As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been interested in UFOs off and on since my childhood. It’s part of my general curiosity about the world, and I like to take a mostly scientific approach to it. Here are some brief thoughts on the topic:
(a) There seems to be something going on that we cannot explain from our current mainstream worldview. Leslie Kean and others have documented several cases with multiple apparently reliable witnesses and multiple sources of data. It seems that some of these cannot very easily be explained away as something known, imaginations, hoaxes, or disinformation. (Although some of the apparently reliable cases very well may be.)
(b) Mainstream media and science tend to dismiss the topic without taking a closer look first. Especially in the US, and partly in Europe and perhaps other places too. This is a very unjournalistic and unscientific approach. Why does this happen?
(i) It may be due to an existing culture of dismissing and ridiculing this topic. Many journalists and scientists may buy into and accept this culture, without questioning it.
(ii) It may come from a fear of being associated with something that doesn’t fit into our current mainstream worldview. As we know, there is sometimes a cost to go outside of and question the mainstream views. It may lead to opposition and criticism, and possibly being seen or treated as an outcast. For scientists, it may reduce their funding opportunities.
That’s how it is, sometimes, even if we know the mainstream views are provisional. They will be replaced by other views. And any view is ultimately wrong. If there is one thing history – and common sense – tells us, it’s that our current worldview will be replaced with another, and will in the future be seen as limited and even misguided. We don’t know exactly how, but we know it will.
We also know that humanity – and our civilization and science – is still in its very early infancy. And what we don’t know is always and inevitably infinitely more than what we do know, and what we “know” is always and inevitably up for revision.
(iii) How was this culture of dismissing the topic created in the first place? Some say it was an intentional policy by the US government. Initially, in the 40s and partly the 50s, they – and the media – did take the topic seriously. Then, there was a shift towards dismissing and ridiculing it .This may have created a culture which has been continued and is partly self-perpetuating.
In any case, it’s often strange to see scientists taking the decidedly unscientific approach of dismissing the topic without first seriously looking into it.
(c) The UFO phenomenon clearly deserves to be taken seriously by science, the government, and the media.
(i) If something is in our air space, we need to know what it is. This clearly seems important, if only from a defense or air safety point of view. (Officials and agencies of many countries take this seriously and are quite open about it, and it’s possible that even segments of the US government and military take it more seriously than they publicly acknowledge.)
(ii) If UFOs are one or more unknown physical phenomena – either natural or advanced technology – it’s clearly of interest to science. It has the potential of expanding our current understanding of nature and/or science and technology.
(iii) The psychological and sociological aspects of the UFO phenomenon is fascinating. It holds up a mirror for us.
(iv) If aliens of some sort are behind the phenomenon, that’s obviously hugely significant. Even if the possibility appears minuscule, the importance of it is so great that it deserves serious attention and research.
(v) The best approach seems to be multidisciplinary research teams with full access to witnesses and records (including radar etc.), and full openness from and support from governments.
(vi) Since mainstream science and media, and governments, often do not take this seriously – at least in public – it leaves the field wide open for amateurs and kooks. Some who study the topic do it in a serious way, and there are also many who don’t and will believe whatever they want to believe. (As if belief has any role in what’s really a topic of scientific study.) This is partly why serious scientists shy away from this field. They don’t want to be associated with the lunatic fringe, and it’s easy to understand why.
I suspect this is also why people like Carl Sagan and Seth Shostak publicly reject the UFO topic. They don’t want to hurt their credibility and reputation by being associated with some of the folks in the UFO field. And I can’t say I blame them. (Although it does make their approach appear quite unscientific, at least to people more familiar with this topic.)
(d) The UFO phenomenon impacts us in certain ways. For instance, it reminds us of several things, and invites us to look at some things differently:
(i) It reminds us that our current understanding of the world is very limited. Our species is very young, and our civilization even younger.
It’s likely that there are many other civilizations out there in the universe, and some may be far more technologically and scientifically advanced than us. Our current understanding is very limited, and that what’s possible – with centuries and millennia with continued exploration and scientific and technological development – lies far beyond our current horizon. As Arthur C. Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
More broadly, and as someone said, it’s possible that reality is not only stranger than what we imagine but stranger than we can imagine. It’s silly – and really not very scientific – to judge what’s possible from within the framework of our current understanding. The UFO phenomenon – with all its stories of telepathy, time and space warps, synchronicities and more – reminds us that the world may indeed be much stranger than what we imagined, or even can imagine.
(ii) What we see “out there” in the world, including in any potential aliens, mirrors ourselves back to us. We see ourselves in them, whether they are “real” in a conventional sense or not. (More about this below, under (e).)
Here is another mirror: In the alien abduction stories, people are sometimes treated the way we humans treat other animals. It reflects back to us our own actions and invites us to ponder these. If we would be upset to be treated that way, and see it as unethical, perhaps we should think twice about treating our fellow earthlings that way?
And yet another mirror: If we were in their shoes, aliens arriving at Earth studying humans, what would we see? A very young species and civilization? A civilization built on misguided principles (of separation, unlimited resources etc.) which makes us destroy the living systems we depend on? All as innocent and part of a natural evolution process? Humanity reaching a bottleneck due to high population numbers and unsustainable practices? How would we look to them? How do we look to us, when we imagine seeing ourselves and our planet from the outside?
(iv) Also, how would it be if we contact these beings on a larger and more public scale? How will it change how we see our role in the universe? How will it change our worldview and civilization? How will just knowing that we are not alone change us?
(v) The UFO phenomenon shows us how we meet what’s outside of our conventional worldview. Do we blindly reject it? Do we blindly accept it? Do we get caught in, and blinded by, our fears and hopes? (Seeing them as evil or saviors.) Do we take this as an opportunity to (a) find in ourselves what we see in the wider world, and (b) hone a sober way of thinking and approaching the world?
(vi) How would it be if we never get complete or satisfactory answers? Either in our lifetime (likely) or ever as humans? Would that be OK? How would it be to be OK with it? How would it be to be OK with uncertainty and not knowing? How would it be to have curiosity and interest in the world, and continue to explore, and still be OK with not knowing many things in a conventional sense, and not knowing anything for certain?
(e) Whatever the UFOs are (and they are likely many different things), and whether aliens (of any type) are visiting us, they mirror us back to ourselves. We see ourselves in them. Our perception of the world often says more about us than the world. As someone said, we see the world not as it is but as we are. If I see aliens as uncaring or evil when they abduct people, or even demonic, can I find that in myself? If I see them as here to support or guiding us, can I find that in myself? How do I think of them? (Make a list.) Where do I find the same in myself? (Make a list.) What are my thoughts about them? What do I find when I take these to inquiry? (The Work.) What do I find if I use the 3-2-1- Shadow Work process on them? What do I find if I explore this using the Living Inquiries?
