Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Bigelow Foundation; NIDS, crop circles and Chad Deetken

 I have previously written a number of blog posts about aspects of the Bigelow Foundation, namely:

22 November 2018. "The Bigelow Foundation and Angela Thompson Smith." A reference in John B. Alexander's 2017 book, "Reality Denied" revealed that an individual, Alexander named as Angela Thompson, had undertaken work at the Bigelow Foundation.

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

 I reviewed the career of Angela Thompson Smith and found out information about the Foundation.

"The Foundation carried out multiple projects including follow-ups to the Bigelow funded Roper Report on Unusual Personal Experience; seminars on alternative health and collaborative research in Las Vegas, central Nevada and Alabama; research assistance to researchers such as Budd Hopkins in New York, and a radio show Area 2000: the fore runner to Art Bell's Coast to Coast program. Area 2000 featured many experts from the fields of ufology, alternative health, alternative energy and parapsychology and ran through early 1994."

22 May 2020. "The Bigelow Foundation - UAPs and more." Angela Thompson Smith was kind enough to send me a report on her time working for the Bigelow Foundation. She conducted field investigations in the areas of UAP sightings; cattle mutilations; and at one stage worked, for a short period of time, with Budd Hopkins. She also worked on the radio show called "Area 2000," a precursor to the Art Bell show. Although she mentions that Bigelow was interested in crop circles, her report doesn't mention any personal investigations of these, during the period she worked for the Bigelow Foundation. 

22 November 2020. "The UFO/Abduction collection of Angela Thompson Smith." After being contacted by U.S.  researcher Louis Taylor, who advised me that he had an inventory of UAP/abduction material which Smith had sold on ebay in 2002, I posted about the contents of the five boxes of material, including a number of episodes of "Area 2000." In box E there was mention of "Report of visit to Fyffe, Alabama, March 1993, by Angela Thompson: Abductions, crop circles, cattle mutilations." I was unable to locate such a report online. 

Chad Deetken

I first came across the name Chad Deetken, when reading Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume IV," where there was an entry dated 31 March 1996. Vallee was in Las Vegas at a meeting of the Science Advisory Board (SAB) for the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS.) 

"Bigelow has an interest in Puerto Rico where he has sent a scout, Chad Deetken, researching crop circles and mutilations."

I found an online report by Chad Deetken, about his seven day, March 1996, trip to Puerto Rico. However, this was about his investigation of the "chupacabra" - "goatsucker" creature reports.  In his 2001 book "Unearthly Disclosure" English researcher Timothy Good, also reported on Deetken's 1996 visit; related details of the chupacabra research, and states that Deetken conducted an investigation of the mutilation of three goats. 

I turned to the Vallee book's index and looked up other references to Deetken. I found a second entry dated 18 October 1997, again while Vallee was in Las Vegas for a NIDS meeting. 

"There was an incident at the ranch on 28 August about 2am when Chad Deetken and Terry Sherman saw a light from the ridge. Chad saw a glow and his photos show nothing, but Terry observed a ring of light opening up above the ground and a black creature emerging from it. Going to the site later they found no tracks..."

There was a third entry, again dated 18 October 1997:

"Chad Deetken gave an impassioned, but unscientific description of the English crop circles around Alton Barn and Silberry Hill. He discounted the hoax hypothesis." 

Area 2000

When reading through the inventory of the Smith UAP/abduction collection I noted that there was a list of twenty six episodes of shows from "Area 2000." One of these featured Art Bell interviewing Chad Deetken. Some time went by, and I then saw a Tweet by journalist Giuliano Marinkovic that he had acquired audio copies of 12 episodes of the show. I inquired of him as to whether or not, he had the one featuring Deetken? As luck would have it, he did, and soon a copy came my way. I listened intently to the show coming across the years. 

Deetken revealed that he first became interested in the topic of crop circles in 1990 after watching an episode of the show "Unsolved Mysteries" which featured crop circles. At that point, he said he had no more interest in the topic of UFOs than the average person. However, he said he realized immediately that there was something odd going on. He went on to investigate crop circles in Canada and England. He did not think that hoaxes accounted for many of the circles, and discussed his interactions with such crop circle researchers as Colin Andrews; Pat Delgardo; George Wingfield; Linda Howe and others. 

