Colm A. Kelleher, Ph.D., joins us to talk to us about his amazing experiences while researching the UFO phenomena and how many others in the military experienced strange encounters that seem to be inexplicable by conventional means.
You can find the book on the subject that he co-authored with George Knapp on the subject at Amazon: Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: An Insiders’ Account of the Secret Government UFO Program
Thanks Dr. Kelleher for an amazing discussion!
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JIM HAROLD: Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, next on the Paranormal Podcast.
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold and so glad to be with you once again. I think that we’re going to have an absolutely fascinating discussion today because when we talk about things like ufology and anomalous activity, I love when we can get people who have serious academic backgrounds and serious careers who have also delved into these matters and say, “There’s something going on here.” We certainly have somebody like that today.
I’m talking about Colm A. Kelleher, PhD. He is the author of multiple books, including the recent Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: An Insider’s Account of the Secret Government UFO Program, which he did along with the great George Knapp.
Colm has an erudite background; since obtaining his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Dublin Trinity College, he has spent 35 years or so of his working life in a wide variety of diverse careers. He’s been an immunology research scientist at the National Jewish Center in Denver, Colorado. Between ’96 and 2004, he led the National Institute of Discovery Science Team on Skinwalker Ranch, as well as other NIDS projects. From 2004 to 2008, he was the laboratory director at San Francisco biotech company Prosetta, where he led teams of scientists in executing DoD contracts to discover drugs against things like Ebola.
Also, in 2008 he became deputy administrator of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, where he led day-to-day operations in executing the AAWSAP contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency. And the list goes on and on, but really he’s had a very broad career, a very serious career, and we’re so glad to have him to talk about things like UFOs, Skinwalkers, and so forth.
Colm Kelleher, welcome to the program today. Thank you for joining us.
COLM KELLEHER: Thank you very much, Jim. It’s good to be here.
JIM HAROLD: What a background. So I have to ask you: when you were in your studies at the University of Dublin Trinity College, is there any way you could have thought or expected that you would, at least part of the time, spend a lot of time focusing on things like UFOs and Skinwalkers and strange activity? Did that ever occur to you?
COLM KELLEHER: At that time, probably not. At that time I was really focused on biochemistry. But I had read already a couple of the early books on UFOs, like the Cahill books, Ruppelt’s books. So I was aware of the phenomenon, but I really had no vision for myself of doing anything except biochemistry.
Then I was offered a position in Canada, so I moved to Canada. It was during that time that I started looking much more towards I guess what you would call fringe areas of science, overlapping between mainstream science and non-mainstream science. So I became more and more interested in that as time went on. I started in a career in medical science once I got to Canada; I was working in cancer research, leukemia research, in Toronto. Then I moved to Vancouver in British Columbia and I was at the Terry Fox Cancer Research Center there.
As time went on, I was becoming more and more interested in “the bigger picture” of what lay beyond mainstream science. One of my mentors in Toronto told me – this was Ernest McCulloch, who was actually credited with the first discovery of stem cells in mice – that if you want to catch a big fish, you should really fish in waters where other people are not fishing.
So I took that in mind, and then when I was in Denver, Colorado, I saw this ad in Science magazine – it was a half-page ad, full-page ad in this employment section, and most of these ads are focused on things like postdoctoral fellowships in virology and biochemistry. But in the middle of this Science magazine, there was this glaringly big ad saying that this organization in Las Vegas was recruiting scientists who were going to research the origins and nature of consciousness in the universe.
Looking at that ad, I was thinking, wow, that’s the most unusual ad I’ve ever seen in a Science magazine, and Science is probably one of the two premier publications in the world on mainstream science. So I called up the phone number and got talking to Robert Bigelow – I had never heard of Robert Bigelow, but I flew to Las Vegas, and within a couple of months I was hired on in a new organization that Robert Bigelow was putting together called the National Institute for Discovery Science. This was in 1996.
