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Editor Robbie Graham has given his blessing to all contributing authors of UFOs: Reframing the Debate to post their individual essays online. If you haven’t done so though, you should still grab a copy of this anthology –if nothing else, so you can properly adorn your book shelves with a kickass book cover designed by yours truly 😉

Despite some personal reticence due to the exhaustive amount of work it took the first time, Robbie has confirmed that a second volume of Reframing the Debate will be published in the not-so-distant future. That makes me very happy because the field needs the occasional kick in the pants by those who still deeply care about the subject, as was the case with all the contributors no matter their contrasting opinions on what the mystery actually means. Because of that, I sincerely hope that for volume 2 an entirely new batch of writers gets assembled, so different voices can be added to the discussion –I already have some suggestions of my own on who should be invited, but I’d like to read your thoughts as well.

As for myself, this was and still is the longest thing I’ve ever written, and without a doubt the most difficult one to ‘bind together’ and complete as a unified, structured read. When Robbie first reached out to me in 2016 to ask me if I wanted to be a part of Reframing the Debate, I didn’t hesitate that much despite the fact I honestly didn’t feel I had a whole lot of original things to say about my beloved flying saucers, either. I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘UFOlogist’ because I’ve never been out in the field taking pictures, measuring landing tracks or interviewing witnesses; nevertheless I’ve studied the subject for most of my life, and as with anyone who takes a passionate interest into something, you get to think about it a lot over the years. And so I pitched to Robbie some of my most intimate thoughts about what UFOs represent to me personally, and what I feel their real influence in culture might be. He liked the idea and let me roll with it for the many months that it took to finally get the damn thing out of my head in a semi-coherent form. Given the positive response I’ve received from people whose opinion I deeply respect once the book was out, I guess I didn’t do much of a half-ass job…

Robbie also gave me the freedom to illustrate my essay with 3 original pieces, inspired by both the theme and also the comic book influences I used as references. The featured image at the top for example, is both a homage to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, as well as to one of the primordial examples of The Grinning Man archetype in Fortean phenomena –Springheeled Jack.

So without further ado, here it is for the enjoyment of Daily Grail readers, my own little addition to this tremendously valuable volume, which was received with equal measure of praise and condemnation by people on both sides of the UFO discussion, true believers and fundamental skeptics alike –which means we must’ve done something right!

 

*****

Anarchy in the UFO!

 

“Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos.”

Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

 

Let us start with a somewhat impertinent question: Why are you doing this?

I mean, why do you find yourself presently with your hands on this book, reading these words on this particular moment?

Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? Friends to meet, bills to pay, a lawn to mow, or a Netflix series to binge-watch?

If the answer lies in the fact that you are interested in the topic of this volume –the UFO phenomenon– well hooray and good for you, fellow weirdo. But is that it?

Have you ever bothered to pry deeper into the origin of this odd interest of yours? Tried to understand the fuel driving your passion for a subject which is mostly perceived as an absurdity by the majority of humanity and our social institutions?

One of the reasons you’re reading this essay is because I, its author, have too held a lifelong fascination –nay, obsession really– with UFOs. Like most people lured by the hypnotic power of those brightly multi-colored objects, throughout the years I consumed claim after claim of encounters between witnesses and this Other reality, as if the pages of those books now gathering dust in my library had been laced with an addictive substance.

I took my fix of reports, believed the theories proposed by the so-called experts in the field, only to turn them down and replace them with other solutions to the mystery submitted by charismatic mavericks once they succeeded their predecessors. Accounts which I first regarded as genuine evidence of otherworldly visitation were eventually discarded as crude frauds; whereas new cases were hailed by newcomers as proof Contact was just around the corner. If all this sounds familiar to you, dear reader, is because it is the typical cycle in which all UFO enthusiasts eventually fall into.

Sadly, most of them never do find a way out of it…

Unlike most aficionados, though, I decided to stop pedalling the wheel for a moment and approach the problem from a different perspective: I took Jacques Vallee’s speculations to task and shifted my focus not on what UFOs are, but rather on what they reportedly do, and the effect their presence (whether factual or fictional) have in the affairs of men. Suddenly the disc presumed to serve as a vehicle for sojourning outer space turned into a mirror for surveying inner space. And thus I finally had a glimpse of Truth –if not about the nature of UFOs, at least about the nature of myself.

For you see, dear reader, the truth UFOs taught me about my own self some time ago, is that I’m an anarchist. And if you keep reading these pages, that proves deep down you’re one too –whether you want to admit it or not.

So do what thou wilt, friend, and read on… or not.

 

* * *

 

–“Uuuugh. Somebody please tell me what I’m doing here…”

–“Doing?

  You’re doing what any sane man in your appalling circumstances would do.

  You’re going mad.”

―Alan Moore, The Killing Joke (1988)

 

For an adult, there’s no easier way to recapture the feelings of early childhood than contemplating the night sky. Children are not only constantly exploring the world they have recently arrived into, they are also learning to recognize and control the fiery impulses fueling their young bodies; which is why most of their experiences are a mixture of disparaging emotions: Sadness combined with happiness, curiosity blended with repulsiveness, wonder tinged with fear.

