with an overview of the history of DNA research and

the early a empts by several individuals to “decode” the genetic
code using various mathematical approaches. While none of these
a empts proved ultimately successful, they did manage to predict
with a great degree of accuracy the symmetry of the code and
marveled at its simplicity. With only sixty-four possible
combinations of the four base pairs in groups of three creating the
twenty amino acids and the start and stop codons, all of life on this
planet—in its enormous variety and complexity—was created.

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They specifically discuss the Gamow arrangement, which was

developed in the mid-

s. George Gamow (

) was a

Russian theoretical physicist who studied at Gö ingen (like so many
of the most brilliant scientists of his time) and who was a friend of
both Edward Teller and J. Robert Oppenheimer—the men largely
credited with having produced the atomic bomb. Gamow defected
to the west in 

 from Russia and wound up as a professor at

George Washington University in 

. While there is no evidence

that he worked on the Manha an Project, he did consult with the US
Navy during the war and represents yet another scientist who was
part of the weird military-industrial cabal that we will be discussing
throughout this project.

Gamow’s understanding of the codons turned out to be in error,

as he believed that each amino acid could be produced by its three
bases in any order. It was discovered that this was not the case: the
order of the bases is important. Since a change in the order of the
base pairs would produce a different amino acid, this indicated that
the “code” of the genetic code was “positional” much in the way that
basic arithmetic is positional. The sequence  - -  is not the same as

- -  or  - - , etc. The “position” of the integer is a critical

component of the entire number. For nature to have come up with
this system on its own seems counterintuitive, to say the least.

However, Gamow did see pa erns and symmetries in the

structure of the code, which was borne out by later analysis and
research. The genetic code is quite specific: changing one “word” in
the genetic sentence—whether by accidental mutation or deliberate
manipulation—changes its meaning completely. Just as important,
the “start” and “stop” codons are essential to the positional nature of

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the code, standing in as either punctuation or as the number “zero,”
depending on your preference. (Because the structure of the genetic
code is more mathematical than textual, we may find it easier to
refer to the “zero” analogy.)

Moreover, a mathematical approach to the structure of the amino

acids shows that each acid is composed of a different number of
nucleons or base pairs. Arginine, for instance, has 


lysine has  ; and so on. When these are added up according to the
pa erns devised by Gamow, the sums are strangely suggestive,
offering up numbers as esoterically evocative as 

, and 


Numbers may be said to rest at the very heart of the created

universe. This was understood by Kabbalists as well as scientists.
Mathematics is a language that we use to describe natural
phenomena. We can observe everything from the famous Fibonacci
series to fractals in seashells and snowflakes. But the symbols of
numbers and the types of number systems are devised by human
beings. The ancient Babylonians used a base-  system; we use a base-

 system (a decimal system), but there are binary systems and

sexagesimal systems as well. We use a system of nine numbers plus
zero for our decimal system. If a zero appears after the number  , for
instance, it represents  . If it appears before  , it is simply  , or just

. That is an example of position. This is the same system that the

Kazakh team discovered in the DNA molecule:

Note that all those distinctive notations of nucleon sums appear
only in positional decimal system.  [sic]

They base their claim on both the arithmetic and what they call

the “ideographical” nature of the genetic code, meaning the actual

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structure of the double helix of DNA and the single chain of the
RNA molecule. (Indeed, the double helix structure of the DNA
molecule has been prefigured in religious and esoteric iconography
from places and times as remote from each other—and from Watson
and Crick—as medieval India and classical Greece.)

The fact that the DNA molecule contains start and stop codons

that separate one nucleotide chain from another is only part of the
theory. In other words, there is a kind of abstract construction in the
genetic code that makes no sense if the code evolved naturally.
Indeed, they address that possibility in their paper, demonstrating
that it is statistically much more likely that the code was created
deliberately rather than evolving as the result of a series of random
mutations. It is as if whoever designed the code wanted to make sure
that there would be no confusion as the genes evolved and grew
ever bigger. It was a way of inserting organization into the genome,
and that implies a deliberately structured process.

That is not to say that life itself was created this way. Life as we

understand it could very well be the result of a random series of
events, including natural selection, much the way scientists think of
it today. However, according to shCherbak and Makukov, we should
think of the first ma er of living things, the primordial goo of
chemical nutrients, as a biological medium into which—at some
point in the remote past—the mysterious genetic code with its
equally mysterious mathematical symmetry was inserted. This is the
phenomenon they refer to as “Biological SETI” (after the more
familiar Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, which is
done with conventional radio telescopes). In this way, the strands of
DNA that make up all organic material on Earth can be considered

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either as mathematical equations or as sentences in a very long text.
Like the le ers of an alphabet, the codons are few in number but can
code for very complex products: the equivalent of words, sentences,
etc. However, the sentences would look like streams of
consciousness without the judicious use of punctuation, and this is
where the Kazakh Configuration (as we like to call it) comes in.

The key is the word “judicious.” If the start and stop codons

appeared at random, there would be no purpose to them. The result
would be chaos. Imagine punctuation appearing at random (even in
the middle of words) rather than at the end of sentences or phrases.
Instead, the codons appear just where they need to appear in order
to create the nucleotides necessary for life and for preserving the
hereditary characteristics we associate with DNA. One cluster of
base pairs may result in blue eyes; another, in a hereditary disease;
another, in skin or hair color; another, in height. Considered
genetically, rats and swine are only slightly different from humans.
Hereditary characteristics are not the result of run-on genetic
sentences but of discrete organization of the “text” at the genetic
level. The start and stop codons keep the human genome “legible.”

Further, there is an economy in the structure of the code that is

breathtaking. Only twenty amino acids out of a total of sixty-four
possible combinations of four chemical bases in groups of three . . .
and all of life is created, from microbes to mastodons.

The Kazakh discoverers of this “Biological SETI” have been

accused of supporting intelligent design or of being anti-Darwinist,
but nothing could be further from the truth. They are scientists and
mathematicians and find nothing in their work that would
contradict either Darwin or the theory of evolution or natural

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selection. Instead, they focus on the moment when chemical
constituents became carriers of life. They obviously believe that the
prima materia of life preexisted the genetic code, and that once the
code was in place, evolution proceeded normally.

How the code came to be present on Earth may be due—as the

Kazakh scientists believe—to the directed panspermia described by
Crick and Orgel. Some may have a difficult time accepting this
possibility due to its strongly science-fiction flavor, but that is only
the reflection of an anthropocentric perspective. When we insist on
viewing all phenomena from a purely Earth-centered and human-
centered position we neglect other possibilities. Even though it’s
now known that Earth revolves around the Sun, we still think the
universe revolves around us.

If the mathematics of Kazakh visionaries seems too forbidding

and their conclusions difficult to digest, we can cast a somewhat
wider net. Remember what we said about the elegant simplicity of
the DNA code, its sixty-four codons composed of all possibilities of
four bases in groups of three.

What if we told you that this specific arrangement had been

anticipated thousands of years earlier, on a continent far removed in
both space and time from the field occupied by Crick and Watson?
What if we claimed further that the arrangement had been
understood as a code believed to rest at the heart of life itself?

And how would we explain that, once we had proved it?

 Mircea Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible, University of Chicago

Press, Chicago, 


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 Genesis  : , “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;

with pain you will give birth to children.”

 See, for instance, Jasper Hamill, “Pentagon and MoD officials

feared UFOs were either ‘demonic’ or sent by God, former
investigators reveal,”   May 


h p://

/ / /religious-pentago-mod-officials-



. Retrieved June  , 


 As an aside, it is impossible to ignore the fact that science in the

twentieth century (and beyond) was dramatically affected by World
War II to the extent that our scientists and their most brilliant
discoveries came about as a result of wartime experience and work
within a wartime environment.

 Robert Temple, “The prehistory of panspermia: astrophysical or

metaphysical?,” The International Journal of Astrobiology,   ( ): pp.



 Peter Levenda, Tantric Temples: Eros and Magic in Java, Ibis Press,

Lake Worth, FL, 

, pp.  – .

 Crick, F. H., and Orgel, L. E. (

), “Directed Panspermia,”

Icarus,   ( ): pp. 


 Vladimir I. shCherbak and Maxim A. Makukov, “The ‘WOW

signal’ of the terrestrial genetic code,” Icarus,   March 

, pp. 


 Ibid., p. 


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The history of science is rich in the example of the fruitfulness
of bringing two sets of techniques, two sets of ideas,
developed in separate contexts for the pursuit of new truth,
into touch with one another.

— J. Robert Oppenheimer







, C



developed a strange system of encoded information that they could
use to a ain a deeper understanding of the universe. It was based on
a binary mathematical system, with a solid line representing yang or
the active, “masculine” principle of nature, and a broken line
representing yin or the passive, “feminine” principle. The lines were
grouped in eight sets of three, forming trigrams, from three solid
lines to three broken lines and every possible combination between.
The eight trigrams were then combined to form sixty-four
hexagrams: “codons” of six lines each.

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The system is known by the text that describes it, the I Jing, or

“Classic of Changes.” There are numerous arrangements of the
sixty-four hexagrams that illustrate aspects of its mathematical
symmetries, but they all can be applied to the structure of the genetic

For instance, in the Chinese numerological system the even

numbers   and   are equated with the broken lines, and the odd
numbers   and   are associated with the unbroken lines. These four
numbers could be said to represent the four chemical bases of the
genetic code (DNA): G—A—C—T. Since the Chinese binary system
is composed of broken and unbroken lines, we can say—for the sake
of argument and not insisting that the equivalence is meaningful—
that G or guanine is the same as 

. In this way A or adenine


C or cytosine becomes 

, and T or thymine becomes

. Combinations of these four numbers in groups of three yield all

sixty-four possible I Jing hexagrams, just as the four chemical bases
in groups of three yield all sixty-four possible codons.

To illustrate this, revisit the chart of the genetic code (in Chapter

) and simply replace the le ers of the chemical bases with the

broken or unbroken lines of the I Jing system. You will see that it fits
perfectly. One can replace U with T—showing the DNA rather than
RNA composition—and assign any of the “digrams” (the
combination of two lines) to any of the chemical bases. It is possible
to derive some “meaning” from these rather arbitrary assignments—
finding a “stop” codon matching, for instance, a hexagram with the
title of “Breaking Apart” or “After Completion”—but that is not our
intention here. At this point, all we wish to point out is the perfect

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mathematical match between the I Jing system with its sixty-four
hexagrams and the genetic code with its sixty-four codons. If the
genetic code was seeded onto this planet at some remote point in the
past, as Crick and Orgel posited, and if the code is mathematically
elegant and evidence of deliberate intent, as put forth by shCherbak
and Makukov, then perhaps we should not be surprised to see some
consciousness of this reflected in art, spirituality, and culture. In fact,
it is this very alignment of science and spirituality through the
medium of mathematics that may be the key to understanding,
finally, the true nature of the Phenomenon.

The I Jing is a divination system, which means it is used to

predict future events. However, it is not the same as the standard
sort of oracles with which we are all familiar. The Chinese classic is a
philosophical text with profound statements about reality and about
the relationships that exist between people and their environment.
The I Jing is a study in dynamics: the hexagrams move from one to
the other as broken lines become solid lines and solid lines become
broken. The I Jing is about process, and the constant flow and
movement of life. If we were to compose a poetic riff on the genetic
code, what be er metaphor could there be than the sixty-four
hexagrams of this ancient Chinese text, which depict in ideographic
form the sixty-four codons only recently discovered? Scientists resist
finding meaning in life’s events; to a scientist things just are. There is
no meaning to be found, and none sought. The I Jing is a kind of
response to that position, deriving meaning from the flow of one
hexagram to the next.

And it is not the only system of its kind.

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In Africa, among the Yoruba people of Nigeria in particular, there

is another divination system, this one of uncertain antiquity. The
similarity between the Ifá system and the I Jing is uncanny. This
method uses the same idea of a binary notation system and is
virtually identical to the I Jing system except that it is even more
. Rather than a   x   x   =   hexagram system, Ifá is a   x   x

 x   = 

 odu system. That is, there are a total of 

 different odu or

binary forms that are derived mathematically in a consultation
method similar to those of the Chinese practices. This is known as
the Table of Ifá, and its practitioners must study for years before they
can act as consultants to their people. That is because they must
memorize the meanings, rituals, associations, and correspondences
for each of the 

 separate figures produced by the Table. The Table

of Ifá is a text, a scripture, that has never been wri en down.

Ifá is the repository of all the cultural, religious, and historical

knowledge of its people. It is their clan’s genetic code. Anyone who
has been privileged to consult a genuine Ifá practitioner knows that
peering into the Table is like disentangling one’s own double helix,
separating out the strands and reading them like entrails. Your own


 figures are actually sixteen combinations of sixteen base

figures (  x   = 

) that are depicted as series of either two lines or

one line, similar to the broken and unbroken lines of the I Jing. As
such, it is another binary system of  s and  s.

The accompanying chart (Figure  ) shows the sixteen

fundamental odu of the Ifá system with their Yoruban titles.

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Figure  . The sixteen fundamental odu of the Ifá system.

In the chart that shows the odu, the figure titled “Eji-Ogbe”

symbolizes light, whereas “Oyeku Meji” symbolizes darkness. They
may be considered analogous to the yang and yin concepts,
respectively, of the I Jing. Eji-Ogbe is drawn with two columns of
single lines, whereas Oyeku Meji is drawn with two columns of
double lines. The other odu are composed of various combinations of
single and double lines. This is the same concept that underlies the
sixty-four hexagrams of the I Jing: combinations of single and double
lines, or unbroken and broken lines, respectively.

An odu consists of eight separate “digits,” as opposed to the six

“digits” of the Chinese hexagrams. This adds another dimension of

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complexity to the system, a kind of fine-tuning. It is possible that this
is a survival of an Arab or even a European divination system
known as geomancy, which also consists of sixteen figures (albeit
with different names; see Figure  ).

Figure  .

You will notice that these figures are simpler than the Yoruban

odu and may in fact represent a system older than the Ifá system, a

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kind of divinatory RNA rather than the full DNA of Ifá.

There is a further level or organization that underlies the three

systems—I JingIfá, and geomancy—and that is the number  . The
geomantic system used by the Arabs and Europeans is a   x   = 
system. The I Jing adds another level of complexity:   x   x   =  . Ifá
takes this one step further, to   x   x   x   = 

. Among Europeans

and other cultural groups in North Africa and the Middle East, the
number   had special significance as the number of the Platonic
elements—Earth, Air, Fire, and Water—believed to be the building
blocks of all existence (as the four chemical bases are the building
blocks of the genetic code), but that may be an association that came
after the fact. The Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung believed that the
quaternary represented wholeness or completion, as is found, for
example, in the designs of Asian mandalas with their emphasis on
the four cardinal directions with corresponding gates, paths, gods,
etc. Symbols such as the cross and the swastika are ways of
expressing the idea of four as an ideograph of four directions, or of a
sun or star spinning with four arms extended from its center.

But there is another system that accommodates all of these, a

mathematical and linguistic marvel that was developed in the
seventeenth century as a result of contact with nonterrestrial forces.
Amazingly, it provides another mathematical element of the genetic
equation; moreover, one that reinforces the “directed panspermia”
theory. Like the Chinese, African, and Arab systems, it predates the
discovery of the genetic code by centuries.

The Angelic Tablets

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As will be discussed in Sekret Machines: War, the rocket scientist and
cofounder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Jack Parsons, was quite
familiar with the work of John Dee and Edward Kelley, the two
English magicians of the Elizabethan era who dabbled in ceremonial
magic and mediumship. Parsons admi ed that he employed their
“angelic system” in his own occult workings. We have postponed
discussing this system in any great detail until now, in the
expectation that the foregoing material—particularly the genetic
information as well as the brief overview of the Chinese and African
systems—would enable the reader to approach this admi edly
arcane subject with an open mind, or at least a curious one.

John Dee’s reputation as a sorcerer may be a bit unfair,

considering his expertise in navigation, astronomy, and mathematics
and his role in introducing Euclid’s Elements to an English-speaking
audience (

). However, it is his involvement with magic and

spiritualism that is be er known.

As we have been at pains to explain, it is necessary to reevaluate

what we think of as occultism in light of what we have been learning
concerning the Phenomenon. What was magic in an earlier time may
be thought of as something rather different today: a kind of meta-
science that incorporates elements of mathematics, physics, biology,
and consciousness. Genetics may provide the key for understanding
how these things are related.

Dee was a mathematician. So was Go fried Leibniz (


who, with Sir Isaac Newton (the alchemist and Biblical scholar who
nevertheless is be er known for his contribution to physics),
invented the calculus. Leibniz, a philosopher and mathematician
who made contributions to science that resulted in the creation of

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the first mechanical calculator, also discovered the binary system
that is in use today in computer technology and was the first to
recognize it as the basis for the I Jing (Figure  ).

Figure  . This document, showing the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Jing, both in the

square matrix format and as a circle, was owned by Leibniz himself.

Dee, however, was most likely unaware of the binary system. His

discovery was much more complex and has resisted a empts by
believers and skeptics alike to deconstruct it or explain it away as the
deranged symptom of a superstitious age. While there are a lot of

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moving parts to the “Angelic Tablets,” we will focus on its
mathematical construction and in particular the way it was
employed by people like Jack Parsons, who studied it in its more
contemporary interpretation.

The Angelic Tablet (see Figure  ) consists of a large square

divided into a grid of 

 cells (  x   = 

). The Tablet may be

subdivided into four smaller tablets of 

 cells (  x   = 

), each

of which contains a le er. The smaller tablets are associated with the
four Platonic elements. Thus there is an Earth Tablet, an Air Tablet,
and so forth. This is another iteration of the quaternary, or number  .

There are fifty-one cells left over, forming a grand cross between

the four smaller tablets. However, only forty of these remaining cells
contain le ers, and these repeat. By eliminating repeated le ers in
those forty, we are left with a small tablet of only twenty cells (  x   =

). This is called the “Tablet of Union.”

Of the smaller tablets of 

 cells each, some form crosses of ten

cells each. There are four of these crosses in each smaller tablet,
giving a total of forty cells. According to the system of the Golden
Dawn (a British occult society of the late nineteenth century that
based its system of magic on the work of Dee and Kelley), the
crosses are referred to as “Calvary Crosses.”

Across the horizontal arm of each Calvary Cross there are an

additional four cells, for a total of sixteen cells per tablet.

What are left are sixty-four cells, each with a le er, and each with

a particular “elemental” association. For example, in the Air Tablet
you will have an Air “column” and an Air “row” or “rank.” The cell
that occupies the Air rank in the Air column of the Air tablet is
purely “air.” Thus, you can overlay the arrangement of the

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hexagrams of the I Jing directly over the Angelic Tablet using the
same system of elemental associations.

This means, of course, that you can also overlay the sixty-four

codons of the genetic code over the Angelic Tablet.

This may seem like a coincidence or maybe wishful thinking, but

the mathematical symmetry is there.

However, we have four of those tablets, which gives us a total of

 cells (  x   = 

). This means you can overlay the 

 odu of the

Table of Ifá on the Angelic Tablet, using the same binary and
elemental system we have been discussing. The systems all fit each
other nicely and indeed are based on some similar assumptions,
including the primacy of the number   as the organizing principle of
all of these systems.

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Figure  . This is one version of the original Dee tablet. The squares that make up the

Tablet of Union are shaded: one horizontal arm and one vertical arm.

The Angelic Tablet devised by Dee and used for communicating

with extraterrestrial beings and expanded upon by the Golden Dawn,
however, contains one more important clue: the Tablet of Union.

As we mentioned, the Tablet of Union consists of twenty cells.

These twenty cells are taken from the Grand Cross that unites all of
the four tablets that make up the greater Angelic Tablet. We propose

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that these twenty cells are an unconscious perception of the twenty
amino acids that are produced by the sixty-four codons.

Yes, this is an outrageous (and unproven) claim. But look at the

numbers and the pa erns they produce. It is no less outrageous than
seeing an intelligence at work in the creation of the genetic code
itself. The number games that were played by Gamow and, later, by
shCherbak and Makukov are consistent with the pa erns we see
emerging from the ancient divination systems and from the
seventeenth-century Angelic Tablets of John Dee as well as their later
interpretation by the nineteenth-century British secret society the
Golden Dawn. It is as if knowledge of the genetic code was slowly
emerging all over the planet—in China, Africa, the Middle East,
Europe—and becoming increasingly articulated and defined until
finally the code arose from the work of Watson, Crick, et al., in the
twentieth century. This is a phenomenon that defies rational
explanation unless it is linked with directed panspermia and thereby
with the Phenomenon itself, demonstrating a link between directed
panspermia, an alien intelligence, and consciousness.

The double helix structure of DNA—and the single twisting

strand of RNA—was not known to science until Watson and Crick’s
discovery in the mid-twentieth century. Yet the ideographic elements
of both were known in esoteric circles for thousands of years. The
familiar symbol of the caduceus—two serpents entwined around a
central axis—was the emblem of Hermes, the Greek god we have
come to know from the discussion of Hermetism in Book One.
Hermes was the messenger of the gods who became associated with
the deep mysteries of initiation and transformation. The caduceus
sports another feature that may allude to its divine (or, at least,

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nonterrestrial) origins: wings. The serpents of the caduceus are
winged serpents.

This same ideograph is familiar to students of yoga and Tantra. It

is used to represent the twin serpents—the Id·ā and the Pin·gala—
that are entwined around the central column (analogous to the
spinal column) of the human body, the Sus·umnā. The Id·ā and
Pin·gala are components of a binary energy system within the body
that are often identified with the yin and yang (respectively) of
Chinese medicine and mysticism. The deliberate balancing of these
two channels through yoga and other practices contributes to an
increasing integration of the body’s many internal systems
(including the autonomic nervous system, the hormones, etc.),
resulting in complete biological and psychological unity: a state that
may be permanent or temporary, depending on the practitioner.

Some of the earliest examples of the caduceus come to us from

ancient Sumer. The famous icon of Ningishzida, the Sumerian
underworld god, shows the god as two serpents entwined around a
central axis, as seen in Figure  .

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Figure  . This depiction of the Serpent Lord is four thousand years old.

Another intriguing representation of the twin serpent motif was

discovered in China, in Xinjiang Province (in the far western part of
the country, bordering on Central Asia). It is of uncertain date, but
depicts Nu Wa, the Chinese goddess who created humanity, and her
brother Fu Xi, who assisted in the creation of human beings and was

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considered the “first human.” These are the gods credited with
creating the human race, and the painting depicts them as two
serpents intertwined and surrounded by symbols representing the
constellations. To make ma ers even more interesting, Nu Wa and
Fu Xi are holding what could be interpreted as Masonic instruments,
as seen in Figure  .

Figure  . The origin of humanity, depicted as a double helix coming from the stars.

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While rare, a single helix structure may be found in some natural

objects—such as certain seashells or some climbing plants—but a
double helix seems to occur naturally only as the structure of the
DNA molecule. Like the “zero” in the Kazakh Configuration, it does
not appear in nature except in the DNA molecule. Yet this design—
the ideographic aspect of DNA—was used as a symbol of secret
wisdom in cultures as far apart as Greece, China, Sumer, and India.

The symbol for RNA was prefigured in the single helix emblems

of the Staff of Asclepius, the symbol of medicine (Figure  ).

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Figure  . The Staff of Asclepius.

Asclepius was a Greek god of medicine who was actually a

hybrid himself: the son of the god Apollo and a human woman. The
woman was killed because she was unfaithful to Apollo, and her
unborn child—Asclepius—was cut from her womb.

 ▼ ▼

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One may think that all this is a pastime of intellectual elites, a Glass
Bead Game devised for entertainment or maybe a rarified means of
education. However, the ubiquitous nature of this system is present
all over the world in a much-reduced and much-simplified form: the
common chessboard (see Figure  ).

Figure  . The common chessboard is also the perfect matrix for the genetic code, the

“magic square” of Mercury (the messenger god represented by the caduceus, symbol of

RNA/DNA), the   hexagrams of the I Jing, and a host of other relevant associations.

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Each chessboard consists of sixty-four squares, or cells. Thirty-

two of these squares or cells are black; the remaining thirty-two are
white or red. They are a ba lefield on which is played a cosmic
struggle between kings. Children learn how to play checkers or
chess on this board. At the same time one can overlay the Chinese
hexagrams or the genetic codons directly onto the sixty-four squares,
to make the game a li le more interesting.

The term “checkmate”—used to represent the end of the game of

chess in which one side is defeated—comes from the Persian shah
, or “the king is dead.” How did it happen that the number sixty-
four—so pregnant with meaning and positive associations
concerning the origin of life on Earth—came to represent a ba lefield
on which two opposing forces confront each other to the death?

King’s Gambit

The subtitle of the third volume in this trilogy is War, and for good
reason. It is about authority, kingship, bloodlines, and an ancient
and eternal conflict. It is a story replete with dark forces, super
weapons, colonization, slavery, abduction, and more. There are gods
and humans, and maybe a composite or hybrid race. There are secret
tunnels, flying machines, interdimensionality, and a multiverse.

Conflict is at the very heart of the human experience, and we

have enough sensitivity to realize that something is wrong with this
picture. As we have said before, at the very outset of this project,
human beings are reliving and revisiting an ancient trauma, over
and over again. Religion is one of the ways in which we relive that
initial contact.

War is another.

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Before we explore all the ramifications of war and conflict with

reference to the Phenomenon in the next volume, let us look at the
biology of conflict and how, as it turns out, we learn it from an early
age. A very early age. Think prenatal.

Most people are aware of the dangers of pregnancy to the

mother. It doesn’t seem “natural” that this most natural of processes
should be potentially lethal, as if life and death were bundled in a
single package. Other creatures, even other mammals, do not risk
obliteration because of reproduction, but human beings do.

The human fetus is a greedy li le creature. It competes with its

mother for nutrients, oxygen, and blood. It latches its placenta onto
the mother’s endometrium which is rich in blood and nutrients; it
then immediately begins to control the mother’s blood supply and
increase her blood sugar and blood pressure. It also uses the
mother’s body to remove waste material from the embryo. It engages
in a life-and-death struggle with the very entity that conceived it. It
manipulates its mother in incredible ways, including playing with
the hormonal system and even sending fetal cells into the mother’s
own blood supply. It is a wonder that she even survives the process
at all.

That may seem like overstating the case, but every year it is

estimated that over 


 women in the world die in childbirth or

during pregnancy, and that millions more are affected with injuries
and disabilities due to pregnancy. Fully fifteen percent of women
suffer complications from pregnancy that are life-threatening.

Other mammals do not have this problem. Pregnant females are

able to carry on daily activities and even evade predators, give birth,
and then get up and go about their business shortly thereafter.

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Human females, on the other hand, are an exception, and we don’t
know why.

What we do know is that the human fetus does what it can to

control the mother. It is actually quite aggressive. Its placenta
a aches itself to the mother’s endometrium and begins to
commandeer her blood supply. The human mother’s endometrium
is quite tough when matched against those of other mammals; it has
to be, for the placenta is aggressive and will do all that it can to
absorb as much of its mother’s blood as possible.

On one hand, the endometrium needs to restrict the intake of the

fetus in order to protect the mother; on the other, the fetus needs to
absorb as much blood and as many nutrients as possible in order to
survive and thrive. It’s a struggle between two living creatures over
the available food supply, and it’s this struggle that leads to
complications during pregnancy, such as eclampsia (high blood
pressure in the mother due to the excessive demands made on her
blood by the fetus).

The human menstrual cycle is one result of this unique biological

condition. While menstruation is not unique to humans, the toll it
takes on the human female is considerably heavier. The functional
layer of the endometrium—which is built up during every menstrual
cycle—is flushed out during menstruation. This serves several
functions, notably to remove any nonviable embryos as well as the
unfertilized ova from the mother’s body. A quantity of blood is also
flushed, while some of it is reabsorbed into the mother’s body. Other
mammals experience menstruation, including primates as well as a
type of bat; in the case of humans, however, the menstrual cycle
carries with it a great variety of disorders from headaches and

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cramps to more severe bleeding, mood swings, etc. Thus a
menstruating woman is clearly at a disadvantage when it comes to
predators, so it would seem that evolution would not favor such a
condition. Yet here we are.

But what does all of this have to do with chess, aliens, and the

genetic code?

The fetus and the mother are opponents in a game of chess. The

chessboard is the interface between the placenta and the
endometrium, a region where blood, hormones, and gases are
exchanged, along with a variety of nutrients. Each side wants to
survive at all costs. And the most powerful piece is the queen.

The optimal outcome in this game is the draw, in which neither

side “wins.” A child is born with no harm to the mother. The child is
itself a chessboard with two sets of squares, or cells, and two
opposing armies: the mother’s DNA and the father’s.

There is the phenomenon of genetic imprinting, in which genes

from the father cause certain functions in the fetus’s DNA to turn on
or off. From an evolutionary point of view, the father’s interests are
not the same as the mother’s. The father wants his child to come to
term, regardless of the effect on the mother’s health. The mother,
after all, can become pregnant by another man, an outcome in which
the first man has no interest. This competitive aspect is emphasized
to the extent that the health of the fetus and its ability to thrive is
believed to be linked to the degree of closeness between the mother
and the father. In short-term relationships—one-night stands, for
example—the fetus is believed to be weaker in some respects due to
the lack of certain genetic traits that are otherwise present in a fetus
conceived as a result of a long-term relationship. This sounds

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impossibly cheesy, but in fact this is the prevailing belief among
biologists today.

