Astronaut and UFO conspiracist Edgar Mitchell dies at 85

mitchell_moon_080725_mnEdgar Mitchell, 6th man on the moon, and paranormal, conspiracy, and aliens advocate, dies at age 85. He had been the last surviving participant of the Apollo 14 mission.

Here is his obituary on the NASA site:

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, passed away Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla., on the eve of the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing.

The NASA piece does not mention his strange obsession in life with alien visitations and government coverup for which he produced no solid evidence.

Our previous pieces include tabloid fodder where he claimed aliens “…wanted to know about our military capabilities.” And stated, “My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth.”

It’s very sad, but we labeled Mitchell as “lost in space” over his bizarre assertions without real evidence except the stories he wove in his mind. We would honor those who devoted so much effort the U.S. space program but are so disheartened that he tarnished his legacy with ridiculous claims and misinformation to the public by using his platform as an astronaut.

Mitchell was the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (1973) when he turned to mystical and psychic interpretations of the universe. His status provided clout to claims of alien involvement with earthly matters.

Tributes to his efforts are all across the net. Let’s try to remember him for the scientific and technological work he moved forward and not the fringe stuff that we’d rather he’d not helped popularize and which move society backwards.

  27 comments for “Astronaut and UFO conspiracist Edgar Mitchell dies at 85

  1. February 5, 2016 at 7:38 PM

    Yeah… I know, you don’t like my tone. Sorry. But I think he did a huge disservice to the country in addition to service and I’m not going to let that go. He had an obligation to promote science that I feel he failed. His soapbox spectacles in recent years were terrible.

  2. Andy
    February 5, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    Your tone is perfectly respectful and honest. Don’t worry about it. And lets face it- he was in the position of having a rather exclusive platform to share his sadly off the planet views. Death shouldn’t change any reasonable criticism of this.

  3. Larry Arnold
    February 5, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    You are the 1st to inform us of Mr Mitchell’s physical transition. Thank you for the news, tho his passing saddens. We met him once, briefly, and always appreciated his courage to speak his views on “mystical and psychic interpretations of the universe” and to seek out methods and means to broaden human consciousness. Bless his spirit, wherever it finds itself now.

  4. Richard Garrard
    February 5, 2016 at 10:53 PM

    He reminded me a bit of the woo woo military leaders profiled in Jon Ronson’s Men Who Stare at Goats. Even bright people like Arthur Conan Doyle and William James have been deceived by psychic fraudsters, so it’s unfortunate but not unprecedented.

  5. Judy Kingsepp
    February 6, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    Carl Sagan did not feel free and wrote a fiction book. Steven Hawking does not feel free but hints of possibilities. Russian astronauts have more freedom and are published over there. Thank you Edgar for your bravery. Some day U. S. scientists will be free to do their work.

  6. Perry
    February 6, 2016 at 1:27 PM

    “His status provided clout to claims of alien involvement with earthly matters.”

    Even worse, imo, Mitchell, through his Institute of Noetic Sciences, was a mentor to new-age healer, Adam McLeod, aka Dreamhealer, and helped to give that fraud some credibility to ‘fleece his followers’. Adam’s claim to fame is that he can supposedly heal people by manipulating their energy or aura. He purports to be a trance healer and distance healer. He claims not only that he can heal others great distances away, but that he can also facilitate the healing of everyone in a large group by merging all of their energy or auras together. He claimed to be conducting scientific experiments on the power of intention, and on the basis of one flawed experiment declared that “our intentions can change the physiology of others”.

    Here’s a quotation from McLeod’s website:

    “Dr. McLeod has had a number of guest speakers at his conferences including Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who in the film “The Living Matrix” credits Dreamhealer with distantly healing his kidney carcinoma.”

    A few years ago I wrote a few blog articles about Dreamhealer. Here’ a link to one of them, with links to the others. However, some of the links in those articles to Dreamhealer’s previous websites are now dead.

    “Quantum intentions and prayers to deities: two sides of the same supernatural coin”

  7. February 6, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    I think many of us agree with your tone. On the other hand, for ill or good, he’s not nearly as well known in the last years and decades of his life as was Sylvia Browne, where in the story of her death comments were cut off:

    As you say, Mitchell arguably had an obligation to stick to verifiable science and stay away from promoting woo, but Browne was “just an average person” but who received way too much public attention as a psychic. It was her great success in getting followers that made her a lightning rod for comments on all sides.

