posted on Aug, 22 2013 @ 10:49 AM
As I pointed out in an earlier post, there was no "deathbed" confession. His comments, many of which have ben 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
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
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
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.