The idea of the placenta/endometrium interface as a matrix is not

uncommon. Even the term “matrix” derives from the same root as
“mother” and “ma er”: the Latin word for “womb.” A chessboard is
a matrix of   x   cells, just as the various arrangements of the I Jing
hexagrams appear in   x   cells. The genetic code is based on a
matrix of   x   x   bases. These are all “wombs” of the material
world, a world considered both as physical ma er and as the
processes that comprise it. The matrix is a pa ern on which the
world we experience is formed. It is not enough for us to know
about physical laws as such, but also the pa erns that shape the
physical world. We exteriorize this understanding through game
play, such as chess and checkers or their ancient antecedents, such as
the Indian game of chaturanga, which also is played on an   x 
matrix. As in the proposal by shCherbak and Makukov, the math
behind this is both arithmetical and geometrical; in other words,
there is not only a computational aspect to the code but also an
ideographic (pictorial, symbolic, pa ern) aspect to it. The   x 
matrix we use to determine all possible combinations of the four
bases in groups of three in two-dimensional space becomes the
double helix pa ern in three-dimensional space.

Yet for all of this basis in mathematics and physical laws, it is not

only “ma er” (matrix) that is formed during pregnancy; a new
consciousness is also introduced into that matrix. Consciousness
may be linked to the new genetic formula represented by the sharing
of the maternal and paternal chromosomes, as an element not only
of chemical and biological material but also of its position in space

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and time—external environmental factors whose importance cannot
be ruled out. Every chess game is different.

 ▼ ▼

We are taught that most of what we experience in Nature is the
result of evolutionary processes that have been taking place over
millions of years. Every plant, animal, insect, microbe, and human
being share a common genetic heritage. The concept of natural
selection indicates further that those whose gene pool survived those
millions of years—the person reading this text now, for instance—
behave in a way that is consistent with evolutionary requirements.

The driver behind all of this is DNA. DNA wants to survive and

to reproduce. In a sense, human beings are nothing but a
transportation and reproductive medium for DNA. As mentioned
earlier, Richard Dawkins has called DNA “the selfish gene.” DNA is
also theoretically immortal. As long as it keeps reproducing, it will
never die. We contain all the DNA of our ancestors; we are walking
libraries of genetic history. Our biological structure—from skeleton
to organs to brain and nervous system, everything—is designed for
one purpose only: to pass the genetic code down to succeeding
generations. There is genetic material in your cells that is millions of
years old, which is as good an indicator of immortality as we can

One theory has it that, as individuals, we are not expected to

survive; there is no profit in our individual survival as far as DNA is
concerned. As long as we have reproduced, there is no advantage in
keeping us around. We are expected to live only as long as we are

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able to keep reproducing; after that, we have to die in order to free
up resources for the next generation. Immortality of the individual—
from the perspective of the genetic code—is counterproductive.
Diversity of the gene pool is the goal, and if an individual were to
live for a thousand years, his or her genetic material would be
redundant. An immortal human being—from the point of view of
DNA—would be a waste of space.

It’s not that senescence and death are programmed into the code.

Death can come in many forms, from violence and war to natural
disasters. While we may be able to manipulate our genes to the
extent that disease becomes a thing of the past, there is always the
threat of a ack by other humans, or the occurrence of a simple
accident. The code has made allowances for that, as well. Humans,
by the very nature of their environment, do not last long. Thus there
is no point in building a human that could last hundreds of years
under optimal circumstances if those circumstances are impossible
to anticipate or produce. It’s not that death is programmed into the
genes; it’s just that immortality is not. Eventually, the genes in the
body stop replicating and repairing life’s damage to the organs
because the body is most likely on its way out.

Therefore, immortality for human beings has to be the result of a

deliberate choice. We can’t count on our bodies to do it for us. The
genes have no illusions about living forever (or even just for a very
long, Biblical-style life expectancy, like Methuselah), but we, as
individuals, have a different set of values. Somehow our
consciousness is at odds with our genetic inheritance. When it comes
to life and death it seems we don’t agree, and that could be the result
of consciousness coming rather late to the party.

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In the reported cases of alien abductions, it seems the aliens

bypass our consciousness as if they are not impressed by it or they
consider it unimportant. They go straight to the organism, the body
itself. Human consciousness is something they want out of the way.
It seems to interfere with their plans.

Much has been made of the purported alien interest in human

(and animal) reproductive organs. It seems odd that supposedly
advanced creatures who can travel back and forth to Earth from their
home planet in the twinkling of an eye would be so backward
technologically that they would practice crude forms of surgery on
abducted human beings. What may be taking place, however, is
something more profound.

If, as we suggest, our genetic code came here from elsewhere, it

stands to reason that it developed along evolutionary lines that are
quite different from those on its planet of origin. It may even be that
RNA was the seed used to populate life on Earth, and that DNA is
itself a kind of mutation. Today, RNA seems to serve functions that
only are in service of the DNA molecule, but what if that represents
a development that confuses or puzzles the Others?

Further, what if the Others’ own genetic evolution has reached

some kind of end stage? What if, due to inbreeding over millions of
years, their DNA has become nonviable? In a sense, we are in danger
of the very same thing, although we may not see the results for
another million years or so. We normally think of inbreeding as
something that takes place within a close family or among people
who are related, or in small ethnic communities that do not
procreate outside their circle. Earth, though, also is just such a
community, despite the fact that it is quite large and contains billions

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of people, most of whom are not closely related. One can imagine
that eventually—with climate change, wars, famine, drought,
epidemics, and the like—Earth’s population will become smaller.
Those people who are left will be carrying genes that are similar
enough to the other survivors that the speed of negative mutations
will increase. The only remedy would be to incorporate genetic
material from other sources, off-planet. Although we are on the
verge of manipulating the genetic code as easily as computer code,
there is always the law of unintended consequences to consider. One
serious mistake and the planet could become prey to a rabid virus or
a bacterium for which there is no cure. (Indeed, most of our DNA is
actually bacterial in origin.) As it stands, we are already in danger of
succumbing to super-bugs that are resistant to any of our antibiotics.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that something very similar to

this has happened already to another species on another planet, or
perhaps to a species somewhere hidden on our own planet (known
in the literature as “ultraterrestrials”). They know that our genetic
material comes from the same place as theirs; we are related. Of
course evolution has caused enormous changes in our DNA over the
millions of years we have been here, but the basic code is the same
and replicates the same proteins, only perhaps in different

Let’s go a step further and say that this other species wants to

“reset” their DNA because they’ve found themselves on an
evolutionary dead end. They are in danger of becoming extinct on
their planet the way Neanderthals and Denisovans have on ours. At
the same time, they don’t want to lose any of the characteristics they
value, characteristics that they have and we don’t. They also don’t

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want any of our vulnerability to certain diseases (perhaps even
diseases we don’t know exist or are coming our way). They don’t
want any of the traits that they consider negative in terms of their
environmental requirements. Let’s say they have tinkered with their
own genetic material, excising so many genes they felt were negative
mutations that now their ability to evolve and survive has been
drastically reduced, perhaps in relation to environmental factors
they now experience but which didn’t exist before they started

What they need to do is obtain genetic material from another

source, alter it to satisfy their requirements, and experiment to see if
—taken to term—a viable offspring is produced. They can’t do this
on their home planet for some reason—perhaps their native
environment has become too unstable, or they are lacking in
appropriate nutrients—so they have turned to our planet.
Obviously, our genetic material is robust enough to have survived
millions of years. But their environment and ours are different
enough, and there are so many unpredictable variables, that the only
way to discover whether their approach will work is to “farm”
embryos that are part alien and part human.

As this book was being prepared for publication an important

news story came out of China. Chinese scientists have successfully
edited the genes of nonviable embryos in order to neutralize the
gene considered a marker for the HIV virus. The previous year,
another Chinese team had used the same technique to modify the
gene responsible for blood disease. This technique—known as
CRISPR (clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)—is a
revolutionary editing tool for genetic material that is used to remove

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sections of a gene and replace them with other genes, a lot like
editing a text. If we can do this now, the scenario of alien abduction
and the creation of alien-human hybrids becomes more plausible.

CRISPR technology is not difficult to come by. One easily can

imagine an unethical operation in a country ruled by a dictatorship
authorizing and even encouraging experimentation on viable
embryos, perhaps abducting women to serve as unwilling
participants in these experiments. It is easy to see that had this
technology been accessible to the Nazi eugenics scientists, they
would have used it.

If an extraterrestrial or ultraterrestrial race lives among us, they

might feel compelled to do the same without our knowledge or
agreement. Their survival would be at stake. They may look upon us
the way we view lab rats and guinea pigs. We have no way of
knowing. All we have are statements from decent, well-meaning,
perfectly sane individuals who claim that this indeed has happened
to them.

On Earth, between nations, such action would be considered a

causus belli: a reason for war.

In this case we have an enemy that is largely invisible to us.

There is nowhere to point a weapon or wage a ba le. The enemy
possibly lives among us, disguised in some way. Or they come from
a place unknown to us, far from the reach of our technology, and can
swoop down and interfere with us at their will.

In a sense, they are like terrorists.
We would say they are accidental terrorists. It is not clear that

terror is a tactic they employ, but merely a side effect of their actions
on the rest of us. Appearing and reappearing. Abducting and

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releasing. Mixed signals and hybrid babies. Now you see them, now
you don’t. A Scarlet Pimpernel of reality.

When Columbus crash-landed on American soil, he was with his

crew on ships that the Native Americans had never seen, dressed in
clothing that was strange, speaking an unknown language, and
possessing technology that seemed like magic. He had even
witnessed a UFO on the night before his landing in the Bahamas—
on October  , 

—as if a delegation from a hidden base on

Antarctica or a fortress on Sirius had decided to give their somewhat
crooked blessing to his endeavor. We don’t know what those Native
Americans really thought of Columbus and his ships; within years
they were wiped out, due to foreign illnesses against which they had
no natural immunity, and to the mortal cruelty of Spanish slavery.

A cautionary tale, perhaps.

 ▼ ▼

There actually is another type of cell that is immortal, as long as it
has a host. Cancer is theoretically immortal. Cancer cells will
reproduce constantly as long as their host body remains alive.
Cancer cells have obviously not learned how to balance their
reproduction with maintaining the survival of their host, however.
Should cancer learn how to do this, one wonders if a cancerous
tumor would eventually develop a kind of consciousness, and if it
would be completely separate from the host’s consciousness.

Both the DNA molecule and the cancer cell are immortal and

desire to reproduce as much as possible; the difference is that cancer

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cells cause the death of their host, which means their own death.
Cancer cells, while theoretically immortal, are also suicidal.

The DNA molecule also has very li le regard for its host. As we

have indicated, the immortality of the host is not its goal. Human
beings stay alive only long enough to reproduce as much as possible
and to ensure the viability of their offspring. We have created
strategies for prolonging life beyond that point, but in the process
have encountered new problems: the appearance of illnesses in old
age that did not exist in youth. As the body ages, its internal support
systems begin to break down. Psychological as well as physical
disorders appear. We become less ambulatory; our world is reduced
to our home, then one room, then finally our bed, which we know
will become our bier. Life, difficult at the best of times, becomes
increasingly unbearable.

At a certain point it would seem that our genes want us dead.
Consciousness rebels against this state of affairs. Consciousness

is no friend of the genetic imperative. Consciousness does desire
immortality, even convinces itself that immortality exists and is
possible and comes up with all sorts of strategies to a ain it. Every
culture is aware of immortality—in their myths, legends, spiritual
practices—even though there is no evidence of its existence. We posit
the realm of immortal beings in heaven or on the summit of some
Mount Olympus or Mount Kailash. Christianity is based on the idea
of resurrection: of coming back from the dead. This was the “super
power” of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. He was able to
bring human beings back from the dead.

Shamans go through a death-and-rebirth ritual, coming back to

their community with their own set of superpowers. It’s a ritual that

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involves traveling to the stars. Ancient Egypt is the home of the
resurrected god, Osiris, and the process of mummification, which is
studded with references to the soul existing in a realm after death,
traveling to the stars. All of these motifs involving death,
resurrection, and interstellar travel that we discussed in Book One
now come back into the discussion, but from a different perspective.
We have shown that scientists—not speculative historians—entertain
the distinct possibility that our genetic code was designed by an
intelligence and that the code came from the stars and was seeded
here deliberately. The encoded information in our cells has been
trying to get our a ention for thousands of years through divination
systems in China, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere that are based on
the same mathematical pa ern.

As we evolved to a certain level of sophistication according to the

encoded program in our cells, contact was made with us. This
contact was either from those who had created the genetic code and
seeded it onto this planet or from another race of beings entirely. In
any case, and for the sake of argument based on textual and other
evidence, we suggest that this contact was made by a race that was
related to us genetically. That would explain the similarities in body
structure and the fact that communication of a sort took place
between us. They were different enough in appearance, however,
that our representations of them show that they were either much
bigger or much smaller than ourselves; that they had characteristics
that we associated with various animals; that they had abilities we
understood to be paranormal. And they had mastered flight.

Right or wrong, we characterized this contact in supernatural

terms and identified these beings as the “gods.” We identified their

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place of origin as the “stars.” And we knew, somehow, that they had
“created” us.

All things being equal, that should have indicated that we—the

human race—was well on its way to creating a heaven on Earth. We
had the exemplars of our evolutionary path in front of us:
supernatural beings with tremendous powers who could enter and
leave our world at will. It was only a ma er of time.

But then something went wrong.

 ▼ ▼

The term “ghost in the machine” is used to describe the mind-body
problem. Philosophers with a materialist bent propose that the mind
cannot exist outside of the body; that the body can exist in a
vegetative state without any discernible brain waves, but that the
death of the body means the death of the mind, as well. The body is
the machine; what we call the mind is really just a ghost in the

This is a fundamental point of view that has skewed our

understanding of consciousness, because it rejects any claim that
consciousness may exist independently of the body. The major
religions and spiritual movements of the world insist that something
essential survives the death of the body; call it “soul” or “spirit” or
any one of a number of other terms, the message is clear: death is not
the end. The “ghost in the machine” may leave the machine and
survive in some other state, even in some other machine.

We have a hard time understanding this idea because we have

been brought up to believe that nature exists “out there” and that we

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are examining it, analyzing it, describing it, but all the while holding
it at a distance. We are in the world, but not of it. We don’t
understand that our perceptions of the world are part of the world,
and cannot be extricated from it.

Werner Heisenberg, one of the founders of quantum mechanics

and author of the famous Uncertainty Principle, once wrote:

Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature, it
is a part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it
describes nature as exposed to our method of questioning.

The conventional method of questioning so far has been to

exclude phenomena that do not fit the materialist perspective. The
“hard problem” of consciousness is precisely the realm of
phenomena that doesn’t fit. We observe phenomena that have no
scientific explanation and then discard the observations because they
don’t fit the theory, rather than retooling the theory to fit the
observations. In that way, science itself has become a kind of religion
as well as a system of government that decides what is and is not
“real” or part of the “realm.” That science has become politicized is
not news to anyone; it has had to become politicized in order to
survive, for “doing science” in the twenty-first century means
depending on government grants that can be awarded or withheld
based on the nature of the project. That results in a limiting of the
scope of scientific inquiry to satisfy political requirements.

Since doing science is expensive, there doesn’t seem to be a way

out of this conundrum unless theoretical physicists go the way of
poets and artists in 

s Paris, living in unheated garrets and

writing calculations on the back of café napkins between glasses of

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absinthe. But if you’re doing work with the CERN super-collider, or
you need a laboratory for your genetic experiments, that solution
won’t cut it.

However, by showing how your work will contribute to the

defense industry in some way and providing a national security
rationale, the chances of being awarded a grant became
proportionally greater. And it was this incestuous connection
between government funding, the military-industrial complex, and
science that led us down the path of either regarding the UFO
Phenomenon as a military and intelligence ma er or ignoring it as
inconsequential if it does not pose an immediate threat.

But what of the Visitors themselves?
If the Phenomenon is other-worldly, and under intelligent

control, then we must begin asking the hard questions for which we
still do not have the answers. Have the Visitors solved the “mind-
body problem”? Do they even have consciousness the way we
understand the term, or are they solely intelligent the way a
computer is intelligent? If we analyze the statements of observers, of
close encounter witnesses, do we get closer to an understanding not
only of the Visitors but of our own composition?

If the Visitors are conscious, but not human, that realization

alone should considerably advance our understanding of
consciousness and its relation to the human brain and nervous
system. But if the Visitors are intelligent or super-intelligent
machines that do not exhibit any signs of consciousness, we may
have our answer after all.

As we have indicated, there is a war between our genes and our

consciousness. We are not on the same page. Whatever created us,

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and for whatever reason, may not have taken into account the
possibility that we would develop a will independent from our
genetic imperative. They had planned for instincts—the instinct to
survive, the instinct to reproduce—but those are not the same thing.
Instincts are those programs that run the machines (the robots, the
cyborgs) that are us. They are unconscious motivators, set in motion
eons ago and encoded in our genes. The existence of the human will
implies an ability to transcend those instincts, to suppress them. It’s
also what makes us aware that there may be something inherently
wrong with our situation on Earth.

It’s the ghost in the sekret machine.

 J. Robert Oppenheimer, Science and the Common Understanding,

Simon & Schuster, NY, 


 This system is also known as sikidy in Madagascar, and by other

names in many other African countries. See for instance Philip M.
Peek, ed., African Divination Systems: Ways of Knowing, Indiana
University Press, Bloomington, 

, pp.  – .

 Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, New York, Harper &


, p.  .

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Gen often said that what we perceive to be coincidences are in
fact carefully placed tiles in a mosaic pa ern the rest of which
we can’t apprehend. Now Micky sensed that intricate mosaic,
vast and panoramic, and mysterious.

— Dean Koon










It’s the “black box” at the heart of the human experience, the target
of so many theories, ranging from the purely reductionist and
mechanical to the expansive and mystical. Is consciousness “an
emerging property of the brain,” or is consciousness everywhere in
the universe? Are animals conscious? Are machines conscious?

Are aliens conscious?
We will look at some of the most relevant theories (there are way

too many to examine each one thoroughly) and suggest ways in
which the study of consciousness has applications for the study of
the Phenomenon.

The study of consciousness is foundational to the study of the

Phenomenon, as scientists ranging from Jacques Vallée to Hal
Puthoff have assured us. Actually, this should be obvious to anyone
who has studied or researched Ufology for any length of time. The
consciousness effects are the first ones to be experienced, from those

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simply witnessing the overflight of a UFO on a dark summer’s night
to those who find themselves in the presence of the Visitors. The
experiencers themselves live through events that are almost
impossible to describe in everyday terms; their psyches have been
affected, and in many cases—such as those of the abductees studied
by John Mack—they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The experience of the Other challenges our assumptions, not only

of the Visitors—Who are they? What are they? What do they want?
—but of what it means to be us, to be human. We need to take a
good, long look at ourselves and the way our minds work. In order
to approach this demanding discipline it is necessary to look at the
physical structure of the brain as well as to consider the possibility
that consciousness arises from the neurons . . . or maybe the
microtubules . . . or perhaps the DNA molecule . . . or even from
quantum effects at the smallest possible level—the Planck scale—of
the material world, the level of particles and waves.

In addition, we will consider how consciousness evolved, and

when it first appeared on Earth. This may help us understand how
consciousness might have evolved on other planets, which might
help us understand the psyches of the Others.

Taken together, these various theories and data points will

contribute to a greater understanding of the enormity of the task we
have set before us: to understand the Phenomenon before we even
understand ourselves.

 Dean Koon One Door Away from Heaven, Bantam, NY, 

, p.


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Does genius emerge from the genes alone? Does the largely
unknown chemistry of the brain contain at least part of the
secret? . . . Or do we ordinary men carry it irretrievably
locked within our subconscious minds?

— Loren Eiseley, The Night Country









awareness of the structure of the DNA helix and the genetic code
represented in the divination systems of cultures as diverse as the
Yoruba tradition of Africa, European geomancy, and Chinese
philosophy and mysticism. We also saw that a Nobel Prize–winning
scientist, Francis Crick, held the conviction that the DNA molecule
was seeded onto this planet deliberately. We also saw two Russian
mathematicians discover that the structure of the genetic code itself
implies an intelligence at work in its design.

Yet, we also came to the realization that DNA does not have an

“immortality gene” built into it; indeed, in order for the DNA
molecule to survive and thrive, it must “kill off” each generation so

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that a new generation—with new combinations and new capabilities
—can take its place. This would make sense if a race of intelligent
beings had decided that the last thing they needed was to generate
billions of immortal machines. (Imagine what the earth would have
looked like if the Model-T Ford had been designed to be immortal,
and could reproduce endlessly!) After all, this is what we do. We
invent newer and be er tools, newer and be er machines that are
developments of the previous generations, and then je ison the
older machines when the new ones come along. How many of us
still use the Radio Shack TRS-  personal computer? Or the
Commodore  ? Yet the “DNA” of these older machines is built into
the newer ones. The technology can be traced back to the first
machines, just as our DNA can be traced back down the
evolutionary line to the first living things.

However, this sets us up for a major disconnect between human

beings and their environment, for human beings want to live forever
(or, at least, to have the option of living for as long as they like). This
desire is completely at odds with the genetic program, as far as we
understand it, but it is nonetheless very real.

There have been practices and procedures designed to prolong

life, whether Chinese alchemy or Indian yoga or the elixir vitae of the
European savants, leading up to the present-day obsession with
longevity, cryogenics, and the like. This is a metaphorical slap in the
face of Richard Dawkins’ idea of the “selfish gene,” which does not
want any such thing. Is it possible that this desire for immortality is
an indication that some part of us is immortal?

From where did we humans get this obsession with immortality?

Does the DNA molecule have a secret message encoded within its

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enormously long chain of nucleotides, a message that can only be
decoded when humanity has reached a certain level of genetic
diversity and strength? Did previous generations have to die off, as
controlled by the DNA molecule, until a certain critical mass was
reached, at which time the human race would be prepared to
achieve (or, perhaps more correctly, realize) its own immortality? Is
there a link between human conceptions of immortality and
consciousness itself?

Is DNA the source of this consciousness? Further, if it is, is DNA

itself conscious?

 ▼ ▼

There are two possible approaches to this problem. Either
consciousness is built into the DNA molecule, and our desire for
long life is an artifact of that molecule for reasons we don’t
understand, or consciousness comes from outside the system. Does
our brain—if that is where consciousness is “located”—create its
own signals, or does it receive signals from elsewhere? Or, possibly,

The aspect of the Phenomenon known as “alien abduction”

provides many examples of the human nervous system acting as a
kind of receiver for signals emi ed by the “aliens.” Alien abductees
are almost unanimous in reporting that communication with their
abductors is usually restricted to a kind of mental telepathy.
Sometimes the communication takes the form of words, and at other
times of images. Why should we take these accounts seriously?

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In the first place, there is a substantial amount of consistency

among the various accounts, which would seem to indicate that the
abductees are witnesses to something real. Some critics have tried to
invalidate those experiences with scientific-sounding reasons, such
as sleep paralysis, hallucinations, etc., but those explanations would
not account for the similarity in detail between abductees from
various places in the world at different times, even in different

The abductions take place in a state where the abductees have no

control over what is happening. They are usually abducted from
their homes, but at times from moving vehicles. Communication
with their abductors takes place telepathically; that is, they hear or
somehow sense the words “u ered” by their abductors in their
heads, not through their ears.

In fact, the abductors do not have the same set of sensory

apparatus that humans have. No ears are discernible, no nostrils to
speak of. They have a slit for a mouth, and sometimes another slit or
slits where the nose would be. Feet are virtually invisible, either due
to special footwear or for other reasons. There is a vague anatomical
similarity to humans (four limbs, torso, head)—which may be
evidence of a shared genetic and/or environmental heritage—but not
enough to indicate a common humanity.

In the United States, the abductors often take the appearance of

the famous Grays: large heads, large black eyes, long tapering
fingers, etc. In Europe, Africa, and Asia, however, although Grays
are seen in some cases, we seem to see greater variety in appearance,
although there is always general agreement that the Visitors are not
human. All of this is valuable information, because it may indicate

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that the abductees are projecting some kind of idea or image onto
their abductors, or that the abductors are manipulating the senses of
the abductees for a specific purpose. That purpose may be as simple
as “divide and conquer”: if humans are not in agreement as to the
size, shape, and characteristics of the abductors, they are not able to
formulate any kind of coherent response or threat assessment across
national boundaries. In other words, the abductors may be experts in
propaganda and psychological warfare on a level that exceeds
anything we have invented, and by using different “forms” for
different countries they could intend to pit those countries against
each other when the time comes (assuming we can impute a human
agenda to the abductors, which is something we should not take for

Even in those foreign scenarios, however, there are consistencies

with their American counterparts where telepathic communication is
concerned. This seems to be a characteristic that the abductors have
not transcended, or perhaps they do not feel the need to do so.

Thus, we have a few features on which most “alien abduction”

scenarios are based: the abductors are not human; they are
associated with UFOs/UAPs; they communicate only telepathically;
and they abduct human beings for purposes we do not yet
understand but that often seem to have a reproductive or genetic

A great deal has been speculated about the motivations for what

can only be described as terribly invasive and at times gruesome
physical manipulations of human beings by the abductors. As there
seems to be an obsession on the part of the abductors where human
reproduction is concerned—with genitals, with ovaries and testes,

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with semen, with fertilization and conception—many critics ridicule
the experiences on the assumption that if the abductors are a space-
faring species with the kind of advanced technology they would
need to travel enormous distances through the cosmos, they hardly
could be expected to be confused or fascinated by sex. The problem
with that approach is that it requires too many assumptions, none of
which are made by the abductees themselves.

The first assumption is that the abductors have traveled vast

distances through space. There is no evidence to support that view.

The second assumption is that they use the same, or almost the

same, reproductive processes that we do (or that they reproduce at

The third assumption is that the abductors are organic beings,

and not some type of machine.

And the fourth, and most dangerous, assumption is that their

goals, motivations, and agendas can be understood in human terms.

Thus, in order to get a grasp on the problem, we have to go back

to the source. We have to try to understand what human
consciousness is, how it developed, and, most important, where it is
going. We need desperately to understand our own nature before we
can draw comparisons with the nature of beings who clearly are not
like us at all. And since the consensus seems to be that the abductors
—the “aliens,” the “Visitors”—communicate telepathically, that
means we have to take a very close look at consciousness and at our
own a empts at qualifying and quantifying telepathy, paranormal
abilities, and the like.

If DNA (or its predecessor, RNA) was, indeed, seeded onto this

planet by another, intelligent source, as we discussed earlier, it

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behooves us to begin at the genetic level to gain an understanding of
where consciousness came from.

The Neurobiological Theory

It is remarkable that most of the work in both cognitive science
and the neurosciences makes no reference to consciousness (or
“awareness”), especially as many would regard consciousness
as the major puzzle confronting the neural view of the mind.
Indeed, at the present time it appears deeply mysterious to
many people.

—Francis Crick and Christof Koch

Francis Crick himself was interested in this question, and co-
authored a paper with Christof Koch on the subject. Titled “Towards
a neurobiological theory of consciousness,” it was published in
Seminars in the Neurosciences in 

. Crick believed that

consciousness had to have a physical, biological origin and that the
brain was the most likely locus for consciousness: what they called
“neural correlates of consciousness,” or NCC. To Crick, the brain
was a machine that could be tinkered with, broken down, and
studied with components in isolation from each other—
hippocampus, thalamus, neocortex, etc.—to discover how
consciousness was constructed and what processes were involved.
Crick had already addressed the structure of the DNA helix and had
proposed directed panspermia as the source of all DNA on the
planet; now he was on the trail of the single most elusive scientific
entity: the “black box” of consciousness.

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A “black box” in this sense is any system in which information

goes in and information comes out, but we don’t know how that
happens. For many of us, our computers, tablets, and smartphones
are black boxes, but there are engineers and technicians for whom
these devices are transparent. Consciousness, however, resists every
a empt at analysis. The materialists ignore the psychologists, and
both ignore the mystics.

To begin the scientific a empt to understand consciousness,

Crick and Koch proposed to isolate one of the sensory systems—the
visual—and concentrate on that. How does the brain respond to
visual stimuli? When we see hundreds or thousands of discrete
images at a time—just looking at a tree full of individual leaves, or a
busy street scene in a crowded city—how do our eyes select the
images we see, building a mise en scène in microseconds, and
conveying that information to the brain? How does consciousness
build that picture in an instant, only to replace it immediately with
another one? When we shift our focus from looking out of a window
at the sky to looking indoors at the dinner table, what happens in
consciousness? How does that happen? And where does that happen?

There is general agreement that we are not conscious of all the
processes going on in our heads, though exactly which might be
a ma er of dispute.

This is a fact of which the ancients were well aware. Those who

study yoga, for instance, know that there are neurobiological
systems operating below conscious awareness—such as peristalsis,
respiration, etc., that are controlled by centers in the brain—and that
techniques were developed to extend conscious control over those

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systems. The easiest (or, at least, the most accessible) of those
systems is respiration, which can be controlled consciously through
pranayama, or breathing exercises. Any child knows how to hold
their breath until they turn blue! The practice of pranayama is the
pathway toward conscious control of other autonomic nervous
system functions, such as heart rate.

