More leads on AATIP, TTSA, Scientology, and the wider UFO circuit from a reader
Updated: May 19, 2022
A kind and generous reader, who desires to remain anonymous but who I will refer to as "John", has been in correspondence with me about the AATIP and TTSA sagas. He contacted me after being referred to my website on a Reddit forum. Here, with his permission, I provide an abridged version of our correspondence. He has pointed to me to many very interesting connections among the people involved with AATIP and TTSA, Scientology, and the broader UFO mythos. I have interspersed my own thoughts throughout, as well as bold-faced some of Jonh's particularly noteworthy points for emphasis. John's contributions to the email correspondence are marked in blue; mine are in red. I have left out most of my responses to him, as they consisted mainly of asking for more information and are redundant in the context of this article.
The perspective you bring to the UFO conversation is incredibly refreshing with your broader understanding of history and politics cutting through a lot of the bullshit. Just like you, I have a keen interests in UFOs but am constantly frustrated by the quagmire of misinformation, dubious anecdotes, and total speculation that seems to be the focus of every conversation, forum, etc. I wanted to ask you if you were aware of the whole ecosystem around Tom DeLonge with To the Stars Academy, Lou Elizondo, etc. etc. There's a lot going on there; they were involved in the leaking of the Pentagon confirmed UFO videos a few years back, seem to have millions of dollars, and are affiliated with a bizarre milieu of some elite government, military, and private military contractor figures. I've read all their books, watched hours of interviews, etc. to try to understand what's going on there and piece together the story. What I've found most interesting is mapping out their network, such as a lot of the more behind the scenes people, and it paints a pretty suspect picture of a massive grift with connections to a lot of shady characters.
I am pleased that John used the term "ecosystem", as it well describes the complex network of interactions such as we get in ufology, where some people variously adopting the roles of predators, prey, and commensalistic onlookers (those who are neither harmed nor benefitted from their interest). He also rightly points out that the field is a quagmire, swamped with fallacious claims, outright fraud and deception, and bad science, all of which make it difficult even for sincere people who believe in UFOs (as alien or other-worldly craft) to get to the ground truth. While this is admittedly an anecdote on my part, I will mention that on many occasions, I have personally come across numerous instances in which people who reject charlatans like Bob Lazar and Travis Walton will nonetheless accept the absurd fables of other figures in the UFO circuit (for example, someone may reject Lazar's claims, while accepting everything that Stanton Friedman said. I have even seen someone call Lazar a fraud, while strenuously defending Walton! Ufology is replete with these types of weird hang-ups and sensitivities).
After pointing him to my association chart for the AATIP/TTSA saga (see further below for the chart), John continued:
Your association chart looks incredibly accurate. I am glad to see you also identified the evolution of the 90's NIDS/Skinwalker Ranch crew into much of the TTSA crowd two decades later.
Personally, it seems to me that Puthoff of the "Invisible College" is the central player in orchestrating this massive UFO grift in the present day. I imagine he realized in the '70s how much money could be made off of this, and since then has spent decades figuring out monetization through various business entities and military contracting, and developing his network of fraudulent scientists and poor suckers who believe him. Some details you may already know and probably not relevant to your chart, but sharing in case you find interesting:
Puthoff is involved in many businesses it seems. This one that seems to be cited often is pretty strange. The only employees listed on the site are him, Eric Davis from NIDS, and his two sons; https://earthtech.org/team/. The website is bizarre in general - it looks somewhat real on the surface but if you dig into any specific tabs you will quickly find tons of blank pages and "coming soon." This is most hilarious on the research tab where they list various these research categories, but when you click in there is zero content within any of them. Earth Tech site is soliciting investors, by the way
Puthoff is also involved in an "electric sun" energy company SAFIRE Project. Not only is the science extremely questionable as demonstrated in this video, but it seems to be the shell of another obviously fake company (no content anywhere on the web) Aurtas International, and another shell company Aureon that is soliciting for investors on behalf of Safire. I haven't taken the time to fully vet the other people in Safire and Aurtas, but I plan to look into them further.
Keep in mind, these are just Puthoff's current business ventures. He has a long history of shady business dealings since the 70s.
I also wanted to point out that in the late 60's and 70's Puthoff was a member of the Church of Scientology. He eventually left, but not after achieving a fairly high rank. I mention this because I have read all of TTSA's books to understand the core mythology they are putting out, and there are many similarities with Scientology. Happy to detail those overlaps if you're curious, but will spare you in this email since it's quite an insane rabbit hole.