(f) I don’t know too much about this field, but I have to admit I belong to the skeptical side when it comes to “recovered memories” and regression. A great deal of research in this area shows that it’s very easy for the client to create “memories” in this way, either influenced by what they already know or how they see the world, or also through influence by the “therapist”. After all, memories are just images and words associated with certain sensations, and other words or images saying it really happened. It doesn’t take much to come up with images about the past, and then assume that’s what actually occurred. It happens all the time. In short, hypnosis seems good for creating memories, and not very good at “recovering” them.
I listened to one “regression” where the therapist’s questions on the surface seemed open ended enough, but there was also clearly a strong assumption from her side and she led the client in that direction. Questions reflect our assumptions and expectations, no matter how “objective” and “neutral” we try to be. And this will influence the client and his or her interpretation.
Also, it’s possible that if some people are “abducted” and some or all of their memories are hidden or wiped, it’s done for a reason, and that reason may well be to prevent further traumatizing the individual. If that’s the case, “recovering memories” can in some cases be quite risky and perhaps even seen as irresponsible.
Another aspect of this is that therapists seem to get clients that mirror their own view on this. For instance, Bud Hopkins seems to take a more hostile approach to what’s happening, and his clients appear to experience their supposed abduction as traumatic and unwanted. John Mack had a more friendly view on the situation, as did his clients. I see three possibilities here, and each may play a role:
(i) People seek out and are drawn to therapists who reflect themselves. People who tend to take a friendly view of the world find therapists with a similar view, and those with a more hostile view do the same.
(ii) The therapist leads the client into a particular way of viewing what may have happened. This will happen, no matter how careful the therapist is in trying to be open minded and receptive.
(iii) There is something akin to a synchronicity at play where people with similar views and experiences find each other.
(g) The UFO phenomenon seems to be at the material and possibly subtle energetic levels. In other words, in form and within content of experience, as anything else happening. The real magic, what’s really astonishing, is that anything exists at all. Any particular content of experience is secondary to that. Also, as consciousness notices itself, it’s content is – in a way – secondary. It’s all the play of life (the Universe, Spirit, Brahman, Buddha Mind). I suspect that’s why I have an occasional curiosity about it, as I do about just about anything in life, but I don’t see it as hugely important. Of course, if it becomes more accepted and incorporated in science and mainstream culture (as a serious topic, not just entertainment), it will mean significant changes to our civilization. And that’s especially true if there is a more public and ongoing interaction with these beings. And yet, it’s still all lila. It’s still the play of life. It’s still happening within experience, as anything else. It’s just another experience. Another flavor of Spirit exploring itself. It’s not hugely important in that context. It’s just a new chapter in human life and the history of Earth. It’s just one of many chapters. (This interview with John Mack touches on this.)
(h) There seems to be clear parallels between UFO/alien contact and mystical experiences.
(a) Both tends to lead to a dramatic revision and questioning of our worldview, our most basic assumptions about ourselves and life, and how we can live our life with meaning and purpose.
(b) There is often a long(ish) period of coming to terms with what happened, and a reorganization and reorientation of our lives.
(c) It may be experienced as traumatic. This may lead to healing, and maturing and growing beyond what would have been possible otherwise.
(d) There may be various “paranormal” experiences associated with it. This may help us find confidence in what happened, and it also invites us to question, realign and open up our worldview.
(e) We may question our sanity, and experience ourselves as isolated and alone in the experience. At least for a while, until it’s more digested and/or we find others in a similar situation.
I think this is, at least partly, why I am interested in the UFO phenomenon, and also – partly – the abduction experiences. There is a resonance here. Although I have no conscious memory of ever having seen a UFO or aliens, and may very well not have at all, there are still many parallels.
The main difference may be that a mystical experience reveals all as Spirit (awareness, consciousness, God, Christ, Brahman, Buddha Mind) and it also reveals any particular content of experience as less important. (Apart from in an ordinary, conventional sense.) As I mentioned above, the real mystery and what’s really astonishing is that anything is at all. Whether there are aliens visiting or not takes a less important role.
(i) It’s difficult to overlook the topic of sloppy thinking. Some blindly reject the whole topic of UFOs, often without seriously looking into it. Others blindly accept anything that strikes their fancy, no matter how unfunded it is in solid data. And, as mentioned above, since most serious scientists shy away from the field, it’s wide open for uncritical thinking and kooks.
For instance, during an interview with John Mack, a listener called in convinced that the illusionist David Blaine was an example of amazing supernatural mind powers while a two-minute search on Google would have revealed how he did just about any of his tricks. He is called an illusionist for a reason. And anyone can learn to perform the same tricks, with some practice. (I am not saying that ESP etc. is not possible. I have many personal experiences that show there is something to it. I am just saying that using David Blaine, or any other illusionist, as an example is….. pretty silly.)
I see something similar with the whole “ancient aliens” idea. It is, of course, possible that Earth has been visited for a long time. And at the same time, the “evidence” some of these folks come up with seems very weak. There are other ways of explaining most or all of these cases that are equally or more plausible, and much more mundane. For instance, some of them are likely to be imagination and tall tales, or inner truths expressed in story form. To take any and all of the fanciful stories of the past as a literal truth makes about as much sense as if someone five hundred years from now came across a superman comic book from the 1950s and thought there actually was a man flying around in a blue suit at that time. I am not saying that none of these ancient stories or depictions are of ancient aliens. Just that some folks seem to take a very uncritical approach to the topic. The cases are, in just about all instances, open for other ways of interpreting it that is simpler and more mundane. Also, when it comes to ancient construction projects, why is it so unreasonable that those were made by humans? People back then were every bit as smart and resourceful as we are today. It’s not outside of our reach at all, even back then, to build as they did. If we can go to the moon, we can certainly build pyramids.
Folks into alien contact and technology conspiracy theories similarly often display sloppy thinking. We have some convincing data that shows that parts of the US government (to take one example) is taking the UFO phenomenon seriously while publicly ignoring or ridiculing it. Beyond that, the data is less solid. There are plenty of witness testimonials, for instance by retired military and intelligence officers, pointing to a more widespread cover up. And yet, these are typically unsupported testimonials, and these wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. There are also other reasons why these people would go public with these stories of aliens and alien technology in the hands of the US government, for instance, to create a distraction from and a smoke screen for some of the things they are actually doing, which has nothing to do with UFOs or aliens. It’s fine to speculate, and it’s important to make it clear how strong or – in this case – weak the supporting data is.
