Interview With Don in The Courier-Journal, June 4, 1978
By Bruce Swain
Headline: Does someone out there like us? Don Elkins of Louisville, who has dedicated 30 years to investigating "the single greatest mystery of our time," thinks so. Messengers from another dimension are trying to warn Earthlings to shape up, he believes.
For UFO enthusiasts, it has been a very good year. First, a president who—like 15 million other Americans—reports that he has seen an unidentified flying object; next a multimillion-dollar movie that has made "close encounters" a household phrase; then a new television series based on Air Force files; and, finally, a "voice from outer space" that interrupts British television.
All of which pleases Don Elkins of Louisville. At last, it seems, society is beginning to catch up with his avocation. For 30 years Elkins, an airline pilot and former University of Louisville physics professor, has devoted himself to what he calls the single greatest mystery of our time: what to make of UFO phenomena.
For Elkins, the trail began in 1947 when Thomas Mantell, an instructor at the Bowman Field flying school in which Elkins was a student, crashed and was killed after radioing that he was giving chase to a rapidly accelerating metallic disc-shaped object. The chase started when the Kentucky State Police reported a sighting at Godman Field at Fort Knox. Fort Knox radioed Mantell, who was lead pilot of an Air National Guard flight en route to Standiford Field. Mantell radioed back that he had spotted the craft above him. He gave chase through 20,000 feet. Three other pilots in his flight turned back at 15,000 feet. His fatal crash, near Bowling Green, was reported five minutes after Godman Field received his last transmission.
From there the trail has led Elkins through wide reading in studies of the paranormal, hypnotic regression of subjects who report past-life experiences, and investigation of hundreds of sighting reports, to his most productive sources of information—people who have reported visual or telepathic contact with UFOnauts.
His conclusions? For the full story, you will have to read his and Carla Rueckert's book, Secrets of the UFO, published privately this spring. But in a recent interview at his Douglass Boulevard apartment, Elkins and Rueckert talked about the gist of the "UFO message," which, they say, has more to do with the evolution of man than the more mundane objectives one might expect from extraterrestrial visitors.
Question: I can see how your work as a pilot might increase your fascination with UFOs, but how about your training in physics? Has that helped you in your investigation of UFOs?
Elkins: Training in physics is quite useful in the study of UFO contact. The physicist learns that our apparently solid physical world is actually almost entirely empty space in which energy fields interact. The so-called "new physics" provides very interesting models of the universe, notably the Reciprocal Theory of Dewey Larson, which posits that the basic substance of the universe is motion, which consists of space and time in a reciprocal relationship. This opens a theoretical universe in which time travel is normal. These concepts are relevant to much of the UFO contact material.
Question: When you refer to contactees, what do you mean, exactly?
Elkins: Contactees are people who claim contact with UFOnauts, either visually, telepathically, or by some other mechanism.
Question: And you don't have any doubts that there are such people, that they aren't making the whole thing up?
Elkins: When I first started checking out the contactee reports, I must admit that my sympathies were very much with orthodox scientists: I suspected the early contactees were charlatans because I did not have enough background in the study of "Ufology" to think differently. Their stories didn't "compute" in any orthodox sense.
But the more contactee reports I read from people all over the world—people who did not know each other and had shown no previous desire for publicity—the more I was struck by the similarity of the messages the contactees said they had received.
Question: Where can you find these contactee reports?
Elkins: Well, there are a number of places [to which] people report their contacts. The police, the Air Force while it was still investigating UFO sightings, and private investigating organizations such as NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization), MUFO (Mutual UFO Network), and Dr. Allen Hynek's Center for UFO Studies. There are thousands of these reports on record by now, and they probably represent a very small percentage of contact cases. Many witnesses prefer not to report their contacts with UFOs because they want to avoid publicity and ridicule. I have gathered many of these "silent witness" reports through the years. If anyone has experienced contact with UFO entities I would welcome a letter describing it at P.O. Box 5195, Louisville 42205.
Question: But didn't most scientists just write off the contactee information?
Elkins: In the '50s, most did. But those who took the time to examine the ever-growing pile of UFO data became intrigued. Dr. Hynek is an excellent case. He began in 1949 as an official Air Force debunker of UFOs, hired to track down the natural causes for UFO sightings. About one in five of the reports was stubbornly unexplainable. Now, 30 years later, Hynek is leading the orthodox-scientist "ufologists" in their attempt to get major funding for studying UFO phenomena.
Question: What about the Air Force study? Didn't it decide that UFOs were not for real?
