Saturday, January 21, 2012

UFO Witness Testimony: True or False?

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

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The Michalak UFO encounter at Falcon Lake, Canada in 1967, noted earlier here, has dubious value for some of you.

I think it has a patina of authenticity.

Speculating about witness testimony creates all kinds of amateur opinion and brings forth shards of erroneous information from the internet.

However, witness testimony is often, or usually, all that we have when it comes to UFOs.

When someone or a few people report a strange light in the night sky or a strange object in the daytime sky, one can equate the observations with misperceptions of mundane things or one can catalog the observations for what they are: strange lights or objects seen my normal people with normal or near-normal eyesight.

And that’s it. Nothing more can be done with such observations.

Our foray into witness testimony from Roswellians always causes a ripple of contention and debate.

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But Roswell’s witnesses, for the most part, didn’t see a UFO, in the sky or on the ground.

Some said they held pieces of “metal” that behaved oddly when toyed with.

Some said they saw a field of debris that was different from what they normally saw in the deserts and farms around Roswell.

Some even said they saw bodies of entities, in the desert, in hangars, and other venues.

But no one saw a UFO or flying saucer, and all the testimony about bodies and strange metal fragments came forth in the late 1970s and early 1980s after some UFO hobbyists started poking around, culling testimony that is besmirched by flawed questioning and psychological projections by the hobbyists.

So Roswell isn’t a platform from which worthwhile UFO testimony can be gotten or evaluated.

Roswell is a potpourri of maltreated memories and contrived imaginings better left to psychiatry and sociologists.

But there are many other UFO-related encounters, like that of Stefan Michalak, or Lonnie Zamora, the police officer who came across a unique craft and attending entities.

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There are dozens, hundreds even, of accounts where people have seen something that has come to be defined as a flying saucer, and many of those accounts include entities that rival creatures from fiction.

UFO books and the internet are replete with such accounts.

But what are we to make of such accounts?

I think that what has been presented by those who’ve experienced encounters with craft and creatures are as they have been recounted, caveated by the personal peccadilloes of observation that plague human beings.

But those peccadilloes are minor, and the over all experiences provided are essentially as they are described.

Michalak encountered a machine that caused him some physical pain and markings.

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The 1959 Father Gill sighting in Papua, New Guinea is what it is: a sighting by an Anglican priest and his mission staff and members of a object that floated above them, from which entities waved or interacted with the observers.

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The sighting may be ascribed to a kind of mass hysteria, but it makes more sense to allow it to be as it was recounted, without the psychological overlay.

The following accounts are detailed in John Spencer’s World Atlas of UFOs; Sightings, Abductions, and Close Encounters [SMITHMARK Publishers, NY, 1992]

The 1979 Mindalore Quezet “abduction” was what it was: a experience of a mother (Meagan) and son (Andre) who, under hypnosis, elaborated on a sighting of this object and its occupants:

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Was there an Oedipal element that explains the sighting? Perhaps. Or it was as it later was remembered. (More of this, upcoming.)

The 1970 Imjärvi, Finland encounter, in which two young fellows (Aarno Heinonen and Esko Viljo), while skiing, spotted a saucer-like craft that shot a beam of light to the ground near them, from which a short humanoid creature emerged, wearing a helmet, and glowing like “phosphorous.”

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The being held a black box that emitted a light that struck the young men, creating a mist, that beclouded the creature, and the beam of light that went back up into the craft, taking the little being with it.

One of the boys, Aarno, was partially paralyzed, and both fellows had symptoms similar to radioactive poisoning.

(Aarno went on to have other sightings and encounters with space women and men. He became a kind of contactee.)

Did these young men actually have the experience they reported? Their after-event symptoms indicate that something happened, but like Mr. Michalak’s encounter, exactly what?

The 1979 Taylor encounter in Livingston, Scotland, detailed here in an much earlier blog posting,
fascinates me.

Sixty-one year-old Robert Taylor was a forester who, while inspecting some new trees, was confronted by a globular object from which emerged to spiked spheres that grabbed Mr. Taylor by the legs, dragging him toward the large, globular object.

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Mr. Taylor lost consciousness, but awoke disheveled and unable to stand comfortably. His truck was mired in mud and he had to walk home.

He suffered a headache for some hours after the incident and had a inordinate thirst that lasted for two days.

