Saturday, March 14, 2020

‘Black swan’ events that aren't: Coronavirus, climate emergency, unidentified aerial phenomena

By Steve Hammons

A “black swan event” is one that is almost totally unexpected, is high-profile and has very significant impacts. It is viewed in hindsight as if it could have been foreseen and prepared for, even if this is not completely accurate since some events might involve truly random elements.

The concept is based on an ancient Latin expression from the second century referring to something that was impossible, as they believed at the time that all swans were white. However, when black swans were discovered by Europeans in 1697, the term came to mean impossible events that turned out to be quite possible after all.

A more recent expression related to the black swan concept is the “gray rhino.” This refers to something that, like a black swan situation, has major effects, but is not an outlier and is something that should be expected.

The black swan theory is used in forecasting and preparedness of various kinds, including economic prediction, national security threats and global health.

Implicit in black swan scenarios is the fact that most situations are not black swans and can be predicted and prepared for with thoughtful forecasting analysis – and often, with common sense, average intelligence and responsible behavior.


In analyzing three current situations facing the human race on Earth, it seems helpful to determine if these are black swan or gray rhino scenarios:

1) Coronavirus pandemic

2) Climate emergency

3) Unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)

And we can apply the same analysis to other developments that could occur, such as severe earthquakes on California's San Andreas fault or the Pacific Northwest's Cascadia Subduction Zone fault.

In the coronavirus situation, as we know, there have been centuries of human experience with epidemics and pandemics. As a result, in more modern times we have developed medications, treatments, and specific medical and public health prevention measures and interventions.

Humans have also developed and deployed biological warfare, using disease as a weapon. This tactic was reportedly used against Native Americans during early Indian wars in North America. And, intentional or not, European diseases killed tens of thousands of Native American children, women and men.

Emerging disease epidemics or pandemics have happened multiple times in recent decades. Entire U.S. government agencies and numerous professionals are tasked with preparing for and responding to such situations – situations that are basically expected. 

In fact, in recent years pandemic disease has routinely been on the list of national security threats facing the U.S. So, the coronavirus is seemingly a gray rhino, not a black swan.

Applying some of these same approaches to climate change, we know that many scientific experts have clearly identified scientific data about the causes, trajectory and probable or certain outcomes of climate change.

These outcomes have been repeatedly identified as fitting one of the criteria of a black swan situation – major impacts. And, climate change has been identified as a threat to U.S. national security.

But, obviously, these outcomes are not unexpected at all. So, when major, catastrophic, environmental tipping points are reached, possibly in the near future, it will not be accurate to say it was a black swan. It will be a huge, dangerous, gray rhino charging right at us, doing serious damage.


A third type of black swan or gray rhino is related to that “tic-tac” UFO or UAP in the news that was encountered by U.S. Navy pilots off the coast of San Diego. Other similar incidents have occurred in recent years involving Navy aviators.

A robust number of well-researched news reports, articles, scientific papers, books, documentary films, some Hollywood movies and a few credible TV shows clearly seem to indicate that UAP are real. Recent official statements by the Navy note the same thing.

Additionally, the UAP appear to be of different types, and have been encountered in many locations, time frames and situations around the world by credible people.

It might be worth keeping in mind that a black swan or gray rhino might not always have to be a harmful situation, though the terms are usually referenced in this context. Something along the lines of a black swan or gray rhino could just denote significant changes, something highly unusual or even even positive developments.

For example, in the mid-evening hours on March 13, 1997, a large number of witnesses reported a somewhat huge, boomerang-shaped or V-shaped object with large lights underneath cruise over Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a famous case of course, and there are many others.

In the so-called “Phoenix lights” incident, the large object reportedly glided slowly and silently at a fairly low altitude right through the middle of the metro Phoenix area. Lots of people outdoors on that pleasant evening saw it. The then-governor of Arizona, Fife Symington, went outside and saw it.

So, it seems that a significant UAP incident or development would be considered a gray rhino, not a black swan. Yet, whether a certain scenario is a black swan or a gray rhino, unexpected or expected, their key common denominator is that they both have major impacts.

It’s wise to “expect the unexpected.” And, it’s not a bad idea to “expect the expected.”

