Friday, May 22, 2020

The Bigelow Foundation - UAP, abductions and more


The earliest incarnation of Robert T. Bigelow's public interest in UAP, and other diverse topics, was The Bigelow Foundation.

Recently, Angela Thompson Smith, PhD, appeared as a guest on Erica Lukes' radio show "UFO Classified." Angela worked at The Bigelow Foundation between October 1992 and April 1994. She was kind enough to send me a copy of a report she prepared on her time with the Foundation. This report appeared in the 4th Annual Crash Retrieval Conference Proceedings, 2006, Las Vegas, Nevada, pp 193-205.

There is much fascinating material in the report, but for the purposes of this blog post I will extract the relevant parts concerning UAP.

Angela Thompson Smith. Image


Angela's first task was to establish a library at the Bigelow head office. The library consisted of a large number of works relating to UAP, abductions and the paranormal. Interestingly, the library was available for access by serious researchers. Books, research reports, proceedings of conferences, and other documents were collected and catalogued.

Abduction research

Although the Roper unusual personal experience poll had been conducted before Angela joined the Foundation, she did receive phone calls from both health professionals and experiencers relating to the results of the poll.

In November 1992, Angela and Robert Bigelow attended a one day conference in Los Angeles. Here about 150 health professionals heard presentations from a number of key abduction researchers.

UAP research

Angela conducted interviews in such locations as Caliente and Pioche, Nevada, in the fall of 1992 and spring of 1993 to ascertian details of a number of sightings. These reports included ones reporting triangular shaped objects. A topic which the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) would study in far more depth in later years.

One aspect of which I was previously unaware, was that involving Bigelow's interest in "UFO detectors"' I will therefore, quote from Angela's report about this:

"UFO field detectors

Since starting work with The Bigelow Foundation, I was invited to many sky watches, especially around Blue Diamond, just outside Las Vegas. David Smith, who I had met right after I joined the Foundation accompanied me on the trips. David was asked by Robert Bigelow to construct several UFO detectors. As Dave worked for an engineering company with government contracts, he had to do this in his own time. Subsequently, David constructed two small devices that could detect certain frequencies. The rationale for these frequencies came from an article in the Astronautic and Aeronautics Journal. There was a reference to certain frequencies that had been associated with UFO sightings.

'EMC reconnaissance operator #2 of Lacey 17, RB-47H aircraft intercepted at approximately Meridian, Mississipi, a signal with the following  characteristics, frequency 2995mc to 3000mc; pulse width of 2.0 microseconds; pulse repitition rate of 600cps; sweep rate of r rpm; vertical polarity. Signal moved up the D/F scope indicating a rapidly moving signal source.' my knowledge, David's devices were never used as Robert Bigelow then believed that UFOs communicated using a form of semaphore or morse code."

The Mount Wilson Ranch

Besides Robert Bigelow's interest in the NE Utah "Skinwalker ranch," there was also mention in Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume Four" of Bigelow visiting, in 1996, another ranch, which he subsequently purchased. This ranch was near Pioche, Nevada, and was called the Mount Wilson ranch. I wrote about the Mount Wilson ranch in a blog post dated 12 March 2019. However, what is interesting to me, is that Angela and Bigelow were aware of details of unusual events at this ranch as early as 1993.

"Back in March of 1993, the Foundation received some  information about another ranch, about fifty miles north of Pioche, where there had been reports of UFO sightings. The ranch was, historically, the site of many gunfights and early deaths. One of the ranch occupants told interesting stories of UFO sightings.

He and his partner were in their pick-up truck one night and saw unusual lights that drew their attention. The two men thought that each light was an individual object and that all the lights moved in unison. The colors were off-white and yellow-white. The men estimated that the lights were about a football field distance; there was no noise and no static on their radio.

Later, they had another sighting of several lights over a dry lake bed. This light moved erratically and kicked up a lot of dust from the lake bed. A third sighting was of a single light that seemed to dart up and down above a mountain."

Fyffe, Alabama

"In April 1993 Mr Bigelow asked me to travel to Huntsville, Alabama to follow up on some UFO sightings and cattle mutilations that have been happening in the area...while in Alabama, I met a couple of local newspaper owners, the Bakers, who had reported extensively on the UFO flap over Fyffe, Alabama and a local policeman who was investigating the sightings...After a while he opened up to me and talked very frankly about the UFO sightings, cattle mutilations, and abductions that were happening in Alabama...

On the last day of my residence in the Lake Gunterville Lodge I had a rare UFO sighting. From the balcony of my room I saw a large, round, red and white light rise up vertically. It appeared to rise vertically out of the lake. It did not wink with strobe lights and soon disappeared into the clouds."

Budd Hopkins

In the spring of 1993 Robert Bigelow asked Angela to help abduction researcher Budd Hopkins by going to New York City. There she spent two weeks and helped Hopkins respond to numerous pieces of mail as well as other duties.

Area 2000

Also, in the spring of 1993, Bigelow funded a radio show which commenced on 4 July 1993 and was called the "Area 2000" radio show. This ran for six months until Bigelow lost interest in it. Angela's job was to find interesting relevant news stories, and have them ready for Las Vegas journalist George Knapp to read on air. Later, Linda Moulton Howe joined the station as a news presenter. The show generated reports of sightings and other experiences and "We followd up quite a few UFO sightings around the country."

All in all, an excellent report which provides insights into The Bigelow Foundation.

Friday, May 8, 2020

The UFO interests of Larry Lemke


I keep coming across, new to me, pieces of information while re-reading Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science" series of diaries. For example, on page 287 of volume four, in an entry dated January 1996 is a piece where Robert T. Bigelow is speaking to Vallee about candidates to fill a chief UFO position with the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS.)

Courtesy Amazon Books

"Our best candidate is Larry Lemke from AMES, who has an avid interest in UFOs, a guy in his early 40's, he's coming over. We spoke to his boss Scott Hubbard, but Larry's wife doesn't want to move to Vegas."

