Stanley Kubrick and the Reality Stargate, Revisited

Jay Weidner made quite a splash with his documentary Kubrick's Odyssey, in which he argued that Stanley Kubrick was shanghaied by NASA to help create a cinematic and photographic simulation of the Apollo missions for public consumption.

Weidner argues that 2001: A Space Odyssey was essentially Kubrick's R&D project for a much bigger-budget production set to be filmed within the gates of Nellis AFB's Area 51 and that his wildly unfaithful adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Shining was his cinematic mea culpa, confessing to the con.

Contrary to what some have assumed, Weidner is not arguing that the NASA did not land men on the Moon, but that the Apollo missions were a cover for a secret space program. Having reviewed a lot of Apollo skeptics' arguments I have to say I find them all pretty compelling on one level; the footage and the photos are problematic, to say the very least.

The Establishment's response to Weidner and the more radical skeptics who insist that human spacecraft have never left low-earth orbit has been weak; the usual mix of of outrage, dismissal and ridicule. I found it particularly rich that The New York Times lambasted Weidner for his conspiracy theorizing, given that their own conspiracy theorizing helped start the Iraq War.

But looking at the Apollo hardware I can't shake the feeling it's all Hollywood. I can't imagine three adult men spending any amount of time in that flimsy looking stuff, never mind all the life-support gear and moon buggies and all of the rest of it.

And given the highly specialized and regimented nature of a giant bureaucracy like NASA, the only people who needed to be in on the scam would be the high echelon in Mission Control and the astronauts themselves.

We all know there is a secret space program; the only question is how deep it all goes. My assumption has always been that there were two missions, showtime with the Apollo and a real mission, using much more serious military hardware that's a lot bigger, heavier and much less telegenic. I doubt very much that the real mission involved much golf playing or picture taking.

One of the most dangerous myths of our time is that the government can't keep secrets. The whole notion that the government can't keep secrets is a comforting conceit for delusional folks who still believe we live in an open society. Having grown up with a grandfather who worked as an engineer for MITRE I know that the government can in fact keep secrets, and has a whole kitbag of punishments for people who can't.

Besides, a lot of people seem to feel that the Apollo 1 fire and the subsequent deaths of other astronauts and NASA personnel was a pretty good motivator for any potential whistleblowers to keep their concerns to themselves.


But there is a major stumbling block for Apollo skeptics; this was during the Cold War. The Russians and the Chinese were watching NASA's every move, and had the expertise, the technology and most certainly the motivation to call bullshit on any chicanery.

I have no doubt that every intelligence agency in the world was poring over every frame of imagery being released from these missions, since the idea of establishing missile bases on the Moon had a lot of currency at the time.

Exposing a faked Moonshot would be a propaganda coup like no other, especially given the fact that all of this was going on during the height of an extremely unpopular war that was in danger of making the USA an international pariah. Add the assassinations, the race riots and the general civil unrest, and a scandal over a faked Apollo mission might well have been a tipping point for a revolution in this country.

And yet, most people who aren't totally beholden to whatever received authority wants them to think (meaning non-skepdicks) can at least look at all of the evidence gathered by the Apollo debunkers and think there might something to it all, right? If that's so, then what would have motivated the Soviets et al to go along with the charade?

To try to answer that question, I want to return to 2001: A Space Odyssey and share with you again my interpretation of what Kubrick is putting onscreen. I realize there has been a parade of writers telling us what Kubrick was "really trying to say" in the film. But as before I'm going to stick as close as I can to the actual narrative of the film itself, since what's actually onscreen is a lot more subversive than any symbolic rendering of the text.

Well, with one major exception, that is. And that's where we'll start.


Weidner's thesis is that Kubrick's technical acumen in dealing with military hardware in his 1964 antiwar satire Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb first brought him to NASA's attention. From a review by Andrew Griffin:
Dr. Strangelove, notes Weidner, “made fun of the Pentagon, the generals and their various war plans” and while this irritated the Defense Department, they were more amazed that Kubrick had pieced together what a B-52 looked like on the inside by looking at pictures in military magazines.

Because the U.S. Government, through NASA, was hellbent to get a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960’s, as President Kennedy had promised, and because they wanted to prove to the Soviet Union that the U.S. was going to win the space race, they had to have some insurance – a way to prove, at least to the public and the world – that the U.S. had the technology and wherewithal to get to the Moon.

That’s where Kubrick comes in. Impressed with his work on Dr. Strangelove, Weidner speculates that Kubrick made a deal with the U.S. Government to fake the Apollo Moon landings – with Apollo 11 ultimately being the first one to land in July 1969.
Weidner himself argued in 2009 that JFK's race to the moon was inspired less by Sputnik and more by shall we say more exotic technology:
Soon after seeing the flying saucer technology JFK made his famous speech asking NASA to land a man on the moon before the decade was out. Many insiders believed that this was a ploy by JFK to get NASA and the secret government to release their saucer technologies.

Since it was obvious to everyone that standard rocket technology could not get man to the moon and back, JFK may have thought that NASA would be forced to release the knowledge of the flying saucers in order to get to the moon by the end of the 1960's. JFK's ploy was therefore intended to free this advanced technology from the insidious hands of the shadow government.
Adding yet another log into our wacked-out conspiracy theories undergirded by inconvenient facts bonfire, I'll point to this 2011 bombshell.
Was JFK killed because of his interest in aliens? Secret memo shows president demanded UFO files 10 days before death

An uncovered letter written by John F Kennedy to the head of the CIA shows that the president demanded to be shown highly confidential documents about UFOs 10 days before his assassination.

The secret memo is one of two letters written by JFK asking for information about the paranormal on November 12 1963, which have been released by the CIA for the first time.Author William Lester said the CIA released the documents to him under the Freedom of Information Act after he made a request while researching his new book 'A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier.'
Now Weidner argues that Kubrick was essentially given the keys to the candy store when he made 2001: A Space Odyssey. His writing partner was of course Arthur C. Clarke, (original author of the story the film was ostensibly based on) who was plugged into all kinds of spooky networks- science, military, intelligence, you name it. Weidner also claims that Kubrick and Clarke were given access to the NASA inner circle-- including the Paperclip boys-- and told all kinds of interesting stories.

I would argue-- and argue quite strongly-- that Kubrick's primary interest in the making of this film was telling tales out of school as cleverly as he could about all of the juicy UFO and 'ET' stories he was told. Not much of a stretch given the film's plot, but as I explained on Mike Clelland's Hidden Experience podcast some time ago, there's a major piece of the puzzle people are overlooking.