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Monday, March 2, 2020

National security expert says recent UFOs are ‘threat unmet’

By Steve Hammons
In a Feb. 18, 2020, article titled “A Threat Unmet” in the magazine of the American Legion military veterans organization, a former U. S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence wrote about “unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)” in close proximity to U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups at sea and related factors.
Christopher Mellon updated readers of American Legion Magazine about specifics of the encounters between Navy pilots and what appeared to be unusual objects performing incredible gravity-transcending maneuvers at fantastic speeds.
He began his article reviewing the groundbreaking Dec. 16, 2017, news report in the New York Times about encounters between Navy jet pilots and very odd objects. Mellon also covered the subsequent development when the spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations publicly stated that the objects are unidentified aerial phenomena – that is, they are not U.S. craft.
Mellon noted that this statement by the Navy was a step toward more openness about the situation – especially compared to the U.S. Air Force’s Project Sign (1948), Project Grudge (beginning in 1949) and Project Blue Book (1952-1970).
At the same time, Mellon states that from his viewpoint, U.S. government national security agencies and Congress don’t seem to be doing enough to investigate and respond to this highly-unusual situation. As to what might have been going on behind the scenes over the decades regarding UFOs, he seems to refrain from commenting on that possible element of U.S. government-related activities.
Mellon recalled some of the views of J. Allen Hynek, PhD, the Ohio State University astronomy professor who worked on the Air Force’s Project Blue Book at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Hynek seemed to believe that the Air Force’s public statements about UFOs didn’t completely line up with his investigations and observations, Mellon reminded us.
And as to the more recent Navy UFO encounters, Mellon appeared concerned when he writes that, “No major investigations have been launched. There is no indication the DoD or intelligence community leadership is engaged.”
He added, “And there is still no process for collecting and integrating pertinent information about UFO/UAPs from the myriad agencies and departments that possess it (NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the armed forces and others).”
 “This paralysis is occurring at a time when the scientific community increasingly recognizes the possibility of humanity encountering probes from spacefaring civilizations,” Mellon said.
Importantly, he also pointed out to readers that, “Though Navy pilots have sounded the alarm – their testimony has appeared in print, online and on national television – there is still no sign that our massive DoD and intelligence bureaucracies, or our Congress, are seeking answers to the UFO/UAP mystery on behalf of military personnel who are potentially at risk from midair collisions if nothing else (one near miss by a Navy fighter has already been reported).”
“Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are tragic examples of intelligence failures that could have been avoided,” Mellon wrote. “Our continuing inability to identify the radical aerospace vehicles violating our airspace is an ongoing intelligence failure, one that arguably requires written notification to the House and Senate intelligence committees pursuant to Section 502 of the National Security Act of 1947.”
Has Mellon given up on an intelligent and reasonable response from Congress and the U.S. government?
He certainly seems somewhat discouraged when he writes, “While Congress has not received a formal notification regarding this failure, and perhaps never will, it is certainly aware that DoD is unable to identify these aircraft or prevent them from violating U.S. airspace. The question now is whether our leaders will remain passive out of concern for outdated stigmas or act on behalf of our servicemembers and our nation.”
To assist Congress and national security leaders on this topic, Mellon makes several suggestions about how to use our defense and intelligence assets to investigate, monitor, analyze, understand and make preparations regarding the apparent situation at hand.
As a former federal government national security official, Mellon appears to naturally focus on Congress and formal U.S. defense activities. Like other interested people, he seems to want our elected U.S. representatives, senators and other federal officials to show insight, appropriate concern and effective response about a possible dire threat to our country.
Is Mellon likely to be disappointed? He appears hopeful that those individuals currently elected or appointed to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, and others in the federal government will demonstrate intelligent and responsible behavior when it comes to these unusual developments.

Could Mellon be expecting too much from Washington, D.C.? He seems to be advocating for an intelligent and appropriate response to what appears to be a possible significant threat, or at least a highly-unusual development to be concerned about.
Since he is a former U.S. government official, Mellon’s federal government-centric viewpoint is understandable, relevant and important. 

He also seems to be reaching out to a broad scope of American citizens and those in our armed forces and national security services, encouraging us to learn more and become more aware and engaged about these unidentified phenomena that Navy pilots are reporting.
And, of course, it has not just been Navy pilots. Over the years, military pilots from other services, other military personnel, civilian pilots, public safety peace officers and reliable witnesses from all walks of life have reported UFO/UAP incidents in the U.S. and around the world. 