Then there are the people assuming or hoping that there will be some sort of “disclosure” in the immediate future, or even at a particular date. First, the evidence that f.ex. the US government has something significant to disclose is weak, at best. The volume may be reasonably impressive, but the quality is typically not. Even if they were sitting on important information, why would they decide to share it with the public in the near future if they haven’t so far? And how come some would know the exact date it is going to happen? To me, most of this looks like uncritical and wishful thinking. It may happen, but the supporting data is weak – and more so at each new level at their chain of reasoning.
Some folks say that the missing Malaysian Airlines plane has been abducted by aliens. Again, there is a perhaps a very tiny possibility that this is the case, but why even focus on it when there are several much more plausible and mundane explanations? For instance, from the very beginning, it seemed likely that an electrical fire caused the pilots to shut down the non-essential electrical system, head to the nearest airport, went unconscious due to smoke and toxins in the air, the plane continued until it went out of fuel, and crashed in a remote area of the ocean. Why make it weirder than it has to be? Why see everything as having to do with aliens, even if no data supports that possibility? (Of course, the media also tends to focus on sensational explanations rather than the mundane ones, although these tend to focus on hijacking etc.)
There is no end to similar examples. If we want scientists and the media to take the UFO topic seriously, we – who already are interested in the topic and strongly suspect there is something going on that we cannot explain from our current mainstream worldview – have to apply critical and sober thinking.
The above are also examples of “God in the gaps” thinking, where aliens replace God. Wherever there is missing information – for instance, what’s on Mars or how the pyramids were built and how a plane went missing – some folks fill it in with aliens. Again, this sloppy and wishful (or fearful) thinking only serves to discredit the field, and alienate more serious thinkers from the topic.
(j) A bit more on the topic of projections and mirroring, and that how we see the actions of the aliens may say as much or more about us than them. (Independent of if or how they may exist). For instance, I have seen interviews with Bud Hopkins and Whitley Strieber where they call aliens “evil” and perform “evil actions” on us humans, and that they don’t approve of or themselves do those things. At the same time, it seems clear that…..
(a) “Good” and “evil” are made up in our human minds, it’s not inherent in life. It’s also very much dependent on culture, perspective and the roles we find ourselves in.
(b) And, perhaps more importantly, we do the same as some – including Hopkins and Strieber – assume aliens do to us.
(i) We treat our fellow Earthlings the way Hopkins and Strieber think aliens treat us. We do things to our fellow animals without asking them for permission, and against their will. We perform invasive procedures on them, including science experiments and testing of chemicals. We care very little about their freedom and well-being. And even worse, we use and abuse non-human animals for food and clothing. We destroy their habitats. We wipe out entire species daily.
(ii) Also, we treat future generations – both human and non-human – in a very similar way. We seriously affect their lives without caring much for their well being or asking their permission. We use precious resources for ourselves that they surely would like to have had access to. We destroy the life-support system of this planet that they are as dependent on as we are.
So it’s clear that what we see in them reflect ourselves back to us. We are, in this sense, them. And we project ourselves onto UFOs and alien more readily and clearly than we do for many other things since we know very little about them. They are more or less a blank slate for us, and thus excellent projection objects.
(k) I mentioned this too earlier, but a bit more on solid and less solid data. In any field, it’s important to evaluate how reliable the data is. Some stories seem quite solid, such as many of the ones in Leslie Kean’s book. These have multiple witnesses and are often backed up by other forms of data. And much seem much less solid, including witness accounts – either from abductees or government officials – that are not backed up with other data. As mentioned above, “recovered” memories are notoriously unreliable, as shown in a great deal of research. And retired (or still working) intelligence officers or military folks may intentionally wish to mislead, either to entertain themselves or to muddle the field and distract from what’s really going on (which may be much more mundane, and yet something they don’t want the public to know or try to find out about). What’s a better distraction than a good UFO or alien story? That they seem sincere, and that their stories seem to fit in with what others say, is no guarantee of anything. They may well be trained to appear sincere, and the stories of apparently independent sources may well be coordinated one way or another. They may even, in some cases, themselves be misled by people higher up, and be genuinely sincere in telling their stories. In my view, many UFO researchers seem a bit naive and gullible here. That even goes for someone like Richard Dolan. He goes quite far in his speculations, these speculations are often based on weak data and questionable sources, and he does a funny thing where he makes it appear solid and real, and yet also admits it is speculation.
(l) May 2014 update: I’ll add a bit about animal mutilation (dissection) here. I – as many others – dismissed this at first, without having looked into it. As I am looking into it more, I see that this too is a mysterious and baffling topic, largely ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media, and it may involve government cover-up. For more information, read Stalking the Herd by Christopher O’Brien, listen to an interview with him (easily found online), or watch one or more documentaries online. For the UK, watch a talk by Richard Hall called Animal Mutilation & Government Cover-up, the documentary Silent Killers, or the talk Killers on the Moor by Mike Freebury.
(m) Why the cover-up? If the UFO topic – or alien abductions, or animal mutilation – does involve aliens of some sort, and the government knows more than they say, why the cover-up? The simplest explanation is that (a) they may be powerless in doing anything about it, and (b) don’t see any reason to share what they know with the public. They take the old-fashioned patronizing approach, instead of trusting truth. There may also be more complex reasons, as outlined by Richard Dolan and others.
(n) In general, I am struck by the entertainment aspect of this topic. It is certainly entertaining to us. Our minds love a mystery, especially if it possibly involves something exotic, something that may turn (parts of) our worldview upside down, and possibly (inappropriate) government secrecy. And if aliens – whatever they may be – are involved, it may be entertaining for them too. The trickster element of it all certainly seems to have an entertainment aspect, in addition to stretching us and making it very clear to us that we don’t know that much for certain.
(o) The UFO phenomenon, as it’s reported, is puzzling. As some say, there is a trickster element to it. It doesn’t fit into any of our conventional categories. It keeps surprising us. It keeps being very elusive, even if we know something is going on. It keeps us on our toes. Here are some of the many trickster elements:
(i) The UFO phenomenon seems to go beyond ET anthropologists and scientists visiting us for study. It’s much stranger than that. For instance, it seems connected with synchronicities, strange apparently non-UFO related sightings and experiences, warped time, shifts in worldview and consciousness, possibly crop circles, and much more.
