Alternate Perceptions Magazine, August 2015
The First Contactee
by: Dr. Greg Little
NOTE: This has been extracted from a forthcoming book by Dr. Greg Little and is only a small portion of a much longer chapter.
“Shortly after the influx of UFO sightings in the early 1950s came a new phase of saucerism: the emergence of the ‘contactees.’ Suddenly, it seemed, the Space People who piloted the heretofore unidentified craft were now introducing themselves to a select group of individuals, chosen or self-appointed, to spread the wisdom of the ‘Space Brothers’ to all mankind.”
Ronald Story, The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters (2001, p. 134)
The aging but still energetic scientist, then 55 years old, had worked for universities and his national government for decades. He traveled frequently in his official position, often alone, and had just begun a leave of absence from his appointed government position. In the past few years he had become obsessed with dreams about life and death, the meaning of life, and religious issues that nagged him. He had tried to forget the strangeness of his past by immersing himself in a quest to understand the natural world. The strategy had worked—until now.
In his youth he had often seen inexplicable lights darting around in the sky, experienced brilliant flashes of light that intruded into his room, and had visions of many kinds. As he aged, all of the strangeness in his life was avoided by a focus on science. Few people knew about early life experiences with the paranormal.
By age 55 he had become a highly regarded mathematician, a widely read natural scientist, and a sought-out engineer. His many books, work, and projects made him famous. His face and name were well-known to those who kept up with the media, so he often preferred to travel quietly and without fanfare, having contact mainly with close friends and a few “ladies.”
He usually stayed in the same hotels and often dined late and alone in secluded places in efforts to avoid admirers and others. Despite all these efforts to control his life, everything changed when his first encounter with an “alien” occurred.
He was staying in London when his extraterrestrial encounters began. He was eating alone in a small side room of a local tavern when suddenly the room darkened. Then a man inexplicably appeared in the corner of the room. It startled him and he looked at the odd man sitting in a chair who was just staring at him. “Don’t eat too much,” was all the man said.
It was so unsettling that the scientist jumped out of his seat and immediately left without saying a word. He ran to his nearby hotel and was exhausted and scared. He fell asleep quickly and had disturbing dreams. There are numerous written accounts of this night, and in one of these written records, the affair was so disturbing that a physician was called to his room. After the scientist was sedated several people were ordered to stay with the famous man through the rest of the night. Some accounts relate that the man from the tavern appeared in the dreams, but other accounts are slightly different and the scientist’s journal is silent on this.
According to the scientist’s own account of the visitation, it was on the next night that the “man” from the tavern again physically appeared to him in his hotel room. The man was seen to materialize and manifest into a physical form, sitting in a chair, where he was staring at the scientist. He was a physical human without any real distinguishing characteristics, but he was wearing purple robes and basking in glowing light. The man explained that he was going to open the scientist’s mind to the spiritual world adding, “I am God, the Lord, the Creator, and Redeemer of the World.” Open his mind it did and the visitations quickly escalated.
For the next 28 years the scientist was not only visited by physical beings who claimed that they lived on other planets, but he was physically taken to many of these planets. The visitors revealed that the moon was inhabited by living beings as were virtually all of the planets and several other moons of the solar system. Then the scientist was told that, “There are far distant earths, planets inhabited by beings similar to us.” He learned that many of these beings were called “angels,” physical humans who had played roles in not only the day-to-day life of humans, but these unearthly beings also played roles in history: “the ancients on our earth frequently spoke with them.” And here is where the Ancient Astronaut Theory had its birth, with the first person who can be accurately described as a “contactee.” He was Emanuel Swedenborg (born 1688; died 1772) the famous Swedish scientist and mystic.
Like nearly all of the contactees who followed some 200 years later, Swedenborg wrote of his interactions with the aliens and the cosmic information they bestowed upon him. Thousands of pages were produced and published by him based on his visitations. Heaven and its Wonders and Hell (1758) and Earths in the Universe (1758) were just two of his classic books describing his contacts and the information he was given.
Today, those who follow and study Swedenborg tend to interpret what Swedenborg wrote about his interactions with the beings on other worlds as the result of “spiritual” and “visionary” (hallucinatory) experiences and that he was describing souls and not physical beings. But if one reads what Swedenborg actually wrote, it’s clear: when his encounters began he was describing physical beings and physical craft. In Earths in the Universe, he wrote: “There are far distant earths, planets inhabited by beings similar to us.” “On such occasions there appear chariots and bright horses of fire, by which they are carried away like Elijah.” From one of his journeys to another world he described, “I observed a flaming object exceedingly beautiful; it was of various colors, purple and also pale red, and from the flame the colors shone beautifully.” In Heaven and its Wonders and Hell he wrote, “I have seen a thousand times that angels are human forms, or men; for I have conversed with them as man with man, sometimes with one alone, sometimes with many in company; nor did I discover in their form any thing different from the form of man; and I have repeatedly wondered that they were such.
And lest it should be said that it was a fallacy, or a visionary fancy, I have been permitted to see them in a state of full wakefulness, when I was in the exercise of every bodily sense, and in a state of clear perception” (p. 49). There is no doubt that Swedenborg asserted that beings existed everywhere in the universe and that they had and were visiting Earth. He referred to many of the beings as “angels,” but they were physical beings.
Swedenborg has been portrayed in many different ways, but in his later years Swedenborg was, as William White (1868) called it, in a “chase for the soul.” It was a chase for meaning, a search for ultimate truth, and an attempt at understanding Christianity and a host of key religious beliefs. Swedenborg himself gradually came to view many of his visitations as “spiritual” and “visionary” in nature. Like many of the modern contactees and the more recent “abductees,” Swedenborg felt compelled to write about his experiences and cast them in a spiritual light. All the contactees combined interplanetary travel with life on other planets, cosmic knowledge, ultimate truths, and a benevolence for the humans race. The “aliens” were, to them, truly “Space Brothers,” brothers who had an interest in the human soul and its ultimate significance.
Swedenborg was certainly not the first to assert that life existed elsewhere in the universe, but he was the first to assert that they were visiting Earth and had done so in the past—and changing history. His assertions and ideas were the forerunner for many later psychics, the development of Theosophy, the source for many fiction writers, the blueprint for later contactees, and countless others. Swedenborg truly was the founder of the Ancient Astronaut Theory. But it is important to understand that he is all but ignored by ufology.