The modern UFO era has presented us with a set of problems that we have been unable to deal with in any rational or responsible way for over seventy years. Popular UFO mythology would have us believe that it all started when businessman and pilot, Kenneth Arnold, set off in his small plane from Chehalis Airport for Yakima, Washington State, at around 3pm on June 24, 1947 and reported seeing nine blinding, crescent-shaped objects flying at incredible speed towards Mount Adams. But even this is wrong.
The Yakima region, with Mount Adams just to its western perimeter, is still, without doubt, one of the busiest hotspots for UFO activity in the United States.1 Another one hundred miles as the crow flies east-northeast of Mount Adams lies the vast Hanford Nuclear Site. If we were to name anywhere as the birthplace of the modern UFO era, it would arguably be more accurate to give this accolade to Hanford. This was home to the Manhattan Project that spawned the world’s first devastating H-bombs that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Is it any coincidence, around the time and location of the first crude plutonium enrichment, that the first modern flying disc reports began to come in with any regularity?
It is now clear there were dozens of UFOs reported both visually and on radar for many months prior to June 24, 1947 around the nuclear facility. These included a sighting of three discs at 2.30pm that afternoon, some 30 minutes prior to Arnold’s take-off.2 By late June of 1947, UFO reports were exploding across the USA in numbers never seen before: a report by Ted Bloecher, later used by The Rand Corporation, suggests 853 sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena in June and July of 1947.3 Of course, it is open to discussion that all kinds of aerial phenomena had been reported for centuries or millennia. But the fact that one of the most highly classified projects in the United States at that time was having its airspace penetrated by objects of unknown nature and origin was not only a cause for alarm, it was also highly embarrassing.
With these very early flying disc reports lie the origins of what would become an important factor in the way the US government and military would publicly deal with the modern UFO enigma. There was evidently a need to classify, deceive and obfuscate in order to cover up these inexplicable incursions into restricted airspace. And by the time UFOs had really grabbed the public’s imagination, those responsible for keeping Hanford’s secrets (both of a nuclear and a potentially more esoteric nature) would certainly have had no issue with Arnold’s sighting (which made no mention of Hanford) being placed front and center. Kenneth Arnold’s famous sighting was by no means the first UFO sighting, but it was the first to capture mass media attention. Just over two weeks later, Roswell would hit the newswires. Mythology was in the making.
So, over the next seventy years, how did we go about attempting to assimilate into our culture those things that continued to defy rational explanation or didn’t fit within our scientific understanding? On the one hand, we ridiculed or ignored them and said that they didn’t exist. On the other, and in the absence of much real information at all, we mythologized—we made much of it up. The modern UFO era heralded the arrival of the flying saucers. Whatever their true nature, it seems fair to say they were and are “vehicles” for the hopes, dreams, and fears of a New Age.
I’m going to attempt to explain why I think almost everything you think you know about flying saucers is wrong.
UFO Social Engineering 101
i. The Subject That Covers Itself Up
Back in April 2012, I interviewed the stalwart UFO investigator Stan Gordon. For over fifty years, Stan has been a frontline investigator in Pennsylvania, his primary focus gathering thousands of field reports of all things paranormal. He told me that some of the things reported in his cases were so weird, so bizarre and unsettling, that the subject covers itself up. Nobody wants to go near them.
The following year, The Citizens Hearings on Disclosure was held in Washington D.C. This was an attempt to present the UFO subject in a respectable light to former members of Congress in a mock congressional hearing. Ufologists wore ties and sensible footwear, spoke with authority on ET contact, and finally got a chance to feel how real UFO Disclosure might one day feel. It was certainly a great dress rehearsal. But that’s only part of the picture, if that’s even part of any picture at all. Where, oh where, were the tales of aliens offering pancakes, the beings that wanted our fairy cakes and our Oreos, the encounter with the giant blob beings, or the brown, dung-like flying objects? They weren’t talked about, and the people who witnessed these things were not invited, and with good reason: they’d make the entire UFO subject seem even more ridiculous.
“High Strangeness” was the term coined by Allen Hynek to label the inexplicable effects and synchronicities of events related to and occurring before, during, and after UFO encounters. I prefer to think of it simply as all the stuff that doesn’t fit into our comfort zone—the experiences people report that challenge our preconceived ideas of what UFOs and the paranormal should be. High Strangeness feels at times like the Death Metal of ufology—and no Death Metal band has ever been invited to the Grammys. But how can we seriously claim to be studying the UFO subject properly without taking all the data into consideration? Should UFO Disclosure day ever come, will High Strangeness even be invited to the big coming-out party? I very much doubt it, for it would make any official announcement, consisting of a singular explanation for UFOs as being of extraterrestrial origin, seem somewhat simplistic and premature. Indeed, it would appear to be screaming, “Not so fast, blithering earth fools!”
