Growing up on the family ranch near Roswell, N.M. in the 1940s provided Apollo 14 astronaut and paranormal researcher-in-the-making Edgar Mitchell with more than a few clues to his destiny. On the way to school, for example, he would walk past the house of reclusive rocket scientist Robert Goddard whose obscure experiments in the 1920s had inspired the German ballistic missiles of World War II and paved the way for Mitchell’s own lunar mission, yet a quarter century away. There were also aircraft of the wood and cloth variety available for flying—an opportunity not lost on the young test pilot-to-be (his first solo flight came at 14). As a youth, Mitchell watched and wondered at the mysterious glows which filled the night skies over nearby White Sands as an atomic age was being hatched in secrecy. And later another—perhaps stranger—episode, the purported crash of a flying saucer just a few miles away, would also leave intriguing clues to be pondered in a future, still—a half century later—in the process of unfolding.
One of the few humans known to have viewed the earth as an "extra-terrestrial," and one of only 12—so far as we know—to have actually set foot on another celestial body, Mitchell, with co-writer Dwight Williams, has just finished a new book The Way of the Explorer (Putnam, N.Y.) relating the many experiences in space and on earth which render the universe a far more marvelous and mysterious place than the titans of established science—and, for that matter, most of his fellow astronauts—have dared to admit.
In the book, Mitchell details his widely and sensationally publicized—yet fully scientific—attempt to communicate telepathically from the moon with colleagues back on earth, and goes on to describe the experiment’s virtually unreported "dramatic" and positive results. But, it was on the trip back to Earth during that 1971 mission, that he made his most significant encounter with infinity—an experience that was to change his life forever and lead to some of the revolutionary, albeit controversial, conclusions in his book.
He writes, "...as I looked beyond the earth itself to the magnificence of the larger scene, there was a startling recognition that the nature of the universe was not as I had been taught. My understanding of the separate distinctness and the relative independence of movement of those cosmic bodies was shattered. There was an upwelling of fresh insight coupled with a feeling of ubiquitous harmony—a sense of interconnectedness with the celestial bodies surrounding our spacecraft."
For Mitchell, the experience, which he would later describe as an epiphany, was so profound and moving that he knew his life had changed irreversibly. Though, he continued briefly with the space program and served on the backup crew for Apollo 16, he soon went on to establish, in the early ’70s—for the purpose of investigating many of the questions which had come to preoccupy him—the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Having earned a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from M.I.T., Mitchell was acutely aware of the failures of western science to deal with the perplexing problems of consciousness and non-physical reality. His own observations had already provided plenty of data which failed to square with prevailing views of the possible.
Soon Mitchell encountered Norbu Chen an American trained in Tibetan Buddhism who, to his amazement, successfully healed his mother of chronic eye problems and thereafter provided plenty of material for investigation. Later he met Uri Geller (the Israeli psychic who was to become famous for his spoon bending abilities) and subsequently sponsored numerous experiments to establish the truth of what was happening. (Mitchell insists that Geller has not been successfully debunked—as has been claimed—and that it is, in fact, the debunkers who have some explaining to do.)
His own research, plus results from some of the more exotic experiments on the frontiers of science, have led Mitchell, in an effort to account for evidence of "the non-local interconnectedness of things" to offer in his book what he calls a "dyadic" model to explain things. The universe, he concludes, is formed of inseparable pairs called dyads which emerge into time and space from a "zero point"—the intelligent self-generating source of the universe, where all information is stored and never lost, and with which it is possible to resonate and thus, theoretically, to gain access to all knowledge—another way of describing what some religions term enlightenment.
"Zero Point" he defined recently as "(having) zero dimensions, as in mathematics, a point, not a line, plane or solid—just quantum fluctuation— working like a mirror to create a virtual image, which is building up resonance." Fascinated by the efforts of Nikola Tesla, John Keeley and others who have attempted—with apparent success—to tap a universally available source of energy, Mitchell sees possible corroboration for his ideas. "If they are correct and many people think they are," he says cautiously, "(their power source) probably is what we call a zero point field, with non-local interconnected properties."
