A rotten egg: the plot
“Investigative journalist” Ross Coulthart (see: Jim’s ball) recently told a story on his Need To Know podcast (Aug 4, 2023) about an egg-shaped craft discovered in the 1980s that was analyzed in a UFO reverse engineering (RE) program at Area 51 in the 1990s. The story comes from a new source (let’s call him Bill) who sent Coulthart a photo of his uncle's patch that Coulthart is claiming comes from a RE program, along with a photo of his team, and sufficient evidence to convince Coulthart that Bill’s great uncle (let's call him Gruncle) worked at Area 51 for contractor EG&G from 1997-2014 and that Bill has talked to AARO about it for 45 minutes (with what amounts to a third-hand story).
Gruncle never saw the egg-shaped craft for himself. According to Bill, Gruncle's job of putting data from human tech into storage vaults. He never saw UFOs or aliens or even data about UFOs or aliens. Gruncle was told about an alien reverse engineering program by the senior engineer in charge of that program, when he started work in 1997. The senior engineer described an egg-shaped craft, silverish-grey, featureless, and the size of an SUV. It was never cracked open, was impenetrable to X-rays, but was nevertheless concluded to be a “probe craft from another planet”. He retired the next year and Gruncle died last year, so we'll just have to take Bill's word for all this.
Later, Gruncle saw hanging on the wall of a secure data storage room at Area 51 a “close-up crystal-clear” “huge image” of “the same exact object” (i.e. a featureless silver egg he'd never seen in person).
Coulthart was sent the one and only photo that Bill sneakily took of Gruncle's insignia patch from the program (he took it while Gruncle was sleeping).
In showing the patch, Coulthart’s worst nightmare came true: it got analyzed.
Here I lay out the problems with Coulthart’s story and his source, and present the actual origin of the patch. The evidence comes from Twitter users' interactions with Bill as well as research done on Metabunk.
One egg short of a dozen: the players
As sure as eggs is eggs: the patch
Initially, the slogan on the patch led researchers to think it may have something to do with the now-defunct M.A.P. project at Dartmouth. I wrote to the Project Lead who told me there were no patches made for that project.
I compared Bill’s photo of the patch – the one he gave Coulthart and said was taken sneakily while Gruncle slept – with a slightly different photo of the same patch found on ebay. The patches are the same physical item, as evidenced by the identical tiny stitching flaws.
Coulthart objected to any implication he bought the patch himself, and had a dig at “armchair debunker ‘experts’” (who of course ended up solving the mystery of the patch).
A chicken and egg situation: the photo
One of these photos is a much nicer shot of the patch out of its baggie, presented on black velvet. Why did Bill not send that photo to Coulthart? Well, because it looks like a product shot, which belies the story about taking a secret shot while Gruncle was sleeping. Was Bill hoping the ebay listings wouldn’t be found?
I wrote more about the problem of the photo as well as the changing ebay descriptions on Twitter.
Walking on eggshells: a top secret program?
Duke on Metabunk asked experts on his forum Dreamland Resort (many of whom are former Area 51 employees) about the patch that Coulthart (possibly misrepresenting Bill) claims is from a top secret RE program.
The main input on the patch was from aviation historian Peter Merlin, who saw it years ago where it was described as belonging to an EG&G Electronic Warfare & Radar Cross Section (EW&RCS) program at Groom Lake test site, Area 51. (EG&G is a military contractor.)
This infographic summarizes the information I’ve gathered from Duke’s source and various others:
So, the patch is from a real program and it’s possible Gruncle was part of that program. If his story about being told about the egg-shaped UFO and seeing the photo is true, perhaps he assumed UFOs were being analyzed at his workplace but saw nothing for himself.
As with Nick Pope’s story of seeing the Calvine UFO hung poster-sized on a wall at his MoD (UK) workplace, I find it implausible that a top secret photo would be displayed anywhere. Top secret info does not get blown up poster-sized and left permanently lying around. Top secret info doesn't get spilled to newbie employees who don't work on alien tech and therefore have no need-to-know.
My feeling is that someone hoaxed a photo with a radar calibration sphere and a perspective trick to make it look bigger, and the photo was used to prank newbies… like Bill’s great uncle.
Another possibility for both the hoaxed photo and the UFO description is one of the various mock-ups built by EG&G in the 1950s while testing what shapes would be invisible to radar. Included were flying saucer-shaped ones - these would be light, with no internals or openings. However, as it stands Gruncle's story was of an egg or bubble-shaped UFO, not a typical flying saucer. [h/t Deidre & Mendel, Metabunk]
Coulthart actually described the craft as "bubble-shaped" in one brief mention that came in between his Need To Know podcast and Close Encounters podcast (see transcripts below). Bubbles are not egg-shaped. So which was it - spherical or egg-shaped? Not the same thing. But a radar calibration sphere is certainly bubble-shaped.
