Dr. Jacques Vallée’s 40 years of diary entries disclose a large body of science that’s been intentionally hidden.
photo by: Skeptiko
Dr. Jacques Vallée is an almost mythical figure among those interested in UFOs.
(movie clip from Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
Who are you people?
Please, one more question. Have you recently had a close encounter, a close encounter with something very unusual?
Who are you people?
And while he wasn’t really in that movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, there’s no doubt the French UFO researcher you just heard was based on the real life Jacques Vallée. As it turns out, Vallée was right smack in the middle of not just UFOs but a lot of the most important frontier science that has shaped our evolving understanding of who we are. Take for example telepathy, mindreading – now falling under parapsychology – but go back 50 years to Stanford Research Institute, when Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, who go on to run the US Military psychic spying program, are investigating this Israeli psychic name Uri Geller.
Dr. Jacques Vallée: …were at the SRI cafeteria having lunch, a big round table and Geller was across the table from me and Geller suddenly says, “I want to do an experiment with you Jacques, so I’m going to send you…”
This is a great story and you’ll hear the whole thing in this interview, but let me cut to the chase. So Geller instructs Vallée how to do this little experiment and it works. So they take the next step, they’re right there in the SRI café, which kind of blows me away. I mean they’re sitting down having lunch and they go, “Well, what the heck? We have some envelopes left over from the experiment we were just running; let’s use one of those, see what happens?
Dr. Jacques Vallée: I thought, I’m going to send it in two things. I’m going to send the whale, which is essentially a fish, I know a whale isn’t a fish but you know, I’m going to send a fish and I’m going to send a water jet that I see through the window. Geller said – all of a sudden he was all business – he took his pencil and he drew something and he says, “Look, I’m going to draw what I’m getting, but I’m not getting one thing, I’m getting two things. I’m getting a fish and then I’m getting a water jet.” So he drew the two things, he didn’t draw the target. There was no way he could have known that I did not send him the target, I sent him two things that I made up, and that’s what he got.
Now, it’s almost hard to believe that all this happened exactly the way he’s saying, I mean, this is Jacques Vallée and everything, but come on. Well, here’s the real kicker. He wrote it all down in his journal. So here’s a guy, who’s right in the middle of the computer revolution in Silicon Valley, a world-class computer scientist at the time, and he’s right in the middle of the parapsychology thing, and right in the middle of the UFO thing, and he wrote it all down. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here on Skeptiko.
Now, this interview covers a lot of ground in the one hour we had and I did have the chance to ask Dr. Vallée directly about the UFO consciousness link that we were talking about on the last episode of Skeptiko and I thought his answer was quite interesting.
Alex Tsakiris: …I hear people use your work as a manifesto against little grey men in spaceships from other planets, [but] I don’t know how you get around that data.
Dr. Jacques Vallée: You’ll have to get out of these little boxes, you know, physics on my left and psychology on my right, you can’t do that, you cannot do that in dealing with UFOs. What I’m saying is you cannot do that anymore in dealing with astrophysics. The problem that scientists have today is that time and space, the way we were thinking about them, don’t make sense when you begin to deal with particle entanglement and with entanglement of larger physical things. So we’re going to get to the same place eventually.
There you go; for me – someone interested in using science to find deep spirituality – ‘everyone getting to the same place’ sounds just about perfect.
Stay tuned, this is a good one. My interview with Dr. Jacques Vallée [about the re-release of Forbidden Science] is next on Skeptiko.
Alex Tsakiris: Let’s start at the very beginning… the very first page of the book [Forbidden Science] you write, “It is unusual for scientists to keep diaries and even more unusual for them to make them public,” and you just talked about all that, but then you come on to say, “Like most of my colleagues, I followed this rule of science for the last 30 years, never expecting that these journals would be published before my death, but I have finally decided that I had no right to keep them private anymore.” Although they contain many passages that are very personal and some that are very painful, you’re just wide open in these things, you kind of tell all. “They also provide primary source about a crucial fact in the recent historical record”, and this is what I wanted to highlight obviously, “the appearance of new classes of phenomena that highlight the reality of the paranormal.”
Again, this is kind of your bread and butter, but to see it so starkly written by someone as prominent as you, in no uncertain terms, is still kind of stunning. Then if that’s not enough you go on to say, “These phenomena would deliberately denied or distorted by those in authority within the government and the military. Science has never had a fair and complete access to the most important files. This fact has been alleged before but never proves it.”