Related to the TTSA/DeLonge books/mythology, I have also found many parallels with the writings of Robert Monroe from the 70s and 80s. Monroe was a self proclaimed remote viewer, and started his own consciousness institute which still exists and trains military personnel. The Monroe Institute was involved in the U.S. Army's Stargate Project, where Puthoff received much of his funding, and has many military connections over the decades. Monroe also mentions in one of his books that he is acquainted with Puthoff, and Jacque Vallee writes in one of his books of a lunch he had with Puthoff, Puthoff's partner at SRI Targ, and Monroe. The evidence is sparse but between these details I theorize that Monroe was either influencing and/or influenced by the Puthoff/Invisible College, and part of the origin of the grift that has been recycled now for decades.
Perhaps least interesting of all is Vallee, who describes himself as venture capitalist but seems to be a much less business savvy version of Puthoff. He has a long record of obscure and all defunct business entities throughout the 90's to present that are probably not worth digging into here.
I am also glad to see you identified Kit Green. I have not found much info on that guy, but the little bit I have read is extremely bizarre. I think there may be a connection between Navy Admiral Thomas Wilson, who has connections with Eric Davis and Kit Green from the 90's, with Chris Mellon. Chris Mellon and Wilson worked in the Pentagon under the Secretary of Defense both in intelligence roles at the same time in the late 90s. I wonder if this is how Mellon initially got involved in this grift.
I also see you identify Linda Moulton Howe in your charts, as a common mouthpiece for spreading the stories of this crowd. You are probably already aware, but I wanted to also point out to you authors Richard Dolan and Peter Levenda. Dolan is much more deeply intertwined in this network, at a level similar to Linda. Levenda less so, but he co-wrote two of DeLonge's TTSA books.
Here John draws many important connections between UFO superstars like Puthoff and Vallée with other people in the circuit. While alluding to definitive casual links driving the similarities in the narratives can be tenuous due to incomplete historical information, it is hard to overlook the degree to which they indeed overlap and converge. Most likely, there was substantial direct sharing of ideas, but there must also have been (and continues to be) significant indirect cross-pollination, with stories making the rounds and being recycled by finding their way back to these very UFO/paranormal bigshots, probably in ways that are so diffuse that they ironically helped these people believe their own stories, at least to some extent. My own take is that Vallée is probably quite sincere in his beliefs, and certainly more so than Puthoff. I don't know enough about Monroe and Levenda to make any sort of determination about their sincerity.
The chart that John mentioned was of course the own shown below and that is being updated on a semi-regular basis in my article about depicting relationships in the UFO circuit using association charts. The chart has been updated recently with some of the information provided by John:
Please feel free to use any of what I wrote, but it may be worth a double verification check as I am totally an amateur at this, and wrote the email fairly quickly (tried to cite everything best I could!).
As for the Scientology stuff - so let me start by saying I am by no means an expert on Scientology whatsoever 😂. In fact, the only reason I stumbled upon this was that I read in passing that Puthoff had been a member a while ago (don’t even remember where but you can verify it if you search it). A few months later I was reading through the TTSA books and saw parallels with Christian Gnosticism, and then when reading about Gnosticism I saw Scientology listed as a modern variation of it.
Upon seeing that, I recalled Puthoff’s connection to Scientology. I did some reading about Scientology’s mythology and saw immediate similarities such as ancient aliens coming to earth and the idea of earth being a kind of prison planet. In Scientology there is some kind of Galactic government that has been around forever, and they labeled earth as a wasteland planet or something like that. In their myth, an evil emperor of the Galactic government at some point in earth’s ancient history came to earth and killed a bunch of his people, and their spirits survive to this day and latch onto people and feed on them causing psychological problems.
In the TTSA mythology, the idea of ancient aliens visiting earth throughout early human history is at the core. They say they are the gods of all the world’s ancient religions. They also write that these gods get energy/feed on human death/suffering/negative emotions. In their story, that’s why the aliens (or whatever they are) propagate war and cause trouble. They are nefarious in their myth.
As mentioned in the prior email, Robert Monroe wrote about this exact same idea as TTSA, and in much more detail. DeLonge still hasn’t released the final book in the TTSA series, but Monroe wrote that earth / our reality in general is essentially a prison or farm designed by some higher being(s) to collect energy from our death/suffering.
