Dr. Jacques Vallée has written some of the most seminal works on UFOs in history. He was the model for a key character in Close Encounters of The Third Kind. Among his other scientific pursuits, Dr. Vallée did important work on an early version of the internet and has become a successful venture capitalist.
We discuss his latest book about the long overlooked but very interesting Trinity UFO Incident which may be more important than Roswell!
You can find his recent book on the subject, TRINITY: The Best-Kept Secret, at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3EjPFIJ
Thank you Dr. Vallée, it was truly an honor!
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This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the program. I am Jim Harold. So glad to be with you once again.
It’s not often that you get to speak to a living legend, but today certainly meets that criteria because we’re going to have an opportunity to speak with Jacques Vallée. Really one of the legendary and foremost researchers of UFOs in history, and not only is he a legend in regard to his UFO studies, but he is truly the definition of a renaissance man. Born in France, Dr. Vallée studied mathematics at the Sorbonne, earned a master’s degree in astrophysics at the University of Lille, and was recruited to the first French team that tracked early artificial satellites at Paris observatory.
Moving to the United States in 1962, he pursued his passion for science, working on NASA projects at the University of Texas in Austin, and notably, he coded the very first computer-based map of Mars. Then he joined Northwestern University, where he completed his PhD in artificial intelligence. Dr. Vallée continued his computing and entrepreneurial career at Stanford Research International and Institute for the Future as one of the principal investigators on the early internet before serving as a founder of a family of venture capital funds in Silicon Valley, where he specialized and specializes in information technology and biotech investments. That has been a very, very successful venture.
He remains an active high-tech investor in Silicon Valley while serving on the scientific advisory board of the French Space Agencies group, officially studying UFO reports. He has published his research in books that have been widely translated around the world, and he was the real-life model for the character portrayed by Francois Truffaut in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
He lives between San Francisco and Paris and has two children, and Dr. Vallée, again, a real pleasure to speak with you today.
JACQUES VALLÉE: Thank you very much for that introduction. We could end it by saying that I continue to be passionate about both new technology coming out from Silicon Valley – although I’m now more of an observer than a player in venture capital – but I’m also gratified to see what’s going on with the recognition of UFOs and the recognition given especially to the witnesses, who were so long treated as being mad or being mistaken or being crazy for seeing those things. Now, finally, science is seriously putting attention on what they’ve reported.
So it’s a great time, and I’m very happy to see that the stigma has been removed from the field, from the study of UFO sightings. We’re at the beginning of a whole new phase, and new people are becoming involved, and I think that’s great. I’m happy to have seen that. I’m sad that my mentors – people like Dr. Hynek and Aimé Michel in France, Dr. McDonald – are no longer with us to see that time of recognition. It was a long time coming.
JIM HAROLD: Indeed. Today I want to talk to Dr. Vallée about his esteemed career and also this expanded edition of the book Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret that he co-authored along with Paola Harris, and to talk about the crash that maybe should’ve been our Roswell, the one that we should’ve been paying attention to all these years but apparently haven’t been.
But before we get to that, Dr. Vallée, you mentioned how witnesses and so forth have been stigmatized. I think about someone such as yourself – again, a great mind, a renaissance man; you’ve been very accomplished in many fields outside of the UFO arena – is the reason that you decided to spend so much of your life and have included UFO studies as a part of your life the fact that you saw a UFO as a very young person?
JACQUES VALLÉE: Yes, absolutely. How can you call yourself a scientist if you do not pay attention to the things for which you have been yourself a witness? That’s the greatest motivation to be a scientist and to continue to investigate, and that’s what has propelled me through a series of research, some of which paid off in terms of new results or new things that could be accomplished and put into the record, and things we tried to do that didn’t work. I think that’s the process of science.
Now, in my case, I’ve never hidden the fact that I saw a UFO when I was about 14-½ or 15 in a small town in France, northwest of Paris. I saw it very clearly. My mother saw it first and called me. What I saw was a disc. Bright afternoon, blue sky, in the summer. The object was hovering in the direction of the church that was about half a kilometer from me, so maybe a third of a mile. The next day, I spoke to a friend of mine and described this, and he lived about another third of a mile higher up the hill, and he had seen the same thing with binoculars. So I was pretty sure we had seen something.
