Wild & Woolly Alien Claims Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to Ray Stanford

Wild & Woolly Alien Claims Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to Ray Stanford
Ray Stanford: He "channeled" extraterrestrials and Jesus Christ (among others) for 20 years, and has made innumerable discredited and/or unsubstantiated claims about UFOs and aliens over a period of nearly 70 years.

This article was originally published on the Alien Expanse forum on August 28, 2021. In posting it here on Mirador in May, 2023, I have lightly edited it– for example, to reflect ages and durations accurately as of May, 2023.

By Douglas Dean Johnson

The envelope, please!


And, in the category "Wild & Woolly Claims About Aliens & Alien Craft," the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award goes to . . .

Ray Stanford!

Ray Stanford in 1980.

Friends, the award jury's decision was unanimous.

In terms of duration and sheer quantity of dubious alien-related claims, nobody else could touch Ray Stanford. Ray Stanford has been making wild claims involving communications from aliens, channeling of aliens, encounters with aliens, encounters with alien spacecraft, and purported personally obtained evidences of non-human spacecraft and many details regarding their exotic technology (claims encompassing innumerable movies and still photos, plus physical samples and instrument recordings), since 1955 -- that is 68 years! Many of these claims have been discredited, or have been repudiated or denied or quietly abandoned by Stanford himself, and most of the others shrink drastically or collapse outright when subjected to just a bit of skeptical scrutiny or historical research-- but as the saying goes, those who are ignorant of the past are often condemned to repeat it.

Ray Stanford is now 84 years old [as of May, 2023], but still active in promoting a big batch of his alien/UFO-related claims, and he has some takers-- some of whom seem to feel, oddly, that because Ray Stanford has proven to be good at finding dinosaur tracks, they need not delve into the specifics regarding his seven-decade record on UFO-related claims.

Some mistakenly believe that most or all of Stanford's wacky claims and activities occurred when he was very young, which is by no means the case. Much of what I say below refers to things Stanford did and said when he was in his mid-30s to 40, and yet other statements that I quote below were made within the past five years.

For a while during the 1970s, Stanford had a fairly high profile on the UFO issue, mostly due to his role as director of Project Starlight International -- an enterprise that had some substance for a few years, but with resources, hardware, and achievements greatly less than Stanford's public claims during that era-- and since then, the retroactive exaggerations, distortions, and purely fictional elements have multiplied. Stanford's UFO media profile peaked with an appearance on the Phil Donahue show in 1978, alongside Dr. J. Allen Hynek, with an estimated audience of six million. But that high profile faded. By a decade ago, and probably long before, Stanford was chafing under the inattention:

​"Frankly, at age 73 [in 2011], and as the most seasoned researcher into these phenomena alive today, I tire of book authors who are so cowardly of the mystery that they dare only present readers with reports from persons with military stripes and metals, or with a Ph.D. behind the observers name."-- Ray Stanford, in a book review posted on Amazon.com, May 4, 2011​​

Nowadays, Ray Stanford does not shy away from openly proclaiming his self-perceived unique importance in understanding UFO phenomena, and he is sometimes taken seriously by unwary listeners who are dazzled by his fast-talking verbal facility and his obvious intelligence, or who make false assumptions based on Stanford's bona fide successes in finding fossils, and who don't bother to look at Stanford's ascertainable and dismal history on the subject matter of UFOs and aliens.

Stanford makes it quite clear that he thinks he deserves to regarded, by those in science, government, and the media, as being in the very front rank of experts -- if not the pre-eminent expert-- on UFOs and their technology. Moreover, Stanford has talked publicly about how he intends to bring that about. For example, check out a short clip from Stanford's memorable appearance on Erica Lukes' UFO Classified podcast, March 8, 2019. In it, Stanford said in part:

I hope to get this incredible evidence, that is so important to physics, and also to technological development, I hope to get it before people that really have clout...When I let it out, it's going to be way beyond the so-called UFO groupie crowd. It's going to hit at a major level, just like the [fossil] discovery at Goddard did. I won't settle for anything less.
Ray Stanford on his big plans end of UFO Classified Ray Stanford 3 8 19

Setting parody aside for a moment here: In my personal opinion, Ray Stanford's body of UFO-evidence claims are a quicksand pit of delusional and/or manipulated misinformation-- and a potential threat to the tentative but growing interest by some mainstream scientists and organizations, such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and to any journalist, government official, or scientist who steps into the Ray Stanford quagmire.

Still, some may ignore the warning signs and choose to go plunge down the Ray Stanford mineshaft, attracted by some shiny object they think they see down there -- but they will eventually discover that in the UFO mines of Ray Stanford, there is an abundance of fool's gold, and many skeletons.

I should disclose here that when I (Douglas Dean Johnson) was a young fool in the 1970s (i.e., late 1974 to early 1978), I was part of the core group of Ray Stanford's Project Starlight International (P.S.I.), an editor of the Project Starlight International Journal of Instrumented UFO Research, and an editor of the publications of the Stanford-centered nonprofit Association for the Understanding of Man (A.U.M.), based in Austin, Texas. So my extensive familiarity with many aspects of Stanford's alien-UFO history-- his speeches, writings, interviews, trance discourses, Internet posts, UFO-related photographic claims, morphing stories, etc., is also deeply informed by those three and one-half years of personal association and firsthand observation. This group photo is from a light-hearted magazine feature article that appeared in Texas Monthly in 1976, titled "Planet X! We're Waiting for You!" A quotation from that article appears at the very end of this post.


So, what's wrong with Ray Stanford as a source of stories or images pertaining to UFO events and aliens? Well, Stanford has, over a period of nearly 70 years, made an extraordinary number of dubious and profoundly untrustworthy public claims related to UFOs and aliens. It is hard to know where to begin. Perhaps, with his accounts of multiple encounters with the space "brothers" during the 1950s, as narrated in his 1958 book Look Up, and as later reinterpreted in conflicting ways for different audiences.

