DARKNESS IN THE DESERT & Anomalous Lights Among the Azande

Lately I've been paying frequent visits to Nick Redfern's DARKNESS IN THE DESERT website DEDICATED TO REVEALING THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND FINDINGS CONCERNING NICK REDFERN'S CONTROVERSIAL BOOK "BODY SNATCHERS IN THE DESERT: THE HORRIBLE TRUTH AT THE HEART OF THE ROSWELL STORY."

I've absolutely no problem with the book's central thesis: it might even be right (allowing for the fact informants can be as emotionally and mentally motivated by a desperate need to convince others a thing ISN'T so as any UFO/ghost/conspiracy nut desperate to prove it IS!).

But I'd like to suggest here Nick's up against two things making his task extremely difficult.

The first is that 8 July 1947 Roswell Daily Record front page headline “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region.”

The second is much more intangible and difficult to define or explain hence my use of the following Edward Evans-Pritchard quote given by Jack Hunter in his Darklore Volume 6 contribution Anthropology of the Weird:

About midnight, before retiring, I took a spear and went for my usual nocturnal stroll. I was walking in the garden at the back of the hut, amongst banana trees, when I noticed a bright light passing at the back of my servant’s hut towards the homestead of a man called Tupoi. As this seemed worth investigation I followed its passage until a grass screen obscured the view. I ran quickly through my hut to the other side in order to see where the light was going to, but did not regain sight of it. I knew that only one man, a member of my household, had a lamp that might have given off so bright a light, but next morning he told me that he had neither been out late at night nor had he used his lamp. There did not lack ready informants to tell me that what I had seen was witchcraft. Shortly afterwards, on the same morning, an old relative of Tupoi and an inmate of his household died. This fully explained the light I had seen. I never discovered the real origin, which was probably a handful of grass lit by someone on his way to defecate, but the coincidence of the direction along which the light moved and the subsequent death accorded well with Zande ideas.

I suspect many people'll read this as Evans-Pritchard saying he thought he saw some weird seemingly supernatural light floating about the jungle in the middle of the night but on reflection realised it was probably only some guy taking a dump with a homemade torch.

And they may be right.

I'm suggesting here though when Evans-Pritchard tells us he subsequently learned an old relative of someone called Tupoi'd died later that same morning and "the coincidence of the direction along which the light moved and the subsequent death accorded well with Zande ideas" he's alluding to a much more subtle idea.

He's implying the imminent death of Tupoi's relative caused the denizens of the other world to mystically transfigure another more mundane event - some guy taking a dump - by way of supernaturally acknowledging it through Evans-Pritchard himself.

My point being it may not matter whether Roswell involved a real flying saucer or not if 'denizens of the other world' 've 'mystically transfigured' it to suit their own purposes.

In which case Nick really does have his work cut out.