Jacques Vallee on the National Institute of Discovery Science
Given the recent interest in the activities of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) and its involvement in the Defense Intelligence Agency's Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP) between 2007-2012, some people are still unaware that Robert Bigelow, Las Vegas property developer, had previously operated a similar organization, interested in both the subjects of UAP, and the paranormal.
Bigelow's National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS) operated between 1995 and 2004. Via the Wayback Machine on the Internet it is still possible to explore some of the NIDS (now defunct) website.
With the January 2019 release of Jacques Vallee's latest book "Forbidden Science: Volume Four" there is an opportunity to gain some insights into the thinking of Robert Bigelow, and his NIDS, and hence into the BAASS operated AAWSAP. The following is a summary of the information contained in a number of Vallee's diary entries, which relate to the NIDS.
The formation of the NIDS
Vallee records that Robert Bigelow rang him on 16 July 1995, and informed him that he, Bigelow was not going to continue with his funding of the "UFO Coalition" of the three major US UAP groups. Instead Bigelow intended to establish a new Institute.
"I want to work directly with the people who do research. New blood is desperately needed, there's no scientific discipline among ufologists. I'm forming an Institute and I want to attract world-class scientists to study UFOs and the paranormal including consciousness beyond death. I want you to think about it." (page 257.)
The next day Bigelow phoned again, to discuss his plans; outlining his need for 'a director who's good at administration but also understands the phenomenon.' Vallee writes 'There was a time when I would have jumped at such a job...'" (page 258.)
On 25 July 1995, Vallee and Bigelow met in person. Bigelow brought along a proposed organization chart. On 11 August 1995, Vallee advised Bigelow that he declined the position of the project's director, although he would consider a position on the NIDS science board.
Eight days later, Vallee and Hal Puthoff met the board of the NIDS. Initial members were Dean Radin and Diane Arcangel.
On 1 November 1995, Bigelow advised Vallee "of progress on our board of advisors" (page 294.) The chair was to be Dr Kit Green, Members would be Hal Puthoff, Marty Pilch, Dean Judd, General Jim Whinnery, John Petersen, Emily Cook. Bigelow was trying to get Jessica Utts, Bruce Grayson, Senator Harrison Schmidt and Richard Deckart. Discussions between Green and Vallee, revealed that Green had laid down a number of conditions to Bigelow concerning the running of the Science Board, before accepting the position of Chair. At that point Vallee agreed to join the Science Board, as a member.
However, on 7 January 1996, Vallee writes that Bigelow on the phone had said "I applied the brakes because we didn't have the right management in place yet." (page 287.) Bigelow confirmed interviewing for three positions; namely two in the area of consciousness, and one in the area of aerial phenomena, Ron Blackburn, De Angelo of SAIC, Larry Lemke from Ames, were contacted. John Alexander spoke to Dr Robert Morris, and Dr Ken Ring.
The NIDS Science Advisory Board (SAB) met once in December 1995 for an organizational meeting. Vallee was not present.
This was held in Las Vegas on 28 January 1996. There, Diane Arcangel was assembling a library; Air Force Lt Col Peter McDuff; Hal Puthoff; Dr Kenneth Klivington; Marty Pilch; John Petersen; Harrison Schmidt; JohnDale Solem; Dean Judd; were all present. Jessica Utts, Air Force Brigadier General Jim Whinnery; Emily Williams Cook; Ted Rockwell; John Alexander were also there. The meeting discussed NIDS' goals, visions and mission. Discussion ensued on Bigelow's dual focii for NIDS, to be on UAP, and survival after death. Las Vegas journalist George Knapp presented to the meeting about his research trip to the USSR.
At this meeting, Vallee learned that Bigelow became interested in survival researc "'after his 22-year old son died a few years ago in the desert. Bigelow became interested in UAP because he'd experienced unusual phenomenon as a child, with his grandparents." (page 296.)
The third NIDS SAB meeting occurred on 31 March 1996. Two new members attended, one of whom was Dr Ian Stevenson. Dean Jude was absent. NIDS had connected with Illebrand Von Ludwiger, (abduction researcher in Germany/Austria); Chad Deetken had been sent to Puerto Rico; and Peter McDuff, went to Mexico concerning UFO sightings. Puthoff and Alexander had visited Colonel P Corso. Dr Roger Leir and Derrel Sims presented on alien implants; and abduction researcher John Carpenter also presented to the SAB. Later Vallee, and Alexander met with Corso to obtain more details on Corso's claims.