In this article and others he’s penned, Mellon is informing us about these significant circumstances worth paying attention to. He’s trying to inform former and retired military members, and their families, friends and associates. He’s talking to all of us – grassroots active duty and reserve component military personnel, public safety first responders, students, and Americans and people around the world.
Maybe we would be wise to listen to him.

(Related article “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

My military draft lottery number was #165 during final Vietnam War years

By Steve Hammons

(Related article “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

My 18th birthday was in the spring of 1970 when I was a senior in high school in southwestern Ohio, where I was born and raised. Shortly after, I received a Vietnam-era “draft card” from the U.S. Selective Service System. 
My draft status was listed as 1-H, meaning not immediately eligible for draft into the Army.

At the time, as a high school kid, I did not fully understand that by the date I received my draft card, tens of thousands of American troops had been killed and severely wounded in the Vietnam War. And more were being killed and wounded daily.

That summer, the second year of the draft lottery system was conducted. Like the state gambling lotteries of today, numbers were placed in a large bin and randomly drawn – one number for each of the 365 days in the year that a male baby was born in the year 1952 who turned 18 in 1970.

Those babies, now 18-year-old American males, would be available for the military draft for the Vietnam War. My birthday was picked as #165. I was fairly clueless as to what that meant.

Those draftees were sent directly to Army basic training, then to advanced infantry training and other preparation, and then often to Vietnam and combat.


As it turned out, the “Vietnamization” process of the war had started in 1969 
– the U.S. pulling out and handing responsibility to the South Vietnamese government and military.

The draft was winding down. The Selective Service System never did reach #165 of the 1970 batch of bodies to draft, though many 1970 18-year-olds with lower lottery numbers were drafted and went to Vietnam. The Selective Service System drafted up to #125 for that age group.

Americans would be fighting, killing and dying in the Vietnam War for a few years to come before the final withdrawal of combat troops in 1973 (the U.S. embassy was evacuated in 1975 in a chaotic, final pullout.)

The final death toll for American military personnel came to more than 58,000. The vast majority were in their twenties. 

There were also significant numbers of American prisoners of war (POWs), more than 1,600 missing in action (MIA) and more than 150,000 injuries.

Vietnam veterans also later suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other behavioral health issues, alcohol and drug abuse, family problems, homelessness, war-related medical issues (war injuries, exposure to Agent Orange herbicide), incarceration and other problems related to their experiences.

But in the spring 1970 in my senior year of high school, I did not know about all of these factors in motion.

The teenager life of high school, learning to drive, playing football and dating was about to change for me as it had for many before me and after me. 
I and my peers across the country had now turned 18 and received our draft cards. (And we could now legally buy and drink 3.2 percent "low" beer in Ohio from stores, restaurants and bars.)

But there apparently was a very serious war going on – which we were learning was not totally supported and was seemingly believed by many to be a very bad idea overall 
– even a war crime.

We were learning that there had been protests, “disturbances” and riots happening on college campuses for the previous few years because of opposition to the Vietnam War.

And that spring, something happened at Kent State University, one of the several medium-size state universities in Ohio. Combat came home when Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War.

As student riots spread, the Ohio governor closed every state university early, sending students home and deploying more National Guard as needed to college campuses to accomplish this. No college graduation ceremony for the Class of 1970.


By this time I had informed my “draft board” (local committees who made decisions on who to draft) that I was registered for college the following September at Ohio University in Athens, located in the far southeastern Ohio Applachian region near West Virginia. My draft status was then changed from 1-H to 2-S (student). My draft lottery number of #165 remained the same.

This was the context in which I had contact with Army Special Forces Reserve personnel in southwestern Ohio in the spring of 1970, still a high school senior, due to somewhat puzzling circumstances.

The next fall I participated in Army Reserve Officers Training Corps in my first year at Ohio University in 1970-71. I also experienced two two-week summer Special Forces Reserve training exercises on either side of that freshman year, summer of ’70 and summer of ’71.

There were robust protests against the war at Ohio University. The storage area under the football stadium bleachers used by the ROTC program had been firebombed.

