Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, June 2016
UFO Disclosure or Future Folklore?
by: Brent Raynes
Although UFO experiencer testimony of close encounters, that may even include descriptions of alien beings, numbers well into the many thousands and is certainly a worldwide phenomenon, mainstream science continues to cautiously treat and often reject such data as subjective and antecdotal since such experiencer testimony, though clearly of a substantial volume, nonetheless lacks, in the eyes of the majority of mainstream scientists it seems, substantiating physical evidence to support such claims.
While a great deal of ufological time and energy has been devoted to disclosure efforts, with the main sought after grand prize being hard evidence of a genuine saucer wreckage, along ideally with pickled alien bodies or body parts in storage at some military facility, such as Wright Patterson Air Force Base or Nevada's legendary Area 51, the most compelling evidence revealed thus far have been military personnel, and certainly the pilots, who describe very puzzling past UFO encounters and engagements where these things were tracked on radar, jet interceptors failed to keep up, where there were strange electromagnetic type effects, etc. Those cases should persuade a logical, rational mind that something perplexing and very unusual seems to be occurring, even in the absence of definitive saucer wreckages and alien body parts for scientists to take into their elaborately equipped laboratories and study and analyze to their hearts content. The Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung, drawn to the UFO controversy doubtless because of its close fit to his working theories of how archetypes of a collective human unconscious could manifest as a living myth in our very own modern times, remained puzzled though and struggled a bit much over those reports of competent military pilots and others who both observed and tracked on radar objects that appeared to possess a physical reality. Certainly it was these kinds of reports too that drew in many early on, including retired Marine Major Donald E. Keyhoe into the UFO controversy too because of the high caliber of military pilot testimony and so forth, and why he created NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena) back in 1956. In the beginning, even some Air Force personnel reportedly found the evidence very perplexing and compelling, and seriously pondered the possibilities of either Soviet produced aircraft or those of extraterrestrial origin. Chief of Staff Genereal Hoyt S. Vanderberg, head of the Central Intellgience Group (later CIA) from June 1946 to May 1947, ordered the Air Force's early Project Sign's official UFO “Estimate” to be scraped, even incinerated, and replaced the program with a title that was rather self-explanatory - “Project Grudge.” It wasn't long before a special CIA panel in 1953 was convened to review the evidence gathered by the Air Force, a panel that would recommend debunking and defusing the high-level of public interest and near hysteria that had been generated over this phenomenon in a few short years. Thus began the now familiar rhetoric that the vast majority of sightings had simple mundane explanations, with more information the rest could surely be swept under the rug, and that there was most certainly no evidence of a threat to national security. Eventually, the Air Force was officially relieved of the responsibility of dealing with the UFO controversy in December 1969, following the recommendation of a two year review of the UFO evidence that the Air Force had accumulated, conducted under the auspices of Prof. Edward U. Condon, a physicist with the University of Colorado. Many in civilian ufology declared “whitewash” and the familiar rhetoric of insufficient evidence and no perceived threat to national security were the parting words for this end of an era dismissal by officialdom.
This June we're going on 69 years (nearly seven decades) of trying to get to the proverbial bottom of this controversial barrel of elusive answers to the so-called “flying saucer mystery.” The early pioneers in this field who initially set out to try and narrow it all done to a complete and satisfactory explanation may be turning over in their graves today as the clear gestalt whole of it all seems more aligned with human belief systems than undeniable and complete scientific and sound explanations and proof. When I started out as a “teenaged UFO buff,” all bright eyed and full of wonder at the prospect of such a great unknown in such a presumed time of intellectual and scientific enlightenment, the field of ufology was only going on twenty years at that time (though to a teenager twenty years seems like a pretty long time span). Nowadays, my perception of time is considerably altered. What I then thought of as an old man is an age I'd love to claim that I am now. Sadly, the older you get the faster that perceived time seems to flow by you.
Thus as the reality of my own diminishing time left upon this planet comes to a (I hope) very gradual and distant conclusion, I am hopeful that as I shuffle off of my mortal coil and look back in an NDE “life review” (if I have one) that I will see that I somehow accomplished something worthwhile and positive with my personal life journey wherein I devoted so much of my time exploring alternative perspectives and possible answers to what I and many others have seen as great and potentially important mysteries, from UFOs, psychic phenomena, spiritual visions, mysterious entities of many different appearances and sizes, all seemingly indicating to us that the world – that the universe around us – holds wonderful new truths and insights for us to yet discover.
Sadly, to my mind, many hold strongly to closed minded belief systems that deny these greater possibilities and potentials, based on the conditioned limitations that they have been taught to perceive from within the existing social, cultural, political, scientific, and religious perspectives around them. Even though many such beliefs have shown down through the years the importance of thinking outside the proverbial box of ones present knowledge base, like the former beliefs that we were the center of the universe, that there was no such thing as rocks that fell from the heavens, that man couldn't fly, etc., etc., I have seen so many unbelievable revolutionary breakthrough (and breathtaking) achievements during my brief little human life time, from man walking on the surface of the moon to the marvels of wireless internet and cellphone technology that today spans the globe. What will life be like, dare one ask, say a hundred years from now? Accomplishments may seem like magic to those of us in this present epoch.
Hopefully we're working towards something truly profound and monumental – far more than mere footnotes and case studies for future folklorists who will write ebooks and blogs on the delusional but entertaining beliefs of early technological man (us) in things like “ufology,” “cryptozoology,” “ghost hunting,” and other paranormal “distractions” (as one skeptic recently phrased it to me). In ufology, pioneering researchers like Jacques Vallee, John Keel, and Brad Steiger have written many books and articles exploring the similarities of UFO/alien encounter cases to fairies, angels, demons, Djinn, and ghostly apparitions. However, they saw such early, established folklore as having an underlying reality – that something real was actually happening in the past as in presumed modern times. Vallee made a statement at one point that he'd be disappointed if the answer to the UFO phenomenon turned out to be simply extraterrestrial “nuts and bolts” visitations as the majority in ufology seem convinced of. He perceives something stranger yet.
But let's face it, there's similar traditions, stories and concepts that stretch back hundreds, even thousands of years, and proof positive so far has remained ever so elusive, except for the faithful, for true believers. Thus what we do and write today could one day end up in the annals of future folklorists. So far the UFO disclosure efforts are only adding more material to this controversial, perplexing pile of data. The establishment hasn't yet accepted the reality of it.
Future folklorists are potentially going to have a field day with this stuff!
Nonetheless, I still feel that Vallee, Keel and Steiger (and too many others to name here) were and still are onto something potentially significant and insightful, but will their information and interpretations hold any real sway with future generations in the establishment, or will their material be additional entertaining gristmill (and perhaps something to be revised into enchanting, spellbinding children's stories, like the tales of the Grimm brothers) for the folklorists down that future road known as life?
Those of us who are presently committed to the search for a higher strangeness factor than traditional folklorists are prepared to address can only hope that this current generation, with more improved and more sophisticated tools of science and reasoning at their disposal, can change the course of the dark tide that threatens to sweep over and blanket our landscape of achievements with intellectual dismissals that could reduce all of our current ufological research and investigations into the colorful metaphors and expressions of mythology, legend, and folklore.