Life on Planet Fantasy


I have a friend who sits on a hilltop at night, closes her eyes and attempts to make contact with unidentified flying objects through mental telepathy.

She is a sweet lady who told me about this after we attended a secret meeting of a private organization called the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

As I understand it, she has not made contact yet but believes that someday she will. It is part of a CSEI project called coherent thought sequencing, in which meditation is employed to facilitate getting in touch with whoever is out there.


I say the meeting was secret because the organization’s leader, Dr. Steven Greer, an emergency room physician from North Carolina, doesn’t think the world is ready to know what he knows.

He knows, for instance, that extraterrestrials are prepared to meet with us, that Washington is hiding the bodies of E.T.s killed in a crash and that CSEI needs $7 million in donations to continue making friends with the folks from Alpha Centauri.

“We need your love and we need your money,” is the way the wife of folk singer Burl Ives put it. Ives and actor Eddie Albert were celebrities-in-attendance at the meeting, though I’m certain there are many more who belong to CSEI. Actors dwell in outer space most of the time.

The lady-who-sits-on-a-hilltop invited me to the session and at first asked me to sign a non-disclosure form. I said I wouldn’t, so she said what the hey, come anyhow. I doubt if the woman has ever said hell in her life, though she probably wishes now I would go there.


The meeting was held on Planet Earth at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach. About 150 true believers gathered to hear Greer and others discuss the extraterrestrials they have seen or heard about.

Greer founded CSEI four years ago and claims 600 members. Its headquarters are in Asheville, N.C., where a lot of good old boys have no doubt had close encounters of many kinds.


During the course of the session, slides and home videotapes were shown to prove the existence of people from outer space who are visiting this planet.

They are pictures you have seen before on “Unsolved Mysteries” and “In Search Of . . . “: scratches of illumination across distant horizons, and blobs of light or shadow that hover in the sky like irregularities on outdated film.

The most unique photograph was that of a light blob over a man feeding beer to his horse in Colorado, although there was no indication that either the man or the horse were aware of its existence.

Many in the audience were so moved by the blobs they applauded. At first it appeared that at least three people had either died or fainted from the excitement, but it became clear later that they had simply dozed off.

By Greer’s estimate, there have been hundreds of close encounters with UFOs and extraterrestrials since 1947. Then why, I hear you ask, hasn’t anyone taken pictures of the incidents, other than those photos of distant blobs?

It is because, Greer explained, cameras mysteriously fail to operate up close to aliens and their spacecraft.




A psychologist, a former NASA scientist and a man who created his own think tank were among the, well, experts who believe we are about to shake hands or claws or other forms of protuberances with space aliens and ought to prepare for the day.

If the presence of these experts was meant to establish credibility, it failed as far as I’m concerned. Forty years as a journalist teaches you can gather scientists to swear they’ve seen fairies dancing on the lawn if there’s enough money or glory in it. Some even believe it.

The “secret” part of the meeting, by the way, involved something called “Project Starlight,” which included a timetable for contacting first the extraterrestrials and then CNN.

“From now on, please don’t talk about what you see or hear,” Greer said, after which he announced that $7 million would be necessary to finance “Project Starlight” and that it might include a rock concert.

Well, OK. I think there’s probably something out there all right. It ain’t swamp gas. I mean, Ives’ wife, Dolores, was bathed once in a warming beam of light she calls her cosmic angel, and others have dined with E.T.s on tasty portions of tinted air. How can I not believe?

But if I were the lady-who-sits-on-a-hilltop, I wouldn’t donate my estate to any organization that either believes the end of the world is near or the day of extraterrestrial contact is at hand.


Jesus and E.T. may be coming, but they’re not going to demand entrance fees or a table of organization to let us know about it.