Gazing at the stars brings forth the inner kid in all of us, because that cosmic vastness not only gives humans an incredibly disproportionate sense of scale with which to compare our fleeting existences, but it also serves as an unsympathetic reminder that all those energies unfolding before our eyes are totally beyond our control. Measured by the stellar yardstick, we’re but a bunch of helpless rugrats.

Understanding a thing is, though, the beginning of power over that thing. Our species has come a long way since those nights sitting by the campfire, when our nomadic ancestors played to connect those distant dots to create gods and monsters suited for their idiosyncratic mythologies; now we realize those points are suns like our own, so distant many of them are but a ghostly echo of their former self. And despite the fact those celestial bodies won’t bow to our will (not in the way we’ve already started to tame other formidable forces of Nature) they have nevertheless yielded to the might of our Reason, and we learned to calculate their goings and comings over the horizon with startling accuracy. Predictability begets familiarity, and regularity is an antidote to anxiety.

Other more random phenomena, which were universally considered bad omens by ancient cultures all around the globe, such as the passing of lonely comets or meteor strikes, have also started to fall into the cycle of regularity. Yes, we know sooner or later some vagrant space boulder will challenge our title of dominant species over the Earth –a test the dinosaurs failed– but at least we now know it’s not a question of ‘If’, but of ‘When.’

In his globally acclaimed TV series Cosmos [1], Carl Sagan tells his audience how during the age of Copernicus and Kepler Astronomy became the first true modern science, by way of supplanting Superstition with Logic. Glimpsing into the exquisite machinery of the universal clockwork with brand-new mechanical extensions to our senses (telescopes) and applying  the principles which became the backbone of the Scientific Method, gave those early natural philosophers enough confidence that there was nothing in Creation which could remain hidden from Man’s comprehension forever; now the world we inhabit is the direct result of said confidence. By first mapping the charts of the heavens, we eventually ended up molding the face of the Earth.

And yet there remain portents and apparitions still haunting our skies, which have proven so  unruly and resistant to reassuringly conventional explanations, they’ve become the biggest threat to our trust in the dominion of Reason; to the point that the vast edifice modern Science has erected since the days of Galileo could seemingly come crashing down, should its stewards were to merely entertain the existence of these visions, and grant a crumb of credence to those who have bared witness to them. ‘Return to the age of chimeras haunting the nights of our forefathers? Never!’ Thus, the logical route taken by the stewards of this vital scaffolding is the path of denial and ridicule. A method which inevitably backfired in the most unsettling ways…

Psychedelic raconteur Terence McKenna (1946-2000) was someone who had as much respect for the arrogant orthodoxy of Academia as for the naive obtuseness of most UFO advocates, who simply cannot seem able to conceive the phenomenon outside the propositions reminiscent of some yellowing version of a 1950’s Sci-Fi novel. During his presentation titled Shamanic Approaches to the UFO, for the ‘Angels, Aliens & Archetypes’ conference held in San Francisco in November of 1987, aside from exploring alternative solutions to the origin of UFOs besides the hallowed ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis), he posited that what the phenomenon’s primordial task seemed to be, was neither charting the flora and fauna of our planet like some space-age version of Charles Darwin, nor establishing a foothold for an impending colonization fleet. What UFOs were really doing, in his eyes, was something far more subtle and pernicious: Eroding our faith in Science, and acting as an antidote to a scientific paradigm spawned by the ideas of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, which ultimately has brought us to the brink of total collapse [2]:

“Rationalism, scientific technology which began and came out of the scholasticism of the Middle Ages and the quite legitimate wish to glorify God through appreciation of His natural world turned into a kind of demonic pact, a kind of descent into the underworld, the Nekya, if you will, leading to the present cultural and political impasse that involves massive stockpiles of atomic weapons, huge propagandized populations cut off of any knowledge of their real histories, male-dominated organizations plying their message of lethal destruction and inevitable historical advance. And into this situation comes suddenly an anomaly, something which cannot be explained. I believe that is the purpose to the ufo: to inject uncertainty into the male-dominated, paternalistic, rational, solar myth under which we are suffering […] The ufo is nothing more than an assertion of herself by the Goddess into history, saying to science and paternalistically-governed and driven organizations “you have gone far enough! We are going to turn the world upside down. Your science is going to be shown up for what it is: nothing more than a pleasant metaphor, usefully extrapolated into the production of toys for wealthy children.”

Had Robert Anton Wilson, Pope of Discordianism [3] –the philosophical movement centered around the exaltation of Chaos and Disorder over Conformity and Order– been seated among the audience that day, I imagine he would have risen up at that very moment shouting “Hail Eris!!”. In Greek mythology, Eris was the goddess of Discord, responsible according to some legends of the famous war of Troy, by giving the hero Paris a golden apple and instructing him to present it as a prize to “the most beautiful” among the female deities –a task impossible to have a happy resolution, given how the greek pantheon was famous for being carried out by the same base emotions as their human creatures… like vanity and jealousy. It almost feels as if the modern-age flying saucer is the newest version of Eris’s golden apple, thrown into the skies just to anger her cousin Athena, goddess of Wisdom and Philosophy. We mortals seem to be trapped inside a cosmic game whose rules and stakes we may never comprehend –yet that doesn’t mean we all can’t get a kick out of it, like Discordians do.