His heavy blue serge trousers were torn, ostensibly from the spikes on the spheres that grabbed him.

Mr. Taylor had an unsullied reputation in his community and BUFORA, a British UFO investigative group, found ground traces that seemed to confirm Mr. Taylor’s account.

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Did Mr. Taylor concoct his story? Why?

Like Mr. Michalak, Lonnie Zamora, Reverend Gill, and the others noted here, what would be the motive, the reason for such bizarre contrivances?

Did each of these people misperceive a mundane event? Unlikely. Misperceptions with such similarities would create a category of hallucinations that would throw psychiatry in to a dither.

Are each of these encounters, of which there are many, many more, neurological quirks? Again, a neurological etiology would force neurologists to establish a mental substrate that lies outside the sensate reality humans work within, or misconstrue.

Are such stories evidence of Jose Caravaca’s Distortion hypothesis or Jacque Vallee’s ethereal others explanation?

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Perhaps. But that would mean something is intertwined with humanity to the exclusion of any other kind of rational reality; that is, something or some presence is fixated on inserting experiences in the minds of common folk, and to what end?

But does the idea that alien visitors are engaged in such foolery make any more sense?

What we are left with is the question of witness testimony.

Is it as it is recounted? I think it is. But I have no idea what it means, nor do I have any inkling of an explanation.

While memory over time fades and/or confabulates, these encounters were reported in situ and do not have the flaw of time to corrupt the descriptions.

What was said to have happened happened.

Now where does that take us I keep asking…

RR

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Movies and TV have created the UFO phenomenon


Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

While watching The Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy network over New Year holiday weekend, I noticed how the idea of extraterrestrial visitors suffused the series and, as I see it, impacted or influenced the unconscious minds of viewers.

As most of you know, those who’ve had UFO experiences – (somewhat) blasé encounters, abductions, and bizarre interactions (those listed by Jose Caravaca in his Distortion hypothesis) – recount those experiences in ways that mimic scenarios that one finds in movies – Invasion of the Body Snatchers, This Island Earth, et cetera – or television programs – The Outer Limits, said Twilight Zone – and some old radio shows – The Inner Sanctum, for example.

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Colin McGinn’s 2007 Vintage book, The Power of Movies: How Screen and Mind Interact, provides a non-psychologically afflicted approach to the influence that one will find in UFO encounter accounts and reports.

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Although Freud is mentioned, McGinn uses little or no psychobabble to present his views.

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Serious visitors to this blog know (or should) that human kind is subliminally impacted by ads and media presentations, and now images and offerings on YouTube, Facebook, and the internet generally.

Vance Packard, in his 1957 best-seller, The Hidden Persuaders, presented his substantive views on how media (ads in particular) seeped into the societal mind and influenced buying and attitudes that marketing people and companies exploited.

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A Columbo program from 1973 with Robert Culp delved in the how subliminal messages in film and TV ads could influence behavior.

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While Columbo’s airing and Packard’s book insinuates that all classes of people, and in particular, intelligent folks could be influenced as easily as the mentally deficient (and I don’t mean those with inferior brains), those who have lower I.Q.s than the population generally.

But UFO aficionados know that those who’ve reported and report UFO encounters (Hickson and Parker, the Hills, and those noted by Jose Caravaca at his blog, et al.) are not at the top of the intellectually sophisticated file; the encountered are common folks, generally: persons prone to be influenced by social and cultural elements.

When has a MacArthur Grant person experienced a UFO landing, or a Hawking assistant, or one of Einstein’s associates come face to face with UFO occupants?

When has a Tolstoy, or Fitzgerald, or Pynchon type had a UFO encounter?

My point is that persons with lower mental abilities have UFO encounters – and that includes Ezekiel in the Hebrew texts; he was prone to believe in things and people from the skies.

I’m not taking about UFO sightings, per se, here. Many of us have had UFO sightings, but those sightings stop at the observation.

When a UFO sighting triggers an “encounter,” one has to consider the Caravaca “theory” that a kind of oneirism takes place, and this is what McGinn covers in his book (see above).

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We are dealing with something a little more complex than an hallucination, arguably, but something that is palpable enough to be studied or researched by those hoping to get a handle on the meaning of UFOs – those at ground level anyway.

RR

Friday, December 30, 2011

UFOs have never impacted humanity or civilization


Copyright 2011, InterAmerica, Inc.

