On “Baiting” the UFO Trickster & the Control-System Hypothesis

The Hermetic Penetrator
17 min readFeb 17, 2021
Illustration by Anders N. Kvammen

We have to do something that will cause them to react. And I don’t mean building landing strips in the desert and waiting out there to welcome the space brothers. — Dr. Jacques Vallée

[T]he study of [UFOs] doesn’t belong in science. It belongs in Intelligence. — “Major Murphy”

The fact that [unknown] craft are flying around Earth is not a subject for science — it’s a subject for intelligence-gathering, collection and analysis. That’s because UFOs are not a natural phenomenon, and that’s what science studies. — Dr. Eric W. Davis

Hermes doesn’t just erase an old boundary; he draws a new one. — Lewis Hyde

Back in October 2020, Luis Elizondo, former head of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), re-tweeted and responded to a question posed by Twitter user @SithVincentV under the hashtag #TTSATalks. The scenario implied in the question seemed outlandishly implausible. But Mr. Elizondo’s answer was both surprising and tantalising.

Is there any evidence beyond Elizondo’s re-tweet that the United States (or any other major power) has actually used its high-value military assets as “bait” to attract UFOs? Amazingly, the answer is “yes”. In a recent episode of the Sara Carter Show, Elizondo was asked to comment on a remark made by the former Soviet Air Force General Vasili Alexejev where he claimed that the Soviet military had conducted experiments in which they successfully “lured” UFOs to their location! Elizondo’s response was a sobering glimpse into the serious national security implications of the UFO phenomenon.

Carter: Do you (Luis Elizondo) believe what he is saying, and, if so, what is your guess on what that might be? What could the Russians have done?

Elizondo: To answer simply: ”Yes, absolutely”, I agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. The problem is the how. And I want to be careful not to say too much and only because I still have a security clearance and I think there may be efforts underway to continue that line of experimentation.

But we do know that based upon our observations, that there seems to be some commonalities associated with these UFOs, and when I say commonalties I mean from a national security perspective. I don’t mean necessarily, you know, like your neighbours and grandma saw some lights in the backyard or something, which could be absolutely true by the way.

What I mean is the information that we have collected about these craft, these vehicles, whatever you wanna call them, these UAP/UFOs, there seems to be some commonalities, and one of them is a keen interest in our nuclear capability. When I resigned from the Department of Defence, I actually put in my resignation memo (reproduced below) that some of the concern we have is that there appears to be some sort of interest in our nuclear technology.

Alexejev and Elizondo’s statements are explosive by any standard, but without more information it is difficult to know exactly what to make of them. I was therefore pleased when I stumbled upon a rare interview with General Alexejev in which he provides startling additional details on Soviet efforts at UFO-baiting.

This interest specifically expressed itself in certain experts being sent to investigate, especially to those places where UFOs, let’s call them that, appeared quite frequently.

I know a whole number of military bases in that category. As a rule they are objects of strategic significance, rocket complexes, scientific test establishments, in other words the places where there is a high concentration of advanced science and, to some degree, danger. Because every nuclear rocket, every new airforce installation represents a breakthrough both in science and in military terms; it is first and foremost a peak, the summit of human achievement. And that is where UFOs appeared fairly often.

Moreover, individual officers and commanders on the spot who knew about the phenomenon and had no official instructions on the matter, acted on their own initiative to investigate UFOs, recording data, and so on. I know that in some places they even learned to create a situation which would deliberately provoke the appearance of a UFO. A UFO would appear where there was increased military activity connected, say, with the transportation of “special” loads. It was enough [to artificially simulate]* or schedule such a move for a UFO to appear.

In other words, some kind of conditional relationship emerged. And they detected it. We’re an intelligent nation, nothing escapes us. I know that at certain testing ranges — I won’t name them, although it’s no longer a secret — they even learnt to make contact of a kind.

What did that consist of? First the UFO appeared; in most instances it was a sphere, but there were other kinds. Contact was achieved with the help of physical indications of behaviour — pointing your arms in various directions, say, and the sphere became flattened in the same direction. If you raised your arms three times, the UFO flattened out in a vertical direction three times as well.

In the early 1980s, on the instructions of the then Soviet leadership, experiments using technical devices (theodolites, radar stations, and others) were carried out as a result of which the unidentified objects were firmly recorded as instrumental data.