Talking to my father, he pointed out to me that so many new airplanes were coming up. Those were the mid-’50s, a time that new jets were seen around the sky in Europe, and there were new prototypes of all kinds of things flying around. So it could’ve been an experimental craft of some sort – except that I realized about two years later that we still hadn’t seen anything like it, and we heard all these reports from other people describing that kind of craft.
That’s when I became interested again. Of course, at the time, the big question was: Why is it that this isn’t reported by scientists? Because scientists, especially astronomers, look at the sky. Well, number one, astronomers don’t exactly look at the sky; they look at a telescope that looks at a very small portion of the sky most of the time. But still, they are out at night and they can see things that the rest of the public isn’t aware of, like meteors and comets and so on that they pay attention to. So why wouldn’t they report something like this?
My first job was at Paris Observatory, and then I understood that you would lose your career if you reported that as a scientist. Maybe I would not have lasted as an astronomer, being completely open about what I had seen – although once I came to the U.S., I worked for Dr. De Vaucouleurs, who was a pioneer of American research on galaxies, and of course a pioneer of research on planets. He was the Chairman of Astronomy at the University of Texas, where he hired me.
He was completely open – in fact, publicly open to the investigation of UFOs. Of course, Dr. Hynek had an official position, and then I moved to Northwestern and worked with Dr. Hynek. So people have always known that I was interested in this, even when the stigma was attached to the field. I did my work openly.
I made some mistakes along the way that I recognize. There were some phenomena that we saw that in fact were statistical flukes that we documented as we went along. People ended up respecting that work. My colleagues and I were selected by NASA to run a $60 million venture capital fund in the early 2000s, and everybody at NASA knew that I was interested in private research on UFOs. So it has never hurt my career because people could see the record, that I had explored this, and you cannot fault somebody in science for exploring a new direction.
It has been controversial, but I’ve never hidden what I thought or what I did.
JIM HAROLD: I think that your intellectual honesty and the fact that you’ve kept a very open mind on explanations lends to that very much. To that end, if I’m correct, in the early days, in the ’60s, you were kind of a proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. But over the years, am I correct in saying you have become broader minded than that, to say that that may only be part of the picture and not the picture at all – that this is a far stranger and weirder phenomenon than just simply “little green men”?
JACQUES VALLÉE: You’re absolutely right. The first book I published, about 1961-1962, was called Anatomy of a Phenomenon, and it had to do with looking at the probability of extraterrestrial intelligence from the work that other people had done, trying to correlate it with what was known at the time about UFOs, both the American work and the French work.
I had access to the files of the French Air Force – which, by the way, were very interesting. At the time, there was no official project in France, but the French Air Force obviously was keeping records of what the pilots were reporting, and that included about 250 cases that they couldn’t explain. Once I saw that, I knew that there was something real.
The first thing that comes to mind is – at the time, it clearly could not come from the U.S. or Russia, let alone Japan or China, so it had to be something else, and the first thing that comes to mind is it would be interplanetary. So that’s what that book was about. What are the probabilities? How do you compute them? What’s the data and what would you be looking at if you were pursuing that?
I continued that with a book called Challenge to Science, which was published in the U.S. with a forward by Dr. Hynek. Dr. Hynek had made a similar travel, intellectually, from – for him, initially he thought it was a joke. When he was first hired by the Air Force to look at UFOs on the project before Blue Book, the predominant idea was that we needed to educate the public so they wouldn’t report those things that were obviously errors and obviously things that could be explained as meteors and comets and mirages and so on. Which is true. Maybe half of everything that’s reported can be explained by natural phenomena.
But then what about the other half? Dr. Hynek, in our work together, in our work with some of the early scientific researchers in the field, came to the conclusion that this was real, that this was complex, that this was not explained easily by physics as we knew it, and that it could come from either planets or that there might be alternate explanations.
That’s when we started looking at things like, in my case, Passport to Magonia, going back into the more ancient records and finding that people in many countries, in most countries, had stories which often reemerge or were told as legends. But if you scratched the surface of a legend, you found that there was something real underneath it. Somebody had in fact seen something or had impact from something that they couldn’t explain, all the way to the Bible.