While some visitors here and even ourselves appear to be absorbed by Roswell and/or other UFO incidents (Socorro for one), and while our friend Chris Aubeck (Wonders in the Sky with Jacques Vallee) scours antiquity’s dcouments, via his Yahoo Magoniax Forum (where people submit ancient UFO accounts), we, all of us, have to realize and accept the “fact” -- and it is a fact –- that UFOs, for all our attention, have not affected humanity’s evolution, humanity’s civilizations, or any significant human enterprise.

Looking through the books below, we found not one item or footnote that referred to UFOs or anything that could be construed as a UFO; on the contrary, lots of things that prior civilizations embraced and noted (with art, writing, and action) were so removed from the UFO phenomenon that one is stunned by the attention Ancient Astronaut theorists get with their seemingly abundant litany of extraterrestrial artifacts and influences. Such artifacts and influences just do not exist, on a scale that betokens (meaningful?) alien visitations in the past.

The books listed here are only a few of the many that we (the RRRGroup and The Einstein Fellowship in Ann Arbor) perused for UFO or UFO-like references:

The Hittites by O. R. Gurney [Originally a Penguin Book, 1952, reissued by The London Folio Society, 2000]

Ancient Europe: A Survey by Stuart Piggott [Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago, 1965/1970]

The Mochica: A Culture of Peru by Elizabeth P. Benson [Praeger Publishers, NY, 1972]

Our Oriental Heritage (Part One of The Story of Civilization) by Will Durant [Simon and Schuster, NY, 1954]

We have culled from those books, the images created by the cultures examined, and present some here, noting the obsession that humanity, the peoples covered by the tomes, had with hunting, war, dress, sex, and death. (None had an obsession with visitors from the sky, except as anthropomorphic renditions of their gods, who also seemed consumed by war, dress and, especially sexuality.)

The Hittites:

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Gurney [ibid]

The Mochica (an accent on sexuality and death):

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Benson [ibid]

Ancient Europe:

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Piggott [ibid]

Our Oriental Heritage:

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Durant [ibid]

My point is that human culture (art, writing, warfare et cetera) has been noted by the ancients right up to today, with no ubiquitous insertion of UFOs or things that look like UFOs.

UFOs play no part in the modality of human evolution, mental or physical.

UFOs are a minor, peripheral phenomenal insertion in the movement from primitivism to human intellectual advancement.

That is why historians, archeologists, anthropologists, evolutionists, and science, generally, eschew UFOs; the phenomenon is essentially meaningless, like comets or meteors passing through the skies, or the aurora borealis, which is fascinating, but ephemeral in the great scheme of things.

RR

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

UFOs: Distortion or Mental Aberrations

Copyright 2011, InterAmerica, Inc.

Spanish UFO researcher Jose Antonio Caravaca proposes the hypothesis (which he is trying to develop into a theory) that UFO encounters are a mixture of a staged event by “others” and mental remnants of those having the encounter.

You can read his ideas at his blog by clicking HERE.

Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time: The Unexplained [Volume 1, H. S. Stuttman, Inc., Wetport Connecticut, 1991, Pages 56 and 57] present three incidents that fit Señor Caravaca’s suggestion:

Five creatures with webbed-feet alit from a UFO and examined chickens on a Puerto Rican farm on March 30, 1980:

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Two teenagers, awakened by a dog espied the creatures from their bedroom window, and two men sleeping in a car nearby spotted the same creatures, at the same time.

The sleeping men saw a domed UFO; the teenagers didn’t see a UFO.

A house painter in Trowbridge, England, on January 5th, 1980, awoke a 5 a.m. and saw a yellowish-green figure, like a projected image, at the foot of his bed:

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The figure said he came from a planet that, because of over crowding, eliminated portions of its population.

Further, he was visiting Earth to seal a crack in our planet, with cement, to keep it from splitting apart.

In October 1974, a couple, with their three sleeping children, were driving to their home at Aveley in Essex (England) when they saw that they were being paced by a blue light.

The light disappeared but they drove into a “well-defined bank of eerie green mist” which caused their radio to spark and crackle.

When they got home, they turned on their television set to see a program they had been rushing to see.

But the TV station was off the air and it was two hours later than they thought it should be.

