001: David Lauer: Contact in the Desert and UFOs

This episode, I interview my friend, David Lauer about his experience at Contact in the Desert. Contact in the Desert is a conference that focuses on aliens, paranormal activity, and high weirdness. David is a stop motion animator and former 3D animator at Tippett Studio, an award-winning visual effects house. David has worked with Phil Tippett on his stop-motion masterpiece, Mad God. He also recently did animation for the film, Sorry to Bother You which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

This interview, David first gives background into the conference and then tells the story of a UFO sighting he had there and six possible explanations for what this sighting could have been.

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with astronomer, Meredith Rawls.

Meredith Rawls talks about her work with a Large Synoptic Survey Telescope being built in Chile set to be finished in 2020 that will take the highest resolution video of the sky so far over the course of a decade. MeredithWe’ll also talk about her work with red giants and how she uses starquakes to understand the mass and make-up of a star. 

You may also like my interview with former Pop Sci writer, Kelsey Atherton.

Kelsey Atherton covers unmanned vehicles and defense technology. First we look at drones and different development projects being worked on as well as current and potential legislation surrounding drones. Then we move into automated technology and discuss moral dilemmas that come with programming machines to think for themselves using an example by MIT called the Moral Machine. 


  • David talking about how him and his friend Nick Sazani got into the ‘high weirdness’ with the podcast Mysterious Universe. [00:02:31]
  • Graham Hancock and the academic side of ‘high weirdness’. [00:03:25]
  • What kind of people show up at Contact in the Desert? [00:04:51]
  • Talking about the Metaphysical institute where Contact in the Desert took place. [00:07:01]
  • David sees Tricia McCannon at a panel and listens to her talk about the mission she downloaded at five-years-old. [00:09:25]
  • Rational Thinking goes out the window when there’s 1000 other people cheering at this stuff. [00:11:26]
  • Graham Hancock, alternative archaeologist, introduces himself as the person who has done Ayahuasca 60 times. [00:12:14]
  • Laura Eisenhauer, Dwight D. Eisenhauers granddaughter, is angry that we’re on a planet invaded by Draco-reptilians. [00:13:29]
  • George Noory, host of Coast of Coast AM gets a Contact in the Desert birthday bash. [00:15:38]
  • David begins the story of the UFO that him and Nick Sazani saw at Contact in the Desert. [00:18:29]
  • The campers see the floating orbs. [00:21:25]
  • David shines a laser on the UFOs. [00:22.59]
  • Commence Scooby Doo investigation mode. David starts presenting his six different theories for the UFOs. [00:24:53]
  • Town Prank, institutional conspiracy, or military craft? [00:25:56]
  • Was the UFO a spirit orb? [00:27:16]
  • Magneto, aero dynamic, plasma sheath? [00:29:32]
  • David’s theory about natural stores of DMT being released being a possible cause for the UFO siting. [00:30:52]
  • Stargazing activity guarantees UFO siting. [00:36:05]
    Skepticism free zone. [00:37:43]
  • David wants to be part of the conspiracy but there’s an ethical dilemma. [00:38:31]
  • David’s dad thinks your moral responsibility to keep tricking these people. [00:41:16]
  • Truth of the matter isn’t that important. People’s perception is what’s real to them. [00:41:39]


“I saw one completely legitimate tinfoil hat that was definitely an antenna.” [00:06:51]

“And, so, really quickly a weird thing happened where I stopped blinking at what I was hearing. If I had some sort of rational wall in my brain where it was like “I’m not going to listen to people talking about Elementals and the Fall of Atlantis.” It was like a battering ram that just like totally blew the gates down! [laughs] and then people would be talking about how we’d been infiltrated by Draco-Reptilians and we’re absorbing nano-particles through chem-trails and I was just like “yea, ok, alright I’ll take that.” I mean, there’s 1000 other people cheering at this stuff…” [00:11:26]

“Then, [Laura Eisenhauer] started talking about how she downloaded her mission at age five and she was saying that she wakes up early everyday and gets out of bed and she just feels angry! She just feels angry, angry, angry that we are being bombarded by the nanoparticles sent by these draco-reptilians through chemtrails and she’s just like ‘Arggg’ it takes her minutes to just calm herself down. And she said that she wanted to make a shirt that says that ‘she’s doing the best I can on a planet infiltrated by Draco-Reptilians.'” [00:14:16]

“It would go really well with the pin that Tricia McCannon was handing out that say that we’re a ‘galactic federation ambassador.’ [laughs] I don’t even know! For humans? For the Pleiadian past lives? I’m not to sure.” [00:14:58]

“It was around, 150 drunk UFO convention goers. [laughs] dancing together, but all alone at the same time. [laughs] under these pink purple surreal lights while Robert Perala, a UFO abductee is in a fedora and suit doing the worst lounge singing I’ve ever heard while people are eating a wedding cake. [laughs] like it’s just sooo much going on. At the same time, it’s been like 110 degrees the entire day everyone dehydrated and they’re all getting liquored up and dancing for George Noory. It’s just this beautiful experience that everybody should just get to witness once! Go to one George Noory birthday bash in your life! Ya know?” [00:16:51]

“So it’s like you don’t just shine green lasers at an aircraft. These were weird enough and I’m looking at them and I’m like well everyone else is doing it, I’m going to shine my laser at it! [laughs] I gotta get in on this!” [00:23:58]

“These aren’t just normal alien flying saucers. These are magneto, aero-dynamic plasma sheath craft that are going inter-dimensional speeds. I’m thrilled that we got such a specific account of exactly how these UFOs works!” [00:38:48]

“It is kinda disappointing that as we were leaving we didn’t get to see through the binoculars some golf cart on the other side of a sand dune releasing balloons as a nice, cinematic little bow-tie to the whole thing.” [00:35:34]

“We were trying to find the lady who was running the star-viewing events. Her name was Melinda Lesley. We found her table where she could be approached by us Plebeians. [laughs] and um, she wasn’t there but she did have some brochures for other star-gazing events and one of them was, had the headline “UFO sighting guaranteed.” (laughs) Soooo, hmmm.. Keep that in mind when it comes to the institutional conspiracy theory.” [00:36:03]

“So it was kinda skepticism safe spot.” [00:38:05]

“Do you think like letting people have that clear joy of seeing what they thought was spirit orbs, do you thinking giving them that through false-pretenses is ok? I was going on about how truth doesn’t really matter and it’s about the human experience so giving people that human experience, I guess you could kinda justify it in some way.” [00:39:32]

“I kinda grew up with that mindset where you want empirical, rational, mindset where you figure out things, you gather the data, and then you can make an educated decision about how to go forward. And I think that really does have its place, that is a really valuable mindset. But at the same time and kinda running parallel to it. I just want to hear the most ridiculous extremes of the human experience, regardless of the veracity of it. Like the truth of the matter, really isn’t that important because whether or not it happened that person perceived it that way and that’s what’s really incredible about it.” [00:41:39]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!


Goodbye Blue Camper:


Stonefield Civil Engineering:


UFOs, New Age folk, and floating spirit orbs in the desert. I love David’s account of the super quirky, Contact in the Desert Convention. What about you?

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