Unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, as they’re fondly called, are one of the century’s most intriguing and controversial mysteries. Since ancient times, UFOs of all types have been accounted for. More today than ever, hundreds of thinkers, theologians, and scientists have tried to answer why there are or whether there aren’t UFOs. According to some, the speculation that UFOs are alien spacecrafts from another world is an absurd and foolish proposal. Others vehemently disagree and assert that extraterrestrial life is not only possible, but such life forms may be superior, technologically advanced beings who visit our Earth regularly. Are these “flying saucers” a figment of our imagination? Or, are they a genuine reality we prefer to dismiss because we fear the scary truth that we are not the only master race? Are we hesitant because society dubs such “immature” psycho tantamount to subscribing to belief in ghosts? These are a few of the many pertinent UFO questions the mature individual must address.
One of the most popular theories that support and explains the existence of alien beings is the ancient astronaut theory. This theory contains three main schools of thought. The first states that aliens bred with our primitive forebears thereby creating modern man. The second is quite similar. Aliens performed genetic engineering on apes thereby creating the Homo Sapiens and man’s intelligence. The third, and least accepted, is that colonists from another galaxy came to Earth, mated with the primitives and established a high level of culture, before being destroyed by some natural catastrophe. And upon this catastrophe and destruction, we build and grow (Fitzgerald 1). Berossus, a Babylonian scholar, may have been the first astronaut historian. He said that ” animals endowed with reason” bestowed the Sumerian culture before 3000 BCE. The Sumerians, along with their cultural inheritors, the Babylonians, never referred to such beings as gods. Rather they were depicted as “disgusting abominations,” a description only deserved by uninvited alien visitors (2).
One step further takes the astronaut theory and surmises that with it, we can understand the later religious cultures, such as the Hebrews who are thought to have borrowed much of Sumerian practice. Such religions and secret societies, with their elaborate and complicated rituals may actually be “preserving from a previous epoch fragments of an esoteric and little understood knowledge, just as the Egyptian, Hebrew, and Mayan priests guarded in their temples the inspired word of their self-possessed creators (3).” Alien originators may have set down certain rites which became confused over the years, resulting in the various ancient religions; aliens being the source of our notion of God. This also may explain how miles long designs, only viewable from the air, were created in ancient times. The only rationalization for the possibility of such designs is that the ancients had assistance from the sky, namely extraterrestrial assistance. Many UFO theorists, astronomer Morris Jessup being the forerunner, go even further: not only were pre-Biblical and Biblical times full of Alien intervention, but he contends that the UFO phenomenon is the missing link between Biblical supernatural accounts of miracles and established, contradicting science. Jessup explains that “nothing is supernatural and nothing is outside nature (12).” He continues that the Bible is full of UFO accounts, depicted by various descriptions: angels, the revelation on Mt. Sinai, the burning bush, and Elijah’s levitation to heaven. Jessup says the Bible is a physical record, not a collection of divine revelation “although the miracles of this and all religions invite rational and physical explanation, if we grant the ‘existence of spatial intelligence (13).'” Another thinker, Brinsley Trent, follows the theme of extraterrestrial interpretations of the Bible and claims that the Garden of Eden was, as many ancient texts point out, not the underground, but in the Underworld – i.e. outside the orbit of earth, meaning Mars. When the Great Flood occurred, Noah built a great “boat,” a spaceship, and landed on Earth (Life 16). However, Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan warns that this ancient astronaut theory and the “saucer myths” represent a compromise “between the need to believe in a traditional God and the contemporary pressures to accept the pronouncement of science (Fitzgerald 5);” therefore, according to Sagan, the proposition that aliens exist and the astronaut theory should be tossed.
Many theorists assume the Bible is a totally separate entity and don’t associate or contradict the UFO phenomenon with the well established theological belief system in the supernatural. Wilhelm Reich, for one, a noted Austrian psychoanalyst, claimed to have witnessed various UFO crafts and believed that these aliens are hostile. Such aliens wish to rob Earth of orgone, a “cosmic life energy allegedly present in air, water, and all organic matter (Life 52).” He proceeds to say that saucers run on this orgone energy, hence exhuming a bluish color due to “orgone exhaust.” Moreover, orgone exhaust is “deadly orgone (Life),” causing sickness in people and creating parched desert where ever the crafts land. The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, totally differed. He theorized that all “people can tap into…(a ) collective unconciousness-an area of the unconscious that…contains information derived from the experiences of the human race as a whole rather than the individual…This storehouse contains universal symbols called archtypes…that present themselves spontaneously in dreams or visions…evoking strong imaginative response…One such image was the mandala, a disk shaped symbol that represents completion…[hence UFOs are not] real objects, but rather mandalas…visioned by people looking for…equilibrium (53).” Jung’s approach is quite debatable. However, as shaky an argument it may sound, it’s as viable as those who welcome the notion that aliens do exist.
