Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo astronaut who died Thursday night at the age of 85, had many theories about aliens that he often shared with the public. He believed aliens are real and UFOs from extraterrestrials have visited us before. He also publicly stated that he thought there was a coverup involving aliens and their visits to Earth. Many of his theories were highly criticized by skeptics, and lauded by conspiracy theorists. What exactly were Edgar Mitchell’s alien theories? Why did Mitchell believe that aliens and UFOs were real? What were his top theories?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Edgar Mitchell Believed UFOs Belonged to Aliens, Including One at the Roswell Crash
Edgar Mitchell was a firm believer that UFOs belonged to extraterrestrials from other planets. As the sixth man to walk on the moon and a NASA astronaut, his theories and beliefs were among the most credible of UFO believers. Not only was Mitchell an astronaut, but he also was a test pilot for the Navy, had an M.S. in aeronautical engineering, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970. Part of his belief in alien life stemmed from experiences he had returning to Earth from the moon, where he felt more connected with the universe than he ever had before.
Mitchell has said publicly that he’s 90 percent sure that many of the unidentified flying objects recorded since the 1940s belong to aliens from other planets, according to The Ottawa Citizen. In 1998, he called on Washington, D.C. to acknowledge publicly what it knew about alien life. He said he had witnesses who could provide the truth about Roswell and other events. In an interview with Dateline NBC in 1996, Mitchell said that there were alien bodies at Roswell but the government covered it up. When he started speaking out in the 1990s, he said he was only then coming out with his knowledge because he was wary of being labeled a UFO “crank.”
He stood by his stated beliefs, no matter how much he was criticized. In 2008, he was interviewed on Kerrang Radio and once again spoke about how the Roswell crash was real and aliens had contacted humans multiple times, Daily Mail reported. The interview is embedded in the YouTube video at the top of this section. Skeptics criticize the interviewer and say it was an actor and not Mitchell. But Mitchell had publicly acknowledged the interview was with him.
Interestingly, Mitchell’s beliefs were in line with those of Philip James Corso, who was Chief of U.S. Counter Intelligence Corp. in Rome in the 1940s and Chief of the Pentagon’s Foreign Technology Desk in the 1960s. He even wrote a book, The Day After Roswell, where he said that he stewarded alien artifacts from the Roswell crash, which were later reverse engineered to develop some of our more advanced technology. Corso was known for taking stands for unpopular beliefs. He provided firsthand testimony during Senate hearings that hundreds of American POWs were abandoned at prisoner of war camps in North Korea, Philly.com reported. John McCain angrily dismissed those allegations.
2. He Said He Met With Officials From Three Countries Who Had Personal Encounters with Aliens
In an interview with Dateline NBC in 1996, Mitchell said he had met with officials from three other countries who had personal encounters with aliens from other planets, not just secondhand information. The evidence of alien contact was strong and classified, including that extraterrestrials were giving technology to the U.S. government, he said.
In 2004, Mitchell said that the government was studying alien bodies but stopped sharing that information with presidents after John F. Kennedy, Tampa Bay Times reported:
A few insiders know the truth . . . and are studying the bodies that have been discovered.”
During a radio interview, Mitchell said that aliens were far more advanced than us and we would have been gone a long time ago if they were hostile. In 2014, he clarified in an interview with AskMen that he had never personally seen a UFO or been threatened about his claims, but he did know people who had seen them.
3. Mitchell Said There Is a Huge Alien Coverup, But NASA Is Not Involved
Mitchell has long stated that there is a huge alien coverup. The Ottawa Citizen reported back in 1998 from a conference Mitchell spoke at. During the conference, he said that he personally knew witnesses from intelligence agencies and the military who convinced him the U.S. government had been covering up UFOs for 50 years:
Many of these folks are under high-security clearances, they took oaths and they feel they cannot talk without some form of immunity. It takes a brave person to come out on something like this.”
Mitchell clarified that NASA was not involved in the coverup. He talked extensively about the coverup in a radio interview in 2008, which you can hear in the embedded YouTube video under Fact #1 above. After the interview, Mitchell spoke with Fox News in 2008 and said that his comments didn’t include NASA, but were from other people involved in the Roswell investigation. He said he also got confirmation from an anonymous official at the Pentagon.
4. He Had Other Controversial Views, Including Remote Healing and ESP
Mitchell’s controversial views don’t stop with aliens. He also believed in ESP and remote healing. According to his bio, in 1971 he published an article called “An ESP Test from Apollo 14” in the Journal of Parapsychology. This was based on ESP experiments that he said he conducted while traveling to the moon, where he would try to send numbers to people on Earth telepathically, Patch reported.
In a 2004 conference, Mitchell talked about how he was freed from prostate cancer during a healing ceremony, Tampa Bay Times reported. However, this story is a little unclear because other sources give slightly different versions. A Wikipedia entry states he said he was healed of kidney cancer in 2004 via remote healing, which he said was confirmed by a sonogram and MRI.
Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973, inspired by his feeling of interconnectedness with the universe while he was traveling back to Earth from the moon. He spoke of that feeling often, the New Mexico Museum of Space History reported:
In outer space you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it… My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.”
The Noetic nonprofit institute promotes research into consciousness, healing, and extended human capacities, according to its website. The institute focuses on sponsoring original research that can be published in peer-reviewed journals.
5. He Did Not Believe Aliens Stopped Nuclear War, Despite Media Claims in 2011
Despite his claims that some say are outlandish, Mitchell was quick to point out when media fabricated quotes from him. In August 2015, The Mirror published a story claiming that Edgar Mitchell said aliens had visited the United States to save America from nuclear war. Mitchell contacted The Huffington Post and said he never said any of those things; The Mirror had fabricated those quotes. In light of how quick he was to dismiss fabricated claims, this statement he made to Bloomberg Business in 2013 is quite fascinating:
Initially I think there was justification in that leadership officials thought people weren’t ready to handle it (the truth about aliens). But we are well past that now. Frankly, and this is just personal opinion, remember what (President) Eisenhower said in his final speech: ‘Beware the military industrial complex.’ I suspect that’s what we’re talking about.”