A local group wishes extraterrestrials weren’t so socially distanced.

UFOs are back in the news after Haim Eshed, the former head of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s space directorate, told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper that UFOs belong to a “galactic federation” and that President Donald Trump was on the verge of revealing their existence to the public.

Here in Colorado Springs a group claims to be able to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligences using meditation and thought projection. While such claims might seem far-fetched to lay people, the principles behind the practice — the untapped potential of human consciousness — has its roots in research conducted by the Stanford Research Institute and the U.S. Army.

CE-5, or close encounters of the fifth kind, named after famed UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek’s classification scale, is a set of meditation protocols developed by Dr. Steven Greer, a medical doctor turned UFO researcher, that he claims allows humans to initiate contact with aliens — to essentially summon a UFO. Every month a group of Colorado Springs residents, led by Mike Waskosky, meets to discuss all things UFO, meditate, and potentially bear witness to strange lights in the sky.

Waskosky’s trip down the UFO rabbit hole began after he was presented with what he saw as credible evidence for the existence of UFOs. 

“When I was 21 years old I had no belief in UFOs. I was in the mindset there wasn’t anything to it,” he says. “The documentaries I had watched weren’t really convincing. I randomly came across Steven Greer’s Disclosure Project’s May 9, 2001, press club event on YouTube. I completely did a 180 with my life after I realized I had no way of explaining all of this incredible testimony. It was so shocking to me that there was so much out there that wasn’t on TV, that there was so much documentation. After I watched that two-hour presentation, I realized if that’s true, if this isn’t just a big hoax, I have to research everything to get to the bottom of it.”

The 2001 event Waskosky watched on YouTube featured testimony from a number of former and retired military personnel, serious men who were trained to fly cutting-edge aircraft or to operate nuclear weapons, who claimed to have witnessed, to them, undeniable proof that an advanced, non-human intelligence had visited the planet and at times even interfered with military equipment. Seeing sober-faced career military men describe unexplainable phenomena set Waskosky on a mission.

“I listened to 15 hours of audio from the Disclosure Project testimonies,” he recalls. “I started downloading everything I could from conspiracy websites, and I just did tons and tons of research. That led me to the point where I believed there’s definitely something to it, so maybe I should see what else Steven Greer is into. That led me to discovering his organization, CSETI [Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence], and then five months later I attended their ‘Cosmic Consciousness’ weeklong training in November 2006. That was in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.”

Greer’s weeklong training sessions, which range from $2,500 to $3,500 depending on facility costs, focused on meditation practices, remote viewing training and fieldwork, or actually trying to summon alien beings through meditation. 

“That weeklong training was my first exposure to the kind of new-age crowd you saw at my meetings. It was kind of surprising,” says Waskosky. The December Zoom meeting of Waskosky’s group featured discussion of ayahuasca experiences, past-life regression, childhood abduction experiences, the true nature of objective reality, and traditional UFO conspiracies.

“I didn’t actually see any lights in the sky over that weeklong training, but there were enough wild things happening that I became kind of convinced that these people were contacting actual advanced intelligences,” he says.

During his nights in Joshua Tree National Park, Waskosky said he heard strange tones and his fellow students witnessed suddenly appearing and disappearing mysterious beings. When Waskosky returned home to Irvine, California, he began putting his training to use — he began trying to make contact. “It took me a couple months of meditating under the stars before I knew for sure I was seeing something that was unusual,” he says. “I was strongly desirous of having contact and not getting anything.” 

Waskosky says the key for him was positive emotions. After meditating and ruminating on a personal situation he had, Waskosky had his first CE-5 experience. “It was when I felt forgiveness towards someone, when I felt that forgiveness I saw this massive flash and then this light appear and quickly move across the sky,” he says. “It was like, ‘Oh my gosh was that them?’ That experience ended up accelerating and continuing. It was almost like spiritual training they were putting me through. This was a very personal thing, I don’t hear many people with CE-5 experiences describing this level of interaction, but this has been very consistent for me now. It’s always preceded by a feeling of love now. When I’m in a really positive state and I start feeling positively, then they will appear as either a stationary bright flash of light — that’s one of the most common things — or they’ll appear as what you could call a shooting star, but they move in different directions and turn.”