On 1 June 1996, the fourth NIDS SAB meeting took place. There were three presentations by General Whinnery, re effects of g=forces on pilots and the relationship to consciousness. Former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell spoke about near-death experiences. On the question of implant analysis; the implants were found to contain common elements, and the SAB seemed to lean towards them being pieces of conventional metal, which had somehow, embedded in the human body.
The fifth meeting was on 3 August 1996. Senator Harry Reid attended the presentation which Vallee gave. The NIDS had hired three scientists as staff members,namely a biochemist; a molecular biologist, and a physicist (Dr Eric Davis.) By September 1996, the NIDS employed 11 people; 6 full time; and had purchased the Mount Wilson ranch in Nevada.
Present for part of the meeting were Ian Stevenson, and Bruce Grayson, plus Prof John Mack and associates. There was discussion on a possible partnership between PEER and NIDS. A mathematician Gian-Carlo Rota also joined the meeting.
Vallee writes "Administration issues threatened to bog down the discussion, starting with the changing definition of the Institute, no longer a granting agency. Bob wants to turn it into a working body that performs its own research and building relationships with centers of expertise, so, never delegating the analysis. Thus the SAB is elected as working group rather than, merely a review and strategy board." (page 322.)
The biochemist was Dr Colm Kelleher; the microbiologist and veterinarian is George Onet, and the physicist was Dr Eric W Davis. The other permanent staff are John Alexander, a secretary and a receptionist. Also employed part time was George Knapp; Diane Arcangel; a Canadian studying cattle mutilations, and Shelley Wadsworth a local resident, in Nevada.
10 January 1997 saw the sixth NIDS SAB meeting take place. John Petersen presented on alternate futures; Bob Bigelow on the chronology of NIDS, and there was a summary of the NIDS budget.
"Bob outlined a new plan with two parts. Division I is devoted to 'survival of the human consciousness...Division II, 'Aerial Phenomena' continues surveillance of both properties, networking with ranchers, veterinarians and the police on mutilations and sample analysis.' (page 350.) John Dale Solem critiqued their work on implants. Jack Schmidt presented on lessons learned during hearings on mutilations in the 1970's. There was also, a brainstorming session about sensors and detection.
Vallee writes "it's clear the Board will not be consulted or even kept informed about grants funded by NIDS, such as John Mack's work." (page 352.)
According to the above diary entry, both the Utah and the Nevada ranches were being surveilled. Details of the Utah ranch have been published in part; however, I can find no mention of the results of surveillance of the second, Wilson, Nevada, ranch.
This took place on 9 March 1997. Jessica Utts presented on the subject of statistics in parapsychology. George Onet reported on necropsy of a mutilated cow. Bigelow showed a TV documentary about near-death experiences.
Vallee found out that through the Institute, Bob Bigelow is channeling money to:
(1) A European book by Von Ludwiger.
(2) John Mack's exploration of multiple witness abduction cases.
(3) Immunology related to NDEs by Kelleher and Melvin Morse.
(4) Communication devices built by Putoff.
(5) John Petersen's "Day after" scenarios.
(6) An evaluation of mediums by Stevenson and Cook.
(7) A cattle mutilation survey by Onet.
(8) A seminar series on survival of consciousness led by Alexander.
(9) A crop circle study by Kit and Kristin (Green's life partner), with Kelleher and Deetken.
(10) A new Roper poll.
On 7 June 1999, NIDS circulated a press release titled "How would humans react if ET landed" which provided the results of the (10) Roper poll on that particular "Day After" scenario.
Vallee writes "The hard truth is that the NIDS board is too busy trying to invent gadgets and feed their own projects to stop and think seriously about science fundamentals and the deeper nature of the phenomenon." (page 360.)
The eight meeting was on 2 May 1997. "Steve Trevino, who had just made a presentation to Kit and Bob, was there as well as Tommy Blann, an investigator from Texas, who now lives in Florida. An evening session was held to discuss cattle mutilations.
