Race to Witch Mountain (2009) dir. Andy Fickman

"The government also provided assistance on Disney’s 2009 live action family film Race to Witch Mountain, despite the film’s plot drawing extensively from UFO mythology (with references both to Area 51 and Roswell) and despite its presentation of a sinister government cover-up. Working within the narrative constraints of the film’s previous incarnation, Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), director Andy Fickman – a self-confessed UFO enthusiast – took pride in infusing his remake with as many elements as possible drawn directly from UFO literature.

When Fickman received the script from Disney it had been “more of a comedy,” but the director felt the material should be treated seriously and wanted to make use of events, debates and terminology stemming from the UFO research field: “I’m willing to do this movie,” Fickman told Disney, “but I want to ground it in as much reality as I possibly can."

Although the vast majority of the film’s UFOlogical content came from Fickman, at least some of it was the result of CIA input. In a highly unusual production arrangement Fickman claims he was closely assisted by an active employee of the CIA whose advice extended so far even as to designing the alien writing seen in the UFO during the film’s climactic scene.

Fickman said of his CIA advisor, "All of the on-camera alien language in terms of their spaceship and everything – that was all designed by him in the sense [of what] the mathematics of communication would be, so, you know... there would be a similar mathematical equation that the government probably has if they were to ever come across an alien race. So a lot of the things we ended up using were things he was bringing to me... and the next thing you know, that’s what I had on screen."

The advisor also recommended that certain UFO-related content be removed from the script. “There were things we got rid of that he was just trying to follow logic [on] from a protocol standpoint,” said Fickman, although he would not elaborate on the nature of the changes made. Fickman further claims that he was afforded a visit to NORAD’s sensitive Cheyenne Mountain facility in 2008, where – accompanied by his CIA advisor – his team spent twelve hours taking photographs and talking with on-duty military officers, including the heads of NORAD. “We wanted our Witch Mountain to resemble NORAD and Cheyenne Mountain inside,” he said, adding: “We took a thousand photos and by the time they released us into the wilderness maybe we had three hundred that had been approved for us to somewhat copy [for production design purposes].”

In an email to the author, Paula Weiss, Media Spokeswoman at the CIA Office of Public Affairs, said: “to the best of our collective knowledge in the media relations office, we did not provide any technical or other support to this production.” Fickman was puzzled by the CIA’s denial. Questioned by the author on whether or not the CIA man could have been retired from the Agency and had been acting in a private capacity (as is the case with a number of ex-CIA operatives in Hollywood, including Robert Baer, Milton Bearden and Chase Brandon), the director replied, “there’s no way we would have had what we had, had he not been an active CIA employee.” Indeed, throughout the NORAD visit, Fickman claims he relied heavily on the influence wielded by his CIA man: “Nothing happened at NORAD without him flashing his card and making his calls.”

Fickman believes it was due largely to the fact that his military and intelligence advisors were secured “through back door channels” that his production was granted such extraordinary access to the inner-workings of the national security apparatus, but he insists there was no hidden agenda behind the US government’s uncharacteristic generosity in this regard: "All of a sudden I was in places that I don’t know I would have been had I gone through normal channels. I don’t think there was anything abnormal about what they were doing, I just think it was [that] phone calls were being made and doors were sort of opening."

- Robbie Graham, Silver Screen Saucers: Sorting Fact from Fantasy in Hollywood's UFO Movies* (2015)

this is a crappy kiddy d1sn3y throwaway with a surprisingly deep commitment to background ufological detail, inc. a bizarre onscreen cameo from whitley strieber (recognized & spoken to by carla gugino's saucer buff, herself named after stanton friedman!) & a really strange movie, clearly one thing on the surface and another underneath. hiding behind pg-rated action & "take me to yr leader" sitcom jokes is a mess of legit 21st c ufology, ESP, telekinesis, racism, MK programming, "contactee" mythos, extrajudicial black sites, trauma-based mind control & deep underground military bases, all under chem/contrails plainly visible in the desert sky