  8. February 6, 2016 at 8:16 PM


  9. Headless Unicorn Guy
    February 7, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    Fringe Phenomena Mystic/Conspiracy Theorist is my guess.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy
    February 7, 2016 at 2:47 PM

    I remember Apollo astronauts saying that standing on the Moon looking up at Earth (or just seeing Earthrise over the curve of the Moon’s surface as they orbited) hit them like a mystical/religious experience. Mitchell was the one-in-ten (or one-in-fifteen) who went into the Fringe Phenomena mystical/religious experience. (And these days a one-flakeout-out-of-ten is pretty good odds.)

    Our previous pieces include tabloid fodder where he claimed aliens “…wanted to know about our military capabilities.” And stated, “My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth.”

    In the latter, Mitchell was following in the footsteps of the Contactees from Adamski to Spaceship Ruthie and the Space Brothers Cults they founded. With the Fifties UFOlogy “Air Force Coverup Conspiracy” belief grown until The Conspiracy became All-Powerful. (These days, EVERYTHING has become Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory. Not just Fringe Phenomena.)

  11. Judy Kingsepp
    February 7, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    Carl Sagan wrote his thoughts in “Contact,” and among other things Hawking said that if ETs contacted us, it would not be good. What made him say that?

  12. David H
    February 8, 2016 at 1:46 AM

    No need for secret government ET files. Hawking’s concerns reflect the experience of human history.
    “We don’t know much about aliens, but we know about humans. If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced. A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.” – See more at:

    Perhaps the book __Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies__by Jared Diamond (1997. WW Norton) might explain it clearer.

  13. Karl
    February 8, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    | Carl Sagan wrote his thoughts in “Contact,”

    Sagan wrote a sci fi novel because many people in love with science feel they have at least one sci fi novel in them. Not sure one needs to read anything more into it.

    |Hawking said that if ETs contacted us, it would not be good. What made him say that?

    Maybe someone asked him a question about how earth would fare if we encountered an advanced civilization capable of visiting us?

  14. February 8, 2016 at 6:53 PM

    Wish the aliens did a better job

  15. Liam McDaid
    February 10, 2016 at 11:59 PM

    1 in 10 flakeouts? Don’t forget Jim Irwin (Apollo 15) and his search for Noah’s Ark.

  16. Woody
    February 13, 2016 at 8:23 AM

    Indeed, Headless Unicorn Guy.
    As usual, the alien/UFO claims are already created with almost identical details reported decades ago. Contactees, Abductions, Breeding programs, UFO crashes, all long-existing stories which are still recycled with little if any change in the details.
    I think that Ufology reeks of humanity.

    All the best,

  17. don
    February 18, 2016 at 11:54 PM

    bravo,bravo glad someone said something!!!

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy
    February 22, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Have you ever heard of Watch the Skies! by Curtis Peebles?

    It’s a history of UFOlogy tracing it as a developing set of folk beliefs, and how it changed and mutated and grew over time.

  19. Headless Unicorn Guy
    February 22, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Then make that 2 out of 10/2 out of 15.

    Mitchell went into conventional/UFOlogy woo-woo, Irwin went into Arkology/Young Earth Creationism woo-woo. George Adamski vs Ken Ham. Both have their followings of True Beleivers, but Irwin’s has a larger contingent.

    Arkology — the Search for Noah’s Ark — is basically an attempt to find Absolute PROOF the Bible is 1000% word-for-word literally TRUE. Something to rub in the faces of all those Heathens — “SEE? SEE? SEE?” This is all tied up with Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles (and again PROOF! PROOF! PROOF! SEE? SEE? SEE?). It’s like their spiritual tradition is so fragile everything will collapse if any jot or tittle (itself a King Jimmy expression) is suspect. All or Nothing. (I’ve been involved in the YEC fight over at other Christian blogs such as Internet Monk, Wartburg Watch, BioLogos, and God of Evolution. And watched a Yahoogroup I was on melt down into a never-ending Celebrity Deathmatch vs Charles Darwin.)

  20. February 22, 2016 at 1:53 PM

    “Then make that 2 out of 10/2 out of 15.”

    You bring up what is considered an “Apollo Moon Astronaut.” There were six missions where two men each walked on the Moon (Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) for a total of 12. Counting those who made the trip and either orbited the moon (this also includes Apollo 8 and 10 which were “test” missions but did not land) or returned directly without orbiting after going around the far side (the ill-fated Apollo 13), that makes a total of nine missions where three men each, a total of 27 (though one or more may have done several missions) saw the Moon from as close as 60 miles above the surface.

    Double-checking all that (I kept up with this in “real time” ages 8-11 but not sure I trust my memory from back then), I just found this about the Apollo 10 astronauts hearing “weird music” on the far side of the Moon – this may deserve its own Doubtful News story:

  21. b
    February 22, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    And for what it’s worth, all the hot rumors over this Apollo 10 release are already being debunked:

  22. Ray
    February 28, 2016 at 8:05 AM

    Right. And add to this the fact that many in the sciences have had an affection for sci-fi in their youth – and have even been inspired by it – but that doesn’t translate into them believing it’s real.