What Crick and Koch are saying, however, is that there are

systems operating at deeper levels that organize visual and other
sensory stimuli into the complete package we know as conscious
awareness. I see you, I hear you speaking, I feel hot or cold, I smell
cookies in the oven . . . all simultaneously, forming a picture of a
brief moment of time. Your facial expression, combined with what
you are saying—visual plus auditory events—create a global
experience of the event that my senses receive and somehow
organize into something coherent and comprehensible. The more
complex the nervous system—the more “sophisticated” it is when it
comes to discerning different colors, different sounds, different
smells, etc.—the more “conscious” one becomes.

It is probable, though, that consciousness correlates to some
extent with the degree of complexity of any nervous system.

This may be the crux of the problem. The more complex the

system, the more complex the consciousness. And this includes all
the senses, distributed throughout the nervous system. Thus, when
projecting these ideas onto the typical “alien abduction” scenario, we
are faced with the realization that we have no evidence that the
abductors have the same sensory apparatus we do, which can have
implications concerning the degree of complexity of their nervous

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system and hence of the abductors’ type, depth, and range of

As noted previously, ears on the “typical” Gray alien are

conspicuously absent. Mouths do not seem to be used for
communication. Even the nose seems vestigial, at best. If the senses
are required for the development of a complex nervous system and
thereby for higher consciousness, the abductors actually are lacking
in that regard. That would seem to indicate—if Crick and Koch are
correct in their assumptions—that the abductors either are not as
conscious as we are, or have a different form of consciousness
altogether, one that does not depend on the classical five senses. If
that is true, the key to understanding their preoccupation with
human sexuality might be right in front of us.

But before we go too far, let’s see what else Crick and Koch have

to teach us, and proceed from there to some current scientific
speculation (and discoveries) where DNA consciousness is

First, Crick and Koch do not think that language is essential for

consciousness. To support this contention they cite the examples of
the “higher mammals,” which “possess some of the essential
features of consciousness, but not necessarily all.”  In other words,
a dog may be conscious even though a dog does not communicate in
language (as we understand it), leading to the conclusion that
consciousness does not equal language ability. Can we assume,
however, that language ability equals consciousness? We are again
in that dangerous area where machines may communicate in
language but not be conscious.

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René Descartes, the famous French philosopher who gave us the

dictum “I think, therefore I am,” had this to say about language

Don’t confuse speech with the natural movements that are
evidence of passions and can be imitated by machines as well as
by animals. And don’t think, as some of the ancients did, that
the beasts speak a language that we don’t understand! For if
that were true, then since they have many organs that are
analogous to ours, they could make themselves understood by
us as well as by their fellows. It is another remarkable fact that
although many animals show more skill than we do in some of
their actions, yet the same animals show no skill at all in plenty
of others; so what they do be er doesn’t prove that they have
minds, for if it did, they would have be er minds than any of us
and would out-perform us in everything. It shows rather that
they don’t have minds at all, and that it is nature that acts in
them according to the disposition of their organs. Similarly, we
with all our skill can’t count the hours and measure time as
accurately as a clock consisting only of wheels and springs!

If one were to apply Descartes’ sentiment to what abductees

report concerning their interactions with the Visitors, we would
arrive at some interesting conclusions and be closer than ever to
characterizing them as machines imitating humans.

Crick and Koch, however, go on to state:

From this it follows that a language system (of the type found in
humans) is not essential for consciousness. That is, one can have

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the key features of consciousness without language.

They then go on to make a very interesting statement regarding


We shall assume that self-consciousness, that is the self-
referential aspect of consciousness, is merely a special case of
consciousness and is be er left on one side for the moment.
Volition and intentionality will also be disregarded and also
various rather unusual states, such as the hypnotic state, lucid
dreaming and sleep walking, unless they turn out to have
special features that make them experimentally advantageous.

These are, of course, the very states that compel us to investigate

consciousness in the first place, the self-referential aspect or self-
consciousness paramount among them. If you propose a figure that
does not have language as we know it and is not equipped with self-
consciousness or self-referential consciousness, then you are halfway
toward describing the classical “alien.” According to the alien
abductee reports in David Jacobs, Mack, Bryan, and others, the alien
abductor is without much in the way of personal identification.
There is no differentiation between one “alien” and another in terms
of facial features, clothing, speech pa erns, gestures, etc. This would
imply a level of self-awareness or self-referential consciousness (the
concept of a self that is distinguishable from the group, an
independent being) that is minimal, at best. Of course, language
ability is another deficit when it comes to interaction with the alien
abductors. One may as well be dealing with machines.

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In the very early days of artificial intelligence (AI) research, a

program known as ELIZA was developed. It was created in the

s as perhaps the earliest version of a “cha erbot”: a program

that simulated human speech. One could ask ELIZA questions and
receive answers that often seemed appropriate and relevant, as if
speaking to a human being on the other side of the computer screen.
It is clunky compared to present-day systems, but it is amazing to
contemplate the degree to which ELIZA was considered to be
cu ing edge at the time.

What, then, if that which is perceived as “alien” communication

is nothing other than a more refined version of ELIZA, i.e., a
machine-generated communication system that is based on images
rather than sounds? Would not the especially large eyes of the
“aliens” seem to reinforce the idea that images are their natural
method of communication? And the lack of complete reciprocal
verbal exchanges with the “aliens” would seem to imply a level of
pre-programming rather than a natural flow of language, concepts,
and repartee. It just may be that what we understand as an advanced
species is not quite as advanced as they would have us believe.

Or, they are not a species at all.

 ▼ ▼

If language is not necessary to consciousness, however, then there is
a possibility that the Alien is conscious; just not very verbal. Crick
and Koch propose that the most accessible path to understanding
consciousness is through the visual sense rather than the aural, as
discussed earlier. (This was a path taken by Descartes, as well, who

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wrote a groundbreaking paper on optics.) They argue that if the
neural pathways that control vision in the brain can be mapped,
analyzed, and understood, we are partway toward grasping the
essential nature of consciousness.

This is because the visual field is enormous and consists of a

wide variety of shapes, colors, dimensions, and movement. The
“processing power” required to look at a street scene or a painting or
just your living room is considerable; how much more so the
prioritizing of what is seen, the assignment of “values” to the visible
objects, the organization of everything seen into a coherent whole
that may last for no longer than a nanosecond. When we look at a
scene before us, we are not completely consciously aware of every
object in that scene. If I see a row of books, for instance, I know it is a
row of books and I may even have the immediate sense that they are
hardcovers or paperbacks or some combination of these. I will not be
aware immediately of the titles on the spines of the books. That
requires a different sort of a ention, one calibrated toward language
—the languages used on the spines—and to the linearity in time
required to read each one. You can’t read all the spines at once.

However, your memory may have registered all of the titles;

they’re just not easily accessible. In addition, there is short-term
memory and long-term memory and perhaps shades of difference
between them. This makes image capture and retrieval even more
problematic . . . for a human, but not for a machine. The machine can
record and store all the visual data, but it is still up to a “program”
to decide what data should be retrieved at any given time.

When it comes to short-term memory, the prognosis seems rather

more extreme:

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No case of a person who is conscious but has lost all forms of
short-term memory has been reported.

It would seem rather bizarre to have a person who is conscious,

yet only has long-term memory and no short-term memory at all.
They might appear to be either unconscious or simply not present.
But what of a patient who had only short-term memory but could
not form long-term memories? The famous amnesic patient known
as “H.M.” was fully conscious, even though sections of his brain had
been removed to ease his suffering from epilepsy. He had
tremendous difficulty in forming long-term memories, but his ability
at forming short-term memories remained intact.

Then we have the fact that blind people—people born sightless—

are obviously wholly conscious. So are people who cannot hear. Or
speak. Helen Keller was conscious, maybe more than most. And we
know all of this because those people can communicate. With or
without language as we understand it, they communicate.

Thus, is communication with an “alien” species analogous to

communication with a human being that is challenged in a sensory
way? Or is it the other way around: does the alien species feel that
humans are sense-challenged, and have resorted to pictures to
communicate with us because that is the way we communicate with
children who have not yet learned to read?

 ▼ ▼

Crick and Koch refer to a concept known as “binding.” This is a way
of describing what happens when we are speaking with another
person and we are aware of their appearance, the words they are

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forming, and other ancillary data that are essential to carrying out
our end of the conversation. These various senses—sight, hearing,
and so forth—have to “bind” together to create the overall

Then they amplify this concept a bit further by saying there are

three types of binding. The first, they claim, is “probably determined
by genes and by developmental processes that have evolved due to
the experience of our distant ancestors.”  This is the first time that
these two scientists have acknowledged the genetic component of an
essential aspect of consciousness: binding together data from the
various senses into a coherent whole. Further, this aspect of
consciousness may also have been developed over the eons as we
proceeded along the evolutionary path.

The second type of binding is one with which we are all familiar:

learning. They use the example of learning the le ers of the alphabet
as representative of this type of binding. Of course, the alphabet is
visual but it also represents sounds. The combination of le ers
represents an even more advanced type of learning, which is the
association of words with concepts: nouns, verbs, etc. Learning also
obviously involves those parts of the brain that concern memory.

The third and final type of binding, according to Crick and Koch,

has nothing to do with the first two. This type is not related to a
genetic endowment, nor to repetitive learning, but “applies
particularly to objects whose exact combination of features may be
quite novel to us. The neurons actively involved are unlikely all to be
strongly connected together.”

Neurons are connected to each other through use, i.e., through

repetitive learning or through some genetic mechanism with which

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we are as yet unfamiliar. However, there are times when we
experience something for which we have no existing neural
connection, no combination of nerves and synapses that form the
appropriate pa ern in our brain.

What happens then?
Unless the experience is repeated enough times, this type of

event will not translate into a neural pa ern that can pass into
memory, to be accessed again at a later time as something familiar
and related to other categories in memory. However, the event is
recorded through what Crick and Koch call a “serial a entional
mechanism.” The fact of the event is recorded, but there is
insufficient binding of the details of the event to produce an
intelligible memory, since it represents a novel pa ern that had not
been experienced previously. This is a fancy way of stating the
obvious: events that capture our a ention are recorded, even if they
have no precursor:

In other words, that awareness and a ention are intimately bound

They do not seem to acknowledge the possibility that

consciousness has an interpretive element: that the unfamiliar,
“novel” object may be subject to an a empt by the consciousness to
interpret what it sees, by associating it (rightly or wrongly) with
something else in memory.

An adage that is often used in the law enforcement community is

that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Ten different
people can witness an event, resulting in ten different accounts that
contradict each other. However, there is usually consensus among

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all eyewitnesses that the event in question did take place: a robbery,
a murder, etc. The differences are in the details: was the assailant tall
or short, wearing a blue jacket or a green one, etc.? Quite often
discrepancies between eyewitness accounts of a UFO sighting are
used to discredit the sighting for that very reason, but without
acknowledging that the event actually took place. In the case of a
murder there is a corpse, and the only problem is the number of
contradictions between eyewitnesses as to exactly how the murder
occurred. In the case of a UFO sighting, the event itself is
discredited. In other words, there is no corpse.

If the “aliens” looked like us, and landed in an aircraft, the

number of correlations between the different eyewitness sightings
would be greater. That is because we know what we look like, and
we know what an aircraft looks like. There may be discrepancies in
how we remember the event, but they would be minor relative to the
overall impression of an aircraft landing and people emerging.

But if the “aliens” don’t look like us, and their “craft” is not like

anything we have ever seen, we are in unmapped territory. Our
senses will struggle to interpret what we perceive and will associate
various aspects of what we see with previously recorded memories
of objects similar in appearance. Unfortunately, that will account for
a much greater degree of discrepancy between eyewitnesses.

Critics point to the fact that since Kenneth Arnold—in his famous

UFO sighting of 

 in the Cascades—referred to the alien craft as

“flying saucers,” eyewitnesses began seeing “flying saucers” as if
inspired by Arnold. In reality, Arnold did not describe the UFOs he
saw as saucers. His drawings of the craft made them appear more
like the flying wing aircraft that had been in development in

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different countries over the prior decade. Yet, he referred to their
aeronautical characteristics as looking like saucers skipping over the
water. This gave birth to the term “flying saucer” and to the image of
a circular object—shaped like a saucer—rather than to a comparison
to other geometric figures that have since become more familiar,
such as the cigar-shaped UFO.

The damage had been done, however, at least in the eyes of the

critics. Since Arnold seemingly had described saucers, well, people
saw saucers. This was considered evidence of their gullibility or their
duplicity, which is missing the point. Various critics have
maintained that our impression of alien craft owes more to tabloid
newspapers, pulp magazines, and Hollywood than it does to
anything “real.”

But what the witnesses to UFO events see is a phenomenon with

which they have had no previous personal experience. They can be
said to “project” ideas about what the UFO should be onto what they
are actually seeing, and they derive these ideas from the media. In
other cases, witnesses who have not been quite so prepared by
media reports and movies about aliens and UFOs report seeing
different shapes behaving in different ways. In every case, however,
the event is something that defies any previously held memory of
human experience, and that is pre y much the point. Awareness and
a ention, as Crick and Koch have wri en, are intimately bound
together. Where the scientists were referring to events that take place
along the neural networks in nanoseconds, we can extrapolate their
assumptions to the macro level of UFO sightings (and other
“paranormal” events). Most human beings have no memory of
witnessing a UFO event; when they do witness one, they do not have

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the neurobiological context within which to “see” it and recognize it.
So a kind of myth builds up around the event, and it binds with
other myths that have evolved similarly (sightings by other people,
for instance), and the memory of the initial encounter becomes
“homogenized” with those of other individuals.

While there is awareness of the UFO event, a ention may in some

cases be lacking. How does one focus one’s a ention on something
that defies immediate identification?

One is reminded of the old television series, Superman, and the

tag line: “It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!” The immediate
natural reaction to seeing a human being fly unaided through the
air, according to those who wrote the tag line, was that it must be a
bird. We know that birds fly, so that was a safe assumption until the
“bird” exhibited peculiar aerial characteristics and had no wings that
would explain how it was aloft. The next assumption therefore had
to be that it was a plane. Birds and planes are things that we know
can fly. But the observation did not match either a bird or a plane. It
was a human—or a human-like being—flying through the air
without wings, without a machine. That was the only possible
conclusion, though it took a while to get there and it defied

Thus it is with UFO sightings and human consciousness.

 ▼ ▼

In the end, Crick and Koch are unable to say anything definitive
about consciousness. In fact, all they can do is suggest avenues for
further experimentation and research. They feel that the visual field

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has the most potential for this type of approach, which is why they
spend so much time on it. But a few gems do manage to survive the
frustration and impatience of these two scientists, and they are what
have brought us to this place. The idea that awareness and a ention
are different yet both are necessary for an understanding of the basic
mechanisms of consciousness is one of them. The idea that our
neural networks—a legacy of genes and evolution—may not be up
to the task of recognizing certain stimuli is also important.

Conscious Machines?

Crick would later publish a book  suggesting that consciousness
should be the focus of modern scientific inquiry. However, his
approach was a materialist one that was based on the building
blocks of neurons, cells, atoms, and molecules and would fall within
the purview of classical physics and neurobiology. Crick and, later,
his colleague Christof Koch would be adamant that consciousness
was an artifact of the purely biochemical evolutionary process, an
emergent property of the brain. There was no quantum mechanical
aspect, they would claim, nor would machines ever be conscious.

While this is presented as a scientific view, they remain unable to

offer any kind of workable, testable hypothesis for the claim that
consciousness is nothing more than a phenomenon comprising
massive numbers of brain cells firing in various pa erns, reflecting
responses to sensory stimuli. The position of Crick, Koch, et al. is a
kind of ideology in its own right. They continued to assert that a
study of the processes involved in vision would present the best
avenue for discovering the nature and origin of human
consciousness, but without giving any evidence for why that should

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be. The problem remains that there is no generally accepted
definition of what it means to be conscious.

This has led to a debate among scientists as to whether machines

would or could eventually become conscious. In the absence of any
clear definition of consciousness it is as valid to claim that machines
could become conscious as to claim the opposite: that machines are
machines, and humans are humans, and consciousness is a
characteristic of human beings alone. Those who claim that
machines could become conscious are those who have adopted the
a itude that computers—because they calculate, act intelligently,
and can be made to mimic human behavior—are somehow
analogous to human beings and capable of acquiring human
consciousness. Those who insist that machines will never become
conscious point to the computer analogy as a dead end leading
nowhere because there are no precise equivalencies between the
memory system of a computer (for instance) and that of a human
being. While it is common to state that humans store memory in
their brains, that is not exactly true. There is no one cell or group of
cells that can be identified as the place where a specific memory is
“stored.” There is no cell corresponding to the image of a house, for
instance, or the smell of steamed rice. If we cannot identify a
physical location in the brain for a memory, we are not like
computers at all; we know precisely where a computer’s memories
are stored.

Both points of view avoid the central question, however, and are

based on a number of assumptions that so far have not been proven
to anyone’s satisfaction. Is consciousness simply the ability to receive
and process sensory information, remember it, build on memories,

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and react accordingly? If so, then the comparison to computers is
apt. But human beings do not act according to logical rules. They are
messy, willful, inconsistent in their behavior, hold untenable beliefs,
get angry, fall in love, bond with their children, and often act against
their own best interests. Human beings are emotional.

Human emotions come from a variety of sources, but one thing is

certain: every human being has a history. Each of us has evolved
from a fetus to a full-grown organism, and during that period of
growth and development we have accumulated experiences that
have molded us into the individual persons we are. Our emotions,
our thoughts, our memories, our culture and how we respond to it—
all are unique to each of us.

A machine just is. It is built according to specifications. Its

memory is composed of data we input. It has a specific purpose and
function. Its qualities and capabilities arrive full blown from the
head (or heads) of whoever designed it. It has no history, no inner
developmental process. It has no will. It cannot lust. It cannot love. It
has no reproductive urge. It does not gestate. It does not get hungry
or thirsty. It does not know fear or anxiety. It is not aware of its own
impending demise. It does not fear other machines. It does not love
other machines.

It does not fear or love us.
In order for AI to succeed the way the neurobiologists and

scientists want it to, a way must be found to give a machine—a
computer, a robot, an android—a subconscious. This subconscious
must be equipped with an algorithm that enables it to behave
seemingly capriciously, illogically. It has to be a place where random

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thoughts and experiences are stored, only to be recovered in
moments of stress or in sleep.

In other words, the machine—computer, robot, android—must

be able to dream.

Until that problem is solved, all the theorizing about the roles the

cerebrum, cerebellum, amygdala, neocortex, prefrontal cortex, limbic
system, etc., play in consciousness will come to naught. Human
consciousness is much more than a mechanism for interpreting
sensory stimulation. It is the product of eons of evolution, both
genetic and social. The two main groups fighting over whether or
not a machine may become conscious—or whether we may one day
create a conscious machine—are both wrong, since neither side has
defined consciousness successfully.

We will, however, create machines that can think; that follow

orders; that move independently; that even have certain social rules
and roles embedded in their operating systems. We may develop
them for long space flights, as replacements for human beings who
would not survive a hundred years or more in suspended animation
aboard a starship. They would have just enough information
encoded in their processors to enable them to function intelligently
in flying the starship (just another machine, after all), landing on a
planet, and leaving the ship to collect samples of chemical and
biological importance, and communicate the results back to us on

You know—just as it is said the “aliens” are doing right here,

right now.

 ▼ ▼

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While all of these analogies are suggestive, we really have to do our
best to involve current scientific investigation and inquiry in order to
determine how consciousness first appeared on our planet, or at
least in our species. Knowing something of the timeline may give us
an idea of where consciousness came from, and of what it may be
composed. One of the theoreticians who believes that we can find
the original traces of consciousness in our DNA is John Grandy.

Building on the work of Crick and Koch, Grandy takes their

concept of “neural correlates of consciousness” (NCC) a step further.
He posits the existence of “neurogenetic correlates of consciousness”
(NgCC), which “focuses on the study of genes and gene products
(e.g., transcription factors) that are involved in (and have an effect
on) the conscious experience.”  He calls this the “continuum of
neuron-based consciousness
.”  The idea is that there exists a genetic
layer operating below the neuron-based layer. He finds support for
this position in the fact of neurodegeneration (such as in Alzheimer’s
disease, one of Grandy’s major research areas), in which a decrease
or degeneration of conscious faculties is accompanied if not caused
by genetic deterioration.

The genes do not stop functioning once the body has been

formed. Since the genes remain active—some more than others, and
some still active days or even weeks after death—it seems reasonable
to suppose that they have an effect on consciousness. The genes
create the neurons, which operate on a more macro level than the
genes; both affect consciousness.

Grandy even goes so far as to suggest that there are quantum

effects at the DNA scale, citing hydrogen bonding forces between the
nucleotides, for instance.  This interaction of DNA nucleotides and

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proteins contributes to what he calls “DNA consciousness,” which
can “give rise to higher degrees of consciousness, e.g., cellular
consciousness and human consciousness.”

To review his theory, there is a quantum effect taking place at the

smallest—the genomic—scale of the neuron, which then gives rise to
DNA consciousness, which gives rise to higher order neurogenetic
consciousness and eventually to human consciousness. The DNA
molecule is the locus for a quantum effect, which would seem to
imply that the brain is what some theorists have proposed it is: a
quantum computer.

Grandy first introduced these concepts at a conference in Sweden


, and has expanded and refined the concepts considerably

since then. His ideas seem reasonable, since he associates psychiatric
disorders (and hence disorders of consciousness) with genetic
mutations. This would imply, logically, that consciousness has a
genetic basis.

The problem remains, however: What is consciousness? A person

with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is conscious at least in the sense of
being awake; there may be a disconnect between awareness of one’s
immediate surroundings and what one is experiencing at the time,
or a sporadic and often transient loss of memory that is the hallmark
of the disease, but is that a fault to be located in consciousness itself,
or in the medium through which we experience consciousness? If
our radio is damaged, does that mean the station has stopped
broadcasting? If there is a physical disorder in the brain or damage
to the nervous system, does that mean that consciousness has left the
building? Are we only confusing awareness with consciousness? A
person with AD has a ention; it’s just not directed at something we

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can all agree is relevant or extant. The person with AD may not be
aware of their surroundings from time to time (a situation that
gradually worsens), but they are aware of something. The binding
that Crick and Koch reference may have broken down: awareness
and a ention have either become separated in the case of AD, or
they have bonded to some other set of stimuli.

The heartbreaking symptoms of AD, with which everyone is

familiar, include the inability of a patient to recognize their child or
spouse; to believe that a dead relative is still alive; and forge ing
where things are located, or even what they are called. This indicates
a breakdown in the retrieval of memories, short term as well as long
term, but not in the breakdown of consciousness itself. The person
suffering from AD becomes agitated or depressed, which is an
understandable reaction to the experience of dealing with a faulty
memory as well as the frustration of having a conversation and
forge ing basic vocabulary. To use our other metaphor, the patient
is having difficulty finding the right radio station because the tuning
dial is broken.

Physically, the brain begins shrinking. Cell death at the neural

level takes place. The awareness of AD patients begins shrinking as
well, as they become more isolated from society and more
emotionally withdrawn. Eventually they become unable to care for
themselves, to maintain personal hygiene, and to keep their balance.
This causes them emotional distress, which implies consciousness.
Can one have emotions without consciousness? Self-awareness,
which is necessary for feeling distress over the gradual loss of
memory and mental acuity, is one of the issues that Crick and Koch
said they could not address in their research on consciousness.

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In the past several years more and more discoveries about the

genetic basis for AD have been made and specific genes identified as
the “carriers” of the disease. This, however, is not sufficient to
“prove” a genetic basis for consciousness, as not everyone with the
genes actually develops AD. Other factors are involved but are so far
unidentified. What if a potential AD sufferer is dealt a hand of cards,
one of which is the AD card, but refuses to play it? Is there an
unconscious motivation at work in the human mind that selects from
an array of possible illnesses, based on some basic—possibly even
essential—factor that we do not as yet recognize?

 ▼ ▼

Is DNA the ground of consciousness, or is there perhaps another—
deeper—level that we need to explore? If we do not share DNA with
the Visitors, or if our genetic complements are incompatible, then the
Visitors’ capability of communicating with us must take place within
some other framework. That basic and essential factor may hold the
key to understanding not only ourselves but the Phenomenon as

 Francis Crick and Christof Koch, “Towards a neurobiological

theory of consciousness,” Seminars in the Neurosciences, Volume  ,

: pp. 


 Ibid., p. 


 Ibid., p. 


 Ibid., p. 


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 René Descartes, The Discourse on Method, Part  .
 Crick and Koch, p. 


 Crick and Koch, p. 


 That said, for those with an eidetic (or “photographic”) memory it

may be possible to “read” all the titles at once, but they may not be
accessible at once except through memory, which is a different
aspect of consciousness and one that we will get to presently.

 Crick and Koch, p. 


 Suzanne Corkin, “What’s new with the amnesic patient H.M.?,”

Nature Reviews/Neuroscience, Volume  , February 

, pp. 


 Crick and Koch, p. 


 Crick and Koch, p. 

. Emphasis in original.

 Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for

the Soul, Scribner, NY, 


 John K. Grandy, “The Three Neurogenetic Phases of Human

Consciousness,” Journal of Conscious Evolution, Issue  : 

, p.  .

 Ibid. (Grandy’s emphasis.)

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The mystical summons up the mechanical.

— Henri Bergson








how the physical world is made and of what basic materials it is
composed. There was—and remains—a basic assumption that the
world we experience through our senses and with our scientific
apparatus is constructed of building blocks which, when assembled
in various combinations, give rise to everything in creation. For the
ancient Greeks, this meant atoms. While they had never seen an
atom because they did not have the technology to do so, they
postulated its existence through logic and reason. Plato expanded
upon a very old idea concerning the elements and introduced us to
the idea that there were four basic states of ma er: fire, earth, air,
and water, plus another rather more amorphous element called
“aether.” This assumption seems naïve today, especially in light of
the Table of Elements, with which every schoolchild is familiar.
Nevertheless, it was an assumption that was shared among the

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ancients in many cultures around the world. For the Chinese, there
were five such “basic” elements or processes: fire, wood, water,
earth, and metal.

It should be pointed out that these were names or placeholders

for “qualia”: that is, they were not meant to be taken literally but as
descriptions of forces, of qualities. In Western languages, for
instance, it became common usage to describe certain persons as
“saturnine” or “mercurial” or “martial,” which were references to
qualities associated with the planets Saturn, Mercury, and Mars in
astrology and mythology rather than a statement concerning that
person’s planet of origin. A person also could have a fiery
temperament, or wooden affect, an airy personality, etc. These are

In neurobiology, the term “qualia” is taken to refer to subjective

experiences of objects. The usual example given of a quale (singular
of qualia) is the color “red.” There are countless shades of the color
red, and they are perceived differently by different persons, all of
whom have different associations and therefore different experiences
of the same color. We may say that light at a certain frequency
presents as the color “red,” but we don’t know what that means for
consciousness. Is it possible for a person who sees red to
communicate to a blind person the experience of red? We can
discuss the color from a scientific perspective, but we can’t
communicate the experience itself.

The four “Platonic” elements most likely began as qualia, as

subjective experiences of these otherwise invisible forces. They were
derived from experience, such as fire, which seemed to represent a
set of ideas and effects rather than a discrete chemical or physical

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element. Fire carries with it the idea of heat, of light, of destructive
force, of dryness, etc., which are all subjective experiences but which
can be quantified to some degree. The same applies to the other
“elements.” We can see that these ideas formed the beginning of our
natural sciences, and were picked up and amplified by thinkers such
as Aristotle, Galen, Avicenna, and others.

But these represent the experiences of human beings on the

planet Earth. Qualia on other planets or among members of
nonhuman species on those planets would necessarily be different
unless the other planet had an environment identical to that of Earth,
and life forms had evolved on that planet identical to humans from
Earth. Any slight difference in the physics or chemistry or even the
topology of the planet would result in different experiences of the
same effects. This idea will become important as we go along.

Eventually, modern science in the twentieth century came to

recognize four forces in the universe: the electromagnetic force, the
strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and gravity. Gravity is
the outlier, since no one really knows how gravity works with
regard to the other three forces. If it could be shown that all four
forces work according to some central pa ern or formula, we would
have what is known as the Grand Unified Theory, or GUT: a way of
combining all four forces into a single force, a single statement about
the nature of the universe. This would also be a way of combining
general relativity with quantum mechanics: a marriage of
incompatibles that is resisting all efforts by their respective
matchmakers. Gravity is the force—or field—that is the culprit
leading some theoretical physicists in some intriguing directions—
such as string theory—in order to reconcile the differences.

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 ▼ ▼

Because all ma er can be broken down into smaller and smaller
components, it is suggested that creation began from the smallest of
these components and that their combinations produced materials as
diverse as animals and plants and humans and planets. The problem
with this approach is that one always discovers smaller and smaller
components, and when they are found they do not always behave in
ways that suggest they share the same universe we do. When one
approaches the subatomic level to the realm of the quantum
particles, mysteries begin to multiply.

Paradoxically, it very well may be that these smallest of known

particles hold the key to consciousness and may even point the way
toward such phenomena as mental telepathy, remote viewing, and
other “psychic” manifestations. If so, that aspect of the Phenomenon
that is the most mysterious and inexplicable and a racts the greatest
hostility from scientific and academic circles—contact and
communication with nonhuman entities, such as in close encounters
and cases of so-called “alien abduction”—may be capable of being
explained and even verified.