Opponents of the Vietnam War were saying that old men in Washington, DC, were sending young men off to war in some kind of sick ritual.

People were also saying that lots and lots of money was being made from the Vietnam War and from the blood of our troops and others.

Although I don’t remember the more-recent term “chicken hawk” being used, the idea was the same: Many men (and women) who are very brave about sending other people to kill, die and be severely injured, seemingly don’t want to go themselves or send their own sons and daughters. They wave the flag and beat the drums while other young Americans kill, bleed and die.

In June 1971 the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War were published. In June 1972 the Watergate break-in burglars were arrested.

The draft was ended in January 1973, mid-year of my junior year at Ohio U., related to the drawdown of U.S. troops in Vietnam and the significant opposition to the Vietnam War among Americans and internationally.

The final evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Saigon took place April 30, 1975.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

‘Force protection’ for our troops is now the responsibility of all Americans

By Steve Hammons

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition" and "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

The concept of “force protection” for U.S. military personnel and U.S. assets involves a system of analyses, assessments and actions in response to ever-changing threats.

Multiple force protection levels can flex and fluctuate in response to conventional and unconventional dangers, and from various and changing directions and sources.

Readiness and ability to recognize new and emerging threats are key for force protection for our Army soldiers, Marines and other tip-of-the-spear warfighters from the Navy and Air Force.

On March 18, 2009, James Mattis, former Marine Corps general and former secretary of defense, addressed the House Armed Services Committee.

Mattis was then commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. At the time, the Joint Forces Command was one of 10 combatant commands in the U.S. Department of Defense and oversaw a force of 1.16 million active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, Air Force personnel, Navy personnel and Marines.


In his address, Mattis said “core competency” is needed in “irregular warfare (IW).” He also referenced "hybrid warfare" which can combine IW and more conventional methods.

Mattis said adversaries could use methods of a "hybrid nature that combine any available irregular or conventional mode of attack, using a blend of primitive, traditional and high-tech weapons and tactics."

He told committee members, "We must have balanced and versatile joint forces ready to accomplish missions across the full spectrum of military operations – from large-scale, conventional warfare to humanitarian assistance and other forms of 'soft' power."

Mattis’ guidance to lawmakers was not hypothetical.

Many thousands of American military personnel have been killed and tens of thousands severely injured during the 2003 invasion and subsequent multi-year occupation of Iraq, and in attempts to stabilize Afghanistan. (Civilian deaths from those conflicts are estimated in the high hundreds of thousands, at a minimum.) 

American military families have been traumatized by 
the deaths of and severe injuries to sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and other loved ones serving in our armed forces.

In facing the sometimes confusing and changing threats around us, Mattis put forth a key question: "What capabilities are required?" An obvious answer: Education and training of joint personnel, he said. "A trained warrior may perform acceptably in a conventional operation, but irregular and hybrid wars demand highly-educated warriors to prevail," he told the committee.

He also told committee members, "Special emphasis must be placed on human, cultural, language, and cognitive skills. A 'cognitive' warrior knows how to acquire knowledge, process information from multiple sources, and make timely, accurate decisions in complex, ethically challenging and ever-changing environments."

"So, we must be prepared to think the 'unthinkable,' using our study and imagination to help us defeat the enemy," Mattis told committee members. "We must employ to our advantage the power of both inspiration and intimidation, each in the appropriate measure, to confound our enemies."


Now, in January 2020, we find ourselves in a situation when the subject of force protection of our military personnel – many in their 20s and 30s, with spouses, young children, parents, siblings and other loved ones – is haunting our souls.

Back in 2009, Mattis also told the House Armed Services Committee that he believed current and future national security challenges demand "whole-of-government" approaches. 

"Essential to a whole-of-government approach for applying all aspects of national and international power is the ability to share information and situational awareness among all partners," he said.

When information is appropriately shared, an "interagency common operational picture" is created, Mattis told the committee. Military personnel must communicate with civilian counterparts and create a synergy of effort, Mattis said.

As part of preparation for enhanced U.S. force protection, it could be helpful to revisit the concept of “transcendent warfare.” This term was put forth by a former Navy SEAL officer back in 2001 when he was completing graduate-level studies at the Marine Corps War College.

