The juicy bits of the CIA’s massive document dump may have centered on their overt use of torture against detainees and the internal debates underpinning that policy, but it’s far from the only thing in there that warrants a second look. The documents also include substantial information about CIA obsession with UFO sightings, policies for using invisible ink, and their determined investigation into magicians.
Reports on the UFOs described some 20% of sightings as “unexplained,” and sought more cooperation from the Pentagon in documentation of such sightings, particularly pushing to ensure that all high-ranking Air Force commanders were briefed on the rules for reporting about them.
The CIA showed concern both about the “national security” implications of flying saucers, and the intelligence ramifications of them, with the advisory committee urging “close attention” be paid both to Russian actions with respect to UFOs, and public opinion within the US about them.
Other documents reveal that in 1952 the CIA had plans to big tunnel from West Berlin into East Berlin and try to come up underneath the Soviet Army headquarters. Years of construction happened on the matter, though it was ultimately scrapped before they got to the Soviet base.
With respect to magic, the CIA appears to have become intensely interested in the phenomenon in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with one 1969 document about a “self-educated magician” in Soviet Georgia who was able to perform “miracle” healings through the laying of hands.
The CIA’s interest in magic got a lot bigger in short order, and within a few years they were bringing in television psychic Uri Geller, who famously used to bend spoons on TV with the power of his mind. Incredibly, the CIA was quickly convinced that Geller had real powers, and tried to move into remote viewing, the attempt to conduct surveillance on sites they don’t have access to via supernatural means.
Geller expressed shock that the CIA admitted to bringing him in, claiming he remained active with them for years beyond what the released files show, which are “the tip of the iceberg.” He is initially described trying to guess what sort of drawing is on a piece of paper based on a single word, deciding the word “bunch” meant grapes.
Before long, the CIA wanted Geller to kill pigs with his mind, something he apparently refused to do. Geller also describes being asked to remotely detonate nuclear weapons, and to stand outside the Soviet Embassy in Mexico and magically delete any floppy disks that the Russians tried to remove from the site.
Ironically, the CIA was sold on Geller’s powers as a result of tests conducted between August 4 and August 11 in 1973, but on August 1, Geller famously was a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and failed to demonstrate his ability to bend spoons successfully.
The documents released don’t indicate when the program ended, though officials have previously indicated that the CIA scrapped the program in 1995, saying they never got anything useful out of it.
9 thoughts on “CIA Docs Reveal Agency’s Longtime Obsession With UFOs, Magic”
CIA obsession with UFO sightings, policies for using invisible ink…
This doesn’t surprise me. One could also include its obsession with
ESP and mind control. The average person might be inclined to laugh
at such things. However…
The average person laughs at such things? Not according to Richard above who gives us an estimate of 77% of Americans buy the UFO stuff. Average for Canadians maybe?
You can probably relate the % directly to the % of sky fairy believers. The two have so much in common.
A possible explanation for lights in the sky would be for them something similar to the guiding star used to get to baby jee.
Not all that big a leap of ‘faith’ at all is it!
The magic obsession makes sense. Magicians are experts in human perception and “hiding things in plain sight”. D-Day owed its surprise value to a British magician named Jasper Maskelyne who designed huge fake troop movements in the wrong place.
funny it still took them over 22 years do defund him and decide he was a hoax
The UFO documents probably refer to the famous Robertson Panel which was convened for the CIA with a number of notable scientists, back in 1952, to assess the phenomena and make recommendations for any government action, if necessary. This was before the really serious stuff started happening, such as the major incident over Washington, D.C., also in 1952.
There was a subsequent study done called the Condon Report released in 1968, which was mostly a debunking effort, although a couple scientists in that study issued their own dissenting report saying there actually was something to the phenomena that needed further study.
These reports were mostly about “lights in the sky”. If you look up John A. Keel, a journalist I hung out with in the early ’70’s, and read his books, you’ll find the phenomena is WAY past that sort of thing. The odds that it has anything to do with “aliens” is almost zero. It’s way more complicated than that.
Nonetheless around 77% of Americans believe aliens have visited Earth.
Dwelling on magicians (illusionists) and the use of invisible ink have nothing to do with the supernatural. Keeping in mind that they aren’t imagining magicians as employing ‘magic’.
UFO’s and religious beliefs in sky fairies is! And so, believing in UFO’s becomes more palatable if one is already indoctrinated into the supernatural by their religious beliefs. It’s a very small step.
And so, with more rightists in positions of power within the spook agencies, there is obviously going to be more hearty belief in religious sky fairies. It’s then a small leap into more acceptance of UFO theories as being extraterrestrial. Indeed, extraterrestrials are a mainline theory with a branch of Xtians. (where life came from)
This story is so similar to the previous one posted on this board that it was hard to make any sense out of it’s intent. If one doesn’t subscribe to the supernatural and sky fairy theories then my comments have to be, ‘to the point’. Anybody see another point?
UFO = Unidentified Flying Object.
If you’ve ever seen a flying object and not known what it was, you’ve seen a UFO.
Worth pointing out Thomas, but not for me. That which I said about UFO’s was pretty clearly in the sense of how they pertain to extraterrestrials. When I said, “believing in UFO’s” in my post, I was pretty sure I had made the distinction.
Yes, I guess I’ve seen dozens of UFO’s in the sense you are getting at. I didn’t think of them as UFO’s and never discussed any of them with friends or aquaintances. They just never rose to that degree of importance in my mind.
I don’t think you’re suggesting that we all should give them more careful consideration as to what they are (were), but I need to at least raise the point. Have you seen any UFO’s which remain in your mind as UFO’s? Or have you pretty well identified all of them?
“Have you seen any UFOs which remain in your mind as UFO’s? Or have you pretty well identified all of them?”
I have not personally seen any UFOs which struck me as likely of extraterrestrial origin. I did see one that WOULD have struck me that way if I hadn’t seen it 1) near China Lake, 2) after a briefing telling me not to photograph or discuss any weird shit I might happen to see flying in the area.
My mind is not closed to the possibility of extraterrestrial presence. But as with every other matter, I don’t believe things in the absence of convincing evidence.
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