(ii) The behavior – and looks – of these aliens (alien in the sense of unknown) often doesn’t seem to make much sense.
(a) Why do they tell us what any five-year-old knows? (That we need to take care of the planet, nuclear weapons are dangerous, etc.) Why so obvious? (The reason may be that even if this is obvious to us, we still don’t “get” it in a visceral and lived way.)
(b) If they abduct people, why do they examine them in such an apparently primitive way? Wouldn’t they have a more sophisticated way of doing it? Also, if they engage in some sort of hybridization project, why do it in such a piecemeal way when it could be done far more effectively? (Getting sperm from a sperm bank etc.) (It’s possible that they “work” on specific lineages of people, which could explain some of this strangeness but not all.)
(c) Why do they look so similar to us? How come they seem to be able to function and breathe in this gravity and atmosphere? It’s very unlikely that they would have evolved on a planet with similar gravity, and almost beyond belief that their atmosphere should be similar. Even if that was the case, it’s still very unlikely that they would have evolved to look so similar to us. (Does it mean they are created by someone else to interact with us? Does it mean they somehow belong to Earth?)
(d) Why do they appear to play cat and mouse with us – showing themselves occasionally yet remaining very elusive? Why don’t we have any hard and indisputable evidence beyond sightings, radar, and some puzzling physical objects and signs?
Of course, some or all of these could be explained if it was all made up. If it was all fantasies, or visions, or hoaxes. Then we wouldn’t expect the phenomenon to make sense, or be consistent. Much of it may be explainable that way. And it’s possible that something more is going on.
(p) I think I have written about this above. I notice that my main interest in this topic is really what effects a UFO encounter, and especially an apparently closer contact, has on people. It seems that for some (many?), it’s a form of spiritual emergency. It tends to shift their orientation. It stretches them. They may become concerned with sustainability. They may find new artistic interests and abilities. They may include reincarnation in their worldview. They become more aware of and in tune with the subtle realms. (For this topic, it doesn’t matter what the UFO phenomenon “really is”, and we do have access to people and can interview and ask them about what changed for them after the encounter.)
(q) Some UFO folks use the skeptics vs. believers terminology, and I notice it doesn’t resonate so much with me. To me, it’s more about taking a sober approach to the topic. What’s the data? How solid is it? (Sources, possible motives among witnesses to not report accurately.) What are the possible interpretations that fit the data? What are my beliefs, identifications, hopes, and fears, and what do I find when I examine these? (Inquiry, shadow work etc.)
(r) June update: I know that some folks in the UFO field are into “free energy” technologies. The idea, if I understand it correctly, is that governments and/or corporations sit on “free energy” technology gained from aliens, and keep it a secret to the public. That idea rests on a chain of assumptions where each chain is quite weak. Also, what’s the big deal? We already have “free energy” and technology to make use of it. It’s called sun, wind, waves and more. And we have plenty of it. Today, it’s a matter of priorities – petroleum vs renewable energy sources – more than technology. And who is to say that virtually unlimited and (nearly) “free” energy is a good thing? It may just allow us to consume even more fiercely, increase the world population even faster, and drain the Earth’s other resources even further.
In short, the enthusiasm that some show for this topic puzzles me. The data supporting the idea of alien technology on Earth is weak at best. We already have the technology we need, it’s more a matter of priorities. And who is to say that unlimited and inexpensive energy is a good thing? (Petroleum has seemed unlimited for a while, it is inexpensive, and our use of it has created as many problems as it solved.)
(s) Some seem to think that some governments keep what they know about UFOs secret because they want to prevent panic. If people knew that UFOs are in our airspace, and possibly abduct people and that our governments and the military can’t do anything about it, they would panic. That doesn’t seem like a reasonable explanation to me. There are infinite things that already kill us, or may kill us, and are largely out of our control either collectively or as individuals, and people are not panicking now. (These include traffic deaths, toxins in air, soil and water, tornadoes, hurricanes, wars, nuclear weapons, large meteor strikes.) Why would this particular thing cause panic? Also, people into UFOs and alien abductions don’t panic, which is a strong indication that others wouldn’t either. We are very resilient when it comes to danger. It’s been a part of our life since we were single-celled organisms. It seems clear that some governments are not entirely open about what they know. At the very least, they pretend to not be interested in the phenomenon while they really are. But it would be odd if they keep it a secret only or mainly to prevent panic.
(t) On the topic of aliens influence on human evolution and technology: I know that some folks think that aliens somehow either (a) influenced human evolution or (b) also influenced human technology and science. The argument for this seems very flimsy to me.
Looking at the evolutionary record for humans, there doesn’t seem to be any gaps or jumps that need any other explanation than ordinary evolution.
Considering the achievements of ancient civilizations, what they did doesn’t at all seem out of reach of ordinary human ingenuity. After all, they were as smart as we are today. If we can go to space, it doesn’t seem unreasonable at all that they could have built the pyramids and other monuments.
Similarly, the pedigree of modern technology and science is well known and seamless. There are no surprising gaps or jumps that need to be explained by research into alien technology (retrieved from UFO crashes or similar). At least not in our publicly known science and technology. It is possible that crashed UFOs have inspired new innovations that build on our existing technology, but that’s about it, and I haven’t seen any good data backing it up.
(q) On the topic of UFO sightings: If it’s just a light in the sky, it doesn’t seem terribly significant. Unless, perhaps, it moves in ways that no known crafts are able to. (Rapid 90 degree turns etc.) A regular light in the sky can be too many things – planets, satellites, ISS, lanterns, drones, quadrocopters etc. And there are plenty of sightings that goes well beyond “lights in the sky” – including those of metallic objects, objects that block the light of the stars, objects seen on radar, and also closer encounters.
(r) Update August 2014: What’s behind some folk’s fascination with the UFO phenomenon? I can see several answers to this, and they may each have some truth to them.
(a) Curiosity is inherent in (most or all of) us humans. It’s built into us since it gives us a survival advantage. And this may be especially true for unknown or hidden phenomena. It makes sense for us to be curious about them, explore them, and try to figure out what’s going on.
(b) UFOs and aliens are great projection objects since they are, for the most part, a blank slate to us. We can project our hopes and fears onto them, and explore and get to know these projections “out there”.
(c) We love good stories, especially when there is a mysterious element to it. It’s entertaining. It allows us to use our imagination and/or critical thinking. It can be distracting, and give temporary relief, from troublesome aspects of our own lives.