Again, everyone kind of says they know this, but until you see Jacques Vallée write this down, at least for me, it kind of had more of an impact. I have to start by asking, is that still your view, in terms of those two major, major findings?
Dr. Jacques Vallée: Well, more than ever. We keep finding… when people realize what has been going on, I think there will be, at least a segment of the scientific community, the younger scientists will cry that this was really a crime against knowledge, against everything. There was some justification, right after the war, there was a time of great turmoil and great uncertainty. The nuclear weapons had been deployed for the first time, there was a lot of suspicion in the world, [and] you could understand that the files would have been kept secret. I don’t have an issue with that actually, I think government has a responsibility to keep certain things in confidence, if only to protect the witnesses and to protect the future. But you know, this is 70 years later. What do they have today that needs to be kept so…?
The information really needs to be open, maybe not all of a sudden, but it needs to be at the disposal of science. We’ve made enormous progress since then, both in terms of understanding the role of science in the world, in terms of deploying new industries and also in terms of being able to do research on unusual things. The acceptance of the idea of extraterrestrial intelligence of course is here, I mean people don’t deny now that there are thousands of planets out there.
When I joined Dr. Hynek at North Western in 1963, we were teaching that there were planets throughout the universe, that it was likely that there would be planets, including some planets that would be somewhat similar to the Earth and could support life around certain classes of stars. We were teaching that but we couldn’t prove it. It was just statistically something that could be deduced from the observations. But now, astronomers actually see them and they have catalogues of thousands of these planets. So things have changed, the public is much more open to that. It’s not a marginal footnote anymore; it’s really something that people can deal with psychologically, the public can deal with it.
Alex Tsakiris: But let me push on that for a minute, because yeah, the public can deal with it, the public is way ahead of science, and you seem to be suggesting that access to the data is what’s holding science back from the paranormal and I’ve got to tell you, I mean that’s wonderfully optimistic. I’m just not sure that’s true. It certainly hasn’t been my experience in interviewing some of the world’s leading scientists about consciousness, about frontier consciousness science. I mean, they’re willfully ignorant in a lot of cases, aren’t they?
Dr. Jacques Vallée: Yes and the UFO problem isn’t among the people who accept the reality of the phenomenon, it’s still viewed as spacecraft, you know, spacecraft, some like ours. People talk about, “Let’s look at the propulsion and let’s look at what kind of fuel they leave behind,” which is fine, but they ignore most of what the witnesses are desperately trying to tell them, which is that this is also a parapsychological phenomenon, that it impacts their consciousness.
Alex Tsakiris: Well, how could they not ignore that because they ignore what parapsychologists tell us, they ignore what near-death experience researchers tell us, they ignore what researchers into the psychedelic experience tell us, they ignore all that because they’re stuck in a very narrow mind equals brain, materialistic paradigm. You just blew that away with the forward to your book, is I guess what I’m getting at. And that’s, to me, the biggest paradigm shift; UFOs, alien contact is a hop, skip and a jump from accepting that the materialistic paradigm is falsified.
Dr. Jacques Vallée: Well, that wouldn’t be the first time in science, and to be fair, when I talk to people in parapsychology, they don’t want to hear about UFOs.
Alex Tsakiris: Right.
Dr. Jacques Vallée: They say, “Look, we’ve got enough trouble with looking at ghosts and Uri Geller, don’t tell us about little things that come from the sky or things that happen in somebody’s bedroom interfering with the cat.” So you have to have a solid sense of humor, and I was privileged to work with people like Aimé Michele in France and like Dr. Hynek of course in the US, who had a sense of humor, a sense in perspective. If you don’t have that in science, you know, it’s difficult to make progress. But that wouldn’t be the first time that science would move sideways. Look how long it took to accept the idea of continental drifts; that was pretty obvious when you look at a map of the world – that continents have been drifting away from each other – but you couldn’t call it that. You had to call it something else. Look at some of the discoveries in astrophysics that were made by geologists and the geologists don’t go to the same congresses as astronomers, so they don’t belong in the same discussion. It’s just fascinating.
