My search for the truth about UFOs: Part 2 — “WTF just happened?”
Jeremy D. McGowan
This is Part 2 of a multi-part continuing story of how I ended up searching for the truth about UFOs. Each Part details a significant event, which brings me to the present day at the culmination of the final part. I hope you enjoy this trip. Due to a combination of memory loss from PTSD and old age, specific minor details may not be entirely accurate; however, the overall story depicts actual events. (Subsequent parts will be published in the forthcoming weeks.)
“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas-covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” — Douglas Adams
If you’ve not yet read Part 1 of this story, I highly suggest you do so. It can be found HERE:
Before describing this next chapter in my search for the truth about UFOs with the concentration on the crate, I must inform the reader that I am not sure about anything. Of course, I’m sure that I’m not sure. But, this is how I spend my life; being confident that I don’t know anything. I, like everyone else, guess, speculate, consider, and come to a most hardened “definite maybe” in most things. This story is one of the strongest definite maybes I’ve ever spoken about.
Almost three years to the date of this story is where we now begin; June 2019. I am a year and a half out of a divorce with 50/50 custody of my then 6-year-old daughter. I am financially not in a good place and suffering from both PTSD and depression and a slew of other things that may or may not have real names. Insomnia is a genuine issue for me. I could sleep for 45 minutes, wake up, and stare at the ceiling, wondering where things went sideways. I couldn’t turn my brain off. Intrusive thoughts and non-productive ideas would constantly occupy my head, preventing me from pulling myself out of a hole and restarting my life. I was at a point where life had become a repetitive assembly line of monotonous tasks that required attention lest they compile more issues. So I chose only to do the obvious ones to the outside world. The mortgage wasn’t one of them, and often my electric bill wasn’t either. Brushing my teeth seemed laborious and wasn’t something I could drag myself to the bathroom to accomplish. I was doing the bare minimum for survival, not living. I rarely even left my house. I was a mess.
During an unremarkable incident of insomnia, I managed to drag my ass from the bed to the sofa and click on the television. I don’t have cable — only a few streaming services; browsing through them, I found a show called “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.” The episode I landed on intrigued me. It featured some folks from the military describing their witnessing of a UFO. My brain locked onto their story. Suddenly, 24-year-old memories of my time in Jordan were pushed to the very front of my brain and began slapping my prefrontal cortex and my limbic system. I became instantly obsessed with what happened to me in 1995 and what was happening to the soldiers on that show.
Running through the memory of my 1995 event, I realized I didn’t remember the name of the unidentified USAF Security Police Officer who was with me that night and saw the same object I had seen. He was the only other human link to this event and the only person I knew of on this planet who I could speak with and validate my memory. Yet, I had no idea who he was or what base or unit he was from, which drove me closer to the edge.
I managed to pull myself off the sofa and sat down at my computer. I opened up Microsoft Word and began writing a request to help identify this unknown person. I must have written the request 20 times. Each time I read what I wrote, I thought, “this is insane,” or saw something I had written that I couldn’t talk about due to the classification or something that would cause me other issues. By 11 am that morning, I had around ten small paragraphs written out that touched on the generalities of what happened in 1995. In that request for help, I stated that I believed the crate to contain nuclear material, most likely a calibration device used as an analog to calibrate satellites that searched for errant nuclear warheads. I was still in the mindset that this -could- have been some exercise, even though my gut conflicted with my rational thoughts, which told me it wasn’t.
After writing the request for assistance, I pondered who or where to send it. I decided to post it to a UFO sub-forum on Reddit. The original post can still be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/UFOs/comments/c7hmpm/searching_for_others_who_saw_this/
No one seemed willing or able to help track down a completely unknown person. However, a few of the replies to that post suggested that I contact the TV show I had just watched as they have an email address at the end of the show for military personnel who have witnessed a UFO tell their story. So, I opened up that episode again, fast-forwarded to the end, and saw the email address. Being tired, lethargic, and allergic to human interaction, I copied and pasted the Reddit post into the email and sent it off. Then, Nothing happened. Nothing happened for about six weeks when I received an email reply from one of the Executive Producers of the TV show.
Jessica Philips is the name of my first contact with the show. She stated that they received my story and wanted to know if I was comfortable speaking about it to the production team and potentially the world. I was adamant that my goal in all this was to validate my memory of the events by identifying and finding the unknown airman posted with me in Jordan. I was told that the show was staffed by serious researchers and a prior government official, and they had the resources to help if I was willing to speak about my sighting. Looking back on everything, this would be the first disappointment in telling this story to a TV show in a long series of blows.
