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Contact in the Desert: The Bizarre Gathering of Weirdo Paranoid Hippies

  • Jason McClellan

Contact in the Desert Preview

If you’re interested in mysterious topics like UFOs, aliens, conspiracies, and secret societies, then you’ll probably want to check out Contact in the Desert (CITD).

This is a weekend conference that takes place at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, California. The CITD website describes the event as “a weekend of exploration into ancient astronauts, extraterrestrial life, human origins, crop circles, UFO sightings, contact experiences, and the ‘need to know.’”

At first glance, this event looks like a pretty bizarre gathering of weirdo paranoid hippies in the middle of the desert. With lectures talking about secret population control, artificial matrix realities, state-sanctioned terrorism, and “galactic consciousness,” it’s understandable how some casual enthusiasts, and even serious researchers, might be wary of this event. I’ll admit, I’ve been unsure about this event myself. And I go to a lot of UFO conferences. But I’ve heard good things about CITD from my colleagues in the UFO field, some who are speaking at the conference.

This year’s event will only be its third year in existence. But in that short span of time, CITD has developed a fan base. And the hefty lineup of speakers is largely responsible for that. More than forty people are scheduled to present lectures, workshops, and intense seminars.

CITD features guest speakers this year who are known by both the UFO crowd and the general public, such as Giorgio Tsoukalos (the “hair guy” from History’s Ancient Aliens and Internet meme celebrity), George Noory (host of the popular Coast to Coast AM radio show), and NASA astronauts Story Musgrave and Edgar Mitchell (Mitchell is appearing via Skype). 

There will be plenty of fan favorites speaking this year, including nuclear physicist and UFO researcher Stanton Friedman, UFO historian Richard Dolan, and Travis Walton, the central figure in one of the most credible alleged alien abduction stories.

Peter Levenda is another interesting guest. This diverse author is a religious scholar who has written about Nazis, Freemasonry, UFOs, and mind control, among other things. Levenda will present a lecture about the potential difficulties humans will face when attempting communication with extraterrestrials. 

CITD is taking place earlier in the year than it has in previous years. The event has historically taken place in August to coincide with the Perseid meteor shower. But organizers bumped the event up to May this year to get away from the hellish August temperatures. I’m pretty bummed about the event being moved to May because I was really looking forward to being there for the meteor shower. The night sky is amazing in Joshua Tree! Oh well. I’ll still be there to check it out. The slightly cooler temperatures will be nice, and the nights will still make for some sweet UFO hunting. 

The 2015 Contact in the Desert takes place May 29-31. All the details are at