"As outlandish as it sounds, some aspects of UFOs and related phenomena may be projections of these collective mentalities."
One of the greatest enigmas related to paranormal and UFO phenomena is a disturbing condition that has afflicted numerous individuals who have visited an area in Utah known as Skinwalker Ranch. Most readers will likely recognize this name from the popular History Channel series that follows credentialed scientists and researchers as they attempt to document evidence of the notoriously elusive presence on the property.
The highly sensationalized nature of this show, which is unfortunately plagued by the network's infamous flair for dramatic editing and sound effects, has arguably tainted the credibility of the experiments and sacrificed the optics of serious science for the producers' need to capture mainstream attention.
This is quite unfortunate, as the historical accounts emanating from the Uintah basin have resulted in a fascinating supernatural mystery — one that does not require superfluous theatrics to convince any open-minded researcher that something truly anomalous is happening.
The condition I’m referring to is what has come to be known as the "hitchhiker effect," a seemingly contagious paranormal infection that reportedly “latches on” to individuals who spend time at the ranch. One can't be blamed for being skeptical of such a ridiculous-sounding scenario, but this viral high strangeness may actually be more understandable than it first seems.
I will not bore the reader with yet another rehashing of the Robert Bigelow era on the ranch, but one veteran of that research team has elaborated on the possible mechanisms behind the hitchhiker effect in recent years.
In the book Skinwalkers at the Pentagon, this otherworldly psychological pathogen is described in great detail. The authors — Dr. James Lacatski, Dr. Colm Kelleher, and journalist George Knapp — lay out the bizarre symptoms and eerie cognitive manifestations brought upon the intelligence officers and military personnel who have spent time at what Knapp has dubbed the "paranormal Disneyland."
Referred to by ranch regulars as "bringing something home," the stories recounted by these service members describe numerous odd — and at times disturbing — phenomena, such as orbs floating throughout their homes, poltergeist events, and what one family referred to as "dogmen" trespassing in their backyard.
In addition to these strange visual encounters, debilitating health effects have also been reported by the victims of this peculiar infection. Auto-immune diseases in particular seemed to be common, some eventually leading to severe conditions such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and lupus.
Since the book's controversial release in 2021, Dr. Kelleher has come forward and expanded upon the hitchhiker effect even further, providing additional speculation as to the cause of the cognitive aspects experienced by infected individuals.
Writing for the newsletter Edge Science, Kelleher cites a paper authored by Bernardo Kastrup, a scientist-turned-philosopher and anti-materialist who focuses on the metaphysical aspects of the universe.
In the paper — a runner-up in the life-after-death essay contest held by the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies — Kastrup writes a couple of paragraphs concerning the effects of psychedelics on the brain's default mode network (DMN), the contents of which are then cited by Kelleher in his Edge Science article.
For instance, up until 2012 neuroscience and most lay physicalists had always assumed that psychedelics generate immensely rich and intense experiences — which subjects report as ranking among the top 5 most significant experiences of their lives —by lighting up the brain like a Christmas tree. That’s why, when researchers realized that psilocybin (the active ingredient of magic mushrooms) in fact only reduces activity throughout the brain, without increasing it anywhere, the neuroscience community was surprised.
Since that seminal study, the results have been consistently replicated for most other psychedelic substances. In all cases, the physiological effect of the psychedelic is to reduce brain activity, particularly in the so-called ‘default mode network,’ which is correlated with our ego or sense of individual identity. The phenomenological effect, on the other hand, is one of the richest and most intense experiences a human being can possibly have. If one’s brain is effectively going to sleep during those experiences, where are the experiences then coming from?
As I have written about the default mode network previously, I will focus less on the mechanisms of its daily cognitive responsibilities, and more on why this specific area of the brain may have been chosen by Kelleher to include in his article on the hitchhiker effect.
In this context, Kelleher speaks of the idea that "the brain may act as a 'filter' of consciousness," an idea first proposed by Aldous Huxley in 1954. As the DMN appears to "turn off" when psychedelics are consumed by an individual, it could be deduced that these areas of the brain may contain the instrument for this "filter" — and what we experience as hallucinations may actually be the information that makes up the reality beyond our perception, passing through as the aperture is widened by these substances.