I was vetted. They got copies of my military service records, proof that I participated in Ellipse Foxtrot, and they did some independent research on the “exercise.” The next thing I knew, I was being picked up from my house in a limo, taken to the Las Vegas airport, and flown to New York to the History studios. Now, things started to take me into the rabbit hole that is everything to do with anything about UFOs.
I don’t remember the name of the hotel I was placed in, and I’m not a massive fan of New York. I grew up in the country and was very accustomed to having space. Even in Las Vegas, I bought a house far enough away from everything that I have a yard and at least a modicum of privacy. New York is vastly different…in the city anyway. People live on top of other people. People live on the sidewalks. I’m fairly certain I saw people living on top of other people on the sidewalks. I wasn’t very comfortable there — but I was hungry. I wandered down to the hotel lobby to ask where I could get some food. The hotel bar/restaurant was closed, but the check-in lady told me about a deli a couple of blocks from the hotel. As I turned around to walk outside and make my way through the urban jungle for a pastrami on rye, I ran into the man who would be interviewing me the next day…Lue Elizondo.
“I thought you were taller.” So I thought as I walked up to him and said, “Hey, you’re interviewing me tomorrow.” So he turned around and sized me up, and we started shooting the shit about UFOs for about an hour in the hotel lobby.
Now I can’t remember the details of anything Lue, and I spoke about, but it felt as if I was being told things I shouldn’t be told. The details were just “detailey” enough to seem actionable and solid, but also vague enough that it would be difficult or impossible to prove/disprove. Nevertheless, I was fascinated by being told these things by the former director of AATIP. He asked me a few details about my story so he could be better prepared for the interview the next day, and I recounted my story. He told me about Christopher Mellon, a bit about TTSA, and he really, really, really stressed the idea of UFOs being a national security threat.
I flashed back to my experience multiple times during our impromptu talk, thinking that I couldn’t remember feeling threatened by anything — but I went with it because, well…what else could I do? My stomach soon reminded me of my previously aborted mission to find sustenance with a loud gurgle. I politely excused myself, told Lue I’d see him tomorrow at the interview, and made my way to the deli.
That night, back in my hotel room, insomnia kicked in again. Intrusive thoughts of going on TV and telling the world about my sighting event were nerve-wracking. I still didn’t know who the guy on the dune that night was. What more could I say that I hadn’t already said a half dozen times on email? Why did they need this on camera? They had everything I knew already… Why all the bother with TV?
“BRAAAP BRAAP BRAPP BRAAP BRAAP” came the sound of the alarm radio. Then a slightly more friendly wake-up call from the front desk followed by the sound of my electric razor and the taste of toothpaste quickly erased by the bite of coffee made from hotel tap water. My day had officially started. Soon, I was transported to the city’s other side in another limo. Graffiti, dilapidated buildings, razor wire, more graffiti, a half-dozen bridges, a ton of traffic, and a surprising lack of parking spots passed me as I stared out the window, wondering, “what the hell have I gotten myself into?”
Pulling up to the studio, I immediately see that it’s Nothing like what I would have expected from Universal or Warner Brothers. Instead, it was a warehouse that looked as if it once housed a furniture store or perhaps a sweatshop back when the surrounding neighborhood wasn’t appearing as if it had just emerged from the war in Bosnia. It had a few dressing rooms, a small cafeteria, a large room with many black curtains, a few video cameras, a slew of microphones, and two chairs. One chair was where I was directed to sit. The other chair was for Lue Elizondo.
Over the next hour, I recounted my story; was asked questions; answered questions; was asked opinions; gave opinions, thanked for my time, returned to my hotel room, and flew home the following day.
“Wait. What just happened?” I was supposed to be introduced to investigators and researchers who could help me identify the person with me on that dune and saw what I saw! I left with no answers. I left without my phone charger too. Damnit! I sent a few emails to production that were ignored, and I was never extended the courtesy promised to me; that was why I agreed to tell my story on television. “Damnit!”
Now being back home and left with a sense of “was I just used,” I retreated into my day-to-day life. I worked at a company, which I will not name — suffice it to say that it was the worst experience I’ve ever had in my youth or adult life. The environment was toxic, the leadership was abhorrent, and I was sliding deeper into a state of depression.
Nearly a year passed as I felt I’d never escape the hell I was living in. Then, finally, The History Channel aired Season 2 of “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation,” and everything began to change. The episode featuring my story was episode 3. After the show aired, my phone and email began to blow up. I got my first request for a podcast interview by Ryan Sprague of “Somewhere in the Skies,” Shortly thereafter, I appeared on Andrew Hall’s “Dead Hand Radio.” It was on “Dead Hand Radio” where the catalyst that would drastically change the course of my life was presented.