Anyone who studies parapolitics for any period of time becomes familiar with the various methods and techniques used to deal with an exposed secret in a broadband media environment. Disinfo, misinfo, red herrings, water-muddying, shills, ridicule, intimidation, denial, misdirection and so on and so forth are used to create such an atmosphere of total confusion that most people find it to be too much trouble to sort through the rubble to get to the truth.

And so it's been with the UFO issue. Most people assume that it all popped in 1947 with Kenneth Arnold, but in fact UFOs and all of the attendant phenomena have been a constant feature of the human condition as far as back as you can go in the historical record, and much before that besides.

Even so, the alleged crash at Roswell is a particularly contentious episode in modern UFO lore.
I've heard all of the pros and cons, the debunkings and the responses, the backs and the forths. I've heard all of the theories about Project Mogul (and before that Skyhook before someone realized Skyhook didn't exist at the time), but the plain fact of the matter is that I simply don't find them convincing, given what we know about the military's frenzied response to the original incident.

And as I've written here, if there was a crash of an exotic craft (as regular readers know I do not subscribe to the extraterrestrial hypothesis, rather a variation on the ultraterrestrial hypothesis I call the Elusive Companion Hypothesis) it might go a long way not only in explaining all of the extraordinary lengths the military has gone to to deny the whole thing ever happened, but also the sudden and unprecedented explosion in sophisticated electronic technology we saw in the postwar era.

Let's save the arguments about the reality or unreality of Roswell for later, because as with everything we discuss here, I'm more interested in what people believe is true than what may actually be true (which is subjective, after all).

What really interests me here is the possibility that Kubrick and Clarke may well have been told by their sources that yes, one fine morning a flying saucer did indeed crash in the desert sands of Corona, NM and was taken to the Roswell Army Air Base, where it was taken up the chain of command and back-engineered by America's finest black project boys.

The gimcracks and doodads that the fellas at Nellis and Skunkworks were able to figure out gave Uncle Sam a huge boost in the struggle against godless Communism, in fact quite a few of the goodies they were able to work out are being used as we speak by the NASA boys and ain't that just something?

Well, that's all fine and good, but do we see any evidence for it in the film itself? Let's go to the tape.

Let's remember that Kubrick left us with the distinct impression in Dr. Strangelove that he didn't think much of the Military Industrial Complex. It's not much of a stretch--given the warlike behavior we see these apes engage in-- that these monkeys too are Kubrick's caustic allegory of Cold War-era America.

What's even more interesting to note here is that these apes-- jungle creatures, if I'm not mistaken-- are sitting out in the middle of the desert.

And lo and behold, they wake up one fine morning and discover alien technology in their midst.

The narrative has it that the Monolith is inspiring the protohominids to use bones as weapons-- tools-- which helps kickstart evolution. That is radical enough, and would be completely beyond the pale if our ape friend here was given to spray-on tans and excessive use of hair gel.

But I would argue that the bone here has a double meaning, and that Kubrick's jumpcuts with the Monolith are identifying the bone with the Monolith itself. That will be made clear in a moment, but let me spell it out for you in no uncertain terms.

The pile of bones the Moonwatcher is picking through symbolize this...

...and I will absolutely go to the mat on that one. The next sequence makes the connection absolutely clear...

...when Moonwatcher throws the bone into the air and it becomes what? A spaceship.

So "The Dawn of Man" sequence works on two separate levels. First, Kubrick is saying that human beings were engineered by an alien (or what we call "alien," it's actually anything but) technology.

Second, Kubrick was probably passing on the stories he heard, not only about Roswell but also apocryphal tales about German and Russian engineers reverse-engineering crashed UFOs and using them as the basis for the spacecraft that respectable scientists only a generation before thought were absolutely impossible.

Now, remember: I'm not saying those stories are necessarily true, I'm saying that Kubrick is retelling them in a very clever and allegorical fashion.

click to enlarge
The coup de gras is this parallelism: the apes fighting over the watering hole (representing the Cold War) and Heywood Floyd's chilly meeting with his Soviet counterparts in the Space Station lounge, the 21st Century "watering hole" (or Well, if you prefer).

The two allegories are linked by that bone/spaceship. The spectacle of apes screaming over a watering hole is transparently Kubrick's commentary on the Cold War; the scene in the "watering hole" on the station makes that inarguable.

What's more, Heywood Floyd and the Russians are discussing a possible outbreak at Clavius Base. "Clavius"is another clue, it sharing the same root word ("key") as "clavicle," or shoulder bone, and it was the use of bones as tools which got us up here in the first place.

And with the crashed saucer technology from Roswell the USA seems to have the upper hand, which of course it seemed to as the Space Race proceeded in the late 60s. And here's where the story moves into the second phase.

As I've said before, I see Heywood Floyd as a distinctly sinister character and I very much believe that Kubrick did as well. Kubrick was a rebel; though I don't believe the stories that Eyes Wide Shut got him killed (the 50 years of chainsmoking is a more likely culprit), I do believe that he did want to expose what he saw as the dehumanizing decadence of the ultrarich in that film (and it's not as if other films haven't covered similar ground, such as Story of O and Emmauelle).

After 2001, he made A Clockwork Orange, an anti-mind control tract, and subversive and anti-authoritarian themes were a constant throughout his work. In other words, Kubrick was one of us.

So it's interesting to me that Clarke saw Floyd as an idealized version of himself in 2010 and Kubrick clearly saw him as bagman, an bully and a hush-up artist. I believe the Clavius discovery is yet another allegory for the same event allegorized in "The Dawn of Man," which is more of a generic contact with a concrete alien technology.

In other words, Kubrick is messing with the chronology but it's all the same event he's telling us about. And in his talk at Clavius we hear Floyd spout the same lines included in the 1960 Brookings Institute on extraterrestrial contact at the same time not-so-subtly remind his disgruntled underlings they're to keep their god-damned mouths shut.

The cover story of a plague means that everyone is stuck there, and when asked how long the discovery will be kept quiet Floyd responds with typical bureaucratic aplomb. Of course, we learn later in the film that eighteen months after the discovery of the Monolith no one has told anyone anything, a situation that leads to the death of the crew sent out to discover the origin of a signal transmitted by the artifact.

