Transcription: 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.


[Narration Begins]

Hello Everyone, my name is Marissa Comstock and you’re listening to The Undefined: A Profile of a Generation. 

[Theme music begins]

This is my first podcast episode. You can find this episode on our website at The long story short is the show is about young people doing awesome things. 

This first episode is with my friend, David Lauer. We were classmates at California College of the Arts and coworkers at Tippett Studio which is a a visual effects house in Berkeley, California where David worked as a 3D animator. He got his start working in stop motion on Mad God, Phil Tippett’s personal project. David is currently working on a sci-fi short film trailer. More about that in the future. 

This interview doesn’t follow the normal format. David went to a UFO convention called Contact in the Desert a few weeks ago in Joshua Tree with another classmate of ours Nick Sazani. When he got back he was telling me all about it and I was like “Can I please record this?! It’s the best story ever!” So what started as a way to test sound equipment and get clips to put in a later episode about his sci-fi trailer became this amazing account of his experience of Contact in the Desert so I decided to release this as my first episode because David is so captivating and so fun to listen to. 

The episode is in two parts. The first part is David giving some background to the conference like the type of people who attend and then talking about some of his favorite speakers. Then, we’ll take a short break and come back to the second part where David will be talking about a UFO sighting him and Nick had as well as six possible explanations for what this UFO could have been. There’s show notes on the website with links to the conference and some of the other things mentioned on the episode. Alright! I’m excited! Hope you like the first show.

[Theme Music]

[Narration Continues]

Marissa: So we’re just going to get started right away with David’s account of Contact in the Desert.

[Interview Begins]

David: My friend Nick Sazani lives down in LA. He has been reading up on all sorts of paranormal and specifically the way he was getting into was the podcast Mysterious Universe which gets shortened to MU a lot.

Marissa: I love Mysterious Universe! [Laughs]

David: It’s just like a perfect entry level way of getting into the paranormal community and just like the full range of the unbelievable and what they call ‘high weirdness.’

Marissa: …or crazy awesome.

David: Yea [laughs] or they’re going from everything from Bigfoot as a an alien human hybrid sent to monitor our forestry events or the alien human hybrids who are actually here for planetary acquisition versus fairies gnomes, ghosts, remote viewing, everything. 

And there’s kinda the more academic side of all this stuff. There’s a guy named Graham Hancock he is way more invested in kind of trying to break into the mainstream academia of archaeology and he’s kind of teamed up with a few other people to.. One of his kinda main missions is to prove to the people who are kind of writing the academic textbooks on archaeology that the sphinx is much older than we believe. A lot civilization who are able to haul around multi-ton blocks of stone are tens of thousands of years older than we believe and that was kinda our entry point into this thing called Contact in the Desert which was happening at this metaphysical institute six miles outside of Joshua Tree. We decided that were going to get down there. It was like a three day event, Graham Hancock was speaking at two o’clock on Friday so I drove down. Teamed up. Got over there at two o’clock and we just really weren’t expecting what we were going to find over there. [laughs] We went to by far the most rational person there first. 

Marissa: Yea

David: He had this, you know, this delightfully sourced, very informational, rational sounding talk on how civilization was older than we give it credit for. And then once we started hearing people giving the questions and answers we realized we’re surrounded by [laughs]… It was just like Oh my god! Ok… It felt like maybe 1000, 1500 people and maybe 80% of the people there had been bussed in from retirement homes and I don’t know if was like against there will [laughs] or if they had been sold on some new age nonsense or, I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t say “New Aged nonsense” I’m trying to be open-minded here.

Marissa: Were they just warm bodies that they filled seats with possibly?

David: Yea… Kinda.. And just like people who loved to hear good news about the afterlife and about consciousness.

Marissa: Ohhh yea.

David: And this, this, like this feeling like even though my mortal body is decaying I’m going to live on in some way. Whether it’s like my heart chakra is beaming out into the Pleiadian system or that they’re actually just holding you know, they’re just a reincarnated form of ancient aliens who’ve been helping build pyramids and they’re going to come back in a few 1000 years, like, they’re covering their bases with the afterlife, they’re covering their bases with all sorts of hopeful statements about how aliens are good and they’re raising our consciousness, they’re raising our vibrations. 

Young people. All new age. All heart-chakra, henna tattoo, rock-climbing, guitar-playing, shirtless, long-hair people.