Vallee writes "Another aspect of the phenomenon that had become clear is its human origin. Carcasses have suffered injections and traction by clamps or other devices. It is common for the animals to be dropped, sometimes from considerable heights. Also common is the sight of helicopters." (page 365.)
"The Science Board spent most of the day discussing the Utah ranch in closed session. Three members were missing: Ian Stevenson, Melvin Morse and GianaCarlo. So there were thirteen of us with Bob..." (page 365.)
Edgard Mitchell gave a summary of the April 8-10 1997 Greer briefings.
'Most of the afternoon was spent discussing candidates for the position of consciousness at UNLV." (page 369.)
At the ninth meeting on 19 July 1997 "Ian Stevenson, Emily Cook and Bruce Grayson have sent abrasive letters criticizing the lack of research." (page 377.)
"We heard good staff reports about the Utah ranch." (page 378.)
17 October 1997 saw the tenth SAB meeting. "'What if two-way communication does happen?' Bob asked. He is convinced that one-way exchanges (from 'them' to Eric) have already taken place, in the form of telepathic messages and dreams." (page 391.)
"Chad Deetken gave an impassioned, but unscientific description of the English crop circle around Alton Barn and Silberry Hill. He discounted the hoax hypothesis." (page 392.)
"In the afternoon I said it was time to reinvent the Institute. We had lost sight of our constituency; I emphasized: do we work for the public good? The scientific community? Paranormal researchers? There was an urgent need to tighten up our procedures and to better protect our people in the field. I suggested using the Nevada (Wilson) ranch as a control site against the Utah property." (page 392.)
The eleventh meeting took place on 11 January 1998. "Colm gave an excellent report on work at the ranch, then discussions centred on Bob's plans to raise the visibility of 'aerial phenomena' to the national level. Against Kit''s protestations he led us through elaborate exercises designed to align us to his scheme. I stressed that the aspect of NIDS I most admired was precisely that we hadn't tried to grab headlines." (page 401.)
"The Utah ranch is quiet...There hasn't been a single new case of a physical UFO there." (page 401.)
Vallee missed part of this meeting so Bigelow filled him in on Bigelow's proposal to sponsor two new studies, "on the subject of the social effect of an announcement of (1) a major asteroid fall and (2) the reality of UFOs as extraterrestrial craft." (page 402.)
Vallee on Bigelow. "He has a deeper agenda, an inner certainty that a dramatic development (spectacular display by the phenomenon or striking announcement by the government) will happen 'soon.' When I pointed out that research at the ranch could lead to a statement about the reality of UFOs, however, he said he'd practically given up on this, the evidence would never be good enough...Yet Bob believes there is an MJ-12 and that the Phenomenon has done things that could have large impact, but the public was appraised as not being ready." (page 402.)
The 12th meeting was on 25 April 1998. "...is our Institute becoming 'just another Shirley Maclaine with lasers?' someone asked with humor."
"After the last session Bigelow spoke to Kit on the phone for a long time, trying to convince him that events at the ranch were real and couldn't be explained on psychological grounds." (page 409.)
Martin Pilch chaired the meeting on 11 July 1998. There was a review of the Sturrock/Rockefeller project. Colm Kelleher reported on the ranch.
At the 10 October 1998 meeting, "The group reviewed the first three years of NIDS." (page 420.)
"Today the Board...tackled the challenge posed by Bob Bigelow of engaging the scientific community. I said it didn't make sense to speak in the same sentence of getting visibility with the public AND with science (two radically different things,) impressing the media while gaining the confidence of secret sources (an obvious contradiction) taking an advocacy position while research is incomplete and crusading for the extraterrestrial visitation hypothesis while testing theories that may not involve ETH at all."
"Look at the data from the Utah ranch," I said, "where we have every paranormal phenomenon except for flying saucers." (page 426.)
Vallee noted about the 8 January 1999 meeting, "Bob Bigelow is still fascinated with 'Day After' scenarios...he went over the history of our efforts, from the initial interest to appeal to the military to the more recent idea of having our own contingency plan if it turned out, as he put it, that 'we are cohabiting on the Earth with non-human entities that controlled our destiny.'" (page 439.)
