That Time the Demonic Hypothesis of UFO Stopped Science

Last year, former Nevada Senator Harry Reid gave George Knapp an exclusive interview regarding a secret US government study of UFOs from 2007 to 2012.

“One aim of the study was to find out the origin of the craft. Intelligence officials ruled out the Russians or Chinese but Reid says our adversaries are likely ahead of us in trying to duplicate a far-superior technology.”

Another aim concerned UFO incidents with “clear national security implications, such as chilling reports in which UFOs hovered over American nuclear missiles bases.” According to former Senator Reid:

“It’s in the documents. Scores and scores of men come out, look up wondering what that is. They wouldn’t leave. Communications in the missile defense system was shut down. It didn’t happen just once. It happened more than once.”

Despite the national security implications, some officials were embarrassed to discover that the government was secretly funding UFO research. There were also other concerns:

“Reid says the study produced voluminous reports but was canceled because of fears within the intelligence community, fear not only that the story would leak out, but fear based on religious beliefs who felt that UFOs might be satanic.

Reporter George Knapp: “Did you hear that, that it’s evil?

Harry Reid: “Yes. I think there are a lot of people who don’t like it for a number of reasons and religious views. It didn’t fit with what they wanted to spend money on.”

In a later interview, George Knapp elaborated on the identity of these superstitious members of the intelligence community and their beliefs:

“…fundamentalist Christians; who think that anything involving UFOs and the paranormal is satanic, that by studying it we invite Satan into this world, and they wanted it killed for those reasons. I know how that sounds, I’m not belittling anybody’s religious beliefs, but man, that kind of a decision-making, deciding to kill a program that’s doing good work because Satan might be involved, I don’t feel better about the Pentagon when I hear that, but it’s true.”

Naturally, I decided to check out Gary Bates’ take on the news story. After all, he’d written Alien Instrusion, one of the more popular tomes on the Demonic Hypothesis of UFO in Christian circles.

In the midst of what ended up being a big ad for the then forthcoming film version of his book, Bates makes a very misleading statement:

“The government doesn’t officially recognize a category of supernatural occurrences, which is going to affect their ability to interpret this information. As we’ve written before in Prepare ye the way: aliens are coming!, it wouldn’t surprise us if some official announcement were to be made by some government that the Earth has been experiencing UFO activity that ‘must be’ advanced extraterrestrial. For them, what else could it be?

And yet, if Knapp’s sources are correct, the government funding for this UFO research project was taken away by officials who think it could be demonic rather that extraterrestrial! I hardly think Bates could be unaware of this part of Knapp’s story. Maybe it just doesn’t fit his preferred narrative.

In any case, Knapp ended the interview by rightly condemning the idea of defunding research because they believe the Devil is behind the UFO phenomenon:

“When somebody uses mumbo jumbo and spooky stories and religious beliefs to put the kibosh on a scientific study or a legitimate inquiry, that is troublesome. You know what, maybe it is Satan. Maybe it’s demons. I don’t know what it is. Inter-dimensional travel, dimensional people, time travelers, all of the above, or crypto-terrestrials, or ultra-terrestrials, I don’t know. But we need to figure it out. If not for national security or personal safety, just for the sheer joy of discovery. It is very bad national security policy to say we don’t want to know about something. That makes no sense at all.”

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