Wednesday, January 6, 2016
First, please let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
It came to my attention that Bill Chalker in his blog Theozfiles proposed a short review of my book Illuminations. In his review, he states that “Dr. Ouellet argues there is no compelling physical evidence for UFOs”.
It is actually incorrect, but I also think this assessment is based mostly on a misunderstanding about the physical reality of UFOs. So, I will address this issue more directly here.
In the book, I do a tour of the knowledge that is available about the physical aspects of UFOs. The key word here is “knowledge”; I am not proposing a tour of the physical “evidence” considered as being linked to UFOs. This is an important distinction. I wanted to get the readers up to speed with what we know (and I underlined that our knowledge is still quite limited at this point in time). I was not proposing a perspective based on where we are at with the speculations linked to the physical reality of UFOs.
That being said, if there is some knowledge about the physical reality of UFOs, then by definition there is a degree of physical reality to UFOs! As well, the book presents a number of case studies where some physical evidence are presented, and accepted as evidence. What more is needed to say that there are physical evidence linked to UFOs? But maybe this was too implicit.
I realize that when anyone is discussing UFOs, this very very word “UFO” implies dealing with a “foreign object”. The “O” (for object) in UFO is definitely setting the tone, and this is why some are preferring the wording “Unexplained Aerial Phenomena” (UAP), as it is actually less “loaded” because it does not imply necessarily an object being present. Then, of course, decades of ETH nuts-and-bolts ufology has not only set the tone but created an unconscious association between “UFO” and “spaceship” (a hard physical object). In other words, the concept of UFO comes with a lot of cognitive baggage, which railroads the way we think about it. We seriously need to break away from such cognitive mold, if we really want to enlarge our understanding of UFOs.
To do so, we need to use different mental categories.
Hynek proposed a useful typology, when it was developed decades ago, covering “Night Lights”, “Day Discs”, “Radar Tracking”, and the “Close Encounters” of the type 1, 2, and 3. Implicit in his typology was, once again, “how close the witness was from the object”. The nuts-and-bolts perspective is actually built-in the typology. Although he added the issue of degree of “strangeness,” it appears to be in the end only a measure of the witnesses’ degree of altered state of consciousness.
First, what needs to be measured from a parapsychological perspective is not how close you are, but how anomalistic the event is. This, in turn, would provide a useful tool to assess how rare and unique an event might be, and therefore helping to guide the search for data (and that’s actually the purpose of any typology).
Based on what is emerging from general research in parapsychology, it seems that the most common form of psi events are synchronicities (meaningful coincidences), then comes various forms of Extra Sensory Perceptions (ESP) (telepathy, premonition, clairvoyance, etc.), and finally, more rare are various forms of Psychokinesis (PK) (telekinesis, healings, teleportation, etc.). Hence, a sound typology would be going from common synchronicity to ESP to PK events. So, here is what I propose, and how the physical aspects of UFO events would fit in.
S1. UFO-related Synchronicity. For example, a perfectly mundane airplane or helicopter could be mistook for a UFO. Yet, two or more separated observers made the same mistake, reporting a UFO with similar descriptions that would not fit the actual “real” object in the sky. In this case, it seems that we would be dealing with a case of synchronicity, misunderstood by both debunkers and ETHers as a random coincidence, and an illusion, respectively. There might have been an optical illusion involved, and yet there might have been a meaningful coincidence involved too. In such a case, it is by interviewing the witnesses about other things going in their life and surrounding (e.g. both witnesses dreaming of UFOs beforehand, bumping by accident into the other witness, etc.) that one can identify if there is indeed a synchronicity. It was what Jung had, mostly, in mind when discussing UFOs in his famous book Flying Saucers: A modern myth of things seen in the skies.
Extra Sensory Perception (ESP):
E2. Shared telepathic hallucination, where there are no object per se in the sky, but two or more witnesses see the same “hallucination”, implying some form of telepathy involved. Berthold Schwartz in UFO Dynamics: Psychiatric and psychic aspects of the UFO syndrome gave interesting examples of such psi-induced shared hallucinations.
E3. Altered states of consciousness and visionary experience, possibly in the context of a shared event with other people or involving some form of ESP experience such as telepathy, premonition, clairvoyance, etc. In such situation, there might be a mundane flying object that gets “mixed up” in the witness’ consciousness. Jenny Randles’ concept of “Oz Factor” covers many of such cases. Some abduction experiences might also be explained in such a way (see Brian Thompson. (1994). “Telepathy: possible telepathic spread of UFO abduction stories”. Paper presented at Alien Discussions: Abduction Study Conference Held at M. I. T. Harvard University).
E4. Altered states of consciousness and visionary experience reinforced by a source of electromagnetism, such as an earthlight or ball of plasma. In such a case, there is something physical in the sky or nearby on the ground, even if it is of a short-live duration, involving some form of ESP experience such as telepathy, premonition, clairvoyance, etc. The Betty and Barney Hill story may possibly be explained in part in that way, as noted in my book Illuminations.
P5. Witnessing an exotic natural phenomena involving a possible psychokinetic event. Paul Devereux’s personal “encounter” with an earthlight that seemed moving as he was thinking about the object, may be a possible example of such a case, as discussed in his book Earthlights. Pierre Viéroudy’s experiment to create a UFO would be in the same category of experience, as reported in his book Ces OVNIs qui annoncent la venue du surhomme. Similarly, the mysterious healing of Dr. X. reported by Jacques Vallée, might be another example of psychokinetic effect. In all those cases, the “physical object” was perceived as a ball of light of some kind.
P6. A much less frequent anomaly would be one involving the psychokinetic movement of an object, or even an apport or teleportation of a physical object behaving like a UFO in the sky or on the ground. These events are very much comparable to some of the most intense poltergeists (or RSPKs), but occurring higher in the sky. Such object could be some form of plasma, but it could be made of other things too. Scott Rogo in The Haunted Universe reported a number of UFO cases that seem to fit this category, including a bunch of planks and other knick-knacks collated out of nowhere to take the shape of a UFO on the ground (again, similar to a bunch of towels and bedsheets taking the shape of a person during a poltergeist event).
It is important to note that these various elements of intensity are not mutually exclusive. For instance, a visionary experience involving a source of electromagnetism could also be involving psychokinetic healing, like in the story of Dr. X. As well, there is no need for a “crescendo” of intensity. UFO experiences can start at the rarest end P6 without “passing through” any other previous stages. And again, this scale is mostly useful in evaluating what would be the rarest form of psi involved in a particular UFO experience. The point here is that the social and psychological intensity required to produce a synchronicity is considered as being less than one causing a psychokinetic effect. Hence, in investigating a case we have a predictive tool to look for data.