You have to of course be very careful in the way you interpret that because the vocabulary has changed, the meaning of words has changed. When people describe something, they compare it to a common object, and a common object in the Renaissance isn’t going to be the same thing as a common object for us in San Francisco in the 21st century. So you have to do that cultural translation effort, but essentially, we’re dealing with the same impact on the consciousness of witnesses, and the records show that. So that’s the trajectory of my travel through the ideas of all the phenomena.
JIM HAROLD: We have the honor to have Dr. Jacques Vallée as a guest today, an absolute legend in UFO studies, and we’ll be back right after this.
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JIM HAROLD: It’s amazing to me – in fact, I’m literally looking at a cover of Passport to Magonia that has what we consider to be the prototypical alien, and he’s holding up different masks of a devil and different things. To me, the whole idea that all of these reports – these religious reports, these visions and so forth – might trace back to the same phenomena that we’re seeing with experiencers today, all wearing a different mask. That brings about the question: how do you feel about that trickster element in all of this? It seems like something or someone is having a bit of fun at our cosmic expense.
JACQUES VALLÉE: I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but if I had to do a psychological portrait of whoever is doing this, you have to leave behind the common ideas, for example, of good and evil. People get hurt close to those objects. It seems that this isn’t purposeful, but whoever has that technology – because it is a technology at some level – doesn’t really care if it hurts people.
It also is full of contradictions. It’s very complex. When you look at the best descriptions by the witnesses, the witnesses are confused. They’re confused about directions. For example, they don’t remember if they were driving north or south. And those are experienced people, professional people. They don’t remember what they did next. Sometimes they had a camera with them; they don’t think of using the camera. There is a psychological confusion that comes with it.
And of course, in the cases that we refer to as abductions, there is a very complex series of experiences that take place, some of which are very traumatic. Not always, but some of them are traumatic, and I think that has to be taken seriously – again, without jumping to conclusions. There are similarities in the biological domain. For example, the people who study whales and orcas and highly intelligent creatures that are around us, or highly developed apes. You find the same sort of humor, the same sort of sophistication in whatever we interpret as language. Even in some birds.
So the idea that we’re the only ones with sophistication and humor and even being able to lie. That is not exclusive to the human race. We’re able to lie very well, and some animals are able to lie very well as well. If you have a cat or a dog, you’ve probably found that out. This is an index of intelligent sophistication. The UFO problem presents us with that.
Let me give you an example, a case. It came as one of the ordinary cases in the ’50s in France, a whole series of cases in a big wave in France. A man who is a nightwatchman is going to his job in the middle of the forest in Lorraine, in the east of France, the part of France that’s close to Germany. He’s walking through the forest, comes to a clearing; in the clearing, there is a disc on the ground with a sort of tower on top of it, an appendage on top.
And there is a man in front of the disc. The man is dressed in coveralls, and it’s a man. He looks like a normal guy in some sort of uniform. No insignia, but he has some sort of coverall, and he’s holding something that the witness assumes is a gun, pointed at him. The man says first, “What time is it?” The witness says, “It’s 1:30 in the morning.” The man says, “You lie. It’s 3:00.” It was 1:30 in the morning. And if he knows the time, why is he asking this guy?
Then he says, “Am I in Italy or Germany?” The man says, “You’re in France.” Italy and Germany are not even close together. I mean, there is the whole of Switzerland between Germany and Italy, and he doesn’t talk about Switzerland.
The man motions for the witness to stay where he is; he goes behind the craft. We don’t know what he does at that point, but presumably he goes inside the craft. The saucer takes off from the clearing and goes off in the sky. The witness is left with an absurd story. Everybody has dismissed the report, saying, “This is stupid. Two questions, two of them answered with a lie.”
Well, in abstract logic, a contradiction is very interesting because there is an assertion and then a negation of the assertion. If you take it to the next level of logic, what the man was really saying is, “Your concept of time is wrong and your concept of space is wrong.” In other words, “You don’t know what the real time is and you don’t know where you are.”
JIM HAROLD: Interesting.
