Daniel Blair Stewart: What
aspects, data, or questions about UFO phenomena are not being
addressed by the community of investigators and researchers?
Jacques Vallee: To begin with, many aspects of UFO
sightings have to do with the paranormal; yet psychic phenomena,
paranormal phenomena have been consistently pushed under the rug
by most UFO investigators. That is due in part to the fact that
witnesses tell you such things only after you have gained their
trust. But very often they are a challenge to the beliefs or the
world view of the investigators. They may not be ready to hear
it or they may not publish it because they think it would damage
their credibility. And since they are in the business of giving
credibility to the subject they donít want to reveal the
paranormal aspects of it.
Just to give you one example, in the Redding case that I
investigated in northern California, the witnesses had seen an
object three times on their claim near a mine that they worked.
The case had been investigated by various UFO groups and the
report had been published. I went there and gained the trust of
We went back to the place where the object had been and I asked
them "How did the object take off?" They said it took off ...
sort of at an angle." I looked at the place and said, "Well, it
had to go through the trees, didnít it?" And they said, "Well,
it kind of went through the trees!" I pointed out, "Thatís not
what you told the other people who investigated and thatís not
whatís in the published report." And they said, "Well, this man,
he was so nice and obviously he wasnít going to believe it if we
told him it went through the trees."
Every genuine UFO sighting has some elements that are shocking
to the "rational" view, the nuts-and-bolts picture that these
are simply spacecraft from outer space.
Another aspect of your question is that for a long time the
UFOlogists have been blind to the fact that the phenomenon can
be manipulated. In particular it can be manipulated by the
government, by various intelligence groups or by different cults
with their own agenda. I published over ten years ago in
Messengers of Deception my conclusion that many of the UFO
organizations had been infiltrated. That book got me in a lot of
trouble with my friends in the UFO community who refused to look
at that particular problem.
Since then, of course, this observation has been vindicated. One
government informant has even come forward to reveal that he, in
fact, had been recruited to befriend various UFOlogists and to
write psychological profiles of them. Every UFO organization is
monitored by government informers.
On the board of the National Investigation Committee on Aerial
Phenomena, which was one of the major organizations in this
country in the í50s and í60s, were three people who were among
the founders of psychological warfare. They were people with
strong ties to the government and intelligence community. Iím
not saying itís necessarily illegal or wrong, but it should be
One of the recommendations of the 1953
Robertson Panel, convened
by the CIA and the Air Force to review the UFO problem, was that
UFO organizations be watched. That report was classified at the
time. That recommendation was in fact implemented. The civilian
UFO groups were being watched and infiltrated as early as the
fifties. They still are.
I think this aspect has many remarkable consequences. To what
extent were some well-known UFO sightings actually simulations
that were staged for the benefit of someone who wanted to do
social engineering research or psychological warfare research?
Perhaps to see what kind of stimuli it would take to make people
change their belief systems, for example.
DBS: A lot of investigators have pointed out that
behave like holograms. Iíve heard the phrase "a hologram with
mass" more than once.
JV: In many cases they behaved like a hologram that had mass. In
other words, if a hologram could also interact with the
environment, if it could put holes in the ground and burn the
vegetation, youíd have a good approximation of what the UFO is.
In other words, it is not an object like that car over there is
an object. It looks like a car, it feels like a car, but it
isnít a car. Itís something totally different which can look
like a car if it wants to.
To a large extent we know how to do that! We have devices that
could produce something that would look like that car and you
wouldnít be able to tell the difference, including shadows
reflecting on it as objects go by. This is todayís technology;
not 1950s or 1960s technology, but it certainly is 1990s
technology. But it still would not have mass. The UFOs do have
mass. They leave imprints in the ground, they interact with the
environment, so thatís where the analogy stops.
DBS: Tell us your objections to the extraterrestrial hypothesis
as the explanation for UFOs.
JV: If we had done this interview 20 years ago I would have told
you the best theory we have is that this is extraterrestrial. We
do know that UFOs are a physical phenomenon, they offer us an
opportunity to do some good science, and they seem to come from
the sky. We have the capability to go to the moon and very soon
to go to other planets. I do believe that there is life
throughout this Universe. So why couldnít "they" come here?