Look Up was technically co-authored by Ray's identical twin brother, Rex, but with Ray clearly the primary voice. (Rex Stanford [1938-2022] later entered into a distinguished career as a psychologist and parapsychologist.) Look Up recites how Ray Stanford received telepathic messages from the extraterrestrial "space people," which he and his young companions obeyed, and had multiple marvelous encounters as a result. (Example, page 14: "In December of 1954, I received a very distinct telepathic message from the space people....During the year of 1955 numerous instances of telepathy occurred.")

It is not possible to even summarize here the many extraordinary events claimed in Look Up, but they included an occasion on October 21, 1956, when a craft is said to have passed "only a few feet up" over the heads of Stanford and his companions, temporarily paralyzing them, before briefly landing nearby. Another reported event occurred on January 5, 1957, when (Stanford wrote) a spacecraft containing Aramda (with whom Stanford later said he had been acquainted for 38,000 years -- see below) and other elevated beings ("a number of evolved Brothers") approached. The beings allegedly hit Stanford and two companions with a sparkly beam ("which I feel sure came directly from the vastly evolved beings inside the space craft and not from a mechanical device"), under which they "seemed to rise in consciousness above earth man's delusion called time...Then the three of us seemed to be swept into a whirlpool of ever-expanding consciousness." And so forth -- the account of the beam and the associated mystical transport that it induced consumes about two pages of the book (pp 28-30).

Fate Magazine, May 1956, published an article recounting one of Ray Stanford's purported alien contacts.

In May of 1964, NICAP leader Richard Hall, concerned about some things he had heard about Stanford (whom Hall had earlier sent to investigate the famous April 24, 1964 UFO sighting by policeman Lonnie Zamora at Socorro, New Mexico), sent Stanford some questions about the claims made in Look Up. Stanford sent Hall a rambling audio-cassette reply, the gist of which was that the UFO encounters described in Look Up had indeed occurred, but greatly downplaying their significance. Stanford said he may have added "embellishment of speculation and subjectivity" to the accounts found in the Look Up -- for example, by misinterpreting his own psychic impressions as messages from the "space people."

One problem with that: At least as late as August 1974, Stanford was wowing the members of the Association for the Understanding of Man with earnest, dramatic accounts of his purported telepathic interactions with the space "brothers" (including Aramda), in those very same 1950s events. I was there when Stanford delivered, at a conference of the Association for the Understanding of Man, a lecture titled "Firsthand Contacts with Extraterrestrial Life," on August 24, 1974. I was an A.U.M. member in good standing, I paid the conference registration fee, and I recorded the lecture on my personal device, as did others present.

[The audio files of that Ray Stanford lecture, among others, are linked at the end of this article.]

In the 1974 lecture, Stanford in general embraced and even expanded upon on the "contactee" claims reflected in Look Up. For example, regarding the mystical "beam" experience, Stanford said, "The main group that I contacted, which I call 'The Watchers,' gave us, on the night of January 5, 1957, what I call the ultimate experience...," which he then proceeded to describe in even more elaborate and vivid detail than found in the 1958 account. Stanford was 36 years old in August 1974, so the full-blown contactee-style accounts he offered on that occasion can hardly be dismissed as mere teenage folly.

Certainly, in later years, a person may gain a more mature perspective on the experiences of youth, so if Ray Stanford now wants to try to re-cast his 1958 account -- a beam emanating from the very persons of "vastly evolved beings" that induced an elaborately described cosmic-consciousness experience-- into a mere euphoria induced in his brain by a field emitted by a UFO as an inadvertent side effect of its technology (as I have heard Stanford assert, on a podcast), fine -- although if you actually read the account in Look Up and/or listen to his more detailed account in the 1974 lecture, and you want to accept Stanford's current explanation, you might be forgiven for concluding that the amount of "embellishment of speculation and subjectivity" incorporated into the earlier accounts was, ah, considerable. More importantly, to my mind, Stanford's 1964 representations seeking to reassure Richard Hall that he (Stanford) was not a wacky contactee, cannot be squared with his gosh-wow lecture to the A.U.M. faithful, ten years later.

Moreover, three years after his assurances to Richard Hall, on June 1, 1977, Ray Stanford channeled a message from another ostensible extraterrestrial ("You may call me a planet keeper"), who provided additional commentary on Stanford's 1957 beam-illumination:

"Some of you have puzzled at the mystery of how on the night of the fifth of January, 1957, from a seemingly darkened orb within the sky, a singular yet triple stream of light extended itself downward and reached the hearts of three persons known to you. It was simply a process of consciousness acting really and effectively through structure, through intelligence, upon the very molecules of the atmosphere itself, not only the molecular structure but the subatomic structure, and even beyond that, deeper into the heart of matter and existence. This was literally structure acting upon the intelligence of the atmosphere itself."

Whew! Mr. Planet Keeper went on in that vein for quite some time. Well, I think we can all agree that there is quite a gap between Mr. Planet Keeper's "explanation" of the 1957 beam story, and Stanford's current position that his brain merely temporarily suffered a side-effect from a passing alien craft's technology. You can pick one or the other, or reject both – but either way, ask yourself, "When the Planet Keeper spoke, who was it who constructed his elaborate explanation?"

[UPDATE (April 9, 2024): Some time after I wrote the first version of this article in 2021, it came to my attention that in 2003, there occurred a sharp exchange on this subject between Ray Stanford and Richard (Dick) Hall (1930-2009). Hall had a long and respected history as a UFO researcher and author, associated with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), the Fund for UFO Research, and other groups. He edited the two volumes of NICAP's The UFO Evidence (1964 and 2001). The exchange to which I refer occurred on an AOL list serve devoted to UFO discussion. I have displayed the entire exchange below as End Note 1. In brief: Hall accurately challenged Stanford's attempts to portray his extraterrestrial "contactee" stories as mere adolescent naivete, commenting that Stanford "must have had a very long adolescence" and noting Stanford's activity as a psychic channel in the 1970s. Stanford replied with a lengthy diatribe, referring to Hall as "a nasty old fool" and "a desperate fool," and instructing Hall to "zip your rabid mouth." Along the way, Stanford also asserted, "I never believed space beings were speaking through me, and all who know me well know that."

