Brian Allan is a prolific author of exceptionally researched books on the paranormal and new science and a passionate and uncompromising investigator and commentator on all things mysterious. A formidable and true Elder Statesman of paranormal research.
He is the editor of the fabulous, free online magazine, Phenomena: www.phenomenamagazine.co.uk
I have been involved with the subject of Ufo’s and Ufolgy almost since the very beginning of the phenomenon, which from our perspective was the early 1950’s, although the origins of Ufology seem to date back to the beginnings of the human race. In that time I have witnessed almost seismic changes occur in how it is viewed by the public.
This has included everything from the assumption that anyone who believed it possible was certifiable, to puzzlement, then cautious acceptance and eventually indifference. My own views have changed markedly as well: where originally I was all for the extraterrestrial hypotheses (ETH), over time this altered to the psychosocial hypothesis, then finally that it is all part of the much wider subject of the paranormal with all that implies.
I say that based on my own ‘hands on’ experiences in both Ufology and the paranormal and have encountered many examples where there was absolutely no difference in what was being described other that in the circumstances surrounding the encounter and the inclinations of the person(s) involved. In addition to my own investigations I have discussed both subjects and how they overlap with many knowledgeable people and experiencers, but, as is the nature of the subject, there are still parties in both camps unable to see the connections between the two and make no mistake about it, they are there if you look!
In this article I consider a few of the anomalies presented by both the extraterrestrial and psychosocial hypothesis. I also try to make the case that even if ETs are viable, they might not even originate in this universe. From the perspective in this article I play Devil’s Advocate and ask a few rather awkward questions.
ET, Call Home?
‘ET, call home’, so croaked the leathery, winsome, big eyed and endearingly wrinkled extraterrestrial in the blockbuster film ‘ET, the Extraterrestrial’, ‘Call home’ indeed, but where is home? As a civilisation, for the past 50 or so years we have created a veritable pea soup fog of electromagnetic (EM) radiation around dear old mother Earth. This includes every TV and radio broadcast ever made and of course the vicious, blustering, EM pulses generated by nuclear blasts, which is perhaps not the best way to advertise our presence to any potential listeners.
All of this assumes that there actually is someone out there to hear us and also assumes that they are actually listening on the appropriate wavelengths. It has been calculated that over the past fifty years or so, traces of our civilisation have drifted out like the ripples on a pond to a distance of around fifty light years from our planet, and that’s quite a spread. Fifty light years, and if you consider that light travels at 186,000 miles per second (that’s 300,000 kilometres per second in new money), after fifty plus years that’s, umm, you can do the math, but it’s quite a long way out; but is it far enough?
This raises the perfectly reasonable question; if anyone actually is listening do they know what they are listening to and, even more pertinent, even care? Of course the conspiracy theorists insist that the existence of ET has been known about at governmental level since at least the 1940’s, but the knowledge has been kept under wraps for fear of terrifying us. In an incredible display of arrogance it has even been seriously suggested by fundamentalist Christians (and others) that should we ever discover the existence of non-earthly intelligences and we ever actually met, we should promptly try to convince them that they need saving from temptation and sin.
This view conveniently ignores the possibility that ‘they’ may well have no concept of a God; much less one that supposedly created the universe by fiat, i.e. an act of will. This also supposes that they, (if in fact ‘they’ exist) have any notion of sin in any recognisable human context; what if ‘they’ were totally amoral sociopaths who did whatever was expedient with no thoughts of conscience or other human traits? It certainly seems to fit the pattern experienced by many of those who claim to have been ‘abducted’ by ET’s. Of course, if they did have a deity oriented religious tradition, and assuming that it is something other than an instinct naturally hard-wired into all sentient living things over a certain level of development, then we had all better start praying…hard!
The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis
The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) is a tried and tested safe paradigm, and to those who enfold themselves in the, oh so comfortable quasi-theology of its siren embrace, the real 100% ‘true believers’, none of this matters. This is because in their narrow paradigm we have in the past, and still are, regularly visited by ET’s and their many, vaguely humanoid and bipedal fellow travellers and it’s that simple. They also are certain that ET’s fly around in ‘nuts and bolts’ craft powered by all sorts of exotic, voodoo technology just waiting to either befriend us or, if the mood suits, abduct and use us for their own nefarious ends. Likewise, there has never been any recorded case where ET’s tried to proselytise on behalf of their version of God…or maybe the subject just never came up. It’s bad enough when one earnest group or another come knocking on your door handing out promises of salvation, so one can only wonder what it would be like to have little grey ‘Grey’s’ (or even worse; ‘Reptilians’) doing the same thing.