Elkins: The Air Force did several studies of UFOs, spanning the years 1948 to 1968, when they turned the data over to a civilian committee at the University of Colorado headed by Dr. Edward Condon. The ultimate conclusion was that the evidence did not show that the subject could benefit by further scientific study. Neither the government nor the private sector claims that UFOs don't exist. The Air Force's original fear was that our skies were not safe because of UFOs, and they no longer feel that UFOs are a security threat. Of course, many of the alleged contactees stress that UFOs are not here on any sort of hostile mission.
Question: Have you investigated UFO sightings or contactees in person?
Elkins: Yes, many of each. But you know, there's nothing particularly romantic about doing that kind of detective work. It just boils down to plain, old-fashioned digging, checking the evidence and matching up the stories.
Question: How, for instance, would you tell if someone who claimed to have been contacted by a UFO were lying?
Elkins: OK, I'll give you an example. In the book we mention a case in Fern Creek, KY, in 1963 in which four young boys reported a craft landing and a humanoid in a space suit emerging. Two of the boys threw dirt clods at the entity, and they said it shot them with a small black rod, producing a slightly painful tingling sensation. On that one, the Air National Guard colonel and I behaved as police detectives would. We put the boys in separate rooms and questioned them at length. All four stories matched. And the description they gave of the humanoid matched information in NICAP files of more than 200 other sightings in the Ohio River Valley area in exact detail.
I should add that the longer you work in this area, the easier it is to spot any fabrications. After 30 years of it, someone lying about an encounter is like someone trying to tell you a small detail about your particular line of daily work that you would immediately spot as untrue.
Question: You mentioned that you have been impressed with the similarity in the messages the contactees reported receiving. What were the similarities?
Elkins: Well, there were similarities of circumstances, too. Many contactees first report a UFO sighting during which they have "lost" time. They see a craft arrive and leave, and then they find that they cannot account for their activities for a given period of time. Later, by themselves or with the help of hypnotic time-regression techniques, they begin to remember details of an encounter with UFOnauts, be it a telepathic communication or an incident of being taken aboard a craft, as with the two men in Mississippi in 1973.
Question: What are hypnotic time-regression techniques?
Elkins: Hypnosis is a technique whereby a person can achieve a high degree of concentration. A hypnotic subject should enter into hypnosis only when he and the qualified hypnotist have a clear understanding of what is to be accomplished. Time-regression means the suggestion by the hypnotist that the subject cast his mind back in time in order to remember clearly an event that has happened to him in the past. Working with carefully selected subjects, I've used this technique on UFO witnesses and also many people who wish to investigate the possibility that they have lived before.
Question: What do past life memories have to do with UFOs?
Elkins: Well, it provides more evidence for reincarnation, which most religions other than Christianity accept as an article of faith. And reincarnation as it pertains to the purpose of life is mentioned in many UFO contactee messages—which have a strong religious or philosophical flavor.
Question: You mean it's not "take me to your leader" kind of stuff that the contactees report?
Elkins: Not at all. They are much more concerned with the spiritual evolution of mankind.
Question: The spiritual evolution of mankind? Could you give an example of the kind of message from a UFO you are talking about?
Elkins: Sure. In our book we provide numerous samples of messages. This is a typical one:
"Our purpose in coming at this time is to help speed up these reactions so you will be prepared for the changeover in the earth's frequency. This is taking place over a number of years. Many of your people are being affected mentally and spiritually in a discomforting way, and some of them in a very spiritual way. . . . The program in operation is to prepare the earth for a major rise in consciousness, in what you call Christ awareness but what we term communication with Universal Energy."
Question: This change-over in frequency the message talks about, that sounds more philosophical than physical.
Elkins: Physics and philosophy are getting together more and more. What is the physics of philosophy? What is the philosophy of physics? With Husserl's phenomenological studies and The Tao of Physics, we are seeing the frontiers of knowledge unifying.
Question: But back to this matter of a frequency change, a change in the earth's vibratory rate. With your background in physics, does it make sense to talk about increasing the vibratory rate of the whole planet? Can such a change occur, right down to the atomic level?
Elkins: Don't make too much of my background in orthodox science. Senior scientists would be the first to admit that on the theoretical level, everything we take for granted because it "works" is quite lacking in a theoretical basis. Physicists could spend a lifetime in a lab trying to discover how many quarks there are in a hydrogen atom. But when they're finished, they still do not know, really, what a hydrogen atom is.
Question: Right, but what about this mass shift in vibration? Could such a thing actually happen?
Elkins: Well, strange things—for which there is no acceptable scientific explanation—are happening all the time. Like telekinesis, a person willing some object to move. Or Uri Geller bending metal with his mind. Geller says his powers are directed by UFOs, and other people say Geller is just a good magician. Then there are the children that Professor John Taylor of Kings College in London has written about, who begin metal-bending "tricks" when they see Geller perform on TV. I myself have witnessed psychic surgeons in the Philippines and Mexico performing operations that defy everything we know about illness and hygiene. There's obviously quite a lot going on that we have to either call fakery or label as paranormal because we don't have any scientific laws that cover it. So, in answer to your question, of course such a change in vibratory rates could occur. Some of the messages say, by the way, that vibrational change is how UFOs appear and disappear in our atmosphere—they alter their vibratory rate to enter our reality.