Just what is it about the UFO that makes it so revolting to the classical tenets of Science, anyway? I believe that ultimately the antagonism is more ideological than theoretical: If we disregard the usual refutations proposed by the inheritors of Carl Sagan’s legacy –i.e. The inconceivable gulfs between observable stellar islands, the massive amounts of energy required to traverse those empty oceans, and the sheer richness of the cosmic archipelago compounding to the irrelevance of our own little reef of the Milky Way–  there remains the one element which ironically joins both believers and skeptics in their rejection of the high strangeness emanating from shunned close encounter accounts: The nonsensical, non-regimented nature of those alleged interactions, which can only be classified as Trickstery.

We’ve mentioned the 1950’s pulp fiction which helped popularize the stereotype of interstellar visitation during the postwar years, and even though some of those same publications also helped in disseminating the earliest sightings and the nascent flying saucer myths –i.e. The Shaver Mystery popularized by Ray Palmer, editor of Amazing Stories [4]– the record shows most ‘serious’ Sci-Fi authors of that era showed the utmost contempt for UFOs: Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury always scorned the phenomenon and paved the way for the modern atheist-based skeptic movement still championed by the likes of Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer.

But why would liberal freethinkers who tried to make a living out of conjuring tales of a universe pulsating with sentient life, made accessible through the same scientific ingenuity which helped defeat fascism in our own world, be so against the notion of non-human interlopers? Their rejections is better understood once we realize the modus operandi of these entities spat in the face of their rational vision of how interstellar ambassadors should conduct themselves when crossing our planetary borders. The cliched “take me to your leader” and the landing of a flying saucer on the White House lawn, was replaced by cardboard-tasting ‘pancakes’ given to a lonely chicken farmer in Wisconsin; and instead of gathering genetic samples from the most prominent members of our species, such as Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, these space veterinarians are instead relying on medieval methods to conduct husbandry with Brazilian farmers (Antonio Villas Boas), while also collecting sperm and ova from post office employees (Barney Hill), Christian housewives (Betty Andreasson) and terror novel writers (Whitley Strieber) to name a few of the most prominent –albeit socially unremarkable– abductees. These darn aliens will simply not follow the proper channels!

Furthermore, rather than hailing to our complicated, mathematically-coded salutes sent through the electromagnetic spectrum –which, we are constantly reminded, would be the logical way to conduct a productive exchange with a faraway, scientifically-advanced intelligence– this foreign influence appears to shun the need for expensive (read, exclusive) interfaces, and resort to tricksterish displays of arcane symbolism seemingly meant to bypass the waking mind, and subliminally affect the human Id in such a way, that it seeks to shake the consciousness off any previously-held orthodox preconceptions. One example of these symbolically-charged stagings is the eschatological visions Betty Andreasson was subjected to after she was taken by gray-like entities to what was seemingly another world [4]: An enormous, glowing eagle reduced to ash in phoenix-like fashion, reborn into a hideous gray worm. The oneiric quality of these fringe cases is what has driven many investigators to relegate them to the realm of dreams and nightmares; but is that the sensible thing to do when facing a phenomenon which constantly defies our boundaries of rationality?

Yet another example of the unorthodox semiology surrounding this mystery can be found in the controversial crop circles. Opinion is fiercely divided in the UFO community on whether the seasonal agro-glyphs appearing in the fields of England and other countries, are the result of direct non-human intervention or simply elaborated by anonymous (human) artists for various reasons. But even the few ‘croppies’ who have come forward –e.g. Matthew Williams, the only person ever convicted by British laws for making a circle [5]– allude to a high strangeness surrounding the formations; which implies even the man-made circles are the result of a ‘psychic’ (whatever the term means) collaboration between the artists and an undisclosed agency. The result of this covert collusion are the strikingly beautiful symbols and mandalas, which seem to employ geometry to impart lessons of a primordially spiritual nature, even though the angry owners of the fields in which they keep cropping up (no pun intended) regard them not as art or high forms of spiritual expression, but as pranks threatening their livelihood. Whatever the reason behind these transgressional formations, they are definitely NOT the prime number sets Sagan and his colleagues would expect to receive from a sensible civilization! [6] And perhaps therein lies the problem…

What keeps hard nosed UFO investigators awake at night isn’t that the records are ‘littered’ with numerous cases which defile a clean-cut ‘rational’ explanation with their unnecessary absurdity — poltergeist activity after a close encounter, cryptid sightings surrounding an alleged landing, cattle mutilations and bizarre apparition inside the infamous Skinwalker ranch property [7], synchronicities and precognition, etc. No, the truly unsettling thing is entertaining the possibility that these cases are not the outliers, but proof the phenomenon IS absurd by design!

Arthur C Clarke once wrote that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from Magic. Perhaps he forgot to consider how any sufficiently advanced mentality would equally be indistinguishable from Madness. In the search for the Other by which to gauge our own self, what we’re really hoping for is a mirror depiction of our own expectations, only slightly ahead of us that it may still be comprehensible; yet a truly alien mind should be, from our point of view and by the very definition of the word, crazy. The reflection would be like a twisted image spawned by a carnivalesque Hall of Mirrors; we gaze at our own peril, lest we’re not ready for the bizarre impression.