Well, it is not possible to know exactly what Stanford "believed" at any given time– but if Stanford did not believe that any extraterrestrials were speaking through him during the 1970s, then Stanford was blatantly lying to the A.U.M. members and donors in the 1970s, because during the era Stanford repeatedly and explicitly endorsed the claimed identity and the elevated authority of the most frequent of the purported extraterrestrial communicators, "Aramda" of "The Planet Keepers" (AKA "The Watchers"). Indeed, Stanford (in lectures, while awake) claimed to have been associated with Aramda for 38,000 years. Further down in this article I embedded audio clips of Stanford talking about Aramda in a 1974 lecture that I attended, and channeling Aramda at a 1973 A.U.M. conference. And, as already noted, I have embedded near the end of this article a recording of a lecture that Ray Stanford gave at an A.U.M. conference on August 24, 1974, for which I was present, titled "First-Hand Contracts with Extraterrestrial Life," in which Stanford related with much vivid detail his 1950s adventures with the Space Brothers, including Aramda. No one who listens to this 1974 recording would receive any impression that Stanford was skeptical of the objective reality of the experiences that he so vividly related, including the mystical experience induced by the ET beam on January 5, 1957.]


By 1960, Stanford had embarked on a "career" as a full-blown trance-channel, which was at the core of how he made his living for most of the following two decades. Initially, he gave trance-readings for a fee.

By 1971, a formal organization had been organized in Austin, the Association for the Understanding of Man (A.U.M) (recognized as a bona fide nonprofit organization by the IRS as of July 1, 1973, and I think legally distinct from earlier Stanford-associated enterprises with the same name, in Arizona).

Although Ray Stanford was officially an employee of A.U.M., the overarching purpose of the entire enterprise was to advance the teachings and projects promoted by Stanford's "psychic readings" -- that is, by voices emanating from the vocal cords of the purportedly unconscious Ray Stanford, presented as originating with members of the "White Brotherhood" (the term had no racial connotation, but related to metaphysical mythology)-- ostensibly autonomous, spiritually elevated entities; and also from "the Source of the Readings," described in official A.U.M. literature as "the unconscious and superconscious mind and spiritual being of Stanford in contact with same of any person or persons or with any areas of knowledge toward which it is directed by suggestion." The official A.U.M. introductory brochure published in 1974 described Stanford as "a psychic of uncommon ability."

Most people who joined A.U.M. (about 1200 at the peak) did so in order to receive the publication's thick Journal, much of which consumed by transcripts of Stanford's trance discourses on diverse subjects (a much smaller number of such "readings" were also published on audio cassettes, or in various books), and because they were interested in the purportedly world-shaking projects underway under the guidance received in those "readings."

The "Brothers" and "the Source" promoted a number of big projects, including Project Starlight International, the Hilaron Accelerator (a planned consciousness-boosting time-travel device "similar to a UFO," discussed below), expeditions to the Middle East to uncover the lost tomb of Imhotep and a trove of hidden Essence scrolls, delivering the Stanfordized version of the "Fatima message" to the world, and so forth. Each of these projects was said by "the Source" and "the Brothers" to be of great importance to the human race, potentially preventing or mitigating impending global catastrophes, including nuclear war. But aside from their world-shaking import, the diverse projects really had only one thing in common-- each "script" had Ray Stanford at its very center, the man of absolutely unique talents who was the essential man in, just maybe, averting global disaster.

As a 1976 Stanford trance reading said, "He entered more than 40,000 years ago, and every incarnation has been pointing to the present time." Of course, the channeled voices stressed, Stanford could only achieve these great purposes with the dedicated support of others, who would be required to overlook certain flaws in the "channel."

Photo courtesy Rodrick Dyke, Archives for UFO Research


While the promotion of certain projects by "the Brothers" and "the Source" tended to ebb and flow, these purportedly elevated sources pretty consistently stressed the importance of Project Starlight International (which comported with Ray Stanford's long interest in UFOs, but perhaps not so much with the preferences of the dues-paying membership, most of whom were more interested in the other stuff). The A.U.M. publications from 1974 through 1978 were replete with "psychic readings" and other material hammering away on the theme that Project Starlight International could obtain conclusive proof of the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs-- and also, if faithfully pursued and supported, would lead to direct contact with visiting extraterrestrials (not "the Watchers," but others). It was stressed again and again that this proof and this contact would have a hugely positive impact upon humanity, perhaps even preventing the human race from coming to a bad end.

It would not be difficult to pull many quotations out of the A.U.M. publications to demonstrate what I have just stated. For today, I'll just quote here one example, but to assist ufological historians, I will upload a couple of other examples.

AUM Journal Vol. 2, No. 2 contains a transcript (embedded below) of a Ray Stanford "work reading" given on October 21, 1973. A "work reading" was a reading conducted by members of the core group for the specific purpose of guiding the leaders of the organization (including, in theory, Stanford himself) as to what they should be concentrating on at any given time, to admonish and encourage, to answer practical questions, etc. Most such readings were not published, but some were published, at least in part. In this case, the Journal editors wrote in a preface (page 52) that P.S.I. was aimed at "getting significant UFO evidence and toward possible intelligent response from or contact with UFO operators." (italics added for emphasis) The editors felt that publishing the explicit guidance from "the Source" would make its membership feel more comfortable with the fact that "considerable time and energies of A.U.M. have been invested in pursing the purposes of Project Starlight International. . ."

The entire thrust of the published October 21, 1973 discourse by "the Source" was that those involved in P.S.I. must maintain proper focus and persistence, in order to become instrumental in establishing contact between humanity and some of the extraterrestrial visitors. The Source said, "Thus, Project Starlight International can grow to the point where it may be recognized worldwide for its work, its endeavor and even success in the ideals discussed and in communication with extraterrestrial civilizations." (p. 63) (italics in the original here)

Then, "the Source" proceeded to give the group very specific instructions on how Stanford and his P.S.I. team were to proceed on the day that it was promised would come ("if you persist") when an alien craft would land before them at the P.S.I. site in the Texas hill country (near Lake Travis).

