Space Crash Course

Rebecca Hardcastle isn't from outer space. But she might be from a different dimension, one that transcends time and space and most college curriculums. We can thank our lucky stars that Hardcastle has landed at Scottsdale Community College, which now offers her Extraterrestrial Reality course as part of its Continuing Education program. According to the course book, Hardcastle's class "expands on what it means to be human in the 21st century, relating to intelligent, responsive life originating beyond Earth." And if students won't be building spacecraft to take them to Uranus ("That would be silly," scoffs Hardcastle, a blond, leggy beauty who favors tiny black skirts and more closely resembles a faded movie starlet than an ET expert), they'll at least be learning the secrets of Soviet spoon benders and how to get to Indonesia without your body.

New Times: So there's life on other planets.

Rebecca Hardcastle: There's life in the universe. I'm not teaching a class to convince anyone there's life on other planets. I'm teaching about the possibility of life in another dimension, one that becomes apparent to us once we begin to live in that other dimension. It may be wired into our psyche, or it might be a spiritual phenomenon, or a psychological one. I'm not here to say which. But we're going to explore each of those possibilities [in the class].

NT: So you're teaching about how to live in another dimension?

Hardcastle: I'm starting by teaching about the history of UFOs. We'll begin in 1887, with the first sightings that had any kind of press coverage. Then we'll move through up to Project Blue Book, the Truman administration, and other historical reporting done during that time. There is a UFO history; it's just not taught in mainstream education.

NT: Is that because studying UFOs is sort of wacky?

Hardcastle: Well, I think that attitude first started in the '50s, when sightings stopped getting coverage. If you talk to people who were old enough, they remember the headlines. People who lived in Roswell saw the newspapers. They knew it was happening, but all of a sudden after Project Blue Book was shut down, everything faded off until there was no coverage. But now it's picking back up, thanks to the Internet.

NT: Sounds like another government conspiracy.

Hardcastle: You know, it's not my job to dig around in the government looking for the smoking gun. People want to focus on that. Or on aliens, or spacecraft abduction.

NT: Have you been abducted?

Hardcastle: (Long sigh.) You know, usually when people use the word "abducted," they're talking about being beamed up, being taken on board a craft against their own will, something terrifying and traumatizing. I haven't been abducted in that classic way. But there is what's known as "contact experiences," something that John Mack of the Harvard psychiatric department introduced. People would come to him and tell him abduction and contact stories, and their stories were all alike. He became convinced they were all having similar experiences.

NT: Or maybe they all had the same mental illness. Hey, the course description for your class says that "participants will experiment with their telepathic abilities."

Hardcastle: Right. And we'll probably be doing remote viewing, too, which is something our government uses. The CIA has come out and revealed that, yes, they use remote viewers to find intelligence work in different parts of the world.

NT: Remote viewing.

Hardcastle: It's a way for you to be in your body, and through certain very rigid scientific protocols, to move your consciousness. I would say, "Robrt, go to some place you've never been before."

NT: Like Funky Town?

Hardcastle: No. Let's say I want you to go to Indonesia, and I want you to go to this latitude and this longitude and tell me what you see. And there's usually a military installation or a research facility or weapons there. You are put in a room and you're put in an altered state, and you travel there with your consciousness.

NT: And the CIA has been using this?

Hardcastle: Yes. It actually came out during World War II. The Russians were doing it and we found out about it. Because you know, they have a huge history of paranormal ability in the Soviet Union. Spoon benders and shamans all came from Russia! There's a pagan political party in Russia!

NT: Well, put me on the guest list! Hey, who okayed this course? Will people be getting degrees in ufology?

Hardcastle: If you look at how curriculums are formed, like Black Studies in the '60s, Women's Studies in the '70s, you begin to see that it's just a matter of time before [ET studies] will be a curriculum.

NT: But a degree in UFOs might be hard to apply.

Hardcastle: You could certainly apply what you learned to philosophical history, because UFOs go back to Plato. UFOs are a difficult concept to discuss, because in Western civilization, we want proof. We want to touch the craft; we want to meet the alien. But there are still other phenomenons -- like crop circles.

NT: Crop circles! If spacemen are so advanced, what are they doing making circles in wheat fields? Why not a 90-foot-high list of demands, or a giant laser bomb?

Hardcastle: Because once you get into this knowledge, you begin to revisit ancient ways of knowing. If you look at a universal language that anybody can know, it's math. Sacred math. Go back and read the loaves and fishes story, and all of a sudden it has different meaning. If every civilization had a language that we all could understand, it would be the language of measurement, geometry and shape. If you want to transmit a message, that's the language you would use: a shape. Like a crop circle.

NT: I want big, scary technology. Not some little green man with almond-shaped eyes.

Hardcastle: Oh, I love that little green man thing. There's always been a connection between mythology and ET. One of the premises of my work is the connection between ancient myth and the little green man.

NT: And don't forget the anal probe.

Hardcastle: That comes up every time. And it's certainly a possibility. There's a woman who's written a book that takes all of the clichés -- anal probes, alien medical examinations, all the different things that happen when people are abducted. And she writes about psychic teleporting -- there's a government contract out on that!

NT: The government is using teleportation? Why are they keeping it secret?

Hardcastle: They're not! Look on the Internet! It's all over the place. But I don't get all emotionally invested in whether or not there's a conspiracy going on. If I want to know something, hello! I go to Google, and I always find something about it. I'm just not invested in government cover-ups. Right now I'm trying to understand Mayan history and of course The Da Vinci Code and how it all relates to extraterrestrial life. Oh my goodness! I don't need any more to think about.

NT: How do we know you're not a crackpot?

Hardcastle: I just gave you my résumé and my course proposal. I know what I know, and I'm comfortable admitting what I don't know.

NT: I recently interviewed Santa, and he was telling me all about going down chimneys and delivering toys all over the world in one night by conflating time. Is Santa an alien?

Hardcastle: Mm-hm. Santa Claus is originally a shaman. Of course he would talk about that. Santa is how I originally got into this whole field of study -- I started reading books about shamans.

NT: What about George Bush -- is he an alien? Because that would explain a lot.

Hardcastle: Well, I'll say this: There's a long history of presidents and UFOs. If you read up on it -- Jimmy Carter talked about having a sighting during a presidential meeting. Our leadership talks about it! Right now, I don't care to confront my government and say, "How dare you suppress this information?" It's all out there.

NT: Rebecca, take me to your leader.

Hardcastle: I can't! (Wild laughter.) My leader is inside of you!

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela