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A Close Encounter with Jeff Peckman

The Good Word

Karen Stollznow

October 20, 2010

When the Paranormal Becomes Political

If the conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the United States government has been suppressing proof of the existence of UFOs and aliens for many decades. However, one city is currently taking a known conspiracy theorist too seriously.

Denver, Colorado has been abducted by the “Welcome to Earth” campaign. Instigated by Jeff Peckman, the campaign proposes to establish an Extraterrestrial Affairs (ETA) Commission to investigate alleged government cover-ups of alien abductions and encounters and to explore extraterrestrial energy sources and cancer-curing technology. Known as Initiative 300, this proposal will go before voters at an election on November 2, 2010.

Chosen by the Denver mayor, Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission would consist of seven members who would research UFOs and aliens, expose government secrets, and provide their findings on the city’s website. This site would also be a sanctuary for citizens to report their own sightings and experiences.

This proposed committee seems like a spoof of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). However, SETI aims to “explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe,” while Peckman’s scheme plans to “prove” the existence of spaceships and little green men—and take them to our leader. The Denver ETA Commission would be an even less skeptical version of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).

The “Evidence”

Peckman says of the alleged extraterrestrials, “We need to figure out if there are possible business opportunities or medical treatments that could come from them.” 1 The ETA Commission website demands, “All people have a right to know about suppressed extraterrestrial technologies for: curing life-threatening diseases, cleaner energy, environmental cleanup, and creating jobs.”2

But, “Are you ready for the truth?” The campaigners claim that there have been 4,000 UFO landings on Earth, and that aliens are among us already; apparently there are some fifty-seven species of extraterrestrials. Taking their “evidence” from the Disclosure Project3, they further claim that “over 400 government, military, and intelligence community witnesses have testified to their direct, personal, first-hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret.”

Are you still unconvinced? Here are some of their compelling considerations4:

For those who still remain unconvinced, Peckman desperately offers the easy abolition of the measure as a supportive argument. He promises that there is “No Risk—Denver’s City Council can repeal the ETA Commission ordinance after six months.”

The entire ETA Commission story begins with an alien “Peeping Tom” captured on film by Stan Romanek in Nebraska in 2003. Romanek claims he filmed an alien visitor, but he didn’t release this incredible footage until 2008. He maintains that NASA cannot explain his film. NASA may not be able to explain the film, but the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) can. Suspecting a hoax, this local skeptical group didn’t need five years to produce footage; they recreated the film in five hours with a camera and an alien prop.5

Romanek and Peckman report they have subsequently received messages from aliens and have captured photographs and footage of aliens and UFOs. (For more information about Stan Romanek, read Joe Nickell’s column “Abductions or Hoaxes? The Man Who Attracts Aliens,” SI, May/June 2010, available at www.csicop.org/si/show/abductions_and_hoaxes.)

A former student of the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, Peckman is a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. He is a promoter of Metatron Technology, a device that “reduces stress from electropollution” and “transforms harmful electromagnetic fields into healthy energy fields.” 6 Adding to his dubious credentials, Peckman is also the author of the “Denver UFO Examiner” web page for Examiner.com.7

This is not the first time Peckman has attempted to foist frivolous ballots on the city. In 1998 he ran for senator as a member of the Natural Law Party, and in 2003 he attempted to start the “Safety through Peace” Ballot. The failed initiative aimed to reduce crime in Denver by reducing stress, forcing residents to “Have a nice day” by piping New Age music through public transportation and offering meditation and yoga classes for residents.8 It seems that Peckman is determined to push proposals until something succeeds.

E.T. (Commission) Go Home

This latest proposal received the 4,000 signatures required to appear on the ballot, but an additional 6,000 signatures were invalidated due to claims that these signatures were falsified. One wonders if any of the proposal’s signatories were of the same mindset as those who jokingly listed “Jedi” as their religion on census forms.

The proposal will appear on the ballot as follows:

“City and County of Denver Ballot Question Initiated ordinance 300—shall the voters for the city and county of Denver adopt an initiated ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such commission from grants, gifts and donations?”

Peckman ambiguously claims that the commission is to “ensure the health, safety and cultural awareness of Denver residents.” While this statement it ludicrous, there is concern that the petition may appeal to conspiracy theorists and exploit the fears of the public seeking a cure for cancer.

A recent poll has shown that 92 percent of voters are opposed to establishing a Denver commission for extraterrestrial affairs.9 However, the proposal could pass by default if skeptical voters are too apathetic to vote.

There are a number of legitimate measures on the upcoming ballot that are being obscured by Peckman’s more “newsworthy” proposal. The RMPRS has monitored Peckman’s projects for years. Members Bryan Bonner and Matthew Baxter formed the Mission for Inhibiting Bureaucracy (MIB), a registered political committee against Peckman’s ETA Commission.10 As official opponents, the MIB command equal media time to challenge Peckman’s claims with critical thinking. Unfortunately, too many TV and radio shows want only Peckman’s sensational side of the silly story.

The RMPRS has already exposed some damning facts. Billy Meier, one of Peckman’s cohorts, claims that he time traveled with alien guides and took photographs of what he saw. The MIB’s thorough research revealed that this “evidence” comes from a picture book, not another planet. Additional images of “alien women” really did go back in time … to a 1960s performance on the TV program The Dean Martin Variety Show.

The sobering news is that as a non-partisan measure on the ballot, Peckman’s proposal will cost the city $100,000. If successful, The Denver Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission will cost tens of thousands of dollars every year. But the real cost is inestimable, and it will affect the education and reputation of the people of Denver.

Hopefully, Initiative 300 will be nothing more than a close encounter with stupidity.

References:

1. AOL News. “Denver Voters Will Decide on Proposed E.T. Affairs Office.” Available at www.aolnews.com/weird-news-elections/article/denver-voters-debating-proposed-et-affairs-office/19626333. Accessed October 14, 2010.

2. Welcome to Earth Campaign. Available at www.extracampaign.org/. Accessed May 2, 2010.

3. The Disclosure Project. Available at www.disclosureproject.org. Accessed October 14, 2010.

4. Welcome to Earth Campaign. Available at www.extracampaign.org/. Accessed 10/14/2010

5. “Stan Romanek/Jeff Peckman Reenactment.” Available at www.youtube.com/user/Warningradio#p/u/17/1ema9Stirsc. Accessed October 14, 2010.

6. Metatron Technology. Available at www.reduce-emf-stress.com/Home_Page.html. Accessed May 2, 2010.

7. Denver UFO Examiner. Available at www.examiner.com/ufo-in-denver/jeff-peckman. Accessed October 14, 2010.

8. CNN.com Transcripts. Available at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0308/13/ltm.06.html. Accessed May 2, 2010.

9. M.I.B. Denver ET Commission. Available at www.denveretcommission.org/. Accessed October 14, 2010.

10. M.I.B. Denver ET Commission. Available at www.denveretcommission.org/. Accessed October 14, 2010.

Karen Stollznow

Karen Stollznow's photo

Karen Stollznow is an author and skeptical investigator with a doctorate in linguistics and a background in history and anthropology. She is an associate researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a director of the San Francisco Bay Area Skeptics. A prolific skeptical writer for many sites and publications, she is the “Good Word” Web columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the “Bad Language” columnist for Skeptic magazine, a frequent contributor to Skeptical Inquirer, and managing editor of CSI’s Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. Dr. Stollznow is a host of the Monster Talk podcast and writer for the Skepbitch and Skepchick blogs, as well as for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Swift. She can be reached via email at kstollznow[at]centerforinquiry.net.