So in the second part of the film we are clearly dealing with a government cover-up of the reality of alien contact. That's Heywood Floyd's role in all of this; to facilitate the cover-up.

None of this is discovered until the last surviving astronaut of the Jupiter mission dismantles the onboard AI and triggers a recorded message from Floyd revealing the true objective of his mission. I can't help but think of the Apollo One fire and all of the astronauts and NASA employees killed in freak accidents. Prophecy? Inside knowledge? Simple coincidence? All three?

And of course, after the disastrous Jupiter mission, the film entirely changes track again.
Up until now we've been dealing with the nuts and bolts aspect of the UFO enigma, as well as the mysteries of Ancient Astronaut Theory. Whether or not you buy into my theory that "The Dawn of Man" is in fact about recovered saucer technology as well as AAT --and of course, I think you should-- we're still dealing with alien hardware (the Monolith) as all sorts of human spacecraft.

As we saw in the original installment, Kubrick not only takes through an "alien abduction," he takes us through the most mind-blowing, psychedelic, initiatory version of one ever depicted onscreen.

The Stargate is a completely internal journey. We hear a signal at the beginning of it all and then the light show begins. Certainly Kubrick would have been familiar with psychedelics at this point in time, and I'm reasonably certain that NASA and other agencies may well have been experimenting with them to test the endurance and mental toughness of the flyboys (never mind the darker corners of the trade like MK Ultra).

But certainly the identification with aliens was novel in the mid 1960s when this film was being produced.

Food of the Gods: note mushroom motifs during ascension to space

Novel in mainstream culture, at least. The Beatniks were magic mushroom enthusiasts, and pilgrimages to Mexico became popular stops on the circuit. Was Kubrick experienced? I really wouldn't be surprised. Neither would I be surprised if he hadn't some contact experiences himself.

Which brings us back to the white room. I made the connection in the previous installment and since then have been furiously looking for examples, though most of the ones I've found have been post-2001, like the Travis Walton case I mentioned in the first piece.

But as UFOs: The Psychic Dimension puts it, "Abductees typically find themselves in a strange, brightly-lit room, often filled with sophisticated equipment." The oddly-lit white room features in the Barney and Betty Hill incident from 1961, which wasn't published until 2001 was in production, but given the way the film was made, Kubrick could well have added the scene in to accommodate the new information.

But the Villas Boas abduction from the late 50s (also not published until 2001 was in production) also featured the oddly-lit "white room":
Now he found himself inside a small square room, bare of furnishings, brightly lit—"the same as broad daylight"—by recessed square lights in the smooth metallic walls. Suddenly an opening appeared, from the seamless wall, and Boas was led into another room. "The only furnishings visible was an oddly shaped table that stood at one side of the room surrounded by several backless swivel chairs (something like barstools). They were all made of the same white metal.
It should be noted that DMT trippers have also experienced the featureless white room as well.

I can't help but wonder how many tales Kubrick and Clarke might have heard from their sources that we will never know about, not only about crashed saucers and the rest of it but those mysterious, oddly-lit white rooms.

And finally, Bowman's trip through the Stargate and exit through the white room results in his apotheosis, of sorts. His exposure to the Monolith and the pure, undiluted experience of otherness results in NASA's and the Brooking Institute's worst nightmare; a new, evolved stage of humanity.

Let's review this step by step:

• An "alien" intelligence makes itself apparent to humanity.

• Those in power use this contact to their own advantage.

• The authorities then work to cover up knowledge of this intelligence.

• The cover up backfires and ends in disaster.

• The intelligence reaches out directly to humanity.

• Humanity's self image is destroyed because of this.

• Out of the ashes comes a new humanity.

Sounds pretty much like a Stanley Kubrick film, no?

So to answer the original question; why might the Soviets looked the other way at faked moon photos and footage. It may well be that they were partners in the secret space program, which had nothing to do with the Cold War and everything to do with figuring out what the hell those UFOs are and where they are coming from. Like, maybe the Moon, perhaps. That would be something of mutual interest to both parties, right?

Do you catch my drift here?

How much does 2001: A Space Odyssey have to do with was really going on on the Moon? Probably not much, outside of the cover-up. What exactly I don't know, but since this is the government and NASA, I'm sure something somewhere was being covered up. Did Stanley Kubrick fake the Moon footage and photos? We can only guess, but damn, those are some fine pictures for a bunch of flyboys with chest-mounted cameras to be taking. Then there's always this...

What I can say for sure is the more the scoffers scoff and ridicule and stomp and scream and refuse to actually engage the evidence at hand and present a compelling counterargument, and the longer we go without sending anyone back up there even with all of our ultra-roswellian computertech and the rest of it, the better people like Jay Weidner start to look.


  1. Any discussion of Kubrick's work with respect to challenging the spoon fed narrative of the Apollo missions is to be welcomed so apart from agreeing with a lot of points and disagreeing with several others the only data point I'll put forward to Kubrick's 'death' as premature is the symbolic day he died on. Kubrick died 66 days into the year 1999, also 666 days before 1 January 2001.

  2. Great post. At the end you mention the "Villas Boas abduction" and I couldn't help but think of Boas as Boaz. Not only as one of the twin pillars next to the 2001 stargate etc, but more specifically Boaz the character from the Kurt Vonnegut book "Sirens of Titan" -a book that for me has held many many clues. I think there might be something in there for you.

  3. This concurs with my own analysis of 2001, except that I hadn't heard the plausible connection to Roswell. The latter scenes of 2001 also make me think of some kind of "cosmic fertilization." We have a small craft shooting out of the larger craft, containing the human. We have later frames that look like an ovum. Then, eventually, we get our baby in the blue egg. To me, this implies that humanity is an active and necessary part of the process in evolving as hybrids rather than passive petri dishes being cultivated from above.

  4. Hey Chris,

    Another stunning, mind-bending post! You're really pushing the symbolic envelope with your recent work. Kudos.

    I found a number of details in your post fascinating, among them was your recognition of the apes in 2001 just incongruously hanging out in the desert when they are obviously jungle creatures. Knowing Kubrick's fondness for realistic detail, I think that this opening scene is a massive 'showing of his hand' - letting those with eyes to see that something subversive, symbolic and multi-dimensional is going to be witnessed with the film.

    Also extremely telling is your connection between this scene and the watering hole scene with the Soviets. As your thesis suggests, I suspect these two scenes are initiatory keys that Kubrick provides the discerning viewer to unlock the mysteries of the text.

