Ben Rich misquoted by many in the UFO community

Rich1

Ben Rich (June 18, 1925 – January 5, 1995) was the second Director of Lockheed’s Skunk Works from 1975 to 1991, succeeding its founder, Kelly Johnson. Regarded as the “father of stealth” Rich was responsible for leading the development of the F-117, the first production stealth aircraft. He also worked on the F-104, U-2, A-12, SR-71, and F-22, among others. He is the author of Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed.

False, unsubstantiated rumors abound when it comes to misquotes cited by many gullible UFO researchers.

Many in the UFO community seem to believe that Ben Rich, stated during a 1993, Alumni Speech at UCLA:

“We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity…Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do.”

This is far from the truth.

Ben Rich never said such a thing seriously.

from SHADOWHAWK (Peter Merlin)- – August 27, 2013:

Peter Merlin, in my opinion, is one of the most knowledgeable and respected military aviation historians at the present time. I had the honor of meeting him in 2005 at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Area 51 which was held at the perimeters.

(QUOTE)

Ben Rich is constantly misquoted as saying “We now have the technology to take E.T home.” That is not what he said.

At the end of his presentation he showed his final slide, a picture of a disk-shaped craft – the classic “flying saucer” – flying into a partly cloudy sky with a burst of sunlight in the background and he gave his standard tagline.

It was a joke he had used in numerous presentations since 1983 when Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extraterrestrial,” a film about a young boy befriending a lost visitor from space and helping the alien get home, had become the highest-grossing film of all-time. Rich apparently decided to capitalize on this popularity. By the summer of 1983, he had added the flying saucer picture to the end of a set of between 12 and 25 slides that he showed with his lecture on the history of Lockheed’s famed Skunk Works division.

Rich had long used a standard script for his talks, tailoring the content as necessary to accommodate his audience. Since most Skunk Works current projects were classified, it didn’t matter whether he was addressing schoolchildren or professional aeronautical engineers; he always ended the same way.

At a Defense Week symposium on future space systems in Washington, D.C., on September 20, 1983, he said, “Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what we have been doing for the last 10 years. It seems we score a breakthrough at the Skunk Works every decade, so if you invite me back in 10 years I’ll be able to tell you what we are doing [now]. I can tell you about a contract we recently received. The Skunk Works has been assigned the task of getting E.T. back home.” The audience laughed, as it was meant to do.

If something is successful, it is worth repeating. Rich gave an identical speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on September 6, 1984, and continued using his script during successive appearances. Sometimes he refined the details a bit. “I wish I could tell you what else we are doing in the Skunk Works,” he said, wrapping up a presentation for the Beverly Hills chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution on May 23, 1990. “You’ll have to ask me back in a few years. I will conclude by telling you that last week we received a contract to take E.T. back home.”

Three years later he was still using the same line and the same slide. “We did the F-104, C-130, U-2, SR-71, F-117 and many other programs that I can’t talk about,” he proclaimed during a 1993 speech at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, home of Air Force Materiel Command, the organization responsible for all flight-testing within the Air Force. “We are still working very hard, I just can’t tell you what we are doing.” As usual, he added his by now infamous punchline, “The Air Force has just given us a contract to take E.T. back home.”

Within the UFO community, Rich’s words, and additional statements attributed to him without corroborative proof, have become gospel. He is named as having admitted that extraterrestrial UFO visitors are real and that the U.S. military has interstellar capabilities, and although nearly two full years passed between Rich’s UCLA speech and his death in 1995, some believers have touted his comments as a “deathbed confession.” It was nothing of the kind.

Rich, a brilliant scientist, apparently believed in the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, though only as something distant and mysterious. In July 1986, after Testor Corporation model-kit designer John Andrews wrote asking what he thought about the possible existence of either manmade or extraterrestrial UFOs, Rich responded, “I’m a believer in both categories. I feel everything is possible.” He cautioned, however, that, “In both categories, there are a lot of kooks and charlatans – be cautious.”

There was no “deathbed” confession. His comments, many of which have been misquoted, were taken from presentations he gave long before his death. Ben Rich gave his speeches using a standard script. The content varied a bit over the years; he added new material whenever something was declassified, but from 1983 on he always ended with his joke, “We just got a contract to take E.T. back home.”

No matter how many years had passed since the last time he said it, it was always “we just got a contract” of “a few weeks ago we received a contract.” That was part of the gag, making it sound like a current Skunk Works project. Rich kept copies of his scripts, which he reused according to the needs of his audience, along with photocopies of all of his slides (including the “flying saucer”), so these details are easy to verify.

Jan Harzan, now executive director of Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), attended the March 1993 lecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, with fellow UCLA engineering alumnus and UFO enthusiast Tom Keller. Keller, an aerospace engineer who has worked as a computer systems analyst for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote about it in the May 2010 issue of “MUFON UFO Journal” and Harzan recently shared his story in a January 2012 interview with Web Talk Radio Network, and another with Alejando Rojas of Open Minds UFO News and Investigations in July 2013.

