Interview conducted by Jaime Ortega.
Thomas Eddie Bullard. PhD.
He contributed several articles for the Abduction Study Conference held at MIT in 1992. One such article, treating a comparison of abduction investigators’ findings, he later expanded into “The Sympathetic Ear”, published by the Fund for UFO Research in 1995. He contributed to other research.
1)How many credible scientist are investigating the UFO phenomena?
I am not aware of any scientist active in researching UFOs within a university or other “official” context today. David Jacobs (a historian) did teach at Temple University before his retirement; Leo Sprinkle (psychologist) retired from U of Wyoming; John Mack (psychiatrist, deceased) at Harvard. These three were involved with abduction research. David Pritchard, an MIT physicist, did some UFO research on his own time during the 1990’s but has not continued so far as I know. Bruce Maccabee, an optical physicist working for the Navy, has done extensive UFO research but again on his own time and dime, and posts important studies on the Internet. Richard F. Haines, a retired NASA research scientist, and other associates with scientific/ engineering backgrounds operate the National Aviation Reporting Center on Aerial Phenomena (NARCAP), which carries out technically sophisticated analyses of unusual aerial phenomena reported by pilots (available on website). Robert Bigelow financed the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) that employed scientists to investigate anomalous phenomena, but he closed the organization in 2004 and the Internet articles seem to have disappeared.
2) A lot of people have observed lights floating in the sky, some shaped like lines and dots; others proclaim to have observed unknown aircraft flying around visible sight – the government calls them black projects. Are such sightings real?
People have reported UFOs in just about every imaginable configuration, from formless blobs to complex machines. The classic disk or saucer shape has been common since 1947 and continues to be; triangular or V-shaped objects have grown more common over the past 30 years or so. MUFON posts a monthly breakdown of the various shapes reported and shows that these two classes dominate, but other simple geometries are present as well. Some descriptions of structured craft could reflect observations of military aircraft, some secret, others not secret but not recognized for what they were. The human imagination is also notorious for structuring ambiguous stimuli into seemingly otherworldly craft–for instance the Phoenix Lights of 1997 were very probably the lights on a V-formation of military aircraft, but while some witnesses saw the lights as just a flight of lights, other witnesses saw the lights attached to a giant V-shaped dark body. The short answer is most sightings consist of a visual stimulus. They are real in this sense. Whether those sightings add imaginative structure or report structure that was also a part of the stimulus, this is the important question, and a much more difficult one to answer.
3) In 2012 Kelton Research conducted a survey commissioned by National Geographic that showed that one out of ten Americans had personally witnesses a UFO. Many cases are observed all over the world. Do people that observe these crafts, are they delusional? Do they suffer from any mental condition?
UFO witnesses seem to be a cross-section of society and as far as psychological testing of them, such as the MMPI, they appear to be perfectly normal people. That is, they are a normal group, with as many eccentric, fantasy-prone, or other uncommon traits as any other random sample would have. There’s no reason to think anything is unusual about UFO witnesses in general, but no reason to think they are any better as observers or reporters on the whole than anyone else.
4) Area 51 in Nevada, nicknamed Dreamland is it really an installation run by government. How many are they?
To my knowledge Area 51 is a secretive military test facility. I do not know if there are others of its kind.
5) Is there a difference between UFOs and military aircraft? (floating light vs physical powered object)
Efforts to explain UFOs as high-flying military spy aircraft or experimental vehicles have circulated from time to time. Some specific UFO cases have been explained as due to military aircraft, maneuvers, etc. Both are probably true sometimes but not in others. Things reported as UFOs encompass a variety of causes–astronomical, meteorological, man-made, and maybe even some anomalous phenomena. Ufologists have admitted that most reports–80%, 90%, 95%, 97%–have conventional explanations, whereas only the quality remainder holds genuine interest.
6) We know the universe is not infinite because it continues to expand at a greater speed than light. Astronomers have plotted the dimensions of the universe composed of 4% matter, and the remaining hypothetical dark energy and dark matter. The theory of evolution holds grown in the mainstream scientific community, but mathematically wise, what are the chances of evolution occurring in other galaxies?
Evolution is a process. It happens wherever life emerges. The known elements number a little over 100 and they are the same throughout the known universe. Only a few of these elements are really common–hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen–and they are also key building-blocks for life. Carbon is the basic element of life; it can form complex structures, link with other elements and form DNA, a molecule capable of carrying the biological “information” and duplicating to build more molecules like itself. Evolution is the changes that takes place in these molecules as they organize into organisms and adapt to their environment. Wherever the right elements and conditions exist, in this galaxy or any other, we should expect to find life and evolution in progress.
7) SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) has never received radio signals from outer-space that support the idea that life exist outside of planet earth. Do we have any hard evidence to back the existence of UFOs or is it based on highly speculative assumptions?
