When people think of the kind of person who would attempt to uncover government conspiracies, the Mothman, or Bigfoot, you typically think of the stereotype of a tinfoil hat-wearing basement dweller, which is what makes Mysteries Decoded host Jennifer Marshall's trajectory so fascinating. Before attempting to uncover the truth behind Area 51, Marshall served in the US Navy before becoming a private investigator, bringing her unique blend of skills to shed light on enigmatic topics, even if that means potentially being disappointed with her own results. Mysteries Decoded is currently revisiting some of their old cases to deliver audiences new interviews to add insight into those investigations, with new episodes airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on The CW, including a Roswell investigation on September 3rd.
Over the course of each hour, the investigative documentary series Mysteries Decoded will delve deeper into some of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries, exploring newly discovered evidence and utilizing high-tech tools in reopening each case. From Area 51 to the Salem Witch Trials, each investigation is led by Marshall as she mobilizes a team to embark on the formidable quest to bring closure to these long-lingering historical puzzles. Previously aired episodes have been refreshed to include newly uncovered evidence and updated expert analysis.
ComicBook.com recently caught up with Marshall to talk about her experiences, dealing with skeptics, and shocking discoveries.
ComicBook.com: Your path to get to this career, having been in the Navy and being a private investigator and now the host of a The CW series, isn't a typical path for someone, so have you always been interested in the paranormal and all of your experiences have built to this or was this just a passion you happened to discover later in life?
Jennifer Marshall: It definitely did not come until I started doing the show. I would say that the one interest I did have all along was government conspiracies, just because I know of the government conspiracies that have taken place in the past. And I certainly heard of a lot of the things that we investigated prior to me actually doing the show. It's prevalent in pop culture, but I really hadn't looked into most of them, with the exception of some UFO-type stuff and what happened in Montauk, of course.
It was an interesting opportunity for me to study things that I otherwise wouldn't have, and be paid for them in the process. Because in my actual private investigation life back in California, no one's going to say, "Hey, I want you to delve into whether Mothman is a thing." Nobody's going to pay me to go out to West Virginia and investigate Mothman, so it's been a wonderful blessing.
I've been to the Mothman museum in West Virginia and I know there's a piece of driftwood that looks like a bird, and it's in the museum because it was found around the time of the bridge collapse and just looks strange. I find that evidence to be flimsy, at best, but others would think that evidence confirms something paranormal. How do you deal with people doubting the evidence you find as circumstantial when you think that evidence backs up claims about otherworldly events?
I think it depends. When we're looking at [the Montauk experiments], for example, we had a little bit of pushback because people said, "This is fake and this is simple, and this is just made up by these two people." And I had to explain to them, the Montauk issue is, when you look at the Montauk project or the Montauk experiments, it's 10 to 12 different things under this umbrella. So if you're going to say, "Nothing ever happened in Montauk. I don't believe any of this," I would question that, because you aren't looking at each of the 10 to 12 things individually, you're making a blanket judgment off of Montauk as a whole. And I don't think that that's a responsible investigation. I feel like it's overly dismissive.
I'm certainly open to other people's opinions, but they have to be educated opinions. If somebody says, "I've looked into this. I've done this research. Here are some of the sources that I've evaluated," I'm definitely open to having that conversation. But what I tend to see is people just saying, "Well, I watched a movie or I watched a documentary on it, and I don't believe it." To me, that depth of knowledge is not enough to make a definitive assumption about what may or may not have happened.
Given your career in the Navy, when you're attempting to uncover conspiracies and cover-ups possibly committed by our government, do you get pushback from your peers telling you that you really shouldn't be digging into those things?
No, actually, quite the opposite. Now there have been certain episodes, especially Area 51, where I did know certain things and it wasn't my place to put those out on national television. I don't know if the things that I've been exposed to have been declassified. And, to me, it really doesn't matter because it's just not my place to put that out there.
During Area 51, I was quiet in a few segments when I just basically told them when we were doing it, "I can't have any comment in this section." And so the editors, they worked around it because they respect that. But actually I've had people, especially with the Area 51 episode, when those videos came out, I was contacted by several people who didn't want to go on camera, but they said, "Listen, I was either on the Kearsarge or I was on the Nimitz when this happened, and this is absolutely what happened."
