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“…There was some paperwork that indicated this was from the Zeta Reticuli star system.”

The moment Bob Lazar mentioned the mythical home of the gray, bug-eyed entities that have become the stereotype of off-world visitation ever since Whitley Strieber published Communion —“the kids” in S-4 parlance– Joe Rogan’s eyebrows visibly rose. This was perhaps one of the few moments in which the popular comic, MMA commentator and podcaster showed any signs of bewilderment to what Lazar, the most famous UFO whistle-blower in the world, had to say. 

The self-proclaimed former member of America’s ultra-secret alien technology’s reverse-engineering program was wearing a nerdy T-shirt that mocked the Breaking Bad logo with the chemical elements Bromine and Barium; and after watching the film about him directed, written and produced by his companion Jeremy Corbell last weekend –the most decent UFO-related documentary on Netflix despite Mickey Rourke’s incomprehensible mumbling (sorry, Dr. Greer)– one gets the impression Lazar’s wardrobe consists entirely of science-related t-shirts aside from polo shirts with his company logo, United Nuclear. Perhaps he’s trying too hard to sell us the idea that YES, he *is* after all a real scientist, despite the fact his academic credentials were contested by researchers like the late Stanton Friedman, ever since his fantastic tale of silvery flying disks being secretly tested on the Nevada desert exploded into the world of UFOlogy, before the age of smartphones and the royal Kardashians; a pervasive thorn still stuck on the side of what could potentially be the most important story in modern human history —if it was actually true. 

Sadly, neither Corbell’s film was particularly interested in settling that matter once and for all, nor did Rogan choose to pry too deep into the history of his controversial guest during the two hours and fifteen minutes the podcast lasted. Maybe Joe was too ‘star-struck’ by the fact he finally managed to sit down and talk to a person he had heard about for so long, before he became an Internet celebrity and when he used to smoke pot while reading conspiracy theories like the staged lunar landings. And even though Joe doesn’t have any obligation whatsoever to be an arbiter of what he himself might label as “paranormal fuckery,” there’s no denying that he treated Lazar with tweezers when compared to his interview with Tom DeLonge in 2017

Despite my skepticism of Lazar, I was sincerely looking forward to this episode of the JRE ever since I learned Rogan’s interest in UFOs had been rekindled after watching Corbell’s documentary Bob Lazar, Area 51 and Flying Saucers, because I was hoping the informal and long, no-breaks format of a podcast would reveal new interesting tidbits about this story, and that Joe would use his BS meter to detect any logical holes in Lazar’s testimony. “Why [didn’t] they arrest you?” he asked when Bob got to the part when he was caught taking some of his friends to watch the Wednesday night tests of the disks over S-4. “I’m not sure they knew what to do [with me], but they did let me go.” Really?? You’re showing your buddies the most prized, secret possession of the US government, and they allow you to go home unharmed and with just a slap on the hand?! Alas, this didn’t seem to sound too preposterous to the former host of SyFy’s Joe Rogan Questions Everything, a TV show which took a definitely skeptic approach to UFO claims; not only that, but Rogan went so far as to say he doesn’t particularly like the term ‘skeptic’ —“it’s a lazy, sloppy way to look at things, [when you’re just] looking for things to be bullshit.” I’m sure JRE’s former guests Mick West (editor and owner of Metabunk) and Banachek (notorious mentalist and skeptic) got a kick out of that!

Lazar kept complaining about a building migraine during the first 20-30 minutes of the recording –genuine stress, post-hypnotic suggestion implanted by his EG&G former employers, or ingenious cop-out? You decide– and that’s probably the main reason Joe decided to go easy on Bob, who showed to be more relaxed once the conversation veered away from the story he’s been begrudgingly telling and re-telling for the last 30 years. A story that hasn’t suffered any major changes, with the exception that recently Lazar has been suggesting that at least some of the 9 recovered saucers kept at S-4 were “very ancient” and perhaps obtained via an archeological excavation; something that was portrayed in one of the latest episodes of Ancient Aliens –aired, conveniently enough, before the second episode of TTSA’s Unidentified. And I say “convenient” because Jeremy Corbell has been trying very hard to tie up Lazar’s story with the recent TTSA developments, despite the fact that a reverse-engineering project of fully functioning flying saucers run by the Military seems to contradict the incipient data collected by the AATIP Pentagon program on UFOs –if AATIP feels like the kind of “UFOlogy 101” the US Air Force and other countries were running in the 1950’s and 60’s, Lazar is supposed to be full confirmation that aliens have indeed visited our world and possess a technology that is thousands of years ahead of us. 

When I asked this apparent discrepancy to George Knapp –the seasoned journalist responsible for making Bob Lazar one of the most recognizable names in UFOlogy– over Twitter, he responded that government compartmentalization could explain why Elizondo was still asking in 2009 whether the Tic-Tacs Comdr. Fravor encountered were real objects, while elsewhere in the dark and unreachable recesses of the Military Industrial complex, someone was already trying their hardest to reproduce craft similar to what the pilots on board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Rooselvelt encountered in 2014 –and failing miserably, according to Lazar. 