Marissa: [laughs]

David: Just like very friendly great community. Then you have like the, we’ve seen some shit [laughs], Roswell, the government’s cracked down on us. We wear tin foil hats to block the government transmissions and to make us more open to the alien transmissions.

Marissa: Well it depends on how you shape the foil.

David: It does. I saw one completely legitimate tinfoil hat that was definitely an antenna. I don’t even know how I can set the scene at all here. I mean this metaphysical institute, this is June, early June, in Joshua Tree. On the drive down, we were hitting like 110 degrees on the car thermostat. At least 105 everyday and it was on this 400 acres of barren desert wasteland. The original institute had been built by Frank Lloyd in the 20s. So we had met this local who had worked there for several months a few years ago. She was trying to give us the origin story of this place. Turns out it had been all financed by this shady businessman who had adopted this pseudonym for the entire project and he was able to pay Frank Lloyd Wright and his son to design this place in the middle of the desert and it had been horribly refurbished in the 70s so it’s all kinda gross blotchy rugs and stucco covering.

Marissa: Eww

David: What you could kinda see used to be a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Marissa: or insult? [laughs]

David: Uh yea and it all had these names like the sanctuary and noble hall and friendship hall where all the speakers were having their lectures so it just had this very New Age feel. And I didn’t even really know what new age meant till I got here and I’d heard people making fun of New Age speakers and I tried to do some research on these people to try and get a grasp of what I was plunging into. All the jokes are essentially, “Oh yea, if just put yourself out there and open your hear chakra and you can just feel the vibrations of everyone around and you can just elevate your frequency…” I mean, it’s not even a joke! Those are exact quotations of what you’re hearing! [laughs] There’s zero difference between what’s being made fun of and the actual source material. It was unbelievable.

There were two types of talks there. There were lectures where you would have an individual speaker just sort of ramble on about whatever they wanted for a couple hours and then there were the panels where you’d have anywhere between three and nine speakers. Just, unmoderated [laughs] talking about whatever it was that they wanted and I just tried to write down as much quotes as I could and like there were some characters that just came out. That were just so vibrant compared to other people. 

One of them was Tricia McCannon and she just had this incredible introduction on a panel about UFOs, spirituality, and the evolution of consciousness. As an introduction to herself, she said that she was taught how to synthesize her mail and female brains to open her third eye when she was around five-years-old by an elemental. [laughs] Ever since then she’s become an inter-dimensional clairvoyant who can see angels, demons, masters, Pleiadians, other beings from space and elementals and she met her eagle-headed spirit teacher who taught her that she used to be an alien working underneath the underground complex at the Pyramids of Giza during the fall of Atlantis. And then it just then showed her the cities of the inside of the Earth and the hollow moon and that her main mission is to prevent all of our souls from leaving during the dimensional ascension of the Earth.

Marissa: Ok. That’s so much information! [laughs]

David: And she said it in half the time that I just did.

Marissa: Yea

David: And then it was like, I’m an in an amphitheater in 110 degree weather with all these old people, maybe 100 people there. Then, just uproarious applause, everybody loved it. It was just like the biggest cheer of the night. They were like “Yea! I see Elementals, too! Yea! Tell me about the Pleiadians!” 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, so I’m not going to like, put myself out there and be like “Um no! I’m going to be here for the voice of skepticism.”

There was this panel where Tricia McCannon had so gloriously introduced herself. There were a couple other speakers including Graham Hancock and it felt really strange. He was at the end of the panel to introduce himself so there was like seven people there and they were giving their introductions as ‘alien abductees,’ as ‘spirit heelers,’ as ‘inter-dimensional clairvoyants.’ And then it was Graham Hancock’s turn and he introduced himself not as the person who is trying to redefine the limits of civilization and overthrow the dogma of archaeology. He introduced himself as a guy who’s gone to the jungle and done Ayahuasca trips 60 times [laughs] in the last, like, 13 years or something like that. It’s like once every three months he just packs up, goes to the Amazon, and just trips on Ayahuasca for days and I, I didn’t really know that about him. I was like, ok [laughs] alright this is another side of the man, I just didn’t really uhh, I didn’t really expect that from him. I guess he’s the most rational guy here. Alright, this is the crowd I’m in. 