The only assumed benefit of extraterrestrial contact seems to be the ‘gift’ of various technological back-engineered gewgaws and gizmo’s like integrated circuits and lasers etc and as yet unknown technologies supposedly concealed by secretive government agencies to serve their own nefarious agendas. This view strongly implies that human beings lack the intelligence and wit to conceive and develop such lofty scientific innovations. The spacecraft (i.e. the ubiquitous flying saucers) used by the hypothetical visitors are, and indeed must be, capable of unimaginable speeds well in excess of the speed of light just to get here, and this brings with it its own set of major problems.
According to our understanding of the laws of physics, with great speed comes time distortion, so, in effect, the visitors would be time travellers as well. Failing this they are also supposed to use ‘hyperdrives’ that ‘fold space’ allowing near instantaneous transit from any given point the universe to a specific destination. Oddly enough, although the trusty equation, E=MC2, appears to preclude the use of speeds in excess of the speed of light, (according to Albert Einstein, his equation demonstrates that as you approach this magical speed you achieve infinite mass and would therefore require infinite energy to achieve it, ergo in can’t happen), there is a glimmer of possibility. The science of quantum physics does hint at the possibility of inducing distortions in space/time that might just allow such things as ‘folding space’ to occur. Unfortunately, given our current level of technology the practical application of doing so is unworkable, it was once calculated that you would need the equivalent power output of a star to drive it, so this is something that is unlikely to happen any time soon here on Earth…unless our kindly neighbourhood ET decides to assist again.
Some Ufologists also assert that our forefathers were assisted in construction of everything from the pyramids and Stonehenge to the statues on Easter Island and many more wonders of the ancient world besides. What a tragic lack of faith in what we as a race are capable of. Do ETHers really think that ET’s built the pyramids et all because we were supposedly incapable of taking on such a feat of engineering? I do not for one second suggest that it was easy, far from it, but to deny that we were unable to complete these Herculean tasks unaided by outside help is to badly undersell our long and (mostly) proud heritage as a race and is frankly insulting.
The Psychosocial Hypothesis
However, there is another group of more thoughtful believers in ‘non-human contact’ (which is a much better way of putting it) whose outlook seems more considered, and they subscribe to the psychosocial hypotheses (PSH). This view assumes that what are defined as ‘extraterrestrials’ have been here since the beginning of time and have been gradually shaped by both the era and culture that encountered them. Everything from trolls, boggarts, fairies (and the faerie, don’t forget them, a considerably more unpleasant fairy variant), the sidhe (pron. shee), elves, goblins and the ever reliable angels. In reality there is not one iota of difference between angels, elves and extraterrestrials. All of these entities, argue the PSH’ers, are intrinsic to the human condition and share most, if not all, of the characteristics of ET’s and how they act and perform.
The entities that are part of the PSH have been variously described as spiteful, malicious, helpful, kind, cruel and/or indifferent, pretty much the same as ET’s really. It is interesting to note that ET’s, and especially their vehicles, seem to function in exactly the same way as fairies and all the rest. They literally flick in and out of existence, cause items to move around, operate their presumed technology in a magickal fashion, and generally display the same overall ability to do pretty much anything they want.
Was the initial difference made just because we became much too arrogant (a very human failing) and sophisticated to accept the invisible world for what it was? Did rationalisation and the Age of Reason take a step too far and separate us from what is truly magickal and wonderful, did it in effect cut our spiritual ‘umbilical cord’ connecting us to the planet itself? Of course change was necessary and indeed vital to allow humanity (and technology) to grow, but in our efforts to create change was the proverbial baby thrown out with the dogmatic bathwater of stifling dogma that held us back as a race?
The Men in Black
Before leaving this section perhaps we should briefly consider yet another extremely enigmatic set of entities from the same general area as the aforementioned fairies and Boggarts and who are (or at least were) frequently associated with Ufology: the Men In Black or MIB’s. These beings, who first seem to have appeared in the 1940’s, are more or less human in appearance if a little pale of complexion, reputedly call unannounced on people who have witnessed UFO sightings and imply either overtly or covertly that the witness should forget all about what they have seen. This is odd, because by visiting they are actually reinforcing what the witness has seen.
Another connection to these alleged beings in where there have been displays of what might be described as ‘magic’ witnessed. By that I mean psycho-kinesis, telepathy and, especially, apparent manifestations of poltergeist activity. This might legitimately make the curious observer ask, is there any connection between the UFO phenomenon and the much wider field of the paranormal? Such luminaries as the late John Keel and of course Dr Jacques Vallee (who, thankfully, is still with us) made this connection; they were quite specific about it too and said so many times. While the origins of Men in Black have been variously attributed to both government agencies and extraterrestrials, it makes some kind of sense that national governments might try to conceal their covert activities, but why would ET’s even bother, what have they to hide?
