This essay is my own gauntlet thrown into the debate concerning the UFO phenomenon and my own toast to Finagle's Law which Dharma Combat attracts by nature. lt is intended to perhaps provide for the often gapingly large, excluded middle that I have observed in my seventeen years of , observing the scene. So, by Finagle, here I go!
First off, I have marveled at my prodigious blend of skepticism and flexibility, especially when one considers that while other kids in the fourth grade were still into the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I was reading Jacques Vallee's passport to Magonia and John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies. The latter struck me indelibly as it ended with one of Charles Fort's most provocative questions, ''If there is universal mind, must it be sane? (That has to be the century's most intellectually frightening premise for any theologian and I leave it to this forum for any to offer discourse on it). My Slack could be the result of Fate or Bob but if I dare say genetics, then my Basque ancestry will certainly have Milton Cooper and True Believers of his alleged conspiracy confirmed in suspicion . He will thus forgive me if I do not buy his particular version of reality. Like the thrust of the respective work of Vallee and Keel, I've thought that there indeed must be something more than mere piloted mechanisms at work. If any sufficiently advanced technology is indeed indistinguishable from magic, then these ETs make Mickey Mouse playing the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia look like Gandalf in comparison. (1)
These suspicions didn't gel until the end of 1989, when I reread a book that sat yellowing in my garage for nearly a decade and received from my subscription to Artifex, the compilation Cyber - Biologjcal Studies of the Imagjnal Component of the UFO Contact Experience (The Archaeus Project, 1989). I would soon be digging out far more from my garage than I realized in investigating the implications of both , which I will now explore.
The Archaeus Project The Archaeus Project was formed in 1983 as a small discussion group that met monthly at the home of Earl Bakken. The purpose of the group was to discuss, and attempt to assess, the claims arising out of the emerging "Human Potential" movement. The group included professionals with impressive backgrounds in science, technology, business, medicine, and the humanities.
In a relatively short time, under the direction of Dennis Stillings, the size and activities of the group expanded. A membership program was instituted, a newsletter published, and a speaker program initiated. This speaker program involved inviting some eight or nine speakers a year to Minneapolis to present on a very wide range of topics related to human potential. The main requirement for speakers was that they be one of the best representatives of that particular topic on which they were invited to present. Archaeus Project took no official position on the subject matter, only that Archaeus Project would provide and open forum to discuss ideas, however controversial.
Most of these talks were recorded, and the activities of Archaeus Project, along with contributed articles, were published in the Archaeus Newsletter (later called simply "Artifex", and a larger annual publication, ARCHAEUS.
In addition to these activities, Dennis Stillings was given virtual carte blanche to investigate the Wide World of Weird. While the focus was on alternative medical practices (psychic surgery, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, psychotronics etc.), Archaeus Project also took a look at the claims of parapsychology and even ufology—-among several other classes of anomalies.
During what was later to be dubbed the Great Airship Wave of 1897, a farmer Alexander Hamilton of LeRoy, Kansas encountered a strange vehicle on the evening of April 19th:
''lt was chiefly composed of a part in the form of a cigar , about one, hundred meters long. I guess, with a chariot underneath. This chariot was of glass, or some other transparent material, and had bands of an opaque matter. It was brilliantly lit on the inside and everything was perfectly visible. lt was occupied by six of the strangest looking beings I had ever seen. They were jabbering with each other, but I couldn't catch a word ) they said.'' (2)
Hamilton and h is farmhands soon discovered one of the cows was in distress:
''We went toward her and found a cable about half an inch thick, made out of a red material, fastened around the neck of the animal with a slip knot. The other end of the cord went up and was connected to the vessel. We tried to get the animal loose of the slip knot, but when we did not succeed, we cut the wire of the fence, and saw the ship and the heifer rise up slowly and disappear to the northwest.'' (2)
The remains of the cow were later discovered by a neighboring farmer. This detailed account of the kidnaping and slaughter of Hamilton's cow by aliens was not the first I encountered.(3) lt may have been Passport to Magonia or some other book, but in any case it does not matter. What did matter was the precis I read of this case omitted the mechanical aspects of the alleged airship. Because of this, a certain bias was planted in my mind for which I am grateful. Without those details, the picture of the event I had was of a giant, airborne jellyfish like the one I had seen in some Japanese monster movie I watched one.
Saturday afternoon as a child. I couldn't shake that image especially when I came across an article in theFall, 1975 edition of UFO Report called ''UFOs are Living Creatures.'' Four years later I would discover the paperback on the subject by that article's author, Trevor James Constable. At this point, I direct the reader to the accompanying article from Kooks #5 (which see).
Despite some questionable areas, I still find Constable's premise to be the only one which would solve a whole number of puzzling phenomena in one fell swoop. Not the least of which would be current near-epidemic appearances of mysterious crop circles in the southwestern part of England.(4) Moreover, it affords quite a novel answer to other questions. At the World-Science Fiction Convention held in Brighton, UK in 1987, I attended a lecture by Fortean lecturer Pate Hassall where he described an apparent correlation between reports of ''missing time'' and ''visitor'' experiences and the proximity to high frequency electrical sources. In some rural areas, I've seen lines pumping so much current they produce coronas. Exposure to such intense electromagnetic radiation (EMR) has allegedly caused leukemia and a host of ills to humans living nearby.