And right after him, was kind of my favorite speaker. Her name was Laura Eisenhauer. She was the granddaughter of Dwight D. Eisenhauer, the president general who stormed the beaches at D-Day and kinda was the, I think he was the overall allied commander of the forces in European theater in WWII. Probably, one of the most respected American heroes of the 1900s. His granddaughter [laughs] ohhh boy. She introduced herself, kinda casual start. She was a wilderness exploration leader.

Marissa: Ok, yea.

David: Cool. She’s been out. She’s been out getting experience all over the place. Then, she 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.”

Marissa: [laughs] I would wear that!

David: [laughs] Yea I would! She should start printing though ASAP. 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.

Marissa: Yea I really want to go.

David: I mean, I guess I kinda flinched at the ticket price in the beginning.

Marissa: Wait how much is it?

David: It was like 200 dollars.

Marissa: Oh really?

David: Yea

Marissa: No dude. That’s so worth it.

David: Yea it’s worth it. It’s like three or four days. I’m hoping that it’s on the same date every year because I had the privilege and the honor of getting to visit George Noory’s birthday bash. I don’t know if you know George Noory?

Marissa: No.

David: He’s the host of Coast to Coast AM and he is the successor to Art Bell’s program which is essentially anybody can call in and just tell this radio host what crazy UFO sighting they had, what crazy Bigfoot stories they had, what dreams they were having, what numerology has been telling them, what their horoscope has aligned. Anything and everything, this massive expansive program of the paranormal and the high weirdness, that people get to experience. It’s just, you can tune into it on the AM frequency in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere. [laughs] And you’ll just get to hear all these crazy stories. And this guy George Noory who is the host of it, who’s kinda the um, the most open-minded of us all I believe, was having his birthday bash there.

Marissa: Sounds so fun!

David: 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? 

Marissa: Totally [laughs] 

David: It’s just like, you don’t get that many parties like that in you’re life.

[Narration Break]

Marissa: So that wraps up the first section. George Noory’s birthday party? I don’t know about you but shag carpet, lounge music, dancing UFO attendees, totally sounds like the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks. Anyway! Up next is David talking about a UFO sighting him and Nick had, their investigation into that sighting, and six possible explanations for what this UFO could have been. You can decide which explanation suits you. 

[music break]

David: I don’t even know how to break into this. I don’t know how to say that we, Nick and I, saw these, had a like an experience there. And it really kinda changed the tack that we had going forward from there. Our plan while we where there was to go to as many lectures as we can. Hear as many of the speakers as we can and then what more can you ask for? And then while we were there, um, we had gone to two days of talks, and we said that we would start exploring this gigantic institute. It was like 400 acres. There was a claim that there were 17 magnetic vortices on the premises. I guess that’s really in high regard [laughs] to some people. Sedona, Arizona has a lot of magnetic vortices… I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do with these places. I guess a lot of people do like yoga around them or breathing exercises. It arranges their frequencies in some way.

But we decided to go on a hike. Have a great time. See the sunset. Start heading back to camp and the thing that started getting kinda weird, when we were out in this sandy patch, maybe 200 yards away from the nearest camper. So we were still a little far out there and we were trying to locate some of the constellations because Nick had been really reading up on his star systems and everything. We both heard this horrible… it was like this half second pulse. like BOOOOOOOOP. It felt like tinnitus. It wasn’t an external sound. It was the sound of the frequencies in your ears frying and it was very internal brain-vibrating sound and it just felt terrible. And I looked at Nick and was like, you heard that, too? Let’s get the hell outta here. It has to be this area, let’s go back to camp, like screw the stars right now. 

And we didn’t really pay it that much mind. I was like human-deterrence frequency. Someone in an RV might have one of those sound guns. Maybe we were talking too loud. It was around 10 o’clock at night. Someone wanted an early night.

That was my first rationalization. And we get back to camp and we start setting up the telescope I had brought so we could start looking at some of the planets. It was a really clear night. You could see the Milky Way and we’d gotten the telescope base out on the other side of the trees to block out the lights from the institute and some of the other campers were out just kinda start-gazing. This was at the same time as this stargazing event was going on about this platform in the institute. 