I thought it would be of interest to document what I could find out, about Larry Lemke's interest in UFOs. I have done this both from Internet sources, and direct corrspondence with Lemke by email. I am grateful to Larry for taking the time to answer my questions.

The start of his interest

Q "Where did your interest in the UFO phenomenon come from?"

A "Looking back on it from the perspective of an adult, I now realize that my interests in UFOs came from my father. I am a baby boomer - born in 1947. I remember, when I was 5 years old, sitting at the dinner table one evening in the summer of 1952 when the subject turned to "flying saucers." I had never heard of the term, but it was all over the newspapers and TV because (as I now understand it) the 1952 UFO flap over Washington DC was in full force. When I asked about "flying saucers" my father gave a rather matter-of-fact description that treted the subject as real and serious. In retrospect, I didn't realize how unusual that response was, because ridicule and dismissal was the most common response. What it did however, was to give me permission to take the  subject seriously. Which I did, at least in an intellectual way, through my young adulthood.

A few decades later, in my mid-adulthood, and in response to my question of "what did you do in the war dad?" (that would have been WWII, of course) my father openend up and explained that he had been involved with the UFO subject - both informally and working for the government - since before WWII. It's quite a story, and one that my siblings and I want to write up and share. I now realize that if I had been born into a different family, my view on the subject would have been entirely different.,

Starting at about age 40, I started having the occasional sightings of UAP myself. So now, the interest had gone past intellectual and is experimental."

1989- a sighting

Q "So, from your answer to the previous question, you mentioned occasional UAP sightings. Would you mind providing a little detail on these observations, and what insights they brought to you?"

A "In 1988-1989, I spent a year working at NASA HQ in Washington DC as part of a professional development program. That program ended on September 30, 1989, and on October 1st of that year I started driving across country back to my home in Silicon Valley. My older brother (since deceased) was sharing the driving responsibilities and we reckoned it would take about 7 days to complete the drive. On the last full day of the drive, which I think was Oct. 6, we were crossing the Arizona-California border at the city of Blythe on Interstate Highway 10, just at sundown. We were heading due West. About 10 miles after crossing into California, we both noticed a bright light at about our 11:00 position in front of and slightly below the ridge of a line of hills about 8 miles distant (about 5 degrees of elevation angle) and apparently some height from the ground.

The light was approximately (but not exactly) the color of the sodium vapor lamps that are common in that area for road and highway illumination. We both assumed without comment that it was probably an aircraft anti-collision light on a tower or some such. After driving for about 5 miles we had passed the hills, we looked back, and saw the same light, now at about our 8:00 position and again between us and the ridge line. We realized that the light had "flown" or otherwise moved over the hill crest and was more or less paralleling our progress along the highway, but still some miles away.

We pulled off to the side of the road to observe it through an 8 power monocular. My brother was also an aerospace engineer at the time and so we both set about discussing what kind of aerospace vehicle this could be. The light was perfectly steady, non-directional, and of uniform surface brightness.

It was clearly bigger than a point source; we compared its size to that of some large oak tree canopies which were nearby on the hillside and estimated the diameter of the light source to be about the same diameter (about 100 ft.) It was not doing anything extraordinary as far as motion was concerned. The best description I could give of its motion is that it was just "hanging out." It was hovering above the desert surface at variable altitudes. Sometimes it would rise a little, sometimes descend, never moving very fast. When it got lower, it would light up the desert floor below it. Clearly, it was pretty bright. It was bright enough that if it had been a flare or helicopter, the parachute or rotor would have been visible.

We drove on absorbed in thought and conversation. A few minutes later we looked back and it was gone. A few minutes after that, a light which could have been the same one appeared at nearly our 12:00 position and at an elevation angle of about 30 degrees and moving slowly antiparallel to the highway. A few minutes after that, a second light, identical to the first appeared following the first light in trail and apparently at the same altitude. We were entertaining the conjecture that maybe we were witnesssing a night time aerial refuelling in progress when both lights simply winked out. It was as it someone just turned a rheostat down and the lights quickly got dimmer and then were gone.

A few minutes later we looked back and what appeared to be the original light, again at out 8:00 position and perhaps a few hundred feet above the desert floor. Since we had, at that point, proceeded perhaps another 15 miles down the road, we realized the light was keeping up with us. At the point of closest approach, the light was about 4 miles away, and that is where we got the best look at it. That's where I noticed a puzzling feature on it that it took me a while to interpret. In all, the light was in sight for the better part of 45 or 50 minutes.

Because the event was so long, was witnessed by two unimpaired observers, and defied identification as any conventional aerospace device by two qualified experts, I had to conclude that I had seen a genuine "unidentified." I can't say it was an object, so I would call it an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, or UAP. It wasn't highly strange as UAPs go, which was probably a good thing. It was just strange enough to absolutely convince me that it was unconventional but not so strange that I would have to doubt my own sanity. As a result, I came away absolutely, positively knowing (not believing) that there are rare unexplained phenomena out there flying around in what we like to think of as "our" airspace."

Into the field

Q "What happened then?"

A "That realization ultimately drove me out of the armchair and into the field. As soon as I became convinced that there were real UAPs out there, the scientist in me could no longer justify not investigating them. As it happened, Dr Richard Haines and I worked in the same building at NASA-AMES at that time. I knew of his interest in and research interests in UAP and told him my story. To make a long story short, I started joining him as a collaborator behind the scenes in his case investigations for about a decade."

Q "Can you provide an example case?"

A "One of the cases we investigated was a small cluster of sightings that occurred in the area around Clear Lake, in Northern California in the mid 1990s. At that point in time, there were a huge number of Hollywood producers eager to produce content for sale to cable TV channels. We were approached by one such group who wanted to cover the Clear Lake sightings, so Dick and I agreed to serve as technical experts. They had a modest budget to work with, and one of the things they decided to do was hire a local aerial photographer to be on standby to try to capture aerial imagery, if possible. The photographer was a commercial pilot who owned a specially equipped light aircraft outfitted with high resolution air to air and air to ground cameras.