Listening for radio signals may be the equivalent of listening for talking drums in a universe where most civilizations have left drums far behind. The hard science to back UFOs as visitors from other worlds or anything anomalous does not exist, not in the sense of evidence that a consensus of scientists accepts. Little short of undeniable alien technology or biology would provide that level of acceptance. On the other hand there is some evidence from quality witnesses, radar, traces, and the like that would be more than enough to get you hanged in a court of law, but still not enough for scientific approval.
8) There are a few problems with the ETH (extraterrestrial theory). Physics shows it is impossible for any mass composed by atoms to reach the speed of light (186.000 miles per second). Even if they reached SL travel, coming from another galaxy would take them at least two million years to get to planet earth —- the closest star system Alpha Centaury is 4.5 LY from earth and there is no evidence of life there– strangely most UFO’s observed are small and not massive showing different forms and shapes. Some estimates indicate that a space ship carrying ten people travelling five LY’s from a nearby star at almost the speed of light would use up 500.000 times the total amount of energy consumed in the US in one year; also, an equal amount of energy would be consumed just in slowing down the spacecraft from the incredible speed at which it was travelling – for larger craft like the massive spacecraft shown in the movie Independence Day, it would use an staggering amount of energy. But physicist contend that to accelerate to the actual SL it is impossible because it would require infinite energy. Also changing direction in speed at such high speeds could obliterate any spacecraft given the amount of energy required to change direction while moving. Another problem is that reaching great travel speed in space would be very dangerous. It has been estimated that there are 100.000 dust particles per-cubic meter in space. Travelling at SL, an impact with even one of these tiny dust particles would destroy a spaceship – at one-tenth the speed of light, the impact would be equal to an explosion of almost ten tons of TNT. The last problem encountered, is that if these aliens have biological bodies, in space they would be exposed by extreme heat and freezing conditions – not to mention exposure to Gamma Rays, and Cosmic Rays constantly travelling through space which could instantly kill any biological organism. So with all the examples given above, what is the likelihood of UFO’s to be of extraterrestrial origin?
The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis does indeed pose some daunting challenges. Travel by means of accelerating mass by an expenditure of energy seems to have a nature-enforced speed limit that cannot be broken and becomes counterproductive as the need for energy increases exponentially. Perhaps there are ways to get from here to there without needing to “travel” in the brute sense. Bending space, quantum entanglement–we hear these ideas mentioned these days. I do not claim to understand how feasible they may be, but I mention them as reminders that we have not learned every possibility in the universe and some day other possibilities may befall us, and may already be available to other more advanced species. Another fallback is the slow-boat way of interstellar travel–a colony traveling at relatively slow speed with generations living within a hollowed-out asteroid, or in suspended animation, or half-robotic, half -organic beings able to endure thousands of years in space. It’s no way to visit another galaxy, but a possible way to reach neighboring stars and there are a number of them within a hundred light years. At least visitors from another star are not entirely out of the question.
9) Some ufologist claim that many objects observed travelling in the sky violate the laws of known physics. Objects that reach speeds of 50,000 MPH. Some objects suddenly make 90 degree turns in mid-air travelling nearly at 25,000 MPH. These object make no physical noise, and unlike aircraft or known space craft, make no sonic booms. Most of the objects cannot be picked up by radar, but some have. Sometimes show up on photographs, but other times do not. Many change colors many times only when accelerating, with virtually every color of the spectrum reported. Many times UFO’s instantly appear and disappear in front of people and they will pass through physical objects; people have also observed multiple UFO’s merged with other UFO’s, and into one UFO, and one UFO turn into many UFOs. What is your take on this?
A lot of very strange properties are associated with UFOs. Many of these oddities can be dismissed as mistakes and faults of observation, but there remains a body of seemingly “paraphysical” characteristics among UFO reports. Some ufologists have embraced the strangeness and interpreted it as evidence that UFOs are not machines, at least not all the time. Others have appealed to the UFO as a manifestation of technology so advanced that it “seems like magic,” as Arthur C. Clarke famously said. Sometimes UFOs are described as being gigantic, a mile wide and voluminous. If so, where does the air go that it displaces? In such a case I have to suspect human error is responsible for the strangeness, but in others, perhaps disappearance or right-angle turns, I can at least imagine super-technology at work. Such matters are outside my expertise and I have no idea how it’s done, but I’ll give it a maybe.
10) Gordon Creighton editor of the Flying Saucer Review, and recognized as the UFO leading publication said in 1996, before he died that. “There seems to be no evidence yet that any of these crafts or beings originate from outer space” – a position later adopted by Dr. Jacques Vallee a computer scientist and astrophysics a leading expert on the subject . Do you agree?