One of the people I’ve come into contact with in Portland, Oregon, claims a series of encounters with UFOs and non-human beings. I’ve talked with him at length about these, and some of them also involve his wife.
She had a history of UFO experiences prior to their meeting and it was whilst in bed together one night in 1997 or 1998 that things took a decidedly bizarre turn.
On several occasions during the preceding days, James and his wife had been disturbed in the night by odd sounds, and both had the sense that someone or something had been in their bedroom. Growing more and more fearful and frustrated, James had secretly wished that whoever or whatever this was would just show themselves. Earlier that day James had bought a packet of Oreos. He opened the packet, ate a couple, and placed them on the sideboard on the other side of the bedroom in case the late-night munchies should arise. He went to bed but, an hour or so later, was awoken by the sound of the rustling Oreo packet. Out of the very corner of his eye, and lit by the streetlamps outside, James could make out the silhouette of an approximately five-foot-tall, greyish, non-human entity. It was stealing his Oreos! “Why, that bastard!” he thought. With the exception of the tips of his fingers, which he wiggled frantically, he was alarmed to find that he could not move. He tried to scream out to his wife but all he could manage was a whisper. The intruder made off with a sizeable stack of Oreos at incredible speed past the foot of the bed and disappeared through the wall and James suddenly found himself able to move again. In the most abstract of ways imaginable, James had finally gotten some personal proof that these nocturnal visitations were, in some way, real. The missing Oreos were never to be seen again.
Tony Watkins was a mechanical engineer who recalled coming into contact with several small grey beings in some woods near his home in Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, in 1958. He was convinced he’d been implanted with something, and began to have different dreams. His black-and-white dreams were normal, but the colored dreams were sometimes prophetic and seemed to contain real information. If he thought about his contact experience he would get severe headaches. In 1990 his stepdaughter asked him where he thought these beings had come from. Something replied to Tony at that exact moment, by telepathy and in a mechanical voice, “the seventeenth state of matter” where “all knowledge is constructed in a pyramid form.” He immediately got another headache.
Ann Druffel, together with the late D. Scott Rogo, researcher and writer on parapsychology, co-authored an incredible book on early UFO contact, The Tujunga Canyon Contacts. Within a number of these cases, the non-humans encountered gave information relating to an alleged cure for cancer. This became almost like a calling card to the researchers during their investigations, and they began to take it as a sign that the experience, which was being recounted to them, was in some way genuine. After all, how could so many people, unbeknown to each other, report the same piece of information within their contact experiences? The message was kept secret and eventually given to medical professionals as potentially groundbreaking information. The cure for cancer given to the contactees was acetic acid—household vinegar. While there are some New-Agey schools of thought that link apple cider vinegar with killing cancer cells, I think it’s safe to say that acetic acid is not a reliable cure for most cancers—at least within our current scientific understanding.
So, what does all this say of a phenomenon, and perhaps the intelligence(s) behind it, when we have, at least on the surface, seemingly nonsensical experiences or false information being imparted? At best, we can say that the phenomenon appears to have a sense of humor. At worst, it seems to be continually attempting to confuse us or cover itself up. Or is there something else happening entirely? Do some aliens simply like Oreos? Is the intelligence attempting to communicate with us the best it possibly can? Are some of these contact experiences steeped in symbolism or interacting with our subconscious minds? Or is this all a by-product of something else entirely?
Within many UFO and paranormal experiences, there does appear to be some kind of an external intelligence interacting with us in a variety of ways. Yet, for obvious reasons, the nonsense and trickster elements are all too often overlooked. Certainly, building any kind of literal belief system around the UFO contact experience would—to say the very least—appear hugely problematic.
But, for the best part of seventy-five years, this is exactly what we’ve been doing.
ii. UFO Sociology and The UFO Mythological Zone
“They said that I was the center of the universe. My spirit and ethereal body covered the whole of creation and all dimensions in between. I was cosmic mind spread throughout the infinite universe. Creation emanated from my senses and emotional body. I would shapeshift through the elements and disperse light and colors. They said they had never seen anything like it and could barely put into words what they saw.”
Laura Magdalene Eisenhower
On May 10, 2016, Laura began a gofundme crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a new car.
“Hello everyone and welcome to this month’s Sirian star language, so just sit back and relax and enjoy the transmission: Myassalantokahanosayantokah Elyayahantokayayantaskoyanasah.”
Solreta Antaria Laura and Solreta are just two of the speakers who attended events in 2016 at the Gilliland Estate (formerly known as ECETI—Enlightened Contact with Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). Here, ranch owner and “visionary”1 James Gilliland holds regular sky watches and “ascension” events at the base of Mount Adams. Continued ...
“ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT FLYING SAUCERS IS WRONG” by Lorin Cutts is an extract from his contribution to UFOs: Reframing the Debate edited by Robbie Graham.