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A Message From the Executive Director

It has now been a year since the launch of Expanding Frontiers Research. In August 2022 the organization was formally incorporated in Utah after months of careful consideration. We spent the next few weeks obtaining IRS charity status, preparing a website, and conducting related administrative tasks, all while keeping primary organizational objectives at the forefront. Expanding Frontiers Research is dedicated to publishing original, reliable research and making historical records available for public review.

EFR Executive Director Erica Lukes

It has been and will continue to be my absolute pleasure to collaborate on fascinating investigations, the production of video and blog content, and making a wide range of material accessible to the public. I consider it both a privilege and responsibility as the designated leader of EFR to contribute to the research community in productive and responsible ways. Looking back over the past twelve months, I am pleased beyond expectations with the accomplishments of our still-young organization. EFR hit the ground running when we obtained public records indicating tax funds were used to finance PhenomeCon, a paranormal-themed annual conference that vigorously promotes sensational and unsubstantiated beliefs. The records revealed that tens of thousands of dollars were directly paid to cast members of The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch for their appearances at PhenomeCon, circumstances that create significant conflicts of interest, given the cast members' repeated claims of conducting scientific research. To be clear, the individuals dubiously claim to conduct scientific study while documented to have financial incentives paid through public funds to express premature, fantastic findings that promote credulous beliefs.

Public response to our work on the PhenomeCon story was very encouraging. Our reporting was picked up by investigative journalist Nate Carlisle of FOX 13 News and cited in video work published by Steven Greenstreet with the New York Post.

Additional blog highlights include records obtained from the Securities and Exchange Commission pertaining to investigations of Joseph Firmage corporations; the questionable alliance of venture capitalists, UAP start-ups, and the intelligence community; the overlap between promoters of cryptocurrency and credulous UFO tales; and documents obtained from the FBI on historical figures in the UFO subculture, among other interesting reads. We frequently submit records requests and subsequently publish resulting documents as part of our corresponding stories.

Meanwhile, we regularly produce a YouTube show, Expanding Frontiers. It consists of discussions with journalists, researchers, authors, content creators, human rights activists, and advocates for victims of domestic violence, among others. Our ever-growing collection of exclusive videos includes material addressing many issues. Combined with our blog, we are consistently publishing content on topics ranging from The Poe Museum and the Freedom of Information Act to the importance of archiving and an Ivy League-educated researcher following the money trail through the UAP genre.

I am proud of the organization I represent, its work, its volunteers, and the board of directors. I am equally enthusiastic about what is yet to come.

I am pleased that we will soon be launching our online archive. It will represent select materials from our physical archive located in Salt Lake City, as well as additional records obtained by EFR and content donated by valued individuals. We are happy to make the material available for interested parties ranging from recreational readers to researchers and scholars. The Expanding Frontiers Archive will be an ongoing work in progress, but we anticipate launching it on our website in the coming weeks.

As we have been conducting our regular ongoing operations, we have also been composing and submitting grant proposals. We are committed to obtaining funding - expanding our frontiers, if you will – into a variety of areas. We intend to make meaningful contributions to disciplines such as the humanities, using our already established framework to execute additional projects of public significance. Objectives include producing relevant content for audiences while facilitating a rewarding work environment. I am enormously proud to help coordinate this effort.

We will also continue to conduct records requests and subsequently produce quality blog posts. The next year of operation also includes continuing to grow our show, Expanding Frontiers, with various informative guests and exploring rich and intriguing subject matter.

We have a full plate – just like I like it. EFR has ambitious goals and a growing team of focused personnel committed to excellence. We are proud of where we've been, pleased with where we are, and excited about where we're going.

On behalf of Expanding Frontiers Research, thank you for your interest and your support of our organization. Please reach out to us with any questions or comments.

It's been a great first year and we're tracking a strong second. We're just getting started.

Erica Lukes

Executive Director

Expanding Frontiers Research

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