Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell belongs to a very select brotherhood. He is one of only 12 men who have set foot upon the Moon. And to the best of my knowledge, he is the first person to conduct an experiment in ESP in outer space.

As the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14, Mitchell spent nine hours walking on the surface of the Moon in early February 1971. While on the mission, he also conducted some private experiments in extrasensory perception with his friends back on Earth. He had previously been interested in the subject and realized that no one had ever done an ESP experiment over such a great distance.

Apparently, the experiment was successful. In a subsequent interview for a Web site, Mitchell said it showed that what had worked in the laboratory also worked in space with the same positive results.

"In telepathy, space doesn't matter," he said on the Web site.

Mitchell has long been interested in the paranormal. In early 1973, he founded the nonprofit Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). It sponsors research into areas that mainstream science has dismissed and neglected, including psychic events. He also claims that a psychic healer in Vancouver, British Columbia helped him get cured of kidney cancer. Although he never had a biopsy, Mitchell said he had a sonogram and an MRI that showed he had the symptoms of renal carcinoma. The psychic healer worked distantly on Mitchell from December 2003 until June 2004 on getting rid of his cancer. Mitchell says that the healer helped him and he hasn't seen the cancer since, according to a Web site.

In addition, Mitchell has been outspoken in his belief that UFOs exist and our government is keeping the truth secret from the American public.

In April 1996, Mitchell said during an interview with Dateline NBC that he has talked with officials from three countries who claimed to have had personal encounters with extraterrestrials. He said the evidence for alien contact was "very strong" but is being kept classified by world governments. He also said that UFOs had provided "sonic engineering secrets" to the U.S. government.

In 2004, Mitchell told The St. Petersburg Times that a "cabal of insiders" within our government were studying recovered alien bodies. "We all know that UFOs are real; now the question is, where did they come from?" he said in the interview.

And in July 2008, Mitchell gave a radio interview where he claimed that the crash of a UFO in Roswell, N.M. did indeed happen and aliens have contacted humans several times. However, our government has been hiding the truth for more than 60 years. "I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomenon is real," he said last year.

Just this week, the 78-year-old Mitchell said again that extraterrestrial life exists and the truth is being concealed by the United States and other governments.

Only a dozen men – some now dead – have been able to walk on another world. Edgar Mitchell is one of them. Whatever your opinion about UFOs and whether or not they exist, his views should be heard and respected. He has an insight that very few other people have.

Contact Mike Conley at 652-3313, ext. 3422 or e-mail nconley@mcdowellnews.com.