about halfway thru is where it gets rly interesting, at a goofy ufo con ripped off from galaxy quest & staged to be more dorky trekkie cosplay than boring ol' authors and whistleblowers (a tip from a MUFON attendee: sci-fi cons may include ufo buffs but ufo cons arent a bunch of dudes with lightsabers in klingon masks) yet hiding out-of-focus in the background you can spot coast to coast AM hoaxer bill birnes (recruited by the CIA to spy on tim leary), abductee/implant quack roger leir, and right-wing ufologist/transhumanist jack sarfatti,* among a bunch of others i couldn't identify (a booth for FATE magazine!). spielberg's close encounters had truffaut play jacques vallee (who irl called out military disinfo & far-right elements of the community back in the 70s) while this has mork & mindy's garry marshall as a smug doofus novelist styled after harlan ellison (and a villain named for the uk's "real life fox mulder" nick pope). it's exhausting!

the tangle of cameos & references to real, disney-unfriendly people like the anally-probed strieber doesnt get much play in this >>> vimeo.com/channels/902671/160540273 --obsessive behind-the-scenes featurette 'WHICH MOUNTAIN' (groan) where director fickman lovingly breaks down dozens of obscure names & character details but only admits planting coded references to the earlier films, not actual ufo-lore. i know disney loves kissing its own ass but all this is shit nobody could possibly be expected to care about, to the point it seems like hes suggesting we look closer for the references that he won't mention there. gags like badge numbers and winnebago license plates being the same as in 1975 are overkill for a series nobody ever rewatches or remembers - this aint star wars! - but it makes sense if fickman is pushing us to look beyond "easter egg" fan gags, proving he's put as much work into every background detail as kubrick - the message of this special feature is that his film is a cipher, where nothing should be taken accidentally. why does disney keep attempting to sell "witch mountain" as a beloved, generation-spanning franchise anyway? theyve gone back again & again for each era's ufo craze, remaking it in 95 for newly-acquired ABC with the psychic starchild played by scientology lifer elizabeth moss. is there a profit motive to hauling guys like budd hopkins & roger leir out to vegas to stand in the background of a shitty 34-yr-late sequel? whitley couldnt say no!

the deeply-connected strieber is the only actual buff named onscreen ("working in fields as diverse as intelligence and filmmaking" - back flap author bio, the hunger (1st ed))

but the ufo-con cameo i'm most interested in is jack sarfatti, especially considering this film & franchise's focus on "special" children:

weirdly for a kids movie, RACE's p.o.v. is entirely that of a cynical, washed-up adult male, while the actual kids are blank, emotionless telekinetics of the aryan/pleiadian type (benevolent nordic abductors/ancient astronauts are a hallmark of occult white supremacy - ufo new-agers claim the blonde, blue-eyed donald trump is a pleiadian here to save humanity from itself)*. the decision to focus on 38 yr old dwayne johnson instead of relatable kids, along with shoehorned refs to the war on terror, anti-immigrant xenophobia & the PATRIOT act, date this as specifically rushed into production during the waning bush presidency for release 6 weeks into the newly-hopeful obama era. the charming biracial hawaiian rock (2016's CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, "agent 23" (!) in 2008's GET SMART) was the closest thing '09 hollywood had to obama (ba-rock?) and his changing-of-the-guard collabo with genius aryan space twins to save us from alex jones/black helicopter goons has to have some kind of psycho-cultural resonance. (another b.o./rock connection: johnson knew about bin laden's death before it was announced:

“If I tell you that, I won't have to ‘kill’ you, but I'll have to behead you -- no, I got my sources,” the wrestler-turned-actor told Moviefone. “I got friends in high places and low places. It was a very interesting day. ...The individuals who were there were proud to let me know. I knew the president was going to give his speech; I thought he was going to give it at a certain time and so I thought, I think it's appropriate that I tweet 'I'm damn proud to be an American' and keep it in that space without giving away too much information.”