Why this information would be perceived by the human brain as a hallucination is anyone’s guess, but it would make sense to consider that our brain might just be overwhelmed with the data. Perhaps our biological hardware just isn’t quite up to the task yet.
The Infamous Antenna
These ideas bring to mind certain speculations put forth by Dr. Garry Nolan in interviews regarding anomalous cognition, and how there may be information surrounding us at all times that only specific individuals like shamans may be capable of perceiving.
Responding to a question from Micah Hanks on a recent episode of his podcast, Nolan describes a theory of what he refers to as "anomalous information."
If there were a place where you wanted to transmit anomalous information, you already have the pre-existing hardware to accept that information, to process that information, and to make decisions on that information in the brain.
If psi is a real thing, then you're not going to make a new neuronal connection from an evolutionary standpoint. Evolution always plays upon and uses pre-existing hardware. So this pre-existing hardware was sort of the perfect place where information could be accessed.
Now, how it happens, I have no clue. Where the information is coming from, I have no clue. But your brain sits in a matrix of spacetime and quantum fields. You are quantum fields, even though we like to think of ourselves as one thing or another.
You're interacting with other people via quantum fields — light, sound, which are vibrating molecules across the space between one individual and another — so maybe there's other kinds of information floating around here that we don't quite understand yet.
Yet, the quantum fields that are your brain neurons are sensitive to them, and perhaps certain organizations of the neurons — or let's say the tubulins in the cells, which some people think are where consciousness resides — are sensitive to it, and they're the things that pick it up and integrate it.
Taking this concept of anomalous information in the context of the hitchhiker effect, and what the individuals experiencing it are perceiving, the next logical step would be to question what that means when it comes to the "filter" aspect of our brains.
Could the hitchhiker effect be similar to psychedelics — not necessarily in that infection induces hallucination, but that a certain perceptive aperture is opened, allowing reception of this anomalous information to occur?
Is the pre-existing hardware referenced by Nolan the area of the brain — perhaps the basal ganglia — that receives this anomalous information when the DMN is deactivated?
What is the source of this anomalous information, and why is it so goddamn weird when experienced in the context of the hitchhiker effect?
To explore some potential answers to these questions, let's now turn to more recent revelations brought forward by witnesses during the recent Congressional hearing on the UFO phenomenon.
Several interesting insights were laid out during a historic hearing on the decades-long UFO coverup held by the Oversight Committee of the House of Representatives a few weeks ago.
During his testimony, Air Force veteran and former NRO official David Grusch made some startling allegations regarding defense contractors and their role in illegally funneling money into programs that were attempting to reverse-engineer non-human technology.
Beyond the accusations of corruption, however, was a claim Grusch made when asked by Representative Eric Burlison about the notion that these craft that are disrupting military training exercises on a daily basis may be interdimensional in nature.
Rep. Burlison: And with that being said, you have mentioned that there's interdimensional potential. Could you expound on that?
David Grusch: Yeah, to answer your first question, and I'm here as a fact witness and expert, but I will give you a theoretical framework at least to work off to espouse crashes. Regardless of your level of sentience, planes crash, cars crash. In a number of sorties however high, a small percentage are going to end in mission failure, if you will, as we say in the Air Force.
And then in terms of multidimensionality, that kind of thing, the framework that I'm familiar with, for example, is something called the holographic principle. It derives itself from general relativity and quantum mechanics. And that is, if you want to imagine 3D objects such as yourself casting a shadow onto a 2D surface, that's the holographic principle.
So you can be projected, quasi projected, from higher dimensional space to lower dimensional. It's a scientific trope that you can actually cross literally, as far as I understand, but there's probably guys with PhDs that we could probably argue about that.
It is interesting to consider the hitchhiker effect in the context of the holographic principle, considering the UFO phenomenon is a major aspect of research on Skinwalker Ranch and these anomalous objects have been reported frequently in the area for decades.
The ins and outs of the holographic principle are way beyond my ability to explain, but the general idea is that the entire universe is a 3D projection emanating from the two-dimensional surface of a black hole. All of the information contained within what we perceive of our reality is contained within that two-dimensional surface.
When taken together with the cognitive symptoms of the hitchhiker effect — and the UFO phenomenon in general — we are left with several fascinating questions.
Are these paranormal phenomena just anomalous information from the hologram leaking into our perceptive experience?
