An Interview with Christopher O’Brien
By Brent Raynes
CHRISTOPHER O’BRIEN had been a professional designer, musician and an actor/model in New York City for over a decade when he moved to the San Luis Valley of Colorado in 1989. Today an acclaimed author and paranormal investigator, Christopher is best known for his books The Mysterious Valley (1996), Enter The Valley (1999), and Secrets of the Mysterious Valley (2007), books that chronicle the incredible UFO waves of high-strangeness that have plagued this region. He has also authored numerous magazine articles that have appeared in FATE, UFO Universe, Phenomena, Zeitgeist, to name but a few.
Christopher presently lives in Sedona, Arizona, another place well-known for UFO and related phenomena of high-strangeness.
Christopher has a website at: http://www.ourstrangeplanet.com/
Christopher O’Brien: I just kind of bailed from there [Colorado]. All of the activity dropped off about 2000, so I hung on for a couple more years. I kind of left to sort of get out of my own way. It’s the Copenhagen Interpretation. The very act of observing a process changes it. For some reason, people call it the Heisenberg Effect, but it’s not. It’s actually the Copenhagen Interpretation.
So I felt like I was kind of in my own way, plus there was a thousand year drought there and I couldn’t take it anymore. Living trees were four times drier than kiln dried lumber.
Editor: You’re in Sedona, Arizona now. I did an interview a couple of years ago with Tom Dongo who has chronicled a lot of events there, although he says it’s dropped off in recent years compared to what it used to be. He’s written books about the Sedona UFO activity and paranormal events.
Christopher O’Brien: Recently we had a pretty cool sighting near here the second week in November.
Editor: It sounds like you’ve gone from one window to another.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Christopher O’Brien: I was raised in Medina, Washington. If I was 12 right now and still had my old paper route I’d be Bill Gates’s paper boy.
Editor: Your interest in UFOs happened while you were in college?
Christopher O’Brien: No, I had a very up close and personal experience when I was six years old in 1963, there in Medina.
Editor: Is that close to Seattle?
Christopher O’Brien: It’s on the lake in Bellevue.
Editor: So six years old. Was there anyone else involved in that?
Christopher O’Brien: My sister. She was the one who found me. It took her awhile, but she found me after about 40-45 minutes. She was trying to ID where I was, and found me about 3 in the morning. She brought me back to the house. I was so scared that she put me into bed with her.
Editor: So this was a very traumatic event then.
Christopher O’Brien: No, it wasn’t traumatic. Actually, in retrospect, I was a little scientist. I even devised an ad hoc experiment to try to get a better look at them and lure them underneath a street light, in my neighbor’s yard. He had a farm light — a mercury vapor lamp, and I got out in the middle of the grass, and the neighbor’s on the other side had a big lawn and I waited for the four little guys, about my size, to come through. Of course, my parents said it was a nightmare. I ended up three houses away from where I last remembered with a certain period of missing time and all of that.
Editor: Wow, so this was all going on with you as a young boy.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, in 1963 when I was six, and then years later I read Operation Trojan Horse by John Keel and found out that he had investigated three or four contact-type reports from the three towns surrounding my town, that same year, that same Spring. That kind of brought it all back.
This experience with what I called the stick men instilled in me a life-long interest in ufology. I devoured every book, every article, and every newspaper story that I could get my hands on for many years growing up. Then when I got to New York it wasn’t cool and I couldn’t see the sky anyway, living near Manhattan, and then I had a really riveting, multiple witnessed sighting up in New Paltz, on the same weekend that Whitley Strieber talks about pretty intense stuff going on just a few miles away at his cabin.
Editor: That’s while you were in college?
Christopher O’Brien: I was visiting a friend up in New Paltz, this happened after a Gentle Giant concert. I’ll never forget that. We actually communicated with it. The lights were way up there. Over 100,000 feet maybe.
Editor: I read that they did patterns in the sky?
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah. We actually devised a physical experiment where five of us lined ourselves, laying on the ground, in geometric shapes, and then the objects mirrored that.
Steven Greer take notes! (laughs)
That’s grist for a whole complete article right there. I was the one who turned Greer on to Crestone, where he has his annual Ambassadors to the Universe training, every year, for 10 or 12 years now I think.
Editor: He’s become of course very well known over the years.
Christopher O’Brien: Well Sheri Adamiak was his original rudder and she kind of ran CSETI. She became a very, very dear friend of mine before she died in 1998.
Editor: So this eventually drew you to the San Luis Valley?