(s) I am reminded again that dis/misinformation is one of the many things that muddles the UFO topic. There is no shortage of retired military and intelligence officers who tell stories of UFOs and aliens and sometimes of these aliens’ connection to sections of the US government. They seem sincere. And yet, if I was in a leadership position in the US military or intelligence, and I wanted to distract from what was really going on, I would set aside resources to train and – if needed – pay retired personnel to tell exactly these types of stories. It’s a quite effective way to muddle the water. And there is no shortage of UFO enthusiasts who will swallow these stories whole and promote them further. Of course, it’s possible that some of these stories are true or have a grain of truth to them, but it’s almost – or sometimes completely – impossible to verify. (Some UFO researchers, including some I otherwise respect, sometimes seem to give more credence to these sources and type of stories than they possibly deserve. I guess it’s easy to clutch to straws in a field lacking in “hard evidence”.)
(t) It’s well known that we like to fill in gaps of knowledge with not only imaginations (which can be helpful as a thought experiment and exploration), but also our hopes and fears. We put God in the gaps and fill in the white areas of the maps with fantastic creatures. In our era and culture, some put aliens (or anything else fantastic or paranormal) in the gaps and the white areas. Shadows on Mars become evidence of an ancient civilization. A spiral in the sky is a sign from the aliens and not just a mundane Russian rocket that sprung a leak. A light in the sky is an alien craft, and not just an ordinary drone, quadcopter, aircraft, satellite or planet. A tiny deformed skeleton becomes an alien skeleton and not just that of a child with a physical disease.
Why do we do this? It’s entertaining, whether intentionally or not. It serves as a distraction from discomfort, or to create a sense of magic or excitement in our life. It’s our natural curiosity and imagination, unchecked by sober thinking. It may be a poke at people easily annoyed by a lack of critical thinking (trolling). It may be fun to see how easily people are duped. Some may do it for financial reasons (e.g. some YouTube channels). And it may be a combination of more than one of these.
(u) I listened to the most recent (as of late October 2014) Open Minds Radio episode and see it as an example of wishful and sloppy thinking. A woman “pieced together” data in the years following a conference and became convinced a large number of people there had been abducted. It’s possible it happened, but to me, it seems more an example of wishful (or fearful) thinking. The data seems very weak, at best, and using hypnosis to “recover” memories is notoriously unreliable. (It’s great for creating memories and terrible at “recovering” as a great deal of research show.) The host is usual quite good, but in this case, he missed an opportunity to take a more sober approach and ask the critical questions. This is what gives the UFO field a poor reputation. Intellectual honesty and sober thinking are needed as much, or more, in this field as in any other.
(v) This may be a repeat, and it’s something others have pointed out too.
(i) In the US, the aviation safety organization, and the air force both say they do not investigate UFOs. If that’s true, they are not doing their job. And if it’s not true, it means they are not telling the truth. In either case, it’s interesting that they are willing to say such a thing in public. UFO means unidentified flying object, and you would think that would be highly relevant both to aviation safety and national safety. Some of these things could be a danger to air traffic, and potentially to the nation. (Especially considering that we find under the UFO label is a wide range of phenomena and things, including man-made ones.)
(ii) Similarly, when some scientists say “the distances are too large” for alien visits to Earth, that’s either shortsightedness or intellectual dishonesty. They are really saying that they don’t know how to do it, so nobody else can possibly know how to. And they do so, knowing that even fifty years ago, much of our current knowledge and technology couldn’t have been foreseen, and even more so if we go back a few centuries. Our knowledge and technology develops linearly for stretches of time but is punctuated by minor and major paradigm shifts. Who are we to say that civilizations that may be thousands or even millions of years “ahead” of us are bound to our current understanding? Also, who are we to say that if we are visited by aliens, they must necessarily be from a physical, planetary civilization from somewhere else in the universe? (There are other options equally possible, and probably many we can’t even conceive of yet.)
In both of these cases, I get the sense that they are just saying something in order to dismiss the topic. They may not want to be associated with it, or be seen as taking it seriously, for fear of ridicule. And many, including the media, seem to accept their arguments without much question.
(w) There is no lack of confirmation bias in the UFO field, on both main sides of the issue. We tend to see what we want to see, instead of letting us be guided by the data. And some are quite far on the confirmation bias end of the scale while others – such as Leslie Kean – are further towards the sober end.
A couple of weeks ago, I listened to an interview with a guy who had written a book about people who went missing in US national parks. He told several stories that, to me, seemed well within the expected and normal range. And yet, he seemed to interpret it as if something sinister – and possibly paranormal? – was going on. Similarly, the number of people who have gone missing seemed about right to me, or even quite low, considering the huge numbers of people who visit national parks in the US, many of whom inexperienced, don’t check the weather reports, and perhaps are overconfident in their abilities. Again, he seemed to think that this relatively low number was much larger than what we should expect and took this too as evidence of something sinister going on. To me, his approach seems a clear example of confirmation bias. And it’s possible I am doing the same. I expect a good number of people to go missing, they do, so I don’t see it as anything out of the ordinary.
(x) I listened to an interview about remote viewing with Courtney Brown from the Farsight Institute, and a few things came up for me:
I have experienced myself and others “picking up” information about what’s happening at another location, and getting it confirmed, so I don’t really doubt that’s possible. I personally don’t have experience with picking up info about something from another time, but I have heard about it and see it as quite possible.
That said, what the remote viewers come up with does seem very exotic. I get a sense that it’s a case of filling “white areas of the map” with exotic and weird stories. In other words, that much of it may be projections and fantasies. I wouldn’t put any money on it being correct.
I notice that they seem to consistently avoid “targets” where (a) certain information is missing for us all, (b) they fill in these gaps through remote viewing, and (c) where we can later confirm or reject that information. It seems that they chose “targets” where the exotic information they come up with cannot very easily be confirmed or disproved. Courtney Brown did, on the one hand, acknowledge that it’s speculation and unconfirmed, while in the next sentence talking about it as if it’s true and real.
He repeatedly asked himself why humans get into wars etc. To me, the answer seems very simple. We still have a somewhat tribal mentality (stone age minds), and we have quite advanced technology and weapons, so what we see in the world today seems almost inevitable. No “alien intervention” (to create war and strife) seems necessary.
