By Rich Henrich

Now in it’s fifth year, CONTACT IN THE DESERT, the annual epic weekend gathering of experts in UFO sightings, extraterrestrial life, ancient aliens, secret space program, crop circles, contact experiences, interstellar living, human origins and the “need to know” the truth behind the secrecy, returns to Joshua Tree May 19-22nd. In just a few short years, CONTACT IN THE DESERT has become one of the most sought after events of its kind in the world with attendees coming from all corners of the globe to join thousands of like minded researchers, experts and intellectuals to discuss the nature of truth beyond the status quo.

The event will be hosted by Coast to Coast AM’s own George Noory and Ancient Alien’s host on The History Channel, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. With over 13 million listeners, George Noory is definitely attracting a growing audience of people seeking answers to the unexplained and in particular those seeking answers to why our government refuses to disclose the truth about E.T.’s and UFO’s in America. “We’re really committed to a serious, academic look at both ancient and modern aspects of intelligent extraterrestrial life,” says co-producer of Contact in the Desert, Victoria Jennings.

For Nick Pope, a featured guest and lecturer at this year’s event, he brings an international perspective to the conversation. Nick Pope used to investigate UFOs and other strange phenomena for the British government, leading the media to call him the real Fox Mulder. Because of his inside knowledge of the UFO phenomenon, Nick has consulted on and been involved in the marketing campaigns for various alien-themed movies, TV shows and video games. He’s a regular contributor to numerous TV shows, including “Ancient Aliens”, “NASA’s Unexplained Files” and “Unsealed”. He’s the author of five bestselling books, the most recent one being “Encounter in Rendlesham Forest.”

CVW: What is unique about Contact in the Desert?


Nick Pope: “A lot of other conferences are drab, small-scale hotel conventions. Contact is spectacular! Just the sheer number of people, must be a few thousand that come here versus two or three hundred at other events. It definitely has a buzz! The setting is also quite impressive. I might be one of the few, being from Tucson, who thinks it’s a bit too cool out! It is wonderful, though. I especially like getting up early for breakfast and walking to the cafeteria and having wonderful and engaging conversations with people.”

CVW: Does contact feel more like an impromptu college than a conference?

NP: “Yes! It is very much a campus setting and I sense that people come to interact with each other as much as they do to hear and meet the speakers. Everyone is open to sharing ideas, experiences and of course, for many, they all endure the heat and environment together. This shared experience I think brings us all together.”

CVW: Do you find the opportunity to network here as well?

NP: “The networking here is high level. There is not enough time for us to really spend together, though. Sometimes when I am running out of a lecture, I am thinking about what I need to do to prepare for my workshop and I cannot engage with other speakers or the attendees the way I would like to but the crowd is intellectually serious. That doesn’t mean we all agree which can bring about some lively debates.”

CVW: Do you find a lot of diversity in the people and perspectives at Contact?

NP: “Absolutely. I think it’s because there is a bit of an expense to get to Joshua Tree, it attracts more serious types but it is a mix of New Age people or I can easily engage in conversation with a retired cop or military brass. There are a lot of colorful characters at the event.”

CVW: You have been called the “real life Fox Mulder.” How did this come about?

NP: “I worked for the Ministry of Defense in the U.K. I was a career employee and every couple of years, they moved you. In 1991, 6 years into my career, I was assigned to the bizarre cases, the so-called, “X-Files.” The department was created back around WW2 when Air Force pilots were reporting that they saw strange things. They thought it was a German secret weapon but the German, Japanese and American pilots all saw similar phenomenon in the skies.”

CVW: Were you interested in UFOs before the post?

NP: “No. I’ve always been skeptical. 99% of the reports are aircraft lights or weather balloons but there is the 1% that we often cannot explain. I was assigned to the cold case review on Rendlesham Forest, the UK’s Roswell incident but it happened in 1980. I reviewed the witness accounts and the documents. Our own pilots were seeing things that radar confirmed existed.”

CVW: What are the most consistent reports on UFOs that you’ve come across?

NP: “I’ve never seen anything myself, but investigating was my government job and in those reports, It was always the speed and maneuverability of UFOs. People would call in the hotline and always be apologetic about what they saw. I guess they don’t want to be ridiculed. One time, a man called in and saw some activity near an Air Force base. He wanted to know what he could do. I instructed him to report it to the commanding officer. He said: ‘I am the commanding officer!’ I have no doubt he had a trained eye and his sighting was genuine.”

CVW: Do you think Governments will disclose E.T. or UFO knowledge?

NP: “I’m seeing the term change to “U.A.P” unidentified aerial phenomenon. That was a term I used in the UK and recently used by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. I think governments are trying to frame the conversation differently but it is politically risky territory to investigate or claim belief. Disclosure also presupposes that there is something to disclose. The power and authority of government comes from the projection of power.”

For more on Nick Pope this weekend and beyond:

Friday Lecture



Ten years ago the British government announced that it was going to declassify and release its UFO files. The program was supposed to take two to three years, but took ten. The final 18 files were sent to the National Archives in 2016, but in an unprecedented move the Ministry of Defense recalled them before they could be made public. Nick Pope made the official announcement ten years ago on behalf of the UK National Archives, and has been the public face of this release program. He’ll tell the inside story of how the UK’s ‘disclosure’ program was knocked off course.

Saturday Workshop



Nick Pope has previously discussed UK government policy on UFOs, but in this workshop he’ll deliver a more intimate glimpse inside the Ministry of Defense, giving attendees a candid picture of what it was like working on a government UFO project. Expect not only strategic, geopolitical issues, but also the ‘watercooler moments’ that will give attendees a more revealing insight into what’s really going on.