We planned a campaign to the Clear Lake area, and one evening, as luck would have it, the pilot sighted a set of unidentifieds coming in off the Pacific Ocean and heading straight up the Napa Valley, going almost due North. It was about 9 or 10 at night, as I recall, and the 4 apparently identical objects were self-luminous, flashing on and off irregularly. We got about 20 or 30 seconds of good imagery before the speed of the objects carried them out of the range of the camera, and that was enough for me to do a time and motion study in which we were able to put reasonably good limits on distance, size, speed, and luminosity of the objects. They appeared to be classic, 100 ft. diameter discs flying horizontally. I'm not sure the resulting feature film ever appeared on TV and I never published my results, but I had personally come to a new level in my relationship with the phenomena.

My first chance sighting in the desert convinced me that there were undeniably physically real and puzzling phenomena flying around. The Clear Lake episode convinced me that it was possible to "do science" on the phenomena. We had gone to a "hot spot" armed with science instruments (high-res cameras, in this case) gathered data on the phenomena (imagery and instrument readings from the aircraft), analyzed the data and deduced physically meaningful conclusions. Those were all the essential elements of the modern scientific method."

1996 - NIDS

Q "In around 1996, I underatnd that you were approached by Robert T. Bigelow, or his associate, with an offer to head up the UFO side of the National Institute for Discovery Science? May I check if this is correct? If so, would you be able to elaborate a little on the role of that position? I understand you declined the offer? May I ask why?"

A "Yes, I was one of the individuals who was approached by Bob Bigelow to come to work for NIDS. I don't remember if I approached him or the other way around, but he ended up flying me down to Las Vegas for an interview and ended up offering me the job of working on his "UFO desk." One of the stipulations was that I would have to move to Las Vegas and work full-time on the job, and I was just not in a position to do that. Eric Davis ended up getting the job and - frankly - probably did a better job that I would have.

In any case, a few years later, Joe Firmage started up ISSO and allowed me to run his "UFO desk" working part-time in Silicon Valley. That was a much better fit, and fun while it lasted."

Joe Firmage Image

1999 - Joe Firmage

Q "I understand that Joe Firmage founded ISSO in October 1998 and that the science operation side of things commenced in July 1999. May I ask you to elaborate on what you did at his "UFO desk;" for how long; and what results were obtained?"

A "I should start by noting that I worked for Joe part-time, while retaining my day job as an aerospace engineer for NASA-AMES Research Center. When I started, Joe and I agreed on a program that initially had 3 elements. First, Joe had spent the prior year or two going around to all the existing UFO groups and experts (FUFOR, MUFON, the "Usual suspects") trying to educate himself on the topic. As a result of that, he was interested in doing things with some of those groups and experts.

He wanted to support some of them in the research they were doing and he wanted to preserve some of their records which he feared were in danger of disappearing when the researchers retired or died. I agred to undertake to do those two things, but I also required as a condition of my employment to start some new initiatives of my own.

As part of the first two objectives, I spent a fair amount of time going around to the usual suspects and acquainting myself with what they were doing and what kind of research activities they might be able to undertake if Joe was willing to support it financially. It was basically a planning exercise in which we were soliciting informal proposals from the various players with the idea of eventually choosing some of them to suppoort.

As one of my initiatives, I wanted to undertake one or more field investigations with the idea of countering the idea that "you can't do science with UFOs." Some version of that debunker criticism has been around since at least the Condon Committee."

UAP investment portfolio

"For the time I worked for ISSO in 1999, I was planning what our UAP investment portfolio was going to be in 2000. Unfortunately, we were overtaken by the dot-com bubble bursting later that year. By the time 2000 had arrived, Joe had lost most of his money and ISSO went out of business. The only plan I was actually able to see through to completion was to fund Dick Haines to try and preserve some of his work for posterity. As I'm sure you know, when an investigator has been around for a while and his name gets out, witnesses will come out of the woodwork from all over the world to report their sightings to that indvidual, hoping for some kind of explanation. Over the years, Dick had amassed several thousand pilot reports of UAP from all over the world. I gave him a grant to go through his data, extract the patterns and write up a report. The angle we were examining was whether UAPs represented an aviation risk.

Dick did write it up and produced a report, which became the foundational document for NARCAP which we started up in 1999."


"When I took the job with Joe, I wanted to see if I could extend the paradigm to the next level. One of the groups we considered working with was the group at the Hessdalen Valley, in Norway. At that time, it also seemed to be a "hot spot" similar to Clear lake. The volunteer group there had put together an observatory equipped with multispectral instruments of various kinds, so I went there one long weekened to see what they were up to and to see if I could witness the phenomena myself. As luck would have it, I did witness an example  of a luminous phenomenon albeit in the next valley over from Hessdalen.

One evening about 9:00pm, 4 of us were in a car returning from having dinner in a local town. We were driving North on the Eastern bank of a river that ran North-South when we all noticed a strobing light near the crest of the hills that formed the Western limit of the river valley. After realizing that the light was not fixed to the ground but was flying around, we decided to get out of the car and try to photograph it. I had a digital camera with a CCD imager and one of the other guys in the car had an SLR film camera and tripod. After 5 or 10 minute of effort, we were able to get near-simultaneous images with both cameras.

An enlargement of one of the photographs. Image

The film camera was set to a 2 seond time exposure and the digital camera was on autoexposure. The film camera caught the strobing effect and was able track the motion of the source, and the digital camera was able to capture a small but true image, which revealed the shape and luminosity of the source. Once again, we had shown you can "do science" on the phenomenon."

For a report on this observation and the images, please click here. 

2006 - NARCAP

Lemke was listed as one of the authors of the National Aviation Reporting Center for Anomalous Phenomena's (NARCAP) 155 page report on the November 7, 2006 O'Hare International Airport observations of an object which as it departed, left a hole in the cloud cover.

2008 - MUFON Symposium talk

At the 39th MUFON International UFO Symposium, which was held in San Jose, California between July 24-27, 2008, Larry Lemke is listed as a speaker.

"Larry Lemke, a San Jose based aerospace engineer who develops space mission projects for NASA said he applied 'the process of science and engineering analysis to UFO reports to uncover their critical aspects.'"

