- NEW YORK -- There are no little green men on the moon. Edgar Mitchell
knows this because in 1971 he became the sixth man to walk on it. He is
positive, however, that aliens have landed on Earth.
- Sharing the podium at a conference in
Connecticut yesterday with "alien abductees" and others who claim
to have had contact with unidentified flying objects (UFOs), the former
Nasa astronaut intensified his campaign to persuade Washington to acknowledge
life beyond our skies.
- Mitchell argues that life is almost certain
to exist on any other planet with a supportive environment. Some physicists,
he points out, now believe it is possible to travel faster than light,
even if humble earthlings have yet to achieve it.
- He is 90% certain that many of the thousands
of UFOs recorded since the 1940s belonged to visitors from another planet.
Although some have been delusions and others natural phenonema, too many
remain unexplained, he said. "This suggests there are humanoids manning
craft which have characteristics not in the arsenal of any nation on earth
that we know of. That is very alarming," he said.
- It was a startling departure for a scientist
who, up to now, has been wary of appearing with ufologists widely regarded
- "Until recently I was very cautious
about such conferences," Mitchell, 68, admitted before the opening
of an annual convention entitled the UFO Experience. "But now I believe
there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant a scientific understanding
in this area."
- Mitchell, who holds a doctorate from
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, does not fit easily into the
ranks of the UFO fanatics. Although he acts as a consultant to The X Files,
the cult television series, he is scornful of "disinformation"
about aliens and flying saucers that emanates from the Internet and marginal
UFO organisations in America.
- "The notion that there are structures
on Mars or the moon is bonkers," Mitchell said. "I can certainly
attest to the latter - I've been there. We saw no structures at the landing
site and none was reflected in my helmet, as has been alleged."
- Mitchell bases his credo on established
cosmology - in which he became closely involved after gazing at his tiny,
distant planet from the command module of Apollo 14. He felt "an overwhelming
sense of universal connectedness and perceived the universe as in some
- In the early 1970s, after leaving Nasa,
he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California. Dedicated to
the study of psychic and spiritual phenomena, it subjected luminaries such
as Uri Geller, the Israeli spoon bender, to scientific scrutiny.
- Mitchell says his research - including
conversations with people who have worked in intelligence agencies and
military groups - has convinced him that the American government has covered
up the truth about UFOs for 50 years. He is trying to persuade Congress
to grant his sources immunity to tell "the real story" of events
such as the so-called Roswell incident - the alleged crash of a flying
saucer in New Mexico in 1947.
- "Many of these folks were under
high-security clearances, they took oaths and they feel they cannot talk
without some form of immunity," Mitchell said. "It takes a brave
person to come out on something like this."
- A poll by Time magazine last year suggested
that 22% of the population share Mitchell's conviction that other planets
have been in contact with humans; 17% said intelligent life had abducted
humans to experiment on them.
- The high level of interest has encouraged
other speakers at this weekend's conference. They include Robert Wood,
a retired aerospace engineer from California, who claims to have new evidence
of the existence of MJ12, a clandestine military unit trained in recovery
and disposal of aliens and their craft.
- The true believers could hardly conceal
their delight at the former astronaut's endorsement. Walter Andrus, international
director of the Mutual UFO Network, the largest organisation of its kind
in America, said: "There's no doubt in my mind that Ed Mitchell gives
us all credibility."
- Copyright 1998 Times Newspapers Ltd.
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