Source: Alex Constantine's Political Conspiracy Bin
A local podiatrist says he's been surgically removing strange
objects from people who think they were implanted by space
aliens. But there are a few holes in his story.
By Skylaire Alfvegren & Kalynn Campbell
"Here's to happy feet!" reads Jerry Lewis's signed head shot,
hanging from the wall of podiatrist Dr. Roger K. Leir's modest
office. It's accompanied by glossy, toothsome portraits of
Johnny Carson, Patrick Swayze, and Larry Hagman.
The dapper, diminutive Dr. Leir has been in practice since 1964.
Before opening his own clinic, he was on staff of up to 27
different emergency rooms at the same time. "It took a lot of
running," he says. State medical records show he hasn't been
reprimanded or even sued in years. But Leir isn't your typical
overachieving foot doctor. For the past two and a half years, he
says he's been surgically removing bizarre, unexplainable
objects from patients who believe the objects were implanted by
"I've been the consummate skeptic," says Leir, who runs two
clinics in the Ventura County suburbs of Thousand Oaks and
Camarillo. "My background is scientific, and to be honest, I
didn't have much faith in what we would find....I'm interested
in physical evidence." Leir became interested in the idea of
alien implants in 1995, when he attended a UFO convention at a
hotel near LAX. There he met Derrel Sims, a hypnotherapist and
self-described former CIA operative, who'd been investigating
purported UFO abductions for 30 years. The Houston-based Sims
displayed what he said were x-rays of a supposed abductee's
foot, showing two unexplainable objects in the big toe. "I was
intrigued by the evidence he presented," Leir says. "And being
familiar with foot radiographs, I thought it was indeed
Leir was so fascinated that he offered to remove the objects for
free if the patient could journey from Texas to Southern
California. She accepted immediately. Another Texan with an
abduction story and a mysterious object in the hand contacted
Leir, who assembled a support team and operated on both patients
on August 19, 1995. (As a podiatrist, Leir is licensed to
operate only from the ankle down.) From the first patient, he
claims, he recovered a T-shaped metallic object, as well as
another object shaped like a cantaloupe seed. An identical
seed-like object, Leir says, was removed from the second
patient's hand. Many people wind up with foreign objects lodged
in their bodies -- and not because they were experimented on by
some intergalactic Dr. Mengele.
Since then, Leir claims to have performed or presided over five
other surgeries in which strange objects were sliced out of a
chin and a leg, as well as hands and feet. The last operation
took place in June 1996. "To date," says the podiatrist, "we've
removed three [objects] that are metallic and covered with a
shiny, dark gray membrane, three grayish-white balls, the
T-shaped object, and one with the appearance of crystal."
According to a 1993 Roper Poll, between three and five million
Americans believe they've been contacted, abducted, or otherwise
toyed with by extraterrestrials. The high figure represents more
than two percent of the population. "We figure that's
conservative," says Leir. "Because most people don't want you to
The podiatrist says he subjects potential patients to a battery
of psychological tests to make sure they're not mentally
unstable. Those who want to be considered for implant removal
surgery must meet other criteria as well. "Firstly, they have to
have some kind of alleged abduction experience, and secondly,
they have to have a demonstrable object," says Leir. "If you
can't see it on an X-ray, CAT scan, or MRI, it's not for us."
Leir hopes to carry out another set of surgeries in the next few
months. And with over 100 qualified candidates on his waiting
list, it would seem that he could franchise his work. To his
knowledge, he and his team of volunteer physicians are the only
ones performing implant-removal surgeries, though he's certain
many other doctors have inadvertently taken implants out of
their own patients.
"I've been contacted by numerous physicians who say, 'I know
this sounds crazy' and proceed to describe an x-ray they've
taken of an unexplainable object," says Leir. "Some have
actually volunteered to participate." As for Leir's regular
patients, most are aware of his hobby, and are curious rather
than worried by it. "Not one single person has laughed," he
says. "They don't think it's funny any more." Leir says his
phone "rings constantly" with people asking about his surgeries.
It rang for three days straight, he says, after he and his
now-partner Sims were interviewed by Nevada-based radio
personality Art Bell, the Oprah Winfrey of the unknown. Although
the foot doctor says he receives no payment for his removal
surgeries, he and Sims accept donations for their nonprofit
research organization, the Fund for Interactive Research in
Space Technology, or FIRST. The money, Leir says, is used to pay
patients' transportation costs to L.A. and to run scientific
tests on recovered objects (the tests often cost up to $10,000
apiece, he says). Naturally, this being L.A., Leir is
negotiating to sell possible film rights to his work.