The June 2008 MUFON Journal provides the following summary of his talk.

Larry Lemke in 2008: Image courtesy MUFON Journal June 2008

"Larry Lemke:

Flying Disc Creates a Hole in the Cloud at O'Hare Airport

Larry Lemke will discuss his research on the "Hole In Cloud" phenomenon as exemplified in the Chicago O'Hare International Airport on November 7, 2006 case where airport employees reported seeing a saucer shape object hovering over the airport. He will also discuss a nocturnal light UAP case from Hessdalen, Norway. The Hessdalen case involves three witnesses and two independent photos,that occurred in the summer of 2000. Larry Lemke was director of research for the International Space Sciences Organization. He was one of the witnesses and photographers.

Larry Lemke is a professional aerospace engineer with more than 25 years of experience as a NASA employee developing advanced space mission projects. Prior to working in the space program, he worked as a research assistant on high energy physics experiments on the Stanford Superconducting Linear Accelerator.  He is a licensed pilot. He has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Physics...'

2015 - interview

"Larry Lemke, a retired aerospace engineer and a member of the executive advisory committee of the National Aviation Reporting Centre on Anomalous Phenomena is calling for a thoughful study of the UFO phenomenon. His comments represent only his own opinions, not that of any organizations with which he may be affiliated.

"I think UFO reports represent a substantive puzzle that warrants serious scientific attention without advocating any particular position on what the answers to that puzzle is...whether it is purely psychological, purely physical or some combination ot the two," he told

"Those of us who are old enought to remember the first half of the 'UFO era' have the definite perception that the public discussion of the topic has devolved," Lemke said. "As a society we are collectively stupider on the subject than we were a generation ago."

"There are many reasons for this 'dumbing down,' Lemke said, but one of them is the levelling effect of the Internet. For quite some time now, he said, it had become trivially easy for an individual to misidentify a rocket launch or a space craft re-entry, or to gin up a photoshop hoax and blast it around the world as a "UFO sighting."

"Then everyone 'researching' analyses and comments with all the depth of thought that can fit into a 140-character tweet," Lemke said.

Lemke thinks that the main challenge of 'UFOlogy' has always been to "decipher a small signal amid a large amount of noise."

"What we need to do is, elevate the conversation to the professional research scientist/engineer level," Lemke said. "At the moment, the action on this front appears to be with private groups in France and Chile who have agreed to co-operate in the open investigation of UFOs. I wish them well in  the coming years," he said.

2015 - Kecksburg incident 

In an article about the December 9, 1965 Kecksburg, USA incident, suggesting that the object was in fact a General Electric Mark 2 re-entry vehicle; authored by John Ventre and Owen Ekhler, there is a comment by David Rudiak which reads:

"Larry Lemke, literally a NASA rocket scientist (retired) emailed me with more reasons why the Mark 2 re-entry nose cone literally will, not fly as a possible explanation for Kecksburg. If you read the theories the launch from Johnson Island of a Thor missile (ICBM) took place Dec 7, 1965, but the Kecksburg fireball and event was Dec 9th. This requires that the nose cone became orbital in order to come down two days later. The problem here is that the GE Mark 2 nose cone was designed strictly for the ICBM and sub-orbital missions."

2015 - 3AF/SIGMA2

Lemke is listed as the NARCAP representative for co-operation with 3AF/SIGMA2, a French aerospace organisation, which studies UAP.

2020 - Time travellers

In an article dated January 2020, author Leonard David discusses the time traveller theory for the UFO phenomenon, of Michael Masters, a professor of biological anthropology at Montana Technical University. One of the persons whose views are given, is Larry Lemke. He is cited as saying:

" These UFOs don't seem to be obeying the usual laws of aerodynamics and Newtonian Mechanics..."

Another website has an expanded quote from Lemke:

"The one thing that has become clear over the decades of sightings, if you believe the report, is that thes objects don't seem to obey the usual laws of aerodynamics and Newtonian Mechanics."

Yet another website expanded further:

"Larry Lemke, a retired NASA aerospace engineer with an interest in the UFO phenomenon, finds the prospect of time-travelling visitors from the future intriguing.

"The one thing that has become clear over the decades of sightings, if you believe the reports, is that these objects don't seem to be obeying the usual laws of aerodynamics and Newtonian Mechanics," Lemke said, referring to the relationship, in the natural world, between force, mass and motion.

Toss in for good measure Einstein's theory of general relativity and its consequences, like wormholes and black holes, along with othe exotic physics ideas such as the Alcubierre warp-drive bubble.

"There's a group of thinkers in the field of UFOs that point out that the phenomena reported around some UFOs do, in fact, look exactly like general relativity effects," Lemke said, "Missing time is a very common one." Lemke said that the idea that someone has figured out how to manipulate space-time, on a local scale with a low-energy approach, would explain a lot of things across the UFO phenomenon, including those baffling Tic-Tac shaped objects recently reported by jet-fighter pilots and radar operators. "No matter how much knowledge we have, how much we think we know, there's always some frontier beyond," he said. "And to understand that frontier is getting more and more esoteric."

Monday, May 4, 2020

BAASS wanted to analyse physical evidence

By Marc Cecotti and Keith Basterfield


During our previous research into the activities of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) in South America, we kept hearing accounts of their interest, amongst other things, in physical evidence.


We first looked into one aspect of the BAASS interest, namely the commercial agreement between BAASS and MUFON, specifically that BAASS was engaging MUFON to:

"c...purchase from seller field investigation services and all information and material derived from those services, including but not limited to: Physical evidence...and other material including effects on humans, foliage, trees, soil..."

The MUFON Strike Team for Area Research (STAR) screened all the raw, incoming sighting reports entering the MUFON Case Management System (CMS) database, for cases defined by MUFON as category 2 or 3, for the STAR Impact Project (SIP) to investigate.

An internal MUFON document advised the persons screening these reports, that they were specifically interested in two categories of reports, namely:

Catgory 2, which equates to the Vallee classification system types AN2, FB2, and MA2, CE1. Here, MUFON field investigators were to "...gather physical evidence and send to designated labs for testing."