Communication with beings from planets other than Earth is

believed by many scientists—and especially linguists and
anthropologists—to be impossible, due to the fact that these beings
would have evolved differently in their different environments and
would not share any sensory apparatus in common with humans
(such as eyes that would sense the same wavelengths of light that
ours do, ears that would hear the same range of sound, etc.,
assuming that eyes, ears, and other sensory apparatus existed in

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their biology), thus rendering any possibility of actual
communication moot. If, however, consciousness is not a product of
the physical brain, it would not be restricted to a human nervous
system or its neurobiology. The brain may be a receiver of
consciousness, much like a radio receives a broadcast signal. The
more sophisticated and integrated the receiver, the broader range of
signals it could receive. If consciousness is universal—if, indeed, as
some scientists speculate, the universe itself is conscious—then the
possibility of communication with an alien species becomes
conceivable. It would only require the human brain to “tune in” to
the right station.

(As mentioned previously, one of the founding members of the

To The Stars Academy is Hal Puthoff, award-winning physicist and
the foremost pioneer in the field of remote viewing. His research
along these lines—for both private companies and for the US
government—has led him to study the UFO Phenomenon as well.
This fact alone should be enough to imply that the Phenomenon is
connected to some of the so-far-unexplained artifacts of human
consciousness. In addition, other scientists affiliated with To The
Stars Academy, such as geneticist Garry Nolan, are isolating and
measuring observable physical effects on the human immune system
found specifically in contactees.)

In the remaining chapters of this section, we will examine some

of these conditions and the strategies that could be employed in any
a empt at communication with nonhuman entities, using as a
reference some of the more reliable accounts of “alien abduction”
with a special concentration on how communication was described
in these encounters. To do this, we will briefly discuss some of the

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latest theories concerning information theory, artificial intelligence,
and quantum physics as delineating the environment within which
this phenomenon may be understood, bu ressed by recent
discoveries in neurobiology. We will then talk about the well-
documented cases of remote viewing and associated phenomena,
and will finish by asking an important question: What if the ancients
(and even more recent scientists and philosophers) had the
mechanism right—that the various atoms and subatomic particles
are the components that compose the known universe—but had the
perspective wrong; that it is not bo om-up, but top-down?

The “Hard Problem” of Consciousness

No two physicists, neurobiologists, psychologists (or mystics!) can
seem to agree on what constitutes consciousness, where it comes
from, and when it began. No one can agree if other organic beings
have consciousness. Some claim that the universe is conscious;
others, that every object in the universe is conscious; still others, that
it is impossible for consciousness to examine itself.

We can gain new insights into the human condition by discussing

some of the dominant theories of consciousness and their
implications for alien-human contact. We have a wealth of data on
the experiences of abductees, collected in volumes by John Mack,
David Jacobs, and others. Although scientists may scoff at these
accounts and denigrate them as hoaxes, fanciful imaginings,
delusions, or the ravings of lunatics, we find that the consistency in
their accounts of human confrontation with the Other suggests
fertile lines of inquiry into the nature of the Phenomenon. It is a
symbiotic relationship, for the more we learn about human

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consciousness the more we can begin to understand the reality
behind close encounter phenomena.

We will break down modern consciousness theories into

digestible parts. We will look at chaos theory, quantum
consciousness, and DNA consciousness. We will cite works by David
Chalmers, Larry Vandervert, Stanislas Dehaene, Sir Roger Penrose,
and others. At the same time we will show how each approach may
teach us something important about alien-human contact, the
possibility of alien-human communication, the degree to which the
Visitors exhibit both human and nonhuman characteristics, and how
analyzing alien-human contact can suggest new avenues of

We’ve already discussed DNA at some length and have shown

that it appears as though there has been “unconscious” awareness of
the structure of the genetic code in ancient times, long before the
latest scientific revolution. We will take a deeper dive into this
possibility and ask if it is possible that DNA itself is conscious, or if
it provides the physical substrate for consciousness. We will look at
the neurobiology of the cerebrospinal system and ask if the neurons
themselves are the source of human consciousness.

Building on that, we will dive even deeper, to the quantum level,

and ask if quantum effects obtain at the level of the genome or at the
neural level, as some have suggested. And we will see if chaos
theory and information theory can help explain some of the science
behind consciousness. This will not be an exhaustive examination of
these approaches, of course, but even so we will introduce concepts
and terminology that may seem challenging at first. However, we

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feel that the Phenomenon requires us to ask these questions and to
suggest some answers.

 Henri Bergson, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion,

Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 

, p. 


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Let me see. (Takes the skull.) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,
Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

— William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act  , Scene







a working knowledge of the structure of the nervous system and the
brain, including the spinal column. That is because most scientists
agree that consciousness must be an artifact of the nervous system
and the brain, since that is where sensory inputs originate and wind
up, respectively. It is believed that consciousness requires sensory
input and memory management and that these functions can be
traced directly to areas of the brain. This is by no means universally
accepted, of course, mostly because there is no standard definition of
consciousness. However, we can observe that persons who suffer
injuries to the brain or to the nervous system behave differently or

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find their mental and/or emotional abilities impaired or altered in
some way. A blow to the head can cause a person to become
“unconscious,” yet we also say of someone deeply asleep that they
are “unconscious.” These are not the same states—one is the result of
physical damage and the other is natural, and it is more difficult to
“recover” from the one than the other. Thus there are problems with
the terminology, and these semantic issues increase the difficulty of
determining the exact nature of consciousness.

So before we go much further it is essential that we agree on

some basic principles when it comes to the brain and its nervous
system. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but how are we to
understand alien biology—the “extraterrestrial biological entities,”
or EBEs—if we don’t understand our own? And it may be that
applying what we know of our own cerebrospinal nervous system
may offer us insights into the structure and characteristics of the

What we are calling the cerebrospinal nervous system or the

central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and the spinal cord.
The peripheral nervous system (PNS) includes the nerve channels in
the rest of the body: the arms, legs, torso, etc. There are two distinct
systems in the PNS: the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is
in charge of the involuntary systems such as breathing, heart rate,
peristalsis, etc., and the somatic nervous system (SNS), which
controls voluntary movements. The ANS includes the sympathetic
nervous system (sometimes called the “fight or flight” system), the
parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”), and the enteric
nervous system (sometimes called “the second brain,” but which is
embedded within the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to

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the anus and can operate independently of the other two systems).
While these systems are part of the peripheral nervous system, they
are still regulated by operations in the CNS; for example, the
thalamus (which is explained below) regulates the ANS. We will not
concentrate on the systems themselves at this time, but instead shift
our a ention to the structure of the brain.

When one thinks of the brain, one usually conjures up an image

of the cerebrum (Figure  ). This is the large organ that is frequently
seen in episodes of CSI or in other television program autopsies and
postmortems in which the brain is lifted out of the skull and
examined. It has the appearance of a walnut and weighs about three
pounds. The outside of the cerebrum is a grayish color (hence the
term “gray ma er”), and is known as the cortex. Down just a few
millimeters below the surface of the cortex, the cerebrum is white in

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Figure  . An old diagram of the brain, showing its structure and complexity.

The cortex—like the walnut it so closely resembles—is full of

what appear to be grooves, wrinkles, and other marks. It appears
random, but isn’t. In fact, those grooves and wrinkles are amazingly
the same from brain to brain, and this similarity is what helps
researchers identify specific areas of the cortex and what they
control, like a topographical map. They divide the cortex into
discrete regions: the occipital lobe at the rear, the frontal lobe behind
the forehead, the temporal lobe above the ear, and the parietal lobe
at the top, which runs under the scalp.

The cerebrum consists of two hemispheres: the right and the left.

Typically, in right-handed people, the right hemisphere controls the
left side of the body and creativity, while the left hemisphere
controls the right side of the body as well as logic and reason. In a

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sense, you could make the argument that the right hemisphere is art
and the left is science, and that’s useful as an analogy to a certain
extent, but the reality is much more complicated than that.

Between the two hemispheres is the corpus callosum: a wall or

bridge between the two that is concerned with cross-hemisphere

Deeper within the brain are the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and

the pituitary gland. The thalamus—a Greek word meaning
“chamber”—is believed to be the center of the brain that regulates
sleep and wakefulness, and therefore consciousness. It receives
inputs from all the senses except the olfactory (smell). The thalamus
consists of two halves, and it is in the middle of the two halves that
we find the pineal gland, which some modern-day mystics associate
with the “third eye” and which the French philosopher René
Descartes associated with vision and the soul.

The hypothalamus (i.e., “under the thalamus”) is a gland that

regulates hunger and thirst, fatigue, and body temperature. At the
bo om of the hypothalamus is the pituitary gland, which secretes
hormones that regulate blood pressure, metabolism, the sex organs,
pregnancy and childbirth, and other systems.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped bundle of nuclei that is

located in the temporal lobe. There are two amygdalae, one on the
right side of the brain and one on the left. The amygdalae are
associated with emotional response in humans, with one responsible
for fear and the other for emotions, both positive and negative. It is
believed that the amygdala processes perceived threats to the body
and regulates reward/punish reactions; i.e., fear as a survival
mechanism. During sleep, when most of the other brain centers are

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quiet, the amygdala remains alert and active. Therefore one’s
emotional “self” is operating, even while asleep, while one’s rational
“self” is shut off. Thus the inhibitions one has while awake are
neutralized during sleep, which is why Freud considered dreams to
be the “royal road to the unconscious,” to the consciously
suppressed material of our psyches.

The “alien abduction” scenarios seem to be almost wholly

focused on the amygdala, both in terms of the dreamlike content of
the experience—which is why many psychologists insist that the
alien abduction experience is related to sleep disorders—as well as
the intense fear aspect of the encounters. (Consider that if the dream
indeed is the road to the unconscious, it is possible that the
unconscious may be a road to somewhere else.)

Below the cerebrum we find the cerebellum (the “li le cerebrum”).

It has a design similar to that of the cerebrum, with folds and
grooves, and a cortex as well. Its function is concerned primarily
with the control of fine motor movements, such as the ability to pick
up objects with accuracy. People who have damage to the
cerebellum, for instance, experience tremors and shaking hands.

Connected to the cerebellum is the brain stem, which is the

extension or continuation of the spinal cord. All of the nerves that
carry information to the brain from the rest of the body pass up the
spinal cord into the brain stem, and all the commands issued by the
brain to the rest of the body are also carried down the spinal cord
from the brain stem. The larger structures of the brain—the
cerebrum and the cerebellum—are believed to have evolved from
the brain stem and spinal cord.

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The spinal cord is itself a remarkable system for handling all of

the sensory inputs coming in from outside the body (cold, heat,
smell, touch, taste, sounds, etc.) as well as from inside the body
(everything from a stomach ache to a “phantom limb”). It is easy to
see how modern-day thinkers tend to associate the central nervous
system with a computer: input devices, controllers, RAM, ROM, and
a CPU.

The medulla (or “middle”) extends from the brain stem, and a

body known as the pons (or “bridge”) extends from the medulla. The
pineal gland and the pituitary gland are appendages, in a sense, of
the pons.

If we collect all of these systems and functions in a basket, we can

see that our basket could account for everything (or almost
everything) that we think of as consciousness. There are, of course,
many more aspects to the brain’s structure, more functions, and
more capabilities, but these are some of the most important. A lot of
mystical thinking over the ages has been associated with the brain
and its various “departments,” and the whole practice of phrenology
—a way of associating specific qualities with specific areas of the
brain, used as a fortune-telling tool—was predicated on the idea that
more than just conscious awareness was contained within the brain:
it was also the place where space and time could meet, futures could
be predicted, messages received across space, love identified, dreams
interpreted, and pain and death averted. So much superstitious
nonsense, of course, but when we look back at it—at all those
ceramic or porcelain heads with regions marked on them in black
ink, as seen in Figure  —we realize that maybe they were on to
something. Their divisions of the brain were naïve and uninformed,

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but the core idea—that consciousness and all that implies is
contained within the brain, and that different characteristics,
functions, and capabilities can be located at specific sites on the
cerebral cortex—has withstood the test of time.

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Figure  . Typical phrenology chart, showing presumed areas of the brain that control

various functions.

The problem remains, however: how do the brain and its

individual components create consciousness? To use the computer

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analogy, we know our mouse and keyboard communicate to the
computer’s CPU, but we don’t know how. We can see images on our
computer’s screen, but we really don’t know how they got there. We
can trace the cables, peer inside the machine, but we don’t know
what we’re looking at. If we’re good, we can identify the hard drive,
maybe a CD drive, or on the older systems a floppy disk drive. We
can find the motherboard. But then we come to a crashing halt. We
still have not identified consciousness. We know it’s in there, but not
much more than that.

Time to look more closely.

The Neurons

The neurons comprise the ba lefield of the consciousness wars. All
roads lead to the neurons, whether you are talking about DNA
consciousness, quantum consciousness, chaos theory, or any other
model or hypothesis. While we know that different areas of the brain
control or regulate different bodily functions, we don’t know how
they do it. In fact, sometimes one area of the brain seems to pick up
where another left off, due to illness or physical damage, for
instance. In one particularly startling case, reported in The Lancet in

, a man whose brain had shrunk to   to   percent of its normal

size was completely conscious and still functioning in the world
when it should have been impossible for him to do so. He was forty-
four years old, married, and had two children and a job as a civil
servant. He had had hydrocephalus (water on the brain) as an infant,
and the water was drained away with a shunt that was not removed
until he was a teenager. The fluid evidently built back up again, but
the patient’s brain was able to maintain its function even as it

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gradually shrank to less than half its original size. The only reason
the doctors could give for this miraculous state of affairs was that—
according to Max Muenke, a pediatric brain defect specialist at the
National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland
—“different parts of the brain take up functions that would normally
be done by the part that is pushed aside.”

Cases like that tend to falsify what we think we know about the

brain’s relationship to consciousness, at least insofar as classical
brain anatomy is concerned. But before we can address the
anomalies we have to look at what we already know about the
neurons and the role they play in consciousness.

The neuron is the basic cell structure we find in the brain. In fact,

there are   billion neurons in the human cerebral cortex alone, and as
many as   billion neurons in the brain overall.

What Is a Neuron?

A neuron is a cell. A nerve cell. It consists of a nucleus (with its
allotment of DNA), cytoplasm (where you will find the ribosomes,
which contain RNA, as well as the mitochondria, which supply the
energy by oxidizing glucose), the cell membrane, the all-important
dendrites, and the axon (see Figure  ). Dendrites (“li le fingers”)
are the wires that extend outward from the neuron and conduct
most of that cell’s business by receiving information and sending it
down the body of the neuron along its axon, at which point it
communicates with the dendrites of other neurons across the
synapse—a word that means “to clasp,” indicating the space
between one neuron and the next, across which the information is
transmi ed by means of an electrochemical impulse.

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The “chemical” in “electrochemical” refers to the

neurotransmi ers, which are called that because they are the
substances that the neurons use to communicate with each other.
There are about fifty different neurotransmi ers in the human
neuron, located in sacs, or vesicles, in the axon. The
neurotransmi ers are released by the axon to receptors on the
dendrites of another neuron across the synapse. The way this is
done, and the employment of electrical charges to do so, is nothing
short of amazing.

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Figure  . The neuron, dendrites, axons, and neurotransmi ers.

Some of the more well-known neurotransmi ers include

adrenalin, dopamine, serotonin, and the endorphins. They are
responsible for everything from mood changes to energy to motor

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function, sleep and wakefulness, body temperature, etc. They can be
excitatory (stimulating a response) or inhibitory (suppressing a
response). We can trace many of these neurotransmi ers to genetic
precursors. For instance, dopamine is synthesized from the amino
acid tyrosine, and serotonin’s precursor is the amino acid
tryptophan. Other neurotransmi ers include the “unconventional”
endocannabinoids that bind to cannabinoid receptors on the
neurons, which among other things respond to the use of cannabis
and THC, a pharmacological substance that affects consciousness
directly. The command to release the neurotransmi ers comes from
messages received at the dendrites and passed through the body of
the cell—called the soma—and down the axon, where the
neurotransmi ers are found. This is both a chemical and an electrical
process, involving the interplay of positively and negatively charged
ion particles both within and without the cell’s membrane acting as a
kind of pump.

The axon itself is like a computer cable. In the white areas of the

brain they are seen insulated by sheaths of myelin. This fa y
material keeps the signal of one axon from being contaminated by
the signal of another and thus screwing up the data; it also helps to
increase the speed of the signal being propagated. (Axons without
the myelin sheath are known to operate at slower transmission
speeds.) Deficiencies in the myelin sheath are responsible for many
neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Certain
pesticides are known to cause demyelination as well, such as the

These neural pathways are critical for any kind of sensory

processing. If the neurons stop firing there is no functioning brain,

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and thus no discernible consciousness. One simply cannot
appreciate the vast number of interconnections between these 
billion cortical neurons (often described as more than there are stars
in the Milky Way galaxy), and how their computing power can shift
from one area of the brain to another if circumstances demand it. It is
as if the sensory inputs keep coming in, regardless of the condition
of any single neuron or group of neurons. If part of the brain is
damaged, often another part will pick up the slack so that the
sensory data keeps ge ing processed. There are conditions, however,
from which it is virtually impossible for the brain to recover. Myelin
deterioration, which leads to disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,
is among those.

Thus, the physical brain and its nervous system can be affected

by conditions in the environment such as trauma, pollutants,
neurodegeneration, drugs, and even physical exercise. Does that
mean that consciousness is likewise affected? If so, is consciousness
nothing more than the program being run by our computer-like
brains? When our brains are damaged (as computers are), does the
program stop running?

In fact, is consciousness nothing more than computation, or is

computation only a platform for consciousness?

Again, we come to that thorny problem of defining and

identifying consciousness. How can we say that damage to the brain
affects consciousness if we don’t know what consciousness is? We
are meant to understand “consciousness” in an instinctive way, but
that’s not very scientific. We make a lot of assumptions about
consciousness that have no real foundation beyond our feelings
about it (it’s like that old saw: “I can’t define pornography but I

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know it when I see it”). Let’s see if we can come any closer to a
resolution of this problem.

Recent studies of the way in which neurons function have

suggested that the human brain is not a computer at all. In fact, it is
the neuron itself that functions like a computer and that, indeed, is
more sophisticated and has greater processing power than any
computer available today. The implication of that discovery is that
the human cerebral cortex contains   billion computers. And all of
those computers are communicating with each other in a kind of
massively parallel way. To make ma ers even more startling, it has
been suggested that the cortex is not merely a collection of   billion
computers but is “a neural network of neural networks.”  The
explanation is beyond the scope of this study, but suffice to say that
some neurons compute nonlinear functions as a self-contained
multilayered neural network. In other words: a single neuron is a
multilayered network computing nonlinear functions. Multiply that
by billions of neurons all computing at the same time . . . and those
billions of neurons are connected to other neurons . . . and, well, my
abacus doesn’t have enough beads.

This all goes to say that while we believe we understand

something about the brain and how it works, we are finding out
every day that we really don’t. We are still a long way from
discovering how consciousness works, but at least we have a
platform on which to stand: billions of tiny, super-powerful
computers locked away in our heads, running systems, programs,
maintenance software, and God-knows-what-else. But why? What is
the purpose? And how did this come to be?

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The neurons come from somewhere and are organized incredibly

well. That “somewhere” is the DNA molecule, which produces
everything that we have in the human body. Does that mean that
DNA is the source of consciousness? If we dig deeper we might find
the answer or, at the very least, more questions. There are some
researchers who claim that DNA is, indeed, the source of
consciousness because DNA is the source of all life on Earth. If DNA
issued the commands to build the neural networks of the brain and
spine, and if the neurotransmi ers themselves have genetic
precursors, then DNA already knew exactly how to do that: how to
build an incredibly complex system of   billion neurons in the
cerebral cortex. That knowledge must be encoded in the microscopic
genome as a series of commands. If it is—and there is no conceivable
way it isn’t—then DNA must be where consciousness comes from. If
we can just understand DNA we can understand ourselves, and if
we understand ourselves we can begin to understand the Others.

 Original report by Lionel Feuillet et al., The Lancet, Volume 



; referenced in The New Scientist,   July 


 Mark Humphries, “Your Cortex Contains   Billion Computers,”

h p://

, Feb.  ,

. Retrieved Feb.  , 


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We are not Aristotelian—not brains but fields—
consciousness. The inside and the outside must speak, the
guts and the blood and the skin.

— Jack Parsons, UFO experiencer, rocket

scientist, and founder of the Jet Propulsion

Laboratory, in a le er dated January  , 









consciousness is concerned. One school insists that consciousness is
an “emergent property of the brain.” In other words, as brains
evolved, so did consciousness; therefore, before there was a physical
brain there was no conscious being. This school believes that
consciousness is computation, and that be er and faster computers
will soon become conscious as they reach a technological threshold
known as the “Singularity.” At that time, it will be impossible to
distinguish a machine from a human being. This is the school to

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which many (if not most) scientists belong, including the very
influential scientist and philosopher Ray Kurzweil.

The other school of thought rejects the “emergent property”

argument, because it rejects the “consciousness as computation”
claim. Since consciousness has never been defined by the first school,
so the argument goes, to claim that a machine will one day be
“conscious” is mere speculation. It is not based on science, since no
actual threshold between computation and consciousness has ever
been identified or quantified. This school believes that consciousness
exists outside of the classical world and comes from the quantum
world, at what is known as the Planck scale, which is where the
physics of the classical world cease to apply and the quantum world
begins, or at  .  x  -  meters. This is the school best represented by
the theory known as Orch OR (to be discussed later).

To help us understand the relevance and implications of these

points of view, we should start with this basic question: when did
consciousness first appear on Earth?



 a number of papers were published in peer-

reviewed journals reporting evidence suggesting that what we call
consciousness is the product of an evolutionary process that began
during the Cambrian Period, i.e., more than 

 million years ago.

This theory is based on examination of vertebrate fossils that show
the rudimentary beginnings of a spinal cord and brain at that time
and is focused on the lamprey: a jawless fish resembling an eel in
appearance but having a toothed sucker for a mouth (a lot like those
sandworms in Dune but much smaller!). A modern descendant of the
Cambrian lamprey exists to this day and is often considered more of
a pest than an ancient artifact, although some cultures find lampreys

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to be a good food source. (Just ask the Queen of England, for whom
lamprey pie is a delicacy.) The idea that the lamprey’s ancient
ancestor is the locus for the earliest known appearance of
consciousness is based on the conviction that some kind of brain and
spinal column is a prerequisite. In other words, if consciousness has
a physical basis, it must be the brain and the nervous system. Since
the earliest known appearance of a brain and spine is found in the
fossil record of the Cambrian Period, then consciousness must have
started at that time. The corollary to this is, of course, that there was
no consciousness on the planet until the humble lamprey appeared.

This is still a “hypothesized” origin of vertebrate consciousness

and not yet a definitive finding, but the underlying assumptions are
important for this study. In a recent paper on the origins of
consciousness by Feinberg and Malla

 we discover that those

authors are in agreement with the much earlier assessment by
Francis Crick and Christof Koch  that the visual system offers the
most fertile ground for research in the origins of consciousness and
how consciousness is constructed by the brain.

This is because the mechanism of the eye and the response by the

neurons is so complex yet immediate. For instance, the eye perceives
a circle as an ellipse, but the neurons in the brain will go through a
kind of library of possible shapes and correct the image recorded by
the eye, and will do that in nanoseconds. It will then track the
movement of that circle through space as, for example, you walk
over to a plate, pick it up, wash it in the sink, and set it on the rack to
dry. That circle will move through various angles of perception as it
is picked up, turned over, placed on its side, etc., but will never lose
its circular appearance. All of that is due to the firing of millions of

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neurons that (a) recognized the geometric shape, (b) selected “plate”
as the identity or purpose of that particular shape, and (c) followed
the shape through your field of vision. This is an oversimplification
of what transpires, of course, but you get the idea. While the eye is
identifying the shape as a circle and as a plate, your motor skills are
being enlisted to pick up and wash the plate. This too relies on the
eyes, which have depth of field and stereoptical capability and can
direct your hands to the appropriate spot in space where the plate is
located and then manage your handling of the plate. Your brain will
also identify the color of the plate, its weight, its size relative to you
and your environment, and the sound it makes when you drop it.
Neurologists understand these mechanisms in their “macro”
incarnation but not so much at the “micro” or neuronal level. The
la er is where a great deal of research is still taking place.

And the nagging question behind all of this complex

computation remains: why did you decide to wash the plate in the
first place? What led to you make that decision? What is your
particular history, your memories of washing foreign objects, the
cultural implications of a dirty plate versus a clean plate, and the
values associated with “dirty” and “clean”? And so on.

At the same time, researchers based in Edinburgh agree that the

origin of consciousness occurred in the Cambrian Period, but they
point to a “genetic accident” at that time that increased the number
of “brain genes.”  This accident occurred, they claim, to a Pikaia: a
creature similar to a hagfish that had developed an early form of the
spinal column.  The additional “brain genes” resulted not only in
an increase in brain size and intelligence but also an increase in the
possibility of mental disease. To summarize drastically: with a larger

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and more complex brain and nervous system, the chances for
something to go wrong increase as well. These same researchers
suggest that disorders as varied as autism and schizophrenia may be
traced back down the evolutionary path to that initial “genetic

They trace the path of genes specific to “post synaptic density”

(PSD) and “MAGUK  associated signaling complexes” (MASC)—
which regulate protein synthesis and structural plasticity and
underlie “learning and memory”—from the invertebrates to the
vertebrates, and from the vertebrates to cranial specific development:
i.e., from creatures possessing only a spinal column and perhaps a
rudimentary brain to a fully functional brain and spinal column.
Protein synthesis is a prerequisite for genetic development and
complexity. By tracing those elements, one can reasonably assume
that consciousness followed the same historical path as brains and
nervous systems, which became correspondingly more complex and
articulated. Again, the importance of a brain and spinal column—the
basic anatomical components of the central nervous system—are
considered markers for the evolution of consciousness.

There are, of course, a number of assumptions built into this

research. Foremost among them is the belief that consciousness
requires a physical substrate. To a materialist, there is no room for
doubt on this issue; it is obvious. When the brain dies, the “person”
dies. One can keep the body alive using artificial means, but brain
death is considered death because—it is assumed—once the brain
stops working there is nowhere for “consciousness” to go. It
certainly isn’t to be found in that particular brain or that particular
body any longer.

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This assumption would seem to be bu ressed by another

unassailable fact: the more complex the brain and nervous system,
the more advanced or sophisticated the “consciousness” it displays.
That would imply that consciousness is dependent upon the
physicality of the body. If the lamprey is conscious with only a very
basic spinal column and brain, it is not as conscious—certainly not
conscious in any way we could appreciate—as a cat or a dog, much
less a human being. Thus, the more advanced the body, the more
advanced the consciousness; consciousness is an artifact of the body,
which is an artifact of the genes, which are themselves an artifact of

Again, this takes for granted that human consciousness is

superior to all other forms and types of consciousness on the earth.
One of the factors involved in this estimation is the fact that humans
possess—besides the brain, spinal column, and nervous system—
four limbs, two on each side of the torso, and a jaw. The jaw is an
indicator of the type of vertebrate scientists consider essential to the
development of human-type consciousness. The symmetry of the
limbs on either side of the torso is another factor, indicating as it
does a connection with the bicameral brain: the two hemispheres,
right and left, that control the left and right sides of the body,
respectively, as well as different types of consciousness (typically,
the left brain is said to “control” rational and logical thought,
whereas the right brain “controls” imagination and creativity). This
enabled creatures to reach out into the environment and collect
information—through the limbs, hands, and feet in addition to the
eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin—and to develop a binary approach
to that information: right/left; up/down; forward/backward; in

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front/behind; and, possibly, past and future. Creatures with four
limbs could travel great distances on the ground and collect valuable
information along the way, extending their range and making new
discoveries. In turn, learning and memory increased; with such an
enormous storehouse of information at their disposal—the earth—
the vertebrates began to consume data as well as other resources.
And, eventually, the development of the opposable thumb added
even more capability and the ability to make tools.

To say that the limbs and senses are extensions of the brain and

nervous system would be to put the cart before the horse. It is just as
logical to assume that the brain and nervous system are the result of
the development of the limbs and senses. In reality, the two systems
—the anatomical and biological on one hand and the nervous system
on the other—developed together, each reinforcing the other, giving
us enormous power over the world we live in. This means that
certain capabilities we may have had eons ago were selected out
during the evolutionary process, as they did not contribute to our
survival or perhaps made us weaker. As we survived, we grew
stronger not only physically but also intellectually and creatively:
both sides of the brain cooperated to give human beings tremendous

It took five hundred million years, but those simple vertebrates

and pre-vertebrates of the Cambrian Period eventually yielded up a
creature that could communicate over vast distances in an instant
and travel to the Moon and beyond.