Other more common and more understood theories explain that aliens are well intentioned visitors who wish to observe their human contemporaries for purely scientific purposes. However, British astronomers Sir Martin Ryle and Sir Bernard Lovell both warn that we must regard all other life in the universe as potentially a fatal threat to humankind and, in effect, discourage the effort to communicate with such beings (Referring to the many attempts to communicate with aliens via powerful satellite dishes.) (Fitzgerald 7).
With all the theories in mind, we come to the next issue. What are people, in reality, seeing? Kenneth Arnold was a normal businessman in Idaho. As an upstanding and reputable citizen and an expert on flying, Arnold was believed when he said that he witnessed a ship zoom back and forth at an approximated 1,350 miles per hour. This incident provoked a considerable amount of national debate and gave birth to what historians termed the “modern flying saucer era.” There were sightings before the Arnold case. However, following it, there was a myriad of reports and calls. Although many were hoaxes, not all were. And most of those who have claimed to have witnessed UFOs swear that in no way could they be anything but an alien spaceship. Simply due to the fact, as in the Arnold case, that these crafts maneuver in such humanly impossible speeds and in gravity defying manners. At one moment the UFO is spotted hovering over a house and one second later can be seen 25 miles away. People also have described the crafts as huge cigar shaped buzzing objects or the more popular silent, metallic type saucers. These reports include interference with television signals and the halting of car ignitions. Such claims, as Bob Bletchman, in an interview explained, are the best evidence due to their testimonial consistency. When you have hundreds of people on an individual basis, from all backgrounds, depict the same scenario, time and time again, there is little room to doubt their truthfulness. People even assert that they’ve seen the pilots: described anywhere between two inch bees to Nazis (Fitzgerald 3) to little green men with six fingers.
An eerie complement of UFO sightings are these strange and exact circular patches of parched, bent, but not cracked vegetation. Such mysterious circles are believed to be the place of the saucers’ landing. Even more interesting, the circles can’t bear any vegetable growth for many years afterwards (Life 125).
Many allege that not only have they been visited, but kidnapped too. One of my main research sources, a curious, but perhaps crafty David Jacobs, Ph.D., took 60 men and women who claimed abduction and put them under hypnosis in an effort to document and establish whether all this mumbo jumbo is true.
Although generally most abductees remember nothing but the fact that they were abducted, hypnosis proved to uncover many layers of lost memories. Through these hypnotic sessions, Dr. Jacobs claimed to have found many reasons the aliens “gave” for such abductions: scientific research, crossbreeding and general observance of the human condition. He also “discovered” many underlying messages from the aliens: They mean no harm. They care and respect humans and do only that which is necessary. His book sounded very convincing, but perhaps too convincing. Through careful reading, I began to realize that this Dr. Jacobs is full of bologna. Session after session, Dr. Jacobs fabricates his “patients'” conversations with the aliens. However, the conversations sound too repetitive in personality and too sensational in respect to the aliens’ response. In an effort to sound very natural, Dr. Jacobs picks up an almost artificial grammatically incorrect tone of voice. For example: “Mm-hmm, but fast, not slow…like whizzed by (Secret 69),” and “I just sink to the bottom and start to breathe (189),” and “inside out, yeah (211).” These are just a few quotes of the literally hundreds of repetitive speech patterns in his book. I get the feeling this “Dr.” Jacobs is trying to make a believable, sensational story by feeding the reader what we’d like to hear: Kind aliens, cross breeding, scientific experimentation, etc. (Although I found fault with one of my primary sources, it by no means typifies the value of other such publications. Each book must be valued on its own.) Using super high-tech computer photograph analyzers, scientists were able to determine the validity of the widely known Trent photos. In Oregon, 1950, a Mrs. Trent was feeding rabbits in her backyard when she saw a huge metallic disk, silently gliding through the air. She called her husband to fetch a camera and managed to get two shots. These two shots were scrutinized by the U.S. Air Force and a variety of other investigators. The 1969’s skeptical Condon Report stated: “The simplest, most direct interpretation of the photographs confirms precisely what the witnesses said they saw (Life 138).” Later on, a William Spaulding of the Ground Saucer Watch Inc., put these Trent photos under intense computer scrutiny and came out with the same conclusion: It was no hoax (Life).
