Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Flying Saucers, UFOs, and Unidentifiable Aerial Phenomena


A New Yorker piece [Hello, Hal, by John Seabrook, 6/23/08. Page 38 ff.] about computers and the lack of verbal communication with them, had this to day about speech recognition [Page 41]:

“speech-recognition research is heavily dependent on the size of the data sample. Or “corpus” – the sheer volume of speech you work with. The larger your corpus, the more data you can feed to the learning algorithms and the better the guesses [you] can make.”

This applies to UFO research as well.

Skipping the early UFO accounts from before the Christian era, down into the Airships of the 1890s, one can take a look at what the UFO phenomenon has presented from 1947 forward to today [2008].

The first flying saucer reports, starting with Kenneth Arnold’s encounter, indicated that UFOs were tangible, “nuts-and-bolts” craft.


This was the general perception of UFOs, flying saucers, well into the 1970s, when, as we’ve noted before, UFOs became amorphous lights in the sky pretty much.

Today, UFOs have even lost the quasi-tangibility of lights, appearing as diffuse blobs or anomalous images in the daylight and night-time hours.

The “metallic-like” saucers of the 50s and 60s are nowhere to be seen, or rarely so.

The Tremonton, Utah images filmed by Delbert Newhouse, in 1952, prefigured the raft of later sightings that only consisted of “energized lights” flitting around in the skies.


(The seemingly substantive, triangular UFOs spotted in Belgium and Illinois or Phoenix are military prototypes in our estimation.)

What has happened is that the UFO phenomenon or, rather, phenomena, has gone from concretized craft to will-o-the-wisp things, with nothing but multiple colors or light intensities to distinguish them from normal aircraft.

This means that data – a corpus – need to be accumulated for serious ufologists to research, in ways that mimic what quantum or theoretical physicists do.


(Physicists use mathematical models and arcane methodologies to determine what reality or the Universe is made up of. Ufologists need to do the same for the phenomena that intrigues them.)

The change in the configuration of flying saucers may have much to do with what they are, intrinsically.

There is no doubt that flying saucers were once touchable, real artifacts of some kind. Too many persons witnessed them as real objects, of a metallic kind – the stuff that Stanton Friedman makes much of.


But then UFOs (flying saucers) transmogrified into something not so tangible. Why?

Abductees (experiencers) provide tales of intangible beings and craft in their accounts.

(While we think abduction reports may stem from something other than a bona fide kidnappings, as the Hills and others stated, one much allow for the possibility of the realness of those accounts, some of them at least.)


Those abduction stories supplement the change in flying saucers from hard objects to immaterial objects.

The UFO corpus for today – the date being accumulated – is that UFOs are more light than anything else.

And this is one path that might prove interesting, if ufologists can get in gear and do something other than redundantly ruminate over past UFO episodes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Plato, the Cave, and UFOs


From Wikipedia:

“The forms that we see, according to Plato, are not real, but literally mimic the real Forms.

In the Allegory of the cave expressed in Republic they are called the shadows of artificial replicas of real things.”

Are UFOs “forms”?

We think they may be.

And if they are. then what are the real Forms, that which the UFO “forms” are mimicking?

Jacques Vallee, and a few others, have been suggesting all along that UFOs represent another reality, a reality behind the apparent reality.

Even as a chair can be a Plato “form” with the real chair Form residing elsewhere – an “elsewhere” that isn’t exactly defined in philosophy or Jungian psychology (where Plato’s archetypes play an important role) – UFOs can be “forms” but where is the UFO elsewhere, where the real UFO Form may be found?

That is the question that Vallee (or Jung in his book on flying saucers) fails to answer.

Without the source or “elsewhere” of UFOs, it becomes difficult, maybe even impossible, to assess what UFOs really are.

But that’s what ufology needs to do: find the “elsewhere” that houses the UFO phenomenon or phenomena.

