Dr. Jeffrey Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University in Houston, Texas. This essay on the history of religions and its relationship to ‘the signs of the UFO’ was originally presented by Kripal at  The Sol Foundation Initiative for UAP Research and Policy Symposium at Stanford University on Saturday, November 18, 2023, and is reprinted here with the author’s permission. 

This event feels “historic” to me. I want to begin with some reflection on it, more specifically on the relationship between this event and what we have been trying to do at my own institution, Rice University, over the last few years. I have in fact hosted two related events, in 2022 and 2023, to the same size of audience and to a similar level of excitement. These conferences emerged from our Archives of the Impossible, a broad research project dedicated to exploring anomalous phenomena across the university and its present order of knowledge and grounded in an actual physical archive that Jacques Vallee himself initiated around 2014. At present, there are some 15 collections and well over one million documents in the expanding archive. If my memory serves, it was in 2014, in Berkeley, California, where Jacques first spoke to me about placing his files and case studies in a university archive, and he had just met with a geneticist from Stanford named Garry Nolan about their shared research interests. So there are numerous conceptual, historical, and personal connections at work here.

The precise relationship between these two university-based initiatives hit me hard over the past few days as I took in the astonishing physics, movement, and luminosity of the observed craft and the chemical and atomic analyses of ejected UFO material, their obvious manufactured natures, and their anomalous isotopes. The same relationship became even clearer to me as I listened to the talk of Vallee for this conference event, “The UFO Phenomenon: A Genuine Scientific Problem.”

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