Close Encounters at PARI: UFOs and Subterranean Secrets

Underground tunnel connecting buildings at PARI. Photos By Matt Rose

Underground tunnel connecting buildings at PARI. Photos By Matt Rose

While PARI and its Star Parties promote the educational aspects of astronomy, some people believe there is something more ominous going on below the surface.

Mary Joyce lives in the Sylva area and is the editor of, an online resource for local UFO sightings and unexplained phenomenon in Western North Carolina.

Joyce claims she has reliable information about an underground network of secret government buildings beneath the Balsam Mountain ridge that has PARI as its entrance.

“We know from many sources that there is an underground facility that they never talk about,” Joyce says. “We have two people who have come to us and been quoted on the website who have inside knowledge. One is still involved in training people about counterespionage, so he really knows his stuff.”

Joyce also wonders why online satellite photos of PARI posted by Google show the location shrouded in shadows and says she has heard about strange incidents involving caged animals that she thoroughly researched before sharing online.

“We have heard things from the father of a man who has or is still working there, but it’s all secondhand and I can’t put that on the site because we can’t run with it until we get more information,” she says. “That’s just being responsible.”

PARI’s Dr. David Clavier has read Joyce’s postings, but he promises there is nothing sinister going on. “Every inch of the site has been explored and there are no hidden or secret areas,” Clavier says. “The only underground facility on the site is a 1,000 foot walking tunnel between the first floor of the main administration building and the ground floor of our research building. Animals and pets are not allowed on the site as per our policies.”

He also explains away the shadows on the Google Earth aerial photo.

“The image of the PARI site on Google Earth appears to have a shadow of a cloud across it. However, all the building and antenna that are on the site are easily spotted in that image. I can see my car parked next to the administration building since it was here that day,” he says. “If you look at the areas around our site on Google Earth, you can see many similar cloud shadows.”

Joyce anticipated PARI officials might refute the material she has presented online and at the International UFO Congress in Nevada earlier this year.

“It would be my guess that the people who are operating what I call the surface facility may totally be in the dark about what’s going on underneath it,” she says. “Don’t think for a minute that the astronomy research isn’t real. It is. We call it a capstone cover. It’s a legitimate thing that makes everything else seem unreal.”

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