In the last 20 years weíve learned a lot of new things about
this phenomenon that contradicts the idea that it is
We have too many Close Encounters. The extraterrestrial theory
on the first level assumes that these are explorers on a
mission. They are supposed to have evolved on some other planet
and are coming here. But if they have to study us by landing
100,000 times, they have to be very dumb! Thatís approximately
the volume of data we have on Close Encounters reports today. If
you were to take into account that those tend to occur at night
when there are fewer observers, if you extrapolate you would
actually get into millions of landings.
Now, it wouldnít take us millions of landings if there was a
civilization on Mars we wanted to study. With something the size
of a beer keg in orbit we could get most of the things we needed
to know about them, especially if theyíd been broadcasting "I
Love Lucy" into space for so many years! Then weíd want to land
to check some things and get actual samples. Weíd land maybe a
few dozen times, maybe a few hundred times, but we wouldnít need
millions of landings. So that aspect of it is a contradiction
with the idea that itís an extraterrestrial mission.
The second contradiction is the shape of the beings. They are
uniformly humanoid in shape, somewhat bizarre and weird. They
are described as having big eyes and being short with longer
arms and so on, but still they have two legs, two arms. They
have a torso and eyes that are adapted to exactly the same part
of the spectrum as we are.
They donít walk around with goggles
or strange devices on their eyes. They seem to hear what we
hear; they seem to be breathing our air. That means theyíre
human or very close to human beings! Itís very unlikely that
beings evolving on radically different planets would end up
looking like us, breathing our air, seeing the same part of the
spectrum that we see. I think the biological statistics are
So you can say, "Well, they are so smart they are using
biogenetic engineering to adapt to this planet and its gravity."
But then why donít they just create complete human beings? If
you can go 99% of the way, why not 100%, and then youíd be
completely undetectable? So I think thatís a serious obstacle to
the ET theory.
Another argument is that this is not a recent phenomenon. It is
a phenomenon that has existed, as far as we can tell, throughout
history in one form or another. Without going back to
Medieval folklore, we do have excellent UFO report records
from 1897. I personally have a number of sightings that living
people whom I actually met with and interviewed have told me
about that they were witnesses of in the twenties and thirties.
So this certainly invalidates the idea that weíre dealing with a
civilization that has just discovered us and is coming here now.
UFOs seem to have been a part of our environment for a very long
time, perhaps as long as man has existed.
Another problem with the extraterrestrial hypothesis is the
behavior of these beings. The mainstream of UFOlogy today claims
that these are wise explorers of the galaxy who are coming here
to study us and the proof of that is what they do. In
abductions, for example, they take away human beings. They seem
to carry them inside a craft and they draw blood from them. They
take samples from them, such as sperm and ova and these look
like biological experiments to people like Budd Hopkins and his
Well, I think it proves entirely the opposite thing, because the
descriptions that are given of the medical examinations are
crude to the point of being absurd. If you had this technology,
disc-shaped vehicles that could fly silently and appear out of
nowhere, paralyze people and remain unnoticed; if you wanted to,
you could land on the roof of the Mayo Clinic or any large
research hospital and youíd have access to the blood bank, the
sperm, bank, the frozen embryo banks.
We are close to having the techniques for cloning people. You
could potentially restart the human race with what we know today
on Earth, yet we have only been doing molecular biology for
about fifteen years. Itís a very young science, a new science.
Think about it. If we can already do this and these beings are
supposedly a million years ahead of us, they should be able to
perform experiments that would be way beyond what we do.