At the same time, though, science is discovering that the identical

systems that gave rise to our enormously complex brain also gave it
some serious vulnerabilities, as mentioned previously, among them

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mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The ancient immune
system of antimicrobial peptides that protects the brain was found to
turn on it with age: it creates a molecule that forms the type of
plaque that results in dementia. It is a process that is still not
understood but has implications for any study of neuroscience. With
the growing complexity of the cerebrospinal system came greater
possibilities for things to go very wrong. What does that mean for
consciousness itself? Like asking, “Is the thought of a unicorn a real
thought?,” we may ask if a consciousness in a brain affected by
Alzheimer’s disease (or any one of hundreds of other mental
disorders, including autism and schizophrenia) is real
consciousness. Is there a baseline consciousness against which all
other forms may be measured?

Is it possible, therefore, that some of those genetic characteristics

that we once had millions of years ago and lost because they were
not essential to survival were discarded a li le too hastily? Is it
possible that what made us vulnerable then—in an environment of
savage beasts, an erratic and threatening climate, and hostile
neighbors—might be useful to us today? We are part of the history
of the world and its trajectory. Who we are owes as much to where
and when we live as to our genetic makeup. Now that the world
itself is changing in so many ways (and now that we ourselves are
changing it) did we leave something valuable behind?

There is some evidence that we did, but that the genetic

characteristic we “lost” has been hiding in plain sight all along: in
our ancient literature, if nowhere else. What we call “consciousness”
today might actually be a somewhat scaled down (or, at least,
considerably altered) version of what we once possessed.

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We trace our consciousness to that period in ancient prehistory

when the lamprey (or the hagfish) developed vertebrae . . . and we
stop there. We make the assumption that consciousness did not arise
until a working nervous system was available. But what if
consciousness was already present in the genes themselves, which
contributed to the developing complexity of the nervous system,
driving it on to greater and greater achievements? Why stop at the
nervous system? Why even stop at the genes?

Does having a primitive radio receiver that only gets one station

mean that there is only one station? In other words, did
consciousness evolve as an artifact of biological or genetic
complexity, or did consciousness become more accessible the greater
the degree of biological or genetic complexity? To use the admi edly
tired old computer analogy: do we understand the computer
operator by taking apart the machine itself? The CPU is intelligent;
the RAM and ROM answer the need for memory. There are input
and output devices that act as sensors and limbs in the environment.
But until an operator turns it on and issues instructions, the device is
inert. It is an inorganic instrument that responds only to an organic
operator somewhere down the line.

It was precisely this sense of the human being as a kind of

machine—a creation of some other, superior intelligence—that
inspired Zecharia Sitchin to write his famous series of books in
which he claimed that humans were created by aliens to mine gold
on Earth. And it may be that same suspicion that has contributed to
the tales of the Grays being controlled or commanded by taller
beings that some call the Nordics. So, which one of us—human
beings, Grays, Nordics, or any of the dozens of other proposed alien

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races—are machines? While we still have difficulty defining
consciousness, we slowly come to the realization that we face the
same difficulty when it comes to defining machines. If DNA was
seeded on Earth, was that done by a machine? And was the purpose
to create new iterations of self-generating automata?

In other words, is the human race a “sekret machine”?

The Quantum Controversy

For many of us, consciousness is the container for emotions as well
as intellect. It is also how we interact with notions of the divine, of
life after death, and with paranormal experiences for which there is
no physical proof or tangible evidence. Evolving from the earliest
pre-vertebrates, we arrived where we are now with very strong ideas
about invisible things: gods, spirits, demons, jinn. These ideas have
become confabulated with accounts of UFOs and extraterrestrial
biological entities (EBEs). UFOs are invisible most of the time; that is,
we don’t see them. But they are visible some of the time and are
seen, experienced, tracked, and investigated. Same with the EBEs or
“Visitors.” Our brains are superbly capable of ordering the inputs
coming in through our senses and making sense of them so that we
can react appropriately. But when it comes to the Phenomenon, we
are left on very shaky ground as our neurons struggle to make sense
of what we are experiencing. For such a sophisticated computational
system as the neuron to fail us in this regard seems somewhat

Most of human experience proceeds along a historical

continuum. We see things that fit into a pa ern of what we know.
When we see a bird, for instance, it fits within the context of all the

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birds we have ever seen, whether in real life or in books, other
media, etc. When we see a person we have never seen before, the
brain identifies it as human, and also identifies its gender, its age
(perhaps relative to our own), and so forth. There is a context to
everything we experience. The neurons are prepared for this. New
experiences are matched against memories of previous sensations
and the model is cleaned up and presented to us in fractions of a
second. Then we go along our way, oblivious of the intense activity
that is taking place behind our eyes.

With the Phenomenon, however, our neurons work frantically to

find something that the experience is “like.” Is it like a specific color,
or shape, or movement? The Phenomenon is not contextual; it is not
historical in the sense that it is not an active player in human history
the same way that climate, economy, violence, technology, politics,
race, etc., are identifiable and everyday forces at work in our world.
The Phenomenon is completely unpredictable: it shows up without
warning, acts in accordance with physical laws that are not
consistent with what we know of reality, and according to norms of
behavior that are foreign to every culture on the planet, and then
disappears without warning.

The Phenomenon involves both sightings of actual machinery—

the UFO/UAP themselves—as well as individual beings, the so-
called “aliens” or Visitors. Both the machines and the beings behave
in ways that defy the laws of physics as we understand them, and at
times they even seem to flaunt their capabilities in front of us, as
when they follow commercial and military aircraft as if daring the
pilots to follow them or shoot them down.

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But what if they are not violating laws of physics at all? What if

they have somehow mastered a quantum effect that we have not
discovered? They do seem able to communicate with us in a way
that defies normal avenues of discourse. What if that, too, is a
quantum effect?

What if we, human beings, are being teased into discovering the

same effects?

 ▼ ▼

Many scientists reject—or openly ridicule—the notion of “quantum
consciousness.” They believe that the “spooky” nature of quantum
physics (including especially non-locality, superposition, and the
like) is sufficiently misunderstood by the layperson to be associated
with other “spooky” phenomena, such as mental telepathy, ghosts,
and UFOs. Laypersons who wish to use quantum effects to explain
ESP or remote viewing or other paranormal phenomena are
considered ignorant, gullible, or just, well, irritating.

It is true that many enthusiasts of the idea of quantum

consciousness do not have the training in classical physics—much
less quantum physics—to be able to explain and defend their
position on the paranormal. There is, however, a level of arrogance
in the abrupt dismissal of their claims by scientists that only creates
more conflict and increases the level of misunderstanding and

Critics of quantum consciousness theories will point to some

obvious examples as containing misunderstandings of how physics
actually works and how physicists measure, study, and test

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quantum effects. There is tremendous resistance on the part of
physicists where extrapolating from individual test results—such as
in the famous “double slit” experiment—to imagining their
implications for real-world applications is concerned. Their
argument runs that quantum effects occur only at the sub-atomic,
quantum level (the Planck scale) and while the laws of quantum
physics seem weird and spooky they are not applicable on the macro
level, where classical physics applies. In other words, once we are
dealing with atoms and molecules, the quantum effects are no longer
observed. At the macro level we deal with the kind of classical
physics with which we are accustomed in the everyday world: a
world where travel or communication faster than the speed of light
is impossible, where an object cannot be in more than one place at
the same time, and where the cat in the box with the plutonium is
always dead.

This was especially true of the insistence by some scientists that

quantum effects occur in the human brain and might be responsible
for consciousness. “Nonsense,” was the usual response. “The brain is
warm and wet and noisy; quantum effects can only occur in
extremely cold and dry conditions.” When Sir Roger Penrose and
Stuart Hameroff proposed their “Orch OR” theory of quantum
consciousness in the late 

s, they were shot down because of the

assumption that quantum mechanics requires cold and dry

And that was pre y much the state of affairs until 

. At that

time, new research began appearing in peer-reviewed journals that
reported quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as in the brains

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of migratory birds. Penrose and Hameroff felt vindicated, and began
defending their discoveries with greater enthusiasm.

We won’t go into all the proofs and arguments for the various

theories—for which we assume the reader will be grateful—but we
will look at why quantum physics provides what may be the best
approach toward a theory of consciousness, both from the purely
philosophical point of view and that of physics itself. It’s possible
that “quantum consciousness” may satisfy the requirements of both
the mystic and the rationalist.

Playing Dice with the Universe

Einstein is often quoted as saying that he did not believe that “God
plays dice with the universe.” This was a remark directed squarely
at quantum physics, or quantum mechanics (QM) as it is commonly
called. That is because QM at its heart is concerned with probability.
For deterministic systems, such as the Newtonian physics with
which we are all familiar from high school science classes, the idea
that the underpinnings of the physical world are not predictable but
are based on “chance” is, well, anathema. Yet QM has been proven
many times since Einstein’s famous remark, and it is the problem of
reconciling QM with Newton and Einstein (especially Einstein) that
is making a lot of people crazy. It is as if there are two completely
different sets of physical laws governing the universe and they
contradict each other in important ways. It is considered
counterintuitive, but that may be because our “intuition” is the
product of our evolution and of the evolution of our sciences.

Much of what we know about QM comes from popularizing

accounts that focus on specific statements or on controversial

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experiments. Some readers will have heard of Schrödinger’s Cat, or
the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. These examples seem like
disconnected pieces of the overall theory, neither of which by itself
can bring us any closer to a grasp of what QM is all about.

But, hey, it’s worth a shot.
Take for instance the central concept of particles and waves. In

QM, everything is made of particles (which is something we can get
behind, since we learned about atoms and molecules in school). But
everything is also made of waves. Whether something is seen as a
particle or a wave depends on the observer, which seems to imply
that consciousness plays a role.

This goes back to the “double slit” experiment that has been

performed many times over the years and thus proves this essential
fact of quantum mechanics. Briefly, when photons—light particles—
are shot through a narrow slit in a board (just narrow enough to
permit a single photon to pass through at a time) and hit a screen on
the other side they create a vertical pa ern of dots that resembles the
vertical slit they passed through. Okay, that’s reasonable and to be

But when you set up two slits, parallel to each other, so that you

would expect to see two vertical bands of dots on the screen,
something strange happens. You get multiple bands of dots. You get
an interference pa ern. How is that possible?

Imagine throwing a ball through a slit so that it hits the wall,

making a mark. Now imagine throwing balls through two slits. You
would expect marks on the wall from both balls, and they would be
found opposite the corresponding slits. You should be able to draw a
straight line from yourself—throwing the ball—through the slit to

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the wall. But in this case there are multiple marks on the wall in
different areas.

That’s because the photons (the balls) behave as waves as they

pass through the slits, and as waves they create interference pa erns
with each other (such as the ripple effect you might see when you
throw two stones into a lake). Those interference pa erns result in
many vertical bands of marks on the screen; many more than two
slits logically would produce (see Figure  ).

Figure  .

This confused experimenters, so they placed a sensor at the slits.

This way, they could see what a photon did when it left the slit and
headed for the screen. They wanted to know how a photon could
suddenly transform itself into a wave: a non-particle.

But when they observed the passage of the photon through the

slit, it remained a particle and did not become a wave.

Say what?
The act of measuring changed the result of the experiment. The

observer actually exerted some kind of influence or force or . . .

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something . . . over the photon, making it behave differently from
the way it would have had it not been observed. In QM, they
describe this event as the “collapse of the wave function”: i.e., when
a wave “becomes” a particle.

This has profound implications for the way we understand the

“real world.” It also introduced the idea that a photon can be both a
particle and a wave (or, perhaps, a third “substance” that partakes of
both wave-like and particle-like qualities), depending on who’s
doing the measuring or observing. It might be more appropriate to
say that the photon is neither a particle nor a wave but a disturbance
in the quantum field. That leads us to the next principle of QM:

When we studied physics in school, we became familiar with

diagrams of atoms. We saw that every atom has a nucleus, and
around that nucleus various particles are in orbit like planets around
the sun. It’s a nice schematic, but it is useful only as a learning tool
and does not represent the reality, which is that the nucleus is
surrounded by a “cloud of probabilities” and not discrete orbits of

This reality reflects the realization of quantum physicists that it is

not possible to predict the outcome of any QM experiment (or the
precise location of any electron) except as a kind of statistical
probability. One can locate a particle either in space or in time, but
not both.

To add insult to injury, QM is also non-local. This is often

explained by saying that when two particles “meet” and then go
their separate ways, they are in constant contact with each other
even over incredibly vast distances. Sounds romantic, right? An

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operation performed on one of the particles will instantly affect the
other particle, no ma er where in the universe or how far away it
may be. This is called “quantum entanglement.” The problem with
this discovery is that it seems to violate the general theory of
relativity, which states that nothing can travel faster than the speed
of light; in quantum entanglement, the speed of light is not relevant.
Information—the state of a given particle at a given moment—is
transmi ed immediately to the other particle and modifies its
behavior appropriately.

If a particle in, say, New York is made to spin clockwise, its

partner in Tokyo will immediately begin spinning clockwise, too.
There is no delay, no lag time, between the two. This has been tested
time and again. The transfer of information from particle “A” to
particle “B” takes place at a velocity that obviously exceeds the
speed of light, which should not be possible. This “non-locality” is
an essential feature of quantum mechanics. There is no “local” and
“distant” where QM is concerned. This has led some quantum
physicists to insist that what takes place between the two particles is
information transfer, and that information is not the same as ma er
(is neither a particle nor a wave) and thus its “velocity” is not bound
by the speed of light.

This is all complicated by the fact that there are multiple particles

of ma er—mostly electrons, quarks, neutrinos, and muons—and
multiple carriers of force such as photons, bosons, and gluons. So
just when we thought the Periodic Table of the Elements had us
covered, we realize that there are deeper and deeper levels to reality
that are composed of smaller and smaller units of ma er and force.
Moreover, these smaller units do not behave the way larger units do.

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They operate according to a completely different set of laws, and
trying to integrate quantum mechanics with the standard model has
so far proved to be impossible.

But these discoveries in quantum mechanics have excited and

inspired a generation of mystics, gurus, and con men. Ideas like non-
locality, quantum entanglement, and uncertainty seem to create a
space for the operation of paranormal abilities and provide a
rationale for the belief in ghosts, spirits, and UFOs. After all, goes the
theory, with non-locality and entanglement, such things as
teleportation, astral projection, and telepathy must be possible.

It’s quite a leap from quantum entanglement to astral projection,

however. Basically, all you are doing is linking two examples of
“spooky action at a distance” and making a false equivalence. It also
requires extrapolating from the case of quantum mechanics—which
affects subatomic particles only—to the larger world of direct

That said, new research has shown that quantum effects can be

observed in the world at large. One case in particular demonstrates
quantum effects, and its implications are profound.

That case is photosynthesis. By 

, a number of articles began

appearing in the scientific press that suggested that the process by
which sunlight is converted to energy in plants is quantum
mechanical in nature. Plants do this via molecular vibrations in plant
cells, resulting in energy exchange, which is a process involving
negative values in probability distributions, that are unknown to
classical physics (which recognizes only positive probability
distributions). By 

, this theory, based on the evidence, had been

accepted widely by the scientific community.

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This was critically important for several reasons. In the first

place, we are now able to say that the effects of quantum processes
can be observed in the “real” world: the visible world all around us,
and not just at the nano level. In the second place, it demonstrates
that quantum effects can occur at biological temperatures (warm and
wet) and not only under super-cold and super-dry conditions. This
has tremendous implications for the study of consciousness, as we
will see.

There is also something oddly compelling about a quantum

interpretation of photosynthesis. Since the nineteenth century we
have known that light comes to Earth from the Sun (in the form of
photons) and then penetrates the cell membranes of plants, enabling
them to synthesize food from carbon dioxide and water. This
happens when a photon is absorbed by chlorophyll, which then
loses an electron and passes it down an electron chain during the
process of photosynthesis. In dealing with photons and electrons we
are already in the subatomic world of quantum mechanics, but so far
classical interpretations have been used to try to explain how
photosynthesis works. Unfortunately, efforts to describe the process
using classical theory have not been successful.

The idea that our food (and our oxygen, and therefore life itself)

depends on the flow of photons to the surface of the earth, where
energy transfers take place on the subatomic level, suggests that
there may be other mechanisms at work in our world that best can
be described by recourse to quantum mechanics. It may in fact be the
interplay of quantum forces that creates the web of connectivity
between humans and nature, between humans and other humans (at
various levels, some of which may be unseen), and between humans

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and members of other species, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial or

Physicists are faced with the dilemma that these two worlds

seem to be incompatible, as if reality on the subatomic level is not
the same as the reality on the classical, macro level. This
incompatibility has contributed to the irritation and frustration
many scientists express where claims of a quantum mechanical basis
for paranormal states and experiences are concerned. They need the
classical physics of Newton and Einstein to be at least an expression
of the quantum world of Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Heisenberg,
Schrödinger, and Pauli. There cannot be “two thrones in Heaven,” to
borrow a term from Jewish mysticism. There cannot be two realities.
There can’t be a world where paranormal phenomena exist and one
where they don’t, not if we are expected to live in both worlds

The solution might be both easier and more dangerous than we


Think of a chessboard. It is flat and two-dimensional. The action

of chess, however, involves three-dimensional pieces of various
designs all moving about on the two-dimensional surface. What we
see—what we focus on—are the chess pieces and their interplay
with each other in complex pa erns. However, without the
chessboard, the pieces cannot move. Without the sixty-four squares
of the board, the pieces are irrelevant. If we think of the quantum
world as the chessboard and the Newtonian world as the chess
pieces, we may get closer to an understanding of how these two
seemingly separate physical environments actually work together to
create reality as we know it. In more modern (and culturally

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significant) parlance, the chessboard (and hence the quantum world)
is the matrix.

The two worlds are not separate from each other: each needs the

other to fulfill its function. Taken together they represent the game of
chess. Taken separately they can be examined, analyzed, and
measured . . . but we learn nothing about the “game” that way. The
structure and pa ern of the chessboard “bleeds into” the play of the
pieces, though, just as quantum mechanics “bleeds into” the
problem of photosynthesis.

The rules of chess and the action of playing chess might be

analogous to the physics of Einstein. Whereas the pieces themselves
are emblematic of Newton’s physics, the movement of the pieces
and the interplay of the two sides in a game of chess are closer to

We can take the analogy further, of course, and suggest that the

red squares on the board represent particles and the black squares
waves; or the red squares represent ma er and the black squares
dark ma er; etc., etc. As with any analogy, you can take it too far. It
is only necessary to think of the chess game in its entirety as a way of
understanding the role that quantum mechanics plays as a kind of
background for classical physics and Einstein’s relativity. There is
another way of looking at this analogy, however, and it relates to
what we discussed in the first section of this book: the genetic code.

You may remember that we pointed out the similarity between

the chessboard of   squares and the matrix of   possible
combinations of the four amino acids in groups of three that give us
the codons that make up the genetic code. We also noted the
similarity between that mathematical pa ern and the   hexagrams

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of the Chinese I Jing or Book of Changes, and the further
development of that pa ern into the 

 odu (  x  ) of the Yoruban

Table of Ifá.

If the DNA molecule was itself a pathway into the quantum

world, it may show us how consciousness, genetics, and quantum
mechanics are related on a deep level, and thus how the events in
our lives may be like chess pieces played across an existential board.
It may suggest to us that the quantum world is the unconscious
mind of the world of classical physics.

Fortunately, recent experiments on quantum entanglement in the

DNA molecule are suggesting a path to that conclusion.

At the same time that quantum effects were being discovered in

the process of photosynthesis, researchers were also seeing quantum
entanglement in the DNA molecule itself. Quantum entanglement is
that characteristic of QM in which a single wave function describes
two separate and distinct (and even distant) objects. No ma er how
far apart those two objects are—as we have seen above—they
weirdly share the same existence. They are “entangled.”


, Elisabeth Rieper and her colleagues at the National

University of Singapore theorized that the nucleotide of the DNA
molecule is actually a cloud of negatively charged electrons
surrounding a positively charged nucleus. The interplay of the
negatively charged cloud and the positively charged nucleus creates
a kind of oscillation, or phonon. In order for the nucleotides to bond
and form a base pair, their respective clouds must oscillate in
opposite directions. But phonons, you see, are quantum objects, and
quantum objects become entangled.

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Which means, to make a long and very technical explanation

short, that DNA is entangled. According to the theory, it is that
entanglement that actually holds the double helix of the DNA
molecule together.

While this is not yet “DNA consciousness,” it does suggest that

there is a quantum aspect to the genetic code. This is important
because it is another indication (along with photosynthesis) that
quantum effects may be obtained at atmospheric levels rather than
the extremely cold temperatures at which quantum effects are
usually measured. The implications for building quantum
computers, for instance, are considerable.

There is another—even more relevant—conclusion that can be

drawn from these theories and experiments, which is that quantum
effects could be occurring in the human brain and affecting (or being
responsible for) consciousness. If that is true, humanity may be on
the verge of reconciling the conflict between two opposing points of
view concerning reality: the purely reductionist, deterministic
approach typical of what we think of when we think of science and
scientists, and the purely “spiritual” or intuitive approach that we
associate with the non-scientist or even the anti-scientist. The
rational and the creative—like the left brain and the right brain—are
two halves of a single reality, and it may be our responsibility as
human beings to find a middle way between them.

The Penrose-Hameroff Theory

There is a great deal of discussion in scientific circles where the field
of artificial intelligence (AI) is concerned. As we have described
several times already, many scientists—perhaps the majority—feel

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that the brain is nothing more than a very sophisticated machine, a
computer, and that as computer technology becomes more
advanced, computers will themselves develop consciousness. In
other words, consciousness is nothing more than an “emergent
property of the brain.” As the brain evolved into a more complex
instrument, so the theory goes, consciousness developed as a kind of
“secretion” of the brain. In this view, animals may be conscious to an
extent but plants are not. Plants have simple systems that react to
their environment—to sunlight, to water, to temperature—but it is
not consciousness the way we understand it. After all, a compass
magnet will point north, but that does not mean the magnet is
choosing to point north or that there is consciousness in the magnet.
A plant bending toward the sun does not necessarily imply a
conscious reaction or “decision.” In the first place, it cannot pick up
and move from one area to another, and it is thought that
consciousness depends—at least in part—on the ability to interact
actively with one’s environment. This ability requires the
development of senses that plants do not have, such as sight and
smell and hearing. (For instance, we say of persons who are in a
coma that they are in a “vegetative” state.)

As we have seen above, our sensory systems are an integral part

of our central nervous system (CNS). So it would seem that the
development of a nervous system—spinal cord and brain—would be
necessary for consciousness, as those who study the evolution of the
brain insist. From this perspective the development of true artificial
intelligence should require that next-level computer systems be
equipped with additional sensors to mimic, if not duplicate, the
human CNS. If a computer simply sits there on a desk or is hard-

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mounted in a laboratory, it is doubtful whether that computer would
ever really approach human consciousness; it may instead remain in
a “vegetative state.” However, the proponents of “strong AI” are
confident that, with greater and greater algorithms and faster
processing power, computers would acquire consciousness—they
are, after all, based on the same physics as the human brain—and
that eventually human and machine would become integrated to the
point that we would not be able to distinguish one from the other.
This is the point of view of inventor and philosopher Ray Kurzweil,
for instance, as represented in a number of books and papers he has
published over the years.

The opposing view is that computers will never a ain human-

type consciousness because the science of artificial intelligence is
missing a few essential pieces of the problem. This view is the one
developed by Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff. Penrose is a
famous mathematician and physicist, and Hameroff is an
anesthesiologist and professor emeritus of anesthesiology and
psychology. Together they argue that the brain is not a deterministic
machine that operates algorithmically, like a computer; that the
types of processes of which the brain is capable are not limited to the
kinds of programs—which are based on algorithms—used to
program computers. They insist that a way must be found to unite
quantum mechanics with classical theory in order to explain

There is some elegance to this recommendation, actually. Both

classical physics and quantum mechanics are discoveries of
consciousness, of conscious beings who worked at understanding
how the world operates. The laws of physics can be considered

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inventions or projections of the human mind onto experience, ways
of organizing information, but they do not make any statement
about the reality of the laws apart from their usefulness to human
beings. In other words, the laws don’t actually “exist” in any
concrete way. They are the product of a train of thought that has
been going on in the minds of thinkers for millennia.

So since both classical physics and quantum mechanics are

“true” and both are products of human consciousness, it stands to
reason that one needs both systems to explain the consciousness
they came from.

We already know a great deal about the physical brain and its

various systems; now we need to find out if quantum mechanics can
fill in the gap in our knowledge of how the brain works. Perhaps
then we will understand something more of consciousness. That was
the goal of Penrose and Hameroff.

The physical substrate for what Penrose and Hameroff call

“orchestrated objective reduction” (Orch OR) is the microtubule.

The microtubule (MT) is present in the cytoskeletons of

everything from single-celled organisms to neurons in the brain. The
MT is hollow, about   nm (nanometers) in diameter.  It is
composed of hexagon-shaped la ices of proteins (as in Figure  ),
and is essential for many cell functions such as movement and cell
division. In the neuron its function is in extending the dendrites and
axons and forming synaptic connections.

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Figure  .

For quite some time, the importance of the MT was not

understood. One of its recently discovered features is the strange
coupling of tubulins (the protein that is the main element of the
microtubule) within the MT in dynamic switching pa erns that
suggest the “cellular automata” of the “Game of Life” developed by
John Horton Conway in 

. As more MT data was analyzed it

became clear that microtubules were responsible for much more
than the structure of the neurons; they were also involved in
electrochemical processes including signaling and communication.
Suddenly, the MT became the focus of greater a ention due to the
possibilities that it offers as a medium for consciousness.

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For Penrose and Hameroff, the MT might be the Holy Grail that

provides the bridge between classical physics with quantum
mechanics, as it shows that the human brain demonstrates quantum
effects. The implication is that such features of QM as non-locality,
entanglement, and superposition may be foundational to
consciousness and provide the missing link between a purely
mechanistic and deterministic view of consciousness as an
“emergent property of the brain”—a result of its computations and
nothing more—and the more “spiritual” concept of consciousness as
something that exists (and pre-exists) outside the brain. In fact, the
very architecture of the brain’s neurons may point to the brain as a
device for quantum communication:

Orch OR suggests that there is a connection between the brain’s
biomolecular processes and the basic structure of the universe.

“Orch OR” is described as:

a theory which proposes that consciousness consists of a
sequence of discrete events, each being a moment of ‘objective
reduction’ (OR) of a quantum state . . . where it is taken that
these quantum states exist as parts of a quantum computation
carried on primarily in neuronal microtubules. Such OR events
would have to be ‘orchestrated’ in an appropriate way (Orch
OR), for genuine consciousness to arise. OR itself is taken to be
ubiquitous in physical actions, representing the ‘bridge’
between the quantum and classical worlds. . . . In our own
brains, the OR process that evokes consciousness, would be
actions that connect brain biology (quantum computations in

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microtubules) with the fine scale structure of space-time
geometry, the most basic level of the universe.

If consciousness results, as Penrose and Hameroff insist, from

“discrete physical events” that “have always existed in the universe
as non-cognitive, proto-conscious events,” then “biology evolved a
mechanism to orchestrate such events and to couple them to
neuronal activity, resulting in meaningful, cognitive, conscious
moments and thence also to causal control of behavior.” Thus,
according to their Orch OR theory, “these conscious events are
terminations of quantum computations in brain microtubules . . .
and having experiential qualities. In this view consciousness is an
intrinsic feature of the action of the universe.”

We might say, then, that consciousness is an emergent property

of the universe itself. If that is so, then it is reasonable to propose
that beings from other parts of the universe also exhibit
consciousness if the only criterion is access to “quantum
computations in brain microtubules.” If we interpret “brain” in the
most liberal sense of a central nervous system, then an “alien” brain
might exhibit consciousness but have access to different qualia
different subjective experiences, and different interpretations of the
same experiences—and therefore interpret the world differently.
They would, however, be able to communicate—via the microtubule
structure, or some analogous structure—with other conscious
beings, if consciousness is really reducible to the types of discrete
physical events identified by Penrose and Hameroff. The quality of
that communication would be affected by the differences between
human brain and neuronal structures and those of the alien or Other
species, but it would nonetheless take place. Moreover, if

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communication between a human being and an alien occurred at the
level of the microtubules and thereby involved quantum
entanglement, it becomes possible to suggest that the claims of alien
abductees that they are always in contact with their abductors (they
can be located no ma er where they are on Earth, as if they were
“tagged”) may be based on this type of quantum mechanical

While this discussion may seem impossibly arcane to those not

involved with quantum mechanics on a regular basis (which is most
of us) there are some takeaways that we can apply to the Sekret
Machine project. We know that QM is being explored as the basis for
a new generation of computers; it is also being explored as a means
to achieve teleportation (so far of individual particles, not entire
organisms). The possibility of real-world applications of such
quantum effects as entanglement and non-locality is enormous.

Of greater interest to our project, though, is the idea put forward

by Hameroff that the universe rises out of consciousness, that
consciousness preceded life and “drove its origin and evolution.”
This is not a new idea, as one can find it articulated at length in
Asian scriptures. What is different is the scientific approach to the
idea, which for Hameroff means that the evolutionary process is not
the “selfish gene” concept of Darwinian philosophers such as
Richard Dawkins—a concept that was amplified in this book earlier,
as the desire of genes to live forever at the expense of their hosts (us)
—but a “pleasure principle” similar to that conceived by Sigmund
Freud, and based not on psychology but on the observation that
reproduction—either of mammals, or of proteins—comes about not
as the result of some ill-defined mechanism of gene immortality and

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Darwinian survival but as a consequence of pleasure: i.e., because it
feels good. To Hameroff, there is a feedback loop that is basic to the
universe and hence to consciousness and this is a reinforcement
(reward/punish) of certain behaviors at the expense of others.