JACQUES VALLÉE: You have to take it – it’s a little bit like a Zen kōan or some of the things in the Gospel that have to be taken at a greater depth than the obvious meaning. You find that throughout the exchanges when they have met with these creatures. I call them creatures because we don’t really know what they are. Some of them are humanoid and some of them are not. Again, we don’t have a good biological catalogue of what kind of entity they are.
JIM HAROLD: This latest book, Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret – if we talk about a New Mexico case in the United States in the 1940s, if that were a question on the game show Jeopardy, everybody says “Roswell.” But in this book, you talk about a case that may be as important or maybe more important. Can you tell us a little bit about this case and why you decided to take it on? You’re a busy and serious person, so it must’ve held great, great appeal. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
JACQUES VALLÉE: I was brought into the investigation by Paola Leopizzi Harris, who, as you know, is an Italian investigator and journalist, trained in cultural studies and well distinguished in the education career, both in Italy and in the U.S. She became interested in this when two witnesses spoke first about the case when they were in their seventies and early eighties. They were kids at the time, and the first question is, why didn’t they speak before?
At the time, they were nine and seven, both of them of Spanish-American origin. Mr. Jose Padilla, who went on with a career first in the military and then as a highway patrol officer and inspector in California – his mother was of Indian origin and his father was of Spanish-American origin. Reme Baca was of a Spanish family that immigrated to Mexico and then to the U.S. They were there because their father had asked them to watch the ranch where there’s cattle, and one cow was expected to have a calf, so it was very important to make sure the cow was okay and brand the calf and so on.
So, they are there; this is one month after the explosion of the first atom bomb 20 miles away at White Sands. So they are neighbors of the White Sands secret facility where the bomb has been exploded. This is two days after the capitulation of Japan, so this is a unique time in history. It’s exactly one month, to the day, after the atom bomb explosion – which I don’t want to call a test because you cannot test an atom bomb. There is no way to do a little atom bomb in the lab.
JIM HAROLD: Right, it either goes off or it doesn’t.
JACQUES VALLÉE: Exactly, and when it goes off, it goes off completely. And that’s what happened. The power of the test, contrary to what I learned in physics, and contrary to what all the books are saying, was not a test. It was equivalent to the atom bomb we dropped on Nagasaki, which leveled the city of Nagasaki in Japan. This was a real full-scale atom bomb, the first one in history. So don’t tell me that the sighting is not historical.
In many ways, it reinforces Roswell. It puts Roswell in a different light, in many ways in a more credible light, because at Roswell there was no witness. Something fell in the middle of a thunderstorm, and then a couple of days later, a rancher went out and found the debris and called the military, and the military came and found the debris and then said it was a weather balloon – which was obviously a lie.
But in Trinity, you have to put yourself back to those days. I was born in 1939, so that gives me a slight advantage here because I’m almost the same age as Mr. Padilla. I’m in my early eighties, and I remember World War II. I remember there were things you would not talk about. There were things that you were told by your parents you would never talk about, and they never talked about what they saw because for one thing, after that object crashed on their ranch, the father of Mr. Padilla, Faustino Padilla, went inside the object. The object was there; it was open. The creatures had been removed or had fled. We don’t know that. There were three creatures that were seen by the kids on the first day.
The father calls the state police, and he goes inside with the state police. When he comes out, he tells the kids, “Look, nobody talks about this. You don’t talk about that in school. You don’t talk about that to your buddies. This is not for us. This is for the military. This is for Project Manhattan. This isn’t ours. You don’t talk about that. You let the army do what it has to do.”
In the first edition, I made one mistake of introducing the story from the point of view of the two kids, because the two kids are, number one, very bright; they know what’s going on. They know they’re not supposed to talk about it. They’ve seen the thing crash. They’ve gone to the object after it crashed – which was a controlled crash, by the way. An airplane would’ve blown into a thousand pieces. They know that they have to provide help to the pilot or to whoever is there who may be hurt. Remember, they are 5 to 10 miles away from any real facility, any real place where people could be taken to see a doctor. They are the first on the sight. They know they have to bring help. So they get on their horses and they go to that place.
Before I said, how can you trust two kids? I mean, come on, 7 year old, 9 year old, they don’t know anything. Well, when I was five, I remember seeing the end of World War II. I remember the French Resistance blowing up the rails at the railway station close to where we lived. I remember the battles over the town where the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force were trying to blow up the bridges that the Germans were using – I remember that. I saw airplanes falling out of the sky. I saw the Germans firing and the pilots dropping out in parachutes.
