Monday, July 2, 2018

Polaroid Photograph of UFO Alien ZAN

Misha Reports taking a Polaroid Photo of an alleged ET Friend called “Zan.”
Joseph Burkes 2015 revised 2018

My Russian-Jewish contactee friend chose “Mike” as the pseudonym that I should use for him. It translates as “Misha” in Russian. A few days after our missing time incident on the ride back from Joshua Tree, Mike called to tell me that he wanted to come over to my house and show me something. “Sure, why not?” I thought. Typically, I stopped by to visit him at his apartment in Tarzana after leaving work at the Kaiser Hospital in Panorama City. This made my long drive home even longer. At least this time he was coming to my place in West LA.

When he got to my home, we went upstairs to my study. I closed the door and asked him what was so important for me to see. Without a word he took an envelope from his pocket and pulled out a glossy Polaroid photograph. “It’s Zan,” he said.


I stared in disbelief. It was a close-up head shot of a so-called “typical Gray alien.” The being had enormous dark wrap-around eyes and a large smooth forehead that reflected the apparent flash of a camera. There was only a suggestion of a mouth. The face conveyed a kind of youthful innocence. I had seen many drawings of beings that allegedly were “extraterrestrials,” but this was no drawing. It was an ordinary Polaroid photo of something (actually someone I should say) that was absolutely extraordinary. Mike then told me his story.


Over the years in both White Russia where he grew up and in the USA he had recurrent dreams of ET beings. They were usually the so-called “Zeta-Reticulum” inhabitants known in the UFO subculture as “The Grays,” a racialist term that is viewed as unfortunate, perhaps even racist by some contactees. Over time Misha allegedly got to know one male being in particular that he called “Zan.” I suppose you could say that this particular ET was “assigned to Mike.” In any case Mike claimed not only to have dreamed about him but supposedly had physically stood close to the ET.

An encounter with Zan reportedly occurred during the field investigation when Misha and I had a missing time episode on highway 62 in December of 1993.

While I presumably was left sitting in the car all by my lonesome self, Misha reported that he had been taken aboard an ET craft. According to my Russian friend this particular encounter, like all previous ones, was extremely positive. Mike expressed strong feelings of what can only be described as love towards those that he believed were his “ET friends.”

In my upstairs study Mike explained to me how he had been allowed to photograph the ET being. It was the day before New Year’s Eve 1993 and was party time for Mike and some of his Russian friends. Together with his wife plus another young Russian couple, he drove to Las Vegas for a wild night of drinking, dancing and of course gambling. Mike’s wife told me that her husband always left Las Vegas with more money in his pocket than when they arrived. Usually the amount was a few hundred dollars. She attributed this good fortune to his special relationship “with the ETs.”


On the return drive across the desert Mike, being the least intoxicated of the foursome, was the designated driver. He drove along highway 15 in his souped-up Nissan Maxima. His passengers reportedly had completely passed out. According to Misha this could be attributed to both the late hour plus generous amounts of vodka that they all had consumed. Sometime around 3AM, Misha at the wheel was whizzing down a lonely desert highway south of the town of Baker California.

According to my Russian friend he received a telepathic command, “Pull over at the next rest stop!” He was also advised to have his camera ready. Misha told me that he recognized the voice in his head as extraterrestrial and friendly, so he willingly complied. The official Cal Trans rest area was totally empty. A large hillside to the northwest stood adjacent to the site. His fiancée and the other couple were sound asleep and didn’t stir as Misha exited the vehicle.


What followed was truly bizarre, even by the high strangeness standards of the UFO subculture. Mike was allegedly instructed to walk away from the parking lot towards the fenced border of the rest stop. He reported feeling dazed. Was it the late hour, alcohol or something else that caused his level of consciousness to be altered?

After waiting a while, he allegedly was given the command to put the camera on the top of his head pointing backwards. Then he was ordered to turn himself around so the camera pointed toward the fence on the edge of the property and he faced in the opposite direction towards the highway. After an uncertain period of time that seemed to be several minutes, he was telepathically instructed to “take a picture” of what was behind him. The flash went off as he activated the mechanism. Standing there in the cold darkness Misha reported waiting for further instructions. They never came.

The image of Mike standing out there in the cold like a statue, holding a camera on top of his head that was pointing backwards, seems rather comical to me. If the story was made up, it certainly didn’t portray him in a very dignified manner. On the other hand, the absurd aspect of this particular detail is consistent with the MO of UFO intelligence that frequently stage encounters with elements so bizarre that they make the experiencer look ridiculous.


Several minutes later he reportedly heard movement behind him. Mike stated that he turned around and saw a saucer shaped object with a brilliant light on its bottom ascending into the sky. It had apparently taken off from just outside the rest area on the other side of an irrigation canal. He snapped another Polaroid photo, this time of the UFO overhead.

In my home office, I held in hands the photo of the being that Mike called “Zan.” We made a cheap Xerox copy of the image that I can assure you didn’t do the photo justice. This is the one that I scanned and attached to this report.


During subsequent contact team meetings at my house, I eventually showed this copy to all the members of the LA based team. Most people were speechless. I suspect that they shared my reaction to Mike’s “alien photo” and didn’t know what to make of it. Was it an elaborate hoax? Why would Misha do such a thing? And if it were a hoax why just show a few friends and not release it to the public so that large numbers of people could be fooled.