There was a lecture by Michael Lindemann, futurist. Puthoff put Lindemann in touch with Petersen, "which led to the idea of running 'First Contact' scenarios under the sponsorship of Firmage. For silly reasons were not supposed to know that Joe is involved. We ended up discussing Kairos. Al Harrison pointed out that 'After spending $2 million Firmage had failed to have any impact. The idea of going to the public is fundamentally flawed.' That took some wind out of Bob Bigelow's sails. Yet he remains convinced we are confronted with a 'scenario-selecting agent,' which implies that 'our state of acceptance will determine when and how confirmation occurs.' (pp439-440.)
"Bob got up to dictate our new role: to provide information on sightings and other events. Bob and Colm will contact us twice and each member will be expected to call with current information. With a group as busy as this, I don't think that's realistic. Bob' strengths as a visionary business manager (high demand for on-time results, quantifiable budgets with tight schedules) are not the best tools in fundamental research: one needs to pick extraordinary staff members and trust them: to give them the opportunity to fail." (page 440.)
"Bob...told me about changes planned around the Institute. I recommended a sober, quiet, non-flashy approach to the Congressional research Service as a reliable, low-key, respected gateway to senior legislators. " (page 441.)
The Utah ranch and UAP
Why was the Utah ranch selected? The answer lies on page 326, in a diary entry dated 15 August 1996. Vallee, speaking about a ranch in Nevada which was being looked at by Bigelow, with a view to purchase, writes "...another more interesting situation had popped up - a ranch in Utah where cattle mutilations, strange lights and bizarre objects were being reported 'almost daily.'"
However, as far as UAP went, Vallee points out, the volume of the UAP events at the Utah ranch was extremely low. On page 353 of his book, Vallee cites meeting with three NIDS staffers. "Expectations of frequent sightings of UFOs at the Utah ranch have not materialized." they said, "so what are we supposed to work on?"
By 11 January 1998, (page 401) "The Utah ranch is quiet, with no new incidents. There hasn't been a single new case of a physical UFO there."
And by 10 October 1998 (page 426) Vallee says "Look at the data from the Utah ranch" I said, "where we have every paranormal phenomena - except for flying saucers."
The NIDS mission
Initially, Robert Bigelow stated "I want to work directly with the people who do the research" as cited by Vallee on 16 July 1995. Vallee states (3 August 1996) "Bob wants to turn it into a working body that performs its own research." On 10 January 1997, "Bob outlined a new plan..." By 9 March 1997, the Institute was funding projects across the areas of abductions, near-death experiences; cattle mutilations; and crop circles. On 10 October 1998, Bigelow wished the SAB to see how best to engage the scientific community. On 9 January 1999, "Bob got up to dictate our new role, to provide information on sightings."
It seems to me, on reading the discussions on the mission of the NIDS, that it kept changing, and this was solely at Bigelow's instigation.
Parallels between the NIDS and BAASS
Some parallels can be drawn between the 1995-1999 NIDS era, and the later 2007 to 2012 AAWSAP BAASS contract era.
In a 19 March 2018 interview with former Senator Harry Reid, the New York Magazine revealed that Bigelow, around 2006/2007 received a letter from a senior employee of a federal national security agency. That employee told Bigelow "I want to go to your ranch in Utah." After which, the employee visited the ranch and was impressed enough that they assisted Reid by writing the AAWSAP Defense Intelligence Agency solicitation document. Although Reid does not provide the employee's name, the DIA documentation states that the AAWSAP manager was one James T Lacatski.
Journalist George Knapp, and film producer Jeremy Corbell, both insist that the Utah ranch was a focus of the BAASS investigation (BAASS received the AAWSAP contract.)
However, the DIA solicitation is silent about anything to do with activities on any ranch. Hence, here is an obvious contradiction, which is impossible to unravel without direct input from James T Lacatski and Robert Bigelow. Neither of whom have ever spoken publicly about this.
Given Vallee's comments about the level of UAP activity, at the Utah ranch between 1995 and 1999, one can pose the question as to what was the level of UAP activity when Lacatski visited the ranch around 2006/2007? Was it the UAP activity or other paranormal activity which caught his attention? If it was the paranormal attention, then how come the DIA solicitation document doesn't mention this?
The diary entries in Vallee's latest book, allow us some deeper insights about the thinking of Robert Bigelow, and the work of the NIDS, than I had previously had.