Category 3, which equates to the Vallee classification system types AN3, AN4, AN5, FB3, FB4, FB5, MA3, MA4 and MA5. Here, MUFON field investigators were to "Gather...physical evidence and send it to designated labs for testing."

So, in summary, in specified cases, physical evidence was to be collected and sent off to designated labs for testing. Nowhere does it state where, or who, the labs were.


How many such STAR physical evidence case were there, where this procedure was followed, and samples sent off to labs? One of the pieces of work undertaken by Keith Basterfield, was to go through the relevant issues of the MUFON Journals, and create an Excel spreadsheet which listed 71 cases designated as STAR reports under the BAASS agreement. Only two such cases mentioned the collection of samples. These cases were:

1. MUFON CMS case number 17780 from Fort Wayne, Indiana. The August 2009 MUFON Journal gave the following information. At 0430 hours on 28 June 2009 a woman reported seeing multiple white orbs and one large red orb in trees around her house. These lights approached her. Small amounts of an unknown liquid fell from the orbs and collected on the glass of her front door. Samples of this unknown liquid were taken by the MUFON investigator next day.

2. MUFON CMS case number 18601 from Mavlverne, New York, dated 8 August 2009. The bedroom of the witness lit up as if by a high powered spotlight. There was no noise. Every leaf on a tree was found to have been "burnt to a crisp." "Waiting lab analysis."


What were the results of the lab analyses in these two case? In short, MUFON did not receive the reasults of any case lab analyses. A reminder here, is that, to be fair to BAASS,  the BAASS/MUFON contract did not state that any feedback would be given back to MUFON.

Phyllis Budinger

One of the cases listed on the Excel spreadsheet was MUFON CMS case number 17125 from Buffalo, Oklahoma, dated 18 May 2009. Scant details in the MUFON Journal only speak of a close encounter with blue/white lights.

It was therefore a surprise to us, when looking through The Black Vault collection of technical analysis reports undertaken by analytical chemist Phyllis Budinger, to find a very detailed report on the Buffalo case.

Technical Service Response Report number UT068 dated 20 January 2010, written by Phyllis Budinger, Frontier Analysis Ltd., revealed that the analysis of soil and grass samples was requested by C J Modlin, MUFON Chief of Investigations; Vicki LeBlanc MUFON, and David MacDonald, Field Investigator MUFON.

Why the samples were sent by MUFON to Frontier Analysis Ltd., independent to both MUFON and BAASS, remains to be ascertained. However, the technical report is a very useful guide to just what analysis, this type of sighting was being subjected to.

What was reported?

At 0030 hours on 18 May 2009, a witness described seeing an object with blue, red and white strobe lights, moving very low near Buffalo. Within 10-15 seconds, the lights seemed to be near a dirt road in front of the witness and slowed down there. The female witness got into a pick-up truck and drove it; and  at this point she felt that the lights were only 150 feet away, and stationary. She believed the lights were on a single object. After a short time driving, she looked back but couldn't see the lights anymore.

At the location where the the lights had been seen, was "...a large portion of grass laid down" which the witness photographed. The MUFON field investigator was on scene on 29 May 2009, when more photographs and measurements were taken. An area of apparent dead grass had three areas where the grass seemed to have been crushed in a swirled pattern. There was no evidence of radiation. Next day, the investigator took some samples of the affected grass and soil, and control samples.

The Budinger report includes photographs of the samples she received on 23 October 2009. A spectrometer was used to obtain infrared spectra. The results were as follows:

Soil - tests by Budinger

* "Infrared analyses detects no difference that can be considered significant between the site soil and control soil."

* "The test shows the magnetic materials at the site soil amount to 14mg/g in the site soil and 11mg/g in the control soil, this analysts feels the values are within statistical error of the test."

* "A test for radiactivity showed none above background."

* "There was also no u/v florescing material."

Grass - tests by Dr. Charles Leitzau

* "No visual abnormalities."

* "Infrared examination of the site grass sample detect no unusual anomalies."

End comment

It would be interesting to know, if there were indeed other case physical evidence analyses among the 71 listed STAR events. A look through the MUFON CMS, by typing in the case number, and reading the long description which the witness provided, failed to find other such cases. However, we do not have access to the full, edited versions of the case files, which mean we cannot be sure, that other such cases were not missed by us. Naturally, it would also be of great value to have access to copies of the full set of 71 STAR SIP final edited case files; copies of the BAASS analyses, and any further investigations undertaken by BAASS.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

BAASS Program managers held meetings in Brazil

An investigation by Marc Cecotti and Keith Basterfield

In our previous articles we reported that investigators and translators from Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) visited Fortaleza and Sobral in the State of Ceará, Brazil, at least on one occasion in May 2009. Thanks to additional witnesses and documents, we have learned that the history of UFO events in Brazil was deemed important enough to send BAASS upper management to Saõ Paulo to meet with several UFO researchers. The purpose of those meetings was to gain more information about the UFO phenomenon in Brazil, to create possible cooperation with research organization, but also, according to those witnesses, to try and discover any technology associated with UFOs for possible spin-offs to Bigelow Aerospace projects.

BAASS managers in Saõ Paulo

Marc Cecotti reached out to Brazilian UFO researcher Edison Boaventura Jr. from Guarujá Ufological Group (GUG). He confirmed that he met two BAASS employees for a few hours in Sao Paulo in May 2009. “I talked to them in a hotel here in the state of São Paulo...” Boaventura recalled. The hotel was later identified as The Holiday Inn Express,  located Rua Doutor Homem de Melo, 1206 in Saõ Paulo. When he was asked who he met, Edison Boaventura Jr. could easily remember the names “They were two representatives of Bigelow Aerospace. Douglas Kurth and James A. Johnson.”

Holiday Inn Express where the meeting with BAASS took place

Douglas Kurth is a retired US Marine Corps F-18 pilot and Squadron Commander, who was a witness to part of the Tic Tac UFO event in November 2004. He was one of the first individuals to join BAASS in December 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. His position is described as "Program manager." Note that BAASS was registered as a Limited Liability Company in January 2008, and was awarded the contract for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) - sponsored Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP) in September 2008.

