More than 2,000 UFO enthusiasts descended on High Desert, California this weekend to attend Contact in the Desert — an annual UFO conference, the Desert Sun reports.
In its third year, the event is one of the largest and the fastest growing conventions of its kind in the U.S. This year, the four-day event attracted more than 2,000 attendees and featured nearly 50 presentations — double the size from last year.
The conference is a haven for alien researchers and conspiracy theorists. Paul Andrews, a Los Angeles event coordinator who co-founded Contact, said he started the conference to create a “safe environment” for discussing evidence of ancient aliens, crop circles, gigantic secret pyramids and an extensive government cover-up of alien evidence. Researchers can share their theories at Contact without anyone “snickering,” he said.
According to Andrews, the location of Contact, the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, is chosen because of its long history of UFO sightings.
“We think the likelihood of someone having a sighting or having an encounter are higher here than anywhere else,” Andrews said.
While some Contact attendees share a common distrust of official government explanations of UFO activity, not all share the same alien theories.
They also try to keep their minds open to the most unconventional theories — such as the belief that the earth is flat.
“Everyone here is a searcher,” said Patrick Hart, 72, an Oregon chiropractor and two-time attendee of Contact.
“‘What is truth? What is the nature of reality? What are we doing here? What is life about?’ Those are the kind of answers I have spent the better part of my life constantly pushing for.”
Watch video below, courtesy of the Desert Sun.