All contain the idea of alien spiritual/emotional parasites. All have the aliens playing a role in earth/human history. All refer to human existence (the earth, or perhaps our universe more broadly) as a kind of constructed prison by these beings. And like I said, they all seem to share a common root in Gnosticism (it is documented that early in Scientology they themselves described it as a form of Gnosticism).
Sorry, I know that’s a lot. Having seen those similarities, I hypothesized that perhaps DeLonge/TTSA may be influenced by Scientology. Puthoff is the only solid connection I have found thus far (but to be fair, I haven’t had a chance to look too much deeper into the backgrounds of everyone else in the network!). I did check Vallee, because a lot of his writings reflect the same ideas, and I found no Scientology connections (other than Puthoff). And of course Monroe and Puthoff were contemporaries, even if the evidence of their acquaintance is quite obscured as I laid out in the prior email.
As for the authors; so Dolan, I never even sought out really - the guy just keeps popping up all the time as I’m searching the web for these things. He has a Youtube channel where he’s posted interviews with many from this cast of characters, and he seems to be at all the conferences they attend. He’s been writing books on various occult/paranormal things for a few decades.
Levenda is interesting because he’s actually a pretty well respected and credible author in the field of American occult history as I understand it. Been around a few decades. It is my understanding, but could be worth vetting, that prior to the TTSA books he was not really involved in the UFO stuff at all. I have no info on how TTSA connected with him or any details on their relationship, but he co-wrote two of the books with DeLonge (Sekret Machines: Man, and Sekret Machines: Gods). It makes sense - they actually tie into their story much of the occult history that Levenda wrote about in decades prior, however they are bringing it into the new, larger mythology that I described above.
The infusion of science fiction elements into the UFO religion appears to be rife, and Scientology, to the extent that it has genuinely been involved in these shenanigans, would be a well-suited conduit for this injection of ideas. Goodness knows that Scientology is, as the kids would say, "sketchy as fuck" and has been involved in things bordering on and even marching right across and into outright abuse and cult behavior. John mentions the connections between Scientology and Christian Gnosticism, which provide yet another support for the notion that ufology is indeed a religious phenomenon. Also of note is Scientology's adoption of Ancient Astronauts motifs and stories of accursed spirits. As for grifter-extraordinaire Richard Dolan, I was somewhat surprised to learn how closely tied Vallée has been to him. My own prior naive inclination, which I am embarrassed about, was that Vallée represented a clear cut above the rest of the circuit, but more and more, I'm coming to realize that this was largely delusional on my part. While I have respect for some of what he says, such as his discussion about the parallels between religious experiences and angel encounters with alien/UFO encounters, the tale he weaves from this is simply too much to stomach (in other words, I think that there is indeed a parallel, but that it represents a common psychosocial underpinning, not the manifestation of literal other-worldly beings disguising themselves as the motifs of the age). Perhaps my bias stemmed from the fact that Vallée is French, and the French tend to be rather more austere in their UFO beliefs than Americans with such beliefs (though France has certainly seen its share of UFO and paranormal-themed meltdowns and horrors, such as the mass murder and suicides among members of the Order of the Solar Temple in the Vercors mountains in 1995). France was also a hotbed of the Enlightenment and of revolutionary violence against religious authority, and perhaps I had unconsciously subsumed this into a bias toward thinking of the French as having a rationalist, anti-religious streak that would automatically militate against any forays into woo and nonsense. Obviously, not so. Any country is susceptible to unconventional and dangerous ideas and the allures of irrationality. While Vallée did warn against religious sects and cults in "Messengers of Deception" and was aghast at some of the lurches toward authoritarian and right-wing, and even racialist, tendencies within ufology, he did spout - to put it bluntly - a lot of horseshit in that book as well, including crediting Uri Geller with psychic abilities. As John alludes to, there is much overlap between ufology and parapsychology, a theme that I will flesh out in more detail in an upcoming review of Alan Steinfeld's "Making Contact".
Just following up with some links relevant to my message last night.
