Mystery Objects and the Donald Menzel Conspiracy | Richard Dolan Show w/Dr. Beatriz Villaroelle

By | January 23, 2024

Hi Everyone,

This show will be airing tonight at 8 pm EDT (just over an hour from now as I post this). Rather than write something completely new, let me quote myself from the Youtube description of this episode:

This conversation is more of a collaboration than a formal interview. Appearing on the Richard Dolan Show is Dr. Beatriz Villaroelle, a leading astrophysicist at the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics, Stockholm University. Dr. Villaroelle holds a PhD in Astronomy and a Masters in Physics from Uppsala University. Villarroel is deeply involved in the VASCO project, studying vanishing and appearing celestial sources over a century of observations.

Dr. Villaroelle discusses the discovery of anomalous astronomical plates from pre-1957, prior to the era of manmade, artificial satellites. Specifically she highlights plates from 1950 and 1952 which depict unusual star-like objects that appear and vanish within a very short time frame. These anomalies were found on images from the 12th of April, 1950, the 19th of July, 1952, and the 27th of July 1952 – the last two dates coinciding with the Washington DC UFO flap, a significant overflight of unknown objects over the US capital. However, Dr. Villaroelle also noted that coincident with these anomalies was the destruction of a substantial portion of the Harvard Observatory’s plate collection under the orders of then-director Dr. Donald Menzel. Not only this, but 1953 saw the beginning of the infamous “Menzel Gap,” an extended period during which Harvard ceased collecting new astronomical data, leading to a gap in the historical record of modern astronomy.

Dr. Villaroelle’s work led Richard Dolan to conduct additional research on Menzel, which he also provides here. It was already known that Menzel led a clandestine life as an elite member of the U.S. intelligence community, a fact that was only discovered posthumously. Dolan’s review, however, demonstrates that Menzel spent all of 1952 and 1953 in nothing short of a debunking obsession regarding the “flying saucers.” Even more intriguing, this period was also marked by ongoing rumors of “mystery satellites” orbiting Earth.

All of the above leads to a question: was Menzel’s obsession with UFOs the driving force behind this destruction of scientific data? His involvement in the intelligence community, his secretive life, and his relentless pursuit to debunk UFO sightings, all point towards a possible disinformation campaign, making Menzel a fascinating figure in the history of UFO research.

Dr. Villaroelle recently wrote an article for The Debrief:

She was also recently mentioned in the Guardian:

Learn more about the VASCO project at

I’ll just add that I believe she did a great job in describing her findings. I hope you enjoy this!




11 thoughts on “Mystery Objects and the Donald Menzel Conspiracy | Richard Dolan Show w/Dr. Beatriz Villaroelle

  1. Bruce Herrick

    Would liked to have heard more from Dr. Beatriz Villaroelle on her study of ‘Vanishing and Appearing Objects’ and her analysis and conclusions. The Donald Menzel part would have been best left for a separate presentation.

  2. Christian Morales

    Hey Richard great interview! Hey just be honest with me here. Yes you didn’t hear from me first but did my mention of the Donald Menzel connection trigger your interest? Haha I know it did! Fascinating man… truly fascinating. Hey Stanton Fridman I hope you’re watching! This one seems like a big deal the history is so important and new details from an astronomer who wasn’t even into ufos just a coincidence! Man we got lucky on that one. I wonder how many times that has happen in academia. Things we don’t read we would never know could point to elites in academia that are covering this up. I bet there’s some of that out there that we have no clue about.

  3. DavidC

    “Did I enjoy it?”
    The understatement of the year Richard, I thought it was fantastic.
    Dr. Beatriz Villaroelle was riveting viewing, edge of the seat stuff, and honestly it couldn’t be bettered in my opinion.
    Her coverage of the extreme coincidences from the 1952 images is staggering and imagine what would be left to discover if only the Harvard Archives were available.
    For me too it was nice to see a bit of vindication for the great Stanton Friedman and his serious earlier research into Donald Menzel.
    Thanks Richard.

    David in Australia

  4. Brian Andersen

    I listened to the John Michael Godier short episode about this, but there has been so much more development in the short time since then… and the involvement of Menzel just makes this whole thing so much more fascinating and suspicious.

    I don’t know if I’m just over excited, but I feel like this is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the field in decades.
    This info rivals the more current well documented cases like the tic tac and the gimbal, and lends a lot of new weight to the reality of the cover up in the 1950s.

    I also was not aware (or had forgotten?) that Menzel had personally debunked the 1952 DC flap, and that’s really driving all of this home for me.

    This is one of the best interviews yet. I’m kind of floored.

    Thank you, Richard and Beatriz

  5. Bernard Pelletier

    Very important and intriguing discovery and revelation. It would be interesting to know if there were any distances or masses calculated for those vanishing stars, but I imagine not. To me they look to be UFOs, considering the cover-up by Menzel and the ’52 wave.

    Menzel was certainly a shady and unscrupulous character, as he would necessarily be, being a cover-up agent, which he was, whether or not the MJ-12 documents were genuine; they are in my grey basket, but the consensus is that they were fake.

    There’s such a thing as quasi-moons, and I dedicate a paragraph to these in my book. They are normally in solar orbit but are temporarily trapped in retrograde orbit around Venus, Earth, Ceres, Vesta, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. But I have no idea if these could explain the mystery satellites, which may be something else entirely, like UFOs.

    Pluto is a planet or not depending on how one defines a planet. I define it as a natural body directly orbiting a star and having the mass-size to hold an atmosphere and a magnetosphere, which includes only the 8 classic planets. And I devote the better part of a chapter on this in my book.

  6. Shaun Watson

    This is super interesting, thanks Richard for doing and sharing this interview. It’s fantastic to see the increasing acceptance of this topic in mainstream academia
    and especially by someone with such obvious credentials!

  7. Thomas Bay Hvolby

    Hey, that was a downright fantastic interview, Richard! Wow. We have a researcher, Dr. Beatriz Villarroel, presenting obvious facts and skillfully intertwining the Donald Menzel conspiracy. A significant step for disclosure. Thanks for that!

  8. David Weier

    Hi Richard: Great interview with the Professor. Menzel’s specialty was the Sun or Solar astronomy. Harvard was the variable star center for the world in astronomy. Dr. Hoffleit’s was variable star astronomy. The reason destruction of the plates was a problem is that many of the long period variable stars could be tracked for years with these plates. As for Clyde Tombaugh if you look at his career he was not only discoverer of Pluto. He ran the high speed camera tracking of Nike missies destroying planes I believe at White Sands. He also had a couple of UFO sightings that the military was not to happy about.

  9. Andromeda107

    Menzel’s behavior at Harvard him clearly shows he was aware of something, he even went so far to get his secretary fired. He may very well have known about the Roswell crash and the Aztec crash ,and been part of MJ12. And even if he wasn’t part of MJ12 with his background and connections I feel he would have definitely known something about the ufo phenomenon.

    And those slides were very interesting ,I hope see more from Dr. Villaroelle in the future on her findings.

  10. HappyCup


    How am I supposed to rekindle my faith in main stream institutions when I keep finding out things like “The Menzel Gap?”

    Another good example is the odd coincidence where every historical account of Giant skeletons being unearthed ends with witnesses turning the evidence over to the SMITHSONIAN. I don’t even think they answer the phone any more.

    Anyway, great show. I’m fascinated with 1952 and I don’t think I heard about this little gem about Menzel.

    Love you man!!!

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