This seems reasonable if we consider that the gene cannot know

the future, and therefore cannot project what reproductive strategies
will best serve its long-term goal of immortality, but it can know
immediate reward or punishment, pleasure or pain, and function

If this feedback loop—which is obviously part of human nature

—is universal, as Hameroff implies that it is, then it may undergo
different manifestations on the macro level depending on the species
involved. In other words, for human beings the pleasure principle is
clear and is responsible for sexual reproduction and the propagation
of the species. But what if this is not so clear to another, nonhuman,
species? What if the evolutionary process on other planets favored a
more rational, logical, and pragmatic approach to life, perhaps due
to environmental factors that did not encourage the pursuit of
pleasure? Just as some animals on Earth have certain reproductive
cycles and do not mate during the year except at those specific times,
it is possible that an alien species would behave in a similar way,
and that human reproductive practices would mystify them. They
would try to see how the human reproductive cycle is different from
those of, say, ca le.

The experience of abductees with the alien curiosity concerning

sexuality might be linked to the famous ca le mutilations that have
taken place over the years and which are often linked to UFO
sightings. If the alien species is non-organic—an android or robot of

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some type—this makes the possibility of intellectual curiosity even
greater. After all, we humans used to rob graves and dig up corpses
of our fellow humans to find out how the body worked. How much
more curious about those inner workings would an alien species be?

Would the aliens try to locate the pleasure centers in the human

brain and a empt to discover how pleasure worked, and how it was
responsible for human reproduction? Would they have a different
concept of how consciousness works, one that takes into account
neither Hameroff’s “quantum pleasure principle” nor Dawkins’
“selfish gene,” but some other model of which we have no idea? We
may have erred in assuming that the alien interest was in our
reproductive systems per se, and not in our motivations for
behaving sexually.

If Penrose and Hameroff are correct in their claim that the action

of microtubules in the human brain are responsible for
consciousness—for intrinsically connecting the brain to what they
called the “fine-scale structure of space-time geometry”—then how
integrated to that fine-scale structure would an alien nervous system
be if it did not evolve the same way, with the same (or similar)
neural structures, including the microtubules? Would that alien
brain be as conscious as a human’s? In the same way? Or would a
different nervous system actually produce a different form of
consciousness altogether?

Since the alien is able to communicate with its abductee—in a

communication stream that is largely one-way, from alien to human
—we must assume a certain degree of similarity between alien
consciousness and human consciousness without being aware of the
essential features or vulnerabilities of the alien version.

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Perhaps chaos theory can provide another perspective.

 Todd E. Feinberg and John Malla , “The evolutionary and genetic

origins of consciousness in the Cambrian Period over 


years ago,” Frontiers in Psychology, October 

, Volume  , Article


 Francis Crick and Christof Koch, “Towards a neurobiological

theory of consciousness,” Seminars in Neuroscience, Volume  , 




 J. Nithianantharajah et al., “Synaptic scaffold evolution generated

components of vertebrate cognitive complexity,” Nature Neuroscience

 January,  ( ):  – , doi: .


; and Richard D. Emes

et al., “Evolutionary expansion and anatomical specialization of
synapse proteome complexity,” Nature Neuroscience 

 July,  ( ):

. doi: .



 There is no consensus today on whether Pikaia was a vertebrate

or invertebrate.

 MAGUK is the acronym for “membrane-associated guanylate

kinases,” a “superfamily” of proteins.

 Except, of course, in cases of Near Death Experience or NDE, in

which a “dead” person comes back to life in the operating room after
having been dead for a short time, with all their memories and self-
awareness intact. This is called a “Near Death Experience” because
of the basic medical assumption that since the person came back to
life they were never really dead in the first place, only “near” death.
The logic of this assumption is, of course, debatable.

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 “Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis,”

January  , 

h ps://

- -quantum-mechanics-



 A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
 Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, “Consciousness in the

universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory,” Physics of Life Reviews,


), pp.  – .

 Ibid., p.  .
 Ibid., pp.  – .
 Stuart Hameroff, “A brief history of (a study of) consciousness,” a

talk given on October  , 

, at the Science and Nonduality

(SAND) Conference.

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It seems to me that a complete psychology would ask also, for
example, why it is that human beings do physics,
mathematics, and art at all; how are consciousness, mind, and
thought related to these activities, and how does it all fit
together? From this point of view it would seem to follow
that if there is to be a “theory of everything,” that physicists
are so fond of claiming as their territory, psychology will
likely have to provide it.

— Larry R. Vandervert








if one wants to understand and explain the Phenomenon. We would
be amiss, then, if we did not include other perspectives on
consciousness, since it is consciousness itself that is under scrutiny
when it comes to eyewitness accounts of UFO/UAP Phenomena and
especially alien abductee experiences.

While the theories presented in the previous chapter—especially

the Orch OR theory of Penrose and Hameroff—are focused on the

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physical, neurobiological substrate of consciousness and are
invaluable for that reason, here we are going to approach the
problem from the lens of a novel theory of psychology that includes
physics and mathematics (as does Orch OR and indeed any form of
quantum mechanics) but strives to offer a more holistic answer to the

This is chaos theory.
Basically, chaos theory states that beneath the seemingly random

or chaotic features of a system there is an underlying pa ern
including feedback loops, self-organization, and repetition, and that
these represent an initial condition upon which the seemingly
chaotic features depend. One often overused metaphor for chaos
theory is the “bu erfly effect”: that a bu erfly flapping its wings in
China can affect weather conditions in Texas; i.e., that a small change
in a deterministic and nonlinear system can have a serious impact
further down the line as that seemingly minor deviation snowballs.

In the previous chapter we looked at the evolution of

consciousness as something that could be measured as an expression
of the evolution of the nervous system: a process that began during
the Cambrian Period, 

 million years ago. We also looked at the

Orch OR model, which claims that consciousness has been here all
along and maybe pre-existed the universe.

In this chapter, we will see if chaos theory can lead us into some

other interesting pathways.

 ▼ ▼

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In the 

s, psychologist and neuroscientist Larry Vandervert

published a number of papers on chaos theory, mathematics, and
language, and on the application of chaos theory to the mind-body
problem. Vandervert puts forward the theory that a true study of
consciousness must include the holonomic brain theory first put
forward by Karl Pribram.  Holonomics involves viewing the
dendrites of the neurons as microprocessors that embed space and
time in what Pribram calls “holoscapes.” These create “holograph-
like experiences of perception and cognition (including dream states)
in a ground of space-time consciousness, and all composed within
the skull.”

There is a justification for this idea in that everything we see

external to ourselves—i.e., in the “outside world”—is actually
mirrored as images within our brains. In a sense, the visible world
outside of our senses creates a hologram within our skulls. We
operate on objects in the visible world through the medium of
images in our heads. This interplay between the external world and
the internal world is a form of consciousness, but it is not the whole

Our motivations, desires, fears, and expectations are not visible

or tangible in the external world. Neither are our dreams. Yet, when
we dream we “see” and experience events that do not take place in
the external world.

You can see where we are going with this.
The experience of the Phenomenon—whether of UFOs or of alien

abductors—may not be an experience that takes place in what a
materialist would call the “real world.” As mentioned earlier, there
has been an insistence on the part of some psychologists that the

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experience of alien abductions is an example of sleep paralysis, a
kind of hallucination. If it is a hallucination, it is one whose details
are strangely consistent from witness to witness. The psychologists
ascribe that similarity to neurobiological causes. In the modern
Western world there is a sharp division between “real” events and
“imaginary” events, the “imaginary” events being those that you see
or experience but I don’t. In other cultures, however, this division is
not so clear, especially in those cultures where self-identity is created
or maintained through processes of socialization.

But Vandervert makes an important distinction between

“consciousness” and “mind.” In his view, animals are conscious but
“since they don’t have culture they likewise do not have appreciable
‘minds.’”  This same equation could be applied to an analysis of
alien consciousness. Is it possible for us to ascertain whether or not
the alien has a culture, which therefore can be said to have
contributed to the alien “mind”? And how does this relate to the
main thesis of artificial intelligence, which is that machines will
eventually become conscious? Where does “mind” fit in?

According to Vandervert’s theory of neurological positivism

(NP), the mind has two forms. The first is the one with which we are
familiar, which is the circuitry of the brain and the nervous system.
The second manifests as culturally shareable mental models. Mind,
according to Vandervert, began with culture and has evolved—and
continues to evolve—as humans evolve. Thus, while the “real
world” of objects has not changed, the mind has evolved to create
various models of the real world, such as mathematics and music,
which become shared cultural artifacts. This is all taking place
against the backdrop of the very same space-time geometry referred

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to in the Orch OR model. In other words, as we create more and
more complex models of the world, reflective of our increasingly
complex nervous systems and the steps we take to change, improve,
or alter those nervous systems through machinery, meditation,
psychoactive chemicals, etc., we are affecting/effecting the world we
are creating. With every new iteration we are making new models.
These “represent the actual relationships among world, brain, and
mind”  as depicted in the holonomic models proposed by Pribram
(and by David Bohm and others).

To illustrate what he means, Vandervert uses the example of the

phantom limb.

In this case, there have been people who were born missing limbs

yet they are aware of the limb, since the brain perceives the body as
intact and the limb in its proper place in space and time. We know
that this has happened to those who have lost limbs due to an
accident or illness: the limb still is felt to be there and to experience
sensations. But why would this occur in individuals who never had
the limb to begin with? A researcher named Melzack proposes that
this happens because the brain continuously generates a pa ern of
impulses that represents “a pure space-time template for the
body.”  Vandervert calls the phantom limb phenomenon “a (the)
vital clue as to the origin and nature of consciousness we all
experience.”  In other words, the brain (or the mind) continuously
creates an experience of the body as a coherent entity, with
dimension and movement in space and time, in order to navigate
through the world of sensation. The existence of the “phantom limb”
is the clue that the brain is functioning this way, with a model of the

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body. The body in the brain. It is a key, as Vandervert says, to the
nature of consciousness.

Any portion or piece of a hologram contains the entire hologram;

that is pre y much a definition of what a hologram is. It is
Vandervert’s contention that the brain creates a hologram of an
experience, and that perceiving any part of it recalls the entire
experience, like Proust’s madeleine. This is what causes the phantom
limb experience. The hologram of the body is intact, a product of the
brain itself. Vandervert then goes so far as to state that this concept
can be extended to include “phantom seeing and phantom hearing

A person born with only one leg may experience the missing leg

from time to time as a phantom limb. The brain has created and
maintained a holographic image of the body, and it contains both
legs. Can this idea be extended, as Vandervert says, to include other
“phantom” experiences?

If we can apply Karl Pribram’s holonomic theory here, then we

would have to suggest that experiences of alien abduction
—“phantom” experiences, after all—would have to reflect real
experiences that occurred at some point in the mind’s development.

If the brain is a classical computer, as the advocates for artificial

intelligence insist, these phantom experiences are not possible. There
can be no paranormal world, no life after death, no mental telepathy
because—quite simply—they do not “compute.” However, if the
brain is a quantum computer these things become not only possible,
but probable. When we apply chaos theory to the quantum world
we can begin to explain creativity and imagination: the explosion of
ideas and connections between heretofore unconnected ideas and

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events that stem from a simple quantum event, perhaps the firing of
a neuron or a series of neurons, the Orch OR effect of Penrose and

But are creativity and imagination “real”? Is the experience of the

phantom limb “real”? Or do these events represent a kind of
“twilight zone” between the classical world and the quantum world?
Evidence of a mechanism in our brains that is reaching out beyond
the confines of the skull to touch . . . what?

For most of us, these experiences are interior, internal to

ourselves. They happen inside our heads. We can’t demonstrate
them to others unless we concretize these experiences in some way,
such as by creating a work of art or writing a piece of music or a
mathematical proof. They start within our skulls and work their way
out if we let them. The hologram-like nature of consciousness flits
behind our eyes, not in front of them.

But for some of us, there are experiences like creativity, like

imagination—in other words, that share some basic qualities with
these events—that come from outside of ourselves, moving in.

And then you have UFOs. And alien abductions.
The same mechanism that operates within our brains has been

affected by something outside of it. The mechanism that gives rise to
our creative impulse has been “switched on” by an outside force, a
force that is using it to communicate with us. Forcing us to see
things we ordinarily would not see. To dream while still awake.

Sounds spooky, we know.
But if all of these consciousness theories have taught us anything,

it is that our neurons—and their associated microtubules—are
operating at a level far beyond what we can consciously understand

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or appreciate, at a quantum level where non-locality and
entanglement occur. Where consciousness itself occurs at the
moment of the collapse of the wave function. A collapse that—
theoretically—could be engineered from an external source.

We already know this to be possible. We know that drugs can

affect the neural activity of the brain. Anesthesia can do that. Certain
EEG-type equipment can do that, mess with your brain waves, make
you laugh or cry. These are all clumsy methods of interfering with
the firing of our neurons and the manipulation of our microtubules.

We are accustomed to seeing ourselves as discrete, separate

components of a larger society, as individual and unique organisms
with self-identity. If you want to interfere with our brains you need
to get our permission first, and then use all sorts of exotic
mechanisms or substances to do that. You have to operate on the
individual person, focus your a ention on the specific cranial

That would be the only way to approach the problem if

consciousness was contained within the skull like wine in a crystal

But what if it wasn’t? What if your own, very personal

consciousness was accessible from some distance away? No, we
don’t mean radio waves or ELF waves, although those are possible.
What we mean is using a quantum process to communicate directly
with the quantum processes taking place right now in your brain.
Mano a mano, or microtubule to microtubule.

If the flapping of a bu erfly’s wings in China can cause a

hurricane in Texas—according to chaos theory—then can a slight,
quantum-level nudge from an outside source cause a consciousness

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hurricane in our brain? Is the experience of alien abduction or even
of the UFO itself the result of just such a manipulation, a control
mechanism for altering human consciousness by approaching it
beneath normal awareness, at the quantum level, below even the
level of the neurons?

If consciousness is holonomic, as per Pribram and Vandervert,

then a tiny portion of that hologram is all that is required to re-create
the entire image or neuronal event. Can that “slice” of the hologram
be inserted into consciousness in such a way that we are aware of it
not when it happens but only after the chaos effect takes place and it
balloons into a full-blown “hallucination”?

Stanislas Dehaene is one of those cognitive psychologists at the

forefront of consciousness research who is at odds with the Orch OR
theory in that he claims it is based on “no solid neurobiology or
cognitive science.”  That opinion is surely debatable considering the
role played by microtubules (which are, after all, an essential
element of the neuron, which is the core of neurobiology) in the
Orch OR theory. Dehaene believes that consciousness is an emergent
property of the brain,  and thus quantum mechanics would play no
part in what certainly was an evolutionary process. Regardless, one
of the themes in the work of Dehaene is that of subliminal images
and the way they reveal hidden cognitive function.

We react to subliminal images even though we are not

consciously aware of them. This seems counterintuitive, but decades
of research in advertising and media studies demonstrates the truth
of the claim. When the film version of The Exorcist was released in

 there was a persistent urban legend that said subliminal images

were used to create more horror than the visual images themselves.

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This turned out not to be true, but it raised awareness of the
possibility during a turbulent time in American history, when
rumors of intelligence agency manipulation of the media was at an
all-time high.

A subliminal image is one that lasts for a very brief period of

time, too brief to be noticed, but which the eye records and sends
back down the optical pathway to the brain. It is subliminal in that it
appears below the threshold (the liminis) of conscious awareness.
There is some debate as to where this threshold is found, but
according to Dehaene the basic assumption is valid. A strip of  mm
movie film is actually a series of still images which, when run at the
appropriate speed, trick the eye into thinking it is observing motion.
These images, or frames, run past the eye at   frames per second in
order to achieve the “flickerless” perception of continuous, smooth
movement. If one were to insert a different frame in the strip of film
—with a wri en message or an image—it would not be noticed but
would instead fall beneath the threshold of awareness. That image
would still register in the viewer’s brain, however, and potentially
influence some action whose motivation would be unknown to the
viewer on a consciously aware level, but known on a subconscious

Dehaene is a great believer in the importance of the unconscious

mind, and claims that most mental processing takes place there with
the conscious mind (located in the prefrontal cortex) as a kind of
overseer or watchdog over the unconscious processes, organizing
and prioritizing the data coming in from other parts of the brain.

In addition to the phenomenon of subliminal messaging there is

also the fact of transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. This is the

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deliberate targeting of specific areas of the brain by placing a magnet
on the skull (or surgically inserting it onto the brain itself) and
passing an electrical current through it. Depending on where the
magnet is placed, it can produce emotional responses, auditory and
visual hallucinations, even orgasms. Memories can be retrieved or
new experiences created, such as the feeling that one is floating
outside of one’s body and staring down at it (via stimulation of a
part of the parietal lobe). Dehaene is quick to point out that “this fact
by itself does not directly speak to the issue of the causal
mechanisms of consciousness.”  In other words, there is correlation
but not causation. It is not clear how stimulating parts of the brain to
elicit specific responses is a solution to the hard problem of
consciousness. To use our admi edly hoary example, we can access
a computer to retrieve a file but that does not mean the computer is
conscious of its contents or has integrated the file with other
disparate elements of its memory to form a comprehensive idea. The
emotional responses experienced by those undergoing TMS are free-
floating and un-anchored, without context.

“Indeed, recent research suggests that the initial bit of induced
activity is unconscious: only if activation spreads to distant
regions of the parietal and prefrontal cortex does conscious
experience occur.”

Or, as Stuart Hameroff might say, when the wave function


The “bit of induced activity” may not be restricted to TMS

experiments alone. This weird, externally created activity
conceivably could be stimulated by a different source, something

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that would excite a neural response but remain unconscious until it
reaches a certain threshold and the experience of it creates a cascade
along the neural networks. This was the idea behind Proust’s
madeleine, for instance: the taste of the tiny pastry evoking a flood of
memories. But in that case, Proust’s protagonist had also tasted the
confection earlier in life, and it elicited a number of memories that
were associated with his childhood. There was a specific context.
While TMS evokes memories by sending a current into the
appropriate section of the brain, with or without context, is it
possible that we have memories for which there is no conscious
awareness? Memories that remain dormant, perhaps for our entire
lives? And could those unconscious memories exert any influence
over our conscious actions?

Of course, that is the claim found in the texts of depth

psychology and appears in the writings of Sigmund Freud and Carl
G. Jung, among many others. A childhood trauma, for instance, will
be played out constantly in adulthood until it is recognized and
neutralized through therapy. The experiences are real, but they are
ghosts. They haunt the living just as their horror-story counterparts
haunt old castles and cemeteries. In this case, the ghost is evidence of
something real. It is the trace element of an old experience. We
function—often badly—as a result of something dimly remembered,
or not remembered at all. If the psychological or emotional disorder
exists and there is no discernible organic cause, the analyst digs
deeper. The “ghost” is proof that something was once very wrong.

What does all of this have to do with subliminal messaging,

transcranial magnetic stimulation, and chaos theory? Further, what
does it have to do with the Phenomenon?

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If the Phenomenon exists, then it has to leave traces in the psyche

of human beings. These traces may not be discovered easily,
depending on how they were left. Sometimes a dream can seem so
real that our memory of it outlasts memories of real events. And
sometimes we can identify an experience as a dream even though we
know that it wasn’t, that it shares nothing in common with our
ordinary dreams. Yet the unreality of it, the lack of social or physical
context, insists to us that it must have been a dream.

When John Mack interviewed people who identified as alien

abductees, he began to realize that they were suffering from a form
of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that had no known trigger.
They were not war veterans. They had not suffered childhood
trauma. They had not been victims of violent crime. They were in all
other respects normal, well-adjusted human beings. Their only
“aberration” was their memory of an experience involving aliens,
abduction from their homes or vehicles, lost time, and often some
kind of mysterious but traumatic surgical procedure.

If we apply what we have been studying about consciousness

studies so far, we will see that there is a mechanism in our brains
that can serve as a medium through which these experiences of alien
contact and alien abduction begin to make sense. We have to take the
entire experience as a coherent whole before we can approach the
reality of it. It is not just the experience of being abducted; not just
the image of the traditional Gray alien; not just the surgical
procedures; and not just the telepathic communication. It is all of
these, taken together and explored for coherence with the structure
and behavior of the mind.

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The phenomenon of telepathic communication is the gateway to

the rest. We will discuss telepathy in greater detail later in this book,
but for now we can say that the transmission of images from the
Gray to the abductee is a clue as to what kind of being the Grays
represent. This is a direct, mind-to-mind contact that assumes some
degree of similarity between the brain of the Gray and the brain of
the human. If it represents a quantum effect of some kind, then a
great deal of what we have heard about the Grays starts to pull
together. Telepathic contact would stimulate areas of the human
brain and human consciousness that are rarely, if ever, experienced
in the average person. If telepathy involves a kind of “quantum
entanglement,” as Hameroff suggests, then it becomes possible that
the experience of being abducted—of floating through space, of
passing through walls—is a conscious approximation of the
entanglement. We have already seen that stimulation of one part of
the parietal lobe with TMS will make a person seemingly experience

This is not to say that the alien abduction experience is a

psychological illness or the result of the misfiring of neurons, or
something similar. Far from it, in fact. What we propose is that the
alien abduction experience is real in some way: it is the ghost of an
actual experience that involves an external actor or actors, beings
whose ability to manipulate consciousness is without parallel, but an
ability that human beings are soon to acquire. That these beings are
ordinarily invisible to us, that they seem like genies or sprites or
ghosts or devils, should compel us to ask deeper questions about the
experience and not write it off as the product of an overactive
imagination, or hysteria, or mental disorder.

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In many cases, the first abduction experience is not remembered

immediately. After the second or third experience there is a
realization that it has happened before. The memories begin to form
as real memories, memories of a real event or series of events. As we
noted earlier, an unusual experience may not “imprint” on the
conscious mind immediately because there is no context for it. An
alien abduction would certainly fit into that category. But repeated
experiences will create a pa ern of neural firing that will be
associated with them, and it becomes easier to “remember” them
with time.

In a sense, those initial experiences are subliminal. They take

place under circumstances that render them invisible or
imperceptible at first. Unconscious. The alien abduction experience
does not involve an intruder breaking into your bedroom and
dragging you out of your home at gunpoint. This is a different kind
of abduction, and we only use that word because there is no other
term for it that seems to fit the sensation of being powerless, and
under the complete control of strangers: a situation in which the
victim has no sense of agency at all, no ability to refuse or reject, no
safeguards against it happening again. There is no plo ing to escape
or evade; no stockpiling of weapons; no cu ing a deal with a
corrections officer or a terrorist. This is a different experience
entirely, and it takes place under circumstances that can only be
considered paranormal in nature.

Who are the alien abductors? Why do they seem to remain

invisible most of the time? How can something so invisible cause so
much change in a human being?

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As mentioned previously, it is possible to insert a subliminal

message in a strip of film, as a single frame in that film, and then run
the film at the usual   frames per second. You won’t be aware of the
message, but it will make its way through to your unconscious

What if you could slow down that film strip, though? What

would you see?

Take the example of a deck of   playing cards. You shuffle the

cards and play Solitaire. No problem. But what if a Joker is added to
the deck? As you shuffle the cards, flip through them quickly, you
never notice that the Joker is there. But as you play the game, you
slowly come to the realization that something is wrong. You can
never win. There is an extra card.

The Visitor—the Gray, the Alien—is the Joker in the deck. If we

flip through at our usual speed, we will never see it. All we know is
that something is wrong, some flaw in the process. And if we simply
replace one card with the Joker so that the total is still   cards, the
result is mental illness, confusion, depression. That’s because we
have the right total, but one of the four suits is compromised. The
balance is off. The suit is incomplete.

Most of us stubbornly insist on playing our game of Solitaire

with a compromised deck, and we keep hoping that eventually we
will win the game. The alien abductees, on the other hand, have
spo ed the Joker.

Or the Joker has spo ed them.

 Larry R. Vandervert, “Chaos Theory and the Evolution of

Consciousness and Mind: A Thermodynamic–Holographic

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Resolution to the Mind-Body Problem,” New Ideas in Psychology,

, Vol.  , No.  , pp. 


 See for instance Karl H. Pribram, Brain and Perception: Holonomy

and Structure in Figural Processing, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum


 Vandervert (

), p. 


 Ibid. p. 


 Ibid., p. 


 Ibid, p. 


 Ibid, p. 


 Ibid, p. 


 Stanislas Dehaene, Consciousness and the Brain, Penguin, New


, p. 


 Ibid., p.  .
 Ibid., p. 


 Ibid., p. 


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Let me remind you of our cardinal principle: through
conscious means we reach the unconscious.

— Stanislavski

Language is the first and last structure of madness.

— Foucault








the various theories of consciousness, and how all of this pertains to
our study of the alien, we now proceed to the point at which we
approach the subject from a different direction.

After all, the title of this project is Sekret Machines.
The scientists who are working with us are deeply involved in

the study of brain-computer (or human-machine) technology. The
implications are enormous, of course, and they range from cyborgs
to some novel approaches to the “hard problem.” These include the
study of the paranormal: extrasensory perception (ESP),
psychokinesis (PK), and the whole range of parapsychology. The
study of the paranormal is often derided as “woo” by skeptics and
critics who claim that anything a psychic claims to do is nothing
more than stage magic and fraud, but many scientists today beg to

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differ. Indeed, as we get closer to a definition of consciousness that
includes the neurobiological substrate—whether of the neuron or the
microtubule—we approach a theoretical basis for paranormal
abilities that rests on a scientific framework. Whereas previously any
discussion of the paranormal placed it outside of classical physics,
which resulted in it being characterized as unscientific and invalid,
today it has become the focus of study by a number of research
groups and institutes in the United States and around the world.

One of the most common phenomena associated with alien

contact or abduction is that of mental telepathy. Communication
between “aliens” and humans seems restricted to the transmission of
mental images: a nonverbal form of communication that suggests
not only that the “alien” has the ability to transmit a message but
that the human being can act as a receiver of this message. This
implies a structure in the human brain or nervous system that
already is capable of telepathic communication; otherwise, any such
transmission from the alien would be futile. Another possibility is
that—as some scientists believe—there is a “pan-psychic” element to
the universe in which consciousness permeates all of creation and is
not as dependent on the anatomical structures of specific brains and
nervous systems as we like to think.

After we consider some of these possibilities and look at several

of the personalities and programs that were designed to address
them, we will finish this section by reviewing what we have learned
and applying that knowledge to a brief analysis of the typical
“Gray” alien. Can we make some assumptions about them? Is the
experience of the “alien” the same across cultures? If not, what are
the common denominators (if there are any)?

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The purpose behind all of this is to demonstrate the complexity

of the problem of stating unequivocally that the Phenomenon is
“this” or “that.” The Phenomenon resists all forms of English-
language description, grammar, and vocabulary. Indeed, it resists all
forms of any language, but the inclusion of non-English, non-
Western ideas, terminologies, and philosophies in our
multidisciplinary approach to the problem will reap much greater
(and faster) rewards than would be the case for any one group of
scientists acting alone or in relative isolation. This is, after all, a
phenomenon that partakes of consciousness, and it is the
consciousness of all of us that will contribute to the ultimate

We are not naïve enough to believe that a race-neutral or gender-

neutral approach can be found or even should be enacted; on the
contrary, we feel that a race-inclusive and gender-inclusive approach
is necessary, recognizing that different cultural and social
experiences contain such a wealth of information that it would be
self-defeating to ignore them. To homogenize human experience into
a bland monoculture of scientific endeavor would be to rob us of the
very inputs we all need: those that seem idiosyncratic to some of us
but are normal to the rest.

By examining the idea of race, for instance, and recognizing that

it is socially constructed, we can open our eyes to the reality of the
alien: a being, a presence, and a force that is likewise being socially
constructed in our culture, right in front of us. These constructions
blind us to the reality of the idea under construction. The alien is
real; it is something that exists. But we can’t see it; or when we do,

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we project every human anxiety, suspicion, and hostility onto it.
Sound familiar?

The alien has become the ultimate Other. But is it, really? How

much of the alien is us? How much of its nature and how many of its
characteristics do we share? Our feelings about the alien represent a
kind of schizophrenic fault line in our society: the alien is either a
benevolent space brother who is here to rescue us from ourselves, or
a demonic being bent on our destruction. What does it say about us
that we can’t agree on the basic facts of what is probably the most
important (if relatively invisible) element in our civilization? This is
not merely a flaw in the scientific approach; it is emblematic of the
human condition in general. It illustrates in sharp relief the reason
why any foreign species would have second thoughts about
revealing themselves to us in all their glory: they would receive from
one element of human society the sweaty embrace of the tearful if
somewhat professional empaths who want to be cradled and
forgiven, and from the others a barrage of super-weapons deployed
to kill anything that moves. We don’t understand that we will do
more damage to ourselves by these reactions than to any alien, but it
is entirely possible that the alien understands this and has taken
measures accordingly.

Yet, even these ruminations are anthropocentric. As humans, we

have a hard time considering the nonhuman; a hard time thinking
outside the “black box.” Awareness and a ention, remember. We are
aware, now, of the alien presence, of the reality of the Phenomenon.
But we have a hard time paying a ention to it. We associate it with
other things, other ideas, other images, and thereby have convinced
ourselves that we know what it is.

