2017 Speakers

Robert L. Hastings

Robert L. Hastings was born May 6, 1950, in Albuquerque, NM, at Sandia Base, where atomic weapons were engineered. His father, Robert E. Hastings, was career U.S. Air Force, retiring in 1967 with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. In 1966–67, the Hastings family was stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, during one peak period of UFO activity at nearby Minuteman nuclear missile sites. In March 1967, Hastings witnessed five UFOs being tracked on radar at the base air traffic control tower. He later learned that these “unknown targets” had been maneuvering near intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) sites located southeast of the base. This experience ultimately led to his decades-long research into the UFO-nukes connection.

Hastings received a BFA in photography at Ohio University in 1972, and worked as a photographic technician at Northern Illinois University for eight years. In 1981, after conducting numerous interviews with former and retired U.S. Air Force personnel regarding their knowledge of nuclear weapons-related UFO incidents, Hastings ventured out on the college lecture circuit to speak about the U.S. government’s cover-up on UFOs. To date, he has appeared at more than 500 colleges and universities in the U.S. as well as Oxford University in England.

In 1986–88, Hastings retrained in Electron Microscopy at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, CA, and received a certificate in Materials Science Applications. Between 1988 and 2002, he was employed as a laboratory analyst by Philips Semiconductors in Albuquerque, NM, but continued lecturing at colleges in his spare time. Now retired, he continues to promote public awareness of the reality of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites.

Hastings’ recent documentary, UFOs and Nukes: The Secret Link Revealed (2016), rigorously examines the officially still-hidden history of UFO activity at nuclear weapons laboratories, test areas, storage depots and missile sites—using authenticated files and the testimony of vetted military eyewitnesses.


UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites (2008)

UFOs and Nukes: The Secret Link Revealed (2016)


Melanie Young

Melanie Young, co-founder of the Starchild Project and a former neonatal nurse, hopes that a strange 900-year-old skull holds the secret to treating some of the conditions that keep many babies from surviving and thriving. Young, a registered nurse (RN), worked in the neonatal unit of a busy hospital for more than 10 years before she was given a strange gift that changed her life.

“I opened the box and there were two skulls inside. One was a normal human, but the other was so strange, I just took one look at it and thought, how did you survive?” The thin and light bone of the skull and its strange shape were different from any deformity she had ever seen in practice or in text books. She suspected that, if it was a human, it had survived a level of deformity that had never been seen before. Young explains, “You can have any sort of deformity created by genes getting confused, but mostly whatever goes wrong is so severe that it kills the baby either before it can be born, or shortly afterwards; but this skull lived long enough to grow teeth and to grind them down with years of use. I saw those worn teeth and immediately wanted to know what made it so special that it could survive what no one else could, and I wanted to know if there was some way for that miracle element to be isolated and engineered into a treatment to help other babies survive.”

The strange skull in question was found in Mexico in the 1930s, but was kept in private collections until it was gifted to Young in 1998. The skull quickly gained new-found attention in 1999 when UFO enthusiasts noticed that it looked like a skull of the so-called “grey alien,” and it became known as the “Starchild Skull.” Young claims to be open to the possibility that it is an alien, but reiterates that her goal is to explore any medial or scientific benefits of the skull first and only then to worry about where it fits — if at all—on the human family tree.

In 1999 a volunteer organization known as the “Starchild Project” began seeking experts to examine the skull, and contracting independent labs to conduct donation-funded testing ranging from simple X-Rays to Scanning Electron Microscopy and even DNA testing. They have published all of the results and reports directly on the starchildproject.com website, and although some experts remain skeptical, many have gone on the record with their conclusions that it is not human.

Dr. Ted Robinson, a now retired physician who studied the unusual skull for more than a year, has been particularly vocal in his expectation that it will eventually be named a new species. “In 40 years as a craniofacial plastic surgeon I have never seen anything like it. It is not hydrocephaly, it is not progeria, it is not a deformity. It is not human.”

Neanderthals, currently believed to be the closest genetic relative of humans but with elongated skulls. Neanderthals though became extinct about 20,000 years ago, yet the apparent new species represented by the Starchild skull, was alive within the last 1000 years, and appears to have cohabited peacefully with modern humans. If it is accepted as a new species, that Starchild Skull would represent a radical departure for the conventional timeline for human and pre-human life on Earth.

Despite the potentially history-changing nature of the skull, Young takes it all in her stride, saying, “It has never been about proving aliens exist or finding a new species. That would be cool, but it’s not why I started this. The thing that has driven me to keep working on this is knowing that, if we could find out what made this a viable birth, then we could develop ways to help other babies with birth defects survive and live a productive life. There is nothing sadder than watching a little life get cut short, and I know if I can stop that happening even one time because of this skull it will all be worth it.”

The Starchild Project is currently working with a US based genetics lab to complete the DNA testing that will either prove that this skull belongs to a previously undiscovered species, or find the genetic differences that may have enabled a human to survive such comprehensive deformity.

For her presentation at the UFO Festival, Melanie Young will be sharing new results and information about the skull that have never been made public.


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