UFOlogy and Alternative Viewpoints
by: Brent Raynes
The early UFO investigative movement of the 1940s, ‘50s, and early to mid-1960s addressed the human psychic dimensions of the UFO experience in largely occult-riddled language that the so-called “nuts and bolts” ufologists equated with the “lunatic fringe” of their field. Retired Major Donald Keyhoe, the founder of NICAP, was so enraged with people like George Adamski with their wild sounding saucer tales of the delightful blond haired, blue eyed “Space Brothers,” that for years his organization ignored any UFO reports wherein an alien being was described.
In the latter part of the 1960s, researchers and authors like John Keel, Jacque Vallee, and Brad Steiger took on the popular “nuts and bolts” ufological establishment with challenging new evidence and theories. Many members of mainstream ufology rejected the new fangled perspectives – especially the suggestion that paranormal phenomena and UFO experiences were somehow interconnected – and then, add insult to injury, that their beloved saucers perhaps didn’t even come from way “out there” but perhaps from right here – from a parallel world, dimension, or universe.
Interestingly, when the 1973 UFO wave finally rolled around, more and more ufologists were beginning to increasingly warm up to the idea that the UFOs had pilots and we should, at least selectively, pay some attention to the more credible sounding “occupant” data. There were quite a few interesting “occupant” cases that ufologists seriously looked into that year; the most notable being the October 11th Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson alien “abduction” in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Besides the media, which had been whipped up into a frenzy by that time, respected UFO researchers like Dr. J. Allen Hynek, formerly an astronomical consultant to the USAF’s Project Bluebook, and engineer Dr. Jim Harder, visited Pascagoula and were impressed by the apparent sincerity of the eyewitnesses. I even jumped on the bandwagon myself, flew out to New Orleans, and paid the two men a visit also just ten days after their alleged encounter.
Change seemed to be in the air. The ufology of the 1970s, particularly it seemed up to around the middle part of that decade, was a time of alternative thinking and a re-thinking of earlier mainstream ufological ideas and methodologies. But what goes around comes around, and then it goes back around, as history repeats itself. Human nature is rather fickle and often not governed by the machinations of finely tuned objective logic and reason. Ufological stability and science are on pretty shaky ground with many of its advocates who have ventured too far down the rabbit hole of unfounded beliefs and convictions.
For years the debates continued to rage as ufologists cautiously strived to evaluate the slowly rising tide of credible seeming alien being reports. Despite the new openness that had developed toward alternative paradigms, a new shift would soon occur; one that would take the field by storm. Old schoolers were struggling with such data still since this data continued to remind them of the “Space Brothers”; accounts that still left a bitter taste in their mouths and for which many didn’t want to risk damaging their hard-earned reputations, should they end up backing the wrong horse, so to speak.
Then around the mid-1980s along came Whitley Strieber’s Communion and Budd Hopkins’s Intruders and suddenly a new wave of experiencers – reportedly thousands – were suddenly and dramatically coming forward and sharing their incredible encounters. Ufologists and their networks were overwhelmed. Support grounds across the country were being suddenly formed to help these experiencers, particularly those who described having traumatic “alien abduction” memories. Former fence sitters realized it was time to either poop or get off the potty. Many jumped off their fences and pooped and joined the new battle cry. To hell with worrying about the risk to their credibility – a new game was in town and unlike those wild-eyed fanatical “contactees” and their obviously too good to be true “Space Brothers,” the emerging wave of “abductees” were saying things that were much more in line with what they wanted to hear. Hypnotic regression became the magic cure for recovering some of the memory gaps and so-called “missing time” that either trauma or alien mind tampering had repressed or concealed. Of course, skeptics and psychologists would come to take ufology to task over relying so heavily on hypnotically recovered memories. Mental confabulation and so-called “false memory syndrome” was of major concern. Even alternative pioneers like Keel and Vallee expressed concern about the over use of hypnosis in the field and how it can contaminate memories instead of clear them up, and how an amateur or biased hypnotist could obtain the kind of information he was seeking via the power of suggestion (and hypnosis is considered a very suggestible tool).
Today we see much of official ufology having regressed back to the old “nuts and bolts” era and paradigm, though at least, unlike previously, the field now is much more open to possible associated paranormal interfaces (i.e., aliens who have telepathy, can do mind over matter feats, etc.) and the possibility of other dimensions (quantum physics has helped open that door). Still though the majority in the field of ufology do not seem to hold their beliefs well in check, and as Keel long ago said belief is the enemy.
Of course, as I recall Budd Hopkins once stated, that no matter how much we might want to strive for objectivity, and as investigators we should, none of us is completely objective. We all have our personal beliefs and opinions. We’re human. We just have to keep them in check. Keel certainly had his own beliefs, though they were often in conflict and contrary to the mainstream beliefs and values of establishment ufology.
