Friday, April 4, 2008

X-Conference 2008: Scott Jones & John Alexander, speakers

X-Conference 2008 is to be devoted to uncovering the truth about government activity with UFOs. It is scheduled for April 18-20 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Two of the speakers merit special attention: C. B. “Scott” Jones and John B. Alexander. Both have had decades-long involvement with ufology (as well as with remote viewing and parapsychology).

In the early 1990s, Jones publicly proclaimed that he “honestly did not know of any activity of the U.S. government” in the field of UFOs.1 But in 1992 Robert J. Durant produced a detailed, widely circulated white paper demonstrating that Jones was in a position to throw considerable light on government-UFO activities. (I am not aware of any response Jones made to that report.)

The Durant paper is available here

Colonel John Alexander (U.S. Army, retired) was heavily involved with the U.S. government’s psychic spying program, but he was also active with UFOs. In fact, Alexander admitted that he was the model for the “Harold Phillips” character in Howard Blum’s book Out There: The Government’s Secret Quest for Extraterrestrials (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990). (I was present when Alexander made the admission. Joseph Stefula was also present and can confirm it.)

Alexander has some unusual connections, such as the person of Gordon Novel—an exceptionally “colorful” character.2 Novel was somehow able to evade the extradition attempts of prosecutor Jim Garrison during his investigation of the Kennedy assassination. Garrison concluded that Novel’s intelligence associates were protecting him.3 Whatever the truth of the matter, other peculiarities in his background are disturbing.

Novel was convicted of illegally transporting electronic surveillance equipment in Nevada. Later in Georgia, he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of firearms. After being charged with fire bombing in Louisiana he jumped bail, but after recapture, his trial ended in a hung jury.4

Alexander has spent some time with Novel and has flaunted the affiliation,5 perhaps in an attempt to intimidate others. Martin Cannon, an investigator who has written on government mind-control projects, received a call from Alexander’s wife on May 30, 1993. She left a message on his answering machine saying: “Martin, as an ex-friend I have to warn you. John and Hal [Puthoff] are really pissed off at you. And they’ve given the matter over to Gordon [Novel] to handle. Watch out.” Cannon had no idea what had provoked the threat, but in his book The Controllers he had suggested that perhaps some UFO abduction accounts were actually due to screen memories imposed on the victims of a government mind-control program in order to conceal other atrocities. Cannon was well aware of Alexander’s interest in UFO abductions and of Novel’s background. He was quite alarmed, and the day he received the message, he called and played me the tape. I suggested that he alert a number of people in the media, and he also notified the FBI.

But Cannon was not the only one targeted by Alexander. Armen Victorian of England was one of the most effective researchers to use the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to uncover government involvement in paranormal areas.6 Citing the FOIA, Victorian requested information about research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but it was denied him. Undeterred, he placed a second request, seeking copies of all paperwork relating to the denial. Victorian thereby obtained a memorandum written by John Alexander to Gilbert Ortiz, dated 28 September 1993. In that memo, Alexander discussed Victorian and specifically complained about his role in the expose of Bruce Maccabee, a Navy physicist who spread rumors that the U.S. government knew of ET alien bases on earth.7 (Maccabee is scheduled to speak at X-Conference 2008.)

Alexander’s memo revealed that the CIA had requested “British Intelligence and the police to assist in resolving problems with” Victorian. Alexander did not discuss court action, legal remedies, or regulations that might be used to deny information. Rather it implied retaliation by government agents without due process, a serious abuse of power. Victorian subsequently reported that his home and car were broken into, that computer disks and other records stolen, and that someone had tampered with his mail.8 After an account of all this appeared in the January 1, 1995 edition of British newspaper The Observer9 his problems seemed to stop.

Concluding Remarks

Whatever one may think of Jones and Alexander, one cannot reasonably conclude that they have worked to inform the public about government-UFO activities. They have fostered ambiguity and suspicion, and perhaps worse. One might be skeptical of any statements they may make on the topic.

For more on Jones and Alexander, see The Trickster and the Paranormal pages 169-170, 228, 237-241, 243-244.


1. For instance: Jones, Cecil B. Government - UFO Connections in Mufon Symposium Proceedings, 1991, pp. 173-184. Seguin, TX: MUFON. See page 176.

2. An entire chapter is devoted to Gordon Novel in The Kennedy Conspiracy: An Uncommissioned Report on the Jim Garrison Investigation by Paris Flammonde, New York, NY: Meredith Press, 1969, pp. 96-109.

