Let’s start off with the fact that I’m not a “professional ufologist,” just someone who’s interested in the truth and how my own areas of expertise might dovetail with a serious treatment of the phenomenon. I’m a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., Ancient History) and the University of Wisconsin – Madison (M.A., Ph.D., Hebrew Bible and Semitic Studies). During the course of my graduate work, I had the pleasure of taking an assortment of ancient languages, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Syriac, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. My academic expertise is divine beings (gods, angels, divine assembly/host of heaven) in ancient Israelite and Canaanite religions. Before accepting my present position working for a software company that produces ancient text databases and other digital resources for study of the ancient world, I taught theology, biblical studies, ancient languages, and World Civilizations for 12 years on the college level. My current position gives me immediate access to cutting-edge technology for the study of ancient texts and languages.
While my academic credentials are in ancient texts and religion, I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, especially the UFO question. Since 2001 I’ve been fortunate to be on the inside of ufology as an “open to being convinced” researcher and observer. (A description that’s still appropriate). My background has allowed me to evaluate the claims of UFO researchers as they relate to UFOs, religion, and ancient texts. I’ve shared my opinions many times on shows like Coast to Coast AM. I also always get asked what I think of the work of people like Zecharia Sitchin. Other than answering “not much,” you can visit the website www.sitchiniswrong.com or my other blog, PaleoBabble (see the blogroll) for my responses to him, other aspects of the ancient astronaut theory, and other weird ideas about the ancient world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Has Mike ever had a paranormal experience? Has he ever seen a UFO?
No, not that I know of.
Does Mike review other UFO books?
Yes, but only non-fiction. Here are titles of interest I have reviewed:
Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection, by Gary Bates (Master Books, 2005)
Lights in the Sky & Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials, by Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples, and Mark Clark (NavPress)
Body Snatchers in the Desert: The Horrible Truth at the Heart of the Roswell Story, by Nick Redfern (Paraview-Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, 2005)
Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times, by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck (Tarcher / Penguin, 2009)
Mirage Men: An Adventure into Paranoia, Espionage, Psychological Warfare, and UFOs, by Mark Pilkington and John Lundberg (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010)
Final Events and the Secret Government Group on Demonic UFOs and the Afterlife, by Nick Redfern (Anomalist Books, 2010)
Does Mike believe aliens really exist?
No. I know of know credible scientific confirmation that extraterrestrial life either has existed or does exist. Equations (like the overblown Drake Equation) are not evidence for aliens. I reject the idea that the Bible affirms aliens (disguised as angels). ET life forms would be biological entities that need to perpetuate their species, draw nutrition, and are subject to dimensional laws of physics or else they would die. The Bible does not describe angels this way. Until science verifies (rather than speculates about) an intelligent ET life form, I see no reason to affirm their existence.
Does Mike believe aliens are literally abducting people?
No, and this would extend from my answer to the previous question. However, I do think most people who claim to have had this experience are not lying or hoaxing. I believe they experienced something, but I see no reason to conclude alien abduction is the correct way to parse the experience.
My research into what is called “alien abduction” leads me to conclude that there are a range of possible explanations:
(1) Direct demonization of people; I think that is rare, however. Joe Jordan and his CE4 Research group have this as the focus of their work with abductees.
(3) Abductions by military personnel (i.e., MILABS) who implant an alien screen memory into the victim’s mind, using technology that has been known (and further developed) since the 70s. One researcher to watch here is Leah Haley. Leah has recently concluded, after years of work with abductees, that it has nothing to do with extraterrestrials.
(4) abductions where the victim’s mind replaces their actual traumatizer with the alien – traumatization where the victim responds by what is known in psychology as dissociative identity disorder (DID) – what used to be called multiple personality disorder). This may or may not involve ritual traumatization by cults or other groups. I know several people who work with DID survivors.
I am well aware of the work of scholars in alien abduction research, like the late Dr. John Mack of Harvard and Dr. David Jacobs (Temple University) on the subject, but what I’d need to believe we were really dealing with aliens would be (a) actual evidence there are real aliens and (b) some sort of hybrid offspring — again, tested and verified by a credible laboratory. I don’t expect any such thing to be brought forth. I also think that the recent Emma Woods incident (see here — it is a large file) has tarnished Jacobs’ work beyond the inherent criticisms of repressed memory therapies.
