Joseph Burkes MD 2014

In my judgment the answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes!” The explanation for this assertion requires a new theory describing the mechanism of UFO encounters. I call this theory “The Virtual Experience Hypothesis.”


The Internet is awash with faked videos purporting to show UFO hardware. These hoaxes titillate while they deceive. Serious UFO investigators and UFO truth activists bemoan the proliferation of these pictures and yet their popularity in my opinion reflects an almost insatiable hunger for contact with alien beings and reinforces a wild dream that many people have of actually going aboard an ET craft.
Over 22 years ago, when I first got involved with Dr Greer’s CSETI, I too shared some of those wild passions and became an activist in what I now call the “contact underground.” In 1998 I resigned from CSETI for personal, political and professional reasons but continued to be active in the field with MUFON and independent networks of experiencers.


In the course of my investigations I discovered that UFO intelligence appeared to be deliberately leading me down a path that revealed how they create illusion and false memories. To my initial surprise and bewilderment, in a series of what might be described as “show and tell” contact experiences, I was led to a radically different way of understanding the mechanisms of close encounters.


In this introductory posting I describe how UFO intelligence creates 3 D visual displays that are interpreted as actual physical objects, but are more accurately described as illusion. This is a Virtual Experience of the First Kind (VE-1)
A Virtual Experience of the Second Kind (VE-2) is a real time full sensory illusion that is popularly known as “Virtual Reality,” and is portrayed in the sci-fi film “The Matrix.”
The final category, and I imagine the most controversial one, is a Virtual Experience of the Third Kind (VE-3). This is a technologically induced false memory that is implanted into a UFO experiencer’s mind and is considered to be as “real” as any other memory produced by everyday physical or mental activities.


I am now in my third decade of UFO investigations and have worked with both North American and Latin American contact networks. In the course of dozens of fieldwork expeditions we have repeatedly witnessed bizarre visual displays of what appear to be shooting stars. But instead of behaving like natural phenomenon they inexplicably move in a zigzag fashion, or fly up instead of falling down, and even can appear on request.
In the fall of 1994 I was running contact teams out to the high desert one hundred miles east of Los Angeles. As outrageous as it may sound, in that remote locale I witnessed a “shooting star” display that appeared totally the same three times in a row. Each sighting occurred in the exact location, had the same brightness, same length of trail, same color, speed and angle of descent in respect to the horizon. Incredibly these anomalous shooting star displays appeared each time after my co-worker boldly stated to an unseen intelligence. “Show Dr Burkes!
As described in my field notes from that encounter, all three of these apparent meteor sightings occurred after a simple verbal request was made for each to appear.
For a more detailed report please go to the following posting.

How can such an event be possible? Was an ET spacecraft in Earth's outer atmosphere firing out meteors to create the display? No, that doesn’t seem probable. More likely the image was the result of some kind of technology that is perhaps holographic in nature.


Several months later during another live “show and tell” session, three-dimensional images, including one of an ET being were reportedly seen on the ceiling of a fellow contact worker as I spoke to him on the phone. To my utter amazement, the image was “seen” even after he reported closing his eyes. He also described one eye as tearing during the encounter. This suggested to me the distinct possibility that the energy producing the illusion was irritating his tear glands.
For a detailed report of this event and circumstances surrounding this “Tale of High Strangeness” please go to

For years I have contemplated the significance of this pair of bizarre encounters. I imagine that they were virtuoso displays of the psi capabilities of UFO intelligence. I am left with the disturbing impression that the so-called ETs can use technology to create illusions that convincingly simulate the appearance of actual physical objects and are indistinguishable from the real thing.


If UFO intelligence can hoax meteor displays, is that the limit of what they are doing with experiencers? I strongly suspect not. Images of flying saucers, black triangles massive cylindrical “mother ships” might all be part of their “bag of tricks.” And since they are images rather than physical objects, why not display “UFOs” that can go from standstill to thousands of miles per hour in a few seconds. This hypothesis thus has the power to explain why many parameters of UFO behavior appear to defy the laws of physics. Technologically produced visual displays masquerading as “craft” need not violate physical laws because they are not objects.
As in the example cited above involving tremendous acceleration, no alien flying saucer crew would run the risk of being crushed by inertial forces because a holographic projection obviously carries no crew.
Similarly experiencers describe ET beings that allegedly can pass through walls during Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In the UFO literature all kinds of speculation are offered to explain how the aliens might be able to alter their molecular structure to achieve such a feat.
A simpler explanation in my opinion is the technological creation of illusion, a mere visual display.


This doesn’t mean that all close encounters are “hoaxed” (i.e. illusions) and that no physical ET craft or alien beings exist. It is not a question of whether the phenomenon is physical (where an actual object or being is perceived) or whether the phenomenon is neurophysiological (in which a technologically mediated illusion is experienced.) Sightings of UFOs and close encounters that we are witnessing worldwide are in my judgment likely to be the result of both illusory and physical events.
Granted this is a very strange concept to try and wrap one's mind around. I am suggesting that some, perhaps even most sightings of UFOs do not represent physical objects. They are not hallucinations, that are the result of a pathological condition, but rather they are technologically induced illusions!
I am concerned that there are fearful people who might say that this capacity to create illusion is another example of the so-called "aliens” tendency to "deceive us." Some fundamentalist Christian groups regularly assert that the so-called extraterrestrials are really demonic in nature. For them Satan is “the great deceiver” and ETs capable creating illusion have a similar modus operandi.
By no means do I believe that UFO intelligence is the “Devil” in disguise. Instead I suggest that there are very practical considerations why a technologically advanced civilization might choose to create visual displays and other forms of virtual experience for human subjects


Illusions, whether simulating shooting stars, or ET craft for that matter, do not require live crews to stage encounters. In other words on a planet obsessed with “national security,” what appears to be ET craft are in my opinion being attacked and probably being shot-down on occasion as well. The evidence supporting this scenario comes from the numerous reports of armed conflict between UFOs and military aircraft. If shoot downs have occurred and some ET beings have been taken prisoner then I imagine their fate might be extremely unpleasant.
Thus ETs might chose to remotely simulate UFOs in the form of an illusion as a way of alerting mankind to their presence rather than sending saucers through hostile territory. It might be more than just a way of saving fuel. Conceivably it could even save lives!