Christopher O’Brien: No, I knew about the Valley. I knew about Snippy the horse when I was a little kid, 10 years old, and I tried to visit one time in 1979, but couldn’t get up there because of the snow. Some friends had suggested that I check it out when I didn’t like Santa Fe, when I had moved out to New Mexico there from Boston. And I ended up staying for 13 years.
Editor: So what turned you on to the San Luis Valley, or am I getting too far ahead?
Christopher O’Brien: No, not really. Like I said, I had moved out West and had landed in Santa Fe with my girlfriend, and I couldn’t stand it there. I had a friend and his girlfriend who lived up in Crestone and he had said, “Come and check it out up here.” I had visited there a few months before and when I made the turn off of the main highway going into Crestone, which is like a 12 mile dead end right at the base of 14,000 foot mountains. I remember thinking that the mountains looked like teeth and anybody that was going to be foolish enough to live there would get eaten up and spit out. You’ve been there, you know.
Editor: Yes. It’s an awesome thing.
Christopher O’Brien: So I arrived in 1989. I was a gigging musician in New York, on the East Coast. I was in a pretty successful band in Boston. And the first thing I did when I moved to the Valley was start asking some of the old timers I met if they knew anything about all of the UFO sightings from the 1960s. I ended up only asking a few people because I realized very quickly that I didn’t want people to look at me weird (laughs), real strangely, especially being a newcomer to the area. Of course, years later, I found out that you had to be a SLV local to get people to even acknowledge the subject matter, let alone open up and volunteer things.
So early on, the first couple or three years, I was aware that there had been some activity in the past. I knew about the Snippy case, but I didn’t research, investigate, or any of that from 1989 to 1992. About three years. Then we had probably the most intense wave of UFO activity, in any geographic region in the United States, that occurred for the next six years. I feel that I can document and substantiate this particular, very bold claim based on the database that I was able to accumulate.
Editor: And you actually, as things unfolded, it became pretty common for you to actually see things yourself.
Christopher O’Brien: Dozens and dozens and dozens of sightings. At least fifty, if not more. Some were really spectacular, some were routine, some were with multiple witnesses, and some that dovetailed with 10-15 people around the Valley seeing similar things, if not the same things from different vantage points.
Editor: What were some of your most memorable sightings that really stand out?
Christopher O’Brien: There’s no way! I mean, I saw objects every color, size, shape, and speed. Probably the most impressive was the huge, huge green orb that I saw flying up the Sangres at about 3 a.m. in the morning, in early January. This would have been either 1991 or 1992. It was a huge thing. A full moon is about an aspirin at arms length. This thing was the size of a penny. It flew all the way up the Sangres. Completely silent. It had to have been hundreds and hundreds of feet in diameter. 400 to 500 feet, maybe more. No, no, it would have been way more.
It made the full moon look like Venus! (laughs) Let’s put it that way. It was huge. I remember it was well below zero that night.
The roads out there, as you know, just go straight for miles. You can fall asleep for ten minutes and wake up and you’d still be on the road. (laughs) Alamosa to Salida is two hours and twenty minutes and the road has one slight little kink in it. So anyway, before that particular event I was dead tired and coming home from a gig. I was pinching myself to stay awake, and I’ll tell after that when I got home and I couldn’t go to sleep. (laughs)
Editor: That got your adrenalin stirred.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, and what’s strange is that I heard a crackling sound in my ears, which I thought was very peculiar. That really gave me a heads up on a whole other realm beyond simply rods and cones firing off. I mean, I heard a distinct crackling sound in my ears when that thing was in sight. I felt, on an auditory level, some sort of field, and I was probably 15 miles away.
Editor: Right. People have seen meteors and heard kind of a hissing sound or whatever and scientists have said that they’re not actually hearing the sound from the meteor because it’s too far away, but there’s like a plasma field that’s created by the meteor coming into the atmosphere.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, but a plasma field is ionized gas, that’s a visual thing.
Editor: Yeah, they were saying that it creates some sort of electromagnetic type of energy field that maybe stimulates the hairs inside the inner ear.
Christopher O’Brien: It sounded like white noise, like static in my head. Like the static between shortwave radio stations or something.
Editor: Well that’s interesting. Very interesting.
With the people who actually had owned Snippy [the first publicized unexplained livestock death or “mutilation.”], you had found out about some people who had cleaned up the cabin belonging to the Berle Lewis family [who owned Snippy].
