How Believers in the Paranormal Birthed the Pentagon’s New Hunt for UFOs

The Pentagon’s new office for what has been rebranded as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP, has deep roots in the paranormal.

Underneath the Washington defense talk about threats from China and Russia, there is a conviction among advocates that the strange objects glimpsed by troops and military equipment are part of a mysterious phenomenon that stretches back decades or, perhaps, throughout human history.

As the stigma over flying saucer talk lifts, and the military connection has taken UFOs mainstream, some have become more open about those beliefs.

“People say, ‘Well, we’re only going to look at the nuts-and-bolts machines.’ Well, you better come up with a lot of physics. It’s far more advanced than we’re capable of now,” said James Lacatski, a now-retired DIA intelligence officer who set up the UFO program that ran from 2008 to 2010. “And then there’s others who say, ‘Well, they’re nothing more than ghosts. Part of the paranormal world.’

“No, they’re a hybrid of both,” he said.


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