High Strangeness: Beware the Trickster

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beware the Trickster

There's a longstanding tradition in myth and legend of the trickster, a supernatural being or God who delights in leading humans up the garden path... The trickster lies, and flatters, and makes ridiculous dares and absurd bets, and plays stupid, and cheats, all with the apparent aim of bewildering humans, who, it should be said, are pretty easily duped.

The trickster is anarchic, and fun, and brilliant, and manipulative, and sometimes menacing. The trickster can be as folksy as Brer Rabbit, or as enigmatic as the coyote of Native American legend, or as devious as the Norse God Loki (I have to admit, I've been a Loki fan ever since seeing him in action in Neil Gaiman's brilliant novel, "American Gods").

Why do I bring this up? Because there is a school of thought in the field of UFO research -- a school of thought that I subscribe to -- that says that UFOs, and the entities that often appear from inside them, are modern iterations of the age-old trickster God, and that they're messing with us.

They want us to know that something is going on, something just outside the range of our senses, but they don't want us to know what. They are tricksters, and they will do whatever they have to do to keep us chasing after clues while never allowing us to find the smoking gun... Famed UFOlogist Jacques Vallee has written on this idea extensively; he refers to UFOs and their occupants as "Messengers of Deception," a term I have always quite liked.

But why would UFOs and their occupants be trying to lead us up the garden path? Why does the trickster keep tricking us? Well, what if keeping us off-kilter is their way of helping us grow and evolve? What if the absurdity and illogic of the UFO experience is meant to subtly re-order our thought processes, to tweak our perceptions, to rewire the human race, one UFO witness at a time? This makes as much sense to me as any other UFO "explanation," and it's why I keep needling the MUFON-types about their need for every UFO case to be "The Big One," the one that will "prove" to the world that UFOs are "real." I just don't think it's going to happen that way. You're never going to "prove" anything when the trickster is at play.

Consider the "Confuse-A-Cat" segment from "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and tell me it doesn't parallel the UFO phenomenon and its effect on humans. Are we not the cat? Are the UFOs not the Confuse-A-Cat brigade?

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