And they divulged to me names and places and times. I think the problem I run into is there are a lot of people that want to speak out and they want to say, "We don't know what this is in the air. We don't believe it's Russian. We don't believe it's Chinese. And it's important for the American public to know that there's something out there that we don't know what it is." I've actually gotten the opposite, people saying, "Go out, say what you know, probe. You can do that. We're owned by the government, so we can't do that."
You've explored historical things like the Salem witch trials but also things like Bigfoot. Of all the investigations you've done, what was the most eye-opening and resulted in the biggest change to your opinion of the truth of those mysteries?
I think there was two of them. The first was Roswell. Roswell, Area 51, just because there's a lot of overlap. So I would say that was one of the ones where I said, "Maybe this reverse engineering of some sort of extraterrestrial craft or some sort of foreign craft that seems like it's plausible." And I went into those episodes wanting to absolutely dismiss everything Bob Lazaro had to say. And there were certain things that I could not dismiss. There were certain things that he said that later turned out to be true. So, I would say those two episodes, because there's so much overlap.
Then the Lizzie Borden episode was quite interesting, because I went into it thinking, "This place is not haunted." Not that I don't believe in ghosts, but I have to really see something and experience myself to buy into it. And when we were in the house, things have happened that are inexplicable. And we filmed another episode that is coming up, and it's not Lizzie Borden, it's a different place, and I can't disclose where we went, but some things happened there, too.
I think the paranormal aspect has really broadened my horizons because it's always one of those things that you say, "Oh, I want to see this happen," but it never happens when you're there. But with Lizzie Borden and this upcoming episode, things did happen while we were there. And as much as I tried to dismiss it and explain it and say maybe the house is rigged, that just wasn't the case. There's been things that we've explored that I've thought, "Oh, that didn't really change my mind at all." But there's certainly been other things that have really been quite illuminating.
If you had a skeptic in front of you who didn't believe anything really happened in Roswell or at Area 51, what would be the one thing you would show them to try to change their minds?
Unfortunately, I don't think that it is as clear as one piece of information. Because if that was the case, there would be a lot more believers. The belief would be universal. I think that it's circumstantial evidence, and I think that there are small pieces that build up to something much bigger. But I would say Bob Lazar, for example, they said he didn't work at S4. They said he didn't work in New Mexico. And then, later it popped up that he did work in New Mexico and they said, "Oh, well, he was a contractor there." So that story was changed. And then, Bob Lazar's educational records disappeared. And then his birth certificate disappeared. So it's one of those things that maybe his education, we can look at and say, "Well, maybe he went to this university. Maybe he didn't."
But we all know that Bob Lazar is actually alive and he exists, so what happened to the birth certificate? I do think that the government trying to discredit him and the fact that he has never sought any sort of fame or fortune as a result of his claims, to me, that's the most compelling. Because I just thought, "Oh, this guy's full of it and I'm going to learn more about him, and just discredit him." But he was recently on the Joe Rogan podcast and he would not even accept a plane ticket to go out there. He has never benefited monetarily from any of this.
I would definitely say that it's a lot more than one thing. People would need to look into it as a whole and really evaluate, if this is some sort of massive hoax, why are so many people into the massive hoax? And, additionally, the last thing I would say is, statistically, there are supposedly a septillion planets. The odds of us being entirely alone in this universe, that's laughable to me. It's very improbable and I think people need to look at the numbers and the probability of that.
Of all of the mysteries you've investigated, if there was one question you could have answered or one person you could interview who was hooked up to a lie detector, what is the event you most want the truth behind?
I would say the biggest thing that's perplexing me right now is what's happening at Fort Hood. You have had numerous soldiers raped, murdered, disappeared. You have had so many issues and it came to the forefront with the disappearance and subsequent murder of Vanessa Guillen. There is something going on at that base. It is not being handled appropriately. There have been some people who have been relieved of command, but it was very slow going, and we still haven't been able to find out what happened.
There was a soldier who disappeared, Gregory Morales. His remains were later found on the base. He was declared to be AWOL or UA, unauthorized absence. He was denied a military burial because they assumed that he went UA. He did not. He was dead on that day. Look at Elder Fernandes, who recently disappeared after he had reported some unwanted sexual harassment and unwanted sexual contact. They recently found his body and they said it's a probable suicide.
There's something going on at that base that needs to be investigated. And because it's on the base and because a lot of people can't talk, I don't know if we'll ever get to the bottom of it. But that many soldiers do not go missing or murdered without some serious issues happening within the chain of command.0comments
Tune in to Mysteries Decoded on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.