He recounted details of his research, and that of others, describing why he thought that crop circles deserved attention. He thought that there was a loose connection with the UFO phenomenon. His comments included some about the work of Dr. Levengood in the U.S.A. who examined soil and crop samples brought back from England. Deetken said that Levengood's work showed that some of the effects to crops could be replicated by using microwave energy. However, his own view was more inclined to say that he felt there was an intelligence at work, which was not human intelligence. He stated that it was very obvious that the intelligence did not want to be seen. 

Deetken also mentioned  a 1992 crop circles Project called Project Argus - which Deetken stated took place in England. According to Deetken, it was funded mainly by the Bigelow Foundation and involved two to three dozen people, half of them scientists. 

I went on to try and locate other material about Deetken and his work. In a 2014 publication I found:

"In 1992, Deetken was invited to go to the stone monuments of Avebury in South Central England. Part of an investigative team, Deetken visited every year, but has given up going." Noting that hoaxing had become a part of the crop circle scene, the paper went on to say "...Las Vegas billionaire who invited Deetken to work for his National Institute for Discovery Science has since quit funding research in England."

Project Argus

As this would appear to be the same Project Argus, I looked up exactly what this had been, and what it had achieved. One website I located  which had posts from 2018, was written by Kobus Nieuwmeijer, who self reported that they were a member of the 1992 Project Argus team:

"I joined the Argus team in 1992 and conducted Magnetic, Susceptibility and gradiometry surveys of crop circles. I have a background in Geophysics (Argeology), environmental sustainability and business development, with more than 15 years of humanitarian, development and management experience across Africa, Europe the Middle East and Pacific Asia. I was born and brought up in Southern Africa. I lived in Ireland and UK in the 80's and 90's and currently live and work as Therapist in Switzerland."

 Nieuwmeijer's site provided a copy of the 119 page report on Project Argus, which was titled "Report on the Results of Project Argus: An Instrumented Study of the Physical Materials of Crop Circles." The report was written by members of the Project, and edited by Michael Chorost.

"The Project's goal was to learn if some crop circles exhibited physical effects which would be difficult, if not impossible, to generate by casual human activity."

"Project Argus was a joint effort initiated mainly by two organizations, the North American Circle (NAC) and the Center for Crop Circle Studies (CCCS)...The CCCS gave the project 2,000 pounds as seed money...and a fundraising by the NAC brought the total funds to over $34,000 by May 1992." 

An array of scientific equipment was utilized and included:

"* Electron microscopy to examine plant cell walls for evidence of unusual physical stresses or heat related damage

* Gamma spectroscopy to examine soil for short lived radioactive isotopes

* Gel electrophoresis to examine plant DNA for evidence of denaturation

* Fluxgate magnetometry to assess magnetic variations in soil

* Studies of plant cell tissue to assess the effects of the flattening force on the plants

* Seed germination trials to test growth rates of seeds harvested within crop formations

* A scintillation counter and Geiger counter to detect abnormally high levels of ambient radiation

* Various electromagnetic field detectors."

What was the overall result? 

" Project Argus has not, at this writing, found the "smoking gun" clearly showing that some crop circles are not the product of human activity. But it has ruled out several previously held hypotheses and, potentially more importantly, discovered some apparent regularities which seem well worth following up..."

Chad Deetken presented a section of the report (pp46-59) titled "Analysis and Comparisons of Crop Lays in British and Canadian Crop Circles." 

Appendix 9 shows the expenses for the project, plus the incoming "contributions." On the contributions side there are nine individual amounts shown; namely: $3,383.23; $4,643.96; $20,000; $1,000; $2,000; $2,500; $50; $100; $500 a total of $34,177.19. There are no names of the "donors." However, it is stated that the CCCS gave 2,000 pounds which in 1992 was worth a value of about $3,400. In the acknowledgments section of appendix 12, there is the following:

"The authors thank Robert Bigelow for his generous financial support of this project."

