Beyond Disbelief: Dismantling the Stigma Behind The Phenomenon

Matthew Forman
7 min readFeb 27, 2020
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was instrumental in the formation of the first publicly announced program to investigate UAPs, called AATIP.

There have recently been tectonic developments in the quest for one of mankind’s greatest question: Are we alone in the universe?

On December 16, 2017, the world was exposed to the first U.S. program to admit to studying and observing the countless unidentified aerial vehicles that occupy global airspace on a daily basis through a New York Times article entitled “Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious UFO Program”. In the article, the NYT outlines a top-secret government program to investigate UFOs. The program was approved by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) in 2007. Along with the article came three videos. These videos are the first official U.S. Department of Defense footage of what the government calls Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon or UAP. In these videos, we witness something astonishing. Not only do the videos provide clear and undeniable proof of some of the most mysterious and baffling objects known to man, but it includes the audio, giving us a genuine glimpse into the candid reactions of disbelief and amazement in the voices of the officers witnessing it.

The original NYT article detailing the countless experiences had by military personnel with UAPs.

You can look up everything I just said by searching for “AATIP” or “Unidentified Aerial Phe” on Google. If these videos were not officially verified by the Department of Defense and the Pentagon, I would not be discussing them. For the gravity of this situation is not to be understated. These videos, if you choose to watch and listen to them, constitute one of the most significant events in recent history. I want to be crystal clear here. This is the first time in the history of our government and species that we have openly admitted to ourselves and the general public of the existence of unknown craft present that likely permeate our airspace with impunity, possibly on a daily basis. This fact, if you choose to do your research and verify it for yourself, is so utterly paradigm shifting that the mere mention of it being a genuine scientific possibility is almost immediately met with scorn, disbelief, and in many people’s minds, scientific heresy. I have personally witnessed the overpowering stigma that infects our minds about the fascinating subject of Alien Life and UFOs. It is a painful and isolating burden to be a curious observer, but one I am willing to bear as a scientist if it means sharing this information with the world.

Before I take a deep dive into the cultural phenomenon that is the UFO subject and the deep systemic stigmatizations surrounding it, I must establish credibility with the reader. I do this out of experience with the topic and trying to convey it to the general public. I am a 23 year old physics graduate working at Berkeley Lab on Dark Matter research. I hold a B.S. (Honors) in physics from UC Santa Cruz and did my undergraduate thesis with the ATLAS collaboration on top-quark tagging for simulated 100 TeV collider data. I will be pursuing a PhD in particle physics at UC Irvine this Fall. Now that you know I am not a (complete) nut and have studied physics extensively, I wish to explain my intentions here. My purest intention is to ignite discourse and concern about these incredible events. Discourse that I feel is not only severely lacking, but non-existent in the mainstream canon, save a few appearances by Luis Elizondo and David Fravor concerning AATIP and the 2004 Nimitz Encounter on national television like CNN and MSNBC. This topic is very near and dear to my heart as the possibility of alien life or other civilizations continues to captivate my imagination and was a primary reason for my entrance into physics.

Now that I have hopefully established some credibility with the reader, I will outline why you shouldn’t just listen to me about the topic, but the people we entrust our safety to as American’s and citizens of the world. Former Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is vehemently outspoken about the government’s massive UFO problem and has publicly expressed his concern on camera and in writing. I urge the reader to stop and consider this, Google if you must. I will repeat what I just stated to emphasize my point. The former Senate Majority Leader for one of our nation’s most important legislative branches and leader of the democratic coalition in the Senate has publicly admitted to the existence and possible threat posed by objects of unknown origin that occupy our global airspace daily. I again urge the reader to stop and consider this for a moment, ponder if you must. It’s the crux of the story and of utmost importance that the reader know people within our own government are deeply concerned with this unspoken and massive issue. It is not just Harry Reid, who is one of the most respected politicians alive today, it is also Chris Mellon, one of the most well networked and respected people in the military industrial complex and intelligence agencies in the U.S. government. It is John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and 2016 campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, who has come out to say these objects are real and we are observing them. It is former U.S. Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration and former governer of New Mexico, Bill Richardson who have come out to claim Roswell as a legitimate historical event. It is the hundreds of trained observers in the U.S. navy and military, people whom we trust our national security with, who are witnessing and corroborating these things as real phenomena. It is time now to take this issue seriously and give it the credence and scientific scrutiny it so desperately deserves. For if true, it constitutes the most earth-shattering paradigm shift Homo Sapiens have ever encountered: first contact between our species and an intelligence beyond Earth. You read that right, we are now able to say there is an extremely likely possibility that another intelligence in the universe has noticed our presence on Earth and is deeply interested in the way we are treating the planet and ourselves. I do not come to this conclusion lightly. I have spent years trying to make sense of the UFO phenomenon but it has come to the point where there is so much evidence and so many credible people describing truly incredible things that I cannot and will not be silent as a bearer of nature’s wisdom. I am not trying to be altruistic, I am trying to be an advocate, as you should, for the issue no one talks about, but really, really should.

Dismantling the Facade of Stigma and Disbelief

The most important thing to take away from everything I just explained to you is that these developments may be extremely relevant to not just humans today, but future generations to come: our children and their children’s children and so on. This topic may seem like it came out of nowhere and it may be confusing, unsettling, or even frightening to see as a human being. What is most important to keep in mind of this is to be extremely self-aware and conscious of ourselves and our situation as a species, especially in today’s political climate. More importantly, we must rigorously scrutinize the available data first without projecting our own assumptions and biases on the phenomenon itself.

Why do we dismiss phenomena outright before even looking at the facts and the data? This is not some conspiracy-theorist argument, its a scientific argument. If you wish to argue that UFOs simply do not exist, you must accept that you are denying certain data and footage that exists that has been quietly released through the Freedom of Information Act or some other form of declassification, put out by our own government and other world governments in various forms throughout history since ~1945. These facts are real and meaningful, but ultimately it is up to the individual reader to decide whether or not to investigate such wild claims or dismiss them entirely without looking at the evidence first.

There is a reason these objects are in our skies and our government almost certainly knows more than we do about why. We, as the general public and citizens of the world are then left with this incredible potentially paradigm-shifting story we must grapple with. The issue is, humans are myopic creatures; they worry about the issues immediately in front of them first and very rarely have the foresight or energy to look at urgent issues amongst the vast amount of information being presented to them by our smartphones and tablets everyday (Climate Change *cough,cough*). This is a key point. If these issues are indeed real, which I believe them to be, should we not be deeply concerned? We indeed should be. We should also fear the impending climate crisis and collapse of the world’s ecosystems. We should fear automation, facial-recognition technology, gene-editing, brain-machine interfaces, and many other disruptive technologies that are on course to completely blindside humanity in every sense of the word. It is extremely important to note these are not attempts at predictions, but rational fears and concerns that deserve rational attention. Having said this, it may be safe to assume we have a lot on our plate as we rocket into the 21st century at break-neck speeds.

These are my fears, my educated guesses as to what effect these things will have on our children. For they are real, tangible, and generational in their influence. We are at the interface between the “old world” and the “new world” of human civilization, where technologies now just emerging are poised to change us as human beings down to our biology. Further, the phenomenon we are presented with through UAPs in our global airspace raises the biggest question us humans has probably ever asked: Are we truly alone? The answer I’m afraid is not up to you. Nature and her creations do not need humans to believe them to be true.



Matthew Forman

Astroparticle physics PhD candidate at UC Irvine, Citizen Scientist, curious Homo Sapien. instagram: @human_wavefunction, twitter: @human_wavfnctn