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For some, the name Peter Robbins conjures pages from the British-Best Selling book, Left at East Gate: A First-Hand Account of the Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident, Its Cover-up, and Investigation. The controversial book covers the 1980 incident in which there were reported sightings of unexplained lights near Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England. There have also been claims of UFO landings and the control of nuclear weapons on the nearby Bentwaters Base by said UFOs. The Rendlesham Forest case has become wrapped in controversy, recently centering around one of the key witnesses.
But that is not why we are here today. Today, I speak with Peter Robbins about his life-long pursuit to find the truth behind the UFO mystery. Once a month, Robbins and I would meet at our cozy spot in Hells Kitchen, NYC and catch up on the month's UFO research happenings and beyond. And this time was no different, except I decided to interview Robbins and get a close and personal glimpse into this man's incredible journey and intimate thoughts on the UFO enigma. I hope you enjoy.
Interview with Peter Robbins (October 11, 2017)
Ryan Sprague: Many may not be aware, but you were a huge driving force and inspiration for me to become a part of the UFO research field. Who would you consider your most influential and inspiring individuals in and outside the field that really made you become the researcher you are today?
Peter Robbins: I was honored by that Ryan, and considering your now-growing number of significant contributions to this complex, fascinating, sometimes enraging, and genuinely important field, you have more than made good on the promise you showed when we first met.
Inspirations in the field? Budd Hopkins, of course. We were friends for thirty-five years, a good part of which I spent as his general assistant, primarily in his UFO-related investigations, but also in his painting studio, a time and experience I will always be grateful for. If I began to go on about him here I wouldn’t get to any of your other questions.
A friend I was lucky enough to make soon after I became obsessed with the subject also had a major effect on me. Pete Mazzola was a sometimes-larger-than-life, tough, no-nonsense, Brooklyn-born, Italian-American New York City Police Detective. He also happened to be a dedicated UFO investigator, as methodical and observant in his UFO-related work as he was in his years of professional criminal investigations and other police work. In the 1970s, he created the Scientific Bureau of Investigation, or SBI, an organization dedicated to the serious investigation of UFO reports. This goes far enough back that Pete was the first person I know (later 1970s) who had a phone answering machine. More, it was for a dedicated, second-phone that served as a 24/7 UFO incident and sighting UFO hotline—only took calls at its height in the early 80s. The group had more than nine-hundred members, many of them police officers from all around the country. I was Art Director for their quarterly (as best I recall) publication, the SBI Bulletin. He had been specially trained through the NYPD to conduct regressive hypnosis in criminal investigations, but hypnotically regressed many UFO witnesses, experiencers, and abductees as well in his own time. New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice thought enough of this decorated police officer, then-detective, to allow him ongoing use of their VSA (Voice Stress Analysis) unit—bulky technology back then, to analyze the audiocassettes of the regressions with a hardcopy of his findings to the individual. I still have mine and my sister’s. Pete served as the organization’s director until an auto wreck. Then a brain tumor led to his early death in June 1987. Had he lived, Pete’s dedication, determination, and personal charisma might well have moved the SBI into the organizational ranks of MUFON and beyond.
I was introduced to Pete by another veteran UFO researcher/investigator, Coleman von Keveczsky, the third of my mentors. His credentials were also impressive. A retired Royal Hungarian Army staff officer, Coleman had been in charge of that army’s photo analysis and training films and filmstrips during the War. He and his wife lived in an apartment in Queens, New York. What would have been the second bedroom was an office crammed full of filing cabinets, its walls covered with photographs, letters, and honors. Coleman’s interest in UFOs was primarily from a military perspective, a central concern of which was the frightening possibility that the US or the USSR military analysts might someday misidentify a genuinely anomalous UFO or UFOs as incoming enemy missile fire, and in the process, inadvertently set World War III in motion. The Major became passionately involved in UFO studies when, as a newly-sworn in American citizen, the 1952 Washington, D.C. UFO sightings made national and international news. He was a friend of the pioneering German rocket scientist, space travel visionary, and UFOs-as-extraterrestrial-craft proponent Hermann Oberth, and in dialogue with two Secretary General’s of the United Nations on the subject of UFOs, personally bringing the seriousness and implications of the phenomenon to the attention of Secretary-General U Thant. Like Pete Mazzola and Budd Hopkins, he always did his best to follow evidence trails to where they actually led. At different times, all three sacrificed significantly for what they believed in, but did so without fear of ridicule. I wish more contemporary researchers and students of ufology were more aware of Pete and Coleman’s contributions to ufology.
The courageous and clear-thinking writings of numerous other author-investigators, and in some cases their friendships, have also inspired and encouraged me, especially at times when things could have been going better. They include Stanton T. Friedman, Dr. James E. McDonald, Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe, M. K. Jessup, Jacque Vallee, Ivan Sanderson, Raymond Fowler, John Fuller, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Dr. John Mack, Travis Walton, Dr. Carla Turner, Colin Andrews, Kathleen Marden, Timothy Good, Don Schmitt, Tom Carey, and Richard Dolan. Likewise, the many highly credible and often moving accounts of numerous experiencers and abductees, eternally at the top of that list, Deb Jordan-Kauble, Linda Cortile, and my sister Helen. "Outside" contributors to my having become the investigative writer I did? Yes, though too many wonderful writers to begin acknowledging here. I will say, though, that from about the age of twelve I was a serious fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best-known and most beloved contribution to the world of literature, the detective Sherlock Holmes. Homes’ crime-solving methodology of deductive reasoning has reckoned in a lot of my research and investigation over the years.
