MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
It was Gandhi that said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Many decades ago, when it seemed that conspiracy theory and speculation about corruption was in its adolescence in the United States, there was always a paranoid notion that from the times of the Russian satellite Sputnik until now there was always the unproven notion that somebody or some alien intelligence was out there watching us from a distance.
There were pulp magazines of the time that were pushing strange stories about light’s in the sky, strange encounters with spacemen, and other anomalies that were unexplained.
It was the era of the “Flying Saucer.” It was a term that was coined by the media when Kenneth Arnold described what he saw when he was flying his light plane between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams in the Pacific Northwest.
It was the first wave of stories dealing with visitors from other planets.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the US Air Force secretly investigated more than 12,000 reports of unidentified flying objects. The findings on the vast majority of those sightings were uneventful: people misidentifying common objects like planes, lights, birds, and comets.
Now looking back at this era in history it could be said that much of what was happening could be attributed to hysteria, however, according to declassified pages of Project BLUEBOOK, there are still 701 sightings sill remain unidentified to this day.
Recently there have been more people acquainted with Project BLUEBOOK as the History Channel has presented its TV series of the same name, loosely based on the research of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a well-respected American astronomer, professor, and eventually Ufologist.
Shortly after receiving his Ph.D. in 1935, Hynek obtained a position as an instructor at Ohio State University and four years later became a professor there. He was still teaching at Ohio State in 1948 when a trio of Air Force officials approached him: They were looking for a scientist to help them with analysis regarding the group psychology behind the Flying Saucer sightings.
In his role as Project Sign’s scientific advisor, Hynek made periodic trips from Columbus to Wright Patterson Air Force Base (where Project Sign and its successors, Projects Grudge and Blue Book, were based) to examine the UFO case files. He proved to be a shrewd and relentless debunker. This pleased the Air Force as they seemed more than eager to silence the stories no matter how compelling they were.
Hynek at first figured flying saucer sightings were merely “a post-war craze that would disappear as quickly as the hula-hoop”
But the sightings did not cease – and soon there were outrageous stories and many mundane stories that were reported in the papers.
Some were just too bizarre to even believe and yet some even though they sounded improbable had a nuance to them that made you curious about what people were actually encountering.
One of my favorite old UFO stories among the many is the story of a chicken farmer named Joe Simonton. When you hear about his story you really have to keep an open mind.
The reason I love this story is that it was first told by Jacque Vallee whose mentor was none other than J. Allen Hynek.
The story goes that Joe Simonton was attracted outside by a peculiar noise similar to “knobby tires on a wet pavement.” Stepping into his yard, he faced a silvery saucer-shaped object “brighter than chrome,” which appeared to be hovering close to the ground without actually touching it. The object was about twelve feet high and thirty feet in diameter. A hatch opened about five feet from the ground, and Simonton saw three men inside the machine. One of them was dressed in a black two-piece suit. The occupants were about five feet in height. Smooth shaven, they appeared to “resemble Italians.” They had dark hair and skin and wore outfits with turtleneck tops and knit helmets.
One of the men held up a jug apparently made of the same material as the saucer. His motions to Joe Simonton seemed to indicate that he needed water. Simonton took the jug, went inside the house, and filled it. As he returned, he saw that one of the men inside the saucer was “frying food on a flameless grill of some sort.” The interior of the ship was black, “the color of wrought iron.” Simonton, who could see several instrument panels, heard a slow whining sound, similar to the hum of a generator.
When he made a motion indicating he was interested in the food that was being prepared, one of the men, who was also dressed in black but with a narrow red trim along the trousers, handed him three cookies that looked like thin pancakes, about three inches in diameter and perforated with small holes.
The whole affair had lasted about five minutes. Finally, the man closest to the witness attached a kind of belt to a hook in his clothing and closed the hatch in such a way that Simonton could scarcely detect its outline. Then the object rose about twenty feet from the ground before taking off straight south, causing a blast of air that bowed some nearby pine trees.
He reported the encounter to the police. Two Sherriff’s deputies showed up. They had known Simonton for 15 years. They affirmed that Simonton obviously believed the truth of what he was saying and talked very sensibly about the incident. He even saved one of the little pancakes as evidence.
He discussed the taste of the pancakes: “They were hot and greasy…if that was their food, God help them because I took a bite of one of them and it tasted like a piece of cardboard. If that’s what they lived on, no wonder they were small.”
Now, of course, many people would say that he made the whole thing up. However, why would someone risk sounding that crazy when they had a great reputation in the area and the police could vouch for his sanity?
Was it a psychotic break? Was it some sort of dementia that he developed in old age?
No — he was perfectly sane.
Now granted, I am sure there are more outrageous narratives that are often laughed at and pushed into the realms of hallucination or mental psychosis.
Among these narratives descriptions of landings made by UFO’s are commonplace; and there are quite a few accounts that try to explain to us of the physical characteristics, the psychological behavior, and the motivation of their occupants.
It is equally interesting to look at the psychological behavior and motivations of the witnesses as well.
From the Flying Saucer craze of the 1940s through the 1960s, the reports of abduction from the 1950s into the early 1980s and the continue sightings well into the 21st century, the age-old explanation of people hallucinating or having some sort of psychotic break has worn out its long drawn out welcome.
Today, polls indicate that more than a third of Americans believe in extraterrestrial life and UFOs. The percentage of believers is much higher among people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. And among people who think aliens are “out there.”
