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Grandma’s favorite astro-nut

Have you heard the big news? Apparently, UFOs really do exist, and there’s a vast government conspiracy to bury the truth.

Oh, you say you’ve heard that one before, have you? Maybe, but you’ve never heard it from someone like Edgar Mitchell, who made headlines last week by asserting on a British radio program that the Roswell incident was real and that aliens have contacted humans several times.

On the surface, Mitchell, an unassuming 77-year-old who makes his home in Lake Worth, Fla., seems like any other moderately senile old-timer. He certainly wouldn’t be the first retiree in Florida who wasn’t dealing with a full complement of marbles, but Mitchell is different. If anyone has the credentials to call out the government on the subject of extraterrestrials, he’s the man.

First of all, Mitchell claims to have grown up in Roswell, N.M., meaning that when the alleged alien landing took place there in 1947, the little buggers damn near crashed into his house.

More importantly, though, Mitchell was an Apollo 14 astronaut, and on Feb. 9, 1971, he set the record for the longest moon walk ever, spending an incredible nine hours and 17 minutes on the lunar surface. He almost made it all the way back down to Earth, too.

I will admit that there are some quirks about Mitchell that might lead one to think he’s a little off his rocker. For instance, he maintains that he had kidney cancer a few years ago, despite the fact that he never had a biopsy to prove it, and was healed by a teenage “remote healer” from Vancouver named Adam Dreamhealer. Dreamhealer did his thing on Mitchell from afar for about seven months, and when he was finished, the “irregularity was gone, and we haven’t seen it since,” according to Mitchell.

Then there’s Mitchell’s career as an author, which he began shortly after retiring from the Navy in 1972. His first book, “Psychic Exploration,” published in 1974, deals with subjects that many people consider a little out of the ordinary — things like psychokinesis, plant communication and astral projection (also known as out-of-body travel).

Mitchell has also produced a DVD, “The Quantum Hologram and ESP,” which deals with … well, I know what ESP is, but I’m still a little fuzzy on the quantum hologram, to be honest with you. Suffice it to say that it has something to do with a secret psychic experiment that Mitchell alleges to have performed while he was on the moon.

So when Mitchell says, as he did on British radio, “I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we’ve been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real,” you might want to take it with a grain of salt. And when he claims, as he did in the St. Petersburg Times in 2004, that a “cabal of insiders” inside the U.S. government has been studying recovered alien bodies, you should probably draw your own conclusions.

But I, for one, am going to take everything Mitchell says at face value, and, henceforth, I will start believing wholeheartedly in UFOs.

Why?

Well, to begin with, Mitchell is as educated and credible a person as you’ll ever meet, with degrees in industrial management and aeronautical engineering, and a doctorate of science in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT. He also holds honorary doctorates from a number of esteemed universities and was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Secondly, as the current “X Files” movie points out, I want to believe. I mean, wouldn’t it be boring if we really were the only planet in the universe with life on it? It’s much more fun to think that aliens are sneaking around right here on Earth.

The real reason that I’m jumping on the Mitchell bandwagon, however, is much more personal. You see, Edgar Mitchell was very dear friends with my grandmother, a filmmaker whose documentaries were almost all about the sort of avant-garde, new-age theories that Mitchell espouses.

Sure, some might consider my grandmother a bit of a crackpot herself, but I don’t, and I just know that if she hears me say anything negative about her friend (she’s dead, but she and Mitchell would both tell you that she can still hear me), when I die she’ll spend my entire afterlife haranguing me about it.

So that’s my final answer: Aliens and UFOs are real, even if they’re not.

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Todd Hartley

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