Is some intelligence communicating with us by holding up a mirror whenever we try to look too closely? If we subtract our own innate bias, cultural cueing, and psychology from the history of UFO reports, what is left? How much of the experience comes from the observer? The answer could range from “None at all” to “Everything.” There are many places where a UFO sighting could fall on this spectrum.Greg Bishop, The Co-Creation Hypothesis: Human Perception, the Informational Universe, and the Overhaul of UFO Research
As pundits and advocates for Disclosure keep pushing forward to make UFOs ‘respectable’, an independent observer might notice an interesting peculiarity in their collective strategy: They want us to focus merely on the ‘low hanging fruit’ of cases in which well-trained observers reported objects that could be construed as highly advanced aerospace platforms, while discreetly sweeping under the rug decades –if not centuries– of confounding observations which defy simplistic explanations; among those, the unproven assumption these unidentified objects are structured craft from a different star system.
One example of this strategy is ‘re-interpreting’ old cases using contemporary jargon in order to make them fit into a coherent narrative, i.e. browsing the literature in search of ‘Tic-Tacs’ similar to the ones observed by their star witnesses (David Fravor and Alex Dietrich), showing a complete disregard for historical context and personal interpretations by the original reporter.
Elizondo and his allies want to move from the silvery saucers of the 50’s, and the black triangles of the 80’s, to the white Tic-Tacs of the 2000’s. Never mind the fact that close encounter reports constitute a veritable cornucopia of mystifying objects and entities of all shapes and sizes.
And it’s not just that we could rationalize the variety shown in the accounts as ‘proof’ we are being visited by more than one group of aliens, each with different technological capabilities. Many of these ‘impossible’ unidentified flying objects not only defy the laws gravity and conservation of energy, but even the most basic laws of aerodynamics.
Consider, for example, the mysterious airships which were flying around the American Midwest in the 1890s: These extravagant dirigibles with potent searchlights, propellers and stabilizers would fit perfectly in a Jules Verne’s novel, yet they would have been completely impractical for air transport even with aeronautical innovations that were just a few decades ahead of the time. In fact, one head-scratching commonality in the majority of UFO reports is that the objects described by the witnesses seem to display technology that is just slightly ahead of the witnesses’ cultural level.
One of the most interesting cases in the UFOlogical annals is that of Nebraska patrolman Herbert Schirmer, who in 1967 claimed to have been taken aboard a disk-like craft by short UFOnauts with tanned skin and cat-like eyes. Inside the saucer Schirmer was given a quick tour and a brief explanation of the ship’s functioning; the leader of the occupants told him they had been extracting energy from the local powerlines. Why would a superior race, that is supposedly hundreds or thousands of years more advanced than us, would need to rely on the theft of a few hundred thousand volts of electricity to power up a spaceship capable of negating the Earth’s gravity, is something UFOlogists never seem to worry about too much.
Schirmer is hardly the only witness who claimed to have been inside a flying saucer, and all of these accounts describe technologies that would have looked otherworldly for people in the 50’s or 60’s, but that in our age of iPads and wireless devices feel more like ‘retro-futuristic’ –wouldn’t space aliens have progressed beyond the need for levers and colored buttons to control their vessels?
This is one of the inconvenient truths most UFO researchers choose to overlook when selling the idea of space visitors to the public: The phenomenon seems to conform to our cultural expectations.
One researcher who decided to take a plunge into the deeper waters of the UFO pool was Greg Bishop, author of the books “Project Beta” and “It Defies Language!” Instead of focusing on the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ aspects of the UFO enigma which have dominated the field for the majority of its history, Greg chose to concentrate on the witnesses themselves while applying the tools of psychological perception and information theory to their accounts. Over the years he has been coalescing his thoughts about UFOs into what he calls ‘the Co-Creation Hypothesis.’
So what is exactly the Co-creation Hypothesis? Simply put, it’s the proposition that during a UFO event the witness is not a mere passive spectator but is in fact an active participant in the creation of the experience. Confronted with something that falls completely outside the person’s habitual frame of reference, their mind desperately tries to ‘fill in the gaps’ in order to make sense of what it is they are witnessing, using their own cultural and psychological baggage as a sort of ‘perceptual scaffolding’.
As Greg wrote in the essay quoted at the beginning of this article (which was part of the anthology “UFOs: Reframing the Debate”):
How much do we bring to the dance during a paranormal encounter? In other words, how much of the UFO experience is the result of our subconscious mind trying to make sense of unexpected, startling, and/or frightening input, and leaving us with an insane placeholder when it can’t decide on anything else?
To someone who has been conditioned to conceptualize UFOs strictly from a perspective influenced by the old science fiction expectations of interplanetary visitors, what Greg proposes may be difficult to grasp. Which is why we are now going to use a more contemporary example of science fiction which perfectly illustrates the concept of Co-Creation: Instead of The Day the Earth Stood Still, we’re now going to step into the wacky world of Wandavision.
Wandavision (Marvel’s first TV series for the Disney+ streaming service) begins with the two protagonists, Wanda Maximoff and her partner Vision, living an idyllic (and grayscale) suburban life in the small town of Westview, New Jersey, in what appears to be a parody of the classic show “I Love Lucy” of the late 1950’s –hence the lack of color.
The two former Avengers seem to be living in an alternate timeline that was totally unaffected by the catastrophic events caused by Thanos’s victory, when he used the Infinity stones to ‘vaporize’ half of the beings in the Universe, and then they were all returned back to life during Endgame (a.k.a. ‘the Blip’). But gradually the viewer begins to note odd intrusions in this bizarre sitcom hinting to something very strange brewing behind the scenes –well, stranger than an all-powerful chaos witch using her magic to prepare meals for her shape-shifting android husband, that is.
The first of these intrusions is a toy helicopter Wanda finds in their yard –the fact that it is the only object in color in a black-and-white environment (a nice homage to Pleasantville) helps us to understand this ‘toy’ is something that shouldn’t be there.
Another one of these out-of-place occurrences happens during a women’s club reunion, in which Wanda hears a transmission from someone calling her from a radio. And in another episode Vision and Wanda witness a man in a beekeeping suit coming out of a sewer in the middle of their street!
Eventually it is revealed that Wanda, in her grief for having lost the love of her life to Thanos and feeling terribly alone, has used her powers to hijack an entire town and its inhabitants in order to create a ‘reality bubble’ in which Vision is still alive and they are happily married. Government operatives outside the town are desperately trying to get a hold on her, but everything that irrupts in the periphery of Westville is affected by the reality bubble, changing its appearance in order not to interrupt ‘the script’ of the sitcom. Hence a spy drone sent to investigate is morphed into a toy helicopter, and an agent wearing hazmat gear ends up being changed into a man wearing a bee-keeping suit.
Perhaps, in our own sitcom –or thriller show, depending of your POV– Wanda’s reality bubble is our own collective unconscious, desperately trying to re-interpret the irruptions from ‘the Other’ into shapes that are more manageable to our feeble minds.
I doubt the Disney writers had Greg Bishop’s writings in mind when they came up with the plot for Wandavision –then again many TV producers have been mining the pages of The Daily Grail for years, so who knows– but nevertheless this TV show is a good way to illustrate Greg’s Co-Creation Hypothesis, and it helps us to envision how our own cultural expectations might be playing a prime role in the way we perceive paranormal manifestations.
Ultimately, the most disquieting –and liberating– realization we can receive from studying UFOs, is that WE are the illusion.