Do you believe in UFOs?

A Silicon Alley entrepreneur gave up his job to search for aliens

MSNBC News, June 27, 1999
By Keith Morrison

You hear a lot of stories about UFOs - sightings, close encounters, even alien abductions. Are you skeptical? One man not only believes the stories could be true, he's spent millions of dollars on an extra-terrestrial crusade to convince the rest of us that we are not alone..

IN A LAND of overachievers, Joe Firmage's success is legendary: the story of a computer whiz-kid who sold his first company at 19, and who then worked to build the internet company of his dream - USWeb. He wanted to build the world's largest Internet consulting company. And he did. USWeb provides internet services for Apple Computer, Levi Strauss, Harley Davidson, and NBC.

Keith Morrison: "These are blue ribbon companies."

Joe Firmage: "Absolutely, the best companies in the world and we've served them well."

Morrison: "And when you left the company, what was US Web worth?"

Firmage: "The company was worth approaching $3 billion."

Morrison: "You're doing okay kid."

Firmage: "A wild ride."

Morrison: "And you're how old?"

Firmage: "Twenty-eight."

And then Joe Firmage walked away from 2,000 devoted employees and the billion dollar business he had created.

Morrison: "Why would you, in the process of making tens of millions of dollars personally, leading a company worth $3 billion, why do you chuck it?"

Firmage: "Wall Street doesn't feel comfortable with extra-curricular activities of the nature I have been pursuing."

And why is that? Joe Firmage revealed something he knew no self-respecting corporation could live with - not just revealed it, but preached it around the world. What belief is so taboo? What behavior so damaging to his company? Joe Firmage believes in aliens - visitors, UFOs. Not just that they exist. That they're here. They walk among us.

Firmage: "Science is saying this type of phenomenon is possible. Millions of people are saying it's happening. We've tracked them on our radar. I've talked to colonels in the military. I've talked to generals. I mean, come on."

But that created a bit of a problem for the Internet executive. There was gossip. There were rumors. Joe's business partner, Toby Corey, watched Joe reluctantly come to a decision.

Corey: "I think he did the right thing for the business and said, "You know what? I think it's best for me right now." The timing was right. He stepped out."

Joe resigned just as USWeb was completing a high profile merger with another Internet company. Then he spent millions to publish an online book called "The Word is Truth." It's a passionate and long inquiry into modern physics, religion and human history - all leading to the Firmage doctrine that aliens are present among us.

Firmage points to new theories in modern physics that hint at forces in nature we are just beginning to understand.

Firmage: "Information traveling faster than the speed of light, particles and waves at the same time and the same place. Very unusual things that physicists themselves call spooky."

Could these galactic mysteries be the source of power for interstellar visitors? Joe Firmage thinks so.

Firmage: "There are new types of engineering that will allow us to bend space time, to warp it if you will."

Morrison: "And if we can do that, what can we do then?"

Firmage: "You could go to Alpha Centauri and come back for dinner, okay? A hundred percent of the bias against extra-terrestrial travel is based on the idea that we cannot engineer gravity and never will. I believe that that scientific bias is false. And if so, please tell me a reason why the UFO phenomenon is so crazy?"

Morrison: "You left a job that was making millions of dollars and said I'm going to be a kind of an idiot in front of my friends and present to the
world a thesis that people are going to laugh at.

Firmage: "I understand."

Morrison: "Something made you do that and you haven't told me what it is yet."

Firmage: "Let me tell you. Earth is being visited by extraterrestrial beings and probably has been for millennia. The evidence for the UFO phenomenon is overwhelming and people who reject it out of hand have not done their homework."

Of course, some who have rejected the UFO stories have done lots of homework.

Frank Drake: "Grand claims require grand evidence. Contact with another civilization in space is a grand claim."

Frank Drake has devoted his life to finding that evidence. A professor of astronomy, he's the founder of the SETI Institute - as in "search for extra-terrestrial intelligence." It's funded by public and private money - $8 million a year.

Drake: "There's something to be found out there in the great cosmic hay stack, but it's going to take a lot of searching."

SETI uses giant radio-telescopes to conduct that search, listening for signals from just one of the 10,000 civilizations Drake estimates are out there. So far - nothing.

Drake: "Not a single fact has been provided to us that might have come from an extraterrestrial context. We don't think it's happened."

Morrison: "Isn't it possible that this kind of thing is true?"

Drake: "You cannot rule it out, but the case is not proven. The evidence is not there. And my personal opinion is that we're seeing some of the wondrous things the human minds can do."

Which brings us to the extra twist in Joe Firmage's story. It happened while Firmage was half asleep, while his company was going through some stressful negotiations about its upcoming merger.

Firmage: "An image of a being appeared above my bed and we proceeded to have a very unusual conversation. He looked annoyed and bothered and said why have you disturbed me. And I said 'I want to travel in space.' And he chuckled and said 'Why should you have that opportunity. Why should you deserve that?' And I said without really even thinking, 'Because I'm willing to die for it.' And with those words he turned very sober. And out of him came this blue glowing ball of energy and left him and came into me."

Morrison: "Joe says he spoke to this angelic man. And then the beam of energy came right down into his chest."

Drake: "He's not the first one. The ones you hear about are the ones where there are no eyewitnesses present."

A centerpiece of Firmage's crusade is his belief that aliens, or visitors as he calls them, played an essential role in our religious history. Those miraculous Bible stories? Angels? Appearances? Could those have been visitors?

Firmage: "Tell me, what scientific principles do people come to a view of God through? Now, do we put people on TV and criticize their belief in God for having a lack of evidence for it? What I'm presenting to you here is a scientific explanation for an angel. Why, when we believe in God as a nation, is that taboo?"

Drake: "Why do people want to believe in it? For some, it's simply a great adventure."

To some, you find a more troubling reason. They see others who see the extraterrestrials as the source of solutions to all our terrestrial problems.

Drake, who's raising funds for a bigger, better telescope to listen to the stars admits he's weary of the claims about abductions and of the alien crash at an Air Force base in Roswell, New Mexico.

Drake: "One finds there are no unsolved mysteries about Roswell. There are no missing bodies. We know what crashed. It was the pieces of a classified research balloon."

Morrison: "Well, that's the official story, doctor. But maybe you're either part of the official coverup or naive."

Drake: "I could always be part of the coverup. It's something that can never be dismissed."

Frank Drake knows he is unlikely to make contact with aliens during his lifetime, but he's sure that someone will someday.

Drake: "I know it's in our capability to find that life. But I have not seen it yet and therefore I do not believe it."

Morrison: "What prevents you from taking that step? Because you do want to believe, I know."

Drake: "I'd be the happiest guy in the world if they came and landed in my backyard tonight. Save us a lot of time and effort. Fulfill my greatest dream."

For his part, Firmage isn't waiting. Recently, he put an ad in USA Today claiming that the aliens have been in our backyard for a long time.

Morrison: "People are saying you are a little messianic about this. Do you think you are?"

Firmage: "Define messianic, okay? I'm publishing a book and I'm speaking at lectures."

Morrison: "You want to change the world!"

Firmage: "I want to help change the world. I do want to help change the world."

Despite his passionate interest in visitors from outer space, Joe Firmage isn't giving up on cyberspace or earthly success. He's just launched a new business in the not-so-alien world of the Internet.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.