The UFO subject remains shrouded in ridicule for obvious reasons; the evidence for ET visitation is lacking, the UFO observer has been poorly portrayed in the public eye and the media is still in love with a subject that brings in so many entertaining stories.
We are left with an impression that the subject is peopled solely by those who go in search of ET and that these very people are somehow sadly disconnected from reality. This impression has become a serious misconception that’s sadly embedded in our social consciousness. UFOlogy today still consists of two main elements – the ETH believer and the debunker – with a central element of objectivity largely missing.
My research seems to fits into the central category. I think of myself as an open-minded individual (I question this regularly) and work with a healthy scepticism that allows me to explore the profound nature of such extraordinary experiences. Tomorrow night (meaning 26th October), I will talking to members of the Science Cafe, who hold their meetings at the infamous Oystercatcher Cafe in Teignmouth. Following on from the lecture I recently gave at BUFORA‘s 50th anniversary UFO conference, I will be talking to members generally about the UFO subject and specifically the Anamnesis Project, which I will be reinitiating with Professor Alex Keul of Salzburg University.
One of the key points I want to convey is how extraordinary experiences have the power to transform the experiencer’s life. For me the UFO experience serves a purpose and appears to have an unusual function that is connected to human consciousness. It has the potential to change not only the experiencer’s life but also potentially, person by person, cause wider more significant change in our society. From a science perspective perhaps, the experience is understood as largely an event that happens within the experiencer’s mind or it is mere misperception and misinterpretation. For many scientists that is it, it is simply an imaginary event and they do not see anything important beyond that. Perhaps instead of using the word ‘imagination’ we replace it with the word ‘vision’ will that enable us to take our exploration of the subject in another direction?
Meaning, from a psychological point of view, is something implied by the individual concerned, which in the case of UFO sightings tends to blossom into a sort of Grail quest. However, from what I understand about experiences, there is more to this subject than meets the eye and I will be trying my best at opening such a discussion with Science Cafe members this Friday.
I totally understand the frustration met by many UFO experiencers (observers whose sightings have moved and influenced them) of being unable to produce concrete proof of the utterly strange nature of their experience or the ability to persuade anyone that what they are telling others ACTUALLY happened to them.
One such unfortunate example was Brigitte Barclay who was asked to take a polygraph test in Andrew Maxwell’s recent BBC documentary Conspiracy Road Trip (episode 3: UFOs). This demonstrates the extent experiencers go to demonstrate the reality of their experiences. Maxwell had a change of heart but Miss Barclay openly showed her conviction. Unfortunately, Maxwell perhaps hadn’t realise that polygraph testing (acting as a lie-detector test) is somewhat flawed in that anyone can pass the test (demonstrate they’re telling the truth) by actively believing in the account they are being tested for. But that’s also besides the point, Miss Barclay had encountered what many experiencers have to go through, incessant doubt from others on an individual basis and on a larger scale.
I am a UFO witness myself and have personally felt the ridicule process for 20 years. The experience has taught me a number of things; that unexpected things happen to people for reasons that can’t be explained. That these events do not fit into our concensus reality. That witnesses are unable to physically prove that the experience ever happened. Knowing these things I can happily listen to other experiencers and realise that what happened to me that fateful night in October 1989 is happening to other people today, just in a different form. The differences in their narrative is poignant and significant. Instead of searching for physical evidence, which I know can’t be found, I can focus on the individual instead and take note on what the experience means to them and how it affects their lives. One last note, I realise that the Anamnesis Project is a worthy study of the close encounter witness as it very much allows the experiencer to express themselves freely and also to realise that they are valued as individuals who often find themselves at the start of a sort of spiritual journey.
For me though, modern UFOlogy has lost much of what had been learned in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly from the likes of Dr. Jacques Vallee who brought some very unique ideas to the subject. (This period also saw its fair share of hoaxing and belief-driven groups which are linked to the development of new age belief systems e.g. Aetherius Society).
Three of Vallee’s books Passport to Magonia, Forbidden Science and Messengers of Deception are recommended for new students to the subject. Vallee, who is now working on the replacement international space station, refuses to re-engage in the world of UFOlogy as he feels that the subject today continues to be filled with nonsense and in-fighting. The subject has changed in ways unknown to the media in that there are fewer UFO organisations around (actually there’s alot more groups in the UK and Europe working closely together) but I do feel that alot of important information I had come to know as a younger researcher is now lost to a new generation, which is a shame.