Puthoff Scientology Connection
There's a lot to dig into with Gnosticism, but the two most obvious parallels with Scientology, Monroe's story, and TTSA/DeLonge's is the idea of archons detailed here and the earth/human origin story of the Demiurge
Richard Dolan links
His list of books, where you will see Linda Moulton Howe and Jacques Vallee wrote forwards to some
His youtube channel, which has tons of connections to this entire network including; this video where he mentions at 9:20 talking with Hal Puthoff , video promoting webinar he hosted with Lou Elizondo last year, video where he talks about communication with Kit Green (this one is about that Navy Admiral Wilson / Eric Davis connection I mentioned in my first email)
I found all those links just now looking through his youtube - this guy is all over this stuff, so I'm sure there's way more evidence. What's interesting is that his Youtube channel seems to be shadow banned (or just has terrible SEO/tagging) because his videos never seem to show up when I try to search for specific videos. I have to go to his channel and manually look through his listed videos instead.
Lastly, Levenda. Here's his page from his publisher with his background. And here's a Rolling Stone article about the TTSA books where both Levenda and DeLonge are quoted about their collaboration. You'll see a lot of Levenda's earlier work was actually about esoteric Hitlerism and Nazi occultism. In case you thought this stuff couldn't get weirder, part of the TTSA story is that Nazis escaped to Antartica, built UFOs, and have been waging a secret war with the US and Russia since. Lol.
Vallee was/is heavily into Rosicrucianism (as, apparently, was J. Allen Hynek); you can read about it here: https://badufos.blogspot.com/2021/05/ufos-explode-in-credulous-media.html and here: https://badufos.blogspot.com/2012/02/jacques-vallee-j-allen-hynek-and.html. This likely explains the nature of some of his ideas. It's always disappointing for me to learn that he is associated with blowhards like Dolan, but then again, Vallee's standing has dropped precipitously in my eyes for a number of reasons, including his recent affirmation of the crash-recovery narrative with Paula Harris. You mentioned the spiritual beliefs of Scientology and Gnosticism that have been woven into the UFO stories promoted by these people. Linda Moulton Howe, in her chapter in Alan Steinfeld's book "Making Contact", writes that she has been in contact with intelligence agency insiders who have leaked information to her about aliens living underground (with EBENs, Reptilians and Tall Blondes in an uneasy stalemate with one another), that there was Vril technology used by the Nazis to power flying saucers and that Nazis escaped to Antarctica and were flying UFOs out of there. The aliens have been harvesting our soul energy for millions of years (WW2 and the Holocaust were apparently a grand harvest by these beings) and have been involved in an interstellar slave trade in which genetically engineered human clones are trafficked. It's absolutely insane. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I know that she goes in for some of the whackier stories out there, but this was at another level again. Howe received payment from TTSA for "Art's Parts" (purported recovered fragments of alien craft), and it makes me wonder how much deeper her connection is to the organization. She has close ties with a large number of UFO hucksters and grifters, obviously, but it would be interesting to know how much she has contributed to TTSA's beliefs, as well as the other way around. Who knows, the "intelligence agency insiders" she talks about might be Scientologists posing as whistleblower in order to sneak Scientological beliefs into UFOlogy as a kind of backdoor to wider society (so that then when enough people believe the basic themes, these "insiders" can then say, "You see? Scientology said this all along!"). In any case, much of what she's saying has clear parallels with Scientology, whatever route was taken to translate those ideas to her. For whatever it's worth, Nick Pope contributes a chapter to Steinfeld's book. It's by far the most sensible and measured contribution (though I still have problems with it) and is almost the odd one out when compared with the off-the-wall claims and stories conveyed in the other chapters. I highly recommend that you read the book; it's very entertaining and will give you some extra insights into the spiritualism within UFOlogy and maybe the direction it's taking.
I should also mention that I have doubts about Pope's credentials, whether or not he is or at least comes across as more level-headed than many others in the field, though undoubtedly, he has lent an air of respectability to many whacky forums and productions promoting far-out ideas about UFOs simply by virtue of being part of them, and his part in the Steinfeld's book is no exception. Steven Cambian and others have pointed to some discrepancies between Pope's claimed role in the Ministry of Defense (the British equivalent to the Department of Defense) and what can actually be documented about his role. I am also very wary of his commitment to the Rendlesham incident, with my own correspondences with him in relation to it leaving me rather unimpressed. I will also mention that I think Cambian is not completely in the clear either, though in a somewhat different way: he has been reeled in by some narratives and claims in ufology that I can't lend partake in, such as the Roswell story as an honest-to-God recollection of a crash and retrieval of an alien ship, though probably Cambian's apparent belief in that story is driven by naivete (he might just not be cynical enough about the ability of people to lie or embellish their stories, and has often made claims to the effect of "How can so many people be lying?" On the other hand, I think he has shown some positive signs in this regard, and his tone and content have become increasingly adversarial to people selling dubious UFO wares). I think that he has done a fine job in exposing many of the grifters, whatever lingering shortcomings there may be in some of his own takes.
