In events reminiscent of the unveiling of Ray Santilli’s ‘alien autopsy’ film in the 1990s, Denver, Colorado, has been the scene for a media circus revolving around an alleged piece of evidence that ET walks among us.
It began with news that 54-year-old Denver man Jeff Peckman was sponsoring a ballot initiative to create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission that would help prepare humankind (or, at least, the residents of Denver) for first contact and peaceful coexistence with aliens. According to Peckman: “the evidence is irrefutable that there are extraterrestrials that have visited Earth frequently,” but this evidence is being covered up by the US government. Peckman’s ballot initiative petition (the full text is available here) was approved by Denver city officials on 22 May, and reads as follows:
“Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an Initiated Ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such commission from grants, gifts and donations?” Yes___ No___”
While some officials treated the petition as a joke, Councilman Charlie Brown expressed concern about Peckman’s proposed ,000 budget (which, the petition states, would come from gifts, grants and donations rather than city funds), and about the ease with which Peckman might be able to collect the 3,900 signatures that would result in the proposal being put to a public vote. “There are more serious needs than setting up an 18-member commission to study men from Mars… I think it’s too easy to get initiatives on the ballot, and I think we should look at it as a council,” said Brown.
Peckman told Denver City officials that he would be mounting a presentation on 30 May that would include a segment of video showing an actual extraterrestrial: “the final visual confirmation of what you already know to be true having seen all the other evidence”.
The news conference took place at the Tivoli Student Union on Denver’s Auraria campus, lasting about an hour and with several dozen people, including press, in attendance. Peckman told the audience that it was “time to get ahead of the curve” when it came to taking alien life seriously, adding that government and retired US military officers were aware of the truth and that the recent Vatican pronouncement on the possibility of extraterrestrial life showed that ETs were “our brothers – God’s creatures”.
What everyone had come to see, though, was the video; for the four or so minutes that it ran, no filming or photography was allowed, although one still image was handed out to the press. The descriptions given by those in attendance suggest that the video showed a ‘classic Gray’, about 4ft (1.2m) tall with a big forehead, narrow chin, and dark, almond-shaped eyes bobbing up and down outside a window and looking in.
Sceptics said the ‘being’ bore a similarity to the alien in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (a briefly glimpsed proto-Gray), or “the quintessential Gray, right out of E.T.”, while others claimed to see the entity’s eyes blink and its muscles move. Some audience members expressed bafflement as to why an alien life-form had travelled millions of light years just to peer through someone’s window, while a representative of the Mutual UFO Network said he had “no idea” whether the video showed a genuine ET visitor and called for further investigation to be carried out on the video. Peckman, it turned out, had already allowed Colorado Film School Instructor Jerry Hofman to examine the video. “There is no doubt in my mind that this… [is] not a trick done in special effects,” said Hoffman. “I have equipment that will test to see if that shot was recorded originally on that tape, which it was.” This didn’t mean that the ‘alien’ was itself real, Hoffman added, though he didn’t “think he [the cameraman] faked this. I think what we got here is the real thing”. While Hoffman claimed it would have cost some ,000 to produce a puppet sufficiently complex to fool him, another Denver man, Bryan Bonner of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society, had already made his own low-budget version of the video, which duly appeared on YouTube and confused many viewers who took it to be a leak of the Peckman film.
“We started production about 8pm,” said Bonner. He and his team had rented a “4-ft-tall foam latex alien” from a costume shop (“We were going to buy one, but I didn’t want to blow the 0.”), which they moved up and down in front of a window. They filmed the result, then used some 3D computer effects to make the being appear to blink. “What they’re claiming would take thousands of dollars and a lot of time… we pulled off for and in five or six hours.”
Bonner, it turned out, had guessed that the footage Peckman was going to screen was the “Romanek video” – a video that Colorado Springs resident Stan Romanek claimed to have shot at his one-time home in Nebraska on the night of 17 July 2003. Romanek’s story was that he’d set up a camera to try and catch a peeping tom he feared was ogling his two teenage daughters through the window, which was 8ft (2.4m) above the ground.
Romanek is an interesting character, to say the least, and this was by no means his first encounter with extraterrestrials. In fact, according to his website, his is “The World’s Most Documented Extraterrestrial Contact Story” and he has had “well over 100 individually unique experiences… since December 2000”. Since his first sighting, he has photographed countless UFOs and believes he has been abducted on a number of occasions, bearing physical scars often associated with such cases. Strangest of all, Romanek – a self-described dyslexic with “Math competency at a 4th grade level” – has produced reams of bizarre ‘equations’ while asleep or undergoing hypnotic regression. He claims to have no understanding of these channelled communications but believes them to be connected to his abduction experiences; it has been argued that they predicted the discovery of a 10th planet in our Solar System, or that they refer to ‘element 115’ (which Bob Lazar claimed was being used in the US military’s reverse-engineering project at Groom Lake back in the 1980s). Richard Hoagland excitedly suggested that they “clearly seem to be referring to an impending ‘hyperdimensional’ event!”
Romanek is planning to publish a book (Messages: The Stan Romanek Story) and to release a documentary about his life. Sceptics have suggested that these impending projects are the reason for Romanek’s taking up with Peckman and their refusal to release the video to the public; while Romanek didn’t show up at the Denver press conference, the two appeared together later on the Larry King Show, where Stan claimed that the reason he couldn’t release the video was that scientists had not yet finished their “analysation of it”.
And it’s perhaps worth noting that this is not the first time that Peckman, who attended the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa and once ran for the Senate as a Natural Law Party candidate, has tried to involve the city of Denver in such a bizarre scheme. He is also the creator of ‘Metatron Technology’, which defends against “harmful electromagnetic waves” by transforming them into “desirable healthy energy”. Products include the Metatron Global Peace Program, the Metatron Stress-free Computer Workstation, and the Metatron Personal Harmonizer (which looks suspiciously like a credit card to us). In 2003, he sponsored another ballot initiative that would have required the city to implement stress-reduction techniques (using Metatron Technology, one assumes) “to help ensure public safety by increasing peacefulness”; although Peckman collected enough signatures for the ballot, voters failed to pass it. Peckman has now announced he will approach Barack Obama for support at the Democratic Convention in August and is planning a cosmic benefit concert as “a celebration of species all over the Galaxy.”
The Denver Channel, 8 May; Denver Post, 9+29 May, 1 June; Rocky Mountain News, 28+30 May, 7+9 June; D.Telegraph 9 June 2008; www.extracampaign.org; www.stanromanek.com.