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Last week my friends Darren and Graham, hosts of The Grimerica Show podcast, regaled me with what is probably the greatest honor a UFO buff can receive: A chance to interview Dr. Jacques Vallee, the most renowned researcher in the field.

I actually had the opportunity to meet Dr. Vallee in person last year, and conversed with him in the company of my good friend and colleague Greg Bishop –you can read about it here— but this new opportunity was clearly different. For starters, on that occasion I let Greg do most of the talking, since the main excuse we had to meet with the honorable astronomer and computer scientist was to hand him a copy of my friend’s book It Defies Language! –I was just too ‘starstruck’ and intimidated by being in the presence of such a legend, anyway. Besides, that had been a private conversation away from any kind of public scrutiny; since I knew Vallee rarely concedes interviews these days due to his busy schedule, I had to prepare myself with a list of good questions for him –the kind that are rarely asked in shows like Coast to Coast, if you know what I mean– to which I consulted with a few people whose opinion on the UFO subject I value greatly.

I did my homework diligently, but nevertheless the night prior to the interview I was understandably nervous, and couldn’t sleep until way past 3 in the morning. I tried to calm myself by watching Star Trek Generations, which had been recently released on Netflix, and the movie reminded me of my forgotten love for the 90’s series ST: TNG and my college years; of how at the same time I was beginning to make use of the computers in my university to access the early Internet in order to read monochromatic UFO bbs forums, I would return home and try not to miss the adventures of Captain Jean Luc Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise on cable TV; of how I would join them on their voyages in my imagination, and dream of the Final Frontier…

It’s fair to say I was still deeply entrenched in the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis as the ‘best’ solution for the UFO dilemma back then, and even though my thoughts about the phenomenon have evolved dramatically in the last twenty-something years, I decided that night –out of a pure whim– that I would start rewatching the whole series of The Next Generation, available in its entirety on the Netflix platform.

(I’m mentioning this seemingly trivial anecdote for reasons which will result clear later on, dear Coppertops…)

The night of the interview came, and my Grimerican friends were kind enough to let me ‘be at the helm’ of the discussion for most of the time we had Dr. Vallee on –you can listen to the episode here. The Grimerica Show prides itself in not trying to copy the outdated radio model, hence it has no sponsors or commercial interruptions, and the guys have learned the finesse of letting their guest speak and trying to cut in as little as possible. This informal podcast format has its pros and cons: The cons is that of the looong list of questions I’d prepared I think I only manage to cover less than 15% of what I’d wanted to ask Vallee; the pros is that the conversation went into avenues I had neither expected nor anticipated. At all.

There’s a lot of things we covered in the approximate 1½ hours we had Dr. Vallee on the line, but the REAL meat of the conversation happened when we began to discuss what he calls ‘physical samples’, and the research he’s been trying to do with them. Firstly he made the distinction between two different type of samples connected to the UFO question: There are the so-called ‘alien implants’ which became popularized in the late 90’s thanks to the work of the late Doctor Roger Leir; it was surprising to listen to Dr. Vallee admitting how, after being very skeptical initially about the nature of the odd objects being extracted out of the bodies of alleged abductees –justifiably so, given how dermatologists are well acquainted with all the kind of odd foreign bodies which get harmlessly lodged beneath the skin, to which patients will have no recollection of how they got there if they had an incident at an early age– he is now convinced some of these implants deserve further scrutiny. Perhaps it was Jeremy Corbell and the work he made with Leir just before he died what made Vallee changed his opinion, but in any case it was refreshing to once again corroborate that the reason Dr. Vallee is exceptional in this field, is because he’s not afraid of reinventing himself and change his mind about the phenomenon from time to time; unlike most researchers who may start by submitting one interesting theory or case, and then spend the rest of their career DEFENDING their position against any type of dissent and criticism –but then again, that’s what good scientists DO when presented with new data.

The other samples Dr. Vallee is interested in, and the ones he’s been focusing more recently, are what he calls Ejecta: Pieces of metal slag supposedly expelled by a UFO under unusual circumstances –as if the object was suffering some type of ‘malfunction’ or going through some kind of trouble– and then material ‘drips off’ to the ground at very high temperatures, which may later be picked up by the puzzled witness after it cools off to keep as a curious memento.

Dr. Vallee mentioned the famous Ubatuba case from Brazil which came to light in 1957, but for the English-speaking UFO field perhaps a more recognizable example would be the controversial Maury Island case, which was investigated by Kenneth Arnold and ultimately led to the death of two Air Force members while they were retrieving a box containing samples of the slag ejected by a flying saucer.

