By Rex Edhlund

“The world’s leading UFO/UAP conference is a beacon of intellectual discourse dedicated to exploring the frontiers of knowledge in UAP, Artificial Intelligence, the future of technology and space travel, non-human intelligence, spirituality, and health & wellness.”
– Contact in the Desert

“ICelebrating the 10th Anniversary of this wild event (and yeah, it’s a lot), Contact in the Desert will pretty much be the greatest hits of high strangeness. Its focus is a topic that matches the interests many people in the high desert have in common.

This event continues the long history of UFO Conventions in the high desert. Beginning at Giant Rock in Landers, California on April 4, 1953, the first “Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention” was brought to our planet by George Van Tassel. Though not officially connected to this event, Contact in the Desert is certainly a continuation of the spirit and mission.

Currently convening in Palm Desert (the low desert), it did begin in the higher elevations, at Joshua Tree Retreat Center. Now, because of the increased interest in the fields presented, it had to expand.

Referring to the list of speakers as colorful is an understatement. Even the leader of this troupe arrives with the moniker of Captain. Event co-owner, Captain Ron Janix, shared some thoughts on this unconventional convention.

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When asked, “How long have you been involved, and how has your life led up to this endeavor,” Captain Janix replied:

“This event started for me years and years ago after seeing a flyer and just knowing I had to attend. I went out to the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, by myself, and had the time of my life. Through a series of synchronicities, I got to know the producers, and even became involved with the conference for several years. I participated as a host, introducing speakers and helping where I could.”

“After the 2019 show, due to Covid, there were no live shows for a couple years. Then Gordon Pekrul purchased the conference and was kind enough to bring me in. We officially took ownership on Jan 1st of last year and produced the 2023 event with the previous owners helping to guide us.”

“We have 73 different people speaking at the event this year, so there are a lot of choices. I think it depends a bit on where you are with your knowledge level of the subject and where your interests lie. For me, it all starts with Danny Sheehan, who is one of the most important people in our community and seems to be at the forefront of moving disclosure forward. Next, I think Whitley Strieber is always fantastic and has been one of the most important people in our community starting back with his book, Communion. Richard Dolan is a must see. I feel he is the most aligned with me in how careful and thorough his research is. These guys are all Legend. In fact, this year we are even doing a “Legends” panel which will include Whitley and Richard.”

Getting back to the previous UFO Convention founder, George Van Tassel, you may recognize him as the creator of the Integratron – you know – the device that was given to humanity by Venusians that placed the plans directly into Van Tassel’s mind for a human rejuvenator that would stop aging, and grant humanity immortality? Unfortunately, before completing the task, George suddenly and mysteriously died from cardiac arrest, so the plan never came to fruition. Mankind evolving into beautiful forever people was thwarted by either fatty foods or nefarious forces (read more:

The Integratron remains there today, very near Giant Rock in Landers and is actually an add-on excursion from the event. It’s a historic tour and sound bath in the remarkable domed structure made without a single metal screw or nail. It is a must-see for anyone into the meta-worlds when visiting the Joshua Tree area. The ultra-relaxing sonic cleansing they provide is sure to extend your life by at least a little.

“We go out to the Integratron, and to Giant Rock,” confirmed Janix. “We also take two buses out into the desert with our favorite astronomer, Marc D’Antonio, who explains different sky anomalies and constellations to the attendees.”

Current consensus is that there is more to this than just simple mechanical spacecraft whizzing around. As our understanding of physics and cosmic structure develops, those studying these associated phenomena are starting to realize the reality of “reality” is far more complex than our current understanding.

“No doubt,” shared Janix. “The entire way of thinking within the UFO community has evolved over the years with many different theories and ideas… It was initially thought to be simply a nuts-and-bolts spacecraft. Now it has evolved with our understanding of the universe. There are theories of these craft being interdimensional. Some even think they could be coming from the future.”

“We are dealing with an unknown…But clearly SOMETHING in happening.” Captain Ron Janix

The distinct possibility that we exist in an actuality teeming with multiple dimensions, on top of the bones of undiscovered ancient civilizations, and riddled with the inexplicable is a bit of a brain melter. It can be a bit much. So, I am personally very pleased with the opportunity to break up the intensity with some comic relief. The Last Podcast on the Left will hold a live taping at the event and will be incredibly fun. Though they are genuine aficionados of the wild world of the paranormal and scientifically mysterious, their irreverent approach helps provide a break from a world of doomscrolling and governmental gaslighting.

Janix was quick to agree, “Absolutely. I think we have to walk a very fine line of taking the subject and its study seriously, while not taking ourselves too seriously. Again, we are dealing with an unknown here, so I think it’s important to keep an open mind. Some of this stuff is pretty heavy, so it’s also important to take some of it lightly and certainly to take breaks. We also have Dave Foley at the show doing his podcast live, and we have Tim Crawford doing a 20 minute comedy set about these topics to kick off our Friday night Speaker Meet and Greet party. I really think that besides learning so much, most people’s take away from Contact in the Desert, is actually how much fun they had.”

Much of the information presented seems to be at odds with itself. I mean, I’m not sure how flat-Earthers are able to be cool with hollow-Earthers, or how the guided by angels theorists reconcile with those that claim we are controlled by Reptilians. Either way, it’s going to make for some interesting shopping among the many vendors.

As the “truth” reveals itself to be a wily, amorphous thing, perhaps it is ALL true. According to many ancient philosophies and an increasing number of modern ones, we are all just “God” experiencing life as individual things. Which would explain how many disparate possibilities could exist all at the same time – test drives.

What Contact in the Desert may best represent is our observance of the cosmos taking a run at the experience of reality after saying, “Hold my beer.” Rex Edhlund

Reality is acting up! Might as well strap in and enjoy it because it looks like it’s gonna get weird.

As of this printing, tickets and livestream passes are still available at

Photos courtesy of Contact in the Desert


“Captain” Ron Janix has been immersed in the UFO/paranormal community for many years. Through reading and listening to experts, working with various conferences, and doing. He began podcasting with the Elevate The Conversation show back in 2014, and the Truth Be Told show with Tony Sweet. He ultimately launched a podcast entitled The Observation Desk, focusing on new theories and discoveries in the areas of Science, Technology, History, and the Paranormal. In April 2021, Ron founded The Observation Deck, an online source for information on speakers and events in and around the UFO community. Ron is the Co Owner, Producer, and Host of Contact in the Desert, the world’s largest UFO-themed Conference. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the newly launched Hollywood Disclosure Alliance, headquartered in Los Angeles.

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