Instead what people describe is victims coming back with obvious
scars. They come back bleeding, they have things up their nose,
they have terrible dreams, intense trauma, and they remember
under hypnosis! The whole thing is completely absurd. The mind
control people in the military already have drugs that can make
people forget what they did for a week or what they did on
Tuesday between 2 and 3, and no hypnotist could simply put them
into a trance and recover the memory. So if we already have that
kind of drug, a civilization millions of years in advance of us
should be able to manipulate both the body and the memory much
Another thing that has been swept under the rug by UFOlogists,
which is yet another argument against the extraterrestrial
hypothesis, is that these objects change shape. In other words,
they are not always discs or eggs or cigars. They change shape
When I went to the Soviet Union, I met a man named Vladimir Azhazha, who is head of the research committee on UFOs in
Moscow. He said, "You know, one of the most important aspects of
this whole phenomenon is that itís polymorphic." I wasnít sure
my interpreter was translating accurately, so I had him repeat
that. He said, "Itís polymorphic; they change shapes. An object
will appear as a disc and as itís moving through the sky it will
change into a cube or into a pyramid or it will vanish on the
I showed him an article where I had said essentially the same
thing. He looked at me and he said, "You know, itís as if you
and I had been working together for the last ten years." This
shows something rather remarkable about the phenomenon, which is
that two people who have been studying it in earnest in
completely different parts of the world under completely
different conditions will arrive at the same conclusions about
If it changes shape, if it can appear out of nowhere and
disappear into nowhere, this is not just a bunch of spacecraft.
This is a much more interesting technology that manipulates
dimensions. It manipulates space-time.
And if it can do that,
then it can be from anywhere and anytime.
DBS: Where are they coming from, if not from outer space?
JV: Let me try to separate what I think I can prove from
personal speculation. I would feel comfortable standing up in
front of a scientific committee and I think I could argue
convincingly that the UFO phenomenon is a real, unrecognized
phenomenon; that it is physical and that it can manipulate space
and time in ways that we donít understand.
Beyond that, my own personal speculation which I could not prove
is that the phenomenon represents a form of consciousness that
is nonhuman. Thereís a big distinction here. A lot of people
might agree that there are unrecognized phenomena in nature, but
wouldnít necessarily agree that they are conscious even though
they are nonhuman. If UFOs represent a form of consciousness
then obviously it could originate in outer space, but not with
the first level, nuts-and-bolts extraterrestrial hypothesis. It
would have to be a lot more sophisticated than that. There could
be a form of consciousness out in space that can manipulate
dimensions. But it could just as easily be here on earth. It
could be using the Earth as its home port.
It could also be tied to human consciousness. The Collective
Unconscious could be doing this to us, projecting images that
are important during the current crisis we are going through. It
could also come from a form of creature that has always lived on
Earth with us and is not an alien consciousness, in the sense
that we usually think of aliens. This goes back to the
traditions about the faeries and gnomes and Little People: what
I have called the Magonia tradition, that in fact there is
another Universe right here. Perhaps most of us just donít see
it, but itís here.
When I started Passport to Magonia, I gathered all the old books
about the faeries and the Good People, the Good Neighbors. This
is a wonderful body of literature. These beings did
approximately what the UFO beings do today. They would fly at
night in strange cone-shaped luminous craft, they would abduct
human beings, they even had little pins that would paralyze you.
This is centuries ago, okay? And it matches reports from people
who see UFOs today.
So I think that parallel is very interesting. Itís still one of
my favorite theories but there could be others! You could argue
that there are natural phenomena that play a role in all this.
For instance, Paul Devereux has written several books about
"Earth lights" which he has shown to be tied to several
Whether the megaliths have anything to do with
UFOs, or whether those sites tended to have strange lights so
that over the years people used them for their temple and put a
rock there, is open to question. Perhaps it was a natural
phenomenon all along. Thatís a possibility, but it really does
not explain all UFOs.
The other possibility is that there may be forces within the
Earth tied to some old traditions. There may be unrecognized
telluric currents, forces within the Earth that could manifest
in the form of electromagnetic phenomena that could become
luminous and float through the air. Usually those things we
donít think of as being intelligent but who knows? Maybe it
could be a form of consciousness.
There are other way-out theories that I find entertaining. We
could imagine superconductive clouds moving through the galaxy
taking any shape they want. Say, if you were a superconductive
hydrogen cloud ten times the size of the solar system and you
wanted to look like a Volkswagen, who could stop you from
looking like a Volkswagen? You could do anything you wanted to!