3. On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison, New York, NY: Warner Books, 1991, see pp. 208-211. (First published 1988)

4. Bizarre Rome Case Ends with Man Pleading Guilty by Betsy Neal, Atlanta Constitution, November 6, 1977, p. 15-B (page depends on edition).

5. A picture of Alexander with Novel was printed in Saucer Smear, Vol. 41, No. 9, December 5th, 1994, p. 6. Available at: Accessed March 28, 2008.

6. Victorian formerly used the name Henry Azadehdel. On June 6, 1989, he was convicted of smuggling orchids into England.

7. Alexander’s memo was reproduced in Third Eyes Only (No. 19, March-April, 1994, pp. 33-38). Maccabee’s spreading of rumors of ET bases on earth can be found in his article Hiding the Hardware (International UFO Reporter, Vol. 16, No. 5, September/October, 1991, pp. 4-10, 23. See pp. 10, 23.) The expose of Maccabee was the Associated Investigators Report AIR #1 The Fund for CIA Research? or Who’s Disinforming Whom? (Third Eyes Only, No. 14, July, 1993, pp. 1-14.)

8. Britain in the 90s: Up Against the State by Armen Victorian, Lobster, No. 28, 1994, pp. 12-13. Victorian sent me copies of police reports he filed. If he had filed false ones, he could have been subject to prosecution.

9. Secret Service ‘Targets’ Military Writer by William Goodwin, The Observer (London), January 1, 1995, p. 10.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Zetetic Scholar: Numbers 6-8 Now Online

Zetetic Scholar numbers 6-8 (1980-1981) have just been put online in PDF format. Earlier issues were uploaded last year.

Click here to go to issues of Zetetic Scholar

Zetetic Scholar (ZS) was edited by Marcello Truzzi, who co-founded CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry). Truzzi resigned from CSICOP after it became apparent that other members didn’t want a scientific organization, but rather an advocacy group. Truzzi established ZS to foster scholarly debate and dialogue between critics and proponents of the paranormal.

ZS issues 6-8 include dialogues on remote viewing, parapsychology, and UFOs. Some of the contributors include: Robert Jahn, Paul Feyerabend, Ray Hyman, John Beloff, I. J. Good, Charles Tart, Antony Flew, Henry Bauer, David Hoy, Jerome Clark, Robert Morris, Persi Diaconis, J. Allen Hynek, John Keel, and Bruce Maccabee.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Back Issues of Archaeus Are Now Online

Click here for back issues of Archaeus

The Archaeus Project: Overview

The Archaeus Project was one of the groups active in the 1980s and early 1990s. It was founded in 1982 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area (Bakken, n.d., p.74), and during its early years it focused heavily, though not exclusively, on the paranormal. It conducted investigations, sponsored lecture series, held conferences, established a library, and published periodicals and monographs.

Its journal, Archaeus, was published in five volumes, from 1983 to 1989. It carried papers from a variety of contributors, with names familiar to paranormal researchers, including (in order of first appearance): Eldon A. Byrd, Jack Houck, James McClenon, John Thomas Richards, Dennis Stillings, Robert C. Beck, Jule Eisenbud, Andrija Puharich, Elizabeth A. Rauscher, Otto H. Schmitt, George P. Hansen, W. E. Cox, Robert E. L. Masters, Earl E. Bakken, Hilary Evans, Martin S. Kottmeyer, Peter M. Rojcewicz, Michael Grosso, Alvin H. Lawson, Michael A. Persinger.

The Archaeus Project began as a discussion group in the home of Earl Bakken, an inventor-businessman who co-founded Medtronic, which was ranked number 222 in the 2007 Fortune 500 list, with a market value of $57 billion (Bakken, n.d., p. 73; Fortune 500, 2007, pp. F-11 – F-12). The group was soon joined by Dennis Stillings, who had earlier built the collections of The Bakken, now a renowned library and museum focusing on electricity and life (Bakken, n.d., pp. 70-71; Stillings, 2001). Stillings went on to become the director of the Archaeus Project.