At the present time, according to the consciousness of those gathered, there are only two present that we can authorize to be active -- if you persist, we will say -- when that occasion occurs or arises to approach when the signal is given, once a craft has come and the beings have made themselves known. That is the one through whom we speak [Ray Stanford] and the one called Mary Kathryn [Stanford's wife in 1973; they divorced in 1985]. Understand that we may speak of those times which are far away, or those which are near. . . . [italics in original]​​ When the craft comes, when such craft are seen, clearly, and known as such, it is satisfactory to film without flash equipment or auxiliary lighting equipment, even to the point that they have landed, even to the point of an opening of a hatch; but at that point, such [photography] is to cease, unless or until permission has become obvious from those with whom association or communication has been made [the aliens]. (page 65)​

So there you have it in a nutshell: Ray Stanford's instructions to the core group, for the day that an alien craft would land and open its hatch: Stop taking pictures (apparently obtaining "hard data" was not, in this circumstance, the first priority), and keep your distance while Ray Stanford and his wife make the approach. Picture taking is to resume only if the aliens give the okay.

(Is it not odd, that the contingency instructions for those engaged in a project purportedly devoted to instrumented UFO research, would include an instruction to cease photography just as the aliens were on the verge of making an appearance? Reading this material now, I wonder in what manner "the Source" contemplated that the aliens would communicate camera-shyness, or the converse.)

Material published by A.U.M. in 1973 and later (both printed and audio) contained ample material --both in the discourses by "the Source" and "the Brothers," and in material written directly by Stanford-- on the theme that Project Starlight International had the potential to establish a bridge between humanity and galactic civilizations. Notably, however, the P.S.I.-logo publications, papers, and press releases during the same period contained not a word of about psychic readings or "Brothers" -- even though most of the same people were on the both the A.U.M. and P.S.I. mastheads (with Stanford, of course, at the top of both -- "Editor-in-Chief" of the A.U.M. Journal (the first journal masthead appeared in 1976), and "Director" of Project Starlight International. In the material put out under the P.S.I. logo -- intended mainly for a different audience than the A.U.M. material -- P.S.I. was presented as an enterprise about getting "instrumented data" about UFOs. Setting aside the exaggerations, that was not untrue-- but it was only part of the truth.

[For a detailed article on the true history of Project Starlight International, including an 11-page open letter written by Daniel H. Harris, Ph.D., the Research Director of Project Starlight International in 1977 and 1978, click here.]


A number of the "Brothers" channeled by Ray Stanford were presented as extraterrrestrials, including Aramda, a member of a wise race known as "The Watchers" (not be confused with garden-variety visiting aliens of the type that might come down and open the hatch). Now, Ray Stanford and Aramda-- those two went way back. Not just back to 1957, but 38,000 years! In a lecture (not a trance reading) to an A.U.M. conference on August 22, 1974, which I attended, Stanford (age 36) said this:

​"[O]ne night a gigantic craft -- and I remember well the scene, and how it appeared -- a gigantic craft, probably at least 200 feet tall . . .landed at Telos, and it was an expedition from outside the Earth."​
Ray Stanford lecture August 1974 Telos and Aramda clip

"I remember well the scene, and how it appeared," Ray Stanford said, recalling the descent of the "gigantic" extraterrestrial craft, 38,000 years ago. Keep this in your mind the next time you hear one of Stanford's hyper-detailed accounts of what he purports to remember about a somewhat more recent UFO event.

(I should explain here that Telos, according to Stanford, was a city located, 38,000 years ago, around where the Grand Canyon is now. Among the uploads here are brief excerpts and transcripts, provided for scientific and educational purposes, of "Aramda" speaking through the entranced Stanford. By the way, Aramda (via Stanford's vocal cords) on occasion offered some rather specific prophecies about dire future events, and the preparations that A.U.M. members should make for those events, which were published by A.U.M.-- prophecies that, fortunately, proved to be wildly inaccurate.)

Ray Stanford channels Aramda 8 17 73

Ray Stanford also occasionally channeled "Jeshua" himself (AKA Jesus Christ, "the Lord"), speaking in the first person. Those discourses generally were not published, but as the organization started to come apart in late 1977 and in 1978 (I departed early in 1978, and some others departed in the same general period), Stanford did channel one discourse from "Jeshua" ("the Lord") which was much longer than previous such displays, and this one was published in an A.U.M. newsletter, where it consumed 8 single-spaced typewritten pages. It is embedded below -- check it out, it's a real doozy.


As I have discussed in much more detail in a separate article, Ray Stanford for 15 years (1960-1976) intermittently promoted construction of a very expensive device called "the Accelerator," conceived as a 25-foot egg-shaped copper structure that, when wound up with a static charge of 1 to 3 million volts, would make an occupant into "a hyper person, a super person if you prefer," Stanford said -- conferring super-clairvoyance, and the ability to physically teleport into the distant past (yes, friends, a time machine). In 1974, Stanford even projected that he could be giving his psychic readings from within the Accelerator at future A.U.M. conferences, even within a year or two, "depending on when the funds come in."

When this time-machine matter has been raised in more recent years, Stanford has lied, in 1999 asserting on a listserv that A.U.M. "NEVER, EVER collected any money to build the 'Time Machine'...," and claiming (on Erica Lukes' UFO Classified podcast, March 8, 2019) that he had merely done "a bit of joking with somebody in [an audience]" about traveling to the past. However, I have recordings of two lengthy lectures that Stanford gave (while awake, not in trance), in which Stanford touted the remarkable powers that "the Accelerator" (described as "similar to a UFO") would confer on a human occupant. He was quite clear that he meant literal physical transport into the distant past. He did indeed solicit financial support for the A.U.M. Accelerator project, repeatedly, and the Accelerator project was regularly mentioned in A.U.M. newsletters and promotional materials of the era. Check out the uploaded audio clips!

Indeed, in the 1974 speech for which I was present, Stanford exhorted members and donors of the Association for the Understanding of Man, "The Brothers [members of the White Brotherhood] have suggested to us that this Accelerator project is one of the most important projects upon which we could engage."

Ray Stanford promotes Accelerator 8 24 74
Ray Stanford on time travel 1974 stranded

Stanford set the Accelerator project aside with apparent reluctance in April 1976, when he was age 37, at which time he wrote that "it is not practical to pursue it at this time... the fact is that it may take several million dollars and a number of top-grade professionals to really get that project underway, and it doesn't appear likely that we'll have such resources available until the Association's work is far better known than it is now. If the Association is to undertake scientific projects of that magnitude, then it must command the respect of the scientific community."