There is a book called The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, who is one
of our greatest living astronomers. It is a science fiction
story about a conscious hydrogen cloud. Now, of course if there
was such a cloud weíd presumably see it as it came closer to the
Earth. But there may be forms of plasma that we donít know how
to detect yet, or maybe weíre simply not looking for them.
Now, I donít specifically believe all that, but these are fun
theories that should be looked at. Paul Devereuxís hypothesis of
the Earth Lights is a very important one.
Geologists today are beginning to reassess the descriptions by
people who said they saw lights before an earthquake: "I saw
this globe of light and it flew down the canyon and ten minutes
later there was an earthquake!" Geologists used to say those
were ignorant farmers who didnít know their physics. Now they
are beginning to realize that before an earthquake the friction
forces within the Earth could well create plasma or
electromagnetic discharges that could become visible. In fact,
scientists like Dr. John Derr at the US Geological Survey have
found a correlation of these lights with fault lines and
DBS: Do you think our awareness of UFOs has been detrimental or
JV: In Confrontations we report on a trip Janine and I took to
Brazil where there seemed to be evidence of UFO hostility.
Objects would literally zap people with beams. In several cases
it seemed that it killed them. It certainly injured them. We
couldnít really prove a direct cause-and effect relationship in
the cases of death, but there was a cause-and-effect
relationship in the cases of injuries. People were, in fact,
injured by those beams.
The phenomenon really doesnít seem to care at all whether itís
perceived as good or bad. It does seem to have an influence on
our culture, but we may not be able to detect it because our
view of it is so short. Historically, weíre only aware of things
for a few months or a few years. We donít tend to get the big
picture of contemporary events. If we did, the science of
economics would be in much better shape than it is!
It is very difficult for us to deal both with transient and
slow- changing, long-term thing like the UFO phenomenon. It
seems to be a control system. If it is a control system, then it
affects our culture. We probably would be unable to detect
whether it is doing good or bad to us. In fact, it may be beyond
the level at which humans would define good and evil.
DBS: How vast might this phenomenon be?
JV: My impression is that it extends to every culture, every
race, every religion on Earth. I really have not found a single
place that doesnít have a tradition about this phenomenon. What
is fascinating is that most of the anthropologists have
completely missed it! You have to look at the footnotes in their
books to find any mention of it. Itís never mentioned in the
mainstream. Itís a peripheral vision effect, you know? Something
thatís just off to the side of your intellectual vision.
DBS: Tell us about your trip to Russia.
JV: In Russia I had a chance to talk to a number of groups who
are actually doing UFO research. One of the groups was even
interested in New Age pursuits, astrology and a number of other
topics. We were amazed because when we went there we had no idea
that this sort of work went on.
These people were also interested in natural healing and herbal
medicine. They had an entire storehouse of primitive plant
remedies that obviously came from a long Russian tradition. So
we asked them,
"How come the Russian culture has preserved all
this with the kind of regime youíve had all these years?"
they answered, "Itís very simple. In this respect we are ahead
because you have had all these so-called írationalistí thinkers
in the West. The Russian tradition has always preserved some of
the ancient ways, even under Communism."
So I said, "Why do you think there is such a difference between
these two cultures when it comes to these traditions about
And they answered: "Well, you killed all your witches!
So youíve eliminated the genes from the gene pool. Weíve had an
orthodox church here for centuries but they never killed the
witches. Neither did the Communists. They did many horrible
only the Western church slaughtered the witches."
parapsychology research went on in the Soviet
Union even under Stalinís regime.
They never stopped doing that
kind of research and they never stopped natural healing and
natural medicine, side by side with the official medicine. Donít
get me wrong, this wasnít approved officially by the Academy of
Sciences and all that, but they didnít kill these people. They
didnít send them to labor camps.
I had never thought of that. The east European countries never
eliminated those abilities from their gene pool.
We went there because there were a series of sightings in
Voronezh, which is a city a few hundred miles south of Moscow.