The idea of transcendent warfare was related to U.S. defense research in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s into human perception, awareness, consciousness and intuition. 

Now, expanding military training and civilian public awareness of transcendent warfare concepts could be helpful in our approaches to force protection for U.S. armed forces personnel.

(Related article “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Was Reagan briefed about UFOs and original ‘Day the Earth Stood Still’ movie?

By Steve Hammons

(Related article “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” is posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

In the 1951 movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” actor Michael Rennie played the part of Klaatu, a friendly but firm extraterrestrial with a very serious warning for Earth humans and their leaders.

That message: Due to the development of atomic weapons, if the apparently destructive and self-destructive nature and behavior of Earth humans is not corrected, an interplanetary alliance will intervene, and it won’t be pretty – “Earth will be eliminated,” Klaatu tells a prominent physicist (actor Sam Jaffe).

In the 2008 version of the movie, actor Keanu Reeves played Klaatu, who again brings his warning to Earth humans. With the help of an astrobiologist tapped by U.S. national security officials (Jennifer Connelly), Klaatu lays out the situation for the leading physicist, this time played by John Cleese.

Back in 2006 and 2007 there were online reports making the rounds among people interested in UFOs that Pres. Ronald Reagan’s secret briefing on that topic included informaton about the 1951 movie.

Unsubstantiated claims within alleged “information releases” about UFOs were made via anonymous intermediaries reportedly associated with the U.S. national security community. Many people did not take these reports seriously, though they were thought-provoking.


According to these reports, Reagan received a UFO briefing at Camp David, Maryland, between Friday, March 6 and Sunday, March 8, 1981. Other top advisors to Reagan were also reported to be present.

Allegedly, the briefing was presented to Reagan by an intelligence community contract employee. This contract employee reportedly worked within a group of "caretakers" who were said to safeguard records and assets about extraterrestrial visitation to Earth, and their activities on Earth.

These claims about a supposed briefing went on to state that Reagan was told about U.S. government activities informing the public about UFOs.

It was claimed that Reagan responded, "I always knew there was some form of cooperation between our government and the motion picture industry. I heard rumors over the years ... even during my acting days."

According to the unsubstantiated reports, the briefer allegedly told Reagan, "Well, Mr. President, the first cooperative venture was the movie 'The Day the Earth Stood Still.' That was a cooperative venture with the United States Air Force and the movie industry."

Before we completely dismiss these accounts of a special briefing for Reagan in 1981, a story about animator and entertainment-storytelling innovator Walt Disney might be relevant. According to one of the original artists working for Disney, the Air Force approached Walt in 1957 about producing a documentary film. This film would educate and inform the public about extraterrestrial visitation to Earth, according to the Disney artist. Work was reportedly begun on the project, but the Air Force cancelled it.

In recent years, the Rendelsham Forest UFO incident at an important U.S. air base in the UK has been a focus of much attention among researchers, the media and the public. In that case, UFOs were observed over a sensitive base and nuclear weapons storage areas there. The deputy base commander had a "close encounter" in the incident, along with other U.S. Air Force personnel.

In other incidents, UFOs have been reported around multiple U.S. and Russian nuclear missile facilities. There have even been reports that U.S. and Russian nuclear missile launch systems were remotely tampered with concurrent with observation of nearby UFOs. In an American case, the launch controls were reportedly taken offline by an unknown method. In a Russian incident, controls were allegedly activated to launch status.

Should we draw any conclusions about reports of significant numbers of incidents involving UFOs near nuclear weapons and missile locations, and strange interventions on missile launch systems? Does this dovetail in any way with the supposed briefing to Reagan about the 1951 “The Day the Earth Stood Still” film?

And are these issues relevant in January 2020 as we face threats of a nuclear attack against or by the U.S.?


In the 2008 remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Klaatu tells the astrobiologist (Connelly) that he and his people are “friends to the Earth.” At first, Connelly is greatly relieved, because U.S. officials want to determine if he and the beings he represents are hostile.

Then she comes to understand that Klaatu means that to save the Earth, humankind needs to be eliminated due to its destructive nature.

