Saturday, April 6, 2013 | 2 a.m.
T.L. Keller is used to people thinking he’s crazy — it comes with the territory.
The UCLA engineering graduate and author of “The Total Novice’s Guide to UFOs” travels around the country discussing the mysteries of Area 51, aerospace technology already in development at Antelope Valley, Calif., and alien UFOs. Keller, 70, gave his typical lecture Friday night at the National Atomic Testing Museum as part of its Area 51 Lecture Series.
To some in the audience, it comes off as utter malarkey spoken from a man off his rocker. To others, his lectures expand their views on a topic they know about, and then there are those who take it with a grain of salt.
Of course, Keller, 70, is accustomed to these reactions and can understand why people might think he’s insane — even his parents didn’t want to hear his thoughts on the topic. But he also knows his information is steeped in research or heard firsthand from people in the know. To him, it’s his duty to inform the public on what’s out there.
“I just think people need to know this. For the last 60 years, taxpayers have been paying for all this and they don’t know anything about it,” Keller said. “If they know what the world could be like if they had this technology available, then they’d realize lives could be changed drastically.”
National Atomic Testing Museum curator Karen Green said Keller was chosen for the Area 51 Lecture Series because of his scientific background. She said the series covers both the myth and reality of Area 51 — the top secret military base about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas — and Keller is able to straddle both sides.
“There are a lot of reasons we choose who we have (for lectures),” Green said. “We try to get a balance of the myth and reality side of Area 51. We wanted somebody who could talk from the scientific and technology standpoint.”
Keller’s lecture on Friday began with a discussion on anti-gravity technology developed in the Antelope Valley, ranging from its secret usage in B-2 bombers to flying saucers.
Later he describes a lecture he heard from Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs' former president Ben Rich in 1993, in which he claimed the company had the technology to go to the stars.
“Rich said, ‘If you can imagine it, Lockheed Martin has done it,’” Keller said.
Keller’s fascination with life in the great unknown began as an 8-year-old watching his favorite sci-fi television show “Space Patrol.” The show inspired him to read a few books on UFOs, and eventually he studied rocket propulsion at UCLA.
Since then, Keller has sought out areas known for UFO activity for himself. He’s been to Area 51 several times, and seen unexplainable things such as a glowing orange aircraft moving in a jigsaw pattern.
He’s also sought out people such as Bob Lazar and Rich to determine for himself if they’re speaking the truth. Lazar is infamous for his claims of alien technology that exists at a military compound located south of Area 51.
Everything Keller shares, he’s researched and tried to prove for himself.
“You don’t have to make up these stories,” Keller said. “They’re so bizarre and strange on their own, I don’t have to make it up.”
Still, Keller knows some of what he has to share stretches the limits of belief for some. Before he began the second half of his lecture about Area 51, he offered a warning: “Some folks in this room will find what I’m going to say unbelievable or unacceptable; I’m used to that.”
He then presented a series of arguments for why aliens and UFOs are on Earth. He claimed that there is a base already on the moon and Mars; the U.S. is actively working with extraterrestrials to develop technology. He said the technology exists to make fuel obsolete.
He presents this all not as hard facts, but high-probability and likelihood based on research and comments from high-ranking officials. It is here that the audience members begin to react one of three ways: disbelief, skepticism or agreement. Audience member Steven Dean fell in the first group.
“The first part of the presentation was OK. He was basically stating that the U.S. government is doing things we don’t know about,” Dean said. “The second part was way too much for me. I thought it was mostly nonsense, not for me.”
Francesca Martin, however, was enthralled by what Keller had to say.
Keller is fine with both responses. He knows what he has to say may come off as crazy, and that’s OK. He’s just there to share his knowledge.