First Plague, Then Murder Hornets. Now Aliens.


Are you familiar with the term gaslighting? It’s from the cultural vernacular and it means that some tormenter or malign force is causing you to doubt your own sanity. In my case, the bad actor seems to be reality itself, in this case some recent press coverage suggesting that we really have to have a serious discussion about aliens and if not aliens, at least UFOs. The Navy would prefer you not use that term. The service likes to call them “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

The Navy figures into this because its recently released F/A-18 HUD footage of a UFO—sorry, UAP—has ginned up press coverage suggesting there are some pretty weird flying machines out there and one author even ventured this: “There’s a non-zero chance that some of these UFOs were made by non-human hands.”

This kind of thinking is how new religions get started. Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson likes to tell the story of Isaac Newton committing planetary motion to precise, predictable mathematics, but even he had his limits. Unable to explain observed retrograde motion, Newton attributed it to God. A century later, LaGrange and Laplace offered perturbation theory and the puzzle piece snapped into place. Neither is dispositive to the existence of God, but the math was indisputable. While I’m at it, there’s a non-zero chance you can prove my dog Wrigley didn’t write this blog. (He may have written others.)

Last week’s stories on this Navy-provided footage said it was just publicly released. Perhaps officially, but I saw it a year ago in a Washington Post story. I thought about it then what I think about it now. This is interesting, can’t yet be explained and deserves the attention of serious science. It may or may not be getting this. Those inclined to the conspiratorial may think it already has been investigated and the government is suppressing what it knows to forestall panic. I don’t know about you, but I’d introduce myself to the visitors and allow as how if you flew here from Arvala-7 in the Mandalorian system, maybe you could help us with this little virus problem we have.  

I saw an interview with one of the Navy pilots—these incidents occurred in 2004 and 2015. He didn’t strike me as a foil-hat wearing whack job, but just a workaday fleet pilot who saw what he saw, but doesn’t know what it was. Because to a civilian, a lieutenant commander is a “trained observer,” the sightings had added credibility. With all due respect to military pilots, they’re not scientific observers, trained to record, gather and analyze data and recognize and reject their own biases. That’s the level of science that should be applied to a broader investigation if we’re to take these sightings and events seriously. (In that sense, I like the Navy’s idea to call this “aerial phenomena.” In some cases, they may not be objects at all.)

I’m baffled by those predisposed to say these must be alien craft and I recoil at the next leap of faith: The aliens are here and living among us. Remember Alien Nation? I hated that show and don’t like the prospect of a real-life version of it any better. Meanwhile, 6 percent of Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens. Would it surprise you to know there’s an International Center for Abduction Research? Perhaps 94 percent of us would say, why yes, it would. The fact that none of us can prove they weren’t abducted lowers the gaslights to max dim.

I’m one with the late Carl Sagan that it’s mathematically inconceivable that there aren’t aliens out there among the billions and billions of planets we believe to exist. Intelligent ones, too. It’s just that I don’t think they’ve paid us a visit. But if they have, given the way things are going, we’re sure to find out about in the next week or two. Meanwhile, I need to sign off and feed Wrigley. No kibble, no kolumns.

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  1. Most everyone reading this has grown up watching shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Files, Men In Black and hundreds of other space shows/movies. The United States of America even sent Aliens to the moon.

    So why this big leap of faith that there is smarter beings in the universe? Everything that Scientist find the first thing they do is study it and then continue to study it. When Earthlings continue space travel the very first thing we’re going to do is study it. By-the-way, USA has robots on Mars…. Studying it.

  2. I am convinced that there is a malevolent alien force who’s entertainment is messing up landings. It is the only conceivable reason why just when everything is looking great for that kissing sweet touchdown, BOOM the airplane arrives with a thud.

    I can just imagine the happy cackle on some frequency we can’t hear…….

  3. What would really be helpful would be if these videos were offered with some context. Not being either a pilot/user of the equipment or a tech who is knowledgeable about what it does and how it does it, they mean nothing to me. Alien spacecraft, equipment glitch or bug on the lens? Insufficient data.

    • For a good video on what these videos are showing, see He’s a former F-16 and F/A-18 reserve pilot and he gives a pretty good contextual overview of what the footage is showing. And no, he doesn’t think they’re alien visitors (he suspects, and I agree, that at least one of them is likely a drone).

      • Good & interesting rundown, thanks! So equipment glitch [or “bug on the lens” 🙂 ] looks unlikely, but as he points out we’re still not being given much to go on. Good for believers in visiting aliens or imaginative conspiracy theorists, not so much for the rest of us.

        Knowing where, and what was happening at the time (other military units around? exercise in progress? etc.), would be important context too. Not likely we’ll get that data.

  4. “Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”

    K. from “Men in Black”

  5. The 10 minute subway ride between Edwards AFB North Base and Area 51/S4 would be very revealing to most of you. When the extension to Dulce Base is finished, all doubt will be removed.

    • Larry, I can neither confirm nor deny UFO sightings but I can confirm that Dulce has a rather interesting casino hotel where they hold the Dulce Base UFO Conference. Regrettably, the June 19, 20, 2020 conference has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. The UFO representatives and the Jicarilla Apache Council are in talks on a reschedule of the event. Aliens will have to wait.

  6. .With all due respect to military pilots, they’re not scientific observers, trained to record, gather and analyze data and recognize and reject their own biases.
    With all due respect, is that not what we’re supposed to be doing in the left seat
    (sorry bent-wingers and other alien aircraft).

