Hey, Mr. Spaceman: An Interview with Edgar Mitchell
Edgar Mitchell was the sixth person to walk on the moon. He was on the Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 14 flight crew, spending a total of 9 hours on the lunar surface, in the Fra Mauro Highlands. He retired from NASA in 1972. In 1973, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences to probe what he considers to be one of the deepest mysteries of the universe — consciousness itself. His book, The Way of the Explorer, published in 2008, explained his life, his missions, and how he was affected by the experience of being in space.
Over the years, numerous articles about Mitchell have claimed all kinds of things — that he saw aliens during his moon mission; that he received a Pentagon briefing about UFOs. (Both are untrue.) But Mitchell does believe in UFOs, for a lot of different reasons, including first hand accounts from several people who told him privately about their personal involvement in the alleged 1947 Roswell cover-up.
H+: Did you see anything alien on the Moon when you were there?
EDGAR MITCHELL: No, not at all.
H+: Did you conduct any sort of “psychic” or “ESP” experiments when you were on the Moon?
EM: Well, not on the Moon itself. We did it on the way out and back. I planned it with a couple of Medical Scientist colleagues who had become interested in J.B. Rhine’s work. We decided, almost at the last moment, to set up our own little psychic experiment. We planned to do the experiment six times, during my rest periods, both outbound and returning.
H+: What did you do exactly?
EM: We used a protocol that Rhine and other parapsychologists use all the time. I set up a little grid on a data pad consisting of 25 spaces, 25 lines, and 6 columns. I took the numbers “1, 2, 3, 4, and 5,” and using a random number generator table, I placed the randomized numbers on the 25 lines within the 6 columns.
On any given day, I assigned the numbers “1, 2, 3, 4, and 5,” to the so called “Zenner” symbols: star, cross, wavy line, circle, and square. I would write those down in the proper column. Then, one at a time, I would concentrate on each symbol for fifteen seconds. Meanwhile, back on earth, four of my colleagues were trying to write down the symbols in the exact order I was thinking of them. We planned to do that 6 times, but we only did it 4 times.
H+: So, you were able to do it twice on the way there, and twice on the way back?
EM: Exactly. After I got back, I sent the results to Dr. J.B. Rhine, at Duke, and to Dr. Karlis Osis in New York, both imminent parapsychologists. I said, “Here’s what we did. Do you want to check our numbers for us?”
They both responded, positively and independently, that the probability that chance could have produced our results was 1 out of 3000 times, presuming the people on the ground had done 6 sets of data. However, I’d only done four sets, so when we then corrected for that fact, the results went to 1 in 13,000 that chance could have produced our results. So, it was as good as was usually obtained in the laboratory, when people were in the same building with each other, even though we were almost 200,000 miles away from each other.
H+: Were you ever officially briefed by the government about UFOs?
EM: No. Not at all.
H+: So the “briefing” you had with the Admiral of the Intelligence Committee for the Joint Chiefs of Staff — that was you briefing them on what you had been told, and not the other way around?
EM: Right. Let me give you the whole story, from the very beginning.
From the beginning, of course, is that I grew up in the Pecos River Valley, near Roswell. I was going into my senior year of high school, in 1947, when the so-called “Roswell Incident” took place. It appeared in the Roswell Daily Record one day that an alien craft had crashed. However, on the next day, it was reported to be a “weather balloon.” And that was the end of that, as far as I was concerned. I was on my way off to college, and I wasn’t concerned about this thing at all.
However, many years later, once I had been to the Moon and back, even though my family no longer lived in the Pecos River Valley, I went back there on a speaking tour. I guess since I’d been to the Moon, and was a local boy, it made me somewhat credible. I was grabbed by several of the local “old timers” who were there in 1947 during the Roswell incident and were involved in it in one way or another. (These folks will remain nameless, even though they’re all dead now.) They’d tug at my sleeve at some event and say “can I talk to you a minute?” Then they would tell me their story about how they were involved in either the recovering of bodies, or directing traffic, or some such thing. They felt for sure that it was a real alien event. They didn’t want to go to the grave with their knowledge and considered me a safe source to tell. They pulled on my sleeve to say, “I want to tell you about it.”
H+: How many different people over the years tugged at your arm and told you they were at Roswell?
EM: I guess there were about 4 or 5 of these folks that were either involved — closely involved — or descendants of people who were involved.
H+: And when was this?
EM: It was shortly after I came back from the Moon, when I was back in town on speaking engagements. I didn’t do much with the information until 1997, when Dr. Stephen Greer, from the Disclosure Project, contacted me.
H+: Can you give us a little better idea about who these people were?
EM: Well, for instance, one was the undertaker who was asked to provide coffins for the small bodies. Another was one of the people who were working traffic control out near the site when they decided to fence it off. According to these people, they had all been shushed immediately following the incident. They were told by the Air Force not to talk about it. In many cases… told so with some kind of severe threat attached.
One of the people who talked to me in particular was a major who was on the base at the same time as Major Jesse Marcel, the first person on the site of the Roswell crash. He confirmed to me that… yes, at the time, it was a real incident. I’ve also met Jesse’s son in recent years, Jesse Marcel Jr. He explains how his father brought home some of the pieces from the crash to show him and his mother before taking them to the base.
H+: So when did Dr. Stephen Greer contact you? And what happened next?
EM: It was in 1997, when I was becoming more interested in UFO events Dr. Stephen Greer, who’s with the Disclosure Project, got in touch with me.
He recruited me and another naval commander, Will Miller, who also lives here in Florida, to come to a conference in Washington DC. There, we spoke and explained our stories and said that we believed this was real. The three of us, with both Naval officers, were able to get to the Pentagon and get a meeting with the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We told our respective stories of what we knew about UFOs and the cover-up. “This is what we know. Will you confirm anything for us?” And the Admiral said, “I don’t know about this, but I should know, and I will find out and get back to you.” Well, he never got back to me personally. But he did get back to Dr. Greer, and essentially said, “Yes. What you’re saying is true. I know where the black budget money is dispersed from within the Pentagon.”
Greer told Commander Miller, who called me and said, “Yes, Greer heard from the admiral, and he’s confirmed that there was an office in the Pentagon funding all of this.” Subsequently, another contact of mine, who must also remain nameless because he’s on classified programs, encountered the Admiral in Las Vegas, where he had been looking for and trying to get into the so-called “strategic access program” around the UFO incident and had been denied.
H+: Who exactly do you think is “denying access” to this information?
EM: Well for the moment, the best we can say is that there’s a cabal. I can only speak to it indirectly and from hearsay, as I have never tried personally to get directly into that cabal. However, it seems to stem back to the Eisenhower administration. If you remember Eisenhower’s farewell speech, and this is a matter of record, where he said “beware the military-industrial complex.” Everybody in the field of UFO research seems to think that there’s a group of military people who control this knowledge, and that they are the ones who are keeping it secret.
Lisa Rein is the Digital Librarian for the Timothy Leary Archives, a co-founder of Creative Commons, and a consultant for Ray Kurzweil’s Kurzweilai.net. She is currently co-authoring a book, Faster Than You Think, with Ben Goertzel and Stephan Bugaj.