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I love this cartoon for several reasons: It’s funny and pleasing to look at, and once you stop giggling it inadvertently coaxes you to think.

But I also like it because its anonymous author may or may not have been influenced by the musings of one of the best thinkers to arrive in the UFO field in the last 25 years or so: The late Mac Tonnies (20 August 1975 – 22 October 2009).

To say Mac was ahead of his time is an understatement. 10 years before most of the UFO community even knew who Ray Kurzweil was, he was already pondering whether Transhumanism and the Singularity were plausible tools by which to observe the UFO phenomenon from a new, fresh angle. He shared his ideas of UFOs as the potential manifestation of a post-biological intelligence through his blog Posthuman Blues; and after his untimely passing at the age of 34, he was able to reach a larger audience with the posthumous publication of his book The Cryptoterrestrials [Amazon US & UK], which should be required reading to anyone interested in this phenomenon.

[Mac also contributed to the Darklore anthology series with his essay “The Ancients Are Watching”, featured on Volume II]

On Friday, September 29th, 2009, Mac published the following post on his blog:

Every few nights I get out my laser pointer and indulge my cats in a frenetic game of “chase.” Cats are natural hunters, and they’re effectively incapable of not looking at the quickly moving red dot that I project onto the carpet, walls, or any piece of furniture that happens to be in its path.

To my cats, the red dot possesses its own vitality. It exists as a distinct entity. While they may see me holding the pointer, they can’t (or won’t) be distracted by such things once the button is pressed and the living room is suddenly alive with luminous vermin. So they chase it. And chase it. And, if they get close enough, even take swipes at it — in which case I make the dot “flee” or disappear in what seems like a concession of defeat (which, of course, only further arouses the cats’ predatory curiosity).

All the while I’m controlling the red dot, I’m taking pains to make it behave like something intelligible. Just waving the pointer around the room wouldn’t be any fun. So I make it “climb,” “jump” and scuttle when cornered — even though the laser’s impervious to obstructions.

This sense of physicality seems to be the element that makes chasing the laser so engaging — both for the cats and for me.

I can’t help but be reminded of our continuing search for assumed extraterrestrial vehicles. UFO sightings demonstrate many of the same aspects of a typical feline laser hunt: mysterious disappearances, “impossible” maneuvers and a predilection for trickery — the apparent desire to be seen despite (or because of) a technology presumed to be far in advance of our own. More than one UFO researcher has noted that UFOs behave more like projections or holograms than nuts-and-bolts craft . . . an observation that begs the nature of the intelligence doing the projecting.

According to astrophysicist Jacques Vallee, UFOs are part of a psychosocial conditioning system by which perceived “rewards” are doled out to reconcile for the dearth of irrefutable physical evidence. The phenomenon — whatever its ultimate nature — obstinately denies itself, thus enabling the very game it’s intent on playing with us.

We see that sudden spark of red light; we pounce. This time we’ll catch it for sure.

A couple of days ago, when I found the cartoon online –with Spanish subtitles, actually!– I immediately sent it to Mike Clelland, for I knew he of all people would appreciate it. Not only was Mike a good friend of Mac Tonnies’ (and ended up illustrating The Cryptoterrestrials as a final favor to him) but he himself wrote a very similar post as a way to inaugurate his own blog, Hidden Experience; the major difference between both writings being that Mike used a piece of string as a metaphor for the UFO, while Mac –ever the tecnophile– opted for the more sophisticated laser pointer to play with his cats Ebe and Spooky –the best names for a UFOlogist’s pet as far as I’m concerned.

Even more interesting still, it seems there was only a month of difference between Mac’s ‘laser pointer’ post on Posthuman Blues, and Mike’s ‘cat string’ post on Hidden Experience; which should make anyone wonder whether this ‘crypto-intelligence’ which likes to interact with us from time to time through flashy aerial manifestations, also employs other ‘toys’ to get our attention –like synchronicities for example.

Which brings us back to the cartoon: Was the author aware of Mac’s work? Did he listen to some of his interviews available online? Or was he ‘inspired’ to come up with the laser pointer gag through other channels? How can be so sure that our thoughts are exclusively our own?

Whichever the case, I hope Mac managed to get a good chuckle out of this, wherever he is right now.


Mac stepping Outside. Artwork by Mike Clelland.