High Strangeness: UFO Science vs Anti-science

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UFO Science vs Anti-science

What has science ever told us about UFOs?

Not much, when you get right down to it. After over 60 years, science can't even tell us whether UFOs represent something physically real. As the late, great scientist Dr. J. Allen Hynek used to point out, all that we know for certain is that UFO reports exist.

So, considering how bad a job science has done to make sense of the UFO phenomenon, why not turn to the furthest thing from science that we can imagine -- anti-science, if you will -- to see if we can get better results. And by anti-science, I mean, of course, poetry.

You may scoff, but last night I was witness to a fascinating experiment in which one of the best-documented UFO cases of all time was picked apart by the anti-scientific method of poetry, and the results were pretty surprising...

A long while back I blogged about my new friend Txxx, the writer who was writing some poetry about the famous Barney and Betty Hill UFO abduction case of 1961. Well, last night Txxx gave a reading of four of the poems he has written thus far, and I, who know next to nothing about poetry, loved it. It occurred to me as I listened to Txxx's poems that he has really hit upon a powerful new way to consider the UFO phenomenon.

This sketch depicts what Barney saw when the UFO descended.
Think about it: The logic of science hasn't gotten us anywhere, but maybe the illogic of poetry is perfectly suited to unravel the mystery of UFOs. Maybe it's what we've needed all along. I certainly suspected it last night. Txxx read four poems about the Hill case; each of them dealt with a singular aspect of the case, and each broke that aspect down into certain incomplete fragments of time, sensation and emotion that were, in their fragmentary nature, more powerful than some of the more complete, factually- and chronologically-correct accounts of the events. I don't know how that works, but it does! Seriously, I felt as though I was inside Betty's and Barney's heads on that lonely stretch of Route 3 in 1961 in a way I've never experienced before. Whatever a poet gets paid, it's not nearly enough.

The four pieces concerned these four aspects of the Hill case:
  • Betty's recollection of the close encounter and its aftermath
  • Barney's reaction to hearing the recording of his account, made under hypnosis, of the medical exam aboard the spaceship
  • Barney describing the creatures to a sketch artist
  • Betty's encounter journal that she kept for years after the initial event
I can't say which I liked best, because each has its own unique impact, but one quote from the second poem, in which Barney keeps referring to his voice in the audio recording as someone impersonating him, really gave me a chill... Barney, who could not yet remember the abduction in conscious memory, said "It's better to wonder than to remember."

Last night, I believed him.

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