The group had a number of other members with significant mainstream accomplishments. Otto Schmitt, an eminent biophysicist, was one of the early members involved with paranormal investigations. The November-December 2004 issue of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine devoted over 40 pages to Schmitt and his work, including an article by Stillings. John E. Haaland, a former Corporate Vice President of the Pillsbury Company, was another member. In 1998 Haaland and members of Robert Jahn’s PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) laboratory at Princeton University received a patent for an electronic random-number generator used to control a game toy or computer display (Bradish et al, 1998). Archaeus Project member Karen Olness, M.D., a professor of pediatrics, has received honors for improving children’s health around the world.

The Archaeus Project kept in touch with other groups and brought active researchers to Minneapolis and St. Paul for public lectures. Stillings was given sufficient funds for considerable travel, and he had a chance to observe a wide range of paranormal activities and the subcultures surrounding them. Through its journal Archaeus and its newsletter/magazine Artifex it chronicled the paranormal scene, and Stillings provided illuminating commentary, often from a Jungian perspective. (Most of his commentaries are not currently available online.)

In 1993 the Archaeus Project moved to Hawaii as its focus shifted to more mainstream healthcare-related matters. In 2001 it became a sole proprietorship owned by Dennis Stillings. It has not since been active in paranormal areas, though Stillings retains his personal interest.

The Archaeus Project and Anti-structure

The Archaeus Project displays characteristics of anti-structure that typify many paranormal groups. The term anti-structure captures the instability and marginality of paranormal organizations, as well as the lack of long-lived institutions that remain effective. (I am speaking here primarily of those groups that make attempts to directly engage paranormal phenomena.)

The word anti-structure was used by anthropologist Victor Turner in the subtitle of his book The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (1969). He used it almost synonymously with liminality. Neither of the two terms is commonly known within paranormal fields, and indeed, even young anthropologists are not too likely to be familiar with the words (the social sciences are marked by a high degree of faddishness). Yet Turner was a major figure in anthropology; his concepts have been adopted in other fields, and extensions of his theoretical work give considerable insight into the paranormal. A full explanation of anti-structure and its ramifications would take too much space here. But I hope that the reader will get some sense of them from this discussion.

The Archaeus Project had office space and a paid staff. But it was small. Most of the work was done by Stillings, with help from Gail Duke. Yet for a paranormal group, it was well supported; indeed it would be the envy of many researchers today. Nevertheless, by comparison to a conventional business, church, or school, it was a tiny operation. It was not integrated into a larger organization; rather, it was an autonomous entity. That allowed considerable freedom but made it more vulnerable to the vagaries of funding, personnel changes, etc.

The Archaeus Project was supported by a wealthy individual, rather than government agencies or foundations run by professional philanthropists. As I pointed out in my book (pp. 197-198), the funding sources for psychical research reflect the anti-structural nature of psi. The greatest support for open (i.e., nonclassified) research has come from wealthy individuals such as James S. McDonnell (McDonnell Douglas Corporation), Thomas Welton Stanford (brother of Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University), Frances Bolton (congresswoman), Thomas Baker Slick, Jr. (oil man), John E. Fetzer (owner of radio and television stations and the Detroit Tigers baseball team), George W. Church, Jr. (Church’s Fried Chicken), W. Clement Stone (insurance magnate), Arthur Koestler (author), Chester F. Carlson (inventor of the Xerox process), Masaru Ibuka (co-founder of Sony), and Robert Bigelow (real estate tycoon, Bigelow Aerospace). Overall, large philanthropic institutions have made comparatively modest contributions. Some of the people listed above established foundations to support parapsychology, but after their deaths, professional philanthropists took control, changed the focus of the foundations, and eliminated support for parapsychology. Unlike other areas of science, it is not institutions (e.g., corporations, government agencies, philanthropic foundations), but rather individuals, who have provided the primary financial backing for psychical research. This is simply another manifestation of anti-structure and the anti-institutional nature of psi.

The Archaeus Project’s involvement with paranormal topics spanned approximately 10 years. Its historical trajectory is typical of other groups. In the early phase, experiments were undertaken, and efforts were made to directly observe paranormal events. Small newsletters were published. As the Archaeus Project became more established, the bulk of its efforts shifted more toward publishing its journal and magazine, rather than directly engaging the phenomena. Eventually, attention turned away from paranormal topics altogether, and its research into the paranormal failed to be effectively institutionalized for the long term.

Concluding Comments

Some might perceive my above comments as being rather downbeat, focusing too heavily on the failure. Such a perception would miss the point. The Archaeus Project was far more successful, and made more of a contribution, than the vast majority of groups devoted to the paranormal. It left a legacy of written materials that chronicled paranormal activities and commented on many facets, often with considerable insight. Despite its successes, it displayed the manifestations of anti-structure typical of paranormal groups.