What the General is describing here is in some ways strikingly similar to what is known as Close Encounters of the 5th Kind (CE-5) within the UFO community; i.e. human-initiated contact with the UFO phenomenon. There are two obvious differences, however, with the conventional conception of CE-5: (1) the military-intelligence-nuclear connection which obviously is absent in “normal” civilian CE-5s; and (2) the explicit deception and trickery involved in attempting to “bait” UFOs to appear for the purpose of intelligence gathering/counterespionage.

In response to Sara Carter’s question, Elizondo said that he had to be “careful not to say too much” about how these baiting-experiments have been conducted because he still holds a security clearance. So does the high classification level of these alleged experiments mean that it is impossible to gain some insights into how they may have been performed. Perhaps not.

In fact, there is quite a bit of information available in the public domain on similar experiments conducted by NIDS/BAASS/AAWSAP on Robert Bigelow’s Skinwalker Ranch. In Hunt for the Skinwalker, George Knapp and Dr. Colm Kelleher describes one where “NIDS purchased a few dozen cows” to serve as bait for the “tricksterlike phenomena” suspected of mutilating animals in the area. However, it eluded all attempts at capture. Researcher Gary S. Bekkum has speculated that it may take the expertise of “psychic thieves” with entangled minds to get closer to the “Skinwalker”. More on that below.

‘Kit’ Green’s Mindtap

One individual who has been involved in studying the phenomena reported at Skinwalker Ranch is former NIDS member Dr. Christopher Canfield ‘Kit’ Green, M.D., PhD. Dr. Green currently works at Wayne State University and is an expert in Psychiatry, Neuroradiology and Neurology. He has a decades-long career behind him in intelligence and at one time he even ran the CIA’s “weird desk”.

More recently, Dr. Green has been connected to the US Government’s UFO programs AATIP and AAWSAP. For instance, Green authored the Defence Intelligence Reference Document (DIRD) Clinical Medical Acute & Subacute Field Effects on Human Dermal & Neurological Tissues, which analysed “evidence of unintended injury” to human witnesses of UFO events.

A couple of years ago it was revealed that Dr. Green and his colleague Dr. Garry P. Nolan, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University, are conducting groundbreaking research on the brains of so-called “experiencers”. Many of the individuals in this unique cohort have allegedly witnessed unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) at close range and/or demonstrated exceptional talent in extrasensory perception (ESP).

Drs. Green and Nolan have yet to publish their final conclusions, but preliminary findings indicate that many of these individuals have an objectively “higher density of neuronal connection between the head of the caudate and the putamen”. It has been speculated that this region of the brain may function as some kind of “antenna” for anomalous information transfer and reception. The author is aware of related caudate-putamen research going on at Harvard University, which focuses on a few families.*

You may ask what all this has to do with the UFO-baiting strategy alluded to by Luis Elizondo and General Vasili Alexejev. I will get to that now.

In 2008, several years before his work with Dr. Nolan, Green was involved in yet another fascinating research project with the Chinese physicist Shan Gao. Their idea was to “use fMRI brain scanning machines to objectively observe and record human test subjects in telepathically entangled states”. A remote viewer with “proven skills at receiving mentation from a sender” would be placed in one magnet, while another skilled “sender” would simultaneously be placed in a second one.

Gary S. Bekkum has proposed a radically innovative application for the research carried out by Green and Gao, which may have direct relevance to the baiting of paranormal phenomena such as UFOs. Bekkum writes:

Based upon Green’s description of one proposed fMRI telepathy experiment, having set a baseline for the normal entanglement of a pair of carefully matched human brains, an experiment could be devised to place a human receiver inside the magnet of the brain scanner during a deep mind-to-mind state of entanglement with a remote sender.

The sender would be placed as bait, potentially in harm’s way, as near to the core of the Skinwalker Ranch phenomenon as possible. The key to this experiment is to entice the source of the various reported phenomena — the suggested Precognitive Sentient Phenomenon — to act upon the sender in such a way as to join the entangled brain states of sender and receiver.

Assuming the risk that the Skinwalker phenomenon might simply break the entangled brain state of the sender on the ranch in Utah and the receiver who is inside the magnet at a research laboratory some distance away, the best case would register changes in the receiver’s brain scan induced by the effect of the Skinwalker source on the sender.