Egg on face: the problem
“There's a really interesting story there and it's quite hilarious. But what it goes to is what this person has very, very convincingly now, on the basis of information he's provided me privately, convinces me that this is a patch for a team at Area 51 that are involved in reverse engineering.” – Coulthart, Aug 12, 2023
Coulthart overhyped this "reverse engineering" patch because Bill - sorry, Bill’s story or Coulthart's interpretation of that story - sounded convincing. Yes, it’s a real Area 51 patch but the patch came with a story about an alien egg-shaped UFO from outer space. Since the patch is not from an RE program, and even if Gruncle worked at Area 51, the egg story is nevertheless baseless.
There’s no evidence Coulthart did any investigation at all on what program the patch came from.
So what’s the story, really?
That's the story.
Zero evidence of ET.
Transcripts of Coulthart's story about the patch & egg
Need To Know podcast with Bryce Zabel, Aug 4, 2023
[7:53] Now Bryce, this might be a good segue for me to tell you about somebody who contacted me just in this past week. They're not one of my legacy program sources, they're not one of the first-hand witnesses, but they are somebody who's contacted AARO. And with their permission I'm allowed to talk about the fact that they've approached AARO and they told me that they've given a 45-minute telephone interview to AARO about what they know. And in all honesty they've approached with some really interesting information, which I'd love to know if we do get the opportunity to talk to Dr Kirkpatrick, how have they investigated what this person has told them?
[Italics for when Coulthart is reading a screen, i.e. his own notes presumably with large chunks of quotes from his source.]
So, this is a guy who knew somebody who worked for a major defense contractor and had a very high DOD security clearance. This person had a great uncle who passed away last year of a heart attack in his sleep at age 75. Their great uncle served in the US Air Force for 28 years at E8 level, and then was hired to work with EG&G and worked at Area 51 Groom Lake from 1997 to 2014. He retired working for JT4, whatever that is.
Before he passed away, this relative, this great uncle, confided to my source very important information to the individual that has contacted me. It was shared that the great uncle had a conversation with a senior engineer when he first arrived in 1997 whose EG&G group was tasked with trying to reverse engineer an object that was recovered and brought to Area 51 in the 1980s by some CIA folk. Shortly after that conversation the senior engineer retired.
Their great uncle also saw an up-close crystal-clear photograph of the same exact object attached to the wall of a secure vaulted data storage room at Area 51 sometime after. The great uncle stated it was absolute proof of a non-human craft, but the public would probably never get to see that photograph. He said, quote, “The object was egg-shaped, about the size of an SUV, silverish gray in color, smooth, seamless, no control surfaces or propulsion visible, no writing, no symbols of any kind. A few men could pick it up yet it could not be cut open and x-rays couldn't penetrate it. The best engineers at EG&G tried to figure out how to activate it and what its power source was to no avail. They finally came to the conclusion it was a probe craft sent here from another planet.”
This anonymous individual is willing to testify under oath before Congress. He also took a smartphone image of his great uncle's EG&G Engineering Group and their insignia patch, and he's authorized me to allow us to show that patch, which I'll send you after this chat, and you can cut it in my friend. [The patch was not displayed during this podcast as the source had evidently not yet given permission.] This individual has also interviewed with AARO and has signed and dated an official memorandum of record. And he's also spoken with Tim Burchett as well, the individual.
Now this is a really interesting example of somebody who's come forward to AARO with information and I just wonder, when Dr Kirkpatrick says that there's no credible evidence of extraterrestrial visitation of planet Earth, is he aware of this memo? Is he aware of this conversation that this person purports that he's already had with people from AARO? Is he saying to Congress that there is no information? Because this person's information of course is hearsay.
But you could very quickly check this information by approaching the direct source, and moreover checking the bona fides of the great uncle. So I guess I'd just like to know more. I mean, it raises more questions than it answers. I've had a few of these kind of messages from people who are frustrated that ARRO’s boss is saying one thing, when they say they have presented AARO with information and they're genuinely puzzled. They're not trying to pick a fight but they're genuinely puzzled that their information is not being treated with what they regard as sufficient credibility.
Grant Lavac podcast, Aug 9, 2023
[1:54:03] [Grant asks Coulthart to plug his upcoming talk]
Oh actually I've got a really good tip. The source who told me about the bubble-shaped craft, that somebody told them about at Area 51, was so pissed off with the debunkers that he's given me a little tidbit. [He is referring to receiving permission to display the patch.]