History shows us that progress in all of the sciences takes gradual baby steps. The infant science of ufology is no different. The recognition of alternative aspects like the paranormal and Keel’s electromagnetic spectrum theory (which our own friend and colleague Dr. Greg Little has written quite a bit about over the years) I feel are progressive and highly significant steps in the right direction, but obviously we still have much, much farther yet to go.
Though the major ufological focus has been directed at tales of “crashed saucers and pickled aliens” (presumably retrieved and covered up by governmental agencies), our best and most available evidence may often be in our face, so to speak, whenever we interview a credible eyewitness to a close encounter event.
We’re just finally reaching a point where science is taking us into forensic areas of research and investigation. We’re now really beginning to perceive and appreciate the value, potential and availability of new tools in our quest for answers that may allow us to peer, probe, and ponder often beneath the surface of things, or beyond where our perceptions have previously allowed us access.
Critical knowledge and thinking, creativity, and financial backing are often stumbling blocks where such advancement in new areas of understanding and discovery are sought. Fortunately, the modern digital age of miniaturized and more advanced and effective instrumented technology (i.e., cameras, recorders, EM detectors, temperature sensors, etc.), that “ghost hunters” and “ufologists” alike can and do utilize, allows for the average person to venture better prepared into the field, with a greater chance at obtaining critical evidence.
The late Dr. Berthold Eric Schwarz, an imminent psychiatrist and the author of a book entitled UFO Dynamics (which I just happen to have a chapter in), urged ufologists to be open minded towards the paranormal/UFO interface and to not only interview experiencers about their encounters but also to attempt to observe and document firsthand these inexplicable events for themselves. He recommended doing skywatches and experimental paranormal sessions with such experiencers. “With careful documentation and long-term follow-ups of UFO experients, experimental sessions may yield information on the mechanisms of how various events took place, roles of dissociation and how these relate to prerequisite trance-like states and paranormal effects, and thereby open a more embracive and enlightened interpretation of the original encounter,” Dr. Schwarz wrote (1993). “Could the core of many UFO experiences be paranormal with secondary psycho-pathological, cultural and religious adumbrations?” Dr. Schwarz felt two very promising areas of further and evidential exploration and experimentation would be attempts at paranormal recordings (commonly called Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and “psychic photography.” While the “ghost hunters” have today taken the lead in such experimental field work, some “ufologists” are gradually taking some notice, and I recently noticed a website selling some of the same gadgets to them as they do to “ghost hunters.” Interestingly, a lot of paranormal ghost hunting sites you’ll come across on the internet include cryptozoological and ufological investigations too. Last year I was invited on an investigation as a consultant on a case where UFO and paranormal elements were being reported. I have also worked closely with “ghost hunters” (Bret Oldham and Sandy Nichols) who are also self-admitted “alien abductees,” and when I encouraged them to use their “spirit box” to communicate with the aliens too, alien sounding intelligences, who gave intelligent and interactive seeming responses to their questions, also appeared to come through (just as they had done in their interactions with so-called “ghosts” and “spirits” using this same technique). One night when they were conducting such a session, they had stepped outside and Bret’s wife Gina looked up into the sky and saw a mysterious ball of light hovering overhead. She quickly pointed it out to Bret, who got a glimpse of it just as it disappeared.
In a recent interview with British researcher and author Anthony Peake he remarked how it was becoming increasingly apparent to many researchers delving into paranormal phenomena that the way we used to catalogue things like angels, aliens, ghosts and such into totally separate categories and compartments was indeed erroneous and simply reflected our lack of understanding with regards to what we were actually dealing with. He expressed that thanks to our growing awareness and understanding of the real sciences behind the experiences, that we are gradually learning to see beyond the potentially misleading surface appearances of these reported events. In our conversation he noted the similar “beings” that modern authors Whitley Streiber and Philip K. Dick had described and had illustrated, comparing those descriptions to strikingly similar ones like the one illustrated by the famed occultist/metaphysician Aleister Crowley. Anthony described how new insights being gained about biophotons, how the brain operates in conjunction with the all important light-sensitive pineal gland and the brain hemispheres (with particular interest in the role that the non-dominant right lobe plays) and their chemical and potential electromagnetic properties, all paints an intriguing and still emerging new perspective and understanding on how we not only perceive reality, but how we may misperceive it as well, and what may ultimately (with a sprinkle of quantum physics thrown into the mix for good measure) be going on here. (Obviously, of course, a lot of details have yet to be worked out in finely tuned fashion)
There are so many odd and strange things being reported, and so many new and fascinating discoveries being described as well, that my brain is having electrical brainstorming type fits contemplating upon all of the many different multiple directions we could spin off into from this point that we’re presently at. Suffice to say, a comprehensive exploration of what data comes to mind would require a review of global, historic (including shamanic), and modern scientific reports to try and flush out an adequately, near decent overview.
For now I must give my poor and abused geriatric brain cells a rest. More at a later time! Sorry if I rambled on a bit too much.