Perhaps so… or perhaps the Lazar mythos is opportunistically latching on to the spotlight of the cases recently popularized by TTSA, the same way it added elements that were popular in UFOlogy at the time of its inception: Majestic Twelve, Zeta Reticuli, Edward “Billy” Meier’s Pleiadian beamships, etc. Whether this is Lazar’s own doing or someone else’s remains to be seen.

Ironically enough, the one who disclosed more tantalizing revelations wasn’t Lazar but Corbell, who mentioned it was The Drive’s Tyler Rogoway the one who found that strange ‘bone-reading’ scanning machine Lazar had always claimed to have seen at S-4, and was portrayed in their film as one of the new validations of his story. He let Bob talk freely during the 1st part of the episode but then kept chiming in to try to put Joe up to speed in the latest developments in UFOlogy. He said that in the reports released by the AAWSAP program –from which AATIP branched out– the term “UFO” had been replaced by “AAV” –Joe and his friend Duncan Trussell had ranted about that on a previous JRE show– which stands for “Advanced Aerospace Vehicle” instead of “Anomalous Aerial Vehicles” –something researcher John Greenewald on the Black Vault would no doubt categorically refute– and he also tried to explain the so-called “Wilson memo” without directly mentioning the name of Dr. Eric Davis (the scientist who used to collaborate with Bigelow and now collaborates with TTSA) who met with Vice Admiral Wilson at the beginning of the last decade to know more about the (alleged) black-budget programs pertaining to the reverse-engineering of alien technology –incidentally, Davis appeared in the Joe Rogan Questions Everything episode about UFOs, and he also thinks the Lazar story is a complete fabrication (once again, you can’t have your Lazar cake and eat it with your TTSA ice cream).

“You’re not being very clear,” Joe interrupted Corbell, who was rapidly jumping from AATIP to the Skinwalker ranch and alluded to the fact that “we would be hearing a lot about that soon.” Last week the History channel announced a new series that would be focused on the infamous Utah location, who used to be owned by Bigelow and now is in the hands of an anonymous proprietor –the fact Joe didn’t use the opportunity to repeat his old jokes about the “giant bullet-proof wolves” was also another disappointment in this podcast.

“Remember when (Bigelow) had that AAWSAP contract everybody is talking about?” said Corbell to Joe, talking about it in a way that suggested the majority of the $22 millions Senator Harry Reid allocated for the secretive program went to his good friend Robert Bigelow and BAASS. Whether this was pure speculation on Jeremy’s part or is something he learned as George Knapp’s protege is not clear, and yet it raises the question: How much of that black budget money went into Elizondo’s AATIP and the study of the Military encounters with UFOs? 

Like I said, once the conversation switched to more general topics, Lazar looked more relaxed and enjoying himself. His personal philosophy seems to be entirely techno-centric so when Joe started to riff about the possibility of Humanity eventually merging with cybernetics he wholeheartedly agreed, and saw it as a perfectly natural part of Evolution. It is this passion about technology, claims the “reluctant UFO Messiah” (a term given to him by his old friend George Knapp) what kept him at S-4 despite the stifling uncooperative atmosphere, the unrealistic approach to trying to solve the most complex scientific problem faced by mankind entirely on their own through a tight need-to-know basis, and the appalling working conditions he allegedly faced. “The prize is the Technology,” he said to Joe, and this despite the fact he is of the opinion that his former employers are being as reckless and ill-prepared to solving the secret of anti-gravity propulsion as Victorian scientists would be if someone had handed them a XXIst century nuclear reactor. 

It’s in these moments that Lazar, whose story is as fantastical as a Sci-Fi novel, sounds just like a scientist taken from the pages of an actual book –Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm– admonishing about the dangers of tinkering with incredible powers beyond our control. And yet if we are to believe Lazar, he ended up doing what Ian Malcolm would NEVER had dared to do: Smuggle out a tiny piece of Element 115 as some kind of “insurance policy” and hiding it in some undisclosed location –that would like keeping a baby T-Rex hidden in your grandma’s barn.

At the end of the day, a story like Bob Lazar’s will never be able to be entirely proved or disproved, something Corbell and he fully admit. Yes, the US government kept studying UFOs long after the Condon Report killed Project Blue Book, but that doesn’t mean there’s a secret hangar filled with flying saucers at Papoose Lake. Yes, Element 115 was added to the periodic table years after Lazar came forward, and maybe years from now a stable isotopic version of it will be discovered; but that doesn’t mean Bob managed to smuggle out a piece of ‘alien fuel’ out of S-4. Yes, he probably worked at Los Alamos and Area 51, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t lie about his academic credentials. And yes, he might have been shown technology that is “borderline magic” like he describes it, but that doesn’t exclude the possibility that he was fed disinformation or was subjected to some sort of psychological manipulation (“gaslighting”) in order to push him to go public with his story.

As for me, I still stand on my opinion that Lazar and Corbell turned out to be a better UFO-related interview than previous guests on the JRE podcast –but then again, the bar wasn’t really raised that high.

Now, if we could just convince Jeffrey Kripal and Whitley Strieber to have a chat with Joe…