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Alternate Perceptions Magazine, Septmeber 2019

Dueling Paradigms Revisited, The Radical Views Of John Keel And This Otherness That Experiencers Now Call ET (TOTENCET)

by: Joseph Burkes MD


Instead of describing flying saucer intelligence as the “aliens” or extraterrestrials, I have a fondness for the term that I coined several years ago called “TOTENCET” (pronounced “toe ten set.”) It is the acronym for “This Otherness That Experiencers Now Call ET. It is my preferred term for the so-called ETs because it makes no definite assertion about what is the nature of this non-human intelligence that is responsible for flying saucers. TOTENCET suggests that these beings are simply others, i.e. not us!

By using the word “Now” I am suggesting a rather complex notion. I believe that UFO intelligence (who and whatever it ultimately turns out to be) has probably been interacting with humanity under a host of disguises since the Stone Age. Both John Keel and Dr. Jacques Vallee describe this concept in great detail. According to their historical analyses, each disguise that flying saucer intelligence puts on specifically reflects the cultural expectations of the many historic periods in which UFOs have appeared.

TOTENCET that manifested as UFOs in antiquity was typically perceived of as the creator of “wonders in the skies.” Such visual displays were interpreted as messages from the gods. In the Middle Ages flying saucers were believed to be caused by magicians or perhaps even demons. During the airship wave in the 1890s TOTENCET was thought to be genius inventors that created blimp like aircraft that were seen at night across the United States.


In my opinion, all UFO and paranormal investigators should read John Keel’s books because he helps make sense out of this confusing picture. I read his work again and again in the late 1990s. Some of his assessments were a challenge for me to understand and eventually accept. Others I must reject because ultimately Keel deemed the non-human intelligence associated with UFOs a sinister paranormal force that delights in manipulating and confusing us. Studying Keel and Dr. Vallee’s theories however has convinced me in the wisdom of not accepting the ET hypothesis uncritically.

Personally however, as a contactee, this was not always the case. Back in the 1990s when I was first recruited to join the contact network, I was swept away by the romance associated with this subject. The dream of meeting friendly ETs has been dramatically portrayed by some very popular Hollywood movies. During my early years of UFO investigations, I wanted so much to believe that the ET hypothesis was the only reasonable explanation for UFOs. Nevertheless, I discovered the intelligence behind the phenomenon seemed determined to show me how they create illusion. This called into question my beloved notion that I was dealing with friendly “star people.”


Why is TOTENCET doing this to us? The only film adaptation of John Keel's radical theories appears in the movie" The Mothman Prophecies." It is a highly fictionalized version of his nonfiction book of the same name. In my opinion, the film is a great paranormal thriller. It keeps things simple by leaving out the issue of UFOs, but makes astounding statements about non-human intelligence in general, of which UFO intelligence in Keel’s view is a subset.

The character in the movie called Alexander Leek gives a straightforward statement of John Keel’s radical views about the paranormal. Leek is a fallen university physics professor who has lost his career and family as the result of his involvement with paranormal forces. His plight is reminiscent of the losses endured by some UFO fans whose focus on flying saucers often becomes an “obsession” and alienates friends and family,

In the movie “Mothman Prophecies", ex-professor Leek played by Alan Bates answers the question, “Why are they here?” with a statement that I find chilling.

The Professor’s answer is:

"We don't know.

We are not supposed to know!

After all, their motivations are not entirely human."

Here the character is speaking for John Keel and his remarks suggest to me that the intelligence responsible for UFOs has deliberately misled us as to who and what they are. Thus, the film captures the depth of the mystery as to what are the motivations of the non-human intelligence behind flying saucers. It acknowledges our extreme limitations in comprehending who and what these non-humans are. We are forever projecting on the so-called “visitors” traits, beliefs, ethics, morals and psychology that are human, which as Keel states they simply are not.

John Keel’s perspective that UFO Intelligence is not physical but exclusively paranormal, in my opinion are now somewhat out of date. Research into the Roswell Incident in which alien bodies may have been recovered was not available to John Keel when he made his principle investigations a half-century ago. These updates do not prove Keel wrong in as much as there may be an array of non-human intelligences operating on our planet. Some appear to be physical in nature and can be killed. Others may be nearly entirely energetic. With the so-called aliens’ powers to create illusions, it is very challenging to tell these two broad classes apart.

In addition, the work of talented UFO researchers like Richard Dolan, Grant Cameron and Robert Hastings, have all documented the seriousness of governments’ responses to UFOs as a physical reality. And that appears to be extraterrestrial in nature. Witness’ testimony supplied by the Disclosure Project and other citizens’ disclosure efforts have given the public important insights into the depths of corporate and governmental efforts to maintain secrecy around this subject. This cover-up appears to involve probable attempts at back engineering flying saucer technology. All this growing evidence has made the ET hypothesis to be more likely true than false.

Nevertheless, Keel’s understanding of UFOs’ extraordinary psi capabilities when interacting with humans and the mechanisms by which contact experiences are co-created with human subjects, are still valuable contributions to our understanding of the phenomenon.

Integrating John Keel’s theories into my analysis of the flying saucers compels me to engage the subject with more humility and a willingness not to become too attached to any one theory about what is the exact source of UFO Intelligences. John Keel stated that when it comes to flying saucers, the phenomenon is so complex that we must approach it from multiple points of view. For those that are forever falling in love with their pet theories, I imagine this is a great challenge.


Once you truly believe in the latest cover story supplied by UFO intelligence, according to Keel’s analysis, you run the risk of becoming hopelessly confused. This is because what I call “TOTENCET” in Keel’s view is not only totally telepathic but also so often feeds experiences back to you that correspond to your existing belief system. One’s encounters are merely “theater of the mind” productions designed to reinforce our pre-existing pet theories about what is going on. This mechanism leads to the creation of tightly held beliefs. As John Keel has so accurately described, once people develop a set belief, it leads to a kind of tunnel vision. Sadly, so many of us discount any evidence that undermines our cherished belief systems.


As a contact network activist that believes UFOs are important for the future of mankind, I think we should endeavor to comprehend the mechanisms of contact. It is my hope that TOTENCET is here to help us and it is not the devilishly deceptive paranormal force envisioned by John Keel. By understanding the ways in which UFO intelligences co-creates with us contact experiencers, we can better understand what I believe might be a powerful ally - one that might very well help us resolve the seemingly insurmountable problems that our civilization is facing.

Thursday, August 18, 2022