The Philadelphia Experiment may be no more than the military equivalent of an urban legend but it may be one based on fact.(5) High-frequency electromagnetic coils may not be able to cause ships to dematerialize and teleport but they can certainly produce hallucinations to that effect. I used to hang around a physics graduate who told me that, during his stay in Berkeley, some individuals would eschew drugs in favor of the less legally complicating high of sticking their heads inside the huge, spare magnetos used in particle accelerators. The voltage would probably exceed that which powers nuclear-magnetic resonance imaging devices used in medical diagnosis. Unshielded , such devices are powerful enough to pull stray metal objects through walls. That is a lot of energy to apply to one's neurons!
Such energy certainly is of the kind Michael Persinger talks about in his work regarding the phantasmagorical effects of plasma and EMR on the brain and the equipment he has developed for experiments.(6) Dr. George Terence Meaden has suggested that the crop circles may be caused by what he calls the ''plasma vortex'' theory.(7) The energy source could be subterranean (piezo-electricity caused by plate tectonics acting on huge mineral deposits of quartz, sulfur, or tourmaline.). arboreal (ball lightning or St. Elmo's Fire) or artificial (power lines). Plausible as this sounds, it has been objected to in part of the grounds that it leaves out many other unusual aspects of the occurrence relating to time, geography, and other physical evidence.(8) What I am suggesting as the basis of my premise is that an unknown plasma-based life-form would be the missing piece of the puzzle.
''Now and again Travelers cross the desert; they come from the Great Sea, and to the Great Sea they go. As they go they spill water; one day they will irrigate the desert, til it flower.'' - - from Verse 42, ·''Dust Devils'' from The Book of Lies by Aleister Crowley
In one of his best critiques on the haphazard manner scientific anomalies are investigated, Dennis Stillings declared:
''It is the paradigm-strangled, lockstep, ''scientific'' approach to anomalies that produces technologistic visions of intergalactic spacecraft when the evidence for such is extremely weak; it automatically starts to discuss biological considerations of food supply and breeding numbers when the question is whether this or that lake has a ''monster'' in it. This anomalies ''science'' creates a bogus topiary out of essentially chaotic vegetation, and then it goes on to say that the phenomenon really is what the vegetation now artificially images: a well-groomed garden of familiar figures...'' (9)
This can't help but link up in some sense with Constable's frustration with UFO researchers' insistent denial of a biological element to their occurrence. I've encountered a few who have immediately scoffed at the idea the life may not be ''piloting'' these ''vehjcles'' but that Life IS the vehicle! Alvin H. Lawson believes that ''abduction'' and ''visitor'' experiences are exceptionally powerful archetypal fantasies resulting from latent traumas suffered during birth or physical or sexual abuse. (10) Some of the images detailed in such contactee accounts are so starkly Freudian , only the contactee and the True Believers can fail to see it.
"The light flashes, strange smells, and sharp pains are vital clues to the overall process. The true evidence is medical rather than physical. Hypnosis has questionable use in UFO studies. lt can, and has, served to confuse the issues by creating confabulations. The real meaning of these experiences is buried at a deep level of the human mind and is related to the so-called Alpha-wave phenomenon.'' (11)
The images are also Jungian in some cases, as Stillings compared the drawing of the Cash/Landrum sighting to an alchemical stale of Hildegard von Bingen.(12) What is being touched upon is something quite organic, yet another frame of consciousness as speculated by Hynek and Vallee.(13) As disdainful as I am of the overwrought syncretism of Jose Arguelles, I don't think he was quite off the mark when he stated, ''...let us define UFOs as Unified Field Organizers, an intelligent release of galactically programmed, physically active, radiant energy simultaneously and attracted to and emanated by Earth's intrinsically unified resonant field. UFOs also operate in conjunction with the harmonics of this field. In fact their ''operations'' are completely a function of resonant harmonics. Thus. the rapid shifts in direction attributed to UFOs are due to shifts in harmonic overtone alignment.''(14) I don't believe this energy is as consciously directed as Arguelles claims, owning to my bias toward chaos theory. Constable would accept it as an explanation of one mechanism by which the critters (dis)appear. lf they are the elementals of old. we have an explanation for virtually a whole world of folklore, the fetus has appeared in many forms in art and especially in forms describing the archetypal. The neon-red or mica-like appearance of critters would easily suggest imagery of the womb or the alchemical retort. Small creatures sheathed in circles of flame may be evoked from not merely the numinous presence of some inexplicable object of dazzling brilliance but its energy as well. Put another way: Flying Persinger Helmets! The existence of plasmatic organisms would bring the theories of Constable, Persinger. and Lawson together.