Christopher O’Brien: Yes, Roger Laborde. He’s a world famous coma specialist, I guess, for lack of a better term. My second book, half of the last chapter is about him. He travels around the world helping families and he either helps bring back coma patients or he gives them permission to pass over. I met him early on when I moved to the SLV. They had two daughters that were just slightly older than Isadora’s daughter and we became friends. And just before I began my investigation I had talked to them and they had told me this incredible story that they worked with the Universal Educational Foundation and the group had just bought the upper King ranch and they were up there cleaning it out and they found these loose leaf journals, evidently written by Nellie Lewis, the owner of Snippy, and they put them down in the house on the counter in the kitchen. Two guys left, dressed in slacks with their shirts off and just their undershirts on, and they were like cleaning up and everybody thought that they were somebody else’s friend and nobody, in retrospect, knew who they were, they left and the journals were gone.
But this happened before I got involved in any of the investigation work. This was just friends telling me an unusual story. I was just a gigging musician who was working construction. So they had no reason to tell me something like that unless it had really happened, and then checking in with other people who were there at the work party I was able to verify that yes, they had found these unusual journals, and they ended up disappearing. These two guys that had been there nobody knew who they were. Everybody thought that they were somebody else’s friend. It was kind of weird and I do go over that in my first book.
Editor: Yeah, I just read it in this book here and I thought what a strange situation.
Christopher O’Brien: Their descriptions were strange too. I interviewed them separately and they all said basically the same thing. There was a drawing of a strange symbol, a triangle with the snake in it. There was some pretty interesting entries and drawings in the journals. There was a woman named Pearl Nicholas who was the editor of the Alamosa Courier, society page, who was Nellie Lewis’s best friend. She documented hundreds of UFO sightings in the ‘60s, and I was unable to track down I think a niece who had her original stories and notes and stuff. A year and a half to two years worth of sighting reports that she had fielded as a reporter.
That whole Snippy case I feel is extremely important. When we look at the tie in between blood and any sort of paranormal phenomena it’s the grand daddy of them all in terms of leaving behind physical evidence. The Snippy case was considered the first cattle mutilation, even though it was a horse. And there has never been another case like it since.
It forever linked a blood based, almost ritualistic element to ufology, and I feel that it’s a very, very pivotal case. It occurred at the height of the Summer of Love that first week of September 1967, when probably more people were turning on to psychedelic substances than any other time. Hundreds of thousands blasting the doors of perception open, and right at the height of that, the end of that week, we have the Snippy case.
This is getting into the realm of Terrence McKenna, Jung and others but I really can’t over-emphasize the importance of this case. People who know me get kind of tired of hearing about it after awhile.
I first found out about the San Luis Valley when I saw the headline and the photograph in the Enquirer, The Star, or whatever publication it was back when I was ten years old. Whatever the rag was, it was at the check out counter at Safeway. I badgered my mom. I said, “Give me a dime! I’ve got to get this! I’ve got to read this article!” Now looking back, forty years later, I think that I can really fully appreciate where that excitement came from.
Editor: Right. I remember FATE magazine having an article by Coral Lorenzen presenting the evidence supporting the case, and then someone else, I can’t remember who, writing an article against the case. It was pro and con.
Christopher O’Brien: Condon came down and investigated it. It’s just such an amazing case. And then finding John Altshuler years later, the pathologist who did the pathology examination. He went through his whole life, that tag, the mystery pathologist, and he wasn’t a pathologist. He was a hematologist. He went back to school and he was in his mid-60s when he got his degree in animal pathology.
Somebody should do a really good book on that. Of course, Coral and Jim did do “Death of an Appaloosa,” which is very difficult to find. I do have some of the only footage of the animal actually, on the ground at the site that is in my DVD about the Snippy Case.
Editor: I just read last year, and I didn’t know this, but Phillip Imbrogno from New York who with Hynek investigated the Hudson Valley sightings.
Christopher O’Brien: And wrote Night Siege, of course.
Editor: Well he wrote in a new book published last year entitled Interdimensional Universe how John Fuller had told him that they had mutilations while they were investigating the UFO incidents at Exeter, New Hampshire but they kept them quiet because they were too controversial or whatever.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, back in 1965. I’ve got that book right here by my bedside actually. What’s important about the Snippy case is not so much that it was the first case. David Perkins found a guy who was in his early 90s who was a forest service worker north of the Valley, right in the shadow of the highest mountains in Colorado, in the Arkansas River Valley, and he found a pile of 15 mutilated elk and deer in the early 1950s. There’s a case from Missouri in the 1930s of mutilated swine. There’s an elk hunter in 1948 finding a mutilated elk in Washington state, a very well documented case with a police report. The very first science fiction movie ever made is about sheep mutilations in Australia, in 1903.