Also, he seemed surprised that we could have built the pyramids. Back then, we were just as smart as we are now, so why be surprised? They had solid technical know-how for their times, and plenty of time (decades) and man-power to complete the project. We may not know for certain the exact methods they used to build them, but that doesn’t mean we need to invent alien interventions to explain it. I personally prefer the most obvious and boring explanations. (Life is magical enough as it is, so I don’t have much need to try to spice it up with exotic stories.)
He used a way of speaking that seemed designed to try to convince others about his arguments, while – in my experience – that way of speaking mostly weakens his arguments and makes it more difficult to take it seriously. He said, for instance, “there can be no doubt” followed by an assertion that can very much be doubted. This tends to highlight the weaknesses in his arguments. One example is that I only have his words for it being a “blind” setup. For all I know, the “viewers” know very well what the”target” is. And even if they don’t, there is nothing to back up the info that goes beyond what’s commonly known about the “target”. As mentioned above, in many cases, that info seems very fanciful and has the flavor of projections and fantasy. It’s very possible that the conventionally known info is accurate, and even received the way he says it is while the rest is inaccurate.
There may even be a culture in the Farsight Institute, and among remote viewers, that subtly reward speculative exotic and alien stories. That may be enough for the remote viewers to (unintentionally) come up with these type of stories.
Although not very important, I also noticed that he didn’t seem updated on the mainstream thinking about how the pyramids were built. For instance, he talked about slave labor, while – as far as I know – historians now mostly think they were free, paid, and skilled laborers.
(y) When I hear stories from people who say they have been in contact with aliens, they seem to fit into a broader category of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (STE). As those who study these things know, UFO/alien contact is just one of many forms of STEs. If I were to write a book on this topic, that’s probably what I would focus on. How have these experiences – whatever they “really are” – changed your life? How is your life different? How do you live your life differently? Do you see yourself, the world, and life differently? How has it changed your spirituality, work, relationships, friendships, engagement in the world?
(z) One view seems to often be left out, and that’s in the word alien.
If these are really alien beings, whether from another solar system, or “dimension” (whatever that means), or something else, then it raises many questions, also about some of the theories that are floating around.
If they are really alien, how can we assume that our typical motivations and ways or reasoning would apply to them? (Speculations about their motivations etc.) How can we assume that their technology is anything that we could even remotely begin to understand or make use of? (Breakaway civilization.) How can we assume that they would look anything like us, or that hybrids or mating with aliens is even remotely a possibility? (As some claim.)
Of course, I realize we have to begin with ourselves to understand anything at all. But it’s also good to admit that if there are beings out there – either in the galaxy or in more “subtle realms” – they may well be so different from us that we cannot assume we can even begin to make sense of it. (Which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best, of course. It will, at the very least, expand our horizons and give us an opportunity to explore outside of what we are familiar with.)
On the topic of them looking similar to us, and also hybrids etc., it is, of course, possible, as some say, that these aliens – that happen to look similar to us – are designed by other aliens to function on Earth. They are created organisms, with the very specific function of interacting with Earth life and humans. Their creators may well be very different from anything we are familiar with.
(aa) I have heard people ask “do you believe in UFOs?“. That’s a nonsensical question, for at least two reasons: (i) UFO means unidentified flying objects, and there are – obviously – unidentified flying objects. We all see flying things we don’t quite know what are. And even after a thorough investigation, some still are unidentified. That’s uncontroversial. (ii) It’s not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of research and science. We know there are interesting and unidentified flying objects, and we want to know what they are. The answers may fall into several different categories, from something well known and familiar to new (to us) natural phenomena, to possibly something more (to us) exotic.
(bb) Some say that governments acknowledging that something is out there and we don’t know what it is will create mass panic. It’s possible, but doesn’t seem likely The lights in Hessdalen, Norway, are familiar to everyone in Norway and to many abroad. We know they are there, and that we don’t know what they are. And there is no fear, only interest, and curiosity. Government officials in many countries have acknowledged unidentified flying objects, that sometimes behave in ways no known crafts do, and that too hasn’t created fear or panic. It’s possible that a real possibility of alien visits would trigger fear, but even then I assume most people would be relatively level-headed about it.
(cc) If aliens are visiting us, and that’s a big if (at least for me), what type of aliens are they? Beings similar to us from another planet or solar system? Beings from more “subtle realms”? (Less physical, more energy and consciousness.) Beings that are indigenous to Earth, as some suggest? Something different? Something we haven’t yet thought of? Something we cannot even imagine? It’s not a given that they are visiting scientists or anthropologists from another solar system, even if that’s the default traditional view.
(dd) As Leslie Kean and others point out, if we want more people – including governments, journalists, and scientists – to take the UFO topic seriously, we have to take a sober and scientific approach ourselves. We have to be honest about what we know. (Very little.) We have to treat others with respect. We have to leave the speculation to the side, or at least, be very clear that it is speculation. We have to go about it through personal, respectful and sober contact with people who can make a change.
The Disclosure Project is interesting, but they present speculation as fact and accuse the government or the military of cover-ups. That seems a misguided strategy if they wish government officials or people in the military to take this seriously, or even to begin to open up about (a) the reality of the phenomenon, and (b) what they know (which could be very little).
(ee) What’s scientific? It’s interesting how people on both sides of this (often polarized) topic see the other side as unscientific, or gullible. Mainstream scientists tend to dismiss UFO enthusiasts as unscientific. Sometimes for good reasons. And those who take the UFO topic seriously tend to see mainstream scientists as blindly rejecting it without having looked into it. Both sides have good points.
It’s true that some UFO enthusiasts don’t use a very scientific approach. They present speculation as if it was solid truth. They sometimes jump on any exotic theory without much to back it up. They take witness testimonial as valid only based on the credentials of the witness, or “gut feeling”. (Or perhaps because they want it to be true.)
It’s also true that many mainstream scientists reject the UFO topic without first being familiar with the field, and having examined the best data.
I agree that both of those approaches are unscientific. One side blindly accepts something without much to back it up. The other side blindly rejects it without being familiar with the field.
There are people who take a more open, curious, and interested approach. One that’s more grounded, sober, and even scientific or journalistic or historical – whatever it may be.
Leslie Kean takes a traditional (in the best sense) and level-headed journalistic approach to the topic. The historian Richard Dolan knows how to be balanced, and sometimes takes a sober approach, although he does sometimes tip over into presenting speculation as “fact”. Clas Svan, the Swedish UFO researcher, seems very grounded in his approach.
Most of the UFO researchers I know about who take a more sober approach seem to come from Europe or South-America. Maybe it’s because the UFO field is particularly polarized in the US, so people there tend to be a little more defensive or “hot under the collar”.