One experiment, in particular, played a key role in his thinking. A physicist at the University of Paris named Alain Aspect demonstrated that subatomic particles originating from the same source, though separated by great distances, still managed to maintain the proper quantum relationship to each other, despite any changes that might occur to one or the other. The implication being that communication of some sort is occurring between particles over great distances without limitation by the speed of light.
Recently Mitchell agreed to share his thoughts with Atlantis Rising. We reached him at his home in Florida where he lives with his third wife Sheila and his teenage son Adam. After quieting one of his schnauzers and settling down with a cup of herbal tea the former space explorer talked about his book, his theories, UFOs, government cover-ups, ancient mysteries and other controversies.
The Aspect experiment, notwithstanding, communication with fellow astronauts has been limited over the years, though, occasionally, he does talk to some of them, depending on the subject. "Many of the people in my business, after my flight," he chuckles, "came into my office and said ‘tell me about what you are doing, it’s exciting’ but they looked furtively as they came in and closed the door very carefully."
Closed doors are nothing new to Edgar Mitchell, when it comes to finding mainstream acceptance for his ideas, but he is reluctant to criticize. Though admitting that there is resistance in some quarters, he prefers to make the point that verifiable proof in this area is hard to come by. "We’re dealing with levels of nature that are exceedingly subtle, and require a great deal of sophistication in testing them and a lot of money." If there is a problem, he prefers to say, it is with the peer review system in which professional journals decide what is and is not worthy of publication. In that area he’s quite willing to say that the system is "atrocious....Too many of the editors, frankly, don’t have the skills to be good judges and so they pass these things off. If they don’t like it they pass it off to somebody they don’t think will like it. If they do like it, they’ll pass it to someone they think will like it. The peer review process is just terribly political." Again, tempering his words, he insists that he has no objection to the process in theory. The difficulty, as with most areas of human function, is hypocrisy. "We talk about the beauty of science, the objectivity, but we let our emotions, our power plays, our greed, etc.—our human fallibility’s—get into virtually everything we do, including the peer review process." Will he stipulate that in many cases individuals are more concerned with preserving their own prerogatives than the truth? "Absolutely!" The realm of ideas has evolved like most other kinds of politics. "We have stopped burning witches at the stake, but we have certainly not stopped persecuting."
Regarding the role of government in blocking the dissemination of information, however, he is more willing to cry cover-up, particularly when it comes to questions regarding the famous "crashed UFO" incident at Roswell in 1948. "All you have to do is ask for some information under the freedom of information act," he complains, "and then get in return blacked-out pages, to perceive that. In other words, if you want to know more about it than the notion that it was simply a weather balloon at Roswell, and you ask for answers pertaining simply to that, you get back nothing but the standard pat old answers, filled through and through with censorship that is totally inappropriate to the issue."
Mitchell says he was 17 at the time of the Roswell incident and didn’t personally know any of the principles, though his parents did. In recent years though he has been in touch with many who appear to have been very close to the source, including Jesse Marcel, Jr., it is clear to Mitchell that many are still frightened about giving testimony. Making no claims of first-hand knowledge in the case, he simply asks "that the people who do have first-hand experience be released from any security oaths and be assured that they won’t be prosecuted and that any information relating to the existence of foreign visitors be released." He’s optimistic that someday that will happen.
On NBC’s Dateline in April, Mitchell said that he had "met with people from three countries who in the course of their official duties claim to have had close encounters (of the third kind)." On the show he scoffed at the standard Air Force explanation of Roswell as a crashed weather balloon. "The people that were there say that’s utter nonsense." Did he think it likely that extra-terrestrials have been to this planet? "From what I now understand and have experienced, I think the evidence is very strong, and large portions of it are classified (by the government)." He also told Dateline that his information from former highly placed US officials is that the government has picked up engineering secrets from UFOs. Dateline was unable to obtain any official response beyond the standard handouts on the subject stating that "there has been no evidence indicating that sighting’s categorized as ‘unidentified’ are extraterrestrial."
