A few years ago I received a review copy of a book called Sekret Machines: Gods, which was billed as an “investigation into the UFO phenomenon.” The lead author was Tom DeLonge, a founding member of the rock band Blink 182 and its former lead singer.
In my younger days I was a fan of the irreverent band, and my current wife and I had attended and enjoyed a few concerts. It was hard for me to imagine that the former lead singer of a band with an album titled Take off your pants and jacket engaged in any kind of serious scholarship or research. Queen guitarist Brian May went on to do a PhD in astrophysics, though, so you never know.
I was half way through the book before I gave up. The authors, DeLonge and Peter Levenda, spent most of the pages I searched sifting through ancient cultures and religions to find curious or inexplicable things. They then attribute these experiences to mysterious extraterrestrial influences.
For example, in the midst of a discussion of alien abduction and “the Titans, the Giants, and the Melians of ancient Greek mythology,” the book offers this gem: “For example, if we say that an alien abduction occurs in the ancient Israel, it would have been recorded in the same way as Genesis recorded that angels mated with humans and created monsters.” Indeed.
All these riddles of ancient culture, we are told, are evidence of something the authors call “The Phenomenon.” And what is this? Well, that’s not really clear. This much we know: it is something hidden. something otherworldly, and something waiting for scholars to unlock. And DeLonge and his gang suggest they found the key.
The authors finally get around to explaining their intent on page 29: “Our goal is nothing less than a revolution in both the hard sciences and the social sciences: a re-evaluation of what we know about our function, our purpose in the cosmos, and the potential opportunities and potential threats that exist.”
If this kind of supernatural revolution is your thing, I highly recommend the book. If not, welcome to the club. I decided not to review the book because I hated throwing away what seemed like a genuine effort. (And hey, I loved his music). So I put the book aside.
It wasn’t until later, much later, that I learned that DeLonge incorporated these books into something called To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science Inc. This untouchable group is a team of former intelligence officials and several other experts along with DeLonge who “believe there are transformative discoveries within our reach that will revolutionize the human experience, but they can only be achieved through the unrestricted support of groundbreaking research.” , discovery and innovation.”
The financial affairs
In other words, the evil government is covering all kinds of mysterious alien things for its own nefarious purposes. And interested characters were invited to help the good guys. For a few hundred dollars, people could get a share of an “A+ investment offer” from To the Stars, to aid in their efforts to pull back the veil of government cover-up and introduce brilliant new technologies – such as radiant energy propulsion – in public.
By now, you’ve probably guessed where this is headed. And it’s not a pretty place. A recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission tells the story in black and white numbers.
The accompanying financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, with the aim of realizing assets and meeting obligations in the normal course of business. The company has incurred operating losses and has an accumulated deficit of $37,432,000 as of June 30, 2018. These factors cast doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
Put another way, after a year of fundraising, Tom DeLonge’s alien company has raised just over $1 million in outside funding. However, the company has accumulated a $37.4 million deficit, largely due to an equity incentive plan for its employees. The financial filing states that To the Stars plans to remain in business for the next 12 months by selling additional shares. Their website says they accept credit cards, if you’re so inclined to keep the effort afloat. But keep in mind that any financial returns could be out of reach of even The Phenomenon.
I’m not sure what to say about a millionaire who trades his or her fame for a company that raises money from people who aren’t millionaires, but who desperately want to believe in aliens, or conspiracies, or hidden government technologies. That’s why I let DeLonge say it for me, in Blink 182’s 1999 hit Aliens Exist State enema: “We all know that conspiracies are stupid.”
If we all did.
Update: The original story labeled the To the Stars deficit as debt. This story has been modified to provide a more accurate picture of the company’s finances.