    I think 2001 operates on all the levels that you highlight here, and more besides. I don't wish to mythicise Kubrick, but I do get the feeling that he was indeed a powerful intellect, visionary and genius - even though those terms are often bandied about perhaps with too little care.

    I also suspect that there is some odd connection between the name Apollo and all the trickiness surrounding the moon. The conjunction of solar symbolism and lunar literality; there is something here beyond the official NASA spiel.

    A final thought on your epic post, Chris, with regards to the oddly-lit White Room; here's a Wiki quote regarding the spectroscopy of white light:

    "Newton concluded that the prism merely separated the colors already present in the light. White light is the effect of combining the visible colors of light in suitable proportions (the same present in solar light). Since the impression of white is obtained by three summations of light intensity across the visible spectrum, the number of combinations of light wavelengths that produce the sensation of white is practically infinite."

    I sense the presence of Elusive, crypto-terrestrial significance lurking beneath these semiotics. Solar Light and its natural Lunar reflector - creating a Myriad of human poetics, but with something very real and strange just beyond the horizons of our sight.


  5. I think it was Jay Weidenr who said this, and I'm paraphrasing…

    Kubrick originally wanted the bone to spaceship jump-cut to be an AIR-FORCE space ship. What we see on screen is a somewhat innocuous craft with an unknown purpose. If it were, instead, a clearly labeled Air-Force craft the jump-cut would have been from a primitive weapon (a bone) to a super modern weapon (a spaced based military space ship during the on-going cold war of the fictional 2001 plot).

    - also -

    Dr. Leo Sprinkle tells of meeting Arthur C. Clarke at the University of Wyoming. He claims Clarke told him of an event that happened the very evening that he and Kubrick agreed to collaborate on the film 2001. Clarke supposedly told Dr. Sprinkle that THEY SAW A UFO TOGETHER THAT SAME EVNING.

  6. To me the jump cut of the bone does not end with the spaceship, it ends with the floating pen, the mightiest of weapons.

    Also, Weidner connects Room 237 to the distance between Earth and Moon. I connect 237 as the number of years in the Great American Experiment: 1776 + 237 equals 2013.
    2x3x7 also equals 42, the number associated with Jupiter, so 2013 becomes the year we go beyond the infinity of human history and into the singularity after the common era, or into A.C.E. The frontiers we will explore are inside our imagination, ala Bowman and the Stargate. Plus, I imagine the UFO Clarke and Kubrick saw was the spaceship inked onto a window pane slice of the worlds finest LSD.

  7. The fact that a non-human aircraft may have crashed in 1947 has just become more interesting since it crashed in Corona, NM. Which all this brings to mind is all that ubiquitous solar imagery, winged disks and the fact that a flying saucer tipped on its side is just a circle/disc/sun.
    Absolutely love these posts about Kubrick and Nasa BTW.

  8. To play devil's advocate to a certain extent, Arthur C Clarke persistently expressed a very strong skepticism regarding UFO sightings. He said “If you've never seen a UFO, you're not very observant. And if you've seen as many as I have, you won't believe in them.”
    He expressed this viewpoint on a number of occasions, and I think it was legitimately his opinion on the subject. Regarding Kubrick and psychedelics, the director made it clear that they were of little use to him as a artist:
    "I believe that drugs are basically of more use to the audience than to the artist. I think that the illusion of oneness with the universe, and absorption with the significance of every object in your environment, and the pervasive aura of peace and contentment is not the ideal state for an artist. It tranquilizes the creative personality, which thrives on conflict and on the clash and ferment of ideas. The artist`s transcendence must be within his own work; he should not impose any artificial barriers between himself and the mainspring of his subconscious. One of the things that`s turned me against LSD is that all the people I know who use it have a peculiar inability to distinguish between things that are really interesting and stimulating and things that appear to be so in the state of universal bliss that the drug induces on a "good" trip. They seem to completely lose their critical faculties and disengage themselves from some of the most stimulating areas of life. Perhaps when everything is beautiful, nothing is beautiful."

    Weidner's theories are fun, but they're completely unhinged. Surely if Kubrick had been involved in faking Apollo 11 footage, he would have wound up having an "accident" very soon after he started inserting Apollo 11 sweaters into his movies? Seems weird to imagine that Kubrick was allowed to roam around in the public eye for so long, knowing what he supposedly did. It would also make the director of Dr Strangelove a gross moral coward to have helped out the Military/Industrial Complex in that fashion, and never made any provision for the the truth to revealed after his death.

  9. Tristan, those all easy shots so I appreciate you bringing them up. If you've read about the making of 2001, it becomes apparent that Clarke was essentially Kubrick's scryer. So I'm not really interested in his opinions on UFOs, and I'm not sure they're entirely above board. Clarke is a guy who spent his life not necessarily telling the truth and given his relationship to Randi and the rest of it, I wonder how many secrets he kept we would rather never know about.

    Secondly, Kubrick is talking about *LSD* and when dealing with Kubrick the devil is always in the details. And he may well have subscribed to the idea that once you've opened the gates of consciousness, you don't necessarily need to constantly repeat the process. I agree with that. Drugs can become a major hindrance to the creative process. But the symbolism is there and seeing that Kubrick sweat blood over every frame I doubt it was an oversight.

    As to Weidner, I've read his stuff for many years but still haven't seen KO. He says a lot of stuff I agree with and a lot of stuff I don't. But that's the way it goes with all of this alt-research. What I do know is that Apollo material stinks to hinky heaven, and there's a story there we're not hearing. The skeptics seem to have the edge and the defenders of the status quo sound very shaky.

  10. Great post. The "bone" can also be read as a phallic symbol, hinting at panspermia and/or "alien" genetic manipulation.

  11. Hey again Chris,

    Tristan's playing of Devil's Advocate with regards to Kubrick are the kind of thing that more intelligent folks would bring up with regards to Kubrick, but I think you made a lot of good points in your counter-argument.

    IMHO Kubrick was a genius; fully cognisant of the reveal/conceal, admit/deny nature of storytelling and consciousness. I think he was aware of truth within lies and lies within truth, multidimensionality, the strange nature of subjectivity, etc.

    Just listening to the guy speak, or reading some of his doesn't take much to figure out that he was a very contrarian character, often suggesting one thing while implying or doing another. I think this was in part due to the heightened context he found himself in, and also in part due to his mercurial nature.