Christopher O’Brien: King James the Second was petitioned by peasants to have the priest do something so God would stop the wanton slaughter of livestock in England, back in the Middle Ages. I’ve also heard references to (I’ve not seen actual translations or documentation) of Middle Kingdom of Egypt, references made by the people imploring the priest class or the pharaoh to stop the strange mutilation of livestock.
Trickster characters in Africa, and in the Far East, are known for taking the genitalia of livestock.
Editor: Trickster characters? Supernatural beings like?
Christopher O’Brien: Well trickster forms are found in all cultures. They range from coyote here in the Southwest to Loki in Scandinavia, Elegba in Africa. There’s trickster characters in all ancient civilizations and they’ve kind of developed into the modern world as well. And tricksters are known for taking the soft tissue organs of livestock. Then there’s the leprechauns. Animals that were elf shot is a term that they used to use back in the Middle Ages. The animals would be dumb founded by supposed trickster type forms, like leprechauns and that sort of thing. Tricksters are often attributed to the removal of soft tissue organs in livestock. Most people do not know that, even in the field. I’m sure that if you’re talking to Linda Howe, Tom Adams or David Perkins, a handful, ten people maybe, that I’ve discussed this with who know that. Jacques Vallee talks about it in Passport to Magonia. Like crop circles, they’ve been reported all the way back into the Middle Ages. My new book coming out this spring is called Stalking the Tricksters that looks at the most ancient of our archetypal characters, the trickster.
Editor: I read a series of books awhile back written back in the 1960s and ‘70s by a German minister [a Dr. Kurt Koch] who traveled all over the world, in the missionary field. He was writing against occult involvement and things. He was kind of like our own version of John Keel but of the Christian community. He described instances of sorcery and things where there were beings that took the form of animals and attacked people and there were strange kind of like mutilations of animals around people’s homes, with people who were under occult bondage, affliction or attack. As I was reading this, I was thinking that except for the context these were some of the same kinds of things that we are hearing in the UFO field.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, it’s like incubus and succubus in abductions. There’s a lot of correlations that you can draw. That’s actually the subject of one of the talks that I give. “What’s The Connection?” I look at abductions, crop circles, animal mutilations, and various attendant phenomenal categories of events that have been attached to ufology. And discuss the validity of this connection. This is a very intriguing subject.
Here’s another theory that I have and it is this. Whenever we start to get disassociated with military activity overseas, the following couple of years after we begin to extricate ourselves from conflict, from spilling blood, from sacrificing our young on the altar of warfare basically, the following several years tend to be when we have a real major upsurge in UFO type activity. We have the 1970s and extricating ourselves from Nam and the 90s departure from Iraq. I see a correlation with upsurges in unexplained livestock death reports.
Editor: Now with the mutilation phenomenon, you’ve investigated quite a few of those cases as well.
Christopher O’Brien: Around two hundred.
Editor: I remember reading in your book Secrets of the Mysterious Valley an impossible situation where…
Christopher O’Brien: There were several impossible cases. Out of the 200, plus or minus cases that I investigated, 40 of them were suspicious, and out of those there were 10 of them that just curled my toes.
Editor: Was the one with the bull that was placed up inside a house one of those?
Christoper O’Brien: That one was found inside of an abandoned adobe shack. There’s no way that bull could have even gotten in through the door, let alone laid it on this huge construction table that was a foot and a half off the ground. It was an almost 2000 pound bull, so it was a real stout, sort of rustic table that they had built. I didn’t actually investigate that case. It happened in 1975. This was an early case in Costilla County. It made the front page of the local paper and there was a photograph of the animal and no one could figure it out. They couldn’t even have gotten it into the adobe shack if they had walked it in, let alone carried a dead animal in. They had to tear down a wall to get it out.
Editor: So from your experience, when someone investigates a UFO close encounter, a landing, a contact, a mutilation incident, what should they be prepared to think about to deal with and handle a situation like that? What’s their best approach?
Christopher O’Brien: The best approach is to know what you’re doing before you even get there. I was very fortunate early on in the Spring of 1993 to be trained over the phone by Linda Howe in terms of actual field investigation techniques, and also working with local law enforcement. They kind of brought me up to speed really quick on how to establish and maintain a crime scene, you know, make sure that you don’t have any sort of compromised circumstances that occur around one of these scenes. That’s the most important thing.