I still believe the best academic reading available on the subject of alien abduction are the papers from the 1992 MIT Conference on the alien abduction phenomeno: Alien Discussions : Proceedings of the Abduction Study Conference Held at M.I.T.
Does Mike believe there is currently some sort of secret government program (or other program) designed to produce literal alien-human hybrids?
No. I think the idea is nonsense. In any event, it’s a claim that demands empirical evidence (e.g., some sort of biological proof). The fact that xeno-transplantation exists in labs today is not proof of this for two simple reasons: (1) Logic – that a scientific capability exists is quite different from a particular application of that ability — those are two different things. Wireless technology exists; the idea that my neighbor is using his iPhone to talk to aliens is a different situation altogether. (2) You’d need alien (or “demonic”) DNA for this presumed hybrid. So where’s the proof for that? You can’t use something that doesn’t exist to argue in favor of something else you believe exists.
Has Mike received any recognition for this research in ufology?
Yes. FATE Magazine named Mike to its list of “The 100 Most Influential People in UFOlogy” in
In Mike’s opinion, what are the best (i.e., most credible) books on UFOs?
Here are my “must reads” for the subject of UFOs:
UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973, by Richard Dolan
UFOs and the National Security State: The Coverup Exposed: 1973-1991, by Richard Dolan
These volumes by Dolan are unquestionably the best for documenting the U.S. government’s burning interest in UFOs and its deliberate duplicity in informing the public about that interest. Rich is an academic (runner-up for a Rhodes scholarship as a grad student) and a careful researcher. If I had to pick one book to recommend to someone who said “convince me UFOs are worth looking into,” Rich’s first book would be it, or perhaps the shorter work by Leslie Kean below.
The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence, ed. Peter Sturrock, PhD.
Also quite good. If you think there is no physical evidence for UFOs, you are uninformed. This book isn’t about fuzzy photographs.
Passport to Magonia : On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds by Jacques Vallee, PhD
The above title by Vallee is one of his early efforts at dealing with his view that “aliens” may not be truly extraterrestrial – but entities of a spiritual or inter-dimensional nature. The following three titles by Vallee are a trilogy and, as you can tell by the titles, reveal his less-than-optimistic verdict about the “goodness” of the visitors. Vallee’s works are especially significant since he has no religious axe to grind.
Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact by Jacques Vallee, PhD
Confrontations: A Scientist’s Search for Alien Contact by Jacques Vallee, PhD
Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception by Jacques Vallee, PhD
UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse by John Keel (Putnam, 1970)
A classic by the author of The Mothman Prophecies. Like Vallee, Keel argues strongly that UFOs are a demonic presence–and he is not a Christian.
A fascinating look at how the government systematically used now-deceased electrical physicist Paul Bennewitz to perpetuate disinformation about UFOs. Various government agencies fed Bennewitz him lies to keep him believing in an imminent alien invasion until he was completely discredited and utterly insane. Eventually, author and UFO researcher Bill Moore was recruited to help in the disinformation campaign.
In Mike’s opinion, what are the best (i.e., most credible) websites and blogs for UFO research? Besides his own blog, UFO Religions, of course)
My answer here is about which sites are doing research and which ones are waxing eloquent about aliens(for which there is no proof). Here are the web resources I find most useful:
This is the motherlode for genuine government documents relating to the UFO phenomenon. The site consists of its owner’s scanned Freedom of Information Act requests, the scanned responses, and text-conversions of those scans. Literally tens of thousands of pages (most of which are unspectacular) demonstrate both the military’s disingenuous attitude toward the UFO phenomenon and its own documented experiences.
Leslie Kean’s UFOs on the Record Research Site
CUFOS (Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s Center for UFO Studies)
This site reports on UFO news. There’s pretty much a sighting a day, every day, though who knows what they actually are. It also provides good coverage to UFO research news of importance.
Mike’s own linguistic report on the Majestic Documents
What does Mike think about the work of Zecharia Sitchin and the idea of ancient astronauts?
Not much. I actually don’t think Sitchin knows any ancient languages. His books suggests that much. I have a whole website devoted to Sitchin’s nonsense, and have blogged a number of times about the myth of ancient astronauts.