Creighton emphasized the para-physical accounts and paid less attention to the physical evidence. Ufologists who have acknowledged both aspects of the phenomenon have found themselves running back and forth for decades trying to reconcile the two. One aspect seems to offer answers only to lead the researcher to confusion, dead ends, and despair; the other aspect then seems the way to go, only to lead to the same muddle. I’ve felt the same pull and the same disappointments. My personal choice is to emphasize the physical aspects as, so to speak, the devil I know, and I can say the same for the ETH. In the end I’m more concerned with distinguishing the anomalous cases from the conventional ones, and separating the strongly evident anomalies from the “gray area” anomalies. In other words, I want to establish a basis of solid cases rather than decide on some final explanation. In the meantime I’ll take the ETH as the most plausible answer but I won’t cling to it as a fixed and final solution.
11) There is growing speculation that UFO’s are not extraterrestrial in origin, but more likely inter-dimensional entities. Many have abandoned the ETH for the IDH hypothesis — do you agree?
Anyone who focuses on the para-physical side of UFOs might well go for the IDH, but as I see it expressed, it’s more a case of substituting one unknown for another. That is, we don’t know what UFOs are, but how much does it help to explain them in terms that are themselves nebulous and undefined? I need to see a clearer theoretical structure before I’ll buy in–and in the meantime I want to see a well-structured presentation of the evidence that suggests an IDH.
12) According to the “Roper poll” nearly 4 million American’s have suffered an alien abduction. Is the number of alien cited abductions growing in America and worldwide?
The numbers of abductions or supposed abductions are not very clear-cut. The Roper Poll had holes in it–some answers could just as well reflect sleep paralysis events as abduction. Since that poll in the early 1990s there has been no follow-up, no way of knowing if abductions are increasing or decreasing. Anecdotal evidence suggests many people still have abduction experiences, but we really have no good basis to know which way the numbers tend.
13) Is it true that those who been abducted claim to have had sexual experimentation, face to face contact, translucent apparitions, predictions of catastrophic events including performing tasks? Is this true or imaginary?
These features are all recurrent characteristics in abduction accounts. They are “true” insofar as people report them. Their reality depends on the nature of the experience–is it objective or subjective? The very fact that so many people describe a similar course of events and the same kinds of events over and over calls into question any explanation that treats these encounters as imaginary or invented. They are not really “creative” acts; they appear like descriptions of experienced events. There is still room for doubt here, much doubt about abductions as physical realities; but the conventional alternatives have problems as well.
14) Is it true that alien abductees are given speeches of new age philosophy by their captors? What is there message?
Messages reported by abductees are sometimes confusing or even apparently deceptive, but some common threads run through many of these communications: The aliens come from a dead or dying planet; earth is facing a crisis; mankind may destroy itself and the planet; the aliens promise to help save us; we must give up materialism, war, and greed; a new age is coming and earth will become a paradise. These are simplified versions but they cover the most common themes. John Mack, Leo Sprinkle, and Kenneth Ring interpreted these messages to indicate that the alien (for want of a more certain identity) presence was benign, their intent to help mankind through a perilous time. Another take on these messages, drawing on Jungian psychology, was that the human collective unconscious was breaking through into consciousness in a process of healing the human psyche, re-balancing the primal parts of the mind with the rational parts that now had become dominant. David Jacobs takes a more literal interpretation. He sees the abductors creating a race of hybrids (part human, part alien in body, predominantly alien in mind) for the purpose of taking over the earth. The paradise the aliens promise is really the world once they possess it.
15) Many people claim that aliens ask abductees to enter a state of trance to communicate with them?
I’m not certain about the aliens “asking” for cooperation. In most cases I have seen in the literature, the aliens pretty much take what they want. Any request is really a form of coercive mind control. They will have the communication and anything else they want without the subject’s permission, though they may try to make it look voluntary.
16) The following quotes brought by experts on the subject explain there is a strong relationship between alien abduction and poltergeist and demonic possessions in the past.
-Gordon Creighton, Official 1992 Flying Saucer Review Policy Statement “A
large part of the available UFO literature is closely linked with mysticism
and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy,
automatic writing and invisible entities as well as phenomena like poltergeist
[ghost] manifestation and ‘possession.’ Many of the UFO reports now being
published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly
similar to demonic possession and psychic phenomena.”
– Lynn E. Catoe, UFOs and Related Subjects: USGPO, 1969; prepared under
AFOSR Project Order 67-0002 and 68-0003 “UFO behaviour is more akin to magic
than to physics as we know it… the modern UFOnauts and the demons of past
days are probably identical.”
-Dr. Pierre Guerin, FSR Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 13-14 “The UFO manifestations
seem to be, by and large, merely minor variations of the age-old
– John A. Keel, UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, p. 299 “A working knowledge
of occult science…is indispensable to UFO investigation.”