Source: Kurth's LinkedIn profile

Little is known about James A Johnson, but we had already come across this name. Thanks to Blue Blurry Lines February 2020 article, "The Pentagons UFO Program's Secret Partner" by Curt Collins and Roger Glassel, about the MUFON/BAASS contract, we knew that James Johnson was in a managerial position at BAASS. "A formal slide presentation to the MUFON Board explained the relationships and responsibilitie and named both organizations management teams as of April 2009. For MUFON they were Richard Lang, James Carrion, Jan Harzan and Chuck Modlin. For BAASS they were Colm Kelleher, Douglas Kurth and James Johnson."
Boaventura met Kurth and Johnson at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on May 29th, 2009 along with UFO researcher Josef Prado, who translated the discussions. Two other researchers, Milton Dino Frank Jr. and Mário César Mancinelli, also met both Americans on the same evening. This was on the exact same day that the BAASS four-people team led by Loran Huffman was attending the CSPU monthly meeting more than 3000 kilometers away in Sobral, State of Ceará, as we reported in our previous article. The purpose of the meeting in Saõ Paulo was then described by Boaventura “They were interested in UFO cases, metamaterials and wanted me to supply them. I later learned they also went in the northeast of Brazil doing research with people who saw UFOs and were also attacked. They went for example in the state of Ceará.”

BAASS program manager Douglas Kurth, Josef Prado, Edison Boaventura Jr. and BAASS manager James A Johnson. Credit Edison Boaventura

Regarding the physical evidence BAASS was trying to obtain, Boaventura said : “[They were interested in] the fragments of any UFO... We had several cases of crashes with fragments... For example, the case of the UFO explosion in Ubatuba, state of Saõ Paulo in 1957, among other cases.” Edison Boaventura had those alleged UFO crash fragments tested in 2017. ( Most of the discussions regarding metamaterial happened during subsequent phone calls, which we’ll expose later in the article.

Boaventura did not know about the US government-sponsored operation. “They didn't tell [they were working on a government contract]... Just said they were BAASS employees.” The other Brazilian ufologist concurred; none were aware of the BAASS ties with the US government.

Regarding any another contact with BAASS, Boaventura said “I never saw them again... They only called me from the United States a couple of times and then never contacted me again.”

Josef Prado, who attended the meeting along Edison Boaventura, gave a similar statement “Basically they were interested in photographic evidence or footage that could give clues about the UFO propulsion system. According to them, BAASS was developing space propulsion technologies and were trying to understand what kind of technology UFOs used to exploit it.”

According to Prado, they explained how they could use pictures to gain information. “Example: if in the photo or footage they could observe halos of a specific color, they could then speculate on the possibility of ionized fields, electromagnetism, etc… But we can sum up the conversation like this: to try and find information about the propulsion systems. How to do reverse engineering without having the technology in hand, but exploring the evidence. But I remember well that they were very interested in the photos where it was possible to see the halos around the UFOs.”

Both Kurth and Johnson didn’t share much information, and they didn’t give any much indication about their next destination. “The meeting was in a simple, discreet hotel, and they booked a meeting room to welcome us. They were very objective and didn't stay in conversation beyond what they were looking for. They gave us a card and said that if we had more information or evidence, we could contact them.”

Asked about the overall impression Kurth and Johnson left on him, and if both men had any knowledge about ufology in general, Prado said “Honestly, with all those questions about the propulsion systems, it looked to me that they were just representing Bigelow’s interest. But it seemed to me that they were a little afraid to tie Bigelow to this visit with ufologists in Brazil. You know how that can turn out to be easy sensationalism.”

It is noteworthy that Jãnder Torres already mentioned BAASS' great interest in propulsion system when he met the 4-people team in Sobral on the same day, as we reported in our last article. “The only thing they really wanted to know was about the propulsion systems” Jãnder Tôrres recalled.

Marc Cecotti was able to have an online conversation with the other ufologist who also attended the meeting, Milton Dino Frank Jr. He confirmed meeting Kurth and Johnson at the Holiday Inn Express in Saõ Paulo, on May 29th 2009. He explained “I talked to them for an hour and thirty minutes and that was it. At the time I had a big ufology website. They reached out to me through the site. I didn't pay much attention to them. And I don't have any contact with them either. I never talked to them again, much less followed what they did here.” 

BAASS program manager James A Johnson, Milton Dino Frank, Mario Cesar Mancinelli, and BAASS program manager Douglas Kurth. Credit Edison Boaventura

Then, he explained how the meeting went “They asked me about the Varginha UFO case, Operation Prato, Official UFO night and other cases that I can't remember. Edison Boaventura was with me at the hotel the same day. […] After I talked to them about these cases, I took a plane and went to my home in Rio de Janeiro. It was no big deal. I explained what I had read about these cases since I had not personally researched any of them. Edison Boaventura also gave his opinion about these cases. So it was just an informal conversation, where nothing was recorded and much less documented. It was a bar conversation.”

Mário César Mancinelli, of the Centro de Ufologia Brasileiro(CUB) came at the meeting with Milton Frank. Here are his recollections “There was me, Milton, two guys from another organization [Boaventura and Prado] and the guys from Bigelow. And we were talking about Brazilian UFO cases. Then, when the guys from the other organization left, I asked them what exactly they were looking for. What they wanted with us. And the answer was Extreme technology. I said we don't have it. If we had, we would have called the press and proved once and for all that ETs visit us, since a scientific proof of that doesn't exist yet. Then I told them what I used to say to the craziest people in the old CUB group, that to do that, they'd have to take one down !”

Marc Cecotti then asked Boaventura how they reached out him for the meeting in Saõ Paulo “[They reached out to me] by telephone and email” Boaventura said and he added “I still have their business cards, some pictures and email correspondence.” Thanks to this we were able to have more insight into BAASS operations in Brazil. And what was written in those emails brought additional evidence regarding BAASS intentions.