Might it be reasonable to imply that, rather that anything remotely terrestrial they originate in a genuinely non-earthly reality normally ascribed to the creatures that inhabit our nightmares or realms only accessible to sorcerers? Because another rather disquieting thing about them is their appearance: always pale, their eyes have been described as ‘glowing’ and their skin is reputedly very smooth and shiny, almost artificial in appearance and they are always uniformly dressed in black suits.
They are frequently of oriental appearance and with an awkward, but technically correct, command of language; they also have a disconcerting tendency to vanish quite abruptly. In fact, if this is in fact the case then they have more in common with what we traditionally assume to be demons than ET’s, or might this also mean that, over the centuries what we have traditionally described as demons were in fact ET’s? There is no way of knowing if that is the case, but it is plausible and like so much else in the canon of Ufological belief, their existence has to be taken at face value on faith alone.
The universe is estimated to be anywhere between twelve and fourteen billion years old, our solar system itself is estimated to be around four and a half billion years old and the human race around a million or so years (give or take). Our particular strain of humanity is relatively young and has been around for one hundred thousand years, not so very long in cosmological terms. The why’s and wherefores of how we got here are, for the terms of this article, neither here nor there, but this is something we can and will return to in the future. The new(ish) film ‘Prometheus’ makes one suggestion and who knows, it certainly has been suggested by other sources and may even have some merit.
We are, as a species, nothing if not arrogant and aggressive and we just love to make ourselves known, but we are YOUNG, so very young and still have much to learn! If we are not alone in the universe on one level this has potential for concern, but on the other hand if we really are alone, all that there is in the entire cosmos, in my opinion this is something which should cause even greater concern. When the lights go out on planet Earth then the lights go out everywhere and that would be tragic. This adds an additional poignancy to the two Voyager spacecraft that were sent out years ago to record the planets in our Solar System. Their role is now complete and they have left our planetary system and, if they are not destroyed by some collision with a meteor or other debris, they could continue travelling forever: they could even outlast humanity. Their creators gone and all that would be left are two devices and that’s all there would be, our passing as species marked by a collection of steel, silicon and plastic, not much of a legacy…our race remembered on the two 12 inch gold discs they also carry, bearing information about us, our planet, and its location.
On the other hand perhaps not, it has been convincingly argued that nothing enters the universe and nothing leaves it and if the cosmos was indeed created from the singularity of the Big Bang, then in its entirety it consists of only 92 elements (discovered so far) starting with the most common of all, the very thing that powers the stars: Hydrogen, and on through the heavier elements. This means that in the cells of our bodies, in the very chemicals of our DNA, there exist atoms of everything that has gone before us and when we die we will live on in the bodies of those who follow us, we are indeed at one and as one with the universe; quite a thought! The implication here is that unless there have been other combinations made elsewhere, then this is true of the entire universe and all it contains.
What this also suggests is that if ET’s and their spacecraft are also of this universe then they too must comprise the same elements in one form or another. If, as Ufologists often claim, ET’s and especially their craft use utterly alien compounds and technologies then logically they must not and cannot originate in this universe. This resonates slightly with both the views of those who promote the PSH, and it also helps to vindicate the opinions of even the most rabid ETH-ers, but for different reasons. Yes, the ‘visitors’ originate from somewhere in the cosmos, but not this cosmos, and neither are they psychic entities from some nebulous ‘other world’, they are solid and real, but their existence is in a parallel reality where the same rules may not apply, so both camps can claim a measure of vindication.
The human race might gradually succumb to entropy and gradually falter, run down and die, but if we are just one of many civilisations in the cosmos then it is almost guaranteed that another one will rise somewhere else, maybe on an earth-like world and the whole process will begin again. Another inconvenient fact ignored by die-hard ETH’ers is that since the universe is orders of magnitude older than the solar system, perhaps any other races out there have come into being, run their natural course and simply died out, as we as a species are almost certain to do eventually.
What a sobering and depressing thought and while I am by no means a tree hugging, tofu eating, sandal wearing environmentalist, it seems to me that the faster we pollute our home, the faster those lights will go out. However there is one last consideration, if the cosmos is still expanding, then presumably at the very edge of this continual expansion there is what exactly? Logic suggests that the answer must be…nothing, absolute nothing such as existed before the Big Bang occurred, no time, no space; absolutely nothing and this is an equally mind numbing prospect. Does that mean that reality does not exist until the cosmos expands into it? Perhaps, but that is another puzzle for another day.
© Brian Allan
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