Maybe it’s easier for people elsewhere to take a more balanced, open, and curious approach since they live in a culture that’s more accepting of the topic, and less polarized.
And since I live at least part time in the US, and am exposed to the US UFO culture, I get a slightly skewed impression. If I had lived full time in Norway, and been more exposed to the Scandinavian or European UFO approach, I probably would see the field slightly differently. I would, at least, be more exposed to a somewhat different approach. One that resonates more with me.
(ff) I recently read Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers by Jacques Vallee, which offer an invaluable perspective on the UFO topic. It was initially published in 1969 so I am surprised it hasn’t had more of an impact on the general thinking about UFOs, although it seems to have had more of an impact in Europe than in the US. He points out several oddities that I have been puzzled by, and which many seem to gloss over or ignore, or perhaps explain away with an explanation that seems too simplistic to me.
One is the many obvious similarities between the modern UFO stories and stories from traditional folklore (fairy tales, mythology, even dreams).
Another is that UFO sightings and encounters seem to reflect the culture and time of the people having these experiences. Often, the technology they describe is similar to what they are familiar with, only projected some decades into the future or with one or a few aspects taken to an extreme (for instance speed or maneuverability). Some of this can be explained by people using terminology and analogies they are familiar with, although there seems to be more going on. It’s also tempting to explain it away by assuming it’s all made up, either intentionally or through some form of psychosis, but that doesn’t account for observations or encounters shared by a larger number of people, or that left physical traces.
It seems to be a real, physical phenomenon, in the sense that it can be seen, touched, interacted with, leaves traces, is sometimes caught on radar, and more. And it seems to take a form that’s somewhat familiar to those experiencing it. Jacques Vallee suggests that there may be some form of intelligence behind it and that this intelligence is creating a “show” specifically for us, unknown for what reason. He does suggest that it may be part of a “control system”, intentionally aimed (?) at guiding our culture and cultural development, which is possible but clearly speculation.
In any case, we can take a step back and see life (the universe) as inherently intelligent and playful. Whatever the UFO phenomena are, they are expressions of this intelligence and playfulness – as anything is. Whatever it is, it can be seen as an expression of lila, the play of life, of Life (the Universe) expressing, experiencing, and exploring itself in always new ways.
(gg) Why am I interested in this topic? I find several reasons:
It’s a break from my everyday life. It’s somewhat entertaining.
It’s a chance to practice discernment and critical thinking. Being open minded and curious, while also somewhat grounded and level-headed. Avoiding blind rejection and acceptance.
It says something about us. What we see in “them” are also here in us. UFOs and aliens are great projection objects since we have hardly any (certain) information about it.
There are good reasons to think there is something to some of the UFO stories – for instance, the ones Leslie Kean included in her book – and that they point to something we don’t understand about our world.
And if there is something to these stories – besides jokes, disinformation, delusions, and wishful or fearful thinking – then it’s obviously very important. Whatever it is may lead to a paradigm shift in how we understand ourselves and our world, as human beings and in science.
I also find it interesting to notice the difference between keeping the UFO/alien possibility as mild entertainment, and taking in the implications if there actually is something to these stories.
(hh) To revisit: What are UFOs, orbs, and stories of alien abduction? The simple answer is that they are many different things.
UFOs may be misinterpretation of sightings and experiences. (Wishful or fearful thinking.) Known natural phenomena. Known aircraft. Secret aircrafts. Unknown natural phenomena. Intentional hoaxes. And perhaps more. And this more may include something created by intelligent nonhuman beings. Some UFOs are likely to be something we haven’t even imagined or thought of yet. (It’s always good to be reminded of that option.)
What’s behind stories of close encounters with aliens or alien abduction? Some are hoaxes. Misinterpretation of normal experiences, such as dreams or sleep paralysis. Manufactured (false) memories, created through wishful or fearful thinking, or through hypnosis. (Hypnosis is excellent for creating false memories, as research shows.) Visions. Hallucinations. Some may indeed be encounters with some sort of beings. And again, the explanation for some may be something we haven’t thought of or imagined yet.
(ii) If the universe is teeming with intelligent life, why haven’t we seen or heard from them yet? This is the Fermi paradox. Here are some possible answers:
They are intelligent but use their intelligence for something else than long-range space exploration or communication.
Space is big. Intelligent life is spread very far apart.
They don’t want to make themselves known. (Noninterference policy similar to Star Trek’s Prime Directive.)
Earth life is among the first to develop technology allowing for space exploration and long range communication. (This seems an obvious answer, but is often left out in these discussions for some reason.)
There is a timing issue. Everything has a lifespan, including technological civilizations, and to encounter them we need to match up in time. Considering time spans of billions of years, that’s perhaps unlikely to happen.
There is another answer which we haven’t thought of or imagined yet.
Few of these answers are completely satisfying to me. Technological civilizations are likely to have widely different approaches and views, so why would they all either chose to not seek contact, or agree on a noninterference code? Also, why wouldn’t they send out self-replicating robots to explore their own galaxy and perhaps other galaxies, and why haven’t we seen them? These are not that difficult to build, and if they are self-replicating, they would over time spread over very large areas.
The real question is why haven’t we encountered any extraterrestrial civilization in an obvious way? That’s where distances and timing come in. And perhaps that they wish to not let themselves be known. (Although why would that include everyone?)
(jj) I listened to someone talking about Passport to Magonia by Jaques Vallee. For this person, the point of the book is that how we report on what we experience is colored by what we already know and understand, our culture, worldview etc. That is obviously one side of it. What I took away from the book is more that these phenomena (UFOs, alien encounters, fairy encounters etc.) themselves may adapt to what we know and expect. People living in different times and cultures may not experience the same at all.
The person I heard talking about it was Lee Spiegel (who sometimes seem a little naive to me), and he seemed to come from the idea that UFOs are the same at all times and places, people see and experience the same thing, and only report on it using the language and analogies available to them. (I wonder if LS assumes they are crafts with aliens in them?)
To me, the data seem to better fit that the phenomenon itself may change to fit the people experiencing it. Of course, it’s not just one phenomenon, and a lot of it is tall tales, exaggerations, fantasies, known natural phenomena and more. At the same time, it does seem that some reports are about a phenomenon that’s far stranger than just crafts with aliens inside, and one that may present itself differently to people from different times and cultures.