While on the subject, Johnson mentioned that he hopes to run for office himself eventually. "Right now the best way that I can impact the world is through entertainment," he said. "One day, and that day will come, I can impact the world through politics. The great news is that I am American, therefore I can become president.")


imagine my surprise 20 minutes into this forgotten piece of shit to find the source of the cia meme lab's 'rock driving' meme

once again, weirdly for a children's fantasy, this meme reflects a skeptical adult's perspective on cold, supernaturally gifted kids, which brings us to:


before his disney cameo, the right-wing hippie spook ufologist who spends thanksgivings with president trump* had a long association with hollywood, whether filming super 8 movies on the san diego beaches with fred "captain quantum" wolf or being named as bob gale's inspiration for doc brown in the back to the future series (where his character ironically faces the trump-inspired biff). he was even asked to be in star trek 4! (the one with the whales)

he's also one of multiple 70s ufo figures who claims to have had a mysterious VALIS-type revelation/recruitment as a child, along with john mack and uri geller

"Sarfatti had been getting calls from someone speaking in a strange, metallic voice stating that it was the voice of a computer aboard a spacecraft hovering over the earth. These calls went on for a while, and would cause the young Sarfatti to wander around dazed. Evidently, the memory of the calls receded into his unconscious as he pursued his career in nuclear physics, and only the book about Uri Geller brought it all back. The Nine claimed to be aboard a spacecraft, hovering over the earth, called Spectra. Sarfatti himself seemed selected at a very early age for something of importance. He was being tutored in a separate program for gifted children by a founder of American MENSA, Walter Breen, in a program that was funded (at least in part) by the Sandia Corporation. Some of this extracurricular training included lectures on patriotism and anti-Communism: heady stuff for a bunch of thirteen-year-olds. It would be Breen who would recommend Sarfatti for the Cornell scholarship."

- Peter Levenda, Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft, Book 1

sarfatti described the contact himself:

"I was reading a book on computer switching circuits at home when the phone rang. I answered it and heard a strange sequence of clunking mechanical sounds. Then a metallic sounding voice comes on the line. A cold mechanical voice is the only way I can describe it. It gives a long series of numbers that I did not understand and then calls me ‘Jack’ and says it’s a ‘conscious computer on board a spacecraft’. It may have said it was from the future, but I am not sure. However, that was the implication of what it said. Anyway, it says I’ve been selected to be one of ‘400 young receptive minds’ to be part of a special project but that I must make the choice myself. The voice on the phone told me that I would begin to meet the others I was to work with in twenty years. I was scared and everything in me screamed to say NO! and hang up. I felt a strong jolt of electricity go up my spine to the base of my skull and I heard myself say YES. I was terrified and fascinated. The voice said ‘Good, go out on your fire-escape and we will send a ship to pick you up in ten minutes’. When I hung up I ran like a bat out of hell and found my friend Winky, who is now a homicide detective in Brooklyn. We, and a few other kids, went back to my apartment to wait for the flying saucer but it never came."

i dont have time to list or synthesize all the people sarfatti knows/knew (trump! the unicorn killer!) but heres a mindblowing read


most importantly when discussing WITCH MOUNTAIN is his experience with uri geller's (alleged) CIA handler andrija puharich, and puharich's pet project:


"One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders as the astronauts from one of the Apollo missions arrived at Hickam Air Force Base after a successful splashdown. I remember the astronauts, in aviator glasses, as being far away, barely visible through the portal of an isolation chamber. But Gramps would always swear that one of the astronauts waved just at me and that I waved back."

-Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father (1995)

in the early 70s, hypnotist/parapsychologist puharich set up a program at the stanford research institute he alternately called "SPACE KIDS" or "STAR KIDS" where he could study children aged 12 or 13 for potential ESP abilities which the pentagon could use for "mindwar" spying, astral-projecting to soviet missile sites and remote-viewing cold war intel targets. parents were told of a standard testing program for "gifted" kids without revealing the psychic & ufological aspects (puharich claimed his kids were sent from another planet & he'd help them "return home") until they were stuck in palo alto, an extension of puharich's work in the 50s dosing underage subjects in faraday cages & working alongside CIA/paperclip nazi scientists shoving uranium rods up the nostrils of disabled children.* puharich's wild claims that he saw uri geller alchemically transmute lead into gold or teleport dogs through walls seem designed to be laughed off, while his decades-long employment by the feds insists he was onto something valuable. i dont know if recruiting high-IQ "space kids" was research into "actual" ESP or just something technological that mimics it, with "psychic" as a cover - stuff like psychoactive drugs, voice-to-skull broadcasts with microwaves, etc which function as "psychic" to people who then wont look up who's funding it.