Bothered by dreams related to the experience, they were placed under hypnosis and recalled being taken aboard a craft…

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...where they were shown about the “ship” and underwent medical examinations by creatures described thusly:

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None of the persons noted above tried to capitalize on their experiences, so we are left with a few possibilities:

Firstly; they each encountered extraterrestrials or alien visitors from outer space or inter-dimensions.

Secondly; they encountered a concomitant race of beings who reside alongside Earthlings – the Mac Tonnies’ crypto-terrestrial hypothesis.

Thirdly; all of them had a mental aberration that is yet to be defined exactly but falls into the category of hallucinatory hysteria.

Or, they were subject by “entities” yet unknown (or explained) who subjected them to a staged event (for reasons equally unknown), using their own mental remnants to create a scenario that’s weird but not so far from reality that the incidents can be dismissed out of hand: the Caravaca “Distortion” hypothesis.

Whatever occurred, the persons relating the encounters are not insane, in the usual sense, nor are they hoaxers (seemingly). They are normal individuals who’ve had a bizarre experience that is with parameters others find hard to accept or understand.

But note the “sleep factors” and the house painting connection in one of the events above.

What interests me -- there are several things that interest me -– but what stands out is that such occurrences don’t seem to be happening nowadays or are not being reported.

Your thoughts, as usual, are welcome…

RR

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Is Technology the Indicator of an Advanced Civilization?

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Copyright 2011, InterAmerica, Inc.

Revisiting Robert Temple’s The Sirius Mystery (about the African Dogon tribe’s alleged contact with extraterrestrials 5000 years ago), some questions came to mind.

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Why would extraterrestrial visitors visit a small, primitive tribe in the isolated, at the time (and even now), heart of Africa.

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Yes, the Sumerians and other cultures on the rim of the Mediterranean Sea are said by some, including Carl Sagan and I.S. Shklovskii in 1966’s Intelligent Life in the Universe, to have been contacted by extraterrestrials, that left intimations of writing, agriculture, math, and other accoutrements of civilized living.

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Oannes, the being from the sea who supposedly proffered these gifts is not unlike the Dogon visitors who told those peoples about their place of origin, a planet in the Sirius star system.

Click HERE for an online precis of the Dogon story.

But extraterrestrials would have to be significantly advanced to get here from the Sirius planetary environment, and one would think that such emissaries would seek out cultures and peoples who were much more advanced than the Dogon tribe, to whom they would communicate the locale of their home planet(s).

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The chatter between the Dogons and the Sirians would have had to be something beyond difficult.

Even today, the Dogons do not represent an advanced element of Earth’s global society.

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Either the Sirius visitors were inept at furthering the cultural evolution of the Dogons or the Sirius visitors represent a civilization that doesn’t regard technolocial advance as a sine qua non of their existence; technology is a prosaic tool, and other considerations make up the essence of their existence.

Or the visit never occurred at all.

For the sake of rumination, I’d like to address the second option above; that is, civilizations do not need technology to be advanced.

Perhaps it’s the music, the art, or social intercourse that is the high point of “advanced” civilizations, not the attributes of the ships that transport them hither and yon.

This would explain, perhaps, why UFOs have appeared in various guises, some not so futuristic as we imagine: the airships of the 1890s for example.

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This would also explain, perhaps, why flying saucers have had a propensity to crash; they are not technologically refined, nor meant to be.

They are constructed to get here from there, much as Columbus or Amerigo Vespucci did with their rudimentary, by modern standards, ships.

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If visitors sought out this planet, for whatever reason, they would impart elements of culture – music, art, writing, mathematics, and the like – rather than methods with a technological bent.

Technology wasn’t and isn’t their primary incentive or objective.

The artifacts touted by Ancient Alien theorists are esthetic not technological: the pyramids of Egypt and Middle/South America, Stonehenge, the Easter Island moai, et cetera.

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What the Dogon were and are mimics the alien races and beings - the alien cultures –that seem to have visited the Earth in the past and today.

UFO researchers, governments, military constructs have missed the point.

UFOs visit to impart refinement, high culture.

And that refinement or culture is so foreign to our understanding, we humans can’t grasp it, although one might find hints of it in such workings as that of the Dogons, or the Egyptians, or the Inca, the Olmecs, the Mayans.

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The message of UFOs isn’t about nuts and bolts or plasmatic ships.

It’s about existence as a thing rarefied, transcendental, or, shall we say, spiritual?

RR