For there are cases which even the people open to the possibility of an alien presence in our world find deeply unsettling. The attacks suffered by the victims of Spring Heeled Jack in the XIXth century, the Mad Gasser of Mattoon of the 1930’s, the panicked teenagers pursued by Mothman in the 1960’s, and even the odd encounter Woodrow Derenberger had with an enigmatic individual who identified himself with the nonsensical name of Indrid Cold [8]: A seemingly innocuous human-looking being who wasn’t able to asway Derenberger’s understandable fear despite of showing a large smile on his face. Here we find yet another powerful right-brain symbol in the form of the grinning man archetype, which made its first literary appearance in Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs, and eventually morphed into the modern icon of Batman’s The Joker.

It’s not hard to make a case that, of all comic book characters emerged from the pages of pop culture, The Joker is by far the one powerful enough to actually cross into our reality. Paranormal investigator and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, author of The Copycat Effect, has studied the effects of The Joker icon in real-life criminal cases, such as the Aurora mass shooting of 2012 [9]. James Eagan Holmes, the only perpetrator accused by the authorities for the crime, had dyed his hair red and purportedly called himself “The Joker” when he was finally detained by the police. In 2015 Holmes was given 12 consecutive life sentences, one for each individual he killed. Sadly, Coleman has records of more felonies allegedly inspired by the fictional killer clown in his online blog Twilight Language.

“I’m an agent of chaos,” The Joker –magnificently portrayed by the late Heath Ledger– confesses to a horribly disfigured Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in one of the most iconic scenes in the film The Dark Knight [10]. In that regard, Batman’s maniacal nemesis might have more in common with the UFO phenomenon than we might dare to admit. The UFO mystery seems to stem from a liminal realm in between normal life and total madness. A twilight space where light and dark can give way to either our most wondrous fantasies… or our most horrible nightmares.

* * *

 

“I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how, pathetic, their attempts to control things really are.”

Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)

 

The UFO disruption is not only a threat to the authority of scientific orthodoxy. It fundamentally defies every conceivable paradigm human society is built upon, in almost every discipline one can envision: Religion, economics, communication and state politics, to name but a few. The latter one being particularly vulnerable to an anomaly which almost seems to delight itself in displaying how pathetic our attempts to enforce human authority into an ostensibly superior force are. There’s no best example illustrating this than all the cases of rogue objects trespassing into nuclear silos, terrorizing the personnel in charge of safeguarding the most important link in the US national security chain of defense, and “adversely affecting” –to paraphrase retired Col. Charles Halt, key witness in the famous Rendlesham case [11]– the functionality of the atomic arsenal threatening human continuity in this biosphere.

Eschew the presentation of alien emissaries before US Congress or the UN Assembly. If contact is what’s been tried to be established by the UFO intelligence or intelligences, then clearly it is not a top-down type of contact meant to involve appointed representatives of government institutions (unconfirmed legends surrounding secret meetings between president Eisenhower and gray aliens notwithstanding). What the reports we’ve gathered tells us is far more egalitarian: A grass-roots type of contact involving individuals of every walks of life, which only seems to make sense if we accept 2 propositions: a)The intelligence(s) have little use for traditional social structure; and b) It or they are possibly not bound by the constraints of space and time the way we are. If time is no issue, then the best way to establish a dialogue with humankind is from an individual basis.

Of course, such an non-protocolary development would never sit well with governing authorities. The Robertson panel of 1953 –assembled out of the necessity to placate the public after numerous sightings over the US’s capital the year prior– came to the conclusion that reports of unidentified flying objects were themselves more threatening to the stability of the country than the actual (dubious, according to them) possibility of an extraterrestrial intervention. It recommended a smear campaign to minimize or ridicule close encounters in the press, and the monitoring of UFO groups for fear they could be easily manipulated by Soviet agents. The same approach was taken with self-proclaimed ‘contactees’: Individuals coming forth from every level of American society, claiming direct contact with the entities piloting the flying saucers, whom they fondly regarded as our ‘space brothers’. In his 2010 book Contactees [12], Nick Redfern writes how the most prominent figures in the Contactee movement (if it can be regarded as such) were closely watched by FBI operatives who attended their lectures and gave reports of what the speakers said to their audience. Imagine the consternation of J. Edgar Hoover when reading that George Adamski’s Venusian friends regarded Socialism as the most perfect form of human government!  It is my opinion the Cosmic Love propagandized by the Contactees of the 1950’s paved the way to the Free Love counterculture of the 1960’s, and the governmental authorities viewed both grassroots movements in the same manner: As a threat, graver and more insidious than an open conflagration with the Communist block.