I was five and I remember that very well. There are things that you forget from your childhood, but there are things that are like a critical plate.
JIM HAROLD: Sure, there are things that are so memorable that you don’t forget them.
JACQUES VALLÉE: Absolutely. Those are seared into your brain. That’s exactly what I found when I interviewed Mr. Padilla and the other witnesses. The reason we’re coming out with a new edition is that we have found other witnesses to the sequel, what happened afterwards, who can contribute to proving the truth of the story that the initial witnesses told us. And we’ll continue to do that.
The first witness wasn’t the kids. The first witness was a pilot from the Army Air Force – remember, there was no Air Force in 1945. Also, there were no flying saucers in 1945. The term “flying saucer” is going to be invented two years later by Kenneth Arnold. Roswell, of course, is going to be two years later. There was no CIA. The Air Force is going to be established as a separate branch of the military by President Truman in 1947. Again, we’re at a point where these kids have never heard anything about flying saucers. It was egg-shaped.
JIM HAROLD: An egg-shaped object. So their minds aren’t poisoned. The difficulty today when you have a witness – not saying that they’re lying or anything like that, but there’s a certain amount of contamination because of popular culture, right?
JACQUES VALLÉE: Yes. They’re not contaminated. What they are describing is a large egg-shaped object that has a head, a communication tower. That’s where the pilot is. The object has made a crash landing, but it’s intact. It digs a boulevard down, makes a turn, and stops against a berm in the terrain. That’s where the kids are going to see it. Now, the brush is burning from the impact of the object; the object is not burning. The object is essentially intact, except for one pole, one paddle that has bent.
Alamogordo is the air base in the middle of White Sands. White Sands is an enormous, very, very large desert area in the middle of New Mexico, which at the time was an atomic site. It was closed down, it was secret, and it was guarded by the Army. In the middle of Alamogordo Air Base, this pilot was coming in with a bomber. He’s coming in with a B-25. It’s a two-engine bomber. His name is Brothy. The tower asked him to look at the communication tower that is where they last connected to the tower. That tower is outside the military area, but it directs both civilian and military traffic to and from and around the forbidden zone of the atomic center.
So instead of going in for the landing, he circles the tower, sees that the tower has been hit, that one leg is bent and that the tower has lost power. Then he sees smoke in the bushes. He describes an egg-shaped object in the brush. The brush is burning; the object is not burning, contrary to his report. But then he says there were two little Indians on horseback at the ranch, at the site. Well, they’re not Indian; Mr. Padilla is part Indian, but they’re essentially Spanish-American and part Indian. But they are in fact on horseback at the site.
So we have a military report that places the two kids at the site at the time, with the object. This is everything that we don’t have at Roswell. This is a few minutes after the crash, which is a controlled crash, again. We place witnesses at the site, and we know that the communication tower has been hit.
We have the initial description of what happened. After that, he lands. The Army is going to take over the investigation. The Army is going to send people to the site with the adults, with the father of Mr. Padilla, and the kids are going to watch all of that, and the kids are going to watch the recovery for the next 10 days. I’ve made an effort in the book to document the temperature at the time, when it rained, what the weather was during those 10 days, who was there, what the Army did, and what the kids were seeing.
The kids are fascinated. They hid in the bushes. Mr. Padilla told me – I aske him, “Weren’t you afraid that the soldiers were going to see you?” He said, “I know my territory. We knew that ranch a lot better than the soldiers knew, and we knew how to hide in the bushes from the next hill.” They would leave their horses aside so that nobody would hear the horses, and then they would creep through the bushes and look at how the recovery went. Which is why we have this extremely good description of every step in the recovery of the craft.
JIM HAROLD: The legendary Jacques Vallée is our guest, and we’ll be back right after this on the Paranormal Podcast.
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JIM HAROLD: It’s interesting to me – and obviously I think it’s very interesting to you – how close this was to that atomic bomb detonation, physically and in terms of time. And then I think about Robert Hastings has written books on UFOs and ICBM sites. Robert Salas talks about Malmstrom Air Force Base, 1967, where missiles were offline. How do you make that? What do you think is going on with the seemingly incessant interest of these UFOs in these military sites, particularly atomic and nuclear?