What case or cases would you consider the most credible out there for those interested in the topic should look at?
I’m pretty old school in this regard. A list of the most credible cases we have to work with, study, and learn from would have to include Roswell, Betty and Barney Hill (the subject of a number fine books), Travis Walton (the book and film Fire In the Sky), Deb Jordan-Kauble (subject of Budd Hopkins’ Intruders), Linda Cortile (subject of Budd Hopkins’ Witnessed), The Zimbabwe School Close Encounter of 1994, the February 1942 ‘Battle of Los Angeles,’ the 1965 Exeter New Hampshire UFO incident, Ronnie Zamora’s 1964 Socorro, New Mexico experience, Whitley Strieber’s Communion experiences, Texas’s 1980 Cash-Landram incident, and Britain’s 1980 Rendlesham Forest incident.
In all of your time researching the UFO topic, was there ever a moment that you distinctly remember feeling that this is how you wanted to spend the rest of your life?
Yes, there were times I felt this way when I was working with Budd Hopkins. Also, in the months immediately following the publication of Left At East Gate. There have also been times when I’ve wondered what in the hell I was doing with my life. It comes with the territory.
As the news media becomes harder and harder to trust nowadays, how do you think we should consume our UFO news and where do you turn to get the most accurate and credible information on the topic?
Doing as much of your own research and investigation as possible is a good place to start. The websites of authors, investigators, and research you’ve come to respect, and other UFO-related sites as well, though always read and evaluate information or alleged information, with a critical eye. The internet, while rich in potential UFO data, accounts, and forage and images, is such a double-edged sword. If you use it in your investigations, do your best to confirm the reality of the person giving the account of offering the images. Build your UFO library and read books on cases and events. Don’t just watch documentaries and relevant TV shows. No matter how much money and time you might have to spend in your endeavors, you will never have better tools at your disposal than critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and your common sense. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is, and that may be something of an understatement.
What are your thoughts on disclosure and do you think we will ever get it?
Lots of people we know feel they are ready to face whatever happens as a consequence of widespread, "official" UFO disclosure, and maybe they are. But some so much so that they seem to have lost sight of the fact that we are in the decided minority. If we were to really inquire, I think we would find the overwhelming number of our fellow Earthlings have not been giving this matter much serious thought or consideration and are woefully unprepared for the potential, myriad implications of Disclosure. As such, we need to be thinking through just what we really mean when we use the "D" word. Are our motivations driven by some sense of service to our fellow human beings, or purely as a function of our own curiosity? Just how exactly are we the people, our governments, our institutions and organized religions to best manage such a titanic transition, and into what? Unless somehow pushed to the wall, or unloosed by a president attempting to divert attention from him or herself, our government, for lack of a better word, will continue to hold on to its UFO secrets. There are just too many institutional skeletons in their closets, too much potential embarrassment and blowback to willingly disclose, at least without some major shift in a security policy first established in 1947.
What might force their hand? A critical mass of seemingly incontestable information, say in the form of a major Wikileaks event, a few thousand classified, previously unknown, UFO-related documents, fully authenticated photos (if possible) of the surface of the moon and Mars revealing the all-too-real construction and activity that has occurred (or is occurring) there. Maybe proof of a giant obelisk on one of Saturn’s moons would tip the scales? Footage and recordings made by astronauts during encounters, that kind of thing. Perhaps the Chinese or the Russians will be the first to truly blow the lid on the coverup. Perhaps not. Until then we, each of us, can choose to do something about it, or not. Doing something about it means helping in your own way to educate others to the reality and seriousness of the matter, and in so doing, help to build a critical mass of like-thinking people in the population at large. Those who are taking part in the now-worldwide Disclosure Movement are helping to do just that, and in dozens of countries around the world.
What is next for you as a researcher and where can we find out more about what you do?
Completing a book for publication of essays and papers I’ve given. I'm also continuing to develop current research projects and adding dates to my speaking schedule for next year.
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To contact Robbins, email: [email protected]hoo.com.
To hear a very special audio interview with Peter Robbins, visit www.somewhereintheskies.com and scroll down to Episode 17: Imagery, Reality, and UFOs.
All past episodes of the SOMEWHERE IN THE SKIES podcast are available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, and YouTube. To learn more, visit www.somewhereintheskies.com
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Ryan Sprague is the author of Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon (Available on Amazon). Speaking on the UFO topic, he has been featured on ABC News, Fox News, and The Science Channel. He is also a regular on the Travel Channel's Mysteries at the Museum. Ryan is the host of the SOMEWHERE IN THE SKIES Podcast. Learn more at: www.somewhereintheskies.com