(the SETI arecibo dish that inspired me as a kid (i used to run "SETI@home" on my decaying macintosh) was a cover by the NSA who used the search for extraterrestial life as a guise to spy on soviets:

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB479/ Document 11, Document 14 in the CIA's Studies in Intelligence journal, the United States Intelligence Community was intercepting signals from Soviet anti-ballistic and air defense radar systems after they had exited the Earth's atmosphere and bounced off the moon. The CIA employed a 150-foot dish antenna at Stanford University (pd187 note: sarfatti was CIA "house theorist" at stanford) in Palo Alto, California to monitor Soviet radar signals reflected off the moon, while the National Security Agency used the Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory in Puerto Rico to intercept signals that had originally been transmitted from a Soviet Arctic Coast radar.)

it was his contact with purharich in the circles of guys like vallee and geller that led sarfatti to "recover" the memory of his robot/computer recruitment phonecalls as a child:

"Puharich asserted that Geller had received repeated telephone calls from a robotic sounding voice that called itself “Spectra.” The voice claimed to be an extraterrestrial computer orbiting the earth, contacting a small group of select individuals to help prepare for future contact. Upon encountering that passage, Sarfatti’s mother told Jack that he, too, had received such telephone calls twenty years earlier, at the age of thirteen."

- David Kaiser, How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

in the early 70s puharich wrote to his wife "I am now turning my attention to healing work, and work with children. I started an experimental school. The 9 "space kids" are all here."*

she herself later wrote that their son "never told me what it meant to be a 'space kid' until recently.(...) If he had told me then that each kid was hypnotized in order to go back to his 'parent civilisation' I would probably have flipped and kept him home."

author colin wilson says the program continued up til the end of the scientist's life: "Not long before Andrija Puarich's death , I was asked to write an article about him, and rang him at his home in America. When I asked him what he was working on, he told me he was studying supernormal children. 'You wouldn't believe how many of those kids there are out there. They seem to be on the genius level. I know dozens and there are probably thousands'"

the actor who plays one of RACE's alien children (discovered thru fickman & disney's puharich-esque "national search") said he was forbidden to take the job by his parents "worried that young kids who start in the business can get sucked into a life that isn't reality"(!)*. he stars in the upcoming pentagon-consulted bruckheimer bad boys sequel (bruckheimer also produced..."the rock" no dwayne-o). in 1978, puharich's home/lab was firebombed with no culprit found - he blamed the CIA.* the "space kids" program officially ended, but in 2007/2008 some former "space kids" saw hints of their own experiences coded into the life & memoirs of presidential candidate barack obama (who was 12 in 1973). the gifted "space kids" of ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN were introduced in 1975.

director fickman's own childhood had a similar induced/forced introduction to the paranormal/ufology, courtesy his own geologist father:

QUESTION: You were born in Roswell, weren't you? How did that shape your attitude to this project?

ANDY FICKMAN: I think if you're born in a place like Roswell, New Mexico... because of its reputation of being a UFO center and there's such mythology out there, you just spend your whole life with people always asking you: "Do you believe in UFOs?" Or: "You're an alien!" So, from the time I was born I've always had an interest in the subject matter and by the time we started doing this movie and sitting down with Dwayne, Ciaran Hinds and the rest of the cast, one of the things I wanted to do was not so much make it about my opinion, but one that shared as much information as I had from videos and books.

QUESTION: When did you realize the uniqueness of Roswell, the place you grew up in?