    I see a lot of anger in Kubrick, a self-destructive streak undergirded by a genuine love for and appreciation of art. I'd be willing to bet that he had some first hand experience with psychedelics, and some measure of psychic ability.

    Psychic ability when in close proximity to art is so often misunderstood - often times you have to create an environment where the psychic can 'naturally' manifest through your work; something that is incredibly tricky to pull off in a field where artifice and control is so important.

    I think Kubrick was aware of all of this, and the tensions involved in negotiating this terrain. Again, I say this not to mythicise Kubrick, but to honestly convey my intuitions about the guy.


  12. Drug abuse and a drug experience are radically different. A visionary like Kubrick need only to peer through the telescopic microscope of LSD once to experience what needs to be experienced, and have that gnosis guide his artistic odyssey.

    Why "fake" the moon footage? I like the argument that it was not a matter of national safety but of global safety. No one knew what they would find, no one knew if this was the ultimate FUGAZI. This wasn't Al Capone's vault or the King's Chamber, this was outer fucking space. We've all seen the creatures that live at the bottom of the sea, so no one knew what could be up there. By broadcasting "live" and showing the world that nothing was up there, panic and chaos was averted. Stanley did a very noble thing, in the interest of human safety.

    Is the argument that only the Apollo 11 footage is faked? What about all subsequent mission footage?

  13. I want to thank Tristan for contributing Kubrick's thoughts on "drugs". Because of my esteem for Kubrick's intellectual capacity, I find his views on this very interesting. And yet, his comments are rather inaccurate, almost to the point of irresponsibility. Considering his heavy use of nicotine, and I would bet my bottom dollar, based on his obsessions with detail, that he was a heavy caffeine user/abuser as well.

    So, why no comment on these "drugs"? Did they not in any way affect or augment Kubrick's work in any way he was aware of? You decide.

    As for my own opinion, different drugs have different effects, either enhancing or suppressing different aspects of our neurological activity. They can be used as tools, if used in the right way, at the right times, for the right reasons. Or, they can be indiscriminately abused by the unsophistcated.

    Excuse me if you find this splitting hairs. But anyone who "chain smokes" is using/abusing a drug. While Kubrick may have been overlooking nicotine and caffeine as "drugs", while making this statement, surely he was not unaware of the effect he needed or wanted from them. So, Kubrick then was biased toward the drugs he found useful, to excluding them from any negative comment.

    Either that, or he was just totally covering up. :-)

  14. what about the monolith representing stages of patriarchal technology and how they trap monkeys, humans and star-children inside them ?

    aren't the other odyssey books about how Dave and HAL merge together and are trapped inside a monolith ?

    doesn't Halman end up in a holographic storage medium on the moon ?

    I've always liked thinking about this movie sans aliens ..

  15. Hi Chris,

    really interesting stuff here :

    and following chapters

  16. I don't see the Elusive Companion thesis as the end-all, be-all explanation for human interaction with other advanced beings (ABs).

    Quite clearly the Annunaki of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyria, and Old Testament Bible (Yahweh/Elohim/Nephilim/Annak) were corporeal, physical beings - to the extent they resided amongst humanity at times and took human women as wives, had intercourse, and offspring.

    My 2010 article Heiser vs Sitchin paints this view in stark relief.

    The Elusive Companion thesis serves better as explanation for so-called UFO abduction encounters and Shadow People phenomena (I can verify that the two overlap on one crucial point - the visage of the humanoid owl being - and hence must really be one and the same). Am thinking this is pretty much the Archons that the Gnostic Christians spoke of. The Gnostics thought the Archons came into existence at the same time as the Earth. Archons were regarded as negative entities. Due to their immaterial nature when interacting with us, they appear to be some sort of psychic vampires. They also exhibit a chameleon like ability for blending with our cultural memes.

    Now the main problem I have with Kubrick's 2001 - if it is supposedly some sort of depiction of insider knowledge, is that it doesn't ultimately jive with the knowledge base that's been uncovered. At a very high level, the general outline of concept seems more or less okay, though.

    The Annunaki increased the intelligence of our forebears in order to genetically fashion better slaves out of them. Kubrick doesn't make this point. And one thing is quite clear from the Bible - our "creator gods" harbored an anxiety toward their slave race. They didn't want us to become too much on par with themselves.

    The Yahweh (it was a titular position occupied by different beings at different episodes of history) that Moses interacted with at one time was intent on instructing Moses and his crew to run some of the Hebrews through with spears and put them on display (Assyrian style) to terrorize the rest into submission - that's how low a regard these beings (at least the Enlil side of the family) had toward humanity. (Now you see why the Gnostics regarded old Yahweh as the evil Demuirge.)

    So I don't see the "creator gods" interested in seeing humanity achieve apotheosis into our next stage of evolution ala Kubrick's depiction - doesn't fit with their profile from what we know from the historical record.

    From Indian literature we can glean there was high human technology prior to the world wide Deluge. What Nazis, our shadow government, and others have been reverse engineering in the 20th century more likely is remnant from that time instead of from the Annunaki or from the Elusive Companions (Archons).

  17. Coincidentally, I've been recently immersed in Kubrick studies, and I happened upon this bit of trivia on the wikipedia entry for Barry Lyndon: [the production got hold of three "super-fast 50mm" f/0.7 lenses "developed by Zeiss for use by NASA in the Apollo moon landings," which Kubrick had discovered in his search for low-light solutions.] I had previously read that he got these lenses from old rear-screen projectors, which had been discontinued by the 70's, and snatched up by Kubrick at the first chance. That the fact that these ultra-fast, ultra-low-light lenses have two origin stories strikes my as suspicious...

  18. isnt HAL like little Alex? both were conditioned against acts of sex and violence but were able to overcome their programing. heh-heh!

  19. Really nice. I'm still not sure what I believe re: Roswell. I'm still leaning towards human accident (an aircraft manufactured with no small help from Paperclippers who had been, in fact, reverse engineering back in the Deutschland).

    The press release and immediate retraction and continual denial are but a way to make US adversaries believe the Yanks got some aliens and their technology under wraps.

    At any rate, I think this scenario corresponds well with the analysis in your post as well.

  20. This post keeps on going around and around in my mind, I can't shake it for some reason. It's that Moon??? I want to see if there's something going on, on the side that we never see. If only it could just turn around and show us hey.