In closing, I might mention that the single most important factor that led me to writing The Trickster and the Paranormal was a decade of discussions with the director of the Archaeus Project, Dennis Stillings.


Bakken, Earl E. (n.d.). One Man’s Full Life. Available at: Accessed March 8, 2008.

Bradish, G. Johnston; Dobyns, York H.; Dunne, Brenda J.; Jahn, Robert G.; Nelson, Roger D.; Haaland, John E.; Hamer, Steven M. Apparatus and method for distinguishing events which collectively exceed chance expectations and thereby controlling an output. U.S. Patent No. 5,830,064. November 3, 1998.

Fortune 500 Largest U.S. Corporations. Fortune, Vol. 155, No. 8, April 30, 2007, pp. F-1 – F-29.

Hansen, George P. (2001). The Trickster and the Paranormal. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris Corporation.

Stillings, Dennis. (2004). Otto Schmitt and the Archaeus Project: Adventures in the Anomalous. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 57-59.

Stillings, Dennis. (2001). The Bakken: A Library and Museum of Electricity in Life. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 255-266.

Turner, Victor W. (1969). The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Company.


A short history of the Archaeus Project is given at:

A short history of The Bakken is given at:

Dennis Stillings’ article on The Bakken in the Journal of Scientific Exploration is available at:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Paul Stevens and the European Journal of Parapsychology

The European Journal of Parapsychology (EJP) has been well respected within parapsychology for decades. For instance, Radin, May, and Thompson (1985, p. 223) judged its quality to be well above that of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. EJP articles are consistently at a professional level, and the journal has no need to cater to a nonprofessional membership society.

The EJP was founded in 1975 at the University of Utrecht. Its editors included Martin Johnson and Sybo Schouten. From 1990 to 1999 it was edited by the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh. The journal then moved to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden where it was edited by Adrian Parker and Jan Dalkvist. It is now edited at Bournemouth University in England by Paul Stevens.

Stevens earned a Ph.D. in 1997 at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Professor Robert Morris. He was a research fellow at the University from 1997 to 2007, producing a substantial number of papers. He also supervised Ph.D. students. Stevens is now Senior Lecturer in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at Bournemouth University. He is a council member for the Society for Psychical Research and serves on the editorial board of its journal.

As editor of the EJP in 2005, he published his own paper on a test of the effect of magnetic fields on an electronic number generator (Stevens, 2005). In March 2006 I contacted him, pointing out that the description of Table 1 in the text (page 143) did not match the Table itself. He responded promptly and graciously. I then emailed him, reporting that a number of values in that table seemed suspiciously small to me, and I asked him how the values were computed.

I received no reply. After additional attempts to contact him, I sent a letter by post. Again, I received no response. I emailed the Associate Editor of the EJP, Ian Baker, who simply informed me that I needed to contact the author of the article (i.e., Stevens).

After several months I submitted a letter to the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, which to its credit, published it promptly (Hansen, 2006). I was informed that Stevens was offered a chance to reply, but he declined.

It is unprofessional for a scientist not to respond to questions about his own work. But it is very troubling when a journal editor fails to do so. It reflects badly not only on himself, but also on the journal. It calls into question the scientific reliability and integrity of that professional forum.

Over the years the EJP made a substantial contribution to parapsychology. Will its reputation continue?


Radin, Dean I.; May, Edwin C.; & Thompson, Martha J. (1985). Psi Experiments With Random Number Generators: Meta-Analysis Part I. The Parapsychological Association 28th Annual Convention, Proceedings of Presented Papers, Vol. 1. (Tufts University, Medford, MA, August 12-16, 1985). pp. 199-233.

Hansen, George P. (2006). Letter. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Vol. 70.4, October, p. 254. Copy available at:

Paul Stevens B.Sc, PhD [staff profile]. Bournemouth University website. Available at: Accessed January 29, 2008.

Stevens, Paul. (2005). The Effect of Weak Magnetic Fields on a Random Event Generator: Reconsidering the Role of Geomagnetic Fluctuations in MicroPK Studies. European Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 135–149.

Stevens, Paul. (2006). My Career in Parapsychology. Posted at: Lives in Parapsychology, PF Lyceum Blog #11. Available at: Accessed January 28, 2008.