BAASS business cards for Douglas Kurth and James A. Johnson. Credit Edison Boaventura Jr. 

The emails

Edison Boaventura retrieved email conversations he had with BAASS managers before and after their meeting in Saõ Paulo on May 29th, 2009.

The first email written by Douglas Kurth reads: "Sr. Edison Boaventura Juniuor, BAASS would like to come to Brazil and meet face-to-face with you to discuss information about this very important topic of Ufology. We are arranging this trip to meet with yourself and a few other prominent Ufologists in Brazil. We would like to inform you of the missions and goals of BAASS. And we would like to learn about your organization - whatever you are comfortable discussing. The intent is for a very informal meeting and informal discussion. We would like you to get to know us and set the foundation for information flow between our organizations, where necessary in the future [...] BAASS is planning to bring three people:

Douglas Kurth - Program manager
Jim Johnson - Chief Investigator
Luke Gornichec - Portuguese-English translator.

Travel and meeting arrangements are discussed, including a delay due to visa considerations. "We have had to delay our trip because of Brazilian visa considerations. We will now be in Sao Paulo and available to meet from May 26th through May 30th.

Boaventura agrees to meet with BAASS officials and offers to show BAASS some interesting files. "If you are interested, we intend to send and show you some original Brazilian Air Force Documents, related to the UFO research they made in our country in the past among other materials." Kurth replies that "We are confirmed at the Holiday Inn Express [...] We will have two people from BAASS, myself and Mr Jim Johnson, Chief Investigator. I believe Mr. Milton Dino Frank Jr will also meet with us that evening. It should be a great opportunity to get to know each other."

The two-man team, Kurth and Johnson, is consistent with the evidence we gathered. Gornichec who was initially supposed to be in Sao Paulo, was instead attending the CSPU meeting in Sobral, 3000 km away with the other BAASS team on the same day. 

Following up

After this informal meeting in Sao Paulo in May 2009, Douglas Kurth sent a follow-up email to Edison Boaventura on August 14th, 2009. Of the four people who met the BAASS represntatives at the Holiday Inn, only he was contacted again.

The email, written by Douglas Kurth on August 12th 2009, reads "Edison, when we had our face-to-face meeting in Sao Paulo, you stated that you had several pieces of physical evidence associated with UFO cases that you have investigated. In fact, you showed us some pictures of various pieces of evidence. We at BAASS are very interestd in cases that involve physical evidence. If you are available, we would like to call you this Friday, August 14 to listen to the stories of your physical evidence cases."

Edison Boaventura remembered this phone call. "Yes, we talked twice over the phone and talked about cases of metamaterials, 3 fragments of UFOs, such as the Ubatuba UFO explosion, the case at Campinas, among other cases involving physical materials. They were interested in scientific reports on these materials and fragments of UFOs."

Then he added “I did not give any material that I had, because they did not want to pay any amount for them... I told them to help our research with financial sponsorship, but they did not accept the proposal... I knew that they already helped MUFON in the United States with a value in cash and monthly. They were looking for UFO materials in Brazil to use in experiments at Bigelow Aerospace. They said they would study these materials for use in space travel and in the future construction of hotels on the Moon to make space tourism ... They were interested to use the UFO materials on their Bigelow Aerospace spaceship.”

But Boaventura explained that those few phone calls in 2009 were the last time he heard of BAASS, and he never provided them with metamaterials or UFO-related documents. All the other people from South America we interviewed during this investigation stopped receiving emails from BAASS in the Fall of 2009.


All those testimonies and available evidence show a consistency of BAASS objectives, to create some kind of cooperation with research organizations; to acquire as much information as possible about UFO cases; to obtain physical evidence (metamaterial or implants are mentioned in correspondence), but discover possible UFO-related technology. This last point sounds somewhat naïve, and we asked ourselves in the course of this investigation if this wasn’t just a way to justify Bigelow Aerospace involvement in UFO investigation and to better conceal the US government-sponsored program.

Either Robert Bigelow was using BAASS to do his own private study of the UFO phenomenon, and the AAWSAP contract only funded the 38 DIRDs, or the secret purpose of this contract was to investigate UFO on behalf of the Federal Government, on US soil and overseas. If the latter hypothesis is true, and this is what Senator Harry Reid affirmed on several occasions, the correspondence and testimonies we and other researchers were able to obtain make it hard to deny that this whole US government-sponsored program was nothing but a large-scale UFO research and evidence collection program, despite repeated official statements of Pentagon spokespeople. In any case, Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, with 50 employees and a 22-million dollar budget over a 3-year period, must have produced large amounts of records. We know only about the 38 DIRDs and the famous, but undisclosed 494-page “10-month report,” that means a lot remain to be discovered.

Friday, April 24, 2020

BAASS in Brazil - emails and more

Marc Cecotti and Keith Basterfield

In our last article about BAASS and Brazil, we revealed that a team of four investigators came to Fortaleza and Sobral, in the Ceará region, to meet local UFO research groups; collect information, and records.

Since that last article, Jãnder Tôrres, a member of CSPU in Sobral, Ceará reached out to Marc Cecotti. His testimony and the evidence he supplied give us a valuable insight, about the objectives and interest, of BAASS in Brazil and South America.

A meeting in Sobral, Ceará, Brazil

Asked how BAASS reached out to CSPU, a member of the group previously told us: “A friend received a call from these people and they just asked to attend one of our monthly meetings and they wanted to know if we already had any information about the UFO propulsion system.”

Shortly before our last article was published, Jãnder Tôrres contacted Marc Cecotti to offer additional information. Tôrres is a 45-year old college professor and researcher with a PhD in Public Health. He has always been interested in the UFO phenomenon, and mysteries, and has been a member of CSPU for more than 20 years.

He recalls that the group had been informed that a team of Americans were coming to Sobral to attend the CSPU monthly meeting. The team was composed of Melissa Godoy, Loran Huffman, Lucas Gornichec and Timothy Koonce. They introduced themselves as member of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Systems. Huffman said he was a former Federal Agent.