Is the default mode network in the brain the mechanism that keeps these "lasers" focused on our shared reality — or what Carl Jung referred to as the collective unconscious?
Is the hitchhiker effect controlling these "lasers" — and for some reason focusing them on more the more negative aspects of our collective unconscious?
Luckily for us, these questions are addressed in a work by a man named Michael Talbot, and his commentary is eerily applicable to our current line of thinking.
A Revolutionary Theory
In his fascinating book The Holographic Universe, author Michael Talbot explores how the theory could explain several paranormal phenomena, including UFOs. However, as we will see, this may also explain other bizarre perceptual anomalies such as the hitchhiker effect experienced by those who have visited supernatural hotspots like Skinwalker Ranch.
It also may solve another mystery that has yet to be addressed in a comprehensive way: the enigma of the immune system problems reported by the families that have fallen victim to its transmission.
I will quote Talbot at length here, as his speculation is quite relevant to our current conversation.
Another concept from the new physics may be relevant here. After acknowledging that consciousness is the agent that allows a subatomic particle such as an electron to pop into existence, we should not, therefore, jump to the conclusion that we are the sole agents in this creative process, cautions University of Texas physicist John Wheeler. We are creating subatomic particles and hence the entire universe, says Wheeler, but they are also creating us. Each creates the other in what he calls a "self-reference cosmology."
Seen in this light, UFO entities may very well be archetypes from the collective unconscious of the human race, but we may also be archetypes in their collective unconscious. We may be as much a part of their deep psychic processes as they are of ours. Strieber has also echoed this point and says that the universe of the beings who abducted him and our own are "spinning each other together" in an act of cosmic communion.
The spectrum of events we are lumping into the broad category of UFO encounters may also include phenomena with which we are not even yet familiar. For instance, researchers who believe the phenomenon is some kind of psychic projection invariably assume that it is a projection of the collective human mind.
However, as we have seen in this book, in a holographic universe we can no longer view consciousness as confined solely to the brain. The fact that Carol Dryer was able to communicate with my spleen and tell me that it was upset because I had yelled at it indicates that other organs in our body also possess their own unique forms of mentality.
Psychoneuroimmunologists say the same about the cells in our immune system, and according to Bohm and other physicists, even subatomic particles possess this trait. As outlandish as it sounds, some aspects of UFOs and related phenomena may be projections of these collective mentalities.
Certain features of Michael Harner's encounter with the dragonlike beings certainly suggest that he was confronting a kind of visual manifestation of the intelligence of the DNA molecule. In this same vein, Strieber has suggested the possibility that UFO beings are what "the force of evolution looks like when it's applied to a conscious mind."
We must remain open to all of these possibilities. In a universe that is conscious right down to its very depths, animals, plants, and even matter itself may all be participating in the creation of these phenomena.
There is a lot to digest here, and I will leave it to the reader to interpret for themselves what the holographic principle mentioned by David Grusch in his Congressional testimony means in the context of the hitchhiker effect, the UFO phenomenon, and our reality in general.
However, I will end this article with a few final questions that come to mind for me personally when I consider the implications of this theory.
If psychoneuroimmunologists believe that our immune cells contain some type of mentality as Talbot's research suggests, could that explain the autoimmune diseases suffered by victims of the hitchhiker effect?
Is the removal of the "filter" from these immune cells' "consciousness" causing them to act in erratic ways — just as the perceived "hallucinations" affect our cognition while tripping, if in fact the DMN is also deactivated during this infection?
Do these filters in both our brain and our cells keep us healthy until the imperceptible anomalous information inevitably overpowers them, eventually leading to cognitive and cellular disorders like Alzheimer's disease and cancer?
And lastly, is our individual consciousness released into the collective unconscious — previously an ocean of "anomalous" information leaking into our reality, and perceived as paranormal phenomena — once these perceptive filters are completely removed when our final cells die and our brain shuts down?
These are some heavy questions, and to be completely honest I did not expect to end up on the subject of life after death when I began writing this article about the hitchhiker effect. Although extremely speculative and no doubt filled with holes, I believe this article has been a productive exercise in following the data wherever it leads.
All I know for sure is that there is an intelligent phenomenon on this planet, and it would appear from David Grusch’s testimony that credible people in senior positions within the US government believe exploring the holographic principle may provide some clues as to its origin.