If this were possible, then we could potentially capture some of the mind-altering signatures of the Precognitive Sentient Phenomenon on the human brain. Captured signatures could potentially be highly revealing of the nature of the source affecting human perception.

Whether or not this exceptionally creative approach was ever attempted on Robert Bigelow’s property, or anywhere else, remains unclear. But at the very least the complexity of the idea speaks to the level of intelligence that is being brought to bear on the UFO problem and the seriousness with which the topic is taken within certain circles of the US military-intelligence-corporate complex.

Hopefully, more information will become available in the coming years regarding the strategies utilised by major powers in their interactions with the phenomenon. Until then, we should spend some time studying the ideational roots of the baiting-strategy — and perhaps also consider how such incidents may be conceptualised within existing ufological frameworks like J. Allen Hynek’s Close Encounter typology.

The Control-System Hypothesis & the Origins of the Counterespionage Strategy

To understand the origins of the baiting-strategy we need to take a short journey through the weird and wonderful mindscape of the celebrated computer scientist and ufologist Dr. Jacques Vallée. More specifically, his so-called Control-System Hypothesis.

Dr. Vallée has long been considered one of the most original thinkers in the UFO-field. Like many of his colleagues, he started out as a proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH). But after a careful review of the available data he eventually began to entertain other solutions to the UFO problem.

In 1969, Dr. Vallée published the groundbreaking book Passport to Magonia, which pointed to the striking structural similarities between folkloric tales and modern-day UFO accounts.

Jacques Vallée’s Passport to Magonia. Notice the control-system inside the green puppet alien. Cover art by Chris Butler (“The Trickster”)

Vallée’s findings were controversial and mostly discounted by more “conventional” ufologists inclined to interpret the phenomenon simply as “nuts-and-bolts” spacecraft visiting from other planets. Dr. Vallée became a self-styled “heretic among heretics” and has on multiple occasions stated that he would “be disappointed if UFOs [turned] out to be nothing more than spaceships”. Vallée asserts that believers in the standard ETH are basically analysing UFOs at the wrong level. As an alternative theory, he has proposed that UFOs and related anomalous phenomena may represent some form of “control system for human consciousness”. But what exactly does he mean by that?

Vallée’s hypothesis is fleshed out in some detail in the book Dimensions. “To understand the whole phenomenon”, he writes, “one needs a grasp of the control concept”. The control system needs two opposite principles to function, he explains, and illustrates his point with the analogy of a thermostat.

The thermostats that regulate your house temperature summer and winter are an example of a control system. In summer, a thermostat allows the air to get warmer until a certain limit is reached, and then the cooling system is triggered. But in winter, when the outside atmosphere turns cold and the temperature drops below another limit, a different mechanism, the heater, comes into play and warms the house.

Vallée seems to suggest that the phenomenon regulates human cultural development within certain pre-set boundaries in our environment. Only when hitting one of the boundaries of the control system will intervention be activated. The dual nature of the system can be hard to grasp, but, according to Vallée, it is the key to understanding the UFO problem in its totality.

A naive observer might try to explain all this by assuming that warm is “good” and cold is “bad.” He or she would be right half the time. Another naive observer of the opposite school might take a reversed view and decide that warm is “evil.” He or she would also be right half the time.

Relating the concept directly to his own research, Vallée explains that he has discovered “as many rational elements as absurd ones” and “as many that [he] could call friendly as [he] could call hostile”.

On the surface, what Vallée seems to describe is a chillingly amoral system which embodies equal amounts of benevolence and malevolence towards our species. In reality, though, it may operate with ethical principles utterly incomprehensible to the human mind. Which may explain why many sightings appear to be “veritable festivals of absurdity”, as Aimé Michel wrote in The Problem of Non-Contact.

The most illuminating exposition of “Brother” Vallée’s theories on this aspect of the phenomenon can be found in an obscure interview I discovered a few months ago. I have chosen to reproduce large excerpts of it below because of the clarity with which it explains his Control-System Hypothesis.