Apropos, what of the other side of the former Iron Curtain? Most historians would agree in naming the fall of the Berlin Wall (which started in June 13th of 1990) as marking the beginning of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Whereas my own personal calendar identifies September 21st, 1989 as the true date when the winds of change started blowing. This date corresponds with the commencement of remarkable UFO activity in the small city of Voronezh, involving the apparent landing of craft, sightings of enormous humanoid creatures, terrifying interactions with local boys, and more astounding accounts which would have made even the most trashy pulp fiction writer of the 1950’s blush before submitting such story to its publisher [13]; a remarkable case in the modern annals of UFOlogy, moreso for the fact it was able to trespass the traditional layers of censorship installed by the Kremlin decades ago which used to stop UFO accounts dead in their tracks –a reason why for many decades the imbalance gave the phenomenon the impression of being exclusive to Western nations; the dissemination of the Voronezh case is thus another testament to Gorbachev’s Perestroika reforms. Empires bloom and crumb to dust, and yet the mystery of the UFO lingers still; but the fact that a once-mighty empire was willing to acknowledge its powerlessness over a mysterious, outside influence is truly remarkable.

That which is a nuisance to the governing authority becomes appealing to those with a distaste for orders and regulation, and the unruliness of UFOs seems to stir something in the core of the most marginalized layers of society. This is by no means a modern trend! In his seminal book Passport to Magonia [14], Jacques Vallee puts this into perspective:

“Celestial phenomena seem to have been so commonplace in the Japanese skies during the Middle Ages that they influenced human events in a direct way. Panics, riots and disruptive social movements were often linked to celestial apparitions. The Japanese peasants had the disagreeable tendency to interpret the “signs from heaven” as strong indications that their revolts and demands against the feudal system or against foreign invaders were just, and as assurance that their rebellions would be crowned with success.”

Rebellion, revolt, and social unrest. I first mused about their possible link with UFOs in the summer of 2011 [15], when the streets of London were besieged by riots which had originally erupted in Tottenham. It was in that time that Mike Sewell, one of BBC Radio 5’s sports reporter begrudgingly made public his own sighting of a large disc-shaped object on the morning of August 4th, while he was driving to Stansted airport. Looking at the distance between these two locations in London through applications like Google Maps yields out a relative proximity, but finding a direct correlation between UFO activity and social unrest in the same geographical area throughout history is a tricky proposition at best. In his entry on ‘UFO waves’ for The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters [16], Martin S. Kottmeyer points out to the high levels of UFO activity in the United States, coinciding with times of deep disturbances in American society during the mid-1960’s, as possible indicators to the validity of the ‘Paranoia Theory’ as a psychological explanation to the UFO phenomenon. The paranoia theory extrapolates from the work of behavioral psychologists like Dr. Norman Cameron of the University of Wisconsin, and interprets UFOs as a form of ‘paranoid ideation’, possibly triggered by moments of ‘deep national shame and humiliation’. While the anti-war protests and the Watt riots occurring simultaneously with the UFO wave of 1965 seems to fit the bill, other periods of social instability and general anxiety won’t align so easily to this theory, such as the low level of UFO activity registered by Blue Book during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Still, given how several countries famous for their high levels of UFO activity in past decades, also suffered periods of social repression and political authoritarianism  –e.g. Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, etc– looking for a possible link between this non-terrestrial phenomenon and episodes of earthly unrest is not without appeal. Of course, if an statistical and reliable link were to be corroborated, and we eschew the simplistic interpretation of UFOs as psychological delusions brought upon by mass hysteria, we’d still be left with the insurmountable task of finding an explanation for the activity, not unlike the metaphorical ‘chicken and the egg’ conundrum: Are UFOs somehow attracted to manifestations pursuing or conducive to profound social change, or is the phenomenon directly or indirectly responsible for such events?

Investigators like Mack Maloney [17] have written extensively about the proliferation of UFO sightings during times of war, and yet extrapolating further than what the reports inform us of –i.e. that strange unconventional activity has often been observed in the theater of war throughout history– propels us to speculate whether the UFOs are merely observing our exploits of tribal combat as dispassionate witnesses, or if they are somehow intervening in the balance of those battles, the way Homer depicted it in his narration of the classic war which would give reference to all human conflagrations past, present and future –the Iliad. Do these entities give enough of a damn about the welfare and prospect of our species, that they feel the need to foster the erosion and upending of stagnant structures of power from time to time?

Or, are they just delighted in inspiring mischief in our world for their own personal and inscrutable bemusement?

We’ve briefly explored periods of externalized turmoil, but what about internalized turmoil? Delving into the problem of UFOs one must eventually approach it from the point of view of human perception: its limitations and susceptibility through different factors, which can either distort, numb or sometimes even enhance it according to the given circumstances and particulars of the individual. Seriah Azkath, host of the weekly radio show Where Did the Road Go? [18] which delves with all sorts of fringe and paranormal topics, has personally experienced a high degree of strangeness bumping into his daily life, which has left him with more questions than answers –along with a passion to pursue this topic from unconventional perspectives: One of those experiences happened back in the year 2000 when he was driving to his radio station one night at around 11 pm, and he observed what seemed to be a gigantic, brightly-lit object hovering over Cayuga lake (New York) [19], He pulled over and rolled down the window, yet despite its apparent massiveness the object was completely silent. The eerie encounter stopped as unexpectedly as it had begun, once the bright lights dropped below the tree line and were out of sight. Seriah asked around and searched for UFO reports the next day but to this day he seems to have been the sole witness of this close encounter, which might be explained by the sparse population around that area and how late it was.