  23. April 10, 2016 at 6:54 PM

    Hello idoubtit,
    You probably won’t like my tone, but please consider I am an experienced electrical engineer. Many astronauts have come forward to talk one way or another about very strange encounters in space, including alien encounters. Please research Story Musgrave, he’s actually got video footage from space. He talks about people being ready to accept that aliens are out there, moving from planet to planet. Funny thing, he admits that when he’s not obligated to do project work, he spends his time filming outside the shuttle window with the Hasselblad camera. I wonder why? UFO skeptics always talk about not being a trained observer. I consider atsronauts the best we have. Anyways, we need skeptics like you, and I mean that sincerely. But I think you should re-think your positions, and team up with those that think farther out of the box. They need your skepticism, and you should better respect their out of the box thinking. Sure, many people jump to false conclusions, but that does not dis-qualify everything that doesn’t fit into “acceptable” scientific knowledge. It wasn’t long ago that people thought the earth was flat, I mean who would of thought it was round, we would all fall off! It’s not until we understand gravity that it makes sense, and it takes a mind like Newton to figure that one out. I was amazed that many scientists didn’t believe that meteorite impacts could cause a crater such as meteor crater in AZ. Only recently when Shoemaker proved the impacts on Jupiter by his comet did most scientists begin to accept the notion that a meteor impact could cause meteor crater. Take a look at life code science. Scientists believe that life came from literally nothing, from a chance chemical reaction in a soup of amino acids, but at the same time, they still call DNA “code”. Kind of funny. Do the math … how many permutations exist of our DNA sequence? It’s many, many more times then the number of particles in the Universe. (which is only about 10^80). The number of permutations in our DNA dwarf that by many, many orders of magnitude. So you see, science doesn’t have all the answers. I consider myself a scientist, I’ve even done heady research, but I also like to think way out of the box. To prove it, I’ve invented a new form of fractional arithmetic, see my work at lastly, it’s fairly evident based on recent physics that there are more than 3 dimensions to our Universe, and so we can’t even dream of what the actual reality of our existence is. Heck, we just found the Higgs-Boson recently! Einstein figured out that time and space form some kind of cosmic fabric, and it’s not fixed, it’s relative! The truth is, that we cannot know our reality, even at all.

    Just some advice,

  24. April 10, 2016 at 9:47 PM

    Fundamentally, I see you confusing engineer with scientists. Science requires a particular method, approach and way of thinking. Not even all scientists get the hang of it.

    One can respond to your post in two ways. First, it makes no difference if astronauts think there is intelligent life in the universe. These men were trained to conduct space travel and they aren’t stand alone experts. Science is a community endeavor. As far as I know, they were not astrobiologists who study life in space. So, it’s not correct to say they are experienced in what is a very particular and seperate field of study. Second, there have been astronomers who have examined the case for alien life including Carl Sagan. I suggest you check out how seriously academic science took UFOs in the 50s and beyond until they realized there just WAS not anything of interest there to dig into. Yes, some things will not be explainable because we don’t have enough information, but that is not equivalent to saying aliens are real and visiting us. A new scientific-based conclusion is founded upon what we know to be true. What is made up of whole cloth, out of thin air, is almost certainly wrong.

    I have no idea why you are invoking other dimensions, DNA sequences, etc. “Science doesn’t have all the answers” is an annoying and misguided ploy. I hear it a LOT. See my response to that exact gambit here:

    Note that engineers study engineering and scientists study science. They are BY NO MEANS the same. I have a science degree and an science education degree. Plus, I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of engineers. There is a huge difference in their approach to problems. It’s not wrong, just different. I don’t think I agree with you on the meaning of science either. I’ve written extensively about science and the public on my other sites.

  25. Ray
    April 12, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    “Many astronauts have come forward to talk one way or another about very strange encounters in space, including alien encounters.”

    Strange things in space are the reason for going there. It’s about learning stuff. And how do you know they’ve had an “alien encounter”? That’s a bit presumptive to say the least. At a minimum it’s interpretive, more likely, it’s just wishful thinking as no one you’re talking about has even claimed to have seen an alien.

    Methinks you’re a bit fantasy prone. Please move to the back of the line…

  26. Ray
    April 12, 2016 at 12:39 AM

    “Note that engineers study engineering and scientists study science. They are BY NO MEANS the same.”

    Correct, but I would have said that engineers work within existing knowledge while scientists provide new knowledge.

  27. April 13, 2016 at 10:22 AM


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