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If you want to get a glimpse of the alien, sit quietly in a darkened

room. Think of all you have seen and heard about the alien, and
gradually reject each one of these ideas. Deny these images their
reality. Go through until there is nothing left but emptiness. Wait.
You will feel something gradually assuming form around you or
before you or behind you. Remain calm.

You’ve made contact.
Now, can you describe it for us?
Now, do you understand?

 Konstantin Stanislavski, An Actor Prepares, Routledge/Theatre

Arts Books, New York, 

, p. 


 Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization, Vintage, NY, 




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 . . . providing the means by which man may someday be able
to program his personality, or its be er aspects, into the
deathless machine itself, and thus escape, or nearly escape,
the mortality of the body.

— Loren Eiseley, The Invisible Pyramid








book, and now we have to examine it more closely to see what
contributions AI can make toward an understanding of the

 ▼ ▼

As we mentioned, there are two main schools of thought concerning
consciousness, and one is that the brain is a computer and
consciousness is an emerging property of the brain, a kind of

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secretion of the neurons, with the obvious conclusion that an
advanced computer would begin to develop consciousness. That is
what is known as “strong AI.” It predicts the coming of the
Singularity: that moment when machines become conscious beings,
partners with humans in a bizarre new form of evolution. Ray
Kurzweil, the leading proponent of this view, has even published a
book titled The Age of Spiritual Machines. The problem with this view
is the conflation of terms like “intelligence” with “consciousness.”

The other school of thought rejects the idea that machines could

ever become conscious, as there is a fundamental difference between
consciousness and computation; in other words, machines can be
intelligent, but that is not the same thing as conscious.

A third theory, also popular in some circles, is called

panpsychism, which claims that consciousness permeates the
universe, and that all things are conscious to some degree.

Artificial intelligence may not be equivalent to artificial

consciousness (can consciousness of any kind be considered
“artificial”?), but the pursuit of “strong AI” will eventually prove the
theory one way or another. This has implications for our study of the
alien contact experience, for if we can determine the difference
between intelligence and consciousness—between computation or
intelligence and consciousness—we may be able to identify the true
nature of the alien contact experience, at least as it pertains to humans.

The problems we have had so far in this endeavor have centered

upon language. We have never really defined consciousness; in fact,
we are a li le hazy on what constitutes “machine” as well. The
insistence of some philosophers that human beings are li le more
than machines is part of the problem. If this is true, then it is only a

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ma er of time—and not very much time at that—before we blur the
distinction between human and machine to the point where shu ing
off a machine may be tantamount to murder. As ridiculous as that
sounds—the staple of science fiction and fantasy literature—it is
nevertheless a disaster waiting to happen, with all the social, ethical,
and legal issues it implies.

Are machines an extension of human consciousness? The

telescope extends the reach of our eyes into space; the microscope
into the invisible world around us. The telephone and the Internet
enable us to communicate across vast distances and reach uncounted
numbers of people. At this time, a human being can sit safely in her
own home and see stars and planets in real time, speak to someone
on the other side of the world, watch hundreds of television
channels or stream a film, listen to music composed hundreds of
years ago (or just last night), read a classic work of literature, take a
photo and send it to millions of “followers,” order a pizza to be
delivered or a book to be shipped. The machine has extended the
reach of that human being into vast distances from a chair in her
living room. (And still we’re bored!) But is the extension of our
sensory apparatus—eyes, ears, even touch—the equivalent of an
extension of our consciousness?

That person in her living room may wear a hearing aid. Glasses.

An artificial limb. A pacemaker. An insulin pump.

At what point does the line between the human and the machine

dissolve? Or between “alien” and machine, or “alien” and human?
And does it depend on sensory organs alone?

 ▼ ▼

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Does all the talk about alien-human hybrids mask a simpler reality:
that the “aliens” are themselves hybrids of organic life forms and
machines? The fundamental questions would therefore seem to be,
what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be “alien”?
And perhaps the key to answering both questions: What is

One may be forgiven for thinking that these are unknowable

issues, fodder for speculation and not much more. But if we apply
critical thinking to the problem we will see that some answers are
accessible. We just need to ask the right questions.

Consciousness studies are at the root of all of this, because we are

on shaky epistemological ground. We are being told to distrust our
own senses, or the senses of witnesses and experiencers, even as we
fine-tune our sense-gathering equipment to detect more and more
incoming data in a project that is consistent with certain
preconceived notions of what constitutes data and what constitutes

We are told that Ufology is a field of belief and not knowledge; in

other words, that it is more like religion than science. (This is an
artificial, socially constructed difference, as we suggested in the first
book in this series.)

By studying Ufology—and all its related phenomena—we have

crossed over into an area of human experience that has been rejected
by the dominant worldview. In fact, we are being told that
experience is not knowledge. What has been the reaction of
eyewitnesses, either to UFO sightings or alien contact? It’s likely
some version of “If we tell you what we know to be true, we will be
shot down immediately by critics on all sides of the issue and our

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statements ridiculed and then vilified.” One of the excuses often
given for denying the experience of those who have had alien
contact is that there is simultaneously a strong consistency among
accounts of alien contact and a disturbing inconsistency in important
details. The consistency means (to the critics) that experiencers have
compared notes, or that their experience derives from a shared
cultural medium such as television or movies. The inconsistency
means that they are talking about entirely different things that have
nothing to do with UFOs (or that they are not very good at
comparing notes!). Regardless, the experiences themselves are
deemed invalid; at least, the experiencers are not describing what
they think they are describing, because the experiencers are not
trained (scientists, engineers, military officers, intelligence
officers . . . insert the appropriate category).

There is a missing vocabulary here, a set of symbols that can

communicate to us what the experiencers and the abductees have
seen or felt in a way that is comprehensible to those of us who
haven’t had those experiences. We—as humans in general,
regardless of race, ethnicity, or the other categories we use to order
our world—share a certain basic worldview in which a chair is
always a chair, no ma er what word we use in our own language to
describe it. A child is a child. Death is death. We surround all of
these experiences with our own cultural a ributes and values, but in
the end if I say “child”—and it is translated into another language—
it means something that is readily understood by all of us, because
we all have been children. We all have seen children. We know what
a child is. For some of us, a child may be inconsequential until it is

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older; for others, a child is already a human being deserving of the
same respect we give to adults. But we all know what a child is.

This is not the same for the type of experiences that qualify as

UFO/UAP or alien abduction, close encounters, etc. There is no
common vocabulary that is built in to the human experience in a
way that is cross-cultural and easily understood by everyone as
meaning the same thing. Media sources have given us all sorts of
options for describing the experience, and they have run the gamut
from tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordic beings who radiate peace
and light, to short, sinister Grays who manipulate our organs for
their own unknowable purposes—and those descriptions are just
from the United States. These are all representative of projections of
cultural expectations onto something that is, at heart, ineffable and
beyond quotidian human experience. These images represent the
intense desire of a human nervous system in shock at confronting
something for which it has had no prior experience.

For that reason (and several others) we have been forced to look

deeper into what constitutes knowledge, memory, and intelligence.
To do that, we have to look at language as well. If a machine can
exhibit these qualities, then how is a human different? And perhaps
fundamental to all: why is a human being of any value at all in the
long term? In turn, that forces us to ask, what part of a human being
is irreducibly human?

 ▼ ▼

As we discover physical laws, we should realize that these laws
must apply to the Phenomenon as well, at least in some way if not in

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an identical manner as they do to us. If we can define consciousness
and understand how it works, this understanding should apply to
the Phenomenon as much as it does to us. If the consciousness of an
“alien” is not the same as ours, it still must exhibit some qualities in
common with ours.

According to cognitive scientist and philosopher David

Chalmers,  consciousness should be considered “a fundamental
feature, irreducible to anything more basic.” In other words, we
should view consciousness the way we do space, time, and mass: as
a basic element of the universe.

It was Chalmers who coined the term “hard problem of

consciousness” as a way of identifying the feeling that is associated
with sensory data and asking why that feeling, that subjective
experience, even exists. What purpose does consciousness serve? If
we were truly machines, all we would need to do is process
information, produce whatever it was we were designed to produce
(by whom, why, and for what?), and take appropriate actions where
required. There would be no need, for instance, for entertainment.
Music, literature, the arts . . . all useless to a machine. We may say,
with the materialists, that consciousness is an emergent property of
the brain, but then how is Moby Dick an emergent property? Or a
Valentine’s Day card? Or a funeral service? Ray Kurzweil tells us of
computer programs that write poetry and prose; other researchers—
such as Ian Goodfellow, who works with the Google Brain Team—
have been working to give machines “imagination” so that they can
produce works of art.

Goodfellow’s approach  has been to create something called a

“generative adversarial network,” or GAN. The basic idea is to have

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two networks fight with each other over the solution of a problem.
Problems that would ordinarily take days or weeks to compute can
be solved by dueling neural networks in a fraction of the time. In the
GAN network there are two main components: the generator and
the discriminator.

The generator creates a stream of artificial outputs. These can be

images of persons, animals, objects, or virtually anything else.

The discriminator then matches the output of the generator

against a database of original images and in so doing determines
which of the generator’s images are false and which are genuine.
These go back to the generator.

The generator then creates another output stream based on the

input from the discriminator, and tries to fool the discriminator into
selecting one of its false outputs as “real.”

Eventually, the discriminator can’t tell the difference between a

real image and an artificially generated image.

The generator wins.
This technology is now being applied to a range of video and

computer games, for obvious reasons, as well as Google Maps and
other apps, but its real contribution may be to medicine, particle
physics, and other disciplines that usually require months or years of
running simulations and tests that could be accomplished much
more quickly with this approach. In fact, engineers are now looking
at GAN as a way to provide machines with consciousness. Such a
system would be able to “self-learn” without being taught by a
human AI programmer. Once the system is in place, the machine
would conceivably run through simulations of virtually anything
you set before it and—by comparing simulations to other datasets,

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including those culled from a massive mining of the Internet—it
could learn foreign languages, write poetry, compose music, and
perform many other functions as a product of what AI specialists call
“deep learning.”

The downside, though, should be obvious. Any system that can

create perfect simulacra of information—fake images, fake text, etc.
—can also create “fake news,” especially because “news” is a
combination of . . . text and images. What we complacently refer to
as “virtual reality” could so easily become “fake reality,” and
decisions based on that reality could have tremendous consequences
for the rest of us. There are already concerns being expressed that
self-driving cars, for instance, could be fed perfectly credible images
of streets where none exist, or read a street sign incorrectly if it has
been defaced in some way. The learning curve could be steep, but it
is a Catch-  situation: whether the system is flawed or perfect, it has
the potential to cause social, political, and cultural dislocation on a
scale never seen before.

One example that came to light recently was the sudden

appearance of fake pornography featuring famous people in the
starring roles. It developed that the technology is relatively simple,
once the software—which is readily available—was applied to the
problem. (A similar technology was used in the Star Wars film Rogue
 in order to have Peter Cushing “appear” even though he was
deceased.) The female lead in the Harry Po er films—Emma Watson
—was one of those depicted that way. It’s called “deepfake celebrity
porn” and it surfaced on Internet sites such as Reddit in the last
months of 

. In basic terms, it consists of superimposing the face

of a real person over a generic,  D-created face. The newly created

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face is not merely a static object but is complete with facial gestures
and eye movements to the extent that it becomes difficult to tell that
you are looking at a simulation and not the real thing. In this case,
the real face (Emma Watson’s) was superimposed over that of a porn
star so that it appeared as if Ms. Watson was actually performing in
the film. Sites carrying the films were eventually banned (even by
porn sites) and the films themselves submerged beneath the waves
of the Dark Web.

But the damage is done. Pandora’s Box has been opened, and the

full implications of what this new technology can do are exposed for
all to see.

It’s often said that the first casualty of war is the truth. Similarly,

the first casualty of AI is trust. It is gradually dawning on us that the
manipulation of digital reality is pervasive and increasingly
undetectable. We simply can’t trust what we see any longer. It’s a
cynical reversal of the old Groucho Marx line, “Who are you going
to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?”

Aside from the obvious and deliberate manipulation of digital

media to promote a political position, support (or create) a
conspiracy theory, sell products, or defame an innocent person, there
are reasons to be worried about the explosive growth of AI that rest
in the unspoken and unacknowledged biases that are inherent in the
process. These include endemic racial and gender a itudes of which
the AI engineers may not even be aware.

Bryor Sne ella, a PhD candidate in the cognitive science of

language, on March  , 

, published an article in which he

warned about the weaponization of AI and the potential use of the
latest natural language understanding and generation research to

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promote authoritarian regimes. He takes that concern one step

One widely used technology that enables machines to measure
the meanings of words has been used to reveal how artificial
intelligence systems can inherit the racial and gender biases of
their training data.

(Even this book is subtitled “Man.” Does that mean there is an

inherent gender bias in what we are trying to say, or is it a more
blatant expression of a deeper mystery: the recognition of a
deliberately gendered approach to the Phenomenon? How would
this book be wri en or organized differently if the subtitle was
“Woman” or even “Human”? Or if it had been wri en by a woman?
Or a person of color?)

Just a thought: what if the AI systems running in our putative

“aliens” have the same problem hardwired into them? What if
certain biases—perhaps not race or gender as we understand them,
but something even more inimical, such as biases against organic
creatures, or creatures that sexually reproduce, or are taller than they
are, or have a sense of humor—are integral to their programming;
essential components, as it were?

Not a bug, but a feature.

 ▼ ▼

When we read or hear of the experiences of alien abductees, we get
no sense that the alien environment has art, literature, or music. The
alien environment appears utilitarian and lacking in cultural

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artifacts. This has led some people to suggest that the alien—
particularly the archetypal “Gray” alien—is not an actual entity but
instead represents a mental projection, a human cultural concept of
the ultimate intelligent being (which is not saying much about how
intelligent beings are viewed by humans!). We remember the
character of Mr. Spock from the Star Trek television series as logical,
emotionless, and humorless. He was anatomically similar (virtually
identical) to human beings, however, and was not a short Gray. But
his affect was closer to a Gray (as they have been reported) if Grays
could speak as we do. Spock, however, was not artificially
intelligent; his intelligence—superior to human intelligence—was a
product of his genetics and his planetary environment. The Grays
are less anatomically similar to humans, but as mentioned
previously, they do possess some of the basic anatomical features
that are markers for intelligence and consciousness. The question
then is very basic: are the Grays—are the aliens in general as
experienced by abductees and others—artificially intelligent, or even
artificially conscious?

Perhaps our consciousness is, as Giulio Tononi  would have it,

the result of a process of integrating information. In other words, our
brain integrates the data coming in through our senses into a
composite picture of reality. For that to happen we need fully
functioning sense organs and pathways from the sense organs to the
neurons in our brains. If the sense organs are impaired—or
nonexistent—there is less information to integrate, and a
corresponding impairment of full consciousness.

One implication of this theory is that a plant, for instance, may be

conscious. Its system integrates data coming in—via photosynthesis,

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but including water, temperature, location, nutrients in the soil,
pollutants or other chemicals in the air—just as a human brain does.
The difference of course is in the lack of other sense organs (hearing,
for instance). If the plant can hear—as some theorists insist, claiming
that playing music for a plant increases its health and growth rate—
it still cannot speak. The lack of an organ for speech must affect the
consciousness somehow even though speech is not a sense in our
usual understanding of the senses.

The Grays—to use our common example—do not speak, either.

Like the golem of the Prague ghe o, they are mute. They also have
no ears. It would seem that sound and speech in their case would be
a deficit in their consciousness, whether they were organic beings or
machines. Their consciousness would not be able to integrate that
type of data. If they cannot hear, then human sounds such as music,
different languages, etc., would be lost on them and would not be
included in their understanding of our consciousness. That would
reduce their experience of humans by at least one full sense.

The lack of a functioning oral cavity would seem to suggest that

the Grays also do not eat. This might be an assumption, but they
have gone to some lengths to look like humans and to have a kind of
vestigial mouth, but they do not seem to use it for anything. The
experience of eating—and eating the way humans do, with our
diversity of cuisines and the flavors, tastes, and aromas associated
with them, an essential aspect of culture—likewise is lost on them. If
they do not understand diversity of sound and diversity of cuisine,
then how much of us can they really comprehend?

This leads us into another discussion, and it concerns artificial


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As we build more and more sophisticated machines with vast

computing capabilities, gradually leading us to the Singularity, to
Convergence . . . will we equip those machines with appetites? Will
they eat? Drink? Will they be able to appreciate a good cup of coffee
or a rare cognac, be able to tell the difference between Chinese and
Japanese cuisine, between Spanish and Italian? Not just on the basis
of terminology or ingredients, but by taste? Will a machine prefer
one taste to another, be able to tell if a dish was made the right way?

Will a machine be able to taste a madeleine and have a Proustian


If they don’t, can they still be said to have a consciousness the

same as ours? If it is different in critical areas, will that pose a
problem for us? Will that make them dangerous?

Doesn’t Genesis tell us that at one point God wanted to destroy

his creations, the “machines” he made in his “image and likeness”?

Regardless of the answer to that question, there is no doubt at all

that we are approaching the Singularity. The pace of technological
development can lead in no other direction. When full human-
machine integration—human-machine symbiosis—is achieved, will
we be able to distinguish ourselves from the Grays?

If our symbiotic devices have no need to eat or drink, we will

have reached not only the Singularity but a different kind of
Convergence, one that would take place between humans and aliens,
and one that would presumably obviate the need for sexual
reproduction, thus eliminating another aspect of “human-ness” and
the source of much of our art, spirituality, and culture. Sexuality
would become a curiosity, a memory of a more savage time perhaps,
evidence of the emotional vulnerability of human beings, a bug in

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the software, something to be fixed in Human Being Rev.  .  for the
benefit of the machines. Such a symbiosis would result in humans
losing something, some aspects of their identity as human, and the
machines gaining a great deal. That seems to be an element of
arguments in favor of strong AI: that we would rid ourselves of
things we don’t need, of extraneous issues that do not contribute to
the greater good (as defined by whoever it is that is put in charge of
technology). We would become more efficient, less wasteful . . . in
fact, more like the machines we are creating. This would enable us to
travel to the stars more economically (in terms of time, money, and
energy resources) and to colonize other planets.

But who would be doing the colonizing? Who—or what—will

we have become by that time?

One of the criticisms of the UFO Phenomenon that is raised

frequently is the observation that the aeronautical characteristics of
the craft seem to argue against their being piloted by organic beings.
To fly at tremendous speeds, only to stop on a dime or perform a  -
degree turn at velocity, would create enormous G forces that would
destroy a normal human being.  Thus the speculation is raised that
perhaps the “pilots” of these craft are not organic, flesh-and-blood
creatures at all, but robots. Cyborgs. Machines. Such a possibility
would also explain the machine-like (and seemingly sexless) nature
of the Grays.

Is this a goal worth reaching, this Convergence of human with

machine? It would enable us—or something like us—to reach the
stars; to “boldly go” where no human has gone before. And as we
boldly go, we will be leaving something—maybe everything—
behind. Not just the planet Earth, but our Earthly selves as well.

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The closer we get to strong AI, the closer we get to identifying

with the aliens; both those of our dreams and those of our

 ▼ ▼

As we look at some of the technologies we have been developing to
probe the mysteries of the human mind we should always keep
running, on a parallel track, an awareness of the implications of our
research and development where alien existence is concerned. As we
make greater and greater progress, we will uncover strengths and
vulnerabilities in our technology and in our neurobiology that will
raise important questions about our ability to control various
outcomes. The closer we get to blending what it means to be human
with what it means to be a machine, the closer we may be ge ing to
understanding what it is that has been visiting us since recorded
history. The closer we get to a perfect AI system, the closer we
approach the ultimate existential crisis where human (and alien)
consciousness is concerned.

This is not an a ack on AI, but a suggestion that maybe we are

not thinking this through. AI will generate tremendous benefits for
humanity, but there will always be a dark side to the Force. We
know that Internet sites such as Facebook and Google have been
accused of participating in a violation of our privacy as individuals,
compiling our personal data and renting it out to commercial firms
and political lobbyists, and even of challenging what we believe
about privacy and making us wonder if privacy even still exists or is
nothing more than a quaint notion held over from the twentieth

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century. This is ironic, because our concept of the alien—whether as
a starship that appears anywhere out of nowhere, to hover over our
landscape as a kind of “all-seeing eye,” or as an abduction from our
beds in the middle of the night—is tightly bound to the idea of
privacy and the ensuing violation of our privacy that the seemingly
omniscient alien presence implies. Even further, as we wonder about
military or government knowledge of the Phenomenon and how
many of us believe such knowledge is being withheld from us, we
are forced to ask what the difference is between privacy and secrecy;
the privacy of the individual as against the secrecy of the
organization. We are told by some in the UFO community that we
live in a surveillance state. Is such Orwellian surveillance an
extension—an intrusion into the body politic—of a kind of “Alien
Nation,” an adoption by the state of the mechanism of alien
observation of humanity, or has the fact of government surveillance
merely suggested the “alien” narrative as a way of camouflaging
government agency? When dealing with “strong AI,” will we ever be
able to tell the difference?

Trying to stop the march of technology toward the Singularity

would be tantamount to burning the Library of Alexandria. It would
be to deny knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge. We thus
need to know ourselves—who we are, what we want, and if we want
to survive as humans—before it’s too late, before the machines make
up our minds for us.

 David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental

Theory, Oxford University Press, New York, 


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 Ian J. Goodfellow, et al., “Generative Adversarial Nets,”



 [stat.ML],   June 


 Bryor Sne ella, “This is the A-Bomb Moment for Computer

Science,” Buzzfeed, March  , 


 See, for instance, Giulio Tononi, Melanie Boly, Marcello

Massimini, and Christof Koch, “Integrated information theory: from
consciousness to its physical substrate,” Nature Reviews: Neuroscience,

, Volume  , pp. 

; and Masafumi Oizumi, Larissa

Albantakis, and Giulio Tononi, “From the phenomenology to the
mechanisms of consciousness: Integrated information theory  . ,”
PLOS Computational Biology, May 

, Volume  , Issue  .

 See, for instance, the gun camera footage of a UFO spo ed off the

coast of southern California in November 

 that was released in


 in a much-remarked New York Times article, which

broke the news that the US government had been studying UFOs for
years. Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal, and Leslie Kean, “Glowing
Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O.
Program,” New York Times, December  , 


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In the man-machine systems of the past, the human operator
supplied the initiative, the direction, the integration, and the
criterion. The mechanical parts of the systems were mere
extensions, first of the human arm, then of the human eye. . . .
There was only one kind of organism—man—and the rest
was there only to help him . . . however, we see that, in some
areas of technology, a fantastic change has taken place during
the last few years. “Mechanical extension” has given way to
replacement of men, to automation, and the men who remain
are there more to help than to be helped.

— J. C. R. Licklider, “Man-Computer

Symbiosis,” IRE Transactions on Human Factors

in Electronics, March 










groundbreaking work on man-machine symbiosis, published in 
(nearly sixty years before this book is being wri en). It was Licklider
—working for the Pentagon—who developed one of the first

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versions of what would become the Internet, calling it the
“Intergalactic Computer Network.” From Licklider’s computer
networking concept of the early 

s grew the ARPANET of the late

s and eventually the Internet as we know it today. His

memorandum on the subject, dated April  , 

, was addressed to

“Members and affiliates of the Intergalactic Computer Network”
under the aegis of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research
Projects Agency (ARPA).

Already, in 

, Licklider noted that it seemed as if men were

there to help the machines rather than the other way around. He was
referencing automation, which at that time was all the rage in
engineering and manufacturing circles. We have come a long way
since the days when a computer took up an entire building and had
to be kept cold, and the human interface was by way of punched
paper cards or punched paper tape. (One of the authors—you can
guess which one!—remembers using just such a system in the 


when he worked for a multinational manufacturing firm. Thus, in
his own lifetime, he went from using punched tape and keypunch
cards to communicate with a computer the size of an entire room to
the keyboard and mouse arrangement he is using now to talk to a
computer on his desk that is many times more powerful than any
computer that existed in 


Licklider worked for the Pentagon, as noted, and therefore his

focus was on developing systems that would enable the military to
make quick decisions concerning ma ers of defense and national
security. His background was in psychology, physics, and
mathematics. He migrated to MIT (

) from Washington

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University in St. Louis and later Harvard, and eventually to ARPA


We will discuss ARPA and related organizations in more detail in

Sekret Machines: War, but for now it is useful to mention that ARPA
was created in 

 by order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in

response to the Soviet launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik  .
He realized that the Russians had utilized a broad array of scientific
disciplines in order to accomplish this feat, and that the United
States had to do the same. This was not the first time such a program
was proposed, however. Earlier, at the end of World War II in
Europe, General Hap Arnold asked the famous scientist Theodor
von Karman to investigate how the Germans had done something
similar with their rocket program at Peenemunde and later
Nordhausen. Subsequently, von Karman—after spending time in
Europe as the war was winding down and interrogating Nazi
scientists and engineers—came away with a proposal for an
integrated, multidisciplinary program similar to what later would
become ARPA.


 Eisenhower also created the National Aeronautics and

Space Administration (NASA), which took over many of the duties
of ARPA. This relegated ARPA to a newly defined mission involving
the investigation of basic research into unconventional areas, those
otherwise considered too high risk or perhaps not likely to result in
immediate progress. It was this freewheeling atmosphere of
“thinking outside the box” that presumably lured Licklider (and
others like him) to ARPA.

National security was still the main focus of ARPA, and it

included new approaches to the problem of missile defense. While

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still at MIT, Licklider was a key player in the development of the
Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system. This was a
system in which computers collected data but presented them to a
human operator who then had to make a decision as to how to react
to the data. Licklider’s contribution was on the human operator side,
and this led him to investigate the relationship between humans and
machines, specifically computers but including other machines
involved in automation, and from there to develop his theories
concerning “man-computer symbiosis.” His approach was not so
much AI but IA: i.e., intelligence amplification. He suggested that
machines would (or perhaps should) extend human intelligence
rather than replace it. In the end, it would be a human who would
make the important decisions in any system, using the machines—
computers, process control instruments, etc.—as tools or as sensors.
This concept seems to have been abandoned as computer scientists
realized that there was a lot AI could accomplish. Why stop at the
computer as a mere sensor or computing tool when it could do so
much more?

What did remain of Licklider’s concept, however, was the idea

that a “symbiosis” was possible, even desirable, between humans
and computers. It is possible that he felt consciousness was not going
to be achieved by machines, and that humans would still hold the
upper hand in the relationship. By the beginning of the twenty-first
century, however, it began to appear that deeper human-machine
integration would result in a blurring of the lines between them.

Before that would happen, however, other scientists were

imagining a world in which humanoid creations would actually
replace humans in some industries, and for specific purposes.

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Enter the cyborg.

 ▼ ▼

The same year that Licklider published his article on man-machine
symbiosis, authors Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline
published an article titled “Cyborgs and Space,” in Astronautics. It
contains the following, rather startling, opening sentence:

Space travel challenges mankind not only technologically but
also spiritually, in that it invites man to take an active part in his
own biological evolution.

This linking of science to spirituality would be short-lived in the

culture, but in 

 it was not unusual to hear both terms in the

same sentence, or u ered in the same breath. In July 

, the US Air

Force had made some of the same associations in a press conference
held in response to that year’s UFO overflights in Washington, D.C.,
linking the UFOs to Biblical events, spiritualism, and mental
telepathy.  For a while, it seemed as if there was a “kinder, gentler”
side to the most advanced scientific effort known to planet Earth.
There was an acknowledgment that space travel would have an
effect on human beings that was spiritual, but also that it meant
humans would be taking “an active part” in their evolution;
something with which many mystics and gurus would agree.

Clynes and Kline go on to state, taking respiration as an example,

that different orders of being have different ways of “breathing” or
taking in oxygen:

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Mammals, fish, insects, and plants each have a different solution
with inherent limitations but eminently suitable for their field of
operation. Should an organism desire to live outside this field, an
apparently “insurmountable” problem exists.

They reflect that humanity is in the unique position of being able

to consciously solve this problem by developing strategies that
enable humans to breathe in environments where human respiration
would be impossible. For instance, we developed the apparatus
necessary to enable us to breathe underwater. The same idea was
used to enable pilots to breathe at high altitudes. Thus, humans were
able to penetrate the oceans and the skies in relative safety, whereas
a bird (for instance) can’t breathe underwater, and a fish can’t
breathe in the upper atmosphere. This was the beginning of a man-
machine symbiosis on a different level; not only in the realm of
computation (and, by extension, consciousness), but extended to

Clynes and Kline identify the basic elements of a strategy for this

biological symbiosis, which is the creation of a self-regulating system
that “must function without the benefit of consciousness in order to
cooperate with the body’s own autonomous homeostatic
controls.”  This is an interesting statement and one that deserves
closer scrutiny.

Consciousness is characterized here as a kind of awareness and

a ention (as we saw earlier). Yet we know that many of the body’s
systems operate below any kind of conscious awareness of the
“owner” of the body. We breathe, our hearts beat, etc., without any
type of conscious intervention. In order to facilitate space travel, the
authors contend, a kind of self-regulating system must be developed

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to take over operation of these unconscious controls since the
astronauts would no longer be on Earth, where these unconscious
systems operate freely. We breathe on Earth without a second
thought, but in space that is not possible. Therefore, what our bodies
do unconsciously will have to be imitated by machines that enable
us to breathe. In other words, a machine-derived “unconscious”
must be developed.

