Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings didn’t start with Kenneth Arnold in 1947. They’ve been part of our history as long as it has been recorded. Yet they’ve always been top secret at best and ridiculed at worst.
As the Pentagon released declassified information and videos about potential alien craft visiting our planet — yes, this happened and it was buried amongst all the other insanity that was 2020 — are we closer to disclosure than ever before?
We had the opportunity to spend some time with Volcanic UFO Mysteries director Darcy Weir and Stephen Bassett to discuss the film, UFOs in pop culture and exactly what Jackie Gleason has to do with alien lifeforms.
B&S ABOUT MOVIES: What was the impetus behind me making this movie?
DARCY WEIR: The subject matter of UFOs showing up around active volcanoes is underrepresented. Furthermore, UFO sightings in Latin America are both pretty prevalent and very much under-represented. I wanted to share that story and bring Stephen in with me to talk about his work on ending the truth embargo and the disclosure of the UFO presence from the government to the public.
I find him to be a fascinating subject. All the work he’s been doing in terms of UFO reporting and journalism for over 40 years is very interesting to me.
B&S: It’s intriguing because you always see footage of UFOs around military bases or nuclear power plants.
DARCY: Let’s take the Pentagon’s release of the videos that came out. They were first revealed through the To The Stars Academy (editor’s note: the group formed by Tom DeLonge, Harold E. Puthoff and Jim Semivan) in 2017. The “Gimbal” video or the “Tic Tac” video, which was fully unclassified and confirmed by the Pentagon in April 2020.
Those videos are recorded on aircraft, you know, state of the art military aircraft, in infrared light, in a light spectrum we can see and they are recorded with state of the art cameras that basically are supposed to track objects that move really, really fast.
When when you see a video like that come out, and you hear pilots say, “That’s not one of ours,” and then eventually the government confirms that suspicion. You look, you listen, you learn and you take it seriously.
With the UFO videos that we’re capturing around volcanoes in Latin America, these volcanoes are active. And you, for example, can see a UFO that flies through an ash cloud slowly,. It just hovers through and then it waits by a volcanic crater as erupting pyroclastic molten lava shoots rocks into the air, with the environment at probably 1000s of degrees Fahrenheit. And this object just flies through it. No civilian or military aircraft that we know of can perform in that environment.
What is it? Is it ours? What’s it doing there? And that’s a really strange mystery.
The UFO phenomenon is just not limited to the United States. But the United States has some of the most incredible cases. I’ve made a documentary about UFOs in space, you know, that NASA has recorded. I’ve made documentaries with events that have happened in Australia, China and Latin America. And I kind of want to tell even more of those stories that people haven’t heard as much here in the United States.
B&S: Stephen, what do you feel the importance of this movie is?
STEPHEN BASSETT: Darcy is what I call a content provider. In the UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon)/E.T./research activist journalism genre, the government has been denying the truth of this issue now for 74 years. And so the people were on their own.
They had to do the research, create and write their own books, magazines, documentaries, podcasts, broadcasts and so forth. In spite of the fact that the government said, “No, there’s nothing to this.”
These content providers have kept the issue alive, expanded public awareness worldwide and helped to ensure that ultimately we will get a confirmation from the government of this E.T. presence.
Darcy, of late, has been quite prolific* creating documentaries. I’ve been wanting to do a documentary for twelve years and I haven’t gotten to it yet. He’s made seven or eight in the last two years.
And so I’m here to support. I’m supporting that and happy to join him. Because these docs are critical to people getting a reasonable understanding of this issue. But also, I should mention — given you are all obviously cinephiles you may or may not know this — but I did a research project in 2013. Essentially, I researched every great high grossing film. In fact, I basically researched the top, I don’t know 5-800 films in terms of their gross international take and then converted that to today’s inflation.
Anyway, the upshot is that the most lucrative genre in all of film — in terms of gross revenue — is films with E.T.s in them. Not just science fiction. Just films with E.T.s in them. That tells you a lot, doesn’t it? Think of all the billions of people that have watched films with extraterrestrials in them over the last 50 years. Obviously, the idea of them existing does not seem particularly striking at all anymore, does it?
B&S: I remember first hearing the theory — probably around the first or second season of The X-Files — that alien-related mass media is all about preparing and opening people’s minds up to eventual contact. How do you feel about that theory?