Today, here at ground-level from the Earth human point-of-view, as we look around, some people might conclude we’re not living on a well-run planet. 
There is widespread poverty, disease, suffering, injustice and corruption. War and terrorism are also widespread. There is a large scope of killing and destruction. 

There is a shortage of human decency and compassion.

The planet’s ecosystem and climate are being significantly damaged, possibly beyond repair. Species of animals are becoming extinct, including insects and birds we rely on to pollinate our food crops. Many rivers, lakes and waterways are being further polluted. Seas are warming and acidifying, and the ocean ecosystems and fish supplies could be affected.

And what about the view looking down on Planet Earth? Why do these Earth humans act the way they do? Why do they constantly kill and harm each other over the thousands of years they have been around, developing bigger and more terrible weapons? 

Their leaders are often not the best of them, but the worst of them. They allow their children to suffer in homelessness, war zones and many other terrible situations. Is there any hope for Earth humans?

Obviously, if left to their own devices, they will destroy themselves and this beautiful little planet that the Creator has given them – this beautiful planet they have already disrespected and damaged. 

Then, they will probably seek other planets to disrespect, damage and destroy. Earth humans seem likely to continue to kill and abuse themselves and others amid their greed and lust for power and conquest.

When we look at the human race on Earth today from this viewpoint, we might understand why Klaatu was deadly serious in his message and mission. Many Earth humans probably agree with Klaatu that the human race on Earth is on a self-destructive path that must be corrected promptly to avoid terrible disaster in the near future.

And if Klaatu has contemporary counterparts, maybe we should expect to hear from them. If some of these counterparts are friendly toward Earth humans, maybe we could use their help.

(Related articles "Navy Research Project on Intuition," "Human perception key in hard power, soft power, smart power" and “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Theory about 37th parallel and UFOs sparked book, TV shows, film concept

By Steve Hammons

In 2016, a non-fiction book was published titled “The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway.” In the book, writer Ben Mezrich chronicled the explorations and investigations of former El Paso County, Colorado, (Colorado Springs region) reserve deputy sheriff Chuck Zukowski. The book was a New York Times bestseller for two months.

Zukowski has been featured in TV shows about UFOs and his theory about the 37th parallel (north). New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.) reportedly has a movie version concept based on Mezrich's book.

Mezrich looked at Zukowski’s speculation and theory that there is something about the region around the 37th parallel that seems to be a hot spot for UFO-related and unusual incidents. This includes the 36th parallel region to the south, and 38th to the north. (Each degree of latitude is approximately 69 miles wide.)

Because Mezrich is a well-known and prolific writer on a range of topics, the book received fairly widespread attention. Readers who might not normally focus on a UFO-related subject may have found Mezrich's research compelling.

There is also a unique location where the 37th parallel intersects with the Colorado Plateau and the Four Corners region. Both the plateau and the Four Corners span Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.


From west to east, the 37th parallel runs through central California, the southern tip of Nevada, then through the central U.S. where many states abut south-north at the joint state lines of the following:

- Arizona and Utah
- New Mexico and Colorado
- Texas panhandle and Oklahoma
- Texas panhandle and Colorado
- Texas panhandle and Kansas

- Oklahoma and Colorado
- Oklahoma and Kansas
- Arkansas and Missouri
- Tennessee and Kentucky
- North Carolina and Virginia

In the Four Corners, the Colorado Plateau is a distinct geological and ecological region of the U.S. It is an area of volcanic-related uplift of land in the shape of a rough circle in the Four Corners states.

Certain areas on the perimeter of the plateau are known for beautiful red rock mountains and cliffs 
 red due to high content of iron oxide. Sedona, Arizona, and St. George, Utah, are two such areas on the southwest and west edges of the Colorado Plateau, respectively.

Sedona is also famous for being an "uplifting" location (on the 34th parallel) not only for the natural beauty and climate, but also where unusual geomagnetic energies are allegedly emitted from the Earth and then return back to the ground, similar to fountains and vortexes. Some researchers theorize that the high iron oxide, high quartz content and unique underground volcanic structures might be part of these magnetic anomalies.

So, where do the 37th parallel, the Colorado Plateau and the Four Corners merge? It’s a beautiful area of the American Southwest where thousands of travelers visit every year.