So, among other things, the UFO problem is a goldmine for somebody who wants to look at the history of ideas. I mean, you don’t have to take a position for or against UFOs; you just look at the record. The last few days I’ve been looking over… going through my collections of the letters I’ve exchanged and the documents, my correspondence with Dr. Hynek, because there is a university that approached me and they are interested in preserving that material and working with it, so I’ve been doing an index of all the letters we exchanged. It would be a fascinating record for people who are getting into the field now. For example, I have a friend, and he’s well connected in Washington. He said, “What we need is new congressional hearings about UFOs.” Well, if you look at my correspondence with Hynek, we went through two different… actually three different ways of ideas about congressional hearings and there were congressional hearings before. Maybe we should look at that record before we do another one, because the results were not what people expected. It doesn’t do any good to knock on the door of congress and say, “Look, look what we’ve got.” You have to prepare, you have to do a lot of preliminary work if you’re going to go anywhere with congress or with any part of the administration, for good reasons. It just doesn’t work that way.
I think that we keep remaking the same mistakes, and maybe that’s one value of my diaries, is that next time let’s be a little bit more clever.
Alex Tsakiris: But I sometimes have to wonder if some people are taking that too far, I mean, we do still have some very good reliable reports of flying saucers that are observed by people on the ground, in the air, we see them on radar, we see physical traces of them, we talk to people like Uri Geller, who you just mentioned, and he says something stunning that’s right there in your diary. He says, “Jacques, I don’t have any power of my own, I get it all from the saucers.” Well, then you go over to the remote viewing group that we were talking about, Ingo Swann and the rest, and they are viewing alien spacecraft on another planet through another means of this extended consciousness realm called remote viewing.
So, I’m totally open to the UFO consciousness link, but I have to wonder if it really is this either/or situation, the way that it’s something portrayed and I’d love to hear your thoughts in general about all that.
Dr. Jacques Vallée: Well, one of the characteristics of science is that, in order to move forward it has, essentially, compartmentalized different fields and even now, you know, in a big university, you have biologists and they don’t talk to doctors, and doctors don’t talk to the pharmacy people and the pharmacy people don’t talk to the computer people and the computer people don’t talk to the chemists. A big part of modern science has to do with translational science, where you build bridges across those disciplines and of course, consciousness has always been the province of psychologists. Psychologists have done most of the work in parapsychology, even Skinner and other people and of course Carl Jung and so on, who were psychiatrists or they were psychologists.
In the meantime, the physicists were saying, “What I study in my lab is matter, atoms and molecules and fields and things like that. Don’t bother me with your dreams or your nightmares and so on; that’s irrelevant to my work. Give me something I can measure, I can weigh.” The problem is, increasingly we’re running into phenomena that don’t agree to be put into little boxes like that, including human beings. I mean, human beings, we have a mass and a physical reality. I think I’m physical, certainly when I hit my head, it hurts and it’s there, but at the same time we cannot continue to ignore consciousness because consciousness shows up in quantum mechanics, it shows up in entanglement, it shows up in all kinds of things that physics has been worried with in the last, certainly in the last 10 years and in the last 5 years. All that isn’t part of official physics yet, in terms of being taught everywhere, but that’s clearly where the next breakthroughs in physics are going to be.
So, in a way, studying this phenomena – both parapsychology and the UFO phenomenon – is just a way, it’s a glorious way into what physics is going to be for the next 50 years.
Alex Tsakiris: Well maybe, I guess I have my reservations, because physics has known about this for the last 50 years, and back to the willful ignorance. Physics has known the observer effect for example, they’ve known entanglement, they’ve done the shut up and calculate thing for the last 50 years, which is okay. Shut up and calculate works for creating awesome networks and iPhones and computers and all that stuff, but it doesn’t answer the deeper philosophical questions. I think also what you’re suggesting, and I would agree with, is that science has, to a certain extent, obsoleted itself. It’s said, “Okay, there really are these limits to what we can measure, what we can observe, what we can call reality.”
So, getting back to your work though, what I worry about is that when I hear people use your work as a manifesto against little grey men in spaceships from other planets, because I don’t know how you get around that data. I don’t know how you get around that data cross-culturally. You know, you go and talk to a Native American, Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, like I did on this show, who’s interviewed… PhD, Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, who has interviewed 2000 Native Americans, both in North America and South America and they all say, “Yeah, there’s star people from another planet.” Those reports are over and over again in sociology if you just go and look and anthropology if you just go and look. So is it really an either/or thing, is it really? We can’t have the spaceships and the little grey men and the extended consciousness strangeness, or are they perhaps somehow both on the table, both happening in ways that we haven’t quite pulled apart yet?