Suddenly we hear ALL this screaming and yelling and we hear the campers say “OH MY GOD!! LOOK!! Right over there! Right over there!” And we look up and there’s like this weird little floating tumbling object slowly meandering across the sky just tumbling over itself. From what I could tell. It might have been like a triangular spheroid. The way it was tumbling, you’d see it from all these different angles so sometimes they looked like circles, sometimes they looked like a football, sometimes they looked like a triangle but it was emitting this faint light. It was way larger. It was probably the size of your pinky nail if you extend your arm out. People were immediately saying “Spirit Orbs! There’s a spirit orb up there and it’s acknowledging us and it’s coming down.” 

I still have no idea what it is. Nick immediately runs back and gets his binoculars, we’ve kinda forgotten everything else that we’re doing and then a second one appears and it starts blinking this slow green light at us. This tumbling pattern, I hadn’t see anything like this before. It wasn’t a helicopter, it wasn’t a plane. If it was a blimp it would have been completely out of control. Eventually, there’s a total of six of these things in the sky and they don’t even disappear over the horizon they just kinda disappear into the milky way and 4 of them were green, one was red, and one was blue. From the star-gazing platform, people have night vision goggles looking at these things and they have these astronomical lasers and they just start shining all over these objects which is kinda horrifying me a little bit because that’s just.. It’s against the laser owner’s code to shine lasers at these things.

Marissa: Well I think you said they reflect in planes or something like that?

David: Well they can blind you if you shine it in someone’s eyes and they’ve got a five to ten mile range sometimes and yea if you blind a pilot, yea that’s just bad news for everybody. The first thing that I got, when I got my first green laser, I was just looking at some videos and if you look up green lasers, it’s mainly police helicopters flying around and then, their cameras get shined by a green laser. They immediately track down the person with the green laser, send cop cars to them and then people pile out and tackle the guy and beat the crap out of them and arrest them. [laughs] 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!

I need to figure out, how close are these, are they.. I mean a lot of people are calling them spirit orbs. I wanted to see if they would actually reflect a green laser and they did. We just did a gentle little painting on top of this thing and they were definitely physical objects or at least, they were reflecting a laser, anyway. They probably, the entire sighting probably lasted around five minutes total and after the last one disappeared, Nick and I just looked at each other and decide to go into Scooby-Doo investigation mode. 

We’re at a UFO conference, there’s got to be experts on this sort of stuff. I’m sure someone is manning the phone banks right now calling military bases, calling airports, just making sure that there aren’t any errant weather balloons that have come loose. We’re next to too gigantic military bases. We’ve should probably be covering our bases before we leap to conclusions but it turns out that Nick are by far the most curious people trying to get this thing figured out. 


We talked to probably 30 or 40 people in total. Who’d seen it. A whole rang of different accounts. In the end we kinda we had it boiled down to six different theories of what we’d seen and three of them are, ya know, are probably for the rational person who wants to hear those sorts of things. That it was either a town prank. The objects were going with the wind. They weren’t changing direction and it came from the town. The thing is that it was also happening at the same time as a start-viewing event for the institute. 

Marissa: Oh right

David: So it’s been proposed that… I just like the saying that if it’s too good to be true, than it is. If there’s a star viewing event at a UFO conference and you see UFOs, it’s just like… You gotta ask some questions. You know, this is a conspiracy. Maybe there was a golf cart that went out in the dunes and released these crazy balloons with blinking lights. It had to be really sophisticated, bizarre objects with all sorts of lights on them. But definitely a possibility and kinda where I ended up is military experimental aircraft. However, everyone else that we talked to the entire time had wayyy cooler theories that I was really into. It was really interesting, I feel like there were a few groups of people. There were these younger people like my age, and then, also locals who were all sorts of ages and they were all saying that they summon spirit orbs with meditation all the time. It happens all the time in Joshua Tree, happens in deserts all over the United States. Sedona, Arizona has mediation groups where they can summon spirit orbs with their emerald green heart chakras which is why you get green spirit orbs. Because it’s reflecting your heart chakra.

Marissa: huh.

David: That’s the sort of information you get from the New Age folks. So like, OK, take that in stride. However, Nick has kinda grown up with hearing about how his parents have been chased by spirit orbs so he was like 40% chance that they were spirit orbs.

Marissa: ok.

David: He ended 40% chance that they were spirit orbs and then he had a whole range.. I think that there was like a less than 50% chance that there would be a rational explanation accepted by anyone who had been to a UFO conference.

Marissa: Wait didn’t you tell me that Nick has a spirit orb painting in his house?