The 37th parallel intersects the Four Corners and the boundary of the Colorado Plateau around Durango and Cortez, Colorado, near the Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the San Juan National Forest – all major tourist destinations.

The Continental Divide also runs north-south right through the same area. West of the divide, water flows into the Pacific Ocean. East the Continental Divide, water flows to the Atlantic. The divide stretches from Alaska to South America.

Are there any indications of unusual incidents in this region that might support Zukowski’s theories described in Mezrich’s book and on TV shows?


There have been longstanding stories that a UFO crashed or crash landed near Aztec, NM, just south of Durango, in 1948. Authors Scott and Suzanne Ramsey conducted extensive research on this case for their 2015 book “The Aztec UFO Incident.”

According to some of the research, when this object crashed or made a controlled crash landing, several local people were witnesses. Government scientists and U.S. Army personnel reportedly may have flown into Durango, then proceeded by road south to Aztec.

Then, in 1950, 15 miles southwest of Aztec, the people of Farmington, NM, reportedly witnessed three days multiple UFOs flying over the town. This is known as the “Farmington armada” incident because there were “fleets” of objects observed.

The local newspaper interviewed many local citizens and documented their statements about what they observed. Other regional newspapers covered the incident at the time, too. Some witnesses said the objects sometimes were not just cruising along, but doing active maneuvers, swooping and darting around the skies above Farmington.

In more recent years, researchers like Zukowski and others have looked at various incidents in the Four Corners region. Some investigators and analysts say they see possible patterns, like Zukowski’s 37th parallel theories.

And for many people, UFOs remain a weird mystery, born of decades of movies and TV shows, and occasional news accounts of allegedly real incidents.

However, beginning in December 2017, news reports emerged about a special Pentagon research unit tasked with investigating and analyzing the situation – the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
Concurrent with that news, the public learned about recent U.S. Navy jet pilot encounters with “unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)” at sea near Navy aircraft carrier strike groups and near the west and east coasts of the U.S. Three videos taken from Navy jets were declassified and released.

This development made the UFO topic much more real and legitimate for many citizens, journalists and those involved in national security and public safety.

As the year 2020 rapidly approaches, maybe we will develop new insights and understanding about the UFO phenomena – in the Four Corners and elsewhere.

(Related articles “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” and “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.) 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

UFOs, odd phenomena reported on perimeter of Colorado Plateau

By Steve Hammons

In three areas on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, which spans the four states of the Four Corners region, UFOs and other unusual incidents have been reported over the years and decades.

Sedona, Arizona, is one well-known spot, world-famous for the awe-inspiring red rock landscape and towering red cliffs and formations. Located on the southwestern rim of the Colorado Plateau, Sedona is also known for reports of invisible energy fountains and vortexes.

Durango, Colorado, and nearby Aztec and Farmington, New Mexico, are located on the eastern border of the Colorado Plateau. According to some reports, a UFO crashed 
or made a controlled crash landing near Aztec in 1948. 

In 1950, the people of Farmington reported a large number of UFOs over a period of three days. This was well-documented by eyewitnesses and newspaper reports and is known as the “Farmington armada” case.

And in the region of the town of Vernal in the Uinta Basin of northern Utah, at the northern or northwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, a significant number of UFO incidents and multiple other anomalous phenomena have been documented in books and films.


Many people have heard about the Four Corners region of the American Southwest – the area around the intersection of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

Yet, fewer of us may be familiar with the Colorado Plateau, an anomalous uplift of land in a rough circle that underlies the Four Corners area and likewise spans the four states.

Volcanic activity underlying the plateau is believed to be responsible for the uplift. Other natural forces have come into play to reveal millions of years of rock layers in places like the Grand Canyon and the beautiful national parks of Utah.

In Sedona, 68 miles south of Flagstaff, some researchers have speculated about the magnetic anomalies that have been documented by the U.S. Geological Survey. The rock and soil are red due to high iron oxide content. Also, significant quantities of underground quartz in Sedona as well as unique volcanic-related formations have been looked at in connection with alleged geomagnetic energy fountains and vortexes.

The geology of other areas on the perimeter of the Colorado Plateau may have similar features. Some of the rock types, such as ancient volcanic igneous rock, and mineral composition, such as high iron and quartz content, reportedly could be common denominators in Sedona, Durango, Utah’s Uinta region and other areas on the perimeter of the plateau.