So it was a very meandering career in mainstream molecular biology ending up with the National Institute for Discovery Science. Robert Bigelow at the time was hiring a group of mainstream scientists, including physicists; they had a full-time veterinarian on board to study cattle mutilations. The intent for NIDS was to really apply the scientific method to look at these anomalies, including UFOs, including human consciousness, survival of human consciousness after death, and a number of other – I would say fringe topics, but using mainstream scientists to delve into these. That was my introduction to the whole topic.
JIM HAROLD: For the longest time, I think there was this period where I remember, for example, on the local news stations, you would see a report of a UFO sighting, and it would usually be what they call the “kicker story.” They would have the X-Files music playing underneath it, and then the anchor would make a joke and say, “Are UFOs in Chicago Heights?” or whatever the little suburb is of whatever town it is. “Are the aliens visiting?”, and with arched eyebrow and kind of joking.
Then we’ve seen in the last several years that things have taken a more serious turn, which is kind of refreshing, and people, just regular folks, looking at this more seriously, maybe the media looking at it more seriously. But really, the government has been looking very seriously at these phenomena for a long time, haven’t they?
COLM KELLEHER: Oh, absolutely. I think you can really go all the way back to 1947 and Project Sign, which was a United States government program looking at UFOs. It was precipitated by the Kenneth Arnold sighting in June of 1947. Project Sign was a serious attempt by the Air Force to come to grips with the sudden appearance of these flying discs that seemed to be everywhere in the United States. The morphed into Project Grudge, and then that morphed into Project Blue Book, which went on through the 1960s and terminated at the end of the 1960s.
But at that time, the ending of Project Blue Book was the “official” ending of the United States government interest in UFOs. But of course, we know that that was not the case and that the United States government continued behind the scenes to gather a lot of data on UFOs.
In 2008, when I was working at a biotechnology company in San Francisco, I got a call from Robert Bigelow saying that there was a new program that was being orchestrated by the Defense Intelligence Agency to seriously study the UFO topic, and was I interested in coming on board? Of course, this was kind of like a dream come true because there was a lot of horsepower, including $22 million that was funneling through the Defense Intelligence Agency to look at UFOs.
This was the latest chapter in the United States government interest in UFOs, but it was kind of a radical departure because the Defense Intelligence Agency was prepared to funnel money into a serious program in UFOs that was quasi – it was secret at the time, but it was certainly not secret with Robert Bigelow and the people that were being recruited for this new program. So it was kind of a continuation of what had been happening behind the scenes.
But at the same time, Bigelow created an organization called Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies to execute this new program which had a very lengthy acronym called AAWSAP, which was the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Application Program, which was the official name that the Defense Intelligence Agency had given the program.
This launched a 24-month program. I joined immediately when Robert Bigelow contacted me because it was a dream come true. They were recruiting people, and also, all of the senior people in this program had top secret SCI (special compartmented information) clearances. So this was a serious look by the Defense Intelligence Agency at the threat potential of the UFOs. So that was how the whole program was launched. At the time, nobody knew about it. It was secret within our organization and within the Defense Intelligence Agency.
JIM HAROLD: One thing that I think speaks volumes – if you look at your book Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, the foreword was written by the late Senator Harry Reid, who I think was always a big proponent of getting to the bottom of all this. And that was a very brave thing to do, because a senator coming out publicly about this topic, they might be looked at a bit askance. I think now Marco Rubio has taken over some of that mantle, which is kind of interesting because they’re from different ends of the political spectrum.
But that being said, Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, your new book – why did you and George and so forth give it that title? And how does it specifically tie in to Skinwalker Ranch?
COLM KELLEHER: That’s actually a long story, but it does go back to when the National Institute for Discovery Science was first started. Robert Bigelow formed it in 1995; I joined in 1996. Around the same time that I was joining, Robert Bigelow had heard media reports of this 480-acre ranch in northeastern Utah that seemed to be the Grand Central Station for UFO activity and paranormal activity. So he purchased the ranch, and a couple of months after joining NIDS, I was deployed as team leader on what later became known as Skinwalker Ranch.
The reason it’s known as Skinwalker Ranch is that there’s a 200- to 300-foot-tall ridge that runs along the northern edge of this ranch, and the local Ute Native American tribe legends had it that this was the path of the Skinwalkers. Skinwalkers are legendary entities in Navajo culture and Ute culture in terms of shapeshifting entities. People with sorcery capabilities in these tribes were capable of shapeshifting into animals.