Those type of samples had been analyzed decades ago, by both the Air Force and independent researchers like Prof. Sturrock of Stanford University, and at various laboratories in France. In the case of the Ubatuba samples, the researchers found they were composed of magnesium of a very high level of purity, which made them unusual… but not necessarily compelling if what you were looking for was a novel chemical element –i.e. something not of this Earth– which would prove your case that UFOs are interplanetary craft. Eventually both the UFO buffs and the skeptics forgot about the ejecta material, which remained hidden in the drawers or cabinets of the still-puzzled witnesses.

The kind of spectrometer equipment Prof. Sturrock used in his analysis is very expensive and are under constant use by university researchers. What Dr. Vallee has been quietly doing instead is gathering samples provided to him from less publicized UFO cases, and go to his associates in Silicon Valley where they have newer spectrometers that are smaller and more affordable.

“We found something very curious,” he told us. When analyzing the isotope ratios of these mineral samples, they discovered they neither conformed to the expected terrestrial ratios, nor to the extraterrestrial ones exhibited by meteoric objects. In other words, it almost seemed as if the isotopes had been reengineered, by separating them and giving them an exotic ratio only to reintroduce them into the metal alloy for some unknown reason.

Separating isotopes from Uranium was done for the first time by the Manhattan project, but separating the isotopes of ‘ordinary’ metals like magnesium? That would still cost millions of dollars, according to Vallee. And even if you could do it, WHY would you do it, anyway?

Now, Vallee has been making presentations on conferences recently, and also given radio interviews in which he’s tried to explain this funny isotope business, but I guess nobody has been really paying the necessary attention to it. Perhaps it’s to be expected; after all, most people interested in the UFO phenomenon are not scientists or metallurgists –including me!– so talking about chemical ratios becomes too dry and technical very quickly, and it’s not really what you want to hear from a man like Dr. Vallee, right? You want to talk about high strangeness, classic cases, the sorry state of the UFO field in the XXIst century –Tom DeLonge!– or discuss the type of activity reported inside the infamous Skinwalker ranch, right? In other words, you want the ‘hot chaff’ my good friends Ben and Aaron love to discuss in their Mysterious Universe podcast!

But then it hit me.

I waited for Dr. Vallee to finish talking about how he and his colleagues are willing to share their samples to whomever wants to conduct their own experiments, and I excitedly jumped in
to ask him: “are you saying these results suggest we’re dealing with an agency not only capable of manipulating the space-time continuum –the way you and other researchers have documented in plenty of cases– but ALSO capable of transforming energy into matter, and vice versa?

I almost jumped out of my chair when he replied with a resounding “Oh yes!”

And he went even further, speculating on how maybe this has more to do with the supposed ‘cover-up’ of the UFO reality by the US government, than any nefarious plan by the supposed ‘Breakaway Civilization’ or our ‘Illuminati’ overlords. If we assume the government has in fact recovered crashed saucers or other type of material over the years, the cover-up might have made sense in the 50’s if what they were trying to accomplish was to find the secret of the ‘alien propulsion system’ before the Russians. Dr. Vallee firmly believes that as taxpayers the American people would have the right to demand an answer to those who might have kept these recovered items in secrecy for so long.

But… what if they still don’t have an answer yet?

Let’s imagine the powers that be have managed to retrieve 10, 50 or even 100 crashed saucers. They figure out how to open them up, only to find them… empty. No control room, no guidance system. Not even an engine or a discernible power source. To us, that would not make any sense, the same way someone living in the XVIII century would find one of our automobiles equally nonsensical; they would open the hood trying to find where the horse is hidden!

Not only that, but the same powers that be can’t really learn anything from the ‘alien’ hardware, because they sooner or later discover what Valle and his colleagues are finding out: that it is composed of ‘mundane materials.’ No Unobtanium or Vibranium to replicate for your military R&D, and nowhere to know the purpose behind this ‘absurd’ reengineering.

So… pretty insightful realization to be mentioned during the interview, huh? Truth be told I can’t pat myself too hard on the back for it, and this is when we go back to the ‘trivial’ anecdote I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Remember that I had decided to rewatch ST:TNG on Netflix the night before the interview? [Spoilers!] It just so happens that in the two pilot episodes of the first season (Encounter at Farpoint) The Enterprise encounters a mysterious object –which initially has the classical appearance of a flying saucer, BTW– and in the end they discover they are not dealing with a ‘vessel’ filled with hostile aliens, but with a living entity capable of manipulating reality, and ‘manifesting’ any type of object into existence by sheer thought alone, in a manner similar to the ‘replicators’ onboard the Enterprise which were used to convert energy into matter.