    Looks like Einstein got a lot of things wrong. I can't help but wonder if he was paid to feed the world crap, as a cover up for something, like the truth. Why would they do that? Because the real truth about physics would bring some kind of control and power. It's possible the truth was kept secret, only known by a few and everyone else was left to spend years and years trying to figure out. All the while believing in his theories. 'I'm no Einstein' it's like saying 'I'm no brain surgeon' That what people say about him- why? because he got all the media attention. Why? For some dam good reason that probably has nothing to do with theories on physics. More likely to cover up the true discoveries he made that were of use to the corrupt, powerful people in the world.

    Just a thought I have that won't go away. I think it's linked to this post in some way - not sure exactly how.

  21. While I do believe in aliens I still feel Roswell might have been an elaborate smokescreen. This could go a long way in explaining why the Russians and Chinese went along in not exposing the Apollo hoax. If they were made to believe an extaterrestrial force was threatening the world and that the U.S. was trying to develop technology to defeat it then they might not want to expose any such program or things like Apollo which was done to cover-up the real space program. Possibly the Russians and Chinese were given some token technology as bait. After Stalin the USSR pretty much sold out.


  22. hmm, i've never considered digging thru the bones simulating digging thru the Roswell wreckage, interesting idea, i’ve usually read it as the tool/weapons evolution thing

    to me it would make sense that Kubrick filmed backup in a studio to supplement (or if needed to replace) what the cameras on the moon filmed

  23. Whenever 2001 Space Odyssey is brought up I noticed that the computer Hall gets a bit ignored about what it might represent. I was wondering about if there was a connection between Hall and what you wrote about Spectra, VALIS and so on.


  24. HAL is mindless mind. He's the embodiment of Authority. Bowman dismantles him and what do we see? Heywood Floyd, at the heart of it all. Classic misdirection on Kubrick's part.

  25. That makes sense.
    Maybe the fact that HAL (symbolising the system/machine that runs civilisation) was responsible for maintaining the bodies of those "sleeping" astronauts (common man in society?) in those sarcophagus beds at the ship is kind of like saying that that "mindless mind", or HAL (stupid sleeping mechanical Ego hypnotised by a disharmonised calculating Male/Yang force, or Seth/Vader, no Yin/Soul, which is civilisation), with that Heywood Floyd behind it, (The Emperor? Architect of Matrix? Seth?) is the prevalent attitude of society/system which will do anything in its power to stop anyone from going through the inner Stargate. This movie allows so many interpretations that it's hard not to make simultaneous readings. Maybe the movie mentions as much of the hero's journey towards gnosis, inner stargate, as it does about what actually took place regarding Roswell, the moon etc. Because really the UFO/paranormal phenomenon is not really separated from humanity's plight at the moment. Or we (Horus) follow the way of more stupidity, HAL's way, control etc (Seth defeats Horus, Osiris remains in the World of the Dead). Or we follow the Stargate path which means dismantling the HAL we have inside (ego or fear, remember HAL was frightened of dying), that way we can see through the bullshit of the present system that runs society (Horus defeats Seth, and Osiris which is the harmonised Yang/Male force together with Isis the Yin/Soul, return to establish a once lost society, Atlantis). What does this have to do with UFOs? Their weird and irrational behaviour is like trying to break our connection with the present system, based on fear and ignorance. The problem is they, UFOs/Aliens/wtv, cannot break with the rule of free will. Humanity is choosing to be identified with Seth. The only thing they can do is to play tricks on us, and hope we wake up to the weirdness and  jokeside of all this and start playing along with them in other adventures through out the cosmos. Maybe Earth is in quarantine until we figure this thing out.


  26. New movie coming out, featuring Nazi UFOs from the dark side of the moon.

    Features memes like the Kubrick earthrise. A pyramid sun. A Lady in red. And a psychedelic quote: "Invasion? Y'all must be trippin"

  27. If Kubrick faked the APOLLO 11 landing, how did he solve the low lunar gravity simulation problems that beset 2001? If you recall, the characters move perfectly normally in the lunar base, and with a kind of slow gate when on the lunar surface; this is not the much more convincing low gravity movement that we saw in the APOLLO footage.

    Also, are you arguing that Kubrick faked all of the moon landings? That seems like a rather large scale endeavor.

    Another point: it wouldn't just be the Chinese and the Soviets; practically every technologically advanced state (France, Japan, etc) would have had to be in on it.

    Frankly, it seems to me that actually landing on the Moon would have been the simplest option. It would certainly have provided more effective cover for investigating any suspicious activity on the Moon.

  28. Spent some time viewing the photos on Weidner's site; frankly, I don't find them very convincing. For example, he states:
    "Many researchers have pointed out the different angles of light on the surface of the moon. Because there is only one light source (the sun) how can there be multiple light angles on the moon..."

    This is simply incorrect. There are multiple sources of light on the Moon:the Sun, light reflected off the Earth's surface (The Earth is actually quite bright),light reflected off the Moon's surface, etc.

    "But looking at the Apollo hardware I can't shake the feeling it's all Hollywood. I can't imagine three adult men spending any amount of time in that flimsy looking stuff, never mind all the life-support gear and moon buggies and all of the rest of it."

    That's what I actually find to be most convincing; compare that rickety tech to the streamlined technology in 2001. Wouldn't NASA/The Pentagon want their simulated tech to look as good as what Kubrick delivered in 2001?For that matter, real technology often is quite shabby in appearance.

    Again, I think that the most effective cover for secret work on the Moon would have been actual lunar landings.

  29. You really need to take all of this up with Weidner himself. I'm looking at his work second hand and using it as a jumping off point for my own analysis. I still haven't seen his film so you're asking me to defend someone else's arguments that I never said were my own based on data that I don't have. Maybe you either need to re-read what I wrote and then address that or have this argument with someone's whose interests are in the kind of technical issues you're raising here. All I would add is that NASA has a lot bigger budget than MGM.

    And please- sign your name to your comments, OK?