Our Skinwalker nomenclature became a metaphor for not only UFO activities on the ranch, but also all UFO associated paranormal activity, of which there was a lot on Skinwalker Ranch. So Skinwalker Ranch was sort of a Grand Central Station, a paranormal Disneyland where cattle mutilations happened, discarnate entities were appearing, poltergeist activity happened. There were even reports of unusual creatures on the property.
But Skinwalker Ranch was embedded in this area in northeastern Utah. It was not unique because it quickly became apparent, once we started researching the area of northeastern Utah, that Skinwalker Ranch was embedded in a much larger area in northeastern Utah, and all of the neighbors that we interviewed around the ranch, all of the neighbors within a several mile radius of the property, had exactly the same kinds of experiences of cattle mutilations, poltergeist activity, dark, shadowy humanoid creatures being seen on these various properties.
Skinwalker Ranch became legendary because it became one of the most studied properties in the history of ufology because there was continuous human presence and we deployed a whole variety of technological sensors on the property. So it became one of the most studied properties between 1996 – and it still is being studied as we speak in 2022.
The whole Skinwalkers at the Pentagon arose from the original study that George Knapp and I published way back in 2005. We wrote a book called Hunt for the Skinwalker, which used that Skinwalker metaphor for the plethora of activity that included “nuts and bolts” activity, but also included a lot of these phenomena that were co-locating on Skinwalker Ranch and seemed to be erupting in the same vicinity at the same time as people were seeing these nuts and bolts activities. It seemed to go hand in hand.
So we used the term “Hunt for the Skinwalker” in the title of our book, and that book became very interesting to a lot of people, including people at the Defense Intelligence Agency who began reading it in 2007. There was a ballistic missile analyst called James T. Lacatski, who was one of the readers of this book, who began to really look at the threat potential of the nuts and bolts UFO activity that seemed to be flying without interruption in United States airspace in northeastern Utah.
He actually wrote a letter to Robert Bigelow in 2007 and suggested that he would like to visit Skinwalker Ranch. Robert Bigelow immediately made that happen, so Jim Lacatski and Robert Bigelow visited Skinwalker Ranch in July of 2007. Lacatski and Bigelow were on the property for no more than a couple of hours, but during that trip, Jim Lacatski had a very – I would say in-your-face demonstration of very, very unusual technological activity that manifested within a few feet of him, and it manifested behind Robert Bigelow. So Jim Lacatski was the only person who saw it.
It looked like a metallic object that materialized in the few feet above the ground inside the house of the ranch manager behind Robert Bigelow. It looked like a metallic object that was curved and had this shape of what later became known as a tubular bell type shape. Mike Oldfield had produced an album back in the ’80s with a metallic curved structure on it. Lacatski described this object that appeared, he looked at it for about 30 seconds, looked away, looked back, it was still there. It was enveloped in this yellowish cloud.
This in-your-face materialization that happened in the very short period of time while Lacatski was on Skinwalker Ranch had a profound effect on him. So he went back to the Defense Intelligence Agency, and within a short period of time, through Senator Harry Reid and Senator Stevens and Senator Inouye, an appropriation was put through where money was funneled through the Defense Intelligence Agency, and it ended up that a series of solicitations were advertised by the Defense Intelligence Agency. Robert Bigelow and others put in a proposal for this $22 million over a two-year period to study UFOs.
The Defense Intelligence Agency got a lot of expressions of interest for this proposal. The RFP, which was a request for proposals, was put out on the publicly available website. Long story short, Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies won this contract to execute the Advanced Aerospace Weapon Systems Application Program in September of 2008.
JIM HAROLD: We’ll be back on the Paranormal Podcast talking about Skinwalkers at the Pentagon right after this.