Dr. Jacques Vallée: Well they are both and that’s what I’ve been arguing, that you have to get out of these little boxes, you know, physics on my left and psychology on my right, you can’t do that. You cannot do that in dealing with UFOs. What I’m saying is that you cannot do that anymore in dealing with astrophysics.
Alex Tsakiris: Right.
Dr. Jacques Vallée: The problem that scientists have today is that time and space, the way we were thinking about them, don’t make sense when you begin to deal with particle entanglement and with entanglement of larger physical things. So we’re going to get to the same place eventually and what I’ve been doing quietly, the last couple of years, is looking at things left behind after UFO encounters, after close encounters. I’m talking about things that were either found after a UFO had landed, in addition to the traces and so on, and things that were ejected from UFOs in flight. There are a number of cases where the witnesses are describing a disc that seems to be shaking, seems to be about to explode and he gets hit by other objects that come around it and then it ejects some material infusion. There’s a celebrated case like that at Council Bluffs in a suburb of Omaha, where people were able to pick up the material immediately and the police were there and there were 11 witnesses and so on.
So I’ve recovered a number of those artifacts and there were two problems with that that have sort of plagued the research for a long time. First, it’s difficult to get access to that because either people throw it away, so you know something happened but they didn’t keep it because some scientist told them, “Oh, it’s just an ordinary stone,” so they threw it away or they keep it as a family heirloom and they won’t let you borrow it. There’s a case I’ve been talking to people at [a sighting] about an artifact that they have, but they won’t let me analyze even a little part of it, because, “Oh that’s so precious,” and so on. Well it’s about them that science looked at this. Fortunately I’m just getting three of these cases analyzed from France, where people are sending me the actual sample, the actual specimen. Most of that is metal.
The other thing that was very difficult is that beyond chemical analysis, it was very hard to get access to a machine where we could look at the isotopes. Now those machines, at least I have access to at least two different machines, right here in Silicon Valley, because I’m pretty well connected with the high-tech community, including one company that I financed as a venture capitalist. So I have access to their engineers and not only do they have a machine, but they’ve built the machine, so I have access to the people who have actually engineered the instrument and we can begin to look at this. What we’re finding is very preliminary but it’s absolutely fascinating because we’re not finding what we thought we would find. We would find either that the materials were terrestrial, and by the way, when you look at the isotopes, it doesn’t lie because you can look at the ratios of the actual different types of aluminum for example, or magnesium, that is in the sample and you can look at the ratios of the abundance of different isotopes of the same metal, the same element.
So, either it should be terrestrial, which we can find out very quickly, or it could be extraterrestrial, in which case you’d expect that it would vary by a few percent from the standard ratio.
Most of those machines are mass spectrometers and they are often used by geologists, among other people, who look at meteorites. Meteorites are extraterrestrial and they don’t have the same ratio of isotopes that you do if you pick up a piece of iron on earth. So they are used to looking at ratios that are a little bit different, but what we find are ratios that are 100% off.
Alex Tsakiris: You seem very optimistic and I love the idea of what you just outlined there is fantastic in terms of the potential research. Can we really talk about any of it without talking about the deep state overlay and what they’re doing, or can we just say, “Don’t worry about it, just go and do our thing,?”
Dr. Jacques Vallée: Well, two things that may surprise you. One is, some of that, if we knew, might be legitimate or it might have been legitimate at one time. So I’m not going to bang on the door of the Pentagon saying, “Shame on you,” and so on. I want to understand deeply what has been going on and that’s something that we have to, sort of, keep working on. I think eventually the information will come out because the phenomenon is global and it cannot be controlled.
The reason I’m still optimistic? Well, it’s my nature, I’m an optimist and I also try to keep my sense of humor. The phenomenon is in control and whatever it is, and there is no way you can classify something that happens in a pasture in the South of France or in Ireland somewhere and if these people pick up some material and they want to bring it to me, I don’t know who can… So I really believe that we’re going to have enough things to work on.