The UFO phenomenon forces all interested parties to consider, sooner or later, whether the strange craft and entities witnessed by countless reliable witnesses, are corporeal machines and beings, or manifestations of a paranormal force. Disagreement over the origins of these phenomena have deeply divided researchers, to the point where ufological research is being hampered by the resultant hostilities. Are the intangible, elusive and capricious natures of these phenomena the result of accident or design? Is the resultant discord within ufology just a natural and inevitable outcome of diverging opinions? Or is the discord the direct result of manipulation by the very phenomena under discussion?
I'm not a professional ufologist, nor am I scientist. My educational background is in law, something which has given me a good foundation in objective and analytical thinking. I have also experienced personal UFO sightings and a number of other paranormal events. So despite being no more than an armchair researcher, hopefully my own experiences mean I have better insight into these issues than armchair researchers who have no personal experiences to draw upon.
It saddens me to see ufologists allowing their diverging opinions to develop into out-and-out hostility. The nuts-and-bolts, extra-terrestrial hypothesis (ETH) proponents all too often dismiss the paranormal elements of UFO and entity encounters, ridiculing the supporters of a paranormal explanation. The paranormal enthusiasts are equally dismissive of the ETH exponents, often arguing that UFOs and entities must be interdimensional or supernatural in origin. I'll play devil's advocate here and ask you to consider the following hypothetical situation.
What if there are two or more separate phenomena at work, each responsible for separate aspects of the UFO/ET enigma? What if these phenomena are locked in some kind of battle with each other that we don't understand, yet we're somehow caught in the crossfire?
The most bewildering aspect of the UFO/ET phenomenon is its hugely varied nature. Let's cast aside hoaxers, liars, the emotionally disturbed and those who genuinely misperceive known objects and creatures, and focus on tales of high strangeness told by credible witnesses. When we look at some of these events, it's hardly surprising that researchers are divided between an ETH and a paranormal hypothesis.
In 1976, a UFO was intercepted over Tehran. The Imperial Iranian Air Force was alerted to the presence of an anomalous craft, by frightened citizens and air traffic controllers. The brilliantly lit craft could be seen over a distance of some 70 miles, and was detected on multiple radar systems. When Iranian Air Force pilots tried to close in on it, their instrumentation and communications systems failed. One pilot tried to fire a missile at it, but found his weapons systems non-functional. Another pilot lost all his electronic systems, but his engines continued to function, allowing him to return to base. Several civilian aircraft also detected the craft, visually and on radar. Military and civilian pilots could also hear a distress beacon signal, but there were no downed or missing aircraft in the area. The UFO performed incredible manoeuvres, covering large distances in seconds, before shooting towards the ground and coming to rest in the desert. Despite the efforts of debunker, Philip J. Klass, to pass the Tehran incident off as a misperception of Jupiter, followed by pilot incompetence and equipment failure, the DSP-1 satellite also detected an infra-red anomaly in the area at the time of the incident. The Tehran events certainly suggest a real craft was involved. But from where?
Many alleged alien encounters, however, seem to suggest paranormal origins to the phenomenon, alien abductions especially. From a personal perspective, I don't know what to make of alien abduction claims. On the one hand, the notion of people being spirited away onto spacecraft in the middle of the night, seems outlandish and ridiculous, and indeed, I used to dismiss such stories as the work of hoaxers, fantasists, or the plain crazy. On the other hand, some cases are far harder to dismiss. One such case is that of Australian abductee, Kelly Cahill. The full story of her experience can be read here, courtesy of Bill Chalker.
In a nutshell, Kelly and her husband encountered a UFO in 1993, whilst driving home late one night. The huge craft landed, and they approached it. Kelly thought she could see occupants in the craft's windows. She was incapacitated by a powerful light beam, taken aboard the craft and underwent some intrusive procedures. After experiencing amnesia and missing time, Kelly was later able to consciously recall the events, without hypnosis, which makes her case all the more compelling.
The interesting thing about the Kelly Cahill case is that there were independent witnesses. Three other people who stopped to view the craft also believed they were taken aboard. All four abductees had physical scars which were documented, and the craft left behind landing traces. Kelly subsequently developed a uterine infection which doctors could not explain. This story, again, sounds like convincing support for the ETH. However, after this experience, Kelly and her husband began to experience numerous events which had more in common with the paranormal, such as shadowy figures in their house, and electrical disturbances. Kelly also had bizarre dreams which seemed to bleed into her reality. One time, she dreamt of an entity taking her hand in the night, and when she awoke, rings had being removed from her fingers as she slept. The rings were never found.
So what is the connection between UFO's and the paranormal? Regular readers of this blog will recall how I have had my own UFO sightings, followed by paranormal events, which may, or may not, be connected. I've never seen alien entities, though, I hasten to add, nor do I think, for one second, that I've ever encountered aliens or been abducted by them. But the events I recounted in My own paranormal experience - #1 and My own paranormal experience #2 feature what appeared to be nuts and bolts craft, as well as slightly more esoteric elements.
What if there are two conflicting phenomena at work here? Many people become frightened after seeing UFOs. I know I did - I was just a child at the time. What if somehow, this fear makes us a magnet for some unpleasant, terrestrial forces that we don't yet understand? What if this unpleasant phenomenon then decides to use our UFO sightings as an opportunity to mess with our minds? Who knows, maybe many initial UFO sightings have a conventional explanation, but the unwitting experiencer, believing they've seen a real UFO, then somehow attracts the attentions of nasty, capricious little entities that have masqueraded as various beings, from fairies to demons, since the dawn of time? I'm not saying this is what I believe. I'm simply hypothesizing, and allowing my imagination to run riot, because as an experiencer of anomalies, I have a compulsion to explore these issues.
But let's take this hypothesis a couple of steps further. Let's pretend for a minute that we know for certain that two separate phenomena are in conflict, the ETs and the paranormal spooks. What is the conflict about? Are we simply caught in the middle of something that doesn't really involve us? Or are we the focus of the conflict? Maybe the ETs are here to help us and protect us against the spooks. Or maybe the ETs are the bad guys, and the spooks are impersonating ETs to make us aware of their bad intentions towards us. Perhaps the ETs want to take us to a new stage of consciousness and evolution, which would mean we would no longer be ignorant or afraid of the paranormal, so the spooks would lose their hold on us. The spooks, therefore, implant false alien abduction experiences in our psyches, to make us mistrust our would-be saviours, and prevent us progressing to a point where the spooks become impotent. Or maybe spooks and aliens are one and the same? I'm not saying I believe any of this to be the case - I'm simply throwing out ideas.
Whether there is a single phenomenon at work, or multiple phenomena, deception and delusion play a large role in the protagonists' somewhat orphic agenda. Setting ufologists at loggerheads with one another would be a perfect way to hinder progress in understanding these anomalies. Maybe the ETH supporters and paranormal believers are all right to a degree, with each camp holding part of the key to the mystery. Maybe they're all wrong, and the UFO/ET enigma emanates from a source we cannot possibly comprehend. Perhaps it is just one mass delusion, although it's hard to see how cameras, radar systems and topographical features could be deluded into displaying evidence to back up UFO sightings. Whatever the real answer, with so much delusion, distrust, dishonesty and discord going on, we will never be any the wiser, as long as separate factions fail to co-operate.