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JIM HAROLD: We are indeed back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is Colm Kelleher, and we’re talking about Skinwalkers at the Pentagon. Colm, I appreciated that review of the research, but I want to take a step back from the research program, or at least the later research that was going on, and talk about something called the “hitchhiker effect.” I think that it’s very interesting and very demonstrative of the phenomena overall that we may not be dealing with just nuts and bolts, as you discussed nuts and bolts sightings, but also there may be another aspect to this.
Many of the researchers – I believe including yourself – experience this hitchhiker effect when researching Skinwalker Ranch. Could you talk about that a little bit?
COLM KELLEHER: Yes, what became known as the hitchhiker effect really began all the way back during the NIDS era when people were deployed on Skinwalker Ranch. I spent between 200 and 300 days and nights on Skinwalker Ranch.
JIM HAROLD: May I say, you’re a braver man than I am. [laughs] I’d be far away from that. I don’t have the guts.
COLM KELLEHER: Yeah, I guess in hindsight, if I’d known what I was getting into, I would’ve been a lot more cautious. But at the time we were deployed on the property, we had a lot of equipment with us, we had a lot of night vision equipment with us. But all the way through the latter part of 1996, 1997 all year, and then 1998, 1999, we spent, like I said, hundreds of days on the property.
The people who were on the property noticed occasionally at home, when we would return to Las Vegas, sometimes our wives and family would notice people walking through the house. And when I say “people,” these would be materializations of people. It was low level and it was innocuous, but it was definitely an effect that there was something happening in our homes. Robert Bigelow noticed the same thing. I noticed the same thing.
But it was really when the AAWSAP program began in September of 2008, and then one of the first things that the Defense Intelligence Agency wanted to do was to deploy a series of people from the military in order to walk the property on Skinwalker Ranch and basically corroborate all of these stories that they’d heard. They wanted to deploy their own people to see if this stuff was real, if it was people’s fantasy or imaginary.
So over the course of the program, they deployed five different people at different times from the Navy, some of them were Marines, but they were all top-secret SCI clearance people. They all had military backgrounds. A lot of them had combat backgrounds. So they were well used to being in stressful situations, but the interesting part of this whole thing is that five out of five of those people engaged phenomena on the property. They had profound effects on them.
But the really weird thing was when they returned home to the East Coast, their families started noticing within a few weeks of them arriving home that they would wake up in the night, and these dark humanoid creatures would be standing over their beds. They would wake up and see these white orbs, blue orbs, or yellow orbs sometimes, flying through the walls of their houses.
On one particular occasion, the leader of the investigative group from DIA was a guy called Axelrod. We call him Axelrod in our book. Axelrod had two teenagers back home and his wife. And all of these people, within a couple of weeks or three weeks, started noticing these heavy footsteps on the stairs in their home, and as I said, they had orbs seen around their home.
But on one particular night, Axelrod’s wife was going to bed, so she was locking up and starting to turn out the lights. She looked out in the backyard and she could see what looked like a very large wolflike creature or a German shepherd-like creature. But the really bizarre thing: it was standing on two legs, leaning against a tree out in the backyard. This was at night. The backyard was lit up. And this creature was staring at her when she caught it, looked at it. It was staring at her in what she described as a very malevolent way. She couldn’t believe her eyes. This was physically impossible, in her view.
She looked at it for a few seconds, and then this creature turned around and walked on two legs, which is anatomically impossible, back into the tree line and disappeared. She turned off the lights and absolutely freaked out because she had never seen anything like this before. But she went to bed and determined she must’ve been hallucinating, she must’ve been seeing things. So she didn’t say anything to her family about this. She just decided this was some kind of aberration.
Two days later, on a Saturday morning at 10:30 in the morning, one of the teenage sons was playing with the other guy downstairs, looking out at the backyard, and lo and behold, at 10:30 in the morning on a bright, sunny Saturday morning, they see this upright creature – again, a wolflike creature – standing in their backyard, looking balefully in the window at them. And again, they couldn’t believe their eyes. This creature looked at them and then turned and ran on two legs, right across the backyard, and disappeared into the tree line.