The big breakthrough in Dr. Vallée’s thinking came when he realised “that the UFO phenomenon is not a system”. Humans are generally excellent at investigating systems, he writes, whether we are dealing with “social systems, hardware systems, or physical systems”. If UFOs represented a conventional system, we would likely have de-coded its meaning already, he argues. Thus to advance the state of UFO research we need to dig deeper. Vallée proposes that we think of the phenomenon as a “meta-system”. Essentially, a system which generates other systems. He explains the meta-system concept with yet another brilliant analogy.

[L]et’s suppose that we were going to study a civilization that we knew very little about. So, we get there on Saturday night and find these crowds coming out of certain buildings. So, we ask these people, “What did you do there?” And they say, “Oh, it was great. We saw ‘Bambi’.” Well, we write that down and note that it is consistent because, basically, they all describe the same thing.

Then we go across the street and there’s another crowd coming out of another similarly constructed building, and we ask them, “What did you see?” And they say, “Oh, it was great. We saw this character called ‘Rambo’.” This information is also consistent, but it’s completely different from what the people across the street report.

If the accounts are to be believed, the ufonauts come in various shapes and sizes. The peace-loving (and awkwardly attractive) “nordic blonds” and the seemingly emotionless “Greys” are two of the most frequently reported humanoids in relation to UFO sightings. Archetypes in the ufological Pantheon. Two internally consistent narratives if analysed separately. When juxtaposed, however, they appear to be mutually exclusive. What should we make of this apparent paradox? Dr. Vallée posits a solution by developing his movie theatre analogy further; hinting at a more profound reality hidden behind the phenomenon.

So, the next step is to go inside the buildings to check the reports for ourselves. But all we see is a blank wall and rows of chairs facing that blank wall. The obvious theory is a psychological theory — these people like to get together and their consciousness creates myths out of their own fantasies. Some people like to see Bambi, others like to see Rambo, but we assume there is no physical reality for either. We would be completely wrong in that assumption, but it would be a logical theory to develop.

Jacques Vallée’s metaphor of a blank wall suggests that the images we see when we observe a UFO may only be a superficial representation — a projection — produced by a deeply hidden meta-system. One which we are currently unable to perceive directly. So what does Vallée propose we do to expose this veiled UFO trickster?

In his 1979 book Messengers of Deception, Jacques Vallée describes his coincidental run-in with a mysterious character identified only as “Major Murphy”. A former US intelligence officer. In their conversation, Vallée tells Murphy that he prefers to use the methods of science to investigate the phenomenon. The Major is unimpressed: “What makes you think that UFOs are a scientific problem?”, he asks. He then proceeds to lecture Dr. Vallée on the rigid rules of science. “For example, it has to assume that the phenomenon it is observing is natural in origin rather than artificial and possibly biased”. The UFO phenomenon may however represent some alien form of intelligence, he continued, and if it does, “the study of it doesn’t belong in science. It belongs in Intelligence”.

It is worth mentioning that Dr. Eric W. Davis, a former colleague of Dr. Vallée at NIDS, BAASS and AAWSAP, has also echoed the sentiments of Major Murphy. The phenomenon is the “domain of military intelligence”, Dr. Davis explains:

The fact that [unknown] craft are flying around Earth is not a subject for science — it’s a subject for intelligence-gathering, collection and analysis. That’s because UFOs are not a natural phenomenon, and that’s what science studies.

So how exactly does the counterespionage approach work? Neither Vallée, Murphy nor Davis are very explicit on this point. But Vallée offers a hint in The Invisible College. “It must be possible to gain access to the control of the UFO phenomenon”, he writes, “But it will take a very smart approach — or a very daring one.” In a 1978 interview with UFO researcher Jerome Clark, Vallée expands further.

We have to do something that will cause them to react. And I don’t mean building landing strips in the desert and waiting out there to welcome the space brothers.

To get an even better idea of what Dr. Vallée is proposing we return to the previously mentioned movie theatre analogy. Here Vallée urges us to stop gawking mindlessly at the movie screen showing the absurd displays of Rhombus 4-D. We should instead try to expose the meta-system generating them, he argues. To do so, he asks us to metaphorically shift our perspective 180 degrees. “When we look the other way”, he says, “what we see is a little hole at the top of the wall with some light coming out”. That’s where we should go! And, if possible, out-trick the UFO trickster!