Question: That was going to be one of my next questions, how UFOs fly.
Elkins: I'm not nearly so concerned about the mechanics of how they come and go, although I do think it's rather interesting that in reports of UFOs in past centuries the craft were often described as sailing ships, with UFO-nauts dressed in costumes of the period. I'm much more concerned with why they come, what they're trying to get across to us.
Question: And you've concluded that they are trying to help us, to warn us?
Elkins: Yes. Maybe some of them are just sightseeing, visiting other dimensions of reality. But most of the contactee messages talk about raising our planetary consciousness.
Question: And how are we supposed to do that?
Elkins: That's one level of service. Another level, and a far more important one, they say, is anything we do to increase the spiritual level of our fellow man. That's the more permanent kind of service. Central to all their messages is the necessity of our attuning to the will of the Creator through meditation.
Question: It is beginning to sound like a religious message.
Elkins: Only because we've been conditioned to think such a message is religious. And, of course, what they say is right in the mainstream of all religions and the teachings of the great spiritual masters.
Carla Rueckert: People often ask me if I've found any conflict between our UFO research and Christianity, because I'm a practicing Christian. The answer is no.
Jesus said that there are two great commandments: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and mind and soul, and love thy neighbor as thyself. The UFO messages echo these guidelines repeatedly. The difference, perhaps, is that the contactee messages are spiritual without dogmatism or theology. Some who are disenchanted with the church find their messages quite helpful.
Question: And if we don't heed their messages?
Elkins: Then, the messages say, we are going to be in for it. There will be cataclysmic changes, the apocalypse that has been predicted down through the ages. Armageddon. The so-called end of the world.
Question: Meaning atomic warfare? Or accidents with atomic energy?
Elkins: Maybe. That's obviously one of the possibilities for our doing ourselves in, which seems to be of great concern to the UFO entities. But the messages only specifically say that the upheavals on our planet will be brought about because the majority of mankind will not be ready, vibrationally, for the step-up in energies when it comes.
Question: But the apocalypse is not inevitable? The UFO people are not just hanging around to rescue survivors or some elect group?
Elkins: No, they seem to be saying that it is up to us. The shift in vibration is coming, but it can be either peaceful or very traumatic, depending on our response to their message of global peace and brotherhood.
Question: But if that is the alternative they offer, wouldn't it be a lot more efficient for them to stage some unmistakable landing and announce our choices to us, once and for all?
Elkins: Every time I talk about UFOs, someone always asks that question. Why do they play this sort of hide-and-seek game with us? That, by the way, was handled very realistically in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind—the elusiveness, almost slipperiness, of UFO sightings.
The answer has to do with free will, our free will. They can't interfere with our freedom of choice to go on as we are going, or to evolve spiritually. Here's one of the messages in our book:
"We of the Confederation of Planets in the Service of the Infinite Creator have attempted to balance between too much exposure of our craft to the people of this planet and too little exposure. If we were to become too much a common phenomenon, so that our presence was beyond question, then we would eliminate, at least in part, a large interest in seeking for spiritual truth. It is necessary that the evidence of our visits and our communications be of such a nature that it can be rejected or accepted by anyone who is exposed to it."
That lays to rest the question of "Why don't they contact our governments?" The battle of good and evil is going on within each of us all the time. That may be the Armageddon predicted in the Bible. And each of us may have a lot more to do with the fate of the planet then we realize.
Question: You must run into a lot of people who think all this is just so much nonsense.
Elkins: I do, but I don't try to convert people. I just want to make the UFO message available to interested people. Of course, if they want "proof," I can point out that some of the UFOnauts' predictions have turned out to be verifiable. In the 1950s, the messages talked about a coming age in which paranormal abilities such as telepathy would come to be accepted as almost commonplace. Now we have many such abilities being reported and investigated. But, of course, people are still free to reject them, to say that is all fakery. Or, I can tell people that they themselves may be able to receive telepathic communications from UFOs.
Question: Just anyone can?
Elkins: Well, you have to enter into it with an open mind, not resisting. You have to enter a meditative state. And, we have found in experimenting with contactees for the last 15 years or so, that it helps if they are in the presence of another contactee, and in a group. We've seen hundreds of new contactees develop right here in this room over the years.
Question: And the messages they receive are all similar?
Elkins: Yes. The messages always sound the same general themes: That man on Earth is not living up to his heritage, and that he may rediscover that heritage through meditation, remembrance of the love of the Creator, and service to his fellow man.