When Waskosky moved back to Colorado Springs, he connected with other CE-5 enthusiasts and claims they’ve made contact. “We first went out into the field at the Paint Mines Park,” he explains. “We had some success doing a CE-5 out there. The closest that we’ve had was light phenomenon appearing on the ground, in the distance, or behind trees. When we were up in Divide there was an experience where mysterious lights seemed to be appearing kind of behind the trees. We’ve never seen that before. In my opinion it’s like they’re trying not to scare anyone. I think people might be freaked out by too much contact.”

While Waskosky’s claims might seem outlandish, there have been extensive studies of humans’ psychic potential. Remote viewing is the practice of sensing unknown or distant

targets with the mind, and recording those impressions for a variety of applications. During the Cold War, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Army recognized the potential intelligence value of “psychic spies,” and conducted research into the phenomenon, building on the work started at the Stanford Research Institute in 1972 by Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff. The CIA closed the program, dubbed Project Stargate, in 1995, claiming the work of remote viewers was “vague” and “general,” despite some prominent operational successes such as the 1976 locating of a downed Soviet spy plane.

Researchers remain divided on the efficacy of remote viewing, however. In 2014 Garret Moddel, a University of Colorado at Boulder professor, co-authored a study in the Journal of Scientific Exploration titled “Stock Market Prediction Using Associative Remote Viewing by Inexperienced Remote Viewers.” Moddel had subjects attempt to predict the outcome of the Dow Jones using remote viewing. The study concluded, “Associative remote viewing appears to be a reasonably accurate way to predict the future of binary outcomes.”

Debra Katz is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of West Georgia, and teaches a 12-week, $1,200 course on remote viewing. A remote viewer herself, Katz studied with Golden, Colorado, remote viewer Michael Van Atta and has done research with the International Remote Viewing Association, the group founded by Targ, Puthoff and veterans of Project Stargate.

“People will have spontaneous psychic experiences,” says Katz, “and I believe that people are, at many moments, having intuitive-based experiences but they don’t even realize it. They suddenly feel an urge to call someone or go in a certain direction, or they just spontaneously say something that we’ve been taught are just these isolated, individual systems, so then we just think, ‘It must just be coincidence.’”

Katz says remote viewing is a skill that can be honed with time, patience and practice. “I would say, out of a class of 10 people, you’re going to find three people that do extraordinarily well, and three people that do pretty well, and you’ll have a couple people that are kind of dragging or not showing such great results,” she says. “Even with the people who aren’t showing great results, if they hang in there and really practice a lot and push themselves, I’ve had students that have blown me away. Especially with remote viewing. It’s a lot of work to do remote viewing if you’re going to do it in a way that you’re going to get a lot of information and a lot of sketches. If you’re looking for a missing person or doing what I consider a full, proper session, getting lots of information about a location or an activity, it can take hours. A lot of people aren’t that disciplined.”

Katz admits remote viewing isn’t an exact science, and that a lot of the information she gets is, in fact, vague and general. “Occasionally the visuals could be clear,” she says, “but they come in so fast and they just come in partials. Let’s say a target was a pyramid. You might just see one corner of the pyramid, or you might just see a triangle, but you’re not even sure. It could be a whole complete image, or a part of an image. A lot of times remote viewers will see an image, but the brain reverses things, it skews things up. It might get the parts of something, but then it reassembles them in the wrong order. There’s a lot of different perceptual processes, and it doesn’t always seem to be consistent. It really runs the gamut.”

For devoted UFOlogists, such conclusions are the norm. It’s a “science” with enough credible evidence to spark intense curiosity, but often with frustratingly bizarre “answers” that are easily dismissed by skeptics. While there might not be a galactic federation or aliens who are tuning in to humans’ telepathic attempts at contact, there is something to much unexplained phenomena. 

“It’s a life-changing thing to have an experience you know absolutely, 100 percent, this is something paranormal,” says Waskosky. The truth, as they say, is out there.