BAASS investigators at CSPU monthly meeting, May 2009.
Credit : Hélio Loyola

“They came here, and they asked questions about the [UFO] propulsion systems. The only thing they really wanted to know was about the propulsion systems.” Jãnder Tôrres recalls. “At that time, Sobral and the Ceará region had a lot of UFO sightings cases and we wrote a lot of case files about those sightings. We talked and told them about all those cases, about the sightings reports and witness testimonies. At that time, we had about 12 to 13 cases at that time in the area. But once again, they really wanted to know about the propulsion systems. The reports we had were of UFOs close to watery area, lakes, rivers.”

After the meeting, a short video interview was recorded. Then, CSPU and BAASS went to a local restaurant for dinner. They didn’t say anything about their next destination.

Exchanging emails

In the following months, an online correspondence started between Jãnder Tôrres and Melissa Godoy. His recollection is that a total of 4 or 5 emails were exchanged over a couple of months. Each email is shown as two images, which means there is some duplication in words shown. 

Here is the English translation:
“Hey, Jander,

Thanks for the compliment! I confess I had help, but I am learning more and more Portuguese by corresponding with you. Your English is impressive. Next time, we'll write in Spanish.

1. I think it's interesting that you're holding the National Seminar. Besides Dr Choy, you're going to invite but someone? What did you mean by "join recourse"? When will this happen? Please send me news of your progress.

2. Have you thought about taking an x-ray of the boy? This might be cheaper than an MRI, maybe more limited, but it's enough to figure out an implant chip. You can do the expensive tests after the CSPU has conditions.

3. That's a very interesting case. Right now we're very interested in any case, new or historic, that has physical evidence. (like spacecraft fragments) Any information of this nature would be of great help to us.

4. Do you have any knowledge of Operation Prato? We are doing our own research and any information (witnesses, documents, etc.) that you can give us would be very useful for us.

Jander, don't worry your English is very good! Please say hello to Jacinto and everyone at the CSPU for us! I told Tim and Loran about your Jiu-Jitsu training, and your desire to watch "spider" silva. Let us know when you intend to visit! I'd like to take a little walk with you. A hug from all of us!
Talk to you soon!”

Then, another email. Jãnder’s replies to the initial mail are in red, and new comments by Godoy in black. There is some confusion in numbering in the original email. 

Hi, Jander,

Same with you, always a pleasure! I share your philosophy of languages because for me it has always been a very important subject, where you always learn something. But let me tell you that your Spanish is also impressive!

1. Today, Friday, 28/08/2009, we have a CSPU meeting, where we are going to make a strategy plan for the seminar. "Join recourse" means that we still do not have financial resources, "money", but there is an idea to ask for support from institutions. Other information, only after today's meeting.

Please let me know if there are any new developments in relation to this seminar. Any information about this event interests me. When will this event take place? Where? Who will be invited?

2. In all honesty, it wasn't something we thought. I'm going to talk to Jacinto and the group about the idea of making an X-Ray.

Well, there's only one thing to consider if you're afraid to look into it.

4. We are also interested in cases like this. With physical evidence, we have only one case in Mulungu, which I had already spoken about, but without any fragility, only plants that were burned.

Well, these seem to be the most difficult cases to find, even if it is a region with that big UFO flap. Let me know the results when you conduct your investigation. This case gives me a lot of information about the case of Itatira at the beginning of this year.

5. Every good Brazilian ufologist has to know about Operation Prato, with Colonel Urangê. In 2003, I was in Rio de Janeiro, where I was doing my post-graduation, and was introduced to a man who spoke that I claim to have known Colonel Urange, shortly before his death, who some say was a murderer, not a suicide. He said that the Colonel had concrete evidence of the existence of ships, such as photos and videos, but they were all from the Brazilian army. A lot of other things this case has. I have access to documents and if you are interested I can send you a DVD.

How do you know who the people were in Rio de Janeiro? Yes, I would very much like to receive any information you can send me about this case, especially if you have the contact information of any of the military who were involved in this case. You can send the dvd to the following address:
ATTN : Melissa Godoy
4640 S. Eastern Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89119.

Messages to Argentina and Australia

In December 2019, Andrea Simondini from Vision OVNI, a UFO research group based in Victoria, Argentina, had reached out to Keith Basterfield to offer new information. "I don't remember the year, but on behalf of BAASS we contacted our team, Mrs Melissa Godoy. She wanted that from Argentina, we would inform about objects falling from the sky, cases of UAPs and power plants and nuclear power plants.

In return we were offered to train our researchers and finance the work. After that, he never communicated again and we received an email from BAASS that she now longer worked. I think it was in that year."

Marc Cecotti contacted Andrea Simondini a few weeks ago regarding this email. Andrea explained “[…] The one [email] we received was for presentation first, that is, it was Bigelow and what they did.  They asked us about a particular case that we had investigated in the province of Salta, the "Anta Case".  After that, when I explained to them about the case and our team and investigations, they sent us another email, it was always Melisa Godoy, who offered us to train our investigators, finance investigations, analyzes and research instruments.”

Australian researcher Bill Chalker recently posted a blog about the email he received from BAASS’s Colm Kelleher in March 2010. Kelleher was requesting information about UFO research in Australia, especially access to public databases and copies of case files. He also mentioned “Finally we would love to hear of any cases in Australia or China that have physical evidence (including trace evidence) associated with them.”

The tale of the 38 DIRDs

Thanks to the great work of many researchers, BAASS interest in UFOs is now indisputable. It is obvious that this organization, sponsored by the DIA, was after any kind of information it could obtain. The MUFON-BAASS contract was only a part of a much wider effort to find witnesses and documents, but also physical evidence like “spacecraft fragments” or even “implants”. In some cases, financial support and training were offered to UFO research groups. Despite an official statement by the DIA that “all products produced under the AATIP contract” were the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents, our recent investigation proves with undeniable evidence that the sole contractor for the 22-million dollars AAWSAP/AATIP program was definitely doing more than subcontracting technical reports. We will provide additional evidence in our next article.

The Bigelow Foundation - UAP, abductions and more

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