There are some problems if you eliminate ETs. At a panel on the New Age at a recent science fiction convention , I was witness to the skepticism which greeted a lone voice in favor of the CIA mind control conspiracy theory. For myself, I felt I had to throw a bucket of water on his enthusiasm and that of the reactionary ETHers in the audience by mentioning the work of Persinger and Lawson. Yet, and this is a very big yet, one cannot rule out a priori that certain terrestrial agencies may be employing hitherto unknown technology that is producing these phenomena! If the apocryphal Philadelphia Experiment has the grain of truth I suggested earlier our armed forces may well have a forty-year leap on Persinger! Moreover, if, as Arthur C. Clarke suggested, our naval forces have learned for certain that unknown animals exist deep within the oceans and have buried the information deep in the Pentagon, why not the air? If they can allegedly train dolphins to kill enemy frogmen, why not plasmoids to harass enemy radar? As opposed to the kind of natural ''videodrome'' the critters have provided for our species, we could be victimized by such power in inimical hands!
Conspiracy theories aside, there is the question as to what function such creatures could have. They may indeed be acting as regulators for the EM currents in the Earth. Constable has suggested that the unprecedented EM emissions from television, radio, and radar have served to create conditions hostile to them. They may have retreated to the sea or upper atmosphere. He believes the unknown animals washed ashore in Tasmania may have been the solid remains of critters. One recent find may have given credence to the theory.(15) It is indeed possible that the toll we have taken to the environment is beginning to effect even them. The EM saturation of our own making may be combining with, or perhaps even usurping, their energy as it interacts with our stress-laden brains. Dark archetypes may emerge, brought from traumatic events buried in the subconscious of the perceiver, creating what Stillings calls the ''false conjunction'' that is the pathologically reified abduction.
''We are living in stressful time, not just for us, but for the whole planet. If nature has access to our minds -- and she does -- would not consciousness be the most vulnerable point at which to attack and disable the species that is threatening the entire world? For the first time, perhaps, in the history of the world, there is a universal threat of extinction. We should expect the strongest sort of evolutionary response to this emergency . This response cannot extend over the long periods of time usually available for such changes . The change must occur within decades. The vulnerability of consciousness makes it the prime target for fast evolutionary change, a change so rapid that it has to overload the circuits, producing a vast array of overdetermined imagery with a wide spectrum of effects . The effects produced may result in higher consciousness, but not necessarily. When I see some of the responses to the UFO phenomenon like, for instance · the [Extraterrestrial Hypothesis]. I suspect that nature may be creating false fascinosa to keep our eyes glued upward until we fall off some cliff into the sea. Then the world may once again be at peace.''(16)
These plasmatic bio-forms may indeed be that medium of Nature that has been responsible for most of our primordial mythology that has enabled a consciousness to emerge. Our tampering with our environment just might be affecting this medium's ability to interact with our minds. While this deleterious process may be going on, mechanistic ETHers and their New Age constituents carry on ideological cat fights with manic skeptics . To correct this, I think that it is high time serious consideration is given to the possibilities people like Constable, Lawson, and Persinger have proposed.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES
3 - The Great Airship Wave has since been exposed as a premier urban legend by Jerome Clark of Fate . See also UFCs of 1896-1897: The Airship Wave by Robert C. Neely, Jr., Fund for UFO Research, 1988.
4 - Crop Circle Symposium, Fortean Times , #53, pp. 32-69.
5 - See The Philadelphia Experiment by Charles Berlitz.
6 - See Trajectories 12. See also ''The 'Visitor ' Experience and the Personality : The Temporal Lobe Factor,'' Cyber-biological Studies..., pp. 157 - 171 and " Geophysical Variables and Behavior, IX: Expected Clinical Consequences of Close Proximity to UFO-related luminosities, "Perceptual and Motor Skills 56 ( 1983 ): 259 -265.
7 - The Circle Effect and its Mysteries by George Terence Meaden (Artetech Publishing, 54 Frome Road, Bradford - on - Avon , Wiltshire, 1989 ).
8 - Mitchell, John. "Quarrels & Calamities of the Cereologists, " Ibid. No: 4, pp. 44.
10 - Lawson , Alvin H. "A Testable Theory for UFO Abduction Reports : The Birth Memories Hypothesis, Cyber-biological Studies..., pp. 125 - 142.
11 - Keel, John. . "Seeing Things: Hallucinations , UFOs and Fortean Investigations," Strange Magazine 13. op. 15.
12 - Stillings, "Coverups ," Cyber-biological Studies. . . , pp. 101- 104.
13 - See Omni , February 1985 for interview with J. Allen Hynek. See also Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact ( Ballantine Books, 1989 ).
14 - Arguelles, Jose. The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology, Bear Publishing,1987, pp. 158.
15 - See " The Bermuda Blob" as reported by Steve Fishman in the Anti - Matter column of the April 1990 edition of Omni. Larry Arnold and the recent British press have catalogued UFO phenomena related to crop circles in which strange viscous substances are left behind that defy analysis. The the second chapter of Curious Encounters ( Faber and Faber , Inc., 1985 ), Loren Coleman prints a newspaper account of an incredible encounter that occurred in 1893 in Puget Sound , Washington . He is of the opinion that it was some kind of machine in the guise of an animal but certain aspects of the case point to a plasmatic being generating tremendous energy .
16 - lbid, No: 1, pp. 154 - 155.