-Trevor James, FSR Vol. 8, No. 1, p.10 “Studies of flying saucer cults
repeatedly show that they are part of a larger occult social world.”
-Stupple & McNeece, 1979 MUFON UFO Symposium Proceedings, p. 49 “The
‘medical examination’ to which abductees are said to be subjected, often
accompanied by sadistic sexual manipulation, is reminiscent of the medieval tales
of encounters with demons. It makes no sense in a sophisticated or
technical framework: any intelligent being equipped with the scientific marvels
that UFOs possess would be in a position to achieve any of these alleged
scientific objectives in a shorter time and with fewer risks.”
– Dr. Jacques Vallee, Confrontations, p. 13 “The symbolic display seen by
the abductees is identical to the type of initiation ritual or astral
voyage that is embedded in the [occult] traditions of every culture…the
structure of abduction stories is identical to that of occult initiation
rituals…the UFO beings of today belong to the same class of manifestation as the
[occult] entities that were described in centuries past.”
-Dr. Jacques Vallee citing the extensive research of Bertrand Meheust [
Science-Fiction et Soucoupes Volantes (Paris, 1978); Soucoupes Volantes et
Folklore (Paris, 1985)], in Confrontations, p. 146, 159-161 “[The occultist]
is brought into intelligent communication with the spirits of the air, and
can receive any knowledge which they possess, or any false impression they
choose to impart…the demons seem permitted to do various wonders at their
– G.H. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages and Their Connection with Modern
Spiritualism and Theosophy (1876), p. 254 “These entities are clever enough to
make Streiber think they care about him. Yet his torment by them never
ceases. Whatever his relationship to the entities, and he increasingly concludes
that their involvement with him is something ‘good,’ he also remains
terrified of them and uncertain as to what they are.”
– John Ankerberg, The Facts on UFOs and Other Supernatural Phenomena, p.
21 “I became entirely given over to extreme dread. The fear was so powerful
that it seemed to make my personality completely evaporate… ‘Whitley’
ceased to exist. What was left was a body and a state of raw fear so great
that it swept about me like a thick, suffocating curtain, turning paralysis
into a condition that seemed close to death…I died and a wild animal
appeared in my place.”
– Whitley Streiber, Communion, p. 25-26 “Increasingly I felt as if I were
entering a struggle that might even be more than life and death. It might
be a struggle for my soul, my essence, or whatever part of me might have
reference to the eternal. There are worse things than death, I suspected… so
far the word demon had never been spoken among the scientists and doctors
who were working with me…Alone at night I worried about the legendary
cunning of demons …At the very least I was going stark, raving mad.”
– Whitley Streiber, Transformation, p. 44-45 “I wondered if I might not be
in the grip of demons, if they were not making me suffer for their own
purposes, or simply for their enjoyment.”
Others claim a smell of sulfur is present within their abduction also identical with demonic possessions and poltergeist. What is your opinion of such controversy?
These quotes reflect on the previous question about the nature of alien contact in abduction situations. They are abductions–involuntary capture and invasive treatment without permission. This intelligence is manipulative, deceitful, and concerned primarily with self-interest. These characteristics compare in general with traditional demons. Many fairy encounters in folklore are of the same order. Shamanic initiations include encounters with benevolent as well as harmful spirits, and the outcome may give the subject powers and knowledge, but may also make him a social outcast. The similarity of UFO encounters and anomalies associated with religion, mythology, and folklore have caused some ufologists to look at UFOs as simply one part of a larger phenomenon, and some have attempted to formulate a “unified field” theory to encompass all these anomalous encounters. Again there are theories of external origin–a cosmic control or thermostat (Vallee) or Ultra-terrestrials (Keel), and internal (again a Jungian notion or some human power creating entities or imposing itself on physical reality). These theories have been strong on speculation and weak on evidence. My personal take on this unity of all things anomalous is that whatever we encounter, we understand it in terms of established categories and knowledge. Strange things call especially loudly for meaningful solutions, so we draw on what we already “know” about the anomalous. That is, we invoke religion, mythology, folklore, or anything else that fits or seems to fit the situation in question. We build a new mythology that gives meaning to the mystery, but at the same time may lose the integrity of the event. For example, we may explain the facts of a UFO case that conveniently fit our desired explanation (the ETH, for example), and throw away the facts that do not fit. We have an explanation, but not for the actual event.
17) Any final thoughts?
Ufology is a human enterprise, subject to the shortcomings of human understanding and human willingness to accept anything new or different. We force-fit a lot of data to suit our beliefs and celebrate success, but we have largely confused and misled ourselves. Maybe we are the fairies, insofar as like the traditional fairies who led travelers off the road and into the swamp, we lead ourselves astray dazzled by our own mistaken brilliance.