As for the notion that modern scientific knowledge is but the rediscovery of lost ancient knowledge, Mitchell thinks it’s only partly true. "What modern science has produced is specificity and a new way of looking at detail and measuring details that the ancients couldn’t. They kind of intuitively sensed the broad scale of things. The detail they couldn’t know. Putting it together takes science."
On evidence of advanced scientific knowledge by the ancients, such as the engineering and precise alignment of ancient monuments and the astronomical knowledge implicit in their understanding of such phenomena as the precession of equinoxes, Mitchell seems—not surprisingly—to lean toward the ancient astronaut explanation. Fascinated by the work of Zecharia Sitchin, Mitchell would like to see some serious efforts made to validate theories that civilization on Earth, owes it origins to implantation by extra-terrestrials.
Questions on a related topic, though, touch a sore spot. Space researcher and author Richard Hoagland’s recent charges in a Washington, D.C. press conference—that the astronauts of Apollo 12 and 14 were actually in the midst of ancient ruins on the moon and that photos were systematically doctored to cover up the evidence—provokes nothing but scorn from Mitchell. The entire event was televised live to the world (making such manipulation virtually impossible), he points out, and adds that Hoagland failed to call him for any kind of comment or corroboration (though Mitchell says he could easily have done so). "I would have given (Hoagland) credit for being persistent and hanging by his guns for saying hey, ‘let’s look, there’s something there worth looking at.’ But if he’s going to say that it happened on my flight and there’s something we missed, or something we’re covering up, then he just shot himself in the foot, because we didn’t cover up, we didn’t miss it. There wasn’t anything there. It’s just baloney." Mitchell, however, is willing to concede that there may be something to Hoagland’s Face-on-Mars conjectures, as detailed in his book "The Monuments of Mars." Statistical analysis, Mitchell feels, argues against a purely natural formation on the Cydonia plain. He has long supported a mission to Mars to fully answer such questions.
Whatever he might anticipate from future interplanetary exploration, Mitchell, is less sure what to expect from the ‘undiscovered country’ that lies beyond the frontier called death. Though, he thinks some kind of survival of identity occurs, he suspects "the mechanism is quite different than we’re used to thinking." In Mitchell’s view, the accumulated knowledge and experience of an individual—he prefers to describe it as information—remains intact in a universal "zero point" field where it can be accessed by other individuals with the appropriate resonance, which, he believes, accounts for data cited in support of reincarnation. In Mitchell’s mind there is little difference between such a phenomenon and the classic notion of the soul, though he stops short of believing that discarnate existence outside the three dimensional world can occur—the software requires the hardware. "Right now a human being is a self aware organism," he explains, "and everything before this instant—right now—is memory. It’s just information in your memory or perhaps even somewhere else. What we’re proposing here is that the experience—in the form of information—is simply not lost. So in principle, anyone that could claim that information—that total information—is essentially that person."
For Mitchell zero point is essentially equivalent with God—intelligent, self-organizing, and utilizing information to evolve. "If we in the universe are self-organizing and intelligent and are a product of the universe, then the universe is self-organizing and intelligent and that is also what we ascribe deity to be."
The future for Edgar Mitchell promises to be "more of the same." Which means more books and research into the vast potentials of consciousness, in conjunction perhaps with state-of-the-art media production.
Mitchell has entered into partnership with Hollywood producer Robert Watts (credits include all of the major Lucas and Spielberg movies including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series) and others to form North Tower Films. The goal is to create the kind of consciousness-raising material that can help catalyze the needed changes on our small planet. Mitchell thinks the media can play a dominant role in such a process "as much as scientists," but, he points out, "the media has to go back to objective reporting."
A world in which science, government and the media perform their role without bias...It sounds like a star to aim for. For Edgar Mitchell, it’s already clear, the moon was just a stepping stone to infinity, both without and within. Hopefully, the rest of humanity will soon get the opportunity also to make such discoveries, without interference from civilization’s established institutions. If not, those institutions may find themselves as out-dated as aircraft made from wood and cloth.