So. Here we have a self-proclaimed man of science, cautiously
and even skeptically exploring a strange medical phenomenon with
profound implications for the human race, right?
Well, not exactly. Start asking hard questions about Leir's work
and his story begins to reek of a certain popular lunch meat.
Can he supply the names of the surgeons who've assisted him, so
the supposed removal surgeries can be verified? Well, that's not
possible, actually. "It could damage their careers if they were
connected to this," says Leir. How about patients' names? Well,
they'd prefer to remain anonymous, too. OK, how about the
identities of the researchers who Sims claims have examined the
mystery implants? Um, they're kinda shy, too. "They've made some
remarkable discoveries, but they're highly tenured academics,"
says Leir. "They're afraid of losing their reputations." Uh-huh.
Can New Times at least photograph some of the purported
implants? "They're all at labs being studied," says Leir. But as
a reporter's questions continue, his manner gradually turns from
polite and cooperative to petulant and demanding.
"I've given you a tremendous amount of material, free of
charge," he huffs at one point, weeks after a single, one-hour
interview. "I refuse to put forth any further effort unless a
charitable contribution is made to our nonprofit research
organization....Any TV producer would pay big bucks for that
Leir claims the mystery implants have undergone complicated
tests at a variety of laboratories, including those at Stanford,
the University of San Diego, the New Mexico Institute of Mining
and Technology, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and most
recently, a private lab in Dallas. So far, he says, the mountain
of data derived from the tests is inconclusive about whether the
objects are truly extraterrestrial in nature, although Leir
clearly thinks there's a good chance they are. But, he says, "We
won't know until we get the last piece of data."
After a week of deliberating with his Hollywood agent, Leir
reluctantly passes on the name of a single researcher: Paul
Fuierer, a materials engineer at the New Mexico Institute of
Mining and Technology, who examined some of the objects two
years ago. Leir and Sims had reported on their Website that
Fuierer's data pointed toward extraterrestrial origins.
Contacted by phone, Fuierer indicates he rues the day he got
mixed up with Leir and Sims. "Unfortunately, my name is still
associated with them," he says.
"I found nothing particularly unusual about the objects," says
the engineer. "I was told virtually nothing about their origins.
At the time, I said certain characteristics -- mineral deposits
-- were similar to those found in meteorites. But that was
turned around in their report. My statements were taken out of
context, I was misquoted. The samples I examined could have been
nothing more than slivers of iron -- perhaps from a wire
hairbrush -- that the body had calcified. That scenario is much
Indeed, says Dr. Leonard Knudson, an L.A. podiatrist in practice
for 16 years, many people wind up with foreign objects lodged in
their bodies -- and not because they were experimented on by
some intergalactic Dr. Mengele. "We might find a needle broken
off inside, or splinters of some kind. Usually when something is
in the body for a length of time, it gets a fibrous coating, or
scar tissue," he says. "Sometimes [people] remember how or when
it got there, sometimes they don't. If it happened a long time
ago they will often forget about it."
If Fuierer is no help to Leir's cause, neither is the famed Los
Alamos lab in New Mexico, where the first atomic bombs were
developed. Leir insists some of his mystery objects were tested
by researchers in Los Alamos' chemical science and technical
division. "They even went to the expense of building a laser
microscope to do mass spectrometry on them," says the
But Los Alamos chief spokesman James Richtman says he has
"absolutely no idea what this is about." He says he's never
heard of Leir's foundation or the names of the project's
supposed funders. "We have no connection to this work," says
Even some Ufologists scoff at Leir and Sims.
"There's a lot of fakery, money grubbing, and ego in the UFO
community," says Jim Mosely, editor of Saucer Smear, a gossipy
watchdog publication for UFO buffs. "There's a decided lack of
skepticism among people who follow the UFO community."
Mosely bluntly characterizes as "garbage" Leir and Sims' claims
to be harvesting alien implants.
"People can get some strange stuff lodged under their skin
without even knowing it," says Mosely. "The purpose of the
implant would be to monitor or control the person; it would have
to have some kind of mechanical semblance. Leir's [objects] have
weird chemical formulas, but no indication of being tracking
devices or having been formed unnaturally by intelligent
beings." Predictably, Leir won't comment when confronted with
these responses. Money is still flowing to his foundation, and
he plans to present his "findings" in July or September, once
all his test results are in. And there's a good chance he can
bamboozle unskeptical UFO fans around the globe into thinking
he's the greatest scientific pioneer since Galileo.
"If [Sims] and I are successful with what we're doing -- if we
prove the objects were implanted by extraterrestrial entities --
that's the end, the ultimate," says the foot doctor. "What will
be done with that information remains to be seen, but I know
life as we know it will never be the same."
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