Some of the UFO sightings were reported in the Western press,
but in a very superficial way. We found that there were many
more witnesses than had been reported. There were not only Close
Encounters but also things seen in the sky by up to 500
witnesses at the same time.
Very active research was being done by several official
commissions and by private scientists. I was impressed by the
number of people doing research and by the quality of the
DBS: Many books depict the UFO phenomenon as benevolent and
peaceful. Your descriptions of UFOs in Confrontations make it
appear sinister. How would you account for this discrepancy?
JV: I can understand why the expectation has grown that this
could be helpful and benevolent.
Itís a very complex,
unexplained phenomenon and we always tend to project our own
human fantasies into every such thing that comes along. It would
be nice if somebody came down from the sky and told us how to
stop wars and how to cure cancer. Unfortunately the phenomenon
itself, when you look at it objectively, doesnít seem to care
about us at all. It seems to be benevolent in some cases and
hostile or at least harmful in other cases.
Notice that we could say the same thing about electricity. We
couldnít live without electricity, but if you put your fingers
in the socket it could kill you! That doesnít mean the utility
company is hostile to you, it just means that thereís a very
powerful force out there and it doesnít care if it kills you or
not. Electricity really doesnít give a damn one way or the
other, and I think that, to some extent, the UFO phenomenon is
the same way. It does whatever it has to do according to a
pattern we havenít detected. When people get in the way they get
In Close Encounter situations there is often a profound long-
term psychological behavior change in the witness. Sometimes
itís for the better and sometimes itís for the worse. You
occasionally meet people who seem very enlightened, who have a
very positive attitude toward life, who think they have psychic
abilities, and when you ask them when they first became aware of
this they will trace it to a time when they saw a UFO.
Some witnesses have actually described to us being healed as
they were caught in the beam from a UFO. There is a case like
that in Confrontations, a doctor in France who had been blown up
by a mine in Algeria. He had a form of paralysis that was gone
after he was exposed to light from the object.
There are also numerous cases in which the reverse happens.
People are confronted with a UFO and their whole life changes
for the worse. When they tell their story, the local people
donít believe them. They are ostracized, they get fired from
their jobs, their wives leave them, they go through a tailspin,
they sometimes end up as bums.
That happened in the í60s and í70s to several American cops. The
phenomenon tends to happen away from towns, between, say, 1 and
4:00 in the morning. Who is going to be away from a town between
1 and 4:00 in the morning, but the highway patrol!
So very often
in places like Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, there are
cases of Close Encounters at night involving highway patrolmen.
In numerous cases their lives were destroyed or broken; they had
to leave the force because people wouldnít respect them anymore.
They were suspected of seeing things, maybe of drinking.
DBS: In your book The Invisible College you stated that matter
might have three aspects: substantial, energetical, and
informational. Could you elaborate on this and show how it
applies to UFO phenomena?
JV: We learn in school that energy and information are two sides
of the same coin, okay? That you can translate energy into
information and vice versa. And yet, the only physics we learn
is the physics of energy! The physics of energy should have a
little sister, the physics of information, but nobody talks
about it! Itís interesting to ask what might be in that physics.
My speculation is that that physics of information exists and
that it is what people through the ages have called magic. The
magical tradition asks, how does the mind deal with information
structures? And how does it relate to the rest of Nature?
DBS: Tell me what perhaps idealistic changes you might make in
our present that would improve our future?
JV: By idealistic, what do you mean? If I could change human
beings, I would make them more loving, more open, but I donít
know how to do that. So Iím going to take your question on a
different level: if I had the power to make changes in the way
things are in the world, what would I change without changing
human nature? I have to assume human nature is a given.
DBS: Weíll have to assume that. But now weíre going to give you
temporary control of the world.
JV: Good! (Laughter, a long pause.) The reason I am silent is
that itís so easy to come up with idealistic things. Jesus
Christ did it, every prophet has done it, and usually they ended
up with the exact opposite of what they wanted. The prophets
say: "Let there be love!" and people say, "Yeah, let there be
love, but of course it has to be my way and not this other guysís way!" and they end up fighting.