Years later, when author and researcher Mike Clelland [20] astutely asked about his particular state of mind around that time, Seriah conceded his life was “a complete chaos” back then, going through several upsetting changes and developments. Which raises the question on whether his internal mood was an influential factor conducive to the sighting, and also makes one wonder if an hypothetical passenger riding with him would have been able to perceive the same thing… if anything at all.

Are UFOs then akin to ‘crisis apparitions’ or poltergeist activity, which parapsychologists have tried to link to the unruly ‘psychic’ energy unconsciously released by troubled pubescent children? Paranormal researchers have sought for a ‘Unified Theory’ capable of linking disparaging phenomena which some suspect have more in common than we’d care to realize in the past –PSI, ghostly manifestations, cryptid sightings and UFO encounters. While many still find such propositions absurd and do all they can to keep their UFOlogical peas from touching their Cryptozoology carrots or phantasmagorical potatoes in their paranormal plate, others have come to the realization that Consciousness plays a significant role in all of these phenomena: In all these manifestations, whatever the triggering input (internal, external or a convoluted combination of both) it is a human consciousness that which is perceiving said input and parsing it through a particular ‘cultural filter’; and while geographical location and chronological factors will surely play a role in the precipitation of UFO encounters, proposing that some individuals seem more ‘sensitive’ or ‘attractive’ to such anomalies (even if only transitorily due to temporal circumstances) seems not that unreasonable –at least not in the ‘shadowy’, un-rigid logic followed by these phenomena…

Internal turmoil and lack of rigidity are not just the earmarks of adolescence. They are also intrinsic to the creativity-prone, which is possibly the reason why artistic types tend to show a higher interest in the UFO phenomenon than people who choose a more conventional (read ‘conformist’) lifestyle; or at least, they are more outspoken about it. From John Lennon’s famous observation of a UFO over New York on August 23rd, 1974 [21]–and let’s not forget Lennon had let Yoko Ono and was staying with his secretary-turned-lover May Pang, as possible indication of his state of mind at the time– to David Bowie’s reported sightings and life-long interest in extraterrestrial life and mysticism, it not only hints to the allure the subject has in people with iconoclastic tendencies, but it also gives reason to speculate how such attitudes might yield a better understanding of the phenomenon, than those who observe it from a more fixed paradigm. Consider Bowie’s acute hindsight about a sighting he had while traveling through the English countryside with a friend [22]:

“I believe that what I saw was not the actual object, but a projection of my own mind trying to make sense of this quantum topological doorway into dimensions beyond our own. It’s as if our dimension is but one among an infinite number of others.”

A finer, more elegant, and more sophisticated explanation to this mind-boggling mystery, I feel, than of those who are certain these craft hail from Zeta Reticuli II!

* * *

 

“Noise is relative to the silence preceding it. The more absolute the hush, the more shocking the thunderclap.”  

― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta.

 

In his case to show the modern UFO phenomenon as being the same as the belief in the Faerie realm from Old Europe, or other folkloric customs around the world –only now clothed with the appropriate veneer of space visitation suited for XXth-century sensibilities– Vallee reminds us of how interaction with non-human intelligences has always been dissuaded by the Status Quo…to the point of even using the penalty of death as the ultimate deterrent, stereotypically portrayed by the efigie of the witch’s pyre. The result of this suppression was to force this body of knowledge to find refuge underground, spawning Hermeticism in the Middle Ages. In seeking communion with these entities, one can delineate a tradition beginning with alchemists Facius Cardan and Paracelsus, going all the way to the George Adamski and the Contactees from the ‘golden age’ of the modern flying saucer era; many modern students of the phenomenon would agree in pointing Aleister Crowley as a bridge between the early alchemists summoning sylphs with arcane rituals, and the common citizens who claimed to be ambassadors of the Space Brothers. Indeed, Crowley sought conference with metaphysical beings through various –and somewhat deviant– means, and claimed to have succeeded. One of those beings is popularly identified with the monosyllabic name of ‘Lam’, and while Crowley’s pictorial depiction of it is interpreted as some as a psychic self-portrait [23], others find a striking resemblance with the modern stereotype of the Gray alien, as firstly proposed by Fortean blogger and author Richelle Hawks [24]. Another ‘transmundane’ entity Crowley purportedly contacted was Aiwass, who passed along the anarchic commandment on which the law of Thelema was structured upon: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

What does “Do what thou wilt” really mean, anyway? According to students of Thelema, Crowley didn’t simply mean to satisfy one’s petty whims and voluptuous desires, but finding one’s true path or purpose in life, the “true will” or higher purpose. In children’s literature The magical land of do-as-you-please –which you can get there if you befriend denizens of the fairy-kind, according to British author Enid Blyton in her book series The Faraway Tree– inspired comic book writer and Chaos magician Alan Moore when he created his own treatise on modern anarchy, ‘V for Vendetta’, probably the most influential piece of popular culture in the last three decades [25]; a testament to its relevance is simply the ubiquitousness of Guy Fawkes’s smirking facade in any kind of modern civil protest to date –the grinning man archetype emerges again.

V, the superhuman terrorist hell bent on overthrowing the fascistic regime ruling over a disturbingly familiar dystopian England, explains to secondary character Evey how do-as-you-please needs not to be interpreted in the same violent manner embraced by the Manson family, when they slit the throat of the 60’s psychedelic revolution to the tune of Helter Skelter. “Anarchy,” V corrects, means “without leaders, not without order.” True order, for Moore, comes from voluntarily accepting personal boundaries, without the need of a regulatory body imposing any limitations upon individuals.