To establish a crime scene is the basic law enforcement technique for acquiring forensic evidence and crime scene evidence. You set up a string that goes into the animal and out from the animal, and everybody walks there. Nobody walks around the animal. Everybody is watching CSI and all of these shows, so people are a lot more up to speed on all of this. But back when I first started out I wouldn’t have had a clue on how to properly investigate one of these cases, and it’s pretty involved. You really have to know what you’re doing.
There are only a few dozen people maybe, that are ever going to have to investigate a case like this. So the odds are against anyone out there ever having the opportunity to even practice their knowledge. I had to learn very quickly and I am very thankful to Linda Howe for giving me a heads up and really kind of taking me to school about actual field investigation of these animal death cases. But Tom Adams and David Perkins and several law enforcement officials, like Gabe Valdez, were real instrumental in giving me even more information on how to research it and how to dovetail my efforts with other investigators, how to network, how to keep a well functioning team of sources for other cases. And it got to the point in 1995, 1996, where I was actually able to warn county sheriffs and deputies and livestock brand inspectors to be on the look out for these cases because we were having these waves of activity going through Colorado and New Mexico. So we were actually, at one point, able to conduct a training seminar for 15-20 law enforcement officials and brand inspectors and livestock board people on how to actually be part of a team and really work together in trying to identify what was going on, and possibly ID who was perpetrating these horrific crimes. And it got to the point, in 1996 or so, after we had had several dozen cases and we were actually able to have a phone tree where we had law enforcement officials talking to one another and people in the ranching community were actually communicating with one another and the stigma behind even acknowledging that this was going on wasn’t even an issue.
Then what happened was the fall of 1998, and the Spring of 1999 when we had no cases. The cattle surgeons moved to South America. We had no cases in the United States for years. Or very few. Just a smattering here and there, for like 6 or 7 years.
We succeeded in scaring them away! I had finally just gotten about a half a dozen veterinarian practitioners in the Valley and law enforcement all were given the NIDS field investigations protocols, what to do when you got to a case, and it took years to get to this point. But we finally got everybody on the same page and then we didn’t have any other cases for years. In 2001-2004 we’ve had this huge blossoming of cases that have occurred down in Argentina and Brazil.
I find that very intriguing.
Editor: Ugh. Well that was discouraging.
So you’ve got to go into this thing prepared to learn the proper investigative techniques, you’ve got to have an open mind, a very open mind, and…
Christopher O’Brien: You’ve got to have the trust of the local media and of the local law enforcement officials. Number one you have to know how to collect forensic plant and soil samples, biophysical samples. You have to know how to conduct a field investigation, and once you’ve conducted that investigation you have to have labs where you send the samples.
Editor: Yeah, if you can get someone who is qualified, a lab tech or someone who is really interested in this sort of thing. Otherwise, it can get very costly having laboratory tests performed.
Christopher O’Brien: Well you know that the rancher isn’t going to pay for it. He’s already lost his investment. That’s one of the beauties of the ingenious nature of these crimes. The rancher doesn’t want to know about it. He drags this thing off to a bone pile and it’s like, “Oh man, there goes two grand. Right there. Boom! I just lost a two thousand dollar bill.” And if it’s a breeding animal, a cow or a seed bull or something then he’s lost how many generations of potential return on investments. So there is a built in sort of nullification factor involved in all of this. In other words, you’re not going to have vets being called out to a mutilation site just to determine the cause of death. The thing is dead and the guy lost his money. That’s why they don’t have vets come out and check it out unless there have been a bunch of cases and people are pissed off, and then they go, “Okay, I’m going to prove that this is unusual.” Most people in the West, a vast majority of small ranchers, do not insure their herds. One of the common debunker, sort of off-hand comments is, “Oh, it’s all insurance fraud. They’re just killing these cows because they can’t feed them and they’re collecting the insurance money.” Well that’s so much BS. In all of the cases that I’ve investigated there was only one rancher out of all of those cases that I felt was possibly doing some sort of insurance scam.
I think that if you look at the percentage of cases that were probably legitimate, in terms of something very high strange that killed their animals, versus the one guy who was possibly trying to scam and get over on the insurance company, I think that the odds are pretty good that it is legit.
Editor: I imagine that in a lot of these cases it was hard to win over the confidence of a lot of these owners to want to even talk with you about it, right?