DARCY: I think that, well, whether it was intended or not all of the sci-fi films about extraterrestrials, in one form or another, have helped to acclimate the world to the idea of extraterrestrials. Plus, as you know, the film’s got better the CGI got better.
These movies, for some time now, all the way back to Star Wars, literally take us out into space. They take us to other planets with strange beings. We’ve all been there. Now it’s being done with virtual reality on Oculus. So yeah, it’s acclimatization.
Was it intentional? I think most of it was Hollywood producers making money.
Again, it’s the most lucrative genre and all of film. You’re going to make lots of these movies and you’re going to spend more and more money on them. In fact, the two top-grossing movies of all time, maybe three are Avatar and the two Avengers movies. So yeah (laughs). You’re gonna make money.
Now, it’s possible that the government has somehow encouraged something. The government has been cooperative on some of these movies. And there’s been a CIA Film Industry Liaison for a long time.
To be honest with you, there have been other efforts in which the government has given this field information, some of which was in fact intended to bump things along and some of it was disinformation. By and large, the acclimation comes from the creative geniuses of Hollywood and the desire to make lots of money.
A lot of Hollywood writers are very in touch with the theories, the sort of conspiracy theories and possible facts that are surrounding this subject. You know, I was talking on another podcast the other day. I was asked, what one documentary or one fictional science fiction film do you think gets the closest to reality?
For sure, Fire In the Sky. It’s based on the book that’s about his encounter. That said, it got turned more into a horror movie with the case of how he was abducted, and them shoving things and stuff into him, strapping him down to a table in the movie version. But in the book and his lectures, none of that happened. He was not dragged by his feet around a dirty alien ship by these monstrous fiendish looking things. They looked like humans, a group of them that he saw, and another group looks like grey aliens.
That’s an example of a real tale that has manifested in Hollywood. Another one is Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the French character that is represented as one of the head scientists, hunting down abductees or experiencers, The French character, that scientist is, he’s based on Jacques Vallée. He was doing the real thing for different government groups and NATO trying to figure out the UFO issue.
Noy everything in that film is based on reality. But there are hints and elements here that prove that Steven Spielberg is very interested in the UFO question.
If you look at his film resume, obviously, he’s been gearing for disclosure in some way or another by bringing out so many films that are based on extraterrestrial science fiction.
He’s been in touch with generals and pilots and all kinds of things, met so many different people to have his films be closer to real things that have happened in this history.
STEPHEN: There are no theatrical films — there are documentaries — that are that significant to this subject in my opinion. There’s the Paul Davids’ Roswell: The UFO Cover-Up where there was very little embellishment. It played it straight with history and it got very close. But by and large, the movies that are true to an actual extraterrestrial experience are few.
The reason is — and this is cool — is that the phenomena as it’s been recorded and researched, the truth is that it’s not interesting enough.
In other words, if you made a straight film about a particular case, pick Rendlesham Forest, you would really struggle to make it that kind of compelling, dramatic thing. And so they don’t do it.
There’s this thought with the E.T. issue, they think that everybody is afraid and going to panic when the truth is known. But the real truth is that the fundamental elements and aspects of the actual E.T. reality, including most contact and abductions, is that the truth is not interesting enough or dramatic enough for Hollywood.
So that tells you something, doesn’t it? And another reason why the truth embargo** really has become quite absurd.
B&S: You brought up Spielberg. E.T. started as a much darker script called Night Skies. And the sequel would have been even darker. But for some reason, Spielberg went to the lighter side, telling us that the aliens would be our friends. And that hanged a lot of mass media after that.
DARCY: Yeah, absolutely. E.T. was supposed to be much darker. And there was also going to be a Man In Black that worked for the government who wanted to capture him and his craft.
That’s the biggest secret fact about the UFO issue. We have captured crafts, we have possibly captured entities and found dead bodies. And all of that is Steven Spielberg writing reality.
He’s trying to put that into the cinema because it’s a little-known fact that he wants to expose people to something that’s stranger than fiction. Sometimes that can be fact, you know?
Obviously, he went for the happy family movie, right? You don’t want to make people’s stomachs churn and question reality and not want to go to work the next day after they watch the dark version.
B&S: Speaking of the truth, your documentary is about the truth being unveiled. What do you think the next step is?
DARCY: I’ll leave that one for Mr. Bassett. He has 74 years and thousands of books magazine articles, research reports, hundreds and hundreds of documentaries, hundreds of thousands of millions of websites. And so many articles, probably as many as 40,000 articles in the English language. So he’s got some great insights into where disclosure may go from here.