ANDY FICKMAN: Right away! My earliest memories were that something was unique. Roswell is a very small community, so when you would hear about it on the news or in a magazine when they’d talk about The Mystery Of Roswell…you’d think…Mystery? There are three stop lights! The mystery is what light’s going to work. I’d ask my parents about the mystery of Roswell and my dad, who was a geologist, encouraged us to explore the paranormal because he figured it was a way to get us interested in science. So he would bring in tons of UFO stuff and then stuff about the space program and astronomy. He used it to educate. But I can remember putting up a map of the world in my bedroom and sticking in red pins any time I heard about a UFO sighting.


despite this fascination, he's never actually made a movie in roswell - instead, he keeps returning to the glitz of his WITCH MOUNTAIN setting, specifically in....


in 2015 fickman went back to vegas to make the reviled BLART sequel, which setup & prefigured stephen paddock's 10/17 mandalay bay shooting - the deadliest in u.s. history. after the massacre, mandalay bay's owner MGM resorts/mirage saw their brand nearly ruined & ended up paying out over $1 billion in settlements to victims, but their tragedy was a boon for three of mgm's biggest competitors (and claimants in duelling multi-million dollar lawsuits money.cnn.com/1997/09/09/companies/mirage/ ) who all saw their stocks bounce in the weeks following the attack:

*HILTON (fickman has personal history with the hiltons:

"It was important to track down the original Witch Mountain kids, Kim Richards and Iake Eisenmann, and lure them back into the world. Paris Hilton is Kim’s niece and by chance my girlfriend and Paris were close and had worked together, so I asked Paris if I could speak to her aunt. She was happy to put that together and I talked with Kim on the phone. At first I think she wondering why I was bothering her but I asked to take her to lunch at Disney. She had a rush of memories but she still wondered why she should revisit something that was so special. But the more I told her about our version, the more she got excited.")

*TRUMP (supported by republican kevin james & had a "long running feud" with mirage www.wsj.com/articles/SB873845663408159500 ) (just weeks after blart slid down a vegas escalator in mall cop 2 donald descended one to start his 2016 campaign)

and the biggest beneficiary of the massacre, trumplike rapist billionaire

*STEVE WYNN, who actually created mirage resorts in 73 but sold it to MGM in 2000, becoming a billionaire in the process.

as ceo of wynn resorts, wynn ran fickman's BLART 2 production as a paid & managed commercial for his vegas properties (More infomercial than movie, “Blart” pays far less attention to anything resembling a plot than to showcasing every aspect of Wynn Las Vegas, from the pool to Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare to “Le Reve.”).

the state of NV rolled out the red carpet for wynn & blart ("On March 14, 2014, the Nevada Film Office announced that Sony Pictures had been awarded the first certificate of eligibility for a new tax credit enacted in 2013, in regard to the filming of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2")

2 years after his theatrically released informercial (& months before the paddock shooting), wynn began to appear all over the media touting his new commitment to superior hotel security, boasting that he retained FBI, CIA, navy seals and homeland security advisors in his properties:

"Wynn said he started last December (2016) planning new sophisticated, covert security measures but that it only became operational a month ago."

"We have another group of a half a dozen Seal Team Six guys and CIA guys who are a counterterrorism unit that ... relate on a daily basis to Homeland Security, the FBI, and Metro," he said. "My company has metal detectors and devices at every entrance of the building for employees and guests that are non-visible to the public. We have done extraordinary things to make that sure we protect our employees and our guests at the hotel."


(his reasoning/cover: america-hating islamic jihadists are guaranteed to attack sin city as a symbol of freedom & hedonism)

days after the massacre, the "king of las vegas" had the perfect opportunity to hype all his recently installed spook-grade security as a promotional tool for his hotels, and wynn appeared all over tv news (while serving as a trump/RNC official) to boast that - unlike mgm/mirage - HIS properties would NEVER let a terrorist mass murder occur.

oh yeah, and trump - before 2000, wynn at mirage had a bitter decades-long feud with the donald, with multi-million dollar lawsuits over atlantic city contracts and accusations of employee betrayals, spying/wiretapping & ("ex"-IRS/CIA) corporate espionage*.