Close Encounters talk at Victoria State Library, Aug 12, 2023
[3:50] Can we please show the patch, Josh. I did a Need To Know podcast vodcast a few weeks ago and I talked about a guy whose relative worked at Area 51. And there were a lot of skeptics and debunkers at the time who said: “Ah, he didn't put the patch up that he referred to on the podcast.” And the guy was so angry that - I'm using this, by the way, to talk about the dilemma of witnesses. Because the guy who has allowed me to talk about this was so angry that there was the usual spite, malice, and bitchiness from so much of UFO Twitter that he said: “Oh, I'm gonna allow you to run it. You can run it.”
This is a patch of a relative of a guy that approached me, who has given evidence to AARO, the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office. I'm only going to put it up for a little while and then we'll put the Close Encounters thing down again and we'll talk about it at the very end. But you're all given the duration of my speech to crack the secret behind the patch, okay.
There's a really interesting story there and it's quite hilarious. But what it goes to is what this person has very, very convincingly now, on the basis of information he's provided me privately, convinces me that this is a patch for a team at Area 51 that are involved in reverse engineering. And more importantly, the story that he told me, that I related in my podcast with Bryce Zabel Need to Know - an exemplary vodcast, if any of you are interested - was that this guy's relative had been working - I can actually tell you a little bit more about him.
He had been working as a data configuration specialist at Area 51. He collected data from engineering tests and was in charge of storing it inside large secure vaults. And he had access that others didn't have in that regard. And he told me that he was part of a group of ten individuals who worked on terrestrial-based technology. But there were specific groups he alleges within EG&G - they are the former administrators of Area 51 - that did certain things. And there was a senior EG&G engineer who his relative spoke with in 1997, who was in charge of reverse engineering what his relative told him was non-human technology.
And he said that in the data room where all of this material was kept, there was a huge image on the wall of an egg-shaped craft that had been found fully intact resting on the desert floor of a remote US location. He didn't tell - his relative didn't tell him the exact location where it was found. In fact, his relative was very non-compliant. What happened, to be honest, was this was a young man who took an interest in the fact that his relative worked at Area 51, and one day wandered into the study and snapped a picture of this patch. And the reason why I'm sure that he's telling me the truth is because he also snapped a picture of a group of people. And without going into the details about that picture, it has more than convinced me as to his bona fides.
But essentially, at the heart of all of this is, there is a story behind this patch. And we will come to that later. You can take it away now, Josh.
[1:03:56] Before we go, Josh, can you put that patch back up again please. So I told you about this patch, right, and [chuckles] “11001001, Measure Analyze Protect”. What they're talking about there is: protect the secret.
11001001 is the 15th episode of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, first broadcast in 1998. And I've spent ages watching this episode and trying to find the secret inside this episode. Why, why, why, why did they do this? But it's about these binary aliens called the Bynars who steal the Enterprise.
[reading off phone] Their home planet was being threatened by the shock waves of a supernova, one that they missed in their calculations, and the resulting blast would disable the computers that keep life going on this world. So they stole the Enterprise to store their planet's entire data sequence and they needed Picard and Riker to send that precious information back to the world or risk the end of their entire species.
And essentially what it is, it's a reminder about the power of technology and the dangers of technology. And I have trawled every source, scratched down every lead, trying to find out why they put 11001001 on their patch. But if anybody wants to try and shed any more light on it, there's your task.
Basically this was a guy who met - The guy that owned this patch had a conversation with a scientist who told him that there was a crash retrieval program. But at risk of - and this is going to send incendiary shock waves, I can tell you, through the UFO industry - because the other thing that this guy asked me to say - these are not my conclusions, but I can tell you that this is information that came from somebody who had direct conversations with somebody with direct knowledge of what was then a crash retrieval program involving non-human technology at Area 51.
[reading off phone, message from his source “Bill” with Coulthart’s interjections in brackets]
He said that his relative never went public because he wanted to live out a quiet and peaceful retirement. He said Bob Lazar did work at Area 51, but only for a very brief amount of time, and didn't know as much as he states publicly about how the craft functioned. Most of it is fabricated nonsense. (Now, this is not my view, please don't attack me.)
They could never figure out how the craft worked, nor could they even open it. S4 is only a group of radio communication equipment on top of Papoose Mountain. There are no hangars built into the base of the mountain housing nine saucers, as Lazar claims. (My source said) he admires George Knapp and he's mostly on the right track, except for Bob Lazar. (Sorry, George.) There was no way he could have smuggled the close-up crystal-clear photograph of the egg-shaped craft out of Area 51. Everyone's belongings and vehicles are constantly searched in and out of the facility. No one wants to lose their job or face other repercussions, so no one takes the risk. People work there for the long haul. It's a nice place to work. To retire with companies like EG&G and the people who run it currently, JT4.
So I've got no doubt at all now, that now we've put that [the patch] up on the web, it’s going to go nuts.
I'm blogging about the Three-Dollar Kit.