Elsewhere, (p.68) there is also:

"In addition, the project received generous contributions from the Robert Bigelow Holding Corporation...One donor in particular deserves special thanks: Robert Bigelow. This individual not only supported our work, but also helped arrange the cooperation of a major university , whose faculty gave us valuable advice and contributed one of their members to perform experiments..." 

Looking through the roster of individuals who worked on the Project, as shown on page 92, it would appear that the individual from a major university would have been Dr. Ernest Peck, University of Nevada - Las Vegas.  His section of the Argus report centered around work using gamma ray spectroscopy. Appendix 12 showed that the work had been undertaken by Peck; Vernon F. Hodge and Ashok K. Singh, all from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas.  

Moving on to 1997

I noted another entry in Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume Four" for 9 March 1997. Referring to NIDS there is a statement:

"Through the Institute, Bob Bigelow is channeling money to...(9) a crop circle study, run by Kit and Kristin with Kelleher and Deetken..."

Kit would refer to Christopher "Kit" Green; and Kristin, to Green's life partner, Kristin B. Zimmerman. Dr. Colm Kelleher was employed at NIDS. 

I wondered what interest Kit Green had in crop circles, so went back to Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume Four" and checked the index for references to "crop circles." In an entry dated 12 June 1991, Vallee met with Richard D'Amato, then met with Kit Green. The reference below, refers to Green:

"We spent the rest of the time talking about crop circles. There is a Government Enigma group that checks with botanists. To Kit's surprise, none of them had heard of the phenomenon. I told him about the French finding that the British were experimenting with beam weapon calibration from low-observable dirigibles."

Later, in an entry dated 12 June 1993, Green and Vallee spoke again about crop circles.

"Then what do you think the crop circles are?" I insisted. 

"Infrared and microwaves combined, as you once showed me. The guys at the Department of Agriculture have chambers where they've begun experiments of their own. I've satisfied myself that it was physically possible to do it, at least with hydrated grain. Some engineers over there in England are having some fun."

Do we have any idea what interest Robert Bigelow had in crop circles? Again, Vallee is an indispensable source of information. On 11 June 1992, Vallee dined with Robert Bigelow in New Jersey. Vallee's diary records, of Bigelow:

"He believes in Roswell and crop circles but doubts Meier."

On 7 January 1996, Vallee records details of a telephone conversation with Bigelow. Among the topics discussed was ongoing research. Vallee cites Bigelow as saying:

"We've only had a one-time exploratory trip to see Colin Andrews. He claimed to have photos and all kinds of data about crop circles, but it was disappointing. 13 years of stuff kept in a hodge-podge way, not segregated. What's odd is that Colin himself said 90% of all circles after 1989 were fakes. Well, most of what he's collected came in the last six years, so why should we be interested?"

"Who went there with you?"

"There was John Alexander, George Knapp, Dean Judd, and Pete McDuff. The contract would have been through the Bigelow Foundation."

I found a confirmation by Colin Andrews on his website Speaking of John B. Alexander, Andrews said:

"I have been invited and attended meetings with him and Robert Bigelow, the only private owner of a space station, in their National Institute for Discovery Science offices, which Bigelow owns. John Alexander, Robert Bigelow, George Knapp, Colm Kelleher and one other unknown flew by private jet to New Haven, Connecticut to view my database some years ago."

Finally, in an entry dated 4 August 1996, following a NIDS SAB meeting, Vallee wrote:

"Staffing was considered next. Additions include...Dr. Colm Kelleher, a biochemist from Ireland, has already spent time in England for Bigelow, studying crop circles."

Using the Internet Wayback Machine, I looked at the now defunct NIDS website, but found no reference to a study of crop circles by Green et al. I would appreciate hearing from any blog reader who may have come across this study. However, on that now defunct NIDS website, I did find an undated paper by Vallee titled "Crop Circles: "Signs" From Above or Human Artefacts?"  In this paper he visits the idea of the cause of the formations being directed energy from a hovering stealth dirigible, as per his 12 June 1991 diary entry discussion with Kit Green. 

In conclusion, my series of posts about Robert Bigelow's Bigelow Foundation; shows that he was interested in a diverse range of paranormal related phenomena.

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