This creature threw up a whole bunch of leaves as it was running through the property. The two teenagers yelled at their parents to come down, and by the parents had rushed down to see what the matter was, the creature had disappeared into the tree line. But the two kids started talking, and it was at that time that Axelrod’s wife came forward and said, “You know, I saw something that is exactly what these two kids are describing a few nights ago. I didn’t want to say anything.” But the two kids had corroborated what she had seen.
So the whole family went out into the backyard to see whether there were any tracks. They went over to the tree where this creature had disappeared, and on this tree there were really prominent what looked like deep claw marks on the tree. Axelrod took photographs of the claw marks and we discussed this over time.
It was one of the more dramatic manifestations of what later became known as the hitchhiker effect, which is this tendency of people who had been deployed on Skinwalker Ranch to “bring something home with them.” So it turned out that all five of the people that the Defense Intelligence Agency deployed not only had experiences on Skinwalker Ranch, but also brought stuff home with them.
It also turned out, as we continued the investigation, that we had a whole security force of people who rotated up on Skinwalker Ranch for two-week deployments to discourage trespassers and all of that. We interviewed close to a dozen of these officers who had been on the property, and all of them reported that they had noticed paranormal appearances in their home. Some of them noticed materializations of people in their homes, black shadowy creatures walking around their homes.
Robert Bigelow and his family noticed the same kind of thing, orbs and unusual poltergeist activity in the home. George Knapp, who, as you mentioned, co-wrote Hunt for the Skinwalker and also Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, the recent book, also noticed activity in his home.
I just wanted to mention that Robert Bigelow, in 2016, sold Skinwalker Ranch to a Utah entrepreneur called Brandon Fugal, a real estate operative, and he actually deployed a lot of equipment, a completely different team on Skinwalker Ranch starting in 2016. A lot of these people were very skeptical of anything because they had read these books and were thinking this was probably all fantasy. But again, the same thing started happening to these people. Their kids and their spouses would start noticing that paranormal activity would start erupting in their houses.
Over 20-something years, this “hitchhiker effect” of people who had been on Skinwalker Ranch started noticing the eruption of this paranormal activity in their homes. It turned out in retrospect, as we studied a lot of other UFO cases beyond – this was completely independent of Skinwalker Ranch – we started noticing that as we began to study these UFO cases over long, long periods of time, other people that had UFO interactions that had nothing to do with Skinwalker Ranch also started having activity in their homes.
So what became known as the hitchhiker effect was actually a much more generalized effect than only what happened on Skinwalker Ranch.
JIM HAROLD: Let me throw this out there. A thought just occurred to me, and I can’t believe, as many times as we’ve talked about these subjects on these shows, it never occurred to me – but you made me think of something, particularly when it comes to investigation. I think of the Stanton Freidman school of thought, UFOs nuts and bolts only. I think now people have broadened their thought process and feel there could be more to it. It could be more spiritual, it could be interdimensional, those kind of things.
But what you were saying with people investigating and then having these entities frighten their families and those kinds of things – that almost seems like a sci-ops operation. Could it somehow be maybe some nefarious extraterrestrials trying to discourage investigation? So this isn’t so much spiritual as it is a massive mind game trying to frighten people. You said these people were hardened by other things they had done in the military; they were tough people. But where do you attack a tough person? You attack them at their family, because that’s most people’s sensitivity point. What are your thoughts?
COLM KELLEHER: I think you make a good point. The vast majority of these experiences that erupted in people’s homes, there’s no way you could really construe this as being particularly friendly.
My background is virology and biochemistry, so I looked at this whole series of phenomena as – it was a quasi-infectious process. The people on Skinwalker Ranch or elsewhere who were interacting with this, whatever this was, and bringing stuff home, it was almost like they were being infected by some kind of transmissible agent, some kind of infection that they carried back into their homes, and then the infection jumped from them to their children and/or spouse. In some cases we actually documented that school friends of some of these people started reporting unusual activity.
So something seemed to be transmitting, but as you say, this was not something that was particularly friendly. It was decidedly – the reaction of some of these people was definitely fearful, and it was not sweetness and light associated with this kind of infection. But from our perspective, the numbers certainly, in 2022, we’re talking about dozens of these separate cases that were all documented in terms of the hitchhiker effect.