  30. @ anonymous
    The earth would hardly be any brighter to someone on the moon than the moon is to someone on Earth. As far as the shitty looking technology being something that is actually convincing to you, this is making the argument that I see a lot of conspiracy debunkers in general use: "Well if they did fake it why didn't they do a better job." This argument basically takes all of the holes in the official story and turns them into evidence for the official story. The lunar lander looks like something a first grader slapped together over a weekend for a science fair. It's basically got nothing to protect the astronauts from all the debris that is supposedly flying around in space except a paper thin skin a misplaced elbow could poke through. And how did they fit the lunar dune buggy thing on it? Oh yeah that's right, supposedly the dune buggy folds up although it really doesn't look like it does. How did the astronauts survive the extreme temperatures? Why is it I can actually see the lighting system reflected in the beautiful gold foil that the lunar lander is made of? Why is it I can see the actual line in the photos where the fake backdrop begins? I believe this effect is called front screen projection and is used in 2001, like in the opening scenes with the monkeys you can see this effect used for the background. Of course, according to you all of this evidence proves the Apollo missions were real because of course they would do a better job if they were going to fake it. Basically your logic is if it were fake we couldn't know and if we see evidence for fakery that is impossible because they would have done a better job, therefore it is impossibe to call Apollo fake. Does that sum up your argument pretty succinctly?


  31. As far as the other countries such as France or Japan or Great Britain, well these are not enemy countries (although all kinds of rivalries exist I'm not making the stupid argument that they're all controlled by Illuminati New World Order)so if they got to share in some of the technology they probably wouldn't expose the hoax. The Russians and Chinese are mentioned because they would be the most likely to call bullshit. One might also expect North Korea or Cuba. However, I do believe that in Russia at least they do air documentaries that question the moon landings as well as 9/11.


  32. Chris, I said in the piece "I have no doubt that every intelligence agency in the world was poring over every frame of imagery being released from these missions, since the idea of establishing missile bases on the Moon had a lot of currency at the time," so I'm not sure where Anonymous is making his argument on that point from.

    Maybe I need to interview Jay Weidner so he can address the criticisms of his thesis.

  33. Chris:"The earth would hardly be any brighter to someone on the moon than the moon is to someone on Earth."

    The question has to do with light sources. Weidner claims that the Sun is the only source of light on the Moon; this is untrue. As for the relative brightness of the Moon vis-a vis the Earth, I fail to see your point. After all, the Moon is bright enough to cast shadows on the Earth. Hence, the Earth is bright enough to cast shadows on the Moon.

    RE: Technology,

    I would also point out that the crudeness of the designs is well in keeping with the limits of 1960s era technology; remember,the weight to propellent ratio was all-important; the Apollo vehicles were meant to be as flimsy as possible, the better to keep weight down.

    Other nations knowing:

    This is, of course, the decisive factor. One must be willing to assume some kind of cooperative agreement that would effectively buy the silence of ostensible enemies (Russia, China, etc), close allies (Britain, the then West Germany, etc) and the more ambivalent (France, which, from the installation of the de Gaulle regime onwards, showed little inclination to toe the Yankee line). I find it hard to imagine such a scheme working for any length of time (cf the tensions between the UK and the USA in the 1940s over nuclear technology).


    As I said earlier, I find Weidner's analysis to be rather underwhelming;My brother is a professional photographer, and he saw nothing out of the ordinary in them.

    Again, I feel that the most likely explanation is that both the footage and the Moon landings were genuine. For one thing, a genuine mission would have provided much better cover for covert activity than a faked one.


  34. Christopher Knowles:"You really need to take all of this up with Weidner himself. I'm looking at his work second hand and using it as a jumping off point for my own analysis. I still haven't seen his film so you're asking me to defend someone else's arguments that I never said were my own based on data that I don't have. Maybe you either need to re-read what I wrote and then address that or have this argument with someone's whose interests are in the kind of technical issues you're raising here. All I would add is that NASA has a lot bigger budget than MGM."

    Well, since you are using Weidner's work as a "jumping off point," doesn't that make his his work relevant?

    NASA budget vs MGM's: This sounds like handwaving; you seem to assume that simply having more money would have enabled Kubrick, using 1960s era tech, to perfectly simulate lunar gravity. I'm less confident.

    Christopher Knowles:"but damn, those are some fine pictures for a bunch of flyboys with chest-mounted cameras to be taking."

    I've heard this argument before, that the photos are simply too high calibre. This argument relies on only looking at the photos that are well-shot, the ones that get shown on television and posted on the net. There are also a lot of badly executed shots. In other words, don't be deceived by small sample pools.

    Let me end by noting that I have no problem assigning a covert agenda to the APOLLO program; I Think that the government is withholding information on alien contact. However, I do not believe that the skeptics' argument regarding faked Moon landings holds up. Sometimes excessive skepticism can blind one to real evidence.

  35. All I can say in response is that it wasn't the arguments of the Apollo skeptics that swayed me, it was the responses of the Apollo defenders. I've heard a million conspiracy theories in my life, I'm almost immune to them. But the Apollo defenses are almost all so pathetic and weak it certainly got my attention.

    Now go email Weidner and take it all up with him. If you want to discuss the issues that *I raise* and not simply just issues that I use as preamble- and I might do not unequivocally endorse- you're welcome to do that. I'm writing about the background of the plot of 2001 and really, really don't want to have to argue Weidner's position because as I keep saying I'm not entirely sure what the details are.

  36. @alcazar
    Does the moon cast shadows in the daytime? I believe the astronauts were in the sunlight (which by the way I'd like to know how they survived the 250 degree temperature) and the sunlight would have overwhelmed any light coming off of Earth.
    Also I've heard the defense about the photos, that they probably took a bunch of bad ones. Only thing is that argument seems to be an afterthought for which there is no evidence. They have perfectly framed photos that have perfect focus. They didn't have auto-focus back then. The astronauts would have had to adjust stuff on the camera with their bulky gloves on and then look through the lense, oh wait forgot about those helmets so don't really know how they did that. Seriously, what are the odds 1 photo out of 100 would even look good. I also believe, although I am not sure, that the astronauts themselves contradicted that defense.
    And also I'll say again, look for the line where the set they're on meets the pre-filmed background. Just like one can see it in 2001 if one looks for it, you can see it in the Apollo photos.
    It's also not much of a stretch to believe that Great Britain, France, the rest of western and central Europe (NATO countries anyway) Japan, Israel would go along with it. The only question would be why the Soviet bloc countries did. However, if there is strong evidence for fakery this question doesn't trump that evidence.


    1. They used Hasselblad cameras with Ziess lenses. Hasselblad cameras have a view finder in which one looks down to compose a shot; not through a tiny viewfinder. Big helmets would not have been an issue. Further, obtaining good images is easy to do when one is instructed on how to properly use depth of field marks on the lenses; focusing isn't as much of an issue in that case, especially when taking hundreds of images. A few will come out exceptionally well. Any true photographer knows that if you shoot enough film (and they did), you'll always capture great images. Yes, the odds that 1 out of 100 images look That Good, are exceptionally high.