Wow - thank you for sharing, that is some great stuff on Vallee and Hynek, I knew they were incredibly close and I had read in passing that Hynek was deep into some esoteric beliefs, but I hadn't gotten a chance to dig into exactly what his beliefs were. I always theorized that Vallee's UFO writing must be influenced by some esoteric beliefs, but my Scientology hypothesis fell flat and I hadn't found any other leads. The Rosicrucianism connection is probably the right answer - or at least one among a few. Everything you described from Howe - the Vril Nazi tech, the soul harvesting - is exactly the core mythology of DeLonge's TTSA books. It's the exact same stories. Across a few of his interviews, DeLonge has stated that high level military and intelligence insiders are his source for all of this, too. My hypothesis is that Howe and DeLonge share a common source(s), and that source is intentionally misleading/fucking with them. Your map of the network goes a long way to try to start triangulating who those common sources might be. I share your hypothesis that Scientology could be that source; using UFOs as a means to sneak their ideas into mainstream culture. L. Ron Hubbard actually talked about infiltrating the government with Scientologists https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White However, I also think it's equally possible that Scientology could simply be another channel by which the same misinfo was propagated by some deeper, more shrouded source. In other words, I see the possibility that Scientology is the root leading into UFOs, or UFOs and Scientology share a common root. There are undeniable parallels, so some connection must exist. Under the common origin scenario, one could hypothesize that the shared root is a US intelligence disinformation/psyop operation. There could also be much more mundane explanations, like some anthropological process of certain cultural ideas/concepts rooted in Gnosticism and/or occultism making their way through a rapidly modernizing society over the course of a century... One thing I have some confidence in - Puthoff definitely seems to be some kind of linchpin at the center of this story; worked with the CIA & military, was a high ranking Scientology member, co-founded TTSA, friends/colleagues with Vallee & many others. The guy has extensive military/intelligence contacts, and he has access to money/capital. There is a lot of power and influence concentrated with him, and that makes me suspicious of him. Still, there always seems to be a deeper hole to dig through, and another step further in the chain of events to investigate...
Linda Moulton Howe's role in pushing whacky stories is itself a major theme in ufology, with most of the field seeing her views as too extreme to take seriously and steering well clear of them, though there are certainly a loyal cadre of hardcore believers who do take up her themes and promote them. Certainly, there is enough interest in her stories for her to have been chosen as a contributor to Steinfeld's hilariously bad book, the aforementioned "Making Contact".
By the way, I wanted to comment that I am just like you with what you wrote about Vallee - for a while I was convinced he was the one who really had things figured out. I still think he did some good work in documenting UFO incidents, but I think he was misled by some (like Puthoff, just my guess) and also had his own biases as we discussed in the prior emails, and those influences ultimately led him astray. I also wanted to let you know that I found a strong lead that I am in the process of researching further in regards to Scientology and UFOs. Jack Parsons was a famous occultist and rocket engineer from the 1940s and 50s that helped jump start the American space program. He also was deeply intertwined with L. Ron Hubbard. They were great friends at one point and business partners. They even shared a girlfriend. What I need to dig into deeper is exactly how Parsons connects with the UFO phenomenon. In one of DeLonge's books, I remember he wrote quite a bit about Parsons as being a key player in the history of UFOs, however I can't for the life of me remember the details and I'm not finding much online. What I do know is that the name for TTSA came from a quote of Parsons. I think I will need to dig up my copy of that book to start figuring it out, and will follow up if I find anything good.
I believe that John is most likely referring to the Latin motto that Parsons and his friend Edward Forman adopted in 1928: per aspera ad astra (through hardship to the stars).
I look forward to corresponding further with John, as he has a wealth of knowledge about these matters and is clearly a critical thinker who can draw many rational and insightful inferences and connections about what the hell is going on in this bizarre circuit. If any readers have questions or comments about the themes discussed here, please feel free to comment or send me a message that I can pass onto John.