(kk) I find it helpful to generate as many theories as possible about anything that seems relatively important. I often do it in my own life, and I also do it when it comes to the topics of this post. It helps me not get stuck in one specific interpretation or set of assumptions. It helps my mind stay more flexible and open to different possibilities. It also helps remind me that different explanations may be valid in different cases.
When I generate different theories, I check to see how well they fit the data. And I also make sure to generate different theories about the data itself. Nothing is given or set in stone, especially in this field.
In the UFO field as in life in general, many seem to get stuck in one interpretation or set of assumptions, and some also take things at face value (as they see it) instead of generating and exploring different theories. For instance, with the alien and government connection, several theories are possible.
For instance, with the alien and government connection, several theories are possible. Any one of the government or military officials talking about aliens may be disinformation agents. (That is very possible, in my mind. It’s a great way to distract from what they are really doing.) It may also be that they know something is going on that they can’t explain, but don’t know what it is. And it is possible they know more. (I personally doubt that.)
With the alien abduction stories, there are again a multitude of possible explanations and it may be that several of them are valid. Some may be fabrications, intentional or believed by the person. Some may be induced through hypnosis. (Hypnosis is great for creating memories and notoriously terrible at “recovering” memories. There is a reason why information gained through hypnosis is not valid in a court of law.) Some may be memories of something the person actually experienced. If they did experience it, some of it may be experienced in a way that could be observed by others (in consensus reality) and some may not be observable. The entities may be “out there” or created by the mind. If they are “out there”, they may be physical beings or non-physical entities. What these beings appear to do and tell people may be what’s actually is happening, or it may be what these beings want the abductees/contactees to think is going on. And so on. It’s a complex topic.
(ll) I sometimes hear people defending witness testimony in this context (UFOs, secret government projects relating to aliens and alien technology, alien abductions etc.) by saying “witness testimony puts people behind bars”. Some even say that witness testimony cannot be dismissed or disputed because it is allowed in a court of law.
To me, this is an example of flawed logic and intellectual dishonesty.
In a court of law, witness testimony is at most used as supporting data and it’s very rarely relied on by itself. Why? Because they know it’s flawed: People lie. People misremember. People misinterpret. People make up elaborate stories based on very limited information. Witness testimony is not something we can rely on by itself. At most, it can fill out a picture created by multiple forms of data. And this picture may seem coherent and reasonable or not.
Especially in the UFO field, there are many reasons to be skeptical to people’s testimony. People want to believe certain things. Public officials may have good reasons to mislead people and the public. (A smoke screen or misdirection from what’s actually going on, which is often far more serious and much more mundane.) People make assumptions based on limited information or experiences. People’s memories are obviously unreliable. They are created by images and sensations, and these images are – quite literally – imagination and created and recreated by the mind.
There is also a good deal of psychological research showing how unreliable witness testimonials can be even when they did actually witness something.
(mm) I listened to a Where Did the Road Go podcast on the Extra-Terrestial Hypothesis that I thought was quite good. They basically talk about (a) how we don’t know anything for certain and appearances may be deceptive, and (b) the UFO phenomenon does have the characteristcs of theater more than anything else. Of course, I liked their approach since it’s similar to my own.
(nn) On the topic of government secrecy around UFOs, my view is probably somewhere in the middle.
(a) When it comes to the US government, it’s clear they know more than they openly admit. They know something is out there, and they are clearly interested in it (they would be, if only for security reasons), while also denying both. How much they know, beyond that something is out there (something mysterious, intelligent), I don’t know. Even after reading a lot about it, I am unsure if we have enough data to know.
(b) Other governments seem to be much more open about it. They openly admit there is something out there and we don’t know what it is. That seems reasonable to me. (Of course, it’s possible they know more, but it may not be that much more.)
(c) Richard Dolan talks about a runaway civilization, private organizations and businesses using alien technology to develop their own. I guess this is possible, but the solid data doesn’t really support it. It’s clearly speculation partially based on questionable data. (Witness testimony etc.) I would be very much surprised if this is the case. (Although it is an entertaining thought experiment.)
(d) Some say governments can’t keep secrets, and to me that seems to come from flawed logic. There are obviously projects that were secret at some point and now are public, whether intentionally or accidentally. We don’t know of secret projects that are still secret, for the simple reason they are still secret. Some secret projects become public, and that’s all we know. I assume many secret projects are still secret, even decades later.
(oo) One of the things I noticed when I started listening to UFO related interviews is some folks in the field appear to be caught in an attitude of cynicism and low grade anger and bitterness. Why is that? My guess is that it comes from their view. Whenever we believe our thoughts about the world, we get into struggle. And in this case, some believe their own thoughts about what’s going on. They think they know. And they get frustrated when the rest of the world either won’t pay attention or won’t agree. It’s an outlook not aligned with reality, so they disappoint themselves. If someone believes they know the answer to the UFO phenomenon, or that other people should be interested or see it a certain way, they are bound to frustrate and disappoint themselves.
Others who seem to have a more open and curious attitude also seem to have an easier time with the whole topic. Alejandro Rojas (podcaster), Martin Willis (podcaster), Mike Clelland (synchro-explorer), Clas Svahn (UFO Sweden), and Jaques Vallee seem to fall into this category. They all take a more balanced and open approach, and are – in my view – more aligned with reality.
(pp) See the second part of this post for more.
I said “some brief thoughts” in the beginning of this post, and it ended up being much longer than expected! I have added to this as more comes to me, so the post has grown with time. I have to admit that this is a fascinating topic, independent of whether the most interesting UFO cases are secret military crafts, known or unknown natural phenomena, encounters with non-human beings, or something we cannot yet imagine.
I also see that I have revisited topics in the list above, mainly since I have added to it over a few weeks and months, and don’t always remember – or check – what I already have written about.
Some sources I have found helpful:
Books by and interviews with Leslie Kean. Sober journalistic approach.
Richard Dolan. UFO historian who has a good understanding of the field. He will sometimes go into speculation in a way that makes it sound more solid than it is.
Jacques Vallee. He looks at how the UFO phenomenon changes us and takes a more psychological and scientific approach.
John Mack. Harvard Professor who studied apparent abductees. I like his approach although it’s definitely going out on a limb.
Clas Svahn from UFO Sweden. I like his approach, perhaps because he is a fellow Scandinavian with an outlook I recognize and feel comfortable with.
The Podcast UFO, Open Minds podcast, aHidden Experience podcast are generally interesting and sober depending on their guests.
Also, see Mirage Men for an example of what appears to be intentional government disinformation.
Note: I have another post about my own experiences with a crop circle and UFO.