During my interview with Andrew, he asked me a straightforward and single question: “What do you think UFOlogy needs?” I thought about it for a second and replied, “Standardization in data collection.” I expanded on the idea that everyone out hunting UFOs was using different equipment, different cameras, and different processes for collecting — and that it was primarily image-based — and because camera phones are awful at photographing distant objects, we needed something that everyone could use — something that was purpose-built for the single task of collecting imagery and data on UFOs. Then, Andrew mentioned the first time I would hear “Skyhub.”
Now, I won’t bore you with the details of what SkyHub, (now Sky360) was — but suffice it to say that while I was still speaking with Andrew on the podcast, I was using my second monitor to research and begin to order parts for what would become, for a while, the heart of OSIRIS.
As parts began to arrive, I cleared off a portion of my home office desk and began assembling the SkyHub — piece by piece, mistake by mistake. I soldered connections, learned that my soldering skills were abhorrent, and soldered them again until It at least looked as if I knew what I was doing. I became vaguely familiar with Linux, docker containers, and NVIDIA Jetsons. Then after weeks and weeks of desk-top-tinkering, I flipped the switch and watched it boot up. So many features didn’t work — but the camera did! Then it struck me — I live in the brightest city on the planet. How the hell am I supposed to capture anything with all this light pollution? The answer was simple, I thought. Mobile — it had to be mobile.
A few months before, I retired my 1996 GMC Jimmy — a vehicle that had been my family’s daily driver for nearly three years. It had been stolen and recovered, but it was never quite the same. The thieves had gutted and slashed my seats, stolen the radio with a crowbar, broken the steering column, and utterly destroyed the transmission. I still drove it, as I had Nothing else. But the time had come to get something that was, at least a bit more, dependable. As luck would have it, I chanced upon a visually pristine 1999 Land Rover Discovery II — one of the most capable off-road vehicles ever produced. Replacing the Jimmy, it had become the new McGowan Family Ride. It was royal blue with a tan interior — and like every Land Rover, everything was breaking. I loved that with its five main and two rear jump seats. I would rebuild the entire suspension, fabricate my rock sliders, rebuild the engine, and re-wire most of the vehicle. And during that seemingly never-ending process, I began to drill holes in the roof and run ethernet cables, install inverters, and mount specialized surveillance cameras on the roof.
I began to document the process as I had recently found this hodgepodge of disparate people on Twitter, gathered under the unifying hashtag #UFOTWITTER. With my appearance on the TV show and a few podcasts under my belt — the building of this vehicle with the SkyHub became, apparently, of interest to quite a few folks online. To my surprise, my meager 200 followers began to jump exponentially. This was a wild world. I didn’t know who anyone was — I had never heard of Richard Doty, Lina M. Howel, Hal Putoff, or any of those people. But #ufotwitter wouldn’t stop talking about them.
As the vehicle build continued, the SkyHub began to take shape in the back. I got a Twitter DM from a guy by the name of Jake Mann. Jake and I talked for what seemed to be hours. He told me he was a producer who ran an informative podcast on UFOs and that he’d been following my vehicle and skyhub build. He said that he would be interested in documenting my story and progress. We talked about how it was important to show that everyday people can stop relying on this or any government for the truth about what is happening in our skies. Soon, the discussion became a serious effort.
As luck would have it, I was about to be introduced to one of the recurring parts of the phenomena; a coincidence of events re-branded as a “synchronicity.” This synchronicity came in the form of another phone call a few days after Jake’s. This time it was a man by the name of Justin Tandy. was a director and ran a podcast called “I Believe in Humans.” The conversation was very similar to the one I had with Jake — and Justin’s interest in creating a film of me building the vehicle was in line with what Jake and I spoke about. Justin had a director of photography named Dustin Hoyer and the skills of directing, while Jake had the producer experience and a grasp on the vision needed to produce. So, I introduced everyone, and things began to come together around the idea of simply making a documentary about my searching for the truth about UFOs.
During this time, my social media reach began to grow, and I was starting to interact with some, shall we say, “rather interesting and highly imaginative people.” I couldn’t separate the bat-shit crazy from the enthusiastic and legitimately knowledgeable. I needed to align myself with someone I felt may be able to navigate the who’s who of #ufotwitter. Sean Cahill, who was on Season 1, was becoming a fixture in Season 2. I sent Sean a series of DMs and an email or two and received zero replies. So, I started looking for other people when I created a form letter that I would send out to five or six folks from the TV show I thought I could speak with. The form letter detailed the pairing of Jake, Justin, myself, my vehicle, the idea of a documentary, and how I was attempting to navigate the diverse personalities of #ufotwitter. I sent the letter to Sean Cahill as well. This time, he contacted me back.
