This article originally appeared on VICE US.
December 16, 2017 is a date that looms large for believers in and enthusiasts of UFOs and the paranormal. On it the New York Times published a story, "Glowing Auras and 'Black Money': The Pentagon's Mysterious U.F.O. Program," which featured a video snippet taken from a camera attached to a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet of an unknown object. Though less than a minute long, it and the accompanying article that laid forth the government's heretofore-secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program validated long-held beliefs of those in the UFO and alien communities, and made them feel less marginalized. Finally, they could say with pride, "We are not alone."
At this year's sixth installment of Contact in the Desert, the "the largest UFO conference in the world" and first since the video's release, the New York Times story and footage contained within were much discussed, both by convention-goers and the top-tier talent there to give talks about the unexplained and the unknown. From the Grandfather of Ufology, Erich von Däniken, to a first-time conventioneers, all displayed a palpable sense of excitement for what it all means and what is yet to come. "The first crack in the matrix of truth," as longtime investigative journalist with a focus on the extraterrestrial, Linda Moulton Howe, said at the last panel held at the Contact over the weekend. "This is the age of pre-disclosure."
That in mind, VICE went to Contact to talk to the Believers. Below we ask about their personal experiences with the extraterrestial.
Joan of Angels
Palm Springs, California
When I was living in Arizona, we were researching crash sites, and in the back of my friend's house, there were these bright red and orange lights that three times a week would show up. They’d come close, they’d go far away, they’d go up, they’d go down, and we’d have some missing time. That was on the UFO Highway—that’s what it’s called, where they show up regularly. That was one of my experiences. I had one experience where they were in my room. And I woke up all night long, and I saw these beings. I wasn’t scared. I was like “Oh, this is cool!” They were cloaked in a sort of silver, shimmering, hooded fabric. They didn’t walk; they floated above the ground. They were circling 'round and 'round and 'round. I woke up later, went outside, saw a ship, went back inside, and they still were around me. Really, it was a beautiful encounter.
Desert Hot Springs, California
I have lived in the Palm Springs area all my life—all 23. Years, not lives. But maybe that too. I feel like I’ve seen some unexplainable things in the sky that I’d ask my parents what they are, and they’d say it’s a plane or whatever—a star, a satellite. The things I’ve seen are perfectly beautiful silver orbs. And I love silver; it’s what I use in my jewelry. So it’s really awesome to see silver orbs flying in the sky to inspire me to make more beautiful silver jewelry pieces. Whenever I look up, they’re there. They vanish beautifully. Just disappear.
I have an interest in UFOs, extraterrestrials, space, and the paranormal, other worlds, and the possibilities and places that could be different. This is my third Contact in the Desert, and I’ve been interested in this kind of stuff since I was a kid when I first saw Erich von Däniken's movie Chariots of the Gods on TV one morning. I like the history of it a lot, the 1950s contactees. It’s part of my mission to liberate the planet. Part of that is—body freedom is the most basic and inherent form of freedom. It’s the one from which all liberties spring forth. I want to show the idea of planets that are more open and body positive, and alternative societies. I like different looks, too. Silver is a good color for the esteem. Sparkles too. Because, at least on this planet, there aren’t enough sparkles in nature. Find whatever you can to express yourself.
My very first Contact in the Desert was in Joshua Tree, and I looked up in the sky, unaltered. I was not smoking—no weed. But, I was looking at the sky with my 20/20 vision, and I saw things I’ve never seen. And in Joshua Tree, there’s no light pollution—you can see the entire Milky Way. I saw objects that were going and flying so smoothly, then all the sudden they would make 90-degree angles, and I was like “OK, there’s things out there.” They were swooping across the sky, and it’s literally a highway to these space things. And also I’ve seen, I guess, something traveling very fast. It was just teleportating through time and space, trailing faerie dust of pink and blue. Just teleportating and popping out in jolts in time and space. It would pop up, fly, disappear, pop up, fly, disappear. You could see where it went through the warp. You can see our atmosphere, where it’s not light-polluted; you can see the net of the atmosphere. It’s this live thing that we are under. And if you can see past that veil you can see the outer-lying grid of all the stars, and it’s like this net that holds us in. We’re all in this net of gravity. It’s pretty insane. But they were going through there, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen the sky so active—there was so much motion. Ever since then, I’ve been a believer, because they know we’re talking about them, and they’re not going to hide themselves. They’re there.
Las Vegas, Nevada
With my skills or abilities, psychic abilities, I receive many messages. I’m a channeler. That is my gift. And with it I receive many communications, and some of them are extraterrestrial, I know for sure. When it comes to actual craft interaction, and abduction, I’ve never had that. To me it’s more of a spiritual experience in this life right now. I’ve been a channeler for three years now. It wasn’t even intended; it was just accepted. And now it’s just a responsibility that I need to be using this for a reason. I have always had a quest and hunger for spirituality, even before I discovered I was a psychic. We are beautiful, divine beings, and our original orientation had a higher intention, and we just gotta go back to that, man. And this transformation is just a beautiful part of that alchemy. We’re coming back to our higher selves, and it’s time. We have too much suffering in the world.