David: Yea! It’s a really beautiful painting. His dad is a really accomplished painter and when I got to go to his house there’s a painting that’s like a recording of this event that happened to his mom when she was in her 20s and she was on the shores of Lake Michigan with her boyfriend at the time and her dog and a glowing head started chasing her down the beach. It was like zig-zagging around and trying to get her! And she was just running screaming away from this thing. She got away safely but Nick’s dad has this beautiful painting of this glowing head, chasing his mom down this beach with like this dog. And it’s literally like, so beautifully rendered. So softly painted with such love. Growing up along side that I guess I could imagine putting 40% chance in what we saw were spirit orbs. [laughs] I didn’t get that. I put spirit orbs at like 2% chance. There’s a chance. I’m not completely closed off to the idea. But um, if you remember me saying there’s 17 magnetic vortices over this metaphysical institute.

Marissa: Maybe I remember you saying that. [laughs]

David: There’s specifically 17 magnetic vortices. There was a pretty incredible lecture that we went to by a series of physicists who were talking about how they had been on a top secret government program that got canceled in the 70s to have aircrafts with nuclear powered engines that would create a plasma sheath around the entire aircraft. Just like this super-heated, ionized gas that would allow them to transcend the laws of aerodynamics. And they were calling it magneto aerodynamics with this plasma sheath. 

Now, I don’t know who put two and two together but these, the bizarre soft-focused light that these objects were emanating. We were looking at them through binoculars and you couldn’t focus on them and that’s because, according to these guys, that was the plasma sheath from the magneto, aerodynamic aircraft that had teleported into our low orbit, slowed down over our magnetic vortices to refuel their plasma sheaths and then sped off and disappeared. 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! [laughs]

Marissa: Totally!

David: In kinda my, we uh, were trying to lump all of these accounts together, all of this information we’d been getting. Then, we kind of remembered this bizarre sound that we’d heard, maybe 15 or 20 minutes before we had had this sighting. Graham Hancock had had this workshop show earlier that we’d gone to where he was talking about the parallels between how shamans who use ayahuasca which is a drug containing DMT. How their experiences on ayahuasca parallel these alien abductees. How sometimes alien abductees, there’s the classic beam of light that comes down and pulls them into a ship. Whereas Shamans have similar looking flying saucers extend down ladders of light that they voluntarily climb. Both have experienced these bizarre surgeries where they’ve had all of their bones removed and counted in front of them before being put back in. For one of them it’s a Shamanic ordeal. For others, it’s this horrifying alien surgery. But there’s these incredible parallels and Graham Hancock posits the theory: well maybe alien abductees are actually having a sort of spiritual experience with the DMT that’s naturally found in the brain in your pineal gland that’s normally released in near death experiences where when you die you have this kind of trip as your body releases these hallucinogenic chemical to ease the shock of dying.

So we had heard that bizarre frequency that seemed to be going right passed your ears and vibrating my brain. Nick kinda felt the same way about what we had just heard. Even though, we put it off to the side, What if, there is a kinda combination of these theories where it isn’t just alien abductees are going through some sort of spiritual experience or some sort of hallucinogenic experience similar to those of ayahuasca shamans. But what if there is some sort of physical hardware that can produce a sort of resonant frequency that will activate your pineal gland to release its natural store of DMT. So that frequency that we heard is actually something that actually pushed us to have these very specific hallucinations that we kinda had to rationalize as a UFO sighting.

Marissa: Huh yea.

David: Now this is the same workshop where there’s shaman abductee parallels where Graham Hancock was talking about how he claims that the use of hallucinogenics was what kind of elevated cave people from being these primates that had been making stone tools for a million and a half years to fire-using cave-art making, just sort of the conscious being that we identify ourselves as today. He thinks it was the beginning of hallucinogenic drugs that gave us that sort of conscious awakening. Now, if what happened is at that UFO conference we were all bombarded with a resonant frequency from some sort of craft that activated our pineal glands. I don’t think it’s too far to say, if you can accept that, that could happened to our extreme ancestors where it wasn’t just the use of drugs but it was actually a deliberate act by some sort of craft to activate our conscious selves. 

Marissa: uh-huh

David: I see you’re not exactly thrilled by that theory. 


Marissa: No no! I’m trying to pick my favorite. 