STEPHEN: I think the truth embargo is about to end.
That’s based upon developments of the last three years which I’m following pretty closely. Let me alert your readers. Watch very carefully for any new developments in the media on the E.T. issue involving politicians and scientists.
The craziness of the last four years is not over yet. After the Trump trial in the Senate is over — that’s going to completely preoccupy the Congress, along with obviously some of the early actions to the Biden administration — I would have expected this to happen already.
I believe the stage has been set in advance now for hearings to finally take place in the U.S. Congress, on the extraterrestrial and UAP issue. And these would be the real thing, not not like the last hearing that we had in 1968 that lasted one day.
These will be extensive hearings and multiple committees, the witnesses will almost exclusively be military, either active or retired personnel, discussing a range of encounters and phenomena, primarily from the context of national security. Once this series has been underway for a while — and they will be viewed by countless millions of people around the world — I think the situation will be such as the President can finally confirm the E.T. presence to the American people and the world.
It is very possible that we’re going to have disclosure and final confirmation of E.T. presence this spring, which I’m pretty sure is going to generate a rather substantial number of scripts pouring into producers all over Hollywood. And we will hit the golden age of extraterrestrial cinema.
When I did that research on the highest-grossing movies, that was just English language movies. I did not include foreign language films related to E.T. subjects. So the total number that these movies have made in profit is billions of dollars.
These films are in the consciousness. Everything is there. And they have been pouring into the human consciousness for pretty much every developed country. Actually, even less developed countries, given the availability of TV and video so forth for decades.
So to me, the idea that people are going to be shocked when they’re told that extraterrestrials exist, that the real ones are here and have been since the beginning, well…it was silly. Now it’s absolutely ludicrous.
It’s time for the people to know.
By the way, let me add that the big shots in Hollywood, particularly the science fiction ones like George Lucas and Christ Carter and Spielberg, they’re the ones that are informed. They have people lined up outside their office all day to tell them things. They mix with high-level politicians.
When Spielberg’s Taken miniseries premiered in 2002, it was at the Ronald Regan Building in Washington, DC. I was there — it was an event with white-gloved waiters and fantastic hors d’oeuvres.
I can say with high confidence that every one of the people I’ve just mentioned and others absolutely know. Now, I’m not suggesting that they were taken to the Pentagon and shown bodies or anything. I’m simply saying they were tipped. But it’s not in their interest to challenge the government’s embargo. But it is in their interest to make movies about the E.T. issue.
One of the reasons that these movies generate so much money is because there are some people who are convinced already that the E.T. presence is real or that it would be cool if it was. So Guardians of the Galaxy comes out and they have to see it.
On the other hand, contrast that with the E.T.-related journalists who have been working so hard for seventy years who make no money doing this and pay a heavy sacrifice. It hasn’t been a picnic for these people. Yet their work has generated a mindset that Hollywood has turned into an industry that makes billions.
How much has Hollywood invested in the disclosure activism? How much have they paid into the cause to end this embargo and bring the truth to the American people? To my knowledge? Nothing.
B&S: I think the first celebrity I ever heard that was interested in it, strangely enough, as Jackie Gleason, who early on was really pushing to learn more from politicians.
STEPHEN: I don’t think he pushed. But it’s a great story. It’s a wonderful story.
He told the story to his wife, who told it to Shirley MacLaine, who told me and put it out in her book.
Gleason was a legend back then and he was a good friend of Nixon. I imagine he supported him politically. I’m not positive, but I think he did. And Nixon was a Florida guy. He would visit Florida all of the time, where Gleason lived and they would play golf together. So one night after they played, he called him up and said, “Hey Jackie. Come with me.” And he picked him up! Nixon is driving, he must have slipped his Secret Service and they went to an Air Force Base*** to see the bodies.
He knew that Jackie had a huge interest on this subject, he had one of the largest private libraries of books on this subject****
It was a way of showing off to his buddy a little bit. He knew him well enough to know he wouldn’t talk about it. And basically, he didn’t, but eventually, it came out.
It’s a fantastic story. So that confirms that Nixon was pretty much briefed. He knew about the E.T. issue. He was probably given substantial inside classified information. And they knew Nixon would never go public, because Dick was a statesman. He was a pure politician as well. The Cold War was still underway. The embargo was in place, primarily because of that Cold War. He had a good relationship with the military. And so he had plenty of things on his plate, China and everything else.