Los Angeles, California
I’ve definitely seen UFOs and things of that nature in the sky. And then you see these missile launches ,and then you’re like, is this an alien, is this a missile test, what the fuck is this? It’s a UFO; it’s unidentified.
“I currently live across the omniverse in many dimensions simultaneously, but in the third dimension I take residence outside of Orlando, Florida, close to Disney World.”
My first abduction experience happened in the womb because my mom was abducted. It was 1968, we were abducted by the Anunnaki, and they added DNA to myself and I incubated inside my mom for over ten months, which is unheard of. Nowadays they will induce the labor; they will not let you go another five weeks. They just won’t. They won’t let it happen. There are health reasons involved. But what I got through hypnotic regression therapy was that I needed to cook neurologically that much longer because of what they added to me. I’m definitely part of the Anunnaki lineage.
When I was 13 years old, it was Halloween, there was an orange-shaped horseshoe. It was thicker on the outside and more iridescent in the middle. It was flying over me, and I knew it was a spaceship. And I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was a home frequency—like I didn’t look at it and think, Wow, what is that? so much as, Oh, there it is. From there it began a sequence where, now, they’re putting people in my field that are part human, part alien.
I had an aneurysm that burst in 2006, and I died and came back and began paranormalhood. I had the most profound experience I ever had in my life. I had the near-death experience, and came back, and it changed me. I actually saw someone who had died a long time ago and hadn’t spoken to them, but they basically told me I was going to be alright. And when I came back it just made me start to question everything because I was actually a medical miracle, as my neurologist calls it. I wasn’t supposed to be 100 percent, and I am. It made me question things. It made me understand that everything is paranormal. There are things that are beyond our understanding and explanation. We have our scientists, our doctors, and there are things they can tell you, but is it necessarily 100 percent accurate? They give everything in a very linear way, but it’s just a small piece of this universe, so maybe how they see things isn’t accurate. And you talk to medical professionals, and they all discredited what I went through. They basically all made me feel like I was crazy. I’m a bodyguard by trade, and one night I was on tour, I walked into a gas station and heard [radio show] Coast to Coast AM and realized there was this incredible community of people just like me, and I wasn’t crazy, and I wanted to make sure I connected with that community. There’s a connection to everything: human beings, life, death. I tried to put it together piece by piece. It all fits together. After the near-death experience, I started thinking about ghosts and aliens and things outside the realm of what you normally think about. It just opens up a whole world, from one thing to the next, and I try to explore it all.
West Hollywood, California
I’m more like a sensitive, so I see things visually, in shadows. I have a sensitivity of seeing things and feeling like they’re there. So, I see a lot of things. And I feel a lot of things. Almost like in another dimension around us. So that’s kinda like my experience.
I see things all the time. I see ships. I see them in the daylight. I’m always winking at them like, “I see you.” I’ve had some interesting experiences at this event. I’ve been seeing—I’m going to call them timewalkers, people who are in between dimensions. I’ll see something—almost like shapeshifters—someone will be behind me, but when I turn around, they’re not there. I see them out of the corner of my eye, but when I look directly at them, they’re no longer there. That’s happening a lot here. The energy here is amplified. It’s an opportunity to have conversations and feel supported. It’s a community.
New York City, New York
In 1987, I was driving cross country with this girlfriend of mine, from Oregon to the East Coast. We were in eastern Nebraska—North Platte, Nebraska. We were really tired—we’d been driving 12 hours—so we pulled off the road somewhere. Usually we’d be all over each other and stuff, but we just passed out. When we woke up in the morning, it was like we had been frozen in place all night. We were frozen. And I guess it was three days later, I’m in New York by a pool, and my mother says “What’s that mark on the back of your leg?” And right there on the back of my knee: four prongs. I would never have known, and I wasn’t thinking UFOs at all. I thought it may have been a spider bite. But it was weird. And in my family my mother and grandmother had both had abduction experiences, I found that out later. But my mother was always afraid of cats. Like, phobia. And I’d ask her “What is it with the cats?” And she goes, “Well, it’s the eyes!” The following year, I was at my parents' house, and in the middle of the night, I was woken up, something tickled the inside of my leg. I felt this furry thing tickle me three times. It was bigger but got smaller and smaller. I was in a dream state, and these beings put this little creature in my hand. It looked like a deer. Big black eyes. I didn't see who these creatures were putting it in my hand, but I said, "This is weird." There was no connection—some people say it's your alien child or whatever, but it was the weirdest thing. I held this thing for a second, then went back to sleep. I thought it was a deer, but after reading the literature, I found it was a hybrid of my genetics and these ETs. I'm obsessed with the whole thing. How do we live in two world where people are having these experiences and the rest of the world is saying, "No, impossible!" I mean, that's a schizophrenic world.
Follow Brian McManus on Twitter.