JACQUES VALLÉE: It’s hard to miss, but people have missed it. Several people have gone to the site at the invitation of Paola Harris, and they took a few plants and looked at the traces and essentially brushed it aside because all the interest was about Roswell. Roswell is a big moneymaker in ufology. It has two museums, it has everything. So people thought this particular case was not important.
They missed the fact that it appeared two days after the capitulation of Japan, one month to the day after the detonation of the first atomic bomb in human history. It was kept secret by the kids for all the social and family reasons I told you. It was also kept secret by the military. That was one of the things that I had to research because, as you may know, I’ve worked on the project of Mr. Bigelow, I’ve worked on that with security clearance, like Dr. Putav, like Dr. Greer, and like others, and people in government, people in the Air Force.
Nobody has ever mentioned this particular case. The reason is that they didn’t know about it. You could have the clearance above top secret in the DoD system of clearances without ever being briefed about this particular case, because, as I found out, the atomic secrets have a different scheme. There is no reason why even the CIA analysts of long tenure would have the nuclear clearances if he isn’t assigned to an investigation that has to do with nuclear secrets, so he would know the ordinary nuclear things, but he would not be privy to the current secrets.
We know that because another point of control – Reme Baca went on to a distinguished career as a businessman in the state of Washington. Dixy Lee Ray was the governor of Washington; she was also the first Head of the Atomic Energy Commission. She was a physicist, a very distinguished atomic physicist. When she ran in her political career, she was helped by Reme Baca, who was a leader in the Democratic Party in the state of Washington.
So he worked with her on her reelection campaign, and she knew about his story at Trinity. As a sign of friendship and as a colleague, she went to the safe and she showed him – she didn’t give it to him, but she showed him the classified report from the Atomic Energy Agency on the UFO case of Trinity. So that case is still there.
There was an incident that – somehow it’s funny, but I wanted to include it in the James Fox documentary called The Phenomenon. It’s a case in which a Navy fighter shot a rocket at a UFO over Washington D.C. in 1952. If you remember, there was a big wave of cases all the UFO books in 1952 over Washington, including flying over the Pentagon and UFOs flying over the White House, which of course was forbidden space. So the fighters were there, and a Navy fighter was authorized to shoot at a disc that it was chasing.
He shot it, and he hit it, and a part of the disc was detached and fell down and recovered. There were some reports in the press, and I heard of it because I was involved in congressional hearings about the use of computer technology in the government, and especially use of internet in the government, and there were people there from the CIA and from the military.
They knew of my interest in UFOs, and they reminded me of that story, which wasn’t completely kept secret because the director of the Canadian project on UFOs was given a piece of that recovered material – and that could get us into the study of materials, but this was a well-known piece that was recovered when the Navy fighter shot it out of the sky.
The man who brought it to the Canadians as a gesture of working between the U.S. research and the Canadian research on UFOs which was going on officially, but in the classified realm that very few people knew about at the time – he told him that in the United States, this material was classified higher than the atom bomb. Which meant it was classified in the system of classification above the atomic secrets, which was not held by the Pentagon but was held in the Department of Energy, which is still going on now. And those are clearances called R, P, and Q, that are different from secret, top secret, and above top secret and so on that everybody talks about, which are the UFO secrets.
That finally explained to me, when I saw that, why nothing has come out in all the investigations by Blue Book. I’ve reconstructed in Trinity – I have a ton of Blue Book files that I computerized in the early days when I was working with Dr. Hynek, and I’ve continued to work with the Blue Book files. The Blue Book files from 1945 – of course, Blue Book didn’t exist in 1945, but they went back and they got the earlier cases during good historical research. There are only four cases, one of which is a true UFO. The other three are not, from our assessment now, true UFOs, but they were things that people reported because they didn’t know what it was and they felt the Pentagon should know about it.
So we know that the case was never reported. It was never reported to the Pentagon, even to the classified studies before Blue Book.
JIM HAROLD: Our time is growing short, and you’ve been very, very generous with your time. Since you were talking about materials, there’s a bracket that you talk about in the book. Tell us about that bracket and how it comes into play.