Of course, then he got embroiled in some pretty awful scandals. And so the idea that he would suddenly decide, I think I’m gonna engage the E.T. issue, well, absolutely not. He would have viewed it as another huge negative on his legacy, which he desperately wanted to rebuild.
But as President, he got brief. We know some Presidents got briefed and some didn’t. Some got nothing at all. Some were actually denied and stonewalled information, which by the way, is not Constitutional. It violates the norms of the way our government is supposed to run, but it was all justified on the basis of national security as so much else was.
B&S: So often conspiracy theory and UFO theories go hand-in-hand just because of the way that the media treats them. We’ve had a crazy last four years where conspiracy has dominated the news. So how do you think people are going to truly react to disclosure? Are they going to believe it? Are they going to think it’s just fake news?
DARCY: That’s a really important question. Because, as you know, we have flat earthers that are now a huge thing. I’ve spoken about this and Steve says, “Leave the flat earthers alone.”
But you know, I believe the flat earthers and Q on those two examples of stupid conspiracies. They are a byproduct of the distrust that’s at an all-time high with the governments of the world and their citizens. People are watching everything that’s going on right now. And they’re saying, you know, I’ve got a story. I think this is more true than what’s going on in reality, but the fact is that there’s too much noise. There’s too much disinformation out there, like Q-Anon.
Don’t get me wrong. People like Jeffrey Epstein are real. They did have their pedophile rings. But Q-Anon extends into this grand and crazy conspiracy. And with flat earth, there are so many things that disprove that.
If UFOs are coming here and are piloted by extraterrestrials, then they have to come from another planet just like ours, another spherical planetoid.
Yet people are super paranoid and these ideas run rampant. They allow their imaginations to get away from them too much.
The truth embargo issue is already enough to deal with. And that requires some imagination for many people. And I think with disclosure, that will actually allow for some trust and an opening for the government to buy back some goodwill.
They’re investing in a future where the public can trust them a bit more . And disclosure is a good starting point. It’s going to be a place where they can say, “Look, we have kept this quiet for a long time. We weren’t sure fully sure about it. But here’s what we can tell you.” And that will be nice, you know, that will vindicate a lot of people out there that have been studying this for their whole lives.
Stephen Bassett, he’s seventy-four years old. I’m thirty-six. And he wants to see this in his lifetime. So do I. I think it’s a hopeful thing.
If it comes from the government, I think it’s going to be something for people to look at, listen and learn about more. So as things develop, as we become a spacefaring nation and as we start going into the stars and trying to colonize other planets in our solar system, we’re going to be learning about what’s actually out there waiting for us. And there’s some hope surrounding that. There are some great advantages to the possible technologies that we will eventually have that will make our lives easier, healthier and safer.
STEPHEN: The last twenty-five years have been interesting to say the least. But there has been a very significant confluence of two very important trends.
One trend has been going on for some time getting all the way back to the 60s. And that’s the erosion of trust in the United States government, which eventually started spreading to other institutions outside of government. It’s reached a point where it’s actually threatening the country, it’s threatening the republic. It’s a real problem.
But then you have the onset of the Internet, and then even bulletin boards and email, and then ultimately, social media. And so the combination of this diminishing trust in government, combined with the ability of virtually everybody in the developed world to interact with everybody else in the developed world in real-time and give their opinion about anything — or create something out of nothing — while operating behind anonymous handles has created the golden age of populist driven — or citizen-driven — propaganda.
We’ve always had corporate propaganda and government propaganda. Now we have a situation where everybody can be a propagandist. And as a result, the internet has become a polluted river.
It’s a massive river of information, which is significantly polluted. And it’s polluted to the point where if you just drink the water and don’t filter it, it’ll kill you. And this is a huge problem, right?
It isn’t going to be solved anytime soon.
But the good news is that the extraterrestrial reality, the truth embargo itself is not a conspiracy. So don’t worry about Q-Anon pushing it. It’s not. It’s simply a legal policy of the United States government, instituted and formulated between 1947 and 1952, and carried forward to this day for national security reasons.
It’s not illegal. So it’s not a conspiracy. I always try to object to this — whenever conspiracy theories are attached to the E.T. issue — I try to correct them that the government conspired with some illegality to fake a moon landing or the moon landings. That would be a conspiracy, though not an awful one. But it would be a conspiracy.