Synchronistic? Maybe not so. But at least fairly serendipitous

But let us get back to the Vallee interview. The implications of this finding, if successfully confirmed by him and other researchers –and he reminds us they are not ready to publish their results yet– are staggering. More than a hundred years after year Albert Einstein penned the most famous physics equation in the world (E=mc2) any child in elementary school knows that the atoms which build up ordinary matter can be divided, and the process liberates an enormous amount of energy; this power is not only the basis of fission energy, but is also the reason why our current geopolitical climate is turning ever more… interesting –in the Chinese sense of the word.

But reversing the equation and turning pure energy into matter? That still remains in the realm of theoretical physics. And yet the ancient precursors of our modern scientists already had a name for such a process: TRANSMUTATION.

The men who used such a word were just as intelligent as any MIT graduate; they just didn’t have computers or large hadron colliders to work with, but beakers and retorts instead. They also didn’t write their findings using mathematical equations, but rather relied on arcane symbols intertwined with myth and astrology, in order to protect their findings from competitors or the dangerous gaze of the Church. These men were Alchemists, following a philosophical tradition so old its origins has been lost in the sands of Time.

In our times Alchemy is considered nothing more than a ‘proto-science’, and although alchemists are credited with laying the basic foundation on which the modern edifices of Chemistry and Physics were erected, they are still regarded as superstitious dullards who wasted their life in pursuit of an impossible substance called the ‘lapis’ or Philosopher’s Stone –some scientists even gloat on the fact that with our modern equipment, they have accomplished the alchemists’ wildest dreams of ‘turning lead into gold.’

But the real purpose of the Great Work was much more complicated than that: it was not the mere transmutation of base metals, but the transformation of the Alchemist himself. In the esoteric Western tradition philosophers talked about the quintessence, the celestial ‘aether’ or divine substance, different to the common elements of Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. Aether was the ‘pure air’ that the gods breath, and is that of which the heavenly bodies were supposed to be composed, similar to the Hindu Akash and other mystical traditions. Without the quintessence, none of the other elements could exist.

Could we use a different term to describe this ancient alchemical term, in order to make it more approachable to our modern thinking? How about… The Matrix?

Let us then speculate on how a possible intelligence (or group of intelligences) may be able to ‘manipulate the Matrix’ in order to manifest whatever they need, wherever and whenever they want; be that a metal craft… or a body, in case you need to interact with the natives for whatever reason.

Revolutionary propulsion systems and exotic materials inside a UFO only make sense from the perspective of an alien craft that came from elsewhere and arrived to our planet. But when you play a computer videogame you (the player) don’t need to ‘insert’ anything into the virtual system, and you certainly don’t need to be physically transported to that digital realm. You push a few buttons and Voilá! You ‘spawn’ a digital avatar to interact with the game’s environment. And in some games you can also manifest all sorts of transportation systems. Those transports are composed of the same 1’s and 0’s which make up everything in the synthetic landscape, and the programmers don’t need to simulate every little intricacy or component in the vehicle in order for it to work, since they have direct access to the ‘source code’ controlling the dynamics of the whole game.

Preposterous? Not if you are willing to embrace Dr. Vallee’s assumptions –and my own– that our Space-Time continuum is just a subset of a bigger Reality, from which the UFO phenomenon may emanate. And if that sounds to you a lot like ancient Gnosticism, dear Coppertop, is because it is –Dr. Vallee himself conceded as much during the interview.

I know fully well all these wild speculations have gone way beyond what Jacques Vallee and his colleagues might be comfortable with endorsing, and it’s true that what they are discovering opens up MORE questions than the answers it may provide. But one thing is for sure: When compared to the notion of unidentified alchemical manifestations (UAMs) invoked by intelligences capable of controlling the Matrix of our very existence, the ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis) sounds positively quaint… and boring.

So here’s hoping Vallee manages to get some big honchos of Silicon Valley involved in his research *cough*Elon Musk*cough*. And if you happen to know someone who may be in possession of potential debris ejected by a UFO, don’t feel annoyed if a suave-looking French gentleman asks you about it. Cut him some slack –and give him some slag.