In World War Two, Allied and Axis air pilots witnessed these eerie luminous balls that would either chase planes or zip in and out of the planes’ courses. Such oddities were to be eventually called “foo fighters.” World War Two was a time of secrecy and great inventions. Instinctively, the allies thought they were some kind of high tech German innovation. Naturally, too, the Germans thought vice versa. Therefore, nothing of an extraterrestrial nature was ever reported (Life 26), at least officially.
There are countless reports where U.S. air force personnel witnessed a flying saucer and reported it; only to be told that it was probably a jet or weather balloon. Despite the fact that Project Blue Book (a government UFO investigation) yielded a 1,465 page scientific report containing charts, photographs and analyses, worth about a half million dollars in research, the government stated in a 1969 news release that due to lack of any “significant” conclusions, UFO research would be terminated. Most fans of the research only read the introduction and conclusion sections of the report. Unfortunately those sections were written by an enthusiast of the U.S. Air Force: and hence embraced their policy of denial and falsehood (Life 118). Consequently, the government’s decision to halt research was accepted with little protest or suspicion. Yet, the question whether the government is holding back vital UFO information is still very strong. Many contend that the U.S. government is doing so in an effort to ensure national safety and prevent potential mass hysteria by publicizing the existence of alien beings. In 1947, in New Mexico, one of the most famous and potent pieces of evidence literally befell the United States. “Barney” Barnett, and some local archeological students found shriveled and broken up pieces of shiny metal and scattered dead bodies all over. A few days later, the army had quarantined the area, shipped everything away, and told the witnesses that it was their “patriotic duty” to keep the incident a secret. Nonetheless, Barnett and the students went public about it (Life 74). To this day, hundreds of reports and books detail this famous “Roswell incident” and claim that the government, again, is hiding undeniable proof of alien life.
The Viking mission to Mars in 1976 is another prime example of the government’s policy of non cooperation and denial. The Voyager had taken two pictures of a rock form of a human face on Mars’ surface. Before a 1992 Observer voyage to Mars, many requested NASA to take high resolution photos of this “Face” to determine whether it is really a three dimensional rock formation. NASA responded in the negative, although the government gave NASA an extra $90 million for the exact purpose of seeking out Martian life forms. NASA gave a stupid explanation, claiming that the 1992 Observer was only photographing meter long objects, which the “‘Face’ could be a candidate target. However, there are no plans to tailor the mission to assure that the ‘Face’ is imaged (Boyce).” In a letter, Bob Bletchman cynically responded: “How can NASA not tilt the camera to possibly answer the most profound question ever asked, ‘Are we alone?’ (Bletchman)” Nevertheless, many scientists maintain that the many UFO sightings may simply be meteorites, some type of atmospheric phenomena, or high tech, saucer-like airplanes used by the military. One factor that greatly contributes to UFO skepticism is created by the thousands of UFO hoaxes made each year. A prime and famous example of such hoaxes occurred in New Mexico, 1963. Paul Villa claimed that UFO aliens had become so friendly with him that they agreed to pose their ship for a camera shot. Using the same high-tech computers as was used for the Trent photos, scientists revealed a tiny wire that was used to suspend the “UFO” in the air (Life 140).
Although it’s very easy to scoff at the thought of Martians and flying saucers due to the subject’s emotional sensationalistic attributes and attractabilty to the fantasizer, one can not simply dismiss the possibility. There is too much evidence and too many good and honest people out there who can give testimony. Too often, we hear of the many government cover-ups and attempts to keep things concealed. Although the government tries hard, they can’t keep it a secret forever. Little by little, as more incidents occur and as more is leaked out, the world will know that we are not alone.
It should be noted that this report by no means begins to even scratch the surface of the UFO mystery. Not only are thousands of books written on each issue, but each individual case is worthy of whole books on its own. It therefore follows that this paper was a simple over of an overview of the massive topics and subtopics that follow.
Works Cited Bletchman, Bob. National Board, International Mutual UFO Network. Bletchman, Bob. National Board, International Mutual UFO Network. Letters. Connecticut: 1988 Boyce, Jacobs. Discipline Scientist, Planetary Geoscience, Solar System Exploration Division, NASA. Letter. Washington, D.C.: 1988 Editors of Time-Life Books, eds. The UFO Phenomenon. Virginia: Time- Life Books, 1987 Fitzgerald, Randall. The Complete Book of Extraterrestrial Encounters. New York: Collier Books, 1979 Jacobs, David M. Secret life. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1992 Works Consulted Fact or Fiction: The Roswell Autopsy. TV Program. N.p.: n.p., 1997.