Source: by anthonynorth on February 20, 2008
Many Ufologists accept the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis for UFOs. However, if this is correct, there isn’t much more to say on the subject, except to wait for them to show themselves. But loveable - or malign - ET aside, there are plenty of additional theories to account for the UFO.
In January 1979 speculation on UFOs reached such a level that the subject was debated in the British House of Lords. A Lord Clancarty offered much evidence.
SIGHTINGS AND THEORIES
In 1954 an airliner en-route from New York to London was escorted part of the way by a large, bright object, accompanied by six smaller ones. The phenomenon was observed by 22 people on the aircraft.
One February morning in 1978 a large object was witnessed over Tehran by hundreds of people. Two fighters were sent up to investigate and suffered equipment malfunction.
Lord Clancarty was formerly the writer, Brinsley Le Poer Trench. He had argued that UFOs constitute a battle between a terrestrial race living inside the Earth, and the extraterrestrial Sky People.
Alternatively, psychoanalyst, Carl Jung took a psychological approach to the UFO, arguing that it was produced by modern man’s craving for religious meaning. They thus became a subjective phenomenon.
English writer, John Michell agreed with the religious vacuum idea, but also related the modern UFO epoch with ancient legends about gods.
Thus, we have the two extreme stances on the UFO, ranging from fantastic battles between techno-super races, to an idea in man’s mind. Let us focus, here, on the latter possibility.
THEY COME FROM BETWEEN THE EARS
Ufologist Jenny Randles offered this case. In November 1971 a man named ‘Roy’ (pseudonym) observed a UFO hovering over a cafe in a usually busy area. Nothing strange about that in the world of the UFO, but the problem is he was the only person to observe it.
This is typical of many such incidents. We hear of UFOs landing in people’s gardens, but not even the neighbours hear or see anything. This clearly suggests that UFOs are a product of the mind.
For instance, with Roy, he had had many strange occurrences other than of UFO sightings, most coming under the general heading of psychical phenomena.
American journalist John Keel was initially sceptical about UFOs, but began to change his mind when he saw a metallic disc above the Aswan Dam in 1953. Subscribing to a press cutting service, he was staggered by the number of sightings - he could receive 150 clippings a day.
In 1967 he was among a crowd of motorists who stopped on Long Island to watch a glowing sphere in the sky. He investigated the infamous Mothman, a winged creature that terrorised people in West Virginia, and from then on, felt he was being watched by hostile entities.
Strange voices would ring him. He would be told to send letters to non-existent addresses. Replies would be immediate. He once stayed at a motel chosen at random to find a message waiting for him. They even predicted events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, although some details would be wrong.
THEORISING UPON THE INCREDIBLE
Keel suffered many areas of phenomena that would normally be classed as psychical. But being a rational journalist, he deducted things from his experiences. For instance, he particularly noted parallels between reported ‘space men’ and descriptions of earlier entities associated with supernatural experiences. Keel himself thought of the phenomenon as both deeply historical and essentially psychical in nature.
The defining researcher of this school of thought was French researcher Jacques Vallee who moved to America to work with Hynek, a leading Ufologist. The character, Lacombe, in Splelberg’s ‘Close Encounter of the Third Kind’ was based on Vallee.
Seeing the UFO in a sociological context, Vallee noted the similarity between alien entities and ancient stories of fairies and elementals. Adopting the psychical nature of encounters, he saw the UFO as a modern cultural interpretation of an age old cultural system designed to achieve a specific effect on the human psyche.
Basically, beyond our normal everyday experience, there existed a mechanism that regulated human consciousness; an underlying reality to the world which we do not normally experience because we are stuck in an appreciation of space and time. And an underlying reality that has always been with us, guiding us and teaching us throughout history.
Does history offer a reality to such ideas?
Throughout the Medieval period in Europe, Christendom fought to maintain their hold on society. This was done through the politics of fear, leading to a new awareness of Witchcraft and the belief in ‘dark forces’. The witchhunts followed, with attendant burnings and hangings by the thousand.
Could this have been a form of cultural mythos inducing experiences of psychical phenomena, with the hunters actually seeing the manifestations of dark forces they wanted to see?
In 1848 the Fox sisters of New York State began hearing rappings from a murdered pedlar. With this incident, Spiritualism was born, causing an immediate proliferation of spirits.
What is often forgotten is that 1848 was a year of revolution throughout the Western world. Could it also have been a time when insecurity provided a need for people to want to believe in the comfort of speaking with an existant world of the deceased?
In both these proliferations we have a similar story to the proliferation of the UFO. We have a trigger incident that sparks off a series of copycat incidents, creating, I am sure, hallucinations of an ‘in vogue’ idea.
For instance, the modern UFO epoch happened as people first realised, with the rocket, that space flight may be possible. And there are other, more local, examples.
In the early years of Anno Domini a preacher was put to death for the audacity of speaking his mind and trying to put the human race on a course of peace and love. He told the people that the ‘spirit’ of his message would live on. To the believer, his spirit manifested itself in physical form. His name was Jesus.
In 1914 the British Expeditionary Force fought valiantly to bring the German onslaught to a halt. So successful was their mission, particularly, so many claim, due to the Divine intervention offered in the form of the infamous Angels of Mons; ghostly knights who seemed to escort the British forces.
In this proliferation we can see the fatigue and emotion of the battle as causing a mass hallucination. But what about a trigger? First of all, much of the fighting took place close to the site of the Battle of Agincourt.
Second, about the same time of the fighting, a short story called ‘The Bowmen’ by Arthur Machen, was published in a popular newspaper. In it, medieval bowmen came to the rescue of the British forces.
Consider, also, the following. In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous had a vision of the Virgin Mary. This is just one of hundreds of such visions in the last millenium. But from Bernadette’s case a cultural mythos was created.
Bernadette was a devout Catholic, had had a hard childhood where fighting to survive in a peasant community was the rule of the day, and she was looking forward to her first Communion.
Young and impressionable, this is the time that fantasies can appear real in order to offer guidance emanating from deep within the unconscious. However, if we see Bernadette’s vision of the Virgin Mary to its completion we see a whole spate of visions from then on during the year in that very same village.
Going on from that year, we see the village becoming quite famous. It is Lourdes; a shrine where faith has shown itself most apt at curing illness.
The hopes and fears of Bernadette seem to have amplified to echo the hopes and fears of mankind. And by the same line of thought we can perhaps excuse people’s audacity in, today, seeing UFOs. It is, perhaps, the same cultural process in new clothes.
Of course, I would be wrong to say, without doubt, that UFOs are not some strange phenomenon associated with visitations from aliens from outer space. But the evidence seems to suggest not.
Yes, we should keep the possibility in mind. Ignoring something because we consider it impossible has inevitably brought severe dangers to man. But in saying that, we should remember that all avenues must be explored. And it certainly seems that the avenue of explaining UFOs through the amazing world of the mind in more than viable.
(c) Anthony North, February 2008
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