Harzan says that after the lecture ended a few people remained behind to ask questions. Some wanted to know more about the technology to “take E.T. home.” Harzan says Rich initially brushed off these queries but allegedly told one engineer, “We now know how to travel to the stars. We found an error in the equations and it won’t take a lifetime to do it.” I have also heard Rich’s statement quoted as, “First, you have to understand that we will not get to the stars using chemical propulsion. Second, we have to devise a new propulsion technology. What we have to do is find out where Einstein went wrong.”

Unfortunately, neither quote is verifiable but the second one sounds more like the words of an engineer, especially one with Rich’s stated views as outlined in his letter to John Andrews.

As things began to wind down after the UCLA speech, Rich said, “I’ve got to go now,” and started to walk out of the room. Harzan pursued him, and continued to ask him about the workings of interstellar propulsion systems. it was an unanswerable question in light of our current scientific knowledge.

Rich finally stopped and turned, then asked Harzan an unanswerable question of his own, “Well, let me ask you; how does ESP work?” Stunned, Harzan stammered, “I don’t know. All points in space and time are connected?” Rich responded, “That’s how it works,” then abruptly turned and walked away.

From the tone of the exchange it sounds more like Rich, having been kept well past his planned departure time and tired of being pestered, was simply anxious to leave and not that he was sharing some great technological secret.

Harzan and others have interpreted Rich’s final comments as a tacit admission that interstellar propulsion technology exists, that it is in the hands of U.S. scientists, and that it involves a specific set of known equations. But, taken in context, it sounds more like Rich carried his joke too far and talked himself into a corner. It is likely that he would have said, “That’s how it works,” no matter what Harzan’s answer to the E.S.P. question. Even if Rich had said, “Look, I was just kidding,” it would have done no good. The damage was done.

In 1994, a year after the UCLA lecture, rich told Popular Science magazine, “We have some new things [at the Skunk Works]. We are not stagnating. What we are doing is updating ourselves, without advertising. There are some new programs, and there are certain things, some of them 20 or 30 years old, that are still breakthroughs and appropriate to keep quiet about [because] other people don’t have them yet.”

He didn’t disclose, or even hint at, any advanced interstellar propulsion technologies because there was nothing to disclose.

(UNQUOTE)

Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE

E-mail = noriohayakawa@gmail.com

FACEBOOK = https://www.facebook.com/fernandon.hayakawa

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17 thoughts on “Ben Rich misquoted by many in the UFO community

  1. Does it not make logical sense that an obviously intelligent man such as Harzan would be able to make the distinction between a joke and a literal statement? If not, what about Tom Keller? who according to Harzan also agreed the line about ET was not a joke. Two educated highly intelligent men didn’t get the joke? And is there any reason why we should assume that Rich’s response, “That’s how it works,” was misunderstood by Harzan? Why should we believe an alterative explanation from a third person account over the person who actually had the conversation?

    I’m just asking?

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  2. Having given speeches as a toastmaster and in business, humor adds attention getting; used it many times. The manner it is given is the key to laughter and excitement. However, when an Aerospace engineer, with the position and experience of Mr. Rich making jokes about having the means to reach the stars, I truly doubt many was laughing; esp. his audiences.

    Also, having high security clearances with the military, DOD, and NASA, I am quite aware of the obligation that goes with this responsibility, as Mr. Rich would have known also. If I wanted to relay information in a speech, I could do it as a manner of jokes. Depending then upon my audience, how this humor would be taken. Two years after the 1993 speech, Mr. Rich on his deathbed made statements that ET’s are real and also UFO’s – both theirs and ours. Doubt seriously he was joking then!

    Probably what makes more credibility to me on his statements, was the supposedly ending words he made going out the door. ‘That is exactly how it works’. I worked at JPL and was an assistant project engr. on the Pioneer 10 space probe, then to be the first object to leave the solar system. I do have some experience in space and aware that interstellar travel requires more than propulsion, one needs a different communication system also. 5,000 lightyears away spacecraft cannot wait 5,000 years to get a command to it; that’s common sense. And as far as the propulsion system goes, no other possible system could ever reach the stars than the one he proposed.

    When he was talking about an Einstein equation, the equation most probable being in Special Relativity versus what most scientist would believe to be in General Relativity. But also could’ve been in the Unified Field Theory, plus Special Relativity. Go back to Nikola Tesla for the real answers.

    Having experienced a UFO on radar while in the USAF with two F-89D’s scrambled out Oxnard, AFB in pursuit, we watch two turtles trying to catch a roadrunner. That was 1957 and four different radars tracking it. No one could ever convince me, ‘something’ that was detected on two adjacent nights just magically appearing and hovering as a target; then when pursued accelerated and performed a 90-deg maneuver that resided outside anything the known military had.

    One also needs to take into account Peter Merlin makes his living on Area 51 info. What else would he say?

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    • “Two years after the 1993 speech, Mr. Rich on his deathbed made statements that ET’s are real and also UFO’s – both theirs and ours. Doubt seriously he was joking then!”
      I heard about those alleged statements by Ben Rich a hundred times already for many years.
      Please give me a credible source.
      There is none, except hear-say.

