Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2019
Knit Caps and Coveralls:
The Issue of UFO Occupant Clothing
by: Zelia Edgar
On September 12th of 1952, a group of no less than seven people encountered something truly unexplainable in Flatwoods, West Virginia. After spotting a large, roundish, red-glowing object in the sky, they followed its path and eventually found that the object had landed on a hillside. However, this case goes down in history for its attendant encounter. Hovering some feet above the ground was a metallic entity about six feet tall. The witnesses agreed that it appeared mechanical - its upper body was cylindrical and flared out at what would be considered the waist. A distinct head, shaped like an ace of spades, contained a large circular window through which were visible two objects suspended in darkness. The two objects emitted strong, bluish, flashlight-like beams. The Flatwoods Monster, well-chronicled not only in UFO literature but in general culture as well, serves as a prime example of what might be expected to come out of a spaceship from another planet - either a machine in and of itself, or a protective suit which completely covers the biological organism inside. In every sense, it is exactly what, according to common logic, a UFO occupant should look and behave like. Except for a single issue.
The mechanical nature of the Flatwoods Monster is far more of an outlier than a norm in regards to encounters with UFO occupants, which often appear to be biological entities wearing little to no protective gear or respiratory equipment.
For many conventional-minded scientists, this is the nail in the coffin on the extraterrestrial debate, which is, in our current frame of reference, linked intrinsically to the UFO problem. If these UFO occupants are, firstly, biological in nature and of a bodily organization similar to ourselves, which many of them appear to be, and, secondly, from somewhere other than this planet, it is theorized that they would be as unable to exist in our atmosphere as we would in theirs. Barring vast differences in air composition, there’s also the pesky issue of viruses or bacteria. From our current standpoint on space travel, even if a planet proved to have an atmosphere similar to our own, it would be downright ridiculous to step outside the space capsule without a helmet on. Yet this is exactly what these visitors appear to do.
More often than not, UFO occupants observed and reported appear to be biological entities, and also appear to have no sort of protective or respiratory equipment whatsoever. Simply by flipping through Jacque Vallee’s pivotal book Passport to Magonia, the accounts of close encounters with UFO occupants lacking any sort of gear is staggering. Instead of a fleet of space-suited explorers or ROV probes, a universe teeming with humanoid entities in coveralls, tunics, knit caps, hoods, pointed shoes, and turtleneck sweaters emerges from the evidence. Take the antithesis to the Flatwoods Monster - the Simonton Encounter, probably better known as the incident with the alien pancakes. The entities observed in this scenario appeared very nearly human - the witness, in fact, described them as short Italians - and were clothed in two-piece black suits - pants complete with a jogger-stripe and shirts with a turtleneck - and little knit caps. Though they never strayed from the interior of their craft, hovering some feet in the air above Eagle River, WI resident Joe Simonton’s backyard, they opened a hatch wide enough for him to peer in, passed a container out to him, which he filled with water and handed back. All this prior to giving him the notorious pancakes which, once analyzed, proved to consist of terrestrial ingredients. The ease with which UFO occupants move about our planet causes no little concern in regards to the theory that they must all be extraterrestrial biological entities (EBEs). Also is the fact that abductees claim to be taken into their ships, which are apparently filled with air breathable for human beings. In most cases, abductees appear to be in the same area with the entities, save a few notable exceptions where it is recalled that the entities were further away or behind an object and the abductee was being handled by some sort of machine. For the most part, however, close encounters with UFO occupants, both out of and inside their craft, shows that whatever atmosphere they find livable is similar to our own.
Some theories have been presented which could account for EBEs having the ability to exist in our atmosphere, and vice versa. There is a popular theory among some UFOlogists that mankind may have been preceded by extraterrestrials on this planet, or that humanity was seeded here from elsewhere. If so, it would be only natural that these visitors would have sourced a planet environmentally close to their own. Across much of his work, most notably in Uninvited Visitors, Ivan T. Sanderson propounded the concept that parallel evolution may occur spontaneously throughout the universe, ending in a result not unlike the Twilight Zone episode “People Are Alike All Over”. In this theory, evolution occurs on a cosmic level, achieving very nearly the same results in vastly different places - namely, a species of humanoid beings which find Earth to be their very own Goldilocks Planet. Incidentally, this is the sort of lifeform most of our attempts have been focused on searching for - a carbon-based lifeform from a planet with the same necessities we need to survive.
Still other theories insist that advanced technology is the answer, that perhaps UFOs contain some sort of atmospheric envelope within which the entities are able to live. Possibly, it might extend out a-ways as they venture onto our alien planet. This would also account for abductees being taken onboard and suffering no ill effects - from an atmospheric difference, at least. Said envelope could, of course, work in reverse, sourcing air from outside to make the UFO interior comfy for their guests. Perhaps these beings have figured out protective suits or respirators which are implanted in them, as opposed to worn - in fact, some propound that the perceived body of some entities is not a body at all, but that the organism is inside a biological spacesuit. However true any of these may be - indeed, any species capable of solving the issues of deep-space travel would far surpass our current technology - there is a neat logical trap of chalking up all unexplainables to the advanced technologies of the space people just as we once pinned them on the magic of the fairies, a very slippery slope.