In February of 1994 Dr. Greer came to Los Angeles. His meeting with CIA Director Woolsey had taken place the previous December. I met my colleague in his hotel room where a number of potential donors had gathered. One of the grandsons of the oil tycoon John Paul Getty was present. A member of our CE-5 team was a personal friend of this young Getty that reportedly was a multi-millionaire. He showed up a few days later at a large public meeting where Dr. Greer gave a lecture. This anecdote is offered to give perspective on the circles that the CSETI Director travelled in, and the interest that very powerful people had in his projects during the 1990s.

After Dr. Greer’s public presentation, Mike and I made our way through the crowd to speak to the CSETI Director. My fellow ER doctor greeted us and Mike showed the Polaroid snap shot. Dr. Greer then blurted out, “That’s what I saw on the craft.” Previously on several occasions Doctor Greer had described to his loyal followers that he had not one, but allegedly two cooperative onboard experiences in a state that he had characterized as being “in full psychomotor control” of his body.

My now former colleague was clearly very impressed with Misha’s Polaroid snap-shot. He told Mike that he wanted the photograph. Mike smiling however shook his head and said, “No.” He told Dr. Greer that he alone was allowed to take the picture and that he was not going to part with it.

I kept a copy of that picture at home for over 20 years. On one occasion I showed it to a prominent UFO historian, that like Dr. Greer asked for permission to have it. As Mike had done earlier, I declined the request to turn it over.


In the 2007, nearly 15 years after the alien picture was allegedly taken, Mike informed me that the original photograph had been “lost” under what I can only describe as highly embarrassing circumstances related to legal difficulties that Mike was experiencing. Federal authorities allegedly searched his home; the picture was removed along with evidence for a lawful investigation. Mike reportedly never got it back.

I was dismayed to learn this because I had hoped that Mike’s story was true, and that a prize in the form of a photograph was given to him for important reasons. I had even imagined that because of our close association, it was possibly meant for me as well. After all UFO intelligence was well aware of our joint activities and his being allowed to take such an extraordinary picture might be a validation of our contact efforts in general and perhaps my leadership as well. I suppose it sounds kind of vain and perhaps even foolish, but that’s what I thought at the time.


For over two decades, with the thought that the photo might be a hoax, I have searched for the same, or a very similar image of the alleged ET being called “Zan.” In UFO books, magazines and on the Internet. I never found anything that came close to the vibrant image of the original Polaroid snap shot of the individual that Mike claimed was his friend. Did Mike really take a photograph of an ET back in 1993? Or was it part of an elaborate deception? To this day I must admit that I really don’t know.

In my mind, there are four leading possibilities. The first is that the picture represents the image of a living ET person that stood behind Misha at the desert rest stop. The second scenario is that Mike hoaxed the picture. The original was so striking in detail that in my opinion it appeared to convey the actual personality of living being. If the image was of a doll, it might have required the technical resources of a sophisticated production company to construct such a prop. I strongly doubt this is the case. Misha neither had the money to fund such a venture nor the talent and experience to do it himself.

The third possibility is that the photo is a fake and was produced by someone other than Misha. However, as stated above, I have looked for the original for decades with no luck in finding one. Perhaps after posting this narrative repeatedly on social media, eventually some reader will come forward with evidence of a hoax by Misha. This could be accomplished by simply locating the same ET image in a source published before 1993.


Finally, there is the possibility that this picture is not one of a live ET, but rather represents an image that was placed on the photographic emulsion by a non-human intelligence that has technology to project images onto digital or old fashion film cameras. This is my favorite explanation because I have been impressed by UFO intelligence’s ability to create illusions.

If indeed extraterrestrials have the extraordinary capacity to project images directly onto film then they may not be the only form of non-human intelligence to do so. Over two decades ago in England, a group of paranormal researchers based in the village of Scole carried out a series of investigations into what they called “the spirit world.” This is shown quite dramatically in a well-produced full-length documentary known as “The Afterlife Investigations.” It can be viewed online at

In this documentary we learn how unseen intelligence were able to create photographic images of people that died generations ago. The so-called "spirits" were reportedly able to do so on undeveloped film still in factory sealed wrappers. The film was then immediately developed on site in the basement where séances had been conducted. To the amazement of the investigators the photos showed images that were identical to photographs taken long ago. Some could be identified as photo portraits of individuals that had subsequently died. If so called paranormal intelligence or "spirit guides" can do such tricks repeatedly under controlled conditions, why can't UFO intelligence do the same thing?


I suspect that this proposition is extremely disturbing to many veteran UFO investigators that have studied photographic evidence for decades. If UFO intelligence can “hoax” video and photographs then we are even more in the dark as to who and what they are.

This disturbing uncertainty makes me want to continue to promote the efforts of contact workers in what I like to call “The Contact Underground.” They engage UFO intelligence directly during real time investigations working in groups. Both Rahma originally from Peru and CE-5 teams have been conducting this type of outreach for decades all over the world.


Like it or not we are going to have to do as noted researcher Grant Cameron has been urging since 2012. And that is, despite the low signal to noise ratio in terms of intelligible information that is derived from close encounters, investigators are going to have to bite the bullet and as the title of Grant Cameron’s talk states, we will have to “ Talk to ET!”

About the author: Dr. Burkes volunteered as a Working Group Coordinator for the CE-5 Initiative from 1992 till 1998. He has continued to study the flying saucer phenomenon working with the Foundation for Research into ET Encounters (FREE) and the Peruvian contact network now called Rahma. He is co-author of the book “Paths to Contact” edited by Jeff Becker. Dr. Burkes retired from the Southern California Permanente Group after thirty years of service in 2008. He is a board certified internal medicine physician and is licensed to practice in California.

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