But Anarchy, according to Moore, must be preceded by a chaotic stage in which all the obsolete structures upholding the Status Quo must be disrupted and obliterated. Those structures can be either tangible symbols, as in the case of the Old Parliament building destroyed by V in Moore’s graphic novel, or abstract ones like the respectability and trust in mainstream media.

After the Condon Report, issued by the University of Colorado, gave the US Air Force the long-sought justification to stop paying public attention to the UFO phenomenon, the press was also given permission to no longer take the issue seriously –a process that had already started with the Robertson panel, as we already established. Ironically, the giggle factor imposed by mainstream media on the topic, is one of the reasons why newspapers and TV news have become almost irrelevant in the XXIst century. The early Internet bloomed with online forums and chat rooms devoted to fringe topics never discussed by traditional media –like alien abductions, Area 51 and the assassination of JFK– and has now turned into the preferred medium by which Millennials absorb the news. The veneer of officialdom is no longer a valuable asset in an era when lack of confidence in official channels has become almost second nature to the populace; much to the contrary, the smear campaign adopted by traditional journalism on fringe topics has completely backfired, and brought upon a rejection from an ever-increasing portion of a distrusting public, whose rationale goes: “If they have lied to us for so long about something as transcendent as an alien presence in our midst –a presence which might be involved in the kidnapping of hapless citizens from inside their homes, for reasons we can only speculate about– then why should we trust them on ANYTHING at all?”

In a post-X Files age when pop culture needs not remind us that “government denies knowledge”, it’s the 3 Lone Gunmen, incarnated in a thousand alt-news blogs and websites, the ones who get the last laugh… or a White House job.

In such an upside-down state of affairs, what should we say about some UFOlogists’s obsessive appeal for ‘Disclosure’, interpreted as a global movement in which official governments finally acknowledge the non-mundane nature of UFOs [26]? Truly it would seem that as we observe the events unfolding on the second decade of the XXIst century, that the eventual disappearance of the Nation/State as we currently know it, seems a more likely scenario than expecting those entities to recognize an anomaly over which they have no control whatsoever; an anomaly which refuses to conform to our ‘sensible’ expectations and seems hell bent on putting everything we take for granted into question –even the nature of Reality itself.

Preposterous? It would have been equally preposterous to suggest, in the 1970s, that the mighty Soviet Union would come crashing down in less than 2 decades. It was also preposterous to think the British citizens will vote to leave the European union, or that the American people would choose to elect a former reality TV celebrity to the highest office in the Free World. Empires bloom and crumb to dust, and yet the mystery of the UFO lingers still –for it perhaps is not a puzzle meant to be unlocked by an amorphous consensus, but confronted and dealt with by each and every one of us, when the proper time comes.

When will UFOlogy stop yearning to gain official respectability, dare we ask? It seems as a foolhardy and hopeless pursuit, as expecting street graffiti to one day be accepted as a fine art expression by ivory-towered academicians. Not because there is always the occasional Banksy who serve as an exception confirming the rule, but because it is precisely the TRANSGRESSIONAL nature of these counterculture forces that which endows them with their true power. For if History teaches us anything, is that the most effective way to shape a society without disrupting it entirely is not from the inside, but from the outside.

Change the Consciousness, and the Culture will follow.

Vallee saw in the UFO phenomenon a cultural thermostat occasionally nudging human affairs to a given, unforeseeable outcome. My rebellious nature prefers to regard it as a chaotic catalyst, ever turning human society up on its toes with its farcical displays of power. From an alchemical perspective, perhaps what this catalyst seems to be seeking is to propitiate an appropriate state of Nigredo [27], a necessary stage of general decomposition which must be followed through, if one is to reach the desired outcome of Albedo, in which the Great Work is complete and the final transmutation of crude matter into divine substance is finally achieved.

Observed in such a way, perhaps the confounding trickstery of these ‘Cosmic Jokers’ is meant to wake us out of our collective stagnation, and force us to see a way out of our ‘dark (k)night of the soul’ into a sunnier morrow.

 

…Maybe.

 

For even if there’s no humanly comprehensible solution to this mystery. It doesn’t mean one can’t utilize these ultimate symbols of anarchy –which even dare to defy the law of Gravity— for personal empowerment. I myself have successfully turned my long-life obsession in UFOs into my personal Alchemy, encouraging me to pursue questions I know fully well are devoid of easy answers, and grow both intellectually and spiritually for it. To assume one is certain of the phenomenon’s true origins and intentions at this stage is beyond arrogant –it is childishly naive. But if there’s one thing I’m certain about all of it, is this: If you let your curiosity guide you through uncharted territories seeking not fame, nor selfish gain or dulling self-reaffirmation; if you seek NOT to conform to other people’s facile theories and answers, then I guarantee you this passion will propel your life into a journey of childlike wonder for which there is no turning back.

That the journey is not without perils is a given, for no quest worth undertaking is devoid of them. John Keel used to warn parents not to let their children be interested in UFOs, since he saw in it a realm full of deceiving monsters threatening to drive even the most down-to-earth people insane.

