High Strangeness: UFO, CIA, NSA?

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I have in the past written about the amazing book "UFOs and Government," an amazing history of the government's involvement with the UFO phenomenon. It's been a tremendous help to me as I research my book about Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and this past week I got the chance to meet one of the contributing authors, Richard Thieme.

Richard was giving talk on the new book at a local library the other night, and he and his wife were kind enough to meet me for a quick bite to eat before heading to the library. We had a great talk about our mutual interests, and I quickly realized what an interesting guy he is.

First of all, because the book, "UFOs and Government" is so dry and factual, I expected Richard to be a pretty dry, no-nonsense guy. But I was wrong. He's serious about UFO research, but he's also very funny and frank and even playful when he talks about UFOs, which I liked very much.

And he's an author. He writes science fiction and a whole lot more, and you can find it all at his website, www.thiemeworks.com

Then there's the amazing story of his career trajectory: Episcopal priest... writer/lecturer on the effects of technology on spirituality and society... consultant on cybersecurity issues to the CIA and NSA... UFO historian. Makes sense, right? I didn't think so, either, but somehow, with Richard, it works.

Read "UFOs and Government" and learn all about our captured flying discs. Or not.
After we ate and talked, I followed him and his wife over to the library for the talk. The librarians were ecstatic; Richard brought in the biggest crowd they had ever had for one of their evenings talks. It must have been close to 100 people, which was impressive--turns out that even in an affluent suburban area there are a lot of people interested in UFOs. And Richard had them all in the palm of his hand.

It was a great talk, and he covered a wide variety of topics, although the main thrust of his presentation was about the book, how it came about and why he thinks it's an important read for anyone interested in UFOs (which it is).

My favorite story of the night had nothing to do with the book, however. When he gave his bio, he talked about how he was interested in UFOs all his life, but didn't become serious about studying them until he was a priest. This came about when he was assigned to his first congregation, in a small town in Utah just outside of a large U.S. Air Force base. A member of the congregation who worked closely with Richard in running the church was a retired Air Force officer who had served at the local base for many years. One time in 1977 Richard was talking to this guy about the new movie they had both recently seen, called "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and Richard made a comment that it was crazy to think that there are unidentified things flying around in our airspace and the Air Force can't catch them... His friend grew very serious and said, "Oh, these things are flying around up there... And we can't catch them."

And that's how a priest becomes a UFO hunter.

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