David: So you have town prank, institutional conspiracy, military experimental aircraft, spirit orbs, plasma sheath magneto aero dynamic aircraft, or some sort of resonant frequency that activated our DMT. 

Marissa: I think resonant frequency is my favorite. 

David: Me too. However, there is something really, there is something really pleasing for me. 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. Like case closed! We’re going to write a big…

Marissa: Exposé

David: Yea! [laughs] We’re going to tear down that conference and reveal them all for who they really are. I mean, one more piece of evidence for the institutional conspiracy. 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.

Marissa: yea…

David: and then you might be willing to say, “yes, I was guaranteed a UFO and there it is.” But this was on a different level I feel like. This was, these were bizarre… I haven’t seen anything else fly like this. I was trying to think of how you would make a balloon tumble through the air like this. I want to do some experiments, I want try to attach marbles and off-center ballasts and try to have a tumbling ballon pattern and replicate what I saw but I’ll have to get back to you with my conclusions on that. [laughs]

Marissa: Please do.

David: In some ways, I really do love having this sort of menu of options of what to believe. There’s, ya know, I didn’t go here expecting to find the truth. I don’t think i’ll ever know what happened and there’s all these different people that believe extremely, extremely hard that they saw spirit orbs to the point where if you try and ask them questions, like “well let’s just due diligence, be skeptical, let’s just try to figure this out together.” They’re just like, “What’s to be skeptical about?!? They were spirit orbs! They were swinging by! Saying hello! They acknowledged us. Don’t you dare bring your skepticism around here.”

So it was kinda skepticism safe spot. [laughs] That wasn’t a place to find out what actually happened. And just like getting to have a sighting at a UFO conference, in Joshua Tree, it was worth the price of admission and more. I can’t wait to go back. When I go back to Contact in the Desert next year… It’s going to be… I’m going to have a plan of attack. I want to interview staff members. I want to talk to all the volunteers, I want to get more history of this place because unless I see something that was as crazy as what I saw that Saturday night then I’m going to try and follow up on it because if there’s an institutional conspiracy where they’re letting balloons go during star-gazing events. I want to be there to see it. [laughs] By god, if I had my dreams come true, I would be able to infiltrate their ranks and help release the balloons. That would be.. I would LOVE to do that! I would love to be apart of that! I don’t know how that would sit with my, ya know, morals and my ethics…

Marissa: But you’re like helping, you’re like confirming their beliefs! You’re giving them so much!

David: Do you think that’s ok? like, 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.

I would have to I think justify it to myself as, that I was going to, that I was a mole, I would be a spy for the UFO community and I would have to disclose things. Like I don’t know. That might be like a death bed confession. Like “I was releasing balloons at Contact in the Desert 2017”

Marissa: What if it’s like you come up upon the people who are releasing them and they you’re like nooo and then you stop them but then your elbow bumps the thing that lets it off. Would that be ok with your conscience?

David: [deep breath] I mean, I guess I would have to tell people what happened.

Marissa: Ohhh. Ok that would be a thing

David: I would have to run around saying “Don’t look at those balloons!! It’s an accident! 

Marissa: But what if people still believe it?

David: People would. There’s no way that I could convince them that would they saw was something of my doing.

Marissa: [laughs] You’re like, “Look at my hand! I just released that balloon.”

David: This hand! This hand did it! I mean, you know, when I tell my parents about this, my dad is immediately like you should build one to take with you and release. [laughs] So that’s a wholllleee nother level..

Marissa: So morally he’s ok with it then? [laughs]

David: Oh beyond that! He thinks it’s your moral responsibility to continue tricking these people. 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. 

[Cut to Narration]

Marissa: So that is the conclusion of the first episode of The Undefined: A Profile of a Generation. I hope you found David’s story as captivating as I did. Thank you so much for listening! You can check out the website at with links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’m still learning Twitter! And of course we’re on Itunes and Soundcloud. I’m really excited about next episode. I’ll be talking to my friend Elizia Artis. We went to high school together, she’s incredible. She worked for AmeriCorps. She’s now currently working in Flint, Michigan, as a program manager with the Michigan Non-profit association where she works with the public school system. She’s also graciously agreed to have a discussion about Black Lives Matter and have a discussion about being a person of color. So I’m so excited to share that with you and so excited I got to have that conversation with her. So tune in next week! Bye listeners!

[Theme Music]


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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