[Linked at the end of this article are my audio files of two entire lectures that Ray Stanford gave in 1974 on "Space, Time, Consciousness, and the Accelerator." In addition, I have written an entire article that goes into much greater detail regarding the history of the Hilaron Accelerator project, incorporating many audio files and original documents: Ray Stanford and His Super-Power-Inducing Time Machine (AKA "The Hilaron Accelerator")

Now, someone may say, "But what does this 'time machine' have to do with UFOs or aliens, aside from Stanford asserting that the Accelerator was 'similar' to a UFO?" An excellent question! Here is what you must know: Stanford's trance discourses specifically credited the design of the Accelerator to a "Brother" named Hilarion. In a 1974 interview with Psychic magazine (uploaded below), Stanford said that on April 13, 1961, a "Brother" "materialized physically in a brightly lighted room," that he was "over seven feet tall," "was actually glowing," and was accompanied by "a globe of light about eighteen inches in diameter [that] hovered near the ceiling, glowing a diffused white-blue light." Elsewhere in 1974, Stanford said that this materialized "Brother" was in fact Hilarion, that he "materialized" in a "physical body," was "eight feet tall," and wore a pointed helmet. Also, "His body glowed like Moses."

Now, I will grant you that Stanford did not say that Hilarion was an alien. But given these descriptions, it seems to me that one ought not exclude that possibility. If you run into Ray Stanford, please ask him to clarify this point.


Since we are speaking of aliens here, let's not overlook Ray Stanford's repeated public claims to have taken a 35mm photograph in 1984 of an 3-foot, pointy-eared alien pilot, sitting in his alien craft, so clear "you can count the fingers on his hand" -- a claim that he has publicly reiterated at least as recently as 2019.

Stanford says he took the photo during a complicated UFO event that he purportedly witnessed from outside his then-home in Austin, Texas, on October 15, 1984. According to the story, Stanford saw a "mother ship" at a distance he later determined to be 90 miles, of which he took a movie. After running out of movie film, Stanford started shooting 35mm still shots with a 12x telephoto lens. There were smaller objects operating in conjunction with the mother ship, one of which (he says) suddenly darted to within about one mile of Stanford's position. Somehow, according to Stanford, this entire 90-mile shift was captured on a single 35mm still-camera image!

Even more amazing, Stanford claimed to have extracted data from this single still image that proved that the smaller object had traveled at "either two-thirds or three-quarters of the speed of light in the atmosphere" as it moved closer to him. (Regarding this photo, Stanford commented, "People say, is this just a blur?,” to which Stanford's answer is: No.)

But wait, there is more: That quick smaller object had a dome. The very same single 35mm image, according to Stanford, shows the alien pilot sitting inside the dome -- so clearly that "you can count the fingers on his hand," Stanford asserted. (In a 2009 Radio Misterioso interview, Stanford also said this alien pilot is "three or three-and-one-half feet tall, and has a bald head and pointed ears.")

One of Stanford’s friends revealed on a forum, several years ago, that Stanford has named the perceived diminutive extraterrestrial “Gort.” Personally, I feel it is past time for “Gort” to be afforded the wide recognition that he/she/it surely deserves.

For now, I'm afraid, you may not see the image. The most you can do is listen to one of Ray Stanford's descriptions of it, in a 5-minute excerpt from Ray Stanford's appearance on Erica Lukes' UFO Classified on March 8, 2019, in which he discussed the alien-pilot photo. Listening to it, you may gain some insights into Stanford's approach to UFO photo analysis.

Ray Stanford on alien pilot claim 3 8 19

I highly recommend, in fact, that you listen to the entire 1.75 hour UFO Classified interview, which is available on the internet here. The .mp3 audio file is also embedded below.

Ray Stanford on UFO CLASSIFIED with Erica Lukes 3 8 19


There are so very many Ray Stanford photographic claims -- and so little validation. Why, at the very site of the famous Lonnie Zamora encounter with an anomalous egg-craft at Socorro, New Mexico, in 1964, Stanford took, he said in a 2015 podcast appearance, "a wonderful photograph in which...people will be able to see, in broad daylight...the Socorro object [egg-shaped UFO], with its landing gear deployed."


Several of Stanford's most fervent promoters visited his home, and they too saw the remarkable image of the egg-craft, complete with that very distinctive landing gear, just as described by policeman Lonnie Zamora, and they spoke with great enthusiasm on forums and podcasts of what they had seen-- for years. Some others who expressed skepticism about the claims were roughly handled by the Stanford acolytes. Yet, in 2020 Ray Stanford himself revealed that it was all just debris on the negative! No egg-craft. No landing gear. Nothing there at all. Check out the embedded audio file, "Ray Stanford call-in to a Martin Willis YouTube...Sept. 15, 2020."

Ray Stanford call in to a Martin Willis YouTube Socorro photo Sept 15 2020

But there are always more Ray Stanford photographic claims-- they are virtually without number. Stanford claims to have taken "thousands" of frames of movie film of UFOs, which after a lot of enlargement and "cleaning up," to his imaginative eye reveal all sort of marvelous alien technological effects-- plasma sheaths, plasma beams, Faraday rings, manifest distortions of the fabric of space-time, etc., etc. For many of these claimed events, not even derived digital images have ever been published, but those that have emerged -- well, to the uninitiated such as myself, they generally look like blobs of hyper-enlarged grain structure (often from tiny Super 8 movie frames), digitally "cleaned up" and manipulated in various ways, and interpreted through a lens of subjectivity, imagination, delusion, textbook pareidolia, and morphing stories. Typically, the original films and negatives are kept strictly under Ray Stanford's exclusive control, with loyal petitioners and stenographers occasionally allowed private viewings; those promoting the images usually rely heavily on Stanford's derived images, his interpretations, and his morphing stories.

And Ray Stanford is nothing if not a teller of stories.


