Pentagon UFO study led by researcher who believes in the supernatural

When the U.S. government released a much-anticipated report on UFOs a year ago, many were perplexed that it couldn’t explain 143 of the 144 sightings it examined. (In the single closed case, the report concluded the mystery object was a large, deflating balloon.) “Where are the aliens?” cracked one headline.

The truth was still out there. So was any sense of who had conducted the analysis, because the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the study, provided no details about who had investigated the cases. Last week, however, a former Department of Defense (DOD) astrophysicist and reality TV personality named Travis Taylor asserted that he was the ‘chief scientist’ for the congressionally mandated study.

Travis Taylor speaks during Ancient Aliens liveThe revelation shocked UFO skeptics in the science community. They note that Taylor has made extraordinary claims during TV appearances, including to have “seen more UFOs than I can count,” and that he’s been tracked by supernatural entities that caused his car and appliances to malfunction. “I find it very difficult to believe” federal authorities gave Taylor a prominent role in preparing the UFO report, says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who is familiar with Taylor’s involvement with Ancient Aliens, a cable TV show that promotes far-fetched UFO narratives.

In fact, Taylor did serve in a lead role with the government’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force, which produced 2021’s fuzzy UFO report, Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough confirmed to ScienceInsider. But Taylor was “informally referred to… as the chief scientist as efforts to assemble a larger team were underway,” and it was not a full-time position. (Taylor did not respond to requests for comment.)

Taylor, according to his LinkedIn profile, has five advanced science degrees, including a Ph.D. in optical physics and a Ph.D. in aerospace and engineering, and is “currently working on advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts.” He has published two academic textbooks and numerous peer-reviewed papers.

In recent statements to George Knapp, a TV journalist in Las Vegas, Taylor said he was asked to be the government’s lead scientist on UFOs in 2019 by Jay Stratton, who he counts as a long-time DOD colleague and friend. At the time, Taylor was with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, where he was employed from 2007 until retiring 2 months ago. Stratton was based at the Office of Naval Intelligence before retiring recently. Both men now work for Radiance Technologies, a Huntsville, Alabama–based defense contractor.

In addition to his TV work with Ancient Aliens, over the past 3 years Taylor has starred in a show called The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. It takes place on a Utah ranch that claims to have a history of paranormal activity. Taylor told Knapp poltergeistlike entities from the ranch had followed him home to Alabama and caused mechanical mayhem. “My car has started and stopped itself,” Taylor said. Once, after his car stuttered in his driveway, Taylor said he “looked up and there was an odd vortex in the clouds above my house.”

Taylor’s critics are simply astonished by what they call his antiscientific embrace of the supernatural—and the Pentagon’s willingness to work with him. “I’m starting to see why [the government’s] task force was so unsuccessful in identifying its UAPs!” wrote Robert Sheaffer, a UFO skeptic and author, on his blog.

The news comes amid a surge of institutional interest in UFOs. Last month, NASA said it would fund a UFO pilot study, months after Congress ordered the Pentagon to stand up a UFO office and produce annual reports. Meanwhile, Avi Loeb, a well-regarded Harvard University astrophysicist, has raised millions of dollars for the Galileo Project, which will scan the skies for UFOs. (Loeb has drawn criticism for his willingness to work with zealous UFO believers.) Last month, both Loeb and Taylor appeared together at a “UFO Disclosure symposium” in Utah, where they reviewed and discussed various UFO videos.

**By Keith Kloor


2 Replies to “Pentagon UFO study led by researcher who believes in the supernatural”

  1. Elisa

    Why don’t they talk to Daniel Scranton or Valerie Donner? they know extraterrestrial people. Seems a bit dumb to be arguing whether something is a weather balloon, swamp gas or a ufo when we are already in contact.

    1. G

      Why would they believe them
      Won’t it just make people think its all a hack
      Everyone is doing whatever is on their level of understanding
      Isnt it a good thing that scientists are making discoveries that are in alignment with what you know on a physical level?