Sean and I would speak nearly daily. Oftentimes three or four times a day, and almost always for over an hour. My wife was beginning to make some jokes about how I had found my soul mate on the other end of the phone. We would talk about our mutual dissatisfaction with the TV show and its editing. The importance and significance of Lue. The idea of never getting disclosure from the Government. The nature of the phenomena and our personal belief structures. Sean also gave me a lot of insight on others inside of #ufotwitter. I was warned about Wilcox, Doty, Simms, and Greer and was introduced to McMillian, Putoff, Semivan, and a few others. I told Sean about the potential film with my vehicle, and things began to shift into “1st Gear.”
Sean and I began to have multiple conversations with Jake Mann and Justin Tandy. I invited Sean to participate in the project– he absolutely jumped at the chance. Jake was using his previously deep research into UFOs to build a list of witnesses and “hot spots” where I could drive the vehicle. At the same time, Sean and I conducted interviews and attempted to use SkyHub to catch evidence. Things were actually coming together. Keep in mind that my singular goal for this was to build the vehicle and to obtain access to people and places that just some random guy with a strange truck would not have — but with a camera crew and legitimate film being made, I might.
The project took on the name “The Corner.” We had bounced around several ideas, from “The Unnamed” to “The Journey” to a few others, but Sean felt that calling it “The Corner” would provide for some interesting graphics, and he could wax poetic about how he and I were two points with the phenomena itself being a convergence… whatever, I went with it. And it was about this time that things started to get shaped in a way that I never imagined or expected — because it was at this time that Lue Elizondo entered the picture.
Sean had always talked about Lue. While I maintained some contact with him after the TV show, I didn’t make it a habit of reaching out to him. To me, he was this super-important ex-government guy who was embroiled in the UFO topic at a level I couldn’t even imagine. But Sean made it seem as if he and Lue were best friends. In nearly every conversation, Sean was always saying, “Lue said this, or Lue thinks this, or Lue has access to that, or Lue believes x,y, and z.” I felt I knew more about the UFO topic than most humans ever would simply from Sean’s accounting of what Lue was doing, thinking, and building. We were told that Sean and Lue were working on an extremely large-scale media project where Sean had taken on the responsibility of, in his own words, “Putting Lue in everyone’s living room each Friday at 6 pm” We were teased with the potential of getting access to locations that “made Skinwalker ranch look like a joke” and access to research facilities, AATIP investigations, and the whole nine yards.
Sean told Justin, Dustin, Jake, and me that he was managing Lue Elizondo’s calendar and that anything he said to us could be taken as speaking directly for Lue. After Sean made that point extremely clear to us, Sean was unconsciously placed at an even parity in our minds with that of Lue Elizondo — someone who had inside access and could facilitate conversations with Lue and get us to people and places we would never have been able to access before. At this time, I also began to have reservations about things. I couldn’t even mentally quantify them, but something — and only in retrospect — seemed off. However, the allure of having unfettered access to Lue Elizondo superseded any of my initial red flags, and I continued diving into this newly opened rabbit hole.
Sean had become the Yogi of our loose band of film project folks. He spoke about transcendentalism, meditation, his take on the phenomena, the ideas of remote viewing, and astral projection. Through all of his conversations, he always made reference to Lue and somehow tie in Lue’s approval of Sean’s theories to bolster their credibility.
At one point, Sean told us all a story where he was having a crisis of sorts in life, and he sat on his back patio and demanded that the universe acknowledge him. His exact wording to us was that he insisted that the universe “wave” at him. He then told us how, at that same moment, a praying mantis walked past his spot, stopped, turned its head to Sean, lifted one arm, and “waved” at him. For Sean, this appeared to be a confirmation of sorts. I began to question things a little more in the front of my mind after pulling them from the back.
I am now over 4,000 words in this section of my story. I shall leave you, dear reader, to ponder what I’ve written above as I begin work on the next chapter. The third installment will describe how my trip to Lue’s house in Wyoming coalesced, the shenanigans which occurred there — the (now infamous) incident where it’s been described how I endangered lives with OSIRIS when it caught fire (it did not), and how I was blatantly lied to. It takes me a while to find the time to write — so I thank you for your patience.
EDIT: Part 3 can be found HERE