      I've seen many of the images. While I do admit some which have been posted do seem to have "artifacts" which are strangely pixilated, the vast majority I've seen (as a professional photographer myself) are quite clear with no hint of fakery.

      The television images may be another story, however. But one must also consider the fact of broadcast technology in the late '60's and early '70's, including the fact a televised signal was coming from the moon (supposedly)... and the electronics of that day and age.

      While I understand this questioning of "was all this faked", I believe we went there. It's the reasons and what was actually found that I question at this point.

  37. Christopher Knowles:"All I can say in response is that it wasn't the arguments of the Apollo skeptics that swayed me, it was the responses of the Apollo defenders. I've heard a million conspiracy theories in my life, I'm almost immune to them. But the Apollo defenses are almost all so pathetic and weak it certainly got my attention."

    Could you cite some of these "pathetic and weak" defenses of the APOLLO landings? All of the pro- APOLLO stuff that I have seen looks quite strong, especially when compared to the skeptics. Indeed, the APOLLO skeptics rather remind me of UFO skeptics; both seem utterly incapable of coping with the massive volume of data that supports what they seek to deny.Heck, the symmetry between the two groups of skeptics even extends to their shared predilection for tendentious photographic analysis.Show a UFO skeptic a photo of a UFO, and he'll mutter about camera flares and trick photography. Show an APOLLO skeptic the Moon landing photos, and he will start talking about shadows and front projection.

    And yes, this will be my final post on the APOLLO landings.

    Incidentally, I really did enjoy your overall analysis of the hidden aspects of 2001; the linkage between Roswell and the film is definitely food for thought.


  38. Alcazar, I could cite quite a few of them but the comments sections are to discuss the work that I work very hard to put up, not the work or ideas of other people. I'm sure you understand.

  39. Chris, (not Christopher Knowles)

    As I indicated in my last post, I will make no further postings on the APOLLO landings; Christoper Knowles prefers that the comments on this site pertain to his articles, not to the speculations of others, and I respect his wishes. It is, after all, his site, and I am his guest.


  40. Have a nice day -- read more of Weidner's stuff.

  41. I'm going to quit this argument, but I believe this question pertains to the article. I was just wondering if you Mr. Knowles had heard of the argument for front screen projection used in the Apollo photos and comparing them to 2001. There is a great article by Weidner up on the site Just search Stanley Kubrick Apollo. It contains plenty of photographic evidence comparing the special effects used in the film to the Apollo photos.


  42. Sure, Chris- I've been reading Weidner's stuff for a long time. But I still havent seen the film.

  43. You should do that Weidner interview.


  44. Maybe I will. I think this piece is more interesting than the stuff on 2001 of his that I've read though. Don't you?

  45. I find it all interesting. It all ties together. I like McGowan's Wagging the Moondoggie series too, although I disagree with his belief that man has not and probably never will go to the moon. My opinion on that I believe is the same as yours. They had far more advanced technology that they didn't want to reveal to the world but they had to show they were doing something with all that money that got spent on NASA. They could probably get to the moon well before 1969.


  46. Re:
    "what would have motivated the Soviets et al to go along with the charade?"

    Have you looked into the Russian Space program as well ?
    It's pretty hard for a liar to accuse another liar of not telling the truth when they could be exposed to their own people for the same.
    It's better just to call it even.

    Read the book "Dark Moon" by Mary Bennett and David S Percy.
    Or watch the doco
    "What Happened on the Moon?"
    by the same people.

    I'm not saying everything they say is gospel,but there are some very good augments put forward in it.

    Remember also the space race was also a cover for the ICBM race to get better rockets to strap nukes to,so they didn't have to fly B52's over a country,like in Dr.Strangelove.

  47. great insights Chris, youre the first person Ive ever seen point out the apes in the desert thing. I took it as a deliberate misrepresentation of the garden of eden, a time of relative tranquility in the lush jungle before the evolution of higher intelligence (knowledge of good and evil.) You dont expand on why you think he did that, but I really dont have a good explanation either. Perhaps it has something to do with the Middle East.

    As for why the russians et al didnt expose the nasa farce, that doesnt puzzle me at all. The fake conflicts between ruling elites on this planet are nothing more than televised sporting events designed to keep the people divided and in fear.

    finally, I'd like to share with you my own pet insight on 2001, something Ive never seen anyone else mention. Somewhere near the end (dont have the movie to point out the exact timing unfortunately), the computer is flashing a sign that reads "non-function." Curious syntax, given that the usual term is "malfunction." However, at one point the "UN" is obscured and the mind jumps to an obvious conclusion: NON-FICTION.

    keep up the good work.

  48. Met a fellow named William Klause a while ago. At the advice of Marc Leclair(DaWWWiz) he was sent to try and collaborate with me on a most amazing discovery. I couldn't find the time to help him but he managed to compile a dvd which overlaps the shining and 2001 to dark side of the moon. The line ups are undeniable. The color codes, mind blowing. All you need is a video player to speed up playback to make it worth the time. Using a higher speed playback seems to intensify certain alignments.

    I've been trying to get a hold of him the last month or so to see if he has a blog or if has put up the film online somewhere. To no avail yet.

    He might be showing the film at the sync film festival being organized for this year I believe.

    This kind man even went so far as to send me a copy.

    If you would like me to forward it to you Chris I could. Let me know.

  49. From the video clip; Sgt Ferns.



    John Carter?

    Of all the names in all the worlds...

  50. brilliant post. I have a theory that may be a bit of a stretch regarding the "white room". One thing that stands out to me is the furniture and decorations in the room which seem to me to be of a very distinctive and specifically intentional style. I am no expert, but I am going to make a leap of deduction and say they are in the style of Louis XIV--The Sun King. This would be borne out in that the only color in the room is gold. I am not sure what this means, but I know it is some kind of a clue. I'd be interested in anyone's thougts....Also, I think the room might be called, in esoteric circles, a "lodge", therefore the White Lodge, which has some significance in relation to Sirius... it is all a bit confusing, but here is something interesting:


  51. I think the argument that NASA's tin can combustion spacecrafts have never left low earth orbit is actually quite strong. This does not preclude the possibility that groups have secretly devised other types of exotic spacecraft that are flying wherever they like.