JACQUES VALLÉE: That was very interesting, of course, because it’s material that was in fact taken out of a landed or crashed UFO for the first time. It happened because on the last day of the recovery, the thing was on the truck, ready to be taken back to White Sands. The soldiers had nothing more to do until night; they wanted to drive back at night so that nobody would see or ask questions about what was there.
The object weighed between 2 and 5 tons, as far as we can tell. It was on its side. The kids decided to try to get a souvenir from inside. Jose Padilla went inside, found that there was essentially nothing inside. He described to me in great detail what the inside looked like, what the floor looked like. We went through all the details. But there was this bracket on the wall that could rotate around a pivot, and there was a circle like a compass circle around it. He pried out, popped out the bracket and took it.
Paola and I disagree about the bracket still to this day. She thinks that it was part of the craft in some way. But we agree it’s an ordinary object. It’s ordinary metal, it’s an alloy of aluminum that was known at the time. It was the kind of bracket you would find in – there are similar brackets in watermills and windmills to translate the rotation of the blades of the propeller. It’s not a propeller, of course, but it’s a system of blades translating into the motion of a pump. It’s a well-known mechanical device.
I think that the Army put it there was a way to wrap up a cable if they worked on the craft at night, to have a light there. I used to have a Jeep; I know a Jeep can generate electricity. You can plug things into a Jeep electrical system. So they would’ve had electricity at the site from the military vehicles, and they would have had a wire illuminating the inside of the craft to continue their research.
You can disagree with that. I think it’s an ordinary object. Analyses have been done by several people, and I’ve reprinted them, I’ve mentioned them in the book. But I don’t think it was part of the original craft. I think it’s human.
JIM HAROLD: This is such a fascinating book. I highly recommend that everybody who is interested in this phenomenon pick up Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret. Dr. Vallée, before we sign off here, I want to talk about where folks can, of course, read up on everything that you continue to do, and also the book.
But I have a personal question for you, because this is one of my pet theories, and I want to get the opinion of a UFO research legend on it. I’ve often thought – and this is not original by any means; many, many people believe this and have put this forth, but I want to get your idea of it. I’m 53 years old, so I’m firmly in middle age, and when I was a kid, we had one telephone on the wall with a rotary dial, one of those black Western Electric phones, very low technology. You know, I’m talking in the 1970s and early 1980s. And now I have a phone in my hand that can message basically anybody on Earth, can talk to anybody on Earth, have video of anybody on Earth. I can look up almost any known not-top-secret fact immediately. It’s a miracle.
To me, the technological acceleration between 1945 and today is just amazing if you compare it to the whole of human history. And I firmly salute and believe in the genius of our scientists. They’re fantastic. But I almost believe there’s some kind of X factor – that maybe something was recovered somewhere that was reverse-engineered that set this innovation off. Is that something you subscribe to or leave open the possibility? Or do you think our technological prowess of the last few decades is just human ingenuity and nothing else?
JACQUES VALLÉE: I’ve been in Silicon Valley for a long time, since 1968 and the early ’70s. I worked at SRI with the people who were developing the technology. Some of them had been developed for the Pentagon, for the Armed Forces. Obviously, you need to communicate with field telephones and so on without wires if you’re on the battlefield. But that technology was clumsy; it was hard to maintain, it was heavy, it was big, if you look at big equipment from the ’50s and ’60s.
It’s only until it was miniaturized – the genius went into miniaturizing it and making it portable. Which doesn’t mean that it wasn’t genius, but the big problems in physics are not “How do you make a small telephone?” The big problem in physics is “Why do we still have contradictions between connectivity and quantum mechanics?”, which we’ve had since the 1930s. 1930 is a long time ago, and we haven’t cracked it. There are various theories and they don’t work. Everybody knows they don’t work.
Why don’t we have antigravity? Why don’t we understand gravity? The experiment that Galileo made that got him into jail, the jails of the Church, when he dropped a feather and a piece of iron from the Tower of Pisa and noticed that they got to the ground in the same time, in a vacuum – of course not in the air, but if you drop it in a vacuum, they will land on the ground at the same time. That means that gravity is a force we still don’t understand, and we still don’t understand the Galileo experiments with gravity.