Christopher O’Brien: I’d say one in ten cases an investigator like myself would hear about, and that’s probably even low. And so out of those ten cases I’d hear about maybe two or three I’d actually be able to go out and do an investigation, meet the rancher. Maybe as many as half, but somewhere between three and five of those ten cases I was able to hear about and was actually able to supply some sort of option for the rancher. And generally those cases were either the high strange ones at the beginning of a wave or cases that occurred later on when people were pissed off and victimized to the extent that they would go public with it. Very, very few of these ranchers are willing to have their names used and go public, and one of the things that I’m most proud about in my first book is that I had 157 people, 160 roughly, who actually went on the record and signed release forms for me to use their name. I read a book like Hunt for the Skinwalker by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp, and although it’s a very good book and it has wonderful things that were revealed in there, there’s four or five people in there who were actually named in the whole book, and we’re talking about a world-class scientific organization that had world-class physicists and microbiologists and veterinary pathologists, and none of them would allow their names to be used in conjunction with some of the reports that were filed and covered in that book. And I look at my book and I’ve got a 160 people on-the-record. Two dozen law enforcement officials who I name, who signed release forms for me to use their names. So when someone says, “What are you most proud about in your investigative work?” That’s what I’m most proud about. I got almost 200 people to go on record and there’s not too many books out there that you can say that about that have been written in the last fifteen years about this subject.
Editor: Yes, that’s very extensive. While we’re on the subject of skinwalkers, while I was out there [New Mexico and Colorado] last August, Priscilla Wolf was telling me stories about skinwalkers. Someone else told me a story about an old story from the San Luis Valley of a man who claimed he had been frightened by a man-sized preying mantis looking being that had been chasing him. Have you come across cases like this in your investigations?
Christopher O’Brien: Not insectoid types, like a six or seven foot tall preying mantis. I’ve never had a case like that in the SLV. That’s pretty rare I would imagine.
You know, the subcultural reports were all second and third hand and I’ve had a very difficult time identifying primary witnesses, being able to ascertain a certain amount of data points about a particular event. A lot of it was that kind of gray area where reports meet the formulation of urban legend, or something. It was always, “Yeah, my best friend’s neighbors dog trainers girlfriend’s aunt,” and then I would actually search down that trainer’s girlfriend’s aunt and very rarely would I be able to identify the primary witness for some of the more subcultural type phenomenal events. You know, skinwalkers, witches, shape shifters. The lore sort of where the Hispanic culture meets the Apache. That sort of mid-16th century realm. Very, very difficult to really investigate. To research, yeah you can find some things, but to actually investigate and find primary witnesses is very, very difficult.
I was able to do it in a few cases and there is something I think there. I do believe that on some level there are dark adepts that are able to shape shift, that are able to fly. I had a woman who really impressed me. She claimed that when she was eight years old her grandmother was training her to be a bruja, to be a witch. One day she clutched her to her chest and together they flew through the mountains. This was back in the 1950s and it was so traumatic for her that she turned her back on her family and became a born again Christian. She never forgot how disconcerting it was to actually be exposed to a relative having these fantastic abilities. So, I’ve looked enough people in the eye who have made claims like this and I’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people. Probably thousands of people. After interviewing so many people in this realm you get a sense of when people are delusional or when they’re being totally honest but are maybe misidentifying something, or being totally honest, maybe a trained observer like an ex-military guy. I mean, you can tell. There’s a personal bias in all of these stories, and the further that you get into a subculture, like the Hispanic culture in northern New Mexico or southern Colorado you have to factor out the cultural interpretations of the witness. But, you know, you get someone who is a crack outdoorsman elk-hunting who claims he saw a leprechaun and can tell you exactly, almost to the foot, how far away from him it was, and what it did and how the sun glistened off of his sunburned face. There’s a quality of observational acuity that after so many hundreds of people that you talk to, and my database speaks for itself. I’m so proud of that. If I had to point to something to be my life’s work that definitely would be it, and I’m surprised that more people haven’t dove into that and really started working with it. In terms of raw primary data the wave of activity that we had occur between 1993 and 1999 in the San Luis Valley, a six year period, is unparalleled anywhere in the country in terms of how well that it has been documented by law enforcement, by the media, by me, by other investigators.
