Wednesday, July 26, 2023

" [T]he Zelig of unproven supernatural and UFO speculation"

 Art Levine writing for the Washington Spectator.

In 2017, DeLonge’s company claimed it was engaging in rigorous research led by Elizondo and the TTSA co-founder, physicist Hal Puthoff, gathering alien “metamaterial” they asserted could be genuine. These findings were touted as coming from the Roswell, N.M., “alien” crash site that has long been considered foundational to modern UFO mythology but which the U.S Air Force reports was actually the location of a 1947 crash of a high-altitude spy balloon. In any case, part of the metamaterial was exposed as industrial slag in the 1990s. Some of the metal scraps were then passed off to the Army as part of its nearly $1 million 2019 contract with TTSA.

Puthoff may not be as well known to the general public as today’s other UFO influencers, but he is the Zelig of unproven supernatural and UFO speculation. An ex-Scientologist involved in over 40 years of fruitless research, he led the failed $20 million, 23-year CIA psychic “remote viewing” project. One viewer he tested was fellow Scientologist Ingo Swann, who claimed to provide a detailed view of Mars and Jupiter with his mind. Puthoff also endorsed the powers of spoon-bending “psychic” Uri Geller; Geller’s mind over matter powers were called into question in a cringe-inducing segment in 1973 on The Johnny Carson Show.

 Between the NYT/UFO and the Uri Geller threads we've been working on lately, I've been reading waaaay too much about the paranormal and Hal Puthoff has come up three times: remote viewing; the Geller fiasco; and To the Stars. Levine does not do the man credit saying he "endorsed" Geller. Puthoff was the lead researcher on the disastrous SRI study and co-authored the infamous Nature paper (both eviscerated by James Randi in the Magic of Uri Geller), but the Zelig line is perfect.

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