By posing these questions, and by designing these systems, we

may be closer than ever before to not only answering the
consciousness question but also of understanding how a being that
is not human could behave like a human, seem human-like, and
function with autonomy like a human being, and yet still be
completely alien to us in ways we intuit but cannot explain.

Clynes and Kline have an app for that:

For the exogenously extended organizational complex
functioning as an integrated homeostatic system unconsciously,
we propose the term “Cyborg.”

And we are off to the races.
We learn in a more expanded version of “Cyborgs and Space”

that it was Manfred Clynes who came up with “Cyborg.” It was a
term that caught on, with all its implications of something that was
not completely human and not completely machine; not a robot,
because a robot is a machine, a simulacrum of an organic system.
Cyborg is . . . well, something else entirely.

A cyborg—“cybernetic organism”—is a human being with

implants or other modifications that enhance certain capabilities or
provide alternate ones. Strictly speaking, one could say that a person

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with an artificial limb is a cyborg. This does not mean an android or
other completely artificial human being, but a human being with
artificial components. The authors even extended that definition to
include the use of psychoactive or other drugs designed to enhance
performance, survive long periods in space travel, and protect
against psychological stress.

Cybernetics is a term coined by Norbert Wiener in 

 as a

communications concept, “or control and communication in the
animal and the machine,” which was the subtitle of his famous and
influential text Cybernetics.  This was in the immediate postwar
period, the same era that saw the beginning of the modern UFO
experience as well as the start—in 

—of serious a empts by

government agencies and their subcontractors to probe the mysteries
of the human mind in an effort to counter the effects of
“brainwashing.” There was the idea that consciousness could be
manipulated directly, a realization that grew out of the
psychological warfare and propaganda efforts on all sides during the
war. One manifestation of this was the creation of the “Mad Men”
advertising agency milieu, which was based on the wartime
experiences of men like C. D. Jackson, who had worked for
Eisenhower during the war as a propaganda specialist and then
returned Stateside to become head of Time-Life.

Another manifestation was the scientific community’s excitement

over the possibility that the brain could be redefined not as the soul
of a human being but as its central processor: a machine that could
be tinkered with, manipulated, even perfected. Behind the
mathematical formulas and quiet confidence of Cybernetics lay what
some believed was a more sinister perspective: the quantification of

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human beings as li le more than fancy machines, “wet” computers,
or cogs in a vast “clockwork orange.”

Clynes and Kline understood that Wiener was on the right track,

but hastened to insist on a more spiritually inclusive approach that
did not deny a person their humanity just because their brain could
be likened to a fancy computer. The race to space was a top
government priority in the aftermath of Sputnik, and there had to be
a way to enhance human capabilities in space without sacrificing any
component of what made a human being, human.That was in 



, the term “Cyborg” had become ubiquitous in the literature

of a scientific establishment that was seeking to outperform the
Russians in the space race. An article published by the United
Aircraft Corporate Systems Center in Farmingdale, Connecticut, that
year states unequivocally:

The Cyborg study is the study of man.

This was a study commissioned by NASA’s Biotechnology and

Human Research division, and was submi ed by “Robert W.
Driscoll, Cyborg Program.” It seems to be based on the original
concept by Clynes and Kline, but without any mention of those two
authors or their work. It covers much of the same ground, and
indeed Clynes and Kline made a more formal proposal of their
concept in an article published in 

 as part of a collection titled

Psychophysiological Aspects of Space Flight. In this paper, they were
even more philosophical:

Man must first conceive that which he would create. . . . We can
only communicate with each other in the most inarticulate

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fashions, and we do not know how to create life. Our
presumption is even greater than our ignorance: when we
cannot understand something we call it UNKNOWABLE
MYSTERY or ULTIMATE. The Epimetheans among us then cry
“sacrilege” when the problem is even approached. As if God’s
infinity were but a finger’s grasp beyond our own limitations!

This is from the opening paragraph of a paper published in a

scientific study of space flight. (For those not up to date on their
Greek mythology, Epimetheus was the brother of Prometheus. His
name means “afterthought,” as opposed to the “forethought” of
Prometheus.) The paper itself is titled “Drugs, Space, and
Cybernetics: Evolution to Cyborgs.” (Sounds like a party! Well,
maybe on Venus.)

Drugs were being considered as essential tools for extended

space flights for a variety of reasons; first and foremost, for medical
conditions that could crop up during long periods in zero gravity.
For this, they pointed out the applicability of a certain type of
osmotic pump that could be inserted into the body to supply
“biochemically active substances at a biological rate.” As an
example, blood pressure could be monitored on a continuous basis
and when pressure fell above or below a standard norm a chemical
compound could be released by the pump to automatically correct it.

Then, they get into more intriguing areas.

How are we to set the upper limits of “natural” human
physiological and psychological performance? We can take as
minimal the capabilities demonstrable under control conditions
such as yoga or hypnosis.

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We should keep in mind that this paper was published during

the heyday of the CIA’s programs designed to explore the
possibilities of mind control, behavior control, and even the
paranormal. Hypnosis was just one of those areas under intense
scrutiny by the agency’s subcontractors. One of the cyborg programs
seems like it would have been a perfect fit:

We are presently working with a new preparation which may
greatly enhance hypnotizability, so that pharmacological and
hypnotic approaches may be symbiotically combined.

In other words, they were working on a drug that could be

“pumped” into the system to enhance the experience of being under
a hypnotic trance. Why would this be desirable?

At such institutions as the yoga colleges in India, the human
imagination is stretched by the muscular control of which even
the average undergraduate is capable. Hypnosis per se may
prove to have a definite place in space travel, but there is a prior
need for much more information about the phenomena of
dissociation, generalization of instructions, and abdication of
executive control.

That is a paragraph that could have come—with only slight

modification—from any of the reports generated by MKULTRA. The
inclusion of “dissociation” is especially interesting in this context, as
dissociative personality disorder (DID)—the modern equivalent of
multiple personality disorder (MPD)—was one of the areas being
explored by the CIA’s psychiatric subcontractors.

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The report is well worth reading in full, even if some of the

science is dated by today’s standards. An interesting further
elucidation of the possible role of hypnosis is described, and it
makes for compelling reading. It has to do with vestibular function,
which is the system that is involved with balance and with spatial
orientation, and thus involves vision and movement as well. The
authors claim to have already been experimenting with hypnosis to
see its effects on vestibular function a full fifteen years before this
report was wri en, and thus in 

 just as the war was winding

down. For these experiments they used a form of Barany Chair,
which is a swivel chair of the type used for pilot training. These
experiments test for nystagmus, which is the rapid eye movement
one gets when spinning around an axis and then suddenly stops:

Under hypnosis, it was possible to induce the nystagmoid
reactions characteristic of acceleration and deceleration with the
subject in a stationary position. Despite a trance extending to a
depth of negative hallucinations, it was impossible to eliminate
nystagmus while the patient was accelerating or decelerating. It
therefore appears unlikely that hypnosis would eliminate the
subjective clues produced by the vestibular organ.

In other words, they were able to induce the sensation of spinning

in a test subject who actually was stationary, but were not able to
eliminate the sensation in a test subject, under deep hypnosis, who
was actually spinning. That would seem to indicate that it was
possible to induce the feeling of a physiological reaction in its
absence but not possible to eliminate the feeling of an actual
physiological response that was taking place. This suggests that

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there are differences in conscious experience, and while an
experience may be duplicated or simulated, there are actual
physiological experiences that cannot be suppressed or eliminated,
at least not under hypnosis.

But . . . what is a “depth of negative hallucinations”?

Unfortunately, the authors offer no further clarification.

The report also describes sensory deprivation and the need for

further research and study as it applies to space flight. They suggest
that it is not the absence of sensory stimulation that is the problem,
but its invariance, specifically what they term “action invariance” or
“action deprivation.” They give as an example a space flight
experiment (details withheld by the authors for some reason) in
which two test subjects developed “marked visual hallucinations”
even though they were able to move about the simulated space
vehicle, were in radio contact with the test controller, and were even
in visual contact via closed circuit television. It was the constrained
space they were in, plus the fact that nothing inside that space ever
changed, that contributed to the hallucinations. It was the invariance
of the permissible range of action that made them see things that
weren’t there.

They close their study with reference to “Erotic and Emotional

Satisfaction,” or perhaps the lack thereof, and the possibility that
there exists in the human brain a “pleasure center” but with no
recommendations as to how that would be addressed in space flight
(perhaps pu ing that osmotic pump to use, generating psychoactive
chemicals?), and then with an acknowledgment of the possibility
that psychoses could arise as a result of long-term space voyages.
Should that occur, it would be possible that someone suffering from

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a psychotic break would refuse to take the appropriate medication,
in which case there “should be a release device capable of being
activated from the earth station or by a companion if there is a
crew,” according to Clynes and Kline. A mysterious and rather
ambiguous recommendation, but one whose implications seem clear

They end by stating:

It is proposed that man should use his creative intelligence to
adapt himself to the space conditions he seeks rather than take
as much of earth environment with him as possible. This is to be
achieved through the Cyborg, an extension of organic
homeostatic controls by means of cybernetic techniques. . . . It is
suggested that such existence in space may provide a new,
larger dimension for man’s spirit as well.

Once again, this insistence on incorporating spiritual ideals

within the purely scientific mission of space travel. The
psychological aspects of space travel may have been what prompted
these sentiments. Or was it the influence of Manfred Clynes himself?

I’m with you in Rockland
where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the


Howl, Allen Ginsberg, 

Born in 

 in Vienna, Manfred Clynes is a world-renowned

concert pianist, as well as a scientist and inventor. He and his family
fled Austria in 

 to escape the Nazis, and wound up in Australia.

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At the age of fifteen, he developed an inertial guidance system that
actually contributed to the war effort during World War II. He was a
frequent guest of Albert Einstein and played the piano in his home.
One of Clynes’ many specialties—developed over decades of
research and investigation—is the relationship between music and
science, and the measurement of brain signals. His scientific
accomplishments have been enormous, and they are much too
numerous and varied to detail here. After winning countless awards
for scientific accomplishments he returned to his first love—music—
and studied with Pablo Casals, among others.

His co-author, Nathan S. Kline, was a pure scientist who

happened to meet Clynes by chance in 

 and offered him a job as

chief research scientist at the Research Center of Rockland State
Hospital. Rockland State was a sprawling (some would say
“notorious”) mental hospital in upstate New York, and Kline was
interested in pharmacology as a treatment protocol for depression
and schizophrenia, although electroconvulsive therapy and other
extreme measures were also employed. Kline is acknowledged for
his revolutionary development and use of tranquilizers and
antidepressants in psychiatry. The year Manfred Clynes accepted the
position with Nathan Kline is the same year Allen Ginsberg
completed his epic poem, Howl, which contains repeated references
to Rockland. One wonders how the close proximity to thousands of
mental patients affected Clynes’ own thought processes. If we reread
Ginsberg’s poem, especially the last section, which deals specifically
with Rockland, we are forced to consider that maybe there was a
link, however tenuous, between the inner world of the schizophrenic
patient and the imagined inner world of the lone space traveler.

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No ma er the underlying cause, Clynes began to devote his

a ention to the possibility of nonverbal communication. He began to
wonder if maybe a human brain could communicate with another
human brain without the messy stuff in the middle: sounds, words,
gestures, inelegant phrasings, and misunderstandings. No syllables.
No phonemes.

In later years, Clynes focused his a ention on the miracle of the

human eye. Like many of the philosophers of consciousness we have
already discussed, beginning with Descartes, Clynes believes that
vision remains the most promising of all the senses for
understanding how the brain, and by extension the mind, works.
Clynes, however, has a unique perspective. It involves the lens of the
eye, which, he says, really doesn’t belong to the body (it has no
blood supply going to it, and it sits in a liquid by itself) and is
therefore a kind of cyborgian implant already. We don’t consciously
control the lens; there is no feedback loop between the lens and any
other system. Yet, the lens curves as required by the mind to see
objects far away or close by.

If we could tap the system that controls the lens to control
something else, it would be “the nearest thing to telekinesis,” as
Clynes put it.

So, lurking back behind all the science and the math, the physics

and the biochemistry, and even behind the space program itself, is
the ancient dream of the mystics and the gurus: a spiritual
regeneration of the human being, but one that would include
implants and prosthetics, voiceless communications and telekinesis.

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As stories began to proliferate about aliens landing in spacecraft

and communicating with their minds, our scientists were working
and dreaming of just . . . precisely . . . that. Chicken . . . or egg?

 Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline, “Cyborgs and Space,”

Astronautics, September 

, pp.  – .

 We will look at this event more closely in Sekret Machines: War.
 Clynes and Kline, “Cyborgs and space.” Emphasis in original.
 Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the

Animal and the Machine, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 


 Driscoll, Robert W., “Engineering Man for Space: The Cyborg

Study,” Final Report, NASw-

, May  , 

, United Aircraft

Corporate Systems Center, Farmingdale, CT.

 Nathan S. Kline and Manfred Clynes, “Drugs, Space, and

Cybernetics: Evolution to Cyborgs,” Psychophysiological Aspects of
Space Flight
, Columbia University Press, New York, 

. Emphasis

in original.


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 Alexis C. Madrigal, “The Man Who First Said ‘Cyborg,’   Years

Later,” The Atlantic, Sept.  , 


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It CAN be said that IF telepathy exists, then it would be of
such overreaching and extraordinary importance that all
Earthside institutions would have to be “reorganized” in the
face of it.

— Ingo Swann

No progress can be made in our knowledge of UFOs without
changing man’s brain. And I’m talking about a biological
change, not just a spiritual or psychic change.

— Aimé Michel, as quoted in Jacques









consciousness, genetic engineering, quantum mechanics, and
artificial intelligence is a study conducted more quietly but with no
less vigor: the field of parapsychology. Like the serious analysis of

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the UFO/UAP Phenomenon, this study is carried out in relative
secrecy (or obscurity).

The logical, reductionist, and materialist approach to the subject

of extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, and telekinesis began
roughly at the same time as the famous “Airship Sightings” of the
end of the nineteenth century (a subject we will get to in the next
volume in this series). There had been stories of possible life on other
planets for centuries, but the arrival of the Airships did not always
reflect that idea. There was speculation that perhaps these
mysterious sky ships were a new invention, something designed in a
secret laboratory or a workshop far from prying eyes, rather than
visitors from space. At the same time, and running in parallel, there
was renewed interest in spiritualism, contact with the dead, and
occultism (an interest that never really died, even in America, but
which underwent cycles of interest from time to time). There was no
overt connection seen between the ships in the sky and paranormal
experiences, however; that would not begin to take place until the
twentieth century was well under way, by which time science had
put everything that was not reducible to rational explanation into
the same basket, thus linking the paranormal with Ufology and
mysticism in a kind of “guilt by association.”

Actually, the scientists were not far off in their reasoning.

 ▼ ▼

The impulse to bring paranormal experiences into the laboratory for
scientific testing and appraisal began in the late nineteenth century,
when skeptics started investigating the claims of spiritualist

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mediums. The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) was founded in
London in 

, and boasted members such as William James

(author of the enormously influential text The Varieties of Religious
) and Henri Bergson, among many other scientists and
philosophers, including several Nobel laureates. The London SPR
was followed three years later by the American Society for Psychical
Research (ASPR), largely due to the influence of William James. The
mission of both groups was to investigate telepathy and hypnotism,
as well as spiritualism, séances, and the like, from a scientific

This was the same period that saw the creation of the

Theosophical Society (

), an organization based on the writings

of Helena Blavatsky, a medium who believed herself (or portrayed
herself) to be in contact with various incarnate and disincarnate
entities who were giving her secret teachings. Her brand of
theosophy was a reaction to Darwinism, which was itself seen as an
assault on organized religion and especially the Abrahamic religions.
By incorporating some Darwinian ideas—such as evolution—into a
spiritual framework, she offered a path whereby one could
appreciate the advances of science while maintaining a belief in
human spirituality. Her two major works—Isis Unveiled (

) and

The Secret Doctrine (

)—remain influential texts in alternative

religion circles with their emphasis on creating a bridge between
Western mysticism and the religions of Asia, primarily India.

This was also the era of European adventurers traveling to

Central Asia and Tibet. Among those were Sven Hedin, L. A.
Waddell, and, later, Alexandra David-Neel as well as Blavatsky
herself. There was a romantic, Orientalist mystique associated with

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that part of the world along with the suspicion that the shamans and
priests there had access to secret techniques of expanding
consciousness, controlling the forces of nature, and communicating
with the invisible world. One hundred years later those same
concerns would form the basis of modern scientific inquiry,
especially in connection with quantum consciousness and artificial

It is well known by now that Harry Houdini joined forces with

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories
—in order to catch fraudulent mediums in the act, but also to
identify those who might have a genuine gift. Houdini, as a stage
magician, believed all mediumship was false, and was thus the
philosophical ancestor of today’s Amazing Randi. Doyle was not so
sure; he had had paranormal experiences of his own and was willing
to be convinced that genuine mediumship did exist. Their
collaboration began after World War I, when Doyle was certain he
had received postmortem communication from his son, who had
died in that war. The two men jointly investigated claims of the
paranormal, but parted ways after one séance in which Doyle
claimed that Houdini had heard from his dead mother, an assertion
Houdini heatedly denied.

By the 

s, there was a more intense effort by some American

scientists to codify a discipline that would once and for all identify
and quantify psychic phenomena. It was suggested that a factor
existed in the human mind—or perhaps in the world at large—called
Psi, which was responsible for paranormal abilities. The Greek le er
Psi is the first le er in the word psyche, or “soul,” and was used to
denote this mysterious force. At that time, the phrase “psychic

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phenomena” was being replaced by the more austere term
parapsychology. During this same time, Joseph and Louisa Rhine set
up an ESP laboratory at Duke University, which would become
famous as the center for scientific testing of extrasensory perception.
It has remained so to this day.

It wouldn’t be until the 

s, however, that a concerted effort

was undertaken by American intelligence and military organizations
to get to the bo om of ESP, telekinesis, and associated phenomena,
following the realization that the Russians and the Chinese both
were aggressively studying it for military applications. The
theoretical and practical advancements made in cybernetics, artificial
intelligence, computer science, and robotics since the post-war
period had contributed to a sense that the missing piece in all the
equations might be what the people at Rhine were calling Psi. The
laboratory experiments with student volunteers at Duke had
presented them with mixed results; it seemed reasonable to suppose
that a military or intelligence program could succeed where the
civilian efforts had not. And if the Russians and the Chinese were
working on the problem—and these were officially “atheist”
countries that did not believe in the religious or occult aspects of the
field—there had to be something to it. It had to be a science, a real
science, and not some New Age pseudo-science, if the KGB was
invested. At any rate, it would not do to have scientists in the
Communist Bloc discover the operating principles behind
paranormal abilities first, for the result could be as paradigm-
shifting as the atomic bomb. And as lethal.

The world had already seen the weird power the Chinese had

over American prisoners of war during the Korean conflict.

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Captured soldiers would be shown on television denouncing the
United States and praising the Chinese and Korean regimes. The
world learned a new term in 

: “brainwashing.” From the fear

that there was some kind of “inscrutable Asian power to cloud men’s
minds”—born of incipient racism and “orientalism” tinged with
genuine observation—the American mind control programs were
born, both within the CIA and in the military. Hypnosis was one of
the tools of the Bluebird, Artichoke, and MKULTRA programs, as
was the use of drugs, especially hallucinogens. But the paranormal
was being investigated as well, on the off-chance that mystics and
shamans had stumbled upon some technology of the human psyche
that unleashed latent mental or psychic abilities.

And it was an “off-chance.” Generally speaking, the scientific

community did not believe that there was any possibility that the
decades of tests and experiments conducted by parapsychologists
would yield real, repeatable, verifiable results. They pointed to poor
testing protocols, the ever-present possibility of fraud or cheating,
and reports that showed very li le deviation from chance. Stories of
paranormal events were treated as anecdotal and unrepeatable
(much the same way UFO sightings were treated). Various
psychological explanations were offered as a way to sideline any
serious study of the ma er.

Part of the problem was the way in which ESP and other tests

were conceived. It was felt that if a person was considered “psychic,”
that ability should be testable using Zener cards  (Figure  ) or
some other type of symbol set or technique that could be
manipulated under laboratory conditions. Psychics who refused to
submit to such a bizarre regimen would be considered charlatans

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who were afraid of being exposed. If they did submit, but after hours
or days of constant, repetitive tests they did see an opportunity to
cheat and took it out of frustration, they naturally were accused of
being charlatans.

Figure  . The Zener cards: a set of five symbols used to test Psi.

That there may be an emotional and situational aspect to

telepathy, psychokinesis, or even remote viewing, generally was
ignored because those are components that cannot be factored into a
laboratory test. There have been many well-documented, if
necessarily anecdotal, cases of precognition or extrasensory
perception involving family members who sense emergencies taking
place with their loved ones, including traffic accidents, violence, etc.
This type of experience cannot be adjusted for in the laboratory
unless one were to kidnap and subject a family member to horrific
circumstances in order to see if the test subject reacted. Even then,
due to the contrived nature of the kidnapping and abuse, one would
not be duplicating the original experience.

Thus, the emotional component is possibly necessary to the

average experience of ESP which is, after all, a consciousness artifact;

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the contextual element is another one that is never factored into the

The tests for ESP, PK (psychokinesis or telekinesis), and other

paranormal abilities usually take place in a sterile, controlled
environment, which is not the normal environmental context for
most individuals. It immediately raises a degree of tension and stress
that some people associate with being in a classroom or a doctor’s
office. Why should any of that ma er, though?

If, as some scientists have suggested, consciousness is an

“emergent property of the brain,” then ESP, PK, and other
paranormal abilities also may be emergent properties. The ESP test is
not an intelligence test or a test of normal human perception, so
using the same format and same mechanistic approach may not be
suitable. After all, the type of perception being tested is deliberately
named “extrasensory,” implying a type of perception that may be
located in the brain but does not utilize the “macro” physical senses
themselves, neither for receiving nor sending information.

Thus, the conscious state of the test subject—as complex a state

as it is for anyone, even under ordinary circumstances—must be
taken into account when it comes to testing for ESP. Further, the
conscious state of the test subject is modified or enhanced by what
the LSD experimenters of the 

s called “set and se ing,” and

what shamans and ritual magicians for millennia have called the
ritual space. This extreme approach, equivalent to the sensory
deprivation or “sensory invariance” experiments of the fledgling US
space program that we saw in the previous chapter, is capable of
causing hallucinations, but in some cultures it is also a necessary
platform for the development of paranormal abilities. As far as we

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know, this type of approach has not been a empted by laboratory
parapsychologists, as it would smack of superstition and occultism,
which paradoxically are in the same neighborhood as the
paranormal abilities they want to test in the first place. Thus, science
in general has been successful in resisting or denying the value of
this type of research, as it challenges their entire paradigm.

In addition, the classical model of physics does not permit the

existence of psychic phenomena. For instance, if there are only four
forces at work in the universe—electromagnetism, the strong nuclear
force, the weak nuclear force, and gravity—which one would be
responsible for my moving an object using only my mind? How
much energy would need to be expended, in violation of Newton’s
laws? Merely postulating the existence of Psi does not prove it. It
remained elusive, even in J. B. Rhine’s fancy labs at Duke. Eventually
the university severed its relationship with the center, and it was
forced to operate autonomously.

At the same time, however, the US military and intelligence

agencies were well aware of ongoing research into Psi by their
ideological enemies. To ignore the Soviet and Chinese programs was
tempting—“Let them waste their time and money with this
nonsense”—but knowing that Russia beat the United States into
space because they were willing to entertain a multidisciplinary
approach to the problem, it was incumbent upon the American
national security apparatus to at least consider the possibility that
there might be something to it.

Enter the Stanford Research Institute, later to be known as SRI

International or simply SRI.

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Founded in 

 as part of Stanford University, SRI was already

independent and functioning as a nonprofit research institute by the
time the US government called upon its services in 

. Its first

contracts were for the US Department of Agriculture and the newly
created United States Air Force. Other clients included Walt Disney,
Bank of America, the Technicolor Corporation, and many other
household names. SRI became involved in the field of artificial
intelligence and robotics, designed the first computer mouse, and of
course was where ARPANET—the forerunner of the Internet—was

But the Vietnam War changed the trajectory of SRI. In 

, due

to pressure from antiwar groups who saw SRI as part of the military-
industrial complex, it was divested from Stanford University. Two
years later, an extraordinary project with national security
implications was begun.

 ▼ ▼

Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ were laser physicists who had worked
at different Sperry Gyroscope locations before meeting each other in
California. When they became interested in Psi as an outgrowth of
their research into quantum biology (and encouraged by CIA) they
made the acquaintance of the artist Ingo Swann, who was an
accomplished psychic from New York. Eventually they also became
acquainted with retired police officer Pat Price, intelligence officer
Joseph McMoneagle, and perhaps most famously with Israeli
psychic Uri Geller. Puthoff himself previously had been a naval

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intelligence officer and had been employed as a civilian for the
National Security Agency.

Swann had come across a proposal by Puthoff for research

involving the measurement of plants and “lower organisms” to
determine “whether physical theory as we knew it was capable of
describing life processes.”  When Puthoff was in New York visiting
his friend Cleve Backster, who was involved with a aching
polygraph equipment to plants to measure their reactions to stimuli
and who had a copy of the proposal, Swann contacted him to ask if
he had ever considered investigating parapsychology as part of his
research in physical theory and quantum biology. Swann claimed to
have performed PK experiments successfully in a lab at City College.
Intrigued, Puthoff invited him to the Menlo Park offices of SRI for
some testing.

Puthoff had set up an experiment in which Swann would try to

“perturb” a heavily shielded magnetometer at Stanford University
from several stories above. Swann not only affected the device but
went on to “remote view” and then sketch the complicated
equipment in some detail, even though its physical features had
never been published in any form. This led to a visit by the CIA to
Puthoff’s office and further testing of Swann, which resulted in the
agency giving SRI an eight-month contract worth nearly fifty
thousand dollars. Russell Targ joined the team, and the remote
viewing program was born.

Ingo Swann’s capabilities earned him considerable government

a ention. At one point he even psychically explored the moon, the
planet Jupiter, and the UFO Phenomenon, as he recounts in his book
Penetration. In his remote viewing of Jupiter, for instance, he revealed

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that the planet had a ring around it, similar to Saturn. This was
dismissed by astronomers out of hand, until the NASA Pioneer 
space probe flew past Jupiter and confirmed Swann’s report.

This was only one example of someone working in the field of

ESP and PK becoming involved in Ufology as well. Uri Geller—
whose most celebrated specialty was bending spoons using only his
mental abilities—was a protégée of inventor and doctor Andrija
Puharich, who believed he was in contact with an extraterrestrial
source—called Spectra—and who then managed to convince Geller
of the same, at least for a while. Puharich’s extraterrestrial contacts
went back to 


, when séances he conducted at his home

in Maine formed a link with a group called “The Nine,” which, as it
turned out, was another name for Spectra. Spectra, as we will see in
greater detail in Book Three, was said to be an intelligence on a
spacecraft hovering in near-Earth orbit that was operating through
select human beings on the planet to inspire or actually to cause
radical change.

Puharich’s involvement with SRI and the ongoing Psi testing by

Puthoff and Targ is beyond the scope of this chapter, and in any
event he was only one of many individuals—famous and not-so-
famous—who filed through the Menlo Park labs. What is of interest
is the growing interest by the national security apparatus in what
was happening at SRI and how Psi could be exploited for
intelligence purposes.

Thus was born a series of special access government programs

designed to test and expand Psi capabilities—basically, to weaponize
Psi—that went on for years under various agency controls, from the
military to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the CIA. Psi

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research needs funding—for laboratory space, equipment, salaries,
and travel—and there are few potential sources for this type of
funding. One would be looking either at the military or the
intelligence services; the private sector Psi labs were often defense
subcontractors, like SRI. The intelligence services themselves were
CIA and DIA, as well as the Air Force, the US Army’s INSCOM,
and the Department of the Navy.

Due to the declassification of thousands of pages of documents in

, and later concerning these government programs, we

now know a great deal about how SRI and other institutions studied
telepathy and other parapsychological effects. While some of the
documentation is predictably dry and full of bureaucratic jargon,
other pages reveal much about the testing itself and the uses to
which the government-sponsored psychics were applied, such as in
the search for missing politicians or spying on remote military

Ingo Swann was the first psychic to be tested under this program,

and he would come to earn a “top secret” security clearance in the
process.  He came to the a ention of the world at the New York
City headquarters of the American Society for Psychical Research
(ASPR) in 

, where he had an exhibit of his artwork during a

reception on April   of that year. It was reported that “Mr. Swann is
participating extensively in ASPR experimentation on out-of-body
states.”  It was that same year, in June, that Swann began his
relationship with SRI.


, Puthoff and Targ were ready to issue a report on the

work they had undertaken with both Ingo Swann and Uri Geller. A
declassified memo in CIA archives reads, in part:

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Dr. H. Puthoff and Mr. R. Targ will present their final report of
parapsychology studies completed at Stanford Research
Institute (SRI) at