When you get into the whole skinwalker thing, the devil at the dance, there’s some wonderful urban legends out there that I have real hard data. I’ve got dates, descriptions, duration, primary witness testimony. There is definitely something magical in the Southwest that still survives. It hasn’t been stamped out by the 21st Century march of technology and apathy. The magic hasn’t been totally stolen from reality in certain areas of this country, and it’s these rural areas where all of your leprechauns are going, because they have no where else to go. What are they going to do, hang out on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. No, they’re going to go to the Blue Ridge or to the swamps in Alabama or the bayou in Lousiana, the grasslands in Kansas. They’re going to go to the remote areas because those are the only places where they can stay hidden. And the San Luis Valley and parts of the Southern Rockies are a magical magnet. They have an incredible amount of activity. It’s like paranormal condensed soup there. Everywhere else is like broth. You go to some of these areas in the country, around Shasta, the Cascades have some incredible stuff, Northern Rockies, the Black Hills of South Dakota, there’s a bunch of areas where all of this paranormal activity is becoming condensed in, becoming compressed and really dense, and we need to have people on the ground, trained and up to speed, networked, equipped and ready to rock in these areas. And we don’t, and the reason being is because they’re remote areas and very few people live there. The ones who do don’t want to talk about it.
Editor: And now some of them are running off to Argentina, getting even more remote.
Christopher O’Brien: We’re just licking the tip of the iceberg. Scott Corrales is a true unsung hero. That guy has documented more stuff from South America and from the Latino countries than anybody. My hat is really off to people like Scott. There are also people in Russia, and there’s some emerging ufologists and paranormal folks in China and Asia who are starting to get posted and new information is starting to come out. But you know with the Internet and everything and everybody wants to get their Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame there are a lot of people out there who are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes and then there’s the government trying to do it, the military trying to do it. As we progress forward into the future it is becoming increasingly difficult to properly investigate these phenomenal events. When you did your road trip in the mid-1970s it was like virgin territory. Now everybody has a front loaded, preconceived idea about all of this stuff. Back then they hadn’t even heard of it.
If anything comes out of this interview then the one thing that I really want to impress upon people is that one needs to look at all attendant, correlative phenomena around a flap or an event. Unusual amounts of societal, abberant behavior, whether it’s murders, muggings, unusual amounts of fires, road kill, strange weather. All of this stuff is tied together. I’m absolutely convinced of that. There’s a synchronistic weaving of the fabric of these events. If you have UFO flaps then you’re also going to have weird stuff going on in the social structure. You’re going to have weird weather, strange coincidental Ripley’s Believe It Or Not stuff. And cattle mutilations, cryptozoological creature sightings. And vice versa. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a bunch of Bigfoot reports or UFO sightings around Yellowstone right now. The Yellowstone caldera is heating up and we’ve recently had swarms of earthquakes in the area.
John Keel has been a real major influence for me. In fact, his book Mothman Prophecies, if I had to compare my first book to any book, it would be that. Keel has been a big hero of mine since I was a kid, and Vallee too. Keel has been kind of more my gut and Vallee has been my head, in terms of how I look at a lot of this stuff.
Editor: I’ve never met Keel in the flesh, though I did back in December 2005 finally get to meet Jacques Vallee. He’s a very kind, gentle, really soft-spoken gentleman, but when he speaks he just speaks his truth and then you either accept it or just do whatever you want with it, but you realize that you’re in the presence of a very special person.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, but he hasn’t been vindicated. People like Ray Stanford and others who are looking into the magneto-hydro dynamic and plasma dynamic realm of physical evidence behind UFOs are slowly proving him wrong and he’s not happy about it. Believe me, Vallee is one of my all time favorite thinkers and I’ve read every book that he’s written. Dimensions I’ve probably read four or five times, and Confrontations too, and I devoured Anatomy of a Phenomenon back when I was a kid. Passport to Magonia I’ve read three times. And all of Keel’s books too. Even some of these scarce ones, like The Eighth Tower, books that most people don’t know about. They were all very influential in my thinking.
Ray Stanford, out of all of those guys, from 1955 on is the one who blows my mind the most because of his physical science work.
Editor: Yeah, of course he was making headlines big time back in the early 1970s with his facility in Texas where he had a landing place for UFOs?
Christopher O’Brien: Yes, Project Starlight. Actually I just spoke with Ray today. We’re really good friends. Over the years, I’ve been slowly accumulating hours and hours of tapes and I have his whole life story in his own words.
Editor: I know that he and a brother of his, who became a parapsychologist, were involved as young men in the contactee type stuff back in the 1950s.
