I officially started The Occult Section about a year ago, but before that I had another blog, where I did some really sporadic posting about paranormal news stories. Those posts were imported into The Occult Section, just so I didn’t lose them. One of those sporadic imported stories concerned Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut who claims that extraterrestrials and UFOs do in fact exist. To quote myself from back then:
Skeptics like to bring their own “legitimate” scientists or witnesses into the UFO debate, and that’s supposed to be the final word. Buzz Aldrin says there’s no UFOs, and since he’s been to a tiny part of space a few times, he must know everything, right? But when another astronaut, in this case Edgar Mitchell, says that UFOs do exist, the skeptics will shoot him down. Yes, Buzz Aldrin is more well-known. But that’s like saying Angelina Jolie is a better mother than, well, any other mom in America, just because she is more well-known. If one astronaut is credible, than why should any other astronaut be less credible?
So Mr. Mitchell is in the news again, this time because the government caught him trying to sell a camera that was apparently used on a lunar mission. I guess the issue here is ownership. I was under the impression as well that NASA let the astronauts have mementos from their time in service to NASA, and if they did indeed give him this camera, it should be his to do with it as he sees fit.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. government has sued a former NASA astronaut to recover a camera used to explore the moon’s surface during the 1971 Apollo 14 mission after seeing it slated for sale in a New York auction.
The lawsuit, filed in Miami federal court on Wednesday, accuses Edgar Mitchell of illegally possessing the camera and attempting to sell it for profit.
In March, NASA learned that the British auction house Bonhams was planning to sell the camera at an upcoming Space History Sale, according to the suit.
The item was labeled “Movie Camera from the Lunar Surface” and billed as one of two cameras from the Apollo 14′s lunar module Antares. The lot description said the item came “directly from the collection” of pilot Edgar Mitchell and had a pre-sale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000, the suit said.
Mitchell was a lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, which launched its nine-day mission in 1971 under the command of Alan Shepard. The sixth person to walk on the moon, Mitchell is now retired and runs a website selling his autographed picture.
He has made headlines in the past for his stated belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life.
“All equipment and property used during NASA operations remains the property of NASA unless explicitly released or transferred to another party,” the government suit said, adding NASA had no record of the camera being given to Mitchell.
The suit said the government had made repeated requests to Mitchell and his lawyer to return the camera but received no response.
Mitchell’s lawyer, Donald Jacobson, said NASA management was aware of and approved Mitchell’s ownership of the camera 40 years ago.
“Objects from the lunar trips to the moon were ultimately mounted and then presented to the astronauts as a gift after they had helped NASA on a mission,” Jacobson said.
Bonhams said in an emailed statement that the camera had been slated to be auctioned off in May when it learned about the ownership dispute from NASA. The auction house withdrew the camera from sale “pending further discussion between NASA and the consignor,” a Bonhams spokesperson said.
The government is asking the court to stop Mitchell from selling the camera to anyone, to order its return and to declare that the United States has “good, clean and exclusive title” to the camera.
Is it possible that NASA and the government are targeting him because of his outspoken belief in UFOs? Would they be so bold as to sue Buzz Aldrin if he was auctioning off some of his memorabilia? The world may never know.
Sorry, I just liked that creepily cryptic ending that really isn’t creep or cryptic at all.