At the highlight of that mission -- Jan. 31-Feb. 9, 1971 -- Mitchell and Alan Shepard spent 33 hours roving the desolate lunar hills of Fra Mauro.
It was there that Mitchell first courted an avant-garde reputation by conducting off-the-clock mental telepathy experiments by transmitting symbolic images to an acquaintance in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, Mitchell left the astronaut corps and founded the Institute for Noetic Sciences in an effort to integrate various scientific disciplines into the study of human consciousness.
Mitchell's upcoming book, "The Way of Explorers", will address the latest research upon its release in April. Perhaps because of the imminent publicity, Mitchell found himself invited to a private meeting of former government/military officials hoping to recruit his visibility for their most peculiar campaign.
"These were people who, in their official capacity, had an opprtunity in the course of their duties to have ET (extraterrestrial) contact," Mitchell says. "The purpose of the meeting was not to convince anybody else of their stories, but to get people released from their security oaths with regard to these phenomena. Given who they were, and their credentials, I have to tell you it pushed my confidence level up five notches."
Taking a break from the NBC taping, the MIT-educated former Navy captain relaxed at the Villa Roma restaurant in Rockledge and rolled his own imported tobacco. He expressed his "total disbelief" in a recent U.S. Air Force report attributing the alleged crash of an ET spacecraft in New Mexico in 1947 to a classified military balloon.
Last summer, the General Accounting Office announced the failure of its 18-month effort to acquire the dispensation records of the debris from that celebrated event. In 1994, the Air Force admitted that it initially lied about the wreckage in order to conceal a balloon-based nuclear-monitoring system called Project Mogul. But -- unable to produce the paperwork on the retrieval in question -- USAF officials based their case on circumstantial arguments.
"I am convinced there is a small body of valid (UFO) information, and that there is a body of information 10 times as big that is total disinformation put out by the source to confuse the whole issue," says Mitchell.
"The information is now held primarily by a body of semi- or quasi-private organizations that have kinda spun off from the military intelligence organizations of the past. Just like we build a rocket through a private contractor, there have been private groups involved with this issue for a number of years because they have the expertise.
"The dangerous part is, they're still operating under a black budget, which has been estimated at over $30 billion a year. And nobody knows what goes into black budgets. The prime requisite is security first and everything else second. Imagine an organization that has a black budget, an unquestioned source of funds, reports to no one, and has this exotic technology that they can keep to themselves and play with."
Mitchell, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper, and some 20,000 Americans have signed the Roswell Declaration, a grass-roots petition calling for an executive order to release UFO documents to the public. Mitchell, however, stresses he has no first-hand knowledge of the existence of recovered ET artifacts. And during his Apollo-era training, the subject of UFOs never arose.
"NASA at that time was so sure there were no such things, there was no discussion of it," he says. "I would say, however, that if there was knowledge of ET contact existing within the government, and we were sent into space blind and dumb to such information, I think it it a case of criminal culpability."
"To send us up there? Into a what-if scenario? If the evidence is real, and we were led to believe no such thing was possible? To me, that's criminal."
He says he's looking forward to the discussions his new book will generate. "We're talking about a revolution. It's a mind-blower."
Original file name: .CNI - E Mitchell.UFOs real
This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.