Hey, just one more Ray Stanford story, for today. In 1978, Stanford appeared on the Phil Donahue show, with Dr. J. Allen Hynek. The program at that time had an estimated audience of 6 million. Stanford said on the show, "Project Starlight has in its possession, we're trying to get some further tests done on it, some glassy material of unprecedented crystalline quality, that doesn't seem to be duplicable right now on Earth or in nature -- that may be -- it fell at hypersonic velocity from space -- could be evidence of UFOs, but we're not sure yet."

Stanford on Donahue 1978 space material

Stanford had previously revealed to the members of the Association for the Understanding of Man (in a 1971 newsletter, displayed below) that this sample (which he called "the Space Material") "consists of a quite mysterious nonnatural material with a crystalline structure unlike any other known on Earth. Also, it shows additional evidence of technological processing." The A.U.M. newsletter went on:

Although not told to the public at large, our members might be interested to know that the [Ray Stanford psychic] readings have confirmed that the "Space Material' is the product of an advanced technological civilization in space; and actually is a piece of a gigantic spacecraft, which disintegrated in space several years ago. Pieces of the craft were scattered throughout the solar system and one sizeable chunk fell... on San Antonio, Texas, in 1969.​

Multiple "Brothers," speaking "through" the "unconscious" Ray Stanford, including good old Aramda, had a good deal to say about "the Space Material." For example, a purported entity who styled himself "One Who Serves" explained that the giant spherical spacecraft was a product of a civilization called the "Su-Madraians" [that's pronounced sue-ma-DRAY-ans], that it was "grown" not built, that the material "has properties that will be most unusual in their capabilities or influence, even to the mental and to the physical bodies of man...at times still [it] may cause a snapping or a movement at a minor level of conditions of the spatial matrix which it occupies," and so forth.

"One Who Serves" explained further that the "immense" craft "entered your three-dimensional universe" 100 light years from earth. Regrettably, "by a malfunction within the equipment, approximately 60 percent of the externalized surfaces of the city shifted in phase of spatial matrix ninety degrees, while the remaining approximately 40 percent failed to make the spatial matrix shift of precisely ninety degrees...," and of course that is never good, so kaboom! Hundreds of years later, fragments moving "74,000 approximate miles, by nautical, per hour in reaching the earth..." landed in and around San Antonio. There was much more -- that "One Who Serves," he was quite a story teller, too, wouldn't you say? But I digress.

Anyway, Stanford has been talking about this purportedly manufactured non-terrestrial "Space Material" (as he calls it) for over 50 years now -- but I think that we are still waiting for those lab results!


So, there you have it. Dear readers, do you agree that Ray Stanford has earned this Wild & Woolly Claims About Aliens & Alien Craft Lifetime Achievement Award? Please share your thoughts! If you think the awards jury has been unfair to Ray Stanford, or that there are other contenders out there whom are more deserving, you should state your position without flinching.

But I warn you in advance -- I have much, much more material to bring forth in support of Ray Stanford's qualifications for this award. When you've heard it all, I think you will come to agree: There is nobody else who even comes close.

-- Douglas Dean Johnson

@ddeanjohnson on Twitter

"This isn't a game; it's a dangerous undertaking. That's one reason we wear name-tags out there [at the Project Starlight rural site]-- should we be killed, people will at least be able to identify us." -- Ray Stanford, director of Project Starlight International, quoted in the February 1976 issue of Texas Monthly, "Planet X! We're Waiting for You!," by Stephen Harrigan


On the Alien Expanse forum, where the above article was originally published on August 28, 2021, I added the following supplemental material on September 13, 2021.

Clarifications regarding Lemuria, Telos, and Aramda

After I posted the article above, two points emerged that require clarification. They both relate to Ray Stanford's stories about his purported incarnation 38,000 years ago in the fabled ancient civilization of Lemuria, and to his relationship with Aramda, one of the purported extraterrestrials (but not the only purported extraterrestrial) whom Stanford "channeled" in the 1960s and 1970s.

First, clarification of a minor imprecision on my part. In the essay above, I wrote that "Telos, according to Stanford, was a city located, 38,000 years ago, around where the Grand Canyon is now." Upon further review, I think that the term "city" was not quite faithful to the Stanford story.

In his August, 1974 lecture "Psychic Archeology," delivered to a membership conference of the Association for the Understanding of Man (A.U.M.), for which I was present, Stanford explained that 38,000 years ago, he (or some might say, his previous personality) was incarnate in Lemuria, which he described as "an ancient civilization that existed in the Pacific Ocean." In Stanford's tale, Telos (located at the current site of the Grand Canyon), was merely a "colony of Lemuria." More precisely, Telos was a "technological community" that was "equivalent to Lemuria, of the White Sands Proving Grounds to the U.S."

Now that I've cleared that up, I will turn to the more substantive matter of the "relationship" between Ray Stanford and the Aramda, who by 1974 already had long been, and remained, a very important figure in the Ray Stanford universe of the imagination.

According to Stanford's story, the Stanford previous-personality had been a researcher at Telos, where "we experimented with aerial devices which could fly beyond the Earth's atmosphere." Then came an unexpected development: "[O]ne night a gigantic craft -- and I remember well the scene, and how it appeared -- a gigantic craft, probably at least 200 feet tall...landed at Telos, and it was an expedition from outside the Earth."

The Stanford story went on to explain how Stanford's friend and fellow researcher, Aramda, elected to join the extraterrestrials, even though "the law of karma" dictated that this decision meant that Aramda would be required to reincarnate among the ETs from that point on. As we will see, however, Stanford and Aramda managed to keep in touch.

In the audio clip embedded just below, you can hear, in context, Ray Stanford's full explanation regarding Lemuria, Telos, and Aramda's fateful decision to join the ETs. (This clip overlaps with a shorter, previously uploaded clip, but provides more context. There is a short gap about 5 minutes into the clip, which is where I flipped the cassette over, but I think nothing of import was missed.) If I may adopt comic-book terminology for a moment (and it does seem appropriate), Stanford, in this August 1974 lecture, provided what we might call the "origin story" of Aramda.

Ray Stanford on Aramda and The Watchers 8 23 74

In the Stanford story, by 1974 Aramda had been long associated with "The Watchers," a group of extraterrestrials (not to be confused with multiple other visiting ET races), whom Stanford also occasionally referred to as "The Planet Keepers." From roughly 1960 to about 1978, Stanford while in the "unconscious state" delivered many discourses from Aramda, including ostensibly prophetic guidance about political and economic events.