I do wish that the impulse to search, to question reality, to
search beyond the obvious face of reality, became more
widespread. I wish that people had more of an interest in the
mysteries around them.
I also wish that there was a simple, medical way for all of us
to experience what goes on in the moment of death without dying.
I think that if people had that simple experience once, the rest
of their lives would be very, very different. I have a few
friends who have had a near-death experience, usually under very
traumatic circumstances like a head-on collision. They changed
radically the way they thought about their careers, their
relationships, their life, their view of death. In some cases it
eliminated their fear of death completely. When you donít fear
death anymore your life is going to change radically. So if
there was one thing...
You cannot wish for people to have head-on collisions! Iím just
wishing there was a way for people to have the experience of
dying, to take it with them into the mainstream of their life
without going through the trauma of an accident. Of course,
thatís what initiation does, in part, with a lot of work. A
head-on collision gives you that instant initiation, assuming
you survive it. To some extent the UFO Close Encounter has the
characteristics of a near death experience.
DBS: In quantum physics and biology scientists are considering
models that no longer resemble the mechanistic models of the
19th Century. In particular, quantum physicists speculate that
the observer influences the phenomenon observed. In biology
microbiologists are examining relationships to determine if
Earth qualifies as a literally living thing. How do you respond
to these models? Will breakthroughs in these fields apply to UFO
JV: In both of those cases you have an example of the
relationship of information with energy.
What we seem to be discovering in genetics is that whatís
important is information storage. DNA is essentially a machine
to store a lot of information. When you alter the information
you alter the whole being. Essentially you are dealing here with
software, not hardware. There may be other ways of representing
it, other than DNA. It just seems to be an extraordinarily
efficient way of storing information perfectly and duplicating
Iím not a physicist, but I do talk to a lot of physicists who
are very puzzled these days. When you draw information out of an
experiment, theoretically youíre drawing energy, because energy
and information are related; in fact, they are identical. So if
I observe a certain phenomenon at the quantum level, the answer
is translatable in terms of energy. That energy had to come from
somewhere! So Iíve actually had an impact on the experiment. It
might not have happened the same way if I had not been observing
Thatís another mechanism in which you see information and energy
being related and unless we take that equation into account we
donít have a real picture of the Universe. That leads to the
question of what is the role of consciousness in the Universe.
This also relates to magic, because in magic you are
manipulating information structures that have a relationship to
the material world around you. So I think that both of those
examples are very relevant to the question of information versus
energy. Increasingly we may find that information is the more
important of the two.
I think UFOs are a special case that forces us to question what
we call reality. In Close Encounter cases there is a point at
which the witness seems to enter a different reality. There is
an English researcher named Jenny Randles who calls this "the Oz
factor." There is a point where all of a sudden reality has
split and the reality of the observer has been replaced by
another reality. If we could measure that, if we could
instrument the witness, we might be able to learn about what we
call physical reality. But that also raises the question: how do
we know that this reality is the real one? How would we prove
that itís the real one? This reality is merely a human
There are interesting experiments that have been done where a
newborn cat is given goggles that have vertical slits, and the
cat canít take the goggles off. Itís known that visual reality
is created in the first two weeks in the life of a cat. So after
two weeks they remove those goggles and the cat has a vertical
reality! The cat could not think of horizontal structures. The
cat would never jump on this bench, for example. She would
negotiate her way around a vertical structure, but she has no
concept of horizontal things. If the goggles had horizontal
slits, then that cat would have a horizontal reality.
The point is that we all have goggles over our minds and thatís
where the UFO phenomenon comes in. It challenges these goggles!
Our goggles are called culture, education, tradition and so on,
and these are the things through which we see the world! Weíre
incapable of seeing the world through a different set of
goggles. One of the opportunities that the UFO phenomenon is
giving us is to look at reality in a much larger context.
Whatever UFOs turn out to be, the opportunity is here. Simply by
stretching our minds and forcing us to look at the Universe in