    As for possibly extraterrestrial visits, I can see no point to these appearances as they are being portrayed at this time. If indeed they are ET’s they seem to be the equivalent of a teen

    • As for possible extraterrestrial visits, I can see no point to these appearances as they are being portrayed at this time. If indeed they are ET’s they seem to prove nothing more than the universal nature of teenage pranks. Somewhere in the universe, a parent is pulling the keys.

  7. The Fighter Pilot Podcast, which overall is an aviation professional produced podcast that generally doesn’t go into things like this, has a very good interview with the flight lead of this incident, Retired US Navy Commander David Fravor. It was episode 35.

    Also I believe this tape is not HUD footage, it is FLIR on an MFD. I just point that out because if you say HUD it seems like they had the nose pointed at it the whole time which makes it seem like they could keep up with it constantly.

  8. In the 80s when I was a B-52 copilot, I was a UFO. The Buff has a very bright “terrain clearance” light on the belly, and when you extend it to point forward, it turns on and lights the ground well enough to land at night with no other lights around. Completely useless for normal training missions. One dark night, flying about 600 feet AGL, 380 knots on an IR route in eastern Colorado, I saw a road (maybe I-76? not sure any more) crossing our flightpath, and there was this truck on it. I thought, “Hmmmm.” and extended the terrain clearance light, I pointed it directly at that truck and held it there as we approcached. flew over the truck, and then shut it off as we continued on. We called that “trolling for UFO reports.”

    So, whenever I see reports about unexplainable lights in the sky, I always think, “It might just be somebody screwing around.” Because I can say with absolute certainty, that happens.

    • Nyuk nyuk. Were you at Ellsworth? I was there as a boomer in the early 80s in the 4th ACCS. One of the three versions of KC-135 we flew was set up as a radio relay aircraft, and it had every conceivable kind of wireless communication equipment known to man at the time. I learned from one of the radio operators the correct frequencies to use on the HF radio to tune into the citizens’s band. One dark night during a boring (get it? boring holes in the air? nevermind) mission involving several hours of orbiting, I went in the back and tuned up the frequency for CB channel 19 on one of the HF radios. We were orbiting somewhere near Offut AFB, NE, and I had a 1000 watt transmitter at FL330. I think just about every trucker in a ten-state area could hear me.

  9. Gaslight refers to the 1944 Ingrid Bergman movie. When I worked at NY1, I interviewed the late Bud Hopkins (SP?). He was the “leading” UFO investigator and author. He was sure a UFO abducted a Brooklyn woman. And I as the Brooklyn reporter had to go cover the story!

  10. On the Hornet on steroids.

    Hopefully, everything’s going to be great. They may be somewhat of a problem, but hopefully, it’s all going to be great. But we’re working with the homicidal insect, just so you know, very closely. So it doesn’t get out of hand. But it’s, you know, it’s something that we have to be very, very careful with, right? We have to be very careful.

    • Anybody remember the killer bees? We wrung our hands about them for years as they crept closer to US soil. Now they are here and no one gets excited about them any more.

  11. Not one comment about someone being abducted and “probed”.
    I really do not know what the internet is coming to…
    Still there is a stretch of lonely road in Zimbabwe where, for about a decade (the mid 60s to mid 70s), there were reports of cars being filled with light from above and then suddenly being put down hundreds of Ks closer to the destination without a drop of gas being used… Particularly interested in VWs apparently.

  12. I like the phrase ‘aerial phenomena’ also. In a past thread I described my experience along with my son and wife and many others of witnessing the Phoenix Lights, as they are coined. Though most of us saw light orbs, hundreds saw a triangular craft silently and slowly fly over their heads on I10. There was a recent showing last month smaller in scale of the light orbs that I didn’t witness.

    For me, none of these phenomena are extra-terrestrial, and it could be the Navy pilots were having a similar experience. For anyone interested in this subject I recommend the book by Dr. Lynne Kitei “The Phoenix Lights” which might help with the stay-at-home-itis during this pandemic.

    I agree with Paul in that let’s have tea, a beer or Galaxyade and chat, or at least flash the Vulcan hand signal or something. A little creative communication please?

    And speaking of creative communication, despite some being shown to be man-made, many crop circles are not, Imho. Check out these UFO’s putting their technology to a beautiful, creative use for us.

    YouTube – ET/UFO create CROP CIRCLE 1996

  13. There has got to be a story about Wrigley got his name. And I think it would make a great YouTube video to see Wrigley pounding out the keys at 70wpm I am sure he is capable of doing. Inquring minds want to know.

    Yeah…I think there are plenty of other orbs inhabited by intelligent beings that probably look a lot like us. Maybe not so fat and wrinkled. I am sure they got that solved. But it would be a hoot to compare the latest Galaxy 500 intergalactic performance specs ( Ford thinks they own this name, but they really don’t) to Paul’s 70+ year old J-3 or my 67 year old Bonanza. I wonder if they are dealing with aging aircraft/spacecraft issues. After all, it takes light years from outer-space to get to the 3rd Rock from the Sun vs a couple of days to go coast to coast in the Bo with cooperation of the wind.

  14. Intelligent life elsewhere in this vast universe? Very likely.
    But would they spend their time being first-person space tourists? Very unlikely, IMWO.
    Curiosity could be satisfied far better – and far more safely – by employment of un-crewed probes.
    With apologies to Carl Sagan, the truly – obsessively – curious could dispatch billions and billions of probes. Armchair explorers. Extraterrestrial couch potatoes. Like watching The Discovery Channel.

  15. I agree with astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He finds it interesting that back when very few people carried cameras there were lots of reports of UFO sightings and alien encounters. Now, when virtually everyone on the planet has a cell phone camera in their pocket, why don’t we see more photos of spacecraft and actual aliens?