However, importantly, the long saga of Aramda did not rest only on discourses channeled by Stanford while in the "unconscious state." (Decades later, Stanford dismissed his 18-plus years of channeled discourses as "merely a game of my unconscious.") Indeed, Aramda was named in Stanford's 1958 book Look Up as being "a space man" with whom Stanford was in contact, and Stanford specifically wrote that Aramda had been physically present in a nearby spacecraft during one of Stanford's most momentous space-brother-contact experiences, on January 5, 1957. (See Look Up, page 28.) Moreover, Stanford's August 1974 lectures, "Psychic Archeology" and "Firsthand Contacts with Extraterrestrial Life," were delivered by a wide-awake Ray Stanford, then age 36.

[The complete audio files of "Psychic Archeology" and "Firsthand Contacts with Extraterrestrial Life" are linked at the end of this article.]

So, knowing all that, now consider this: In 2003, Ray Stanford wrote on a public listserv, "I never believed space beings were speaking through me, and all who know me well know that."

You see the problem? In his August 1974 "Psychic Archeology" lecture, you can clearly hear Ray Stanford say (at about 6 minutes, 45 seconds):

"I had a friend at that time...whose name in the Telonian language was Aramda. He is, by the way, the being who spoke to us last year, to me, to us, last year at the AUM conference [in a discourse "channeled" by Stanford on August 17, 1973, later published in the Journal of the Association for the Understanding of Man Vol. 2, No. 2]. You remember that reading we published by Aramda, which gave very clear-cut prophetic forewarning of the financial situation we're in right now, and warned us all about it. Well, Aramda chose to go with them [i.e., Aramda, 38,000 years ago, decided to throw in his lot with the ETs]..."

In the August 17, 1973 "reading" to which Stanford referred, Aramda said, "Today I am counted among those who have been called 'the watchers.' For the past several thousand years we have observed the trends and tendencies...within the world," etc.

So, then: If Ray Stanford "never believed space beings were speaking through me," as he insisted in 2003, then I am forced to conclude that Stanford was lying to the assembled members and donors of the Association for the Understanding of Man, in August 1974, when he told them the origin story of Aramda-- his friend Aramda, who had joined the ET ranks 38,000 years ago, and for whom the Ray Stanford of 1973-1974 clearly claimed to serve as a psychic channel for "clear-cut prophetic" guidance about world affairs, financial matters, and so forth. Aramda -- whom both the waking Ray Stanford and the channeled Aramda persona identified as being an active member of the extraterrestrial "Watchers" or "Planet Keepers."

So, was Ray Stanford lying about Aramda of The Watchers in 1974, or in 2003?

Douglas Dean Johnson


On the Alien Expanse forum, one reader of the material above posed this question on September 13, 2021: "I consider Christopher O'Brien a level headed no nonsense guy who has great knowledge in this field. Why is he, after seeing Stanford's media at his home, so positive about Ray?" My response appears below.

I do not know Mr. O'Brien personally. My impression is that with respect to Ray Stanford's UFO-related claims, Mr. O'Brien is taking a very great deal on trust -- more so than he probably realizes. I believe that Mr. O'Brien's assessment of trustworthiness is, in this instance, gravely misplaced.

Moreover, it is my view that those who tie their own credibility (however well earned in other areas of UFO research) to the trustworthiness of Ray Stanford's UFO-related claims and interpretations, are likely to ultimately see their own overall credibility damaged, perhaps severely so. One of my motivations in spending time on this is to attempt to minimize the number of individuals so damaged, and the amount of potential damage to the fragile credibility of evidence-based UFO studies as a whole.

From what I observe, Mr. O'Brien has been sucked deeply into the Ray Stanford imaginative universe, a realm in which I personally spent several years of my life. Indeed, Mr. O'Brien years ago stated publicly that he had taped "several hundred hours" of interviews with Ray Stanford, and transcribed the stories ("without altering or changing a word," Mr. O'Brien wrote). Stanford in the waking state often speaks very rapidly, so transcribing his discourses is not easy; Mr. O'Brien clearly felt that this was important work. Mr. O'Brien then wrote an entire "ufological biography" based on Stanford's stories -- but Mr. O'Brien also revealed that Stanford will not allow Mr. O'Brien to publish this book until he (Stanford) gets back "on the map" with respect to UFO-related claims.

Mr. O'Brien has also stated, with respect to his Stanford interviews, "It's so far beyond unbelievable, it could only be true." In contrast, it is my judgment, based on long observation both up close (1974-1978) and from distance, that "it's so far unbelievable" because most of Stanford's truly remarkable UFO-related claims are delusional or worse. In some cases I have absolute direct knowledge that this is so, and in many other cases I see the same modus operandi. Some of this I have written about, but regrettably, there are many cases and episodes yet to examine as need arises.

As I think I have amply demonstrated in essay on this forum over the past several years, Stanford is bright and verbally facile individual, who possesses some genuine unusual aptitudes, and genuine accomplishments in the realm of fossil discoveries. Stanford also has often demonstrated, in my judgment, an untrammeled imagination coupled with gross subjectivity, particularly about his own mental creations. He has also often demonstrated deficiencies of candor, some of them egregious. In my view, these lifelong patterns of behavior should be kept in mind in evaluating each and every UFO-alien-related claim by Ray Stanford.

Yes, I suppose that Mr. O'Brien has seen most of Stanford's UFO-related images-- images derived from negatives and direct prints that Stanford has kept under his exclusive control for decades, in most cases. Mr. O'Brien has indeed been exceedingly positive about many of Stanford's expansive claims with respect to some of those images. As a one-time moderator of the Paracast forum, Mr. O'Brien even cast into outer darkness some forum participants who too persistently expressed skepticism or impatience with some of the unsubstantiated evidence claims attributed to Stanford. By the way, I was not a participant in any of those Paracast discussions, although I might have been hard pressed to resist joining in, if I had been paying attention at the time, which I was not.