While on the topic of fairies, it’s incredibly interesting to note that the clothing of modern UFO occupants often perfectly mirrors that traditionally ascribed to fairies. Form-fitting one-piece suits, caps, coveralls - these are all items of clothing common enough to even surface fairy lore of Europe, and each of these items of clothing are often reported on UFO occupants. Vallee is largely credited with drawing this similarity between fairy and UFO lore. Although this idea still doesn’t answer the question of what these entities are, it does show that the phenomenon has existed and engaged with mankind as long as we have been around.
There is another rather startling concept gaining prevalence among UFO occupant witnesses. Among these experiencers, notably abductees, is a common thread that the entities observed came across as drones or machines, in spite of their biological appearance. This theory is gaining a lot of ground, specifically in connection with the Greys. Since the earliest modern research into the abduction phenomenon, there has been mention that these beings appeared to be under a control outside of their own, maneuvering as though they were drones or rovers. This gives rise to the notion that they possess a sort of hive mind, where the volition of the individual is completely held in sway to some greater or mass intelligence. In Uninvited Visitors, Sanderson conceptualizes of biological machines, designed and constructed by extraterrestrials, sent here to maneuver through our planet just as we send rovers to Mars. Again, some witnesses claim that the outer appearance of UFO occupants may be a space suit, with the entity safely tucked away behind its very organic-looking exterior.
Each of these theories is acceptable, with varying degrees of probability from varying angles. However, then there comes the confusing issue of artifacts dropped from UFOs, or outright given to witnesses. More often than not, like Simonton’s pancakes, they prove to be of terrestrial origin.
Keel discussed this extensively in the groundbreaking book, Operation Trojan Horse, referring to it as the artifact game. When faced with an unbelievable encounter, the one thing which most people want - need might be a more appropriate term - is physical trace evidence. Sometimes, it’s provided. Witnesses have taken trace materials from flying saucers. In some instances, entities have given witnesses all sorts of objects, from chunks of crystal to papers to metal, claiming it had otherworldly origins. However, for the bulk of these reports, when the artifacts are tested it is revealed that the object in question is of normal, earthly materials.
In combination with the artifact game, the lack of proper attire gains slightly more importance, as it raises the question - are UFO occupants from a place other than this planet, or might they be indigenous to this planet?
The concept that the so-called alien presence is not new, but has been with mankind as long as we have existed, quite likely preceding us, is generally acceptable to conventional UFOlogy. The notion that these entities, the UFO occupants, are a fixture of this planet in one way or another is not, though it is picking up speed. Given the evidence which turns up time and time again - the occupants’ perceived natural ability to exist in our conditions and our ability to exist in theirs, the terrestrial artifacts given to or taken by witnesses - this idea is as likely as any other, and seems to fit the evidence better in many ways.
The concept of cryptoterrestrials, considered by Sanderson in Invisible Residents, is one such explanation - that a race of humanoid beings indigenous to our planet, yet technologically advanced, has existed alongside us indefinitely. However, we are back to the old song of advanced technology explaining all the same impossibilities associated with UFOs and, in the case of aquatic cryptoterrestrials, considered the most likely, the same question of atmospheric conditions. However, an advanced, purely physical race of beings is not necessarily the only answer to this question of whether or not some UFO occupants may be from this planet. The ultraterrestrial theory, popularized by Keel, suggests that life might exist outside of our accepted band of the electromagnetic spectrum, overlapping our own frequencies unobserved save in certain circumstances. In this theory, these intelligences may have the ability to project themselves in a semi-material fashion onto our band of the spectrum.
Considering that these entities may then exist at any given time directly in our space, only observable when the frequencies resonate, the problem of how they survive our atmosphere is rendered null. As a quasi-material projection or construction, they would be comprised of the same elements natural to this planet, imprinted into an atmosphere which they, too, live in, just at a slightly different portion of the spectrum. The same goes for the question of the terrestrial artifacts - if they are a natural part of this planet, in whatever frequency they inhabit, their artifacts would be of this planet as well.
Regardless of which of these theories, if any, will stand the test of time and the ramifications of new evidence, the single issue of the clothing of UFO occupants points to a more complex view of what they are and, further, what they are doing here. Even the variance between the fairy-like attire of so many occupants to the mechanical nature of others is evidence of something larger than one simple solution.
Hopkins, Budd. Missing Time. New York: Ballantine Books, 1981.
Keel, John. Operation Trojan Horse: The Classic Breakthrough Study of UFOs. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, 2013 (3rd Edition).
Sanderson, Ivan. Invisible Residents. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2005 (2nd Edition).
Sanderson, Ivan. Uninvited Visitors. New York: Cowles Education Corporation, 1967.
Valle, Jacques. Passport to Magonia. Brisbane: Daily Grail Publishing, 2014, (2nd Edition).