The end result was that the people that were infected in this way didn’t come down with lung disease, like in COVID, or with hemorrhagic fever as in some of these exotic viruses. What they came down with was an altered perceptual environment. They began to see and hear and experience things in their perceptual field. Somehow, their awareness and their perception was being manipulated and/or altered.
But it was not only mind stuff that was happening, because as I mentioned earlier, these objects or creatures were capable of altering the physical environment at the same time. They kicked up leaves in the backyard of the Axelrod home, or they left these obvious claw marks on the tree. So whatever this was in terms of altered perceptual environment was also capable of interacting with the physical environment.
You mentioned the word sci-ops. It was some form of mental manipulation or perception manipulation, and it seemed to be transmissible in much the same way as a virus is transmissible from person to person.
JIM HAROLD: Very interesting indeed. Here’s a question for you. When we talk about the government and UFOs, I think a lot of people tend to – and I think I used to do this too – think of the government as a monolith. Of course, the government is made up of many, many people, different branches. Even the military is not a monolith. There’s the different branches. I think different branches may have different attitudes on the UFO question and those kinds of things.
I have a theory; I want to get your reaction to that theory because you have the real experience in interacting with governmental people. I’m just behind a mic, speculating. But when the UFO report came out – I think it was last June – I noticed that it came out at around 4 or 5 p.m. Eastern on a Friday. That is a classic communication strategy, particularly pre-internet, to bury a story. If a politician had a scandal or something, you release it late on a Friday before the evening newscast can do anything with it, and by Monday everybody’s forgotten.
It seems to me that that wasn’t an accident. People or one person, whoever made that decision, if they wanted this to be up front and center and everybody talking about it, it would’ve been a Monday morning, a Tuesday morning, early in the week where it could go through the news cycle. But they wanted to bury it, in my opinion, from a communication strategy perspective.
My guess is that whoever made that decision did not want that to happen, wanted to bury the story as much as possible. It couldn’t be totally buried, but as much as possible. Yet I’m pretty confident there are people in government who are more for disclosing more information, possibly. Certainly serious study of that.
Did you find in your time, the people you worked with in government to be cooperate? Did you find different camps? What do you think about my theory? And what is the reality from someone who experienced it?
COLM KELLEHER: I think your question’s a very good one because, as you say, the United States government as an entity is monolithic, but it’s composed of people, and all of those people have their own individual beliefs and biases and cultures.
Very much so, the Defense Intelligence Agency group that we were working with in Washington, D.C. were a very dedicated group in terms of their interest and their motivation to make sure that this AAWSAP program was as successful as possible. However, within the Pentagon, there were a lot of organizations, particularly in the USDI, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence – that entire group was not very enthusiastic about getting involved in those topic. And there were numerous indications that there were people at the USDI who were not at all interested.
In general, we tried to keep a low profile within the Defense Intelligence Agency regarding this program because we knew it was extremely controversial, and we knew that the window of opportunity to gather as much data on the threat potential of these UFOs was very limited.
Within the Defense Intelligence Agency, this program with the people we worked with was very, very effective. As they reported up the chain of command within the Defense Intelligence Agency, there was support for the program, but there was also a lot of concern and consternation about the possibility that this program might leak out into the media. People were very, very conscious in the Defense Intelligence Agency, especially at the higher levels, of the prospect of it leaking out to the front page of the New York Times. Which ironically, at the end of 2017, is exactly what happened, so their fears were fully realized.
But as we interacted with people in various arms of government and we interacted with people in the Defense Intelligence Agency, we also had knowledge of what other intelligence agencies were doing. There was a tremendous amount of fear associated with this UFO topic because it was considered toxic to people’s careers. There were some people with religious affiliations that were very, very hesitant to have anything to do with this topic. And all of these people within the intelligence agencies and within the various departments within government had their own unique interactions or reactions to this whole topic.
Within DIA we had a lot of support, but outside DIA there was a lot of ambivalence and even hostility. And I’m talking specifically about USDI. There was certainly hostility to this topic because it was seen as a very toxic subject to get involved with.