However, that might have been justified by national security, of course. So all I can say is, folks if you want to get away from misinformation, disinformation and a whole lot of nonsense on the internet and focus on the extraterrestrial issue…and the high-end authors, researchers and so forth on this, well, there’s a hell of a lot of truth there. And while there is some silliness to be sure, as things go these days, it’s some of the better water in that river.
B&S: Finally, how much stock should we put into Whitley Strieber?
STEPHEN: I’ll answer that quickly, but his story is a very complex story. Very complex. He’s a brilliant man and he was a highly successful New York Times bestselling author in the genre of, I guess you could say paranormal. And he’s a contactee, of which I have no doubt whatsoever.
So here you have an example, and this is one of the interesting things about the contact phenomenon, of the fact that E.T.s pretty democratic. They directly interact in these encounters we call contacts. And some of those contacts take the form of what people would probably justifiably call abductions.
They don’t take a general. They’ll take a cashier at Denny’s. And they’ll have a politician, a writer, a guy working on a shrimp boat. Whatever their agenda is, it’s fairly democratic. So imagine that you are somebody who is just a basic person, maybe you’re a garage mechanic, and you’ve been taken by E.T.s since you were five years old. Imagine how that might unfold in your life, how it manifests.
Now, imagine if you’re a nuclear physicist.
Now imagine if you’re a brilliant writer, maybe even a fantasy writer. And so one of the things people don’t take into account is that the way it worked the way it manifests and the way then is reported by people who have gone through this.
There is an enormous spectrum of reports and interpretations.
Whitley’s was extremely complex and very literary. And for that reason, a lot of people say, wait a minute, that’s just wildly crazy. I mean, this, this nice waitress that I know is a contactee and she told me a story. And it was pretty basic.
Hey, Whitley is Whitley. So I think you have to respect all contactees in their stories before challenging their veracity. And that Whitley’s, the problem was that his complex accounts of what happened to him, they challenge people. And so they push back.
Now, that doesn’t mean that as a contact that he’s not capable of misinterpreting what happened to him. Remember, these are extraordinary events. In most people, their memories are actually blocked by the E.T.s themselves.
They’re able to do that and suppress it. For many people, they never even know that they were contactees. Something comes out in dreams, sometimes it comes out in flashes or something. And so this idea that they might misinterpret what’s happened to them. Obviously, that could happen. Nothing surprising there. But because of the truth embargo, and the fact that the government has denied, there’s no there there. The contactees have had a rough time. They’ve been ridiculed.
It’s been getting better, but you go back 20-30 years and it was brutal. They’re victims of the government truth embargo. There have been many. So I always defer to their stories and am very respectful. And unless I’m confronted with some really compelling evidence that something’s being made up…
Look, I realize there have been some, they want attention. But until I realize they’re lying — and I’m given compelling evidence that they are — I feel that I have to be very respectful of their stories and I’m prepared to take them at face value.
As for the movie, it features director Weir helping Jaime Maussan to uncover the truth behind a series of UFO sightings at active volcanos throughout Latin America, as well as Mr. Bassett as he works to break through the truth embargo.
This film has some astounding footage of the volcano UFO visitations. It also raises the question if these same interplanetary craft have been visiting and depleting nuclear weapon stockpiles around the globe.
Between the believer side that is Maussan and Bassett’s more political take on the reason why UFOs have remained part of our hidden history, it’s a fascinating watch. And I have to state for the record how truly honored I was to get to speak to both of these experts.
*We reviewed his movie Sasquatch Among the Wildmen last year.
**The “truth embargo” is a term that Stephen Bassett uses to refer to the government silence in regards to extraterrestrial visitation.
***According to the National Enquirer article that came out in 1983, the base would be Homestead Air Force Base. Supposedly, Gleason only told his ex-wife Beverly, who told the tabloid before a planned book, and Larry Warren, who was an eyewitness to the Rendlesham Forest UFO and a subject of some controversy. And even he didn’t spill the beans. Instead, the story started because of Timothy Green Beckley and this article.
****He really did. It’s part of the University of Miami’s Jackie Gleason Collection, which “consists of approximately 1,700 volumes of books, journals, proceedings, pamphlets and publications in the field of parapsychology.”
To watch the movie:
Volcanic UFO Mysteries is available now on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Video On-Demand.
For more about Stephen Basset and his quest to end the truth embargo, visit Paradigm Research Group and listen to his new podcast The Disclosure Wire. That new show also has a Facebook page that has even more info.
Keep an open mind and watch the skies.