I want to steal the key to the projectionist’s booth, and then, when everybody has gone home, I want to break in. And what you find there is a meta-system. It’s a system of wheels that can generate anything you want — Bambi, Rambo, “Close Encounters”…

That’s my next project; I would like to play with the projector. One way to do that would be to interfere with the phenomenon itself. I think if you did that you would force it to react…If it’s a control system, then there is a feedback loop somewhere. Once you find the feedback loop then you can screw around with it.

Vallée’s idea of engaging the phenomenon is obviously very far from the ideology of cosmic brotherhood promoted by utopian CE-5 contactees. In fact, it may be useful to view sightings “brought on” by his baiting-strategy as a completely new category of interactive contact. I therefore propose the following definition for Close Encounters of the 6th Kind (CE-6):

  • CE-6: A sighting “triggered” by a deceptive/provocative human scheme/action intended to elicit a reaction from the UFO phenomenon for the purpose of gathering intelligence.

This tactic appears to have been used by NIDS/BAASS/AAWSAP at Skinwalker Ranch, and perhaps more broadly within the military-intelligence community of major powers during highly classified operations.

Circling back now to Mr. Elizondo and General Alexejev. Isn’t this exactly the kind of scheme they allude to in the opening of this piece? I believe the evidence presented in this article is highly suggestive. If true, the implications are obviously enormous: for global security, international relations, and, potentially, inter-species relations.

But Elizondo and Alexejev should at least be commended for having the courage to start the conversation on this important question. Additional information will hopefully be forthcoming on the specific details of these incidents once the topic receives more mainstream coverage, and Governments are put under increasing pressure to address it publicly.

In his interview with Sara Carter, Luis Elizondo said that a “clever group of folks” would likely be able to think of ways to test whether it is possible to “lure” UFOs out. So who might these “clever folks” be? Odds are that the great majority are just faceless military-intelligence (and corporate?) types whose identity we will never know. But what about the names we do know?

It is clear that people like Jacques Vallée, Eric W. Davis, Colm Kelleher, Christopher Canfield ‘Kit’ Green, Luis Elizondo, and Robert Bigelow have been exposed to these concepts, and that several of them have been involved in devising such schemes on Skinwalker Ranch. Is it then such a stretch to imagine that they may also have knowledge about even more sensitive — and daring — projects involving, for example, the US Navy? Probably not.

For this reason, I urge journalists, researchers and #ufotwitter activists with the right connections to make an effort to get these individuals on the record. We should take Luis Elizondo’s advice and keep asking the question. He knows “it’s a very important one!”


Tweet by @SithVincentV, re-tweeted by Luis Elizondo

Trickster Makes This World: How Disruptive Imagination Creates Culture by Lewis Hyde

Anatomy of a Phenomenon: Unidentified Objects in Space — a Scientific Appraisal by Dr. Jacques Vallée

Passport to Magonia by Dr. Jacques Vallée

The Invisible College by Dr. Jacques Vallée

Messengers of Deception by Dr. Jacques Vallée

Dimensions by Dr. Jacques Vallée

Brother Jacques Vallée (excerpts from an interview with Jacques Vallée)

Jacques Vallee and the UFO Control System Hypothesis by Jerome Clark

The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry by J. Allen Hynek

The Problem of Non-Contact essay by Aimé Michel in The Humanoids by Charles Bowen

CE-5: Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind by Dr. Richard Haines

Is the Caudate-Putamen an Antenna for Anomalous Information? by James Iandoli

Out of the Swamp and into the Stars, episode of The Sara Carter Show

Hunt for the Skinwalker by George Knapp & Dr. Colm Kelleher

Clinical Medical Acute & Subacute Field Effects on Human Dermal & Neurological Tissues by Dr. Christopher Canfield ‘Kit’ Green

Kit Green’s Mindtap: The Experiment by Gary S. Bekkum

Kit Green’s Mindtap: To catch this Skinwalker, it takes a Thief by Gary S. Bekkum

Eric Davis, Physicist, Explains Why Scientists Won’t Discuss Their UFO Interests by Lee Speigel

Russian General Speaks Out On UFOs by Valery Uvarov

  • *A Caveat: In the interview General Alexejev is actually quoted as saying “artificially stimulate”. Though I can’t be sure, the author suspects that this is a misspelling and that the correct word should be “simulate”.
  • *Edited August 23, 2021: The author has been aware of Harvard’s caudate-putamen study since mid-March 2021.