Project Beta

The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth

Project Beta

THE HORRIFYING TRUE STORY OF A GOVERNMENT-AUTHORIZED CAMPAIGN OF DISINFORMATION THAT DEFINED AN ERA OF ALIEN PARANOIA AND DESTROYED ONE MAN'S LIFE.
In 1978, Paul Bennewitz, an electrical physicist living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, engaged in some aggressive radio monitoring of the nearby Sandia Labs, then managed by the Department of Defense. When he became convinced that the strange lights hovering over the labs and Kirtland Air Force Base signaled the vanguard of an extraterrestrial alien invasion, he began writing TV stations, newspapers, senators -- and even President Reagan -- to alert them.
For the most part Bennewitz received form-letter replies, but Air Force investigators paid him a visit, as did Bill Moore, author of the first book on the Roswell incident. Before long Moore -- then a new force in civilian UFO research -- was tapped by a group of intelligence agents and a deal was struck: Moore was to keep tabs on Bennewitz while the Air Force ran a psychological profile and disinformation campaign on the unsuspecting physicist. In return, Air Force Intelligence would let Moore in on classified UFO material.
This is Bennewitz's harrowing tale, told by fringe-culture historian Greg Bishop. It is the troubling account of the custom-made hall of smoke and mirrors that eventually drove Bennewitz to a mental institution, as well as the story of the explosive propagation of disinformation that began in 1979 and reverberates through the UFO community and pop culture to this day.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743470926 | 
  • February 2005

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About the Author

Greg Bishop
Photo Credit: Kenn Thomas, Steamshovel Press

Greg Bishop

Greg Bishop publishes and edits the UFO/conspiracy/psychedelic/new science journal The Excluded Middle. His reports, interviews, and features have also appeared in Fortean Times, UFO Magazine, Magical Blend, The Nose, Crash Collusion, Book Happy, and in the books Conspiracy and Cyberculture, Zen And The Art of Close Encounters, You Are Being Lied To, and Kooks. Greg has spoken publicly at numerous conferences and meetings, including an appearance as a panel member and featured speaker at the Disinfocon conference in New York City, described by the New York Times as the “Cyberpalooza of the Internet culture.” He has also appeared on many radio and Internet interview programs, including The X Zone, Strange Days, The Paul Garson Show, and The Infinity Factory. His radio show, Radio Mysterioso, can be can be heard on the Internet on Sundays at KillRadio.org.

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