Looking back on the long history of the United States government, going all the way back, as I mentioned earlier, Project Sign, Project Grudge, Project Blue Book, there was a lot of ambivalence. There was a lot of hostility within the United States Air Force to the whole idea of UFOs.
Government is not monolithic, really. It is composed of individuals who are trying, like everybody else, to put their kids through college, and if something is going to be a career killer – a lot of people identified this UFO topic as a potential career killer. So a lot of people were very, very hesitant to get involved.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. I’ve interviewed many people over the years about UFOs, and there’s a certain amount of people who think, “This is fantastic. These are our space brothers. We have nothing to fear. It’s going to be like ‘To Serve Man’ without the bad part on Twilight Zone,” if you ever saw that old episode.
COLM KELLEHER: [laughs] Yeah.
JIM HAROLD: “It’s gonna be great. They’re going to come and usher in an era of bliss and peace and plenty for all.” There’s nothing in your work, I don’t think, that indicates that’s so. It seems like we should be very concerned about whatever is going on. What are your thoughts?
COLM KELLEHER: The original mandate from the Defense Intelligence Agency was to look at the “threat potential” of these UFOs. We gathered enormous amounts of data. We actually had 50 full-time people, everything from PhD and master’s degree level scientists, we had engineers, we had database experts, we had analysts. We had actually translators, senior people from military intelligence. We recruited a 50-person team that were working full-time on this topic, boots on the ground all over the United States. We deployed people to Brazil. This was a very intensive program that had multiple projects running in parallel.
The end result of this was that we wrote up over 100 separate reports for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and a lot of them were technical reports, that were delivered as deliverables every month to the Defense Intelligence Agency over this 24-month period. The end result of this was a threat analysis report that we submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the end of the program.
But what this final report that we delivered said was that the UFO topic, based on all of our investigations, all of the database that we had put together, definitely was not supportive of human health. It was a threat to human health. However, a threat to national security essentially has two components. It has intent and it has capability. We had gobs of information on the capability of the UFO phenomenon; we had the Tic Tac case that AAWSAP first investigated that showed that these UFOs were capable of outperforming the best of the best aircraft in the United States military, leaving them standing in the dust.
We had gobs of information on capability, but we had almost no information on what the intent was, so we were not able to define the UFO topic as a threat to the United States’ national security. We were able to define that the UFO was a threat to human health because we had gobs of medical data showing that close encounters with some of these had medically deleterious effects. We had physician scientists on our staff that were tasked with going out and following some of these people who had close encounters over long periods of time, and a lot of medical deleterious effects – autoimmune diseases were erupting, we had cases where people came down with cancer that seemed to have erupted after these close encounters. But we were not able to define this phenomenon as a threat to national security.
Interestingly, the June 25th, 2021 report that you referred to, from the Office of the Department of National Intelligence that issued this report that defined UFOs as a potential threat to national security, it was certainly a safety threat, but it was an acknowledgment from the United States government that the UFO phenomenon was real and was not mental illness or fantasy or whatever.
Bottom line is that we were not able to define the UFO phenomenon as a threat to national security, but we were able to define it as a threat to human health.
JIM HAROLD: I want to be brief with this next question because I know you have a hard stop coming up. One thing that has been speculated is that the Tic Tac video, for example, that’s China or Russia. Now, first of all, of course these countries have development programs, and supposedly – and who knows what the U.S. has that we’re not telling – but supposedly Russia, for example, is way ahead of the U.S. with hypersonic weapons and those kinds of things.
But I personally do not believe for a moment that Russia or China has anything that can do what we saw in that Tic Tac video, and I think that’s just a convenient out for people who want to say “nothing to see here.” What are your thoughts on that idea? Obviously, I do believe that some UFO sightings are military craft. I think that’s true. I think that makes sense, specifically a lot of times in the American Southwest, where there’s testing and things. I really believe that. But that’s only a percentage of the cases. So what are your thoughts when people say “Oh, these are just military craft”?