Christopher O’Brien: A top parapsychologist. His twin brother Rex. They did have some up close and personal events that did occur to them which really did excite them as teenagers. The first thing they did was contact Adamski and George Hunt Williamson and Daniel Fry and Truman Bethrum, you know, all of the early contactees, and they ended up debunking them. Adamski literally ended up showing them how he faked his photographs. (we laughed)
Editor: It was easy to debunk him then, wasn’t it?
Christopher O’Brien: No, his early stuff was real. The footage over Palomar was of real UFOs, but it kind of went to his head. Even Daniel Fry probably had some stuff that happened early on and was real, and then his ego got involved.
Ray is a real difficult person to get to know.
Editor: I didn’t know that he was still active.
Christopher O’Brien: Oh Boy is he active.
Editor: He still lives in Texas I guess.
Christopher O’Brien: No, he has been up in Maryland for years. He’s the world’s top dinosaur track finder. He’s a psychic paleontologist, believe it or not. He probably just found the world’s largest pterosaur track ever found.
Editor: Maybe at some point I’ll get to interview him.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, Ray would be..well, it’s taken me five years to even get to the tip of the iceberg with Ray. I’ve got a whole manuscript for a book on his life story that’s just sitting there.
Editor: Well it sounds like an incredible story. You’ve got many incredible stories. It sounds like a revolving door with incredible stories.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, well it’s what you can prove, what you can demonstrate and replicate. That’s what it all really boils down to. What we can hypothesize and prove, and then have other people substantiate the experiment. That’s where it’s all at. Replication.
Editor: I guess right at this stage of the game, after all of these years of doing what you’ve done, what is your gut feeling is happening here? It has a historical background, it involves an overlap of phenomena.
Christopher O’Brien: Yes, it’s definitely multiple groups with multiple agendas. Maybe it’s ourselves coming back from the future, parallel dimensional stuff, metaphysical stuff, ultraterrestrial stuff. Maybe we’re dealing with surviving dinosaurs suddenly re-asserting control of the planet. I mean it’s probably a combination of so many different things. It’s so above and beyond simple ETH.
Editor: Did you say dinosaurs re-asserting control of the planet? I’ve heard everything, but did you say dinosaurs?
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, yeah. Why not? Dinosaurs were here for over two hundred million years. We’ve only been here as a sentient species for less than a million. Perhaps dinosaurs evolved into a space faring culture and got off the planet before the end of the Cretaceous. Now they’re coming back to re-assert control, or maybe they went underground.
Editor: So that would be like the reptilian beings?
Christopher O’Brien: Exactly, and maybe they went underground.
It’s all so complex and anybody who thinks that it’s just simply aliens from another planet is naive. And I think that the government is involved in incredible technology and the level of their operational technology is probably twenty years ahead of what they’ve acknowledged. They may even know how to manipulate ancient portal areas.
Editor: And of course with a lot of your UFO areas like the San Luis Valley you hear a lot of stories of military and government involvement.
Christopher O’Brien: That’s a whole other interview. I mean, I could curl your toes with some stuff, including my own personal experiences. Most people haven’t a clue when it comes to state-of-the-art military and intelligence agency technology. I’ve had people walking into my house, sneaking around my house, stealing files and photographs, and following me. Some of it I didn’t even know was going on actually. Some of it I did. People who just happened to catch it were clueing me in saying, “By the way, when I was broken down on the road last night and I saw you fly by in your little truck, and right behind you was someone following you with their lights out.” You hear that once or twice and you start to wonder, “Well maybe I’m starting to get close to something?”
Editor: I know that when I was at Hooper that Blanca Peak was considered by a number of people I talked with to be a place where a lot of helicopters seemed to come out of and they felt like there was a base of operations somewhere up in there.
Christopher O’Brien: Well Blanca and the Dunes. That’s ground zero, or sort of Grand Central Station for the Valley in terms of where most stuff goes on.
People say, “What do you think about that UFO Watchtower?” I say, “Well, I’m not sure that I would have built it, but if I was going to do it that’s exactly where I would have put it.”
Editor: A good location.
Christopher O’Brien: Perfect. A front row seat.
Editor: Well I know that you could sit there and look for miles and miles around and watch weather patterns changing. You could see a storm off in the distance.
Christopher O’Brien: Yeah, imagine being up close to the Sangres. I was almost 1,000 feet above the Valley floor. I could see the highest mountain in New Mexico, all the way up to about the third highest mountain in Colorado. I could look over 200 miles from my porch.
Editor: Wow, that’s pretty amazing. I can’t imagine having that kind of a view.
Christopher O’Brien: Well that’s why I stuck around as long as I did. That plus all of the excitement.