The "Phoenix Lights" appeared over the Phoenix metro area on March 13, 1997.

Contact in the Desert is “a gathering of the superstars of UFOlogy.”

That’s how spokesperson and lecturer Michael Luckman described the event, slated for Friday, Aug. 9, through Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. Organizers hope Contact in the Desert—which will feature lectures, workshops and interactive experiences conducted by 32 renowned experts in the topics of UFO sightings, extra-terrestrial contacts and proactive ET-signaling—will become an annual event.

“More than 400 military personnel have given videotaped depositions worldwide saying that UFOs are real. They’ve had sightings and encounters,” said Luckman, “When so many military eyewitnesses come forward, there really is very little left to debate.”

Luckman is also the founder of Cosmic Majority, which calls on “the governments of the world to implement an early warning detection system designed to reduce the growing meteor and asteroid threat.”

Contact in the Desert comes on the heels of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, which brought researchers and government/agency witnesses from 10 countries to Washington, D.C., to testify before six former members of the U.S. Congress on April 29 through May 3. Organizers said the purpose of the hearing was to present evidence supporting the truth of an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race, and a government policy to embargo that truth.

“There’s no question anymore that we’re being visited,” Luckman said. “Exactly who they are, whether they all come from the same place, how friendly they are. … These are all matters for speculation.”

Such speculation will certainly be the focus of Contact in the Desert activities. Highlights of the three-day event include: Friday’s lecture entitled “UFOs: A 21st Century Approach” by author Richard Dolan; a panel discussion, “Are We Alone? The Right To Know,” on Saturday hosted by conference headliner and emcee George Noory, of the syndicated AM radio show Coast to Coast; and a Sunday night “Field Work Experience and Training Event” conducted by Steven Greer involving the practice of his personal CE-5 contact protocols—“signaling techniques” he developed as the founder of the center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI).

Joshua Tree National Park, which is slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island and sits in close proximity to the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, has reportedly been the site of more than a dozen reported UFO sightings since 1968.

Worldwide sighting reports reveal that many of these incidents take place in the vicinity of earthly military bases.

“UFOs have been spotted in nuclear-weapons storage facilities,” said Luckman. “But, in my opinion, it’s not for any bad reason. These are like UFO peacekeeping forces that are surveilling and keeping us from blowing our planet up.”

With its wide open vistas of the night desert skies, the Joshua Tree Retreat Center is a perfect locale for the UFO community to come together. Participants can discover, contemplate and discuss the myriad issues raised by the basic question of whether other highly intelligent and technologically advance civilizations exist beyond our solar system—and, if they do, what impact contact with those beings would have on our planet.

Contact in the Desert has been scheduled to coincide with the Aug. 11 onset of the Perseid Meteor Shower. As event press-information rep Susan von Seggern told us, all participants at the conference will be invited to gather outdoors around 11 p.m. to share in “a true intergalactic experience … when meteors will appear to ‘rain’ into the majestic desert sky from the constellation Perseus.”

Contact in the Desert takes place Friday, Aug. 9, through Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Joshua Tree. Advance registration starts at $225, or $200 per couple; meals and optional tours are extra. For more information, visit

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Kevin Fitzgerald

Kevin Fitzgerald is the staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. He started as a freelance writer for the Independent in June 2013, more than a year after he and his wife moved from Los Angeles...