Could geological and geographic traits of the Colorado Plateau, particularly the perimeter of the plateau, be related in some way with UFOs and a number of other unusual phenomena?

What other information about the plateau might inform us further? According to the webpages of the “Celebrating the Colorado Plateau” exhibits at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, “The Colorado Plateau encompasses 130,000 square miles. Elevations range from about 1,200 feet to 12,365 feet. It is home to one million people, including ten Native American tribes and numerous rare species of plants and animals.”

The museum’s website asks and answers the question, “How old is the Colorado Plateau?” “There is no simple answer because while the rocks exposed here may be hundreds of millions or even thousands of millions of years old, the Plateau as a distinct landscape feature is much younger. The age of the Colorado Plateau as a discrete geographic province is estimated to be bracketed between 70 and 17 million years.”

At Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, the Colorado Plateau Research Station is a "diverse scientific unit" consisting of "state and federal employees focused on the ecology of the Colorado Plateau," according to the NAU website. 

Also at NAU, the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit and the Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center strive to research, understand and document the diverse animal and plant life, geography, geology, climate, hydrology and complex natural dynamics of the plateau. 


East of Sedona, the rugged terrain of the plateau's southern edge, known as the Mogollon Rim, includes huge escarpments that clearly define the perimeter of the Colorado Plateau. 

That is the region where, in 1975, a forest-thinning crew working in Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests reportedly encountered a UFO. The crew’s foreman, Travis Walton, was allegedly taken aboard the UFO craft for several days. This story was the basis of the Hollywood movie “Fire in the Sky.”

Just south of the “transition zone” between the plateau’s southern boundary around Sedona and Arizona’s Sonoran Desert is metro Phoenix, site of the famous “Phoenix lights” incident of 1997. In that case, hundreds or thousands of residents spotted an unusual large craft over the city one evening.

Not far from the plateau’s perimeter on the southeast is Socorro, New Mexico, the location of a well-known 1964 UFO incident. A Socorro public safety peace officer reported direct observation of a landed craft and of its takeoff. This case was investigated by the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, southwest Ohio.

North of Socorro and also on the eastern border of the plateau south of Farmington, Aztec and Durango are the well-known Chaco Canyon ruins. These are the remains of elaborate complexes of stone buildings erected by the ancient people who eventually abandoned the site. About 57 miles west-northwest of Durango are more structures and cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park and the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. 

In addition, the Continental Divide runs north-south through the Durango region. The Continental Divide extends from Alaska to South America. On the west side of the divide, water flows into the Pacific Ocean. On the east side, water flows to the Atlantic. 

Southern Colorado's San Luis Valley abuts the east side of the Colorado Plateau east of the Durango area. The San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico across the state line have also been linked to UFO and other unusual occurances.

And at the northern perimeter of the plateau in the Uinta Basin of northern Utah, decades of highly-unusual phenomena and UFO incidents were examined in a multi-year research project and in an excellent 2005 non-fiction book by award-winning journalist George Knapp and biochemist Colm Kelleher, PhD.

In addition to geological and geographic factors, the plateau has a human history and contemporary human make-up that might also be worth exploring. The Museum of Northern Arizona website tells us, “The Colorado Plateau has been continuously inhabited by native people of the Americas for approximately 12,000 years.”

“The early people of the Plateau gathered wild plants and hunted game animals. Many took up farming maize, beans, and squash [the "three sisters"] several thousand years ago. Today, the native peoples of the Colorado Plateau include the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Hualapai, Havasupai, Ute, Apache, and Southern Paiute. Each tribe has a distinct history, culture, and language.”

In several of the cases of UFOs and anomalous phenomena on and around the Colorado Plateau, we do frequently seem to see Native American/American Indian connections and proximity with unusual incidents and phenomena.

Could the unique combinations of Earth, Nature and people of the plateau help us understand more about UFOs and other unconventional phenomena? 

What stories does the Colorado Plateau have to tell us?

(Related articles “Storytelling affects human biology, beliefs, behavior” and “Reagan’s 1987 UN speech on ‘alien threat’ resonates now” are posted on the CultureReady blog, Defense Language and National Security Education Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, U.S. Department of Defense.)