This means that philosophical disciplines need to be applied to UFO research and investigation.

While we eshew philosophy at another venue of ours, we think the methodologies of philosophy (and maybe quantum mechanics which is more philosophic than scientific) can be worked to attack the UFO enigma.

It will require effort of a serious kind, which we know ufologists are rarely up to, but that is what it will take to get to the core of the UFO reality.

And we know a few pesons who are up to the task, and prepared to make the mental (maybe physical) pursuit.

We’ll keep you apprised of their progress, if any…

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cultural Factors and Flying Saucer Beings


When flying saucers – the hard metal kind (or so they appeared to be) – started landing in the late 1940s, the 1950s, and 1960s, debarking (usually) little beings, the appearances centered in Europe: Italy, France, Belgium, Spain….

The Rosa Lotti encounter [Italy, 1954], pictured above, represents the beings generally reported.

Patrick Huyghe recounts an episode of 1947 [in his Field Guide to Extraterrestrials, Avon, 1996, Page 38] in Villa Santina, Italy where two “little green men” accosted a professor of geology, Rapuzzi Johannis.


In North America, beings emerging from saucers were rather normal looking in the contactee stories, which can be discounted we think.

More reliable accounts described monster-like beings [Flatwoods, West Virginia, 1952] or goblin-like creatures [Kelly Kentucky, 1955].


South America, meanwhile, was reporting creatures with animal features, usually fur and/or fangs [Caracas, Venezuela, 1954], with several animal-like beings showing up in the 1970s.

Russian encounters had descriptions that likened the creatures to robots, usually tall in stature [Voronezh, Russia, 1989] which was antedated by a similar 10 foot tall, one-eyed being encountered in the Minas Gerais State of Brazil (the same area where Villas Boas had his CIA encounter) in 1963.


Nordic encounters [such as that in Imjärvi Mikkeli, Finland, 1970] indicated short beings (3 feet or so) with features that simulated an ice-elf.


The small, gray humanoids appeared after the 1961 Betty/Barney Hill episode, but those seem, to us, to be copy-cat descriptions, whereas the former and later encounters appear to be bona fide, at least in the recounting.


Huyghe reports in his book [above] a 1951 encounter in Salzburg, Austria that resembles the Higdon account (covered here previously) and an interesting report [Page 66, from Jenny Randles’ “Alien Contacts and Abductions,” 1994]] that took place in 1896 in Lodi, California, where three 6 foot-tall, delicate, strangely beautiful beings were encountered by two reputable witnesses.


Huyghe also gives pages to inanimate objects, mechanical in nature, from various sources that appeared emerging from UFOs and flying saucers for the time-frame of 1947-1977 but mostly in the 1950s.

Insect-like creatures have also been reported [Cooksville, Maryland, 1973] along with reptilian beings [Marzano, Genoa, Italy, 1978 and Mount Vernon, Missouri, 1983] plus amphibian creatures [South Ashburnham, Massachusetts, 1967 and Orland Park, Illinois, 1951].


The Pascagoula, Mississippi Hickson/Parker encounter of 1973, with elephant-skinned, robotic-like beings strikes us as bogus or hallucinatory, but that’s only a gut-feeling; Hickson acted as if in a transitional mental state that influenced his buddy, Parker much in the way that Betty Hill influenced Barney Hill in his 1961 account.


British episodes [such as that in Rowley Regis, West Midlands, England, 1979] often mimic fairy stories that are and have been ubiquitous in the British Isles for many years going back to the Middle Ages, and seem to represent, à la Jacques Vallee, something other than alien, extraterrestrial encounters.


We feel that an anthropological-sociological scrutiny of such reports might provide a clue to one aspect of the UFO phenomena – the creature element(s).

That is, do cultures and societies see flying saucers, UFOs, and such creatures as those listed above in ways that are skewed by their environments and societal histories?

This seems to be an area of ufological study that may be fecund with interesting insight(s) and information.