Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Book Review of Jérôme Huck’s Le Feu des Magiciens

I stumbled a while ago on an interesting and relatively recent (2011) book that presents a new perspective on UFOs, emphasizing physical traces, something we have not seen in a while. It is written by Jérôme Huck, and entitled Le Feu des Magiciens, or the “Magicians’ Fire”. As the title implies, it is written in French, but I certainly think that the English-speaking world ought to know more about this book and his author, and hopefully an English version will be available in the near future.

Huck’s book is a think one, with 650 pages. It is divided essentially into two sections. The first one proposes a critical review of the analyses produced so far on the material aspects of UFO, and the various hypotheses associated with them. The second part is built around his findings about physical traces, which seem to have a common tread if they are looked at from an alchemist’s point of view. More on this below. Huck does an extensive and very detailed analysis of a wide range of cases, some well-known, others less so. Also, contrary to most books on the topic, it is properly referenced, so that his arguments and facts can be properly doubled-check by anyone who cares to do so. A rarity in the UFO world!

The first part of the book is rather descriptive in nature, going through a meticulous look at what we know about the physical nature of UFOs. The material is presented in a way that is in my opinion relatively balanced and enlightened, and although he acknowledges that governments and the military might not have been entirely upfront in the past, creating an unhelpful aura of mystery around the phenomenon. Yet, Huck does not fall into the intellectually lazy trap of conspiracy theory. He clearly shows when human-made explanations are more likely to be valid, and offers several convincing human-made explanations for cases that were deemed unexplained in the past. However, he concludes that there are indeed physical traces associated with UFOs, and makes a very strong case in this regard; and many of such traces, in spite of various overt and covert efforts, remain unexplained. And if they are unexplained in spite of various failed hypotheses, like the ETH, then something new needs to be tried. 

The second part of the book offers something new and refreshing. Huck has studied in detail the work of Jacques Bergier (1912-1978), well-known for his book The Morning of the Magicians co-written with Louis Pauwels, and his interest in the UFO phenomenon [1]. Bergier was a complex character, with a complex and convoluted life, and his written works are a controversial mixed genre between non-fiction and fantastic (or magical) realism. What really federates his writing, however, are alchemical themes, concepts, and notions. Inspired by Bergier’s worldview, Huck considered the rather odd and non-sensical findings about UFO traces, oftentimes showing out-of-place chemical compounds that seem in the end meaningless. Through an in-depth description of the alchemic way of thinking, which is in my opinion very much a form a lateral and symbolic thinking similar to the language of night dreams and of the unconscious part of the mind, Huck explains why certain elements must mutate from one specific form to another according to the alchemists' precepts. And that’s where it becomes really interesting: he found numerous cases where physical traces are showing such specific alchemic mutation path. For instance, traces found at the Whitehouse events in Ohio in 1967 follow a clear alchemistic path of mutations from Chrome to Magnesium to Iron to Nickel. 

Huck is very careful in avoiding any premature conclusions about what is behind the phenomenon, as he does not assign a particular agent or agency to it. He only takes note that the ancient alchemists seem to have put their finger on something we do not quite understand, and the UFO phenomenon, somehow, seem to be linked at least partially to that “something”. It is also interesting to note that Jacques Vallée, in a recent post in dailgrail, is now engaging with the Alchemic Hypothesis, but nowhere he or dailygrail acknowledge the seminal work of Huck on the topic.

On the minus side, the book could have been shorter, as some of the analyses seem a bit of an overkill to me. There is also a chapter on the alchemical thematic found in the cult TV show of the 1960s The Prisonier, which is interesting but off topic. Huck suggests that he developed a “scientific proof” that alchemic analysis works. I do not agree that we have a scientific proof here, but we certainly have a very worthwhile hypothesis that would benefit from being followed by more researchers. Lastly, not all UFO cases leave traces, and in fact very few do, but it would have been interesting for Huck to look into the symbolic aspects of UFO events and see if alchemic allegories can also be found. Overall, this is a very interesting book, and if you have an interest in UFOs and read French I strongly suggest you get it.

The book can be purchased directly from Huck’s website, and he does understand English quite well, so you can also reach to him for more questions. 

[1] In particular, Extraterrestrials visitations from prehistoric times to the present. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1973; originally published in French in 1970, as Les Extraterrestres dans l’histoire.