I was drawn to an article in Psychology Today that was very thorough in explaining that perhaps psychologists, psychologists, and others should reconsider their criticism of those who have seen UFO’s or have experienced encounters of some kind with the occupants of these crafts.
In the article headlined Taking UFOs Seriously Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. says that while UFO sightings are unsubstantiated, testimonials should be taken seriously. The article actually makes the argument that scientists and the public should not go out of their way to dismiss UFO and alien encounters.
Altschuler speaks of a book called, American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, and Technology, by D.W. Pasulka. The book apparently seizes on some the theories and ideas by Jacque Vallee and his book, Passport to Magonia.
Pasulka identifies three aspects of UFO inquiry: physical evidence (crash sites and artifacts); testimonials made by experiences; and the persistence of belief whether or not there is verifiable evidence to support it.
UFO sightings, she argues, often change lives, in ways akin to religious conversion experiences. Like some religious traditions, including Zen Buddhism, UFO logic is not always rational; at times, it relies on nonsensible narratives and mystical experiences to tame normal consciousness and stimulate enlightenment.
Pasulka also challenges the view that UFO believers are uneducated, fringe members of society. Some very well-regarded scientists, she indicates, are convinced that non-humans have visited Planet Earth; they have chosen to remain anonymous to protect their professional reputations. And American Cosmic examines the ways in which the media, for good and ill, operates as a UFO cultural authority.
Using a method common among anthropologists, Pasulka maintains she neither believes nor disbelieves but insists that testimonials are, in important ways, “real.” This approach allows her to gauge the impact and internal logic of a “thriving belief system.”
The moment when humans meet E.T. is a staple of fiction and speculation, as well as armchair science and Conspiracy theory. No one has predicted the psychological reactions to extraterrestrial contact or even official disclosure –and yet we are obviously on the verge of hearing from some source NASA or others that there is life out in space.
Some psychiatrists are now saying that perhaps it is time to prepare for the inevitability of confirmation and how psychiatry will have to deal with patients that have to cope with the idea that we are not alone in the universe.
First of all, they would have to confront the many assumptions we may already have about extraterrestrials.
Psychiatrists would have to consider the many reactions that their patients would have including:
• Denial; anger, bargaining, depression acceptance
• Hopeful expectation;
• Misinterpreting the evidence to affirm our beliefs;
• Wanting and expecting salvation from the “visitors”;
• Believing that ET technology will save us;
• Feeling hopeless and submissive to what we assume is a superior force;
• Demanding government disclosure but not ET disclosure;
• Condemning human leaders and institutions while maintaining unquestioned acceptance of the “visitors”;
• Assuming that because they have not attacked or invaded us, they must be here for our good;
• Assuming that advanced technology equals advanced ethics and spirituality;
• Believing that this phenomenon is a mystery when in fact it is a comprehensible event;
• Believing that ETs in some way have claim to humanity and to this planet;
• Believing that humanity is irredeemable and cannot make it on its own.
These are just some of the issues that would have to be addressed and would probably be a part of some Exopsychiatric checklist that would have to be adopted by mental health officials.
Michael Varnum, a psychologist at Arizona State University and a member of its new Interplanetary Initiative, is trying to anticipate the response of humanity to the announcement of alien life in space, whether it be microbes or anthropomorphic specimens.
Varnum according to a report in The Washington Post has said that “No one has predicted the psychological reactions to extraterrestrial microorganisms in a “systematic, careful way.”
In his study, Varnum and his co-authors analyzed how the media covers extraterrestrial discoveries. They looked at five events: the discovery of pulsars in 1967, which were not immediately recognized as natural; Ohio astronomer Jerry Ehman’s detection of the “Wow!” radio signal in 1977 (the signal’s source remains disputed); the 1996 announcement of fossilized microbes in a Martian meteorite; the strange behavior of Tabby’s Star reported in 2015; and 2017’s discoveries of exo-planets that exist within distant habitable zones.
The psychologists fed 15 articles by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Post and others through a program that analyzes written content for positive or negative words. Journalists described these events using words with “positive affect” significantly more frequently.
The researchers also paid online participants to respond to announcements about extraterrestrial microbes. The scientists asked 500 people to describe their reactions to a hypothetical discovery of alien microorganisms.
Respondents also had to predict how humanity at large would react. Like the journalists, people in the study used positive words. There were no characteristics that set responses apart, not a person’s income, ethnicity, political orientation or traits such as neuroticism or agreeableness. But people felt that the rest of the country would be generally less agreeable.
In other words, the respondents felt that they personally could handle the news – but the rest of the country would respond negatively.
It has been theorized that the acclimation process of what is called “specialist factual programming” on networks like the History Channel have played a role in preparing the public for some of what would have been harsh realities about our shared existence in space with aliens or ancient aliens – even God.
As far as the technocrats are concerned, we are alone in the universe. Earth is the only planet known to be inhabited by life, and humans are the only intelligent beings. We officially have to hear this same statement over and over again and it is waning in its effectiveness – it just appears that there is so much more and the statements by the technocrats send a mixed message to the public.
We are being told that scientists are taking the possibility of extraterrestrials seriously and are looking beyond our planet for evidence of extraterrestrials.
However, we are also getting the message that they are under no such delusion.
The mixed messages are certainly there to gaslight any and all of those individuals that have had a sighting, or even direct contact with extraterrestrials.