Outside the alien abduction scenario there is a history of “ascensions” (brought to the fore by the impending Easter season and the alleged ascension of Jesus after his resurrection).
Ascension means to ascend -- to go up, to heaven or somewhere above.
This has been a staple of religious and mythological storytelling since the beginning of history, and is part and parcel of many UFO reports (which we’ll cite below).
Some Biblical accounts:
Enoch was said to have been taken by God [Genesis 5:24] and Elias (Elijah) “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” via a fiery chariot and fiery horses [4 Kings 2:11].
Ezechiel (Ezekiel) was lifted up [Ezechiel 11:1] and Jesus “was taken up into heaven” [Mark 16:19], and “was carried up into heaven” [Luke 24:51].
In mythology, Heracles (Hercules), upon his death, a cloud passed over his body and bore it away, to Olympus.
Aeneas, a hero of Troy, after setting up a new home for the Trojans, was killed in battle, and was lifted up to heaven.
Diomedes, king of Argos, and one of the Epigoni -- the sons of the Seven against Thebes – was murdered by King Daunus, and divinely spirited away.
In Catholic legend, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was lifted, body and soul, upon her death to heaven.
The Roman Catholic Church recognizes many ascensions or levitations, ascribing them to acts of God.
Here is a list of some of the saints and persons so elevated:
St. Edmund, then Archbishop of Canterbury circa 1242.
St. Teresa of Avila in Madrid during 1680.
Sister Mary an Arabian Carmelite nun in Bethlehem circa 1700.
St. Adolphus Liguori in Foggia during 1777.
Father Suarez at Santa Cruz in Southern Argentina in1911.
But what spurred this posting, aside from the upcoming Ascension Holy Day, are two accounts that I stumbled across, which most of you may be familiar with…
The David Lang and Oliver Larch disappearances (from Wikipedia):
According to the stories surrounding him, on 23 September 1880, Lang, of Gallatin, Tennessee, was walking across the grounds of his farm to meet Judge August Peck who was approaching his farm in a horse and buggy, when Lang vanished mid-step and in full view of the judge, his wife Chanel and his two children, and the judge's brother-in-law. The ground around where Lang had been walking was searched in case he had fallen into a concealed hole, but no trace was found. The story further states that Lang's children later called out to him, and heard a disembodied voice calling as if from a great distance.
The story of David Lang was published in Fate magazine by journalist Stuart Palmer, who claimed that he had been told the story by Lang's daughter. However, no trace of David Lang nor his family (including his apparent daughter) was ever found in any records of that period, and the entire article was later determined to be a hoax likely inspired by the short story "The Difficulties of Crossing a Field" by Ambrose Bierce (1909), collected in his book Can Such Things Be? In 1999, the modern composer David Lang based an opera on Bierce's story. (The story has also become a popular urban legend).
The story of Oliver Larch (Sometime known as Lerch or Thomas) follows a similar pattern to that of David Lang. According to the narrative, Larch was on his way to collect water from a well one winter when he vanished, leaving nothing behind but a trail of footprints in the snow which terminated abruptly, and a series of terrible cries for help such as "Help, they've got me!" that appeared to come from above. Larch's story was later found to be a variation on "Charles Ashmore's Trail", published in 1893 by Ambrose Bierce. In some versions, Larch's story is set in late 19th century Indiana, in others, it is set in North Wales. One particular recurring variation was an Oliver Thomas of Rhayader, Radnorshire, mid-Wales with the date given as 1909.For a skeptical clarification and implied hoax explanation, click here
In UFO lore, there are many UFO stories based upon ascending, all usually gathered within the abduction category, but not correctly, I think.
Betty And Barney Hill (1961)
Carl Higdon (1974)
Travis Walton (1975)
Kelly Cahill (1993)
While UFOs do not factor in to most of these accounts, in the stories where they do, however, the descriptives of the ascensions, levitations, and upliftings to the crafts come close to that provided in the stories noted above.
Is there an interdimensional aspect to these events, theorized by M-Theory (string theory)?
Or are physical laws just suspended in some circumstances?
And are UFOs merely omens of dimensional shifts or some other physical quirk?
In Bruce Duensing’s ruminations at his blogs, there is an interconnectedness of all these things.
UFOs may only be one (tangential?) aspect of a reality that is intertwined with elements paranormal, prosaic, and transcendental – a reality too bizarre and complex to explain, no matter how hard we humans try.
N.B. John Mack’s study of “abductees” indicated that “out-of-body” experiences were prominent in the accounts he monitored.
In the Lang and Larch stories, family members heard voices from above the spot where the men allegedly disappeared.
(In ancient times, sailors approaching an island near the mouth of the Ister River claimed to have heard the voice of Achilles, who had been slain much earlier.)
Thomas Aquinas, who had a transcendental experience that caused him to stop writing – what he saw made his efforts as so much straw in the wind – was said, by G. K. Chesterton, in a work on Aquinas, to have been seen to levitate while saying mass, near the end of his life.