But catalysts are, by definition, meant to boost what’s already in the solution. If LSD has the potential to give the world the gift of a Ram Dass or a Steve Jobs, it can also spawn a Charles Manson –Same substance, different outcomes.

Thus I say to you that, with any luck, not only may the UFO catalyst turn you utterly mad, but entirely bonkers. Yet as Alice told me a long time ago, the best people in this world are usually labelled as such, by those who haven’t the spine to imagine they can actually change it –It’s easy if you only try, I’m told…

 

Solve et Coagula, fellow anarchist. And FUCK ‘EM ALL!

 

“Are you ready? Are you ready to jump right off the edge of everything?”
― Grant Morrison, The Invisibles, Vol. 3: Entropy in the U.K.

 

REFERENCES

 

[1] Episode 3 – “Harmony of the Worlds.” Cosmos: A Personal Voyage Television Series, By Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (1980)

 

[2] The Terence McKenna Wiki: Shamanic Approaches to the UFO. Angels, Aliens and Archetypes 1987 Conference, San Francisco, California (November 21, 1987) | terencemckenna.wikispaces.com/Shamanic+Approaches+to+the+UFO

Also see: https://youtu.be/22F6pZU_PC8

 

[3] From Operation Mindf**k to the White Room: The Strange Discordian Journey of the KLF, By J.M.R. Higgs. Darklore Vol. 7, Daily Grail Publishing (2012) | dailygrail.com/Guest-Articles/2013/5/The-Strange-Journey-the-KLF

 

[4] The Andreasson Affair, By Raymond Fowler. Prentice Hall, New York (1979)

 

[5] Grimerica Talks to Crop Circle Maker Matthew Williams (November 28, 2014). The Grimerica Podcast | www.grimerica.ca/williams

 

[6] Episode 12 – “Encyclopaedia Galactica.” Cosmos: A Personal Voyage Television Series, By Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (1980)

Also see Contact, Directed By Robert Zemeckis, Starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. Warner Brothers (1997)

 

[7] Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah, By Colm A. Kelleher Ph.D and George Knapp. Paraview Pocket Books (2005)

 

[8] The Mothman Prophecies, By John A. Keel, Panther Books (1975)

 

[9] Red Dawn Again, By Loren Coleman (2012) | copycateffect.blogspot.com/2012/07/red-dawn-again

 

[10] Batman: The Dark Knight, Directed By Christopher Nolan, Starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Warner Brothers, Legendary Entertainment (2008)

 

[11] Left at East Gate: A First-Hand Account of the Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident, Its Cover-Up and Investigation, By Larry Warren and Peter Robbins. Da Capo Press; 1st Edition (1997)

 

[12] Contactees: A History of Alien-Human Interaction, By Nick Redfern. New Page Books (2010)

 

[13] UFOs & the National Security State: The Cover-Up Exposed (1973-1991), By Richard M. Dolan, Keyhole Publishing Company (2009)

 

[14] Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, By Jacques Vallee. Re-Edition By Daily Grail Publishing (2014)

 

[15] Portents & Politics: UFO Apparitions Connected to Social Disturbances? By Red Pill Junkie (2011) | http://dailygrail.com/blogs/red-pill-junkie/2011/8/Portents-Politics-UFO-Apparitions-Connected-Social-Disturbances

 

[16] The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, Edited By Ronald D. Story. Robinson (2001)

 

[17] UFOs in Wartime: What They Didn’t Want You to Know, By Mack Maloney. Berkley; Original Edition (2011)

 

[18] Where Did the Road Go? Radio Show. Live on WVBR Every Saturday at 11 PM Eastern | wheredidtheroadgo.com

 

[19] Seriah Azkath – Broadcaster of the New Aeon (March 29, 2016). Radio Misterioso Podcast | radiomisterioso.com/2016/03/29/seriah-azkath-broadcaster-of-the-new-aeon/

 

[20] Hidden Experience, By Mike Clelland | hiddenexperience.blogspot.com

 

[21] That Time John Lennon Spotted a UFO in New York, By Dave Lifton (2015) | ultimateclassicrock.com/john-lennon-ufo/

 

[22] David Bowie, UFOs, Witchcraft, Cocaine and Paranoia, By Timothy Green Beckley (2010) | http://ufodigest.com/article/david-bowie-ufos-witchcraft-cocaine-and-paranoia

 

[23] Lam I Am, By Gary Johnson (2012). Aleister Crowley 2012 | https://ac2012.com/2012/10/20/lam-i-am/

 

[24] Yabba Dabble Doo: How Aleister Crowley Introduced the Iconic Gray Alien, By Richelle Hawks (2007) | http://www.ufodigest.com/news/1107/dabbledoo.html

 

[25] V for Vendetta, By Alan Moore and David Lloyd. DC Comics (1988)

 

[26] A.D., After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth about Alien Contact, By Richard M. Dolan and Bryce Zabel. New Page Books; 1st Edition (2012)

 

[27] Podcast 369 – “Timothy & Terence.” Psychedelic Salon (September 17, 2013) | https://psychedelicsalon.com/podcast-369-timothy-terence/