Andrew Basiago is a lawyer and a journalist from Vancouver, who also claims to have discovered life on Mars and to have been part of a secret government project as a child that involved regular time-travel. It looks like Andrew has been making these claims since 2008, but a recent surge in attention to his online presence has brought him to my attention for the first time.
His claim to being the first person to find life on Mars is based on picking odd shaped portions of the mars environment out of photos from the rovers and claiming that they are alien life forms, buildings, and plant life. This is, of course, the pareidolia effect. It was when Andrew started submitting academic papers, claiming to have discovered these “life forms”, to peer reviewed journals that his insanity was first brought to light.
Andrew’s life on Mars fantasies isn’t what makes him interesting; the much more interesting story is his claim that he was once a time traveler as a child. He could be aware that he is telling lies, but from viewing several of his talks and interviews available on YouTube it appears that he really believes that what he is saying is true. This, coupled with the level of detail he includes in his stories, makes for a fascinating study of a conspiracy theorist gone off the deep end.
As a story teller myself, I wish I was capable of having such fully formed science fiction stories pop into my head, you know, minus the believing they are real part. But, really, if this man focused his story telling abilities into writing fiction he could be a best seller. This is what fascinates me the most about Andrew, just watch the videos, it really is something to see. Andrew has an answer for every question asked. These aren’t just quick answers, they are fully formed with back stories that tie into the mythology of the tale he is telling. (I should note here, if it isn’t obvious, that his story being internally consistent is not the same as it being consistent with reality.)
His story is this: A secret government (seekrit gubmint?) project called “Project Pegasus”, run by DARPA (who else?), invented several forms of time travel in the late sixties. Andrew was just one of many children who were chosen, along with adults, to test the effects of time travel on people. The entire project was created to give the president historical insight and advanced warning about future events. All of this was made possible by documents found in Nikola Tesla’s apartment after he died. Andrew traveled as far back a million years, was present at the Gettysburg address, and even met alternate versions of himself. Andrew has also visited Mars, because, why stop at time travel.
The mechanism by which this elaborate story is created is also fascinating. Andrew claims that he, along with everyone else involved in the experiment, was “brainwashed” to forget what had happened. It is after having this realization that he has been able to spend many years of his life “remembering” what had happened to him. It is easy to see how such a tool could be used to construct such detailed stories, as Andrew does research and digs for support to his claims anything that he finds gets factored into the conspiracy and becomes something he “remembered” taking place. He is implanting memories in himself, something people who claim to have been abducted by aliens do regularly.
Andrew’s entire story is so crazy it doesn’t even need debunking, none of the things he talks about are even remotely possible. But, this is a look at just how self reinforcing conspiracy theories can be, and it is further proof that it really doesn’t matter how crazy some claim is, there will be people who believe it.