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      • You are the credible source, you and only you will believe what you want to believe. There is nothing I could possibly tell any brainwashed person that would or could ever convince them otherwise. We all live in our own manure generated world. You are no different than the general public, sitting deep in your box and feeling very secure. Some of us are just in a different box, you laugh at us and we laugh at you!

        I am not criticizing you; you may be right to question. Like I said you and I will never know if he was kidding or even said the quoted statement. But, one thing I do know based on my education and experience working at JPL as a NASA contractor on deep space missions, the ESP-like system is the only system that will ever be successful in reaching the stars. All the B.S. NASA is doing today with our tax dollars is wasted money; a show for the ignorant people in manure generated world.

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  3. Actually he was not misquoted I was fortunate enough to remember, quite well it is just another governmental attempt at disinformation because ridicule isn’t working anymore . Right now there are 1001 high-level governmental whistleblowers ready to testify to Congress good luck trying to discredit them as well it’s not going to happen the truth embargo is history!!!!

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    • Just an update on this ‘Ben Rich joking’:
      Here is my viewpoint, maybe he was and just maybe he was not, you and I will not probably never know, so what? What he said made sense for many reasons:

      1. There are some Dr. Robert Wood papers surfaced about Douglas Aircraft in 1967 getting $500,000 (in today’s world little under $6,000,000) to study UFO propulsion systems. The motivation to do this was not curiosity, but instead the competition (Lockheed) was supposedly working on it. The link to the papers:
      https://archive.org/details/DouglasAircraft One might note the RAND Corporation got involved in it also.

      2. Ben Rich provided more than just claims at both all his speeches and his deathbed. He also told us how the they could get to the stars. Note his words: ‘means’ to reach the stars versus we ‘reached’ the stars, and we ‘have the capability to take ETs back home’. These are specially chosen words, like Merlin said, he wrote and was very careful of the words he used. To me this adds credence to his message, if he was just joking why not say ‘we already reached the stars – heck Alpha Centauri is only 4.4 lightyears away. He would had to had lightyear travel if he could take ETs back home.

      3. People can play all the games they want with Ben Rich speeches, however, what he alluded to about the system they were using to reach the stars, makes all those folks pure morons. Had Mr. Rich been joking in his claims, then when asked what propulsion system they were using; he could have said anything, i.e. what was in R & D back then, or even UFO propulsion. However, he did not; his statement was the only system that could reached the stars. The very basic requirements needed for interstellar space travel. are near, or beyond lightspeed travel and instantaneous communication. There are many more than these basics, however, without these two, no travel to the stars would be feasible. Mr. Rich’s response that the system operates like ESP works, satisfies the two basic requirements and all the rest also.

      4. We have to understand most people that propose we are only a few feet from the mouth of the cave, are relaying information/concepts/ideas/etc. from what they were taught versus any real experience. They are relaying information that was relayed to them from people that had information relayed to them which had information relayed, etc. etc. etc. So you end up with a huge mass of brainwashed people without any experience in the field they are pretending to be experts in. Having worked on three missile ranges on three different space programs, worked at JPL on Lunar, Mars and probe to leave the solar system (Pioneer 10) missions, I have some experience besides my education.

      5. Merlin is a puppet, he has to be; his career is totally dependent upon people giving him information to write about. They dictate to him what he can write and what not to write. Anyone with just a half a brain can understand his position. One should read Nick Cook’s book on ;The Hunt for Zero Point’, it gives one the knowledge on how that system works.

      6. I am reading about Tesla’s wireless energy today, which resides (like Rich’s ESP-like system) outside the current science being taught in the educational institutions today. Both being Natural phenomenon that cannot be explained with our science today. Scientists today just make lame excuses and sweep it under the rug; the U.S. military has taken a different stand, their projects are not limited to the cave dwellers!

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  4. Jerry and Tony are absolutely correct- this article is nothing more than a copy of someone else’s article and a lame attempt at disinformation/confusion. Ben Rich has also said: “There are 2 kinds of UFOs. Ours, and theirs.” Is that a joke too? Anyone who does serious research would know that the government secretly leaks existing classified tech that no one knows about, to Hollywood producers for them to put in films. So if anyone talked it’s ridiculed as “I saw that in that one movie.” This article smacks of a paid disinfo person plain and simple. Lockheed, Douglas aircraft, Northrop are 3 of the companies that have all been in competition with each other to see who could reverse engineer a saucer the fastest. This has already been done long sense.

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    • The biggest problem with the game being played today is the wasted money NASA is spending to shadow the real research and development going on behind the curtain; money we do not have. Also just maybe the time we do not have either. Way too much is going on behind that curtain that the public has no idea and being led down some stupid path designed to keep us in the dark. This has literally been going on ever since the end of WWII (72 years) and with 1,600 Nazi scientists coming to America to advance our technology in many fields of endeavor. It is time to disclose what our real dollars bought, ever since the last Apollo mission flew (45 years ago).

      The big problem, and it is a biggie, it would destroy the current science being taught today.

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