Project Beta

Project Beta

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

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.
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  • Gallery Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743470926 | 
  • February 2005
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Kirtland

Very few venture outside at night during the New Mexico winter. The bone-chilling cold repels all but the hardiest or the inexperienced visitor. It was the way of this land even before 1630, when Alvaro Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca first stumbled onto the bewildered residents of an adobe pueblo hundreds of miles beyond the northernmost outpost of the Spanish empire. Cabeza de Vaca was greeted as a miracle worker, or some sort of god. It was not the first and certainly not the last time that the "Land of Enchantment" would befuddle its inhabitants.

Since World War II, this enchanted land has also been home to some of... see more

About the Author

Greg Bishop
Photo Credit: Kenn Thomas, Steamshovel Press

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