yet by 2017 he'd found himself "personally selected" by the new president to become finance chairman of the RNC, a position held until stepping down after his sexual assaults became public in 2018. despite resignation from his political & executive positions, trump still frequently contacts his "friend" on unsecured lines - lasvegassun.com/news/2018/oct/25/when-trump-phones-friends-like-steve-wynn-the-chin/

titular mall cop kevin james went on to produce & star in 2016's TRUE MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN, released on netflix just 2 days after trump's historic win (11/11/16). hollywood republican kevin costars with CIA production vet ron rifkin (alias) and military propagandist (sorry, "public affairs officer"*) rob riggle (who plays CIA) in this story of a foucaults pendulum-esque conspiracy-fiction-as-fact publication & secret black ops to overthrow the president of venezuela (!). it has a rare 0% on rotten tomatoes but was one of netflix's most popular projects of 2016 (kinda like the president's "silent majority").

the guy who did it (not paul blart)? well, stephen paddock, like manson or epstein (p.s. andy fickman's hometown of roswell is just a 2 hour drive from epstein's "zorro ranch"* - purchased 1992 at the halfway point between roswell & los alamos (!) - where jeffy hosted some of the same new age/ufo/transhumanist scientists (like sarfatti) cameoing in the b.g. of disney's ufo convention) seems incapable of provoking police or feds into caring about him - theyll dig up every blunt smoked by a black kid killed by cops but when they know its their guy, they dont even bother. you can spot the windows of the mandalay bay hotel splashed over actual staticky audio of air force/civilian ufo sightings in the opening credits of RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN. just like the last time carla gugino ran around vegas uncovering a conspiracy (snake eyes), there's more here than what we see.



*In the late 1990s, Donald Trump and rival Atlantic City casino owner Stephen Wynn engaged in an extended legal conflict during the planning phase of new casinos Wynn had proposed to build. Both owners filed lawsuits against one another and other parties, including the State of New Jersey, beginning with Wynn's antitrust accusation against Trump.[40][41] After two years in court, Wynn's Mirage casino sued Trump in 1999 alleging that his company had engaged in a conspiracy to harm Mirage and steal proprietary information, primarily lists of wealthy Korean gamblers. In response, Trump's attorneys claimed that Trump's private investigator dishonored his contract by working as a "double agent" for the Mirage casino by secretly taping conversations with Trump. All the cases were settled at the same time on the planned day of an evidentiary hearing in court in February 2000, which was never held.[42]

*("The CIA's been involved in manipulating information in the media ever since the late 1940s when the first strange objects crashed in Roswell. They have done this and they've admitted it. They've been very happy about admitting it. They basically force stories into the tabloid media. They give stories to science fiction writers, and in so doing, they marginalize what are really intriguing and true stories about UFO, so as to make the people who talk about them seem odd, strange eggs, off the planet.")


*ESCAPE FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN actor eddie albert played winston in the CIA westinghouse/congress for cultural freedom tv production of orwell's 1984 (the first filmed production of 1984)





PHOTO: www.space.com/15398-walt-disney-wernher-von-braun.html







*Whitley Strieber, The Process Church, & the Secret of “Pain” - web.archive.org/web/20160213093811/http://disinfo.com/2016/02/whitley-strieber-process-church-secret-pain/

*The Army Public Affairs Officer's (PAO) primary responsibilities are to assess the public affairs situation, advise senior leaders on public affairs issues, and assist them in making well-informed decisions, and translate the decisions into effective public affairs operations. Riggle was a public affairs officer with a New York City based unit, and served in Liberia, Kosovo, Albania,[2] and Afghanistan. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel[8] and was a recipient of: the Meritorious Service Medal (2); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; Joint Service Achievement Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2); Combat Action Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal (2); Kosovo Campaign Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; and NATO Medal.[9][10] On January 1, 2013, Riggle retired from the Marine Corps Reserve after 23 years of service.[11] One Daily Show piece that TV Guide regarded as his signature segment was "Marines in Berkeley", a segment in which he dressed in hippie regalia to spoof University of California, Berkeley peace activists protesting a local Marines recruiting station.[13]