Mr. O'Brien was, for example, very positive about Ray Stanford's claims about the Socorro "dynamite shack photo." To reiterate: The nub of the claim was, as Stanford put it in a 2015 podcast appearance, to have taken "a wonderful photograph in which...people will be able to see, in broad daylight...the Socorro object [egg-shaped UFO], with its landing gear deployed."


As is the case with many Stanford stories and claims, this story became more elaborate as time went on -- the original Stanford photo showed not one but two egg-craft-- no, three -- no, four! In 2016, Stanford associate Ben Moss said that the remarkable photo had been "cleaned up by a respected Goddard employee who is an expert in photo analysis," who had determined that the primary object was 0.6 miles from the camera. Stanford associates also revealed that a second corroborating photo had been located, taken by Dr. J. Allen Hynek on the same occasion, in which egg-craft were also visible. And so forth.

Here is one of Mr. O'Brien's posts about the "dynamite shack photo," from 2015:

Mr. O'Brien was not alone in his certitude. It was shared, for example, by Ben Moss and Tony Angiola, who had done their own research into the Zamora-Socorro case:

Yet, it was all delusion. Stanford himself revealed, in September 2020, that he had located the original negative, and the perceived egg-craft, deployed landing gear, etc., were merely debris, improper cleaning of the negative. All of those who visited the Stanford bat-cave and saw the egg-craft and the distinctive Zamora-described landing gear deployed, and who went forth to testify to what they had seen -- they all had fallen victim to Stanford's subjectivity, imagination, artifice, and/or powers of suggestion.

Ray Stanford call in to a Martin Willis 9 15 20 disavows dynamite shack claims black egg sighting 1978

For now, I use the "dynamite shack photo" fiasco as an illustration of the some of the dynamics that appear to be at work with respect to Mr. O'Brien and a number of other Stanford acolytes-- partly because in this one case, the bottom line is no longer disputed: Stanford himself, for whatever reason, revealed that the original negative contained absolutely nothing to support the elaborate edifice of claims that he and others had built upon the image (with validation, they would have us believe, by "a respected Goddard employee who is an expert in photo analysis"), over a period of years.

However, for most of Stanford's other top-tier UFO-image claims, Stanford alone (as far as I can tell) has controlled the original negatives and direct prints (and cameras) from inception; they have never been subjected to scrutiny by persons truly independent of Stanford, persons with the right technical skill sets and equipment, and employing an open-minded but rigorous approach. Nor, in many cases, have the elaborate and often-morphing stories associated with these images been subjected to truly independent investigation. In short, there is very little in the entire body of Stanford's UFO-evidence claims that does not rest entirely or in very substantial part on the testimony and/or interpretations of Ray Stanford, a man who has spent much of his life telling elaborate and often implausible stories-- doing so thousands of times while in "an unconscious state" in the 1960s and 1970s, but also throughout his life, while awake.

Regrettably, the "dynamite shack photo" episode is far from the worst example of collective deception and delusion with respect to a Stanford UFO photo claim. In due course, I may write about one or more other cases in which the depths of self -deception or other types of deception, some of it ongoing, are much worse. [2] [3]

--Douglas Dean Johnson


[1] In an update that I added near the top of this article on April 9, 2024, I summarized a sharp exchange that occurred on an AOL list serve between Ray Stanford and Richard (Dick) Hall, a respected UFO researcher and author, on July 11, 2003, regarding Stanford's conflicting statements about receiving/channeling direct communications from certain extraterrestrials. Here are images of the entire 2003 exchange. The annotations in red are mine.

[2] The following End Note was added on May 9, 2023. I did in fact later write in detail about some of Ray Stanford's UFO-photo claims, including a detailed examination of his fictionalization of a "UFO event" on December 10, 1975, for which I was personally present. In my April 29, 2022 article Plasma Beam– or Fever Dream (in Section 6), I published records of that event produced from my 1975-1976 files from Project Starlight International– including a release approved by Stanford himself – and contrast those records with the greatly altered and sensationalized narrative that Stanford has promoted in recent years. The article also examines in detail Stanford's entirely unsubstantiated and highly doubtful claims about a Super 8 film (the "beam ship") he took in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Oct. 5, 1985.

[3] On April 4, 2024, I published an article investigating claims made by Ray Stanford and others based on a Super 8 movie that Stanford took through an airliner window over Mexico on December 4, 1980: Gravity waves and Faraday rings– or imaginary things?


The links below all go to .mp3 audio files.


In 1974, the Association for the Understanding of Man had two membership conferences in Austin, Texas, both in August. At each conference, Ray Stanford gave a lecture to A.U.M. members and donors on "Space, Time, Consciousness, and the Accelerator." I was present for the second of these two lectures, and recorded it. I have digitized recordings of both of the lectures, in segments for convenience during the digitization process.

The Ray Stanford lecture on the Accelerator presented at an A.U.M. conference in early August 1974 may be downloaded from these links : Part 1. Part 2.

The Ray Stanford lecture on the Accelerator presented at an A.U.M. membership conference on August 24, 1974, which I personally recorded, may be downloaded from these links: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

"FIRST-HAND CONTACTS WITH EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE" (Ray Stanford's stories of 1950s encounters with UFOs and aliens, including "Aramda")

A lecture presented by Ray Stanford on August 24, 1974, at an A.U.M. membership conference, titled "Firsthand Contacts with Extraterrestrial Life," detailing Stanford's purported 1950s contacts with extraterrestrials, may be downloaded from these links: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.


A lecture presented by Ray Stanford on August 22, 1974, at an A.U.M. membership conference, titled "Psychic Archeology," which includes discussion of "Armada of the Watchers," may be downloaded from these links: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.


  1. Added link to my 2023 article Ray Stanford and His Super-Power-Inducing Time Machine (AKA "The Hilaron Accelerator")
  2. April 9, 2024: I added an update in the section, high up in this article, providing additional information about Ray Stanford's "contactee" claims of the 1950s and 1970s, and Stanford's misleading statements in a 2003 exchange with respected UFO researcher Richard (Dick) Hall. I posted images of the entire Stanford-Hall exchange as End Note No. 1.
  3. April 9, 2024: I added End Note No. 3, linking my article Gravity waves and Faraday rings– or imaginary things?, published on April 4, 2024.