High Strangeness: UFOsplaining

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


There's been a lot UFOsplaining going on these days; seems like every day there's a huge new UFO news item being touted by one expert or another telling us whatever it is we need to know about UFOs: first it was the CIA taking credit for over 50% of the UFO sightings reported in the '50s and '60s, then it was the "news" about the "declassification" of the Project Blue Book files, then it was the "smoking gun" Roswell Slides, and today we even have TV evangelist Pat Robertson telling us that God has absolutely not created life on other worlds because He's got His hands full here on earth...

And yet, for all the blather, none of those things have yet to explain anything about the UFO phenomenon at all...

I have had it up to here with all this UFOsplaining. And so it came as a welcome relief when I sat down today to listen to an interview with one of the few UFO grown-ups in the world, a man who can talk clearly and intelligently about UFOs like no-one else. That man is Dr. Jacques Vallee, who was interviewed a few nights ago on Coast to Coast AM by host George Knapp, and who said more interesting things about UFOs in his two hours on the air than most of us will say in a lifetime.

The interview was of special interest to me because of Vallee's close relationship with Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and because he rarely talks publicly about UFOs these days. He's speaking now because three of his classic UFO books, "Passport to Magonia," "The Invisible College," and "Messengers of Deception," have just been reissued, and that's good news for all of us.

The conversation was ostensibly about "Passport to Magonia," and so there was a lot of fascinating talk about that book's preoccupation with the connections between UFOs and folklore... Here are some of the highlights:
  • "Flying saucer" is not a new term at all: about 700 years ago, Japan was plagued with "flying earthenware"!
  • In the creep me out department, West Virginia's famous Mothman bears some striking similarities to the historical figures of terror Springheel Jack and the Skinwalkers.
  • The Invisible College has returned! A group of scientists around the world has spent the last 12 years very quietly studying the historical aspects of the UFO phenomenon.
Dr. Vallee had some interesting thoughts about the recent UFOsplaining as well:
  • He marveled at how anyone could claim that the Project Blue Book files had only just been declassified
  • He was dismissive of the Disclosure movement, asking "Tell me again what it is we're going to be disclosing?"
  • On the state of UFO research in general, he said, "I think there's a big misconception that when you have a lot of data, you have knowledge."
All that was extremely entertaining, but the best quotes have to do with the deeper meanings of the UFO phenomenon...
  • "It is as if the phenomenon can manipulate space, time, and the thoughts of people."
  • "Every culture has a tradition of people who can do magical things."
  • "We have to face the fact that whatever the phenomenon is, it has access to a greater knowledge of reality, a greater knowledge of the universe, than we do."
Best quote of all? It had to be Vallee's statement on the value of laboring at a task when there is little reward and little hope that it might achieve its goals:
"If we can contribute to helping science build a model of reality, of physical reality, we will have done a good job, even if we don't solve the UFO problem within our lifetimes."
Second best quote? It was related to the best quote. While talking about the origins of unidentified aerial phenomenon, Dr. Vallee simply said,
"It doesn't have a beginning..."



Anonymous said...

Springheel Jack and the Skinwalkers: good name for a band.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Nice! You should copyright that.

Gil said...

Get a better idea of why the aliens are here and how long they've been here and what their plans for humans are!

zoamchomsky said...

I never really got the cult of JV thing. He seems just like any other "UFO" conspiracy nut to me.

He speculates a lot about "the phenomenon" when he can't even show that there is a phenomenon.

His whole "anything could be true" act is that of a slippery trickster. And that last quote about "helping science build a model of reality" is a hoot.

The "UFO" myth and delusion has not advanced in over sixty years and will never contribute anything to the world--much less help build "a model of reality," whatever that's supposed to mean.

We all live in the one and only model of reality there is, it's called, amazingly enough, "reality."

Lance said...

Agree with Zoam.

What did you really learn from all this vague talk?

Vallee at least makes clear that the evidence collected thus far falls FAR FAR short of scientific value.

That scientists are studying the history of the "phenomena" is interesting. 12 years, huh? Can we expect a paper in the next 20?

Vallee's other conclusions are essentially outs to cover for the lack of compelling evidence.

It's exactly the same as the Magic Dragon analogy that Sagan created.

"I have a Magic Dragon"

"Oh really, can I see him?"

"Sure but he is invisible!"

"Hmmm...maybe we can weight him?"

"Great, but he is weightless"

"Surely, I can touch him?"


mister anderson said...

Wow, I can't believe what was said about JV. He is one of the few ufo researchers I respect. The man is an actual scientist who has brought careful research. & a lot of skepticism to the ufo topic.