The planets will shine and the stars will soon align at the beautiful Joshua Tree Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, California.  Not all the star sightings, though, will be celestial in nature.  Many familiar faces from popular cable TV shows including the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens and Hangar One: The UFO Files will be coming together for the 4th annual UFO conference, Contact in the Desert.

Out of all the hundreds of meetings and conferences held in the United States each year to discuss the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects and their likely impact on history and society, Contact in the Desert is the largest, most comprehensive gathering of enthusiasts, researchers, experiencers and experts in the field.  The exciting 2016 CITD line up of speakers and events is no exception. 

Any important discussion of ufology and extraterrestrial visitation would be incomplete without including researcher and author, Erich von Däniken.  His mind-bending, groundbreaking 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods, is said to be a catalyst for the current study of what is known as the ancient alien or ancient astronaut theory – the idea that extraterrestrials have visited and continue to visit earth, playing a key role inthe development of human culture.

Sometimes referred to as the father of ancient alien theory, von Däniken has dedicated his life to the exploration of sacred sites such as theNazca Lines in southern Peru and Pumapunku in Bolivia.  His many years of research and analysis provide compelling evidence in support of the ancient alien theory and make for fascinating, informative and inspirational lectures.  

If statistics are more your thing, renown nuclear physicist and author, Stanton Friedman will be on hand to discuss his research and involvement with UFO experiencers, advanced technology and the case for government secrecy. Unlike many of his ufologist colleagues, though, Friedman is not a cover-up conspiracy theorist.

“I’ve never considered that working under security and keeping your mouth shut is part of a conspiracy.  It goes with the job,” says Friedman.

At 81, it’s clear Friedman maintains a passion for the truth and the strength of his convictions.  His mantra, “facts in hand before putting mouth in gear” is a reflection of his tireless determination to replace bad data with good data and “get it right.” His Contact in the Desertworkshop entitled, Debunking the Debunkers, asserts that none of the major objections to the reality of alien visitation stand up to serious investigation and if there’s anyone equipped to handle the constant onslaught of skeptics regarding UFOs, it’s Stanton Friedman. 

The much-anticipated lecture by British author and journalist, Graham Hancock, will include findings highlighted in his recent controversial book, Magicians of the Gods.  In his Sunday workshop, The Consciousness Connection: Psychedelics, Entities, ‘Dark Matter’ and Parallel Dimensions, Hancock will share lessons from his own multiple experiences with smoked DMT and Ayahuasca.

Other notable speakers at CITD include adventurer, producer and star of Ancient Aliens, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos; Emmy award-winning TV producer and reporter, Linda Moulton Howe; host of the very popular, nationally syndicated nightly radio program, Coast to Coast AM, George Noory; and making his first appearance at Contact in the Desert, the “real life Indiana Jones”, David Childress. 

If a more hands-on experience is what you’re after, the conference also offers evening Skywatch Parties and Night Vision UFO Sighting Tours under the dark, unfiltered, gorgeous desert sky.  Never actually seen the Milky Way?  Contact in the Desert is the perfect opportunity.

In addition to the incredible list of speakers and events, one of the most fulfilling aspects of Contact in the Desert is the diverse, engaged, and enlightened conference attendees who come from all over the world and from all walks of life.  The Cosmic Café will offer participants a chance to meet and greet and exchange stories and ideas in a friendly, casual setting.  Evening outdoor movies will also be shown encouraging folks to sit back and unwind after an intense day of lectures and workshops. 

All this open exploration, stimulating discussion and fun is set against the backdrop of the enchanting and mystical, Joshua Tree National Park, where two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together.  No stranger to visitors from all parts of thegalaxy, this breathtaking desert land offers some of the best stargazing and surreal geological features on the planet. 

Whether you’re new to the study of ufology, a seasoned watcher of the night skies, interested in opening your mind and learning more about our past, present and future role in the universe (or just curious to see what all the fuss is about), Contact in the Desert is sure to deliver a unique and rare glimpse of the stars…and beyond.


Contact in the Desert 2016 will be held June 3 – 6 at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center in Joshua Tree, California. Advance full-weekend passes are available online until June 2 – $240 (single) and $450 (couple).  For hotel and ticket information and full list of speakers and events go to:

Photo by Jarek Tuszynski courtesy of Wiki Commons