COLM KELLEHER: You have to go back to the documentation of this phenomenon, all the way back into the late 1940s. All of the documentation where it was talking about performance of these objects that could execute right-hand turns, 90-degree turns, hairpin turns at speeds that were in the thousands of miles an hour – and all of this stuff was documented not only visually, but also on radar and by various other sensor means as the decades rolled on.
You would have to postulate that even back in the late 1940s, and as this phenomenon progresses through the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and all the way through, that if the United States or other countries’ military had this kind of technology that went back 70 years, and it was never acknowledged – the idea that it would never be officially deployed by the United States government beggars the imagination.
Now, as time goes on, obviously, in the 2020s, we’re looking at increasingly sophisticated drone activities and we know that the United States government has special access programs that are probably 20 to 30 years in advance of anything that is deployed out there. Even taking that into account, there are aspects of UFO performance that we know cannot be ascribed to just “terrestrial” machines that are being deployed by special access programs. There is a subset of this activity that is definitely not ours.
One of the interesting things that we describe in our book Skinwalkers of the Pentagon is our interactions with the head of Air Force Office of Special Investigations. We interviewed this guy who was very, very involved in the UFO topic in the 1970s when the United States government had absolutely no official interest or acknowledgement of the UFO topic. He told our investigators that some of the activity that was documented over U.S. Air Force bases in the 1970s was definitely United States technology – but some of the activity that was documented over these Air Force bases was definitely not United States government activity.
So there was definitely a parsing out of what was ours and what was not ours. Even the head of Air Force Office of Special Investigations was quite willing to say that some of the stuff was ours, but some of it was definitely not ours. I would put that out as being a good indicator that some of these high-technology objects are definitely special access programs from the United States government, but there are other parts of the UFO topic that are definitely not ours.
JIM HAROLD: And the hitchhiker effect and that sort of thing really knocks that whole idea out of the water that it’s just somebody’s secret military technology.
Well, it has been a fascinating conversation with Colm Kelleher, and I want to get in “PhD,” because he is a very accomplished man. The book is Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: An Insider’s Account of the Secret Government UFO Program. Sir, where can people find the book, and also any other place you’d like to direct them?
COLM KELLEHER: The Skinwalkers at the Pentagon book can be found on Amazon. It’s worldwide on Amazon. It is not available in bookstores, but eventually will be. We’re hoping eventually there will be an Audible or audiobook version of that. That’s coming up.
In terms of the complexity of this phenomenon, I would definitely look at the people who have been involved behind the scenes in the United States government on the UAP Task Force that really became official when the Department of Defense announced it back in 2019-2020 timeframe. A lot of those people are extremely smart people, and a lot of those people are more than knowledgeable about not only the technological UFO nuts and bolts, but also on what’s called the human effects of UFOs, which is the physiological, psychological, medical effects, and extending all the way out to these paranormal perception manipulation effects.
A lot of these people are very knowledgeable of that, so my hope going forward is that if there is a reenactment of a UFO program that is initiated by the United States government, it will go beyond just the sensor-driven data, the physical UFO performance parameters that are obviously extremely important, but also will take into account the effects on humans. The effect on humans is a series of unexplored and unexplained effects that I think are part of the overall UFO picture. I think we ignore all of those effects at our own peril.
JIM HAROLD: Fascinating conversation, Colm Kelleher. The book is Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: An Insider’s Account of the Secret Government UFO Program. Sir, thank you for joining us today.
COLM KELLEHER: Thank you so much, Jim. It’s been a pleasure.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you for tuning in to the Paranormal Podcast this week. I really enjoyed our discussion with Colm. Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. If you enjoy what we do, we would simply ask you this: we would ask you to spread the word. Tell a friend today about the Paranormal Podcast. Please rate, review, and follow in the podcast app of your choice. That means so much.
Also, a related show you might want to check out is Unpleasant Dreams. We just did recently an episode about the Betty and Barney Hill case, and that certainly relates to the UFO phenomena. So if you love UFOs, check that out. The show is Unpleasant Dreams. We talk about all manner of strange things on that program, and that’s another Jim Harold Media Production with my daughter Cassandra hosting. It’s getting rave reviews, so please do check it out.
We thank you for checking out the Paranormal Podcast today. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody. Bye-bye.