Those things have not made any progress. So if the aliens want to give us a push, that’s where they should land and explain gravity to us, because we really could use some help.
Now, I’ve worked in Silicon Valley – I’ve had the privilege of having mentors in Silicon Valley who were the inventors of the technologies you talk about. I have financed some of those factories, some of the technology used by Intel, used by IBM. To do that, they started from startups financed by people like me and with venture funds. They could have failed, and some of them did fail and some succeeded.
I could trace every single piece of your computer back to an invention and a patent. The patent for the transistor was a 1934 German patent. They described the phenomenon of the transistor or semiconductor. It wasn’t called a transistor, of course, in those days. There was no industrial use for it. When electronic was developed, it was developed around vacuum tubes. When I learned physics, when I passed my elementary courses at the Sorbonne in physics, we learned about vacuum tubes. You have to learn about vacuum tubes to understand the invention of the transistor was important.
One of my friends and colleagues here today in Silicon Valley is a man named Federico Faggin. He’s an Italian physicist, very interested in transistors. He’s the one who got the Presidential Medal for the invention of the integrated circuit, among other people. He described to me how he made a series of inventions that are regarded as fundamental in Silicon Valley. He’s still alive. I can put you in touch with him. He recently published a book on consciousness.
I asked him, “You’re speaking openly about UFOs and consciousness and all this; many people frown on that kind of discussion in science, the more conservative.” He told me, “Look, Jacques, if we start talking about that openly, we might as well sell Silicon Valley to the Japanese.” That’s an exact quote from Federico Faggin. This man is revered as one of the founders of Silicon Valley. You can go around up and down Silicon Valley; people will explain to you exactly where those inventions come from.
It’s human genius, but it is an adaptation of physics from the late 19th century and early 20th century. It’s not fundamental breakthroughs in physics; it’s fundamental breakthroughs in engineering using the best in physics. The physics challenge now is gravity, the structure of the nucleus. We’re still discovering new particles. We have yet to understand, if I drop my pencil, why it falls to the ground. That’s a basic experiment anybody can do, and there is no good explanation for it. There is a description of it. In other words, we have all the questions that explain how it falls, if it breaks when it falls and all those things, but we don’t know why it falls.
JIM HAROLD: Just an amazing honor to speak with you, sir. We thank you so much for taking time. Where can people find Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret? Also, please direct people to your website as well, because it’s fascinating, just as you are.
JACQUES VALLÉE: My website is just my name. I haven’t mentioned Trinity on it because I’m too lazy to update the website. But you’ll find a lot of other things. It’s just my name, jacquesvallee.com, or jacquesvallee.net will get you there.
People have to be careful to get the 2nd edition, because we found new witnesses and we’ve updated the body of the book with the new things that we’ve learned as we continue the research. There is one more chapter at the end about a witness who came in later and could help document the “fiberoptic” observations that are associated with the material that was recovered from the craft. Of course, it’s not fiberoptics, but it’s a very, very interesting fiber and it’s part of a material that we want to study.
JIM HAROLD: Well, Dr. Vallée, I’m looking at Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret, again, the expanded edition, and that’s on Amazon. And I’m sure it’s available wherever books are sold.
JACQUES VALLÉE: It’s the edition with the red cover.
JIM HAROLD: Yes, I’m looking at it right now. So everybody make sure you get that one. We’ll also have it linked at jimharold.com. Dr. Vallée, I’ve done over 2,000, probably 2,600-2,700 episodes over the years; this has got to be one of my very favorite interviews. I thank you so much for your time and your genius.
JACQUES VALLÉE: Thank you very much. Thanks for the opportunity.
JIM HAROLD: Just a real, real honor to speak with the man himself. I hope you enjoyed this show as much as I did, and if you did, please tell a friend today about the Paranormal Podcast. Even better, while you’re in your podcast player, hit the “Share” button and send them a link, text them a link, message them a link so they can easily find this.
If you have friends who are into UFOs, I think this is a must-listen interview. Not because of me, but because of the legend Dr. Jacques Vallée. We thank him and his team for setting this up, and we appreciate it very much.
Thank you. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody. Bye-bye.